by Park MacDougald
Friday, 7
January 2022
Analysis
17:56

Novak Djokovic is Covid’s ritual sacrifice

His punishment reassures the faithful that their struggle was not in vain
by Park MacDougald
Credit: Getty

The public embrace of Novak Djokovic was nice while it lasted. Now it’s back to controversy, complete with media tut-tutting that the Serb is setting a bad example. After a public outcry, and some thunderous grandstanding from Australian PM Scott Morrison, the Serb’s visa, for which he had obtained a vaccine exemption owing to prior Covid infection, was rejected upon landing in Australia this week, with the government announcing that it would deport the world No. 1 (Djokovic has been allowed to stay pending the result of an emergency appeal). “No one is above these rules,” Morrison solemnly announced.

Novak, of course, is exactly the sort of wellness eccentric who’s become public enemy number one under Covid. He’s a holistic health nut with a soft spot for positive psychology and wellness fads that might be generously described as “woo.” There’s his famous gluten- and dairy-free, don’t-call-it vegan diet, which he was inspired to adopt in 2010, after Serb nutritionist and “energetic medicine” practitioner Igor Cetojevic determined the star was gluten-intolerant by asking him to hold a slice of bread against his stomach. There’s the marathon yoga sessions. The biofeedback devices. The hyperbaric chambers. The algae smoothies. The Bosnian energy pyramids. The wolf energy. The “energetical transformation” of polluted water into healing water. It’s Joe Rogan filtered through Orthodox mysticism and sports-psychology Zen.  

But however dubiously Novak arrived at his views, here, he has the science on his side. He has immunity from a previous Covid-19 infection, which is good enough for a Covid certificate in the EU and means that he is at least as, if not more, protected from catching and spreading the virus as are vaccinated players. Regarding his own health, he is young, at 34, and not merely healthy but one of the healthier men on the planet. Even without natural immunity, his risk from the virus would be minimal; with it, he is probably more at risk of being struck by lightning, getting crushed to death by a vending machine, or having an adverse reaction to the vaccine itself. 

Almost no-one, however, is even pretending that this is really a health issue. It’s a question of Novak “following the rules,” regardless of whether those rules make any sense, and of the Australians justifying to themselves their own tremendously strict Covid regime, even as Omicron is making a mockery of its ostensible goal — a state of “Covid-zero”. Is Novak really harming anybody? No. Still, he must abandon his “stubbornness,” according to Boris Becker.

In this sense, the Djokovic controversy is a case study in how the rationale for strict Covid measures in places like Australia and American blue cities has evolved over the course of the pandemic. Once ostensibly science-based measures to stop the spread and eradicate the disease, they are now theatrical rituals intended to convey seriousness, reassure the compliant that their sacrifices have not been in vain, and punish the noncompliant, even — and one might say especially — in cases where their noncompliance is perfectly rational from the perspective of public and individual health.  

Novak’s fans, especially in Serbia, have long felt that he doesn’t get a fair shake — that he’s routinely victimised by the irrational biases and superstitions of the outside world. In this case, assuming Australia goes ahead and denies him the opportunity to compete for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title, they’ll be proven right.   

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D Ward
D Ward
8 months ago

Until about two days,I wasn’t a fan.

I’m not even an anti -vaxxer – I’m all jabbed up.

but the Australians have acted very dishonourably on this.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
8 months ago
Reply to  D Ward

The biggest casualty of covid is not the number of dead but the DEATH OF WESTERN LIBERAL CIVILISATIONS that call themselves progressive but are actually hyper timid and afraid of reality and truth.
The jesters in the covid theatre, revealing themselves one by one. Austria, France, Australia……
Is this what the “best of the best” do when faced with crisis? Run and hide, tyranny, oppression and …..yes …lack of acceptance of science?
This the beginning of DEMISE of education, science, progress, debate, truth. It signifies the RISE of totalitarianism, groupthink, zero tolerance, dogma.

How did we get here?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

I would say that Australia has become a joke – except for the fact that so many think that this government is reasonable and logical and what we could consider Western liberal. I live in a corrupt country that is heading down the tubes, but I would rather live in this Wild West than that laughable police state chock full of rule bound people who are too afraid to even cross the road if the little man is red. At least there is some push back here.

Orlando Skeete
Orlando Skeete
8 months ago

I agree, it’s truly pathetic what Australia has become. There has always been this belief that we are a country of larrikins and outlaws, or laid back surfer dudes, or rugged outdoorsy outback types. Sure, those people do exist but the vast majority are hyper neurotic rule followers, too afraid to speak up so as not to be labelled a “conspiracy theorist” or not believing in The Science™

I walk around my area and I see people wearing multiple masks outside and dutifully checking in to venues and showing off the green ticks on their vaccine passports I shake my head in disbelief. Even once inside these sanitized near empty venues, the ritual of putting on your mask every time you get up from the table is as pointless as it is absurd.

I don’t see it ever going back to the way it was anytime soon. This obviously hasn’t been an actual change in behaviour for Australia, but more a revealing of how they always wanted to be governed.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

Djokovic is the reason many want to watch the Australian open. He is healthy, one of the best athletes in the world and certainly the best tennis player in the world right now. The Australian open is not the same without him…. Especially now.
He has had Covid and has innate immunity. The vaccinated can spread the virus so what is the point of him being vaccinated. Omicron is mild – mainly some sniffles, a sore throat, a headache behind the eyes and occasionally a temperature. And diarrhea, which is my only symptom. The rest of the bleating vaccinated must feel some sort of protection or have they suddenly been rebirthed into 2022 where sicknesses shouldn’t exist. Australia has during previous more deadly waves welcomed in skanky reality stars, m0dels of sorts, lots of film stars – ya know – people we weren’t watching. WE WANT TO WATCH NOLE, he is a bee, not like those other wannabees.
Now they get the Uber talent, the man going for the GOAT and they want him to be treated like them – like the terrified, lily livered, rule bound pansy triple masked wimps they are. He isn’t like y’all…. Don’t you get it? He is a superstar…. Follow him and emulate him. Why don’t you demand the same treatment he is supposed to be getting – a choice to take a vaccine or not to take the vaccine and choice to live free and in control of your body.
Now we all know the drug is not as innocent as it seems…. It drags along a lot of hidden baggage from trials – VAERs is lit with adverse events, but it seems the Aussies only watch their mainstream media which must be playing down these vaccine injuries and deaths.. There can be no other reason that these dumb people who are supposed to be clever, are taking the jabs.
As for those people we see in pictures queuing up for day to get a test…. Let me help you. Go home. You are just sad sacks. If you feel sick, rest and isolate until you get better (which you almost always will) and if you feel poorly use an oximeter which will tell you if you must go to hospital. Have some Ivermectin if you have some at hand, Vit D, C Quercetin, zinc and the like. The protocols are all out there.

Last edited 8 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
Alison Wren
Alison Wren
8 months ago

Absolutely Lesley. Being a biologist I understood that my (mild) bout of Covid in October 2020 would confer some natural immunity I refused the vaxx in 2021. I have been chucked out of my choir and my discussion group despite explaining the biology very clearly (retired lecturer,can do that). I “make people feel unsafe”. Tried to get natural booster of delta in August, no luck, immune still! Got omicron over Christmas, now good to go again but doubt I’ll ever see my Australian family again….

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

So sad to hear that you are being excluded – as are many others. I took the vaccine to travel and for naught, because when travel opened up it was winter. The most tyrannical, intolerant people have turned out to be the vaccine zealots.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago

hahaaa,

‘Mass Formation’ in Australia is reaching peak psychosis.

‘Yes, we understand it makes no difference, but its the rules’.

Donn Olsen
Donn Olsen
8 months ago

A wonderful article. Based on the information provided by the Australian government, including the stated goals of eliminating the COVID-19 virus from the land, the Australian COVID-19 approach, the strictest of the strict, has failed. With up to 70,000 cases reported in a single day, with an average of 30,000 cases per day, the governmental policies, per the government’s own declarations, have undeniably failed.
What to do now? Ignore the failure by proceeding with the utmost confidence in the failed policies, applied conspicuously. Soon, the Prime Minister and his coalition will be thrown out of office to a great extent due to their COVID-19 policies, as they have failed.
The U.S. election cycle has started and a similar result will occur here, as the just-concluded Virginia Governor’s race providing the first clue to much more to come. The COVID-19 fascists are meeting their political Waterloo primarily due to their virus policies.

Andrea X
Andrea X
8 months ago
Reply to  Donn Olsen

You want to bet they are going to be re-elected?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago
Reply to  Donn Olsen

Dr Campbell, the Youtube Covid Expert who does the hugely popular daily covid report – yesterday he reported the Omicron variant is thought to have evolved in mice in the wild – the experts think it got into mice and did its own fast paced evolution.

But then naturally one remembers in Wuhan the ‘gain of function’ creating covid-19 was done with ‘Humanized Mice’, and thus it all gets more weird…

Russell Dale
Russell Dale
8 months ago
Reply to  Donn Olsen

Donn you are missing the point
Failure is unnecessary death

Australia has succeeded in this pandemic because death rates are low compared to us and Europe

Do you not understand that death is the outcome we are trying to prevent?

Novak a day after being ‘Covid positive’ on 17 December 2021 is photographed exposing people to infection- that is the definition of arrogance and disregard for other people and their health

Outrageous
And people defend him- crazy

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
8 months ago
Reply to  Russell Dale

Firstly deaths are necessary, otherwise births will become unnecessary.
Secondly deaths are just deaths, there are no unnecessary deaths. Even young die in accidents, in wars, with diseases. People understand the concept, they cope. There is no choice. It will happen to you…. and me.
Thirdly covid is mostly over.
Fourthly, Novak is not responsible for other peoples health. We are all responsible for our own.
Get a grip!!!!

James Joyce
James Joyce
8 months ago

“In this sense, the Djokovic controversy is a case study in how the rationale for strict Covid measures in places like Australia and American blue cities has evolved over the course of the pandemic. Once ostensibly science-based measures to stop the spread and eradicate the disease, they are now theatrical rituals intended to convey seriousness, reassure the compliant that their sacrifices have not been in vain, and punish the noncompliant, even — and one might say especially — in cases where their noncompliance is perfectly rational from the perspective of public and individual health.”
This really says it all. The last sentence is a long one, but it captures very well what is really going on. Excellent that Novak is resisting and, hopefully, this will show that the Aussie policies that affect mostly Australians–think Haley Hodgson–the girl Freddie interviewed who is the poster girl for “punish the noncompliant,” and that the Aussies will finally rise up and sat that this theater of the absurd is over!
Enough with the “theatrical rituals!” Whatever happened to follow the science, or my own variant on this: Trust the science, not the scientists!

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
8 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

“hopefully … Aussies will finally rise up”
Aussies have already been through Act 1 & Act 2, we’re now starting on Act 3: the virus is being allowed to spread, though some steps are being taken to ‘slow the spread’ when hospitals are too stressed. (Singing and dancing now forbidden in New South Wales). And, unfortunately, young children are now being roped into the vaccination process.

Given how many people are prepared to stand for hours in queues to get tested or vaccinated, I don’t see any major uprisings on the horizon; anyway it’s perfect beach weather – where would you rather be: storming Parliament House, or bobbing about in the sparkling, refreshing ocean? I myself have too much to do in the garden to be bothered about it.

Last edited 8 months ago by Russell Hamilton
Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
8 months ago

Then they deserve all that they get, the only pity is that they have to drag those who can see through the absurdity along with them.

Last edited 8 months ago by Glyn Reed
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
8 months ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

Easy to say ……how brave have you been in the pandemic ‘war’?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

My struggle from the start was to refuse the vax, the mask, the lockdown, and to write on-line endlessly on what a plot the Plandemic is, to bring in the Global Elite’s Great Reset, BBB, New-Feudalism, and also to take all the $$$ from the workers, and political power, and give it to themselves.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
8 months ago

Good article but fails to mention it’s an election year.

The opposition, like in the UK, has only opposed Morrison by demanding longer, harder and deeper lockdowns, like the Labor state premiers have done.

The left wing media are still in a rage against Morrison for winning the 2019 election after they’d already declared Labor’s now-forgotten Bill Shorten the winner.

The flip flopping on Djokovic looks like desperate populism by a weak Federal leader who should not have gotten involved, trying to appease the haters, with an election looming in May.

The media barrage will only intensify from here on.

Last edited 8 months ago by Brendan O'Leary
Christian Filli
Christian Filli
8 months ago

It’s easy to mock Djokovic’s diet and self-care regimen, yet he is the #1 player in the world and could very well become the greatest of all time. Covid policy around the world has become yet another example of a growing trend: double down on bad ideas, and ignore what actually produces better outcomes; force one-size-fits-all remedies down people’s throats (or arms), and crush (or “piss off”, according to Macron) those who oppose; make big speeches about diversity and inclusion, and then pretend individual differences don’t exist.

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
8 months ago

It has nothing to do with Djokovic, he is merely a pawn and a very useful poster-boy for the “see who we can control” brigade. The reaction to Covid is Part 1 of the agenda – force everyone into compliance with whatever loony laws we choose to impose by any means we can – in this case, fear. Part II will be the Great Climate Change emergency and it is well underway at the moment. We all have choices, we comply or we don’t. Djokovic has chosen not to so must be made into an example pour encourager les autres.

Andrea X
Andrea X
8 months ago

Very well written, thanks.

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
8 months ago

Djokovic could have protested and said I won’t play in the Australian Open because of the ridiculous rules and penalties related to your extreme fear of covid. He could have declared how important his health is to him, how seriously he works on his diet and lifestyle to be the fittest he can be & how concerned he is about the safety of the vaccines.
It is now almost a crime to listen to ones intuition about ones health rather than just ingest/inject whatever you are told by someone in a white coat. Big pharma doesn’t want us to look after ourselves, to rest & repair, it’s wants to make all the decisions and have all the answers.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

Given the increased rates of fatal heart attacks in young male athletes I think he’s absolutely right to refuse!!

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
8 months ago

Australia is the most authoritarian nation of The West and The Commonwealth. This has been obvious for some time and I will go back to how The Red Pill movie was treated by Australian authorities at the time it came out. Gotta go. Great article by the way.

Last edited 8 months ago by Karl Juhnke
Peta Seel
Peta Seel
8 months ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

New Zealand overtook it at a gallop with the combined advent of St Jacinda and Covid.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

True, but New Zealand is so backward, small and irrelevant really, that we have to pay more attention to Aus.

Sasha T.
Sasha T.
8 months ago

Obvs Novak is not the outlier. Just heard Nick Robinson talking as though not accepting any old thing being shoved in your body is a fetish. Those weirdos who wrote Nuremberg Laws and talked about bodily autonomy obvs wackos to Robinson. Was going to say a new low point in covid discourse but it was on the beeb, so not really.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
8 months ago

Yes, embarrassing for Australia, but just the usual combination of SNAFU + political games.

Although I’m generally for treating people equally, there are exceptions. Djokovic isn’t just anyone – he’s one of the most famous men in the world, come to play an important competition, which he’s won an incredible 9 times. The government should do what it can to facilitate his being able to take part. After all, the policy in the eastern part Australia now is to let the virus spread so it’s senseless to quarantine Djokovic … but there’s the local politics in play. There’s a long history about Scott Morrison and ‘border control’.

Only Western Australia still has a zero covid policy – which is why most of us here have had a pretty normal life sans COVID – kids in school, shops & workplaces open, hospitals operating as usual etc. And given we have some of the best beaches in the world, life hasn’t exactly been a trial, being confined to this vast state! But even we plan to join the rest of Australia in opening up next month to COVID – hopefully we will all get the mild variant. So, though I’ve never been in favour of lockdowns or mandatory vaccination for COVID, it seems (if you forget about the budget deficits) that we will have come through the pandemic better than just about anywhere.

As always, it’s wrong to generalise about all people/Australians. There’s a wide variety of views about COVID policies here. It’s got to the stage where most of my friends say that they believe absolutely nothing anyone says about it, because all sides are dug in to their positions and happy to spread misinformation about the other side.

In my case, I have never supported the governments’ COVID policies, but I am vaccinated (despite being a follower of Brett & Heather). My booster shot is coming up and I did ask if I could have AZ, like the first two, and have been told, ‘no, you have to have Pfizer’, which I suspect isn’t true. But I can’t be bothered fighting it – there are things you are prepared to die in a ditch over, and things you aren’t – I’ll have the Pfizer and put my mind to the things I do want to think about. I just don’t care enough about the vaccine, others might. I hope, in a civilised world, we can let people decide these things for themselves.

Last edited 8 months ago by Russell Hamilton
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago

a truly sad post………just a beaten dog attitude…..

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
8 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

a truly sad response …. that everyone has to share your priorities.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
8 months ago

I’d have thought that it was very simple – is he in breach of the law or not? If he is then he, like anyone else, must accept the consequences. It’s not up to him, or me, to dictate to the Australian people what their laws should be. If I went to Iran, although I can think of no earthly reason why I would, I would abide by whatever clothing rules they have; if I wanted to make some sort of protest I would have to accept the penalty. So, you can think Australia’s laws are over the top, but it’s up to them; enough of this exporting values.

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
8 months ago

He is not. He had an exemption that was reneged on.
“Enough of this exporting values.” Really?

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
8 months ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

Fine, if he is not in breach of the law, I don’t know but I’ll take your word for, it, then the Australian Border Force should let him in – end of. Why is there so much fuss about it here? Are people really concerned that the Australian Border Force are making a pig’s ear of their own rules?

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
8 months ago

If he was in breach of the law he should not have been allowed to board the plane in Dubai. Have you ever tried to board a plane without the proper visa? I was in the company of someone who inadvertently did once, and there was no way he was going to be allowed onto that plane. So we do need to ask why he was allowed to board if it wasn’t to give the Australians the opportunity to do exactly what they have done to him.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
8 months ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

Actually I have. When I went to Libya some-one arrived without to correct documentation causing an enormous hold-up. I must confess I was more concerned about the hold-up than what might happen to the poor man.

Last edited 8 months ago by Linda Hutchinson
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago

If Iran was holding the Ultimate International Tennis Match, one he was set to win – but then said he had to convert to Islam to enter the nation – I guess you would say ‘Fair Enough’, their nation – their rules….,

NO<NO, NO – this is an International Match, and the insane Australians are shutting out people entitled to be in it. Who ever wins does so knowing they likely would have lost if it had been held in another country. Australia are Blocking International Sport of the top class.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
8 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

If that were the law of the land I would say “fair enough”, but I would wonder why an international match was being held there in the first place if the law was known.

Fredrick Urbanelli
Fredrick Urbanelli
8 months ago

Djokovic isn’t helped by the fact that he’s a Serb. The government of that country and it’s people can rant and rave all they like, but the Aussies know that they will face zero political blowback for this. Serbia is considered by many to be a near-pariah state, and has been so, in fact, for many years. Imagine the Australians had pulled this stunt with Federer (CH) or Serena (US).
He hasn’t done himself any favors, either, by being openly disliked by many of his fellow players. They’re unlikely to stand up for him. The Aussies could get away with it, so they did it.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

What? Did you just make this up. They don’t like him because he just consistently beats them!

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
8 months ago

In fact he is only disliked by the ones he consistently beats. Lower down the order they practically worship him because he set up an alternative players’ union to help and support them.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
8 months ago

Australia has a significant number of residents and prominent citizens with Serb ancestry. And even more Croatians.

Fights between them at sporting events involving both countries, especially in Melbourne, used to be a common sight. Even at the tennis.

Serbian issues aren’t huge in Australia but they do command more attention than they might in, say, UK or USA.

Last edited 8 months ago by Brendan O'Leary
Art C
Art C
8 months ago

You may be right. But this is just another instance of brazen authoritarianism in Australia. And it’s time to hit back. If Novak doesn’t play, Australians needn’t pay to go to the Open. And worldwide, people disgusted by the increasingly repressive Australian state need to start speaking out. For starters, how about some poster’s highlighting Australia new status as a pariah state. For example: “AUSTRALIA: MODEL MODERN TOTALITARIAN STATE”, “DON’T VISIT AUSTRALIA.”, “INVEST IN AUSTRALIA. AND LOSE!”

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
8 months ago

Maybe, as it’s tennis, people still don’t know whether the umpire shouts “Net!” or “Let!” — I still wonder after decades — never found out in the old days —keep forgetting to find out in the modern times. I know it’s “Juice!” though. And right enough, they take regular breaks, on court. That’s a tennis court.

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
8 months ago

But of course it’s nothing to do with covid .. its all about some elite celeb trying to game the system because he considers he is not only irreplaceable but untouchable … deport him without further ado !

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago

It is an International Match – Australia Blocking the top seeded player is immoral. They must cancel the match to some sane country if they ban him.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
8 months ago

Yes, and not helped by his nut-job dad.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago

Ah, do me a favour! Do the Australian quarantine laws make sense? Sounds like probably not. Should we let people decide individually which laws they feel like following, because of course their judgement is so much better than anyone else’s? Absolutely not. Should we decide that rules do not apply to important people like Djokovic (or Boris Johnson) Hell, no!

A legal humourist some years back proposed that the way to get rid of bad laws is not to ignore them, but to enforce them. That way, if they are too bad to live with, they will get removed.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are being ridiculous. The fact is that Djokovic is in the group that is most at risk of a severe cardiac adverse effect of the vaccine: he is male, he is young, and he’s already had Covid. The perfect trifecta for myocarditis. He would be insane to get vaccinated, especially given the fact that Omicron is not severe, and he is probably well protected from a previous infection with another strain. Bottom line: the Australians and their PM need to use some brains and get rid of their idiotic mandates. But quite clearly Morrison has sand instead of grey matter between his ears. At this point in time the Australian government isn’t protecting their population – rather they are endangering them. That’s especially so when according to the latest UKHSA statistics the triply vaccinated are 4.7 times more likely to be infected with omicron than the unvaccinated, and the doubly vaccinated are 2.7 times more likely to be infected.
And Rasmus: I know you always want citations so for your information the weekly UKHSA reports are your citation.

Last edited 8 months ago by Johann Strauss
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

It would have helped if you have given a link, instead of leaving me to flounder around their web site. I have given it ten minutes, but I have to leave now. Maybe later. There are two possible explanations:
1) COVID vaccinations actually make you *more* likely to get sick, and all the mass media are conspiring to hide this sensational and medically unique news – while the UKHSA are breaking the omerta’ by putting them on their web site for anyone to see.
2) Someone is misunderstanding the statistics, forgetting that if most people are vaccinated, the number of unvaccinateed people who get infected will be lower for that reason alione.

My money is on the second hypothesis.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You seem to have forgotten that the vaccines are to stop you getting covid. Easy mistake. See it all the time.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Sorry but you are blind to the truth. You really need to do some research for yourself. And, in addition, the comments section of Unherd is not equivalent to a scientific paper, and nor are the articles.
And in fact the current vaccines happen to be completely ineffective against the Omicron variant, as are the monoclonal antibodies which were targeted against the original spike protein. The latter is particularly unfortunate, but if the latter no longer work, only a fool would expect the vaccines to work, given that the vaccines produce the original spike protein.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

UKHSA data – warning.
UKHSA use the NIMS data set to calculate their denominators for “cases” and hospitalisations and death. There are problems with this. A full, unexpurgated explanation is provided by the Actuaries (you know, those people who deal with death and destruction every day of the week) here :
https://www.covid-arg.com/post/vaccine-effectiveness-and-population-estimates
In brief :
“We’ve focused on hospitalisations, where high vaccine efficacy means that even with the uncertainty described, rates for vaccinated individuals are usually better on either measure than for the unvaccinated. However, for “cases”, where vaccines are effective but to a lesser extent than for severe outcomes, the uncertainty means that using NIMS data can even suggest that the unvaccinated have lower risk of being infected. Unfortunately this is leading to both misinterpretation and deliberate misuse of the data presented. We have seen high profile examples, both in the UK and overseas.”
As for Djokovic’s immune status well who knows ? since the quantity and quality of any individual’s immune response to anything is so variable.
And no, previous infection with Alpha >> Delta does not give you cast iron underpants as far as Omicron is concerned. See study in the Netherlands (with small numbers in the unvaxxed cohort) : 
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.20.21268121v1
and in the UK :
https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/mrc-gida/2021-12-16-COVID19-Report-49.pdf

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago

Again, thanks. Great there is someone who actually knows the answer and can back up my guesstimates.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago

Where is the data on the age of those who have died, their health, in particular presence of type 2 diabetes, blood pressure , pulse and obesity?
Where is the principal component analysis on those who have died, in particular what are the three principal components ?
I am sure there was strong correlation in deaths from flu in 1957 and 1968 and lung health.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago

Glad your wetting yourself over a cold because that’s what Omicron is, a bad cold. Maybe, just maybe open your eyes and look at the data from South Africa. Or are you too xenophobic to accept any data that doesn’t come from the Uk or perhaps even Europe, because the data from Denmark show the same thing as that from South Africa.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago

I’m afraid in your case a little knowledge is dangerous. Recall there are “lies, damned lies and statistics”. The fact of the matter is that more triply vaccinated are getting covid than unvaccinated. Could well be due to previous infection and recovery in the unvaccinated. But I guess you’re one of the ones who is devoid of common sense and would claim that a vaccine targeted against one specific component of SARS-CoV2 is better than natural immunity targeted against the entire virus. No doubt an example of the “tyrany of experts”

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

If the numbers say there are more triply vaccinated getting COVID than unvaccinated, it is because there are more triply vaccinated in the UK in the first place. Plus, as RG-L’s links point out, because the count of unvaccinated is inaccurate. 1) Did you actually read those links? 2) Do you have any arguments that are more convincing than just insulting those who disagree with you?

Last edited 8 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

They could have not given him the visa to begin with. But they chose to humiliate him for no good reason. How is this “following the rules”? Rules that they modify literally each week, so maybe we should stop pretending that they are somehow sacred.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

Totally agree. I have to say I never thought our Australian brothers would ever stoop so low regarding the elimination of human rights and freedom.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Surely you have seen it coming? For decades now Australia has been a ‘nirvana’ where everyone obeys every rule, no matter how small. Covid and its illogical and arbitrary mandates and ‘laws’ has just exposed how cowed and pusillanimous this nation has become.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
8 months ago

Even the cows just got more cowed, and the platypuses just got more platypusillaminous.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

Indeed. They should have refused the visa to start with (or changed their rules). The way it went probably has something to do with upcoming Australian elections. Some Australian authorities chose to deviate from their own (rather rigid) rules to get the star in for the Open, then a different set of Australian authorities decided to say no, to make a point. The course of events is hardly an advertisement for Australian competence. But, even so, you cannot really get outraged because a famous star is refused a special dispensation for the rules everyone else must follow. Not even if you dislike the rules.

Last edited 8 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
8 months ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

Just because you are given a visa to enter Oz (or USA and many other countries) doesn’t mean that you can just push your way past the Border Force. If there is something wrong with the paperwork then entrance can be denied. I have seen this with a seafarer, a Brit, MY RELIEF!. sent back from Kingsford Smith to Heathrow and all in all about a week’s delay. I have been “Set aside” at Miami having been in and out twice since visa renewal. They just wanted to get things right and await the arrival of a DEA Agent to vouch for me.. We know that Rules are for the guidance of wise men, etc. but sometimes “Rules is Rules!”

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

There used to be rules in South Africa that black people couldn’t vote, sit on benches and swim in the sea and couldn’t live or work where they wanted. Just as well people push back at ludicrous rules.

Russell Dale
Russell Dale
8 months ago

Junk article
Novak is arrogant- plain and simple
Thinks he is above rules
He is laughing in the face of Australians who have done the right thing

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
8 months ago
Reply to  Russell Dale

Whether Auatralia has done the right thing or not is a moot point, but it’s up to them; however I do agree that Mr Djokovic is coming over as a tad arrogant

Last edited 8 months ago by Linda Hutchinson
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago

If a nation hosts a world top sporting event it is not right to stop the top player from it.

Footballers are dieing all over from vaxing – it is WAY more dangerous than covid is for the ultra fit, they have such developed hearts and lungs the vax is a killer for them!- watch this video of the world’s top mountain biker destroyed by the vax

This has had 1.25 MILLION views, it is Dr Campbell interviewing, and he is 100% pro vax and mask – Watch it since you have such strong views on how an athlete should risk their entire life because some Australian says he must – although every person knows there is No Point to it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rZZTPp-eYU

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
8 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

He doesn’t have to risk his life – if that is indeed what he would be doing. He can stay at home and write confused comments on UnHerd about spike proteins and the Frankfurt school, which would (for me anyway) be more entertaining than watching him play tennis. Also it would prevent the idiot Morrison from playing to whatever *his* base is.

Art C
Art C
8 months ago
Reply to  Russell Dale

A point of order on those precious “RULES”: you should know that the people who made them & those who tout them in media don’t really believe in them; and haven’t for a long time now! There is not a single country where multiple instances of the well-heeled, high-ranking politicians and members of the commentariat have not been caught transgressing the rules they impose on everyone else: for example, California governor Newsom, prominent UK Sky journalists, Obama’s 60th party, etc. etc.; a full list would fill a book! Those “multiple instances” are actually a tiny percentage of the real total. Considerable effort is made to conceal reporting of transgressions; and of course, as in a fundamentalist religion, the converted will not rat on their fellow devotees. Need further convincing? Consider the now infamous parties which took place inside 10 Downing Street in the runup to Christmas 2020 (at which the British PM was, of course, not present!). As one sage noted, the people at these parties had access to the latest and very best information about the virus. But they chose to mingle, drink champagne together and laugh openly at the rest of the population on whom they had imposed a lockdown for the entire festive season! And this was more than a year ago. Ever had that “sucker” feeling Mr Dale?

Last edited 8 months ago by Art C
Art C
Art C
8 months ago
Reply to  Russell Dale

Junk comment. Unless turning a liberal democracy into an authoritarian police state is the “right” thing to do. You may believe what you wish. But I think a close approximation of the truth is that the upper echelon of our political elites would now like to jettison the RULES as soon as possible: not for altruistic reasons, but primarily to ensure survival as public disaffection with endless lockdowns & restrictions grows .. and a backlash threatens them! However, simply admitting that the restrictions of the past 22 months never worked and that Covid is not Ebola – just a nasty little virus which can be contained with natural immunity and some focussed care for the aged – cannot happen. The loss of face would be intolerable! Hence the current mania for “the vaccination” as an exit strategy. It’s concrete, verifiable and final, even if medically worthless.

But there is a much bigger problem for the elites of our political class. A certain tone has been set these past 22 months. And, what was inevitable the longer the restrictions went on has happened: a class of “citizen policemen” has emerged. These folks are ordinary citizens of a particular disposition: the kind of people who need something concrete to believe in and and thrive on a rigid set of rules! They are petty individuals, frequently with a vicious streak, who derive pleasure in the exercise of power which meddling in ordinary people’s lives affords. Because the danger of covid has been portrayed as so acute these people have been permitted, even encouraged, to enforce the “rules” in their capacity as private citizens. This chunk of the population – between 15-30 percent depending on the country – won’t let go easily. Without the resources and position of the upper elites they stand to lose much status if common sense prevails and restrictions are dumped for good.

How our leaders proceed in the months ahead will determine whether we come out of this as democracies where the liberties of citizens are respected & free speech and the rule of law prevails; or continue on the road towards totalitarianism with hyper-surveillance of citizens the norm (the technology for this is already in place). If the latter course transpires, tyranny will descend on us quicker than most can imagine. Citizen police are something no self-respecting totalitarian regime – whether communist, fascist or religious fundamentalist – can do without. It was precisely such a class of rabid little “private commissars” which underpinned the Soviet, Nazi and other totalitarian regimes of the 20th century beyond the overt repressive machinery of government. And in Australia, and the other democracies, such a class of bigoted zealots – covid fundamentalists all – are ready and standing by.

But we’re not there just yet. The good news just in is that Novak Djokovic has won the initial court case. Here’s to most Australians enjoying a good, belly aching laugh at their government’s expense.

Last edited 8 months ago by Art C