It has been pretty quiet around the Covid matter for quite some time now. In the not-so-distant past, we were blasted around the ears daily, every minute of the day, with extremely negative coverage that was completely taken out of context and never put in its proper perspective but over the past year, we heared almost nothing about it. Not in Belgium and not in all other countries either. Maybe they have run out of a playbook and one needs to be written again that the full press and all ministers involved can read verbatim, word for word again, as they did between March 2020 and May 2021 ?
Some smart guys made a compilation video of the news those days. It was quite funny to acknowledge that all news anchors said exactly the same thing in identical words. But even without that compilation, we already knew there was a playbook. When Maggie De Block declared in August 2020 -in a period of time that nothing had been going on for months and the number of positive tests stood at barely 1.5% of the total number of tests- with a straight face that “ Christmas and New Year this year will not be the same as previous years " we heard within the space of a week Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Mark Rutte, Angela Merkel and co saying the same thing, in the exact the same wording. Does this mean the virus is gone ? No, not at all. Things are going bad again for several weeks. At least if Sciensano's figures are to be believed. It still publishes a weekly bulletin with all the figure and data.
Its report dated 01.12.2022 shows that there is still very extensive testing of Covid. Most among the age group between 20 and 39 and between 40 and 65+ of which the vast majority has been vaccinated 4 to 5 times but who curiously also test positive and get sick the most. During the week from 23.11 to 30.11.2022, 47,257 tests were carried out of which 15.3% turned out to be positive ( national average ) with outliers in certain provinces of up to 19%, including in Brabant Wallon, Luxembourg and even 19.5% in Flemish Brabant. This was a 28% increase on the previous week. During the same week, there were has been an average of 69.9 hospital admissions per day. For how long is not stated. Neither is the severity of the condition or whether the patients had any other pre-existing conditions.
During the week of 5 to 11 December 2022, more than 60,000 tests were performed, once again mostly in the same categories as mentioned here before, of which 17.4% were positive ( national average ) with again strong outliers in the same provinces. Luxembourg, Namur, Liege are at or around 20%, Brabant Wallon even at 21.6%. This is yet again a 21% increase on the previous week. We have never seen this even at the highest peak of all previous waves. Pro memoria, during the second lockdown we never got above an average of 8% positive tests out of the total number of tests. When the figures of each province are divided by age group, we see that in the 20-39 category, 20.1% are " infected", in the 40-64 category, 21.7% and in the 65+ category, 16%. This also is unseen.
Not insignificant in all this is that Sciensano no longer takes into account the antigen tests conducted by pharmacists, which during the stipulated time period amounted to 5,927 tests with a whopping 25.6% proved positive. During the week from 05.12 to 11.12.2022, the number of tests at pharmacists rose to 7,549 of which 25.3% proved positive.
Now, things get particularly interesting when we look at the rest of the report from 01.12.2022.
All previous variants have disappeared. Since the detection of Omicron ( autumn 2021 ), it has been the most abundant variant ( p.14 in fine ) but in the meantime it has mutated several times to sub-variants that are similar in terms of symptoms and differ only in spike protein ( page 14 at the bottom ). This may seem a negligible detail but it is not, because the vaccines administered aim to detect and neutralise the spike proteins. If the spike protein changes its shape, the mRNA no longer recognises it. After variant BA.1, BA.2, BA.3 and BA.4, we are, since April 26 2022 confronted with sub-variant BA.5. Probably the key date was set based upon the first patient caught with this new variant.
As a reminder, all the experts have repeated many times that the symptoms of Omicron were the same as those of a common cold that appears every year. Curiously, however, very few common are registered since 2020. It is all Omicron that single-handedly holds the absolute record of all Covid infections measured since inception.
For some time now, 6 types of vaccines from 4 pharmaceutical companies are administered ( Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax ). Astrazeneca is out and is no longer used.
As of 30.11.2022, a total of over 29 million injections have been administered in Belgium of which 2 shots to 9,105,085 persons, 3 to 7,225,383 persons and 4 to 3,801,429. About the 5th injection that all 85+ have received, there is not a single mention ( pages 18 and 19). On 28 November 2022, among women aged 18 and over, the vaccination coverage rate for a primary schedule was 90%, and among men 89.7%. The vaccination rate for the booster dose was 77.1% for women aged 18 years and older, and 75.7% for men in the same age group. The vaccination rate for the second booster dose was 42.1% for women aged 18 years and over, and 39.7% for men in the same age group.( page 20) Before the start of the vaccination campaign, there have been lots of talks about group immunity. The population was convinced to get vaccinated based on the consideration that if 70% are double-vaccinated, the virus has no chance. Over time, that percentage increased to 80% and then to 90% and even 100%. Natural group immunity was swept off the table as if it does not exist. Meanwhile, however, Sciensano has also investigated this rather important point and, on the basis of an estimate, has come to the conclusion that unvaccinated persons aged 65+ who have had an infection at an earlier stage ( and have thus recovered from it naturally ) have a 48.5% chance of re-infection compared to unvaccinated persons who have never been infected. In persons aged between 5 and 17 years, it is 28.2%, between 18 and 44 years 34.1%, between 36 and 44 36.4%. ( page 25).
In its report dated 16.12.2022, Sciensano has reduced the figures quoted above and rated the risk for unvaccinated persons over 65 years of age who have already contracted an infection to become infected, again, by estimation, to only 46.6% compared to unvaccinated persons who have never been infected, percentage of which remains a state secret until today. We only know about the total number of people tested and the percentage of positive tests but this says nothing about the number of citizens who have actually been infected given the fact that many have been tested more than 50 times and tested positive several times.
Sciensano has not ( yet ) made a comparison between unvaccinated and vaccinated people.
The only reference available to us that can give an idea of the severity of the situation is the total number of hospital admissions. Since the start of the measurements ( 15.03.2020 ) to 16.12.2022, there have been 141,694 hospital admissions (page 3 report of 16.12.2022 ), in almost three years, out of a total population of - rounded - 11,500,000 inhabitants, most of them in 2020.
We would like to recall here that Belgium has 104 hospitals with a total of 52,500 beds. In a normal year, an average of 7,000 patients are admitted daily to one of these hospitals. That seems a lot but it is not. 7,000 sick people a day is an average of 67 hospital admissions per hospital.
Sciensano knows the vaccination status of all hospital admissions which is reportedly communicated with a delay of 1 to 4 weeks and states the following about this ( page 26) :
" For persons younger than 45 years, the number of hospitalisations is very low, and the effectiveness of vaccination cannot be calculated. The number of persons who had a former infection (any infection since 2020) and hospitalised is very low, so the effectiveness of vaccination cannot be calculated for this group either. The x-axis shows the number of days after vaccine protection started (after the last dose + 14 days), so the duration of protection can be monitored. In all cases, the comparison group consists of individuals from the same age group who have not been vaccinated, and have not experienced previous infection with COVID-19."
What follows is a graph that is difficult to understand even for a trained eye, but we tried anyway. For those over 45 ( younger was not measured ) to 65+, the protection rate after a booster shot is, by estimation, between 60% and 75% during the first 49 days, about the same between 50 and 99 days. As from day 100, the rate in the 45+ to 64 group drops sharply to land between 27% and 55% after 250 days. How Sciensano arrives at these estimation percentages is not known. Among the 65+, the percentage drops less strongly but still quite a bit to barely 50% which is as good as admitting that the substance does not work. Either you are protected, either you are not. You cannot be half protected.
Vaccination rates are no longer rising significantly. Between 30.11.2022 and 11.12.2022, only 21,600 people ( mostly 65+ ) had yet another vaccination, of which 12,284 during the week of 05 to 11.12.2022 and the others the week before ( page 15 report of 16.12 )
The number of Covid Omicron patients in intensive care remains- fortunately- limited. The number of deaths is still mainly in the elderly category and is within the limits of what we normally see. Very peculiar however is that, according to Sciensano's reports, they all die in hospital or residential care centres. There are 0 deaths due or with Omicron at home, in their own homes.
A global analysis of Sciensano's reports shows that while a high percentage of those who get tested test positive, the number of sick and hospital admissions due to or with Omicron is very limited, a trend we have already observed since the Omicron variant was first identified in November 2021.
How likely is it that a new dangerous Omikron variant will emerge ? That chance seems to be very low now that we see the same trends worldwide with all sub-variants of Omicron. Moreover, sub-variants usually weaken to eventually disappear completely. Medical history shows that a stronger, more infectious sub-variant has never emerged from an earlier variant. Of course, this does not rule out the possibility of a totally new virus emerging in the future. The fact that a consortium " practised " a new pandemic about an ultra-dangerous and extremely deadly virus on 23.10.2022 is thought-provoking. It is reminiscent of the " exercise of a pandemic" that the same consortium trained in November 2019. Less than a month later, the exercise has become a reality and the world has been caught up in a terrible rollercoaster from which it has still not recovered.
A repeat of what we experienced in 2020 and 2021 will have irreparable consequences for the global economy and all people on earth.
Click here for Sciensano's report of 01.12.2022
Click here for Sciensano's report of 16.12.2022