Covidistan Annals XXVI: keeping up with the Covidinistas shows 'farewell (for now) Covid, welcome mandates due to Russia'
Also, mandates may be relaxed now, but the next variant and/or enforcement of the injection mandate for a fourth shot in late summer/early autumn are just around the corner
It’s been a while since my last dedicated post, so here’s a brief recap of what the Committee of Public Safety has done in these past few days. Basically, events and developments followed ‘Western’ patterns of the ‘OMG! Russia! Russia! Russia!’ vintage. If one was to be conspiratorially inclined, what a wonderful coincidence, isn’t it, now with the failure of the genetic injections apparent to almost everyone who sifts through even (!) official data.
This, however, is doubly so the case in Covidistan whose government was tottering at the brink of collaps a quite some time now. Since the last regular parliamentary elections in autumn 2019, there were two major reshuffles of key cabinet positions that mostly involved the larger of the two governing parties, the People’s Party (ÖVP).
Since at least one of the comments in my most recent thought-piece on the current mess in Ukraine expressed a desire to do such a Q&A style accounting of developments in Covidistan, well, here goes.
Sidenote: please let me know in the comments if that’s a style that you’d like to see repeated, or applied, to such reporting—I personally think that for these kinds of recaps or ‘thought-pieces’ (where I assume you are aware of many of the fey facts—as far as they are known) are doable. By contrast, I’m not sure about the suitability for analytical pieces on data-based reports, but then again, if you’d like, I shall certainly give it a try.
Q: I’m so full of news items due to the ongoing Ukrainian situation, please remind me first of where we left off, would you?
Sure, I’ll try my best and be as quick about it as possible (if you like to know more, here’s my last dedicated post from 20 Feb.). First, Health Minister Mückstein is acting ever more like a loose cannon, saying one thing about the injection mandate on one day while backtracking literally a few hours later. The Health Ministry hasn’t answered the Constitutional Court’s list of questions (and I think they might even get away with it as most mandates are scheduled to expire on 5 March).
As the Injection Mandate envisions, a new expert panel has been assembled under the aegis of Chancellor Nehammer’s office, which is to say that this panel will do as the office-holder would like them to do, albeit couched in somewhat more bucolic language (as most legacy media journalists are apparently too sensitive to consider this kind of blatant politicking of ‘experts’). Note, then, that the four-headed panel consists of two doctors and two legal scholars who all came out in public to favour a slight tweaking of the Injection Mandate (surprise…), by which is meant a suspension of the mandate to diffuse anti-government sentiment this spring—only to reinstate the mandate with a vengeance in late summer to ‘prepare’ for autumn and winter with a fourth mandated injection (which I think is still the game plan).
Q: thank you for the recap, much appreciated. So, pray tell, what happened in Covidistan w/respect to all matters Covid-19 in the past week?
Well, not too much. There was some chatter about the revocation of some mandates now being tied to pressure from the vacation-dependent western states (true enough) as opposed to much reluctance of esp. the city-state of Vienna, which will keep its tighter régime going as long as possible. This was argued for with the usual fear-porn, such as Vienna governor Michael Ludwig (a lifelong mildly pink, i.e., Social Democratic, party hack) envisioning a collapse of the city-state’s hospitals, in part driven by media-generated hype about the Omicron wave in Denmark.
Still, these by now almost conventional fearmongering pieces failed to gain traction in Covidistan, and they did so in spite of the Ukraine-induced media blitzkrieg: on the one hand, health care workers (HCW) threatened to go on strike because they haven’t had a pay raise in many years, some appreciative applause was apparently not good enough, even though the above-mentioned fear-mongering about the collapse notably failed to mention that HCW staff was short by about a quarter by now. Yep, you read that correctly: HCW are understaffed by 25%, underpaid, and bullshitted by the chattering and laptop classes for more than two years. While a day of protest was announced to take place on Thursday, 23 Feb., it was, of course, over-shadowed by the advent of Russian military operations against Ukraine.
Apart from the Ukrainian mess, even legacy media outlets like Der Standard mentioned that the hospitals weren’t in danger of collapsing anytime soon, even though approx. 15% of all hospital admissions were due to Covid-19 (although no details with respect to of/with Covid were provided). In addition, Vienna’s health and human services minister admitted—claiming victory—that ‘up to 80,000 infections’ have been prevented thanks to Vienna’s blanket PCR testing mania; what’s the price tag, you may ask? Well, Mr. Hacker said this clocked in at 500m € (yes, half a billion), which means that for the small sum of 6,250 €, one of such infections was prevented. (At 1.9m inhabitants, this is tantamount to claiming every 24th inhabitant missed out on one opportunity to get infected; money well spent, I’d say /sarcasm).
There was, however, something else that popped up, even in legacy media: a 12 year-old boy died shortly after injection with the BioNTech/Pfizer product. So far, the official toll of deaths in close proximity to an injection stands at 263, albeit officials only admit to two (2, yes you read that correctly) HCW who died shortly after receiving the AstraZeneca products in March 2020. The administration of these DNA viral vector products was halted, and no further deaths were admitted by the authorities. Sad as this death is, it’s also a milestone in terms of breaking through the media blackout. An autopsy was ordered, but there’s precious few media reports about the results that were, reportedly, ‘inconclusive’.
Still, there’s hardly anyone who’s deciding to take these injections right now, with ‘first injections’ plummeting in Lower Austria, as is injection uptake nationwide: in the past week, the number of injections dropped by 35%, according to official sources (as of 25 Feb. 2022).
Q: now I know, thanks a lot. Surely, this can’t be all that happened, right?
Well, true, and this is from today (26 Feb.): ‘Our measures are failing’, the collegiate civil-military crisis advisory group GECKO told the public. Here are Chief Medical Officer Reich (R) and Maj. Gen. Striedinger (S), as pictured by a fawning Standard piece, which is worth quoting at some length as it quite accurately reflects the (stupid) status quo /my emphases):
Q: the GECKO reports now also feature dissenting opinions—when did you two disagree last?
R: That never happens.
S: As our competences don’t overlap, it is impossible that content-related dissent emerges.
Q: when was the last time you disagreed with the federal government?
S: That, too, is impossible given the way our procedures work: GECKO receives tasks from the government, which are answered by various working groups. These [answers] are delivered to the government, which is making political decisions. It is, therefore, irrelevant if these [political decisions] deviate in small part from our personal considerations. It is also irrelevant if outside expertise from, say the federal states is factored into these assessments by us or brought up during cabinet-level meetings…
Q: more than once there were allegations in the press that the ÖVP insisted on the lessening of mandates for party-political reasons…is GECKO a political tool?
R: If one wishes to do so, it is possible to construe everything and anything. We try to keep GECKO focused on the issues it is tasked with. It is our job to keep together this heterogenous group and to furnish estimates to the government.
Q: on 5 March, almost all mandates will be revoked. Is this a time to celebrate?
R: No. Our estimates show that the numbers will decline during March. Omicron is different from earlier variants in terms of its overall pressure on the healthcare system, and it is therefore justified to revoke these invasive mandates. Perhaps we’ll see a new surge in May, but there could also be a new variant in April, around Easter. Our tools are failing: if we use heavy-handed measures, we lose the population, and in some part, we’ve already lost them.
S: No-one claims that the pandemic is over. Still, we’re in a phase where the people must be given more freedom, for they cannot cope with this any longer.
Q: what about the preparations for autumn?
S: right now, our main problem is the personnel situation in our hospitals. We have enough beds, and we are planning ahead in both civil and military areas should we need more beds. Also, there is a number of individuals among the general population that is capable of working in health care and nursing.
R: if a new variant should cause more hospitalisations, we will take recourse to the planned measures: ID and paper checks, access only for the vaccinated and recovered, reduced admission numbers, reduced risk settings [lockdowns], and mask mandates…
Q: is the injection mandate a preventative measure that may let us avoid an overload [of what, the interviewers don’t specify]?
R: It is a very hard, invasive measure, and I consider it useful in precarious situations, such as the pandemic. Hard times call for hard measures [the correct proverb in English would be ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’, but that’s not what Ms. Reich said].
S: Yes, we have a goal in front of us: we don’t want another lockdown. The higher the immunisation rate among the population, the safer we are.
Q: the frontlines between vaccinated and unvaccinated are hardened. Can GECKO contribute to bridge this gap?
S: No-one will force anyone to get injected, and no-one can force anyone to listen to the experts. It’s a political task to bring the people together again.
Q: those 40,000 protesters each week, can they be reached by either politics or science?
S: They are out of our reach, for otherwise more people would have gotten injected. Yet, we must differentiate between the various groups of protesters. Many of them are simply opposed to the mandates or the injections, but right-wing extremists and anti-state activist are abusing the protests.
Published on a Saturday (27 Feb.) at 5 p.m. local time, it’s fair to assume few would have bothered to read this piece. Now, with the armed conflict in Ukraine, even fewer could have been bothered to read this.
The Shape of Things to Come
The interview is very telling—it shows how pathetically submissive the population has become after two years of constant fear-porn.
Furthermore, the Committee of Public Safety constantly reminds everyone that they are ‘following the experts’ and that their actions ‘are based on science’. Yet, as Maj. Gen. Striediger just admitted—was that a gaffe?—all decisions are political ones.
I’ve been on the record that Covid-19 is, above all, a political issue, and now we have ‘proof’ of this. I don’t take comfort in having called this correctly.
Ms. Reich and Maj. Gen. Striedinger also admitted that the injection mandate, proclaimed to protect the people from Omicron, wasn’t about that. It’s a ‘preventative’ measure. They further admitted that none of the mandates are working (anymore) and that public sentiment is shifting rapidly.
Furthermore, Ms. Reich and Maj. Gen. Striedinger admitted that the injection mandate, while it won’t be enforced right now—what kind of law is this, then? Also: what kind of government is this that doesn’t want to—isn’t able to—enforce its own laws?—it will play a role come autumn.
I called this one, too, and while it’s not been too difficult to envision, it is an abomination of a thought that follows logically: the dismissive tone of these ‘advisors’ is striking:
We’re in a phase where the people must be given more freedom, for they cannot cope with this any longer.
With less and less respect every day, I disagree.
We are born free. It’s a natural right. Freedom cannot be ‘taken’ or ‘given’, it may only be suppressed by (illegitimate) governments.
Get ready for a temporary respite in the next couple of months, albeit the current events with respect to the Russian-Ukrainian (NATO) conflict, the ‘respite’ from the Covid mandates may last only a few days, if any, and morph into a de facto permanent martial law (as Italy has already announced, moving seamlessly from Covid mandates to Russia-induced mandates).
Covidistan, ‘neutral’ in name only, will in all likelihood suit. It’s a strange new world we’re entering in.