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They Said They Would Slow The Spread

They Said They Would Slow The Spread

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

It’s been the most astonishing two weeks for American public life, with so many prescient changes, from new censorships, admissions, backtracks,…

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They Said They Would Slow The Spread

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

It’s been the most astonishing two weeks for American public life, with so many prescient changes, from new censorships, admissions, backtracks, experts speaking out, public outrage, and what strikes me as a progressive unraveling of every orthodoxy imposed nearly two years ago. 

Not even the influential and powerful are in a position to defend what has happened to us. They seem to be gradually pulling away from public life, unable to say things that connect to what everyone knows. 

Above all else, what’s remarkable right now is the undeniable arrival of Covid to a degree to which hardly anyone could have imagined all that time ago, when so many experts set out to deploy their fabulous new system for stopping the spread of a disease. 

There was a goal (stop cases). There was a method (state compulsion). And there was a test (cases were supposed to go down and go away). There would be a war on a virus and the state would win! And now we look around and see the evidence of failure so pronounced, so impossible to deny, that we must face that which so many have worked so hard to deny for so long. 

The best way I can describe this is by observation. In the Northeast of the US, and in many other parts of the country, everywhere you go, right now, you see sick people milling around. They don’t admit it and they don’t talk about it with strangers simply because there is such shame attached to having Covid. They complain of a cold, of a flu, or just suffer in silence. But there it is. 

After nearly two years of work to control the spread, after brutal shutdowns of the whole country – shutdowns that happened two years too early, as judged by actual case trends (but of course lockdowns never should have been considered in the first place) – Covid is here. Not just here. It is everywhere. The case counts are beyond anything anyone on the planet could have imagined a year or two ago. The spikes make everything that came before look like child’s play. 

Here is the global chart. 

And we are talking really sick. Not so much death. Not even out-of-control hospitalization. We are talking about being sick in bed or walking around with misery. The nasty bug lasts maybe two days, maybe two weeks, maybe longer but it is vexing and wicked, not like a cold or flu but something more electric and strange. 

Which variant? Two weeks ago, the CDC wanted to blame it all on Omicron. That is no longer possible. Perhaps that constitutes 20%; we just do not know for sure because tracking is so weak. Most of it is evidently Delta, meaning very sick but with no serious loss of taste and smell. Most everyone eventually gets well, and that’s what happens here. 

We get to endemicity perhaps in a month or so and life will move on, my experts tell me, at least in some areas of the country. What’s striking and truly shocking is that all of the efforts, all of the propaganda, all of the astonishing spending and compulsion – the shutdowns, masking, size limits, travel restrictions, vaccination requirements, the track and trace, the endless testing, the enforcement, the intimidations, the censorship – and what do we have to show for it?

Lockdown architect Carter Mecher promised us as follows:

“If you got everyone and locked each of them in their own room and didn’t let them talk to anyone, you would not have any disease.”

They attempted a version of that, experimenting on the human population in ways without precedent. And let’s say that is true (it probably isn’t). That is not life. That is not society. That is not freedom. That is something else unimaginably horrific. 

It was unsustainable. They pushed their theory without regard to the history of public health or, really, the whole of human experience. And now, the true pandemic finally arrived. And what is it? There are a ton of sick people. People are calling in sick because they cannot come to work. Institutions are having to shut down, not because government closed them but because people are too sick to come to work. This is the normal course of events – exactly what one would expect in a pandemic. 

And it’s not just Covid. The head of an Indiana life insurance company reports that deaths among people aged 18-64 are up 40%, an astonishing increase. It’s suicide, drug overdoses, and every other manner of horror. And that’s just death. Many others are just sick from other things. 

I personally know dozens and they each know many dozens of more people in the Northeast right now who are down for the count, miserable and pathetic, but still testing negative for Covid. Why would this be? It’s because immune systems have decayed over two years. The lack of vitamin D, the lack of exposure to normal germs in life, the isolation and depression, the overconsumption of liquor and drugs – it’s all been a terrible drain on health. 

Meanwhile, the actual pandemic of Covid has certainly arrived. And it is far worse than the data indicated. Look at Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, any of these states, and including some Southern and Midwestern states, and what you find is increases of 500-1,000% in cases. And keep in mind that these are just cases as discovered by official testing spots. 

Go to any CVS or Walgreens and you find long lines of people buying testing kits. If they are available. If they are not, the wait is weeks. They are $23 a kit and people are buying as many as possible. Why? Partially it’s because employers and schools are demanding negative tests, but it is also just curiosity. People are sick as dogs and want to confirm their illnesses. 

People are estimating that real cases are 50x to 100x what the official data say. 

But let’s talk now about a real scandal. When you are sick, you need treatment. Every competent medical professional I know is pretty darn sure that the best hope for dealing with Covid is a combination of Zinc, Vitamin D, and (sorry to mention the dreaded name) Ivermectin. This is not ideological. This is what experienced doctors are saying right now. I’m on many email lists with serious medical professionals and they are all saying the same thing. We can add HCQ to the list if you catch it early enough. 

But here’s the kicker – and let me be clear that I’m NOT giving ANY medical advice here, merely just reporting the sense of the community out there.

What’s remarkable is that people are having a very difficult time getting these basic therapeutics.

Vaccines are everywhere but things to make you well once the virus penetrates the vaccine? Those are hard to come by. 

There is a problem getting a prescription because state medical boards are actually barring people and preventing them from serving patients if they prescribe HCQ or Ivermectin, as incredible as that sounds. But once you get the prescription – if you have a doctor brave enough to risk it – finding a pharmacy to fill it is another challenge. 

Most people in the UK today are getting their therapeutics from India. Americans get them from Mexico. And some are shipping to the US and they are being distributed via gray markets for anyone who is lucky enough to have a contact. It’s a speakeasy nation but this time for distributing basic therapies. 

I feel like I’ve seen horrible things for almost two years now, and you feel the same way. But of all the scandals, and there are so many, this one seems to top the list, namely that once the real pandemic has arrived, there are no effective medicines that are widely available. Doctors are actually being blocked from doing their jobs. 

Beyond belief. But you know this. I’m sure you have your own stories. I suspect that many of our readers have encountered this virus for the first  time in the last two weeks and have dealt with the horrors of just getting basic medicines to get through this. 

The NIH has funded almost no serious trials of these generic drugs. It is not in the interest of pharmaceutical companies to fund them either. As a result, we are truly at a loss – nearly two years into a pandemic at a time when people need meds more than ever. 

Meanwhile, the FTC is spending its time cracking down on pharmacies that advertise that they have therapeutics available for people. They are sending cease and desist letters all over the country as a way of intimidating providers. I’ve seen these letters. They have invited me to post them but I’ve declined in the interest of keeping people out of trouble.  

One merciful upside to all of this is that there is no more talk of lockdowns. At last, even the experts are saying that society must function. Lockdowns are not even being considered. The whole country is fed up with the phony baloney enterprise of virus control. It did not and cannot work. 

Nearly two years ago, they deployed a new experiment in stopping a pathogen. It was a plan that was 15 years in the making, hatched by fanatics who imagined that state policy could outwit a virus. 

The wreckage was astonishing, and yet what was the payoff? Here we are today with a wave of sickness that defies every prediction, and with collateral damage beyond even the worst predictions (including my own). And the truth of this is all over the data that anyone can see and the stories that anyone can hear. 

The country is right now sicker than it has ever been in our lifetimes. 

What a stunning repudiation of state policy – the worst failing of public health and public policy perhaps in the history of the US if not the entire world. We are right now living in its last days. Remember these days, my friends. They are legion and mark what is likely the end of the great fiasco. 

And yet it is not really the end. There will be decades of hell to pay for what has happened to us. 

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/04/2022 - 16:21

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Government

“The Real President Is Whoever Controls The Teleprompter”: Musk Delivers Scathing Criticism Of Biden

"The Real President Is Whoever Controls The Teleprompter": Musk Delivers Scathing Criticism Of Biden

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch…

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"The Real President Is Whoever Controls The Teleprompter": Musk Delivers Scathing Criticism Of Biden

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

Tech billionaire Elon Musk this week warned that the United States must take steps to address inflation or it will end up like socialist Venezuela.

Musk, who is currently in the process of acquiring Twitter, told a virtual conference that he believes the government has printed too much money in recent years.

“I mean, the obvious reason for inflation is that the government printed a zillion amount of more money than it had, obviously,” Musk said, likely referring to COVID-19 relief stimulus packages worth trillions of dollars that were passed in recent years.

U.S. inflation rose by 8.3 percent in April, compared with the previous year. That’s slightly lower than the 8.5 percent spike in March, but it’s still near the 40-year high.

“So it’s like the government can’t … issue checks far in excess of revenue without there being inflation, you know, velocity of money held constant,” the Tesla CEO said.

“If the federal government writes checks, they never bounce. So that is effectively creation of more dollars. And if there are more dollars created, then the increase in the goods and services across the economy, then you have inflation, again, velocity of money held constant.”

If governments could merely “issue massive amounts of money and deficits didn’t matter, then, well, why don’t we just make the deficit 100 times bigger,” Musk asked. “The answer is, you can’t because it will basically turn the dollar into something that is worthless.”

“Various countries have tried this experiment multiple times,” Musk said.

“Have you seen Venezuela? Like the poor, poor people of Venezuela are, you know, have been just run roughshod by their government.”

In 2018, Venezuela, a country with significant reserves of oil and gas, saw its inflation rise more than 65,000 percent amid an economic crash that included plummeting oil prices and government price controls. The regime of Nicolas Maduro then started printing money, thereby devaluing its currency, which caused prices to rapidly increase.

During the conference, Musk also said the Biden administration “doesn’t seem to get a lot done” and questioned who is actually in charge. 

“The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter,” he said.

“The path to power is the path to the teleprompter.”

“The Trump administration, leaving Trump aside, there were a lot of people in the administration who were effective at getting things done,” he remarked.

Musk’s comment about the White House comes as Jeff Bezos, also one of the richest people in the world, has increasingly started to target the administration’s economic policies. Bezos, in a series of Twitter posts, said the rapid increase in federal spending is the reason why inflation is as high as it is.

“Remember the Administration tried their best to add another $3.5 TRILLION to federal spending,” Bezos wrote on Monday, drawing rebuke from several White House officials. “They failed, but if they had succeeded, inflation would be even higher than it is today, and inflation today is at a 40-year high.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/17/2022 - 15:05

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Type-I interferon stops immune system ‘going rogue’ during viral infections

Hamilton, ON (May 17, 2022) – McMaster University researchers have found not only how some viral infections cause severe tissue damage, but also how…

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Hamilton, ON (May 17, 2022) – McMaster University researchers have found not only how some viral infections cause severe tissue damage, but also how to reduce that damage.

Credit: Georgia Kirkos/McMaster University

Hamilton, ON (May 17, 2022) – McMaster University researchers have found not only how some viral infections cause severe tissue damage, but also how to reduce that damage.

 

They have discovered how Type I interferon (IFN) stops the immune system ‘going rogue’ and attacking the body’s own tissues when fighting viral infections, including COVID-19.

 

Their paper was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens today.

  

Senior author Ali Ashkar said IFN is a well-known anti-viral signalling molecule released by the body’s cells that can trigger a powerful immune response against harmful viruses.

 

“What we have found is that it is also critical to stop white blood cells from releasing protease enzymes, which can damage organ tissue. It has this unique dual function to kick start an immune response against a viral infection on the one hand, as well as restrain that same response to prevent significant bystander tissue damage on the other,” he said.

 

The research team investigated IFN’s ability to regulate a potentially dangerous immune response by testing it on both flu and the HSV-2 virus, a highly prevalent sexually transmitted pathogen, using mice. Data from COVID-19 patients in Germany, including post-mortem lung samples, was also used in the study.

 

“For many viral infections, it is not actually the virus that causes most of the tissue damage, it is our heightened immune activation towards the virus,” said Ashkar, a professor of medicine at McMaster.

  

First co-author of the study and PhD student Emily Feng said: “Our body’s immune response is trying to fight off the virus infection, but there’s a risk of damaging innocent healthy tissue in the process. IFNs regulates the immune response to only target tissues that are infected.

 

“By discovering the mechanisms the immune system uses that can inadvertently cause tissue damage, we can intervene during infection to prevent this damage and not necessarily have to wait until vaccines are developed to develop life-saving treatments,” she added.

 

“This applies not just to COVID-19, but also other highly infectious viruses such as flu and Ebola, which can cause tremendous and often life-threatening damage to the body’s organs,” said first study co-author Amanda Lee, a family medicine resident. 

 

Ashkar said the release of harmful proteases is the result of a ‘cytokine storm’, which is life-threatening inflammation sometimes triggered by viral infections. It has been a common cause of death in patients with COVID-19, but treatment has been developed to prevent and suppress the cytokine storm.

 

Ashkar said that steroids like dexamethasone are already used to rein in an extreme immune response to viral infections. The authors used doxycycline in their study, an antibiotic used for bacterial infections and as an anti-inflammatory agent, inhibits the function of proteases causing the bystander tissue damage.

 

Lee added: “This has the potential in the future to be used to alleviate virus-induced life-threatening inflammation and warrants further research.” 

 

The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

 

-30-

 

Editors:

Pictures of Ali Ashkar and Emily Feng may be found at https://bit.ly/3wmSw0D

  

 

 


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mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna fare better against COVID-19 variants of concern

A comparison of four COVID-19 vaccinations shows that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — perform better against the World…

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A comparison of four COVID-19 vaccinations shows that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — perform better against the World Health Organization’s variants of concern (VOCs) than viral vector vaccines — AstraZeneca and J&J/Janssen. Although they all effectively prevent severe disease by VOCs, the research, publishing May 17th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine, suggests that people receiving a viral vector vaccine are more vulnerable to infection by new variants.

Credit: Carlos Reusser Monsalvez, Flickr (CC0, https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)

A comparison of four COVID-19 vaccinations shows that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — perform better against the World Health Organization’s variants of concern (VOCs) than viral vector vaccines — AstraZeneca and J&J/Janssen. Although they all effectively prevent severe disease by VOCs, the research, publishing May 17th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine, suggests that people receiving a viral vector vaccine are more vulnerable to infection by new variants.

By March 2022, COVID-19 had caused over 450 million confirmed infections and six million reported deaths. The first vaccines approved in the US and Europe that protect against serious infection are Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which deliver genetic code, known as mRNA, to the bodies’ cells, whereas Oxford/AstraZeneca and J&J/Janssen are viral vector vaccines that use a modified version of a different virus — a vector — to deliver instructions to our cells. Three vaccines are delivered as two separate injections a few weeks apart, and J&J/Janssen as a single dose.

Marit J. van Gils at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues, took blood samples from 165 healthcare workers, three and four weeks after first and second vaccination respectively, and for J&J/Janssen at four to five and eight weeks after vaccination. Samples were collected before, and four weeks after a Pfizer-BioNTech booster.

Four weeks after the initial two doses, antibody responses to the original SARS-CoV-2 viral strain were highest in recipients of Moderna, followed closely by Pfizer-BioNTech, and were substantially lower in those who received viral vector vaccines. Tested against the VOCs – Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron – neutralizing antibodies were higher in the mRNA vaccine recipients compared to those who had viral vector vaccines. The ability to neutralize VOCs was reduced in all vaccine groups, with the greatest reduction against Omicron. The Pfizer-BioNTech booster increased antibody responses in all groups with substantial improvement against VOCs, including Omicron.

The researchers caution that their AstraZeneca group was significantly older, because of safety concerns for the vaccine in younger age groups. As immune responses tend to weaken with age, this could affect the results. This group was also smaller because the Dutch government halted use for a period.

van Gils concludes, “Four COVID-19 vaccines induce substantially different antibody responses.”

#####

In your coverage, please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper in PLOS Medicine:

http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003991

Citation: van Gils MJ, Lavell A, van der Straten K, Appelman B, Bontjer I, Poniman M, et al. (2022) Antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants induced by four different SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in health care workers in the Netherlands: A prospective cohort study. PLoS Med 19(5): e1003991. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003991

 

Author Countries: The Netherlands, United States

 

Funding: This work was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) ZonMw (Vici grant no. 91818627 to R.W.S., S3 study, grant agreement no. 10430022010023 to M.K.B.; RECoVERED, grant agreement no. 10150062010002 to M.D.d.J.), by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (grant no. INV002022 and INV008818 to R.W.S. and INV-024617 to M.J.v.G.), by Amsterdam UMC through the AMC Fellowship (to M.J.v.G.) and the Corona Research Fund (to M.K.B.), and by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program (RECoVER, grant no. 101003589 to M.D.d.J). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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