In vaccinated Britain, all my friends are getting COVID-19

In vaccinated Britain, all my friends are getting COVID-19. By Hans van Leeuwen.

Australia presses towards the coveted 80 per cent vaccination threshold, what’s it like to live in a country that has already got there? Probably not quite what you’d expect.

Take the week I’ve just had. On the sidelines of my son’s soccer game last weekend, one of the other parents tells me that she’d just got back from an extended family reunion in Wales, and nine out of 16 people came away with COVID-19. They were all double-vaccinated.

The next day, we ring some of my wife’s relatives to ask how their trip to Spain was. They both have COVID-19. The husband described it to me as “like the shittiest flu I’ve ever had”. They were both double-vaccinated. …

Vaccination does not mean the end of covid:

What vaccination means is that for most people, bar the elderly and clinically vulnerable, a potentially life-threatening illness becomes “the shittiest flu”. And suddenly, the pandemic loses its sting.

What’s really striking about London right now is that, although many people are having the same experience as me, nobody is really talking about it. COVID-19 often doesn’t feature in the morning news headlines. Daily press conferences are no longer held. This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has quite possibly not mentioned coronavirus even once.

The case numbers have been ticking up this week: the 36,710 positive cases on Thursday was the highest in a fortnight, and the number is back above 30,000 every day. … Deaths associated with COVID-19 are still upward of 160 a day. But daily admissions to hospital have actually eased off into the 700s, for a total of 7588 altogether — almost the lowest this month. These numbers are individual tragedies, and they are certainly not trivial. But they are stable. …

Getting on with life, while covid picks some people off:

The number that is still climbing is the vaccination rate: 82.1 per cent of British people aged 16-plus are double-jabbed, and almost 90 per cent have had one dose.

There is still the possibility that things could go wrong. But with every passing week, the normalisation of COVID-19 is becoming more and more established in Britain.

Mask-wearing is dropping away very rapidly. Handshaking is common again. The streets of London are visibly, tangibly busier. People are congregating at indoor events.

At every party or reception I’ve been to, the atmosphere has been one of enthusiasm, even relief. Each one has had a vibe a bit like a wedding – no cliques, no VIPs talking only to each other, just everyone falling on each other, relishing conversation with strangers like thirsty men in a desert.

Travel rules have been simplified; it’s possible to go pretty much anywhere in Europe now with pretty minimal fuss, and people are doing so. …

There has also been good news on long COVID. In April, the Office of National Statistics estimated that one in 10 people might be suffering from long COVID; its latest, more comprehensive research suggests the figure could be fewer than one in 40. And double-vaccination is thought to halve the risk. …

Being vaccinated while covid circulates is a big step down for Australians. Until recently Australia has been basically free of covid and life went on normally — like pre-covid, in most places most of all the time (just not Melbourne).

What the British experiment does show Australia is that 80 per cent double-vaccination is not a pathway back to a pre-pandemic Eden.

It does not eliminate COVID-19. Almost the opposite: the disease is rife here, and will continue to be. But for most of us who are double-vaccinated, and who are not elderly or clinically vulnerable, COVID-19 has — for now — become more a source of inconvenience than a source of anxiety and fear.

The mainstream media narrative only ever compares the vaccination route to the alternative of covid-circulating-and-no-vaccines. It is never compared to the alternative of circulating covid but with widespread ivermectin use to create herd immunity and protect people from most of the harm. Who benefits?

The issue is similar to the issue of properly closing borders in the US and Europe — it was simply not discussed as a serious alternative. Who benefited?

hat-tip Stephen Neil