Cautious Omicrism

Well, so far it looks as though the concerns about the “Omicron wave” I reflected from Sarah Knapton beforte Christmas are not coming to fruition, for a number of reasons.

The first is that, although Omicron in the UK has spread like wildfire, making headlines on the “exponential rise in cases,” this has barely been reflected in hospital admissions, and remains inversely related to the COVID death rate. Several weeks into the new variant, the complete disconnect is clear for even the least scientifically literate to see. It is hard to argue with the fact that the more Omicron there is, the fewer deaths there are: far harder than it is to argue against the “inexorable logic of exponential spread,” anyway.

Now, Sarah Knapton’s fears were based on the misleading nature of the basic ONS stats, because of inappropriate definitions, but whilst a big January wave of respiratory infections happening to test positive for COVID could still happen, currently the dodgy stats are working against the fear narrative.

The absolute numbers, that is to say a large part of the original exponential growth, are an artifact of massively increased testing, and even the press recognises that more than before. It would appear that it is mainly the interruption of testing because of supply problems that has revealed that Omicron infection rates really are increasing to some extent. Even so, much of the rise may still be due to Omicron’s rapid ousting of Delta, rather than to greater transmissibility. If it really is more transmissible, though, the flatlining of admissions truly does indicate an extraordinarily benign virus, given the usual seasonal pattern of respiratory disease.

But the most reassuring part of the current situation is the greatly increased public awareness of the “catches” in the ONS data. I guess this is ultimately due to the permission to doubt given to the mainstream press by the Conservative backbench and Cabinet revolts against SAGE’s pessimistic models. This was long overdue. Not only are SAGE’s models, and the modellers themselves, being more widely recognised as highly biased and self-evidently wrong, but attention is finally being paid to what “COVID hospitalisations” and “deaths” actually mean.

With prominent doctors saying that a big, and increasing, majority of COVID admissions are “incidental” (rather that simply saying vaguely that they are admitted “with” rather than “for” it), a good deal of future-proofing against misinterpretation has been put in place for any testdemic of hospitalisations over the rest of the winter. People will be now asking just how many of these admissions are really being treated for COVID.

Should winter deaths begin to rise, the messaging might still succeed in blaming Omicron even if it is incidental, but there are some indicators that the public is gaining a better awareness of the difference between SARS2 as an ordinary respiratory virus in its initial phase, and as an inflammatory/clotting agent in its secondary stage.

I’m hoping that better information will emerge at some stage soon about the still tiny number of deaths attributed to Omicron. I believe it’s still only in the 50s, which by any standard is miniscule for such a widespread infection. Some even of those are likely to be purely incidental (deaths within 28 days of a positive test), but a few are likely to be deaths of vulnerable people getting pneumonia from Omicron as they may do from any cold virus, or flu. Such cases, from the point of view of public health, are irrelevant.

Remember that what makes SARS-CoV-2 unique is the late inflammatory response to spike protein, and I’ve yet to see any evidence that the highly mutated Omicron spike is even capable of causing that; at the very least, its toxicity is proving to be massively lower than the spike proteins of other strains. At some stage, though, accurate data on true SARS complications from Omicron will become available, and I have a suspicion that it might be sufficiently reassuring to make it “game over” for the whole pandemic.

At that point, it will become even more a pure propaganda war than it has been: Big Pharma are not going to stop lobbying for vaccinating everything that moves in a hurry, and the extent to which other institutions – governments, media, professional bodies, social media magnates etc – seek to prolong the agony will be a clear indicator of who has been bought, and who has not.

Of course, manufacturing a new pandemic before the full folly of how this one has been handled is understood would enable the show to go on, as (I suppose) would the hyping of climate change if all else fails. Not to mention that we’re due for a massive financial crisis to make us forget our pandemic problems and give another excuse for emergency powers. But in all such cases, public antagonism to the whole charade, and to the elites now clearly behind it, would grow. The dots have been joined, and will not easily become unjoined. We may well still get a Great Reset, and even a full-blown end-times deception. But it seems increasingly likely to need to be a bloody coup, rather than a new world order brought in by sleight-of-hand.

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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