Friday, November 11, 2022

Is demonising the unvaccinated a health hazard?

Vaccine zealots attacking the unvaccinated have been a feature of the pandemic. ‘Mocking anti-vaxxers’ deaths is ghoulish, yes – but necessary’, wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times in January after the death of Republican Kelly Ernby – an unvaccinated critic of vaccine mandates. Those who ‘deliberately flouted sober medical advice by refusing a vaccine known to reduce the risk of serious disease from the virus, including the risk to others, and end up in the hospital or the grave can be viewed as receiving their just deserts’, Hiltzik moralised. In fact, Ernby died at home of a blood clot while gardening not on a ventilator in hospital but for Hiltzik it didn’t matter, it was a ‘teachable’ moment.

Covid karma is not as ugly. There is no gloating over the untimely deaths of those who attacked or ridiculed the unvaccinated, just a grim sense of foreboding about the true toll of the pandemic’s tarnished silver bullet. Social media captures the outbursts in screen shots that haunt their authors beyond the grave. There are dozens of examples online pinned like butterflies to a board.

They include Willie Garson, star of Sex and the City, who scapegoated the unvaccinated for the failure of the vaccine to end the pandemic. ‘We’ll be wearing masks the rest of our lives because of these f..cking idiots not wearing masks and refusing vaccines’, he ranted, repeatedly calling them ‘stupid ’, ‘morons’, ‘idiots’ and ’selfish and irresponsible’. Eventually, the US Centers for Disease Control published a study in July, showing that Covid vaccines did not stop transmission or infection and vaccinated people were just as infectious as unvaccinated people but it was too late to make much difference to Garson who died of pancreatic cancer on 20 September, just over five months after he was vaccinated.

Early in the pandemic, doctors merrily mocked the vaccine hesitant but sometimes didn’t get the last laugh. Dr. Witold Rogiewicz was vaccinated on Polish television in January 2021. He joked to viewers, ‘I have info for anti-vaxxers and anti-Coviders. If you want to contact Bill Gates you can do this through me. I can also provide from my organism the 5G network.’ A video of the broadcast was taken down when he died suddenly during the night less than three weeks later.

Dr Thomas Flanagan, a plastic surgeon from Ohio was equally jocular after his first jab, tweeting, ‘I didn’t feel the microchip going in but I can hear local radio stations now’. After the second jab he added, ‘The microchip is working just fine.’ But he wasn’t fine. He died three months later, aged 48. His obituary made world headlines because people thought he had written it before his death as a joke. It started, ‘My wild and crazy life has again taken a new, unexpected turn with my shocking and unexpected, yet fabulous, exit.’ It was actually written by his fraternity buddies after his death. He left behind a grieving wife and children.

Dr Sohrab Lutchmedial, a fit Canadian cardiologist, was not so cheery. He wrote that he wanted to punch anyone in the face who persuaded others not to get vaccinated and tweeted, ‘I won’t cry at your funeral’. But it was Lutchmedial who passed away unexpectedly two weeks after his booster in November 2021.

New Zealand rapper Louie Knuxx memorised the faces of those protesting lockdowns in Melbourne so he could ‘punch one of these c..nts in the jaw’. But before he had a chance, he died of a heart attack on 13 August, 2021 while running on his treadmill, age 42.

Darrell Beveridge, the Aussie ‘internet food police’, had an Instagram account called ‘CookSuck’. He enthusiastically supported the exclusion of unvaccinated people from restaurants tweeting, ‘Anti-vaxxers are like people who’ve done a big sh..t in their pants. You’re allowed to do it, it’s very natural, and the bathroom is possibly a scam created by BigToiletTM, but the general public don’t want you in the room with them while they’re eating’. He died suddenly and unexpectedly in June this year aged 41.

Are these deaths related to the Covid vaccines? Without autopsies it is impossible to say. The FDA refuses to release depersonalised reports on people who died post-vaccination but Dr Ute Kruger, a former chief pathologist and a senior physician at Lund University in Sweden said in a recent interview that clinicians often say a patient is unvaccinated when they are vaccinated, and typically don’t do rigorous histopathological testing to detect markers of vaccine injury.

What is apparent in Australia is that along with a dramatic increase in excess deaths due to heart attacks and stroke there has also been an increase above the baseline in cancer deaths that bears watching. All started rising with the rollout of the vaccines. While regulators admit that vaccination can cause blood clots and heart inflammation, they have yet to acknowledge studies that show Covid vaccinations can suppress type I interferon signalling, down regulating cancer surveillance and prevention. It’s only anecdotal evidence at this stage but Kruger says she has noted an increase in cancer since the rollout of the vaccines, a decrease in the average age of those she diagnoses, more people in remission getting aggressive recurrences, and larger tumours occurring in multiple locations.

As the hubristic certainty of the vaccinated wanes, Covid karma is likely to fade away.

All that will be left are the questions about vaccine deaths and injuries hanging in the air, waiting for answers.


Has the world won the war on Covid? Global virus deaths have plummeted 90% since February

Covid deaths have plunged nearly 90 per cent globally since February — in a sign the world is finally winning the pandemic fight.

There were 9,400 fatalities from the virus last week compared to more than 75,000 every seven days in early February. This is also the lowest level since Covid started to take off in March 2020.

World Health Organization chiefs — who compiled the data — said in a press conference the figures were a 'cause for optimism' and showed the world had 'come a long way'.

But they insisted that the current death tally was '10,000 too many', and maintained that Covid was 'still a pandemic'.

America is recording the most weekly Covid deaths out of any nation at 2,000 every seven days on average, and the third highest number of cases per week.

But cases and death counts are massively skewed by the number of tests carried out.

Despite America's relatively high death count, virtually all Covid restrictions have been abandoned in the US, with President Joe Biden declaring in September the pandemic was 'over'.

Many left-leaning scientists — including Dr Anthony Fauci — were quick to undermine the president, claiming that there was still work to be done.

Dr Anthony Fauci has warned America is at a Covid 'crossroad' and claims the current level of virus deaths is 'unacceptable'.

The government's top infectious disease doctor said Americans should not be lured into a false sense of security because Covid stats have been deflating since spring.

There are currently 270,000 weekly cases, while deaths hover around 2,500, compared to about 500,000 and 8,500, respectively, this time last year.

While he accepted the declining numbers as progress, Dr Fauci said he expects a harsh winter with high infection levels and new variants of the virus.

'We're really at a point that may be a crossroads here,' Dr Fauci said in a radio interview.

'As we're entering into the cooler months, we are starting to see the emergence of sublineage variants of omicron.'

He added: 'We're still in the middle of this — it is not over — 400 deaths per day is not an acceptable level. We want to get it much lower than that.'

Dr Fauci expects the new Omicron subvariants to render antibody therapies such as Evusheld completely useless — in a worrying sign for immunocompromised patients.

He also warned US hospitals face a 'negative trifecta' this winter as flu and RSV cases soar to unseasonably high levels.

The WHO's director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference: 'We have come a long way, and this is definitely a cause for optimism.'

But he also urged everyone to 'remain vigilant' for new Covid variants, and spikes in cases or deaths.

'Almost 10,000 deaths a week is 10,000 too many for a disease that can be prevented and treated,' he added.

Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead on Covid, also insisted during a press conference that Covid is 'still a pandemic, it is circulating quite rampantly around the world.'

The health agency also reported 2.1million Covid cases globally last week, down 88 per cent on the nearly 18million in early February.

The WHO has no hard and fast definition for when a pandemic should be declared over.

The judgement is made by a panel, based on cases, deaths and vaccination rates, as well as social and political factors.

China is still using brutal lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus, showing that while most of the West is learning to live with the virus, some countries are still struggling to adapt.

Weekly US fatalities have remained at around 2,000 and 3,000 since late April, and there is no sign at present they are about to take off.

The lowest weekly Covid fatality recorded to date was over the seven days to July 7 when the US registered about 1,500 deaths in a single week.

When the virus first emerged people had no natural protection against the disease.

But with the advent of Covid vaccines and an ever-growing number of infections a wall of immunity has built up against the virus.

This has severed the link between surging cases and a subsequent rise in fatalities.

Last week, outgoing lockdown architect and top disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said the level of Covid deaths in the US was still 'unacceptable'.

He added that Americans should not be lured into a false sense of security because Covid stats had been deflating since the spring.

'We're really at a point that may be a crossroads here,' Dr Fauci said in a radio interview.

'As we're entering into the cooler months, we are starting to see the emergence of sublineage variants of omicron.'

He added: 'We're still in the middle of this — it is not over — 400 deaths per day is not an acceptable level. We want to get it much lower than that.'


European Union watchdog backs Sanofi Covid booster jab

The EU on Thursday approved a Covid booster vaccine by French drug maker Sanofi and Britain‘s GSK after it gave positive results against the Omicron variant in trials.

The approval of the “next generation” jab by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a shot in the arm for Sanofi and GSK, which have lagged behind rivals in offering a vaccine.

“A booster dose of VidPrevtyn Beta is expected to be at least as effective as Comirnaty (Pfizer‘s vaccine) at restoring protection against Covid-19,” the Amsterdam-based EMA said.

A second study restored immunity in 627 adults who received other vaccines for their first course of jabs.

“Today‘s approval validates our research in developing a novel solution for the Covid-19 pandemic,” Thomas Triomphe, Sanofi executive vice president for vaccines, said.

The approval marks the end of a long journey for Sanofi to bring a Covid vaccine to market.

The French pharma giant, considered to be a world leader on vaccines, has come under huge scrutiny at home for failing to roll out a Covid jab earlier.

While it struggled, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna brought their vaccines to market at a pace never before seen in history. Both vaccines were approved nearly two full years before Sanofi‘s breakthrough on Thursday.

While Sanofi has finally managed to get a Covid vaccine approved, the question remains about how much demand remains in an already crowded market.




Thursday, November 10, 2022

Mainstream media thrilled over study showing Paxlovid prevents some long COVID symptoms

The unusual intense coverage of a new study showing benefits of the Pfizer antiviral drug Paxlovid can best be explained by the collusion between the media and the big drug industry.

In its 2022 financial guidance, the company reported Paxlovid revenue of $22 billion.

True, the new data are impressive in some ways. But some relevant questions can be raised and will be done here.

Here are some excerpts from the new study.

“In this work, we aimed to examine whether treatment with nirmatrelvir in the acute phase of COVID-19 is associated with reduced risk of post-acute sequelae. We used the healthcare databases of the US Department of Veterans Affairs to identify users of the health system who had a SARS-CoV-2 positive test between March 01, 2022 and June 30, 2022, were not hospitalized on the day of the positive test, had at least 1 risk factor for progression to severe COVID-19 illness and survived the first 30 days after SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. We identify those who were treated with oral nirmatrelvir [this drug is just part of Paxlovid] within 5 days after the positive test (n=9217) and those who received no COVID-19 antiviral or antibody treatment during the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection (control group, n= 47,123).”

“Compared to the control group, treatment with nirmatrelvir was associated with reduced risk of PASC (HR 0.74 95% CI (0.69, 0.81), ARR 2.32 (1.73, 2.91)) including reduced risk of 10 of 12 post-acute sequelae in the cardiovascular system (dysrhythmia and ischemic heart disease), coagulation and hematologic disorders (deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism), fatigue, liver disease, acute kidney disease, muscle pain, neurocognitive impairment, and shortness of breath. Nirmatrelvir was also associated with reduced risk of post-acute death (HR 0.52 (0.35, 0.77), ARR 0.28 (0.14, 0.41)), and post-acute hospitalization (HR 0.70 (0.61, 0.80), ARR 1.09 (0.72, 1.46)).”

“Nirmatrelvir was associated with reduced risk of PASC in people who were unvaccinated, vaccinated, and boosted, and in people with primary SARS-CoV-2 infection and reinfection. In sum, our results show that in people with SARS-CoV-2 infection who had at least 1 risk factor for progression to severe COVID-19 illness, treatment with nirmatrelvir within 5 days of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test was associated with reduced risk of PASC regardless of vaccination status and history of prior infection. The totality of findings suggests that treatment with nirmatrelvir during the acute phase of COVID-19 reduces the risk of post-acute adverse health outcomes.”

“Nirmatrelvir was associated with reduced risk of PASC across strata of baseline risk, and in people who were unvaccinated, vaccinated, and boosted; and in people with primary SARS-CoV-2 infection and reinfection.”

Though the study reports “reduced risk of 10 of 12 post-acute sequelae” note that various reports on long COVID usually refer to 20 to 30 typical symptoms. And it is not entirely clear which of the 10 were most helped by the expensive, prescription drug.

Ziyad Al-Aly, chief of research and development at the VA St. Louis Health Care System and lead author of the new report, said it showed the importance o f introducing an antiviral to reduce the severity of acute disease. It also lends credence to the idea that long covid symptoms may be driven, at least in part, by viral persistence, in which the virus is not fully cleared by infected individuals.. He said “Suppressing the viral load may reduce the problem of viral persistence.”

What has not received any attention, however, is whether the antiviral ivermectin might also offer similar benefits.

Nor has there been any research on whether high doses of vitamin D might also be beneficial for long COVID.

The people who enrolled qualified to receive the drug according to the emergency use authorization issued last year by the Food and Drug Administration, which is for anyone 12 and older at risk of severe disease including those 65 and older. As a result, the study did not include previously healthy young people, who represent the majority of patients seen at many long covid clinics, according to Benjamin Abramoff, director of the Post-COVID Assessment and Recovery Clinic at Penn Medicine.

There is no data to show whether those previously healthy young people would reap the same benefits as people at risk of severe disease.

Al-Aly, the lead author, said the study also highlighted for him the remarkable underutilization of an effective therapy, with 85 percent of people who were qualified to be prescribed the antiviral not taking it. “Is it because they were not offered it, or they had concerns?” he asked. “We are not saying any and all people should take Paxlovid,” Al-Aly said. “At this point, we do not know that. People need to understand that.”


COVID Vaccine Shedding – Canaries in the Mine

Spike protein shedding. The media ignored it, people found out the hard way, and most no longer discuss it. But some symptoms remain.

Back in February 2022, I reported secondary vaccine shedding among patients in my naturopathic medical practice, as experienced by them throughout 2021. Pfizer had acknowledged to the FDA here that spike protein shedding from COVID-vaccinated people could occur by exhalation and skin contact. I wrote about that here.

Of the people who were already my patients for other reasons (none came to me initially regarding shedding), 26 individuals noted symptoms during, and often after, contact with COVID vaccinated people (then later a few more). None of the 26 were themselves COVID-vaccinated. This distribution of first reported 2ary symptoms showed a distinct temporal pattern.

This USAfacts interactive graph alleges that 30% of the US population had received one COVID vaccine by April 1, 2021, and that 54% of the US population had received one COVID vaccine by June 30, 2021. I say “alleges,” because there were pharmacists and healthcare workers in vehement opposition to this experimental injection, as well as threatened employees and college students who knew better than to take this injection, but did not want to be fired or expelled either, and I have no idea what kind of arrangements may have happened among individuals in these groups. Suffice it to say that I suspect that the percentage of COVID-vaccinated people in the United States is overestimated.

(As for me, my long-time subscribers likely know that I provided the first comprehensive warnings about multiple aspects of COVID vaccine hazards here, and my book Neither Safe Nor Effective cites over 300 studies from the peer-reviewed medical literature on the problems with the COVID vaccines. It’s been on the Forensic Medicine bestseller list on Amazon since it came out in May.)

After the summer of 2021, I heard fewer and fewer secondary vaccine reactions from the patients in my practice.

Two interesting exceptions remain:

Case 1: A Tertiary Vaccine Reaction

Several times in 2021, patients had asked me if their own exposure to COVID-vaccinated people could be further transmitted to family members at home. I told them that I had not heard of this, and I thought they would be fine, without cause for worry.

However, this week a patient came in regarding the secondary vaccine reactions she still gets from proximity to COVID-vaccinated people. She had been included among the 26 I had earlier counted. After such exposures, she suffered menorrhagia, malaise, rashes, itching, fatigue and headaches for some time after returning home, with symptoms resolving within about a day.

Her husband suffered the malaise, fatigue, headache and itchy rash symptoms too, at the same time, although he had not been directly exposed to COVID-vaccinated people at the same time. With each incident of the wife’s exposure, the husband began to have symptoms on her return home, and for both of them, symptoms resolved within about a day. This happened to him multiple times. This was the first I had heard of any likely tertiary exposure to COVID-vaccinated people causing symptoms.

So I think tertiary exposure is worth keeping an open mind about, while at the same time, I think it is now disproven as a major health concern, because of its scarcity.

Case 2: A Role for Zinc Oxide?

Another patient, in a loving marriage of over 30 years, tried desperately to talk her husband out of getting his three COVID vaccines, but to no avail; he was determined to have them.

After he got his first COVID vaccine, she began to feel vaguely sick while around him, but he would not believe it, and insisted on getting his second, and then a booster. With each successive vaccine, she is sicker than before in his presence. She cannot be in the same room with him for more than 20 minutes, or she remains sick for hours. (He insists that his vaccines cannot be the cause of her symptoms.) Now you might think that her prior opposition to the COVID vaccines predisposed her to feel sick, but that would not explain the following:

Two of their grandchildren have also had this reaction to their granddad since his 2nd and 3rd COVID vaccines, one of them being an infant, and they physically avoid him. The dog used to cuddle up and sleep at his feet at night. The dog can no longer stand to be around him, and will approach him quickly and then leave within seconds. By all accounts, this man has a wonderful and delightful personality, and the beauty of a strong and otherwise happy marriage, in which the couple genuinely enjoy each other’s company for over 30 years, and he is generally adored by all family and friends, according to his wife.

When the wife, my patient, recently had to be near her husband in a long car ride, and other times of necessary extended proximity, her distal cephalic vein in one wrist visibly throbs, and does so for sometimes days on end. I have seen this throbbing vein. She also gets an itchy rash at these times. Recently, she began to apply a zinc oxide sunscreen to exposed skin, when having to be near her husband for any length of time, and the vein did not throb then or afterward. Also, her skin did not develop an itchy rash after zinc oxide application. So she now applies a generous coat of zinc oxide to exposed skin for times when the couple shares a room or vehicle, and it has seemed to help her a number of times.

I would caution against this strategy for children and reproductive age people. Elizabeth Plourde PhD has presented information that zinc oxide and titanium oxide skin products can have reproductive impacts that may be concerning. Her book on sunscreens offers important warnings to those who fear the sun more than commercial products applied directly to the body’s largest organ: the skin.




Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Does Preexisting Immunity Mean that SARS-CoV-2 Has Already Been with Us?

I am inclined to go with the theory that prior infection with other coronaviruses gave the immunity observed. I had a lot of cold/flu viruses early in life and have had no sign of infection with Covid despite being elderly and despite being in contact with infected people

A preexisting immune response can be seen in adults who have not been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Dr. Paul Alexander, COVID-19 Consultant Researcher in Evidence-Based Medicine, quoted a research study in his Substack blog titled “Making the case that COVID-19 virus was NEVER ever ‘novel’ or new, it was circulating for many years and we had some level of cross-reactive immunity.” According to research, it is more likely that preexisting immunity represents a form of cross-reactive immunity instead of meaning that SARS-CoV-2 was already with us before the pandemic.

Playing a very important role in adaptive immunity, T cells and B cells are formed as a result of encountering a pathogen. With these soldiers, our immune systems produce antibodies that attack foreign substances to protect our bodies from infections and learn how to fight better and faster for the next encounter.

This system works in the same way following exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, it has been revealed in the intensive research on this subject that there is no need for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 for these cells to form. In some individuals, preexisting T and B cells can emerge without exposure to the virus.

Current Study and Main Findings

In 2021, a study published in JCI Insight was conducted by Abdelilah Majdoubi, PhD. from BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and colleagues to investigate the extent of the preformed immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in the Canadian adult population. They also investigated whether this immune response could be explained by existing coronaviruses or direct exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The research was funded by the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Intramural Research Program of the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also in part by the Canadian government via its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.

This study revealed that most adults in the Canadian population show antibody reactivity to SARS-CoV-2 antigens. However, the authors concluded that it is highly unlikely that this immune response was formed from direct exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. There were relatively low cases of COVID-19 after the first wave in the British Columbia region. This greatly reduces the likelihood of a pre-existing and asymptomatic circulation of COVID-19. Also, pre-pandemic sera from adults and sera from infants younger than one-year-old revealed a similar antibody reactivity, which bolsters arguments for cross-reactivity.

Possible Sources of Cross-Reactive Immunity

If COVID-19 was not circulating before the pandemic, then what is causing this immune response? It is widely known that a strong immune reaction, in the form of antibodies or T-cell responses, occurs when the virus itself is encountered or by vaccination. Interestingly, upon exposure to cross-reactive antigens from different viruses, bacteria, vaccines, and even certain food proteins, antibodies can also be formed to create an immune response.

It is hypothesized that exposure to coronaviruses predating COVID-19, particularly common cold coronaviruses, may have created reactive T-cell responses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Implications and Conclusion

The fact that immunity has pre-formed in individuals who have not been infected with COVID-19 does not necessarily mean that SARS-CoV-2 is not a newly emerged virus. However, these findings still have important implications.

The presence of cross-reactive antibodies in some people and their absence in others may cause differences in the severity of the disease in different people. The heterogeneity of COVID-19 disease, which is more severe in some people and milder in others, may be a result of cross-reactive immunity.

It is also important to note that pre-existing immunity does not always provide a protection advantage. More research is needed to investigate the extent to which this cross-reactive immunity provides protection against disease.


Reports of ‘Bubbles’ in Vials Leads to Swiss Regulator’s Inspection of Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA Vaccine Batch

The governmental authority responsible for the surveillance of medicines and medical devices in Switzerland based in Bern in an inspection of Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine vials report other than identifying “bubbles,” the examination revealed no specific problems with Comirnaty (BNT162b2). A unit from the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products or “Swissmedic” discovered the bubbles in an examination of vials containing Comirnaty Bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1 in its OMCL laboratory. The explanation for the bubbles? According to the Swiss drug regulators' news release, they (the bubbles) likely had to do with differences in pressure or temperature when preparing the doses. TrialSite praises this action—with other reports of anomalous findings in the vials based on independent examinations, more of these very public inspections should be undertaken.

The Inspection

The findings were based on an audit, part of a risk assessment targeting the bivalent vaccine targeting the spike protein associated with the original Wuhan variant as well as Omicron BA.1. This particular audit focused on batch GE8297, which is and will continue to be used for vaccinations, the agency reports. They further calmed any frayed nerves, declaring that no risks exist to persons who have already been vaccinated. Other than bubbles nothing else was found. The report is silent about any strange objects that other independent doctors and scientists have been reporting from Germany and Australia, for example.


In a supplementary report, the Swiss regulator mentions its laboratory examination was in response to reports of bubbles in the vials.

According to the agency report:

“…the phenomenon seems to be accentuated when the syringes are prepared several hours in advance. Some vials already contain bubbles when they are removed from the fridge. As a precautionary measure, Swissmedic has informed the cantons and vaccination centers. Swissmedic will issue updates on the situation and measures to be taken through this communication channel as soon as further findings are available.”

Its Mandate

TrialSite praises Swissmedic for performing this audit. Given reports of strange anomalies in vaccines in other parts of the world, it can help build trust to perform such functions. The agency shared in its press entry that they are “interested in any reports of anomalies affecting medicinal products.”

The regulator emphasized the importance of following the manufacturer’s instructions when preparing the mRNA vaccine doses. Additionally, the agency notes, “It is recommended that syringes for the vaccine should not be drawn up more than 15 minutes before use (injection).” The agency declared they stand ready to launch investigations into any other “phenomena reported.”

Due Diligence

Recently, TrialSite reported that an independent physician in Australia performed his own analysis of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, identifying what are most certainly anomalies. Strange nano-sized metallic-looking objects raise concerns and also become fuel for conspiratorial chatter online. Even Anglosphere mainstream weeklies now report on the topic—albeit the conservative-leaning media. See “British/Australian Weekly Features TrialSite Contributor: Is Graphene Oxide in the COVID-19 Vaccines?”

Reports of these microscopic-sized anomalies in the vials of mRNA vaccines emanated from several countries and should be investigated by federal and /state/provincial health authorities upon such reports. That’s the way that public health authorities can build back more trust that in many cases during the pandemic has been lessened in the public’s eye.

The Agency

Commencing operations by January 1, 2002, Swissmedic is the successor regulatory agency of Interkantonale Kontrollstelle für Heilmittel (IKS), which was itself the successor of Schweizerische Arzneimittelnebenwirkungszentrale (SANZ). Swissmedic is affiliated with the Federal Department of Home Affairs.


Google Is Impacting Elections by Influencing Votes on ‘Massive Scale’: Researcher

A psychologist is accusing Google of manipulating American citizens to influence the outcome of the November midterm elections.

Robert Epstein and his research team from the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology have been monitoring online political content being sent to voters in swing states. As part of the research, the team is looking into search engine results on Google and Bing, messages displayed on Google’s homepage, tweets sent by Twitter, email suppression on Gmail, auto-play videos suggested on Google-owned YouTube, and so on.

The study found over 1.9 million “ephemeral experiences” that Google and other firms were using to “shift opinions and voting preferences,” Epstein wrote in a Nov. 6 article for the Daily Caller. “Ephemeral experiences” are short-lived content that immediately disappears without leaving a trace after user consumption.

The team expects such “ephemeral experiences” to number over 2.5 million by Election Day. Epstein has identified roughly a dozen new forms of online manipulation using ephemeral experiences which are almost exclusively controlled by Google and a few other tech firms.

The impact created by the experiences is “stunning,” Epstein says. Search engine results that favor one political candidate were found to influence undecided voters so much that up to 80 percent of such people in some demographic groups shifted their voting preferences after only a single search.

“Carefully crafted search suggestions that flash at you while you are typing a search term can turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split with no one knowing they have been manipulated,” Epstein writes.

“A single question-and-answer interaction on a digital personal assistant can shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by more than 40 percent.”

Ahead of the 2022 election, “a high level of liberal bias” is being seen in Google search results in swing states like Arizona, Florida, and Wisconsin, Epstein wrote. Search results from Bing did not indicate such bias.

In multiple swing states, liberal news sources make up 92 percent of auto-play videos being sent to YouTube users, which can potentially shift “hundreds of thousands of votes” on Election Day, he warned.

Manufacturing Bias

Back in 2020, Epstein and his team collected 1.5 million ephemeral experiences from 1,735 field agents which were “sufficient, in theory,” to shift over 6 million votes to Joe Biden’s favor. Epstein had supported Biden at the time, he said.

He found that Google sent more voting reminders to moderates and liberals than conservatives, which Epstein calls a “brazen and powerful manipulation.”

Google also “turned off all manipulations” in the 2020 Georgia Senate races after three Republican senators sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai which discussed Epstein’s findings on manipulation (pdf). Political bias in Google search results “dropped to zero” after the letter, he pointed out.

In an April interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders,” Epstein also talked about online platforms using surveys to “help” users decide whom to vote for. In such surveys, users are given a quiz and the platforms tell them how good a match they are for specific candidates.

In an experiment, Epstein’s team found that they were able to shift a significant number of people’s voting preferences to the candidate that was presented as being their best match.

“Opinion matching is a fantastic way to manipulate people because you can shift people very, very, very dramatically, and they have no clue. They do not suspect any kind of bias or manipulation.”

About 96 percent of donations from Silicon Valley firms, including Google, go toward the Democratic Party, he adde




Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Bombshell #2 from California Clinicians group: Vaccines Not Helping Against COVID-19 During Omicron Surge

A group of California Central Valley primary care physicians and specialists continue to turn up disturbing findings associated with UK population-wide data, finding disturbing data based on a large, real-world evidence-based population-wide cohort retrospective study covering over 22 million persons in the UK. Like the previous study covered by TrialSite, these practicing clinician-real-world data investigators report bombshell outcomes that demand attention.

At this point, there is trivial difference in outcome between vaccinated and unvaccinated across cases, hospitalizations, and death. The findings run counter to the one-size-fit-all mass vaccination theme that continues to emanate out of English-speaking nations from the UK, USA, Australia, to New Zealand.

Rather, the California-based clinicians report a negative vaccine effectiveness impacted by key variables such as comorbidities, ethnicity, vaccination rates, and other factors. Fundamental to human health at this stage of the pandemic and “irrespective of vaccination” is the need for “uniform screening protocols and protective measures.”

The group attempted to get published with their last study and unfortunately, found few takers, probably due to the fact that the findings diverge from the mainstream health establishment’s narrative. But the group of practicing primary care and specialist physicians continue to generate study outcomes that must be read carefully and understood.

Previous Work

TrialSite showcases previous work by the group in “California Physician-driven Study of UK Population: COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations & Deaths Show Fully Vaccinated Elderly at Significant Risk.” This study was also represented by Dr. Emani.

Inquiring and analyzing nationwide data covering confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the UK starting from the beginning of the pandemic to investigate infection patterns, hospitalization, and deaths across various age cohorts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the California-based group probed 22,072,550 cases, 848,911 hospitalizations, and 175,070 deaths due to COVID-19 across the UK. The analysis revealed that 11,315,793 (51.3%) of the cases, 244,708 (28.8%) of hospitalizations, and 28,659 (16.4%) of deaths occurred during the most recent Omicron surge. When comparing the period of February 28-May 1, 2022, with the prior 12-weeks, they observed a significant increase in the case fatality rate (0.19% vs 0.41%; RR 2.11 [2.06-2.16], p<0.001) and odds of hospitalization (1.58% vs 3.72%; RR 2.36[2.34-2.38]; p<0.001). At the same time, a significant increase in cases (23.7% vs 40.3%; RR1.70 [1.70-1.71]; p<0.001) among ≥50 years of age and hospitalizations (39.3% vs 50.3%; RR1.28 [1.27-1.30]; p<0.001) and deaths (67.89% vs 80.07%; RR1.18 [1.16-1.20]; p<0.001) among ≥75 years of age was observed.

Disturbingly, the vaccine effectiveness (VE) for the third dose was in negative since December 20, 2021, with a significantly increased proportion of SARS-CoV2 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among the vaccinated; and lower proportion of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among the unvaccinated.

Demonstrating the risks of co-morbidities, pre-existing conditions were present in 95.6% of all COVID-19 deaths. The physician-real-world investigators caution that various ethnicities, comorbidities, deprivation score, and vaccination rate disparities were noted that can adversely affect hospitalization and deaths among compared groups.


Based in Stockton, California. Dr. Ventaka R. Emani recently sent the group’s most recent work to TrialSite that was uploaded to the preprint server medRxiv. Titled “Increasing SARS-CoV2 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among the vaccinated populations during the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant surge in UK,” the California group of cardiovascular specialists and primary care doctors were at it again, investigating what is not a popular topic to delve into in mainstream medicine.

In a previous telephone conversation with TrialSite’s founder Daniel O’Connor, Dr. Emani shared that they weren’t sure if their last study would get accepted by any major journals.

The Study

Again, conducting a retrospective observational study, the California team analyzed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and death during the pandemic in the UK. The group also analyzed various variables possibly impacting outcomes from ethnicity to vaccination disparities and co-morbidities in the form of preexisting conditions. Looking at a UK population ranging in age from 18 and up, they studied the period August 16, 2021, through March 27, 2022.

What were the results?

Dr. Emani and team report that toward the end of the Omicron variant-driven surge in the UK running from February 28, to May 1, 2022, they observed a slight rise in the proportion of cases (cases (23.7% vs 40.3%; RR1.70 [1.70-1.71]; p<0.001) and hospitalizations (39.3% vs 50.3%; RR1.28 [1.27-1.30]; p><0.001) among ≥50 years of age, and deaths (67.89% vs 80.07%; RR1.18 [1.16-1.20]; p><0.001) among ≥75 years of age compared to the earlier period (December 6, 2021-February 27, 2022) during the Omicron variant surge. “Using the available data from vaccine surveillance reports, we compared the Omicron variant surge (December 27, 2021-March 20, 2022) with the Delta variant surge (August 16-December 5, 2021). Our comparative analysis shows a significant decline in case fatality rate (all ages [0.21% vs 0.39%; RR 0.54 (0.52-0.55); p><0.001], over 18 years of age [0.25% vs 0.58%; RR 0.44 (0.43-0.45); p><0.001], and over 50 years of age [0.72% vs 1.57%; RR 0.46 (0.45-0.47); P><0.001]) and the risk of ><0.001) and hospitalizations (39.3% vs 50.3%; RR1.28 [1.27-1.30]; p<0.001) among ≥50 years of age, and deaths (67.89% vs 80.07%; RR1.18 [1.16-1.20]; p<0.001) among ≥75 years of age compared to the earlier period (December 6, 2021-February 27, 2022) during the Omicron variant surge.”

The California group embraced vaccine surveillance reports to evaluate the delta between the Omicron variant surge (December 27, 2021-March 20, 2022) with the Delta variant surge (August 16-December 5, 2021).

What does this comparative analysis reveal?

First there was a significant decline in case fatality rate (all ages [0.21% vs 0.39%; RR 0.54 (0.52-0.55); p<0.001] for those persons 18 years of age and up [0.25% vs 0.58%; RR 0.44 (0.43-0.45); p<0.001] and over 50 years of age [0.72% vs 1.57%; RR 0.46 (0.45-0.47); P<0.001]) and the risk of hospitalizations (all ages [0.62% vs 0.99%; RR 0.63 (0.62-0.64); p<0.001], over 18 years and up [0.67% vs 1.38%; RR 0.484 (0.476-0.492); p<0.001], and over 50 years of age [1.45% vs 2.81%; RR 0.52 (0.51-0.53); p<0.001]).

Both the unvaccinated (0.41% vs 0.77%; RR 0.54 (0.51-0.57); p<0.001) and vaccinated (0.25% vs 0.59%; RR 0.43 (0.42-0.44); p<0.001) populations of over 18 years of age showed a significant decline in the case fatality rate during the Omicron variant surge when compared to the Delta variant surge.

What’s the California group’s findings summary?

First, they report, not surprisingly, a marked decline in the risk of hospitalization for both the unvaccinated (1.27% vs 2.92%; RR 0.44 (0.42-0.45); p<0.001) and vaccinated (0.65% vs 1.19%; RR 0.54 (0.53-0.55); p<0.001) populations of over 18 years of age during the same period.

In what could be considered bombshell evidence, the group of doctor’s report that they observed a negative vaccine effectiveness (VE) associated with the third booster dose of the vaccine since December 20, 2021, with a significantly increased proportion of SARS-CoV2 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among the vaccinated.

Conversely, Dr. Emani and colleagues report a decreased proportion of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among the unvaccinated.

Much like the last study, the California-based clinicians report that 95.6% of all COVID-19 deaths in the UK are associated with pre-existing conditions. Like before they note the data points to other elements to consider from ethnicity and deprivation score to vaccination rate disparities which can adversely impact key indicators from hospitalization and deaths among the compared groups.

Bombshell Takeaway

Emani et al. again, are attempting to wake up their colleagues with data and science. The team wrote in their conclusion:

“There is no discernable optimal vaccine effectiveness among ≥18 years of age and vaccinated third dose population since the beginning (December 20, 2021) of the Omicron variant surge.” They noted that more specific, granular validation models targeting VE against hospitalization and deaths necessitates the incorporation of other variables mentioned above (e.g., pre-existing conditions, ethnicity, etc.).

In a finding counter to the medical establishment, the authors report that there is little difference in outcome now between vaccinated and unvaccinated in the Omicron period. They declared:

“Both the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations showed favorable outcomes with a significant decline in case fatality rate and risk of hospitalizations during the Omicron variant surge.”

Fundamental to the clinician’s outlook based on the slicing, dicing and analysis of real-world data: the COVID-19 vaccines offer little benefit moving forward in the Omicron period. This directly counters what could be considered a one-size-fit-all message from most health authorities across Anglo-centric societies—whether the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

Showcasing the necessity of infection prevention targeting higher risk populations (e.g., the elderly) “irrespective of vaccination,” the doctors stress the use of “uniform screening protocols and protective measures.” These clinicians have something profound to say based on the data analysis out of the UK—are health systems., government, and industry listening?

Principal Investigator Point of View

Dr. Emani emailed some of his thoughts on the study to TrialSite:

“As researchers, we have to stay within the scope of our data. All the available evidence suggests that the vaccine effectiveness is suboptimal, and protection is brief during the Omicron variant surge.”

Emani continued:

“Our data also shows that there are no adequate controls to compare the vaccine effectiveness for hospitalization, severe disease, and/or deaths as the unvaccinated population have more comorbidities and risk prone behavior than the vaccinated population.”

In keeping with the data and undoubtedly tapping into the physicians’ real world clinic experience during the pandemic the Manteca, based clinical-scientists shared:

“We recommend that all the risk factors including comorbidities and risk prone behavior should be adjusted at individual level than the population level while calculating VE for the hospitalizations, severe diseases and or deaths through models that should be validated in the same lines as the Randomized Controlled Trials.”

Finally, the group recommends a two-pronged approach to improving pandemic response at this point during the tail end of the pandemic—as Dr. Emani concludes:

“The recommended population (especially elderly with high risk) should get vaccinated per the current health department guidelines, but at the same time, should also take precautions to avoid contracting disease based on the data from our study. We also suggest that nation’s top Health policy bodies should look at all the emerging data carefully and come up with guidelines to protect public.”




Monday, November 07, 2022

UK: Why are excess deaths higher now than during Covid?

More people are dying every week than during Covid’s peak years. Last month there were 1,564 more deaths than average each week – known as excess deaths – compared with just 315 two years ago and 1,322 last year. In the week to 21 October (the most recent week of data) ONS figures reveal there were some 1,646 excess deaths alone. As has been reported before, excess deaths are most stark at home: with deaths in private homes nearly a third above average. Meanwhile in hospitals and care homes they’re just 15 and 10 per cent above average. The shift to dying at home, and the health service ceasing to function, continues.

What’s causing these deaths? It isn’t Covid: just 27 per cent of excess deaths in England for the most recent week have Covid as the underlying cause. Instead, problems that built up over lockdowns are being keenly felt now. A report from the British Heart Foundation, published this week, found that over 30,000 people in England have died ‘needlessly’ of heart disease since the start of the pandemic. That’s 230 deaths every week that wouldn’t have happened had we not locked down.

This is in part due to treatment delays during lockdowns. By the end of August some 346,000 people were on a cardiac waiting list in England – the highest number on record. This is expected to get even higher too: modelling suggests it could be as high as 395,000 by next April, some 224,000 more than before the pandemic. One in five of those heart patients say their health has gotten worse since the pandemic. And, as the below graph shows, over 7,000 patients have now been waiting over a year for a heart procedure. Heart and circulatory conditions account for nearly a quarter of the life expectancy gap between the rich and poorest. So any rise in excess heart deaths is likely to make things much worse.

The BHF report pointed to failures in the ambulance service too. NHS figures tracked by The Spectator data hub reveal that in September Category 2 calls – emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes – were taking 48 minutes. The target is 18 minutes. The BHF are furious: ‘there isn’t a moment to lose’, they say.

Could ambulance delays be the cause of Britain’s excess deaths then? A look at Scotland might support the theory. Recent figures suggest Scotland has lower and less consistent non-Covid excess deaths. But it locked down for longer and with harsher restrictions than the rules imposed south of the border. But look at ambulance waits and there’s much less of a problem. Comparable ambulance response times in Scotland are closer to 15 minutes. More than half those seen in England. Is that why they’re seeing less excess mortality, once Covid is removed?

Correlation is of course not causation but this nonetheless seems an important piece of the puzzle. Devolution lets us down here though. A truly direct comparison is incredibly difficult because all of the four nations categorise their statistics differently. England reports an average response time for four categories; Scotland uses colour codings and report medians rather than averages; the Welsh round to the nearest hour, and Northern Ireland haven’t bothered to update their statistics recently. We need proper UK wide data to answer a real UK wide problem.

Those on the heart disease treatment and test waiting lists are only a fraction of the potential excess deaths. They’re just the ones who at least have a diagnosis. More data reveals a huge drop in the percentage of 40-74 year olds (those most at risk) receiving health checks during the pandemic. NHS England modelling cited by the BHF suggested the drop in people having their blood pressure checked because of lockdowns could lead to an extra 11,190 heart attacks and 17,702 strokes in the next three years.

Despite increased pressure from academics, clinicians and now charities the government still displays little interest in what could be considered one of our greatest ever health crises. An investigation was promised by the then Health Secretary earlier this year but we’re onto our third government since then. An official in the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities wasn’t even aware it was something they monitored (they do) when asked earlier this week.

The communications void on the issue is becoming a problem. Senior clinicians are starting to worry that the lack of attention from the government and the health service is fuelling conspiracy theories. Dr Charles Levinson, CEO of Doctorcall, told me:

‘The silence around non-Covid excess deaths is fuelling conspiracy theories – the longer it goes on, the worse it’s getting. If the authorities don’t properly address and discuss the issue, this will only further undermine trust in public health.’

Those concerned about possible long-term effects of the vaccine are not the only ones intrigued by excess deaths. Some followers of the data have contacted me to suggest that perhaps there aren’t any excess deaths at all. There’s a worry among some that the crude averages used by the ONS do not account for an ageing population, and other demographic changes that occur over time. But the most senior figures in statistical academia refute this. Yes the ONS data is crude they say, but it’s not the only finding pointing to increased excess deaths.

The OHID use a complicated methodology for their average deaths baseline which does take population change into account. They find excess deaths in 23 out of 39 weeks this year. The institute and faculty of actuaries (who just compare deaths to their 2019 level) finds an excess of deaths too: 1,388 in the week to 21 October, slightly less than the ONS. So three separate sources, with three different methodologies, find the same thing. Excess deaths are not some ‘data glitch’.

Government has allowed this confusion to fester. Dr Levinson think’s a press conference on the topic would be useful: ‘Current levels of excess deaths are running higher than in the pandemic years. We had almost daily press conferences then – why can’t we have just one now?’

Week after week, excess deaths continue to mount. The issue is getting more attention than earlier in the year. But it’s taking independent charities and twitter sleuths to push the cause. The NHS is facing a mounting winter crisis (a waiting list already over seven million that may well reach nine) and deaths are only expected to get worse. Even small actions now might make big differences later on. Health Secretaries don’t seem to last very long at the moment. But whoever’s in post, this should surely be at the top of their red box every single day.


If GOP Retakes Congress, It Should Defund Pentagon’s Vaccine Mandate in Defense Spending Bill: Rep. Massie

A Republican lawmaker and nearly 100 colleagues are seeking to prohibit any requirement for service members to receive a vaccination against COVID-19. This measure would put an end to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s August 2021 military vaccine mandate. Nearly two dozen Republican members of Congress have joined the effort in the past three months alone.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced H.R.3860 in June 2021, over two months prior to Austin’s announcement of a mandate. He said it wasn’t a premonition, but insider information from whistleblowers that could foresee what was to come.

“Although Biden and his press secretary at the time were giving the impression that there would never be mandates, people in the military were telling me that paper was being pushed around to put the mandate in place,” Massie told The Epoch Times.

Acting on this information, he introduced the bill to specifically protect members of the military. “I never imagined that Biden would assert that he had the constitutional authority over anybody but the military,” he added.

Massie said many have asked him why his legislation is needed if there are already laws in place, like the permanent injunction granted in 2004 that brought the mandatory anthrax vaccine program to an end. With regard to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members, he said, “If I were a lawyer, I’d be suing the Secretary of Defense—but I’m a legislator.”

He is gravely concerned about the “false equivalency” between Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) products and those approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Service members opposing the mandate point to its wording, and argue that it only applies to vaccines that have full approval from the FDA. Therefore, the Pentagon cannot force vaccines labeled as issued under EUA, they say.

Massie agrees with many service members, opposing the Department of Defense policy (pdf) that says the Cominarty and EUA Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are interchangeable. The Pentagon is “fudging” and it’s illegal, he said.

An Act of Congress

Massie said it’s not the executive or judicial branches of government, but Congress that has the sole authority to fund the government. And according to the text of his bill, “No Federal funds may be used to require a member of the Armed Forces to receive a vaccination against COVID-19.”

If the bill were to become law, Massie said, anybody who is in violation of the law when it passes would be violating the Antideficiency Act. “It basically says it’s against the law against the law to spend money that Congress has not appropriated,” he explained.

The bill would not only end the military vaccine mandate, but would prohibit retaliation, punishment, disparate treatment, mask requirements, and forced substandard housing conditions.

The lawmaker now hopes the bill to be included, in the form of an amendment, to the final version of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual defense spending bill. The House version of the NDAA was approved in June, and the Senate is set to vote of its version in November after the midterms. Any differences between the two versions will then be reconciled in conference.

In addition, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are taking it a step further, calling on Republicans to delay passage of the annual defense bill until after the new year, anticipating a Republican majority in either the House or the Senate after the midterms. A new Congress would allow the majority to “rework” the legislation, the caucus said.

And Massie doesn’t disagree. “If Republicans can be united on this,” he said, “we could surely defund the vaccine mandate in the NDAA.” According to the congressman, it would also “end all the wasted time and effort of the lawsuits and the pain and suffering that’s been brought on the military.”

With a GOP majority comes “subpoena power,” Massie added. “We can force the people who are harming our nation’s military to come and testify.” And according to Massie, “It’s really malpractice on the part of the Democrats not to be doing oversight on this issue [of the military vaccine mandate].”

Austin would be on his shortlist for questioning. “He and others would be called to task to produce the scientific data to back the mandate—but we all know, that doesn’t exist.”

“It’s past time for the entire chain of command to follow the data, to follow the science, and use some common sense,” Massie said. “Service members have lost confidence in their leadership, and this must be rectified.”

Massie said he is thankful for the “secret force” of service members behind his bill.




Sunday, November 06, 2022

The puzzle of Long Covid

For nearly three years, research into COVID-19 has been driven by questions we’ve had since the beginning of the pandemic: How does this virus spread, and what does it do to the human body? Scientists were still caught up in these early mysteries when a new one rose to their attention. A growing number of people who had cleared the initial viral infection were left with ongoing, life-altering symptoms. Once the medical establishment recognized long COVID as legitimate (a contentious story itself), it began in earnest to search for cures and treatments that would enable patients to make full recoveries.

A critical issue in the discourse has become apparent over time: We’re missing the mark in the way we talk about recovering from long COVID. The science tells us a full recovery is in no way guaranteed, and that progress can vary wildly among individuals. And yet, most current long COVID research is predicated on the notion that full-on recuperation is possible, said Alison Sbrana, a board member of the queer feminist wellness collective Body Politic.

Just take the name of the RECOVER Initiative, the $1.15 billion research project on long COVID launched by the National Institutes of Health. “It’s an acronym that spells ‘recover,’” Sbrana told The Daily Beast. “That just encompasses the way that our health care system and our research systems think about medicine and disability.”

Many people with long COVID—perhaps even a majority of those afflicted, though it’s still too early to say for sure—aren’t going to “get better.” So how should doctors, employers, and families think about long-term, organized care?

Looking for Answers

What we do know is that a good chunk of people who get sick with COVID-19 are at risk for long COVID—being vaccinated may lower their risk, but not eliminate it entirely. There are millions of Americans experiencing symptoms of long COVID today, and recent research suggests that for many of them, these symptoms won’t go away. One, published in October in Nature Communications, found that half of people who had been infected with COVID were not fully recovered (and almost 10 percent had not recovered at all) when surveyed six, 12, and 18 months later. Another, led by McMaster University respirologist Manali Mukherjee and published in September in European Respiratory Journal, found that a quarter of over 100 COVID patients surveyed still experienced coughing, fatigue, or shortness of breath one year after their initial infection.

Mukherjee herself is part of that statistic. She told The Daily Beast that since contracting COVID for the first time in January 2021, she has struggled with bouts of long COVID symptoms that have affected her productivity and lifestyle. In March of this year, she got sick with the virus again, and the symptoms that seemed to be fading came back with a vengeance.

“I’m living on and off with the symptoms that I am researching,” she said.

Recovery from nearly any illness is typically measured as returning to some initial baseline. Mukherjee pointed out that this doesn’t work for long COVID symptoms, which seem to ebb and flow depending on factors like environmental triggers and subsequent viral infection.

“It’s been over two years since the start of COVID. If you’ve aged and gone through an infection as a 30-year-old, would you function the same as when you were 25? Would you ever get back to baseline?” Mukherjee said.

A World of Chronic Illness
Long COVID isn’t alone in that regard. Many other conditions play out over the course of years, including chronic and age-related illnesses. According to experts, the ways our medical system cares for some of these conditions and measures progress or improvement may offer insight into improving long COVID treatment.

Some features of stroke recovery may be relevant to an illness like long COVID, said Vincent Mor, a health services researcher at Brown University. Strokes often leave the people they affect with lingering neurological impairments, long after blood flow to the brain has been restored.

“Even though the outside observer won't notice it, the person themselves will also always notice that they’re not quite as sharp, they’re more frail or fragile, or less resilient,” Mor told The Daily Beast. “In that sense, there’s a commonality to long COVID.”

Recovering from a stroke is a multi-step process, taking place in many different settings before a patient is discharged. An initial inpatient hospital stay to stabilize one’s condition is followed by a post-acute care phase consisting of rehabilitation treatment. Medicare covers a patient’s stay in a skilled nursing facility for up to 100 days, though most patients do not stay the entire length, said David Grabowski, a health care policy researcher at Harvard Medical School. Facilities’ guidelines for discharging patients may vary, but they often weigh an individual’s progress toward rehabilitation goals with their desire to return to their community—two priorities that are often in conflict.

“I do think there's a lot of communication around what the goals you have to have for discharge are, and the goals are certainly not that you’re 100 percent back to your prior level of health,” Grabowski told The Daily Beast.

From then on, recovery takes place at home. After six months or so, most stroke patients reach a phase where they are only improving gradually, while a subset do not improve and instead develop a condition called chronic stroke disease. What determines these trajectories—who gets better and who doesn’t—isn’t fully clear, but a person’s transportation, occupation, housing, and family structure all influence their ability to access high-quality, ongoing care.

These social determinants alternately constrain or bolster healing in the months following a stroke, and they have resulted in stark disparities that are rooted into society, Grabowski said.

“You end up with very much a two-tiered system, and I could see something very similar happening with long COVID,” he said. “There’s a group of individuals that have insurance and are able to really withstand a longer term of treatment, whereas others are going to be under real pressure with their families.”

It’s an interesting comparison, but Mor cautioned that despite some apparent similarities, stroke rehabilitation is different from long COVID treatment in significant ways.

“The vast majority [of long COVID patients] are the walking wounded,” he said. “They’re in pain or they’re grieving because they’re no longer what they were, but they’re not bed-bound, and they don’t require hospital care.”

Instead, Mor emphasized that chronic pain and autoimmune conditions like fibromyalgia may share more similarities with long COVID—including in how little organized structure exists for treating these conditions.

Disability care provides another framework for what organized health care for long COVID patients could look like. Centers for Independent Living, founded and operated primarily by people with disabilities, arose out of the civil rights movement and subsequent disability rights activism. The organizations, which receive government funding and comprise about 400 centers nationwide, are designed to offer alternatives to long-term nursing homes and residential care facilities for people with disabilities. What this looks like can vary from place to place, but the overall work rejects traditional approaches of “curing” or “fixing” disabilities to maximize physical and mental functioning, in favor of developing strategies to meet one’s needs and enable independent living. Housing assistance, short-term counseling, and help in acquiring benefits and accommodations can all be part of an individual’s participation in a center, as their value lies in personalized aid.

But Centers for Independent Living are neither a one-size-fits-all remedy for every disability, nor a scalable, individualized solution for the growing number of Americans with long COVID. “Is there something specialized about long COVID care that would dictate institutions totally focused on that care? That's really hard to predict right now,” Grabowski said.

And while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has made it clear that long COVID can be a disability, many people don’t realize that they have a disability in the first place, much less that they are legally accorded certain rights and benefits on account of their condition, Sbrana said.

This reality, combined with a lack of incentives for policymakers to change the current health care system to provide reimbursement pathways for long COVID care, means that talk of any organized care communities for the condition will remain just that.

Turning Vision to Reality

In the absence of a defined care structure for long-term treatment or improvement, people with long COVID are left to figure out what recovery means to them, on their own terms and in their own lives. Mukherjee, for instance, has adjusted her baseline to avoid comparing herself to a place she can’t return.

“I’m not functioning at my 100 percent, the way I was in 2020, but I am functioning at 75 percent right now, and I consider that to mean I have recovered,” Mukherjee said. “The truth is, I don't think I will ever be able to do exactly whatever I was doing in 2020.”

Rather than focusing on regaining every function lost due to long COVID, emphasis should be placed instead on adapting to a “new normal,” Sbrana said. Long COVID can change a person’s capacity to work a full-time job; the Job Accommodation Network has recommendations on the kinds of accommodations that employees can ask for and are entitled to under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Building in rest breaks, providing ergonomic furniture, and allowing an employee to use noise-canceling headphones are all accommodations that a workplace could make for someone with long COVID.

Instead of aiming for a “full recovery,” Davids thinks about improvement in the symptoms of his chronic conditions in terms of remission, keeping in mind that flare-ups can and will occur. Outside of their jobs, people with chronic illnesses like long COVID may benefit from reassessing their environment—their communities, housing, or eating—with an eye toward how they can improve their quality of life today.

“For many of us, I think it can come down to changing who we’re around,” he said.

Having come of age during the early years of the AIDS epidemic and organized with ACT UP, Davids is no stranger to the health disparities and misconceptions that proliferate about chronic infectious conditions. At this moment, he said, we have a chance to reframe our thinking and focus on helping people with long COVID get better.

“We could be ahead of the curve here,” Davids said. “We don't have to wait 30 years with long COVID to start looking at what the quality of life is for people with long COVID, and what we can do to preserve or improve it.”