As the seismic waves of COVID continue to ripple across the country, I thought it time to give a brief update on 'The state of the Union' under COVID.
This week saw the return of Tony Holohan who coincidently gave his first NpHET address the same day cases jumped to their highest this month breaking into the six hundredth range having spent the last three weeks between the two-hundredths and four hundredths. Just another reminder that Mr Holohan is very much the face of COVID in Ireland.
Zara King on Virgin Media News (April 22) highlight Mr Holohan's report on the sudden jump could be attributed to a high social mix since April 12. Its been long discussed that it can take up to two weeks to see the case effect from an event. Zara King continues that Philp Nolan commented on a rise in numbers with a rise in people returning to the workplace. This mobility rise in figures is reported by Zara King as 2 in 3 people working at workplaces during a period when work from home is still been advised. She continues that cases are also stemming from household mixings like weddings, funerals/wakes and birthdays. Interesting the April 12 date coincides with the return of schools. several reports highlight a jump among 13 to 18-year-olds. Although the general consensus internationally is that schools are low risk.
Overall Mr Holohan's return came with a message of hope, a welcome change from the usual doom and gloom. But generally, the mood is positive this week with quotes like "Good news on the horizon" and more. However, as they say in Latin;
Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes (Beware of Greeks bearing gifts)
One observation I've made in the last year is that no sooner when we get a patronising pat on the back, it's usually followed in the coming days with a warning to "double down" because the situation has taken a sudden change for the worst. The vaccine continues to be a turbulent chronicle with EMA reporting a possible link between the J&J vaccine and 'a rare' blood clot risk similar to AstraZeneca. What's interesting is both these vaccines use the same technique; "Viral Vector" part of the "Whole Microbe" approach. I don’t know is there a coincidence with this?
The Irish Times report that observations have been made among the mRNA vaccines with 41 reports. On top of this relationships with AstraZeneca and the EU is only getting worse with one Breaking News report on April 21 stating the EU will no longer take an extra 300 million does (of both AstraZeneca and J&J) while Sky News reported last night [April 22] Ireland is joining an EU legal action against AstraZeneca for their supply issues.
This week we also learned about two fully vaccinated nurses in a Dundalk nursing home who tested positive during routine screenings. A real-world example that contract and spread are still possible even with the vaccine. Visitors have been suspended from entering the facility in line with health guidelines. Considering all the staff and patients in this nursing home have completed vaccines, one would assume the reason for suspending visits was to protect potentially unvaccinated people and to prevent the spread. However one has to ask is this the future now even when the majority have been vaccinated, will we be continuous screening for COVID and shutting down entities when a case is detected?
So while our policymakers continue to believe we will reach our targets, they are banking on the J&J vaccine to achieve this, while the Irish Independent believe we should 'ditch' our targets. Our government seem to be 'hell-bent on reach targets at the expense of our personal rights. GRIPT report on Leo Varadkar's totalitarian views on vaccine rollout where he implied we will be blackmailed into taking the vaccine by way of restrictions to freedom. Speaking on Today FM he is reported as having said "We expect... 10% to 15% of people who will refuse the vaccine… although, they may change their minds if the ability to travel and attend mass events is linked to it". That last part ('may change their minds…') is nothing short of a direct threat to our freedom if we don’t comply. In other words, take the primitive vaccine which has over 6,616 reports of side effects having only distributing 1,275,828 jabs [as of April 21] or you won't be able to travel or go to events. baring in mind... what constitutes a 'mass event'?
I'm not against vaccines… in fact, I consider myself pro-vaccinations… but in such a case like this where the vaccine is still very much an experimental treatment, people should have the fundamental right to choose whether to have it or not. And such choice should be based entirely on the risk of the disease and not the risk of losing civil liberties and freedom. This rhetoric by the government means the vaccine is mandatory… and call it what you like… restrictions on freedom is not a choice.
Quite frankly statements like that coming from government ministers are no different than a gangster threatening; 'take the jab or I'll break your legs'... just my opinion of course. The Irish Times reports that 29 blood clotting related reports have been made to the Health Products Regulatory Authority around AstraZeneca. That’s close to three times higher than the worst-case risk scenario (a 4-10 chance out of a million) for a blood clotting side effect, bearing in mind AstraZeneca has only distributed just over 261,000 jabs in Ireland. We haven't even reached a million yet. These 29 cases are only part of the 6,616 reported side effects. Although side effects are part and parcel of treatments, these vaccines are clearly is not ready for mass public distribution as the basis for an entire exit strategy from lockdowns exclusively on this vaccine. More importantly, we shouldn’t be making it anyway mandatory.
We need to look at alternative approaches.