It is time to end the pandemic state of emergency: Omicron tells us that the pandemic is near over and fast moving to endemicity

by Paul Alexander

It is time. It is time to end the pandemic state of emergency and as importantly, end the general Covid-19 vaccinations. Importantly, it is time to stop the vaccine mandates

I have just written this and am seeking to submit it to publish…will tweak it a little but I share:

It is time to end the pandemic state of emergency: Omicron tells us that the pandemic is near over and fast moving to endemicity

Paul Elias Alexander, PhD

It is time. It is time to end the pandemic state of emergency and as importantly, end the general Covid-19 vaccinations. It is time because the current actions are making things far worse, via the mass vaccination using a non-sterilizing vaccine that is leading to immune escape and the emergence of variants (massive infectious pressure intersecting with sub-optimal immune pressure directed against the spike).

When the former COVID advisor to POTUS Biden, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, starts a JAMA ‘Viewpoint’ online publication with “As the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay…As the US moves from crisis to control, this national strategy needs to be updated. Policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the “new normal” of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public”, then you know it is time. Way past time.

Startling was the phrase by Emanuel et al. “The “new normal” requires recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more. COVID-19 must now be considered among the risks posed by all respiratory viral illnesses combined. Many of the measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (eg, ventilation) will also reduce transmission of other respiratory viruses.”

We told these people this 2 years ago, that this was to be about strong proper protection of the vulnerable while the rest of society lived largely near normal lives as possible, taking reasonable precautions, yet unfettered with as little interference. Do they not read anything we write or listen to anything we say? Importantly, Emanuel is one of the craven lockdown lunatics that we said near 2 years ago when POTUS Trump was in lead, was very very wrong for his positions on how to manage COVID. We are glad he has come around and better late than never. And he is not entirely there yet but ‘coming’. Yet these lockdown lunatics collectively caused crushing harms on populations, killing many with their unsound, unscientific, illogical, and reckless lockdown policies. And Emanuel is the same lockdown lunatic who wants persons who do not take the vaccine to be denied unemployment insurance and that life beyond 75 is a no no. You get the picture.

But it is time. Importantly, it is time to stop the vaccine mandates given the overwhelming evidence implying that the infection explosion globally that we have been experiencing– post double vaccination and even triple vaccination in e.g. Israel, UK, US etc. –may be due to the vaccinated becoming heavily infected and spreading Covid as much or more than the unvaccinated. We have emerging indications (not yet affirmed) that 95% of infections in Germany are in the fully vaccinated. Additional evidence of the seeming failure of the vaccines emerged when Omicron cases spiked in Germany’s most vaccinated state. Israel is already considering a fourth vaccination to the elderly (given the prior three shots have been largely ineffective with vaccinal immunity rapidly waning) and also whether to end vaccination in everyone except high-risk people, and thus adopting a ‘herd’ immunity policy.

It is time and we the populace, may need to be brave enough and lead, and we may have to guide or ‘nudge’ our governments out of the wilderness. Yes, wilderness, for our leaders are operating as if one foot is nailed to the floor. We may need to take the lead here and tell them that ‘it is over’. Sometimes, the hands of governments need to be held, and this may be one of them. The former COVID czar of Israel is signaling to the world that it is indeed time, and has now alluded that Omicron “will give Israel herd immunity without swamping ICUs.” In Israel, it is becoming increasingly clear that Omicron could lead to population-level herd immunity.  Yes, oh yes, he has used the dreaded ‘H’ word.

Denmark is also signaling admission of Omicron’s deliverance from the COVID-19 pandemic, stating “it will impart a kind of herd immunity shielding the country from future variants.” Vaccines and mandates are increasingly being called into question in the face of Omicron with health experts saying “the highly transmissible Omicron variant could help countries reach herd immunity as cases continue to rise.”

We feel strongly that COVID is circling the drain rapidly burning out and that this pandemic emergency can end, yet this will take courage and political will. Ending this is really a societal decision where the population must decide it is time to go on with usual life, making reasonable common-sense decisions and taking necessary precautions. This must be accompanied by a political decision. This means we will have to come to terms with living with the pathogen and that this is reasonable and was expected. This signals a healthy society. We already have the Great Barrington Declaration and a 20-step Alexander/Brownstone Model as signposts to help us emerge.

Alarmingly, rather than the unvaccinated putting the vaccinated at risk, it could theoretically be the vaccinated that are putting the unvaccinated at risk. The evidence shows that there is no marked difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated in terms of infection risk and harboring of heavy viral load, relative to previous variants. We have accumulated evidence that appear to strongly support this (Brownstone here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. There is even accumulated studies (as many as 1,000) that point to harms from the vaccines.

What these studies have shown, are that vaccines have largely failed against the Delta variant and Omicron variant in protecting the upper airways and are unable to prevent infection. Evidence shows that these vaccines are not sterilizing the virus, in that they do not prevent infection or transmission, nor do they prevent death. Importantly, they show that the vaccines cannot stop the disease from spreading and eventually infect most of us. That is, while the vaccines provide individual benefits to the vaccinee, and especially to older high-risk people, the public benefit of universal vaccination is in grave doubt. As such, Covid vaccines should not be expected to contribute to eliminating the communal spread of the virus or the reaching of herd immunity. These vaccines cannot cut the chain of transmission and thus having no role in herd immunity. We also have accumulated evidence that the vaccines are harmful, and alarmingly in young persons e.g. myocarditis in males < 40 years of age (Patone et al.). What we are seeing is that the vaccines are very limited in stopping Omicron infection that now dominates. It is becoming increasingly clear that we will have to rely on natural immunity (COVID-recovered) to get us to population-level herd immunity.

This unravels the rationale for vaccine mandates and passports. “The notion that we have to vaccinate every living, walking American – and eventually every newborn – in order to control the pandemic is based on the false assumption that the risk of dying from COVID-19 is equally distributed in the population. It's not. We have always known that it's very hard for the virus to hurt someone who is young and healthy. And that's still the case.” As it currently stands, the SCOTUS seems poised to rule against POTUS Biden’s vaccine and testing mandates for businesses. We even have evidence that Omicron arrived at all 7 continents as 36 cases were reported in Antarctica.

We also know that natural immunity is superior to vaccine immunity and it always was. Any suggestions otherwise by public health leaders and officials have been an effort to misinform and mislead the public into vaccinating. It is actually a scandal, outrageously so, that the natural immunity (COVID-recovered) of persons is not being recognized as equal to and even superior to vaccine immunity as it is. We even have evidence of adverse effects when vaccinal immunity is layered on top of existing COVID-recovered immunity.

In this regard, there is recent natural immunity evidence from Keeton et al. (South Africa) who reported that “the magnitude of Omicron cross-reactive T cells was similar to that of the Beta and Delta variants, despite Omicron harboring considerably more mutations. Additionally, in Omicron-infected hospitalized patients (n = 19), there were comparable T cell responses to ancestral spike, nucleocapsid and membrane proteins to those found in patients hospitalized in previous waves dominated by the ancestral, Beta or Delta variants (n = 49).” Researchers also reported that “despite Omicron’s extensive mutations and reduced susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies, the majority of T cell response, induced by vaccination or natural infection, cross-recognizes the variant. Well-preserved T cell immunity to Omicron is likely to contribute to protection from severe COVID-19.”

It turns out that we have data to show that natural immunity is life long, with data showing that it is robust near 100 years after exposure e.g. researchers find long-lived immunity to 1918 pandemic virus, CIDRAP, 2008 and the actual 2008 NATURE journal publication by Yu. We also know of the research that exposure to prior common cold coronavirus provides protection and that we were likely all of society, immune at some level e.g. exposure to common cold coronaviruses can teach the immune system to recognize SARS-CoV-2La Jolla, Crotty and Sette, 2020 and selective and cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes in unexposed humans, Mateus, 2020, as well as those who had SARS-1 in 2003 were immune to SARS-CoV-2 now e.g. SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity in cases of COVID-19 and SARS, and uninfected controls, Le Bert, 2020.

It is becoming more apparent then, that the pandemic is on its last legs and omicron has ushered this endemic (endemic equilibrium) phase in, thankfully. This variant is exceedingly mild yet highly infectious. Yes, we have had approximately 1 million new cases in one day in the United States as January 2022 arrived and we have to take this seriously and be on guard as the pandemic winds down. Importantly, while there has been increase, the massive hospitalization has not occurred and the ICU and death curves that typically follow the infection and case curves by approximately one to two weeks, has not materialized. The deaths are about one-tenth of Delta’s. The New York Times has reported that Omicron is not more severe for children, this despite increasing hospitalizations.

Dr. Fauci has also weighed in by stating “hospitals are overcounting COVID-19 cases in children because they automatically get tested.” This is tremendous news for populations. We have been fortunate that the variants have been mild as expected (Muller’s ratchet), yet there is always a small risk that a novel variant can be pathogenic. We continue to be hopeful that the mildness and non-lethality of Omicron remains so and we have no data or evidence to suggest otherwise.

The very good news is that based on best data to date, this high infectiousness has not translated into increased deaths. The vaccines have served their purpose but have shown itself to be insufficient against the omicron variant, which by the very infectious nature of this variant, will affect virtually everyone regardless of vaccinations. Moreover, after its current steep rise, there will be a peak and decline and reduce what is left of Covid to small endemic pockets that may recur in the fall like flu but will continue according to best evidence as mild if annoying infections. 

The evidence accumulated rapidly that Omicron quickly escalated, peaked, and then declined as rapidly (here, here, here, here). “If you look at the United States, the bulk of the infections should be mid-January, and we should start seeing a decline in the second half of January,” Vespignani says. “So it's, in a sense, very soon.” Recent research findings out of Hong Kong give us even more good news. Researchers reported that “Omicron SARS-CoV-2 infects and multiplies 70 times faster than the Delta variant and original SARS-CoV-2 in human bronchus.” This helps account for why this variant may spread faster between humans than prior variants e.g. Delta. Their study also showed that “the Omicron infection in the lung is significantly lower than the original SARS-CoV-2, which may be an indicator of lower disease severity. This research is currently under peer review for publication.” Researchers found that “the variant replicates much faster in the bronchus, which connects the windpipe to the lungs, 24 hours after infection. Yet it reproduces more than 10 times slower in the actual human lung tissue.” In sum, this is all great news.

Yes, there is evidence of reinfection (though the data is still to be robustly collected and expert immunologists explain this represents more of an ‘immune rechallenge’ and not pure breach of natural acquired/adaptive immunity) but by all accounts, the symptoms are mild, with reports that even the elderly require no treatment and that symptoms are short lived. This is excellent news and we see no indications that this will change. At the same time, we should expect some modest death in vulnerable persons. In effect, COVID can be considered being over and Omicron has hastened the pace of endemic transition. Omicron is being exalted as nature’s vaccine, a gift, an off-ramp, an exit strategy for governments and COVID policy decision-makers, should they have the courage and will to avail themselves of it.

In summary, it is now time to end the pandemic’s state of emergency and vaccine mandates. All mandates. All of the data to date show that Omicron is less virulent than Delta, way less. It is time we accepted that we will live with COVID as we live with other mild common cold coronaviruses e.g. OC 43. “For most people, Omicron is a highly contagious cold. Lots will catch it, and most will get sniffles and a sore throat. Yes, even with Omicron, as with the flu, some people will get seriously ill, and a few will die.” This is the risk we accept in a free society, that comes with day to day living. It comes with freedom to make common sense decisions, based on one’s personal risk profile, one’s own needs, values, and preferences.

There is never ‘zero risk’ and vulnerable persons may succumb but if there is one thing COVID has taught us or reminded us, is that we must properly and strongly protect the vulnerable (elderly) and high-risk persons among us ‘first’. But ‘zero COVID’ or ‘stop COVID at all costs’ only destroys economies and the collateral damage as to harms and suicides are crushing. This is particularly so for women and children and especially those poorer among us who can least afford. We must never take this path again or allow our governments the emergency powers to implement these liberty and human rights crushing lockdown policies. Lockdown costs (financial and otherwise) have been catastrophic and will incur millions of years of life lost to Americans.

It is time we allow policy to be made by the States as POTUS Biden has indicated. Omicron has presented the opportunity for the federal and local governments to declare success, that the vaccines have helped, the risk is very low for Omicron, and that COVID January 2022 is not COVID February 2020. We know extensively more on who is at risk and how to manage and treat COVID. Omicron can allow the government to now save face and declare success. We can thus begin healing our societies. It is time we learn to manage this virus and go on with life, and start by ending the emergency and mandates.