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

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Ukraine – what you’re not told

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

How anti-Russian sanctions will feed the pandemic

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

View of the world

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.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

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Ukraine – what you’re not told

Covid – a thing of the past, or just biding its time?

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

Covid – a thing of the past, or just biding its time?

Considering the pandemic dominated all and every aspect of life worldwide for the best part of two years you wouldn’t know that in Britain towards the end of May 2022. All restrictions have been abolished in all parts of the sceptred isle and the ‘new normal’ is very much like the old normal, i.e., how it was before March 2020.

So as far as the majority of the population – as well as the politicians who have so ineffectively managed the pandemic from the very start – the pandemic is a thing of the past, or so they hope.

Whether that is the case remains to be seen. Although covid doesn’t seem to really fit in with viruses the likes of influenza – that seem to like the winter months – it is still around in the spring/summer months even though infection and related numbers are down.

Even if the summer is a time of respite (not guaranteed) what are the prospects for the future?

Have lessons been learnt from the past two years? Almost certainly not. The quick arrival of an effective (although not foolproof) vaccine pulled most governments out of the mire into which they had dug themselves. But after two years there was never even the hint of a strategy that could be followed in the event of this, or another virus, coming back to cause havoc.

Even the lesson that it was the poorest in society who would be more adversely effected by any pandemic (surprise, surprise) and which could end up being the epicentre of a future outbreak have not been given any assistance which could prevent such a circumstance arising. The fact that the links provided in these posts – from the very beginning more than two years ago – make reference to poverty in Britain, and continue to do so, only goes to show that that particular lesson has not been learnt, or even worse, just ignored.

If there was to be a further outbreak in the winter then all indications are that the poorest people in society would be even less likely to stay at home if they were to catch the virus. They were in the past two years and will be (in the future) left with a choice of being ‘responsible’ or suffering real economic hardships.

The situation in the rest of the world is, in many respects, even more dire. Increases in food prices were causing problems even before the war in the Ukraine. That war didn’t cause the problem – that’s at the feet of capitalism – but it hasn’t made matters any better and the longer it goes on the worse its consequences will be. The number of countries that have been forced, through capitalist and imperialist policies over decades, to move away from any sort of food self-sufficiency means that hundreds of millions of people are reliant on food from other parts of the world, many of those countries also producing less – not least due to the consequences of the climate emergency.

Added to that the most powerful countries in the world (the US, the UK and the other European ‘powers’) have categorically refused to make any moves to relax patent rights so that various countries in what is now commonly known as the ‘global south’ can produce their own vaccines – and run out local programmes that are vital if the pandemic is to be brought under control. The short-sited thirst for even more profits by ‘Big Pharma’ is more important than the health of the world, even though by doing so this policy is placing those in the so-called ‘metropolitan’ countries in danger as well.

So, as they say, the world is facing a ‘perfect storm’ towards the end of this year. For their own imperialist interests the richer countries are spending billions on trying to humble Russia – whatever the consequences for their own populations (who have more constructive uses for such huge amounts of money) or the long-suffering of the ‘global south’.

But the erstwhile most powerful imperialists in the ‘west’ might have bitten off more than they can chew.

Already we are seeing signs of a realignment of forces worldwide. The hegemony of the US in particular, and the past influence of the other European countries (plus Japan and Australia), is being challenged. The vast majority of the world is starting to turn their backs (long overdue) on Europe/USA centrism. They are starting to see that their interest don’t rest with the old ‘colonial masters’. They have always betrayed their ex-colonies and seem incapable of doing any different. (Thoughts about this are explored in many of the links related to what we are not being told about the war in the Ukraine.)

On the assumption that the world is to survive this particular pandemic the outlook for the future could be very different from what it was considered to be at the end of 2019. Who would have though that such a small thing as a virus would have such an devastating effect on the supposed ‘sophisticated’ world in which we live?

But then, as has been said in these posts since March of 2020, the world – or at least those who are presently in control of it – haven’t really learnt anything more than was general knowledge at the time of the Black Death that spread through Asia and Europe almost seven hundred years ago.

Vaccination programme in Britain

My five-year-old is now eligible for a covid vaccine – should I get them immunised?

Covid vaccines: why second boosters are being offered to vulnerable people in the UK – but not young and healthy people yet.

The Valneva covid vaccine has been approved for use in the UK.

Investors lose vote to share covid vaccine know-how.

Testing for covid

Rising infections, no more free tests: how ‘living with covid’ could affect case numbers in England.


Herd immunity now seems impossible. Welcome to the age of Covid reinfection.

Haven’t had covid yet? It could be more than just luck.

Long term effects of the virus

Severe covid is equivalent to 20 years of ageing.

The pandemic in the world

Covid in Afghanistan: low vaccine coverage and a crumbling health system could trigger a humanitarian crisis.

Why the current surge in cases is a problem for some countries but not others.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is beholden to corporations and lost our trust. We need to start our own – the People’s CDC. The view form the USA.

We created the ‘Pandemicene’.

Covid-19 fourth wave: Delhi sees 40% jump in infections.

World death toll

World’s true pandemic death toll nearly 15 million.

Why India’s real covid death toll may never be known.

Covid variants

Omicron XE is spreading in the UK – a virologist explains what we know about this hybrid variant.

Poverty in Britain

Public not as concerned and sympathetic towards homelessness as 12 months ago.

Rishi Sunak accused of not doing enough for poorest households.

600,000 will be pulled into poverty as a result of Chancellor’s inaction – of which around a quarter are children.

Poverty in Northern Ireland 2022, is a study recently published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Full report.

Pushed to the Edge: Poverty, Food Banks and Mental Health, the full report.

‘You have to take it back to the bricks’: Reforming emergency support to reduce demand for food banks. Child Poverty Action Group report and executive summary.

The truth about the impact of UC cuts, Centrepoint report.

Nearly half of Scots have struggled with housing costs.

Cost of living crisis: Value of UK unemployment benefits see biggest fall in 50 years.

Food banks provide almost 200,000 parcels to people across Scotland in past year.

Growing gap in healthy life expectancy between poorest and richest in England.

Main out-of-work benefit sees its biggest drop in value in fifty years.

More than 2 million adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day.

Watchdog urged to step in as UK’s poorest turn off energy supply.

Universal credit deductions of up to 25% pushing people into poverty.

Further 250,000 UK households face destitution in 2023.

Poverty worldwide

A food crisis was brewing even before the Ukraine war – but taking these three steps could help the most vulnerable.

800 million, not 8.2 million; Africa’s covid toll 97 times higher than reported.

Collateral damage – worldwide

Covid closures still affecting 400 million pupils.

Measles: global increase in cases likely driven by covid pandemic.

Returning to ‘normal’

Disabled people are being left out of covid recovery.

Discharging hospital patients to care homes ‘unlawful’.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told