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This Week in Apps: Android 13 arrives, apps plan for midterms, Amazon copies TikTok

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy….

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Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

Global app spending reached $65 billion in the first half of 2022, up only slightly from the $64.4 billion during the same period in 2021, as hypergrowth fueled by the pandemic has slowed. But overall, the app economy is continuing to grow, having produced a record number of downloads and consumer spending across both the iOS and Google Play stores combined in 2021, according to the latest year-end reports. Global spending across iOS and Google Play last year was $133 billion, and consumers downloaded 143.6 billion apps.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and much more.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: techcrunch.com/newsletters

Top Stories

Android 13 arrives

Image Credits: Google

Big news for Android users this week as Google rolled out the new version of its mobile operating system, Android 13, initially to all Pixel devices, following the beta launch a month ago. The OS will reach other non-Pixel Android devices sometime later this year, including Samsung Galaxy, Asus, HMD (Nokia phones), iQOO, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, vivo, Xiaomi and others.

As mobile platforms have standardized, the latest efforts from both Google and Apple have been focused on personalization elements. In iOS 16, this now includes a customizable Lock Screen with widgets, while Android is doubling down on its Material You UI. With the prior version of Android, users could theme their device to match their background. With the latest update, they can now also match their non-Google apps to their chosen theme and color schemes. This is a much simpler and more elegant solution than the icon customization on iOS today, where apps like Brass, Themify, Aesthetic, Color Widgets and many others have to leverage a combination of configuration profiles and shortcuts to do the same.

In another personalization move, Android 13 allows users to set the languages used for different apps — useful for those who speak multiple languages.

Other improvements include the ability to copy content (e.g. URLs, photos, videos, text) between Android devices, better multitasking features on tablets, an expanded bedtime mode with dimmed wallpaper and a dark theme, HDR video support on third-party camera apps, BLE Audio, Spatial Audio on supported headphones, an upgraded media player widget that showcases album artwork and includes a dancing playback bar and more. On the privacy side, there are changes to permissions that allow users to more narrowly select images and videos to be shared with third-party apps and the OS now prevents unwanted access to your clipboard.

Another big benefit of the upgraded mobile OS for end users is that they can more easily block apps from annoying them with notifications. Now, apps users download will need explicit permission to send notifications, rather than being allowed to send notifications by default. This change sees Android finally catching up with iOS, which has offered this type of setting for years. (Many, many years.)

The Android source has also been pushed to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

This week TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois also sat down with James Ward, Google’s product manager for Kotlin, to talk about the language’s role in the Android ecosystem and its future plans. You can read that here.

TechCrunch’s new spyware lookup tool

This week, TechCrunch launched a new product in service to its readers who are concerned about security risks related to mobile spyware.

The spyware lookup tool can check to see if an Android device is one of the hundreds of thousands that’s been hacked by one of several spyware apps, including TheTruthSpy — the subject of a months-long investigation into consumer-grade spyware apps. The apps are installed by someone with physical access to your mobile device and are designed to stay hidden from home screens. They give the attacker the ability to see the victim’s phone data in real time, including calls, messages, contacts, location data, photos and more.

The new lookup tool will check against the leaked list of unique device identifiers, like IMEI numbers and advertising IDs, and is available free of charge to anyone who wants to ensure their phone has not been compromised.

TikTok caught keylogging?

A new privacy analysis warns that TikTok’s in-app browser may be engaged in keylogging. Research by developer Felix Krause found that the TikTok iOS app was injecting code that would allow it to monitor all keyboard inputs and taps that took place on third-party websites that were rendered inside the app. Concerningly, this information could include users’ passwords or payment card information when they’re buying something promoted on TikTok. The researcher couldn’t prove that TikTok was actually doing anything malicious with the access — that is, he couldn’t confirm the data was collected, transferred or determine how it may be used. Users should be aware, however, and opt to open links outside of the TikTok app to be safe.

TikTok refuted the claims saying the JavaScript code is only used for debugging, troubleshooting and performance monitoring — like checking to see how quickly a page loaded or if it crashed. The company also pointed to several other reasons as to why the report’s claims were overblown. The researcher also accused Meta of modifying third-party sites loaded in their in-app browsers, which has since led Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, the lead data protection regulator for Meta and TikTok under the GDPR in Europe, to request a meeting with the tech giant to discuss.

Amazon gets TikTok-ified

It’s official, the TikTok vertical video feed format is now the mobile app user interface to knock off if you’re building a new social experience. How do we know? Because this week, Amazon of all places, was found to be testing its own TikTok clone. The feed, called “Inspire,” appears in the bottom nav bar of the Amazon app.

Image Credits: Watchful via The Wall Street Journal

Amazon, of course, has no interest in competing as a new social or entertainment experience with other big tech companies. But it does copycat the latest, hottest formats when it builds out new shopping features. In years past, that’s seen the company cloning other social apps like Pinterest or Instagram or steaming live shopping videos. Now that TikTok’s feed is the go-to, Amazon has adopted it as well.

For now, the Inspire feed is being tested and is not publicly available to all users.

In Other News…

Apple Updates

  • Apple’s next iPhone event will reportedly be held on September 7, per a Bloomberg report. The company is expected to unveil its iPhone 14 line featuring camera upgrades and a faster chip. Apple has not made a formal announcement of the event at this time.
  • Apple’s iOS 16 beta 5 added a nifty feature to again show the battery percentage in the status bar on iPhone after being removed for notched models when the iPhone X debuted.
  • Apple noted prices of apps and IAPs will increase in Ghana and Turkey. 

Augmented Reality

Snap and HBO partnership for House of the Dragon

Image Credits: Snap

  • Snap and HBO Max partnered on a new AR experience for HBO’s “House of the Dragon” premiere, which includes a new selfie and worldview Lens in Snapchat’s app, as well as new Landmarker Lenses. Users can immerse themselves in the fantasy world by turning themselves into dragons or watching them fly around you, among other things.
  • Universal Studios launched the Dinotracker AR app (iOS/Android) built by Trigger XR and Niantic Labs to promote the new movie, “Jurassic World Dominion.” Users have to try to find dinosaurs around them. The app is using Niantic’s new Lightship ARDK to place 10 dinosaurs in the user’s environment. The technology features include semantic understanding, environmental awareness, walkable planes, occlusion and hand-tracking, among others. Other partners include LG Uplus, Qualcomm and KOCCA in Korea.

Image Credits: NBCUniversal Media

Social Networking

  • Twitter, Meta and TikTok all outlined their policies related to their plans on handling the 2022 U.S. midterm elections. Twitter said it’s rolling out redesigned tweet labels and “prebunks” on misleading content. TikTok is offering state-by-state information in an Elections Center and will label and fact-check videos. Facebook said it will disable new political ads a week before the midterms.

Photos

  • Pixelmator Photo, a photo-editing app from the company behind graphic design app Pixelmator Pro, is bringing its iOS app to the Mac. The company also said it’s moving to a subscription pricing model to better sustain its business.
  • Snapchat’s selfie-recording drone Pixy is already being killed off after just launching in April. The drone project is a causality of re-prioritization of resources at Snap amid economic concerns.

3 teens with a drone

Image Credits: Snap

Messaging

  • Messenger began testing end-to-end encryption for individual Messenger chats. The news was announced after it was revealed Meta turned over private messages to aid in the prosecution of a Nebraska teen’s abortion.
  • Telegram’s founder slammed Apple for delaying a major update to the messaging app, saying it had been stuck in review for two weeks with no explanations.
  • WhatsApp now allows users to delete a private or group chat message up to two and half days after sending it. Before, the limit was 1 hour, 8 mins, and 16 seconds. The app also introduced a new privacy option that allows people to use the app without being visible online except to selected contacts they choose. It’s additionally testing screenshot blocking and will soon allow users to leave groups privately without sending out a notification.
  • WhatsApp also launched its native Windows app out of beta. The app now works without requiring users to link a phone. A similar Mac app is underway.
  • Facebook and Instagram added a new “Add Yours” sticker to Reels that lets people start trends others can add to with their own content; the trend will have its own landing page in the app.
  • Google kicked off a public campaign, “Get the Message,” designed to pressure Apple to adopt messaging standard RCS in its own Messages app. The communication protocol would support a better messaging experience between Android and iOS users, but would also make iMessage a less compelling alternative than it is today.

Google RCS campaign

Image Credits: Google

Streaming & Entertainment

  • HBO Max rolled out new mobile (and desktop) apps, promising an improved user experience with features like SharePlay support, a shuffle button for mobile, a dedicated home for downloads, tablet support in portrait and landscape modes, a better screen reader, split screens where supported, improved navigation and overall better performance.
  • Apple signed a first-look deal with Pulitizer Prize-winning Futuro Studios to bring more original podcast content to its Podcasts app, and possibly, allow it to turn those shows into Apple TV+ programs further down the road.
  • Spotify began selling live concert tickets directly to fans in a new Tickets website. The company previously only worked with partners like Ticketmaster and Eventbrite. Spotify’s home screen also gained new discovery feeds for music and podcasts. The separate feeds will direct users to the type of content they’re looking for at the time. It’s also been testing the ability to record reactions to podcasts.
  • An analysis of Spotify usage by Sensor Tower showed how engaging the app is compared with its competition; 10% of its mobile app users engage with the app daily, more than the 4% who engage with YouTube Music or 1% who engage with Pandora. (Apple Music was not included.)

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

  • Google Meet introduced a new feature that allows users to watch YouTube or stream Spotify together.
  • Apple-owned Shazam celebrated its 20th anniversary with a curated playlist of the most Shazamed songs of every year. The app now has 225 million global monthly users, Apple also noted, and has surpassed 70 billion song recognitions as of this week.
  • Netflix’s upcoming ad-supported tier may not offer offline viewing, according to findings in the app’s code.
  • Plex introduced a new social experience in its streaming apps called Discover Together, which includes the ability to add friends and see what they’re watching, bookmarking and how they’re rating shows and movies.

Image Credits: Plex

Gaming

  • Netflix’s games have seen 23.3 million downloads and average 1.7 million daily active users, per Apptopia data. This represents less than 1% of Netflix’s 221 million subscribers.
  • Google began testing a way to allow users to launch games from its cloud gaming service Stadia, as well as from Xbox Cloud Gaming and Amazon’s Luna directly from its Google Search results.
  • Fortnite maker Epic Games’ appeals case against Apple is set to be heard starting on October 21. The game maker wants to be able to sell games outside the App Store and use its own payment systems.
  • Roblox’s earnings report revealed shifting demographics for games. The fastest growing group was people ages 17-24. The company said male 17- to 24-year-olds would become the biggest tracked category in terms of users and engagement hours in the U.S. and Canada over the next couple of months.

Dating

  • Bumble reported Q2 2022 earnings with revenue up 18% YoY to $220.5 million, above estimates, but a higher net loss of $6.4 million versus $2.6 million estimated.
  • As part of the larger revamp of its “Bumble BFF” friend-finding feature, Bumble has also been developing a new “communities” offering it’s calling “Hive,” which may include support for features like group chat, polls and video calls.

Health & Fitness

  • Fitbit to end Mac and PC syncing on October 13, 2022 and will instead move file transfers to its smartphone app and local music and playlists over to Pandora and Deezer.
  • Meditation and wellness app Calm laid off 20% of staff, or 90 people out of around 400. The company had been valued at $2 billion in 2020.
  • A Mozilla study found that 18 out of 25 top reproductive apps and wearables, like Clue, Flo, Glow and Eve, didn’t have strong privacy protections. Most didn’t say if they would share data with law enforcement, either.

Travel & Transportation

  • Lyft Media is a new business unit designed to consolidate Lyft’s ad offerings, which will focus on showing more ads in cars, on the Lyft mobile app and at bike-sharing stations.
  • Uber sunset its free loyalty program Uber Rewards in favor of subscription membership, Uber One. The membership costs 9.99 per month or $99.99 per year, and offers perks like 5% off certain rides or delivery orders and unlimited $0 delivery fees on food orders of over $15 and grocery orders of more than $30.
  • Airbnb launched anti-party technology which includes an algorithm that looks at signals, like the history of positive reviews, how long the user has been on the platform, the length of the trip, the distance to the listing and weekday versus weekend booking. Potential rule-breakers will be prevented from booking an entire property, and will instead direct them to results where they can rent a room where hosts are physically present.

Utilities & Productivity

  • Meta launched the Duet Display app which allows Portal owners to turn their smart screen devices (Portal Plus Gen 2 and Meta Portal Go) into a second screen for their Mac and PC. The company said it would also launch the Meta Portal Companion app on Mac for Meta Portal touch-based devices (Meta Portal Go, Meta Portal Plus, Meta Portal and Meta Portal Mini) to allow for screen-sharing on video calls. Meta is said to be phasing out its consumer Portal devices.

Adtech

  • Bloomberg reported Apple is considering rolling out ads to more places across iOS, including Maps (which was explored internally) and possibly other apps like Books or Podcasts. Currently, Apple’s ad revenue is around $4 billion.
  • A new report by FT noted many small businesses reliant on personalized ads have cut back on marketing efforts, in part due to Apple’s ATT changes, as they now face rising customer acquisition costs.
  • The WSJ reported that before launching ATT, Apple and Meta had engaged in discussions about revenue-sharing agreements, including one that would see Apple taking a cut of “boosted posts” via IAP and an ad-free Facebook subscription.
  • TikTok rolled out new ad solutions as part of its commerce ad suite called “Shopping Ads.” The company is currently testing three formats of Shopping Ads, including Video Shopping Ads, Catalog Listing Ads and LIVE Shopping Ads.

Government & Policy

  • South Korean regulators have begun to investigate Apple and Google over possible violations of the country’s in-app payment rules. The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) is also investigating SK Group’s homegrown app store called ONE Store. If the KCC discovers the companies have violated the law, it will issue fines which can be up to 2% of the company’s annual revenue.
  • The EU is set to make a final decision related to a privacy complaint regarding Instagram’s handling of children’s data in the region. The decision is expected at the end of August, with a hard deadline of the first week of September.
  • Google was fined A$60 million (around $42.7 million USD) in Australia over Android settings it had applied around five years ago which were found to have misled consumers about its location data collection.
  • China’s internet regulator published a list of 30 algorithms used in popular apps including WeChat, Taobao, Meituan and Douyin, which includes a brief description of their usage.

Security & Privacy

Funding and M&A

Unity rejected a takeover offer from AppLovin that would have valued the company at $58.85 per share, an 18% premium over Unity’s stock price at the time. The deal would have been valued at $17.54 billion. Unity said it would proceed with its own deal to acquire ironSource for $4.4 billion in stock. Its shares dropped 7% after the board rejected the acquisition.

Unity announced a deal to create a JV, Unity China, in partnership with Alibaba, China Mobile, Oppo, and Douyin Group. The deal valued at $1 billion will allow Unity to expand into the world’s largest games market.

European encrypted messaging app Wire, focused on enterprise use, raised €24 million in Series C funding led by growth equity firm Cipio Partners and Iconical.

She Matters, a health app for Black women, raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding. The app recently expanded its resources and support for postpartum healthcare.

DNSFilter acquired the iOS firewall app Guardian for an unknown sum in order to expand its web-based threat detection capabilities. Guardian was founded in 2013 by Will Strafach, a security researcher and former iPhone jailbreaker. Its iPhone app blocks apps from sharing users’ personal information with third parties, such as IP addresses and location data, by using a VPN.

FullStory raised $25 million in new funding from Permira to help companies spot issues in their websites and apps. FullStory says it analyzed more than 15 billion user sessions in 2021, including nearly 1 trillion clicks, text highlights and scrolls.

Infrastructure-as-a-service platform maker Mobot raised $12.5 million in Series A funding to expand its suite of robots that bug-test mobile apps. The robots can run through custom-designed testing flows to tap, swipe and rotate mobile devices, and more. The system integrates with standard dev tools like Jira and provides clients with results and reports.

Meme-based dating app Schmooze recently raised $3.2 million in seed funding led by Inventus Capital and Silicon Valley Quad. The app lets users swipe left or right on people they like and up to love memes presented to them. The latter will help to inform match selections.

Meta invested in Take App, a Singaporean startup founded by former Facebook engineering manager Youmin Ki. The app offers an easy way for users to set up simple websites for online orders, with a shopping cart, payments and a direct connection to WhatsApp for managing and tracking orders. The investment size was undisclosed but came in via the company’s NPE Team, which had previously developed social apps and more recently shifted to investments.

New York-based family journaling app Qeepsake has raised $2 million in seed funding led by LaunchCapital. The company, which has 700,000 registered users, plans to invest in its marketing and engineering teams.

Indian fintech app Jar raised $22.6 million in Series B funding led by Tiger Global. The app helps millions of Indians save small amounts to invest in digital gold and is planning to expand into insurance, mutual funds and lending.

Sofy, the maker of a testing platform for mobile apps, closed on $7.75 million in seed funding led by Voyager Capital. The startup has raised a total of $9.5 million to date.

Just Eat sold its 33% stake in the Latin American joint venture iFood to Prosus for $1.8 billion. Prosus will now fully own the Brazilian food delivery company and app maker as a result.

Downloads

Along

Image Credits: Along

A new video creation app called Along has launched into beta testing to offer a way to create “infinite-length” collaboration videos with multiple creators. The app introduces a concept called “tapes” which begins with one creator’s video that others can then add their own clips to, which the original creator approves. The idea is similar to the “Add This” feature that Meta recently rolled out to its short-form video offering, Reels. Except in Along’s case, users are collaborating on a video “tape,” curated by the original poster, not simply contributing to a trend page.

The app is currently in private, invite-only testing but TechCrunch readers can access the app early here: along.video/invite/techcrunch. (This is not an ad — just an invite!)

You can read more about the app here on TechCrunch.

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International

Plan will put everyone in England within 15 minutes of green space – but what matters is justice not distance

The UK government wants every household in England to be within 15 minutes walk of a park, woodland or water.

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GIOIA PHOTO / shutterstock

How long does it take you to walk to your nearest park, woodland, lake or river? If it takes more than 15 minutes, according to the UK government’s new environmental improvement plan for England, something needs to be done about it. It says 38% people in England don’t have a green or blue space within a 15-minute walk of their home.

The plan promises a “new and ambitious commitment to work across government and beyond” to provide access to local green and blue spaces. It recognises the importance of connecting with nature, and that time spent outdoors is good for physical and mental health.

That’s a message researchers have been underlining for years, as a recent evidence review shows, and it has been amplified by COVID-19, which showed the importance of local green and blue spaces for wellbeing.

But the plan’s laudable ambitions overlook the ways our experiences of the outdoors are shaped by privileges of wealth and health.

If you live in a disadvantaged area, your local green space may be further away from your home, or you might have to share it with more people. As the campaign group Fields in Trust pointed out in a 2022 report, this is a question of justice.

However, there’s more to justice than the amount of space you have to share with others, or how long it takes you to get there. It’s also about how you feel and what you can do when you get there.

My own research highlights some key questions we need to ask if we’re to protect and improve our green spaces for future generations. Questions such as “Do I feel welcome here?” “Does this space meet my needs?” or “Do I get a say in how it is looked after?” highlight the fact that access is a matter of equality and democracy.

Some green spaces are greener than others

There are three key aspects of green and blue spaces that should be considered, and invested in, if the environmental improvement plan is to be more than wishful thinking.

People playing football
Some green spaces aren’t for everyone. 1000 Words / shutterstock

First, not all green and blue spaces are the same or provide the same benefits. The qualities of a football pitch are very different from those provided by a woodland walk along a stream.

Lumping them all together as “green and blue spaces” overlooks the need for a variety of spaces within easy reach to meet local people’s needs for physical and mental wellbeing.

Second, not all spaces are equally well looked after. Spaces that are fly-tipped or associated with antisocial activities can feel intimidating, especially after dark.

Green and blue spaces in disadvantaged areas need more care, and that requires time and money. As Public Health England noted, access to good quality green spaces is worse in more disadvantaged areas.

Third, simply being in a space won’t necessarily bring you all the benefits a space can offer. For people suffering from anxiety or depression, for example, more structured activities might be more helpful.

This could include time spent on rivers or allotments as part of the government’s pilot plan to tackle mental ill health by prescribing time in nature.

Be like Birmingham

In Birmingham, the local authority isn’t content with trumpeting the merits of its 600 parks. Instead, the city has developed a city of nature plan (I was part of a team that evaluated it).

At the heart of its approach is the idea of environmental justice, which it defines as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, colour, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies”.

Map of city highlighting parks
Birmingham’s 600 parks and open spaces are shared between 1.1 million residents of the city proper. Intrepix / shutterstock

To apply environmental justice to the city’s green spaces, Birmingham Council has assessed each of its 69 electoral ward in terms of access to green space of two hectares (about three football pitches) or more within 1,000 metres, as well as flood risk, urban heat island effects, health inequalities and deprivation.

Through this work, it has identified 13 of its 69 wards which are most in need of investment to reach a new “fair parks standard”. These mainly central areas have less accessible green space, are more at risk of flooding and urban heating, and are more deprived.

Starting with a pilot programme in Bordesley & Highgate Ward (setting for the BBC series Peaky Blinders), the plan is then to invest in a further five priority areas in central and east Birmingham: Balsall Heath West, Nechells, Gravelly Hill, Pype Hayes and Castle Vale.

This is the kind of approach that could guide investment in many other cities. It links funding with equalities and brings together climate change, public health and community issues. It shows that quality and equity can’t just be boiled down to the distance between your home and the nearest park.

The challenge now is to learn from Birmingham’s pioneering approach and apply similar principles elsewhere. At its best, this work can be used to highlight the challenges not only of applying resources equitably, but of ensuring the resources are there in the first place, an issue the environmental impact plan rather predictably glosses over.

Julian Dobson and colleagues were funded by the National Trust and National Lottery Heritage Fund to evaluate the Future Parks Accelerator programme. The views expressed here are the author's own.

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UN Initiative Targets And Doxxes Doctors And Nurses Who Don’t Follow COVID-19 Narrative

UN Initiative Targets And Doxxes Doctors And Nurses Who Don’t Follow COVID-19 Narrative

Authored by Katie Spence via The Epoch Times (emphasis…

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UN Initiative Targets And Doxxes Doctors And Nurses Who Don't Follow COVID-19 Narrative

Authored by Katie Spence via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Nicole Sirotek is a registered nurse in Nevada with over a decade of experience working in some of the harshest conditions. When a hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, Sirotek and the organization she founded, American Frontline Nurses (AFLN), were there and gave out over 500 pounds of medical equipment and supplies.

National flags in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. A group started as part of the United Nations Verified initiative has targeted nurses and doctors who don't follow the official narrative on COVID-19. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

She hasn’t hesitated to be the first in when an emergency hits and medical professionals are needed. She’s lost count of the number of times she’s woken up on a cot in the middle of nowhere, boots still strapped to her feet, and ready to go.

But in tears during an interview with The Epoch Times, she detailed her ordeal with harassment and doxing over the past year and how she’s contemplated suicide due to crippling anxiety and depression.

It took such a toll on my mental health. I wasn’t sleeping and wasn’t eating,” Sirotek said.

To regain her mental health, she decided to step back from the group she started. But even that decision brought pain.

I said after I left New York, I’d do everything that I can to make sure it didn’t happen again,” Sirotek said, recalling the death she witnessed when she volunteered in New York as a nurse at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I mean, for me to step back and take a break just makes me feel like I failed!”

A mobile station in New York on Dec. 29, 2021. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)

Sirotek is the victim of ongoing harassment. She’s received pictures of her children posed in slaughterhouses and hanging from a noose, drive-by photos of her house, and letters with white powder that exploded upon opening.

The Nevada State Board of Nursing was inundated with calls for Sirotek’s professional demise and flooded with anonymous complaints.

These complaints trace back to Team Halo, a social media influencer campaign formed as part of the United Nations Verified initiative and the Vaccine Confidence Project.

In response, Sirotek filed a police report. Her lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter. The Epoch Times reviewed the documents.

The reply from the cease-and-desist letter? The client was acting within his First Amendment rights.

The Harassment Begins

In February 2022, Sirotek, as the face of AFLN, a patient advocacy network that boasts 22,000 nurses, appeared before Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and testified about the harm patients were experiencing when they sought treatment for COVID-19.

She said she didn’t witness patients dying from the novel virus when she volunteered to work the front lines in New York at the start of the pandemic.

Instead, in her opinion, as a medical professional with multiple master’s degrees, patients were dying from “negligence” and “medical malfeasance.

Sirotek detailed the withholding by higher-ups of steroids and Ibuprofen and the prescribing of remdesivir. Additionally, there was zero willingness to consider possible early intervention treatments like ivermectin.

As the pandemic continued, such practices only escalated, Sirotek said.

Sirotek’s testimony resulted in cheers, widespread attention, and a target on her back.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) (C) speaks during a panel discussion titled COVID-19: A Second Opinion in Washington DC Jan. 24, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

[The harassment] all started the day we got back from DC,” Sirotek said.

At first, the attacks started with the typical “you’re transphobic, you’re anti-LGBTQ. I mean, they even called me racist,” Sirotek, who is Hispanic, recalled.

And as more patients sought AFLN’s help, the attacks increased in frequency and force.

At first, Sirotek said the attacks appeared to come from random people. But as the attacks continued, the terms “Project Halo,” “Team Halo,” and “#TeamHalo” continually cropped up. Especially on TikTok and from two accounts, “@jesss2019” and “@thatsassynp.”

“[@thatsassynp] just kept on saying how I was spreading misinformation, [that] ivermectin doesn’t work,” Sirotek said. “He kept targeting the Nevada State Board of Nursing because I was on the Practice Act Committee, and he did not feel like that was acceptable.”

Craig Perry, a lawyer representing nurses, including Sirotek, before the Nevada State Board of Nursing, confirmed Sirotek’s account. The executive director of the Nevada State Board of Nursing, Cathy Dinauer, declined to provide details on complaints or investigations, stating to The Epoch Times via email that they are “confidential.”

Sirotek said the complaints overwhelmed her ability to defend her nursing license.

“Untimely, they were filing so many complaints against me that [the Nevada State Board of Nursing] had to start filtering them as to what was applicable and not applicable. And [the complaints] just buried my nursing license to the point that we couldn’t even defend it,” Sirotek said.

Attacks Transition to Threats

Whenever Sirotek, or AFLN, tried to set up a community outreach webinar, hateful comments flooded their videos.

Julia McCabe, a registered nurse and the director of advocacy services for AFLN, told The Epoch Times that initially, they tried kicking the trolls out of the outreach videos. But they couldn’t keep up with the overwhelming numbers and had to shut the videos down, usually after only 10 minutes, she said.

To address the swarms, as McCabe labeled them, AFLN started charging an entrance fee for their webinars. But, McCabe said, they’d send out an email with a free access code to all of their subscribers before the webinar started. It helped, but not enough. The swarms kept coming. And the attacks escalated.

On June 5, 2022, @thatsassynp posted a video on TikTok calling for a “serious public uprising,” because the Nevada State Board of Nursing and other regulatory agencies weren’t disciplining nurses for spreading “disinformation.”

It became one of many such videos in the ensuing days. In the comments of one, he stated, “Also, stay tuned as [@jesss2019] will be addressing this as well. We are teaming up (as per usual) to raise awareness and demand action on this issue.” @jesss2019 responded, “Yes!!!! We will get this taken care of.”

Jess and Tyler Kuhk of @thatsassynp have “teamed up” on several occasions, targeting healthcare workers who question the COVID-19 narrative. Team Halo doesn’t officially list Kuhk on its site, but Kuhk posts with the #teamhalo.

In another video, he states, “If you’re new to this series, PLEASE watch the videos in my playlist ‘Nevada board of nursing.’ This started in Feb of this year.” His video has almost 35,000 “loves.”

On June 7, 2022, @jesss2019 posted a video on TikTok accusing Sirotek of spreading misinformation. It included a link to @thatsassynp, and his complaints about Sirotek to the Nevada State Board of Nursing and calls to remove her from the Practice Act Committee. She implored TikTok to boost the message. It, too, became one of many videos attacking Sirotek.

Specifically, @jesss2019 and @thatsassynp took issue with videos and posts from Sirotek, and AFLN, advocating for ivermectin and highlighting possible issues with remdesivir and the COVID-19 vaccines.

@jess2019 removed all of the above videos after The Epoch Times sought comment. The Epoch Times retains copies.

Sirotek says she received the first death threat against herself and her children around the same time, in June 2022.

“They cut off the pictures of my children’s faces from our family photos, where we take them every year on our front porch—we’ve got 11 years of those photos—and they cut them out and put them on the bodies of those little boys that have been sexually abused. And that’s what would get sent to my house. And I gave the police that,” Sirotek said.

In response to a request for comment from The Epoch Times, Sen. Johnson defended Sirotek.

“The COVID Cartel continues to frighten and silence those who tell the truth and challenge their failed response to COVID,” Johnson said. “It is simply wrong for Ms. Sirotek to be smeared and attacked like so many others who have had the courage and compassion to successfully treat COVID patients.”

As the threats continued and escalated, Sirotek also asked Perry to send a cease-and-desist letter to Tyler Kuhk on Aug. 1, 2022.

Kuhk, a nurse practitioner, is the person posting on TikTok under the pseudonym @thatsassynp.

The TikTok logo is pictured outside the company’s U.S. head office in Culver City, California, on Sept. 15, 2020. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

The letter sent to Kuhk alleges that on at least 10 different occasions, @thatsassynp encouraged a “public uprising” against Sirotek. It also details that his videos attacking Sirotek garnered over 400,000 views.

In response, McLetchie Law, a “boutique law firm serving prominent and emerging … media entities” responded to Perry by stating in a letter dated Aug. 16, 2022, “Both Nevada law and the First Amendment provide robust protections for our client’s (and others’) rights to criticize Ms. Sirotek’s dangerous views and practices—and to advocate for her removal from the Nursing Practice Advisory Committee of the Nevada State Board of Nursing.”

It also warned that any attempt to deter Kuhk from his chosen path would “backfire” and could result in a “negative financial impact.” Neither Kuhk nor McLetchie Law responded to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Unable to confirm the real name behind the TikTok account @jesss2019, and thus, unable to send her a legal letter, Sirotek posted some of the threats she’d received on Facebook, pleading for @jesss2019 to cease targeting her, and recognize the possible real-world harm.

In desperation, Sirotek asked Perry to file a legal name change, which he did on Sep. 15, 2022, hoping that would thwart people’s ability to look up Sirotek’s information. Perry told The Epoch Times, “Usually, when you do a name change, it’s a public record. But under extenuating circumstances, you can have that sealed.”

In Sirotek’s case, the court recognized the threat to her and her family’s safety, waived the publication requirement, granted the change, and sealed her record on Oct. 4, 2022.

Sirotek, at the behest of Perry, filed a police report detailing the harassment on Oct. 17, 2022.

In December 2022, @jesss2019 posted a video to TikTok doxing Sirotek by revealing her name change. The Epoch Times sought comment from @jesss2019 but has not received a response. After the request for comment, the user removed the video.

Team Halo and Social Media

On Dec. 17, 2020, Theo Bertram, a director at TikTok; Iain Bundred, the head of public policy at YouTube; and Rebecca Stimson, the UK head of public policy for Facebook, appeared before the UK’s House of Commons to explain what their social media sites were doing to combat “anti-vaccination disinformation.”

All three stated their companies employed a “two-pronged approach.” Specifically, “tackle disinformation and promote trusted content.”

Bundred stated that from the beginning of the year to November 2020, YouTube had removed 750,000 videos that promoted “Covid disinformation.”

The logos of Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat on mobile devices in a combination of 2017–2022 photos. (AP Photo)

Stimson stated that between March and October 2020, “12 million pieces of content were removed from [Facebook],” and it had labeled 167 million pieces with a warning.

Bertram stated that for the first six months of 2020, TikTok removed 1,500 accounts for “Covid violation” and had recently increased that activity. “In the last two months, we took action against 1,380 accounts, so you can see the level of action is increasing,” Bertram said.

“In October, we began work with Team Halo,” Bertram added. “I do not know if you are familiar with Team Halo. It is run by the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is about getting reliable, trusted scientists and doctors on to social media to spread trusted information.”

Team Halo’s Origins

On Sep. 20, 2022, Melissa Fleming, the under-secretary-general for global communications at the United Nations, appeared at the World Economic Forum to discuss how the United Nations was “Tackling Disinformation” regarding “health guidance” as well as the “safety and efficacy of the vaccine” for COVID-19.

A key strategy that we had was to deploy influencers,” Fleming stated. “Influencers who were really keen, who had huge followings, but really keen to help carry messages that were going to serve their communities.”

Fleming also explained that the United Nations knew its messaging wouldn’t resonate as well as influencers, so they developed Team Halo.

“We had another trusted messenger project, which was called Team Halo, where we trained scientists around the world, and some doctors, on TikTok. We had TikTok working with us,” Fleming said. “It was a layered deployment of ideas and tactics.”

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Tyler Durden Wed, 02/01/2023 - 23:25

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Why Is There A COVID Vaccine Mandate For Students?

Why Is There A COVID Vaccine Mandate For Students?

Authored by Margaret Anna Alice via ‘Through The Looking Glass’ Substack,

Letter to the…

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Why Is There A COVID Vaccine Mandate For Students?

Authored by Margaret Anna Alice via 'Through The Looking Glass' Substack,

Letter to the Stanford Daily: Why Is There a COVID Vaccine Mandate for Students?

“Not to know is bad. Not to wish to know is worse.”

—African proverb

I can’t figure out why Stanford is mandating the COVID vaccine for students.

  1. Is it to protect students from the virus, hospitalization, or death?

  2. Is it to protect them from other students?

  3. Is it to protect the Stanford community members from the students? 

If it’s to protect the students from catching COVID, that doesn’t make sense because the CDC says it “no longer differentiate[s] based on a person’s vaccination status because breakthrough infections occur.”

The CDC also acknowledges natural immunity, noting that “persons who have had COVID-19 but are not vaccinated have some degree of protection against severe illness from their previous infection.”

It appears Stanford didn’t get the memo because Maxwell Meyer—a double-jabbed, COVID-recovered alum who was nearly prohibited from graduating for choosing not to get boosted—was informed by an administrator that the booster mandate is “not predicated on history of infection or physical location.”

Despite living 2,000 miles away from campus and not being enrolled in coursework for his final term, Maxwell was told Stanford was “uniformly enforc[ing]” the mandate “regardless of student location.” Does that sound like a rational policy?

Fortunately, a different administrator intervened and granted Maxwell an exemption, but few Stanford students are so lucky. Almost everyone else simply follows the rules without realizing they’ve volunteered for vaccine roulette.

Cleveland Clinic study of the bivalent vaccines involving 51,011 participants found the risk of getting COVID-19 increased “with the number of vaccine doses previously received”—much to the authors’ surprise.

They were stumped as to why “those who chose not to follow the CDC’s recommendations on remaining updated with COVID-19 vaccination” had a lower risk of catching COVID than “those who received a larger number of prior vaccine doses.”

So if the vaccines don’t keep you from getting COVID, maybe they at least protect you from hospitalization?

That doesn’t wash, either, because according to data from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET)hospitalization rates for 18–64-year-olds have increased 11 percent since the vaccine rollout. Worse, kids under 18 have suffered a shocking 74 percent spike in hospitalizations.

An observational study conducted at Germany’s University Hospital Wuerzburg found:

“The rate of adverse reactions for the second booster dose was significantly higher among participants receiving the bivalent 84.6% (95% CI 70.3%–92.8%; 33/39) compared to the monovalent 51.4% (95% CI 35.9–66.6%; 19/37) vaccine (p=0.0028). Also, there was a trend towards an increased rate of inability to work and intake of PRN medication following bivalent vaccination.”

A new paper published in Science titled Class Switch Towards Non-Inflammatory, Spike-Specific IgG4 Antibodies after Repeated SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccination even has Eric Topol concerned:

If you don’t know what that means, Dr. Syed Haider spells it out in this tweet. He explains that the shots “train your immune system to ignore the allergen by repeated exposure,” the end result being that “Your immune system is shifted to see the virus as a harmless allergen” and the “virus runs amok.”

Viral immunologist and computational virologist Dr. Jessica Rose breaks down the serious implications—including cancerfatal fibrosis, and organ destruction—of these findings.

Well, then does the vaccine at least prevent people from dying of COVID?

Nope. According to the Washington Post, “Vaccinated people now make up a majority of COVID deaths.”

At Senator Ron Johnson’s December 7, 2022, roundtable discussion on COVID-19 Vaccines, former number-one–ranked Wall Street insurance analyst Josh Stirling reported that, according to UK government data:

“The people in the UK who took the vaccine have a 26% higher mortality rate. The people who are under the age of 50 who took the vaccine now have a 49% higher mortality rate.”

Obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to KBV (the association representing physicians who receive insurance in Germany), “the most important dataset of the pandemic” shows fatalities starting to spike in 2021.

Data analyst Tom Lausen assessed the ICD-10 disease codes in this dataset, and the findings are startling. His presentation includes the following chart documenting fatalities per quarter from 2016 to 2022:

This parallels the skyrocketing fatality rates seen in VAERS:

The vaccinated are more likely to contract, become hospitalized from, and die of COVID. If the vaccine fails on all of those counts, does it at least prevent its transmission to other students and community members?

The obvious answer is no since we already know it doesn’t prevent you from getting COVID, but this CDC study drives the point home, showing that during a COVID outbreak in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, “three quarters (346; 74%) of cases occurred in fully vaccinated persons.”

Maybe Stanford can tell us why they feel the mandate is necessary. Their booster requirement reads:

Why does Stanford have a student booster shot requirement? Our booster requirement is intended to support sustained immunity against COVID-19 and is consistent with the advice of county and federal public health leaders. Booster shots enhance immunity, providing additional protection to individuals and reducing the possibility of being hospitalized for COVID. In addition, booster shots prevent infection in many individuals, thereby slowing the spread of the virus. A heavily boosted campus community reduces the possibility of widespread disruptions that could impact the student experience, especially in terms of in-person classes and activities and congregate housing.”

The claim that “booster shots enhance immunity” links to a January 2022 New York Times article. It seems Stanford has failed to keep up with the science because the very source they cite as authoritative is now reporting, “The newer variants, called BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, are spreading quickly, and boosters seem to do little to prevent infections with these viruses.”

Speaking of not keeping up, that same article says the new bivalent boosters target “the original version of the coronavirus and the Omicron variants circulating earlier this year, BA.4 and BA.5.”

It then goes on to quote Head of Beth Israel Deaconess’s Center for Virology & Vaccine Research Dan Barouch, who says, “It’s not likely that any of the vaccines or boosters, no matter how many you get, will provide substantial and sustained protection against acquisition of infection.”

In other words, Stanford’s rationale for requiring the boosters is obsolete according to the authority they cite in their justification.

If Stanford is genuinely concerned about “reduc[ing] the possibility of widespread disruptions that could impact the student experience,” then it should not only stop mandating the vaccine but advise against it.

Some nations have suspended or recommended against COVID shots for younger populations due to the considerable risks of adverse events such as pulmonary embolism and myocarditis—from Denmark (under 50) to Norway (under 45) to Australia (under 50) to the United Kingdom (seasonal boosters for under 50).

The Danish Health Authority explains why people under 50 are “not to be re-vaccinated”:

“People aged under 50 are generally not at particularly higher risk of becoming severely ill from covid-19. In addition, younger people aged under 50 are well protected against becoming severely ill from covid-19, as a very large number of them have already been vaccinated and have previously been infected with covid-19, and there is consequently good immunity among this part of the population.”

Here’s what a Norwegian physician and health official had to say:

“Especially the youngest should consider potential side effects against the benefits of taking this dose.”
—Ingrid Bjerring, Chief Doctor at Lier Municipality

“We did not find sufficient evidence to recommend that this part of the population [younger age bracket] should take a new dose now.… Each vaccine comes with the risk for side effects. Is it then responsible to offer this, when we know that the individual health benefit of a booster likely is low?”
—Are Stuwitz Berg, Department Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health

new Nordic cohort study of 8.9 million participants supports these concerns, finding a nearly nine-fold increase in myocarditis among males aged 12–39 within 28 days of receiving the Moderna COVID-19 booster over those who stopped after two doses.

This mirrors my own findings that myocarditis rates are up 10 times among the vaccinated according to a public healthcare worker survey.

Coauthored by MIT professor and risk management expert Retsef Levi, the Nature article Increased Emergency Cardiovascular Events Among Under-40 Population in Israel During Vaccine Rollout and Third COVID-19 Wave reveals a 25 percent increase in cardiac emergency calls for 16–39-year-olds from January to May 2021 as compared with the previous two years.

The paper cites a study by Israel’s Ministry of Health that “assesses the risk of myocarditis after receiving the 2nd vaccine dose to be between 1 in 3000 to 1 in 6000 in men of age 16–24 and 1 in 120,000 in men under 30.”

Thai study published in Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease found cardiovascular manifestations in 29.24 percent of the adolescent cohort—including myopericarditis and tachycardia.

Even Dr. Leana Wen, formerly an aggressive promoter of the COVID vaccine, admitted in a recent Washington Post op-ed:

“[W]e need to be upfront that nearly every intervention has some risk, and the coronavirus vaccine is no different. The most significant risk is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, which is most common in young men. The CDC cites a rate of 39 myocarditis cases per 1 million second doses given in males 18 to 24. Some studies found a much higher rate; a large Canadian database reported that among men ages 18 to 29 who received the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, the rate of myocarditis was 22 for every 100,000 doses.”

All over the world, prominent physicians, scientists, politicians, and professors are asking pointed questions about illogical mandates; the safety and efficacy of the vaccines; and the dangers posed by the mRNA technology, spike protein, and lipid nanoparticles—including in the UKJapanAustraliaEurope, and the US.

Formerly pro-vaxx cardiologists such as Dr. Aseem MalhotraDr. Dean Patterson, and Dr. Ross Walker are all saying the COVID vaccines should be immediately stopped due to the significant increase in cardiac diseasesadverse events, and excess mortality observed since their rollout, noting that, “until proven otherwise, these vaccines are not safe.”

President of the International Society for Vascular Surgery Serif Sultan and Consultant Surgeon Ahmad Malik are also demanding that we #StopTheShotsNow.

And now, perhaps most notably, Dr. John Campbell has performed a 180-degree turn on his previous position and is saying it is time to pause the mass vaccination program “due to the risks associated with the vaccines”:

Rasmussen poll published on December 7, 2022, found 7 percent of vaccinated respondents have suffered major side effects—a percentage that echoes the 7.7 percent of V-Safe users who sought medical care as well as my own polling data.

Add the 34 percent who reported experiencing minor side effects, and you have nearly 72 million adults who’ve been hit with side effects from the vaccine.

Rasmussen Head Pollster Mark Mitchell explains:

“With 7% having a major side effect, that means over 12 million adults in the US have experienced a self-described major side effect that they attribute to the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s over 11 times the reported COVID death numbers. And also note that anyone who may have died from the vaccine obviously can’t tell us that in the poll.”

According to British Medical Journal Senior Editor Dr. Peter Doshi, Pfizer’s and Moderna’s own trial data found 1 in 800 vaccinated people experienced serious adverse events:

“The Pfizer and Moderna trials are both showing a clear signal of increased risk of serious adverse events among the vaccinated.…

“The trial data are indicating that we’re seeing about an elevated risk of these serious adverse events of around 1 in 800 people vaccinated.… That is much, much more common than what you see for other vaccines, where the reported rates are in the range of 1 or 2 per million vaccinees. In these trials, we’re seeing 1 in every 800. And this is a rate that in past years has had vaccines taken off the market.…

“We’re talking about randomized trials … which are widely considered the highest-quality evidence, and we’re talking about the trials that were submitted by Pfizer and Moderna that supported the regulators’ authorization.”

And this is the same Pfizer data the FDA tried to keep hidden from the public for 75 years.

Nothing to see here … except 1,223 deaths, 158,000 adverse events, and 1,291 side effects reported in the first 90 days according to the 5.3.6 Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports—and those numbers are likely underreported by a factor of at least 10 (my conservative calculations show an underreporting factor (URF) of 41 for VAERS).

Stanford is asking students to risk a 1 in 800 chance of serious adverse events—meaning the kind of events that can land you in the hospitaldisable you, and kill you. And for what?

Anyone who knows how to perform a cost-benefit analysis can see this is all cost and zero benefit.

Stanford’s own Dr. John Ioannidis—professor of medicine, epidemiology & population health, statistics, and biomedical data science—demonstrated that college students are at a near-zero risk of dying from COVID-19 in his “Age-Stratified Infection Fatality Rate of COVID-19 in the Non-Elderly Population.”

One of the six most-cited scientists in the world, Ioannidis found the median IFR was 0.0003 percent for those under 20 and 0.002 percent for twenty-somethings, concluding the fatalities “are lower than pre-pandemic years when only the younger age strata are considered” and that “the IFR in non-elderly individuals was much lower than previously thought.”

And yet Ioannidis’s employer is mandating an experimental product with extensively documented risks of severe harm.

What if a Stanford student dies and the coroner determines it was caused by the vaccine? That happened with George Watts Jr., a 24-year-old college student whose cause of death Chief Deputy Coroner Timothy Cahill Jr. attributed to “COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis.” Cahill says, “The vaccine caused the heart to go into failure.”

Notorious for mandating a booster not yet tested on humans (just like Stanford), Ontario’s Western University dropped its mandate on November 29, 2022, stating:

“We are revoking our vaccination policy and will no longer require students, employees, and visitors to be vaccinated to come to campus.”

That was the same day this article reported that 21-year-old Western University student and TikTok influencer Megha Thakur “suddenly and unexpectedly passed away” on November 24.

The timing is interesting, don’t you think? I’m sure it’s just a coincidence—even though this Clinical Research in Cardiology paper determined vaccine-induced myocardial inflammation was the cause of death in “five persons who have died unexpectedly within seven days following anti-SARS-CoV-2-vaccination.” In that analysis, the authors “establish the histological phenotype of lethal vaccination-associated myocarditis.”

Coincidences notwithstanding, Stanford may want to revoke the mandate before anything like that happens to one of its students … if it hasn’t already.

And if that’s not incentive enough, Stanford should consider the legal ramifications of mandating an experimental product. As this JAMA article warns:

“Mandating COVID-19 vaccines under an EUA is legally and ethically problematic. The act authorizing the FDA to issue EUAs requires the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to specify whether individuals may refuse the vaccine and the consequences for refusal. Vaccine mandates are unjustified because an EUA requires less safety and efficacy data than full Biologics License Application (BLA) approval.”

Dr. Naomi Wolf delivered an impassioned speech to her alma mater, Yale, in which she called their booster mandate “a serious crime. It is deeply illegal. Certainly, it violates Title IX.” She explains:

“Title IX commits the university to not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in getting an equal education.… I oversee a project in which 3,500 experts review the Pfizer documents released under court order by a lawsuit. In that document, there is catastrophic harm to women! And especially to young women! And especially to their reproductive health.… 72% of those with adverse events in the Pfizer documents are women!”

Other universities are currently facing lawsuits for mandating the COVID vaccine in violation of state laws, including one against Ohio University, University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green State University, and Miami University of Ohio.

Let’s recap.

Abundant evidence proves the vaccines FAIL to:

  • stop transmission

  • prevent contraction of COVID

  • lower hospitalization rates

  • reduce mortality

By the same token, this evidence shows the vaccines are ASSOCIATED with:

  • heightened transmission levels

  • greater chances of catching COVID

  • increased hospitalization rates

  • higher excess mortality

  • disproportionate injuries to women

Why is Stanford mandating these unsafe and ineffective products, again?

If logic, peer-reviewed studies, and legal concerns such as the violation of Title IX don’t convince Stanford to rescind the mandate, then what about its stated ethical commitment to upholding its Code of Conduct?

BMJ’s Journal of Medical Ethics recently published COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters for Young Adults: A Risk Benefit Assessment and Ethical Analysis of Mandate Policies at Universities. In this paper, eminent researchers from Harvard, Oxford, Johns Hopkins, and UC San Francisco (among other institutions) present five reasons university mandates are unethical.

They argue that the vaccines:

“(1) are not based on an updated (Omicron era) stratified risk-benefit assessment for this age group; (2) may result in a net harm to healthy young adults; (3) are not proportionate: expected harms are not outweighed by public health benefits given modest and transient effectiveness of vaccines against transmission; (4) violate the reciprocity principle because serious vaccine-related harms are not reliably compensated due to gaps in vaccine injury schemes; and (5) may result in wider social harms.” (emphases mine here and below)

They calculate that:

To prevent one COVID-19 hospitalisation over a 6-month period, we estimate that 31,207–42,836 young adults aged 18–29 years must receive a third mRNA vaccine.”

The authors conclude that:

“university COVID-19 vaccine mandates are likely to cause net expected harms to young healthy adults—for each hospitalisation averted we estimate approximately 18.5 SAEs and 1,430–4,626 disruptions of daily activities.… these severe infringements of individual liberty and human rights are ethically unjustifiable.”

This builds on a previously published BMJ Global Health article by some of the same authors titled, “The Unintended Consequences of COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: Why Mandates, Passports, and Restrictions May Cause More Harm Than Good.”

In this paper, the authors contend that COVID-19 vaccine mandates “have unintended harmful consequences and may not be ethical, scientifically justified, and effective” and “may prove to be both counterproductive and damaging to public health.”

Over the course of history, countless products once thought to be safe—from DDT to cigarettes to thalidomide for pregnant women to Vioxx—were eventually discovered to be dangerous and even lethal. Responsible governments, agencies, and companies pull those products from the market when the scientific data proves harm—and institutions that care about their community members certainly don’t mandate those products when evidence of risk becomes obvious, as is the case now for the experimental COVID vaccines.

Mahatma Gandhi once stated:

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.”

The truth is clear to anyone who’s willing to look.

Will Stanford stop following the propaganda and start following the science—the real science and not the politicized science?

Will it stand up for the lives and health of its students—or will it wait until tragedy strikes another George Watts Jr. or Megha Thakur?

This is a historic opportunity for Stanford to prove its allegiance to people, scientific data, and critical thought over pharmaceutical donors, political pressures, and conformist thinking.

The stakes could not be higher.

*  *  *

For 16.4 cents/day (annual) or 19.7 cents/day (monthly), you can help Margaret fight tyranny while enjoying access to premium content like Memes by Themes“rolling” interviewspodcastsBehind the Scenes, and other bonus content:

Tyler Durden Wed, 02/01/2023 - 21:25

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