The disease is called COVID-19. The virus that spreads the disease is known as SARS-CoV-2. There have been a number of variants of this virus (Alpha, Delta, Omicron) and sub-variants of these variants (such as BA.4 and BA.5 that are at present the dominant sub-variants of Omicron).
|The SARS-CoV-2 virus - image used under licence from Getty Images - see Dying to Know - Running through a Pandemic, my latest book.|
In explaining all this, I am identifying what has become the elephant in the room. So many of our population of nearly 70 million are following the lead provided by the man who is still in No.10 Downing Street. Back in January this year, he ordered the lifting of all the restrictions that had been imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus. He did so without the support of most of the scientific and medical community. It was essentially a political gesture to secure the support of the hard-core of so-called freedom-loving Tory MPs in his struggle to stay in office as PM. He need not have done so. A week or so later, the Russian invasion of Ukraine gave him a temporary lifeline.
|My thanks to the brilliant cartoonist|
Read my blogposts - press here - to follow the story of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK throughout the first six months of this year. I have been appalled as the death toll from this virus approaches ever nearer to 200,000. I have some understanding of the nature of viruses thanks to my research for my book Dying to Know - Running through a Pandemic, published at the end of February this year - press here for reviews and more information. Above all, I have learned to respect the capabilities of this and other viruses. They do what they are programmed to do by their nature - weaken and if possible kill their human prey.
|Read the full story of deception that has led to what Engels back in the 19th century called 'social murder', a charge repeated today by some of the few socialists left in the parliamentary Labour Party.|
This man in No.10 and his acolytes boast about how they have seen us through the pandemic - it is one of their successes. Read my book and my blogposts to see what I have to say about that. But oh the damage his deceits and misdirection have caused! I have this newspaper headline from the 'i' newspaper before me, dated 31 May 2022: 'A third of adults believe UK exaggerates Covid deaths'. Truth is the first casualty of any war, not least the war waged by that man in No.10 to stay in power at any cost. If only we had a PM who cared enough to speak truth to the people. He, halfway through 2020, changed the way the COVID deaths were counted and knocked 20,000 off the total. When you have that kind of official contempt for statistics and the dead, you get this kind of public ignorance. How many people know, for instance, that 'Only 29% of Covid patients recover in a year' (Observer headline, 24 April 2022)?
One of the Covid authorities I much admire is Professor Christina Pagel of University College London. She used to appear regularly on Channel 4 News when that medium was taking the virus more seriously than it does now. Her research findings were reported in the 'i' newspaper on 16 June this month: she has found that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may have been categorized as much milder than Delta but it is killing more people in the UK than its predecessor. Shouldn't this news be sending shock waves through the nation? Shouldn't the media be buzzing with news of the rapid increase in infections caused by the new sub-variants of Omicron? Shouldn't those who govern us be responding to this latest twist in the pandemic? Wish on. Steve Griffin, a virologist at Leeds University, said that same day:
'The ONS data show that Living with Covid [the government's official policy] - or rather ignoring it - remains deadly for some and life-changing for many others, who may suffer from long Covid'.
Do you want to be governed by ignorant politicians whose official policy and practice is 'Ignore Covid - and the death and ill-health it brings'?
|Christina Pagel, professor of operational research at University College, London|
I used to rely on the data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to keep a daily check on new cases of COVID-19 in the UK, and numbers of UK COVID daily hospital admissions, patients in hospital, and those on ventilators - and the inevitable cases of deaths from COVID. But over the last month, someone has been twisting the arm of the ONS. UK figures have been replaced by England-only figures; from 1 July, figures will only be released weekly, not daily. The official data becomes less comprehensive and less accessible - and this at a time when the upward surge of another wave is now evident. Nevertheless, the ONS does still issue a weekly Covid infection survey that some of the media did reference (for instance, the 'i' newspaper, 18 June 2022) when it showed that levels of COVID-19 rose in all four UK countries, with the increase fuelled by the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5
Thank goodness, the media I read is reporting on this surge. My newspapers are also referencing data from the Zoe Covid study app (800,000 people have pledged to provide daily data of symptoms for illnesses) which confirm the seriousness of this latest surge. Here is the 'i' headline on p.10 for last Friday, 24 June, two days ago:
Covid cases double as subvariants take hold
I learned that symptomatic daily infections which stood at 114,030 on 1 June have now jumped by 105% to 233,482. The subvariants are thought to be more severe and better at evading immunity built up by vaccines and prior infection.
Paul Burton, chief medical officer of Moderna, the UK vaccine maker, explained:
'Omicron is devastating. It's infected millions of people a day in the US, and hundreds of thousands in the UK and across Europe. We're going to be dealing with the ramifications of Omicron for years to come - long Covid, depression, neurological features, diabetes, cardiovascular disease - and stuff that will begin to emerge. Omicron is not mild.'
Yesterday, the 'i' reported on p.5 that the estimate is that 2.5% of people in England, 4.76% in Scotland, 3.26% in Northern Ireland, and 2.25 % in Wales, are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
We seem to be edging towards all this becoming front page news - but we are not there yet. Why not? Your starter for 10.