COVID-19 in 2022


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  • #87479 Reply
    Clark

    Half truths:

    It would be unfair were I not to state that at a deeper level I agree and sympathise with these… But now I can’t finish the sentence.

    What term should I use to label this disparate quasi-group, this grouping that is not a group, to enable discussion? They would like to be called ‘sceptics’, but each of them shows minimal scepticism about either their favoured hypotheses, nor those favoured by the others that I am grouping with them. Calling them ‘conspiracy theorists’ angers them. Calling them ‘contrarians’ would imply that there’s a unified narrative they’re contradicting. I’ll call them ‘conspiracy theorists’ because I personally find it most fitting, and…

    Conspiracy theorists, I apologise for the offence my use of the term provokes, but please bear with me for what follows will be supportive at least in part – hopefully more supportive than critical.

    But having struggled through the composition of this opening I find my inspiration depleted; hopefully I’ll write some more soon. For now I’ll just say that I regard your opposition to ‘the system’ as justified and, in the main, well motivated. Opposition is desperately needed. You didn’t contrive humanity’s dire predicament, which indeed results from the system you’re attempting to oppose. The question is, what sort of opposition can be effective?

    #87480 Reply
    Clark

    First, the conundrum.

    Conspiracy theory is reactive rather than proactive. It’s a reaction against the delusion, corruption, and dishonesty of the toxic system, and therefore a symptom of it. As such it is not separate from the toxic system, but part of it.

    The toxic system is old; indeed, ancient. As such, it has long since adapted to channel dissent in ways that bolster its own power and security.

    #87486 Reply
    Clark

    If anyone thinks or feels that they can help me with this, please do. I sometimes feel lonely, as if caught in crossfire.

    For instance, I regard covid as serious and the vaccines as reasonably effective, based on publicly available evidence that could not conceivably be faked.

    But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if in years to come, it emerged from a pharmaceutical company’s records that, for instance, they had a potentially sterilising vaccine that they never submitted for trial on a sample of the public, as doing so would jeopardise the profit streams from existing vaccines.

    And I recognise that any influential voice loudly making that claim at the present time would be derided in the mass media as promoting conspiracy theory.

    I hope someone can see why I feel lonely in this.

    #87487 Reply
    ET

    What do you mean by a “sterilising vaccine?” I’m going to assume you meant a vaccine that would have completely wiped out Sar-Cov-2 and returned us to a pre-covid world. How likely is that scenario? The four previously circulating coronaviruses in humans causing the “common cold” have been investigated for decades. The evidence appears to be that even if you have been previously infected by one of these coronaviruses you don’t develop long lasting immunity. People can become infected with the same strain multiple times in as little as 6 months apart. Fortunately they are fairly mild illnesses for most people. Sars-Cov-2 is with us forever now. It’s unlikely, in my opinion, there will be a vaccine in the forseeable future that wipes it out. Again, fortunately, it appears to be tending to a less virulant initial disease though I accept we don’t know enough about long term outcomes. Having said that, I note the rise in covid hospital admissions in the UK and elsewhere currently. Please also look at the chart on that page “Patients admitted to hospital by age” to see the numbers of admissions overall in the 18-64 age group.

    I came across this Trial of potential universal flu vaccine opens at NIH Clinical Center today.

    “Our study will examine the safety of BPL-1357 and also will allow us to assess the importance of mucosal immunity against flu and whether a strategy of inducing both the cellular and antibody arms of the immune system can provide broader protection against the ever-changing influenza virus,”

    So, mucosal immunmity? Do they think from pre-clinical trials on mice that they can provoke secretory IgA or do the mean something diferent? I can’t make out what they mean exactly though it may be promising. Perhaps they have been listening to you John 😀

    On your conspiracy theory conjecture Clark. It’s good that people begin to question narratives of anything no matter how they arrive at that point. Theories, conspiracy or otherwise still must have a sound foundation, there must be independently verifiable facts on which to base them. Proactive scepticism applies equally to the “official” narrative as it does to any and all other narratives. Any outlet can use the same propagandising techniques.

    #87490 Reply
    Clark

    ET, yes, I should have been clearer.

    My example was very much a “for instance”. Neglecting better alternatives, hiding harms, concealing data, manipulating the publishing environment; these are very much the kind of things that pharmaceutical companies do. They do them all the time and have done them over and over again. Some instances get exposed; after a product has been widely administered to the public for considerable time, public trials and surveillance data become available, drug companies get challenged, and it can lead to court cases in which companies are ordered to release their data and internal communications. But there is every reason to suspect that we get to see only the tip of the iceberg. Governments and government regulators are far too soft on the companies.

    What they don’t do is conspire with government to decimate their own consumer base. Thinking that way is conspiracy theory; it betrays a fundamental political naivety about drug companies’ motives.

    Yes, I used “sterilising vaccines” to mean vaccines that virtually eliminate noticeable infection and onward transmission; the sort of vaccines such as MMR that really can achieve herd immunity. I thought that “sterilising vaccines” was the correct medical term for these; I thought I’d encountered it in scientific / medical literature, but during the pandemic I have been reading quite widely outside my usual fields and I may have misremembered what sort of publication I read it in.

    And no, considering the history of attempts to make vaccines against the common cold viruses, and what little I have read of attempted veterinary vaccines against coronaviruses, I don’t consider such vaccines likely. But that of course is a reason that in the unlikely event of a pharmaceutical company stumbling upon such a possibility, they’d feel quite confident about not pursuing it. Remember the early hostility that was projected towards antibiotic treatment of stomach ulcers caused by helico pylori. I note also that that early hostility has been sanitised from Wikipedia, but I remember it described in an early BBC Horizon documentary that is now all but forgotten.

    See, the conspiracy theorists do have a very serious point; in his first comment, John mentioned “the long history of crime and abuse in medicine”. But what conspiracy theory displaces, obscures and distracts from is a mature political consideration of motivation in a capitalist system, as if the profit motive had no systematically corrupting effects and therefore deleterious results could only be the result of a secret conspiracy of well-placed, supremely powerful, and utterly evil madmen.

    The reality is actually far more insidious. A handful of powerful psychopaths could be exposed, punished and replaced, and all would be well. And this seems to be the Great Hope of the conspiracy theorists; “just believe us and it can all be fixed easily”, ie. without systemic, political changes. But this in itself helps explain why conspiracy theory is so often promoted by those who lean towards the right of the political spectrum.

    John?
    – – – – – – – – – – –

    ET, thanks for the link to the “Patients admitted to hospital, by age” chart. It shows that, since the start of the pandemic, over 300,000 people under the age of 65 have been admitted to hospital for covid. That’s over 41% of total admissions were under 65 years old!

    Those who have unquestioningly accepted the minimisation and trivialisation narratives, which only ever compare percentage rates within various defined age ranges, will find that hard to believe.

    #87491 Reply
    ET

    “sterilizing immunity ” I think is the term. “Sterilising vaccine” has an unfortunate connotation with one of the falsehoods levelled at the covid vaccines (and other vaccines) causing infertility.

    John and his Canadian friends appear to want to define covid vaccine benefit solely in terms of sterilising immunity and disregard “effective imunity” (ie. reducing disease severity) and unless they achieve sterilising immunity they are useless. Most current vaccines do not achieve sterilising immunity but are nonetheless highly effective.

    For anyone interested enough and with time to read through it, this Nature article is more than enough knowledge for most:
    A guide to vaccinology: from basic principles to new developments .

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by degmod.
    #87493 Reply
    Clark

    ET, thanks. I had misremembered the term. Yes, I see your point about the false scare stories of vaccines causing infertility; hadn’t occurred to me, so thanks for the correction, and I’ll buy you a pint next time I see you down the system sty 😀

    Funnily enough, I part struggled, part scanned and part read through the article you linked a few days ago; I can’t remember where I’d found it linked from. Much of it is well beyond my level of background knowledge, which I’d need in order to effectively understand it, but many other parts I found very interesting.

    I wonder what John would make of an article like that? If he’d have returned I’d have asked him, and still would.

    #87494 Reply
    Clark

    “…and part read through the article you linked a few days ago”

    Sorry, that was ambiguous. I meant that a few days ago, I read through the Nature article “A guide to vaccinology: from basic principles to new developments” that you linked to today.

    #87508 Reply
    ET

    Grist to your mill John. CM tweeted part of an interview from Prof.Jeffery Sachs stating that it took him aback. In the presented clip Prof.Sachs stated:

    “I chaired the commission for the Lancet for 2 years on Covid. I’m pretty convinced it came out of a US lab of biotechnology […] We don’t know for sure but there is enough evidence. [However] it’s not being investigated, not in the US, not anywhere.”

    The full 2 Hr and 21 min video from which that clip is taken is here. The extract starts at 12:24. It’s a question and answer session and he speaks a number of times, not all about covid. You can scrub through the video to find his other answers. He speaks in English but many of the questions are in Spanish.

    Here is another interview where he further discusses the possible lab leak origin (approx 25 mins long). I wonder if part of the future of the pandemic narrative involves more intense scrutiny of this issue. Prof. Sachs is an economist, not a virologist, but nonetheless his chairing of the Lancet commission must have given him some valuable insight.

    #87523 Reply
    Clark

    John???

    Come on man; ET has posted on the very topic you raised, a possibly synthetic origin for SARS-CoV-2. Having diverted my thread onto your own topics, the least you could do is follow up on the discussion you provoked.

    #87549 Reply
    ET

    Back when we were in the beginning of the pandemic people were arguing that the excess deaths were caused by lack of care, lack of access to emergency services etc. I argued that, whilst undoubedly some deaths did occur because of this, it would take time for excess deaths to begin to show up due to missed diagnoses, reduced surgical activity, missed treatment cycles and so on. I argued that it would take time for, say, missed cancer diagnoses to begin to show in the deaths statistics.
    Excess deaths in England and Wales compared to the 5-year average (which includes 2021) are up over 16%. Covid-related deaths account for approx 10% of those (excess deaths). Take a look at table 1 in the following ONS link.

    #87552 Reply
    Clark

    The excess deaths are a result of the pandemic, which impacts upon society. The trivialisers have consistently and repeatedly stressed the effects upon individuals, to the exclusion of its effects upon society as a whole.

    That’s like looking at an animal badly injured by a shotgun blast, picking out a pellet or two and saying “these pellets are tiny, and most barely penetrate the hide. They couldn’t hurt anything; the animal must be fine. Shotguns cannot be dangerous, so any restrictions must be government hysteria to curtail our civil liberties”.

    #87553 Reply
    ET

    I agree broadly with you Clark. Nonetheless, that’s a worrying statistic and it behoves Government and the health care authorities to figure out what the cause/causes of those deaths is/are if they can’t be attributed to covid. It’s not just in the UK.

    https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/cumulative-excess-mortality-p-scores-projected-baseline?tab=chart&country=MEX~USA~ISR~GBR~SWE~ESP~ITA~IRL~FRA~DEU~DNK

    #87575 Reply
    Clark

    ET, the thing that immediately strikes me from your link is that countries that have done worse at controlling covid also have the worst excess deaths.

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