COVID-19: Science and Conspiracy

Dr Biksham Gujja

The omicron variant of covid-19 is setting new world record. On 23rd December 2021, just before Christmas, the global infection reached 9,80,281 surpassing the earlier record of 9,04,091 (on 29th April, 2021). However, there is a significant reduction of daily death toll despite massive infection rate and in countries like Germany and Netherlands, the cases are coming down, a result of serious measures including lockdown.

That said, omicron is spreading much faster. In US and many Western European countries such as UK, France, Spain and Italy, the cases have doubled in less than four days. Europe is being hit hard and is in panic. Fresh restrictions have been imposed ranging from total lockdown to almost lockdown situation a before Christmas when the world is in celebration, festive and holiday mood. Though daily death and hospitalisation rates are low, it is not comforting. Rife with uncertainty and speculation, people know the virus is here to stay and will impact even those vaccinated or otherwise.

China that gave COVID-19 to the world currently stands at 114 in global position, much below Cyprus (pop 1.2 million) and Montenegro (pop 0.8 million). While the origin of the virus is shrouded in mystery, even more mysterious is how China is able to contain the infection at around 1,00,000 and below 4,600 deaths for a population of 1.4 billion. Will China answer this or can WHO attempt to put a process to get some convincing answers? May not be as WHO is heavily dependent on China for its funding. As well, could countries have benefitted had they known China’s containment measures? Why are the western powers with all their might – money, technology, organisation skills and discipline not able to stop the spread of covid-19? With vaccinations, double vaccinations, boosters and medicines the western powers seem helpless while dealing with the virus. What China is doing differently remains shrouded in mystery and conspiracy. That said, it appears that cases are increasing even in China. China has reported 1,765 active cases which is a 700 increase, a number almost negligible for any other country yet significant for China.

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India for now is doing well, in relative sense. For its size and complexity, the official figures are certainly encouraging. On the day omicron was reported by WHO, India had about 8,777 daily infections (27th November 2021). Even after a month, the daily infection has remained the same. It appears, omicron has either no impact or if any, it is negligible. Though 200 cases of omicron are being reported it is from those travelling to India, mostly from African. Even the daily death rate has remained almost constant, around 300 in November and December. Does it mean India has escaped the rapid transmission of omicron? Maybe a bit early to say but considering several factors such as the population density, vaccination rate, and almost no third dose to any one, India seems to be certainly doing good compared to other countries. Having said that, the Indian Government and people have to take every precaution and all reasonable measures to contain the virus. Money or hospitals alone cannot protect us from this virus. We all have to take simple measures and continuously follow them till covid is all over.

With the onset of the omicron variant, we are back to the initial days of the onset of covid – shockwaves, panic, fear, sense of helplessness, quarantining, closing boarders and erecting barricades and anger is mounting among people. We were assured two doses of vaccine will protect us but omicron has dashed such hopes. The biggest question – why have we been vaccinated? The theory that vaccine reduces impact and pressure on the health care system, is it based on science or it is a mere speculation? With progress made in science, medicine and technology the world seems not to feel any safer than in 1918 pandemic. In fact, with more and instant information, fear has become a norm than exception. How long will this go on, no one seem to have any answer and everyone who are supposed to provide answers are actually adding to the fear, panic, confusion and even helplessness.

Is this a conspiracy? Conspiracy of vaccine pharmaceutical industry particularly to keep this going? Such questions were initially and largely raised within the fringe groups and among the conspiracy theorists but now they are being raised systematically. Even books raising critical questions are gaining public acceptance and reaching to the best seller lists for several weeks. Mr. Robert Kennedy Jr’s new book, “The Real Anthony Fauci- Bill Gates, Big Pharma and War on Global Democracy and Public Health” has raised some interesting questions and convinces the world with data, facts and figures and references that COVID-19 and its response is not about health and that it is about re-configurating our societies and democracies, a big and bold accusation. The book spares no words and delves deeper into the history of Fauci and his vaccines to raise enough doubt that there is more to know than what people think they know already – tracing the history of Anthony Fauci for last fifty years and delving about several projects while narrating the story of how this global pandemic has created and managed to benefit the big pharma, and how science is being manipulated to protect patents and vaccine companies. The book was on New York Times best-selling non-fiction list for five weeks. As the book was released just before omicron surfaced, we do not find any reference to omicron. New York Times and every other media termed Robert as a conspiracy theorist, anti-vaccination organiser and some papers like New York Post made direct attack on his personality, previous actions to discredit him and his book.

What exactly is going on? It is almost two years now and the drama is going on. The world is not close or near end to the virus, moreover new mutants which are much more virulent than the earlier ones are emerging. How long this will go on and where will all this end? Conspiracy or no conspiracy, this book by Kennedy, a passionate environmentalist, exposes with considerable facts and references the single point agenda of promoting vaccines, nothing but a vaccine approach of Anthony Fauci and his empire. It is astonishing to know a country like US, which is largely science based, reason based has had Anthony Fauci for five decades to control the health sector. Two simple claims in the book shock any reader. 1. Anthony Fauci controls a budget of 7 billion a year. With that kind of money and power, it is possible for anyone to push and or supress any facts? Why will anyone do such a thing? One needs to read the book to understand the dynamics Fauci created. 2. US has a term limit of two for a President. This is to avoid any entrenchment of person-based power over democratic process but then for Fauci kind there is no such term limit and it appears there is no control and no over sight on spending and regulation over the key institutions. Even the President of US cannot do anything to direct or correct people like Fauci. At least that is what Kennedy tries to convince. One can dismiss Kennedy and his personal behaviour but his book raises some very important questions, puts the data before public to think about it. It articulates some genuine key concerns related to public health and profits. Even if one wants to dismiss the book one has to read it. So far, this is the best book with facts and figures. Kennedy knows what he is doing and what arguments he is putting forward. This book is probably one of the best written with supporting notes, web references, foot notes and testimonials from respected and reputed (for some maybe they are already discredited) doctors. It is virtually not possible to stop reading this book, even if one is dismissive of anti-vaccination and the conspiracy theories.

One key question the book raises is about vaccine for covid-10. It says, is vaccination the answer, the only answer? Is fear being fuelled to benefit some companies and products and even encourage certain type of commerce who profit more during the pandemic? The world is being deliberately pushed into a certain health, economic and social re-organisation through this covid-19? Will this become the new norm? Who benefited and who lost the most during the two years of confusion, death and carnage? Could this have been handled differently? Is it possible to stop this kind of fear which is being deliberately hyped constantly to continue this situation? All these questions need some answers and perhaps this book is the beginning.

For the record, I am double vaccinated and took my third dose just before I started reading this book. I am always critical of any conspiracy theories including people who are actively campaigning against the vaccinations. I find them all right wing and or Trump supporters or some crazy social groups. But after reading this book, I realised that a complex issue like covid, which is re-drawing the global relations, reconfiguration of the global economy, politics, social relations has to be explored from all dimensions. That includes reading, listening to people like Kennedy too. Keeping an open mind is essential to understand the dynamics of virus and its impact on our society. This is the single most important event of the 21st century. This pandemic will be discussed, re-called even after several centuries so we need to know more than we think we know. It is not simply a virus out of control, it is lot more than that. This book, though one may not agree with all of it, but helps in raising some important questions. It might take decades to get the answers, but it is important to keep the questions in mind even if there is no possibility of getting any convincing answers now.

Some points to think…
a. People know little about it: Whatever its origins, covid-19 and the events that followed and the spread of virus in many countries, US in particular needs critical analysis. Certainly, there is a lot more which is being hidden from public. It is not simple virus and it has much deeper secrets than any single government can comprehend or handle. It is not as simple and straightforward. There are many things being hidden. Covid-19 is not about virus or pandemic, it is much more than that and what that is and why this has prolonged so long, needs critical thinking.

b. Science seem to be not guiding the policy responses of many countries : WHO and US seem to be making decisions based on some other considerations and compulsions related to vaccine and treatment of COVID-19. by US and WHO. Why we need to be concerned about US. We like it or not, it is a fact, US leads the way and sets the trend. Covid responses has seriously undermined the very core foundations of democracy in western democracies. Is this temporary? Will this continue in a different format? Time will tell us, but it is worth asking that question. It is not science based but fear-based approaches which are increasingly becoming the norm than exception.

c. Vaccine and its effectiveness is not known and vaccine is not going to save people from getting covid or surviving from it. Already many vaccine developers including Pfizer are openly articulating that there will be more pandemics and vaccine should become a regular feature of public health policy. Vaccine companies want profits but no responsibility of health impacts of their products. It is shocking that they are dictating nation states to wave the responsibility, while not taking any responsibility that vaccine may or may not be effective for COVID-19 and the side effects if any due to vaccine. There is no study, except their own to show that vaccine protects from covid infections. There is no clear and scientific proof to say that vaccinated people, even third (and some countries like Israel are already contemplating fourth dose) dose will protect from infection and or death.

d. Cheaper and effective medicines are being dismissed: There are lot more interesting, cost effective and more human approaches to deal with current covid-19 but for some strange reason, it appears that there is aggressive and rather oppressive opposition to such approaches, dismissing such committed doctors and institutions. For example, there are simple cures with existing generic medicines which are far cheaper and more effective which are being demonised or defamed without any scientific studies. It appears there are many doctors who are doing excellent work with fraction of the cost in most difficult situations saving lives. But they are all being dismissed, harassed and demonised as un-scientific.

E) Public health is far more important: It is conspiracy or not, what exactly conspiracy means, who conspires on whom all these debates will go on and on. Dismissing any debate and not allowing any dissent and to say even such dissent appears to be crazy is not going to help people in the long run. For example, it is not vaccination or anti-vaccination, it is very shocking to know there are more than 50 mandatory vaccines for a child in US. Where does this vaccine madness stop, what vaccines are essential, what are being pushed at the cost of public health? Why heavily vaccinated countries like Western Europe and US, Australia are more susceptible to many simple viruses? Why many industrialised countries are suffering more than other countries with little or no health budgets in dealing with covid.

The only way to know that Kennedy’s book is wrong is setting up a global independent review of covid origins and covid responses and effectiveness or otherwise of the vaccines. A close look at the recent WHO committee to look at the origins of covid-19 and their conclusions raise serious doubts about the process and its conclusions. Even mainstream media is churning many reports and documentaries about such committees. So, it is time for western democracies to take serious look at the facts and set up a truly global committee of scientists, doctors totally independent of Fauci, WHO and China to look at these critical issues and come out with recommendations for future. In absence of such process, obviously conspiracy theories gain more traction and more credibility. When science is being manipulated, the conspiracy theorists gain more acceptability. It is highly unlikely that WHO and or US or any other western countries who claim to be science based will push to establish an independent commission now, but eventually they will if public questioning increases. The books, like this one might contribute towards that process.

Dr. Biksham Gujja is Scientist, worked with WWF-International as a Policy advisor and based in Gland, Switzerland, Gmail:gujjab@gmail.com

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