Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Eris (E.G5) –The Current Variant of Interest

The new SARS-CoV-2 subvariant EG.5, also called Eris, is responsible for the increase in COVID-19 infections and is currently causing concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 24.5% of the total number of cases in the United States reported from Feb 2023 up until September 2023 are due to EG.5. Researchers are trying to update the COVID-19 vaccines to target the new variants. TrialSite previously reported on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) concerns about this strain.

Eris is a sub-variant of the Omicron variant. The first case of EG.5 was reported on Feb 17, 2023. Similar to other variants, it shows symptoms like fever, nausea, headache, sore throat, etc. It also demonstrates high transmissibility, which is concerning for researchers. Additionally, the variant can evade the immune response generated by antibodies that were developed either by vaccination or previous infection with other variants.

How concerning is this new variant?

EG.5 has one mutation in its spike protein that makes it different from the Omicron variant. This genetic change helps it to escape the immune response, which makes it more contagious. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it a “variant of interest” which means there is a need to focus on it because its transmissibility may cause a rapid increase in hospitalization.

Stanley Martin, MD., the Director of Infectious Diseases at Geisinger Medical Centre said that there is no need to worry about this variant unless you are above 65 or immunocompromised. However, you should be aware of this variant and take precautionary measures if you live around immunocompromised or elderly people because there is a risk of passing this variant on to them.

Dr. Brett Osborn, a board-certified neurosurgeon, said that in most cases, it is a self-limiting variant, so there is nothing to be concerned about.

Will the updated vaccine protect against EG.5?

There is currently no specific vaccine against EG.5; however, an updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be released in September 2023. The vaccine manufacturing companies Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax are creating COVID-19 booster vaccines that will target XBB.1.5 (a subvariant of Omicron), but they expect that this booster will also provide some level of protection against EG.5 because they are closely related strains. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended these booster vaccines and explained that they will continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone above the age of two is eligible for this booster vaccine.

Moderna’s clinical trials have confirmed that the booster vaccine will effectively target EG.5 and FL.1.5.1 (another subvariant of Omicron). The antiviral medicine, Paxlovid, also provides protection and works well against EG.5.

Experts' opinions on COVID-19 variants and vaccines
Osborn said that SARS-CoV-2 and its variants are here to stay, and we have to live with them because their mutation rate is high, like the influenza virus. Mostly, RNA viruses (those containing RNA as genetic material) become less harmful with time and pose less threat to lives, but there is also a chance that one of the strains will become virulent, which may lead to an increase in the death rate.

Scott Roberts, MD, an infectious diseases specialist, said that the vaccine takes about three months to provide high efficacy. The people who get vaccinated immediately after the vaccine release in September will have the maximum protection in the upcoming year.

Updated vaccine or booster shot?

The FDA and other health authorities have shifted in language from “booster” to “updated COVID-19 vaccine” because the booster only reinforces the immunity obtained from the previous vaccines, while the updated COVID-19 vaccine is designed to induce a new immune response against the existing variants. The term “updated COVID-19 vaccine” helps to normalize the idea of getting the COVID-19 vaccine on a regular basis, just like annual flu shots.

Bottom line

The current death rate associated with the Eris variant appears low. On the other hand, since many medical experts are warning the public about its high contagiousness, preventive measures such as mask-wearing, handwashing and maintaining appropriate distance remain important.

Current evidence suggests that updated COVID-19 booster shots can be an effective tool for prevention, especially for high-risk people such as the elderly or those suffering from severe health conditions. Still, vaccine hesitancy might affect the vaccination rates. This emphasizes the importance of transparent sharing of information with the public about COVID-19 vaccines.


Viral RNA Can Persist for 2 Years After COVID-19: Preprint Study

A new study may explain why some people who get COVID-19 never return to normal and instead experience new medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, clotting dysfunction, activation of latent viruses, diabetes mellitus, or what’s known as “long COVID” after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In a recent preprint study published on medRxiv, researchers conducted the first positron emission tomography (PET) imaging study of T cell activation in individuals who previously recovered from COVID-19 and found that SARS-CoV-2 infection may result in persistent T cell activation in a variety of body tissues for years following initial symptoms.
Even in clinically mild cases of COVID-19, this phenomenon could explain the systemic changes observed in the immune system and in those with long COVID symptoms.

However, most of the participants were vaccinated and the study didn't investigate the link between the existence of viral RNA and vaccination.

To carry out the study, researchers conducted whole-body PET scans of 24 participants who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and recovered from acute infection at time points ranging from 27 to 910 days following COVID-19 symptom onset.
A PET scan is an imaging test that uses a radioactive drug called a tracer to assess the metabolic or biochemical function of tissues and organs and can reveal both normal and abnormal metabolic activity. The tracer is usually injected into the hand or vein in the arm and collects in areas of the body with higher levels of metabolic or biochemical activity, which can reveal the location of the disease.

Using a novel radiopharmaceutical agent that detects specific molecules associated with a type of white blood cell called T lymphocytes, researchers found uptake of the tracer was significantly higher in post-acute COVID-19 participants compared to pre-pandemic controls in the brain stem, spinal cord, bone marrow, nasopharyngeal and hilar lymphoid tissue, cardiopulmonary tissues, and gut wall. Among males and females, male participants tended to have higher uptake in the pharyngeal tonsils, rectal wall, and hilar lymphoid tissue compared to female participants.

Researchers specifically identified cellular SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the gut tissue of all participants with long COVID symptoms who underwent biopsy—in the absence of reinfection—ranging from 158 to 676 days following initial COVID-19 illness, suggesting that tissue viral persistence could be associated with long-term immunological concerns. Although the uptake of the tracer in some tissues appeared to decline with time, the levels still remained elevated compared to the control group of healthy pre-pandemic volunteers.

"These data significantly extend prior observations of a durable and dysfunctional cellular immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection could result in a new immunologic steady state in the years following COVID-19," the researchers wrote.

To determine the association between T cell activation and long COVID symptoms, researchers compared post-acute COVID-19 participants with and without long COVID symptoms at the time of PET imaging. Those with long COVID symptoms reported a median of 5.5 symptoms at the time of imaging. Findings showed a “modestly higher uptake” of the agent in the spinal cord, hilar lymph nodes, and colon/rectal wall in those with long COVID symptoms.

In participants with long COVID who reported five or more symptoms at the time of imaging, researchers observed higher levels of inflammatory markers, “including proteins involved in immune responses, chemokine signaling, inflammation responses, and nervous system development.” Compared to both pre-pandemic controls and those participants who had COVID-19 and completely recovered, people with long COVID showed higher T cell activation in the spinal cord and gut wall.

All But 1 Participant Was Vaccinated

Researchers attribute their findings to SARS-CoV-2 infection, although all but one participant had received at least one COVID-19 vaccination prior to PET imaging.

To minimize the impact of vaccination on T cell activation, PET imaging was performed more than 60 days from any vaccine dose, except for the one participant who received a booster vaccine dose six days prior to imaging. Others who had received a COVID-19 vaccine within four weeks of imaging were excluded.

Researchers also grouped participants by receipt of a COVID-19 dose greater than or less than 180 days prior to PET imaging.

The researchers said their study had several other limitations, including small sample size, limited correlative studies, evolving variants, rapid and inconsistent rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, which required them to shift their imaging protocols, using pre-pandemic individuals as controls, and the extreme difficulty of finding people who had never been infected with SARS-CoV-2.

"In summary, our results provide provocative evidence of long-term immune system activation in several specific tissues following SARS-CoV-2 infection, including in those experiencing Long COVID symptoms," the researchers concluded. "We identified that SARS-CoV-2 persistence is one potential driver of this ongoing activated immune state, and we show that SARS-CoV-2 RNA may persist in gut tissue for nearly 2 years after the initial infection."


CDC Director Responds to COVID-19 Mask Mandate Speculation

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) responded to speculation that COVID-19-related mask mandates or lockdowns could return, coming after the agency recommended new vaccine boosters for nearly all Americans.

CDC Director Mandy Cohen was asked on Sept. 12 whether she feels confident that there won't be widespread lockdowns, school closures, and a reversion to mask mandates.

"Right now, we have all the tools we need to keep this virus at bay if we use the vaccines and we use testing and treatment," Ms. Cohen told WCNC, a Charlotte, North Carolina, TV station.

"What I see is I don’t see any need for mandates or those kinds of things right now. But we have to keep watching this virus, seeing how it changes, and if we need to make other recommendations, we will," the CDC head said.

Her comment comes as the CDC issued a recommendation that people should receive the updated COVID-19 booster shot that targets the XBB1.5 subvariant. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration similarly authorized and approved the new mRNA-based shots, made by Pfizer and Moderna.

Meanwhile, since mid-August, there has been widespread speculation that the CDC and other federal agencies may attempt to recommend or push lockdowns, vaccine mandates, or masking mandates because of a small upswing in COVID-19 cases across the United States. A small number of schools, colleges, hospitals, and private businesses have implemented masking mandates, sparking alarm among some GOP officials and candidates.

CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Meet on COVID-19 and Vaccines

Several weeks ago, meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration told The Epoch Times that claims that the agency held discussions that it would be reimplementing mandates or lockdowns are incorrect. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the CDC told the Associated Press around the same time that reports of pending lockdowns are "utterly false."
When asked by The Epoch Times about discussions around a possible federal mask mandate recommendation, a spokesperson said late last month that COVID-19 hospital admission levels "are currently low for 96 percent" of the United States. A separate spokesperson told other outlets that there were no agency discussions about bringing mask mandates back, and no new masking guidelines have been issued on the CDC's website in recent days.




Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Myocarditis and COVID-19 Vaccines: How the CDC Missed a Safety Signal and Hid a Warning

Even after deaths from myocarditis—inflammation of the heart—were reported and myocarditis was designated as a likely side effect of the shots, U.S. officials kept recommending vaccination for virtually the entire populace.

That led to millions of young people receiving a vaccine.

Many of those people suffered.

Aiden Ekanayake, 14, was one of them. He received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in May 2021, and a second dose in June 2021.

Two days after the second dose, Aiden was woken in the middle of the night with pain that was comparable to when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. His mother, Emily, rushed him to the hospital, where he spent days receiving care. Even after he was discharged, his exercise was limited for more than four months.

Ms. Ekanayake trusted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before the experience. Now, she does not. "I hate them. I think they're evil," Ms. Ekanayake told The Epoch Times.

No Transparency

The CDC, America's public health agency, was warned by Israel on Feb. 28, 2021, about a "large number" of myocarditis cases after Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination, documents obtained by The Epoch Times show.

Internally, the warning was designated as "high" importance and set off a review of U.S. data. The review found 27 reported cases in the United States, according to a U.S. government memorandum dated March 9, 2021. The incidence rate was low, but "missing and incomplete data make it challenging to assess causation," the memo stated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it said, "has not made a final determination regarding the causality."

Weeks later, neither the CDC nor the FDA had alerted the public to the issue, even after the death of a previously healthy 22-year-old Israeli woman and briefings from Israeli officials and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) researchers.
Like Israel, the DOD was recording a higher-than-expected number of myocarditis cases. Patients were mostly young, healthy males.

The CDC met with military officials twice behind closed doors in April 2021. Military officials presented data during at least one of the meetings to the CDC. That presentation, which has never been released to the public, "included our preliminary patient data and analysis that suggested to us that myocarditis was indeed a possible side effect to the messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines (within the US military)," Dr. Jay Montgomery, one of the presenters, told The Epoch Times via email.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA).

On April 27, 2021, after the meetings, then-CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky finally spoke about the matter in public, during a White House briefing.

Dr. Walensky said "we have not seen any reports" of myocarditis after vaccination. That's false, according to CDC data—the agency received 141 reports of myocarditis in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) by the end of March 2021. Another 24 cases were recorded in the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a second system run by the CDC.

Additionally, before the briefing, Dr. Walensky was copied on multiple threads discussing myocarditis and a related condition, pericarditis, including a thread about doctors in California seeing the cases, internal emails obtained by The Epoch Times show. She responded to one of the threads, saying the information was "super helpful."

"We have not seen a [safety] signal," Dr. Walensky also told reporters during the briefing, "and we’ve actually looked intentionally for the signal in the over 200 million doses we’ve given."

The CDC and FDA are supposed to monitor data from VAERS, which officials have described as the country's "early warning system" for possible vaccine problems. But they failed to detect a safety signal for myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination that triggered on Feb. 18, 2021, when using a statistical analysis method called Proportional Reporting Ratio (PRR), according to archived VAERS data from the National Vaccine Information Center, The Epoch Times confirmed.

The CDC initially said it started running PRRs in February 2021, but later acknowledged that was false. The agency now says it did not start PRRs until 2022. The first time the CDC ran complete PRRs, officials detected a signal for myocarditis, according to files obtained by The Epoch Times.

"It's unimaginable that they wouldn't have seen the signal," Brian Hooker, senior director of science and research at Children's Health Defense, who detected an early signal for myocarditis in VAERS using a different method, told The Epoch Times. "They were alerted by the DOD. They were alerted by the Israeli Ministry of Health. And so, if they just didn't know then, they have absolutely no excuse because they were warned."

Children's Health Defense, a nonprofit that says its mission is to end childhood health epidemics, first obtained the emails between Israel and the CDC.

Dr. Walensky, who has since departed the CDC, has not responded to a request for comment about her myocarditis claims.

A CDC spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email: "CDC has been continuously monitoring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines since they began to be administered in the United States. At the time of the director’s press conference, CDC did not have sufficient evidence to conclude there was a safety signal for myocarditis following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination."

The CDC has said it did not run PRRs in 2021 because officials were relying on a different analytic method, called Empirical Bayesian data mining. It's unclear when that method, utilized by the FDA, first detected a signal for myocarditis. The FDA has declined to answer questions on the matter. The CDC has told The Epoch Times that its 2022 detection of a signal for myocarditis using PRRs was "consistent with" the data mining results.

Both the CDC and FDA use contractors to process VAERS data.

"Even FDA doesn't really know the mechanics of how its contractor does the data mining," one CDC official said in an email obtained by The Epoch Times. The official and the FDA did not respond to requests for comment on the email.
A safety signal is a sign that an adverse event may be caused by a vaccine. Authorities say signals can only be substantiated with further research.

"Once the safety signal comes up, why not start warning the public about the fact that' hey, you can take it if you want, but understand that there is this risk that we have discovered and we are looking into it," Dr. Anish Koka, an American cardiologist, told The Epoch Times.

One possible motivation for not fully examining the issue was that it could have led to a halt in vaccination. The CDC and FDA essentially imposed a pause on Johnson & Johnson's shot on April 13, 2021, after a small number of blood clotting cases.
"A pause of the Pfizer/Moderna administration (much like the J&J blood clot pause) will have an adverse impact on US/CA vaccination rates," one military official said in a message obtained by The Epoch Times that was flagged for top CDC officials.

Between February 2021 and May 2021, the percentage of the U.S. population that had received a COVID-19 vaccine soared from 14.2 percent to 50.5 percent.

"It was most likely a strategic move in order to make sure that they didn't curtail vaccination rates," Mr. Hooker said.

"Due to the large number of reports that we are receiving at this time, processing is taking longer than usual," one official said. The message was sent to a woman who said she'd filed a VAERS report for her son's myocarditis on April 21 but that the report had still not appeared in the system days later.

Elaine Miller, a CDC official, wrote around the same time that there were "processing delays" for VAERS reports.

One of the contractors used by the CDC estimated before the vaccines were rolled out that no more than 1,000 reports would be filed per day. The number soared above that estimate by the end of 2020, internal documents obtained by The Epoch Times show.

Workers for the contractor, General Dynamics Information Technology, increased the speed at which they processed but were "unable to keep up with the increased surge in reports at current staffing levels," the contractor informed the CDC in one message.

The backlog increased to nearly 94,000 reports even after the contractor hired nearly 300 additional staff members.

Dr. Adam Hirschfeld, 36, of Ohio, submitted a report to VAERS soon after suffering myocarditis following COVID-19 vaccination in January 2021. It took months for the CDC to respond to him. "I could have been dead by then," Dr. Hirschfeld told The Epoch Times.

Health care providers who administer COVID-19 vaccines are required to report serious adverse events, including all cases of myocarditis, to VAERS.

But not all doctors were following the rules, other emails show.

"Providers aren't reporting these cases to VAERS," Dr. John Su, one of the CDC's top vaccine safety officials, wrote to colleagues on May 17, 2021. He also wrote that the "myocarditis thing" was "exploding."

CDC officials, in correspondence with officials in Washington state, said around the same time that nine post-vaccination myocarditis cases had not been reported to VAERS.

The backlog was eventually cleared. VAERS data show that 146 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis were reported by the end of March 2021. An additional 158 cases were reported in April 2021 and 487 more were entered in May 2021.

Just a third of the cases reported to VAERS through April 26, 2021, were fully processed as of May 3, 2021, according to an internal presentation.

In addition to Dr. Walensky's false claim, the CDC has falsely told other health officials and media outlets that it did not receive any reports until May or June 2021, internal emails show.

Another CDC vaccine safety monitoring system, V-safe, did not include myocarditis despite the CDC and FDA identifying the heart inflammation as an adverse event of special interest, or a possible side effect, for the COVID-19 vaccines before they were authorized. The Vaccine Safety Datalink did include myocarditis but did not detect a signal until 2022, possibly because it was using a too-narrow case definition. A fourth system, run by the FDA and partners like CVS, detected a signal in 2023.

Cases Started in January

Doctors started seeing postvaccination myocarditis cases in January 2021, months before the public was informed about them.

The U.S. military researchers, for instance, detailed in a paper that 22 previously healthy service members suffered from myocarditis after vaccination as early as January 2021.
Seventeen cases happened in January 2021 alone in Israel, Israeli researchers reported in another study.

Dr. Dror Mevorach, a co-author of the paper, said he tried warning Pfizer of the possible link between myocarditis and its shot.

"They refused to believe me for a period of four months," Dr. Mevorach told Haaretz. Pfizer did not respond to a request for comment.




Monday, September 18, 2023

FDA Has 'Gone Rogue' in Its Approval of New COVID-19 Boosters: Dr. Robert Malone

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has "gone rogue," according to virologist Dr. Robert Malone, who accused the federal agency of sacrificing its own rules and regulations with its decision to recommend the latest batch of COVID-19 boosters, which only have limited clinical trial data attesting to their efficacy and safety.

Dr. Malone made the remarks in an interview with EpochTV's "Crossroads" program on Sept. 11, the day that the FDA cleared new COVID-19 vaccines in a bid to counter the waning effectiveness of the currently available shots.

"It's difficult to conclude anything other than the FDA is no longer feeling bound by their own rules and regulations," Dr. Malone said. "The term is—they've gone rogue."

Dr. Malone objected to the lack of clinical trial data on humans demonstrating effectiveness and safety of the updated vaccines, arguing that should preclude their approval by the FDA.

He said that, essentially, the FDA allowing the new vaccines to be used under an emergency use authorization on the premise that “neutralizing antibodies as detected in mice and their cross-reactivity are a correlative protection—That's a lie. There are no established correlates of protection for SARS-CoV-2."

FDA officials didn't respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

However, in a statement announcing its approval, the FDA said that the decision was supported by its evaluation of "manufacturing data" from vaccine producers and "non-clinical immune response data on the updated formulations including the XBB.1.5 component."

The benefit-risk profile of previously approved mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is "well understood," the FDA said, adding that the similar manufacturing process for the updated vaccines "suggests that the vaccines are a good match for protecting against the currently circulating COVID-19 variants."

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed with their own recommendation on Sept. 12, urging nearly all Americans to get the new vaccines, which will be available to children as young as 6 months old this month.

The new vaccines target XBB.1.5, a sub-type of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease COVID-19. However, the XBB.1.5. subvariant has already largely been displaced by newer strains of the quickly evolving virus, including EG.5, according to the CDC.

"There's essentially no data," Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said at a recent news conference, where he suggested that people might be better off passing on the new round of shots.

"Not only that, but there are a lot of red flags," Dr. Ladapo added, while pointing to studies finding that the effectiveness of the vaccines turns negative over time.

“There's been no clinical trial done in human beings showing that it benefits people, there's been no clinical trial showing that it is a safe product for people."

He also noted that studies have linked previous versions of the COVID-19 vaccine to cardiac problems such as heart inflammation.

"It's truly irresponsible for FDA, CDC, and others to be championing something ... when we don't know the implications of it," Dr. Ladapo said.

While acknowledging the current vaccines' waning effectiveness, CDC Director Mandy Cohen penned an op-ed in The New York Times on Sept. 13, in which she called the updated COVID-19 vaccines "one of the most effective tools in combating the virus."

"Covid-19 vaccines are the best way to give the body the ability to keep the virus from causing significant harm. Extensive studies and real-world experience have shown that they are safe and they work," she wrote. "And most Americans take them."

Dr. Cohen said the vaccines were put through extensive clinical trials before they were introduced in 2021 and "since then, their safety has been intensely monitored."

She didn't address criticism, such as that the updated vaccines haven't been subjected to clinical trials.

In its green-light statement, the FDA said it's "confident in the safety and effectiveness of these updated vaccines and the agency's benefit-risk assessment demonstrates that the benefits of these vaccines for individuals 6 months of age and older outweigh their risks."

That FDA endorsement, however, stands in contrast to remarks made by Dr. Paul Offit, an FDA adviser, who suggested to the UK's Daily Mail that younger, healthy people who have already been vaccinated don't need one of the new doses.

"We are best served by targeting these booster doses to those who are most at risk of severe disease," such as people older than 75, Dr. Offit said. "Boosting otherwise healthy young people is a low-risk, low-reward strategy."

In his remarks at the news conference, Dr. Ladapo asked people to make decisions based on their “resonance of truth” rather than depending on “very educated people telling you what you should think.”

“When they try to convince you to be comfortable and agree with things that don't feel comfortable and don't feel like things you should agree with, that's a sign ... And I encourage you and certainly beg and hope that you do listen to it, because it will serve you right,” he said.

A January–July 2023 study that analyzed data from 33 California state prisons found that individuals who received new COVID-19 booster shots were more likely to contract COVID-19 compared to those who didn't receive the jabs.
The infection rate among the group that received the bivalent booster shots came in at 3.2 percent—higher than the 2.7 percent among the unvaccinated.

Late last month, the CDC conceded that the new BA.2.86 strain can cause infection even among people who have previously been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The large number of mutations in this variant raises concerns of greater escape from existing immunity from vaccines and previous infections compared with other recent variants,” the agency said in its assessment.


Dr. Marty Makary Weighs in on the New COVID Vaccines Biden Is Pushing

Dr. Marty Makary — a rare voice of reason and sanity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — is out with a review of the "real data" behind the new vaccines being pushed by the Biden administration and Democrat leaders around the country.

Makary, along with Dr. Tracy Høeg, open their analysis of the new vaccines Biden & Co. are pushing for Americans as young as six months old with an alarming scenario that's anything but hypothetical.

What if I told you one in 50 people who took a new medication had a 'medically attended adverse event' and the manufacturer refused to disclose what exactly the complication was — would you take it?

And what if the theoretical benefit was only transient, lasting about three months, after which your susceptibility goes back to baseline?

And what if we told you the Food and Drug Administration cleared it without any human-outcomes data and European regulators are not universally recommending it as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is?

Writing in The New York Post, Makary and Høeg say that's all scientists know about the new vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that are being more than recommended by the Biden administration.

"The push is so hard that former White House COVID coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha and CDC head Mandy Cohen are making unsupported claims the new vaccine reduces hospitalizations. long COVID and the likelihood you will spread COVID," the doctors' analysis explains. "None of those claims has a shred of scientific support," and "if the manufacturers said that, they could be fined for making false marketing claims beyond an FDA-approved indication."

Yet, the Biden administration is plunging ahead with another push to drive up the use of these new vaccines, a push that blows past what The Science™ says or The Experts™ have concluded.

"The questions surrounding Moderna’s new COVID vaccine approved this week are still looming," Makary and Høeg say of the reality being ignored by the White House. "Pfizer’s version, approved this week as well, also has zero efficacy data and has not been tested on humans at all," they note. "We only have data about antibody production from 10 mice."

Does the Biden administration view the American people as any better than lab rats? It seems not based on this situation.

What's more, the doctors note that neither the FDA nor Moderna have disclosed "what happened to the patient who took the new vaccine and had a complication that required medical attention."

Were there contributing factors to the complication? How serious was it? Are there any long term effects from the complication?

None of these answers have or are likely to come from the Biden administration in their push to get the new vaccine administered far and wide. Why even have regulators if they are apparently unwilling to scrutinize the things they approve?

Despite the White House's refusal to give Americans the full, honest picture, Makary and Høeg are among those reminding America's leaders that "[t]he public has a right to know." Indeed.




Sunday, September 17, 2023

How we can prevent COVID mandates from coming back

A recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, accompanied by the predictable hysterical media coverage, has spurred nationwide chatter about a possible return to pandemic restrictions, from school closures to mask mandates. This is not baseless supposition, as schools, universities, and hospital systems across the nation have recently reinstituted masking and quarantine requirements. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., recently reinstated a mask mandate in his Capitol Hill offices, while MSNBC pundit Mehdi Hassan has been working overtime to convince his audience that school closures did not actually harm children—a formidable task given the evidence refuting his claims.

People living in hub cities and other blue jurisdictions have reason to worry that their political leaders might turn back the clock on pandemic restrictions ahead of the 2024 election cycle. Despite scads of legal challenges from individuals and groups negatively impacted by lockdowns and vaccine requirements, the law still offers little protection. Mandates levied by state and local governments tended to survive lawsuits due to the Constitution’s allocation of police power to the states, so courts have given governors and state legislatures the green light to continue inflicting pandemic theater on their constituents. 

Whether or not the Biden administration will attempt to implement mandates at the federal level—as some have speculated despite the presidential proclamation ending the COVID-19 emergency this past May—is another matter. In contrast to state and local COVID-19 restrictions, most federal mandates imposed by presidential decree have not withstood legal challenges. Thus, for Americans who are more concerned about COVID-19 tyranny than the virus itself, there is reason to be hopeful that even if restrictions return, they won’t be as totalizing and intrusive as the last round.

First and foremost, President Biden’s vaccine mandates, which he instituted through executive orders in the fall of 2021, were by and large a failure (apart from the mandate for health care workers at facilities that receive federal funds). The president attempted to use federal statutes obviously meant to serve entirely different purposes to compel vaccine-hesitant Americans to get the shot. Altogether, the mandates applied to around 100 million Americans.

One of the most extensive involved the administration’s instrumentalization of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) to force private companies that employed 100 or more people to require vaccination or frequent testing as a condition of continued employment. Preliminarily enjoining the mandate, the Supreme Court recognized that the president lacked this authority, since Congress had only authorized OSHA to regulate workplace safety, not impose “broad public health measures” that were “untethered, in any causal sense, from the workplace.”

The White House’s misuse of the Procurement Act to force all employees of federal contractors to receive a COVID-19 inoculation met a similar fate. The act’s stated purpose is to provide for the “economical and efficient” procurement of government contracts. Several United States Courts of Appeals rightly held that Congress, in enacting this statute, clearly did not intend to provide for the federal executive to impose vaccination on one-fifth of the nation’s workforce. Thus, Biden had exceeded his delegated powers. Likewise, a 10-judge majority of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court’s ruling preliminarily enjoining the federal employees’ vaccine mandate. While as a technical matter the decision addressed jurisdiction, in determining that the plaintiffs could bring their case in federal court, the ruling set the groundwork for a successful challenge on the merits of the claims, and was widely seen as a victory for the plaintiffs.

We need politicians with practical plans to avoid a replay of restrictions—especially given that most COVID-19 mandates proved not only useless, but harmful.

Vaccine mandates were not the only pandemic restriction imposed through federal executive decree to be preliminarily enjoined. When, in July 2020, Congress failed to renew an emergency act halting evictions from properties that participated in federal assistance programs or were subject to federally backed loans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), extended the moratorium and broadened it to include all residential properties nationwide. In an unprecedented move, the CDC even provided for criminal penalties for noncompliant landlords. The CDC’s dubious statutory justification for this sweeping order was its authority to “make and enforce such regulations as in [the surgeon general’s] judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases[.]” According to the agency, the eviction moratorium was necessary because economic hardship during the pandemic meant many tenants could no longer afford to pay rent, and forcing them out of their homes would disseminate COVID-19.

From a practical and moral standpoint, the policy was a fiasco. Noncorporate, middle-class landlords could not afford mortgages and repairs without tenants’ rent. In many instances, tenants did not default out of necessity, but rather because they could get away with it. For example, a Washington Post article featured a Hawaii waitress who lost her job due to business closures and could not stay afloat using rent from small condos she owned since her tenants simply didn’t pay.

The Supreme Court, in Alabama Association of Realtors v. HHS, rightly found that the CDC had exceeded the authority delegated to it by Congress and struck down the moratorium. The court explained in conclusion that: “[O]ur system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends …. It is up to Congress, not the CDC, to decide whether the public interest merits further action here.”

Similar principles came into play when the CDC was taken to court over its public transportation mask mandate. A district court judge in Florida held that the agency lacked power to compel travelers throughout the nation to wear masks on public transit. (The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case, dodging the merits because the government represented that the administration would not attempt to reimpose the mandate.)

Very recently, the Fifth Circuit held that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had unlawfully interfered with doctors’ ability to prescribe ivermectin to patients to treat COVID-19 symptoms. Three doctors had challenged FDA tweets ordering Americans to stop taking the medication, which is a commonly used anti-parasitic drug that has been met with controversy in the COVID-19 context. (Some hypothesize that vaccine companies and their allies orchestrated hostility to the drug because its efficacy threatened their profit margins.)They alleged that the FDA’s stance had caused them to suffer adverse professional consequences, including loss of admitting privileges at hospitals and positions at medical schools, as well as referrals to medical boards. The Fifth Circuit agreed, declaring that “[n]othing in the [enabling] Act’s plain text authorizes FDA to issue medical advice or recommendations … while FDA cites plenty of statutory authority allowing it to issue information, it never identifies even colorable authority allowing it to make medical recommendations (at least without notice and comment.”

All of the decisions discussed above are based on a common principle: Generally speaking, the president of the United States and his executive agencies do not have the constitutional authority to impose public health mandates through executive decree. Congressional acts are a different story, though. As the Supreme Court insinuated in Alabama Association, the same public health measures instituted properly, through the legislative process, would probably pass constitutional muster.

Thus, Americans who oppose public health tyranny would be wise to elect national representatives who not only share their concerns, but have practical plans to pass legislation that would protect Americans against future restrictions—especially given that most COVID-19 mandates proved not only useless, but harmful.

Unlike the successful challenges to federal mandates, however, efforts to block COVID restrictions at the state and local levels have been less successful. That is because state and local governments have broad authority (known as “police power” embodied in the Constitution’s 10th Amendment) to pass laws and regulations to address a perceived public health crisis. 

A prime culprit for the current state of affairs is a case from 1905 known as Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Henning Jacobson, a pastor in Cambridge, had defied a law requiring residents of his township to receive a smallpox vaccine during an outbreak of the disease. The Supreme Court rejected Jacobson’s due process challenge. The law was a proper exercise of Massachusetts’ 10th Amendment police power, the court explained, and did not violate Jacobson’s constitutional rights. [T]he police power of a state must be held to embrace, at least, such reasonable regulations established directly by legislative enactment as will protect the public health and safety.”

Courts have since relied on Jacobson to justify upholding most state and local public health mandates, from vaccine requirements imposed by state employers to mask mandates to school and business closures—not only those enacted by legislatures. Attempts to distinguish or revisit Jacobson on various salient grounds, such as the relative lethality of smallpox compared to COVID-19, evolving societal recognition of rights to bodily autonomy, or the fact that the law in question had been passed through the legislative process as opposed to executive decree, usually fail. Instead of engaging in reasoned analysis, courts reflexively apply Jacobson and wash their hands of further analysis.

There are some exceptions to this general rule, most notably in the First Amendment context (the First Amendment provides for Americans’ rights to speak and practice religion without government infringement). Having earlier denied a church’s challenge to California Gov. Newsom’s executive order restricting public gatherings, in November 2020 the Supreme Court struck down an executive order issued by former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo severely limiting church attendance. The order violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, the court held. In a now oft-quoted line, Justice Gorsuch opined in concurrence that “Government is not free to disregard the First Amendment in times of crisis.” 

In another hopeful decision, a district court judge in California preliminarily enjoined a state law prohibiting doctors from dispensing advice or treatment to patients that departs from the “contemporary scientific consensus” on COVID-19. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard argument on the constitutionality of the law this past July, appears poised to hold that it presents due process and First Amendment problems.

The common theme underpinning these challenges to state level COVID-19 restrictions, however, is that they implicate enumerated First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise—in other words, rights that the Constitution explicitly protects. If Americans want to safeguard other liberties, such as the rights to bodily autonomy, to decline medical treatment, and to run a business or to attend school, they should turn to the legislative process. The courts cannot be relied upon to protect our rights to leave our homes, run our businesses, send our children to school, and breathe unhindered.




Friday, September 15, 2023

Defining conservatism

A few years back, I put together a big article designed to look at the history of conservatism and extract from that history a clear picture of what conservatism consistently is. I traced conservatism back as far as 1500 years ago. Yes. There have always been conservatives and they have been consistent in what they say. And they are NOT simply "opposed to change"

And I look at the psychology of conservatism: What makes some people conservative and others not?

I have recently put up a slightly revised version of that article, with the changes principally designed to make it an easier read. You can find it here or here


Medical Hiatus

At age 80, I can reasonably expect some health problems. And I am no exception. I am at the moment battling two types of cancer -- SCCs in my upper body and metastasized prostate cancer in my lower body. Both are treatable. I underwent the first treatment steps today. I got an anti-androgen medication (injected Firmagon) for the prostate problems and a monoclonal antibody -- Cemiplimab --for the SCCs in my upper body.

Cemiplimab is an extremely expensive medication that has only recently emerged from clinical trials. The Australian government put it on the "free" list just in November last year so I am lucky to be getting it

Both problems have popped up recently so I am very washed out by them and in some pain.

At any event, the treatments did knock me around a bit so I slept from 4pm to 9pm today -- times when I would normally be blogging. So I am not blogging at all today on my other blogs

Zora and Anne are both out of town but I am pleased that in my time of trial I have received affectionate messages from both of them -- and Jenny has stepped up to become my live-in carer

Saturday update: They talk about the luck of the Irish. I do have substantial Irish ancestry and some of that luck seems to have rubbed off on me. I went to the Wesley for my treatment, which is a major Brisbane private hospital. And it turns out that I was the first to get Cemiplimab there. It came on to the free list just in time for me to get it -- JR


Thursday, September 14, 2023

CIA Pro-China COVID Corruption?

By now, we all know that the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t originate in the wild; that its genesis wasn’t the result of a fruit bat getting frisky with a pangolin.

We all know that it came from a lab in communist China. Common sense dictates it. Senator Tom Cotton called it within days of the outbreak. The stone’s-throw proximity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology to the location of initial outbreak makes any other scenario seem about as implausible as the Steele dossier, about as unlikely as Hunter Biden’s laptop being Russian disinformation.

Indeed, we know where the virus came from despite Anthony Fauci’s best efforts to cover it up due to his agency’s funding of the ChiComs’ dangerous gain-of-function research.

These days, only the lowest of low-information voters believe the virus emerged naturally rather than artificially. Heck, even Jon Stewart long ago embraced the chocolatey goodness of the truth.

Looking back, we were struck by how reluctant so many ostensibly intelligent people were to come to this obvious conclusion. We always figured either money or professional embarrassment were behind it — or, in the case of Fauci, both. But now, thanks to a Central Intelligence Agency whistleblower, we have yet another reason to follow the money.

According to that longtime CIA officer, his agency commissioned an investigation into COVID-19’s origins, and then, when it didn’t like the investigative team’s findings, it paid them to change their position. A letter sent Tuesday from House Coronavirus Pandemic Subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner to CIA Director William Burns provides the details:

A multi-decade, senior-level, current Agency officer has come forward to provide information to the Committees regarding the Agency’s analysis into the origins of COVID-19. According to the whistleblower, the Agency assigned seven officers to a COVID Discovery Team (Team). The Team consisted of multi-disciplinary and experienced officers with significant scientific expertise. According to the whistleblower, at the end of its review, six of the seven members of the Team believed the intelligence and science were sufficient to make a low confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. The seventh member of the Team, who also happened to be the most senior, was the lone officer to believe COVID-19 originated through zoonosis. The whistleblower further contends that to come to the eventual public determination of uncertainty, the other six members were given a significant monetary incentive to change their position.

That last sentence is stunning. It says that the agency’s analysis is for sale. The officers on the CIA’s COVID Discovery Team were nearly unanimous in their conclusion that the coronavirus originated from the Wuhan lab, but they were then bought off.

And yet it’s not so stunning at all, is it? The CIA simply isn’t what it used to be. This morning, upon reading these revelations, one of our colleagues invoked Captain Renault: He was shocked — SHOCKED — to learn that the agency’s report was inconclusive.

The letter from Wenstrup and Turner continues: “These allegations, from a seemingly credible source, requires the Committees to conduct further oversight of how the CIA handled its internal investigation into the origins of COVID-19. To assist the Committees with their investigations, we request the following documents and information as soon as possible, but no later than September 26, 2023.”

Why would the CIA be so dead-set against acknowledging the strength of the lab-leak theory? What might cause it to essentially jump into bed with the communist Chinese? Perhaps those within the agency who bought off the investigative team were bought off themselves.

Or perhaps they were rabid partisans. Perhaps they were Trump-hating Democrats, and they were thus loath to be seen as siding with the then-president, who’d been calling COVID-19 “the China Virus” all along, and whose tough-on-China policies had not only made the communist Chinese unhappy but also discomfited the go-along get-along Washington establishment.

Sixteen years ago, Tim Weiner, then a reporter for The New York Times, published a book called Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. The fundamental question posed by that book is as crucial today as it was then: Why is it that the most powerful nation in history can’t seem to create a first-rate spy agency?

In any case, we see this as a big story and a deeply troubling matter of national security, and we look forward to seeing where the evidence takes these House Republicans as they do their constitutionally prescribed duty of oversight.


BS 24.7 The next Covid variant?

Rebecca Weisser

Once again, New Zealand is leading the world in the pandemic stakes. While Australian premiers are still hung up on pretending Covid vaccines are ‘safe and effective’ TM, New Zealand’s Prime Minister and former Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has moved on to the stage of denying that the mandates were mandates. As he puts it, ‘In terms of the vaccine mandates… (people) ultimately made their own choices… There was no compulsory vaccination.’

Did he get the idea from Pfizer’s man down under, Dr Brian Hewitt, who tried it on Senator Pauline Hanson in a recent Senate Committee Hearing saying, ‘No one was forced to have a vaccine’, people were offered an ‘opportunity’ to get vaccinated. Fair point. We should be more positive. Being held up at knifepoint in a dark alley isn’t being mugged, it’s an ‘opportunity’ to donate your valuables to a masked bandit.

In Australia, the vaccine efficacy that preoccupies state premiers – who imposed the mandates – is getting re-elected. As Premier Andrews put it when he won the Victorian election in a ‘Dan-slide’ last November, ‘Vaccines work!’ In Queensland, Premier Palasczcuk is so keen to repeat the act that she’s hired Andrews’ adman.

But who will last longer? The mandates or Palasczcuk? On Friday 1 September, Health Minister Shannon Fentiman (mooted to be a front-runner to replace the Premier) announced two-week consultations on removing the mandates, two years after they were imposed in September 2021.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer (CHO) has already said they should go but the power of the CHO which seemed almost unlimited at the height of Covid hysteria has diminished now that he is proposing something sensible.

A group called Doctors Against Mandates mounted a legal challenge to the mandates on 12 March 2022. Within a fortnight of receiving 13 affidavits from medical professionals and six reports from international experts, the CHO revoked the mandates for health workers in the private sector. Unfortunately, mandates which cover the public sector health are still in force.

One of the most damning indictments of vaccine efficacy was filed in relation to the doctors’ challenge to the mandate in the Supreme Court of Queensland early this year by the state’s Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard. It revealed that once 80 per cent of the population were vaccinated and the borders opened in December 2021, not only did Covid cases explode, peaking at 18,500 per day in January, but 80 per cent of the 176 Covid deaths were in people who had had one or more Covid vaccine jabs. Most were double-vaxxed but 13 were triple-vaxxed and one died after five shots. In other words, the vaccines were duds. They failed to stop the pandemic or prevent the vulnerable from dying. All the bullying of the unvaccinated, preventing grieving Australians from comforting their dying loved ones or attending their funerals, denying a pregnant woman in New South Wales permission to cross the border and get urgent medical treatment which meant she waited 16 hours to fly to Sydney, and lost one of her twins – it was all for nothing.

Did the Premier rush to apologise for the damage done by the ‘failed vaccines’, to quote Bill Gates who profited heavily from his investment in the Pfizer jab? Of course not. The information was only made public last month by Rebekah Barnett in her excellent substack Dystopian Downunder.

Far from apologising, Queensland Health is still threatening disciplinary action against ‘hundreds’ of workers who ‘did not comply with their employment contract’ by getting jabbed.

Infectious disease physician Paul Griffin supports ending the mandates but thinks the biggest risk is that ‘people will think the initial rule was wrong, which,’ according to him, ‘isn’t the case’.

That’s the nub of it. The government doesn’t want to admit that the vaccines are useless and the mandates were morally, scientifically and practically wrong.

The only reason it is ending the mandate is because it can’t replace the more than 2,100 healthcare workers who were stood down or forced to resign.

‘We have global workforce shortages, so I think it makes sense now to reconsider this mandate,’ Fentiman says.

‘If someone wants to now reapply for a job with Queensland Health who is not vaccinated for Covid, they’ll be treated the same as any other worker.’

Despite a massive increase in Australia’s international immigration intake and wage hikes in the health sector, acute shortages persist, not least because the repeatedly vaccinated healthcare workers repeatedly get Covid-19. This was observed in a study of more than 50,000 US healthcare workers in the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, which showed the more often you were jabbed, the more you caught Covid.

Interstate migration into Queensland, predominantly Victoria, and NSW, the states worst affected by lockdown lunacy, has increased demand for health services.

National excess mortality of over 13 per cent this year has increased pressure on hospitals.

The dramatic spike in ‘dying suddenly’ is recorded under ‘other cardiac conditions’ in Australia’s provisional mortality data. Deaths from January to May are 15.5 per cent higher than the baseline average and 1 per cent higher than the same period in 2022.

Deaths due to diabetes were 22 per cent above the baseline average in May 2023, and 1.4 per cent higher than in May 2022

Deaths due to dementia including Alzheimer’s were 18 per cent above the baseline average in May 2023, and 2.1 per cent above May 2022.

Each of these causes of death has been linked in studies to the spike protein in the virus and/or the vaccine. For example, a paper from Larson et al. at Linkoping University, Sweden published on 1 September presents evidence for the initiation or acceleration of Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease by the spike protein.

When the mandate for health workers ends in Queensland, flagged for 25 September, only NSW, Victoria and South Australia will be left. Will that be the end?

Who knows? In the US some colleges and hospitals are trying to bring back mask mandates.

Scott Gottlieb, former head of the US Food and Drug Administration and now on the board of Pfizer is talking up the next booster.

The latest variant has been named after Eris, the Greek goddess of ‘strife and discord’. What is the plan? A rerun of lockdowns and Black Lives Matter on the rampage in the run-up to the 2024 Presidential election? Skeptics have their own name for the variant – BS.24.7.




Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Experts Consulted by Fauci Suddenly Changed Their Minds

More revelations concerning the initial responses of top officials at the National Institutes of Health about the origins of COVID-19, which killed an estimated 1.1 million Americans, keep dripping out of the federal bureaucracy.

Top officials’ initial narrative hardened into a stubborn insistence on natural origins for COVID-19. However, most leading virologists consulted by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, initially thought that the novel coronavirus had an unnatural origin.

Fauci’s Memo. Today, we can take Fauci’s word for it. On Feb. 1, 2020, he conferred with a group of top virologists to discuss the origins of COVID-19. In his email that day (delivered at 11:58 p.m.) to Department of Health and Human Services officials Garrett Grigsby and Brian Harrison (with copies to other HHS officials, as well as NIH Director Francis Collins), Fauci writes of the virologists:

They were concerned about the fact that upon viewing the sequences of several isolates of the nCoV [the virus that causes COVID-19], there were mutations in the virus that would be most unusual to have evolved naturally in the bats and that there was a suspicion that this mutation was intentionally inserted. The suspicion was heightened by the fact that scientists in [China’s] Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain of function experiments to determine the molecular mechanisms associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan.

Wuhan, China, is home to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, suspected of being the source of a virus that somehow escaped a research lab.

Fauci’s memo confirmed his personal knowledge that “gain of function” experiments—research designed to enhance the transmissibility and virulence of pathogens—were being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Genetic Engineering? In the same email Feb. 1, 2020, Fauci emphasized that “some of the scientists felt more strongly about this [genetic engineering] possibility, but two others felt differently.”

For example, the day before the call, Jan. 31, 2020, Dr. Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research Institute emailed Fauci about the novel coronavirus, stating in part: “Some of the features (potentially) look engineered … I should mention that after discussions earlier today, Eddie [Holmes], Bob [Garry], Mike [Ferguson], and myself all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.”

And the day after the call, on Feb. 2, Dr. Robert Garry of Tulane University wrote:

I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus or one very similar to it to nCoV where you insert exactly 4 amino acids 12 nucleotide that all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function—that and you don’t change any other amino acid in S2? I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature. Do the alignment of the spikes at the amino acid level—it’s stunning.

Despite these questions, the result of that crucial teleconference was the publication March 17, 2020, of a paper titled “Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” in the journal Nature Medicine. That article concluded that “SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”

This conclusion, quickly endorsed by NIH’s Collins and heralded in the media, became one of the most influential scientific papers of all time.

Enthusiastic acceptance of a “natural origin” for the pandemic, particularly among the media and the political class, is itself a curiosity. Since Communist China shut down access to COVID-19 information in January 2020, the authors of the paper published by Nature Medicine neither had nor could have had access to Chinese hard data.

At the time, the Wuhan Institute for Virology certainly was the site of substandard conditions and serious biosafety risks, a fact acknowledged by Chinese authorities themselves.

Without an identified intermediate animal host for transmission of the novel coronavirus to humans, they could only speculate as to whether that host was a pangolin or a racoon dog or some other exotic creature sold in Wuhan’s notorious “wet market.” To this day, that intermediate host is yet to be identified.

About-Face. What has intrigued congressional investigators is that Andersen and Garry seemed to have abandoned overnight their support of the lab-leak theory in favor of a natural viral origin for COVID-19.

Andersen subsequently referred to the lab origin as a “crackpot theory” and accused those who thought otherwise as conspiracy theorists, which oddly enough would have included Andersen himself before publication of the article in Nature Medicine.

Congressional investigators rightly have been intrigued by this dramatic about-face among key authors of the Nature Medicine paper. In his testimony July 11, 2023, before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, Andersen insisted that Fauci merely encouraged him to explore the matter further. That response didn’t satisfy Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., who asked: “What happened within that three-day period, between the conference call and the paper, that all of a sudden you did a 180, and it couldn’t possibly come from a lab … ?”

In a separate report, staff of the House select subcommittee documented privately expressed concerns among the teleconference participants about preserving international harmony with their Chinese counterparts.

Consider the Feb. 2, 2020, email that Dr. Andrew Rambaut (another virologist on the original call) wrote to Andersen, Holmes, and Garry: “Given the s— show that would happen if anyone serious accused the Chinese of even accidental release, my feeling is we should say that given there is no evidence of a specifically engineered virus, we cannot possibly distinguish between natural evolution and escape so we are content with ascribing it to natural processes.”

So much for the scientific method.

During the select subcommittee hearing, Malliotakis observed: “Scientists do not flip-flop in a matter of 72 hours, and whether it was the fear of accusing Communist China for this leak, whether it was needing to get the FBI involved and what that might lead to down the line, whether it was the fact that millions of U.S. dollars had made their way … to Communist China … Interesting chart I have here [documenting] $3.7 million.”

That $3.7 million was awarded in 2014 to EcoHealth Alliance, a research firm that collaborated with Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study bat coronaviruses. An EcoHealth Alliance spokesperson says that, under the NIH definition of gain-of-function research, the firm did not support such research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It is a fact, however, that Shi, a subcontractor of EcoHealth Alliance, worked with other scientists to manipulate bat coronaviruses to determine their potential to infect humans.

It is also a fact that two other Chinese research institutions, Wuhan University and Academy of Military Medical Sciences, also received substantial NIH funding. That is why congressional investigators are determined to find out if any taxpayers’ money was used for any dangerous gain- of-function research, engineering a pathogen that may have escaped and caused a global pandemic.

Lab Origin Gains Ground. Today, most Americans (66%, one poll finds), once tagged as “conspiracy theorists,” agree with senior analysts at the Department of Energy and the FBI that the pandemic probably originated in a Chinese lab, although U.S. intelligence agencies remain divided.

Curiously, as noted in a comprehensive Senate staff report sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as early as January 2020 Chinese citizens were among the very first to suspect a lab leak.

Shi, the top Wuhan scientist, told a foreign journalist that the deadly coronavirus might have escaped from her lab, though she quickly reversed herself. The Communist Chinese party line, after all, is that the pandemic didn’t originate in a lab.

Undeterred by the Biden administration’s unresponsiveness, plus the sheer difficulty inherent in the task, congressional investigators are not letting up in their efforts to get to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chair of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, has asked Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to provide all related information (memos, notes, and other relevant documents) concerning Fauci’s teleconference with top virologists in early 2020.

In his letter to Becerra, Wenstrup requested delivery of the information by July 27. Another month has elapsed, and no response.

All Americans deserve to know the truth.


Taiwan CDC Reports 18-Fold Increase in Weekly Vaccine Injury Claims Reviews Due to COVID-19 Jabs

Possibly evidencing a potential safety signal, the total number of COVID-19 vaccine injury payouts, equaling NT$153 million equals the NT$129.6 million paid to all vaccine injured for all vaccines combined over the past three decades! And that’s with only 45% of the claims processed to date. Reviewers and local health authorities are completely overwhelmed, according to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2023, vaccine injury review will work on an average of 235 cases per month, which is an 18-fold increase to the 20 case per month average in 2020.

This updates comes courtesy of the media Taiwan English News, a media venture started by Phillip Charlier, who went to the contested island nation originally to teach English there.

TrialSite recently reported on the demands of the more right-leaning party against the mainstream to accelerate vaccine claims injury processing. This same contingent according to Taiwan English News also launched complaints against the Taiwan CDC.

As TrialSite explained, the nationalist and politically right Kuomintang (KMT), considered and an opposition party at a September 6 press conference urged the government to expedite the resolution of COVID-19 vaccine injury cases.

According to Taiwan English News, “KMT caucus leader, Tseng Ming-tsung, said three major issues were holding up resolution of cases: complexity of procedures, lengthy processing times, and difficulty in determining causality.”

The independent media reported that the Taiwan CDC’s Tseng Shu-hui responded to the criticism, defending the process. Tseng Shu-hui highlighted the expertise and integrity, and complexity of the process involved.

The CDC representative in Taiwan further explained that the reviewers, plus local health authorities, have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 vaccine injury claims since 2021.

To put the workload in perspective, according to Tseng Shu-hui, in 2023 the government’s reviewers deal with an average of 235 claims cases per month to review, which compares to 13 cases per month in 2020. This equals an 18-fold increase in claims to process.




Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Unvaccinated Wins the US Open

When in early 2022, Australia barred Novak Djokovic from competing in the country’s major tennis tournament, and forced him into quarantine while he awaited a judge’s final decision, many of us were appalled.

He was favored to win but the government would not allow him to compete on grounds that he had refused the COVID vaccine. No one seriously believed that he was a health threat to anyone. He was barred for being politically noncompliant.

Tragically, most Australians cheered as he was deported from the country.

Americans had watched this country lock down for the virus in ways that went beyond what we saw in the United States. Population resistance was very low. It was a sad sight to see. Americans often think of Australia as a kind of sister country but in those months, we became profoundly aware of what it means not to have a Bill of Rights but instead be ruled by an administrative state controlled by a medical cartel.

The sense that something was wrong there but not here did not last long. The United States too barred him. This was a shock to many Americans because we did not really believe that the U.S. government was capable of such absurdity. This happened in August of 2022, a time when vaccine mandates were being repealed around the country. Even so, the world’s greatest tennis player who was expected to win in the U.S. wasn’t even allowed to compete.

Most players very likely knew that they didn’t need the vaccine and that it came with unnecessary health risks. Indeed, vaccine specialists knew this from day one, but the mandates came anyway. For a time, even large cities like New York and Boston were under strict rules of vaccine segregation. The unvaccinated were not allowed into restaurants, bars, theaters, and libraries.

For people in sports, and for many of us who want to travel and live a normal life, this posed a terrible dilemma. Perhaps it seemed like giving in and getting the shot was worth it. Why give up one’s hopes and dreams over such a small issue? Why not just relent and get on with one’s life?

Novak had a different view. He knew he was under infinitesimal risk from COVID and likely far more from the shot itself, which did not stop infection or transmission anyway. And look at all the deaths among athletes! So he made the hardest choice that very few in his class of achievement made. He refused. And he refused repeatedly. His choice likely cost him several titles. He never wavered in his view. His refusal also casts a pall over the victories of those achieved in his absence.

Novak explained in several interviews that it was a simple matter of principle. He took care of his health. He was in charge of his own body. That was more important than anything else. He would not give up this principle, no matter what, even if it cost him his career. This was not about politics. It was about personal autonomy and control. His decision was remarkable for the time because the pressure to go along was so great.

But it was more than that. We had by then lived through two years in which most governments all over the world had forced all their citizens into a weird science experiment. They had us forcibly separated. They closed businesses. When churches, schools, and businesses were allowed to open, it was with Plexiglas everywhere, forced separation, sanitizer dispensers every ten feet, and universal masking.

No rational person could possibly believe that all these outrageous antics would really control the virus, and they did not. But people went along anyway because they kept accepting the deal: if you comply, you can have your rights and freedoms back.

Novak was among the most high-profile athletes in the world who simply said no. He faced quarantine, bans, and brutal public and media attacks. He never once wavered from his position. Indeed, his refusal likely contributed to a great extent in the eventual unraveling of the regime of forced vaccines. After all, we are supposed to have sports competitions that reward the best players, not just the best players that comply with mandatory shot injections as pushed by a government-backed medical cartel.

Eventually the mandates faded and finally went away. By then Novak had lost two years in several high-profile venues and he was getting older. For him to come back to the United States and win the U.S. Open, as the oldest player to do so, was an astonishing and thrilling victory. Even if he had not won, his bravery would have been an inspiration. That he actually won back what was his had a massive element of ironic delight.

And get this: the vaccine company Moderna itself was a major sponsor of the U.S. Open. Throughout the tournament, the company had festooned its ads everywhere. Viewers were forced to see them, knowing full well that this company likely had some hand in lobbying governments to ban players who had not consumed its product. This is the worst form of crony capitalism or fascist corporatism that one can imagine, right here on full display.

Already teed up as a final sponsored ad was Moderna’s “Shot of the Day” plug. The company was forced to make that “Shot of the Day” the winning stroke of a player who absolutely refused to accept the shot, even at the pain of being excluded by the tournament itself. There was so much bitter irony to that and it was not lost on viewers.

In the end, the shot mandates were not really about good health or public well-being. We know that now. Most everyone does. They were about political compliance and corporate profits at the expense of freedom and public health. The grim truth is that most people went along because it was too much trouble to resist. Most people accepted the deal: take meds you don’t need in exchange for which you can stay out of trouble.

It has been inspiring and thrilling to see one great hero stand up and say no, even when doing so cost him his dream. This is because he has a moral principle that he considers to be even higher than his career goal. What an awesome and rare thing in our highly politicized times.


Nasal Sprays – A Novel Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination

Researchers at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) are working to develop a new COVID-19 vaccine that can be administered through a nasal spray. This vaccine will be easier to administer compared to the others which are given intravenously. TrialSite has been following the development of similar nasal vaccines in Israel and Bahrain.

The hope for global mass vaccination has not been achieved due to several limitations of using intramuscular vaccines. These include the requirement of having available healthcare professionals, unequal vaccine distribution, and lack of proper cold chain supply.

Nasal COVID-19 vaccines could be a viable alternative to the existing ones. Dr. Peter Wright, an infectious disease specialist and international healthcare provider, is leading the research team at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine to develop a nasal vaccine. The team is collaborating with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Exothera, a contract development and manufacturing organization based in Belgium, for this endeavor.

How do nasal vaccines work?

The mucous membrane, termed mucosa, is the body’s first line of defense against infectious particles after they enter the mouth or nose. The mucosal immune system works at two starting points, the gut (digestive system) and the nasopharynx (near the back of the nose).

The nasal vaccine activates the immune system at these two points with the help of specialized cells. This defense system then starts synthesizing antibodies to kill the viruses or neutralize them.

When SARS-CoV-2 enters through the nose, the virus’s spike proteins attach to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors present on the mucosal lining. These foreign particles are later killed by the immune system activated by the nasal vaccine.

Why this vaccine is unique

The COVID-19 nasal vaccine being developed in the U.S. is an adenovirus type 4-based vaccine. Adenovirus vectors (AdV) are DNA virus vehicles used for vaccine delivery. Adenovirus vectors are considered efficient as they can induce both innate (the body’s first line of defense against foreign particles) and adaptive (introducing antigens as a strategy to induce an immune response) responses in the body.

The AstraZeneca vaccine (ChAdOx1) uses a virus vector, but the mode of administration is intramuscular. The Dartmouth vaccine under development is in the form of a nasal spray, making it the first-ever adenovirus-based vaccine for COVID-19 in the U.S. These vectors are relatively easy to produce compared to other vectors and show high gene expression, thus facilitating large-scale vaccine production.

The in-vivo testing of the adenovirus type 4-based COVID-19 nasal vaccine has shown promising results in hamsters. The human trials will begin in 2024. These clinical trials are planned to take place in the USA and Africa. If successful, the vaccine will be available within one to two years.

Global expansion of COVID-19 nasal vaccine trials

Two nasal vaccines, Convidecia Air from CanSino Biologics in China, and iNCOVACC from Bharat Biotech in India, have received approval in their respective countries. Both of these companies use adenovirus vectors in their recombinant vaccines. Many other nasal vaccines are undergoing clinical trials.

The University of Oxford, in partnership with AstraZeneca, developed a COVID-19 vaccine named ChAdOx1, which was previously given intramuscularly. However, the researchers are working to turn it into a nasal spray and have announced the first clinical trials.

Mount Sinai researchers who used Newcastle disease virus (NDV) as a vector have completed phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of their nasal vaccine in Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, and Mexico and have started the clinical trial phase 1 in the USA. CoviLiv, a live attenuated nasal vaccine developed by Codagenix company based in the USA, has also started its phase 1 clinical trials.

TrialSite previously reported on the clinical trials of nitric oxide nasal spray (NONS) manufactured by Canada-based company, SaNOtize to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Advantages of COVID-19 nasal vaccine

Adenovirus vector-based COVID-19 vaccines induce strong immune responses and have a low risk of causing virus mutations because they do not integrate into the host genome.

The existing COVID-19 vaccines are administered

intramuscularly and are designed to induce a systemic immune response without developing mucosal protection. As a result, the protections offered by these vaccines may not be enough to combat the replication and shedding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the upper respiratory tract. Therefore, there is still a risk of vaccinated individuals transmitting the virus as they can still be infected through the nasal route.

Nasal vaccines, on the other hand, can effectively generate mucosal immunity in addition to a systemic immune response thus eliminating the risk of viral infection and transmission post-vaccination.

It is estimated that 25% of adults and 66.7% of children fear needles. 10% of these individuals may postpone COVID-19 vaccination due to their fears. Nasal vaccines provide an alternative for such people. It is less expensive and easier to administer compared to other intramuscular vaccines due to its non-invasiveness.

Another advantage is that these vaccines do not require cold storage because adenovirus vectors are thermostable, making them easier to store and deliver to different parts of the world.

Drawbacks of COVID-19 nasal vaccines

The whole-pathogen-based nasal vaccine is associated with some safety concerns, including the probability of the pathogen reverting to its replicating form.

Some nasal vaccines contain attenuated or weakened viruses. These viruses are designed to replicate inside the body to trigger an immune response without causing disease in healthy individuals. Therefore, these may not be administered to children, elderly people, and immunocompromised patients.

Vaccines administered through the nose become diluted due to the presence of mucous in the nasal cavity. Thus, higher doses are required as compared to vaccines administered via injections.

Additionally, nasal vaccines are associated with the probability of retrograde transport through the olfactory nerves present in the nose, to the brain. This has been reported in association with live attenuated adenoviruses.


Intranasally delivered vaccines show promise in preventing reinfection and transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the development of mucosal immune response.

While these vaccines demonstrate some advantages over those delivered via the intermuscular route, they are also associated with several concerns, some of them serious. These challenges should be considered by researchers in the course of developing these vaccines.

TrialSite will continue to monitor the progression of the various clinical trials involved in the development of various nasal vaccines.




Monday, September 11, 2023

Covid-19 vaccinations in New Zealand: An unfolding tragedy?

Did the vaccination campaigns actually SPREAD the virus?

Between January 2020 and October 4th, 2021, New Zealand recorded 27 Covid-19 deaths and 4,050 cases. It was widely praised for its approach in "eliminating the virus" [1]. During this period, every time there was any indication of community transmission, New Zealand enforced strict restrictions only to ease them once community transmission was eliminated. [2] In October of 2021, following an outbreak and after about 75% of the population aged 12+ had been vaccinated with at least 1 dose of the vaccine, and about half were fully vaccinated, New Zealand finally gave up on its Covid "elimination strategy", arguing that Delta variant was the game changer and that NZ was transitioning into a new phase with the availability of vaccines [3].

Massive Covid-19 waves after vast majority of population vaccinated

By the time New Zealand had fully vaccinated about 90% of it's population above the age of 12, on February 12th, 2022, New Zealand had recorded 53 Covid-19 deaths and 19,400 cases. However, massive Covid-19 waves followed, and by September 3rd, 2023, New Zealand had recorded over 2.45 million cases and 4,746 deaths. This implies that approximately 99% of Covid-19 cases and deaths in New Zealand have been recorded in almost 19 months following vaccination of about 90% of the population aged above 12 years of age.

Several examples have been covered here using publicly available data and published research to argue that Covid-19 vaccinations triggered massive Covid-19 waves. New Zealand comes across as one such example. An illustration of Covid-19 deaths in the graph below indicates New Zealand had one of the highest Covid-19 mortality in the Oceania region, 15 times higher than Papua New Guinea, which has the lowest vaccination rate of 4% in the region. [4] What would the Covid-19 numbers look like in the absence of vaccination? Would we have witnessed such massive Covid waves? Why has Papua New Guinea not experienced a massive "Omicron" wave similar to other regions that are highly vaccinated?

Is it possible to quantify the harms to the vaccinated?

Based on publicly available data [5], we observe the below

In the above 12 age group, where about 90% of the population is vaccinated, about 96% of the cases are vaccinated, including 95% that are fully vaccinated or boosted.

About 88% of all Covid deaths to date i.e. 4,176 deaths (out of 4,746) were fully vaccinated or boosted.

Per a response to a Freedom of Information request on all cause mortality, over 91% of all deaths in 2022 were vaccinated. [6]

As of April 2023 - there have been 3,818 vaccine injury compensation claims, out of which 1,541 have been compensated for a total of NZ$ 5.6 million. [7]

As of November 2022, over 61,000 post vaccination adverse events were reported, out of which 3,688 were classified as serious.

These AEFI come with a string attached around "causal association" , but do serve as a data signal, especially when looked at in the context of vaccine injury claims highlighted above. [8]

What should one make of results like the above for a product that was claimed as safe and 100% effective against severe Covid-19 disease? [9][10]


CDC Says Existing COVID Antibodies Work Against New Variant

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 8 said research shows that antibodies produced by a prior COVID-19 infection or existing vaccines were good enough to protect against a new variant that has been found in the United States.

The CDC suggested in its update that the data are “encouraging” for the latest COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, which is currently being reviewed by federal health agencies. The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to authorize updated vaccines that target subvariants of Omicron.

“Early research data from multiple labs are reassuring and show that existing antibodies work against the new BA.2.86 variant,” the CDC stated in an update on Sept. 8. “These data are also encouraging because of what it may mean for the effectiveness of the 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently under review. That’s because the vaccine is tailored to the currently circulating variants.”

The public health agency added that the new BA.2.86 lineage of COVID-19 was not driving the small recent increases in cases and hospitalizations in the United States, which the agency attributed to other predominantly circulating viruses.

Since the CDC’s initial risk assessment in August, BA.2.86 had been identified in nine U.S. states as of Sept. 8. The Omicron offshoot has also been identified from both human and wastewater specimens in countries Japan, the UK, and Canada.

“Additionally, based on CDC’s experience with past SARS-CoV-2 variants, people will likely have protection against severe disease mediated by both cellular and antibody immunity,” the agency stated. “Real-world data are needed to fully understand the impact given the complexities of the immune response to this variant. Additional studies on this are ongoing, and we expect to learn more in upcoming weeks.”

Earlier CDC Statements

The CDC stated in late August that the new COVID-19 variant may be more capable than older variants of causing infection in people who have previously had COVID-19 or who have received vaccines.

At the time, the health agency said that it was too soon to determine whether BA.2.86 could cause more severe illness in people than previous variants. It noted that there are a high number of mutations with the lineage and cited concerns about the effectiveness of vaccines and prior infection.

“The large number of mutations in this variant raises concerns of greater escape from existing immunity from vaccines and previous infections compared with other recent variants,” the CDC stated in its assessment in August. “For example, one analysis of mutations suggests the difference may be as large as or greater than that between BA.2 and XBB.1.5, which circulated nearly a year apart.”

But officials noted at the time that “virus samples are not yet broadly available for more reliable laboratory testing of antibodies, and it is too soon to know the real-world impacts on immunity.”

The assessment said that most of the American population possesses COVID-19 antibodies from a prior infection, vaccination, or both. It’s likely that the antibodies will provide some protection against the latest variant, it stated at the time.

Around the same time, a high-level official with the World Health Organization designated the BA.2.86 a “variant under monitoring,” saying there was “limited” information about it. But some researchers said that people shouldn’t jump to any conclusions, noting that a number of other COVID-19 strains had little impact.

“Intrinsic severity of a virus is a byproduct of many traits, a product of selection on other features. Any attempt to guess the intrinsic severity of BA.2.86 (within reasonable parameters) is just that—a guess,” Aris Katzourakis, a biologist with the University of Oxford, said via social media in August. “It is far, far too early to evaluate the potential of this variant.”


Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo warns Americans NOT to take latest COVID booster and claims there are 'red flags' over its safety

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' hand-picked surgeon general has warned against getting the new COVID-19 booster vaccine that is expected to receive approval in the coming days.

The state's Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo made the claims at a press conference on Thursday, saying there was no evidence to support getting the shot and that there are 'red flags' about its safety.

The updated shots, which target an Omicron subvariant named XBB.1.5, are awaiting FDA approval on standards for safety, effectiveness and quality, and must then receive CDC sign-off, which could come as early as Tuesday.

'Listen inside to what makes sense, what feels right, you know, what feels like truth,' said Lapado, offering his advice on receiving the shots.

'We all know it when we feel it inside.' Lapado went on to claim global studies showed people who had the boosters were more likely to catch COVID itself.

DeSantis joined Lapado at the event and did not offer a specific opinion on the booster, but slammed federal regulators at the FDA and CDC as corrupt, claiming they 'have basically become an arm of Big Pharma.'

Ladapo's previous warnings against older versions of the COVID-19 vaccines drew a harsh rebuke from the two agencies in March, when they published an open letter accusing him of 'fueling vaccine hesitancy'.

'Based on available information for the COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized or approved in the United States, the known and potential benefits of these vaccines clearly outweigh their known and potential risks,' the letter said.

'It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, particularly the vulnerable. Fueling vaccine hesitancy undermines this effort,' added the letter, signed by FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and then-CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

Approval of the updated COVID-19 booster shots is expected within days. Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax all have manufactured new versions of the vaccine.

Similar to how flu shots are updated each year, the FDA gave COVID-19 vaccine makers a new recipe, targeting the variant that was dominant over the summer.

But as expected, the XBB.1.5 variant it targets has faded away in the months it took to tweak the vaccine.

CDC estimates show XBB.1.5 is responsible for about 3 percent of current cases, while a soup of other newer Omicron variants dominates, led by EG.5 at about 20 percent.

FDA vaccine adviser Dr Paul Offit says healthy young people don't need another Covid booster

Dr Paul Offit, who advises the FDA on a range of shots for infectious diseases, told middle-aged and younger Americans who do not have chronic diseases already had strong enough immunity through previous Covid vaccines and infections to prevent severe illness this winter.

In his remarks at Thursday's event, held inside an Irish pub in Jacksonville, DeSantis vowed Florida would not be temporarily closing schools or mandating mask-wearing because of the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.

'People are lurching toward this insanity again,' DeSantis said. 'As we see these things being orchestrated ... there needs to be pushback.'

The Florida governor is also hoping his message in the Sunshine State resonates on the campaign trail as he seeks the GOP nomination for president.

Soon after the Thursday press conference, his presidential campaign sent out an email to supporters vowing to 'fight back against every bogus attempt the Left makes to expand government control' when it comes to COVID-19 precautions.

He also appeared on Fox News that evening, saying: 'No mask mandates, no mandates on school children, no COVID vax mandates.'

DeSantis' news conference in Jacksonville came almost two weeks after three black people were fatally shot there by a 21-year-old white supremacist who authorities say left behind ramblings that read like 'the diary of a madman.'

As DeSantis took questions at Thursday's news conference, an unidentified man spoke out, saying the governor had 'allowed weapons to fill the street' and was to blame for the shootings.

'I did not allow anything with that,' DeSantis fired back angrily. 'I'm not going to let you accuse me of committing criminal activity. I'm not going to take that!'

'You have allowed people to hunt people like me,' continued the audience member, who was black, prompting a visibly angry DeSantis to respond: 'Oh, that is nonsense. That is such nonsense.'