It continues to amaze me just how little interest Western political and media circles have shown in getting to the bottom of the question of where this virus, which upended the world (in fact much of the upending was due to misplaced government responses, but that is a different matter) came from. In the US the Democrats have blocked all Congressional enquiries. Extraordinary. As the MIT scientist interviewed by Al Jazeera says – there is unmistakably a cover-up.
Al Jazeera – doing balanced journalism – reports that there has been a slew of recent studies which claim to locate the origins in the Wet Market. (The Wuhan Wet Market seems to fall in and out of favour as the putative origin). What strikes me about this is that it is a fact (as reported e.g. by Colin Butler a Professor at Australian National University in Canberra and UN Contributor) that China has not supplied researchers with all the required data. Indeed, as the article reports, China has removed useful information about the genetic sequences of early cases from the Internet – and the actual Wuhan lab database was hidden back in September 2019. So – these researchers who are loudly proclaiming “Wuhan market” (and therefore it seems “not lab”) are doing so despite a deliberately controlled and restricted evidence base. This is hardly objective science. Indeed it is extraordinary. But the media is often (not in this case) using these studies to once again dismiss the lab-leak theory.
“More than a year after the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered, the jabs have been proven to be safe and effective”. A straightforward piece of misinformation. All vaccines have a risk profile. None are in fact fully safe. AstraZeneca is more dangerous in terms of blood clots for young people aged 18-39 than Covid.  Pfizer carries a risk of heart inflammation especially for teenage boys.
“Boosters bring your protection against COVID-19 infections with symptoms back up to over 88 per cent”. Ok. But only for 3 months  and they offer limited protection against transmission.
The propaganda continues. It is in FAQ form and in response to “I’m concerned about the side effects of the vaccine, is the booster actually safe?” the answer is “Yes”. Mild side-effects are acknowledged. The science about (rare) but serious adverse events is suppressed.
There then follows some threats about long Covid and even a threat that you will not be able to form relationships. They are trying to scare people into getting vaccinated. No sex if you don’t get a booster!
The scientific and medical truth is that most of the vaccines offer some protection against Covid though that has now been downgraded to some chance of protection against serious illness and the effect is very short-lived. In addition as with most medicines there is a risk profile. Therefore individuals should weigh up the risks and benefits and make an informed decision as with any other medical decision. (For example I would not be against Pfizer as the risk profile for me is very low but given the limited protection a booster is not at the top of my list of priorities. I also take account of the the fact that I would need to take a booster every 3 months; I don’t want to become dependent on a vaccine).
The question has to be asked. If they are in effect having to lie what is going on? This is not a medical programme if they are misleading people.
She discusses how the state’s response to the pandemic (in the UK but also in other countries) has been to place restrictions on social life. It seems that a kind of shift in thinking has occurred. At one level the restrictions and pressurised whole population vaccination campaigns do have some scientific-medical basis. Vaccinations for example are a good idea, at least for the clinically vulnerable. But the state seems to have come to believe that the problem is social relations and supressing them has become and end in itself. Appleton gives some to-the-point examples; the well-publicised case (including by the police themselves) of Derbyshire police fining people for walking as a couple in the hills – probably the least likely way to spread the coronavirus one can imagine. Or again; the fact that restrictions focussed on parties in the home and clubs. Other venues such as hospitals, factories and supermarkets were not controlled even though transmission can be much greater in these places. And the mask; Appleton thinks the function of the mask is to restrict social interaction. She may be right though I have always thought its function is as a kind of sign like making everyone wear a lapel badge saying “we are in a pandemic”.
The essay is as Appleton acknowledges informed by Foucault’s work on how the modern state dealt with plague after the Middle Ages. It is the threat to social order that the state responds to rather than to the medical emergency. This explains why the response has been so disastrous if we evaluate it in medical terms.