So, it seems that Long Covid is not as widespread as we were told it was. More importantly – and, yes, this is the more difficult thing to discuss – maybe Long Covid is not as real as we were told it was, either. Maybe the fairly typical problems that a minority of people experience after a virus were, in this case, unjustifiably blown up into a whole new sickness. Alongside examining the measurable, physical prevalence of long-lasting symptoms in people who have been infected with Covid – something it is very important for society to do – we must also analyse the cultural components to Long Covid. How much did the culture of fear around Long Covid help to convince people that they had it? And did a broader culture of victimhood likewise help to coax people to self-identify as suffering from this new, seemingly fascinating ailment, and even to embrace Long Covid as a kind of identity?
The number of people dying with flu and pneumonia on their death certificate in England and Wales is now 10 times higher than those with Covid, figures show.
The latest weekly data on deaths from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there were 84 deaths mentioning Covid in the week ending June 11. There were 1,163 involving flu and pneumonia.
Registered Covid deaths fell by 14 per cent since the last update, in the week ending June 4, when 98 deaths were recorded.
Covid deaths now make up just 0.8 per cent of all deaths – down from 1.3 per cent in the previous week, despite the fact that week included the late May bank holiday, meaning there were fewer death registrations.
…The figures are much lower than would usually be expected for respiratory disease at this time of year. The five-year average for deaths involving flu and pneumonia in the same week is 1,704.
The case for the prosecution of Johnson is likely to be heard in a parliamentary inquiry (with Dominic Cummings as the star witness) which should bring scrutiny of the Imperial College cliff-edge hypothesis. This suggests that Covid cases surged every day until lockdown, so Prime Ministerial dither cost thousands of lives. Only when he eventually agreed to lock down on March 23, says Imperial, did cases collapse. This theory is one of the most influential ever deployed in government – and now looks as if it could be bunkum.
We don’t have to guess anymore, given how much Covid data exists. The ONS, Zoe/King’s College, the React-2 study run by a different team at Imperial: none support Neil Ferguson’s cliff-edge theory. All show Covid cases falling before lockdowns. So what forced the virus into retreat, if not stay-at-home orders? We can look at another form of contagion: news, spread digitally. People saw how things were getting dangerous and stayed home of their own accord. This is more than theory. Mobile phone data offers rich detail of this worldwide trend.
Covid-19 rates are not surging, researchers at King’s College have said after results from its symptom tracker app showed a far less deadly virus trajectory than Imperial College findings.
The failure to take into account the impact of extreme measures that have become the norm inmany places in the Covid-19 pandemic has been stunning. The destruction of lives and livelihoods in the name of survival will haunt us for decades.
Today’s fear is fueled by four main forces:
1. Mathematical disease modelling – a flexible and highly adaptable tool for prediction, mixing calculations with speculations, often based on
codes that are kept secret and assumptions that are difficult to scrutinize from the outside.
2. Neoliberal policies –systematic disinvestments in public health and medical care that have created fragile systems unable to cope with the crisis.
3. Nervous media reporting – an endless stream of information, obsessed with absolute numbers, exploiting the lack of trust in the healthcare infrastructure and magnifying the fear of collapsing systems.
4. Authoritarian longings – a deep desire for sovereign rule, which derives pleasure from destruction and tries to push the world to the edge of collapse so that it can be rebuilt from the scratch.