How the Pandemic Looks Globally as We go into Year Three.
Over Christmas I have been doing a roundup of how different countries on earth are faring in the pandemic. I have come to some conclusions about it.
I will discuss it in more detail in subsequent articles. I think the real struggle here is with the powerful interests who undermine resistance to covid.
I have looked at countries and regions one by one.
Russia is a peculiar case. It was the first country in the world to develop a vaccine for the original Covid. However, that vaccine does not seem effective for Omicron, which hasn’t even got there yet.
When Omicron does arrive in Mother Russia, it seems likely to end up with the worst outbreak in the world. It already has pulled ahead of Brazil in per capita infections. The excellent health system it had in Soviet times has corroded away during oligarchic times.
The simplistic explanation for this is that the Russian people have proven to be very reluctant to get vaccinated. A more intelligent explanation is that the Putin regime is a prime example of the rule that if government does not seem to know what it is doing, the public will have no confidence in it.
There is a huge propaganda campaign in the west to portray the Putin government in Russia as a tyranny. This is part of a geostrategic campaign against Russia.
The truth is that the Putin government is in many ways very weak. It has rebuilt the country in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union and the confused state immediately following that.
Yet it has never built a stable system of government. There are no democratic or civil institutions. Government is based on a strong man at the centre and benefits mostly a few oligarchs; much like the Czar’s times.
The problem with Putin and the key people around him is that they buy into a peculiar form of libertarianism. It is a perverse reaction to the absolutism of previous Russian regimes. They really believe in minimal government.
The does not work during a pandemic. The Duma, the Parliament, of Russia tried to enact legislation on its own for various pandemic measures, including vaccine and mask mandates, and authorization for short lockdowns. Putin vetoed it.
Polling shows that Russians would go along with whatever measures their government dictated as long as they applied to everyone. But if government does nothing they will all just sit on their hands.
This is a peculiarity of Russian culture and the opposite to a couple of other countries I looked at, where if government does not lead, other elements of the state and society try to go ahead on their own.
Brazil is a very interesting case. It has a right wing lunatic for a president.
Bolsonaro does everything he can to obstruct counterpandemic measures in Brazil’s federal system. He repeats every trope about covid put out by American “herd immunity” fanatics, and promotes fake cures.
There is a serious attempt being made to have him charged criminally. Even the Brazilian army, which he comes from, is turning against him.
It is more because of Bolsonaro than anything else that Brazil has had the second highest gross covid death rate of any country. While a few Brazilian states have had governors almost as crazy as Bolsonaro, most gave up on trying to deal with him and started to work together.
Recently, they have brought the rates near zero. Now that the Omicron variant has been introduced, casualties are climbing again.
Brazil has most of the factors to be able to contain covid. The public understands the need to suppress disease. There is a good system for administering vaccines.
However, they do not have vaccines to administer. Mitigation measures are hamstrung by a minority which for some reason objects to them.
We will see how Brazil fares against Omicron now that Bolsonaro and his kind have been curbed.
India contains one of the larger masses of covid cases and fatalities in the world. However, it is also the world’s most populous country. The per capital casualty rate is thought to be not so bad, although thought to be considerably under reported.
The Modi government is odious; right wing, nationalistic, and authoritarian. However, it has taken Covid with reasonable seriousness.
India is the biggest producer of vaccines in the world. Its people are not reluctant to take them. The Modi government even halted exports of Covid vaxxes for awhile until the population was fully vaxxed.
Other mitigation measures have been done reasonably well in India. It is less harmed by Covid than many countries, but still has a substantial problem and is just getting started with Omicron.
Peru has the distinction of having the world’s highest pr capita death count. This is due to what one Peruvian called a “perfect storm” of negative factors.
There is almost no government in the country. It went through four presidents during 2020.
There is almost no health care system. It cannot make any of its own medical supplies.
The economy is based on informal employment. This makes it very hard for exposed or infected people to isolate.
Covid has been really devastating in Peru; especially to the poorest. There are now large numbers of orphans and disabled people.
The election of a nominally progressive President this year may improve some of these conditions. But Peru is a lesson in what can happen if Covid is just allowed to rip through a population.
Black Africa has generally coped well with the pandemic. It was predicted to be one of the worst effected areas. While under reporting may be a factor, the social disruptions that would be caused by out of control covid have not been seen.
This is despite a low vaccination rate. African states have trouble getting vaccines. They have some production facilities but are hampered by the patent enforcements of international big pharma.
Many Africans are reluctant to get vaccinated for a good reason. The behaviour of many pharmaceutical companies, go gooder operations and even the World Health Organization in Africa has been odious.
For example, WHO was shown to have caused infertility drugs to be mixed with Tetanus vaccines in Kenya. Many people connected with vaccines and vaccine testing in Africa have talked publicly about population reduction.
Africa is still largely rural and village based. This helps people to isolate if they have been exposed or infected. This is likely more important than vaccines for controlling infectious diseases.
China is the country which the western establishments love to hate. Its handling of Covid proves the lie that the pandemic cannot be suppressed and eradicated.
The Chinese themselves are frustrated with the rest of the world. They have shown how to wipe out covid. They keep getting reinfected from abroad because other countries will not follow their example.
It seems unnamed international interests are trying to pressure China to stop its zero covid policy. The Chinese are reported to be not very pleased to hear this. They are the only country on the planet whose economy grew this year, precisely because it has maintained a strict zero covid policy.
In China, the ruling party is determined to protect the country, the public has confidence in the government, and the resources are there do control the virus without resorting to general lockdowns.
Europe is one of the areas of the planet where the pandemic is getting worse. Much of the problem here is the division of power between the nation states and the European commission.
In all these countries, the health system has been run down due to the austerity imposed by the European Union bureaucracy. The EU also forces the discredited WHO policies such as surgical masks instead of respirators, and focus on cleaning instead of ventilation.
The economy of the EU countries is starting to collapse. There are not enough workers for key positions. Supply bottlenecks are increasing. Inflation is rising. Inequality is rising.
The USA is having the worst covid experience in the industrialized world. It is likely to finish off the USA as it is presently. The Excited States has been the command centre for the empire and ideology that has been causing so much trouble in the world.
It has also been the centre for the ideas that have made it so hard for countries to respond correctly to covid. Now it is the centre of covid infection and dysfunctional response to covid. It is also the centre of the “live with covid” and “keep everything open” approach and is now the centre for failure of that approach.
The USA has not been the centre of the human reactions against covid, but these ideas are coming there as well. As in Europe, people are leaving jobs where they are not protected. They are demanding to work from home. The physical economy is starting to crack.
Most of the industrial capitalists are terrified by this. Some capitalists are making huge profits on paper from the pandemic and want it to continue. It is a situation which cannot continue indefinitely.
The most bizarre thing which is centred in The States and has influence all over the world is Libertarianism and the response it engenders to the pandemic. Any kind of response to any kind of crisis will be seen as government interfering with people’s “liberties.” All this obstruction of pandemic measures is why USA has had the most deaths and will likely be the first industrialized country to collapse due to the pandemic.
Australia and New Zealand did well earlier in the pandemic, probably due to the influence of China. The prime minister of NZ in particular, has been tough in standing up to the herd immunity people. Thus NZ had few deaths and could quickly open up and enjoy normal life after an initial lockdown.
Australia had followed that lead and kept cases, deaths, and interference with life low. Then sometime during the Summer of 2021 a coup of some sort happened. New bosses came in at the federal level and in some of the states.
These people started using the line “we can’t isolate ourselves from the world” to justify putting Australia under policies a pandemic response that goes the opposite of where most of the world is going.
Two of the six Australian states are resisting this under heavy pressure from the federal government. They are relatively covid free. The rest are headed for a USA and Europe style disaster.
Here in dear old Canada we have done better that most industrial countries until now. People have trusted government and complied with lengthy lockdowns. However, it is now becoming clear to most that the more conservative provincial governments are actually trying to spread the infection.
Along with this new cynicism has come Omicron. The case rate has been rising rapidly. The Atlantic bubble of eastern provinces which had been defeating the pandemic has now collapsed.
What is to be made of this?
It seems to me that the world is now divided into two sectors. In Europe, North America, and in Australia, the Pandemic is succeeding. That is to say, the interests which have come to like the pandemic are getting their way.
In the rest of the world, the pandemic interests are starting to fail. The publics of most of these countries are somehow able to put it together right.
It is not their government’s efforts against the pandemic which are interfering with their lives needlessly. It is the failure to use correct measures, and often deliberate efforts to spread disease, which are wrecking their lives.
What people are demanding is that government use its power to protect them from the pandemic. Where government is refusing to do this, the populations are turning to other levels or institutions of government or are simply organizing measures for themselves.
Over the next year, this trend should deepen. Pandemic interest countries will decline economically and in influence. The public in these countries will mobilize against deliberate disease but it will take them longer.
This is where the local populations has been most tightly controlled. This is why the public in these countries have been much less able to force government to protect them from the pandemic.
In the non pandemic countries, it will still be hard to control the Omicron and subsequent variants. The publics are learning that it can be done. It is a matter of curbing interests which see pandemic measures as interfering with their profits and their control of society.
It is becoming clear that vaccines are not even the most important thing in controlling the pandemic. Masks and good ventilation are the most effective measures, plus people having both the ability and the sense to isolate if contagious.
However, nothing will work if there is in place an oligarchy which either wants to will the pandemic on the population, or is terrified of pandemic measures interfering with their profits and their restriction of government. The pro pandemic areas of the planet are what has been called “The West”; the areas which have controlled and dominated the planet.
To reiterate and conclude, 2023 will be the year the rest of the world begins to recover from covid, while the western nations begin to collapse due to their elite’s refusal to deal with the pandemic.