Covid – a thing of the past, or just biding its time?
Considering the pandemic dominated all and every aspect of life worldwide for the best part of two years you wouldn’t know that in Britain towards the end of May 2022. All restrictions have been abolished in all parts of the sceptred isle and the ‘new normal’ is very much like the old normal, i.e., how it was before March 2020.
So as far as the majority of the population – as well as the politicians who have so ineffectively managed the pandemic from the very start – the pandemic is a thing of the past, or so they hope.
Whether that is the case remains to be seen. Although covid doesn’t seem to really fit in with viruses the likes of influenza – that seem to like the winter months – it is still around in the spring/summer months even though infection and related numbers are down.
Even if the summer is a time of respite (not guaranteed) what are the prospects for the future?
Have lessons been learnt from the past two years? Almost certainly not. The quick arrival of an effective (although not foolproof) vaccine pulled most governments out of the mire into which they had dug themselves. But after two years there was never even the hint of a strategy that could be followed in the event of this, or another virus, coming back to cause havoc.
Even the lesson that it was the poorest in society who would be more adversely effected by any pandemic (surprise, surprise) and which could end up being the epicentre of a future outbreak have not been given any assistance which could prevent such a circumstance arising. The fact that the links provided in these posts – from the very beginning more than two years ago – make reference to poverty in Britain, and continue to do so, only goes to show that that particular lesson has not been learnt, or even worse, just ignored.
If there was to be a further outbreak in the winter then all indications are that the poorest people in society would be even less likely to stay at home if they were to catch the virus. They were in the past two years and will be (in the future) left with a choice of being ‘responsible’ or suffering real economic hardships.
The situation in the rest of the world is, in many respects, even more dire. Increases in food prices were causing problems even before the war in the Ukraine. That war didn’t cause the problem – that’s at the feet of capitalism – but it hasn’t made matters any better and the longer it goes on the worse its consequences will be. The number of countries that have been forced, through capitalist and imperialist policies over decades, to move away from any sort of food self-sufficiency means that hundreds of millions of people are reliant on food from other parts of the world, many of those countries also producing less – not least due to the consequences of the climate emergency.
Added to that the most powerful countries in the world (the US, the UK and the other European ‘powers’) have categorically refused to make any moves to relax patent rights so that various countries in what is now commonly known as the ‘global south’ can produce their own vaccines – and run out local programmes that are vital if the pandemic is to be brought under control. The short-sited thirst for even more profits by ‘Big Pharma’ is more important than the health of the world, even though by doing so this policy is placing those in the so-called ‘metropolitan’ countries in danger as well.
So, as they say, the world is facing a ‘perfect storm’ towards the end of this year. For their own imperialist interests the richer countries are spending billions on trying to humble Russia – whatever the consequences for their own populations (who have more constructive uses for such huge amounts of money) or the long-suffering of the ‘global south’.
But the erstwhile most powerful imperialists in the ‘west’ might have bitten off more than they can chew.
Already we are seeing signs of a realignment of forces worldwide. The hegemony of the US in particular, and the past influence of the other European countries (plus Japan and Australia), is being challenged. The vast majority of the world is starting to turn their backs (long overdue) on Europe/USA centrism. They are starting to see that their interest don’t rest with the old ‘colonial masters’. They have always betrayed their ex-colonies and seem incapable of doing any different. (Thoughts about this are explored in many of the links related to what we are not being told about the war in the Ukraine.)
On the assumption that the world is to survive this particular pandemic the outlook for the future could be very different from what it was considered to be at the end of 2019. Who would have though that such a small thing as a virus would have such an devastating effect on the supposed ‘sophisticated’ world in which we live?
But then, as has been said in these posts since March of 2020, the world – or at least those who are presently in control of it – haven’t really learnt anything more than was general knowledge at the time of the Black Death that spread through Asia and Europe almost seven hundred years ago.
Vaccination programme in Britain
My five-year-old is now eligible for a covid vaccine – should I get them immunised?
Covid vaccines: why second boosters are being offered to vulnerable people in the UK – but not young and healthy people yet.
The Valneva covid vaccine has been approved for use in the UK.
Investors lose vote to share covid vaccine know-how.
Testing for covid
Rising infections, no more free tests: how ‘living with covid’ could affect case numbers in England.
Herd immunity now seems impossible. Welcome to the age of Covid reinfection.
Haven’t had covid yet? It could be more than just luck.
Long term effects of the virus
Severe covid is equivalent to 20 years of ageing.
The pandemic in the world
Covid in Afghanistan: low vaccine coverage and a crumbling health system could trigger a humanitarian crisis.
Why the current surge in cases is a problem for some countries but not others.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is beholden to corporations and lost our trust. We need to start our own – the People’s CDC. The view form the USA.
We created the ‘Pandemicene’.
Covid-19 fourth wave: Delhi sees 40% jump in infections.
World death toll
World’s true pandemic death toll nearly 15 million.
Why India’s real covid death toll may never be known.
Omicron XE is spreading in the UK – a virologist explains what we know about this hybrid variant.
Poverty in Britain
Public not as concerned and sympathetic towards homelessness as 12 months ago.
Rishi Sunak accused of not doing enough for poorest households.
600,000 will be pulled into poverty as a result of Chancellor’s inaction – of which around a quarter are children.
Pushed to the Edge: Poverty, Food Banks and Mental Health, the full report.
The truth about the impact of UC cuts, Centrepoint report.
Nearly half of Scots have struggled with housing costs.
Cost of living crisis: Value of UK unemployment benefits see biggest fall in 50 years.
Food banks provide almost 200,000 parcels to people across Scotland in past year.
Growing gap in healthy life expectancy between poorest and richest in England.
Main out-of-work benefit sees its biggest drop in value in fifty years.
More than 2 million adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day.
Watchdog urged to step in as UK’s poorest turn off energy supply.
Universal credit deductions of up to 25% pushing people into poverty.
Further 250,000 UK households face destitution in 2023.
A food crisis was brewing even before the Ukraine war – but taking these three steps could help the most vulnerable.
800 million, not 8.2 million; Africa’s covid toll 97 times higher than reported.
Collateral damage – worldwide
Covid closures still affecting 400 million pupils.
Measles: global increase in cases likely driven by covid pandemic.
Returning to ‘normal’
Discharging hospital patients to care homes ‘unlawful’.