Paxlovid Covid Follies

Yesterday waiting for pharmacists to fill my wife’s prescription, I noticed the info tv on the wall displayed something like the above.  I knew this government spent two years insisting only vaccines had any effect on covid19, and disavowed any and all treatments of people sick from covid19, including HCQ and Ivermectin.  Naturally, I was curious to know what treatment they now approved for public consumption.

Would you believe it?  They are offering Paxlovid to people to alleviate their suffering after testing positive for Covid19.  Is there any public service more totally captured by suppliers than the Public Health Establishment?

Fauci Confirms Fake COVID Treatment Made Him More Sick,
Another Fail By Biden’s Administration

On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed that he is experiencing “COVID rebound” after taking Pfizer’s Paxlovid, the so-called silver bullet that Biden wasted billions in taxpayer dollars to support.

Paxlovid appears to have almost zero effectiveness for people that are already vaccinated, according to the manufacturer Pfizer’s data.

Fauci, shared his health update while speaking remotely at the Foreign Policy Global Health Forum.

Earlier in June, Fauci tested positive for the virus with mild symptoms, including fatigue. According to Fauci, as his symptoms worsened, he began a five-day course of the supposed wonder drug.

When talking about his experience with the medication, Fauci said that he tested negative for the virus three days in a row. However, when he tested again on the fourth day, the test was positive again.

Fauci said that his symptoms were “much worse” after he tested positive for the second time following the treatment with Paxlovid.

Pfizer’s Paxlovid Pill–Just Say No

Hypothetical model illustrating the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 replication by ivermectin mediated through the blocking of α/β1-importin (imp) as well as 3CLpro enzymatic activity. Mody et al (2021)

The Medical Pharmaceutical Industrial complex waged psy-ops warfare against effective and safe generic medicines, including hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.  Now FDA approves pills from Pfizer and Merck for “emergency use”, and in Quebec where I live, they follow along like lemmings rolling out Paxlovid, claiming the pill is a “game changer.”  All this ignores that once again trials have been compressed so that longer term side effects are unknown, and Pfizer and Merck have no liability while expecting billions in profits.

As the background post below shows in some detail, these pills are not only pale substitutes for the proven generic therapeutics, they risk stimulating further viral mutations and prolonging the infectious activity in vaccinated and pill-popping developed societies.  Fortunately, Africa and much of Asia and South America will be spared this latest public health experiment, as they have natural covid immunity from the virus itself with HCQ and IVM protecting people from severe illnesses.

IVM Beats Pfizer and Merck One-Trick-Pony Pills

John Campbell explains in the video below how the new Pfizer pill copies one trick from Ivermectin, without IVM’s other anti-viral mechanisms, resulting in an inferior and dangerous medicine.  I have transcribed the basic message along with excerpts and links to several papers to which he refers. Excerpts are in italics with my bolds.

Pfizer’s new antiviral drug PAXLOVID™ shows very high levels of efficacy in preventing serious disease hospitalization and people dying.  And that drug works in a particular way, what we call a pharmacodynamic action.

But there’s another generic drug called Ivermectin that you might have heard of that works in exactly the same way as that. Now no one’s saying that information has been deliberately suppressed for years while millions of people have died but what we are going to show on this video is conclusive proof from the literature that this modality of action is the same.

How Coronavirus Infects Its Host

Before we crack into that we need to look at what’s happening so when a virus, in this case coronavirus2 gets into a cell. What happens is it makes lots of proteins. It starts off making  these long proteins, out of hundreds of amino acids sometimes. A few thousand amino acids all strung together.

The problem is they’re too long for the job that’s required. So it’s a bit like a building site and when a big log of wood arrives it needs to be trimmed down into bits that fit in your door frames and your window frames. So these proteins need to be trimmed down and it has to be done in a biochemical way.

In the case of coronavirus two, there’s an enzyme called 3CL protease which breaks
down protein into smaller pieces. it’s what we call proteolytic and it will take these long proteins and it will chop them into shorter proteins it’s what we call an endopeptidase. So now instead of having one long protein we’ve got two short ones and these fit together just nicely for the new virus that we’re we’re trying to make.

These new drugs are what we call protease inhibitors because they stop the protease from working. If the protease is like this scissor, the inhibitor is like this tape stopping the cutting up of long proteins.

When there’s another long protein that needs to be processed the 3CL protease comes along ready to chop this up. But now these drugs have bounded up the active site of the protease and they stop the protease from chopping up the big proteins into smaller strings of amino acids. Since they can’t build the virus, it inhibits viral replication.

This is the new Pfizer drug which is designed to block the activity of the sars coronavirus2 3CL, so that 3CL protease now won’t work. It won’t open so i can’t chop my proteins into the correct length to build a nice new virus.   And of course a 3CL protease inhibitor will stop it from making sars coronavirus2 and is therefore anti-viral.

Everyone in human biology has heard of chymotryptin. It’s an enzyme released by the pancreas to digest protein. It’s a protein chopping up enzyme so this chymotryptin-like protease inside the virus is working in a very similar way to the chimbotryptin that your pancreas produces to digest your proteins.

Evidence from Pfizer News Release

Pfizer’s novel COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment candidate reduced risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in interim analysis of phase 2/3 EPIC-HR study.

  • PAXLOVID™ (PF-07321332; ritonavir) was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% compared to placebo in non-hospitalized high-risk adults with COVID-19
  • In the overall study population through Day 28, no deaths were reported in patients who received PAXLOVID™ as compared to 10 deaths in patients who received placebo
  • Pfizer plans to submit the data as part of its ongoing rolling submission to the U.S. FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as soon as possible.

If approved or authorized, PAXLOVID™, which originated in Pfizer’s laboratories, would be the first oral antiviral of its kind, a specifically designed SARS-CoV-2-3CL protease inhibitor. Upon successful completion of the remainder of the EPIC clinical development program and subject to approval or authorization, it could be prescribed more broadly as an at-home treatment to help reduce illness severity, hospitalizations, and deaths, as well as reduce the probability of infection following exposure, among adults. It has demonstrated potent antiviral in vitro activity against circulating variants of concern, as well as other known coronaviruses, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic for multiple types of coronavirus infections.

Evidence for 3CL protease inhibitors from September 2020

Identification of SARS-CoV-2 3CL Protease Inhibitors by a Quantitative High-Throughput Screening Zhu et al. (Sept 3, 2020)

Viral protease is a valid antiviral drug target for RNA viruses including coronaviruses. (13) In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, great efforts have been made to evaluate the possibility of repurposing approved viral protease inhibitor drugs for the clinical treatment of the disease. Unfortunately, the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, both approved HIV protease inhibitors, failed in a clinical trial without showing benefit compared to the standard of care. (14) To address this unmet need, several virtual screens and a drug repurposing screen were performed to identify SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro inhibitors.

In conclusion, this study employed an enzymatic assay for qHTS that identified 23 SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro inhibitors from a collection of approved drugs, drug candidates, and bioactive compounds. These 3CLpro inhibitors can be combined with drugs of different targets to evaluate their potential in drug cocktails for the treatment of COVID-19. In addition, they can also serve as starting points for medicinal chemistry optimization to improve potency and drug-like properties.

Ivermectin Emerges as Top Antiviral Candidate for CV2

Identification of 3-chymotrypsin like protease (3CLPro) inhibitors as potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents Mody et al. (2021), source of diagram at top. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Fig. 4: Ivermectin exhibited complete inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro enzymatic activity whereas micafungin partially inhibited the enzyme.

The off-target drugs that are being used to treat non-viral ailments selected by in silico studies were screened for their inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro enzyme.

Interestingly, one of the OTD (Off Target Drugs), ivermectin was able to inhibit more than 85% (almost completely) of 3CLpro activity in our in vitro enzymatic assay with an IC50 value of 21 µM. These findings suggest the potential of ivermectin to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 replication. In support of this, a recent finding suggested that ivermectin (5 µM) inhibited the replication of live SARS-CoV-2 isolated from Australia (VIo1/2020) in Vero/hSLAM cells23. They found that >5000-fold viral counts were reduced in 48 hr in both culture supernatant (release of new virion: 93%) as well as inside the cells (unreleased and unassembled virion: 99.8%) when compared to DMSO treated infected cells.

Earlier studies have demonstrated that the possible anti-viral mechanism of ivermectin was through the blockage of viral-protein transportation to the nucleus by inhibiting the interaction between viral protein and α/β1 importin heterodimer, a known transporter of viral proteins to the nucleus especially for RNA viruses19,20,21,22,23. However, in this study, we have reported that ivermectin inhibits the enzymatic activity of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and thus may potentially inhibit the replication of RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2. These studies suggest that ivermectin could be a potential drug candidate to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 replication and the proposed anti-viral mechanism of ivermectin presented in Fig. 8 and in vivo efficacy of ivermectin towards COVID-19 is currently been evaluated in clinical trials (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04438850).

Ivermectin Strong Against Multiple Targets

Inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 key target proteins in comparison with suggested COVID-19 drugs: designing, docking and molecular dynamics simulation study.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Double-click on image to enlarge.

In conclusion, both ivermectin and remdesivir could be considered potential drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. Ivermectin efficiently binds to the viral S protein as well as the human cell surface receptors ACE-2 and TMPRSS2; therefore, it might be involved in inhibiting the entry of the virus into the host cell. It also binds to Mpro and PLpro of SARS-CoV-2; therefore, it might play a role in preventing the post-translational processing of viral polyproteins. The highly efficient binding of ivermectin to the viral N phosphoprotein and nsp14 is suggestive of its role in inhibiting viral replication and assembly. Remdesivir may be involved in inhibiting post-entry mechanisms as it shows high binding affinity to N and M proteins, PLpro, Mpro, RdRp, and nsp14. Although the results of clinical trials for remdesivir are promising (Beigel et al., 2020; Wang Y. et al., 2020), similar clinical trials for ivermectin are recommended. Both these drugs exhibit multidisciplinary inhibitory effects at both viral entry and post-entry stages. Source: Molecular Docking Reveals Ivermectin and Remdesivir as Potential Repurposed Drugs Against SARS-CoV-2

Conclusion from John Campbell

So whereas the Pfizer drug is only working as far as we’ve been told in the proviso press release against one biochemical modality of viral replication, the Ivermectin mechanism is working at many different levels. The fact that the the the Pfizer medicine is only working against one particular biochemical pathway means to me that the virus could learn to avoid that. It could evolve to be drug resistant as indeed the early antiretrovirals did with HIV.

With ivermectin, because it’s working on so many different levels, it is improbable, to put it mildly,that a virus would mutate in a dozen different ways to avoid all those different mechanisms. We’ve talked about six mechanisms today. It’s very unlikely that we get six mutations that could dodge all of those all at the same time.

So I’ve a brief message to world leaders, people that are making the decisions about this. Come on you all, you’re not a horse and you’re not a cow. You’ve got a human intellect. Let’s use it to follow the scientific evidence to save human pain, suffering and death.

Comment

Ivermectin is the most successful and proven protease inhibitor in production. Just as with Paxlovid, ivermectin decreases the protease enzyme but…the benefits of ivermectin in Covid treatment are obvious and not present in paxlovid. Additional actions of ivermectin include anti-coagulant action and anti-inflammatory actions, both observed in Covid infections. Hydroxychloroquine is also a protease inhibitor and also works against COVID.

So why PAXLOVID? Because it’s from big pharma, is less proven than other drugs in terms of safety, and was approved without input from the external committees and the public. If that inspires confidence, then I don’t know what will give you pause.

Footnote:  This video focused on Pfizer’s pill, but Merck’s Molnupiravir pill is also a one-trick-pony.  See Why Merck Dissed Its Own Invention Ivermectin

FDA Wants To Take Us All Down Coronavirus Rabbit hole

Toby Rogers explains in his Brownstone Institute article The FDA’s “Future Framework” for Covid Vaccines Is a Reckless Plan.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Viruses that evolve rapidly are bad candidates for a vaccine. There is no vaccine for the common cold nor HIV because these viruses evolve too quickly for a vaccine to be effective. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a bad candidate for a vaccine, as it has rapidly mutated, which is why all previous attempts to develop a vaccine against coronaviruses have failed (they never made it out of animal trials because the animals died during challenge trials or were injured by the vaccine).

The only way out of the pandemic is to withdraw these vaccines from the market and pivot to therapeutics. Instead, the FDA is proposing to abandon clinical trials in connection with these vaccines altogether.

Pfizer and Moderna have a problem. Their mRNA Covid-19 shots do not stop infection, transmission, hospitalization, nor death from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Over half a billion doses have been injected into Americans in the past 17 months and these shots have made no discernible impact on the course of the pandemic. Far more Americans have died of coronavirus since the introduction of the shots than before they were introduced.

Pfizer and Moderna are making about $50 billion a year on these shots and they want that to continue. So they need to reformulate. Maybe target a new variant, maybe change some of the ingredients — who knows, these shots have disappointed so it’s not clear what it will take to get them to work.

This is a problem because reformulated shots mean new clinical trials and new regulatory review by the FDA. There is a decent chance that any reformulated shot might fail a new clinical trial, and the public is deeply skeptical of these shots already, so the scrutiny would be intense.

So Pfizer and Moderna have figured out a way to use regulatory capture to get their reformulated Covid-19 shots approved WITHOUT further clinical trials. Their scheme is called the “Future Framework” and it will be voted on by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on June 28.

The WHO and public health agencies around the world engage in an elaborate annual performance called the “flu strain selection process” where they select four influenza strains that will go into the flu vaccine that year (there is one flu shot for all countries in the Northern Hemisphere and one flu shot for all countries in the Southern Hemisphere, that’s it).

This carefully choreographed process results in failure more often than not. This is not a surprise — using a one-vaccine-fits-all approach to prevent a rapidly evolving virus that varies by region is unlikely to work. Lisa Grohskopf from the CDC’s Influenza Division reports that last year the flu shot was somewhere between 8% to 14% effective (based on data from seven sites that participate in the U.S. Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network).

In a sane world, the WHO, FDA, and CDC would admit that they made a strategic mistake in their response to SARS-CoV-2 and then change course to find better ways to support the human immune system. But we don’t live in a sane world. Instead, the FDA is proposing to take the failed flu strain selection process and apply it to future Covid-19 shots.

Viruses that evolve rapidly are bad candidates for a vaccine. There is no vaccine for the common cold nor HIV because these viruses evolve too quickly for a vaccine to be effective. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a bad candidate for a vaccine, as it has rapidly mutated, which is why all previous attempts to develop a vaccine against coronaviruses have failed (they never made it out of animal trials because the animals died during challenge trials or were injured by the vaccine).

What are some of the bad things that can happen when you vaccinate against a rapidly evolving virus? Original antigenic sin, antibody-dependent enhancement, and the possibility of accelerating the evolution of the virus in ways that make it more virulent (and even more resistant to vaccination) are some known negative impacts.

The purpose of the “Future Framework” is to rig the Covid-19 vaccine regulatory process in perpetuity in favor of the pharmaceutical industry. If this “Future Framework” is approved, all future Covid-19 shots — regardless of the formulation —will automatically be deemed “safe and effective” without additional clinical trials, because they are considered “biologically similar” to existing shots.

If you change a single molecule of mRNA in these shots it will change health outcomes in ways that no one can anticipate. That necessarily requires new clinical trials
— which is what the FDA is proposing to skip.

To summarize — the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on June 28 to vote on a “Future Framework” for evaluating so-called “next generation” Covid-19 shots. The “Future Framework” is a plan to rig the Covid-19 vaccine regulatory process in perpetuity.

The “Future Framework” would take the “flu strain selection process” that fails every year and apply it to future (reformulated) Covid-19 shots. Federal bureaucrats, many of whom have financial conflicts of interest, would choose which SARS-CoV-2 variants to include in a yearly (or twice-yearly) Covid-19 shot. In the process, all future Covid-19 shots will be deemed automatically “safe and effective” without further clinical trials.

The “Future Framework” is reckless. It shows that the FDA has abandoned science and its statutory duty to protect the public.

 

CDC is about Control, Not Disease Control

Marty Makary explains at Newsweek Why America Doesn’t Trust the CDC.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

People don’t trust the CDC. Here’s one example illustrating why. Two weeks ago, with no outcomes data on COVID-19 booster shots for 5-to-11-year-olds, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vigorously recommended the booster for all 24 million American children in that age group. The CDC cited a small Pfizer study of 140 children that showed boosters elevated their antibody levels—an outcome known to be transitory.

When that study concluded, a Pfizer spokesperson said it did not determine the efficacy of the booster in the 5-to-11-year-olds. But that didn’t matter to the CDC.

Seemingly hoping for a different answer, the agency put the matter before its own kangaroo court of curated experts, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).  I listened to the meeting, and couldn’t believe what I heard. At times, the committee members sounded like a group of marketing executives. Dr. Beth Bell of the University of Washington said “what we really need to do is to be as consistent and clear and simple as possible,” pointing out that the committee needed “a consistent recommendation which is simple.”

Other committee members similarly emphasized the importance of a universal booster message that applies to all age groups. Dr. David Kimberlin, editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics Red Book, speaking on his own behalf, said “Americans are yearning for, are crying out for a simpler way for looking at this pandemic.” He suggested that not recommending boosters for young children would create confusion that “could also bleed over to 12-to-17-year-olds, and even the adult population.”

The committee also debated how hard to push the booster recommendation, discussing whether the CDC should say that 5-to-11-year-olds “may” get a booster versus “should” get it.

Exhibiting classic medical paternalism, committee member Dr. Oliver Brooks of the Watts Healthcare Corporation said “I think may is confusing and may sow doubt,” adding “if we say should more people will get boosted versus may, then we may have more data that helps us really define where we’re going.” Dr.

Brooks was essentially suggesting that boosting in this age group would be a clinical trial conducted without informed consent.

That doesn’t sound like following the science to me.

ACIP’s medical establishment representatives were on hand for the meeting. They included members of the trade association Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the American Medical Association (AMA). Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, an internist representing the AMA, summarized the tone of the many legacy stakeholders present with a passionate plea: “I urge the committee to support a ‘should’ recommendation for this third dose.”

The committee promptly approved the booster for young children by an 11-1 vote, with one obstetrician abstaining because he missed some of the discussion.

The one dissenting vote came from Dr. Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University, who courageously said vaccines, while extremely effective, “are not without their potential side effects.” She questioned the sustainability of vaccinating the population every six months. Many experts agree with her, but they don’t have a platform to speak. In fact, nearly 40 percent of rural parents say their pediatricians do not recommend the primary vaccine series for children. Those pediatricians were not represented on the committee.

The CDC has a history of appointing like-minded loyalists to its committees.

Last year, it dismissed a member of its vaccine safety group, Harvard professor of medicine Dr. Martin Kuldorff, for dissenting from its decision to pause the J&J vaccine. A year ago, Joe Biden appointed party devotees to his COVID-19 task force. Reaching a consensus is easier that way.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) vaccine advisory committee, comprised of the nation’s top vaccine experts, have made similar public statements as Dr. Talbot. But the committee was not involved in approving boosters for children. The FDA actually bypassed it days prior—the third time over the last year that the FDA made sweeping and controversial authorizations without convening its vaccine experts.

Most remarkably, it didn’t seem to matter to the CDC that 75.2 percent of children under age 11 already have natural immunity, according to a CDC study that concluded in February. Natural immunity is certainly much more prevalent today, given the ubiquity of the Omicron variant since February. CDC data from New York and California demonstrated that natural immunity was 2.8 times more effective in preventing hospitalization and 3.3 to 4.7 times more effective in preventing COVID infection compared to vaccination during the Delta wave. These findings are consistent with dozens of other clinical studies.

Yet natural immunity has consistently and inexplicably been dismissed by the medical establishment.

When the CDC voted, director Dr. Rochelle Walensky declared that the booster dose is safe for kids ages 5-11. Yes, the complication rate is very low, and we think it’s safe, but how can anyone know from only a short-term follow-up of 140 children? The more appropriate assessment is that we believe it’s safe but we can’t be sure yet from the data we have so far. Unfortunately, the strength of the CDC recommendation to boost all children 5 and up will trigger some schools and summer camps to blindly mandate a third dose for healthy children who don’t need it.

Instead of pushing boosters on healthy children who are already immune, public health officials should focus on recommending the primary COVID vaccine series to high-risk children who don’t have any immunity.

Public health officials are expected to recommend COVID vaccines for children under 5 as soon as June 21st, despite the fact that the vast majority of children already have natural immunity. In a recent Kaiser survey, only 18 percent of parents said they were eager to vaccinate their child in that age group.

If the CDC is curious as to why people aren’t listening to its recommendations, it should consider how it bypassed experts to put the matter before a Kangaroo court of like-minded loyalists. The Biden administration should insist that we return to the standard process of putting all major vaccine decisions before a vote of the FDA’s leading vaccine experts.

The Biden administration promised to listen to the scientists. But the truth is, it only seems to listen to the ones who say what it wants to hear.

Marty Makary M.D., M.P.H. (@MartyMakary) is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and author of The New York Times Bestselling Book, The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care and How To Fix It.

FDA Interfered With Ivermectin, Doctors Suing

A Washington law firm has filed a federal lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for interfering with the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. H/T Epoch Times

The lawsuit was filed by Boyden Gray & Associates on behalf of three doctors who were disciplined for prescribing human-grade ivermectin to patients. The firm’s founder, attorney Boyden Gray, is a former legal adviser to the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Gray told The Epoch Times that the FDA had violated well-established law that allows doctors to prescribe an FDA-approved drug as an off-label treatment. Ivermectin was no different, he said. It was approved by the FDA in 1966. “Congress recognized the importance of letting doctors be doctors and expressly prohibited the FDA from interfering with the practice of medicine,” Gray said.

“That is exactly what the FDA has done time and time again throughout this pandemic, assuming authority it doesn’t have and trying to insert itself in the medical decisions of Americans everywhere.” The three plaintiffs in the case are k Marik is a founder of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care 21 Alliance (FLCCC), a national nonprofit that promotes alternative COVID-19 treatments to the government-touted vaccine.

“The FDA has made public statements on ivermectin that have been misleading and have raised unwarranted concern over a critical drug in preventing and treating COVID-19,” Marik told The Epoch Times.

“To do this is to ignore both statutory limits on the FDA’s authority and the significant body of scientific evidence from peer-reviewed research.”

According to Marik, more than 80 medical trials conducted since the outbreak of COVID-19 show that ivermectin is a safe and effective treatment for the virus. Gray said the FDA has engaged in unlawful interference with the use of ivermectin and should be held accountable for that. The lawsuit included several statements made by the FDA that Gray said show that the administration interfered with the use of ivermectin.

They include an Aug. 21, 2021, Twitter post by the agency: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

Marik, a critical care specialist, was suspended by Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for prescribing ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. Bowden, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, was suspended from the Houston Medical Hospital. Apter was under investigation by both the Washington Medical Commission and Arizona Medical Board for prescribing ivermectin. Marik was recently informed that he was under investigation by the medical licensing board in Virginia.

Gray filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Texas. The doctors are seeking a permanent injunction that would prohibit the FDA from interfering with the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.

Background from previous post Why Ivermectin Was Disappeared

Henry F. Smith Jr., MD explains at American Thinker Why Ivermectin was Disappeared.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Case #1

It’s a common occurrence in winter. A patient calls a primary physician to report a nonproductive cough, slight hoarseness, muscle aches, and a low-grade fever. The physician, and likely the patient, realize that this is almost certainly a viral upper respiratory infection. If the patient were in the office, the physician may test for a streptococcal bacterial infection, but it will likely be negative.

This is probably an infection with a rhinovirus, adenovirus, or endemic coronavirus. Despite this, the afflicted patient will happily proceed to the pharmacy to pick up their prescription for an antibiotic. The patient will feel as though the physician was proactive, something the doctor certainly understands.

This prescription, however, will be of no value to the patient and may actually cause issues. Yet pharmacies in the U.S. see this type of prescription thousands of times a day.

It occurs despite the fact that physicians are constantly reminded that gratuitous antibiotic prescriptions come with side effects and can lead to antibiotic resistance. Beyond that, there is no tangible resistance to this practice from the medical establishment or healthcare authorities.

Case #2

Now let’s imagine another patient calls in. This patient also has a dry cough scratchy throat, muscle aches, and a low-grade fever. Only this patient had a COVID test kit at home and tested positive. The physician wants to prescribe a medication with no risk of bacterial resistance and a very benign side-effect profile. He’s read lots of literature to suggest it will be helpful. There are a significant number of double-blind studies showing it to be effective in the treatment of SARS Co-V2. It has been used in multiple countries with excellent results. Except, in this case, the physician will find it impossible to prescribe that medication. It will be impossible because that medication is Ivermectin. And somehow it has been removed from the market.

Not only has this FDA-approved, Nobel prize-winning drug been made unavailable, if a physician were to prescribe it, or advocate it as therapy, they are threatened with the potential loss of their medical license, their hospital affiliations, and their board certification.

Case #3

It gets even more ironic. I’ve noticed that some physicians are prescribing a very common antibiotic called azithromycin for their COVID patients. It is well understood that for COVID-19 when taken alone, it is of no value. There is absolutely no data to show efficacy in COVID-19. It has the same potential problems, as when it is prescribed for other viral infections. Yet the practice goes on, again unimpeded.

Let’s go one step further. Levofloxacin is another antibiotic, introduced in 1996. It was unusual in that it can treat a broad variety of infections, even those that are severe but can be given orally. Because of this, it was overutilized, threatening to create drug resistance.

In 2016, the FDA issued a black box warning because of several severe side effects including tendon rupture, peripheral nerve damage, for them and psychosis. Since then its usage has waned.

The drug was proposed as a treatment for COVID early in the pandemic but proved to have limited antiviral activity.

Case #4

So I posed this hypothetical to several pharmacist friends: If a physician called in a prescription for azithromycin, or even levofloxacin, and gave the diagnosis of COVID-19, would they fill the prescription? The answer was yes, as there would be nothing to prevent it.  So, in other words, a physician is permitted to prescribe useless antibiotics, even those with serious adverse reactions according to the FDA for COVID-19 infection.

If, as apparently the FDA believes, ivermectin is similarly useless but benign, why is it alone being blocked?

Doing the Math

Let’s do some mathematics. As of this writing, there are roughly 890,000 deaths recorded in the United States related to COVID-19. I think most people understand that a lot of these deaths are not due to the virus but from other comorbid conditions. The CDC has long stated that the number of deaths from COVID where there was no comorbid condition (In other words, healthy people who died from COVID) is roughly 7% of the total (65,000). In several meta-analyses, Ivermectin was shown to be roughly 65% effective at preventing serious disease and/or death. So, in the best-case scenario for them, our public health organizations, by suppressing Ivermectin, may be responsible for roughly 40,000 deaths.

In fact, the vast majority of people who actually died from COVID had multiple comorbid conditions, so that number could be much higher.

I need to acknowledge that prescribing antibiotics for viral infections is something that the primary caregivers struggle with. Patients expect them to do something when they’re sick. They don’t appreciate being told to go home and take acetaminophen. Some may never come back and seek care elsewhere.

Yet patients have accepted that exact recipe for dealing with COVID-19, a disease they perceive may actually kill them.

So what’s the difference between prescriptions written for an anti-bacterial, versus Ivermectin, which is an anti-parasitic agent, for a viral infection? Both primarily target infectious agents other than viruses. If anything, even it was futile therapy, Ivermectin is safer than the antibiotics discussed. Yet it is the only medication that has been effectively banned

Given all this, I think it’s easy to suspect that the FDA, the NIH, and the CDC actually understand the potential benefits of Ivermectin and other repurposed drugs. But they also realize that these medications threaten the profits of the pharmaceutical industry with which they are financially entwined.

Case #5

What makes this even more infuriating is the government’s warm embrace of two new antiviral medications, Pfizer’s Paxlovid, and Merck’s Molnupivinir. These drugs have exactly one company-sponsored study each to vouch for their efficacy. Merck’s drug, by its own testing, is only 39% effective in reducing severe disease and/or death. There are no long-term safety data for either medication.

Yet both have received emergency use authorization, and have suddenly popped up on government-approved treatment protocols.

As I look towards the end of my career, I’ve seen a lot of profit-oriented behavior by pharmaceutical companies. I think of the me-too drugs, molecules that are only slightly different than their now off-patent predecessors aggressively marketed to physicians. I’ve seen pharmaceutical reps actually reimburse physicians for a certain number of prescriptions written for their medications. I’ve seen manipulation of the rules regarding inhaled medications to maintain their patents long after they would have expired.

But if they actively suppressed the adoption of useful medications during a pandemic, then this is beyond the pale. It would suggest a total collapse of any morality or sense of responsibility within the pharmaceutical industry and their partners in the regulatory agencies.

I hope that someday, our investigatory agencies can push past the vast political power these companies have acquired through their burgeoning profits, and find out the truth.

I’m not optimistic.

Henry F Smith Jr. MD FCCP practices Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Truckers or Trudeau? You Decide, Part 1

 

Chapter One of Trucking For Freedom is titled; “How We Got Here”. The objective of this episode is to adequately introduce the political and social climate leading up to the truckers’ convoy through the lens of C19 mandates, news footage, government officials, and views from Canadian citizens. A philosophic analysis of freedoms, rights, and responsibilities is also portrayed along with reenactments and dramatizations to convey the story. The chapter ends on a cliffhanger…leaving the viewer on a precipice as interest in the Freedom Convoy surges.

Reduced Risk of SARS CV2 Infection: IVM vs. VAX

A year ago it was already evident that Ivermectin provided superior protection against SARS CV2 infection compared to Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. Bruce Sanders sent me the following analysis in pdf.

Improving Covid 19 Outcomes:  A Comparison of Prophylactic Measures

•  Ivermectin (IVM) for humans is safe and improves the health of those that contract SARS CoV 2

•  Absolute Risk Reduction for Ivermectin when used as a prophylactic measure varies from 0.7% to 66%.

•  Pfizer and Moderna messenger RNA (mRNA) injections, which are also prophylactic measures, have a 0.7% and 1.1% absolute risk reduction respectively.

•  Relative Risk Reduction for Ivermectin when used as a prophylactic measure varies from 38% to 100%.

•  Pfizer and Moderna mRNA injections, which are also prophylactic measures, have a 95% and 94% relative risk reduction respectively.

IVM Studies

•  The basis for this work is taken from the ivermectin meta analysis database. 1 Eight of those studies that passed the exclusion assessment  are included.

•  The risk reduction across the studies is shown here:

Distribution of IVM Prophylactic Study Outcomes

Absolute Risk Reduction

Relative Risk Reduction

Distribution of Prophylactic Study Outcomes for
IVM and Pfizer & Moderna mRNA Phase III Results 

Absolute Risk Reduction

Relative Risk Reduction

Discussion –Absolute & Relative Risk Reduction

•  Absolute Risk Reduction illustrates the absolute magnitude of disease risk between the treatment and control groups.

•  This is the actual difference treatment provides

•  Relative Risk Reduction is the reduced risk from treatment relative to the risk in untreated individuals.

•  This is a relative difference treatment provides, and says nothing of the magnitude.

•  Both are important to understand in the context of making high quality decisions for treatment.

•  Consider a case where a person exceeds the road speed limit by 40%.

•  A relative 40% excess appears to be significant.
•  If the posted speed limit is 20 mph, the absolute excess is only 8 mph

•  The extremely low absolute risk reduction of the Pfizer & Moderna mRNA injections does not warrant prohibition of other prophylactic options or a necessity to mandate these injections.

IVM Improves all Outcomes and is Safe for Humans
  • “Statistically significant improvements are seen for mortality, hospitalization, recovery, cases, and viral clearance.”1
  • “Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.”11
  • 2010: “Doses as high as 800 micrograms per kilogram were tolerated”12
  • 2013: “it (Ivermectin) could be repurposed relatively quickly given that the ivermectin is very safe and already given in mass drug administrations (MDA) to humans around the world”13
  • 2015: “We conclude that IVM can be safely given (at 200 µg/kg)”14
  • 2018: “Ivermectin at both doses (600 μg/kg and 300 g/kg per day) assessed was well tolerated”15
IVM is Part of Covid-19 Treatment Guides

*** Always consult your physician before taking any medication ***

References

1.https://ivmmeta.com/

2.Bernigaudet al., Annals of Dermatology and Venereology, doi:10.1016/j.annder.2020.09.231 Ivermectin benefit: from scabies to COVID-19, an example of serendipity.

3.Alamet al., European Journal ofMedicaland Health Sciences, doi:10.24018/ejmed.2020.2.6.599 Ivermectin as Pre-exposure Prophylaxis for COVID-19 among Healthcare Providers in a Selected Tertiary Hospital in Dhaka –An Observational Study.

4.Seetet al., International Journal of Infectious Diseases, doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2021.04.035 Positive impact of oral hydroxychloroquine and povidone-iodine throat spray for COVID-19 prophylaxis: an open-label randomized trial.

5.Behera et al., PLoSONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0247163 Role of ivermectin in the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers in India: A matched case-control study.

6.Shoumanet al., Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, doi:10.7860/JCDR/2020/46795.0000 Use of Ivermectin as a Potential Chemoprophylaxis for COVID-19 in Egypt: A Randomised Clinical Trial.

7.Morgenstern et al., Cureus, doi:10.7759/cureus.17455 Ivermectin as a SARS-CoV-2 Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Method in Healthcare Workers: A Propensity Score-Matched Retrospective Cohort Study.

8.Behera et al., Cureus13:8, doi:10.7759/cureus.16897 Prophylactic Role of Ivermectin in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection Among Healthcare Workers.

9.Chahlaet al., American Journal of Therapeutics, doi:10.1097/MJT.0000000000001433 A randomized trial -intensive treatment based in ivermectin and iota-carrageenan as pre-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19 in healthcare agents.

10.Brown . Outcome Reporting Bias in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Clinical Trials. Medicina(Kaunas). 2021 Feb 26;57(3):199.

11.Bryant et al Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Trial Sequential Analysis to Inform Clinical Guidelines, Am. J. Ther.: July/August 2021 -Volume 28 -Issue 4 -p e434-e460

12.Rea et al. Ivermectin and River Blindness: Science and philanthropy put an end to blindly following the next generation. American Scientist 98 (4), 294–303. 6

13.Syllaet al(Bill & Melinda) Gates Grand Challenges Explorations award: Endectocides for Controlling Transmission of Mosquito-borne Diseases. MalariaworldJ. 2013 Mar;4(5):

14.OuédraogoAL et alEfficacy and safety of the mosquitocidaldrug ivermectin to prevent malaria transmission after treatment: a double-blind, randomized, clinical trial. Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Feb 1;60(3):357-65. Epub2014 Nov 19. Erratum in: Clin Infect Dis. 2016 Sep 1;63(5):715.

  1. Smit MR et alSafety and mosquitocidalefficacy of high-dose ivermectin when co-administered with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in Kenyan adults with uncomplicated malaria (IVERMAL): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis. 2018 Jun;18(6):615-626. Epub2018 Mar 27.
Other

Elliott, M.H. et al Characteristics and Reporting of Number Needed to Treat, Number Needed to Harm, and Absolute Risk Reduction in Controlled Clinical Trials, 2001–2019. JAMA Intern. Med. 2020, 181.

Thomas, E.T. & Heneghan, C. Outcome Reporting Bias.  https://catalogofbias.org/biases/outcome-reportingbias/

Footnote: Clarification on the Math

Absolute Infection Risk Reduction answers the question:  What is the difference between the infection rates of the test group and the control group? It is simply subtracting the test group rate from the control group rate.

Relative Infection Risk Reduction answers the question:  What percentage of control group infections would be prevented if that group had the same infection rate as the test group?  Multiplying the control group population by the test group rate gives a lower number of infections than actually occurred.  The relative reduction is the difference as a percentage of the total reported infections in the control group.

So, in the case of the Pfizer vax trial, the test group numbered 21,720 with 8 infections compared to the control group of 21,728 with 162 infections. So the absolute risk reduction was 0.746% less 0.039% equaling 0.7%.  The relative risk reduction was (162 – 8) divided by 162 equaling 95%.  The relative reduction was impressively large, but it was a reduction upon a very, very small infection rate.

Source of Pfizer data:  SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination — An Ounce (Actually, Much Less) of Prevention

 

 

 

 

 

Ivermectin Coming to New Hampshire

The freedom loving granite state is moving to allow citizens’ choice of covid treatments, including unfettered access to proven anti-covid medicine, Ivermectin.  Below in italics with my bolds are excerpts from Ivermectin Bill Headed for Gov. Sununu’s Desk by Steve MacDonald writing at granitegrok.  Later on, the concurrent attack on Ivermectin just published in NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine).

HB1022 would allow the dispensing of Ivermectin by use of a standing order. If you wanted it, you could get it without a prescription after a brief discussion with the pharmacist.

Ivermectin is a COVID killer and by that, I mean policy as much as pathogen.

Nothing is perfect but Ivermectin is better than anything the “experts” have proposed, cheaper, and no trillion-dollar bailouts or backroom deals are needed for it “to work.”

That’s why they hate it.

We’ve got great coverage on NH’s HB1022 back story. We’ve published testimony, interviewed a prime sponsorand added plenty of commentary. You might even stumble over a few digs about Horse Paste, which go deeper after Democrats on social media announced this week that Misoprostol (horse ulcer medicine) could be used to induce abortion medically.

HB1022 passed the NH Senate along party lines, 14-10, with Democrats objecting to the “my body, my choice argument.” Given the timing, it doesn’t play as well as it might any other week of the year. But then, the only body involved when taking Ivermectin is yours unless you are pregnant, and Ivermectin is a lot safer than the “Dems want it to be mandatory” mRNA vaccines.

Pierre Kory explains NEJM Hit Job on Ivermectin

Fraudulent Trial On Ivermectin Published By The World’s Top Medical Journal. Big Pharma Reigns

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published the fraudulent TOGETHER trial, designed and conducted to launch anti-ivermectin headlines across every major media outlet across the world.

Part XI- Big Pharma’s “Diversion” – The TOGETHER Trial Published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Big Pharma (Pfizer and BMGF from what it looks to me) dropped another nuclear bomb on ivermectin 3 weeks ago with their successful publication of the fraudulent Brazilian TOGETHER trial. They did it in one of the world’s top read and rated medical journals, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a journal born in the year 1812, but captured by Pharma for who knows how long now. This is an open secret as per former Editor Marcia Angell in the book Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” -Dr. Marcia Angell.

First off, the saddest part of this fraud is that the TOGETHER trial’s published conclusion brazenly contradicted the data within the manuscript as it actually showed an 81% “Bayesian” probability of the superiority of ivermectin. But media and science reporters no longer critically analyze the data or questions the abstract’s conclusion, instead they all trumpet headlines in unison that “ivermectin doesn’t work in COVID.”

The study investigators have not only carried out a series of severely biased and duplicitous actions with deliberately withheld data such that fraud at this level, in my mind, is definite. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that it is instead just a severely biased trial by severely biased and financially conflicted researchers whose careers are dependent on contracts from massively powerful agencies and corporations whose interests are decidedly anti-ivermectin – see this description of the trial by the impressively expert C19early.com group:

Possibly the largest financial conflict of interest of any trial to date. Disclosed conflicts of interest include: Pfizer, Merck, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Australian Government, Medicines Development for Global Health, Novaquest, Regeneron, Astrazeneca, Daichi Sankyo, Commonwealth Science and Research Organization, and Card Research. Many conflicts of interest appear unreported. For example, Unitaid is sponsor. [Harpertogethertrial.com (B)].

If that were not enough, there is  the insanely incompetent peer review and publication by the NEJM. No way should this manuscript ever have been published in any purportedly credible medical journal without extensive revision and mandated reporting of critical absent data, given the litany of inconsistent, missing, and manipulated data alongside numerous unexplained design protocol changes aimed at trying to ensuring the lowest dose possible was used. The fact the NEJM reviewers allowed the manuscript to not include a standard limitations section calling attention to the “possibility” of the failure of blinding given massive evidence for this is one of the more brazen frauds I have seen in a medical journal.

Footnote: Why Pharma Can’t Allow Ivermectin Use Against Covid

Biologist Bret Weinstein:   If Ivermectin proven effective against COVID, it moots vaccine push

[I]f Ivermectin is what those of us who have looked at the evidence think it is … then the debate about the vaccines would be over by definition, because the vaccines that we have so far were granted emergency use authorization,” Weinstein said, noting that the coronavirus vaccines are not formally “approved” treatments by the FDA and instead administered under the rarely-delineated category of EUA.

According to the FDA’s own definition, an EUA is “is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives,” the agency said.

That last clause, Weinstein told host Tucker Carlson, is key to why it is important that Ivermectin and other established pharmaceuticals are thoroughly investigated as alternative treatments.

“So if Ivermectin is safe and effective … then there shouldn’t be vaccines that we’re administering. They should be in testing and we should be finding out whether they are or are not safe,” said Weinstein, alluding to several serious cases of vaccine side effects.

Weinstein suggested that if the anti-malarial was proven effective, it would moot the Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccine.

“That emergency use authorization has as a condition that there be no safe and effective treatments available,” he said, noting that Ivermectin is old enough and established enough that it is “out of [its] patent” – meaning it can be produced generically – and has been proven safe and effective for other medical conditions.

 

See also An outright propaganda war against Ivermectin in two latest trials By Professor Colleen Aldous*  at Biz News, South Africa.

I have clinical colleagues across the globe who are able to demonstrate more issues with the analysis of the TOGETHER trial, which is being touted as the definitive paper on Ivermectin efficacy, than I can, but here is my list:

More than half of the participants from the placebo arm of the trial did not complete the trial, whereas only 50 from the Ivermectin arm did not finish. This causes the trial to no longer be a randomised control trial. But the data can be used as observational and, as I showed above, we observe that Ivermectin has a strong signal for efficacy against death. An outcome that is meaningful to most people.

Ivermectin was given on an empty stomach, which is the protocol for its use as an antiparasitic. It has been known that for antiviral activity, Ivermectin should be given with a fatty meal to aid systemic absorption.

The dose given was below the dose that many across the globe have used successfully; it was given at too low a dose, too late for many, and stopped too early.

Giving Ivermectin as a monotherapy, when it is known it is a zinc ionophore and thus is more effective given with zinc, is poor design.

However, even with all these problems, Ivermectin still comes through as effective, particularly against mortality.

 

 

 

 

Fake Virtue Demeans Us All

Explained at Peak Prosperity For The Narrative-Creators, The Play Is You… And You Are Not Real.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.  H/T Tyler Durden

If, like me, you’ve been wondering about why things are the way they are in today’s world, and how this relates, this is my explanation: For the actors, writers and directors who create real world narratives, the play is you. And you are not real.

Actors and Reality

Much has been made of the jarring dissonance between the heroic stand of the president and the people of Ukraine and the facile signaling of the Social Justice crowd. Feel free to pick your favorite exemplar, from the merely stupid banning of Russian cats and renaming of White Russian cocktails to the more sinister cancelling of Russian performers, or the horrific threats and vandalism to places serving Russian food. There’s no shortage of content here. And, as we’ll get to shortly, that’s the point.

Ukraine’s policy goals do not map fully to those of the United States (think Azov Battalion, for starters), and we can and should carefully consider our response with that awareness. But this does not change Ukrainian heroism. Zelensky wants planes, a no-fly zone, and he would no doubt love NATO boots on the ground. Prudence may dictate we provide him none of these, but it is worth noting that any of us in his circumstances would likely be asking for the same things. Any of us who stayed during the onslaught, that is.

Clearly, Putin’s bet from the beginning included Zelensky on the first plane out to serve as the leader of the Ukrainian government in (comfortable) exile, after which the dismemberment of that nation would rapidly become a fait accompli. Zelensky was having none of it. He stayed, and continues to stay, at great personal risk to himself and his family. He is, unquestionably, a hero.

It is the contrast between these two extremes (the banning of Russian-themed menus et al vs. Zelensky’s stand) that provides ample opportunity to reflect on the idea that many Americans are just not serious people. Unsurprisingly, their response to events in Ukraine has been to simply cut and paste from the outrage-of-the-week playbook: change profile picture, use a hashtag, find some people to cancel, and congratulate oneself on how virtuous one is. In the real world, rational people are tempted to say, “None of this ‘support’ matters”. It’s just empty signaling. So why is it happening, why has it become so pervasive, and how should we contend with it? Examination of a few high-salience topics can shed some light.

Covid and Wuhan Lab Leak Theory

Consider this first in the context of Covid and the by now well-known case of the Lab Leak Theory. Peter Daszak of the Eco-Health Alliance was the prime mover behind the infamous Lancet Letter branding any lab leak speculation uninformed conspiracy. This makes perfect sense when considering his incentives. Daszak (and Fauci, and others) had something to lose here. Perhaps a lot to lose. U.S. funding of Gain of Function research in Chinese labs resulting in a global pandemic is, to put it mildly, not a very good look and could be costly both financially and criminally.

And that’s where those laws, norms, and standards come in. In an environment with many disinterested actors, those entities without skin in the game would easily out-produce the relatively small number of individuals invested in a particular narrative. In that environment, the idea that zoonotic transmission and escape from a biolab in the same city where researchers were known to be working on bat viruses were both very real possibilities would be obvious.

But that is not at all how it went down.

Instead, the idea that it might be prudent to investigate what role the lab in Wuhan may have played in the pandemic became roughly equivalent to arguing Flat Earth Theory. What the hell was going on here? Did everyone in the American media landscape owe Daszak a favor? Did Fauci have a secret cache of compromising emails and photos to dangle J. Edgar Hoover style over the heads of troublesome journalists? Why on earth would hundreds or thousands in the media run cover for these guys and for the Chinese government to the extent of making claims that mere investigation of the possibility of a lab leak was racist?

More puzzling still is the idea that there is nothing about either potential source of the pandemic that presupposes an explicitly liberal or conservative position. Indeed, one could easily flip the script and imagine a campaign urging people to “follow the science” rather than resorting to xenophobic tropes about savages in wet markets. Until, that is, Donald Trump and other conservatives brought it up, which was like Christmas came early for Daszak and his co-conspirators. For the progressive left, the endorsement of anything by President Trump was more than sufficient cause to oppose it, and thus the wheels began to turn.

None of this should be surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention. At its heart, this is an expression of the luxury of operating without consequences. The luxury of not having to think operationally. To be clear, what I am saying is that Daszak and his cronies were able to leverage a system in which those with the loudest megaphones literally did not and do not care where and how Covid originated. For them, it just doesn’t matter. The pandemic is just background noise. That may seem like a strong statement. So, why and in what sense did they not care?

Personal Gain Not Public Trust

In a recent episode of Bari Weiss’ podcast Honestly, journalist and academic Yuval Levin articulated a theory of the change from institutions-as-formational to institutions-as-platforms. In his view, institutions of all types formerly served to develop the individuals inside them. If for example, you worked at the New York Times as a young journalist, you would be shaped by the ethos of that institution, informed by the repository of values developed over time within that structure.

According to Levin, this has been replaced by the notion of institution-as-platform,
the idea  that these structures exist as a launching pad for one’s personal brand.

Understood from this perspective, the great Lab Leak crackdown suddenly makes a great deal of sense. One of the baseline branding positions operating was “not-Trump.” I am completely persuaded that if Trump had spoken out in favor of the wet market theory, we’d all have been loudly advised to “follow the science” in precisely the opposite direction.

It is also worth noting that these personal brands are rivalrous goods. Having a “take,” even the right one, is necessary, but not sufficient. Your take must outcompete the other signals in the marketplace in order to claim disproportionate attention. And this explains why the Lab Leak Theory had to be, “conspiracist,” “anti-science,” and eventually, of course, “racist.”

The more extreme the position is,
the more effective it is in gaining audience-capture.

And this is not part of the story; it’s the entire story. There is effectively nothing behind the curtain. Because of these powerful incentives, what has happened without us realizing it is the creation of a public dialogue between a small, privileged elite that is fixed on in-group signaling and status-capture. The policy concerns or post-pandemic reforms that should differentially apply depending upon the origin of the disease diminish in importance to the extent that they functionally do not matter at all.

And people impacted by those decisions by extension do not matter either.
They are extras and scenery.

The Damaging Script

This goes a long way toward explaining the persistence of the otherwise bewildering advocacy that has permeated American life. Democratic New York Mayor Eric Adams noted that the Defund the Police crowd “are a lot of young white affluent people.” Of course they are. Poll after poll reveals that those who live in high-crime neighborhoods want more police, not less.

Like any other sane person, those citizens also want their police officers to be professional and not corrupt, but “I want my police officers to fight crime and be professional” is just not an exciting take. From this perspective, insanity like Defund the Police isn’t surprising, but rather inevitable. It is the position pushed to its logical extreme. And that is why arguing with this group is useless.

Perhaps nothing is more indicative of this trend than the increasingly unhinged claims emerging from the trans-activist community, as LGB became LGBT and now for some is properly expressed as LGBTQQIP2SAA, in order to be “inclusive” to intersex, pansexual, asexual, and two-spirit people.

For an outsider, it can all seem like satire.
How could anyone engage in these abbreviation acrobatics unironically?

For outsiders, the criticism seems insane. That is because, once again, we are not the audience. What we are seeing is a process of in-group jousting for status, where increasingly bizarre formulations become predictable and indeed necessary to gain attention. “I disagree with J.K. Rowling” is hardly a winning message, especially compared with “J.K. Rowling threatens my right to exist!” Thus, once again, appeals to reason, biology, or even compassion for a generation of children we are harming irrevocably do not and will not work.

No one affected by these positions exists in any meaningful way
because, again, they are not real.

By far the best example of this phenomenon is Black Lives Matter, a marketing triumph that proved beyond all doubt that these tactics can work, work well, and most importantly, be monetized. The familiar script is here, but no one has ever executed it better, as activists turned their rallying cry into a movement indistinguishable from religion. No nuance or difference of opinion was tolerated. Even to remain silent was proof of apostacy.

The net result? More than $60 million, most of which remains unaccounted for, and a series of high-end real estate purchases by the activists behind the whole thing. No policy achievements of any kind, because of course those were never the point from the beginning, as was obvious to anyone paying attention.

The response to this from BLM? Condemn the black reporter who exposed their murky finances and questionable real estate transactions as racist, smear the black Harvard economist as a sexual predator, and suggest that even the financial reporting required of non-profits is, you guessed it, racist. It’s not that hard to parse this: BLM activists are not friends or allies of black communities whatsoever. Instead, we come back to the same point: everyone outside of the in-group are just extras and scenery. Including those for whom they purport to advocate. None of them are real.

Luxury Beliefs

Rob Henderson calls all of this a symptom of “Luxury Beliefs.” According to Henderson, these are “ideas and opinions that confer status on the rich at very little cost while taking a toll on the lower class.” What we have is a catechism, a portfolio of dogma that operates as a signaling mechanism among the elite. And so, in addition to “Follow the Science” on Covid, “Trans Women are Real Women”, and “Black Lives Matter”, we have a host of other statements expressed as moral imperatives, including things like “Healthy at Any Size”, “All Family Structures are Equal”, “Open Borders”, etc.

All of this can be considered an unexpected and unwelcome consequence of our own success. The complex, exquisitely-tuned supply chains that funnel us goods and services have become so remarkably effective they are essentially invisible. Elites don’t have to worry about how things get done, how X leads to Y, or how thing A gets to place B.

It just happens. Magically. Invisibly.
How the sausage is made is a question for smaller minds.

In my view, Henderson gets one thing wrong about his theory. Luxury Beliefs are not in fact, the provenance of the rich, but rather of the educational elite, some of whom are also rich in the bargain. Journalists, other media members, academics, and activists typically have little to no experience in actual business and even less incentive to ever gain any. The effortless flow of goods and services they experience allows them the freedom from having to think operationally or consequentially.

Over the past two years, COVID revealed and supercharged the insular status of these elites. If you talk to business owners, no matter how wealthy they may be, who vitally need to think operationally and consequentially every day, you find considerably less support for these elitist notions.

All of this is bad enough when locked in some academic ivory tower, but as we’ve seen, this has escaped into the American Wild with terrifying effect. Crime, inflation, record border crossings, education, and more. Pick your topic, as the list goes on and on.

The Final Act

Which brings us back to Ukraine as the setting for the ridiculous virtue signaling and posturing by these same luxury elites. It is jarring when juxtaposed against actual tanks and soldiers, but it is just more of the same.

I stated earlier that these are not serious people, but that is not entirely accurate. They are extremely serious, just not about anything other than their own internal conversations.  These people will not change, and they will not be persuaded by your arguments, your statistics, and your facts.

Because the people who make any of the things elites consume and the people elites purport to stand up for are all equally irrelevant. Performance is the point. The performance is the whole thing, and the actors, playwrights and directors aren’t taking suggestions from you, the extras and the scenery.

Which leads us to the final act: maybe it’s time to think about shutting down the whole play.

 

Covid Gets Milder, Left Stays Toxic

Physician C.J. Baker explains in his American Thinker article COVID-19 is becoming milder, but the left stays toxic as ever.  Excerpts in italics with my boldsand added images.

Just this morning (Tuesday, April 22, 2022), in the New York Times’ “the Morning” online report, a guy named David Leonhardt writes with apparent amazement that “Coronavirus cases have risen in major cities. Hospitalizations have not.” Imagine that.

Leonhardt goes on to note that despite the long list of members of Congress and other public servants recently diagnosed with COVID-19, none of them, even our superannuated speaker of the House, appears to have got very sick from it. To his credit, he supplements this observation with some charts that clearly show the disconnect between current cases (which are rising) and hospitalizations (which remain flat).

So far, so good. But then he gives his explanation for this trend. That’s where the spin and outright dishonesty of the COVID-forever left — led by the Times — continue apace.To what does David the Lionhearted, the Gray Lady’s intrepid knight of the keyboard du jour, attribute these positive trends? He reports what (supposedly) “many experts believe”:

♦  Vaccines and booster shots are effective and universally available to Americans who are at least 12. (Covid [sic] continues to be overwhelmingly mild among children).
♦  Treatments — like Evusheld for the immunocompromised and Paxlovid for vulnerable people who get infected — are increasingly available.
♦  Tens of millions of Americans have already been infected with the virus, providing them with at least some immunity.

Two key points should be drawn from this list of explanations.

First, an absolutely central reason for the good news about COVID-19 has been deliberately omitted. 

As any truly knowledgeable and honest doctor or virologist — provided you can find one these days — will tell you, viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 mutate like crazy and evolve rapidly and in a predictable manner. In short, these viruses consistently mutate to become more transmissible and less virulent. Why do they evolve in this way? For the same reason all organisms evolve: to benefit their own propagation and survival.

When a new virus is first introduced to a host species, the initial interaction is often not pretty. The virus may struggle to spread between individuals, endangering its survival, and it may invoke severe illness in its host, even killing it, thereby endangering both species’ survival.

Moving slowly and painstakingly from one home to another, while burning down the one in which you currently reside, is no way to survive. So the virus mutates and evolves into a milder form that spreads more readily yet sickens the host less.

In essence, the perfect respiratory virus is the common cold. It infects its host but makes the host sick enough only to sneeze the virus’s progeny at everyone around. It spreads like wildfire, but it doesn’t burn down its own house in the process.

Runny nose coronvirus family

Not for nothing, but what do the other coronaviruses in general circulation among humans cause? That’s right: symptoms of the common cold. This is almost certainly the final common pathway for SARS-CoV-2.

As a practicing physician, trained before schools of public health veered to the left of gender studies departments, I have been saying this since the summer of 2020.

Meanwhile, panic pornographers ranging from Anthony Fauci to Times newsboy Leonhardt’s “experts” have latched onto that first trait of viral evolution (increased transmissibility) while deliberately downplaying, or even denying the second (reduced virulence). Why?

Because they want to foment all the fear that increased transmissibility promotes, yet allow none of the hope and perspective about the virus that acknowledging reduced virulence would bring.

Second, several systematic lies are embedded in the three explanations that are given.

The second lesson to take from Leonhardt’s list is this: as the facts become too obvious to support their false narrative, leftists perform the propagandistic equivalent of a “tactical retreat,” covering their tracks with false and misleading explanations.

Leonhardt writes that “vaccines are effective and readily available.” Effective at what?

At stopping the virus in its tracks, as the Times and Fauci claimed for months? Nope. At preventing persons from contracting COVID-19, as they also claimed? Well, obviously not, since every one of those politicians has been vaccinated and boosted to the hilt. At reducing severity of disease? Well, then what happened to the vaunted “pandemic of the unvaccinated”? Based on the data curves Leonhardt provides, the unvaccinated aren’t going to the ICU these days, either.

Leonhardt touts Evusheld and Paxlovid as “increasingly available,” a total non sequitur in the absence of any data supporting their role in the current trends, which he does not provide. He completely ignores any cheap, repurposed early treatments, despite — or more likely because of — the growing mountains of data supporting their effectiveness.

Finally, Leonhardt blatantly understates the effect of natural immunity, both by lowballing the number of previously infected Americans (it’s in the hundreds of millions, Dave, not tens) and by the deeply misleading statement that prior infection produces “at least some immunity” (Natural immunity is far superior to vaccine-related immunity.)

Here is the reality, the plain fact that Fauci and Leonhardt’s “many experts” will never admit: SARS-CoV-2 is evolving and adapting to coexist with us. The COVID-forever left remains as toxic and destructive as ever.

CDC’s Pandemic Failures From the Top

At Wall Street Journal Opinion Paul Gigot interviews Marty Makary about the state of covid in the US and how CDC keeps making mistakes.  A transcript of the video is provided below in italics with my bolds.  Further on there are excerpts from the Federal court ruling CDC’s transportation mask mandate unconstitutional.

Gigot:  Under fire for its handling of the Covid19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky announced plans this week to revamp the embattled agency saying in an email quote it is time to step back and strategically position CDC to support the future of public health. Since the pandemic began more than two years ago, the agency has come under increasing criticism for its response, from initial delays developing a coronavirus test, to the agency’s often unclear guidanceon masking, isolation and quarantine and now booster shots.

Let’s bring in Dr. Marty Makary. He’s a professor at the John Hopkins Schools of Medicine and a Fox News contributor. Welcome Doctor. Look, what do you make of this plan to revamp the CDC. It’s hard for me to recall an agency that was supposed to meet a crisis, I mean this agency was designed for that. And yet their reputation is in tatters. What do they need to do?

Makary: Well many of the problems are structural, but they have 21,000 employees and an $11 billion budget. It’s not the fault of the 21,000 employees that they ignored natural immunity. It’s not a structural problem that the CDC closed schools. That was a leadership problem. These are bad decisions: not spacing out the two doses and focusing of the first dose; not warning the country of the pandemic, and limiting testing in such a way that we couldn’t really follow this thing early on. These are problems of leadership. Not problems with the structure.

And I think there’s an attempt now to say: Hey, we’re going to something to fix the problem, even though it’s not the direct fix.

Gigot: OK, so you mean they’re going to try to rearrange the bureaucratic furniture. But I thought that the CDC of all agencies was supposed to (pardon the cliche): Follow the Science. Are you saying that they let politics supersede the Science?

Makary:  Well right now that is the growing perception among medical professionals. If you look at the way the CDC rules their own expert advisory committee. You know the CDC was designed to help us eradicate and take care of cholera and malaria and polio and smallpox. What they’re doing now is getting involved in evictions. They’re adjudicating on every aspect of American life including how kids wear a cloth mask in school.

They fund studies which are so highly flawed they would not be peer reviewed in any respected journal. But they published them in their own journal called MMWR. And then cite their own flawed research. So this has become a farce. And in the medical community many of us have been saying: This is not the scientific process and ignoring natural immunity was a big deal. For this head of the CDC to ignore natural immunity is like the head of NASA believe the earth is flat.

Gigot:  OK, so what about this new variant that’s spreading. You have a big breakout in Washington DC. A super spreader event at the Gridiron dinner involved a lot of politicians. Should we be more concerned about this new variant than we’ve been led to believe?

Makary:  We should think of it as a bad flu season. It’s going around. It’s more ubiquitous than influenza. Now the infection fatality rate in an analysis publish about two weeks ago and Financial Times showed that it is now officially lower than that of influenza in a typical flu season. So we shouldn’t be alarmed by should recognize this as an infection that is ubiquitous, inevitable in most people. And those who avoided BA1 are probably getting the more contagious BA2.

It is definitely going up. We’re seeing cases go up in the Northeast primarily, somewhat in Florida. But if you’re following cases using the CDC’s numbers like you were following a stock price on a ticker, you’re not going to see those increases because most people are using home testing. The key is we are not seeing a surge in hospitalization. That should always be the ultimate indicator of how we’re doing.

Gigot:   OK. There’s been controversy as well over the second booster shot and whether to get it. CDC was leaning in the direction for certain that individuals above a certain age and immuno compromised to get it. What do you think of that decision?

Makary:   Well, it was not based on any compelling data. We finally got the data after the FDA authorized th second booster. It was published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Not very convincing. It showed that if you boost an entire population with a second booster, the added benefit is a very slight: 1 in 42,000 people in the population have risk reduction in severe illness not hospitalizations, but those who develop real symptoms. That’s why the editor of the New England Journal has said before the committee, he doesn’t see compelling data. This FDA bypassed their own experts to ream through this authorization.

And it’s very odd. They gave Pfizer more than they applied for. Pfizer asked to authorize for people over 65, and it was granted for everyone over 50. And while they put this through in supersonic speed they are still sitting on covaxin and novavax, (traditional vaccines) and covaxin has better coverage against variants. And we’re going to get the omicron specific vaccine data reading out is a few weeks. Many people have been saying, wait for that, then get the second booster and an omicron specific vaccine.

Gigot:   Suppose I am over 60 years old and I’ve had two shots and then a booster, and then came down with Covid, one of these breakthrough cases. A lot of people I know have had exactly that pattern. Do you need a booster in those circumstances?

Makary:   No, there’s no compelling reason, and boosters do have rare but real side effects. We’ve seen reports of ringing in the ears, and you can’t keep pumping boosters in people every 3 to 6 months in perpetuity because we are seeing that protection only lasts a matter of weeks. That was the study in the New England Journal. It really was sustained for about six weeks and the time followed. So no, natural immunity and hybrid immunity is very powerful and for now there’s no scientific data to support getting a booster after having convalescent infection.

Gigot:   Thanks Dr. Makary, appreciate it.

Federal Court Overturns CDC’s Transportation Mask Mandate

The Mask Mandate Is Illegal: Quotes from the District Court Judgment

Excerpts from Brownstone Institute report in italics below with my bolds

Within the past two years, the CDC has found within § 264(a) the power to shut down the cruise ship industry, stop landlords from evicting tenants who have not paid their rent, and require that persons using public conveyances wear masks. Courts have concluded that the first two of these measures exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority under §264. …

No court has yet ruled on the legality of the third. At first blush, it appears more closely related to the powers granted in§ 264(a) than either the sail order or the eviction moratorium. But after rigorous statutory analysis, the Court concludes that§ 264(a) does not authorize the CDC to issue the Mask Mandate….

As the list of actions suggest, the federal government’s use of the quarantine power has been traditionally limited to localized disease elimination measures applied to individuals and objects suspected of carrying disease…. Though the government once conceded that § 264(a) merely “consolidates and codifies” this history, see id., it now finds a power that extends far beyond it to population-wide preventative measures like near-universal mask requirements that apply even in settings with little nexus to interstate disease spread, like city buses and Ubers. Such a definition reverses the import of history as well as the roles of the States and the federal government….

The opposite of conditional release is “detention” or “quarantine.” Anyone who refuses to comply with the condition of mask wearing is – in a sense – detained or partially quarantined by exclusion from a conveyance or transportation hub under authority of the Mask Mandate. They are forcibly removed from their airplane seats, denied boarding at the bus steps, and turned away at the train station doors-all on the suspicion that they will spread a disease. Indeed, the Mask Mandate enlists local governments, airport employees, flight attendants, and even ride-sharing drivers to enforce these removal measures.

The CDC issued the mandate in February 2021, almost two weeks after the President called for a mandate, eleven months after the President had declared COVID-19 a national emergency, and almost thirteen months since the Secretary of Health and Human Services had declared a public health emergency. This history suggests that the CDC itself did not find the passage of time particularly serious….

Although a closer question than the failure to properly invoke the good cause exception, the Mask Mandate fails this reasoned-explanation standard. Beyond the primary decision to impose a mask requirement, the Mask Mandate provides little or no explanation for the CDC’s choices. Specifically, the CDC omits explanation for rejecting alternatives and for its system of exceptions. And there are many, such that the overall efficiency of masking on airplanes or other conveyances could reasonably be questioned.

In sum, irrespective of whether the CDC made a good or accurate decision, it needed to explain why it acted as it did. Since the CDC did not explain its decision to compromise the effectiveness of its Mandate by including exceptions or its decision to limit those exceptions, the Court cannot conclude that the CDC “articulated a ‘rational connection between the facts found and the choices made.”

[T]he Mandate exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions. Because “our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends,” the Court declares unlawful and vacates the Mask Mandate.