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  1. I think we will never know how Covid 19 arose, but I do the lab leak theory is credible and so should not be dismissed First the first outbreak occurred in the one city in China with a level 4 biolab where they were researching coronaviruses. Now I know coincidences do happen but I do not think it is unreasonable to suggest to raises the odds of it being a lab leak. Wuhan from what I understand is also not in the area of China where you would expect it arise naturally, if it arose naturally, you would have expected to arise in southern China. Second, the Chinese government were not exactly open in allowing investigations into the virus’s origins. The WHO investigation seemed very carefully controlled by the Chinese government, suggesting they were trying to hide something. If it arose naturally what would they have to hide. Finally lab leaks have occurred in the past. Here are a couple of examples relating to Smallpox that fortunately got contained: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1971_Aral_smallpox_incident https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1978_smallpox_outbreak_in_the_United_Kingdom
  2. A middle class couple in their early thirties with a joint income of between £80k and £100K should be able to afford property in London. The problem is, unless they have rich parents, they are unlikely to be able to afford anything more than a 2 bed flat. In the Home Counties however they would be probably be able to afford a three bed terrace house and in most places outside the Southeast they could afford a detached house.
  3. The strange thing, is despite many people leaving London due to wanting larger homes and no longer having to commute as much, house prices in London have still increased over the past year. Which begs the question, who is buying them? Admittedly they have increased less than any other region and by less than inflation.
  4. Over the past decade, it is fair to say London has had a few challenges. First, there have been increasing number of international investors buying up property solely for investment purposes, making property even more unaffordable for Londoners and turning some districts into extremely wealthy but soulless empty areas where nothing much happens, e.g Nine Elms. Next Brexit, whatever your view of Brexit, it does seem to have made London less attractive to European immigrants, I have noticed in my industry that Europeans are increasingly returning home and fewer are coming to London, resulting in it being harder to recruit new staff. This was happening even before Covid. The Covid-19 pandemic, almost overnight led to disappearance of most commuters and almost all tourists, with big question marks on to what extent they will return. Finally, you have a government that seems somewhat ambivalent towards London, which you can see in the dispute over TfL’s funding and policies that adversely impact London such as the end of tax free shopping for tourists. So what does the future hold for London?
  5. London to me has been on the decline since around 2015. Brexit, high house prices and the younger generation being less keen on the attractions of London than previous generations kicked the process off. The pandemic which almost overnight led to the disappearance of almost all tourists and commuters however has massively accelerated it. Obviously tourists and commuters will return but not to the same extent as pre Covid. On the upside it may lead to lower house prices and rents in London.
  6. Most likely this variant will fizzle out like most of the other variants and never be heard from again. Anyone remember the Lambda and Mu variants?
  7. China does have history of cutting itself off from the rest of the world, so I would not be surprised if the CCP is using Covid as an excuse to achieve this.
  8. I was in Oxford Street the first Saturday of December and it was absolutely heaving, it was quite difficult to move in a lot of places. It appeared even busier than it would have been for a December Saturday pre pandemic. I was also there last Wednesday evening, when it did seem quieter than a normal Wednesday evening in December, but not massively so. Perhaps many decided to do their Christmas shopping early this year. Oxford Street, particularly the western end does currently have quite a few vacant units and tacky candy shops, which can’t bode well for the future.
  9. If this is the case, all this panic around Omicron is actually counterproductive, as we would be making harder for a likely milder variant to predominate. I certainly do not recall this much panic over the Delta variant back in May / June, which does appear to cause more severe disease than the previous variants.
  10. The problem with Covid is that far too many people have confirmation bias, in that they interpret any bit of Covid news in way that fits their view of Covid and disregard any contrary evidence. For example, a couple of days ago there was a study suggesting that the Covid Omicron variant replicates 70 times faster in the upper airway but 10 times slower in the lungs. Those who believe Covid is this never ending pandemic will interpret that article as proof that this is some super transmissible Covid variant that will cause a massive wave several times worse than previous waves. Those who believe the pandemic is over will interpret it as proof that Omicron variant is essentially now a common cold. The truth is likely to be somewhere in the middle.
  11. If there had never been any new variants of Covid, I think Zero Covid would have in the medium term been a fairly sensible goal. With sufficient vaccination you would have been able to completely eliminate Covid transmission without the need for social distancing measures. Covid could have been eradicated from individual countries and eventually the whole world in the same way smallpox was eradicated. Countries would have been able to open borders to other countries that had eliminated Covid. However the emergence of variants that are both more transmissible and partly evade immunity make it untenable. Pretty much every country bar China and Taiwan have abandoned it, and I suspect Omicron will force those two countries to finally realise the game is up, unless they want to permanently cut themselves off from the rest of the world
  12. These tweets that say Covid will remain a severe endemic disease, to me seems unlikely. First there is increasing evidence that the Covid 19 Omicron variant is milder. Second a pandemic is 1890 is suspected to have been caused by a Coronavirus that now just results in colds. Third as far as I know there is no severe endemic respiratory illness that keeps mutating to evade immunity but remains severe in human circulation, so we would have to be very unlucky for Covid buck that trend. I think the worst case scenario with Covid is that it settles down to become an illness similar to flu, but more likely it ends up being another common cold virus. Admittally I am just an armchair virologist here.
  13. Has anyone noticed that it only seems to be the UK where Omicron seems to be causing this hysteria. The rest of the world seems to be coming to the conclusion, that yes it is very transmissible, but it is also likely much milder. UK government advisors however seems to persist in this belief that it is deadly as the Delta variant, despite evidence to the contrary.
  14. I do think this is one of the bigger reasons for the falling birth rates. For a lot of middle class couples dogs seem to the new babies. Though I do think there are other reasons too.
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