Declare the Pandemic Over!
I begin with the end. It is time we allow policy to be made by the States as POTUS Biden has indicated. Omicron has presented the unique opportunity for the federal and local governments to declare success, that the vaccines have helped somewhat, the risk is very low for Omicron, and that COVID January 2022 is not COVID February 2020.
The vaccines have shown themselves to be ineffective now and there are reports of adverse effects and even deaths post vaccine. This is a real concern and forms part of my view that we must end this now. All of it. To the extent that vaccines were ever needed, my view remains ‘no’.
Yes, I can repeat what I have stated repeatedly and for well over a year now (AIER) and more recently (Brownstone), that the lockdowns are and were futile, and so were the school closures and mask mandates. That mass testing and isolation/quarantine of asymptomatic persons was useless and actually harmful. That you could never ever defeat a mutable respiratory virus and especially one with an animal reservoir and open borders. That the lockdown policies caused crushing harms on societies and especially those least able to afford them. That business owners and laid off employees and children self-harmed and took their own lives. That you would deny people the right to choose vaccination or not (their natural immunity), with relentless infringement on their liberties and humanity. That you would work to wrongfully and without scientific basis, separate the society on vaccine status. That you would claim success when the epidemic waves declined without any regard for seasonality and the natural behavior of the epidemic and as such, insist you do more and more of the same failed policies.
Yes, I could go on and on about the catastrophic failures of the lockdowns and near every pandemic policy and action taken, but this is not the place. We have to focus on moving forward for the society is dangerously fractured, polarized, and divided. Yes, we have plenty of time to revisit and examine what went wrong and I do not wish to be sidetracked and want to focus on ‘ending the pandemic emergency’ and ‘moving forward’ immediately given the trauma to the society.
The fact is that we know extensively more on who is at risk and how to manage and treat COVID. Omicron can allow the government to now save face and declare success. We can thus begin healing our societies. It is time we learn to manage this virus and go on with life, and start by ending the emergency, the restrictions, and mandates. Now. The nation is suffering and especially our children, and in many respects, needlessly.
It is time now. It is time we be brave as a society. It is time to end the pandemic state of emergency. It is time also to end the controls, the closures, the restrictions, the plexiglass, the social distancing stickers and exhortations, the distancing announcements, and also the vaccine mandates given the overwhelming evidence implying that the infection explosion globally that we have been experiencing – post-double vaccination and even triple vaccination in e.g. Israel, UK, US etc. – may be due to the vaccinated becoming infected and spreading Covid as much or more than the unvaccinated.
We have emerging indications (not yet affirmed) that 95% of infections in Germany are among the fully vaccinated. Additional evidence of the seeming failure of the vaccines emerged when Omicron cases spiked in Germany’s most vaccinated state. Israel is already considering a fourth vaccination for the elderly (given that the prior three shots have been largely ineffective with vaccinal immunity rapidly waning) and also whether to end vaccination in everyone except high-risk people, and thus adopting a ‘herd’ immunity policy.
The former COVID czar of Israel has now alluded that Omicron “will give Israel herd immunity without swamping ICUs.” In Israel, it is becoming increasingly clear that Omicron could lead to population-level herd immunity. Denmark is also signaling admission of Omicron’s deliverance from the COVID-19 pandemic, stating “it will impart a kind of herd immunity shielding the country from future variants.” Vaccines and mandates are increasingly being called into question in the face of Omicron with health experts saying “the highly transmissible Omicron variant could help countries reach herd immunity as cases continue to rise.”
COVID is circling the drain and this pandemic emergency can end. This will take courage and political will. Ending this is really a societal decision where the population must decide it is time to go on with usual life, making reasonable commonsense decisions and taking necessary precautions. This means we will have to come to terms with living with the pathogen and that this is reasonable and was expected. This signals a healthy society. We already have the Great Barrington Declaration and a 20-step Alexander/Brownstone Model as signposts to help us emerge.
The evidence shows that there is no marked difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated in terms of infection risk and harboring of heavy viral load, relative to previous variants. We have accumulated evidence that appear to strongly support this (Brownstone here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
What these studies have shown are that vaccines have not protected against the Delta and Omicron variants. Importantly, they show that the vaccines cannot stop the disease from spreading and eventually infect most of us. That is, while the vaccines provide individual benefits to the vaccinee, and especially to older high-risk people, the public benefit of universal vaccination is in grave doubt.
As such, Covid vaccines should not be expected to contribute to eliminating the communal spread of the virus or the reaching of herd immunity. These vaccines cannot cut the chain of transmission and thus have no role in contributing to herd immunity. We also have accumulated evidence that the vaccines are harmful for many, and alarmingly in young persons e.g. myocarditis in males < 40 years of age (Patone et al.). What we are seeing is that the vaccines are very limited in stopping Omicron infection that now dominates. It is becoming increasingly clear that we will have to rely on natural immunity (COVID-recovered) to get us to population-level herd immunity.
This unravels the rationale for vaccine mandates and passports. “The notion that we have to vaccinate every living, walking American – and eventually every newborn – in order to control the pandemic,” writes Marty Makary, “is based on the false assumption that the risk of dying from COVID-19 is equally distributed in the population. It’s not. We have always known that it’s very hard for the virus to hurt someone who is young and healthy. And that’s still the case.”
As it currently stands, the SCOTUS seems poised to rule against POTUS Biden’s vaccine and testing mandates for businesses. We even have evidence that Omicron arrived on all 7 continents, as 36 cases were reported in Antarctica.
We also know that natural immunity is superior to vaccine immunity and it always was. Any suggestions otherwise by public health leaders and officials have been an effort to misinform and mislead the public into vaccinating. It is actually a scandal, outrageously so, that the natural immunity (COVID-recovered) of persons is not being recognized as equal to and even superior to vaccine immunity as it is.
It turns out that we have data to show that natural immunity is life-long, with data showing that it is robust near 100 years after exposure e.g. researchers find long-lived immunity to 1918 pandemic virus, CIDRAP, 2008 and the actual 2008 NATURE journal publication by Yu. We also know of the research that exposure to prior common cold coronavirus provides protection and that we were likely all immune at some level e.g. exposure to common cold coronaviruses can teach the immune system to recognize SARS-CoV-2, La Jolla, Crotty and Sette, 2020 and selective and cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes in unexposed humans, Mateus, 2020, as well as those who had SARS-1 in 2003 were immune to SARS-CoV-2 now e.g. SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity in cases of COVID-19 and SARS, and uninfected controls, Le Bert, 2020.
It is becoming more apparent then, that the pandemic is on its last legs and Omicron has ushered this endemic (endemic equilibrium) phase in, thankfully. This variant is milder yet highly infectious. Yes, we have had approximately 1 million new cases in one day in the United States as January 2022 arrived and we have to take this seriously and be on guard as the pandemic winds down.
Importantly, while there has been an increase, the massive hospitalization has not occurred and the ICU and death curves that typically follow the infection and case curves by approximately one to two weeks, have not materialized. The deaths are about one-tenth of Delta’s. The New York Times has reported that Omicron is not more severe for children, this despite increasing hospitalizations. Dr. Fauci has also weighed in by stating “hospitals are overcounting COVID-19 cases in children because they automatically get tested.”
This is tremendous news for populations. We have been fortunate that the variants have been mild as expected (Muller’s ratchet), yet there is always a small risk that a novel variant can be pathogenic. We continue to be hopeful that the mildness and non-lethality of Omicron remains so and we have no data or evidence to suggest otherwise.
The very good news is based on the best data to date. The vaccines have served their purpose but have shown themselves to be insufficient against the Omicron variant, which by the very infectious nature of this variant, will affect virtually everyone regardless of vaccinations. Moreover, after its current steep rise, there will be a peak and decline and reduction of what is left of Covid to small endemic pockets that may recur in the fall like flu but will continue according to best evidence as mild if annoying infections.
The evidence accumulated rapidly that Omicron quickly escalated, peaked, and then declined as rapidly (here, here, here, here). “If you look at the United States, the bulk of the infections should be mid-January, and we should start seeing a decline in the second half of January,” Vespignani says. “So it’s, in a sense, very soon.”
Recent research findings out of Hong Kong give us even more good news. Researchers reported that “Omicron SARS-CoV-2 infects and multiplies 70 times faster than the Delta variant and original SARS-CoV-2 in human bronchus.” This helps account for why this variant may spread faster between humans than prior variants e.g. Delta. Their study also showed that “the Omicron infection in the lung is significantly lower than the original SARS-CoV-2, which may be an indicator of lower disease severity.”
Researchers found that “the variant replicates much faster in the bronchus, which connects the windpipe to the lungs, 24 hours after infection. Yet it reproduces more than 10 times slower in the actual human lung tissue.”
In sum, this is all great news.
Yes, there is evidence of reinfection (though the data is still to be robustly collected and expert immunologists explain this represents more of an ‘immune rechallenge’ and not pure breach of natural acquired/adaptive immunity) but by all accounts, the symptoms are mild, with reports that even the elderly require no treatment and that symptoms are short-lived. This is excellent news and we see no indications that this will change. At the same time, we should expect some modest amount of death in vulnerable persons. In effect, COVID can be considered being over and Omicron has hastened the pace of endemic transition. Omicron is being exalted as nature’s vaccine, a gift, an off-ramp, an exit strategy for governments and COVID policy decision-makers, should they have the courage and will to avail themselves of it.
In summary, it is now time to end the pandemic’s state of emergency and everything associated with it. All mandates. It is time we accept that we will live with COVID as we live with other mild common cold coronaviruses. Normal infection is the risk we accept in a free society that comes with day-to-day living. It comes with freedom to make commonsense decisions, based on one’s personal risk profile, one’s own needs, values, and preferences.
There is never ‘zero risk’ and vulnerable persons may succumb but if there is one thing COVID has taught us or reminded us, it is that we must properly and strongly protect the vulnerable (elderly) and high-risk persons among us ‘first.’ But ‘zero COVID’ or ‘stop COVID at all costs’ only destroys economies, and the collateral damage as to harms and suicides are crushing. This is particularly so for women and children and especially those poorer among us who can least afford. We must never take this path again or allow our governments the emergency powers to implement these liberty- and human rights-crushing lockdown policies. Lockdown costs (financial and otherwise) have been catastrophic and will incur millions of years of life lost to Americans.
It is time we allow policy to be made by the States as POTUS Biden has indicated. Omicron has presented the opportunity for the federal and local governments to declare success, that the vaccines have helped, the risk is very low for Omicron, and that COVID January 2022 is not COVID February 2020.
We know extensively more on who is at risk and how to manage and treat COVID. Omicron can allow the government to now save face and declare success. We can thus begin healing our societies. It is time we learn to manage this virus and go on with life, and start by ending the emergency, the restrictions, and mandates.