Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

h1

News, insights, opinions November 2021

November 3, 2021

Lately we are told by a deluge of mainstream media pieces, that “living with COVID-19” is now the way forward. The world supposedly has entered a new phase of the pandemic in which people are adapting to the persistent presence of an endemic but usually nonlethal pathogen.

Governments abandon even the most limited COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and try to organize a seamless transition towards COVID-19 as an endemic disease. Officials declare: “There will be no more school closures, lockdowns, or curfews again.”

Schools have largely dropped the mask requirement and normal life has resumed in many cities with only some perfunctory measures in place. Nightclubs reopened and large events have returned. Children resumed face-to-face lessons and sports months ago, and people can dine in big groups and walk around outdoors without masks. Travel restrictions have also been lifted.

The pandemic was useful to increase surveillance, to tighten control over the plebs, and to secure the money flows to the rentier class (the billionaires), now it is time to move to the next phase.

The still high infection rates, deaths, and permanent health damage (long Covid) are belittled, ignored, and blacked out, as mainstream media is gearing up for “living with Covid.” Many people will like the new message, as it allows them to restart their habitual consumer life.

Finally, after securing “healthy” profits for Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and their fellow pharmaceutical corporations with an open ended vaccination campaign, it is also time for the health care industry to move on and declare the pandemic to be over.

Big Pharma, with a long list of lawsuits and criminal convictions (Pfizer’s 2.3 billion US$ settlement in 2009 included a record-breaking 1.3 billion criminal fine, Johnson & Johnson paid 2.2 billion US$ in 2013) is rehabilitated and hailed as savior, while anti-vaxxers join the long list of ostracized dissident groups.

The calls for “ending the pandemic situation” make clear that people in charge continue the “profits before lives” policy. The official plan is to “build back better” in the post-pandemic recovery, and it means a digital technocracy and the rekindling of a neoliberal growth-oriented market economy with “healthy profits.” Consumerism will still be necessary to appease and sedate the masses.

Living with Covid

Nearly one-quarter of a billion people have been infected by the coronavirus and the official global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed five million people. This figure, horrific in itself, is known to be a vast under-count and the numbers of global excess deaths suggest that the true death toll stands at 16 million people, roughly equivalent to the death toll from World War I.

One Covid tracker estimates that nearly 200,000 people are dying from COVID-19 every week. In the USA more than 1,000 people on average are still dying of COVID-19 every day.

Some never discussed occurrences will make the post-pandemic word very different. As evidence mounts that even the mildest Covid infection can cause lasting organ damage (lung, heart, kidneys, liver, nervous system), millions of ailing people will strain the health care systems, well-being and life expectancy will be reduced, the social climate will be profoundly changed. For many, if not for most recovered patients it will be a life of misery.

A new scientific study on 10,024 breakthrough infections shows that vaccination does not prevent Long Covid.

=======

The world is fast approaching the end of the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. What has distinguished the second year has been the introduction of vaccines that have without doubt saved numerous lives. Just over half the world’s population, an astounding 3.86 billion people worldwide, has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, as inequity in vaccine distribution continues to plague the globe, regions in the Middle East, the African continent, and many Latin American countries have fallen woefully behind high-income nations in Europe and North America. Africa has, on average, only administered a single dose to 8.3 percent of its population.

Despite the vaccination campaigns, albeit favoring wealthier nations, the second year has been far more calamitous and deadly than the first. If we set the announcement of a PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern) by the World Health Organization on January 30, 2020, as a fixed point in the beginning of the pandemic, exactly one year later, there were 103 million reported infections and 2.35 million deaths globally.

But with three months left in the second year, already 143 million more people have contracted the virus. A small but significant number have contracted COVID-19 twice or even three times. Another 2.68 million people have died. This means that despite the existence of vaccines, more have lost their lives in 9 months than in the preceding 12.

It is important to consider these statistics, because the policy of living with the coronavirus has enabled SARS-CoV-2 to mutate and develop more virulent forms.

The emergence of the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) in the second year is the counterpoint to the policy of reopening and “living with Covid.” Hyper-transmissible, more virulent and deadly, and possessing more robust immune-evading properties, in just a few short months after debuting in India in a catastrophic surge of infections, it quickly dominated every other variant, wreaking havoc across communities in every region of the world. As of August 24, 2021, 163 countries have reported the Delta variant has been sequenced within their borders.

Other new mutations are emerging that arouse researchers’ concerns. AY.4 has been rising in the UK over several months, accounting for 68.2 percent of sequenced SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses in the last 28 days. The sub lineage AY.4.2, also commonly being referred to as the new “Delta Plus,” has been growing slowly, accounting for 8.5 percent in the same period. Scientists studying AY.4.2 have estimated that it is between 10 to 15 percent more transmissible than Delta.

Despite vaccinations, the situation in Europe is worse than it was the same time last year as a result of the reckless reopening policy. Last week, 1.4 million COVID-19 cases were registered across Europe, 18 percent more than the previous week. Over the same period, 20,503 deaths were recorded, a 17 percent increase. This means that 1.3 million people have officially acknowledged died from COVID-19 in Europe. And as in the US or India, the actual death toll is almost certainly far higher.

The situation is currently most dramatic in Eastern Europe. Russia and Ukraine are setting new record levels of infection and death almost daily. The three Baltic states are among the countries with the highest incidences worldwide. In Latvia, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a week stands at 934.5, in Estonia at 847.8, and in Lithuania at 747.

The situation is also out of control in Romania and Bulgaria, with incidences of around 500. In Romania, which has a population of around 19 million, more than 15,000 new infections were recorded on Saturday. Some 30 patients had to be transferred to neighboring Hungary because of the overload on the health care system. The situation is so dramatic that the government in Bucharest has had to take some limited measures. Masks will be compulsory throughout Romania, and larger events such as weddings and conferences will be banned in November.

One doesn’t have to be a cynic to wonder, if the next phase of the Covid pandemic (now renamed epidemic), as envisioned by the Davos clique, may be the implementation of longstanding plans for reducing the life expectancy of the lower classes in order to curb pension obligations and social spending on the elderly. In 2014, Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the leading architects of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, called for the rationing of health care based on income while discouraging the use of medical screenings. Emanuel was a member of the Biden administration’s White House Coronavirus Task Force until it was dissolved in January.

COP26, another useless public relations exercise

Niels Bohr, the Nobel laureate in Physics and father of the atomic model, is quoted as saying, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” Yet, the prediction that the Glasgow climate talks will fall short in any respect is easy and a deadly safe bet.

China’s President Xi Jinping doesn’t attend COP26, though China, with 1.4 billion people the most populous country in the world, is now the planet’s largest contributor to climate change, responsible for around 28 percent of CO2 emissions. Russian President Vladimir Putin also doesn’t attend, though Russia is another polluter of global importance.

US President Biden is there, but he has nothing to show for. On the last day of the Group of 20 summit, Biden told reporters that it was not inconsistent for him to urge oil producers to pump more fossil fuels while imploring countries to tackle climate change. Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation has been reduced to a fig leaf of reformist pretense, without a single dollar of additional taxation on the wealthy.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, the planet was changing before our eyes and ”COP26 must be a turning point for people and planet.” Guterres mentioned, that extreme weather events – including powerful heat waves and devastating floods – are now the new normal. “From the ocean depths to mountain tops, from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events, ecosystems and communities around the globe are being devastated,” said Mr Guterres.

Until now the COP26 climate negotiations in Glasgow yielded a commitment by more than 100 countries to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030. Forests have absorb roughly 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. A similar declaration in New York in 2014 saw 200 countries and civil society groups pledge to halve deforestation by 2020. Instead, it rose by 41 percent.

India PM Narendra Modi pledges net zero by 2070, a meaningless promise like all the other promises to be valid in 20, 30, or 50 years. National climate pledges are too weak to avoid catastrophic warming and most nations are on track to miss them anyway.

Most important: Nobody is committing to a reduction of industrial activity and an end to the “economic growth” paradigm, which would be the only effective measure.

The World Bank approves loans only under the condition, that governments push for GDP growth despite pandemic.

As electric vehicle sales are booming, China is striving to become a force in the global auto industry by selling battery-powered SUVs and luxury sedans in Western Europe.

Rather insignificant but nevertheless exemplary: To show the world that the UK is really, really serious about changing carbon emissions, the tax on domestic flights was significantly reduced ahead of COP26.

Who will tell Russia to seal oil and gas wells? Who will tell Australia and China to end coal mining? Who will tell the USA and Canada to stop fracking? Anyway, if one really dares to ask, they will make the usual meaningless promises for a reduction in 20 or more years.

As the billionaires do not stop the ruthless hunt for ever more profits while the Covid pandemic rages, they will not stop even as ecological collapse looms.

They pray for the “Midas touch,” not realizing that it will starve them to death.

(As the Latin poet Claudian states in his In Rufinum: “So Midas, king of Lydia, swelled at first with pride when he found he could transform everything he touched to gold; but when he beheld his food grow rigid and his drink harden into golden ice then he understood that this gift was a bane and in his loathing for gold, cursed his prayer.”)

Links are on Blogger

http://mato48.blogspot.com/2021/11/news-insights-opinions-november-2021.html

New pictures from cat land: