“The Presidential Covid-19 Task Force informs the public that four (4) cases of a new Covid-19 variant now known as B.1.1.529, were reported and recorded on Monday 22nd November 2021 … The preliminary report revealed that all the four had been fully vaccinated for Covid-19.” – Botswana Presidential Covid-19 Task Force, Press Release, 25 November 2021.
The new African variant, B.1.1.529, has been assigned “Omicron” – the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet – by the World Health Organisation (“WHO”). The WHO considers it to be a variant of concern.
In mid-July 2021, the World Economic Forum published an article which noted: “South African scientists have discovered a new Covid-19 variant and they’re concerned that it [a “very unusual constellation” of mutations] could help it evade the body’s immune response and make the variant – named B.1.1.529 – more transmissible.”
In mid-August 2021, MyBroadBand published an article titled ‘When Covid-19 Fourth Wave Will Hit South Africa’. Quoting Salim Abdool Karim, former chairman of the government’s ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19: “South Africa expects the fourth wave of coronavirus infections to start on 2 December and last about 75 days,” MyBroadBand reported. It seems Karim was accurate, almost to the day, how did he know?
Nick Hudson, a South African and chairman of PANDA, took to twitter yesterday: “Now where have I heard public health officials making outlandish claims about a “variant” based on zero evidence? Oh yes, I remember now. This time last year.”
Around this time last year, having been first detected in October 2020, the South African Beta variantwas reported by South Africa’s health department on 18 December 2020. The WHO considered it to be a variant of concern.
Established in April 2020, PANDA – Pandemics Data and Analytics – is a group of multi-disciplinary professionals, who perceive the global reaction to Covid, and lockdown in particular, as overwrought and damaging to the point of causing a great tear in the fabric of society.
“Our mission is simple: the science is clear on what key policy responses should be. Fuelling fear and removing agency from people’s lives across the world is not sound public health policy,” PANDA states on their website.