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?

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?

The end of the pandemic in Britain?

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

The end of the pandemic in Britain?

There’s definitely a feeling, generally throughout the country (in England if not on the other ‘three nations’ of the ‘United Kingdom’) the the covid pandemic is all but over. Restrictions that had been in place over the change of year will all but disappear by this time next week and the country will be entering February in as close a situation of normality as it has been since march 2020.

And, in general, that has to be welcomed. The levels of ‘collateral damage’ have been constantly rising and many of the consequences will be with us for a long time to come.

It doesn’t mean that infections won’t still spread amongst the population and that some people won’t die attributed to the virus – but then needless deaths every year from flu had become accepted for decades. Whether the country will be able to keep on top of what is now being described as an endemic virus is another matter.

The circumstances which meant the virus was able to take hold in the first place in what boasts to be a civilised country are still in place. The health service is stretched to the utmost and making vaccination obligatory is likely to cause even more staff shortages in the coming months. This is all on top of a service that had been seriously under-funded for decades as successive British governments, of whatever political colour, had assisted in the growing privatisation of health in this country. Whatever the ‘reasons’ given for policy changes the ultimate result was more money going onto private hands.

At the time of writing the Buffoon is ‘on the ropes’ as his pathetic lies and excuses become weaker and more ‘revelations’ appear in the media. The fact that he would tell the vast majority of the population to follow certain rules and all his cronies would do what they wanted has been obvious from the very start. The crass situation of Dominic Cummings and his driving eye test is only one example of where the Buffoon considered that all he had to do was to bluff it out. The fact that Cummings is now going for the jugular shouldn’t surprise anyone, least of all the Buffoon – after all that’s the society in which he has lived all his life.

Using the fact that the British population has the memory span of a may fly the Buffoon and his allies are trying to present the incompetent and blithering idiot (have you ever been forced to listen to him when he has to think on his feet – he can barely string two coherent words together, in this like the fascist Churchill who was very clever when he had time to think but not so good in responding when he knew he was in the wrong) as some ‘pandemic hero’.

Forgotten are the innumerable U-turns; the confusion that has accompanied virtually ever policy change; the failures to react in a coherent and organised manner at the beginning; the corruption that has accompanied the awarding of billions of pounds of contracts to friends and political supporters; the lack of any control and monitoring of any monies given out in an effort to mitigate the effects of all these failings and, still to this day, any real and coherent strategy to deal with this pandemic if it comes back to bite us or any other waiting around the corner.

Being generous with money that doesn’t cost you anything is hardly a difficult thing to do. And the fact that many of the people who still see the Buffoon as some sort of saviour in the last two years will come a cropper in the coming years as the bill demand to be paid – whether it’s a real debt that the country should pay is not something to go into here, but which is worth thinking about – should not be ignored.

And even if the sceptred isle is out of the worse that still doesn’t mean the rest of the world can say the same. Failings in providing protection to the vast majority of the world’s population will not just go away. The variants at the moment aren’t too threatening. It doesn’t mean the next one will be the same. Then complacency will take its toll in countries like the UK.

Vaccination programme in Britain …..

Covid jab offered to five to 11-year-old children in Ireland – and when one part of the sceptr’d isle ‘leads’ the rest will soon follow. They’ll be proposing to vaccinate babies in the womb next.

Vaccines for all every four to six months not needed. A couple of short quotes;

‘It really is not affordable, sustainable or probably even needed to vaccinate everyone on the planet every four to six months’ …. ‘We haven’t even managed to vaccinate everyone in Africa with one dose so we’re certainly not going to get to a point where fourth doses for everyone is manageable.’

Maidstone mother drives to Italy to get daughter jabbed – the child was probably taking a greater risk in being driven all that way than she would have been from the virus unvaccinated.

No need for a fourth covid jab yet.

Why people who refuse to get vaccinated should not have lesser healthcare rights.

Lack of trust in public figures linked to covid vaccine hesitancy.

…. and the rest of the world

As the vaccination programmes cover more and more of the population in the richer countries (reducing the age at which vaccinations are given and having an unlimited number of ‘booster’ vaccinations when a new variant appears) the rest of the world gets pushed further and further down the list of priorities.

Israel Omicron spike could bring herd immunity but with risks – and they are trying out a 4th vaccination whilst at the same time having no concern for the Palestinian population.

The global north’s vaccine charity is a sham.

Why isn’t the world vaccinated as omicron spreads like wildfire? Blame rich countries.

US science teacher arrested for vaccinating 17-year-old student.

Wealthy states and pharma companies catastrophically failed to ensure equal access to vaccines in 2021.

A Texas team comes up with a covid vaccine that could be a global game changer.

Omicron may reach millions before vaccines do – but that doesn’t mean race to vaccinate the world is over.

Profits Over People: Why weren’t the vaccine manufacturers nationalized?

The background to one strand of the covid vaccines

Halting progress and happy accidents: How mRNA vaccines were made.

The omicron variant

Faroe Islands super spreader event: why transmission among the triple-vaxxed shouldn’t alarm you.

Why does omicron appear to cause less severe disease than previous variants?

What are the symptoms of omicron?

Omicron: viral load can be at its highest at day five so cutting isolation period doesn’t make sense.

Where to go to catch covid

Here’s where (and how) you are most likely to catch covid.

The end in sight?

Britain ‘will be among first’ to emerge from covid pandemic.

End of Covid pandemic is ‘in sight’ but ‘difficult months ahead’.

Testing

How rapid tests changed the pandemic.

How to make sense of the UK’s new testing rules – this will likely to be very quickly out of date but it just goes to show how chaotic things are/were getting on for two years into the pandemic.

Other tactics to deal with covid

Covid is caused by a virus – so why are researchers treating it with antibiotics?

T-cells: the superheroes in the battle against omicron.

Mask wearing

Hundreds of maskless London Underground passengers fined.

Mask refusals in some of England’s secondary schools spark parents’ concern.

Poverty in Britain

Yet another report, this time by the abrdn Financial Fairness Trust and University of Bristol, demonstrates that it was the poorest in British society who have paid the biggest price for the pandemic. Although those more ‘well off’ were protected, by such schemes as furlough and support for the self-employed, those who were getting little before the beginning of 2020 have got even less in the two years since. The Summary and the Full Report.

Another report by the abrdn Financial Fairness Trust looks at the issue of young people having to live with their parents. There are some positives but also a lot of negatives – especially for the poorer section of society. Living with parents where there is no Bank of Mum and Dad – the Report.

70% of people in Scotland are worried about unaffordable energy bills in 2022.

New data shows covid will continue to have a negative financial impact on many UK households.

The cost of living crunch.

UK: Temporary accommodation violates children’s rights.

The Joseph Rowntree Trust has just published its latest report, UK Poverty 2022: The essential guide to understanding poverty in the UK – the Findings; the Full Report.

Rising energy bills to ‘devastate’ poorest families.

The rich continue to get richer

Wealth of world’s 10 richest men doubled in pandemic.

Corruption in high places

Government fast track for ‘VIP’ PPE suppliers ruled unlawful by court – but, as with the so-called ‘Pandora’s Box’ revelations last year, little is likely to come of it.

The world gone mad

Texas teacher ‘locked covid-positive son in car boot

Collateral damage

Why this should come as a surprise is a surprise to me. After all the home is the most dangerous place. Thee were probably countless other, minor injuries,n not requiring hospitalisation, that have occurred in the last couple of years but which have not been, and never will be, recorded. Thousands needed hospital treatment after lock down DIY.

Growing numbers of people are seeking advice on mortgage arrears in Scotland – and, as always, that means the problem will be replicated in the other parts of the UK.

Covid fallout hit farmers hard – they need better mental health support.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) – Charity warns of surge in cases of young children’s breathing illness this winter.

Languishing: what to do if you’re feeling restless, apathetic or empty.

The dominance of the covid pandemic over the last couple of years brings with it the danger that we forget that people are dying, in their millions, every year due to diseases and other reasons which are, in a ‘caring’ world, would be avoidable. The silent pandemic: drug-defying superbugs become a leading cause of death.

Antimicrobial resistance now causes more deaths than HIV/AIDS and malaria worldwide.

Insurance CEO says deaths up 40% [in USA] among working age people, and it’s not just covid.

…. or not?

Lock down schooling: research from across the world shows reasons to be hopeful.

‘Life after covid’

Most people don’t want a return to normal – they want a fairer, more sustainable future.

The ‘good’ that has come from the pandemic

How covid-19 transformed genomics and changed the handling of disease outbreaks forever.

An underlying problem

What’s driving the UK’s shortage of medical doctors?

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?