Category Archives: Public Health/Coronavirus

Courts ruling against Covid-19 lock up measures

Flip flop: WHO now opposes locking up entire populations

WHO now says mass lock ups of entire populations failed to control the pandemic and caused more harms than benefits.

The World Health Organization is calling on nations to stop leaning on economic lockdowns as a weapon to slow the spread of coronavirus , marking a significant pivot for the organization that once applauded such restrictions during the early part of the pandemic. Lockdowns are doubling poverty rates and should not be used as a primary means of controlling the virus, according toWHO envoy Dr. David Nabarro.

Source: WHO abandons past support for lockdowns, now says stay at home orders double world poverty | WBFF

Lock ups failed to control the pandemic; today, cases are worse than ever in most regions.

In my state, we have spent six months under a unilateral Emergency Declaration with associated Executive Orders implementing public health mitigation policies. After six months, we have the highest case counts of all times, demonstrating that these policies, when applied to the real world, do not work.

Good news: COVID survivors may have four months of protection – Harvard Gazette

People who survive serious COVID-19 infections have long-lasting immune responses against the virus, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

The study, published in Science Immunology, offers hope that people infected with the virus will develop lasting protection against reinfection. The study also demonstrates that measuring antibodies can be an accurate tool for tracking the spread of the virus in the community.

Source: COVID survivors may have four months of protection – Harvard Gazette

Four months. Because they have not yet been able to follow it for longer since it is a new virus. Another study finds “strong antibodies” after 5-7 months.

From comments made by experts, there is evidence of other forms of immunity present besides the antibodies measured in this study, and those other forms of immunity may last for years or decades. This is all very good news!

My doctor says I had symptoms of Covid-19 back in March and suggested in May that I get an antibody test. I declined because at that time, the accuracy of the test was unknown and the result was not actionable. With this new information, such a test would give an indication that I had some immunity, which would now be valuable to know.

On March 1st, I had the first inkling of a head cold. By the evening of March 3rd, I definitely had a head cold. This evolved quickly to low grade fever and body aches and, within a few days, and (unusual for me) a dry hacking cough that lasted until March 23d, went away’ish for about 3 days, then came back for a few days, and finally went away. Immediately prior to this I had been in close contact with Chinese citizens newly arrived (for education) from China; several of them were wearing face masks suggesting they were symptomatic of something. You may remember that China had a large outbreak of Covid-19 at the time. While air travel from China was allegedly shut down, in fact, hundreds of flights continued during the weeks after the “shut down”.

Update: The media loves big scary “re-infection” stories. Took 30 seconds to find studies reporting on “re-infection” of influenza and other viruses. While not common, this happens among other viruses. From the mediots reporting, you’d think that (a) CV-19 is the first time we’ve seen re-infection from a virus, (b) you have no immunity after you’ve had CV-19, and (c) CV-19 is the only virus to have asymptomatic cases (in reality, up to 75% of influenza cases have been reported as asymptomatic).

Mix the public health preference for fear mongering, inconsistent, contradictory and incoherent messaging with click-bait media morons and you get lots of false news reports.

Why ObamaCare ACA policies skyrocketed in price

Today, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) made an ass of herself by telling straight up lies about the ACA, affordability and pre-existing conditions.

Here is a link to my 52 page paper that thoroughly explains why the ACA failed to control prices – and how to fix it. I put over 1,000 hours of my life into researching and writing that paper. I encourage reading the first few pages so you can understand what the problems are, why many are harmed by the ACA, and ideas on fixing it. Feinstein revealed she doesn’t understand the ACA or other health care laws and is an outrageous liar, on the level of Trump.

Ultimately I found that my elected representatives did not care. They wanted to retain the problems to use them as a political football – rather than fix them. Their behavior is indistinguishable from sociopaths. I gave up trying to have any impact on fixing the ACA. Our elected representatives do not give a shit and shockingly that is the Democrats who wrote, passed it with their super majority, and then intentionally refuse to fix it so they can use it as political football. Jerks.

FYI – cost of a barebones “Silver” plan for two of us is $2,000 per month, with a $7,000 deductible. ACA policies are not like your corporate ESI benefits. They are effectively catastrophic coverage. When the ACA came out, Democratic promotors called pre-ACA policies “junk policies”, when, in actual fact, the ACA sells junk policies at 4x the price. If we lived in Laramie WY, the cost would be about $4,000 per month with a $5,000 deductible. Affordable? No, those are Democratic party propaganda lies. The subsidy cut off is about $68,000/year in PRE-tax income. If you earn $1 more, you pay the full $4,000 per month and then starve to death since you won’t be able to buy food. Read my linked paper above. Pre-existing conditions? Before the ACA, over 90% of the U.S. population already had pre-existing condition protections (read my paper – that is an easily verifiable fact). Yet this week, the Democrats again trotted out their outright lie that 135 million Americans are at risk of losing their insurance – which does not pass the giggle test. That implies that one third of the U.S. had no health insurance before the ACA, which is easily shown as not true. They tell Trumpian level lies on a daily basis-and the media morons let them get away with it.

At six months, public health mitigation has failed

 

Source: Tracking Our COVID-19 Response – covidexitstrategy.org

In March, when states began announcing lock ups of their citizens, they made their Orders without providing any insight in to an exit strategy.

There was no goal nor any metrics by which this would be determined. The lock ups were completely open ended and in much of the country are still open ended. All we heard was “flatten the curve”.

By summer, the curve was way higher than before.

After six months, we appear to be far worse off than when we started. Public health mitigation measures have failed.

This past weekend, WHO issued a statement that “lockdowns” (aka lock ups of citizens) only work for short durations in specific, limited situations, and should not be used as a general solution. Today, the UK issued new “lock up lite” Orders, saying they do not want to do more “lockdowns” (lockups), but with the implied threat that lockups are next.

Indeed, scientists in the UK say that lock up-lite does not go far enough.

In the UK,

More people are in hospital with Covid than before lockdown in March, says NHS medical director Stephen Powis

https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-54505193

Meaning that public health has failed during the past six months. In spite of their failure, we will now do more of the same and turn the volume up to 11. How does this make sense?

Widely cited study claims Ontario data supports face mask usage

Face Mask, Public Polices and Slowing the Spread of COVID-19: Evidence from Canada, September 24th.

They examined and compared communities in Ontario, Canada where face masks were made mandatory versus those where they were not made mandatory, collecting data up through mid-August.

They concluded:

We find that, in the first few weeks after implementation, mask mandates are associated with a reduction of 25 percent in the weekly number of new COVID-19 cases.

And sure enough cases declined steadily through mid-August, proving that face masks worked

Until September, when they magically stopped working.

Source: Public Health Ontario.

Continue reading Widely cited study claims Ontario data supports face mask usage

Rapid COVID test effort stumbles over risk of false positives | The Seattle Times

Source: Rapid COVID test effort stumbles over risk of false positives | The Seattle Times

The false positive problem is HUGE right now and this week is the first time the media has noticed. The media does not yet understand the real problem though.

Medical tests have a “sensitivity” and a “selectivity”[1]. If you are trying to find covid-19, then you want a “sensitive” test that finds all cases and doesn’t miss many. The problem is that highly sensitive tests tend to have lower selectivity. Lower selectivity means they falsely return positive when the disease is not present.

Public health’s attitude is it is better to catch all cases, even if there are many false positives. The maker of rapid tests says that a positive rapid test should be followed by a more accurate PCR test.

But in some actual scenarios here, there has not been a follow up PCR test. When students at OSU tested positive and then immediately had a second test done within hours that was negative, the University still required the students to go into quarantine.

False positives are a good thing – since it means they are likely finding more true cases. But they also unnecessarily put many into quarantine, and in some case, like universities and elder care centers, “healthy” false positive patients have been placed in close proximity to “true positive” cases.

Nevada found that 60% of positive rapid tests were false when subsequently tested with PCR.

Once again, let’s assume that 1 in 500 people in the population have Covid-19. Let’s use a test with 98% accuracy – sounds great!

Let’s apply test to a random group of 500 people.

We find one positive case.

The screening identifies 2% of those 500 as false positives. That’s 10 people.

When used as a screening tool, our test found 1 true positive and 10 people who don’t have the disease.

The accuracy of our screening is about 9% (1/11).

We have no official data on prevalence or test accuracy. But it is apparent that some of today’s increasing positive test counts are false.

I have asked OHA, CDC and OSU about this problem – and none of them have answered my questions. I am now aware of others who have also asked about this – but also receive no answers.

UPDATE: I cannot find a false positive rate for the BinaxNOW Covid-19 test. However, their similar product for respiratory syncytial virus (BinaxNOW RSV) has a false positive rate of 6.4%. A similar BinaxNOW rapid test for streptococcus pneumoniae when used to screen a population with a moderately high prevalence had a 3% false positive rate.

[1]

Remember, I am an idiot. I need to disclaim that I have no training in health care and anything I write about health is FOR ENTERTAINMENT ONLY.

Missing in action: The need for hope

Saturday is World Mental Health Day, and decades of research show hope is a robust predictor of mental health. Not only does it make life more enjoyable, experts say, but hope also provides resilience against things like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. Hope offers chemical benefits too, in the form of endorphins and lowered stress levels, things, experts say, make people more productive.

Source: COVID, World Mental Health Day: Hope is essential, psychologists say

Public health has, in general, not offered messages of hope. Instead the focus, together with a cooperative, non-skeptical media, has been fear, doom and gloom, with no end in sight. Their own actions are destroying the mental health of millions.

Actual public health leadership (if such existed) would have educated the public early on about pandemic responses and set realistic public expectations. They failed to do so then and continue to fail to do so.

In late winter/early spring we were sold a bill of goods about the need for lock ups (the proper term for “lock downs”) to “flatten the curve” for a few weeks to prevent overloading the health care system. Except for a few areas (NYC for example, other NE communities, FL, TX), there never was overwhelming demand for health care services in most of the country. 

The message of “a few weeks” became “a few months” and for some, now no end in sight. That destroys hope.

By Fall, we receive our daily body count updates, which are meaningless on multiple levels. Most of the deaths reported in my state, right now (October), occurred in August and September and are not contemporary. But that is not what the public is led to believe by the worthless body counts. Instead, we are getting old news that further erodes any sense of hope.

News media now focuses on positive test results rising, rather than dropping body counts. Because dumb shit fear sells and good news does not. (And no one wants to talk about the inherent false positive problem of mass screening tests that are dramatically biasing the counts upwards now.)

“Officials” tell us we are going to be swamped with a “second wave’. More fear, more doom and gloom. We’ve been following their “Expert orders” for six months – and we have learned their pandemic response measures did not work and do not work.  So what happens next? We are being threatened with more of the same – more lockdowns – a method that the World Health Organization now says should not be done except in very limited situations.

But there they are: we must double down on the public health measures that have failed. There is no hope.

Public health experts and politicians tell us if the numbers don’t improve will be sent to our bedrooms, again. Treating us like little children.

They fail to acknowledge that experts in their own field have documented that most measures do not work or work well, or we have no idea if they work -and those that do work, like lockdowns, are not sustainable.  People eventually need to get on with their lives and they do. What works in a computer model does not work in the real world with real people. Indeed, some of the experts now suggest all we’ve done is convert what would have been a six month pandemic into a two year long, economically and physical and mental health destroying two year long pandemic. With the same eventual body count but at least we destroyed our economy and our children’s education.

What should have been done:

  1. Explain what a pandemic is
  2. Explain that all pandemics eventually ended, and why they ended (herd effects, virus mutates to less virulent form over time, vaccines, or people get on with their lives)
  3. Explain likely timelines and outcomes – and NOT the continuous focus on worst case and implausible scenarios. We’ve been told at various times that we may never have immunity (extremely unlikely), vaccines may not work (extremely unlikely), we may never return to a normal life (just like in all the other pandemics, huh?), we may have to wear face masks forever and so on. All bull shit, crappy public communications intended to make us fearful and more likely to comply with orders that they know make little sense.
  4. Real leadership would have explained how pandemics end  – and on typical timelines – usually 1-2 years.
  5. Explain that life will eventually return to normal and explain likely scenarios about that.
  6. Lay out publicly and clearly our vaccination plan scenarios. As I have explained elsewhere on this blog, to vaccinate half the U.S. population in 6 months will require administering 1-2 million vaccine doses every day, 7-days a week, for six months. What is the plan for this? Lacking a workable plan, there can be no hope for resolution to his pandemic until late 2021 or early 2022. Why are their no public vaccination plans as of October 2020? This is inexcusable.
  7. Give people an opportunity to have hope for the future – instead of this bull shit non-stop doom and gloom – a life without hope.

When this over with, a lot of public health officials should be fired for poor performance to incompetence.  They should have had pandemic plans in place before this happened – most did not – the one I read for my state was worthless. They should have had plans for shut downs – schools closed, supporting people out of work, ensuring that food supplies would remain intact – but they did not. 

They should have recognized that taking action X would likely result in numerous side effects. But they did not and ignored the costs of the side effects of their plans[1]. Many health experts and economists think the effects of the pandemic response policies may ultimately kill more people than were possibly saved by those policies.

History will not look kindly on this era, nor on the lack planning and ineffective responses to a pandemic that had been predicted for years. Nor the incompetent messaging that has – from one day to the next – delivered inconsistent, contradictory and frequently incoherent public messaging.

What we need is hope. Not more nonsense and threats from public health experts whose plans, so far, have mostly failed, as new tests skyrocket daily.

From the CDC’s failed tests in February, to the CDC’s monopolization of testing from March onwards – with a whopping 7-10 day turn around. To the fraudulent disease models of the Imperial College London and the University of Washington. And then on to the inconsistent, contradictory, inept and incoherent messaging.

It’s time for public health to clean up their act and communicate clearly, consistently, coherently and based on evidence (not models). And to deliver a message of hope.

[1] In mid-March I needed to see a doctor for the chronic pain that had started in my foot 2-3 weeks earlier. It was not getting better but getting worse. Just as I was about to seek medical advice, my state shut down all non-emergency health care to prepare for a non-existent tsunami that never happened. I had to wait 2 months – to May 13th – before I could see a doctor. I had a stress fracture and a partially torn tendon. During preceding weeks there were a few times that the pain caused me to break down and cry. The public health quacks did not give a moment’s thought to the consequences of their idiotic orders – where human health care was shut down but car repair was all okay. That actually made sense to these quacks.

Covid-19: The false positive problem – using tests that specifically err on the side of producing more false positives

NICOLA Sturgeon said it was better to “err on the side of caution” on Covid testing even if it means generating more false positives.

Source: Sturgeon says she would rather ‘catch as many Covid cases as possible’ – even if it means more false positives | HeraldScotland

Note below “Whenever you do screening tests, you actually want a lot of false positives because you want to capture everybody with the disease”. For that reason, they recommend that those testing positive with a rapid test then be tested with a PCR test. Except that is not happening in my state.

Below is a description of the test my state is rolling out en masse – without the follow up PCR testing. In fact, the CDC says not to do subsequent tests – and if you do and you test negative after a positive test, the CDC (and my state) say you still must quarantine for 11 days. We are using a test that generates false positives and insisting that the result be the definitive result.

Continue reading Covid-19: The false positive problem – using tests that specifically err on the side of producing more false positives