It Appears COVID Pandemic May End By Spring, Will Governments Drop Measures?
The UK is shortly bringing to a stop most of its COVID measures, and Scotland looks to be doing the same. Talks of the similar moves are also happening in Israel. It appears countries who've seen the peek of Omicron come and go are giving up on harsh COVID restrictions.
Even the Pfizer CEO believes life will go back to normal by spring.
"We will soon be able to resume a normal life, [...] We are well positioned to get there in the spring thanks to all the tools at our disposal: tests, very effective vaccines and the first treatments that can be taken at home."
Interestingly, it does not appear to be vaccines, new pharmaceutical treatments, or tests that brought COVID to this position in these places however. What appears to have happened is the fairly normal process of a virus moving through its evolutionary stages, becoming more virulent and often less severe as it evolves and herd immunity is reached.
That said, there is no guarantee that another severe variant won't come. But with high levels of immunity from natural infection, we're in a good spot if one does. Again I point to natural immunity here as it has been shown to be far superior to vaccine immunity which only lasts a very short period.
So we're in a good spot, but could we have gotten here sooner if governments adopted a more 'focused protection' approach that was outlined in The Great Barrington Declaration of 2020? It's hard to say, but perhaps. Although governments appear to believe their measures of masks, distancing and lockdowns ended waves of infections, waves of infection is exactly what respiratory viruses do.
How Successful Were COVID Measures?
Countries like Sweden who did not adopt these measures saw the same waves come and go with no, or very little, intervention from government. Yet governments who adopted intense measures took credit for seeing waves come and go due to the policies put in place.
Sweden is an interesting case as you can view their policy as both a success or a failure depending on how you compare their rate of death to other countries. But it's rather complicated and not a clear cut story. I'm working on an article about this to illustrate the complexity of this conversation and I invite you to join our mailing list to be notified when its ready.
Now let's look at some US state comparisons and bring into consideration the measures taken and not taken during various COVID waves.
Florida, a state constantly ridiculed for its approach to COVID, has faired well during Omicron compared to other high population and dense states who took a very different approach and were much more vaccinated.
Per the Omicron wave, look at the graph below which outlines the rate of death per 100,000. Florida is currently experiencing the lowest deaths vs other dense states. The spike to the far right is the current wave.
States that opted for extreme isolation, statewide mask mandates, and harsh financial damage from lockdowns didn't necessarily do better, some did worse. So what did they gain from all these measures? Or did they lose in collateral damage?
To be clear, I'm not attempting to find where there was zero COVID due to policy. I'm instead attempting to consider collateral damage a purely reductionist approach creates.
What is the cost of isolation and mental health drops? What is the cost of missing important doctors appointments? What is the cost of increased suicides? What is the cost of massive shifts in economic stability for millions of people? What is the cost of hampering child development?
These things were not considered with COVID measures, and many estimate the effects of lockdowns were more damaging than COVID itself.
Omicron & Misleading Information
As Omicron now moves through heavily vaccinated and heavily masked populations, governments are still poised to claim their measures will end the wave and the unvaccinated were to blame for the whole thing to begin with. Yet as discussed, it has never been clear that measures produce this result. Vaccination of the highly vulnerable is the only measure that consistently shows a drop in deaths. But the highly vulnerable makes up only a portion of the population in any place, suggesting many people do not need to be vaccinated and vaccination would not reduce death or hospitalization for those people anyway. More on this soon.
Given the path Omicron took in the UK with its peak and decline, experts feel that there will likely be very few cases and very few hospitalizations by March 2022 in many places around the world. Yet some countries continue to enforce harsh long term measures like vaccine passports and fines for those who remain unvaccinated.
Why? What data is informing these policies? Will these countries ease off?
Perhaps it is because some 'experts' feel Omicron will not be the last variant and that more severe and worrisome variants will emerge soon. But are they right?
In some areas of the world who already were dealing with Omicron we heard reports it was significantly less severe. They had data and studies to back up their claims. Yet in other areas we had 'experts' claiming there is no evidence of that and that we should remain in fear of the coming variant. The WHO even got it massively wrong claiming,
Omicron variant is "very high" based on the early evidence, saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with "severe consequences."
Omicron turned out to be at least 55% - 60% less severe than Delta. Further, much of the Omicron modelling that was done was wrong as well, overshooting cases, deaths and severity by unforgivable margins.
I get that many people are taking a cautionary approach, but the overestimation of COVID risk and severity has been a problem created by government and media from the start. A sentiment that has widely produced an echo chamber of reactions and policies that don't align with reality or science.
As per the Great Barrington Declaration, which has happened to be right about most things COVID since very early on,
"It is important to distinguish between the risk of infection and the risk of death. Anyone can get infected, but there is more than a thousand-fold difference in the risk of death between the oldest and youngest. For old people, COVID-19 is more dangerous than the annual influenza. For children, the COVID-19 mortality risk is less than for the annual influenza."
The Great Barrington Declaration
We keep seeing approaches that lump all ages and demographics together. Things like "vaccinate everyone" or "lock everyone down." But not all people are at the same risk of death or hospitalization from COVID. In fact, the numbers aren't even remotely close. Yet government is treating it like everyone is at the same risk, and legacy media is following blindly suit.
Look at how Reuters approached this article about Omicron titled "Omicron less severe than Delta but still poses danger for unvaccinated: WHO" we see the classic sweeping statement that "the unvaccinated are at risk." This is patently false.
The unvaccinated who are immunocompromised, elderly or who have multiple co-morbidities are at risk, those who are healthy and young are at very little risk - in some cases less that the annual flu. A nuance that has been left out of discussions in favor of anger towards the unvaccinated.
Here is Reuters again reporting on statements from the WHO which claim there is no evidence healthy children need booster shots. Interestingly, there was no evidence that children needed to be vaccinated to begin with. How are these 'health agencies' making their decisions?
Why has major media continued to air faulty voices constantly pushing fear about COVID while silencing those who have been mostly correct since the beginning? No one knows for sure, but there are many theories including pharmaceutical alliances and allegiances to ideas like The Great Reset.
As a result of such a wildly poor discussions from government and media, the vast majority of people in the US cannot get basic facts about COVID right.
A Gallup poll from 2021 asked Americans what the risk of hospitalization is from COVID if you are unvaccinated. Only 2% of democrats answered correctly. Only 16% of republicans answered correctly. And 11% of independents answered correctly.
The risk of hospitalization if you are unvaccinated is less than 1%. As the poll indicated, not many know this because politicians and media have been demonizing the unvaccinated as if they are sick, dangerous and selfish people who are going to overload the ICUs because they end up in hospital so easily. But this is patently false.
Government and media could have chosen to be honest. They could have told the public that only certain people with co-morbidities are at risk from COVID, and age plays a very important roll as well. Those who are 50 and under with no co-morbidities could live life normally as their risk of being hospitalized is so low.
In fact, measures like vaccinating those under 20 actually exposes them to more risk than the virus itself. Why is government policy irresponsibly putting children at risk?
Unless some intensely strong variant is leaked or emerges, COVID will be going deeply into an endemic stage and we will be living with it just as described from the start. The need for such harsh restrictions has long been proven unnecessary and extremely harmful. Will governments drop measures and powers they have grasped during this situation? If waves do arrive, will governments learn from their past mistakes and take a new approach?
We shall see. If there is a deeper agenda behind why the world became aggressively authoritarian these past two years, then perhaps these restrictions won't go away. But if this truly was "everyone doing their best" we might expect life to return to normal. Which raises the final question: were we truly inspired by and thriving when things were 'normal?'