Common features of the Covistance

I am co-writing a book on the Great Panic to explain what happened and what can be done to avoid a repeat. In the course of our research for that book, me and co-authors are scouring websites in the rest of the world to find out how others in the Covistance have experienced the events of 2020/2021. A fascinating aspect is how similar all the stories across the world are, even though the Covistance people in different continents are extremely diverse in terms of their education, their political orientation, their religious beliefs, and what they read.

There are 5 features of Covistance people that I have found to be nearly identical the world over:

  1. Stunned incredulity. The common experience of Covistance people in February-April 2020 was one of bewilderment at what the majority were doing. Neighbours one saw for decades as sensible people suddenly became wildly in favour of Chinese-style lockdowns on no other basis than that they were afraid and that they saw lockdowns on tv. Colleagues one thought were no-nonsense people loudly started advocating everybody wears masks everywhere, insisting that would save millions of lives. Family members one thought one knew since birth started signing petitions to close the schools and the offices for no other reason than that it sounded like an appropriately tough response to their fear. Covistance people around the world saw their neighbours, colleagues, and family do such things, thinking “What the hell is happening here? Have these people all lost their minds?”. There was a very distinct sense of being left behind, of not being able to join in with the madness, feeling slightly lonely at that realisation.
  2. Slow divorce from mainstream media. Covistance people everywhere started looking at the main newspapers and tv stations with different eyes, hardly believing what they were being bombarded with. Whether they were themselves highly educated or not educated at all, they all became gradually more detached from the media they had until recently seen as their main source of truth. They started to doubt everything that came out of the mainstream media, even if just before they would swallow all kinds of stories. Suddenly they started to re-evaluate, such as what had really gone on with gas attacks in Syria, or whether the Chinese government had been coercing the WHO. Essentially they felt their ‘general truth’ had become a whole lot less clear and they needed to re-anchor.
  3. Dogged resistance. Covistance people all experienced the determination to hold on to their humanity and not get sucked into the madness around them. As ‘Annie’ on lockdownsceptics worded it perfectly in her new year’s resolution on January 1st 2021:  
    I will not be turned into a zombie.
    I will not gibber in fear of a disease that has a 99.97% survival rate
    I will not cower in a hole like a frightened rabbit.
    I will not exchange living life for living death.
    I will not kow-tow to a tinpot Stalinist dictator.
    I will not believe government lies.
    I will not be terrorised by media death porn.
    I will not consider other people as squelching sacks of poison.
    I will not delete my face.
    I will never surrender.
    I will remain human.
  4. New communities with a new tolerance towards old enemies. The Covistance is made up of very odd bedfellows, uniting people who just beforehand got on like water and fire. I have found myself in the company of smart right-wing people who never believed in climate change or vaccines (which I do believe in). I have also found myself in the company of old-style socialists believing the whole thing to be concocted by large corporations trying to oppress the workers. I have found myself in the company of the super-woke and the anti-woke, pro-Brexiteers and pro-world government. Many old distinctions have become unimportant within the Covistance, leading to enormous tolerance for all kinds of views that would previously have been cause to run away from that company. That increased tolerance is felt heartily by Covistance people who have invested in at least gaining some understanding of where the others are coming from and why they believe what they believe. A real appreciation of radical diversity as a source of strength has emerged within the Covistance.
  5. A search for a clear culprit. I have resisted this myself, but see the very powerful pull within the Covistance towards a clearly named enemy: some organisation or country that is to blame for the madness and that has planned all this. My own stance is that it is all ‘correlated madness’ but not ‘planned evil, at least not initially’. At best I would say ‘fear itself’ is the common enemy, internal to all of us. That idea is a minority position in the Covistance though as it searches for an external identifiable common enemy to turn all arrows towards. Some blame the Chinese government, others the World Economic Forum, yet others the CIA or Big Tech. New names are popping up to identify the enemy, whether that is the Great Reset or Techno-Facism. A common cause has created images of a common enemy.
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61 Responses to Common features of the Covistance

  1. Pingback: Covistance: Weltweiter Widerstand gegen Corona-Fanatismus und Zerstörung der Demokratie – ScienceFiles

  2. Thomas Brey says:

    Astonishingly easy it is, to take away liberty and freedom from the ordinary “western” people. What does it tell us about the mental and cultural state of todays folks? Nothing good, I presume, but the “Covistance” might be the crystallisation point of something new and stronger (again).

    • paul frijters says:

      thanks Thomas,

      yes indeed, freedom and liberty have proven to be things easily given away for phantom promises. I am not sure it was different in previous centuries, but it certainly tells us that people forget to mistrust those with power. Time and time again, humanity forgets what power does to those who have it. It must be a spectacularly uncomfortable truth.

  3. Jerry Roberts says:

    Look forward to the book, Paul. I started with Sunetra Gupta and was glad to find you on the subject. More recently reading Michael Yeadon. Here is an excerpt from an Australian angle written by Peter Murphy and published in the March 2021 issue of Quadrant under the heading”The Futility of the Great Lockdown Melodrama.”

    “The response of middle Australia to the Covid year was largely one of patience. The mid-set of the mass of Australians is phlegmatic. They are not easily drawn into garrulous nervous fretting…. The Australian national story (embodied in Anzac) is one of phlegmatic nonchalance in the face of both danger and pompous authority. The Australian media, political and academic classes on the other hand tend increasingly to be melancholic in nature. Doom scenarios appeal to them. …. The sky is always falling in. Hence the toughness of Australia’s anti-Covid measures and the country’s generally forbearing response.”

    I wore a mask for the first time on a flight from Port Hedland airport to Perth. In Hedland I was among a masked crowd of fly-in, fly-out mining workers whom I had never seen before and will probably never see again. I had the feeling Peter Murphy got it right. We all thought it was bullshit but we put up with it.

  4. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    Oh dear, Fritjers at it again.
    let us just show up a few ‘ahem’ errors.
    A survival rate of 99.97%. Most people put it at 98-99%. Innumeracy appears to be a strength that the anti-lockdown cultists have with climate deniers.
    haven’t noticed anyone cowering anywhere.
    Obviously annie has never studied the soviet union under Stalin. Hint you could not demonstrate nor even write things critical of government policy ( sounds more like Fritjers and his articles here actually. how ironic.
    she does not like masks. Her preference is obviously to kill people and/or keep them out of the workforce.

    Finally she has no idea of what humanity is about. It most certainly is not about being a selfish ignorant prat

    She doesn’t like the government lying but can’t help doing it herself. how typical

    • Saupreiss says:

      Oh dear, the Ms Tracey fraud is at it again. Innumerate, illiterate, ignorant, and blustering as usual.

      “Most people put [the survival rate] at 98-99%.” Ioannadis, after reviewing, available systematic evaluations concludes: ” … the available evidence suggests average global ~0.15% and 1.5 – 2 billion infections by February 2021.
      Which roughly means the evidence points to about one tenth of what you seem to claim. And frankly I trust Ioannidis way more than an ignorant bigmouth like you.

      Let’s reiterate:

      Australia had in March (if you believe the ABS numbers) an unemployment rate of 6 percent, and an underemployment rate of 8.5 and that was with JobKeeper still switched on. Even the ABS predicts that the numbers will jump up in April now that JobKeeper has been terminated.

      Shall I mention that un(der)employment in Australia is a very gendered thing and hits women more than men by a considerable margin? You being the misogynist you have revealed yourself as quite a while ago, could, of course, not care less.

      Four million people have dipped into their superannuation accounts to make ends meet (and I presume especially those that should have not). Individuals’ early superannuation withdrawals – permitted in two hits of $10,000 between April and June and then between June and December – added up to more than twice as much as the government spent on emergency income support for individuals. It was equal to about 41 per cent of the final JobKeeper bill. The money is a key part of the consumption surge presently lifting the economy – but it’s a passing sugar hit at the expense of many more billions in retirement.

      Tens of thousands of people have lost their livelihoods (and presumably most of their savings), possibly it is even a six-digit number. Kids have lost about 3 – 4 months of human-capital formation and mental health and wellbeing have been shot for many of them. While suicides have gone sideways, for now, mental health problems have surged and mental-health resources are by all accounts stretched to the max.

      National debt has exploded and might be triple of what we started with early 2020 in a couple of years; inequality — I am taking all bets — will have increased dramatically both in income and wealth, and so on.

      Clearly you are just fine with all that.

      What a selfish ignorant prat, what a callous bastard you are.

      If that’s your understanding of humanity I sure don’t want any part of it.

      • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

        I hope you don’t.

        The alternative is much worse as i have pointed out.

        you cannot get herd immunity without a vaccine and you might not with one.

        One person against most epidemiologists.

        you want to kill 1-2% of the infected population. put another 10-30% out of the workforce and then a further 12% dying from what covid has exacerbated . an unproven theory. I agree you are an selfish ignorant prat and a callous barstard.

      • Neil Wilson says:

        “National debt has exploded and might be triple of what we started with early 2020 in a couple of years”

        Why do you think that is relevant? It’s been demonstrated numerous times now across several countries that this sort of fiscal belief doesn’t bind.

        Australia is perfectly capable of engaging all unemployed people in Australia permanently at a fixed living wage – since it has its own free floating currency.

        That is continues to choose not to do that is a political choice – based upon a misunderstanding of the monetary system.

        Look up “The MMT government job guarantee” on Independent Australia

      • paul frijters says:


        interesting that you mention these extra sources of loss for Australia. I hadnt realised what was going on with superannuation. The middle classes really are being royally screwed at the moment, aren’t they? Will they notice?

        I encourage you to look at Ms Tracey in a different way, ie as a means of learning about the peculiar social dynamics on display. Notice how when cornered he gives herd answers of the form “but everyone agrees with me” whilst he clearly has no idea of the masses who agree or disagree with him. What you are seeing is that his truth is being determined simply by what he mostly observes, which will be the media. He has no truth of his own and is probably quite incapable of remembering one. Ditto for morality: the media he follows doesnt mention all this suffering that I talk about, so it neither exists nor matters to him. This is classic crowd behaviour. Gruen would say truth and morality are part of an external operating system to the crowd followers, a system that is rapidly changing and so what the crowd individual touts as truth and good changes rapidly too. Isn’t it fascinating? And people like Ms Tracey allow one to see in detail how it works at the individual level.

        • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

          what a fraud,
          Show anyone the masses demonstrating against what is occurring.
          Hang on is this the person who has clearly demonstrateD he doesn’t understand herd immunity is. Or what occurred in Sweden, how about that mask survey he clearly got BADLY wrong.

          Oh it is. Facts and Fritjers and two different things.

          Oh by the way do we still remember the tirade Fritjers gave to Derrider Derider for asking a simple question. Yet another he would not answer.

          It i0d typical They boast about their qualifications and background, then decline to answer any questions relevant.
          It is only time until these insecure intellects decide to ban critical questions

    • Derek Toyne says:

      I believe 127,000 people have died that is 0.2% of the population but now the government believes a quarter of deaths were misdiagnosed. So 0.15% have died so far of covid which is what you get in a bad flu season which as never required lockdown. I believe the government made a massive mistake in February by clearing hospitals of untested covid infected patients. This was done to create capacity for the expected surge in infections which didn’t occur until late March. So by clearing hospitals we seeded care homes and the community with covid. It would have been better to leave these so called bed blockers in hospital and build nightingale hospitals as we did later on after the pandemic had subsided. What no one should forget Is that covid kills mostly the old and sick protect them and you eliminate 95% of all deaths. I would like to mention that your chance of dying today is 1 in 100 whereas your chance of dying from covid is 1 in 500 or if you drive your four times more likely to get killed in a car accident than from covid. These are facts which the government doesn’t want you to know and want you to remain ignorant.

      • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

        the % is not of the population but of those who got covid. This is in high disagreement believe it or not.

        I do agree the government here panicked. You should not put private hospitals under mandate until you need to.

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  6. ianl says:

    PF and not-Trampis continue to amuse.

    PF believes in “climate change”. Since that has been occurring for about 4.5 bn years, I’m pleased he has caught up. If as one suspects “anthropogenically caused climate change” is meant, then the issue of proportion (natural: homo sapiens) remains a matter of unmeasurable superstition.

    not-Trampis uses the term “climate denier” – quaint. Masks, even the N95 version, are akin to catching a mosquito with chicken wire. “Not for viral control” is even stamped on the box for those who care to read it.

    PF is partly right, though. Authoritarian response to C-19, as contradictory as it is, has become separated from reality now. Twelve months or so ago, confusion was understandable as data was scarce and inadequate. Conflicting panic predictions from all sorts of “experts” became abundant; even now there are spasmodic outbursts of it. The segue from curve flattening to elimination was both obvious and constantly denied. Electoral rewards for this mendacity were then showered on the proponents, demonstrating the depth of fear within the populace of a disease that statistically kills very few of a well-defined cohort. For the panic doomsters, a pandemic is measured in deaths per capita, not “cases”, but I’m aware that this will just not do.

    This deep, primeval fear still remains, perhaps more entrenched than ever. The cynical politicians, which includes quite a few medical politicians such as Fauci, are now using it to herd people towards control in other areas that the majority would not vote for when without that fear. Apart from the usual motives of power and accumulating asset wealth, the vain-glorious motive of “saving the planet” has conjoined with that of climate control. We are being tracked, herded, allowed (!!) little things that are under constant threat of being instantly snatched back, pushed and shoved, sometimes brutally, by police thugs, lied to with increasing frequency (I had not thought that possible), aspirations trampled on for the collective and generally infantilised. When asked for a measurable goal for a return to normality, the reply is a contemptuous silence.

    I’m not surprised that a majority of the population is so easily manipulated using fear. I’ve watched the growth of the evil carbon theme and finally understood how religious superstition became so widespread. What did surprise me is the alacrity of the authorities in grasping the opportunity to clamp. The speed and glee of that opportunism showed me that what people have spurned as my “cynicism” was not actually sufficient in its’ depth. I had failed to comprehend the full nature of powerlust.

    • paul frijters says:

      indeed, a lot of what has happened is powerlust. Even at the beginning, though not in a directed coordinated manner. Still, the scientists and journals that were only too happy to push the panic were driven by the same motive as the politicians today that also find themselves in a position to increase their influence.
      To show you that increased tolerance (nr 4) I am not even going to rise to the bait on climate change. I suspect our positions are not truly far apart anyway. Plenty of powerlust in the zero-carbon movements. Just because I believe humans are changing the climate doesnt mean I agree with the proposed ‘solutions’.

    • Jerry Roberts says:

      Follow the money, Ian. Capital is looking for Schumpeter’s creative destruction. The hydrogen economy will open up new cash flows and avenues for capital accumulation. What I want for Christmas is a big American V8 petrol pick-up truck with a Donald Trump flag.

      In the meantime the biggest worry is the safety of the Covid vaccines. Yesterday I watched Bret Weinstein interview Geert Vanden Bossche. It was nearly two hours and complex but these learned men of science held my undivided attention. Don’t miss it.

      • KT2 says:

        Paul, how do you justify IFR = 0.2% please?

        And to be reasonable, a source or detail of your claim that ifr 0.2% is “now recognised as a mainstream estimate.

        Why don’t you use CFR?
        What is the Case Rate under reported rate iyo?

        • paul frijters says:

          I suggest you follow Sauppreiss’ suggestion and look up the Ioanidis paper with the WHO of early 2021 that put the IFR at 0.15% for the world (so lower than my number which I published about 13 months ago on the basis of the literature then).
          The essential reasoning for 0.15% is easy: if you estimate about 1.5 billion people have had the disease by Feb 2021 and that 0.03% have died with it, then all you need to note further is that 1.5 billion people is 20% of the world population.
          The CFR is not designed (or useful) to talk about the risks to whole populations.

          • conrad says:

            It is more complicated than that since it is possible to clean up the data with a few assumptions that changes things a lot.

            Notably, lets assume the rate in China is very low. I don’t think we can believe too much of what is going on in China, so lets remove the 1.4 billion people and the small number of deaths they reported. This brings the corrected world population down to about 6.3 billion with 3.1 million deaths. Who knows what is happening in India, but they start getting it pretty late and only are only reporting 200K deaths. Let’s remove them from the pool too. This gets you to about 4.9 Billion people at 2.9 million deaths. A fair chunk of the rest of Asia was pretty good at avoiding it (or were, with your story, more resistant, and less likely to spread), and you could correct for them too but I won’t here.

            So just removing India and China and using death statistics from the odometer, you now you need to explain 2.9 million deaths with 4.9 billion people and not 3.1 million from 7.7 billion. This means the death rate as a total of the corrected vs. total population is about 50% higher.

            Even then, the numbers are less favourable than what you report:

            Let’s first look at the death rates ex-China and Ex-India vs. the total population are:
            2.9 million/4.9 billion = .000592
            3.1 million/7.7 billion = .000403

            1 per 1000 IFR
            Corrected: 2.9M * 1000 / 4.9B = 2.9B (59%)
            Uncorrected: 3.1M * 1000/7.7B = 3.1B (40%)
            1.5 per 1000 IFR
            Corrected = 1.93B (39%)
            Uncorrected = 2.06B (27%)
            2.5 per 1000
            Corrected = 1.16B (23.6%)
            Uncorrected = 1.24B (16.1%)
            5 per 1000
            Corrected = 580M (12%)
            Uncorrected = 620M (8%)
            10 per 1000
            Corrected = 290 million (5.9%)
            Uncorrected = 310 million (4%).

  7. Zeph says:

    I certainly have found a new understanding for and sense of kinship with conservatives over the last year. It has been frustrating to be labeled a conspiracy nut, alt-right, Trumper and what have you, simply because of my views on Covid.

    • paul frijters says:

      I soooo hear you! In the Dutch media, they basically tried to character-assassinate all the most prominent anti-lockdown figures, digging up whatever dirt from a long time ago they could find.

  8. Christopher Hood says:

    Frijters took offence at the suggestion that he supported a 0.02% death rate for COVID. No, he said: he has always said 0.2%. He never used the 0.02% number himself, but only expressed agreement with commenters whose comments did include that number.
    Now he quotes with approval someone who says survival is 99.97%: that is, death rate is 0.03%. That’s an order of magnitude lower than what Frijters says he believes. And it’s two orders of magnitude lower than what current evidence and current opinion says – 1-2% and looking higher the better the numbers get.
    ‘Covistance’ seems to consist of never revising the lowest estimates you could get away with a year ago. It seems to consist of complete disregard for the evidence of ‘long COVID’: on the best recent study, just under one in five infected suffer ongoing debilitation, and there’s no time frame for that because so far no long COVID sufferers recover.
    Perhaps, on preliminary anecdotes, some vaccinations end long COVID.
    In India, cases were down to 20,000 a day. Now, thanks to Hindutva special pleading and mass infection events, cases are above 240,000 a day: death rates, as usual lagged a fortnight, are correspondingly booming: and actual distancing and isolation measures may now begin again.
    But the Covistance is sure distancing and isolation are ineffective. Yet outbreaks follow when distancing and isolation are forgone: and outbreaks subside when distancing and isolation strongly apply.
    I look forward to the use of the Welby approach in relation to COVID. Frijters should stop discrediting his fine contribution by continuing to say that only deaths are a COVID consequence, and that all economic impacts are due to isolation and distancing and none to COVID infection spread.

    • paul frijters says:

      I think Annie had in mind that at that moment, the % people in the whole world who had died with covid was 0.03%.
      You know perfectly well what my position on the IFR is, ie 0.2% for the world as a whole, now recognised as a mainstream estimate (though it took a while).
      I think you and Homer perfectly illustrate at least 2 of the 5 points of the post.

      • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

        still won’t answer a simple question. what a fraud. what is your policy solution to India where it is so dire patients have to wait on the streets.
        A perfect example yet again why he is a fraud.

      • Aidan says:

        You know perfectly well what my position on the IFR is, ie 0.2% for the world as a whole, now recognised as a mainstream estimate (though it took a while).

        0.17% of the USA and 0.19% of the UK have died of COVID. For 0.2% to be correct would imply that close to the entire country have already contracted the disease.

        It is clearly not a credible number.

        • paul frijters says:

          sigh. Are you deliberately trying to misunderstand what I am saying or are you saying that you only care about Anglo-Saxon countries? ‘For the world as a whole’ means ‘for the world as a whole’ and not just the 7% of that world that is Anglo-Saxon.
          In India, as of this morning, no more than 0.014% have been claimed to die with covid. You wouldnt think that if you saw the news, but then, that is the news nowadays.

          • Aidan says:

            Rich Anglo-Saxon countries are the best case scenario. This is literally the lower bound.

            For you to say hardly anyone has died in India is ludicrous. They are at the very beginning of a horrendous outbreak. They’ve got 350,000 cases/day right now with a high test positivity rate. They way it is going it could hit a million/day. Their medical system has already collapsed, who knows how bad it will be in 2 weeks time when the people who have just tested positive fall gravely ill.

            There could easily be 10,000 people a day dying.

            You have deluded yourself. You are peddling fringe conspiracy theories. Wake up.

            • conrad says:

              Rich Anglo-Saxon are unlikely to be the best case. This is because they have lots of old people. Countries with predominantly young people are the best case, even with a poor medical system.

              Also, 10,000 people a day dieing when you have 1.3 billion is like 100 a day dieing when you have 13 million. So it is as not as bad as it seems. There are Euroland places that surpassed this.

          • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

            This from the man who embarrassed himself on the co-called mask survey and yet again could not say he was wrong.
            Stats are clearly not his strength.

    • conrad says:

      There’s likely to be lots of variability in the death rate across countries which would clearly change what might be sensible policy — so what might be sensible policy in one country (i.e., ones with a young thin population) won’t be in another (e.g., most fat Western countries). Other factors will be important too. For example, if you are India and 70% of your population are subsistence farmers, the effect of limiting movement etc. will have a dramatically different effect than places like Aus.

      As it happens, you know I think Paul makes an underestimate and you make an overestimate of rate, but I doubt the world rate matters that much in terms of what should be done given sensible policy specific for different places.

      • paul frijters says:

        yes, variation matters and there have been surprises. The lack of open debate about these matters in the mainstream press has been one of those surprises. After all, why not tap into the collective ability to analyse differences in disease patterns across places?

        The concept of an IFR gets to be inadequate when it comes to a mutating endemic disease though, much like it is strange to talk of the IFR of the seasonal flu. The debate should be moving more towards a ‘burden of disease’ type measures, such as average life-expectancy loss or average QALY loss. Things get more complex still when considering the fact that viruses constantly mutate: when one is talking about a moving cloud of related viruses, what exactly is one then attributing a particular IFR number or a QALY-loss to? Yet to communicate, these simplifications are unavoidable.

        • Jerry Roberts says:

          The West Australian capital of Perth, where most of the State’s population resides, is in the middle of a three-day lockdown for the Anzac Day long weekend, occasioned by a positive test traced to hotel quarantine. One wonders how much longer the population is going to tolerate this sudden imposition of martial law with such ridiculous rules as being allowed to exercise outdoors for one hour a day. We should be getting outdoors in sunshine and fresh air as much as possible.

          The Covistance is an interesting subject and I have noticed all five points in operation in Australia. However today’s urgent concern is the safety of the vaccines. Giliad Atzmon reports on the Israeli People Committee’s finding on the Pfizer experiment: “There has never been a vaccine that has harmed as many people.”

          I am listening to Geert Vanden Bossche and Mike Yeadon and I find Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying are intelligent referees.

      • The economist has a chart of excess deaths by nation per 100k.
        The range of variations is large. And hard to understand for example Peru tops the list at about 420 deaths per 100k yet nearby Chile is listed as about 100 deaths per 100k. It’s also noticeable that while Sweden is higher than Germany on the table neither nation is anything like as high as Italy or the UK.

        Also read the other day on the science media Centre that in theUK deaths from dementia , COPD and coronary related stuff were very down last year which does suggest that a significant number of the UK deaths covid changed the cause of death, but not the year of death

      • Mark Marksson says:

        There is clearly lots of variability according to the differing demographics from one society to another, but nowhere is this a disease that can be regarded as any kind of societal threat remotely justifying emergency measures in response. Where death rates are higher, it is in older, usually very old indeed, and mostly already very ill, people. These are human beings like any others, but society should never be organised around eking an additional few years of life out for the very oldest amongst us. They should be protected as far as possible and as far as they wish to be, but not using the kind of draconian emergency measures this global panic has seen used.
        Arguing over whether the ifr is 0.15% and likely to drop, or closer to 1% in elderly populations, is rather beside the point.

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  10. Paul this sums your opponents to a tee :
    “you cannot get herd immunity without a vaccine and you might not with one.”

    The virus is by now endemic in the world it ain’t going away, elimination is not possible.

    And we cannot be a hermit nation for ever. Nor can we live in a state of on off lockdown forever.

    So sooner or later we will ,just as many dissenters argued from early on, have to learn to live with it. (But it’s quite likely to take many more years)

    • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

      Herd immunity is something Fritjers has clearly never understood.

      If you need further vaccines annually you do not have herd immunity.
      It is impossible without a vaccine as you can get more than once 9 and die from it).

      you cannot live with it. It is simply too deadly as the new variants show.

      you cannot live with as it kills too many directly and indirectly. It also means large segments of the population would not be able to work.

  11. KT2 says:

    2nd time lucky.

    Paul, how do you justify IFR = 0.2% please?

    And to be reasonable, a source or detail of your claim that ifr 0.2% is “now recognised as a mainstream estimate.

    Why don’t you use CFR?
    What is the Case Rate under reported rate iyo?

  12. Dodgy Geezer says:

    Humanity has had a long history of panics and mass hysteria. Charles Mackay’s excellent book ‘Extrordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’ documents many of them. So Covid Panic is quite normal for humans.

    Of much more interest is how government bureaucrats are behaving during this panic. The headlines from the media and politicians are just for show – the real power exists amongst civil servants and quangos that operate the bureaucratic state. These are cementing their hold on the production of legislation without any oversight (democratic or otherwise) and it will soon become impossible to return to the freedoms that we once had…

  13. Mark Marksson says:

    I absolutely agree with what you say about tolerating different opinions in the resistance to the coronapanic, though clearly that should not preclude disagreeing about things. The point is to tolerate dissent and disagreement, rather than to go the intolerant “cancellation” route pioneered in our societies by the political correctness and identity lobby groups over the past few decades, and then used to great effect against coronapanic dissenters.

    On that note, you state your belief in climate change, and we probably disagree politically on this, because I regard climate change as a thing that happens naturally, which might or might not be being contributed to significantly by human action, but in any case not any kind of emergency.

    Doubtless we will disagree on this, but I’m interested in whether your views on this have been shaken at all by the similarity in the pseudo-science underlying the coronapanic with that underlying climate panic – namely computer “modelling”, using questionable assumptions made by parties with ideological, academic reputation and funding, and political interests at stake, and applying only partial understanding of the processes involved.

    To me, the similarities are stark, and the main difference is how much more dramatically successful and immediate the fear propaganda has been, when it relates to the visceral human fear of disease and death rather than to the more theoretical and remote supposed dangers of climate change.

    • paul frijters says:

      Hi Mark,

      fair question. You ask whether my belief in man-made climate change has been shaken because of the mass betrayal by many scientists of their mission and the interests of their populations the last 13 months.
      The answer is ‘no, not really’, but for peculiar reasons: already since the early 90s my belief has been that the world will use the cheapest energy first whilst making lots of virtue signalling noises about what populations were going to do about emissions. That’s pretty much what has happened, with the only major surprise that some renewables have become cheaper faster than first thought.
      On whether human emissions were truly leading to global warming, I basically went through the main data and steps myself such that I do think warming is happening fast and against the expected natural cycles, meaning human emissions are the likely culprit (not 100%, but certain enough for policy purposes to take as culprit). And yes, I know about the satellites and the ocean currents, the sun spots, and the volcanoes. Emission-lead global warming beats all other proposed explanations in my view.
      So I have always seen the hubris in the climate science and have gotten into many fights over the last decades with people who wanted me to sign up to emission controls and other things I regarded as worse than useless. I have always seen the hand of self-serving industries promoting something bad whilst hiding as good (biomass burning is top on that list), but then the other side (the carbon emitters) are also playing the political lobbying game hard. I also have made a habit of analysing and offering alternatives, namely seed banks, zoos, artificial ocean communities, etc. I have written senate submission, talked on conferences, been in rooms with policy makers to talk about how adaptation could really be done, etc. I tried.

      To be honest, my efforts in the climate change debate have had zero overall effects but that is not the only thing academia is about.

  14. Steve Sieff says:


    Your list of commonalities certainly strikes a chord. So many of the messages I have had through and through my legal advice to small businesses and parents have contained one or more of your list.

    There are other themes too. Incredulity turned into loneliness for some but also into a fear of being judged/pigeon-holed/cancelled/ostracised for holding a sceptical view. For many incredulity turned to despair and a sense of being powerless, especially as it became clearer and clearer that ‘sanity’ was not returning.

    Let me know if you are interested in finding out more about the responses I have seen. I would say that most people who supported greenbandredband came from the less extreme ends of the sceptical community. You may be particularly interested in the responses from those choosing red bands. These are people who felt vulnerable, wanted protection, but didn’t feel that lockdowns and enforced restrictions were the best way of achieving it.

    • paul frijters says:


      yes indeed. We are looking for stories of personal experiences by people who in some way ended up resisting the madness in their own way. We want to capture some of the diversity of those experiences. If some of the responses you got allow us to get a good idea as to someone’s initial situation and how they experienced the last 15 months, please do pass it on. We truly want authentic stories. My LSE email is easy to find!

  15. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    Fritjers must be in raptures.
    India is following his prescription and what a success it is having.

    surely We must replicate it

  16. KT2 says:

    IaawabnTrampis – Replicate It!!! New term just for club troppi’s enjoyment – IIoI. THE Ioannidis IRONY OF IRONIES post. Ho.

    Paul reply @ April 25, 2021 at 4:02 pm above.

    Paul, re  Ioannidis, I agree with Christopher Hood: “Covistance’ seems to consist of never revising the lowest estimates you could get away with a year ago.”

    Paul, if Saupreiss wasn’t supporting your possition, you’d have censured or banned  Saupreiss for saying;
    “What a selfish ignorant prat, what a callous bastard you are.
    “If that’s your understanding of humanity I sure don’t want any part of it.
    “Oh dear, the Ms Tracey fraud is at it again. Innumerate, illiterate, ignorant, and blustering as usual.”…
    … as you did when someone called a statement ‘stupid’. TropoTribe-o-lism?!

    I suggest the Ioannidis paper won’t replicate! Oh! The IRONY of ironies. Bias overcoming brains. Or being generous, a rush to publish. Not to replicate.

    Fairs Fair. May I humbly suggest, if no replication study of any Ioannidis studies, it goes on the ‘wait and see’ pile. Replicatation = 0 by the smart guy who wrote it. Don’t worrry. Even Einstein had some wild assertions later in his career.

    Paul,Saupreiss, do you mean this Ioannidis paper? Great read. Gbd gets a mention too..

    “Basically, critics pointed out that, due to the low prevalence of COVID-19 in April 2020, the small number of individuals included in the study, and what was known about the specificity of the COVID-19 antibody test, Ioannidis and his co-investigators could not rule out the possibility that the positive test results they got could all have been false positives.

    “It gets worse:

    “When the Stanford team — Drs. Jayanta Bhattacharya, John Ioannidis and Eran Bendavid — released the first draft of their Santa Clara County-based preprint, the news was stunning. The nation’s first study of its type, it found that the virus was astoundingly 50 to 85 times more prevalent than presumed. But that meant the death rate was far lower.

    “Yet the project raised eyebrows from the start.

    “Even before they started collecting data, the researchers openly questioned “stay at home” orders. Ioannidis wrote a provocative article arguing that if COVID-19 is less deadly, widespread restrictions “may be totally irrational.” A Wall Street Journal editorial by Bhattacharya and Bendavid was entitled “Is the Coronavirus as Deadly as They Say?” Bhattacharya revisited that theme in the Hoover Institution and Fox Nation program “Questioning Conventional Wisdom.”

    “When their preprint was published, its conclusions backed the trio’s policy arguments – and it was saddled with statistical problems.

    “It failed to describe key calculations and made at least five material mistakes, according to Will Fithian, assistant professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Statistics. The population-weighted intervals in a table were miscalculated. The authors plugged the wrong interval into a formula. They made two math errors in executing that formula. And, misreading their test kit’s manufacturer insert, they used the wrong numbers for the antibody test’s specificity.

    “Oh, did I forget to mention that one of the future authors of the Great Barrington Declaration was a colleague of Ioannidis and co-author of the study? (More on that later.) True, Ioannidis and company did revise and republish the study in late April, but the revised study still estimated that the prevalence of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County at the low end of the original range, which was plenty high. Worse, in the interim, Ioannidis had shown up on Fox News, CNN, and a number other media outlets promoting his team’s results and using them to cast doubt on the effectiveness of public health interventions and “lockdowns” to slow the spread of the virus.”…

    “What the heck happened to John Ioannidis?

    ..” Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Since then, Prof. Ioannidis has been publishing dubious studies that minimize the dangers of the coronavirus, shown up in the media to decry “lockdowns,” and, most recently, “punched down”, attacking a graduate student for having criticized him. What happened? Did Prof. Ioannidis change, or was he always like this and I just didn’t see it? Either way, he’s a cautionary tale of how even science watchdogs can fall prey to hubris.” [Ouch!]
    By David Gorski on 
    March 29, 2021

  17. KT2 says:

    And same for you Paul “I couldn’t help but be frustrated at Prof. Ioannidis’ relative lack of detail in the methodology,”
    (perhaps it will be in the book?)

    “One of the targets of Prof. Ioannidis’ ire spent an entire Tweetorial dissecting the distortions in the article. It’s long, but I find its arguments compelling. To summarize, Atomsks Sanakan points out (and documents) that Prof. Ioannidis has a history of cherry picking studies with non-representative samples because studies using representative samples tend to result in an estimate an IFR higher than his and incompatible with his message. Reading Prof. Ioannidis’ screed disguised as a review article, I couldn’t help but be frustrated at Prof. Ioannidis’ relative lack of detail in the methodology,”…

    ” Atomsks Sanakan points out (and documents) that Prof. Ioannidis has a history of cherry picking studies Atomsks Sanakan points out (and documents) that Prof. Ioannidis has a history of cherry picking studies with non-representative samples “…

    “1/J John Ioannidis published an article defending his low estimate of COVID-19’s fatality rate. It contains so many distortions that I’ll try something I’ve never done on Twitter for a paper: Go thru distortions page-by-page. This will take awhile.”

    Re this linked paper:
    “Reconciling estimates of global spread and infection fatality rates of COVID‐19: An overview of systematic evaluations”
    John P. A. Ioannidis

    • conrad says:

      KT, he’s always been like that:, not just with covid.

      It’s unfortunately one of the ways science works in some areas (i.e., collecting citations and becoming big) where data is messy (social sciences, epidemiology etc.). The best way to get them is to:
      1) Be one of the first people to make a claim in an area
      2) Take a simple and preferably extreme position, so you are the standard reference for the position
      3) Stick to the position and defend it until the end. Never admit you are wrong. This way the debate never ends.

      • paul frijters says:

        there is definitely a lot of truth in what you say about the direction of travel by lots of scientists in areas with messy data. One has seen that dynamic on all sides when it comes to the position of individual scientists (just think of the hysterics when that Danish mask study came out), but I will say that I find the more in-depth and open debates to occur within the Covistance.

        I made my own estimate way before even hearing from Ioannidis.

        I do hear you about the uncertainties with China and India, but dont think its reasonable to disregard 1/3 of the world population willy-nilly, particularly since their numbers are close to what their neighbours report. What would your estimates be if you plugged in what you think is most reasonable to argue about those countries?

        • conrad says:

          I think the estimates from China are more or less impossible to know. In terms of deaths, the central government is not going to tell you, and the people lower down are certainly not going to want to tell the central government. So if some city was seriously affected, it would just be covered up. That being said, they obviously have the resource to lock people down like no other places. They also have good supply chains, so perhaps there is really not much covid and hence not that many deaths.

          In terms of what proportion of people would die, I suspect it would be relatively high because people are over-weight, have especially poor diets in the North, there is air pollution at horrible levels that would make things worse, and the population is not especially young. So even if they got a bit more resistance from pre-exposure, there are lots of factors against them. You might remember that poor guy that blew whistle on it all died and he was quite young — despite the chance of that happening being tiny given he would have got decent medical care. Who knows if that was exceptional. But I would guess a higher death rate than average — perhaps somewhat above .5%, which would be why the communist party is desperate to stop it transmitting.

          In terms of India, the basic problem is the same for many poor countries. The reporting systems would be hopeless and so we’ll never know, and nor will the government. As an anecdote, I remember walking around Nepal quite some time ago now (hopefully it has changed) but reporting deaths to the government was the last of the problems for the average person — many of the poor people couldn’t even get the simplest of medical supplies (antiseptic etc.). I assume this is true of the poorer groups in India.

          If I had to guess for India, I suspect it would probably be pretty similar to Euroland (perhaps .25-.5%). On the plus side you have a young population that is relatively thin, with a relatively healthy diet for things like heart disease. On the down side, the medical care is rather poor and you have massively crowded and polluted cities. Of course, lots of people live in the countryside, but even the countryside in India is relatively crowded, so you can imagine there is no-where to hide if you are old or rich and fat.

          I think the situation is probably not as bad as the current media portrayal — if you have 1.3 billion people, of course there will be large numbers of deaths and cases, and with poor infrastructure, there will be lots of grizzly pictures to show. But I see no reason it will be worse than other places.

  18. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    The only authoritative study I have seen which has death rates below 1% was for a number of reasons they asserted there were more people affected by covid than estimates. some reasons appeared valid others less so.
    Even then they got around 0.7% rounded.
    This means if a nation adopted the very vague Fritjers policy the death rates would get to 1% as India is now showing covid crowds out every other problem the hospital system has to deal with..
    India again shows Fritjers completely wrong on almost anything he says on this topic.
    Patients are left out on the streets because of the lack of room in hospitals.
    They appear not to realise if they do nothing they will achieve Fritjers nirvana

    • conrad says:

      You can calculate that through, which I do above if you missed it. But if you do I’ll note that if you assume:
      a) A 1% death rate, and
      b) that the coronavirus odometer is accurately reporting deaths (I tend to think it would be under-reporting them in 3rd world countries, but I’ll leave that aside).

      Then you’re also assuming that there have only been around 300 million cases excluding China and India, or about 450 million if you assume their rate is similar to the rest of the world. That seems a bit low no?

  19. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    roll up roll up ladies and gentlemen to the Fritjers new world.
    Here when a hospital system has gone to gowings and the workers are overworked to the nth degree guess what.
    Deaths falls Yes that’s right they fall.
    It is magic I tell you.

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