Sandpit

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

42 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to spiral out of control. Our current measures function as if they were designed to make the pandemic as bad as possible and perhaps interminable. What I am saying is that we could scarcely design a worse policy if our intention had been to harm ourselves and humanity as much as possible.

    Our policy is the deliberate spread of COVID-19 as widely as possible while relying only on an incomplete vaccination program to arrest its spread. It gets worse. The virus, with the assistance of wide spread, indeed near ubiquitous spread except in mainland China, is rapidly evolving to immune escape and vaccine escape. Unchecked spread met by a leaky vaccine, with no updates for variants as yet, is the perfect recipe to assist the virus to evolve to vaccine escape. The correct strategy would have been:

    1. To make vaccination near universal by mandates and assisting the 2nd and 3rd world.
    2. To use other strong control measures to precede and then supplement what is an imperfect vaccine. It is probably an unavoidably imperfect vaccine given the empirical facts still emerging about the virus, the vaccine and the human immune systems’ (plural for many humans) as they encounter this pathogen.

    Since we have not followed that path, we are in a dilemma which could lead the human race into a situation resembling Marek’s disease in chickens. The salient points about Marek’s disease and its COVID-19 parallels are as follows (while remembering the two viruses are quite different from each other in classification terms, transmission and hosts):

    (1) Marek’s disease is a disease of chickens jammed together in the massed conditions of industrial farming. Human cities mean humans jammed together in the industrially massed conditions of modern human housing and transit. COVID-19 thrives in these human city conditions without controls.

    (2) Vaccination does not prevent infection with the Marek’s virus. Marek’s disease is still transmissible from vaccinated birds to other birds. This is exactly the position for humans with COVID-19 vaccination as it does not prevent continued infections.

    (3) Early strains of Marek’s were genuinely mildd. The first Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2 by comparison was not mild nor was it low on the contagion scale. Marek’s evolved to greater and greater lethality under the evolutionary pressure of an infection-leaking vaccine. SARS-CoV-2 has evolved to greater contagiousness under an incompletely administered and infection-leaking vaccine. It has also evolved to a greater product of lethality times contagiousness. Its intrinsic lethality is increasing too: meaning without vaccination, the latest strains are more dangerous. The claimed intrinsic mildness of Omicron’s variants has now been demonstrated to be a myth: one of the many deliberate lies and myths pushed during this pandemic.

    What this means for humans is illustrated by the following, written about Marek’s disease:

    “Under normal (natural) conditions, highly virulent strains of the virus are not selected for by evolution. This is because such a severe strain would kill the host before the virus would have an opportunity to transmit to other potential hosts and replicate. Thus, less virulent strains are selected. These strains are virulent enough to induce symptoms but not enough to kill the host, allowing further transmission. However, the leaky vaccine changes this evolutionary pressure and permits the evolution of highly virulent strains. The vaccine’s inability to prevent infection and transmission allows the spread of highly virulent strains among vaccinated chickens. The fitness of the more virulent strains is increased by the vaccine.” – Wikipedia.

    We are now in this Marek’s disease position with COVID-19 disease. SARS-CoV-2’s ability to spread asymptomatically and well before the host faces any possible lethal danger, PLUS the vaccine’s inability to prevent infection / transmission, allows the spread of highly virulent strains among vaccinated and unvaccinated humans. New immune-escape and vaccine-escape variants are also arising faster than any production of variant-targeted vaccines. In fact, we have not yet seen a single variant-targeted vaccine in the face of at least a dozen serious variants and serious sub-variants.

    Boosting by third and fourth vaccines is destined to progressively fail in the medium run (not even in the long run) on current trends. There is no official mention of a fifth vaccine and no serious mention or appearance of any further vaccine breakthrough. This looks like a chess end-game where the opponent has King and pawn vs. King and also has “the opposition” (of kings) as it is called. In such a situation, a win is guaranteed by following the correct heuristics and look-ahead algorithms of play. We are in this situation and destined to axiomatically lose against the virus unless we bring new pieces onto the board as it were. Playing the game only with a failing vaccine will axiomatically lead to massive losses in human and economic terms. The virus will “brute force” a win against us by naturally exploring myriad mutational lines and finding the winning, or thriving, lines (for the virus). If we keep “playing” in this way we lose for certain.

    Basically, we refuse to change for four reasons:

    (A) The economic reason is related to the “algorithms of capital” which can also be called “the rituals of capital”. These rules can be regarded as rituals because they are prescriptively specified, in neoliberal economics, as exclusively teleologically necessary (involving even the ignoring of empirical outcomes) for progress to prosperity. Under neoliberalism, the application of these prescriptions as algorithms has in fact lead to higher and higher inequality and to two now near-runaway disasters: climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. These rules are rituals instantiated as algorithms by the pseudo-rational application of the process of capitalization. That is my interpretation based on the highly original insights and discoveries of Capital as Power theory.

    These inflexible algorithms continue to be applied in the same manner no matter what the real systems (the biosphere and human populations) are doing and are having done to them. Feed-backs from real systems are ignored or fallaciously valued in the numeraire (a social fictive dimension) rather than being quantified in real scientific dimensions and then used for decision making. Almost all decisions under neoliberal capitalism are money calculated and mediated and are not real dimension, scientifically, calculated and mediated. See Blair Fix “The Aggregation Problem”.

    (B) The “Manufactured Consensus” problem. See Noam Chomsky’s work. Essentially outright lies, anti-science, anti-logic and other extensive FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) propaganda is utilized to propagandize and mislead the population.

    (C) The “Governance Capture” and “Regulatory Capture” problems which mean our nominal democracies are not democracies at all. The tiny majority of the super rich get most the governance decisions they want. See “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” – Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page.

    (D) The “dopamine reward system” problem posed by rampant consumerism. It is clear people have become so addicted to consumer rewards that they cannot and/or will not abstain from them even when their immediate satiation is contra-indicated by serious emerging real system dangers including continuous climate change and continuous pandemic spread.

    The final question is will we change in time? There is probably a point at which even the biggest (non-suicidal) idiots will stop accelerating straight towards the edge of a high precipice. The issue then is whether the momentum can be arrested in the space and time left for action.

  2. Green comedy

    Jean Racine: “Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.”
    Too clever by half you may judge, but it works quite well for the energy transition if you replace “think” by “watch technology” and “feel” by “watch climate policy”.

    Green steel

    Chasing established steelmaker SSAB of Hybrit fame, a different but also well-connected Swedish startup called H2 Green Steel plans to build a 2.5 mt/year greenfield plant in northern Sweden using hydrogen DRI: https://www.h2greensteel.com/https://www.h2greensteel.com/
    “H2 Green Steel has already signed off-take supply agreements for over 1.5 million tonnes of the volumes it will produce from 2025 onwards. […] Customers that have signed term sheets or supply agreements for steel so far with H2 Green Steel include Adient, BE Group, Bilstein Group, BMW Group, Electrolux, Kingspan, Klöckner & Co, Lindab, Marcegaglia, Mercedes-Benz, Miele, Mubea, Purmo Group, Roba Metals, Scania, Schaeffler, Zekelman Industries and ZF Group.”

    These blue-chip buyers are no doubt partly driven by reputation, partly by the risk of a carbon tax on coal-made steel, and/or price volatility in metallurgical coal. H2GS do not claim any magic technology. They and their knowledgeable customers are treating the method as a known quantity. Australia had better move quickly if it wants to compete. Shipping iron pellets instead of iron ore saves 40% of the weight.

    Green ammonia

    Press release from a Canadian startup:
    “Hydrofuel Canada Inc. […] a company engaged in delivering Green Ammonia and Hydrogen along the last mile to its customers, has completed an exclusive licence agreement with Georgia Institute of Technology for their patent pending MAPS system which enables high-yield, sustainable ammonia synthesis from air and water with unprecedented efficiency using a gas-phase electrochemical process. [….] Combined, these technologies allow Hydrofuel to produce Green NH3 using $.02/kWh electricity for as low as $220 a tonne, whereas fossil-fuel derived NH3 is currently selling at $1,500 to $2,000 a tonne.”
    https://hydrogen-central.com/hydrofuel-canada-green-ammonia-hydrogen-cheaper-fossil-fuels-technology/

    This is a press release, not even a pitch to investors, and I don’t vouch for the claim, but the figures are startling. An 85% reduction in the cost of production of a staple bulk chemical is an extraordinary claim. They don’t say how much of the gain comes from the ammonia synthesis and how much from the green hydrogen, which would benefit Haber-Bosch reactors too, but still. The Georgia Tech scheme “uses hollow hybrid plasmonic nanocages to create a highly effective electrocatalyst” so now you know. I think that if I were running a scam on these lines, I would pick a number less likely to attract informed investigation.

    As I’ve noted here before, other capable-looking teams, including one in Australia, are looking at much more efficient alternatives to the century-old Haber-Bosch process for ammonia synthesis. Ammonia is a far better energy carrier than hydrogen – denser, and liquid at quite low pressures and ambient temperature.

    PV capacity

    Back in March: “The world has very recently installed enough solar panels to generate 1TW of electricity directly from the sun. “ https://www.pv-magazine.com/2022/03/15/humans-have-installed-1-terawatt-of-solar-capacity/
    It`s not slowing down:
    “Chinese vertically integrated solar PV manufacturer LONGi Green Energy Technology continues to expand its production capacity with the newest announcement on March 14, 2022 stating it will add 20 GW monocrystalline silicon wafer, 30 GW high efficiency monocrystalline cell and 5 GW high efficiency solar module capacity in Inner Mongolia. “ https://taiyangnews.info/business/longi-plans-capacity-expansion-in-china/

  3. The world will not deal effectively with climate change and it will not deal effectively with the COVID-19 pandemic. One can say this with 100% certainty based on the current courses continuing without radical and indeed revolutionary change. The article linked to below goes into some detail about how the “Working Group III report on Mitigation of Climate Change of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), authored by 278 scientists from sixty-five countries, and drawing on some 18,000 scientific studies” was watered down and perverted by the corporate lobbying process.

    https://monthlyreview.org/2022/06/01/mr-074-02-2022-06_0/

    With this sort of thing not just “going on” but completely dominating how our civilization makes decisions, we have, as I say zero chance of arresting our onrush to cataclysmic disaster.

    Pretending that technological change, without revolutionary political economy change, can change anything substantive is to subscribe to a fairy tale. Equally, I suspect that to expect preemptive revolutionary political economy change is also to subscribe to a fairy tale. History to date has given no indication that that will happen. That leaves reactive change to catastrophes. We are now in the zone where that is the only possibility: reactive change to catastrophes as there will be several.

  4. “That leaves reactive change to catastrophes.”… unkess we hopefully introduce;

    “Imaginology
    “We need a new kind of approach to learning that shifts imagination from the periphery to the foundation of all knowledge

    “Broadly stated, the imagination has five steps: mimicry; abstraction/decoupling; recombination; expression; and social feedback. First, our neural mirror-system generates embodied mimicry of our perceptions. Then representational techniques such as drawing or language decouple those mimicked experiences from their original contexts. Next, our combinatory cognition blends and mashes novelty (involuntary or voluntary), and then – in the final two stages – those novel combinations are expressed and read against social feedback. In this way, imagination does not just redescribe a world, but regularly makes a new world. This world-making ability of imagination – its ability to generate Umwelten(perceptual worlds) – is why it should stand as the interdisciplinary foundation underlying both art and science. The more we understand imagination as core cognition, the more we recognise the artificiality of the ‘two cultures’ divide.”

    https://aeon.co/essays/why-we-need-a-new-kind-of-education-imagination-studies

  5. Ikp: “Pretending that technological change, without revolutionary political economy change, can change anything substantive is to subscribe to a fairy tale. ”
    Can you provide a single example of revolutionary social change driving a technological revolution, rather than the other way round?

    There is a prehistoric village site near Almeria, dating from the beginning of metalworking. It’s heavily fortified. What is surprising is that it’s from the brief Chalcolithic period, when copper had come into use, and bronze (an alloy with scarce tin) had sill to arrive. Bronze is very good for weapons, but copper is too soft: you can use it for ornaments, mirrors and cooking pots. Apparently that was still enough to create a motive for inter-tribal warfare.

    Some technological revolutions – rail, aviation, telegrams and telephones – needed quite a lot of government hand-holding; others were more or less self-sustaining, as with the internet and mobile telephony, and the stirrup and coal in the past. My guess is that the energy transition is now irreversible, and the open question – a very important one given ow close we are to the brink – is just how fast.

    On the truth of fairy tales, I`m with Italo Calvino.

  6. James W.,

    To be precise I wrote:

    “Pretending that technological change, without revolutionary political economy change, can change anything substantive is to subscribe to a fairy tale. Equally, I suspect that to expect preemptive revolutionary political economy change is also to subscribe to a fairy tale.”

    That suggests that neither technological change nor revolutionary political economy can lead on their own. I wrote very pessimistically, “That leaves reactive change to catastrophes.” On my bad days, that’s how I feel.

    However, it does also leave technological change and revolutionary political economy change happening more or less simultaneously and synergistically. I see us as needing both. No matter what tech we get we will remain in a very bad way if we can’t get rid of neoliberal capitalism. I would say, capitalism as a whole, but I am prepared to go with mixed economy reforms leading to full democratic socialism eventually (or stopping / pausing at the empirical junctures where further revolutionary change looks counter-productive.) I consistently declare myself against violent revolution except in extreme cases where the reactionaries initiate extreme exploitation and/or violence.

  7. Best explanation on the internet about the COVID-19 Pandemic. Yes folks, It is a pandemic and a pandemic disease. Have no illusions on that score.

    This presentation is by Raina MacIntyre. The second half gets very detailed and technical. Watch at least the first half for a good general understanding. At the site page scroll down a little to put the screen of the presentation squarely in your view. You can also full-screen it then. Raina MacIntyre is both brilliant at her subject and brilliant at presenting the information for experts and non-experts alike. The presentation picture / method / technology are great too. She never loses focus except well into the presentation when a pet dog barks in the background. Perils of home presentation I guess. The information is brilliant and lays to rest all the myths about the pandemic.

    https://exchange.isid.org/isid/2022/isid-webinars-2022/356886/faculty.presenters.covid-19.pandemic.or.endemic.html?f=menu%3D16%2Ac_id%3D356886%2Afeatured%3D17649

  8. One nice example of synergy between social and technological change is provided by the century-long rise of feudalism in Western Europe around 900 AD, alongside he adoption of the motte-and-bailey castle. The motte was a large mound, built by forced peasant labour, capped by a wooden keep; the bailey a larger wooden stockade at its base. If attacked by Viking raiders or rival seigneurs, the lord and his armed retainers would defend the keep with crossbows, while the villeins and their livestock would seek the limited but still real safety of the bailey. The technology encapsulated and reinforced the new and unequal social contract between serf and lord, and its asymmetric benefits. For a contemporary record of the warfare, see the siege of Dinan in the Bayeux tapestry. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Bayeux_Tapestry_scene19_detail_Castle_Dinan.jpg

  9. Putins latest comments make his position quite clear, he intends to restore many lands to Russia. Agreements, pacts, borders and sovereignty have no value and will ignored.

    In that respect Russia has history on their side.

    He laments the fall of the USSR yet his new empire will be entirely fascist, a structure controlled by only one person, himself.

    His imperialism refutes the free market, he is free to act but the market can’t act to ensure the freedom of the individual.

    He has invaded and destroyed large parts of the Ukraine yet the defenders dare not retaliate in Russia.

    Putin is playing a game to his rules and we need to accept these rules, or reject them firmly.

  10. That the chaotic dissolution of the Sovjet economic and political system was a disaster is a notion shared by many and a vast majority of those that had to suffer from it personally. Notably not by Merkel – but for example also most western European politicians active at the time it happened. Going from there to conquering the former parts is quite another story…

  11. Merkel said that there was a feeling of loss, like losing a father, and that this couldn’t be explained or understood by those in the west.

    Russia blames the west, particularly the US, for its failings. They aren’t alone; Ludendorff and Hindenburg blamed their loss in WW1 on socialist, media and Jews.

  12. Prepare for a new sh**storm from the COVID-19 Omicron BA5 variant. Virological analysis notes:

    – ACE2 and TMPSSR2 are cell entry points for SARS-Cov-2.
    – Omicron avoided ACE2 and just went via TMPSSR2.
    – BA5 is back to entering the cell via TMPSSR2 as well. (Like Delta)
    – Lungs are rich in TMPRSS2, which is probably why people thought Omicron was mild without that deep lung infection.
    – BUT Omicron still Covid and was/is not mild after adjusting for vaccine effects.

    Interpretation: The Omicron BA5 variant is more contagious than Delta and all previous Omicron strains and can enter cells like Delta or Omicron and cause syncytial damage again (cell fusion damage) like Delta. It could become a deep-lung destroyer again like Delta. Early Omicron was “just” an all-organs destroyer. Omicron BA5 could prove to be like a Delta plus an Omicron variant pathogen all in one package. This does not bode well. It continues the evolution process to immunity evasion and vaccine evasion also.

    All one can do is:

    (1) Be fully vaccinated according to current guidelines.
    (2) Wear an N95 mask or better in all settings outside of the home except the great outdoors.
    (3) Beyond the household, avoid people, crowds and indoors as much as possible while meeting essential life requirements.
    (4) Keep at least 2 meters, preferably 5 meters, away from everyone in public settings.
    (5) Isolate for 14 days after any +ve test. Test negative (PCR preferably) before going out again.
    (6) Isolate +ve and usually able family members to another area of the house. Keep tabs on their health and responsiveness. Follow medical guidelines for when to seek help or hospital admission.

    Considering the dangers, the above measures are not excessive. Indeed, they are the bare minimum which will probably keep you safe and yet probably won’t keep you safe 100% indefinitely. BA5 appears to attack children and infants very hard too. Reinfections within 30 days are possible too.

    The situation, IMHO (which is non-medical) becomes ever more dangerous for everybody. Government and public health authorities continue to gaslight the populace that everything is alright. This is a deliberate lie, again IMHO, and they have decided that the vulnerable including young children are expendable for the purposes of keeping profits flowing to the rich.

    However, this is a free country, the national policy has been set and you are currently free to ignore this advice and follow the official advice.

  13. Ikonoclast,
    Many thanks for flagging.

    Iko: – “(4) Keep at least 2 meters, preferably 5 meters, away from everyone in public settings.

    Based on the excellent presentation by Raina MacIntyre (that you linked to above at JUNE 10, 2022 AT 8:40 AM) from Slides 41 through to 50, the evidence/data indicates the 2 metre rule is useless for airborne viruses. Factors that determine the probability of an uninfected person acquiring an infectious dose from an infected person depends on:
    * whether the infected person is mask wearing and what type of mask is worn;
    * whether the uninfected person is mask wearing and what type of mask is worn;
    * duration of exposure;
    * degree of air movement/filtration/replenishment at the venue.

    Iko: – “However, this is a free country, the national policy has been set and you are currently free to ignore this advice and follow the official advice.

    And the consequences for being “free” (per Slide 51) include:
    * Decline in population life expectancy;
    * All organ systems affected;
    * Multi-inflammatory syndrome in children and potentially an increase in hepatitis;
    * ‘Long-COVID’ affecting cardiac, respiratory, neurocognitive, immunological, and other system deterioration;
    * Increased burden of chronic cardiac, respiratory and dementia illnesses;
    * Long-term effects on children?

    These factors induce GDP/economy decline – see Slides 55 & 56.
    I’d suggest these factors increase the potential for societal collapse.
    Is this the price we wish to pay for “freedom”?

  14. Geoff Miell,

    You, per Raina MacIntyre, are correct about consequences. I have simply grown tired of COVID-19 severity-denialists. Mine was exasperation-speak for “You risk your life if you want to. I won’t be risking mine or the lives of other people as much as I have the power to protect them.” Of course, it is morally wrong that people can act foolishly with impunity and recklessly risk other peoples’ lives. But currently and lamentably, they can legally do so.

    Also, I made a mistake in expressing the issues of ACE2 and TMPSSR2 cell entry. I will try to correct when I have a little more time. Bottom line though is that Omicron BA5 is very dangerous and effectively, in important ways, acts like Delta plus Omicron, the worst of both variants, even though it is not a recombinant but carries key mutations, so far as I know at this stage as a layperson.

    Bottom line, the COVID-19 pandemic is still trending worse, not better, after adjusting for vaccines (which are fast losing efficacy anyway). A global pandemic super-emergency is not far away as I see it. Then we can add in climate change, war and economic problems. Anyone who thinks this is still BAU is on neoliberal koolaid.

  15. Monkey-pox continues to accelerate globally as the world multi-virus superpandemic spirals out of control. Omcicron BA5 is also set to spiral out of control globally. It should not be surprising that this is what happens when you give up on infectious disease control on a planet with a crowded, highly mobile global population of humans who also destroy more natural habitat every day and invite more and more viruses to jump into humans. This a bottomless pit of hell on earth. People need to decide if they want to live or die.

    Also check:

    ‘It spares no one’: New study reveals frightening Covid side-effect (more heart attacks for EVERYONE no matter how mild the infection.) -Yahoo Staff Writer.

  16. What’s in a name? Actually, an awful lot. How we name things, and people, affects how we treat them. It’s true for pathogens and medical conditions too.

    1. The disease SARS-CoV-2 causes should have been termed SARS2 to indicate, by association, how serious it was. SARS1 is rightly feared with an IFR of up to 30%. SARS2 wiith a near term IFR of about 0.3% needs to infect 1,000 times more people to kill as many as SARS1 in the near term. It does this easily with a high contagion rate under the largely uncontrolled conditions in the modern world. It also has a long tail of sequelae which debilitate and kill people for months and years afterwards, considerably raising the long term effective IFR. But our authorities and people are in denial about all this.

    2. How we name the conditions caused by SARS2 also affects how seriously we do or do not treat the disease. Here is a thread which highlights how serious SARS2 is.

    3. I recently watched a documentary about the “Water Wars”. The first episode highlighted how the banks were permitted to destroy large tracts of Detroit, loot it, bankrupt it and cut off water to up to 100,000 of the poorest Detrioters.

    I ruminated. An economic system which lets banks destroy one of its own cities would not care in the least if it destroyed a creed, a color or a class of people, nor if it destroyed a huge swathe of people around the world. Such a system treats people as worthless and nature as worthless too. We, if we happen to be middle class, are now discovering this system considers us to be worthless also. Once we let the system treat one class as worthless it was always inevitable that it would eventually treat all of us (who are not billionaires or connected to their power) as worthless.

    The entire capitalist system has given up on infectious disease control, as I have said before. It is up to us to demand that infectious disease control be reinstated as a central function of modern, crowded living. Without it we are chooks in a factory farm with Marek’s disease, we are expendable test subjects in a giant uncontrolled experiment. Is this what people really want? When they see what’s really going to happen here, I believe they won’t want it. The second half of this year for Australia will be a disaster with Omicron BA5 and later variants coming in waves and mounting up the death toll relentlessly. Tens of thousands will die this year and hundreds of thousands be left with serious chronic conditions. Left to spiral, within a few years we will have over 100,000 excess deaths and a million plus with serious chronic conditions. That will make our society and nation unworkable and headed for collapse. Is that what we want?

  17. Perhaps Lt Fred, “The importance of ‘extremely unlikely’ events: tail risk and the costs”… of reinfections, mutations and long Covid will have a long tail. Have you taken long tails into your reasoning?

    By John Quiggin re climate change:

    “The importance of ‘extremely unlikely’ events: tail risk and the costs of climate change”
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320909957_The_importance_of_'extremely_unlikely'_events_tail_risk_and_the_costs_of_climate_change

  18. An interesting discussion in this essay.

    https://thepavlovictoday.com/the-diminishing-hope-of-covid-19-herd-immunity/

    Discusses the title issue and others in a calm, measured way. Also interesting how it implicitly points out that epidemiology is (essentially) a social science in some respects (just like economics). Hence, complete precision in the face of human and socioeconomc complexity and variegated behaviors is not possible.

    Overall, it suggests we face an indefinite pandemic with continuing significant death rates unless we use other controls in addition to quite imperfect (non-sterilizing, leaky) vaccines.

  19. As a person on Twitter said, “We should stop talking about the COVID-19 pandemic in past tense and stop talking about climate change in future tense.” They are both happening now, right now, present tense. They are both serious, even likely existential threats for humankind, especially in combined effects. Climate change is unleashing many dangers including the increasing emergence of novel zoonosis pandemics.

    In turn, the danger behind and generating these dangers is our political economy system which refuses to act adequately to meet and avert these crises. The circuits of capital and the processes of elite wealth accumulation are what our system optimizes. It does not optimize responses to real threats.

    Currently, I am focused on, one might say fixated on or obsessed by, the threat COVID-19 poses to us all. It is actually psychologically and physically adaptive to be obsessed by and focused on existential and mortal threats. Anyone functional person fully perceiving a serious real existential and mortal threat will fixate on it and will do so to the exclusion of other lesser concerns if the threat is close at hand in space and time.

    Our society as a whole is still not adequately focused on the threats named above, COVID-19 and climate change. To the extent that it is not, our society as a whole is non-functional and maladaptive. I have said why. Its prescriptions are all for maximizing elite wealth accumulation and next to none for maximizing responses to real threats.

    I refuse to believe, and I think I have reasonable evidence for this, that most people in our society are intrinsically non-functional and maladaptive. If they fully perceive a serious near threat they will act on it. What explains the disjunction between the dysfunctional and maladaptive system and the majority of functional and adaptive people?

    I think it boils down neatly to perception and power. If people are not acting, they do not perceive the danger and/or they do not have to power to act and/or they perceive they do not have the power while they really do. The first problem is disinformation and misinformation. Misinformation is false information that is spread, regardless of intent to mislead. Disinformation is knowingly and intentionally spread misinformation. There is probably a third category of not caring what the truth is and simply spreading any information/misinformation selectively so long as it furthers one’s argument or cause. I will clumsily term this third category “conglomermation”: in some ways a bit of a distant cousin of FUD or fear, uncertainty, doubt. Conglomermation is a confusing mix of truth and lies. A bit of truth can be on the outside, coating all the lies. Or it can be a “rocky road” confection of many bits of truth and lies all through, a chewy matrix appealing to our mind’s masticating dumb-tooth.

    The problem with the COVID-19 (SARS2) outbreak initially was the lack of real information about a real, brand new pathogen. Given that issue, plus its contagiousness and close relation to the highly dangerous SARS1 and to human coronaviruses in general which all or nearly all show consistent and continuous mutation and immune evasion THEN the sensible precautionary response would have been suppression of spread ideally to elimination as for SARS1. But let us not rehearse that history again.

    We are now in the position of having a global, out-of-control pandemic of a pathogen in its latest variant forms that is;

    (a) airborne (aerosol and droplets);
    (b) highly contagiousness (among the highest ever observed);
    (c) lethal with an IFR higer than 1% without vaccination or other controls;
    (d) generating much morbidity / many sequelae;
    (e) is mutating to evade natural immunity and vaccine immunity; and finally
    (e) is yielding, under ongoing study, many new and disturbing data.

    These new data are continually suggesting the position is worse, not only worse than the official lies and half-truths we have been fed BUT worse than the worst prognostications of the most pessimistic experts.

    This latest paper, still in pre-print admittedly, may give people a bit of a heads-up.

    Click to access 2022.06.14.22276401v1.full.pdf

    At the same time, note that the Omicron BA5 variant has hit Portugal and is about to hit the USA and Australia. It is the most immune-evasive, vaccine-evasive variant so far and has caused a spike in cases and deaths in Portugal. The vaccines appear to be holding out reasonably well if you are vaccinated and boosted to the highest level available for your age group. It would be wise to take all other possible precautions including masking and distancing in public and isolating (for 14 days and until a negative PCR) if you contract COVID-19.

    This is citizen to citizen advice. I am not a medical doctor or a scientist.

  20. If we aren’t as concerned about COVID-19 as we are about Climate change then we should be. Both of them are great existential threats to humanity in their own right and acting in concert their threats are multiplied.

    Eric Topol is the Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, Professor of Molecular Medicine, and Executive Vice-President of Scripps Research. From his own bio:

    “As a researcher, he has published over 1200 peer-reviewed articles, with more than 290,000 citations, elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine. His principal scientific focus has been on the genomic and digital tools to individualize medicine—and the power that brings to individuals to drive the future of medicine.”

    Eric Topol is no alarmist and his credentials are impeccable. His praise of the COVID-19 vaccine development program is warranted:

    In a pinned tweet on his Twitter, dated Nov 29, 2020, he says:

    “This (COVID-19 vaccine development) will go down in history as one of science and medical research’s greatest achievements. Perhaps the most impressive.
    I put together a preliminary timeline of some key milestones to show how several years of work were compressed into (12) months.”

    It’s not possible to easily show his timeline table here. It is at his Twitter. The timeline runs from Dec 1, 2019 “SARS-CoV-2 sequenced” to Dec 11,,2020 “Phase 1a vaccination begins for Health Care Professional”.

    On his Twitter today (19/6/22) Topol asks:

    “How can you go from sequence of a novel virus to 2 vaccines with 95% efficacy and safety (>75,000 participants in RCT trials) in 10 months and not, in 2.5 years, go after pan-β-coronavirus and nasal vaccines with the same aggressive (OWS) template?” – Eric Topol.

    This is a very good question, asking why progress has stopped. My suggested possibilities are:

    1. Initial serendipity. A lot of groundwork research preexisted as a jumping off point. Progress is now slower.
    2. The new requirements are technically harder or even biologically impossible.
    3. Not enough funding now by Pharma &/or Govt.
    4. Big Pharma are happy where they are. Endless boosters for endless infections will be a continuing money spinner (they think). They have no incentive to find a full cure. Only new state action and state funding will work.

    We who are on the outside of both genetic virology and the political-economy halls of power (government and corporations in the USA mainly) cannot really know why progress seems to have halted. We can only speculate. But those on the inside of genetic virology are worried.

    Topol has retweeted this:

    ‘‘In terms of what really keeps me up at night, it’s the knowledge that we can’t keep boosting.”
    —Dr. Peter Marks, US FDA.

    Marks in turn links to this article:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/can-we-develop-a-covid-19-vaccine-that-lasts-11655478373?mod=Searchresults_pos2&page=1

    Now, it’s both climate scientists and genetic virologists who can’t sleep at night. We need to take these issues far more seriously. Of course, people like me always get called alarmists and doomsters. Alarm-raiser maybe. But doomer, certainly not. I want us to take action to stop the doom. It is the fatalists, who keep saying (and acting out) we don’t need to do anything or we can’t do anything, who are responsible for our onrush to doom.

    If we can’t keep boosting and we can’t get a pan-β-coronavirus sterilizing vaccine and/or sterilizing nasal vaccines then we are back to NPI controls. There is nothing else. The virus will not necessarily mutate to mildness. In fact those who understand abit of evolutionary theory and empirical data know that is a low possibility.

    “Rather than accept the new “COVID normal”, authorities need to minimise cases and deaths by promoting the use of masks, improved ventilation, better vaccination coverage, and ongoing testing and isolation” – Margaret Hellard tells the Victorian parliamentary inquiry.

    She’s right and the NPIs could soon be the only controls available to us if vaccines and vaccine / medication progress fails. This is now looking to be a real, very disturbing and significant possibility.

  21. Ikon, Doherty are working hard. I couldn’t locate trial of nasal vaccines for Pfizer & AZ. 

    “Volunteers receive first dose in clinical trial of Melbourne-made COVID-19 vaccines”
    12 MAY 2022

    “Only after all 114 participants have been vaccinated and provided a blood sample 30 days post-vaccination will we receive the data and be able to begin analysing how the vaccines have performed.”

    “Professor Colin Pouton of MIPS, who led the development of the RBD mRNA vaccine, said it has been an exciting moment for the team to see patients receive the first doses.

    ““It’s been incredible to see the potential of mRNA vaccines over the last two years, and we’re excited to see Australia’s first mRNA vaccine reach this milestone,” said Professor Pouton. 

    ““Getting to this stage has been an enormous team effort across both institutes, and we look forward to seeing how the vaccines continue to perform in clinic.”

    “University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute, said next generation vaccines will be an important tool to combat new variants as they arise and to help bring the global pandemic under control.”
    . .
    https://www.doherty.edu.au/news-events/news/volunteers-receive-first-dose-in-clinical-trial-of-melbourne-made-covid-19-
    *

    Long Civid will be one of those bell curves with very long tails it seems. 0.5% show up on medical and disability radars at this stage,  even though high rates of long covid. which may change. A bit like Co2 maybe – “there is hardly any”, but a large effect size.

    Tons of links here and a long covid dashboard.

    I do not appreciate the headline – (long covid not shown to be a mass deterioration event yet, and ala JQ on costs of global warming we can manage) compared to good info in this article.

    “Long COVID Could Be a ‘Mass Deterioration Event’

    “A tidal wave of chronic illness could leave millions of people incrementally worse off.

    By Benjamin Mazer

    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/06/long-covid-chronic-illness-disability/661285/
    *

    “AAPM&R Long COVID Dashboard Released

    August 24, 2021

    “Today we released the first dashboard that shows how many millions of Americans are estimated to be experiencing Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC or Long COVID) symptoms by state, county and nationally.

    “Our dashboard is based on data from Johns Hopkins University CSSE COVID-19 data and the U.S. census, and includes state and county level statistics and trends over time for Long COVID. The dashboard has options for estimating the number of Long COVID cases based on different assumptions and percentages.”

    https://www.aapmr.org/members-publications/member-news/member-news-details/2021/08/24/aapm-r-long-covid-dashboard-released

    https://pascdashboard.aapmr.org/

  22. Australia’s COVID-19 disaster continues to worsen. The data proves it.

    Note the graph in the above post. The “area under the curve” of each “wave” can be assessed by eye. The area under the curve gives you an estimate of the deaths under that peak or slope. We are clearly in a new wave which has already killed as many people as the last January wave. The last wave was a sharp peak. This new wave is a linear rise which seemingly has not peaked yet. It may have flattened or not. It’s too early to tell. But unless it plunges almost vertically (and no sign of that yet) it will kill more than the January wave. With Omicron BA4 and BA5 peaks still due in Australia it seems reasonable to expect further rises and even steepness in the graph. Omicron BA4 and BA5 are more contagious and more immune evasive and vaccine evasive than all previous variants.

    Latest research data on COVID-19 strongly suggests;

    (a) Herd immunity is impossible; [1]
    (b) All immunity wanes;
    (c) Latest variants escaping resistance (it’s not really immunity) ever more effectively;
    (d) Every COVID-19 infection damages the body, sometimes long term
    (e) Part of the virus may be an antigen or super-antigen deranging T-cell function (long term memory immunity)
    (d) The virus can sequester and hide in parts of the body long term, remaing viable and active.

    Basically this indicates COVID-19 spread is unstoppable with currently available vaccines and the pathogen is close to untreatable in severe or chronic cases with current antivirals and other treatments.

    The long term trajectory of the pandemic is worsening (and unstoppable) without pan-beta- coronavirus vaccines and new treatments. Failing these (and they have not appeared yet) the long term trajectory is worsening (and unstoppable) without current vaccines, regular boosters indefinitely and other controls. This is a mass death and mass disabling event which is still getting worse. Our economies are also buckling under it. The only viable and sustainable approach are proper, multi-layered controls.

    Note: Herd immunity is impossible for SARS-Cov-2 (without a near-perfectly sterilizing vaccine) and is known by current virological and advancing science to be impossible under that condition. I can explain why with links if people here want that.

  23. Per covidlive.com.au, deaths from COVID-19 in Australia were:
    Period _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Days_ Accumulated Total _ Total for Period _ Average deaths/day
    2020, Mar 01 to Dec 31: 306 _ _ _ _909 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 909 _ _ _ _ _ _ 2.97
    2021, Jan 01 to Dec 31: 365 _ _ _2,239_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _1,330 _ _ _ _ _ _ 3.64
    2022, Jan 01 to Jun 20: 171 _ _ _9,382 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 7,143 _ _ _ _ _ _41.77
    https://covidlive.com.au/report/daily-deaths/aus

    On current trends, Australian deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 may reach/exceed:
    * to 30 Jun 2022: _7,560
    * to 31 Dec 2022: 15,246

    See my earlier comment at: https://johnquiggin.com/2022/05/04/message-board-2/#comment-252664

    How have governments and society become so casual in accepting this death rate?

    Yes, they are mainly – but not exclusively – the other side of 70. So we’ve casually set a precedent: We don’t have to try too hard if something is killing people older than 70.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/2022/06/04/covid-deaths-accepted-pascoe/

    Unless one is very unlucky, or very stupid, and dies earlier, people perhaps have a chance to live to an age where one becomes increasingly more susceptible to the debilitating & accumulative effects of COVID-19.

  24. Globally, monkeypox is climbing exponentially. We’ve seen this exponential growth before, with COVID-19. Monkeypox is contagious with close contact. It doesn’t have to be intimate contact. No reason yet to expect it to be as contagious as SARS2, Omicron variant, but monkeypox spread can be airborne. Strange that it is exploding now. Two major reasons I suspect;

    (1) Population’s general immunity damaged by rampant COVID-19.
    (2) Governments and WHO are failing at controlling infectious disease in general.

    In reply to Geoff above. Probably too optimistic. Anybody under 30 who catches COVID-19 five times or more (say) will be highly unlikely to make 70. COVID-19 damage accumulates.

  25. Diseases which significantly target or collaterally damage the body’s immune system are particularly dangerous and insidious as we know from HIV.

    “HIV is a virus that affects the immune system. It can have many effects across the body, but modern treatments are effective in preventing HIV from progressing to an advanced stage.
    … Without treatment, HIV can damage the immune system and increase the risk and effects of other infections. As a result, the virus can affect every part of the body, including the skin, respiratory system, and nervous system.” – Medical News today.

    As early as October 2021 it was noted “How COVID-19 alters the immune system”:

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211028125803.htm

    “Summary: COVID-19 reduces the numbers and functional competence of certain types of immune cells in the blood, say researchers. This could affect responses to secondary infections.”

    This is not just “alters”. It clearly enters the territory of “degrades”. This supports my above claim: “Population’s general immunity damaged by rampant COVID-19.” Put this together with SARS-CoV-2’s continued immune escape and vaccine escape and we are into seriously dangerous territory, considering we are allowing COVID-19 to spread unimpeded through our entire society. See also:

    “BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 escape antibodies elicited by Omicron infection” – Nature.

    This is now affecting our children:

    “Misled by dubious experts—children were initially thought to be spared from the worst of COVID19–but more than 2 years later, longCOVID clinics are full of pediatric patients—parents now looking for guidance on a range of symptoms affecting their kids.” – Eric Feigl-Ding.

    See: “Researchers are studying long COVID in kids — here’s what they know so far” – abc news (USA).

    “”If you look at some of the early information that came out … that said children are spared—[many] started this pandemic thinking kids weren’t a part of it, and it’s impacted the policy ever since,” Kleinman told Med Page Today. “And we know that’s just not true. It’s a myth.” – Eric Feigl-Ding.

    Summing up.

    The vaccines-only policy is intrinsically highly dangerous for a novel mutable RNA coronavirus pathogen of SARS characteristics with no obligate blood stage and no obligate vectors other than humans. It leads to immunity escape and breakthrough infections. Then the vaccines “tool” is blunted and finally rendered useless. It is like driving a loaded truck down a steep incline and using the brakes only. This burns out the brakes. The truck gathers speed and momentum. It is no longer possible to change down to lower gears. You would just strip the gears, bust the clutch and/or break the tail-shaft. The key prevention strategy was to have other controls (lower gears) in place as well and early enough to prevent the runaway process.

    We are now in a runaway process of vaccine escape and societal resistance to other controls in relation to COVID-19 disease. It becomes ever harder to rein this in as stronger and stronger multiple measures other than vaccines would be needed, are needed, just as the anti-measures hysteria is ratcheted up to ever more irrational heights of denialism. Once you unleash this sort of ignorance-driven anarchy, necessary control becomes harder.

    With the mass of lies being peddled about “living with COVID-19”, it may take mass infection, mass morbidity, mass disablement, mass disfigurement and the mass deaths of multiple pandemics touching every family before people change. It may take visceral existential terror on a mass scale to overcome the official lies and minimization.

    I hope people wise up sooner that that. I really do. Remember, so far the so-called “alarmists” (we are simply following a standard precautionary approach [1]) have actually been right every time. We can’t live with runaway climate change and we can’t live with COVID-19 and the multiple pandemics coming in the wake of its societal, economic and immune system damage.

    Note 1.

    “In order to protect the environment (and people’s health), the precautionary approach (should) be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental (and health) degradation.” – Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Above text slightly altered by me to add the issue of a precautionary approach to human population health as well.

  26. Every re-infection, on average, increases your risk. The data is becoming very clear on this. Multiple reinfection, which will become the norm under current conditions, will lead to high levels of death and morbidity; a globe living under the shadow of continuous mass death and mass disablement in all nations, with Australia currently on track to become one the worst in the developed world.

    “It gets worse each time you get infected.” – Dr. David Berger.

  27. COVID-19 issues continued…

    Studies now show that re-infections of COVID-19 are at least as dangerous as the first infection. So getting reinfected is an additive risk and possibly a compounding risk. The vaccines often do not prevent reinfection. This has also become clear. Hybrid immunity (from a combination of vaccines and infections) is not better than vaccine-only immunity as new immune evasive variants arise. To quote a researcher and doctor on this and related points:

    “The point is that reinfections are dangerous so the “if you make it through the 1st infection, you win hybrid immunity” talking point is stupid.

    Promoting hybrid immunity is stupid. It’s promoting infection with a virus that causes organ damage and chronic health issues in a significant number of people. And even with “hybrid immunity”, we’re still risking our health with reinfections. So what’s the point? It’s stupid.

    Promote avoiding SARS2 re/infections. Demand action from government and public health leaders to protect us from constant reinfections with this incredibly pathogenic virus. Stop helping the ruling class manufacture consent for the ongoing mass disabling event.

    Reinfections don’t need to be more severe to disable a large portion of the population within a couple of years. If each infection adds a 20% risk of sequelae then the chances of ending up with sequelae after 2 infections is 36%. After 3 infections 49%. After 5 infections 67%.
    You see how terrible cumulative risk is all by itself? And even if it’s not a constant 20% and there’s a decrease in risk with each reinfection, we’d still be on the same road to badness, the cumulative risk still increases with every reinfection, just more slowly.

    … repeat mass infection with SARS2 as a strategy is stupid. Just absurd. At 1-2 infections/year, mass infections and reinfections have the potential to cause chronic health conditions in a significant portion of the pop in a short timeframe. That (recent) study is very bad news. Which is why the minimizers are resorting to straw manning and distraction.”
    – Dr. Lisa Iannattone, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Med Montreal.
    . Adjunct Clinical Professor at McGill Med.
    . Former Harvard derm fellow. Focus: complex medical dermatology.

  28. COVID-19 issues continued…

    Climate change and pandemics are becoming related issues. Climate change is going to unleash more pandemics. And more pandemics are going to unleash… more pandemics. It’s a feedback process as natural habitats are wrecked, climate zones change, zoonotic pathogens spill over to humans in ever greater numbers and human immune systems en mass are stressed, damaged and weakened.

    Yet, these issues are not the specific focus of this post. I simply mention them to highlight the fact that pandemics, and preventing and fighting them, are of crucial importance if we want to maintain healthy populations and have a healthy economy. We cannot have a healthy economy with a highly unhealthy population. It follows logically and empirically. Sick people cannot work or cannot work optimally. Dead and severely disabled people never work again, rather obviously. Good human health is also a worthwhile value in its own right. We can’t have a healthy and happy society while deliberately spreading ever greater waves of infection through it. This is common sense.

    Our current policy, of imperfect vaccines only (which do not prevent infection or lasting damage in many cases) with no other control measures, is a failing policy. The vaccines are progressively waning and failing. These are now clear scientific facts proven by the great amount of research already undertaken. The research also signals the potential superantigenic maekup of part of the SARS-CoV-2 virion. This is not fully proven yet but there are concerning signs.

    “Superantigens (SAgs) are a class of antigens that result in excessive activation of the immune system. Specifically it causes non-specific activation of T-cells resulting in polyclonal T cell activation and massive cytokine release. … SAgs are capable of activating up to 20% of the body’s T-cells. …

    The large number of activated T-cells generates a massive immune response which is not specific to any particular epitope on the SAg thus undermining one of the fundamental strengths of the adaptive immune system, that is, its ability to target antigens with high specificity. More importantly, the large number of activated T-cells secrete large amounts of cytokines.” – Wikipedia.

    Cytokines can cause the massive imflammatory cytokine storm which can be fatal.

    In addition, SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to be highly immune evasive. This is already fully proven by empirical outcomes and the mechanisms are now being investigated. Elucidation of these mechanisms may well give hopes for advances, mucosal vaccination and new treatments for COVID-19. This part is good news. However, this science takes time, especially time to put it all the way through to new generation vaccines and treatments.

    In the meantime YOU and your families, loved ones and friends are playing for time. To play for time get fully vaccinated, wear masks in all public settings, avoid dangerously crowded events and spaces, isolate properly if you do catch COVID-19 and get clear tests before going out again. Follow the most stringent advice in this regard not the most lax.

    Be aware that the governments and big business (at least) are gaslighting you and minimizing COVID-19 dangers. The dangers are very considerably greater than “Covid’s already over” propaganda the public are receiving.

    Note: These are my opinions backed by the scientific reading I do. I am not a scientist and I am not a medical doctor. However, it is easy to find reputable and cutting-edge scientists and doctors who are very concerned that the “vaccines only and then do what you like” policy is wrong and dangerous. Empirical events are consistently and continually proving them right and the minimizer camp wrong.

    This link below deals with aspects of SARS-Cov-2 immune evasion and what hopes these findings suggest for further progress in vaccinations and treatments (and even the best diet to incrementally increase your safety). The bottom line is keep safe with multiple lines of defence for yourself, family, etc., until some of these hopes, hopefully, come to fruition.

  29. Ikonoclast: – “We cannot have a healthy economy with a highly unhealthy population. It follows logically and empirically. Sick people cannot work or cannot work optimally. Dead and severely disabled people never work again, rather obviously.

    IMO, that’s common sense that it seems our politicians, business leaders and most of the media cannot/will not acknowledge is the consequence of a “living with COVID” narrative.

    Per an ABC.net.au article posted today (Jun 25) headlined COVID cognitive decline more widespread than thought, say researchers at Australia’s first long-COVID clinic, included:

    “Long COVID is absolutely real. And long COVID is not even a small problem. It’s a serious, serious public health crisis,” he says.

    Dr Al-Aly is a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri and the chief of research for the St Louis Health Care System.

    He’s also part of a panel tasked by the White House to recommend a national response to long COVID.

    “The long-term consequences of long COVID are going to be profound on society just because of the scale of it.

    “There are millions of people in the US, millions of people in the UK. You know, quite a number of people in Australia will be affected with long COVID.”

    “Some of these people will not be able to return to work, will not be able to maintain employment.”

    Dr Al-Aly was lead researcher on a study of a vast trove of US military veteran medical data which suggests that vaccination provides minimal protection against long COVID.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-25/long-covid-clinic-st-vincents-cognitive-decline/101178450

  30. This brilliant pinned mega-thread sums it all up: the pseudo-science, the false messaging, the real science emerging and why we are now in so much trouble.

    The COVID-19 pandemic was preventable and early warnings were made. The warnings were ignored in favor of letting it rip for reasons best known to the ruling capitalist elites and obscure to the rest of us. With 25 million excess deaths globally and uncountable long Covid cases in the hundreds of millions, this has turned into a mass death and mass disablement event. Responsibility is widespread but the rich, powerful, and manipulative elites bear a large part of the blame.

  31. The Omicron BA.5 variant, rising now in Australia and many places globally, is very dangerous: the most dangerous variant yet. It combines off-the-charts contagiousness with a partial reversion, at least, to the virulence (ability to damage the host) of Delta. Its immune evasion and vaccine evasion properties are also the highest ever seen in any variant.

    Redouble your efforts to not catch SARS-CoV-2 in any variant but especially not this latest. Update you vaccination with a booster as soon as recommended and available. Use masks outside your home and also inside your home if you have to isolate an infected family member in the home. Keep safe distances from people, stay in safe air and circulate in society as little as possible consistent with achieving essential tasks.

    Given that the authorities and corporations have abandoned all pandemic controls except the waning and failing WUHAN strain vaccines, and have FAILED so far to produce ANY new advances in vaccines AND bring them to public implementation, the situation is becoming perilous for all.

    Another pandemic is showing early signs of seriously spreading globally also, namely monkey-pox. This is consistent and to be expected once crowded, mobile societies give up on public health contagious disease control. If we persist on this path, rather than implement full and proper contagious disease controls, we will collapse further into a mire of chronic disease and deaths for untold years yet. Our economy will sink under the weight of morbidity and death affecting large swathes of our community, with large numbers of workers unable to work and large numbers of consumers reduced to invalid status to an extent which may radically alter consumption patterns.

    Anyway, here is the latest on the BA5 story.

    https://erictopol.substack.com/p/the-ba5-story

  32. The total disaster of “living with COVID” continues to escalate.

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/06/27/coro-j27.html

    Some highlights, or rather I should say low-lights are (bearing in mind all official counts are fallacious as almost all nations deliberately and disgracefully avoid comprehensive testing):

    1. “North America, Europe, Brazil, India and Australia are at the epicenter of the latest broad-based surge. After reaching a low of 466,297 daily new cases on May 30, the global seven-day average of daily new cases now stands at 661,420.”

    2. “… in the United States, where BA.4 and BA.5 account for more than 35 percent of sequenced cases, the seven-day average of daily new cases has risen by roughly 10 percent over the past week, reaching 109,105 daily new cases on Sunday. However, the test positivity rate has been continuously over 10 percent since mid-May and continues to rise. After several weeks in which the average daily death toll stood between 300 and 350 per day, it has now climbed to 420, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard.”

    3. “Portugal, which experienced its second largest wave of infections during the pandemic in early June due to BA.5, also saw its positivity rate exceed 50 percent by June 1. Eighty-six percent of Portugal’s population is fully vaccinated, and 65 percent have had at least one booster shot, yet daily new deaths have surpassed the peak reached during the first Omicron wave over the winter. This highlights the critical fact that COVID-19 vaccines alone will not stem repeated assaults on the population.”

    4. “Test positivity rates are skyrocketing across the rest of Europe, with Spain reaching 30 percent, France surpassing 20 percent and Germany exceeding 40 percent by mid-June. Brazil is in the midst of its fourth wave, while the fascistic Bolsonaro government has effectively ended all pandemic emergency measures. Testing has, for the most part, come to a standstill.”

    5. “In the UK, the seven-day average of daily new cases has jumped fourfold from a low of 4,754 per day on June 2 to 19,695 infections per day today, while hospitalizations have surged 27 percent in three weeks, and the death toll has begun to turn upwards once again. As in many countries, the elderly will face the brunt of this assault. Most completed their vaccinations several months ago, and they have limited immunity against infection, with their age and medical condition placing them at risk for severe consequences.”

    6. “Australia has remained in a continuous undulating surge of infections since the first Omicron wave slammed into the island nation, and daily new cases are once more pushing upwards. As of yesterday, more than 3,000 were in hospitals receiving treatment.”

    7. “With world capitalism refusing to implement public health measures and thereby providing the virus with billions of hosts, it remains fit to continue evolving into potentially more dangerous variants. This evolutionary process is occurring so rapidly that vaccine makers cannot keep pace with the changes in the virus’ genomic sequence, with scientists warning that the next iteration of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Moderna is already outdated.”

    8. “The only viable pandemic strategy remains that of global elimination, which could end the pandemic in a matter of months. This entails the deployment of all public health measures, coordinated on a world scale, to stop the spread of the virus once and for all. Capitalism has proven utterly incapable of mounting such a response, an historic task which falls to the international working class.”

    Of course, the capitalists and their zombie cheer squads will refuse to implement controls. So this pandemic will continue until people are dying everywhere, in their homes, at work and stacked up outside hospitals in (or not in) ramped ambulances. The crisis is getting worse and worse. As predicted by every one who had a brain and actually used it.”

    But you know, the infections, morbidities, comorbidities and deaths will continue until the health and economy of the nation improves. Ha, what a sick joke. Anyone want to try to tell us how good the economy is now that we have unleashed one or maybe two killer pandemics due to the refusal to do public health measures? (Monkeypox is on the rise and in imminent danger of also turning into a pandemic.

    The C-19 vaccines are rapidly waning. Soon we will have no protections at all unless “they” develop a mucosal vaccine or a pancoronavirus vaccine. These will need to be 99% sterilizing to save us now, without any other measures. This puts us in the zone of hoping for a Hail Mary pass and a Holy Grail miracle before the end of this year. I give us little chance.

  33. Welcome to the new “Vaccines Over” policy.

    We don’t have a “Vaccines Only” policy, we have a “Vaccines Over” policy. There are no plans for further booster vaccines. Over 16 is three vax and done. Over 65 is four vax and done. These vaccines and boosters wilt like cut flowers out of a vase.

    Three or four months after your last vaccine and with rapid evolution of the new escape variants of the virus, your vaccination is already mostly useless. Where are new variant vaccines? Where the new sterilizing vaccines? They are nowhere to be seen.

    The new variant vaccine in testing is already at least five major variants old. Obsolete before testing is finished. No serious signs of any sterilizing mucosal vaccine or pan-coronavirus vaccine. Lots of claims, no results. Repeat, NO RESULTS.

    My prediction. By the end of this year, the virus will have completely escaped all vaccines and anti-virals. New vaccines and anti-virals will be no-shows or total failures. I hope I am wrong but we have seen NO real progress to arms for new vaccines since the original mRNA vaccine. NOTHING. Repeat NOTHING.

    Treatments are failing too. Monoclonal antibodies, antivirals: all failed or failing as we speak. We have been fed a massive bunch of murderous lies. “First, do no harm” is the oath. Deliberate mass infection with a deadly mutating pathogen does massive harm. Eliminating the virus was and is the only serious hope.

    The sterilizing mucosal vaccine or pan-coronavirus vaccine hopes are a 1 in a 100 long shot. We are now betting Western civilization on a 1 in 100 long shot. Wow, our governing and capitalist elites are so wise, so brilliant! Actually not. They are greedy, blind, callous fools. Australia is facing 25,000 dead annually from COVID-19… indefinitely. Indeed, it is most likely the trajectory will get worse, far worse. The long covid tail will be huge. This is society-collapsing stuff unless we take radical action.

  34. In addition to my above post.

    “Monkeypox mutating 12 times faster than expected amid warning UK cases could hit ‘60,000 a day’”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/monkeypox-virus-uk-cases-mutating-b2111814.html

    “I think our projection… of 100k cases by August & 1 mil by Sept is realistic.” – Eric Feigl-Ding.

    The WHO warns that ‘sustained transmission’ of monkeypox could see the virus move into high-risk groups, such as immunocompromised people, pregnant women and children. And it’s more severe in kids than adults.” – – Eric Feigl-Ding.

    “In an observational study of 216 monkeypox patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest of its kind, **4 of 5*** pregnant women had miscarriages.” – Eric Feigl-Ding.

    Now, admittedly, that would likely be of the IFR 10% variant, not the IFR 3% variant currently spreading out of control around the world. But these are still horrific indicators.

    Discussion

    What we are seeing IMHO is a punctuated equilibrium evolutionary event. This means evolution (of human pathogens in this case) speeds up and proceeds at a hyper-accelerated rate. There is clearly a radical disruption of global pathogen/human ecology. Why is this happening?

    It is driven by climate change and intrusion into the wilds (unleashing novel zooneses and amplifying existing ones) but it is also driven by the human production system, human movements, the political economy and in particular the abandonment of public health and infectious diseases control (as per the neoliberal capitalist prescription).

    It is difficult to explain the 12 times increase in monkeypox mutation unless it is simply the result of there being already 12 times more spread than previously (or some other factor if the relation is not 1 to 1). This wide spread, especially in the immunocompromised, facilitates the acceleration of mutation. But there may be deeper and more disturbing reasons. The abandonment of public health and infectious diseases controls (other than leaky vaccines) may be one factor and an overall mass reduction in human disease resistance due to mass covid-19 immune system damage may be another.

    Our hybrid system, a political-economy-human-ecology system appears to be undergoing a change to a new state. It has crossed a threshold. In this new state, the system is radically destabilizing and rapid chaotic changes towards new state successions will likely occur. The new states will be unpredictable except for the general predictability of their being far worse than our previous political-economy-human-ecology system which had quasi-equilibrium growth character.

    We are in deep trouble. I hope there is still a way out and that we take it. I see no signs yet that the people or the leaders understand what is happening or understand what needs to be done.

  35. The authorities (plus corporations, big business and right-wing think tanks) are lying to us about COVID-19. They have been lying since the start of this pandemic. Many of the lies have been obvious lies, obvious myths since the start. Some lies spoke about herd immunity from infection and denigrated NPIs. Others were grossly over-simplified or unsupported assumptions underpinning over-optimistic assessments of the pandemic and incautious (non-precautionary) plans of, mostly, inaction.

    The more that research advances, the more scientists are discovering hosts of disconcerting facts about COVID-19. Facts which prove beyond doubt we were fed lies, half-truths and hopium all glossing over the real, hard truths as they started and continue to emerge. The truth is findable but none of it is in the mass media, nor in government nor business lobby statements to the public. The public’s consent to mass deaths and mass disablement was manipulated and manufactured.

    The threads below contain a summary of latest known data and indications about the human immune response to COVID-19 (SARS2) and the impact of SARS2 on the human immune system. None of this is good news. But bad news IS good news. I mean this in the sense that when you get factual bad news you are enabled to act as far as your means and choices permit.

    In one link, there are five threads, usefully titled or “pictographed” as:

    (1) Shark
    (2) Taco
    (3) Hump
    (4) AT-AT-CellWalker
    (5) Meat Balls

    https://threadreaderapp.com/user/jeffgilchrist

    Despite the titles, this is serious stuff. If people want me to do a TLDR I will do so to the best of my ability.

  36. Ikon said “The authorities (plus corporations, big business and right-wing think tanks) are lying to us about COVID-19.”

    Not all Ikon;
    “Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. Yesterday, the count was ~109,000. Today, it’s ~108,000, and 108,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 648,000. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.

    “From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:”
    Link.
    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/07/200pm-water-cooler-7-1-2022.html

    Lots if links Ikon, and you will find monkeypox adaptations above too, on Lambert Struther references links page ala;
    …”The January 6 coup and the response of the entire political establishment to it demonstrates that opposition to dictatorship can only come from a movement that is based on the working class and fights for the overthrow of capitalism.”
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/07/01/pers-j01.html

    The CDC might say ‘our numbers are delayed truth’!

  37. Ikonoclast: – “There are no plans for further booster vaccines. Over 16 is three vax and done. Over 65 is four vax and done.

    Apparently not. Published in the SMH yesterday (Jul 1) was an article by Timna Jacks headlined ‘No time to wait’: Virus experts push for fourth COVID booster shots, that began with:

    Australia should approve a fourth COVID-19 booster shot for the entire adult population within months if the wait for vaccines that target new Omicron variants drags on, epidemiologists say.

    Federal Health Minister Mark Butler said a third wave of Omicron infections was on the way, after announcing a major review of COVID-19 vaccine purchases on Friday morning.

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/no-time-to-wait-virus-experts-push-for-fourth-covid-booster-shots-20220701-p5aya5.html

  38. Geoff,

    If I may be a little pedantic, those are not official plans yet. That’s a welcome push from an expert but it’s not from the Government or from ATAGI. Mark Butler has only announced a “major review”, nothing more yet to my knowledge. They are fiddling while the nation’s people burn with fever and die or become disabled, from a new disease, at unprecedented rates and with no end in sight.

    Why are our governments so timid now? They never seem capable of decisive announcements and decisive actions. I guess they have to run it past our real rulers first. The oligarchs and the corporate CEOs who really run our country. It is well past the time for emergency action on COVID-19, just the same as for climate change. Pretending things are not an emergency in an emergency is highly dangerous. People die, are dying, from these mistakes. Labor need to pull their finger out or there will be a disaster on their watch. I know you agree with me. Maybe you have more faith than I that Labor will step up and do what needs to be done. I think people are going to need to agitate a lot to get complacent centrist Labor to act.

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