I think pretending we have beaten Covid is optimistic in the extreme

39
1558

I think pretending we have beaten Covid is optimistic in the extreme.

A virus has two paths, the first is to be as contagious as possible, the second is to bypass host immunity.

A novel virus running through a species with no immunity doesn’t need to evolve against host immunity, Omicron has gone as far down the transmissibility path as it can and with a huge reservoir of unvaccinated, it will now start to mutate to evade our immunity. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron all came out of nowhere, and each time we have made gains the virus has evolved and adopted and side stepped us.

To believe we are now suddenly smarter than the virus and we have beaten it ignores the last 2 years.

The good news is that from variant discovery to needles in arms is now 100 days so if a deadlier variant that can bypass immunity does emerge we have hope.

We haven’t won the war, we’ve won a truce.

 

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

If you can’t contribute but want to help, please always feel free to share our blogs on social media

39 COMMENTS

  1. Many don’t seem to care anymore. I rarely get asked for my passport and very few are wearing masks or scanning in. On testing numbers alone, people appear to have moved on.

        • I live in West Aucland. Almost everybody wears a mask here. Queues are social distancing. Every body is polite and helpful. I have not witnessed any problems at all.

          • Trevor, I’m a Westie too and can confirm what you say. I would estimate at least 98% compliance and an almost jovial atmosphere about it all. West Auckland is the place to be.

    • I live in Chch so we are pratically covid free but I do not see any shoppers with no masks in any of the malls . Passport checking is slack but I am sure it will ramp up once we get omicron in the area

  2. We have entered a calm before the storm phase.

    As individuals, Omicron is less harmful than Delta but collectively we are in much deeper strife.

    We won’t get through January without shit hitting the fan. We are in the starting gates ready to go. Once the gates open a week of Omicron will feel like a month of Delta.

    Important to remember that less than 30 days ago none of us had heard the word Omicron. As quickly as it has arrived the next variant could also appear. Still lots of letters left in the alphabet.

    There are also some very concerning unhelpful aspects at this time.

    Omicron being 8 x more transmissible than Delta.
    24 positive cases at the border yesterday and 29 today. WTAF?
    Compliance with Covid led by health officials.
    No apatite for further restrictions.
    Deliberate smudging of Covid numbers by the Ministry of Health.
    Less trust and confidence in the PM and health officials than ever.
    Hungry for point scoring opposition MP’s relentlessly undermining public confidence in every response to Covid the Government makes.
    More question marks over efficacy of the vaccine after hospital admissions show there isn’t a big difference between the fully vaccinated and unvaccinated.

    2022 is going to be a much bumpier Covid ride than 2021.

  3. Here’s my take. The virus will keep on doing what viruses do despite our best efforts, we will end up at the point whether it’s politically tenable or not where we have to live or die with it.

    The current vaccine has probably reached a public limit of tolerance and despite all the downplaying, this one has for more than a few, quite unpleasant side effects, not surprisingly because it was not thoroughly tested and that alone will be the decider on more of us further shooting up or not. I do not think we will be getting 6 montly boosters beyond the third, not with the current formula anyway.

    Normal is now a world with this unpredictable disease and that means participating in crowds, holidaying overseas, rampant migration/tourism and the use of things like public transport will remain off the menu and that change is long term and indefinite.

    Covid can be debilitating and lethal, its victims are not so easy to predict as some would like to believe so the least we can do is minimise the risk with masks, get the basic vaccinations and being very careful. Pretending it is not is sheer stupidity.

    • 100% X-RAY

      It must be borne in mind that the pandemic only ends when everyone has been exposed to it.
      The current booster shot is not preventing either infection or transmission by a significant amount so get used to the idea that you’re going to be sick for a while this year.

  4. Great blog Martyn. We are all groping in the dark for solutions and predictions. I’m no expert but am surprised at the case numbers being so low. Vaccination %s must be working we’ll. With us humans that have a concentration span of half a Maka ad, the problem will always be complacency. We simply won’t believe until we , or someone we know has it. Our biggest issue will always be how to open to the world and how much our economy nosedives while we wait. Our living conditions are good relatively, but we can’t pretend we’re doing well printing money forever. Shit is going to leak through the nappies and discontent follows.

  5. The first omicron case(s) were found among the vaccinated. Likewise, in the first six to nine months of this pandemic, when everyone was unvaccinated, we were not seeing variants crop up as often as we have seem them crop up since. This tells me, as you point out here, that no immunity does not lead to an evolving virus….

    • “This tells me, as you point out here, that no immunity does not lead to an evolving virus….
      Reply”
      In an unvaccinated population there is no evolutionary incentive or pressure for a virus mutation that happens to be resistant to a hypothetical vaccine whatsoever. It is purely the effect of te huge vaccination effort at exactly the same time as the virus pandemic is spreading and in exactly the same populations that is providing the environment for the virus evolution to find an escape. The suggestion that it is the unvaccinated that are providing an incentive and opportunity for the virus to develop “immunity” to the vaccine is completely illogical.
      D J S

      • While there is some logic to your view if we assume vaccination never happened then the first covid variant would have caused damage leaving behind those with natural resistance & those able to recover from the infection who now have immunity. This leaves the original virus with no obvious path to reproduce so since mutations are inevitable in any biological reproduction in my view one of those mutations will be able to avoid the natural immunity from those people & continue the disease.

        • I could be wrong here, but what I get from your argument is that natural immunity can lead to viral mutations, which in my view means – natural immunity is actually bad for us. Natural immunity – naturalness – is somehow bad for us! When did this happen…..

      • only flaw in your argument is virus do ‘evolve’ all by themselves the viable (in their terms) thrive and the unviable die out and we never detect them…vaxxing doesn’t affect this process one way or t’other if you think otherwise how do relatively benign viruses suddenly become dangerous before a vax for them has been thought of, never mind actually invented….

        • Well, since this virus didn’t evolve or rarely evolved/mutated in the first six to nine months of this pandemic, then it at least begs, why has it evolved as much as it has since this period? A

            • Well, I’ve given your answer a bit of thought and it looks like your answer could actually be right, in as much as constant viral change, that is free of external drivers (especially natural immunity or vaccine induced immunity) may explain why this current crop of vaccines are proving to be ineffective at stopping this virus. Mind you, it doesn’t explain how previous vaccines managed to subdue past viruses either, but that’s neither here nor there for now. The bigger question for now is, if this virus mutates – for no reason whatsoever – , then where do we go from here…..

    • There has been a clear change in the way our Ministry of Health are reporting Covid cases. The numbers are presented in a way that is ambiguous and confusing. Why? Important details people need to hear clearly are the percentage of hospital admissions and subsequent deaths that are unvaccinated and what percentage are fully vaccinated. 7 day rolling averages also blur the lines.

      All details of recent Covid deaths have been suppressed. The M.O.H have cited privacy reasons despite vaccination status, age and gender not being privacy issues. There is considerable public interest in Covid deaths so blocking out all details is dubious and opens the door to suspicion. In a time of increased mistrust of health officials in regard to Covid, transparency is important. If the deaths were fully vaccinated it could undermine the ongoing push to get vaccinated. There are potential reasons other than privacy for the M.O.H to suppress details of Covid deaths.

      Vaccination is clearly the best weapon in the Covid battle at this time. No argument on that. On the world stage that is a given. In saying that, recently the M.O.H reported 39% of Covid hospital admissions in NZ were fully vaccinated. They also confirmed a percentage were ineligible for the vaccine and a percentage had one dose therefore the gap with hospitals admissions between the fully vaccinated and unvaccinated was not big. I consider this significant as we’ve been repeatedly told the vaccine won’t stop you contracting Covid but it will keep you out of hospital. 39% of hospital admissions being fully vaccinated tells a different story.

      • Since nearly 90% of our population are fully vaccinated, then 39% of hospital admissions coming from them means that 69% of admissions are coming from around 10% of the population. So your chances of being hospitalized with COVID are hugely greater if you are unvaccinated.

        • No argument with the math Trevor……but when you are routinely told being fully vaccinated results in you only getting a milder version of Covid and you avoid being hospitalized, the 39% number must raise a few eyebrows.

          I’m happy to be fully vaccinated but what people should have been told is being fully vaccinated reduces the possibility of being hospitalized rather than eliminates it. Moot point perhaps but with so many people being vaccine hesitant and now boosters being required, surely the vaccine terminology used needs to be dead on balls accurate.

          • TM nobody claims you won’t go to the hossy if vaxxed just that there’s a much smaller chance…personally I’d rather have a good chance of surviving call me an old stick in the mud but life is better than the alternative.

          • TM I understood that the double vaccine limits the effects of Covid but doesn’t always prevent it. And I was surprised to find how low the immunity rate fell after the 2nd dose so made enquiries about the 3rd and got it.

            If people don’t know just what is going on, they should keep their eyes open and mouth closed, look at the official sites often and facebook once every two days at most. And stop listening to all the people you know, they are likely making pearls out of bits of sand, in their own eyes. Say calmly that you are following the scientists and will look for answers from them and check first on queries.

            • Greywarbler,

              I will attempt to avoid hyperbole but I have a habit of always wanting to give context so can find myself performing a balancing act. That’s my excuse anyway.

              You’re aware that politicians and people in Government appointed positions can make numbers and statistics say just about anything they want them to say. When National were in Government there was a huge increase in reported crime in parts of Auckland. This reflected what many of us had seen and or experienced but the politicians tried to tell us crime wasn’t increasing. What was increasing according to them was confidence that the Police were now more likely to solve the crime hence the increase in reporting. The most hilarious aspect of this was the politicians gave that perspective with a straight face.

              I’m a strong advocate for vaccination and have converted numerous vaccine hesitant friends and associates. I also have multiple family members in our health system. Most in senior consultant / clinical positions. One family member had a significant role in the MMR and HPV vaccination campaigns. Dealing with anti-vax type logic was a relentless. Deliberately misrepresenting data is the constant companion of the expert-novice anti-vax brigade.

              I play close attention to statements made by Dr Bloomfield and have witnessed numerous blunders and contradictions he’s made. That should never occur from a person in his position. An important part of his role is educating people. That takes on even greater significance when so many people have trust issues with officials at any time but especially so during a pandemic.

              As I stated previously the “7 day rolling average” terminology began being used in the second quarter of 2020 when people were paying close attention to how many New Zealanders were being tested for Covid each day. I was told to look out for a big drop off in testing numbers on weekends as most salaried health professions don’t work weekends. This is exactly what happened but rather than owning it the Ministry of Health justified the drop off by saying there were less people out and about on weekends which most of us knew was absolutely not the case. This was the exact time and context that the “7 day rolling average” term commenced usage in relation to the numbers being tested.

              If the vaccine has an estimated efficacy of 90% then it wouldn’t surprise to see hospital admissions around 10%.

              39% is obviously a lot higher than 10%. This also coincides with a changing in the way positive Covid cases and hospital admissions are reported.

              My wife has had so many of her team requested by the M.O.H that it’s negatively impacted on her teams results. Another family member has given us all warnings of a Covid crisis in our hospitals after giving no warnings at all over the previous decades. His concerns are shared by numerous senior colleagues but you won’t hear anything about that publicly. What you’ll hear instead is Dr Bloomfield saying what good shape our hospitals are in to deal with any sudden increase in Covid hospital admissions. If you also look at the way hospitals sent Covid patients home and the appalling treatment / care they received via email or phone calls from unqualified persons you start to get a different picture. Unsure if you recall a single Covid positive case at Middlemore hospital and how 39 health professionals needed to isolate as a result of their contact? The most telling aspect of what unfolded was the inability to replace those staff from within Auckland. Most replacements came from Canterbury and Southland. If you look at how transmissible Omicron is, it’s a fait accompli that many frontline hospital staff will need to isolate after contact with patients. These are the exact same people that have been striking due to unsafe working conditions. You do the math there.

              The sudden recent change in suppressing all details of Covid deaths allegedly due to privacy is concerning. If these deaths were of fully vaccinated patients, would this harm confidence in vaccine compliance which is likely going to get another big push in the weeks ahead? Yes, I’m questioning the authenticity of the privacy claim.

              We are only days away from “BREAKING NEWS”. X number of Omicron community cases have been discovered. A unscheduled 6pm Press Conference has been called for by PM Ardern and Dr Bloomfield.

              I feel complacency has been encouraged by the recent farcically low numbers of positive cases at exactly the same time Omicron is knocking at our door. Anyone that believes there are only 17 positive community cases of Covid in the NZ yesterday likely also believes in the tooth fairy. This is the worst possible time to have low testing numbers.

              We know most people are over Covid now but compliance will be huge in combating Omicron. I’m seeing cause for real concern even more than I did in July 2021 just prior to the extended Auckland lockdown.

        • A small comment Trevor Rogers and timely – has facts, uses reason, makes conclusion that again seems reasonable. Cricklewood also seems to be informed commenter. (When I was in London I lived in Kilburn – Cricklewood further along Shoot Up Hill. Great memories of long ago.)
          This is not always the case in other comments verging on hyperbole.

        • How quickly we forget, or ignore, the standard narratives – that helped shape the decision making process for hundreds of thousands of Kiwis. From being protected and stopping transmission to it will limit severe disease/hospitalization, meaning the hospitals will be full of the unvaccinated only, to it will lessen your chances of hospitalization now. What will change next and will we ever start questioning these clearly inaccurate narratives and those that push them?

  6. While not wanting to be seen to be scaling the very highest heights of lunatic conspiracy theories this is what humanity needs to do…In my humblest opinion.
    Ban all manned ( person’d ) off-earth space travel.
    No more hyper riche robo-laughing while spiralling along with film stars and sundry fawning sycophants. No more ” Oooooo….Aaaaaaaa-ing ” airline owners compensating for their all but invisible little penises.
    Make the bastards stay down here with us and the monster they’ve created.
    Here’ my simple theorem.
    Those whom exploited greed encouraged over consumption to feed The Greed which has led to our only biosphere becoming ever more hot and toxic.
    And now? Over consumption has lead to our over breeding but the more breeding, the more consumption thus ka ching!. Capitalists call it ‘growth’. If capitalists were referring to the animal world they’d call it ‘plague’ and likely manufacture, then sell, a spray to reduce our numbers, or kill us off entirely. You might see where I’m going with this?
    It isn’t a bloody virus that’ll end us all, it’s ourselves. And we’re well on the way to a point of no return, if we’ve not already gone past that point already.
    So? A mystery virus floats out of a fish, then oopsie, Africa, then spreads around the planet killing as it goes and the best medical minds on Earth are barely able to keep ahead of it and as it looms while refusing to be beaten back it mutates and therefore builds up its own data base to determinedly fuck us up. ( Yes. I’m familiar with the stats re poorer countries being likely to be better at incubating new variants because more people are unvaccinated etc.)
    Meanwhile, the $200 BILLION dollar aliens are all skitie-spurts into space while a-jizz with their own fizzing egos hanging out of their undies, now weightless and semi-erect. Imagine bezo’s bald balls dangling about like a pair of blue veined boiled eggs? ( On that note; how the fuck do we know they’ve not already built weightless space Hiltons where the coke’s free and the view’s are unparalleled of the last dying gasps of the hoi polloi. We, the beastly Great Unwashed. We, the ‘consumer’. )
    Steal a decent pair of binoculars and look into dawns starry skies and you can wave to the $-elite we funded as they orbit by overhead. You should easily recognise bezos if the light’s just right. I wonder? If the sun shines out an arsehole? Does it also shine back up?

  7. Truth of the matter is that there are risks involved vaccinating into the teeth of a pandemic especially when the West hoard vaccines. We’ve refused to acknowledge or do anything about those risks.

    Here’s hoping we dont get really unlucky with a variant that either exhibits antibody dependent enhancement or original antigenic sin fucking us over. Respectively Dengue and Influenza are examples of virus have a well studied history.

    Such effects or variants causing them cant be discounted when we have a poor global coverage and now quite low vaccine efficacy

  8. It’s not really that corona is this or that. It’s that there has been nothing really innovative about any of the corona response. Corona was an opportunity to get innovative and fold all those billions of recovery money into the climate change response.

    Asset prices are up.

    Rents are up.

    Food cost rising.

    Water/electricity up.

    Insurance up.

    Wages down.

    And the oligarchy is claiming poverty.

    Y’know the UN fails on a much larger scale. Not because they are evil or low morals. They fail because the scale of global peace keeping operations is just far to large for the mission capability and man power of the UN.

    Said another way try putting a clutch of well trained soldiers in Iraq and say y’all have to listen to us now. They’d get bashed to death.

    I know we are chatting about corona but the response is pitiful, the scale of spending is unimaginative.

    All this one at a time stuff. A bit of road here, a bride there, some insect sanctuary maybe. But nothing that really connects like Lego.

    We need innovation in finance, innovation in material science, medicine. New energy generators.

    And tondo all that ee are going to require Chinese blessings

  9. We are currently living in a period of psychological denial, as we were pre the delta variant arriving here. For many this is a much needed reprieve that allows the space to rebuild personal stamina for the next encounter. Collectively and individually we are hanging by slender threads now. What comes next, nobody knows for certain.

  10. Inequality is a pillar of capitalism and the overall response to the pandemic has only confirmed that.
    Trying to spin 2022 as the year the globe beat covid 19 is both delusional and disingenuous.
    The separation of medical science advice from the political pandemic response is less obvious here in NZ but it would be negligent for this narrative to become mainstream.
    As a global community we are incapable of presenting a united front against covid 19 and that is why 2022 will be as challenging as the previous 2 years.
    The environment that Omicron has presented for the virus makes the likelihood of more variants very high.

  11. Not strictly on the subject but it is covid related…
    what’s the price of a tin of corned beef in your local? here in wellie in the new world down the road 10.50 last week now 9.70odd now (about a fiver before the pandemic if I remember right-I’m partial to a corned beef hash) yup it’s hellabys but let’s face it auz ain’t short of cows is it
    now if that isn’t price gouging on an obvious ‘bunker food’ now I don’t know what is…..but hey forget any govt agency actually moving their fat arses on it.

  12. Remember that Malaysian airplane that disappeared mysteriously and bored the shit out of us for months as the main media matter(I remember Jon Stewart being irritated by it)? Isn’t that covid now? The media concentrating on the immediate.

    It’s silly now here in NZ, can’t we just appoint the biggest covid-head to think it out for us so we can go to more important things? As it is we can see the future, we will be looking at the pebbles at our feet as the tsunami we all know perfectly well is coming roars in and destroys us.

  13. FAR FROM OVER

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
    https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

    Covid-19 cases are spiking in numerous countries around the world. While the death toll from Omicron is currently minimal, that could all change if the virus mutates into something angrier, than even the Delta version. All the countries below are first world countries where the population has extensive access to vaccination – the same cannot be said for third world countries.

    For instance, the number of ‘new’ cases overnight Vaccination rates in brackets.

    • USA 481,831 (72.62%; 61.74% fully, 11.88% partial)
    • India 87,222 (61.56%; 44.10% fully, 17.46% partial)
    • Brazil 27,267 (77.77%; 67.18% fully, 10.59% partial)
    • UK 194,747 (75.98%; 69.62% fully, 6.36% partial)
    • France 332,252 (72.62%; 61.74% fully, 4.85% partial)
    • Spain 137,180 (85.27%; 81.35% fully, 3.92% partial)
    • Italy 189,109 (80.40%; 74.27% fully, 6.13% partial)
    • Australia 64,735 (79.39%; 76.80% fully, 2.59% partial)

    It is chilling to note that there have been 1,514,343 new cases overnight in the 8 First World countries listed above. Of these, data for Brazil and India is highly questionable as both countries have sought to minimise the impact of the virus and concomitant negative media coverage – another, China, not listed, is likely to have similar issues to Brazil and India, but refuses to release their data (or any verifiable data).

    In addition, Brazil has only tested about 30% of their population and India 48%. But even testing a lot doesn’t help with infection rates, e.g. France (288% tested) with 332,252 overnight cases. While vaccination and improved understanding of the virus to allow for more effective treatments for covid-19, we are currently riding the Omicron wave with it’s seemingly less severe, but more infectious, configuration. Should the symptoms become more severe with no adjustment to infectiousness, we are in deep trouble.

    Locally there seems to be lots of squealing about ‘big brother’ aspects of vaccination and related mandates, however our infection data is the best in the first world:

    New Zealand 14,405 (94.89%; 92.14% fully, 2.75% partial) – this is total data
    https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-data-and-statistics/covid-19-vaccine-data#total-vaccinations

    In a country of 5,002,100 there have been 5,627,559 tests completed.

    We need to remind ourselves that only 8.5% of the populations of low-income (third world) countries are vaccinated. This lack of vaccination in poorer countries is not just ‘their problem’ because viruses do not respect international borders and immunity comes from vaccination (or ‘herd immunity’ at the population level). This lack of equity will prolong the damage caused by this virus (not just in those countries but worldwide) and places us all at risk of a more damaging version we are yet to see.

    • It is interesting that these low-income, low-vaccinated countries are not being overrun with Covid 19. What gives with that?

      As for Omicron, this appears to be a variant that spreads like wildfire (or spreads no other variant before it) and yet leaves behind minimal damage, meaning, this variant could be our way out of this pandemic. But hey, what do I know….

  14. Cause for concern?
    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
    https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

    Covid-19 cases are spiking in numerous countries around the world. While the death toll from Omicron is currently minimal, that could all change if the virus mutates into something angrier, than even the Delta version. All the countries below are first world countries where the population has extensive access to vaccination – the same cannot be said for third world countries.

    For instance, the number of ‘new’ cases overnight Vaccination rates in brackets.

    • USA 481,831 (72.62%; 61.74% fully, 11.88% partial)
    • India 87,222 (61.56%; 44.10% fully, 17.46% partial)
    • Brazil 27,267 (77.77%; 67.18% fully, 10.59% partial)
    • UK 194,747 (75.98%; 69.62% fully, 6.36% partial)
    • France 332,252 (72.62%; 61.74% fully, 4.85% partial)
    • Spain 137,180 (85.27%; 81.35% fully, 3.92% partial)
    • Italy 189,109 (80.40%; 74.27% fully, 6.13% partial)
    • Australia 64,735 (79.39%; 76.80% fully, 2.59% partial)

    It is chilling to note that there have been 1,514,343 new cases overnight in the 8 First World countries listed above. Of these, data for Brazil and India is highly questionable as both countries have sought to minimise the impact of the virus and concomitant negative media coverage – another, China, not listed, is likely to have similar issues to Brazil and India, but refuses to release their data (or any verifiable data).

    In addition, Brazil has only tested about 30% of their population and India 48%. But even testing a lot doesn’t help with infection rates, e.g. France (288% tested) with 332,252 overnight cases. While vaccination and improved understanding of the virus to allow for more effective treatments for covid-19, we are currently riding the Omicron wave with it’s seemingly less severe, but more infectious, configuration. Should the symptoms become more severe with no adjustment to infectiousness, we are in deep trouble.

    Locally there seems to be lots of squealing about ‘big brother’ aspects of vaccination and related mandates, however our infection data is the best in the first world:

    New Zealand 14,405 (94.89%; 92.14% fully, 2.75% partial) – this is total data
    https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-data-and-statistics/covid-19-vaccine-data#total-vaccinations
    In a country of 5,002,100 there have been 5,627,559 tests completed.

    We need to remind ourselves that only 8.5% of the populations of low-income (third world) countries are vaccinated. This lack of vaccination in poorer countries is not just ‘their problem’ because viruses do not respect international borders and immunity comes from vaccination (or ‘herd immunity’ at the population level). This lack of equity will prolong the damage caused by this virus (not just in those countries but worldwide) and places us all at risk of a more damaging version we are yet to see.

  15. Most of the Left talk on blogs since 2000 has been footnoting — nice points about the details. Is that the nature of blogs? I tend to think.

    Admittedly details help in their way, but the 30s were a concentration on the main matter and mobilisation around that. Which isn’t a disease that takes less than 1 % now, rather climate change that will take everything in a few short years — my old age as a 50-something and the shortening of life of everyone of us below that.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.