The number of infected people is steadily growing again for the last two months or so. In Ireland this is happening despite the very high vaccination rate of well above 90% of the adult population and the only answer that doctors and politicians have, is to insist that people have to show their vaccination certificates and that they should get vaccinated more.
Vaccinations clearly help with SOMETHING as the number of deaths is lower than previously. But people can only die once. So when the people that were in the highest danger of dying from Covid are dead, then they can’t die a second time and naturally, the death rate will drop. Based on the infection numbers we see, it seems that the 90+% vaccination rate is possibly having much less an impact on that metric than people were told it would have.
3,024 vs 34,000 seems very clear! Ireland: good! Germany: Bad!
But let’s look at the real figures. With Germany being 16.79 times the size of Ireland. this would mean that Ireland – if it was the size of Germany – would have reported 50,370 new cases. FIFTY THOUSAND!
So now, how does the comparison look like?
Germany-sized Ireland: 50,370 vs Germany-sized Germany: 34,000
Anybody still think Ireland is in a good position?
After a very long long delay, the Irish Government finally managed to “turn on” the mandatory Hotel Quarantine for some specific people coming to Ireland. It took a long time until all laws were in place and the whole scheme was organised and on Friday, the first people (rumours has it that they came to Ireland on a flight from Saudi Arabia) have moved into their hotel room where they will have to stay for 12 days and will to pay EUR 1850 for the pleasure.
On the list of countries of people that will be forced to stay in hotel quarantine are the usual holiday destinations like Botswana, Burundi and Angola and without a doubt a LOT of tourists will come from these locations. NOT! Also on it are countries like Brazil where there is a big problem at the moment. But there is no USA or France or Italy on the list where the problems are ALSO big. Instead from the countries we seem to like more, you just need a PCR test and then you won’t be forced into hotel quarantine. How can we apply completely different rules? Oddly the only European country on the list is Austria, which is definitely not the worst in Europe. And also very oddly: Mauritius is on the list that has a super low infection rate but that unfairly got involved in some mud throwing by the UK. (www.joergsteegmueller.com/2021/02/27/trust-in-authorities-during-covid-times/) So the UK added them to the list and magically, they appear on the Irish list as well.
The quarantine MIGHT have made sense in March 2020, but now it is a joke! The HSE estimates that approx. 1.7% of all cases are brought into Ireland through international travel. So you can expect that that complicated scheme that involves a whole range of hotels with income guarantees and even utilises the army to escort the prisoners, sorry…arriving travelers to the hotels.
A totally mad and ineffective system at the totally wrong time with totally wrong rules.
Sounds like a sound and responsible decision, right? Duty of care and all that. Well done, boys!
But then you look at the BIG picture and think back to February and also think about what else is going on and suddenly you realise that there is probably a lot more going on. AGAIN!
Here are the facts and conclusions:
Norway had 4 (FOUR!!) cases of blood clots. They are all in hospital and are being treated. In Austria one person died from a blood clot and one if in hospital, in Denmark one died (a second one is in hospital) and in Italy possibly also one death has been reported.
So that is a total of maybe three deaths and five people in hospital. 8 people out of 17 million administered vaccines. Maybe it is even 30 patients as the article mentions when referring to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
That’s still not a lot and a link to the vaccine is far from clear, but yes, it probably makes sense to pause a clinical trial if you have some deaths. (Oh, you think this is NOT a clinical trial? Hmm, think again!! It is a mass trial and nothing else but an experiment!)
But let’s move on and remember January. We found out at the end of January that 33 elderly people in Norway died shortly after receiving their Covid-19 vaccination from Pfizer/BioNTech. But we were told quickly that this has NO relevance (www.wired.co.uk/article/norway-deaths-coronavirus-vaccine) because the patients were elderly and would have died anyway. :-O
We don’t even know if there were other deaths elsewhere in the world. Or maybe we do but we aren’t told? We don’t know in what state of health they or the others that possibly died elsewhere were in. We now their age and a conclusion was made. We just discarded the 33 old people in Norway and moved on. Not for a second the vaccination programme was halted.
This time a number of countries halted the Astra Zeneca vaccination and MANY countries followed quickly, because if ONE country stops it and someone dies in ANOTHER country the politicians and “experts” and the country where people died will be blamed. Publicity-caused ripple effect!
A blood clot is something serious, but there seem to be a number of different blood clot-caused issues that could have killed the patients and pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis are the main ones.
As a side note: Between 1981 and 1999 a total of 5408 patients were admitted to hospital with venous thromboembolism (deep vein thrombosis) after they were on international flights according to a study www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC261739/. That is 5408 in 18 years or 300 per year. Have you heard of halting all international flights until the matter is investigated further?
But back to the vaccines:
The significant difference between the end of January and now is that at that time there was not much other choice available. So, we better keep going.
This time, however, we are in a situation where Astra Zeneca just can’t supply ENOUGH vaccine and governments around the world try to “fix” that problem or explain it SOMEHOW. The Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheal Martin even thought it was prudent to seek a meeting with the CEO of Astra Zeneca to discuss the problem. As if the CEO was giggling while sitting on a stash that he doesn’t want to release to the governments of the world UNTIL Micheal Martin told him off..
So Astra Zeneca can’t deliver and there won’t be many vaccinations. People in Ireland and other countries are getting annoyed and governments try to make the process faster, but can’t and they get a lot of pressure from their people. And just in that moment a reason pops up that gives PERFECT justification to all countries to stop the use of that one vaccine for a week or so. Breathing space for politicians!!
Is anyone surprised that they JUMP On the opportunity to halt the vaccination? In one week there will be more doses, so this breathing space nicely shuts up all the complainers in media and public for a little bit.
Don’t trust ANYBODY in this Covid game!!! Everybody has an agenda!
You would think that people who are doing something the second time around will have learned from the first time and will do everything better, right? But strangely it seems that leopards really don’t change their spots, as the saying goes, at least not easily. :-O And it also seems that learning is harder than we think. We do make mistakes even if they stare us in the face. I know that and you might know that too!?
But before this turns into a psychotherapy session ;-) I should explain that I am (at least in part) referring to our politicians and their learning from the first lockdown. We will be for another good while in this lockdown… but they really didn’t learn!!
Things weren’t perfect the first time around, but we largely did what we were told, because it was quite clear and because we thought we understood why we did it. But then we realised that the politicians and “experts” really had no clue either and so the second time around the approach should have been to explain things better and to make it easier to adhere to the rules. More laws, threats (penalties, even prison) for breaking some of the rules and sending gardai to stop shops from selling their normal items (as they we allowed the first time around) is NOT the way to do it.
Instead it is a guarantee to lose the support from the people! And being out on the streets and in shops, it is clear that the trust and support is gone. The current nonsensical rules over “essential products” show that the government has no clue of what lockdowns mean to you and me. Closing SOME aisles of supermarkets, making it illegal to buy stationary or a towel, but legal to buy alcohol is a ridiculous over exaggeration.
There are two effects that the “making illegal” of selling any extra products in supermarkets apart from things that are required for survival will have: The first effect is that as soon as shops are open fully again, there will be a mad run on shops with the consequence that even before Christmas the infection numbers will increase like crazy again. And the second effect is that even the bit of money that is made through selling a chainsaw in Lidl or a fleece jacket in Aldi or a child’s runners in Dunnes during the lockdown will now make its way to Amazon, instead of staying in Ireland. The government is showing the middle finger to any “buy local” campaign and in the end the small retailers that they allegedly want to protect with this stupid rule will not get the business anyway.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote a poem that is called “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and when I went to school, we had to learn it. I did exceptionally badly that day and got the worst mark on reciting the poem that I ever got in my whole school “career”. So it is a poem that I will never completely forget. One of the lines is “Die Geister die ich rief, werd ich nicht mehr los.” and that translates to “The spirits that I called, I can’t get rid of anymore.”
We are clearly still in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis (some think we are only at the beginning of it!), but a lot has happened and I am genuinely and deeply concerned about the long term effects that policy decisions had already and will have on our behaviour to each other.
The “We are all in it together!” is long forgotten and fear and panic has replaced the we-will-fight-through-this attitude from before.
I came across a whole range of scenarios that worry me! Here are just a few examples:
1) The Police State
Over the Easter weekend when the much stricter restrictions where in place a friend of mine and his partner went on a food shopping trip for his and her parents who are elderly and are cocooning. Because they live a little bit apart at the outskirts of Dublin, they had to travel a bit to shops and then to deliver the food. On their way, they were stopped at SIX garda checkpoints and they were never able to deliver the food. On one of the checkpoints an ill informed garda gave them nearly the full “E-E-E-E” treatment that was used as garda strategy that weekend. The four Es is Engagement / Explain / Encourage / Enforcement. (www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/0409/1129677-what-to-expect-from-gardai-during-covid-19-restrictions/)
They were told that they are NOT allowed to drive to their parents to bring them food despite the fact that “caring for the elderly” was clearly classed as ESSENTIAL during the Covid-19 crisis. They were also threatened with legal action if they don’t turn around. Nonsensically, the garda told them that instead they should bring all their shopping to the next garda station so that the food would be delivered by gardai to their parents. (There was no answer on how to deal with frozen food.)
Maybe this was just ONE garda on a power trip or an extremely badly briefed garda? But at another one of the six checkpoints, they were berated by a garda because two people (who live together!!!) were in the same car. :-O There is no rule or law in Ireland that disallows that.
By the way: They had to give up and turn around to avoid being prosecuted or arrested…and the parents didn’t get the food for Easter!
2) Inexcusable Misinformation
A situation that was not related to Covid-19 forced me to be in A&E in a Dublin hospital 2 weeks ago. I was there with my partner and as it is normal and natural during the waiting period and between examinations we sat next to each other and talked about what happened. The shift of the office based A&E staff had changed and the new admin at the reception had taken over. 10 minutes later he spotted us and came running out from behind his glass screen, shouting at me for not keeping a social distance. I explained to him that this was my partner who I live with. But that didn’t stop him! Instead he got even more excited and told me that this does not matter in the slightest. We are in a hospital and therefore have to keep a distance of 2m from each other.
He either didn’t understand the rules OR he was taught nonsensical rules and didn’t question them.
3) Blinding Fear
Someone I am “friends” with on Facebook wrote in a Facebook conversation
during the week:
“If people meet and don’t keep the distance at the moment, they could infect others. The infected people could die. So meeting others is akin to murder!”
I am lost for words in this case. How can any sane and sensible person draw that conclusion?? The person who wrote that clearly lost all reason and I can only conclude that this is caused by a blinding fear.
4) Attacking the people who help!
Luckily we have not reached the lowest of lows in Ireland: In the UK, Health Care workers are being attacked and abused for being “virus spreaders”. Tires of ambulances are slashed and cars of hospital employees are damaged. The ITV news on 15 April had this report:
How can it come to this? My guess is: Irrational fear, stirred by sensational media reports. This is shocking stuff!
5) No Way Out
At some point in the not toooo distant future, we will have to go back to offices again and kids will have to go to schools. But the virus will not be gone! So how will we deal with that?
In Denmark, where they are a little faster with lifting restrictions and thought about letting young children return to school first, rapidly 18,000 parents declared that they will refuse letting their kids go back to school.
How will we deal with a loosening of the restrictions? Will we also refuse to go to work? Let kids go to school? If a vaccine is another 12-18 months away, will some of us lock themselves in at home and refuse to go to work until then? How will YOU react when you have to go back to work? Enter a room again with other people inside?
In my opinion, we have definitely overdone it! We have over-egged the pudding!! And it is all based on fear that has been whipped up by our authorities, lead by the government and advised by medical officers and epidemiologists.
Later on, language was used that suggested to us that our lives were in serious and immediate danger. All measures were “to save lives”. “Stay home stay safe!!” This is also not wrong, but we can’t be surprised that then many look at the other people on the same footpath as a threat to their life. Or when leaving your home to go back to work is seen as risking ones life.
And now you see where “The spirits that I called, I can’t get rid of anymore.” becomes relevant! We over did it! We became so fearful that the care that people showed for each other in the beginning turned into people being prepared to report their neighbours for the smallest Covid-19 rule infringement.
It is a little early to think about things going back to “normality”, but what type of society do we want when we are going back to a sort of normality? If you have certain preferences, don’t let others pound fears and believes in you that are counterproductive!
Assess for yourself and judge what makes sense and what doesn’t. Then check with people that you trust if your assessment is reasonably and logical. Be prepared to learn and to speak up if necessary!
Oh and never ever forget that MOST others don’t do the (questionable) things they do to hurt or harm you, but because they don’t know better. Always be compassionate!