Turning around the Covid-19 ‘super tanker’ – ICU chief
5th April 2022 by Editor BizNews
While not an epidemiologist or vaccinologist, this former ICU chief graphically illustrates the inflexibility of those at the helm of global Covid 19 containment. From the information he shares, it seems like a case of, “we’ve made up our minds, now don’t confuse us with new conflicting data that might force us to change our strategy.” There are billions in profits and huge reputations at stake. An analogy would be the World Health Organisation’s unrelenting stance on nicotine consumption. An entire monolithic global structure has been created employing hundreds of thousands of scientists, bureaucrats and researchers – all turning their guns on Big Tobacco – however nicotine may be consumed. Yet technology now challenges them with nicotine harm reduction devices proven to save lives and reduce really damaging combustible nicotine consumption. Again, it’s the Third World, particularly Africa, that has the most smokers and most stands to benefit from a flexible, country-specific harm reduction approach, with accessibility and price reduction critical priorities. Covid has produced some chillingly similar behaviour. – Chris Bateman
BA.2 is on the horizon – is it time to finally give ‘early Covid-19 treatment’ a chance?
By Dr Nkosinathi Mdladla*
The first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have internationally been characterised by cynics as a top-down non-consultative approach, where government-appointed officials seemed uninterested in any outside input. Individuals and experts had different views to the official narrative typically being driven by advisory institutions setting policies and guidelines for the pandemic intervention.
This was followed by an unwillingness to learn and adapt, especially in countries like South Africa where the pandemic arrived only around four months after it started in Wuhan, China. In the calendar of Covid-19, two weeks is a season and there is a lot to learn from that period to formulate strategies relevant to your country based on its unique characteristics and capabilities.
Almost everything that the Ministerial Advisory Committee in South Africa (and many of the international counterparts we seemed to follow lockstep, especially in the USA and the United Kingdom), has been driven by what is seemingly a political narrative with little semblance of it following known and emerging science. The excuse that a “novel virus” was driving the pandemic – and therefore what we knew from prior similar pandemics and long-standing medical principles of virology and immunology of respiratory coronaviruses disease did not hold true – was exactly that: an excuse that only non-medical people and non-academics could have held since it has caused so much collateral damage someone will have to account.
That lockdown would achieve what was claimed it would is one of the gravest mistakes of this pandemic. “Two weeks to flatten the curve” has not aged well, predictably to most of us who called this an ill-informed strategy from the outset. A principle and policy never adopted or tested prior to Covid-19 – deemed dangerous and discouraged by the WHO as a blanket strategy for every nation out of context of each country’s reality – was adopted by many nations including ours.
I was one of the harshest critics of our lockdown, which was completely meaningless for our reality and wrote a piece on its possible negative impacts as soon as the hard lockdown was declared on 26 March 2020, and all of those predictions have come to pass. I tried getting my opinion piece as an academic HOD onto some of South Africa’s major mainstream media publications but it was rejected by all, citing the reason that “it went against the official government policy” and they would not publish it. It would seem open discussion would be the first casualty of the pandemic. Data emerging from developed nations has now shown only a 0.2% reduction in mortality from Covid-19 through lockdowns. The collateral damage in lost employment, business closures, mental health, delayed medical interventions, child development and many other parameters has not been counted fully yet but is known to be significant.