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This is an archive of the November 2020 entries for the Covid19 news feed. You may return to the current page here.
NYT: Moderna applied for emergency F.D.A. vaccine authorization and says first injections could begin by Dec. 21 | Added November 30
As the drugmaker Moderna said it applied to the Food and Drug Administration on Monday to authorize its coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, the health secretary Alex M. Azar II reiterated that distribution would begin quickly after the expected approvals of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines vaccine.
“We could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people’s arms before Christmas,” he said on “CBS This Morning” on Monday.
If its vaccine is approved, Moderna said that injections for Americans could begin as early as Dec. 21. The company also announced highly encouraging results, saying that complete data from a large study show its coronavirus vaccine to be 94.1 percent effective, a finding that confirms earlier estimates.
Stéphane Bancel, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview that it was “on track” to produce 20 million doses by the end of December, and from 500 million to a billion in 2021. Each person requires two doses, administered a month apart, so 20 million doses will be enough for 10 million people.
WSJ: Public panic and media scorn are shutting down important debates about how to tackle the virus | Added November 30
This opinion piece from early August, on the damage that “fear and loathing” have done to our society in the time of Covid-19, is more relevant than ever.
From The Wall Street Journal:
The fear surrounding Covid-19, combined with the media’s judgmental portrayal of new coronavirus cases as failures of political leadership and citizen morality, are backing policy makers into a corner and seeding social turmoil. Rising case numbers are the expected result of basic, powerful human desires to participate in life. Rather than acknowledge this, politicians are allowing fear to fuel poor policy decisions. A course correction will require empowering Americans to prevent illness and absolving ourselves from the prevailing narrative.
The profound shift in public-policy goals from March to the present is a powerful demonstration of the effects of public fear and a judgmental narrative from the press. In March, Americans understood that Mother Nature can sometimes be unforgiving in matters of life and death. There was broad public support for the prudent goals of preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed and buying scientists time to develop therapies.
But as those goals were accomplished, fear stoked by the press gave birth to the dogma that preventing Covid-19 cases isn’t an issue only of health but of morality—even if prevention comes at the cost of livelihoods and futures, or increases poverty and domestic violence, or sacrifices children’s educational and emotional well-being. Statewide shutdowns were extended, and states with case increases were deemed to have incompetent leaders and citizens who were behaving “selfishly” and “not following rules.”
Emergency staff in protective suits check the body of a man who collapsed and died in the street in Wuhan on earlier this year. The cause of death was not reported. Photo by Héctor Retamal/AFP.
Which Pandemic Are You Living Through?
By ERIC F. COPPOLINOI WONDER HOW MANY believers in the pandemic exist: not the pandemic, epidemic or outbreak of something that is actually happening now, but rather the one we were sold in February and March.
The problem we face today is that political leaders, vaccine makers, the media and a large portion of the population are living in the past, in a time before the crisis was understood and claims about it could be subject to verification.
Today, eight months after the first lockdown, we know more. It seems we know everything we need to know. At the beginning, I was cautious in my approach, assuming the worst. Now the data is in.
JHU publishes research showing no excess deaths this year, quietly retracts article five days later | Added November 28
An analysis published by Johns Hopkins University on November 22 addresses the major question of whether there have been excess deaths this year. “This comes as a shock to many people,” the author of the article writes, presenting the researcher’s conclusion: there have been no excess deaths. “How is it that the data lie so far from our perception?”
In a more disturbing development, JHU decided to retract the article from the Johns Hopkins News-Letter on Thanksgiving Day and replaced it with an editorial note, citing that the data was being “used to support dangerous inaccuracies that minimize the impact of the pandemic.”
How is hiding data a practice in accordance with the scientific method? Why did they not simply publish a rebuttal, arguing for a different interpretation of the data? One would think a healthy and democratic university would happily engage in this kind of debate, rather than in self-censorship.
The editor’s note did not cite any issues with the analysis of the data. Instead, the retraction note explained that the analysis had caused “the spread of misinformation.”
Here’s our take:
It is not in keeping with the scientific method to reject data or the analysis of data merely because these don’t support your hypothesis. It is especially not in keeping with the scientific method to bury data or the analysis of data because these challenge current consensus or political messaging.
The researcher herself concluded that the Covid-19 death count was misleading. In what scenario would it be strange for this statement to cause people to raise an eyebrow? It is natural that a conclusion like this would cause many to further question public policy and the media’s narrative. This is what you find in a democratic society that values education, civic participation, and science.
Los Angeles County announces lockdown meant to last through December 20 | Added November 28
As the number of new coronavirus cases continued to rise in Los Angeles County, health officials issued a temporary and limited stay-at-home order Friday that will take effect Monday.
The restrictions, which will last for three weeks, are not as severe as those imposed in the spring.
“Residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their household and around others,” the county Department of Public Health said.
The order prohibits all public and private gatherings with individuals not in the same household, except for religious services and protests.
It imposes new occupancy limits on businesses, such as personal care and retail, but does not close them. Beaches, trails and parks will remain open, but gatherings of people from more than one household at those sites are banned.
The announcement came just two days after restaurants in much of L.A. County were ordered to suspend outdoor dining. That decision sparked a backlash from restaurant owners and some elected officials, who called the rules too punishing for the already struggling industry.
Vaccine advocate condemns anti-science ‘confederacy’ against vaccines, says don’t ‘overthink’ getting vaccine | Added November 28
Peter Hotez, who is the co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital and a key figure in the vaccine debate had a recent interview regarding public health messaging. He characterizes conscientious objection to vaccines as a threatening “empire” that is dominating both the internet and American life.
Hotez is the author of “Preventing The Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy In A Time Of Anti-Science.” By the looks of it, he has given up on diplomacy.
“Don’t overthink it. Don’t wait. Get what vaccine you can,” he said.
A major benefit of the vast majority of the population receiving a vaccine is cultivating herd immunity. To reach a high level of community immunity, Hotez calls for robust public health messaging communicating the safety of the vaccines.
“If we’re going to really achieve that 70% herd immunity, which is what our estimates that we came up with…we need to figure out ways to better communicate about vaccines and the importance of vaccines and really start doing something about this very aggressive anti-vaccine movement that’s now morphed into a wide-scale, anti-science machine or empire or confederacy that really dominates the Internet and dominates our American life right now.”
With years of experience around the anti-vaccination movement, Hotez notes that it is difficult to slow the momentum of the group. A breeding ground for the movement is headquartered online, where Hotez estimates that more than 480 fake anti-vaccine sites are active across social media.
Whether or not governments mandate Covid-19 vaccination, employers likely will | Added November 27
“I believe in civil liberties,” she says. “But we have people who live with their parents. We have people who live with a husband who has diabetes. There are people who have immunocompromised folks in their immediate bubble.”
This fall, Smith made sure all of her staff got the flu shot, putting her in line with many health care employers who have long required it for their workers.
At Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, some 14,000 employees and students are required to get the annual flu vaccine, says Dr. James McDeavitt, dean of clinical affairs. About 90% actually do, with 10% claiming exemptions, most of them medical, according to his analysis.
“It’s the right thing to do for society,” he says, noting that the mandate covers not just doctors, nurses and medical students, but also people working in billing and other jobs that don’t put them in contact with patients. Those who go unvaccinated are required to wear masks in the workplace.
McDeavitt says Baylor will impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate but not before they can actually get enough supply to cover everyone and it’s been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration and Baylor’s own epidemiologists, vaccine scientists and infectious disease doctors.
“[They] will look hard at the data and tell me, yes, this was done properly,” he says. “So when I start giving the vaccine to my employees, you can be assured it is safe to give it to your employees.”
This Thanksgiving, food insecurity at record highs around the United States | Added November 27
It’s a story playing out across the nation this Thanksgiving: More Americans are in need of help to avoid going hungry amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Feeding America analysis estimates that 15 million more people will live in food insecure homes in the USA this year, compared with pre-pandemic estimates.
“Food banks have consistently seen a 60 percent increase in demand compared to this time last year, and continue to require more food and resources to provide to people in need,” the organization said in a news release days before Thanksgiving.
The U.S. census reported in the week before Thanksgiving that about 12% of adults in American households with children received free groceries or a free meal the previous week, according to a survey conducted from Oct. 28 to Nov. 9.
About one of every four households in Rhode Island struggled over the summer to put food on the table, according to a report released Monday.
Despite federal assistance, 25% of households in the state were worried about having adequate food, up from 9.1% last year and the highest level of food insecurity in 20 years, according to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s annual Status Report on Hunger. The survey found food insecurity caused by the pandemic has hit families of color particularly hard.
Food charities reported record demand before Thanksgiving.
In 5-4 ruling, Supreme Court reverses New York restrictions on religious gatherings | Added November 26
After officials in New York arrested people for attending the funeral of a rabbi, and fined a synagogue for holding a wedding, the Supreme Court has reminded Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the fundamental values of the United States.
In a 5-4 ruling Wednesday, the court held that Cuomo’s restrictions on religious gatherings — which are by fiat, not acts of the legislature — violated the United States Constitution. The first words in the Bill of Rights prohibit the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion or exercising the free exercise thereof.”
Recently, Associate Justice Sam Alito signaled how he might vote if the religious freedom issue came before the court again.
“Whenever fundamental rights are restricted, the Supreme Court and other courts cannot close their eyes,” Justice Alito said this month, rejecting the view that “whenever there is an emergency, executive officials have unlimited, unreviewable discretion.”
The court’s decision took a new direction contrasted with earlier ones this year concerning churches in California and Nevada. In May and July, the court allowed the states’ governors to restrict attendance at services. But the Court’s composition has changed since then, after Ruth Bader Ginsberg died in September and was replaced by Amy Coney Barrett.
Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the court’s liberal bloc, as he as done on a number of prior occasions.
“It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in a concurring opinion.
The decision is a warning to all governors how it might rule on restrictions that states place on citizens and residents using Covid as a pretext. Through the crisis, governors have taken up emergency powers, ruling by executive order with little or no basis in law. Earlier this year, Michigan’s highest court struck down that state’s Covid restrictions, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania held that, “The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a ‘new normal’ where basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures.”
Regarding Wednesday’s ruling, The New York Times wrote today, “Legal experts said that despite the governor’s assertion that the decision was limited to parishes and other houses of worship in Brooklyn, the court’s ruling could be used to challenge and overturn other restrictions elsewhere. ‘The decision is applicable to people in similar situations;, said Norman Siegel, a constitutional lawyer and former leader of the New York Civil Liberties Union. ‘It’s applicable to any synagogue, any church, to any mosque, to any religious setting’.”
Read the full ruling, the dissents and the concurrences. NOTE — Assoc. Justice Gorsuch in his concurring opinion elaborates on the famous Jacobson decision on vaccines. This is signaling that the Court may be ready to take up this issue again.
‘Santa is not going to be spreading any infections to anybody,’ says Fauci | Added November 25
Commentary from Eric: Oh really. Well, if Santa is immune then we’re all immune.
When Santa Claus takes flight on Christmas Eve, he won’t carry COVID-19 or pass it along to children around the world.
“Santa is exempt from this because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity,” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said in an interview published Friday.
The reassuring announcement came just days before the U.S. was set to observe a Thanksgiving like no other. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday urged Americans to avoid traveling and not to spend the holiday with family members or friends from outside their household to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Santa’s appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade ― traditionally seen as the kickoff to the Christmas season ― will look considerably different. For the first time in its 96-year history, the parade won’t travel its usual two-mile route and instead will take place as a mostly stationary, made-for-TV event with an estimated 75% reduction in participants.
Exposed: There’s a new federal court to handle all the expected COVID vaccine-injury claims | Added November 25
By Jon Rappoport
The simple truth is: the US government is anticipating many people will be filing claims for compensation, when their family members are harmed or killed by a new COVID vaccine.
Of course, the government isn’t coming right out and admitting that.
The press will tout the usual excuses for injury and death. “He died from COVID, not the vaccine.” “Well, there was just one bad batch of vaccines.” “Because COVID is such a dire situation, and we’re rushing to save lives, a few mistakes are inevitable.”
Anything but the truth: GUESS WHAT, THE VACCINE IS HIGHLY TOXIC.
This new federal vaccine court for COVID will operate exactly like the present system for paying out claims for vaccine injury to children. Citizens have to jump through many absurd hoops and navigate all sorts of red tape, to try to squeeze money out of the federal government. The system is set up that way. It’s your basic bureaucratic nightmare.
The language that establishes the new COVID vaccine court is found in the Federal Register, 3/17/20, buried in section 14 of a document titled: “Declaration Under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act for Medical Countermeasures Against COVID-19.”
French study finds Covid-19 antibodies last longer in women; experts, unsure why, suggest men may need a booster vaccine | Added November 25
Why is immunity dropping in men? One researcher at Strasbourg University, where a yet to be peer reviewed SARS-CoV-2 antibody study was done, calls this finding “the new manifestation of girl power.” That’s great and all, but this study is not about the battle of the sexes.
The study’s abstract asserts: “The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 humoral response in infected individuals remains poorly characterized.” Clearly, a few different layers of the study need to be questioned, including the foundation on which the study rests: the diagnosis of Covid-19 based on “mild disease” and a positive PCR test.
In addition, the researchers admit that they are confounded by the antibody disparity between females and males: “Understanding of coronavirus immunity is far from complete,” as the Guardian reports, and one researcher admits they “don’t know exactly why” they saw a more rapid decline of antibodies in men.
All of these findings come back to testing. Serious questions remain about the reliability of the layers of tests involved; the study even concludes “results show that some serology tests are less reliable over time.”
What’s most troubling is, despite all this uncertainty, the answer seems to be clear to these researchers: more vaccines.
Dr Sabra Klein, a co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for women’s health, sex, and gender research, said vaccine developers should analyse data to compare male and female responses over time because it was likely that the male-biased decline in antibodies would occur following vaccination as well.
“If functional antibody responses decline to a greater degree in males than females following vaccination, then it may be that males need another booster vaccine to maintain immunity,” she said.
Bloomberg: Mass Covid Vaccination Gets a Dry Run in a Louisiana Parking Lot | Added November 25
A Covid-19 vaccine may be months from reaching millions of Americans. Getting all those shots into arms will be a monumental task. Shreveport, Louisiana, is getting ready now.
The city recently completed a test run, one of about a dozen across the state. Health officials there organized the community’s first-ever drive-thru flu shot clinic in the massive parking lot of the Louisiana state fairgrounds.
Drivers rolled down their windows and rolled up their sleeves as they pulled up to tents for the largest vaccination event the regional health department has ever hosted. Cheerful and fast-working nurses jabbed them with vaccines. Within about five minutes, people were on their way, exiting the parking lot while passing a row of food stands selling corn dogs, roasted nuts and lemonade.
In the near future, that’s just the way officials hope it will go for a Covid-19 vaccine. A poor state that’s seen its share of hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, Louisiana is trying to get out front of the challenge. The state’s health department decided early on to run test clinics in each of its nine public-health regions, using this winter’s flu shot as practice to eventually distribute millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses.
FDA authorizes emergency use of Regeneron, antibody cocktail given to Trump | Added November 24
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s REGN -3.34% Covid-19 antibody drug was authorized Saturday by U.S. health regulators, the second cleared this month to treat patients who aren’t hospitalized but are at high risk of developing severe disease.
The Food and Drug Administration cleared the antibody drug cocktail for use treating mild to moderate Covid-19 patients 12 years of age and older, including people older than 65 years.
Regeneron’s drug combines two lab-made antibodies designed to latch onto the novel coronavirus and prevent it from replicating and hijacking human cells. The treatment is still being tested in clinical trials, after being developed by Regeneron scientists in Tarrytown, N.Y., earlier this year.
In October, it was one of three pharmaceutical treatments given to President Trump for treatment of Covid-19. Mr. Trump later attributed his recovery to Regeneron’s drug. “They gave me Regeneron, and it was like, unbelievable. I felt good immediately,” he said.
The FDA hasn’t authorized Lilly or Regeneron’s treatments for hospitalized patients. In the sickest patients, those requiring high-flow oxygen support or mechanical ventilation while hospitalized, monoclonal antibodies such as Regeneron and Eli Lilly’s drugs could make patients sicker, the FDA warned.
Health officials urge CDC to warn public that Covid vaccine side effects won’t be ‘a walk in the park’ — meanwhile TX hospitals prep to give shots in three weeks | Added November 24
During a meeting with advisors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors asked that the public be warned about potential rough side effects from the forthcoming coronavirus vaccines. CNBC has this report.
Also from CNBC, Texas released its vaccine allocation plan on Monday, Nov. 23. “Top priority is going to hospital employees and nursing home staff, EMTs, home health-care workers and the state’s most vulnerable residents.” According to the state’s governor, Texas is prepared to distribute the vaccine starting Dec. 12.
On the vaccine side effects:
Dr. Sandra Fryhofer of the American Medical Association said both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines require two doses at varying intervals. As a practicing physician, she said she worries whether her patients will come back for a second dose because of the potentially unpleasant side effects they may experience after the first shot.
“We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park,” Fryhofer said during a virtual meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, an outside group of medical experts that advise the CDC. She is also a liaison to the committee. “They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they’ve got to come back for that second dose.”
Participants in Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trials told CNBC in September that they were experiencing high fever, body aches, bad headaches, daylong exhaustion and other symptoms after receiving the shots. While the symptoms were uncomfortable, and at times intense, the participants said they often went away after a day, sometimes sooner, and that it was better than getting Covid-19.
One North Carolina woman in the Moderna study who is in her 50s said she didn’t experience a fever but suffered a bad migraine that left her drained for a day and unable to focus. She said she woke up the next day feeling better after taking Excedrin but added that Moderna may need to tell people to take a day off after a second dose.
“If this proves to work, people are going to have to toughen up,” she said. “The first dose is no big deal. And then the second dose will definitely put you down for the day for sure. … You will need to take a day off after the second dose.”
France past peak of second wave according to Macron; lockdown restrictions eased… for now | Added November 24
France will begin to ease its strict coronavirus restrictions this weekend, allowing non-essential shops to reopen, President Emmanuel Macron has said.
People will also be able to share “moments with the family” over the Christmas period, Mr Macron announced.
But he said bars and restaurants would have to remain closed until 20 January…
…Mr Macron said the lockdown would be replaced by a nationwide curfew between 21:00 and 07:00, except on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
France has been under a second national lockdown since the beginning of November. People have only been permitted to leave home to go to work, buy essential goods, seek medical help or exercise for one hour a day. Anyone going outside must carry a written statement justifying their journey.
While all non-essential shops, restaurants and bars have been shut, schools and crèches have remained open. Social gatherings have been banned.
Lockdown restrictions in the UK to be eased for Christmas | Added November 24
The four nations of the United Kingdom have agreed to relax COVID-19 restrictions for Christmas to allow up to three households to meet at home for five days.
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have taken differing approaches to handling the pandemic so far but the leaders of the devolved nations reached agreement with London on Tuesday on rules governing the festive period.
Three households will be able to form a “Christmas bubble”, allowing them to meet up at home, places of worship and in outdoor public places but not at indoor hospitality or entertainment venues from Dec. 23 until Dec. 27 under the plans.
“People want to be with their loved-ones and those close to them for what is the most important holiday of the year,” senior minister Michael Gove said on Tuesday.
Limits on travel will also be scrapped so that people can meet up, with an additional day on either side for those going to and from Northern Ireland.
A national lockdown in England is due to end next week after which different parts of the country will face varying restrictions as part of a tiered system announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
NYT: A new study questions whether masks protect wearers. You need to wear them anyway. | Added November 23
Last week, Annals of Internal Medicine published a Danish study on how effective surgical masks are at preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The study was conducted last April through June and was the first major randomized clinical trial to test masks in a real world setting in 2020.
The results have been interpreted in different ways. Here are a few perspectives.
And here are the questions we are left with:
Where are the other well-designed, real-world studies that test the hypothesis that masks prevent transmission of the virus? Aren’t these the very studies capable of finally providing enough evidence to support this hypothesis, in contrast to the evidence “limited to observational and epidemiological studies” that informs the CDC’s guidance? If we cannot conclude from this randomized clinical trial whether surgical masks prevent the spread of Covid-19, and there are still no other randomized clinical trials, how have we scientifically settled the question of whether “masks work”?
The study compared how well protected one group of people who used masks were compared with a second group who did not use them. The results of the study were announced in a statement released by Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet.
It is important to note that the study looked exclusively at the protective effects of masks for the wearer, and not at the wearer’s ability to protect others.
As such, the study cannot be used to draw conclusions on the general merits of using face masks as an effective preventative measure against Covid-19 infection, the researchers behind the study said.
Next, here is a video from Dr. Andrew Kaufman, explaining the study:
The researchers had hoped that masks would cut the infection rate by half among wearers. Instead, 42 people in the mask group, or 1.8 percent, got infected, compared with 53 in the unmasked group, or 2.1 percent. The difference was not statistically significant.
“Our study gives an indication of how much you gain from wearing a mask,” said Dr. Henning Bundgaard, lead author of the study and a cardiologist at the University of Copenhagen. “Not a lot.”
Participants reported their own test results; mask use was not independently verified, and users may not have worn them correctly. Also, the incidence of infections in Denmark was lower than it is today in many places, meaning the effectiveness of masks for wearers may have been harder to detect, some experts noted.
The study’s conclusion flies in the face of other research suggesting that masks do protect the wearer. In its recent bulletin, the C.D.C. cited a dozen studies finding that even cloth masks may help shield those who wear them.
CDC updates statement to unambiguously assert that cloth masks benefit wearers | Added November 23
Experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The prevention benefit of masking is derived from the combination of source control and personal protection for the mask wearer. The relationship between source control and personal protection is likely complementary and possibly synergistic14, so that individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use. Further research is needed to expand the evidence base for the protective effect of cloth masks and in particular to identify the combinations of materials that maximize both their blocking and filtering effectiveness, as well as fit, comfort, durability, and consumer appeal. Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation.
In Europe, clashes continue between police and protestors; Toronto enters lockdown today | Added November 23
Anti-lockdown protests in Europe were reported across the continent last week. See the Off-Guardian article for coverage of each country’s demonstrations.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that parts of Canada will be facing lockdowns this week. The city of Toronto enters lockdown today, which bans all indoor social gatherings, among other measures, according to an executive order announced by Ontario Premier Doug Ford. While Prime Minister Justin Trudea said on Friday, “I’m not looking to bring in a federal hammer to try and do things,” he warned that a “normal” holiday season would not be possible this year.
As the alleged “second wave” of the Coronavirus “pandemic” is reported to be sweeping across Europe in recent weeks, many governments have enthusiastically embraced their totalitarian side and granted themselves sweeping new “emergency powers” alongside new lockdown measures.
The public has been markedly less co-operative this time around. Rebelling against the seemingly arbitrary limitations which are not supported by either science or common sense. Protests have taken place all across the continent.
FDA approves first home Covid test | Added November 21
The FDA has fully approved a coronavirus home test kit for the first time. We have extensively covered the issue of testing and the unreliability of PCR test results. Home test kits introduce new elements into the conversation about the role of testing for Covid-19.
For starters: this specific test is similar to the PCR, though it’s considered to be less accurate. Although it’s meant for home use, it apparently won’t relieve the need to follow current public health restrictions.
What is the point of these home test kits, then, if you must continue wearing a mask and social distancing, even if you test negative? Isn’t testing supposed to help prevent the spread of disease by showing us who needs to be quarantined and who can travel freely?
And if it’s a “less accurate” test, how will it alleviate the confusion and fear already prevalent?
To further complicate matters, this specific test was not studied on people who were asymptomatic. That said, during the study, the test supposedly correctly identified who was “healthy” almost 100% of the time. Yet it is also reported that the study only included people who had symptoms of Covid-19.
How could these people simultaneously have symptoms associated with Covid-19 and be deemed “healthy”? This isn’t all that mystifying when we remember that the symptoms of Covid-19 are essentially synonymous with cold and flu symptoms. But, what is mystifying, is why people with the cold or the flu are now considered “healthy” in contrast to those with Covid-19.
According to the product’s instructions, Lucira’s LAMP test was able to accurately detect 94.1 percent of the infections found by a well-established P.C.R.-based test. It also correctly identified 98 percent of the healthy, uninfected people. The study, which was conducted by the company, was small, and included only people who had symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The packaging for the test notes that it “has not been evaluated” in asymptomatic people.
Although the company has yet to release more detailed results on its product’s performance, “the data look good” and could enable the test to fill an important gap, said Susan Butler-Wu, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Southern California. One of the most serious issues bedeviling efforts to identify people infected by the coronavirus is the inconsistent access to reliable laboratory testing in many parts of the country, especially outside urban centers.
“This type of assay can play a big role there,” Dr. Butler-Wu said.
Representatives at Lucira Health did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention expert and epidemiologist at George Mason University, cautioned that home testing, while a notable advance, is not a panacea. “No test is perfect,” she said, and a negative result should not be taken as a free pass to mingle. Moreover, testing alone cannot prevent the spread of disease, and must be combined with other public health measures like physical distancing and masking, she added.
March for Medical Freedom & Health Sovereignty
This Sunday Nov. 22 from 12-4pm in NYC.
Please post it on social media and send it to anyone you know who might want to attend. Here is the event breakdown and details:
12pm: Rally at 14th St Union Square with speakers, performances, outreach, etc.
1:30pm: March down University Place to Washington Square Park.
2:30-4pm: Rally in Washington Square Park w/ speakers, performances, outreach, and working groups.
Bring Signs! Anti-Lockdown, No New Normal, No Mask Mandates, No Vax Mandates, Freedom, Liberty, anything you can think of!
Bring Friends! We need numbers!
Perform a Talent! We need to draw attention to our message, and what better way than with PERFORMANCES! If you can play an instrument, juggle, do magic, twirl a baton, sing, dance, write sketches, if you have stilts, puppets, WHATEVER unique talent you have, come and perform it in NYC! Perform during the rally, perform while we march, let’s grab the public’s attention, and remind everyone of our freedom and humanity!
And feel free to bring other attention getting stuff, like pinwheels, streamers, bubbles, etc.
If you want to speak or know someone who would be a great speaker (like a doctor, lawyer, public figure, or ANYONE who has a strong message) please let us know. Email: PaxtonWoo@protonmail.com.
Please save the date! We will send updated details later in the week. Hope to see everyone there!
Liberate New York Team
Silent Movement For Freedom Team (Karin and Banjo the group mascot, Sheila, Julie, George, Mark, and Yvonne)
Saturday evening roundup | Added November 21
We’ve made it through a full week of Covid coverage following the election. Here is a list of stories that flew by during the week.
California Tesla Employees exempt from new Covid-19 health order
Alongside Elon Musk’s other recent antics, this article from The Verge details ‘essential workforce’ exemption Tesla employees in California have been given:
Employees at Tesla’s Fremont plant are “essential workers” and therefore exempt from new statewide COVID-19 health orders, CNBC reported. The California Department of Public Health says manufacturing is considered an “essential workforce” — and that applies to Tesla’s manufacturing, too.
“I got a big family you probably heard a lot about,” he told the health-care workers. “We do everything together. We’re just not going to. It’s going to be three of us because you can’t mix the families that have been away, that haven’t been quarantining.”
Newsom last week apologized for not practicing what he preaches in regard to COVID-19 safety protocols, when word first leaked of his appearance at the mask-less dinner party — just hours after the governor pushed state guidelines discouraging gatherings of more than three households and instructed Californians to alter their Thanksgiving plans accordingly.
The successful uptake of any vaccine for Covid-19, a crucial step in returning a sense of normalcy after a year ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, could be hindered by widespread contamination from a range of chemicals used in everyday products.
Small amounts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (or PFAS) chemicals are commonly found in the bodies of people in the US, as well as several other countries. These man-made chemicals, used in everything from non-stick pans to waterproof clothes to pizza boxes, have been linked to an elevated risk of liver damage, decreased fertility and even cancer.
Dolly Parton unknowingly funded Moderna vaccine research
In April, Dolly Parton donated to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Covid-19 research efforts. CNN reports:
The diminutive diva’s $1 million donation to Covid-19 research was partly used to fund Moderna’s promising Covid-19 vaccine — something she didn’t even know until her name appeared among other sponsors in a preliminary report on the vaccine.
Lawsuit filed against Tyson managers over allegedly betting money on whether employees would test positive for the coronavirus
WATERLOO, Iowa — A lawsuit filed this week by a deceased Tyson employee’s son claims managers at the business had bet money on how many employees would test positive for COVID-19.
The company responded to the accusations Thursday, saying the employees allegedly involved have been suspended without pay and the company has hired a legal team to conduct an investigation.
Harvard virtual epidemiology summit
Lastly the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University will be holding a virtual event titled The Future of COVID-19 Epidemiology. There will be a panel discussion on the current, and future state, of epidemiology. The event is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, Dec 8, 2020 at 4:00 pm. Instructions to join may be found at the link.
Briefing with Senior Officials on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 Vaccines | Added November 20
Streamed live on November 18, and brought to you by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD).
Five U.S. federal agencies have informed employees they could get vaccine shots in as little as 8 weeks | Added November 20
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed five federal agencies that will receive doses of a Covid-19 vaccine directly from the federal government. And those agencies have informed their employees of the vaccine’s delivery in as little as eight week.s
Those agencies include: the Bureau of Prisons, Department of Defense, Department of State, Indian Health Service and Veterans Health Administration.
Five federal agencies have started telling employees they could receive Pfizer or Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine in as little as eight weeks as the U.S. prepares to distribute the potentially life-saving doses across the country, according to a person with first-hand knowledge of the plan.
Essential federal workers would be among the first group of Americans to get inoculated against the coronavirus after the nation’s health-care workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s vaccination program “interim playbook.”
Today, Pfizer submitted emergency use authorization request to the FDA for their vaccine | Added November 20
Friday, November 20, 2020 – 06:45am
In addition to today’s submission to the FDA, the companies have already initiated rolling submissions across the globe including in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan and the U.K., and plan to submit applications immediately to other regulatory agencies around the world
Based on current projections, the companies expect to produce globally up to 50 million doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021; the companies will be ready to distribute the vaccine within hours after authorization
BNT162b2 demonstrated a vaccine efficacy rate of 95%, with no serious safety concerns observed to date
And here’s a piece from WaPo encouraging you to enable the contact tracing app on your phone| Added November 20
Here’s a phone alert you wouldn’t want to miss: “You have likely been exposed.”
The coronavirus surge is upon us, and your phone might be able to help. About 100 million Americans now have the ability to get pop-up notifications from local health authorities when they’ve personally spent time near someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus.
But exposure notifications only work if you and the people around you turn them on. Yes, you!
There’s early evidence this anonymous smartphone technology works — but so far isn’t helping very many Americans. In August, I wrote about the first of these state-sponsored alerts, Virginia’s Covidwise app. In the three months since, only 488 people have used the state’s app to send alerts about a positive diagnosis to others.
The alerts use software built by Apple and Google into iPhones and Android devices to detect when people (or the phones they’re holding) get into close contact with each other. That might sound like a privacy invasion, but they figured out how to track encounters between people in a way that’s anonymous — and doesn’t store your location — by using the Bluetooth wireless technology in phones.
Exposure alerts worked for the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam. He and the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus in September, and because they had it working on their phones, staff members exposed to them got notified. And they’re picking up steam: In its first few weeks, Colorado’s system was activated by a million residents, or 17 percent of its population.
Scotland is now Scotland Yard; starting Friday, it’s illegal to enter or leave the country without an exemption | Added November 19
The Scottish government has published draft regulations that make it illegal to enter or leave the country without a reasonable excuse, as well as significantly restricting travel within Scotland.
The regulations, which come into force on Friday at 6pm, were described as “deeply flawed” by opposition parties, which said they had “grave doubts” about the competence of Scottish ministers to legislate in this way.
According to the draft document, a person living in Scotland must not travel to any other part of the common travel area – England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – nor can anyone from those places travel to Scotland. Breach of these cross-border restrictions is punishable by a minimum £60 fixed penalty fine.
Mayor of Boston to college students: ‘If you go home for Thanksgiving, you should not be returning to Boston this semester’ | Added November 19
His announcement added another wrinkle to what was already an agonizing and complicated choice facing students across the United States: go home and spend time with their family, possibly putting them at greater risk of contracting the coronavirus, or stay on campus and celebrate the holiday in a new way.
Schools like Boston University have been pleading with students to stick around for a “Friendsgiving” on campus. If students do leave, even if they do not travel outside the state, university officials said they would have to self-isolate for seven days when they return, and test negative three times before returning to class, according to BU Today.
“This means remaining in your room, attending courses remotely, and exiting the building only for medical appointments or meals,” Kenneth Elmore, the dean of students, wrote in an email to students, according to the university newspaper. “Violations of this advisory may result in disciplinary action up to and including suspension.”
California governor orders statewide curfew to take effect overnight and last through December 21 | Added November 19
Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced a mandatory overnight stay-at-home order that will be instituted throughout most of California to combat a surge in new coronavirus cases, a measure that comes just days after the governor enacted a dramatic rollback of reopening in much of the state.
The order issued by the California Department of Public Health will prohibit most nonessential activity outside the home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m in counties in the strictest tier of the state’s reopening roadmap — the purple tier. The restriction goes into place on Saturday and lasts through Dec. 21, though it could be extended.
“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”
Roughly 94% of Californians — 37 million people — live in counties that are in the purple tier, which has forced many businesses in those communities to suspend or severely restrict the number of customers allowed indoors.
Sheriffs in upstate New York resist enforcing Cuomo’s Thanksgiving order | Added November 19
Last Wednesday, November 11, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an executive order for the state that limits indoor gatherings to 10 people. This order applies to private residences, and it went into effect at 10pm last Friday, to continue over the Thanksgiving holiday:
The directive contained in Executive Order 202.45, as extended, which amended the directives in Executive Order 202.42, 202.38, and 202.10, that limited all non-essential gatherings to allow gatherings of 50 of fewer individuals for any lawful purpose or reason, is hereby modified only insofar as to further limit non-essential private residential gatherings to 10 or fewer individuals for any lawful purpose or reason, provided that social distancing, face covering, and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the Department of Health are adhered to.
While Cuomo called on local governments to enforce the order, sheriffs of certain New York counties have made public statements that their police departments will not be imposing these measures.
Fulton County, NY
New York sheriff takes defiant stand against Gov. Cuomo’s COVID restrictions impacting Thanksgiving: ‘People have common sense’
Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino responded by announcing that his deputies would not be enforcing Cuomo’s new restrictions. Giardino, who holds a law degree, explained that he does not believe Cuomo’s latest executive order is constitutional.
“With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents,” Giardino wrote in a Facebook post.
…Meanwhile, Giardino said in an interview with the Albany Times Union that Cuomo is “scaring the hell out of people,” explaining government overreach should not legislate where citizens are perfectly capable of exercising “common sense.”
“People have common sense. They are not going to jeopardize family members… Basically, as a lawyer, former DA and judge, if I got brought into court, I can’t justify it constitutionally. The threat is not so great that we should be limiting who they can have for Thanksgiving.”
Madison County and Oneida County, NY
LAW ENFORCEMENT WEIGHS IN ON NEW STATE COVID RULES
In terms of enforcing gathering limits inside your homes, (Oneida County) Sheriff Maciol said it’s not constitutionally possible to enforce.
“Do I expect my people to go into homes? Absolutely not. It won’t be happening. We’re not spying on anybody or looking in anybody’s windows. We have zero authority to do that. I’m certainly not about to cross that line,” said Maciol.
We have been receiving many questions regarding the 10 person limit Thanksgiving Executive Order in New York.
Although we encourage the public to use their common sense/best discretion, wear masks, wash hands frequently, and not attend if sick or at risk – the Madison County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing this executive order.
There is no need to hide cars and sneak around during your attempt to gather with family. We are not going to exhaust our limited resources obtaining search warrants and counting the turkey eaters in your house.
We trust our Madison County residents will use their best judgment in keeping their friends, family, and loved ones safe during this time.
We wish you a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Massachusetts school district introduces Covid safety pledge | Added November 19
Continuing on the theme of education, a Massachusetts school district has asked families to sign forms, pledging that they will “avoid traveling to locations other than low-risk states and avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.” Those who refuse will not be allowed to have their child return to in-person classes until tested.
As the country grapples with a dramatic increase in covid-19 cases and experts worry about further spread during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, a Massachusetts district is asking families to sign a form to attest that they will abide by the state’s safety guidelines during the holiday break.
School authorities in Littleton, Mass., are requesting that families pledge that they will avoid traveling to locations other than low-risk states and avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people — the state’s limit.
If parents or guardians choose not to sign the form, children will not be allowed to attend in-person classes until tested for the coronavirus.
“We are worried that people are going to travel more than a typical weekend given it is the holiday season,” Mike Fontanella, chairman of the Littleton School Committee, told 7News Boston, adding that only four students have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past three weeks, although the town has seen an uptick in cases.
NYC public schools to shut down today — fully remote learning in effect | Added November 19
The closure of public schools starting Thursday, November 19th has no set end date yet though will certainly last through the Thanksgiving break, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged.
“We will have an update in the next couple of days on the plan to bring back schools, what additional standards will be needed,” he said at his press briefing Wednesday afternoon.
“No one is happy about this decision. We all in fact are feeling very sad about this decision, because so much good work has been put into keeping the schools opened and opening them up to begin with,” de Blasio added.
Earlier in the day via tweet, de Blasio announced the school system would shut down in-person learning and students switched to fully remote learning Wednesday as the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate reached the 3% rolling seven-day average that de Blasio has long said would trigger a systemwide closure.
CDC quietly takes down guidance that pushed for schools to reopen | Added November 19
In July we shared this story on how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance, alongside a statement, calling for schools to reopen. This came after Donald Trump criticized the CDC’s earlier, more cautious, school reopening recommendation.
CDC director Robert R. Redfield was quoted in the article as saying that the new statement was not meant to replace earlier school reopening guidance. Now, as of late October the guidance has been quietly updated with no public announcement on the part of the CDC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has quietly removed controversial guidance from its website that pushed for schools to reopen in the fall and downplayed the transmission risks of COVID-19 to children and others.
The documents, one of which was reportedly written by political appointees outside of the CDC, stated that children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults and that children are unlikely to be major spreaders of the virus.
The CDC removed two guidance documents from its website in late October with no public announcement.
When reached for comment, a CDC spokesperson said, “Some of the prior content was outdated and as new scientific information has emerged the site has been updated to reflect current knowledge about COVID-19 and schools.”
While kids are far less likely than adults to become seriously ill from COVID-19, less was known at the time about what role children play in spreading the virus to others including teachers and staff
The Daily Mail: Britons vaccinated against Covid ‘may get QR codes on their mobile phones to allow them into football matches’ | Added November 18
Below is a story from the Daily Mail detailing how QR code vaccination certification may become required in the UK to attend large gatherings deemed “high risk”. Similarly, Billboard reported on November 11 that concert tick giant Ticketmaster is “working on a framework for post-pandemic fan safety that uses smart phones to verify fans’ vaccination status or whether they’ve tested negative for the coronavirus within a 24 to 72 hour window.”
Britons could be required to show QR codes on their phones to attend football matches, the theatre and other events, it was suggested today.
The unique codes would only be given to those who have been vaccinated against coronavirus, under plans being considered by ministers, to signal they can attend large gatherings currently considered to be ‘high risk’.
Those who refuse to get the Covid-19 jab would likely be refused entry to venues, as part of the same proposals. Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week refused to rule out making vaccination mandatory for all UK citizens.
It has previously been suggested that the NHS Covid-19 app could be recruited to identify those who have antibodies against the virus.
Mr Hancock hinted in May it could be used to display a code for those who are thought to have protection against the virus, which could allow them to return to a more normal life and evade some restrictions.
South Australia enters mandatory ‘Circuit Breaker’ lockdown | Added November 18
In response to 36 cases “identified” in the city of Adelaide, the state of South Australia has entered a mandatory six day lockdown. Residents are required to stay home and outdoor activities, including outdoor exercise, are prohibited.
The Australian state of South Australia is entering a mandatory lockdown lasting six days that began at midnight Thursday local time, with residents required to stay home to stop the spread of the virus.
Officials also said many outdoor activities, including exercise outside of the home, are prohibited. Only one person per household is permitted to leave the home on a single day for essential activities, such as going to the grocery store.
Facial coverings in public are mandatory.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announced the restrictions at a media briefing Wednesday afternoon local time, saying that a “circuit breaker” was needed in order to keep the community safe.
“We cannot wait to see how bad this becomes,” Marshall said.
“We must act swiftly and decisively on the health advice to stay ahead of the game. That health advice is that we need a circuit breaker. We need a circuit breaker to stay ahead of this,” he added.
According to National Cancer Institute in Milan, Italian study participants tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in fall of 2019 | Added November 18
The Italian researchers’ findings, published by the INT’s scientific magazine Tumori Journal, show 11.6% of 959 healthy volunteers enrolled in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March 2020 had developed coronavirus antibodies well before February.
A further SARS-CoV-2 antibodies test was carried out by the University of Siena for the same research titled “Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the pre-pandemic period in Italy”.
It showed that four cases dating back to the first week of October were positive for antibodies, meaning they had got infected in September, Giovanni Apolone, a co-author of the study, told Reuters.
“This is the main finding: people with no symptoms not only were positive after the serological tests but also had antibodies able to kill the virus,” Apolone said.
Ordinary mouthwash can “inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus,” U.K. study finds | Added November 18
Commonly-used mouthwashes are able to kill the coronavirus within 30 seconds of exposure in laboratory conditions, a new study from scientists in the U.K. has found.
The study from Cardiff University, which has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal, suggests that some widely-available mouthwashes could help to kill the virus in saliva. However, this does not mean they would be able to treat the virus within the body, or act as a cure.
The preliminary results come ahead of a clinical trial at the University Hospital of Wales that will examine how effective mouthwash is in reducing the amount of coronavirus found in the saliva of Covid-19 patients.
The researchers, from Cardiff’s Systems Immunity Research Institute, tested how effective a handful of mouthwashes containing ethanol/essential oils, cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) and povidone-iodine (PVP-I) were at eradicating the virus, finding that three of the mouthwashes they tried eradicated the virus completely.
Meanwhile Pfizer is possibly days away from filing for vaccine emergency use authorization | Added November 17
You’ll see posted just below this story that Johnson & Johnson is collecting data from late-stage trials and is looking to file for U.S. authorization early next year. Not to be outdone, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has announced that his company intends to submit for an emergency use authorization very soon. Possibly within the next few days or week.
Pfizer may be within days of filing for an emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine, having collected the safety data necessary to submit an application to the Food and Drug Administration, CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday.
“We are very close to submitting for an emergency use authorization,” Bourla said during the STAT Summit, which this year is a virtual event. Bourla sidestepped the question of whether Pfizer’s filing would be made this week.
“Let us not create expectations,” he said in conversation with STAT’s Matthew Herper. “We will announce it as soon as we are doing it.”
The FDA required manufacturers to follow at least half of the people who received vaccine in their Phase 3 clinical trials for two months, to ensure there is at least that amount of safety data before a vaccine is considered for use.
Johnson & Johnson expects to seek U.S. authorization for coronavirus vaccine by February 2021 | Added November 17
Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ.N chief scientist said the drugmaker is recruiting over 1,000 people per day for the late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine and expects to have all the data needed to seek U.S. authorization by February or earlier.
“By the end of the year or around the end of the year, we should have 60,000 people in the study,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, said in an interview ahead of this week’s Reuters Total Health conference.
“And efficacy endpoint should be there in the first few weeks or months, January or February, of the new year,” he added.
The Phase III trial of the single-dose vaccine started in late September. The company paused the trial in October because of a serious medical event in one participant and resumed after getting the green light from an independent safety panel.
J&J must provide safety data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for at least one-half of trial participants for a duration of two months after they receive the vaccine. “So that will bring us around the year end or early next year for having all the data,” he added.
Corbett Report interviews Howard Lichtman on ‘No Victim, No Crime’ | Added November 17
Howard Lichtman joins James Corbett today to introduce ThickRedLine.org, an effort to restore respect for law enforcement by abolishing victimless crime. ThickRedLine seeks to upend the narrative that keeps the public afraid of breaking the unlawful orders of the politicians and prevents officers from following their own conscience. Additional notes at this link.
Washington Post calls for investigating the origins of the coronavirus. It took them this long? | Added November 17
The Washington Post writes, “Most likely, the virus was a zoonotic spillover, a leap from animals to humans, which have become more common as people push into new areas where they have closer contact with wildlife.”
Commentary from Eric:
The quote above, from a recent Washington Post editorial linked below) is pure Fauci (virus czar at the NIH). The Post’s editorial writers open by using Fauci’s reasoning as the probably conclusion, though the editorial gets better, and asks real questions that we have been onto since the beginning.
Meanwhile Peter Daszak of Eco-Health Alliance — an early operator in this crisis on the level of Fauci, Drosten or Ferguson like them all dating back many years — works with and for and over and under and through the Wuhan Institute of Virology and also is — I have read — chairman of a lab origin investigation by The Lancet. He is not mentioned.
The investigation should be about him! Eco-Health and Daszak are the scientists who go over to the next province and collect virus samples from bat caves, which are then taken back to the Wuhan Virus Factory and juiced up. The investigation should be about Eco-Health Alliance, a NIAID (Fauci) contractor, funneling cash into the China Virus Factory.
Meanwhile Fauci is pushing this “humans encroaching” schtick to appeal to the Eco Left — ohh our bad karma we deserve this — when the guy personally commissions gain-of-function research, against US law.
The most absurd conspiracy theory in this whole scenario is the zoonotic transmission, market vector one. There is not one iota of physical evidence for this – everything at Huanan Market was “washed down and sterilized” before samples could be take. Bye bye evidence!
Because whatever they found there would have to be THE THING that is ostensibly causing people to get sick and die – but, instead, the thing being tested for came out of Sars1 computer code and a few extra dead nucleotides.
So, yes, a bat flew 600 miles from its cave, had lunch with a pangolin visiting town from the tropics… and Madison Square Garden shut down.
From The Washington Post:
AFTER SO much death and illness, a mystery from the first days of the novel coronavirus has yet to be solved. We still don’t understand its origins or how it became a global killer. The answers lie in China, and quite possibly beyond. The world needs a credible, impartial investigation to better prepare for future pandemics.
Most likely, the virus was a zoonotic spillover, a leap from animals to humans, which have become more common as people push into new areas where they have closer contact with wildlife. The facts are still extremely sparse. The closest-known relatives to this coronavirus were collected from bats in China’s Yunnan province in 2012 to 2013 and in 2019. The first one matches the virus genetic sequence by 96.2 percent, and the second one by 93.3 percent. But with a genome size of about 30,000 nucleotides, the closest bat virus is still nearly 1,200 nucleotides distant.
Moderna announces vaccine efficacy results, claims to reduce risk of infection by 94.5% | Added November 16
As the article below states, exactly one week after Pfizer and BioNTech announced their vaccine efficacy results, Moderna has announced that their coronavirus vaccine is “strongly effective”.
Moderna’s vaccine against Covid-19 is strongly effective, the company said Monday, building excitement about the potential of controlling the global pandemic.
The news comes exactly a week after results from Pfizer and BioNTech, which announced broadly similar results.
The Moderna vaccine reduced the risk of Covid-19 infection by 94.5%. There were 95 cases of infection among patients who received placebo in the company’s 30,000-patient study. There were only five infections in patients who developed Covid-19 after receiving Moderna’s vaccine, mRNA-1273.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, admitted the preliminary data for the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines — the only two so far to have early estimates of vaccine efficacy — are better than he had anticipated.
Anthony Fauci: a vaccine won’t be the end of masks and social distancing | Added November 16
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, on Sunday recommended continued protections such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing after a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Fauci on “State of the Union” if “once the process is complete, does that mean [people] can take off their masks, they don’t have to social distance, they can just go about their lives as before?”
“I would recommend that that is not the case. I would recommend you have an added area of protection,” Fauci replied.
“Obviously, with a 90-plus percent effective vaccine, you could feel much more confident. But I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you have been vaccinated, because even though, for the general population, it might be 90 to 95 percent effective, you don’t necessarily know, for you, how effective it is,” he added.
Near-lockdowns to take effect in certain U.S. states | Added November 14
This past week, state officials in the U.S. began to impose a new round of restrictive measures in the name of slowing the spread of Covid-19. Many Americans are voicing their concerns regarding the shutdowns, citing, among other issues, the lack of federal aid for small businesses, which once again puts owners and employees at risk of losing their livelihoods.
In one of the strictest measures seen in the country since last spring, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a partial lockdown to take hold in the state next Wednesday. Beyond closures of gyms and restaurants, the order prohibits social gatherings of more than six people, from more than two households, indoors or outdoors, for two weeks. According to the Associated Press, no exceptions will be made for the Thanksgiving holiday, and violators may be subject to fines or arrest. Brown has told the Oregon State Police to engage local law enforcement in implementing these measures.
From The Washington Post:
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said the state is at a “breaking point” and reinstated the most heightened public health restrictions, including prohibiting on-site dining and requiring nonessential businesses to close their physical locations. The state recorded 1,742 coronavirus cases Thursday, a record.
Late Friday, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) issued a statewide mask mandate after months of resistance. It will last until Dec. 14. Burgum also limited bar and restaurant capacity to 50 percent and suspended high school winter sports for a month. Cases in North Dakota have increased 60 percent in the past month and Burgum said this week that hospitals are so strained the state will allow health care workers to continue working after they test positive. Burgum’s spokesman said it is a potential short-term tool.
Officials say they are making such decisions under considerable pressure.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said she called for lockdowns only after experts showed her projections that at least 1,000 people could die by year’s end unless the city took immediate action.
“If the possibility of 1,000 more people dying doesn’t grab you by the throat as it did me when I started to see that model, there’s very little we can do to move you,” she said. “People are dying. We’re seeing a daily uptick. This is literally a matter of life and death.”
CNBC: Fauci says U.S. has ‘independent spirit,’ but now is the time to ‘do what you’re told’ — also mentions vaccine timeline | Added November 14
While speaking at the Washington National Cathedral on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci commented on the independent spirit of the U.S. and the U.K., and, in what will most likely add even more fuel to the fire, said that “now is the time to do what you’re told.”
In the above video, Fauci also details a proposed timetable for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine and comments on anti-vaxxers and the vaccine hesitant. Regarding the timetable, he says that health officials are looking to get people in the general population (as opposed to health care workers or those deemed high-risk) vaccinated by the second quarter of 2021.
Whitehouse coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks that Americans have an independent spirit, but that there are times when it’s in our best interest to follow the rules.
Fauci, speaking on Thursday at Washington National Cathedral with other top health experts on the pandemic, noted that it is a bit unfair to compare the United States’ coronavirus response with other countries. The United States isn’t an island with five million people that can easily be shut down, he notes. So suppressing and controlling the virus is a lot more of a challenge.
“I was talking with my U.K. colleagues who are saying the U.K. is similar to where we are now, because each of our countries have that independent spirit,” he said on stage. “I can understand that, but now is the time to do what you’re told.”
Did Pfizer CEO time the sale of more than half his stock to profit from Monday’s press release? | Added November 14
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold 62% of his stock on the same day the company announced its experimental COVID-19 vaccine succeeded in clinical trials.
The vaccine announcement sent Pfizer’s shares soaring almost 15% on the day.
Bourla sold 132,508 shares in the company at an average price of $41.94 a share, or $5.6 million total, according to filings registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 52-week high for Pfizer’s stock is $41.99, meaning Bourla sold his stock at almost its highest value in the past year.
His stock sale was carried out through a routine Rule 10b5-1, a predetermined trading plan that allows company staff members to sell their stock in line with insider-trading laws. Bourla’s sale was part of a plan adopted August 19, the filing showed. He continues to own 81,812 Pfizer shares.
A closer look raises key questions about designs of clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines | Added November 14
The primary analyses are a bit more expanded, but need to be less efficacious for success: about sixty percent. AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer have primary analyses that distribute the vaccine to only 100, 151, 154, and 164 participants respectively. These companies state that they do not “intend” to stop trials after the primary analyses, but there is every chance that they intend to pursue an EUA and focus on manufacturing the vaccine rather than further thorough testing.
The second surprise from these protocols is how mild the requirements for contracted Covid-19 symptoms are. A careful reading reveals that the minimum qualification for a case of Covid-19 is a positive PCR test and one or two mild symptoms. These include headache, fever, cough, or mild nausea. This is far from adequate. These vaccine trials are testing to prevent common cold symptoms.
These trials certainly do not give assurance that the vaccine will protect from the serious consequences of Covid-19. Johnson & Johnson is the only trial that requires the inclusion of severe Covid-19 cases, at least 5 for the 75 participant interim analysis.
One of the more immediate questions a trial needs to answer is whether a vaccine prevents infection. If someone takes this vaccine, are they far less likely to become infected with the virus? These trials all clearly focus on eliminating symptoms of Covid-19, and not infections themselves. Asymptomatic infection is listed as a secondary objective in these trials when they should be of critical importance.
Let’s take a moment to understand this “great bifurcation” of worldviews in the time of Covid-19 | Added November 14
In this opinion piece from early September, Guy Crittenden, Canadian journalist with 25 years experience as an editor of environmental business magazines, succinctly describes the polarized perspectives on Covid-19.
He wonders how these two groups might reconcile their differences peacefully and with respect, learning from each other. He offers his example as someone working to bridge the divide.
Wherever you are in all this, you must admit this is an interesting situation, and quite a predicament! We have two groups of people with radically different ideas about what’s happening, the nature of the threat, and what we should do about it. For one group our very lives depend on compliance with government orders; for the other group such compliance will seal humanity’s fate in an Orwellian dystopia.
How do we determine which group is right? The consequences to either group of being wrong are very serious (for all involved). How do we break through this Mexican standoff? How do we interrupt the pattern of people doubling down on their commitment to their preferred narrative? Could it involve people learning to distrust “belief” itself? Could some uncorrupted international body be entrusted to sort out the truth? Or do we turn away from authority entirely? It’s been rather shocking, the level of vitriol and personal attacks, from either side.
NYT reporter continues to point out flaws in PCR without questioning case or death count | Added November 13
In this NYT article, science journalist Katherine J. Wu, who has recently reported several times on certain issues with the PCR test, investigates the niche false positive problem now arising for researchers whose work brings them into contact with the genetic material of coronaviruses.
If the PCR test produces a positive result even when only non-active genetic material is present—as this article claims is the case for these researchers at university labs “where no active viruses were involved in the research”—how can we be sure that a PCR test in any other situation is not merely detecting non-active genetic material as well?
For instance, how do we know that replicated genetic material from positive PCR tests isn’t contaminating the labs where PCR testing is being done?
Wu doesn’t ask this question. Why does the scientific scrutiny—and the journalistic integrity—of this NYT reporter, who has a Ph.D. from Harvard in microbiology and immunobiology, fall short?
The genome of the coronavirus is written in RNA, a close cousin of the DNA found in human cells, and is relatively fragile in its natural state. Converted to DNA, however, the virus’s genes can linger for long periods on surfaces, objects and passers-by, perhaps after being splashed or sprayed out of lab equipment.
After the spate of positive test results this summer, researchers at the Wyss Institute and the Church lab, led by the virologist Lindsey Robinson-McCarthy, started to survey their surroundings for genetic residue. Wayward bits of DNA, they found, had made their way onto equipment, sinks, door handles, backpacks and clothing. A few fragments even hitchhiked home with one researcher, contaminating a doormat that then deposited the molecules onto the shoe of an unwitting family member.
“It was everywhere,” said Gabriel Filsinger, a member of the Church lab who has been working with coronavirus genetic material and tested positive in June. “It went further than we would ever imagine. My backpack has been continuously positive this entire time.”
Members of Joe Biden’s Covid19 advisory board clarify position on lockdowns | Added November 13
Two members of Joe Biden’s Covid19 advisory board, Dr. Celine Gounder and Dr. Michael Osterholm, have clarified their positions on lockdowns following Osterholm’s comments on closing businesses for four to six weeks. Biden announced the members of his Covid-19 advisory task force on November 9.
As reported by HuffPost, the advisory panel will include, among others, “Dr. David Kessler, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under President Bill Clinton; Dr. Vivek Murthy, who served as surgeon general under President Barack Obama; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of public health at Yale University.”
A full list may be found at the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board announcement.
Implementing widespread restrictions to suppress the coronavirus pandemic is “not the opinion” of the panel of infectious disease experts advising President-elect Joe Biden, said Dr. Celine Gounder, who sits on the panel.
“As a group, really the consensus is that we need a more nuanced approach,” Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday. “We can be much more targeted geographically. We can also be more targeted in terms of what we close.”
Osterholm later clarified his comments in an interview with NBC News, saying “it was not a recommendation. I have never made this recommendation to Biden’s group. We’ve never talked about it.”
A Biden transition official told NBC News that a shutdown “is not in line with the president-elect’s thinking.”
Russia and North Korea reportedly hacked coronavirus researchers; Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit to the rescue | Added November 13
According to Microsoft, hacker groups from Russia and North Korea have targeted coronavirus researchers across the world. Although the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, which is a real thing, is not specifically said to be involved in the action being taken against these groups, Microsoft has “notified all organizations targeted,” and has offered help where attacks have been successful.
Russian and North Korean government operatives have attempted to breach seven high-profile companies developing coronavirus vaccines and treatments and have succeeded on several occasions, Microsoft said Friday.
“The targets include leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea, and the United States,” Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of customer security and trust, wrote in a blog post.
Microsoft attributed the malicious activity to three groups: Strontium, a unit of Russia’s military intelligence agency that’s also known as Fancy Bear and APT28; Zinc, a North Korean hacker team better known as the Lazarus Group; and Cerium, another North Korean group.
A target on their backs: Coronavirus research and potential vaccines have become a major target of nation-state hackers during the pandemic. In May, CISA and the FBI announced an espionage campaign by Chinese hackers. At around the same time, Reuters reported that Iranian hackers had targeted the pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences, which is researching a treatment for the virus. Two months later, federal prosecutors included coronavirus-focused hacking in a sweeping indictment of two alleged Chinese hackers.
As second round of lockdowns roll out, toilet paper and tomato sauce in stock | Added November 13
When rumors first began to circulate that the UK would go back into lockdown, Leanne Barnes despaired as bread and toilet roll flew off the shelves again at her local supermarket. But to her surprise, shelves were back to being fully stocked within a few days.
Barnes stocked her pantry last time around with a few additional comfort foods – macaroni cheese, ravioli, soup and spaghetti. But as of last week, she said she felt no urge to stockpile goods.
So far, consumers haven’t returned to the sort of panic buying frenzy that sent packaged-food manufacturers scrambling earlier this year.
At the same time, major food companies – including Campbell Soup CPB.N, Kraft Heinz KHC.O and McCormick & Co MKC.N – told Reuters or have said publicly that they have taken measures like changing their production, packaging or pricing so retailers can keep shelves stocked.
Their steps include expanding manufacturing, hiring more workers, re-routing products from restaurants to grocery stores, and turning to bigger pack sizes. Many of their moves came at a high financial cost.
Critique of rapid antigen test actually reveals flaw in use of PCR and raises questions about asymptomatic infectiousness | Added November 12
Eric’s comment: In this article from November 2, the NYT is quoting people calling for a cycle threshold cutoff of 30. So when are they going to mention this along with the “case count”? That is the fraud — they understand the issue, and do not apply their knowledge.
When asked about the Sofia’s poorer performance in asymptomatic people, Dr. Harris said, “I think everybody expected that.”
But he and his colleagues argued in their manuscript that some of the asymptomatic people who tested positive with P.C.R., but negative with the rapid test, might have been missed for good reason: They were carrying too little of the coronavirus to spread it to others.
Some P.C.R.-based tests can be configured to produce a number called the cycle threshold, or C.T., which increases as the amount of virus in the body decreases.
Of the 13 asymptomatic people who were not identified by the Sofia test, 12 had C.T. values in the 30s.
“At these high values, we don’t even know if a P.C.R. test is ‘correct,’” said Werner Kroll, senior vice president of research and development at Quidel. As with any diagnostic tool, false positives can appear in P.C.R.-based tests. These tests can also pick up on harmless genetic fragments of the coronavirus that linger in the body for weeks after people have recovered.
The researchers were also unable to grow the coronavirus out of samples from volunteers whose P.C.R. tests had C.T. values above 27. “If I don’t have live virus, I am not infectious at all,” Dr. Harris said.
When Dr. Harris and his colleagues discarded all P.C.R. positives with C.T. values above 30 from their data set, the rapid test detected more than 85 percent of the coronavirus infections detected by the lab test, regardless of whether people were symptomatic.
Updates on Operation Warp Speed and conscientious objection to mandated vaccines | Added November 12
In a conversation from the day of the U.S. election, Mary Holland, vice chair of Children’s Health Defense, and Polly Tommey, producer of Vaxxed, discuss developments in the global race to produce a Covid-19 vaccine. Here is a backup link to the video. They offer updates about the ongoing legal work to prevent vaccination mandates, as well as information about the risks of this new generation of rushed, experimental vaccines.
Here is investigative journalist Whitney Webb’s recent interview from November 1, which Holland mentions. You can find the video here if the original is no longer available. In it, Webb discusses the U.S. military’s involvement in Operation Warp Speed, the government’s effort to get a Covid-19 vaccine to market in record time.
Holland notes, “We’ve never pulled out the military for distribution of an alleged medicine ever before. The process of this is waking people up, and it’s going to wake people up more. There’s just no question. Will it be in time? That’s the question.”
NYT on logistics of Pfizer’s vaccine distribution | Added November 12
The New York Times has published an article detailing the moving parts involved in the distribution of Pfizer’s much publicized vaccine. Specifically it is expected to involve the cooperation of private companies, federal agencies, state agencies, and health care workers.
Tanya Alcorn, the Pfizer executive responsible for overseeing the supply chain for the vaccine, is quoted as saying “I am very confident. I live and breathe this,” but that “the challenge, of course, that’s out there is: Are people going to go get vaccinated?”
“It would be a shame that we did all this work, and then we don’t have the public trusting that there’s a safe vaccine.”
Before Pfizer can begin shipping its vaccine, federal and state governments must tell it where to send how many doses. McKesson, a major medical supplier, will have to provide hospitals and other distribution sites with the syringes, needles and other supplies necessary to administer the vaccine.
Employees at those locations will need to be trained to store and administer the vaccine. They will also have to ensure that, four weeks after people get the vaccine, they return for a second dose. And millions of Americans must be persuaded to get the shots in the first place.
“We have a lot of confusion at the state and the local health departments level, and a lot of concern about the nitty-gritty of deployment,” said Dr. Saad B. Omer, the director of the Yale Institute for Global Health. “Which places, where to vaccinate, how to get the vaccine there, how to identify people in various risk groups, how to document, how to call back people for the second dose.”
New York faces limits on private gatherings; daily curfew for bars and restaurants | Added November 11
On the topic of indoor venues, bars and restaurants will be facing a daily 10 pm curfew in New York. Limits on gatherings at private homes will be implemented as well starting November 13.
With coronavirus cases surging in New York and across the country, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday that private indoor and outdoor gatherings statewide would be limited to 10 people and that gyms, bars and restaurants must close daily at 10 p.m.
The restrictions will take effect Friday, and Mr. Cuomo said that local governments will be responsible for enforcing them. The limit on gatherings will apply to private homes. The curfew will apply only to bars and restaurants licensed by the state liquor authority, and restaurants can continue to provide takeout and delivery after 10 p.m., but only for food.
Mr. Cuomo said that officials were moved to announce the new restrictions as they confronted an increase in cases.
“Bars, restaurants, gyms, house parties,” Mr. Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters. “That’s where it’s coming from, primarily.”
New study pretends Covid-19 cellphone surveillance is crucial for identifying obvious social inequities and distinguishing infection risk at venues | Added November 11
On Tuesday, the journal Nature published findings from a study tracking people’s movements through cellphone data from March through May. The paper justifies the surveillance by claiming that the research reveals insights into demographic disparities and the riskiest indoor venues: “By capturing who is infected at which locations, our model supports detailed analyses that can inform more effective and equitable policy responses to COVID-19.”
The New York Times reported on the study’s conclusions: According to the cellphone data, restaurants are the most crowded indoor public venues. Infectious disease models, established separately from models unique to this study, predict higher rates of infection in more crowded indoor venues. Restaurants in lower income communities are more crowded than those in more affluent communities. Therefore, lower income communities are likely to suffer more during a pandemic than affluent ones.
No kidding. Did we need Chan Zuckerburg Biohub and Microsoft Research to track our “hourly movements” to tell us this?
From The New York Times:
Infectious disease models had provided similar estimates of the risk posed by crowded indoor spaces, going back to February; all such models are subject to uncertainties, due largely to unforeseen changes in community behavior. The new analysis provides more precise estimates for how much each kind of venue contributed to urban outbreaks, by tracking hourly movements and taking into account the reductions in mobility from lockdown restrictions or other changes that occurred during those first crucial months. It did not model infection in schools or office workplaces.
“Restaurants were by far the riskiest places, about four times riskier than gyms and coffee shops, followed by hotels” in terms of new infections, said Jure Leskovec, a computer scientist at Stanford University and senior author of the new report, in a conference call with reporters. The study was a collaboration between scientists at Stanford, Northwestern University, Microsoft Research and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.
An open letter to the Prime Minister from an ordinary person concerned about vaccine over-reliance | Added November 11
For the attention of:
The Rt Hon Boris Johnson, MP,
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Dear Prime Minister
Why has there been such a disproportionate and ill-targeted response to the coronavirus, grossly disrupting global economies and societies?
Much remains unknown about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including the immune response. Why is there a mad rush for coronavirus vaccine products? This is a massive global experiment underway.
I fear we are heading towards disaster with this ‘warp speed’ vaccination plan.
What about the ethical considerations of implementing vaccine products which could seriously impact on people’s natural defences against this virus and others?
Is it ethical to deny people their opportunity for a natural response to this virus, and to plan to make them dependent on what might be very questionable ‘vaccine-induced immunity’ of unknown duration and adverse effects? Is the aim to make people dependent on the vaccine industry?
This could be a ‘crime against humanity’ in the making.
Consider this admission by Heidi Larson, Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project, during the WHO Global Vaccine Safety Summit late last year, i.e.
“We’ve shifted the human population…to dependency on vaccine-induced immunity…We’re in a very fragile state now. We have developed a world that is dependent on vaccinations”.
This is a very alarming statement by Professor Larson, particularly with the prospect of other epidemics emerging in the future. We have to learn to deal with epidemics and illnesses as they emerge, it’s not feasible to lockdown the world and plan to vaccinate the global population against every threat. Where has this bizarre and increasingly dystopian response come from?
Prime Minister, there has been a ‘vaccine’ mindset on this from the beginning, at the cost of considering effective treatments for the vulnerable and sick, and simple preventatives such as vitamin D.
Why has the response to this virus been so ill-targeted and disproportionate?
We need an investigation into conflicts of interest in this area of public health policy, including the influence of the World Health Organisation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
The international community must be assured that independent and objective thinkers are carefully considering the way ahead.
Please see my referenced rapid responses on The BMJ:
– Looking at Sweden, COVID-19 and vitamin D… 13 July 2020.– Is it ethical to vaccinate children to protect the elderly? 5 August 2020.– Why do we need a vaccine for Covid-19? 1 September 2020.– SARS-CoV-2 virus – disproportionate and ill-targeted response. 5 October 2020.– Covid-19 – “much to gain, by taking vitamin D supplements…” 5 October 2020.
Feds provide potential timeline for Pfizer vaccine distribution starting this December | Added November 10
Things are moving right along: just one day after Pfizer issued a press release on the efficacy of their vaccine (which, you can find our take on that posted just below this story) federal health officials have provided in-depth projections for the vaccine’s distribution, beginning this year.
Federal health officials on Tuesday provided the most detailed projections to date about when a wider swath of Americans may be able to begin to receive Covid-19 vaccines, once any is authorized, and treatments outside of an experimental setting, and about what that could look like.
People deemed highest priority — perhaps health care workers or nursing home residents — could be vaccinated in December, with more widespread vaccination to come in the first months of next year, the officials said, laying out an ambitious timeline that could well be thwarted by delays.
Pfizer says its experimental vaccine is 90% effective; FDA hasn’t reviewed clinical trial results | Added November 10
On Monday, the pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, in partnership with BioNTech, published a news release claiming their experimental vaccine to be “more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19.”
Yesterday, the New York Times reported on the announcement, calling the drug company’s self-promotion “a promising development” in the context of “a pandemic that has killed more than 1.2 million people,” once again failing to mention its own coverage of the unreliability of the PCR test, the method being used to count “cases” and attribute deaths to Covid-19.
The Washington Post published an opinion piece rallying the troops around Pfizer’s vaccine and press release. Note that, back in May, Moderna also issued a positive Covid-19 press release, causing a big stir as markets soared. Stat News called out the company for acting irresponsibly, noting their lack of data. This was followed by a call for an investigation into insider trading. Where do we stand on that investigation today?
Remember what a press release is: companies attempting to put out good press for their product.
From The New York Times:
Pfizer plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of the two-dose vaccine later this month, after it has collected the recommended two months of safety data. By the end of the year it will have manufactured enough doses to immunize 15 million to 20 million people, company executives have said.
“This is a historical moment,” said Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer. “This was a devastating situation, a pandemic, and we have embarked on a path and a goal that nobody ever has achieved — to come up with a vaccine within a year.”
Why PCR testing strategy is scientifically invalid per Fauci’s own reasoning | Added November 10
Do decentralized Covid-19 tests pose a “hidden public health hazard”?| Added November 10
Here’s an opinion piece taking the stance that rapid testing poses a problem because demographics of positive results aren’t being documented in these instances. According to the author’s argument, rapid tests miss the opportunity to collect data that could inform us about disparities associated with factors such as race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
The article explains that while laboratories are federally required to collect and report certain information about the people getting testing, rapid tests administered at home, in the workplace or at community sites are not subject to these regulations and thus contribute to a “data deficit” regarding Covid-19.
Should these tests come with the requirement to report demographic data and results to governmental agencies, in order to “create a more effective data system for public health,” as the writer argues? The article does not discuss any of the ethical concerns that come with mandating data collection, digitizing data, and recording citizens’ public health records in a centralized governmental database.
From Stat News:
Rapid Covid-19 tests are being deployed by the millions across the nation. The federal government is sending these tests, which can provide results in minutes, to states for educators, students, nursing home patients, first responders, and other sites.
That’s a good thing. But in a rush to get individual test results, we’re making a dangerous public health mistake: We’re losing critical data about Covid-19.
For months, the U.S. has struggled to get accurate information about Covid-19 cases and testing about different demographic groups. As rapid tests surge — and are performed at sites that don’t follow specific Covid-19 data reporting processes — even more information will be lost.
Revisiting biological model of an adaptive immune system with Beda Stadler, immunologist, biologist and professor emeritus | Added November 10
Beda Stadler’s analysis of the situation surrounding Covid-19 is worth returning to as we move into tense discussions of vaccines, lockdowns, and public health mandates.
Over the summer, the former director of the Institute of Immunology at the University of Bern published an article in Weltwoche, a Swiss magazine, which challenged several conclusions of virologists and epidemiologists.
In the interview above, Stadler discusses his perspective in greater detail. Here is a transcription of the conversation.
Brazil halts trial of vaccine from Chinese developer Sinovac | Added November 10
Brazil has halted one of their coronavirus vaccine trial due to what some publications are calling a “severe adverse reaction.” The vaccine is from Sinovac, a Chinese developer. In October it was approved for import by Brazilian regulators despite President Bolsonaro’s disapproval.
Sinovac isn’t the only Chinese developer that’s attempted to export their vaccine trial overseas. In July we posted about CanSino Biologics’ attempt to launch an overseas Phase III trial of a vaccine co-developed with China’s military. Brazil was one of the prospective countries meant to import the vaccine.
Quite a few outlets use the phrase “severe adverse reaction” in the headline, but do not detail what the reaction was. However, South China Morning Post refers to it as an “unrelated death” and Reuters has reportedly seen a police report and refers to it as “suicide”.
Brazil’s health regulator suspended a clinical trial of China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine due to a severe adverse event, delighting President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly criticized the vaccine’s credibility and said it would not be purchased by his government.
Brazil’s health regulator, Anvisa, suspended the trials late on Monday saying the event occurred on Oct. 29.
The state government of Sao Paulo, where the trial is being run, said the death of a trial volunteer had been registered as a suicide and was being investigated. A police report of the incident was seen by Reuters.
The suspension further inflamed tensions between Bolsonaro and Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, who has pinned his political ambitions on the Chinese vaccine which he aims to roll out in his state as early as January, with or without federal assistance.
Utah governor requires masks for all | Added November 9
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has announced a new statewide mask mandate and additional measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus amid a steep spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.
Under the new mask requirement, all Utah residents must wear masks in public and when within 6 feet of anyone they don’t live with.
In an address Sunday evening, Herbert said the measures were necessary to relieve the overwhelming burden on the state’s hospitals and medical professionals.
“Masks do not negatively affect our economy, and wearing them is the easiest way to slow the spread of the virus,” the governor said. “We cannot afford to debate this issue any longer. Individual freedom is certainly important, and it is our rule of law that protects that freedom.”
Herbert said, “Laws are put in places to protect all of us. That’s why we have traffic lights, speed limits and seatbelts, and that’s why we now have a mask mandate.”
North Denmark in lockdown amidst mink culling | Added November 9
We’ve previously posted on the mink culling taking place in Denmark. Shortly after the culling was announced, North Denmark was placed into lockdown.
According to the article excerpted below, 12 people were purportedly found to have the mutated strain of the coronavirus that prompted the mink culling. Although it’s said that “there is no evidence that any of the mutations pose an increased danger to people” a government official in charge of the response offered: “Instead of waiting for evidence, it is better to act quickly.”
I’m sure those minks would disagree.
North Denmark in lockdown after mutated coronavirus infects minks being farmed for fur
More than a quarter million Danes went into lockdown Friday in a northern region of the country where a mutated variation of the coronavirus has infected minks being farmed for their fur, leading to an order to kill millions of the animals.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the move was meant to contain the virus, and it came two days after the government ordered the cull of all 15 million minks bred at Denmark’s 1,139 mink farms.
The coronavirus evolves constantly and, to date, there is no evidence that any of the mutations pose an increased danger to people. But Danish authorities were not taking any chances.
“Instead of waiting for evidence, it is better to act quickly,” said Tyra Grove Krause, head department at Statens Serum Institut, a government agency that maps the spread of the coronavirus in Denmark.
Covid19 vaccine market worth $10bn -$25bn a year | Added November 9
One inaccurate idea floating around that has come out of the massive, Covid-19 vaccine PR campaign is that the pharmaceutical companies are working solely for the public benefit (ie free). That’s not true for all of them and according to calculations from Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, as reported by The Guardian. the market for a Covid-19 vaccine could be worth more than $10bn a year.
There are vaccine producers, such as Johnson & Johnson (recently in the news for lawsuits related to their role in the U.S. opioid epidemic, and cancer causing talcum powder) and Astrazeneca, that have pledged to “make their vaccines available on a not-for-profit basis during this pandemic.” Meanwhile Pfizer and Moderna, arguably the two lead Covid-19 vaccine producers in the U.S., do not plan to make their mRNA vaccines available on a not-for-profit basis. How much these companies stand to gain is explored further in The Guardian article, excerpted below
From the article:
Future market for Covid vaccines ‘could be worth more than $10bn a year’
The future market for Covid-19 vaccines could be worth more than $10bn (£7.6bn) in annual revenues for pharmaceutical companies, according to industry experts, even though some drugmakers have pledged to provide their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis during this pandemic.
The calculations by analysts at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse assume people will need to be vaccinated every year, similar to the traditional flu jab, with an average price of $20 for a Covid-19 vaccine dose. Prices range from $3 a dose to $37.
Matthew Harrison, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, estimates that even if only those who receive an annual flu jab take a Covid-19 shot, this would generate $10bn a year in revenues for the pharmaceutical industry in the US, Europe and other developed countries. He put the cost of producing a vaccine at $5-$10 a dose. The size of the market depends on whether people need to take the vaccine every year, or less frequently, as well as vaccination rates, and could be worth up to $25bn a year globally, he said.
Evan Seigerman, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said the US market alone could be worth $10bn, based on Pfizer’s vaccine pricing of $19.50 a dose, and assuming that 330 million citizens receive two doses each.
NYSBA calls for New York’s Department of Health to mandate Covid-19 vaccine | Added November 9
In May, the New York State Bar Association began the process of reviewing a resolution regarding the state’s public health laws, calling for New York to require that all New Yorkers be vaccinated against Covid-19. The resolution was passed by the association’s House of Delegates on November 7.
“The magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented over the last 100 years by any measure – the number of lives lost, the survivors who remain seriously ill, the risks faced by health care workers, the disproportionate impact on communities of color, the profound trauma and the disruption to our economy,” said NYSBA President Scott M. Karson. “The United States was unprepared to deal with this pandemic. We need to take these actions to be sure we are ready should there be a rise in New York’s caseload during the cold, winter months.”
“In balancing the protection of the public’s health and civil liberties, the Public Health Law recognizes that a person’s health can and does affect others,” said Mary Beth Morrissey, chair of the Health Law Section’s Task Force on COVID-19, which proposed the resolutions approved by the House of Delegates today.
“The authority of the state to respond to a public health crisis is well-established in constitutional law. It may become necessary to require that certain individuals or communities be vaccinated, such as health care workers and students, to protect the public’s health,” said Morrissey, a research fellow at Fordham University’s Global Health Care Innovation Management Center and a faculty member in the graduate schools.
Alabama’s Covid-19 vaccine plan prioritizes immunizing vulnerable populations and recording patients in online state vaccine database | Added November 9
The Alabama Department of Public Health has released its new plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine.
This plan, which details how Alabamians can get the vaccine once it is available, was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on October 16.
“We want to assure the public that there will be equitable distribution of vaccine to all Alabamians, especially to vulnerable populations in rural and urban areas,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “Many external partners will have input in vaccine allocations.”
The plan has three phases:
Phase 1 — “Potentially limited” vaccine doses will be prioritized to those of highest risk of exposure and health consequences. This includes first responders and healthcare workers who care for those with critical needs.
Phase 2 — The vaccine will be available in large numbers of doses that are expected to meet demand. The ADPH will work to educate critical populations who were not vaccinated in Phase 1.
Phase 3 — The ADPH expects a sufficient supply of the vaccine, allowing all unvaccinated people to get the shot. However, the department will give particular attention to populations with low vaccine coverage.
New mask, designed by engineers at MIT, uses “thermal inactivation” to “allow you to breathe medically sterile air” | Added November 9
The current design uses a 9-volt battery to heat copper mesh to 90 degrees Celsius, with the aim of degrading any coronavirus that passes through the mask. Neoprene would ostensibly protect the wearer from the extreme heat. The research has been submitted for peer-review.
Professor Michael Strano, senior author of the paper, states that while currently available masks “are designed to capture some of the virus,” none of these options can inactivate viruses. According to the researchers, though these heated masks would be expensive, they wouldn’t need to be “decontaminated or thrown away after use” like fabric, surgical, and N95 masks, and they might help in situations where “cost is less of a concern.”
The research described in this article has been published on a preprint server but has not yet been peer-reviewed by scientific or medical experts.
Face masks have been shown to be effective at filtering out viruses such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thereby reducing the risk of infection. A team of researchers from MIT now hopes to go one step further and create a mask that inactivates viruses using heat.
The researchers aim to build masks that incorporate a heated copper mesh. As the person wearing the mask breathes in and out, air flows repeatedly across the mesh, and any viral particles in the air are slowed and inactivated by the mesh and high temperatures. Such a mask could be useful for health care professionals, the researchers say, as well as members of the public in situations where social distancing would be difficult to achieve, such as a crowded bus.
“This is a completely new mask concept in that it doesn’t primarily block the virus. It actually lets the virus go through the mask, but slows and inactivates it,” says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT.
NYT: Joe Biden is elected the 46th president of the United States | Added November 7
“For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight,” Mr. Biden, speaking at the conclusion of his third run for the presidency, said. “I’ve lost a couple times myself. But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again.”
He added, “This is the time to heal in America.”
Mr. Biden’s optimistic speech, flecked with references to faith and American history, came 48 years to the day after he was first elected a senator from Delaware. He spoke from a flag-bedecked stage outside the Chase Center on the Riverfront, an event center near the Christina River, where he invoked themes that shaped his presidential campaign.
Internal review reveals CDC officials released first PCR test kits despite knowing about 33% failure rate | Added November 7
We posted The Washington Post’s preliminary investigation into this story in April, which reported that the PCR test kits in question, manufactured by the CDC in January and February, were likely contaminated before the CDC released them to state laboratories. The CDC’s internal review shows that officials did not recall the test kits after issues during rounds of quality control.
Comments from Eric: Once you know a little about lab protocols, these issues multiply like they are in the PCR machine. Who exactly is enforcing quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) in the labs? What are the sources of positive and negative controls, exactly? This article gives some insight into the complexities and pitfalls of the lab testing process. It’s not all as neat and tidy as it seems.
On Feb. 6, a scientist in a small infectious disease lab on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention campus in Atlanta was putting a coronavirus test kit through its final paces. The lab designed and built the diagnostic test in record time, and the little vials that contained necessary reagents to identify the virus were boxed up and ready to go. But NPR has learned the results of that final quality control test suggested something troubling — it said the kit could fail 33% of the time.
Under normal circumstances, that kind of result would stop a test in its tracks, half a dozen public and private lab officials told NPR. But an internal CDC review obtained by NPR confirms that lab officials decided to release the kit anyway. The revelation comes from a CDC internal review, known as a “root-cause analysis,” which the agency conducted to understand why an early coronavirus test didn’t work properly and wound up costing scientists precious weeks in the early days of a pandemic.
In addition to learning of the early warning, reviewers determined the Respiratory Viruses Diagnostic Laboratory, run by a highly regarded scientist named Stephen Lindstrom, was beset with problems, including “process failures, a lack of appropriate recognized laboratory quality standards, and organizational problems related to the support and management of a laboratory supporting an outbreak response,” the review said.
The CDC declined to make Lindstrom or anyone else available for an interview and declined to discuss the unreleased internal review. A spokesman would only say that the agency had “acknowledged and corrected mistakes along the way.”
Without substantial evidence that masks do not harm children, can the government mandate that children over 5 wear them? | Added November 6
Here is a doctor in Germany claiming, in early October, that three children may have died due to masks, and that others have been made sick. Reuters has this report, fact checking the claim — also included is World Health Organization guidance on mask usage for children.
Whether the doctor’s claim is true or not, the issue of mask-induced hypoxia needs to be addressed, especially in the context of children. The WHO itself says that the policy was created based on “the limited available evidence of the use of masks by children.” So how can we safely mandate masks for children over 5?
Also, the issue of whether fabric masks “work” is still up for scientific debate, despite many people claiming that this matter has been settled. And the WHO doesn’t emphasize the differences between fabric masks and medical grade masks in their guidelines.
Is there enough evidence that it’s both safe and effective for children to wear any kind of mask?
Comments from Eric: When discussing “masks” we have heard very little concern about children who are forced to be deprived of oxygen for no medical benefit. Here is a report from Germany of three probable deaths of children from masks, and others who have been made sick. This issue has to be taken up honestly and the anoxia issue MUST be addressed. I had someone tell me yesterday that anoxia was “right wing propaganda.” That is simply not an adequate counterargument. It is not a finding established through the scientific method, and it is appalling. We must address this potentially harmful effect of masks on children.
Smoking gun: Fauci states COVID test has fatal flaw; confession from the “beloved” expert of experts | Added November 6
The COVID delusion is finished, blown apart
By Jon Rappoport
OK, here we go. Smoking gun. Jackpot.
Right from the horse’s mouth. Right from the man we’re told is the number-one COVID expert in the nation. What Fauci says is golden truth.
Well, how about THIS?
July 16, 2020, podcast, “This week in virology”: Tony Fauci makes a point of saying the PCR COVID test is useless and misleading when the test is run at “35 cycles or higher.” A positive result, indicating infection, cannot be accepted or believed.
Here, in techno-speak, is an excerpt from Fauci’s key quote (starting at about the 4-minute mark): “…If you get [perform the test at] a cycle threshold of 35 or more…the chances of it being replication- confident [aka accurate] are miniscule…you almost never can culture virus [detect a true positive result] from a 37 threshold cycle…even 36…”
Each “cycle” of the test is a quantum leap in amplification and magnification of the test specimen taken from the patient.
Too many cycles, and the test will turn up all sorts of irrelevant material that will be wrongly interpreted as relevant.
That’s called a false positive.
What Fauci failed to say on the video is: the FDA, which authorizes the test for public use, recommends the test should be run up to 40 cycles. Not 35.
Therefore, all labs in the US that follow the FDA guideline are knowingly or unknowingly participating in fraud. Fraud on a monstrous level, because…
Millions of Americans are being told they are infected with the virus on the basis of a false positive result, and…
The total number of COVID cases in America—which is based on the test—is a gross falsity.
The lockdowns and other restraining measures are based on these fraudulent case numbers.
Let me back up and run that by you again. Fauci says the test is useless when it’s run at 35 cycles or higher. The FDA says run the test up to 40 cycles, in order to determine whether the virus is there. This is the crime in a nutshell.
If anyone in the White House has a few brain cells to rub together, pick up a giant bullhorn and start revealing the truth to the American people.
“Hello, America, you’ve been tricked, lied to, conned, and taken for a devastating ride. On the basis of fake science, the country was locked down.”
If anyone in the Congress has a few brain cells operating, pull Fauci into a televised hearing and, in ten minutes, make mincemeat out of the fake science that has driven this whole foul, stench-ridden assault on the US economy and its citizens.
All right, here are two chunks of evidence for what I’ve written above. First, we have a CDC quote on the FDA website, in a document titled: “CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel For Emergency Use Only.” See page 35. This document is marked, “Effective: 07/13/20.” That means, even though the virus is being referred to by its older name, the document is still relevant as of July 2020. “For Emergency Use Only” refers to the fact that the FDA has certified the PCR test under a traditional category called “Emergency Use Authorization.”
FDA: “…a specimen is considered positive for 2019-nCoV [virus] if all 2019-nCoV marker (N1, N2) cycle threshold growth curves cross the threshold line within 40.00 cycles (< 40.00 Ct).”
Naturally, MANY testing labs reading this guideline would conclude, “Well, to see if the virus is there in a patient, we should run the test all the way to 40 cycles. That’s the official advice.”
Then we have a New York Times article (August 29/updated September 17) headlined: “Your coronavirus test is positive. Maybe it shouldn’t be.” Here are money quotes:
“Most tests set the limit at 40 [cycles]. A few at 37.” “Set the limit” would usually mean, “We’re going to look all the way to 40 cycles, to see if the virus is there.”
The Times: “This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients.” Boom. That’s the capper, the grand finale. Labs don’t or won’t reveal their collusion in this crime.
Get the picture?
I hope so.
If a lawyer won’t go to court with all this, or if a judge won’t pay attention and see the light, they should be stripped of their jobs and sent to the Arctic to sell snow.
Should governments pay citizens to get vaccinated against Covid-19? Academics weigh in on “payment for ‘civic duty'” | Added November 5
A suggestion by an ethics professor at a leading UK university that governments should pay citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has sparked debate over whether such incentives are ethical, or dangerous, and would boost or limit uptake.
Arguing that governments should consider a “pay for risk” approach to encourage their populations to have COVID-19 shots when they become available, Julian Savulescu, a professor at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University, said it would allow people to make an informed choice
“‘Anti-vaxxers’ may never be convinced to change their stance, but incentivising vaccination may persuade others who might not have done so to get the jab,” he wrote in an article in the BMJ British Medical Journal.
“The advantage of payment for risk is that people are choosing voluntarily to take it on. As long as we are accurate in conveying … the risks and benefits of a vaccine, then it is up to individuals to judge whether they are worth payment.”
Dissidents address flaws in the media’s characterization of them as anti-science Trump supporters | Added November 5
Stat News is the latest publication to echo a reductive argument about Covid-19 policy dissent that has been prevalent leading up to the election.
The article claims that those who voice their disagreements with public health policy, and who engage in the scientific method by challenging scientists’ and policy makers’ interpretation of scientific studies, are anti-science and “have sided with Trump on public health.”
This is the latest example of media coverage that oversimplifies and politicizes the perspectives of those who take issue with the primary Covid-19 narrative in the U.S., many of whom are critical of both Joe Biden’s and Donald Trump’s policies.
In a reassuring trend, several people challenged the article’s argument and its patronizing tone in their comments, resisting the media’s latest attempt to get everyone in lock step.
From Stat News:
WASHINGTON — Even without a presidential winner, one thing is already certain: The 2020 election results were a disaster for public health.
Results from Tuesday and early Wednesday underscore just how many Americans agree with a president who has called the nation’s top scientists “idiots,” openly mocked mask-wearing, and has insisted states must be “liberated” from lockdowns. No matter who wins the presidency, more than 67 million Americans already seem to have sided with Trump on public health. In preliminary exit polls, just 14% of Republican voters surveyed said the coronavirus pandemic was the deciding factor in who they voted for, despite the fact that the virus has killed more than 233,000 Americans and is spreading unabated across the nation.
That leaves public health officials to grapple with hard, existential questions: How can they forge new relationships with this huge swath of the country as the pandemic continues to unfold? Where does the public health field go from here?
“Even if Trump does not win, much of the population will have voted for him, so that still seems like a big wake-up call!” said Heidi Tworek, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, who has studied the successes of various countries in getting their populations to comply with Covid-19 mitigation measures.
Here is one response to the article:
Which “science” was supposed to be followed: the initial “don’t wear masks” science or the later “masks are crucial” science? The initial “wash your hands” science or the later “it doesn’t really spread on surfaces” science? Or the “Trump rallies are unsafe, BLM protests are safe” “science”?
Rather than admit that they don’t have the answers, that the science is unclear, and that public health exists in the real world, not in a lab, and involves tradeoffs like preventing infections while keeping the economy operating and educating children, the scientists were all too content to let the media order us all to follow the scientists’ ever-changing diktats or be deemed “science-denialists.”
This is not a rejection of “science”; it’s a rejection of scientists who refuse to demonstrate humility by acknowledging the uncertainty and limitations of the science and denouncing the media’s efforts to advance political narratives by overstating the limited conclusions that the science supports.
Fears of virus mutation ending vaccine hopes provides a tidy end to farmed fur and in Denmark; no news on what the dispossessed farmers will do for a living | Added November 5
Being generally disinclined to wear fur, I must admit that I’ve not thought often of that industry or those who work within it. But given that we have already seen labs produce dubious “Covid positive” PCR results in pieces of fruit, the following story concerns me for the fact that continued precedent is being set for government to shutdown any particular industry it might wish to, or have wished to in the past.
This all in the name of public health. What recourse would any industry have, once its members are labeled as Typhoid Marys?
It’s not clear here that anyone testing positive for the mutated SARS-COV-2 virus has developed symptoms of illness; true to current public health policy, one only need discuss that “half the people infected in Northern Denmark” are infected of the mutated virus. Absent, too, is context for the number of people infected (783) vs sick, relevant to the population at large.
But it sure does sound like certain people are relieved to be able to relieve the fur farmers of their livelihoods.
“The world’s largest mink producer, Denmark, says it plans to cull more than 15 million of the animals, due to fears that a Covid-19 mutation moving from mink to humans could jeopardise future vaccines.
“At a press conference on Wednesday, the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said 12 people are already infected with the mutated virus and that the mink are now considered a public health risk.
“Reuters reported that Denmark’s health minister said about half of 783 infected people in northern Denmark, home to a large number of mink breeders, had been found to have infections stemming from the farms.
“Denmark is the world’s largest producer of mink fur and has 15 to 17 million animals on about 1,100 farms. According to reports, the latest figures from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, say Covid-19 infections have been found on more than 200 mink farms. The figures were confirmed by a Danish police press officer.
“Finnish fur auctioneer Magnus Ljung, CEO of Saga Furs, was watching the Danish announcement. “It’s a shock. They will kill all mink in Denmark. They are talking about the risk of Covid-19 mutating in the mink, and going from mink to humans, and potentially affecting a future human vaccine.”
“Ljung estimated the value of the 2020 mink population in Denmark to be between €350m and €400m (£270m-£360m).
“’What we really need to do is end mink farming entirely and retrain the farmers,’ said Birgitte Damm, policy adviser and vet with NGO Animal Protection Denmark.
Nighttime food and drink delivery banned in Paris amid lockdown | Added November 5
Paris is a week into its second coronavirus lockdown and now even stricter measures are being enforced. Restaurants, which are closed under lockdown rules, are allowed to deliver food but will no longer be permitted to deliver after 10 pm. Prior to the restrictions, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo warned “when you get people who are not playing by the rules of the game, and are therefore putting at risk the health of a large number of people, that is when you need to put in place new restrictions.”
The article below also cites a French government source as saying that they had noted “clandestine parties, raves, private dinners” and thus felt that stricter measures were necessary.
Paris will ban delivery and takeaway services for prepared food and alcohol between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Friday to limit the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected a record number of 58,046 people nationally over 24 hours on Thursday.
The police prefecture also said the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks in public spaces would be banned at night starting on Friday.
President Emmanuel Macron imposed a new lockdown last month, forcing non-essential shops – such as those not selling basic foods or medicines – to close, and making people use signed documents to justify being out on the streets.
Another “why don’t people believe the truth we scientists tell?” article | Added November 5
Thank you to Loreen Costa
It’s interesting how climate science and pandemic science (modeling) and environmental regulation rollback is all linked. As if one cannot sort out different opinions on different issues. Science becomes a Monolith, not a process. But if we truly want a monument, presumed to be unassailable and free of defects, doesn’t that make Science subject to the same tear-down, historical revisionism we’re seeing applied to figures like Lincoln and Churchill?
Distrust within the scientific community stems from Trump’s rejection of climate science, his rollback of numerous environmental regulations, and his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 230,000 people in the United States. Nature’s own survey of its scientist readers demonstrated their condemnation for these actions: of the approximately 580 respondents eligible to vote, 87% said they would be doing so for Biden.
“It’s horrific,” says Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Cobb has her own fears about the pandemic, the economy and climate change but is trying to understand the anxieties that are driving so many to vote for Trump.
“It is depressing to see that the American electorate have not heeded the evidence of the last four years to give a strong message about the damage being caused by Trump’s actions and behaviour, for their own country as well as the wider world,” says Athene Donald, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, UK.
DOJ settlement with Purdue Pharma is ‘mirage of justice,’ say 25 state attorneys general; deal means US government will sell OxyContin | November 4
This is the company that got the United States hooked on synthetic heroin. There’s an $8.3 billion judgment against them that they don’t have the cash to pay. To me this is a reminder to everyone to question whether it’s a good idea to have pharma giants run our lives.
Does it alarm you that this agreement gives our government “special ties to an opioid company”? It is alarming to half of our nation’s state attorneys general, who wrote last week to US Attorney General William Barr criticizing the plan.
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for its role in creating the nation’s opioid crisis and will pay more than $8 billion and close down the company.
The money will go to opioid treatment and abatement programs. The privately held company has agreed to pay a $3.5 billion fine as well as forfeit an additional $2 billion in past profits, in addition to the $2.8 billion it agreed to pay in civil liability.
“Purdue Pharma actively thwarted the United States’ efforts to ensure compliance and prevent diversion,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Administrator Tim McDermott. “The devastating ripple effect of Purdue’s actions left lives lost and others addicted.”
The company doesn’t have $8 billion in cash available to pay the fines. So Purdue will be dissolved as part of the settlement, and its assets will be used to create a new “public benefit company” controlled by a trust or similar entity designed for the benefit of the American public. The Justice Department said it will function entirely in the public interest rather than to maximize profits. Its future earnings will go to paying the fines and penalties, which in turn will be used to combat the opioid crisis.
That new company will continue to produce painkillers such as OxyContin, as well as drugs to deal with opioid overdose. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who announced the settlement, defended the plans for the new company to continue to sell that drug, saying there are legitimate uses for painkillers such as OxyContin.
Critique from former British supreme court justice: UK government is using public panic to bypass parliamentary scrutiny when enacting emergency Covid-19 measures | Added November 4
The government has deliberately stoked fear over coronavirus while behaving like an authoritarian regime relying on police state tactics, according to the former supreme court justice Jonathan Sumption.
In his most forceful critique to date of the government’s handling of the pandemic, the outspoken lawyer condemned the way “the British state exercised coercive powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted”.
Delivering the Cambridge Freshfields annual law lecture, Lord Sumption said: “The ease with which people could be terrorised into surrendering basic freedoms which are fundamental to our existence … came as a shock to me in March 2020.”…
The police had repeatedly exceeded their powers, he suggested. “When I ventured to criticise them in a BBC interview for acting beyond their powers I received a letter from the Derbyshire police commissioner objecting to my remarks on the ground that in a crisis such things were necessary. The implication was that in a crisis the police were entitled to do whatever they thought fit, without being unduly concerned about their legal powers. That is my definition of a police state.”
By using “propaganda”, he said, the government had “to some extent been able to create its own public opinion – fear was deliberately stoked up by the government”…
Sumption concluded: “The British public has not even begun to understand the seriousness of what is happening to our country. Many, perhaps most of them don’t care, and won’t care until it is too late. They instinctively feel that the end justifies the means, the motto of every totalitarian government which has ever been … The government has discovered the power of public fear to let it get its way.”
FDA warns antigen tests are less accurate than PCR and producing false positives; further PCR false positives in Germany | Added November 3
So the FDA has come out and warned that antigen test results are prone to false positives due to users not properly following instructions for their use. The article below also mentions that antigen tests are less accurate than PCR which has been brought up by other publications, from time to time.
On a related note, last Wednesday a lab in Germany was reported to have made “wrong diagnoses in 58 of 60 tests it identified as positives over a one-week period.” A spokesperson for the country’s health ministry “said there was no reason to doubt the “validity and accuracy” of the PCR molecular diagnostic tests used at the MVZ lab and elsewhere in Germany.” Right.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it is alerting clinical laboratory staff and healthcare providers that false positive results can occur with COVID-19 antigen tests.
The decision was made following reports of false positive results associated with the tests used in nursing homes.
The U.S. agency said false positive results may occur when users do not follow the instructions for the use of antigen tests for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2.
Antigen tests detect proteins on the surface of the virus. They require an uncomfortable nasal or throat swab, and can produce results more quickly than molecular tests – which detect genetic material in the virus – but are considered less accurate.
Countries straining to contain a second wave of COVID-19 are turning to faster, cheaper but less accurate tests to avoid the delays and shortages that have plagued efforts to diagnose and trace those infected quickly.
The FDA issued the first emergency use authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 antigen test in May.
No-sail order for cruise ships to be replaced with ‘Conditional Sailing Order’ | Added November 3
Cruise stocks rose Friday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it will replace its nearly 8-month old no-sail order with a less restrictive “Conditional Sailing Order.”
The no-sail order expires Saturday. The new conditional order will remain in effect until either Nov. 1, 2021, the expiration of the Department of Health and Human Services’ declaration of a public health emergency or when CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield decides to end it.
Shares of the largest cruise company in the world, Carnival, soared more than 11% on the news in afternoon trading Friday, before levelling off and closing more than 5% higher. Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line also finished the day more than 5% higher and Royal Caribbean stock closed up almost 5%.
The CDC change doesn’t mean cruising in the U.S. will resume next week, or potentially anytime soon, especially as new cases of the coronavirus continue to spike.
Vaccine makers can skip U.S. inspection with FDA emergency authorization | Added November 3
Because that’s certainly how you build trust.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspects a few thousand drug manufacturing plants every year to ensure their standards are up to par. Many of those inspections are required before a pharmaceutical company can gain approval of a new drug. They serve as a check on whether drugmakers can produce quality therapies.
But that won’t be the case for Covid-19 vaccine developers that gain emergency authorization of a shot.
FDA regulations don’t require what’s known as a pre-approval inspection for products seeking emergency use, said Jerry Weir, director of the Division of Viral Products in the FDA’s vaccines office. Weir spoke last week at a meeting of FDA advisers to discuss standards for Covid-19 vaccines.
Before approval, FDA inspections ensure compliance with regulations. Once a product is being made—as vaccines already are to get them out as quickly as possible—they can uncover quality breaches and assess whether pharmaceutical companies handled them correctly or are possibly downplaying or ignoring serious issues.
Take Eli Lilly, for example. In less than a year, the FDA twice found questionable conditions in inspections of Lilly’s New Jersey plant that’s producing its experimental antibody treatment for Covid-19.
Pfizer is the frontrunner in the race for a coronavirus vaccine, and Moderna is just behind. Moderna was founded in 2010, according to its website, and has yet to gain FDA clearance of a product. An FDA database shows the company has never been inspected by the agency.
WHO Chief in quarantine | Added November 3
Chief of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced late November 1 that he will be self-quarantining following contact with a someone who tested “positive”.
The World Health Organization chief said late Sunday that he was self-quarantining after someone he had been in contact with tested positive for Covid-19, but stressed he had no symptoms.
“I have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for #COVID19,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet.
“I am well and without symptoms but will self-quarantine over the coming days, in line with @WHO protocols, and work from home,” he added.
Tedros has been at the forefront of the United Nations health agency’s efforts to battle the pandemic.
NY travel advisory changed: out-of-state visitors must test negative three days before arrival | Added November 3
On November 1 Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that out-of-state visitors to New York must test negative for the coronavirus three days before they arrive in New York. This a change from the New York’s former travel advisory list that required that visitors from states with high coronavirus rates quarantine for 14 days after arriving. Under this new rule, those that choose not to get tested must quarantine for 14 days.
As the number of COVID cases continue to rise across the country and in the tri-state area, the governor made a decision to change the travel advisory for New York.
“There will be no quarantine list. There will be no metrics,” Cuomo said.
The new policy is not getting rid of the 14-day quarantine, but it is a test-out option for those who want to shorten their quarantine time.
For months, travelers coming in from hot spot states have been ordered to quarantine for 14 days, but starting Nov. 4, they will be able to take some extra steps and quarantine for just three days.
State officials say in order for someone to opt into shorter isolation, they must:
- take a COVID test 72 hours before traveling to New York and receive a negative test result
- upload those results online
- quarantine for three days
- take a second COVID-19 test on the fourth day
If the second COVID-19 test comes back negative, they no longer have to quarantine.
“If you’re coming to the State of New York, within three days of arriving… you must have tested negative and have proof of a test,” Cuomo said on a conference call. “Once you arrive… you must quarantine for three days and then can take a test on the fourth day… if the test on the fourth day says you are negative then, you’re released from quarantine.”
CA judge rules against Governor Newsom in lawsuit challenging constitutionality of executive orders | Added November 3
A Sutter County court has ruled that California Governor Gavin Newsom’s overstepped his authority in his use of executive orders. Newsom has reportedly issued “more than 50 executive orders involving the COVID-19 pandemic that address a range of issues including price gouging and halting evictions” after he declared a state of emergency in March.
A Northern California judge on Monday tentatively ruled that Gov. Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority when he issued an order in June requiring vote-by-mail ballots to be sent to the state’s 22 million registered voters.
Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman also issued an injunction barring the governor from taking executive action that “changes existing statutory law or makes new statutory law or legislative policy,” rebuking a governor who has relied heavily on executive orders to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heckman’s ruling determined that Newsom’s executive order to send out the vote-by-mail ballots, as well as enact other precautions to reduce the threat of spreading the virus during the elections process, violated the California Constitution because it created new law. Under the state’s constitutional separation of powers, only the Legislature has the power to create laws.
AI detects Covid19 by changes in coughs that are purportedly undetectable to the human ear | Added November 2
Back in July, we posted a story about technology that analyzed people’s voices for Covid-19. Since then, AI has been developed to identify a cough that signals your PCR test would come back positive for the novel coronavirus.
Once again, there is no mention of the unreliability of the PCR test, there are no questions regarding the acceptance of asymptomatic people as ‘cases’ though they are not sick, and there is no discussion of the ethics of such a diagnostic tool. Note, too, that this research was funded in part by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.
Asymptomatic people who are infected with Covid-19 exhibit, by definition, no discernible physical symptoms of the disease. They are thus less likely to seek out testing for the virus, and could unknowingly spread the infection to others.
But it seems those who are asymptomatic may not be entirely free of changes wrought by the virus. MIT researchers have now found that people who are asymptomatic may differ from healthy individuals in the way that they cough. These differences are not decipherable to the human ear. But it turns out that they can be picked up by artificial intelligence.
Trump administration plans to regulate AI with a “light touch” | Added November 2
On October 21, the Wall Street Journal reported that the White House was finalizing new guidelines for the regulation of artificial intelligence. According to the WSJ, the Trump administration’s official guidance for regulatory agencies would prioritize leading the world in AI advancement over enforcing strict rules that might hamper innovation.
This style of oversight has implications for regulating the emerging use of AI to diagnose Covid-19. Will it prevent “nefarious uses” of the technology?
Mr. Kratsios, the U.S.’s chief technology officer, is the point person for the administration’s American AI Initiative, which President Trump launched last year through an executive order. It directs agencies to give priority to AI in their research and development efforts, to open up their data to AI experts and to encourage AI-related training.
Some parts of the U.S. government have already issued their own guidelines around AI, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a scientific body under the Department of Commerce. The Defense Department has developed principles around the use of AI as it explores applications in the military and warfare.
The Trump administration has sought to take advantage of the technology’s power to transform society while curbing its potential nefarious uses. The administration prefers what Mr. Kratsios has called a “light-touch” approach toward regulation to avoid holding back U.S. leadership in AI, which officials see as a priority in Washington’s technological competition with Beijing. He said some European countries are taking a heavier-handed regulatory approach that could stifle innovation if adopted in the U.S.
Not yet completely controlled by your anxiety? Here’s another fearmongering story to help you live your ‘best life’ in 2020 | Added November 2
“Chances Are High Your Grocery Store Clerk Has Silent COVID, Study Says”
When we sing the praises of frontline workers—the doctors, nurses, and other medical teams that are tackling the COVID crisis head on—we often forget others that put their lives at risk daily for the sake of their jobs. As one study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine reveals, grocery store clerks face a shockingly high risk of COVID infection—which could in turn put customers at risk while shopping. As the study revealed, grocery workers at one store were 20 times more likely to be infected than the general population, and those with customer facing jobs were five times more likely to be infected than their colleagues in other positions.
The study centered on one grocery store in Boston, Massachusetts with 104 employees. In May of this year, the entire team was subjected to coronavirus tests, as part of a mandatory testing policy issued by the city. “One in five (21 out of 104) workers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, indicating a prevalence of 20 percent at that point in time. This was significantly higher than the prevalence of the infection in the local community at the time: 0.9-1.3 percent,” the study explains.
Perhaps even more disturbingly, 76 percent of these cases were completely asymptomatic, presenting with no known symptoms of COVID. Among those who tested positive, 91 percent had a customer facing role, compared with 59 percent of those employees who tested negative.
Police crack down on protesters across Europe as new Covid-19 restrictions take hold | Added November 2
Last week, a new lockdown was ordered in the UK, set to be enforced this week. Similarly restrictive measures are taking hold elsewhere in Europe, including in Germany, France, and the Netherlands; in Spain and Italy, curfews and early shutdowns are now in effect.
Reuters reported on protests occurring over the last few days, police raids of social gatherings, and statements from various politicians across Europe. The article includes tallies of supposedly confirmed Covid-19 infections and deaths without mention of the unreliability of the PCR test used to arrive at those numbers.
El Pais covered the arrests of 36 people in Madrid after “an unauthorized demonstration” over the weekend in protest of the nationwide curfew, with at least 26 more arrests at protests in several other Spanish cities. According to the article, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has dismissed these demonstrations as “violent and irrational,” asserting the protesters’ affiliation with “very violent and organized far-right groups.”
Euronews reported peaceful protests across Italy on Monday, as well as violent conflict between protesters and police, including in Turin, Milan, Naples, and Catania. The new restrictive measures in Italy include a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings, with no exception for religious purposes. The article points out how the Italian media have emphasized the role of extremist groups in these protests.
LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – A wave of COVID-19 lockdowns and curbs has stirred resistance across Europe, with the right-wing British politician who helped force an EU referendum harnessing popular anger at a new lockdown by recasting his Brexit Party under a new banner.
The United Kingdom, which has the highest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the “worst-case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended a second lockdown in England from critics who said it was either unnecessary or too late, arguing now was the time to prevent a “medical and moral disaster”.
“We are fighting a disease… When the data changes of course we must change course too,” he told parliament.
Cast by his supporters as the godfather of the movement to quit the European Union, Brexit Party founder Nigel Farage said Johnson had terrified Britons into submission with a second lockdown.
“The single most pressing issue is the government’s woeful response to coronavirus,” Farage and Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said in a joint article in the Daily Telegraph, announcing his Reform UK party.
Instead of a lockdown, Farage proposed targeting those most at risk and said people should not be criminalised for trying to live normal lives such as meeting family for Christmas.
That mask is giving you Lung Cancer | Added November 1
By Guy Crittenden
I happen to know a thing or two about masks and safety. Why? Because for 25 years I was the editor of an award-winning trade magazine called HazMat Management that covered such topics as pollution prevention and compliance with health & safety laws. We routinely published articles on masks, gloves, respirators and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Now let me tell you a few things about that mask you’re wearing. And please note that what I’m about to share was also stated in the most recent edition of Del Bigtree’s program The Highwire when two OSHA mask experts spoke to the fact that the kinds of masks people are wearing were never (never!) designed to be worn for long periods and doing so is very harmful.
The blue typical mask depicted in the photograph contain Teflon and other chemicals. A Facebook friend reminds us: 1. Masks are “sterilized” with Ethylene Oxide — a known carcinogen. Many teachers in various school boards have been experiencing significant symptoms as a direct result of the effects of this chemical. 2. The masks contain (not sprayed with) PTFE which makes up Teflon along with other chemicals.
I found and have posted the US patent to allow manufacturers to use PTFE as a filter in commercial masks — “breathing these for extended periods can lead to lung cancer.”
Don’t agree? Argue with the experts at OSHA, which is the main US agency, i.e., its Occupational Health & Safety Agency.
These masks are meant to be worn only for short periods, like say if you’re sanding a table for an hour and don’t want to inhale sawdust. They don’t do anything whatsoever to stop the spread of any virus, and the emerging science of virology now understands that viruses aren’t even passed person to person.
I know that sounds incredible, but it’s the case that the virus is in the air, you breath it in, there’s no way to prevent that short of living in an oxygen tent, and if you have a strong immune system you’ll be fine, and if you have a weak immune system you may have to deal with the effects of your immune system working to restore balance within your metabolism.
So let’s say you don’t wear the blue packaged masks, and instead wear a homemade cloth mask — the kind people wear over and over and hang on their rearview mirror and so on.
Those masks are completely useless against a virus, and are also very dangerous. OSHA would never condone a person wearing a mask of this kind for anything more than the shortest time. Re-breathing your own viral and bacterial debris is dangerous to health. The oxygen deprivation children suffer wearing such masks all day will certainly cause brain damage. I’m not making this up.
Again, you might say, well, Guy, you’re not a doctor. True, but I did edit that magazine for 25 years. That’s a long time and many articles on masks and PPE. I’ve attended numerous occupational health and safety conferences and listened to experts discussing these matters.
You may hear people saying that surgeons and nurses wear masks like this all day. Um, no. No they don’t. They’re trained in the proper use of masks, which is to wear them in the OR, then dispose of the mask when they leave that room. Are you aware that operating rooms are actually supplied extra oxygen, to compensate for the reduction in oxygen flow from mask wearing? To my mind, it’s criminal (not hyperbole) to force children to wear masks all day. Setting aside the very real psychological effects, we’re going to have a generation of brain damaged children.
Ever heard the expression, “Not enough oxygen at birth?” That’s a joke at the expense of a mentally challenged person, but that’s literally what we’re doing. And we’re told it’s to “keep us safe”! We’re told this by doctors who actually don’t know about PPE and laypeople who have no clue.
So, you can choose to believe me or not, but I was the editor for a quarter century of a magazine that had a strong occupational health and safety mandate, and I can tell you that the mask wearing currently mandated by governments and private businesses offers no health benefit whatsoever, in no way protects you or anyone else from any virus, and actually does you damage beyond wearing it for a few minutes.
40 minutes that can change your life | Added November 1
Ivor Cummins continues to offer level-headed analysis of Covid-19 data in the context of lockdowns | Added November 1
Comments from Eric: Of all the presenters, mainstream or alternative, IVOR CUMMINS makes the best case for the existence of a pathogen. He also offers an explanation of where influenza cases have gone that I think has an easy antithesis.
The No Virus people are making a very strong case, bolstered by the problems with the PCR, though there is from the statistics evidence of something infectious. The problem is that even those numbers don’t prove that, much less demonstrate what it is, without the quantified virus itself. (A vitally important part of the history of epidemiology is chemical insults being mistaken for transmissible disease. That is why tox teams are often dispatched when there is a suspected outbreak.)
This opens up a branch of possibilities focused around the idea that if FDA admits that the virus is not available and the corresponding problem of the PCR potentially getting hits from nothing at all, what then is the pathogen? And what is its vector?