Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Denmark returns to ‘life as we knew it’ despite Omicron

Omicron is running wild across the world — and its impact is being felt keenly in Europe where several nations have imposed strict new rules and vaccine mandates over the course of the northern hemisphere winter.

But as cases increase to levels never seen before across the continent, one nation has made a move that has caught many by surprise.

Denmark on Tuesday becomes the first European Union country to lift all of its Covid restrictions despite record numbers of cases, relying on its high vaccination rate to cope with the milder Omicron variant.

After a first attempt at lifting all its restrictions between September and November, the Scandinavian country is once again ditching its face masks, Covid passes and limited opening hours for bars and restaurants.

“I’m so happy that this is all going to be over tomorrow. It’s good for life in the city, for night-life, just to be able to be out longer”, 17-year-old student Thea Skovgaard told AFP the day before the lifting.

Nightclubs reopen on Tuesday, when limits on the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings also come to an end.

Only a few restrictions remain in place at the country’s borders, for unvaccinated travellers arriving from non-Schengen countries.

The easing comes as Denmark registers around 40,000-50,000 new Covid cases a day, or almost one per cent of the country’s 5.8 million inhabitants.

“We have an extremely high coverage of adults vaccinated with three doses,” epidemiologist Lone Simonsen of the University of Roskilde told AFP.

More than 60 per cent of Danes have received a third dose — one month ahead of health authorities’ schedule — compared to an EU average of just under 45 per cent.

Including those who have recently had Covid, health authorities estimate that 80 per cent of the population are protected against severe forms of the disease.

“With Omicron not being a severe disease for the vaccinated, we believe it is reasonable to lift restrictions”, Simonsen said.

The broad spread of the Omicron variant is also expected to lead to a “more robust and long-lasting immunity”, helping the country fend off future waves, she said.

Two years after the outbreak of Covid-19, the Danish strategy enjoys broad support at home.

In a poll published Monday by daily Politiken, 64 per cent of Danes surveyed said they had faith in the government’s Covid policy.

Personal responsibility

Going forward, Danes are being urged to exercise personal responsibility, Simonsen said.

“Without a Covid pass there will be a shift of responsibility”, she said. Danes have increasingly used home tests to detect infection, but these are now being phased out and instead, anyone with symptoms is advised to stay home.

The Danish Health Authority currently “recommends” those who test positive to isolate for four days, while contact cases no longer need to quarantine.

Face masks and the Covid pass are also recommended for hospital visits. The government said it does not expect to have to revert to new closures again but has remained cautiously optimistic.

“We can’t provide any guarantees when it comes to biology”, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said last week when announcing the country’s return “to life as we knew it before corona”.

“It’s really nice that this is ending but will we really live without any restrictions now? I doubt it,” said Cille Hjort, a fast-food vendor eager to see her patrons’ faces without masks again.

This is the second time Denmark has tried to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. On September 10, the country lifted all its restrictions, before reintroducing some of them in early November.

Museums, cinemas and theatre and concert venues then closed just before Christmas, and reopened again in early January.

Faced with a lower level of hospitalisations than in previous waves, several European countries, including France, Ireland and the United Kingdom, have announced the lifting or a considerable reduction of their restrictions, despite record or very high cases.

“Two years into the pandemic, populations in most countries have reached high levels of immunity, from vaccines or natural illness”, Simonsen said.

“This is how it ends, judging from what we have seen with historical pandemics”. According to the World Health Organisation, 73 per cent of the European population has contracted Covid-19 at least once since January 2020.

Tyra Krause of Denmark’s public health and research institution SSI said meanwhile she expected Covid-19 to return in regular waves, “like the flu”.

“We may end up having to vaccinate risk groups ahead of the autumn to prevent severe cases”, she told science magazine Videnskab.


Future lockdowns should be ‘rejected out of hand’, new international report says

Lockdowns have “had little to no effect on” reducing deaths from Covid-19 and should be “rejected out of hand” for dealing with the next pandemic, according to a new international study that comes amid falling confidence in public health authorities in the US.

Business closures and stay at home orders in the US and Europe reduced deaths by 0.2 per cent on average, according to a new analysis by American and Swedish researchers that questioned whether the novel health policy, pioneered by China in Wuhan in early 2020, would pass a cost-benefit analysis.

“Lockdowns have not been used to such a large extent during any of the pandemics of the past century,” the authors said, suggesting their “marginal at best” benefits needed to be compared with their “devastating effects”.

“They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy.”

The study, conducted by Steve Hanke, a founder of the Johns Hopkins School of Applied Economics, Jonas Herby and Lars Jonung, a Swedish economist, comes amid debate over the effectiveness of mandates in “slowing the spread” of Covid-19 as the pandemic enters its third year and cases and hospitalisations from surge to new highs.

Americans’ confidence in public health authorities has fallen during the pandemic, from 55 per cent in 2020 to 44 per cent, according to a national NBC poll conducted earlier this month. Forty-three per cent specifically said they did not trust the Centre for Disease Control’s recommendations.

Governments imposed lockdowns of various severity and duration, including seven in Victoria totalling more than 260 days, from March 2020 onwards, after British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who was advising the UK government, forecast that lockdowns would reduce deaths by “up to 98 per cent”.

Pandemic plans published prior to Covid-19 had either advised specifically against lockdowns, which until now had been a fringe, untried “nuclear option”.

Difficulties in enforcement, voluntary social distancing, and unintended consequences, such as confining infected and uninfected people together at home and stopping socialising at safe, outdoor areas such as parks and beaches, may have worked against the effectiveness of lockdowns, the study suggested.

“Countries like Denmark, Finland, and Norway that realised success in keeping Covid-19 mortality rates relatively low allowed people to go to work, use public transport, and meet privately at home during the first lockdown,” they said.

“Island nations are birds of a different feather in more ways than one. In addition to Australia and New Zealand, Iceland, Japan, South Korea (a de facto island), Singapore and Taiwan have had very few Covid deaths. But some of them had very mild lockdowns, too.

“And let’s not forget the UK. It’s had one lockdown after another and relatively high rates of mortality, too.”

Proponents of the radical policies have struggled to explain how jurisdictions that imposed no or few lockdowns, such as Scandinavian nations, Japan, or southern states of the US, have ended up with Covid-19 outcomes not greatly different or even better than other jurisdictions.

The lockdown study, a “meta-analysis” that aggregated the findings of other studies, whittled down 117 empirical analyses of lockdowns published before July 2020 to 34, discarding any that used computer modelling to predict counterfactuals.

Lockdowns were defined as any mandatory policy that reduced movement or mandated masks. “Shelter in place orders”, a subcategory, reduced deaths by 2.9 per cent, it found.

A separate survey found three quarters of American adults said they were “tired and frustrated” with the pandemic while 77 per cent said it was inevitable people would catch Covid-19, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The UK and Denmark have dumped all Covid-19 restrictions, while major US cities have introduced new vaccine passports and extended mask mandates indefinitely.

President Joe Biden recently ruled out a return to lockdowns as daily deaths from Covid-19, which have increased to more than 2,500 during the current Omicron wave, surpass earlier peaks.


The war on natural immunity

The ability for the body to produce memory cells is what allows for natural immunity to occur. Given that the memory cells last for a long period of time, antibodies can be produced quickly each time an individual is subsequently infected by the same virus. It is indeed a marvellous system.

It does, however, have one fatal flaw – at least in the eyes of Big Pharma. It is not profitable. There is no money to be made in natural immunity because it is a part of us that we are born with and do not have to pay a subscription for.

And that is why companies who thrive on medicating people see natural immunity as a significant problem that must be dealt with accordingly.

The solution? Convince the masses natural immunity does not exist, or, if that fails, play down its efficiency. This is what politicians, bureaucrats, so-called ‘experts,’ and scientists (who should know better) have been attempting to do throughout the Covid era.

To ensure the protection of their own pecuniary interests, these people have pushed vaccines as the only way out of the pandemic. Never mind that Covid vaccines do not prevent you from getting the virus, spreading it to others, or becoming sick.

They are denying the effectiveness of natural immunity against disease by claiming it only lasts for a short period of time against Covid, and telling people to get the vaccine even if they have already had the virus. This is completely unnecessary. Vaccine-induced antibodies are temporary. This is evident in that the vaccines only provide immunity for a few months, which is a pretty poor effort for what is supposed to be an ‘effective’ vaccine.

Generally, if a vaccine is effective, you do not need a ‘booster’ every three months. This booster schedule is not only absurd, but also likely dangerous. Even the European Union’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), have stated as much. The EMA’s head of vaccines strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said that ‘repeat vaccinations within short intervals will not represent a sustainable long term strategy’ and that if we give them frequently, even every four months, ‘we will end up potentially having problems with immune response and immune response may end up not being as good as we would like it to be, so we should be careful in not overloading the immune system with repeated immunisation.’ Constant boosters could easily do more harm than good to the immune system and render an individual more susceptible to disease.

Natural immunity is real, and it works. The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) had to admit that natural immunity was six times more effective than vaccines when it came to the Delta variant. With more people contracting Omicron, it stands to reason that there will be a greater saturation of the population with natural immunity, which could actually put an end to the virus.

But that would not be politically nor financially convenient for the big players. When the virus recedes into obscurity, so does their source of fear-inducement, power, and profit. Our governments have already signed contracts with vaccine companies like Pfizer for millions of vaccines, and they cannot return them and get our money back. With two hundred million plus vaccines on standby for a population of twenty-five million, it stands to reason they will continue to push booster after booster. And the denial of natural immunity will persist.

Conservative commentator Michael Knowles sums it up brilliantly in his book Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds.

‘These “experts” lend credibility to the politically correct regime, not by furnishing it with facts, but by redefining scientific terms to better accord with the dictates of progress. Calls for more modest regulations in the pursuit of herd immunity threatened the radicals’ plans for cultural transformation, which benefited from the massive transfer of wealth and power brought about by the lockdowns.’

That transfer of wealth has been from the lower and middle class to big corporations and Big Pharma. It is one of the main reasons natural immunity is admonished and vaccines hailed.

Our immune systems have enabled us to survive for millennia, and they are not going to stop just because a bunch of greedy, power-hungry elites say so.




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