Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

statistical advice...

cellistcellist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are precisely advised by the AZ vaccination bodies that a first jab could protect you from catching Covid-19 with a 30 per cent efficiency, that a second jab eight weeks later will protect you with 60 per cent efficiency and that should you get your second jab 12 weeks later your protection will be 80 per cent efficient. Drumroll, please.  

 

Here some tiny alarm bells should ring in journalistic circles as well as the medical profession, which to me, when I got first jabbed, seemed to be vaguely sarcastic about the whole process. We know that science isn’t that accurate with first time statistics. We need to know why and how these percentages were obtained. For example we have been told by Russians that the Sputnik V vaccine is 92.5 per cent effective, but we in the West don’t believe that. Why?… Are we so anti-Russian?

 

Same here though. How does science measure such statistical “evidence”? How many people contracted Covid-19 AFTER vaccination and how many died?... We are told that only 1 in 100,000 will develop “blood clotting” with AZ and that the second shot does not increase this minuscule possibility. 

 

Imagine, when you go for surgery, you need to sign a waiver that you know the risks of the procedure and that you have one in 500 chances you won’t come out alive… Beaut. So the risks and efficiencies of medical stuff are a bit of a gamble and this is why we are still going to have to wear masks/not wear masks/wear masks/not wear masks as the official version keeps being “updated”… All in all, some people are going to die and some will become addicted to opioids...

 

A “rebel” doctor — I added the word “rebel” though the guy, Richard Smith, is a prominent thinker and practitioner of official medicine (he used to be the editor of TheBMJ — the British Medical Journal) understands the dilemmas that medical sciences pose to the doctors as well as the general public. In our Covid-19 infected world, with saturation news —  as if not listening to the good doctor Norman Swan was a sin akin to storming the Capitol — we, the ignorant deplorables and the unwashed, have no clue as to when we could become a statistic on the wrong side of the ledger. 

 

So we play the statistical game. We, oldies with a bald patch and white hair everywhere, have not much choice — as statistically we’ve got zero chance in a thousand to survive an infection of Covid-19 Delta variant (Covid-21?). We get our shots spaced out to the max to get 80 per cent protection, we wear a mask when we go out shopping like thieves under a blue moon and we talk to nobody… We have to learn to blog, email and Zoom, iChat or whatever eCom we use, otherwise we become insularly crazy — a road we know well from being a bit memory deficient. 

 

We live in our little cages — which for some of us is not that bad considering we managed to get “real estate” when it was cheap enough 30 years ago in a slum suburb that has become expensively trendoid — but we miss our friends and our family — especially those who “have moved to the country”. Our major problem these days is we need to live five minutes max from a hospital. 

 

Meanwhile, some of us are madly in the middle of renovation to maximise the resale value of the abode (just before entering a retirement death-village) because let’s face it, we’re too old and have a limited time to use a new bathroom. But with the lockdown on tradies, the new kitchen is still in boxes and we have to burn the furniture to boil the kettle and stay warm. It is understandable to see why younger people want freedom instead of lockdowns, because playing stupid video games all day is a drag (am I being too sarcastic here?). 

 

Medicine has made much progress since the days of hemlock potions and bleeding patients to death. But there are still those damned statistics which on the face of it are pretty vague. How many patients (or monkeys) have died for observing these proportions?

 

Take a break and we must mention the Cello-Scrotum condition (see image at top from The New Yorker (Steinberg, c.1960s?)… We all know (we all should) about the tennis elbow syndrome and we might not have heard about the 'guitar nipple’ syndrome, beforehand… Apart from the tennis thingy which can even happen to non-players, the others were hoaxes in the 1960-70s…

 

In 1974, Dr. Elaine Murphy submitted a brief case report under her husband's name John which suggested a condition known as "cello scrotum," a fictional condition which supposedly affected male cellists. It was originally submitted as a joke in response to 'guitar nipple',[24] a condition similar to jogger's nipple in which some forms of guitar playing causes irritation to the nipple, which Murphy and her husband believed was also a joke. The case report was published in The BMJ[25] and although not widely cited, it was cited on some occasions with those doing so expressing scepticism.[26][27] The truth of the case was reported on back in 1991.[28]

 

In 2009, 35 years after the original case report was published, Murphy wrote a letter to The BMJ revealing that the condition was a hoax.[29]

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_BMJ 

 

 

We knew this of course. Young medical practitioners born since then would not have a clue. One of the criticism by good old Richard Smith is that many medical journals have become the voice of pharmaceuticals… So where to from here? Richard Smith does not hold the ladle back in the medical soup…: Richard Smith: Peer reviewers—time for mass rebellion?... Richard Smith: Hope is hazardous - The BMJ… Richard Smith: How medicine is destroying itself - The BMJ…  and the best one:

 

Richard Smith reviews Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty and concludes that the US opioid epidemic could not have happened without doctors and the whole medical establishment playing a part...

 

The half a million and still rising deaths from opioid overdoses in the US, together with increasing numbers in other countries, is surely medicine’s biggest failure. I tried to think of what might match it. The mass incarceration and abuse of people who are mentally ill over centuries? The infection of patients with hepatitis B and HIV? The deaths and suffering that result from 10% of all patients admitted to hospital suffering an adverse event and 1% dying? The torturing of the dying? The many unnecessary operations? The widespread overtreatment? Healthcare’s considerable contribution to ecological disaster and climate change? Ivan Illich would say the destruction of cultural mechanisms for responding to the suffering, pain, death, and grief that are part of being human, but the burgeoning epidemic of deaths from opioids must rank high.

 

Read more: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/07/21/the-opioid-crisis-the-sacklers-and-the-role-played-by-doctors/

 

 

So the QUESTIONs remain: Is the scientific Covid-19 political reaction driven by various interests or is it genuine in its general outlook, with some dithering on the side? Is our present political reactivity, the only solution to the pandemic, considering that nearly as many people in the US have died from “official” opioids usage than from Covid-19. Is Covid-19 an escaped convict looking for ways to travel?

 

Was Smith jesting? In December 2014, Smith wrote on the BMJ blog that trying to find a cure for cancer was a waste of money, claiming that, "with love, morphine, and whisky", the disease is the best way to die… As our old mate Tonio lays half-dead-blotto, between Lazarus and another corpse, in a public hospital room, with tubes coming in and out of everywhere we did not know existed, one wonders if Smith was not on the money. I hope not — but "hope is over-rated" according to Smith. On this one, he is correct because we’re all going to die, but we can delay the final even as much as possible, as long as we can remember who we are...

 

Let’s hope the crappy Sydney weather is going to improve though… But we guess that as soon as the warm days come back, the bushfire season could be worse than ever before and Penrith (or near by) will break the 50 degrees Celsius record… This could be statistically possible.

 

Gus Leonisky

 

Not a physician.

 

full of bullshit...

 

By Jack Waterford...

Increasingly people realise that Morrison is full of bullshit, even (or especially) when he is being sincere.

Can prime ministerial temporising, short-term fixes and spin see him out to a new election? His best hope is continuing good economic news. But the real crisis is about his character and his credibility  — as well as his apparent abdication of a leadership agenda. Increasingly people realise that Morrison is full of bullshit, even (or especially) when he is being sincere. But there’s just as much of a problem with his failures to make real or lasting policy, instead of promises and quick fixes to instant political problems. Less and less does he seem in charge.

Most of his failings seem rusted on. He doesn’t change much. Or learn much from experience, however much he pretends.  His declining cred involves much more than an eccentricity about coming clean, or being resistant to telling the truth.

Nineteen months ago,  Morrison was widely criticised first for taking a family holiday as bushfires were raging and secondly for an almost complete want of empathy with bushfire victims. He confessed some error, but seemed determined to show he “got it” by pledges of large sums for reconstruction, calling in the military for emergency aid, and efforts to be seen to be very concerned, and very much in touch. At least until the pandemic became a problem a month or two later. Since then it has become clear that actual government help to survivors, other than that organised through a partisan political system of  helping friends and ignoring enemies, has been slow, and disorganised. And far from involving any inspiration or vision about a reconstruction program that improved the social, physical and economic environment of scores of little communities, it was boringly addressed, at best, to a grumpy and minimalist restoration of what had been lost. No Christopher Wren was involved.

Morrison made umpteen marketing efforts, not least in standing alongside compliant military officers, to show he felt for the victims and their losses. It was always a short-term public perception problem, and soon he was back inside his strange incapacity to see the world through eyes other than his own. The most one can expect is that the next natural disaster, of flood, or famine or fire, will come with warning so he won’t be caught with a beer in his hand on the other side of the world.

Morrison announced many inquiries and not a few initiatives when he and the government came under sustained public attack over issues of violence against women, including women who worked in parliament. At first, there was inertia, including a refusal (by himself and women ministers) to go outside to speak to a large gathering of women in front of Parliament House, alongside some tough talk to press gallery sycophants about how neither he nor the government were going to be bullied by street action. Soon after, he realised that he had miscalculated — again — on an issue he had long regarded as of low priority in the political order of things. He was, apparently, helped to this     insight by his wife. Later, he pleaded and wheedled about his failure to get it, and masqueraded his new-found empathy and determination to do lots of things — tough things by golly — about the problem, not least in his own backyard. Money was appropriated to astonishingly inept marketing campaigns. More women — none very well regarded by the sisterhood — were appointed to ministerial positions from which they could give the prime minister insights beyond those available from his wife. Reports were ticked off, but nothing much happened. Indeed, police have yet to launch a prosecution of the rape case, though they have compassionately assisted ministers in political strife about their inaction. Now we are to have a parliament house education program by which MPs are to be given, only if they feel like it, a one-hour chat with an expert on matters such as sexual harassment and assault. Morrison seems to feel that the political crisis — for him — has passed. It hasn’t. Worse, at least from his point of view, its return will not be countered by lists of the innumerable inquiries or recommendations adopted, but from fresh evidence, such as by the restoration of Barnaby Joyce, that the issue is not regarded as important by the Morrison  government.

Morrison, in short, has learnt very little from the affair, just as he learnt little from his public relations disaster with the bushfires. Very little fundamental, that is, other than about managing a political crisis, rather than dealing with the source of it. His short-term responses involve a little bending to the wind — a lot of promises, sometimes (if all too late) agreement that the problem was bigger than he thought. When the publicly funded public relations blast was over, and either a new crisis arrived or the momentum of the issue declined, back to inaction, inertia and conscious downgrading of any policy action. Symbolised, perhaps, by what was said to be the initial Cabinet discussion after the report of the aged care royal commission — with minister arguing about what minimum amount of money could be thrown at the “problem” so as to convey the public relations impression that the government was taking it seriously.

Neither Morrison, nor his health minister, Greg Hunt, are to blame for the individual disasters with particular vaccines, including the difficulties (not as great as expected) in  getting just the sort of medical advice they wanted so that they could solemnly swear to be acting on medical advice. But they, and their bureaucratic advisers, are to be faulted for putting all their eggs in one basket, failing to anticipate serious problems with supply, the initial privatisation of the logistics and delivery of vaccines, and continuing failures (even as they now have surpluses of Astro-Zenaca) to complete coverage of the aged, people in aged care institutions, the disabled, workers, in aged care homes and disability residences, indigenous people in settlements, and others in vulnerable occupations, including, as we now know, drivers transporting people to quarantine centres.

Morrison must be blamed for overpromising, schedules and declarations about the progress of vaccination, and prevarication and delays about supplies.

He is also the author of most of his own problems with the premiers, not least from the way that he opposed lockdowns — at least until NSW was forced into one — and suffered his ministers into attacking Labor premiers who closed their borders. All the more embarrassing now that the state he held up as the gold standard is locked into a still expanding crisis, one made worse by the premier’s failure to go early, or go toughly, in trying to contain an outbreak.  Ministers from the Treasurer down might have expected the sort of rebound their relentless politicisation of fresh outbreaks from clear evidence of high popularity of the Labor premiers, even in the face of non-stop attack by the Murdoch press.  In West Australia, the Liberal Party was virtually wiped out at the last election.

It would be wrong to suggest that Morrison’s shortcomings have only been  on display with issues and crises not anticipated when he won the leadership. No one was expecting a pandemic, and the various challenges that presented. Nor bushfires, or a sudden focus on the sexual and physical assault on women. These may have dominated the headlines, and created and compounded the impression that Morrison is a poor pilot, now scarcely in control of events.

But in fact all of the same problems have been evident in areas where the government ought to be achieving things, but isn’t. Over climate change, where the message changes daily according to the audience but where Morrison and the government are now manifestly out of touch with world opinion, and local public opinion. It has reached the point where Murdoch and Nine polemicists, particularly in the Australian and the Financial Review, are now arguing that Australia must give way to the emotional and overstated arguments of the wider world. Not because the wider world is right, according to them, but because Australia is coming to be seen as a leading recalcitrant and might soon suffer economic damage from our trading partners.

Inaction on climate change — and threats from the Nationals that they will oppose targets unless their constituencies (the coal lobby, first, then farmers) are handsomely bribed is a reflection not only on the government, but on the leadership and moral cowardice of Morrison himself.  Just as bad, however, has been his inaction over water, particularly in the Murray Darling basin, including his handing back control of it to the rorting ways of Barnaby Joyce. With that and more general environmental policy, the Morrison characteristic is to avoid or deny any sense of public stewardship -=- let alone any idea of being a trustee for future generations. Instead it’s all about short-term actions designed to appease lobbies, and neutralise opponents.

Morrison, and the government as a whole, have also been undermining their positions with a determined assault on the institutions of government, on the proprieties and decencies of public spending, and over Morrison’s refusal to acknowledge fault in serious, perhaps criminal, abuses of processes required by law. Down the track, indeed, this is a government which may be seen by history more for its corruption and abuse of power than for its local management of an unprecedented crisis. It will not be an attractive picture.

Some of Morrison’s fixes might paper over the cracks until the next election. But the more that colleagues, his political opponents, the lobbyists and the public come to believe that Morrison has lost moral authority and certainty, and a feel for the right thing, the harder they will press him. More and more will count him a dud. Even if they ruefully blame themselves in part for poor judgement in selecting their leader, they will probably, in the Morrison manner, not look back but seek to get rid of the problem.

 

Read more:

https://johnmenadue.com/pms-focus-on-short-term-fixes-and-politicisation-of-every-conflict/

 

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the relative science...

 

By F. William Engdahl

 

The forever-head of the US NIAID, Tony Fauci, has repeatedly demanded that the public “trust the science” as he shifts his own science opinion from one position to another. What is never mentioned in mainstream media in the West or almost anywhere in the world is the scientific record of the major global vaccine making pharmaceutical giants. In short, it is abysmal and alarming in the extreme. That alone should prohibit governments from pushing radical untested experimental injections on their populations without extensive long-term animal and other testing to assure their safety.

This past April as the US vaccination program was in high gear, the Biden chief covid adviser, 80-year-old Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) since 1984, announced that the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had decided to order a “pause” on giving the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine in order to examine reports of blood clots. It turned out that there were six reported blood clot cases of some seven million who then had had the J&J covid jab. Fauci in his press remarks declared, “one of the things that’s, I think, such a good thing about our system here, is that we’re ruled by the science, not by any other consideration.” There is good reason to question Fauci.

That was supposed to reassure people that the authorities were being ultra-careful with the experimental covid medications which, after all, never have been mass-tested on humans before and have only gotten “emergency use authorization,” provisional FDA approval. The FDA quickly lifted the pause as J&J agreed to print that its vaccine could cause blood clots. 

Yet at the same time, rival vaccine makers, Pfizer and Moderna, both using a hyper-experimental genetic treatment known as mRNA, were not being paused by “the science” despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of alarming vaccine-related severe reactions, including official data of several thousand deaths from both, had been recorded by CDC data base, VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System). 

According to the CDC such “adverse” events, post-vaccine, include anaphylaxis, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, myocarditis, pericarditis, and death. For the week of July 16 the CDC VAERS reported an alarming 9,125 reported deaths since late December from the COVID-19 vaccinations. Never in history have such high death totals been associated with any vaccine, yet the media is deafeningly silent about this.

Their dismal science record

The wording of Fauci is precise and deliberately manipulative. It suggests that there exists some fixed thing we can call “The Science,” like some Vatican religious dogma, whereas the real scientific method is one of continuous questioning, overturning past hypotheses with newly proven ones, adjusting. Yet when it comes to “Science,” the handful of giant vaccine makers, sometimes known as Big Pharma, a cartel not unlike Big Oil, have a record of fraud, deliberate doctoring of their own tests, as well as widespread bribing of doctors and medical officials to promote their various drugs despite “Science” results that contradict their assertions of safety. A look at the major global pharmaceutical giants is instructive.

J&J

We begin with the Johnson & Johnson Company of New Jersey. On July 21, 2021 J&J and three other smaller drug makers agreed to pay a staggering $26 billion damages to a group of US states for their role in causing America’s opioid epidemic. Of that J&J will pay $5 billion. The CDC estimates that use of the highly-addictive opioids as painkillers caused at least 500,000 deaths between 1999 and 2019. Johnson & Johnson is accused of pushing the deadly painkillers for excessive use and downplaying their addiction risks. They knew better.

The same J&J is in a huge legal battle for knowingly using a carcinogen in its famous baby powder. A 2018 Reuters investigation found J&J knew for decades that asbestos, a known carcinogen, lurked in its baby powder and other cosmetic talc products. The company is reportedly considering legally splitting its baby powder division into a small separate company that would then declare bankruptcy to avoid large payouts. The J&J covid vaccine, unlike that from Pfizer and Moderna, does not use mRNA genetic alteration. 

The two global covid vaccine makers which have by far the largest market to date are the two being personally promoted by Fauci. These are from Pfizer in alliance with the tiny German BioNTech company under the name Comirnaty, and from the US biotech Moderna.

Pfizer

Pfizer, one of the world’s largest vaccine makers by sales, was founded in 1849 in the USA. It also has one of the most criminal records of fraud, corruption, falsification and proven damage. A 2010 Canadian study noted, “Pfizer has been a “habitual offender,” persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians and suppressing adverse trial results.” That’s serious. Note that Pfizer has yet to make fully public details of its covid vaccine studies for external examination.

The list of Pfizer crimes has gotten longer since 2010. It is currently engaged in lawsuits related to charges its Zantac heartburn medication is contaminated with a cancer-causing substance. As well, Pfizer received the biggest drug-related fine in US history in 2009 as part of a $2.3 Billion plea deal for mis-promoting medicines Bextra and Celebrex and paying kickbacks to compliant doctors. Pfizer pleaded guilty to the felony of marketing four drugs including Bextra “with the intent to defraud or mislead.” They were forced to withdraw their arthritis painkiller Bextra in the USA and EU for causing heart attacks, strokes, and serious skin disease.

Clearly in a move to boost revenue, Pfizer illegally paid doctors kickbacks for “off-label” use of more than one of its drug which resulted in patients being injured or killed. Among them were Bextra (valdecoxib); Geodon (ziprasidone HCl), an atypical antipsychotic; Zyvox (linezolid), an antibiotic; Lyrica (pregabalin), a seizure medication; its famous Viagra (sildenafil), an erectile dysfunction drug; and Lipitor (atorvastatin), a cholesterol drug.

In another court trial, Pfizer subsidiaries were forced to pay $142 million and release company documents that showed it was illegally marketing gabapentin for off-label use. “Data revealed in a string of U.S. lawsuits indicates the drug was promoted by the drug company as a treatment for pain, migraines and bipolar disorder – even though it wasn’t effective in treating these conditions and was actually toxic in certain cases, according to the Therapeutics Initiative, an independent drug research group at the University of British Columbia. The trials forced the company to release all of its studies on the drug, including the ones it kept hidden.”

In 2004 Pfizer subsidiary Warner-Lambert was forced to pay $430 to settle criminal charges and civil liability arising from its fraudulent marketing practices with respect to Neurontin, its brand for the drug gabapentin. Originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy, Neurontin was illegally promoted off-label for the treatment of neurological pain, and in particular for migraine and bipolar disorder – even though it wasn’t effective in treating these conditions and was actually toxic in some cases. Neurontin for unapproved uses made up some 90% of the $2.7 billion in sales in 2003.

A New York Times report disclosed in 2010 that Pfizer “…paid about $20 million to 4,500 doctors and other medical professionals in the United States for consulting and speaking on its behalf in the last six months of 2009.” It paid another $15.3 million to 250 academic medical centers and other research groups for clinical trials. In the US legal practice it is seldom that corporate executives actually doing the criminal deeds are prosecuted. The result is that court fines can be treated as “business costs” in this cynical milieu. In eight years of repeated malfeasance through 2009, Pfizer accumulated just under $3 billion in fines and civil penalties, about a third of one year’s net revenues.

In 2020 as its covid vaccine was in development, Pfizer paid $13,150,000 in lobbying Congress and officials in Washington among others. Also notable is the fact that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation own shares of both Pfizer and their partner in the leading mRNA vaccine, BioNTech of Germany.

Moderna

The third covid vaccine producer today with FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is Moderna of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It has yet to be sued for illegal practices unlike J&J or Pfizer. But that fact is likely only because before its EUA for its mRNA experimental vaccine, in its ten years existence since 2010 it had failed to get FDA approval to market a single medicine, despite repeated failed attempts. However Moderna has a red neon sign that reads “conflict of interest” that should give pause.

Moderna and Fauci’s NIAID have collaborated on development of vaccines using Moderna’s mRNA platform and NIAID of Fauci on coronaviruses including MERS, since at least November, 2015. On January 13, 2020, before the first case of a supposed Wuhan, China “novel coronavirus” was even detected in the United States, Fauci’s NIAID and Moderna signed an updated cooperation agreement which described them as co-owners of a mRNA based coronavirus and that they had finalized a sequence for mRNA-1273, the vaccine now being given to millions for supposedly averting the novel coronavirus. That means that Fauci’s NIAID and perhaps Fauci personally (it’s allowed in the US) stood to reap huge financial benefits from emergency approval of the Moderna jab, yet Fauci has never admitted to the conflict publicly when he was Trump corona adviser, nor as Biden’s. 

Ten days later on January 23, 2020 Moderna announced it was granted funding by CEPI, a vaccine fund created by Bill Gates’ foundation along with Davos WEF among others, to develop an mRNA vaccine for the Wuhan virus.

Moderna was created by a venture capitalist, Noubar Afeyan along with Harvard professor Timothy A. Springer, and others. In 2011 Afeyan recruited French businessman and former Eli Lilly executive Stephane Bancel as CEO of the new Moderna. Despite having no medical or science degree nor any experience running a drug development operation, Bancel lists himself as co-patent holder for a hundred patents of Moderna tied to the different vaccines. Beginning in 2013 the tiny Moderna was receiving grants from the Pentagon to develop its mRNA technology. As of 2020 just prior to its receiving emergency use authorization from the US Government FDA, fully 89% of Moderna revenues were from US Government grants. This is hardly an experienced company yet it holds the fate of millions in its hands. As Fauci says, “Trust the Science.” 

In February 2016, an editorial in Nature magazine criticized Moderna for not publishing any peer-reviewed papers on its technology, unlike most other emerging and established biotech companies. The company remains ultra-secretive. That same year, 2016 Moderna got $20 million from the Gates Foundation for vaccine development using mRNA.

Up to its receiving EUA approval for its covid mRNA product in December 2020 Moderna had only made losses since its founding. Then curiously, following a March 2020 personal meeting with then-President Trump where Bancel told the president Moderna could have a vaccine ready in a matter of months Moderna luck changed. 

On May 15, Trump announced creation of Operation Warp Seed to rollout a COVID-19 vaccine by December. The head of the Presidential group was a 30-year R&D veteran of the large UK drug firm GSK, Moncef Slaoui. In 2017 Slaoui had resigned from GSK and joined the board of none other than Moderna. Under Slaoui’s Warp Speed, some $22 billion of US taxpayer money was thrown at different vaccine makers. Moderna was a prime recipient, a brazen conflict of interest but nobody seemed to care. Slaoui funneled some $2 billion in government funds to his old company, Moderna, to develop the mRNA covid vaccine. Only under public criticism did Slaoui sell his stock in Moderna, making millions in profit from Moderna’s role as a covid vaccine leading candidate. Shortly after resigning at the end of the Trump presidency, Slaoui was fired by his old firm GSK from a company subsidiary following charges of sexual harassment of a female employee.

In February 2020 Trump Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) to exempt Moderna, Pfizer, J&J and any future covid makers from any and all liability arising from damage or death caused by their vaccines for the Wuhan coronavirus. The legal protection lasts until 2024. If the vaccines are so good and safe, why is such a measure needed? Azar was former head of the US drug giant Eli Lilly. There are some serious questions that must be raised openly regarding the vaccine makers who are now pushing experimental highly controversial gene-edited formulations in human experiments.

 

 

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

Read more:

https://journal-neo.org/2021/07/29/and-we-should-trust-the-science-of-the-pharma-industry/

 

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more stats...

 

From the stats guy: Demographer Simon Kuestenmacher

 

Coronavirus variants, vaccines, risks, the costs of lockdowns? It’s hard to make sense of all these numbers. As a demographer I am very much not qualified to give medical advice, but I can give statistical advice and walk you through my decision-making process.

All the COVID talk these days is about the Delta variant. This new version of the virus is about 50 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha variant (which itself was about 50 per cent more transmissible than the original Wuhan virus, according to the World Health Organisation).

Last year it took minutes of contact to catch the coronavirus, today you can catch Delta through ‘fleeting contact’. That’s why masks are mandatory outside.

 

The public health goal is to have as few people as possible catch the virus. Look at the excess death figures for India and Brazil to see why we locked Australian cities down at first sight of an outbreak.

Lockdowns, the necessary evil

Lockdowns unfortunately have endless negative side effects. Our mental health suffers, we get fatter, we delay routine healthcare, incidents of depression and domestic violence rise, more of us suffer financially, reports of people feeling lonely and hopeless are on the up.

I don’t need to tell you that lockdowns suck, right? However, for most of 2020 lockdowns were the only tool we had to combat the virus. A necessary evil.

We can’t just willy-nilly open up the country and pretend there wasn’t a Delta wave ripping through the nation, as the short-sighted protesters call for. Ignoring the reality of a pandemic isn’t an option, no matter how many horses you punch.

The health advice from all credible sources couldn’t be clearer. The best way to protect yourself against Delta is to have a fully vaccinated population. Different institutes come up with slightly different targets. On Friday, National Cabinet reached an in-principle agreement to stop city-wide lockdowns and reinstate most pre-COVID freedoms once 80 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.

The deal is simple, once almost everyone is vaccinated, lockdowns are history. Cool. So, let’s get vaccinated. But how and when?

Waiting for Pfizer? Consider this first

If you have a vial of Pfizer and one of AstraZeneca in front of you and both are available in unlimited quantity in the country, pick Pfizer. Compared to AstraZeneca, Pfizer puts you at a slightly lower risk of experiencing soft side effects. Pfizer avoids blood clots altogether and offers a slightly higher rate of protection against hospitalisation or death.Spoiler alert: In Australia we have plenty of AstraZeneca but little Pfizer available for now, so the unlimited supply scenario doesn’t play out. You won’t find yourself in a position where you get to choose your vaccine anytime soon.

Should you just wait until Pfizer (or later Moderna) will be available to you? This depends on your own propensity to take risks, how much you care for the health of others, how much you want to stop lockdowns, how much you want your right to travel back, how much you want to help the economy.

 

Your hesitation most likely stems from the blood clot deaths linked to AstraZeneca. Articles on the topic always say stuff like “extremely rare blood clots” but fail to really put risks into perspective. We expect one death for every one to two million AstraZeneca jabs. To vaccinate 80 per cent of the population, we must vaccinate 16 million Australians with 32 million jabs. So far 12 million of these jabs have already been administrated. If all remaining 20 million doses were AstraZeneca (which won’t be the case) we would expect 10 to 20 deaths.

 

An insufficiently vaccinated population either means that the virus will circulate for longer in our community and kill people, or more likely that millions of Australians will continue to go in and out of lockdowns. A population below the vaccination target will be treated as an unvaccinated population by public health teams. No amount of complaining, protesting, or swearing at politicians will change that.

The virus and the vaccine have very different types of risks associated with them. The virus has multiplicative risks and vaccines don’t.

The side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine are real, but they are small and not contagious. This means they follow a linear growth pattern. One million AstraZeneca jabs will kill a maximum of one person, ten million doses will lead to no more than ten deaths. Linear growth at a tiny scale.

Meeting a population that is neither locked down nor vaccinated (like in India), the virus spreads exponentially. This results in extremely high case and fatality numbers in very little time. No wonder we want to avoid this at all costs.

You must personally weigh the insanely small linear risk of potentially harming yourself by getting vaccinated (literally a one in a million chance) against the exponential risk of catching the virus if it continues to circulate in Australia or continuing to live in a world of closed borders and locked down cities.

When making your decision you will want to make sure to correctly estimate the order of magnitude of risks and rewards. Are you only thinking about your own health or are you taking collective needs into consideration? Are you willing to take on a small personal risk for the collective good as well as your own freedom?

Further you will need to be clear about your predictions about the future. I, for one, expect cross-border travel, attendance at events, employment opportunities, and other personal freedoms to be linked to your vaccination status through a vaccine passport before the end of the year. Your view of future policies should inform your decisions today.

Why I chose AstraZeneca

In case you are interested in my decision, I’m 38-years-old and I booked my AstraZeneca jab as soon as they were made available to those aged under 40.

I happily took the one-in-a-million risk to my own health to increase the likelihood that my family doesn’t see Melbourne lockdown 6.0.

I got the jab to help make it more likely that my family can travel overseas so my one-and-a-half-year-old son can finally meet his grandparents in Germany. To make sure the little fella can have playdates and partake in activities whenever we want. To ensure that borders across Australia are open so I can do my job as a public speaker, help my gym stay open, and to avoid anyone in our house going bonkers.

Your decision is up to you, I’ve made up my mind.

 

Read more:

https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/coronavirus/2021/08/01/stats-guy-astrazeneca-vaccine/

 

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uncertainty on the hop...

 

When the coronavirus surfaced last year, no one was prepared for it to invade every aspect of daily life for so long, so insidiously. The pandemic has forced Americans to wrestle with life-or-death choices every day of the past 18 months — and there’s no end in sight.

Scientific understanding of the virus changes by the hour, it seems. The virus spreads only by close contact or on contaminated surfaces, then turns out to be airborne. The virus mutates slowly, but then emerges in a series of dangerous new forms. Americans don’t need to wear masks. Wait, they do.

At no point in this ordeal has the ground beneath our feet seemed so uncertain. In just the past week, federal health officials said they would begin offering booster shots to all Americans in the coming months. Days earlier, those officials had assured the public that the vaccines were holding strong against the Delta variant of the virus, and that boosters would not be necessary.

As early as Monday, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to formally approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already been given to scores of millions of Americans. Some holdouts found it suspicious that the vaccine was not formally approved yet somehow widely dispensed. For them, “emergency authorization” has never seemed quite enough.

Americans are living with science as it unfolds in real time. The process has always been fluid, unpredictable. But rarely has it moved at this speed, leaving citizens to confront research findings as soon as they land at the front door, a stream of deliveries that no one ordered and no one wants.

Is a visit to my ailing parent too dangerous? Do the benefits of in-person schooling outweigh the possibility of physical harm to my child? Will our family gathering turn into a superspreader event?

Living with a capricious enemy has been unsettling even for researchers, public health officials and journalists who are used to the mutable nature of science. They, too, have frequently agonized over the best way to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

But to frustrated Americans unfamiliar with the circuitous and often contentious path to scientific discovery, public health officials have seemed at times to be moving the goal posts and flip-flopping, or misleading, even lying to, the country.

Most of the time, scientists are “edging forward in a very incremental way,” said Richard Sever, assistant director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press and a co-founder of two popular websites, bioRxiv and medRxiv, where scientists post new research.

“There are blind alleys that people go down, and a lot of the time you kind of don’t know what you don’t know.”

Biology and medicine are particularly demanding fields. Ideas are evaluated for years, sometimes decades, before they are accepted.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/22/health/covid-research-delta-boosters.html

 

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like a road map for golf-buggies on the moon...

We hear about a soup of numbers every day: vaccination numbers that allow Australia to open up, numbers of hours you can spend outside, numbers of people you can spend that time with, numbers of COVID cases, numbers of vaccinations, number of COVID tests, Reff number, numbers of those in hospital, in ICU, on ventilators. 

And the worst number of all? The number of Australians who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

All those numbers dictated the best of times this past week, and also the worst of times. But no matter how the numbers were presented, a little cognitive dissonance was needed to make it all add up.

In the space of just one press conference on Thursday NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's two key announcements summed up the confusing state of affairs.

One moment she was delivering details of a concession on lockdown restrictions and in another, announcing daily case numbers had topped 1,000 for the first time amid worrying spread into regional communities. The numbers got even worse yesterday with 1,035 transmissions in 24 hours — the country's highest ever.

As jabs in NSW passed her 6 million goal for the month — triggering new rules allowing vaccinated residents to gather outside in groups of five, weddings with five guests to go ahead, and a strategy to get kids back to school — a woman was caught trying to smuggle herself into Queensland in the boot of a car and Prime Minster Scott Morrison used the plot of an animated movie to fire up support for his COVID plan.

Morrison enlisted inspiration from the 2013 kids' film The Croods to illustrate his strategy to bust Australia out of its COVID cave, hoping to inspire us all to be brave and envisage an era of "living with the virus". The link caused some global bemusement.

 

A grave reality check

As some in NSW are already making picnic plans for September 13, when the modified restrictions take effect, the grave reality was that the Delta variant has continued to spread and tragically, continued to cost lives with an unprecedented number of young Australians among them.

Ianeta Baker Isaako, 30-year-old mother of three, became the youngest Australian woman to die of COVID-19. A man in his 30s also died over the past week bringing to 83 the total number of people who have passed away in NSW after contracting the virus during the current wave.

Several of these people, including Baker Isaako, were being cared for at home when they died, throwing into sharp focus how suddenly the Delta virus can overwhelm the body and take a life.

 

It was a dire reality check.

Another came via the quiet sidelining of a figure that had once been a core component of the 11am briefing in NSW.

Early on in this outbreak the number of cases infectious in the community was the one Chief Health Office Kerry Chant and Premier Berejiklian used to focus on. "That's the number we need to get as close to zero as possible," was a daily refrain.

But with the reproduction number of COVID-19 now at 1.3 – meaning 13 people contract the disease for every 10 infected – and contact tracers scrambling to pin down chains of transmission, the number of infectious cases in the community was so large it was no longer meaningful, Berejiklian told the briefing.

Around the nation

While the most alarming COVID numbers are coming from NSW, the current outbreak is affecting other parts of Australia too, notably Victoria where 64 new cases were announced yesterday and regional spread continues.

 

A significant outbreak in the Victorian town of Shepparton has placed swathes of the community into isolation and is "grinding the town to a halt", according to Emergency Management Victoria Deputy Commissioner Deb Abbott, as businesses are forced to close.

In Queensland doughnut days have continued but in Western Australia two truck drivers broke the state’s COVID-free streak after arriving in the state via Victoria and South Australia and then testing positive.

Of deep concern is the steady creep of COVID into western and far western NSW and particularly the growing presence of the virus in Indigenous communities.

In Wilcannia, with a high Aboriginal population, 58 people have so far tested positive. Food and necessities are in short supply as families isolate together in overcrowded housing.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-29/covid-statistics-keep-getting-worse-but-it-does-not-add-up/100415122

 

Instead of placing a condom on the thingy, we've placed a massive blanket on the populace, with screws (police) to make sure no-one escaped. Not denying that something "had to be done" about Covid-19, I would suggest that the wrong solutions were implemented because we had no clue, despite the rehearsals under Bill Gates... I supposed we had to find how dangerous the thingy was before knowing how dangerous the thingy is... So we muffed it, as much as Donald Trump... Not quite yet...

 

We float vague percentages of this and that and we are assured that some people will die should we "open" too soon. Of course, as long as it's not me... Some people will die anyway from boredom and despair. 

 

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See also: 

dramatic warming...

 

 

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