Friday, July 07, 2023

Possible Link Between Coronavirus Vaccines & Symptoms of Long Covid

Since the rush to develop serums as a preventative against SARS-CoV-2, the issue of vaccine injury ensued almost immediately. Instances of post-jab effects from the AstraZeneca and Janssen occurred, and the latter’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) was eventually revoked by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Some patients got hurt by the AstraZeneca vaccine, originally developed at University of Oxford, and the FDA never accepted that serum in the U.S., not even on an emergency basis.

Eventually, the mRNA vaccine by both Pfizer and Moderna was introduced and distributed initially as the solution to the Covid problem. Unfortunately these vaccines also triggered injuries to a point where a hearing was conducted in the United States Senate to spotlight what has been labeled an “ignored” problem. But the problem is gaining acceptance and can no longer be ignored.

Long vax

For the second time now an article in Science points to troubles with the COVID-19 vaccines. This time the prominent publication looks into a rare link between coronavirus vaccines and Long Covid like illnesses. Such a point of view during the national public health emergency was heavily scrutinized, but now such a vantage gains acceptance.

Gretchen Vogel and Jennifer Couzin-Frankel point out in the latest Science piece that Covid vaccines “saved millions of lives” but like other vaccines, there are side effects. Issues like rare cases of abnormal blood clotting and heart inflammation that can certainly cause real trouble, albeit in rare instances.

But now there is another complication attributed to vaccine injury, and this is a debilitating group of symptoms resembling Long Covid which is “elusive.” Its link to the vaccine is unclear, and its diagnosis is ill defined, but it is now being referred to as “Long Vax.” It is gaining wider acceptance among scientists and doctors.

“You see one or two patients and you wonder if it’s a coincidence,” says Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD a neurologist and researcher at Harvard Medical School. “But by the time you’ve seen 10, 20,” she continues. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Cases appear to be rare with symptoms like persistent headaches, severe fatigue, and abnormal heart rate and blood pressure. They appear hours, days, or weeks after vaccination and are difficult to study. This is not the first instance where symptoms of Long Covid have surfaced after administration of the Covid vaccine. Some of the symptoms include brain fog as well as other clotting concerns such as deep vein thrombosis.

More symptoms

The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein which is used in the Covid vaccines can be one possible cause of the Long Covid symptoms post vaccination. Some people appear more vulnerable after both vaccination and infection with Covid.

Another symptom of vaccine injury is POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) which has also occurred post Covid vaccination. A study of the syndrome found within 90 days after a shot, the rate of POTS-related symptoms was about 33% higher than in the 3 months before; 2581 people were diagnosed with POTS-related symptoms after vaccination, compared with 1945 beforehand.

“Even last year, I was a little bit cautious” about the link between POTS and vaccination, says Tae Chung, MD a neuromuscular physiatrist who runs the POTS clinic at Johns Hopkins University. “I didn’t have quantitative data to back it up, but now I feel like I do.” Still, Chung stresses that this paper and other data also suggest Covid-19 vaccines protect against POTS and other Long Covid symptoms, and he remains a strong advocate for vaccination.

As the world moves towards the next round of Covid vaccines, people who have not suffered from vaccine injury are probably safe. However, there is a need to help those who have endured damage from Covid vaccines.

Based on the tracking of studies and reports of COVID-19 vaccine injuries worldwide TrialSite estimates that anywhere from 0.0018 to 0.008 of a population receiving Covid vaccines struggles with some persisting vaccine-related side effects. Ones that impact quality of life severely enough to be considered a form of injury.

In the U.S. where at least 270 million people received at least one dose of the Covid serum, this means that just using this baseline anywhere from 486,000 to over 2 million people continue to struggle with some form of Covid vaccine-related condition. In some cases, it’s become debilitating and these patients are in desperate need of comprehensive care.

While most U.S. doctors still are not aware of the Covid serum-based contagion, many are now coming around. For example, a prominent Yale cardiologist, Harlan Krumholz, told the Science reporters that initially he was concerned that any anti-vaccine news would certainly fuel an anti-vaxx movement, one that becomes more vocal, and emboldened by the month.

Yet he and Akiko Iwasaki, a Yale immunologist, started to accept the reality that this condition, albeit rare, was occurring frequently enough that it required study. Hence just a year ago the two invited post vaccination patients into the LISTEN study, one that also includes long COVID patients.

But why don’t more doctors know about the vaccine injury situation? TrialSite’s founder Daniel O’Connor shared:

“During the national emergency in the U.S., as well as in other nations under the WHO led global emergency, health authorities seemed ultra-paranoid about vaccine hesitancy and thus, in many cases purposely sought to minimize any concerns arising out of Covid vaccination out of fear that they would not hit their targeted immunization numbers. This was a 70% fully vaccinated rate established initially by the WHO. The vaccines were to be a tool to help governments achieve herd immunity during the Covid pandemic but it turned out that while the countermeasures helped reduce morbidity and mortality in surges, they were not however, of the sterilizing type, meaning they could not control viral transmission.”

Of course, during Covid widespread censorship of both media and social networks now is commonplace knowledge for anyone that bothers to review the matter. Independent media platforms such as TrialSite reported on Covid vaccine injuries, and when sharing such articles on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, they would be summarily removed. It’s as if any criticism, even if true, were automatically categorized as anti-vaxx propaganda and abruptly rejected, terminated, and often individuals involved with the message, cancelled. So, in this way due to a confluence of forces during the national emergency, a free press, so vital in any vibrant democracy, was essentially severely disabled.

So, ask why more doctors aren’t that aware of the various conditions associated with the Covid serum, and well, the answer is in plain sight.

Worldwide Recognition

TrialSite has chronicled the Covid vaccine injury challenge in nations worldwide. Some countries have decent track records of fair and impartial reviews of vaccine injury compensation claims. Examples that come to mind include Taiwan and Singapore.

In Germany we reported that the European nation’s Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach recently acknowledged that while rare, injuries associated with Covid vaccines represented a mounting problem.

A large class action lawsuit was launched in Germany as well, with other comparable litigation occurring in English speaking countries, from the UK, to Australia and Canada.

Some Lingering Considerations

How many long Covid cases are actually long Vax? What’s the actual count of Covid vaccine injured in the U.S? With an all but useless emergency countermeasure vaccine compensation scheme (Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program) what will it take to bring the Covid vaccine injured into the standard vaccine compensation program called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

Some broader issues are raised by all of this. Few are aware that a 1986 law under President Ronald Regan the U.S. government essentially waived all liability for vaccine injuries under the premise that otherwise the companies wouldn’t be incentivized to develop vaccines.

Are these universal protections for what is often large multinational corporations still as relevant as the number of annual vaccines on the childhood schedule have surged?


Chinese Review of the Evidence—Long COVID Emerging as a Real Concern for Brain Health & Memory

Hanjun Zhao a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, School of Clinical Medicine and Qiulu Ding, at Shanghai Normal University review the state of the evidence associated with long COVID and impact on the brain and memory.

The prospect isn’t good. TrialSite has chronicled anywhere from 10% to 20% of SARS-CoV-2 infections may advance into long COVID, a condition increasingly places a heavy burden on not only health systems but also human society. There is a sufficient amount of research now providing the evidence that now should impact medical establishments and government—and the latter’s willingness to invest in necessary research.

The Hong Kong and Mainland China based authors’ piece, recently published in the journal Nature, reveal the very real risk of “brain damages” associated with COVID-19 including direct vial infection in the brain, immune disfunction and persistent viral infection all potentially impacting both brain and memory.

But much about what happens in the form of damage to the brain is still not well understood in the context of COVID-19 and long COVID. Specifically additional research is required to further understand long COVID pathogenesis.

And what about prevention strategies for reducing the risk of the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on longer term brain health, especially in children, with their additional vulnerabilities. They include:

Symptomatic treatment
Good consistent sleep
Balanced, nutritious diet

The literature, according to the duo, raises particular concern about long COVID and the implications for children. Given the still developing brain, impact on study efficiency and disruption to self-confidence in the maturation process. How can human societies bolster their protection against SARS-CoV-2, particularly aiming to reduce the probability of long COVID in children?




Thursday, July 06, 2023

A much acclaimed speech about Covid

Australia: Newly-elected Member of the NSW Legislative Council, the Hon. John Ruddick, has given his maiden speech. It has been censored by YouTube but is widely available elsewhere, e.g. on Bitchute. I put up a critique of it yesterday so here is a Transcript:

Mr President, there was another occasion I was to speak … and the strict convention then (as now) was I be heard without interjection. That was my inaugural speech at the Young Liberal Council, a few blocks from here, in 1994. This was just before your time at that forum Mr President … but despite being a newbie, I launched into the most bitterly contentious factional brawl of the day. That ‘no interjection thing’ was wantonly discarded.

Thus began … 27 years of a highly dysfunctional relationship between the NSW Liberal Party and John Ruddick. This involved:

Multiple candidacies for the Young Liberal presidency.

Multiple candidacies for state and federal party president.
Endless violations of that party’s prohibition against talking to the media

Dozens of unsolicited emails to the entire membership about one righteous cause after another.

Multiple expulsion attempts (all deftly dodged).

Two constitutional reform crusades that went on for years … climaxing in apparent triumph … only to see the factions soon devise ways to skirt the new rules.

And to top it all off Mr President, in 2018 I wrote a book explaining how everything the Liberal Party organisation did was completely wrong.

But I do sincerely thank colleagues here … from my former party … for their warm welcome to this place … there is no surer way to mend years of factional strife than … quitting for good and joining a better party! I feel like Switzerland – peace with all.

I first heard of the Liberal Democrats in 2012 when Clinton Mead (here tonight) was elected mayor. I devoured the website … and said ‘Hallelujah!’ I was tempted to defect a few times but didn’t quite bite the bullet … still betting, the best bet for small government was reform of the Liberal Party.

Mid-2021 was the final straw. State and federal Liberal governments did four things that made me throw in the towel:

The authoritarian Covid police state … all over a bad flu. Bad flus are bad. Bad flus happen from time to time … but we treated Covid as though it was Ebola. The Covid fatality rate in NSW was 0.13 per cent … at the upper end of what we expect each winter, maybe a little bit more … but to call Covid a pandemic is an insult to pandemics. The average age of a Covid fatality in Australia is higher than average life expectancy. The NSW government locked citizens in quarantine just for being near a Covid positive person.

Many want to move on from Covid … I don’t. Elements in the media tell us, ‘There is another pandemic around the corner – it’ll be worse than Covid!’ I’m sceptical but if true … surely we need a Royal Commission into the last time a pandemic was declared … so we can learn.

Sweden alone resisted the hysteria … masks, lockdowns, and vaccines were recommended but not compelled … Sweden trusted its citizens … and Sweden has had Europe’s lowest increase in excess deaths over the past three years. I have respected Peter Costello and Tony Abbott most of my life – both have now spoken out forcefully about the madness of Covid … but the Liberal Party’s best … only found the courage to do so after the crisis had passed.

The police … and even the army and helicopters… forbade us to leave our homes to get sunshine, fresh air, and exercise … but that radical right-wing newspaper, the New York Times told us in July 2021 that not one person in the world has caught Covid in outdoor environment.

The second disappointment was … vaccine extremism. On June 26, 2021 the Liberal Premier of NSW announced a ‘two-week lockdown’… Two weeks morphed into many months and a diabolical catch was added – ‘we won’t let you out until you take multiple injections of not only a rushed vaccine but of an entirely new class of vaccine’.

Most relented … but everyone got Covid anyway. Last year, the NSW Health published weekly data showing, the fewer vaccines you had, the less likely you went to hospital or ICU. The fatality rate was similar for the vaxxed and the unvaxxed.

Since the vaccine rollout there has been a 15-20 per cent increase in excess deaths in nations like Australia that had mass mRNA injections. Is it the vaccine or is it the bitter hangover from locking people up for so long? We don’t know … but either way, it’s almost certainly the result of poor governance … yet another reason for a Royal Commission.

Much more here:


Judge rules Joe Biden administration trampled on free speech on social media

A US judge has issued an explosive ruling that accuses the Biden administration of “blatantly” breaching Americans’ First Amendment free speech rights, ordering a dramatic curtailment of communications between government and the social media giants.

A district court in Louisiana ordered the FBI, the White House, the department of health, and a slew of other agencies to cease all communication with social media companies for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”

“If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history,” wrote Judge Terry Doughty in a 155 page judgement that observers expect the Biden administration to appeal.

A group of public health academics and the states of Missouri and Louisiana brought the case last year, claiming various arms of the US government had pressured Facebook and Twitter to censor or shadow ban posts about Covid19.

Posts of the plaintiffs that were removed included claims Covid19 came from a lab in Wuhan, that masks were ineffective, that lockdowns were excessively costly, that vaccine mandates were wrong, that Covid19 vaccines didn’t stop transmission and led to health risks for young people.

“The right to free speech is not a member of any political party and does not hold any political ideology. It is the purpose of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, rather than to countenance monopolisation of the market, whether it be by government itself or private licensee,” the judge wrote.

He said the plaintiffs “have presented substantial evidence in support of their claims that they were the victims of a far-reaching and widespread censorship campaign.”

“[T]he evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario … During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterised by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.

John Vecchione, senior litigation counsel at the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a pro bono Washington law firm that brought the case on behalf of academics who said they had been censored, said the ruling was “unprecedented”.

“It’s pretty darn good; I’ve never seen anything like it, I expect the government to appeal it, but I think this thing will hold up given how detailed and specific the judge’s findings have been,” he told The Australian.

“The judge has crafted the injunction so the government can still do its national security stuff, such as alerting social media platforms to criminal speech”.

The decision follows a series of legal setbacks for the Biden administration by the Supreme Court and lower courts, including last week’s striking down of race-based affirmative action at universities and the administration’s policy to cancel some student loans.

In January last year the Supreme Court overturned the Biden administration’s order for all employers of large businesses to be vaccinated against Covid19. In August last year a Florida court quashed a separate mandate to wear masks on planes and trains.

“The judge obviously set this up to come out on the 4th July, he could be out BBQing but he’s still done it,” Mr Vecchione said, noting July 4th is a federal holiday in the US.

The verdict comes as governments in Australia and the UK introduce legislation to boost government’s power to compel social media companies to censor viewpoints deemed misinformation and disinformation


COVID-19 Vaccine Injury Lawsuits Commence in Canada: Pfizer Vax Victim Seeks $10.5M

It was just a matter of time before more lawsuits would be filed in Canada against what many have labeled a coercive, draconian overreach by both the national Canadian government as well as by provincial governments.

Most recently out of Lethbridge, Alberta, a 47-year-old Vaccine Injured Mother filed a $10.5 Million Lawsuit against the Government and the CBC for Misinformation and Negligence about COVID-19 Vaccines. The plaintiff, a healthy young woman, experienced severe adverse events after receiving her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2).

TrialSite covered the COVID-19 vaccine-injured woman’s story first chronicled in local media including Western Standard, when she was vindicated with at least, some compensation by the Canadian government.

But the meager sum by no means compensates Carrie Sakamoto for the injuries sustained due to a novel vaccine product, rushed to market and promoted in what the plaintiff argues in an inappropriate manner. Sakamoto and the nonprofits supporting her want to take a stand in response to the pandemic response.




Wednesday, July 05, 2023

YouTube Censors Maiden Political Speech in Australia—Why? Challenge to the COVID-19 Narrative

An Australian’s politician’s maiden speech to Parliament was quickly taken down by YouTube, but the content has gone viral via Twitter and can be found on LinkedIn and other social media such as Rumble.

While on YouTube all sorts of content that could be considered censorable for violence, adult content and the like circulates with ease, newbie Liberal Democrat John Ruddick just found out what many in the media have known for quite a while now: speak out about COVID-19 and you will pay, one way or another.

Australia’s libertarians just got a healthy reminder as to why such a party even exists in the first place. The party paid in this case by having their member’s maiden speech removed from YouTube, but the great irony is that they’ll benefit with even more popularity because of YouTube’s decision.

Based out of New South Wales, Ruddick had been a member of the Australian Liberal party, which are center right in political positions, but he departed that mainstream party in 2021, in protest to that party’s position on COVID-19. Opting for a libertarian-minded party (Liberal Democrat), Ruddick, who launched a mortgage brokerage in 2020 called JR Mortgages, just learned how YouTube censorship works in the age of COVID-19.

In the speech, the libertarian-leaning politician blasted his government for extreme overreach, and although he raised four major critiques of his current governing class, it was his critique of COVID-19 that triggered the YouTube “rules” involving alleged misinformation.

Backed by an unfolding, dynamic and often irrational set of policies, instructions and guidelines, just one wrong word may trigger a YouTube algorithmic review. Based on what we have learned from the Twitter files (government agencies for example had and likely still do have backdoor access to flag certain content, for example), social media is anything but social, and for that matter, neutral.

So, what did Ruddick say that warrants such draconian action?
It all comes down to COVID-19 and the politician’s gall to express what more people by the day are thinking about but for the most part, dare not say.

With a death rate of 0.13% according to the politician, Ruddick committed a blasphemy by calling SARS-CoV-2 a bad flu. It’s not the flu, so technically, that’s misinformation.

The SARS-CoV-2 pathogen, although the case fatality rates now fall down to flu levels (or even lower in some cases), triggered the worst pandemic in a century. With nearly seven million deaths associated with this virus, we cannot conveniently put this pathogen in the influenza category. To start, these viruses are quite different.

This author suggests that for SARS-CoV-2, the evidence points to a human engineered pathogen that more than likely escaped inadvertently, via human error in the lab at Wuhan Institute of Virology. In a memo sent to us with the seal of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a US Marine Corps Major and Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellows DARPA wrote that SARS-CoV-2 is an American developed pathogen. But was it a forgery? It was sent to us via the controversial Project Veritas. We had serious doubts. So, I personally sent an email to DARPA, asking them to please verify the artifact was a forgery.

The DoD’s research agency Chief of Communications could not confirm nor deny the authenticity of the memo’s origins. Frankly, these agencies have policies in place to now share any information. So, why did the DARPA communications lead write back to us “The agency has never funded EcoHealth Alliance directly, nor indirectly as a subcontractor”?

The DARPA communication lead went out of her way with a startup media venture (TSN) to disassociate the DOD research unit from EcoHealth Alliance--known for its focus on coronavirus research; its relationship with Dr. Anthony Fauci and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); along with the evidence suggesting that the nonprofit served as an intermediary to outsource gain-of-function research halted temporarily in the United States, over to the Wuhan lab.

Of course, we have known for a long while now that there is likely some form of cover up associated with SARS-CoV-2. We cannot be 100% certain. Hence, we cannot claim for certain, and this is why this piece is categorized as an opinion.

Ruddick does forcefully announce he has no intention of forgetting about COVID-19. Noting that other public health emergencies may follow, he calls for a Royal Commission to investigate government performance during COVID-19.

No, Ruddick does not just want to forget about COVID-19, sweeping this part of our history under the carpet, especially not in the case of Australia, a nation with a particularly authoritarian-leaning response. Australia’s response fell under the more extreme of categories, especially among Western cultures—leaning toward the zero-tolerance COVID policy invented in the People’s Republic of China.

The World Health Organization and China were quite cozy at the start of the pandemic, likely one reason why former President Donald Trump pulled American membership. This author didn’t agree at all with Trump’s approach, especially not at the onset of a pandemic, but maybe he knew something.

Reminding Australians that police and even their helicopters were used to enforce rigid pandemic lockdowns—for example, stopping people from going out and getting sunshine, exercise and the like--the evidence points to a significant overreach of government in Australia during COVID-19. Ruddick points to Sweden as a more rational place, where COVID-19 era policies were recommended but not enforced. Ruddick claimed that the Nordic country’s excess death rate is among the lowest. They listened to their people.

On mass COVID-19 vaccination, Ruddick claimed that the one-two pandemic punch Down Under included first, the lockdowns and second, the promise to lift those draconian measures with jabs from what the politician classifies as a rushed and novel class of product. It’s hard to disagree.

TrialSite was the first media to publish articles backed by various evidence suggesting that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine products were in fact, rushed---how could they not be, as they were accelerated under emergency conditions, as countermeasures in the first declared pandemic in a century.

Various potential shortcuts were taken, such as bypassing traditional pre-IND enabling studies as we discovered from European Medicines Agency documents. See “Did Pfizer Fail to Perform Industry Standard Animal Testing Prior to Initiation of mRNA Clinical Trials.”

And then there were the email leaks at EMA revealing concern of some key people there that the vaccines were being rushed. This author personally reviewed information in association with Brook Jackson’s lawsuit against Pfizer and the trial site network Ventavia—such quality mishaps would have shut down any normal study. And in fact, similar mishaps did spur a pause recently during Pfizer’s Phase 3 Lyme disease study.

Reviews of much of the academic and government data (with many selections published in TrialSite) point to the reality that the vaccine products did in fact, help reduce severe infection and death.

Unfortunately, readers and audiences have become incredibly polarized, with one major group not wanting to hear any criticism of the COVID-19 vaccines, and the other not believing that these products have helped at all. In this author’s opinion, both are wrong. Rarely in life are such complex matters so easily reduced to one or the other. It is a false dilemma, led by emotion, material interests and at this point, even ideology.

Regardless, the durability and breadth of the COVID-19 vaccines raised serious concern, meaning the overall effectiveness of these products became questionable to us by early 2021.

That’s why we are up to the fifth dose (third booster) in 2.5 years. No, it’s not correct to blame it on the dynamically mutating pathogen. Top virologists already were aware the virus would mutate like influenza mutates. The vaccines were not of the sterilizing type, meaning they could not effectively stop infection, and thus, forcefully control the spread, especially with the onset of Omicron which had evolved to more easily evade both vaccine and infection-induced antibodies.

The Australian politician pointed out in his now censored speech that most of his fellow Australians have had enough of the vaccines, and that mostly everyone knows someone that has experienced some kind of side effect. Pointing out that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Australia’s drug and vaccine regulatory body, has received 137,000 adverse event reports, he emphasized that that is likely a severe undercount and that traditionally, only 137 adverse event reports could trigger a product recall, or at least a warning.

At TrialSite, we estimate that between half a million and a couple million people in the United States experienced some kind of material problem with the COVID-19 vaccines, leading to quality-of-life impact. With 270 million fully vaccinated with the two-dose series, that comes out to an injury rate of 0.185% to 0.74%. Regardless, this represents a lot of people that need help. This is why I formed a partnership with React19. I felt we had a duty to help. The vaccines in Australia and in the United States were in many cases, mandated as part of employment requirements, even if the vaccine didn’t stop the viral transmission. This represents an overreach of government, and Ruddick is correct to call for a Royal Commission to investigate the whole affair.

Regarding the TGA, Ruddick raised the specter of regulatory capture, charging that 97% of the agency’s budget comes from the pharmaceutical industry. A review of the TGA Cost Recovery and trade press suggests this claim is likely in the ballpark.

An Australian industry lobby, Medicines Australia, pushes for more direct government funding of TGA, given 93% is funded by industry, which isn’t happy about TGA price increases. Calling out conditions ripe for conflict of interest, how can we disagree: with at least 93% of that regulatory agency’s costs covered by industry.

Ruddick went on to the ultimate of taboo topics: Ivermectin. TrialSite methodically tracked ivermectin studies at the start of the pandemic, starting with the now famous article pointing to how the antiparasitic drug zapped SARS-CoV-2 in a cell culture in a lab environment. In fact, I can assure all that TSN is likely the reason why so many people learned about this drug so fast. At one point during the pandemic before we introduced the paywall, we had hundreds of thousands of people per day on some days reading about the unfolding ivermectin research that wasn’t covered anywhere else. Since then, lots of media, especially right-wing leading media and various Substack authors continuously evangelize the drug.

I personally interviewed physician-scientists all over the world, and even funded a documentary about the adoption of the drug early on in the pandemic in Peru. In Pierre Koy’s “The War on Ivermectin,” the co-founder of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance cites the TSN documentary but doesn’t spend much time about how he learned about the drug’s use around the world in the early parts of the pandemic. That of course, was TSN.

Back to Ruddick, who referred to the “wonder drug” that led to an ultimate Nobel Prize in 2015. Pointing to the fact that the drug has been prescribed 4 billion times, the Australian Liberal Democrat charged that industry seeking to monetize the pandemic shrewdly and methodically went to work pushing governments to denounce the product; branding it as only a horse dewormer and the like. We at TSN know a whole lot about this topic, producing hundreds of articles tracking studies while covering industry and government-led initiatives to discredit the drug, and the like.

We know that the World Health Organization directly censored out the ivermectin contribution to the Uttar Pradesh public health success the agency celebrated in their press release, “Uttar Pradesh Going the Last Mile to Stop COVID-19.”

Is ivermectin a miracle drug in the context of COVID-19? No, it is not. It is not a cure, nor can it consistently produce clinical results in the real world. But did it help a lot of people according to many studies and off label real world use? We have data suggesting that it most certainly did. It has been shown in the lab context to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen, and many dozens of studies demonstrate positive impact (of course some large prominent studies also evidence a lack of effect).

In Bangladesh, doctors such as Dr. Tarek Alom referred to the regimen of ivermectin, doxycycline and zinc as the “people’s drug.” But this was part of a specific regimen at a specific point in time. Evidence suggests that the ivermectin regimen struggled with the mutating SARS-CoV-2 pathogen, going from earlier strains to Delta and then to Omicron. Many reports reveal a mixed to negative track record with the drug’s use. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t worked from time to time.

In the rich, developed world, targeted vaccines and engineered pharmaceuticals would be the answer—and that’s essentially what happened. But TSN documented what essentially amounted to a coordinated, orchestrated attempt by industry and government to smear the drug.

In Australia, as we reported, the TGA blocked general practitioners from even accessing the drug. This ironically, was recently lifted with the end of the public health emergency.

John Ruddick’s maiden speech may have been censored on YouTube, but the content is available elsewhere including Twitter. Listen to it for yourself. Whether you agree with part of it, all of it or none of it, is the answer to censor the material?

Is that how a society advances, by censoring, cancelling and erasing all opposition? What if a particular position is 80% correct? 50%, correct? 25%, correct? The biggest news media make mistakes all the time, and during COVID-19, as we called out on in responses to flagrant hit pieces, the most prominent media became convenient channels for government and industry—they directed the emergency countermeasure narratives for the masses.

Ironically, the act of censoring others leads to more curiosity, or fear, uncertainty and even anger, thus fueling more polarization and potentially, even forms of extremism. We observe this blossoming in places like Substack, where a complete lack of any standards and accountability essentially allows for a free-for-all that only further accelerates the mass dissemination of misinformation.




Tuesday, July 04, 2023

Witnesses Recount Large Surge of COVID-19 Deaths in Their Hometowns Across China Last December

Several Chinese immigrants who recently arrived in the United States can now describe what they witnessed last December when a severe wave of the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in China.

The sudden lifting of the stringent lockdowns on Dec. 7 is believed to have prompted a nationwide infection of COVID from the end of last year to the first quarter of this year due to a lack of preparedness, medical resources, and, most importantly, necessary information to the public.

There have been reports about long queues in and out of funeral homes and crematories across China. Crematories operated around the clock and recruited more staffers. Families had to pay higher expenses or go to rural regions to have their deceased loved ones cremated more quickly.

Hospitals were overwhelmed, and many patients reportedly developed white lungs, with white patches showing in a CT scan indicating areas of inflammation.

Now several new immigrants coming from different regions of China are free to speak out about COVID deaths they saw in their hometowns, revealing a sad scenario at the time and exposing a situation that the communist regime has been covering up.

Corpses Piled Up in Rental Residence: Chengdu City

A former Chinese lawyer who now lives in the United States told the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times that a landlord in Chengdu, a major populous city in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province, leaked to his relatives that he had eight corpses in one of his rental residences.

“The neighbors were scared to know about the corpses and asked him to dispose of them immediately,” the lawyer told The Epoch Times on June 21.

The lawyer wanted to stay anonymous for safety. He arrived in the United States in early 2023.

The rental residence is near Lotus Pool Wholesale Market, the seventh largest of its kind in China, and there are two crematories in the adjacency of the market. So neighbors told the elderly landlord to send the corpses to the crematories.

“Both crematories were full,” the old man told his neighbors.

Neighbors had to complain to the local police and civil affairs administration, and the old man finally transferred the corpses out of the rental residence to a place that the neighbors knew nothing of.

The lawyer said that several people he knew passed away at the end of December last year.

One of them was a man in his late thirties whose wife woke up to find that her husband passed away in the evening abruptly. The wife also had a severe cough at the time.

Two relatives living in a local village also passed away in late December, the lawyer said.

“Too many people died in late December last year,” the lawyer said.

‘Horrific and Scary:’ Xi’an City

Hu Yang, a former employee of a Chinese state-owned company in Xi’an, an ancient capital city in China’s northwest, came to the United States in March this year.

Hu said it was “horrific and scary” in Xi’an City after the municipal government relaxed its zero-COVID lockdowns in early December.

“Immediately following the lifting of the lockdowns, many people tested positive for COVID, and many with underlying conditions died,” Hu told The Epoch Times on June 21.

According to Hu, seven residents in his residential compound died soon after the relaxation of the lockdowns.

He said he couldn’t get any antipyretics from any of the pharmacies in the city. “It was very horrific and scary, and we had no idea why there was no medication available in the pharmacies.”

Overseas Chinese reportedly bought medicines to send to China from their residence country.

Worried as he was, Hu’s grandfather was infected by COVID in December and developed white lung syndrome. The old man passed away within a week after he was hospitalized.

Hu’s uncle handled the cremation of the grandfather. He told Hu: “The crematorium was so crowded that people had to wait for days for cremation.” Hu’s uncle paid an extra $4,000 to have the body burned without having to wait for a long period.

Overwhelmed crematories across China reportedly had to work around the clock to cope with the influx of bodies and actively recruited more staffers amid the largest-scale pandemic outbreak in December.

Coffins Sold Out of Stock: Jiuquan City

He Yu was a water deliveryman in Jiuquan, a city of barely one million people in China’s northwestern Gansu Province before he came to the United States in April this year.

He had to travel to multiple residential compounds to deliver drinking water to his clients.

“There was an obvious increase of funerals in almost all the residential compounds in December,” He told The Epoch Times in an interview on June 21.

“I bumped into funerals in my compound every day, and I saw many funerals in rural areas as well,” He said, adding that local coffin shops were out of stock.

“People had to queue up for cremation of their beloved ones who passed away,” He said.

Commoners Had No Access to ICUs: Nanning City

“Ordinary people such as retired teachers in Nanning were left to die without getting proper treatment,” Mr. Zhang (pseudonym) told The Epoch Times on June 21.

Zhang was from Nanning, the capital city of China’s southwestern Guangxi region. He arrived in the United States early in 2023.

“Once infected [by COVID], elderly people with underlying conditions had nowhere to go but to stay at home. The majority would literally wait for their death; only a few lucky people could survive the pandemic,” Zhang added that ICUs were a place ordinary people wouldn’t even dream of.

“Local people in Nanning know that ICUs are not available to ordinary people because there are not enough ICUs even for the powerful and wealthy people. But the media never report on this,” Zhang said.

“Ordinary people are not eligible to be included in the death toll,” Zhang said, blasting the communist regime for ignoring the life of ordinary Chinese people.

“As long as the CCP is still in power, all kinds of tragedies will bound to break out,” said Zhang.

‘Deaths Heavily Underreported’: WHO Official

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs ceased to release cremation data for the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, and the publication of the fourth quarter data last year was postponed to June 9 this year, just days earlier before the publication of this year’s first quarter data.

The CCP’s civil affairs watchdog had been releasing cremation data on a quarterly basis since 2007. The missing of such information from the previous two quarterly reports triggers public speculation that the actual death tolls have been high.

“WHO still believes that deaths are heavily underreported from China,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, on Jan. 11, 2023.

Yuhong Dong, a former senior medical scientific expert and pharmacovigilance leader at Novartis Headquarters in Switzerland and a senior medical columnist for The Epoch Times, wrote on Dec. 29, 2022, that the pandemic outbreak last December in China “has three distinct features: unprecedented speed, an unprecedentedly high number of infected people, and unprecedented severity.”

A leaked memo from China’s National Health Commission revealed that the regime estimated 250 million infections in the first 20 days of December 2022.

Peter Zhang, a researcher on political economy in China and East Asia, said China’s COVID death toll is a “myth.”


Applying Set Theory & Evidence-Based Medicine Shatters Paper Suggesting COVID-19 Vaccines Saved 14m Lives

Evaluation of effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccination: Set Theory, rigorous statistical methods and actual evidence-based medicine demonstrates that the paper published in The Lancet claiming that COVID-19 vaccines saved 14 million lives is incorrect, based on completely flawed methods and data.

From the perspective of set theory, the world population can be understood as a set of A with N elements. With COVID-19 vaccination, set A was divided into two subsets: subset vaccinated and subset unvaccinated. When evaluating the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination the entire set A has to be put under the evaluation. If one evaluates only the subset vaccinated, this is a fatal mistake that generates erroneous results.

Our study team inspected several articles which claimed that COVID-19 vaccines saved lives, and all are proving the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination only on the subset of vaccinated.

A huge part of unvaccinated elements N of set A are ignored, and not taken into consideration as it would not exist. This is an unacceptable methodological error, leading to flawed output.

The most rigorous statistical methodology involves the calculation of the mortality rate of the subset vaccinated, then comparing that data with the subset unvaccinated. If COVID-19 vaccines saved lives, the vaccinated subset should have a lower mortality rate than the unvaccinated subset. Why all research on COVID-19 vaccines’ effectiveness has not used this most appropriate statistical methodology remains an open question.

The average mortality worldwide between 2015-2019 equals 56,87 million persons. In 2020, 63,16 million persons died which equals 6,30 million persons higher than the average in 2015-19. In 2021 69,25 million persons died which is 12,28 million more than the average in 2015-19.

In 2020, there were no COVID-19 vaccines, and the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) represented the primary cause of excess mortality. In 2021 governments implemented the mass COVID-19 vaccination drive.

However, our data reveals that 6 million more died in 2021 than in 2020. One could expect that in 2021, fewer people would die than in 2020. This is also a conclusion of The Lancet article “Global impact of the first year of COVID-19 vaccination: a mathematical modeling study”

The authors in that report claimed that 14.4 million lives were saved in 2021, thanks to COVID-19 vaccination. Considering that the main reason for excess mortality in 2020 was the COVID-19 virus, this would mean that in 2021, 14.4 fewer people would die than in 2020.

The logic implies that in 2021, 55 million people would die, which is close to the average mortality from 2015-2019. But unfortunately, the opposite is, in fact, the reality; in 2021, about 6 million more people actually died than in 2020. The discrepancy between the mathematical evaluation in The Lancet piece and the real-world statistical data equals approximately 20 million persons.

This represents a fundamental problem that no academic scholars seem to want to address. Why? Because when mathematical evaluation is not fitting with the statistical data that are an essential element of evidence-based medicine it points to an error in the mathematical modeling.

To satisfy the scientific credibility of this article the authors should re-evaluate their mathematical model and reviewers should maintain rigorous peer review which always places primary importance on the validity of statistical data.




Monday, July 03, 2023

The Right Way to Talk About Vaccines: Or we could just go on calling each other Hitler forever

The article below does highlight a huge problem: Dubious appeals to "science" in connection with Covid and much else have discredited real science. I regularly go to bed with an anti-vaxxer and I am at a loss to make ANY scientific claim to her. She dismisses all science as corrupt. And since I myself often write critically about various scientific claims, I am lost for a retort. Making the case that most of what parades as science is rubbish but some is not is just too difficult a case to make

My lifelong project has been to distinguish valid scientific proposals from invalid ones. And there is so much bad science in the academic journals themselves that these days I find more to criticize -- on orthodox scientific grounds -- than ever. I have been putting up critiques of apparently scientific claims in the academic journals since 1970 but the prevalence of bad science has got worse rather than better over that time. Some of my papers are still widely read after many years so I may have had some impact but I have been swimming against the tide.

So the corruption of science that we have seen during the Covid events has undermined acceptance of science generally and there seems to be no easy way back from that

You know who asks questions about vaccines? Students. Teachers. Researchers. Anyone who’s learning about biology asks questions about vaccines. We’re all born with immune systems, but we’re not born knowing how they work.

You know who else asks questions about vaccines? Nazis, supposedly. Some of the people opposing open debate on vaccines claim that discussing the evidentiary justification for mandatory injections is comparable to denying the Holocaust.

Though it’s not like vaccine opponents are uniformly more moderate in their rhetoric. Because you know who is also being called a Nazi? The medical professionals who believe in vaccines. Some of the people opposing vaccines compare doctors with needles to Josef Mengele.

This is the quality of much contemporary discourse around vaccines. It’s low quality. But rather than argumentum ad Hitlerum ad infinitum, let’s take a deep breath, calm down, and think about a constructive path forward.

For now, COVID is over. But people are still arguing about it. Perhaps they should, because the censorship meant they couldn’t really argue during it.

The latest round of politicized tribal skirmishing kicked off earlier this month after Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appeared on the influential Joe Rogan podcast and repeated some of his oft-made claims about the adverse health effects of vaccines. In response, the vaccine scientist Peter Hotez, himself a former guest on Rogan’s podcast, lamented the “awful” appearance and endorsed an article criticizing Spotify, the platform that hosts the show, for failing “to stem Joe Rogan’s vaccine misinformation.”

That’s how the battle lines were drawn by Hotez and his supporters: The good, responsible people are those who support censorship while the bad guys go around spreading “misinformation.”

Rogan had been stung by previous attempts to cancel his Spotify deal, so he responded assertively, offering to donate $100,000 to charity if Hotez would come on his show and debate RFK Jr. His donation was matched by dozens of people, including hedge fund magnate Bill Ackman, tech founder Jae Kwon, and venture capitalist Jason Calacanis, till the purse reached a total of $2.6 million—demonstrating a surprising level of counterelite support for public debate on this topic.

However, despite starting this fight, and despite his past appearance on Rogan, Hotez declined to engage. Instead, he retreated to MSNBC to give soundbites on how bad soundbites are. His backers in legacy media outlets likewise wrote pieces discussing how bad it was for nonexperts to discuss vaccines outside the confines of a peer-reviewed publication … oblivious to the irony that they themselves were nonexperts discussing vaccines outside the confines of a peer-reviewed publication.

So that’s where we’ve landed. Two tribes that just yell at each other from their own redoubts. As I’ve written elsewhere, I’m skeptical that this impasse gets resolved; I think it just gets worse. But let me nevertheless sketch out a way that it could be resolved, if we have the political will to pursue a better path forward.

First, I’m as pro-biotech as it gets. If you want legacy credentials, I have them. I hate listing this stuff, but here goes: I’m a Ph.D. who taught bioinformatics at Stanford, was named to MIT’s TR35, published 20-plus papers in genomics, co-founded a successful diagnostics company, and have profitably backed a wide variety of biotech companies from tiny startups to multibillion dollar unicorns.

Moreover, I was sticking my neck out to raise the alarm on COVID back in early 2020 when establishment journalists were appealing to authority and calling anyone who even mentioned it paranoid racists. I was calling for funding vaccines before most people even saw the coronavirus as a problem. And I believe that the mRNA vaccines used for COVID are an incredible technical achievement.

But after three years of official misinformation, I completely understand why people are distrustful of the U.S. establishment on the pandemic. We’ve just seen too many Orwellian U-turns—from insisting that masks don’t work to making them mandatory, from claiming the lab leak theory was crazy to admitting it’s possible—to take any assertion on faith at this point.

In God we trust; all others must bring data. Otherwise we’re in thrall to the other big thing Eisenhower warned about—not just the military-industrial complex, but the scientific-technological elite:

In holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

After all, most people aren’t card-carrying scientists, but they are now very directly downstream of scientists making decisions on their behalf. It’s completely reasonable to ask questions before taking a mandatory injection—what happened to my body, my choice? And if you can’t question the decisions of professors that you didn’t elect, who have career tenure, and who can’t be fired … is that really a democracy?

Thing is, contrary to the caricature, much vaccine resistance in the U.S. came from ordinary people. For example, many of the vaccine-hesitant early on were African Americans, who have long criticized the health system, and who saw the shadow of Tuskegee in the COVID shot. And almost 50% of civil servants were hesitant to take the vaccine at one point. This shows how deep the skepticism was. Whatever the establishment did left millions of people unconvinced.

Again, I think this is an irreparable cleavage that has more to do with tribes than vaccines, but let’s pretend it’s a scientific issue. How could we address it?

There are at least three approaches.

The first is to just do whatever the establishment says. To call anyone with questions a conspiracy theorist. To refuse debate. To demonize them as individuals. This is called “trusting the science.”

The second approach is to do the opposite of whatever the establishment says. If they say that a virus causes disease, well, by tarnation, you’re against the germ theory of disease itself. This is Carl Sagan’s demon-haunted world: where people conclude that because so many establishment scientists have been corrupted, that we must distrust science itself.

The third approach isn’t to blindly “trust the science” nor to distrust science, but to replicate the science. Here’s what an imaginary vaccine debate might look like, between a vaccine proponent and skeptic, from the perspective of a proponent.

First, review the so-called observational studies. These are population-level studies where you compare the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated people across different cohorts (by age, gender, ethnicity, vaccine type, virus strain, and the like) and see what the graphs look like. The data should show better outcomes for vaccinated people relative to the nonvaccinated. It should be explained in the simplest possible language. And all raw data should be made publicly available for reanalysis, perhaps with suitable anonymization which is actually supposed to already be scientific convention.

Then, if people still disagree, maybe you can conduct what’s called a challenge trial, where group A opts in to being exposed to live virus and group B to getting the vaccine. Of course, this involves risk, but (a) this is actually what science is [namely controlled experiments] and (b) this is already being done de facto at the level of society as a whole, with millions of people exposing themselves to a live virus. So for those who truly believe that exposure to the vaccine is worse than exposure to COVID itself, this would be the experiment to resolve it. Just as military volunteers take calculated risks for society’s defense, the people volunteering for a challenge trial would take a risk for the benefit of society’s health.

Finally, it’s a bit sci-fi, but maybe you can eventually do something with what are called “organoids,” where you don’t need to expose an individual to either live virus or vaccine right away. The idea is that you take a tissue sample, use it to establish a patient-derived organoid, and test your drugs on that—like taking a microscopic bit of skin and using it as a proxy for the patient themselves.

I know this is getting technical, but that’s good. It starts putting us into the realm of scientific discussion, as befits a serious matter of public health. Of course, others might propose a different debate structure and that’s fine, too.

So, why don’t we try an approach like this? Don’t let anyone tell you it’s because of science, as if denouncing Joe Rogan for clicks was more scientific than running experiments. Rather, it’s because everything is tribal warfare now and every issue is politicized. Even if it should be positive-sum, like a dispassionate matter of public health, the issue is made negative-sum. Yet the genuinely scientific option is still on the table—the respectful discussion and the reproducible experiment.

Or, you know, everyone can just call each other Hitler forever.




Sunday, July 02, 2023

A ‘World Gone Mad’—The Cost of COVID Lockdowns

The days of COVID lockdowns may be behind us for the time being, but a multinational academic team has conducted a broad analysis of government pandemic actions and found them to be “a global policy failure of gigantic proportions,” often driven by state and media-sponsored fear campaigns.

Their findings, published in a book titled “Did Lockdowns Work? The Verdict on Covid Restrictions,” are based on a worldwide meta-analysis that screened nearly 20,000 studies to determine the benefits and harms from health diktats, including lockdowns, school closures, and mask mandates. According to economist Steve Hanke, one of the co-authors, one of the things that drove countries into a state of panic and draconian policies was reliance on mortality models from sources like the Imperial College of London (ICL) that generated “fantasy numbers” showing that millions of deaths could be averted by instituting crippling society-wide lockdowns.

Prior to the COVID outbreak, “most countries did have a plan to deal with pandemics,” Hanke told The Epoch Times, “but after the Imperial College of London’s ‘numbers’ were published, those plans were, in a panic, thrown out the window.

“In each case, the same pattern was followed: flawed modeling, hair-raising predictions of disaster that missed the mark, and no lessons learned,” he said. “The same mistakes were repeated over and over again and were never challenged.”

Hanke is an economics professor and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise. The other co-authors of the study are Jonas Herby, special adviser at the Center for Political Studies in Copenhagen, and Lars Jonung, an economics professor at Lund University in Sweden.

While the meta-analysis surveyed thousands of studies, it found that only 22 of them contained useful data for the study. The report focused on mortality rates and lockdown policies during 2020.

“This study is the first all-encompassing evaluation of the research on the effectiveness of mandatory restrictions on mortality,” Jonung stated. “It demonstrates that lockdowns were a failed promise. They had negligible health effects but disastrous economic, social and political costs to society.”

According to Hanke, the ICL models predicted that lockdowns would prevent between 1.7 million and 2.2 million deaths in the United States. The meta-analysis, however, indicates that lockdowns prevented between 4,345 and 15,586 deaths in the United States. This fits a pattern of overstated predictions from the ICL, which health officials either didn’t know about or overlooked, he said.

A ‘Long History of Fantasy Numbers’

“There is a long history of fantasy numbers generated by the epidemiological models used by the Imperial College of London,” Hanke said. “Its dreadful record started with the UK foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in 2001, during which the Imperial College models predicted that daily case incidences would peak at 420. But, at the time, the number of incidences had already peaked at just over 50 and was falling.”

In 2002, the ICL predicted that up to 150,000 people in the UK would die from mad cow disease; in 2019, the BBC reported that the number of UK deaths from mad cow disease was 177. In 2005, Neil Ferguson, who led the ICL, predicted up to 200 million deaths from the H5N1 bird flu, which had at that time killed 65 people in Asia; according to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 2003 and 2023, 458 people died from H5N1 worldwide.

The ICL’s habit of “crying wolf” did not prevent the BBC, once COVID-19 struck, from relying on its data to broadcast dire weekly warnings to its 468 million listeners, in 42 languages worldwide.

“Maybe the Imperial College models are ideal fear-generating machines for politicians and governments that crave more power,” Hanke said. “H.L. Mencken put his finger on this phenomenon long ago when he wrote that ‘the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins.’”

While there were some U.S. states that never issued lockdown orders, including Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Arkansas, Sweden was the rare national exception that refrained from forcing people into lockdowns. American governors who refused to lock down their states were harshly criticized in the media, which predicted that this would cause mass deaths.

A ‘National Stay-at-Home Order’

In April 2020, under the Trump administration, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had lifted lockdowns in his state, telling NBC’s “Today” show that federal guidelines should be taken as “a national stay-at-home order.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN at the time that, regarding lockdowns, “the tension between federally mandated versus states’ rights to do what they want is something I don’t want to get into. But if you look at what’s going on in this country, I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that.”

Left-leaning states like California and New York kept draconian regulations in place longer than most, with New York City even setting up a system of vaccine passports that prevented the unvaccinated from entering public places like restaurants, bars, theaters, and museums. While America’s federal system, which vested health authority with states, prevented the U.S. government from forcing lockdowns on the entire country, President Joe Biden issued vaccine and mask mandates once he took office that were ultimately ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court.

For Sweden, however, the protections from these types of health mandates were written into their constitution, called the Regeringsform.

This document reads: “Everyone shall be protected in their relations with the public institutions against deprivations of personal liberty. All Swedish citizens shall also in other respects be guaranteed freedom of movement within the Realm and freedom to depart the Realm.” This law permits exceptions only for convicts and military conscripts; in addition, Swedish law does not allow the government to declare a state of emergency during peacetime.

“Also important in the Swedish Covid case was the lead public health official, Dr. Anders Tegnell,” Hanke said. “His views on public health were the antipode of those held by the Covid Czar in the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci.”

In a September 2020 interview, Tegnell described lockdowns as “using a hammer to kill a fly,” and said of the rush among virtually every other country to impose them, “it was as if the world had gone mad.”

Sweden also did not impose mask mandates, while at the other extreme, Australia arrested citizens who went maskless or congregated outside, and Austria made it a criminal offense to refuse the COVID vaccine. At the time, the New York Times called Sweden a “pariah state” and “the world’s cautionary tale.”

Some of the differences between modeled and actual results come down to what Hanke calls the “hot stove effect.”

“When someone is warned that a stove is hot, they voluntarily keep their hands off the stove,” he said, citing evidence that, if credibly warned, people tend to take precautions without being forced.

A Move to Centralize Authority

And yet, rather than allowing citizens to make their own health decisions, most governments were united in forcing populations to follow behaviors that had not been recommended during pandemics up to that point. This year, 194 nations have come together to negotiate a global pandemic accord and amendments to International Health Regulations (IHR) that would centralize pandemic response within the WHO.

There is little in the pandemic accord or the IHR amendments regarding civil liberties and the personal protections against state abuses contained in the Swedish Regeringsform, such as the right to free speech, travel, and association, and nothing regarding the right to refuse experimental drugs. Instead, the negotiations focus on concentrating power and policy in the hands of a finite number of health officials in Geneva.

This includes centralization of medical supply chains, pandemic response policies, and a coordinated suppression of “misinformation.” As the countries of the world, including the United States, proceed down this path, some are questioning the wisdom of centralizing control when the states and countries that reacted to COVID in the least damaging way were the exception rather than the rule.

“Central planning is based on what Nobelist Friedrich Hayek identified as the ‘pretense of knowledge,’” Hanke said. “The results usually end up in a river of tears. It’s most often prudent to proceed via decentralized experimentation rather than with a global plan.”

In addition, government policies often are unidimensional; they typically enforce a single-minded goal, such as attempting to stop the spread of a virus, while ignoring side effects and collateral damage. The response to COVID is a textbook case of that.

“The record of public health officials is pretty dismal,” Hanke said. “Covid policies represent one of the greatest policy blunders in the modern era.”

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The book does recognize some benefits from COVID lockdowns.

“Lockdowns, as reported in studies based on stringency indices in the spring of 2020, reduced mortality by 3.2% when compared to less strict lockdown policies adopted by the likes of Sweden,” the authors state. “This means lockdowns prevented 1,700 deaths in England and Wales, 6,000 deaths across Europe, and 4,000 deaths in the United States.”

By comparison, the authors write, a typical flu season leads to 18,500–24,800 deaths in England and Wales, 72,000 flu deaths throughout Europe, and 38,000 deaths in the United States.

Meanwhile, negative effects from lockdowns included: damage to mental health, loss of jobs, company bankruptcies, an increase in crime, loss of freedom and other infringement on civil liberties, inflation, an increase in public debt, and harm to children’s education and well-being.

A 2022 psychology report on “The Impact of School Closure on Children’s Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic” found that “those children exposed to COVID-19 related measures, such as mandatory school closure, are more likely to manifest symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress, insomnia, emotional disturbance, irritability, sleep and appetite disturbance, negative eating habits, and impairment in social interactions.”

The Congressional Budget Office calculated that real GDP fell 11.3 percent in the second quarter of 2020 and was still down 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021, relative to CBO’s pre-pandemic January 2020 projections.

The authors of “Did Lockdowns Work?” recommend that in future pandemics, “lockdowns should be rejected out of hand.”

Asked if he expected that leaders around the globe would consider studies like his and learn from the COVID experience, Hanke replied, “If the history of public health policy serves as a guide, my answer is ‘no.’”