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Inside the Austrian lockdown We explore the world's first lockdown for the unvaccinated

Feddie Sayers on the streets of Vienna

Feddie Sayers on the streets of Vienna


November 18, 2021   6 mins

Mia and Christopher are Austrian circus performers. From their home in Vienna, accompanied by their dog, Magic, they go off to take part in theatrical shows large and small around Europe, from the Royal Albert Hall to private parties, sometimes juggling fire, sometimes trapeze, sometimes simply with stunning displays of balance and strength.

Perhaps the least interesting thing about this talented young couple is that they are unvaccinated against Covid-19. When I meet them at their house in a wooded suburb outside Vienna, I am almost embarrassed to ask about it. But they carefully explain how, for reasons of mistrust, caution and, as they see it, integrity, they have decided not to take the Covid vaccine — and how this fact is suddenly defining their whole lives.

 

Since Monday, unvaccinated Austrians are not allowed to leave their homes except to go to work, to buy essential supplies, or to take exercise: it’s the world’s first “lockdown for the unvaccinated”. It was introduced in response to rapidly rising cases and a lack of excess capacity in Austrian hospitals. “It is not a recommendation, but an order,” announced the Interior Minister Karl Nehammer at a press conference. “Every citizen should know that they will be checked by the police.”

It is, essentially, a ratcheting up of the regime of vaccine passports that exists already in many countries across Europe, whereby unvaccinated people are already excluded from restaurants, museums and theatres. But to place a minority of the population under partial house arrest does seem to cross a new line.

Mia is an artist who is unvaccinated but allowed out because she had covid recently.

The Brazilian-born Mia has already had Covid and, in the Austrian “2G” system, proof of recovery affords you the same status as if you had been vaccinated — albeit for a period of six months. So, for now at least, she is allowed out and about. Chris is stuck at home. He describes it as a “brainfuck”. Attempting to remain philosophical about it, he explains how he tries to tune out the relentless fear coming out of the TV and keep control of his own mental state. “I don’t want to be dependent on these kind of things to be happy.” But the sense of alienation and unease is palpable. What will the future look like? He is supposed to be performing in Paris before Christmas; who knows if he will get there.

It’s a “brain fuck”, says Mia’s partner, Christopher

Back in the old town, alongside the fancy boutiques of the Kärntner Straße, it’s a very different world. Affluent shoppers are out and about in the crisp November air, and they are more than happy to share their views with us.

“I think it comes much too late,” says one woman. “They’re crazy. All the trouble we have is due to those people that believe in, I don’t know, that the earth is flat… If the majority of society depends on idiots, then they can’t be helped and it’s the end of society!”

Her view is typical — there is very little sympathy here, and a good deal of frustration. Only a few voices take the opposing view, and they tend to be passers-through more than the wealthy locals; the doormen and deliverymen we try to talk to just shake their heads. One man simply describes the latest lockdown as “bullshit”.

What is striking is that very few think the policy will actually work. Covid levels per capita have shot up in recent weeks, and Austria now has one of the highest case rates in Europe. The rationale behind the lockdown is that it will increase the level of vaccination (low for a Western European country at 65%); but even supporters of the move predict that it will be followed up by more universal measures soon enough. The Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg openly explains that the policy is a heavy-handed “nudge”: “My aim is very clear: to get the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, not to lock up the unvaccinated,” he told ORF radio station.

On a practical level, though, the logic of the new rules does not withstand much scrutiny: unvaccinated workers are permitted to travel to and from work, and they work disproportionately within the hospitality sector. This means that they are currently allowed into restaurants and bars to serve, but not to consume. In any case, if there were only vaccinated people in a venue, that wouldn’t necessarily make it Covid-free. Many places require daily testing for non-vaccinated staff, yet not for the vaccinated, leading to the odd situation where the unvaccinated are “safer” than the patrons.

It feels like a bit of a stand-off. The vaccine issue has become a show of strength, a test of principles. As Ivan Krastev, a political scientist at Vienna’s Institute for Human Sciences, tells me: “When some of the anti-vaccine people said, ‘we are ready to defend our freedoms’, the basic message of the Government was, ‘Okay, let’s see what price you are ready to pay for them.’ The idea of this measure is to make people uncomfortable.”

Ivan Krastev: “the government wants to make people uncomfortable”

One peculiar feature of this dramatic new measure is the silence of the liberals. Why are the bien-pensant Viennese, usually so concerned with the rights of minorities, so relaxed about a measure that in other contexts would seem outrageously draconian?

Somersaults of logic have been performed to assert that the policy is more liberal than the alternatives. For one thing, they say, it stops short of an actual vaccine mandate, which just about keeps alive the notion of personal choice; for the majority, it offers the hope of avoiding another lockdown, so seems to them to be a lesser intervention. And, unlike in neighbouring Italy, the unvaccinated can still work, with tests being provided at public expense. In Austria, across the West, there is no one left to assert the rights, or even try to understand the motivations of this despised minority, the anti-vaxxers. They are the new deplorables.

To interrogate this seeming contradiction, I visit Professor Manfred Nowak, one of Europe’s pre-eminent human rights lawyers, at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He has dedicated his whole life to the upholding of human rights and the defence of oppressed minorities against arbitrary detention and mistreatment. Former Special Rapporteur to the UN on Torture, current Secretary-General of the European Campus of Human Rights, activist against Guantanamo Bay, UN Independent Expert on Children Deprived of Liberty — the list continues. I expect him to be a little concerned about the potential direction of travel in his home country of Austria.

He wasn’t. He thinks the policy doesn’t go far enough. “From a human rights perspective, you always have to balance the obligation to protect the right to life, the right to health, with interfering with other rights such as personal liberty,” he tells me.

He wants to make vaccination mandatory, with refusal equivalent to a traffic offence, resulting in a fine rather than a criminal record. He is also worried about how this partial lockdown might affect an already divided society — but he is unconcerned about the human rights or civil liberties implications. Do you not even have a twinge of anxiety about the shift in democratic norms, or whether such discriminatory policy might be applied in different settings, I ask? “No, not really,” he says, with admirable candour.

Manfred Nowak, an eminent human rights professor: “vaccination should be mandatory”

The final component in this lockdown mix is, of course, politics. In most European countries there are no mainstream political parties that could be described as “anti-vaccine”, but Austria has the populist, right-wing Freedom Party, which was part of the coalition government until 2019; it has made vaccination choice a central issue. The FPÖ organises regular rallies in cities around Austria, and its new leader Herbert Kickl is gaining popularity by condemning Covid policies as “corona fascism”.

Having thus turned vaccine hesitancy into a “right-wing” political campaign, Kickl has managed to put a face to the dissenting minority — and it’s not one that many people like. As a result, instead of thinking of the unvaccinated as a vulnerable, if misguided, group and one worthy of protection and respect, they have become viewed as an extreme political enemy who must be defeated.

It would be hard to think of anyone less threatening or extreme than Mia and Chris. Alternative, certainly; anti-establishment, yes. But good people who in any healthy, confident culture would be cherished and celebrated. Allowing them, and millions like them, to drift into a caste of untouchables, separated from the mainstream, all for the sake of a marginal gain against a virus that is rapidly becoming endemic, may prove to be a grave miscalculation with effects that will be felt for years to come.


Freddie Sayers is the Editor-in-Chief & CEO of UnHerd. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of YouGov, and founder of PoliticsHome.

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Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago

Same across Europe, upper mddle class lumpen bourgeoisie, their brains broken from propaganda, getting to stick it to the working class and feel righteous about it. Not surprised by Nowak – the human rights industrial machine is a jobs programme for the very worst elements of the lumpen bourgeoisie, we really can’t expect them to remain true to principles.

The intellectual and moral hoops these people must go through to not see that coercing vaxx in this way is as bad, and I’d argue worse, than holding someone in a chair and having Nurse Ratchet stick the needle

Last edited 2 years ago by Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
2 years ago

They are no longer a proper “bourgeoisie”; they are bohemian bureaucrats – a smelly blend of Zhdanov and his victims – subsidised, employed and influenced by each other as fellow employees of the state. They also infest the “arts” and the “third sector”, now heavily funded by general taxation, of course. Were they a serious middle class they would have amassed or inherited wealth independently; they would embody the virtues of scepticism, self-discipiline, industry and thrift; they would support religion, fly the flag and uphold public decorum; they would dress well and speak clearly. Above all, they would disagree, politely, in public and on the basis of evidence, expecting everyone else to conduct debate in that same open but rigorous spirit. Our Boho-Zhdanovs wouldn’t dream of allowing such disaccord – witness their successful attempt to cancel Zemmour from his London venue. In short, they are bag of spineless decadents, best described by some monosyllable from the restricted lexicon of Angela Rayner.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Yes true, bourgeoisie is perhaps inaccurate They are strange people, they get some weird pleasure out of pretending to be speaking “truth to power” defending the rights of others, while everything they do is financed by philanthrocapital. When police in Ireland were beating the heads of working class anti lockdown protesters, these type of people were practically salivating with pleasure while cheering them on.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

They are never really defending the rights of others. They are using others as a stick to beat sections of their own society with which they are in conflict.
Witness how those who never miss a trick when it comes to confecting outrage when it comes to some theoretical and abstract infringement of their own government fall silent about or even become apologists for the worst excesses of of left win totalitarian regimes, and human rights lawyers seem to be the worst offenders. of courses they could just be a bunch of opportunistic grifters who have found a lucrative niche financed by the tax payer.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

Then there is the real world where the rest of us live: where facts and balance hold sway and labelling and exaggeration are seen as childish and silly..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

Do you really believe that gross exaggeration and distortion helps to make your case? In truth it jyst makes you look foolish.. throw in a real, unbuased, non-distorted fact or two and you’ll see a great difference..

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I think that most of these people are brain washed by the onslaught of the MSM, who publishes half truth or plain lies. They hardly interview scientists who disagree. Even if MSM reports about dissenting scientists, they will be put down and nothing published about them again (see Prof Gupta and the Great Barrington Declaration). Same goes for the whole Green Hysteria about the coming of the Global Apocalypse. The worst thing is, that the whole political class is in awe of the press and their lies.

Last edited 2 years ago by Stephanie Surface
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago

What makes them so dangerous is that many of them possess university credentials. They believe this confers a certain superiority over them toward their fellow humans.
As I occasionally remind my students: once you believe your education makes you superior to others, then your education has failed you.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

After the Brexit vote we were repeatedly told that remain voters were more intelligent than leave voters.
Actually, being younger they just had more access to University. However, even if it were true was this a suggestion that the vote of those without a degree was somehow worth less, The arrogance is staggering.
I am qualified well beyond degree level and have had 2 vaccinations and a booster. However, I do not use a smart phone (just an old one for calls & texts), and should England ever introduce vaccine passports I will not carry one and will stand proudly with the unvaccinated.
It is my choice to be jabbed as I believe the evidence is overwhelming (I worked my life in pharmaceutical research before lecturing so am not a layman in this), but it is someone else’s choice not to be, I may disagree but will support them completely.
A vaccine does not prevent you spreading the disease, but it prevents serious illness in most people. It will therefore spread freely, and largely asymptomatically, amongst the vaccinated so these passports are utterly pointless except as tools of social coercion.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Wilkes
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

What if a foreign country decides it wants to see evidence of your being dv+b (not in case you spread the virus but) so you don’t clog up their hospital ICUs and they don’t have the hassle of dealing with your corpse? Is that not a legitimate concern? Now if you were un the EU that would be different because you would have the right to travel and ger sick and die where you like..

Michael Cooper
Michael Cooper
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I think you you have just demonstrated exaggeration and distortion very few people who get covid end up in ICU or die. There is overwhelming evidence for that. Also there is increasing evidence that people who are double jabbed and soon triple jabbed are filling our hospitals. Not to mention those with vaccine complications

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

The vaccine is a complete and total failure

J P
J P
2 years ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

I agree with your overall sentiment. However the assumption that most leave voters do not have a university degree is staggeringly arrogant…a little hypocrisy it seems?

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

“once you believe your education makes you superior to others, then your education has failed you”. I love that – I might borrow it on occasion if that’s ok …

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

If your education in say virology doesn’t make you superior in your understanding of virology then what is the point? Would you be okay being operated on by someone with a GCE in biology or would you think opting for a more qualified surgeon would be a superior choice. I’m not sure if you know the meaning of the word “superior” because your statement looks silly?

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

How many patients has Fauci treated in the last 40 years compared to Paul Marik? If I’m sick I am going to see Paul Marik. I’m not listening to a corrupt clown like Fauci. Experience and past performance matter more to me than a degree on a wall. How long and how many dead AIDS patients did it take for Fauci to quit advising AZT, give up on a vaccine, and start treating the disease. We are on what? 2 years of this nonsense and we have a failed vaccine, he’s getting people killed with Remdesivir poisoning and ventilators and there is no end in sight. This 80 year old man is a failure at protecting human life

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Experience and past performance and….. agenda.
As this pandemic has shown in spades, many ‘experts’ have conflicts of interest in respect of funding and the like and many are muzzled by the agenda of their employers.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

What she meant was being well educated in one subject area does not mean you are able to make superior decisions in another area. Clear as day to me – I can only assume you aren’t superior enough to understand.

Ian Cooper
Ian Cooper
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Up here in woke Cambridge you find the woke happy to be embraced by the Chinese!!!

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Cooper

Being also a denizen of Cambridge, it is clear that being educated in what is supposed to be one of the top university does not make you clever enough to see you aren’t being bought. Money seems to be the universal opiate to the ‘clever’.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

The notion that a 3rd level qualification might confer a superior knowledge in that field is dangerous is it? Far safer is the shouting of the ignorant and the bleeting of the stupid… mmm I’m not so sure?

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

That’s interesting, I noticed recently (on Twitter) 2 people commenting that anti vaxxers, seemed mostly to poorly educated – all the while touting their own various degrees. One even claimed that her & her partner had 5 degrees between them. Talk about snobbery!! I pointed out that one of the smartest young men I ever met was robbing security vans. (He was always one step ahead of the police).

J P
J P
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

That’s funny! I do though note than many of the anti-vaxxers on Twitter seem to have a poor command of the English language.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
2 years ago

Dare I say the word ‘rape’ comes to mind. Mind coercion till you willingly submit your body to the populous choice.
You are either letting the populous thought down by not taking the vaccine or you are letting yourself down by taking it.
West with its mandates is in danger becoming a joke with its loud voice for freedom and human rights in other countries. This is pure unbearable hypocrisy.

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
2 years ago

‘Pure unbearable hypocrisy’ based on shoddy thinking.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago

During the recent age of neo-conservatism, the oft repeated line that explained Islamic terror attacks was “they hate our freedoms.” Looking at what they’ve become, I’m starting to hate them freedoms, too.

J P
J P
2 years ago

It’s just a vaccine. Anti-vaxxers like to suggest having a vaccine is somehow akin to losing any rights as an individual. It’s just a vaccine.

Greg Moreison
Greg Moreison
2 years ago
Reply to  J P

I haven’t heard any anti-vaxxers suggesting that having a vaccine is somehow akin to losing rights as an individual. It’s just a vaccine.
However it seems fairly obvious that to be placed under effective house arrest due to one’s unvaccinated status, or potentially to be forced to take the vaccine, is quite clearly tantamount to losing rights as an individual: unless you do not consider basic autonomy to be an individual right.

Michael Cooper
Michael Cooper
2 years ago
Reply to  J P

Sadly it is not even vaccine

Bo Yee Fung
Bo Yee Fung
2 years ago
Reply to  J P

You obviously have a lot of faith in this vaccine and therefore are able to dismiss it as ‘just a vaccine’ and can’t understand why people would make such a big fuss. Well, I don’t trust vaccines in general and this new mRNA vaccine in particular, and yes, our views differ and in a ‘healthy, confident culture’ as Freddie says, we should be able to coexist peacefully. But instead, I am forced to inject this substance which is still under emergency use approval (Cominarty is not yet in production)and for which we don’t really know how safe it is, then, for me, it IS a loss of my rights as an individual. It is not ‘just a vaccine’, it is a medical experiment, and I have a right not to consent.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Bo Yee Fung

But you aren’t forced are you.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

I believe if you remove your tinfoil hat you will get a more balanced view. The issue is not black and white and certainly in no way is it a class issue. The fact that better off people are better educated and so less prone to be suckered into idiotic theories makes this issue one of education and intelligence, not class.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

That old ‘tinfoil hat’ insult is so overused that it is wearying. Give it a rest. This comment is based on logic and observation.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Anyone using the tinfoil hat does not realize the tech is so far past that for it to any good – I personally use a Faraday Hat where the faraday cage is woven into the fabric so no one can see you have one – but they still cannot read your brainwaves or project improper thoughts.

gotta keep one step of our lizard masters…..

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I have degrees and post grad qualifications and I am happy to be insulted with petty name calling. I take pride in not watching ANY TV news or current affairs programmes, almost all of which have commercial motives that any intelligent person would realise will impact on what they broadcast. Same is true of many academic institutes these days.

I do my own research and always rely on referenced sources, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of mainstream media. If it can’t be backed up with facts I am not interested.

And I don’t see this as an education and intelligence thing. Many, probably the majority, of the most intelligent people I have ever met were not ‘educated’, and many of the most bombastic, self-opinionated idiots I have come across were in academia and/or the high arts and/or politics. Not all, I might add, as there are always exceptions to the rule.

I will continue to wear the tin hat you refer to with pride.

G A
G A
2 years ago

That bit on Professor Manfred Nowak is astonishing. Just astonishing.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  G A

What an old fraud.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  G A

The Modern Liberal/Left are Fas *ist to the very core. Fas….m is the conjoining of industry and Government, Oligarchy and Plutocracy and Corporatism – just look at Zuckerberg, Gates, Soros, Musk, Bezos, Klaus Schwab….

The code name for, you know who, has always been the ‘Austrian Corporal’, look it up, Oxfordreference has it as the second search result, it is also the first – Those people should be ashamed of themselves as they should know better.
I refuse the vax and mask Exactly because of these people, same as Biden, Tyrants. Live Free or Die is the state motto of New Hampshire.

““When some of the anti-vaccine people said, ‘we are ready to defend our freedoms’, the basic message of the Government was, ‘Okay, let’s see what price you are ready to pay for them.’ The idea of this measure is to make people uncomfortable.””
In USA AG Garland, the head of all USA Secret Police, Intelligence, and Federal police, a million strong terrifying force, has set the FBI onto parents who protest against CRT as Domestic Terrorists.
“President Joe Biden, saying domestic terrorism was the “greatest threat” in America and white supremacists are the “most dangerous people,” pledged to focus his Justice Department on the rise of white supremacy.”

I do not know, or ever have, a White Supremacist – I do not even think they exist as any sort of organization, or in any numbers of the least significance.

Basically Biden has said the war on terror from Islam is over and the VAST security built up by the ‘Patriot Act’ in 2001 will turn to focus on Trump Supporters now. The Austrian quote above –

‘Okay, let’s see what price you are ready to pay for them.’ The idea of this measure is to make people uncomfortable.”””

Is just like Biden, they have turned on their own law abiding and patriotic citizens. In fact the more law abiding and patriotic you are the more they are out to get you.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Left and right have been irrelevant for many years, Authoritarianism versus libertarianism is the modern battle. Sadly, authoritarian governments have just about won. I don’t foresee much hope (but will never give up trying).

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
2 years ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

I’ve wondered for a while why politics in the 21st century should be calibrated according to where Frenchmen plopped their derrières in the 18th.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Speaking of fascism – here in New Zealand we have just one “vaccine” on offer. The Pfizer Cominarty. The “legislation” our government has drawn up in response to the Covid situation includes a mandate for border workers to be jabbed. The actual brand name is written into this legislation! It beggars belief. And in any discourse on the use of vaccine in our Covid response our PM will always refer to “the Pfizer vaccine” rather than just “the vaccine”. Many of us in this country would dearly love to see what is in the contract signed with Pfizer on our behalf, but which we are unable to view.

Last edited 2 years ago by Trish Castle
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

We watch NZ in dismay….

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Who is “we”? Please do not presume to speak for me.
Living in Australia, I watch NZ with delight and some envy. Within that general delight, I take on board that Trish Castle appears to make a valid criticism. Fine. No nation is perfect. Critical appraisal is required of everything. Of the best as much as the worst. So far, so good.
But to speak of “fascism” in the context of criticising a lack of vaccine choice, as Trish Castle does, is going too far. Overblown language, calculated to incite hatred and loathing. Loose, emotive language, designed to bypass reasoned, proportionate criticism.
And to jump from legitimate disapproving of a Pfizer monopoly whose grounds have not been disclosed to the public, to watching the whole country in its entirety “with dismay”, as you claim to do, is an equally problematic, careless use of language.
We were given the gift of speech to heal, not harm others. To enlighten, not hurt. Criticism used correctly enlightens, promotes understanding, corrects untruth, and hence heals.

Last edited 2 years ago by Penelope Lane
stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

We? I’m fairly sure Lesley didn’t include you if you live in Australia. We in the western world who believe the zero Covid strategy followed in Australasia is totally futile and that your societies seem to be gripped by mass paranoia are those watching in dismay. Our dismay is currently directed towards Austria at the moment, just hoping that few others will follow suit. If the authorities and MSM stopped publishing Covid cases and just concentrated on statistics on hospital admissions for all serious illnesses and not just Covid, then maybe your country would be back to normal with open borders. What are you going to do when the next serious flu epidemic comes along?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Good. Thankyou. Now I know who you identify with as “we”.
It is always a mistake to identify an entire people with its government. In my book, the only thing our PM Scott Morrison has got right is his handling of the pandemic! Even there, he gets a B/C, not an A, because he was, like your Boris, lazy and complacent and too slow to take action in the early days. In addition to which, he fluffed the vaccine ordering, putting all his eggs in one AstraZeneca basket instead of hedging his bets and spreading orders around, then being caught out when the safety and supply issues hit.
But he does deserve credit for the way he put aside his visceral loathing of the leftwing federal opposition and Labor state governments, created a national cabinet comprising all of them to handle policy and decision-making for the pandemic cooperatively. He quite genuinely commanded support from people across the nation of all political persuasions for this stance, and his approval ratings in the polls soared.
To understand Australia, you need to know that, underneath the overt pro-Americanism, we are still a society recently derived from European origins. An underlying, European-style solidarity persists, which is diametrically opposed to the polarised conflict and extremist individualism that characterise the USA.
For these reasons, it is a mistake to speak of Australians being gripped by “mass paranoia”. Our Covid strategy was coolly and consciously approved of and supported by the overwhelming majority of the population. We quite reasonably wanted protection, and we wanted our government to organise it. That was our free, rational choice.
The recent violent, lawless anti-vaxxer, anti-lockdown protests you may have read about represent only a tiny minority whose minds have been captured by the Trumpist satanism emanating from the US, viz. the copycat use of gallows and nooses taken straight from the racist American confederate south. This vile stuff is coming into our country on the back of extremist rightwing propaganda on the internet and degenerate pentecostal cultism. It is not homegrown and has no legitimate place in this country.
Statistics show our Covid policy has served us well to date, with lower rates of mortality and serious hospital admissions per head of population, and higher rates of vaccination, than nearly all other western countries. Overall, we have an excellent free universal healthcare service, Medicare, which rates as one of the best in the developed world. Our politicians were supported by first-class medical people throughout the pandemic.
The real test, though, is still to come, not just for us but for everyone around the world, as nations try to gradually return to normal life. This is unknown territory, and those on the front line doing their best to serve the public interest deserve to be given support

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

“It is always a mistake to identify an entire people with its government.” True, but you’ve just reinforced the converse in your 5th paragraph. My impression is that Australia’s handling has been similar to the UK’s times three but without the questioning and objecting voices although I could be wrong. My viewpoint is somewhat distorted since I’ve been living in relative normality in Sweden where the strategy and message coming from the authorities and government has been sensible and level headed. Even the most recent measures of starting to use vaccine passes here for theatres,concerts etc. is a soft touch since it’s a recommendation with the alternative of using distancing measures in restricting the numbers allowed in. Once a whole population has been continually subjected to irrational, confusing and partly unfounded “truths” it could be understandable to believe all steps taken are reasonable and correct. I’m just grateful that Tegnell and his colleagues have had the guts to stand up and be counted with their evidence based assertions and measures.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

“It is always a mistake to identify an entire people with its government.” True, but you’ve just reinforced the converse in your 5th paragraph.
This is not logical. First, I pointed up the danger of speaking of an entire people, viz. “Australians” as seemingly being gripped by “mass paranoia”. This is on the same level as saying “all Germans are Nazis”.
In my 5th paragraph I was speaking—accurately—of “an overwhelming majority” of the population, as evidenced by multiple authoritative opinion polls over an extended period. I adduced the second to bring evidence and argument to bear, pointing up the fallacy contained in the first. Your “impression” is just plain wrong, and is not borne out by the evidence.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

You are a bunch of paranoid lunatics. The real test? Lmao. Hey just walk out your door and quit being a coward. https://nypost.com/2021/09/13/f-k-joe-biden-chants-break-out-at-college-football-games/

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Here¡s what¡s wrong with your response to me:

  1. It is personally abusive—”paranoid lunatics”, “a coward”
  2. It displays poor communication skills—it uses an abbreviation that is not generally known, “Lmao”, meaning I could not understand what you were saying
  3. It encourages violent verbal aggression against those holding different opinions.
Last edited 2 years ago by Penelope Lane
J P
J P
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Perhaps stop and think for a moment. You seem to subscribe to the “we’re better than you approach” to handling of the pandemic. That falls into the same trashy bucket as league tables of death by country that took up such a high proportion of media front pages last year. No country will (likely) be proven to have had the perfect response; most countries have though tried their best with the data and input they have had at the time of decisions.
It is preferable to use “I” instead of “we” when sharing an opinion – it is your opinion and you are wholly entitled to it. However suggesting you speak for an entire “Western” world is perhaps overstating your importance somewhat don’t you think?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

A voice of reason at last! Why some people think their point (if they even have one?) is best made with vitriolic attacks and gross distortions and even hate speech is beyond me. Why not make your point in a calm, quiet respectful manner? It is better made that way. It enhances not diminishes it’s effect unless of course you are a rabble rouser and happy to be a hero to the ignorant and stupid contributors. Perhaps that’s the explanation?

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

“hate speech”? don’t get carried away like the woke crowd taking offence at anything which contradicts their world view. It’s more a question of differing opinions and viewpoints.. I could just as well say that mine and Lesley’s are voices of reason at last but it might not fit into your world view. The fact is, and I know it’s not a fact but more an assertion, that Australia and even more NZ has been gripped in the panic reaction of managing a virus which has a less than 1% mortality rate in those infected, as opposed to Spanish flu or H5N1 at 20-30%. The former was a real serious pandemic and the latter a potential one if it had been more contagious. Rabble rouser, ignorant, stupid?? None of these.

Last edited 2 years ago by stephen archer
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Averaging the mortality rate for Covid is disingenuous.
The risks of catching and dying from the virus vary 10 000-fold depending on age (David Spiegelhalter).
Specifically from : Assessing the Age Specificity of Infection Fatality Rates for COVID-19: Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Public Policy Implications December 2020)
“The estimated age specidfic IFR … increases progressively to 0.4% at age 55, 1.4% at age 65, 4.6% at age 75, and 15% at age 85.”

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

The aged are almost always more vulnerable to disease, that is a given and seldom do people refer to IFR in age bands as attention spans are small and a lot of stats don’t stick.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

The aged are almost always more vulnerable to disease, that is a given and seldom do people refer to IFR in age bands
Er, might this practice be because Covid is very, very infectious? Therefore liable to infect masses of people? Therefore important to get maximum information out about it to as many people as possible? And because it’s a new, hitherto unknown virus, so amassing data becomes critical in formulating effective future management plans? People know what flu is. They haven’t known anything at all about Covid before it struck.
It is not logical to conclude that because IFR are given in age bands for Covid, when that has not been normal practice for other diseases, therefore something must be wrong with the covid data. That is a massive, entirely fact-free non sequitur.
There could be all sorts of reasons, entirely legitimate, for the new practice, a couple of which I explain above. That is called bringing evidence and reasoning to bear on the issue.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Oh, thankyou Elaine Giedrys-Leeper for injecting some cool facts into these exchanges.

J P
J P
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

You are overly aggressive. Your points will land with more impact if you remove the large chip from the shoulder

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

The fact is, and I know it’s not a fact but more an assertion, that Australia and even more NZ has been gripped in the panic reaction of managing a virus…
You do not advance your case by simply repeating your fact-free, baseless assertion.
Keeping on repeating the same thing without any attempt to address the issues raised ends up being a form of bullying: “I’m not going to discuss this with you, you are going to listen to me!”
You have not brought forward any evidence of “panic”. But others have brought forward evidence to the contrary, that there has been no panic in Australia and NZ’s responses, rather, that their responses have been based carefully in the best scientific and medical evidence available.

Last edited 2 years ago by Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Thankyou for that. You may be interested to know that I have written a formal email of complaint to Unherd‘s editorial people, stating

  1. The problems with their amalgamated tick-system, which has the effect of “disappearing” minority voices, ironically the precise opposite of what Unherd is supposed to be about, giving a voice to the unheard
  2. Their slack, incompetent moderation, which demonstrably fails to distinguish between legitimate free speech and abuse carried on the back of fact-free opinionation, abuse which often descends into real hate-speech

I was unimpressed to receive a reply which said they were referring my problem with the tick-system to their IT department. But what I was raising was a problem of public ethics, not a technical IT fault! It needs to be considered at editorial policy level.
The reply then went on to remind me they have a flag system for complaints about comments. Apparently they are unaware that, unlike the Guardian and most other mainstream media, no reason is requested for flagging a comment. Thus, Unherd’s moderators judge whether action is merited entirely from within the bubble of their own preconceived views, without any attempt to listen to, and hear, an objector’s reasons for objecting.
It seems Unherd has a tin ear! I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that all they are interested in is click bait to increase their circulation and revenues.

Last edited 2 years ago by Penelope Lane
Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

How about you just quit being a fascist

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

That is pure personal abuse.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

Agree on your specific point, but disagree that this is in any way “fascism”. You do not substantiate that claim. Therefore, a harmful, wrong use of language. See my fuller response to Lesley van Reenen below.

J P
J P
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

You seem to miss that you have a logical, intelligent leader who does her best for her people. Not sure why you feel somehow unable to identify with the decisions taken but perhaps it is more about you than the logic?

Bo Yee Fung
Bo Yee Fung
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

and the FDA has asked for 55 years to release all the documents they used to review and give full approval to Pfizer Cominarty, yet the approval process only took 108 days.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Making people uncomfortable because they do not conform dates back to the first law ever enacted. That’s how law works fgs! The vast majority support a certain way of behaving: it becomes law and everyone must obey whether it relates to road safety, paying taxes, employment or public health. It has been like that since we came down from the trees.
The alternative is lawlessness. Do what you like irrespective of the consequences to others! Utter chaos and mayhem. If you want to enjoy the benefits of living in a civilized society, including exercising your limited rights then you must pay a price for that. Too many people today are focussed on their (unlimited) rights with zero consideration for the rights of others. There are two sides: rights and obligations: benefits and a price to pay. My generation was perhaps too focussed on our social responsibilities but the pendulum has swung far too much in the other direction these days..
The 4 marks of a truly evolved human (ala M.Scot Peck) are:
Dedication to the truth.
Taking responsibility.
Deferring gratification
Balance.
All four are sadly lacking in today’s sick, sad delluded undersociety.

J P
J P
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I suspect you are right. I would add that social media lends a disproportionately loud voice to a very very small minority on issues such as this. That leads to distortion.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  J P

Agreed. But note—
Unherd‘s tick-system suppresses minority commenter voices. This also leads to distortion. Oh, the irony! See my response to Liam O’Mahony above

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  G A

But explicable if you consider that as an academic he is left wing and the nearest thing to an anti-vax faction is said to be a party of the right.
He is unconcerned about discriminatory measures taken against the unvaccinated because they’re being taken against people he hates.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Exactly… Same is true in Germany. It s pure projection of left leaning “experts”, when they rubbish anything AfD says, be it the Euro, Vaccinations or Green Policies. Everything is terrible, if this party comes up with a fairly reasonable point.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Yes, the masses are being manipulated into equating vaccine-hesitancy with far-right extremist movements. I wonder how long this can go on for. Everything is becoming far-right these days: parents concerned about their children’s education, teachers that insist on good behavior and hard work, people expressing concern about lockdowns…

Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

If it is indeed found that the vaccine can effect the heart in teenagers and they have been forced by government to have a vaccine, will they get compensated? Although hardly an issue if they are then dead!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

FYI ALL medicines have side effects. I’m sorry if that comes as a great shock to you! What makes a medicine viable is that its positive effect far outweighs its negative side effects. The most severe side effects are the most rare. If it were not the case the medication would not be authorised.
However: in the case of children (since the vast majority of studies focused on adults) I believe there is insufficient data on longterm side effects and furthermore, the limited benefits in the case of children make the use of vaccines in their case somewhat problematic.

Michael Cooper
Michael Cooper
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Somewhat problematic seems an understatement there is no case from your risk/ benefits perspective in the case of children.

J P
J P
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

Please look up risk / benefit. It is used with all vaccine and medicines. Every drug you take has side effects, every drug you take has benefits and risks, even paracetamol. Risk / benefit makes assessment relative – that is very important in context of this vaccine.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago
Reply to  G A

Nowak is typical of the Austrian mentality which has produced probably the most heinous human being that ever lived. That individual was born in Austria in 1889 and died by his own hand just outside a bunker in Berlin in 1945.
Said individual must be having a laugh at Austria today from his place in the deepest pits of hell.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Your assertion:
“Nowak is Austrian. Hitler was Austrian. Therefore Nowak is like Hitler.”
This type of so-called argument is based in a logical fallacy.
I can just as easily prove the opposite, using the same fallacious thinking, e.g.
“Nowak is leftwing. Hitler was rightwing. Therefore Nowak cannot possibly be like Hitler.”
See?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

The definition of right and left are no longer what they once were.
See?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Okay, so you raise a valid objection to my hypothetical example. You pick up on one of many ways in which it is fallacious thinking. Good.
Now go back to Peter Branagan’s comment, and apply the same critical thinking to it. Can you see why he is not entitled to conclude Nowak is like Hitler simply because both are Austrian?
To apply your own response, one could say that Austrians are no longer what they once were.

Last edited 2 years ago by Penelope Lane
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

Really? Says who? You?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

To make such a comparison in heinous! You people think it’s fair game to spew your hate speech with zero regard to what is right and fair and balanced! You should be ashamed and indeed you should apologise to the man you so wickedly maligned. He spoke of balance: a concept that you people find so difficult to grasp!

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
2 years ago
Reply to  G A

Tells you all you need to know about the human rights industry.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Schuldes

Why?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Astonishing! Two red downticks for daring to ask why!
Unherd’s commenters are really showing their true colours now!
No freedom of speech for anyone who dares to question the fact-free authoritarian diktats of those who condescend to grace us with their opinionated declamations.
How lucky we are to be told what we should think by imperious decree. God, we should be so grateful!

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

By downvoting what you write, people are not telling you what to think. They’re just telling you that they don’t like it.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

An opinion without any basis is opinionation. This is not a good thing. Opinion for opinion’s sake. This is how the shock jocks operate: “Come on, everyone, what do you think? Doesn’t matter whether you know anything about the subject or not! Tell us your opinion!”
Anonymous people’s opinions voiced simply as a tick are worthless in a public discussion around issues raised in an article, because they add nothing to the discussion.
One doesn’t know why an uptick or downtick was awarded. So how can one respond?
How can saying “I don’t like your stuff” do anything at all for anyone, except to make the person feel good and the recipient bad?

J P
J P
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Shouty is not a good look on a site where people actually seem to debate intelligently.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  J P

I have been consistently trolled since I joined this site. Examination of the responses to my comments—the immediate piling-on of downticks without discrimination and without accompanying comments bears this claim out. In comments, I have been subjected to ongoing personal abuse and hate speech, and I am fed up. Shouty? Perhaps. But desperation is more accurate. See my response to Liam O’Mahoney above, re my formal complaint to Unherd.
I have not found most of the debate on Unherd to be intelligent. A minority of it, perhaps. But then only when the debate takes place within the rightwing fold. The second people see a leftwing comment or one based in spirituality, the trolling piles on.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Why does Freddy not mention the fact that needs repeating (for the people who are strangers to logic) – vaccinated people can catch and spread the virus. It is this fact after all, that makes this lockdown nonsensical right out of the gates.
Listening for a repeat of the sounds of jackboots marching through the comments section….

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

“can”

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Yes they can. But they are less likely to get it and therefore less likely to spread it.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago

Ooh, thumbs down for stating a fact.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

I’ve cancelled it with a thumbs up :). I’m troubled about where people get their evidence from

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

I also dislike the thumbs down app. If you like a certain argument give it a thumps up. But thumbs down without argument is a bit silly..

Last edited 2 years ago by Stephanie Surface
rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

I’ve posted this several times today, but here it is again.

Look 8mins15secs into this from Zoe citizen science

https://youtu.be/qcW6E4fxOvQ

After a year since getting infected, you are only 65% protected – although vaccines wane about as much in 6 months

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Yes interesting.. but there are also epidemiologists ( sorry can’t post as it is in German) who think that if you have no comorbidity, you don’t need to get vaccinated as all of vaccines have certain additives which are unhealthy. Was a big debate in Germany and therefore many people are against vaccinations

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

I think the UK MHRA Yellow Card Vaccine Monitor programme would have picked up any side effects of additives

https://vaccinemonitor-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Alas it is not being used. The vast majority of adverse reactions are not being reported. There should be a legal requirement for all rs and nurses to report everything, in the same way as for a year anything and everything was put down as a covid case/death.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

I think you may be referring to recent debates among those following the spiritual teachings of the late Dr Rudolf Steiner. His work is well known and has many followers in Germany. (I too am a researcher based in his work, and although this topic is not my own specialism, I am conversant with the general lines of discussion.)
In this connection, it is important to understand that a distinction must be drawn between back-room, cutting-edge research into effects of disease extending beyond the physical world, and debate about public health policy involving those with immediate responsibilities at the coal-face.
Students of Steiner will encounter all sorts of specialist things that remain more or less esoteric to the general populace. Notwithstanding this, because of the ferocity of some of the anti-vaxxers in the social and political spheres, the Steiner people have officially stated that they firmly support vaccination as part of public health policy formulated to combat a pandemic.
In other words, the moral/ethical arguments about protecting the health of whole populations outweigh particular positions regarding the benefits of allowing the body to let an illness run its course. Obviously, the latter applies to an individual, where the patient can be expected to recover. Overall resilience is thus enhanced. But one individual is not at all the same thing as an entire population, and an ordinary illness is not the same as a life-threatening pandemic.
The practical exigencies of public health policy should not be confused with particular findings of specialist experimental research, which may have no immediate practical application en masse.
In other words, necessary self-sacrifice of some freedoms in the cause of the common good outweighs unconstrained exercise of individual liberties. The Steiner people are about ethical individualism, not selfishness. Where one’s conduct endangers others, one is required to change one’s behaviour!

Last edited 2 years ago by Penelope Lane
Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane
Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago

This has nothing to do with Dr.R. Steiner.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Thanks for the link, but my German is “read only”, so I couldn’t follow the video. I take your word for it that this is a different source from the Steiner people.
It is perhaps relevant that Germany is much more receptive than the English-speaking world to Dr Steiner’s work, which is well known in the general population. This may link to a broader and more open-minded national discussion from a range of different sources in that country.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Thankyou for infusing some facts into this exchange.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

It’s more than silly. It is unsubstantiated negative opinionation, and it has serious effects. See my comment in response to Rodney Foy above.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

I’m troubled about where people get their evidence from
They don’t get evidence. They think emotion is enough.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago

A big Uk study was necessary to check this out. It didnt really work for me. Yes, if behaviour is the same then being vaccinated will maybe spread the disease less.But behaviour is not the same. Many of the vaccinated are treating vaccination as a get out of covid free card. In such a situation how can it be said that being vaccinated means you spread Covid less. So we are stuck in a situation where vaccinated people are spreading the disease and likely in creasing the odds of un-vaccinated people being infected.
The irony and injustice continues.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Stick to your guns Linda Hutchinson, and don’t let them bully you!

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
2 years ago

Pls, is there a link substantiating your claim, that you could kindly provide so it may be seen not to be based on wishful thinking.

Julia
Julia
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

“While a COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from serious illness and death, we are still learning about the extent to which it keeps you from being infected and passing the virus on to others (transmission).”
https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/coronavirus-disease-(covid-19)-vaccines

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Julia

Look 8mins15secs into this from Zoe citizen science
https://youtu.be/qcW6E4fxOvQ

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

Secondary attack rate is lower in vaccinated individuals in a household setting (where it is known that a substantial number of infective episodes occur) even with Delta, but there are caveats. See :
“Community transmission and viral load kinetics of the SARS-CoV-2 delta (B.1.617.2) variant in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in the UK: a prospective, longitudinal, cohort study”  Anika Singanayagam  Lancet October 2021
So, vaccination can modify the course of any subsequent infection. There will be many flavours of this modification (we are dealing with human beings here) – there will be some who are closer to sterilizing immunity, there will be genuine non-responders, and everything in between. MANY variables.
But it’s the ‘average’ in the population that makes the difference to transmission. ‘On average’ there will be fewer people who are infected enough to transmit (up until 3 months post vaxx). But every single person IS potentially infected. They will just have to work harder to pass it on, depending on vaccine efficacy.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

You have to be careful when concluding that the average makes a difference. In data modelling, we have something called ‘the tomcat principle’. It goes like this: say you have a population of feral cats. You are tasked with reducing their population, but you aren’t allowed to kill them. So the strategy is to trap them, spay or neuter them, and then release them. In a situation like this, reducing the average fertility of male tomcats is a losing proposition. Unless you can be certain of sterilising every male tom, sterilising any is a waste of time and money because the intact toms will indeed step up and work harder to get the job done.
When modelling infectuous diseases we know that there are always people who are asymptomatic and whose bodies either take a long time to clear the disease or never do. One of the frustrating things about the whole covid pandemic is that little or no effort has been made to find out how prevelant these people are, and how significant they are to the spread.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago

Many thanks for this lovely example.
Yes – agree with you wholeheartedly re : asymptomatics and would add to that particular known, unknown so called “superspreaders” – an individual ? an event ? a specific individual in a particular environment ?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Let’s take an obvious example like Gibralter. 99% vaccinated, yet their cases are soaring. Ooooh. What has gone wrong? They can’t even lock down the unvaccinated. Now let’s go to Israel…. hahahaha….

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

Israel is doing fine because of their booster campaign

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Not entirely sure about that. This is a wide ranging report, which you may dismiss as it does not come from the MSM. It discusses many aspects around the vaccines, their effectiveness, how that is affecting many countries and their populations, and supplies highlighted links.
https://freewestmedia.com/2021/11/18/gibraltar-iceland-taiwan-israel-paint-a-bleak-picture-for-the-vaxxed/

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Cases begun to creep up again

Michael Cooper
Michael Cooper
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Israel is doing fine evidence please

ken wilsher
ken wilsher
2 years ago

Not soaring. Infections in Gibraltar appear to have peaked at 59 the day18th of November, coming down to 37 on November 26th. One more important point – No deaths due to Covid from April! So vaccination is working well.
Sorry about that!

Last edited 2 years ago by ken wilsher
Michael Cooper
Michael Cooper
2 years ago

Evidence please how can this be known

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

I gave you an uptick for picking the logical fallacy in van Reenen’s thinking, namely—
Lockdowns were not devised because people can catch and spread the virus. Lockdowns were devised to limit the spread to a level at which public health systems could cope with the diseased and dying.
***
Unfortunately, Unherd‘s tick-system does not allow my downtick, registering disagreement with van Reenen’s comment, to be shown to other readers.
Nor does it allow my agreement with your accurate perception—of the problem with van Reenen’s comment—to be shown to readers.
Thus, readers may be forgiven, looking at the amalgamated tick scores, for thinking everyone unanimously agrees with van Reenen and rejects your response.
Unherd‘s tick system is not just inadequate; it is a menace. There can be little doubt that its cumulative effect is to amplify and facilitate majority views. It highlights and emphasises the pile-on, while obscuring the extent, or even existence, of minority opinion.
To that extent, the tick-system does the exact opposite of what Unherd editorially claims to do: to give a voice to the unheard. It smothers, hence inhibits, independent individualism, while tacitly encouraging the mob.
I am unable to see any difference between this distorted system and the problems with the algorithms used by Facebook, Google and other social media. The effect is to intimidate those holding minority views, place pressure on them to conform, make them feel weird, unloved and out of place. It encourages the emotion-driven, hate-filled pile-on.
When this distorted tick-system combines with a large majority of commenters who are apparently unable to distinguish between objective argument and personal abuse, who have not learnt even the basics of logical reasoning, and who love to throw themselves into what they evidently see as a fray, things become very serious. This is not rugby, however. People die from this sort of thing.
Add the final ingredient of an absurdly inadequate moderation system which itself appears to be unable to distinguish between legitimate comment and abusive hate speech, and the verdict becomes clear: Unherd is not promoting free speech and it is not facilitating democratic participation.

Last edited 2 years ago by Penelope Lane
Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

I don’t agree with your criticisms of other readers Penelope, as they are just as intelligent and discerning as you, they just happen to have a different view, which is not a sin.

I do however agree on the like/dislike button. To show both makes absolute sense as there could be a situation where there is just one thumbs up shown and yet this is made up of 100 likes and 99 dislikes. I do hope they can change this for the reasons you suggest.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

What I want is a button for ‘this made me think’ and ‘this made me laugh’, both of which I find more interesting than ‘x more people agreed than disagreed with me’ or the reverse.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

A nice thought. Would definitely improve things. Would add nuance and colour. It would encourage us to move beyond like/dislike.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

I think you misunderstand me. My gripes are not about people holding different views from me. Those I welcome.
My problem is with personal abuse, which is neither logical nor discerning nor intelligent. It is invariably fact-free. If you check back to the general theme of my multiple comments on the article, you will see that they are directed to trying to target abuse and show it up for what it is. It is evident that some readers don’t know how to distinguish between abuse and discussion. That is not acceptable, and needs to be called out. Because it does harm.

Daryl Old
Daryl Old
2 years ago

This important point is repeatedly omitted.

CJ PA
CJ PA
2 years ago

Freddy did put that fact to one of the interviewees in the street, but she simply dismissed it, without answering it.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

If 75% of the British population are double vaccinated, which they are, and at least 10m UK citizens have already had Covid, which according to official figures they have, then the virus should have all but disappeared.
The fact that it has not, and that the current daily infection numbers are as high as they are, must mean either that the vaccine (if it is right to call it a vaccine) offers little or no protection against catching Covid, or the virus is mutating in such a way and at such a rate as to render the vaccine ineffective.
Also if the virus offers little or no prospect of catching the disease why should we believe the claims that it makes the symptoms less severe. Might it just be that the virulent as all viruses do.
Alternatively, if the vaccine does reduce the severity of the systems doe it not make the vaccinated more dangerous in two ways. First, if their systems are less severe the vaccinated are more likely to be out and about spreading the disease than the unvaccinated who are more likely to be too ill to be out.
Second, if the scenario mirrors that of anti-biotic resistance, then deploying a vaccine that has little effect in terms of preventing communication of the virus, and which is possibly slightly more effective in mitigating symptoms, will turn the vaccinated into human petri dishes where the virus is put under unnatural evolutionary pressure to involve quite possibly into something truly nasty.
Finally, one think this pandemic has throw into sharp relief is the readiness, through a mixture of motives, of our politicians, the medical profession, and the MSM to lie, manufacture evidence and feed us false narratives. So how am I suppose to know what to believe, and what credibility do I give to anyone who takes a position which can only be based on what they have been told by politicians, the medical profession, and the MSM.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

An argument which I have mentioned from time to time is that the vaccinated have caused way more trouble than the unvaccinated.
Given that the vaccine is non-sterilizing, this has driven a viral evolutionary response. These escape mutations typically arise when the virus is put under selective pressure by antibodies that limit but do not eliminate viral replication.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

You obviously know more than I do about the science

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

That’s true, but it also adds to the argument that we need a lot more vaccinations

Kathleen Stern
Kathleen Stern
2 years ago

The way that the virus keeps mutating and the continuous further waves of infection does seem to validate the idea that it is the product of gain of function research targeting human beings and scenting new ways to damage them. A lab leak in China and the very hasty denials and cover ups just add fuel to speculation.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Kathleen Stern

I think a leak is still a possibility that should not be discounted, at least not yet

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Kathleen Stern

Suddenly, the lab leak theory is less likely again:

Prof Worobey was one of the 15 or so experts who in mid-May published a column in Science demanding serious consideration of the thesis that the virus had leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan.

In this latest article, he argued that his research into the origin of the outbreak “provides strong evidence of a live-animal market origin of the pandemic”.

One earlier criticism of the market theory was that because health authorities raised the alert about cases of a suspicious disease linked to the market as early as 30 December 2019, that would have introduced a bias that led to the identification of more cases there than elsewhere, since attention had already been drawn to it.

To counter that argument, Prof Worobey analyzed cases reported by two hospitals before the alert was raised. Those cases were also largely linked to the market, and those which were not were nevertheless geographically concentrated around it.

“In this city of 11 million people, half of the early cases are linked to a place that’s the size of a soccer field,” Worobey told the New York Times.

“It becomes very difficult to explain that pattern if the outbreak didn’t start at the market.”

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

For a lab to be leak proof Level 4, everyone has to obey the rules. What if a member of staff taking a dead animal home to eat and walking through the market allows contamination to occur? The Chinese Government would never admit to such as slap dash leak from a Bio – Security Level 4 Lab nor would any Western official connected to it’s creation. Civil servants, especially communist ones, do not admit mistakes.

Saul D
Saul D
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

The appropriate step is for investigators to review the lab books in the Wuhan laboratory. Scientists are trained to be diligent with their note taking. Has this happened yet?

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

Entirely agree, but the Chinese government blocked access to them, and hence fuelled the lab-leak theory

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

The Chinese will not let them. Moreover, they say that important records have been lost.

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Is this the Prof who initially said it was almost certainly a lab leak and then, probably due to some funding issue, did an amazing u-turn in a few days. If these people had to wear t-shirts with the names of their funders emblazoned on them, we might have a clearer idea who to listen to.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

I think it’s the same Prof, although I’m not against people changing their mind if that’s the way the evidence points (but, yes, which way does the money point?)

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago

Ethniciodo, you are 100% correct in your arguments. In fact, I’d suggest that no rational person could disagree.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

I agree to an extent. There is a danger, when country is partially vaccinated, that the virus evolves immunity. Unfortunately, the anti-vaccine sentiment increases that chance

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Use of antibiotics cause new strains of super bugs and that is probably the case with this drug (it isn’t a vaccine really). It defnitely isn’t the unvaxxed that are csuding new strains as that just doesn’t make sense.

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Not necessarily. These are “leaky” vaccines (that is a specific term which you can search on, with Marek’s disease, for more detail, but see link below), and Gibraltar’s problems do not bear out your point. They could not possibly be a more vaccinated society, similarly Israel, and if you care to do some wide reading, the same problems are occurring in many highly vaccinated countries.
https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-vaccines-can-drive-pathogens-to-evolve-20180510/
Perhaps we should have reserved the “vaccines” to protect the elderly and vulnerable as was originally apparently suggested, and let everyone else developed naturally acquired immunity, which many reputable organisations and scientists are finally being allowed to say publicly, is longer lasting and more effective than these vaccines. Coronaviruses have always been resistant to suppression by vaccine, as Porton Down found when researching the common cold many decades ago.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago

“then the virus should have all but disappeared.” Neither vaccination or natural infection confers sterilising immunity for this virus. In fact there is only one vaccine that has ever produced sterilising immunity and that is the HPV vaccine.
“why should we believe the claims that it makes the symptoms less severe” Because there is now masses of international data to show that despite large numbers of vaccinated people carrying the virus, they are not ending up in hospital. See ONS “Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights” for the UK data in simple graphical format.
As for the emergence of new variants I would suggest that you read some real science from a real scientist who has done some amazing research during the pandemic – Muge Cevik
COVID-19 vaccines: Keeping pace with SARS-CoV-2 variants Muge Cevik Cell September 2021
“Vaccination, on the other hand, even when partial, is unlikely to contribute significantly to the emergence of escape variants owing to the vaccines’ ability to strongly restrict the evolutionary and antigenic escape pathways accessible to SARS-CoV-2, reducing the emergence of such variants. It has also been shown that intra-host SARS-CoV-2 genetic diversity remains limited during acute infections in healthy hosts. ….. Instead, SARS-CoV-2 evolution during chronic infections of immunocompromised individuals has been found to drive significantly more genetic diversity, including the generation of mutations commonly found in VOCs, such as E484K. This highlights the importance of vaccinating clinically vulnerable groups as a priority globally, which has the most potential to limit the emergence of new variants that may evolve some immune resistance.”

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

“The fact that it has not, and that the current daily infection numbers are as high as they are, must mean either that the vaccine (if it is right to call it a vaccine) offers little or no protection against catching Covid, or the virus is mutating in such a way and at such a rate as to render the vaccine ineffective”

The other possibility is that it’s because current covid vaccines wane in about 6 months. In fact, I think it’s probable.

BTE, immunity from natural infection wanes in about 12 months

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Listening for a repeat of the sounds of jackboots marching through the comments section….
I think you may be hearing the echo of your own footprint.
Your first paragraph is ill-informed and illogical—see my response to Rodney Foy below.
Your second paragraph illegitimately endeavours to establish guilt by association—”people who don’t agree with me are like Hitler”, then resorts to intimidation and threats—”so don’t you dare post anything that takes a different view from mine”.

Bashar Mardini
Bashar Mardini
2 years ago

I cannot believe how shocking and terrible this is. Its like watching a chapter of history being written – one that will be remembered in utter shame for all time

Matt Coffey
Matt Coffey
2 years ago

The UKHSA vaccine surveillance data is clearly showing that the majority of new Covid-19 “cases” are in the vaccinated and just a brief glance at the official Yellow Card scheme for reporting Covid-19 vaccine adverse events shows nearly 1,800 deaths and 100’s of 1,000’s of serious reactions including heart attacks, strokes, paralysis, blindness, thrombosis, haemorrhage and anaphylaxis.
Freddie is clearly a very healthy young person who has more chance of being the first female triple jump world champion to set foot on Mars than die of Covid-19. Perhaps instead of asking other people why they haven’t “taken the vaccine” Freddie should be telling all of us why the hell he did!

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Coffey

Agree. The flu vaccine is available to older and more vulnerable people every year. It is not mandatory. Flu kills 10s of 1000s every single year, no-one bats an eyelid and lockdown has never been considered to prevent it spreading.

Ken Moss
Ken Moss
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Yes but the flu has mysteriously disappeared, by order of the WHO

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Ken Moss

Yes. There could be other things going here though. For instance, particular strains of flu are dominant each year. I wonder if SARS-CoV-2 is just the dominant respiratory virus at this point in time – possibly due to how young it is and how little natural immunity exists, or maybe other factors I do not know. In a couple of years time, it may just be shuffled into the pack of seasonal viruses.
It’s also possible that this is an artefact of testing. We’ve never obsessively tested for other viruses like this. Ever. Hence the absurd numbers of asymptomatic infection. I wonder how many asymptomatic influenza or rhino virus infections we’d have each year if we did the same for those.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Ken Moss

Apparently in the face of a dominant virus. That said, I had a cold this year and tested negative for Covid. I went straight for the Ivermectin and was better in 2 days – fastest time ever 🙂

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Ken Moss

Flu died down due to covid measures. It could make a big comeback, even with vaccines, due to our reduced immunity

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

How many people has covid killed? Officially, it’s 140,000 in the UK so far, so rather more

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Apart from everyone knows that number includes tens of thousands of people who died of something else but had test positive within 28 days. Both the CDC and the Italians have said that less than 10 percent of reported deaths actually died OF covid.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

How does that compare with how flu deaths are estimated?

Matt Coffey
Matt Coffey
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

How many people do you know whose death was recorded as “with flu”?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Coffey

See ONS Influenza deaths in 2018, 2019 and 2020Deaths invloving Influenza and deaths involving and due to Influenza and Pneumonia.
Definitions : “we use the term “due to influenza and pneumonia” when referring only to deaths where that illness was recorded as the underlying cause of death. We use the term “involving influenza and pneumonia” when referring to deaths that had that illness mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, whether as an underlying cause or not.”

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

You have to compare an annual death rate with an annual death rate, not with a death rate combined over two years

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago

From ONS :
Mortality rates allow comparability between different time periods and places by adjusting for population size and age structure. Age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) indicate the deaths per 100,000 people and are used here to calculate a relative cumulative age-standardised mortality rate (rcASMR).
rcASMRs express the percentage change in excess mortality up to a given date compared with the expected mortality rate in the same period, based on the 2015 to 2019 average. This lets us describe excess mortality and mortality displacement taking into account differences in populations.
Good graphs at the ONS site showing excess mortality and mortality displacement from January 2020 to July 2021

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

No, not in the UK.
More detail from David Oliver consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicien in Manchester :
Death Certificates contain causes 1a (cause directly leading to death) 1b and 1c (causes leading to 1a) and 2 (causes contributing to death but not directly related).
If Covid-19 is in our clinical assessment of the person we have assessed and treated the main cause of death, we will put it as cause 1a.
In other cases, someone might die from a complication of Covid-19 – for instance a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) or a bacterial pneumonia in which case that will be 1a with Covid as 1b or c.
In other cases, the person may have had Covid contributing to a death from another cause – perhaps by making the person weaker or more susceptible or starting a chain of events and may appear as 2.
As I explained earlier, this is based on our knowledge and belief based on our assessment of the patient we were looking after, not any kind of pressure to write Covid-19 down on any part of the certificate if we didn’t feel it was relevant, just based on a positive test.
the 28 day thing :
In the Spring (of 2020), the government had to be pushed hard to start presenting data for deaths outside hospital (bear in mind around 1 in 3 Covid deaths have been in care homes and around 1 in 6 in other non-hospital settings).
It also switched its definition to deaths only in people with a positive Covid test and within 28 days of that test, which doubtless excludes people in whom Covid-19 was an important part of their final illness (it can cause complications beyond that time).
So basically, the government’s own figures tend to underestimate not overestimate the overall numbers of Covid-19 deaths.
If you want accurate mortality stats then you should use the ONS figures and All Cause Excess Mortality

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Coffey

He wouldn’t have been able to go there and write this article if he hadn’t taken it.