SARS cov2 and Covid 19


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  • #61809 Reply
    SA

    In the discussion in the main webpage on Covid-19 and fearmongering, there was a discussion started by someone calling him (her) self John Piliger about an interview with Mike Yeadon. This prompted a discussion and I responded in that thread but would like to elaborate a bit more here.

    Mike Yeadon’s basic hypothesis is that SAGE got it all wrong, because there is an absence of immunologists and virologists and a preponderance of mathematical modelers and herd psychologists (sorry my term) in SAGE. This has led to a rather skewed discussion and recommendations. I basically agree with this, having discussed the folly of relying on mathematical modelling as a main tool to combat a new pandemic, rather than on reflex applying traditionally tried and tested, pre-prepared plans for dealing with the pandemic. The aim would have been to reduce transmission to near zero, something achieved by China, New Zealand and Australia and others. This would have been a single bite at the cherry as wider transmission make any measures more difficult to implement. Just to recap: an early use of PPI amongst frontline workers, widespread testing and tracking followed by effective supervised isolation was what was needed. The first lockdown was merely effective at ‘flattening the curve’ to buy time, but no more than that, and the time bought has been squandered; not entirely, because the NHS has become more stream lined to deal with cases and some treatments and better management is leading to improved survival. I maintain that it is now too late to apply lockdown, unless it is really draconian, which would be unacceptable- so it is too late to apply another lockdown. Other measures need to be taken. And this highlights the on the hoof nature of the decision making in this pandemic, that our government and its advisers have taken. A detailed long term plan with targets and regular reviews was needed, and strong involvement by all parties and local councils and public health. Instead there was a centralised, inefficient and privatised response.

    To return to Mike Yeadon. Of course he has a point but there are also some problems with what he says. He says that SAGE made two errors.

    • Error 1: Assuming that 100% of the population was susceptible to the virus and that no pre-existing immunity existed.
    • Error 2: The belief that the percentage of the population that has been infected can be determined by surveying what fraction of the population has antibodies.

    He then analyses these. He states that the first error assumes that because this is a new virus

    It’s ridiculous because while SARS-CoV-2 is indeed novel, coronaviruses are not. There’s no such thing as an ‘ancestor-less virus’. You will recall at least two, then-novel coronaviruses in the recent past: SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012 (Zhu et al, 2020). While they didn’t spread worldwide, they are very similar, both at a sequence level and at a structural level, to SARS-CoV-2.
    But there’s much more than these infamous coronaviruses. For reasons I don’t understand, given the significance of what I’m about to tell you, none of the so-called medical correspondents and science journalists on radio and TV have ever (as far as I know) spoken of the four, endemic, common-cold inducing coronaviruses. It’s well understood by clinicians and scientists who’ve spent any time reading the scientific literature that at least four coronaviruses circulate freely in UK and elsewhere where they’ve been studied. They have names: OC43, HKU1, 229E and NL63 (Zhu et al, 2020). .

    There is the assumption therefore that there is some background immunity to SARS Cov2 because of some similarities to other coronaviruses. And even if this cannot be shown by cross reacting antibodies, Yeadon states that this may be due to innate immunity and cross reacting memory T cells and that this has been shown for other viruses. In the case of corona viruses, this cross reactivity may be due to the similarities in the spike protein between the different viruses.

    There is some evidence for this cross reactivity in antibody testing as

    Sequence similarities of the common viral proteins between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV
    or LPH-CoV (229E, NL63, OC43 or HKU1). The polyprotein 1AB, and spike (S), membrane
    (M), envelop (E) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins

    But the problem arises with inconsistencies with therefore arguing about the rates of antibody positivity, reported by the NHS/Imperial College study of 7%, and that of Ioannides in Santa Barbara of more like 30%. If you argue that one is an underestimate and the other is an overestimate then you will need to explain why. Are there methodological errors? Was the Ioannides test less specific, the NHS less sensitive, or perhaps less cross reacting, or was it a genuine difference in population exposure? If the antibody test is unreliable, why do we believe one set of figures and not the other? Yeadon makes no such attempt at explaining, he merely states that he thinks the NHS figure is wrong. When two sets of studies give different results it is important to know why, rather than to assume that one is right and the other wrong as it suits you.

    To turn to the second supposed error by SAGE. Yeadon produces two charts: on the left is one reflecting what SAGE believes that 7% of population is infested and 93% susceptible. On the right is another chart with figures postulated by Mike Yeadon as follows:

    • 30 percent prior immunity (assumed)
    • As many as 32% infected (presumably from Dr. Ioannides’ figures)
    • Only 28% susceptible.

    From these figures Mike Yeadon states that he therefore thinks the pandemic is virtually over in the UK and is now just doing its rounds about the country, and there shall be no second wave.

    Some of this may be true but we would need more robust reasons to believe this, hard figures, especially about this 30% and 32%. We need to know if there are genuine geographic and ethnic and other genetic susceptibility and many other factors. Measurable antibody T cell and antibody responses may or may not be different or may or may not be protective.

    In fact there may be other observational data to suggest that there may be geographic and environmental and ethnic factors that may lead to variability. The pandemic seems to have hit hardest in Europe and North and South America, but much less so in Asia and perhaps also Africa, although the data there may be more difficult to get. Some countries have had very few cases and deaths, notable amongst them are Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand. I do not have information as to whether these countries applied particularly stringent rules, I could be advised. On the other hand BAME communities seem to suffer more from the burden of the disease in the West, suggesting that the difference is not genetic and that other factors may come into play. Could it perhaps be that there is more prevalent cross immunity with other corona viruses in Asian countries but not in Asian communities in the West where exposure to some of these viruses is less common? I have no idea but this could be looked at.

    In conclusion, I agree that the constitution of SAGE should be looked at to be more inclusive, I also think that the public health aspects should be left to experts and not politicians, but I do not believe that this pandemic is over. Only time will tell.

    #61815 Reply
    Clark

    Mike Yeadon:

    “For reasons I don’t understand, given the significance of what I’m about to tell you, none of the so-called medical correspondents and science journalists on radio and TV have ever (as far as I know) spoken of the four, endemic, common-cold inducing coronaviruses.”

    See? Science is really a conspiracy. Which is exactly the perspective that James Delingpole has been pushing trying to wake us up about for decades regarding the icecaps melting away great Global Warming Swindle.

    #61818 Reply
    SA

    Clark
    I wrote the above with no knowledge of Delingpole. I am glad that at least I was not ‘biased’ when I wrote what I wrote.

    #61845 Reply
    Steph

    SA – I am glad that you were not biased too! It is good to try and look at what people have to say objectively. Only in that way do we move forward. There is such a widespread tendancy to tenaciously hang on to one’s own viewpoint and simply discount any differing perspective by discrediting the proponent in some way. ‘Ah well, he’s spoken on RT’. ‘Yes, but he spoke in favour of the IRA’. ‘But his reasearch was funded by a tobacco corporation’ And on and on. No matter how tenous the link, these things seem to be quite sufficient reason to simply discount whatever is being said. I’ve seen it over and over again.
    Thank you for your post re Mike Yeadon. As you say, quite a short time will tell I think.

    #61854 Reply
    Clark

    It’s clearly Yeadon who’s biased, or he’d publish in the scientific literature as scientists should rather than hinting directly to the public that science is a conspiracy. Delingpole has for decades consistently denigrated climate science as a conspiracy, so it’s unsurprising that he offered Yeadon some publicity. They appear to be collaborating in prioritising profit above human and ecological welfare by promoting public distrust of science. Both have made a lot of money from the current commercial system.

    Publishing in the scientific literature and forums exposes propositions to expert scrutiny. Publishing directly to the public influences public opinion and behaviour without expert scrutiny. As such, it is a form of propaganda. Hinting that science is a conspiracy is an effective cover story for not publishing in the scientific domain.

    Is this what you’re advocating Steph? Do you wish the public to be influenced by certain highly specialised arguments, insulated from the appropriate context which would provide equally technical scrutiny? If so, why?

    #61855 Reply
    Clark

    Did the government assemble the SAGE committee? I could be suspicious of government motives, in that mathematical modellers are far more easily dismissed and mathematical models far more vulnerable to denigration than a board of epidemiologists, virologists and immunologists would be.

    #61856 Reply
    Clark

    Steph, my prediction is that you would simply ignore my question at 13:27 above if you could. However, I hope this prediction might change that.

    #61857 Reply
    SA

    I understand both stances in a way. But the answer to Steph is that the forum chosen and the company kept are important when you look at the message, but I agree that to counteract these often propagandistic and self advancing individuals it is also important to refute their insidious methods. In fact your mention of RT has reminded me of why I now do not get as much news from there as I used to. RT is splendid in reporting from the point of view of Russia and in certain other political reporting. But they also do like to gloat over difficulties in the west, not unlike what the BBC does here. The answer is to be selective in what information you get from which site.
    There are a number of scientists who have great achievements in one field who go rogue and pontificate in other fields, often leading others astray. A case in point is the discoverer of the PCR who won a Nobel science prize but then turned climate and HIV skeptic, using his previous fame and knowledge to mislead others.

    #61859 Reply
    Steph

    It is not what I’m ‘advocating’ at all and I rather resent that remark. I am merely suggesting that, to use this as a specific instance, just because it is Delingpole that has seized an opportunity to publisize a viewpoint that helps support his own agenda, does not automatically mean that Mike Yeadon is wrong. I would imagine that Mike Yeadon is glad of any opportunity he can get to broadcast his beliefs to a wider audience. He’s certainly not going to get that opportunity in msm is he?
    If I do not reply to something it is because I don’t have time. I only occasionally comment, and that is because I don’t really have much time to idle away in what is, after all, a rather fruitless hobby! I like to read Craig’s blogs and the comments but it is not really my life’s work!

    #61860 Reply
    Steph

    SA – Indeed, always listen to the message not the messenger.

    #61869 Reply
    Clark

    “I would imagine that Mike Yeadon is glad of any opportunity he can get to broadcast his beliefs to a wider audience.”

    Why? If he’s interested in science and determining facts, he would do much better publishing in the scientific domain, where people with appropriate expertise and many years experience congregate precisely to discuss such matters, to further refine their own and each other’s understanding.

    If, however, Yeadon’s concern is for maximising profit, he may wish to influence public attitudes against social restrictions, in which case it may be his intention that the public reach a particular conclusion by not fully understanding.

    – “He’s certainly not going to get that opportunity in msm is he?”

    Delingpole is “MSM”, which properly should be called the corporate media; he’s a regular columnist for the Telegraph. The corporate media is primarily funded by selling audiences to advertisers, so of course it is dedicated to maximising profits. And indeed, the corporate media has been far more critical of social restrictions than is the epidemiological community.

    #61870 Reply
    Clark

    “It is not what I’m ‘advocating’ at all and I rather resent that remark”

    And what I rather resent is that you repeatedly throw your ill-informed two-penneth in, accuse me and others of bias, and then clear off. That’s not the way it’s done in scientific matters.

    SARS-CoV-2 is showing many signs of being an extremely serious virus which leaves devastating long term damage upon those infected, yet your arguments are always for letting it run riot through the population of which I and those I love are members.

    The following translated quotes are from Étienne Decroly, Director of research at CNRS in the Architecture and Functions of Biological Macromolecules Laboratory (CNRS / Aix-Marseille University), member of the French Society of Virology. CNRS is the largest fundamental science institute in Europe:

    “It was discovered that the gene encoding the Spike protein contains four insertions of short sequences which are not found in the human CoVs closest genetically. These insertions probably confer remarkable properties on the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Structural studies indicate that the first three insertions are localized to exposed domains of the S protein and therefore probably play a role in the escape of the virus to the host immune system.”

    See that? The virus can infect the human immune system. That’s what HIV does. Airborne AIDS anyone? Encourage transmission of it?

    “The fourth insertion is more recent and reveals a site sensitive to furins, protease enzymes produced by the host’s cells. It is now clearly demonstrated that the cleavage of Spike by furins induces a change of conformation favoring the recognition of the cellular receptor ACE2.”

    ie. it has a feature that encourages human cells to infect themselves with it, via the ACE2 receptor which is present in organs all over the body, not just the respiratory system. This thing can infect everything from your kidneys to your brain.

    #61873 Reply
    SA

    Clark
    There are a couple of expressions in the statement from Etienne Declory which are a bit strange. This may be due to translation. Could you please post a link?

    #61877 Reply
    Steph

    Clark
    ‘And what I rather resent is that you repeatedly throw your ill-informed two-penneth in, accuse me and others of bias, and then clear off. That’s not the way it’s done in scientific matters.’

    Firstly, this is a forum open for general comments. It is not a specific platform for scientists. Or a specific platform for your own opinion.

    Secondly, your posts re Mike Yeadon have yet to demonstrate that what he asserts is untrue, only that you personally view him as a profiteering charlatan. He claims that what he is saying is ‘basic textbook’ stuff. As just one instance, by no means the only one, he says that there are other elements to the immune system which fight off viruses before antibodies are created and that therefore testing for the presence of antibodies is not particularly helpful in determining whether a person has or has not already had the disease. Thus many more than known may have been infected. Is that wrong? I don’t know, I’m a garden designer, my knowledge of viruses extends as far as verticillium wilt. But you have yet to explain why it, or any of the other assertions he makes, is incorrect, you’ve only said that he is an attention-seeking prat. That’s hardly very ‘scientific’ either. I have not accused anyone of bias, I have no idea why you say that. I have simply highlighted the Mike Yeadon interview, and expressed the opinion that very often people dismiss contrary arguments with nothing more than character assignation.
    I’m sorry if I annoy you, but perhaps you should ask yourself why you spend so much time in an activity which makes you so cross with other people, it can’t be good for you.

    #61878 Reply
    SA

    The false positive rate for PVR for SARS cov2 is not known. A recent article in the BMJ
    addresses this issue and allows an interactive calculation on assumed results according to the prevalence of the infection. The problem is that in low prevalence areas, a specificity of the PCR of 99%, although it sounds small could lead to a large error in estimation of positive cases and a poor predictive value for negative cases. Although no official figures for the specificity of the PCR in field setting are available, some indirect deductions can be made. In China, after a small outbreak of the virus in Qingdao, the authorities tested the whole population of the town, 10.2 million people, and found no positive results.
    Another way of inferring the specificity of the testing in the field can be deduced from daily published figures, for example from this website, World meters

    I extracted the figures from this website of countries with less than 5000 reported cases, and with a population of over 3 million and with data available of total number of tests performed.
    There were 17 countries that fell into this group:
    World Country Cases Tests Pos/test FP1% FP 0.1% FP0.01%
    207 Laos 24 65,305 3.2 -6 653 65 6
    188 Cambodia 291 180,378 0.00160 1,804 180 18
    187 Mongolia 340 88,230 0.00380 823 82 8
    177 Taiwan 553 101,218 0.00540 1,012 100 10
    176 Burundi 560 49,642 0.01120 496 49 5
    174 PNG 589 29,254 0.02010 293 29 3
    165 Vietnam 1,177 1,246,480 0.00094 1,246 125 13
    164 Niger 1,219 37,027 0.03290 370 37 4
    163 Liberia 1,426 30,332 0.04700 303 30 3
    160 NZ 1,950 1,090,702 0.00179 10,907 1,091 109
    158 Togo 2,296 117,117 0.01960 1,171 117 12
    154 Benin 2,643 238,105 0.01110 2,381 238 24
    153 S.Sudan 2,903 12,044 0.24103 102 10 1
    152 Uruguay 3,044 314,820 0.00966 3,148 315 32
    150 Mali 3,537 73,365 0.04820 734 73 7
    147 Thai 3,775 977,854 0.00386 9,778 977 97
    138 CAR 4,863 32,711 0.14866 327 33 3

    Number on left is world rating total cases, next column name of country, total number of cases, total number of tests performed, percentage positive tests/test performed, Exp 1%= expected number of false positive tests at 99% specificity, Exp. 0.1%=expected number of false tests if 99.9% specificity and exp 0.01%= expected false positives if specificity 99.99%.
    The sample was further reduced to countries with less than 1% positive cases/ test performed. The purpose was to look at the problem of false positives in the context of low incidence:
    Country Cases Pos/tested 1%FP 0.1%FP 0.01%FP
    Cambodia 291 0.16% 1804 180 18
    Taiwan 553 0.38% 1012 101 10
    Vietnam 1177 0.09% 1246 125 13
    New Zealand 1950 0.18% 10907 1090 109
    Uruguay 3044 0.97% 3148 315 32
    Thailand 3775 0.39% 9778 978 98

    In all 6 countries the number of false positives would exceed the number of observed cases, sometimes as in the case of New Zealand of x5 and in Thailand by x3 If the FP rate was 1%. The numbers of possible false positives still remain a high proportion of cases at 99.9% specificity also in the case of these two countries. It is obviously not possible to determine the exact figure for specificity, and in turn, the likelihood of false positives from these figures, but it would be a fair assumption that the figure lies more in the region between 0.1% and 0.01% rather than 1%.

    #61879 Reply
    SA

    Sorry table garbled.

    #61880 Reply
    SA

    Steph
    Not wishing to speak for Clarks, but what I understand from what he says, is that both the choice of forum, to expound scientific theories, and his manner, are not appropriate to someone addressing a scientific question. He rubbishes others and so others feel free to rubbish him.
    He is also selective: Why is Ioannides antibody test so marvelous and accurate, whilst that of the NHS so insenitive? Why on the one hand say that antibody tests are not reliable as a test of immunity, but then relies on only one set of figures. This is just one of internal inconsistencies he makes. He also proposes a theory, that about 30% of people have an innate immunity to the virus, purely by extrapolation of unconnected findings, all coated with a sheen of plausibility. Unfortunately he targets people like you (no offence to you) who seek wider knowledge and want to explore alternatives, but without the necessary knowledge to understand his methods and errors. This type of scientist can be dangerous for exactly this reason.

    #61881 Reply
    Clark
    #61882 Reply
    Steph

    SA – Thank you for your post. Are antibody tests a reliable indicator of previous infection or not? Is the statement ‘other elements of the immune sytem which do not produce antibodies may fight off a virus’ correct or incorrect? etc etc?
    I accept what you are saying about those such as myself having insufficient knowledge to ascertain the veracity of any given statement, but in my own particular case I am not concerned if Yeadon, or anybody else, is being selective. I am not holding him up as the definitive authority, only as a voice. The only thing I am interested in is are his particular ‘selections’ correct according to the known and accepted ‘text book’ definitions or not?
    Obviously Yeadon is an admirer of Iaonnidis, as am I, I have to say, although I fully accept that my opinion is entirely subjective, based upon nothing but an intuitive feeling that he is an honest and decent person. Most unscientific I know but, as a non-specialist, how could it be otherwise? Now, Iaonnidis plods patiently on with his work aggregating the work of many other scientists and researchers, regularly releasing his findings. Here is, I believe, the latest.
    https://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.20.265892.pdf
    As far as I am able to see, much of his conclusions concur with some of Yeadons own, presumeably that is why Yeadon quotes him. He finds that fatality rates vary hugely between populations and that therefore an overall rate is very misleading. If an overall rate must be given, then it appears that it is actually very low. Please read the paper and tell me what is wrong with it. Perhaps you feel Iaonnidis is being selective too, but then maybe the NHS data is also selective! How can you tell!

    #61883 Reply
    Clark

    Steph, science is about evidence and testing of theory. Do you propose that Yeadon’s theory be tested by letting SARS-CoV-2 infect the general population without restriction? Because as a member of that population, I have major ethical objections to that.

    You are making me angry. I am not your lab rat.

    #61884 Reply
    Clark

    “Most unscientific I know but, as a non-specialist, how could it be otherwise?”

    By inspecting evidence.

    If Yeadon were right, infection numbers and mortality could not be rising rapidly now, but they are. There are dozens of examples; look at all the US states that “opened up” only to lock down again shortly thereafter. Wherever social restrictions have been lifted too much, infections have begun to increase.

    “my opinion is entirely subjective, based upon nothing but an intuitive feeling that he (Ioannidis) is an honest and decent person”

    In practical terms it makes no difference whether some theory is an honest mistake or a malicious lie. But if someone bypasses the scientific forums and presents directly to the public – especially someone like Yeadon, who has worked among scientists for years and must have seen many scientific misapprehensions corrected during scientific discussion – it’s a fair sign that they’re insulating their assertions from critical scrutiny.

    Anyone can reason scientifically. You see a coffee flask but you’re not sure how much coffee is in it, so you pick it up and shake it a bit to find out – that’s an experiment. We all do experiments every day.

    How long have you been an “admirer of Ioannidis”? I’d never heard of him before SARS-CoV-2. Now, I wouldn’t be able to miss him. That suggests a massive increase in media exposure. That in turn adds weight to my theory that the major motivator of the media is to promote the making of profit.

    Media Lens

    #61885 Reply
    Steph

    I too had not heard of Iaonnidis before covid-19, but then unlike you apparently, I am not involved with the scientific community so why would I have? According to wiki ‘He graduated in the top rank of his class at the University of Athens Medical School, then attended Harvard University for his medical residency in internal medicine. He did a fellowship at Tufts University for infectious disease.’ and ‘Ioannidis’ 2005 paper “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”[8] is the most downloaded paper in the Public Library of Science’ and so I’m rather surprised he has not come to your attention before. But let it pass, let it pass.
    No I don’t ‘propose that Yeadon’s theory be tested by letting SARS-CoV-2 infect the general population without restriction’. Why do you keep making these ridiculous statements? I am asking whether what he is saying is correct. I’m not asking what his motive for saying them is. Neither am I asking to be told to ‘move on’ because my opinion and/or is worthless because I am not a scientist and cannot devote my life to posting comments on this website.
    There, now I am pissed off too, and where precisely has that got us?

    #61886 Reply
    Steph

    Also on wiki….so where were you?

    Press coverage

    In 2010, The Atlantic wrote a lengthy piece on Ioannidis, as a part of a special edition about “Brave Thinkers”.[42][43]

    In 2014, The Economist wrote a shorter piece about the foundation, by Ioannidis and Steven Goodman, of the Meta-Research Innovation Centre at Stanford.[44]

    In 2015, he was profiled in the BMJ and described as “the scourge of sloppy science”.[45]

    #61887 Reply
    SA

    Steph

    ” Are antibody tests a reliable indicator of previous infection or not? Is the statement ‘other elements of the immune system which do not produce antibodies may fight off a virus’ correct or incorrect? etc etc?”

    First. The antibodies: they can be reliable in some diseases such as for example HIV and others as an indicator of a past or ongoing infection but they have to be worked out for each infectious agent, In the case of SARS-cov2 this has not been worked out fully as far as I know and it is ongoing work. The other problem is that you can develop antibodies but they can also fade away with time, and the time interval can be variable. It is also true that for viruses there is another measure for immunity and these are called T cells. They are lymphocytes that are primed to kill cells infected with viruses, for example. You cam also look for these but this is not as easy as looking for antibodies. In addition there are also what is called ‘natural killer cells’ that do not need priming by previous exposure but act against antigens commonly found in some bacteria and viruses, or activated through non specific immune interactions.
    What Yeadon also discusses is cross reacting antibodies (and also T cells). These are antibodies that are not found in those exposed to SARS cov2 but who has been exposed to other corona viruses. There are 4 known corona viruses that cause the common cold (amongst other viruses). Because they are related they may have some antigens in common, but quite often you can account for these by designing the tests to be more specific, which is one of the problems we started with.
    Where Yeadon fails to convince, in my view, is that he claims that there is sufficient evidence that these antibodies and T cell responses are present in the population in sufficient numbers, he quotes a figure of around 30%, but really without evidence, It is as if he proposes a hypothesis, but without any evidence, then reaches a conclusion.
    As to Ioannidis, he is a true scientist with many achievements. He has taken the view, with some evidence, that because the IFR is low (he says about 0.2%) and because in studies performed by him and others there is a high proportion of people already exposed, because antibody tests show they do, then about 30% are immune and that the next wave will not be very bad. The problem as discussed above is how much do we depend on the accuracy of the tests, and also we still don’t really know whether the presence of the antibodies translates to protection from infection, or how long they last, hence the doubts cast on his recent work. Also his study recruited through Facebook ads, which means that the subjects were self selected. Hope that answers some of your questions.

    #61888 Reply
    SA

    Clark
    There is no need to be angry. The big problem nowadays is polarization of views and division amongst people. I think Steph came here to look for information and has an open mind. The anger should rightly be directed at people like Yeadon and others who make sweeping statements in the manner he has, and who have some plausibility. Let us not put Steph off from visiting and asking questions.

    #61890 Reply
    Steph

    SA. Thank you for taking the trouble to respond so usefully, and for pouring some soothing balm upon a what had sunk into a rather silly discussion!
    I understand exactly what you are saying about the dependence upon an unproven theory. This seems to be where we are at though, to some extent. But that Iaonnidis paper to which I linked bases its argument on many studies, over 60 I think, and is at pains to explain some of the problems and reasons for inclusion. This is, of course, Iaonnidis’ forte and why I like to hear what he has to say. He does go to some lengths to highlight the wide discrepencies in infection rates between different populations, and makes some suggestions (note suggestions not assertions!) as to why that may be the case. I don’t think that Yeadon, whatever his motives might be, is wholly incorrect to use Iaonnidis to further his argument.
    Thanks again!

    #61895 Reply
    SA

    Not at all. I agree Ioannidis just advises caution and does state that the situation is very heterogeous and that what may apply in one place does not in others.

    #61903 Reply
    Clark

    My point is that we don’t know what effects this virus has. We can’t know that until enough time has passed for effects to be observed. For instance, human papillomaviruses cause warts. This was known for a long time before it was realised that they also cause cervical cancer, much longer after infection. Various viruses are implicated in causing various cancers long after infection.

    Some experts are saying that infection with SARS-CoV-2 ages the immune system by ten years. Some studies have indicated that infection with SARS-CoV-2 decreases IQ by 8% on average. One small study of 100 people who had been infected found that 78 had heart damage, including 12 of 18 whose infection had been entirely symptomless. We have had fit people in their prime, athletes, who have dropped dead from heart attacks months after recovering from covid-19. Another study found that infection decreased sperm count by 50%. This is just a selection, and I’m not saying they are all accurate; I’m saying we should minimise the spread while we discover what the hell we’re dealing with. SARS-CoV-2 can infect almost every cell type in the human body, and it appears specifically adapted to humans, as if produced in human cell cultures in a lab.

    Yet all we hear from the anti-lockdown crowd is “IFR, IFR, IFR”, and attempts to minimise it.

    #61904 Reply
    Clark

    Something that’s missing from Ioannidis’ IFR paper is the excess death figures, ie. the rise above the average over five years or so. That’s a pretty bad omission, because covid-19 deaths are tallied differently by different health authorities in different countries.

    There’s a lot of talk from the anti-lockdown crowd about tests and their supposed inaccuracy, yet the annual flu mortality figures have usually been compiled by tallying clinical diagnoses and adjusting by comparing with excess death figures, rather than by testing for the presence of a flu virus.

    No, I’m not a member of the scientific community. I have an interest in science, I aspire to scientific literacy, and I’ve spent considerable time trying to defend scientific reasoning from New Age Hippies who denigrate it as “just another belief system” that is no more or less valid than “ancient wisdom”. I’m also someone who got pissed off with conspiracy theories after I’d seen a few of them for what they really are.

    #61905 Reply
    Steph

    No Clark, where you ‘think’ you see conspiracy theories! You dismissively talk of the ‘anti-lockdown brigade’ as though they were a homogenous group with a single aim in mind. It is good that you take an interest in science but is it possible that your interest is blinding you to the bigger picture? I would like to take the extremely unorthodox, and probably slightly eccentric, step of telling you a little about myself. I hope you will accept that at least I know more about me than you do, and you would do me an honour if you would take the time to read what I have to say.
    I am very definitely one of those you refer to as ‘your fellow humans’, the ones you argue so passionately about saving from a hideous and agonising death from covid-19. I am approaching 70 and have stage 3 breast cancer, with the resultant deterioration in my immune system from both causes. I have no idea how long I have left, a week, a month, a year? I may die from something else altogether. I may have a heart attack, road accident, pneumonia, sepsis, or yes, I may succumb to covid-19. You have rather rudely implied, several times, that my interest in this discussion must be ‘economic’ and that, presumably because I have drawn attention to those trying to argue against, and issue warnings about, the kind of worldwide response to this virus we have seen, my viewpoint is therefore cold hearted and brutal. But you are quite wrong. I do not fear dying from covid-19 any more than I fear dying of any other cause really. But none of the causes are especially inviting and it is just as an unpleasant prospect to me as I’m sure it is to you, just a lot closer in my case if you are much younger. But like everyone else, I must sadly die of something. What scares the pants off me 100 times more though and, when I think of my children and grandchild, actually reduces me to tears, is the impact that living in fear of covid-19 is having on mankind. The very fear that you seem to suffer with and even inflate with statements about huge numbers of people dying hideous deaths.
    The loss of rights, hard fought for over hundreds of years by our predecessors. The effect of suppressing the natural gregariousness of young people and trying to enforce the notion that they must kerb their instincts otherwise ‘they will kill granny’. The absolutely inevitable abuse of systems to track people’s lives. The super-charged transference of wealth to the uber-rich. And yes, the economic misery, hardship and suicides suffered by billions around the globe which, unlike covid-19, I am already witnessing first-hand. This is not even to consider the, as yet unasked let alone answered, questions. What effect will seeing all outsiders in face masks, the constant washing of hands, the warnings to keep a distance, have on small children and their future social cohesion? What effects, pathological or otherwise, might occur when the normal circulation of viruses is significantly interrupted over extended periods? What happens when the next new virus emerges? Will we become, as a species, less and less able to combat and overcome things which once we would have battled through, albeit with casualties? Etc etc.
    And all this to save me, and my fellow ‘elderlies’ so that we can die of something that isn’t covid-19? No, I don’t want you to do that thank you. I have had 96% of my threescore and ten. I really, really don’t want mankind in general, and my descendants in particular, to bury themselves in this mountain of fear and live, cowering beneath the small number who are obscenely wealthy enough to be unaffected, on my account. The virus may be an unknown, but the effects of living in fear are very well understood indeed.
    Dying is part of the package unfortunately, be it tragically young, ridiculously old or anywhere inbetween. Casting absolutely everything to the wind to try and save yourself from it, whatever your age, is a spectacular folly in my opinion. It may be interesting to speculate and debate, but to me it ultimately matters very little which scientist is right or wrong about this or that. What really matters in my view is not what covid-19 may do to us, it’s what we are doing to ourselves.
    Now I hope I have demonstrated that I don’t just throw ‘ill-informed rubbish and run away’. I really do have other things that occupy my time usually. I wish you whatever you wish for yourself.

    #61914 Reply
    SA

    Steph
    I admire your courage for writing this. Although I don’t agree with everything you say I understand why you feel the way you do, especially since you feel you are very much of the population used as a football between the two sides. Wish you well.

    #61915 Reply
    SA

    The bigger picture is that it may all be too late to answer many of the questions about Covid-19 and the SARS cov2 virus and the possibility of more unknown viruses and pandemics. Whilst the world is engaged with the virus, climate change and other issues have been relegated to the backburner. I used to be optimistic that change can happen through public awareness and elections, but that hope has now long gone. Conspiracies no longer have to be hidden and conspiracy theorists strive to expose the supposed lies, and in so doing introduce more uncertainties and divert attention from the glaring facts. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they focus on single issues whilst ignoring the overall picture. Since the millennium many events show very clearly that it does not matter if lies are exposed, the culprits are in charge of the system and nothing will change, The fact that Blair lied to parliament and to the world, and that his actions and those of George Bush led to mass murder has never been translated into any action that will prevent future recurrence of the same. The methods of aggression by the strong have been refined. There is now total control of the media, and gradual clampdown on dissent. It is naïve to think that we can change anything through voting or through pressure groups. 26 billionaires own more than what half of the population of the world own. The banks, having participated in a Ponzi scheme that wrecked the world economy, have been rewarded rather than punished, because they are part of the ruling class. We have witnessed the slow motion crushing of a peace loving anti racist, using exactly the same accusations of what his life’s work was fighting: racism.
    Are we who think about these issues kidding ourselves? Is there something in all this that is so basic that we are missing? Evolution depends on the survival of the fittest by selecting genes of those who survive and procreate and their progeny will have the same genes of ruthlessness to acquire power by any means. The meek shall not inherit the earth but shall be wiped out. This is nature at work, and the only solution that nature will have is to use the same methodology, evolution of deadly viruses, either engineered or through natural processes, climate change that will destroy large parts of civilization as we know it. Maybe this will cause the adjustments needed to save the planet and mankind.
    We cannot oppose what is happening because we are part of the system that is in operation. The system is unopposed and it will take forces beyond the system to change it.
    Meanwhile we can argue about whether this or that measure or this or that data is more true to what is happening, but it is probably all irrelevant anyway.

    #61916 Reply
    N_

    Another Britain-wide lockdown is imminent, but with schools left open. Crazy, or what? But no, it’s not crazy, and it requires cool observation. They know what they’re doing. It just isn’t what most people think. What will probably happen next is that they force most children to live in schools (or in accommmodation run by those who run schools) over Christmas.

    This is basically war against the population. This is already clear in France.

    My guess is that a few spectacular bombings and stabbings will also be used, as well as biological means on a much larger scale than hitherto. (The actual physical effects of the current SARS strain have been at a very low level.) The minds of the population are exactly where the rulers want them. Sorry but the rulers will press ahead. Things won’t stay the same. We are at an early stage of fascism. It’s a stage that won’t last long. Stage Two will be underway by Christmas.

    The reality is that millions used to go to work for half the day and pick their smartphones for the other half. Now they will grab the chance to pick their phones all day every day, even while they starve and evemn while their children get kidnapped.

    The rulers have broken many people’s care for elderly family members.
    They have pratically abolished dating.
    Next in the target sights is people’s love for their children.
    It woouldn’t surprise me if they try to smash love for pets too, especially those who are man’s best friend and who need to be walked every day, i.e. dogs.

    We need an anti-lockdown popular front, in which all who are against the lockdown set aside their differences and work together to remove it. But sadly that’s not going to happen.

    #61917 Reply
    Steph

    SA. Thank you for your kind words, but I cannot claim courage as a quality really. I share almost all of your thoughts, in particular the truly bestial treatment of Corbyn. But perhaps we should not give up hope altogether for the perpetuity of that which is honourable, decent and loving in our species. It is a strand that has managed to survive through some terrible periods in the past, even though it never quite triumphs over ‘evil’. Such things are beyond our knowledge I suppose, but I am curiously reminded of that Tolkien quote, in Lord of the Rings!

    “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
    “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    #61918 Reply
    SA

    N_
    Please be more discriminating. The virus and its effects are real. The handling of the crisis is so politically skewed and perhaps purposefully incompetent. This give you the choice to either side with the incompetent government, or side with the incompetent government.

    #61953 Reply
    Clark

    Steph, I think the difference between us may be that I have realised how easily we could win, and I have suspicions about how badly we could lose. Bad news first…

    What if covid-19 does not impart immunity, but does decrease IQ by 10% each time one gets infected, or decreases sperm count by 50% each time one gets infected, or ages the heart, immune system, or other organ or system 10% each time one gets infected? What would such attrition do to humanity?

    Good news – all we need is unity. If everyone in the world took three weeks’ supplies and self-isolated strictly for three weeks, at the end the world would be free of covid-19. Deprive it of hosts and it will die. Impractical, right? But what if we did the same thing zone by zone, district by district, county by county, country by country?

    https://www.endcoronavirus.org/green-zones

    Dare to hope, Steph!

    #61955 Reply
    Clark

    N_, stop being so paranoid. It’s not a conspiracy. The right are doing exactly what political theory predicts they will do; scrambling frantically and counter-productively to (1) preserve the profit-making system and (2) drop enormous wodges of money in their own and their allies’ pockets.

    New Zealand just elected a Labour government, with an overall majority – an unprecedented victory under their proportional representation system. All over the world, the right is invalidating its own arguments.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by modbot.
    #61956 Reply
    Clark

    Steph, I remeber something else from Gandalf:

    “You cannot pass….I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.”

    #61960 Reply
    Steph

    Hahaha! Yep, we definitely need a Gandalf thats for sure. But then again, would Gandalf have told everyone to hide in their hobbit holes until Sauron simply snuffed it? It doesn’t seem quite like him somehow!
    Your link was interesting, thank you. But I am still left with the feeling that we haven’t got a clue what to do really. There are just too many unknowns, both scientific and human, and in the meantime Rome burns.

    #61968 Reply
    nothinguptop

    “What if covid-19 does not impart immunity, but does decrease IQ by 10% each time one gets infected, or decreases sperm count by 50% each time one gets infected, or ages the heart, immune system, or other organ or system 10% each time one gets infected? What would such attrition do to humanity?

    Good news – all we need is unity. If everyone in the world took three weeks’ supplies and self-isolated strictly for three weeks, at the end the world would be free of covid-19. Deprive it of hosts and it will die. Impractical, right? But what if we did the same thing zone by zone, district by district, county by county, country by country?”

    This is made up gibberish.

    You don’t get to choose with a virus.

    If you believe for a single second that masks, pretend (meaningless)distancing, or healthy people locking themselves up and consequently making themselves more susceptible to each and every virus is a healthy option i would have to assume you were insane.

    Has the economy been flattened enough yet?

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