COVID-19 in 2022


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  • #94223 Reply
    Clark

      AG, I pretty much agree.

      “Naively I assumed since its science debate and controversy would be limited.”

      My strong impression is that controversy was and is mostly in the media rather than the scientific literature. But of course most of us can’t afford a dozen subscriptions to peer-reviewed journals, and logins to Jstor, Elsevier etc, so if we aren’t members of a university or a relevant professional organisation, we pick up what we can from media, and the media generally politicises everything and monetises controversy.

      “Over Covid however so much coverage was going on I doubted the efficacy of secrecy here.”

      See above. There was lots of coverage in the corporate media, but most of it was about what politicians had said or done, followed in quantity by the usual emotive “human interest” interviews with individuals, bereaved, or excluded from relatives’ funerals, that sort of thing. When it came to actual science, even the supposedly responsible Guardian couldn’t resist turning it into “controversy”.

      “the fact alone that the European Parliament voted AGAINST the disclosure of PFIZER contracts was almost not reported in Germany”

      Typical, eh? Why should such contracts, concerning public money, ever be secret in the first place? But it’s standard practice. The EU is highly corporatocratic, see the documentary The Brussels Business by the Corporate European Observatory. It’s also entirely unsurprising that the corporate ‘news’ media simply ignored such a story.

      “Also no one has issue over the fact…” and all the facts that follow.

      Well I certainly do, and so do you, and so do a large minority of the public – pretty much everyone who has thought to question such matters, in my experience. Political responses were utter crap. But many don’t think to question such matters, because corporatocratic governments and ‘news’ media barely mention them. One of the most powerful things mass media does is set the agenda, and it’s what’s missing from it that’s so telling.

      That’s why it’s important to get out and actually talk to people. Don’t lecture them, ask them what they think; pretty soon opportunities will arise to point out contradictions or to suggest how things could have been handled far more effectively.

      What’s missing from the agenda right now is that vaccines up to October 2023 provide no protection against the latest variant to become dominant, JN.1. It became dominant precisely because it it evades those vaccines, as well as immunity from previous infection from earlier variants. Vaccines from November onwards provide about 60% reduction in severity, but very few people have received a recent jab. The majority of the population don’t even know that the UK is in a record breaking covid peak.

      #94225 Reply
      Clark

        Tom Bawden at inews.co.uk seems pretty good, though he could be more concise, and show more graphs. Note that he’s an actual science correspondent. I discovered him because a friend of mine bought a print copy of the i , and found an article telling her pretty much what I’d had flagged up to me three weeks earlier – so he could be a bit quicker too. Links below to his Author page at inews, and the online version of the article my friend pointed out:

        inews.co.uk/author/tom-bawden

        inews.co.uk/news/health/jn1-covid-variant-spread-uk-cases-record-numbers-2841745

        #94765 Reply
        AG

          German daily BERLINER ZEITUNG on a new French law increasing law enforcement against criticism of medical procedures:

          ““Pfizer article”: Does France want to make criticism of vaccinations a criminal offense in the future?
          A new law that passed the National Assembly on Wednesday aims to curb resistance to medical and prophylactic treatment.”

          https://archive.is/gGD0N

          The phrasing of the law indeed appears to be extremely unspecific.

          #94766 Reply
          AG

            well I am not the only one: naked capitalism with an extensive piece on the French – in proper English above all!

            “France’s Macron Government Is Trying to Criminalise Criticism of Officially Recommended or Mandated Medical Treatments”

            https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2024/02/french-government-is-on-verge-of-criminalising-criticism-of-medical-recommendations-and-mandates.html

            #94768 Reply
            AG

              Link from NC´s comments

              Human Rights Watch :

              Draft “Pandemic Treaty” Fails to Protect Rights
              Member States Should Include International Human Rights Obligations in Negotiated Text

              https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/11/07/draft-pandemic-treaty-fails-protect-rights

              #95755 Reply
              AG

                I don´t know if British press reported on the current so-called “RKI-Files” scandal in Germany:

                German altern. media news site “Multipolar” via a German FOIA has forced the government / Ministry of Health to de-classify and publicize the internal communication´s protocols of the pandemic years in the RKI – the “Robert Koch Institute”, which was responsible for managing the pandemic in Germany, as a sub to the Ministry.

                The protocols cover the years 2020-2021. It has become evident from the quotes that the officials had information which by and large contradicted their policies which led to lockdowns.

                e.g. the danger of the virus, the sense and lack of it of various restrictions, the nature of immunity via vaccines.

                There are 4 major publications by Multipolar which I link here, via google transl, with abstracts:

                March 18th 2024:

                “Multipolar has sued for the previously kept secret protocols of the Corona crisis team at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). This makes it clear: The tightening of the risk assessment from “moderate” to “high” announced in March 2020 – the basis of all lockdown measures and court rulings on them – was, contrary to what has previously been claimed, not based on a technical assessment by the RKI, but on political instructions an external actor ”

                https://multipolar–magazin-de.translate.goog/artikel/rki-protokolle-1?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                March 20th 2024:

                “The protocols of the crisis team of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which our magazine released, are now being made accessible to everyone. The more than 200 documents have been blacked out to a considerable extent by the RKI. We are currently taking legal action against the redactions. We invite all interested journalists to take part in the research.”

                https://multipolar–magazin-de.translate.goog/artikel/rki-protokolle-2?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                March 25th 2024:

                “The RKI protocols that Multipolar has sued for have been the topic of all major media since the weekend. The breakthrough came with a factual and solidly researched ZDF report, which was subsequently rewritten in a misleading manner.”

                https://multipolar–magazin-de.translate.goog/artikel/rki-protokolle-3?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                April 4th 2024:

                “The RKI protocols that Multipolar sued for have triggered a broad political debate about coming to terms with the Corona period. Some media are now trying to attack our credibility. Multipolar is “right-wing” or “conspiracy-theoretical,” according to SPIEGEL and the Süddeutsche Zeitung. A reply.”

                https://multipolar–magazin-de.translate.goog/artikel/rki-protokolle-4?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                #95756 Reply
                ET

                  AG, your google translate links don’t work for me.

                  #95757 Reply
                  AG

                    ET

                    sry I didn´t check them since.
                    engl. machine transl.
                    may be this works?

                    part 1

                    https://multipolar–magazin-de.translate.goog/artikel/rki-protokolle-1?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                    part 2

                    https://multipolar–magazin-de.translate.goog/artikel/rki-protokolle-2?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                    part 3

                    https://multipolar–magazin-de.translate.goog/artikel/rki-protokolle-3?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                    part 4

                    https://multipolar–magazin-de.translate.goog/artikel/rki-protokolle-4?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                    In case:
                    German originals:

                    part 1

                    https://multipolar-magazin.de/artikel/rki-protokolle-1

                    part 2

                    https://multipolar-magazin.de/artikel/rki-protokolle-2

                    part 3

                    https://multipolar-magazin.de/artikel/rki-protokolle-3

                    part 4

                    https://multipolar-magazin.de/artikel/rki-protokolle-4

                    A sort of summary by a German economist:

                    “Five Corona lies from the RKI on political instructions – analyzed by Prof. Homburg”

                    https://fassadenkratzer-wordpress-com.translate.goog/2024/04/02/funf-corona-lugen-des-rki-auf-politische-weisung-analysiert-von-prof-homburg/?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                    (He is only analysing the known documents. So that should offer safe ground. And it concurs with what I read. Of course I wonder what about the unusual cases where healthy adults died of the virus. Or the virus´ behaviour within the cells not known from influenza I think. Which doesn´t contradict any of this mess. I trust India or Cuba that they had their own reasons for taking things seriously. As much as I defended the Swedish approach by Anders Tegnel who was mostly attacked in Germany in pretty harsh terms, sometimes openly insulted. Just like medical personnel which refused the vaccine. Or citizens who said “no” in general.)

                    #95765 Reply
                    Clark

                      Sorry, but Prof. Dr. Stefan Homburg’s (note the argument from authority) arguments look silly and biased to me. Note some important points –

                      (1) Homburg is a financial scientist, and it has been financial concerns that have argued against lockdown all through. Note that my own opinion is that protracted national lockdowns were late, bungled, ineffective, and could have been entirely avoided through far more effective brief, localised lockdowns serving as the necessary foundation for effective trace, test, and mandatory quarantine, as China and Australia conclusively demonstrated. The financial lobby have been barking up the wrong tree.

                      (2) Homburg, incredibly predictably, endorses the prediction by Ioannidis – which was heavily criticised by the epidemiological community, AND proven comprehensively wrong when the actual numbers came in.

                      (3) Even more predictably, Homburg wrote “Why did Germany follow the bad role models and not Sweden?”. Banging on about Sweden is a massive red herring, because Sweden was under lockdown in all but name. For constitutional reasons, the Swedish government cannot issue lockdown orders. But the Swedish population know this, and hence followed the “recommendations” of the Swedish health authority as if they were law – as can be confirmed by looking at traffic data, public transport data, mobile phone location data etc. And Sweden did an order of magnitude worse than its Scandinavian neighbours in any case. Swedish policy tells us nothing.

                      Sorry, but I can’t be bothered to read the rest of this tired nonsense. Wittingly or not, Homburg the financial scientist treats people as financial units whose death and suffering must be weighed against “damage to the economy” – and again please note my own opinion that most European governments acted utterly incompetently, and could have reduced death, suffering, social restrictions and damage to their economies by orders of magnitude. Yes, governments lie, manipulate, impose arbitrary and unjustified authority, and then attempt to conceal; it’s a big problem and utterly typical. But Homburg is obviously pushing one side of the familiar, long-running, and highly politicised “lockdown versus no lockdown” argument, an exercise in futility because the opposing positions are both equally wrong.

                      #95766 Reply
                      AG

                        Clark

                        I was first reluctant to include Homburg in the above post. I eventually did include him, because I thought glancing into his text would offer a rough understanding of what the RKI case is about.
                        Simply to save people reading time.
                        And I honestly had no time to look for a better summary. So I took what was in the offering that moment.

                        Now I might have misjudged that since I have a different perspective onto this than someone from abroad, as I did read several other German texts on this, among them better ones too. Homburg´s post so isolated might distort the entire picture.

                        p.s. I think I stated this in the past already: the true nature of the economic costs to average people – like ongoing rent for living space while no income due to lockdown, which has led to drastic wealth distribution – to this day has not been addressed at all (which is typical for German market economy think).

                        And in Germany people on average spend 60% of their income on rent I think. While 25% live below poverty line. All of this has become worse with 2020/21. And with that came about an additional unusual concentration of wealth.

                        Not to speak about ongoing fights (mostly not reported any more by the media) over state support paid due to pandemic losses for small businesses which often have to be paid back now on laughable grounds even though originally they were agreed on as gifts not loans.

                        Furthermore, something I still can’t get my head around, the quarrel over the nature of the virus has led to social divisions, which have deepened with the UKR/RU and ISR/PAL conflicts. Which is somehow absurd. Since latter is politics and former should be science.

                        But the PR/propaganda fault lines of the pandemic years are identical with today´s.

                        The reason for this fierce tone regarding the RKI-Files is the way discussions in Germany were conducted during the pandemic. People were insulted, sometimes lost their jobs, labeled as outlaws. In general the public discussion was not intended to find a consensus, not intended to listen to each other properly. It was out for “I am right you are wrong.” (Everyday realities, beyond media reporting, of course were different. But you cannot entirely separate one from the other.)

                        #95769 Reply
                        AG

                          For those who have the time, here the 1000 page German RKI-File which has been “de-classified”:
                          https://my.hidrive.com/lnk/OkOYzLU9a#file

                          I wanted to translate the pdf via google and somehow link it here. But it was too much to translate I guess.
                          There are other tools like deepl´s paid service (which I don´t have currently.)
                          It might me a bit like TWITTER Files, searching the needle in the haystack.

                          #95770 Reply
                          AG

                            sry, correction to the above (I mixed up the links)

                            The original German language RKI-Files are here:

                            https://my.hidrive.com/share/2-hpbu3.3u#$/

                            The above are the explanations to why each passage has been blackened out
                            https://my.hidrive.com/lnk/OkOYzLU9a#file

                            #95771 Reply
                            Clark

                              AG, thanks for your comment #95766, April 9, 2024 at 01:14, which I strongly agree with.

                              “Furthermore, something I still can’t get my head around, the quarrel over the nature of the virus has led to social divisions”

                              Decades of neoliberalism and its accompanying “information management”, or lying and manipulation as I prefer to call it, has fragmented society. Which is entirely to be expected, as the underlying neoliberal ideology is every person versus everyone else and every commercial entity, with those who make most money winning the most power to influence the media. I can’t think of a better recipe for suspicion and distrust.

                              But typically, ideologies don’t admit to being ideologies; they masquerade as the fundamental nature of society, or even reality. “They” – meaning official enemies and those disfavoured by the power structure – have ideologies and corresponding propaganda, whereas “we” just have The Self Evident Truth.

                              This has worked for decades, helped along by rising wealth, widely available credit, and the relative rarity of major disasters in rich countries. But when reality intrudes, things turn ugly. It’s unthinkable that governments would suspend landlords’ rights to demand rent when they suspend people’s right to go outdoors; ideologically, rent is “a fact of life” whereas people’s income is an “earned privilege”. Ideologically, the ability to earn is continually available to everyone; the unemployed are feckless scroungers. Neoliberalism can’t change its narrative just because there’s a global disaster, because that would reveal it to be propaganda rather than “The Obvious Law of Nature” it’s masquerading as.

                              Early in the pandemic, pre-vaccines, the propaganda system was trying to scare people into accepting social restrictions, while the lowest layers of the working classes were required to carry on working and thus risk infection. They didn’t start dying like flies, but that was only ever the propaganda.

                              The real risks were at the societal scale rather than the personal; that health services would be overwhelmed, causing vast numbers of the old and infirm to be denied treatments including those that make death more peaceful and comfortable; that crowds would accumulate attempting to get their loved ones into hospital, and that security, police or even troops would have to be deployed to keep them out; that cremation and burial services would be overwhelmed. Such outcomes were indeed seen in various parts of the world.

                              Ideology being unacknowledged, invisible, causes people to attack the underlying facts about the cause of disruption. “They exaggerated the danger of the virus,” (which is true) “it’s just a bad cold” (which is false) is a helluva lot simpler and snappier than the socio-political-epidemiological dynamic I’ve laid out above – indeed, it has taken careful and time-consuming editing to articulate this perspective reasonably clearly. And as if that wasn’t complicated enough, the pandemic also started fracturing the neoliberal order itself, but I’ll leave that for a subsequent post…

                              #95778 Reply
                              AG

                                Just because it´s new: A regional German court has ruled

                                “Astrazeneca must release data on its Covid vaccine”

                                “The woman suffered a severe thrombosis after being vaccinated with “Vaxzevria””

                                And she went to court. In the report it says that the pharmaceutical information will be provided only to her.
                                That´s cryptic. Means an NDA? I wonder.

                                https://www-sueddeutsche-de.translate.goog/gesundheit/gericht-astrazeneca-covid-impfstoff-thrombose-daten-herausgeben-vaxzevria-1.6532367?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

                                I don’t know about AstraZ, but in Germany the company involved with the vaccine-parade (Biontech) – as usually the case – benefitted immensely from academic research on cancer cells paid by state subsidy and which was of paramount significance for the fact that Biontech’s particular vaccine was put out in such speed. However, Biontech has privatized the immense profits.

                                As had been demanded from the outset: every information ought to be made public.
                                Instead of individuals who suffered from a rare horrific effect having to go to court.

                                This is all totally insane.

                                And above all – reporters, journalists, who are the window for most people to what is happening in the courts, on company boards, in the government bodies, think this restrictive, top-down authoritarian behaviour is right and justified.

                                I remember a hotly debated argument with a childhood friend in 7th grade. The friend wanted to become a biochemist, and in fact that turned out to be the case some 10 years later. But already then this friend was defending patents while I was against them.

                                p.s. what about the Russian Sputnik vaccine? It was vilified in the West. Laughed at. When the Russians offered it basically free to the Ukrainian government the fascists there said no, “because Russians are poisoning us” (eventually paying insane prices for some British vaccine instead I think, after they had rejected China but had gotten no help from India – something like that. Sick, sick incompetence from Kiev’s side nobody talks about today.)

                                But what is the Covid story of RU with the benefit of hindsight???

                                #95784 Reply
                                AG

                                  Daily Berliner Zeitung with a comment looking back on attempted criticism during the pandemic in the light of the RKI-Files:

                                  “Reason of State: How politicians ignored scientists in the Corona crisis
                                  Many eyes are focused on certain RKI documents. The problem lies much deeper. This is shown by the way we have dealt with critical researchers over the last four years.”

                                  https://archive.is/FMGvF

                                  Another aspect that I personally found appalling then and even more now since I know who was involved:

                                  In the summer of 2020 a secret paper was leaked to the press known as the “scare-paper”.
                                  It showed an internal discussion/plan by the Ministry of the Interior of how to scare the population into obedience.

                                  One infamous idea was, I remember clearly since I read the pdf myself back then, to warn little children not to play outside with their friends on the playground because then they would get their grandmother killed with Corona.

                                  This was the way parents should talk to their children, the internal document suggested.

                                  Recently it has come to light that among the experts who made up this commission and came up with such brilliant ideas was the popular leftist sociologist Heinz Bude, until recently prestigious long-time chairholder at the University of Kassel.

                                  On a public panel in Austria a few months ago Bude openly admitted that they were “tinkering” with various ideas how one could best nudge people and instigate fear in their hearts to make them obedient to state control during the pandemic (but testing also grounds in general for future crises.)

                                  He had no problem with that. I think he thought it was fascinating, treating others like guinea-pigs.
                                  This guy taught sociology to students for decades and wrote quiet an amount of studies on various social subjects.

                                  In his student years he was part of a group of people occupying apartments in West-Berlin to protest real estate and capitalist ideology.

                                  It seems as if an entire generation of the left/green movement of the 1970s-80s in West-Germany who made careers in the system they originally despised consider themselves as Übermenschen today. Due to the fact that they first studied Marx closely and the worries of the world to eventually switch sides and become “realists”, they assume they are superior by intellect.

                                  The same sort of people is massacring what is left of left politics in the current government.

                                  It is no coincidence that Chancellor Scholz used to be a “hard-core” leftist student leader in the 1970s and today is probably someone who won´t listen to people who remind him of those very ideas, argueing that he knows that stuff better then his critics today. Eventually you just can´t talk to the guy. Worse than any king or Jesuit.

                                  Its breath-taking how all these matters have been unraveling in the past 4 years.

                                  #95789 Reply
                                  Clark

                                    “Reason of State: How politicians ignored scientists in the Corona crisis” (archive.is/FMGvF link in AG’s comment
                                    #95784 above) seems to me a strange and confused article. It makes some important valid points, and others that seem highly misleading. Some comments:

                                    – Para 2: “One lesson from the pandemic is to present well-founded criticism in the media even more aggressively and consistently in the future.”

                                    From a journalist in the corporate media, this seems self-serving. Judging from this article, Torsten Harmsen and the Berliner Zeitung have demonstrated insufficient competence to determine which criticisms are well-founded. Scientific criticism must be presented in the correct context, which is scientific debate among the relevant expert community.

                                    – Para 3: “one thing is clear: the lockdowns with school closings and strict contact and exit restrictions were not based on careful scientific considerations.”

                                    This is easy to say in hindsight but an unfair criticism of what was happening at the time, because the data necessary for “careful scientific considerations” could not possibly become available until later.

                                    – Para 5: “…the federal government generally surrounded itself with a narrow circle of advisors , including virologists, immunologists, epidemiologists and corona modelers.”

                                    That isn’t “narrow”; it’s the correct group of fields! Torsten Harmsen of the Berliner Zeitung doesn’t tell us which other fields he thinks should have been included.

                                    “One could formulate their main goal: virus elimination, whatever the cost!”

                                    Torsten Harmsen provides no citation for this from the RKI documents, so it appears to be his own allegation.

                                    “Politicians even abandoned their own guidelines from spring 2020. This was “Flatten the Curve”. The corona wave should be flattened in order to prevent the health system from being massively overloaded, measured in terms of the number of intensive care beds. At some point it was about generally avoiding infections.”

                                    No. “Generally avoiding infections” was the mechanism for “flattening the curve” in all the European and Western countries I am aware of, so “politicians even abandoned their own guidelines” seems to be another thing Harmsen simply made up.

                                    – Para 6: “The group of advisors also included advocates of the “Zero-Covid” strategy, who wanted to bring infections to zero through a Europe-wide lockdown – which did not happen. This idea was also extremely naive. Because in a pandemic with a new virus, an “infection” can at most be delayed, but never prevented. This was also shown by the development in Australia and New Zealand, where the number of infections rose rapidly from the end of 2021, even though people had previously isolated themselves – with dramatic economic consequences.”

                                    Grief; Harmsen is pretending to expertise he does not have, and writing in direct contradiction of facts to which he alludes! Australia and New Zealand succeeded in keeping infections and consequent illness and deaths very low – orders of magnitude lower than Germany. “The end of 2021” was when they lifted their restrictions – after vaccines had been deployed. “People had previously isolated themselves” far less than in Germany; Australian lockdowns had been brief and localised, New Zealand had had no restrictions at all except border quarantine, and as a consequence businesses and public events had remained open! Sorry, but Harmsen is promoting an inversion of reality here.

                                    – Para 8: “For months, for example, the World Health Organization (WHO) resisted the warnings of aerosol researchers that Corona was not a droplet infection, but an “aerogenic infection” that spreads widely via aerosols, namely in closed indoor spaces.”

                                    This is true and a very important point, but if it has any connection to the RKI documents and German government policies, Harmsen doesn’t mention it. At the time, I was arguing that as many activities as possible be moved outdoors.

                                    – Para 11: “Corona forms clusters in individual places but does not occur at all in others. The most serious outbreaks were concentrated in certain age groups and in places such as clinics, retirement and nursing homes.”

                                    This seems to be presenting one point but is in fact conflating two different things, the second of which is wrongly worded. Yes, covid is a “highly clustered” disease; in epidemiological terms it has a high value of k, and is often spread through “superspreader events”. This was seen clearly in Italy, where some towns had very high death rates while others had no infection at all, up to the point that lockdown arrested the spread. This is an important and under-reported fact.

                                    But it was clusters of deaths rather than infections that were “concentrated in certain age groups and in places such as clinics, retirement and nursing homes”. If the population of a region is carrying the virus, it’s impossible to keep it out of the region’s care homes, and due to the concentration of elderly people in them, that’s where the majority of the deaths will occur. The paragraph continues:

                                    “The group of authors led by Matthias Schrappe accused the RKI, among other things, of not having sought the expertise of specific experts in order to contain “hyper-clusters” in homes.”

                                    We’re not told what field Matthias Schrappe has experience in; possibly propaganda because this is a nonsensical reversal of causality, as if the virus were breaking out of the care homes and infecting the surrounding population! So how does he propose the virus was hopping from care home to care home?

                                    – Para 12: “Instead of concentrating on particularly vulnerable places and groups, politicians continued to rely on tough lockdown measures. According to the critics, this was also due to the Corona modeling. These are based on the misconception that “within a certain territorially defined area, the burden of disease is shared equally by everyone,” explained Jonathan Everts.”

                                    Ah, Torsten Harmsen takes aim at the corporate media’s favourite target, “corona modellers”. Of course models are based on the “misconception” assumption that the burden of “disease” infection will be shared equally by everyone in a given area, because it’s impossible to predict who will be a superspreader. It’s modelling, not prophecy! If you could predict who’d catch it, you could stop the pandemic! Arrgh! Torsten Harmsen is really annoying me now! And he then goes on:

                                    “In March 2020, up to ten million infected people and possibly hundreds of thousands of deaths were predicted for the first wave in Germany alone.”

                                    Well let’s check his numbers. Two paragraphs later he will, predictably, quote approval of John Ioannidis’ Infection Fatality Rate of 0.23%. This was robustly criticised within the epidemiological community at the time, and turned out to be less than half of the lowest national IFRs, and less than an eighth of some, but we’ll be generous and use his figure anyway. Germany has a population of about 84 million, 0.23% of which is about 193,000. So if the models were broadly consistent with Ioannidis, whose figures Harmsen approves, why the hell is he criticising them?

                                    – – – – – – – – –

                                    Sorry; this has again taken me hours. Harmsen’s getting paid for writing, whereas I’m not. Harmsen reaches a large audience, whereas I do not. Both of these facts are probably because Harmsen is a political propagandist, whereas I am not.

                                    #95790 Reply
                                    Clark

                                      AG, I strongly recommend you read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Harmsen is arguing for more political influence for the corporate media in the field of science. We know that’s a bad thing in the field of foreign policy. I’m all for holding governments to account, but the corporate media has disqualified itself for that duty.

                                      #95792 Reply
                                      ET

                                        Thanks Clark for your efforts summarizing. I gave up reading after the first part because it is the same old rehashed shit that we discussed ad-nauseum in multiple threads on covid.

                                        – Para 8: “For months, for example, the World Health Organization (WHO) resisted the warnings of aerosol researchers that Corona was not a droplet infection, but an “aerogenic infection” that spreads widely via aerosols, namely in closed indoor spaces.”

                                        Did it not occur to Harmsen that corona can be spread by both droplet and aerosolization? To infer it has to be one or the other is simply nonsense. The size of the water “particle” is determined by the person who sneezes, coughs, shouts, talks or spits not the virus. (assuming the virus can survive outside the host for any length of time).

                                        Sorry, AG, I won’t be reading through all the parts. I was lucky where I live, we had lockdown on an island for 3 months and when all infections were gone it was lifted entirely albeit with everyone who came to or left the island (and returned) having to isolate for 2 weeks. Whilst you were all locked up we went about life as normal. Lockdowns could have worked if they had been introduced early enough and were scrupulously maintained for the short period required.

                                        #95800 Reply
                                        Clark

                                          ET, thanks for the thanks. It is so much quicker and easier for Harmsen to muddle things together than it is for me to disentangle them afterwards.

                                          “Did it not occur to Harmsen that corona can be spread by both droplet and aerosolization?”

                                          It can of course be spread by both, but this criticism of Harmsen’s is valid. Remember all the silly political argument about the “correct” distance for social distancing? Should it be two metre, or was one metre enough? This was based on the WHO’s recommendations that stressed only the danger from larger droplets which fall relatively rapidly, and not the greater, more pervasive danger from aerosols which float in the air for long periods. It fell to the “Covid Is Airborne!” volunteer campaign to get the word out – such that all across Asia, shops started installing CO2 monitors prominently in their front windows, to advertise to potential customers how fresh they were keeping the internal air.

                                          I remember reading an article about this, but I’ve no recollection of where to find it. The WHO based their messaging on old research from a different context. Researchers and others tried to lobby them with more recent and more relevant aerosol findings, but the WHO was reluctant to update the messaging.

                                          “Lockdowns could have worked if they had been introduced early enough and were scrupulously maintained for the short period required.”

                                          Indeed; as demonstrated by several countries and various islands. But to do so, those governments had to break more rules of neoliberalism, e.g. the Chinese government set up outdoor distribution stalls administering regular gratis public food deliveries in Wuhan, and eliminated covid there in under six weeks. Meanwhile in England I spent more like six months under late, half-heartedly administered lockdowns, and still there were a quarter of a million deaths.

                                          #95807 Reply
                                          ET

                                            I didn’t express myself well. You have two avenues by which something happens and you want to try to prevent that something from happening. It is not necessarily unreasonable to address one avenue even if you know that that something will still happen via the other avenue, especially if that avenue you are attempting to address is relatively cost free in terms of resource. It won’t prevent all happenings but it may prevent some. Partially effective measures or possibly partially effective measures are better than no measures at all, assuming there are no significant side effects.
                                            Separation, isolation and scrupulous hygiene are all measures to protect against infectious disease since the beginning of time.

                                            #95808 Reply
                                            ET

                                              What I find most irritating from such commentary as this from Harmsen is the obvious lack of deeper thought. Everything is always an either/or thing, whereas generally in all aspects of medicine and treatments there is a spectrum. It’s rarely either you do ‘this’ or do ‘that’ and far more often you do ‘this, then that’ – depending on urgency, severity or side effect profile.

                                              In this case, yes aerosol spread is a, if not the more, significant vector but droplet spread did still occur.

                                              #95810 Reply
                                              Clark

                                                ET – “Everything is always an either/or thing…”

                                                This is precisely why I recommended Bad Science. Goldacre criticises science, or rather “science”, from all sectors – from quacks and hippies, through the education and cosmetics sectors, governments and academia, right up to massive Big Pharma corporations – the one common theme throughout the book being the mass media, which, as Goldacre repeatedly stresses, treats science as binary didactic truth statements from authority figures.

                                                I guess it just takes less time and mental effort to pick a side than to reason.

                                                #95820 Reply
                                                glenn_nl

                                                  Clark: Very interesting thread you’ve contributing heavily to here, and it’s appreciated.

                                                  C: “…such that all across Asia, shops started installing CO2 monitors prominently in their front windows…”

                                                  Not just Asia. I noticed a couple of years ago, as soon as we could travel again with reasonable confidence, that they were doing the same in Spain – at least in the larger supermarkets. Having just got back from there, I can say that they’re still doing it.

                                                  Incidentally, and somewhat off the point, another notable item in Spain, Portugal and France – they don’t have food-bank collection points after the check-out, nor do they have people begging outside the store. Nor charity stores proliferating in the town centres, nor a huge proportion of store fronts either boarded-up, or given over to mobile-phone sales/repair, betting shops or cheap booze outlets.

                                                  C: “I guess it just takes less time and mental effort to pick a side than to reason.”

                                                  Didn’t we have someone right here starting a thread with the very title “Pick a side” – as if the very fact of a novel virus creating a pandemic was – somehow – a matter of a “side” one had to choose?

                                                  #95822 Reply
                                                  Clark

                                                    Glenn_nl:

                                                    “Didn’t we have someone right here starting a thread with the very title “Pick a side”..?”

                                                    Indeed; Covid: pick a side, in which a commenter cum conspiracy theorist calling themself “J” attempted to start a flame war, and insisted on continually posting flames on their side of what almost every other contributor repeatedly tried to turn into a proper debate. J went off their own topic, broke moderation rules, cried censorship and attacked moderation, while never answering a single question; fantastic stuff. Excellent reply from Dredd.

                                                    #95979 Reply
                                                    ET

                                                      Here is an interesting take on heart disease and pandemics Has COVID set us up for a major heart disease epidemic? It’s happened before.
                                                      It’s not conclusive in any way. The upshot is that heart disease rates went up considerably after the 1918 pandemic and plateaued around the 1960’s. They argue that covid 19 may cause a similar (but more) increase in heart disease. I think there are many possible confounding factors some of which they detail but it’s not outlandish either. We don’t know enough about how biological factors such as viruses or bacteria may play a role in the pathogenisis of disease.

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