Category Archives: Corona Virus – Covid-19

WHY Omicron is displacing Delta

Just watched the latest podcast by Dr John in which he explains new research out of South Africa:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYLbJ0H8zdc

This is not a three-second-sound-byte type podcast. It is nuanced and looks at the science behind the news, but it is well worth watching from start to finish because it explains the trends that we have been seeing, both in South Africa and more recently in the UK.

By trends I mean, of course, Omicron’s extremely high infection rates coupled with relatively low rates of severe disease and death. According to the research in Dr John’s podcast, these trends are not a fluke. And that spells good news for 2022.

Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. Delta is still around, and it is still causing severe disease and death, so going out and going nuts in the hope of catching Omicron could still see a lot of people ending up with Delta instead. Dying of Delta when the end is literally in sight would be a terrible irony so the Offspring and I are going to stay safely at home until Omicron finishes defeating Delta.

Stay well,
Meeks


Omicron – data from South Africa

Important!

Dr John Campbell goes through the latest scientific data about the effect Omicron is having in South Africa:

There is too much information to reduce it to a few dot points so I strongly recommend that you watch the whole video.

cheers
Meeks


Howard Springs as ‘concentration camp’??

What a bloody nerve! I’ve come to expect all sorts of misinformation from social media, but this really takes the cake. Apparently, we Australians are ‘hunting’ down Indigenous people from remote communities and forcibly vaccinating them. Or locking them up in our own home-grown concentration camp at Howard Springs….

My thanks to Steve Bero for forwarding me the following article which refutes the nonsense going viral on the internet: https://quillette.com/2021/11/28/an-outback-conspiracy/

It’s a long article, but well worth the read, if only to counter the insidious and potentially lethal disinformation being spread by unscrupulous media personalities overseas. The Australian government deserves utter condemnation for its inaction on Climate Change, for blatant pork barrelling and a host of other issues, but this is not one of them.

Why? Because there are deeply committed Aboriginal groups who are doing everything possible to keep remote communities safe. The conspiracy theorists demean and insult the vital work they do.

Please pass the Quillette article on to everyone you know because the lies are literally killing all of us.

Meeks


Omicron may be the successor to Delta

I first heard about the Omicron variant last night, from Dr Norman Swann:

Little is known about the Omicron variant of Covid19, but it is being blamed for a sudden, sharp spike in new infections in South Africa:

Dr John Campbell explains what we know about the new variant, and what it may mean for the pandemic in this must see video:

The dot points I took from the video are:

  • Omicron has 32 mutations which may make it more infectious than Delta,
  • The mutations may allow it to elude the immunity supplied by vaccines [ALL vaccines],
  • No one knows whether Omicron will make you more sick or less,
  • It has already escaped from South Africa into Hong Kong and Belgium,
  • Most of Europe and the UK have just banned travel from South Africa,
  • The travel bans are to give scientists time to find out more about Omicron, and for Pharmaceutical companies to tweak existing vaccines to be more effective against the variant,
  • Both the US and Australia have adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude,
  • By the time we ‘see’ how dangerous Omicron can be, it may well be too late.

On a personal note, I’m booked in for my second AstraZeneca jab this Monday. I was hoping to enjoy a latte before Christmas, but I guess I’ll ‘wait and see’ how bad Omicron gets before the Offspring and I emerge from self-isolation. I really, really hope this variant does turn out to be a ‘storm in a tea cup’. 😦

Meeks


Covid19 – no herd immunity any time soon

The numbers are in: neither natural infection NOR vaccination will provide herd immunity in the near future.

Why? Because herd immunity implies permanent immunity, and it ain’t happenin’. BOTH types of immunity wane within a matter of months, not years.

Antibodies are produced after your body either fights off a natural infection or is immunized via vaccine. The numbers show that well over 90% of people 18 and over [in the UK] have already produced antibodies against Covid. As the vaccination rates are nowhere near that high, those figures must include people who have developed natural antibodies as well.

Yet infection rates are soaring.

Clearly herd immunity has not been achieved. Herd immunity describes what happens when a virus can’t spread because it keeps bumping up against people who are already immune to it. Those people provide a barrier between the virus and those who are not immune…the fresh meat.

We’ve known about the vaccines’ immunity waning since early 2021 when information started coming out of Israel about Pfizer, but we haven’t had definitive proof that natural infection waned as well. Now we do. Both types of immunity:

  • reduce the likelihood of death and/or severe disease,
  • but neither will last forever,
  • and neither will permanently stop the spread of infection:

In the video, Dr John shows that both UK health and the CDC in the US have admitted that herd immunity is most unlikely, at least in the near future. Covid19-Delta has become ‘endemic’ amongst all populations. We can hold it at bay, but strategies based on the concept of ‘herd immunity’ will fail.

What does that mean? It means that:

  • Covid19-Delta is here to stay.
  • Getting sick or getting vaccinated will only be a ‘Get out of Jail’ card for a short time – 4 to 6 months.
  • The fully vaccinated will require boosters for the foreseeable future.
  • The unvaccinated will continue to be at risk of serious disease and death because they will NOT be protected by the immunity of the herd.
  • Not immune people can be both the UNvaccinated and the FULLYvaccinated. The difference is that the FULLYvaccinated are much less likely to die.
  • Not keeping up with boosters is likely to dump people into the as-good-as-unvaccinated group when it comes to infection, hospitalisation and death.
  • Masks in high risk settings are likely to remain necessary.
  • Lockdowns in areas of high infection will become necessary as hospitals are overwhelmed.
  • Social unrest is likely to escalate.

It is disappointing. Very. Disappointing.

It’s also scary because the people who have been brainwashed into believing Covid is just some kind of global conspiracy will say “See, I told you it was all a con. They said the vaccines would make us safe and now they’re saying they won’t.” Meanwhile, the anti-vaxxers will say “See, vaccines don’t work!”

The truth is rather more nuanced. Vaccines do make us safe, but not permanently. I think of it as a maintenance issue. When we first get new brake pads fitted to our cars, they work perfectly. With time and wear and tear, they work less and less well. If we don’t have them replaced, they’ll eventually wear out completely and then we’ll have a potentially fatal accident.

Sadly, that may be too logical an argument for those who’ve lost faith in public institutions. And science.

I’ve often wondered what it must have felt like in the past, when civilizations unravelled, when dystopia happened for real. Now I really don’t want to find out.

Meeks


Blocked from Twitter!

I’ve been rationing my visits to Twitter because so much on #auspol is either blatant spin or outright rubbish. Now, apparently, I’m to be blocked:

What the…?

And then I found out what the fuss is about. @GladysB is the newly resigned Premier of NSW who presided over the Delta outbreak that spread to my state, Victoria, and even across to New Zealand. She had to resign because she’s being investigated by ICAC on corruption. She is a monster. But inciting physical harm? Seriously?

So…the rather literary punishment of tarring and feathering is abuse…at least according to the Twitter algorithms. With so much misinformation and disinformation allowed to flourish on social media, I’m glad some steps have been taken to curb it. Just rather funny that a figure of speech triggers those algorithms but content that implies Covid is just a cold or the flu does not.

I could ‘recant’, but I won’t. Maybe by tomorrow I’ll see the funny side.

Meeks


mRNA vaccines and Myopericarditis

Some time ago, I posted about the need to aspirate the needle before injecting with AstraZeneca vaccine. When I finally had my first jab of AZ, I asked the nurse to aspirate the needle, and that simple change helped my nerves a lot.

Now, there’s proof that not aspirating the needle before injecting mRNA vaccines can cause myopericarditis, which is a rare but known side-effect of mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna.

Rather than trying to explain the research myself, please watch this video in which Dr John Campbell explains the terms, the research and the results:

I know a lot of you have already had both doses of whichever vaccine was available. But…it’s pretty obvious that we’re going to need booster shots fairly soon. That means you will once again be at the whim of fate.

The number of people unfortunate enough to develop myopericarditis is small, but it is real so, when it’s your turn for a booster…go to your GP and ASK for the needle to be aspirated. For your health and peace of mind.

cheers,
Meeks


I’ve had my first jab of AstraZeneca

Am I happy about it? No.

I never gamble because I don’t see myself as a ‘lucky’ person. I don’t even win anything at those stupid scratchies. So having to take a chance on AZ, however ‘small’ that risk may be, scares me silly.

And I hate not having a choice of vaccines. Not just because of the risk of blood clots, but because AZ is quite a bit less effective against Delta than Pfizer.

And while I’m at it, I hate the Morrison government for being such cheapskates. They put all their eggs in the nice, cheap AZ basket which is a big part of the reason we are so very far behind in terms of vaccinations.

And last but not least, I hate GladysB, Premier of NSW, for deliberately allowing the Delta outbreak to spread to just about every part of Australia [and even to New Zealand]. I don’t know if it was sheer hubris – “We are the gold standard state so we don’t need to learn from anyone else” or her emphasis on the economy rather than on lives, but she has helped to destroy the reasonable standard of living we used to enjoy despite the pandemic.

GladysB decided that we would all have to ‘live with Covid’, and now none of us have a choice in the matter.

So no, I’m not happy, and the next person who hangs shit on anti-vaxxers, just remember this: whether you agree with their reasons or not, those people are afraid. That is not a good place to be.

I’m not anti-vaccines in general, but I know what it feels like to be afraid of AZ. Trust me, it’s not a pleasant feeling.

Meeks


Update August 30, 2021

I’ve had to re-post the ‘Profiting from Brainiwashing’ article in order to break the link to the original, which I have now deleted. Why? Because a Trump-won-the-election-supporter linked to the post with the following comment:

What the….?

I was so shocked, I commented with this:

I honestly don’t know whether this person somehow interpreted what I wrote as some kind of validation of his/her own worldview, or simply wanted to use my work as a ‘see, this is what the enemy are saying’ kind of thing. But I won’t be used in this way.

Apologies. I’m still in shock. 😦
Meeks

Covid19 may make economies crash and burn, and cause hundreds of thousands to die gasping for air, but Big Tech has never had it so good.

Why?

Because social media is pretty much the only safe way for most of us to stay connected at the moment, certainly in Australia.

But, like all good things, there is a downside to social media, and it’s called profiling. Profiling is where supposedly randomised private data, from a whole lot of different sources, is combined to produce an eerily accurate picture of us.

What data?

  • Where we live and where we go. Thank you, Geo location,
  • Who we see and what we say to those people. You guessed it, all forms of social media because hey, it’s good to share, right?
  • What we buy. Our bank details may be sacrosanct, but our purchase transactions are fair game. Now think about all the things you buy online from milk to sex toys! Should I mention money spent on porn sites? Or on gambling?
  • And of course, what we look like, or what our kids look like, or their friends etc etc. All thanks to those pics we love to share.

Back in the day when humans had to find, record, and search data manually [or with the help of a ‘dumb’ database search engine], collating stuff about specific people from a whole lot of different data locations was about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.

But that was then. Nowadays, it’s not people who sticky beak on our lives, it’s bits of code performed millions, nay, zillions of times per minute. These algorithms don’t stop for sleep, or food, or coffee breaks… Bye, bye haystack.

But profiling is only one side of the coin. Having collected all of this data about people, what do you do with it?

To find out, Facebook selected 689,003 random users and divided them into two groups. Then:

‘…Facebook elected to show only negative content to the first group for a week while showing only positive content to the second. They monitored each group’s behaviour.’

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/captive-mood-how-big-tech-manipulates-your-emotions-to-serve-advertisers/

What Facebook found was that people in both groups responded to the conditioning by changing their behaviour. What happened? Negative conditioning resulted in people creating more negative posts while positive conditioning saw them creating more positive posts.

Do you know what conditioning is? I’ll give you a hint – it’s sometimes called ‘brain washing’. Facebook brainwashed over 600,000 users without their permission for a week:

‘In other words, our moods and behaviours can be influenced by our online interactions, which can be controlled by whoever runs the algorithms responsible for what newsfeed we read and what ads we see.’

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/captive-mood-how-big-tech-manipulates-your-emotions-to-serve-advertisers/

We all know about the role Cambridge Analytica played in both Brexit and the election that saw Trump gain the Whitehouse. That was brain washing at work, yet millions of people still believe that losing their privacy is no big deal.

Profiling is not about exposing anyone’s nasty little secrets. It’s about turning us all into ‘products’, products that can be manipulated according to the needs of the highest bidder.

‘And it is not just advertisers that want to use our data this way. Employers, health insurance provider, law enforcement agencies, the tax department and pretty much anyone who can pay the price to get access to our profiles, can do so.’

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/captive-mood-how-big-tech-manipulates-your-emotions-to-serve-advertisers/

In case anyone missed the links under each quote, you can read the entire article here: https://www.michaelwest.com.au/captive-mood-how-big-tech-manipulates-your-emotions-to-serve-advertisers/

Apologies for all the angry posts lately. NSW recorded 1,029 new Delta cases yesterday. My state, Victoria, recorded 80 and the trend is up, in part because of people who’ve been brainwashed into believing the pandemic is just a beat up. I’m becoming more glass-half-empty by the day.

Stay well and stay safe,
Meeks


80% vaccination target – what does it really mean for Australia?

I’ve read the Doherty report on which the Federal government’s 4-phase plan is based. The modelling in that report is based on vaccination rates of 70 and 80%…of people 16 and older.

Hmm, I wonder how many children and teens there are under 16?

To find out, I went to the Australian Bureau of Statistics website and downloaded a spreadsheet of population data by age. This is what it looks like:

I added up the numbers [shown in red] the old fashioned way:

1,556,615 +
1,628,393 +
1,595,700 +
296,168 +
———–
5,106,876
———–

So, 5,106,876 out of a total population of 25,698,093 won’t be counted at all. AT. ALL. That’s a lot more than I was expecting.

Hmm, if we subtract all those kids from the total population, how many people are left?

25,698,093 –
5,106,876
————–
20,591,217
————–

So, only 20,591,217 Australians are actually eligible for the jab.

Hmm, how much is 80% of 20,591,217?

It’s 16,472,973 Australians. [I looked it up]

If we take that number away from the total population [ 25,698,093 ] it means that 9,225,120 Australians of all ages will remain unvaccinated. 9 million people who will be vulnerable to Delta when we reach 80% and the need for lockdowns becomes ‘unlikely’.

Unlikely? We’re going to throw over 9 million people under the Delta bus but yay, we won’t have to have lockdowns?

‘Oh, but kids don’t get that sick…’

At least 1,245 Indonesian children have died from coronavirus since the pandemic began, although the actual number is thought to be higher, given the low level of testing for the virus in remote areas.

The majority of those who died were under the age of five.

According to the Indonesian Paediatric Society (IDAI), more than 100 Indonesian children have died every week since July from COVID-19.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/16/devastated-indonesian-parents-mourn-children-lost-to-covid-19

‘Oh, but those that refuse to be vaccinated have only themselves to blame…’

Almost five million people deserve to get sick and possibly die? What sort of a sick society are we?

And what about those for whom the vaccine doesn’t work? Oh…you didn’t think of that, did you?

You know when a vaccine is said to be 90% effective [e.g. Pfizer and Moderna], have you ever wondered what happens to the other 10%?

Well, for that 10% of people, the vaccine won’t work, or will only work partially. And AstraZeneca has an even lower effectiveness rate.

‘Oh…but herd immunity will take care of that!’

Herd immunity is ‘Abracadabra!’ the magic phrase that will solve all our problems. Except it won’t, not with Delta and this first generation of vaccines. Why? Because herd immunity works by surrounding unvaccinated people with a ‘fence’ of vaccinated people. That ‘fence’ stops Covid from being able to reach the unvaccinated people.

But what if there’s a hole in the fence?

In fact, there are two holes in the herd immunity fence. The first one is that breakthrough infections happen, and when they do, the fully vaccinated person is as infectious as if they hadn’t been vaccinated at all. The second is that this crop of vaccines do not provide permanent protection from transmission.

In fact, that protection looks as if it might wear off rather quickly after just four months. This basically means that the fully vaccinated could well end up infecting the unvaccinated themselves…which means:

There will be NO herd immunity.

In a year or two, there may well be vaccines that protect us from serious disease AND from infection. Only then will we finally achieve herd immunity.

Getting back to the Doherty report, their modelling included a number of assumptions based on data from March this year. Back in March, there was very little Delta circulating. Now, it’s running wild. Back in March, we were also delighted to discover that the vaccines provided good protection from transmission. Now we know that protection is short-lived.

Things have changed, but our politicians are still flogging the same plan. Living with Covid is smoke and mirrors with a generous dash of tricky numbers.

Meeks


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