Lessons from a Virus

The list of books about the “novel” coronavirus is growing, and I think will be growing for years to come, as an avalanche of lawsuits and potentially some criminal complaints (ICC/Nuremberg code violations) winds their way through the courts. For now, some of the most important ones are from Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, in Germany, Corona False Alarm?, from Jeffrey A. Tucker, Liberty or Lockdown, from Dr. Peter Breggin, Covid-19 and the Global Predators: We are the Prey, as well as a series of four short monographs from former NYT journalist Alex Berenson, soon to be followed by a new book, Pandemia.

Some heroic efforts do summarize the lessons – and for the most part these lessons have not been learned yet, but they are becoming visible and I will reference a few here. Meanwhile we might take note that even if you may not like anything else about the politics of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, he has demonstrated a capacity for independent thought that is admirable and extremely rare.

I intermittently maintain a more complete list of references on my blog on SeekingAlpha, for I am keenly interested in watching how and when the vaccines will start to stall out and begin to have a measurable effect on the stock of the pharma companies.
One of the very best summaries of the overall fiasco has been by Nick Hudson at Pandata.org. An actuary by trade, he has shown since early on that he has a fine nose for BS, and I very much identified with that, for early in the crisis, I found myself helping some friends simply to understand the numbers, and not fall for the distortions presented by politicians and the main stream media. I talked some would-be jumpers off the ledge, figuratively speaking, by simply helping them see through the numbers and understand how small was their risk in reality.

Just recently, in an article published 3/26/21 Prof. John Ioannidis has updated his analysis of the IFR to 0.15%, same as the flu and the coronavirus seems to have pre-empted the flu everywhere (see also some detailed notes on risk stratification below). Remember again, that the Covid deaths are heavily skewed to older people with multiple comorbidities, so much so that in most countries the median age of Covid-19 deaths tends to be above the average life expectancy. For the under 70, the IFR is only 0.05% and, as Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi pointed out, at that level it is impossible to prove to a level of statistical significance if the vaccines reduce risk or increase it (assuming they otherwise have no side effects). Here follows the recent summary from Pandata, focusing on the fact that the lockdowns have caused more problems than they solved, and certainly have caused orders of magnitude more damage. The illustration is particularly valuable because it all started later in South Africa, but politicians made sure to repeat all the mistakes and learn absolutely nothing from the facts that were then available.

Pandata Definitive Lockdown Presentation with Nick Hudson

Meanwhile, in the spirit of this site, I hasten to emphasize the importance of taking care of your health. On all levels, what you can do for yourself should be your primary concern. We should not worry about “who gave it to me,” or “Where did I catch it?” It does not work that way. Our job is to see to it our immune system is in good shape. To begin with, the self-reliant attitude of just taking care of business goes with a positive mindset, which in and of itself supports a good immune system. Some of the best guidance on a nutritional and lifestyle level can be found here, on the website of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Other organizations are PCRM, and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Resources galore. In terms of early treatment, I would highly recommend the AAPS Guide to Home-Based Covid Treatment including consulting their providers – their total emphasis is on early treatment and keeping you out of the hospital.

Conversely, if we do catch one of these respiratory infections, rest, relaxation and lots of liquids are usually good steps. Or, as one wise person tweeted recently:

I currently feel more entitled to speak to it, since I have now had Covid-19 and it was essentially uneventful. Now, I already take 2,000 iu daily of vitamin D3, and as a precaution I was taking some zinc also, along with 600 mg of sustained release NAC. In retrospect, the onset of symptoms was probably the weekend of 3/20-21, when I was feeling some throat irritation. By Thursday night 3/25 it was annoying enough that I took some Vicks Nyquil, and the next morning I continued with Vicks Dayquil and I just stayed in bed. I hardly had an appetite. I ate my breakfast one spoonful at a time and finished it by mid-afternoon. Later, I had some soup, which tasted weird and it hit me that it was not the soup going bad, but my sense of taste that was off – a clear Covid symptom. I added Quercetin to my daily regimen, having listened to Dr. Zev Zelenko a few times.

I stopped with the Vicks, because I hate the taste, but a few nights I took some Tylenol, as I had a mild fever a few times. I made up my mind that on Monday I would consult my doctor, if there was no improvement. In the event, the doctor wanted me to get a Covid test and a chest X-Ray to rule out pneumonia. The results were positive and negative, respectively. However, I could only get a PCR-test nearby, with a result in 2-5 days, but by Wednesday I was able to go to Jacobi Hospital and get a rapid test, which confirmed the Covid, however that morning I had woken up ravenously hungry, a sure sign that my system was turning things around. Meanwhile the chest X-Ray had shown no indications of pneumonia. For the five days, most of what I ate every day were an orange, a grapefruit and a banana, spending most of my day picking at them. On Wednesday, before I went for my test, my appetite came roaring back.

After my test result at Jacobi, they immediately offered me an infusion with antibodies, but I wanted to consult my own doctor first, especially given the signs of a turnaround. The wise doctor agreed, call him back only if somehow I deteriorated again, but he agreed that everything pointed to my body getting over it. In short, it started with a sore throat for five days, followed by five days spent mostly in bed. And then recovery began, for the whole thing I had only the help of some Tylenol and some cough medicine here and there, as well as my supplement regime. That Wednesday, 3/31, along with my appetite returning, my sense of taste was beginning to return but initially perhaps only at 70% of normal and that has been a slow process. There has been some residual coughing and I have taken some cough medicine or some throat lozenges for that, but on the whole, it has been uneventful. An annoying flu. Really makes you wonder what all the fuss is about.

[Postscript 6/12/2021] I just listened to a brilliant presentation by Sharan, an Indian Lifestyle Medicine organization, which provides an excellent natural protocol, and some of the best things I learned from it are yes, take your vitamin D and B12 – which is standard anyway, but don’t go crazy on supplements, instead just drink veggie smoothies and/or eat fruit, and allow your body to recover. It should be about 5 days incubation and 5 days symptomatic disease. Rest, lots of liquids, and do not even worry about bringing down the fever unless and untill it is over 104F, for your body needs to be fighting the virus. The typical American obsession with Tylenol etc. is the wrong thing for these self-limiting viral infections – bringing the fever down defeats the body’s best mechanism to slow down or stop the replication of the virus. If it is not over in the five days of R&R, and you are running high fever and so on, then you may need medical help. If you can find one, I would go to a Lifestyle Medicine doctor. Sleeping on your belly is best, because your lungs are on the back.
For 4 days, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, all I ate was an orange, a grapefruit, and a banana. I was perfectly happy with that, but some green smoothies might have been another great way to load some nutrients and support the body in fighting the disease. The key concept I got from the Sharan presentation is to just know your body can handle it and your job is to support it in doing so. Lots of rest, lots of liquids are really the main ingredients.

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Of Misinformation and Panic, Lockdowns, and Vaccines

It remains a mystery to me why the world went nuts about this virus. I was just re-reading some history of the start of Hitler’s bombing campaign on the UK, and how the population took it in stride. What a difference. This time, the world went into uncontrolled panic, with practically the sole exception of Sweden. Politicians and the press just fanned the flames of fear with barrages of misinformation and outright lies.

Now clearly, it started out with all sorts of misinformation, intentional or otherwise, about what was happening in Wuhan, and about the effectiveness of the lockdowns. Regardless of what your conclusion is about the factual basis, it seems obvious that there was NEVER a medical case for quarantining the healthy people, and elementary common sense should have seen that at best it was self-aggrandizement by Xi-Jinping and the CCP to claim that the lockdowns had been effective. Perhaps it was a logical fallacy of “post hoc, ergo propter hoc.” and at worst it was a deliberate misinformation campaign. In the process, we somehow got saddled with a PCR test that was worse than useless because it produced endless false positives that were only good to sow panic in the population. Then came the confusions between IFR and CFR at the levels of the WHO and by Fauci, the 10-fold overestimations of Neil Ferguson and the Imperial College of London, in-line with their overestimates of the previous six non-pandemics. All of this was compounded by the serious failure to look at existing treatment options, and prevention and nutritional support (e.g. Vitamin D and Zinc and NAC). These are still effectively absent from official messaging. AAPS is one medical organization that has seriously come forward to fill the breach by producing their home treatment guide, focused on early treatment and avoidance of hospitalization wherever possible.

[Update 4/26/21] The discussion of stratified risk has been complicated because of the insistence by governments and the press to ignore it. The Great Barrington Declaration tried to address the issue and base their recommendations on the understanding that the risk for older people can be as much as three orders of magnitude higher as the risk for young people. Based on recent CDC data, the following picture emerges for the Infection Survival Rates:

  • Ages 0-19: 99.997%
  • Ages 20-49: 99.98%
  • Ages 50-69: 99.5%
  • Ages 70+: 94.6%

While this compilation is helpful, it still is lacking in regard of breaking out comorbidities. It remains very clear that comorbidities are the real issue and e.g. in the US, 80% or so of Covid deaths are obese people. We have more a comorbidity problem than a virus problem. On April 22nd the Hart Group in the UK published an analysis that begins to deal with this distinction: Mortality Risk from COVID-19. Note that a healthy 75-year old woman still only has a 99.8251% risk of dying, which is less than the risk of being injured in a car accident. All of which underlines the basic theme of this website: let food be thy medicine. The upshot is – and no, I am not an MD, and this is not medical advice, just common sense from a lay person who does their homework – that from a risk/benefit point of view, these vaccines make mostly no sense for healthy people. Or, with a bit of sarcasm, the vaccines are there to protect you from the consequences of eating fast food, or a Standard American Diet in general. And you have the option to change that.

Clearly, the attempts by Fauci et al. to manage the crisis, made it worse at every level. His focus was on developing new medicines and new vaccines, hardly on what was in stock and could be repurposed, let alone prevention. Vitamin D alone could likely have saved thousands. New medicines are where the money is, so Remdesvir at $3,200 for a course of treatment is obviously preferable over HCQ at $20 a treatment in spite of the extensive documentation that the record of successes of HCQ in combination with other drugs and supplements seems to hold up well. Proof that HCQ alone is not effective is not helpful, since it is the combination therapy that works. The bottom line is, Fauci was ignorant or indifferent about the cost of lockdowns and seemed to view the whole world in terms of just waiting for either his new drugs or the new vaccines (which he had little or nothing to do with directly).

In short we have simply put the vaccine makers in charge of public health, and the government is the free marketing department. We may laugh at some failed states south of the border due to illegal drugs. We have a failed state due to legal drugs. What else could you call paying double the cost of healthcare of other developed nations and still being #37 in the world in terms of health outcomes?

Of Health, Medicine, and Witch Hunts

The medical establishment has become a major threat to health.

Ivan Illich, Limits to Medicine; Medical Nemesis, The Expropriation of Health

The biggest threats to our health have become 1) diet and lifestyle, and 2) medical interventions – i.e. the healthcare system. As I have argued some time ago in a guest blog on Bernardo Kastrup‘s site, the fundamental issue is that healthcare is in a paradigm shift, which precious few are still aware of today. The transition is from the old model of materialism, the germ theory of disease and allopathic medicine. Different from the time when allopathy came to prominence with the backing of the Rockefeller Foundation, today the alternative to allopathy is no longer “homeopathy,” but it is Lifestyle Medicine, which is becoming the home of a modern, holistic view of health and wellness, grounded in what Dean Ornish calls, the “unified theory of disease,” and the Whole Foods, Plant-Based nutrition of Prof. T. Colin Campbell.

A good, historical review of the origins of “modern medicine” can be found in this video on Rockefeller Medicine from the Corbett Report. The new, categorical view from Lifestyle Medicine is that 86% of our healthcare costs (pre-Covid) involves medical interventions for the chronic diseases of which people predominantly die today. However, all of those conditions are better reversed or prevented by lifestyle changes, predominantly whole foods, plant-based nutrition. This type of disease prevention and reversal with diet and lifestyle are the focus of Lifestyle Medicine, which is the fastest growing new medical specialty today, because it is more satisfactory for both doctors and patients. This is the principal area of interest of this site. In the US some 80% of Covid-19 deaths involved obese patients – and it is one of the most obese countries in the world, explaining the high death rates from Covid-19. Evidently, we have a comorbidity problem much more than a virus problem.

Courts in Portugal, Vienna and Weimar as well as in some local US and Canadian cases have begun to challenge the lockdowns, on the grounds that a) the PCR-test cannot detect infection, unless there are also symptoms, and that there is no satisfactory cost/benefit justification for the lockdowns, as there is no proof whatsoever that these lockdowns work to prevent the spread. All the evidence from this past year points to the fact that the lockdowns are causing 10x to 100x more damage than the virus alone would have done. States and countries with fewer restrictions have generally done better, so it would appear that arriving at herd immunity naturally is the best strategy, combined with a special effort to protect the most vulnerable, which is the over-70 with multiple comorbidities. Note again that most if not all of these comorbidities are in fact chronic conditions that can mostly be turned around with diet and lifestyle. Most unhelpfully, the WHO unilaterally rewrote immunology for no good reason, other than it might help their paymasters, the pharmaceutical industry, when they changed the definition of herd immunity on their website.

The Vaccine Question

As to the vaccines, at this writing they are still in the stage of EUA – Emergency Use Authorization until January of 2023 – which is a very questionable thing, because the virus is now practically endemic in most places, and there are very good early treatment options, which are generally less risky than the vaccine route – see again the AAP Home Treatment Guide listed above. While informed consent always applies to any medical treatment, this is especially so in the case of experimental medicines under an EUA. Moreover the EUA might expire when it becomes clear that there is no emergency.

The biggest problem with the vaccines is simply the fact that the need for them arose from the ridiculous misinformation from the early days of the SARS CoV-2. The stats (see the work of Prof. John Ioannidis), are that for people under 70 the risk of Covid-19 is less than of the flu. The problems are for people above that age and in particular if they have significant comorbidities. The median age of Covid-19 deaths is about 80 and with multiple comorbidities. In the US about 80% of Covid-19 death are obese.

One of the best summaries of the questions around the vaccines is by Dr. Michael Yeadon, formerly a Pfizer VP and chief scientist for Allergy and Respiratory Research. Now for people above 70 the risks grow with comorbidities, so clearly, we enter the territory of where with informed consent, a patient might have an intelligent conversation with their doctor about if these experimental vaccines reduce risk sufficiently to justify the possible risks of side effects. Yeadon makes no bones about the fact that we are being lied to. Of course the pharmaceutical industry has been dreaming for a long time about any class of medicines that you could sell to the entire world population, not just a limited group of sick people.

Along with the vaccine discussion, the issue of vaccine passports has now been raised, which is a form of medical totalitarianism and even more so with these experimental vaccines, which could only ever be dispensed with informed consent, they are a direct human rights violation in the spirit of the Nuremberg Code, and an unwarranted form of coercion. Dr. Josef Mengele escaped justice, but his medical abuses were an important inspiration for the Nuremberg Code which strictly forbids involuntary medical experimentation.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, the erstwhile land of the free, the Attorneys General of New York and Connecticut were showing their allegiance to the pharmaceutical industry, who are important contributors to both parties, by joining the chorus of suppression of comments critical of the vaccines, by adopting the favorite term from the astroturfing campaigns of the pharmaceutical junta, “anti-vaxxers.” That term, “anti-vaxxers,” is commonly used to avoid addressing critical questions about vaccinations, thereby in effect destroying the possibility of “informed consent,” which involves a conscious decisions about risks and benefits. Repression of critical information makes informed consent effectively moot. In response to this idiotic opinion piece, I published an open letter addressed to these two, here.

The Real Pandemic: Fear

Throughout this whole episode, governments and the press have done nothing but spreading completely counter-factual and irrational fear, and the pharmaceutical industry, big political donors to both parties, get the last laugh, for they got to sell vaccines to the whole world, with a get-out-of-jail-free card – without any liability whatsoever. It pays to listen to Clinical Psychiatrist Dr. Mark McDonald on the Fear Pandemic. In any case, the pharmaceutical companies avoided the problems of the opioid crisis, where they were pushing the limits by promoting off-label uses, and flooding the world with opioids. This time they could flood the world with a vaccine for a condition for which most of the world did not even have a realistic risk (0.05% IFR for the under 70). In and of itself the emphasis on fear would depress the immune system of any healthy person. Then the quarantine of healthy people made things worse, by locking them up at home instead of allowing them to go out and get some sunshine and fresh air, which are the best remedies against transmission of the disease. The whole episode absolutely defies the imagination.

Granted, Covid-19 may be an unpleasant death for the vulnerable, but in most cases, because of the age profile of the Covid-19 deaths, the reduction in life expectancy should be measured in weeks and months, rarely years. The damage to the healthy population far exceeds it.

We need to return to plain common sense, and Lifestyle Medicine points the way. Here is a video of Dr. Mark Rowe, which perfectly sums up the point of Lifestyle Medicine and why it is getting so much traction in the world.

The Doctor of the Future: Lifestyle Medicine by Dr. Mark Rowe

Beyond these basics of self-care, what we need is peace of mind and indeed that cannot be achieved as long as we continue to believe in external enemies, on the conceptual plane, that is how the ego keeps control of our minds. In the physical world, that is how politicians lead the population like lambs to the slaughter every time. Currently, this is taking the form of vaccinating the whole world, when nobody could prove that the vaccination reduce risk for the vast majority of the population, in particular not for the healthy people below 70 years of age. Notice that the cost of the vaccines, the lockdowns and the resulting economic damage is passed to us and our children. The politicians will be long gone when those bills come due.

Over and beyond just taking care of our bodies in a sensible way, clearly the work of finding inner peace just begins, for as a famour German endocrinologist wrote in a dedication to his book: My friend, you will never achieve hormonal balance. (“Die hormonale Harmonie erreichst du nie, mein Freund.”) The inner work that we need to do was once described by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, the great teacher of A Course in Miracles, as Strengthening the Mind’s Immune System and his workshop on the topic was recently made available in audio form. It might be very helpful. He also once made a comment on the issue of the swine flu, one of the many previous failed pandemics, when that was acute, and it is applicable now again. Here is the video:

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