When is the Pandemic Over?
Chapter #9 -- Or do we continue with reckless, useless policies of lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates and school closures...
THUNDER BAY, OTTAWA, ONTARIO ~~~~~ December 17, 20222 (LSNews) So is the pandemic over finally? U.S. President Joe Biden declared it was in an interview he did with 60 Minutes in September (2022). While making that pronouncement he added, “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it, but the pandemic is over.” This came as surprise to White House staff and senior health officials; but they managed to determine that the virus is in a manageable state and that Biden was simply putting in blunt terms, where his administration had long been headed.
It may be over in the US, but we haven’t heard those words from our Canadian Prime Minister. Instead Justin Trudeau, from his recent Tweets, seems to think the battle against the virus is still raging, “Let’s keep taking action to fight COVID-19, and let’s make sure our vaccinations are up-to-date. That way, we can continue to do the things we enjoy with the people we love.” And according to Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam, the COVID 19 pandemic is still ongoing. In June of this year she was already warning that a seventh wave this fall is a ‘real threat’. So, when Dr. Tam, does a pandemic become endemic? When will you, and we resign ourselves to the reality that COVID 19, and its new variants, are something we are just going to have to learn to live with like the seasonal flu and winter colds?
Never, I guess, if Tam has her way. In an appearance before the Commons Health Committe in October 2022, she told Members of Parliamant that while decisions to restore COVID measures such as mandatory masking and school closures will largely be left to the provinces and territories, the federal government may bring back pandemic-related border measures if the pandemic situation deteriorates. Seriously? Did border controls ever work in keeping the virus out of the country? What nonsense. I never agreed with much of what Canada’s former Health Minister Patti Hajdu had to say about her government’s pandemic response. But, she was right about one thing, and that was that “viruses know no borders.” Do you remember your boss saying that at one point Dr. Tam, I believe it’s on video?
Here’s the reality that Tam can’t seem to fathon, when her own statistics are staring her in the face. To date, 2022 has been Canada’s worst year for COVID deaths with 20 percent more occuring in 2022 than 2021. In December of 2021 Canada was averaging approximately 22 COVID deaths a day. Tracking for December of 2022, shows COVID deaths have doubled to 41 per day. This, despite the fact that almost 90 percent of Canadian adults were fully vaccinated by the fall of 2021 and 60 per cent have since received boosters. Very few, if any of the COVID deaths occurred in very young. Eighty three percent of the fatalities were in people over the age of 70, which has been a consistent figure since the beginning the pandemic.
It should be further noted, in stating these numbers, that according to a report the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US released in August 2022, at least 75 percent of American children had already been infected with COVID, as well as at least 64 percent of adults under the age of 59. So much for masks, vaccines and lockdowns in preventing infections. The good news is that, of this vast number of people who had COVID, the survival rate was a whopping 99.8 percent overall, and for those under fifty, including children, it was 99.9996 percent! I would venture to guess that Canada’s statistics would be very similar.
So do we really want to live with perpetual lockdowns, school closures, border closures and/or restrictions, and neverending mask mandates and booster shots?Unfortunately some do, based on the number of people I still see wearing masks—inside and outside. But the majority of Canadians, I think, are ready to accept the risk of getting COVID much in the same way we accept the risks of getting into a car, takiing a walk, or getting the flu. Life is not without risk. We face them everyday. But the COVID orthodoxy perpetuated by public health officials, too many polticians and the legacy media have managed to manufacture a culture of unwarranted fear for too many people. For some, it is a burden they may carry for a very long time. Still, it is time to take a real hard look at how effective COVID restrictions and protections have been, and say enough already.
Let’s start with masking. Can we please come to terms with the reality that masking does nothing to stop the virus. Study upon study has confirmed this. In fact, strapping these things to your face, and particularly to the faces of young children does more harm than good. In addition to being anti-social and dehumanizing, their use for the past two years, is likely one of the reasons for the current rise in immunity deficits, that has resulted in the unusually high rates RSV in young children and influenza infections in the general population.
It is the elephant in the room that so deviates from the orthodoxy around masks, that none of the branch COVIDIAN health officials want to discuss it, except to provide counterfactual advice to mask more to protect kids from RSV and the flu. This is something that was never even remotely been considered before COVID. But, it should be discussed and understood that continuing to mask will only serve to continue maintain and worsen a population’s immunity deficit for other respiractory and viral infections resulting in more illness and over-burdened hospitals for years to come.
Shall we now move onto lockdowns? Back in the early 2000s when the World Health Organization’s (WHO) warned of the looming prospect of an Avian Flu Pandemic in the human population, government lead pandemic planning went into high gear. The WHO likened the avian virus to the one that caused the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 which killed somewhere between 25 and 50 million people. Yet, despite the potential lethality of this pandemice threat, none of the plans included massive lockdowns as a response measure.
The bird flu threat, flew out the window, so to speak, after the unexpected and unforeseen H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic came and went in 2009-2010. Where again neither lockdowns, business closures, school closures, nor mass masking were proposed as response measures. The world carried on as ususal, despite the fact that the H1N1 virus impacted and killed more people under the age of 65, than the very old.
Yet, with COVID-19, governments everywhere seemed intent lockdowns. Much of this came from the initial alarmist modellings based on flawed assumptions, and on the example of a brutal Chinese dictatorship. China’s authoritarian policies seemed perfectly fine with our government leaders and health officials, eagerly cheered on by the legacy media. What did isolating, shutting down and shutting in, do to people, besides do nothing to reduce the spread of COVID? In August of 2020, the CDC released a report on the mental health effects of lockdowns, based on a survery of five thousand people conducted in June. Keep in mind this was only after the first round of lockdowns that had occurred over the winter and early spring of 2020. They had not yet endured, nor could they imagine, the countless more lockdowns they would face over the next two years.
Still, three out of ten people were aleady reporting symptoms of anxiety disorders or depressive disorders. One quarter reported symptoms of a trauma or stress-related disorders such at PTSD and thirteen percent reported increased substance abuse to cope with the stress and angst caused by the lockdowns.
Among 18 to 24 years olds the impact was even worse. One quarter of them had seriously considered suicide and anxiety disorders tripled from eight percent to 26 percent, while depressive disorders quadrupled from six percent to 24 percent.The survey also reported a sharp increase in opoid overdoses during the lockdowns. Further CDC data also reported some 13,000 excess deaths in the elderly, due to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, since the lockdowns began in March of 2020. It seems that people with dementia were not dying just from the virus, but from the very isolation strategy that was supposed to protect them from it. Again these are American statistics, but it is likely Canadian statistics would not be much different.
In January 2022 Johns Hopkins Institute published “A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID 19 Mortalty.” While this analysis was derided by many of the COVID pro-lockdown orthodoxy cult when it was published, its findings are based on a very solid foundations of both a systematic review* and meta-analysis.*
The researchers concluded: “Lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality. More specifically, stringency index studies find that lockdowns in Europe and the United States only reduced COVID mortality by 0.2% on average.” They also summarized their findings on collateral harms: “While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument. The damage inflicted by our failed lockdowns and school closure policies is impossible to calculate and will be felt for decades.”
* A systematic review provides a qualitative summary of the findings of several studies, chosen for their methodological rigor according to strict inclusion criteria. A meta-analysis pools data from several smaller studies to present a quantitative synthesis of their findings.This thereby overcomes some of the limitations of each individual study, making the findings of a good meta-analysis, often, invaluable.
As mentioned in the Johns Hopkins report, the unnecessary lockdowns included many equally needless school closures which according to many psychologists, psychiatrists and education experts, have had, and will continue to have, immeasurable impacts on children. Due to the sensitive periods of their brain and cognitive development, they believe that the loss of learning for this generation of children cannot, in any way, be compensated for by catch-up work at a later date. In the longer term these ill-advised measures, according to experts, will contribute to poorer health and lower life expectancy in the long term.
In addition school, for some children, was their only way out of poverty, food insecurity, and/or provided a safe haven from an abusive or chaotic home life. Learning loss, reduced social interaction, isolation, reduced physical activity, increased mental health problems have all be associated with school closures, all of which are far more damaging and dangerous than the very small risk COVID-19 ever posed to children. A fact that was well known, and evidence-based fairly early on in the pandemic. The risk to healthy teachers was no more than to many other essential workers that manned cashiers, stocked shelves, and delivered meals to the laptop crowd safety ensconced in their homes. There were also economic implications associated with school closures including the loss of parental income linked to childcare or supervision of on-line learning, particularly for younger children. These economic effects fell disproportionately on women and those already in lower income brackets. The lockdowns, overall, hit the most vulnerable of society the hardest.
Vaccines and Vaccine Mandates
As for the COVID 19 vaccines and boosters, it is clear that our public health authorities over-sold and under-delivered, while severely damaging public trust in them. Remember, when the vaccines became widedly available in the spring of 2021, they told us they were the silver bullet out of the pandemic. But that didn’t happen, did it? Instead, vaccines have taken us down a road so full of twists and turns and backpeddling, it is hard keep track of where we’ve been and where we are going. As mentioned at the outset of this article, by the fall of 2021, almost 90 percent of Canadian adults were fully vaccinated. Yet, mask mandates continued and school closures did not end. And throughout 2021 and well into 2022, vaccinated Canadians were subjected to the ridiculous ArriveCAN* application, with which they had to comply in order to re-enter the country after international travel. Non-compliance resulted in quarantining in a designated hotel at their own expense, or a $6000 fine.
*The government finally scrapped it in September of 2022
In the early fall of 2021, is was discovered that the efficacy of those first to COVID shots was beginning to wane, after just a few months. So, in November of 2021 the Dr. Tam announced the first COVID booster shots would soon be available and urged everyone to get boosted and many Canadians did. Somewhere along the line Health Canada also approved COVID vaccines for kids as young as six. Yet, despite this huge vaccination coverage, in January of 2022 Ontario and Quebec re-introduced partial and in some cases full lockdown measures and school closures due to the emergence of the Omicron strain of the virus, which, surprise, surpise, was able to penetrate those ‘bullet proof’ vaccines and boosters, to boot. Other provinces also began re-introducing a range of COVID restrictions as well.
What also began to emerge with this negative vaccine efficacy was higher rates of infection among the vaccinated, rather than the unvaccinated. This was becoming clear even prior to the arrival of the Omicron strain—the vaccines and boosters were not able to prevent infection and tranmission. This undermined the argument that it was one’s duty to get vaccinated to protect others (although this was and still is something our Prime Minister has not been able to grasp) To add icing to the cake, in October of 2022 we learned that Pfizer, the drug company responsible to supplying much of the world with the mRNA COVID vaccine, had not even tested its vaccine to determine in efficacy in preventing transmission of the virus before they released it for use? This was admitted by senior Pfizer’s executive Janine Small, during her testimony before the European Union Parliament.
Despite wilfull attempts to ignore natural immunity on the part of COVID cult public health officials, it is still increasingly clear that natural immunity to COVID is better than vaccine-induced immunity, in terms of efficacy and longevity. For example, in Ontario, during the most recent Omicron wave, infections in people who had received two COVID shots increased substantailly, dropping the efficacy of the vaccines to virtually zero percent. A third-dose booster provided some increased protection in the short term, but lessened substantially over time. Nor was there any significant evidence that the vaccines reduced the severity of the symptoms of COVID. Natural immunity, on the otherhand, experienced only a modest drop in efficacy against Omicron and remained well over 50% in its efficacy over time.
There is a growing abundance of data which demonstrates that vaccines do not prevent infection, transmission, hospitalization and deaths for people under the age of sixty. This is one reason why the Scandavian countries have stopped administering vaccines to their younger populations. It is becoming increasingly clear that these vaccines and the onslaught of boosters have failed to control the pandemic, as advertised. For example, Chile has both the highest booster rollout and yet the highest death rate per capital, while India has the lowest booster coverage yet the second lowest mortality rate.
So, given all this people have to ask themselves some questions. Are they going to keep rolling up their sleeves every three to six months for more booster juice in perpetuity? Are they going have their kids vaxxed and boosted despite the low risk the virus poses to them. Are they willing to go along with more restrictions, and lockdowns should the government try to impose them. Or will they push back and say it’s time just let nature take its course, as we move toward natural herd immunity and COVID moves from pandemic to endemic?
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|I am a retired journalist who served with the Canadian Armed Forces and for the last 13 years of my working career was a Senior Emergency Planning Analyst with the RCMP. I am a wife, mother and dog, cat and intrepid explorer
An Intrepid warrior exploring issues in today's strange new world.
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