Written by Professor Jem Bendall
If you think things in society are going wrong, how does that make you feel? Sad? In some situations, might you feel some rage?
It is natural to feel angry about a bad situation. The issue is then what we do about it. Our culture tends to denigrate anger in ways that mean we do not have a healthy discussion or understanding of the difference between a positive anger and a destructive anger. Anger suppressed can lead to a destructive anger which manifests as aggressions towards people. However, there can also be a righteous anger which is a natural and important response to unnecessary harm and injustice. Such an anger can remain connected to our sense of love for creation and each other. But it needs to flow somewhere…
When you feel righteous anger about a situation, what do you do next?
Some of us become activists. Some of us protest. That’s one way we can discover that we are not alone with our convictions and concern. However, people within the managerial class are not excited about us knowing that many people feel like we do. Because our combined anger might upset the status quo, including the systems that reproduce their privilege. So when we find out there’s widespread public concern about a topic, some influential people prefer we dismiss activists as marginal, misinformed, illogical, hypocritical, or simply nasty. Or, perhaps as ‘having a point’ but with ‘poor tactics and no answers.’ That is why protests get so little coverage in the mass media, and when they do, why it is often so superficial or negative.
One problem from the anti-activist stance of much corporate media is that if we are not directly involved in a particular campaign on issues like climate change, press freedom, anti-racism, bodily sovereignty, or anti-surveillance, we have no direct information on the issues and people involved. It means many of us, even if politically active on one issue, will see people on another issue as, you guessed it: marginal, misinformed, illogical, hypocritical, or simply nasty.
In an increasingly polarized society where mass media and opportunistic politicians use ‘identity politics’ to gain attention and stir our emotions, the potential for people to dismiss specific protests or protest in general has increased. However, right now we need more unity amongst all kinds of people who are concerned about all kinds of issues in society. Because our democratic rights are being stolen by elites and maligned by the mass media.
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Peaceful protest is only part of the political process, but it has been an essential part of social change over centuries. We would not enjoy even the most basic of rights, such as voting or a weekend, if people had not organized politically, including with protests. Today, protests can still help to overturn or delay specific policy measures. For instance, in India the farmers’ protests in 2021 managed to overturn policies that they feared would open up small farmers to market dynamics dominated by large agricultural and commodities companies.
It is not mere coincidence that draconian anti-protest laws are appearing in countries around the world. Such policies are occurring within a wider shift towards more invasion of our privacy, constant surveillance and discrimination based on how much we demonstrate our compliance with the latest media-driven obsession of a government and their corporate companions.
Faced with such sweeping changes to our basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, some of us complain only in relation to the campaign issues we currently favour the most. We don’t engage beyond our favoured tribe of environmentalists, or social justice activists, or anti-surveillance activists, or anti-war activists, or anti-racism activists, or press freedom activists, to name a few. That lack of multi-issue solidarity is unhelpful in defending rights and restricts the possibilities for identifying common causes of many problems.
Take a moment to consider the many reasons for protests in the past year or two, and there is always excessive corporate power at fault. Extinction Rebellion? Some corporations have held back policies on protecting the environment and profited from its destruction. The persecution of Julian Assange? Some corporations have profited from constant wars fought on false pretences that Wikileaks helped to reveal. Indian farmers? Some corporations have profited from taking control of the national and international food commodity markets. Black Lives Matter? Some corporations have profited from the militarisation of the police and the mass incarceration of people of colour. The pandemic? Some corporations have profited from mass vaccination programmes and others from forcing people to work and trade online.
Unfortunately, I often witness a distaste amongst activists for other activists that they do not campaign alongside with. Such attitudes can mean we have succumbed to the corporate manipulation of our views about activists on other topics. Does the possible presence of ignorant or prejudiced people in a movement delegitimize the cause or reason for collaboration with others in that movement? To think so is to succumb to corporate media stories that maintain societal divides to avoid true challenges to power.
In the 1980s, there were many gay people who did not feel safe around members of the National Union of Mineworkers. For that reason, some people argued against engaging them. Yet nevertheless ‘Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners’ was born and helped create a transformative connection. Some of the same people who shed a tear of joy for the unity of that time when watching the film Pride, nevertheless waste our time today by arguing against unity amongst different groups of protestors. That they saw the film at a cinema staffed by the precariat or streamed from a global conglomerate that trashes basic labour rights is just part of the backdrop of a privileged life that treats social causes as fashionable accessories to their personalities.
This pandemic is revealing the extent of pseudo-progressivism in our professional classes. A pseudo-progressive person gains their sense of self-worth from validation by the society that they critique. Therefore, they are psychologically dependent on both being better than the society and people they critique, while needing self-validation from that same society. Such people are triggered by anyone who seems more radical than them. Therefore, they are easily persuaded by the establishment to denigrate whole categories of protesters on issues they are not engaged in. Recently you will typically find them writing or retweeting opinion pieces in the Guardian and other ‘centrist’ publications.
Our basic human rights and freedoms are not a buffet that we pick from based on our current pet topic. Whether we really support those rights and freedoms is demonstrated by our defence of them for people whose views we don’t yet understand or agree with. And it’s not just the right to protest that needs defending in many countries. Even the right to make personal choices that don’t directly negatively affect anyone else is being taken away from millions of people.
Reasons to protest the pandemic response
I know some of you who follow my work will consider yourselves environmentalists, and perhaps politically ‘left of centre’. If that is you, then it is likely that you have been exposed to near two years of messaging that stokes your fear and promotes the denigration of people who have access to scientific analyses ignored by politicians, bureaucrats and most corporate media. You may therefore be surprised and concerned about some aspects of my new music video “Love and Rage”. For my perspective on the stupidity and aggressiveness of mainstream policies on the pandemic as well as the need for a more coherent approach to this pandemic and the next, please read my blog (which links to relevant peer-reviewed science). Once you realize that the science available to us demonstrates the insignificance of asymptomatic transmission on the reproduction rate of the virus [see footnote 1 for the science on it], then the emphasis on mask-wearing [see footnote 1b], social distancing, lockdowns, and even vaccines, becomes clear as a harmful delusion that serves narrow corporate interests. It means that the invasion of privacy, restrictions on movement and employment, the censorship of speech, the demonisation of normal scientific dialogue and policy scrutiny, and the disregard for bodily autonomy and medical ethics are all major human rights abuses being ‘excused’ by a falsehood. Instead, we could be removing the barriers to people making responsible decisions at the earliest sign of any Covid symptoms. The barriers include people’s loss of income, or even loss of employment, that mean people go to work with a fever or other symptoms.
If a vaccine works, then other people not taking it should not matter to us. If a vaccine does not work, then other people not taking it should not matter to us. Unfortunately, we now know that after a few months the vaccines for Covid don’t work well . The mental gymnastics some people go through to invent new stories for why these duff vaccines are essential and that non-compliance is something sub-human, has been shocking to behold. It appears that where there is a will to comply, there is way to lie. The recent evidence on how poor the Covid vaccines are means that people who are not elderly and have fairly normal immune systems but opt for ‘boosters’ are participating in a superstitious ritual of their conformity to authority and normality. People who do not choose to get injected with these mostly ineffective experimental compounds are not like “drunk drivers” as the fantastically rich Liverpool football manager remarked. They are more like drivers who use low gears when going downhill, rather than relying on their breaks. Because it is eminently sensible not to want to rush to use something with even small or unknown risks and to not rely on one mechanism for safety. It is also unwise to hand over our assessment of the situation to medical bureaucrats with the obviously false claims they are the only experts or that they speak for the majority of experts. That is particularly unwise when top medical scientists warn of the suppression of science and the journalists in established media organisations complain that they are being told to manipulate us . Perhaps the only people metaphorically ‘drunk’ in this pandemic are those medical bureaucrats who have stuck steadfastly to a narrow pharmaceutical agenda and refused to promote a range of preventative and therapeutic measures that are both scientifically proven and being used by doctors around the world to reduce hospitalisation, death and long-term effects .
The unethical behaviour of parts of the medical establishment has been enabled by something completely unscientific. It is the deliberate reframing of the burden of proof for medical interventions by the mass media and politicians. That reframing has come from all corners of the mass media, and I will illustrate with just one of many articles from the Guardian newspaper . It was titled “Vaccine Wars”, which framed differences of opinion as a war i.e. with two sides, right and wrong, where sides seek to win, and there is something destructive involved. The subtitle for the article was “how the decision not to get the shot is tearing loved ones apart.” Therefore, the editors were illogically reframing a non-action as the action, as phenomenologically, not getting vaccinated is a non-action. The decision, therefore, is to get a shot, not the other way around. Therefore, the editors were defining the “norm” or the “non different” way of being as opting for a medical procedure. The phrase “tearing loved ones apart” frames one behaviour or opinion as the cause of a situation that everyone would agree is upsetting. As a sociologist who studies the use of framing and narrative, and used it in my strategic communications advice and speech writing for the Labour Party leader in the 2017 UK General Election, I know how most people have low defences against such framing choices which are deliberate and have more influence on people than the content of an article. The headline could be re-written neutrally as “Vaccine Debates: families are feeling the strain of different decisions on getting jabbed for Covid-19.” Framed that way, perhaps the article might consider the following issues. Does the media and the government bear some responsibility for polarisation and how differences of opinion become sources of conflict? Given that mental health is greatly shaped by situations in the home, could media and government do more to reduce the tensions? Given the rapid increase in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic, in many countries that are reporting such data, is there any correlation between people with negative views of people with different views to them, being correlated with gender, age or economic status? If so, what might be the implications for media and government communications on this? Is there any evidence of coercion on vaccine decisions within families (threat of violence, removal of income/shelter, inheritance etc) and what might be the implications? That is a relevant question because the psychology research on authoritarian personality types shows that people who ally with the moral stories from authorities often desire to impose their views on others as a way of silencing the part of themselves that realises they are submitting their own sensemaking and agency to an authority. The research on that goes back to the 1930s and is uncontroversial, though widely ignored . The newspaper article does not go near any of these topics: perhaps because the journalist is only pretending to care about the subject matter, while writing with a specific agenda. I do not single out the journalist, as all content from the Guardian that I saw during 2021 was aligned to an agenda of denigrating people who do not follow the narrowly pharmaceutical response to the pandemic.
The Guardian’s editorial line of expressing medical aggression towards people who doubt the sense of Covid vaccination, was almost ubiquitous across all mainstream media during 2021, and helped to create the idea that the normal way of being is to take the experimental medical compounds against Covid. That meant that mass media managed to shift a core principle of basic medical ethics, which is that the burden of proof on efficacy and safety is on those who propose a medical intervention, not those who question it. This issue of burden of proof is essential, because it means that people can think they are being scientific and ethical as they consult relevant research, when actually they are being the opposite. Because in a sea of scientific argumentation, it will be possible to find some sources to disagree with the many peer-reviewed studies that show asymptomatic transmission is insignificant (and thus the whole paradigm being baseless), or to disagree with the peer reviewed studies and current data on how the vaccines are ineffective (also demonstrated by the existence of third and fourth jabs). However, the evidence for such disagreement is weak. If someone is supporting a medical intervention, the burden of proof should be on them, not me. If there is doubt about their conclusions, then it is neither scientifically nor ethically sustainable to support the medical intervention. Given the collateral damage of social distancing, lockdowns, and mask mandates, the burden of proof is also on those proposing or enforcing such policies.
People may have accepted the orthodox pandemic agenda in good faith until now, but as it becomes clear that the medical bureaucrats and political leaders have gone too far with a damaging agenda, the question is whether people will join them in going too far just to save their own blushes. Worryingly, it’s the people who have most invested in the idea of being smart, ethical and worthy of attention, who have the most to let go of to do the right thing at this time. I say ‘worryingly’, as these are the people who say the most about the pandemic in the media and within institutions.
The future of protest
There is a common theme emerging from the corporate influence on the pandemic and policies on public protest. The lie that asymptomatic transmission matters to the pandemic undermines our confidence in ourselves and each other that we are capable of responsible action. It therefore undermines our freedom to care for each other. It also then provides excuses for governments to reduce us to passive consumers of corporate medical products who scold each other for nonconformity. Similarly, by criminalising protest, and by denigrating protesters in general, the alliance between corporations and the state removes some of our freedom to care for each other and nature through the right of peaceful protest.
Unfortunately, the success of the corporate propaganda means the coalition across civil society to protect our basic freedoms has not yet emerged and in many countries the right to protest is already being taken away. The politicians and bureaucrats who are criminalizing protest must understand that this could lead to a radicalization of protest movements, so the proponents of nonviolence in the movement have less influence and so violent factions emerge. History shows us that is what can happen. Because I do not believe all politicians and bureaucrats to be stupid, I assess that some of them will welcome violence to use as an excuse for demonizing and criminalizing advocates of political positions that challenge the status quo. Therefore, it is not only important that we unite across divides to defend our basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, but also explore novel non-violent means of resistance to corporate tyranny.
If holding demos or taking non-violent direct action will now lead to significant prison sentences, what are the other options for activism? There are the obvious tactics, such as legal challenges, cultural expression (check out my music video!), grassroots organising within political parties, reducing our dependence on the dominant economic system, and participating in economic alternatives. There is also the possibility for more autonomously organised and undercover non-violent disruption of the normal activities of elites. Peaceful industrial sabotage of businesses by staff on the inside is also an option for some. However, such activities are disparate and do not enable mass communication about the issues. What is important in social movement strategy is to look for what changes are occurring in society that open up new opportunities for action. The main change in recent years is the further casualisation of the workforce, with the emergence of the gig economy and zero-hour contracts. Another change is the gross level of inequality, so that many older people have huge savings, often in the value of their real estate. What kind of activism could combine these two phenomena? A general strike could be organised for those workers in the gig economy or on zero hours contracts, who because of their unfair working arrangements do not risk termination for not being available for work. These workers could register to get paid for that general strike by the middle-class activists with disposable income. The workers could then choose from a range of activities that day, which would serve the community, or just enjoy life. They would share information on their activities with their financial sponsors for that general strike. Key dates could be targeted to make life difficult for the authorities. I particularly like the idea of tens of thousands of gig economy workers visiting people who live alone, to have a chat about life and society, or do some of their gardening, and sharing pictures online, and getting funded by middle class XR supporters for the earnings forgone in the process, with a famous event going badly due to the disruption caused, and the general strike trending on social media. Could it happen? It would require people to reach out beyond the people they normally chat with.
What’s the alternative to activists teaming up across the divides that have been generated by corporate and state media? Many environmental and social protest movements could be washed away in the global tide of corporate-driven authoritarianism. The tragedy is that they may drown while arguing over whether or not to team up with other protesters that they have been told by corporate and state media are bad people. Yet there is still time to listen to the protestors, not the stories in the media about them and us.
There is still time to unite against the corporate power behind the multiple problems.
And there is still time to unite in our agreement to noisily disagree not just with power, but also with each other at times!
There is still time to honour the rage that rises from and returns to love.
There is still time to take back our freedom to care for each other and nature.
Love and Rage,
Footnotes with references:
 The science revealing the foundational lie that asymptomatic transmission is significant to covid-19
Mass vaccination and restricting the movement of healthy people and general mask wearing could be supported by the view that asymptomatic transmission of the disease is a significant concern. That means people are meant to consider it insufficient to be vigilant about symptoms in oneself or others. Focusing on asymptomatic transmission as significant therefore undermines the focus on people taking responsibility for their own and others’ health. However, the scientific basis for that perspective is, at best, extremely weak. The first and largest-scale study on Covid-19 transmission, which investigated nearly 10 million people, found that asymptomatic transmission did not occur at all: “There were no positive tests amongst 1,174 close contacts of asymptomatic cases” (Cao et al 2020). Since then, there have been studies which unhelpfully do not distinguish sufficiently between asymptomatic infection and asymptomatic transmission, often speculating that the former means that the latter must exist. One analysis that does not distinguish sufficiently, nevertheless concludes that asymptomatic Covid-19 infection exists in 1 in 6 people with a positive test result (Byambasuren et al 2020). One meta-analysis of transmission found that ‘Among five transmission studies, 18 of 96 (18.8%) close contacts exposed to asymptomatic index patients were COVID-19 positive’ (Yanes-Lane et al 2020). That means 1 in 5 asymptomatic people might infect close contacts, defined as co-inhabitants in most studies. So if 1 in 6 are asymptomatic and of those, 1 in 5 can transmit to close contacts only, the probability of asymptomatic transmission to close contacts is no more than 1 in 30. Other more recent studies find even lower very low pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 at 1.12% and 0.06% (which is 1 in 1600 cases) respectively (Mahmood, et al 2021). These transmission rates are in the absence of an early stage and major public-education campaign on counter-measures relating to ventilation, nutrition and natural antivirals. If the massive study of nearly 10 million people is not enough to dismiss asymptomatic transmission as an important policy concern, then the possibility it might be somewhere between 1 in 30 to 1 in 1600 cases does not make it a sufficient concern to justify focusing on intrusive (and often damaging) policy measures that affect everyone, whether or not they have symptoms. That is even before we consider the effect of the medical establishment’s incorrect messaging on this issue on people’s behaviours of voluntary isolation when they have symptoms – or how employers respond to staff with symptoms.
Unfortunately there is now evidence that a vaccination in the arm for a disease that mainly enters the body through the nasal passage slightly misdirects the immune system so that the antibodies are lower in the nose for the vaccinated person and thus the viral load in the nose is higher when they become infected (Brown 2021 found that “the vaccinated had on average more virus in their nose than the unvaccinated who were infected.”) That may increase the likelihood of all forms of transmission – including pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic. We must hope the effect is not so bad as to change the situation of insignificant asymptomatic transmission.
Brown et al (2021) Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 Infections, Including COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections, Associated with Large Public Gatherings – Barnstable County, Massachusetts, July 2021 MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Aug 6;70(31):1059-1062. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7031e2.
Mahmood, M., Ilyas, Nua., Khan, M.F. et al. Transmission frequency of COVID-19 through pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic patients in AJK: a report of 201 cases. Virol J 18, 138 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-021-01609-w https://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12985-021-01609-w
Mercedes Yanes-Lane, Nicholas Winters, Federica Fregonese et al, ‘Proportion of asymptomatic infection among COVID-19 positive persons and their transmission potential: a systematic review and meta-analysis’, PLoS One (National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information), 15 (11), 3 November 2020: e0241536; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241536. Available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33141862/
Oyungerel Byambasuren, Magnolia Cardona, Katy Bell et al, ‘Estimating the extent of asymptomatic COVID-19 and its potential for community transmission: systematic review and metaanalysis’, Official Journal of the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada, 5 (4), 11 December 2020: 223–34; DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/jammi-2020-0030. Available at https://jammi.utpjournals.press/doi/full/10.3138/jammi-2020-0030
Shiyi Cao, Yong Gan, Chao Wang, Max Bachmann et al, ‘Post-lockdown SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid screening in nearly ten million residents of Wuhan, China’, Nature Communications, 11, 5917, 20 November 2020; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19802-w. Available at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-19802-w
[1b] The science on the inappropriateness of mandating masks to prevent covid 19
The insignificance of asymptomatic transmission means that there is no reason for general mask wearing and instead it can be a counterproductive distraction from a focus on whether oneself or someone else has symptoms. Can you see their runny nose behind the mask? Do you falsely think you are safe to other people despite your fever and other symptoms because, you have a mask on?
Given my understanding on asymptomatic transmission I felt reluctant to investigate the science specific to masks. Because to do so risks allowing attention to shift from the key issue of simply helping people to make responsible decisions when they have symptoms, or to be challenged by others when they do not and are in public or at work with symptoms. However, as some people will simply never accept something so fundamental as that fallacy underneath the whole pandemic agenda I looked into the science on mask wearing.
The first thing to note is that experiments have shown that there is aerosol penetration through even surgical masks worn by professionals who know what they are doing. That has been know for a long time. 30 years. “Although surgical mask media may be adequate to remove bacteria exhaled or expelled by health care workers, they may not be sufficient to remove the submicrometer-size aerosols containing pathogens” (Chen and Willeke 1992). Much evidence for Covid seems to corroborate that view. The US Centre for Disease Control performed a study which showed that 85 percent of those who contracted Covid-19 during July 2020 were mask wearers. Just 3.9 percent of the study participants never wore a mask (Fisher et al 2020). One study of multiple factors influencing transmission probability indoors, mask use to be the least important of various measures (Zemouri et al 2020).
There is one widely cited study that argues that there is evidence for mask wearing reducing the spread of Covid (Ding et al 2021). The study analysed infection rates across a population and then surveyed people about their mask usage. The standard concerns arise, such as people misreporting due to the fears of reporting non mask wearing to an official researcher. The study finds that the most important factor in the spread of the disease is the inability of workers to take preventative measures such as working from home. However, the study did not consider the issue of whether their research subjects had symptoms or not and whether they had to work with symptoms to avoid economic penalty. Instead, it accepted this unjust pressure on some people to risk their health and those of people they would come into contact with, while at work or commuting to it. Instead, they reported on their evidence that mask wearing reduced risk for those people who were being exposed to more risk. Clearly, wearing a mask could be a proxy variable for other behaviour patterns, such as avoiding anyone with symptoms or asking them to leave work (something the researchers did not ask). Therefore, I doubt the certainty the researchers had for their conclusions that the masks were significant (even before the issue of their oversight of the lack of relevance of asymptomatic transmission). The lack of solidarity amongst the professional classes (including researchers) with people in precarious low-income jobs has been a dark feature of the pandemic.
The burden of proof for the matter of mask wearing should be on the people who are proposing this intervention because there are a range of risks associated with mandating it. Not only the issues of false confidence and a distraction from the issue of how to behave around – or as – someone with symptoms. The problem is that masks can become contamination sources – as we store them in our pockets, bags, putting them on tables, and so forth (even before the issue of them getting wet with rain if mandated to be worn outside, as in some countries) (Chao 2020).
Chao FL. Adolescents’ face mask usage and contact transmission in novel Coronavirus. J Public Health Res. 2020 Jun 8;9(1):1771. doi: 10.4081/jphr.2020.1771. PMID: 32582579; PMCID: PMC7296276.
Chen CC, Willeke K. Aerosol penetration through surgical masks. Am J Infect Control. 1992 Aug;20(4):177-84. doi: 10.1016/s0196-6553(05)80143-9. PMID: 1524265. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1524265/
Ding X, Brazel DM, Mills MCFactors affecting adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions for COVID-19 infections in the first year of the pandemic in the UKBMJ Open 2021;11:e054200. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054200 https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/11/10/e054200.info
Fisher et al (2020) Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6936a5-H.pdf
Zemouri C, Awad SF, Volgenant CMC, Crielaard W, Laheij AMGA, de Soet JJ. Modeling of the Transmission of Coronaviruses, Measles Virus, Influenza Virus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Legionella pneumophila in Dental Clinics. J Dent Res. 2020 Sep;99(10):1192-1198. doi: 10.1177/0022034520940288. Epub 2020 Jul 2. PMID: 32614681; PMCID: PMC7444020. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32614681/
 The science on the ineffectiveness of Covid vaccinations and the manipulation of perception on that by corporations
Are the current Covid vaccines sufficiently effective to make mass vaccination a sensible policy response? If they are safe then the answer lies in whether they prevent or dramatically reduce infection transmission hospitalisation and death. As I summarise the recent research it is important to remember that the burden of proof in relation to any medical intervention lies with the people who are promoting or permitting or administering or selling it.
Some countries like the UK keep good data and make it public. The data shows that vaccination does not significantly reduce infection after a few months. That confirms studies elsewhere in USA (Subramanian and Kumar 2021; Brown et al 2021) and Israel (Gazit et al 2021). The data from the UK indicates vaccination might even be increasing infection rates. See the latest charts here. That seems difficult to understand but would mean the immune response is being misdirected so it doesn’t fight the disease in the nose where the initial exposure most often occurs. Published research confirms that the vaccines are not functioning well against new mutations which occur regularly and were widely anticipated before vaccinations were adopted as the main response (Pouwels et al 2021).
What about the impact in reducing deaths? The 6 month follow up data from the blinded Pfizer trial found there were 15 deaths in the vaccine group and 14 deaths in the placebo group (Thomas et al 2021). That is another reason why at a roundtable meeting in the US Capitol, Professor Peter Doshi, associate editor of The BMJ stated that “The trials did not show a reduction in deaths, even for Covid deaths. The evidence was flimsy.” The current data from the countries that keep it shows an initial reduction in Case Fatality Rate that correlates with the deployment of Covid19 vaccinations, during the first few months (Liang et al 2021). However, that data masks how the significant impact is in the older age groups and that the effectiveness declines within a few months (Gazit et al 2021; Olliaro et al 2021).
This situation of poor vaccine effectiveness is reflected at the macro level. The continent of Africa has very low vaccination rates and yet is the least affected continent in the world. With 16% of the world’s population Africa has had only around 5% of the world’s Covid cases, with only about 6% of the population double-jabbed. There is some public reticence amongst scientists to make conclusions about the situation but seroprevalence studies find that Covid has been present across Africa with even some studies showing near 50% past infection (Tessema and Nkengasong, 2021). The low levels of hospitalisation and death is not related to genetics, as people with African heritage living in the West are experiencing relatively worse impacts from Covid than their fellow citizens (Rasheed et al 2021). Despite this situation, some people and organisations in the West are campaigning to fund the roll out of mass Covid vaccinations in Africa, rather than supporting work on more relevant public health challenges across the continent.
The data used to demonstrate a massive reduction of hospitalisations (over 90%) due to Covid vaccinations uses a flawed methodology designed by the pharmaceutical industry that inevitably produces results favourable for their products. In others words, I conclude it is statistical manipulation of public perceptions, which I explain in detail in an article (Lies, Damn Lies and Hospitalisation Statistics). Although mainstream media are finding hospital directors to quote to blame unvaccinated people for the levels of hospitalisation, the official data does not confirm that situation (which raises serious questions about the journalists’ agenda when they put such stories together).
The fact that a third injection is being promoted in many countries so soon after the second injection is plain evidence of the ineffectiveness of the first doses. How will the third dose be any different? The research from Pfizer to support the authorisation of its booster jab demonstrating only short-term reduction in covid infections of up to 2.5 months. There was no evidence of reduced hospitalisations as there were zero hospitalizations in either the boosted group or the non-boosted group (see here).
Given how ineffective these vaccinations are how could there have been such global unprecedented support for a mass vaccination programme? Because the data justifying the vaccinations was premature and biased. The pharmaceutical companies did not assess effectiveness over time, and used a limited choice of statistical measures for assessing vaccination effectiveness that was not standard best practice (Olliaro et al 2021). That poses serious concern about the independence and competence of the regulators, as national and intergovernmental levels.
Gazit, S. Roei Shlezinger, Galit Perez et al, ‘Comparing SARS-CoV-2 natural immunity to vaccine-induced immunity: reinfections versus breakthrough infections’, medRxiv preprint, 25 August 2021; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.24.21262415.
Liang LL, Kuo HS, Ho HJ, Wu CY. COVID-19 vaccinations are associated with reduced fatality rates: Evidence from cross-county quasi-experiments. J Glob Health. 2021;11:05019. Published 2021 Jul 17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8285768/
Tessema, S.K., Nkengasong, J.N. Understanding COVID-19 in Africa. Nat Rev Immunol 21, 469–470 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-021-00579-y
Olliaro, P. Els Torreele and Michel Vaillant (2021) COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and effectiveness—the elephant (not) in the room, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 7, E279-E280, JULY 01, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2666-5247(21)00069-0
Pouwels, Koen B. Emma Pritchard, Philippa C. Matthews et al, ‘Impact of Delta on viral burden and vaccine effectiveness against new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the UK’, medRxiv preprint, 24 August 2021. Available at https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.18.21262237v1
Rasheed, ME et al (2021) Analysis of why Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups in the UK are harder hit by COVID-19, and how to minimise the risks. AIP Conference Proceedings 2401, 020019 (2021); https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0074093
Subramanian SV, Kumar A. Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States [published online ahead of print, 2021 Sep 30]. Eur J Epidemiol. 2021;1-4. doi:10.1007/s10654-021-00808-7
Thomas, SJ et al (2021) Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine through 6 Months N Engl J Med 2021; 385:1761-1773 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2110345 https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2110345
 On the suppression of science and manipulation of the public
Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4425 (Published 13 November 2020)
Charlotte Tobitt, ‘Journalists claim Covid-19 news has been “censored” for “official narrative’’, Press Gazette, 26 July 2021. Available at https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/journalists-claim-alternative-covid-19-news-censorship-create-one-official-narrative/
 The science on a range of therapeutic approaches for viral infections including Covid-19
Zinc is key for fighting viral infections
Scott A. Read, Stephanie Obeid, Chantelle Ahlenstiel & Golo Ahlenstiel, ‘The role of zinc in antiviral immunity’, Advances in Nutrition, 10 (4), July 2019: 696–710. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz013; available at https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/10/4/696/5476413?login=true
Marcin P. Joachimiak, ‘Zinc against COVID-19? Symptom surveillance and deficiency risk groups’, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 4 January 2021; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0008895.
Vitamin D3 is key for fighting viral infections including Covid
Jan Alexander, Alexey Tinkov, Tor A. Strand et al, ‘Early nutritional interventions with zinc, selenium and vitamin D for raising anti-viral resistance against progressive COVID-19’, Nutrients,12 (8): 10.3390/nu12082358. Available at https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/8/2358
Hyoung Im, Young Soo, Jihyeon Baek et al, ‘Nutritional status of patients with COVID-19’, International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 100, November 2020: 390–3; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.08.018
Nicole Paiz, Paula Alonso & Ana Luisa Portillo, ‘Vitamin D status: can it affect the risk of infection and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms?’, Current Tropical Medicine Reports, 8, 2021: 204–11; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40475-021-00236-3
Vitamin C is helpful for immune function
Anitra C. Carr & Silvia Maggini, ‘Vitamin C and immune function’, Nutrients, 9 (11), 2017: 1211; DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111211
Taylor Patterson, Carlos M Isales & Sadanand Fulzele, ‘Low level of Vitamin C and dysregulation of Vitamin C transporter might be involved in the severity of COVID-19 infection’, Ageing and Disease, 12 (1), February 2021: 14–26; DOI: 10.14336/AD.2020.0918. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7801272/
Harri Hemilä, Anitra Carr & Elizabeth Chalker, ‘Vitamin C may increase the recovery rate of outpatient cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection by 70%: reanalysis of the COVID A to Z randomized clinical trial’, Frontiers in Immunology, 10 May 2021; DOI: | https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.674681.
Garlic has an antiviral effect
Rodrigo Arreola, Saray Quintero-Fabián, Rocío Ivette López-Roa et al, ‘Immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic compounds’, Journal of Immunology Research, 19 April 2021; DOI: 10.1155/2015/401630. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4417560/
Sambiloto has an antiviral effect (and is used in hospitals in Asia against Covid)
Agbonlahor Okhuarobo, Joyce Ehizogie Falodun, Osayemwenre Erharuyi et al, ‘Harnessing the medicinal properties of Andrographis paniculata for diseases and beyond: a review of its phytochemistry and pharmacology’, Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Diseases, 4 (3), 2014: 213–22; DOI: 10.1016/S2222-1808(14)60509-0. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4032030/
There is sufficient scientific evidence of the effect of ivermectin to make it available if people request
Andrew Bryant, Theresa A. Lawrie, Therese Dowswell et al, ‘Ivermectin for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and trial sequential analysis to inform clinical guidelines’, American Journal of Therapeutics, 28 (4), July/August 2021: e434–e460; DOI: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000001402. Available at https://journals.lww.com/americantherapeutics/fulltext/2021/08000/ivermectin_for_prevention_and_treatment_of.7.aspx
Asiya Kamber Zaidi & Puya Dehgani-Mobaraki, ‘The mechanisms of action of Ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2: an evidence-based clinical review article; Journal of Antibiotics (Tokyo), 15 June 2021: 1–13; DOI: 10.1038/s41429-021-00430-5 [Epub ahead of print]. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8203399/
 One of many articles framing the situation in ways that manipulate public opinion and express and invite aggression towards people not receiving vaccination for covid:
 Psychology paper includes summary of research on authoritarian personalities
Bendell, J. (2021). Psychological insights on discussing societal disruption and collapse. Ata: Journal of Psychotherapy Aotearoa New Zealand, 25(1), 45-63. https://doi.org/10.9791/ajpanz.2021.05
Lyrics to Love and Rage
All I know is falling apart
And all I see is breaking my heart
I can’t find peace of mind in me
We’ve become so mean, so mean, so mean
Oh come now rage, Oh come now rage, Oh come now rage X2
Love and rage
Don’t lie you can try to get through this on your own
You’re not on your own
Don’t die till you try to take back your freedom to care
Your freedom to care
All I know is falling apart
And all I see is breaking my heart
I’ll only find some peace of mind in league
D’you know what I mean, get off your screens, and on your feet
Oh come now rage, Oh come now rage, Oh come now rage X2
Love and rage
Don’t lie you can try to get through this on your own
You’re not on your own
Don’t die till you try to take back your freedom to care
Your freedom to care
Oh your freedom to care
Your freedom to care.
Composer: Jem Bendell
Lead vocal: Jem Bendell
Acoustic guitar: Vasu Dev (Superdeluxe)
Bass guitar: Seba Tierra
Lead guitar: Seba Tierra
Drums: Seba Tierra
Backing vocals: Devlin Goldberg and Hanna Winkler
Sound engineer: Seba Tierra
Arrangement, mix and master: Seba Tierra
Video filming and editing: Joseph Nwokeabia
The video shows protests around the world on climate, vaccine mandates, Indian farming, press freedom (Julian Assange), and anti-racism (Black Lives Matter). https://youtu.be/VgE5jT6JvB0
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