Everything the [British] government has got right on Covid-19 in the past 12 months has happened when it ignored ‘the science’. If the modellers hadn’t made such fools of themselves in the summer and autumn of 2021 they might have been taken more seriously by the government in the winter. As it was, their incompetence had seeded enough doubt in Johnson’s mind for him to resist going beyond ‘Plan B’ despite almost every ‘scenario’ modelled telling him that hospitalisations and deaths from the virus would exceed anything England had ever seen before.
Nevertheless, it was a close call. On 21 December, Johnson delayed making a decision on whether Christmas would be allowed to go ahead as normal while he awaited a report from Imperial College about the severity of Omicron. When this was published the following day it showed a 40 to 45 per cent reduction in the risk of hospitalisation compared to Delta, and a 50 per cent reduction in risk for people who had a prior infection.
This belated admission of Omicron’s ‘mildness’ changed the game. Less than a week earlier, the same team at Imperial College, led by Professor Neil Ferguson, had said they could find ‘no evidence… of Omicron having different severity from Delta’. On the day before that, the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, had appeared on television telling the nation that ‘there are several things [about Omicron] we don’t know but all the things we do know are bad’.
This was wilful blindness. By mid-December, everything we needed to know about Omicron had been explained to us by doctors in South Africa over and over again. They told us that it was much less severe. They told us to expect a large number of ‘incidental’ cases involving people who were in hospital with Covid but were not in hospital because of Covid. They told us to expect more children to be affected but with only very mild symptoms. They told us that Omicron patients rarely needed to be put on ventilation. They told us that there were relatively few deaths despite high levels of infection. All of this is now apparent in the UK’s healthcare data.
Some understanding of human behaviour would seem to be the minimum requirement if you are going to try to chart the course of a virus that spreads from human to human. If you ignore this and you ignore all the data coming out of a country that has direct experience of the virus you are studying, your model will be worse than useless.
What I don’t want is a life ruled by “zero risk” strictures. It’s impossible. The only way we’ve seen it tried is by central planners in police states, but all they really wind up accomplishing is outlawing people from telling the truth about zero chance of producing zero risk. As I said, I tend to be risk averse, and the risk of “zero risk” tyranny is far, far too great for me.
Patrick Henry declared under a much greater risk environment, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” My request is not so audacious. I seek the liberty we had even if it comes with a slight uptick in risk.
Corey Walker reports that the K-12 government ‘education’ establishment in Flint, Michigan, is doing its part to demonstrate to parents that the K-12 government ‘education’ establishment isn’t really interested in educating children.
“I find it phenomenally disappointing that people are willing to play politics with children’s lives,” Gov. Kathy Hochul preened Friday of resistance to her masking mandate for New York schoolchildren — thereby playing a disgraceful bit of politics herself.
It’s now beyond doubt that masking kids, especially tots, does nothing to stop the spread of COVID. Most coronavirus variants barely touch children under 12; kids don’t spread it, either. And absolutely nothing stops Omicron (which thankfully has proved far less deadly).
More, masking adults has proved a false security: Cloth masks do nothing; the blue medical masks are about 10% effective. N95 masks are better, but even doctors rarely wear them for more than an hour or so because it’s so hard to breathe through them.
And masks impose a big cost on many kids, especially those with breathing issues or more serious disabilities. And they can compromise key development of 5-and-unders, who rely heavily on facial cues.
Mask mandates for schoolchildren are just harmful anti-COVID theater, a sop to misinformed adults — especially teacher-union members, who wield great political power.
Yet in yet another sign of how some in the Left-wing teaching establishment have spent the pandemic prioritising themselves over pupils, we now read that dozens of headteachers are defying the Government over face-coverings in the classroom by insisting that children continue to wear them despite the official guidance being changed.
More than 100 schools have written to parents to say that pupils must carry on wearing masks in lessons, despite the Prime Minister’s announcement that they are no longer necessary.
Boris Johnson has decreed that, from January 26, they will no longer need to be worn in corridors or communal areas, either.
Naturally, the teaching unions have accused him of flouting his “duty of care” to teachers – once again demonstrating their total disregard for the wellbeing of the children in their care.
The truth is that mask-wearing in schools has never made any sense to me. Notwithstanding the lack of clarity over the efficacy of wearing non-surgical face coverings – children are arguably the least hygienic, most ineffective mask-wearers of all.
Yet the continued hysteria in the teaching profession unfortunately speaks to a wider societal malaise. Despite the triumph of the vaccination programme, and the clear evidence that the UK is finally getting on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, too much of Britain is still in the grip of virus terror.
Even though the vast majority of omicron sufferers only have a very mild illness, you’ve still got a unique cabal of lockdown fanatics clinging to masks and other measures for dear life.
Yet anyone with any sense – and frankly, the faintest respect for civil liberties – knows that it is not just time to end Plan B restrictions but all Covid measures.
That’s what learning to live with coronavirus actually is.
We’ve spent two years being dictated to by the sort of insufferable jobsworths who delight in telling others how to live their lives. This pandemic has been a gift to the invisible high-vis jacket wearers of the world. Now we finally have a chance to unmask them.
Kerry Wakefield, writing in Spectator-Australia, says that “the reckoning has begun” in light of the fast-crumbling Covid narrative pressed and embraced by far too many pundits, professors, and politicians. Three slices:
The West’s Covid-19 strategy of lockdowns, mass vaccinations and extreme curbs is losing credibility by the moment, even if various wannabe-despots are slow to realise it.
Despite vaccination levels running at 70 per cent and above in many Western nations, Covid cases are at record levels across the UK, Europe, Australia, the US, Israel and more, nearly two years after the virus first escaped China. The variants are outrunning the scientists’ vaccines, vaccine efficacy is waning, and multiple health authorities such as the WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have come out warning against repeated boosters, not only because they were designed for previous variants, but because they may have adverse health effects. ‘We should be careful in not overloading the immune system with repeated immunizations,’ warned Marco Cavaleri, the EMA head of vaccines strategy. Former UK vaccine agency boss Dr Clive Dix says vaccinations have now become a ‘waste of time’. And finally, early treatments are in focus – new drugs, antivirals and more.
Here, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures up to October 2021 put the median age of Covid deaths at 83, (which is also our life expectancy), of whom 70 per cent had chronic pre-existing conditions, commonly heart disease. By mid-January, as cases and testing raged, Covid’s death tally had climbed to nearly 2,600 over nearly two years. In contrast, flu and pneumonia killed 4,124 Australians in 2019, around 11 people a day, and somehow, we didn’t panic, mask or lock down. Our Covid case fatality rate is one per cent, barely affecting those under 60 (0.1 per cent) but far deadlier for the elderly. Relatives who’ve had it recently say it’s just a bad cold. So, if you’re ill, old, or obese, take your shots, but normal life should return for everyone else.
This sounds remarkably like the strategy outlined in the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), authored by eminent scientists from Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford, and signed by 60,000 physicians, which argued for focussed protection, herd immunity and early treatments – not mass vaccination, lockdowns and masking. The US health establishment colluded to bury this push, an email recently emerging in which the National Institutes of Health boss, Francis Collins, asked National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head honcho Anthony Fauci for ‘a quick and devastating take down’ of these ‘fringe epidemiologists’.
Finally, there’s the issue of deaths with Covid vs deaths from Covid, which will be clarified over time. An early CDC report said a mere 6 per cent of the US Covid death toll could be blamed solely on Covid.
The West has paid a hideous price in social upheaval, fracturing and loss of freedom, and the dispute over whether the GBD approach would have delivered similar or better outcomes at lower human cost will rage on. Many power-happy politicians are clinging to new controls (hi, Dan, Mark), and vaccine mandates, masking and virus restrictions remain global battle zones. Meanwhile Mexico has abandoned all travel restrictions relating to Covid, and even in risk-averse Australia the walls are coming down. Let the reckoning begin.