Friday, September 30, 2022

Does Vitamin D help with Covid?

YOU CAN’T LIVE without vitamins; that’s an absolute no. These macronutrients are the grease to our gears, making sure all our bodily systems are running and operating in mint condition. A deficiency in any one of the essential 13 vitamins can lead to a whole host of health problems, sickness, and possibly death.

During the pandemic, there was one vitamin in particular — vitamin D — that received quite a hullabaloo as a potential therapeutic agent against Covid-19. This was in due part to vitamin D’s influence on the immune system and being potentially protective against respiratory infections based on past research. Notably, when then-President Donald Trump got the coronavirus, his physician revealed that along with a course of the antiviral drug remdesivir and antibody cocktail Regeneron, Trump’s treatment regimen included a vitamin D supplement.

But there’s been a lot of back and forth over whether supplementing with vitamin D actually helps make Covid-19 less severe or even prevents the disease to begin with. And according to two studies published this month in the British Medical Journal, it might not. The two papers, one conducted in the U.K. and the other in Norway, found that vitamin D supplements did not appear to protect against catching Covid-19 or other respiratory tract infections. These findings aren’t a definitive answer to the vitamin D-coronavirus question — both studies have limitations which we’ll get into. But they do raise the importance of continuing research into finding easy-to-implement solutions to keep the spiky virus at bay.

HERE’S THE BACKGROUND — Vitamin D belongs to a group of fat-soluble vitamins, meaning these nutrients are better absorbed when you eat high-fat foods and are stored in adipose tissue, the liver, and skeletal muscles. Because fat-soluble vitamins stay in the body much longer than water-soluble vitamins that need regular replacement, for the most part, you can have too much of a good thing (aka toxicity) when these vitamins are consumed in excessive amounts.

The human body naturally produces vitamin D (which comes in many forms) after we’re hit with some feel-good sunbeams. The exact mechanism involves ultraviolet B (UVB) energy converting cholesterol, which is abundant in the skin, into an active form of the vitamin called vitamin D2. Dietary supplements come in vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. The latter is slightly more active, therefore more effective, and what most clinicians recommend.

Vitamin D is best known for its role in keeping bones healthy by helping us absorb calcium and phosphate during digestion (thereby preventing osteoporosis). As for its role in immune health, which is where its influence on Covid-19 infection comes in, some studies have shown taking a supplement regularly may prevent autoimmune diseases and metastatic or fatal cancers. Other studies have found that vitamin D may quell inflammation, which may be the link between the vitamin and Covid-19. Additionally, this association appeared to carry some weight as scientists observed high rates of vitamin D deficiency running in tandem with severe Covid-19, especially in Black and Hispanic communities where such a deficiency is highest.

WHAT THEY DID — In the U.K. and Norwegian study, the aim was straightforward: To see if vitamin D, whether as a vitamin D3 supplement or fortified in a teaspoon of cod liver, could prevent Covid-19 infection.

Researchers led by the University of London conducted a phase three randomized, controlled trial enrolling 6,200 volunteers ages 16 years and older from a much larger research cohort called COVIDENCE UK and tested their vitamin D levels. Anyone who had insufficient concentrations of the vitamin in their blood, determined through a finger prick test and defined as less than 75 nanograms per deciliter, was given either a high (3,200 international units per day) or low (800 international units per day) dose of vitamin D3. These individuals, who were mostly women in their 60s, were followed for six months from December 2020 to June 2021.

Up north in Scandinavia, researchers led by a team at Oslo University gave over 34,000 Norwegians aged 18 to 75 years five milliliters of cod liver oil daily (containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D) or a placebo in the form of corn oil. The participants, also mostly women but trending younger (around 45 years old) were followed up for six months as well from November 2020 to June 2021.

WHAT THEY FOUND — Neither study found vitamin D made a dramatic difference in the number of Covid-19 infections, serious illness (including hospitalizations and any deaths), or other respiratory tract infections between the controls and those taking the vitamin in whichever form.

"Among people aged 16 years and older with a high baseline prevalence of suboptimal vitamin D status, implementation of a population level test-and-treat approach to vitamin D supplementation was not associated with a reduction in risk of all cause acute respiratory tract infection or Covid-19," authors of the UK study wrote.

“Daily supplementation with cod liver oil, a low dose vitamin D, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid supplement, for six months during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic among Norwegian adults, did not reduce the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, serious Covid-19, or other acute respiratory infections,” the Norwegian researchers wrote in their study.

DIGGING INTO THE DETAILS — Before you go off and chuck your bottle of Nature Made’s D3 in the nearest trash, these two studies do have a number of limitations, the most glaring being vaccination.

In an accompanying editorial, Peter Bergman, a physician and clinical researcher in Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, who was not involved in either study, said having a sizable number of people already vaccinated (over 35 percent in the Norway study) or undergoing vaccination (from one percent to 89 percent in the U.K. study) may have masked any protective effects of vitamin D.

There’s also the issue of representation in either study. In the UK study, “men, people from ethnic minorities, and those with lower educational attainment were relatively under-represented compared with the general population,” the study authors wrote, thereby affecting the generalizability of their findings.

While the Norwegian study was quite large with over 34,000 participants, most were women, “relatively young and healthy, and 86.3 percent had adequate vitamin D levels… at baseline,” said Bergman. And the fact that cod liver was used, which contains large amounts of vitamin A, also means vitamin D’s ability to regulate the immune system could have been interfered with.

WHAT’S NEXT — While these two studies don’t suggest you forgo vitamin D outright (because you definitely need it for your health and well-being), it’s no substitute for Covid-19 vaccination, at least in individuals with normal levels of the vitamin.

“Importantly, these new trials remain compatible with the two large meta-analyses suggesting that vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for vitamin D deficient individuals,” wrote Bergman, who also recommended certain groups at risk for low vitamin D, such as those with darker skin, pregnant women, and the elderly with chronic disease consult their physician before supplementing.


Pfizer Covid vaccine caused 'debilitating' lesions om her tongue that left 60-year-old woman unable to eat for months

A 60-year-old woman suffered 'debilitating' lesions on her tongue after receiving Pfizer's Covid vaccine – with each shot making her symptoms worse.

Her side effects, which also included a dry mouth and inflammation, were so painful she was left unable to eat.

Doctors struggled to find the culprit for nine months, during which she lost 17 pounds (8kg).

By the time she was finally diagnosed, her swollen tongue had began to split open leaving deep, agonizing sores.

She was diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome, a condition that sees the immune system go haywire and damage healthy parts of the body. Her symptoms were finally cured with a six-week course of topical steroids.

Doctors chronicled the rare side effect in a report published last month in the American Journal of Case Reports.

The unidentified patient, from Australia, received three vaccine doses in total – two of which formed the initial course, as well as a single booster.

Similar symptoms were also documented in patients infected with coronavirus, which led to the condition being dubbed 'Covid tongue'.

Oral sores are not a new phenomenon after a vaccine and have been spotted in people following flu, hepatitis B and papillomavirus jabs.

But only a handful of cases have been reported after Covid vaccines, despite billions of doses being administered worldwide.

The unnamed patient developed sores in her mouth about three days after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Her symptoms had partially abated before she received the second dose, after which the symptoms returned still more severely.

She underwent a cadre of blood tests to rule out other diagnoses such as HPV and other infections.

She was referred to an outpatient rheumatology clinic with suspected Sjogren syndrome, an autoimmune disease which causes the immune system to attack glands that produce moisture in the eyes, mouth, and other parts of the body.

Doctors first prescribed a topical version of clonazepam, a benzodiazepine that when ingested orally, can treat burning mouth syndrome.

When that did little to alleviate her symptoms, doctors prescribed an oral steroid which caused symptoms to improve 60 per cent, but treatment stopped because it was causing the woman abdominal pain.

Doctors finally settled on a lower dose topical iteration of the steroids dissolved in water and taken consistently for about six weeks until symptoms abated.

The condition was not easily diagnosed and doctors were puzzled at first. While oral symptoms can be associated with the Pfizer vaccine, they are uncommon and likely under recognized by providers who do not specialize in oral healthcare.

Writing in the journal, the doctors said: 'A subsequent review of the timeline of history and medications, including vaccinations, identified a clear relationship between the exacerbation of oral symptoms after each [Pfizer-BioNTech] vaccination.'

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) database for Covid vaccine side effects does not include oral symptoms.

A major caveat is that reporting the adverse effects is voluntary and therefore cases may be underreported.

'This case demonstrates that oral symptoms can be associated with BNT162b2 vaccination, which is likely under-recognized by practitioners outside the field of oral health,' the doctors said in the case study.




Thursday, September 29, 2022

We need to talk about "excess deaths"

Have both the vaccines and the lockdowns done long-term harm?

The Scottish Covid Recovery Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the cause of excess deaths. Data shows that the number of deaths in Scotland have been well above the 5-year average for most of the time since the pandemic began. Curiously, excess death figures far exceed those accounted for by Covid.

This long spate of unexpected deaths is highlighted by the recent passing of a notable Scottish athlete, 37-year-old Rab Wardell. He died from an apparent cardiac arrest while lying in bed next to his partner, Olympic champion Katie Archibald, two days after winning a Scottish mountain bike title.

Excess deaths are not only limited to Scotland – they have been noted around the globe.

While the death toll from Covid reached 5.94 million at the end of 2021, the WHO estimate excess deaths within the same time frame at around 15 million. A systematic analysis in The Lancet of deaths from around the world during 2020-21 put the figure of excess deaths at 18.2 million. This matches the model built by The Economist, which also suggests that the total excess deaths are over three times that accounted for by Covid. But most countries are (inconceivably) not actively investigating the causes of this mysterious mass death event.

What’s alarming is that excess deaths are increasing, even as Covid wanes.

If normal patterns were followed, the large number of excess deaths among the elderly, who are by far the most vulnerable to Covid, would have peaked in the first two years of the pandemic and then fallen to below-average levels in 2022 to compensate (as happens in bad flu seasons). However, excess deaths remain statistically higher than average for the elderly.

Excess deaths are also increasing in the young, again strongly suggesting that this is occurring for reasons other than Covid given the extremely low mortality rate for those under 40. The Telegraph reported on August 18 that, for the past 14 out of 15 weeks in England and Wales, there have been an average of 1,000 excess deaths each week, none of which were due to Covid.

There are various hypotheses to explain excess deaths.

From the early days of lockdowns, many warned of the negative consequences of such a blunt, draconian, and myopic strategy including the scientists from Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford universities who drafted the 2020 Great Barrington Declaration and the tens of thousands of medical scientists and practitioners who have signed it.

Their concerns have sadly materialised. In America, deaths from drug overdose broke records in 2020 and 2021. They will likely do so again in 2022. In the UK and America, deaths from alcohol abuse increased by almost 19 per cent and 25.5 per cent, respectively. Youth suicide noticeably increased during the pandemic in the America, while a survey in Victoria found that nearly 10 per cent of Victorians, or some 600,000 people, seriously considered suicide during the height of the extended 2020 lockdown.

Furthermore, as I have written previously, the pandemic response has resulted in dramatic reductions in people seeking medical care for other deadly illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, leading to predictably protracted and elevated deaths from chronic illnesses that went undiagnosed and untreated, the debt of which will continue to manifest for years. Ironically, multiple studies have found no evidence that lockdowns reduced Covid deaths.

Another factor that has been little spoken about is mass vaccinations. This, dare we say it, unprecedented event needs to be considered in order to explain excess youth deaths.

A JAMA study that examined the data of over 192 million people in America who took the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) found that the risk of myocarditis after receiving these vaccines was increased, especially in adolescent males.

An earlier JAMA study found that among the more than 2 million people in America who took mRNA vaccines, cases of pericarditis were even more numerous after vaccination than myocarditis.

A JAMA Cardiology study, examining more than 23 million people in four Nordic countries, also found increased risks of myocarditis and pericarditis after mRNA vaccines, particularly in young males and especially after the second dose.

A recent paper in Circulation that examined more than 42 million people in England found that for men under the age of 40, the second dose of Moderna vaccine was associated with much higher incidents of myocarditis than SARS-CoV-2 infection itself.

Although the mechanism of how vaccines may be causing myocarditis remains unclear, a similar phenomenon had been described following smallpox vaccination in young people.

While the absolute numbers are fairly small, this phenomenon might well contribute to the sharp rise in the number of unexplained deaths among young athletes, which is a pattern seen globally across multiple sporting industries.

The negative effects of vaccines are not limited to inflammation of the heart. A thorough 2021 analysis of the Phase III trial data from Pfizer, Moderna, and Jansen vaccines concluded that they may have caused more negative side effects than having done good. The German Ministry of Health recently released a statement that the reporting rate of severe adverse reactions after a Covid vaccination in Germany was one in every 5,000 doses. Given most people have had at least two doses, the risk of severe adverse reaction is conceivably higher than one in every 2,000 vaccinated people.

Even for Covid itself, the vaccines may have negative effects. A September New England Journal of Medicine study found that in children between 5-11 years of age, the vaccines gave only temporary protection which then became negative within months (meaning that the vaccinated become more likely to be infected than the unvaccinated), whereas natural immunity from previous infection still offered around 50 per cent protection after a year. This begs the question, is the haphazard vaccination of children increasing their vulnerability to Covid?

The cultural tide regarding transparent analysis and public debate about vaccine adverse effects seems to be turning, while adult-like discussion has only recently become possible.

The former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson, who questioned the glowing vaccine PR in the early days of mass vaccine rollout, was banned from Twitter. He sued and won, as many of his criticisms and doubts have been shown to be accurate. What is most concerning is that the lawsuit revealed that the White House had pressured Twitter into banning Berenson, effectively curtailing journalistic inquiry into an issue affecting the entire human species. And Bereson is by no means the only one that had faced censorship.

If leaders around the world were willing to unscrupulously and severely disrupt the lives and livelihoods of billions of people for a virus that has killed 6.5 million people over two and a half years (for context, over 60 million people die each year), they are morally and ethically bound to at least investigate the causes of excess deaths that are three times as numerous, especially if some of the causes are likely the results of Covid policies. By the same token, those in leadership positions who had censored free inquiry, discussion, and debate during the pandemic should face serious scrutiny and consequences.


California surgeon slams state's 'destructive' bill that would punish doctors for COVID 'misinformation'

A California surgeon spoke out Tuesday against a state bill that would punish doctors for spreading COVID-19 "misinformation" on key issues, including vaccinations and medications.

Dr. Peter Mazolewski, a board-certified general surgeon, ripped the proposal that now sits on Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk after legislative approval, telling host Dana Perino that the policy could be "destructive" and "dangerous."

"It'll be dangerous to patient care, it'll be destructive in the sense that there will be no scientific progression," he said on "America's Newsroom" Tuesday.

Mazolewski warned that the bill could also establish a "dangerous" precedent for similar bills to come, particularly for those concerning other medical conditions.

He added that the repercussions of restrictive medical information laws could be disastrous, creating a mass exodus from the industry across the state.

"We all know that there's been contemporary scientific consensus regarding COVID that has been wrong. It has actually been refuted partially and fully," he said.

"We can go back to many issues: One percent mortality, closing schools is healthy for our children, wearing masks helps prevent the dissemination, [if you get] vaccines you won't get ill at all, vaccines won't allow for transmission of disease. We know all of these have been refuted," he added.

Mazolewski said California medical boards would be empowered to determine appropriate punishments for doctors who commit relevant offenses.

In a joint Fox News op-ed, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Dr. Pierre Kory urged Newsom to "kill this terrible bill and prevent a hostile takeover of medicine by oppressive government censors."


Record Deaths in Australia from COVID-19 Despite 96.4% of 16+ Fully Vaxxed

Despite the fact that the population of Australia is nearly universally vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, TrialSite has reported that record numbers of deaths accumulated at the beginning of 2022. This is despite the universal protection of the vaccine. Yet breakthrough infections led to growing numbers of deaths in the most at-risk cohorts such as the elderly.

Now, mainstream media starts to acknowledge the trend. Recently, the Sydney Morning Herald reports in “COVID complications Push Australian deaths to highest number in 40 years,” that based on an analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics population data that total deaths nationwide are 18% higher in the quarter when compared to the prior year, rising from 36,100 to 46,200 deaths.

Labeled as “COVID-19’s hidden impact,” more people have died in Australia in the March quarter than any time in the last 41 years. Half the deaths in this period were from COVID despite an overwhelming vaccination rate.

Australia is one of the most vaccinated populations in the world against COVID-19 yet as TrialSite reported earlier this year has experienced unprecedented pandemic related deaths. Does this trend evidence a failure of the COVID-19 vaccines?




Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Personality Typology in the Health Field

The article excerpted below is "deja vu all over again" for me. It starts out with a respectful mention of the old "type A" hypothesis about what personality type is most associated with heart disease. That shows how slow people are to learn from the evidence. The association between Type A personality and heart disease is simply not usually found. The hypothesis is a failed one. The measure used to detect a Type A was the JAS, which is psychometrically ludicrous, so its repeated failure to give the expected prediction is no surprise.

I did rather a lot of original research on the topic in the '80s, which you can find here

Bsically, all the "types" associated with cancer and heart disease suffered from over-inclusiveness. They combined into one several different personality traits. And if you de-confounded the set of traits you got better results.

I found, for instance, in my research that if you took just one of the components of Type A, which I called "freneticsm" you got both a more unidimensional trait and one which DID predict heart disease to some degree. The items of the new Freneticism scale are here

I am not aware of any follow-up on that by other authors but that is typical of the field. Nobody ever seems to learn anything from the overall body of research. Exciting bits are all that get attention

The most persuasive paper on personality and heart disease is probably the one by Eysenck, wherein he summarises the results of his collaboration with Grossarth-Maticek. At least some of Grossarth-Maticek's measures were however also rather poor psychometrically so some reservations about the results have to be held.

Temoshok and her colleagues expanded on Friedman and Rosenman’s idea of a “Type C” behavior pattern. Whereas Type B is the absence of Type A characteristics, they proposed that the Type C behavior pattern was constructed to be the polar opposite of Type A. These were hypothesized to exist on a spectrum, with Type A on one end, and Type C on the other.

According to Temsok and her colleagues, people conforming to a Type C behavior pattern are characterized as cooperative, patient, and unassertive. They suppress negative emotions, including anger, and comply with authorities. They may also feel helpless, hopeless, and with tendencies toward depression.

People with Type C personalities have a number of strengths. They are typically calm with a consistent and controlled demeanor. They tend to be creative and cooperate easily with others. They can be dedicated to their projects, helpful, and thoughtful about planning for the future.

However, they can also be resistant to conflict, which can sometimes turn into emotional repression. They can also be prone to perfectionism, anxiety, pessimism, or even depression. They have a tendency to defer their own needs to the needs of others.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a Type C personality, it may come with an increased risk of some health issues.

And one of them could be cancer.

Repressed Emotions and Cancer

In a study in the European Journal of Personality, Hans Eysenck and colleagues sought to determine whether personality types might predict deaths from heart disease and cancer. They gave 3,235 European subjects interviews and personality assessments to determine various personality traits. Then they tracked these subjects over the course of 10 years.

At the end of the 10-year period, the subjects were contacted again. If they had died, the researchers reviewed the cause of their death from their death certificates. In that way, the research team was able to connect personality traits with the ultimate cause of death.

At the 10-year follow-up, they found that 1,341 individuals from their original sample had died. These they categorized into different personality types based on their earlier personality assessments.

They found that 45 percent of those with what these researchers called “Type I” personality traits (similar to Temshok’s Type C behavior pattern in that they inhibit emotions) died of cancer. This group was much less likely to die of other causes, like heart disease.

Similarly, people that Eysenck categorized as “Type II” (which is similar to Temshok’s Type A behavior pattern of people with high stress) were much more likely to die of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. They also found that people with other patterns of personality were less likely to die from either cancer or cardiovascular diseases.

Eysenck’s study suggests that the only relevant personality characteristics for cancer risk are repressing feelings or inhibiting closeness with loved ones.

Other research suggests it’s a tendency towards depressive symptoms that matter most.

For example, one systematic review and meta-analysis of 25 studies that together included over 1.4 million participants found a significant association between depression and overall cancer risk. Tendencies toward depression make up an important part of what we call the Type C personality.

Similarly, another review of 70 longitudinal prospective studies on personality research found that helplessness and repression of emotions are perhaps the most promising in explaining a potential contribution of personality on cancer prognosis.

People with Type C personalities also tend to be cooperative. Social support—having a strong network of family and close friends—was found to be a protective factor against this type of Cancer. Some aspects of Type C personality may actually foster health.

So rather than it being a Type C behavior pattern that’s associated with cancer, it may actually be a few traits within that pattern that matter most.

Does Personality Influence Cancer Risk?

If there really is an influence of personality on cancer risk, how would that work? What’s the physical mechanism?

One explanation is that people who often feel depressed have decreased lymphocyte proliferation and an overall decreased function in the body’s anti-cancer and anti-viral immunity. This may create greater susceptibility to cancer.

Indeed, in one prospective case-control study out of Finland, researchers found that patients with breast cancer were significantly more likely to have a high commitment—a feature of Type C personalities.

They suggest that it could be that the Type C pattern “could contribute to cancer risk through immune and hormonal pathways.” In other words, it may not be the personality traits themselves that affect cancer risk, but that patterns of thinking and behavior could impact the body’s immune system and hormones, and those changes may influence cancer risk.


Doctor Turns Against Messenger RNA COVID-19 Vaccines, Calls for Global Pause

A doctor who promoted COVID-19 vaccines is now calling for health authorities around the world to pause the administration of two of the most-widely utilized COVID-19 vaccines, saying that the benefits from the vaccines may not outweigh the risks.

“There is more than enough evidence—I would say the evidence is overwhelming—to pause the rollout of the vaccine,” Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a British cardiologist and evidence-based medicine expert, told The Epoch Times.

A paper from Malhotra detailing the evidence was published on Sept. 26.

Among the citations is a recent reanalysis of the Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials that concluded that vaccinated trial participants were at higher risk of serious adverse events. He called the study a “smoking gun.”

Malhotra also pointed to the lack of reduction in mortality or severe disease in the trials, which were completed in 2020.

Taking into account death rates and other figures since then, the number of people who need to be vaccinated to prevent a single COVID-19 death ranges from 93,000 for people aged 18–29 to 230 for people aged 80 and older, according to an analysis of UK safety and effectiveness data by the Health Advisory & Recovery Team.

The author also noted that serious side effects have been detected after the trials, such as myocarditis, a form of heart inflammation.

Overall, looking at the absolute benefits and drawbacks of the vaccines, it’s time to halt their usage and allow authorities and other experts to closely examine the data to see if the vaccines should be used again down the road, according to Malhotra.

The paper was published in the Journal of Insulin Resistance in two parts following peer review.

Pfizer and Moderna didn’t return requests for comment.

Reversal of Opinion

Malhotra received the Pfizer primary series in January 2021. He became a promoter of the vaccine, even appearing on “Good Morning Britain” to advise Indian film director Gurinder Chadha to get the vaccine. Chadha did so shortly after.

Malhotra said he began digging into vaccine data after his father, Dr. Kailash Chand, suffered a cardiac arrest at home approximately six months after receiving Pfizer’s vaccine.

The post-mortem showed two of Chand’s major arteries were severely blocked, even though Malhotra described his father as a fit person who didn’t have any significant heart problems.

Malhotra began reading about post-vaccination issues, including a study abstract in the journal Circulation that identified a higher risk of a heart attack following vaccination with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and a study from Nordic countries that identified a higher risk of myocarditis.

While authorities have claimed that myocarditis is more common after COVID-19 than vaccination, many studies have found otherwise, at least for certain age groups. Some papers have found no increased incidence of heart inflammation for COVID-19 patients.

Malhotra has come to believe that his father’s death was linked to the vaccine.

“I’ve always approached medicine and science with uncertainties because things constantly evolve. And the information I had at the time is completely different to the information I have now,” Malhotra told The Epoch Times. “And in fact, it is my duty and responsibility as the information has changed to act on that information. And that’s what I’m doing.”

Response to Criticism

After the new paper was published, critics noted that Malhotra is a board member of the Journal of Insulin Resistance.

He acknowledged the position but said the article went through an independent peer review process and that he has no financial links to the journal.

The doctor encouraged people to view his publication history, which includes articles in the British Medical Journal and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

He said he chose to submit the paper to the insulin journal for several reasons, including it being “one of the few journals that doesn’t take money from the pharmaceutical industry.”

“I don’t think that there’s any validity to question the integrity of the piece,” he said. “People can argue I’ve got an intellectual bias. We all have intellectual biases, but there’s certainly no financial bias for me.”

Paper Gains Support

Leading scientists say the new paper is important. “We fully believe that vaccines are one of the great discoveries in medicine that has improved life expectancy dramatically, however, mRNA genetic vaccines are different, as long-term safety evaluation is lacking but mandatory to ensure public safety,” Sherif Sultan, president of the International Society of Vascular Surgery, said in a statement.

Sultan also noted that the findings “raise concerns regarding vaccine-induced undetected severe cardiovascular side effects and underscore the established causal relationship between vaccines and myocarditis, a frequent cause of unexpected cardiac arrest in young individuals.”

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Stanford, said that Malhotra “makes a good case that there is considerable heterogeneity across age groups and other comorbid conditions in the expected benefits and expected side effect profiles of the vaccine” and “finds that while there may be a case for older people to take the vaccine because the benefits may outweigh expected harm that may not be the case for younger people.”

Dr. Campbell Murdoch, who advises the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the study “describes multiple systemic failures in the provision of safe and effective evidence-based medicine” and the situation has made it “impossible for patients and the public to make an informed choice about what is best for their health and life.”




Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Did the COVID Unvaccinated Fare Better or Worse Than the Vaccinated? The Results suggest no advantage from vaccination

After the fast spread of the pandemic of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from China to the Western world, several large pharmaceutical companies quickly invented and manufactured COVID-19 vaccines, which were then made available to the public through emergency use authorization (EUA). And in late 2020, people around the world started to receive these vaccines.

According to Our World in Data, to date, 67.9 percent of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. While only 22.5 percent of people in low-income countries have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccination rates of developed countries are generally high—typically around 80 percent. For instance, the COVID-19 vaccination rates of the G7 countries are: 79.19 percent in the United States, 86.96 percent in Canada, 80.92 percent in France, 77.66 percent in Germany, 85.82 percent in Italy, 83.60 percent in Japan, and 79.97 percent in the UK.

However, in all countries and regions around the world, there are people who elect not to receive the COVID-19 vaccines for various reasons. They are a naturally occurring control group, as opposed to the vaccinated population (i.e. the experimental group). Indeed, the whole COVID-19 vaccine campaigns can be regarded as the unprecedented largest human clinical trials on vaccine safety, by design or not, as the vaccines’ long term safety data was not available when they were provided to people under EUA. Then, the unvaccinated population in different parts of the world are very unique large control groups in such a global clinical trial.

Due to the highly valuable health data of this unvaccinated population, between October 2021 and February 2022, a UK-based organization called Control Group Cooperative (CGC) independently collected their self-reported data on their health status, reasons for declining to receive the COVID-19 vaccines, whether they have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the severity of their symptoms for the ones that did get infected, and whether they’ve been subject to discrimination or victimization.

These data have then been analyzed by a team of researchers, who are entirely independent of the CGC and have received no funding for interpreting the findings of the CGC survey. Their recent report on their findings has been published on the International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research, which is a peer-reviewed scholarly open access journal.

What Is the Control Group Cooperative?

The Control Group Cooperative was founded in July 2021 to defend people’s inalienable rights to freedom of choice and bodily integrity. Actually, one of the core principles in public health is the respect of autonomy. The group is particularly concerned with the marginalization and stigmatization of COVID-19 unvaccinated communities around the world. The stakeholders of the cooperative believe that they are making a positive contribution to society by collecting health data from both the SARS-CoV-2 vaccinated and the unvaccinated to facilitate a truly comparative analysis.

Their rationale is that there is no existing official control group designated by the governments or health authorities. However, since all the existing COVID-19 vaccines are experimental, and a true scientific experiment (i.e. a controlled experiment) requires at least one group (i.e. the control group) that doesn’t receive the experimental treatment, then the COVID-19 vaccine treatments must have a control group as well in order to properly evaluate their long-term efficacy and safety.

As of now, over 305,000 participants who have voluntarily elected to not be inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines, from over 175 countries have signed up to become part of the control group.

By joining the control group, the participants receive an ID card, which indicates that they “must not be vaccinated” due to their participation. The CGC stated on its website that this ID card is “not an official or legal exemption in any country.” Although these ID cards aren’t recognized by any authorities, many participants have reported that they had helped them avoid vaccination without informed consent, supported their position, and facilitated discussion with others.

Some governments and media personnel have tried to discredit the CGC by calling it a “potential scam.” For instance, upon discovering several ID cards issued by the CGC, the provincial government of Manitoba in Canada posted on its Twitter account that “data collected through the platform could not be used in an official trial to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated people,” as per a UK health body. However, the UK’s Medicines and Health Care products Regulatory Agency stated that the collection of health data from the public does not need its approval.

To be fair, it is very hard to evaluate the accuracy of the survey results from such a large scale global survey. It is also very challenging to evaluate whether the volunteers in this study are heavily biased or not. But, there is no clinical trial that could be designed at such a global scale, and the world needs the health data regarding this population. Therefore, even though the results from this study cannot be as well-designed as a regular clinical trial, the merit of this study cannot be simply denied for providing such valuable data from unique angles.

Findings of an Independent Analysis of the CGC Survey
When joining the CGC’s control group, the participants agree to fill out a monthly survey about their health status.

The aforementioned analysis was performed by a multinational team of independent researchers on the data collected from a cohort over a five month period from October 2021 to February 2022.

This cohort of 18,497 people is a sub-group of all participants (297,618 people as of late February 2022), and they had been carefully selected to be representative of the full dataset.

In the cohort, the largest unvaccinated populations are from Europe (40 percent), Oceania (Australia and New Zealand; 27 percent), and North America (United States and Canada; 25 percent). The respondents are from a total of 68 countries and six continents.

Among the 96.3 percent of the survey participants who disclosed their gender, 57 percent were female, and 43 percent were male. The largest numbers of respondents were found in the 50 to 69 age group, who are considered by the health authorities as at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection and severe illness/death after infection than the general public. The number of participants between the ages of 40 and 49 was also relatively large.

According to the survey, the five leading reasons behind the cohort’s decision to not receive COVID-19 vaccines include preference for natural medicine interventions, distrust of pharmaceutical interventions, distrust of government information on the vaccines, poor or limited trial study data, and fear of long-term side effects. They were of nearly equal importance. Each respondent could select more than one reason that he/she considered equally important.

From the results, we can see that the participants were not refusing medical treatment, nor were they not caring of their own health, as sometimes portrayed by the media and/or authorities. To these unvaccinated people, they just did not think that there is only one way (the vaccine way) to help them medically, and they have been reasonably conservative in taking new vaccine products. No scientist in the world can claim that we understand every aspect of the new vaccine products.

Furthermore, since vaccine development in the past took 10 to 15 years on average to complete, many people are skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccines, which were invented so quickly by several major pharmaceutical companies (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) after receiving hefty funding from the U.S., German, and other governments. Moreover, the messenger RNA (mRNA) platform, based on which the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were invented, is a new technology, which hadn’t been used to produce vaccines previously.

Even before the vaccines were implemented, people knew that RNA molecules were unstable in the human body. However, the mRNA generated in the new vaccines have been modified to keep them more stable. Therefore, we don’t know whether any side effects from these modified mRNA molecules would be immediate, delayed, transient, or long term. Therefore, it’s reasonable for some people to want to wait and see the long-term effects of these new mRNA vaccines and to not trust their limited trial data.

Physical and Mental Health Status of the Unvaccinated Cohort

1) COVID-19 infection before survey

Prior to taking the survey, less than 20 percent of the participants had been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with the majority of the people aging from 20 to 69 years old.

2) COVID-19 infection during five month period

During the five month period from October 2021 through February 2022, in most parts of the world, the highly transmissible Omicron variant became the most prevalent strain, replacing the previously dominant Delta variant. As a result, many people became infected.

Most respondents reporting suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection on the survey questionnaire were between 20 to 69 years old, which is consistent with the infection situation prior to the survey. Specifically, the age group from 20 to 49 years old accounted for 10.7 percent of the respondents; and the age group from 50 to 69 years old accounted for 12.3 percent.

3) Severe illness situation of the infected respondents

Given that society had found no way to stop the spread of the Omicron variant, many were infected during this time period—this included many asymptomatic infections. Therefore, our main concern is with the respondents of the cohort who were seriously ill and/or hospitalized.

Fortunately, in the vast majority of the cases, the patients’ symptoms were mild and moderate. The rate of severe illness appeared to be very low (around 2 percent of all respondents). Only 74 individuals among the 5,196 (1.4 percent) confirmed or suspected infected respondents reported that they were hospitalized. This percentage might not be very accurate, as people who are very sick or hospitalized might not be healthy enough or willing to participate in this kind of survey. So, objectively, this kind of survey will have data skewing towards more healthy targets.

Nevertheless, the data here still indicates that this group of unvaccinated people were not more prone to the infection by Omicron, even though they were not protected by the vaccines. Otherwise, the percentage of infection and hospitalization rates among this group of people would be much higher. Therefore, this is a very important piece of data, as well as the core observation in this study.




Monday, September 26, 2022

Potential Temporal Association Found Between Guillain-Barré Syndrome and COVID-19 Vaccination in Pediatrics

How do you like that heading? It's a typical academic heading that seems designed to make your brain freeze, is it not? But there is a serious issue involved and I think I can explain it simply.

The underlying issue is a serious one: What should we make of rare side-effects after any medical treatment? Conventionally they are a big deal. Whole medications -- such as Vioxx -- have been withdrawn when only a few serious side effects out of millions of doses have been reported. Millions had a good result from taking the medication but they were ignored. The tiny number who reported bad side-effects ruled the day. A helpful medication was withdrawn because it MIGHT kill you.

Is that rational? I don't think so. All medical and surgical procedures involve some risk. And we tolerate rather large risks sometimes. Paracetamol (Tylenol) kills thousands every year by destroying their livers yet it is regarded as a "safe" drug. Aspirin is actually safer

Much as I hate using a favorite Leftist phrase, I think we just have to tolerate rare events "for the good of the many". And I am strongly reinforced in that view by the fact that we can never be sure what the cause of the rare event was. The rare event may have immediately followed the medical intervention but that is no proof that the medication CAUSED the rare event. Side-effects can be important but rare side effects should be ignored in my view.

So we now come to Covid and the horrible Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Do 11 cases out of millions matter? If your kid got a horrible illness after receiving a Covid vaccine, would that matter? Every parent concerned would say it does

Fortunately or not, this is an even less clear-cut finding than usual. The incidence of GBS among kids who got the vaccine was not different from the normal incidence. What WAS of concern, however is that the onset of GBS among vaccine recipients FOLLOWED CLOSELY on receiving the vaccine -- creating the impressoion that it was the vaccine which caused the problem. And, as the philosopher David Hume contended a couple of centuries ago, conjunction in time is the WHOLE of causation. Hume however spoke of CONSTANT conjunction and the conjunction here was anything but constant.

So the jury is still out. There are some elements in the medical comnmunity who would see the findings below as troubling but I do not

My own account of causation is here

From the pre-COVID period to 6 weeks after vaccination, the reporting rate of GBS was significantly different, regardless of whether Brighton criteria was applied to the analysis. The authors noted that passive surveillance limitations warrant further analysis.

Findings from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System database showed that although the prevalence of Guillain-Barré (GBS) syndrome following COVID-19 vaccination was not different in pediatrics compared with the general population, there was an increased prevalence within the first 6 weeks following vaccination, suggesting a potential temporal associaiton.1 The investigators noted that these findings warrant caution, as they were based off passive surveillance.

The study, presented at the 2022 American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) annual meeting, September 21-24, in Nashville, Tennessee, compared the rate of pediatric GBS following COVID-19 vaccination to the rate after influenza, human papillomavirus (HPV), and meningococcal vaccinations. Investigators used a pre-COVID period (October 2018-August 2019), prevaccine period (January 2020-November 2020), and vaccine period (December 2020-October 2021), as well as a risk period of probably cause-effect relationship, defined as 6 weeks post vaccination.

Led by Nizar Souayah, MD, Department of Neurology, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, the findings showed that the rates for GBS after COVID-19 vaccination were within the incidence rate of GBS typically reported in children. In total, there were 31, 3, 1, and 1 cases of GBS reported after COVID-19, influenza, HPV, and meningococcal vaccinations, respectively. Between vaccinations, the reporting rate of GBS after COVID-19 vaccination was significantly higher than the others, at 12.45 per 10 million (P <.005), followed by influenza (1.63), meningococcal (1.19), and HPV vaccinations (1.07).

High Proportion of Zilucoplan Responders Identified in Secondary Analysis of RAISE Trial
After 12 weeks of treatment with zilucoplan 0.3 mg/kg, almost three-fourths of patients demonstrated at least a 3-point reduction in Myasthenia Gravis Activities of Daily Living scores.

Using self-controlled and case centered analysis, the reported rate of GBS after COVID-19 vaccination between the risk and control periods was significantly different (90.32% vs 9.7%, respectively; P <.0001). The findings remained similar when all patients, regardless of Brighton criteria, were included.

COVID-19 has been shown to be associated with several of neurological complications, including GBS, which has been more prominently throughout the pandemic. Recent work by Kayla E. Hanson, MPH, et al further suggested an increased risk of GBS following COVID-19 vaccination with Ad.26.COV2.S (Janssen). The analysis comprised of 15,120,073 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from December 2020 to November 2021, including 483,053 Ad.26.COV2.S doses; 8,806,595 BNY162b2 doses; and 5,830,425 mRNA-1273 doses.

In total, 11 cases of GBS were reported in those vaccinated with Ad.26.COV2.S, resulting in an unadjusted incidence rate of 32.4 (95% CI, 14.8-61.5) per 100,000 person-years in the 1 to 21 days following vaccination that was significantly higher than the background rate. Overall, the adjusted risk ratio (RR) in the 1 to 21 vs 22 to 42 days following Ad.26.COV2.S vaccination was 6.03 (95% CI, 0.79-147.79). The unadjusted incidence rate of GBS after mRNA vaccines was 1.3 (95% CI, 0.7-2.4), and when compared with Ad.26.COV2.S vaccines, the adjusted RR was 20.56 (95% CI, 6.94-64.66).2


FDA vaccine adviser warns healthy young people should NOT get new COVID booster: Says it's 'unfair to make them take a risk' after data suggested shot was not as effective as first batch

A top vaccine expert and pediatric doctor is cautioning parents of healthy young people to hold off getting the new COVID booster shot, saying it can carry risks and its efficacy hasn't yet been proven.

Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the Food and Drug Administration's Vaccine Advisory Committee, said he's not fully sold on the benefits of a third shot outweighing the harm.

'Who really benefits from another dose?' Offit said on CNN.

He did acknowledge that studies have shown people who are over 65, immuno-compromised or have a chronic ailments are less likely to be hospitalized with the virus if they've had a third or even fourth shot.

The newly developed dose, called a bivalent vaccine, is a cocktail of the original coronavirus strain combined with parts of the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. The hope being that people would be able to fight a broader range of more highly contagious virus mutations.

But writing in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, Offitt said preliminary data suggested the new bivalent vaccines were actually worse at warding off COVID infections than the first generation of shots.

He highlighted data comparing Moderna's original COVID vaccine and its new bivalent update. Of a test group given both shots, 11 people who'd received bivalent vaccines contracted the virus, while just five people who received the original 'monovalent' shot caught COVID.

Offit warned that the Biden administration that 'overselling' the new bivalent vaccines without more data could 'erode the public's trust' in them.

He explained that the FDA's recent approval of a the new vaccine cooked up by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech comes with little assurances and some risks.

'A healthy young person is unlikely to benefit from the extra dose,' he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that vaccine side-effects, like myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, an inflammation of the heart's outer lining, are rare, but they most often occur in adolescents and young men.

Myocarditis can even be fatal, with young people far less likely to suffer a severe COVID infection than older people.

'When you are asking people to get a vaccine, I think there has to be clear evidence of benefit,' he said, adding that it's unrealistic to have clinical trials of the latest dose. 'You'd like to have, at least, human data,' he said. So far, the only tests on the new shots have been done on lab mice.

'Right now they're saying we should trust mouse data,' he said, 'and I don't think that should ever be true.'

Offit voted against approval of the new vaccine.

'If there's not clear evidence of benefit, then it's not fair, I think, to ask people to take a risk no matter how small,' Offit said.

The doctor recently cautioned that pushing the new shot without the supporting evidence risks 'eroding the public's trust.'

He said the studies regarding the bivalent vaccine so far were 'underwhelming.'

The increased emphasis on boosters is at odds with President Joe Biden's recent announcement that 'the pandemic is over.'

'The pandemic is over,' Biden told 60 Minutes. 'We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one's wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape, and so I think it's changing.'

The president's declaration runs counter with what his administration's health officials have been saying.

'We have a virus out there that's still circulating, still killing hundreds of Americans every day,' White House COVID-19 response coordinator, Ashish Jha, said at a September 9 press briefing.

'I think we all as Americans have to pull together to try to protect Americans … and do what we can to get our health-care system through what might be a difficult fall and winter ahead.'

He also may have submarined his own $22.4 billion request to Congress to continue the fight against the virus.

There have been about 54,000 new cases of the virus on average over the last two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University, with about 400 Americans succumbing to the virus every day.




Sunday, September 25, 2022

BBC Collaborates with Facebook to Purge Vaccine-Injured Groups Online

A major media member of the [Leftist] Trusted News Initiative (TNI) has warned a primary tech member about vaccine injury groups gaming the system to avoid algorithm detection and thus scrutiny.

In what could be described as a dangerous move, the BBC collaborates with Facebook to shut down vaccine injury support groups by universally referring to them as “anti-vaccine” or “anti-vaxxers” and calling out the ways that they use carrot emojis to hide from Facebook their true identity. Members of the TNI are collaborating to purge social media participants that are part of vaccine-injured groups. Even if some of them, or even many of them, are in fact vaccine injured, the policies of the BBC and Facebook, as well as other media and social tech companies assume that there are absolutely no vaccine-injured persons and that such persons have no rights whatsoever to share their stories.

The BBC reports that “several groups, one with hundreds of thousands of members, in which the emoji appears in place of the word ‘vaccine.’” The BBC’s Zoe Kleinman wrote that Facebook parent company Meta was alerted, and the groups were removed.

According to a statement from Facebook:

“We have removed this group for violating our harmful misinformation policies and will review any other similar content in line with this policy. We continue to work closely with public health experts and the UK government to further tackle Covid vaccine misinformation.”

Yet the BBC’s Kleinman reports that the groups are back even though they were taken down from Facebook. According to Kleinman, the groups the BBC and Facebook label as anti-vax groups sought to rebrand themselves as places where people can share vaccine stories, for example sharing “banter, bets and funny video.”

But behind the scenes, the groups were using code words for communication purposes. For example, “Do not use the c word, v word or b word ever” (covid, vaccine booster). The particular group has 250,000 members.

Marc Owen-Jones, a misinformation specialist at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, shared that instead of using words such as “Covid-19” or “Vaccine,” the group was instructed to use emojis of carrots as an example apparently to evade the fake news detection algorithms reports Ms. Kleinman.

In the BBC piece, it’s identified that an Online Safety Bill could come into law which would lead to “steep penalties for failing to identify removing harmful material on their platforms.”

What if there are actually vaccine-injured persons? Currently, the BBC doesn’t recognize that there are actually adverse events and some deaths, albeit rare, that occur with the COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, even at a rare rate of one-tenth of one percent hundreds, this would translate into hundreds of thousands of vaccines injured in the United States alone.

TrialSite has been chronicling dozens of deaths from COVID-19 vaccines involving governments making compensatory payouts. Is it not allowed by the Trusted News Initiative to speak the truth about this situation? In the United States, over 224 million people have received at least a primary series vaccine in the USA. Estimates of vaccine injury in the USA vary from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands and possibly even over one million.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) 2022, 16,336 preliminary death reports have been recorded although just because such an incident is reported in VAERS doesn’t mean that the event is correlated to the vaccination.

TrialSite’s founder Daniel O’Connor went on the record, “Do individuals that are actually injured by COVID-19 vaccines have a right to share their situation, their stories on any social media? Of course, they should. There is something terribly off if such a reality is constantly being covered up.”

Of course, this kind of group is quite different from a truly anti-vaccine-focused activist group that stands opposed to all modern vaccines. TrialSite recently launched a suite of social features including authoring, Q&As, and groups. Separate from its media platform—which focuses on objective, unbiased news which includes articles that report on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines as well as challenges that may surface—features such as TrialSite Groups exist to allow people to communicate and engage on topics involving medical research, less the fear of censorship.

TrialSite’s O’Connor shared, “There are legitimate vaccine injured groups such as React19. They have lots of members that are really suffering and it's not fair that these groups are censored. That is why we have partnered with groups such as this one to ensure they receive objective, unbiased coverage from media and that alternatives to Facebook are in place—social tech platforms that won’t profile and censor people just because they represent an inconvenient truth for certain centers of power and authority.”

TrialSite connected with React19 Brianne Dressen who informed the media that in their support groups with “well over 20 thousand Covid vaccine injuries have been systematically shut down leaving us no choice but to reboot and hope people find us. These groups are an essential source of support and for many they are a lifeline. These people are disabled and are not allowed to talk about what happened to them. If they do talk about it, they are punished. If they persist, they will be isolated from their community and eventually shut down all-together.”

But why would someone legitimately injured not be able to talk about their actual health condition or situation. TrialSite’s Daniel O’Connor shared “that’s because this pandemic has been thoroughly politicized. The confluence of government health and media industry powers have driven a paradigm for combatting Covid-19 which includes a universal vaccination scheme as a means of controlling the virus, however imperfect the strategy.

It’s like a war—in fact legally it is a sort of war given the contracts government established with industry fall under establish defense-like countermeasures against an invisible enemy—in this case an RNA virus.” So how the government has set up and executed this pandemic response has left little to no means for people injured by the vaccine—and there are recognized side effects, adverse events and actual injuries albeit rare, even deaths.” Like in any war the TrialSite founder continued “there will be innocent casualties.” He continued “and hence the unprecedented coordination between government, corporate media and big tech to systematically censor countervailing discussions that are quickly identified and labeled as misinformation.”

React19’s Dressen further pointed out the growing plight of the vaccine injured “Cutting off a sick person’s connection to others and not allowing them to talk about their disease, the outcome is catastrophic. This has led to permanent disability and in some cases death. It is truly barbaric that this has been done so deliberately on such a large scale with cooperation of governments, tech companies and the media. Not only is this permitted but it is encouraged and celebrated. This censorship is abuse and discrimination against the disabled. Until this changes, good people will remain sick, many will decline, and some will die. I wish that was an exaggeration, but that is the facts.”


Australia’s disastrous ‘Zero Covid’ experiment

What if I told you that lockdowns and zero-Covid mania did far more harm than good to human life?

Unlike sharp lockdowns in Europe and the Americas, Australia’s early lockdown in March 2020 did reduce Covid cases to zero for a time. Flush with this success, Australia imposed sharp travel restrictions on Covid-ravaged countries around the world. Australian ex-pat citizens were barred from coming home, even if their visit was to care for elderly parents suffering from isolation.

Despite this extraordinary policy, Covid kept coming back to Australia. Over and over again, entire regions were locked down whenever a few cases were found. Through October of 2021, Melbourne’s residents had suffered through nearly 270 days of lockdown – the most in the world.

Schools closed and children suffered. Vital medical treatments were delayed or cancelled, including for cancer patients. The initial purpose of the lockdowns was to protect the Australian healthcare system, but even in 2021, when there was almost no Covid circulating, queues for care lengthened. Depression and anxiety levels skyrocketed, especially among young people. Thousands of small businesses shut down forever.

Australia’s initial zero-Covid ‘success’ created a trap. Official public health exaggerated the risk of death from Covid. This, despite the fact that studies found that Covid infection primarily poses a high 5 per cent+ mortality risk for unvaccinated elderly people. For the young, survival rates exceeded 99.9 per cent. For young and old Australians alike, the lockdowns imposed far more harm than Covid.

Public support for lockdown stayed high in Australia on the heels of public health propaganda that Covid infection posed a high risk of death for all, regardless of age or underlying health condition. And the government obliged, implicitly promising a zero-Covid future that it knew it would never be able to deliver.

The advent of a vaccine in December 2020 should have provided a way out of the zero-Covid trap. At great cost, the lockdown policy had ‘worked’, but there was no endpoint to it that did not involve isolation from the international community forever.

Perhaps complacent because of its zero-Covid ‘success’, the government delayed securing contracts with vaccine manufacturers. Since lockdown was popular, It did not feel the urgency to vaccinate that the rest of the world felt. At the beginning of August 2021, only 16 per cent of Australians were fully vaccinated.

And the public health officials used the vaccination campaign to chase an impossible goal – herd immunity through universal vaccination. Covid spread in many countries with high levels of vaccination, infecting vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike. The vaccine, effective in reducing mortality risk from Covid infection for the elderly, is ineffective at stopping disease spread. Nevertheless, government and public health officials demonised the unvaccinated, often rendering them second-class citizens.

When the Omicron wave arrived, the inevitable happened in Australia. Zero-Covid and lockdowns failed, and the disease spread everywhere. By May 2022, Australia passed America in total Covid cases per capita, and by August 2022, Australia passed the European Union. If Australian policy aimed to keep Australia free of Covid, it failed.

With two and a half years of hindsight, an evaluation of Australia’s lockdown-focused zero-Covid strategy is possible. On the plus side, Australia delayed the inevitable spread of Covid throughout the population to a time after the development, testing, and deployment of a vaccine. Despite having experienced more Covid cases per capita than the US, it has a fraction of the number of Covid-attributable deaths per capita.

On the negative side is the tremendous burden on the Australian population that has come from being isolated from the rest of the world for such a long time and from the intermittent lockdowns the government imposed on the people. All-cause excess deaths – below baseline levels in 2020 – were 3 per cent above baseline in 2021, despite zero-Covid, and are far above baseline thus far in 2022. Among the causes of this spike in excess deaths are the lockdowns themselves.

After the vaccine arrived, Australia’s decision to use it to free itself from its zero-Covid trap was smart. However, Australia failed to vaccinate its population with urgency, exposing its people to a full year of zero-Covid harms. If the government had adopted the strategy of vaccinating for focused protection of older and high-risk populations, Australia could have opened much earlier.

So, the best case for Australia’s Covid strategy is that it delayed the entry of Covid in-country until the development of effective vaccines. However, it’s not even clear whether the strategy saved lives, with cumulative all-cause excess mortality on par with Sweden’s focused protection strategy. And the harm done by disconnecting Australia and other developed economies from the rest of the world included millions of poor people thrown into poverty. Ultimately, Australia’s zero-Covid strategy was a grand, immoral, and incoherent failure.