The war on covid replaced by the war on Russia

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

The war on covid replaced by the war on Russia

If you live in Britain now the covid pandemic is over. The fact that infections are still high, and fluctuating widely in various parts of the country, the fact that there are still deaths (although the exact figures are not publicised as much as a couple of years ago) and there’s still a fear that it will have a serious effect upon certain sections of the population as the fourth jab is now being offered to a not inconsiderable number of people

But pandemic related issues still exist apart from the level of infections and deaths – as can be seen below. And the issue of poverty in the UK (which played its part in the trajectory of the pandemic since March 2020) is still not being adequately addressed – as it will never be under the capitalist system.

At the same time it’s convenient for the Buffoon and his government (and for the governments in many countries in the ‘west’) that there’s now a war going on to distract attention from anything that isn’t directly related to the Ukraine.

The Buffoon will argue that to bring up any discussion about the breaking of national rules in Downing Street on numerous occasions in the last couple of years is unimportant and a distraction from the war ‘where people are dying in their thousands’. But the untrustworthiness of the Buffoon is important when we consider that he is stoking the fires of war by the sending of serious levels of lethal weaponry to keep the Ukrainians fighting – for the benefit of the NATO and the capitalist governments of the ‘west’. For whose benefit is he sending those weapons? His disregard for the well being of the British population indicates that he will have little regard to the lives of Ukrainians and that he is playing (as many of the other ‘world leaders) a geopolitical game where the Ukrainians are merely the disposable pawns. (More on the hypocrisy of the ‘west’.)

And the Buffoons true level of concern for other people can be seen by the way in which the British Government has been one of the biggest supporters of ‘Big Pharma’ and refusing to support the relaxing of Intellectual Property (IP) rights on vaccines so that they can be produced in many more places in the world. This total disregard for the well being of the poorest in the world – whilst at the same time offering (i.e., buying support within a section of the British population) a fourth vaccination to those who don’t really need it – is no surprise and only goes to demonstrate, if it was still needed, that these people consider only themselves ad the class they represent.

The fact that this refusal to act in a manner to vaccinate as many people as possible throughout the world will almost certainly lead to new variants appearing – whether they will be relatively ‘benign’ (as they have been recently with Omicron) or true killer variants will have to be seen.

Finally, another Ukrainian war aspect that might come into play is the fact that the Ukraine had a low level of vaccination prior to the outbreak of hostilities. The trauma caused by the war and the leaving of their homes means that the refugees will be even less able to deal (physically and psychologically) with the virus if they come into contact with it on their journey west. Although Ukrainian refugees are being treated in a different way to that of previous waves in the last ten years or so there will be many who will attempt to get west by routes that are unregulated. Unless there is an effective testing regime in place (which hasn’t really been evident in Britain in the last two years), as well as the adequate provision, distribution and use of vaccines then the ‘wave’ of Ukrainian refugees could be introducing another wave of covid.

Vaccination programme in Britain …

Uptake of children’s covid vaccines is low in the UK – and their slow, confused approval is to blame.

Spring booster offered to elderly and vulnerable in England.

…. and worldwide

Covid vaccines not linked to deaths, major US study finds.

Top economists and Oxfam leader demand truly just covid IP (Intellectual Property) waiver.

Covid vaccines: WTO (World Trade Organisation) compromise over India and South Africa’s proposal is disappointing.

Treatment other than vaccines

Molnupiravir: why are there potential safety issues around this covid antiviral?

The pandemic worldwide

The changing political geography of covid-19 – during the fourth wave of the pandemic, death rates in the most pro-Trump counties were about four times what they were in the most pro-Biden counties.

Global covid-19 death toll ‘may be three times higher than official figures’.

The pandemic’s true death toll.

Covid variants

What are the Covid variants and do vaccines still work?

Deltacron: what scientists know so far about this new hybrid coronavirus.

‘Long covid’

Even mild cases of covid-19 can leave a mark on the brain, such as reductions in gray matter.

Lessons of the pandemic – two years on

‘We suppressed our scientific imagination’: four experts examine the big successes and failures of the covid response so far.

The hard lessons we learned – and didn’t – from two years in Pandemic School

Two years into the pandemic, which of our newly formed habits are here to stay?

Two years on, what has covid-19 taught us? A human rights-centered way forward.

Two years on, complacency still plagues global covid-19 response.

Did the covid lockdowns work? Here’s what we know two years on.

Testing

No PCR, no problem: how covid can be diagnosed with X-rays.

Zoe Covid-tracking app loses government funding.

Testing sewage has helped track covid – soon it could reveal much more about the UK’s health.

Transmissibility

Why we shouldn’t worry about covid spilling back from animals into human populations.

Susceptibility

Risk of severe disease could be in your blood.

Why do some people never get covid?

‘Collateral damage’

How the pandemic has affected periods.

The NHS backlog recovery plan and the outlook for waiting lists.

Covid has intensified gender inequalities. Researchers find women hit harder by negative social and economic impacts of the pandemic than men.

Universities after covid: as lecture theatres reopen, some pandemic teaching methods should live on.

Five things the UK must prioritise in its pandemic recovery plan.

Fraud, corruption and the pandemic

Government’s anti-fraud efforts was like Dad’s Army operation.

Audit Scotland: Watchdog concern over where £5 billion covid funds went.

Covid bailouts helped politically connected businesses more than others.

Will economic inactivity be another unwelcome side-effect of the pandemic?

Poverty in Britain

Housing associations stepping up support for tenants struggling with energy costs.

Not strictly about poverty but any changes that are made to deal with the climate emergency, if they are not well thought out, will have consequences and the poorest in society will bear the brunt of the problems. ‘Shrinking footprints; the impacts of the net zero transition on households and consumption’ is a report produced by the Resolution Foundation.

In February the Institute of Fiscal Studies produce a report in the changes to social care charges, Does the cap fit? Analysing the government’s proposed amendment to the English social care charging system. And the Full Report.

Sweeping changes to student loans to hit tomorrow’s lower-earning graduates.

Living standards for UK households set for greatest fall since 1970s.

Government failing to ensure a decent life for older people as pensioner poverty spirals. Full Report – The State of Ageing – 2022

The Trussel Trust (which operates the biggest number of food banks in the UK) has produced a report on hunger in one of the richest countries in the world. The full report, the executive summary, the technical annex.

Poverty in later life: How people in older age move in and out of poverty, and what should be done to reduce it. Full report by Independent Age.

A more caring society after the pandemic?

Did the pandemic drive a desire for more generous welfare? New research suggests not.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

Chaos remains – even when restrictions are relaxed

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

Chaos remains – even when restrictions are relaxed

From yesterday (Thursday 24th February 2022) virtually all the restrictions that had been in place, to a greater or lesser extent since the back end of March 2020, have been removed in England. There are variations in the other three ‘nations’ but they will almost certainly follow suit – it’s just a matter of time.

Such a declaration should have been a cause for celebration but this is Britain in the third decade of the 21st century and the people – in their ‘wisdom’ – had chosen a public school Buffoon to be their Prime Minister.

After stating countless times that the Government was ‘following the science’ much of the detail of the removal of restrictions goes against virtually all scientific advice. (Even in the past the public stating of ‘following the science’ was more to permit the Buffoon to shift the blame on someone else if it all hit the fan.)

For more than a year testing wasn’t done when it should have been and that only started to change with the ‘Liverpool Pilot’, which began at the beginning of November 2020. Although the results of that pilot were never made public (as far as I know) it wasn’t long before testing became more generally available – although tied to the inefficient (and eventually corrupt) tracking and tracing system. If it did nothing else it caused confusion and probably an unnecessary number of people being asked to ‘self-isolate’ for ten days.

Come Omicron the country went crazy. More and more people were being told to test everyday – which was ludicrous even for a variant that was more contagious – and that led to a situation where people were testing unnecessarily, the results being of no use to anyone.

So from a situation of too little testing the country was then testing too much. In the process hiking up the fear level of those who were already thinking that a knock on the door was the Grim Reaper and not the postman/woman.

Now all those free test kits are going to be withdrawn. As well as the payment for certain people who didn’t receive sick pay as a right – an increasing number of people due to the fact that more and more people were on ‘zero hour’ or short term contracts. Tests will still be available – but you will have to pay – and various companies are already planning the new yachts for their CEO’s as ‘Panic Britain’ continues to test, probably when it’s not needed.

So not unsurprisingly it’s the poorest members of society who will suffer the most. For the rich buying the test kits won’t be a problem. For the poor it will be a situation whether they test or pay other bills (specially heating) or food. And if you aren’t able to claim the emergency sick pay, that ends in a month’s time, then more people will be going in to work even if they think they are infected.

This knee jerk reaction to ending restrictions is typical of a ‘government’ which has never had a strategy from the start. If they did then they would have had plans in place to reduce the restrictions without at the same time causing risks of a spurt in infections as well as making the poorest in society suffer.

And that’s not even addressing the issue of vaccines. In Britain younger and younger children are being offered the jab and there are plans in place for a fourth vaccination for ‘the most vulnerable’. But that was the plan at the time the vaccines started to play a major role in the fight against the virus. As each cohort was vaccinated arguments were put up to extend it and extend and extend it and ….

Whether that policy will really be of any use remains to be seen. What is certain is that more and more money will be given to ‘Big Pharma’ and less and less vaccines will be getting to those in the poorer parts of the world who have barely seen one let alone four.

Vaccination programme in Britain ….

How anti-vaccine influencers exploit mothers.

Even though millions in throughout the world, much more ‘vulnerable’ than most children, have still to receive a single dose of any vaccine in the Wales and Scotland (and almost certainly soon in the rest of the UK) vaccines will be offered to children aged five to 11.

And four hours later – England to offer covid jab to five to 11-year-olds. Petty nationalism by petty-minded people. During a pandemic when everyone should be working together they still fight their historic battles.

The arguments here from the scientists who recommended this policy. Not sure if the arguments really stand-up. But here for you to make up your mind. Vaccination of 5 to 11 year-olds, More or Less, BBC Radio 4, 25th February 2022.

Covid and flu jabs could be given at same time in the autumn.

….. and the rest of the world

Africa is bringing vaccine manufacturing home – a major milestone was reached last week when scientists in South Africa reproduced Moderna’s covid-19 vaccine. Covid-19 patents must now be shared.

China is developing its own mRNA vaccine – and it’s showing early promise.

Short AstraZeneca shelf life complicates covid vaccine roll out to world’s poorest.

How developing countries can make mRNA covid vaccines.

but …

Moderna patent application raises fears for Africa covid vaccine hub.

but …

The People’s Vaccine—Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine was largely funded by taxpayer dollars.

‘Taming the virus’?

How new drugs are finally taming the virus.

Remove restrictions – or not?

Lifting the remaining measures is a dangerous and senseless move.

Sajid Javid defends timing of end to covid rules and free tests.

Eight changes the world needs to make to live with covid.

Mass covid testing and sequencing is unsustainable – here’s how future surveillance can be done.

How will people behave when self-isolation isn’t mandatory?

The pandemic in the world

Omicron threat remains high in east Europe – World Health Organisation (WHO).

Have hybrid coronaviruses already been made? We simply don’t know for sure, and that’s a problem.

Those making billions from the pandemic

Moderna condemned for ‘eye-watering’ profits from publicly-funded vaccine.

Covid ‘reinfections’

Covid reinfections: are they milder and do they strengthen immunity?

Previous pandemics

The Black Death was not as widespread or catastrophic as long thought.

Poverty in Britain

The UK’s ‘work-first’ approach to benefits hurts mothers.

Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) report shows increase in rent arrears.

New energy campaign offers Edinburgh residents advice and support with bills.

Many UK homes cut back on essentials to pay for TV, phones and internet.

New measures won’t protect poorest families from new energy price cap.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have produced a report entitles Households below a minimum income standard 2008-09 to 2019-20, Findings and Full Report.

Homelessness set to soar in England amid cost of living crisis.

Evictions rise: ‘I was quite upset, it was panic mode’.

Poverty in other parts of the ‘industrialised’ world

‘Homelessness is lethal’: US deaths among those without housing are surging.

Testing

Why don’t most people with covid need to test for another 30 days, even if they’re re-exposed?

Boots to sell £6 covid tests ahead of rule change.

‘Collateral damage’

The NHS backlog recovery plan and the outlook for waiting lists – the ‘pie in the sky’ dream of the Buffoon.

Covid may have made us less materialistic.

Adult social care was hit hard during the pandemic – it will need help to recover.

Russell Group universities ‘profiting from students’ misery’ after amassing £2.2bn cash surplus

The 24 members of the prestigious group were collectively handed over £115 million from the Government in furlough money.

Seven-week gap advised for elective surgery after Omicron.

Audit Scotland: NHS staffing could threaten post-covid recovery.

Corruption in Britain

Matt Hancock failed to comply with equality duty over Dido Harding appointment.

Taxpayer left to pay billions due to covid fraud.

UK taxpayers lose £15 billion to covid fraud in government schemes.

The Government response (in November 2021);

Our approach to error and fraud in the covid-19 support schemes. But how much will be recovered and how many will be prosecuted?

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

The pandemic forgotten as the Buffoon scrambles to ensure his political future

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

The pandemic forgotten as the Buffoon scrambles to ensure his political future

As each day goes by, in Britain, there’s less and less evidence that there’s still a worldwide pandemic. On public transport and in stores, where the ‘guidance’ is still to wear a mask, fewer people do so as they follow what is the ‘norm’.

That doesn’t mean to say things are getting back to even the ‘new normal’. The number of people travelling on public transport is still way down from what it was two years ago – partly because there are still people afraid to mix and will use their own transport if they have it and many people are still ‘working from home’ – those that can do so.

If you get infected or end up dying with the virus you’re not really even counted now as the figures that used to come out on a daily basis are now only released when someone has a point to make – either in favour of less or more restrictions.

The Buffoon and his Government, who (despite all their protestations to the contrary) have made a pig’s ear of dealing with the pandemic from the start (many of the U-turns and confusions being documented on this blog) are using the various non-pandemic crises that are cropping up to divert attention away from the fact that they were quite happy to carry on in a way that they were saying was too dangerous for the majority of the population to follow – the so-called ‘partygate’.

They are hoping the longer it all drags out the more people will forget their hypocrisy (not an entirely impossible scenario) and that the Tory Members of Parliament who might consider the whole issue an embarrassment will start to think of their own futures and hold back from pressuring the Buffoon to resign. After all a couple more years on the gravy train is better than facing an election where they might all be sent into the wilderness.

The Buffoon makes announcement that are aimed at ‘buying’ votes – a tactic which Thatcher used, with not inconsiderable success in the 1980s – but whether he will be successful in buying votes so cheaply has yet to be seen.

More seriously the Buffoon is following in the wake of the failed and failing Biden administration and banging the drums of war against Russia over the Ukraine accompanied by the embarrassing spectacle of both Johnson and Truss playing at being diplomats – which amuses the Russians if no one else. So after a ‘war’ against a virus we might see a war in the real sense.

Wars have historically been good at diverting attention away from domestic problems, in Britain the most recent example of that was the war against Argentina in Las Malvinas in 1982. And even when millions go on the streets that doesn’t stop the warmongers from carrying out their plans – as could be seen in 2003 prior to the invasion and destruction of Iraq. If all the weapons are just allowed to lie in storage how can the military-industrial complex increase their profits?

But the virus hasn’t gone away. If the vaccination programme was the way out of it there are still only a very small percentage of the world’s poorest people who have yet to receive even one dose. Britain, together with most of the other ‘industrialised’ and wealthiest countries in the world are still holding out against patent waivers and promises of ‘donations’ of vaccines are falling way short of the numbers needed.

But then if there was a patent waiver this would have the effect of reducing the profits of ‘Big Pharma’ – and that will never do.

In all ‘wars’ there are winners and losers. What capitalism has been very successful in achieving is maintaining a grip on society where the losers are the poor and the winners are those who already have many times more than they need. Indeed, that is what capitalism is all about.

It always comes down to how long working people are prepared to accept this. However much they might have suffered in the last two years (with problems over and above those they might have had for years) there still isn’t a groundswell that looks like changing the situation any time soon.

The vaccination programme in the UK ….

Cash incentives for vaccination could be an effective long-term strategy.

The Covid-19 vaccination programme: trials, tribulations and successes, the Summary, the Full Report.

AstraZeneca vaccine: Did nationalism spoil UK’s ‘gift to the world’?

…. and the rest of the world

Scientists argue for the sharing of technology so that vaccines can be produced in other parts o0f the world.

Cuba leads the world in vaccinating children as young as two against covid.

Covid vaccines may be getting worse at stopping new variants emerging – but they’re still lowering the risk.

Novavax under delivers on covid vaccine promises.

Who’s making billions from the pandemic?

Pfizer profits

Pfizer profits

Vaccine mandates

Vaccine mandates for healthcare workers should be scrapped – omicron has changed the game.

Is this the end of the road for vaccine mandates in healthcare?

Treatment other than vaccines

WHO recommends two new treatments – here’s how they work.

Gut bacteria could help protect against covid and even lead to a new drug.

Mask wearing

Have you stopped wearing reusable fabric masks? Here’s how to cut down waste without compromising your health.

Understanding the statistics

The cognitive bias that tripped us up during the pandemic.

‘Collateral damage’

Measles warning for children as jab rate falls in England.

How the pandemic could make poverty levels among ethnic minorities even worse.

The Mental Health Experiences of Older People During the Pandemic. The Full Report.

The pandemic made period poverty worse in the UK – but also led to new ways to combat it.

Plan to tackle England’s NHS backlog delayed.

Energy prices: how covid helped them to surge – and why they won’t go down any time soon.

Testing

Why some people with symptoms don’t get tested.

The omicron variant …

Two thirds of people who catch omicron have already had covid.

Omicron reinfection rate dwarfs last 18 months of covid.

South African scientists on the inside story of discovering omicron – and what their experience offers the world about future variants. A link to a Podcast.

…. and the variant’s variant

BA.2 is like Omicron’s sister. Here’s what we know about it so far.

The nationalists’ record

Covid in Scotland: ‘Lack of planning’ has put NHS in crisis.

Covid mortality

Don’t believe the claim that only 17,371 people have died from covid in England and Wales.

U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 900,000, driven in part by Omicron surge.

The next pandemic

Failure to prevent pandemics at source is ‘greatest folly’. Protecting wildlife to stop viruses jumping to humans would save far more than it costs, analysis shows.

Covid restrictions

England’s plan B restrictions are lifting – but are some measures here to stay?

Covid fraud

Treasury minister quits over covid loan fraud: what we know so far about the unfolding scandal.

Government writes off £8.7 billion of pandemic PPE.

Owen Paterson’s private messages about Randox testing released.

Poverty in Britain ….

Consumption inequality in the digital age.

Government inaction on energy bills ‘will cause an increase in deaths’ in Scotland.

Energy poverty is linked to physical and mental health.

Labour market effects of the increase in the state pension age from 65 to 66. The Full Report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Extra 1.3 million workers on universal credit since pandemic began.

Interest Rate hikes are Class War.

Inequality and the covid crisis in the United Kingdom – and Institute for Fiscal Studies report.

…. and poverty throughout the world

Private sector debt and coronavirus in developing countries. A number of anti-poverty NGOs came together in 2020 to produce a report entitled Under the radar (don’t know why this is the first time I’ve come across it).

Oxfam International have just released a report entitled ‘Inequality Kills: The unparalleled action needed to combat unprecedented inequality in the wake of covid-19’. The Summary and the Full Report.

Effects of covid on the rest of health care

Warwick University have produced a report, entitled Pandemic Pressures and Public Health care – evidence from England, looking at the impact of covid on general health care.

Blaming someone else

How the psychology of blame can explain covid-19 responses.

To shield or not to shield

More than 1.5 million people were wrongly told to shield from covid-19.

Problems in the NHS

The NHS is having its worst winter ever – and the reasons run much deeper than covid.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?