Friday, December 03, 2021

Drug cocktail that could be a saviour: New Covid treatment is FOUR TIMES more effective at keeping patients out of intensive care, tests suggest

A new drug cocktail is four times more effective at keeping Covid patients out of intensive care, initial tests have suggested.

While the steroid dexamethasone was the first drug to be licensed for treating the virus, trials indicate that combining it with heart failure medication spironolactone yields better results.

A study, conducted by former vice-chancellor of Newcastle University Sir Christopher Edwards, analysed hospital patients in Delhi.

He found that, in hospitalised patients taking the ‘Spidex’ cocktail, just 5.4 per cent were admitted to intensive care compared to 19.6 per cent of those taking dexamethasone alone.

Now he is calling for wider trials of the Spidex regime as he believes more lives could be saved.

His findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology, revealed 40 Covid patients taking Spidex performed better on every clinical, biochemical and radiological measure than 40 patients on a high dose of dexamethasone.

The treatment works by ‘turning off’ the impact the virus has on the body, rather than targeting the virus itself.

Sir Christopher hopes the combination should also work against the mutated Omicron virus.


Researchers shoot holes in study touted for confirming 'masks work' in curbing COVID

I rubbished this study on 3rd. September

An acclaimed study on the effectiveness of masks in reducing symptomatic COVID-19 is facing new scrutiny after a researcher highlighted the minuscule infection differences between "treatment" and control groups randomized across 600 Bangladeshi villages.

Accused of design flaws and overstating its findings when it was released in late August, the study's newly released data show only 20 more symptomatic COVID cases in the villages that didn't receive masks and related education, reminders and "role modeling by community leaders."

In a total study population of 342,126 adults, 1,106 people in the control group tested positive, compared to 1,086 in the treatment group. The latter group represented 52% of the study population.

"I have a hard time going from these numbers to the assured conclusions that 'masks work' that was promulgated by the media or the authors after this preprint [not yet peer reviewed] appeared," University of California Berkeley professor Ben Recht, who studies machine learning, wrote in an essay last week.

He said he was frustrated that the "raw number of seropositive cases" was left out of the preprint by researchers led by Yale University economists Jason Abaluck and Ahmed Mobarak, preventing him from "computing standard statistical analyses of their results."

The researchers posted the replication code and data in early November, long after media coverage touting "the largest randomized trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of surgical masks, in particular, to curb transmission of the coronavirus."

In light of the full release, "a complex intervention including an educational program, free masks, encouraged mask wearing, and surveillance in a poor country with low population immunity and no vaccination showed at best modest reduction in infection," Recht said.

The newly provided raw numbers exacerbate other weaknesses of the study, according to Recht, who was also initially skeptical of the research because of its "statistical ambiguity."

The study was not blinded, did not exclude pre-intervention infections, and was "highly complex" because of the mixed interventions, he said.

The three-percentage-point differential between household visit consent rates for the treatment and control groups, by itself, "could wash away the difference in observed cases," he explained, adding that relative measures of risk are "[o]ne of the dark tricks of biostatistics," which unlike hard case counts have a tendency to exaggerate effects.

'How robust can this possibly be?'

The UC Berkeley professor's analysis drew attention on Twitter, including from Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff, whose own skepticism of the protective power of masks for unvaccinated elderly people got him suspended by Twitter for a month.

"One of the problems of the study is that despite the vast size of the study, the primary endpoint depends on ~5000 blood samples collected" each from the treatment and control groups, Philadelphia cardiologist Anish Koka wrote in a related thread.

"So we are left to extrapolate from a 20 case difference tested in ~10,000 patients to a 300,000 patient study," he continued. "But how robust can this possibly be?"

Koka noted that Yale's Abaluck, a lead author, floated the idea of fining people for not wearing government-supplied cloth masks, the least effective kind, early in the pandemic. "It seems a bit much to go from these small differences to the police tracking down and fining people who don't mask in public," the cardiologist wrote.


Vaccines can kill

At what risk do you take a vaccine that might do more harm than good? Newly released documents support decisions by those who have been reluctant to get a COVID shot. Attorney Aaron Siri has published an initial report addressing information he demanded from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

In a discussion with a U.S. Congressional panel led by Senator Ron Johnson, Siri said his law firm had received hundreds of legal requests about COVID vaccination problems. The documents reveal over 150,000 incidents involving side effects have been reported to Pfizer.

Of the thousands of documented side effects, the data indicate more than 25,000 of these have directly affected the central nervous system. These numbers become even more disturbing when we consider the period for claims fell within a short two-and-a-half month window.

This timeframe was during the initial months when Pfizer was distributing vaccines under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Pfizer even admits that the company was overwhelmed by, “the large numbers of spontaneous adverse event reports received for the product.”

The alarming ramifications of this data are further supported by shocking revelations within the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS) for COVID. There have been over 18,000 deaths resulting from the COVID vaccination and nearly 100,000 hospitalizations.

Nearly 100,000 more adverse vaccination incidents have required urgent care. There are thousands of reported cases of Anaphylaxis and Bell’s palsy. No one expected that there wouldn’t be problems with a hastily approved vaccination.

There aren’t many people fighting against the mandates who dispute that the vaccines have at some level been useful. They take issue with the tyrannical mandating of the COVID vaccine. Joe Biden has overstepped his authority. He is not a dictator, although he thinks he is.

The choice to receive a COVID vaccination should be a personal one. It should involve a thorough consideration of individual health circumstances. “The jab” may not be for everyone. The increasingly disturbing number of reported side effects must be part of the conversation. However, the mainstream media refuses to engage in open discussion.


Get ready for boosters every year: Pfizer boss says annual jabs needed to maintain 'very high protection'

Britons might need a Covid booster every year to maintain 'very high' levels of protection against the, Pfizer's boss said today after the UK ordered 114million more shots from his company and Moderna to vaccinate everyone until 2023.

Dr Albert Bourla, chief executive at the company which delivered the world's first Covid vaccine a year ago today, said global economies will probably need to rely on jabs for years to come to stay on top of new variants and counter waning immunity.

The UK has ordered another 114million doses that can be tweaked to fight off variants — including 54million Pfizer jabs and 60million Moderna doses in a deal thought to be worth around £2.05billion

Officials did not reveal how much the Pfizer jabs cost, but EU contracts show the bloc is spending about £16.50 per dose of Pfizer and £19.50 on Moderna's. They will arrive in 2022 and 2023, with plans already being drawn up to boost the nation's immunity for at least the next two years.




Thursday, December 02, 2021

UNC and Duke Offer Hope for a Universal Coronavirus Antibody Therapy

This is a report from a month ago. Strange that it has not been widely reported

A research team at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC) and Duke University, in Durham, NC, identified an antibody that attacks SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but also its variants and other types of coronaviruses. In their studies, the antibody, DH1047, works at preventing infection and fighting it after a person is diagnosed with COVID-19.

The investigators isolated two other antibodies that worked against some types of coronaviruses that infect animals and humans, but not all. These were DH1235 and DH1073. DH1073 was only effective against SARS-CoV-2.

“This antibody (DH1047) has the potential to be a therapeutic for the current epidemic,” said Barton Haynes, M.D., director of Duke Human Vaccine Institute and co-author of the study. “It could also be available for future outbreaks, if or when other coronaviruses jump from their natural animal hosts to humans.”

The new antibody was isolated from the blood of a patient infected with SARS in early 2000. That illness is caused by SARS-CoV-1, a close relative of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19. They also isolated it from a current COVID-19 patient.

In their research, they identified more than 1,700 antibodies from the two individuals. Of them, 50 could bind to SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2. Then they discovered that one of those cross-binding antibodies was particularly potent, able to attach to a range of coronaviruses as well as to SARS-C0V-1 and 2.

“This antibody binds to the coronavirus at a location that is conserved across numerous mutations and variations,” Haynes said. “As a result, it can neutralize a wide range of coronaviruses.”

The UNC team was led by co-senior author Ralph S. Baric, Ph.D., William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. That group tested DH1047 in mice to see if it could block infections or minimize ongoing infections. It did both. Not only did it prevent the mice from developing SARS and COVID-19, but it also prevented variants such as Delta and other animal coronaviruses.

“The findings provide a template for the rational design of universal vaccine strategies that are variant-proof and provide broad protection from known and emerging coronaviruses,” Baric said.

In animals with severe lung symptoms, treatment with the antibody decreased the symptoms compared to the control group.

“The therapeutic activity even after mice were infected suggests that this could be a treatment deployed in the current pandemic, but also stockpiled to prevent the spread of a future outbreak or epidemic with a SARS-related virus,” said David Martinez, Ph.D., co-lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Epidemiology at UNC’s Gilling School. “This antibody could be harnessed to prevent maybe SARS-COV-3 or SARS-CoV-4.”

The journal article is: "A broadly cross-reactive antibody neutralizes and protects against sarbecovirus challenge in mice". See


Veteran icu nurse reveals shocking covid administrative policies that killed patients

Helen Smith is a veteran nurse who has worked in the Intensive Care Units of hospitals for more than two decades.

During an interview, Smith revealed some shocking stories about patient COVID treatment. The longtime nurse specifically said she did not cast blame on the doctors she worked side-by-side with.

Smith blamed the hospital bureaucrats for disastrous COVID policies forced on the medical staff. She began the interview talking about how she had never witnessed anything like this in her 25 years as an ICU nurse.

Smith said that doctors were not allowed to act in the best interest of each patient. She insisted that, “Everything is being regulated by higher-ups in the hospitals.” Her interview revealed that hospital administrators set policies that were dangerous.

She said that she had never seen such “unorthodox and unhygienic medical practices” used, especially during the height of a deadly pandemic. One of the most shocking things Smith said during the interview was the automatic treatment steps given to many COVID patients.

Smith explained, “They were dying because doctors were immediately intubating patients and providing them with remdesivir.” Remdesivir is an expensive drug that made the hospitals a huge amount of money.

However, it did nothing to help alleviate respiratory distress or help treat COVID. What it did do was to shut down many of these patients’ organs. Because hospital administrations were overly guarding against viral spread, they instantly stuck patients on intubation with a breathing tube.

Smith insists that the combination of remdesivir and intubation led to the deaths of hundreds of COVID patients. At $5,000 per bag, remdesivir as the go-to instant treatment for COVID was lining the pockets of the hospital administrators.

Astonishingly, Smith says the hospital is still using remdesivir despite the obvious dangers. In her experience, Smith said she had never seen anything like this. She said that immediately intubating patients is like signing their death certificates.

One doctor attempted to do something different. Smith said the doctor reverted to using ivermectin instead of remdesivir. He was saving patients. However, the hospital administration threatened to fire him if he didn’t stop.

Smith also sounded the alarm about how the hospital is reporting admissions and deaths related to the COVID vaccine. As part of Cleveland Clinic’s stroke center, Smith was shocked at the rise in the number of recent stroke cases.

She stressed that dozens of these were directly caused by the COVID vaccination. There were other types of critically ill patients, all who succumbed to sickness after getting vaccinated. Smith said the hospital refuses to attribute any death or critical illness to the vaccine.

What Helen Smith revealed during her interview must be validated before her claims can be broadcast as truth. However, there is little doubt that public trust in our medical system has been undermined by questionable COVID policies.

Most are well aware that hospital administrations add unnecessary procedures to pad patient bills. They are trying to make money for their hospital. However, there may be some evidence that these medical bureaucrats have set policies that killed people unnecessarily.


Pfizer Covid vaccine works against Omicron, Israel claims

Those up to date with a Pfizer Covid vaccine or booster shot should have high protection against the Omicron variant, the Israeli Health Minister has said.

While not citing any data, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said on Tuesday that there was “room for optimism” based on “initial indications”, reported The Sun.

Hours later a report by an Israeli news channel claimed the Pfizer jab was 90 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infection from Omicron.

Mr Horowitz told reporters on Tuesday: “In the coming days we will have more accurate information about the efficacy of the vaccine against Omicron.

“But there is already room for optimism, and there are initial indications that those who are vaccinated with a vaccine still valid or with a booster, will also be protected from this variant.”

Epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely said it is very likely that cases of Omicron will continue to rise in Australia, while speaking to Sunrise on Thursday.

“We do expect case numbers to rise. It has probably got its tentacles into NSW, and it will rise, as it has overseas,” he said.

Professor Blakely said initial indications suggest the Omicron strain could be more mild than the Delta variant – and that could actually be a good thing for Australia.

“This one should be more mild, but we don’t know exactly how much more mild it is, so that means that the hospitalisation rate should be less severe. It might become our get out of the pandemic card,” he said.

“This may be a blessing if it displaces Delta and becomes the more mild version, it might help us get out of this pandemic.”

The Omicron variant was first reported in South Africa, though the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany have now all reported cases of the variant circulating before it was officially reported.




Wednesday, December 01, 2021

South African centre of the Omicron variant shows increase in hospitalisations

Figures emerging from the epicentre of South Africa’s Covid outbreak show a staggering rise in hospitalisations that indicate the new Omicron variant may not be as mild as hoped.

Covid cases in the City of Tshwane, a municipality that encompasses one of South Africa’s capitals Pretoria, in the Gauteng province, now account for more than half of the country’s infections.

Known for being a centre of academic excellence and home to a number of universities and foreign embassies, Tshwane has been thrown into turmoil by the emergence of the new Omicron variant.

The new strain was first detected in specimens collected in Gauteng on November 12 and it now dominates Covid infections in the area, accounting for about 76 per cent of genomically sequenced samples, although the numbers of samples are low.

Omicron now seems to have spread around the world and led to many countries closing their borders, including Australia. The World Health Organisation has declared it a variant of concern.

While much is still unknown about Omicron, it seems to be more infectious than the Delta strain, which may be due to a large number of mutations that could also make it harder to control with current vaccines.

There is hope though that the variant could induce a milder form of the disease, although this is yet to be proven.

Experts have cautioned about “misinformation” that Omicron is “mild”. Respected United States epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding said it was “nonsense” and the theory was based on an “out-of-context quote”.

South African doctor Angelique Coetzee, who first alerted authorities about a possible variant, told The Telegraph in the United Kingdom that many of the patients she had seen had mild symptoms.

However, what was not as widely reported is that she was talking about a specific group of young, healthy patients. In the same article she also voiced concern about more severe illness in older people.

Hospitalisations in Gauteng now appear to be on the rise. Across the province, the number of hospital admissions increased by 330 per cent over two weeks from 135 cases in the week ending Saturday, November 13, to 580 cases last week, figures from South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) show.

The total number of Covid cases also increased dramatically in Tshwane from 547 on Thursday, November 25, to 1204 cases on Monday, November 29, the Mayor Randall Williams said in a statement. Tshwane’s cases made up more than half of the 2273 cases recorded across South Africa on Monday.

Dr Feigl-Ding said even if Omicron was milder than Delta, the fact that it spread easier or could evade vaccines would still make it more dangerous. “Exponentially more cases is still exponentially more hospitalisation & deaths!” he tweeted.

Concerningly, children under the age of two years old made up about 10 per cent of hospital admissions in Tshwane, although this may be because parents were more likely to take babies to hospital just in case, Bloomberg reported.

“People are more likely to admit children as a precaution because if you treat them at home, something can go wrong – especially very young children because there is a higher proportion of death,” Dr Waasila Jassat from the NICD is quoted as saying.

According to The National, Dr Jassat said indications so far were that Omicron was not more severe than other strains. She said most of the eight people who died in the two weeks from November 14 to 28 were aged 60 to 69 years old.

Only 1.5 per cent of the children younger than four died and there were no deaths among those aged between five and 19 years old. “It doesn’t look at the moment like there is any increase in severity, but it is early,” she said.

It takes about two weeks for the rate of hospital admissions to reflect any increase in Covid cases and any rise in death rates will take even longer to emerge.

South Africa has very low vaccination rates with only 42 per cent of the population aged over 18 years old double dosed.


The New COVID Drugs Are a Bigger Deal Than People Realize

In infectious diseases, control of a pathogen means reducing its impact even if it remains endemic in the world. Fortunately, the United States is poised to authorize two oral antivirals: molnupiravir and Paxlovid. The former is the generic name of a drug made by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics; the latter is the trade name of a drug combination made by Pfizer. Both come in pill form, and a five-day treatment course of each will provide certain patients with significant benefits.

These miraculous drugs arrived with minimal fanfare but represent the biggest advance yet in treating patients already infected with COVID-19. The supply of vaccines in the U.S. has exceeded demand for some time, and authorities recently widened eligibility to include children as young as 5, but uptake is not universal. Millions of Americans have decided, for a variety of reasons, not to get shots, while many more around the globe have yet to be offered a vaccine. And although the vaccines have remained amazingly effective against severe disease, some patients, especially those who are older or immunocompromised, remain at risk of hospitalization if they get a breakthrough infection.

The widespread use of oral treatments for influenza hints at the value of COVID drugs that can be provided in an outpatient setting and reduce the severity of symptoms for unvaccinated and vaccinated patients alike.

Molnupiravir and Paxlovid are particularly exciting because antivirals that effectively target viruses at specific points in their life cycle are the “holy grail” of viral therapeutics—as past experience with other viruses has shown.

Infection with HIV was fatal for nearly all patients until antivirals were developed against enzymes crucial to viral replication and researchers figured out how to combine those drugs to maximize their effectiveness and limit the emergence of resistant viral strains. These changes revolutionized HIV treatment, massively improving the prognosis for people who had access to antivirals. Instead of developing severe illness, treated patients could live healthily and expect normal life spans.

The development of these highly active oral antivirals for HIV infection took a decade and a half after the disease first came to light; the incredible progress in COVID-19 therapeutics took 18 months. Intriguingly, the COVID-19-treatment research borrowed many ideas from the HIV field; the two new COVID-19 drugs focus on similar pathways in the viral life cycle that HIV drugs target. In essence, these drugs prevent the target virus from reproducing itself.

Because they work differently from the majority of COVID-19 vaccines, which teach the immune system to identify and attack the coronavirus’s characteristic spike protein, the antivirals remain effective against mutant variants whose spike proteins are harder for immune cells to recognize. Designing, manufacturing, and distributing vaccines updated for new variants will take time, so the availability of antivirals will be all the more essential.

The rapid development of vaccines against COVID-19—something that doesn’t yet exist for HIV—has overshadowed the progress on treatments. And yet, the need and public demand for effective medications are evident. Doctors and patients have sought out potential oral COVID-19 treatments, including drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, that did not prove effective in clinical trials. But researchers needed to keep working on the question, because COVID-19 will be with us for the long haul. Although health experts agree that preventing a disease is better than treating its symptoms, not everyone will get vaccinated. People who become infected are worthy of compassion and care, regardless of the circumstances of their infection, and medical treatments that shorten the period of viral transmission and keep unvaccinated COVID-19 patients out of hospital beds will protect everyone.

The COVID-19 treatments that have shown some effectiveness up to this point have significant drawbacks. Remdesivir is an intravenous antiviral used for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. But by the time a patient is admitted, the virus may already have caused considerable damage, and viral replication may have stopped. An intravenous drug has far less power to affect the trajectory of the pandemic than affordable, effective, and short courses of oral pills do.

Until now, the only outpatient therapeutic for COVID-19 has been monoclonal antibody treatments, which are effective in preventing severe disease in high-risk patients. But they are expensive and require intravenous infusion or subcutaneous injection, and health-care providers must monitor their administration closely.

Although molnupiravir—which is named after the Norse god Thor’s hammer, Mj√∂lnir—was being tested for the treatment of the Ebola virus, researchers had not settled upon a purpose for the drug before SARS-CoV-2 arrived on the scene. Early studies of molnupiravir showed that its recipients cleared the coronavirus more rapidly than recipients of a placebo did. The drug did not help patients who were already hospitalized, but in outpatients with mild to moderate disease who had a high vulnerability to severe disease, it reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 30 percent if given within five days of developing symptoms.

The drug proved so beneficial that the clinical study was called off early. Merck applied for emergency-use authorization, and the FDA is expected to review the drug this week. Merck has promised to share its technology with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), which will allow for more affordable global access to molnupiravir.

Paxlovid, a formula developed largely from scratch for the current pandemic, is actually an RNA-virus protease inhibitor called PF-07321332 “boosted” with another drug called ritonavir. It too was the subject of a clinical trial that was stopped early because the treatment looked so effective. Outpatients who had both COVID-19 and medical conditions that put them at high risk of severe illness were 89 percent less likely to be hospitalized if they received Paxlovid twice daily for five days than if they got a placebo.

The FDA will likely review this important therapeutic before the end of the year. The U.S. government has bought millions of courses of molnupiravir and Paxlovid for Americans in anticipation of the authorization of both. Moreover, Pfizer has promised to accelerate worldwide access to Paxlovid through an agreement with MPP.

The importance of these two highly anticipated outpatient antivirals for COVID-19 cannot be overstated. Both medications were studied in unvaccinated individuals, of which the U.S. and other countries around the world have many. For the vaccinated, “breakthrough” infections are generally mild, but they can lead to time out of work and require cutting back contact with others. Not only should rapid treatment with one of these two antivirals shorten symptoms in breakthrough infections (as is the case with influenza), but bringing down the viral load quickly by inhibiting viral replication should limit transmission.

Further study of the new COVID-19 drugs is under way for potential use in lower-risk individuals and as preventive medications. The development of HIV antivirals also led to the development of “post-exposure prophylaxis,” a strategy in which people who have come in contact with that virus take antivirals to avoid becoming HIV-positive. The new COVID drugs have at least the potential to provide a similar benefit.

Moreover, the development of these two antivirals is spurring research on other COVID-19-specific antivirals. So despite the arrival of Omicron, we still have grounds for optimism.




Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas Exposes The Real COVID Disaster

I was always surprised that almost all countries adopted the Chinese Communist approach to dealing with the virus: Sweeping lockdowns. As it was mainly the elderly who were dying, it seemed to me that they alone should have been the focus of government action.

But the Leftist establishment have always been sympathetic to Communism so it is no surprise that it was the Communist example that was automatically assumed to be best. The article below shows just how rigid and resitant to evidence the establishment were in gleefuly grabbing their opportunity to control everyone

Jeffrey Tucker

I’m a voracious reader of Covid books but nothing could have prepared me for Scott Atlas’s A Plague Upon Our House, a full and mind-blowing account of the famed scientist’s personal experience with the Covid era and a luridly detailed account of his time at the White House. The book is hot fire, from page one to the last, and will permanently affect your view of not only this pandemic and the policy response but also the workings of public health in general.

Atlas’s book has exposed a scandal for the ages.

It is enormously valuable because it fully blows up what seems to be an emerging fake story involving a supposedly Covid-denying president who did nothing vs. heroic scientists in the White House who urged compulsory mitigating measures consistent with prevailing scientific opinion. Not one word of that is true. Atlas’s book, I hope, makes it impossible to tell such tall tales without embarrassment.

Anyone who tells you this fictional story (including Deborah Birx) deserves to have this highly credible treatise tossed in his direction. The book is about the war between real science (and genuine public health), with Atlas as the voice for reason both before and during his time in the White House, vs. the enactment of brutal policies that never stood any chance of controlling the virus while causing tremendous damage to the people, to human liberty, to children in particular, but also to billions of people around the world.

For the reader, the author is our proxy, a reasonable and blunt man trapped in a world of lies, duplicity, backstabbing, opportunism, and fake science. He did his best but could not prevail against a powerful machine that cares nothing for facts, much less outcomes.

If you have heretofore believed that science drives pandemic public policy, this book will shock you. Atlas’s recounting of the unbearably poor thinking on the part of government-based “infectious disease experts” will make your jaw drop (thinking, for example, of Birx’s off-the-cuff theorizing about the relationship between masking and controlling case spreads).

Throughout the book, Atlas points to the enormous cost of the machinery of lockdowns, the preferred method of Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx: missed cancer screenings, missed surgeries, nearly two years of educational losses, bankrupted small business, depression and drug overdoses, overall citizen demoralization, violations of religious freedom, all while public health massively neglected the actual at-risk population in long-term care facilities. Essentially, they were willing to dismantle everything we called civilization in the name of bludgeoning one pathogen without regard to the consequences.

The fake science of population-wide “models” drove policy instead of following the known information about risk profiles.

“The one unusual feature of this virus was the fact that children had an extraordinarily low risk,” writes Atlas.

“Yet this positive and reassuring news was never emphasized. Instead, with total disregard of the evidence of selective risk consistent with other respiratory viruses, public health officials recommended draconian isolation of everyone.”

“Restrictions on liberty were also destructive by inflaming class distinctions with their differential impact,” he writes, “exposing essential workers, sacrificing low-income families and kids, destroying single-parent homes, and eviscerating small businesses, while at the same time large companies were bailed out, elites worked from home with barely an interruption, and the ultra-rich got richer, leveraging their bully pulpit to demonize and cancel those who challenged their preferred policy options.”

In the midst of continued chaos, in August 2020, Atlas was called by Trump to help, not as a political appointee, not as a PR man for Trump, not as a DC fixer but as the only person who in nearly a year of unfolding catastrophe had a health-policy focus. He made it clear from the outset that he would only say what he believed to be true; Trump agreed that this was precisely what he wanted and needed. Trump got an earful and gradually came around to a more rational view than that which caused him to wreck the American economy and society with his own hands and against his own instincts.

In Task Force meetings, Atlas was the only person who showed up with studies and on-the-ground information as opposed to mere charts of infections easily downloadable from popular websites.

“A bigger surprise was that Fauci did not present scientific research on the pandemic to the group that I witnessed. Likewise, I never heard him speak about his own critical analysis of any published research studies. This was stunning to me. Aside from intermittent status updates about clinical trial enrollments, Fauci served the Task Force by offering an occasional comment or update on vaccine trial participant totals, mostly when the VP would turn to him and ask.”

When Atlas spoke up, it was almost always to contradict Fauci/Birx but he received no backing during meetings, only to have many people in attendance later congratulate him for speaking out. Still, he did, by virtue of private meetings, have a convert in Trump himself, but by then it was too late: not even Trump could prevail against the wicked machine he had permissioned into operation.

It’s a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington story but applied to matters of public health.

From the outset of this disease panic, policy came to be dictated by two government bureaucrats (Fauci and Birx) who, for some reason, were confident in their control over media, bureaucracies, and White House messaging, despite every attempt by the president, Atlas, and a few others to get them to pay attention to the actual science about which Fauci/Birx knew and care little.

When Atlas would raise doubts about Birx, Jared Kushner would repeatedly assure him that “she is 100% MAGA.”

Yet we know for certain that this is not true. We know from a different book on the subject that she only took the position with the anticipation that Trump would lose the presidency in the November election.

That’s hardly a surprise; it’s the bias expected from a career bureaucrat working for a deep-state institution.

Fortunately, we now have this book to set the record straight. It gives every reader an inside look at the workings of a system that wrecked our lives. If the book finally declines to offer an explanation for the hell that was visited upon us – every day we still ask the question why? – it does provide an accounting of the who, when, where, and what. Tragically, too many scientists, media figures, and intellectuals in general went along. Atlas’s account shows exactly what they signed up to defend, and it’s not pretty.

The cliche that kept coming to mind as I read is “breath of fresh air.” That metaphor describes the book perfectly: blessed relief from relentless propaganda. Imagine yourself trapped in an elevator with stultifying air in a building that is on fire and the smoke gradually seeps in from above. Someone is in there with you and he keeps assuring you that everything is fine, when it is obviously not.

That’s a pretty good description of how I felt from March 12, 2020 and onward. That was the day that President Trump spoke to the nation and announced that there would be no more travel from Europe. The tone in his voice was spooky. It was obvious that more was coming. He had clearly fallen sway to extremely bad advice, perhaps he was willing to push lockdowns as a plan to deal with a respiratory virus that was already widespread in the US from perhaps 5 to 6 months earlier.

It was the day that the darkness descended. A day later (March 13), the HHS distributed its lockdown plans for the nation. That weekend, Trump met for many hours with Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and only a few others. He came around to the idea of shutting down the American economy for two weeks. He presided over the calamitous March 16, 2020, press conference, at which Trump promised to beat the virus through general lockdowns.

Of course he had no power to do that directly but he could urge it to happen, all under the completely delusional promise that doing so would solve the virus problem. Two weeks later, the same gang persuaded him to extend the lockdowns.

Trump went along with the advice because it was the only advice he was fed at the time. They made it appear that the only choice that Trump had – if he wanted to beat the virus – was to wage war on his own policies that were pushing for a stronger, healthier economy. After surviving two impeachment attempts, and beating back years of hate from a nearly united media afflicted by severe derangement syndrome, Trump was finally hornswoggled.

Atlas writes:

“On this highly important criterion of presidential management—taking responsibility to fully take charge of policy coming from the White House—I believe the president made a massive error in judgment. Against his own gut feeling, he delegated authority to medical bureaucrats, and then he failed to correct that mistake.”

The truly tragic fact that both Republicans and Democrats do not want spoken about is that this whole calamity is that did indeed begin with Trump’s decision. On this point, Atlas writes:

Yes, the president initially had gone along with the lockdowns proposed by Fauci and Birx, the “fifteen days to slow the spread,” even though he had serious misgivings. But I still believe the reason that he kept repeating his one question—“Do you agree with the initial shutdown?”—whenever he asked questions about the pandemic was precisely because he still had misgivings about it.

Large parts of the narrative are devoted to explaining precisely how and to what extent Trump had been betrayed. “They had convinced him to do exactly the opposite of what he would naturally do in any other circumstance,” Atlas writes, that is

“to disregard his own common sense and allow grossly incorrect policy advice to prevail…. This president, widely known for his signature “You’re fired!” declaration, was misled by his closest political intimates. All for fear of what was inevitable anyway—skewering from an already hostile media. And on top of that tragic misjudgment, the election was lost anyway. So much for political strategists.”

There are so many valuable parts to the story that I cannot possibly recount them all. The language is brilliant, e.g. he calls the media “the most despicable group of unprincipled liars one could ever imagine.” He proves that assertion in page after page of shocking lies and distortions, mostly driven by political goals.

I was particularly struck by his chapter on testing, mainly because that whole racket mystified me throughout. From the outset, the CDC bungled the testing part of the pandemic story, attempting to keep the tests and process centralized in DC at the very time when the entire nation was in panic. Once that was finally fixed, months too late, mass and indiscriminate PCR testing became the desiderata of success within the White House. The problem was not just with the testing method:

“Fragments of dead virus hang around and can generate a positive test for many weeks or months, even though one is not generally contagious after two weeks. Moreover, PCR is extremely sensitive. It detects minute quantities of virus that do not transmit infection…. Even the New York Times wrote in August that 90 percent or more of positive PCR tests falsely implied that someone was contagious. Sadly, during my entire time at the White House, this crucial fact would never even be addressed by anyone other than me at the Task Force meetings, let alone because for any public recommendation, even after I distributed data proving this critical point.”

The other problem is the wide assumption that more testing (however inaccurate) of whomever, whenever was always better. This model of maximizing tests seemed like a leftover from the HIV/AIDS crisis in which tracing was mostly useless in practice but at least made some sense in theory. For a widespread and mostly wild respiratory disease transmitted the way a cold virus is transmitted, this method was hopeless from the beginning. It became nothing but make work for tracing bureaucrats and testing enterprises that in the end only provided a fake metric of “success” that served to spread public panic.

Early on, Fauci had clearly said that there was no reason to get tested if you had no symptoms. Later, that common-sense outlook was thrown out the window and replaced with an agenda to test as many people as possible regardless of risk and regardless of symptoms. The resulting data enabled Fauci/Birx to keep everyone in a constant state of alarm. More test positivity to them implied only one thing: more lockdowns. Businesses needed to close harder, we all needed to mask harder, schools needed to stay closed longer, and travel needed to be ever more restricted. That assumption became so entrenched that not even the president’s own wishes (which had changed from Spring to Summer) made any difference.

Atlas’s first job, then, was to challenge this whole indiscriminate testing agenda. To his mind, testing needed to be about more than accumulating endless amounts of data, much of it without meaning; instead, testing should be directed toward a public-health goal. The people who needed tests were the vulnerable populations, particularly those in nursing homes, with the goal of saving lives among those who were actually threatened with severe outcomes. This push to test, contact trace, and quarantine anyone and everyone regardless of known risk was a huge distraction, and also caused huge disruption in schooling and enterprise.

Much more HERE




Monday, November 29, 2021

Why we SHOULDN'T be worried about Omicron – as top doctor says it could be a GOOD thing if the variant spreads through the community

In my post yesterday I foresaw that Omicron could be a sort of natural vaccine, doing us minimal harm while protecting us for more dangerous strains of Covid. I am pleased to see that others have now drawn similar conclusions

One of Australia's top doctors says the country may actually want the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 to spread as he warns the nation not to panic.

Dr Nick Coatsworth said early reports from southern Africa suggested the new strain may spread communities faster, but the symptoms were far milder in vaccinated patients.

'If this is milder than Delta you actually want it to spread within your community,' the former deputy chief medical officer told Nine's Today show on Monday.

'You want it to out compete Delta and become the predominant circulating virus. So, that shows you how much more we have learn about this

'It could be that we want Omicron to spread around the world as quickly as possible.'

Genomic testing has confirmed two overseas travellers who arrived in Sydney from southern Africa have been infected.

Both passengers arrived on Saturday night and are in isolation in the Special Health Accommodation. Both are fully vaccinated.

Dr Coatsworth - who was the initial face of the country's vaccine rollout - hailed the swift action. 'The Australian government's taken some judicious but measured responses in terms of closure of international flights from southern Africa,' he said.

'There's a lot we need to find out and I don't think there's any strong evidence at the moment - apart from the fact that it's got 30 mutations - that those mutations are going to have the sort of negative effect.'

He said the information available so far had left him 'probably a little less worried'. He added: 'I definitely don't think we should be waking up to any sort of panic. This thing is only 72- hours old. There's too few cases at the moment.

'There's three elements to a variant of concern. It can transmit more quickly, it can be more deadly or it can evade the vaccine.

'It's the first one. The speed at which it's spreading in South Africa is what makes it a variant of concern.

'The South African ministry of health said most cases have been mild.'

Dr Coatsworth said at this stage there was no need to rush forward the vaccine booster program until more was known about the new strain.

'Definitely not at this point,' he said. 'We don't know enough. Premature calls for action like that when we know so little are a little bit counter-productive.

'Based on the information we have at the moment, we shouldn't really change our plans.

'The only thing we should change is mild restrictions on the number of people coming into the country from certain other countries but at the moment everything else can go on as planned.

'We will learn a lot more from the laboratories, from the World Health Organization, over the coming days.'

Dr Coatsworth spoke out as fears Christmas holiday plans could be thrown into chaos as international and state border closures begin to domino and panic spreads about the emergence of the 'super-mutant' Covid variant Omicron.

Scientists are in a race against time to answer three vital questions about the variant that doctors said caused 'unusual' symptoms, as Scott Morrison and Australia's business leaders call for calm.

The three things scientists must know about Omicron
1. How transmissible the new variant is compared to other Covid strains?

2. Will Omicron cause more severe illness than other than variants like Delta?

3. Is the super-mutant strain resistant to vaccines?

First discovered in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique, the variant has since spread to several other nations across the globe.

The doctor who first raised the alarm on Omicron said patients are presenting with 'unusual' symptoms.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, who runs a private practice in the South African capital of Pretoria, said she first noticed earlier this month that Covid patients were presenting with odd symptoms.

The doctor, who has practiced for over 30 years and chairs the South African Medical Association, said none of the Omicron patients suffered a loss of taste of smell typically associated with Covid.

Instead they presented with unusual markers like intense fatigue and a rapid pulse.

'Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,' Dr Coetzee told The Telegraph.

She was compelled to inform South Africa's vaccine advisory board on November 18 when she treated a family of four, all of whom were suffering with intense fatigue after testing positive for Covid-19.

Australian virus expert Professor Tony Blakely it will take weeks before more is known about the strain and if it's resistant to vaccines.

'It's quite likely that this will precipitate new branches of vaccine development, there's just so many mutations on this virus it would seem most likely we will need new vaccines,' he told the Herald Sun.

That bleak possibility could send much of the globe back into lockdown but he said there could be one upside.

If Omicron is more infectious but less deadly and results in less hospitalisations, it could displace Delta as the most common form of Covid but lower the global death toll.

On the other hand: 'the worst-case scenario is it's more infectious, it's more virulent, and it's resistant to current vaccines,' Professor Blakely said.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox worried an overreaction to the new variant could be almost as bad as the virus for businesses that were already struggling in the wake of Delta lockdowns.

'While some caution is understandable, the response to any new and inevitable variant needs to be targeted, proportionate and take into account the nearly 90 per cent of us are vaccinated and tired of lockdowns and border closures,' she told The Australian.

Professor Sutton said he was 'very confident' vaccines would provide some level of 'cross protection' for the new variant, even if Omicron differs significantly in terms of 'how our immune system recognises it'. 'This is not back to the beginning,' he said.

Professor Sutton said 'not really enough' is known about Omicron but it seemed likely it would become the new dominant variant of Covid.

'It certainly seems to have spread very quickly in southern Africa, and in the republic of South Africa in particular across many, many provinces and numbers have increased very significantly over a short period of time,' he said.

Professor Cunningham said he believed the vaccines would still remain partially effective against Omicron but the duration of immunity could be shortened, with studies underway to determine how the strain interacts with those antibodies.


COVID-19: New vaccines 'ready in 100 days' if Omicron variant is resistant to current jabs, Pfizer says

Novavax added it has already started creating a COVID-19 vaccine based on the known genetic sequence of B.1.1.529 "and will have it ready to begin testing and manufacturing within the next few weeks".

Vaccine manufacturers have expressed confidence that they will be able to rapidly adapt their jabs if the Omicron variant spreads.

The new strain - previously known as B.1.1.529 - features some "concerning" mutations, and early evidence suggests it brings an increased risk of reinfection.

There are also fears that the variant could be more resistant to the vaccines that have now been rolled out to billions of people around the world.

If this is the case, Pfizer and BioNTech expects "to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval".

Moderna said it has advanced a "comprehensive strategy to anticipate new variants of concern" since early 2021 - including three levels of response if the immunity offered by its jabs wanes.

Novavax added it has already started creating a COVID-19 vaccine based on the known genetic sequence of B.1.1.529 "and will have it ready to begin testing and manufacturing within the next few weeks".

Yesterday, the World Health Organisation designated B.1.1.529 as a "variant of concern", meaning it has now officially been given the name Omicron, a letter from the Greek alphabet.

The strain was first detected in South Africa, and a number of countries - including the UK, Australia and the US - are now temporarily restricting travel to a number of European countries.

Although no infections linked to the Omicron variant have been detected in the UK or the US so far, there has been a case in Belgium involving an unvaccinated person who had travelled abroad.

Salim Abdool Karim, one of South Africa's top epidemiologists, told Sky News he "would expect it to be in the UK" by now.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has warned that there is a "possibility it might have a different impact on individuals" who get coronavirus.

However, he stressed the UK remains in a "strong position" due to the high vaccination take-up - adding that Omicron's presence means getting a booster jab is even more important now.

British scientists first became aware of the new strain on 23 November after samples were uploaded on to a COVID variant tracking website from South Africa, Hong Kong and then Botswana. A total of 59 samples have been uploaded so far.

England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has said his "greatest worry" is whether the public would accept fresh restrictions if they were required.




Sunday, November 28, 2021

Good news: South African doctor who raised Omicron alarm says symptoms are ‘unusual but mild’

Mutations do tend to make an organism less robust so this may in fact be the end of Covid. The new virus could in fact immunize us against Delta

Dr Angelique Coetzee said she was first alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients in her busy private practice in the capital Pretoria started to come in earlier this month with COVID-19 symptoms that didn’t make immediate sense.

They included young people of different backgrounds and ethnicities with intense fatigue and a six-year-old child with a very high pulse rate, she said. None suffered from a loss of taste or smell.

“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” said Coetzee, a GP for 33 years who chairs South Africa’s Medical Association alongside running her practice.

On November 18, when four family members all tested positive for COVID-19 with complete exhaustion, she informed the country’s vaccine advisory committee.

She said, in total, about two dozen of her patients have tested positive for COVID-19 with symptoms of the new variant. They were mostly healthy men who turned up “feeling so tired”. About half of them were unvaccinated.

“We had one very interesting case, a kid, about six-years-old, with a temperature and a very high pulse rate, and I wondered if I should admit her, but when I followed up two days later she was so much better,” Coetzee says.

Coetzee, who was briefing other African medical associations on Saturday, made clear her patients were all healthy and she was worried the new variant could still hit older people - with co-morbidities like diabetes or heart disease - much harder.

“What we have to worry about now is that when older, unvaccinated people are infected with the new variant, and if they are not vaccinated, we are going to see many people with a severe [form of the] disease,” she said.

In South Africa only about six per cent of the population are over the age of 65. This means that older individuals who are more vulnerable to the virus may take some time to present.

The B.1.1.529 variant, now called “Omicron”, was first identified in Botswana on November 11. It has now been detected in the UK as well as South Africa, Israel, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Belgium.

It is the most mutated form of COVID-19 discovered thus far, with 32 mutations to the spike protein. Scientists are concerned the mutations may allow it to evade existing vaccines and spread quickly.

Two cases of Omicron have now been found in the UK. Two people in Essex and Nottinghamshire have tested positive for the new variant.

UK officials are busy scouring testing databases for any further sign of the Omicron variant, not least because there were many South Africans in the Twickenham area of south-west London for the England and South Africa match last Saturday.

South African scientists say Omicron is behind an explosion of cases in the country’s Gauteng Province which is home to the country’s commercial capital Johannesburg and Pretoria. Cases have rocketed up from about 550 a day last week to almost 4000 a day currently.

The UK, US, the EU and Israel have all suspended travel to and from South Africa and the five surrounding countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. The UK government added Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to the travel red list on Sunday.

The Western travel ban has provoked anger among South Africans, with many claiming that they are being punished for having outstanding research institutions and being transparent about their findings.


Losing Confidence in the Pillars of Our Civilization

Victor Davis Hanson

Millions of citizens long ago concluded that professional sports, academia, and entertainment were no longer disinterested institutions, but far left and deliberately hostile to Middle America.

Yet American conservatives still adamantly supported the nation’s traditional investigatory, intelligence, and military agencies—especially when they came under budgetary or cultural attacks.

Not so much anymore.

For the first time in memory, conservatives now connect the FBI hierarchy with bureaucratic bloat, political bias, and even illegality.

In the last five years, the FBI was mostly in the news for the checkered careers of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Robert Mueller, Lisa Page, and Peter Strzok. Add in the criminality of convicted FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith.

The colossal FBI-driven “Russian collusion” hoax was marked by the leaking of confidential FBI memos, forged documents, improper surveillance, and serial disinformation.

Prior heads of the CIA and FBI, as well as the director of national intelligence, have at times either not told the truth under oath or claimed amnesia, without legal repercussions.

Mention the military to conservative Americans these days, and they unfortunately associate its leadership with the disastrous flight from Afghanistan. Few, if any, high-ranking officers have yet taken responsibility—much less resigned—for the worst military fiasco of the last half-century.

Instead, President Joe Biden and the top generals traded charges that the other was responsible for the calamity. Or both insisted the abject flight was a logistical masterpiece.

Never in U.S. history have so many retired four-star admirals and generals disparaged their president with charges of being either a traitor, a liar, a fascist, or a virtual Nazi, as occurred during the last administration.

Never has the proper advisory role of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff been so brazenly usurped and contorted.

Never has the secretary of defense promised he would ferret out alleged “white supremacists,” without providing any evidence whatsoever of their supposedly ubiquitous presence and dangerous conspiracies.

Conservatives have always been amused by the liberal biases of the old network news and big-city print media. But they grudgingly admitted that many liberal journalists of the last century were mostly professionals. News divisions mostly reported the news rather than simply made it up.

Not so now with Big Tech and 21st-century “woke” journalism. Few reporters have yet offered apologies for helping hatch and spread the Russian collusion hoax that paralyzed the country for three years.

Few have admitted culpability for reporting as fact the various fantasies surrounding the Duke Lacrosse team’s prosecution or the Covington Catholic kids deception.

Many in the media ran uncritically with the Jussie Smollett concoction and the “hands-up-don’t shoot” Ferguson distortions. Journalists promulgated misinformation about the “white Hispanic” George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin encounter, and doctored photos and edited tapes.

They invented the myth of the supposedly brilliant—but now utterly disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo—as well as the “Russian disinformation” yarn that allegedly accounted for the missing Hunter Biden laptop.

Most recently, reporters spread serial untruths surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

For much of 2020 to even suggest that the Wuhan Institute of Virology may have played a role in the birth and spread of the COVID-19 earned media derision.

Few reporters suggested that federal health agencies such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases might be disseminating contradictory or even inaccurate information about the pandemic. To believe this was happening instead earned condemnation in the media as if one were some conspiracy theorist or nut.

Rarely have communication industries—veritable utilities in the public domain—so asymmetrically censored speech and applied such one-sided standards of suppressing free expression.

Conservatives used to oppose regulating larger corporations. Now, ironically, most are calling for regulating and breaking up multibillion-dollar social media monopolies and conglomerates that suppress as much as transmit private communications.

The American criminal justice system also used to earn the respect of conservatives. Prosecuting attorneys, police chiefs, and big-city mayors were seen as custodians of the public order. They were entrusted to keep the peace, to prevent and investigate crime, and to arrest and prosecute criminals.

Again, not so much now.

After 120 days of mostly unchecked riot, arson, looting, and violent protests during the summer of 2020, the public lost confidence in their public safety agencies.

District attorneys in several major cities—Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and St. Louis—have often predicated prosecuting crimes on the basis of ideology, race, and careerism.

In the current crime wave, brazen lawbreakers enjoy de facto immunity. Mass looting goes unpunished. Indictments are often aimed as much against those who defend themselves as against criminals who attack the innocent.

Conservatives now have lost their former traditional confidence in the administration of justice, in the intelligence and investigatory agencies, in the nation’s military leadership, in the media, and the criminal justice system.

No one yet knows what the effect will be of half the country losing faith in the very pillars of American civilization.