Our analysis of lockdown and covid-fascism

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Introduction 

We are a group of socialists in the UK who oppose lockdown policy on the basis that it doesn’t work, is based on bad science and causes unnecessary harm and deaths to society. The impact of lockdown is most severe on the working class and vulnerable people, including children. This document aims to provide an accurate narrative of the course of events and an objective analysis of lockdown policy based on a serious engagement with the available literature on the subject. There are many aspects to the pandemic and lockdown, and it would be impossible to cover everything in a single article. However, we believe that this document offers a solid foundation for building a mass movement against lockdown and for a socialist alternative to this capitalist dystopia we are living under.

To briefly summarise the main points of this document: 

  1. The SARS-COV-2 (Covid-19) pandemic in the UK was real and killed around 43,000 between March and June 2020. 
  2. The concept of “lockdown” as an unprecedented pandemic response originated from China’s over-reaction to the virus, which was endorsed by the World Heath Organisation (WHO) and subsequently copied by most Western governments.
  3. Boris Johnson and the Conservative Government are being dictated by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), a technocratic group funded by big corporate interests (tech, finance, pharma) who have effectively carried out a soft-coup.
  4. SAGE have used mass fear and psychologically subversive “nudge” messaging to convince the population that the virus is deadly and can only be contained using lockdown, masks and social distancing. This fear has led to mass hysteria within the general population.
  5. Whilst lockdown measures may slow the spread of the virus or “cases”, multiple studies show no evidence that lockdown, or the severity of lockdown policy, reduces deaths. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence as to the huge negative consequences lockdown has on the population and in particular the working class and most vulnerable in society.
  6. The pandemic is fundamentally over, with the virus now endemic in a less acute form compared with the pandemic in spring 2020. The so-called “second wave” of covid is driven by a combination of an endemic virus and bad science: treating asymptomatic people who test positive as “covid cases”, misdiagnosis via inaccurate PCR tests generating false positive results, misdiagnosis through treating all respiratory conditions and “covid-like” symptoms as covid, and mass manipulation of the statistics being presented to the public, for example where “covid deaths” are actually deaths for any underlying reasonbut where the deceased tested positive on a PCR test within the last 28 days. 
  7. The NHS is under pressure this winter, as it has been every previous winter for around a decade. This is due to decades of government cuts, under-staffing and privatisation. Staff shortages are more acute because of the policy for staff to isolate  for a period of time after testing positive on a PCR test.
  8. Whilst the pandemic was a natural occurrence, a number of big corporations and sectors (tech, finance, pharma) all have a common interest in maintaining the false notion that the pandemic is still ongoing, and thus the false conclusion that lockdown policy must continue. For example, Big Pharma have a clear interest in promoting their new mRNA based vaccines as the solution to the pandemic. These vaccines have not adequately been proven safe or effective, and many concerns remain in the medical community.
  9. The lockdown measures, loss of civil rights, the de facto shutdown of civil society and the authoritarian enforcement of these measures by the state as the “new normal” constitutes a new development in the form of the capitalist state, away from liberalism and towards what we call covid-fascism.
  10. The pandemic and lockdown measures, whether deliberate or not, have played a “useful” role for the state in masking economic crisis. Unemployment, wage reductions and cuts in social spending can all be blamed on “the virus” whilst big corporations in the key sectors make record profits.
  11. As we leave winter and enter spring in 2021, “covid deaths” will tail off as a result of passing through the season of respiratory viruses, not due to the effect of lockdown. Still, measures will be temporarily relaxed as a result of this. However, as long as the same diagnostic tools continue to be used to detect covid, another “covid wave” will appear after Summer, and so the same lockdown measures will be used once again. In theory this dynamic could be kept up indefinitely, becoming a way of life, along with semi-permanent mask wearing and social distancing.  

Wuhan and the WHO 

It is understood that the SARS-COV-2 virus (which can cause the Covid-19 disease in those exposed to the virus) originated in Wuhan, China, late 2019, and probably via transmission from a bat [1]. The Chinese government,  possibly expecting a virus similar to SARS-COV-1 (popularly known simply as “SARS”) which had an infection fatality rate of 10%, brought in the most draconian measures ever known (and indeed previously unknown) with regards to a pandemic response: the quarantining of the entire population of Wuhan in their own homes. Men in hazmat suits were seen rounding up members of the public [2]. Armoured cars patrolled the streets spraying disinfectant on buildings and other vehicles [3].

On 29th January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) praised these draconian measures [4]. This laid the groundwork and the general acceptance of lockdown (previously a word associated primarily with prisons) being considered the only appropriate response to the pandemic – despite the WHO having no other country’s response to compare it to at this point in time! The WHO was criticised for this unnecessary slavish praise of China and for supporting the exclusion of Taiwan from membership, all against a backdrop of ever increasing financial contributions from China [5].

SAGE in the UK 

Whilst the UK government did not initially intend to implement the same draconian measures, they performed a sharp U-turn following several key publications.

Firstly a report published on the 16th March by the Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team, led by the now-disgraced Professor Ferguson, predicting that 510,000 people could die in the UK if no measures were taken to slow down the virus [6]. On the very same day, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a speech to the nation, introducing harder elements of a pseudo-voluntary lockdown and advising us to “stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel”. [7]

Secondly, a week later on the 23rd March there was a crucial meeting of SAGE’s Behavioural Science Sub-Group, the report of which reveals a focus, among other things, on persuasion, noting that “a substantial number of people do not feel sufficiently threatened”, and that “the perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are not compliant, using hard-hitting emotional messaging”. Tactics for securing voluntary compliance, the group decided, should include “use media to increase sense of personal threat” and “use and promote social approval for desired behaviour.”. [8] The Prime Minister’s speech to the nation that same evening gave us a simple message, “you must stay at home” [9].

The Tory government, in the name of following “the science”, decided to crank up fear, anxiety and hysteria to eleven. But they were not following “the science”, they were following SAGE’s advice. Yet SAGE could hardly be considered experts on pandemic response, given they largely consisted of mathematicians, modellers and behavioural “scientists”. Until June, SAGE had not a single molecular virologist, immunologist or intensive care expert. [10]

First national Lockdown 

The first national lockdown started on the 23rd March and included the closure of all “non-essential” shops, premises and schools. The primary justification for the lockdown was to “slow the spread of the virus” and protect NHS capacity for the expected tsunami of Covid patients. This was also known as “flattening the [infection] curve”, a tacit admittance that lockdown cannot stop the virus, but at best slow the spread of infection.

The lockdown rules were reviewed every three weeks until 28th May, where the PM announced further plans to lift certain measures. On 1st June, people from different households were able to meet in groups of six in gardens and outdoor spaces. Non-essential shops were allowed to open from 15th June, but masks were also made compulsory on public transport at this point, and in indoor settings such as shops a month later [11]. Schools finally began to reopen in July, after nearly 4 months of closure.

During this period, sadly around 43,000 people died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate (although not necessarily the underlying cause). However, at no point was the capacity of the NHS overwhelmed at the national level, with critical care bed occupancy peaking at an average of 80% [12]. Only in London did some patients have to be redirected to other London hospitals. A leaked report showed that two thirds of private sector capacity bought by the NHS to the tune of £400m per month was never used [13]. The shiny new Nightingale hospitals hastily built with the expectation of an overwhelming wave of Covid patients were also never used [14]. From the point of view of locking down to “protect the NHS”, clearly this was an over-reaction. At no point was national capacity exceeded.

Of course, this is not to let the government off the hook. The Tories had failed to implement the findings of Exercise Cygnus, a three day trial run back in October 2016 for the NHS’ response to a flu pandemic [15]. The NHS and the authorities were not sufficiently prepared for a pandemic, at least at the beginning. Hospitals lacked Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and no test and trace mechanism was in place. The government also implemented the disastrous policy of discharging elderly people from hospitals and back into care homes without being tested, thus seeding Covid back amongst the most vulnerable section of the population. A study estimated that 29,400 more care home residents, directly and indirectly attributable to Covid, died during the first 23 weeks of the pandemic [16]. Whilst it is not clear exactly what constitutes deaths “indirectly attributable” to Covid, this suggests that a large number of Covid-related deaths during the first lockdown were in elderly care homes, which may have been caused or at least exacerbated by the government’s own reckless policy. This is just one example of how efforts to supposedly “protect the NHS” actually killed people.

Does lockdown work?

Covid-related deaths peaked in mid-April but then rapidly came down, with the pandemic essentially over by June. A victory for lockdown, or so we’re told by the Tories. But to what extent can we say lockdown caused infections and deaths to come down? Surely, given the immense social, economic and health impact on the general population, one would want to have real evidence that it was lockdown that ended the pandemic rather than the virus naturally burning out. And yet incredibly, there isn’t.

One multinational study found that “full lockdowns and wide-spread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality” [17]. Instead, they found higher covid cases and deaths were associated with the prevalence of obesity and the average age of the population. Unsurprisingly, unhealthy and older people are more likely to get ill and/or die from a respiratory disease than healthier and younger people.

Another peer-reviewed study found the same lack of correlation between lockdown and virus deaths, where “[s]tringency of the measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death rate.” [18]

At the time of writing, more people in the UK have died with covid than on the entire continent of Africa. This makes sense when you consider the UK’s median population age is 40.5 years [19], whereas it is 19.7 years on the African continent [20]. Similarly, about two thirds of the UK population are overweight or obese [21], whereas the African continental average is closer to 20% [22].

But what about New Zealand?

New Zealand is the only “western”-style country that has successfully implemented a policy of eliminating the SARS-COV-2 virus, and is often cited as evidence that a so-called “zero covid” strategy could work in other countries such as the UK.

New Zealand consists of two small islands very close together, roughly the size of the UK. However, it is completely isolated geographically, being 2,500 miles east of Australia and its nearest neighbour is the tiny island chain of New Caledonia, 1,200 miles to the north. This makes targeted and effective controlling of “borders”, who is coming in and going out, much easier. New Zealand’s airports had a footfall of around 43 million people in 2019 [23], but the UK had 238.2 million in the same period, nearly six times the number of people going in and out of the country by air [24].  Furthermore, the UK and particularly London is a major international travel hub, providing relatively easy access to mainland Europe and across the Atlantic to the Americas. For the state to police these “borders” effectively like New Zealand would entail putting literally tens of millions of air passengers in quarantine, or simply banning all inward and outward flights! Even then, in real life it would be impossible to achieve full compliance of these rules and eventually infected people would come through the gaps.

Not only does New Zealand have significantly less passenger footfall, it also has a much lower population density at just 6.5% of the UK’s. The population of New Zealand are far more “socially distanced” than in the UK by default. This helps explain why the SARS-COV-2 outbreaks that were detected in New Zealand have been easy to track, trace and identify. Such a process, even if implemented in the UK, would have been extremely difficult in London due to the high population density. Again, infected people would have fallen through the gaps.

In many respects, the debate on whether closing the UK borders would have helped or not is a moot point. If such a “zero covid” approach may have worked, we are long past that point because SARS-COV-2 is endemic in the country. There is no point closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Whilst New Zealand is now “covid free”, this continued status relies on strict quarantine rules for all incoming passengers, where everyone is required to quarantine for 2 weeks in a designated hotel before they can go anywhere. This is simply not sustainable, for two reasons:

Firstly, the reality is that SARS-COV-2 is likely to be endemic around the world at this stage. That is, there will continue to be low levels of SARS-COV-2 circulating among the general population, with possible seasonal peaks, just like many of the other coronaviruses that are endemic that cause diseases like the common cold and flu. Thus, for New Zealand to remain “covid free” it will have to maintain quarantine rules forever. The rest of the world, having built up herd immunity through previous exposure to the virus, will be in a much better position in the long run to carry on as normal. It also means that any Kiwi who leaves their “covid free” homeland risks exposing themselves to SARS-COV-2. A true “covid free” Kiwi would never be able to leave their own country!

Secondly, and flowing from the previous point, sectors such as tourism in New Zealand will be devastated. The tourism sector employs 1 in 8 Kiwis. There will be no backpackers who, on their tour of Asia, would pop to New Zealand for a few days. There will be no Europeans having typical 2 week holidays. At best there could be an “air bubble” arrangement with Australia, but this would not be enough to compensate for the loss of all other international travel. The education of international students contributes over $5 billion to the economy and is the country’s fourth largest export [25]. Are foreign students likely to go to a country where they have to spend 14 days in quarantine every time they visit? Or are they likely to choose a different country? New Zealand will continue to “socially distance” from the rest of the world, impacting it socially and economically.

Negative consequences of lockdown

The evidence is clear: not only does lockdown not save lives, it leads to more unnecessary suffering and death. One of the most startling impacts of lockdown is that people with serious health issues were hesitant to seek medical attention, out of a combination of fear of overwhelming the NHS or fear of catching the virus. For example, a survey from the Health Foundation conducted in July, after the covid wave had ended, found that 28% of black and minority ethnic people and 34% of disabled people felt uncomfortable about using their local hospital [26]. This has led to more people dying at home from diseases and health conditions they could have potentially had medical treatment for, preventing or at least postponing these deaths.

Deaths in private homes
Deaths in private homes

According to the ONS, between 28th December 2019 and 11th September 2020 there were 25,472 additional deaths at home compared to the five-year average in England. The graph above clearly shows that weekly excess deaths at home broadly tracked the 5 year average until March 2020, and then remained excessively high throughout the rest of the year. The report quotes the Head of Mortality Analysis: “We have seen an overall increase of deaths as well as a redistribution of various causes of death. For instance, while deaths of heart disease are below average in hospital, it has been above average at home. It’s a similar picture when looking at prostate cancer for males and Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for females. Unlike the high numbers of deaths involving COVID-19 in hospitals and care homes, the majority of deaths in private homes are unrelated to COVID-19.” [27]

The Health Foundation survey also found that 35% of people’s financial situation had worsened during lockdown, rising to 43% amongst people from a black and minority ethnic background. This reflects the fact that many businesses had to close or operated at much reduced capacity during the first national lockdown and so laid off staff. The ONS estimates, for August to October 2020, 1.69 million people were unemployed,  up 411,000 compared to last year. The UK unemployment rate now stands at 4.9%; 1.2 percentage points higher than last year. [28]

What is even more shocking is that these unemployment numbers do not include the millions of workers who have been put on the government’s furlough scheme, where the state pays up to 80% of the wages bill for companies. The latest figures show that at the end of October, 2.4m workers remain on the furlough scheme [29]. Whilst much lower than the peak of 8.9m back in May 2020, this still means that unemployment has the potential to double to more than 10% once the scheme ends in April 2021 (although this may be further extended, as has happened multiple times already).

The impact on job losses and wages has been variable depending on the sector. In general, lockdown has impacted the lowest paid jobs the most, primarily in sectors such as retail, hospitality and construction, where it is not possible to work from home. Office-based sectors such as finance and IT have had the least impact where home working is possible. 

Annual percentage pay growth
Annual percentage pay growth

The above ONS graph shows that workers in construction, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing have had a net loss in pay over the April to October 2020 period. On the other hand, finance and business services have seen a net gain in pay over this period, and public sector pay growth has remained unaffected [30]. This also has political implications: the traditional working class will be less likely to look upon lockdown as a favourable policy due to the obvious decline in pay, whereas office/professional workers and those in the public sector will be much more likely to defend lockdown policy based on the minimal impact to their financial situation. Material conditions determine consciousness,  as a certain philosopher said.

Perhaps the most diabolical impact of lockdown, which is barely mentioned in the public discourse, is its impact on children and young people. School-age children missed out on 4 months of education during the first national lockdown, and it has now been confirmed as of the 5th January 2021 that schools will be shut for at least the next 8 weeks. School is not simply a place for children to acquire an academic education, but it is their primary means of socialising with other children and learning “life” skills. School is the entire framework for a child’s life from the age of 4 to at least the age of 16. Denying children of this fundamental educational and social process stunts their development and will have long-term social, economic and health impacts for decades.

A survey of more than 12,300 parents and carers conducting by the University of Oxford found child’s mental health worsened during lockdown but improved on returning to school: “Participating parents and carers reported that their children displayed increasing behaviour difficulties, including temper tantrums, arguments and not doing what they were being asked to do by adults during the first lockdown. They also became more fidgety and restless and had greater difficulty paying attention. Since schools have reopened to all children, parents and carers have found that their children display fewer emotional difficulties, such as feeling unhappy, worried, being clingy and experiencing physical symptoms associated with worry.” [31]

The National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) have recorded a 79% increase in referrals for child abuse. There was an average of 115 referrals from helpline calls made each month between April and November, compared to the pre-lockdown average of 64 [32]. Deliberate harm and killing of babies increased by 20% during the first lockdown [33].

Tragically, more children died from failure to receive timely medical treatment (due to the NHS prioritising covid) than those that died from Covid during the lockdown period [34]. There has been a rise in young adults reporting suicidal thoughts, in addition to a sharp rise of sleep-problems, eating disorders and self-harm in under-18s [35].

All of this paints a bleak picture of the impact on the young generation who have, or should have,  their entire lives ahead of them. Instead they face growing up in a society that is in complete decay.

Herd Immunity or Herd Mentality

A study from the University of Bristol claims that Covid cases peaked on the 18th March, five days before the national lockdown, and then started to decline [36]. This suggests the virus had already made its way through large swathes of the wider population before most people realised it. How is this possible? One of the many flaws in the ICL model is that it assumed no prior immunity within the population. Yet it is a widely understood scientific fact that general exposure to viruses grants some immunity to other similar viruses. Indeed, the first vaccine invented in 1796, for smallpox, was based on the observation that milkmaids generally had fair skin (i.e. not ravaged by smallpox), which led  Edward Jenner to the conclusion that the maids’ exposure to the milder cowpox virus granted them immunity to smallpox [37]. This is how cross-immunity works.

Studies in Germany and Singapore showed that among the population, 81% and 50% of people tested respectively had a T cell immune response to SARS-COV-2 without any prior exposure to the virus [38, 39]. Both studies cite cross-immunity through exposure to similar coronaviruses such as the common cold.

Exposure to SARS-COV-2 itself, whether asymptomatic or not, also provides T cell immune response for at least six months after infection [40], and this could last for many years. This explains why the number of recorded re-infections for the virus is so low as to be almost negligible. At the time of writing there are just 31 confirmed cases of reinfection and 2,325 suspected cases worldwide [41], out of a total of 85 million cases. Reinfections thus constitute just 0.003% of all covid cases. For comparison, the risk of dying in a road accident in a single year is nearly double that at 0.005% [42].

Therefore it is reasonable to infer that the population of the UK already had significant immunity to SARS-COV-2 through cross-immunity. The virus spread through the population, a minority of whom developed symptoms, a minority of those who developed symptoms were hospitalised, and a minority of those who were hospitalised sadly died. This all happened despite lockdown.

Once the majority of the population had developed immunity, either through prior immunity through cross-immunity or via exposure to SARS-COV-2 itself, the virus ran out of hosts to infect and died out. This naturally occurring process is known as herd immunity. This is when everyone in a given population is protected by a virus because most people (typically 60-90%) have immunity. This protects those who have weakened immune systems. Of course, such a process can be accelerated by the use of a vaccine, but is not dependent on it.

Unfortunately, and largely thanks to an orchestrated media campaign, the very notion of herd immunity has become synonymous with allowing old and vulnerable to die, to “let rip” the virus and kill half a million people. Those who oppose lockdown measures must be in favour of the evil “herd immunity strategy” and are branded as evil incarnate. The fact that herd immunity is not a policy but a natural process, and that lockdown did nothing to stop elderly people dying, is ignored.

But this isn’t just about public confusion around what herd immunity is. As incredible as it sounds, the WHO changed their definition of herd immunity on their website back in October 2020 to completely erase any notion of naturally acquired immunity, and claim herd immunity is only achievable through vaccines. [43] Such a blatant perversion of science can only signify the WHO is very much in the pocket of the pharmaceuticals industry and vaccine manufacturers like Glaxo and Pfizer. The WHO is not interested in objective science and is clearly pushing a Big Pharma agenda. They have completely discredited themselves, and so nothing they publish and pronounce can be taken at face value at all. Yet very few people are questioning any of this. They have developed herd mentality, deferring to the “experts” and public opinion as presented on the billionaire-owned media.

PCR tests and the never-ending pandemic

The Covid pandemic swept the UK in March 2020, tragically leading to around 43,000 deaths, but very quickly came to an end by June. Since then, excess deaths have remained consistently average. According to page 61 of the Weekly national Influenza and COVID19 surveillance report, published on 31 December 2020, there are “[n]o significant excess all-cause mortality was observed in week 51 overall, by age group and subnationally” [44]. Week 51 was the week ending 21st December, the day when London and the South East entered Tier 4 restrictions and seeing family during the Christmas holiday period was banned.

But how can excess deaths be normal for this time of year when we’ve been continuously bombarded throughout winter via the BBC, Sky News, the Metro and the mass media that the NHS is overwhelmed, Covid cases are “surging”, “Covid deaths” going up…?

The answer lies in the definition of what constitutes a “covid case”. During the actual pandemic in spring 2020, it was generally clear that most people experiencing severe respiratory issues were infected with the SARS-COV-2 virus, since Spring is not the seasonal time of the year for these sorts of viruses. One of the tools to aid diagnosis was the PCR test, which involves swabbing the patient’s nose and tonsils and having the swab analysed in the lab. During this period, all PCR test results were processed in-house in NHS labs by trained professionals. Whilst the PCR test is not perfect, when combined with a professional medical diagnosis during the onset of the pandemic it offered a “good enough” verification that the hospitalised patients exhibiting “Covid-like” symptoms were not only infected with SARS-COV-2 but also had the COVID-19 disease. After all, if they were infected with the virus but exhibited no symptoms (i.e. they were healthy) then they either wouldn’t have been in hospital at all, or would have been in hospital with a different set of symptoms for a completely different ailment.

What changed towards the end of the pandemic is the move to mass PCR testing, based on the unproven notion that people who had the SARS-COV-2 virus but were asymptomatic (i.e. healthy!) were capable of spreading the virus and causing further symptomatic cases. In order to facilitate this, a massive outsourcing programme was initiated, where lucrative multi-billion government contracts were handed out to private companies, as Unite the Union’s UniteLive website explains: “This network of privatised labs, known as Lighthouse Labs, was established in April as part of a partnership project run by accountancy firm Deloitte. Several private companies are partnered with Lighthouse Labs, including pharmaceutical firms GSK and AstraZeneca, online retail giant Amazon, as well as Boots and Royal Mail. Lighthouse Labs are run entirely separately from NHS labs and bypass the health service and public health system. Seven of these labs are dotted across the UK, including in Cambridge, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, and Chesire, among other locations.” [45]

Prior to May 2020, nearly all tests were done in-house in the NHS and numbered less than 50,000 a day. However, the number of tests carried out daily began to progressively increase from this point, when the vast majority of Covid deaths had already occurred. As at the 4th January 2021, 464,611 were carried out. [46]

Partly as a result of this mass roll out of testing involving financially-incentivised private companies, less experienced staff and long hours in order to meet demand, the accuracy of the PCR test has degraded. Even the government’s own figures admit the test is 95% accurate, i.e. that 1 in 20 results are wrong. This inaccuracy is less of an issue when testing a smaller number of patients who are obviously suspected of having covid (as was in the case in spring 2020), but when rolled out on a mass scale to the general population – the vast majority having no symptoms – then clearly false results begin to play a greater role.

A German study entitled “Pitfalls in SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics” looked at various PCR tests and samples, and in one instance found that “almost 20% of the positive results would have been false-positive” [47].

A study in the Lancet medical journal entitled ‘False-positive COVID-19 results: hidden problems and costs’, published in September 2020 stated: “The current rate of operational false-positive swab tests in the UK is unknown; preliminary estimates show it could be somewhere between 0.8% and 4.0%. This rate could translate into a significant proportion of false-positive results daily due to the current low prevalence of the virus in the UK population, adversely affecting the positive predictive value of the test.” [48]

At the time of writing the current prevalence of SARS-COV-2 in the general population is allegedly around 2%. Whilst there are likely low levels of endemic covid circulating, in theory all of these positive cases could be false. This notion is supported by Dr Mike Yeadon and Dr Clare Craig, who have both come to the conclusion that the alleged rise in covid cases (and hence “deaths within 28 days of a positive test”) is due to misdiagnosis [49]. In fact, anyone who dies of anything, from cancer to a car crash, but has had a positive PCR test within 28 days, is classed as a “covid death”. What is happening right now, as has occurred every winter for the last decade, is the seasonal increase in flu and other respiratory diseases, causing immense pressure on our National Health Service. But this pressure is due to a decade of Conservative cuts in funds, staff and resources, not the continuation or “second wave” of a Covid pandemic. Elderly people and those with underlying health conditions have always been the most vulnerable to significant illness and death from respiratory diseases; This has always been the case and is sadly a fact of life. However, the reality is that the chance of death is similar to the flu, with an infection fatality rate of 0.27% across countries experiencing typical levels of covid death, falling to just 0.05% in those aged under 70 [50].

The other point to make about the PCR test is that it will still pick up genuine instances of the virus, which is now endemic. It is likely that some of the deaths labelled as covid are genuine. However, one may also be immune and hence not show any symptoms. Thus a positive test and what the media presents as a “covid case” does not really mean anything if you are asymptomatic. As an anecdote from one of the authors of this document, their 92-year old Nan, who lives in a care home, tested positive on a PCR test last year. She didn’t show or develop any symptoms, which indicates either a) she had the virus but was immune, or b) it was a false positive.

What this means is that as long as the mass testing of the general population continues, there will always be a background level of positive results due to a combination of endemic levels of the virus and false positives. There is nothing stopping this government, who are being dictated to by SAGE, keeping various levels of lockdown and restrictions in place indefinitely. And this is exactly what we are being primed for, with SAGE’s Prof. Chris Whitty already announcing restrictions could come back next winter. [51] 

Covid-fascist restrictions on civil liberties and civil society 

If these restrictions do persist, as has been suggested by SAGE, then capitalist society would have permanently dispensed with liberalism and entered a type of covid-fascism,where individual freedoms are curtailed and whole parts of the economy are sacrificed in favour of super profits for a favoured group of corporations with ties to the government.

Whilst it may seem obvious for most people at the time of writing as to what the main restrictions are, it is worth reiterating them and consider how insane they would sound if someone explained this to you only a year ago:

  1. You cannot leave your house except for work, occasional shopping and exercise.
  2. Even when you do leave the house you must stay local, within 5 miles of where you live.
  3. All “non-essential” shops and social venues are closed. Pubs, clubs, music venues, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, hairdressers, sports clubs, community centres, recreation centres, hairdressers etc are all closed.
  4. You must wear a mask when inside a public building and keep two metres away from people who you do not live with.
  5. You cannot go to anyone else’s home.
  6. You cannot congregate or meet with other people in public.
  7. You cannot demonstrate or form a picket line in public.
  8. All elections are postponed, with this likely to continue into 2021.

All of these measures are enforced by the state with fines. For example, organising an “illegal” gathering could result in a £10,000 fine. But it won’t stop there. The police are now calling for more powers to break into the homes of “suspected” rule breakers. [52]

There are various other changes to laws and regulations via the Coronavirus Act [53] that are very concerning. These include: 

  • Only one doctor needs to sign off a death certificate, instead of the usual two.
  • Cremation of the dead no longer requires a death certificate.
  • The state has the power to postpone any elections, explicitly if “the poll for the election or the referendum falls within the period beginning with 16 March 2020 and ending with 5 May 2021”. This obviously covers the London mayor and local council elections due on the 5th May 2021.
  • Police may use “reasonable force” to forcibly remove or detain “potentially infected persons”.
  • Greater powers to detain people for longer periods of time under the Mental Health Act.

Clearly, it is ridiculous to say that all these changes to our lives and to the law are purely in the name of fighting a virus with a mortality rate similar to seasonal flu for those aged under 70.

The pandemic and lockdown measures, whether deliberate or not, have played a “useful” role for the British state in masking the economic crisis that has been brewing since the global capitalist crisis in 2008 and potentially exacerbated locally by the UK leaving the EU on less favourable terms for business. Unemployment, wage reductions and cuts in social spending can all be blamed on “the virus” whilst the big corporations in the key sectors of finance, tech and pharma can reap record profits.

New mRNA vaccine technology and dodgy data

Since the beginning of the pandemic, when it was first announced in China, pharmaceutical companies have been racing to develop a vaccine. When the original SARS broke out in the early 2000s, attempts were made to develop a vaccine but they ultimately proved to be unsuccessful, and the virus seemingly went away by itself.

The difference now is that Big Pharma is trying out a new technology, never before unleashed on the public: mRNA, or messenger RNA. The Forbes article “Pfizer And Moderna’s Vaccines Could Be More Profitable Than You Think” [54] explains:

“Moderna’s [and Pfizer’s] vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology – which has never been used in a vaccine before but could be easier to scale up. Unlike traditional vaccines which use a virus protein that needs to be grown over the course of weeks, mRNA molecules – which instruct the body to produce virus proteins by itself – are less complex and are produced via a chemical process (rather than a biological process) making mass production much quicker.”

mRNA-based vaccines are “…likely to offer meaningful cost benefits compared to traditional vaccines, as the manufacturing process is less capital intensive and relatively simpler and the doses are usually small. […] Secondly, both vaccines are more expensive than rivals. Pfizer’s vaccine will be priced at about $19 per dose, based on a supply agreement with the U.S. government, while Moderna’s shot will be priced at as much as $37 per dose. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be priced as low as $4. Both companies have also built relatively large order books for their vaccines, giving them the scale required to bring costs down. Pfizer’s shot has about 1.3 billion pre-orders so far, while Moderna’s shot has about 800 million pre-orders.”

Not only do Big Pharma stand to make lucrative profit from their billions of pre-orders of the  vaccine from governments and health providers all over the world, it is an ideal opportunity to try out mRNA technology on a mass scale. If they can demonstrate mRNA in practice, they can switch all other vaccines to use the same technology and usher in a new era of highly profitable vaccines, as this article in The Scientist explains:

“[T]he early success of the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 have scientists optimistic about the future of this technology. ‘These are really exciting times for RNA vaccines,’ Pardi tells The Scientist. In addition to applications in infectious diseases, researchers in both academia and industry have been pursuing the use of mRNA vaccines to harness the immune system to fight cancer. One of the biggest benefits of the mRNA platform is its flexibility, Pardi says—for example, he is currently investigating ways to encode multiple viral proteins into a single vaccine, which could help produce a more potent immune response against a virus.

Now that mRNA vaccines have revealed their potential, many more vaccine makers will likely develop an interest in the technique, according to Jackson. ‘I would predict, and others have too, that this will beckon a new era for the application of mRNA towards infectious diseases, particularly as rapid response platforms to help deal with outbreaks.” [55]

But have these covid vaccines really been proven safe and effective? Certainly the UK regulator body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), thought so, making the UK the first country to authorise an unlicensed covid vaccine under the emergency use regulations [56].

Whilst the government, the media and all public facing bodies have been key to promote the vaccine (“we have faith in the vaccine” was one cult-like statement from a government briefing last year), medical professionals, ignored by the media, have been raising concerns.

Dr Peter Doshi, an associate editor for the British Medical Journal, has been questioning Pfizer and Moderna’s clinical trial data, on the basis of which they claim their respective vaccines are 95% and 90% effective: 

“All attention has focused on the dramatic efficacy results: Pfizer reported 170 PCR confirmed covid-19 cases, split 8 to 162 between vaccine and placebo groups. But these numbers were dwarfed by a category of disease called “suspected covid-19”—those with symptomatic covid-19 that were not PCR confirmed. According to FDA’s report on Pfizer’s vaccine, there were ‘3410 total cases of suspected, but unconfirmed covid-19 in the overall study population, 1594 occurred in the vaccine group vs. 1816 in the placebo group.’

With 20 times more suspected than confirmed cases, this category of disease cannot be ignored simply because there was no positive PCR test result. Indeed this makes it all the more urgent to understand. A rough estimate of vaccine efficacy against developing covid-19 symptoms, with or without a positive PCR test result, would be a relative risk reduction of 19% —far below the 50% effectiveness threshold for authorization set by regulators. Even after removing cases occurring within 7 days of vaccination (409 on Pfizer’s vaccine vs. 287 on placebo), which should include the majority of symptoms due to short-term vaccine reactogenicity, vaccine efficacy remains low: 29%” [57].

So Pfizer’s vaccine has gone from being 95% effective to potentially only 19% effective. And that’s only in terms of reducing symptoms, which has been the sole endpoint of the trials. There is as yet not a shred of evidence the vaccine prevents you from getting the virus or the illness, or transmitting it. Doesn’t sound much like a vaccine! In the same article, Doshi points out the full data won’t be made available until at least middle of 2022, by which point a large portion of the population will have already had the vaccine.

There are a disproportionate number of adverse reactions being reported following the Pfizer vaccine. The CDC’s ‘V-Safe Active Surveillance for Covid-19 Vaccines’ programme observed 112,807 registrants take their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on 18th December 2020. 3,150 of them (2.8%) experienced ‘Health Impact Events’,  where the person was “unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work, required care from doctor or health care professional” [58]. Sounds a bit more than just a bruise and an achy arm.

Even worse, there have been cases of people dying after taking it, like this healthy 41 year old woman in Portugal [59], or two care home residents in Norway [60]. It is fair to say that these vaccines have no way been sufficiently tested. We are the guinea pigs, we are the trial for this new mRNA technology.

Mass hysteria and the collapse of the left

Like a Derren Brown mind trick on a mass scale, SAGE have used fear, manipulation and repeated use of repeated subtle ‘nudge’ language and cues to convince people that the biggest danger in their lives right now is from SARS-COV-2. All the objective evidence points to the contrary, that the pandemic is over, and that lockdown itself is doing all the harm. But when you have a population who have completely bought in to the government narrative, it is difficult (although not impossible) to use rational debate as a means to convince people otherwise.

Whether intentionally or not, this fear of the virus has taken on a life of its own and is now manifesting itself as mass hysteriathroughout the general population. In shops, masked people visibly cower away from those who do not wear masks. Parents shriek at their kids for daring to socially interact with other children, and grown adults go into hysterics at the sight of groups of more than two people. Things get worse on social media, with otherwise ‘normal’ people openly fantasising about rounding up “anti-vaxxers” and “anti-maskers” into camps. Anyone who dares to question the SAGE/government narrative is labelled a conspiracy theorist, a granny killer and deemed responsible for the genocide of tens of thousands of people.

Shockingly, this hysteria has manifested moreprominently amongst the liberal left and socialist left. The desire to be seento be buying into the official narrative and caring so much about everyone has superseded any rational thought and analysis. This collective exercise in virtue-signalling has led to the complete collapse of the organised socialist left (both social-democratic and Marxist) and the leadership of the trades unions.

At the end of December 2020, the National Education Union (NEU, the teachers’ union) launched a campaign to “keep schools safe” – in other words, close them! This was driven by their irrational fear, whipped up by SAGE, that asymptomatic (i.e. healthy!) children were the main drivers for the spread of symptomatic cases in adults (i.e teachers). Patrick Roach, the NASUWT (another teachers’ union) general secretary described SARS-COV-2 in a press statement as a “highly deadly” virus. [61]. An NEU member on Twitter exclaimed how going back to school with children was more deadly than their previous military service in Afghanistan [62].

Schools are now set to be shut until at least the beginning of March, and this will likely be extended. State education now consists largely of worksheets delivered by email or post, with an occasional personal email or phone call to the child. Neither the majority of schools or children have the means to conduct live lessons via remote means such as Zoom. This is completely detrimental to childrens’ education, socialisation and general well-being, hitting the most vulnerable and poorest families the hardest. In response to this insanity from the Unions, some parents have permanently withdrawn their children from school, either to homeschool them or have private tuition. Indeed, as the Business Insider reported during the first national lockdown, private tuition is booming and there are no signs this trend will reverse [63]. When state schools do finally begin to open, there will be a permanent reduction in children attending. This can only lead to the government further reducing state school funding (since it is in part calculated per pupil), teacher job losses and an intensification of privatisation or pseudo-privatisation in the forms of academies. In short, a huge own-goal for the teachers.

A similar process is happening within the NHS, with continuation warnings that the health service is being overwhelmed. Just like what happened in the first lockdown, people with serious health conditions that aren’t related to “covid” will either be put off from going to hospital, have their operation postponed or cancelled, or they’ll simply die at home. There is no way the NHS in its current form can deal with the huge backlog of routine operations, currently standing at over 160,000 [64]. A socialist programme to save the NHS would involve the renationalisation of all out-sourced provisions, building new hospitals and healthcare centres and a mass training and recruitment programme to fully staff the NHS. However, this is not what the corporate paymasters of SAGE nor the Tories want. They will use the “pandemic” as an excuse to further sell off and undermine the NHS, forcing people to either scrape together the money to go private, or perhaps start a “grown up national conversation” of the future of NHS funding – health insurance. The longer this fake “pandemic” continues, the more likely the NHS as we know it will end.

Build the movement

As it stands we are a handful of socialists, almost alone on the Left in our rejection of lockdown policy and the slide towards covid-fascism. It would be foolish and pointless for us to construct grand programmes and proclamations of what we think people should do, given the extreme minority we find ourselves in. Therefore, our main priority at this time is to popularise and extend our analysis among socialists and the wider public, and to convince people that lockdown is wrong and that opposition to this sociopathic policy is the correct course of action. This “new normal” is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, and so a working class, socialist anti-lockdown movement must be built on firm foundations. We hope to contribute to building such a movement, theoretically and practically. 

Sources 

[1] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30641-1/fulltext 

[2] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7980883/Video-shows-officials-protective-suits-dragging-suspected-coronavirus-carriers-homes.html

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[39] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2550-z 

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[46] https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/testing

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[52] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/05/police-chief-calls-for-power-of-entry-into-homes-of-suspected-lockdown-breakers

[53] https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2020/7/contents/enacted

[54] https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2020/12/16/pfizer-and-modernas-vaccines-could-be-more-profitable-than-you-think/?sh=442d260a6334 [55] https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/the-promise-of-mrna-vaccines-68202

[56] https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-the-u-k-became-first-to-approve-the-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-and-are-there-dangers-authorizing-so-fast-11606912465

[57] https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/01/04/peter-doshi-pfizer-and-modernas-95-effective-vaccines-we-need-more-details-and-the-raw-data/

[58] https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meetings/downloads/slides-2020-12/slides-12-19/05-COVID-CLARK.pdf

[59] https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2021-01-05/woman-in-portugal-dies-after-receiving-pfizer-vaccine/57516

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[62] https://twitter.com/samDavi344379/status/1345650166032977920

[63] https://www.businessinsider.com/private-tuition-is-thriving-with-schools-closed-during-covid-19-2020-7?r=US&IR=T

[64] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9038631/160-000-people-waiting-year-NHS-operations-amid-Covid-delays.html

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