by Anthony Clake
Wednesday, 8
December 2021
Analysis
07:00

Has Omicron wrong-footed the Covid elites?

The peak in Gauteng, South Africa, may come sooner than expected
by Anthony Clake
Cases in Gauteng have risen fast, but may be about to peak

Johannesburg is known locally as the City of Gold, but this may not prove to be the case for vaccine manufacturers carefully watching the rapid spread of Omicron through Gauteng province. While compelling evidence has emerged that Covid’s latest variant is highly transmissible, the picture from local hospitals and testing data is that this wave may well pass quickly, without a large number of deaths and with an extremely high percentage of asymptomatic cases.

The local reproductive ratio is so high that the peak of cases may very likely occur in the next week (Tschwane is the city to watch) — far earlier than forecast. Indeed, yesterday’s total of 8,445 new cases in Gauteng was significantly lower than the logarithm regressions would have suggested and hints that a “pop and drop” pattern may already have started.

Using an another method of comparison, the previous Delta wave in Gauteng province took 59 days from start to peak (5th May to 3rd July 21). If we assume that Omicron spreads 2x faster than Delta, that would imply a 16th December peak; if it’s 2.5 x faster it would take us to 12th December; 3 x faster takes us to… yesterday. Test positivity (an important indicator given the limited testing capacity) has also plateaued. 

Some will argue that this pattern will not replicate in the developed world. South Africa has a markedly younger population (although 20% suffer from HIV or AIDS) and has already endured three sizeable waves of Covid meaning that 60-70% of the population has developed some form of natural immunity along with the 30% who are fully vaccinated.

So far it is too early to tell how prior Covid and vaccination (albeit with waning as there is no local booster programme) will compare in terms of outcome. But the signs, based on the reports from local hospitals, are that both groups are susceptible to Omicron, albeit in a mild fashion when compared to Delta. The key question here is whether this is due to the ex-ante severity of Omicron itself, or to the infections and vaccines that have occurred since the summer months.

Of course, the current case data is far from adequate on its own. Tests are expensive in SA and largely occur in medical venues. Furthermore, community testing is very low in comparison to Europe. In addition, given more than half the cases (perhaps as many as 75%) are asymptomatic based on testing in the workplace, individuals are not rushing to test. This problem will repeat elsewhere and means that we may never see the dramatic peak in case numbers the modellers desire, but rather a petering out in the coming days in Gauteng — and a repeat in other parts of the globe.

Thus far, Western policy makers and advisors have pointedly chosen to describe local feedback from hospitals and GPs as “anecdotal,” falling back on the old refrain, “wait and see.” This patronising attitude reached new heights when the new German health minister said that he “prefers to wait for reports from the UK and Israel as data from Africa can be unreliable”. And while experts working from home are embraced daily in UK media, very little coverage has come from practitioners on the ground.

Rather than waiting for speculative results from vaccine companies (which will be unable to assess the impact on severe hospitalisation and death), experts must engage with the data we do have from Gauteng. Three of the most important observations to date relate to hospital duration (2.5 days with Omicron compared to 8.6 days with Delta), ICU occupancy (more than 60% lower) and oxygen usage (almost 70% lower). Given hospital data lags case data, monitoring how these figures evolve in the next two weeks will be key.

Moreover, in Europe there are already over a thousand tracked Omicron cases (largely double vaccinated and many are boosted); we need to hear if these individuals are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and how they develop. Early evidence suggests that Omicron presents symptoms more quickly than Delta (2-3 days) so the peaks around the world may well be swift but short.

Finally, the singular focus on vaccination to the exclusion of everything else is unhelpful — given that Omicron is already spreading quickly through Europe, we need to accept that vaccines will not stop the spread of this variant nor future variants; their vital role is primarily to reduce severe cases and fatalities. Alongside this, prior Covid needs to be recognised as providing strong protection, and potentially longer lasting resilience given its mucosal advantage. Early results from a study examining effectiveness of vaccines against Omicron underline the importance of this phenomenon.

The doom and gloom narrative of politicians and financial markets is hopelessly out of sync with reality. It is clear that the world needs to open up again for travel. We need to introduce rapid testing wherever possible (rather than vaccine passports), and the politicians need to remember that the role of vaccines is not to provide a political tool to separate citizens on dubious statistical grounds which assume that waning does not exist.

We already know from Israel that the mRNA boosters are behaving in the same way as the second shots (i.e. waning notably in terms of transmission over 3-4 months) and hence point estimates of vaccine efficacy on transmission are of little use. Recent focus on vaccines for children (where the odds of severe Covid are incredibly low), restrictions on the unvaccinated, calls for renewed lockdowns and insatiable demand for updated booster shots, only highlight just how far away from evidence-based Science we have drifted.

Anthony Clake is a partner at Marshall Wace LLP and writes in a personal capacity.

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AC Harper
AC Harper
8 months ago

A sensible article and even with the ‘uncertainties’ it suggests that some governments have over reacted (again).
I’m no anti-vaxxer, me and mine have all been vaccinated, but I am worried that so many governments have found the opportunity to impose authoritarian measures so easily.
If Coronavirus was as deadly as The Black Death then the harsh social restrictions would be sensible. But Coronavirus isn’t that deadly and the Omicron variant probably wont be any worse.
Some people will still get very ill or die and my sympathies go to those affected. But everybody dies, sooner or later, but we don’t stop risky activities like driving to work or riding horses.

Last edited 8 months ago by AC Harper
Orlando Skeete
Orlando Skeete
8 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I agree with most of what you have said, however, if covid was as deadly as The Black Death you also wouldn’t need any sort of restriction as people would just stay home to protect themselves. When a virus kills 25% of people that it infects, you really don’t need a nanny state telling you to stay home.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
8 months ago
Reply to  Orlando Skeete

Absolutely. But even with covid, people actually changed their behaviour to a great extent, without being threatened with fines an prison, albeit with a lot of variation between individuals based on their risk tolerance. Google data showed a huge decline in movement BEFORE the UK’s 23 March lockdown, when the government only issued advice, and of course Sweden with a very few exceptions has relied on advice and treating its population like grown ups from the outset, with now one of the better records of death and illness in Europe.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
8 months ago
Reply to  Orlando Skeete

The Ebola death rate was around 50% on average, but it was up to 90% at times. Regrettably, people did not stay home. For example, in the 2014 outbreak, people travelled from the outbreak area in West Africa to the USA and Europe. Fortunately, the disease was contained in the USA and Europe before the travellers could cause too much harm.

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago

Neil Ferguson (urrgghhh) is quoted as saying a new year lockdown may be needed. WIll these people never learn?

Mark Burbidge
Mark Burbidge
8 months ago
Reply to  andrew harman

I am fed up with shouting at the radio when the BBC brings on this man as an expert. His record is enough to have him cast into the shadows.Neil Ferguson was behind the disputed research that sparked the mass culling of eleven million sheep and cattle during the 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. He also predicted that up to 150,000 people could die. There were fewer than 200 deaths. . . .
In 2002, Ferguson predicted that up to 50,000 people would likely die from exposure to BSE (mad cow disease) in beef. In the U.K., there were 177 deaths from BSE.
In 2005, Ferguson predicted that up to 150 million people could be killed from bird flu. In the end, only 282 people died worldwide from the disease between 2003 and 2009.
In 2009, a government estimate, based on Ferguson’s advice, said a “reasonable worst-case scenario” was that the swine flu would lead to 65,000 British deaths. In the end, swine flu killed 457 people in the U.K.

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Burbidge

He has no credibility. You would get more prescience if you consulted the Delphic Oracle.

Will R
Will R
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Burbidge

Agreed – and still he and his obviously flawed computer models are taken seriously by the government and advisers

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Burbidge

Someone should do a deep dive on Ferguson – his whole life. He may be some kind of sick psychopath.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Burbidge

So why is he still listened to? Has he ever got one prediction right?
Some people are treated as a guru for years after getting a single financial prediction right.

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
8 months ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Only when they are arrested.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
8 months ago

If you step back and think about the Omicron scare with a little 2019 perspective, it really illustrates how insane we have become.
Everything we know about viruses tells us there is no reason to assume this variant will be anything other than a milder version of what we already know to be a relatively mild virus.
If one adopts the so-called “precautionary principle” in this insane way, you would have to assume EVERY new flu variant could be a population extinction event. We would have lockdowns forever, over everything. All the time.

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

I read some interesting stuff recently that argued convincingly that the natural trajectory for a virus is not necessarily to become milder. They can become more deadly while increasing overall transmissibility

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Stay under the blanket.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

If that were true, our species would have gone extinct millenia ago.

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

I don’t understand the downticks. Up until now I believed that the virus must get milder.

The thing I read is that a random mutation could just as easily make it more deadly, and it’s hard to argue with that. If the mutations also make it more transmissible than the dominant variant, then it will take over.

Instead of downticks, maybe someone could explain why that couldn’t happen.

I’m still hoping that Omicron is milder, and comes to dominate

stephen archer
stephen archer
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

If it becomes more deadly, then the hosts (us mortals) will not survive and it’s not in the „thinking” virus’s interest long term. And even if it does happen, another less deadly virus will come along and take over, which is maybe what’s happening now, who knows. I’m beginning to sound like an amateur besserwisser virologist with little formal education! I’m one of many. It would be better tolisten to Johan Strauss.

Jonathan Gibbs
Jonathan Gibbs
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Of course it could happen, but from an evolutionary point of view, the most likely thing is higher transmission/lower lethality.
If this wasn’t generally true, all life would have ceased shortly after it evolved, as viruses would have killed it.
The great example of these processes is the plague/black death. Somewhere in Asia there is an animal (probably a rodent) that habours the plague asymptomatically. The creature doesn’t die or necessarily even become ill when infected with a new variant. The plague has transferred over to humans many times over the last 2000 years, and, until the last serious outbreak in the C17, it killed 30 – 50% of the population of the world. It’s still out there, but we’re all the descendants of people who survived, so we’ve now got some genetic immunity, as has the “rodent”. People still catch and die of the plague, but it’s ability to cause mass death “seems” to have vanished.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan Gibbs
Su Mac
Su Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Interesting – I had always thought the Smiths law of weakening virulence, stronger infectiousness was true but need to read further. This useful but quite dense list of common questions and answers from immunologist Geert van den Bossche will be my starting point when I can be bovvered! https://www.voiceforscienceandsolidarity.org/covid-and-vaccination-faq-geert-vanden-bossche

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Except there’s no evidence that that’s the case and no precedent for that either in regard to other upper respiratory tract viral infections. One can conjecture all one likes and speculate all one likes, and assume the worst, but it’s probably smarter to look carefully at what is actually happening in the community, rather than go into “full blown panic mode” every time a new variant is announced on the news. Truth is, if the public health authorities didn’t sequence and you wouldn’t know about new variants appearing you wouldn’t worry so much unless the situation on the ground actually visibly changed for the worse. And if it did you would soon know about it.
Interestingly, if this had occurred say 10-15 years ago, sequencing would have been a lot more expensive and a lot more time consuming, and we wouldn’t have been bombarded by news of new variants, every one of which is of course more scary than the next. Even the usage of the term “omicron” is scary – reminds one of Megatron, the bad transformer in the Transformer movie series.

Last edited 8 months ago by Johann Strauss
rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Right, I need to find the article, but it was from a source I consider reputable, or I wouldn’t have paid it any attention

Last edited 8 months ago by rodney foy
rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

It came from a Guardian article, so people here will automatically reject it 🙂

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/03/what-does-the-future-hold-for-coronavirus-explainer?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other

A recurring suggestion is that pathogens evolve, over some undefined period, to be more transmissible and less virulent, bringing virus and host towards a state of benign coexistence. If Omicron is spreading so quickly, some wondered, perhaps it will at least be milder. But experts say this expectation has no scientific basis. “Put simply, this has been one of the most baffling misinformation myths peddled during the pandemic,” said Prof Alan McNally, director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham. “There is almost no evidence of any human pathogenic virus evolving towards reduced virulence.”

The simplistic argument behind the idea is that if a pathogen kills its host, or makes them too sick to leave the house, then it gives itself a worse chance of propagating. So by the logic of survival of the fittest, there would be a selective pressure for milder strains. Sadly, the dynamic is more complex in the real world.

“It’s really unpredictable what will happen to the evolution of the host or the virus,” said Brian Ferguson, an immunologist at the University of Cambridge. “You can pick out examples of things going one way or the other depending on what point you want to make.”

In the case of coronavirus, there is also an obvious hole in the argument: transmission normally occurs before symptoms start or during the earliest stage of symptoms, meaning that severity of illness has little influence on the spread of the virus.

The impact of Covid may become less each year as immunity builds up through infection, vaccination and – possibly – annual boosters.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

So what exactly happened to the Spanish flu?
The philosophical point here is that we keep on worrying about what ‘might’ happen, so impose lockdowns after lockdown, ‘just in case’. This means effectively, for ever, with the goalposts keep getting moved. People like Susan Michie, who is a Stalinist (yes, in my view that fact IS relevant) already explicitly advocate this. Presumably all sex can then take place in carefully covid controlled state laboratories or something.
With regard to variants, clearly they are always going to occur, and the the more we look, the more we find.
And then we have the rather large elephant in the room that there is no correlation between the stringency of the measures imposed and covid illness and fatality rates, but nonetheless the usual suspects who wish to medicalise our society and control people ‘for their own good’ have their ongoing excuse.
That simply for most of us on this site, perhaps we are a minority, is the very definition of a tyrannical society.

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I think you are reading more into my comments than I intended.

I said nothing about continuously locking down “just in case”, and I certainly wasn’t intending to imply that this would be a good idea. In fact, I have become more sceptical about the usefulness of lockdowns, and more concerned about the harm that they cause.

And, although I agree that this government is becoming more and more “tyrannical”, that has nothing to do with the simple scientific point that I was conveying, that each variant is not necessarily milder than the last one.

Maybe once we get a highly transmissible, mild, variant, governments will stop locking down and herd immunity will relegate it to a bit of a nuisance, like the common cold. Maybe Omicron will turn out to be that variant

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

I think people automatically turn their nose up when The Guardian is mentioned is because they know full well, without any doubt whatsoever, that it is one of the worst propaganda rags that has ever been published.
I speak from experience Rodney. For years I was a Guardian reader throughout the week and an Observer reader on Sundays. I swore by them.
Then a few years ago I started to read stories that I knew to be untrue, and that my beloved Guardian had simply but their spin on it, and changed the story to fit with their desired narrative. Wow! I was stunned.
I am a man of habit so I continued my reading habits for many months, but I was now reading with a critical eye, and I was also consuming news elsewhere.
Eventually I couldn’t carry on any longer and had to stop reading it as it made me feel intellectually dirty.
I do miss it for some of the art/cultural coverage, but I will never go back to reading a publication that can lie so blatantly to its readers. I just dread to think how much rubbish I digested before I woke up.
So, I would take ANYTHING you read in The Guardian as fiction unless you can find evidence elsewhere to prove otherwise.
And please don’t factcheck The Guardian using the BBC or any of the ‘factcheckers’, as honesty isn’t a policy that any of them have signed up to for quite some time now.
And for final proof of how bias The Guardian is regarding the vaccine issue just Google (or DuckDuckGo) how much they receive for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

OK, I’ll be vigilant, but in this case it also makes sense. The virus doesn’t choose which mutations it’s going to adopt. It’s true that, if it kills the host before it transmits, it won’t survive. CoV2 can transmit even before there are symptoms, and therefore can afford to be more severe.

I see that Johann has mentioned Spanish Flu, SARS-CoV1 and MERS. It would be interesting if these could transmit before symptoms show.

I’m not even saying McNally is definitely right, but it’s a point of view I hadn’t come across before (even in the Guardian!).

If you can’t use fact checkers then what can you use, without just confirming your own opinions which could be veering off in a particular direction? The reason I read UnHerd is so that I can test Guardian views against other opinions. I disagree with much of what I read here, but UnHerd has lead me to alter some of my thoughts over a few months

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

The problem with the factcheckers (as people are now finding out) is where they get their funding. It is the same with the media. People, not surprisingly, don’t tend to write bad things about whoever holds their purse strings.

How much do you think the pharmaceutical companies earned from advertising in the USA in 2020?

Over SIX BILLION DOLLARS!!!

With that kind of ad spend they can get any media company to write or broadcast whatever they want, even if it was complete lies.

https://www.fiercepharma.com/special-report/top-10-ad-spenders-big-pharma-for-2020

And guess who funds the factcheckers. The media companies.

You are very astute to subscribe to Unherd Rodney. And if you have changed some of your thinking since reading Unherd then you clearly have an open mind, which is awesome.

Just be warned, once you understand that all the mainstream media is in the pocket of big pharma you quickly start to question everything.

Last edited 8 months ago by Paul Smithson
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

And a good approach you take too!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Jeez Paul I welcome your gain of insight but you add to my perplexity about how intelligent, self-aware people can so easily accept the Guardian’s strong filter. I read the Washington Post for US news insight – and it’s far worse!!

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

I’ve no idea what Prof. Allan McNally is talking about but I suspect he needs to go back to Virology and viral respiratory diseases 101. Reduced virulence is exactly what happened with the Spanish Flu, SARS-CoV1 and MERS. If you recall, the latter 2 just disappeared for no obvious reason and certainly not because of any mitigation measures.

Jonathan Gibbs
Jonathan Gibbs
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Remember, all media organisations are pushing lines/narratives. In this case the Grauniad has a view, which is that covid is “literally” the plague, while targetting “vulnerable” groups preferentially, due to “isms”. They wouldn’t print/accept an article that disagreed with this line.

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

The latest advice is to stay home if you have a sniffle as it may be omicron! Insanity is exactly what it is!

Last edited 8 months ago by Lindsay Snoman
Andrea X
Andrea X
8 months ago

I liked this article, but there is a bit towards the end I do not understand. You say:
“We need to introduce rapid testing wherever possible”
Why?

a.clake
a.clake
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

That’s so we can assess asymptomatic spread in the short term. It will be a key indicator of how things will evolve

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Rapid testing could be a positive thing if the media could stop seeing positive tests as cases. They’re not cases in the normal sense of the word. A case is surely only someone who had shown symptoms.

If we get to a point where we have lots of positive tests but very few who are symptomatic and hardly any deaths directly attributable to covid (ie. OF not WITH) then we can surely celebrate.

Unfortunately as this article points out:

Recent focus on vaccines for children (where the odds of severe Covid are incredibly low), restrictions on the unvaccinated, calls for renewed lockdowns and insatiable demand for updated booster shots, only highlight just how far away from evidence-based Science we have drifted.

I think many Unherd readers have felt this is less about ‘science’ and more about politics/control/money for a long time now.

Last edited 8 months ago by Paul Smithson
rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

I think the main point of vaccinating children could be because they spread it to older, more vulnerable, people. Of course, that’s not to say that it reduces the spread in practice. I’m not up to date on the evidence for that

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

So, sacrifice the young to save the old?

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

They are sacrificing a lot of their education. On the other hand, if Granny died of Covid-19 after an outbreak at the school, what would an unvaccinated child think?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Perhaps Granny et al. should then think about focussed protection. i.e. maintain some distance from her grand kids indoors, perhaps wear a N95 mask in their presence indoors, perhaps ensure that the rooms in her house are well ventilated and each has an appropriately sized HEPA/ionizer air purifier. All of that should reduce granny’s risk to close to zero.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Won’t work as granny will still hug and kiss the kids. And then die.
As Rodney says, could a child carry the guilt of killing their granny?

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
8 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Granny, and Grandpa too, should get the shots, not the grandkids. That’s what my wife and I did. In the US, 92% of deaths with Covid-19 occurred in people aged 55 and older. They’re the age group who need the shots. Follow the statistics.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Granny was disproportionately killed in care homes. These were, outrageously, not only not protected but covid positive people were discharged straight into them. And forcing people to stay indoors in crowded multi-generational houses in some areas was probably not a great idea either. Disgracefully, there was absolutely no attempt to protect the truly vulnerable as advocated by the Great Barrington Declaration authors.
Just look at Sweden. Not a libertarian society by any definition, but on this issue they have adopted a wise and humane approach, imposing hardly any of the restrictions that most countries have done. You cannot stop every single person dying in a pandemic, especially the elderly, but we could have done a much better job without the endless government diktats.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

what the unvaccinated child thinks depends on the silliness society (or his parents) has put in its mind….

C Spencer
C Spencer
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

But the vaccinations do not stop transmission..

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  C Spencer

Obviously, they don’t stop transmission, but do they reduce it sufficiently to be useful?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Sure doesn’t look like it from the current data, especially after 6 months or so.

Jonathan Gibbs
Jonathan Gibbs
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Clearly not, otherwise we would already be clear of this.

stephen archer
stephen archer
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

I’m not sure if there is any evidence, possibly just conjecture. Since spreading takes place from the upper respiratory tracts and the vaccine is internally active, what’s to say the vaccine has any effect there in the upper throat and nasal passages? Maybe someone more knowledgeable can explain the details.
Dr. Peter McCullough has a brief video explaing the probable benefits of oral/nasal hygiene, gargling with antibacterial mouthwash or other solution (not available in Europe) and similar based nasal sprays. This could possibly reduce the viral load significantly. I’ve been gargling antibacterial mouthwash for the last 10 months when I’ve felt an infection coming on and a day later it’s gone. I have more faith in this than I do in the effect of vaccines in terms of reducing spreading. Why haven’t public health authorities in Europe been promoting oral/nasal hygiene? Not in Big Pharma’s interests?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  stephen archer

I suspect that the use of an intranasal spray biocide would be very useful as a pre-emptive measure every time one enters a space where transmission is likely to occur. Very simple and cheap to do and probably a lot more effective than the current vaccines.

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

So, ditch the vaccines? Or maybe the new normal = vaccines + masks + intranasal sprays + social distancing + working from home ? Good luck with that

stephen archer
stephen archer
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Vaccines are Ok for those who risk death by Covid or flu but for those healthy enough it’s probably more of a long term risk. Vaccinating teenagers and children who are not competent to make a risk-based decision is bordering on criminal. Take out masks and have selective vaccination of the vulnerable (GBD) then you maybe have a viable solution if Europe would allow Ivermectin and Povidone Iodine solutions for nasal/oral preventative treatment. Until then you’ll have to make do with diluted bleach (according to Dr. Peter McCullough who’s very Covid-knowledgeable, infinitely more so than Boris). Seriously, antibac mouthwash (Corsodyl) and nasal sprays which inhibit but don’t kill virus are all you can get this side of the pond. With all respect Rodney, you have to stop reading the Guardian, the DT is bad enough! It’s by now abundantly clear that this strategy will not gain support when the powers at be are blinded by panic and pressure from Big Pharma through all of their proxies, but it sounds a lot better than believing only in vaccines which were stated at the outset (2015, yes, 4 years before the outbreak!) of not solving the spreading issue.

stephen archer
stephen archer
8 months ago
Reply to  stephen archer

I apologise for the erraneous date, I believe 2003 is correct according to a failed patent application for mRNA based vaccine where one criteria for vaccine was stopping infection and spreading and the vaccine had not demonstrated this capability. Refer Dr. David Martin.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Frankly I’m of the view that masks and social distancing have had no effect in the community. and the vaccines don’t appear to be holding up to their initial promise. We will have to see how the 1st booster fares. I suspect it wont be good for any longer than 6 months.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Kill your good bacteria in he nasal and oral cavity and you will end up with much bigger problems; hygiene is not the same as killing bugs: it is living in a balanced way

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  stephen archer

You may well be right, but can you imagine the uproar if Boris’ plan B involves everyone gargling!

stephen archer
stephen archer
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

How many boosters do you think you’ll be taking between now and december 2022? S Javid mentions an annual dose at the same time as advocating a 3 month gap between 2nd and booster dose.

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  stephen archer

I’ve had my 3rd, so maybe 2 at most. After that, if it’s more than once every winter, I would struggle to be motivated

stephen archer
stephen archer
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

I’ve had my 2nd, only to be able to travel and I’m struggling already with the booster. I’ve been reading too many facts and common sense to want to continue the meaningless and potentially damaging treatment.

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

A recent Swedish study identified that the vaccine was completely ineffective after day 211.
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3949410
With Pfizer being billed as a $100 BILLION GOLIATH in 2022 I am 100% sure that their executives will be doing everything in their power to keep the fear-factor switched up to maximum, and the big pharma friendly media and politicians on side to ensure they keep those needles going in arms and those billions of dollars rolling into the Pfizer bank accounts.
https://www.fiercepharma.com/pharma/pfizer-to-exceed-100b-revenue-2022-thanks-to-covid-19-drug-and-vaccine-analyst
So roll up the sleeve Rodney and expect at least two jabs a year, and the flu shot makes three 🙂 And that is for life!

Last edited 8 months ago by Paul Smithson
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
7 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

i am trying to find someone with covid to catch it from – for the more effective ‘natural’ vaccine (NB I am pretty healthy).

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Look to Sweden, where the schools were kept open.
The vaccine offers no guarantee against contagion, therefore it won’t stop transmission via children.
This whole debacle has shown me, in no uncertain terms, what a childist society we live in; so much so that the neglect and abuse of children (inc young adults) has been recommended by the state (inc vaccination), over the last 2 years. From masks to depravation of ‘essential to development socialisation & education, anything has been acceptable & adopted.
The funding allocated to rectify this is pathetic. Can we leave children out of it this time.

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago

Oh and what a coincidence, No10 feeling the heat over this party and Johnson calls a press conference to announce a tightening of restrictions. That man really is human sewage.

Philip L
Philip L
8 months ago

We need to introduce rapid testing wherever possible

Why? Where is the evidence this makes a difference?
Plenty of examples of countries that haven’t gone down the same ritualistic rabbit holes: compare the UK and France for example. Is France doing identifiably better or worse than the UK?
I remain hopeful there’ll come a day when we stop pointless government ceremony altogether. Nobody has the ability to control let alone prevent respiratory viruses, and everyone just needs to accept that.
Encourage the old and immunocompromised to get their boosters, build more hospitals if our current winter capacity can’t cope, and get on with life.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
8 months ago

I’m listening to Boris’s press conference while reading this. Every single question, every single one, from the press, has been about an alleged Downing st party last year. Not one questioned any of the stats, asked about the SA experience, travel restrictions, the economic effect of lockdowns etc etc.

These people are an utter disgrace. The profession of journalism is now truly a gutter pastime.

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

It has been a very long time since I last bought a newspaper and I cannot see myself doing so again.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The problem is these journalists, who are ignorant about matters of science, think their job is to hold the government to account, so concentrate on trivial but understandable issues that their readers can get stirred up about.
The number of numpties posting comments in the DT, to the effect that Boris must resign because he failed to pay any great attention to whether a bunch of probably lefty civil servants and spads had a non-socially distanced party in Downing Street or not and simply took the assurances he had received at face value instead of diverting his time to investigating this world shattering issue, suggests they may be reading their market right.
I wish we had less comment from ignorant journalists and more gathering facts about important issues. Unfortunately an unserious population gets unserious journalists. For all their faults the Victorians and their newspapers were rather more serious.

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago

So, could be Plan B next week. The neurotic psychosis just trundles on. This is what comes of decades of utterly useless politicians with no backbone.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago

Perhaps the real solution to the madness is to (a) stop testing in the absence of any clinical symptoms, and (b) stop sequencing. That way there will be no need to panic about new variant after new variant, and asymptomatic “case” after asymptomatic “case”.
Best to focus on the symptomatic coupled with very early treatment at the onset of symptoms. And the only way to do that is to place the relevant treatment packs into the hands of the general population for use at the very onset of symptoms where they might do most good. This would include steroids such as budenoside (administered by inhalation), vit D, vit C, zinc, and heresy of heresies supplemented by ivermectin and/or hydroxychloroquine with a Z-pak. The ivermectin and HCQ may not to any good, but both are extremely safe, so banning them as many health authorities have done, is equivalent to banning chicken noodle soup if somebody suggested (with quite a bit of anecdotal evidence going back hundreds of years) that chicken noodle soup was helpful for upper respiratory tract infections.
Now this may go against current public health guidance including the CDCD and FDA, but at this stage what does one have to lose given that all interventions proposed by the authorities have failed again and again.

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I’d sooner have chicken noodle soup than annual jabs in the arm!

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
8 months ago

Please sign this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/592632
There is one fact that I personally, acknowledge that makes sense to me: regardless of what lifestyle one leads or personal hygiene or countless vaccines or health conditions… etc etc.. ” nobody knows when and how we are going to die”….
There is no silver bullet, healthy people die in accidents, drug addicts are getting vaccinated (!!)… some smokers die from lung cancer and others never heard of it… people with serious illness might surpass those with minor conditions and so forth.. There is something more in life, something that is beyond our reach.. Yet politicians, scientists, doctors, teachers.. think they know better for everyone…! and that they will fix the situation.. when?
Since more people get vaccinated, we have ended up in a worse situation, and I do not see better times ahead unless we raise our voices.
Personally, I have had enough of corona-only life.. I have stopped reading anything about it… because it is blatant to me that the ongoing corona-life-style has nothing to do with health but we are forced to get used to a new life style of isolation, loneliness, fear, poverty, unhappiness.. and who knows what else?
NO, I do not consent and I will never comply!

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago

Signed

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
8 months ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Thank you!

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
8 months ago

As I’ve become a member, I may as well use my privilege to comment.
So, when you say “since the Summer months” which summer do you mean? It is summer now in South Africa. COVID may be becoming seasonal, and this may also be a factor in the severity of cases we’re seeing in the southern hemisphere.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
8 months ago

….. when are journalists finally going to check facts and use the correct language: a case of coronavirus is an ill person with a positive test that goes to see a doctor and is reported to the authorities. All the others are positive tests not cases. There are good statistics on this in most countries (disease surveillance ), then compare like to like what cases means.
i.e in France there were 126 cases coronavirus declared by medics per 100000 people in the peak in march 2020. Compared to the previous 10-20 years flu outbreaks would have 300-550 cases per 100000 people. And every year the reanimation is at breaking point in a few hospitals.
Positive pcs tests mean very little.
In the UK somebody calculated (Cambridge statisticians) that for 5000 positive tests (now called cases) there may be one real medical case of covid…
…. one can go on and on on this: use the bl**dy correct wording when you write things…

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
8 months ago

Thank you. I’m always trying to find ways to express current covidstances but struggle to hit the nail on the head just as this piece has.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
8 months ago

Why isn’t anyone advocating putting UV lights in air ducts or air cleaners in restaurants and bars. UV light kills the virus in the air. Perhaps UV light manufactures don’t have as strong a lobby as vaccine manufactures?

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
8 months ago

Bravo.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
8 months ago

Spot on!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago

So: it looks like Omicron might be rather less dangerous than previous variants. Let us hope. A list of things we do not know but need to find out. And a strong conclusion thta we need to stop taking measures against COVID. Based on all the things he has just said we do not yet know? Or on a commitment to stop taking measures that is wholly independent of evidence?
😉 Oops. That should have been
Or on a commitment, wholly independent of evidence, to stop taking any measures whatsoever?

Last edited 8 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Interesting syntax.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

As a private individual, I think you should be able to take whatever measures you like. Well, as long as they are legal … so those of you who quickly picked up that virgin to take to the volcano, sorry, you have to put her down. But a government needs to be held to stricter standards. At the very least, it shouldn’t be doing something unless it thinks it will have a positive effect, and not just ‘doing it to be seen to be doing something’. But having embarked on one of these ‘we will see if it has the effect we hope’ exercises, you need to keep track of the results so you can measure if the exercise was actually a good idea. What if, instead of making things better it made things worse? If you aren’t measuring, you will never know.

Last edited 8 months ago by Laura Creighton