Friday, April 29, 2022


My summary blog has been restored. My son is a computer whizz. He earns his money fixing computer problems. So I got him onto the job and he found the problem. A file had somehow become corrupted. Links at the foot of today's posts


CDC and FDA 'altered' Covid guidance and even 'suppressed' findings while under political pressure, bombshell report suggests

Investigators from the watchdog Government Accountability Office (GAO) spoke to more than a dozen directors and managers who worked at the agencies behind the country's pandemic guidance.

They unearthed allegations of 'political interference' in scientific reports, raising fears that research was tampered with.

In its 37-page report, the GAO warned that neither agency had a system in place for reporting allegations of political interference. It also said they had failed to train staff how to spot and report this.

Whistleblowers said they did not speak up at the time for fear of retaliation, because they were unsure how to report the issues or believed leaders were already aware.

This is just the latest in a growing patchwork of reports suggesting politicians influenced 'scientific' papers during the pandemic for their own ends.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration's top medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci declared the U.S. is now 'out of the pandemic phase' of Covid, citing low cases and hospitalizations.

But health experts were quick to question the claim — buried at the end of an interview with PBS' NewsHour — suggesting he may have bungled his words and should only have said the nation was in a phase of 'low hospitalizations'.

In the early phase the White House was accused of waging a war on science, with then-president Donald Trump repeatedly pushing for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports to be amended to support his views, as shown in emails made public by congressional investigators last April.

'A few respondents from CDC and [Food and Drug Administration] FDA stated they felt that the potential political interference they observed resulted in the alteration or suppression of scientific findings,' GAO investigators wrote in the report.

'Some of these respondents believed that this potential political interference may have resulted in the politically motivated alteration of public health guidance or delayed publication of Covid-related scientific findings.'

The GAO report published last week looked into the two agencies, alongside the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — America's top research institution— and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) — in charge of natural disaster response.

All are part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which in February was branded as at 'high risk' for fraud, mismanagement and abuse by the GAO in a separate report.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is at 'high risk' of fraud and mismanagement, a report published in February suggests.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) — which carried out the investigation — also said it was exposed to financial waste and abuse.

They pointed to a lack of leadership at the agency during the Covid pandemic, Zika outbreak and when natural disasters like hurricanes and forest fires sweep the U.S.

The Department is also responsible for the CDC and FDA which 'altered' findings during the pandemic due to political pressure, another report released this month suggests.

It is based on interviews with top-ranking officials at the agencies.

In the latest report, they defined 'political interference' as political influences seeking to 'undermine impartiality... and professional judgement'.

Investigators said they also set up an anonymous hotline for two months to allow employees to report instances, which received 'a few calls'.

No specific cases of altering advice were revealed for confidentiality reasons.

But the GAO mentioned in a footnote emails made public by congressional investigators last April that were sent between Trump officials and employees at the CDC.

They suggested the agency had bowed to political pressure over a study in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) — a notice that documents current trends in U.S. health.

Former scientific advisor to the then-president Paul Alexander wrote in an email from 2020 that he had succeeded in getting the top line in one of its reports changed. He wrote: 'Small victory, but a victory nonetheless yippee!!!'

In the first year of the pandemic the FDA was also accused of 'grossly misrepresenting' the effectiveness of a blood plasma transfusion for hospitalized Covid patients, in a New York Times article that was also footnoted by the GAO.

Its press release thundered that the treatment was 35 percent effective against death, a figure which Trump branded 'tremendous'.

But scientists were taken aback by the figure, which was not mentioned in the official authorization letter or in the 17-page memo written by its scientist. It was also not in the analysis conducted by the Mayo clinic that was frequently cited.

Recently it has emerged that these transfusions actually provided little benefit to patients infected with Covid, and they are now no longer routinely offered by hospitals.

A state health official also alleged he had been reassigned after refusing to invest federal money in hydroxychloroquine, Stat News reported, which was previously touted by Trump as a possible Covid treatment.

Dr Fauci's comments yesterday were quickly blasted by other health officials, however, with Dr Louise Ivers, a global health expert at Harvard University, retorting 'there is a pandemic'.

The top medical adviser has doubled down on his personal policy of mask wearing and general isolation in spite of his comments yesterday.

He declined an invitation to the prestigious White House Correspondents Association Dinner this Saturday 'because of my individual assessment of my personal risk'.

The GAO report made seven recommendations to the four agencies it investigated for 'political interference'.

These included the agencies setting up a system for reporting potential interference, and training staff to notice and respond to it.

For the report they spoke to two former CDC directors, and four former FDA directors, as well as 17 employees.

The GAO pointed out it had not looked into the allegations to confirm whether political interference had led to changes to the science.

The HHS said in response: 'It is important to differentiate scientifically trained political officials engaging in the legitimate conduct, management, communication and use of science from political officials inappropriately breaching scientific integrity because of political motivations.'

They also 'concurred' with 'the recommendations that [HHS] should ensure that procedures for reporting and addressing potential political interference in scientific decision-making are developed and documented.'

It agreed that employees should be 'trained on how to report allegations of inappropriate political interference in scientific decision-making'.

It follows a report from the GAO in February which branded the HHS — that all four agencies sit under — as 'high risk'.

They warned of a 'lack of leadership and preparedness' in the department for dealing with either Covid or the zika virus outbreak, alongside natural disasters such as hurricanes and wild fires.

The HHS is at risk of financial waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement and other major shortcomings at times when it is required, they said.




Thursday, April 28, 2022

Officials approve a Covid drug that does not work

“I am glad for Gilead as well.”

That was Dr. Clifford Lane, a deputy to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) boss Dr. Anthony Fauci, in an April 29, 2020 response to Tomas Cihlar, a senior vice president at the pharmaceutical company Gilead, developer of the drug remdesivir.

As the Epoch Times reports, recently revealed emails show Fauci and NIAID officials “scrambled in April 2020 to answer questions about altering the endpoint” in a trial of remdesivir. Once the drug was declared the new standard of care for COVID-19, as Forbes reported, Gilead’s stock surged more than 16 percent in overnight trading.

Cihlar and Lane had reason to be glad over what Fauci called “quite good news.” In its press release on remdesivir, also known as Veklury, Gilead claims that its FDA-approved drug “can help reduce disease progression across a spectrum of disease severity and enable hospitalized patients to recover faster, freeing up limited hospital resources and saving healthcare systems money.”

Scientific and medical journals were skeptical, to say the least.

As Jon Cohen and Kai Kupferschmidt noted in Science magazine, the European Union cut a deal in October 2020 with Gilead potentially worth $1 billion. Later that month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made remdesivir the first drug to receive approved status for COVID treatment.

The European Union settled on remdesivir pricing—$2,400 for a full course—one week before the Solidarity trial, and was unaware of the results. For its part, the Science authors charge, Gilead “knew the trial was a bust.” That didn’t sit well with Scripps Institute cardiologist Eric Topol.

“This is a very, very bad look for the FDA,” Topol told Science, “and the dealings between Gilead and EU make it another layer of badness.” The EU and American decisions, the Science authors noted, “baffled scientists who have closely watched the clinical trials of remdesivir unfold over the past six months—and who have many questions about remdesivir’s worth.”

One study found that remdesivir “modestly reduced the time to recover from COVID-19 in hospitalized patients with severe illness.” Other studies found remdesivir to have “no impact of treatment on the disease whatsoever.” The fourth and largest study, by the World Health Organization, “showed that remdesivir does not reduce mortality or the time COVID-19 patients take to recover.”

The Science authors cite Jason Pogue of the University of Michigan, president of the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists, that the FDA should not have approved remdesivir. There is not enough evidence that remdesivir works and “more questions than answers about the efficacy of remdesivir in hospitalized patients.”

Gary Schwitzer, publisher of HealthNewsReview.Org, found Fauci’s announcement of remdesivir as the standard of care “troubling.” Schwitzer also cited Dr. Eric Topol, who was “unimpressed” by the Gilead drug. As Schwitzer pointed out, “the primary endpoints or outcomes were shifted by the researchers in the NIH trial” (emphasis added). In the middle of that trial, the endpoint was changed from measuring the effectiveness against death and various forms of hospitalization on day 15 to time to recovery through day 29.

For the general public, Schwitzer wrote, “this is somewhat akin to the football field being shrunk so that the goal line is not 100 yards away but only 50 yards away—after the game has already begun.” And it was only after scientists and journalists pointed to evidence that the goalposts had been moved “that any public discussion or explanation was made by the researchers.”

It was this shift that Fauci and his aides scrambled to answer. In his public statement in April 2020, Fauci said the trial results proved remdesivir “can block the virus” that causes COVID-19, but the NIAID boss didn’t mention the change in endpoint. If anybody thought Fauci was rigging the trial to get the outcome he and Gilead wanted, it would be hard to blame them. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

Fauci’s favored treatment for AIDS was AZT (azidothymidine) marketed as Zidovudine. This DNA chain terminator is highly toxic and does not prevent or cure AIDS. Even so, in 1987, the FDA approved AZT at lightning speed, which disturbed molecular biologist Harvey Bialy, then scientific editor of Biotechnology.

“I can’t see how this drug could be doing anything other than making people very sick,” Bialy said. On the other hand, AZT was making some people very rich. At a price of $8,000 per patient per year, AZT was the most expensive drug ever marketed at the time. After FDA approval, Burroughs Wellcome stock went through the roof.

Fauci’s NIAID funded trials of AZT and other dangerous drugs on foster children in New York, nearly all of them African American or Latino. The BBC told the story in the 2004 documentary Guinea Pig Kids. According to one nurse, some 80 children died in the experiments. (For further reading, see Poison by Prescription: The AZT Story, by John Lauritsen.)

Cohen and Kupferschmidt cite a disproportionately high number of liver and kidney problems in patients receiving remdesivir, compared to other drugs. In The Real Anthony Fauci, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. cites the “toxicity” of remdesivir, Fauci’s “vanity drug.” Remdesivir shows “no clinical efficiency” against COVID, but at approximately $3,000 per treatment, remdesivir is much more expensive than either hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, treatments that Fauci opposes.

As Kennedy explains, Fauci’s deputy Cliff Lane co-chaired the NIH treatment guidelines panel that supervised the remdesivir trials and stood to share in the patent rewards. So Lane was “doubly conflicted.”

“I am glad for Gilead as well,” Lane told Gilead boss Tomas Cihlar in April 2020. As the Epoch Times noted, “the first part of Lane’s response was redacted,” like other NIAID emails obtained by a FOIA request. Whitecoat supremacists enjoy protection from disclosure, on top of their vast power and privilege.

Meanwhile, as the prophet said, “is there no balm in Gilead?” Not this time, but there is a great deal of money. As Brian Robertson recently explained, “following the money has been the key to uncovering the corruption surrounding COVID-19; now it may be the key to providing a solution to it.”


White House announces new steps to make COVID-19 oral antivirals easier to access

The Biden administration announced new actions it intends to take to expand the country’s infrastructure for testing and treating the coronavirus, including making oral antivirals and preventative options easier to access for everyday Americans.

Senior administration officials at the White House discussed new steps Monday to ramp up distribution capacity, which included nearly doubling the number of places oral antivirals are available, and the new installation of federally-supported test-to-treat sites.

This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. U.S. health regulators on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus. (Pfizer via AP)
This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. U.S. health regulators on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus. (Pfizer via AP) (Pfizer via AP)

"These actions will help strengthen and further build the infrastructure to ensure that lifesaving treatments for COVID-19 are quickly distributed around the country, widely available and easy to access," the officials said.

"To date, the administration has worked with pharmacies, long-term care facilities, community health centers, and other health care settings to establish more than 2,200 tests-to-treat sites around the country, including sites specifically for military families and veterans," the White House added. "As a result, usage of oral antivirals has more than doubled over the last several weeks. But more is needed to make these treatments even easier to access and make sure health care providers and patients know about their safety, efficacy and availability."

The White House also specified its intention to support medical providers with more guidance and tools to understand and prescribe treatments, and to communicate these new safe treatment options to the American people.

First on the Biden administration’s agenda is to nearly double the places where oral antivirals can be accessed, a process which could take several weeks.

"Starting this week, the administration will allow all pharmacy partners in the federal antivirals pharmacy program representing tens of thousands of pharmacy locations nationwide to order free antiviral treatments directly from the federal government," officials said.

These pharmaceutical drugs will soon be available in more than 30,000 locations, a number the administration hopes to swell to 40,000 through a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and its pharmacy partners, it said.

One specific oral antiviral the administration is looking to swiftly move into circulation is Pfizer’s pill Paxlovid.

The administration described the pill as "the most effective available treatment… which has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by about 90%."

"The U.S. has committed to purchase 20 million treatment courses—more than any other country in the world," it added.

Next, the Biden administration also intends to expand federally-supported COVID-19 tests-to-treat sites, working alongside state governments, local health agencies, and their respective jurisdictions to ensure wide availability.

"These sites will be targeted to meet demand and increase equitable access to lifesaving COVID-19 treatment and will function in direct collaboration with state and local health agencies," officials said.

Lastly, the administration intends to keep healthcare providers across the country informed on the latest effective prescription of COVID-19 treatments, as well as patient side effects and risk factors.

"The administration has been working for months with health care providers around the country to inform them about new treatments with weekly webinars, with state and territorial health officials, health care and medical organizations," the White House said. "The administration will continue actively engaging the clinical community to broaden awareness and understanding of these treatments and to make sure that health care providers are counseling their patients about these effective treatments, prescribing them when appropriate and helping patients identify where their prescription can be filled."

These additional measures, however, will require securing additional funding from Congress, the administration said.




Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Site down

As most readers here will be aware, I put up 6 blogs 6 times a week. Most of my posts I put up without comment from me. They are simply my selection of good recent posts by others that I agree with or find interesting.

Sometimes, however, I add a substantial comment of my own to an article that I put up. I do that in the form of a comment added to the beginning of an article.

So that readers will not have to look up 6 posts to see my current personal comments, however, I draw together those articles that have my comments added onto a separate "summary" blog, called THE PSYCHOLOGIST. That blog has now been blocked, by whom and for how long I do not know. I have therefore now transferred operations to a new summary blog, also called The Psychologist.


Some Vaccine Injured Getting Better While Others See Little Improvement

Some people who experienced adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are recovering from their injuries after spending months working to find treatments, though others have seen little improvement.

Dr. Danice Hertz, who was diagnosed with an adverse reaction to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, has had ups and downs since getting the jab in December 2020. During one of the more recent stretches, she was “constantly in horrible pain.”

That changed in February, when she began infusions of immunoglobulin, or antibodies, a type of protein that helps protect the immune system.

“That’s what my doctor recommended, and it’s really helped me,” Hertz, a retired gastroenterologist who lives in California, told The Epoch Times. “I would say it’s at least 50 percent improvement, maybe a little more than that.”

The drug is being covered by Medicare, as Hertz recently turned 65.

Hertz isn’t the only person to have responded well to immunoglobulin, which can be administered intravenously (IVIG) or subcutaneously (SCIg).

Brianne Dressen, who suffered severe neurological problems after getting AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 4, 2020, was advised by an expert in Germany to try the drug.

The expert also said two other treatments could work: rituximab, a monoclonal antibody typically used to treat autoimmune diseases, or plasmapheresis, an elaborate process that involves removing blood from a patient, separating the plasma, and returning it to the same patient.

The recommendations eventually led to Dressen getting IVIG at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland in June 2021.

“IVIG and plasmapheresis are standard treatments for immune-mediated neurological diseases where an underlying immune process is suspected and acute in nature,” Dr. Avindra Nath, a senior investigator at the agency and part of the team that treated Dressen, told The Epoch Times via email.

Nath has said he believes side effects following vaccination are immune-mediated, or the result of an irregular response by a person’s immune system, and that treatment with therapies that modulate the immune system may be the best approach to resolving the issues.

Dressen felt better after receiving IVIG. But the Utah resident saw her heart rate shoot back up and other symptoms return after flying home.

She tried to obtain the treatment locally. IVIG is expensive and difficult to get in the United States.

Dressen was eventually administered the treatment as a test of effectiveness. It sent her heart rate down again. That convinced her health insurance to cover the treatment and doctors to give it regularly.

“It’s helping a lot,” Dressen, who helped start React19, a nonprofit that aims to offer support for people suffering from lingering effects that stem from adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, told The Epoch Times.

“There’s people in our group that, obviously, they can’t get it, there’s no access to it,” she added. “Those are the ones that are like ‘I just want to die, I can’t do this anymore’ because they’re being tortured all the time. That’s really sad.”

Over 807,000 people in the United States have experienced side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines, according to reports submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a federally-run passive reporting system. Some reactions are minor, but not all. Some are reported to have led to death; others to debilitating disabilities.

Patients looking for treatments for vaccine injuries have often run into difficulties. They typically have to see multiple specialists, who can be reluctant to link any conditions with a vaccine. In the end, many of the drugs prescribed prove ineffective.

A lack of federal guidance on treatments for serious vaccine reactions has left some patients disheartened. They feel that’s had a chilling effect on doctors, and contributed to problems getting insurance to cover treatments like immunoglobulin.

Seeking more information, patients have formed groups like React19, usually connecting through the internet. Peers have helped collect studies, patient reports, and other information regarding possible treatments for dissemination. A small number of researchers are studying the problems and potential solutions.

Kristi Dobbs saw her immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels plunge after suffering what was diagnosed as an allergic reaction to Pfizer’s vaccine in early 2021. She dealt with symptoms like nerve pain, heart palpitations, and seizures.

The symptoms eased after she saw a functional medicine doctor, who concluded Dobbs had mast cell activation syndrome—a common diagnosis for people who suffer adverse reactions to the vaccines—and prescribed supplements and a dramatic dietary change, advising his patient to cut out dairy, gluten, and sugar, and minimize histamine.

But the IgG levels remained low, and some symptoms lingered, prompting the Missouri resident to seek SCIg, which helps replenish the antibodies.

Dobbs received a letter in the mail in April from her insurer saying the company had decided to cover the treatment. But days later, the insurer said the request was being denied because it was not deemed medically necessary.

“Needless to say, I am sad, mad, confused, and most of all let-down, due to the fact that I have advocated to prove my vaccine injury for so long, and I finally have all the tests to prove my injury and then the door to health is slammed in my face,” Dobbs, of Missouri, told The Epoch Times in an email.

Dobbs was in contact with NIH scientists, including one who said she had a “vaccine reaction,” according to emails reviewed by The Epoch Times. They said she was likely suffering from immune-mediated small fiber neuropathy, a neurological disorder, and/or nerve dysfunction, with steroids or IVIG being the best treatments.

Dobbs feels she was let down by the government, a common theme among the vaccine injured.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the NIH, has confirmed it treated about 10 patients with suspected or confirmed vaccine reactions. It has said it submitted a paper with the details of the workups, but that paper has not yet been published.

Asked what treatments he’d recommend to those with vaccine reactions, Nath, the clinical director of the institute, declined to answer. “It will require clinical trials to identify the best modes of treatment,” he said.

The government has been conducting trials of certain issues triggered by the vaccines, including allergic reactions.

Immunoglobulin Helps, at Least for Some

Immunoglobulin is perhaps the most promising treatment for vaccine injuries. They have been used in the past to treat neurological problems such as Guillain-Barre syndrome as well as blood clotting, two known post-vaccination issues.

The therapy “is used in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases,” researchers wrote in 2015, reporting that the treatment was becoming more expensive and shortages were appearing.

The pooled antibodies are believed to work by neutralizing anti-PF4 antibodies, which cause clotting, among other mechanisms.

Case studies indicate that immunoglobulin performs well against vaccine injuries, including clotting.

Dr. Masatoshi Inoue, of Tajimi Hospital in Japan, treated a middle-aged woman who was diagnosed with SCLS, a rare syndrome, after receiving Pfizer’s shot, with IVIG. The treatment appeared to help initially, Inoue and colleagues reported. The woman had to stop the treatment due to financial reasons but after she returned to the hospital with generalized malaise and elevated hemoglobin levels, more IVIG improved the symptoms, Inoue told The Epoch Times in an email.

“We believe IVIG is effective for SCLS,” Inoue said. At the same time, “We have not seen indications that IVIG worked well against other health issues recorded following COVID-19 vaccination.”

The drug is one that helps recalibrate the immune system, which is needed after reactions, Dressen said.

Her heart rate was normal when she got vaccinated as part of a clinical trial but shot up afterwards, according to Apple Watch data. The first time she received a five-day course of IVIG, her heart rate dropped. It dropped again after she started receiving the treatment regularly.

Still, what works for some has not worked for all patients who have received it. And immunoglobulin has side effects, such as headache, fever, and blood clotting.

“There’s still a high-risk profile. And that’s what’s really unfortunate with all of the treatments that are available to us, is all of them have very dangerous side effects that accompany the medication,” Dressen said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which describes itself as the nation’s health protection agency, primarily in its messaging promotes vaccination, with little focus on side effects. Serious reactions are repeatedly described as rare, even afflictions seen at higher rates following vaccination than with COVID-19 infection. The agency did not respond to a request for comment for this article, nor did the Food and Drug Administration, which authorized the shots. Pfizer and Moderna have not returned inquiries regarding side effects.

‘A Roller Coaster’

In a recently completed survey of 508 React19 members, just 35 percent said they’ve been getting better over the past six to eight months. The most common answer, when asked what was helping with symptoms, was time, followed by rest, supplements, and gentle exercise.

IVIG was listed, but only by three people. Steroids, the antiparasitic drug ivermectin, antihistamines, and the nerve pain drug gabapentin were also named by some.

About 15 percent of respondents said they were getting worse; the rest said they were not getting better or were “staying the same.”

Nikki Holland, who suffered a suspected vaccine reaction, hasn’t experienced a breakthrough for a while. She was in and out of hospitals in 2021 with symptoms including difficulty breathing. Holland, who has also experienced neurological issues, had not heard of IVIG.

Many patients who have improved still deal with a variety of symptoms.

Skylar Bush, an Oregon resident who was diagnosed with a severe allergic reaction to Moderna’s vaccine after receiving the shot in April 2021, has dealt with lingering symptoms like dizziness to this day.

What has helped Bush the most was electric shock therapy involving low levels of shock while the patient is doing muscle movements, vision therapy, a good diet, and meditation. “No silver bullets yet, though,” Bush told The Epoch Times.

Depression has set in at times, especially when symptoms surge back. “There’s only so much your mind can take, so I think I’ll start to see a psychologist soon,” Bush said.




Tuesday, April 26, 2022

BA.2.12.1: New Omicron sub-variant on the rise across US as first cases detected in UK

BA.2.12.1 currently accounts for roughly 1 in 5 new cases in America, though BA.2 still remains dominant

A new Omicron sub-variant, thought to be the most infectious yet, is becoming more prevalent in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

BA.2.12.1, which is estimated to be 23 to 27 percent more transmissible than its predecessor, BA.2, currently accounts for roughly 1 in 5 new cases across America.

The variant is fuelling a resurgence in Covid cases seen in upstate New York, the State Department of Health reported last week.

“BA.2.12.1 has increased rapidly in proportion in the US compared to other BA.2 sublineages,” especially in the region that includes New York and New Jersey, CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund told CNN.

Five cases of BA.2.12.1 have also been detected in the UK. Covid Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK), which monitors the spread of new strains in Britain, says the variant was first picked up on 23 March.

The variant has also been spotted in Australia, Israel, Denmark and Austria.

There’s no evidence to suggest that BA.2.12.1 causes more severe disease than the original Omicron variant and its various spin-offs.

The majority of cases in the US — around 75 percent — are still caused by BA.2, which has been the country's dominant variant since late March.

It’s unclear whether BA.2.12.1 is spreading more quickly than other Omicron sub-variants because it is more contagious or better at evading the body’s immunological defences.

The variant has acquired one mutation of particular interest, called L452Q, in its spike protein — the part of the virus responsible for binding and gaining entry to human cells.

“We're now starting to see the evolution of new potentially impactful sublineages of Omicron,” tweeted Trevor Bedford, a virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.


Masks and the Lack of Trust in the CDC

After a federal judge ruled that the Biden administration’s mask mandates violate federal law, organizations rushed to declare that they no longer required them to be worn, despite the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) continued recommendation that people wear them.

All the major airlines said they would no longer ask people to wear them. Uber sent out emails saying they no longer require drivers or passengers to wear them. Even the TSA, a federal agency, said it would no longer be enforcing the CDC’s recommendation.

The judge said in the ruling that she was not passing judgment on whether wearing masks was an effective way to reduce the transmission of disease, only that the mandate went beyond the administration’s legal authority.

The reaction to this ruling shows the lack of trust people have in the CDC’s public health advice. The ruling didn’t say masks were not effective, and airlines, Uber, etc., could have continued advising people to wear them even absent the legal requirement. But they didn’t. The reaction to the court ruling shows the widespread lack of public trust in the CDC and the Biden administration.

Before the ruling, people wore masks because they were forced. If you didn’t wear your mask, you would be pulled from your flight and possibly barred from future flights. People were not wearing masks because they thought it was a good idea to protect their health.

I’ve done a fair amount of travel in the past few weeks, to South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Nevada, and I observed that the only place where people wore masks was airports. Sure, a few people wore them in other areas, but the vast majority did not. People were already disregarding the CDC’s advice when they could get away with it.

The CDC might be right, so I’m not passing judgment on whether their advice to mask up is medically sound. I’m observing that most people don’t trust the CDC’s advice, and when they have a choice, they choose to disregard it (with regard to masks, anyway).

Government authority is undermined when people don’t trust the government. Perhaps the widespread disregard of the CDC’s public health advice is a good sign. People will think for themselves and make their own decisions rather than uncritically doing what the government tells them they should do.




Monday, April 25, 2022


I am still pretty disabled due to the pain from a cracked rib but I can do a bit of blogging so I have decided to revive my Immigration Watch blog. So go there and have a look.  Immigration is such a big issue at the moment that I should have plenty to post.