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Some Covid Links

Tweet [1]

The Wall Street Journal reports that “[e]vidence grows that infections provide as much protection as vaccines.” [2] A slice:

Immune memory, however, appears to be stronger following infection. The Rockefeller research group found in an earlier study, also published in Nature, that the antibodies produced by memory B cells—which quickly multiply in subsequent encounters with the virus—continued to evolve at least a year after infection. The study on vaccinated people found that the antibodies produced by their memory B cells didn’t change much over time.

One possible reason for the difference, they said, was that pieces of virus remain in the body for weeks after infection, whereas vaccine particles fade away faster. The upshot: The immune memory of people who have been infected is ready to produce a broader array of antibodies than of people who have been vaccinated.

The above WSJ report prompted Jeffrey Singer, M.D., to quip on Facebook [3]: “You mean everything I learned about immunity in medical school is correct?”

Here’s the Times of India on the omicron variant [4]. (HT Jeffrey Singer [5]) Two slices:

The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus results in mild disease, without prominent syndromes, Angelique Coetzee, the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, told Sputnik on Saturday.
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“It presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well. So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer loss of taste or smell. They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms. Of those infected some are currently being treated at home,” Coetzee said.

The official noted that hospitals have not been overburdened by Omicron patients and that the new strain is not been detected in vaccinated persons. At the same time, the situation might be different for the unvaccinated.
“We will only know this after two weeks. Yes, it is transmissible, but for now, as medical practitioners, we do not know why so much hype is being driven as we are still looking into it. We will only know after two to three weeks as there are some patients admitted and these are young people aged 40 and younger,” Coetzee added.

Why can’t all world ‘leaders’ – as they are comically called – be like Madrid’s Isabel Díaz Ayuso [6]? Three slices:

Madrid’s rising star leader on Friday attacked “paternalistic” Left-wing governments for confining people to their homes as she warned that any return to a Covid lockdown [7] would be remembered as a “historical error”.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the president of Madrid’s regional authority [8], defied Spain’s socialist government to free her city from a lockdown she believed was doing more harm than good.

Ms Ayuso was able to use devolved powers to apply the loosest set of restrictions to business and leisure in Spain before abandoning all limits last month.

“The economy is also a health question,” said Ms Ayuso in her imposing offices in the centre of Madrid.

“Playing off health and economy against each other is a lie, because what happens to the people who are ruined? What about their health? And the people who commit suicide or suffer depression?”

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“What is happening is an abuse of power, and lockdowns are a failure – even in health terms. Many governments around the world go straight for lockdowns without trying all the alternatives, whether it is because they lack creativity or courage.”

The 43-year-old was catapulted to star status after reopening the Spanish capital for business [9]. “Ayusomania” transformed her into a political phenomenon, as well as a hate figure for the Left, and she is tipped to one day be Spain’s first female prime minister.

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The streets bustle in a capital famous for its 24-hour lifestyle, with cafes and restaurants now doing a roaring trade into the small hours of the morning. Things were very different in the dark early days of the pandemic, when Spain instituted one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns [10].

“We have shown that lockdowns are not the answer. We have gone on the attack against the virus and not against businesses,” said Ms Ayuso, who added that people needed to take “individual responsibility” to fight the pandemic.

She said she had weathered “unprecedented pressure” after going against lockdown. Her stance brought her into conflict with some senior figures in her Right-wing Popular Party (PP) as well as the ruling socialist coalition, for whom she reserves trademark scorn.

“Paternalistic Left-wing governments think that citizens are better off locked-up in their homes and living off subsidies,” she said. “We have shown in Madrid that you can fight the virus without destroying people’s personal hopes and dreams.”

Here’s Professor Ellen Townsend’s written evidence, submitted to Parliament, on “[t]he human rights implications of long lockdown and the damaging impact on young people. [11]” (HT Jay Bhattacharya [12]) Two slices (footnotes deleted):

The rights and needs of young people have been ignored in this crisis and this is a national and global disaster in the making. The future of our youngsters has been sacrificed in order to protect adults which goes against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 3) states: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”. The lockdown measures taken are not proportionate to the risks posed by the virus to young people and below I outline some of the evidence demonstrating the disproportionate impact of lockdowns on young people. Lockdowns deprive young people of the right to education, to normal psychological development, to good mental health and wellbeing.

Lockdowns and school closures disrupt our normal functioning and social interaction – we are fundamentally social beings. For young children, face-to-face play is essential to wellbeing. For some children, playtime at school is the only time they are able to interact with other children. Playing closely with peers protects against mental ill health and without this essential contact young people have felt very lonely and isolated in lockdown with deleterious and long-term impacts on mental health: the impact of loneliness on mental health can be seen up to nine years later. The social and emotional benefits of playing together cannot be understated.
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There are other areas which impact on children which are beyond my professional scope which include missed health checks, screening, operations, treatments and vaccinations. Moreover, poverty, hunger and homelessness are increasing the more lockdown policies are implemented.

The long-term consequences of harms to young people (or indeed people of any age) have not been accounted for in policy making. All other harms are being trumped by Covid-19 which is not how a holistic and compassionate public health system should operate. We must name and account for the harms caused by lockdowns in robust cost-benefit analyses and impact assessments which must be transparent and published.

It is time to prioritise the rights and needs of young people in this crisis and weigh the harms caused by social restrictions and lockdowns. We are letting down a generation of young people who may never for forgive us for the harms we have caused.

Robert Higgs on Facebook [13]:

Run, Chicken Little, run! The omicron variant is coming.

Fauci says U.S. should prepare to do anything and everything to fight the omicron variant. [14]” (DBx: Well of course he does. Tyrants – especially those who arrogantly believe themselves to be humanity’s saviors – always concoct reasons for why their powers must be exercised without limit.)

For those of you who doubt that Fauci’s self-importance and arrogance are out of control, check out this statement of his when asked about criticisms leveled at him by Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz: “They’re really criticizing science because I represent science. That’s dangerous.” [15] …. In response to which Newman Nahas tweeted [16]: (HT Jay Bhattacharya [17])

I and The Science are one. He who has seen me, has seen The Science. No man comes to The Science but through me. He who criticizes me, criticizes The Science.

(DBx: Who will be to Anthony Fauci what Robert Caro is to Robert Moses [18]? There are, of course, differences between these two career government bureaucrats, but the parallels between them are daily becoming more numerous – and ominous. Indeed, Fauci already is responsible for more destruction, and has already – in pursuit of his grand designs – ignored and crushed far more life-on-the-ground details and vitality, than did Moses.)

Speaking of ominous parallels, Marko Strinic describes the frightening similarity of the real-world Covidocracy with the fictional villains in Anthony Burgess’s 1962 dystopian novel, A Clockwork Orange [19]. Two slices:

Moreover, this is also a time when authoritarianism is seen as a viable alternative to free societies. Even though the Soviet Union’s moral bankruptcy is plain for all to see, there are still those who look to repressive methods to help society function.

There are those who believe that to reach full vaccination, we must resort to authoritarianism and coercion to get as many people as possible on board. By pushing objectors to the margins and threatening their livelihoods, those in power believe we achieve a utopian society where illness is eliminated.

This is as ridiculous today as it was in Burgess’s day.

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Freedom today is seen as a quaint anachronism by some and a byword for gun-loving (read stupid) Americans by others. A luxury that must be trampled on to achieve the greater good of keeping others safe.

Freedom is not an obstacle to the greater good. It is the greater good. Without freedom of choice, we are nothing more lobotomised bodies, incapable of thinking and ripe for manipulation.

As Burgess puts it: “If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange—meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil.”

The idea of a whole nation of dutiful and unthinking drones lining up to do exactly what they’re told for fear of destitution is far scarier than any virus.

Matt Ridley, writing in the Telegraph, decries the “hasty over-reaction to the arrival of a new variant. [20]” Two slices:

Here we go again, fighting the last war. Because governments are perceived to have moved too slowly to ban flights when the delta variant arose in India, we jumped into action this time, punishing the poor South Africans for their molecular vigilance. But nothing was going to stop the delta going global, and the latest set of government measures to stop the spread of the new omicron variant are about as likely to succeed as the Maginot line was to stop General Guderian’s tanks. The cat is already out of the bag. Just because we can take action [21] does not make it the right thing to do.

This pandemic has mocked public-health experts. They told us to wash our hands and then realised it was spreading through the air. They told us masks were useless and then made them mandatory. They sent covid cases to ordinary hospitals where they infected patients.

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With luck omicron will prove to be not only more infectious but also milder than delta. According to the doctor who diagnosed it, omicron “presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two… They might have a slight cough.” This, plus the effect of the vaccines, means that Britain’s policy of opening up in July, defying the modellers’ apocalyptic obsessions, proved sensible. The virus did not spiral out of control, or overwhelm the NHS, but a series of small waves came and went, as society inched towards an endemic truce with the enemy.

Jay Bhattacharya [17] retweets NYC Angry Mom [22]:

We should be measuring everything in this pandemic by years of life lost, and this measurement should include quality of life decline from containment measures.

The youngest people in the country are having their life experiences stolen from them to protect the oldest.

I, too, pledge what Phil Magness pledges (at Facebook) [23]:

I fully intend to reject, ignore, and – if necessary – defy any lockdown measure that may come about because of the “Omicron variant” scare. They did not work the last time, and will not work this time. Their purpose is not to control the disease, but to assert political power. You should reject them as well.