In this week’s episode of London Calling, James and I debate whether 2022 will be the year we return to normal or the Great Reset will continue apace; the chances of Boris surviving until the end of the year; the controversial honour for Tony Blair; our New Year’s resolutions (although James hasn’t made any); and, in Culture Corner, the Turner Contemporary in Margate, The Power of the Dog (which I didn’t like) and Roadrunner, a documentary about Anthony Bourdain.
Day: 3 January 2022
Tyra Grove Krause – the Chief Epidemiologist at Denmark’s State Serum Institute – has said the Omicron variant is bringing about the end of the pandemic, saying “we will have our normal lives back in two months”. Speaking to Danish TV 2, the scientist said a new Government study has found that the risk of hospitalisation from Omicron is half of that from Delta. MailOnline has more.
“I think we will have that in the next two months, and then I hope the infection will start to subside and we get our normal lives back,” [Ms Krause] said on Monday.
Despite early fears that Omicron could prolong the pandemic due to its increased level of infection, Ms Krause said it actually could spell the end of the pandemic.
According to the study: “Omicron is here to stay, and it will provide some massive spread of infection in the coming month. When it’s over, we’re in a better place than we were before.”
But while infection numbers in countries with the variant are soaring, the expert said that the highly infectious Omicron appears milder than the Delta variant, and therefore more people will be infected without having serious symptoms.
As a result, she said, this will provide a good level of immunity in the population.
Denmark has seen a spike in new cases in recent weeks, and on Sunday recorded its highest ever seven-day average infections, recording an average of 20,886 across the previous week, or 3,592.74 per million people – one of Europe’s highest rates.
It reported its highest ever new infections on December 27th (41,035).
By comparison, the UK’s seven-day average daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people sits at 2,823.31 as on Monday, while in the United States, that number is 1,215.76 – lower than many countries in Europe.
Ms Krause stressed that there was still work to be done to beat the pandemic in the coming months, however.
“Omicron will peak at the end of January, and in February we will see declining infection pressure and a decreasing pressure on the health care system,” she said.
“But we have to make an effort in January, because it will be hard to get through.”
Encouraging stuff – though I’d be amazed if reported infections in Denmark continue rising until the end of January and don’t peak well before then, given reported infections in Gauteng in South Africa peaked weeks ago and infections appear to have stopped rising in London as well.
Worth reading in full.
We’re publishing a guest post today by two Scottish academics, Professor Roger Watson and Dr. Niall McCrae, about why the Scots have proved so willing to comply with the SNP’s draconian Covid restrictions. Their unprotesting acceptance of the cancellation of Hogmanay is particularly mystifying given that the latest data suggests only one Omicron patient has been admitted to intensive care in Scotland.
Hogmanay has always been a special night in the Scottish calendar. But looking forward to ‘the bells’ at a Glasgow bar, dozens of revellers were taken aback by the sudden arrival of a troop of police officers. The Avant Garde bar was known to be relaxed on Covid restrictions, and the police had apparently been tipped off that a couple had taken to the dance floor. Six vans arrived, and the ensuing scenes (later reported by the mainstream media but only after going viral on Twitter) showed that in Sturgeon’s Scotland the priority is not protecting public health but ensuring full compliance with the draconian rules. As in the film Footloose, set in a religiously rigid American town, dancing is considered a danger to public order.
How did Scotland become such an oppressive society? This, we believe, is rooted in two potent forces: first, the engrained sense of subjugation (actual or perceived) by the English; and secondly by a predilection to Calvinist discipline.
The United Arab Emirates has announced a ban on citizens who have not had three doses of a Covid vaccine from travelling abroad. In a notable tightening of the country’s vaccine passport travel regime, medical exemptions will apply but there is no option of a negative test. The BBC has the story.
Officials said the exit ban, which comes into force on January 10th, would not apply to those who are medically exempt from receiving the vaccine.
It is the latest country to announce new curbs amid a rise in infections.
Many countries impose strict restrictions on unvaccinated people before they are allowed in.
This varies from a requirement for a negative Covid test before travel to mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
More than 90% of the population in the UAE has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 34% had received the booster jab as of December 24th, according to Our World in Data.
The Government says the aim is to prioritise “health and safety” but it’s not clear how requiring triple vaccination to leave the country will protect the country from importing infections. It suggests the aim may be more to incentivise third dose take-up than actual infection control.
Worth reading in full.
A key contributor to mRNA vaccine technology Dr. Robert Malone – whose Twitter account has just been permanently suspended – told Joe Rogan in a podcast released on Saturday that America is in the midst of a “mass formation psychosis”. The Epoch Times has the story.
Toward the end of his interview, Malone suggested that people are in the midst of what he called “mass formation psychosis,” drawing parallels to the mentality that developed among the German population in the 1920s and 1930s.
In those years, Germans “had a highly intelligent, highly educated population, and they went barking mad,” Malone said.
“When you have a society that has become decoupled from each other and has free-floating anxiety in a sense that things don’t make sense, we can’t understand it. And then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point, just like hypnosis. They literally become hypnotised and can be led anywhere.
“They will follow that person. It doesn’t matter if they lie to them or whatever.”
Several years ago, he said, people were “complaining the world doesn’t make sense” and that we weren’t “connected socially anymore, except through social media”.
“Then this thing happened,” Malone said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “That is how mass formation psychosis happens and that is what has happened here.”
Worth reading in full.
As readers of the Daily Sceptic may recall, the “mass formation” hypothesis was first put forward last October by Dr. Mattias Desmet, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Ghent in Belgium. You can watch a YouTube video of him laying out the theory to Aubrey Marcus here and read a summary of Desmet’s ideas in the Daily Sceptic by Kathrine Jebsen Moore here.
A few weeks ago, emails obtained via FOI request revealed how America’s most senior government scientists sought to discredit the Great Barrington Declaration. In particular, the email below was sent by Francis Collins (former director of the National Institutes of Health) to Anthony Fauci:
Amazingly, Collins refers to the authors of the Declaration as “three fringe epidemiologists”, despite the fact that they held positions at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford respectively. (If even Harvard professors are considered “fringe”, there isn’t much hope for the rest of us…)
The use of “fringe” is particularly egregious when you consider that lockdowns represent a radical departure from the pre-Covid science. As Fauci himself stated on the January 24th last year: “Historically when you shut things down it doesn’t have a major effect.”
Collins then wrote, “There needs to be a quick and devastating takedown of its premise.” Which sounds like the sort of thing a PR consultant would say – not a supposedly neutral scientist. Further details of the exchange can be found in this article by Phil Magness, who actually obtained the emails.
Now two of the Great Barrington authors have hit back at Collins and Fauci. Writing in the Epoch Times, Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya say that their critics “got the pandemic strategy they advocated for, and they own the results”. As the two professors explain:
Lockdowns protected young low-risk affluent work-from-home professionals, such as administrators, scientists, professors, journalists, and lawyers, while older high-risk members of the working class were exposed and died in unnecessarily high numbers. This failure to understand that lockdowns could not protect the vulnerable led to the tragically high death counts from Covid.
Kulldorff and Bhattacharya’s piece offers a clear and forthright defence of the Great Barrington Declaration. Worth reading in full.
We’re publishing a long read today by philosopher and activist Dr. Ben Irvine, formerly an Honorary Fellow in the Philosophy Department at the University of Durham and now a writer, philosopher and campaigner. In it he sets out his thesis that over-cautious unions drove the country into lockdown as they ratcheted up their demands in the spring of 2020 and repeated the performance on subsequent occasions. Here’s an excerpt.
The first lockdown happened in March 2020 after the NEU threatened the Government with unilateral schools closures. The masks on public transport mandate in the summer of 2020 happened after the RMT, the rail workers union, threatened to strike. The masks in shops mandate in the summer of 2020 happened after USDAW, the retail workers union, lobbied the Government and allegedly threatened industrial unrest. The second lockdown happened in November 2020 after the NEU called for a ‘circuit breaker’. Christmas 2020 was heavily restricted after the British Medical Association (BMA) furiously lobbied the Government to tighten the Covid rules. The third lockdown happened on January 4th 2021 after the NEU orchestrated a massive teaching mutiny to stop the Government from reopening schools; the Government panicked and locked the whole country down later that evening, to cover up the mutiny. The first and the third lockdowns lasted as long as they did because the teaching unions refused to go back to work as normal. The masks in schools mandates, as well as other deranged measures in schools, including testing, bubbles, isolating, and more, were all driven by teaching unions, with the NEU centrally involved. And Covid vaccines were rolled out in schools, against the advice of the JCVI, because teaching unions demanded the measure.
Overall, the picture is clear, albeit incredible: the whole coronapanic debacle has happened because the Government has repeatedly capitulated to demands and threats made by unions. If those demands and threats hadn’t been made, Britain would have remained free.
Worth reading in full.
Analysis of official data by Professor Anthony Brookes, an expert in genetics and health data at the University of Leicester and a Daily Sceptic contributor, has shown that the risk of death from Covid for over-70s has decreased by tenfold compared to a year ago. Speaking to the Express, Prof Brookes said Covid no longer posed a significant threat to “the vast majority of people”.
We will not be in anything like the same place in January 2022 as we were in January 2021. Infected individuals are at dramatically less risk of becoming seriously ill or dying than a year ago. Over the last month the risk has been dropping further thanks to Omicron now accounting for around 95% of cases in England. Omicron is around four-fold less dangerous – it’s like nature’s vaccine. There has always been over a thousand fold difference in risk of serious illness or death between the old and the young. Currently the risk of death for the population as a whole is no worse than for seasonal influenza. For healthy children the risk is miniscule.
Younger people now have a higher risk of dying from a car crash in a whole year, than they do from COVID-19. Since their serious Covid risk is already very low, it is hard to identify any good reason for imposing or coercing youngsters to take on the known risks of vaccination. COVID-19 is progressively evolving to become another form of the common cold. Omicron takes us further down that path by reducing IFR at least three-fold. Would a normal society undertake mass testing and require isolation for the common cold?
His analysis, based on ONS infection survey data and death data, shows that at the start of the pandemic people over 70 had roughly a 10% risk of dying from COVID-19 if infected, but the infection fatality rate (IFR) has now fallen to 1-2% for this age group. The chart below, which owing to the three-week lag runs to the end of November, so does not cover the Omicron surge, has been supplied to the Daily Sceptic by Prof Brookes.
Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in infectious disease at the University of East Anglia, said:
There is no doubt the illness we are seeing now is less severe than at the start. We are seeing a big shift towards Covid becoming the common cold due to a range of factors including prior infection and vaccines. There is a point where we have to ask why are we testing and isolating people who just have a common cold?
Worth reading in full.
- “Backlash against face masks in secondary schools as Covid cases ease” – Tory MPs call for rethink amid warnings over effect on learning as new infections decline, reports the Telegraph.
- “Has Omicron peaked in London?” – The present best-case scenario is that Omicron peaks early in the new year and then falls just as fast as it did in South Africa, writes Fraser Nelson in the Spectator.
- “Fewer London Covid patients needing hospital ventilation, suggesting Omicron is milder” – The share of those on ventilators in the capital has dropped from around 20% in summer and autumn to less than 8% now, reports the Telegraph.
- “We’re nowhere near learning to live with Covid” – Getting back to normal means overhauling Test and Trace and rethinking mandatory isolation, writes MP and former Public Health Minister Steve Brine in the Telegraph.
- “The Pandemic Endgame” – An international update from the ‘Swiss Doctor’, including the return of flu (with Sweden experiencing its strongest flu wave in a decade), California’s Covid mortality overtaking Florida’s, and Australia’s sky-rocketing Omicron outbreak.
- “Dutch lockdown protesters mauled by police dogs and hit with batons” – Demonstrators, most of whom didn’t wear masks and ignored social distancing guidelines, defied the local government’s outlawing of the protests amid police strikes, reports Mail Online.
- “A wounded PM and ailing economy force England to ‘go Swedish’ on Covid” – It’s easy to see why the Government is reluctant to add to the economic pain with tougher restrictions, writes Larry Elliot in the Guardian. Yes, the Guardian.
- “Bin collections cancelled across the UK as Government plans for Covid absences in public sector to rise by a quarter” – Shortage of lateral flow devices contributing to widespread disruption as hospital trust declares ‘extreme and unprecedented’ staff absences, reports the Telegraph.
- “Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter account is suspended” – This is the fifth strike for Greene, who was last suspended in August for saying that vaccines were ‘failing’ to reduce the spread of COVID and that the FDA shouldn’t have approved them, reports the Daily Mail.
- “We have become too reliant on foreign doctors” – Poaching doctors from low income countries is both immoral and unethical, argues Consultant Surgeon J Meirion Thomas in the Telegraph.
- “Many Climate Ambitions Will End With 2021” – In the U.K., Germany and France, leaders walk back as their plans’ exorbitant price tag becomes clear, writes Joseph C. Sternberg in the Wall Street Journal.
- “Revealed: The hidden cost of going green” – Homeowners face huge bills to upgrade electricity supplies for heat pumps and car chargers, reports the Telegraph.
- “France and Germany at odds over EU proposal to classify nuclear and gas energy as ‘green’” – The French Government is keen to pursue a policy that the German Economy Minister has called ‘greenwashing’ and ‘wrong’, reports the Telegraph.
- “David Amess and the deafening silence on Islamism” – This year we learned that even the killing of an MP is not enough to force the political class to confront Islamist terror, writes Rakib Ehsan in Spiked.
- “Guardian pulls poll after JK Rowling wins” – The Guardian has pulled entries to its online ‘Person of the Year’ competition after the Harry Potter author proved to be the runaway favourite from supporters writing in to nominate her name, the Spectator reports.
- “Kulldorff and Bhattacharya Respond: The Collins and Fauci Attack on Traditional Public Health” – Great Barrington Declaration authors Professor Martin Kulldorff and Professor Jay Bhattacharya respond in the Epoch Times to the revelations that U.S. Government scientists Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins conspired to demolish the Declaration and smear its authors as “fringe epidemiologists”.