‘Endemic’ covers a lot of biology, but we’re probably not there yet for COVID-19
Right up front, I’m going to repeat myself by saying that I think COVID-19 will become a disease that has endemic as well as epidemic states at some…
Right up front, I’m going to repeat myself by saying that I think COVID-19 will become a disease that has endemic as well as epidemic states at some point in the future. But it’s probably not there yet. And that has no bearing on disease severity.
Why not yet? Because we are still seeing rapid-fire epidemics of the disease each year at any given site you look at (except for China which is the last location to drop a “COVIDzero” policy.
The wisdom among a number of people is that we still need to see more time pass before we can say that COVID-19 has an endemic aspect.
There are also statements that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus) will “never be endemic. It is an epidemic disease”. Never? That would be pretty bad given there are so few efforts remaining to control transmission now. And would be very different from the other airborne spread viral diseases we currently live alongside.
I wanted to get into some weeds on the nature of endemic diseases (not endemic viruses).
In any useful discussion, all parties understand what each other means if they work from the same definitions. Without definitions – as social media so often demonstrates – humans tend to rapidly go off on tangents talking at cross-purposes and getting nowhere.
Yes, definitions are super-important, but if they don’t use enough words, they can still fail to get us all on the same page. Apart from confusion and misunderstanding among experts, this can hinder the general public from applying terms properly; especially those people who like to apply knowledge to new things for themselves.
There are a lot of epidemiology definitions that sit in the “please use more words” space. As you’ll see below, some just don’t capture the complexity of the biology to which they are applied. Sometimes this leaves us with extra bits of info being bolted on but perhaps without any sort of consensus.
Below are a few definitions related to the word “endemic”. None of these would be hurt by having more words and some real-world examples. There are probably lots of books out there that do this, but I haven’t read them all yet!
The first two definitions of ‘endemic’ from A Dictionary of Epidemiology below vary a little by version but basically link the word to a disease that is constantly present at a site or within a population.
For the disease to remain it needs to keep appearing – new cases have to occur be it through:
- Infection – the Reffective needs to be on average, 1 – it can go up or down, but on average another person needs to be infected, or else the disease will eventually go away through recovery or treatment or death
- Predisposition – new births of those with a genetic risk factor that means they are at higher risk of disease
- Environment/lifestyle/income – those who will eventually acquire disease because their risks are higher
The word can be used to talk about an endemic area or an endemic disease.
Endemic may be used along with a defined threshold of disease – but doesn’t imply that the amount of disease will remain exactly the same from year to year, just that it isn’t exponentially changing as it would if in an epidemic state. Thresholds can vary by place, organisation and disease. See some threshold examples here. There seem to be a feeling that we need a decent amount of surveillance time to know whether a disease is capable of an endemic state.
Another example comes with a simple graphic to differentiate the different disease states…
Jekel’s epidemiology, biostatistics, preventive medicine, and public health (5th Edition; Joann G. Elmore, Dorothea M.G. Wild, Heidi D. Nelson, David L. Katz) says “When a disease in a population occurs regularly, and at a relatively constant level, it is said to be endemic, based on Greek roots meaning “within the population”” while Mayhall’s Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Prevention (5th Edition; David J. Weber & Thomas R. Talbot) defines it as “The usual level or presence of an agent or disease in a defined population during a given period. Clinical Epidemiology: The Essentials (6th Edition; Grant S Fletcher) says “When a disease such as iodine deficiency goiter or polio (after global efforts to eradicate it) is limited to certain places, the disease is called endemic”.
Some terms that tease out types of endemicity include…
And a couple of other definitions.
Incidence of disease
Prevalence of disease
If not explained further, the term usually refers to the proportion (%, not rate unless time is involved) of individuals in a population who have the condition at a specified point in time (=point prevalence)
Others’ thoughts on endemicity
In a frustration-laden article from January, its author noted that some/many use ‘endemic’ interchangeably with ‘mild’. Here’s an example
The first takeaway from this article for me was this quote:
If you are using endemic to mean milder disease, you’re misleading others, and you’re wrong. If you see it used that way, call it out. Words have meaning. I’ve also written a little about this before here.
The second really good takeaway from the Nature piece was this:
My own frustrated version of this article would not be focussing on the ‘lazy optimism’ the author noted but on the utter departure of leadership as the real driver of a public belief that the pandemic is over, we’re back to normal, and things are fine. Those still at the frontline realise how ridiculous that is, but they no longer find support when they try and raise a flag about high hospitalisations and deaths, persistence, multisystem disease and long-term harms. “You’ve got a health budget, just stretch it a little and go make health”.
So as with many things in biology, here’s a thing that’s complex trying to be described by a poorly-defined word. This isn’t really a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ thing. We can’t easily generalise that ‘this is endemic’ or ‘this is not endemic’. But we can describe disease behaviours at a defined time and prescribed place using this term. I fell into this mistake, hence some reading and writing and consultation on social media to straighten out my knowledge.
‘Endemic’ is about the Disease
The word was intended to describe the behaviour of the disease and not necessarily an agent causing that. Of course, the two are linked, but there are subtleties to consider. But even the word ‘disease’ isn’t an open-and-shut thing.
Endemicity, influenza and influenza viruses
Let’s use influenza as a disease example. It’s caused by a range of different influenza viruses. Yes, plural. There are influenza A viruses like H1N1, H5N1, H3N2, H17N10, H7N9 (which now all belong to the species Alphainfluenzavirus influenza), influenza B viruses, influenza C viruses and influenza D viruses that can all cause human disease. But they don’t all co-occur. They are each affected by human behaviour, season, opportunity (for zoonosis), travel, other viruses (including new flu virus zoonoses leading to pandemics that can mess with existing virus patterns), immune pressure, vaccine match, vaccination uptake, imprinting and genetic change. But most people probably don’t really ‘look under the hood’ to see what’s causing flu – we just know it’s flu ‘season’.
There are periodic flu seasons caused by human-adapted influenza viruses) during which the number of cases rapidly rises above predetermined thresholds resulting in flu epidemics in temperate countries.
Flu (the disease) is endemic in between these periods, regardless of whichever flu is causing it. An epidemic is usually dominated by one influenza virus.
To add to the complexity, other viruses can cause similar flu-like illnesses, so we really need to limit flu disease discussions to influenza flu-virus-positive cases.
Seasonal influenza viruses cause asymptomatic, mild, moderate and severe infections inside or outside of their epidemic states. They don’t appear out of thin air or arise from the soil. The viruses rely heavily on travel to keep being introduced to temperate countries from other temperate countries and from the tropics. In tropical climates, flu can be found as an endemic disease; viruses continue to pass from person to person, continually evolving into new variants – some more ‘fit’ (they have a competitive edge), some the same fitness (although they may have changed in other ways) and some less fit than the ones that evolved from, all year round.
Influenza virus variants can completely replace prior variants of the same subtype. In those examples, the replaced variant is gone and so can’t be described as an ‘endemic virus’. But each is still a member of the same single viral species, Alphainfluenzavirus influenza viruses (fluA viruses). Travel disseminates them into new populations where they continue to evolve, leading to epidemics when a variant is suitably fit and the situation at the site is right.
While any specific seasonal influenza virus variant may not be endemic in temperate countries, the disease is. Flu ticks all the boxes!
Endemic diseases within a location can vary by year, region and season
In the example below from the Our World in Data Malaria page, we can see all sorts of presentations of an endemic disease in different locations.
Malaria is a universally agreed-upon example of an endemic disease caused by a vectorborne parasite that used to exhibit epidemic behaviour. It could again if controls suddenly failed or were prematurely eased, or if the vectors surged or populations moved suddenly.
Here we see another variable to consider in our story of the word ‘endemic’ – what causes diseases?
Influenza and SARS-CoV-2 spread effectively and just need breathing humans in a room. Malaria needs humans to be in proximity to competent and parasite-infected vectors. Ebola relies on the human touch to spread the virus.
What and how a disease is acquired can have an impact on how the state of a disease is defined. It might take fewer cases of a rare, high-consequence but slow-to-transmit pathogen to trigger a shift from an endemic to an epidemic state compared to a disease that can explode.
Malaria over time
When we look at one country over time – and allow for variability in testing and reporting of disease – an endemic disease is not always a straightforward straight line of disease whereby one person is infected at a time. Endemic disease can vary up and down in short quick steps because of infection clusters that are controlled or trend slowly up and down again in various ways yet still be an endemic disease.
SIDENOTE: it’s fantastic to see on this site and in the latest World Malaria Report, the hard work of so many malaria-endemic countries paying off as they get closer towards the goal of eliminating Malaria, a preventable and curable disease.
Similarly variable patterns, also affected by testing and reporting, can be seen with respiratory viruses when comparing countries – like flu-virus-positive flu hospitalisations below. Even after accounting for the northern versus southern hemisphere climate.
Malaria location can be limited within a country
Even within one country – see South Africa (map below) and Viet Nam for examples – some regions can exhibit higher levels of endemic activity than others.
A similar pattern can be seen during an influenza season – for example in Australia, the west coast can often demonstrate very different incidences to the east coast.
Malaria can vary over time in a single endemic region
There can also be disease variation that occurs within a year in a given country. One example is the effects of rainfall on the insect vectors of the Malaria parasite. In Viet Nam, the rainy season is when the highest risk of mosquito-human contact occurs in the highlands. This can lead to spiking case numbers.
Established viruses like influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial viruses, rhinoviruses, enteroviruses and metapneumoviruses are also known to circulate in seasonal patterns within a year, most likely due to changed human behaviours that bring us indoors to share exhaled infectious-virus-laden air particles.
Other endemic infectious diseases
Measles is caused by a virus, and the disease can be in an endemic state but then surge into epidemics when immunity wanes, new births rise, and vaccinations slip. Poliovirus, caused by a seasonal enterovirus was once a disease endemic to many locations, but vaccination and improved sanitation along with a huge effort have reduced its endemicity footprint to just a few regions of the world where vaccination has proven extremely hard to reach due to human factors.
Influenza is not endemic everywhere – the role of rapid travel
Australia and New Zealand (and others) saw the sudden cessation of an ongoing flu season and the maintenance of essentially no new flu cases until we opened our borders up. This wondrous outcome can be directly attributed to stopping travel which cut us off from the influenza distribution nodes of the US and China, and the local stay-at-home (lockdown) orders which snuffed out local transmission.
This surprised me as I had thought we’d see some internal transmission among the frontline workers and children at daycare who were still out and about. Other respiratory viruses did still tick along at reduced levels, however, but not influenza virus-positive influenza disease. And yes, Australia and New Zealand were still testing for influenza.
So while travel in the ancient days of epidemiology definitions might have been a tad slower and less multi-national than today, travel clearly plays a required role in the viruses that underpin some acute respiratory diseases.
Endemic can still mean lots of harm that we ignore
It’s also worth noting though – that despite a vaccine and antivirals and despite knowledge of how to reduce the risk of airborne virus infection such as that due to the influenza virus – every year we have seasonal flu epidemics with the resulting economic disruptions, cardiac harms, hospitalisations among the very young, and deaths predominantly among the elderly.
Even though stopping travel stopped the flu distribution network and reduced excess deaths, we have not – until this pandemic – ever made a half-decent effort to stop the harms due to seasonal flu. In decades. We’ve just learned to look the other way, read or ignored the annual articles about it causing harm to children and death to the elderly, shrugged if it starts little a earlier or later or peaks higher than before and we’ve done nothing more.
I guess this is what Fauci refers to when he says “the level would be so low that we don’t think about it all the time and it doesn’t influence what we do“. Except if we get avoidably sick or our cardiovascular or central nervous system is damaged such that we die early, or we get hospitalised (which comes with its own risks), or we or our loved ones die. We could do better, but we have managed to set a threshold of death that we are evidently happy with. And the same applies to many other diseases of course. So really, we just need that conversation to define what we will cheerily ignore when it comes to adding COVID-19 harms to this pile. Then we can get on with the business of life, and war, and abuse, without this latest disease influencing what we do.
Are we taking any actions to stop endemicity?
My simple question then, is why on earth does anyone expect an evolving, effectively transmitting airborne virus like SARS-CoV-2 not to hang around for many, many years to come and create a new massive disease burden? What is stopping COVID-19 from becoming endemic in many different countries? Perhaps even in more countries than flu currently is because of SARS-CoV-2 bounces between hemispheres. Or maybe it just hasn’t yet shown us its stable endemic reservoir, like the tropics for flu viruses. Or maybe we will eventually become too immune to it, and disease levels will drop right down. Maybe we aren’t at endemicity yet, or, as Prof Drosten says, maybe we are. Doesn’t really matter. What is being done to stop us from getting there at some point? I’m pretty sure it’s not the good intentions of people like me writing, ranting, meeting and interviewing about it when those who hold the power to make changes for good have, worldwide, decided to essentially ignore COVID-19 because …the public got bored?
With the vaccine pipeline now comparatively slower and our ability to distribute enough doses to all corners of the travel-linked earth being so poor, I can’t see how this COVID-19 won’t continue in its current state. If the world can build better vaccines and at the same time get its collective shit together around vaccine equity, maybe we can get somewhere then. 2024 maybe?
So are we in a pandemic or not?
Firstly – yes, we’re still in a pandemic. But we may also be seeing endemic behaviours, we just can’t be sure yet. There is no timeline we can refer to as the only other respiratory virus pandemics humans have lived through and have had modern science to help analyse is the flu – and it’s a virus the population already had some immune memory for. We’ll just have to watch this very different pandemic pathogen and look for the changes and patterns that I’m sure will emerge.
The disease (COVID-19) is still global and is still causing exponential case curves every handful of months. And each epidemic influences other countries through rapid travel. And some of those disease peaks are still very high.
Because of alllllll that, it’s better to say that COVID-19 is still in a pandemic state globally, and perhaps we can say that it’s in an epidemic state at the country level.
However – and only with the benefit of some undefined period of hindsight – it may be that the sort of case levels we see in the troughs above is the baseline we’ll eventually reach. Cases may stay at that high level, and it may only be the frequency of the epidemics that slow. But again, time will tell, and this is all guessing.
I still believe that COVID-19 peaks will slow to a regular cycle with one major peak per hemisphere per year. But I have no crystal ball, just what the poorly defined history of most of the other 200+ respiratory viruses shows us. In other words ‘COVID-19’ will at some time in the future become a seasonal disease whereby the most successful immune evasive causal variant wins out each year. It won’t ever be flu, but its epidemiology might one day behave like that of influenza (and many of those other seasonal viruses).
Yes, sadly we probably will still see the full spectrum of symptoms and diseases that make up the COVID-19 syndrome, including about a third who may go on to develop longCOVID/post-COVID conditions. Somewhat like we do for influenza which causes more than airway issues, affecting the cardiovascular and neurological systems as well as the lungs.
New SARS-CoV-2 variants may or may not also be different in other ways so some seasons’ epidemics will likely be more severe than others.
Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 will start to diverge into separate lineages, e.g. SARS-CoV-2 A and SARS-CoV-2 B and variants from one lineage may dominate in an epidemic one year while the other lineage dominates in the next year.
And those last few paragraphs will happen because leadership has ceased most measures in most places to prevent or even slow the spread of the virus that causes the disease. COVID-19 in 2022 (and earlier depending on where you look) got every opportunity to freely spread for three years. And yes, it is causing disease in the vaccinated population – we need better vaccines – but it’s also causing less death than it was thanks to those vaccines. That messaging was lost among the loud minority of anti-science, pro-disease merchants of chaos. But it remains bullshit.
We have failed to control COVID-19, so I don’t see elimination in any part of the world as a realistic outcome. Not fatalistic – just practical based on observations of what leadership has reduced in recent months:
- It has reduced or made it harder to access quality testing in favour of a host of DIY options, some of which have terrible sensitivity but are still used for ridiculously important purposes.
- It has reduced extra funding for some aspects of the response.
- It has reduced data reporting frequency and messaging.
- It hasn’t moved on air quality – one of the most important controlling responses we have yet to embrace.
- It has removed or reduced employee supports.
If we don’t respond to the virus or try to reduce its spread and the death and harm it will keep causing, whether endemic or during epidemics, then it doesn’t really matter how we define its spread.
For now, we wait and see as we play yet another round of “what will COVID-19 be like this year?”.
So please get your boosters, wear a mask when there’s risk and advocate for filtered air at indoor sites where humans gather in groups. There are things you can do to keep yourself safe.
Welcome to 2023!
- A Dictionary of Epidemiology (5 ed.)
- A Dictionary of Epidemiology (5 ed.)
- COVID-19: endemic doesn’t mean harmless
- Endemic or epidemic? Measuring the endemicity index of diabetes
- Endemic fatalism and why it will not resolve COVID-19
- Top German virologist says COVID-19 pandemic is over
- Epidemic theory (effective & basic reproduction numbers, epidemic thresholds) & techniques for analysis of infectious disease data (construction & use of epidemic curves, generation numbers, exceptional reporting & identification of significant clusters)
Hits: 28link pandemic coronavirus covid-19 fauci vaccine treatment testing genetic spread deaths lockdown new cases transmission recovery africa uk china
Economic Death Spiral
Economic Death Spiral
Authored by Robert Stark via Substack,
Fed Trap: Financial Collapse or Hyper Inflation?
With this banking crisis,…
Authored by Robert Stark via Substack,
Fed Trap: Financial Collapse or Hyper Inflation?
With this banking crisis, which has serious Lehman vibes, it is a good time to revisit my article, Is This The End of The End of History, from March of last year. The article dealt with the theme of collapse vs stagnation, and historical cycles, in light of the Ukraine war, the post-pandemic climate, the onset of inflation, and speculation about economic collapse. A point of mine, that has especially been vindicated, is that “a delay in the Fed raising interest rates, could cause a short term rally in stocks, further expanding the bubble. The bigger the bubble, the worse inflation gets, and the longer the Fed keeps delaying raising rates, the worse the crash will be down the road.” For the most part, most of my geopolitical and economic forecasts have come true, though I actually predicted an economic collapse to occur sooner, which actually vindicates that point, that kicking the can down the road will just create a much worse crisis.
Despite countless signs of economic volatility, the recent bank failures, with shockwaves to the entire financial system, are a turning point, where it is clear that there is going to be a severe economic downturn. For instance, Elon Musk recently said, lot of current year similarities to 1929, and Moody’s cut the outlook on the entire U.S. banking system to negative from stable, citing a "rapidly deteriorating operating environment." Even the perma bulls, mainstream media, and financial “experts,” can no longer deny the obvious signs of economic peril. However, the bullish propaganda was still strong as recently as January, which was really the bulls’ last gasp, with the monkey rally, in response to the Fed only raising interest rates by .25 points, plus economic data showing record low unemployment plus a dip in inflation.
It is important to emphasize that the same figures in media, banking, and government, who were recently shilling a soft landing or mild recession, were previously saying that inflation is transitory. It is especially laughable to think that there are people who take someone like CNBC’s, Jim Cramer, seriously, who in 2008 told his audience don’t be silly on Bear Stearns, right before it crashed, and more recently shilled for Silicon Valley Bank, and is still predicting a soft landing. A lot of the recent propaganda is practically identical to right before the 08 crash, as well as during stagflation in the 70s, and even before the Great Depression, as the media has vested economic and political interests in propping up the markets. The financial YouTuber, Maverick of Wall Street, brilliantly uses this “self-love” gif of Jack Nicholson, from the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, as a metaphor for whenever perma-bulls see any data that may signify a Fed pivot, causing stocks to rally. As the desperation really kicks in, expect further talk of a soft landing, as well as more rallies in stocks, as we saw in response to the bailouts, as well as desperate investors switching back and forth between the NASDAQ and S&P500, which happened in 08. So any return to bullish sentiment is actually a sign of greater economic catastrophe. The stock market rallying over bad economy news, as a sign of a potential pivot, just further shows that the markets are not a good metric for the health of the economy. Not to mention that the top 1% own over half of all stocks.
It has always been the case with bubbles, that the greater the size of the bubble, the more copes to deny reality, and the more vested interests there are in preventing the inevitable crash. Certainly many corporations and banks have made economic decisions based upon an assumption of a soft landing or Fed pivot. This also explains the gaslighting to justify that the 2010s economic boom, especially in tech, was based upon productivity and innovation, when it was primary due to Fed monetary policy, plus data mining in the case of Big Tech. While it is silly for conservatives to blame wokeness as the primary culprit of bank failures, wokeness and bullshit DEI jobs, are a symptom of the corruption that Fed policy enabled.
Fed Balance Sheet: Return to QE
The current banking crisis is triggering more stock buybacks, and a return to Quantitative Easing with the bank bailouts, including plans to inject another $2 Trillion into the banking system, on top of the $300 billion increase in the Fed’s Balance Sheet, in just the last week. This seems counter intuitive, as QE caused inflation, but the economy is so addicted to the “Cocaine,” that is cheap money. So basically quantitative tightening is being implemented and interest rates raised to stop inflation, but as soon as the first major economic disruption of raising rates is felt, then a return to financial policies to further prop up the bubble, causing more inflation. Now the Fed is trapped with two bad options, raise rates or pivot, both of which will lead to inevitable economic doom.
Populists can talk about nationalizing the banks into public debt free banking, and Austrian School libertarians can call for ending the Fed, and returning to a gold standard. While it is true that the Federal Reserve is a corrupt system, that is quasi private in how private banks own shares, the reality is that we are stuck with this system of relying upon the Fed’s interest rates, for the incoming economic crisis. If the Fed continues raising rates, there will be a liquidity crisis, with more bank failures. While interest rates were close to zero, banks used uninsured deposits to both invest in securities and purchase bonds, and thanks to fractional reserve banking, banks are only required to hold a fraction of deposits. So when rates rose, bonds fell in value and unrealized losses surged, so the banks were not able to pay off their depositors.
Regional banks make up about half of all US banking, so any contagion in the banking system, as people and businesses move their deposits to mega banks, deemed “too big to fail,” could trigger a Depression. One of the main reasons that the economy has not crashed sooner is because more people have been tapping into their savings and maxing out their credit cards. However, high interest rates will cause many people to default on their credit card debt, which will exacerbate the banking crisis. Not to mention Auto loans defaults wiping out credit unions, and the potential for another mortgage crisis, due to rising mortgage rates. There is a ripple effect, as far as rising interest rates being felt by debt holders, and now is just the tip of the iceberg. This could end up being a multifaceted debt crisis, in banking, corporate debt, personal debt, and government debt.
Besides the Fed likely pivoting soon due to the banking crisis, higher rates will make interest payments on the National Debt too expensive to pay off, risking a default on government debt. Overall levels of debt, both public and private, are much worse than when Fed Chair, Volcker, raised rates very high to successfully quell inflation. Any freeze in Federal spending or a default on the national debt, in response to the debt ceiling, will crash the economy, and any major extension in the debt ceiling will accelerate inflation. There is a good chance that inflation will be tolerated, with the dollar greatly devalued, to make government debt cheaper so that creditors eat the costs.
Source: Peter G. Peterson Foundation
A tight labor market is the main case that the bulls make to prove a strong economy. However, the official BLS jobs numbers are “baked” to exclude those who have given up on seeking employment, as well as counting 2nd or 3rd jobs. Not to mention that the BLS numbers were exposed by the Fed as overstating 1 million jobs during 2022. Even if one accepts the “baked” numbers, layoffs have a lagging effect on unemployment, including by industry (eg. tech layoffs before service sector). Now new jobless claims have grown at the fastest pace since Lehman'. It is also noteworthy that just about every recession has been preceded by low unemployment numbers. The increase in layoffs will put further pressure on the Fed to pivot, which on top of increased unemployment benefits, will cause inflation to surge again. This creates another doom loop, as inflation leads to more unemployment, as consumers are forced to cut back on spending.
While bulls can say that this time is different from past crashes, all of the signs are pointing to this crisis being much worse than previous crashes. For instance, the economic recovery, after Volcker was done raising rates to fight inflation, was possible because of lower levels of debt, but the US has never entered a recession with debt/GDP at 125% and deficit/GDP at 7% in at least 85 years. Also the fallout of the 2008 crash was mitigated by a strong dollar, which also minimized the effects of inflation last year, but inflation will surge if the dollar is weakened. Despite signs of a pivot, the Fed has been moving much faster to fight inflation, then in the past, even with Volker. This crisis is also unique in that rates are being raised while entering a severe recession, and inflation could coincide mass layoffs. While the general assumption is that severe economic downturns are deflationary, financial commentator, Peter Schiff, makes a compelling case as for why an Inflationary Depression is a likelihood. Under this nightmare scenario, which would be much worse than even the Great Depression, inflation will negate any of the remedies that ended past crises, such as the New Deal, quantitative easing in 08, and the covid stimulus. Other signs of economic peril include, the steepest yield curve inversion since the early 80s recession, which is a barometer that has predicted just about every single recession, a major decline in ISM manufacturing sales, a big decline in savings rates, and Americans’ credit card debt approaching a record $1 Trillion.
This is the perfect storm with inflation, stagflation, recession, a potential debt crisis, as well as energy and supply chain issues. With this bubble to end all bubbles or too big to fail on steroids, the Fed has two choices, cause a liquidity crisis by shrinking the money supply, or letting inflation rip. While raising rates appears to be the least bad of these two options, further rate hikes are futile with the return of QE. A combo of QE plus interest rates having to remain high, is what could lead to that scenario of inflationary financial collapse, that Peter Schiff warned about. Though most likely it will either be long term stagflation or a deflationary Depression. This is not a hyperbole, nor clickbait, but a Depression is a very real possibility, especially if policy makers continue to kick the can down the road, to prop up the bubble.
* * *
Three Years To Slow The Spread: COVID Hysteria & The Creation Of A Never-Ending Crisis
Three Years To Slow The Spread: COVID Hysteria & The Creation Of A Never-Ending Crisis
Authored by Jordan Schachtel via ‘The Dossier’…
Authored by Jordan Schachtel via 'The Dossier' Substack,
Last Thursday marked the three year anniversary of the infamous “15 Days To Slow The Spread” campaign.
By March 16, yours truly was already pretty fed up with both the governmental and societal “response” to what was being baselessly categorized as the worst pandemic in 100 years, despite zero statistical data supporting such a serious claim.
The Moment That Shook the World: "15 Days to Slow the Spread" (March 16, 2020)— The Vigilant Fox ???? (@VigilantFox) March 16, 2023
Fauci: "In states with evidence of community transmission, bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms, and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be https://t.co/T9CGrYFNjv… https://t.co/SwDYBgN438 pic.twitter.com/k5oaU36YAR
I was living in the Washington, D.C. Beltway at the time, and it was pretty much impossible to find a like-minded person within 50 miles who also wasn’t taking the bait. After I read about the news coming out of Wuhan in January, I spent much of the next couple weeks catching up to speed and reading about what a modern pandemic response was supposed to look like.
What surprised me most was that none of “the measures” were mentioned, and that these designated “experts” were nothing more than failed mathematicians, government doctors, and college professors who were more interested in policy via shoddy academic forecasting than observing reality.
Within days of continually hearing their yapping at White House pressers, It quickly became clear that the Deborah Birx’s and Anthony Fauci’s of the world were engaging in nothing more than a giant experiment. There was no an evidence-based approach to managing Covid whatsoever. These figures were leaning into the collective hysteria, and brandishing their credentials as Public Health Experts to demand top-down approaches to stamping out the WuFlu.
DeSantis on Covid lockdowns: “So I call and say, ‘Deborah [Birx], tell me: when in American history has this been done?’ And she says, ‘It’s kind of our own science experiment that we’re doing in real time.’”— Dr. Eli David (@DrEliDavid) March 14, 2023
Lockdowns were Fauci's “science experiment”????pic.twitter.com/K7H8NIBPaV
To put it bluntly, these longtime government bureaucrats had no idea what the f—k they were doing. Fauci and his cohorts were not established or reputable scientists, but authoritarians, charlatans, who had a decades-long track record of hackery and corruption. This Coronavirus Task Force did not have the collective intellect nor the wisdom to be making these broad brush decisions.
Back then, there were only literally a handful of people who attempted to raise awareness about the wave of tyranny, hysteria, and anti-science policies that were coming our way. There were so few of us back in March in 2020 that it was impossible to form any kind of significant structured resistance to the madness that was unfolding before us. These structures would later form, but not until the infrastructure for the highway to Covid hysteria hell had already been cemented.
Making matters worse was the reality that the vast majority of the population — friends, colleagues, peers and family included — agreed that dissenters were nothing more than reckless extremists, bioterrorists, Covid deniers, anti-science rabble rousers, and the like.
Yet we were right, and we had the evidence and data to prove it. There was no evidence to ever support such a heavy-handed series of government initiatives to “slow the spread.”
By March 16, 2020, data had already accumulated indicating that this contagion would be no more lethal than an influenza outbreak.
The February, 2020 outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship provided a clear signal that the hysteria models provided by Bill Gates-funded and managed organizations were incredibly off base. Of the 3,711 people aboard the Diamond Princess, about 20% tested positive with Covid. The majority of those who tested positive had zero symptoms. By the time all passengers had disembarked from the vessel, there were 7 reported deaths on the ship, with the average age of this cohort being in the mid 80s, and it wasn’t even clear if these passengers died from or with Covid.
Despite the strange photos and videos coming out of Wuhan, China, there was no objective evidence of a once in a century disease approaching America’s shores, and the Diamond Princess outbreak made that clear.
Of course, it wasn’t the viral contagion that became the problem.
It was the hysteria contagion that brought out the worst qualities of much of the global ruling class, letting world leaders take off their proverbial masks in unison and reveal their true nature as power drunk madmen.
And even the more decent world leaders were swept up in the fear and mayhem, turning over the keys of government control to the supposed all-knowing Public Health Experts.
They quickly shuttered billions of lives and livelihoods, wreaking exponentially more havoc than a novel coronavirus ever could.
In the United States, 15 Days to Slow The Spread quickly became 30 Days To Slow The Spread. Somewhere along the way, the end date for “the measures” was removed from the equation entirely.
3 years later, there still isn’t an end date…
Anthony Fauci appeared on MSNBC Thursday morning and declared that Americans would need annual Covid boosters to compliment their Flu shots.
NEW - Fauci: Americans will likely need "a booster shot once a year."pic.twitter.com/Ec0zSWhV2b— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) March 16, 2023
So much of the Covid hysteria era was driven by pseudoscience and outright nonsense, and yet, very few if any world leaders took it upon themselves to restore sanity in their domains. Now, unsurprisingly, so many elected officials who were complicit in this multi-billion person human tragedy won’t dare to reflect upon it.
In a 1775 letter from John Adams to his wife, Abigail, the American Founding Father wrote:
“Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”
Covid hysteria and the 3 year anniversary of 15 Days To Slow The Spread serves as the beginning period of a permanent scar resulting from government power grabs and federal overreach.
While life is back to normal in most of the country, the Overton window of acceptable policy has slid even further in the direction of push-button tyranny. Hopefully, much of the world has awakened to the reality that most of the people in charge aren’t actually doing what’s best for their respective populations.
From the bed sheets to the TV remote, a microbiologist reveals the shocking truth about dirt and germs in hotel rooms
The filthy secrets of hotel rooms and why you might want to pack disinfectant on your next trip.
For most of us, staying in a hotel room is either something of a necessity – think business travel – or something to look forward to as part of a holiday or wider excursion.
But what if I told you there’s a large chance your hotel room, despite how it might appear to the naked eye, isn’t that clean. And even if it’s an expensive room, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any less dirty.
Indeed, whoever has stayed in your room prior to you will have deposited bacteria, fungi and viruses all over the furniture, carpets, curtains and surfaces. What remains of these germ deposits depends on how efficiently your room is cleaned by hotel staff. And let’s face it, what is considered clean by a hotel might be different to what you consider clean.
Typically, assessment of hotel room cleanliness is based on sight and smell observations –- not on the invisible microbiology of the space, which is where the infection risks reside. So let’s take a deep dive into the world of germs, bugs and viruses to find out what might be lurking where.
It starts at the lift
Before you even enter your room, think of the hotel lift buttons as germ hotspots. They are being pressed all the time by many different people, which can transfer microorganisms onto the button surface, as well back onto the presser’s fingers.
Communal door handles can be similar in terms of germ presence unless sanitised regularly. Wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser after using a handle before you next touch your face or eat or drink.
The most common infections people pick up from hotel rooms are tummy bugs – diarrhoea and vomiting – along with respiratory viruses, such as colds and pneumonia, as well as COVID-19, of course.
Toilets and bathrooms tend to be cleaned more thoroughly than the rest of a hotel room and are often the least bacteriologically colonised environments.
Though if the drinking glass in the bathroom is not disposable, wash it before use (body wash or shampoo are effective dishwashers), as you can never be sure if they’ve been cleaned properly. Bathroom door handles may also be colonised by pathogens from unwashed hands or dirty washcloths.
Beware the remote
The bed, sheets and pillows can also be home to some unwanted visitors. A 2020 study found that after a pre-symptomatic COVID-19 patient occupied a hotel room there was significant viral contamination of many surfaces, with levels being particularly high within the sheets, pillow case and quilt cover.
While sheets and pillowcases may be more likely to be changed between occupants, bedspreads may not, meaning these fabrics may become invisible reservoirs for pathogens – as much as a toilet seat. Though in some cases sheets aren’t always changed between guests, so it may be better to just bring your own.
Less thought about is what lives on the hotel room desk, bedside table, telephone, kettle, coffee machine, light switch or TV remote – as these surfaces aren’t always sanitised between occupancies.
Viruses such as the norovirus can live in an infectious form for days on hard surfaces, as can COVID-19 – and the typical time interval between room changeovers is often less than 12 hours.
Soft fabric furnishings such as cushions, chairs, curtains and blinds are also difficult to clean and may not be sanitised other than to remove stains between guests, so washing your hands after touching them might be a good idea.
If all those germs and dirty surfaces aren’t enough to contend with, there are also bedbugs to think about. These bloodsucking insects are experts at secreting themselves into narrow, small spaces, remaining dormant without feeding for months.
Small spaces include the cracks and crevices of luggage, mattresses and bedding. Bed bugs are widespread throughout Europe, Africa, the US and Asia – and are often found in hotels. And just because a room looks and smells clean, doesn’t mean there may not be bed bugs lurking.
Fortunately, bed bug bites are unlikely to give you a transmissible disease, but the bite areas can become inflamed and infected. For the detection of bedbugs, reddish skin bites and blood spots on sheets are signs of an active infestation (use an antiseptic cream on the bites).
Other signs can be found on your mattress, behind the headboard and inside drawers and the wardrobe: brown spots could be remains of faeces, bed bug skins are brownish-silvery looking and live bed bugs are brown coloured and typically one to seven millimetres in length.
Inform the hotel if you think there are bed bugs in your room. And to avoid taking them with you when you checkout, carefully clean your luggage and clothes before opening them at home.
As higher-status hotels tend to have more frequent room usage, a more expensive room at a five-star hotel does not necessarily mean greater cleanliness, as room cleaning costs reduce profit margins. So wherever you’re staying, take with you a pack of antiseptic wipes and use them on the hard surfaces in your hotel room.
Also, wash or sanitise your hands often – especially before you eat or drink anything. And take slippers or thick socks with you so you can avoid walking barefoot on hotel carpets – known to be another dirt hotspot. And after all that, enjoy your stay.
Primrose Freestone does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.africa europe covid-19
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