[Ed. note: Today’s episode is part of the upcoming (crowdsourced, with your help) book, The Second Wave Survival Guide. We need your help!Click here to see the details on the book… and to contribute to the upcoming chapters. Your submissions, if chosen, will be released in these digital leaves next week.]
Let’s start from the beginning of this mess.
On March 3, 2020, the Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom, said:
“While many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity. That means more people are susceptible to infection, and some will suffer severe disease.
“Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.”
This, of course, caused global panic.
Overreaction in the face of so many unknowns seemed to be the proper and prudent response. (After all, if we have ZERO immunity to this virus, and it has a 3.4% death rate, then, excuse my French, but we are in deep [expletive deleted]!)
Now recall what happened in the aftermath of the WHO’s gloomy announcement. The “if it bleeds, it leads” media amplified the experts with the most horrendous predictions, like virus expert Dr. Richard Hatchett, who said: “This is the most frightening disease I’ve ever encountered.” The Imperial College released a model, based loosely on the WHO’s figures, which predicted 2.2 million Americans would perish from the pandemic. Dr. Tony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx used this model to persuade Trump to lock down the entire U.S. economy.
What have we figured out since?
Well, though it’s been underreported thus far, a study conducted by the La Jolla Institute for Immunology raised the possibility that our immune systems have not, in fact, been flying blind. Past coronaviruses, the researchers say, could very well lend immunity to COVID-19. Since La Jolla floated this idea, the British Medical Journal has also published a study, citing several other studies, all of which outlining why we likely have much more immunity than previously thought.
Furthermore, although people still tout the “200,000 deaths” numbers (mostly for political purposes, of course), the CDC has admitted that only 6% of all coronavirus deaths can be 100% attributed to the coronavirus alone. The rest of the deaths were attributed to individuals who had at least, on average, 2.6 other serious conditions. While it has been argued that this explanation of the facts is misleading, the rebuttal is typically semantic. Chronic, underlying conditions can cause severe complications in the face of viral infection, they say. And yet, chronic, underlying conditions are already causing severe complications. (Engaging in this debate typically ends in circular arguments from both sides.)
However you want to shake it, this is no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. It was stated openly and without ambiguity by many public health professionals that anyone who happened to test positive for COVID-19 (which, at that point, most hospitals were testing all patients) and then died, would be counted as a COVID-19 death… even if the main cause of death was something else entirely.
In one extreme but egregious case, a Floridian in his 20s died in a motorcycle accident… and COVID-19 ended up on his death certificate. When asked about this by the press, the Orange County Health Officer, Dr. Paul Rino, said, with a surprisingly straight face: “But you could actually argue that it could have been the Covid-19 that caused him to crash.” (The backlash which followed caused officials to take the motorcyclist off of the list of COVID deaths.)
This, to be sure, is only the first insight which reveals how unscientific our approach to COVID-19 has been since its onset. And this “liberal death count” sentiment was so widespread, we can assume it was the western default. “If someone dies with COVID-19, we are counting that as a COVID-19 death,” said Dr. Birx during a press conference. Putting it even more bluntly, the Toronto Public Health tweeted this out:
The video at this link (and below) reveals it to be across the board.
Digging deeper, the biggest problem is there’s no real consensus — whether nationally or globally — as to what a “confirmed case” really means. As we now know, the current testing protocol lends itself to a non-negligible number of false positives and confusion about proper cycle thresholds and testing methods. Recently, perhaps along this vein, the CDC backpedaled its testing guidelines, advising that asymptomatic people don’t need to be tested. Then, under immense pressure, the CDC clarified and said that asymptomatic people who’ve come into contact with symptomatic people should be tested.
Upon writing, curiously, the CDC has pulled even more guidance from its website — this time, the guidance claiming that coronavirus can spread through airborne particles which remain suspended in the air and travel six feet and beyond. The CDC claims the guidance was “posted in error.”
To wit: “A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website,” the CDC said Monday. “CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.”
[More on that to come as it’s released, to be included in the book.]
As stated in yesterday’s episode, the UK wants to roll out what it calls “Operation Moonshot,” an ambitious program that aims to test 10 million people per day. Three scientists (names and credentials listed below) outlined in the British Medical Journal why this is a no good, very bad, terrifically terrible idea…
Dr. Jonathan J Deeks, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Birmingham
Dr. Anthony J Brookes, Professor of Genetics, University of Leicester
Dr. Allyson M Pollock, Professor of Public Health, University of Newcastle
They wrote (emphasis mine):
“If PCR is used to identify cases through mass testing of healthy people, it will deliver positive results in individuals with previous resolved infections, new infections, and potential re-infections, as well as false positives in people genuinely not harbouring the virus (around 0.8% of all tests performed 8).”
“Real concern exists that many people who are not infectious (and not likely to become infectious) will receive positive test results, and together with their contacts, will be forced to isolate unnecessarily. In the context of mass surveillance, this could be a majority of those who test positive. Using PCR for population screening, even with a lower maximum Ct value cut off, is not epidemiologically sound. The balance of costs and harms against the potential benefits has not been evaluated.”
Unlike the vast majority of the West, China has a stringent definition of what constitutes a COVID-19 case. Officials require both clinical signs and symptoms and, in most cases, epidemiological exposure, and a positive PCR test… all of that is required before it is counted as a “confirmed case.”
And, get this…
China couldn’t be less worried about a second wave. Wuhan bars and clubs have been open for at least two months… and the COVID-19 epicenter hasn’t reported a new case in months.
A DISCO BAR IN WUHAN ON SEPT. 18, 2020. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
NO MASKS? NO PROBLEM! SEPT. 18, 2020 IN WUHAN, HUBEI PROVINCE, CHINA. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
POOL PARTY IN WUHAN PHOTO: REUTERS
Sweden broke away early from the “TEST EVERYONE” herd and has only tested people with symptoms, operating under the premise that there’s little need to test perfectly healthy people. Sweden also isn’t worried about second waves, 6 feet rules, limiting gatherings, and… gasp!… economic devastation. Now, take a look at the case counts in Sweden vs. Spain, France, the UK, and the aggregate EU.
Many believe, due to the second wave, this will come to bite Sweden in the end. But, we wonder, on what basis do they believe this? The only answer we could find came from the fringes.
Consider, for a moment, that several people I’ve come across in the “conspirasphere” claim Sweden is to become the sacrificial cow. Sweden officials, they say, were instructed by the globalists to stay open. (This is getting somewhere, I promise.)
All will seem dandy, they say, until kids go back to school, then, blammo!, they will get hammered with deadly illness and it will be called “the second wave.” Sweden, the theory goes, will be the “patsy,” and prove, once and for all, that lax restrictions were a bad idea.
Global Lockdown 2.0.
You might think it sounds far-fetched, and indeed perhaps you’re right. But consider that those touting this theory are using precisely the same amount of evidence as those claiming a massive second wave is inevitable…Zero. Zilch. Nada. Zip!
Consider the conclusion by a small team of scientists (names and credentials below) who’ve searched far and wide for proof that a second wave is inevitable. I encourage you to check out the article, titled How Likely is a Second Wave?, right here.
Paul Kirkham, Professor of cell Biology and Head of Respiratory Disease Research Group at Wolverhampton University
Dr Mike Yeadon, former CSO and VP, Allergy and Respiratory Research Head with Pfizer Global R&D and co-Founder of Ziarco Pharma Ltd
Barry Thomas, Epidemiologist
Conclusion: “There is no biological principle that leads us to expect a second wave based on the accumulation of data over the past six months. Instead, it is likely there will be local, small and self-limiting mini-outbreaks as areas previously unexposed come into contact with the virus.”
Moreover, one of the authors, Dr. Yeadon, in a separate article, writes:
“As there is no foundational, medical or scientific literature which tells us to expect a ‘second wave’, I began to pay more attention to the phrase as it appeared on TV, radio and print media – all on the same day – and has been relentlessly repeated ever since. I was interviewed recently by Julia Hartley-Brewer on her talkRADIO show and on that occasion I called on the Government to disclose to us the evidence upon which they were relying to predict this second wave. Surely they have some evidence? I don’t think they do. I searched and am very qualified to do so, drawing on academic friends, and we were all surprised to find that there is nothing at all. The last two novel coronaviruses, Sars (2003) and MERS (2012), were of one wave each. Even the WW1 flu ‘waves’ were almost certainly a series of single waves involving more than one virus. I believe any second wave talk is pure speculation.”
Any “second wave” will likely be driven by mass (and massively inappropriate) screening. Biologist Andrew Cohen published a paper in May outlining the superficial (or first-order) consequences of not accounting for false positives.
And leaning on Dr. Yeadon once more:
“Current mass testing using the PCR test is inappropriate in its current form. If it is to continue, then results and reporting should be refined to meet the gold standard of testing methodology to give clinicians improved information so that they are able to make appropriate clinical decisions. Positive tests should be confirmed by testing a second sample and all positive tests should be reported along with the Cycle Threshold (Ct) obtained during the test to aid assessment of a patient’s viral load.”
Without these guidelines, and without a gold standard for the testing, health officials are causing unnecessary panic and confusion. Whether by malfeasance, incompetence, corruption, or idiocy, this has thus far been the pandemic testing playbook:
1] Media and politicos drum up fear porn, perfectly healthy people get afraid, and line up around the block to get tested.
2] Officials aggregate these numbers, not accounting for high cycle thresholds and the potential false positives in asymptomatic people.
3] ALL positives are counted as “confirmed case,” which, if you’re already terrified of catching the virus, looks incredibly scary.
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today