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?

The more we know the less we learn

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

The more we know the less we learn

One of the principal paradoxes of present day society is that the more we know the less we learn. The most obvious example of this is that although the fact that capitalism has not, does not and will not benefit the vast majority of the population of the planet that vast majority still allows capitalism to exist. We see it also in the approach, throughout the world, to the climate emergency and it has been demonstrated in countless ways in virtually every country in the world for the last couple of year – since it was recognised that the world was about to face a severe pandemic with the covid virus, news of which was becoming generally known exactly two years ago.

A pandemic such as covid-19 doesn’t respect borders and the very nature of the infection means that once you know of its existence – even if, at first, only in one place, one country (however far away it might be) it has already arrived. If this fact was not accepted two years ago it had been (at least by some of the ‘scientific community’) when the omicron variant appeared in Southern Africa at the beginning of December 2021. Many countries banned travellers from that part of the world but cases of the variant started to appear everywhere and now, in a very short time, the omicron variant is now the dominant one – kicking delta way off the stage.

However, the response to this new variant by the ‘richer’ countries of the world (and their populations) wasn’t that there should be an increased effort to make vaccines available to those in the poor parts of the world where vaccination levels barely reach into double percentage points but that the richer countries should vaccinate even more of their population (in terms of age) and more often. Now some people have received three vaccinations in less than a year and still there is no guarantee that this will suffice. And ‘they’ – the establishment who are bumbling their way through the crisis – wonder why there is an increasing number of people who are sceptical about accepting that they should be vaccinated at all.

So almost two years into the pandemic (that still has no visible end in sight) countries which should have been working in concert are continuing to ‘go it alone’ and do what seems to various government’s to be the most secure thing to do for their political futures – the ending of the pandemic not really coming into it. There’s still no strategy within country let alone on an international level.

Borders are closed to those from countries which are seen as posing a risk because infection rates are high yet that sort of statistic can change in a matter of days. It doesn’t have any real impact upon infection rates in country and is more to do with historic spats between countries than any idea of ‘following the science’. Such is the case of countries in Europe keeping out foreign visitors. Are we expected to believe that the closing of France to British visitors has nothing to do with Britain closing Britain to French visitors earlier in the year and the bitter wrangling that has been going on over Britain’s departure from the European Union for the best part of a year now?

At ‘best’ this is merely tribalism at worse it’s just a group of petulant children taking their ball away as they can’t get their own way. However, in the process more and more people are suffering – either directly from the virus or the increasing damage caused by the disruption to all societies due to poor leadership.

An extreme example of the pettiness of this approach (as well as the redundancy of narrow-minded nationalism) is demonstrated at present in the insignificant group of islands that sit on the Atlantic coast of Europe. There are supposed to be four ‘nations’ in the United Kingdom yet at the end of 2021 they are all following very distinctive and different approaches to the pandemic. Presumably they are all ‘following the science’ but that science is providing hugely disparate answers. Each of the ‘nationalities’ seek to show that they are the ones in control, they are the ones who decide, that they really ‘care’ for their populations. Therefore the message is far from clear and then there is surprise when people ‘break the rules’. (It should also be remembered that these restrictions are coming in at a time when reports of rule breaking by those in government during the course of last year are still fresh in people’s memories.)

The principal method most governments have used to gain compliance with their diktats is by creating a climate of fear – a fear of the ‘other’, the ‘foreign’, something which isn’t us. Mostly from outside of national boundaries but also, at times within countries. The problem isn’t so much that the government has failed to deal with the issue in a proper manner it’s that there are some within society who don’t tow the line and therefore put all of society at risk.

Some of those tactics may (possibly) have reduced infections but as they were not accompanied by a real strategic approach to the problem the possible breathing space they provided was wasted – and will be wasted in the future. Each time these tactics are introduced and fail the consequences for many become worse and the knock on effects will be seen for many years to come. Poverty, inequality on all kinds of levels, advances that have been trumpeted in recent years are all being lost and with the almost certain introduction of some form of ‘austerity’ that will follow the pandemic such ‘advances’ are unlikely to be regained any time soon.

This blog was asking in March of 2020 that, surely, there must be better ways to deal with a pandemic that was more efficient and effective than the tactics used seven hundred years ago when people were ignorant of what was happening and put much of their ills down to the will of whatever god different peoples believed in? But no, there isn’t.

With all the knowledge that has been accumulated over the centuries, with improvements in scientific knowledge and the techniques that exist to prolong life, with all the developments in technology, the world has proven itself to be as stupid and ignorant as we were in the 14th century when the Black Death spread through Asia and Europe.

The vaccination programme in Britain …..

A year of covid vaccines: how the UK pinned its hopes on the jab – and why those hopes are under threat.

Three ways to improve the uptake of Covid vaccines by ethnic minority groups in the UK.

….. and the rest of the world

Cuba’s covid vaccines: the limited data available suggests they’re highly effective.

US panel recommends J&J shots be sidelined after clot deaths.

Cuba defeats covid-19 with learning, science, and unity.

Experts identify 100 plus firms to make covid-19 mRNA vaccines.

The omicron variant

Vaccines should work against micron variant, WHO says.

Omicron study suggests major wave in January.

Omicron might evade antibodies – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have immunity.

Omicron: evidence shows it evades immunity from earlier infection more than other variants.

Omicron and covid boosters: everything you need to know.

The Omicron Shame: Why is the world punishing instead of helping Africa?

How effective are vaccines against omicron? An epidemiologist answers 6 questions.

Omicron is likely to hit deprived areas the hardest.

Omicron may not be the final variant, but it may be the final variant of concern.

South African and UK hospitalisation data: what it tells us about how deadly omicron is.

Mortality rates

Why excess deaths have varied so greatly around the world during the pandemic.

The U.S. experience: racism and covid-19 mortality.

Other ways to deal with covid

Vaccines are necessary, but not sufficient without better healthcare and ventilation.

Testing

Rapid lateral flow home testing kits have run out on government’s website.

Do lateral flow tests detect omicron?

Covid-19 home testing kits: should we be worried about their environmental impact?

‘Collateral damage’

Britain’s drinking deaths rose at record rate in pandemic.

Covid litter: we mapped discarded masks and gloves in 11 countries with the help of citizen science.

Half the world’s people could be at greater risk of malaria if control efforts do not improve.

The impact of covid-19 on the mental health of children and young people in the UK.

The impact of school closures: why reception year is so crucial to a child’s development.

Some schools struggling to stay open as covid cases rise.

Where are all the missing hospital patients?

A year of covid: the evolution of labour market and financial inequalities through the crisis.

England hospital units may close as staff revolt over jab mandate.

How covid is transmitted

How the disease moves through the air.

Covid ‘passports’

Covid passes: they can’t prevent every infection but do make events safer.

Head to Head: the ethics of vaccine passports and covid passes.

Poverty in Britain

Ayrshire charity CHAP reports increased demand for debt advice.

21% and rising: fury grows as credit card rates hit new high.

Hazardous private renting conditions costing NHS £340 million a year.

Why working from home leaves the lowest paid at more risk of infection.

New report uncovers reality of being homeless and working in Britain.

Inflation is pushing people deeper into poverty.

2021 annual report on education spending in England – basically education has been hit with so many cuts over the years it’s not able to carry out the task it was designed to do.

227,000 households across Britain experiencing worst forms of homelessness.

Poverty in the World

The World Inequality Report 1922 has just been published. The Executive Summary, the Full Report.

One rule for us, a different rule for ‘them’

Downing Street Christmas party: political communication expert on four key takeaways from leaked Allegra Stratton video.

No 10 [Downing Street, the Buffoon’s official residence in central London] says garden photo shows PM and staff having work meetings.

Trump Scottish golf resorts claimed over £3 million in furlough.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?