Day 516 – Damn you (all), Big Pharma!

I have grown tired of being told to “follow the money” by the you-know-whos when it comes to “Big Pharma” and the Covid-19 vaccines. Sure, I accept that the system is far from perfect, and sure, Pfizer et al. have made a shedload of money from selling the vaccines, but then they have invested a shedload of money in research, development and production of the vaccines. Contrary to layperson belief, these products didn’t just appear overnight.

To the anti-vax crew, “Big Pharma” conveniently consists of the companies that are making Covid-19 vaccines: Pfizer, AstraZenica, Moderna etc. And yes, they are doing very nicely, thank you very much with market caps of $279.94B, $133.9B and $100B, respectively.

Clearly, Big Pharma = Big Money.

You could take the view then that “Big Pharma” is evil and merely all about the wonga – and the alt-right whatsapp groups have done just that – but then we mustn’t just consider these vaccine-producing companies as “Big Pharma”, we must surely look right across the market and well… “follow the money”.

Let’s take Merck. Merck employs 74,000 people, managed almost $50b in revenue last year and is apparently worth $194.64B

Note that Merck is much “Bigger Pharma” than AZ or Moderna. Clearly, they must also be just as evil or even eviller.

And look! Merck does have a foot in the Covid-19 door as well: they hold the licence to Stromencol – that’s their trade name for “miracle wonder drug” Ivermectin.

Just another arm of “Big Pharma” making money from a crisis. THEY’RE ALL THE SAME, GARY!

But Merck has also stated very clearly that Ivermectin doesn’t work against Covid-19 and is unsafe to use for that purpose:

But Merck are (as demonstrated above) very much “Big” and “Pharma”, so why are they not profiteering from people’s pandemic misery? Merck is like the Eskom of pharmaceutical companies: actively telling people not to use its product.
It’s an odd way to do business.

Presumably then, this is where the “this pandemic is just a money-making scam for Big Pharma” argument stops.
Or at least is conveniently overlooked. Cognitive bias at its finest.

Pfizer says that their vaccine works against Covid-19 and is safe, and the moonbat brigade refuse to listen to a word of it.
Merck says their Ivermectin doesn’t work against Covid-19 and isn’t safe, and the loons still run to swallow horse wormer in their thousands.

It’s almost as if Ivermectin doesn’t work against Covid-19 and isn’t safe. But then, I guess this is just a clever example of “Big Pharma” reverse psychology. Which the anti-vaxxers have seen right through. Well done, guys.

What a weird situation. But then, they are, aren’t they?

Day 473 – Misery everywhere

There’s no good news today.

I’m not feeling great (no, not that).

Defeat for England (although), preceded by an unpleasant frontlash and followed by a (now sadly usual) disgusting backlash.

Rain, gales, floods and cold in Cape Town. More leaks in our house.

KZN and parts of Gauteng right on the brink of… something terrible.

Copious sexual intercourse won’t cure Covid-19.

More loadshedding on the way.

And this is just the stuff I feel I can share.

I have a lot of amazing memories from a few days away, and a lot of photos to process. But today doesn’t seem the right day to do anything except just hope that things get better.

Day 462 – Not a good idea

I do recognise the need to stimulate the economy. I do see that we need money brought back into the country and businesses running again. I don’t miss the tourists, but I do know that we miss their cold, hard cash.

But surely this is not a good idea.

83 confirmed booking for cruise ships between October and the end of the year? Ah Jesus.

How’s the cruise industry looking at the moment? Awful.

That’s because cruise ships were one of the earliest vectors for Covid-19, and – despite their best efforts, things haven’t improved much. So alongside this sort of headline:

Are ones like this:

And this:

And once one or two passengers have got it, there will inevitably be a whole lot more to follow.
This isn’t rocket science. Stick several thousand people on top of each other for a few weeks and any illness is bound to spread. That’s why the government – very sensibly (gasp) – banned cruise ships from SA ports very early on in this whole ugly mess.

Before cruise liners, ships from foreign parts had a great history of bringing unwanted diseases to vulnerable populations:

Note: For “Black Death” read “Covid-19”; for “the Black Sea” read “Walvisbaai”; for “Messina” read “the V&A Waterfront; for “Sicilian authorities” read “Wesgro”, and for “covered in black boils that oozed blood and pus”… meh… maybe something about a fever, no sense of smell, and an inability to breathe. You get the idea.

And before Covid, cruise liners were food-poisoning hotspots, be it Norovirus, rotavirus, Salmonella or even unusual stuff like Staphylococcus. Thankfully, when that sort of thing is brought ashore, while it may not be very pleasant, it doesn’t close down entire cities and countries. If the statisticians and epidemiologists are right (and they’ve been pretty good so far) we will be a couple of months away from our fourth wave when the majority of these ships arrive. If they are bringing more Covid in with them, then we might see the whole of the summer washed out by more restrictions, and that would certainly be the death knell for any businesses who had somehow managed to survive that far.

Sure, cruise ships (especially 83 of them) are high reward customers for our local tourism industry. But equally, cruise ships (especially 83 of them) are also very high risk customers for all our local industries.

Much as they did with the proposed Horseshoe Bat Market in Woodstock back in March, someone surely has to stand up and just nip this one in the bud. For all our sakes.

Day 441, part 2 – Can’t watch

News just in. The President is doing a thing at lunchtime:

Sadly, also happening at 12h00 – loadshedding:

Which will prevent me from watching, and which will also prevent any “swift and lasting economic recovery”.

Who’s going to tell him? (Both bits.)

Day 438 – Nothing speech yields no results

With due respect to The 438 Game and that guy in Forries who called it.

Just over a week ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation regarding the Covid-19 situation here. I don’t need to go back over that speech because firstly, there wasn’t much to it, and secondly, I covered just how pathetic it was right here.

Suffice to say, the only two interventions he made in the face of a clearly incoming third wave of infections were to reduce the numbers permitted at gatherings to 250 outdoors and 100 indoors, and to extend the curfew by 1 hour: from midnight until 4am to 11pm until 4am. I commented at the time that these were unlikely to make any difference to the very worrying situation and were really just to make it look like the government were doing something. The gatherings numbers were still far too high to limit any potential spread and the extra hour would just hurt businesses that little bit more without making any difference to the number of infections.

And that’s if any of the regulations were being effectively observed, policed and enforced anyway. (They’re not.)

Unsurprisingly, the rate of new infections since the speech has increased across seven of the nine provinces. The only two outliers in this regard were the two smallest (by population) provinces: Northern Cape and Free State, which were – for the first time in their existences – both ahead of the curve for something. Sadly, it turned out to be the third wave.
The rest of the country, in which 95% of the population lives, showed dramatic increases across the board:

Not pretty, but not exactly much of a shock, either.

So, as before the speech (and as before the second wave), Ramaphosa has a decision to make: either a stricter lockdown or a more deadly third wave. I’ve said before that I won’t get into the argument of whether lockdowns are a good thing or not, and I’ve also said that I am very glad I’m not having to navigate a country through a pandemic.
But they’re getting paid the big bucks (and sharing the funds with their comrades) for this sort of thing, and they really should be doing much better.

Last week’s speech was never going to do anything but harm. And so it has proved.

Graphs from Sugan Naidoo

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