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The pandemic and the Left

Phedias Christodoulides

Platypus Review 145 | April 2022

This article is based on the author’s remarks given on the panel “Πανδημία και Αριστερά (The pandemic and the Left),” hosted by the Platypus Affiliated Society on November 19, 2021, the video of which can be found at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SaxqEg5kcE>.

THE PANDEMIC AND ITS MANAGEMENT around the world have led to unprecedented negative changes in our way of life: we have seldom witnessed such a widespread and lasting restriction of our individual rights due to a pandemic or natural disaster, such as we see today. In my opinion, this restriction was imposed on us without its necessity having been sufficiently substantiated in public debate on the pandemic, and without adequate consideration of other, less authoritarian ways of managing it.

Although we constantly discuss the pandemic and its management, especially the medical and epidemiological features of the virus and the effectiveness and necessity of each individual measure, the public debate so far has not been the best. It is characterized both by state and media attempts to create a climate of panic, as well as by social cannibalism among citizens (especially between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated), with bad arguments and false data on all sides. This toxic climate is also prevalent on the Left, which is trapped in the technocratic and authoritarian logic of the existing management and has limited itself to calling for a more effective paternalistic state.

My goals in this article are twofold: to summarize the management and consequences of the pandemic worldwide, and to summarize the attitude of the existing Left towards the pandemic as opposed to what the attitude of a genuinely revolutionary Left would likely look like.

What we know and what we do not know regarding the pandemic

I do not intend to focus on the medical and epidemiological features of the coronavirus pandemic, but I will attempt to provide a brief summary of what we know and what we do not know with certainty regarding the pandemic.

Despite the huge amount of research and constant media reporting on the nature of the pandemic for almost two years, only two things can be said with certainty about it. One, that vaccines work: they do not prevent infection from the virus or its spread but only mitigate it, but they prevent serious illness from COVID, and hence also the collapse of our health systems. Two, that the infamous “Zero COVID” is an impossible, unrealizable goal. The virus tracking and tracing process was largely useless because it began too late: it is estimated that the virus had already spread to 3–4% of people in major metropolitan areas by March 2020.[1]

Let us now move on to whatever important things we do not know with certainty about the pandemic.

  1.             We do not yet know the mortality of the virus. This is very important: it makes a big difference whether the mortality rate is 0.2% as some say, or 2% as others say. Leading scientists claim that the mortality rate is extremely inflated and that detected COVID cases are far fewer than the actual number of cases. On the other hand, we had distinguished scientists like Dr. Ioannidis who early on greatly underestimated the possible number of deaths from the virus.
  2.             We do not know with certainty the effectiveness of natural immunity vis-á-vis vaccine immunity. Some scientists argue that natural immunity following infection is more protective than vaccination, while others argue the opposite.[2] In the U.S. you are not entitled to a safe pass if you have natural immunity, while in many European countries you are. Some scientists even claim that vaccines provide almost no protection against infection. A recent study from the University of Oxford characteristically notes that “the vaccine’s beneficial effect on Delta transmission waned to almost negligible levels over time,” a strong indication that transmissibility from infected vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals is similar.[3]
  3.             It is uncertain whether herd immunity is possible. At times its possibility has been strongly disputed, but there are many scientists, such as those behind the Great Barrington Declaration, who believe that it is possible. A few months ago, Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, president of the Oxford Vaccine Group, described the achievement of herd immunity as a “myth” due to the high transmissibility of the virus to and from vaccinated individuals.[4]
  4.             We do not know how the virus originated. For a long time the prevailing theory had been that the virus was transmitted to humans from animals, and this theory is still the most prevalent for many scientists. In recent months, however, the theory that the virus originated from a lab leak during gain-of-function research has gained ground. A senior official at the U.S. National Institute of Health admitted that the agency did indeed fund extremely dangerous research on bat-borne coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Significantly, this theory was considered a conspiracy theory for the whole of 2020. It finally turned out that CDC director Anthony Fauci lied to Congress in saying that the U.S. did not fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan.[5]
  5. Finally, we do not know with certainty how effective masking is.[6] Some masks offer much more protection than others, with the best providing 50% protection. The way we examine mask effectiveness, however, is not representative of how effective it is to enforce mask use, as participants in mask-effectiveness research wear the masks much more carefully and correctly than most people, changing them every few hours as appropriate, etc. Most people do not seem to wear the mask properly and carefully, thus the protection it provides is minimal.

            In any case, it seems almost certain that the coronavirus is not a natural disaster — as the bourgeoisie wants to present it in order to avoid responsibility for it — but a disaster for which human social activity is responsible. The pandemic has both a social and a physical-biological dimension: we can say that it is a socially-mediated phenomenon with an impact on human biology, but it is also a natural phenomenon with an impact on society, given that the transmission and action of the virus is natural. As for whether the virus is the result of capitalism, I am not sure, as we have always had epidemics and laboratory accidents, and we may have them in socialism too. What we can say with certainty is that capitalism proved to be incapable of managing the pandemic rationally and effectively, as I will try to show in the next section.

The mishandling of the pandemic

The management of the pandemic was characterized by a climate of panic cultivated by governments and the media. This encouraged paranoia and terror, but also disobedience and resistance. A dose of panic may have been justified at the beginning of the pandemic, as we knew almost nothing about the virus at the time, but it is no longer justified and has had devastating consequences. Public health messages on COVID were often false and misleading, leading to counterproductive, damaging, and authoritarian policies such as lockdowns. For example, Fauci testified in Congress that mandatory mask use is useful more because it discourages socialization than for its inherent protective properties. Members of the Cypriot government’s epidemiological team said the same thing concerning mandatory outdoor masking.[7] The idea is that as long as people are required to wear a mask, they will be more “careful” when gathering, and will be less likely to go to bars and restaurants, etc. Therefore, it is an unnecessary demonstration measure that does not protect much from the virus: the spread occurs mainly in workplaces and private homes (at gatherings of family and friends) where we do not wear masks. It is also widespread in schools, but at least for primary-school children mask wearing does not seem very practical for obvious reasons.

Cyprus is an excellent example of irrational and authoritarian pandemic management. Three strict lockdowns were imposed upon us so far, with basic freedoms being violated with unprecedented ease. The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus stipulates that the suspension of basic freedoms can only take place if a state of emergency is declared, which requires parliamentary approval. This approval was never granted. Instead, the Cypriot government relied on an outdated colonial decontamination law to abolish the freedoms of movement, work, assembly, and demonstration, as well as the right of repatriation of Cypriot citizens who were locked out of the Republic of Cyprus without any repatriation plan — the government required a negative COVID test to allow them to enter the country at a time when no state was providing tests for the general population, rendering repatriation virtually impossible.[8] The militarization of Cypriot society also increased, with soldiers being used to suppress demonstrations and oversee the implementation of the pandemic decrees. In other words, the parliament, including the official opposition, allowed the executive branch to rule by unconstitutional decrees, oppressing and terrorizing the citizens. Decisions are being taken behind closed doors without accountability, without transparency, and without coordination with the wider civil society; they are announced and enforced from top to bottom in an increasingly militarized structure in which the government acts as society’s ruler.[9]

What I wrote about Cyprus applies to a greater or lesser degree to several other countries. What has happened with the pandemic globally is that politicians have largely abdicated responsibility to public-health officials who have given priority to one thing, infection control, at the expense of all other social values ​​and principles such as our civil rights. (The only other factor that plays an important role in the management is the economy.) Scientific debate and even research has been suppressed for the sake of having unanimity in public-health messaging. For example, the scientists and doctors who signed the Great Barrington Declaration against lockdowns were demonized and some were fired. The establishment and presence of epidemiological committees in decision-making was mainly employed to provide a veneer of scientific justification to the authoritarian policies of each government, making management technocratic.

Another major disadvantage of the pandemic’s management is the phenomenon of conflicting announcements and measures implemented in different countries. For example, some countries use the AstraZeneca vaccine while others, such as Denmark, have discontinued both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s.[10] We were repeatedly promised that mass vaccination will save us from the pandemic, but as it turned out, this is not the case. In Cyprus, the government introduced a series of contradictory measures last November that likely promoted the spread of COVID instead of restricting it. The measures included what essentially amounted to a ban on access to open public spaces through limiting outdoor interaction to two people under the condition of using a mask, while keeping shopping malls, shops, cafes, churches, bars, and restaurants open. At the same time, the government imposed a curfew between 9:00pm and 05:00am, with most stores having to close at 7:00pm.[11] The result was crowded cafes, malls, and shops, an expected development given the curfew that reduces a person’s free time to a few hours. As expected, the contradictory measures and information reduced the public’s confidence in science and public-health management and encouraged conspiracy theories.

Public confidence in the management of the pandemic is further affected by the overt political exploitation of the pandemic. In Cyprus, the first measure taken was the partial closure of roadblocks to the Turkish-occupied areas at the end of February 2020, without similar measures at airports and ports, although there were COVID cases abroad and no cases in the occupied areas.[12] The measure, absurd from a health point of view, was clearly taken for political nationalist reasons.[13] Similarly, the Republic of Cyprus began violating international law under the guise of the pandemic, preventing boats carrying refugees from reaching the southern part of the island, leaving them to drown in the Mediterranean.[14] We had more of the same on the Mexico-U.S. border, with the Biden administration using the pandemic as a pretext to continue Trump’s tough immigration policy.[15] As for the authoritarian measures of social control that have been adopted worldwide, I expect that some of them will stay with us forever unless we react.

It is also important to recognize that the pandemic is being managed in the context of austerity. The bourgeois class seeks to tackle the pandemic as economically as possible, shifting the burden of management to ordinary citizens through its rhetoric of “individual responsibility.” There is a lack of development of treatment options for the virus as well as negligence in strengthening the health systems of several countries, resulting in the almost complete dependence of the management on mass vaccination. In Cyprus we did not have any substantial improvement in our health system, with the government forcing senior nursing students to staff hospitals without pay, and not even paying for the establishment of a functional vaccination-appointment system.[16] Although vaccination is helpful, the Delta mutation has spread all over Europe despite high vaccination rates, indicating that vaccines will not end the pandemic. If vaccination is not enough to get us out of the pandemic, why make it mandatory? After all, its authoritarian imposition rather discourages people from being vaccinated as many people react to authoritarianism.

The demonization of the unvaccinated

The media and the proponents of the measures tend to portray any citizens skeptical of the measures as paranoid conspiracy theorists who deny the scientific rationality of pandemic experts. This presentation is incorrect. Citizen skepticism has varying degrees: from skepticism towards specific pandemic management measures to skepticism towards the existence of the virus, or even to the adoption of theories of deliberate construction of the virus for nefarious purposes. Therefore, the skeptics and conspiracy theorists are not a homogeneous group. Or better, not all skeptics are conspiracy theorists.

Many people think that the virus exists and is dangerous, but they do not agree with the way the pandemic is being managed. They agree that some measures are needed in response to the pandemic, but they disagree or have disagreed with lockdowns, curfews, bans on demonstrations, mandatory vaccination, etc. These people criticize the management of the pandemic as authoritarian, racist, and irrational, speaking from the point of view of human rights and freedoms.[17] It does not make sense to consider exponents of this point of view as paranoid conspiracy theorists.

Unfortunately, there is also a significant portion of people who deny the existence of a pandemic and embrace more or less improbable conspiracy theories. In my opinion, although the attitude of these citizens has irrational characteristics, it also contains an important rational kernel. I think it makes perfect sense for a citizen not to trust what her government and the mainstream media are telling her about the pandemic. This is true all over the world, but especially for citizens of countries such as Cyprus, Greece, and the U.S., as they know that their state is highly corrupt, incompetent, and unreliable. If a state, after having clearly shown that it does not serve the good of its citizens, asks those citizens to radically change their way of life for the worse and sacrifice their basic freedoms, it makes sense for them to react with suspicion. This suspicion seems even more rational when we consider the contradictory measures that have been imposed in various countries, the constant changes in these measures, and the many times that governments rushed to tell us that the pandemic is ending.

The state’s response to citizens’ suspicion is to demonize them as paranoid conspiracy theorists. The state uses its influence in the media to present any criticism of the measures and any mobilization against them as irrational and socially dangerous, overemphasizing the presence of a minority of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. This was its stance with both Right-wing and Left-wing mobilizations in Cyprus and Greece. It betrays that the state’s goal is to divide the citizens into two rival camps — responsible law-abiding citizens on the one hand, and irresponsible conspiracy theorists on the other — within the framework of the classic “divide and rule” tactic. By demonizing skeptics the state succeeds in directing the dissatisfaction of the public with the virus to them, thus avoiding being itself the recipient of the dissatisfaction.

On the other hand, the vast majority of supporters of the measures are content with state propaganda on the issue without examining it further. Most people who shrilly tell us to get vaccinated are not more knowledgeable about the pandemic than those skeptical of the measures  — far from it. Most people who trust and follow the management do it blindly. They lack the knowledge and critical thinking to judge whether what the “experts” and the scientists are telling us is true. So the distinction between rational law-abiding citizens and irrational conspiracy theorists is meaningless. At least the people who are critical of the handling of the pandemic have shown some reflexes against the violation of their civil rights and way of life. The more irrational are those who follow the measures indiscriminately, not those who face them with suspicion.

What the pandemic taught us about the capitalist society we live in today

The coronavirus pandemic exposed and intensified various trends of contemporary capitalist reality. First of all, it made even clearer the inability of the bourgeoisie to rule. Contrary to voices from the so-called autonomist Left who claim that the pandemic is a plan of the bourgeois elites to strengthen their social dominance in times of crisis, quite the opposite seems to be true: the pandemic is a sign that the bourgeoisie and its bureaucrats do not have everything under control. The incompetence, the myopic micropolitics, and the particular interests of various lobbies of capitalists and bureaucrats (e.g., the opportunism of the big pharmaceutical industry for the sake of profit) are a much more likely explanation for the pandemic’s authoritarian mismanagement than any other theory. After all, in the absence of a labor movement, the social sovereignty of capital and its austerity policies have not been challenged for a long time.[18] As aforementioned, several of the most developed western nations such as the U.S., Australia, etc. have shown themselves incapable of managing the pandemic rationally and effectively, issuing spasmodic and contradictory measures or trying to exploit the pandemic politically. The structural contradiction between the global interdependent economy and the nation-state system makes pandemic management even more difficult. The pandemic requires a coordinated international response, but in a system of imperialist rivalries (e.g., U.S.–China, U.S.–Russia) between competing nation-states, this is impossible.

The states that did best were the ones that had disciplined citizens who trusted them. Various studies have consistently found that a lack of trust in the authorities is one of the main reasons people refuse to get vaccinated. This is not surprising, since few of us have more than a vague understanding of how vaccines work. This leaves people with the need to trust the scientists who test the vaccine and the authorities that approve and distribute it. In such cases, transparent communication regarding all aspects of the vaccine — including any negative ones — is key for maintaining trust, even if it reduces vaccine acceptance in the short term. Surveys emphasize that trust between citizens and authorities is ideally reciprocal, as authorities need to trust that citizens can deal with bad news and make responsible decisions. The case of Denmark is indicative. Denmark could afford to be more liberal in its approach than other states, increasingly relying on voluntary compliance rather than restricting individual freedoms by decree, because it is generally more authoritarian — with a very homogeneous, very docile population that has, for example, very low tolerance for religious or cultural diversity and very little political diversity.[19]

Most states, however, pursued an authoritarian, technocratic management. Perhaps what is happening is that bourgeois states are reacting in an authoritarian manner to the pandemic precisely due to their inability to handle it effectively. They are incapable of following any other path than the easy path of authoritarianism. Behind state authoritarianism lies the weakness and nakedness of the bourgeoisie. We live in a time of crisis for neoliberalism which is characterized by a lack of trust between citizens and rulers. The lack of trust forces technocrats to manipulate us through lies, telling us, for example, that the vaccines will end the pandemic so that we rush to get vaccinated.

Central to the management of the pandemic is the unprecedented collapse of liberalism as an ideology. In recent years we have witnessed the gradual disappearance of liberal ideology, with so-called progressives, feminists, and the Left responding to liberal principles such as freedom of speech and the presumption of innocence with growing suspicion and contempt. While caring for their own rights and the rights of minorities, they believe that those who disagree with them politically or ideologically do not deserve such rights. The progressives and the Left have embraced political correctness and social cannibalism, leaving the profession of liberal ideals to the Right and to conspiracy theorists. This development could not but have an impact on pandemic management. With the collapse of the social pole that has traditionally defended human rights, health and the economy have become the only factors in decision-making concerning the pandemic, with rights and freedoms being ignored or considered secondary. It is in this context that we observe the gradual erosion of our civil rights at the hands of the executive, as well as the lack of accountability of the executive to the legislature during the pandemic. But health is not the supreme human good: according to Marx, this is the freedom to express and develop our potentialities qua human beings. What is best and most necessary for people is to be able to self-determine and develop any of their capabilities and abilities, that is, to be free.

The Left supports the authoritarian state against the working class

The most worrying feature of the current situation, however, is the political absence of the Left. The Left has not taken any initiatives with respect to the pandemic, leaving the working class completely dependent on state paternalism. Someone will tell me, what else could the Left do since it does not have the necessary resources and knowledge that the state has to be able to manage the pandemic? But if we go back a few years and remember the AIDS epidemic, we will notice that the attitude of the Left then was different. Faced with the negligence of doctors and governments to tackle AIDS due to homophobia and other prejudices, Left-wing and progressive activists pressured the health sector to take the virus more seriously, improve public-private partnerships in drug production, speed up their licensing, and allow the participation of patient representatives at all stages of the process.[20] Such activism is largely liberal, and the Left needs to do much more than put pressure on the state if it wants to look worthy of its historic task, but I find it important to acknowledge that even such minimal actions are not happening today. We have naturalized both the role of the Bonapartist state and our political weakness.

The Left not only does not support the working class in the midst of the pandemic, but supports pandemic policies that weaken it. The majority of the Left supported the reactionary lockdowns. Lockdowns protect the rich (those who can work from home or can afford not to work) while failing to protect the poor — the so-called “essential workers” with their families and communities. The lockdowns have slowed the spread of the coronavirus without protecting vulnerable workers, and have had many negative consequences: for example, a large increase in suicides and deaths from drug overdose, people dying from fear of leaving home to visit the hospital, an increase in domestic violence, elderly people dying alone in hospitals and nursing homes, school closures, 100 million people falling below the so-called poverty threshold, tens of millions dying of starvation, a sharp drop in vaccination rates for other diseases such as measles and mumps, etc. The biggest damage from lockdowns occurred in developing countries: 250,000 children in South Asia died of starvation as a result of financial misery due to lockdowns.[21]

The most important problem with lockdowns from a Marxist standpoint, however, is that they weaken the fighting capacity of the working class. Lockdowns undermine the ability of the working class to organize and fight, the only way in which workers can truly protect their interests and health and overthrow capitalism. The closure of entire sectors of industry and services has caused an economic crisis and thrown masses of people into unemployment, while our civil and worker rights have been restricted or banned. The distance work that has become the new normal for millions of workers isolates us and makes it difficult for us to organize in unions, making us more vulnerable to layoffs and unpaid overtime. Mass layoffs, wage cuts, union closures, and the intensification of work preceded the pandemic as social features of neoliberalism, but have now intensified. It is therefore imperative that the workers and the Left oppose lockdowns. Supporting lockdowns in the name of public health is a betrayal of the working class and of our revolutionary task.

We need to understand that the pandemic, like public health in general, does not stand above the class antagonism of capital and labor. The class interest of the bourgeoisie concerning public health is to maintain a healthy enough labor force to exploit at the cheapest possible cost, while protecting its own health. The bourgeois state — that is, the permanent state apparatus consisting of bureaucrats, the army, and the police, in short, the executive branch — is a mechanism of organized violence for maintaining the power and profits of the bourgeoisie. While Marxists are willing to support specific state measures for public health that benefit the working class, the dependence of the working class on the state is suicidal. Traditionally, the Left has fought so that its own organizations are responsible for the health and safety of workers, not the capitalist state. Only through its independent mobilization against the bourgeoisie can the working class defend its health and safety.

Finally, the Left participates in the effort of the state and of the so-called progressives to demonize anyone skeptical of the measures. For example, although the Greek Cypriot Left hates the current neoliberal nationalist government and criticizes some of its pandemic measures, it hates even more the Right-wing, conservative, and nationalist citizens who react to them. It tends to group all these citizens together as dangerous fascists or stupid conspiracy theorists and does everything it can to separate its position on the management of the pandemic from the position of said citizens. Social media is full of contemptuous comments about skeptics and the unvaccinated. Leftists write in favor of mandatory vaccination, downplay the police violence that has often been employed against the unvaccinated, and even tell us that they would rather die from the vaccine than live with people who do not accept the vaccine. The situation is the same abroad. Any criticism of the measures is demonized, and mandatory vaccination is promoted, with the Left largely supporting the essence of state management. Trapped in a superficial antifascism, the Left is more concerned about a fictitious fascist threat from ordinary citizens — the majority of whom belong to the working class — than with the real threat which is the authoritarian bourgeois state. The far Right, though, is just as marginal and weak as the Left: it is not an immediate social danger. Essentially, the majority of the Left and of the so-called “progressives” and “liberals” act as a state crutch in the management of the pandemic.

What is to be done

What would a genuine Left do differently in response to the pandemic? As the Spartacist League rightly points out in its article on the virus:

The working class derives its social power from its role in production. The labor movement needs to oppose layoffs and furloughs by fighting for union-run hiring and training, and for a shorter workweek with no loss in pay in order to spread work among all hands. The current crisis cries out for increased production and services: more and better medical care; mass construction of public housing; spacious and well-ventilated buildings for schools and day care; better public transport. Reopening and expanding the economy is necessary to meet the needs of working people and to combat unemployment and pauperization [...] Unions are the elementary defense organizations of the working class. Their purpose is to defend workers on the job, not fight for the workers to stay home.[22]

In other words, a genuine revolutionary Left acting in accordance with the class interest of the working class would pursue the opposite pandemic policy from that of the current Left. In the first place, it would oppose lockdowns, layoffs, and working from home, and would fight for safe working conditions and better health and transport infrastructure. It would work to ensure that the pandemic’s management does not restrict our freedom and does not lead to social isolation. It would also require the abolition of patents, so that vaccines and drugs can be mass-produced and meet the needs of the Third World. In the long run, it would fight for control of healthcare and safety to pass into the hands of our own labor organizations such as unions, as well as for the expropriation of hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

It is impermissible for Leftists to agree with the bourgeoisie when it tells us that the struggle of the workers for their interests through unionization and demonstrations threatens public health. The organization and conduction of class struggle is necessary for our self-defense and for combatting the social cause of the mismanagement of the pandemic, that is, of capitalism. As Leon Trotsky put it in The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International: “In a society based upon exploitation, the highest morality is that of the social revolution. All methods are good which raise the class-consciousness of the workers, their trust in their own forces, their readiness for self-sacrifice in the struggle. The impermissible methods are those which implant fear and submissiveness in the oppressed in the face of their oppressors.”[23] Cultivating fear of the virus and submissiveness to the state’s administration is unacceptable.

The historical task of the Left is to form the working class into an independent political force seeking the overthrow of capitalism. To achieve this historic task it is necessary, among other things, to channel any generalized discontents of the working class against its real enemy, that is, against the bourgeoisie and its state. This also holds for the current widespread dissatisfaction of many people with the handling of the pandemic. A genuine revolutionary Left must recognize and highlight the rational core of this dissatisfaction, while simultaneously directing the discontented masses away from irrational and/or reactionary conspiracy theories. A real revolutionary Left would mobilize the working class to defend all the oppressed and unite them on the side of the workers in the class struggle. It would not allow the Right and the far Right to present themselves as defenders of our democratic rights, as is the case with Covid.

We are living through one of the greatest crises in the history of capitalism, and the task of the Left is to make use of and lead the working class’s dissatisfaction with the state, not to support the bourgeois state against the working class. Until that happens, the state will continue to play games with our health and our way of life. There is no true health without freedom, and there is no possibility of freedom without the Left. Given the absence of a real Left today, it is our duty to build it. What is needed is new leadership of the working class. |P


[1] “What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on 19 Months of COVID,” Hoover Institution, October 13, 2021, available online at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG7XZ2JXZqY>.

[2] Julie Steenhuysen and Manas Mishra, “Prior COVID infection more protective than vaccination during Delta surge - U.S. study,” Reuters, January 19, 2021, available online at <https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/prior-covid-infection-more-protective-than-vaccination-during-delta-surge-us-2022-01-19/>.

[3] Smriti Mallapaty, “COVID vaccines cut the risk of transmitting Delta — but not for long,” Nature, October 5, 2021, available online at <https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02689-y>.

[4] Natalie Grover, “Delta variant renders herd immunity from Covid ‘mythical,’” The Guardian, August 10, 2021, available online at <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/10/delta-variant-renders-herd-immunity-from-covid-mythical>.

[5] Tiana Lowe, “NIH admits Fauci lied about funding Wuhan gain-of-function experiments,” Washington Examiner, October 20, 2021, available online at <https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/nih-admits-fauci-lied-about-funding-wuhan-gain-of-function-experiments>.

[6] Cf. David Zweig, “The CDC’s flawed case for wearing masks at school,” The Atlantic, December 16, 2021, available online at <https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/12/mask-guidelines-cdc-walensky/621035/>.

[7] Despina Psillou, “Κωστρίκης για Μάσκες: Είναι όπως το προστατευτικό κράνος,” Φιλελεύθερος, October 28, 2020, available online at <https://www.philenews.com/koinonia/eidiseis/article/1048438/kostrikis-ga-maskes-einai-opos-to-prostateftiko-kranos>.

[8] “Κύπρος: Τα μέτρα Αναστασιάδη για τον κορονοϊό,” news247, March 15, 2020, available online at <https://www.news247.gr/kosmos/kypros-ta-metra-anastasiadi-gia-ton-koronoio.7602540.html>.

[9] “Delirium, The Exploitation of the Pandemic by the Republic of Cyprus: An Update,” Κυπριακες Υποσημειωσεις, February 4, 2021, available online at <https://cyfootnotes.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-exploitation-of-pandemic-by.html>. This text provides an excellent synopsis of the authoritarian mishandling of the pandemic in Cyprus.

[10] Nikolaj Skydsgaard, “Denmark continues exclusion of J&J, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines”, Reuters, June 5, 2021, available online at <https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/denmark-continues-exclude-jj-covid-19-vaccine-national-roll-out-tv-2-2021-06-25/>.

[11] “Από σήμερα τα νέα μέτρα - Όλη η Κύπρος κέρφιου από τις 9,” Offsite, November 30, 2020, available online at <https://www.offsite.com.cy/eidiseis/topika/apo-simera-ta-nea-metra-oli-i-kypros-kerfioy-apo-tis-9>; “Οι επιχειρήσεις που πρέπει να κλείνουν στις 7 μ.μ. από τη Δευτέρα,” Brief, November 29, 2020, available online at <https://www.brief.com.cy/oikonomia/kypros/oi-epiheiriseis-poy-prepei-na-kleinoyn-stis-7-mm-apo-ti-deytera>.

[12] Marina Koumasta, “Ο ιός της ανοησίας έκλεισε οδοφράγματα,” Πολίτης, February 29, 2020, available online at <https://politis.com.cy/politis-news/kypros/o-ios-tis-anoisias-ekleise-odofragmata/>.

[13] Gregoris Ioannou, “Authoritarianism masking incompetence? The case of the Republic of Cyprus,” Open Democracy, April 7, 2020, available online at <https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/authoritarianism-masking-incompetence-case-republic-cyprus/>.

[14] “Στα κατεχόμενα οι 115 πρόσφυγες- Πρώτη φορά εφαρμόζει πολιτική απώθησης η ΚΔ,” Φιλελεύθερος, March 21, 2020, available online at <https://www.philenews.com/koinonia/eidiseis/article/901717/sta-katechomena-oi-115-prosfygs-proti-fora-efarmozei-politiki-apothisis-i-kd>.

[15] “Pushing Back Protection: How Offshoring and Externalization Imperil the Right to Asylum,” National Immigrant Justice Center, August 3, 2021, available online at  <https://immigrantjustice.org/research-items/off-shoring-asylum>.

[16] “Aντιδρούν φοιτητές νοσηλευτικής για επίταξη από Υπ. Υγείας,” Φιλελεύθερος, January 14, 2021, available online at <https://www.philenews.com/koinonia/eidiseis/article/1102285/antidroyn-foitites-nosileftikis-ga-epitaxi-apo-yp-ygias>.

[17] For examples of such critical responses to the handling of the pandemic, see “Delirium, The Exploitation of the Pandemic,” op. cit.; “Για το Δικαίωμα Άρνησης Εμβολιασμού,” 1917, September 4, 2021, available online at <https://1917.com.cy/2021/09/04/gia-to-dikeoma-arnisis-emvoliasmou/>; “On a Society Increasingly Turning Fascistic: The Exploitation of the Pandemic by the Republic of Cyprus,” Κυπριακες Υποσημειωσεις, November 24, 2021, available online at <https://cyfootnotes.blogspot.com/2020/11/on-society-increasingly-turning.html>.

[18] “Περί αντιεμβολιασμού και συνωμοσιολογίας: ο φόβος του Θανάτου,” Πρόταγμα, October 26, 2021, available online at <https://protagma.wordpress.com/2021/10/26/περί-αντιεμβολιασμού-και-συνωμοσιολ/>.

[19] Michael Bang Petersen and Alexander Bor, “Denmark appears to have beaten covid-19 — for now. Here’s how it did it,” Washington Post, September 20, 2021, available online at  <https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/20/denmark-appears-have-beaten-covid-19-now-here-is-how-it-did-it/>.

[20] Charlie Frank, “ACT UP, Fight Back: A History of AIDS in America,” Cosmonaut, October 30, 2021, available online at  <https://cosmonautmag.com/2021/10/act-up-fight-back-a-history-of-aids-in-america/>.

[21] Dr. Jay Bhattachayra, “What Happened.”

[22] “Down with the Lockdowns!,” Spartacist (April 2021), available online at <https://www.icl-fi.org/english/esp/2021-04-lockdown.html>.

[23] Leon Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the tasks of the Fourth International (1938), available online at <https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/tp/>.