The final chapter in the Journal of the Plague Year 2020-2023? Perhaps.

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The final chapter in the Journal of the Plague Year 2020-2023? Perhaps.

The expected/predicted/feared increase in covid-19 infections and deaths didn’t happen (at least in the UK) at the end of 2022 start of 2023. Or if it did then the news was kept quiet. What might have happened in the rest of the world is of no real import (especially in the now called ‘Global South’) as for the majority in the more wealthy countries those people are no more than a source of raw materials but otherwise a nuisance.

If in the UK the State didn’t have to deal with another outbreak this last winter that didn’t mean the time was spent usefully. Everyone involved in ‘managing’ the pandemic from the beginning of 2020 has been spending their time covering their backs and pushing the blame on to others – it doesn’t matter who.

The Buffoon blustered his way through yet another unconvincing litany of lies and obfuscations in an attempt to regain the premiership but, by all accounts, even the idiots who have supported his antics in the past weren’t inspired and, with luck, we have seen the end of him at the ‘top’ of British politics. However, nothing can be guaranteed. The British electorate, on more than one occasion, has shown itself more than capable of acting totally illogically and against its own interests.

If the present pandemic is no longer ‘with us’ (although it seems to have become universally accepted that we will ‘have to learn with it’) what hasn’t changed is any preparedness for the next one. There was not a scintilla of strategy in the dealing with the virus in the last three years and there’s little chance that the next one (not if but when) will be treated any differently.

If the State ‘s not doing anything it is hoped that the numerous posts that have appeared in this ‘Journal of the Plague Years 2020-2023’ (finally, definitively, named) can be used as a reference when the next one hits. Although any official ‘enquiry’ will go into thousands of pages and will cost a small fortune there is little doubt it will reach any truly useful conclusions.

If, as Karl Marx said; ‘History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce’ what’s the sequence when the first appearance was a farce?

In this last post in the Journal the references are more for interest than anything else. Some of the articles will have become outdated soon after they were published – and long before appearing on this page – but they indicate the type of thinking at the time. They are included for the potential historical worth they might provide.

Volume Two of the Journal will start to appear once the next pandemic hits. Until then this is the end.

[N.B.] Many of the links below are to articles published by The Conversation. Although I have been referencing that site and its articles since the earliest days of the pandemic I have started to question some of its assertions. This comes not from doubts I might have had about what they have published in reference to the pandemic (although I might have to add a caveat to anything I’ve pointed you to in the past, on reflection) but the almost slavish acceptance it has shown to anything coming out of the Ukrainian Propaganda Unit in Kiev. Many of The Conversation’s ‘contribution’ to the debate about the conflict has often lacked any relationship to reality (as far as I’m concerned). Now, whether they have the same approach to the pandemic I’m not sure. As always, in all these circumstances, it is necessary to follow the money. ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’.

Pandemic UK 2020-21

The journalist-run, intelligence-linked operation that warped British pandemic policy.

Genetics might explain why some people have never had covid – but we shouldn’t be too focused on finding out.

Pandemic UK 2022-23

Our third covid Christmas – here’s how things might play out.

Covid in 2023 and beyond – why virus trends are more difficult to predict three years on.

Covid pandemic: three years on and nobody wants to talk about it – here’s why we should.

Three years on, the covid pandemic may never end – but the public health impact is becoming more manageable.

Does covid really damage your immune system and make you more vulnerable to infections? The evidence is lacking.

The Pandemic in the rest of the world

Biden ‘vax-only’ strategy of mass infection lies in ruins, destroyed by vaccine escape, immune dysregulation.

Working women helped prevent greater pandemic disaster.

What effect will lunar new year have on covid spread in China? Our modelling shows most people have already been infected.


Covid: unvaccinated people may be seen as ‘free riders’ and face discrimination.

Bivalent covid vaccines have now been in use for a few months – here’s how they’re stacking up against omicron

400% price hike of covid vaccine (at least in the USA, it will almost certainly be the same in the UK and the EU) – Moderna’s expected 400% hike for its covid vaccine sparked outrage on Capitol Hill.

I bonded with covid vaccine sceptics over saunas and Mother Earth rituals – this is what they taught me.

Antibiotics are being inappropriately prescribed for covid, increasing the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Why the UK needs to rethink its decision to stop boosters for young and healthy people.

Raises for Moderna, Pfizer CEOs highlight continuing trend.


Could the common cold give children immunity against covid?

Origin of the virus

What to make of new findings linking the virus to raccoon dogs.

Covid, bird flu, mpox – a virologist on why we’re seeing so many viruses emerge.

Vaccine mandates

The ethics of covid-19 vaccine mandates: where do we stand and where should we go regarding social and biomedical responses to pandemic?

Infection survey

The ONS has published its final covid infection survey – here’s why it’s been such a valuable resource.


Where is the next covid variant, pi? A virologist explains why omicron is continuing to dominate.

The ‘kraken’ covid variant XBB.1.5 is rising quickly in the US – here’s what it could mean for the UK.

‘Collateral’ damage

How covid can disturb your sleep and dreams – and what could help.

Children lost one-third of a year’s learning to covid, new study shows – but we need to think about the problem differently.

How covid lockdowns triggered changes in peregrine falcon diets – and what this means for urban pest control.

Covid drugs

Covid drugs: the UK’s treatment and prevention options and how vulnerable people are being forgotten.

Poverty in Britain

Going under and without: Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s cost of living tracker, winter 2022/23, full report.

Tory MPs’ rent expenses soar as they inflict real-terms housing benefit cut.

How Boris Johnson raked in £5m in 6 months after leaving office.

Long covid

Long covid stemmed from mild cases of covid-19 in most people.

Here’s what it’s like trying to access healthcare for the condition.

Supporting a child with long covid – tips from parents of children living with the condition.

A range of diets are said to help manage symptoms – here’s what the evidence tells us.

Long covid: what we know about how the condition affects mental health.

Long covid linked to air pollution exposure in young adults.

More on covid pandemic 2020-23

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Ukraine – what you’re not told

Is the pandemic going to plague us for a third year?

More on covid pandemic 2020-23

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

Is the pandemic going to plague us for a third year?

Considering the covid pandemic dominated so many peoples’ lives for so long things, at least in the UK, have been very quiet in the last few months. Occasionally there will be a report by some ‘expert’ reminding people that covid is still around but there is definitely the general idea that ‘we are over the worse’. Whether or not that is the case time will tell. And if the clock is ticking the sound will get noisier from now on as winter definitely takes grip in the northern hemisphere and all the elements that the virus likes will come into play.

If there is any real mention of covid at the moment it is in relation to how the Chinese government has dealt with the matter. It’s ‘zero-covid’ policy is being used, by the western governments and its slavish media, as a stick to beat the Chinese authorities. As with the war in the Ukraine it’s regime change that the west is more concerned about and western governments rub their hands with glee in the hope that opposition to the strict lock down policy in China will rock the government and its leadership there.

Although considering the policy adopted in China has now been going on for too long and lacks an imaginative approach to the future (to a virus that has not gone away) it’s important to remind people what that policy has achieved. A little more than 5,000 people have died of covid in China – out of a population of 1,500,000. Many more than 100,000 have died in the UK – out of a population of 60 million. And it is estimated that in the region of a million people have died in the USA – out of a population of 300 million. These high levels of fatalities are similar in many countries in the so-called ‘developed world’. If the numbers speak then they are saying that the Chinese policy has been more concerned about the lives of its population that all the countries of the ‘west’.

Ever since I started the ‘Journal of the Plague Years 2020-20??’ the aim was to provide a record of how the challenge of dealing with the pandemic was being met throughout the world. When I started in early 2020 I, like most people, I’m sure, didn’t think it would go on for so long. That assumption was based upon ignorance. But even when we all had the ability to understand this virus more fully it still seems it has been around longer than it really should have been.

The flu pandemic that swept through the world in 1918-19 (mis-named Spanish Flu) was able to do its worst not least because a world war had made any attempts to deal with it that much more difficult (in the industrial countries) and the poverty that existed in so many countries as a consequence of colonialism had made what we now call the ‘Global South’ unable to cope with such a biological tsunami.

Surely, a hundred years later the sophisticated and technologically driven capitalist system would be able to cope with a simple virus much more effectively? But that wasn’t going to happen as it was a capitalist system which was in control. What we do know what happened is that huge amounts of money was put into the pockets of gangsters, thieves and fraudsters – only the exact quantity is unknown. And at the start of the third year of the pandemic most countries still haven’t come up with a workable strategy.

In the UK those aspects of life that were identified as being crucial in the spread of the virus, as well as the incidents of death, are still with us – probably even more so as we approach 2023 as we did at the beginning of 2020.

ALL diseases and pandemics will always effect the poor and the vulnerable the most. The levels of poverty in Britain were, in many ways, hidden prior to March 2020 but as the pandemic swept through the population it became obvious who were most at risk. (Many of the posts published here attempted to point out that situation in one of the richest countries in the world.) In the last two years that situation has only gotten worse for all the reasons that everyone should be aware. On top of that the NHS in Britain is probably less well equipped to deal with another major outbreak if it should occur in the next few months – that is despite the expensive vaccination programme (although not for the vast majority of the people in the ‘Global South’) and the vastly increased knowledge about how the virus functions.

In this present post I publish a number of articles I have come across over the quiet interregnum of the last few months. The aim of these posts was never to be an up-to-date story of the pandemic, more a place to find a record of what was said, what was done and the mistakes and failings that were made by those we have foolishly allowed to rule us.

Time and events might have made some of these links a little antiquated or irrelevant but are included here for the above reason.

The future frequency of these posts will depend upon how well the virus has been able to circumvent the aimless and uncoordinated antics of the world’s governments.


Better covid vaccines are on the way. What do they do? And what technology might we see in future?

Five reasons why young people should get a covid booster vaccine – keep on vaccinating the rich whilst ignoring the rest of the world.

An annual booster like the flu shot could be the way forward – and the rest of the world has still yet to be fully vaccinated ONCE.

What next-gen covid-19 vaccines might look like.

Inhalable and nasal vaccines could offer more durable protection than regular shots.

We measured vaccine confidence pre-pandemic and in 2022 – it’s declined considerably.

Should people under 50 in the UK be offered a fourth dose?

Vaccine policy worldwide

Pfizer REFUSES to share vaccines with other researchers.

EU hypocrisy hits dizzying new heights as Commission’s scandal-tarnished President pledges to wage global fight on corruption.

The origins of the pandemic

US biotech cartel behind covid origins and cover-up.

Coronavirus origins: the debate flares up, but the evidence remains weak.


Covid-19 rapid tests can breed confusion – here’s how to make sense of the results and what to do, according to 3 testing experts.

Unintended consequences of covid and/or the vaccines

Covid or covid vaccination can cause dermal fillers to swell up

The economic impact of covid in the UK depended on where you live.

The pandemic worldwide

The covid debacle rolls on.

The scientific response to covid-19: what does the biomedical literature say?

Covid pandemic created immunisation gaps in Africa. Over half a million children are at risk.

The WHO has advised against the use of two antibody therapies against covid – here’s what that means.

How Bill Gates and partners used their clout to control the global covid response — with little oversight.

The Lancet Commission on Lessons for the Future from the covid-19 Pandemic: A Critical Review.

Mask wearing – the experience of

Maskstravaganza: mask fit, mask manufacturing, masks on the movie set.

Effects of the ‘first waves’

Has the pandemic changed our personalities? New research suggests we’re less open, agreeable and conscientious.

Covid has taken a greater toll on mental health among people from ethnic minorities – sadly this is no surprise

The risk of seizures and epilepsy is higher after covid than after the flu.

Young people without access to a computer had poorer mental health during the pandemic.

High blood pressure linked to 22% greater risk of severe covid.

Six common covid myths busted by a virologist and a public health expert.

The Pandemic in the UK in 2020-21

How Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in England were stretched to cope with the pandemic.

Austerity led to twice as many excess UK deaths as previously thought – here’s what that means for future cuts.

Covid inquiry: the UK government’s pandemic response was often not ‘guided by the science’ – yet now scientists are under fire.

Parental beliefs, perceived health risks, and time investment in children: evidence from covid-19. Working paper from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The Pandemic in the UK in 2022 – 23

Covid cases are rising in England – here’s how things might play out as we move towards winter.

Covid and the cost of living crisis are set to collide this winter – the fallout will be greatest for the most vulnerable.

Covid, flu, RSV – how this triple threat of respiratory viruses could collide this winter.


Another new covid variant is spreading – here’s what we know about omicron BA.4.6.

XBB and BQ.1: what we know about these two omicron ‘cousins’.

Alert level

UK’s covid alert level downgraded – the move makes sense for now but things can always change.

‘Long’ covid

New cases of severe long covid appear to be dropping – and vaccination is probably key.

Long covid stigma may encourage people to hide the condition.

Overweight women may be at highest risk of long covid.

NHS Waiting lists

Forget the pandemic, ‘NHS decline is to blame’ for record waiting lists.

The Buffoon (now fortunately gone) and the pandemic

Boris Johnson’s pandemic legacy – where he went wrong managing covid (and some things he got right). [But not many ‘right’ – included due to the bizarre attitude in Britain to ‘impartiality’.]

Excess deaths

Summer 2022 saw thousands of excess deaths in England and Wales – here’s why that might be.

We were told to ‘stay home’ to stop covid. Then our homes became disease hotspots.

The next pandemic

5 virus families that could cause the next pandemic, according to the experts.

Poverty in Britain

Thousands of children treated for malnutrition in Scotland.

Universal free school meals would make a huge difference to the cost-of-living crisis.

Health inequalities.

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Ukraine – what you’re not told

How anti-Russian sanctions will feed the pandemic

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

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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