This document is part of an archive of postings on Dissecting Leftism, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permanent record of what I have written.

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Monday, February 28, 2022

Even more infectious sub-variant of Omicron is now DOMINANT in England but health chiefs insist BA.2 strain is no more lethal

BA.2 was behind 52 per cent of all Covid infections in the seven days to February 20, up from 19 per cent a fortnight ago, the UK Health Security Agency found.

The sub-variant has completed its rapid rise to dominance just a month after it was first spotted in the UK.

But the scientific community has said there is no reason to panic, with the variant already almost every case in Denmark but leading to no effect on hospitalisations or deaths.

The Government there deemed the strain such a non-threat that it has ended virtually all Covid restrictions — like England did this week.

There is so far no evidence BA.2 is more severe or better at evading vaccine-induced immunity than the original Omicron.

And Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious diseases expert at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline it was unlikely to even cause cases — which have been falling for weeks — to pick back up.

Writing in today's report, the UKHSA also revealed 32 cases of 'Deltacron' had now been spotted in England.

The hybrid of Omicron and Delta emerged January 7, in a person who had both variants at the same time.

It has triggered just two infections in the past week.

Britain's Covid cases have fallen consistently for the last three weeks, while deaths and hospitalisations are already trending downwards.

BA.2 carries many of the same mutations as Omicron alongside many new ones that make it more transmissible. But, unlike its parent, it carries an S-gene meaning it can be easily distinguished from the original Omicron without the need for genomic sequencing.

UK's £5.6bn Covid jabs rollout was 'good value' for money
Britain's Covid vaccination drive was good value for money, No10's public spending watchdog has claimed.

The National Audit Office heaped further praise on the £5.6bn jabs rollout – adding that far fewer doses were wasted than predicted.

It claimed securing a supply of vaccines early on in the pandemic was 'crucial' to its success and this helped to 'save lives and reduce serious illness and hospitalisation'.

The independent watchdog warned there were still risks ahead for the programme, however, including staff burnout.

In a report released today, covering a period up to the end of October 2021, the NAO said wastage of about 4.7 million doses – 4 per cent of the total – had been 'much lower than the programme initially assumed'. UKHSA scientists used this to estimate BA.2's prevalence.

Delta also has an S-gene, but the variant has been completely eradicated in the UK by the two much more virulent strains.

London had the highest share of BA.2 (63 per cent of Covid cases), followed by the South East (57 per cent), East of England (53 per cent), North West (51 per cent) and West Midlands (50 per cent).

The regions where it was not dominant were the East Midlands (49 per cent), Yorkshire and the Humber (43 per cent), North East (33 per cent) and South West (33 per cent).

Professor Hunter said: 'Ultimately, we could have done without BA.2, but it will not make too much of an impact.'

He added: 'I don't think BA.2 is going to undermine the current drop in cases. 'The consensus opinion of epidemiologists that I've listened to is that it is probably not going to be something that will undermine our position.'

A fortnight ago the UKHSA revealed it had spotted the UK's first case of the so-called Deltacron in England.

The agency said they were keeping tabs on the hybrid, but that it was not concerning because there was no noticeable uptick in cases.

Scientists also called for calm, saying it 'shouldn't pose too much of a threat' because the UK has such high levels of immunity against both Omicron and Delta strains.

Despite the rise in BA.2, Government dashboard data shows that Britain's cases, hospitalisations and deaths are all trending downwards even as the more infectious version of Omicron became dominant.

It has given Boris Johnson the confidence to lift the final Covid restrictions, with self-isolation coming to an end yesterday for the first time in almost two years.

Free Covid tests are also set to end from the start of April, ministers have announced, in a drive to save £2billion a month.

Mr Johnson said he could lift the final Covid restrictions because of widespread immunity and the mildness of Omicron. But he warned this was not victory over the virus, adding that it was not yet 'going away'.

SAGE scientists have warned the mildness of Omicron may be a 'chance event', and say it is a 'common misconception' that viruses become weaker overtime.

But other scientists argue that high levels of immunity in the country mean it will not experience a Covid wave like in March 2020 again.


Australian health authorities have treated our kids shamefully during Covid

Some sections of our community have had a ‘good’ pandemic. If you’re a cold-eyed capitalist with a flair for early adoption and lobbying, you’ve made a motza from masks and RAT riches. If you’re a middling health bureaucrat with a dour expression and a flair for the dramatic, you’ve clogged our television screens for hours at a time and not lost a single day’s pay.

Not everyone has been so lucky. While our public health overlords strenuously ignore it, it is clear the worst effects of the Covid panic have been suffered by children. Lockdowns were particularly troubling. A Unesco report in 2021 examined the adverse consequences of school closures. The report details the effects felt by children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. From missing out on meals to increases in unreported sexual abuse, poorer children suffered the most. Protecting the vulnerable, indeed.

These lockdowns and restrictions trapped children in the home with their abusers. Kids Helpline reporting data demonstrate a 49 per cent increase in sexual abuse reports in the home during lockdowns. Anecdotal evidence from police officers indicates that this is probably far greater, as children have gone unseen by health services, schools or community groups which otherwise might notice and file mandatory reports.

Children have borne the brunt of the effects of draconian policies and those who have been born during this era will feel the effects well into their futures. Babies born recently will be victims of missed screenings that identify early childhood issues, like deafness or astigmatisms, which, if diagnosed early, can result in better outcomes over the course of a lifetime.

This is coupled with foolish policy decisions like the cancellation of home visits by community nurses in South Australia. They only serve to punish newborns that will be victims of missing checks identifying physical safety concerns or domestic violence, putting them at risk of SIDS, the third highest cause of death in children under one. Without a rigorous cost-benefit analysis against the risk of Covid in children under one it is an arbitrary and potentially dangerous decision.

The ongoing Resonance Study at Brown University in the United States recently released a pre-print paper indicating that children born during the pandemic in the USA experienced declines in verbal, motor and cognitive performance and an average decline in standardised IQ testing of 22 points. If this is even half correct, it’s still cause for alarm.

As with all the pandemic’s negative effects, authorities and commentators are quick to castigate parents, rather than cast so much as a glance at their own policy failure, blaming any loss in children’s cognition or speech on parental neglect, when so many of them were trying to work, keep house and teach children all at once as required by health department diktat.

Childcare, going to playgroup or shopping with a parent or carer are all regular routines that promote socialisation and help develop verbal and emotional skills. These mundane societal interactions help shape children’s development, and their loss has had a devastating effect.

For children turning four this year and entering preschool, half their lives have been shaped by inane rules, denial of simple pleasures and lack of social contact. This drives an increase in social isolation and bleeds into the poor educational outcomes that older children experience.

Ironically, bureaucratic overreach and Covid theatre have created a situation where children who truly require medical attention can’t receive it. When my own son was ill and I was nervous about pneumonia, I was forced to first have a farcical telehealth consult (‘shall I hold the phone up to his chest for you?’) before being ushered to a sweltering back room along with supplies and an old fax machine, because his complaint was ‘respiratory’ in nature. Covid cases in Adelaide at the time? Zero.

Other longer-term medical concerns for children’s health have also been obliterated due to Covid monomania. At a time when children’s obesity rates have been steadily rising, we have abandoned them to devices and screens, further entrenching the sedentary lifestyles already commonplace prior to the pandemic. Once again, it is our poorest children that end up worst off here, with obesity rates in children from lower socio-economic areas 2.4 times greater than children from our most wealthy areas. Anyone who has tackled obesity from childhood knows how hard it is to reverse. Protecting our health system, indeed.

The irrationality of decisions about children’s participation in activities that would help to reverse obesity trends knows no bounds. The same children that play sports together at weekends are banned from interschool sports in South Australia, while unvaccinated teens are locked out of community sports in Victoria. Some of the more ludicrous decisions made about children’s lifestyles in South Australia are all the more galling given the chief public health officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, is a paediatrician by trade. Perhaps, in all her pronouncements of ‘do not touch that ball’ or the ‘pizza box strain’, she simply forgot about the children.

The rhetoric across Australia has become increasingly shrill. One of the ugliest scenes recently was breakfast television host Natalie Barr and media identity Mayor Basil Zempilas cheering on the idea floated by the WA government that would see unvaccinated parents restricted from accompanying or visiting sick children in hospital. Any civil society ought to reject outright such a vile notion, if not for the parents, at least for the sick children unduly punished by the edict.

Of course, the media in Australia have a case to answer for in championing these policies and their less-than-subtle attempts to shift the Overton Window to make outlandish restrictions seem required by the masses. Children have been scared witless by news coverage throughout attempting to paint Covid as the peril of our lifetime. The relentlessness of the pandemic news coverage cannot have been good for children’s mental health. Banning breakfast television has been one of the simplest and easiest mental health boosters in this household.

From failing young children through reducing their verbal skills, to creating the sadness of teenagers missing out on school formals due to ridiculous vaccine mandates, there has been no end to the cruelties foisted on our kids.

Our children have had a terrible pandemic. Nelson Mandela said, ‘The true character of society is revealed in how it treats its children.’ Australia’s bureaucrats have demonstrated that children are at the absolute bottom of the pile when it comes to wearing the consequences of poor policy and draconian crackdown. We should all hang our heads in shame.




Sunday, February 27, 2022

Two U.S. agencies have been quietly studying neurological problems that have appeared in people who have had COVID-19 vaccines

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been conducting separate research projects into post-vaccination neurological issues, which have manifested with symptoms like facial paralysis and brain fog and have been linked in some cases with the vaccines, according to emails reviewed by The Epoch Times.

One attempt to gain understanding of a problem that experts around the world are struggling to understand is being carried out by Dr. Janet Woodcock, who was acting commissioner of the FDA until Feb. 17.

Woodcock, now the FDA’s principal deputy director, has been personally evaluating neurologic side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines since at least Sept. 13, 2021, according to the emails, many of which have not been reported on previously. FDA epidemiologists are also gathering data to look into the issues, according to messages from Dr. Peter Marks, another top FDA official.

A team at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), meanwhile, started seeing patients reporting vaccine injuries for a study in early 2021 after receiving complaints shortly after the vaccines were made available. A portion of the patients was examined in person at the Bethesda, Maryland, facility.

None of the reviews or studies appear to have been announced, and health officials have said little about them publicly, despite a growing recognition among experts that at least some issues are likely linked to the vaccines.

Woodcock said she was sorry for the ordeals people were going through and that she was trying to find ways to examine what was happening. Eventually, she disclosed that she was working on an evaluation of “neurologic side effects from the COVID 19 vaccines,” according to a Sept. 16, 2021, email reviewed by The Epoch Times.

Prodded by people with diagnosed vaccine injuries, Woodcock insisted she was still working on the project.

“I am awaiting some information from the epidemiologists that I expect to get tomorrow,” she wrote on Nov. 16, 2021. “We are having difficulty pinning down these nervous system-related events that have been brought to our attention. I’ve asked for specific searches of the reports we get both from here and ex-U.S. (as these vaccines have been used in many countries) as well as from trials, where oversight of participants is greater.”

Woodcock said she was aware that people who suffer issues after getting vaccinated were looking for guidance on treatment but that there was “not a lot of certainty about what causes the symptoms.”

Woodcock confirmed to The Epoch Times in an email that the evaluation is still ongoing and has not been completed.

“When we know something definitive, we will put out a statement if warranted,” she said.

The FDA regulates vaccines, medical devices, and cosmetics, in addition to other products.

Marks, who heads the FDA’s center in charge of regulating vaccines, wrote in one email in November 2021 that epidemiologists at the FDA are “looking into this.”

“I work closely with them, and know that they are very committed to understanding whatever adverse events might be attributable to the vaccines that we regulate,” he added.

Marks has met with patients reporting vaccine injuries on multiple occasions, according to emails reviewed by The Epoch Times. He has been alerted to both cases and studies regarding potential vaccine injuries. He often writes that the FDA will work through the papers and keep following up.

“We will continue to carefully evaluate all serious reports of adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination and are committed to transparency about any findings,” he said in one missive.

Marks declined to answer questions, forwarding them to FDA spokespersons.

A spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email that the systems in place to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines have identified several issues “potentially associated with vaccination,” including the neurological disorder known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, the combination of blood clotting and low blood platelet levels known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), and several forms of heart inflammation, including myocarditis.

“The chance of having these events occur is very low,” the spokesperson said. “To date, the systems for monitoring COVID-19 vaccine safety have not identified additional safety signals for serious neurological outcomes following COVID-19 vaccination.”

FDA epidemiologists and experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continuously analyze data from the passive reporting system known as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to identify potential signals that would suggest a need for more in-depth study and consult with NIH experts about the analyses, according to the FDA. Reports to VAERS have spiked since the COVID-19 vaccines became available, and some patients who filed VAERS reports told The Epoch Times that nobody followed up with them.

U.S. officials have found that many reports submitted to VAERS don’t actually represent side effects due to a vaccine, for reasons such as the diagnosis being incorrect, the condition in question cropping up before vaccination, or the patient having underlying medical conditions “that explain the adverse event,” the FDA spokesperson said. Studies show the number of reports to VAERS often underrepresents problems following vaccination. As proof that “signals of rare adverse events can be detected,” the spokesperson pointed to how the government identified six adverse event reports, including three deaths, or of TTS following vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The CDC lists only one adverse event as likely having “a causal relationship” with a vaccine. That’s TTS and the Johnson & Johnson shot.

‘Neurological Side Effects’

Dr. Avindra Nath, clinical director of the NIH’s NINDS, headed a team that examined patients who experienced serious neurological issues.

Some patients flew to Bethesda, Maryland, for in-person examinations, while others consulted with NIH experts remotely.

Nath and Dr. Farinaz Safavi, one of Nath’s top deputies, have said they believe the issues are linked to the vaccines.

“We started an effort at NIH to look at neurological side effects of COVID-19 vaccines,” Safavi said in an email to one of the patients on March 3, 2021.

“We believe the symptoms to be real. That is the reason we have been treating patients,” Nath said in a different message on July 27, 2021.

Patients initially expressed gratitude to the team for helping them. Many had struggled to get care from local physicians when detailing how they got vaccinated before the problems started.

“Finally at the NIH, I was able to get appropriate diagnoses,” Brianne Dressen, a preschool teacher who lives in Utah, told The Epoch Times. “After I was able to get those appropriate diagnoses from lead researchers in COVID, my doctors started taking me seriously.”

Medical records from Dressen’s visit shows NIH doctors diagnosed her with “persistent neurological symptoms following SARS-CoV-2 vaccine” and “post-vaccine neuropathy.” SARS-CoV-2 is another name for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19. Neuropathy is nerve damage that can affect patients’ nervous systems and lead to symptoms including weak limbs, vision loss, and loss of muscle control.

Dr. Danice Hertz, a retired gastroenterologist who lives in California, was seen virtually by NIH experts. They did not give her a definitive diagnosis. But Safavi wrote in one message to Hertz, “What is clear here [is] that you have developed immediate reaction to the vaccine with some systemic symptoms continued by evolution of neuropathic features.”

“We know as a fact that immune-mediated neurological complications can happen post vaccination and post infection,” she added.

The examinations were done under a study protocol that started in 2015 called “Natural History Study of Inflammatory and Infectious Diseases of the Nervous System.” Nath told The Epoch Times via email that his team examined about 10 patients, though he gave a different number to Science magazine.

Other people who experienced problems after being vaccinated told The Epoch Times that attempts to get help from the NIH or other agencies weren’t successful. Angelia Desselle of Louisiana, for instance, was told she would be able to travel to NINDS and be seen but stopped hearing from the institute before the visit was finalized.

The NIH is a medical research agency that works to examine diseases and reduce health burdens. NINDS focuses on brain and nervous system problems.


Even among those examined, the excitement of connecting with top researchers and government officials turned to disappointment and frustration when repeated queries yielded few signs of progress on research into post-vaccination problems.

Woodcock and Marks would often only provide updates after being prodded, and neither have thrust the conversation happening in private into the public realm.

Nath and Safavi also grew distant as 2021 wore on. They eventually stopped examining patients. Nath urged Dressen to stop referring people to him, telling her that “we do not have any clinical trial for … vaccine related complications.”

Dressen responded in January that she will “always be indebted to you and what you did for me,” crediting Nath, alongside her husband, with keeping her alive. However, she added, her “heart is shattered.”

“I am more confused now than ever about what my active and willing engagement in the scientific process actually meant, or has led to,” she wrote. “This will be the last email I send.”

“Looking back on this, I can see how unethical it was even when they were helping us,” Dressen told The Epoch Times.

Private calls and communication with physicians treating patients for reported vaccine injuries took place, but no broader recommendations were unveiled, and federal officials have continued pushing vaccination for virtually all Americans.

Hertz described being shocked about the lack of public acknowledgement of the post-vaccination issues by the FDA, which cleared the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in December 2020 and has since authorized Johnson & Johnson’s shot.

“They refuse to acknowledge what’s happening to so many thousands of people,” Hertz told The Epoch Times. “We’ve been completely abandoned. And we’re despondent over it.”


Sweden's no lockdown policy WAS right and countries that enforced them had 'significantly worse outcomes'

Sweden made the correct decision by avoiding a full Covid-19 lockdown and relying on their population's common sense, a commission into the handling of the virus has claimed.

Despite praising keeping the country open, the commission said some restrictions should have been introduced earlier.

Swedish experts said repeated lockdowns in other European countries were neither 'necessary' nor 'defensible'.

According to the the report, the decision to promote 'advice and recommendations which people were expected to follow voluntarily' had been 'fundamentally correct'.

The authors said Swedes were able to keep more of their personal freedoms than other countries.

According to The Telegraph, the report warns against imposing further lockdowns in response to 'a new, serious epidemic outbreak'.

Swedish officials claimed some countries that imposed lockdowns had significantly worse outcomes than the Scandinavian country.

Health minister Lena Hallengren said: 'The non-lockdown policy has been much-debated. I've had to answer a lot of questions during the pandemic about the "Swedish strategy".

'The fact that the commission concluded that the overall strategy, based on non-invasive recommendations... was the right choice. I think that's good.'

However the authors said restrictions should have been placed on indoor settings and the use of masks should have been encouraged at an earlier stage.




Friday, February 25, 2022

Russia has the West by the short and curlies

By controlling Ukrainian resources in addition to its own resources, Russia will call the tune on the supply of major commodities. Oil and gas are just the start. "Punishing" Russia is a joke. It is Russia that is in the position to do some punishing. Vladimir Vladimirovich knew that all along. It may have been his principal motive for the move into Ukraine

In a matter of hours, the world order has turned drastically less favourable for the Western democracies.

Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Ukraine elevates Russia into a full-spectrum commodity superpower, adding critical market leverage over global grain supply to existing strategic depth in energy and metals.

We wake up to the sobering reality that Russia is too pivotal for the international trading system to punish in any meaningful way. It influences or determines everything from bread in the shops, to petrol for Europe’s homes and power plants, to supply chains for aerospace and car plants, or soon will do if Kyiv falls.

Who knew that almost 90 per cent of Europe’s imports of rapeseed oil comes from Ukraine, or Spain’s jamon iberico depends on grain feed from the black earth belt of the Ukrainian steppe? Ukraine turns Putin’s neo-Tsarist empire into the Saudi Arabia of food, controlling 30 per cent of global wheat exports and 20 per cent of corn exports.

It is not just Brent crude oil that has spiked violently, hitting an eight-year high of $US102. Aluminium smashed all records this morning. Chicago wheat futures have hit $US9.32 a bushel, the highest since the hunger riots before the Arab Spring.

Do not confuse this with inflation. Rocketing commodity prices are a transfer of wealth to exporters of raw materials. For Europeans at the sharp end, it acts like a tax, leaving less to spend elsewhere. It is deflationary for most of the economy. If it continues for long, we will slide into recession.

So while there is brave and condign talk of crippling sanctions against Russia, it is the West’s pain threshold that is about to be tested. My presumption is that Fortress Russia will endure this contest of self-reliance more stoically than Europe’s skittish elites.

Sanctions are of course imperative as a political statement. The West would be complicit if it did nothing. But the measures currently on the table do not change the equation.

The debate in British parliament over whether to hit a few more oligarchs or restrict London access for more Russian banks has bordered on parody: Brits talking to Brits in a surreal misunderstanding of raw geopolitics, as if Putin was going to give up his unrepeatable chance to snatch back Kyivan Rus and shatter the post-Cold War dispensation of Europe because David Lammy is vexed by golden visas.

Nor does the temporary German suspension of Nord Stream 2 change anything. The pipeline was never going to supply extra gas this decade. The Kremlin’s purpose was to reroute the same Siberian gas, switching it from the Ukrainian corridor to the Baltic, depriving Kyiv of self-defence leverage. Once Putin controls Ukraine, Nord Stream 2 instantly becomes irrelevant.

The cardinal error was made in June 2015 when Germany went ahead with the bilateral pipeline just a year after the annexation of Crimea, signalling that the first anschluss of 21st century Europe would go unpunished, or worse, that it would be rewarded with a strategic prize. If you want to date the death of a sovereign democratic Ukraine, it was that merkantilist decision. Royal Dutch Shell was an abettor. Putin got our measure.

The 36 per cent fall in the Moex index in Moscow means that Western investors with a Russian portfolio through pension funds or ETFs have lost money. It does not mean that Russia is being forced to its knees, as some would have it.

Nor does the modest decline in the rouble imply unmanageable economic stress. Russia’s exchange rate mechanism is designed to let the currency take the strain, cushioning the internal budget against shocks.

Russia is sitting on $US635 billion ($887 billion) of foreign exchange reserves. It has a national debt of 18 per cent of GDP, one of the lowest in the world. It has a fiscal surplus and does not rely heavily on foreign investors to finance the state. This renders US sanctions against new issuance of sovereign bonds a mere nuisance.

The Kremlin is enjoying a windfall gain from commodities. Benchmark gas futures contracts (TTF) for March have hit extreme levels of €120 MWh. Russia is earning $US700 million a day from sales of oil to Europe and to the US, which needs heavy Urals crude to replace sulphurous Venezuelan barrels for its refineries.

The harsh truth is that Europe would spiral into crisis within weeks if flows of Russian gas were cut off - by either side. The short-term loss of revenue for the Kremlin would be a small fraction of Russian gold, euro, and dollar reserves. There is no symmetry in this. Whatever the rhetoric, energy business as usual will proceed.

The US and Europe can and will enforce a technology blockade, restricting Russia’s access to advanced semiconductor chips, acting in tandem with Taiwan’s TSMC and Korea’s Samsung. This will hurt but it will take time. Russia has stockpiles. It has its own producers able to make mid-level chips down to 28 nanometres.

China may be irritated by how far Putin has gone in Ukraine but it will not join Western sanctions. Nor will it stop Chinese companies supplying chips to Russia through deniable middlemen and plugging some gaps in technology. Putin can reasonably calculate that Western zeal for sustaining this hi-tech embargo will wane before it does irreversible damage to Russia.

Now we face a reconstituted Russian empire in tooth claw, as far West as the Carpathians, with a stranglehold on the raw materials of our existence. None of this was inevitable. It is the result of systematic policy failure.

Europe has vetoed expulsion of Russia from the Swift nexus of global payments for fear of the systemic blowback into its own banks, and because it would have made it hard to pay for Putin’s oil, gas, metals and grains - leaving aside the risk that Russia might go all the way up the retaliation ladder.

The US itself is ambivalent over shutting down Swift because it would accelerate the de-dollarisation of global finance. If the US plays its trump card, it risks losing the card. China and Russia already have their own payment systems that could be linked for bilateral trade.

So one watches the Western pantomime over sanctions with a jaundiced eye, knowing that almost everything being discussed is largely beside the point, and that only military strength matters when push comes to a 200,000-man military shove.

The errors that led to this lie in years of European disarmament, the result of both wishful thinking by a complacent elite and because of fiscal austerity imposed by EU commissars during the eurozone crisis, with no regard for the larger strategic picture.

It is the fruit of periodic “resets” in relations with the Putin regime, invariably forgiving his sins, and dressing up commercial self-interest as if it were an attempt to lure him away from a Chinese axis of autocracies. The final trigger was Joe Biden’s decision last July to override congressional sanctions against Nord Stream 2, selling out Ukraine in a deal with Angela Merkel.

President Biden thought he could “park” Russia on one side and focus on China. He appointed a known Russophile as a key adviser on Russia. He neglected to appoint a US ambassador in Kyiv, long leaving matters in the hands of a junior with a taste for the quiet life, to the point of toning down cables to the White House that might have raised alarm. Putin drew the conclusion that this was his moment to strike.

We can only pray for brave Ukrainians fighting without air cover against crushing military might. More Stinger and Javelin missiles would have helped enormously a few months ago but it is almost certainly too late now to change the outcome by shipping out weapons.

The West must fall back to the next line of defence, the Nato line from Estonia to Romania, and face the long arduous task of military rearmament.

It would have been easier and wiser to stiffen a democratic Ukraine while we could. Now we face a reconstituted Russian empire in tooth claw, as far West as the Carpathians, with a stranglehold on the raw materials of our existence. None of this was inevitable. It is the result of systematic policy failure.


Officials hide behind damned lies and Covid statistics

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has finally admitted that it is hiding data that it has collected about the efficacy of vaccines. There are no prizes for guessing why. If the data showed that the vaccines worked magnificently it would be splashed all over the front page of the New York Times. Instead, the Times was only able to prise the admission out of a spokeswoman that for more than a year the CDC has collected data on hospitalisations for Covid and broken it down by age, race and vaccination status but refused to publish almost all of it.

Why? Because, as the spokeswoman put it, ‘basically, at the end of the day, it’s not yet ready for prime time’. Prime time? Sounds dramatic. No doubt it is. Then the spokeswoman added that the agency was, in the words of the Times, ‘reluctant to make those figures public because they might be misinterpreted as the vaccines being ineffective’. Presumably, because it was impossible to spin the data in any way other than ineffective.

The Times reporter was disappointed. As she pointed out, when the CDC published the first data on the effectiveness of boosters in adults younger than 65, only two weeks ago, it left out data for 18-49-year-olds which would have helped healthy adults know whether they really needed the shots.

Those interested in establishing the efficacy of vaccines had to look overseas. Public Health Scotland provided data on hospitalisation until about a week ago. Then they decided that they were worried that the data would be ‘misrepresented’, and they would no longer publish it. An anonymous official justified this censorship saying, ‘The case rates, hospitalisation rates, the death rates are very simple statistics, whereas for the vaccine effectiveness studies… we compare people who have tested negative to those who have tested positive and match them on their underlying co-morbidities’.

Goodness! Wouldn’t it have been nice to have used studies that matched peoples’ underlying co-morbidities when we were repeatedly told that the vaccines were safe, effective, and necessary for everyone regardless of their age, sex, weight, ethnicity, and health status?

Instead, millions of people in the US, Canada, Europe, the UK, Australia and New Zealand have been demonised, punished, excluded from civil society, and even face the prospect of forced vaccination in Austria and Italy based on ‘very simple statistics’ that were meant to show that the world was facing ‘a pandemic of the unvaccinated’.

It was always a lie, starting with the very definition of who was unvaccinated. Most people assume that an unvaccinated person is someone who has not been vaccinated. Wrong. A person who has the first jab of a vaccine and tests positive for Covid 13 days later is classified as an unvaccinated case of Covid, in most of the world, because a person is considered ‘unvaccinated’ for the first 14 days after their first shot. In New South Wales, a person counts as ‘unvaccinated’ for even longer, for the first three weeks after their jab.

Did it matter? Absolutely. Norman Fenton, Professor of Risk Information Management at Queen Mary University of London, and a Director of Agena, a company that specialises in risk management for critical systems analysed the UK Covid vaccination data. What it showed was a massive peak in ‘unvaccinated’ deaths in each age group, just at the time that the vaccine rollout began for that age group.

Fenton explained that his study shows that those who die within one week of being vaccinated get shifted from the vaccinated to the unvaccinated group. This explains the spike in ‘unvaccinated’ deaths that is seen all over the world when vaccines are rolled out, and the quicker the rollout, the steeper the spike.

Do many people die in the first two or three weeks after vaccination? In the US, the database of adverse events shows that more than 20 per cent of deaths following Covid vaccination occur within the first 24 hours, more than 25 per cent occur in the first 48 hours and more than 60 per cent occur in people who experienced symptom onset with 48 hours of vaccination. How many people? In the US, more than 10,000 deaths have been reported to the adverse events database since the vaccines were rolled out and another 14,000 deaths were reported by the foreign affiliates of US manufacturers. Worse, it is estimated that under-reporting means there may be as many as 40 times more injuries and deaths.

In addition to systematic miscategorisation, Fenton says there was delayed or non-reporting of vaccinations, systematic underestimation of the proportion of the unvaccinated and incorrect population selection for Covid deaths. When all of this was considered, Fenton concluded that Covid vaccines do not reduce all-cause mortality, they produce spikes in all-cause mortality shortly after vaccination.

This tallies with the updated mortality data for the Pfizer trial quietly released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August when it granted full authorisation for the Pfizer vaccine. It showed that all-cause mortality was 23.5 per cent higher in the vaccine group than in the placebo group with the commonest cause of death cardiac arrest and the commonest disease category cardiovascular diseases.

Unsurprisingly, Pfizer claimed that the deaths were unrelated to the vaccine, but the FDA said that reports since the vaccines were rolled out had led the FDA and CDC to identify ‘serious risks for myocarditis and pericarditis’ following administration of the Pfizer vaccine, with the risk factor higher in males under 40, particularly for boys aged 12 to 17.

How has that panned out in the real world? The US adverse events database has received 12,314 reports of heart attacks and 33,590 reports of myocarditis/pericarditis including in little children. World renowned cardiologist Dr Peter McCullough said this week, ‘I can tell you there’s heart damage occurring now in children below the age of puberty. We’ve never seen this before’.

An eminent group of professors, scientists and doctors wrote for a second time to the UK health minister in mid-February urgently requesting that the vaccination of children be paused until the frightening increase in excess deaths in teenage boys had been investigated and a proper risk-benefit analysis has been completed. At present, they estimate that two teenage boys are dying each week because of the continuing vaccine rollout, with many more being injured.

Yet nothing yet seems to be able to stop those determined to hide the data that must eventually reveal the true cost of vaccination.




Thursday, February 24, 2022

How long covid weakens the body

A common approach to viral infections follows the aphorism “What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.” This is only somewhat accurate. In plenty of cases, if you get sick and then recover, your body goes back to its usual functions with the added bonus of natural immunity. But experts and patients have known for a while that some viruses, bacteria, and parasites take a heavier toll: Damage to organs and tissues leaves the body weaker long after the microbial invader is gone, creating chronic conditions.

Now, two years into a devastating pandemic, COVID-19 is bringing this message home in a big way.

Estimates for the number of people who develop long COVID—a suite of lingering symptoms—range from 10 percent to as high as 50 percent of cases. That means tens of millions of people around the world continue to wrestle with the viral aftermath. The conditions range from frustrating to downright debilitating. People are reporting damage to not only smell and taste, but to all five senses. Others have long-lasting heart issues, fatigue, shortness of breath, and brain fog. Early research suggests that COVID-19 infection can cause more serious neurological damage akin to dementia. Worryingly, long COVID affects people who had only mild reactions to the virus, including many kids.

Men and women are experiencing problems with reproductive health. As Sharon Guynup reports, the latest NIH research shows that pregnant people who got COVID-19 are 40 percent more likely than the uninfected to have serious complications, including miscarriages and stillbirths. Thousands of other women are reporting severe disruptions to their menstrual cycles. (Pictured above, a woman giving birth at home in December rather than risking infection in a hospital; below, a birthing center moved outside for patient safety.)

The long-term mental health consequences of isolation and grief also bear considering, but as more people venture back into the world, it’s all the more important to understand the risks involved and keep mitigation measures in the mix: wear a mask, get vaccinated, pay attention to ventilation.

“There's just no way to predict which version of COVID that you'll get,” says long COVID patient Lisa O’Brien. “You might not die, but you might not go back to living the life that you planned to live.”


Vaccine Cronyism

Covid-19 vaccines first became available to the US public in late November of 2020. But they are still the object of considerable controversy almost a year and a half later. Two events in particular are making headlines across the country.

Pfizer recently asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its vaccine for children younger than five to increase vaccination efforts. Later, Novavax requested the FDA issue an emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine. Many expect the FDA to authorize Pfizer’s request, making Covid-19 vaccines available to children as young as six months old. Novavax faces a tedious and complex road, however, to becoming the fourth authorized Covid-19 vaccine in the US.

But Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine failed to generate an immune response when tested on children during its initial clinical trials. The company is now conducting clinical trials with three doses because trials that administered two doses performed poorly. On the other hand, Novavax proved 90 percent effective in its Phase III trial and has been provisionally approved for use in 10 other countries. The Novavax vaccine is also easier to transport than other Covid-19 vaccines because it can be stored in standard refrigerated temperatures.

However, Novavax’s vaccine is not an mRNA vaccine, subjecting it to further scrutiny to be authorized by the FDA. The agency had similar hesitancy with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which is not an mRNA vaccine. The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is used in 170 other countries, but was never approved in the US.

What explains this? I fear the answer might be cronyism—a troubling and harmful alliance between a handful of drug producers and the federal government. And it stems from an agreement made nearly a year and a half ago.

Well before Covid-19 mutated into its Delta and Omicron variants, US policymakers feared the only ways to end the Covid-19 pandemic were by mass vaccination or through herd immunity. Hoping to avoid more hospitalizations and deaths stemming from herd immunity, the federal government launched Operation Warp Speed (OWS)- a private/public partnership between five drug producers and several federal agencies to develop a Covid-19 vaccine in unprecedented time.

OWS provided its selected vaccine developers with testing materials, laboratories, an expedited clinical trial process, and a “blank check” in funds for R&D and purchasing agreements for when the vaccines were authorized. However, OWS’s finalists were selected because they utilized mRNA technologies, which provided a faster but less reliable way to develop a vaccine. The financial and approval arrangements between the government and the vaccine developers also largely remained unopen to the public.

As revealed through various documents well after OWS, we know the agreements limit vaccine developers not selected for OWS from expedited clinical trials and a transparent process for authorization. Consequently, non-OWS vaccine developers compete on different margins with additional barriers than developers chosen for political reasons.

We still don’t know much about the agreements made between the government and OWS vaccine producers, and it could be decades before we do. But we do know from basic Public Choice economics that alliances between special interests and political interests create benefits for a few and costs for the vast majority. I fear this is one of many forthcoming examples.


Covid and government in Australia: illogical panic

Numbers weren’t meant to be complicated. We use them daily, yet when it comes to Covid and our health they often appear mired in confusing technical terms. This article seeks to demystify the situation using over a million positive test results published by NSW Health this year whilst remaining relevant across our great country.

It is evident from the graphs that we have passed the natural peek of cases and are experiencing a normalising trend. Countries including England, Denmark, and Norway have removed limitations, even though it is winter in the northern hemisphere. It makes me wonder why our government seems quick to impose but slow to remove restrictions.

Around 13 per cent of the NSW population have tested positive to Covid thus far. We have a total vaccination of 84 per cent which is higher than the national average of 81 per cent. Across the population, the chance of surviving Covid is 99.90 per cent.

Former Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr. Nick Coatsworth recently said Omicron is clearly no more dangerous than influenza for those who are young and healthy.

According to the Department of Health surveillance report, the chances of death from Influenza is around 0.2 per cent (five year average 2014-19), which supports his conclusion.

Government and health experts have repeatedly portrayed the influence of Covid in an overly dramatic manner – choosing to generate fear over hope. I have discussed this further in another article. According to the data, however, an average person below 70 – or someone in good health – has little more to fear from Omicron than they have from seasonal influenza.

Prior to the pandemic, experts were saying that the two major groups affected by severe Covid viruses were the elderly and obese with related illnesses. Everyone ages, but we can try to improve our health.

Rather than leading the country and encouraging us to join in on dropping some weight whilst doing some exercise in keeping with the old ‘Life be In It’ ads, governments restricted our movement and made us fearful to go outside. We joke about the extra ‘Covid Kilos’ but it has made us more vulnerable to disease. Just some of the ways policies have compromised our health include:

Vitamin D deficiency
Increased body fat
Increased alcohol consumption
Increase in sedentary lifestyle
Increased Cortisol levels

Cortisol is part of our ‘fight or flight mechanism’ induced during high-stress events and designed for short bursts. The problem is our bodies have been experiencing long and sustained periods of stress due to constant fear-inducing messaging, policies, and health orders. The Mayo clinic attributes overexposure to Cortisol in response to prolonged stress to an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, and weight gain – all increasing chances of an adverse reaction to Covid and other diseases (Mayo Clinic, 2022).

Contracting Covid and being obese has a multiplier effect of three for hospitalisation according to the CDC (CDC, 2020) and between 1.5 and 9.48 of fatality according to multiple studies. An Australian study by Bette Liu, Paula Spokes, Wenqiang He & John Kaldor found that obesity, in the presence of diabetes and chronic lung disease, increased the risk of ICU or death by a factor of 5.34 and concluded by recommended targeted prevention strategies.

We are individually responsibility for our health decisions, but governments have intervened with our ability to make such choices freely and hence have a proportional responsibility for the outcomes.

I was critical in 2021 when the NSW CHO Kerry Chant said that Covid was her sole focus. As the peak health bureaucrat her responsibility is for all aspects of health. What about cancer, depression, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases? What if the focus on one aspect created a larger burden on our overall health and hence became counterproductive?

Are the Covid vaccines beneficial?

According to this data, the benefit of vaccination is a multiplier effect of 1.5. So if you are 55 your chance of dying increases from around 0.028 per cent to 0.042 per cent – still well below that of influenza. Along with this benefit also comes risks of adverse reactions, unknown long-term effects, and some ethical questions about their development.

There also appears to be more benefit in eating healthy and regular exercise – particularly outdoors. So, why have the lines to the local KFC been the longest I have ever seen? Why haven’t our leaders and experts been promoting being healthy? Is it because they find it too complicated to motivate us? Or is it that the fear generated has made us more malleable for compliance? A favourite word of our premiers in 2021.

Perhaps we would do well to remember Senator Rennick’s speech to the Federal Senate on November 21, 2021:

‘The government overreach of the state premiers in destroying our civil liberties has gone too far. This is no longer about health but is rather about politicians wielding power for the sake of power instead of doing what they should be doing and protecting the people.’

I cannot find compelling evidence supporting the government intrusion and mandates into our lives. If it is there, it has been well hidden behind secretive health orders. Encourage vaccine uptake to vulnerable groups but, more importantly, encourage a healthy life balance and in doing so maybe we can turn a national weakness into a strength.




Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A more contagious version of the Omicron variant has been spreading in US: ‘We’re all on the edge of our seats’

Scientists are keeping close watch on the BA.2 strain of the Omicron variant that has quietly spread throughout the United States.

BA.2 has now been detected in more than 30 states, makes up around 3.9 per cent of new infections, and appears to be doubling quickly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data tracker.

“If it doubles again to 8 per cent, that means we’re into the exponential growth phase and we may be staring at another wave of Covid-19 coming in the US,” Samuel Scarpino, the manager director of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation, told NPR.

“And that’s of course the one we’re really worried about. We’re all on the edge of our seats,” Mr Scarpino said.

BA.2 is believed to be far more contagious than the earlier Omicron strain, and was blamed for a fresh surge in Denmark.

Yet fears of another Omicron wave in the United States may be averted given vaccination and immunity rates from previous infections.

Nathan Grubaugh, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, told NPR it would more likely lead to a long tail rather than a fresh surge.

“A lot of us were assuming that it was going to quickly take off in the United States just like it was doing in Europe and become the new dominant variant,” Mr Grubaugh said.

Other scientists warn that removing mask mandates will allow the new strain to spread.

The fresh strain also appears to be better at avoiding the immune system’s defences than the original Omicron variant was.

BA.2 is considered a “stealthier” version of Omicron because particular genetic traits make it somewhat harder to detect.

Danish scientists reported this week that preliminary information suggests it may be 1.5 times more contagious than the original variant.

The US is still recording around 100,000 new cases and 2,000 deaths per day from the Omicron surge, according to the CDC’s Covid tracker.


How Vitamin D Affects Omicron Symptoms, According to New Research and Expert Analysis

A new study has reignited a debate over the role of vitamin D in mitigating severe COVID-19 symptoms as researchers suggest those with a deficiency may be more likely to develop serious illness.

Leading infectious disease experts say that more in-depth research is needed to confirm whether vitamin D is directly associated with COVID-19 severity.

Vitamin D cannot prevent COVID-19 transmission all on its own, and experts say its crucial to speak to a doctor before seeking out supplements, as large doses can be harmful to your health.

In the report below, you'll learn: Is vitamin D actually beneficial against infections? And can Vitamin D alone prevent COVID-19?

Vitamin D's role in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 has been long contested by many experts since the pandemic began, fueled by early chatter of alternative treatment methods back in 2020. But a new piece of research has once again reignited the public's interest in these supplements, as scientists highlight a possible association between vitamin D levels and the immune system's ability to fend off severe COVID-19 symptoms, particularly associated with the Omicron variant.

The small-scale study, which was organized by researchers in Israel and is based on data collected between April 2020 and February 2021, was recently published in PLOS ONE and presents a case that researchers say is "equally relevant" for Omicron spread as well. The data was collected from 253 people who were admitted to hospitals for treatment (at a time before vaccines were available) and was used to conclude that those who had a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to develop a severe or critical case of COVID-19, as compared to patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels within blood samples taken at the time of hospitalization. About half of those in the study were deficient in the vitamin.

Further links found within the new study suggest that those who were lacking vitamin D were 14 times more likely to experience severe COVID-19 complications, which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) define as someone likely needing a respirator to breathe — and in severe cases, those who experience respiratory failure, septic shock or multiple organ dysfunction. Those with a vitamin D deficiency were significantly more likely to die due to infections, the study found; 25.6% mortality rate versus just 2.3% for those who weren't lacking vitamin D.

Some may come to the conclusion that making sure you get sufficient levels of vitamin D can help keep your immune system in top shape, but other experts are keen to point out that this study doesn't prove that vitamin D alone can save you from severe infection. Paul Spearman, M.D., director of the division of infectious diseases at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, tells Good Housekeeping that more research is needed to confirm whether vitamin D levels will be an indicator of how severe symptoms will be for someone impacted by COVID-19.

"We have to remember that an association doesn't mean causation — meaning, that other things going on in [those people] with low vitamin D levels may cause severe disease, and not the low vitamin D itself," he explains, adding that a randomized, controlled, double-blind study of vitamin D supplementation before COVID-19 infection would be needed for concrete proof. "This type of study is hard to do and requires enrolling a large number of patients."

Dr. Spearman adds that this isn't the first time that vitamin D has been considered in limited meta-analysis research to determine the role this nutrient plays in COVID-19 infections. Conflicting research suggests that low vitamin D levels don't "aggravate" COVID-19 risk or death, nor that upping vitamin D supplements in any given routine improves patients' health as they recover in the hospital, he says. A 2021 Nutrition Journal study concluded there wasn't an association between COVID-19 severity and vitamin D levels and a preprint of a study out of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil suggests vitamin D supplements administered to hospitalized patients also didn't provide any recovery benefits.

But vitamin D is far from useless, and while its role in preventing or stemming the severity of a COVID-19 infection is still uncertain, Dr. Spearman adds that there are theoretical reasons behind why immune systems may be impacted if someone isn't sufficiently getting enough vitamin D.

Is Vitamin D beneficial against infections?

Nutrition experts have long established that vitamin D is essential for optimal bone health (as it helps absorb calcium) and that the nutrient aids muscle function in addition to being linked to a few other key bodily functions. Vitamin D levels are influenced by nutrition, certainly, as it can be partially sourced from food — things like fatty salmon, beef liver, egg yolks and Swiss cheese all contain ample vitamin D — but is often sourced naturally just by being outside. "The most well-known way to get your dose of vitamin D is exposing yourself to sunlight," says Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian in the Good Housekeeping Institute, in an interview touting potential benefits of the supplement.

But evidence for vitamin D's role in boosting immunity overall isn't as clear, Dr. Spearman explains. "Vitamin D has been evaluated to help fight other respiratory infections — unfortunately, we don't have a clear answer here either, except that giving a single large dose isn't helpful at all," he says. "Meta-analyses of this question have been inconclusive."

This new study may add more weight to burgeoning evidence that there may be an association of low vitamin D levels correlated with severe disease, COVID-19 included. But if there is an immune-boosting benefit to be had, "it is with standard, low doses and not large doses," Dr. Spearman clarifies.

Experts from across fields of study, including Spearman and Sassos, agree that vitamin D supplements should be a consideration primarily if your doctor has detected you have low vitamin D levels in treatment. If news of this study has you curious about your own vitamin D intake, make it a point to discuss it with your doctor — but you're likely to have sufficient vitamin D coursing through your veins. Only 5% of Americans suffer from a severe vitamin D deficiency, per the NIH, and 18% have been noted to have "inadequate" levels which may or may not cause issues associated with aches, cramps, or muscle development, Sassos adds.

"If someone is detected by their doctor as having low vitamin D levels, they should receive supplementation with medical guidance," Dr. Spearman advises. "We should keep in mind that taking large doses of vitamin D is dangerous, and self-medicating can cause problems — including high blood calcium and kidney failure."

"Whereas excess of water-soluble vitamins are rapidly excreted through urine, fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D are stored in the body for long periods of time and can pose a higher risk for toxicity if consumed in excess," Sassos adds.

Can taking Vitamin D prevent COVID-19?

Taking this study and conflicting research into account, and everything we know about how SARS-CoV-2 impacts both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, it's clear that vitamin D supplements alone cannot prevent COVID-19 transmission. Experts are continuing to examine how vitamin D may play a small role in lowering the risk of someone experiencing a severe sickness or dying after being infected. "For a normal, healthy person, the role of a low-dose, ongoing supplement in preventing severe COVID-19 is not yet certain," Dr. Spearman says.

The debate over vitamin D's role in helping bring an end to the pandemic is likely going to continue to be a topic of discussion, as experts are now conducting appropriately prospective, randomized and controlled studies of vitamin D supplementation. "We hope to have a more definitive answer from these trials, which can provide a higher level of evidence," he adds.

Experts are agreed that the only role vitamin D may play in ending the pandemic may be partial and preventative in nature, versus an active solution after someone has become sick. "Supplementing vitamin D may play a role in treating patients, but the data is relatively weak at this time," Stuart Cohen, M.D., chief of infectious diseases at UC Davis Health, shared in a recent communications report. "It surely is not a way to treat COVID-19 in and of itself."

Talking to your doctor about vitamin D can be an effective way to make sure you're supporting your immune system with optimal nutrients across the board. It may also help you to consider that, in spite of discussion of alternative forms of prevention, current vaccines have demonstrated their effectiveness at preventing hospitalization and death stemming from COVID-19 infections.

The bottom line:

Getting enough vitamin D is a valid concern you should discuss with your doctor, especially if you are someone who may be disposed to inadequate or deficient levels of this essential nutrient.

Your healthcare provider can order a blood test to examine your vitamin D levels, Sassos adds, and can help you figure out which supplements work best for you at the appropriate dosage.

"Taking vitamin D under medical supervision for those who have measured vitamin D deficiencies is warranted," Dr. Spearman adds. "[But] the best prevention of severe COVID-19 is certainly earned through vaccines, and the evidence here is undeniable."




Tuesday, February 22, 2022

OECD general-secretary Mathias Cormann has said there needs to be an “evidence-based assessment” of the effectiveness of lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic and their impact on domestic violence, mental health and alcohol consumption

Mr Cormann, Australia’s former finance minister, told a Sydney Dialogue forum on Monday night that pandemic preparedness in developed nations was “generally insufficient”, despite the emergence of a pandemic being “entirely predictable”.

He said tax cuts were not typically as well targeted as spending measures, although countries took lessons from the global ­financial crisis and deployed “significant measures to support self-employed workers”.

Mr Cormann said there needed to be further analysis of how nations could better perform in the next pandemic.

“First, there is insufficient ­evidence on critical sectors’ ­preparedness for pandemics, whereas early evaluations suggested that they were critically important to an effective crisis response,” Mr Cormann said.

“Second, the effectiveness of lockdowns and other severe restriction measures does require further sober, evidence-based assessment, given their severe impacts on individual liberties.”


Trudeau's monumentally misguided emergency measures are an insult to Canadians

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in his sophomoric musings on the nature of Canada some years back, famously declared that Canada has “no core identity,” most of us thought he was stating his opinion, however ridiculous, of the country as he saw it at the time.

We were wrong, ever so wrong. He was stating an ambition. He was declaring a goal.

After six years of the most amateur government this country has ever suffered, with the invocation of the most crushing legislation any government can call upon, the Emergencies Act, to attack and subdue a group of ordinary Canadian workers, he’s well on the way to achieving his “post-national” ambitions.

That’s one core value out the window: the right to peaceful protest. The invocation of wartime-like emergency powers by the national government to deal with a workers’ protest is grotesquely overwrought, something very close to lunatic.

If I were to seek out the one word that, more than any other, would characterize this dangerous and needless assumption of the state’s greatest powers, I’d come down on “insult.” It is an insult to the nature of the country, to the character of its citizens and to its cherished status as a democracy, for which so many of its citizens were wounded or died in two world wars to preserve.

The Emergencies Act could only have been brought in at this time by a leader and a government that have forgotten, or never knew, what Canada is and represents; that does not fully appreciate how its citizens, when they are in disagreement, eventually meet and work their way calmly to agreement.

Canada has no “core identity”? Well, maybe it seems that way to a prime minister who appears to view Canada’s history as a sequence of horrors for which he must personally apologize. Pride in our history, another core Canadian value, has also been severely diminished.

Canada has no “core identity”? Well, it might appear that way to a politician who, in the full vesture of the office of the prime minister, bewails this welcoming and flourishing multicultural country as systemically racist, while himself getting caught up in a blackface scandal. The dignity of the highest Canadian office, another core value, has been put under severe strain.

Canada has no “core identity”? Well, maybe to a leader who so loves to puffily pontificate about his progressive ideology on the international stage with the world’s leading virtuecrats, and promotes a global agenda over the real needs of his own country — saving the economies of the western provinces and having some respect for the dignity of their citizens.

Maybe to that person, Canada does not, in fact, have any “core identity.” Commitment above all else to unity in Confederation is another value that is being put to the test.

To another point, central to the present moment: what would it have taken to forestall this embarrassing — the word is far too timid, but let that be — flight into legislative overkill that we saw this week?

The answer: a smidgen of courage, and an ounce of humility — not to go off stage, not to hide, not to remove himself from the country’s leadership while a difficult, but not crisis-level, situation was in play.

Here’s the mother of all questions for Trudeau and it is one that he cannot, and will never, answer: what was so difficult about having a talk with the leaders of a group of Canadians who found some of the government’s COVID regulations to be a grievous burden?

When Black Lives Matter flooded the streets, Trudeau not only met with them, he went into the streets and joined in on the their American-inspired protest. He gave them a knee and bowed his head. But he would not meet with the truckers. He would not talk to their representatives. There was certainly no kneeling.

He rhetorically abused the citizens in the protest. He suggested they were racists and misogynists and that they hold “unacceptable views.” Which was a deliberate tactic to isolate them, to marginalize them, to mark them as somehow unCanadian.

The most egregious, polarizing agent in this entire protest has been the leader of the country. Two hours of talking, a little respect, a touch of democratic process and the whole affair could have been washed away. And we would not now have half the world asking: what in God’s name is going on in Canada?


New sub-variant of the Omicron coronavirus may spread faster, and be deadlier, causing more severe infectious disease

The emerging BA. 2 form of the Omicron coronavirus variant does not seem to be any more severe than the original BA. 1 form, an official of the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.

Eric Feigl-Ding, a Harvard-trained epidemiologist wrote that the subvariant — BA. 2 — is “seriously bad news”. [Eric is a chronic alarmist. Should be known as Eric Ding Dong]

“Even the World Health Organisation is getting very concerned about BA. 2 variant outcompeting and displacing old Omicron,” he wrote on Twitter.

Based on the rising cases from Denmark, where the sub-variant represents 90 per cent of all new cases, he said it is leading to more spikes in cases.

“Here is what is happening in the country with the most BA. 2 variant so far. (Denmark) has been BA. 2 dominant for weeks and have now almost no mitigations either … now their excess deaths are spiking again,” he said.

Researchers have been bracing for the same thing to happen in America.

“A lot of us were assuming that it was going to quickly take off in the United States just like it was doing in Europe and become the new dominant variant,” Nathan Grubaugh, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health said.

BA.2 has accounts for an estimated 3.9 per cent all new infections in the US, according to the US Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and appears to be doubling fast.

Their comments come after the World Health Organisation’s Technical Lead on Covid-19 Maria Van Kerkhove said it just shows how Covid-19 continues to be “dangerous”.

“We already know that Omicron has a growth advantage … compared to other variants of concern. But we know that BA. 2 has a growth advantage even over BA. 1,” she said,

“This virus continues to be dangerous. This virus transmits very efficiently between people but there’s a lot that you can do.

“We need to drive transmission down. Because if we don’t, we will not only see more cases, more hospitalisations, more deaths, but we will see more people suffering from Long Covid and we will see more opportunities for new variants to emerge. “So it’s a very dangerous situation that we’re in, three years in.”

Their observations come after lab research from Japan on Sunday on the prepublication bioRxiv open server, showed BA. 2 may have features that make it as capable of causing serious illness as the Delta variant.

BA. 2 is also resistant to some treatments, including sotrovimab, the monoclonal antibody that’s now being used against Omicron.

The findings, which have not been peer reviewed yet, also state: “It might be, from a human’s perspective, a worse virus than BA. 1 and might be able to transmit better and cause worse disease,” according to Dr Daniel Rhoads, section head of microbiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Dr Rhoads reviewed the study but was not part of the initial data collection and study.

But the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s director Dr Rochelle Walensky said: “There is no evidence that the BA. 2 lineage is more severe than the BA. 1 lineage. CDC continues to monitor variants that are circulating both domestically and internationally.

“We will continue to monitor emerging data on disease severity in humans and findings from papers like this conducted in laboratory settings.”


New Report of Feb 22 Exposes How Florida Was Right All Along About COVID Restrictions

Since COVID popped up almost two years ago, there have been serious debates across the board on how this virus must be handled. Of course, the left has the solution of locking everyone down, controlling what people do, and lambasting anyone who doesn’t agree. Then there are conservative leaders who believe that people should have a right to decide what avenue is best for their families when dealing with the virus.

Blue states across the nation have shut down under the guise of “safety” but then there are the red states that have chosen different paths much to the left’s chagrin.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is one of those leaders who has bucked the entire COVID narrative and has opened his state up with no restrictions.

The left cried that there would be massive deaths in the state based on DeSantis’s stance, but that has not happened at all.

Instead of the nation seeing mass casualties in the Sunshine State the exact opposite has happened which has Dr. Fauci and his tyrannical cohorts fuming mad.

Here is more from The Gateway Pundit:

According to the most recent data that was published by the CDC, Florida now owns the LOWEST rate of new Covid-19 cases in the nation on a per capita basis. The state checks in well below several other democrat havens, including ones that employ the most restrictive mandates (California, New York), and also the states with the highest vaccination rates in the country (Vermont, Rhode Island).

The latest numbers are just more proof that the Democrats’ dystopian policies to combat Covid do nothing other than crush people’s freedoms.

Florida is now averaging just 60.6 new cases per 100,000 residents a day, which blows several other blue states’ numbers out of the water. In comparison, New York’s case rate is more than DOUBLE, at 129.8, and Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware is approaching FOUR TIMES as bad, checking in at 211.1 new daily cases per capita.

Keep in mind, Florida was kept open for business almost the entire time, and thanks to that, is also pacing the country with its economic success as Democrats continue to push crippling lockdowns and abhorrent vaccine mandates on businesses across America.

Throughout the ‘pandemic’ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has stood firmly against the calls to impose draconian Covid restrictions and mandates on the citizens of the sunshine state. His resistance to the Left’s sweeping power grab that’s being masqueraded around under the guise of public health had created an intense backlash from the ‘experts’ in the Biden administration and the hacks in the politicized media that dutifully carry water for them.

For months, scathing pieces were published in ‘news’ outlets across the country, characterizing the governor as some sort of crazed conspiracy theorist that was intentionally leading the citizens of Florida to their certain deaths. One of the best examples of this ridiculous gaslighting was from the Guardian’s piece titled: “The Pied Piper Leading Us Off a Cliff: Florida Governor Condemned as Covid Surges.”




Monday, February 21, 2022

‘Worst Experience of My Life’: Early Vaccine Adopters Suffer Injuries, Struggle to Get Proper Care

I personally had no noticeable effects from my two AstraZeneca injections, so the reports below are a little surprising to me.  They do however reinforce my view that vaccine side-effect are frequent enough and serious enough for rational people to avoid them.  That being so, mandating exposure to them is abhorrent and Fascistic -- JR

Dr. Danice Hertz remembers vividly the day she got a COVID-19 vaccine. Hertz, a retired gastroenterologist, received Pfizer’s shot on Dec. 23, 2020, less than two weeks after U.S. regulators granted it emergency use authorization.

Thirty minutes went by before an adverse reaction started.  “My face started burning and tingling and my eyes got blurry,” Hertz told The Epoch Times. She also felt faint.

Her husband called paramedics, who came and found Hertz’s blood pressure was sky-high. They recommended she call a doctor.

Hertz became so sick she feared she would die. She experienced symptoms including severe facial pain, chest constriction, tremors, twitching limbs, and tinnitus. “I felt like someone was pouring acid on me,” Hertz, of Los Angeles, California, said.

Hertz survived but still suffers. She has been to numerous specialists. Multiple experts found indications the vaccine triggered the reaction, according to medical records reviewed by The Epoch Times.

Hertz is one of millions of Americans who chose to get one of the COVID-19 vaccines soon after the government cleared them.

Since then, hundreds of millions of doses have been administered. Many recipients have been fine, if less protected than they were initially promised. But a growing number have endured severe reactions and have struggled to obtain treatments for their ailments.

Brianne Dressen suffered so badly after getting AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 4, 2020, that she would often sit in silence in a room in complete darkness.

“My little girl, she sings all the time. And I couldn’t have her around me at all because sound was so unbearable. And my little boy, my skin was sensitive, so anything that touched my skin was painful, so my little boy, he’d come and try to comfort me and hold my hand, and even that was painful. My teeth were too sensitive; I couldn’t brush my teeth. So it’s like all of my sensory facets just overloaded,” Dressen, a preschool teacher who lives in Saratoga Springs, Utah, told The Epoch Times.

“It was the worst experience of my life.”


Reactions to COVID-19 vaccines often happen soon after administration—one of the reasons health care providers are told to monitor patients for at least 15 minutes after a dose is given.

For most recipients, problems are small, like a headache, and soon go away. For others, the pain has still not subsided.

“Right now, all I do is work. That’s all I can do,” Erin Sullivan, a speech pathologist in Connecticut who received Moderna’s jab on Jan. 6, 2021, told The Epoch Times. “Everyone around me, like family, are doing everything else. I’m not cooking, I’m not cleaning, I’m not doing laundry. I’m not taking the kids anywhere. I basically work and then I go to bed.”

Sullivan, who later got a second dose of Pfizer’s jab on the recommendation of an immunologist, has suffered from tingling in her limbs, severe fatigue, and other symptoms for over a year.

Sullivan was diagnosed with an adverse reaction to the vaccine, according to medical records reviewed by The Epoch Times. She “never had similar symptoms prior to COVID-19 vaccination,” one doctor wrote.

Dressen has dealt with incontinence, limb weakness, and nausea, among other symptoms.

“My reaction started within an hour. Ended up with pins and needles down my arm, had double vision that night, sensitivity that night. And over the next 2 1/2 weeks, my symptoms progressed to the point where I had extreme tachycardia, blood pressure fluctuations, temperature fluctuations. My sound sensitivity and light sensitivity became so severe I had to be confined to my bedroom 24/7,” Dressen said.

Dressen was diagnosed by a doctor at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with post-vaccine neuropathy, or nerve damage, according to medical records reviewed by The Epoch Times. Dressen was showing “persistent neurological symptoms following SARS-CoV-2 vaccine,” one note penned by an NIH doctor said. 

Maddie de Garay’s life was thrown into turmoil after receiving her second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot on Jan. 20, 2021. The litany of issues included paresthesia, back pain, and abdominal pain.

“My back hurt, my stomach hurt, my head hurt. I had a fever of like 101-something,” Maddie, 13, told The Epoch Times. “My toes were numb and they were ice cold and they were white, and same for my fingertips.”

The girl’s symptoms have persisted. She uses a wheelchair because it’s become impossible to walk. She’s lost feeling in the lower half of her body. Other parts often aggrieve her.

In a visit to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, one of the Pfizer trial sites, the day after the vaccination, Maddie was diagnosed with “adverse effect of vaccine,” according to medical records reviewed by The Epoch Times. The following month, another doctor wrote that Maddie was suffering from “many prolonged and significant post COVID vaccine symptoms.”

But references to the vaccine began to disappear in later visits, and Dr. Robert Frenck, the principal investigator for Pfizer’s trials at the hospital, told Maddie’s parents in a phone call in May 2021 that “the doctors that have seen her so far have not found something where they thought it was research-related, is what they all were telling me.”

“One of the first ones says, it was related to the vaccine trial,” Patrick de Garay, Maddie’s father, responded.

All the doctors who treated patients in this story declined to speak to The Epoch Times, did not respond to inquiries, or could not be reached.

Many of the vaccine-injured experience improvement at one time or another, but some who spoke to The Epoch Times described regular relapses.

Hertz reported an improvement in late 2021, which she attributed primarily to time passing since receiving the vaccine. “Unfortunately, I have taken a turn for the worse a month or two ago,” she told The Epoch Times via email on Feb. 17.

Hertz was diagnosed with “presumed post COVID reaction” in early 2021, according to medical records. After visiting other specialists, she eventually received a diagnosis of mast cell activation syndrome triggered by the vaccine. Symptoms of the syndrome include trouble breathing and low blood pressure.

Among the First
Dressen and Maddie both participated in vaccine clinical trials. Like them, other vaccine-injured were among the first to get one of the shots.

On Dec. 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization to the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. A week later, the agency cleared Moderna’s jab.

The authorization letters acknowledged the vaccines were “investigational” but said reviews of clinical trials identified no safety concerns and pointed to it being “reasonable to believe” that the vaccines “may be effective” to prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.

Hope soared that the vaccines would be the tool to crush the CCP virus. Herd immunity was the goal, with vaccine-conferred immunity the primary piece, according to top U.S. officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Early adopters thought getting vaccinated would contribute to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Many had family members who, due to underlying medical conditions or age, were among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Some were high-risk themselves.

“I had lost really close loved ones to COVID, and this was my saving grace to help contribute to ending this pandemic,” Angelia Desselle told The Epoch Times.

Desselle received Pfizer’s vaccine on Jan. 5, 2021. As manager of an outpatient surgery center in Louisiana, she stayed on top of updates regarding the vaccines, including declarations by health authorities that they were both safe and effective. She trusted them. She went to get vaccinated during her lunch break.

Other people who got the vaccine early also put their faith in the U.S. government, vaccine makers, and the health care community.

Hertz, a longtime doctor, jumped on an early opportunity to get vaccinated. Though she had recently retired, she thought she might need to go back to work in the future. And, she says, she “completely trusted our system and believed the FDA was honest and decent.”

Andrea Rositas was in a medical program when she got Moderna’s vaccine on Jan. 31, 2021, at Southwestern College, a community college in Chula Vista, California.

Nurses ahead of her in the program said Rositas should get vaccinated. They said it was safe.

Stephanie de Garay told The Epoch Times that she believed that if anything went wrong, trial participants would “be in the best hands.”

“If you’re going to have anything happen, the best time would be in a trial, because they would do everything they could to get you better, and to figure out why. Because that’s the whole point of a trial,” she said. “That’s not what happened.”

Epoch Times Photo
In this combination photograph, Erin Sullivan is seen before and after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy of Erin Sullivan)
A dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is prepared in Orange, Calif., in a file image. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Dressen said she enrolled in the AstraZeneca trial because “I trusted what the doctors said, and I wanted this pandemic to be over.”

“And the way that it was presented to the world was, ‘This vaccine’s going to end the pandemic.’ I mean, my kids are stuck at home, they can’t leave, we’re wearing masks. I work in a school. I see how it’s affecting elementary-aged kids,” she said. “I trusted the government and I trusted the doctors. I don’t anymore.”

The vaccine-injured have repeatedly contacted federal officials and the vaccine companies about their afflictions. They feel neither the government nor the companies have done enough to address vaccine injuries.

AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

Some government researchers have suggested in emails reviewed by The Epoch Times that they think vaccines caused the side effects, in addition to the diagnosis of Dressen by NIH doctors.

A spokesperson for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the NIH, told The Epoch Times via email that data from a study that featured NIH scientists examining some of the people with problems following vaccination yielded “no data showing the vaccines caused the symptoms in these patients.”

Government reviews of surveillance systems have identified health problems “potentially associated” with the COVID-19 vaccines, including the neurological disorder called Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS), an FDA spokeswoman told The Epoch Times in an email. “Decisions on whether there is some basis to believe there is a causal relationship are a matter of medical and scientific judgment and are based on factors such as: the frequency of reporting, biological plausibility, the timing of the event relative to the time of vaccination, and whether the adverse event is known to be caused by related vaccines,” she added.

A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told The Epoch Times in an email, “To date, CDC has detected no unusual or unexpected patterns of miscarriages, cancer, or neurological conditions following immunization that would indicate COVID-19 vaccines are causing or contributing to these conditions. CDC continues to recommend that everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated.”

Later, the spokeswoman said she forgot about GBS. Based on data from Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a U.S. passive reporting system, the rate of GBS was found within the 21 days following Johnson & Johnson vaccination to be 21 times higher than among Pfizer or Moderna recipients. Analysis of the data “found no increased risk of GBS after Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna” she said.

As of Feb. 11, more reports of GBS were made to VAERS following Moderna or Pfizer vaccination than Johnson & Johnson vaccination, an Epoch Times review found. At the same time, many more shots of the former vaccines have been administered in the United States.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

<a href=""></a> (EDUCATION WATCH)

<a href=""></a> (GREENIE WATCH)


<a href=""></a> (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

<a href=""></a> (TONGUE-TIED)


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Trudeau ignores REAL violent terrorism: 20 eco-terrorists armed with axes surround Gaslink pipeline workers, shoot flare guns at them and cut fuel lines in British Columbia - causing MILLIONS of dollars in damage

Ax-wielding eco-terrorists attacked a British Columbia gas pipeline Thursday, shooting flare guns at frightened workers and causing millions in damage, but the focus of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still seems to be on the Freedom Convoy truckers in Ottawa.

About 20 attackers, wearing camouflage and masks, surrounded Costal Gaslink workers in the early morning hours of February 17 in what the company called a 'highly planned and dangerous unprovoked assault.'

No injuries were reported, but Gaslink reported that the eco-warriors came from several directions and threatened the lives of several workers.

'In one of the most concerning acts, an attempt was made to set a vehicle on fire while workers were inside,' the company said in a statement. 'The attackers also wielded axes, swinging them at vehicles and through a truck's window. Flare guns were also fired at workers. Workers fled the site for their own safety and remain shaken by this violent incident.'

Meanwhile, Trudeau remains focused on the peaceful Freedom Convoy in Ottawa and used extraordinary powers under the Emergencies Act to clear the protester who have paralyzed the city for three weekss. Hundreds of officers have descended on the capital city to forcefully remove them from what is now a no-go zone.

Parliament was also suspended on Friday due to the massive police operation and MPs have been urged not to go into work for their own safety. No property has been damaged in Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy protests, although police have arrested 70 protesters as they use Trudeau's Emergency Act to crack down on demonstrations.

In contrast, photos of Thursday's attack in British Columbia show smashed windows and overturned heavy earth-moving equipment. Trees were downed to block roads and a gaping hole was hacked into the side of a mobile office trailer.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police responded to the scene, but the attackers fled into the forest and no arrests were made. Smoke bombs and torches were thrown at police as they tried to make their way past fires set in the road way. One officers was injured, according to the Toronto Sun.

'This was a calculated and organized violent attack that left its victims shaken and a multimillion dollar path of destruction,' RCMP Chief Superintendent Warren Brown said.

In the capital, Trudeau remains focused on the Canadian truckers.

Police have descended on the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, making arrests and towing away big rigs that have formed a three-week blockade protesting the country's vaccine mandates.

Using his extraordinary powers under the Emergencies Act, Trudeau bid police to establish a 'no-go' zone around the demonstration in Ottawa's core, and on Friday morning a massive force of cops and a fleet of tow truck drivers descended to clear out the Convoy's final stronghold.

Citing the 'exceptional circumstances' of the police action, Canada's Parliament suspended Friday's debate on Trudeau's emergency powers, sparing the Liberal leader another day of uncomfortable speeches from MPs who fiercely oppose his use of the Emergencies Act.

As dawn broke on Friday, cops carrying automatic weapons and wearing tactical unit uniforms were seen going door to door along a line of trucks, campers and other vehicles parked on Ottawa's snow-covered streets.

Tow truck operators wore neon-green ski masks with their companies' decals taped over on their trucks to conceal their identities from protesters. They arrived under police escort and set to work removing the big rigs, campers and other vehicles parked bumper to bumper in the Parliament Hill blockade.

As the sweep unfolded, Ottawa Police Services threatened in a statement to arrest any journalists 'found within areas undergoing enforcement,' alarming advocates for press freedom.


Canadian Premier Drops Truth Bomb on Trudeau’s Covid Dictatorship

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is losing allies left and right over his extreme motion to invoke the Emergencies Act to suppress the Freedom Convoy protest that is disrupting his plans for a perpetual Covid dictatorship.

Enter Ontario Premier Doug Ford. No fan of the Freedom Convoy protest, Ford has repeatedly denied that any of Ontario’s recent concessions on Covid mandates had anything to do with the disgruntled truckers.

“As of March 1, the province of Ontario will no longer require people show proof of vaccination to enter any indoor spaces, the premier, Doug Ford, announced on Monday morning,” the New York Times reported on Monday.

“Let me be very clear: We’re moving in this direction because it’s safe to do so,’’ Ford said. “Today’s announcement is not because of what’s happening in Ottawa, or Windsor, but despite it.”

But that is not what it looks like based on Ford’s recent presser, which drops so many ‘truth bombs’ on Trudeau’s rationale for effectively declaring martial law, it might as well have been written by the Freedom Convoy itself. Watch:

“You know, you can go to Costco, you can go to Walmart, you can go shopping,” Ford said. “You know, you don’t know if the person has a shot beside or not, but we also know that it doesn’t matter if you have one shot or 10 shots, you can catch COVID.”

“See, the prime ministry has triple shots,” he continued, referring to Trudeau’s recent alleged bout with Covid. “And I know hundreds of people, three shots that caught COVID. We just have to be careful. We gotta always make sure we wash our hands and, and move forward.”

“We can’t stay in this position forever,” he added. “We gotta learn to live with this and get on with our lives. I bet if I ask every single person in this room, do you want these damned masks? Or do you want ’em off? They want ’em off. They want to get back to normal. They want to be able to go for dinner with their families.”

“And there’s every single person, including myself, knows people that are unvaccinated, you know?” he added. “Sure. There’s, there’s the rabble-rousers. And then there’s just hardworking people that just don’t believe in it. And, and that’s their choice.”

“This is about, again, a democracy and freedoms and liberties,” he continued. “And I hate as a government telling anyone what to do.”

“We just gotta get moving forward and, and get out of this and protect the jobs,” he went on. “You know… I think a lot of people call ’em, probably yourself too. Everyone’s done with this. Like we are done with it. Let’s let’s start moving on and cautiously and you know, we’ve followed the rules, all of us, 90% of us for over two years, the world’s done with it. So let’s just move forward.”

Hear, hear.

Meanwhile, Trudeau is getting shouted down in the parliament, and at least five provinces have moved forward with plans to roll back vaccine passports and other Covid mandates.

It took nearly two years to get to this point, but it’s finally truth-telling time when it comes to Covid: People everywhere have had enough.


Progressivism has become a religion with a passionately proclaimed creed

I live in a blue city in a blue state, meaning I can’t so much as walk to the CVS without seeing a certain sign in half a dozen front yards. You know the one: “IN THIS HOUSE, WE BELIEVE: BLACK LIVES MATTER, SCIENCE IS REAL, WAR IS PEACE, MY LIFE FOR AIUR” and whatever the hell else they’re on about these days.

The sign has become so commonplace, so utterly oblivious to its own irony, that it feels less like a show of defiance than a profession of faith. Think of it as the left’s very own Nicene Creed, the statement of belief that Catholics recite every time they go to mass. One imagines a congregation of the pink-haired standing in pews: “I believe in Science, and in xis only son Dr. Fauci, creator of BIPOCs and TERFs…”

Then again Fauci has said he is the science, so we may have some issues of Christology to work through here.

How did this happen? How did a leftism that once encouraged freethinking end up chiseling its own Ten Commandments? In spite of its writerly triteness, the “IN THIS HOUSE” sign was first conceived of by a librarian. The day after Donald Trump was elected, Kristin Garvey of Madison, Wisconsin, was feeling dispirited. So she decided to, as Slate reported, gather “a number of quotes she found from activists, liberal politicians, and different social justice movements and inscribed them in Sharpie on a white poster board.” A photo was then posted online where it caught the attention of a budding MS Word artiste, and the rest is (1619-approved) history.

There is an apparent power to the sign that’s lost on right-wing unbelievers like me. A writer at Mashable describes her reaction to seeing it as “a fist-pumping ‘fuck yeah’” and “oh, I gotta take a picture of that.” Amanda Hess at the New York Times sighs that she was “seduced by its chaotic jumble of typefaces, its lifestyle-blog-adjacent aesthetic, its sanctimonious final line and its curious staying power.” Having never been ravished by an Arial typeface before, I can’t possibly comment. But there’s a word for those who find transcendence in rote recitation: not liberals or scientists but believers.

The idea that progressivism has become a religion is by now so familiar as to be unremarkable. The so-called New Atheists who had hoped the decline of Christianity would usher in an age of perfect rationality have been disappointed. Instead one faith appears to have replaced another. The apocryphal old Chesterton quote hangs in the air: “When a man stops believing in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything.” Emphasis on anything: racist highways, de-gendered Spanish words, you name it.

Delve deep enough into all this and you arrive at a very dark philosophical corner. Carl Schmitt was a German theorist who savagely critiqued classical liberalism and its attendant ideas like individual freedom. He also happened to be a Nazi who heaped praise on the Night of the Long Knives, a fact waved away by his legions of reactionary admirers on Twitter. Yet if Schmitt today is mostly the province of very-online creeps, he did espouse at least one interesting and challenging idea: that all politics is rooted in theology.

By this, Schmitt didn’t necessarily mean there ought to be a Christian state. He meant rather that politics is in essence religion repackaged, that the concepts of the latter lurk beneath the former. And inevitably at a time of crisis, the absolute sovereignty attributed to gods will be assumed by a more earthly manifestation, a ruler. Classical liberalism, then, is futile because it attempts to constrain this all-powerful dictatorship.

The obvious objection here is that this doesn’t have to happen, that theology and politics can be split into churches and a limited government respectively, as has happened in countless countries. Yet we also shouldn’t dismiss the idea that the political can become theological, that politics can be exalted to the level of dogmas and absolutes. A society must derive morality from somewhere, and if the old ideas of Christ and cross fall away, those of identity politics and public-health commandments might very well take their place.

This is what’s happened on the left (and on the Trumpist right to an extent, though that’s another story for another time). Hence the yard signs. In addition to their confessional tone, it’s their gray-faced literalmindedness that gives them away. Even the most devout Christian doesn’t hammer his entire litany into his front lawn; that takes a special kind of zealot.

So what does THIS HOUSE believe? First, that “BLACK LIVES MATTER,” and major points for creativity there. “WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS,” though we’re still awaiting comment on unborn rights. “NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL” — that’ll stick it to all those human-banning politicians in Washington. “SCIENCE IS REAL.” One imagines flabbergasted neighbors spewing half-chewed barbecue across the lawn: “I thought everyone in this development believed science was fake!!” “LOVE IS LOVE.” A = A. “KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING.” Now when will the police mow down those Canadian truckers?

So while progressivism might be religion, it’s stupid, hypocritical bad religion. We Catholics sometimes get tongue-tied mumbling words like “consubstantial,” but I’ll take that over a wan sloganeered imitation any day of the week.


Karma: Shark gets soft-hearted man

A diving expert killed by a monster great white shark was never able to marry the love of his life because of Covid lockdowns.

British expat Simon Nellist, 35, was engaged to Jessie Ho when he was mauled to death at Buchan Point, near Little Bay in the city's east, on Wednesday afternoon.

Heartbroken friends revealed the expat, from Cornwall in the UK, had met Ms Ho not long after he went travelling in Australia six years ago.

Mr Nellist had finished a two year stint with the Royal Air Force and quickly fell in love with the wildlife and Ms Ho during his tour around the country.

The pair were madly in love and planned to marry last year, but were forced to push back their wedding because of the pandemic.

'It's just horrendous,' one close friend told The Sun. 'We spent most of yesterday just hoping and praying it wasn't him. It's still incredibly raw.'

Friends say they were unable to see Mr Nellist because of the lockdowns and described the expat as the 'nicest, kindest human being'.

They said Mr Nellist had a massive love for the wildlife and described his mauling by the great white as a 'freak accident'.

Experts say the killer shark has likely already swam at least 100km away, and it's understood that even if it was found - it wouldn't be culled - and instead encouraged to leave the area.

Mr Nellist's social media feed was littered with photos and footage of him on his ocean adventures, which included diving expeditions and swimming with sharks.

He was also an advocate for the predators and expressed strong views about shark nets and drumlines - which are used to alert authorities about their presence - just six months ago.

The diving instructor regularly shared memories of his ocean adventures with fellow enthusiasts online.

'Lots of sharks today at Bushrangers Bay diving with the Scubathlon team. Vis wasn't too bad, a bit patchy but good at the gravel loader. We counted around 10 Grey Nurse Sharks,' he captioned footage he filmed while diving with sharks.

Shortly before Sydney was plunged into Covid-19 lockdown, Mr Nellist and his fiancée headed north to dive with sharks off Rainbow Beach near Fraser Island, an experience he highly recommended to others.

'We had a great couple of dives today. Awesome and professional crew, and a couple of lovely dives,' he wrote.

'Lots of pregnant grey nurse heaps of different schooling fish, whip ray, bull ray, puffers, snapper, crocodile needle fish chilling near the surface. We could hear the humpbacks singing and watched them on the surface interval.

'A great day out, check it out if you come up this way!'

Other posts revealed his caring nature for all marine life.

'A friend of mine saw this rather sick looking turtle at the steps, Kurnell today. I've contacted Australian seabird rescue as they also rescue turtles,' he wrote.

Since the attack, six drumlines have been put in place between Little Bay and Malabar as part of a shark incident response plan.

It's an issue Mr Nellist felt strongly about.

The experienced ocean swimmer and dive instructor knew of the potential dangers every time he did the swim, and expressed his disgust with controversial techniques used to keep sharks out of swimming areas.

'Shark nets and drumlines protect no one and kill all kinds of marine life each year,' Mr Nellist posted on Facebook six months ago.

Shark nets and drumlines are usually deployed near popular swimming beaches with the aim of reducing sharks in the vicinity.

Authorities have since revealed Little Bay Beach was scheduled to have the SMART drumline technology installed within two weeks as part of the NSW government's new shark management program.

The technology is designed to provide greater protection to swimmers by alerting authorities to a shark's presence.

The system involves a bait dangling in the ocean attached to a buoy, so that when the shark takes the bait it triggers a magnet which sets off a solar-powered beacon to alert officials on the shore.

The communication unit, attached to the drumline, sends an email and text message to researchers and contractors within minutes of a shark tripping the line.

'We're rolling SMART drum lines out in the Sydney region, around where this incident happened, in about two weeks,' DPI principal research scientist Paul Butcher told The Australian.

'Our biggest priority is getting those drumlines in the water straight away.'

Other shark enthusiasts urged people to not blame the predator as they paid tribute to Mr Nellist.

'He was an instructor, he knew how to handle sharks but you know your expertise doesn't always work on animals,' one wrote on Facebook.

'It was neither his fault nor the shark's.

'It was the fault of greed. They put drumlines so close to shore & that's the price they paid today.

'Hope they learn not to mess with the nature.'

Mr Nellist was remembered by shocked friends as a man who loved adventure and was adored by all of those around him




Saturday, February 19, 2022

The latest study of Ivermectin

This was a generally well conducted academic study with clear findings. It was NOT however a double-blind study, meaning that it was open for experimenter expectations to influence the result. Such expectations can be very biasing. And the experimenter expectation in this case would be exactly what was found. The study clearly COULD have been double blind so it is curious that that was not done. Were they fearful of getting a result that favoured Iverectin? One has to surmise that


Importance: Ivermectin, an inexpensive and widely available antiparasitic drug, is prescribed to treat COVID-19. Evidence-based data to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin are needed.

Objective: To determine the efficacy of ivermectin in preventing progression to severe disease among high-risk patients with COVID-19.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The Ivermectin Treatment Efficacy in COVID-19 High-Risk Patients (I-TECH) study was an open-label randomized clinical trial conducted at 20 public hospitals and a COVID-19 quarantine center in Malaysia between May 31 and October 25, 2021. Within the first week of patients’ symptom onset, the study enrolled patients 50 years and older with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, comorbidities, and mild to moderate disease.

Interventions: Patients were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive either oral ivermectin, 0.4 mg/kg body weight daily for 5 days, plus standard of care (n = 241) or standard of care alone (n = 249). The standard of care consisted of symptomatic therapy and monitoring for signs of early deterioration based on clinical findings, laboratory test results, and chest imaging.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who progressed to severe disease, defined as the hypoxic stage requiring supplemental oxygen to maintain pulse oximetry oxygen saturation of 95% or higher. Secondary outcomes of the trial included the rates of mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit admission, 28-day in-hospital mortality, and adverse events.

Results: Among 490 patients included in the primary analysis (mean [SD] age, 62.5 [8.7] years; 267 women [54.5%]), 52 of 241 patients (21.6%) in the ivermectin group and 43 of 249 patients (17.3%) in the control group progressed to severe disease (relative risk [RR], 1.25; 95% CI, 0.87-1.80; P = .25). For all prespecified secondary outcomes, there were no significant differences between groups. Mechanical ventilation occurred in 4 (1.7%) vs 10 (4.0%) (RR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.13-1.30; P = .17), intensive care unit admission in 6 (2.4%) vs 8 (3.2%) (RR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.27-2.20; P = .79), and 28-day in-hospital death in 3 (1.2%) vs 10 (4.0%) (RR, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.09-1.11; P = .09). The most common adverse event reported was diarrhea (14 [5.8%] in the ivermectin group and 4 [1.6%] in the control group).

Conclusions and Relevance: In this randomized clinical trial of high-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, ivermectin treatment during early illness did not prevent progression to severe disease. The study findings do not support the use of ivermectin for patients with COVID-19.

Friday, February 18, 2022
Let’s look at the case of Canada that’s currently in world headlines because of the truckers’ Freedom Convoy

On January 10, with 78 per cent full vaccination (90+ per cent of adults with nearly 50 per cent boosted), Canada recorded its highest rate of 1,093 daily new cases per million people (7-day average) – almost five times more than the previous high of 229 on April 12, 2021 with 2 per cent vaccination. Similarly, the US figures were 756 on January 11, 2021 (0.5 per cent full vaccination) and 2,410 on January 15, 2022 (63 per cent), more than three times higher (Figure 1).

The double-vaccinated and boosted PM Justin Trudeau (and Prince Charles) recently tested positive for Covid. Yet still they swear by vaccine passports for stopping transmission.

But wait, do I detect green shoots of heresy peeping through the snowbound landscape? Ontario chief public health officer Dr Kieran Moore has turned sceptic on vaccine passports: ‘The vaccine isn’t providing significant benefit at two doses against the risk of transmission, as compared to someone unvaccinated […] We have to reassess the value of the passports’. He’s also indicated opposition to requiring a third dose.

In the US, vaccines were not available to the Trump administration and 351,754 people died with Covid in the calendar year 2020. For the last ten months to 11 February 2022, with three different vaccines available and despite a confusing mix of lockdown restrictions and mask mandates in different states, nearly 6,000 more people have died with Covid than in the ten months to December 31, 2020. In Canada too almost 4,000 more have died with Covid in 2021–22 thus far compared to all Covid deaths in 2020.

I admit, j’avoue, I am not all that into the no doubt very sophisticated explanations of why despite this empirical fact, mandatory vaccinations and restrictions are not just useful but absolutely critical pandemic control measures. To my simple mind, we’ve been sold a pup while Big Pharma and recipients of their largesse among medical researchers, public health experts and regulators are laughing all the way to the bank and luxury villas in upmarket holiday resorts.

The simple conclusion is reinforced with a comparison of different countries. Writing in The Daily Sceptic, Louis Vincent Gave noted the broadly similar ICU admissions and mortality curves of four countries despite contrasting Covid policies (Figure 2).

Note that France, Israel, and the US set new hospitalisation records but not Sweden, the only one of the three that never really shut down at all. Moreover, despite high rates of full vaccination in all four countries, death rates were unexpectedly high this January. Was all that pain really worth so little gain? Not to my way of thinking, it wasn’t.

Anyone interested in looking at this in detail is strongly urged to consult Ian Miller’s Unmasked: The Global Failure of Covid Mask Mandates (2022), an absolute must-read with a wealth of very telling charts that show the complete ineffectiveness of masks.

We can see near-identical Covid mortality rates between masked-up New Mexico and no-mask mandate Iowa, and infection rates between mask mandate California and no mandate New Mexico. This is supplemented by a chart for all US states with and without mask mandates.

So why are governments delaying ending the mask mandates completely?


COVID Won’t End Up Like the Flu. It Will Be Like Smoking

The writer below has greater faith in the efficacy of vaccination against Covid that seems warranted in the era of Omicron. A better preventive would be losing weight. Obesity is a big Covid risk factor

It’s suddenly become acceptable to say that COVID is—or will soon be—like the flu. Such analogies have long been the preserve of pandemic minimizers, but lately they’ve been creeping into more enlightened circles. Last month the dean of a medical school wrote an open letter to his students suggesting that for a vaccinated person, the risk of death from COVID-19 is “in the same realm, or even lower, as the average American’s risk from flu.” A few days later, David Leonhardt said as much to his millions of readers in the The New York Times’ morning newsletter. And three prominent public-health experts have called for the government to recognize a “new normal” in which the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus “is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”

The end state of this pandemic may indeed be one where COVID comes to look something like the flu. Both diseases, after all, are caused by a dangerous respiratory virus that ebbs and flows in seasonal cycles. But I’d propose a different metaphor to help us think about our tenuous moment: The “new normal” will arrive when we acknowledge that COVID’s risks have become more in line with those of smoking cigarettes—and that many COVID deaths, like many smoking-related deaths, could be prevented with a single intervention.

The pandemic’s greatest source of danger has transformed from a pathogen into a behavior. Choosing not to get vaccinated against COVID is, right now, a modifiable health risk on par with smoking, which kills more than 400,000 people each year in the United States. Andrew Noymer, a public-health professor at UC Irvine, told me that if COVID continues to account for a few hundred thousand American deaths every year—“a realistic worst-case scenario,” he calls it—that would wipe out all of the life-expectancy gains we’ve accrued from the past two decades’ worth of smoking-prevention efforts.

The COVID vaccines are, without exaggeration, among the safest and most effective therapies in all of modern medicine. An unvaccinated adult is an astonishing 68 times more likely to die from COVID than a boosted one. Yet widespread vaccine hesitancy in the United States has caused more than 163,000 preventable deaths and counting. Because too few people are vaccinated, COVID surges still overwhelm hospitals—interfering with routine medical services and leading to thousands of lives lost from other conditions. If everyone who is eligible were triply vaccinated, our health-care system would be functioning normally again. (We do have other methods of protection—antiviral pills and monoclonal antibodies—but these remain in short supply and often fail to make their way to the highest-risk patients.) Countries such as Denmark and Sweden have already declared themselves broken up with COVID. They are confidently doing so not because the virus is no longer circulating or because they’ve achieved mythical herd immunity from natural infection; they’ve simply inoculated enough people.

President Joe Biden said in January that “this continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” and vaccine holdouts are indeed prolonging our crisis. The data suggest that most of the unvaccinated hold that status voluntarily at this point. Last month, only 1 percent of adults told the Kaiser Family Foundation that they wanted to get vaccinated soon, and just 4 percent suggested that they were taking a “wait-and-see” approach. Seventeen percent of respondents, however, said they definitely don’t want to get vaccinated or would do so only if required (and 41 percent of vaccinated adults say the same thing about boosters). Among the vaccine-hesitant, a mere 2 percent say it would be hard for them to access the shots if they wanted them. We can acknowledge that some people have faced structural barriers to getting immunized while also listening to the many others who have simply told us how they feel, sometimes from the very beginning.

The same arguments apply to tobacco: Smokers are 15 to 30 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Quitting the habit is akin to receiving a staggeringly powerful medicine, one that wipes out most of this excess risk. Yet smokers, like those who now refuse vaccines, often continue their dangerous lifestyle in the face of aggressive attempts to persuade them otherwise. Even in absolute numbers, America’s unvaccinated and current-smoker populations seem to match up rather well: Right now, the CDC pegs them at 13 percent and 14 percent of all U.S. adults, respectively, and both groups are likely to be poorer and less educated.

In either context, public-health campaigns must reckon with the very difficult task of changing people’s behavior. Anti-smoking efforts, for example, have tried to incentivize good health choices and disincentivize bad ones, whether through cash payments to people who quit, gruesome visual warnings on cigarette packs, taxes, smoke-free zones, or employer smoking bans. Over the past 50 years, this crusade has very slowly but consistently driven change: Nearly half of Americans used to smoke; now only about one in seven does. Hundreds of thousands of lung-cancer deaths have been averted in the process.

With COVID, too, we’ve haphazardly pursued behavioral nudges to turn the hesitant into the inoculated. Governments and businesses have given lotteries and free beers a chance. Some corporations, universities, health-care systems, and local jurisdictions implemented mandates. But many good ideas have turned out to be of little benefit: A randomized trial in nursing homes published in January, for example, found that an intensive information-and-persuasion campaign from community leaders had failed to budge vaccination rates among the predominantly disadvantaged and low-income staff. Despite the altruistic efforts of public-health professionals and physicians, it’s becoming harder by the day to reach immunological holdouts. Booster uptake is also lagging far behind.

This is where the “new normal” of COVID might come to resemble our decades-long battle with tobacco. We should neither expect that every stubbornly unvaccinated person will get jabbed before next winter nor despair that none of them will ever change their mind. Let’s accept instead that we may make headway slowly, and with considerable effort. This plausible outcome has important, if uncomfortable, policy implications. With a vaccination timeline that stretches over years, our patience for restrictions, especially on the already vaccinated, will be very limited. But there is middle ground. We haven’t banned tobacco outright—in fact, most states protect smokers from job discrimination—but we have embarked on a permanent, society-wide campaign of disincentivizing its use. Long-term actions for COVID might include charging the unvaccinated a premium on their health insurance, just as we do for smokers, or distributing frightening health warnings about the perils of remaining uninoculated. And once the political furor dies down, COVID shots will probably be added to the lists of required vaccinations for many more schools and workplaces.

To compare vaccine resistance and smoking seems to overlook an obvious and important difference: COVID is an infectious disease and tobacco use isn’t. (Tobacco is also addictive in a physiological sense, while vaccine resistance isn’t.) Many pandemic restrictions are based on the idea that any individual’s behavior may pose a direct health risk to everyone else. People who get vaccinated don’t just protect themselves from COVID; they reduce their risk of passing on the disease to those around them, at least for some limited period of time. Even during the Omicron wave, that protective effect has appeared significant: A person who has received a booster is 67 percent less likely to test positive for the virus than an unvaccinated person.

But the harms of tobacco can also be passed along from smokers to their peers. Secondhand-smoke inhalation causes more than 41,000 deaths annually in the U.S. (a higher mortality rate than some flu seasons’). Yet despite smoking’s well-known risks, many states don’t completely ban the practice in public venues; secondhand-smoke exposure in private homes and cars—affecting 25 percent of U.S. middle- and high-school children—remains largely unregulated. The general acceptance of these bleak outcomes, for smokers and nonsmokers alike, may hint at another aspect of where we’re headed with COVID. Tobacco is lethal enough that we are willing to restrict smokers’ personal freedoms—but only to a degree. As deadly as COVID is, some people won’t get vaccinated, no matter what, and both the vaccinated and unvaccinated will spread disease to others. A large number of excess deaths could end up being tolerated or even explicitly permitted. Noel Brewer, a public-health professor at the University of North Carolina, told me that anti-COVID actions, much like anti-smoking policies, will be limited not by their effectiveness but by the degree to which they are politically palatable.

Without greater vaccination, living with COVID could mean enduring a yearly death toll that is an order of magnitude higher than the one from flu. And yet this, too, might come to feel like its own sort of ending. Endemic tobacco use causes hundreds of thousands of casualties, year after year after year, while fierce public-health efforts to reduce its toll continue in the background. Yet tobacco doesn’t really feel like a catastrophe for the average person. Noymer, of UC Irvine, said that the effects of endemic COVID, even in the context of persistent gaps in vaccination, would hardly be noticeable. Losing a year or two from average life expectancy only bumps us back to where we were in … 2000.

Chronic problems eventually yield to acclimation, rendering them relatively imperceptible. We still care for smokers when they get sick, of course, and we reduce harm whenever possible. The health-care system makes $225 billion every year for doing so—paid out of all of our tax dollars and insurance premiums. I have no doubt that the system will adapt in this way, too, if the coronavirus continues to devastate the unvaccinated. Hospitals have a well-honed talent for transforming any terrible situation into a marketable “center of excellence.”

COVID is likely to remain a leading killer for a while, and some academics have suggested that pandemics end only when the public stops caring. But we shouldn’t forget the most important reason that the coronavirus isn’t like the flu: We’ve never had vaccines this effective in the midst of prior influenza outbreaks, which means we didn’t have a simple, clear approach to saving quite so many lives. Compassionate conversations, community outreach, insurance surcharges, even mandates—I’ll take them all. Now is not the time to quit.




17 February 2002
Covid survivors are up to 40% more likely to go on to suffer depression and anxiety or misuse drugs

The government response to your getting covid would depress anyone -- isolation etc

Covid survivors are at increased risk of suffering depression, sleep problems and drug misuse, a major US study has found.

A growing body of research has linked beating the virus to health problems months down the line such as fatigue and brain fog.

But now a study of 150,000 people has linked the infection with much more severe mental health problems.

Researchers found Covid survivors were 40 per cent more likely to be depressed or struggle sleeping, and 20 per cent more likely to abuse substances within a year of catching Covid.

They also had a slightly higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal thoughts and panic attacks.

And the more severe their infection was, the more likely they were to report a mental health issue, which suggests Covid may be playing a role.

The paper — published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) — was observational and could not establish a cause.

But depression and anxiety are already linked to 'long Covid', an umbrella term that covers a range of ailments people experience after an infection.

Evidence is already mounting that Covid damages blood vessels, including ones in the brain, which could explain the lingering symptoms.

Researchers from St Louis University looked at 150,000 military veterans who were mostly male, in their 60s and tested positive up to January 2021. Participants were tracked for a year.

They were compared to a group of 5.6million veterans who had not caught the virus by this date.

There were roughly 15 extra cases of depression per 1,000 people among the Covid survivors group.

Suicidal thoughts were around 46 per cent more common among those who caught the virus, with about two extra cases per 1,000 people.

They were also more likely to suffer sleeping problems, with 24 extra cases per 1,000 people.

Scientists found higher rates of alcohol and drug misuse among Covid survivors as well, at four and two extra cases per 1,000 respectively.

While the study was observational, researchers pointed to previous studies showing Covid infections — particularly severe bouts — can reduce blood flow to the brain and damage neurons to explain their findings.

Why are Covid survivors more likely to have mental health problems?

Research from early in the pandemic suggested that those who caught Covid were more likely to suffer mental health problems.

But scientists have not been able to say why this is the case.

Anxiety rates were higher during the early days because of the virus as lockdowns were imposed and restrictions introduced.

Scientists say catching Covid may have led to further raised stress because it was a new disease.

They added that the stress of lockdowns was likely adding to the pressure.

But being forced off work, isolated from family and unable to exercise while suffering from the disease were also thought to play a role.

Of those in the study who caught Covid, 20,996 (14 per cent) were admitted to hospital with severe disease.

Hospitalised Covid patients were 243 per cent more likely to suffer a mental health problem, at a rate of 177 extra cases per 1,000 people.

But those who did not have a severe infection were still 40 per cent more likely to suffer mentally, or 31 extra cases per 1,000.

Overall, scientists said people who caught Covid were 60 per cent more likely to have a mental health disorder or prescription than those who did not catch Covid.

Participants in the most recent study were recruited from the US Department of Veterans Affairs national healthcare database.

Most were men (89 per cent), and classified as obese (45 per cent) or overweight (35 per cent).

Weight is one of the biggest risk factors for Covid, with those who are obese being three times more likely to die from the disease studies suggest.

Previous research has linked surviving Covid with mental health problems.

One paper from Oxford University published in April last year found one in three survivors were diagnosed with depression, anxiety or other issues within six months of beating the virus.

And a separate paper from Milan University found more than half of the most severely ill patients later developed psychiatric problems — including PTSD.

Dr Max Taquet, a psychiatrist at Oxford University who was not involved in the study, said: 'This is a well-conducted study which confirms the findings from several previous studies showing that after Covid infection, patients are at an increased risk of developing mental health disorders.

'While the data is limited to US Veterans, other studies representative of the larger population have found similar findings.

'The fact that patients appear to still be at an increased risk 12 months after their Covid diagnosis is concerning, but whether this represents delayed diagnoses or new onset of mental illness remains to be determined.'


Danish health chiefs dismiss doom-mongering claims that Covid deaths and hospitalisations are soaring since country became first to ditch its final virus restrictions

Danish health chiefs have taken to social media to debunk doom-mongering claims that Covid hospitalisation and death rates are both soaring after dropping nearly all of its virus curbs.

Experts at the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), the Government agency responsible for pandemic preparedness, are publicly dismissing misinformation about the state of the Scandinavian nation's outbreak.

Daily Covid cases and hospitalisations have reached record highs in February, while deaths are nearly level with previous peaks and trending upwards.

But the agency has now hit back at backlash and insisted that soaring tolls are being driven by 'incidental' cases — mirroring a trend seen in the UK.

Denmark became the first country in Europe to lift all domestic Covid restrictions at the start of the month, ending rules on face coverings, vaccine passports and work from home guidance. Only self-isolation rules remain.

Critics of the move, which England is set to follow next week, argue it is dangerous because it increases the risk of a more severe variant emerging.

Dr Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), accused the Danish Government of 'losing their frigging minds' by releasing Covid restrictions.

And Dr Eric Topol, a cardiologist at US research centre Scripts Research, warned the country's Covid outbreak is 'not looking good', highlighting that daily deaths are at '67 per cent' of the previous peak and have a 'steep ascent'.


On February 1, Denmark became the first country in Europe to lift all Covid curbs, ending rules on face coverings, vaccine passports and work from home guidance.

Following the move, daily Covid cases and hospitalisations have reached record highs in February, while deaths are nearly level with previous peaks and trending upwards.

Nearly 60,000 infections, 451 hospitalisations and 38 deaths were recorded per day at peaks over the last fortnight.

The data has given fuel for scientists to argue that the country's approach isn't working.

But Government scientists argued that incidental virus hospitalisations and deaths are on the rise as society opens up.

The country, which counts virus fatalities as deaths within 30 days of testing positive on a PCR test, saw 5.21 deaths per million people registered yesterday.

This marked the highest daily tally since its peak last winter, according to the Oxford University-backed statistical platform Our World in Data.

But the SSI scientists said this figure includes all deaths among people infected with the virus, rather than those which were caused by the virus.

They said: 'Since Omicron became the dominant variant in Denmark a lot of people get infected.

'An increase in numbers of infected also makes it easier for a person to die a number of days after an infection without having anything to do with the Omicron infection.'

The SSI said this means 'having an increase in number of infected persons will also have an increase in the number of persons' counted as Covid deaths.

For exactly the same reason, the scientists also dismissed claims 'many people are hospitalised' because of Covid.

Official figures show 300,000 people tested positive last week, but just 2,400 were admitted to hospital.

And four in 10 coronavirus admissions are now primarily being treated for another cause, according to Government data.

The SSI said the proportion of Covid patients who are hospitalised because they are unwell with the virus has been falling since July.

The agency also disregarded claims that Denmark has decided Covid 'does not exist anymore' as 'incorrect'.

Covid is still circulating but is not considered 'an infection critical to society', the SSI said.

The dominant Omicron strain is milder than previous variants and 81.5 per cent of the population have received two vaccine doses, which 'largely protects against severe disease', it said.

'Therefore, Covid does not have the same impact on society and the population as earlier in the pandemic,' the scientists said.

This allowed virus curbs to be lifted on February 1 but the 'Danish authorities very much acknowledge the presence of Covid', according to the SSI.

Danish people are still advised to wear face masks and show vaccine passports at hospitals and care homes, while students are advised to test regularly.




Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody Covid drug received FDA authorization

A new monoclonal antibody drug has become available in the U.S., as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Ely Lilly's bebtelovimab for use in non-hospitalized Covid patients who are at a high risk of severe complications from the virus.

The move comes only weeks after the agency pulled authorization from another monoclonal antibody treatment produced by Eli Lilly - along with a drug produced by Regeneron - since they were deemed to be ineffective against the Omicron variant.

This drug showed effectiveness against the strain that now makes up nearly 100 percent of active cases in the U.S., though, and will soon begin to be administered to infected patients.

Monoclonal antibody drugs were considered to be the top treatment for the virus after a person was already infected, though administering the drugs is very resource intensive so officials have instead showed preference towards antiviral pills like molnupiravir and Paxlovid in recent weeks.

'Today's action makes available another monoclonal antibody that shows activity against omicron, at a time when we are seeking to further increase supply,' said Dr Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

'This authorization is an important step in meeting the need for more tools to treat patients as new variants of the virus continue to emerge.'

The United States has already purchased 600,000 doses of the drug for $720 million, which will be distributed for free to Americans in need. The deal was pending FDA authorization.

Before July 31, the U.S. is allowed to purchase 500,000 more doses at a pre-arraigned price.

Trials for the drug included two parts, one with a low risk and one with a high risk population group.

The low risk group included 380 people, and the drug was tested alone and alongside other similar drugs. The FDA reports the trials found a 'sustained' resolution of symptoms among people who received the drug.

A second trial for high risk individuals included 150 patients. There was no placebo group in this trial, with half the patients receiving bebtelovimab alone and half receiving it mixed with another drug.

The drug was effective at preventing hospitalization and death from Covid in the high risk group as well, and it is equally effective when used alone as it is when used along with another available monoclonal antibody drug.

Monoclonal antibody drugs were the most effective treatment against the virus until very recently when more effective, easier to administer, antiviral pills began to hit the market.

The antibodies are still valuable tools, though. The drugs pump a person's body full of virus fighting antibodies that are similar to those generated by vaccination or natural immunity from previous infection.

Those antibodies then assist a person's immune system in stopping the virus from replicating and neutralizing infected cells.

The drugs have been a favorite of some conservative politicians like former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov Ron DeSantis.

Monoclonal antibody drugs do come with some major downsides. Some experts believe a focus on them, especially in conservative circles, has given the indication that the drug can replace the vaccines - which the FDA notes is not the case.

Administering the drugs can be a challenge for hospitals as well, especially during times where they are near capacity due to case surges.

A patient receiving the drugs requires constant monitoring and also a lot of tubing and machinery. Monoclonal antibodies are also significantly more expensive than the vaccines.

The FDA pulling the drugs last month for being ineffective against Omicron was a controversial decision that DeSantis described as 'authoritarianism'.

The agency stood by its decision, though, and has no brought Eli Lilly's monoclonal antibodies back into the mix with this recent authorization.


Could antihistamines help with long COVID?: Scientists launch study after healthcare worker took pills by accident and her symptoms eased

Antihistamines could provide relief for millions of people suffering from the painful and debilitating symptoms of long COVID that can be so severe that daily life can be affected.

The effects of COVID-19 on individuals can range from mild symptoms to several weeks of illness, but various ailments including brain fog, joint pain and fatigue can last for months after the initial infection - collectively known as long COVID.

The realization that antihistamines could provide some relief came by chance after two otherwise healthy, active middle-aged women with long COVID found that the pills helped.

Both women, who have not been identified, were taking over-the-counter antihistamines to treat other conditions.

The first woman, a healthcare worker in her 40s, triggered a dairy allergy by eating cheese, and the second woman had run out of the allergy medication she usually took, and experienced improved cognition and far less fatigue the following morning.

In the first instance, the woman with long COVID-19 was unable to do exercise and would suffer from chest pain, headaches, a rash and bruising, while the second had to deal with joint and abdominal pain, as well as the rashes and lesions known as 'COVID toes.' She is believed to have been one of the first people in the United States to fall ill with COVID.

In the first case, after accidentally eating some cheese about six months into having long COVID she took a 50 mg pill of the antihistamine diphenhydramine, and suddenly noticed her fatigue had virtually disappeared.

The woman did not take another antihistamine for 72 hours; when her symptoms reappeared, she took the medication and again found relief.

Her doctor then prescribed a daily antihistamine dosage that significantly reduced her long COVID-19 symptoms. She ultimately reported she had regained 90 percent of her pre-COVID-19 daily function. Nine months later, she is said to be still doing well.

In the second case, the woman took a different over-the-counter antihistamine as a substitute for what she had taken for years to manage her seasonal allergies.

She noticed that her long COVID-19 fatigue and overall cognition had improved. She also continued to take it daily together with other allergy medicine.

The second woman also found that she significantly reduced her additional long COVID-19 symptoms regaining 95 percent of her overall functioning, prior to contracting the illness.

Both cases were examined by nursing scholars at the University of California, Irvine with the findings published in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners.

'Patients tell us they wish more than anything that they could work and do the most basic activities they used to before they got sick with long COVID. They are desperately searching for something to help them get back on their feet,' said report author, Melissa Pinto, associate professor of nursing at UC Irvine to UCI News.

'Currently, there is no cure for [for long COVID], only symptom management. A number of options are being tried, with antihistamines being one of them. The possibility that an easy-to-access, over-the-counter medication could ease some of the symptoms should offer hope to the estimated 54 million people worldwide who have been in distress for months or even years.'

If correct, it would tally what had been found in earlier studies including those documented in the Journal of Investigative Medicine and Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, which also showed similar benefits to using antihistamines to treat long COVID.

'Most patients tell us that providers have not recommended anything that has helped. If patients wish to try over-the-counter antihistamines, I urge them to do so under medical supervision. And because providers may not know about new potential treatments, I would encourage patients to be active in their care and consider taking research and case reports like ours to appointments with providers so they can help create a regimen that will work,' Pinto said.

'The next steps for this research into antihistamine treatment are to conduct broad-based trials in order to evaluate efficacy and to develop dosage schedules for clinical practice guidelines.'


Astonishing list highlighting what's REALLY causing Covid-19 deaths in Australia: 'It wasn't Covid that claimed their lives'

There were 2,639 Covid-related deaths nationally between March 2020 and January 31 - of which 2,556 (96.8 per cent) had an underlying health condition - according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

There were 32,000 deaths from heart disease in Australia in that period, with Covid deaths making up only one per cent of all fatalities nationwide.

Another 100,000 died from cancer during those 22 months.

'We're not overplaying the situation and we're not ignoring the victims,' the 2GB host said. 'But these records expose the overblown scare campaign we've witnessed.

'Ninety-two per cent had other underlying health issues - an average of three [underlying health issues] per person. It wasn't Covid that claimed their lives.'

Those underlying health issues ranged from pneumonia to kidney infection or chronic heart illnesses, according to the ABS data.

Fordham said the health advice during Australia's lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 should have focused more on countering one of the worst Covid co-morbities- obesity.

'Why aren't we warning people that one of the biggest risk factors is carrying around too much weight,' he said. 'Were we worried about fat-shaming?'

The US, where 16 states have obesity rates of higher than 35 per cent, has the world's highest Covid death rate with 947,895 fatalities.

The 2GB host said it wasn't 'overplaying the situation' to say the new records expose 'the overblown scare campaign we've witnessed'




Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Denial of Natural Immunity in Vaccine Mandates Unprecedented

COVID-19 injection mandates raise glaring questions, with a key one revolving around natural immunity. Your immune system is designed to work in response to exposure to an infectious agent. Your adaptive immune system, specifically, generates antibodies that are used to fight pathogens that your body has previously encountered.

If you’ve had COVID-19, the research is strong that you’re well protected against reinfection. New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even show that prior COVID-19 infection, i.e., natural immunity, is more protective than COVID-19 injections.

However, people with natural immunity continue to be discriminated against and are still expected to get double- or triple-jabbed in order to comply with vaccine mandates — an unprecedented move in history.

‘Unprecedented’ Denial of Natural Immunity

The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld a vaccine mandate at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The mandate affects 10.4 million health care workers employed at 76,000 medical facilities, making no exceptions for those who have natural immunity to COVID-19 due to prior infection.

Speaking with The Epoch Times, Dr. Scott Atlas, a former White House COVID-19 Task Force adviser, called the SCOTUS ruling “another denial of scientific fact,” adding:

“Our continued denial of superior protection in recovered individuals, with or without vaccination, compared to vaccinated individuals who’ve never had the infection … the denial of that is simply unprecedented in modern history. Proven fact and decades of fundamental immunology are somehow denied. If we are a society where the leaders repeatedly deny the fact, I’m very concerned about the future of such a society.”

While upholding the vaccine mandate for medical facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid payments, SCOTUS blocked a White House mandate that would have required private companies with 100 or more employees to ensure staff have gotten a COVID-19 injection or were tested regularly for COVID-19 — or face steep fines.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was supposed to be in charge of enforcing the rule, which would have affected more than 80 million U.S. workers. Of their decision, the court noted:

“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”

Despite the private business vaccine mandate being struck down, the White House urged states and businesses to voluntarily enact sweeping vaccine mandates, again ignoring the fact that many people are already naturally immune.

World No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is a prime example — despite previously having COVID-19, and therefore having acquired natural immunity, he was barred from playing at the Australian Open because he didn’t get the COVID-19 injection.

Natural COVID-19 Immunity Superior to Shot-Derived Immunity

Data from New York and California health officials, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, show that people who had previously had COVID-19 were far better protected against COVID-19 infection with the Delta variant than people who had been jabbed. The report states:

“By the week beginning October 3, compared with COVID-19 cases rates among unvaccinated persons without a previous COVID-19 diagnosis, case rates among vaccinated persons without a previous COVID-19 diagnosis were 6.2-fold (California) and 4.5-fold (New York) lower; rates were substantially lower among both groups with previous COVID-19 diagnoses, including 29.0-fold (California) and 14.7-fold lower (New York) among unvaccinated persons with a previous diagnosis, and 32.5-fold (California) and 19.8-fold lower (New York) among vaccinated persons with a previous diagnosis of COVID-19.

During the same period, compared with hospitalization rates among unvaccinated persons without a previous COVID-19 diagnosis, hospitalization rates in California followed a similar pattern. These results demonstrate that vaccination protects against COVID-19 and related hospitalization, and that surviving a previous infection protects against a reinfection and related hospitalization.

Importantly, infection-derived protection was higher after the Delta variant became predominant, a time when vaccine-induced immunity for many persons declined because of immune evasion and immunologic waning.”

In another study, researchers reviewed studies published in PubMed and found that the risk of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 decreased by 80.5% to 100% among people who had previously had COVID-19. Additional research cited in their review found:

Among 9,119 people who had previously had COVID-19, only 0.7% became reinfected.

At the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, the incidence rate of COVID-19 among those who had not previously been infected was 4.3 per 100 people; the COVID-19 incidence rate among those who had previously been infected was zero per 100 people.

The frequency of hospitalization due to a repeated COVID-19 infection was five per14,840 people, or .03%, according to an Austrian study; the frequency of death due to a repeated infection was one per 14,840 people, or .01%.

Given these findings, the researchers concluded that previous infection status should be documented and recovered patients counseled on their risk for reinfection. They stated:

“Given the evidence of immunity from previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, however, policy makers should consider recovery from previous SARS-CoV-2 infection equal to immunity from vaccination for purposes related to entry to public events, businesses, and the workplace, or travel requirements.”

It’s Rare to Get Reinfected by SARS-CoV-2

In a letter to the editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Roberto Bertollini of the Ministry of Public Health in Doha, Qatar, and colleagues estimated the efficacy of natural immunity against reinfection by comparing data in the national cohort.

They found that immunity acquired from previous infection was 92.3% effective against reinfection with the beta variant and 97.6% effective against reinfection with the alpha variant. Protection persisted even one year after the primary infection.

Researchers from Ireland also conducted a systematic review including 615,777 people who had recovered from COVID-19, with a maximum duration of follow-up of more than 10 months. “Reinfection was an uncommon event,” they noted, “… with no study reporting an increase in the risk of reinfection over time.” The absolute reinfection rate ranged from zero percent to 1.1%, while the median reinfection rate was just 0.27%.15,16,17

Another study revealed similarly reassuring results. It followed 43,044 SARS-CoV-2 antibody-positive people for up to 35 weeks, and only 0.7% were reinfected. When genome sequencing was applied to estimate population-level risk of reinfection, the risk was estimated at 0.1%.

Again, there was no indication of waning immunity over seven months of follow-up, with the researchers concluding, “Reinfection is rare. Natural infection appears to elicit strong protection against reinfection with an efficacy &gt;90% for at least seven months.”

Another study from Israel also had researchers questioning “the need to vaccinate previously-infected individuals,” after their analysis showed similar risks of reinfection among those with vaccine-induced or natural immunity. Specifically, vaccination had an overall estimated efficacy of preventing reinfection of 92.8%, compared to 94.8% for natural immunity acquired via prior infection.

Evidence from Washington University School of Medicine also shows long-lasting immunity to COVID-19 exists in those who’ve recovered from the natural infection. At both seven months and 11 months after infection, most of the participants had bone marrow plasma cells (BMPCs) that secreted antibodies specific for the spike protein encoded by SARS-CoV-2.

The BMPCs were found in amounts similar to those found in people who had been vaccinated against tetanus or diphtheria, which are considered to provide long-lasting immunity. “Overall, our data provide strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans robustly establishes the two arms of humoral immune memory: long-lived BMPCs and memory B cells,” the researchers noted.

This is among the best available evidence of long-lasting immunity, because this immunological memory is a distinct part of the immune system that’s essential to long-term protection, beyond the initial immune response to the virus.

Getting the Shot May Be Worse After Prior Infection

If you’ve had COVID-19, getting injected may pose an even greater risk, to the extent that Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, Ph.D., a cardiac surgeon and patient advocate, has repeatedly warned the FDA that “clear and present danger” exists for those who have had COVID-19 and subsequently get the injection.

At issue are viral antigens that remain in your body after you are naturally infected. The immune response reactivated by the COVID-19 injection can trigger inflammation in tissues where the viral antigens are present. The inner lining of blood vessels, the lungs and the brain may be particularly at risk of such inflammation and damage.25 Writing in Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers also explained:

“Some people who have recovered from COVID-19 might not benefit from COVID-19 vaccination. In fact, one study found that previous COVID-19 was associated with increased adverse events following vaccination with the Comirnaty BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine (Pfizer–BioNTech). In addition, there are rare reports of serious adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination.”

As it stands, the U.S. CDC continues to push universal injections, despite past infection status, and natural immunity is not considered adequate to enter the growing number of venues requiring vaccine passports. This isn’t the case in Switzerland, where residents who have had COVID-19 in the past 12 months are considered to be equally as protected as those who’ve been injected.

The end-goal of vaccine passports, though, isn’t to simply track one shot. Your entire identity, including your medical history, finances, sexual orientation and much more, could soon be stored in a mobile app that’s increasingly required to partake in society. While some might call this convenience, others would call it oppression.

You can fight back against vaccine mandates and their related vaccine passports by not supporting establishments that require proof of a shot or a negative test, and avoiding all digital identities and vaccine ID passports offered as a means of increasing “access” or “convenience.”

Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

<a href=""></a> (EDUCATION WATCH)

<a href=""></a> (GREENIE WATCH)


<a href=""></a> (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

<a href=""></a> (TONGUE-TIED)


February, 14, 2022

Hugely important study published in Nature finds that having Covid significantly increases the long-term risk of developing a wide range of cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure, stroke, myocarditis, arrythmia, blood clots in the lungs

Long-term cardiovascular outcomes of COVID-19


The cardiovascular complications of acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are well described, but the post-acute cardiovascular manifestations of COVID-19 have not yet been comprehensively characterized. Here we used national healthcare databases from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to build a cohort of 153,760 individuals with COVID-19, as well as two sets of control cohorts with 5,637,647 (contemporary controls) and 5,859,411 (historical controls) individuals, to estimate risks and 1-year burdens of a set of pre-specified incident cardiovascular outcomes. We show that, beyond the first 30 d after infection, individuals with COVID-19 are at increased risk of incident cardiovascular disease spanning several categories, including cerebrovascular disorders, dysrhythmias, ischemic and non-ischemic heart disease, pericarditis, myocarditis, heart failure and thromboembolic disease. These risks and burdens were evident even among individuals who were not hospitalized during the acute phase of the infection and increased in a graded fashion according to the care setting during the acute phase (non-hospitalized, hospitalized and admitted to intensive care). Our results provide evidence that the risk and 1-year burden of cardiovascular disease in survivors of acute COVID-19 are substantial. Care pathways of those surviving the acute episode of COVID-19 should include attention to cardiovascular health and disease.


Government action caused excess Covid deaths

Here is our detailed scientific study from the best all-cause mortality data by time, age, jurisdiction, gender... compared to state-population characteristics...:

The abstract of our landmark paper is:

We investigate why the USA, unlike Canada and Western European countries, has a sustained exceedingly large mortality in the “COVID-era” occurring from March 2020 to present (October 2021). All-cause mortality by time is the most reliable data for detecting true catastrophic events causing death, and for gauging the population-level impact of any surge in deaths from any cause. The behaviour of the USA all-cause mortality by time (week, year), by age group, by sex, and by state is contrary to pandemic behaviour caused by a new respiratory disease virus for which there is no prior natural immunity in the population. Its seasonal structure (summer maxima), age-group distribution (young residents), and large state-wise heterogeneity are unprecedented and are opposite to viral respiratory disease behaviour, pandemic or not. We conclude that a pandemic did not occur.

We infer that persistent chronic psychological stress induced by the long-lasting government-imposed societal and economic transformations during the COVID-era converted the existing societal (poverty), public-health (obesity) and hot-climate risk factors into deadly agents, largely acting together, with devastating population-level consequences against large pools of vulnerable and disadvantaged residents of the USA, far above preexisting pre-COVID-era mortality in those pools. We also find a large COVID-era USA pneumonia epidemic that is not mentioned in the media or significantly in the scientific literature, which was not adequately addressed. Many COVID-19-assigned deaths may be misdiagnosed bacterial pneumonia deaths. The massive vaccination campaign (380 M administered doses, 178 M fully vaccinated individuals, mainly January-August 2021 and March-August 2021, respectively) had no detectable mitigating effect, and may have contributed to making the younger population more vulnerable (35-64 years, summer-2021 mortality).


Britain's unethical Covid messaging must never be repeated

Dr Gary Sidley

Over the last two years – under the guise of a Covid-19 communications strategy – the British people have faced a psychologic bombardment from their own government.

Who can forget the constant images during the pandemic warning people to stay indoors to ‘save lives’, students being told that breaking the rules would be ‘killing their granny’, or the ‘Look him in the eyes’ campaign, which showed Covid patients in hospital wearing an oxygen mask, imploring people to never bend the rules and to keep a ‘safe distance’ from others. Even now, as the number of Covid cases continues to fall, we are surrounded by billboards showing black Covid particles hanging in the air like smoke, enveloping people going about their everyday lives.

The consequences of this unprecedented state-sanctioned campaign have been visible everywhere: from the old lady in the street, paralysed with fear of contamination from another human, darting into the road to avoid someone walking the other way, to the neighbour donning a face covering and plastic gloves to wheel the dustbin to the end of her drive. These kinds of incidents are the product of an intensive messaging campaign, designed by the government’s behavioural scientists, to ‘nudge’ us into compliance with the Covid-19 restrictions and the subsequent vaccine rollout.

The deployment of behavioural science as a means of inducing people to adopt what the state deems to be the ‘right’ actions gained impetus with the advent of the ‘Behavioural Insight Team’ (BIT) in 2010. From humble beginnings as a seven-person unit working with the UK government, the BIT has rapidly expanded to become a ‘social purpose company’ operating in many countries across the world.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, several BIT members – along with other psychologists with ‘nudging’ expertise – have been an integral part of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviour (SPI-B), a Sage subgroup tasked with advising government about how to maximise the impact of its pandemic communications strategy. Behavioural science expertise is also deployed across many other areas of government.

Human beings spend 99 per cent of their time on automatic pilot, making moment-by-moment decisions without conscious reflection. Although this is cognitively efficient, it also leaves us vulnerable to behavioural-science ‘nudges’ which can shape our actions without us knowing. Behavioural scientists have a range of techniques at their disposal (as described in a Cabinet Office and Institute for Government ‘Mindspace’ report published in 2010) and many of them have been woven into the Covid-19 messaging campaign.

But three particular interventions during the pandemic raise major ethical concerns: fear inflation, equating compliance with virtue and the encouragement of peer pressure to conform. The use of these covert psychological strategies infringe the basic ethical principles of psychological practice.

It can be argued that a civilised society should not strategically frighten, shame and scapegoat its citizens as a way to increase compliance. This deliberate creation of distress resembles the tactics used by regimes to eliminate beliefs and behaviours that the state thinks is deviant.

And the collateral damage associated with these methods is considerable. It is likely that fear inflation may have significantly contributed to non-Covid excess deaths recorded during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the shaming and scapegoating of the those deemed to be non-compliers has inevitable created minority outgroups (the unvaccinated, for example) that others feel empowered to vilify and verbally abuse.

Second, behavioural scientists have routinely infringed a sacrosanct cornerstone of ethical practice: the need to obtain a recipient’s informed consent prior to the delivery of a medical or psychological intervention. Professor David Halpern (chief executive of the BIT and a Sage member), co-authored the 2010 ‘Mindspace’ document that explicitly recognised the significant ethical dilemmas associated with ‘nudges’ that act subconsciously on their targets. The report noted then that ‘Policymakers wishing to use these tools… need the approval of the public to do so’. No attempt has yet been made to obtain the public’s permission to use these psychological interventions.

Attempts by psychologists and behavioural scientists to justify the use of ‘nudges’ have, to date, been inadequate and disingenuous. The British Psychological Society (BPS) – the formal guardians of ethical psychological practice in the UK – when challenged about the morality of these covert psychological strategies, claimed that members involved in these practices were exempt from seeking consent as they had acted with ‘social responsibility’. Seemingly, the BPS believes that the government’s Covid-communications strategy was intended to influence some anonymous collective rather than the actions of as many individuals as possible.

The behavioural science tentacles extend far beyond the public health domain. For example, a recent document outlining a collaboration between Sky TV and the Behavioural Insights Team, titled The Power of TV: Nudging Viewers to De-carbonise, suggests that news, drama and documentary programmes could soon be underpinned by covert messages prompting us to adopt lifestyles that enable the realisation of the zero-carbon goal. No doubt the ‘nudgers’ would argue that they are enabling the British people to do the right thing, but who decides what is ‘right’? In democratic societies desirable goals, and subsequent policies are typically included in political parties’ election manifestoes and voted for (or rejected) via the ballot box, rather than being unilaterally determined by the state.

In light of these escalating concerns about the government’s deployment of behavioural science, I – together with 54 other health professionals – have written an open letter to the Public Administration & Constitutional Affairs Committee (a Commons select committee chaired by William Wragg MP) to formally request an independent inquiry into the government’s use of covert psychological strategies. Denying individuals rational choices, and an over-reliance upon subliminal influence, is both unethical and undemocratic. Transparency regarding how government departments use ‘nudge’ techniques is now long overdue.




February 13, 2022

Big controlled study of Ivermectin as a preventive

The only thing holding up official acceptance of Ivermectin is that Trump recommended it

They Just Issued Mandatory Ivermectin Use, What Happened Next…
Another proof that will slap the left about their disbelief on Ivermectin’s potential.

Previously, Dr. Volnei José Morastoni, City Mayor of Itajaí, a southern city in Brazil in the state of Santa Catarina has announced a citywide use of Ivermectin against COVID-19.

NIH Website reported that Mayor Volnei has distributed Ivermectin kits totaling 1.5 million tablets to the residents of Itajaí.

A comprehensive study confirms that regular usage of ivermectin as a prophylactic agent was associated with significantly reduced COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death rates. The ivermectin non-users were two times more likely to die of COVID-19 than ivermectin users in the overall population analysis.

The summary of the study:

Materials and methods: We analyzed data from a prospective, observational study of the citywide COVID-19 prevention with ivermectin program, which was conducted between July 2020 and December 2020 in Itajaí, Brazil. Study design, institutional review board approval, and analysis of registry data occurred after completion of the program. The program consisted of inviting the entire population of Itajaí to a medical visit to enroll in the program and to compile baseline, personal, demographic, and medical information. In the absence of contraindications, ivermectin was offered as an optional treatment to be taken for two consecutive days every 15 days at a dose of 0.2 mg/kg/day. In cases where a participating citizen of Itajaí became ill with COVID-19, they were recommended not to use ivermectin or any other medication in early outpatient treatment. Clinical outcomes of infection, hospitalization, and death were automatically reported and entered into the registry in real-time. Study analysis consisted of comparing ivermectin users with non-users using cohorts of infected patients propensity scores matched by age, sex, and comorbidities. COVID-19 infection and mortality rates were analyzed with and without the use of propensity score matching (PSM).

Results: Of the 223,128 citizens of Itajaí considered for the study, a total of 159,561 subjects were included in the analysis: 113,845 (71.3% of the population above 18 years old) regular ivermectin users and 45,716 (23.3%) non-users. Of these, 4,311 ivermectin users were infected, among which 4,197 were from the city of Itajaí (3.7% infection rate), and 3,034 non-users (from Itajaí) were infected (6.6% infection rate), with a 44% reduction in COVID-19 infection rate (risk ratio [RR], 0.56; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.53-0.58; p < 0.0001). Using PSM, two cohorts of 3,034 subjects suffering from COVID-19 infection were compared. The regular use of ivermectin led to a 68% reduction in COVID-19 mortality (25 [0.8%] versus 79 [2.6%] among ivermectin non-users; RR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.20-0.49; p < 0.0001). When adjusted for residual variables, reduction in mortality rate was 70% (RR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.19-0.46; p < 0.0001). There was a 56% reduction in hospitalization rate (44 versus 99 hospitalizations among ivermectin users and non-users, respectively; RR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.31-0.63; p < 0.0001). After adjustment for residual variables, reduction in hospitalization rate was 67% (RR, 0.33; 95% CI, 023-0.66; p < 0.0001).

Of the 113,845 prophylaxed subjects from the city of Itajaí, 4,197 had a positive RT-PCR SARS-CoV-2 (3.7% infection rate), while 3,034 of the 37,027 untreated subjects had positive RT-PCR SARS-CoV-2 (6.6% infection rate), a 44% reduction in COVID-19 infection rate (risk ratio [RR], 0.56; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.53-0.58; p < 0.0001). An addition of 114 subjects who used ivermectin and were infected was originally from other cities but was registered as part of the program, in a total of 4,311 positive cases among ivermectin users. For the present analysis, the 4,311 positive cases among subjects that used ivermectin and 3,034 cases among subjects that did not use ivermectin were considered. After PSM, two cohorts of 3,034 subjects were created.

Baseline characteristics of the 7,345 subjects included before PSM and the baseline characteristics of the 6,068 subjects in the matched groups are shown in Table 1. Prior to PSM, ivermectin users had a higher percentage of subjects over 50 years old (p < 0.0001), higher prevalence of T2D (p = 0.0004), hypertension (p < 0.0001), and CVD (p = 0.03), and a higher percentage of Caucasians (p = 0.004), than non-users. After PSM, all baseline parameters were similar between groups

After employing PSM, of the 6,068 subjects (3,034 in each group), there were 44 hospitalizations among ivermectin users (1.6% hospitalization rate) and 99 hospitalizations (3.3% hospitalization rate) among ivermectin non-users, a 56% reduction in hospitalization rate (RR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.31-0.63). When adjustment for variables was employed, the reduction in hospitalization rate was 67% (RR, 0.33; 95% CI, 023-0.66; p < 0.0001).


Where do we stand with Omicron?

There has been a flood of new data in the past few weeks regarding Omicron’s impact throughout the world, and specifically on the influence of vaccination (with or without boosters) on symptomatic infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, including durability. It’s actually remarkable how much and how quickly we are learning about Omicron and our ability to reduce its toll, considering this virus strain was reported less than 2 months ago.

The New Data

Clearly, there’s a major problem with vaccine breakthrough Omicron infections. Recall that with a booster vs Delta, the vaccine effectiveness was restored to ~95% as Ravin Gupta and I recently reviewed all of the reported studies in Science

The problem with the booster with Omicron is that instead of getting vaccine effectiveness vs infections (symptomatic or all) up to 95%, it is about 50% from 4 new reports, summarized in this Table. To date, the best study comes from Qatar with over 400,000 people boosted with either Pfizer or mRNA

The Math

That level—about 50% effectiveness for the booster (vs Omicron)—would be associated with 10-fold more breakthrough infections than seen with a 95% effectiveness (Delta) So it’s no wonder there is the public perception that Omicron breakthroughs are omnipresent, that “vaccines aren’t working”. They aren’t working well, but it isn’t true that they’re not working to protect vs infections and transmission. It’s just much less. For context, remember that the FDA criteria for approving a Covid vaccine was set at a 50% reduction of symptomatic infections, so there’s unquestionably some efficacy here, just not nearly what we’ve been accustomed to seeing.

As I was quoted in the Washington Post coverage, “A booster is essential for preventing severe disease, hospitalization and deaths,” said Eric Topol, a molecular medicine professor at Scripps Research, referring to the findings. Public health officials need to communicate clearly that although the vaccines and booster shots are “not holding up against omicron infections, they are holding up the wall against severe disease … and that’s phenomenal.”

Now let’s turn to hospitalizations where the data are extraordinary, consistent, potent protection, and by all we have to go on, very durable. There are 3 reports: the UKHSA, the Kaiser Permanente Southern California, and the new CDC MMWR as summarized in this Table. It is exceptionally rare to see such consistency in triplicate—88, 89, and 90 for booster effectiveness vs Omicron. That is substantially improved compared with 2 shots (44-68%). And, importantly, it appears to be quite durable (83-90%) after 3 months, an attrition level fully in keeping with what we have seen over time with the Delta variant. As I previously wrote, We’re very lucky. Damn lucky.

This new CDC graph compares the effectiveness of vaccination with or without a booster against Delta and Omicron hospitalizations. The 3rd dose gets to near parity for the 2 strains even though Omicron is the most immune evasive variant we’ve seen., with far more extensive waning of protection that with Delta.

There really is an Omicron booster vaccination dichotomy—protection vs infections vs protection vs severe disease (hospitalizations and deaths)—that has led to much confusion. The booster’s effect is dual: it induces neutralizing antibodies at high levels and expands memory B and T cells as previously reviewed. The latter is what really accounts for protection vs severe disease, and that also would be expected to be quite durable. Which makes the case that the 3rd shot may be long-lasting for such benefit, at least against Omicron. Early in the pandemic we focused on symptomatic infections (there primary endpoint of the pivotal clinical trials) since they tracked so closely with severe disease outcomes. That relationship markedly changed with Omicron; they are now dissociated to a substantial degree.

The new Israeli data for a 4th dose (2nd booster) vs the initial booster during its Omicron wave shows a similar pattern of reduction of infections (very) short term, but we await data regarding hospitalizations and deaths, which are incubating.

The Patterns

It is quite clear in reviewing the patterns from some of countries hit hard by Omicron that vaccination and booster rates are playing a critical role in keeping severe disease in check. One example is Portugal, with 90% 2-shot vaccinated and over 40% boosted. New cases have gotten extremely high during its Omicron wave, but the impact for ICU admits or deaths, fortunately, has been small to date.

Similar patterns, perhaps less pronounced with respect to the case vs ICU/deaths dissociation, are evident in Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, all going through Omicron waves.

However, this is a very different look from the United States, where hospitalizations have soared to a new record, ICU admits are close to their pre-vaccination phase peak, and deaths are again on a steep rise (nearly 4,000 reported yesterday, one of the highest for the US pandemic). These severe disease outcomes are likely a function of very low vaccination rates (63%) and booster rate (24%) compared with the European countries cited. It is also noteworthy that the United States was into its second Delta surge at the time when Omicron emerged in December, so these increases are superimposed. Further, in comparison to South Africa and some other countries, there are different demographics, such as age, and co-existing conditions, such as obesity or diabetes.

There’s been a lot written about Omicron’s sharp case descent, which was seen in Gauteng and throughout South Africa. But it isn’t so clearcut in other countries yet, especially normalized for reduced testing. It actually is somewhat wobbly, stuttering in the United Kingdom, one of the first countries outside of South Africa to begin its descent. So Omicron’s future trajectory isn’t clear, and we cannot rule out 2nd surges of Omicron at this point in places around the world. That occurrence may be influenced, at least in part, by the immunity wall built prior to and during the Omicron wave (from prior Covid, vaccinations and boosters), and only time will tell.

The Exit?

So where do we go from here? Is Omicron, by infecting “up to half the world’s population” going to serve as our exit ramp from pandemic to a contained, endemic state?

That isn’t clear and it would be foolish to predict that, even though that occurred this week Omicron’s going to help in building an immunity wall, but whether that will be sufficient is indeterminate. We’re so far from containing the virus at this point, enabling further accelerate evolution to a new variant that could potentially have a higher level of immune evasion (not so lucky as with Omicron), more fully evading our current vaccines, or even the Omicron-specific vaccine expected later this year.

That is why it’s so essential to push on the pan-coronavirus vaccine, oral and nasal vaccines that build mucous immunity and help block transmission, and get mass production of Paxlovid along with other safe and effective anti-Covid pills that are very likely variant-proof, not relying on our immune system.

As the Washington Post editorial board wrote today, and which I’m in total agreement":

“Ultimately, in chasing variants, we are always going to be behind the curve. Along with the immediate battle with omicron, renewed effort must be made to develop next-generation vaccines that will provide broader and longer protection and dampen transmission. Ideally, scientists will develop a universal coronavirus vaccine that encompasses all of these characteristics, capable of protecting against many — or all — known variants. That day cannot come soon enough.”

Now is not the time to rely on sharp descents and that somehow “it’s over". If that happens, and we quickly get to containment and low levels of circulating virus that are no more threatening than annual flu, terrific. It seems quite unlikely with so much of the world’s population, especially in low and middle income countries, have yet to be vaccinated. If there's one thing we learned about predicting the path of SARS-CoV-2, it’s that it’s unpredictable. So we shouldn’t plan on a rosy picture. There’s too much we can do right now to seize control in case the most optimistic scenarios don’t play out. (See the original for graphics)




February 11, 2022

Scripps Research discovery could enable broad coronavirus vaccine

LA JOLLA, CA—The COVID-causing virus SARS-CoV-2 harbors a vulnerable site at the base of its spike protein that is found also on closely related coronaviruses, according to a new study from Scripps Research. The discovery, published Feb 8 in Science Translational Medicine, could inform the design of broad-acting vaccines and antibody therapies capable of stopping future coronavirus pandemics.

The scientists had previously isolated an antibody from a COVID-19 survivor that can neutralize not only SARS-CoV-2 but also several other members of the family of coronaviruses known as beta-coronaviruses. In the new work, they mapped at atomic scale the site, or “epitope,” to which the antibody binds on the SARS-Cov-2 spike protein. They showed that the same epitope exists on other beta coronaviruses, and demonstrated with animal models that the antibody is protective against the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“We’re hopeful that the identification of this epitope will help us develop vaccines and antibody therapies that work against all beta-coronaviruses, including coronaviruses that may jump from animals to humans in the future,” says study co-senior author Raiees Andrabi, PhD, an institute investigator in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research.

Beta-coronaviruses have emerged recently as major, ongoing threats to public health. These coronaviruses include SARS-CoV-1, which killed about 800 people, mostly in Asia, in a series of outbreaks in 2002-04; MERS-CoV, which has killed about 900 people, mostly in the Middle East, since 2012; and, of course, SARS-CoV-2, which by now has killed over 5 million people worldwide in the COVID-19 pandemic. Two other beta coronaviruses, HCoV-HKU1 and HCoV-OC43, cause only common colds, but are suspected of having caused deadly pandemics centuries ago, when they first jumped from animals to humans. Researchers widely believe that future coronavirus pandemics initiated by animal-to-human spread are inevitable.

That prospect has spurred efforts towards the development of a pan-beta-coronaviral vaccine or antibody therapy. Scripps researchers took an initial step in that direction in 2020 when they identified an antibody, in a blood sample from a COVID-19 survivor, that could neutralize both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1. Although neutralizing tests weren’t available for all other beta-coronaviruses, they found that the antibody at least bound to most of these viruses.

In the new study, the team used X-ray crystallography and other techniques to precisely map the antibody’s binding site on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. They showed that the same site is found on most other beta coronaviruses—which helps explain the antibody’s broad effect on these viruses.

“The site is on the stem of the viral spike protein and is part of the ‘machinery’ the virus uses to fuse with cell membranes in its human or animal hosts after the virus has initially bound to a cell-surface receptor,” says study co-senior author Dennis Burton, PhD, Chair of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research. “Fusion allows the viral genetic material to enter and take over host cells, and the crucial role of this machinery explains why the site is consistently present across beta-coronaviruses.”

By contrast, the receptor binding site at the top of the viral spike protein mutates relatively rapidly and thus tends to vary greatly from one beta-coronavirus to the next—making it a poor target for broad beta-coronavirus vaccines or antibody therapies.

The researchers now are following up with efforts to find other, perhaps even more broadly effective antibodies, in their search for optimal antibodies and vaccines against coronaviruses.


Decades-Old Drug May Help Protect Against Severe COVID-19 Symptoms: Study

A drug that was approved by U.S. regulators more than 70 years ago may help protect against two major COVID-19 symptoms, according to a new study.

Disulfiram, approved to treat alcoholism, protected rodents infected with COVID-19 from lung injury in the preclinical study done by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Certain white blood cells called neutrophils form inside some people suffering from COVID-19, damaging the lungs. No drugs have yet been found to prevent this from happening, researchers said.

Disulfiram, though, dramatically reduced the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NET), which cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs and sometimes lead to blood clots.

Researchers dosed the mice with disulfiram a day before and three hours after infecting them with the virus that causes COVID-19. Some 95 percent of those mice survived, compared to 40 percent not treated with the drug.

The new study and a previous one that linked disulfiram with reduced NET formation and improved survival “suggest that disulfiram could be useful in the management of pathologies involving NETs, including lung injuries, sepsis, thrombosis, and cancer,” the researchers said in the paper, which was published by The Journal of Clinical Investigation on Feb. 8.

“As we learn more about the underlying biology of these lung injuries, we may be able to specifically target the processes that are damaging the lung tissue,” Dr. Robert Schwartz, an associate professor of medicine in the gastroenterology and hepatology division at Weill Cornell Medicine, said in a statement.

“Currently there aren’t any good treatment options for COVID-related lung injury, so disulfiram appears to be worth investigating further in this regard, particularly in severe COVID-19 patients.”

Disulfiram has previously been associated in observational studies with lowering the risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2, also known as the CCP virus, which causes COVID-19.

One study of the drug in human patients with moderate COVID-19 was completed in 2021, but results haven’t yet been posted. A separate trial testing the drug against COVID-19 in humans has not yet been completed.

The new study was funded by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center and the Pershing Square Foundation, among other institutions.

Other drugs approved for different uses have shown some success against COVID-19, including ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and fluvoxamine, though U.S. health officials primarily recommend ones such as paxlovid that are specifically approved for combating the illness.


‘There’s No Law’: Physician Experienced in Investigating Biological Warfare Challenges Medical Board’s Misinformation Allegation

Though Dr. Meryl Nass, a board-certified internal medicine physician, has been untangling narratives of dis- and misinformation long before COVID-19, it wasn’t until recently that her license was temporarily suspended under the allegation that she is now spreading it.

Her research has brought her before Congress and state legislatures to give testimonies on bioterrorism, Gulf War syndrome, and vaccine safety.

Throughout her career, she’s consulted for international health and intelligence agencies regarding prevention, investigation, and mitigation of chemical and biological warfare and pandemics.

She spent three years investigating what had been deemed a naturally occurring anthrax outbreak during Rhodesia’s civil war.

Nass was able to prove that it was due to biological warfare, with her findings published in a 1992 paper that marked a new achievement in scientific research.

“This was important because it was the first time in history potential perpetrators learned they could be identified,” Nass told The Epoch Times. “You couldn’t just start an epidemic somewhere and assume that no one was ever going to prove it because there wasn’t any scientific way to prove that it was done. I established that way.”

She was the main author, along with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (author of “The Real Anthony Fauci”) and Children’s Health Defense, of a citizen’s petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its vaccine advisory committee regarding the authorization of COVID vaccines and why she said they’re not suitable for children.

As censorship and disinformation have thickened around the COVID narrative, Nass has followed and written about the suppression of early-treatment medication such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

Given this background, the Maine Medical Board of Licensure nevertheless saw it appropriate to charge Nass—a physician for 41 years—with misinformation, an allegation that came with no explanation as to what misinformation she was spreading.

“Never before has any censorship been imposed by a collection of organizations who are attempting to make law by whining in unison about misinformation with threats to licenses and board certifications—while there is no legal mechanism by which they can strip certification,” Nass said. “There are no rules, regulations, or laws underpinning the threats of punishment for ‘spreading misinformation.’”

The Maine Medical Board of Licensure didn’t respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.


Big Tech Censored Dozens of Doctors, More Than 800 Accounts for COVID-19 ‘Misinformation,’ Study Finds

Major technology companies and social media platforms have removed, suppressed or flagged the accounts of more than 800 prominent individuals and organizations, including medical doctors, for COVID-19 “misinformation,” according to a new study from the Media Research Center.

The study focused on acts of censorship on major social media platforms and online services, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Ads, and TikTok.

Instances of censorship included Facebook’s decision to flag the British Medical Journal with a “fact check” and “missing context” label, reducing the visibility of a post, for a study delving into data-integrity issues with a Pfizer vaccine clinical trial.

Facebook also deleted the page of the Great Barrington Declaration, an open letter led by dozens of medical professionals, including Dr. Jay Battacharya, a Stanford epidemiologist, and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a former employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advocated for less restrictive measures to address the dangers of COVID-19.

“Big Tech set up a system where you can’t disagree with ‘the science’ even though that’s the foundation of the scientific method,” Dan Gainor, MRC vice president of Free Speech America, told the Daily Caller National Foundation. “If doctors and academic journals can’t debate publicly, then it’s not science at all. It’s ‘religion.’”

Big Tech also scrubbed podcast host Joe Rogan’s interviews with scientists Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone, the latter of whom was instrumental in pioneering mRNA technology. Twitter banned Malone from its platform permanently in late December over the virologist’s tweets questioning the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We tallied 32 different doctors who were censored, including mRNA vaccine innovator Dr. Robert Malone,” Gainor said. “Censoring views of credentialed experts doesn’t ensure confidence in vaccines. It undermines faith in government COVID-19 strategies.“

In addition to medical doctors, the study examined instances in which members of Congress were censored by tech platforms.

These included an incident last August in which YouTube suspended Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for posting a video arguing that “cloth masks” are not effective against the coronavirus, a view later echoed by many prominent medical commentators.

Twitter also flagged a tweet from Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., in which he wrote “studies show those with natural immunity from a prior infection are much less likely to contract and spread COVID than those who only have vaccine-induced immunity.”

The study also examined Big Tech censorship of prominent media personalities, such as Rogan, Tucker Carlson, and Dan Bongino.




February 10, 2022

Matters of concern in the defense data dump

"Data appears to show a marked increase in 2021 in conditions that have been observed to be *side effects* of the COVID-19 vaccines"


These are dangerous times, and we are in a 21st century global information war. Cannon balls are flying, and there are false flag operations and concern trollery to the left, right and center of us. And yet onward we ride. The Light Brigade.

And then unexpectedly, onto the public stage, steps Drs. Samuel Sigoloff, Peter Chambers, and Theresa Long. Department of Defense whistleblowers who downloaded a massive trove of unclassified data (to download the Excel file see the link “Data from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) shows”) on the incidence of various diseases before and after the onset of illegal forced genetic COVID-19 vaccination of our military forces.

Now these are basically raw data from the Defense Medical Epidemiological Database (DMED). For the detail oriented, this is the scrubbed and de-identified (HIPAA compliant) database derived from the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS), which pulls directly from patient records and other US Department of Defense-related medical record information streams. These data were pulled with full chain-of-custody documentation based on various CPT codes that are related to known genetic COVID-19 vaccine side effects.

As raw data, this information needs to be reviewed with care and considered to be both rough and preliminary. For the uninitiated, there are major risks associated with reliance on large, raw (uncorrected) data sets for retrospective (backwards in time) data analyses. The key technical term here is “confounding variables”, but data entry errors (such as multiple entries for the same diagnostic event) or process changes can also introduce huge sources of bias into large data sets like this. With raw data, it is most useful to consider any data plotting to be sort of a first draft, useful for identifying potential trends or topics that deserve more detailed analysis. But sometimes, when the observed effect size in the raw data is very large or potentially important, alarm bells start ringing even before full analysis is completed. And that seems to be the case with these data.

Nick Hudson, the Chairman of the South African PANDATA group (a leader in providing accurate data analysis throughout this pandemic), summarizes the situation like this “The DMED record data appears to show a marked increase in 2021 in conditions that have been observed to be side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines. For many of these, mechanistic explanations have been established or at least proposed. It is important to rule out distortions owing to recent changes to the system, such as increased coverage (for example, broader selections of personnel or inclusion of family members), changes in handling of multiple records from single cases, and changes in propensity to report owing to changes in policy, access to the system, participating entities or recent advisories or advertising of the system. An instructive test would be to check that we do not see a similar rise for conditions that could not plausibly exhibit a significant association with the vaccines, such as broken legs or burns. This is especially important since the total reports of diseases and injuries have apparently risen by an order of magnitude, which would suggest extremely high prevalence of adverse events among a population that is likely healthier and fitter than the general population. The data are presented in summary format. Underlying data with dates and depersonalized patient indices, together with vaccination records for the population covered by the database would likely deliver swift and incisive conclusions.”

Now for some reason, although this database has apparently been managed for years by the same NIH subcontractor, and has been included in the CDC datasets including those reviewed by the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Work Group, the geniuses that have been managing it have never identified any issues before the whistleblowers grabbed this download. Does not inspire confidence, no matter what the final “official” explanation becomes.

Based on this presentation dated 04 February, Slides 3 and 13 both indicate that Fauci and colleagues at the NIH are working with the DoD, and the data from the DMED database was being shared. This makes it VERY difficult to argue that Fauci did not know this data. It also makes it even harder to believe that, with all these agencies watching the same data, no one thought the historical data was incorrect until the whistleblowers sounded their alert.

Despite this, as the data entered the public sphere with the “second opinion” public Senate hearing convened by Senator Ron Johnson, the DoD saw fit to communicate with Politifact rather than the Senator, providing the following statement:

“But Peter Graves, spokesperson for the Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Surveillance Division, told PolitiFact by email that "in response to concerns mentioned in news reports" the division reviewed data in the DMED "and found that the data was incorrect for the years 2016-2020."

Officials compared numbers in the DMED with source data in the DMSS and found that the total number of medical diagnoses from those years "represented only a small fraction of actual medical diagnoses." The 2021 numbers, however, were up-to-date, giving the "appearance of significant increased occurrence of all medical diagnoses in 2021 because of the underreported data for 2016-2020," Graves said.

The DMED system has been taken offline to "identify and correct the root-cause of the data corruption," Graves said.”

As noted above, among the many curious aspects of this statement is that the CDC VaST has apparently been monitoring these data for years, and never identified this “data corruption” as an issue.

So, what do the original data show (prior to Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Surveillance Division correction of the “data corruption”)?

In reviewing these data, what we see are baseline data from 2016 to 2019 (pre SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19), 2020 (the first year of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 when no vaccines were available), and 2021 (the year that vaccines were available and mandated for the US Military).

As noted above, there are many potential confounding variables, but whatever the cause, if these data are not due to longstanding and previously undiscovered “data corruption”, then we have a major issue with the overall health of our armed services.

And if they are due to previously undiscovered “data corruption”, why wasn’t someone running around with their pants on fire trying to figure out what is going on here long before the whistleblowers brought this to national attention?


Covid drugs a booster for Pfizer sales

As Pfizer forecasts strong sales this year for its Covid-19 vaccine and treatment, the drugmaker is on the hunt for deals to bolster its pipeline of experimental products.

Pfizer said on Tuesday night that surging sales of its Covid-19 treatment and continued demand for its shots should boost the company’s revenue to around $US100bn ($140bn) this year. The company estimated that sales of its antiviral pill Paxlovid will reach about $US22bn while the vaccine will add $US32bn.

That is on top of last year’s sales of $US36.8bn for the vaccine, also known as Comirnaty, the highest annual sales total for any pharmaceutical product. Paxlovid sales last year totalled $US76m.

The company has done a handful of recent acquisitions and partnerships to bolster its pipeline of drugs and vaccines, including several partnerships announced last month to boost its growing mRNA business. In December, Pfizer said it would acquire Arena Pharmaceuticals for $US6.7bn. Pfizer says it has invested $US25bn on business development since 2019.

With a growing chest of cash, Pfizer says its deal-making strategy will focus on drugs in early and late-stage development in areas the company is already focusing on, such as oncology, immunology and rare diseases. The New York-based drugmaker forecasts new deals to generate $US25bn in additional revenue by 2030. “We would like to deploy capital in scientific areas that we have expertise in so we can choose the right targets,” chief executive Albert Bourla said in an interview.

The prospect of further deal making could address concerns from analysts and investors who are watching what Pfizer does with its windfall from the pandemic. Sales from the pandemic vaccine and treatment will taper over time and the company faces drops in sales as innovative products lose their patent protection. Pfizer shares had fallen more than 4 per cent on Tuesday night following its earnings. The drop was because investors were expecting Pfizer’s guidance on this year’s earnings per share to be higher than $US6.35 to $US6.55, according to Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat.

“It’s our all-time record high,” chief financial officer Frank D’Amelio said, regarding the company’s guidance. He said analysts may have had higher expectations because of the pandemic products, but noted that Pfizer’s estimates only include finalised agreements.

Pfizer is in discussions with more than 100 countries for Paxlovid, so revenues are likely to come in higher than the $US22bn should it strike more agreements.

To fight Omicron surges, some countries are handing out second booster shots. In Israel, early data suggest a…
Paxlovid is cleared for use in people in the US 12 years and older who are at high risk of developing severe disease. The company said it expects to begin a study of the drug for children 6 years to 18 by the end of March. Results from studies of the drug in adults who are at standard risk for severe disease and household exposure should come later this year, Pfizer said.

The drug remains in short supply, and has been difficult to find in the US as Pfizer increases production to 120 million courses of treatment this year.

While Pfizer says Paxlovid works safely, and was effective against the Omicron variant in laboratory studies, it says it is working on a new treatment, too. The potential drug is designed to counter possible viral resistance to Paxlovid, require fewer pills in a course, and to work without the aid of the antiviral ritonavir that is given with Paxlovid, but carries safety risks for patients taking some common medications, according to Pfizer.

“We are not taking any chances; we’re going to stay on the forefront of the scientific efforts to battle the pandemic,” said Mr Bourla.

The company says it will begin studying the new Covid-19 treatment in the second half of this year.

While Pfizer says demand for the vaccine may wane, it expects growing demand for the treatment. Yet sales of both will combine for more than half of annual $US98bn to $US102bn Pfizer forecasted revenue for 2022. Pfizer says the virus won’t be fully eradicated in the near term because it is difficult to contain, has been shown to mutate, and that data shows natural infections don’t lead to long-term protection needed to prevent transmission and mutations.

The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE has grown into one of the most widely used shots globally. Pfizer’s booster shots have also seen the greatest use in the U.S. Nearly 50 million have been administered.

In the last three months of 2021, Pfizer’s vaccine achieved $US12.5bn in sales, contributing to overall revenue of $US23.84bn. A year earlier, Pfizer’s fourth-quarter revenue was $US11.63bn.

Adjusted earnings grew to $US1.08 a share, from 43c a share in the year-ago quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet had forecast adjusted earnings of 87c a share on sales of $US24.16bn.




February 09, 2022

CDC’s new study proves natural immunity is real and should lead to COVID policy changes

A recently released study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that “persons who survived a previous [COVID] infection had lower case rates than persons who were vaccinated alone” should lead to COVID policy and mandates changes.

The six-month long study of four groups of people in California and New York offers the best evidence so far that natural immunity is real. The report indicates researchers knew as early as October that natural immunity was stronger at preventing COVID than vaccines alone, yet the CDC chose to withhold their findings until late January.

Throughout last fall, President Joe Biden and his administration aggressively pushed vaccine mandates on private employers, members of the military, federal contractors, and federal workers.

In mid-December President Biden held a news conference in which he warned Americans “We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated — for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm.”

But the CDC knew at that time that millions of Americans already had natural immunity to COVID and ought to have been exempted from any vaccine mandates.

“This administration is the most dishonest in all of American history,” said Richard Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government. “Biden knew, or ought to have known in October that natural immunity was real, yet he chose to push mandates that impacted the livelihoods of about estimated 100 million Americans, nearly two-thirds of the American workforce.”

It is unclear how many Americans with natural immunity lost their jobs because of the mandates. What is clear is that the mandates are not based on science.

“I’m not a medical doctor but I didn’t need a CDC study to tell me that natural immunity is real,” Manning said. “Vaccines are man’s attempt to mimic naturally acquired immunity. There is no excuse for this administration’s persistence in pushing bad science.”

The Biden administration’s mandates and CDC guidelines appear to have influenced private employers and organizations to adopt discriminatory policies toward unvaccinated Americans.

In November Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and another player were fined by the NFL for attending a Halloween Party in violation of NFL COVID policies.

A tweet from ESPN’s Kevin Seifert shows just what those policies are, at least as of last summer. Unvaccinated players are subject to all sort of harassment, including being tested every day, masked at club facilities and during travel, banned from sauna, banned from eating with teammates, banned from promotional work, and being told “they may not leave hotel to eat in restaurants and may not interact with anyone outside of Team Traveling party during team travel.”

In November Rodgers tested positive for COVID and spoke out against COVID mandates and discriminatory practices. So-called media fact checkers attacked Rodgers’ claims of natural immunity as false.

“Where are those same fact checkers today?” Manning asked rhetorically. Of course, they are nowhere to be found.”

There hasn’t been a single update, correction, or retraction from the so-called fact checkers on Rodgers’ case.

And that is the problem with all of this. The Biden administration came into office promising to “follow the science,” but as the science has changed, they have dogmatically pushed mandates based on outdated, debunked, and outright false information.

The new CDC study, combined with the research by Johns Hopkins University showing that lockdowns are ineffective at preventing COVID spread, ought to point policy makers in a new direction. House and Senate lawmakers in Washington should vote to defund all of Biden’s vaccine mandates in next week’s Continuing Resolution spending bill.

“Any lawmaker who claims to be for limited government but votes for a spending bill that includes vaccine mandates, will be held accountable in November,” Manning concluded.


Demand for limited government makes a comeback amid national distress

The categorically bleak outlook of American voters on a broad range of issues nine months before the midterms could fuel demand for limited government solutions.

From skyrocketing energy prices to a constant tide of illegal aliens, a possible war in Eastern Europe, and inflation levels not seen since the early 1980s, our faith in the federal government has collapsed.

A new Gallup poll paints a startingly dismal portrait of voter sentiment one year into President Biden’s first term and reveals over two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied with the size of the federal government.

Gallup reports that only 32% of Americans are satisfied with the size and power of the federal government, compared to 68% who are unsatisfied. Although Americans have been dissatisfied with the federal government for decades, this sentiment has spiked sharply since 2020.

There have been significant declines in voter satisfaction in ten policy areas since 2021, with satisfaction on energy policy, the nation’s military strength, and the state of the economy taking the biggest hits according to Gallup.

Satisfaction with the nation’s energy policies took the steepest dive this year, falling 15 percentage points since 2021.

“Of all the issues and societal aspects measured in the survey, satisfaction with energy policies has fallen the most this year,” Gallup reports. “Higher gas prices are likely the reason this sentiment has dropped 15 percentage points in the past year. … The 27% currently satisfied with energy policies is the lowest Gallup has measured in its trend.”

Satisfaction with the nation’s military strength and preparedness has also suffered greatly under the Biden administration and led to a 13-point decline in the past year. This shift is unsurprising considering President Biden led a disastrous exit from Afghanistan that cost 13 U.S. servicemembers their lives and returned the nation directly to the Taliban. To add insult to injury, Biden is flirting with a war with Russia, something that over two-thirds of the American public is opposed to.

Satisfaction with the economy has also taken a hit in the past year, suffering a 10-point decline since 2021 and clocking in at 33%. Despite a modest rise in national wages at the close of last year, inflation grew to 7%, resulting in a net pay cut for most Americans. On top of that, historically low housing inventory levels, increasing materials costs, and low interest rates have pushed the price of a home out of reach for many families.

While satisfaction with energy prices, military preparedness, and the economy fell the most in the past year, satisfaction with a number of other issues have fallen significantly since 2020.

Satisfaction with overall quality of life has dropped 15 points since 2020 from 84% to 69%, and satisfaction with our system of government and how it works has dropped 13 points from a barely acceptable 43% to a deeply troubling 30%.

Gallup’s survey comes on the heels of a sixty-page research survey released last November that shows over half of Americans say life has taken a turn for the worse since the 1950s.

The survey, released by a DC think tank called Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), found Americans say 52% to 47% that American culture and way of life have mostly changed for the worse since the 1950s. These results are a dire change from one year prior in the fall of 2020 when Americans said 55% to 44% that life had changed for the better since the 1950s.

The survey also found Americans say 52% to 48% that, “today, America is in danger of losing its culture and identity.” A full 80% of Republicans, 50% Independents, and even 33% of Democrats say America is in danger of losing its culture and identity.

A significant share of Americans also say they feel like strangers in their own country. A full 40% of Americans say, “things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.” Republicans and Independents are more likely to say they feel like strangers in their own country (56% and 39% respectively), but three in ten Democrats (31%) also say they feel like strangers in their own country.

A January NBC News poll backs up the Gallup and PRRI sentiment and characterizes Americans as “divided, doubting democracy, falling behind, and tuning out”, in the words of Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt. NBC News reports that President Biden’s approval rating is in the low 40s and, “key Democratic groups are losing interest in the upcoming election.”

Republicans may be the most dissatisfied about the direction of the country at the moment, but according to NBC News, “Republicans enjoy a double-digit advance on enthusiasm ahead of November’s elections, with 61 percent of Republicans saying they are very interested in the upcoming midterms — registering their interest either as a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale — compared with 47 percent of Democrats who say the same.”

These findings reveal a nation in a state of deep concern not only about kitchen table issues like inflation and the economy, but about more intangible issues like a loss of identity with their country and a decline in quality of life.

While left-wing analysts are rightly worried about their party’s prospects and bracing for a battle this November, big government globalists and the GOP status quo should be worried too.

As Richard Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government warns, Republicans should not take the political winds blowing in their favor as an opportunity for passivity.

“The abrupt and surprising leftward lurch of the federal government on every issue has Americans returning to their limited government roots”, Manning says. “However, Republicans who think they can politically benefit by engaging in a passive resistance campaign will discover that Americans want them to stand up and challenge these Biden’s broadsides against American culture, history and greatness rather than simply providing meek complaints in fear of being cancelled.”

Americans want a change not just in leadership but in direction, away from the vast federal government’s failure. The temperament of the nation is looking a lot like it did in 2015, right before an unexpected non-politician walked out of left field and secured the presidency.




February 08, 2022

This Op-Ed on Masks and School Kids. It Will Probably Trigger the Left

The science is becoming clearer on mask-wearing as COVID becomes an endemic problem. It doesn't work. Everyone is going to get infected eventually. COVID is now part of our lives…forever. Have no fear; we do the same with cold and flu season. We have therapeutics. We have vaccines. It's time to move on with our lives. The masks requirements just need to die. Infections are all over the place. They have not curbed the spread.

This is classic "horse has left the barn" territory. And now, this protocol applied to school districts needs to die as well. Even ardent feminists and liberals are unsure about this requirement as its psychological impact is scarring their kids. Jennifer Block's young son had a self-drawing with no nose or mouth, which prompted her to call for a return to reason amid this "COVID and our schools" debate in the pages of The San Francisco Chronicle.

And now, two scientists have joined the chorus of experts who are finally starting to talk sense, though it's still too few and far between. They're in the heart of liberal America. Berkeley, California, schools said that KN95 masks would be required for everyone attending school. They looked at the data. The risks done to kids wearing masks far outweighed the benefits. They were blunt: it's not going to work for a variety of reasons, not least being that every child needs a mask that's custom-fitted and approved by OSHA. Second, kids' faces are too small for this type of mask. Third, even when properly fitted, the mask is a nightmare to wear, even causing bruising among those with approved KN95s (via Newsweek):

The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) in the SF Bay Area where we live, announced on Tuesday that it was planning on "transitioning all students and staff" to KN95 respirators. If worn properly, such respirators filter 95 percent of particles the size of those that carry the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The BUSD has proposed this measure as a means to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep schools open. These respirators would be required for the entire school day, including outdoors during gym and recess.

Unfortunately, the effectiveness of respirators is vastly overestimated, and there is scant evidence that they stop community transmission. Moreover, NIOSH-approved respirators are tight, uncomfortable, and can impede breathing. OSHA requires both fit testing and a medical evaluation before workers can wear them. We've all seen images of health care workers with bruised faces from properly worn respirators.

The truth is, the burdens of these masks outweigh their benefits for kids. We need to consider more effective, less harmful interventions as we come together to keep schools open and safe.

We know masks have become a highly contentious issue. But as a physician with a PhD in computational mathematics and a professor of data science, we have read the studies on this topic. We both have children and want them to be safe. But we also don't want them burdened with measures that won't help protect them or their peers. And mandating respirators on kids is out of step with CDC guidance and international norms.

What is the evidence for respirators stopping the spread of covid19? Studies on Influenza provide guidance. Though respirators provide better filtration in perfect laboratory conditions, people who wear them are just as likely to catch flu whether they are wearing a surgical mask or a respirator. Though respirators have higher filtration capabilities, a Cochrane review and an independent metanalysis both revealed there were not clear differences between the effectiveness of surgical masks and respirators in preventing infections like Influenza. The Influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 virus are of comparable size and rates of transmission of infection between close contacts are similar.

The good news is that this piece was published on January 24. The school district then backtracked and said the KN95 mask requirement wouldn't be mandatory. Shed your fear, folks. The virus is already here. It's already spread. There's little a mask can do when it's everywhere. Given that COVID is now something we must deal with annually throughout the course of our lives, most people are eventually going to get infected. Just like a ton of people get colds every year. And just like tens of millions contract the flu every year. Everyone is done with this kabuki theater.

And Joe Biden, of all people, should be looking to pivot away from this since more people will soon have died of COVID under him than Trump


Israeli study offers strongest proof yet of vitamin D’s power to fight COVID

Israel scientists say they have gathered the most convincing evidence to date that increased vitamin D levels can help COVID-19 patients reduce the risk of serious illness or death.

Researchers from Bar Ilan University and the Galilee Medical Center say that the vitamin has such a strong impact on disease severity that they can predict how people would fare if infected based on nothing more than their ages and vitamin D levels.

Lacking vitamin D significantly increases danger levels, they concluded in newly peer-reviewed research published Thursday in the journal PLOS One.

The study is based on research conducted during Israel’s first two waves of the virus, before vaccines were widely available, and doctors emphasized that vitamin supplements were not a substitute for vaccines, but rather a way to keep immunity levels from falling.

Vitamin D deficiency is endemic across the Middle East, including in Israel, where nearly four in five people are low on the vitamin, according to one study from 2011. By taking supplements before infection, though, the researchers in the new Israeli study found that patients could avoid the worst effects of the disease.

“We found it remarkable, and striking, to see the difference in the chances of becoming a severe patient when you are lacking in vitamin D compared to when you’re not,” said Dr. Amiel Dror, a Galilee Medical Center physician and Bar Ilan researcher who was part of the team behind the study.

He noted that his study was conducted pre-Omicron, but said that the coronavirus doesn’t change fundamentally enough between variants to negate vitamin D effectiveness.

“What we’re seeing when vitamin D helps people with COVID infections is a result of its effectiveness in bolstering the immune systems to deal with viral pathogens that attack the respiratory system,” he told The Times of Israel. “This is equally relevant for Omicron as it was for previous variants.”

Health authorities in Israel and several other countries have recommended vitamin D supplements in response to the coronavirus pandemic, though data on its effectiveness has been sparse until now.

In June, researchers published preliminary findings showing that 26 percent of coronavirus patients died if they were vitamin D deficient soon before hospitalization, compared to 3% who had normal levels of vitamin D.

They also determined that hospitalized patients who were vitamin D deficient were 14 times more likely, on average, to end up in severe or critical condition than others.

While the scientific community recognized the importance of the results, questions arose as to whether recent health conditions among the patients might have been skewing the results.

The possibility was raised that patients could have been suffering from conditions that both reduce vitamin D levels and increase vulnerability to serious illness from COVID-19, meaning the vitamin deficiency would be a symptom rather than a contributing factor in disease severity.

To zero out that possibility, Dror’s team delved deeper into the data, examining each of its patients’ vitamin D levels over the two-year stretch before coronavirus infection. They found that the strong correlation between sufficient vitamin D levels and ability to fight the coronavirus still held, and the level of increased danger in their preliminary findings remained almost identical.

“We checked a range of timeframes, and found that wherever you look over the two years before infection, the correlation between vitamin D and disease severity is extremely strong,” Dror said.

“Because this study gets such a good picture of patients’ vitamin D levels, by looking at a wide timeframe instead of just the time around hospitalization, it offers much stronger support than anything seen so far emphasizing the importance of boosting vitamin D levels during the pandemic,” he added.

A flood of dubious claims about natural remedies to the coronavirus, including a theory that Israelis had immunized themselves with lemons and baking soda, have left some skeptical about claims of vitamins warding off the virus.

But Dror insisted that his team’s research showed that the importance of vitamin D was not based on incomplete or flawed data.

“People should learn from this that studies pointing to the importance of taking vitamin D are very reliable, and aren’t based on skewed data,” he said. “And it emphasizes the value of everyone taking a vitamin D supplement during the pandemic, which, consumed in sensible amounts in accordance with official advice, doesn’t have any downside.”


Nick Coatsworth shares US Covid data comparing states with mask mandates

The face of Australia's Covid vaccine rollout has shared US data which shows states that introduced mask mandates only had slightly more cases than those which did not.

Australia's former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth used the controversial statistics to rail against calls to make N95 masks mandatory.

He also branded demands to install stringent air ventilation systems in all buildings a 'colossal cost and minimal benefit'.

The graph shared by Dr Coatsworth shows little difference in Covid case numbers in the US from November 1 to January 31, despite face mask mandates.

The data does not show that masks are ineffective against transmitting the virus, as those living in states without mandates may still be wearing face coverings at comparable levels.

It could also be possible that infection rates in states with mandates may have been far higher if the restrictions were not introduced.

But Dr Coatsworth suggests enforcing face mask mask requirements has a muted effect in society.

'When plausibility meets reality. The null hypothesis lands a knockout punch on the precautionary principle,' he tweeted alongside the graph.




February 07, 2022

US Officials’ Handling of the Pandemic Is ‘Catastrophic Exercise in Bad Government’: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. criticized federal public health officials for their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that not enough supporting scientific evidence and data have been provided to the public to warrant the various mandates.

“You just have one public official who’s never been elected … no scientific citation for any of these mandates, simply telling Americans: ‘do what you’re told,’” Kennedy told NTD at the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington on Jan. 23. It’s “all designed to instill fear and confusion in Americans, and it’s just a catastrophic exercise in bad government and manipulation,” Kennedy added.

Kennedy said that this lack of scientific integrity has created chaos and doubt in the public, which cannot tell if mandates are based on facts or meant to scare people into compliance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Director Rochelle Walensky admitted in August 2021 that the vaccines prevent severe illness but do not stop transmission of the virus.

“Our vaccines are working exceptionally well,” Walensky told CNN. “They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death—they prevent it. But what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”

Kennedy, along with thousands of others who attended the Defeat the Mandates Rally, wants to see an end to mandates on vaccines. Many who are already vaccinated say forcing people to vaccinate is unamerican.

“What’s happening in our country is the cruelty of the mandates, the irrationality of the mandates, a violation of all of our traditional values in this country, and ultimately our humanity. And the irrationality of it all, what good is that doing to anybody? It’s punitive. And it’s very, very sad for America,” Kennedy said of the policies that prevented an unvaccinated man from getting a heart transplant.

Another criticism Kennedy had was that natural immunity has been completely overlooked by the Biden administration in the rush to require vaccines.

“The natural exposure to infection is more protective over time. Now, that doesn’t mean that vaccines are always worthless, what it means is that you have to carefully assess the risk from disease and risk from the vaccine, and you have to make a cost-benefit analysis. And that is really the basis of the problem here. There was never any scientific citation. There was never any democratic process,” said Kennedy.

Dr. Scott Atlas, a former White House COVID-19 Task Force adviser during the Trump administration, also criticized officials for not recognizing natural immunity after the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decide to uphold the health care worker vaccine mandate on Jan. 13.

“Our continued denial of superior protection in recovered individuals, with or without vaccination, compared to vaccinated individuals who’ve never had the infection,” he said. “The denial of that is simply unprecedented in modern history, proven fact and decades of fundamental immunology are somehow denied.”

Atlas told The Epoch Times that the ruling is “another serious denial of scientific fact” specifically mentioning the denial of natural immunity in health care worker vaccine mandates.

Kennedy, who has been a long-time environmental lawyer and has litigated cases with officials for shortcutting the regulatory process, said the same process should be required before any mandate and detailed information about infections and deaths should be collected and shared with the public.

“If you are managing a pandemic, in an ideal situation you have very rigorous information gathering analytics and reporting protocols, [but] what we saw was absolutely none of that,” Kennedy continued. “We don’t know what the infection-fatality rate is. We never got the stratified data that says that elderly people are 1,000 times more at risk and that the statistical risk to the young is zero. The networks weren’t reporting that, nobody knew it because Fauci wasn’t giving it to us.”

Dr. Peter McCullough, a leading U.S. cardiologist and epidemiologist who has over 600 peer-reviewed articles under his belt, told The Epoch Times that U.S. public health officials are not abreast of the latest on prevention and treatment for COVID.

“I think they’re running about nine months behind on the data. And the recent book that came out by Scott Atlas, who was on the White House Task Force, he agrees. He believes we basically have a crisis of incompetence, they don’t have top-shelf doctors, like myself and Dr. Atlas,” said Dr. Peter McCullough. “They don’t have those doctors in positions of authority running our public health agencies, and boy do we need them.”


New Drug for Seriously Ill COVID-19 Patients Shows Promise Under Right to Try Act

New information collected under the federal Right to Try Act shows promise for the new drug ZYESAMI, now in clinical trials for the treatment of serious cases of COVID-19.

The information was collected by a hospital in the U.S. southwest, drug developer NRx announced in a news release Jan. 26.

ZYESAMI, developed by the Radnor, Pennsylvania-based pharmaceuticals company, currently is being tested with patients as part of the approval process of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company hopes to earn emergency-use authorization (EUA) that would allow widespread use of the drug in the treatment of COVID-19.

For now, the drug has progressed far enough in the process to be used by more patients under the federal Right to Try Act. That law allows the use of investigational drugs for patients diagnosed with life-threatening diseases or conditions, who have tried all approved treatment options, and who cannot participate in a clinical trial to access certain unapproved treatments.

The hospital reported that 16 of the 19 patients treated with ZYESAMI for COVID-19 respiratory failure “survived the ICU,” NRx announced. ZYESAMI is the brand name of aviptadil, a synthetic version of a natural chemical made in the human body called human vasoactive intestinal polypeptide.

ZYESAMI is a bio-identical synthetic version of a natural chemical made in the human body called vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP). It may help COVID-19 patients by boosting the production of surfactant in the lungs and blocking toxic cytokines, the drug developer, NRx says. (NRx)
The hospital’s report said there were no serious adverse events associated with the use of the drug, according to the company’s statement. Patients were treated during the Omicron surge at the first onset of respiratory failure, after first trying remdesivir and other approved therapies.

Under Right to Try, NRx currently provides the drug for just the cost to overnight it to the patient, company spokesman Jack Hirschfield told The Epoch Times. Requests can be made through the form on the company’s website. The only catch is that the request must be made by the patient’s doctor.

And that can keep patients from actually trying it.

The family of Arizona businessman Stephen Judge repeatedly asked Banner Ironwood Medical Center in Queen Creek, Arizona to allow alternative treatments, including ZYESAMI, when the hospital’s standard protocols for COVID-19 failed. The hospital said no to every request, said Judge’s daughter, Caitlin Judge Treister.

The Epoch Times was in receipt of letters between the family and the hospital, showing the hospital was not willing for the new drug to be used under Right to Try. The Epoch Times has sent multiple requests for comment to Banner Ironwood Medical Center’s media and public relations department, but has received no response.

After Judge died, his daughter was working with another family wanting to try ZYESAMI, after all other COVID-19 treatments failed to help their loved one in a Minnesota hospital. For two weeks, the family waited for the drug to be given, only to find out that the request was never submitted to NRx, Treister said. That patient suffered a massive heart attack before the drug could be obtained, she said.

“Unfortunately, not everyone is able to get the hospital to cooperate with Right to Try,” NRx CEO Jonathan Javitt, M.D., affirmed.

The company has shared a document on its website explaining the technicalities of how the new drug works. In simplified terms, when the virus that causes COVID-19 gets in the lungs, it causes toxin build-up and restricts the production of surfactant.

Surfactant is the natural substance made in the body that helps keep the hundreds of thousands of tiny air sacs in the lungs open. When those air sacs are open, they allow oxygen to move from the lungs into the blood and throughout the body. COVID-19 causes those air sacs to stop functioning properly.

ZYESAMI works by binding to cells in the lungs, increasing surfactant production, preventing production of virus-related toxins, and blocking virus replication, Javitt told The Epoch Times. The drug continues to be tested in an ongoing National Institutes of Health (NIH) trial.

Roofing contractor Joel Webb, 40, of Colleyville, Texas enthusiastically shared his story of using ZYESAMI as part of an earlier trial in mid-October. His recovery, the husband and father of four said, was nothing short of miraculous.

When he first realized his COVID-19 infection was getting serious, he resisted going to the hospital. Three friends from church had already died from the virus. Checking into the hospital seemed to mean certain death, he told The Epoch Times.

But when a doctor friend urged him to get checked out at an emergency clinic where she was working, he agreed.

He’d been sick for about seven days, and “I was to the point where I didn’t even know where I was,” he said.

A CT scan showed his lungs looked full of shattered glass. Immediately, his doctor at the Frisco, Texas hospital offered ZYESAMI, telling Webb it was still in trials. Webb and his family declined. It seemed too risky to try an unapproved medication, he said.

Over the next few days, Webb’s condition worsened dramatically. He required increasing amounts of oxygen. The next step, he was told, was to go on a ventilator.

Devastated, his family gathered around him in the intensive care unit and prayed. Suddenly, he said, they were at peace about trying ZYESAMI and told his doctors.

Shortly after, a courier delivered the drug, he said. That night, he remembers nurse technician Daniel Igheghe holding his hand, praying with him, and singing a Christian worship song to help Webb drift off to sleep, as he struggled to breathe.

By the next day, something amazing had happened, he said. His vital signs rapidly improved, Webb said, and his need for oxygen dramatically decreased. The trend continued steadily. Soon, he was out of the ICU. And nine days after being admitted to the hospital, he left, no longer on oxygen.

Recently, he returned, though, to personally thank the nurse who held his hand and prayed with him, the doctor who recommended the trial drug, and the pharmacist who filled the prescription. He said he had no side effects from ZYESAMI, other than feeling flushed and hot, as the drug dripped into his vein.

“Then you get cold,” he said with a chuckle. “You can feel it and you know you’ve gotten something.”

This past weekend, he went on a three-mile hike and gave thanks for the drug he believes saved his life.


'80% of serious COVID cases are fully vaccinated' says Israeli hospital director

Are Israeli hospitals really overloaded with unvaccinated COVID patients? According to Prof. Yaakov Jerris, director of Ichilov Hospital’s coronavirus ward, the situation is completely opposite.

“Right now, most of our severe cases are vaccinated,” Jerris told Channel 13 News. “They had at least three injections. Between seventy and eighty percent of the serious cases are vaccinated. So, the vaccine has no significance regarding severe illness, which is why just twenty to twenty-five percent of our patients are unvaccinated.”

Jerris also revealed some of the confusion in reporting cases. Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Sunday, he told ministers, “Defining a serious patient is problematic. For example, a patient with a chronic lung disease always had a low level of oxygen, but now he has a positive coronavirus test result which technically makes him a ‘serious coronavirus patient,’ but that’s not accurate. The patient is only in a difficult condition because he has a serious underlying illness.”




February 06, 2022

The COVID Narrative is Falling Apart

Joe Biden claims this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated and wants everyone in the world vaxxed with the “safe and effective” vaccines. In addition, he plans to distribute millions of "effective" N-95 masks. Anyone paying attention knows this is a big lie. Masks may be a comforting placebo, but even the N95s don’t work as advertised. And new revelations about dangerous vaccine side effects have surfaced despite media suppression.

New Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin made masks and vaccinations optional for state employees and public schools. Immediately some parents, teachers, and school boards threw a hissy fit (at least seven lawsuits have resulted so far). Meanwhile, those who voted for him see this as much-needed relief from a pandemic that has run its course.

Why is there so much disagreement? The late Malcolm Muggeridge put it this way; “People do not believe lies because they have to, but because they want to.” Think about it; the Left and their media allies have terrified our children and ordinary citizens so much that they desperately want to believe masks and vax mandates are the only answer. Anyone who disagrees must be silenced, socially destroyed, or even allowed to die by withholding organ transplants or life-saving therapeutics.

I was taught the only way to fight a lie is with the truth. However, I also know those who placed all their hope in the big COVID lie will do whatever it takes to silence anyone who disagrees. Just ask Joe Rogan about being silenced. It is nearly impossible to overcome emotion with facts, but I will present some anyway:

1). Alarming vax side effects reported by military whistleblowers. This story made a few waves last week when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) included a mention in his five-hour Senate hearing. The information came from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED), a mundane accounting tool used to track all medical diagnoses of military personnel and dependents for insurance billing purposes. DMED did better than the CDC’s ineffective Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Following is a summary of the most alarming vax side effects:

Myocardial infarction (heart attack) -- 269% increase
Cancer diagnoses -- 300% increase
Miscarriage -- 300% increase
Bell’s palsy -- 291% increase
Congenital malformations (for children of military personnel) – 156% increase
Female infertility -- 471% increase
Pulmonary embolisms -- 467% increase
Neurological issues -- 1,000% increase

2). Athletes are mysteriously dying of sudden heart attacks: In Dec. 2021, Lorphic News, a non-traditional news source reported on the extraordinary number of physically fit, fully vaccinated athletes experiencing fatal heart attacks. This claim was systematically denied by most news sources. However, a chart compiled by the Federation Internationale de Football [soccer] Association (FIFA) confirms this is real and like the above military data, is based on a large sample size. FIFA has member athletes from 209 countries and has routinely tracked athlete health data for 20 years. Their long-term data confirms a fivefold increase in sudden cardiac deaths in only six months of 2021.

3). Vaccines now have negative efficacy: Data has surfaced claiming that continued use of the original vax is causing negative efficacy. Negative efficacy doesn't mean the protection fades. It means the opposite: it means the vaccines are now weakening the immune system. It became clear that countries with the highest vax rates were the most likely to experience a surge in both cases and deaths. You can monitor five representative countries' daily death rates here. Note that India is included because India was the only one to allow the widespread early use of inexpensive therapeutics. Initially, their protocol included hydroxychloroquine but when the more deadly delta variant hit they switched to a protocol that included ivermectin. India had far better results than the others in taming COVID.

In the above sample, Australia had the most severe police state lockdowns, mask mandates, and a high vax rate of around 80%. After some initial success, it has suddenly gone from near zero cases and deaths to having an explosion in both. Since spring of 2021 Sweden, noted for its minimal mandates, had maintained near-zero cases and deaths as a result of achieving herd immunity early. All that changed when for reasons unknown Sweden pushed vaccinations despite the herd immunity achievement. As a result, Sweden’s flat-lined case and death rate also spiked, thus indicating its herd immunity achievement is compromised by vax negative efficacy.

4). Omicron provides long-lasting natural immunity: A peer-reviewed article titled “Cross-reactive memory T cells associate with protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID-19 contacts” published Jan. 10 in the scientific journal Nature provided a warning and some encouragement:

Once widespread infection (such as the Omicron wave) occurs across the world, the virus will eventually circulate endemically, meaning that infections may still happen but with milder symptoms and much less mortality.

There are two reasons that the transition from pandemic to endemic didn’t happen until Omicron: 1) all the widely used vaccines are based on the spike protein, which doesn’t induce a protective long-lasting T-cell response, and 2) natural immunity wasn’t widespread.

In other words, the current vaccines too narrowly target only the original Alpha spike protein and ignore the rest of the virus proteins. This inhibits the production of long-lasting memory T-cells that can more readily adapt to new variants and this omission for those most heavily vaccinated appears to have changed omicron from mild to more dangerous.

Conclusions: Considering the dangerous vax side effects described above, it’s time to recognize that COVID is becoming endemic like the closely related common cold or seasonal flu. This means the safest way for the unvaccinated to produce the necessary long-lasting memory T-cells may be by catching omicron.

For those facing omicron with an immune system weakened by multiple vaxxes and boosters, age, or comorbidities, an emergency use authorization by the FDA for the therapeutics (chiefly ivermectin) India used could be a lifesaver. However, the political climate today makes FDA authorization unlikely -- many hospitals have already allowed patients to die rather than try these proven, safe therapeutics. And last week, effective monoclonal antibody treatments have mysteriously lost their FDA approval.

Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to fortify your immune system with a daily dose of over-the-counter vitamin D3, C, and zinc (all are included in India’s COVID kit). Around 80 to 85 percent of people who died from COVID were deficient in these vitamins and the most vulnerable are senior citizens and the obese (because fat cells absorb vitamin D before it can reach where needed). I’m no doctor so ask yours for dose rates since each can vary widely by weight, age, etc. We are still on our own for an early treatment option so it may be better to contact an organization of rebel doctors like the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC).

U.K. PM Boris Johnson did the right thing by ending all vax and mask mandates and letting nature take its course. (The Remnant features an excellent analysis of the politics behind the COVID tyranny.) Denmark has just followed his lead. Will 50,000 fearless Canadian truckers succeed in bringing a strong enough emotion to Canada or the U.S. to end the mandates?


Natural Immunity to COVID-19 Detected at 20 Months After Infection: Study

Protection against the virus that causes COVID-19 among the recovered was detected by researchers at 20 months post-infection, adding to the body of evidence that such protection, known as natural immunity, is long-lasting.

Researchers found antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) in 99 percent of study participants who tested positive for COVID-19, with some having had the illness as long as 20 months prior.

SARS-CoV-2 is another name for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19. Antibodies are a form of protection against the virus.

The researchers, led by Dr. Dorry Segev, the director of the Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation at Johns Hopkins University, put out a call for unvaccinated, healthy adults in the fall of 2021 and divided them into three groups. The first group consisted of 295 participants who had test-confirmed COVID-19 infections in the past; the second consisted of 275 participants who believed they recovered from COVID-19 but did not get a test; the third consisted of 246 people who did not think they ever had COVID-19 and had never tested positive.

In the first group, all but 2 of the participants tested positive for the antibodies, and there was no indication that the level of protection waned over time.

About 55 percent of the second group tested positive for anti-RBD antibodies, and the median level among those who did was lower.

The third group had the lowest percentage, 11 percent, of participants who had the antibodies and the level among those who did was the lowest.

“The major takeaway is that natural immunity … is strong and durable,” Segev told The Epoch Times in an email.

The peer-reviewed study, which was funded by charitable donations from the Ben-Dov family, was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Nasia Safdar, a professor in the Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health, said the results were encouraging, “but likely applicable only to a healthy adult population, with the ability and resources to go get a blood draw.”

“We are probably missing the immunocompromised, older, frail group of people where immune response may be very different than other groups,” Safdar, who was not involved in the study, told The Epoch Times via email.

Researchers noted that it antibodies are just one measure of immunity and that it remains unclear whether the anti-RBD antibodies will protect people against emerging virus variants.

The Omicron variant became dominant in the United States in December 2021 and research suggests it can evade protection from vaccines and prior infection better than Delta, the strain it displaced.

Most previous studies have found that natural immunity is superior to vaccination, including while Delta was dominant. One study was backed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A key question about the protection, though, is how long it will last. Some experts recommend people get at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine even if they’ve recovered from the disease due to the uncertainty, though others point to research indicating the vaccines would only give a small boost in protection to the naturally immune.

The new study was published several weeks after a different, non-peer reviewed paper found evidence of natural immunity at 18 months past infection in a collection of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Segev said he and other scientists are studying how Omicron affects the naturally immune, with plans to publish results on a preprint server soon.




February 04, 2022

The High Cost of Disparaging Natural Immunity to Covid

By Dr. Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Public-health officials ruined many lives by insisting that workers with natural immunity to Covid-19 be fired if they weren’t fully vaccinated. But after two years of accruing data, the superiority of natural immunity over vaccinated immunity is clear. By firing staff with natural immunity, employers got rid of those least likely to infect others. It’s time to reinstate those employees with an apology.

For most of last year, many of us called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release its data on reinfection rates, but the agency refused. Finally last week, the CDC released data from New York and California, which demonstrated natural immunity was 2.8 times as effective in preventing hospitalization and 3.3 to 4.7 times as effective in preventing Covid infection compared with vaccination.

Yet the CDC spun the report to fit its narrative, bannering the conclusion “vaccination remains the safest strategy.” It based this conclusion on the finding that hybrid immunity—the combination of prior infection and vaccination—was associated with a slightly lower risk of testing positive for Covid. But those with hybrid immunity had a similar low rate of hospitalization (3 per 10,000) to those with natural immunity alone. In other words, vaccinating people who had already had Covid didn’t significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization.

Similarly, the National Institutes of Health repeatedly has dismissed natural immunity by arguing that its duration is unknown—then failing to conduct studies to answer the question. Because of the NIH’s inaction, my Johns Hopkins colleagues and I conducted the study. We found that among 295 unvaccinated people who previously had Covid, antibodies were present in 99% of them up to nearly two years after infection. We also found that natural immunity developed from prior variants reduced the risk of infection with the Omicron variant. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of the two-dose Moderna vaccine against infection (not severe disease) declines to 61% against Delta and 16% against Omicron at six months, according to a recent Kaiser Southern California study. In general, Pfizer’s Covid vaccines have been less effective than Moderna’s.

The CDC study and ours confirm what more than 100 other studies on natural immunity have found: The immune system works. The largest of these studies, from Israel, found that natural immunity was 27 times as effective as vaccinated immunity in preventing symptomatic illness.

None of this should surprise us. For years, studies have shown that infection with the other coronaviruses that cause severe illness, SARS and MERS, confers lasting immunity. In a study published in May 2020, Covid-recovered monkeys that were rechallenged with the virus didn’t get sick.

Public-health officials have a lot of explaining to do. They used the wrong starting hypothesis, ignored contrary preliminary data, and dug in as more evidence emerged that called their position into question. Many, including Rochelle Walensky, now the CDC’s director, signed the John Snow memorandum in October 2020, which declared that “there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following natural infection.”

Many clinicians who talk to other physicians nationwide had have long observed that we don’t see reinfected patients end up on a ventilator or die from Covid, with rare exceptions who almost always have immune disorders. Meanwhile, public-health officials recklessly destroyed the careers of everyday Americans, rallying to fire pilots, truck drivers and others in the supply-chain workforce who didn’t get vaccinated. And in the early months of the vaccine rollout, when supplies were limited, we could have saved many more lives by giving priority to those who didn’t have recorded natural immunity.

The failure to recognize the data on natural immunity is hurting U.S. hospitals, especially in rural areas. MultiCare, a hospital system in Washington state, fired 55 staff members on Oct. 18 for being out of compliance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate—and that was in addition to an undisclosed number of staffers who quit ahead of the vaccination deadline. The loss of workers contributed to a full-blown staffing crisis.

It got so bad that the hospital summoned staff who were Covid-positive to return to work even if they were sick, according to an internal memo obtained by Jason Rantz of KTTH radio. The memo stated that “positive staff with mild to moderate illness” could work, so long as they wear appropriate personal protective equipment, don’t take breaks with others, and agree to stay home “if symptoms worsen.” Managers were recommended to assign Covid-positive staff to Covid-positive patients and vaccinated patients, but not immunosuppressed patients.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services took the hospital mandate national by decreeing that all medical facilities under its jurisdiction require vaccination for employees, including those with natural immunity. The Supreme Court upheld the rule on Jan. 13, the same day it issued a stay against a similar mandate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which OSHA formally withdrew Tuesday.

Connecticut has suspended its vaccine mandate for state employees, and Starbucks is rehiring employees fired for being unvaccinated. Other states and businesses should follow their lead. Politicians and public-health officials owe an apology to Americans who lost their jobs on the false premises that only unvaccinated people could spread the virus and only vaccination could prevent its spread. Soldiers who have been dishonorably discharged should be restored their rank. Teachers, first responders, and others who have been denied their livelihood should be reinstated. Everyone is essential.


Release the Covid data. Now!

The British Medical Journal (or the BMJ), is a respected, weekly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the British Medical Association. Published for over 180 years, it has authority. In an April 2021 editorial, while broadly supportive of vaccine passports, it did point out the numerous ethical dilemmas associated with the policy. Now, the journal has well and truly broken with the narrative.

In an editorial on 19 January, the journal demanded the full and immediate release of all data related to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, saying it would be in the public interest. The editorial titled ‘Covid-19 vaccines and treatments: we must have raw data, now’ pointed out how a lack of transparency in the past had deleterious consequences for people’s health, and how that those mistakes are now being repeated, and the lack of transparency is even greater than before.

‘Today, despite the global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, the anonymised participant-level data underlying the trials for these new products remain inaccessible to doctors, researchers, and the public—and are likely to remain that way for years to come,’ the editorial states. ‘This is morally indefensible for all trials, but especially for those involving major public health interventions.’

The BMJ also accused pharmaceutical companies of ‘reaping vast profits without adequate independent scrutiny of their scientific claims,’ pointing to Pfizer, whose Covid vaccine trial was ‘funded by the company and designed, run, analysed, and authored by Pfizer employees’.

‘We are left with publications but no access to the underlying data on reasonable request,’ the authors wrote. ‘This is worrying for trial participants, researchers, clinicians, journal editors, policymakers, and the public. The journals that have published these primary studies may argue that they faced an awkward dilemma, caught between making the summary findings available quickly and upholding the best ethical values that support timely access to underlying data. In our view, there is no dilemma; the anonymised individual participant data from clinical trials must be made available for independent scrutiny.’

Tellingly, the authors of the editorial added that regulators are not there to ‘dance to the tune of rich global corporations and enrich them further’ but to protect the general public’s health and for that reason, they said, we need ‘complete data transparency for all studies, we need it in the public interest, and we need it now’.

This bombshell editorial comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had asked a judge to keep all data concerning the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine suppressed for 75 years. The judge, thankfully, did not accede to this request, ordering the FDA to make public 12,000 pages of the data it used to make decisions regarding approvals for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by the end of January. In accordance with the same ruling the FDA must also release Pfizer’s vaccine data at a rate of 55,000 pages per month until all of the requested pages are public.

This is not the only crack that has appeared in the narrative recently. Earlier in January, Professor Clive Dix, the former chairman of the UK’s vaccine taskforce, called for an end to mass vaccination and that Covid should be treated as an endemic virus similar to flu. Additionally, Professor Andrew Pollard, who helped develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, stated around the same time on BBC Radio 4’s Today program that ‘it really is not affordable, sustainable or probably even needed to vaccinate everyone on the planet every four to six months,’ adding ‘In the future, we need to target the vulnerable’.

Such views are not just being expressed in the UK, but also in Israel, once seen as the ‘gold standard’ in terms of the vaccine rollout. Professor Cyrille Cohen, head of immunology at Bar Ilan University and a member of the advisory committee on vaccines for the Israeli government, confirmed that, ‘No, the vaccines are not protecting us, they are not causing what we call sterilising immunity’.

Professor Cohen added that Israel’s Green Pass vaccine passport was no longer relevant. ‘We don’t see virtually any difference between people vaccinated and non-vaccinated, both can get infected with the virus more or less at the same pace,’ he said.

Those comments came after another leading Israeli immunologist slammed the government’s pandemic response.

Writing for N12 News, Professor Ehud Qimron, head of microbiology and immunology at Tel Aviv University, wrote a scathing open letter excoriating the government for its coronavirus policy debacle. Qimron did not pull any punches, alleging that health authorities had ignored established epidemiological science and pandemic plans at the outset – and then refused to adjust policies in the face of real-world data.

‘Two years late, you finally realise that a respiratory virus cannot be defeated and that any such attempt is doomed to fail,’ Professsor Qimron wrote.

‘You do not admit it, because you have admitted almost no mistake in the last two years, but in retrospect it is clear that you have failed miserably in almost all of your actions, and even the media is already having a hard time covering your shame.

‘You refused to admit that the infection comes in waves that fade by themselves, despite years of observations and scientific knowledge. You insisted on attributing every decline of a wave solely to your actions, and so through false propaganda “you overcame the plague”.

‘You refused to admit that recovery is more protective than a vaccine, despite previous knowledge and observations showing that non-recovered vaccinated people are more likely to be infected than recovered people. You refused to admit that the vaccinated are contagious despite the observations. Based on this, you hoped to achieve herd immunity by vaccination – and you failed in that as well.’

For two years what the British Medical Journal and these professors have called for was dismissed arrogantly as ‘misinformation’. Let us see now if true science, not propaganda, will prevail.




February 03, 2022

Lockdowns only reduced COVID-19 mortality by .2%, study finds: 'Lockdowns should be rejected out of hand'

Lockdowns during the first COVID-19 wave in the spring of 2020 only reduced COVID-19 mortality by .2% in the U.S. and Europe, according to a Johns Hopkins University meta-analysis of several studies.

"While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted," the researchers wrote. "In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument."

The researchers – Johns Hopkins University economics professor Steve Hanke, Lund University economics professor Lars Jonung, and special advisor at Copenhagen's Center for Political Studies Jonas Herby – analyzed the effects of lockdown measures such as school shutdowns, business closures, and mask mandates on COVID-19 deaths.

"We find little to no evidence that mandated lockdowns in Europe and the United States had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality rates," the researchers wrote.

The researchers also examined shelter-in-place orders, finding that they reduced COVID-19 mortality by 2.9%.

Studies that looked at only shelter-in-place orders found they reduced COVID-19 mortality by 5.1%, but studies that looked at shelter-in-place orders along with other lockdown measures found that shelter-in-place orders actually increased COVID-19 mortality by 2.8%.

The researchers concluded that limiting gatherings may have actually increased COVID-19 mortality.

"[Shelter-in-place orders] may isolate an infected person at home with his/her family where he/she risks infecting family members with a higher viral load, causing more severe illness," the researchers wrote.

"But often, lockdowns have limited peoples’ access to safe (outdoor) places such as beaches, parks, and zoos, or included outdoor mask mandates or strict outdoor gathering restrictions, pushing people to meet at less safe (indoor) places."

The researchers also examined studies that focused on specific lockdown measures and found that the only intervention that reduced COVID-19 mortality was the closure of non-essential businesses, which reduced mortality by 10.6%, but this effect was likely driven by the closure of bars.

Researchers also pointed out other unintended consequences of lockdowns, such as rising unemployment, reduced schooling, an increase in domestic violence incidents, and surging drug overdoses.

From May 2020 to April 2021, the U.S. recorded 100,306 drug overdose deaths, a 28.5% increase from the 78,056 deaths that were recorded in the previous 12-month period, according to CDC data.

A study from the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice last year found that domestic violence incidents increased 8.1% in the U.S. after lockdown orders were issued.

About 97% of U.S. teachers said that their students have experienced learning loss during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Horace Mann survey last year.

The unemployment rate peaked nationwide at 14.8% in April 2020, but declined to 3.9% in December, which is still slightly higher than the 3.5% rate it was at in February 2020.

"These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best," the researchers in the Johns Hopkins University study wrote.

"Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument."

President Biden has pledged to focus on testing and vaccinations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 instead of the lockdowns that characterized the earlier part of the pandemic.

"It doesn’t include shutdowns or lockdowns, but widespread vaccinations and boosters and testing a lot more," Biden said in December about his winter plans for fighting the pandemic.

Several cities and states around the country still have mask mandates, remote learning, and other measures in place.


New Study on Ivermectin ‘Should Convince Any Naysayer’: Dr. Pierre Kory

So why has Ivermectin been officially scorned? No mystery: Trump recommended it

A recently published study indicating the anti-parasitic ivermectin worked well as a prophylactic against the virus that causes COVID-19 should help sway critics of the drug, according to Dr. Pierre Kory, president of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC).

“That should convince any naysayer,” Kory told The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders.” “What they found was astounding.”

The Brazilian city of Itajaí launched a program that gave ivermectin to any residents that wanted any. The period that was studied was from July 7, 2020, to December 2, 2020.

Researchers found that the program, which had over 100,000 residents participate, was linked to a 44 percent drop in COVID-19 cases.

Approximately 3.7 percent of ivermectin users contracted the illness during the trial period, compared to 6.6 percent of residents who didn’t take the drug.

The program was also associated with a statistically significant decrease in hospitalization and mortality.

The peer-reviewed study was published in Cureus on Jan. 15.

“Ivermectin MUST be considered as an option, particularly during outbreaks,” Dr. Flavio Cadegiani, one of the study’s authors and a founding member of FLCCC, told The Epoch Times in an email.

FLCCC focuses on early treatment of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. The group has recommended ivermectin since early 2020.

Kory said the lack of reporting on the study despite it being peer-reviewed highlights how some scientific developments are ignored by many media outlets and scientists.

“You would think this would lead major headlines everywhere. And yet, nothing. And this is not new, this censorship of this highly effective science and evidence around repurposed drugs. The censoring of it, it’s not new, it’s just getting more and more absurd. And it has to stop,” he said.

Studies on ivermectin against COVID-19 have shown mixed results, with some being associated with no or little benefit and others suggesting a strong benefit. It’s been widely used in India and other countries as a preventative measure, but in the United States and much of Europe many official health care bodies recommend against its use or do not endorse it.

Ivermectin has been approved for certain uses by the Food and Drug Administration, but not for use against COVID-19. That means doctors can prescribe it off-label.

The National Institutes of Health’s COVID-19 treatment guidelines panel currently says that there is not enough evidence to advise either for or against using ivermectin to treat COVID-19. It does not address its potential use as a prophylactic.

While the new study was celebrated by some, others questioned the findings and pointed out that the conflicts of interest disclosures show both Cadegiani and another author have received funding from or contracted with Vitamedic, a company that manufactures ivermectin.

Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an Australian epidemiologist, for instance, called it “a fairly simple example of observational research that you’d do on routine medical data” but alleged the controls for confounding factors such as occupation and risk factors were “pretty inadequate given the purpose.”

Cadegiani said the criticism was unfounded, saying he wasn’t convinced before the study that ivermectin would work as a preventative medicine and that researchers controlled for “all relevant factors,” including comorbidities, age, sex, and race.

“Their inability to focus on the data provided by the study itself is … proof of the extreme high quality of the study,” the doctor said, adding later that “To us, this is the best observational study on COVID-19 to date, with a power almost equivalent to a huge randomized clinical trial.”

The researchers plan on publishing multiple additional papers regarding the program, including papers on the biochemical effects of ivermectin and the effectiveness of the drug in preventing hospitalization.


Japanese firm says ivermectin shows ‘antiviral effect’ against Covid-19

The controversial drug ivermectin showed an “antiviral effect” against Omicron and other coronavirus variants in joint non-clinical research, a Japanese drug company said on Monday.

Trading and pharmaceutical company Kowa Co Ltd, which has been working with Tokyo’s Kitasato University testing the drug as potential treatment for Covid-19, did not provide further details, Reuters reported.

Ivermectin has been popularised as a Covid-19 treatment by some doctors and the likes of podcast host Joe Rogan, even as health authorities and the drug’s manufacturer Merck warn against its use, citing lack of evidence that it works against the virus.

A clinical trial being run in the UK by Oxford University, announced in June 2021, is ongoing.

The Oxford researchers told Reuters on Monday that they did not want to comment until they have results to report.

Ivermectin first began to be touted as a therapeutic for Covid-19 in early 2020 after scientists in Melbourne found it could inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in the lab in high doses.

“It was enthusiastically adopted by some clinicians and healthcare systems before any significant human trials were conducted, and subsequent trials have been largely small and conflicted,” Associate Professor Justin Denholm, principal investigator on the Australasian Covid-19 Trial (ASCOT), wrote in August 2021.

“Now, a number of retrospective reviews and meta-analyses have been released, which mostly agree that studies to date have generally been of low quality and high risk of bias, but offering different conclusions about whether ivermectin improves outcomes.”




February 02, 2022

Not sure what this is all about but Microsoft have severely downgraded their Hotmail service in Australia.  It started being very slow to load and for the last week it has usually come up without file managing tools.  I can read or delete messages but not answer them, move them or mark them as spam.  Very pesky!

So for personal emails I have moved to my Gmail a/c. .  I have left Hotmail as a receptacle for political emails

I am crossing my fingers that Gmail will stay normal


Denmark returns to ‘life as we knew it’ despite Omicron

Omicron is running wild across the world — and its impact is being felt keenly in Europe where several nations have imposed strict new rules and vaccine mandates over the course of the northern hemisphere winter.

But as cases increase to levels never seen before across the continent, one nation has made a move that has caught many by surprise.

Denmark on Tuesday becomes the first European Union country to lift all of its Covid restrictions despite record numbers of cases, relying on its high vaccination rate to cope with the milder Omicron variant.

After a first attempt at lifting all its restrictions between September and November, the Scandinavian country is once again ditching its face masks, Covid passes and limited opening hours for bars and restaurants.

“I’m so happy that this is all going to be over tomorrow. It’s good for life in the city, for night-life, just to be able to be out longer”, 17-year-old student Thea Skovgaard told AFP the day before the lifting.

Nightclubs reopen on Tuesday, when limits on the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings also come to an end.

Only a few restrictions remain in place at the country’s borders, for unvaccinated travellers arriving from non-Schengen countries.

The easing comes as Denmark registers around 40,000-50,000 new Covid cases a day, or almost one per cent of the country’s 5.8 million inhabitants.

“We have an extremely high coverage of adults vaccinated with three doses,” epidemiologist Lone Simonsen of the University of Roskilde told AFP.

More than 60 per cent of Danes have received a third dose — one month ahead of health authorities’ schedule — compared to an EU average of just under 45 per cent.

Including those who have recently had Covid, health authorities estimate that 80 per cent of the population are protected against severe forms of the disease.

“With Omicron not being a severe disease for the vaccinated, we believe it is reasonable to lift restrictions”, Simonsen said.

The broad spread of the Omicron variant is also expected to lead to a “more robust and long-lasting immunity”, helping the country fend off future waves, she said.

Two years after the outbreak of Covid-19, the Danish strategy enjoys broad support at home.

In a poll published Monday by daily Politiken, 64 per cent of Danes surveyed said they had faith in the government’s Covid policy.

Personal responsibility

Going forward, Danes are being urged to exercise personal responsibility, Simonsen said.

“Without a Covid pass there will be a shift of responsibility”, she said. Danes have increasingly used home tests to detect infection, but these are now being phased out and instead, anyone with symptoms is advised to stay home.

The Danish Health Authority currently “recommends” those who test positive to isolate for four days, while contact cases no longer need to quarantine.

Face masks and the Covid pass are also recommended for hospital visits. The government said it does not expect to have to revert to new closures again but has remained cautiously optimistic.

“We can’t provide any guarantees when it comes to biology”, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said last week when announcing the country’s return “to life as we knew it before corona”.

“It’s really nice that this is ending but will we really live without any restrictions now? I doubt it,” said Cille Hjort, a fast-food vendor eager to see her patrons’ faces without masks again.

This is the second time Denmark has tried to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. On September 10, the country lifted all its restrictions, before reintroducing some of them in early November.

Museums, cinemas and theatre and concert venues then closed just before Christmas, and reopened again in early January.

Faced with a lower level of hospitalisations than in previous waves, several European countries, including France, Ireland and the United Kingdom, have announced the lifting or a considerable reduction of their restrictions, despite record or very high cases.

“Two years into the pandemic, populations in most countries have reached high levels of immunity, from vaccines or natural illness”, Simonsen said.

“This is how it ends, judging from what we have seen with historical pandemics”. According to the World Health Organisation, 73 per cent of the European population has contracted Covid-19 at least once since January 2020.

Tyra Krause of Denmark’s public health and research institution SSI said meanwhile she expected Covid-19 to return in regular waves, “like the flu”.

“We may end up having to vaccinate risk groups ahead of the autumn to prevent severe cases”, she told science magazine Videnskab.


Future lockdowns should be ‘rejected out of hand’, new international report says

Lockdowns have “had little to no effect on” reducing deaths from Covid-19 and should be “rejected out of hand” for dealing with the next pandemic, according to a new international study that comes amid falling confidence in public health authorities in the US.

Business closures and stay at home orders in the US and Europe reduced deaths by 0.2 per cent on average, according to a new analysis by American and Swedish researchers that questioned whether the novel health policy, pioneered by China in Wuhan in early 2020, would pass a cost-benefit analysis.

“Lockdowns have not been used to such a large extent during any of the pandemics of the past century,” the authors said, suggesting their “marginal at best” benefits needed to be compared with their “devastating effects”.

“They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy.”

The study, conducted by Steve Hanke, a founder of the Johns Hopkins School of Applied Economics, Jonas Herby and Lars Jonung, a Swedish economist, comes amid debate over the effectiveness of mandates in “slowing the spread” of Covid-19 as the pandemic enters its third year and cases and hospitalisations from surge to new highs.

Americans’ confidence in public health authorities has fallen during the pandemic, from 55 per cent in 2020 to 44 per cent, according to a national NBC poll conducted earlier this month. Forty-three per cent specifically said they did not trust the Centre for Disease Control’s recommendations.

Governments imposed lockdowns of various severity and duration, including seven in Victoria totalling more than 260 days, from March 2020 onwards, after British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who was advising the UK government, forecast that lockdowns would reduce deaths by “up to 98 per cent”.

Pandemic plans published prior to Covid-19 had either advised specifically against lockdowns, which until now had been a fringe, untried “nuclear option”.

Difficulties in enforcement, voluntary social distancing, and unintended consequences, such as confining infected and uninfected people together at home and stopping socialising at safe, outdoor areas such as parks and beaches, may have worked against the effectiveness of lockdowns, the study suggested.

“Countries like Denmark, Finland, and Norway that realised success in keeping Covid-19 mortality rates relatively low allowed people to go to work, use public transport, and meet privately at home during the first lockdown,” they said.

“Island nations are birds of a different feather in more ways than one. In addition to Australia and New Zealand, Iceland, Japan, South Korea (a de facto island), Singapore and Taiwan have had very few Covid deaths. But some of them had very mild lockdowns, too.

“And let’s not forget the UK. It’s had one lockdown after another and relatively high rates of mortality, too.”

Proponents of the radical policies have struggled to explain how jurisdictions that imposed no or few lockdowns, such as Scandinavian nations, Japan, or southern states of the US, have ended up with Covid-19 outcomes not greatly different or even better than other jurisdictions.

The lockdown study, a “meta-analysis” that aggregated the findings of other studies, whittled down 117 empirical analyses of lockdowns published before July 2020 to 34, discarding any that used computer modelling to predict counterfactuals.

Lockdowns were defined as any mandatory policy that reduced movement or mandated masks. “Shelter in place orders”, a subcategory, reduced deaths by 2.9 per cent, it found.

A separate survey found three quarters of American adults said they were “tired and frustrated” with the pandemic while 77 per cent said it was inevitable people would catch Covid-19, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The UK and Denmark have dumped all Covid-19 restrictions, while major US cities have introduced new vaccine passports and extended mask mandates indefinitely.

President Joe Biden recently ruled out a return to lockdowns as daily deaths from Covid-19, which have increased to more than 2,500 during the current Omicron wave, surpass earlier peaks.


The war on natural immunity

The ability for the body to produce memory cells is what allows for natural immunity to occur. Given that the memory cells last for a long period of time, antibodies can be produced quickly each time an individual is subsequently infected by the same virus. It is indeed a marvellous system.

It does, however, have one fatal flaw – at least in the eyes of Big Pharma. It is not profitable. There is no money to be made in natural immunity because it is a part of us that we are born with and do not have to pay a subscription for.

And that is why companies who thrive on medicating people see natural immunity as a significant problem that must be dealt with accordingly.

The solution? Convince the masses natural immunity does not exist, or, if that fails, play down its efficiency. This is what politicians, bureaucrats, so-called ‘experts,’ and scientists (who should know better) have been attempting to do throughout the Covid era.

To ensure the protection of their own pecuniary interests, these people have pushed vaccines as the only way out of the pandemic. Never mind that Covid vaccines do not prevent you from getting the virus, spreading it to others, or becoming sick.

They are denying the effectiveness of natural immunity against disease by claiming it only lasts for a short period of time against Covid, and telling people to get the vaccine even if they have already had the virus. This is completely unnecessary. Vaccine-induced antibodies are temporary. This is evident in that the vaccines only provide immunity for a few months, which is a pretty poor effort for what is supposed to be an ‘effective’ vaccine.

Generally, if a vaccine is effective, you do not need a ‘booster’ every three months. This booster schedule is not only absurd, but also likely dangerous. Even the European Union’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), have stated as much. The EMA’s head of vaccines strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said that ‘repeat vaccinations within short intervals will not represent a sustainable long term strategy’ and that if we give them frequently, even every four months, ‘we will end up potentially having problems with immune response and immune response may end up not being as good as we would like it to be, so we should be careful in not overloading the immune system with repeated immunisation.’ Constant boosters could easily do more harm than good to the immune system and render an individual more susceptible to disease.

Natural immunity is real, and it works. The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) had to admit that natural immunity was six times more effective than vaccines when it came to the Delta variant. With more people contracting Omicron, it stands to reason that there will be a greater saturation of the population with natural immunity, which could actually put an end to the virus.

But that would not be politically nor financially convenient for the big players. When the virus recedes into obscurity, so does their source of fear-inducement, power, and profit. Our governments have already signed contracts with vaccine companies like Pfizer for millions of vaccines, and they cannot return them and get our money back. With two hundred million plus vaccines on standby for a population of twenty-five million, it stands to reason they will continue to push booster after booster. And the denial of natural immunity will persist.

Conservative commentator Michael Knowles sums it up brilliantly in his book Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds.

‘These “experts” lend credibility to the politically correct regime, not by furnishing it with facts, but by redefining scientific terms to better accord with the dictates of progress. Calls for more modest regulations in the pursuit of herd immunity threatened the radicals’ plans for cultural transformation, which benefited from the massive transfer of wealth and power brought about by the lockdowns.’

That transfer of wealth has been from the lower and middle class to big corporations and Big Pharma. It is one of the main reasons natural immunity is admonished and vaccines hailed.

Our immune systems have enabled us to survive for millennia, and they are not going to stop just because a bunch of greedy, power-hungry elites say so.




February 01, 2022

The Covid Narrative Falls Apart in South Africa

Last week, China Daily published an article that perfectly encapsulates the magical thinking taking place worldwide around Covid-19. Titled “Plea for jabs even as Africa infections trend lower,” the piece described how African “health experts” are “stepping up calls for more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in a bid to ward off future outbreaks even as trends point to a decline in the growth rate for new infections.”

That’s right, despite a clear downward trend in mostly-mild Omicron cases, “health experts” want shots imposed indiscriminately throughout the whole population. And adding even more to the cognitive dissonance here are the reasons they cite for the decrease:

“John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC, attributed South Africa’s decrease in new infection cases to increased population levels of antibodies, meaning that many people have been infected so hence developed antibodies combined with the high vaccination rate in the country,” wrote Edith Mutethya before adding the kicker: “To date, South Africa has fully vaccinated 27.3 percent of its population.”

This is, of course, a perfect example of how ‘health officials’ massage and manipulate the facts to suit their narrative. In this case, in his drive to get more “jabs,” Nkengasong laughably tells us the country’s “high vaccination rate” is partially responsible for the decline in Omicron cases. A “high vaccination rate,” in this case, of… wait for it… 27.3 percent.

Granted, 27.3 percent is higher than the meager 10 percent full vaccination rate for the rest of Africa. But given these low percentages, especially by Western standards, one would be forgiven for thinking Covid-19 was raging like a wildfire across the continent, overwhelming hospitals and leaving massive levels of death and severe illness in its wake.

Except, that’s not the case at all. Not even close. In fact, deaths per million are surprisingly low for the vast majority of countries in Africa. Tunisia, a small country of 12 million, leads the pack at ~2,200, and only five others—South Africa, Namibia, Seychelles, Eswatini, and Botswana—are even above 1,000. That’s a stark contrast to the United States’ ~2,600, Brazil’s ~2,900, or Bulgaria and Hungary with more than 4,000 each.

Still, according to World Health Organization regional emergency director Abdou Gueye: “Although Africa appears to be emerging from the peak of its fourth pandemic wave, vaccination which is a pivotal measure against the virus remains far too low. About 50 percent of the world’s population is fully vaccinated. In Africa, this is just 10 percent.”

After a peak of 37,875 reported cases on Dec. 12, 2021, South Africa—‘home’ of the Omicron variant that now dominates the globe—has seen its case numbers decline steadily since. How can this be? Nkengasong, to his credit, tells a partial truth by partially crediting natural immunity. He should have stopped there. Why didn’t he? I submit that it’s because of the magical thinking around Covid vaccines. Even a paltry 27.3 vaccination rate, he reasons, must have contributed to the decline. Would that ‘health officials’ here in the States were so generous. Instead, the third of the country that remains unvaccinated is blamed for everything from virus spread to the Black Death.

We’re told that vaccines against a spike protein that is no longer dominant are the keys to ending the pandemic, but they refuse to explain in light of recent data exactly how. Instead, our overlords allow the majority of the public to falsely blame the unvaccinated for contraction and spread, even while knowing full well that the vaccinated are just as responsible.

Why is the virus raging again in Israel, the most vaccinated and boosted country on the planet? Why is there no statistical difference between virus infection rates in highly vaccinated versus lower uptake areas in the United States? Why do the unvaccinated have the lowest infection rate according to disturbing newly revealed data from Scotland? I could go on and on. (And yes, we have asked the same questions about mask use.)

The sad, tragic fact is that their measures, from lockdowns to masks to even vaccine mandates, have done little to nothing to curb the spread of this highly contagious respiratory virus, and taken as a whole they’ve likely done more harm than good.

I take no pleasure in pointing this out. Truly, I wish something HAD worked. If so, we wouldn’t be talking about this two years in. But alas, the only thing that’s working is viral attenuation and Omicron infecting everything it touches, regardless of masking or vaccine status.

It’s not that these vaccines don’t have their uses. If someone is at high risk for a bad outcome from Covid, taking the “jab” and even endless boosters could be a smart move. But we were promised something else a year ago, weren’t we? “Take the shot,” we were told, “and you can live a normal life free of masks and restrictions.”

That promise, like so many others, has been broken and memory-holed, relegated to the dustbin of so many other Faucian ‘noble lies.’

Try to get into a restaurant in New York City or Chicago with eight masks on but without a vaccine card and see where that gets you. Walk into almost any large restaurant or retail establishment in the country, even here in eastern Tennessee, and every employee will be forcibly masked. It seems like the more the vaccines don’t work to stop this pandemic, the more our overlords double down on nonsense. Thankfully, the prevalence of Omicron is exposing their absurdity for the world to see, if people would only look.

“But but but … it would have been worse,” people smugly retort. To that, I would simply point to South Africa, where Omicron is on its last legs despite a poor healthcare system, much of its population living in poverty, and a vaccination rate that would have Joe Biden really losing his patience.


One-off wonder jab could fight off all strains of flu for LIFE by targeting a completely different part of the virus

Every year, millions of Britons have a flu jab — and every year it’s a different version, as flu viruses mutate so quickly that vaccines have to be reformulated.

But what if there were a one-off flu jab, possibly for life, that not only protected against currently circulating strains but also all future versions?

The so-called ‘universal’ jab has been the holy grail of flu vaccine research for decades — but has proved elusive.

That’s because the flu virus is constantly swapping genes between strains. In this way, it creates variants that dodge any immunity people have from previous flu infections or vaccines.

This process of mutation, called antigenic drift, can happen even within the six to nine months it takes from the World Health Organisation identifying the particular strains that are a threat (usually around February) to the vaccine being ready in the autumn, so making it much less effective.

But now scientists think they are closer than ever to finding the answer. And it involves targeting vaccines at a completely different part of the virus than current jabs aim for.

All flu jabs are made to attack hemagglutinins — proteins dotted all over the surface of flu viruses. These proteins help the flu virus bind to healthy cells, before breaking into them and taking over their internal machinery so the virus can replicate and spread.

Vaccines are currently made with a weakened version of hemagglutinin so that the immune system recognises it as foreign and produces the antibodies needed to fight flu.

If they later encounter the real virus, the antibodies lock on to the bulbous ‘head’ of the hemagglutinin protein, blocking the virus’s attempts to bind to healthy cells.

This part of the protein sticks out from the virus’s surface and is an easy target for antibodies to strike. But it’s also the part that mutates most.

Hemagglutinin is very important in terms of the flu virus binding to cells and getting inside them, explains Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist at Imperial College London. ‘But nearly all of the big genetic variations that occur in the flu virus happen up on the globular-shaped head of this protein,’ he adds.

Once those mutations occur, the antibodies triggered by the vaccine are largely powerless to fight infection.

One way round this is to make vaccines that target not the head of the protein but the ‘stalk’ region, where the hemagglutinin protein joins the main body of the virus.

Mutations occur much less frequently here than in the head, as the genetic material found there is vital for the virus’s survival, and constantly changing it could jeopardise this. The genetic make-up of the stalk region of hemagglutinin is also almost identical in all flu strains — making it an ideal target for a universal jab.

‘The stalk region is part of the basic structure of the protein and is needed to help the flu virus bind with cells so it can gain entry to them,’ says Professor Openshaw. ‘It cannot mutate as easily as the head part of the protein [can] as this would be lethal for the virus.

‘What scientists are now trying to do is use the stalk region as the basis of a vaccine. ‘Such a vaccine will hopefully activate the immune system to produce antibodies that will attack this area, rather than the head.

‘In theory, these antibodies would then recognise a wide variety of different flu viruses and cope not just with whatever current strain is in circulation but potentially all those that emerge in future — even ones capable of causing a pandemic.’

But it’s not that simple, and previous attempts to make a stalk-based flu jab have faltered. This is because, even when the head area of the protein has mutated, some of its genetic material stays the same.

The immune system, after years of exposure to flu infections or vaccines, remembers this material and pumps out antibodies in response.

Despite these potentially not being the right antibodies to fight off infection (because the virus has mutated), this drowns out the production of antibodies needed to target the stalk region.

But a few weeks ago, researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York revealed they had got round this by genetically tinkering with the protein.

They replaced the head of the protein with new genetic viral material that the immune system would be less likely to recognise and attack.

This allowed the immune system to instead produce much higher levels of antibodies to target the stalk region.

They tested the experimental jab on 51 volunteers and found a single dose triggered ‘remarkably high’ levels of anti-stalk antibodies, they wrote in the journal Nature Medicine.

Now the scientists hope to set up larger trials, although this is likely to take several years.

But another one-off jab, using a different approach, is already undergoing trials in the U.S.

FluMos-v1 is similar to some existing jabs in that it produces antibodies to the hemagglutinin protein from the four different types of flu virus (two influenza type A strains and two influenza type B strains) that usually circulate. (Flu jabs usually protect against strains of A and B.)

But whereas existing vaccines carry just one copy of the protein from each of the four strains, FluMos-v1, which is being tested at the U.S. National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, Maryland, has 20.

The hope is that it fires up a much more potent immune response, enough to see off all future invading flu viruses. First results are expected in 2023.

‘I’m more optimistic than I used to be about the chances of developing a universal flu vaccine,’ says Professor Openshaw. ‘Progress is definitely being made,’ he says, though adding a note of caution: ‘But it could still be another ten years before we get there.’




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Most pictures that I use in the body of the blog should stay up throughout the year. But how long they stay up after that is uncertain. At the end of every year therefore I intend to put up a collection of all pictures used my blogs in that year. That should enable missing pictures to be replaced. The archive of last year's pictures on this blog is therefore now up. Note that the filename of the picture is clickable and clicking will bring the picture up. See here (2021). See also here (2020)

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