Friday, December 09, 2022

Covid jab resisters are seen as 'incompetent, untrustworthy' and not marriage material - study reveals

I don't share that view. I reluctantly had two shots but I am perfectly happy that my girlfriend is an ardent anti-vaxxer

A huge global study has revealed the emergence of Covid vaccine snobbery, with vaccinated people seeing the unvaccinated as 'incompetent, untrustworthy' and even poor marriage material.

The study of 15,233 people from 21 countries, including Australia, found vaccinated people were more discriminatory about the unvaccinated than they were towards ex-criminals and drug addicts.

The study, led by Denmark's Aarhus University, also showed the vaccinated generally hold more strongly negative attitudes towards unvaccinated individuals than the other way around.

Its authors claim vaccinated people were 'motivated to exclude the unvaccinated from family relationships and even protected political rights'.

They did however note the reaction was understandable because of the importance of widespread vaccination.

But they also advised governments to take urgent steps to heal the wounds caused by discrimination on the basis of vaccination status during the pandemic.

The study did not include any findings on attitudes about the effectiveness of vaccines, which were estimated to have saved millions of lives.

In June 2022, the highly respected Lancet medical journal estimated that vaccinations prevented up to 20 million deaths from Covid in 185 countries between December 2020 and December 2021.

But the new study's results cast previously unpopular defences of the unvaccinated in a completely new light.

Those include Scott Morrison's call in November 2021 that the unvaccinated should be allowed to order a cup of coffee if they want one - which was criticised by Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The survey also appears to at least partly support claims by fringe politicians and protest groups that discrimination against unvaccinated people was a real thing in Australia.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's efforts to introduce her controversial Covid-19 Vaccination Status (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill in November 2021 to federal parliament were defeated.

Covid vaccinations commenced in Australia in February 2021.

As of December 7, 2022, more than 64 million doses of Covid vaccines have been administered in Australia, and 96 per cent of Australians have had at least two doses.

An estimated 500,000 Australians remain unvaccinated, with their reasons a mix of fears about potential health impacts and a personal stand against vaccine mandates.

The 'discrimination' against unvaccinated people worldwide is so serious that study's authors 'urge authorities across the world to heal the cleavages in society left by the Covid-19 pandemic'.

'The study shows that prejudice towards the unvaccinated is as high or higher than prejudice directed towards other common and diverse targets of prejudice, including immigrants, drug-addicts and ex-convicts,' the authors wrote.

'In contrast, researchers find that the unvaccinated display almost no discriminatory attitudes towards the vaccinated.'

The findings directly contradict a public perception that 'anti-vax' and so-called 'freedom' protesters were antagonistic towards vaccinated people.

They also further strengthen the claims that Australian state governments overreached with tough Covid public health orders - such as thousands of fines, which were recently ruled invalid.

The study, titled Discriminatory Attitudes Against the Unvaccinated During a Global Pandemic, was authored by post-doctorate student Alexander Bor and Michael Bang Petersen, a professor of political science.

The data was collected from 21 countries - including Australia - between December 3, 2021 and January 28, 2022.

The global study involved picking 500 respondents each from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Britain, and the United States.

At the time, Sydney and Melbourne were in the grips of an Omicron outbreak, interrupting Christmas plans for millions of frustrated people who had taken up vaccinations.

Queensland's case numbers were just beginning to take off.

The study revealed attitudes 'in all inhabited continents' towards the unvaccinated were so extreme that many vaccinated people 'do not want close relatives to marry an unvaccinated person'.


Military background of the Covid vaccines explains a lot

Like blurry shapes in a swirling kaleidoscope that suddenly stops, three critical pieces of the pandemic puzzle came into focus this week.

First is the publication on 6 December of an explosive account of The Truth about Wuhan by Dr Andrew Huff, former vice president, from 2014 to 2016, of the EcoHealth Alliance (EA), the dodgy New York-based not-for-profit that funnelled millions of dollars from the US Department of Defense and Dr Fauci’s National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

Huff is a highly credentialed whistleblower, who served in Iraq, has a Masters in security technology, and a doctorate in bioterrorism. He was shocked when he saw that the EcoHealth Alliance was transferring gain-of-function techniques to Chinese scientists at the WIV allowing them to make dangerous viruses more infectious and says Sars-CoV-2 was developed during his time at the organisation.

This is supported by Peter Daszak, founder of the EA who boasted in 2016 in a speech to the New York Academy of Medicine presciently titled ‘History and Future of Pandemics’, that he and his colleagues at the WIV had sequenced the spike protein of Sars-like bat coronaviruses and inserted them into pseudo particles to ‘see if they bind to human cells’, observing that with each step they moved closer and closer to a virus that could ‘really become pathogenic in people’.

Amongst those who attended Daszak’s speech was Ian Lipkin, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University and one of the authors of the infamous paper, ‘The Proximal Origin of Sars-CoV-2’. Unredacted emails released in the last fortnight show that the paper was written at the behest of Fauci to rubbish the idea that the virus could have been created in a lab and smear anyone who said otherwise as a crackpot conspiracy theorist. Yet the emails show all the authors knew that the virus could be made more infectious in a lab. Despite – or perhaps because – Daszak refuses to disclose the specific virus that the WIV enhanced, Fauci has continued to fund the EA during the pandemic to the tune of nearly $7 million.

Huff says he sounded the alarm over biosecurity risks at the WIV because of its lax lab management and resigned in 2016 because of ethical concerns with the organisation. But in late 2019 he was offered a job at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He thinks DARPA already knew about the lab leak and wanted him inside the tent to make sure he couldn’t speak out as they embarked on a massive cover-up of their role in funding the creation of Sars-CoV-2. When he spoke out, he says he was subjected to extraordinary harassment including being stalked by military-grade drones. While China can be expected to lie about the pandemic, Huff’s account explains why Fauci and the Department of Defense would be so keen to cover up what happened in Wuhan.

The third piece of the puzzle to emerge in the last week is provided by Sasha Latypova, a pharmaceutical insider who worked in clinical trials for 25 years. She brings an insider’s focus to a key feature of the response to the pandemic that was hiding in plain sight. The development of the Covid vaccines was undertaken within the framework of the US government’s bioterrorism program under the aegis of the National Security Council.

The diabolical predicament in which we find ourselves is that Operation Warp Speed and its successor under President Biden, was run, at the highest levels, by the military not by vaccine developers, and the products are deemed to be military medical countermeasures. As a result, those in charge of producing them are also charged with regulating their safety and efficacy which they are not required to prove to anyone. They do this under the Emergency Use Authorisation Act (1997) which allows the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to dispense with normal safety and efficacy regulations in a public health emergency, if no other effective treatment exists. This provides an important incentive to disregard existing medication to treat Covid or to damn it as ineffective. It also explains why the more than 32,500 deaths and 1.47 million injuries which have been reported to the US database of Covid Vaccine Adverse Events through to 25 November, more than for any vaccine in history, can be ignored when other vaccine rollouts have been halted after 50 deaths.

HHS is also empowered under the Other Transactions Authority Act (2015) to order undisclosed medical countermeasures from pharmaceutical companies without being subject to any scrutiny. Likewise, the companies are not obliged to share the intellectual property developed with taxpayer funds with the government. Millions of dollars can be channelled to companies who can reward government officials with well-remunerated jobs in the private sector in a constant revolving door. It also means pharmaceutical companies have not had to detail to regulators the content of, for example, their proprietary lipid nanoparticles, or tests to prove what they are, what they do, and how they can be consistently manufactured. Indeed, the failure of contractors to comply with standard good manufacturing practices has been disregarded.

Finally, under the PREP Act the Public Health Emergency Declaration of 2020 exempts anyone acting within the framework of the Act from any liability for any injury or death for as long as their is a ‘public health emergency’, which no doubt explains why President Biden recently renewed the emergency declaration.

Without anyone to hold anyone to account, the US government and the vast majority of governments around the world, including ours, have showered billions of dollars on the manufacturers of the most lethal vaccines ever created. Big Pharma hasn’t captured the regulator, the Department of Defense has captured Big Pharma in a mutually rewarding deadly embrace.

For us, however, like Pandora, there is no way out of our dilemma. All that we have left is hope that those who, like gods, have been given unlimited power might give it way, a hope which as Friedrich Nietzsche argued may be ‘the most evil of evils because it prolongs man’s torment’.




Thursday, December 08, 2022

Here Is How the FDA Made the RSV Wave More Dangerous

Forget Covid-19 and Monkeypox. Respiratory syncytial virus (often shortened to RSV) may be the biggest public health threat this season. RSV is a virus that often results in mild cold-like symptoms for many infected adults. However, it can be deadly for children. RSV is estimated to be responsible for 1 out of 50 children’s deaths globally and 1 out of 56 deaths for children in developed countries.

RSV is rapidly spreading across the US and threatens our youth. The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota reports the highest hospitalization rates for flu (including RSV) in a decade—with children and seniors most affected. California recently reported its first RSV complications-related death for a child. Fearing the worst is yet to come, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed an order extending the Covid-19 emergency declaration to include RSV and other respiratory viruses. Governors in other states could follow his lead.

The younger the patient, the more difficult RSV is to treat. Infants with RSV cannot safely use most medications to treat the virus’s symptoms. Because infants are particularly susceptible to developing bronchitis or pneumonia from RSV, carefully monitoring breathing patterns is vital.

There are very few devices that effectively monitor an infant’s oxygen levels, and many of them are only found in hospitals. There used to be one widely available to parents until the Food and Drug Administration ordered it off the market.

Nearly a year ago, the FDA sent a warning letter to Owlet regarding its Smart Sock—a product that monitored an infant’s pulse and oxygen intake. The letter stated the FDA determined the Smart Sock is a medical device that needed to undergo the agency’s approval process before reaching the market. At the time, Smart Socks had been on the market for five years, boasted a 90 percent accuracy rating according to peer-reviewed research, and helped over 600,000 parents care for their children.

Unable to undergo the time-consuming and expensive process, Owlet released a version of the Smart Sock this January. But the latest version no longer monitors an infant’s heart or lungs. Consequently, the FDA drove parents’ best option to carefully monitor their baby’s vital organ function off the market.

In an article I wrote for the American Institute for Economic Research shortly before the Smart Sock was pulled from store shelves, I warned, “The cost of the agency’s decision is hundreds of thousands of infants going without a highly reliable monitoring device and countless sleepless nights for parents fearing for their children’s health or life.” As RSV sweeps across the country, there will be tragically more of both.


Could COVID hold key to curing cancer? Virus' notorious spike protein kills hard-to-treat lung tumors in lab studies

The virus has claimed the lives of six million people and caused unprecedented global disruption — but Covid might actually hold clues to curing cancer.

In lab studies, a modified version of Covid's spike protein killed the most treatment-resistant and deadliest form of lung cancer.

The spike protein is the unique part of Covid that is used to infect people as it is the structure that binds to human cells in the first instance.

It could also infect and kill lung cancer cells, as when combined with other cells, the protein can set in motion the process of cells dying.

Kalipada Pahan, professor of neurology at RUSH Medical College in Chicago and lead investigator of the study, said: 'If these results are replicated in lung cancer patients, it would uncover a promising avenue of this devastating disease.

'Intranasal spike S1 protein could be used for late-stage lung cancer when there’s no other therapy to stop the progression.'

The researchers said there have been anecdotal cases of people with lung cancer whose conditions improved after being infected with Covid, which bolsters their theory.

In the study, published in the journal Cancers, the team took a cloned version of the spike protein that is available to buy for scientists.

They then exposed it to non-small cell lung cancer cells from humans in a petri dish. They found that when the protein was added, it sparked the death of the cancer cells.

Next they gave the protein to the mice with established lung cancer by spraying it up their nose every other day, and gave another group of mice a saline solution as a control.

After four weeks, they examined the mice's tumors and found that the number and size of tumors had decreased in the group given the Covid spike.

Lung cancer is the main cause of cancer related deaths in the world, and has quite a low five-year survival rate.

Rates have not improved despite a multitude of therapies for lung cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, there will be around 236,740 new cases of lung cancer in this year alone.

Non-small cell lung cancer makes up around 84 percent of all lung cancers, found a study.


Sex, Racial, and Ethnic Representation in COVID-19 Clinical Trials. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Hong Xiao et al.

Key Points

Question: Compared with their representation in the US population with COVID-19, are female participants and racial and ethnic minority persons underenrolled in COVID-19 prevention and treatment trials?

Findings: In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 122 US-based COVID-19 clinical trials with 176 654 participants, female participants were underrepresented in treatment trials, Asian and Black participants were underrepresented in prevention trials, and Hispanic or Latino participants were overrepresented in treatment trials.

Meaning: These findings show systemwide differences in representation for several key demographic groups in COVID-19 prevention and treatment trials in the US.


Importance: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been calls for COVID-19 clinical trials to be fully representative of all demographic groups. However, limited evidence is available about the sex, racial, and ethnic representation among COVID-19 prevention and treatment trials.

Objective: To investigate whether female participants and racial and ethnic minority individuals are adequately represented in COVID-19 prevention and treatment trials in the US.

Data Sources: Identified studies were registered on or published in the PubMed database from October 2019 to February 2022.

Study Selection: Included studies must have provided the number of enrolled participants by sex, race, or ethnicity. Only interventional studies conducted in the US for the primary purpose of the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of (or supportive care for) COVID-19 conditions were included.

Data Extraction and Synthesis: Data on counts of enrollments by demographic variables (sex, race, and ethnicity) and location (country and state) were abstracted. Studies were broadly categorized by primary purpose as prevention (including vaccine and diagnosis studies) vs treatment (including supportive care studies). A random effects model for single proportions was used. Trial estimates were compared with corresponding estimates of representation in the US population with COVID-19.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Sex, racial, and ethnic representation in COVID-19 clinical trials compared with their representation in the US population with COVID-19.

Results: Overall, 122 US-based COVID-19 clinical trials comprising 176 654 participants were analyzed. Studies were predominantly randomized trials (n = 95) for treatment of COVID-19 (n = 103). Sex, race, and ethnicity were reported in 109 (89.3%), 95 (77.9%), and 87 (71.3%) trials, respectively. Estimated representation in prevention and treatment trials vs the US population with COVID-19 was 48.9% and 44.6% vs 52.4% for female participants; 23.0% and 36.6% vs 17.7% for Hispanic or Latino participants; 7.2% and 16.5% vs 14.1% for Black participants; 3.8% and 4.6% vs 3.7% for Asian participants; 0.2% and 0.9% vs 0.2% for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander participants; and 1.3% and 1.4% vs 1.1% for American Indian or Alaska Native participants. Compared with expected rates in the COVID-19 reference population, female participants were underrepresented in treatment trials (85.1% of expected; P < .001), Black participants (53.7% of expected; P = .003) and Asian participants (64.4% of expected; P = .003) were underrepresented in prevention trials, and Hispanic or Latino participants were overrepresented in treatment trials (206.8% of expected; P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, aggregate differences in representation for several demographic groups in COVID-19 prevention and treatment trials in the US were found.




Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Victory for lockdown opponent

Governor Kemp credits consistent, good management for his 8-point victory over his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams in their second matchup for the Georgia chief executive office.

In the end, Mr. Kemp was done in neither by the fierce national media criticisms of how he handled Covid, the corporate meltdown over the state’s new voting laws, the massive resources that poured in for Ms. Abrams, nor even by former President Trump’s strident campaign against him in the state’s primary.

“We just had a great record to run on, which obviously I didn’t have last time,” he told the Washington Examiner in an interview. When he ran in 2018, he was only the secretary of state. This time, his record included tax cuts, teacher pay raises and an economy less damaged by Covid than those of many other states.

At a time when Mr. Trump’s word was often golden in so many states’ Republican primaries, Mr. Kemp not only defeated but in fact clobbered his Trump-backed Republican primary opponent, Senator Perdue, by 50 points.

“I told our folks going into the primary, ‘We have a record to run on offensively in this campaign and I don’t ever want to be on the defensive; I want to take the fight to David Perdue and I want to take the fight to Stacey Abrams,’” he explained.

“And that’s what we did. And if you really look back, I think our team did a really good job of keeping them on their heels and keeping things focused on what we were; we never allowed anybody to get us in the weeds on all this other stuff.”

He added: “And we just ignored all the outside noise; stuff she was pushing, stuff the Left was pushing, stuff that President Trump or whoever may have been pushing.”

Mr. Kemp credits how he has handled tough times, both campaigns and outside forces, as moments that paved the way and prepared him for this year. “Ever since I got elected in ‘18, the likelihood of us having a rematch was going to be there,” he said.

“So, we developed our own ground game, our own, really, operation to get the vote out, to go after low propensity voters and swing voters and offered them a message of hope and prosperity that appealed to them.”

Mr. Kemp said he was prepared to be outspent but knew that his team had offered an argument to voters, something for them to vote for and not against, and it served his party well.

“We won every single other constitutional office, and we had a good night with our legislative candidates as well, and we got Herschel (Walker) in a runoff with Warnock,” he said.

“It’s tough beating an incumbent, but anytime you got an incumbent in a runoff in Georgia, there’s an opportunity to knock them off.”

Mr. Kemp went into his first race for governor against Ms. Abrams in 2018 as the underdog, with her as the superstar who ran on becoming the nation’s first black female governor. She failed, but the media favorably covered her high-profile denial of the election result and spurious claims of mass voter disenfranchisement.

Within two years, many outlets were already writing Mr. Kemp's political obituary when he became the target of Mr. Trump’s wrath. Mr. Kemp had enraged Mr. Trump by certifying President Biden’s victorious slate of presidential electors in Georgia.

A few months later, he faced a different form of wrath from Mr. Biden, corporate America and every other news organization in America. They were falsely calling the state’s new voting reform law “Jim Crow 2.0,” even though most of them hadn't even bothered to skim the legislation — they just took Democrats’ word for it.

Major League Baseball went so far as to move the All-Star Game out of the state. As he did then, Mr. Kemp shrugs. “Two of the largest investment companies in the state, Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, really were the ones that started that,” he said of the allegations the voting law would somehow suppress minority vote, “and then obviously Major League Baseball piled on.”

He added that “we had a lot we had to stand up to and push through. But I think when we did that, I stayed really focused on what our people wanted, not what the political pressure and a few people wanted.”

He also didn’t cave under political pressure when he was the first to reopen small parts of the economy during the pandemic — after the first wave of “stop the spread” and “flatten the curve” passed.

“Of the governors that were doing that at that time, I took obviously the most grief,” he said. “At one time, every state around us had their state parks closed or some of their beaches closed, and we never did that,” he said.

As a result, Georgia’s tourism industry held up fairly well even during the worst part of the pandemic. Plus, people were actually able to go out and walk on the beach.

“We had some regulations around that, but people could get out there and do some exercise and give their kids something to do,” Mr. Kemp said. “We had people from other states coming and putting in in our boat ramps because they just needed some sanity to get out on the lake and go fishing or do whatever.”

Mr. Kemp said his approach was to strike the right balance and not get paralyzed by the public health experts. “I know they had a job to do,” and the state’s commissioner of public health, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, “did too, but she was one of the best and well-trained epidemiologists in the world who was advising me,” he said.

“We didn’t do mandates on the vaccine or mask, and we pushed hard to get our kids back in the classroom because both Dr. Toomey and I said early on that we got to think about the livelihood effect of people not having economic viability, not having their kids in the classroom, just how hard that is for parents to have to deal with that with no outlet,” he added.

“I took a lot of grief from it just because of my political situation on other things that were going on with the president and just those politics,” he said. Early in the pandemic, people may forget, Mr. Trump himself and several mayors were very critical of Mr. Kemp’s failure to lock down his state.

“It was a tough time to go through,” said Mr. Kemp. And he left the criticism of Mr. Trump at that. “But also, it was just listening to those folks that were worried about losing their business, and they were worried about where their kids were going. ... What was going to happen to their kids? And that’s really who we were fighting for.”

Mr. Kemp has now filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to create Hardworking Americans Inc., a federal political action committee that he plans on using to help Republican candidates for federal office in Georgia.

He says standing up for policies and principles is just what he does. He adds he doesn’t do it for personal benefit, though sometimes it works out that way.

“In some ways, us standing up to Major League Baseball after we passed the election bill was one of the really first times that somebody started standing up to the woke cancel culture, if you will,” he said.

“We never backed down from that either, which ended up, looking back, really helped me in the primary and in the general.”

Kemp added that he wanted to help other Republicans stand up in similar fashion going forward. ?


Surprise: WSJ Uncovers 'COVID Spending' Scandal

One of the eternal truths of politics is that governments are generally very bad at allocating resources efficiently and effectively, especially under the auspices of "emergency." The bigger the government, the more true this reality generally tends to be. Even – or especially – when government intervention or spending is obviously called for, as was the case during the COVID pandemic, shoveling large sums of money out the door as quickly as possible will inevitably lead to the old cliched triumvirate of waste, fraud, and abuse. This recent emergency binge was no exception, witnessing waste, fraud and abuse on a mind-blowing scale.

The Wall Street Journal has uncovered one example of this phenomenon, revealed in a new investigative report:

When Covid-19 struck, the U.S. government gave hospitals tens of billions of dollars to help them cope with the strains of the pandemic. Many of the hospitals didn’t need it. The aid enriched some well-off systems, while failing to meet the needs of many that were struggling, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal financial-disclosure reports. The mismatch stemmed in part from the way the federal government determined how much a hospital should get. A main factor used to allocate relief was a hospital’s revenue, rather than Covid caseload or financial distress. The idea was that revenue was a good indicator of a hospital’s size.

Among the recipients were large, wealthy hospital owners—including some nonprofits—that reported profits from patient care during the periods they got aid. Some were well off enough to put money into investment funds, while others spent on new facilities and expanded campuses. Hundreds of other hospitals that got federal funding, however, reported losses. Some were forced to lay off nurses and make other cuts, saying they didn’t get enough aid to overcome their strains. Some served areas that had among the highest Covid death rates. The revenue-based award system, especially prevalent in the early days of the pandemic, tended to favor hospitals with higher prices

Some mistakes are unavoidable in an undertaking of this scope and magnitude, along a very accelerated timeline, but the Journal piece painstakingly reviews pieces of how "more than $175 billion in aid to a range of healthcare providers, including hospitals, doctors, dentists, clinics, nursing homes and other facilities," mostly within the window of a year-and-a-half stretch. Meanwhile in Florida – where the state government was remarkably effective in the aftermath of the devastation of Hurricane Ian this fall – Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced additional aid from Tallahassee to homeowners in need, after he said FEMA has declined some requests for assistance:

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in Southwest Florida, the region of landfall for Hurricane Ian, that Florida will pay $25 million of its own money for emergency relief in light of FEMA denying the state’s request. “Unfortunately, we got word last week that FEMA had denied our request for funding our state-led housing initiatives, citing their quote ‘limited authority.’ But we’re not just gonna sit there and take no for an answer,” he said. FEMA sent a Dec. 2 letter to the DeSantis Administration issuing denial for a request to expand the state’s housing recovery program: "Due to the limited authorities FEMA has to approve and pay for this type of work, as well as our inability to confirm that authorizing this policy expansion would achieve the intended outcomes for disaster survivors, your request is denied."

I suspect we haven't heard the last of this dispute.




Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Long COVID: How clusters of symptoms have emerged and changed over the pandemic

Since the first COVID "long haulers" were reported in 2020, millions of people have experienced long COVID.

While long COVID has no strict definition, it's generally used to describe an illness following a SARS-CoV-2 infection with symptoms that last at least two to three months.

It can manifest as a whole suite of symptoms ranging from body aches and pains to brain fog, and these can substantially vary between people, says Lou Irving, respiratory physician and head of the Royal Melbourne Hospital's post-COVID clinic.

But under that broad "long COVID" umbrella, clusters of symptoms have emerged, and as the pandemic's worn on, those symptoms have shifted.

Senior respiratory physiotherapist Janet Bondarenko has been working in Melbourne's Alfred Hospital post-COVID clinic since its doors opened two years ago.

Early on, most people referred to the post-COVID clinic had been severely sick and many hospitalised. "We saw a lot of breathlessness in people, and they could only manage walking a few metres at a time," Ms Bondarenko says. "Then we started to see memory and concentration issues."

And while she still sees these symptoms in patients now, she also sees more people with heart-related symptoms. "If they're going from sitting to standing, their heart rate will jump and they'll get palpitations, chest pains, things like that," Ms Bondarenko says.

This is an example of what's known as "autonomic dysfunction", where a part of our nervous system that controls things like blood pressure doesn't work properly.

If a person's blood pressure drops, their heart has to work harder and pump faster to compensate and keep blood moving around the body. This, in turn, produces symptoms such as dizziness and extreme fatigue.

"What's interesting is people now often present with breathlessness, but it's not breathlessness caused by the respiratory disorder," Ms Bondarenko says. "It's breathlessness from fatigue and from this autonomic dysfunction."

New data from Australia's longest-running post-COVID clinic has revealed a high proportion of patients are women in their 40s and 50s, painting a picture of who might be more affected by this emerging condition.

Jason Kovacic, a cardiologist at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, says it's still the case that a very sick person is more likely to develop long COVID, but now people with an extremely mild case can end up in a bad way.

"I have a couple of notable patients who just can't nail down when they had COVID, but they came to the clinic or to the ER with a full hand of long COVID symptoms," Professor Kovacic says.

"They're dizzy, lightheaded, fatigued, and short of breath, and they get to see me because they've got a resting heart rate of 120 and a blood pressure of 90 over 60."

First, Professor Kovacic runs tests to rule out other causes of low blood pressure and fast heart rate, such as myocarditis. "But this group of people tend to have a normal heart that's beating fast with low blood pressure and palpitations and, understandably, a lot of anxiety as well."

Why the shift in symptoms?

Just as different variants (and subvariants) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have wreaked various levels of havoc on our body, it appears they impart different lingering after-effects too.

"Different strains of the virus are interacting with immune systems differently and triggering different events," Professor Kovacic says.

"The likelihood of getting long COVID was probably double with Delta than what it is with Omicron.

"I think that really speaks to this interaction of what the specific strain of the virus is doing, and how that interacts with the immune system of each person."

Exactly why long COVID develops in some people and not others is still a mystery, but our genetics likely plays a role, as does our history of previous conditions.

Some studies suggest COVID-19 infection can reactivate the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes glandular fever and is linked to chronic fatigue syndrome.

"They're not the same conditions, but there are parallels between chronic fatigue and long COVID, and some of the immune dysfunction that's related to glandular fever is very similar to what happens with long COVID," Professor Kovacic says.

Professor Irving suspects researchers will eventually discover subtypes of sorts within the broader "long COVID" cohort. "I think we'll find there are groups where the virus can activate autoimmune responses, in some people it can activate autonomic responses, and in others it can bring out mental health issues."

While vaccination may lower our risk of developing long COVID, the only surefire way is to not get infected with COVID-19 in the first place.

Management and recovery

The goal for post-COVID clinics is to get people back to their usual activities while managing symptoms.

Treatment depends on each person's symptoms, but recovery typically involves plenty of rest to start, then taking lots of short breaks as activity slowly builds.

Exercise rehab can be helpful too, Ms Bondarenko says, but not for everyone.

"There's two different clusters: some people respond well to exercise but for other people, it could potentially make them worse."

Some people with severe symptoms such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, a condition where most of your blood remains in your lower body when you stand up, can benefit from medications.

But recovering from long COVID takes time, and for most, that's between six and 12 months, Ms Bondarenko says.

"Often the concentration and brain fog is quite highly linked with fatigue, so once the fatigue starts to get better, all those other symptoms tend to resolve as well. "But it does get better with time, and most people get better."

Professor Irving agrees. "Common roadblocks are frustration, doing too much too soon, which can set you back, and financial worries, because not everyone can afford to take time off.

"But from experience, everybody gets better — it just takes time."


Mask wearing disrupts decision-making ability, Australian study finds

Mask wearing can seriously disrupt a person’s ability to make decisions, particularly when they feel under pressure, a new Queensland study has found.

Dr David Smerdon of the University of Queensland's School of Economics studied 8500 worldwide chess players aged between 5 and 98, comparing how they played a game of chess both with and without masks on.

After analysing almost three million individual chess moves he found wearing a mask substantially reduced the quality of a player’s decisions.

But the disruption to decision making was also only temporary and players were able to recover from their initial brain fog within four to six hours, before returning to their normal playing capability.

“We found that the early part of the game you’re not playing as well as you usually would,” Dr Smerdon said.

“The data showed masks were more likely to decrease performance in situations where there was a demanding mental task with a high working memory load.

“The decrease in performance was due to the annoyance caused by the masks rather than a physiological mechanism, but people adapted to the distraction over time.

“The results suggest that the effect of masks may depend on the type of task, the duration of the task and working memory load.”

Dr Smerdon said it was important to find out what -if any- kind of effect mask wearing had on the general population, with his initial findings also indicating minimal disruptions to children’s decision making.

“From a methodical point of view, it’s been hard to get evidence on this topic and chess gave us those circumstances as it requires calculation, memory, problem-solving and pattern recognition and has been used extensively in psychology, neuroscience and economics to measure changes in cognitive performance,” he said.

“What surprised me was the level of effect for experts, particularly in very important games, the effect is very large.

“When we looked at just juniors, up to the age of 18 we didn’t find any effects of mask (wearing), and that could be because of the comparison of kids to the overall (study) numbers or maybe because they are just more adaptable.”

Dr Smerdon said understanding the impact of mask wearing could help individuals and organisations, particularly if it becomes mandatory again in future.

“A lot of communities have discussed mask policies since they were introduced,” he said.

“This is something to keep in mind for occupations in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as other professions that demand a high level of working memory such as language interpreters, performers, waiters and teachers.

“For example, education policy makers may need to bear in mind the disruptive effects of masks when designing exam conditions to address concerns about student health and fairness.”




Monday, December 05, 2022

Autopsies Show COVID-19 Vaccination Likely Caused Fatal Heart Inflammation: Study

A serious side effect linked to COVID-19 vaccines can lead to death, according to a new study.

Post-vaccination myocarditis, a form of heart inflammation, was identified in a subset of people who died “unexpectedly” at home within 20 days of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Researchers analyzed autopsies that had been performed on the people and conducted additional research, including studying tissue samples.

Researchers started with a group of 35, but excluded 10 from further analysis because other causes of death were identified. Of the remaining 25, researchers identified evidence of myocarditis in five.

All of the five people received a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine within seven days of their death, with a mean of 2.5 days. The median age was 58 years. None of the people had COVID-19 infection prior to being vaccinated and nasal swabs returned negative.

Autopsy findings combined with the lack of evidence of other causes of death and how the vaccination happened shortly before the deaths enabled researchers to say that for three of the cases, vaccination was the “likely cause” of the myocarditis and that the cardiac condition “was the cause of sudden death.”

In one of the other cases, myocarditis was believed to be the cause of death but researchers detected a herpes virus, an alternative explanation for the incidence of heart inflammation. The remaining case did not include an alternative explanation for the myocarditis but the researchers said the impact of the inflammation was “discrete and mainly observed in the pericardial fat.” They classified the two cases as possibly caused by vaccination.

“In general, a causal link between myocarditis and anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is supported by several considerations,” the researchers said, including the “close temporal relation to vaccination”; the “absence of any other significant pre-existing heart disease”; and the negative testing for any “myocarditis-causing infectious agents.”

Limitations included the small cohort size.

The study (pdf) was published by Clinical Research in Cardiology on Nov. 27. The researchers all work for Heidelberg University Hospital. They were funded by German authorities.

Moderna and Pfizer did not respond to requests for comment.

The meticulous ruling out of possible causes apart from vaccination signals that the cases are “the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. Andrew Bostom, a heart expert based in Rhode Island, told The Epoch Times.

“If there’s a seemingly healthy person that dies suddenly in their sleep, essentially, these are typically the cases that are autopsied, and clearly the most common finding is some form of atherosclerotic coronary heart disease. But they basically ruled that out in these cases. And then they came up with the most plausible proximate cause being vaccination,” he said. “And so it suggests that the phenomenon could actually be broader than it’s been suspected to be.”


Myocarditis is a serious heart condition that can manifest as chest pain and typically leads the sufferer to seek hospital care. Doctors usually advise against all or most physical activity for a period of time. Causes include bacteria, viruses, and fever.

Acute myocarditis resolves in about half of cases in the first two to four weeks, researchers have found, but another quarter feature longer-term problems and many of the rest lead to death or heart transplantation.

The incidence of myocarditis among COVID-19 vaccine recipients was higher than expected, researchers in the United States, Israel, and other countries have found. The highest rates have been detected in young people, particularly young males.

Estimates of the typical myocarditis incidence rates are 0.2 to 2.2 per million persons within seven days. Reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System show higher rates for males aged 5 to 49 and females aged 12 to 29. The highest rate was 75.9 per million second doses administered. Reports to the system don’t prove causality but the system suffers from severe underreporting, according to studies, indicating the rates are even higher.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend vaccination for virtually all people aged 6 months and older, asserting that the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks. Some experts disagree, saying side effects like myocarditis tilt the calculus to the risks being higher in some age groups.

Government officials have repeatedly said that most of the myocarditis cases resolve within weeks, but CDC researchers found in September that many youths who experienced post-vaccination myocarditis still had abnormal MRI results months later.

The incidence has been much lower among older people, according to U.S. authorities, which have refused to make public the autopsy results of people who die after vaccination, and various studies. The new study “suggests we’ve been missing some severe myo[carditis] cases in our studies,” Dr. Tracy H√łeg, an epidemiologist who advises the Florida Department of Health, said on Twitter.


Several vaccines have been linked to myocarditis and a related condition, pericarditis. They are made by Moderna and Pfizer and are the two most widely administered in the United States and Germany.

Both vaccines utilize messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.

Causality means that a vaccine causes a condition.

Top CDC researchers have said (pdf) the current evidence shows a causal link between the mRNA shots and heart inflammation. Other researchers have also reached that conclusion.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns potential vaccine recipients that “postmarketing data demonstrate increased risks of myocarditis and pericarditis, particularly within 7 days following the second dose.”

Bostom said the evidence he’s reviewed shows a causal link.

“It’s as certain as most associations that we say are confirmed in medicine,” he said.

Some studies have identified COVID-19 as another cause of myocarditis and pericarditis, but others have indicated it might not be associated.

Other Autopsy Findings

Before the German study, other researchers around the world had reported findings from autopsies of people who died suddenly after vaccination.

In 2021, U.S. researchers reported two adults developed myocarditis within two weeks of COVID-19 vaccination, and they were unable to find causes other than vaccination.

In 2021, South Korea researchers reported that after examining the death of a 22-year-old man who died five days after receiving the Pfizer vaccine, they determined the primary cause was “myocarditis, causally-associated” with the vaccine.

In January, New Zealand researchers reported that the Pfizer vaccine was probably responsible for sudden myocarditis that led to the death of a 57-year-old woman, writing that “other causes have been discounted with reasonable certainty.”

In February, researchers in several U.S. states reported that two teenage boys who died shortly after receiving Pfizer’s vaccine experienced heart inflammation and that the inflammation was the primary cause of death.

In May, CDC researchers reported that a young boy died after experiencing post-vaccination heart inflammation, with myocarditis being pegged as the cause of death.

In September, a German researcher reported that a 55-year-old who died four months after receiving the Pfizer vaccine died of myocarditis and said “these findings indicate that myocarditis, as well as thrombo-embolic events following injection of spike-inducing gene-based vaccines, are causally associated with a[n] injurious immunological response to the encoded agent.”

And just recently, Japanese researchers reported on results from a 27-year-old man who died 28 days after admission following vaccination.


UPenn developing ‘multivalent’ flu vaccine that could fight 20 strains

A universal flu shot may be on the horizon. A University of Pennsylvania researcher believes he has created a one-and-done vaccine that could fight against 20 influenza strains and last a patient’s lifetime, the school announced last week.

Dr. Scott Hensley and his team created the “multivalent” vaccine to establish immunity against all known flu strains, but it is not intended to replace the annual flu shots, the researchers explained in their published paper. Yearly shots are tailored to combat the strongest strain that year, but the university’s shot is intended to fight the next massive flu pandemic.

“The idea here is to have a vaccine that will give people a baseline level of immune memory to diverse flu strains, so that there will be far less disease and death when the next flu pandemic occurs,” Hensley said in a statement.

The CDC estimates the flu has caused 52,000 deaths annually between 2010 and 2020.

Researchers created the shot using the same technology Pfizer and Moderna used to make the COVID-19 jab. Rather than providing a “sterilizing” effect on individuals, the universal flu vaccine elicits a “memory immune response that can be quickly recalled and adapted to new pandemic viral strains,” the researchers said.

Hensley and his team have found success testing the jab on mice, even when the animals were exposed to flu strains different from those used in the shots they were given.

The jab could fight 20 influenza strains and last a patient’s lifetime.

The team is planning on testing the universal vaccine on humans soon.

The vaccine is designed for people of all ages, but Hensely told the Philadelphia Inquirer that it would be the most effective when administered to children.

“If the vaccine is given early in childhood, it may provide an initial blessing of induced immunity,” Hensley said.




Sunday, December 04, 2022

Scientist who worked at Wuhan lab says Covid was man-made virus

A scientist who worked closely with a Wuhan lab has claimed Covid was genetically engineered and leaked from the facility.

Dr Andrew Huff, former vice president of EcoHealth Alliance, claims to have had a ringside seat to what he brands one of the greatest cover-ups in history and the “biggest US intelligence failure since 9/11”.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology — a high security lab specialising in coronaviruses — has been in the eye of the storm as questions rage over whether Covid could have escaped from its lab, The Sun reports.

Both China and the lab have furiously denied any allegations, but evidence of a lab leak has been piling up over the last two years as scientists, researchers and governments hunt for answers and step forward with evidence.

Dozens of experts have suggested Covid could have escaped from the Wuhan lab through an infected researcher, improper disposal of waste, or potential breaches in the security at the site.

Even the head of the World Health Organisation reportedly believes Covid did leak from the lab after a “catastrophic accident”.

In his new book — The Truth About Wuhan — whistleblower Dr Huff claims the pandemic was the result of the US government’s funding of dangerous genetic engineering of coronaviruses in China.

The epidemiologist said China’s gain-of-function experiments, carried out with shoddy biosecurity, led to a lab leak at the US-funded Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“EcoHealth Alliance and foreign laboratories did not have the adequate control measures in place for ensuring proper biosafety, biosecurity, and risk management, ultimately resulting in the lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he said in his book, an exclusive prerelease copy of which was provided to The Sun Online.

EcoHealth Alliance had been studying different coronaviruses in bats for more than ten years with funding from the National Institutes of Health and developed close working ties with the Wuhan lab.

Dr Huff, who worked at EcoHealth Alliance from 2014 to 2016 and served as vice president from 2015, worked on the classified side of the research program as a US government scientist.

The army veteran, from Michigan, said the organisation taught the Wuhan lab the “best existing methods to engineer bat coronaviruses to attack other species” for many years.

And he claimed “China knew from day one that this was a genetically engineered agent”.

“The US government is to blame for the transfer of dangerous biotechnology to the Chinese,” he said. “I was terrified by what I saw. We were just handing them bioweapon technology.”

Former intelligence chiefs and diplomats have already claimed Covid was leaked from a Wuhan lab in the “cover-up of the century”.

In 2009, the Wuhan lab started working with the EcoHealth Alliance on a USAID program - called PREDICT - focusing on emerging pandemic threats.

PREDICT was designed to help detect and find zoonotic viruses with pandemic potential - including coronaviruses.

Shi Zhengli - the Wuhan virologist who famously became known as “Batwoman” - hoped the program would create an early-warning system for pandemics.

But in 2014, Dr Huff was asked to review a funding proposal which revealed that gain of function work was being carried out to create SARS-CoV-2 - which causes Covid.

Gain of function work sees viruses souped up to more easily infect humans to help researchers test scientific theories, develop new technologies and find treatments for infectious diseases.

But the risky research method can pose safety and security concerns - and it’s banned in many countries.

It was originally banned in the US in 2014 — but was reintroduced by the NIH in 2017.

Dr Huff realised the EcoHealth Alliance was working closely with the Wuhan lab on gain of function research, with the support of USAID - a US government department.

He soon realised the virus would never occur in nature and had been developed into a much more powerful pathogen in the lab.

Dr Huff believes Covid was genetically engineered in Wuhan through gain of function research funded by the US government - and poor biosafety led to a lab leak.

“EcoHealth Alliance developed SARS-CoV-2 and was responsible for the development of the agent SARS-CoV-2 during my employment at the organisation,” he said.

Although he pointed out he has seen no evidence China deliberately released the virus.

Dr Huff believes the US-funded project was “mostly a global fishing expedition for coronaviruses” to carry out gain of function work or for intelligence collection - rather than preventing future pandemics.

“At the time, I felt like the project seemed more like intelligence collection than scientific research and development,” he said in his book.

The scientist said the PREDICT program wasn’t collecting the data is should have been - and he told The Sun Online it appeared to be a “giant intelligence operation”.

He alleges the US were using the project to assess the bioweapon capabilities of foreign labs - including the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

During a meeting with top executives in 2015 and 2016, Dr Huff said he sounded the alarm over biosafety and biosecurity risks in contract laboratories.

“I was concerned that EcoHealth Alliance did not have enough visibility or first-hand knowledge of what was happening at foreign laboratories contracted and managed by EcoHealth Alliance,” he said.

Dr Huff said US government officials again issued warnings in January 2018 about the Wuhan lab - including the major shortage of experts needed to safely manage research on deadly coronaviruses.

“It could be reasonably argued that EcoHealth Alliance set up China to fail,” he said.

And when Covid emerged in late 2019, he said China “and some of their US government collaborators at the Department of State, USAID, and the Department of Defence went into full cover-up mode”.

Dr Huff said he “has good reason to believe that the US government was alerted to the outbreak in August or October 2019”.

He quit EcoHealth Alliance in 2016 “due to a large number of ethical concerns with the scientific work and EcoHealth Alliance as a whole”.

But in late 2019, he was suddenly offered a position at Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) - and was told he would need top security clearance and a polygraph for the job.

Dr Huff now believes he was approached for the role to keep him quiet about the origins of Covid.

“It is my belief that people working within the US government potentially identified me as a risk to knowing first-hand that the SARS-CoV-2 disease emergence event was a consequence of the US government’s sponsorship of the genetic engineering of SARS-CoV-2 domestically and abroad,” he said in his book.

“If I would have accepted the position, then I suspect that DARPA would have disclosed restricted information to me, which would have consequently prevented me from discussing any of this information publicly, like I have been and am doing now.”

He added: “About a month after the pandemic began, and I was adamant that SARS-CoV-2 was a man-made agent, I suddenly realised what the potential motivation and persistence for recruiting me were.

“The intelligence community realised that I was the only person in a senior position that had left EHA, and the fact I was working outside the government’s control made me a threat to their agenda.”

Dr Huff believes government officials offered him the role so he could be “sworn into silence for the rest of my life”.

As he began to unravel the alleged extensive cover-up by the US government, he said the authorities launched a massive campaign of harassment against him.

He claimed military-grade drones would often appear at his home, he was stalked at the supermarket, and he was followed by unknown vehicles.

Dr Huff has since filed a lawsuit with Renz Law LLC against EcoHealth Alliance in the state of New York.

The National Institutes of Health previously stated in a letter to Congress the bat viruses EcoHealth Alliance were studying in Wuhan could not have become the virus that causes Covid.


Supreme Court of Italy: Vaccine against covid is mandatory

The Italian Constitutional Court has made a definitive decision on the mandatory vaccination against covid for health workers, employees in the public sector and over 50 years of age.

The judges declared that the obligation protects the right to health, and from today fines will be sent to two million people who did not comply with the vaccination obligation.

After five courts from Brescia, Catania, Padua, Lombardy and the region of Sicily asked the Constitutional Court to consider the legitimacy of the mandatory vaccine, and the proportionality of the sanctions because many people work from home, as due to questions about the safety of the vaccines themselves.

The Constitutional Court ruled that all their requests are unacceptable and confirmed the decision on the mandatory covid vaccine.

Almost two million people over the age of 50 in Italy have not been vaccinated.

At this moment, a fine of 100 euros will be sent to all Italians who were required to be vaccinated. Those categories include health workers, employees of law enforcement as well as employees of the education system, and everyone over the age of fifty.

Namely, on November 30, the deadline expired in which it was possible to submit justifications related to avoiding vaccination, such as health reasons or because a person fell ill with covid at the time when they should have been vaccinated.

Most fines will be sent to residents of the Friuli Venezia Giulia, Calabria and Abruzzo regions.