We have heard a few times before in the medical and national press about a new or novel coronavirus transmitting in the UK. However, in 2013, various reports caused little more than a ripple. Public Health England called it a non-event. It didn’t seem to matter to the medical profession before late 2019, if your parents died more quickly than expected from Cancer. After all, both my parents had been sold expensive hip replacements, which left them almost immobilised.
In 2009, a virulent cold went round. Was it flu? Was it a coronavirus? This did not seem of interest to scientists. They called it Swine Flu or H1N1. I caught this cold and do not believe it was flu. I had plenty of full-on cold symptoms, starting with a sore throat, then sinuses, bunged up, runny nose and cough.
I called in sick to work in a media sales office and my employer told me to be there by 11am. I was clearly croaky and nasal on the phone. It did not seem to matter before 2019 if you spread viruses around. Customers would ask “have you got a cold? Why are you at work? You should be in bed”.
It was a mere coincidence, which was not connected to me spluttering all over the office, sneezing, coughing and spreading germs, that two of the business partners lost a parent. Were these premature deaths? A mild cold in a healthy person can kill an ill, or elderly person or someone with weak immunity, on strong medication or a health condition.
Before 2019, someone’s health condition or disease would be the cause of death. Viruses would not be considered in the mix, diagnosed or identified without due provocation. Were clusters in hospitals not recognised? Without the viruses, perhaps those people might have lived on. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to lose one parent is a misfortune, to lose two could be considered careless. To allow doctors to add covid-19 as the cause of death – as happened to a friend of mine recently – emergency legislation has passed.
Governments forget that humans create stories together when there are gaps in information available or when we get cognitive dissonance from counter-intuitive conclusions, which contradict or are at odds with facts presented. Reading different views and listening around what people are saying has added to a more complete picture of covid-19 and how the UK government is contributing to global health trauma.
In February 2020, I found vitamins and minerals pages on the NHS website, which gave the information that in the UK we do not get enough sunlight between October and April to make vitamin D and ought to take a D3 or D2 supplement. When these pages were updated during 2020, this information was downplayed into a mere beauty tip. I was outraged. Supermarkets and schools were feeding people starch and sugar foods, empty calories with few essential nutrients. People were sharing experiences with Zin.
Throughout 2016, there were many high profile deaths. Did we stop and think what might have caused it? Many of these people were from the world of music. Did we just assume they were unhealthy? In 2011, George Michael, who died in his early 50s on Christmas Day in 2016, had survived pneumonia in 2011, when he almost died. No connections were drawn with viruses in transmission.
Contrarily, my dad died in 2013. In March, he was as right as rain, singing at a funeral. In May, he visited me in Cornwall after flying back from holiday. On the phone he was wheezing and coughing. We sat outside and he had little appetite, coughing and still smoking a cigar. A week after this visit, he called to say he’d been diagnosed with cancer, and shortly afterwards I came down with the most severe cold I had ever experienced. At the time, it seemed the grief had caused my immune system to weaken, making the cold heavier. I didn’t consider what the virus might have been at the time.
Looking back to my childhood, my parents were very health conscious. Mum did yoga in the 1970s in Godalming library and ate kippers for breakfast. There was often slow cooked porridge and a boiled egg from our own chickens for breakfast. Dad would start the day with kidneys on toast. We had a vegetable garden with green house, which gave us tomatos, potatos, leeks, beans, strawberries, gooseberries and a huge quince tree and various apple trees bore fruit very year.
There has been the usual flip-flopping over anti-bodies and immunity, following infection and exposure to covid-19. Nature magazine suggests that, with few reinfections reported, that virus remains in our body tissue and we gain more immunity as time goes on, due to exposure to the virus. Nature also suggested that blocking information on COVID-19 may be helping spread misinformation.
Do people really not realise yet, that people only absorb even the best advice if they know why it is. Education may be predominantly intellectual, relying on memorisation of facts, not ‘learning by doing’ but humans have always been curious.
In 2016, healthy people parambulating around New York and Paris were tested. In France, 21.5% of health adults were carrying coronaviruses. Research was carried out from 2011 to 2016, shown here. Prevalence of respiratory viruses among adults, by season, age, respiratory tract region and type of medical unit in Paris, France
Scientists and medical journals were publishing articles, which warned us of SARS-cov re-emergence. Here is an article from Nature from 2015. This article “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence” shows that work was done to discover what would happen if a new SARS-COV should emerge. A warning at the top says that people have used this article to suggest covid-19 was manufactured. To me, it shows that scientists warned us but lazy, vote-chasing governments and public bodies ignored the signs until too late.
My aim here is to reserve judgment and follow clues. How did we get here? How do we get out? Governments have spent millions of taxpayers money on censorship, content suppression, retracting articles, silencing dissenters viewpoints, even from doctors and people on the frontline.
In June, G7 was held in Cornwall, with the meeting at Carbis Bay Hotel and the Media Centre in Falmouth. It was impossible to park that week and the press area took over the whole of the Events Square and the surrounding car parks.
Alongside growing and justified distrust for the pharmaceutical industry – this New York Times article cites this distrust for vaccine hesitancy and shows the different approaches today by Pfizer and AstraZeneca to take branding rights over vaccines, which they manufactured and distributed but did not innovate, with the highly successful polio inoculation campaign in the 1970s.
I remember the polio vaccine campaign personally. I was at primary school. We were informed, as children aged under 10. We were treated with respect. We were spoken to as intelligent sentient beings. Films were shown on Open University television. We were told the threats of polio and given disgusting sugar lumps, which we took without too little concern. The threat of polio was enough to persuade me to take the inoculation.
But, what about the threat of COVID-19? How do we compare that to polio or measles, German measles, mumps or meningitis? How do we weigh up the risk of being infected by COVID-19 compared to previous coronaviruses, flu or rhinoviruses? We get many colds in the UK due to lack of vitamin D from sunlight in the winter and poor diet. What do we know of our adaptive immunity to defend us severe disease and death from COVID-19?
In my view, there is insufficient data for intelligent thought-leaders, early adopters and innovators to form holistic understandings of COVID-19 to filter through behaviours for the prevention and protection against COVID-19 to the majority. Most people remember the increasingly respiratory colds from 2009 onwards and wonder what is different or special about COVID-19. Is it new? Is it different? Why should it be?
In a court hearing before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness on 10 September 2003 to discuss whether a vaccine preparation for SV-40 virus had caused cancer, Mr Burton says:
"...too much influence exerted by pharmaceutical companies on our health agencies"
The British Medical Journal even suggested the government were hiding information and exaggerating flu mortality in 2015. Neither governments, the press who carry their press bulletins without fact-checking, colluding scientists, Public Health England and big pharmaceutical companies are extending the pandemic and costing lives by not being honest with us. It is not unvaccinated people as they are more likely to keep taking precautions, such as socialising outside and indoor mask use. It is the lazy, opague, deceptive agenda of industry and politics.
What is the impact of exaggerating risk from COVID-19? People who clearly remain ignorant of human behaviour keep telling others to have the vaccine. If you feel at risk of hospitalisation and dying from covid, yes it is a good idea to have the vaccine, but don’t change your behaviour. It is partying inside, going to crowded places and big events,, which allow COVID-19 to wreak havoc. The more breath, the bigger the viral load. Then the virus spreads before symptoms appear unseen.
That, to me, is the work of nature. No amount of lockdown – keeping people inside, clustered together, not in the sun, on beaches, walking in nature – or “flattening the curve” will stop nature raging. From the start, the idea of controlling and maintaining a virus for 12-18 months (Neil Ferguson’s modelling for Imperial College 16.3.2020) until a vaccine was ready seemed incredibly arrogant and ignorant. Especially when it was widely said how little we knew about COVID-19. The World Health Organisation quietly added that COVID-19 was airborne to their website in May 2021, as Zeynep Tufekci wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times.
Viruses spread among dominant species to maintain balance. When I heard the focus was on to create a vaccine and that the government stopped quarantining people arriving in the country, were not using local public health teams to contact people with symptoms and work with them to help prevent the spread of covid, I knew we were in for a bumpy ride.
COVID-19 transmits through close contact and it didn’t reach my social group until a gathering in early July. Sensibly, the World Health Organisation has advised on this point for travellers. Here are their recommendations for going to places where the local population may had less exposure to COVID-19, to prevent anyone from spreading the virus, vaccinated or not.
- measure your risks door to door
- clean your hands frequently
- keep a safe distance from others
- wear your mask
- avoid crowded situations
- be outdoors whenever possible
- make sure any places you enter are well ventilated.
Jennifer Aniston has justified cutting out friends who have not had both vaccine jabs. Meanwhile, in the UK, plans to give over 50s and vulnerable people a third jab, while many parts of the world have had none seems short-sighted. The vaccine is a great innovation, but each of us need to assess our own risks and manage our own behaviour to prevent spread of covid.
After all, during the Great Plague, the village of Eyam in the Peak District elected to self-impose its own quarantine, meetings and church service outside and wait for the infection to fizzle out. Meanwhile, the village where I was raised in Surrey was moved from the traditional cluster around the church, well, houses and farm to a sprawling linear village with spaces between the houses set far back from the road.
If the virus is still transmitting, it will continue to knock on more doors. Surely, we need to reduce the spread globally. The vaccine plays a part. After our first jabs earlier this year, cases dropped. Since most adults in the UK have now had 2 doses, people have started planning holidays, sociailising inside, going to parties, holding events and this alone could extend the pandemic. People choosing by staying outside and keeping up social distancing to avoid the virus or not have two doses of the vaccine – better protected than two doses if they have recovered from COVID – can play just as much a role in ending the pandemic as anyone else.
We need to be aware of the source of our opinions. More importantly, we must keep ourselves informed and to remain objective. Once you have ‘taken a side’ you are biased against the other side. This does not help. If you gather all the facts, there is no one right answer. There is no just one vision. Everything is multi-faceted. We know that there is never one side of a story. A side is a side. We need a holistic view and full understanding of the virus.
We need to work together and keep the conversation going – gaps in information and bias don’t work. The UK has the highest death rate out of 15 EU states for upper respiratory diseases and yet we are not given information about micronutrients. Food advice is dire. We are not given clear information about vitamin D deficiency in the winter. Our health system is riddled with conflicts of interest from industry funding. We have sickcare not healthcare, which ignores prevention in favour of cure from medications. Women are under-represented by medicine.
The UK government have been very bad about providing information, allowing diverse views, expertise and experience to have a say and delivering clear guidelines. Meanwhile, the Netherlands set out clear parameters and means to help stop the spread of covid. Once you have recovered from COVID, you are very likely to be protected for a while from re-infection. While lying in bed recovering, why log your positive PCR test on the NHS website and start planning that holiday you’ve been waiting for since 2019. You can get a covid pass once you test negative again. We may not have the same app as in Netherlands, here is the NHS one, but their information is far better than anything our government can cook up.