Sometimes silence is best. To can it. Totally zip it. Just shut up. Look and listen. Let it all sink in slowly.
Know that you don’t know.
Otherwise you may talk shit; say things that make little sense a few weeks later. Especially when the information flow is so relentless, but with twists and turns that curve back on themselves.
Being quiet, amid endless clamour, means you can pick out nuggets.
Three images – real and undeniable – sum up the mental damage wrought by COVID-19.
I pulled the car into Oxford services 12 days ago, returning from Gloucestershire. Needing a leak, the nearby public toilets were found to be sparklingly clean, with all facilities spaced out by at least two metres. A haven of sanitisation. No charge. Then back to the car, shutting the eyes for a 20-minute meditation. I opened them to witness a fit-looking young lad, maybe aged 25, looking around furtively before pissing against the side of his vehicle. There were three police cars parked in a huddle about 120 yards away.
I can only imagine that he was desperate to avoid the public loos, and a possible interface with the virus. Or might he have an elderly relative who requires shielding? Why else risk being arrested and fined for public indecency?
There is freely available information clearly specifying that the number of people in their mid-20s impacted by the coronavirus is smaller than negligible, especially if their health is robust. But that information is generally buried beneath the never-ending fear memes.
Much more amusing has been a new trend at Premiership soccer grounds. As the football has returned, to spectator-free grounds, TV screens show players slipping back easily into intimate habits of grabbing and hanging onto each other like wrestlers; and celebrating goals with big group hugs. All very natural for team animals, engaging in contact sport. Shouting and breathing over one another.
The novelty comes several times during the game, when masked men spray the corner flags with sanitiser. When first seeing this lunacy I fell about laughing, helplessly.
Am I alone in perceiving massive absurdity, if not complete cognitive dissonance? Coaches and managers wearing masks mix freely with their unmasked players during the breaks.
The third image was a picture of two neighbouring houses in Leicester, encountered today when browsing online. A new lockdown has been declared in the city, without any evidence of new hospitalisations or a rise in critical care. One of the two households was under medical martial law, while the residents in the other, but a yard away, are free to go about their business.
It made me think of another anomaly. How the UK government insisted that we must stay at home, to ‘save lives’, because the virus was so, so dangerous. So terribly infectious and deadly. But then suddenly it wasn’t, if you wanted to protest on the streets against racial injustice. How very odd.
Worry is in the air. I have seen solo cyclists out in the countryside, miles from anything or anyone, wearing face masks. Several younger people in my extended family have run into mental health problems. Reliable anchors have gone. I have felt deep agitations that are difficult to pinpoint. Like we inhabit a bad sci-fi film or a dream with no exits. As if the map of agreed reality is changing, old carpets pulled from under feet.
But my inner journalist takes notes. Speaking on CNN on 25 June, multi-billionaire Bill Gates was unequivocal. Paraphrased, he said that if 80% of the world does not take the wonder vaccine, when it finally appears, then there can be no return to holidays, sport and travel.
Well thanks for the heads up. It’s good of you Bill. By the way, what are your qualifications in medicine or politics? Ah yes, zero. Not a single credential.
And yet the words of this unqualified man indicated that he either wields huge political and medical influence, or is privy to discussions at a top table, such that he can somehow place his finger on the future pulse of humanity. Do any of us get a say in this? Do I get a choice, or has an unelected CEO of Planet Health Inc. already decided for me?
Others are less polite about Gates. In mid-May, Sara Cunial, the MP for Rome, denounced Gates as a “vaccine criminal” and urged the Italian President to hand him over to the International Criminal Court. Both she and Robert F. Kennedy Junior have referred to a Gates-led polio immunisation campaign in India, which local doctors have reportedly blamed for a paralysis epidemic that impacted around 490,000 Indian children beyond expected rates, between 2000 and 2017. Nearly half a million kids. Maybe it is worth doing some research on that story of benign intervention. Proper research, not steered by Google algorithms.
What is beyond doubt is that Gates has leveraged his mega-fortune from Microsoft into a structure of powerful global connections, often through the ‘philanthropic’ use of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to shape policy. This has funnelled money into the World Health Organization (WHO), in which it is now the largest shareholder. Significant money has also been extended, among many other British institutions, to Imperial College London. What an amazing coincidence that the advice in March that the UK should ‘lock down’ emanated from Imperial College.
Inevitably, there are various speculative theories concerning the coming COVID-19 vaccines. One knocking around says that your RNA will be modified, changing you at a genomic level. Being no scientist, I can offer no insights. Another says the vaccines may contain micro tracking mechanisms, that could help control humanity as a collective. Again, pass.
But I do possess what one young man in a white lab coat termed in a recent documentary as “vaccine hesitancy”. For one thing, it is standard medical practice that vaccines need to be thoroughly tested, over a period of years. Good luck to anyone who wants into that first muddle of guinea pigs, participating in clearly rushed vaccine trials.
But there is something else. In his past, Gates spent time in the company of a certain Jeffrey Epstein. The same Epstein who trafficked humans for money and sex. That JE who was inserted deeply into a predatory class of humans up to their rotten necks in a mire of crime, technocracy and eugenics.
I wonder how our history will read 100 years from now. Perhaps it will say: “There was this horrible pandemic until Saint Bill arrived with his vaccines.” History tends to be written by the victors.
For me, it is galling to think that, if you live in Sweden, everyday life has proceeded apace. Yes, the level of COVID-linked deaths in Sweden has been significant, albeit less than the UK, but economic lifelines were left in place to mitigate the fatalities. No ‘lockdown’. No house arrest.
In Belarus, President Alexander Grigoryevich was loudly derided by bleating Western journalists and ‘progressives’ for eschewing a lockdown and claiming that vodka would keep the virus at bay. They even carried on playing football, lawd love ’em.
Disaster? Hardly. So far, just 400 or so COVID-associated deaths are officially recorded in Belarus. That works out at 43 fatalities per million inhabitants, compared to the current 647 per million in the UK. (And 399 in the US, 607 in Spain, 576 in Italy)
I’ll down a big shot of vodka to that, because saving lives is the most important criterion. Looks like the “strongman president” may have more common sense in his drinking arm than the combined brains of Gates, Fauci and Dominic Cummings.
Here in Britain, one of the most disturbing aspects of the lockdown has been the tens of thousands of old people slung out of hospitals into care homes. Essentially left to die through neglect. Some observers have bluntly called this as manslaughter.
Then there is the unimaginable collateral damage. Cancer patients and those with other morbidities have been denied essential treatments. Seaside town trade has been essentially destroyed, pubs and restaurants destroyed, retail therapy destroyed. Small businesses are gasping for financial oxygen. Large businesses have begun to lay off staff as the ‘furlough’ period ends. Job prospects are receding. Student schedules are still gutted.
A lot of people that I know say that this carnage is OK, a price ‘worth paying’ to ‘protect Britain’s NHS’. Really? Most of those who have told me this are financially secure, with decent pensions in place.
Because there are so many more questions than answers, I’ve tried to stick to facts.
Here is one worth considering. In the second half of March, several days before the British lockdown was announced, Public Health England downgraded COVID-19 from its former status as a High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID). Yep, downgraded it. You can check it for yourself.
Another is that marriages can again take place in Britain, as from tomorrow, 4 July. Under new government rules for weddings, fathers cannot walk their daughter arm-in-arm down the aisle. Brides and grooms will have to wash hands before and after exchanging rings. And spoken responses during the service should ‘not be in a raised voice’. Perish the thought. And any singing and playing of instruments that are blown into should be avoided, among other rules.
While pubs open, and everyone stumbles into each other, pissed as parrots.
Is this not utter barking lobotomised March hare madness? Or is it just me? It could be.
Your answers are acceptable only on a ‘deep cleaned’ postcard.
P.S. Joining the dots isn’t easy, given the spew of media information. But there are clues out there.
The US death total from COVID-19 is officially around 132,000, the highest in the world.
Perhaps a little light was cast on that number on April 8 by Senator Scott Jensen, who told Fox News that “if it’s a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they’re Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000.”
Jensen continued: “But if it’s COVID-19 pneumonia, then it’s $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000.
Jensen said he doesn’t think physicians are “gaming the system” so much as other “players”, such as hospital administrators, who he said may pressure physicians to cite all diagnoses, including “probable” COVID-19, on discharge papers or death certificates to get the higher Medicare allocation allowed under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act