Can Lockdowns stop the Spread of Coronavirus?
Colombo Municipal Council Public Health Department officials conducted random PCR tests on people at the Fort Railway Station, Colombo. Some of the people undergoing the tests.Pic by Kamal Bogoda
There certainly seems to be a consensus in the media, and among political elites, that if there is another “outbreak” of the Coronavirus, then the “shelter in place” order will be the law of the land. “Shelter in place” is an official order, issued during an emergency, that directs people to stay in the indoor place or building that they already occupy, and not to leave unless absolutely necessary.
The present trend gaining momentum is that grocery stores and food companies are preparing for a possible surge in sales amid a new rise in Covid-19 cases. Supermarkets are stockpiling groceries and storing them. Food companies are accelerating production of their most popular items, and leaders across the industry are saying they will not be caught unprepared in the face of another pandemic surge.
One hardly can blame business owners and managers for wanting to be ahead of the curve, as governments at all levels have been merciless to businesses and employees, driving thousands of firms into bankruptcy and leaving millions of people unemployed. Furthermore, given the overt hostility that governments have toward private enterprise, politicians will take shortages and empty shelves as “proof” that private enterprise is in league with the devil to subvert the social order, and act accordingly to punish these miscreants.
First and foremost, it should be understood that locking down most of the population is at best a very temporary strategy. Even the economic consequences of quarantining a majority of business enterprises and shutting down their workplaces – the lockdown strategy – does little to combat the spreading of the virus, since it gives people no chance to build up immunities, which is the key to stopping it.
The health authorities should focus on boosting immunity through exercise, fresh air, sunlight, proper dietary supplementation, and the promotion of general well-being. Instead our politicians, bureaucrats, and media insist on business lockdowns, school closures, distancing, isolation, masks, and the mirage of a fast, effective vaccine.
The problem is that the virus is not going to disappear. Even if one temporarily prevents its spread by shuttering people in their homes, sooner or later people will have to mingle, and when they do, their bodies will not be conditioned to fight it, and as a result the infection rate certainly will increase. In fact, that is what we have seen so far, as we have lockdowns followed by relaxation of the rules, followed by a surge of new infections. That surge then leads to panic in the media and among the political classes, with the new “solution” being – even more lockdowns.
One would think that this seemingly endless cycle of lockdown-relaxation-lockdown would lead the authorities to rethink their strategies, but that is not the case; and this willful blindness is not limited to Sri Lankan Politicians. We see governments in Denmark, Belgium, New Zealand, and elsewhere reverting to lockdowns after an increase in new infections.
Looking at the world, we see that the infection rate in Sweden is clearly falling in comparison to the infection rates of countries that have followed strict lockdown procedures. To a casual observer, it made sense to think that over the past eight months, if the mainstream “experts” were correct, Sweden would be a basket case, as Swedes have carried on with their lives—usually not wearing face coverings—in a way that would seem to be an open invitation to mass spreading of Covid-19.
Moreover, if the media is to be believed, Swedes should be dying in record numbers. We see none of that happening, yet the “Sweden-must-lock-down-or-else” narrative continues to dominate the news.
Rather than imposing a hard lockdown in March as other countries did, the Scandinavian nation relied on individual responsibility to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. This is the idea of accentuating on the common sense of the people — and the approach made headlines at the time. Gyms, stores and restaurants remained open; schools were open for kids up to age 16; while gatherings of more than 50 people were banned.
Authorities predicted that 40% of the people in Stockholm would get the disease and develop protective antibodies by May. The actual prevalence, however, was around 15%, according to the study published on 11th August 2020 in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
The Economic Aspect
Then there is the economic side. For the most part, progressives have framed the economic damage as a necessary “sacrifice” in order to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control. Progressivism is a political philosophy in support of social reform. Contemporary progressives promote public policies that they believe will lead to positive social change.
If we should have learned anything in the past eight months, it should be that massive lockdowns impose huge costs and dubious benefits. The progressive notion that we can just close businesses, religious places, sports venues, and other offices—the unemployed being compensated with printed money—until someone develops the magic vaccination, and not suffer huge consequences. The financial and emotional stresses that come from lockdowns are harmful to both physical and mental health, and the evidence is all around us.
Political Class benefits
We have to understand that the political classes and their media have a vested interest in the lockdown status quo, and that includes regular provision of what can only be called disinformation.
As for politicians, the Covid crisis has been a godsend for those governmental executives and bureaucrats who see constitutional restrictions that limit their authority, as mere obstacles to be easily swept away.
Governments often create crises or, at the very least, they manipulate events such as natural disasters, and use them as opportunities to expand governmental powers. Even after the crisis ends, governments keep some of their newly self-granted powers—and most people raise little or no concern even when the government has curtailed more of their freedoms.
We know how the “second wave” lockdowns will end. At some point, with the economy of the country in shambles, the authorities will gradually lift some of the restrictions while demanding that people “voluntarily” engage in mask wearing and social distancing. Not long after the rules are relaxed, there inevitably will be a new surge of infections, as people who have been long separated come together without having built up their immune systems.
With no other options and because the governing classes have declared lockdowns to be the only way to defeat the virus, there almost surely will be Lockdown III, where the regime can get away with it. Whether the political classes here follow the same plan is very much an open question. We know beforehand that quarantining healthy people actually makes the long-term infection picture worse, and that the starting and stopping of the economy wreaks havoc on its own.
In the end, we only can conclude that shutting down much of social and business interaction, restricting worship services, and closing schools is ineffective in stopping viral infections, be they from the Covid-19 virus or some other pathogen. However, we also must conclude that ordering massive restrictions has become a winning political strategy. We also should understand that Covid-19 is not the last pandemic that will hit the world, and when a new pandemic—or even a hint of one—arises, the political classes will be in the forefront.
Despite the persistent myth that governance is about “solving problems” and “serving the people,” it is the rare person in governmental power these days who does not seek power for the sake of power itself. Those who use power to push progressive policies can be expected to receive positive media coverage, even if their policies are disastrous.
A Quote to Ponder : The great Frenchman Honoré de Balzac wrote, “Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.” ’
Arahath Mahinda’s mission and betrayal by Ven. Buddhagosa
Arahath Mahinda created history in the 3rd Century BC when he not only brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka, but also catalysed the development of a rich civilisation on the island. This great achievement is unparalleled in the annals of Buddhism since the demise of the Buddha. Ven. Buddhagosa is held in high esteem among Sri Lankan Buddhists for translating the Sinhala Commentaries on the Tripitaka into Pali in the 5th Century AD.
The huge enterprise undertaken by King Dharmasoka and his son Arahath Mahinda was to spread the Theravada Dhamma cleansed of all impurities that had crept into it over time. The effort of Ven Buddhaghosa, in contrast, was to reintroduce some of these impurities back into Theravada. These impurities had been removed at the Third Dhamma Sangayanava sponsored by King Dharmasoka, where Ven. Moggalliputtatissa preached the Katavattu, which refutes and eliminates all these impurities. Katavattu has been good enough to be included in the Tripitaka. By this means metaphysical and transcendental features were removed from the Dhamma before it was brought to Sri Lanka. Ven. Buddhagosa in his translation of the Sinhala Commentaries into Pali has reintroduced these features into the Dhamma. His action had resulted in the introduction of ritual worship, and a larger than life image of the historical human being that was Buddha.
Arahath Mahinda after introducing Buddhism to Sri Lanka, worked tirelessly on two vital aspects, the practice of the Dhamma and the study of the Pali canonical texts. Historical remains of the facilities made available for the pursuit of these two aspects bear witness to the fact that people were interested in both. Ruins of libraries, lecture theatres and meditation cubicles abound in the country. Practice of the Dhamma was based on the three main features of the Gnana Marga (Path of Wisdom), ‘Dhana, Seela, Bhavana’. There were no rituals. Age old oral tradition was employed for the study of the suttas with designated disciples, in the ancient tradition of the Bhanakas who memorised the suttas and recited them at meetings for their revision. Arahath Mahinda facilitated the teaching process by arranging to make available the commentaries on the suttas in Sinhala.
It is this version of Buddhism that was written down at Aluvihare. Mahinda was careful to see that this Dhamma was established in Sri Lanka. In order to make sure that the correct tenets and dogma were studied he provided Sinahala commentaries. It was these Sinhala Commentaries that were translated into Pali by Ven. Buddhaghosa. But what was the need for this translation? One cannot think of any valid reason. Sinhala commentaries were needed for the teaching of the Dhamma to Sinhala people, and the original Pali version was available in the Tripitaka for reference when necessary. If Buddhagosa wanted to write his own commentaries in Pali he could have done that instead of translating the Sinhala version. He had a command of the Pali language but there is no evidence of how or where he learnt Sinhala with sufficient proficiency to translate complex works to Sinhala. Moreover, what has happened to the Sinhala commentaries is a mystery. Chronicles say they were burnt. Was it done to destroy the evidence? Were they destroyed by invaders? If so why only the Sinhala commentaries, why not all the written works? Did Mahaviharins collude with Buddhagosa in these activities?
Buddhagosa in his translations had made changes, added stories and anecdotes, which is not the accepted function of a translator or even a commentator. These additions are meant to raise the Buddha to a transcendental being, above the realm of this world, who is god like and could grant to humans what they pray for. Some stories describe people offering flowers and incense to Buddha (see Buddhagosa’s commentary on Kalinga Bodhi Jataka). What benefit did Buddhagosa and Mahaviharins, if they were involved, expect from these activities? In this connection Prof Marasinghe says; ‘ The hard work of Buddhagosa and the Mahavihara fraternity culminated in the formulation of a new ritual structure with attractive advantages to keep both the lay followers and the members of the Sanga happy and content
As a result, when we pass from the canonical Pali texts and the Pali commentaries we come into a totally new teaching different from the original’.
The Buddha was a normal human being. Prince Siddartha gave up lay life and went in search of an answer to the eternal suffering of humans and led a very simple life, often resting or sleeping under a tree. What he achieved did not make him a larger than life being or make him or his Dhamma a transcendental or metaphysical phenomenon. The Pali canonical texts still depict this Theravada Buddha (in Prof. Marasinghe’s words), who is totally different to the glorified Buddha in the Buddhagosa’s commentaries. Buddhagosa’s Buddha had accumulated merit in innumerable eons of samsara to achieve what he achieved. Here Buddhagosa asserts that achieving Nirvana is not possible without such accumulation of merit. Buddha has never said merit is necessary for achieving Nirvana, merit could be accumulated or that merit could be transferred from one person to another. Sri Lankan Buddhists make a futile attempt to do all this and the blame lies with Buddhagosa.
Before the advent of Buddhagosa, there were no rituals, during a period of 700 years from the 3rd Century BC to the 5th Century AD. Though there were stupas like Thuparamaya and statues of Buddha and the Bodhi Tree, people treated these as objects of veneration for recollection of the Buddha and his attainment and not for ritual worship of the theistic kind. Buddha advised people to offer alms or give away their possessions to help them get rid of attachment to these objects that are impermanent, for it was the cause of suffering. But Buddhists of today offer alms expecting an accumulation of merit as an insurance for a better life in the next birth. The concept of accumulation of merit and its transfer were discussed and rejected at the Third Dhamma Sangayanava referred to above, and therefore these concepts were not brought to Sri Lanka by Mahinda.
Practice of ritual worship is associated with theistic religions and was never advocated by Buddha, who said that one could attain freedom from suffering by one’s own effort and not by the intervention of an external agent. Buddhagosa paved the way for the entry of ritual worship into the practice of Buddhism, and the belief that worship before stupas, statues, and Bodhi trees would result in the accumulation of merit and rewards. The uniqueness of Buddhism was ruined. Let me quote Prof. Marasinghe; ‘ Thus, all aspects of the new ritual Buddhism which changed the Theravada Buddhism into a system of worship, offering and prayer, like any other theistic religion, has been very carefully planned and smuggled into practice with several bonus packages for the operators’.
WHO taken hostage by global corporate network
by Dr Wasantha Bandara,
Patriotic National Movement
According to the reports of various independent research institutes in the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) is currently contemplating bringing the entire decision-making authority of the global health system under its control. It is also reported that WHO is planning to use two main devices for that purpose: the revision of the International Health Regulation system (IHR), and the signing of a new global epidemic convention to bind all countries of the world to the organisation’s strategic plan and the guidelines based on it.
This process is called “One Health Agenda” and that will give power to make decisions in respect of all areas affecting public health under the authority of the World Health Organization. Accordingly, the World Health Organization will have the power to influence decision making at the global level in relation to many fields such as food, agricultural production patterns, animal production process, environmental protection, population variables, etc. This situation is very serious due to the fact that the big companies that provide funding to the World Health Organization have been given decision-making power over the process and fields of deploying those funds. For example, if funds are provided for a specific project, the organisation does not have the power or ability to deploy the funds according to the priority, no matter how critical the priorities are. As such it cannot be hidden that the World Health Organization currently determines technical decisions and set priorities according to the wishes of funders.
As such, many researchers have revealed that WHO is almost completely dependent on private funds for all its budgetary requirements. According to Dr. David Bell’s research reports, the biggest funder of that organisation is Bill Gates and the umbrella organisations dominated by him. Dr. David Bell accuses Bill Gates of using his funds as leverage to shut down the entire world and introduce mandatory vaccination programmes during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is no secret that a large vaccine market was created and the accounts of large companies were fattened. It has now been revealed that the Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation invested large amounts of money for it even before the pandemic. However, even though the orders are given by WHO for epidemic control, the programmes in every country of the world should be launched with the funds of the taxpayers of those countries.
Accordingly, WHO is accused of having destroyed 200,000 small businesses in the world while 40 new billionaires were created by the end of the Covid epidemic. The whole process has been dubbed by various researchers as “epidemic industry”. Therefore, in the future, it is possible to present an “epidemic package” with measures such as new epidemics control measures and mass vaccination programmes, as well as imposing restrictions on economic and social activities and shutting down the entire world in the end. The cost will be borne by the taxpayers of the respective countries and the profits will be credited to the accounts of Global Corporate network.
Accordingly, the billionaires can ensure that the process is carried out the way they want through the International Health Regulations and the New Pandemic Convention, which gives WHO “global police powers” as mentioned above. New regulations revealed to be currently being drafted will introduce new criteria for declaring a global pandemic and health emergency. Consequently, by creating an epidemic or emergency situation that can happen or is likely to happen, it is possible to recommend actions to be taken in a real situation. For example, it is possible to completely shut down a country and create a global mass market by implementing mass vaccination programmes or preparing for other medical interventions.
According to the new international health regulations, the directives given by WHO are mandatory and all the countries that were parties in 2005 are obliged to implement those directives. Also, the new regulations empower the Director-General of the World Health Organization as an individual to independently declare a health emergency or a global pandemic. As such, the possibility of the independent expert committees to challenge the objectives of the funders is minimal. A mechanism will also be set up to ensure that the relevant orders are strictly implemented by establishing a very comprehensive centralised enforcement process. Accordingly, member countries are constrained in their ability to seek other options other than submitting to the directives of the Director General of the World Health Organization. As an extension of that, the Director General will be empowered to publish any country’s data without that country’s permission, as well as to provide it to the requesting party to be used for any purpose.
Above all, the Director General will have the power not only to deploy the resources of member countries but also to make decisions on intellectual property rights and will also have the power to censor the disclosure of information. Also, it is considered a very autocratic situation to make individual people bound by regulations. Accordingly, the public will have to be obliged as individuals to submit to the closure of borders, the imposition of travel restrictions, to follow the quarantine process, to submit to medical research, to submit to mandatory medical treatment and vaccinations.
In that way, it is very clear that in addition to binding countries and individuals by the new international health regulations, the new Epidemic Convention creates many other obligations. According to the draft currently under discussion, the power of the World Health Organization will spread beyond epidemic control. For example, a global supply chain will be created under the supervision of the World Health Organization for health supplies. In addition, each country must allocate 5% of the national health budget to maintain the emergency situation management structure of the WHO. As an extension of that, each country should create a specific governance structure for the health emergency situation management process under the supervision of the World Health Organization.
This new global pandemic agreement will expand the mandate of the World Health Organization indefinitely under the umbrella of ‘One Health Agenda’. Accordingly, the control of climate change as mentioned above is also considered as a health emergency and the power to impose restrictions and orders related to it has been submitted to the authority of the World Health Organization or in other Words the authority of the funders. In this way, the World Health Organization will have the power to impose orders overriding the local laws of a country. In such a situation, in the name of controlling climate change or in the name of controlling a related health emergency, the Director General of the world health organization will be able to take over the power to control the entire world’s food production system.
WHO is not the only organisation that comes forward to confirm the need for this so-called one health agenda. Not only the United Nations Organization, the European Union, the United Nations Children’s Fund, but also the Global Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have come forward to spend money for that and popularise the concept. Even if this organizations invest in the so-called epidemic industry in this way, the operating costs should be borne by the taxpayers of the respective countries. Hence, Dr. Bell states that the public must invest money for billionaires to make profit and ultimately to become victims of exploitation and destruction. The World Economic Forum has introduced a new theory to provide protection for this evil process. It is known as Public Private Partnership. In order to give it further legitimacy, it is termed as the transformation of the process from the dominance of shareholders to the dominance of stakeholders.
It is very clear that the end result of this private-public or private-government partnership is that the profits of the entire process are accumulated in the accounts of a handful of big companies. To facilitate this process, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations signed an agreement in 2019 and thereby impose the business interests of large companies on sovereign countries through this United Nations and its affiliated international multilateral organisation network. It is in the context that the World Economic Forum gathered in Davos, Switzerland in 2020 presented a new theory called “The Great Reset”. A key device in that theory is contractual private-public cooperation. In other words, the global multilateral institutions system is used to re-establish or reset the world according to the wishes of the global billionaires’ forum or the World Economic Forum. In that process, a Global Decision-Making system will be established.
Eventually, that so-called decision-making system becomes a global governance system or a global government of billionaires. The seriousness of the process is hidden by not naming it the global government but created as a technical decision-making system at global level. But the real situation is the creation of a global government above the independent states of the world. The World Health Organization will become the most powerful tool used to manipulate or control states in the way that the global government desires. Accordingly, the ultimate goal of the new International Health Regulations and the new Global Epidemic Convention should be understood and redefined in this greater context or bigger picture.
It can now be clearly seen that the current moment in which the world is undergoing a great economic depression is being used to pass a critical juncture related to the process of re-establishing the world. It is obviously a kind of imperialist operation. Accordingly, the next World Health Assembly will be used to adopt international health regulations. If that operation becomes a success, the relevant amendments will be put to the vote in May 2024. There, only a simple majority is required to pass those resolutions. But according to the procedure of the conference, the member countries will have a period of 10 months to reject the relevant amendments. As such, in March 2025, the process of creating a new world will begin. If a country has the courage to oppose it, only that state will have a limited space to act according to the international health regulations that have been in force since 2005.
Meanwhile, the World Pandemic Convention will also be put to the vote in May 2024, but will require a special two-thirds majority to pass it. After the adoption of the convention, if endorsed by 30 countries, all signatory countries are bound to implement the convention. But global giants are not waiting until then, and will launch an operation in September 2023 to begin a rehearsal through an operation called the Global Pandemic Response Platform. There is no doubt that it is a rehearsal to guide countries to the 2024 Agenda.
Of that proposed ‘Climate Change University’
by Dr. Ranil Senanayake
With the Sri Lanka country statement to COP21 held in 2015, Paris being ignored by the ‘Climate Change’ bureaucrats for eight years, there is concern that the agricultural community is running out of time. The recent change in management seemed to show some promise by appointing Eric Solheim as the Advisor on climate change. Thus in August of 2022 the Sri Lanka country statement to COP 21 was submitted to him in the hope that he could initiate the urgent actions that need to be attended to. Sadly, there seems to be no acceptance of this statement by the Government up until today. One trusts that the stupid public statements like “Sri Lanka will take the lead in ensuring the developing economies have the resources to mitigate climate change” have been crafted by the bureaucrats and not the advisors.
Now, we are presented with another silly political gundu, a ‘Climate Change University’. In terms of climate change, they are compromisers of our farmers and our fishermen. They are guilty of not putting in place the official machinery, to prepare for the oncoming stress factors, driven by climate change. Heat stress to our crops and the loss of ocean productivity are the most obvious. A nation would respond to such a scenario by having its agricultural scientists focus on breeding heat tolerance into our crops. We do not need a university to tell us that heat is going to be a problem. It was stated eight years ago in the Sri Lanka country statement to COP21. It said:
“(1) We are aware that the optimum operating temperature of chlorophyll is at 37 deg C. In a warming world where temperatures will soar well above that, food production will be severely impacted. We would request the IPCC to address responses to this phenomenon.”
If we are a nation unable to listen to its own voices or even the voices of others. What can be done to penetrate the echo chamber that politicians benefiting from earmarked funds have created around themselves? Globally, the scientific community are warning us that the crisis coming, we can see the wave on the horizon, but most people are still rooted in the dream that life will proceed as normal and are willing to let the corporations and politicians, calm us by moving the deck chairs a bit more, for us to enjoy our ride on their Titanic.
The oceanic levels are going up as a consequence of climate change. In Sri Lanka the current rate is around 3.6mm per annum. However, research published in February 2022 shows that sea level rise is accelerating and projected to rise by a foot by 2050. If there was any coordination on climate change, we should be mapping out the rice-growing areas prone to salinisation. We should be accessing salt tolerant rice varieties into the national rice breeding programme. We should be evaluating alternate crops for saline areas. We have the resources to respond, we do not need to wait for a climate change university to tell us that.
Without awaiting the lucrative construction of a new university, could we not consider the request of the Sri Lankan Country statement to COP 21 to be considered by the line ministries today and action plans drawn up? If we have funds for this new university is it not better to award the funds to existing institutions to respond to the oncoming crisis.
Sri Lanka Position Paper
To the UN Conference for Climate Change (COP21) Paris 1-10 December 2015
Sri Lanka is a vulnerable island in the face of Climate Change. An increase in the intensity of rainfall will erode our mountains and create increased flood damage. An increase in the sea level will render much of our productive agricultural lands saline. An increase of ambient temperatures will reduce our agricultural productivity. We are in agreement with the view that an increase of the Carbon Dioxide concentration in our atmosphere will contribute to this vulnerability.
We are aware of the great difference in carbon dioxide that is emitted from biological sources and carbon dioxide emitted from fossil sources. One has sequestered rates measured in thousands of years while the other in millions of years. Yet the cost is still the same. We would request the IPCC to address the relative costs of each.
We are aware that the optimum operating temperature of chlorophyll is at 37 deg C. In a warming world where temperatures will soar well above that, food production will be severely impacted. We would request the IPCC to address responses to this phenomenon.
We are aware that the critical Ecosystem services such as; production of Oxygen, sequestering of Carbon, water cycling and ambient cooling is carried out by the photosynthetic component of biomass. This is being lost at an exponential rate, due to the fact that these Ecosystem Services have not been valued, nor economically recognised. We would request the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to examine the value of photosynthetic biomass.
Sri Lanka will place her development agenda on a fossil free target and will promote an economic recognition of the ecosystem services generated by the photosynthetic biomass. In this way we offer to act in a globally responsible manner as well as to contribute in creating a cushioning effect for the climate extremes that are before us.
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