Thursday 2 February 2023


 'Kraken? What's Kraken? I've never heard of Kraken.'

If you haven't yet, you will.

Coronavirus variant XBB.1.5, otherwise known as Kraken

Tuesday's 'i' newspaper carried this headline on p.13:


I am grateful for small mercies. No other media has touched the story, to my knowledge, apart from the Daily Express, yesterday. Channel 4 News has not run with this breaking news item yet. The north American media is full of the news, however. This variant of SARS.CoV.2 had its origin in the United States of America. As the 'i' report states:

"If it follows the same trajectory as in the US, its share will jump from around 11 per cent of new infections (January 16) to around 40 per cent by Sunday (February 5)." 

Eleven days ago, daily cases of Covid had fallen below 100,000 for the first time in more than a year to stand at

just over 85,000. But since then they have risen by 45 per cent to 123,265 last Saturday (January 28), according to the latest data from the ZOE Health Study. 

Here are the reactions of two academics:

  • Professor Danny Altman of Imperial College London said that he is worried the public may not appreciate the threat Covid still poses and he would like to see greater actions taken to prevent its spread.
  • Professor Karl Friston of University College London said "we have just reached the nadir of the current wave and cases will start going up again. These fluctuations, with a peak every few months, are what we can expect for the next year or so."
Meanwhile, a study last week from Welsh universities found that most people with Covid symptoms are taking few precautions to prevent passing it on. 

Over 217,000 UK citizens have caught Covid - and died. Over 2 million are suffering the effects of Long Covid after being infected.  

Throughout 2022, I was publishing posts in which I self-identified as a Jeremiah figure. It was for a good reason. Here is how I ended my blogpost in December last year:

"In the 'i' today, we learn that 18 per cent of adults don't feel safe due to the risk of the virus in public spaces such as restaurants and public transport - and that this is likely to be a factor in the growing level of economic inactivity among working-age adults. You see how the economy shapes what our concerns should be. I am appalled at the triumph of these people who are misgoverning us. They have persuaded 82 per cent of the population they don't need to worry about COVID.

I know they are wrong. People are being gulled by those who have wealth and power. That is how an unregulated capitalism works."

This is a global issue - those misgoverning us have global as well as UK responsibilities. 

It is deeply shocking that those who misgovern us are not breathing a word about how best to live with the threat of a new disease such as COVID-19 which can be so deadly. It is as if they have washed their hands of any responsibility - very much the same position as they are adopting over the present wave of worker strikes. The truth is that it was a Conservative government, led by Johnson and Cummings, which pursued a policy of herd immunity without a vaccination for most of 2020. As a result, our present COVID toll of dead UK citizens stands at 217,000, and rising; one of the highest death rates per head of population in the world. Since Johnson declared it was safe to ease all restrictions just over a year ago, all attempts to manage this disease have been abandoned.  

We have been fortunate over this last year that the consequences of such administrative malfeasance have not been more serious. 

Such luck may not hold. 

Here are some more 'i' headlines over the last month to set you thinking:

Tuesday 31 January: "Care homes 'pressed to take Covid cases'

Monday 30 January: "Government slashes funding for promotion of flu and Covid jabs"     

Saturday 28 January: "Covid sufferers have stopped taking tests, isolating and wearing masks" 

Friday 6 January: "Variant strain [Kraken] expected to spread further" 

Friday 30 December: "Covid-19 isn't going away ... There's no end"


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