By P.K.Balachandran/Ceylon Today
Colombo, February 1: The world’s big corporate pharmaceutical companies, with governments and mainstream media in their hands, are blowing up the threat from COVID-19 to make a fast buck at the expense of the common man, alleges the Center for Research in Globalization (CRG) headed by Michel Chossudovsky, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Ottawa University in Canada.
For the past year, the COVID-19 virus is being blamed for changing the face of the world by creating a “new normal” marked by a mass fear psychosis, crippled economies, changing social behavior and working practices and the accentuation of social and economic inequalities. But the CRG has been arguing that the blame is falsely and misleadingly put at the door of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
CRG says that, in fact, the crisis has been brought about by the world’s biggest pharmaceutical corporates to perpetuate and increase their dominance over the lives of people and governments. The corporates are unethically exploiting a “new but no-so-deadly” influenza, says Duni Damar, writing in the CRG’s website.
Dalmar sets the context by saying that it is “panic” that has become “endemic” creating the current pathetic situation. A recent Vox poll showed 52% of Americans supporting a one-month national lockdown. Back in April 2020, at the peak of panic, an AP poll showed 87% of Americans supported stay at home orders. The propaganda was that COVID-19 was ten times deadlier than the Spanish flu of 1918 (which killed anywhere between 17.4 million to 50 million world-wide).
But the reality is that the present pandemic is nothing compared to the 1918 flu, says Dalmar. We are dealing with something more like a normal bad flu season in some parts of the first world, and a very light one in most of the world.
COVID mainly kills the old and the frail. In the US, nursing home patients make up less than 1% of the population but account for 39% of COVID deaths. A recent peer reviewed study published by the WHO showed that the virus kills only about 0.2 to 0.3% of those who get it. In the Third World the number is much lower, and for people under 70 worldwide it was 0.05%. That is, there is only 1 in 2000 chance of dying after catching COVID if you’re under the age of 70. According to the German Health Ministry, infection-fatality ratio in the 2017/2018 flu season was 0.4 to 0.5%.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), many more people were hospitalized during the 2017 /2018 flu season in the US than during the worst stretch of COVID (an estimated 800,000 hospitalizations in 6 months that season). There were less hospitalizations the first 6 months of COVID, it was pointed out. This made Stanford University Professor John Ionniadis, one of the most cited infectious disease experts in the world, describe the medical opinion on COVID-19 as a “once in a century evidence fiasco.”
SARS and MERS, both of which are coronaviruses, that were dealt with in the last 20 years, are far more deadly than Covid-19. “We have dealt with much more damaging airborne viruses in recent history. The ’57 and ’68 pandemics are not really known outside the medical community but both of those pandemics killed much more than what Covid-19 has on a global scale adjusted for population growth. In the United States, which has the most COVID deaths, the number of deaths is slightly higher than in ’57. But in contrast to now, 1957 was a year of normal life. It was not described as a pandemic,” Damar says.
Additionally, the older pandemics were much more deadly for kids and working age people and were therefore more disastrous for society, compared to COVID-19 which affects mostly the old and the sick.
There is no correlation between lockdowns/restrictions and deaths, Damar points out looking at US data. “South Dakota basically did nothing and they rank 9th in deaths per capita while New York and New Jersey are 1 and 2, with a per capita death rate that is much higher.”
The deliberate spreading of panic by governments and the media, probably prompted by the medical fraternity which in turn is influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, made the Editor-in-Chief of the British medical journal say that science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. “Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health,” the editor added.
COVID-19 has distracted attention from other illnesses, Damar points out. Unemployment and deprivation due to lockdowns would also hasten deaths. There are about 3 million unemployed in the US along with another 17 million who have become “food insecure”. An additional 135 million have become food insecure globally.
A recent CDC survey in the US showed that a quarter of young Americans aged 18 to 24 had contemplated suicide recently. The closing of many schools and universities for a long period of time will have incalculable effects on children, young adults, and society as a whole, Damar points out.
With the “scam” on full swing, the global economy is undergoing a major makeover but only for the benefit of the rich. While common people are being rendered jobless and workless, the ruling class is getting richer both in the advanced and the developing countries.
“Small business has been destroyed, which opens up more opportunities for the biggest companies in the world as their competition shrinks and their market share grows. As of June 2020, three million American small businesses were closed, and 40% of jobs lost during the pandemic are gone for good. Similar patterns can be seen in other countries.”
But Wall Street profits are up over 80% this past year, big tech companies are doing better than ever, the biggest corporations either didn’t stop running during the pandemic or got paid as a part of a federal reserve program that gave the biggest companies in the country 500 billion dollars. They weren’t even required to preserve jobs to get this money. Similar bailouts are taking place all over the world, Damar points out.
In its latest report, Oxfam says that the wealth of Indian billionaires increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown and by 90 per cent since 2009 to $422.9 billion ranking India sixth in the world after US, China, Germany, Russia and France.
The report titled ‘The Inequality Virus’ says that the wealth of India’s top 100 billionaires shot up by Rs 12.97 trillion, which is enough money to support the vaccination drive of the 138 million poorest Indians. Meanwhile, in a grim contrast, as many as 170,000 Indians suffered a “lay off every hour” in April last year, following the Central Indian government’s decision to impose the world’s strictest lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the world’s richest, it took less than 10 months to recover the financial losses caused by the pandemic. But it will take over a decade for the world’s poorest to catch up, the report pointed out.
Vaccine making has become a big money spinner. In 2010, WHO was called out by the British medical journal for its advisors having big pharma ties which led to overproduction of vaccines for the Swine Flu. Bill Gates, his foundation and other billionaires and their foundations, are big investors in big pharma and are set to profit off COVID-19 as well, Damar says.
Is mass vaccination necessary? Damar’s answer is: “The old and the weak taking the vaccine is fine, but everyone taking it seems like a money grab. This constant advertising, the demonization of people worried about the safety of this rushed new vaccine as anti- vax is only meant to protect a 40 billion dollar profit for big pharma.”