Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 4 November, 2021

The last few days have seen the US official Covid death count pass through the three quarter million mark, the world total death count pass through the five million mark, and we’re within three days of the world total Covid case count reaching 250 million.

These somber milestones have been greeted by commentaries such as offered by this man, blaming 100,000, perhaps 200,000 of the US deaths on unvaccinated people, and going further by claiming that “anti-science aggression” is now a leading cause of death in America.

Rather amusingly, as part of his “leading cause of death” claim, he compares these 100k – 200k dead to death from global terrorism (0 Americans killed by global terrorism in the last long while), nuclear proliferation (0 Americans killed, ever), and cyberattacks (again, 0 Americans killed).

But the underlying concept is of course familiar – people choosing to wrap themselves in the mantle of “science” and claiming that anyone who disagrees with them is either “not following the science” or is “anti-science” or just, simply, incurably idiotic.

But is it really anti-science to look at the skyrocketing number of deaths reported in VAERS since the introduction of Covid vaccines and wonder what is causing that?  Or is it anti-science to ignore those deaths and pretend they either don’t exist or aren’t important?

Is it really anti-science to express concern about third doses of still experimental vaccines being approved on the basis of short-term studies of only several hundred people?  Or is it anti-science to pretend that you only need a brief study, by the vaccine manufacturer rather than by a neutral third party, to support dosing people still further with experimental vaccines?

Is it really anti-science to advocate for ivermectin as an early-stage Covid treatment, and claiming the support of over 100 strongly positive studies for holding that position?  Or is it anti-science to ignore those 100+ studies, many peer-reviewed, and pretend there’s no evidence to support ivermectin use?

Is it really anti-science to express concern when noting how the same people who object to using ivermectin because we don’t know enough about it (decades of use, billions of doses, and over 100 studies) then turn around and enthusiastically endorse a brand new mutagenic drug about which nothing is known, and which has only had one study, by its manufacturer, to support it?

I could continue, but that’s probably enough.  Remember, when people have facts to support their case, they argue the facts.  When they don’t, they resort to attacking the people who disagree with them, because that is all they can do.  It seems to me that Peter Hotez, and his precious professorship, MD, and PhD, is dangerously close to being anti-science himself.

And as for the culpability for some hundreds of thousands of needless deaths, I rest that fairly and squarely at the feet of the “scientific experts” telling us “stay at home until you can’t breathe, and only then ask for treatment” while pretending ivermectin doesn’t help.

Talking about the brand new mutagenic drug (molnupiravir), the UK has become the first nation to approve it for use, although goodness only knows what they’ve used as evidence to support their decision, or how they were able to find evidence to support this new and potentially alarming, massively overpriced drug while not seeing any of the overwhelming body of support for ivermectin.

I realized something this week.  The vaccine manufacturers have two “competitors” that they seek to suppress.  One of those is low-cost treatments such as ivermectin.  And they’re doing a great job of suppressing the scientific truth of that.

The other competitor is natural immunity.  I’d been wondering for a while why we haven’t been giving greater focus to the benefit of natural immunity – that conferred as a result of having suffered a Covid infection.  Although I’ve seen credible studies suggesting that natural immunity is real, beneficial, more resistant to new virus variants, and longer lasting than the vaccines, it seems that “conventional wisdom” either suggests the opposite, or, as a reluctant compromise, concedes some vague benefits from natural immunity while strongly suggesting you should get vaccinated, too.

Indeed, many countries refuse to recognize natural immunity as grounds for allowing you to enter their country.  Those that do accept natural immunity have tended to limit its acceptability to no more than six months.

Now, to be clear, I absolutely am not suggesting that you should deliberately get infected with Covid so as to acquire natural immunity.  No, no, a thousand times no, that would not be a good idea.  But if you have been as unfortunate as to get a Covid infection, do you now have a valuable outcome – natural immunity?

The drug companies say no, because they want to keep pumping as much vaccine into you as possible.  And they’re also ensuring that no-one researches the topic.  Look, for example, at this tweet, matter-of-factly dismissing natural immunity because not enough is known about it.  Shouldn’t we be eagerly researching this, to better understand the benefits we get from natural immunity, and in doing so, better understand the future course of the virus too?

This is what the CDC says on the topic, which, as you can see, is very little, and predictably surrounded by multiple recommendations that everyone should get vaccinated, no matter what.

Call me anti-science if you wish, but it seems to me this is something we should be researching and better understanding.  Maybe research is “anti-science” when you’re trying to sell drugs.

Reader Bruce wrote in to point out he posted a link on Facebook to one of the items in my discussion of the miraculous recovery from Covid in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday (see here if you missed it), and howthe link was automatically tagged with the statement “No evidence suggests a causal link between Ivermectin recommendation and the decline of Covid-19 cases in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh”.

No evidence?  What exactly does Facebook require as evidence, if such a profound transformation in case numbers is considered meaningless?

This is an interesting chart, taken from the UK’s Office for Natural Statistics.  Why are vaccinated people dying at a much greater rate (from all causes, not just the virus) than unvaccinated people in the UK this year?

First, before coming up with possible answers, note how at the start of the year, unvaccinated people were dying much more than vaccinated people.  But over the first few months, as vaccination rates climbed in the UK, this reversed, and for most of the rest of the year, vaccinated people have been dying at twice or more the rate of unvaccinated people.

It has been fairly suggested that, even in this relatively young and healthy age group (10 – 59), vaccinated people tend to be generally less healthy anyway, and that is probably true.  But using this as an explanation is contradicted by the first six or seven weeks when they were dying at a much lower rate.  Something seems to have changed around that time, causing the chart from a clear mortality lead by the unvaccinated, and subsequently, an equally clear lead by the vaccinated.

We really can’t conclude anything from this, because there are too many other possible variables influencing these numbers, but whatever the ultimate explanation, it sure doesn’t look like a great advertisement for vaccinating, does it.

Lastly in the general comments, doctors are becoming “woke”.  Look at these changes in phrasing that the American Medical Association is now advocating doctors should use to describe medical issues.  Do we really want a lecture about critical race theory type issues when discussing diseases?

It was bad enough when doctors tried to ask us if we had firearms at home, now we’re going to have to be barraged by woke social commentaries too.

Current Numbers

The minor country case rate showed Slovenia skyrocketing up from 9th to 6th place, with an extraordinary growth of almost 8,500 new cases per million people in a single week.

No changes in the major country list.

Romania continues to tragically skyrocket up the death rate list at an unprecedented rate.

The most active new case country list shows the high case rate activity to again be concentrated in Europe.  Although Europe as a whole had an average 9% rise, many countries were on the high side of that average (of course), including Austria, top of the list with a 66% rise, the Czech Republic with a 55% rise, and Greece with a 54% rise.  Major rises also occurred in Switzerland (42%), Ireland (36%), Germany (35%), and the Netherlands (33%).  France had a more modest 13% rise in cases.

Falling European countries were most notably Romania, dropping 28% in new cases, Sweden down 13%, and Lithuania down 9%.  The UK dropped 7%.

In North America, Canada had a 5% drop in cases, Mexico was down 21%, and the US had a modest 3% drop.  The world as a whole saw a slight 2% rise in cases.

Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Montenegro (227,338) Montenegro (233,475)
2 Seychelles (222) Seychelles (224,073)
3 Andorra Andorra
4 Georgia Georgia
5 Gibraltar (176,465) Gibraltar (180,865)
6 San Marino Slovenia (166,506)
7 St Barth San Marino
8 Maldives St Barth
9 Slovenia (158,095) Maldives
10 Bahrain (155,505) Lithuania (156,510)

 

Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (162,800) Czech Republic (166,986)
2 USA (139,956) USA (141,446)
3 UK (130,726) UK (134,693)
4 Netherlands Netherlands (126,081)
5 Belgium Belgium
6 Argentina Argentina
7 Sweden (114,944) Sweden (115,505)
8 France France
9 Portugal Portugal
10 Spain Spain
11 Brazil Brazil
12 Colombia (96,850) Colombia (97,055)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Peru  (5,961) Peru  (5,965)
2 Czech Rep  (2,859) Czech Rep  (2,876)
3 Brazil (2,830) Brazil (2,837)
4 Argentina Romania (2,602)
5 Colombia (2,465) Argentina
6 Romania (2,435) Colombia (2,469)
7 USA (2,290) USA (2,315)
8 Belgium Belgium
9 Mexico Mexico
10 Italy (2,188) Italy (2,192)

 

Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Latvia  9,387 Estonia  9,544
2 Estonia  8,463 Slovenia  8,428
3 Lithuania Latvia
4 Slovenia Georgia
5 Georgia Lithuania
6 Serbia Croatia
7 Croatia Slovakia
8 Romania Serbia
9 Bulgaria Austria
10 Armenia Bulgaria
11 Singapore Belgium
12 Slovakia  4,339 Armenia  4,226

I Am Not a Doctor, But….

“How can they be so stupid/biased/unscientific?” is a question I often find myself asking when confronted by some of the perfidy and nonsense being perpetrated as “science” by the public health regulators.  The answer, all too often, is “because of regulatory capture“.  This is a very real phenomenon that can’t be over-stated.  The organizations that are supposed to protect us from big pharma end up being owned and controlled by big pharma.

This infographic explains part of this regulatory capture phenomenon.  And so, with this in mind, perhaps it is not surprising (but it sure isn’t pleasing) to read this article about how the NIH worked with the EcoHealth Alliance to evade restrictions on coronavirus experimentation.

We’ve surely seen an enormous variety of unusual and unexpected side-effects from Covid, but this new one is definitely one for the record books.  We’re not entirely sure if this is indeed anything to do with Covid at all…..

On a more serious note, this article suggests the virus can attack our inner ears, causing dizziness and deafness.  Whatever will be next?

This image is taken from a fascinating South Korean study on the effect of mask wearing and social distancing on the spread of the virus.  We wonder if it somewhat overstates the value of masks, or perhaps assumes that the typical mask being worn is better than the stupid useless “reusable designer masks” that too many people wear in the US.  They even comment that part of their evaluation assumes perfect mask wearing with no leakage, and that’s not a realistic assumption to make.

It is also not entirely clear to me if their calculations assume the much-more infectious Delta variant or one of the earlier milder variants.  But, even if scaled back, it seems a very powerful testimony to the benefit of mask wearing.  We seem to have lost sight of this issue, with more focus on the vaccination controversy.

Ivermectin and other Existing Treatments

Here’s an interesting example of how the medical establishment unfairly lavishes hate on ivermectin.  There have been 128 studies published on ivermectin as a Covid treatment, so far.  This article selected 12 of them – on what basis, we can only guess, but probably, they selected the “low hanging fruit” that would prove their point, and on the basis of their analysis of their selection of 12 of the 128 studies, felt able to pronounce, magisterially, that there was no evidence of any benefit if one focused only on the “good” studies (a small subset of the 12 studies they started off with).

That’s like rolling a pair of dice 128 times, and getting to choose any 12 of the dice rolls, and then saying “these dice are obviously loaded, because, look, more than half the twelve times we’re looking at, they came up with a double six, and that’s impossible in real life”.

How can something as superficial as that even be published?

Another comparison that you may or may not like to see is comparing the health risk and side effects of ivermectin – about as close to zero as can be measured – with that of marijuana, and the growing wealth of articles pointing to adverse effects from regular use thereof.

The emphasis in that last sentence perhaps should be on the word “wealth”.  Not only are marijuana entrepreneurs getting wealthy, but states are enjoying the ability to tax something that formerly went under the radar.  But there’s no money for anyone to make when it comes to dispensing ivermectin.

Vaccine News

I’ve long observed that the key difference between Pfizer in particular, and secondarily Moderna, and all the other vaccines, is that Pfizer (and lesserly Moderna) have the best public relations team.  For example, here’s an article about how the J&J vaccine has a 3 1/2 times greater risk of a rare blood clot syndrome occurring (emphasis on the word rare).

But where is the mention of the elevated risk of all manner of side-effects associated with the mRNA vaccines?  Look up again at the VAERS reporting.  The article is silent.  And how about the way the J&J vaccine seems to stay effective with less reduction in effectiveness, for longer, than the Pfizer vaccine?  Again, silence.

Here’s an interesting expose on poor practices that were a part of the (but not the entire) Pfizer vaccine trial.  Why are most “experts” so fast to critique ivermectin trials, but silent when it comes to the vaccine trials?

Timings And Numbers

The world continues to move very slowly forward towards higher vaccination rates.  Counting people who have been fully or partially vaxed, the above chart shows the entire world is now at the 50% vaccinated level.

You’ll notice that China is not shown on the chart above.  There seems to be little or no data coming from China about its vaccination progress.  Unsurprising.

But word is leaking out that China is experiencing an outbreak of the virus at present.  Here’s an article that makes it sound very serious.  So how bad is it?  In total, over the last seven days, China reported 589 cases.  That is the total count of new cases (officially reported).  Not per million.  Not per day.  But the total count.  The US (four times smaller) is averaging 110 times more cases, every day.  But that perspective doesn’t make for quite such good headlines, does it.

This is a worthy headline, though – China locked everyone (34,000 people) inside the Shanghai Disneyland on Sunday, and tested every one of them before they were allowed to leave, as part of its virus control measures.

For a long time, I’ve been watching, fascinated, with the epic economic struggle in China between central planning and a free market, and now I’m watching, equally fascinated, with the epic struggle between China and its virus.  It has apparently controlled the virus better than almost any other country in the world, but will it continue to succeed against the Delta variant?

Talking about exaggerated headlines, how about this one – “Grave concern over Covid in Europe as German cases soar“.  The article tells us that Germany had the highest number of new cases ever on Thursday.  True, it did, but as you can see from the tables above, Germany is still a long way from appearing on the list of most active countries..

In case you think that suggests the vaccine is failing in Germany, we are quickly reminded that this is a “pandemic among the unvaccinated”.  Nothing to see here.  Highest new cases numbers ever, by quite a margin, two thirds of the population fully vaccinated (wasn’t that once close to the ultimate target?), but it is all about the unvaccinated.

They say madness is repeating something that has demonstrably failed, so why is it that the sole response, throughout the world, to the failure of primarily the mRNA vaccines to contain the virus (and their role in encouraging the emergence of vaccine-resistant more-infectious variants such as the Delta variant) is to recommend more of the same?

I keep asking, what is happening to the many dozens of other vaccine candidates seemingly frozen, and not progressing any further, through their third stage trials.  What’s the deal with Novavax?  Why are most countries single-mindedly doubling down on a losing strategy, rather than invoking new “Operation Warp Speed” tactics to rush new, better, safer, longer-lasting vaccines into production?

Shortages

The growing array of strange things that are in short supply continues.  I could point to this article referring to ammunition being in short supply, but that has been in short supply since early 2000 and is nothing new, although it is astonishing that after 20+ months of ammo selling for three – five times “normal” price, sometimes even more, and much of the time not being available at any price, the industry still hasn’t managed to catch up with demand.

This article gives us an excellent ground-level perspective of the logistical problems throughout the supply chain.  Indeed, that word – chain – is appropriate, because of the proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”.  Unfortunately, as the excellent article makes clear, this chain is full of weak links, and efforts to address any one part of it are unhelpful because it just strains the rest of the entire process.

Virus?  What Virus?

North Korea is officially one of the only countries in the world that has not had a single Covid case.  Officially.  This startling claim, from a country in which startling claims are commonplace, that you can become infected by falling snow, sounds to us like a prelude to an admission that Covid is present in North Korea, but arrived, not due to any lack of diligence, but due to snow falling.  Not even Kim Jong-Un can control the snow.

Other

A windowless college dormitory?  Sounds like a terrible idea to me, and I’ve spent my time in a college dormitory, albeit more years ago than I care to count.  I’d never really even thought about a window as an optional feature or a special bonus – it just was what it was.  But the University of California Santa Barbara is building a 1.68 million square foot new dormitory with very few windows, claiming it to be the style/design of the future.

Maybe, for the future.  Maybe.  But at present, with Covid everywhere, I have to ask – if you have no window, what do you do for fresh air?

And, more broadly, while in truth I probably wasted much time idly dreaming while gazing out my precious dorm window as a college student, isn’t it good to be able to do that?  To gaze emptily and dream of things?

Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Sunday.

 

 

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