The Corona Chronicles – The Many-Headed Monster

The Mutations of COVID are many, varied, ever-changing and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before.You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible….
Your defences…must therefore be as flexible and inventive as the Mutations you seek to undo.

(With apologies to J.K. Rowling, whose description of the Dark Arts I have just put to my own use.)

So, how is our battle with the wretched pandemic progressing?

The latest “Public Service Announcement” to flood the airwaves here in Israel, is one urging everyone who had their second dose of the vaccine at least three months ago, to hurry up and have a third shot (hereinafter: the First Booster).
Remember that they first told us that the double Pfizer shot which was rolled out in December 2020 would protect us for 6 months. Then they said it was probably effective for a whole year. Then they backtracked and said its efficacy began to wane after four or five months unless backed up with a booster. And now, they say we need the First Booster after only three months and are already pushing a Second Booster for over-60s and people in high risk categories. So the period between shots is getting shorter and shorter, just as I predicted months ago. At this rate, we’ll be having boosters at monthly intervals – or even more frequently.

As for the Second Booster – it doesn’t seem to matter to our Government that the EU’s drug regulator, the EMA not only does not support the administering of a fourth dose as a general policy, but has actually warned that frequent doses of the vaccine at short intervals might even weaken the body’s immune response.

Another “oddity” (for want of a better word) in the Government’s handling of the crisis relates to the problem of testing large numbers of people for the virus. Because of an overload on the PCR testing centres, they decided to prioritise the testing of the elderly and people at high risk at these centres, and allow all the rest (as long as they are vaccinated) to make do with home antigen-testing kits.
Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of Public Health Services at the Israeli Ministry of Health, is on record as saying that the antigen tests are “less sensitive” (ie. less accurate) than PCR tests and that people should therefore take more than one test or else wait at least three days after exposure to the virus before taking the test. In a radio interview, I heard her say that tests taken using home kits during the first couple of days after exposure were only 50% accurate compared to at least 80% after three days. In other words, if you take the test too early, there’s a 50:50 chance it will be inaccurate. And that is most likely to be a false negative. So people using it might think they are virus-free and go out and infect others.

The Health Ministry also advised using these home-testing kits to swab the throat as well as the nose – even though they are designed for nose swabs only and even though using them other than as instructed by the manufacturers could prove dangerous!

A Facebook contact of mine (actually a family member) has frequently hinted that people who ask too many questions (as he thinks I do) are closet conspiracy theorists. It’s easier for him to believe that those in power have our best interests at heart and actually know what they are doing.

As I have said before, I do not believe in any of the weirder theories such as the one that holds the vaccine can change your sexual preferences and turn heterosexuals gay, or that they contain microscopic tracking devices. I do think some people are making money out of the pandemic (for example, the price of home testing kits – when available at all – has shot up) but on the whole, I agree with Napoleon (or possibly Hanlon):  never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

One final note – a more positive one, I hope. Next Monday is Tu b’Shvat – the New Year for the Trees. Although the Spring Equinox is still more than two months away, Tu b’Shvat is seen as the harbinger of spring and is celebrated with tree plantings and as a celebration of nature. And so it was that, right on time, one of the potted plants on my front porch, which I had feared lost forever, has returned to life again and the succulent on my living-room windowsill has come into flower.

It’s odd how little things like this can cheer me up when I’m feeling down.
I hope they do the same for you 🙂 .



About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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23 Responses to The Corona Chronicles – The Many-Headed Monster

  1. Josh Sanders says:

    The Dark Arts are real haha! I really enjoyed your piece🙏🏼

  2. Carole Schulman says:

    You mentioned last blog that I commented on that you thought you knew what I meant when I said I had a LOT to say on the topic. And I want to tell you, you are right. You do know.

  3. Very interesting to read this post, because what you told, what is happening there with the virus, is just the same here, almost word by word. Is there somewhere a source which is giving ” the right words” to every government. The text of testing and home kits is just the same here.
    Nice to see your plants are so alive, they send a whisper of spring to this snow world.

  4. the flowers are AWESOME !!!! what is the plant with the dark shade of pink “daisy” ??

    🙂 ♥♥

  5. Governments are fumbling along as best they can and trying to strike a balance between SLOWING the spread and keeping the world’s economies going. In Britain (and many other places) their big concern is not overwhelming the health services with a lot of cases in one go.They’d rather have full wards every day of the week every week of the year, than empty wards SOME of the time and OVERFLOWING wards at other times.

    Re using the home tests to swab the throat: are you sure that they are DESIGNED for nose only? Or is it that although the test is designed for throat and nose, they fear that people will find it hard to swab the throat and end up gagging and possibly spoiling the swab rendering it useless to give a result? I suspect that from a DESIGN point of view, the test can be used to sawb throat and nostril (it certainly is in England) but they recognize that swabbing ons own throat is difficult at the best of times- and more so if one already has symptoms that may be covid or a cold or flu.

    To use an analogy, they recently changed the advice on CPR and told people to conmcentrate on chest compressions and to leave out oral ventilation. The reason for this was that research showed that people were reluctant to make oral contact with complete strangers and would be more likely to help and do chest compressions, if they were spared having to “snog” a stranger.

  6. CATachresis says:

    I had to do lateral flow test before I went to the dentist. I was not happy about swabbing my throat as well as my nose! But I did the best I could!! Of course it was negative. What a palaver! I think the flower pics are gorgeous. Cheered me up no end! ❤️

    • The thing is, the home testing kits contain
      precise instructions about how to perform a nose swab but NOT how to perform a throat swab on oneself. And that COULD be dangerous if improperly carried out.
      Glad you liked the pictures.

      • CATachresis says:

        Actually, the instructions I had were for both throat and nose! Not easy to do on the throat, even with full instructions. BTW the kits are free for us from the NHS by ordering from their website.

      • Another problem with home testing is there is no guarantee the results will be reported and so the true numbers of COVID-infected are likely to be higher than the official statistics.

      • CATachresis says:

        You have to submit the result to the NHS website whether positive or negative, which I did, but of course, I could have lied!!!

      • But here, the home testing kits are sold in pharmacies and even in supermarkets and no record is kept of who buys one. Some people even buy them en masse, just in case. They might not even use them. Of course, in case of a positive reading, they are supposed to have an official, PCR test. But it’s likely that if they have only light symptoms, they are just staying home for a few days (or maybe NOT).

      • D-PAK says:

        The British tests do encourage reporting of results, and even provide the means of doing so via the web.

      • That is relying heavily on the sense of responsibility of the public.

      • CATachresis says:

        Yes it is, Shimona, but I think on the whole we do as we’re told! If someone is going to be irresponsible then they probably wouldn’t do the test in the first place!

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