Let’s Demand a Recount . . . of Covid Deaths

Daily Disease Deaths

Statistics on March 19, 2020,  prior to CDC changing rules for reporting Covid19 deaths.

Thomas T. Siler, M.D. makes the case in his American Thinker article Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

How deadly is the SARS-COV-2 virus? Part of the equation depends on accurately determining just who has died from COVID-19 infection. It turns out that, thanks to changes the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) made to its rules, along with Congressional incentives, America’s COVID-19 counts are almost certainly inaccurate.

America counts COVID-19 deaths differently from other countries. According to Dr. Deborah Birx, speaking at the start of the pandemic, “if someone dies with COVID-19, we are counting that as a COVID-19 death.”

However, we must acknowledge that there is a difference between dying from COVID-19 and dying with COVID-19. This is a familiar uncertainty for doctors during the winter flu season.

In most states, 40-60% of the people dying of SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are elderly persons with multiple medical problems who live in nursing homes. A portion of this same cohort dies every year from the seasonal influenza virus. When that happens, did the flu kill them or their cancer, heart failure, strokes, or liver problems? Doctors use their best judgment to fill out the death certificate correctly, but they do not categorize all of them as “flu” deaths.

According to the CDC, only 6% of those who died with the COVID-19 infection had no other pre-existing health conditions. The other 94% had an average of four medical conditions already affecting their health.

This does not mean that only 6% of these deaths resulted from COVID-19. But it also does not mean that 100% of the deaths among people with other medical conditions should be counted as death from COVID-19 either. If we counted each death that tested positive for flu or had symptoms of flu as an “influenza death,” we would also have hundreds of thousands of flu deaths each year.

When it comes to the flu, though, we don’t tally either the 6% or the 100%. The real answer is in the middle. Applying that same logic to COVID-19 means that conservatively 25-50% of the deaths labeled from COVID-19 more likely died with COVID-19.

According to an October study from the bulletin of Science, Public Health Policy, and the Law, on March 24, 2020, the CDC changed the way it tabulated deaths for the previous 17 years, resulting in inflated COVID-19 death numbers. Moreover, the change affected only deaths relating to COVID-19. Even more surprising, the Federal Register does not mention these changes, so it appears the CDC acted without peer review and oversight by either the Office of Management and Budget or Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which would violate federal law.

The same article says that, in August, the estimate for COVID-19 deaths under the new system was 161,392. However, if the same data had been tabulated under the old system, the COVID-19 death count would be only 9,684. The fundamental difference was that, no matter the patient’s ultimate cause of death, the new system mandated that COVID-19 must always be the first cause of death, with the other conditions listed as “contributing factors” – the opposite of the old system.

The CDC also made influenza deaths magically vanish for this flu season. The CDC created a new category of death from pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19 to lump those causes together. This only created confusion about COVID-19 deaths — and please, don’t say that masking and distancing reduced influenza deaths while not reducing COVID-19 deaths. Assuredly, some influenza deaths were lumped into the COVID-19 category this season.

In addition to a different way of counting deaths, Congress passed the CARES Act, authorizing more money for hospitals that had patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis. Perhaps done with good intentions, this incentivized financially pushing the COVID-19 diagnosis to the top of the list so that hospitals can pay for the care they give. This too gives more weight to listing a positive COVID test/diagnosis as the cause of death instead of the patient’s other conditions.

In addition to new ways of counting cases and financial incentives for listing cases, some states have been found to have irregularities in their COVID-19 death count. Washington state’s Freedom Foundation investigated COVID-19 deaths in May 2020 and found that 13% of the listed COVID-19 deaths did not mention COVID-19.

A FOIA request revealed that the Washington Department of Health (“DOH”) agreed in private emails that this was true and promised to change. However, when the Freedom Foundation followed up in December, it again found that 340 deaths out of 2,000 (17%) at the time did not mention SARS-COV-2 or only listed SARS-COV-2 as a contributing cause, not the main cause, of death. Once again, the Freedom Foundation challenged Governor Jay Inslee’s DOH, which agreed to remove 200 deaths from the COVID list. The Freedom Foundation concluded that the DOH was not erring; it was attempting to inflate the death count by 10-15%.

In Minnesota in December 2020, lawmakers Mary Farmer and Dr. Scott Jensen conducted a state audit of COVID-19 deaths, eventually sifting through 2,800 death certificates. They found that 800 patients (almost 30%) did not have SARS-COV-2 listed as a cause for death. They have appealed to their state for changes and asked for a national audit of COVID-19 deaths. It is unclear at this point how many states have this problem, but we need a national audit of COVID-19 death reporting.

In sum, due to a very liberal description of a “COVID death,” financial incentives, CDC rule changes and, apparently, outright deception or incompetence from some government agencies, America has inflated the death rate due to SARS-CoV-2. Our mainstream media has also been complicit in trying to maximize fear and panic by failing to investigate and reporting only one side to the story.

This strong bias has led to some egregious examples such as gunshot wounds and suicides being called a “COVID-19 death.” This dishonesty undermines public confidence in how the pandemic was managed.

Using different rules for COVID-19 deaths versus deaths from other infections makes it hard to compare its mortality rates to those in previous pandemics or deaths from other infectious diseases, such as the flu. It seems clear, though, that the COVID-19 pandemic is not as severe as other pandemics. Dr. Marty Makary, a Johns Hopkins physician, estimated that the COVID-19 infection fatality rate is 0.23% which is close to a bad influenza season.

It’s true that the COVID-19 infection is a real threat to the elderly with other medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, obesity, etc.) and this group must be protected. Still, parts of our government and media seem to have made a concerted effort to make the SARS-COV-2 pandemic appear more deadly than it actually is. While America’s Frontline Doctors, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and a handful of other groups have been calling attention to these issues, the medical profession has mostly been silent.

If the CDC ceases to be a reliable source for health data, some of our state governments manipulate data, and the major media outlets have no interest in investigating and reporting the truth, how long will the American people go along with this medical tyranny of lockdowns, masking, social distancing, and financial ruin? We know who needs to be protected and we know how to do it. The time is now to let the rest of our population return to normal life.

Inflating Covid-19

Media Distort India’s Success Fighting Covid

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The image above confirms that despite what we’ve been told, India and other south Asian nations have much lower Covid fatality rates than the rest of the world, and the US, where the contagion was mismanaged for the political need to take down Trump.  Many of us have wondered what is going on with Covid in India and only have access to inflamed Western media reporting. Since journalists are math-challenged (thinking math is a white supremacist thing anyway) they write stories based on their biases, rather than delving into the facts and numbers.  Mathew Crawford sheds some light in his blog article The Chloroquine Wars Part XVII Why the Story About India’s April COVID-19 Spike is All Wrong excerpted below in italics with my bolds. He is a quant guy and gets statistics from Indian official sources, especially  covid19india.

You’ve probably seen the recent news out of India: Pandemonium. All the important media outlets are talking about it, and since they’re telling the exact same story, you can be sure they checked in with the exact same gatekeeper.

  • The NYT: India sets a global record for daily infections.
  • BBC: COVID in Uttar Pradesh: Coronavirus overwhelms India’s most populous state.
  • NPR: How India Went From A Ray of Hope To A World Record For Most COVID Cases In A Day.
  • Reuters: Oxygen gets armed escort in India as supplies run low in COVID crisis

There is something about phrases like “world record” and “unprecedented” that seem inappropriate for such a solemn topic, but right now I’m having a hard time getting the image of focus group testing out of my head. What kind of newsroom goes with a “It was a dark and stormy night” narrative as opposed to direct fact reporting?

Death is always with us. It is also important that we search for appropriate perspective. On the order of 60,000,000 people died last year around the world, and each was a light in the world. We do our best to serve human health to search for the best ways to support human health.

Now, let us look a little more closely at the portrayal of the story of India’s COVID-19 spike. Let us begin with some of the tweets (here and here) raising the alarm so that all of the [English speaking] world knows what is happening in parts of India. There is a focus on the quickly depleting oxygen supply. We might guess this is the primary variable in the equation.

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The CDC advises American citizens to avoid all travel to India.

Here is a gut-wrenching quote from Reuters news service:

Earlier in the day, the hospital’s chief executive, Sunil Saggar, choked back tears as he described the decision to discharge some patients because the lack of oxygen meant there was nothing his hospital could do to help.

Another Reuters article reminds us that any time an outbreak occurs, a lack of authoritarian measures is to blame.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose government has been criticised for relaxing virus curbs too soon, met chief ministers of the worst-affected states, including the capital Delhi, Maharashtra and Modi’s home state of Gujarat, to discuss the crisis.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said this week people had largely given up COVID precautions and “became very careless” before the surge.

Now, let’s take a look at the concentration of cases around India.

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The large Central-Western state of Maharashtra has a population of around 125 million people, which is around 9% of India’s massive 1.4 billion people. The second largest number of active COVID-19 cases is in Uttar Pradesh in the north, which has nearly twice as many people (240 million) and less than 40% as many cases. These state populations would qualify as large nations on their own, and we see wildly different results. The total number of deaths per million in Maharashtra is right around 500 per million. There have been only 44 deaths per million residents of Uttar Pradesh. These numbers are different by kind. Of the 221 nations listed in worldometers, India ranks 120th in deaths per million, Maharashtra would alone rank 72nd, and Uttar Pradesh would alone rank 148th. Of the handful of large nations that have suffered lower mortality (per million) than India, nearly all are near neighbors with similar statistics, African nations with low elderly populations, or island nations with less international traffic (and likely protective exposure to other coronaviruses).

In fact, Maharashtra and also Dehli are relatively unique in all of South Asia with such high COVID-19 caseloads relative to population size. It makes sense to focus in on why that might be the case. This leads us immediately to the story that the Western media refuses to talk about—and we have seen it before. One or the other of two drugs are used widely across South Asia: hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and ivermectin (IVM).

Okay, so I can make that claim. I do so after many conversations, emails, and electronic messages with doctors and researchers in India. But I will back it up here with a few sources.

Let us start with covexit.com, which has faithfully covered topics ignored by the larger media during the pandemic. Covexit invited a team of Indian doctors to tell the story of HCQ/IVM use as prophylaxis and medical therapy in India. While many doctors have recently moved to IVM usage, HCQ has been used broadly across most of India during the pandemic.

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Similarly, Pakistan chose to use HCQ early on during the pandemic and is one of the nations that has produced several studies on treatment results. The rest of South Asia made the same decision, acquiring stocks of the drug from large manufacturers India and Pakistan: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar all use HCQ to treat COVID-19. Let’s take a look at how all these nations are doing relative to both the U.S. and the entire world (see graph at top).

So, what’s different between Maharashtra and Delhi with respect to the rest of India and South Asia? Instead of relying on HCQ and IVM, many doctors and health officials in Maharashtra and Delhi pushed the expensive and profitable remdesivir drug. Due to its cost and recommended time of usage, remdesivir is not used either as a prophylaxis or for early outpatient treatment. And unlike the cheap and easy-to-produce HCQ and IVM, remdesivir is difficult to replace when it runs out. During this wave in India, many hospitals in Maharashtra and Delhi ran out of the stocks of remdesivir. Perhaps…just perhaps…these contrasts in treatment philosophy make the difference between a substantial viral breakout, and one that is highly manageable.

Where HCQ and IVM are used widely as prophylaxis and to treat COVID-19 early, the outbreaks and deaths are far more manageable. The oxygen doesn’t run out. It’s much like a typical flu season, in fact.

It becomes harder and harder by the day to believe that health officials, pharmaceutical companies, and the media haven’t noticed.

On a positive note, the number of active cases in Maharashtra has begun to recede. Let us hope the trend continues or accelerates.

Here’s the trends bending down as of May 3, 2021

India cases May 3 2021

Footnote:  Media outlets like MSNBC and NPR are stoking Covid alarms generally, and base their stories about India from talking to people like Dr. Sumit Ray, whose hospital in New Delhi is struggling to deal with sick people requiring oxygen support.  As described above, Delhi and Maharashtra are two regions who denied frontline caregivers the use of anti-viral treatment protocols involving HCQ or Ivermectin.  The dire straits are not typical of the entire country, and elsewhere infection rates are coming down.

Why in Chile Both Covid Vax and Cases up

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As the chart above shows Chile has vaccinated about 2/3 of its population, a world leader in that regard.  Some are puzzled how that nation would at the same time have a surge in confirmed Covid cases.  Let’s see how Chile compares on the cases metric in chart below

coronavirus-data-explorer April 19

Chile has seen a rise in cases, though still in the middle of the pack of nations shown.  The screen grab below allows a clearer picture of the Chilean experience.

coronavirus-data-explorer Chile April 19

Thomas Lifson explains what is going on in Chile in his American Thinker article COVID surging in Chile despite high rate of vaccination.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The headline and tone of this article from CNBC are alarming: “Chile has one of the world’s best vaccination rates. COVID is surging there anyway.” One must read 13 paragraphs into the story to begin to solve what looks like a mystery.

Chile’s vaccination campaign against the coronavirus has been one of the world’s quickest and most extensive, but a recent surge in infections has sparked concern beyond its borders.

Almost 40% of the South American country’s total population have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to statistics compiled by Our World in Data, reflecting one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

Chile is an impressive country in many respects. Yet:

The number of daily cases in Chile rose to a record high on April 9, climbing above 9,000 for the first time since the pandemic began and significantly higher than the peak of almost 7,000 recorded last summer.

CNBC’s writer Sam Meredith offers possible explanations:

Health experts say the country’s latest surge in cases has, in part, been driven by more virulent strains of the virus, a relaxation of public health measures, increased mobility and defiance of simple precautions — such as physical distancing and wearing a mask.

These are all Fauci favorites. Live in fear of new strains (and be prepared for masks and lockdowns forever because viruses mutate, you see). For goodness’s sake, isolate from each other, and don’t let herd immunity develop (as it seems to have done in free states like Texas and Florida and in Sweden). And above all, wear your obedience mask and live in a world without smiles.

Oh, yes: Cut yourself off from the rest of the world. Right-wing Chile didn’t, and look what happened:

Chile’s center-right government, led by President Sebastian Pinera, had ordered the closure of the country’s borders from March to November of 2020, albeit with a few exceptions, before the decision was taken to reopen them to international passengers late last year.

Finally, after all these possibilities have been mentioned, we get to what’s really going on:
There have also been questions raised about vaccine efficacy, given Chile’s widespread use of CoronaVac,  the coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Chinese firm Sinovac.

Questions raised, eh?   A few paragraphs later, we learn:

Late-stage data of China’s COVID vaccines remain unpublished, and available data of the CoronaVac vaccine is varied. Brazilian trials found the vaccine to be just over 50% effective, significantly less effective than the likes of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca, while Turkish researchers have reported efficacy as high as 83.5%. (snip)

A study published by the University of Chile earlier this month reported that CoronaVac was 56.5% effective two weeks after the second doses were administered in the country. Crucially, however, they also reported that one dose was only 3% effective.

“This would help to explain why Chile — with one of the world’s most robust vaccine rollouts but 93% of the doses coming from China — has experienced a simultaneous significant expansion in cases, and a much slower decline in hospitalizations and deaths compared to the early rollouts in Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States,” Ian Bremmer, president of risk consultancy Eurasia Group, said in a research note.

Nowhere in the long article, which suggests that “‘comprehensive strategies’ to speed up the rollout of vaccines and stop transmission by using proven public health measures” may be necessary, is there any mention at all of therapeutic approaches using hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin in combination with zinc and vitamins, which has proven highly effective in arresting the development of cases, and even in prophylactically protecting people. Both drugs have been taken by millions of people for many years with very few reported adverse reactions.

Isn’t it curious that this obvious approach is not worth mentioning?

American Covid Phobia

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Kylee Zempel explains in her Federalist article Americans Are Irrationally Afraid Of COVID Because The Ruling Class Has Demonized Risk

‘Why do so many vaccinated people remain fearful?’ David Leonhardt asks with a straight face in Monday’s New York Times newsletter.
Let me tell you.

Leonhardt opens with a story about judge and Yale University law professor Guido Calabresi, who for 30 years has been telling his students a tale he crafted about a god who came to society to propose an invention that would make their lives better in nearly every way. It would afford them extra quality time with loved ones and enable them to see sights and perform tasks they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.

The cost? The god would select 1,000 young people to strike dead.

The professor would then pose the question to his students: Would you take the deal? The students’ answer would almost always be no. “What’s the difference between this and the automobile?” Calabresi would ask, revealing the moral of the story.

Leonhardt concludes in the Times that we accept the cost of automobile fatalities because it has always been an aspect of our lives. A world without cars and thus the risks they carry is a world we really just can’t imagine for ourselves. Our comfortability with vehicles, Leonhardt says, is an example of human irrationality when calculating risks. While people tend to focus on minuscule risks such as airplane crashes or shark attacks, we gloss over much riskier activities such as driving.

“One way for a risk to become salient is for it to be new,” Leonhardt says, likening the salient risk of Calabresi’s fable to COVID-19. “That’s a core idea behind Calabresi’s fable. He asks students to consider whether they would accept the cost of vehicle travel if it did not already exist. That they say no underscores the very different ways we treat new risks and enduring ones.”

Americans Used to Embrace Risk

Leonhardt’s assessment might be true to an extent. But the fact is that vehicles, which have always been risky, do exist, meaning that Americans at one point were willing to take that risk. At the turn of the 20th century, Calabresi’s fable wasn’t a fable at all. It was a reality, and Americans decided the risk was worth taking.

Thus the explanation can’t just be that we assign different treatments to “new risks and enduring ones.” It’s that Americans of today are orders of magnitude more risk-averse than our predecessors, and thus are more paralyzed and less productive. For a virus, Americans have chosen to cater to the most irrationally COVID-terrified voices among us, making us not only more paralyzed and less productive, but also increasingly less free.

COVID Terror Isn’t ‘Natural’

That’s where Leonhardt’s analysis almost completely diverges from reality. Irrational fears about COVID-19 are not “natural,” nor are they merely the result of salience and newness. It isn’t inherent in the human spirit to be terrified of things that pose such little risk for so much of the population.

These irrational fears are manufactured. They’re instilled by folks like Anthony Fauci, who said just last week that “No, it’s still not OK,” when asked whether vaccinated or unvaccinated Americans should be eating and drinking inside at restaurants and bars. Infection counts are still “disturbingly high,” he said, again fueling the fire of illogical COVID terror.

“Even after you’re vaccinated, social distancing, wearing masks are going to be essential,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki warned in February. Meanwhile, corporations and the federal government are teaming up to make you prove you’re not unclean with a “vaccine passport” so you don’t pose an existential threat to your fellow citizens, blue-state leaders and bureaucrats are double-masking even after they’re vaccinated and saying “it is possible” we’ll still be wearing face masks in 2022, and Biden’s COVID adviser is saying the pandemic in the United States is still a “Category 5 hurricane” even after millions of Americans have been inoculated.

So no, it isn’t “natural” that the vaccinated continue to cling to irrational fears. It’s a direct result of scare-mongering and lies and an unwillingness to do any type of risk assessment until a Pfizer cocktail is coursing through one’s veins. It’s the predictable outcome after a year of terrifying rhetoric and fudged data, in which The New York Times itself played a role (see here, here, here, here, here, and here) — and continues to.

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Resist the Culture of Fear

Either the Times author is too simple to connect those dots, or he’s part of the media and “expert” ruling class that still wants Americans to buy into their social experiment so they can keep normal citizens on a short leash as they craft the culture they desire of herders and sheep, haves and have-nots, and engineers and cogs.

Leonhardt is right about one thing: Most COVID fears are completely irrational. But The New York Times doesn’t get credit for pointing this out more than a year after the world went into lockdown and lives have been destroyed. When conservatives and Americans of goodwill tried to make risk assessments early on, they were excoriated by the corporate press for being selfish and conspiratorial murderers and rubes.

The irrationality of COVID fears didn’t start with the vaccine — and won’t end with it either. Today’s risk-averse Americans have decided en masse that safety is paramount, risk is unacceptable and therefore freedom is dangerous, and dissenters are malicious.

This brings us all back to Calabresi’s fable. American greatness, with pandemics as with automobiles, doesn’t come from 21st-century Yale students afraid of their own shadows. It comes from the types of Americans who can identify the dangers of the Model T, recognize that risk-taking is the sine qua non to human progress, and say, “Bring it on.”

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Covid Cult Oppresses Public

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Multiple businesses were vandalized after an anti-curfew protest turned into a riot in Montreal, Quebec Sunday night.  François Legault, the Premier of Quebec, announced Quebec’s Covid-19 curfew will be pushed up from 9:30 PM to 8:00 PM beginning Sunday due to rising Covid cases.

Thy children shall suffer … and other commandments of the Cult of COVID  By Donald S. Siegel, David A. Waldman and Robert M. Sauer at NY Post.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Cult of COVID’s spread has been made possible by an alarmingly powerful public-health establishment and large corporations.

cult-of-covid

For years, we’ve heard that a growing share of Americans don’t identify with any religion. But the past year has witnessed a remarkable religious revival in a nation that was supposed to be fast-secularizing. Only, the religion in question is grim, hopeless, more akin to a cult than true faith — and decidedly imposed from on high.

We’re speaking, of course, of the Cult of COVID, the fastest-growing religion in the United States and across much of the developed world, a religion whose spread has been made possible by an alarmingly powerful public-health establishment and large corporations.

The Cult of COVID has its own clerical elite, its own commandments and even modesty norms. And like any cult, its fanatic adherents shame and silence heretics for defying the public orthodoxy.

The faith’s First Commandment: Thou shalt stay locked down.

For the first time in history, healthy, asymptomatic people of all ages were “quarantined” and placed under virtual house arrest for long stretches.

It’s hard to remember now, since they’ve become a part of our lives, but lockdowns and “reopenings” are an unprecedented imposition on our fundamental rights to work, study, do business, freely associate and worship (God, not the COVID deities).

It’s equally hard to remember, but the COVID clerisy told us the lockdowns would last a few weeks at most, until we “flatten the curves”; we did that, months ago, yet the liturgy of lockdowns goes on.

Then there’s the faith’s Second Commandment: Thou shalt wear a mask.

So essential is this modesty norm that even those who are fully vaccinated continue to wear surgical masks whose effectiveness is questionable at best. We are told that the vaccines are overwhelmingly effective — yet not effective enough, apparently, to disrupt the liturgy of lockdowns or to obviate the mask requirement.

Next commandment: Thy children must suffer.

Like most barbarous cults, the Cult of COVID demands child sacrifice, albeit less overtly bloody than the ancient pagan variety. Pagans practiced child sacrifice in order to appease supernatural beings. Likewise, under the Cult of COVID, the educational development and physical and mental health of our children have been sacrificed on the altar of Absolute Safety, one of the cult’s most capricious and hard-to-appease deities.

The priestly class of epidemiologists, school officials and union leaders — the latter are especially important in the cult’s hierarchy — are tasked with carrying out this dark liturgy. The media supply the chorus with predictions of imminent doom if children and their parents don’t continue to sacrifice their freedom and social and academic development.

Virus Outbreak Senate

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky became emotional at a recent White House coronavirus press briefing — her voice breaking as she warned that the US is facing “impending doom” as COVID-19 cases rise again.

The children of the poor suffer especially for lack of access to affordable, healthy food. All children pay the price by being deprived of real learning and physical activity.

The disregard for kids’ wellbeing may seem callous, but such is the Cult of COVID: Even and especially the president of the United States must pay obeisance to the cult’s supreme hierarchs, teachers-union bosses.

Which brings us to one of the cult’s most central teachings: that you and your family aren’t individuals with rights and liberties.

Instead, you are germ factories, whose movement and social interaction must be severely limited. The media lionize the experts who have imprisoned us. Politicians claim to “follow the science,” when, in reality, they are really following the cult’s edicts, which are impervious to reason and evidence — for example, evidence that children transmit the virus at a much lower rate than do adults, or that outdoor transmission is so negligible as to render wearing masks in the open downright ridiculous.

If you don’t remember choosing to join an irrational cult, well, nor do we. And nor do millions of people across the West now called to participate in its bizarre, cruel and never-ending liturgies. Whatever your religious beliefs, this was one religious revival America didn’t need.

Donald S. Siegel, is a professor of public policy at Arizona State University, where David A. Waldman is a professor of Management. Robert M. Sauer is a professor of economics at the University of London.

 

 

Four Myths Drove Covid Madness

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Myth: Sars-CV2 is a new virus and we have no defense.
Fact: Sars-CV2 has not been scientifically established as a virus.
Myth: Testing positive for Sars-CV2 makes you a disease case and a spreader.
Fact: PCR tests say nothing about you being ill or infectious.
Myth: Millions of people have died from Covid19.
Fact: Life expectancy is the same before and after Covid19.
Myth: Wearing masks prevents viral infection.
Fact: Evidence shows masks are symbolic, not effective.

Jack Kerwick has written a series of articles at FrontPage Mag over the last year discussing how facts have been overwhelmed by fears, a mythology replacing scientific knowledge and reason. From the beginning this contagion was different, being the first one in an age of 24/7 cable news and rampant social media. So emotion and exaggeration were spread and political leaders pressured to act as protectors, clamping down on social and economic transactions. This post provides a synopsis of what went wrong, based on Kerwick’s recent essay Masks and Stopping COVID. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

What the science – lots of science – really tells us.

In previous essays, I argued for three theses against the prevailing COVID Orthodoxy:

(1)SARS-CoV-2 has never been isolated, purified, and extracted in accordance with the scientific method that has long been in place for isolating, purifying, and extracting other viruses (like bacteriophages and “giant viruses”), and neither has the scientific method been observed with respect to establishing whether this virus is in fact the cause of a disease called “COVID-19.”
Discussion:

Has the existence of “the Virus” been established according to a universally acknowledged set of scientific procedures that must be observed to establish the existence of any and all other viruses?

From the sounds of it, the answer is a resounding no.

Dr. Tom Cowan, Dr. Andrew Kaufman, and Sally Fallon Morell, are among those who have noted in a paper published last year that in demonstrating the existence of a new virus, samples must, firstly, be taken from the blood, phlegm, or other secretions of hundreds of people exhibiting symptoms that are “unique and specific enough to characterize an illness.”

Then, “without mixing these samples with ANY tissue or products that also contain genetic material, the virologist macerates, filters, and ultracentrifuges, i.e. purifies the specimen.” This, the authors explain, is a “common virology technique, done for decades to isolate bacteriophages [viruses that infect bacteria and reproduce within them] and so-called giant viruses [a virus larger than typical bacteria].”

Thirdly, once virologists perform this procedure, they are then able to “demonstrate with electron microscopy thousands of identically sized and shaped particles.” The latter are “the isolated and purified virus.”

Fourthly, upon determining the purity of these particles, virologists are able to examine their “structure, morphology, and chemical composition [.]”

Fifthly, “the genetic makeup” of the particles [the virus] “is characterized by extracting the genetic material directly from” them and “using genetic-sequencing techniques” that have long been in existence.

Finally, an analysis must be conducted to prove that “these uniform particles are exogenous (outside) in origin” as viruses are held to be and not just “the normal breakdown of products of dead and dying tissues.”

The authors conclude: “If we have come this far then we have fully isolated, characterized, genetically-sequenced an exogenous virus particle” .
They add that nowhere in the literature does it show that any of these steps have been taken with respect to SARS-CoV-2.

Neither—and this is crucial—have the scientific steps for determining that SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of a disease, COVID-19, been taken. What are these steps? There really isn’t much to it:

A group of healthy subjects, typically animals, is first exposed to “this isolated, purified virus in the manner in which the disease is thought to be transmitted.”

Subsequently, virologists will wait to determine whether these subjects fall ill with “the same disease, as confirmed by clinical and autopsy findings [.]” If so, “one has now shown that the virus actually causes a disease.” In other words, the “infectivity and transmission of an infectious agent” will have been demonstrated.

Again, according to the authors, nothing like this has been performed to show that
there is a virus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes what has become known as COVID-19.

An ever growing number of citizen journalists in over ten different countries from around the world have, via the Freedom of Information Acts of their respective homes, requested from scores of health agencies an account of the process by which SARS-CoV-2 has been isolated (i.e. separated out from all other stuff). To date, no account has been provided.

(2) The explosion of COVID “cases” is an illusion generated by a combination of two things: (a) the redefining of a “case” from meaning “infection in need of medical attention”—which is how it was defined in the pre-COVID era—to meaning “anyone who is presumed to have, or to have had, COVID and/or anyone who tests positive for COVID” plus (b) an intrinsically limited PCR test that is deliberately run at a number of cycles guaranteed to produce a tsunami of false-positives.

The official case numbers, in other words, are meaningless.

Discussion:

Right from the jump, it’s crucial to take note of the fact that for the first time ever, beginning just last year, “cases” was radically redefined in such a way that would have been unthinkable in just February of 2020 (one month before The Virus Apocalypse engulfed the universe).

For starters, as indicated above, many of these “cases,” per the CDC, included those patients who were labeled as “probable” carriers of the virus. This means that they were diagnosed as “cases” in the absence of any “confirmatory laboratory testing.” And yet they were identified as COVID “cases.”

Moreover, even when testing is figured into it, with respect to no other virus or disease has the CDC ever counted as a “case” a merely positive test. A positive test, in other words, has never been regarded by the medical establishment as sufficient grounds upon which to determine a “case.” Rather, in order for something to count as a “case,” a person had to have been sick and in need of medical attention like, say, hospitalization.

In the COVID era, however, the CDC began accumulating positive PCR test results (about more of which will be said below) from people the vast majority of whom are “asymptomatic,” meaning they feel just fine, and combining them with positive antibodies tests from people who also feel just fine: The final sum, this compound, comprises all “cases.”

Now, as for those PCR tests: There are two problems.

First, as Karry Mullis bluntly remarked: “Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron.” Who was Karry Mullis? He was the inventor of the PCR test. And he won a Nobel Prize in Science for this achievement. What did the late Dr. Mullis mean by his characterization of his own invention?

“PCR is intended to identify substances qualitatively, but by its very nature is unsuited for estimating numbers [of viruses]. Although there is a common misimpression that the viral load tests actually count the number of viruses in the blood, these tests cannot detect free, infectious viruses at all; they can only detect proteins that are believed, in some cases wrongly, to be unique to HIV. The tests can detect genetic sequences of viruses, but not viruses themselves” (emphases added).

Lauitsen explains further:

“What PCR does is to select a genetic sequence and then amplify it enormously. It can accomplish the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack; it can amplify that needle into a haystack. Like an electronically amplified antenna, PCR greatly amplified the signal, but it also greatly amplifies the noise” (emphases added).

What this implies is that given that “the amplification is exponential, the slightest error in measurement, the slightest contamination, can result in errors of many orders of magnitude.”

There is still another problem with the PCR test as it is currently being used that guarantees its utter worthlessness. More exactly, that guarantees that the “case” numbers built upon it are wholly inaccurate and, hence, meaningless.

This past fall, none other than the New York Times noted that possibly as high as 90% of all positive test results are false.

Per the CDC and FDA guidelines, the vast majority of PCR tests are run at a threshold of 40 cycles. Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist from Harvard who is quoted in the Times piece, notes that when PCR tests are run at 35 or more cycles, they “may detect not just live virus but also live fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risks—akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left.”

The French researcher Didier Raoult has shown that when the PCR test is run at 25 cycles, about 70% of samples were genuinely positive—meaning infectious. However, when the test is run at a threshold of 30 cycles, only 20% of samples were infectious. At 35 cycles, but three percent of samples were infectious.

And when the test was run above 35 cycles? Zero samples were infectious.

(3)People are getting sick and dying from all manner of things from which people get sick and die each and every year. Only throughout this past year, these causes of sickness and death have been repackaged as COVID sickness and death.
Discussion:

Think about it: a cough, running nose, sore throat, chills, chest congestion, fever, loss of taste and smell—these are all symptoms of a plethora of things, from the common cold to seasonal influenza and a whole lot else. Particularly since the vast majority of COVID cases are “mild,” it’s with the greatest of ease that any single one of these symptoms or any number of combinations of them can be used as a pretext by which to establish a “COVID case.”

This is not necessarily to say that the symptoms in question are not signs of COVID or the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is claimed to be its cause. It’s only to note that in the absence of scientifically confirming definitively that (a) there is a unique strain of a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, (b) that it is the cause of something called COVID-19, and that, (3) given the scandalously unreliable PCR test, people do in fact have COVID, symptoms that are associated with the latter are more economically, more plausibly explained by way of reference to illnesses that have long been with us.

The Principle of Parsimony—better known since the 14th century as “Ockham’s Razor”—applies: When confronted with two or more explanatory hypotheses, all things being equal, reason dictates that we opt for the one that is simplest.

Since many of the symptoms now being associated with COVID until recently were explained in terms of, say, the flu, and, given the foregoing facts regarding the science—or lack of science—behind the COVID Narrative, it makes better sense to continue explaining those symptoms in terms of the flu.

Indeed, there is no doubt that a great shell game has been transpiring for a year now as cases of various illnesses have been re-labeled as COVID cases.

For example, over at John Hopkins University, Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s program, used data from the CDC to analyze the effect of COVID-19 deaths in America on all other deaths. Reasonably enough, she had expected to witness a substantial number of excess deaths in 2020, i.e. deaths by all other causes plus the orgy of COVID deaths with which politicians and those in the media had been singularly preoccupied.

She was mistaken. Sorely mistaken. Yanni Gu, a writer for the university’s student newspaper, reports: “Surprisingly, the deaths of older people stayed the same before and after COVID-19.”

This was surprising because COVID (not unlike virtually everything else) overwhelmingly affects elderly people. Thus, “experts expected an increase in the percentage of deaths in older age groups. However, this increase is not seen from the CDC data.” Furthermore, “the percentages of deaths among all age groups remain relatively the same” (emphases added).

Whoa. Briand would soon discover that the plot was just beginning to thicken. What the “data analyzes suggest,” Gu writes, is “that in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States” (emphases added).

There is a perfectly rational, and simple, explanation to account for the unbridgeable chasm between the media-concocted perception of COVID and the reality that Briand discovered:

Deaths from all other causes were being re-classified—misclassified—as death from COVID.  And how did Briand determine this?
For the first time ever, deaths from all other causes—heart diseases, respiratory diseases, influenza, and pneumonia—decreased.

Especially shocking was the realization that heart disease, which has always been the number one killer in America, appeared to have suddenly lost that distinction with the onset of COVID.

Moreover, deaths from all other causes decreased just in proportion to the extent to which COVID deaths increased. “This trend is completely contrary to the pattern observed in all previous years. Interestingly…the total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19.”

Within 24 or so hours of the publication of the article relaying Genevieve Briand’s discoveries, the student paper at John Hopkins University retracted it. They never, however, denied the truth of a single syllable of either Briand’s analysis nor its summary of it. That it was political pressure, and not shoddy scholarship that informed its decision is clear, for the school paper saved its article in a PDF file (to which I link above) for all of the world to read.

Wearing of Masks is Not Supported by Scientific Evidence

In this essay, we will revisit the topic of masks. I’ve already written about the psychological, moral, and social costs of mask-wearing. Here, I will focus specifically on the science—or lack of science—behind it.

Scientists recognize that the RCT—Randomized Control Trial—is the “gold standard” as far as “effectiveness research” is concerned. Drs. Eduardo Hariton and Joseph J. Locasio explain that randomization “reduces bias” while providing “a rigorous tool” by which “to examine cause-effect relationships between an intervention and outcome.” RCTs eliminate the risk of confirmation bias, something that is “not possible with any other study design” (emphases added).

This is critical for our purposes, for the largest study of the effectiveness of mask-wearing by the general public to thwart the transmission of COVID utilized not one, not two, not three, but a staggering 14 randomized control trials.

The study was performed at the University of Hong Kong. What Dr. Jingyi Xiao and her team of researchers there concluded will doubtless be written off as the stuff of “conspiracy theorists” by Mask Nation. So be it. But those on the editorial board of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the widely esteemed journal of none other than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), determined that the findings were worth publishing.

The verdict: Masks are ineffective.

The authors of a review of studies on face masks published last year by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine determined that there is no evidence indicating the effectiveness of cloth masks when it comes to COVID. They lament how the “abandonment of the scientific modus operandi and lack of foresight has left the field [of science] wide open for the play of opinions, radical views and political influence.”

The authors, one an epidemiologist, the other a professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford, do note that all randomized control trials that have been conducted over the last decade or so have demonstrated that “masks alone have no significant effect in interrupting the spread of ILI [Influenza-Like-Illness] or influenza” in neither “the general population…nor in healthcare workers” (emphases added).

We could continue in this same repetitive vein. Readers who are interested in pursuing this topic further can check out this piece of mine from October of last year. I review still other studies there, including remarks from such media-adored “Experts” as Anthony Fauci that dovetail seamlessly with these findings on the essential uselessness of masks with respect to COVID. More research confirming these findings are here, here, here, here, and here. Neither have we yet touched upon the numerous studies showing that countries and states with mask mandates did no better and, in some instances, worse than those places that had no such mandates. Nor have we looked at those studies demonstrating that those who faithfully wore masks were not less likely to contract COVID than those who did not wear masks, with some of these—like this one from the CDC—showing that most people who became infected with COVID wore a mask “always” or “often.”

The science, it should now be obvious, does not support Mask dogma.

cv-2019-2020

 

Update: Why Wu Flu Virus Looks Man-made

Update March 27, 20121 Ex-CDC Director Believes Wuhan Flu Escaped from a Lab

Live Science reports Ex-CDC director believes COVID-19 escaped from a lab, but cites no evidence

Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  A previous post is reprinted further on showing the evidence not discussed and hand-waved away by Fauci, whose NIH funded the Wuhan research facility from which the virus likely came.

Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN that this was his opinion on the origins of the virus.

“I’m of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, you know, escaped,” Redfield told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “Other people don’t believe that, that’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out.”

Still, a number of scientists say the most likely explanation is that the virus emerged naturally, passing from bats to another animal and then to humans, Live Science previously reported. Recently, a team from the World Health Organization, which is investigating the origins of SARS-CoV-2, said that it agrees with this hypothesis — WHO officials said the virus likely passed from bats to animals on wildlife farms in China, and then to humans, Live Science previously reported.

Redfield said he didn’t believe the bat theory. “Normally, when a pathogen goes from a zoonosis to humans, it takes a while for it to figure out how to become more and more efficient in human-to-human transmission,” Redfield told CNN. “I just don’t think this makes biological sense.”

The former CDC chief wasn’t suggesting SARS-CoV-2 is an engineered virus — another theory with no supporting evidence — just a natural escapee. “In the lab, you think that that process of becoming more efficient was happening?” Gupta asked. [Note:  There is significant evidence of an engineered virus documented in the discussion below.]

“Yeah, let’s just say I have coronavirus that I’m working on. Most of us in the lab, we’re trying to grow a virus, we try to help make it grow better and better and better … so we can do experiments,” Redfield responded.

Why Wu Flu Virus Looks Man-made ( previously posted Sept. 2020)

A virologist who fled China after studying the early outbreak of COVID-19 has published a new report claiming the coronavirus likely came from a lab.  This adds to the analysis done by Dr. Luc Montagnier earlier this year, and summarized in a previous post reprinted later on.  Dr. Yan was interviewed on Fox News, and YouTube has now blocked the video.

If you are wondering why Big Tech is censoring information unflattering to China, see Lee Smith’s Tablet article America’s China Class Launches a New War Against Trump  The corporate, tech, and media elites will not allow the president to come between them and Chinese money

Doctor Li-Meng Yan, a scientist who studied some of the available data on COVID-19 has published her claims on Zenodo, an open access digital platform. She wrote that she believed COVID-19 could have been “conveniently created” within a lab setting over a period of just six months, and “SARS-CoV-2 shows biological characteristics that are inconsistent with a naturally occurring, zoonotic virus”.

The paper by Yan, Li-Meng; Kang, Shu; Guan, Jie; Hu, Shanchang  is Unusual Features of the SARS-CoV-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Overview

The natural origin theory, although widely accepted, lacks substantial support. The alternative theory that the virus may have come from a research laboratory is, however, strictly censored on peer-reviewed scientific journals. Nonetheless, SARS-CoV-2 shows biological characteristics that are inconsistent with a naturally occurring, zoonotic virus. In this report, we describe the genomic, structural, medical, and literature evidence, which, when considered together, strongly contradicts the natural origin theory.

The evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 should be a laboratory product created by using bat coronaviruses ZC45 and/or ZXC21 as a template and/or backbone.

Contents

Consistent with this notion, genomic, structural, and literature evidence also suggest a non-natural origin of SARS-CoV-2. In addition, abundant literature indicates that gain-of-function research has long advanced to the stage where viral genomes can be precisely engineered and manipulated to enable the creation of novel coronaviruses possessing unique properties. In this report, we present such evidence and the associated analyses.

Part 1 of the report describes the genomic and structural features of SARS-CoV-2, the presence of which could be consistent with the theory that the virus is a product of laboratory modification beyond what could be afforded by simple serial viral passage. Part 2 of the report describes a highly probable pathway for the laboratory creation of SARS-CoV-2, key steps of which are supported by evidence present in the viral genome. Importantly, part 2 should be viewed as a demonstration of how SARS-CoV-2 could be conveniently created in a laboratory in a short period of time using available materials and well-documented techniques. This report is produced by a team of experienced scientists using our combined expertise in virology, molecular biology, structural biology, computational biology, vaccine development, and medicine.

We present three lines of evidence to support our contention that laboratory manipulation is part of the history of SARS-CoV-2:

i. The genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 is suspiciously similar to that of a bat coronavirus discovered by military laboratories in the Third Military Medical University (Chongqing, China) and the Research Institute for Medicine of Nanjing Command (Nanjing, China).

ii. The receptor-binding motif (RBM) within the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which determines the host specificity of the virus, resembles that of SARS-CoV from the 2003 epidemic in a suspicious manner. Genomic evidence suggests that the RBM has been genetically manipulated.

iii. SARS-CoV-2 contains a unique furin-cleavage site in its Spike protein, which is known to greatly enhance viral infectivity and cell tropism. Yet, this cleavage site is completely absent in this particular class of coronaviruses found in nature. In addition, rare codons associated with this additional sequence suggest the strong possibility that this furin-cleavage site is not the product of natural evolution and could have been inserted into the SARS-CoV-2 genome artificially by techniques other than simple serial passage or multi-strain recombination events inside co-infected tissue cultures or animals.

Background from Previous post June 30, 2020:  Pandemic Update: Virus Weaker, HCQ Stronger

In past weeks there have been anecdotal reports from frontline doctors that patients who would have been flattened fighting off SARS CV2 in April are now sitting up and recovering in a few days. We have also the statistical evidence in the US and Sweden, as two examples, that case numbers are rising while Covid deaths continue declining. One explanation is that the new cases are younger people who have been released from lockdown (in US) with stronger immune systems. But it may also be that the virus itself is losing potency.

In the past I have noticed theories about the origin of the virus, and what makes it “novel.” But when the scientist who identified HIV weighs in, I pay particular attention. The Coronavirus Is Man Made According to Luc Montagnier the Man Who Discovered HIV. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Contrary to the narrative that is being pushed by the mainstream that the COVID 19 virus was the result of a natural mutation and that it was transmitted to humans from bats via pangolins, Dr Luc Montagnier the man who discovered the HIV virus back in 1983 disagrees and is saying that the virus was man made.

Professor Luc Montagnier, 2008 Nobel Prize winner for Medicine, claims that SARS-CoV-2 is a manipulated virus that was accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Chinese researchers are said to have used coronaviruses in their work to develop an AIDS vaccine. HIV RNA fragments are believed to have been found in the SARS-CoV-2 genome.

“With my colleague, bio-mathematician Jean-Claude Perez, we carefully analyzed the description of the genome of this RNA virus,” explains Luc Montagnier, interviewed by Dr Jean-François Lemoine for the daily podcast at Pourquoi Docteur, adding that others have already explored this avenue: Indian researchers have already tried to publish the results of the analyses that showed that this coronavirus genome contained sequences of another virus, … the HIV virus (AIDS virus), but they were forced to withdraw their findings as the pressure from the mainstream was too great.

To insert an HIV sequence into this genome requires molecular tools

In a challenging question Dr Jean-François Lemoine inferred that the coronavirus under investigation may have come from a patient who is otherwise infected with HIV. No, “says Luc Montagnier,” in order to insert an HIV sequence into this genome, molecular tools are needed, and that can only be done in a laboratory.

According to the 2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine, a plausible explanation would be an accident in the Wuhan laboratory. He also added that the purpose of this work was the search for an AIDS vaccine.

In any case, this thesis, defended by Professor Luc Montagnier, has a positive turn.

According to him, the altered elements of this virus are eliminated as it spreads: “Nature does not accept any molecular tinkering, it will eliminate these unnatural changes and even if nothing is done, things will get better, but unfortunately after many deaths.”

This is enough to feed some heated debates! So much so that Professor Montagnier’s statements could also place him in the category of “conspiracy theorists”: “Conspirators are the opposite camp, hiding the truth,” he replies, without wanting to accuse anyone, but hoping that the Chinese will admit to what he believes happened in their laboratory.

To entice a confession from the Chinese he used the example of Iran which after taking full responsibility for accidentally hitting a Ukrainian plane was able to earn the respect of the global community. Hopefully the Chinese will do the right thing he adds. “In any case, the truth always comes out, it is up to the Chinese government to take responsibility.”

Implications: Leaving aside the geopolitics, this theory also explains why the virus weakens when mutations lose the unnatural pieces added in the lab. Since this is an RNA (not DNA) sequence mutations are slower, but inevitable. If correct, this theory works against fears of a second wave of infections. It also gives an unintended benefit from past lockdowns and shutdowns, slowing the rate of infections while the virus degrades itself.

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Medical Ideology Made Covid Worse

Pillars Needed Missing

Love of Theory is the Root of all Evil — Statistician Matthew Briggs

During the pandemic anti-viral treatments were dismissed and their usage cancelled by medical bureaucrats. The rise of “evidence-based medicine” was a major advance in medical science by putting the focus on patient outcomes as the measure of a treatment’s success. Yet during this pandemic in modern western nations, the experiences and observations of primary care physicians and their patients were set aside deliberately in favor of ideology favoring Big Pharma solutions over more available, inexpensive and proven treatment protocols. Pierre Kory suffered directly from this biased, authoritarian discrimination and writes about it in his Real Clear Politics article Censorship Kills: The Shunning of a COVID Therapeutic. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Doctors fighting COVID-19 should be supported by their profession and their government, not suppressed. Yet today physicians are smothered under a wave of censorship. With coronavirus variants and vaccine hesitancy threatening a prolonged pandemic, the National Institutes of Health and the broader U.S. medical establishment should free doctors to treat this terrible disease with effective medicines.

For centuries, doctors have addressed emerging health threats by prescribing existing drugs for new uses, observing the results, and communicating to their peers and the public what seems to work. In a pandemic, precious time and lives can be lost by an insistence on excessive data and review. But in the current crisis, many in positions of authority have done just that, stubbornly refusing to allow any repurposed treatments.

This departure from traditional medical practice risks catastrophe. When doctors on the front lines try to bring awareness of and use such medicines, they get silenced. 

I’ve experienced such censorship firsthand. Early in the pandemic, my research led me to testify in the Senate that corticosteroids were life-saving against COVID-19, when all national and international health care agencies recommended against them. My recommendations were criticized, ignored and resisted such that I felt forced to resign my faculty position. Only later did a large study from Oxford University find they were indeed life-saving. Overnight, they became the standard of care worldwide. More recently, we identified through dozens of trials that the drug ivermectin leads to large reductions in transmission, mortality, and time to clinical recovery. After testifying to this fact in a second Senate appearance — the video of which was removed by YouTube after garnering over 8 million views — I was forced to leave another position. 

I was delighted when our paper on ivermectin passed a rigorous peer review and was accepted by Frontiers in Pharmacology. The abstract was viewed over 102,000 times by people hungry for answers. Six weeks later, the journal suddenly rejected the paper, based on an unnamed “external expert” who stated that “our conclusions were unsupported,” contradicting the four senior, expert peer reviewers who had earlier accepted them. I can’t help but interpret this in context as censorship. 

The science shows that ivermectin works. Over 40 randomized trials and observational studies from around the world attest to its efficacy against the novel coronavirus. Meta-analyses by four separate research groups, including ours, found an average reduction in mortality of between 68%-75%. And 10 of 13 randomized controlled trials found statistically significant reductions in time to viral clearance, an effect not associated with any other COVID-19 therapeutic. Furthermore, ivermectin has an unparalleled safety record and low cost, which should negate any fears or resistance to immediate adoption. 

Our manuscript conclusions were further supported by the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) Panel. Following the World Health Organization Handbook of Guideline Development, it voted to strongly recommend the use of ivermectin in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, and opined that further placebo controlled trials are unlikely to be ethical. 

Even prior to the BIRD Panel recommendations, many countries have approved the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 or formally incorporated it into national treatment guidelines. Several have gone further and initiated large-scale importation and distribution efforts. In the last month alone, such European Union members as Bulgaria and Slovakia have approved its use nationwide. India, Egypt, Peru, Zimbabwe, and Bolivia are distributing it in many regions and observing rapid decreases in excess deaths. Increasing numbers of regional health authorities have advocated for or adopted it across Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa. And it is now the standard of care in Mexico City, one of the world’s largest cities. 

It’s time to stop the foot-dragging. People are dying. The responsible physicians of this country, and their patients, need to be able to rely on their government institutions to quickly identify effective treatments, rather than waiting for pristine, massive Phase III trials before acting. At minimum, the NIH should immediately recommend ivermectin for treating and preventing COVID-19, and then work with professional associations, institutions, and the media to publicize its use.

If it doesn’t, the organization will lose credibility as a public institution charged with acting in the national interest — and doctors will ignore its guidance in the future. 

My story is not unique. Physicians across the country are fighting a pernicious campaign to denigrate all potential treatments not first championed by the authorities, and others have faced retaliation for speaking up. Sadly, too many of our institutions are using the pandemic as a pretext to centralize control over the practice of medicine, persecuting and canceling doctors who follow their clinical judgment and expertise. 

Actually “following the science” means listening to practitioners and considering the entirety and diversity of clinical studies. That’s exactly what my colleagues and I have done. We won’t be cowed. We will speak up for our patients and do what’s right.

Pierre Kory, MD, is president and chief medical officer of the Front-Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance.

Post Script: Evidence from Comparing France and India

20210307-ive-hcq-france-india

We learn that 30 million Indians have been cured by ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine,

Does there still exist in France a single journalist able to move away from the clandestine restaurant of BFM to look at what is happening outside the ring road? 

India has conquered the disease with hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, uses a traditional vaccine, exports experimental vaccines for these idiotic Westerners 

India is the first country in the world for the production of drug molecule, but it is also a developing country. Populated by 1.4 billion inhabitants, it still has 90 million over 60 years also exposed to covid. It is the second country in the world for no number of cases. India followed the Raoult and Borody protocol to the letter …

The rate of reproduction of the virus continues to decline and the country (India) which has known at least 11 million declared cases has reached the threshold of collective immunity.

There are 1,230 deaths per million inhabitants over 65 (six times less than in France). If we had listened to Raoult and followed the Indian model, today we would have 500 cases of covid per day and 75,000 fewer deaths …

Additionally, About those Covid death statistics:

From The Center Square, Illinois:  Coroner questions Illinois’ COVID-19 death tally, seeks statewide audit.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

But a county coroner is calling for a full audit after reviewing some of the deaths in his county.

“My concern is, I’ve reviewed several cases, (of 100 cases) about ten of them here in Monroe County, that the state has deemed COVID-related deaths and none of them have had underlying conditions or contributing factors to COVID,” Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill said. “So my concern is no matter when the person was tested positive, the state is automatically giving them a death classification as related to COVID.”

He said one case in January was an accidental drug overdose, but the decedent had tested positive for COVID-19 in October.

“Don’t automatically put a statistic out there of a (COVID) death when it hasn’t been confirmed what the cause is,” Hill said.

Hill questioned if the motivation to rush reporting of COVID-19 deaths without a full audit was about money.

“The only assumption I can make is the hope the state is seeking some federal money coming down the system for all the numbers of deaths we’ve had due to COVID-19,” Hill said. “That’s the only thing that I can assume. Why else would you want to inflate numbers especially related to COVID.”

 
 

 

Rx: Get the Vaccine, Wait a Month, Return to Normal

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Marty Makary writes at Wall Street Journal Covid Prescription: Get the Vaccine, Wait a Month, Return to Normal. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The CDC claims to be ‘following the science,’ but its advice suggests it’s still paralyzed by fear.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lost a lot of credibility during the Covid-19 pandemic by being late or wrong on testing, masks, vaccine allocation and school reopening. Staying consistent with that pattern, this week—three months after the vaccine rollout began—the CDC finally started telling vaccinated people that they can have normal interactions with other vaccinated people—but only in highly limited circumstances. Given the impressive effectiveness of the vaccine, that should have been immediately obvious by applying scientific inference and common sense.

Parts of the new guidelines are absurdly restrictive. For example, the CDC didn’t withdraw its advice to avoid air travel after vaccination. A year of prevaccine experience has demonstrated that airplanes aren’t a source of spread. A study conducted for the defense department found that commercial planes have HEPA filtration and airflow that exceed the standards of a hospital operating room.

The guidelines do approve of vaccinated people meeting with low-risk unvaccinated ones—but only with people from the same household and in a small private setting. So much for restaurants, birthday parties and weddings.

An unpublished study conducted by the Israeli Health Ministry and Pfizer showed that vaccination reduced transmission by 89% to 94% and almost totally prevented hospitalization and death, according to press reports. Immunity kicks in fully about four weeks after the first vaccine dose, and then you are essentially bulletproof. With the added safety of wearing a mask indoors for a few more weeks or months—a practical necessity in public places even if not a medical one, since you can’t tell on sight if someone’s immune—there is little a vaccinated person should be discouraged from doing.

On a positive note, the CDC did say that fully vaccinated people who are asymptomatic don’t need to be tested. But that obvious recommendation should have come two months ago, before wasting so many tests on people who have high levels of circulating antibodies from vaccination.

In its guidance the CDC says the risks of infection in vaccinated people “cannot be completely eliminated.” True, we don’t have conclusive data that guarantees vaccination reduces risk to zero. We never will. We are operating in the realm of medical discretion based on the best available data, as practicing physicians have always done. The CDC highlights the vaccines’ stunning success but is ridiculously cautious about its implications. Public-health officials focus myopically on transmission risk while all but ignoring the broader health crisis stemming from isolation. The CDC acknowledges “potential” risks of isolation, but doesn’t go into details.

It’s time to liberate vaccinated people to restore their relationships and rebuild their lives. That would encourage vaccination by giving hesitant people a vivid incentive to have the shots.

Throughout the pandemic, authorities have missed the mark on precautions. Hospitals blocked family members from being with their loved ones as they gasped for air, gagging on a ventilator tube—what some patients describe as the worst feeling in the world. In addition to the power of holding a hand, family members coordinate care and serve as a valuable safety net, a partnership that was badly needed when many hospitals had staffing shortages. Separating family members was excessive and cruel, driven by narrow thinking that focused singularly on reducing viral transmission risk, heedless of the harm to the quality of human life.

As people yearn to be with their loved ones and rebuild communities, we shouldn’t repeat that mistake. We cannot exaggerate the public-health threat, as we did with hospital visitation rules, and keep crushing the human spirit with overly restrictive policies for vaccinated Americans.

Loneliness has become a public-health crisis. In pre-Covid times, it was estimated that 20% of American’s struggled with loneliness, a figure that has surely multiplied faster than research has been able to measure. We were reminded of this last week in a FAIR Health study that revealed self-harm among kids increased as much as 300% last year in some parts of the country. Future research will likely find that the harms of isolation are greater than is understood today.

Some experts selectively appeal to common sense when it comes to using discretion. Anthony Fauci said it was “common sense” to wear two masks at once. I too will invoke “common sense” to answer the big question so many are asking: What am I allowed to do after I’ve been vaccinated? Once a month has passed after your first shot, go back to normal.

Dr. Makary is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is chief medical advisor to Sesame Care and author of “The Price We Pay.”

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https://finance.yahoo.com/video/wsj-opinion-coronavirus-hell-010416656.html

 

Facebook Warns Against Covid Good News

From the Daily Mail Facebook slaps ‘fake news’ warning on WSJ column claiming herd immunity for the US by April penned by Johns Hopkins professor.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

  • Johns Hopkins professor Dr Marty Makary penned Wall Street Journal op-ed in February claiming US will be achieve herd immunity by April
  • But his op-ed was recently flagged by Facebook fact-checker, the Journal said
  • In a March 5 article written by the Journal’s editorial board, they claimed Facebook was relying on ‘counter-opinion masquerading as fact checking’
  • They said Makary was simply making a projection that ‘was only flagged by ‘progressive health clerisy’ who ‘worry it could lead to fewer virus restrictions

The Wall Street Journal has claimed that Facebook fact-checkers relied on ‘opinion and not facts’ after an op-d written by Johns Hopkins professor Dr Marty Makary (pictured) was flagged last week.

‘Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people,’ the label against Makary’s story reads.

The board wrote: ‘According to Facebook, “Once we have a rating from a fact-checking partner, we take action by ensuring that fewer people see that misinformation.”‘

In addition, the Facebook label links to Health Feedback, which is a World Health Organization-led vaccine project and an affiliate of the nonprofit Science Feedback that ‘verifies scientific claims in the media’.

The board noted that the ‘fact-check’ from Health Feedback says: ‘Misleading Wall Street Journal opinion piece makes the unsubstantiated claim that the US will have herd immunity by April 2021. Three scientists analyzed the article and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be very low.’

The Wall Street Journal’s board said Makary simply made a ‘projection’ that was only flagged by the ‘progressive health clerisy’ who ‘worry it could lead to fewer virus restrictions’.

The board said that Facebook’s fact-checkers ‘cherry-pick’ studies ‘to support their own opinions, which they present as fact’.

At the time Makary’s article noted that new daily infections declined 77 per cent over a six-week period, equating this decrease to a ‘miracle pill’.

See also Fact-Checking Facebook’s Fact Checkers

The media giant is employing left-wing vetters to limit  scientific debate.

https://video-api.wsj.com/api-video/player/v3/iframe.html?guid=743047DF-A5B6-4042-BA2A-8A8221C958E5

Background from Previous Post:  Path Out of Covid Nightmare

WSJ posted an interview with Dr. Makary at a post The Perpetual Covid Crisis.  Some comments in italics wtih my bolds.

The lockdown lobby persists despite the vaccine rollout.

https://au.tv.yahoo.com/embed/wall-street-journal/wsj-opinion-path-covid-nightmare-204330227.html

Link goes to video of interview.  Closed Captions provide text.

Vaccination rates in Texas and other states have been increasing while hospitalizations are plunging. About one in five adults in Texas has received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Most are seniors and people with health conditions who are at highest risk of severe illness. Hospitalizations in Texas have fallen more than 60% since a mid-January peak.

Politicians created a box canyon with lockdowns last spring that were originally intended to “flatten the curve.” But then every time governors loosened restrictions and cases ticked up, Democrats would demand lockdowns. Not that lockdowns (or mask mandates) much helped California or New York, which experienced bigger surges this winter than Florida did with neither.

Background from Previous Post  Immunity by Easter?

Could it be that doors and societies will open and life be reborn as early as Easter 2021?  That depends upon lockdown politicians and scientists who advise them.  One such is Dr. Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, chief medical adviser to Sesame Care, and author of “The Price We Pay.”.  His article at Wall Street Journal is We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Covid cases have dropped 77% in six weeks. Experts should level with the public about the good news.

Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks. If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill. Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?

In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing.

Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.

Now add people getting vaccinated. As of this week, 15% of Americans have received the vaccine, and the figure is rising fast. Former Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March.

There is reason to think the country is racing toward an extremely low level of infection. As more people have been infected, most of whom have mild or no symptoms, there are fewer Americans left to be infected. At the current trajectory, I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.

Antibody studies almost certainly underestimate natural immunity. Antibody testing doesn’t capture antigen-specific T-cells, which develop “memory” once they are activated by the virus. Survivors of the 1918 Spanish flu were found in 2008—90 years later—to have memory cells still able to produce neutralizing antibodies.

Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found that the percentage of people mounting a T-cell response after mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infection consistently exceeded the percentage with detectable antibodies. T-cell immunity was even present in people who were exposed to infected family members but never developed symptoms. A group of U.K. scientists in September pointed out that the medical community may be under-appreciating the prevalence of immunity from activated T-cells.

Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. would also suggest much broader immunity than recognized. About 1 in 600 Americans has died of Covid-19, which translates to a population fatality rate of about 0.15%. The Covid-19 infection fatality rate is about 0.23%. These numbers indicate that roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population has had the infection.

In my own conversations with medical experts, I have noticed that they too often dismiss natural immunity, arguing that we don’t have data. The data certainly doesn’t fit the classic randomized-controlled-trial model of the old-guard medical establishment. There’s no control group. But the observational data is compelling.

I have argued for months that we could save more American lives if those with prior Covid-19 infection forgo vaccines until all vulnerable seniors get their first dose. Several studies demonstrate that natural immunity should protect those who had Covid-19 until more vaccines are available. Half my friends in the medical community told me: Good idea. The other half said there isn’t enough data on natural immunity, despite the fact that reinfections have occurred in less than 1% of people—and when they do occur, the cases are mild.

But the consistent and rapid decline in daily cases since Jan. 8 can be explained only by natural immunity. Behavior didn’t suddenly improve over the holidays; Americans traveled more over Christmas than they had since March. Vaccines also don’t explain the steep decline in January. Vaccination rates were low and they take weeks to kick in.

My prediction that Covid-19 will be mostly gone by April is based on laboratory data, mathematical data, published literature and conversations with experts. But it’s also based on direct observation of how hard testing has been to get, especially for the poor. If you live in a wealthy community where worried people are vigilant about getting tested, you might think that most infections are captured by testing. But if you have seen the many barriers to testing for low-income Americans, you might think that very few infections have been captured at testing centers. Keep in mind that most infections are asymptomatic, which still triggers natural immunity.

Many experts, along with politicians and journalists, are afraid to talk about herd immunity. The term has political overtones because some suggested the U.S. simply let Covid rip to achieve herd immunity. That was a reckless idea. But herd immunity is the inevitable result of viral spread and vaccination. When the chain of virus transmission has been broken in multiple places, it’s harder for it to spread—and that includes the new strains.

Herd immunity has been well-documented in the Brazilian city of Manaus, where researchers in the Lancet reported the prevalence of prior Covid-19 infection to be 76%, resulting in a significant slowing of the infection. Doctors are watching a new strain that threatens to evade prior immunity. But countries where new variants have emerged, such as the U.K., South Africa and Brazil, are also seeing significant declines in daily new cases. The risk of new variants mutating around the prior vaccinated or natural immunity should be a reminder that Covid-19 will persist for decades after the pandemic is over. It should also instill a sense of urgency to develop, authorize and administer a vaccine targeted to new variants.

Some medical experts privately agreed with my prediction that there may be very little Covid-19 by April but suggested that I not to talk publicly about herd immunity because people might become complacent and fail to take precautions or might decline the vaccine. But scientists shouldn’t try to manipulate the public by hiding the truth. As we encourage everyone to get a vaccine, we also need to reopen schools and society to limit the damage of closures and prolonged isolation. Contingency planning for an open economy by April can deliver hope to those in despair and to those who have made large personal sacrifices.

Don’t Fence Me In!