By Jefferey Jaxen

If the world is but a stage and life is all a movie, we’re now seeing coming attractions for an unwelcome sequel: “Lockdown 2: The Empire Strikes Again.”

This authoritarian update comes as more and more people see through the politicized lockdown/clampdown narrative. The narrative has had and continues to have huge gaps in scientific debate supporting it. 

Sweden suspected this from the start. The Scandinavian country spared its economy choosing to not lock down its population. It prevented unneeded mortality spikes from closing off hospitals. It chose to reject saddling a generation with a mental health crisis and a spike in deaths of despair 

Southwest of Sweden, Belgium’s citizenry and intelligentsia have been up in arms for over two months. In August, cultural influencers penned two open letters, one calling to reverse the lockdowns and another asking where the evidence-based approach was for such draconian government measures. 

As their neighbors across the Channel in the UK announced their second round of onerous lockdowns, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes took heed of the nation’s scientists. After a third public letter in September eviscerated the key pillars of the lockdowns—garnering nearly 14,000 signatories from the health community and citizens alike—Belgium has changed its ways. 

Mask requirements, some attendance limits and other public health measures will be relaxed as part of a less stringent, long-term coronavirus strategy. Belgian P.M. Wilmes stated, “Some rules will be relaxed because they are no longer useful or tenable.”

Meanwhile, in the UK, dystopia has again come home to roost on an increasingly defiant population. British society as the world has known it may well collapse. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed curfews on bars, pubs and restaurants. Again. He announced fines for staff and customers for not wearing masks. Again. Office workers were told to work from home. Again. Finally, Johnson threatened that the new restrictions could remain in place for six months.

Where is Boris Johnson getting his advice? Apparently, the British P.M.’s go-to for public health guidance is a completely non-transparent and secretive group called the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, or SAGE. SAGE also has a clandestine plan to ‘segment’ those over 45 from the rest of the population. This plan is, at the moment, ‘being kept under review’ reports the Daily Mail. Wales and Scotland have also activated harsher lockdowns on sections of their populations.

If it wasn’t clear where Johnson’s fealty lay after his latest lockdown announcement, his pre-recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly yesterday put that puppy to rest. Undercutting America’s decision to withdraw from the disingenuous, Chinese/Gates duopoly that is the World Health Organization, Johnson pledged to provide the additional funding of 30 percent from UK contributions. 

How are the UK people taking the news?

At the time of this writing [Saturday 3:00 EST], large swaths of the UK population are engaged in street protests. The protests mirror previous weeks of similar actions in Trafalgar Square against the lockdowns. German Dr Heiko Schöning was arrested shortly after he began to speak at the event.

The protests have been met for a second week by widespread, heavy-handed tactics from law enforcement in riot gear. In several cases, these authoritarian forces have targeted women and the elderly for arrest, displaying thug tactics usually reserved for banana republic-type dictatorships. 

In the USA, similar jockeying is happening on both sides of the divide. There are state ’officials’ attempting to ease their populations back into a more restrictive noose, while others are releasing the shackles. 

There’s been no UK-like flashpoint driving hundreds of thousands to the streets, however. Governors are going it alone in attempts to steer the directions, and economies, of their states. 

Most recently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order removing any remaining restrictions on businesses due to the coronavirus response. The order prohibits local governments from closing businesses and states that cities and counties can’t collect on any outstanding fines they issued as part of their pandemic response.

Could this finally be the end of COVID hysteria in Florida?

White House coronavirus Taskforce member Dr. Scott Atlas has been getting increasing podium time in front of the nation. He’s used it to promote the science of cross-reactive immunity and immunity driven by t-cells. Good for America!

While health officials like Dr. Fauci talk COVID antibodies, an entire body of scientific evidence suggests that other avenues of the immune response may prove much more important. Speaking on herd immunity, Dr. Atlas explained that, “immunity to the [Covid-19] infection is not solely determined by the percent of people who have antibodies.” 

One significant subtext to the unfolding revelation of the real science behind COVID-19 treatment and lockdowns: How a few key gatekeepers in positions of power have kept these truths from evolving studies and research from greater dissemination and public understanding. “Who watches the Watchmen?” is as relevant as ever!

A new analysis published in The BMJ calls for mandatory disclosure of financial interests of journals and editors. Quoting research from the Retraction Watch database, The BMJ analysis writes, “…as of April 2020 conflict of interest was listed in the reasons for retraction for 165 articles in the Retraction Watch database and was the sole reason for the retraction of 19 (11%) articles.”

More than ten percent! That’s a lot, and more people need to know about it. Readers are urged to remember recent reputation disasters for both WHO and The Lancet —who hope you forget!

A paper published in The Lancet claimed that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)—used generally without concern by educated doctors for over half a century—was ineffective…wait, worse! It was suddenly dangerous!  We were told that there was a chance of cardiac toxicity and ventricular arrhythmias. The HCQ dangers were also amplified by another study published in the New England Medical Journal.

Formerly reputable publications, putting their names on the line, or simply not doing basic diligence, to vilify a formerly nondescript anti-malarial treatment! The two studies were effective: WHO halted its global trials. 

But because of those papers, we now know HCQ can be a useful therapy. As doctors stopped using HCQ, COVID cases surged based on the ‘strength’ of the data in the two papers, sinking their own stratagems.

At the time of the retractions, University of Oxford professor Peter Horby said, “This is completely unjustified…Even if the results were correct, observational data such as this, with its inherent weaknesses, should not be used to stop trials which will provide definitive and actionable answers.”

Professor Horby was right, and then some. The HCQ papers were later retracted by The Lancet and NEJM. They were retracted because the research was based on data of a fraudulent company named Surgisphere. Surgisphere refused to reveal its sources or become transparent about their impossible data claims when challenged. Reputations went down in flames. 

In the wake of the publishing and research scandals, a team of European scientists, looking solely at the safety of HCQ, found it was not associated with deadly heart rhythms among patients with a low risk for arrhythmias, as the earlier flawed reports claimed. 

A stark reality is increasingly being forced upon the global populace. It may be rounding the home stretch and thundering towards a narrative climax. The fork in the road sees one direction leading to further destroyed economies, locked down again with limited-to-no-scientific debate or justification. 

Or there’s another path. One similar to Belgium, Florida and Sweden’s rational decisions. These places, and others, have shown an easily achievable reality. One where the wellbeing of all lives coexist in relation to a virus. A virus that is no longer a great mystery, that science and the human immune system has mostly figured out. A virus that can be successfully navigated by society to optimize life while keeping economic engines running smoothly and for the betterment of all. 

Jefferey Jaxen

Jefferey Jaxen is a health journalist and featured in his weekly segment, ’The Jaxen Report’, on The HighWire. As an investigative journalist, researcher, and compelling writer, Jefferey serves as Lead editor of The HighWire News and Opinion Team.