It's All-Out War On the Vulnerable

Governments sink to new lows to avoid accountability.

It's All-Out War On the Vulnerable

Just when I think public health can’t plummet any lower, when I think governments can’t signal their eugenicist intent any more clearly, they do.

This week the British government announced it was scrapping the position of minister for disabled people, effectively eliminating the political representative of the 1 in 6 people in the UK with a disability.

Demonstrating again the banality of evil, the Brits are scrapping this role while creating a minister for common sense. Really.

This followed the news last week that the US government, via the national census, wants to change the definition of disability.

Previous yes/no answers are to be replaced with answers on a sliding scale (‘have some difficulty,’ ‘have a lot of difficulty’) with the goal to reduce the number of people the government considers disabled. All, of course, to reduce their financial commitments to these people. The census itself boasted that the changes would reduce the number of disabled people by 20 million, with reductions in federal funding of disability initiatives the likely outcome.

The most sickening thing? They know it will reduce the ‘burden’ because they know people will answer truthfully. They are turning people’s basically decent and honest nature back on them to cut and run from their obligations as a state.

Of course the steps by the UK and US won’t disappear these people from society. But it will disappear them from the books. And that’s what matters to governments dedicated to social austerity.

In the past, fascist governments disappeared inconvenient people by abducting them and killing them. Now they just write them out of society with a check mark.

These are the actions of cruel people dedicated to a cruel system.

And it’s hard to escape the conclusion these changes are happening because, not despite, the increase in the number of people with a post-covid disability.

What long covid is doing, and will continue to do to our societies is not a secret. It’s naïve to believe governments don’t know. That they haven’t been briefed.

Earlier this year, in a paper in the world’s pre-eminent science journal Nature, scientists warned the disability burden of long covid in the coming years will be 'so large as to be unfathomable.’

We are already seeing this materialise in record long-term sickness numbers in countries around the world. The state can see its obligations are increasing as a result of mass Sars2 infection, so they’re looking for technocratic, anti-democratic mechanisms to reduce these obligations.

None of this is a surprise. The plan to pretend the disabilities created by covid don’t exist is entirely consistent with the plan since mid-2021 to pretend covid itself doesn’t exist.

Governments declared war on the vulnerable 18 months ago with a mass infection policy. Eliminating political representation and reducing the on-the-books numbers just codifies an unspoken policy. The all-out nature of the war is now clear.

But the strange thing about this war is that you’re only aware of it if you are paying attention. Survivor bias means it’s very easy for most people not to see. You can walk around a town and everything looks pretty normal, the long-term or newly covid disabled at home, and the dead, well, dead. If you’re paying attention, you can hear the soundtrack to the new normal – a hacking cough - as you walk around. But most people aren’t tuned in on this frequency.

On the dead, as if we needed more confirmation covid wasn’t the flu, updated figures from the UK’s office for national statistics told the same story. They showed that in 2022, the playing field between flu and covid entirely level, with all protection measures gone, covid killed 22,449 people and the flu killed 992 people.

Horrendously, the figures showed that summer covid troughs now kill more people than past winter flu peaks.

And the difference in severity we see comparing deaths is a good proxy for post-viral burden. Few acquire long flu every year, whilst millions now live with long covid. Covid changed public health forever.

In the midst of this undeniable evidence that covid changed things forever, as data that proves we never returned to 2019 swirls all around us, there is only a determination to pretend nothing really changed.

As a result, we get new covid mutations and new waves.

You are probably aware the world is in a new wave driven by the latest immune escaping variant, JN.1.

Yet still there are few masks in hospitals or on cancer wards, let alone in the supermarkets. There is no cultural discussion about covid, and very little mainstream news. Covid has become the latest c-word that can’t be uttered. A polite society taboo that can only ruin the good vibes.

This societal evasiveness has found a good partner in the virus itself.

JN.1 is significantly immune (past infection or vaccination) evasive. Of course it is. Ignoring transmission in favour of a vaccine-only strategy is why we've got a perma-pandemic. Although you can hardly call it a strategy. Plugging another vaccine into the annual mix (or into the flu shot, as is increasingly being done) and sending people away with a false sense of security is another 2019 call back.

But these latest moves from the UK and US governments look to me like something other than pre-covid call backs. Something other than denial.

What we may now be seeing at the political level is a recognition of the truth but expressed in the only way it ever could be: through harmful and cruel policies that must flow from a fundamentally anti-human, austerity-dedicated system.

It looks to me like governments have started to respond to the long covid emergency like they’ve responded to the climate emergency: by cooking the books and fiddling the numbers to dodge their moral, financial and social responsibilities.

While society at large might still be in denial, I’m not sure our leaders are.

I don’t know that it could have been any other way.

But this morality should be no guide for ours.

We can continue to do what we know is right, for both covid and climate. Continue to protect people, continue to speak up, continue to advocate, continue to act like we live in a society.

This system is ending.

We don’t have to let our morals, better judgment and behaviours be dragged down with it.

Stay well this holiday season.

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