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My take on the collective insanity which is currently gripping the world


Vic Rolfe

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Well... It would have been nice if I could have started-off the first blog on my brand-spanking new personal website, with something a little more cheerful. But there's not much else to talk about, these days...

Hopefully, I will be proven totally wrong and we can all get back to "normal" before too long?!

In the meantime, I have enabled "Guest Posting," just in case anyone wants to make a comment. (Just check-out the "Guidelines" link in the main navigation bar, on a laptop - or that little "hamburger" thing on your cellphone, for more info. on posting as a Guest.)

 

Here's my take on covid-19...

The best that I can say about it, is that this is the biggest fiasco in the entire history of the human race.

Needless to say, anyone can "prove'" their own point of view by trawling through the literature and scientific papers that fit their point of view. Here's an article that happens to fit mine:

(Whether or not you agree with the main points presented, I do think that this article does make some very valid points that are, at least, worthy of some further discussion?)

https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

 

Right... Well I don't think that the vast majority of people have any idea how much damage has been done by all this madness... They think that you can just switch off the world economy for months on end - and then everything will somehow miraculously return to "normal?"
 
They think that governments can just keep on printing money when they are already heavily in debt? We have heard nothing but budgets and "no money for this, no money for that," for as long as I can remember. And now they seem to be "pulling it out of thin air?!" And wouldn't it have been nice if they had spent just a little bit  of all that money that they are now throwing at the problem, on increasing the number of hospital beds, and building up a strategic stock of  ventilators and medical supplies to cope with just such an emergency. Years ago. Not when it is already way too late? Instead of that, what we have never stopped hearing over the last few years has been: "Cut, cut, cut!" And all in the name of the great God of the economy. ('Not much of that left now, then - I don't suppose?)
 
No. This is only the beginning... And it is just going to go on and on. The final damage and loss of life caused by economic melt-down all around the world will far outstrip the few million deaths, at worst, that we could have expected, if we'd just taken sensible measures - (early enough, instead of long after the 'horse had already bolted') - and tried to keep the world "ticking over" as best we could have done, under the circumstances.
 
At the very best, this will take years to sort-out. Things will never get back to the "normal" that we used to know. Whatever happens now, the world has changed forever. That's the best-case scenario, as far as I am concerned. I don't want to even think about any of the alternative scenarios...
 
Anyway, I'm not a fortuneteller!
 
Right now, I am just wondering when they will let us out of this ridiculous quarantine so that I can try to make a bit of money before the world economy goes into complete melt-down. (As I write this, I am on a ship that has been at sea for virtually all of the last three months - since before hardly anyone had even heard of a so-called coronavirus, let alone SARS-Cov-2. It is now a full 16 days since are last port call - Salalah, Oman - when no one was even allowed off the ship. We all had our temperatures taken when we arrived here in the UAE. Nobody is sick on board the ship. We are all fit as fiddles! And they still won't let anyone down the gangway.)
 
And I thought that seamen would be considered as essential workers?
 
 
I am also seriously beginning to wonder if I will ever be able to get a pint of beer down the Royal Oak in Hollywater, ever again??!!!
 
 
Watch this space, as they say?

 

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Guest smb by any other name

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This is just a test comment to make sure that Guests can comment OK

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Two very different scenarios, were presented by two very different reports. Only time - and a serious program of testing for antibodies in, at the very least, a representative sample of the population - will tell which one was closer to the mark...

Quick links:

The preprint (draft) of the University of Oxford study led by Prof. Sunetra Gupta

(Which may or may not turn out to be correct in its postulation that a large percentage of the UK population may already have been infected? In which case, that would bring the actual death rate per head of population way down, compared to some of the numbers that have been banded about in all the recent hysteria...)

and the

The Imperial College report led by Prof. Neil Ferguson that forced the UK government to change tack

(As the report states:)

Quote

Here we present the results of epidemiological modelling which has informed policymaking in the UK and other countries in recent weeks.

 

My biggest problem with how the UK and many other countries have handled the crisis so far is that they seem to have totally ignored this bit of the Imperial College report:

(My emphasis)

Quote

We do not consider the ethical or economic implications of either strategy here, except to note that there is no easy policy decision to be made. Suppression, while successful to date in China and South Korea, carries with it enormous social and economic costs which may themselves have significant impact on health and well-being in the short and longer-term. Mitigation will never be able to completely protect those at risk from severe disease or death and the resulting mortality may therefore still be high.

Maybe now, before it is too late, we need to start thinking about the economic repercussions of our actions.

And maybe, Imperial College could run another model, taking into account the effects of an economy in collapse on the health and well-being of the population?

And that's just for the UK... The Imperial College report clearly states:

Quote

We present results for Great Britain (GB) and the United States (US), but they are equally applicable to most high-income countries.

Nowhere in that report does it even suggest that their modeling is in any way appropriate for any of the grossly overcrowded, under resourced developing countries where:

a) Large swathes of the population simply have nowhere to go, when you kick them off the streets

b) Many of those who do have homes to go to, already live in unbearably overcrowded conditions. So if you kick people off the streets, the overcrowding at home becomes even worse.

c) In some of these countries, anything up to a third of the population earn a living in the 'informal economy'. Living hand-to-mouth, day-to-day.

So suddenly burst into panic, lock down all forms of public transport without any prior notice. Bring your entire economy to a complete standstill overnight. And then watch literally millions of people start the long trek back to their villages, without even enough food and water for the journey.

Madness. Madness. Shear and utter collective madness - all around the world...

 

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The Imperial College report was correct in stating:

Quote

The global impact of COVID-19 has been profound, and the public health threat it represents is the most serious seen in a respiratory virus since the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

and:

Quote

The last time the world responded to a global emerging disease epidemic of the scale of the current COVID-19 pandemic with no access to vaccines was the 1918-19 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

 

What the report does not make clear, though, is that the tragic death toll of the 1918 flu epidemic was made far worse by the effects of stress on the immune systems of whole populations.

Stress caused by the four years of World War I.

Stress caused by severe malnourishment after all the years of war.

So now, we are going to get stress on a massive scale, caused by the total collapse of economies around the world...

People should stop worrying quite so much about just exactly how deadly SARS-CoV-2 is - and start thinking a little bit more about how all of this stress is going to effect their immune systems? Especially if, as the Oxford University report seems to suggest, the virus is already out in the wild - and it has been since the middle of January?!! (Which does make perfect sense to me...)

It does seem that no age group is perfectly safe from covid-19 but the vast majority of healthy adults who do catch the disease will be anything from asymptomatic to feeling like death warmed up for a week or so - as long as they are not one of the unlucky ones and as long as they have a good healthy immune system in the first place.

It's the economy, silly!!

 

 

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All India's lock-down has achieved is spreading the virus from the cities to the provinces, as people have being walking home in their millions...

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'Interesting article in STATnews:

https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/08/doctors-say-ventilators-overused-for-covid-19/

In discussing the use of ventilators in treating acute respiratory distress in severely ill covid-19 patients:

 

Quote

“Instead of asking how do we ration a scarce resource, we should be asking how do we best treat this disease?”

and:

Quote

One reason Covid-19 patients can have near-hypoxic levels of blood oxygen without the usual gasping and other signs of impairment is that their blood levels of carbon dioxide, which diffuses into air in the lungs and is then exhaled, remain low. That suggests the lungs are still accomplishing the critical job of removing carbon dioxide even if they’re struggling to absorb oxygen. That, too, is reminiscent of altitude sickness more than pneumonia.

The noninvasive devices “can provide some amount of support for breathing and oxygenation, without needing a ventilator,” said ICU physician and pulmonologist Lakshman Swamy of Boston Medical Center.

 

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Look after your immune system!

  • Healthy diet
  • Plenty of exercise
  • And less stress

Healthy diets and less stress will be easier to achieve all round if we don't completely destroy our economy?

The human immune system is a pretty amazing thing - but you do need to look after it. A basically healthy person can get away with a few vitamin tablets to substitute for a less than ideal diet. And you can also get away with some halfhearted exercise - at least, as far as your immune system is concerned. But what your immune system doesn't need is stress.

So let's all get back to work before we end up turning a crisis into a complete disaster?

 

Here's some interesting reading on what 'they' know so far - and, more importantly, what they don't know. It's quite a long article so, if you don't have time to read the whole thing, I would highly recommend scrolling down towards the end, where there is some very interesting stuff on testing, anti-bodies and immune responses, in connection with SARS-Cov-2.

https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/20/everything-we-know-about-coronavirus-immunity-and-antibodies-and-plenty-we-still-dont/

 

Needless to say, I wouldn't have posted the link if I didn't happen to agree with the article - especially with reference to the bit where it says:

Quote

If more people have been infected than known — a strong likelihood, given the number of mild infections that might have been missed and testing limitations in countries including the United States — then more people are thought to be protected going forward.

 

Anyway, I am open to alternative points of view. That is why I have enabled "Guest Posting" on my site. So do feel free to give me a piece of your mind, if you think that I am talking out of my "puet." (It's a tagalog word!)

 

'No need to register with the site to post a comment. You just need to wait for me to approve the comment before it becomes visible on the site. (This is purely a spam/hacking defense mechanism and I will not delete comments just because I don't happen to agree with them. You just have to be nice, how you say it!!)  🙂 

 

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I see that Thailand have extended the ban on international passenger flight arrivals, (with the usual minor exceptions,) until the end of May.
 
Oh... And British Airways are about to cut 12,000 jobs.
 

Which totally pales into insignificance, of course, behind the World Food Program's analysis:

WFP Chief warns of hunger pandemic as COVID-19 spreads

Quote

...due to Coronavirus, and additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020.

 

And that's on top of the existing 135 million who are already in that position. Bringing the grand total to over a quarter of a billion...

 
I would just rephrase that bit about "due to Coronavirus..." (It wasn't the virus that caused total economic melt-down. It was the collective insanity of the majority of governments around the world, in doing their best to turn a developing worldwide crisis into a complete and utter worldwide catastrophe... They buried their heads in the sand for weeks on end, until it was already far too late. And then, of course, they went into full-on panic mode and totally over-reacted to the whole thing....)
 
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From the Spectator - 4th May, 2020:

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/sweden-tames-its-r-number-without-lockdown

(My emphasis...)

Quote
"The virus, it turns out, has been spreading at a fraction of the speed suggested. So Imperial College’s modelling – the same modelling used to inform the UK response – was wrong, by an order of magnitude....
 
...The 30 March claim that Sweden had spent weeks with an R near 4 now seems to have vanished without explanation. I asked why: better data, it says, became available. Quite."
 
 
And they, (the UK Government,) still don't seem to get it?
 
The only question now, in my mind, is why has the UK, despite all of its efforts with a full-on lock-down for weeks on end, had a much higher death rate than Sweden, where they never did go into lock-down? (Social distancing and several other measures, yes - but not a full-on lock-down by any stretch of the imagination...)
 
Possibly, Sweden's much lower population density might have something to do with it? And a better funded and equipped health service? A fitter population? Cleaner air? (I read somewhere that the effects of air pollution and obesity appear to be showing a coincidental, (IE not yet proven to be causal,) relationship there...)
 
Anyway, we won't know, until both Sweden and the UK have carried-out some extensive antibody testing throughout representative samples of their populations.
 
If - and it's a big if - but if, as I strongly suspect, it turns out that the infection rates between the two countries are broadly similar, then both the UK Government and the team led by Prof. Neil Ferguson at Imperial College will have an awful lot of explaining to do.
 
Could it be that the UK Government's crazy experiment in locking down the country has actually caused more deaths? As I have said throughout this fiasco... high levels of stress, (like losing your job or going bankrupt, for instance,) is not at all good for your immune system.
 
 
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Anders Tegnell - my hero!!

(And I want one of those T-shirts!!)

 

From Prospect Magazine, May 01, 2020:

https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/will-swedens-herd-immunity-experiment-pay-off

Quote

As Anders Tegnell, the country’s unflappable state epidemiologist has repeatedly argued, it is the rest of the world that is running the experiment. No previous pandemic has seen countries shut down to the extent seen in 2020.

 

The title of the article is a little misleading, since Anders himself has said that Sweden is not running an experiment -  and allowing the building-up of a widespread immunity to the SARS-Cov-2 virus among the Swedish population was never a part of the the plan...

(Sorry, I just can't bring myself to use that "H" word, when referring to widespread immunity to a particular virus, in a population of people. Call it "crowd immunity," if you must. We are not cow's, thank you!?)

 

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A while back, antibody testing was all going to be a big thing. Boris, before he got totally lead astray by his advisors, reckoned at one point that it was going to be a "game-changer..."
 
Now, all of that has disappeared from the daily propaganda because extensive anti-body testing throughout a representative sample of the UK population is liable to prove that the UK Government didn't do their homework. They put too much faith in a single, grossly flawed model - and then they made a complete and utter mess of things.
 
And don't tell me that we don't have a reliable antibody test for SARS-Cov-2, available in sufficient quantities yet:
 
 
I also note with deep regret that the lead author of the paper that touted the grossly flawed model in which the UK Government placed far too much trust, Prof. Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, has since resigned from his position as a Government advisor. And this; after having been caught undermining the very lock-down that he, more than anyone else, was instrumental in engineering for the whole country.
 
The UK Government would get more respect from me if they were to just come clean and say:
 
Hey Guys... We are really sorry about this... It's a new virus. There are wildly differing models out there and no one has had enough time to do full and exhaustive research. We should have taken all of the available research and the wildly different models into account, in formulating our plans to get the country through the pandemic. We should have weighed-up all of the available models and assessed them on their various strengths, methodologies, merits, demerits and stated weaknesses and insufficient data. We should then have made a reasoned judgement based on ALL of the available information.
 
But no. We allowed ourselves to be panicked by Prof. Neil Ferguson and his one single, ridiculously flawed model. We said that we were looking at all of the available models and research. But, actually, that was a bare-faced lie because they didn't fit in with the course of action that we had already committed ourselves to.
 
Sorry, we made a complete hash of it! We did our best but we got it wrong.
 
So let's now put an end to this pathetic charade and all get back to work before we completely destroy what's left of our economy?
 
 
Now, that would get my vote!!
 
 
Here we go:
(This just about say's it all...)
 
 
 
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Here's someone talking some sense, for once, in this crisis:

You don't need to take my word for it. This is from a former Supreme Court Judge in the UK:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8281007/Former-Supreme-Court-judge-LORD-SUMPTION-gives-withering-critique-Governments-lockdown.html

For the record, I do not consider Lord Sumption's comments extreme in the least. I would place his views firmly in the middle ground when it comes to the great lock-down debate.

I agree with every single word that Lord Sumption wrote. I would like to go even further and bring in the following points:

 

  • Firstly, I believe that Lord Sumption was far to kind to Niel Ferguson and his team, with his comments regarding the Imperial College pre-print that caused the UK Government to do an overnight U-turn. The media in general seem to think that it was a scientific paper when presented to the UK Government? It was not a scientific paper at that time because it had not been peer-reviewed at that time. It was nothing more than a pre-print from one team of scientists. (As far as I am aware, that is all it is to this day? If I am wrong, please do leave a comment and enlighten me...)

 

  • Lord Sumption touches on the national economic dimension of the UK lock-down. But I would take the discussion further - specifically with regards to how this will affect the final death toll.

 

  • I would also like to bring in the international dimension to the debate - in terms of both health and economics. We seem to have forgotten that this is a world-wide pandemic and it needs world-wide coordinated actions - not selfish national ones that will bring hundreds of millions of people around the world back into poverty and starvation.

 

  • Finally: when governments around the world shot their own and each others economies in the foot, did they even stop to consider the added threat that we now have to international peace and stability?

 

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