How anti-Russian sanctions will feed the pandemic

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Ukraine – what you’re not told

How anti-Russian sanctions will feed the pandemic

Once the deaths from covid-19 started to drop (at least) in the UK deaths started to rise following the Special Military Operation carried out by Russia in the Ukraine. The story of the last six months and a bit can be followed on the Ukraine – what you’re not being told page, suffice it to say that the Buffoon was probably glad to have another event taking place worldwide which would take the spotlight off his government’s handling of the pandemic.

But war on the other side of Europe didn’t mean that the pandemic had come to an end. Even though all the indicators in Britain (and the other ‘rich’ countries of the world) were that the pandemic wasn’t as virulent as it had been the disease was still doing it’s worse in those parts of the world where the people suffer from the policies followed in the ‘global north’ on a daily basis.

Not surprisingly the vaccines promised to poorer countries (in their millions) never materialised and once the spotlight of international attention went elsewhere the rich countries started to pull back on their promises and started to vaccinate their own populations, including very young children and also started pumping more of the stuff into the arms of the vulnerable. The recognised fact that by not dealing with a pandemic on a world wide scale the risk of more virulent variants arising – even though a recognised and accepted fact by many – and coming to bite the rich in the arse was forgotten/ignored and those politicians (and countries) just crossed their fingers and hoped it wouldn’t happen. Not having a proper strategy, even after more than two and a half years into the pandemic, that was all they could do.

Instead of spending money on vaccinating the whole of the world’s population (many parts of the which only the likes of 10% of the population have even had just one shot of any of the vaccines) the ‘civilised and sophisticated’ ‘west’ decided to pour billions into the pockets of weapons manufacturers and in so doing were able to perpetuate the war in eastern Europe. More than six months into the conflict none of the western leaders has yet to utter any words about finding a peaceful way out of the conflict and are more concerned on punishing (with the hope of destroying) Russia – both its president and its people.

That aim has not gone too well and, in fact, many of their actions have rebounded in a spectacular manner. Sanctions which were supposed to bring Russia to its knees are having a more deleterious effect on those imposing them, especially when it comes to energy and food.

And this will have a potentially dramatic effect if the pandemic comes back with a vengeance in the next few months.

It didn’t take too long for the statistics to show that the covid-19 virus was having a disproportionate effect on the poorest in the community. (This should never be a surprise. ALL diseases find a welcome host amongst the poor, be it in Britain or any other country in the world. When the rich get affected it’s the exception that proves the rule.)

What is already being predicted is that a sizeable proportion of the population will have a stark choice of either eating or heating. Lacking either of those necessities will have an adverse effect on peoples’ health. They will also be more than likely to share a smaller space – so close contact will become the norm, with there being few opportunities to ‘socially distance’. And no one will be keeping windows open to allow a free circulation of air. Added to that there will be no money available to help people survive the economic crisis as there was in 2020 and 2021 – all the ‘available’ money is going to buy killing machines for eastern Europe.

The same incompetents who were unable to come up with a strategy to deal with the pandemic are the same ones who are following an anti-Russian agenda for political reasons and have no concern of the consequences upon their own populations.

Ending the war should be a priority for many reasons, the threat of a runaway pandemic in the winter being only one of them. Wrapping themselves in the flag of Ukraine will not really keep people warm and healthy.

Where did the pandemic start?

The covid lab leak theory is dead. Here’s how we know the virus came from a Wuhan market.

Covid deaths

Number of UK covid deaths passes 200,000, ONS data shows. Figures show deaths per capita are above European average, at 2,689 per million people.


How the new ‘bivalent’ booster will target omicron

Covid vaccines are linked to heavier periods for many

Vaccine policy worldwide

Yet more medically bogus covid vaccine profiteering: requiring ‘primary’ covid shots to get Omicron ‘booster.


New covid variants could emerge from animals or from people with chronic infections – but it’s not cause for panic.

The tide of the covid pandemic is going out – but that doesn’t mean big waves still can’t catch us.

Past covid ‘strategies’

Did Sweden’s controversial covid strategy pay off? In many ways it did – but it let the elderly down

Possible infection

Masks and free tests may not curb omicron spread – here’s what we should focus on instead

Measuring infection rates

Wastewater surveillance has become a critical covid tracking tool but funding is inconsistent. [This is in the US but the issue will, almost certainly, be the same in the UK.]

The pandemic in the world

Enduring colonialism has made it harder to end the covid-19 pandemic.

Mask wearing

Face masks affect how children understand speech differently from adults

Global vaccine passport regime

OECD members just met in Ibiza to discuss creating a global vaccine passport regime. On the same day as the OECD meeting, the governments of 21 African countries quietly embraced a vaccine passport system, which will apparently link up with other global systems.

The state of the NHS

NHS vacancies in England at ‘staggering’ new high as almost 10% of posts empty. Quarterly figures show 132,139 roles were vacant at end of June, including more than 46,000 nurse posts .

Long Covid

Long covid: why it’s so hard to tell how many people get it.

Long covid and the labour market, published by the Institute for Fiscal Studiesbriefing note and/or full report.

Hair loss and lower libido among long covid symptoms.

Risk of diabetes and heart disease is higher after infection – but maybe only temporarily.

With no treatment options, it’s little wonder people are seeking unproven therapies like ‘blood washing’.

Covid ‘heroes’

UK’s covid heroes among hardest hit by cost of living crisis

Covid and mental health

We studied how covid affects mental health and brain disorders up to two years after infection – here’s what we found

Poverty in Britain

Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2022, a study carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studieskey findings and/or full report.

Education Inequalities – a chapter from the Deaton Review, published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, executive summary and/or full chapter.

Going without – deepening poverty in the UK, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, full briefing.

Financial Impact Tracker, July 2022, published by abrdn Financial Fairness Trust together with the University of Bristol found that nearly 60% increase in UK households are in serious financial difficulties, summary and/or full report.

Arrears Fears, a report published by the Resolution Foundation, in partnership with the abrdn Financial Fairness Trust, found that the UK’s wealth gaps has grown to over £1.2 million, summary and/or full report.

The CentrePoint Report – Young, homeless and hungry; the impact of food insecurity on vulnerable young people, published in July 2022, found that almost half of 16-25 year olds are going to bed hungry – summary and comments and/or full report.

A report by the CentrePoint homeless charity (Food or heat; the impossible decision for homeless young people following the £20 Universal Credit cut) found that the government’s cut in the £20 additional amount to Universal Credit during the height of the pandemic disproportionately affected the under 25s.

Energy crisis: UK households worst hit in western Europe, finds IMF.

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Ukraine – what you’re not told

The war on covid replaced by the war on Russia

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

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.


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.


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


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?

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

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

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

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.


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.

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Ukraine – what you’re not told