I heard this on t.v. yesterday . . .

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I live in Ontario, Canada. We have ‘doctors’ who come on the tube on a fairly regular basis to remind us that we should get vaccinated. The vaccines are “Safe and Effective.” And, you know, “do it for your grand-dad or grand-ma.” But yesterday this doc comes on and tells me that 99.6% of everyone dying of COVID in our overstretched hospitals right now are unvaccinated people. He couldn’t believe it when he read the numbers. He had to read them twice. But it was true! 99. 6% of those dying were without vaccine protection. Here, you can have a listen for yourself to Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit:

COVID-19 CASES AMONG UNVACCINATED

Now I’m reading this piece by Mathew Crawford: Probable Misclassification of Vaccine Deaths as COVID-19 Deaths: The Chloroquine Wars Part XLIV

The first paragraph or so of Crawford’s piece reads as follows:

Recently, I’ve seen various media reports such as this one from Bloomberg stating that 99.2% of recent U.S. deaths were among unvaccinated individuals.

(AP) — Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren’t vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day — now down to under 300 — could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine.

An Associated Press analysis of available government data from May shows that “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 1.1%.

And only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people. That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average.

This tale strikes me as fantastical given that those most at risk presumably front-loaded U.S. vaccination data. How could U.S. results possibly differ so dramatically from those in the UK (herehere, and here) where most COVID-19 deaths are occurring among the vaccinated population despite a similar vaccination rate (using an almost identical set of vaccines) even more targeted toward high risk individuals? If the vaccines were quite so fantastically effective, and the U.S. even somewhat front-loaded those of high risk, we would expect deaths to have fallen off the map precipitously, not gradually as took place.

Note that both Bloomberg and Dr. Paul Roumeliotis seem to be reading from the same script. Indeed, how could both the U.S. and Canadian results be so similar while at the same time differing “so dramatically from those in the UK” given the same vaccines and vaccination rates?

In light of Crawford’s excellent piece, the 99.2% and 99.6% claims do appear to be fantastical tales fashioned to an obvious purpose.

Indeed. People are but chattel to be milked.

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And once the overwhelming majority of the population is vaccinated,

“Not enough patients have been vaccinated to keep the case rates from going up,”

will become,

“Not enough patients have been boosted to keep the case rates from going up.”

It’s called maximizing profits. Period.

And not to be overlooked:

But, for the rest of us, you can be certain that the Vaccine is “Safe and Effective.”

The whole of this thread is probably worth your while:

Here is a screen shot of Ehden’s Pfizer thread, on the off chance that it should ever disappear:

screencapture of “Ehden’s Pfizer thread”

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‘The harm done by lockdown will last for decades:’ Carl Heneghan on where we went wrong in the fight against Covid — Paddy Hannam | Spiked

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Source: Spiked

23 July 2021

‘The harm done by lockdown will last for decades’

Over the past 18 months, we have had three national lockdowns. We have grappled with all kinds of other restrictions, too – masks, social distancing and more. Yet despite all this, over 125,000 people have died. Have any of the measures actually worked? And have they justified the enormous collateral damage they have undoubtedly caused?

Carl Heneghan is the director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and sits on the board of Collateral Global, a publication that analyses the global impact of Covid restrictions. spiked caught up with him to find out more.

spiked: Why do you feel that lockdowns are such an ineffective tool in the fight against Covid?

Heneghan: In healthcare, people like quick fixes. There are some amazing examples of them, like antibiotics, which can be silver bullets. When you look at lockdowns, they seem like such a simple intervention that will sort everything out. It’s as if magically, all of the cases will disappear.

In reality, lockdowns are a kind of intervention that has not been tried before. The debate about them has become a political argument as opposed to an evidence-based one. That has created all sorts of issues, because it has allowed opinions to reign over evidence. In situations like that, we should not intervene with lockdowns. All healthcare interventions should start with the premise of ‘first, do no harm’. But the conversation about the balance of benefits and harms is not being had, even now.

Lockdowns don’t really help in care homes or with hospital-acquired infections. Care homes and hospitals make up a big chunk of the caseload. The thinking is that lockdowns reduce the risk among young people and that this will aid the wider population. But if you build up immunity among the young, you get a better barrier against the spread of the virus through the rest of society.

‘Flattening the curve’ just slows down the transmission rate of the virus. It does not affect the overall attack rate. That means we have just prolonged the pandemic.

spiked: What about the collateral damage of lockdowns?

Heneghan: The collateral damage will start to emerge over the next two to five years. Clinically speaking, that is what has happened in previous pandemics like the Ebola crisis – it caused an upsurge in measles two years later, because it disrupted vaccination programmes.

It’s similar with economics. We are borrowing a lot of money and at some point, somebody will have to switch the tap off.

The longer all this goes on, the more the harms will accentuate. The anxiety instilled in the population is already so ingrained that even as we are opening up, many people remain highly fearful.

We are going to be talking about the damage of lockdowns for decades to come. Will we try to bury it all, or will we think critically about what we did and how well it went?

spiked: How should the government deal with the ‘pingdemic’?

Heneghan: We have had so many interventions against Covid. Lockdowns. Social distancing. Masks. Test and trace. At some point, somebody is going to have to ask the question of which ones work. The case data suggests that not many of them do.

It could be that test and trace works in certain situations. There is evidence to suggest that many young people, for example, are only contagious for 24 to 48 hours. They could probably self-isolate for a short time, fairly effectively. But once we make people self-isolate for 10 days, and make them do so on multiple occasions, the chances of them adhering to the rules obviously fall. What we need to do is find out how infectious people are. Otherwise, we will continue forcing people to self-isolate unnecessarily.

Part of the reason for introducing vaccine passports seems to be to encourage young people to get vaccinated. But if you have just had Covid, you have to wait for a month before getting vaccinated. There are hundreds of thousands of people aged between 16 and 40 who are getting the virus at the moment. They won’t be able to get vaccinated until August. We are marginalising them.

spiked: Do you think we will get back to normality soon?

Heneghan: The situation reminds me of HIV in the 1980s and 1990s. There used to be adverts on TV about the virus, depicting tombstones. It was really scary. One day, the government decided to change the narrative, because it realised it had done more harm than good. I think that’s what’s going to happen with Covid. But we are still some way away from that. I don’t think we’ll be back to a normal mindset before May or June next year.

In order to get back to normal, we need to fix the data. People see snippets of data and they panic, without asking any questions about it. Until we put things in their proper context, our problems will continue.

Carl Heneghan was speaking to Paddy Hannam.

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Falling living standards during the COVID-19 crisis: Quantitative evidence from nine developing countries — Dennis Egger et al. | Science Advances

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Hat tip: Global Collateral

You can read the study in its entirety here: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/6/eabe0997.full

Source: Science Advances

Falling living standards during the COVID-19 crisis: Quantitative evidence from nine developing countries

Dennis Egger1 2, Edward Miguel1, Shana S. Warren3, Ashish Shenoy4, Elliott Collins3, Dean Karlan3 5, [there are 20 additional contributors: see all authors and affiliations]

Abstract

Despite numerous journalistic accounts, systematic quantitative evidence on economic conditions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic remains scarce for most low- and middle-income countries, partly due to limitations of official economic statistics in environments with large informal sectors and subsistence agriculture. We assemble evidence from over 30,000 respondents in 16 original household surveys from nine countries in Africa (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone), Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Philippines), and Latin America (Colombia). We document declines in employment and income in all settings beginning March 2020. The share of households experiencing an income drop ranges from 8 to 87% (median, 68%). Household coping strategies and government assistance were insufficient to sustain precrisis living standards, resulting in widespread food insecurity and dire economic conditions even 3 months into the crisis. We discuss promising policy responses and speculate about the risk of persistent adverse effects, especially among children and other vulnerable groups.

[…]

RESULTS

Livelihoods during the COVID-19 crisis

Results in Table 2 document the widespread nature of economic hardships and the decline in living standards across the nine LMICs in the study. Across the 16 samples, between 8 and 87% of respondents report a drop in income during the crisis period, with a staggering median of 70% (column 1). The proportions reporting declines in employment are similarly high, ranging from 5 to 49% with a median share of 30% (column 2). The estimated magnitude of the economic shock remains stable whether comparing to preexisting baseline data or to respondent recall about their pre-COVID status as reported to us in a phone interview conducted after COVID hit. These measures capture the share of individuals or households that experienced a drop in well-being during the pandemic period rather than the net changes in income or employment. However, the proportion of respondents reporting declines in income (median 70%) exceeds those reporting rising income during the period by an order of magnitude (median across samples 7%). Appendix B in the Supplementary Materials discusses robustness of the estimates in detail.

The adverse economic shock experienced by individuals surveyed in these countries has been compounded by impediments to livelihood. In most countries, a large share of respondents report reduced access to markets, with the median share being 31% (range, 3 to 77%; column 3), likely related to the ubiquitous lockdowns and other mobility restriction policies adopted during March through June 2020. Where data are available, meaningful shares of respondents also report delays or other difficulties accessing health care (median, 13%; column 4).

Continue reading

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Old Lady Justice and the COVID-19 Pandemic — Dr. Ron Brown | Trial Site News

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Source: Trial Site News

Old Lady Justice and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dr-Ron-Brown

July 24, 2021

Comments

Old Lady Justice and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Note that views expressed in this opinion article are the writer’s personal views and not necessarily those of TrialSite.

Dr. Ron Brown – Opinion Editorial

July 23, 2021

A reader recently asked me the following questions about the research I’ve conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic: “Have any of your fellow researchers disagreed with your findings? Do you mean to tell me every one of your colleagues researching similar subjects are in total agreement with you? Be honest, has anyone raised questions about your research?” The reader asks very important questions. I have published over a dozen articles in the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, including three articles on the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  1. Public Health Lessons Learned From Biases in Coronavirus Mortality Overestimation (cambridge.org)
  2. Medicina | Free Full-Text | Outcome Reporting Bias in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Clinical Trials (mdpi.com)
  3. Medicina | Free Full-Text | Sodium Toxicity in the Nutritional Epidemiology and Nutritional Immunology of COVID-19 (mdpi.com)

 
All of my research has passed rigorous review by peer researchers, otherwise it wouldn’t be published in peer-reviewed journals and cited by other researchers. Even if people don’t agree with my point of view or interpretation, they haven’t been able to dispute my findings based on the evidence. In other words, people’s personal opinions and agendas don’t matter. All that matters is the evidence. When I publish my findings in peer-reviewed journals, you can be assured that the evidence supporting the findings is valid, until someone comes up with something better. 

Moreover, if people can present better evidence and refute my findings, then I will go along with it, knowledge advances, and everyone benefits. That’s how scientific knowledge progresses. Think of it like a court case. When I present my case, there is always going to be an opposing side. But the lady wearing the blind fold (Justice) weighs the evidence on a scale, and determines the truth by comparing the weight of the evidence on each side. The blind fold on Old Lady Justice means she is unbiased about which side is true. All that matters is which evidence carries the most weight, beyond a reasonable doubt.

In reality, the system isn’t perfect, of course. Biases can corrupt the process. That is why the review process must remain transparent and open to critical appraisal. For example, see my peer-reviewed critical appraisal of bias in the clinical trials of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Medicina | Free Full-Text | Outcome Reporting Bias in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Clinical Trials (mdpi.com).

There is a natural flow of scientific information published in peer reviewed journals, from descriptions of empirical observations, to establishment of statistically significant associations, to development of explanatory theories, to testing hypotheses in experiments and trials—all of it evidence-based and presented in a process known as the scientific method. The evidence becomes stronger as information progresses from the observational stage to the experimental and trial stage. One cannot draw the same conclusions from observational evidence as from clinical trial or laboratory evidence, as often occurs during the pandemic when people make claims based on whether a person is vaccinated or not. These claims pay no attention to the clinical evidence showing that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine absolute risk reduction is approximately 1%, having barely any clinical impact at all.
CDC’s biased undercount of COVID-19 breakthrough infections (trialsitenews.com);
AP analysis doesn’t prove COVID-19 vaccines prevent deaths (trialsitenews.com)

Null Hypothesis and Type I Error

If a researcher asserts that a new idea or hypothesis is true, the scientific method immediately posts a warning sign on it, known as the null hypothesis. The purpose of the null hypothesis is not just to annoy science students who must prove that their alternative hypothesis is true before they can reject the null hypothesis. After all, if you can prove your alternative hypothesis is true, why bother with the null hypothesis at all? Please understand that the purpose of the null hypothesis is to protect the truth! To reject the null hypothesis without sufficient proof is to reject the truth, known as a type I error. 

Currently, the “fiasco” undermining the COVID-19 pandemic is based on one huge type I error, because, as epidemiologist John Ioannidis pointed out in his March 17, 2020 article, we are making decisions (rejecting the truth) based on incomplete information. A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data (statnews.com).

Confirmation Bias and Groupthink

Obviously, researching and writing valid evidence-based information for peer-review takes time and effort, compared to immediately forming opinions and arguments to support a personal agenda. The media is full of public health opinions and speculations that lack solid evidence. However, when it comes to rushing to judgement and compromising the truth, the spotlight shines on Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. See Public Health Lessons Learned From Biases in Coronavirus Mortality Overestimation (cambridge.org).

Fauci doesn’t appear to understand how scientific knowledge advances using the scientific method, even though he says he does. If he did, he would realize that there is an opposing view to everything that undergoes scientific investigation. Fauci doesn’t look at it that way. He picks his favorite side, based on his personal opinion and agenda, and dismisses everything else without examining the evidence. The only time he changes his mind is when is opinion is proven wrong. Then he goes onto the next wrong opinion that supports his agenda! He never appears to seek the truth. 

Selecting information that supports one’s personal view and agenda, while rejecting contradictory evidence, is known as confirmation bias.  Confirmation bias that affects the pandemic policy agenda of an entire group of public health administrators is known as groupthink

Fauci is not a scientist. He doesn’t hold an advanced degree in scientific research. Neither do many public health administrators and government policy makers. He and they are bureaucrats. Fauci doesn’t understand how true science works. He needs to get better acquainted with Old Lady Justice!

Let’s say you’ve already had COVID-19. Do you still need to get vaccinated? Probably not.

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[Norm’s note: Dr. Sebastian Rushworth writes,

The obsession with vaccinating everyone is particularly odd in a situation where access to vaccines is limited and the stated goal is to reach herd immunity as quickly as possible, since wasting time vaccinating people who have already had the infection will inevitably delay the time it takes for a population to reach herd immunity.

Yes, it does seem odd if the “stated goal is to reach herd immunity as quickly as possible.” But what if the real goal was other than the stated goal? Could it be that in a for-profit context, the real goal might have something to do with profit margins? Not to insinuate that medical practice would ever be motivated by  income, mind you.]

Hat tip: Sebastian Rushworth M.D.

Source: medRxiv

Necessity of COVID-19 vaccination in previously infected individuals

Nabin K. Shrestha, Patrick C. Burke, Amy S. Nowacki, Paul Terpeluk, Steven M. Gordon

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.01.21258176

This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.

ABSTRACT

Background The purpose of this study was to evaluate the necessity of COVID-19 vaccination in persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Methods Employees of the Cleveland Clinic Health System working in Ohio on Dec 16, 2020, the day COVID-19 vaccination was started, were included. Any subject who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at least 42 days earlier was considered previously infected. One was considered vaccinated 14 days after receipt of the second dose of a SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection over the next five months, among previously infected subjects who received the vaccine, was compared with those of previously infected subjects who remained unvaccinated, previously uninfected subjects who received the vaccine, and previously uninfected subjects who remained unvaccinated.

Results Among the 52238 included employees, 1359 (53%) of 2579 previously infected subjects remained unvaccinated, compared with 20804 (42%) of 49659 not previously infected. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection remained almost zero among previously infected unvaccinated subjects, previously infected subjects who were vaccinated, and previously uninfected subjects who were vaccinated, compared with a steady increase in cumulative incidence among previously uninfected subjects who remained unvaccinated. Not one of the 1359 previously infected subjects who remained unvaccinated had a SARS-CoV-2 infection over the duration of the study. In a Cox proportional hazards regression model, after adjusting for the phase of the epidemic, vaccination was associated with a significantly lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among those not previously infected (HR 0.031, 95% CI 0.015 to 0.061) but not among those previously infected (HR 0.313, 95% CI 0 to Infinity).

Conclusions Individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination, and vaccines can be safely prioritized to those who have not been infected before.

Summary Cumulative incidence of COVID-19 was examined among 52238 employees in an American healthcare system. COVID-19 did not occur in anyone over the five months of the study among 2579 individuals previously infected with COVID-19, including 1359 who did not take the vaccine.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Funding Statement

There was no funding for this study.

Author Declarations

I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.

Yes

The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:

The study was approved by the Cleveland Clinic Institutional Review Board. A waiver of informed consent and waiver of HIPAA authorization were approved to allow access to personal health information by the research team, with the understanding that sharing or releasing identifiable data to anyone other than the study team was not permitted without additional IRB approval.

All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.

Yes

I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).

Yes

I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.

Yes

Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv


Copyright :
 
The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted medRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.

FULL TEXT

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Someone once said to me . . .

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. . . that just because someone has a medical degree and license doesn’t mean that they are playing with a full deck of cards.

[UPDATE: sadly the tweet to which Richard Murphy was responding appears to have disappeared and without it to contextualize Murphy’s reply, the drollness of his reply is kinda lost. I’ll keep an eye out for an archived instance of the now disappeared tweet to try to resuscitate this comedy. I can’t promise anything, though. Next time, I’ll post a screenshot of anything worth saving. Lesson learned. Again.]

The original thread started out like this:

It now looks like this, as ‘GongGasGirl’ is unfortunately no more:

.

The judgements were severe:

(I’m just funning around, eh. Because a little laughter helps to relieve the bleakness of it all at least a little bit.)