Sadly, everything has been turned upside down in our world. We now have a global leader for whom the thought “he would never do that” has proved wrong time and time again. It might seem like shibboleths are tumbling, for instance, attacking a nuclear facility with bombs, but of course, Putin has a track record. His treatment of Grozny in 1999 now a sad portend for Ukrainian cities.

It looks like Chechnya all over again and we have to remember what Putins forces did to Grozny in 1999

The global Pandemic seems almost like the good old days. It tended to unite nations around a common problem – infective agents are indifferent to our political hues. We all tend to want the same things – less cases, less deaths, milder variants, vaccines, treatments and good luck. It created international co-operation. We also have choices, to stay at home, wear masks, get vaccinated, wait, hope. Now with war, the people affected have little choice in anything, for them, every moment of the day will be different.

Pandemics suddenly seem very simple. We should not forget, there are several Biosecure labs in the Ukraine, a peacetime development which seems now to have been irresponsible optimistic. Yet, the four horses of the Apocalypse tend to ride together.

Fingers crossed for the pandemic in the Ukraine where there will now be no counting, testing, isolation, treatment, vaccination, and where hospital care will be under threat.

Resistance

Demonstrations are taking place in Russia despite being met with violence, arrests and now laws making the use of the words “occupation” or “war” illegal.

Amazing courage of Russians anti war demonstrations.

Russian doctors and healthcare professionals coming out of the pandemics burnout are in their thousands, signing a letter to Putin asking for an end to the killing. In due respect to them I copy it here:

We, Russian doctors, nurses, and paramedics, strongly oppose the military actions carried out by Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine. We are not looking for the guilty and we do not judge anyone. Our mission is to save human lives. It is difficult to imagine a profession more humane than a doctor. And now, at this difficult time for both countries, we call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for the resolution of all political issues exclusively by peaceful means.

As always, we do not divide the people into friends and foes. We swore to help any human, regardless of nationality, religion, or political views. But today our help is not enough. The war will take many lives and cripple so many destinies that we will not have time to help despite all possible efforts. Everyone will scream in pain and cry out to their mothers in the same language. Any projectile or bullet, even if it does not reach its target and does not take someone’s life, still brings fear, panic, and pain. Pain which contracts hearts. Everyone’s heart is hurting now. Civilians’. Soldiers’. Soldiers’ mothers and wives. Children’s. Nobody deserves this fear. Nobody deserves to be killed or injured. Accidentally or intentionally.

Our relatives, friends, patients. and colleagues are located on the attacked territories. There is not a single person among them who would benefit from the ongoing bloodshed. We cannot stay away from pain and suffering, which are increasing every minute.

Human life is priceless. It takes a moment to be killed in action, while the treatment and recovery of the victims can take years. And for the moments of today’s war, we will pay for many years after. No matter how the use of lethal weapons is justified, they remain deadly. Deadly and causing pain and suffering. Therefore, following our oaths and maintaining a humane and equal treatment of all lives, we demand an immediate suspension of all operations with the use of lethal weapons”

What can we do

We should not forget that our present Government have given Russian oligarchs big favours. For me strong words from our leaders pale when looking at the £3.5 million (2019) and more they have received from Putins chums. A simple letter to your MP or local Conservative councillors will do.

Buying influence…..Huge Russian donations to the Tories should go to helping refugees.

This money should now be given to the DEC’s appeal for humanitarian help in the Ukraine, and I have written to my Conservative MP to demand this happens. The donations will be matched by Government.

Dear…,

Could you please assure me that Russian donations to the Conservative party will now be sent, in their entirety, to the Ukraine DEC appeal and attract matched by funding from Government as promised.

If this is not to happen, please could you explain why.

Yours Sincerely

A wonderful local network of MS chums have come up with more ideas;

In the Ukraine anyone with MS will be very worried. Modern medical care has transformed the outlook for the disease, without which people will suffer. They are already big worries for them as the MS Blog from Bart’s describes. A wonderful network of chums with MS have come up with some ideas to help:

Supporting Refugees

The Good Law Project: This admirable group of lawyers are taking on the government terrible treatment of asylum seekers, and are supporting a legal case worker at Asylum Aid who will help overcome our inhumane treatment of refugees which is already making it difficult for those fleeing war.

Clever donations

There are suggestions that apartments can be booked in the Ukraine through AirB+B as a way of getting money to Ukrainians. Other suggestions are to buy stuff from Ukrainian businesses despite knowing that the goods will never arrive, paying via Etsy.

We can donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee and it seems the UK Government are matching all donations. Donations of art have been given to auctions on facebook. Global Citizen also have suggestions for things we can do.

The future.

Barring accidents, like Putin suddenly dying, we are in for a rough time with the Ukrainians, not for the first time, suffering from lack of all the things we are so used to. Energy, food, healthcare, communications and comfort. It is still winter in the Ukraine.

How the world is lining up against Russia and China will be pivotal. It is good news to hear that more studies suggest that the pandemics origin was in Wuhan wet market and not from a lab leak. Conspiracy theories against China, so rampant in US Republican circles now become dangerous as we need them to help isolate Russia. Diplomacy, given the treatment of their own minorities, will not be easy. Perhaps aggressive sanctions will make China think twice while looking at Taiwan.

I recently decided to treat myself to a microscope, to find that all the main manufacturers are using China, where production costs are ONE FIFTH of ours. I refurbished my old Vickers scope, ironically made from metal recycled from bombers after WW2. Buying more locally could become even more important, but carries a price tag, and sometimes the choice, like a new microscope, is not available.

Blogging about issues related to the pandemic, as I said at the beginning, a comfortable distraction from climate change, now cannot distract me from the immediacy of a European war. It is despairing to tune into the news from Ukraine when every day when it is the same; bombing, destruction and suffering. The pandemic may be nearing a conclusion, but will be some time before the dust settles in the new Belarus style Ukraine which seems to be at the end of Putins latest tunnel.

A new SarsCov2-19 Variant of Concern could potentially take many lives in the Ukraine, but has suddenly slipped way down the list of worries. Then there are the several Biosecure Labs in the Ukraine which I hope will pass from one administration to another without the release of significant pathogens. Thats another story.

I’m off to write some letters and make some donations. Then to continue the task of growing food – suddenly even more worth the effort.


5 thoughts on “War and pestilence – some suggestions

  1. Another of Worobey’s attempt to put the origin of the epidemic at the wet market. It is not what he includes that we should examine but rather what he excludes. He bases his data on cases in December however an authenticated case of an UK man in Wuhan having symptoms on the 25th of November – 2 weeks before Worbobey’s data. A Chinese newspaper report has cases from the 17 th of November. I am unable to find anything in Worobery about the Wuhan CDC laboratory, 300 m from the market – a site where it is reported also had cases, where it is reported that horseshoe bats were experimented on(but on this again there is doubt)- which could equally be the epicentre of the epidemic. Indeed we know that the Wet market was a focus/super spreader site, well – because it was by all accounts a very busy place bit like the London underground (are there bats there?). But that is no reason to suppose that it was the origin. Indeed the original hypothesis it was the disease focus skewed tha data as the authorities looked to find cases there. If you trace all the bananas found in Britain you will find that the highest quantity come from Tesco is that their origin? Indeed as you know you can get bananas from Tesco you will therefore search other branches. Worobey’s logic would say yes.

    It seems pretty certain that this disease came from a certain species of horseshoe bat. It is certain that there was a focus in or near the Wuhan Market in question, but as the WHO report says

    “Wuhan CDC laboratory moved on 2nd December 2019 to a new location near the Huanan market. Such
    moves can be disruptive for the operations of any laboratory.”

    Despite searching not a single case of Covid19 has been found in animals (apart from bats) that could have infected humans. We now are seeing it in mink, cats, lions, deer, hamsters and mice – so it is very transmissible. There was extensive testing of samples in the Wuhan market(cats mice, rats and animal merchandise) and only positives in the Wuhan market were human

    The disease since 2020 is very contagious across the whole mammalian spectrum but nothing except humans before that. Until we fit the missing pieces to this jigsaw

    Worbory’s quote
    “these analyses provide dispositive evidence for the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 via the live wildlife trade and identify the Huanan market” until he can actually find a smoking gun and include the pre-December cases is simply conjecture.

    1. Erratum

      Despite searching -not a single case of Covid19 has been found early in the pandemic in animals (apart from bats) that could have started to infected humans.

    2. Thanks Owen, I have to agree there are uncertainties and the question will probably never be settled. Reports are difficult to verify and opinions vary. In a young person other infections can be similar to C19. There are big issues with BSL4 labs and that there are 59 of them, (not all well regulated) makes me sigh at the lack of international co-operation which could reduce that number to single digits at least. There are even a few BSL4 labs in the Ukraine, I just hope they are shut down with care. Somehow we have to live with China, indeed have become dependent on them. I must admit I rather liked the idea that co-operations was taking place with the US in Wuhan – pathogens are indifferent to political hues. Then the issue with nature, our ultimate problem and of course the pandemic may not have happened without pressure on wildlife. We have so much work to do and instead, along comes war.

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