Friday, April 14, 2023

Lies, damn lies and statistcs

After the release of his emails under Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, Dr Anthony Fauci and his friends must vie for first place as the greatest conspirators of the Covid era. He is equally in the running to be the greatest source of disinformation on just about every aspect of the pandemic, ably assisted by ‘experts’ and public health authorities around the world.

Fauci could be relied on to misinform on any topic from the origin of the virus and the necessity of lockdowns to the demonisation of the unvaccinated and the safety and efficacy of the novel genetically-induced vaccines.

Fauci’s performance was a tour de force that involved overturning decades, even millennia of knowledge about infection. . It required the wholesale abandonment of the scientific method as the empirical means of acquiring knowledge because it relies on careful observation, truthful interpretation, rigorous skepticism and robust debate. It is not possible to engage in science without freedom of thought and speech but free speech was deemed so dangerous that doctors, scientists, academics and anyone who questioned the world according to Fauci was cancelled.

Why didn’t the mainstream media question any of this? Why, as Adam Creighton asks in an excellent article in the Australian this week, was the media so credulous and incurious, so ‘naive to the financial and political forces that pushed governments to eschew the more sensible path of voluntary Covid-19 vaccination’?

It is not necessary to speculate to answer that question. When Elon Musk bought Twitter in October last year he opened up the company’s internal communications to journalists including Bari Weiss, the former opinion editor for the New York Times who resigned after being bullied by woke colleague; Matt Taibbi, a former contributing editor to Rolling Stone and staunch critic of mainstream media; and Dr Michael Shellenberger, a former Democratic candidate for governor of California, environmental activist and strong supporter of nuclear energy. All three would have been seen as sympathetic to the Left at some point but each has been cancelled for their commitment to truth-telling. They are now up to their 19th Twitter file exposé.

Shellenberger explains in an interview with Joe Rogan this week that what they expected to find inside Twitter were ultra-progressive leftists who were biased in their content moderation. What they uncovered were documents and communications exposing a ‘censorship-industrial complex’, a huge operation run by current and former US government officials and contractors from a host of agencies including the FBI, the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security. This complex worked with a network of university think tanks and NGOs called the ‘Election Integrity Partnership’ to outsource the censorship of Americans in the lead up to the 2020 election. They did this to avoid violating the First Amendment which protects freedom of speech from government censorship.

None of this is surprising except the audacity of the whole endeavour. It was clear after the British people voted for Brexit and Americans elected Trump that the Democrats were going to do everything in their power to prevent his re-election. They blamed the Big Tech titans for his election to pressure them in to cooperating. They used ‘the complex’ to cook up the Steele dossier which they fed to mainstream media to propagate the Trump-Russia collusion fabrication. The security agencies framed Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation so that social media would censor it in the lead-up to the 2020 election. From that point there was no great leap to branding the Covid lab leak as a conspiracy theory. They censored anyone who contradicted the official narrative.

Even parents grieving the death of their children killed by the vaccine.

In Australia, the Bureau of Statistics has revealed the death toll for 2022. An extra 25,235 Australians died unexpectedly – 10,000 from Covid and 15,000 from what? It was the biggest increase in mortality numerically since the Spanish flu of 1919 but more than half of the deaths weren’t caused by the pandemic virus. Did the vaccine play a role? The media didn’t ask. As Stalin would have said, it’s just a statistic. ?


Inflation dips to 5 percent as demand begins collapsing, Fed set to keep increasing

By Robert Romano

The consumer price index has continued to descend from its June 2022 peak of 9.1 percent down to a still elevated 5 percent in March 2023, according to the latest reading from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The decrease was almost exclusively due energy prices continuing to stabilize, with oil prices being down in March, with gasoline down 4.6 percent and fuel oil down 4 percent in just a month.

Electricity was down 0.7 percent and piped gas service was down another 7.1 percent in March, following an 8 percent drop in February.

But that was before OPEC+ slashed production in early April, which has seen light sweet crude oil rise from about $67 a barrel in late March to now about $83 a barrel in April, a 24 percent increase that will surely find its way to gas prices over the next several weeks.

The production cut was predicated on anticipated weaker demand, and so over the longer term prices could wind up dropping anyway.

However, the sudden rise in oil prices could serve notice on the Federal Reserve that inflation pressures due to supply issues are still very much an issue, as much as the $6 trillion that was printed, borrowed and spent for Covid is, which came at a time of production halts, economic lockdowns and paying people to stay home.

The M2 money supply increased dramatically from $15.3 trillion in Feb. 2020 to a peak of $22 trillion by April 2022, a massive 43.7 percent, leading to the inflation spike, where consumer inflation reached 9.1 percent in June 2022. By the time Russia invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022—further worsening global supply issues—consumer inflation was already north of 7.5 percent. The M2 money supply has now decreased a bit to $21.1 trillion.

On March 22, the Federal Reserve noted that continued increases of the Federal Funds Rate, or “additional policy firming,” could be on the horizon, stating, “the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 4-3/4 to 5 percent. The Committee will closely monitor incoming information and assess the implications for monetary policy. The Committee anticipates that some additional policy firming may be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2 percent over time.”

The central bank added, “In determining the extent of future increases in the target range, the Committee will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments.”

In just a year, the Fed has gone from 0.08 percent in Feb. 2022 on the effective Federal Funds Rate — at which point inflation was already 7.5 percent — to now 4.65 percent in March, leading to much hand-wringing on Wall Street about interest rates rising faster than ever.

To be certain, it is one of the quicker paces of increases of the Federal Funds Rate in recent memory, looking a bit further back in history, it looks a lot like the rate increases that combated the inflation of the 1970s and 1980s.

For example, in 1981, when the effective Federal Funds Rate rose from 14.7 percent in March 1981 to 19.1 percent in June 1981, a 4.4 percent increase.

That was dwarfed by 1980, when rose from about 9 percent in July 1980 to 19.1 percent in Jan. 1981, a 10.1 percent increase.

Or in 1979, when it rose from about 10.1 percent in April 1979 to about 17.6 percent in April 1980, a 7.5 percent increase.

Or 1973, hen it rose from Sept. 1972 to Sept. 1973, from about 4.9 percent to 10.8 percent, a 5.9 percent increase.

Those were rocky times, too, but what the Fed is doing is by no means unprecedented. What was unprecedented was printing $6 trillion and simultaneously shutting the economy down and reducing production—too much money chasing too few goods.

The Fed’s rate hikes come as 10-year treasuries remain at about 3.37 percent of this writing, and 30-year mortgage interest rates are at about 6.3 percent as existing home sales remain down about 22.6 percent from their 2022 highs a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The news comes as the annual growth of consumer credit appears to have peaked at 8.1 percent in Oct. 2022, flattening slightly to 7.8 percent annualized by Dec. 2022 and then ticked up to 7.9 percent Jan. 2023 and now is down to 7.6 percent in Feb. 2023, which could be a sign of weakening demand. Usually, it peaks just before or at the beginning recessions, and then will slow down significantly once unemployment begins rising.

Either way, a slowdown in the growth of consumer credit could indicate American households are maxing out on their credit cards, which will have a dampening effect on demand going forward.

And yet, unemployment remains at historic lows of 3.5 percent, and with the Fed projecting a 4.6 percent unemployment rate in 2024, as many as 2 million job losses still appear to remain on the horizon, meaning there’s still room for the Fed move rates higher. To be certain at 5 percent inflation, it would only take another quarter point hike or so to get the Fed’s interest rate above that of the consumer inflation rate. Stay tuned.




Thursday, April 13, 2023

You Can't Say That!

John Stossel

Over the past three years, we reporters learned there were certain things that we weren't allowed to say. Not long ago, in fact, my new video may have been censored.

One dangerous idea, we were told, was that COVID might have been created in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. That seems very possible, since the institute studied coronaviruses in bats, and America's National Institutes of Health gave the lab money to perform "gain-of-function" research, experiments where scientists try to make a virus more virulent or transmissible.

A Washington Post writer worried the lab leak theory "could increase racist attacks against Chinese people and further fuel anti-Asian hate."

The establishment media fell in line, insisting that COVID most likely came from a local market that sold animals.

Left-wing TV mocked the lab theory as a "fringe idea" that came from "a certain corner of the right."

"This coronavirus was not manmade," said MSNBC's Chris Hayes, confidently, "That is not a possibility."

Not even a possibility?

Debate about it, we were told, posed a new threat: misinformation.

Facebook banned the lab leak theory, calling it a "false claim."

But now the U.S. Department of Energy says the pandemic most likely came from a lab leak. FBI director Christopher Wray now says the origin of the pandemic is "most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan."

For two years, the most likely explanation was censored.

Do the media gatekeepers apologize for their censorship? No.

The closest to an admission of guilt I found was from Chris Hayes, who eventually said, "There's a kernel of truth to the idea that some folks were too quick to shut down the lab leak theory."

There was more than "a kernel of truth." Again and again, politically correct media silenced people who spoke the truth.

Facebook throttled the reach of science journalist John Tierney's articles simply because he reported, accurately, that requiring masks can hurt kids.

YouTube suspended Sen. Rand Paul for saying, "Most of the masks you get over the counter don't work."

But what they said is true. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to say cloth masks are not very effective. And now a big study failed to find evidence that wearing even good masks stops the spread of viruses.

Probably the most blatant censorship was Twitter's shutting down the New York Post's reporting about Hunter Biden's laptop.

Twitter wouldn't let users decide for themselves. The company just called the Post's report "potentially harmful" and blocked users from sharing it.

Facebook, as usual, was sneakier, suppressing the story instead of banning it outright. That's what they do to my climate change reporting.

Today, the media admit the Post story is true. But they don't admit they were wrong. Now they just say things like, "Nobody cares about Hunter Biden's laptop."

Bad as the media are, what's worse is that government wanted to censor.

Sen. Mark Warner complained, "We've done nothing in terms of content regulation!"

Fortunately, his colleagues were not as irresponsible as he; no censorship legislation passed. But government did apply lots of pressure.

The White House asked Facebook to kill what they called "disinformation," even urging them to censor private WhatsApp messages.

Now that Elon Musk owns Twitter and opened up the company's internal files, we know that censorhip requests came from "every corner" of government, as journalist Matt Taibbi put it.

Even individual politicians tried to censor.

Maine Sen. Angus King's staff complained about Twitter accounts that they considered "anti-King." Rep. Adam Schiff's office asked Twitter to suppress search results.

Fortunately, Twitter refused.

But the sad truth is that lots of government agencies and media tyrants want to limit what you read and hear.

At least now, we can speak the truth:

COVID probably was created in a Chinese lab.

Masks are unlikely to provide much protection and requiring them can harm kids. Hunter Biden did lots of sleazy things.

Self-appointed censors tried to shut us up, but eventually, the truth almost always comes out.


Intriguing results of new national poll about COVID and vaccine deaths

This is an opinion survey so is no way equivalent to autopsies etc but it is surely of some weight

Looks like there been massive under-counting of COVID and vaccine deaths.

A new poll by Rasmussen has some data that validates what many of us already believe, namely that the vaccines are dangerous, unsafe and need to be pulled from the market immediately.

The survey of 1,078 American adults was conducted on March 27-29, 2023 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

A big finding is that nearly as many Americans believe someone close to them died from side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine as died from the disease/infection itself.

This latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 11% of American adults say a member of their household died from COVID-19, while 86% answer no. That percentage equates to roughly 25 million adults. Both the 11% and 25 million figures are incredibly high. They also equate to a very high number of households, many millions. Are all these figures consistent with what CDC says is the total number of COVID deaths of just over 1 million? NO! The survey result indicates a massive under-counting of COVID deaths by the government. And that many more millions of Americans died from COVID! How can this be explained? One possible answer is that many deaths occurred at homes rather than hospitals. Another is that ordinary people viewed some deaths in their household were incorrectly attributed to various ordinary health problems (such as cardiac deaths) were actually caused by COVID infection.

Ten percent (10%) say a member of their household has died whose death they think may have been caused by side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, while 85% say there were no such deaths in their household. This figure is shockingly inconsistent with the approved narrative, actually propaganda, of “safe and effective” which has been so actively spread by corporate (“main stream”) media and the US Government and the entire public health and health care establishments. Here too this survey result indicates a massive under-counting of vaccine deaths if some 25 million Americans have this view. Various studies indicate a total of some 500,000 vaccine deaths.

These findings come at a time when overall concern about COVID-19 is clearly on the decline. Forty-eight percent (48)% of Americans are less concerned about COVID-19 than they were a year ago, compared to 20% who say they’re more concerned. Thirty-one percent (31%) say their concern about COVID-19 has not changed much in the past year.

More Democrats (16%) than Republicans (12%) or those not affiliated with either major party (6%) say a member of their household died from COVID-19. More Republicans (15%) than Democrats (13%) or the unaffiliated (5%) say a member of their household has died whose death they think may have been caused by side effects of COVID-19 vaccines.

The section above is key, because the difference between Democrats and Republicans is almost the same concerning either deaths from COVID or COVID vaccines. If there had been statistical significance between these two groups, Rasmussen would have indicated that.

Please keep in mind that it is now widely accepted by those who follow the data that the COVID vaccines available in the United States do not prevent infection, replication, or spread of SARS-CoV-2, and do not prevent either hospitalized disease or death from COVID-19 disease. Given these facts, references to these biologic medical products as “vaccines” is merely propaganda. They clearly do not “vaccinate” in the classic sense. But they make billions of dollars for vaccine makers.

Other details about the poll:

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Republicans, 43% of Democrats and 45% of the unaffiliated are less concerned about COVID-19 than they were a year ago. Thirty-one percent (31%) of Democrats, 17% of Republicans and 13% of the unaffiliated are more concerned about COVID-19 than they were a year ago.

The only significant male-female divide on these questions is that more men (24%) than women (17%) say they’re more concerned about COVID-19 than they were a year ago. This is particularly true for men under 40.

Adults under 40 are significantly more likely than their elders to say they’re more concerned about COVID-19 than they were a year ago. A solid majority of Americans over 40 have become less concerned about COVID-19 in the past year, but just 35% of those under 40 feel the same. Women under 40 are most likely to answer yes when asked whether a household member has died either due to COVID-19 or to side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fifty percent (50%) of whites, 39% of blacks and 46% of other minorities are less concerned about COVID-19 than they were a year ago. Nineteen percent (19%) of whites, 24% of blacks and 22% of other minorities are more concerned about COVID-19 than they were a year ago. Whites and blacks are less likely than other minorities to say a household member has died either due to COVID-19 or to side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Married adults and those with children at home are more likely than their single or childless peers to say a household member has died either due to COVID-19 or to side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Americans with annual incomes over $100,000 are more likely to say they’re more concerned about COVID-19 than they were a year ago, compared to those with lower incomes. Higher income Americans are also more likely to say a member of their household died from COVID-19.

Remarkably, among those who say a member of their household died from COVID-19, 54% also say a member of their household has died whose death they think may have been caused by side effects of COVID-19 vaccines.




Coal generation rising despite global net-zero ambition

Australia generated a quarter of its electricity from solar and wind in 2022, more than double the global average, a think tank says.

Wind and solar are also accelerating worldwide, research released on Wednesday shows, with last year’s global rise in solar generation enough to have met the annual electricity demand of Australia.

The report by independent energy think tank Ember found last year may have been the peak of electricity emissions and the final year of fossil power growth, with clean power forecast to meet all demand growth this year.

But the report also found global coal-fired generation was still rising (up 1.1 per cent) even as wind and solar surged (19 per cent).

The electricity sector, in Australia and worldwide, is the biggest greenhouse gas emitter and must decarbonise if international net zero goals are to be met.

A cleaner power supply is also expected to trigger the electrification of big polluters in heavy industry and transport.

“Tracking progress on how our electricity is generated is critical, as it is not only a huge source of greenhouse gases, it is also needed as an enabler of a cleaner and more efficient energy system overall,” Ember’s chair Baroness Bryony Worthington said.

While 2022 may be seen as the turning point, fossil fuels are still providing the backbone of the electricity system in many large economies including Australia, according to the Global Electricity Review 2023.

However, the carbon intensity fell to a record low in 2022 on record growth in wind and solar, which counted for 12 per cent of the global electricity mix – up from 10 per cent in 2021.

Solar generation rose by almost a quarter (24 per cent), making it the fastest-growing electricity source for 18 years in a row, while wind generation grew by 17 per cent.

Gas power generation eased 0.2 per cent in 2022, falling for the second time in three years as high gas prices continue.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made many governments rethink their plans amid spiking fossil fuel prices and security concerns about relying on fossil fuel imports, but it also accelerated electrification with rising consumer demand for electric cars and heat pumps.

Gas-to-coal switching was limited in 2022 because gas was already mostly more expensive, with only 31 gigawatts of new gas power plants built in 2022, which was the lowest in 18 years.

A gas power phase-down is now within reach for the first time, the report said.

But last year also saw the lowest number of coal plant closures in seven years as countries relied on the fossil fuel to maintain back-up capacity.

Coal power remained the single largest source of electricity, producing more than a third (36 per cent) of global electricity in 2022.


NOAA Proposes to Ignore Whales Killed by Offshore Wind

The death of numerous whales off New Jersey, mostly humpbacks, deserves a lot of attention. The federal NOAA Fisheries agency is responsible for whales. An outrageous statement by their spokesperson got me to do some research on humpback whale deaths. The evidence appears to suggest that offshore wind development is killing whales by the hundreds.

“NOAA said it has been studying what it calls 'unusual mortality events' involving 174 humpback whales along the East Coast since January 2016," reports The Morning Call. "Agency spokesperson Lauren Gaches said that period pre-dates offshore wind preparation activities in the region."

The humpback death rate roughly tripled starting in 2016. But the claim that this huge jump in mortality predates offshore wind preparation activities is wildly false. In fact, it coincides with the large scale onset of these activities.

To begin with, offshore lease sales really geared up 2015-16, with nine sales off New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Massachusetts. These sales generated a lot of activity, including damaging sonar. In fact, 2016 saw the beginning of what are called site characterization surveys. These surveys are licensed by NOAA Fisheries under "Incidental Harassment Authorizations" or IHAs.

There is misleading jargon here. These IHAs are "incidental" to offshore wind development. They are not incidental to the whales. The term “harassment” includes injuring the whales. That is called level A harassment, while level B harassment just causes behavior changes or temporary deafness, which can also be deadly.

NOAA has issued 46 one-year IHAs for offshore wind sites, each authorizing the harassment of numerous whales. Site characterization typically includes use of what I call “machine gun sonar.” This device emits an incredibly loud noise every few seconds, often for hours or days at a time, as it maps the sea floor.

There are lots of ways this sonar blasting can cause whales to die. Simply fleeing the noise could cause ship strikes or fish gear entanglements, the two leading causes of whale deaths. Or the whales could be deafened, to be struck later. Note that defenders of offshore wind often point to ship strikes as somehow showing that sonar is not the culprit. In fact, it is evidence sonar is guilty.

The point is that the huge 2016 jump in annual humpback mortality coincides with the jump in NOAA IHAs. Nor is this just about humpbacks. There are the severely endangered North Atlantic Right Whales, on the verge of extinction. Their precipitous decline also began in 2016.

Clearly we need a moratorium on new IHAs until the safety of the whales can be assured. But "Damn the whales, full speed ahead" is the policy of Biden's NOAA. They now propose to approve yet another New Jersey site survey, just 10 miles off Atlantic City.

The survey area is an incredible 2,300 square miles. Ironically, the project is called Atlantic Shores, which is where all the dead whales are washing up. In fact, this is a renewal of a prior permit. NOAA acts as though nothing has changed, ignoring the horrible New Jersey whale deaths.

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is taking public comments on this preposterous proposal (details below).

NMFS predicts that a great many marine mammals will be subjected to unsafe levels of survey noise. Here are the staggering numbers by category:

42 Whales

2,534 Dolphins

142 Porpoises

1,472 Seals

"....[O]nly Level B harassment is proposed for authorization, which NMFS expects would be of a lower severity, predominately in the form of avoidance of the sound sources that may cause a temporary abandonment of the location during active source use that may result in a temporary interruption of foraging activities for some species," NOAA's bureaucratic argument reads. "NMFS does not expect that the proposed activity will have long-term or permanent impacts as the acoustic source would be mobile and would leave the area within a specific amount of time for which the animals could return to the area."

In short, these thousands of critters will get the hell out of the way and come home when the survey is over, in a year or so. Apparently NMFS thinks this massive forced relocation is harmless. Here are two harmful possibilities, among many.

First, the site is deliberately in a relatively low ship traffic area, surrounded by high traffic zones. This is one of the busiest ship traffic areas in the world. Being forced to relocate into higher traffic areas is virtually certain to increase the incidence of fatal ship strikes.

Second, moving this many animals into territory already occupied by similar animals should greatly increase the population densities for each species. But the food supply remains the same, which could lead to food scarcity.

The treatment of the severely endangered North Atlantic Right Whale is especially egregious. NOAA says this: "...the size of the survey area (5,868 km2) in comparison with the entire migratory habitat for the North Atlantic right whale (269,448 km2) is small, representing 2.11 percent of the entire migratory corridor."

Right Whales migrate through the area twice a year, going between offshore Georgia and New England so the "corridor" is indeed large, but this is irrelevant. What is crucial is that the survey area is about 35 miles wide east to west and the migrating whales presently pass through it. Thus the survey has the effect of blocking the migration, or seriously disrupting it.

NOAA maintains this proposed harassment is exempt from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). They claim there is "no anticipated serious injury or mortality." They should anticipate a little harder. NEPA requires assessment if injury is reasonably likely. Injury and death certainly are reasonably likely here, to thousands of supposedly protected marine mammals, including the severely endangered Right Whales. More deeply, the Atlantic Shores Wind Project has yet to be approved and may never be. Site surveys should not be authorized until the Project is approved.

Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Written comments should be submitted via email to In the offshore wind stampede Biden's National Marine Fisheries Service has lost sight of its mission to protect marine mammals. Just say no to NOAA.


Science betrayal

Peter Ridd

There is no surer proof that people are losing faith in the scientific establishment than the recent Rasmussen poll of Americans which found 60 per cent of respondents agreeing that, ‘Climate change has become a religion that “actually has nothing to do with the climate” and is really about power and control”.’ Even 45 per cent of Democrats agreed.

This is a staggering result considering the relentless barrage from almost every major science organisation on earth asserting that climate change is ‘real’ and dangerous. Despite all the indoctrination at universities, all the stories in the media by climate ‘experts’, a solid majority thinks they are being conned.

Why have so many people reached this conclusion?

It is not because the general population has been reading up on the history of climate science. I doubt those 60 per cent of Americans know that the climate was hotter when the Egyptians were building pyramids, that American wildfires burnt a far greater area in the 1930s than in recent decades, or that the Great Barrier Reef has never had more coral.

But they can smell a rat, and they can recognise a high-pressure salesman. The alarmist side has cried ‘Wolf!’ hundreds of times too many, and its treatment of those who dare to dissent only makes the rat smell worse.

The public everywhere realises how strange it is that all the effects of climate change are supposedly terrible – that there is nothing good. Consider somebody gazing out of their window in Montana, onto mounting snow drifts in minus 20°C temperatures – they might think it odd that a couple of degrees warmer could be such a universally bad thing.

But the scientific establishment argues that it will not just get hotter, it will also get colder. Do the institutions honestly expect us not to question the peculiar nature of this argument – however much we would like to believe them because we know we should believe ‘The Science’?

And one does not have to delve too deeply into the institutions’ evidence to see that a lot does not make sense. For example, last month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report again argued that the world’s coral reefs will lose 90 per cent of their coral with a trivial 1.5°C temperature increase – of which, it claims, we have already experienced more than one degree. But data from the Australian Institute of Marine Science shows that corals at the colder southern end of the Great Barrier Reef will grow at least 30 per cent faster in the event of such a temperature rise. Corals like it hot. Maybe corals living in the planet’s hottest water extremes are in trouble, but surely then, some of the corals in the cooler parts of the world must benefit from a little extra warmth? Not according to the IPCC.

And let us not forget science’s dirty open secret. Detailed checks show that roughly 50 per cent of the recent scientific reports, which have been peer-reviewed, are wrong. It is called the ‘replication crisis’. All the big science institutions have known about it for a decade, but they do not like to talk about it. It is too embarrassing. Perhaps the Australian Academy of Science could write an article to The Spectator Australia explaining the problem and how it proposes to solve it.

What other profession gets it wrong so often? Thank goodness scientists are not airline pilots.

The general distrust of scientists revealed by the Rasmussen poll was most probably turbocharged by the Covid scare, and especially by the manner with which dissenters were treated. For example, those who argued that it was possible the virus originated in the Wuhan virology lab, rather than the city’s wet market, were simply labelled racist. But, of all the huge cities and all the wet markets in all of China, what is the chance that Covid popped up, entirely naturally, exactly where virologists were experimenting with Corona viruses? The answer is very roughly just 10 per cent – at most. There are ten cities in China as big or bigger than Wuhan. It was always a valid question to ask about a lab-leak. Even the CIA has stated that the lab-leak theory is plausible.

But people want to trust science institutions. People want to believe that the Great Barrier Reef is almost doomed, despite the wonderful news about record coral cover. This is because if the reef is not doomed, they must face the possibility of something worse – that they have been deceived by institutions they have always trusted implicitly. Organisations such as the ABC and CSIRO, which we have traditionally put on a pedestal. People cannot handle that thought – not immediately at least – but they come around eventually. The Rasmussen Poll, and those 60 per cent of Americans who see climate change is a religion, proves that.

We must make it possible for people to trust ‘science’ again. But that means it must become trustworthy. So far, the science institutions are still in denial.


Australia: State of the Climate 2022

Warming has stopped. For how long? The warmest year so far was 2019. Note that they record temperatures in decades. Differences between individual years are so slight. And note the paucity of figures. That is because the differences are in tenths of one degree, sometimes only hundredths. And the total difference between now and 1910 is tiny

Australia has warmed, on average, by 1.47 ± 0.24 °C since national records began in 1910, with most warming occurring since 1950. Every decade since 1950 has been warmer than preceding decades. The warming in Australia is consistent with global trends, with the degree of warming similar to the overall average across the world’s land areas.

Australia’s warmest year on record was 2019. The eight years from 2013–20 all rank among the 10 warmest years on record. The long-term warming trend means that most years are now warmer than almost any observed during the 20th century.

Warming is observed across Australia in all months with both day and night-time temperatures increasing. This shift is accompanied by an increased number of extreme nationally averaged daily heat events across all months, including a greater frequency of very hot days in summer. For example, 2019 experienced 41 extremely warm days, about triple the highest number in any year prior to 2000. Also in 2019, there were 33 days when national daily average maximum temperatures exceeded 39 °C, a larger number than seen in the 59 years from 1960–2018 combined. Increasing trends in extreme heat are observed at locations across all of Australia. Extreme heat has caused more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard and has major impacts on ecosystems and infrastructure.

There has also been an increase in the frequency of months that are much warmer than usual. Very high monthly maximum temperatures that occurred nearly 2 per cent of the time in 1960–89 now (2007–21) occur over 11 per cent of the time. This is about a sixfold increase over the period. Very high monthly night-time temperatures, which are also a major contributor to heat stress, occurred nearly 2 per cent of the time in 1960–89 but now occur around 10 per cent of the time.

The frequencies of extremely cold days and nights have declined across Australia. An exception is for extremely cold nights in parts of south-east and south-west Australia, which have seen significant cool season drying, and hence more clear winter nights. This results in colder nights due to increased heat loss from the ground. The frequency of frost in these parts has been relatively unchanged since the 1980s.




Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Chinese Scientists Systematically Evaluate State of mRNA Vaccines—Expect a ‘Revolution’

Chinese researchers led by Xia Guo and Xinghong Gao at Zunyi Medical University in Guizhou province in the mountainous southwest of the People’s Republic of China and colleagues recently conducted a survey of the rapidly developed mRNA vaccine technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reporting that the breakthroughs have opened up new doors of mRNA research targeting other viral vaccines, particularly for non-replication structure mRNA vaccines of viral disease.

The current review centers on the existing mRNA vaccines, “which are of great value for candidates for clinical applications in viral diseases.” How are the current early generation of mRNA vaccines and their vaccine development process getting optimized? Why are mRNA immunomodulators important in the treatment of viral diseases? How can vaccine developers ensure in the future that mRNA vaccines employed for use in clinical medicine are

A) more stable

B) offer higher translation efficiency,

C) lead to superior immune efficacy and safety,

D) involve even more compressed production time as well as E) lower production costs than traditional vaccines? What about serious adverse events? What breakthroughs can improve the track record? What’s the outlook for use of mRNA vaccines as part of “preventive or therapeutic” strategies to control diseases in the future?

Considered “third generation” vaccines, the reason for the big push of this technology includes A) ability for rapid response to pathogen mutation, B) simple production process and C) easy scalability, according to the Chinese study authors. Although this media has questions on some of these assumptions such as ease of production process.

Now widely used around the world (perhaps a key goal underlying the massive response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic) the authors in this entry in Virology Journal first breakdown mRNA vaccines—what they are, their mechanism of action, etc.

With the “theoretical capacity to produce any protein,” the confluence of positive forces leads to promising future, even 'revolutionary' vaccines, the authors. But challenges persist.

For example, a major “stumbling block” for the industry involves the lack of stability associated with single-stranded mRNA—as soon as it enters the organism it is “identified and degraded by pattern recognition receptor (PRR), leading to “huge” development challenges associated with mRNA.

Safety Issues Remain a Challenge

Also, the authors acknowledge the safety issues mounting with the novel vaccines on the market. They declare “…some adverse events of mRNA vaccines, such as hepatitis, allergic reactions caused by polyethylene glycol (PEG), and viral reactivation, still require researchers to continuously improve vaccine production technologies or delivery systems continuously.”

So what techniques are being used to ensure superior, more stable outcomes?

It turns out “several techniques” have emerged leading to more stable mRNAs as the biotechnology both “develops and matures.” Some of these advances the authors discuss:

Synthetic structure-modified RNAs are used to replace natural RNAs to synthesize mRNAs that can evade recognition by the body's immune system as "non-self" components and be eliminated such as pseudouridine (Ψ). Moderna has incorporated this strategy for mRNA-1273.

5' cap structures, 3' poly(A) tails, and UTR sequences can also stabilize mRNA and thus increase translation efficiency, such as optimization in these regions used in Pfizer-BioNTech’s BNT162b2.

The authors argue that advanced new formulation methods such as lipid nanoparticles can help protect mRNA and trigger immune response—an example is the LMP used in Moderna’s mRNA-1388.

So based on a systematic review of existing mRNA vaccines with prospective potential in the clinic targeting viral diseases, the authors attempt to develop and impart a “theoretical reference” for mRNA vaccine research targeting viral diseas


COVID-19 Spike Protein Accumulates in the Skull-Meninges-Brain Axis: Is the Vaccine’s Induced Spike Protein a Risk as Well?

A large team of researchers mostly from German academic medical centers including Institute for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (iTERM), Helmholtz Center Munich and Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research, Klinikum der Universität München, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich but also Denmark investigated neurological issues associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19.

From brain fog to brain tissue loss, the pandemic raised concern about COVID-19’s acute and potential chronic impact on the central nervous system. Designing the study to make use of mouse models and human post-mortem tissue-based studies, the Europe-based team investigated the presence and distribution of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in what’s known as the “skull-meninges-brain axis.”

What did they find? It turns out the spike protein does accumulate in the skull marrow, brain meninges and brain parenchyma. When injecting the spike protein in this series of lab experiments researchers report that “the spike protein alone caused cell death in the brain” which suggests a “direct effect on brain tissue.” But even in the deceased when conducting post-mortem analyses the study authors report the “presence of spike protein in the skull of deceased long after their COVID infection. Could the spike protein contribute to long-term neurological symptoms?

More Details

In this fascinating yet not yet peer reviewed output, the study team represented by corresponding author Ali Ertürk reports:

“The spike protein was associated with neutrophil-related pathways and dysregulation of the proteins involved in the PI3K-AKT as well as complement and coagulation pathway.”

Could it be that the spike protein associated with COVID-19 shuttles from the central nervous system borders into the brain parenchyma, and that identified differently regulated pathways suggests neurological insights into underlying mechanisms of the pathogen. Also, the unfortunate prospect of lawn-term consequences of SARS-CoV-2 and present diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities.

And what about vaccination? Given the mRNA vaccines instruct the body to produce the spike protein could some of the neurological problems reported, albeit rare, can add up given over 270 million people received their primary series in the United States.

In fact the research team pointed out that “The lack of evidence for the viral presence and especially viral replication in the brain led to the hypothesis that virus shed proteins circulating in the bloodstream may promote an inflammatory response independent of direct viral infection of the affected organs, including the brain. Notably, the highly immunogenic spike protein, also used in COVID-19 vaccines, might be a candidate for triggering infection-independent effects.


Senator Rand Paul Proposes Legislation to Reform “Fauci’s NIH”

Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky has had a continuing feud with not only Dr. Anthony Fauci but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well, seeking transparency and answers to questions about gain-of-function and SARS-CoV-2 origins. Paul has repeatedly accused Fauci and the NIH of funding gain of function research at the Wuhan Lab through the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance. Wuhan keeps surfacing as a possible source of the Covid pandemic. EcoHealth Alliance received taxpayer money from the NIH, actually serving as an intermediary to Wuhan Virology Institute. Paul has also questioned Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) regarding royalties paid to Fauci and a possible conflict of interest.

Paul wanted to know why the NIH redacts all the data associated with royalty payments, including employee name, amount, and associated company. Fauci claimed according to regulations, these details don’t have to be revealed. But Paul focused more on gain of function and is now taking steps to curtail both gain of function and what the Kentucky senator labeled Anthony Fauci’s “abuse of office”.

NIH Reform Act

In an op-ed for Fox News, Paul lays out his plan to reform what he calls “Fauci’s NIH”. According to Paul, Fauci “headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for over 38 years, and by the time he retired he was drawing the largest salary in the entire federal government.” Paul writes, “Though the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic are still unknown, some scientists believe it may have begun in a lab. If so, the virus may have developed from a research method like the ones Dr. Fauci was bankrolling.

The American people deserve better. That’s why I recently introduced the NIH Reform Act to divide the NIAID into three parts that align with its stated mission ‘to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.' The three new agencies would be the National Institute of Allergic Diseases, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Immunologic Diseases.

Paul compares Fauci’s time in office and his power to that of J. Edgar Hoover, the founder and former head of the FBI. Paul points out how Hoover had amassed a lot of power and much of what the FBI director did was unconstitutional and “few were brave enough to speak out against them.”

Working with Rep. Chip Roy

Paul has introduced the NIH Reform Act with Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas. In order to limit the power of the new heads of the agencies the director of each institute would be appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate and not permitted to serve more than two terms of five years. As Paul points out in his press release, “This type of reorganization is nothing new.

For example, in the aftermath of J. Edgar Hoover’s decades-long tenure as head of the FBI, Congress passed a law in 1976 limiting the FBI Director to a single 10-year term, and as recently as 2012, Congress eliminated one center within the NIH and replaced it with a new one.

In the aftermath of the damage done by pandemic-era mandates and restrictions, Congress must enact the NIH Reform Act to ensure that one official cannot claim the unquestioned authority to dictate the governmental responses to public health questions.” Given Rand Paul’s history with Anthony Fauci it will be interesting to see how a split Congress will react to Paul’s NIH Reform Act.




Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Association of Treatment With Nirmatrelvir and the Risk of Post–COVID-19 Condition

Nirmatrelvir is one component of Pfizer's Paxlovid antiviral. The differences observed below were weak but pervasive, suggesting some usefulness in preventing long Covid

Yan Xie et al

Key Points

Question Is treatment with nirmatrelvir in the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with a lower risk of post–COVID-19 condition (PCC)?

Findings In this cohort study of 281 793 people with SARS-CoV-2 infection who had at least 1 risk factor for progression to severe COVID-19 illness, compared with 246 076 who had no treatment, nirmatrelvir use in the acute phase (n = 35 717) was associated with reduced risk of PCC, including reduced risk of 10 of 13 post–acute sequelae in various organ systems, as well as reduced risk of post–acute death and post–acute hospitalization. Nirmatrelvir was associated with reduced risk of PCC in people who were unvaccinated, vaccinated, and boosted, and in people with primary SARS-CoV-2 infection and reinfection.

Meaning In people with SARS-CoV-2 infection and at least 1 risk factor for progression to severe COVID-19 illness, treatment with nirmatrelvir during the acute phase of COVID-19 was associated with reduced risk of PCC.


Importance Post–COVID-19 condition (PCC), also known as long COVID, affects many individuals. Prevention of PCC is an urgent public health priority.

Objective To examine whether treatment with nirmatrelvir in the acute phase of COVID-19 is associated with reduced risk of PCC.

Design, Setting, and Participants This cohort study used the health care databases of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to identify patients who had a SARS-CoV-2 positive test result between January 3, 2022, and December 31, 2022, who were not hospitalized on the day of the positive test result, who had at least 1 risk factor for progression to severe COVID-19 illness, and who had survived the first 30 days after SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. Those who were treated with oral nirmatrelvir within 5 days after the positive test (n = 35 717) and those who received no COVID-19 antiviral or antibody treatment during the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection (control group, n = 246 076) were identified.

Exposures Treatment with nirmatrelvir or receipt of no COVID-19 antiviral or antibody treatment based on prescription records.

Main Outcomes and Measures Inverse probability weighted survival models were used to estimate the association of nirmatrelvir (vs control) with post–acute death, post–acute hospitalization, and a prespecified panel of 13 post–acute COVID-19 sequelae (components of PCC) and reported in relative scale as relative risk (RR) or hazard ratio (HR) and in absolute scale as absolute risk reduction in percentage at 180 days (ARR).

Results A total of 281 793 patients (mean [SD] age, 61.99 [14.96]; 242 383 [86.01%] male) who had a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result and had at least 1 risk factor for progression to severe COVID-19 illness were studied. Among them, 246 076 received no COVID-19 antiviral or antibody treatment during the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and 35 717 received oral nirmatrelvir within 5 days after the positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. Compared with the control group, nirmatrelvir was associated with reduced risk of PCC (RR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.72-0.77; ARR, 4.51%; 95% CI, 4.01-4.99), including reduced risk of 10 of 13 post–acute sequelae (components of PCC) in the cardiovascular system (dysrhythmia and ischemic heart disease), coagulation and hematologic disorders (pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis), fatigue and malaise, acute kidney disease, muscle pain, neurologic system (neurocognitive impairment and dysautonomia), and shortness of breath. Nirmatrelvir was also associated with reduced risk of post–acute death (HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.46-0.61); ARR, 0.65%; 95% CI, 0.54-0.77), and post–acute hospitalization (HR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.73-0.80; ARR, 1.72%; 95% CI, 1.42-2.01). Nirmatrelvir was associated with reduced risk of PCC in people who were unvaccinated, vaccinated, and boosted, and in people with primary SARS-CoV-2 infection and reinfection.

Conclusions and Relevance This cohort study found that in people with SARS-CoV-2 infection who had at least 1 risk factor for progression to severe disease, treatment with nirmatrelvir within 5 days of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result was associated with reduced risk of PCC across the risk spectrum in this cohort and regardless of vaccination status and history of prior infection; the totality of findings suggests that treatment with nirmatrelvir during the acute phase of COVID-19 may reduce the risk of post–acute adverse health outcomes.


Authors Conclude "Relatively Safe" as Dozens of Children Die After COVID-19 Vaccination

Peter A. McCullough

As an author and editor, I have always lived by a principle of medical publication that the conclusions must be supported by the data presented. Many have asked me why to do doctors still support COVID-19 vaccination with all safety data systems reporting record mortality after injection? Many cases occur on the same day or in the next few days after administration. The reason may be what doctors are concluding from the data in peer-reviewed manuscripts that does not match the information disclosed.

Villa-Zapata and coworkers published a report from VAERS on “safety” of COVID-19 vaccination in children aged 5 to 17, and in the data table there are 56 deaths! Also listed are other potentially fatal complications such as anaphylaxis and myocarditis. The authors concluded that COVID-19 vaccination in children is “relatively safe.”

Any person reading this report should be shocked and appalled with news of 56 children and adolescents losing their lives after COVID-19 vaccination.

The vast majority of reports to VAERS are made by doctors and healthcare providers who believe the vaccine was the cause of the problem reported. The CDC generates a temporary number followed by a permanent VAERS number when the event is confirmed (e.g., fatal events confirmed by death certificate or national death index). VAERS cases represent the tip of the iceberg and grossly under-represent reality. This means the number of childhood deaths could be 30-fold greater—or 1680 for 2021.

In summary, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught clinical scholars to ignore the written conclusions by the authors who may have conflicts of interest. They may have taken COVID-19 vaccines themselves and cannot psychologically recognize what is happening with catastrophic safety outcomes in populations studied.

The data must be evaluated independently and it is up to the reader to draw his or her own inferences. My conclusion is that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe for human use and one child lost after injection is one too many. They must be pulled off the market.


Arthritis after COVID-19 Vaccination

Good response to steroids

Peter A. McCullough

Approximately a third of COVID-19 vaccine recipients develop transient fever. It is important to recognize that a constellation of symptoms in addition to fever should prompt recognition of Still’s Disease. Adult-onset Still’s disease, also known as systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis, is a systemic inflammatory disorder characterized by inflammatory polyarthritis, daily fever and a transient salmon-pink maculopapular rash. A serum ferritin level of more than 1000 ng/ml is common in this condition.

Sharabi and colleagues described two cases of adult-onset Still’s disease after the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Both cases were serious, involved myopericarditis, required hospitalization and treatment with pulsed corticosteroids.

The major points for patients and doctors to pay attention to are fever and associated symptoms after mRNA vaccination. There are vaccine injury syndromes that are steroid-responsive, and complicated courses including hospitalization can potentially be avoided.

Sharabi A, Shiber S, Molad Y. Adult-onset Still's disease following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. Clin Immunol. 2021 Dec;233:108878. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2021.108878. Epub 2021 Nov 9. PMID: 34763089; PMCID: PMC8575550.


Biden Signs Measure Ending COVID-19 National Emergency

President Joe Biden on April 10 signed a measure that ends the COVID-19 national emergency more than three years after it was enacted, the White House announced.

HJ Res 7 passed through the Senate on March 29 by a 68-23 margin, with 21 Democrats joining 47 Republicans to support the measure.

Four Republicans and five Democrats did not cast a vote—and 23 Democrats voted against the short resolution—which was introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) last month and passed by the House 229-197 on Feb. 1.

Eleven Democrats voted against the House measure.

The legislation included a simple one-line description declaring that the pandemic national emergency “is hereby terminated.”

Before the Senate vote on the resolution. Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) encouraged his fellow legislators to “end this chapter and let Americans get back to their own lives.”

“I ask my colleagues to join me again in a strong bipartisan fashion in sending this resolution to the president’s desk to end the national emergency declaration for COVID-19 once and for all today,” Marshall said.

President Donald Trump enacted the COVID national emergency on March 13, 2020, after establishing the COVID public health emergency on Jan. 31, 2020.

Originally, the White House planned to end both emergencies on May 11.

In a 60 Minutes interview last September Biden said, “the pandemic is over.”

“We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over,” Biden said.

“If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing.”

The Biden administration wrote a letter to Congress on Jan. 30 highlighting the reasoning behind the decision to end the COVID national emergency and public health emergency on May 11.

“At present, the administration’s plan is to extend the emergency declarations to May 11, and then end both emergencies on that date.

“This wind down would align with the administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE,” the letter read.

“To be clear, [the] continuation of these emergency declarations until May 11 does not impose any restriction at all on individual conduct with regard to COVID-19,” the letter continued.

“They do not impose mask mandates or vaccine mandates. They do not restrict school or business operations. They do not require the use of any medicines or tests in response to cases of COVID-19.”




Monday, April 10, 2023

Randomized Controlled Study: Twice-Daily Oral Zinc Helps Effectively Treat COVID-19!

Researchers from the Northern African nation of Tunisia investigate the use of twice oral zinc as a regimen targeting SARS-CoV-2. Semir Nouira at University of Monastir, Emergency Department and Laboratory Research and colleagues designed a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter clinical trial investigating the use of zinc supplementation as a potential therapy targeting SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19.

Recruiting, randomizing and enrolling COVID-19 patients without end-organ failure, 231 patients were administered oral zinc and 239 participants were given a matching placebo for 15 days. The study protocol included the following primary endpoints: A) death due to COVID-19 and B) intensive care unit (ICU) admission ≤30 days post-randomization as well as secondary endpoints including A) length of hospitalization for inpatients and B) duration of COVID-19 symptoms for those outpatient subjects testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The findings suggest a twice-daily regimen of oral zinc helps treat SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19.

The study team reports in the published piece in Journal Clinical Infectious Diseases that the VIZIR study was conducted in three Tunisian university referral hospitals (Fattouma Bourguiba Hospital Monastir, Sahloul Hospital Sousse, Farhat Hached Hospital Sousse) and two non-university hospitals (Ksar Hlel Hospital, Teboulba Hospital). Patients were first screened in the COVID-19 triage unit of each participating center. Written informed consent was obtained from all patients before enrollment.

What did the Tunisian team discover?

Out of the total patient pool 190 of the subjects (40.4%) were ambulatory and 280 of the patients (59.6%) were hospitalized. The authors report in the peer reviewed result that at day 30 of the study [mortality was]

5% in the zinc group and 9.2% in the placebo group (OR: .68; 95% CI .34–1.35)

ICU admission rates were, respectively, 5.2% [zinc] and 11.3% (OR: .43; 95% CI .21–.87)

Combined outcome was lower in the zinc group versus the placebo group (OR: .58; 95% CI .33–.99)

Nouira and colleagues report consistent results observed in prespecified subgroups of patients aged <65 years, those with comorbidity, and those who needed oxygen therapy at baseline.

Moreover, those patients given zinc overall experienced shorter hospitalization duration than the placebo group—a difference of 3.5 days (95% CI 2.76–4.23) in the inpatient group. Also, the duration of COVID-19 symptoms decreased with zinc treatment versus the placebo subjects in the outpatient cohort (difference: 1.9 days; 95% CI .62–2.6).

The study investigators report no severe adverse events during the study.


The authors report study limitations. These include:

Generalizability limited beyond patients with moderate clinical severity

The investigators report that they don’t know if larger doses than the amounts prescribed in this study would make a difference declaring this needs more investigation

The investigators ponder if longer treatment with zinc (over 15 days) could add more clinical benefit—they suggest the need for more data, investigation if zinc can help against risk of long COVID

Success of zinc may depend on zinc serum levels and they didn’t assess such levels in this study

Outcomes assessment completed via telephone

Investigator’s POV

A relatively strong study, the authors point out:

“To our knowledge, this study is the first well-powered, placebo-controlled clinical trial to report results of zinc for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. When administered orally to patients hospitalized with COVID-19 without end-organ failure, zinc demonstrated its efficacy to prevent ICU admission and to reduce hospital length of stay; for outpatients, zinc reduced symptom duration. Zinc should be considered for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.”

Journal article:


Masks Cause Headaches, Itching, and Lower Oxygen Intake

A systematic review of 2,168 studies that looked into the adverse effects of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic has found that the practice led to negative health consequences, including itching, headaches, and restriction of oxygen.

“We found significant effects in both medical surgical and N95 masks, with a greater impact of the second,” states the review, published in the “Frontiers in Public Health” on April 5. A meta-analysis of multiple studies found that headache was the “most frequent symptom” among mask wearers, with a prevalence of 62 percent for general mask use and up to 70 percent when using N95 masks. Shortness of breath was observed at 33 percent for general mask use and 37 percent among N95 users.

While 17 percent of surgical mask wearers experienced itching, this number was at 51 percent among users of N95. Acne prevalence among mask users was at 38 percent and skin irritation was at 36 percent. Dizziness was found to be prevalent among 5 percent of subjects.

“Masks interfered with O2-uptake and CO2-release and compromised respiratory compensation,” the review states. “Though evaluated wearing durations are shorter than daily/prolonged use, outcomes independently validate mask-induced exhaustion-syndrome (MIES) and down-stream physio-metabolic disfunctions. MIES can have long-term clinical consequences, especially for vulnerable groups.”

The restriction of oxygen uptake and hindrance in carbon-di-oxide release was identified as more significant among users of N95 masks. Continuous rebreathing of carbon dioxide results in the “right-shift of hemoglobin-O2 saturation curve.”

“Since O2 and CO2 homeostasis influences diverse down-stream metabolic processes, corresponding changes toward clinically concerning directions may lead to unfavorable consequences such as transient hypoxemia and hypercarbia, increased breath humidity, and body temperature along with compromised physiological compensations,” the review states.

The review also said that several mask-related symptoms may have been misinterpreted as symptoms of long COVID. “In any case, the possible MIES contrasts with the WHO definition of health,” it states, referring to the World Health Organization.

It suggested that the side effects of face masks be assessed based on risk-benefit analysis after taking into consideration their effectiveness against viral transmissions. If “strong empirical evidence” showing the effectiveness of masks is absent, the study recommended that wearing masks should not be mandated, “let alone enforced by law.”

Sudden Mask Policy Change, Suppressing Studies

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, existing data on respiratory viruses had shown that there was no basis for wearing masks to prevent their spread. “All the studies done in the world until 2020 showed that there is no justification for this,” Yoav Yehezkelli, a specialist in internal medicine and a lieutenant colonel in the Israel Defense Forces, said in an interview with The Epoch Times in January.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the WHO issued guidelines that there was no need for wearing masks in the general public, he pointed out.

But in 2020 following the COVID-19 outbreak, recommendations on mask-wearing around the world suddenly changed “without having any new professional support to confirm that it does indeed have effectiveness against respiratory infection.”

A December letter that he co-wrote and sent to the Israel Medical Association Journal pointed to multiple studies suggesting that wearing masks can end up causing harm.

Potential negative effects include headaches, shortness of breath, a dip in blood oxygen levels, a rise in carbon dioxide levels, concentration difficulties, and bacterial contamination. The accumulation of CO2 can end up causing tiredness, blurriness, and sleepiness, he noted.

There have also been attempts to subdue studies that expose the ineffectiveness of masks. A 2023 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews stated that wearing masks made “little or no difference” when it came to the transmission of COVID-19.

A columnist at The New York Times published an opinion piece titled “Here’s Why the Science Is Clear That Masks Work” and reached out to Cochrane for its view. The editor-in-chief at Cochrane then issued a statement saying that it’s an “inaccurate and misleading interpretation” to say the study shows that masks do not work, adding that the publication was “engaging” with the authors on updating the article’s abstract.

However, the authors refused to do so, with the lead author insisting that “there is just no evidence that [masks] make any difference … full stop.


Swiss National Health Authority Backs off from COVID-19 Vaccination: Recommendation Not, even for Vulnerable Populations

Recently several groups critical of the COVID-19 vaccines declared that Switzerland has banned COVID-19 vaccines. Is this true? Not quite in those terms. But the Switzerland’s Federal Health Agency (Bundesgesundheitsamt, BMG) made material changes to the national vaccination schedule that certainly hasn’t received mainstream press attention in North America.

The agency has backed away from recommending COVID-19 vaccination this spring and summer. Of course, it’s off-season for respiratory viruses, which could be part of the explanation. However, what else does the national Swiss health authority now promulgate on the topic of COVID-19 vaccination?

As mentioned above the BMG withdraws any COVID-19 recommendation for the spring and summer of 2023. However, the agency remains open for COVID-19 vaccine assessment for at-risk individuals, meaning the elderly, persons with comorbidities, those with immunosuppressed conditions.

The agency notes that a majority of the population has been vaccinated, an implicit message that the COVID-19 vaccine products do contribute to some protection against the Omicron-based variants. However, BMG also conveys that many have been infected already acknowledging that natural immunity can potentially be superior to vaccination itself while they acknowledge the overall Omicron pathogen becomes far less acute.

On that note, TrialSite recently reported that on one study in China covering the BA.5 Omicron subvariant—over 90% of the study participants infected with SARS-CoV-2 omicron were asymptomatic!

Of course, come the colder seasons later in 2023 and BMG reminds the agency will re-evaluate the recommendations.

Is BMG recommending COVID-19 vaccine for “particularly vulnerable people?”

In what could be a surprise move from a North American perspective the Swiss national health authority is backing off on any recommendation for COVID-19 vaccine. Clearly the agency has some concerns they are not overtly sharing with the masses.

BMG recommends that if individuals seek a COVID-19 vaccine they can consult with their physicians as “Vaccination can be useful in individual cases because it improves protection against serious illness for several months.”




Sunday, April 09, 2023

New Medical Codes for COVID-19 Vaccination Status Used to Track People, CDC Confirms

This sounds disturbingly totalitarian -- easily capable of misuse, particularly if you are an antivxxer. Antivaxxers have experienced a lot of legal pressure so have reason to be concerned. Time has shown their resistance to be reasonably founded but that is unlikely to win them any forgiveness for defying the State. A lady in my life is a confirmed anti-vaxxer and she is to this day restricted in her travel plans, to her considerable frustration

Medical codes introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to show when people are unvaccinated or undervaccinated for COVID-19 are being used to track people, the top U.S. public health agency has confirmed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made the confirmation in emails that The Epoch Times obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The CDC had said in documents and public statements that the goal of the new codes, in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) system, was “to track people who are not immunized or only partially immunized.”

The CDC now says it does not have access to the data, but that health care systems do.

“The ICD codes were implemented in April 2022, however the CDC does not have any data on the codes and does not track this information,” CDC officials said in the emails.

“The codes were created to enable healthcare providers to track within their practices,” the officials added.

The emails were sent to news outlets. The CDC has not answered queries from The Epoch Times about the codes, which the CDC added to the U.S. ICD system in 2022.

How Providers Are Using the Codes

The CDC proposed the codes in 2021. “There has been interest expressed in being able to track people who are not immunized or who are only partially immunized,” Dr. David Berglund, a CDC medical officer, said during a meeting about the proposal.

One code is for being “unvaccinated for COVID-19.” Another is for being partially vaccinated, or not having received a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine.

In comments to the CDC about the proposal, health care providers said they supported adding the codes—with some detailing how they’d be used.

Identifying people who are unvaccinated or undervaccinated for COVID-19 “will help health insurance providers identify emollees [sic] who may benefit from outreach and further education about vaccination,” Danielle Lloyd, a senior vice president at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), and Adam Myers, senior vice president at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, said in a joint letter to the CDC.

“Creating ICD-10 codes that can be tracked via claims would provide health insurance providers key information to help increase immunization rates,” they added.

In another missive, Nancy Andersen, a director with Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals, and Erica Eastham, executive director at The Permanente Federation LLC, told the CDC: “These codes provide valuable data for understanding immunization rates and for follow-up with under-immunized patients.”

Andersen and Eastham urged the CDC to advise providers entering one of the new codes to also enter an additional code indicating why a person was unvaccinated or undervaccinated, with reasons including due to a contraindication or due to “belief or group pressure.”

The comments were obtained by The Epoch Times through the Freedom of Information Act.

Most of the providers and other health care groups, including the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), that commented did not respond to inquiries.

AHIP declined to say what education it offered to people tracked through the new codes. A spokeswoman pointed to a Feb. 28, 2022, article that outlines steps providers have taken to promote vaccination.

The codes are part of the ICD’s 10th edition. The World Health Organization of the United Nations holds the copyright for ICD-10 but has allowed the U.S. government to adopt the edition, according to the CDC. The new codes are not part of the World Health Organization’s ICD.

All health care entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act must use the U.S. version of the ICD. The U.S. version is updated at least once a year. Coded ICD data from providers enable public health officials to “conduct many disease-related activities,” according to the CDC. Purposes include enabling a doctor seeing a new patient to easily retrieve the patient’s medical history.


Health care officials largely said they supported adding the codes because being unvaccinated or undervaccinated was a “risk factor.”

“AHIMA supported the new codes for underimmunization for COVID-19 status because being unvaccinated or partially vaccinated because this status is a health risk factor, increasing the individual’s risk of morbidity and mortality,” a spokeswoman for AHIMA told The Epoch Times via email.

“The ICD-10-CM coding system includes codes for many health risk factors, and being underimmunized for COVID-19 status represents another type of risk factor. It is important to be able to identify factors influencing a patient’s health status so that healthcare providers are aware of the person’s increased risk,” the spokeswoman added.

Some experts have said there is no medical indication for the new codes, given the small risk most Americans face from COVID-19.

“I have a hard time clinically seeing the medical indication of using them,” Dr. Todd Porter, a pediatrician, told The Epoch Times previously. “We do not do this for influenza, which in the younger age groups has a higher IFR [infection fatality ratio] than COVID-19. Using these codes also disregards the contribution of natural immunity which research evidence shows is more robust than vaccine immunity.”

CDC Refuses to Answer Members of Congress

The CDC, meanwhile, has refused to answer questions from members of Congress about the codes.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and nine other members said they were concerned about the federal government apparently gathering data on the personal choices of Americans and said they believe the data “serves no sincere purpose in treating patients’ medical conditions.”

“The ICD system was originally intended to classify diagnoses and reasons for visiting the doctor, not to conduct surveillance on the personal medical decisions of American citizens. Given the profound uncertainty and distrust felt by many Americans toward the CDC and the medical apparatus at large, it is important for the CDC to make clear the intent and purpose of these new codes,” the members said, asking for answers to questions such as what steps the CDC is taking to make sure Americans’ private health information is protected.

The CDC has not replied to the Feb. 14 letter, members told The Epoch Times.

“I have asked five simple questions about the CDC’s unprecedented tracking of why Americans declined the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC has so far refused to answer these basic questions. The American people deserve answers on what data CDC is gathering on Americans and why,” Roy told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

“The American people deserve to know what the CDC is doing with their personal data. It has now been more than a month and a half, and the CDC still refuses to tell us why it is tracking Americans’ reasons for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine,” added Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.). “The CDC must be held accountable to the American taxpayer.”


China must share data on COVID-19's origins 'immediately,' WHO scientist demands

Scientists in China collected key coronavirus data in 2020 from a market in Wuhan — ground zero of the first reported outbreak of COVID-19 — but didn't share the raw data publicly until March 2023. And experts suspect that China has much more data from the early pandemic that "have yet to be shared" with the global research community.

That's according to a new editorial, published Thursday (April 6) in the journal Science(opens in new tab) and penned by Maria Van Kerkhove(opens in new tab), the COVID-19 technical lead for the World Health Organization (WHO). China likely has data that could shed light on how the pandemic began, Van Kerkhove wrote, and the country's failure to disclose the data makes the whole world more vulnerable to future pandemics.

These undisclosed data likely include details of China's wild- and farmed-animal trades, as well as the operations of labs in Wuhan that work with coronaviruses, according to the editorial. The data also may include details about the earliest potential cases of COVID-19 detected in China and the diagnostic testing that was conducted in humans and animals in the early days of the pandemic.

"WHO continues to call on China and all countries to share any data on the origins of SARS-CoV-2, immediately," Van Kerkhove wrote. "The world needs to move away from the politics of blame and, instead, exploit all diplomatic and scientific approaches so that the global scientific community can do what it does best — collaborate, focus on this health crisis, and find evidence-based solutions to thwart future pandemics."

Van Kerkhove's statement was prompted by events that took place last month. In early March, researchers from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) uploaded never-before-seen coronavirus data to Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), an open-access database that includes data on influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The data was later removed from GISAID but not before being downloaded by researchers outside China.

This international team of researchers reported that the data showed that SARS-CoV-2 genetic material and the DNA of common raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) were present in and around the exact same stalls at Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in January 2020. The data cannot prove that the raccoon dogs, a fox relative, were actively infected with SARS-CoV-2 at the time, but they strongly raise the possibility that infected animals were at the market, potentially spreading the virus to other animals and to humans.

This analysis prompted a meeting of the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), the China CDC researchers and the international team that analyzed the newly released raccoon dog data. China's failure to share the data back in 2020 is "simply inexcusable," Van Kerkhove wrote in her editorial.

"Still needed are studies that trace and test those animals to their source and serologic studies of the workers in live animal markets in Wuhan or in the source farms," Van Kerkhove wrote. "Without such investigations, we cannot fully understand the factors that led to the start of this pandemic."

"Every new piece of data could potentially move the world closer to stopping another pandemic — perhaps a worse one — in the future," she wrote.