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  • Writer's pictureRuss Hewer

Conspiracy Theorist or Critical Thinker

Over the last two weeks, many people have said to me that Covid-19 has a recovery rate of 99.9% and that all the mitigation that we are doing is a waste of time. These were mainly people who were the critical thinkers, their words not mine but over the last few days, some of my friends who I consider in the mainstream have come to the same conclusion.

It's motivated me to find out the truth and if they were correct but I also wanted to know why many of my spiritual friends since lockdown have come to think the same, many of whom I’ve known personally for many years. They were in small businesses with a passion for health and wellbeing. They included life coaches, mediums, weight loss consultants, nutritionist, pain therapist, body workers and many more.

I started my search in myself first thinking about my past, I was angry and unsure in my twenties, joining the CND movement and became a peace activist with East Beds Peace Group. Marching against Trident, Maggie Thatcher, nuclear disarmament and nuclear power and it provided a conduit to discuss ideologies, intellectual debates, vent passion and I felt part of something. The main reason to join was to explore that but the more I learnt, the angrier I became. I was fixated with changing the world and making it a better place to live in but the only problem was I didn’t really know the world.

When you are in anger, you get carried by the passion and the cause and now I realise after some years has passed that you can’t see things objectively when in that state. The peaks and troughs of life become greater when you live life like this and ultimately, it’s not healthy for your mental and physical state. This is happening now amongst some of my spiritual friends and it has been exacerbated by covid-19 and the lockdown.

I never changed the world but the world has changed me.

About 30 years ago, I took refuge in the Buddha, and my spiritual path began. The first teaching was Sem-Kyed, generation of the enlightened mind. This was a teaching that asked you to practise indiscriminate love and compassion to the point that should you achieve enlightenment in this lifetime you vow that you chose to come back in the next life to liberate all sentient beings. That’s a very big ask considering that I couldn’t see how to even do simple tasks like wash and iron my clothes, clean the house, being a good dad to my daughter Lydia. It the intention that’s very important and it’s a constant cycle of experience and understanding. Some call this process and enlightenment takes time, faith and effort. The more we know, the less we know but with diligence, perseverance and good practise, you can gain some degree of spiritual equanimity.

Whatever you do, the real challenge is to see where you are within yourself when you have to deal with changes in your life, a loss or no revenue in your business, being at home in lockdown and every day is Groundhog Day. The Buddha says that you should embrace suffering and detach from the cause of suffering. That’s true, how can you be compassionate without having empathy but as the same time this can cause pain and suffering. How can you then detach from the cause of suffering so that you live with equanimity? One of my friends said to me recently that you can’t Namaste out everything which is true but you have to first understand the pain that comes from all directions including the political massaging of mainstream media. It’s then possible to live with some equanimity updating this information along the way and is an indication of your spiritual growth.

It’s the same thing for my Facebook newsfeed, I see so many people who are critical thinkers and people who are in the mainstream who are concerned about the future, their financial security, their relationships and jobs. The only difference is there is more anger with the critical thinkers, just look at how they manipulate their timeline with very direct posts and repost without thinking of the consequences. They want to persuade and convert people to think the way that they do and can be very emotive in their communication as all people who do not conform are asleep.

For me, true spirituality come from oneself first and then radiates like a ripple in water to your partner, family, friends, acquaintances and then lastly strangers. How can you try to change the whole collective in one go without looking closer to home first?

The belief of a desired outcome or being emotionally attached can never bring objectivity to the facts and is called confirmation bias. This is a universal pattern to most of my spiritual friends’ way of working and is because there’s a lack of spiritual equanimity. They just don’t want to believe the facts because the preconceived beliefs get in the way.

Over the last few months, I found three posts that were heavily shared on social media that were factually incorrect but were so alarming that it made me do some research myself.

Broward county in Florida issued an emergency order which stated that all people in residential dwellings including single residence had to wear a mask indoors with immediate effect. As you could expect that hundreds of people started to share this post and this produced such a frenzy with the critical thinkers. Masks are the single most shared topic of all available and I could not believe it myself. It didn’t make sense that you would wear one at home to protect yourself because it was supposed to protect people around you. This would be the first time anywhere in the world that a person had been asked to wear one in their own home.

You can see the full emergency order here but I've screenshot the particular section

I rang the Broward Sheriff office in Fort Lauderdale and they confirmed that this order was in fact true but they were not enforcing it because it was unenforceable. I suspect that this would be an infringement of their civil liberties if it was challenged in court. This is typical example of confirmation bias where the belief that this was true was false.

On a recent interview with David Icke at London Real, Mr Icke explained that the PCR test was prone to providing false positive readings which I learnt can be up to 30% false positive so inflating the published value of infections which is the intended narrative. The government will want to show that there’s a real situation occurring to provide a reason to bring in control and mitigation. However, Mr Icke failed to mentioned that up to 30% of the swabs can be false negative because it has to go down to the nasopharynx which can be a hard site to get to as the virus does not stay in easily accessible parts of the body. This is another example of confirmation bias.

The last one is one that has been doing the rounds for the last 2 weeks since Trump mentioned that he had heard that the recovery rate of Covid-19 is 99.9%. I asked around when people mentioned that statistic as it was always stated to stop debate. Some of my friends in business were quoting it too and it made it to mainstream media. I was particularly sad that some of my friends in business were thinking that there’s no point in any mitigation and we have to bring the economy back to before lockdown. It taken it toll with me too and my business. No one could give me their source so it was hard to find but I started digging.

It was said by Allan West, Texas Chairman of the Republican party on 27 July on a North Texas radio program:

"When I look at a state like Texas, which has 29 million in population, we’re getting close to I guess about 300,000 or so COVID-19 positive cases — there’s some questions about what a positive case really means — and sadly we’ve lost about 3,900 Texans," West said. "That’s only .01% of our population. If you just want to look at the facts, and I know everyone is concerned about this resurgence of COVID-19, but again we see more testing, more positive cases but yet the death rate is continuing to drop. I don’t want to see us get to the point where we’re imposing draconian measures, measures that go against our fundamental liberties and freedoms and rights over something that has a 99.9% recovery rate."

West described the same recovery rate during an interview with a television station in Dallas on Sunday, stating: "99.9% of Texans are able to recover from COVID-19."

Graph of world recovery rate of Covid 19
World Recovery Rate 28 August 2020

It transpires that the recovery rate is the rate of people having the virus to the people infected and not the total population of Texas so the revised figure is 98.7%. Looking at Worldometer figures, the world recovery rate at the moment is 95.36% but will change down, week on week further into the pandemic. There are so many external variables in this figure for every country such as ethnicity, cleaner environment because of covid controls, availability and investment levels in critical care, new treatment plans for recovery, social demographics, mental health, asymptomatic infections and genetic disposition.

It would be unfair not to mention Matt Hancock and the blatant lie about achieving a 100,000 test result on track and trace on the last day of the month when clearly 40,000 were already posted out to households and awaiting their return. You couldn’t make it up!

Finally, the science is never precise and is subjective. We can only go on the scientific consensus and that some subjects are so complex especially in medicine that medically trained professionals may not have the knowledge to that of a 40-year experienced Emirate professor in clinical virology. We have to admit that we cannot see this evidence in a binary form so sometimes it is hard to bring a comprehensive narrative?

Are you really a conspiracy theorist pretending to be a critical thinker?

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Sep 02, 2020

Before we make any decisions concerning this episode in our human history coined "Covid19" should we be looking at how this "virus" came to be and who is profiteering. We must do some souce investigation first and ask a fundamental question, "what is a virus and how do we get it?"

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