Is Omicron another Plague Island export?

Is Omicron another Plague Island export?  Both the Alpha and Delta variants were exported across the globe from the UK because of its laissez-faire attitude to border controls. Now, it’s beginning to look like the UK may have exported another Covid variant abroad, this one mistakenly attributed to South Africa – the Omicron variant.

There is accumulating evidence that some of the Omicron cases turning up in the UK predate the first cases announced in South Africa. Why are we not surprised by that revelation?


“Scientific advisers are bracing themselves for hundreds of UK cases of the Omicron Covid variant to be confirmed in the next week or so, the Guardian has learned. Some of them may predate the earliest cases of Omicron found in South Africa last week but could still be linked to travellers returning from the country, it is understood. Evidence of community transmission also emerged on Monday.”

The Guardian report


“According to scientists, the first indications of the new Omicron corona variant came from the African state of Botswana. In a statement at the end of last week, Botswana’s Ministry of Health emphasized that the first suspected cases involved four foreign diplomats whose nationality was not disclosed.”

N-tv.de report (in German)


Botswana’s government said Friday 26th November 2021 that the four B.1.1.529 cases reported last week actually originated with fully vaccinated diplomats who visited from elsewhere. Their home country still is not identified.

“The new virus was detected on four foreign nationals who had entered Botswana on the 7th November 2021, on a diplomatic mission,” said Botswana in a statement. The four diplomats tested positive for COVID-19 on November 11 as they were leaving, and genomic sequencing confirmed the variant on November 24.

African Times report


Statement from Botswana Ministry of Health:


 

The BNONews Omicron tracker shows the latest infection numbers for Omicron. How can the UK have “hundreds” of cases of a variant that was first announced by South Africa less than a week ago, and that was first sequenced from samples given by four diplomats in Botswana just 18 days ago?


Omicron samples apparently have a “common ancestor 1-2 months ago”


Evidence of the spread of Omicron earlier this summer:


Lift off in early November 2021 in North Yorkshire?



Omicron was already in Europe on November 19th 2021, before it was first sequenced in South Africa:

“The omicron coronavirus variant was already in the Netherlands a week before South Africa reported the new variant to the World Health Organization, according to a Dutch health agency. The variant was recently identified in retests of samples that were taken on Nov. 19 and 23, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, or RIVM, announced on Tuesday.”

NPR.org report


Omicron has been spreading for “weeks” apparently:


Triple jabbed doctor infected with Omicron after flight from London:

Israel: Triple jabbed doctor found infected with Omicron after flight from London


Israeli doctor believes he caught Omicron variant of Covid in London


First London Omicron case had already left the country when confirmed infected:

UK: Third Omicron case confirmed, was last seen in Westminster


 

 

 

 

Photo by KMA .img on Unsplash

UK: Hundreds of possible Omicron infections being reported

THE UK now has nine confirmed cases of the mutant Covid variant Omicron. Scotland reported six new infections this morning, and three were reported in England yesterday. However, there are more than 150 further infections in the UK already, Government sources have claimed. UK labs are said to be probing 225 possible samples of the mutant variant.

The Sun.co.uk report

 

** Lax airport restrictions mean we’ve lost the battle already! **

 

 

Image by winterseitler from Pixabay

FT: dozens of suspected Omicron cases in the UK

“A third Omicron case was identified in the UK and dozens more were being treated as suspected cases, people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times.”

FT report

 

UK: Third Omicron case confirmed, was last seen in Westminster

 

 

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

UK: All travellers will require a PCR test and quarantine until negative to prevent spread of Omicron

At a press conference today, 10 Downing Street announced new measures to combat the potential spread of the Omicron variant in the UK.

The new variant of concern, which has already been found in the UK, Belgium, Hong Kong, Germany, the Netherlands and possibly also in Australia, will clearly require stricter measures to prevent it seeding across the country. 

The press conference, which was, in some ways, two years too late, did nevertheless show that the UK has at least learned some lessons from the pandemic. The speed with which the red list for travel was updated is a promising sign that the UK is finally taking Sars-CoV-2 seriously.

Unfortunately, however, the drumbeat from the UK government was still about putting all their eggs in the single basket of vaccination rather than promoting a multi-layered approach of defences in depth which is what is really required. Even  the World Health Organisation has recently criticised the ‘false sense of security’ given by over-selling of the benefits of the vaccines.

Although facemasks are to be reintroduced in retail and travel settings, these measures clearly won’t be enough to stop a more transmissible variant with strong vaccine escape capabilities becoming dominant in the UK within a month of arrival.

After two years of the UK aimlessly thrashing around for solutions to the pandemic, it seems that are plenty of lessons still to be learned.

Key measures announced by the UK today:

  • All travellers to the UK will have to take a PCR test by the end of day 2 of their arrival; travellers must self-isolate until they receive a negative test result
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace
  • Face coverings will become compulsory on public transport and in shops – not including hospitality
  • The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) will consider giving boosters to a wider age group, as well as reducing the gap between the second dose and booster.

 

 

 

UK: Third Omicron case confirmed, was last seen in Westminster

Vaccinated are more likely to be infected with Covid-19

“We must recognise that unvaccinated people are unlikely to cause any more risk to others than the vaccinated, and perhaps less.”

In a recent hearing of the UK  Pandemic Response and Recovery All Party Parliamentary Group, several experts said they were highly sceptical of the value of vaccine passports.

 

Professor David Paton:

“There is no obvious sign from countries that have already implemented similar certification schemes that there are any benefits in terms of reducing infections. But we know there will be huge costs to the economy; nightclubs in Scotland have reported trade levels dropping by almost half since the introduction of their vaccine passport scheme while leaked documents show that the Government itself estimates the cost of implementing Plan B in England to be between £11 billion and £18 billion.

Covid passes are a heavy-handed and invasive approach to public health. They pose an unacceptable risk to rights and individual liberties and could jeopardise trust in public health measures at a critical time.”

 

Dr Roland Salmon said:

“From a public health standpoint, it makes little sense to impose any kind of vaccine certification scheme. If the vaccine is to protect others around you, then it needs to greatly reduce transmission. Studies from Public Health England and Imperial College only show reductions in household transmission of 30-50%; not enough and even then, probably temporary. Thus, a policy of targeting vaccination to those at highest risk, allowing broader post-infection immunity to develop in the wider community to prevent spread is likely to be a much more effective approach.”

 

Dr David Bell:

“It is unclear what vaccine passports will achieve in the U.K. We must recognise that unvaccinated people are unlikely to cause any more risk to others than the vaccinated, and perhaps less. We know that vaccinated people who become infected commonly have similar infectiousness as unvaccinated people, while Public Health England data indicates that vaccinated people over 30 years are now more likely to be infected than the unvaccinated. We also know that unvaccinated people will, in general, suffer more symptoms, so are more likely to abstain from community gatherings when infected, while infected vaccinated people continue to be active, potentially increasing risk to the vulnerable.”

 

UK: Fully vaccinated up to 29 times more likely to catch Covid

 

 

The real reason Britain rejected vaccine passports

UK: Fully vaccinated up to 29 times more likely to catch Covid

The latest UKHSA vaccine report is out, and the vaccine breakthrough figures are simply jaw-dropping. They show that, in every age group apart from the under-18s, the fully vaccinated are far more likely to catch Covid-19 than the unvaccinated. In the over-70s age group, you’re over 29 times more likely to catch it.

For 18 – 29yrs, there are nearly 1.5 times as many Covid cases in the fully vaccinated as in the unvaccinated (39,748 v 26,714)

For 30 – 39yrs, there are nearly 3 times as many Covid cases in the fully vaccinated as in the unvaccinated (77,958 v 27,457)

For 40 – 49yrs, there are nearly 8 times as many Covid cases in the fully vaccinated as in the unvaccinated (125,936 v 15,920)

For 50 – 59yrs, there are over 14 times as many Covid cases in the fully vaccinated as in the unvaccinated (102,635 v 7,152)

For 60 – 69yrs, there are over 22 times as many Covid cases in the fully vaccinated as in the unvaccinated (61,109 v 2,739)

For 70 – 79yrs, there are over 29 times as many Covid cases in the fully vaccinated as in the unvaccinated (31,232 v 1,067)

For 80 – 89yrs, there are over 19 times as many Covid cases in the fully vaccinated as in the unvaccinated (10,298 v 540)

 

The UK hospitalization figures show a similar story:

 

As do the figures for Covid-19 deaths:

UKHSA COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 46 

 

The latest UK vaccination figures, however, show that there are only 4 times as many people that are fully vaccinated with two doses as there are unvaccinated:

 

So, even if the vaccines give ZERO protection against infection, there is still something very seriously wrong with these figures. 

 

Vaccinated are more likely to be infected with Covid-19

 

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

UK: 600 babies born prematurely to mothers hospitalised by Covid

More than 600 babies have been born prematurely and needing critical care to mothers hospitalised by Covid-19 in the UK. Women are warned they are up to three times more likely to have an early birth with the virus.

Data uncovered by The Independent from a national maternity conference shows that, out of 3,306 babies born to mothers admitted to hospital with Covid-19 between the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and July 2021, 694 were born prematurely and of those 604 were so ill they had to be admitted to a critical care unit.

Independent.co.uk report

 

** The idiotic removal of ALL UK Covid mitigations (including those in schools) on “Freedom Day” in July 2021 certainly won’t have helped this situation. The unfettered spread of this virus is as big a threat to the vaccinated as to the unvaccinated  **

 

 

Sars-CoV-2 – checkmate to the virus in four moves

 

 

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Europe: all-time Covid infection record broken by growing winter superwave

Europe has broken through its all-time high for Covid cases, and is seeing sharp increases in infections right across the continent. The Covid superwave that started in Eastern Europe just one month ago has now spread to all corners of the continent, and doesn’t look like it’s about to break anytime soon.

Virtually every part of Europe is now seeing increases in infections as the winter superwave rolls in.

 

Virtually every government in Europe has pinned its hopes on Covid vaccines preventing further large waves of the disease, a tactic that we have repeatedly warned wouldn’t work. It has been obvious for months that vaccine waning and vaccine breakthroughs would make vaccines a poor first line of defence.

Europe needs to regroup, rethink, and redraw its lines of defence quickly. Greater defence in depth is needed by using mitigations that are proven to work. 

Our estimation of the winter wave of 2020 shown in the diagram below suggests that a wave peak of around 13 – 15 million biweekly cases might have been reached had it not been for the mitigations imposed in Europe and North America in early November 2020.

The 2020 winter wave was broken in half by strong mitigations. It may already be too late to reintroduce them this to year to prevent the worst of the damage from the wave impact.

 

What was the lesson we all learned from earlier waves? Go in hard, go in strong? 

With the half-hearted mitigations that Europe has put in place for the winter wave, it looks as though we are about to find out just how bad things can really get with Covid.

 

Updatable chart for Europe below – press your refresh button to update:

 

Prediction: European Covid winter wave of 2021 will be the worst wave of the pandemic so far

USA: CDC quietly backs away from herd immunity

The prospects for meeting a clear herd-immunity target are “very complicated,” said Dr. Jefferson Jones, a medical officer on the CDC’s COVID-19 Epidemiology Task Force.

“Thinking that we’ll be able to achieve some kind of threshold where there’ll be no more transmission of infections may not be possible,” Jones acknowledged last week to members of a panel that advises the CDC on vaccines.

Herd immunity was never as simple as many Americans made it out to be, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, from University of Pennsylvania said.   “Humans are not a herd,” Jamieson said.

LA Times report

 

13th March 2020:

 

15th March 2020:

 

The chief proponents of herd immunity, the UK and the US, have, by their own admission, recorded nearly 900,000 deaths from Covid in just two years between them. The use of the word genocide in one tweet was entirely justified.

 

 

 

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

UK: Predicting Sars-Cov-2 waves using repeating code snippets

We have been looking at the latest UK Covid chart overnight, and we think we may have spotted a repeating code snippet warning of an imminent new Covid wave for Britain.

What are “repeating code snippets”? It’s our theory that Sars-Cov-2 is acting in a repetitive way, and that these repetitive actions may be visible in the infection charts.

The most obvious repeating pattern used by Sars-Cov-2 are the regular waves seen in the global charts and that we have all heard about. We have looked at those previously.

This time though, we think we may have spotted a repeating code snippet in the UK charts warning of a potential new wave, so we are going to share it. We tried this earlier in the summer of 2021, and it worked then, so this is a second attempt.

This may or may not work, we honestly don’t know. Repeating code snippets are a work in hand, and repeating code patterns in national infection charts are harder to spot than global code patterns.

We have outlined in the chart below a code pattern from the past few days, and a pattern that looks remarkably similar from October/November 2020.

The reason for pointing this pattern out is because of what happened the last time it appeared – it preceded the winter wave of 2020, and was followed by a massive wave of infections.

 

We have already discussed, in an earlier post, our abhorrence at the deliberate wave of infections unleashed by the British government on its own population throughout the summer of 2021.

We wondered in that post whether the artificial wave they created in the summer would blunt the inevitable winter wave due afterwards (that was, after all, the idea behind the plan), but we’re not sure that Sars-Cov-2 ever agreed to cooperate with that plan. The virus may yet be back for its prearranged winter visit to Britain.

If we are right about the repeating code snippet though, then a new winter wave in the UK could be just days away from starting, along with the Covid waves now crashing over most of the rest of Europe.

 

The Interactive chart below should update if you refresh your page:

 

 

More in our Decoding Sars-Cov-2 series:

 

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

UK: nearly 400,000 kids infected with Covid in one month

The latest UKHSA vaccine report has just been published. It shows that nearly 400,000 under 18’s were infected with Covid in just one month in the UK’s mad mass infection experiment.

It also shows that the vast majority of the over-18’s in the UK that are newly infected, hospitalized and or have died of Covid are fully vaccinated.

 

This chart shows new UK Covid infections

Nearly 400,000 under 18’s have been infected with Covid in one month! The vast majority of infections in the over 18’s are fully vaccinated.

 

This chart shows those hospitalized in the UK with Covid-19:

The vast majority of the over 40’s hospitalized with Covid are fully vaccinated.

 

This chart shows those that have died of Covid-19 in the UK:

The vast majority of those that died of Covid were fully vaccinated.

 

UKHSA Covid-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 44

 

 

 

Image by Artist and zabiyaka from Pixabay

Prediction: European Covid winter wave of 2021 will be the worst wave of the pandemic so far

This isn’t the most difficult prediction we have ever had to make, but there is no doubt that, despite huge vaccination campaigns across the continent, the winter wave now breaking over Europe will be their worst wave of the pandemic so far.

The difference this year is that, despite raging infections in many European countries, despite vaccine waning, vaccine breakthroughs and reinfections, no government is yet considering measures that are strong enough to contain the tide.

Measures including lockdowns and working from home were imposed in many countries across Europe and North America in early November 2020 to prevent the winter wave worsening. Despite their huge unpopularity, the measures, particularly lockdowns, DID work.

The chart below shows our estimation of what the winter wave would have looked like in 2020 without lockdowns. The global winter wave of 2020 was broken in half by lockdowns in key European countries and in North America which made up the bulk of cases.

Our estimation of the size of the Covid global winter wave in 2020. The winter wave was smashed by lockdowns in Europe and North America:

In 2021, however, many countries in Europe have abandoned the use face masks, social distancing and working from home. Lockdowns have been also been ruled out by many governments, fearful of their unpopularity.

 

The chart below shows what the European Covid winter wave looks like on the 4th November 2021. The wave that is forming is virtually identical to the wave of 2020. The difference in 2021 is that there are no mitigations in reserve to prevent previous wave records being broken.  Without urgent mitigations, this wave could be bigger than the one that engulfed India in the spring of 2021

Europe needs to take its head out of the sand, and do it quickly. There are very few tools left in the toolbox to deal with large waves, and every one of them will be needed this year.

We are still waiting for more data to come in to be able to make a prediction on the size of the global winter wave, but it’s not impossible that Europe alone could carry almost the entire burden of the winter wave this year.

Just to be crystal clear then:

  • Vaccines won’t be enough to stop the wave
  • Antivirals won’t be enough to stop the wave
  • Vaccine passports won’t be enough to stop the wave
  • Face masks won’t be enough to stop the wave
  • Locking up the unvaccinated won’t be enough to stop the wave

 

Europe suddenly ablaze with Covid – it could be the biggest wave yet

 

Decoding Sars-Cov-2: How are global Covid waves formed, and can we predict future waves?

 

Image by Brigitte makes custom works from your photos, thanks a lot from Pixabay

UK approves oral Covid drug Molnupiravir for use

UK Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said “Today is a historic day for our country, as the UK is now the first country in the world to approve an antiviral that can be taken at home for COVID-19. This will be a game changer for the most vulnerable and the immunosuppressed, who will soon be able to receive the ground-breaking treatment.”

UK.gov article

 

The dangers of new oral Covid drug Molnupiravir

 

Image by Emilian Danaila from Pixabay

 

WHO: 500,000 deaths from Covid in Europe this winter

“The current pace of transmission across the 53 countries of the European Region is of grave concern,” said regional WHO head Hans Kluge.

Kluge warned earlier that if Europe followed its current trajectory, there could be 500,000 COVID-related deaths in the region by February.

“We must change our tactics, from reacting to surges of COVID-19, to preventing them from happening in the first place,” he said.

Reuters.com report

 

Covid has surged across large parts of Europe again as a winter wave rolls across the continent:

 

 

Photo by Rianne Gerrits on Unsplash