Friday, January 06, 2023

Breathing Trouble

New research shows the risks from prolonged use of face masks

There’s an old story about a guy who jumped into a thorn bush: He wanted to collect berries, but he failed to consider the adverse effects of the plan. Something similar happened with face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic: Masks were promoted, and often mandated, as necessary safeguards for reducing the chance of infection, while their possible adverse effects were brushed aside. While the science on the benefits of masking is still inconclusive, the latest research now shows that the prolonged use of face masks—especially those with tighter fits like the N95s—could harm wearers by exposing them to dangerously high levels of carbon dioxide.

The risks appear to be especially pronounced for young people. As part of a team of scientists, one of the authors of this article conducted a randomized study of the effects of masking on healthy school aged children in Germany. The results of this research, published in September 2022 in the peer reviewed journal Environmental Research, concluded that wearing masks raised the carbon dioxide (CO₂) “content in inhaled air quickly to a very high level in healthy children in a seated resting position that might be hazardous to children’s health.”

These results should not have come as a surprise. It has long been suspected that mask-wearing poses risks. In Germany, for instance, workers required to wear an N95/FFP2 respirator must get a certificate verifying their ability to do so, and even with said certificate, those workers are mandated to take a 30-minute break every 90 minutes.

Only in the 19th century, with the development of germ theory, did masks begin being used as health devices. Then in the early 20th century, masks gained a foothold in hospitals, usually worn by doctors and nurses. The “Spanish flu” pandemic of 1918-20 was perhaps the first case of masks being worn by the general public, but we only have scattered photographic pictures of masked people and don’t know how frequently they were worn.

During the 20th century, most scientists believed that masks could be useful only in hospitals for the prevention of surgical wound infections in high-risk cases. Still in 2010, a study overseen by Dr. Ben Cowling, a professor of public health at the University of Hong Kong, found weak evidence, if any, that masks could be a useful tool for stopping airborne infections.

There’s thus every reason to believe that, in March 2020, when Dr. Anthony Fauci discouraged Americans from wearing masks, he was simply stating a widely accepted medical orthodoxy. Population-level mandatory face masking had never been attempted before, and there was no reliable data proving its effectiveness, nor data detailing its adverse effects. It was reasonable to be cautious before recommending such a drastic and untested solution.

Yet this attitude rapidly changed, most likely because of political factors. It is not that politicians were directly meddling with medicine; more likely, they simply wanted to be seen as “doing something.” Masks offered visible evidence that the leaders were acting against the pandemic, and so masks appeared to be a good idea. The medical authorities rapidly sensed what was expected of them—back up the politicos—and they complied, even in the absence of data supporting the decision.

After more than two years of widespread masking, which remained mandatory for young school children long after it was abandoned by the politicians who imposed such measures, we are starting to see more data. But many studies are of poor quality, performed on small populations, based on questionable assumptions, using debatable statistical methods, and often using air that is unnaturally saturated with viral particles.

Some studies do indicate that, at least in some conditions, masks can slow down the diffusion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Masks are not, however, a miracle device that can fully stop the virus. As doctors were saying in early 2020 before the public health establishment reversed its position on the issue, aerosol particles carrying the coronavirus are simply too small to be completely stopped by the filtering tissue of standard masks, and even less so because of how often masks are worn incorrectly.

It is our view, then, after considering the available scholarship, that we cannot establish any clear and conclusive benefits to widespread masking.

Can we establish the presence of any harmful effects? Here, we enter a complicated field of study, as it is difficult to determine the adverse effect of masks on wearers. Such a gap in knowledge is part of a pattern: In the history of medicine, there have been some glaring failures in detecting adverse effects. You may remember, for instance, the story of thalidomide, a drug marketed in the 1950s as a sedative, that was later found to cause birth defects. It had not been properly tested on pregnant women.

One problem with determining adverse effects is that you can’t knowingly expose people to something that you suspect causes serious harm, not even in the name of science. The Nuremberg Code, a set of international ethical principles created after the Doctors Trial for Nazi medical war crimes, prohibits experimentation on human subjects without their explicit consent. Another problem is that adverse effects are often delayed in time. Think of the health effects of cigarettes. Nobody ever died because they smoked one cigarette. After several decades of studies, however, it was possible to determine that if you are a smoker your life expectancy is reduced by a significant number of years.

Just like smoking a single cigarette never killed anyone, wearing a face mask for a few hours or a few days does not cause irreversible damage either. But the immediate short-term physiological effects are detectable: A recent study led by Pritam Sukul, senior medical scientist at the University Medicine Rostock in Germany, found masks to cause hypercarbia (high concentration of CO₂ in the blood), arterial oxygen decline, blood pressure fluctuations, and concomitant physiological and metabolic effects.

On a time scale of weeks or months, these effects appear to be reversible. But how can we know what can happen to people who wear masks for several hours a day for several years? Will we have to wait for decades before concluding that masks are bad for people’s health, as was the case with cigarettes?
Not necessarily, for we are able to assess face masks in terms of the air quality breathed by the wearers. One important parameter for air quality is CO₂ concentration. Over the years, a lot of data has been accumulated in this field from miners, astronauts, submariners, and other people exposed to high concentrations of CO₂.

Measurable negative effects on mental alertness already occur at CO₂ concentrations over 600 parts per million (ppm), which is only slightly higher than the average concentration in open air (a little more than 400 ppm). Values higher than 1,000-2,000 ppm are not recommended for living spaces, especially for children and pregnant women. 5,000 ppm is the commonly accepted limit in working environments or in submarines and spaceships. Concentrations in the range of 10,000-20,000 ppm are not immediately life-threatening but can only be withstood for short periods. Even higher concentrations may lead to loss of consciousness and death.

So what kind of CO₂ concentration are people exposed to when they wear a face mask? Measuring the concentration of CO₂ inside the small volume of a face mask while it is being used poses practical problems, and there are no standardised methods and procedures to evaluate this. Nevertheless, during the past few years, several papers dealing with this subject were published.

Some of these papers were criticised, but often baselessly. For instance, some fact checkers claimed that the same amount of CO₂ could be found without face masks in exhaled breath. This is true, but trivial. The studies mentioned above measured the amount of CO₂ in the inhaled air under face masks; the fact checkers measured the air exhaled. Other fact checkers provided a priori statements by “experts,” including a sports reporter.

Meanwhile, studies that rely on robust capnographic methods that calculate inhaled CO₂ levels from the end-tidal volume of CO₂ under strictly controlled conditions have corroborated our findings about elevated CO₂ levels in masks. In short, there is strong evidence that people wearing face masks, especially the FFP2/N95 type, breathe a concentration of carbon dioxide several times higher than the recommended concentration limits, in the range of over 5,000 ppm and often over 10,000 ppm. In other words, masks may multiply the external CO₂ concentration by a factor of 10, if not more.

Individuals wearing a tight, N95-style face mask are thus breathing air of comparable quality to the air in spacecrafts and submarines. Astronauts and submariners, though, are well trained and in peak physical condition; masks, meanwhile, are often worn by the elderly, the young, and people affected by chronic pathologies. A recent study of more than 20,000 German children who wore masks for an average of more than four hours per day showed that 68% of them reported these kinds of problems.

There are additional risks associated with face masks that should be considered, such as psychological effects and infections from pathogens accumulated in the mask tissue, but we believe that the increased concentrations of CO₂ breathed by mask-wearers is a clear and demonstrated adverse effect that should be known and considered when deciding policies. In short, face masks are not harmless.

Wearing a face mask is not a purely symbolic gesture like wearing a lapel pin or waving a flag, as some people have come to believe. It is not simply an expression of social solidarity, belief in science, or support for health care workers. It can have important adverse effects on health—especially in the case of N95s—and, at the very minimum, citizens should be alerted to the downsides of masking before they make up their minds on the issue. Face masks should be mandated only in special circumstances, and ordinary citizens should wear them only when there is a real and evident risk of infection.


Australian woman opens up about her devastating vaccine injury

The wife of high-profile doctor Kerryn Phelps has detailed the horrific side effects in her first interview about her battle with a debilitating Covid vaccine injury.

Jackie Stricker-Phelps told Daily Mail Australia her life as she once knew it is gone and there is no prospect of recovery from her vaccine injury.

The former schoolteacher's symptoms started minutes after her first Pfizer jab in May 2021 and she is still unable to walk without pain.

She is one of thousands of Australians who suffer devastating long-term side effects, but feel like the government and medical regulators deny it's happening.

'I have had debilitating neurological and rheumatological effects since the initial Pfizer vaccine,' she said.

'I had a surge of heat in my head, my face went bright red, my gums and sinuses started to throb, I felt my hands and feet go numb and I developed pins and needles all over my torso, arms and legs. 'I could hardly walk, and so begin the next 19 months of hell.'

Ms Stricker-Phelps said she saw a neurologist the next day, who closely monitored her symptoms, and later also visited a rheumatologist.

'I have had visual disturbance, nerve pains, burning gums, flushed face, hair loss, musculoskeletal inflammation, and night sweats,' she said. 'I tried multiple prescribed medications, steroid injections into my spine and hips for pain.

'Two of my specialists have confirmed it is a vaccine injury and say they see other people with the same adverse events.'

Both she and Dr Phelps, who also suffered a serious vaccine injury from her second Pfizer jab, investigated the possible risks before getting vaccinated.

'We were told the most common symptoms were a sore arm with maybe a temperature for a few days and a rare possibility of anaphylaxis. We were both told it was far safer to get the vaccine than the illness,' she said.

To manage the risk of anaphylaxis, Ms Stricker-Phelps had her shot in a hospital and was observed afterwards by Dr Phelps, another doctor, and a registered nurse.

When her symptoms began, she claimed the nurse told her 'this is not anaphylaxis so you can go home' despite her barely being able to walk.

Ms Stricker-Phelps said her symptoms had not shown any significant improvement and frequent flare-ups made her unable to perform many basic tasks.

In the midst of a recent flare-up, she found it extremely painful to walk, communicating was difficult, and she struggled to leave the house.

'Flareups are even harder to deal with as there are no protocols in place for treatment,' she said.

To deal with the latest one, her specialist sent her for 'yet another spinal injection' to try to reduce inflammation across her body.

Even when the flare-ups subside, exercise is difficult because of the pain she suffers throughout her body.

But she said the hardest thing was having to live an isolated life to avoid catching Covid.

'I cannot receive any more of the current vaccines so am not protected from Covid,' she said. 'I have to isolate from family and friends, and avoid group activities such as parties or the theatre as the virus is transmissible even from vaccinated people.'

Ms Stricker-Phelps said she had no idea if and when her condition would improve, let alone recover, because so little was known about it. 'The best chance of recovery is for more effort and funding into research to find the underlying mechanism of the injury and for specific treatments to be developed,' she said.




Thursday, January 05, 2023

‘Twitter Files’ Reveal How the Left Uses Big Tech to Create an Illusion of Scientific Consensus and Stifle Debate, Especially on COVID-19

The Left has long used the notion of scientific consensus as a tool to silence debate on controversial issues, but the Twitter Files revealed just how far some Big Tech companies have gone to suppress legitimate scientific dissent—particularly on COVID-19 pandemic policy.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford professor of health policy who wound up on a Twitter Trends blacklist after he argued for focused protection of the vulnerable and an end to lockdowns, opened up in an article for The Free Press about the lesson he learned in 2022.

“I learned in a very concrete and painful way the effects of Washington and Silicon Valley working together to marginalize unpopular ideas and people to create an illusion of consensus,” Bhattacharya wrote.

The Stanford professor recalled that after he and his allies published the anti-lockdown Great Barrington Declaration, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins dismissed him and his allies as “fringe epidemiologists” and asked Anthony Fauci for “a quick and devastating published takedown” of the declaration. Collins and Fauci collaborated to delegitimize the declaration, even though it was based in scientific principles and even though it predicted much of the now-acknowledged fallout from the lockdowns.

Twitter’s COVID-19 censorship spread far beyond Bhattacharya, as the Free Press journalist David Zweig revealed in an installment of The Twitter Files.

Twitter cast aspersions on the medical opinion of Dr. Martin Kulldorff, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, because he disagreed with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Thinking that everyone must be vaccinated is as scientifically flawed as thinking that nobody should,” Kulldorff wrote. “COVID vaccines are important for older high-risk people, and their care-takers. Those with prior natural infection do not need it. Nor children.”

Even though Kulldorff’s statement represented both an expert opinion and the rationale behind vaccine policies in other countries, Twitter deemed it “false information” because it differed from CDC guidelines.

In a particularly egregious example, Twitter took action against a tweet that corrected actual misinformation, using the CDC’s own data.

A user wrote that “since December of 2021 COVID has been the leading cause of death from disease in children.” Kelley Kga, a self-proclaimed public health fact-checker, responded with data from the CDC demonstrating that COVID-19 was not the largest disease-related cause of death among children.

Twitter flagged the tweet as “Misleading,” disabling replies and likes. The platform added a note about health officials supporting the COVID-19 vaccines, an issue the tweet in question did not address.

Rhode Island physician Dr. Andrew Bostom found himself permanently suspended from Twitter after receiving five strikes for misinformation. After Bostom’s attorney contacted Twitter, the company’s internal audit found that only 1 of his 5 violations had been valid.

Yet even that tweet contained legitimate data: Bostom had cited data showing that the flu is more lethal than COVID-19 for children, and that COVID-19 vaccination causes more serious morbidity than flu vaccination for kids.

In another egregious example, Twitter executives seem to have been tempted to censor former President Donald Trump merely for expressing optimism about the pandemic. On Oct. 5, 2020, Trump tweeted that he was leaving Walter Reed Medical Center and said he was “feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Jim Baker, then Twitter’s deputy general counsel, asked Yoel Roth, then Twitter’s head of Trust and Safety, “Why isn’t this POTUS tweet a violation of our COVID-19 policy (especially the ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid’ statement)?”

While Roth has a history of advocating censorship, he stood with common sense on this case. He noted that “this tweet is a broad, optimistic statement. It doesn’t incite people to do something harmful, nor does it recommend against taking precautions or following mask directives (or other guidelines). It doesn’t fall within the published scope of our policies.”

Zweig noted that “Twitter made a decision, via the political leanings of senior staff, and govt pressure, that the public health authorities’ approach to the pandemic—prioritizing mitigation over other concerns— was ‘The Science'” and targeted information that challenged that view for moderation or suppression.

Yet Big Tech has taken action to suppress dissent from liberal narratives on science on far more topics than just COVID-19.

As I reported for Fox Business in 2021, Facebook has promoted false claims about a climate change consensus by adding fact-check-style “information” notes to various posts.

Facebook launched the “Climate Science Information Center” in February 2021 in the United Kingdom an expanded the effort to more than 100 countries ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Facebook put a note reading, “See how the average temperature in your area is changing” to certain climate-related posts. The note directs users to a climate center, which states that “the cause of climate change is widely agreed upon in the scientific community.”

“At least 97% of published climate experts agree that global warming is real and caused by humans,” the Facebook center claims. “The myth that scientists disagree on climate change sometimes comes from misleading petitions that don’t accurately represent the climate science community.” Facebook warns that such petitions “typically include non-scientists and scientists working in unrelated fields.”

Other graphics on the Facebook climate center argue that “no natural factors can explain how fast the planet is warming today.”

The 97% claim is not just unreliable, it’s patently false. Facebook’s claim traces back to a study led by John Cook entitled “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters in 2013.

The study analyzed all published peer-reviewed academic research papers from 1991 to 2011 that used the terms “global warming” or “global climate change.” The study organized these papers into seven categories, combining three categories to come up with 3,896 papers, comparing those with other categories, which made up 118 papers. Yet the study completely discounted the vast majority of the papers it analyzed (66.4%, 7,930 of the 11,944 papers). Only by excluding these papers did the authors come up with a 97% figure.

Many of the scientists who wrote the original papers Cook’s team analyzed complained that this study mischaracterized their research. The survey “included 10 of my 122 eligible papers. 5/10 were rated incorrectly. 4/5 were rated as endorse rather than neutral,” complained Richard Tol, professor of the economics of climate change at Vrije Universiteit.

Big Tech platforms have also promoted pro-abortion messages and speakers over pro-life ones.

A month after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, YouTube announced that it would “remove content that provides instructions for unsafe abortion methods or promotes false claims about abortion safety under our medical misinformation policies.”

While it makes sense to suppress videos encouraging dangerous self-managed abortions, this statement also applies to YouTube’s policy against content that contradicts “expert consensus” on “chemical and surgical abortion methods deemed safe by health authorities.”

Google has used this policy to ban Live Action’s ads promoting the abortion pill reversal, a practice that has saved at least 2,500 children, according to Live Action President Lila Rose.

Google has agreed to delete location history for those visiting abortion clinics, and in 2018, a Slate writer bragged that her email to Google encouraged the company to change its YouTube search algorithm for “abortion,” promoting groups like Planned Parenthood over videos exposing the gruesome reality of abortion.

Big Tech has also targeted dissent from transgender orthodoxy. In October 2018, the platform expanded its “hateful conduct” policy to include “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.” Many news outlets, including Focus on the Family’s Daily Citizen, The Christian Post, and PJ Media, along with the Christian satire site The Babylon Bee, have found their Twitter accounts suspended for the crime of referring to Dr. Rachel Levine, a Biden administration official and biological male who identifies as female, as a man.

YouTube has also moved against The Daily Signal and The Heritage Foundation, censoring the testimonies of a doctor and a man who previously identified as a woman. (The Daily Signal is the Heritage Foundation’s news outlet.)

Levine, the assistant secretary of health at the federal Department of Health and Human Services, has urged medical professionals to advocate for transgender identity and even urged them to pressure Big Tech to “create a healthier, cleaner information environment.” He said this right after lamenting the spread of “misinformation” on “gender-affirming care” and falsely claiming that “the positive value of gender-affirming care for youth and adults is not in scientific or medical dispute.”

While COVID-19 provides the most recent and arguably most egregious example, each of these cases shows how the Left and Big Tech use the illusion of scientific consensus to stifle public policy debates. On the pandemic, climate change, abortion, and transgenderism, the science is not settled in favor of the Left’s policy agenda, and Big Tech themselves are spreading misinformation when they claim that it is.


Immunity from previous infection protects from new Covid strain

Only one in five people who reported an infection in December were known to have had COVID-19 previously, according to the ACT government.

While data is unavailable for most of the country, the numbers from the ACT suggest that past exposure to the disease provides some protection against the prevailing strains.

This contrasts with widely publicised fears that newer COVID-19 subvariants are highly effective at evading the body's immune defences.

The ACT is one of few jurisdictions that reports its reinfection rate, though its outbreaks largely mirrored those in New South Wales and Victoria last year.

About 46 per cent of Australians had already had COVID-19 by June last year, according to an analysis of antibodies in blood samples.

That proportion is almost certainly far higher today. This, combined with the ACT data, suggests a previous infection is strongly associated with avoiding infection during this latest surge.

Infectious diseases specialist Sanjaya Senanayake, an associate professor at the Australian National University, said the ACT data reflected what was happening overseas.

Singapore, for example, was also reporting that about 20 per cent of known new cases were reinfections.

Dr Senanayake said this relatively small number of reinfections showed that immunity — whether from vaccines or past exposure — was working for most people.

"It's hard to differentiate, in a place like Australia, between purely vaccine-induced immunity and infection-induced immunity, because many of us have both been COVID-19-infected and have had [several] vaccines," he said.

"This is hybrid immunity we're seeing.

"And what it tells us is that, even though in laboratory settings … these new subvariants have the potential to evade the immune system, this hybrid immunity is providing good protection."




Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Long COVID: 4 Contributors and the Possible Root Cause

It has been more than two years since long COVID manifested, and scientists are still far from settled on its cause.

However, based on common clinical manifestations and emerging research, clinicians have identified several contributors to long COVID symptoms.

Spike Protein Appears to Be the Leading Contributor

Spike protein can exist in the immune cells of long COVID patients for up to 15 months after infection.

The spike protein sits on the surface of the COVID-19 virus and is the key to breaking into cells and causing the virus to spread in organs and tissue.

An increasing number of studies are pointing to it (1, 2) as a contributing factor to long COVID.

Studies in mice and human cell cultures revealed that the spike protein could travel into the brain by bypassing the blood-brain barrier.

Autopsy reports on people who died from COVID-19 have found spike protein in the brain, heart, pancreas, liver, kidney, thyroid, reproductive organs, adrenal glands, lungs, nasal and oral cavities, blood, fat, bone, muscle, skin, and even the eyes.

However, the symptoms and laboratory test results vary depending on the patient. Clinicians have therefore developed various hypotheses on the reasons behind these symptoms.

1. Inflamed Immune Cells and Blood Vessels

The spike protein contributes to pathologies. The primary pathology is inflammation (1, 2, 3).

Inflammation is not harmful if controlled and short-term; it is essential to a person’s immune defense. But in the case of long COVID, inflammation is chronic, and this causes cells to become stressed and damaged.

A significant contributor to long COVID may be inflammation within and of the blood vessels.

When interviewed by The Epoch Times, Dr. Bruce Patterson, a viral pathologist and the CEO and founder of IncellDx, a diagnostic company, and internal medicine physician Dr. Jessica Peatross each pointed out the relationship between inflammation and long COVID.

Peatross voluntarily surrendered her medical license in November 2022 to the Medical Board of California due to facing disciplinary actions for approving two vaccine exemptions—one for a child with severe eczema and asthma, and one for a child who had previously experienced side effects to vaccines, according to Peatross’s own statement.

She pointed to studies on acute COVID as a systemic disease driven by inflammation of the lining of the blood vessel walls.

Patterson found spike protein in long COVID patients’ non-classical monocytes. Non-classical monocytes are immune cells. They can attach to blood vessel walls and cause inflammation.

Patterson’s other studies have found high levels of cytokines in long COVID patients’ blood, indicative of inflammation, particularly vascular inflammation.

Inflammation of blood vessels can reduce blood flow to tissues and organs, causing pain and impaired organ function. Low blood flow also means fewer nutrients are supplied to the cells, causing fatigue and weakness.

Unsurprisingly, significant symptoms of inflammation in blood vessels are fatigue, and joint and muscle pain, which overlap with long COVID symptoms.

Symptoms vary depending on where the inflammation occurs.

Vascular inflammation in the superficial layers of the skin may cause clusters of red dots, bruises, or hives.

Inflammation in blood vessels that supply the eyes may cause the eyes to become sensitive to light or even cause vision impairment.

2. Mitochondrial Dysfunction

California physician Dr. Jeffrey Nordella told The Epoch Times that mitochondrial dysfunction is another major contributor to long COVID symptoms.

It should be noted that all of the symptoms, from inflammation to mitochondrial dysfunction, can overlap. Mitochondria can become stressed from low oxygen due to blood vessel inflammation or nearby inflammation.

Mitochondria are present in practically all cells in the body. Mitochondria make energy for the cell by concurrently burning fuel—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats—and consuming oxygen. However, this process can also produce toxic oxygen species that are highly reactive and damaging to mitochondria.

These oxidants must be immediately neutralized, but in the case of many long COVID patients, this is often not resolved quickly enough.

Common long COVID symptoms, like fatigue and dyspnea, then appear. In laboratory studies, cells exposed to spike protein led the mitochondria to become dysfunctional and stressed (1, 2). This would impact mitochondrial energy output.

A recent study on long COVID patients suggested that mitochondrial dysfunction may cause fats to be poorly metabolized for energy needs. The authors found that many of the study’s participants had fatigue, brain fog, and dyspnea; all had high lipid levels, suggesting poor lipid breakdown and utilization.

Interestingly, these patients had both low protein and carbohydrate-related substances in their blood. This pattern is also seen in type 2 diabetes. At the same time, weight gain and an increased risk of developing metabolic diseases have been documented in post-COVID patients.

3. Inflammatory Allergic Response

Mast cells, which are involved in allergies, may contribute to long COVID symptoms.

Mast cells are highly reactive, like many immune cells. They carry ACE2 receptors, which allow entrance to the virus or spike protein. Once activated, mast cells can send vast amounts of histamine and inflammatory cytokines into circulation.

A 2021 study that surveyed 136 long COVID patients about their laboratory test results showed that over 30 percent had high biomarkers that may be indicative of mast cell problems. These patients had high histamine and prostaglandin levels, which are often elevated in people with mast cell problems.

Histamine can cause an increase of cytokines, which can contribute to the cytokine storm and endothelial inflammation present in acute COVID.

Histamine also causes many allergic symptoms, leading to swelling, redness, pain, and fever in the regions of its release.

High histamine levels can bring about itching, abdominal cramps, and even brain fog. If concentrated in the heart muscles, histamine may also contribute to rapid heart contractions, causing arrhythmias and tachycardia.

Many of these symptoms overlap with long COVID symptoms.

Mast cell disorders have also been associated with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, commonly known as POTS. Research shows that 2 to 14 percent of long COVID patients report POTS symptoms of lightheadedness, fainting, and rapid heartbeat upon standing up.

Psychiatrist Dr. Adonis Sfera, who has led several studies on COVID-19, said that there might be shared pathways between long COVID and mast cell disorders.

Some studies have shown that COVID-19 patients on drugs that block mast cell activation did better than patients who were not on such drugs.

An example Sfera gave is the antihypertensive drug losartan. The drug works by blocking ACE2 receptors and lowering histamine activation. COVID patients who took this drug had a lower risk of death from COVID-19 early in the disease than patients who did not.

4. Gut Dysbiosis

Gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of the microbes in the gut, has been extensively documented with long COVID, sometimes occurring for several months (1, 2, 3).

Gastroenterologist and CEO of Progenabiome Dr. Sabine Hazan runs a research lab and conducts fecal tests for long COVID patients.

She found that these patients carried COVID-19 genetic material in their guts months after the initial infection. Their gut microflora would be in a state of imbalance called dysbiosis.

Dysbiotic guts can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, and indigestion.

Gut dysbiosis is also associated with chronic diseases such as poor mental health, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

The gut plays a critical role in physical well-being. A consequence of gut dysbiosis is the breakdown of the gut barrier (a condition called “leaky gut”). Bacteria can leave the gut and enter the bloodstream, leading to an immune response.

Sfera said that many bacteria in the gut are similar in structure to the body’s own cells. So when the immune system attacks bacteria, it may also mistake healthy tissues for bacteria, triggering an “autoimmune inflammation, in which the body attacks itself.”

Autoimmune diseases associated with gut dysbiosis include Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the joints and ligaments of the spine), and inflammatory bowel disease, all of which have been reported after a COVID infection.

Some Reported Symptoms May Not Be From Long COVID

Patterson’s studies on cytokines suggest that many people who report “long COVID” symptoms may not be experiencing long COVID but rather a reactivation of latent viruses.

Studies have shown that infection with COVID-19 can cause dysregulation and suppression of the immune system (1, 2).

When the body’s immune system becomes dysregulated, viruses and infections—such as herpes and Lyme disease—that had been under control may suddenly develop as opportunistic infections.

A patient, Mary Lee, had been experiencing long COVID symptoms since December 2021.

Her cytokine test revealed elevated cytokine levels with results indicating long COVID. However, a subsequent blood test showed that she was also positive for Lyme disease.

Elevated cytokines have been observed with both long COVID and Lyme disease. The diseases have similar symptoms, including headache, fatigue, joint pain, and brain fog, amongst others.

Lee has been suffering from migraines and fatigue for many years. She suspects that her untreated Lyme disease contributed to developing long COVID.

The cause of long COVID is far from settled, and a great deal of the evidence clinicians use to support their hypotheses is anecdotal. Given its complicated clinical symptoms, research will likely continue for many years.




Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Once-favored Covid drugs ineffective on Omicron may be putting millions at risk

The lack of specialized Covid-19 treatments for people with weak immune systems has left millions of Americans with limited options if they get sick as the pandemic heads into an uncertain winter.

Once heralded as game-changers for Covid patients considered at risk for getting seriously ill — one was used to treat then-President Donald Trump in 2020 — monoclonal antibodies are now largely ineffective against current Covid variants. Easier-to-administer antiviral drugs, such as Paxlovid, have largely taken their place but aren’t safe for all immune-compromised people because they interact with many other drugs.

But the federal government funding that drove drug development in the early days of the pandemic has dried up, and lawmakers have rebuffed the Biden administration’s pleas for more. Without that, there’s little incentive for drugmakers to work on new antibody treatments that could be more effective.

And without a government program like Operation Warp Speed to develop second-generation vaccines and treatments, at-risk patients could be in danger of developing severe cases of Covid and flooding hospitals when the U.S. health care system is already strained, thanks to an influx of patients with an array of respiratory illnesses, including flu and RSV.

“Just because we have exited the emergency phase of the pandemic does not mean that Covid is over or that it no longer poses a danger,” said Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University and former Baltimore health commissioner. “There are millions of Americans who are vulnerable to severe illness.”

The FDA pulled authorizations for four antibody treatments in 2022 as Omicron and its myriad subvariants wiped out their effectiveness. The treatments were geared toward adult and pediatric patients with mild-to-moderate Covid who were considered at risk of developing severe disease and ending up hospitalized.

While antiviral pills are plentiful and remain an option for some with weak immune systems, they won’t work for everyone — Pfizer’s Paxlovid interacts with many widely prescribed drugs.

Monoclonal antibodies — which have been made by companies like Regeneron, Eli Lilly and Vir — are lab-created molecules designed to block a virus’ entry into human cells. But they must bind to the virus’ spike protein to neutralize it, and the coronavirus’ many mutations since its 2019 emergence have gradually rendered the available products ineffective.

“It’s a bit risky to develop this,” said Arturo Casadevall of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, pointing to how quickly some Covid variants have surfaced before quickly receding.

A massive spending bill that lawmakers passed before Christmas left out the administration’s $9 billion request for more money to fight the pandemic, meaning there are fewer dollars to be spread around to address emerging Covid needs.

“Due to congressional inaction and a lack of funding, HHS does not have the resources it needs to fund the development of new treatments, and we could find ourselves with a very limited medicine cabinet at a time when we need more tools to combat Covid-19,” a department spokesperson told POLITICO, adding that HHS is working with providers and other groups “to ensure that Americans are able to take advantage of all available treatment options.”

The Biden administration has strongly promoted oral antiviral regimens like Paxlovid, which debuted a year ago and marked a turning point in managing the virus for most Americans.

Immunocompromised individuals — who are either born with immune-suppressing conditions or acquire them after organ transplants or by taking certain drugs — also may not mount sufficient immune responses after vaccination, making treatment options like antibody therapies a critical tool for them.

A CDC alert issued Dec. 20 to clinicians and public health professionals warned of the lack of viable monoclonal antibody treatments — including the diminished efficacy of a prophylactic antibody, Evusheld — and the availability of the antiviral options that to date have seen lackluster uptake. The agency urged providers to consult the National Institutes of Health’s Covid treatment guidelines for ways to potentially manage drug interactions with Paxlovid, such as temporary pauses or reductions in dose.

Remdesivir, an antiviral administered intravenously, is another treatment option for the immunocompromised, but it requires infusions over three days in either hospital or outpatient settings. HHS is urging states to support its health departments and systems in setting up infusion clinics to expand access to remdesivir, especially on an outpatient basis, and is working with maker Gilead to broaden the types of providers eligible to buy the drug.

Covid convalescent plasma remains an option for immunocompromised people who contract the virus, but its availability is scattershot across the country, Casadevall said. The treatment has pros and cons, he said — it’s less likely to be defeated by any one variant and can adapt to different strains, but it’s difficult to administer and requires blood-typing to be done for the recipient.

Still, Casadevall said, the main issue is educational because its use has changed since the pandemic’s early days, when treatments were scarce. Some hospital systems, like Hopkins, use it routinely, while some doctors don’t know plasma is still an option, he said.

The FDA has authorized the emergency use of convalescent plasma containing high Covid antibody levels for immunocompromised patients. But NIH has remained neutral on the treatment in that population, which Janet Handal, president of the Transplant Recipients and Immunocompromised Patient Advocacy Group, says has led to some hospitals balking at administering it.

NIH spokesperson Renate Myles pointed to the agency’s treatment guidelines for Covid, which are developed by an expert panel.

The recommendations for Covid convalescent plasma, last updated on Dec. 1, say there’s “insufficient evidence” to recommend for or against the treatment’s use in immunocompromised patients, while noting some panel members would use plasma to treat an immunocompromised person “with significant symptoms attributable to COVID-19 and with signs of active [viral] replication and who is having an inadequate response to available therapies.”

“In these cases, clinicians should attempt to obtain high-titer [Covid convalescent plasma] from a vaccinated donor who recently recovered from Covid-19 likely caused by a … variant similar to the variant causing the patient’s illness,” the guidelines say.

Casadevall, who leads the Covid-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, says NIH’s stance on plasma is inconsistent with its previous recommendations of monoclonal antibodies, which were made without clinical efficacy data, since Covid antibodies are the active component in both therapies. He led a petition earlier this month — signed by several doctors, including past and current presidents of the Infectious Diseases Society of America — asking NIH to change its recommendations.

Handal’s group also has asked the NIH and the White House to convene a meeting with scientists on the issue.

“To just not be having a dialogue about it is infuriating to us,” Handal said. “People are dying while people are just going through this bureaucratic dance.”

The FDA and European Medicines Agency held a virtual workshop this month to bring doctors, industry and regulators together to discuss supporting novel monoclonal antibody treatments.

“The FDA is committed to working with industry sponsors to expedite the development of new drug products to meet unmet needs, such as the need for new preventive therapies for immune-suppressed patients who are unlikely to respond to vaccination,” an agency spokesperson said.

In the meantime, Regeneron spokesperson Tammy Allen said the company, whose antibody cocktail’s use was limited in January, is committed to evaluating antibody treatment options as the coronavirus evolves.

“We believe monoclonal antibodies have played an important role in the COVID-19 pandemic to date and may again in the future, particularly among people with immunocompromising conditions,” Allen said.

Vir, which partnered with GSK on sotrovimab, continues to study whether the treatment could work against emerging variants and is also evaluating next-generation antibodies and small-molecule therapies, said spokesperson Carly Scaduto.

Still, pharmaceutical companies may be more inclined — both financially and practically — to pursue developing better antiviral pills that pose fewer drug interactions and are easier to administer, said Jason Gallagher, a clinical pharmacy specialist in infectious diseases at Temple University Hospital. Antivirals also hold up better against an ever-changing virus, he added.

“There’s way more money in Paxlovid than there is in any monoclonal” antibody treatment, Gallagher said, and it may take incentives to drugmakers to encourage their development. “They’re not going to make anyone really rich.”


Infection Fatality Rate of COVID-19 Was 0.0003 Percent At 0–19 Years: Study

A study that looked into the age-stratified infection fatality rate (IFR) of COVID-19 among the non-elderly population has found that the rate was extremely low among young people.

“The median IFR was 0.0003 percent at 0–19 years, 0.002 percent at 20–29 years, 0.011 percent at 30–39 years, 0.035 percent at 40–49 years, 0.123 percent at 50–59 years, and 0.506 percent at 60–69 years,” the study conducted across 29 countries stated. “At a global level, pre-vaccination IFR may have been as low as 0.03 percent and 0.07 percent for 0–59 and 0–69-year-old people, respectively.”

The study aimed to accurately estimate the IFR of COVID-19 among non-elderly populations in the absence of vaccination or prior infection.

For every additional 10 years in age, the IFR was observed to increase by roughly four times. After including data from nine more nations, the median IFR for 0–59 years came in at 0.025 to 0.032 percent and for 0–69 years was at 0.063 to 0.082 percent.

According to the study, the analysis suggests a “much lower” pre-vaccination IFR in the non-elderly population than had been suggested previously. The large differences found between nations were pegged to differences in factors like comorbidities.

Vaccination Dangers Among Youth

A recent study that analyzed children between the ages of 5 and 17 who had received Pfizer COVID-19 shots found an elevated risk of heart inflammation among children as young as 12 years old.

Myocarditis and pericarditis met the threshold for a safety signal for children aged between 12 and 17 following the second and third doses. These heart conditions can cause long-term issues and even death.

“The signal detected for myocarditis/pericarditis is consistent with published peer-reviewed publications demonstrating an elevated risk of myocarditis/pericarditis following mRNA vaccines, especially among younger males aged 12-29 years,” the researchers said.

In an interview with Fox News back in January, MIT researcher Stephanie Seneff had said that it was “outrageous” to give COVID-19 vaccines to young people as they have a “very, very low risk” of dying from the infection.

When looking at the potential harms of these vaccines for children, they don’t make “any sense,” she added. With repeated boosters, such treatment will be “devastating” in the long term.

Parents should do “absolutely everything they can” to avoid getting their children vaccinated against COVID-19, the research scientist advised.

Vaccinating Children

Some countries have stopped their COVID-19 vaccine programs for children. In October, the Swedish Public Health authority ceased recommending vaccination for 12- to 17-year-olds except under special circumstances. The agency acknowledged that very few healthy children have been affected seriously by the virus.

“Overall, we see that the need for care as a result of COVID-19 has been low among children and young people during the pandemic, and has also decreased since the virus variant omicron began to spread,” Soren Andersson, head of a unit at the Public Health Authority, told broadcaster SVT at the time. “In this phase of the pandemic, we do not see that there is a continued need for vaccination in this group.”

Meanwhile in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pushing ahead with vaccinating children, allowing emergency clearance of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for children as young as just six months old.

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that it is the vaccinated population that made up most of the COVID-19 deaths in August.

During that month, 6,512 deaths were recorded, of which 58.6 percent were attributed to vaccinated or boosted individuals. Back in January, COVID-19 deaths among the vaccinated and boosted had only made up 41 percent of the total mortalities.




Monday, January 02, 2023

Farewell 2022: the year of vindication for Covid skeptics

If 2020 and 2021 were a living nightmare, 2022 was the beginning of the awakening. After two years of being labelled every name under the sun, the time has finally arrived when the dissidents can say that they were right, in large part due to information being released by Elon Musk.

On the Covid front, the initial criticisms about vaccines appear sound. Statistically, they are some of the most ineffective and inefficient vaccines released to market with side effects that many consider unacceptable, especially to children. The full extent of the health risk they pose is not yet known.

A recent study undertaken on over 260,000 individuals in the State of Indiana demonstrated that vaccinated individuals are 2-3 times more likely to be infected with Covid than unvaccinated individuals with natural immunity (from prior infection), a concern that was dismissed as conspiracy.

Natural immunity, initially discounted and laughed at, has won out against Covid vaccines for re-infection, particularly regarding new mutations. ‘Conspiracy theorists’ have been saying this all along, including those in the medical profession.

One of the starkest admissions of the year came from Pfizer executive Janine Small, president of international developed markets. It came in response to a question raised by Dutch Member of the European Parliament Rob Roos: ‘Was the Pfizer Covid vaccine tested on stopping the transmission of the virus before it entered the market?’

Small answered:

‘Did we know about stopping immunisation [sic: should read transmission] before it entered the market? No … we had to really move at the speed of science to really understand what is taking place in the market.’

Her answer presented an admission that the vaccine Pfizer manufactured was initially never tested to see if it prevented transmission, yet prevention of transmission was the premise on which governments and unelected bureaucrats justified arbitrary Covid measures, including lockdowns and vaccine mandates.

Remember when medical authorities told us that we needed to get vaccinated to keep everyone else safe? Remember when they said that if we didn’t take the vaccine we were literally killing grandma? That was all based on (at best) debunked guesswork and (at worst) a fabrication. Our health representatives and government ministers did not know if the vaccine prevented transmission when drafting health directives. And, as it turns out, it never did.

While most mandates have since been dropped, some remain in place, despite being completely devoid of logic or reason. Those who were forced to take the vaccine have been left duped. Many have come to regret taking it, venting their frustration on the (now liberated) social media platform Twitter. Others who had their first two or three doses have sworn off getting any further doses, a declaration that is reflected in low fourth and fifth dose figures.

The vaccines have also been side-eyed in connection with an increase in heart conditions, including myocarditis. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) knew this early on, and has quietly pulled the Moderna vaccine off the market in Australia months behind other countries. What was the reason for this delay?

Former MP and vaccine advocate Dr Kerryn Phelps recently revealed that she and her partner both suffered significant neurological side effects after taking the Pfizer vaccine. Phelps noted these adverse effects were reported to the TGA. Phelps subsequently claimed that her concerns were never followed up, although the TGA have not commented. She also raised concerns that doctors have been prevented from speaking up about adverse effects presenting in their patients due to fears of being reprimanded.

Failure to live up to transmission claims and ongoing investigations into the #DiedSuddenly medical phenomenon of statistically significant unexplained deaths, is only the beginning of what is increasingly being dubbed a scandal.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk, who has traditionally sat slightly Left of politics, emerged as the unlikely unmasker of Big Pharma.

Some joke that Elon Musk paid $44 billion just to blow the whistle on the absolutely horrifying actions of Twitter under its previous management. Detailed were the complex entanglements with federal agencies that formed a web of genuine collusion to the detriment of free speech and undermined the sanctity of free and fair elections.

Over the past couple of months, Elon has enlisted several independent journalists to help release inside information from the Twitter archives. This has included the dissemination of private conversations between Twitter employees and government officials. Also released were email correspondence and evidence of conversations with federal agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and ‘Other Government Agencies’ (eg. the CIA), and evidence of conversations with the government.

These are known as The Twitter Files.

What has come to light thus far has demonstrated that Twitter was actively working with the government and federal agencies to potentially violate the First Amendment rights of Americans who chose to speak out against the accepted narrative. We have been shown, in considerable detail, how Twitter executives, including former head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth and former head of Legal and Policy Vijaya Gadde, made critical decisions that former CEO Jack Dorsey may not have even been aware of. The tools they used to censor and silence individuals, in particular Conservative accounts, have been confirmed as real despite former Twitter spokespeople denying their existence.

These revelations have highlighted a number of truths that were cast off as ‘conspiracy theories’.

Alex Berenson, who was skeptical of the Covid vaccine, was specifically targeted by the Biden administration, who put pressure on Twitter to take action on his account among other ‘anti-vaxxer accounts’. This ultimately led to his suspension. Only after bringing a lawsuit against Twitter did Berenson have his account restored.

According to the Atlantic:

This was not the end of the drama, though. Last week, Berenson published a Substack post that included screenshots of a conversation on Twitter’s internal Slack messaging system from April 2021, obtained during the course of the lawsuit. The images show employees discussing a recent White House meeting at which members of the Biden administration were said to have posed a “really tough question about why Alex Berenson hasn’t been kicked off from the platform,” as one Slack message put it. Another alleges that Andy Slavitt, who was at the time a senior adviser to Joe Biden on the administration’s COVID-19 response, specifically mentioned a “data viz that had showed [Berenson] was the epicenter of disinfo.”

Berenson has since declared that he will sue the Biden administration for infringing upon his free speech by compelling Twitter to take action against his account.

Once again, legal experts say that his case is unlikely to succeed. Berenson faces a “very high bar” in proving that a private company behaved as a state actor, Evelyn Douek, an Atlantic contributor and assistant professor at Stanford Law School, told me. According to both her and Goldman, the Slack messages that Berenson published don’t amount to proof that the government pressured Twitter to remove Berenson’s account. But Douek is generally perturbed by the evidence of informal pressure by government officials to constrain speech. “It does strike me as unusual,” she said. “It’s certainly unusual to get records of it.”

Other medical experts were targeted, including Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Dr Martin Kulldorff, who tweeted that vaccines should only be taken by those who were most at risk, including the elderly and their care-takers, and that children and those who had already been infected should not have it. His tweet was hit with a ‘misleading’ label.

Dr Andrew Rostom, a Rhode Island physician, was permanently suspended for ‘misinformation’, including a tweet referring to a peer-reviewed study on mRNA vaccines. Other accounts that pointed out the truth on the matter of Covid and vaccines were also hit with ‘misleading’ labels, even if they were merely tweeting findings released by the CDC.

As we move into 2023, more revelations will come to light and the ‘conspiracy theorists’ will likely continue to be proven right over and over again.

While it would be easy to look back on this year as one giant ‘I told you so’, it would be better to take heed of what we have learned and use it as justification to push back against those who would wish us to just move on with our lives as if none of it happened. Yes, these revelations are a good thing, but I cannot help but feel as if this conversation is not over yet.

We cannot become complacent about past abuses because the truth is finally coming out. We must continue to pursue that truth and ensure that it is spread far and wide, if only to ensure justice for all those who have been wronged.

2022 was the year of vindication. 2023 must be the year of accountability. The tangled web of darkness that has been constructed around The Science must be eradicated for good and never allowed to be rebuilt again.


The Cult of Masked Schoolchildren

There is still some pressure on kids to wear masks in school. Some private schools have gone beyond cloth-masking and mandated N95 (or equivalent) masks for children as young as 4. The Berkeley Unified School District in California recently began transitioning students to N95-level masking. This isn’t a matter of protecting children, their teachers, or their grandparents; it’s delusional and dangerous cultlike behavior.

The way to reduce scientific uncertainty when it comes to practices like masking young children is to conduct randomized studies. When it comes to masking kids in schools, the global scientific community has launched no such studies during the pandemic. The U.K. government commissioned a report on the efficacy of masks in school settings, which failed to identify any clear evidence in favor of this practice. Moreover, the authors write:

Wearing face coverings may have physical side effects and impair face identification, verbal and non-verbal communication between teacher and learner. This means there are downsides to face coverings for pupils and students, including detrimental impacts on communication in the classroom.

Let’s start with cloth masks, which have been the most common type of facial covering used to cover kids’ faces in school. In the only cluster randomized trial conducted during the pandemic among adults, cloth-masking failed to improve the primary outcome of COVID cases that were confirmed with a blood test. In an umbrella review I conducted with Jonathan Darrow of Harvard and Ian Liu of the University of Colorado, we concluded that cloth-masking simply doesn’t work. A month later, the former health commissioner of Baltimore told CNN the same:

The United States is uniquely aggressive in masking young kids. Contrary to scientific evidence, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise that children as young as 2 should wear masks. Europe has always been more relaxed on this issue, and the World Health Organization advises against masks for kids under 6 and only selectively for kids under 11.

Data from Spain on masking kids is sobering. The figure below shows the R value—a measure of how fast the virus spreads—by age. Spain mandated masks at a specific age cutoff. If masks have a visible effect, we should see a step down in the graph at the age kids start to wear them (i.e., the spread should drop at the age masking begins). But as you can see, there is only a slow, deliberate, upward trend with no steps down. Based on the evidence only, it would be impossible to guess which age groups are wearing masks and which are not.

This simply means that masking was not associated with a large effect in slowing spread. (If you’re curious, kids started to wear masks in this study at age 6.)

Now let’s consider N95 or equivalent masks that are designed to filter a high percentage of particles. To achieve this goal, N95 masks require a snug fit and validation. Notably, there are no approved N95s for kids because these masks have not been subject to validation for young people. All masks sold with this moniker are merely “N95-style” masks thought to be equivalent, possibly. Berkeley and other school districts have mandated them anyway, even though no study suggests the policy can slow the spread of COVID.

What is the goal of masking policy? Does it at least help to “slow” the spread? Pre-vaccine, it made sense to try to delay infection until all those who wished could be vaccinated, the latter being an intervention that does have a demonstrable effect on rates of serious disease and death. While cloth-masking does little if anything to delay infection, universal N95-masking might have indeed been helpful. But does this goal still make sense after vaccines and omicron?

Omicron has shown it is able to infect even vaccinated people relatively easily (even though, yes, vaccines do still appear to protect from severe disease). The fact that omicron is widely spread by vaccinated people, coupled with its rapid rate of spread, means that sooner rather than later we will all be infected—a conclusion shared earlier by Anthony Fauci. But if infection is inevitable for everyone, then it no longer makes sense to wear a mask. Even the most effective mask can’t avert infection; it can only delay it while causing inconvenience, discomfort, and difficulty speaking, all of which are detrimental to the educational and emotional well-being of schoolchildren.




Sunday, January 01, 2023

Boosted Worse Off Than Vaccinated in Many States, Data Show

People in the United States who have received COVID-19 boosters in many states are more likely than those who have gotten just a primary series to get infected, receive hospital care, and die, according to an Epoch Times investigation.

Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among the boosted have been increasing since the booster shots were first introduced in 2021. The boosters were promoted as bolstering protection against adverse outcomes. But, compared to the vaccinated who have not received any boosters, boosted people are testing positive, being hospitalized, and dying at higher levels in many states, according to the review, which went over data in the first two quarters of 2022.

In California, for instance, the boosted population made up 72 percent of the COVID-19 cases among vaccinated people in June. In Vermont that month, the boosted population made up 90 percent of the COVID-19 deaths among the vaccinated.

The number of boosted people has continued to rise since the extra shots were first cleared in 2021. But in some of the states, one or more metrics among the boosted exceed their population.

In Wisconsin, boosted people made up 43 percent of the cases, 43 percent of the hospitalizations, and 46 percent of the deaths in June—well above the boosted population, which was 35 percent of the state as of late August.

“It is unassailable that a very large fraction of highly inoculated [people] are among those being hospitalized or dying,” Dr. Robert Malone, who helped invent the messenger RNA technology that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines utilize, told The Epoch Times. “So, at a minimum, the effectiveness in preventing hospitalization or death does not appear to be aligned with the official policy position.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have continued to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for virtually all Americans, including multiple boosters, stating that the known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks. New, untested boosters replaced the old ones in the fall, but the primary series is still comprised of the old vaccines.

Higher Among Boosted

In 18 of the 19 states that provided or already list sufficient data, the boosted made up a majority of one or more metrics among the vaccinated, The Epoch Times found through reviewing publicly available data and public records requests after reporting how vaccinated people were more likely, when compared to the unvaccinated, to get sick, hospitalized, or die in a number of states.

In seven states, the boosted population even made up a majority of all three metrics—cases, hospitalizations, and deaths—among the vaccinated.

All data are from 2022. Only percentages or numbers were available for some states. Data for June were preferred, followed by data for July. Rates were adjusted for age. Fully vaccinated refers to people who received a primary series and no booster. Boosted refers to people who received one or more boosters

Adjusted Data

Some experts say one can’t derive much from state-level data, particularly if it has not been adjusted.

“The problem with these data is that there are so many missing variables which could confound (bias) the outcomes being followed,” Dr. Andrew Bostom, a former associate professor of medicine at Brown University, told The Epoch Times via email.

For data regarding vaccination, it’s best to utilize randomized or randomized controlled trials, he added, pointing to a paper that found vaccinated people were more likely to suffer a serious adverse event after analyzing data from the original clinical trials.

Some states did adjust data for age, accounting for the fact that older people are more likely to receive not only the original vaccine series, but boosters. All eight states which provided or listed age-adjusted rates showed higher rates for at least one metric among the boosted when compared to the fully vaccinated. In Wisconsin, for example, the rate of hospitalizations among the boosted was 9.2 per 100,000—nearly double the fully vaccinated.

In two of the states—Minnesota and New Mexico—rates for cases among the boosted were even higher than the unvaccinated.

To be included in the review, states needed to report figures for at least one metric broken down by vaccination status, and a breakdown by time. States that would only provide data since the beginning of the pandemic, or would not provide data by daily, weekly, or monthly increments, were excluded. So were states that would not separate the boosted from the fully vaccinated.

In the other states with sufficient data, none of the metrics were higher in the boosted compared with the fully vaccinated.

The data covers a period of time before new boosters were available. The old boosters became unavailable in the fall when regulators authorized the new, bivalent boosters. There remains no clinical trial data for the new boosters but real-world studies have estimated they provide suboptimal protection against infection and good protection, at least initially, against hospitalization.

Negative Effectiveness

The data dovetails with a growing body of research that has detected negative vaccine effectiveness after a period of time and a higher likelihood of getting infected among people with more doses.

Researchers with the Cleveland Clinic, for instance, reported this month in a preprint study (pdf) that each successive dose heightened the chance a person tested positive.

The researchers called the finding “unexpected” and cast doubt on the “simplistic explanation” offered by some that people at higher risk from COVID-19 are more likely to receive more doses.

Another study, published in November (pdf), found people who received three doses of a vaccine tested positive more than people who received two doses.

“This finding suggests that the immune response against the primary omicron infection was compromised by differential immune imprinting in those who received a third booster dose, consistent with emerging laboratory science data,” the authors, including Laith Abu-Raddad, an infectious disease expert at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, wrote.

A growing number of researchers fear that people’s immune systems are trained by the shots to react to older virus strains. The shots targeted the original Wuhan strain for years. The updated shots, which are only available as boosters, target the Wuhan strain and a sublineage of the BA.4/BA.5 Omicron subvariants. Those subvariants are already being displaced by newer, more immune-evasive strains (pdf).

“The literature predicted that there was a high risk of exacerbation of immune imprinting using this booster strategy,” Malone said, “and the data are consistent with that.” ?


Australian Cardiologist Calls to Halt mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines, Citing Heart Damage

COVID-19 Vaccines Cause Myocarditis and Pericarditis
A growing body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence links heart issues with the mRNA vaccines.

So much so that the CDC and other government authorities in the United States and around the world now recognize that the COVID-19 vaccines are causing myocarditis—heart inflammation which is considered more severe than pericarditis because it causes inflammation of the heart muscle.

In June 2022, the FDA’s Tom Shimabukuro, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., identified as part of the CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Coordination Unit, reported that: “Current evidence supports a causal association between mRNA COVID-19 vaccination and myocarditis and pericarditis.”

Six months later, as of Dec. 2, 2022, there have been a total of 35,718 cases of myocarditis/pericarditis reported to the government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System.

An Australian Cardiologist Speaks Out

After witnessing as many as 70 cases of vaccine-related heart conditions similar to Eskandar’s, Australian Cardiologist Dr. Ross Walker is now saying publicly that he believes there should be a ban on the use of mRNA booster vaccines.

According to Walker, the mRNA vaccines are “very pro-inflammatory,” he told Daily Mail Australia. “ He contended that The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization should never have mandated mRNA vaccines.

“I’ve seen many people getting vaccine reactions, who get symptoms for about three to six months afterwards,” Walker said. “I’ve seen 60-70 patients in my own practice over the past 12 months who have had similar reactions.”

Those reactions have included shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and chest pain, he continued.

Changing Recommendations

After conducting a thorough review of the scientific evidence, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, the Florida Surgeon General, directed his state to no longer recommend any COVID-19 vaccines for men under 39 because of safety concerns.

Drs. Walker and Ladapo are not the only medical professionals voicing concerns about the safety, efficacy, and necessity of the COVID-19 vaccines, especially for children and young adults.

Among the doctors who have called for the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns to be halted is Japanese cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Kenji Yamamoto. In a letter published in the peer-reviewed journal Virology, Yamamoto argued that the COVID-19 booster shots are not safe.

In particular, Yamamoto voiced concern over an adverse effect of the vaccine known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). Not only that, but since the administration of the vaccine, Yamamoto has seen an increase in the risk of infection among his patients at the Okamura Memorial Hospital in Shizuoka in Japan. Specifically, he cites that many of his patients have contracted severe infections due to “inflammation after heart surgery.” Yamamoto believes that his patients’ suppressed immunity is a result of COVID-19 vaccination.

A Turning Tide?

Several high-profile medical doctors have themselves experienced severe side effects after being vaccinated.

Vaccine researcher Dr. Gregory Poland from Rochester, Minnesota has been struggling with life-debilitating tinnitus.

Belgian immunologist, whom The Atlantic described as “one of Europe’s best-known champions of medical research,” Michel Goldman, was battling lymphoma. He had devastating side effects after his third Pfizer vaccine: severe night sweats, exhaustion, and engorged lymph nodes.

A scan taken after the vaccine revealed that the 67-year-old had a barrage of new lesions, “like someone had set off fireworks inside [his] body.”

Goldman suspected that the COVID booster had made him sicker. His brother, who is also a doctor as well as the head of nuclear medicine at the Université Libre de Bruxelles hospital, suspected as much as well.

The rapid progression of Goldman’s angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma following the BNT162b2 mRNA booster was published as a peer-reviewed case report in the journal Frontiers in Medicine in November 2021. Since its publication, the case study has been viewed 383,411 times.

While Poland and Goldman still seem to be champions of COVID-19 vaccines, many doctors who once advocated for universal COVID-19 vaccination have since changed their minds.

British cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra initially encouraged the widespread use of COVID-19 vaccines.

But then Malhotra’s father passed away suddenly of cardiac arrest after receiving the jab.

His father’s death prompted Malhotra to begin researching the safety profile of the vaccines. Based on his findings, he no longer believes the theoretical benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the very real risks.

Politicians are also becoming more vocal about ending vaccine mandates.

On Dec. 7, 2022, Senator Ron Johnson led a roundtable discussion called Covid-19 Vaccines: What They Are, How They Work, and Possible Causes of Injuries.

The next day, the House voted for an $858 Billion Defense Bill that included a repeal of the vaccine mandate for the military.

COVID-19 Infection Milder, COVID-19 Vaccines Not Safe or Effective

Cardiologist Dr. Ross Walker called to halt only the mRNA vaccines for young adults in favor of non-mRNA options. But a growing body of scientific literature (some of which has been retracted for political reasons), as well as state data and testimony from clinicians, has shown that none of the existing COVID-19 vaccines is as safe or effective as advertised.

At the same time, with Omicron and other strains replacing the other, more virulent SARS-CoV-2 variants, COVID-19 infection seems to be becoming milder.

Dr. Malhotra said in a recent interview “… this vaccine is not completely safe, and has unprecedented harms”. He concluded in a peer-reviewed article published in the Journal of Insulin Resistance that a “pause and reappraisal of global vaccination policies for COVID-19 is long overdue.”