Since the early days, when people were made hysterical by the political hype about the “novel” coronavirus, SARS Co-V2, I would try to calm people down with the simple probability math showing how small were the chance of them actually getting a serious case of it, let alone dying. It was clear right away that it was mostly a problem of older people with serious health challenges (comorbidities). I also posted some of that calculus in a blog.
We have come a long way since then and the conversation is now shifting because of the budding popular resentment over the lockdown strategies, when people have the shining example of Sweden, which seems to have weathered the crisis better than most with minimal interference, no lockdown, no masks, just a modicum of social distancing and limitations on gatherings over 50 at first, which was later relaxed to 500. Belgium and Peru had the strictest lockdowns and the highest deathrates. In the US New York had nearly 1,800 “Covid-deaths” per million, with lockdowns and masks while Sweden had merely 600, without lockdowns or masks. The government knew how to start these lockdown measures, but had no idea how to get out of them. As I am writing, the reports are that 90% of NY Restaurants are behind on their rent. The last word has not been said about this, as this lawyer can testify:
Problems with Lockdown (Il)logic
Note: in the following, I will not always provide references for every single item, but encourage the reader to use google, and find the original research in areas they find most interesting. Simply put, there is such an avalanche of information coming out including the discovery in various lawsuits, that you should have no problem finding what you are looking for. Do not be surprised if you realize that the press has done little or no investigative or analytical work in this area, but has mostly just parroted the politicians. News and analysis is your own responsibility, most of the popular media are partisan propaganda channels, not serious news sources.
To begin with here are some of the problems that have been reported.
- Obviously, Trump was the single largest driver of misinformation on the situation, starting from his first instinct to “downplay’ the situation. What he does not seem to appreciate is that his evident lies and misrepresentations only fueled paranoia, instead of calming the waters. Then he got busy blaming the Chinese, which was a distraction when the question was what we should be doing to deal with the situation.
- For the most part, the Democrats did not make things any better. They should have listened to Michelle Obama: When they go low, we go high. Instead, they chose to go lower, and to blame Trump for his evident mishandling, instead of looking for the solutions. Meanwhile, they had no better answers than Trump did, and even as of this writing they think that bringing Fauci back is the answer and they think it would calm people down to do lockdowns all over again. They are still not following the now extensive literature.
- Clearly some of the early estimates were in error, compounded by the confusion over Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) versus Case Fatality Rate (CFR), and this confusion along with the projections from Dr. Neil Ferguson at the Imperial College in London, which led to estimates that were a factor 10 higher than what was about to happen.
- During the evolving pandemic, testing regimes became part of the problem and we now understand that the PCR test is likely to register false positives above 25 cycles, and the standard instruction in the US has been 40 cycles, meaning many tests pick up non-viable material and report it as a positive test. This has resulted in the “casedemic:” we are counting all postive tests as “cases,” whereas traditionally you would want to have symptoms before considering it a case. This issue is serious when you operate a test with 90% false positives to boot, as PCR may indeed do at 40 cycles.
- The same goes for deaths. Anyone with evidence of Covid at the time of death is considered a Covid death, but again, by traditional standards, 94% are deaths with Covid – a mere footnote, in people that on the average had 2.6 comorbidities each. In other words, these were generally older people, the median Covid-death age was ABOVE the average life expectancy. They were already very ill and did not have much time left to live. In the younger age brackets very few die. Your risk of an accident crossing the street in NYC is greater than dying from Covid, if you are otherwise healthy. The fact that hospitals get paid more for Covid-deaths also incentivizes this kind of misreporting.
- There never was real evidence that shutting down the economy was necessary or even likely to be effective. This observation is now being brought up in the various lawsuits that revolve around overreach by public officials.
- The fact that after the initial peak, by and large if there was a brief bounce, deaths did not always follow the same trajectory, indicating again that some level of herd immunity might be setting in.
- Kids missing school for no good reason adds to the incalculable damage, and again it is the poorer population that suffers the most, because they do not have access to tutoring or even Internet.
- We might also note that the lockdown measures in and of themselves depress the immune system directly and indirectly. Sun and fresh air are the best disinfectant, not to mention the probable role of vitamin D (sunshine), and the emotional stress of being cooped up inside would depress the immune system. Further, especially in multi-generational households, the risk of spread is magnified, and again it is the poorer half of the population, with smaller living quarters that is especially at risk.
- There’s probably more, but the above represents just some of the most obvious problems and the wave of litigation we are now seeing in this area may actually shed some light on a lot of the mistakes that were made, so we can hopefully avoid them in the future.
No Fauci, no Gates, please
To a vaccine researcher, every situation calls for another vaccine, but for the most part, this is not true. There is already a body of evidence that flu vaccine may not be worth the effort, or even be counter-productive and this newest coronavirus could be a similar case. Much more important is the condition of our immune system, and the avoidance of all the comorbidities. If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nai, but that is not a basis for public health policy.
Historically by 1960 the era of infectious disease control medicine was pretty much over and the predominant causes of death became the chronic illnesses of the industrialized world. We have not done a great job with that shift in terms of public health policy. We are now finally seeing the onset of Lifestyle Medicine and an increasing emphasis on nutrition, lifestyle in general and healthy living, more so than dashing for the medicine cabinet.
According to recent CDC data , 94% of “Covid-deaths” are really deaths with Covid, and on average they had 2.6 comorbidities each, so in normal times they would have died from cancer, heart disease, diabetes or whatever, and a viral infection would be just a footnote. In short, the whole Covid episode highlights the findings of the Global Burden of Disease studies and our leading cause of premature death is diet, followed by iatrogenic illness as number two. It is important to realize that it is not age so much that predisposes the person to a bad outcome from an infection with SARS CoV-2, but the comorbidities. There area already many stories around of older people surviving an infection with minimal complications, if they are otherwise healthy.
Again, the problem of our culture is that we run to the medicine cabinet for everything. The first line of defense should be our natural resistance and our immune system. John Ioannidis hit the nail on the head with this video:
Prof. Ioannidis had been one of the many scientists who were studiously ignored, insulted, or bullied in the early days of this Covid crisis because his views were counter to the hysterical predictions of Imperial College.
Another important voice that has come out is that of Sucharit Bhakdi, A US-Born, but German educated MD and Immunologist. With his wife, Karina Reiss, he published a book on the whole “novel coronavirus” situation, which is worth reading if you want to get all the fine pointts of how and why the situation went off the rails from a scientific point of vew.
Stateside, perhaps the most important development is the lawsuit against Gov. Mike DeWine in Ohio, where Dr. Peter Breggin is an expert witness. The lawsuit fights the emergency declaration over Covid on constitutional grounds, citing also the lack of evidence for many of the assumptions as well as the lack of any resonable precedent or evidence that the lockdown could ever work.
Overall, again the over-arching conclusion must be that it is the complete confusion that healthcare = medicine which is tripping us up. The concept of Public Health does involve sociology, economics and mental health, as well as epidemiology and immunology and biology. Dr. Anthony Fauci is a vaccine developer, who in effect put us on a completely mistaken track of basing policy on a non-existant vaccine and the idiotic hope that an actual vaccine would be developed in a completely unprecedented time frame, not to mention assuming that it would be safe and effective, but just in case, the politicians exempted the manufacturers from liability.
1984, or Brave New World or both
Bill and Melinda Gates are already complaining about social media, and there can be no doubt that lots of misinformation is going around, but they seem to ignore the fact that their obsession with vaccine development and other issues simply come with a perception of totalitarianism, which will inevitably encounter resistance. Already there is talk in the US of mandatory vaccination against SARS CoV-2, while congress has waived liability for the manufacturers. Some have suggested that the Washington establishment should be the guinea pigs for such a new vaccine. That would probably solve the problem right there.
Meanwhile, from recent CDC data, here is the decisively reassuring picture of age-related risks:
COVID-19 SURVIVAL RATES (per CDC):
Ages 0-19: 99.997%
Ages 20-49: 99.98%
Ages 50-69: 99.5%
Ages 70+: 94.6%
Clearly, the political establishment has sold out to the pharmaceutical industry and the population eats it up. We are at this point seeing a clear demonstration of the Stockholm syndrome, that people who are thrown out of work and jobs by the lockdown crisis, are loudly justifying these failing measures, which will ruin their lives and livelihoods for years to come. Prof. Martin Kuldorff points out that we have thrown the working population under the bus. One way of looking at it is that the political process has done exactly the opposite of what was needed: Society should have been allowed to go on, with kids going to school and so on, and the older, sicker people should have been protected as best as possible while working on urgent disease reversal programs, to help boost their immune system.
In a recent declaration doctors Sunetra Gupta, Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya, all eminent epidemiologists advise exactly this strategy as the more rational if not the only viable option. There are just no words to express the lunacy of building public policy based on the uncertain arrival of a non-existent vaccine as if that were our only option, which is the route Dr. Anthony Fauci took.
The fact is we are having a comorbidity problem, more so than a virus problem. The political firestorm has been fed by the extremely partisan politiics of the moment, but in all, while Trump continued stumbling and fumbling, the democrats painted themselves into a corner, while they had no alternative to offer. They promised to bring Dr. Anthony Fauci back, which is not encouraging since his advice has been thoroughly invalidated by the the events. This relates to the argument in the video by Prof. Ioannidis: more medicine is NOT more health. We need to seek health and boost our immune system long before we reach for the medicine cabinet.
The comorbities are invariably the chronic diseases that could all be prevented or reversed with a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet. Again, the medicine cabinet should never be the first stop. unless it is acute. Both in public health and in personal health, we should return to sanity and first look at supporting health, before we turn to fighting disease.
P.S. Just one more thing: Sign the Great Barrington Declaration