ASo I had my second vaccine with the AstraZeneca on the 10th April 8 weeks apart (we shall keep blood clot news to the side as it is extremely rare and I know it’s all over the news, it’s so rare nothing more is needing said, higher risk of clots comes with the virus). I’m feeling a little better but far from complacent. Completely out-with my usual art related postings this is a little more information based. I would like to discuss covid vaccinations and a sense of safety in the U.K. regardless the current situation across the world.

I spoke in my previous ‘own lockdown experience’ post regarding the illusion that many brits seem to be living under given there is no mainstream truly informed information. We are only told what the U.K. government want us to know and only on a need to know basis. We have to research for ourselves to grasp the scientific information that will best support us to live our lives. So many don’t know what’s actually happening, or won’t choose to as they are overwhelmed by covid or afraid, or just want to get on or don’t care sadly. This means they are only exposed to the illusion of safety. People excited to unwittingly put themselves at risk. Really until there is better knowledge regarding these new variants it would be wisest to wait for real true messages of safety …just a little longer (unless there isn’t afforded time with terminal illness of course).

⚠️ Information Ahead

Millions in England have had some of their restrictions lifted already. It is still illegal to travel (on the date of this post) between Scotland and England. For the majority of those that have had it (over 50)… most have only had their 1st vaccination. They are only beginning the rest of the adult public in England, some areas in Scotland have begun and I’m not sure about Wales or Northern Ireland.

Although most have been respecting the rules set in place many haven’t. When one person was bending the rules to suit themselves and their circumstances (but not necessarily meaning any malice or perhaps not fully understanding how the virus infects – again with a false sense of safe practices without full knowledge) have not realised that whilst they are only thinking in terms of themselves there have been many, many others doing the same thing. Unintentionally this has caused what became a large group of people making choices that mistakenly exacerbated covid cases for all others. Some have been lucky and others not but it has simply been down to causes and conditions in each moment, nothing else. Pure luck some might say.

The variant initially discovered in South Africa is almost as infectious as the variant that originated in Kent but more antibody resistant so cuts vaccine efficacy. Hopefully the vaccine at the very least reduces the severity in those that become infected, but we don’t know enough yet. There is another variant recently discovered in Nigeria which has a 1% higher mortality rate (highest to date at 4.4), no further information at all regarding vaccine efficacy or this variant, is it being tested? One would hope. Both as well as the variant ravaging Brazil are indeed well spread across the world now and all are in The U.K. As well as these the variant that has double, triple and now quadruple variant mutated initially discovered in India is travelling the world and all four versions of this are in the U.K. How long before it’s spreading more widely? So far it is doubling every 7 days (as infectious as the Kent strain which has dominated the world it seems at that rate but not yet confirmed as of this post date, I suspect this will be the case given the wildfire spread throughout India of each mutated variant) but for the moment the numbers are in the low hundreds (as far as we are aware because it’s only just been picked up due to testing for another variant, it may be more widespread as travel to and from India and neighbouring countries has continued regardless) such heart pain for the suffering witnessed there it is the worst to date. I know the people stand strong together as much as they can, but heartbreaking. Sadly there’s more of this to come in other more densely populated continents.

It has been confirmed reinfection is occurring as a result of these variants (although in low numbers so far) regardless vaccination (either once or twice). So boosters with tweaks for the new variants are essential as soon as they can begin.

Anyone else see my concern about this safety illusion being presented to us in the U.K. in this here and now moment?

There is significantly reduced risk of breakthrough illness so far but we don’t and can’t know going forward with regard to the unknowns of these new variants. So far it is around 0.9% roughly which is fantastic! The questions however relate most to the new variants as I have discussed and the lack of information in them to date. This is where we cannot yet afford complacency. The booster vaccines will have alterations to cover these so this is our hope, autumn or as soon as adult vaccination is complete would be the wisest time to begin these.

Here and now though this traffic light nonsense regarding safe places to holiday abroad from the middle of May is just that, nonsense. Something to help the government create an illusion of safety. Until we know about actual risk and without that third booster we are in the dark potentially taking risks when we don’t know we are actually safe. Cases and mortality are rising across the globe, Eastern Europe specifically, South America, India, Japan, Europe as a whole more generally, Africa, Iran etc all rising. This is related to vaccination speed and take up as well as relaxations on social distancing and complacency. This is a reason to stay very alert as the more the cases ravage more variants and mutations arise that we need to keep ahead of really, which is virtually impossible in this moment. Already this morning we learn that a cluster of the variant initially discovered in South Africa has been found and rising in a London area around 79 people from 1, from someone having travelled. Imagine how this will look by June through August after tourists are given ‘vaccine passports’ (which are already being falsified). Further illusory false sense of security. The lateral flow tests are only 20-40% accurate so taking them twice a week is another false sense of illusory safety but at least it is something, better than nothing and will be more helpful than not. Do people know their real efficacy of virus detection though? Even PCR tests return false negatives and these are the most reliable.

None of my friends are planning anything around travel (very wisely) until there is more information but many people are. New variants are spreading and doubling quickly already in the south (for the moment in the low to mid hundreds depending the variant). They are wider spread than known or declared though. It was only by testing for one they discovered the others. For the moment Scotland is ok but when mutual travel is again approved on the 26th I doubt it will remain the case come June through August. I am concerned. Others are excited. It’s just difference in risk appetite. At least until the third tweaked booster in Autumn (so far only those in priority group one have been selected, but this could change and which booster is yet to be decided) it would be wiser to ease out more slowly, yes summer changes out behaviours naturally and helps a little but I just feel concern for the complacency already witnessed last year prior to each lockdown/ restriction set. Travelling at all via flight especially, or trains has again been scientifically proven to be high risk. It won’t be like it has been for the past few months, a small few here and there, there will be full flights (socially distanced yes but no ventilation and re-circulating air, this is an air borne and droplet virus) trains will soon become packed once again with the conductors hiding to protect themselves as before as people had threatened to spit on them for trying to support social distancing. Busses will be fuller but hopefully continuing with a socially distanced layout and all of the windows open. I’m sure people will be cautious for a little while longer but with promises of a free summer on the back of 4 in 10 / 40% efficacy lateral flow tests this is a hold moment for me. Yes likely we will see a slump for a while, I’m sure the numbers will continue to be relatively low for a couple of months but for many reasons some already mentioned I suspect they will creep up again and it’s a priority to get these third booster vaccines in.

Not enough of the population are vaccinated yet just one more month may buy time to make a difference, breakthrough illness is far reduced as I already said, terrific, but it is still a risk even if reduced in fully vaccinated people never mind half vaccinated. They are about to open up the country taking away social distancing etc allowing families to hug in England from 17th of May when the majority of people are only half vaccinated. Where is wisdom?. Can’t we just take an extra month or two easing slowly out? Vaccinate our teenagers too? Then we have possibility (new variants unknown). Scotland I can understand albeit it may only be brief (I hope not I hope it’s enough) but England is a different story, not everything makes the news. Science and public health although seeing positive signs just wish this lifting of restrictions would happen a bit slower to allow proper space for effective vaccination, with caution regarding lack of information regarding the new variants. Why the rush? Truly? Just an extra month or two is all that is being asked so why the push, what is it about the U.K. government that struggle to listen to people who know their jobs? What is the need to plough ahead regardless? Allowing indoor meetings and hugs by May 17th? Only half vaccinated over 40s-50s no one else, only some under 30s perhaps due to conflicted views regarding use of AstraZeneca. Can anyone else see the concern with this? Anyone else asking similar questions?

(UPDATE: an article regarding SAGE’s predictions post full opening at the end of June: https://inews.co.uk/opinion/lockdown-roadmap-covid-deaths-third-wave-changes-prevented-tony-blair-978214)

I shall wait and see what happens, what science tells us upon investigation. I’m cautious, everything I read doesn’t make sense for removing face masks from high school children by May 17th or indoor meetings and family hugging then going mask and social distance free for everyone by the 21st June. Most will not have had their second vaccine and this is crucial to not pick up infection, reinfection or spreading (vaccines are showing helpful here though which is uplifting hopeful news). One vaccine jab is not enough, it reduces risk a little but not enough. I feel there are serious explorations needing had first especially with regard to vaccine efficacy and the newest variants which no one knows just yet and the tweaked boosters will make the necessary difference needed to being safest.

Is this illusion motivated by English by-elections? What is going on here? We have already had far too many unnecessary negligent deaths. Why plough on too fast yet again? Where is the wisdom? Where is learning? Why make the same mistakes? I have to wonder about motivation. “Irreversible move out of lockdown” this is the most ridiculous sentence ever spoken. If the scenes here were ever look like the ones in India just now are we to keep up social freedom? I think not. Irreversible is just utter nonsense statement and sadly epitomises U.K. government to date. Why say such a bizarre non truthful nor realistic thing? One has to wonder!

Scotland will need to be vigilant upon the return of hospitality and tourism after borders are allowed to be crossed. The tale is not over I suspect but hopefully I’m wrong or at least impact is low.

“The mistake that has been made repeatedly is relaxing just slightly too early. What we need to do is get the numbers right down. It’s important that we don’t act as an incubator for variant cases that might be able to resist immunity.” ~ Sir Mark Walport

People seem to suddenly feel secure due to having had their vaccine(s). The AstraZeneca (only after the second injection) is 72 percent effective at reducing severe infection (to be fair this is much better than the flu jag at 50 percent, it has to be said) However, only after one injection it is far reduced and we have new variants beginning to spread (hold on to your hat) so far AstraZeneca in scientific studies has only proven 10 percent effective against the strain initially found in Sough Africa ~ with regard to mild to moderate disease. However to be more informative about that statistic the tests were small and they are looking into this more widely for a more accurate efficacy so this could be much higher but for now we actually don’t know. I have friends in South Africa who tell me they have had AstraZeneca and that infection is finally slowing, so this is a good sign that needs further looked into. They do think it should still prevent severe infection mostly. Pfizer is more effective but less so if not the original or U.K. variants viruses, there have been breakthrough illnesses and deaths but as I say proportionately small in comparison to no vaccine. Article here gives accurate up to date information from Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at around 92% efficacy:

These “breakthrough” infections occurred among people of all ages. Just over 40% were in people 60 or older, 65% occurred in women. 29% of infected people reported no symptoms, but 7% were hospitalized and over 1%, 74 people, died, according to the CDC. Public health officials have said breakthrough infections were expected, since manufacturers have warned loudly and often that the vaccines are not 100%. The Pfizer and Moderna versions have consistently been shown to be above 90% effective, most recently for at least six months.” ~ Washington Post, April 2021

No vaccine is 100%. This false security that is being fed to us about mighty Britain and its massive vaccination programme is highly concerning. Especially given most have been given AstraZeneca at 72% protection and millions are about to remobilise and start mixing and travelling around the U.K. (en mass only one vaccine or none yet) and abroad thinking they are safe. There is even talk of mask free lives! This is not where we are yet, the rest of the world needs taken care of too and vaccine tweaks need made to encompass the new known variants or protective efficacy is reduced.

I don’t know about you but I feel deeply sick with privilege created on the back of greed whilst equally experiencing confusion as saving my life is important. However if others are dying or getting sick I’d have foregone my second vaccine a while longer to help them too. At least there would have been more equity and more safety as a result. It really makes me feel sick to the pit of my stomach when I feel it. The greed and self preservation, there will be consequences both India and Africa and in single figures in terms of percentage of protection at the moment. Of course their populations are much much higher but how does a little island like us end up fully covered? I can understand European and other countries upset in response but the arrogance of the U.K. is mind blowing.

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As mentioned previously the over 50s and the clinically vulnerable are to receive an autumn booster which will encompass tweaks for the new variants. They haven’t decided yet if the rest of the population are to receive this. We may even have antiviral treatments or medication that eradicates by the end of the year but for now this isn’t certain as they can still fail in trials and breakthrough cases are happening despite vaccine albeit in smaller numbers and it isn’t the case that these are all mild sadly, despite news paper reports. On top of that we need to see how effective our vaccines are against the new variants and tests are still underway. For me it’s all a little premature to be planning holidays, crossing borders or mass gatherings.

So far scientific evidence is clear, people are not safe yet and the notion is madness. However I’m sure we will have a little time where it is ok in the next month or two, after that this could become questionable.

Transmission has been hugely reduced but only in the old virus and the Kent / British mutations which currently are still responsible for around 95% of the virus here just now. This is due to Lockdown though this needs remembered and studies so far have shown the vaccines have made the virus less transmissible by a third in the care sector. However the variant first discovered in South Africa is currently in the mid hundreds in England and doubling every 10 days roughly. The double /triple / quadruple mutated variants initially discovered in India are doubling every 7 days, both known to be in community transmission in England. So far only 4 cases in Scotland have been detected and isolated and we have to hope that has been quick enough action. The rate of transmission in both is faster than any other variant so far and they don’t know enough yet other than the havoc they are reeking in Europe and India.

In India virologists are worried.

We have to have hope that the rest of our immune system recognises the virus eventually and at least keeps it at worse moderate but… we are at risk. This is far from over at the moment sadly but soon enough I do believe we will get past it. As I say there are unaccounted for treatments in the works and tweaked vaccines in the making. Israel is soon to start vaccinating their 12 and over children. There is light it’s just a question of how much longer. Right now despite government forging ahead creating illusions the truth is scientifically it’s not yet safe.

However, in the meantime people will return as if back to normal, I can understand a brief relief in Scotland (and I mean realistically brief as travel between nations is soon to become allowed without secure quarantine restrictions beyond international flights into Scotland) I personally can see and believe that it is more likely than not to unfold once again. For now I say enjoy your freedom and please be safe in your social distancing and as wise as possible. We don’t know how far these variants have spread in our communities yet or how they function. I’m not a pessimist rather a realist and would prefer the public to be more honestly informed, as well as possible, to make fully informed choices about next moves.

I am sharing this post in the hope that it is heard at least by some because no-one is telling the public the truth en mass, around 20,000+ people are still travelling into England each day (currently and by May/June that will increase exponentially including inter travel between the 4 nations where we won’t know where the others on our flights have been. If government continues with this fast roadmap for freedom by June despite being asked profusely by scientists and health experts to stop, pause and think we will return to restrictive living once again. Better taking our time and learning about levels of actual concern first. You would think this would standard and basic but I worry that money is in the driving seat. I’m not saying it’s not important not at all but is it a priority over public safety?

The public are being encouraged back to workplaces by government and this is another contentious issue. The DVLA have gone on strike after 500 cases of Covid broke out due to being made to return to their main headquarters. This return to the workplace call is mostly encouraged, not by businesses, rather landlords of business venues. Companies however are finding higher work productivity from home (even as the Prime Minister and members of his team stand on TV and belittle people calling them ‘lazy’ after being told to work from home, they are now called lazy and that they have had a long enough holiday. It’s so degrading). They are saving much more money on rent, heating etc and the landscape is changing with majority backing a hybrid of home working and hot-desking in smaller offices controlling the numbers in a venue per week.

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I’m waiting for clearer fuller information, there is no essential need to take such a big gamble in the dark for the sake of waiting until August/Sept. I’ll just hang on. No rush, no impulse, no big deal.

I will continue freely as I do now and with wisdom.

In England in 34 regions (and two in Scotland, East Lothian and Clarkmanarkshire) cases are back on the rise again and one of three reasons beyond school (and travel via down south) may surprise you. From track and trace it has become evident that those over 60 whom have had either only one or (only just) two vaccinations have been feeling falsely courageous and mixing households, not wearing masks, not maintaining the 2 meter social distancing rule, meeting more and more people with this safety illusion and have been catching and passing the virus amongst themselves and on to their families (remember it’s not just the vulnerable at risk now all age groups are getting quite sick as the virus adapts never mind the growing numbers and health crisis caused by long covid). Also… families have been under the same illusion and passing the virus on thinking mum/dad, nana/papa, grandmother/ grandfather are safe now. It appears all safety advice went out the window and practice became lax. I hope with all the love, care and support in the world that the summer buys us the time needed and very little become sick, that would be wonderful but please don’t risk being impulsive and start planning holidays, flying anywhere especially, not even within Britain as we are in the dark and this would be lacking wisdom. The info will come then decisions can be made.

I have immediate family in England whom I haven’t seen since 2018 due to my chemo treatment and also missed saying goodbye to a parent and sister and not had the opportunity to connect with my remaining siblings and dad but I cannot put them at risk. Nor myself nor my family here so they know I won’t see them until September/October at the very least and accept this. I have lots of nieces and nephews whom I deeply love and miss and have missed out on so much of their growth. The moment it is wise and safe, this will be the first journey I make. Anything prior to the booster in Autumn would be would be extremely irresponsible without proper truthful clear information. We are willing to sacrifice those couple of extra months for the sake of wisdom and safety for all concerned. Finally, I will then be able to properly connect and finally process that those two important family members have gone. Then we can get to say our goodbyes. The pain of not being able to do this has been very, very hard. Currently there is no closure and we live in a kind of prolonged limbo. I’m sure though that there are plenty in this position just now, for sure and most will do what is best.

A couple of cities are quietly already re-locked-down in England as a result of these new variants. This isn’t in the news.

Right now, personally I just feel we yet again have a dithering U.K. government going against scientific and public health advice purporting illusuary safety.

Today Japan also declared a state of emergency, This isn’t in our News either. As long as the rest of the world isn’t safe, neither are we. I often feel like the kill joy at everyone’s celebratory party.

I’m happy for now living life in a form of retreat, it’s healthiest for heart and mind anyway. With all it’s negatives covid has offered such a gift in this particular way and it feels important to my well-being (in the heart and mind sense) to continue as such. I am privileged whilst so many are not. I live in a rural region and can have outings hardly meeting another soul and car campings, safely storing my own food. I have a private portable eco friendly toilet so I am fully able to keep to myself without mixing in any unnecessary way for as long as needed, as mentioned in a previous post I am feeling nomadic and this may be my way going forward. Breaks can be safe and in this style (avoiding hotspots as so many will be heading there again this year).

It is just such a false sense of security that we are being sold in this moment. Masks, ventilation and keeping our distance as much as possible until fully informed and knowing, really knowing it is truly ok is wise. The rest can wait a couple more months. I can sustain that happily, however, I truly appreciate how hard it has been for those experiencing isolation and a mental health crisis. It has most certainly not been an easy time. The lifting of some restrictions will make a huge difference with this thankfully. I just plead that real wisdom is applied when the space arises for freedom and socially distanced connection.

The end of a pandemic is near, but not yet, despite the illusion of safety that has been created. I hope with time and truthful information that we can all relax safely with true wisdom when it becomes an endemic instead of in this continuous mess of mistakes, costing lives unnecessarily that no-one seems to be responsible for. Perhaps I am wrong, may that be the case. I wish that all go on and live life more safely and have fun, real fun as this has been one hell of a shock to us as a human race. I hope for the least suffering possible and send such love and feel such grief for the families and the scenes in India. May you all be safe.

I don’t usually write about such political things but this is very much being human in the here and now so in a way fits with all of the work to date throughout the pandemic and may mean further artwork (hopefully not). These covid vaccinations and the real time wider context risks needed discussed to give even a glimpse of wider informed context.

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