Johnson government lies that main danger of COVID spread comes from Europe

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has spent the last week pouring out propaganda that any danger it is prepared to acknowledge from the spread of COVID comes not from Britain, but the European continent.

At a Downing Street press conference Monday, Johnson declared, “We don’t yet know the extent to which this new wave will wash up on our shores, but history shows we cannot afford to be complacent. Indeed, in recent days cases there have been rising here in the UK, so we must remain vigilant.”

In this Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 file photo, Critical Care staff prone a COVID-19 patient on the Christine Brown ward at King's College Hospital in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Pool)

The official narrative is that Britain got its pandemic policy right in July by fully opening the economy in the summer, creating an early surge of infection and so avoiding an increase in cases and deaths this winter. Europe, goes the argument, is now suffering the full impact of the spread of the Delta variant because it did not bite the bullet.

One would think that Johnson was speaking from a country where the pandemic was all but over. None of this bears any relation to reality, with the UK firmly in the midst of a raging pandemic. Britain has recorded around a thousand COVID-19 deaths a week for the last 20 weeks. Daily cases have remained at between 30,000 and 50,000 for months.

On what Johnson dubbed “Freedom Day” July 19, as he flung open the economy, including all non-essential business, and later schools, some 5.5 million cases of the disease had been officially recorded in Britain. In just the four months since, another 4.2 million people have contracted the disease, including hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren. Based on the current trajectory, Britain will have recorded 10 million infections by the end of the month.

On July 19, there were 129,007 deaths according to the government’s manipulated statistics. Four months later there were 143,799, meaning almost 15,000 more people have died of COVID as the price so far of Johnson’s reopening, supported by the Labour Party. The true death toll is substantially higher. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), based on fatalities where COVID is listed on the death certificate, has the death toll above 167,000.

Close to 47,000 infections were registered yesterday, and 199 deaths.

On Tuesday, Dr. Deepti Gurdasani, a public health researcher at Queen Mary University in London, tweeted of the results of the government’s homicidal policy: “I’m shocked by what we’ve normalised and ‘accepted’ in the UK: 18 continuous wks of excess mortality over previous yrs since July; 20,800 excess deaths since July '21; 50-60% of excess deaths explained by COVID-19; highest current weekly deaths from COVID-19 since March 21.”

Professor Christina Pagel, the director of University College London’s clinical operational research unit, answered Johnson’s portrayal of COVID as a continental European problem by tweeting the same day: “since July 1, The UK has the highest overall number of cases (per population)—far higher than most of western Europe. For deaths, Eastern Europe has by far highest due to its much lower vax rates & existing poor health & high cases. UK has had highest deaths in W Europe apart from Greece (which has lower vax rates than others). UK 2x or more deaths than France, Italy, Germany, Portugal.”

Britain’s huge toll of disease and death is not a foreign import, but the product of the government’s own policies, carried out with the declared aim of making the UK the first country in which COVID is endemic.

Johnson’s urging the UK to “remain vigilant” in practice amounts to scrapping all public health measures except vaccination. But vaccination alone, without the strictest measures in place such as lockdowns and school closures, social distancing and the mandatory wearing of masks, is inadequate to combat the disease.

Around 20 percent (approximately 11.5 million people) of Britain’s population aged 12-plus are not double-vaccinated. Only around 13.9 million people (less than a quarter of the population aged 12-plus) have received a third booster vaccine. A demographic time bomb has been planted, with vaccination rates having dropped off at every age level except 12-15 and 16-17, and this because they have only begun to receive a first dose in recent weeks. All those under the age of 12 have been denied a vaccine, despite experience in other countries showing that vaccination in that vulnerable age group is safe.

This callous policy has resulted in the tragic and preventable deaths of 112 children and adolescents, with a surge taking place in the months since the reopening of schools throughout August and September. The savage treatment of the youngest in society was summed up in a Twitter posting Monday by a member of the SafeEdforAll (Safe Education For All) campaigning group, “Child Covid, where we are. We're averaging around 80-100k child cases a week. Around 250 hospital admissions pw [per week], 3000 children with Long Covid pw, And between 3-7 child covid deaths a week.”

On Wednesday, the ONS finally tweeted what could no longer be denied: “Adults who lived with someone aged 16 or under were more likely (than those who don't live with people of these ages) to test positive for #COVID19 in the fortnight ending 6 November 2021.”

The claim that vaccination alone will end the suffering of the pandemic is refuted by the growing number of people who have been reinfected with COVID, including the double vaccinated. In June, Public Health England (PHE) published data noting that there had already been 15,893 possible reinfections identified up to May 30, 2021, in England. The danger of reinfection is heightened by the fact that COVID is constantly mutating. PHE discovered a further 478 probable reinfections among people who have tested positive for a variant that was not circulating the first time they got COVID.

Last week, the government’s homicidal agenda was laid out in a batch of documents marked “official sensitive” leaked to the Mail on Sunday. Operation “Rampdown” is a plan to end all remaining mitigation measures by next spring.

The terrible fate in store for millions of people who face the consequences of “living with the virus”, i.e. suffering and dying with it, is being concealed by the cynical language of Johnson and his cronies, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Office Sir Patrick Vallance. Underplaying the scale of the crisis underway, as the National Health Service is already overwhelmed at the onset of winter, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said the country faces “a bumpy few months ahead.”

In a November 14 editorial, the Financial Times spelled out the government’s policy. Unabashed in its critique of policies aimed at eliminating COVID and achieving “Zero COVID”, its main theme was that the capitalist class must be able to return to unhindered profit making.

Asserting that the “challenge for Asian nations now,” specifically China, “is to open up to the rest of the world,” it insisted, “The bottom line is that Covid elimination is simply not possible. Even with an effective vaccine drive, the Delta variant is simply too infectious and too entrenched around the world. No matter how many times a country eliminates the disease, it will come back and keep coming back. At this stage, therefore, border closures and draconian lockdowns simply postpone the moment when Covid-19 will inevitably become endemic in a population while limiting citizen’s freedom.”

A programme of elimination for COVID-19 is not only possible, but vitally necessary to avoid the loss of countless more lives and years of good health. It requires the international working class to take the response to the pandemic out of the hands of the murderer Johnson, his accomplices in the Labour Party and the trade unions, and their equivalents across the world.