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TCW’s Top Twenty: Covid, imaginary pandemic of the brainwashed


As we approach the end of the year, we are repeating our twenty most-read articles of 2023, in reverse order. This is number 14 and it was first published on March 24.

TELL me about your personal experiences of Covid 19. Actually, wait, don’t. I think I may have heard it already, about a million times. You lost all sense of smell or taste – and just how weird was that? It floored you for days. It gave you a funny dry cough, the dryness and ticklishness of which was unprecedented in your entire coughing career. You’ve had flu a couple of times and, boy, when you’ve got real flu do you know it. But this definitely wasn’t flu. It was so completely different from anything you’ve ever known, why you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it had been bioengineered in a lab with all manner of spike proteins and gain-of-function additives, perhaps even up to and including fragments of the Aids virus . . .

Yeah, right. Forgive me for treading on the sacred, personal domain of your lived experience. But might I cautiously suggest that none of what you went through necessarily validates lab-leak theory. Rather what it may demonstrate is the power of susceptibility, brainwashing and an overactive imagination. You lived – we all did – through a two-year period in which health-suffering anecdotes became valuable currency. Whereas in the years before the ‘pandemic’, no one had been much interested in the gory details of your nasty cold, suddenly everyone wanted to compare notes to see whether they’d had it as bad as you – or, preferably, for the sake of oneupmanship, even worse. This in turn created a self-reinforcing mechanism of Covid panic escalation: the more everyone talked about it, the more inconvertible the ‘pandemic’ became.

Meanwhile, in the real world, hard evidence – as opposed to anecdotal evidence – for this ‘pandemic’ remained stubbornly non-existent. The clincher for me was a landmark article published in January 2021 by Simon Elmer at his website Architects For Social Housing. It was titled ‘Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: Manufacturing the Crisis’.

In it Elmer asked the question every journalist should have asked but which almost none did: is this ‘pandemic’ really as serious as all the experts, and government ministers and media outlets and medics are telling us it is? The answer was a very obvious No. As the Office for National Statistics data cited by Elmer clearly showed, 2020 – Year Zero for supposedly the biggest public health threat since ‘Spanish Flu’ a century earlier – was one of the milder years for death in the lives of most people.

Let’s be clear about this point, because something you often hear people on the sceptical side of the argument say is, ‘Of course, no one is suggesting that Covid didn’t cause a horrific number of deaths.’ But that’s exactly what they should be suggesting: because it’s true. Elmer was quoting the Age Standardised Mortality statistics for England and Wales dating back to 1941. What these show is that in every year up to and including 2008, more people died per head of population than in the deadly Covid outbreak year of 2020. Of the previous 79 years, 2020 had the 12th lowest mortality rate.

Covid, in other words, was a pandemic of the imagination, of anecdote, of emotion rather than of measured ill-health and death. Yet even now, when I draw someone’s attention to that ONS data, I find that the most common response I get is one of denial. That is, when presented with the clearest, most untainted (this was before ONS got politicised and began cooking the books), impossible-to-refute evidence that there was NO Covid pandemic in 2020, most people, even intelligent ones, still choose to go with their feelings rather with the hard data.

This natural tendency many of us have to choose emotive narratives over cool evidence makes us ripe for exploitation by the cynical and unscrupulous. We saw this during the pandemic when the majority fell for the exciting but mendacious story that they were living through a new Great Plague, and that only by observing bizarre rituals – putting strips of cloth over one’s face, dancing round one another in supermarkets, injecting unknown substances into one’s body – could one hope to save oneself and granny. And we’re seeing it now, in a slightly different variant, in which lots of people – even many who ought to know better – are falling for some similarly thrilling but erroneous nonsense about lab-leaked viruses.

It’s such a sexy story that I fell for it myself. In those early days when all the papers were still dutifully trotting out World Health Organisation-approved propaganda about pangolins and bats and the apparently notorious wet market (whatever the hell that is) in Wuhan, I was already well ahead of the game. I knew, I just knew, as all the edgy, fearless seekers of truth did that it was a lab leak wot done it. If you knew where to dig, there was a clear evidence trail to support it.

We edgy, fearless truth seekers knew all the names and facts. Dodgy Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance was in it up to the neck; so too, obviously, was the loathsomely chipper and smugly deceitful Anthony Fauci. We knew that all this crazy, Frankenvirus research had initially been conducted in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but had been outsourced to China after President Obama changed the regulations and it became too much of a hot potato for US-based labs. And let’s not forget Ukraine – all those secret bio-research labs run on behalf of the US Deep State, but then exposed as the Russians unhelpfully overran territory such as Mariupol.

And it all made perfect sense because it accorded with everything else we knew about the ‘pandemic’: that it was planned, orchestrated and manipulated at a high level by some of the most devious and evil people on the planet. Also, lots of our fellow sceptics and anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine crusaders in the fields of vaccinology and epidemiology confirmed that this was so, with all manner of abstruse technical detail which we absorbed and became almost-expert on. We learned such terms as ‘gain of function’, ‘cytokine storm’, ‘spike protein’, ‘viral load’ and ‘shedding’. Why, we almost became virologists ourselves!

So why do I no longer believe in lab leak theory? Why do I now share the suspicions of Mike Yeadon that there never was a Covid virus? Well, for me the most obvious clue is that the lab-leak theory is currently being pushed heavily by the very same mainstream media which has been lying to us relentlessly about mask efficacy, vaccine safety, Net Zero, climate change, Ukraine, CBDCs, 15 Minute Cities and the now very obvious threat posed by the New World Order. Sure, it’s theoretically possible that they might suddenly have alighted on a topic where they are not going to push the nefarious agenda of their sinister paymasters. But if they did it would be a first.

Like Patrick Henningsen – more details on our recent podcast 

 – I take the view that if lab-leak is now the officially endorsed conspiracy theory of the US government then we should all be suspicious that there is an underlying agenda. Promoting lab-leak serves a number of purposes: it distracts from the more pressing issue of vaccine injury; it promotes the notion that the world is potentially swarming with rogue, bio-engineered viruses which require urgent defensive measures by supranational bodies such as the World Health Organisation, including compulsory vaccination against new viral strains; it fingers China as an even bigger enemy than it really is, justifying higher defence spending, escalated economic warfare and potential military action, and it creates further division within the sceptical community.

I notice plenty of evidence of the latter in the comments section below Mike Yeadon’s latest piece at TCW, headlined ‘Why I don’t believe there ever was a Covid virus’. Commenters who were previously united in the – correct – view that the ‘pandemic’ was a massive scam and that the ‘vaccines’ are a monstrous and unnecessary assault on public health are now bickering furiously over whether or not they believe in the Covid virus or in viruses generally.

Most of those defending the existence of the Covid virus do so on the basis of the personal health experiences I invoked at the beginning. I’m not disputing that they may have felt all the exotic and unpleasant symptoms they describe, nor even that these were quite unlike any they had had before. What I am questioning is the logical leap which leads them all to infer that these were definitely the result of a novel virus. How could they possibly know? There are any number of other potential causes for these symptoms: radiation or chemical poisoning; the effects of 5G; a fairly routine brand of flu rebadged as Covid – and escalated in their imagination through groupthink into something much worse; terrain theory . . .

I remain open-minded on the cause of those symptoms, as I do on ‘virus theory’ versus ‘terrain theory’, or whether maybe it’s a mixture of both. But it seems evident to me that certain facts about the supposed pandemic of 2020 are now beyond dispute: it was a ‘pandemic’ only because the WHO changed its definition of the word; mortality rates were not above normal; the PCR tests were fraudulent; SARS-CoV-2 has never been isolated; the pandemic was wargamed in 2019 at Event 201, and heavily promoted by vested interests (most funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) in the media, academe, the bio-medical establishment and client governments. Given the scale of the dishonesty surrounding this fake crisis, it would hardly constitute an extravagant leap to infer that the ‘virus’, like everything else, was just another fabricated part of the psyop.

And you don’t need to plump fully for terrain theory for this to be the case. Nor are you required to believe that China is a force for integrity and goodness, nor that Fauci and Daszak are stand-up guys, nor that there aren’t lots of black-budget-funded labs experimenting with pathogens. All you need to do is accept that the weight of evidence thus far shows that Mike Yeadon, and brave souls like him, are justified in their scepticism about the existence of a novel, possibly man-made virus called SARS-CoV-2. And the fact that in 2020 you had a nasty dose of flu-like symptoms is really neither here nor there.

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James Delingpole
James Delingpole
James Delingpole is host of the Delingpod podcast. The Delingpod: The James Delingpole Podcast (

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