Covid: pick a side

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  • #73558 Reply

    eSARS-Cov2 is here to stay, I am afraid. No amount of optimism is going to eradicate it now. This train has left the station. The only way to have eradicated the virus would have been a short sharp proper lockdown with proper quarantine and isolation, proper financial support for those being isolated, ban on travel applied simultaneously across the world.
    Watching what is happening now with Euro 2020 you would think there is no raging pandemic, fans travelling around Europe spreading the delta variant efficiently, footballers group hugging and so on. Watching all this with rising numbers and politicians saying that all restrictions will be lifted by 19th July is like reliving a slow motion car crash.

    #73564 Reply
    michael norton

    Clark, I fear for Europe, they have virtually unlimited free movement of people, they think as covid -Alpha has eased off, it is all over.
    Covid-Delta is upticking, especially Spain, as they have far less vaccinations and far less testing and as they have released many rules, it will take off like many rockets – soon.

    #73565 Reply

    SA, I can’t see China ever accepting that argument. That’s nearly a fifth of the world’s population; barely a problem for them since April last year.

    Think of it like fire, which also spreads fast. Societies that take proper precautions and have vigilant fire departments will always do better than those who try to arrange an ongoing supply of fireproof suits to the entire population.

    #73566 Reply
    michael norton

    Clark, we are being asked to pick a side.
    I think that from 19/07/2021 the side the U.K. administration will pick,
    will be herd immunity.
    That, probably was always their plan.
    As I understand, herd immunity is a state whereby the virus has very little places to go.
    Meaning many old or immunocompromised people have already died, tens of thousands have been vaccinated, the young can mostly handle the virus.
    So, it will be open sesame on the nineteenth.

    #73567 Reply

    “I can’t see China ever accepting that argument.”

    Even if they don’t accept it what can China do about it? They cannot enforce their methods on the entire world’s population. I have to agree with SA, the genie is out of the bottle. Looking at the UK graphs hospitalisations and ventilated patients are about the same as they were in the last week of September last year with four times the number of positive cases. I don’t know if that reflects a reason for optimism or better testing or that cases are higher in the younger age groups. Deaths are at about half the level they were at that time.

    Vaccinations appear to be having some effect but there are caveats. Globally vaccinations are not rolled out equally and those areas with little vaccination will become a reservoir for infections. There is a question as to how long immunity afforded by vaccines will last. Even in the UK with one of the highest vaccination levels there is a large pool of infected people. Delta will mutate into epsilon, zeta etc and the larger the pools of infections are the more likely that is to happen.

    In the midst of all this we are globally at a time where co-operation between countries is almost at it lowest setting ever. This is a catastrophic failing on behalf of Euro/USA/UK governments. It’s mind bogglingly short sighted. What a bunch of assholes.

    #73568 Reply

    On thinking more about that, those countries with higher levels of vaccination and high numbers of infected people may well be encouraging the virus to mutate into some form more resistant to vaccine mediated immunty.

    #73569 Reply

    on a tangental note, China has been certified as malaria free by the WHO. Perhaps some of the techniques they learned have been applied to SARS-COV-2.

    “At the same time, we are also eager to learn what lessons we can from the achievements of other cultures, and welcome helpful suggestions and constructive criticism. We will not, however, accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us. “

    #73576 Reply

    MN: “Clark, we are being asked to pick a side.”

    Only an idiot would make such a request, and why should anyone comply with it?

    Only an idiot thinks everything is a great chance to make it an “Us Vs Them” fight, a chance to divide individuals, families and countries, so that one “side” can go slinging insults and build a case against the “other”.

    You would have to be even more stupid to be so committed to your “side” that you’re willing to use any propaganda, lies, highly dubious sources, pseudo-science, and even jump into bed with deeply unpleasant far-right movements – just because you think it furthers your “side”. Even to the point of complete dishonesty, stating provable falsehoods without having the decency to admit it once it’s so blatantly apparent. This is what anti-vaxxers and denialists do as a matter of course.

    It’s really sad that such idiots are so common.

    #73578 Reply

    “On thinking more about that, those countries with higher levels of vaccination and high numbers of infected people may well be encouraging the virus to mutate into some form more resistant to vaccine mediated immunity.”

    Exactly, perfect breeding ground for mutations. Although it may be that each further mutation may be attenuated such that it is not lethal, it may still remain highly contagious and cause a high level of morbidity and sequelae such as long covid. And of course the interchange of variants from different countries may result in hybrid variants that are more virulent and more vaccine resistant on the other hand. It really doesn’t look good.

    #73579 Reply

    It really does beggar belief that such people exist and feel not only so much more knowledgeable than the scientists, and are so patronizing to the sheeple. There is no limit to self delusion.
    J only visits to tell us how badly done by he is because we do not take his word for what he can clearly see because he gleaned this insight, not visible to us, from self appointed pundits who have often not even worked in the field they comment on.

    #73599 Reply
    michael norton


    “Portuguese health authorities this week reported a “vertiginous” rise in the prevalence of the delta variant, which accounted for only 4% of cases in May but almost 56% in June. The country is reporting its highest number of daily cases since February”

    Almost certainly from when Portugal was put on the U.K. Green-List
    The U.K. has very high rates of Delta as there is a large population of ethic Indians living in U.K.
    U.K. residents get Green Light to travel to Portugal, guess what, they give Delta to Portugese residents.

    #73602 Reply

    In all fairness to UK, Portugal is just as culpable. They reason that the tourist revenue supersedes the risk of delta variant transmission. It’s bizarre. As was mentioned before by I can’t remember whom, if the brits of WW2 generation were to comment, they’d be disgusted with the selfishness that abounds. The world has enough resources to feed, shelter and heat everyone. All previous plagues, pandemics and other calamities eventually burned out and we survived. We survived by battening down the hatches and just subsisting for a little while. Why can’t we all do the same now?

    I can’t stand Boris, nor would I want that he persevere for years but if he had the balls to stand up and say something along the lines of the “blood, sweat and tears” speech he’d be untouchable, at least for a while. The west is addicted to money. They’ll mug a granny just for that. USA culture has a lot to answer for. I almost despair but there are still stalwarts of integrity. CM being one such.

    #73616 Reply

    Michael norton, July 4, 08:37

    “I fear for Europe, they have virtually unlimited free movement of people…”

    In a year of suffering and losses, many countries have made their own experiments in how to deal with COVID-19.
    The results of these experiments are known:

    • Having COVID-19 under control reduces suffering and losses.
    • No country has COVID-19 under control without strong travel restrictions.
    • No country has COVID-19 under control by trying to keep the numbers at a non-zero threshold.
    • It is easier to get back to zero if you react fast to new outbreaks.
    • It is not too late to try to get COVID-19 under control and it doesn’t take long.

    Let’s learn from the countries that succeeded. Go for zero – with a green-zone strategy.

    This UK government’s hypocrisy is blatant. They were elected on a mandate to “control our borders”. They have a valid reason to control the border that could not be dismissed as xenophobia. Even Corbyn, then Leader of the Opposition was calling for border control; he would have whipped the Labour Party to support it, so they had an open goal. They refused to control the border.

    Back in February last year it was obvious that covid was coming in through the airports. Before anyone I knew had covid, and before anyone connected to anyone I knew, the ‘news’ media was peppered with reports of politicians, celebrities and sports stars contracting covid – the jet set. Around March 16 2020 either Taiwan or South Korea reported more covid cases among incoming travelers than from domestic transmission; the friend of mine who mentioned this to me dismissed it as xenophobia, but I pointed out that they were doing more testing than anywhere else.

    The corporate media continually raises concerns for “Britons planning overseas holidays”, but according to surveys, that’s only 5% of the UK population.

    #73617 Reply

    ET –

    “As was mentioned before by I can’t remember whom, if the brits of WW2 generation were to comment, they’d be disgusted with the selfishness that abounds.”

    I think that was probably me; a few days ago I mentioned the transformation of the UK economy for WWII. My (adoptive) parents both served in WWII. Mum operated barrage balloons in southern England, Dad was an aircraft engineer in Burma. They taught me frugality, and make do and mend.

    #73629 Reply
    michael norton

    It seems highly likely that Delta is about to take off like many rockets, in Europe.
    France tests less than half those who are tested in the U.K.
    If you don’t test, you are unlikely to find.

    #73632 Reply

    ET – “Even if they don’t accept it what can China do about it?”

    They can sit there doing fine until the rest of the world’s governments come to their senses.

    A lot depends on how the vaccination programme works out. If it works then China, New Zealand, Australia, Isle of Man etc. gain only a year over other countries. If new variants get past the vaccines, and/or the vaccines fail to stop long covid and/or ongoing waves of infection, eventually all governments will follow suit.

    #73649 Reply
    michael norton

    It would seem that herd immunity is what the U.K. government are now going for, maybe 10,000 new Delta cases a day, in the School Summer Holidays, when they think we might just be able to cope, rather than the Winter, when we very well might not cope.
    19/07/2021 are restrictions to be gone, other than self limiting behaviour.

    #73650 Reply
    michael norton

    I meant the U.K. government are imagining a range from 10,000 to 100,000 cases a day after 19/07/2021.

    Germany tests three and a half times fewer people than are daily tested in U.K. yet they have a larger population,
    yet Germany have also had a huge number of cases and deaths?
    When this started out, it was all about test, test, test.

    #73652 Reply

    Again, think of fire. You could ‘test’ ie. observe for fire in the middle of the Fire of London, but the results wouldn’t tell you anything that wasn’t already obvious.

    Conversely, when there isn’t widespread fire, observing for outbreaks is essential precaution, and highly practical because it enables you to extinguish them before they spread.

    For trace-and-test to be effective, you need far more tests than infections, and the majority of those tests need to be well targeted. That is achievable when there are only a handful of new infections per day, as China and Australia are demonstrating. The UK has never achieved that enviable position. We were fairly close last summer, but Boris chose to give 37 billion to his friends while pretending to spend it on trace-and-test.

    #73653 Reply

    The UK tests a lot in order to predict hospital demand, but there are so many infections that only 30% to 50% are ever detected; the origin of most infections go unaccounted for.

    In Australia and China, a single positive test triggers immediate local lockdown and local mass testing, until every case is accounted for, further trace-and-test turning up 100% negatives. This takes around a week and then lockdown is lifted. As soon as infection is detected, people need to be kept still to stop it spreading while its extent is being traced. The net result is that citizens spend on average about one hundredth of the time under lockdown as Europeans.

    #73654 Reply
    michael norton

    Scotland is now the highest covid infection country in Europe, yet Sturgeon has been draconian in her dictat.

    #73657 Reply
    michael norton

    Hi Clark, I have friends in the rainforest in Northern Queensland who I am in regular contact, they claim almost nobody they know, including themselves will take the covid vaccine, they think they are immune in the jungle because they are remote but it is a tourist area.

    “The number of Covid-19 cases in Sydney has been rising recently as the highly transmissible Delta variant fuels the spread of the virus, despite Australia imposing severe lockdowns on the country’s four largest cities and parts of the outback.

    Berejiklian said that, despite a two-week lockdown, people who are infected have spread the virus through community transmission in Sydney”

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by modbot.
    #73658 Reply

    There comes a point in a pandemic when chasing your tail is a futile exercise. There is no longer any possibility, judging from what has happened so far, the political scenario, the command of the agenda by ‘libertarians’ converting any public health restraining issue into a political personal freedom issue, the rising tide of conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers, the incompetent Tory government and the even more loony right wing of the party, the toothless opposition and so on, to reverse any of this and produce an effective actual proper lockdown. I am afraid Boris is still after ‘herd immunity’ backed by the vaccine program. But in one of the greatest open experiments on mankind, to test how you can efficiently produce variants that are vaccine resistent, we are very far advanced now and leading the world. The purpose of lifting the restrictions now is purely to pass on all responsibility to the citizen, over to you now, no rescue, no furlough, no help for industry and may the devil take the hindmost. Vicious neoliberal capitalism has now reared its bloody fangs and is out for the cull of the weak and vulnerable.

    #73659 Reply
    michael norton

    Herd Immunity is Boris aim, always was and still is.

    However, we do now have many vaccines, most of these seem to work.
    Any people who have been resistant, now is your last chance, before 19th to get jabbed, before you are run down by Delta covid.

    #73661 Reply

    “Sturgeon has been draconian in her dictat”

    She has been draconian, it’s her nature, but she hasn’t acted effectively; she hasn’t imposed effective travel restrictions when it mattered, and when travel restrictions have been implicit lockdown rules, they haven’t been enforced.

    “The number of Covid-19 cases in Sydney has been rising recently…”

    Yes, it peaked at 49 in a single day, 40 per day in a seven-day average, and has held steady or possibly even fallen a bit in the last few days. Compare that with the UK’s 25,000 per day and rising fast; even allowing for the smaller Australian population it’s at least two orders of magnitude better. Sydney achieved that with a two week lockdown, compared with the UK’s four months. Test-and-trace is practicable under Australia’s numbers; there’s no way all the contacts of 25,000 people can be traced before it spreads yet further, and that 25,000 is probably between only half and a third of actual infections.

    #73662 Reply

    SA, it’s like global heating; the argument being lost will ensure that it will eventually be won but, unfortunately, the hard way. Eventually enough people will be personally affected that denial and dismissal will be obviously delusional. The difference from climate change is that the scale is national rather than global; China will still be there doing just fine thank you, as an example for a better approach.

    Vicious neoliberal capitalism is writing its own death warrant because the weak and vulnerable are both its labour force and its market. The pyramid shall fall from the bottom up.

    #73671 Reply
    michael norton

    Spain covid-skyrocketing

    “We can’t pretend to have defeated the virus,” she told a news conference.

    “The pandemic has not ended, the new variants are very contagious and we still have significant segments of the population that are not vaccinated!” she exclaimed

    Catalonia nightclubs will close from this weekend.
    Beach parties to have no more than 500.

    So they are not really going to impede Delta in Spain, at all.
    They are buggered

    #73704 Reply
    michael norton


    it would seem that the side covid is picking
    is Europe

    massive rocketing, especially U.K.

    #73764 Reply
    michael norton

    An old woman in Belgium has died and they have since determined that she had been infected with two different strains of covid.

    #73870 Reply

    “Summer turned out to be different in the Netherlands”

    Australia and the Isle of Man are both showing difficulty keeping a lid on Delta – but with single-day peak counts of 64 and 25 infections respectively, both are orders of magnitude closer to doing so than most countries. Even if they do lose control of it now, their populations will have spent a fraction of the time under lockdown until vaccination became available, and Australia will have avoided tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases of long term health damage.

    Sweden’s famously lax approach has resulted in them becoming world leaders in long covid among the young. 33,000 children have had long covid in the UK, of whom 9,000 are still afflicted. This is nothing compared to what we will see when all restrictions are removed in just over a week. We’re looking at a devastating third wave in August, larger than anything seen to date.

    This makes me particularly angry with the denialists. They bang on and on about Sweden, and they focus on death statistics only so that they can claim that the illness is of no consequence to younger people and children. Not one of them has come back to say “sorry, I was wrong”.

    #73893 Reply
    michael norton

    Thailand has changed its vaccine policy to mix China’s Sinovac with the AstraZeneca vaccine in a bid to boost protection.

    The decision comes after hundreds of medical workers caught Covid despite being fully vaccinated with Sinovac.

    Instead of two Sinovac shots, people will now receive the AstraZeneca vaccine after their first Sinovac shot.

    Health workers already fully vaccinated with Sinovac will also receive a third booster from a different vaccine.

    I believe Chile was using sinovac, yet they still had a massive upswing of covid cases.
    It would seem sinovac is almost useless.

    #73954 Reply
    michael norton

    Mr. Macron has yesterday announced that all health care givers in France either have to be covid vaccinated or they will get no further pay.
    Personally, I think Mr. Macron has this right, we should do the same in the United Kingdom

    “The mandatory vaccinations will apply to anyone who comes into contact with vulnerable people, and therefore applies to everyone who works in hospitals, clinics and care homes, regardless of their role.

    They must be vaccinated by 15 September or risk not being paid”

    #73993 Reply

    A response from ‘J’ has not been forthcoming, though there have been some attempts which were deemed unacceptable. Please note that ‘J’ wasn’t banned, but seems to be self-excluding.

    You may recall that ‘J’ was notified about being placed on pre-moderation, in the comment dated June 23 @ 7:32pm, due to a string of violations of commenting guidelines and etiquette along with attacks on the integrity of moderators. Minutes later ‘J’ posted a brief reply which merely expressed “contempt” for moderation decisions – it wasn’t published, for obvious reasons. The next reply comprised only a link to a news story about cases of post-vaccination heart inflammation in 8 boys in San Diego; this too was deleted for making no original argument.

    ‘J’ posted again 5 days later, and the next five replies (28 June 28 – 1 July) were approved for publication because they were judged to be meaningful contributions to the debate.

    ‘J’s subsequent reply on 2 July was not approved as it was simply a jeering provocation devoid of any argumentative content: “Very much enjoying the spectacle of this circle jerk. It’s been very revealing so far.” It also suggested that ‘J’ did not intend to engage other commenters in good faith.

    ‘J’ then tried to post a complaint about that comment being censored by the mods, along with yet another insult directed towards the other participants in the discussion. There was no reason for a moderator to approve that one for publication either.

    The next proffered reply (on 5 July) comprised 3 web links to information about a Board member of Pfizer, followed by a note for moderators: “[Mods, I’ve copied the post and I’ll keep reposting it till everyone on this blog has seen it.]”.

    It was quickly followed by two identical replies exclaiming: “Oh look at that photo —–> He’s also a board member at the World Economic Forum:”

    ‘J’ has not tried to post any replies in the 10 days since then. Despite those complaints about being blocked and censored, ‘J’ is still allowed to make a contribution to the debate, provided there is a genuine attempt to engage in the discussion without jeering, false accusations or snide remarks. As that possibility seems quite remote now, this discussion may have run its course.

    #74003 Reply

    Mods, thanks for the info.

    The link to returns “Sorry, but we can’t find the page you were looking for”, but it appears to be wrongly formatted – the “&#8221” seems wrong. “&” in a link generally specifies an additional parameter, and is inappropriate unless an initial parameter had been specified with a “?”. I therefore removed “&#8221”, and discovered a link that works:

    “Jim began his career as a journalist and rose through the ranks at Thomson Newspapers to become responsible for operations in North America. He then led a number of professional publishing businesses serving the legal, regulatory and academic markets. He served as global head of Human Resources before becoming Chief Operating Officer of The Thomson Corporation. Following the acquisition of Reuters in 2008, Jim ran the Professional division of the combined company. He was named Chief Executive Officer in January 2012.

    – Jim is a director of Pfizer, Inc. He also serves on the board of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative and is a member of the Forum’s International Business Council, as well as on the International Advisory Boards of British American Business and the Atlantic Council.”

    This may well be what J would like us to see.

    J, I’m not sure what to say to you. Personally I’m furious that so many governments are letting a virus with which we have zero experience run through the population, with unknown effects for decades to come. Appropriate social measures could virtually stamp it out in five weeks and indeed did so in China; it seems that the only obstacle is neoliberal ideology.

    This makes getting infected almost certain, just a matter of time, placing enormous pressure upon people’s choices of whether or not to get vaccinated – with the only vaccines being very new and thus lacking long term data. The pharmaceutical companies are thus guaranteed immediate profit.

    It’s a very unpleasant situation to be in, but please don’t rant at people like me because we’re stuck with it just the same as you.

    #74013 Reply

    This is all helping me clarify my ideas about conspiracy theory.

    Conspiracy theory is in a sense the ultimate politicisation of argument, because it insists that we must consider nothing but political information about its chosen issues. J has just given us an example – Jim Smith has been senior in the “MSM”, and is on the World Economic Forum, the Atlantic Council and the board of Pfizer (these all being political issues); therefore the vaccines must be dangerous and/or the pandemic a hoax or whatever (which are medical/scientific matters).

    In conspiracy theory, all non-political evidence must be dismissed as fake due to the aforesaid political issues – unless it happens to support the conspiracists’ contention, in which case it’s slam-dunk unarguable Truth. If it’s marginal or contested evidence, expert opinion contradicting the consensus, or from a professor speaking outside his field, it becomes “what they don’t want you to know”.

    #74487 Reply

    [ Mod: Here’s another offering from ‘J’, returning after a long absence. Once again it’s a procedural complaint rather than a substantive contribution to the debate. ]

    ‘J’ is still allowed to make a contribution to the debate, provided there is a genuine attempt to engage in the discussion without jeering, false accusations or snide remarks.

    @Mod. You haven’t bothered to comment on the extremely substantive posts which you censored before the responses you selectively quote and allude to, so what would be the point?

    I continue to write, but where it is possible to develop an argument that isn’t butchered or censored entirely by bullies with a badge.

    [ Mod: J, moderators aren’t going to engage with the arguments you put forward in your “substantive posts”. That’s not what moderators are for. The other contributors here are perfectly capable of doing so if they feel it’s necessary.

    Your replies were removed not for the arguments you put forward, but for infringing the commenting etiquette – as you’ve just done again by posting a moan about moderation in a thread about covid.

    “bullies with a badge”.

    (“We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”) If you think you’re being bullied, please start a new topic in the Blog Support Forum and make your case there. It will be visible to the system admin and to Craig, even if it doesn’t appear publicly. Thanks. ]

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