If the image above looks familiar you could be forgiven for thinking you are having a case of Deja Vu.
Remember all those social media analysts who authoritatively opined about the Covd19 mutation being conspiracy theory? I wrote about it in September this year. Here is a link to my earlier piece https://algwriter.wordpress.com/2020/09/29/is-there-a-covid-mutation-now/
An investor named Jeffrey Gundlach was also criticised over his comments about the pace at which Covid19 mutates and for not being ‘science based’. Some claimed that Gundlach’s speculation about the long-term effectiveness of the first generation of corona-virus vaccines was based on fiction, and argued that there’s simply no logical reason to question the notion that the vaccines will be anything other than 100% effective, or 95% effective for Pfizer’s model and completely safe.
The Health Secretary Matthew Hancock, he who shed a tear or two for Pierce Morgan when the first people were vaccinated in his roll out programme, revealed on Monday during an update before Parliament that new evidence of a new strain of the virus that’s apparently spreading more efficiently than earlier known strains.
He insisted that there’s no evidence the vaccine is more deadly, or that the newly introduced vaccines will be less effective at combating infection. These statements echo similar comments from government scientists in Australia, which led to angry scenes like these, who warned of evidence of more infectious and possibly more deadly mutations as justification to order a brief but extremely severe circuit-breaker lock down last month.
At least 60 different local authorities had documented cases of the new strain and its role in “exponential rises” in Covid19 infections across London, Kent, and parts of Essex & Herts.
Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter that the news was certainly concerning, and that she would be considering whether “additional precautions are necessary”.
Hancock’s confirmed to London MPs that the London would be moved to “Tier 3” restrictions beginning today.
UK scientists are subjecting the new strains to further study, and the WHO has been notified, Hancock said.
“We’ve currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant predominantly in the South of England although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas.” “We do not know the extent to which this is because of the new variant but no matter its cause we have to take swift and decisive action which unfortunately is absolutely essential to control this deadly disease while the vaccine is rolled out.”
The BBC added that most viruses mutate, and that the overwhelming majority of mutations are harmless and have little discernible impact on symptoms and how effective the virus is at attacking its host. However, mutations could also make it more difficult for human bodies to identify and fight the virus, necessitating the need for annual vaccinations like the flu shot. So, concerns over the health implications of the rapidly developed vaccines will likely be revisited on an annual basis in the ‘New Normal’ (You didn’t really think it would be a one off and then get back to ‘normal’ did you?)
In a piece of analysis for the BBC, James Gallagher said there is a “simple rule” for understanding mutations or “new variants” as the BBC calls them: “Ask whether the behaviour of the virus has changed.”
But Secretary Hancock, who, like his boss, (some would say suspiciously) survived a bout of Covid19 earlier this year, believes that vaccines will “still be effective” against these mutated forms of the virus.
I’m not sure on whose expert opinion he bases that assumption. Hopefully it is not his, given his recent track record.