Saturday, November 27, 2021

Omicron variant sets off renewed Covid hysteria

Headline courtesy CNN News, Nov. 27, 2012.

Are We Overreacting to Omicron? | Brownstone Institute - Dr. Paul Elias Alexander:

November 26, 2021 - "With natural exposure immunity and early outpatient treatment and when combined with no reports of increased lethality, the WHO’s reaction of generating panic toward 'Omicron' is causing needless fear.... So too with the Biden administration’s newly imposed travel restrictions, which will achieve nothing and will once again disrupt trade and violate human rights. 

"The WHO has said that the Omicron variant can spread more quickly than other variants. Likely true. The virus is behaving just like how viruses behave. They are mutable and mutate and via Muller’s ratchet, we expect this to be milder and milder mutations and not more lethal ones.... The virus will mutate downward so that it can use the host (us) to propagate itself via our cellular metabolic machinery. The Delta has shown us this: it is very infectious and mostly non-lethal. Especially for children and healthy people. So is the WHO panicking the globe needlessly? Is this Covid-19 February 2020 once again? 

"The problem with South Africa as is with Australia and New Zealand and even island nations like Trinidad is ... low natural immunity to SAR-Cov-2. This is because, as we witnessed over the last year and more, if you lock down your society too long and too hard, you deny the nation and population from inching closer to population-level herd immunity. And you have no economy or society [into] which to  reemerge. You devastate your society for a pathogen that is largely harmless to the vast majority of people especially children.... 

"These nations thought that they could stay locked down and wait for a vaccine. This is a reasonable view though I was against lockdowns as they would and did cause crushing harms on especially poor persons and children. The problem is there was an opportunity cost because the vaccine we were waiting on was suboptimally developed without the proper safety testing or assessment of effectiveness. 

"We have data that the Pfizer vaccine loses 40% of antibodies per month, meaning in 3 months post-shot, you have low effective vaccinal immunity.... For example, the vaccine has failed to stop infection and spread against Delta. We have research findings by Singanayagam et al. (fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts), by Chau et al. (viral loads of breakthrough Delta variant infection cases in vaccinated nurses were 251 times higher than those of cases infected with prior strains early 2020), and by Riemersma et al. (no difference in viral loads when comparing unvaccinated individuals to those who have vaccine 'breakthrough' infections and if vaccinated individuals become infected with the delta variant, they may be sources of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to others) that reveal the vaccines have very suboptimal efficacy. 

"This situation of the vaccinated being infectious and transmitting the virus has also emerged in seminal nosocomial outbreak papers by Chau et al. (HCWs in Vietnam), the Finland hospital outbreak (spread among HCWs and patients), and the Israel hospital outbreak (spread among HCWs and patients). These studies have also revealed that the PPE and masking were essentially ineffective within the healthcare setting. All of the HCWs were double-vaccinated yet there was extensive spread to themselves and their patients. 

"In addition, Nordström et al. (vaccine effectiveness of Pfizer against infection waned progressively from 92% day 15-30 to 47% day 121-180, and from day 211 and onwards no effectiveness), Suthar et al. (a substantial waning of antibody responses and T cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, at 6 months following the second immunization), Yahi et al. (with Delta variant, neutralizing antibodies have a decreased affinity for the spike protein, whereas facilitating antibodies display a strikingly increased affinity), Juthani et al. (higher numbers of patients with severe or critical illness in those who received the Pfizer vaccine), Gazit et al. (SARS-CoV-2-naïve vaccinees had a 13-fold increased risk for breakthrough infection with the Delta variant, and substantially elevated risk of symptomatic Covid and hospitalization), and Acharya et al. (no significant difference in cycle threshold values between vaccinated and unvaccinated, asymptomatic and symptomatic groups infected with Delta) collectively reveal the poor efficacy and even negative efficacy of the Covid vaccines. Levine-Tiefenbrun et al. reports that the viral load reduction effectiveness declines with time after vaccination, 'significantly decreasing at 3 months after vaccination and effectively vanishing after about 6 months.'

"As an example, the Swedish study (retrospective with 842,974 pairs (N=1,684,958) is particularly alarming for it shows that while the vaccine provides temporary protection against infection, the efficacy declines below zero and then to negative efficacy territory at approximately 7 months, underscoring that the vaccinated are highly susceptible to infection and eventually become highly infected (more so than the unvaccinated). A further example emerges from Ireland whereby reporting suggests that the Waterford city district has the State’s highest rate of Covid-19 infections, while the county also boasts the highest rate of vaccination in the Republic (99.7% vaccinated). Reports are that the U.S. Covid-19 deaths for 2021 surpassed the deaths from 2020, leading some to state that 'more people have died from COVID-19 in 2021, with most adults vaccinated and nearly all seniors), than in 2020 when nobody was vaccinated.' 

"Thus these nations that locked down and stayed that way are in a quandary for they do not know what to do now. If you open you will get surges in infection. Where is the money that was to go to hospital preparation?....

"We have a lot of natural immunity in the US, e.g. near 65-70% of the population. The open states (those that did not lock down too long and too hard and opened quickly) will likely do very well with this Omicron or any new variant. This also is the power of natural immunity. And we need not forget the potency of the overlooked ‘innate’ immunity with the innate antibodies and innate natural killer cellular compartment. This innate response is particularly potent in children (our first line of defense against pathogens) and is what has spared children from Covid and how children typically stave off pathogens, especially young children still laying down immunological memory. 

"Moreover, there is no reporting of increased virulence/lethality of this new Omicron variant. As yet this will remain the case based on Delta and prior variants. There are no guarantees but we operate based on risk and all things point to the same for this new variant. Just because there is a wave in SA does not mean that there will be waves in the US or Israel or other places with greater natural immunity. This was the prize of letting people enjoy day-to-day living. The nations that have ended lockdowns are likely to move past this new variant scare.... This is more of an overreaction by the WHO and governments and much ado about nothing."

Read more: https://brownstone.org/articles/are-we-overreacting-to-omicron/ 

Dr Alexander ... PhD. ... has experience in epidemiology and in the teaching [of] clinical epidemiology, evidence-based medicine, and research methodology. Dr Alexander is a former Assistant Professor at McMaster University in evidence-based medicine and research methods; former COVID Pandemic evidence-synthesis consultant advisor to WHO-PAHO Washington, DC (2020) and former senior advisor to COVID Pandemic policy in Health and Human Services (HHS) Washington, DC (A Secretary), ... currently a COVID-19 consultant researcher in the US-C19 research group.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Slovakia placed under 2-week lockdown

Slovakia orders two-week lockdown as COVID-19 cases spiral upward | Politico Europe - Siegfried Mortkowitz: 

November 24, 2021 - "Slovakia will begin a two-week lockdown on Thursday as new COVID-19 cases have spiraled out of control, Economy Minister Richard Sulík said Wednesday. Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Sulík said all restaurants and shops will be closed for 14 days, except for essential stores, such as groceries and pharmacies. 

"'We all wish and hope that the situation will improve by then,' he said. 'We will evaluate the situation again in 10 days.'

"Slovakia, along with other countries in central Europe including the neighboring Czech Republic and Austria, is bearing the brunt of a record-breaking fourth wave of infection. Austria this week entered a full national lockdown, and has become the first Western democracy to make vaccination compulsory for the general public.

"The Slovak government also imposed a new state of emergency for 90 days, which empowers it to impose a curfew. From midnight on Wednesday, people will only be allowed to leave their homes to go to the shops or to work, to take a walk in the park, visit their doctor or go to the hospital.

"In addition, from next week only vaccinated employees and those who have recovered from COVID in the past six months will be able to go to their places of work. Others workers will have to be tested at the workplace every seven days.... 

"Earlier, a consortium of health experts called for a three-week lockdown and for schools to be closed, which the government rejected....

"The main reason for the high number of infections and deaths is the low rate of vaccination in the country. Only 43 percent of the Slovak population has been fully vaccinated, data shows. The EU average is 67 percent."

Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-out-of-control-slovakia-two-week-lockdown/

Thursday, November 25, 2021

German gov't thwarts Merkel's planned lockdown

Germany’s new coalition government ‘thwarted Merkel plan for two-week lockdown’ | The Local.de:

November 24, 2021 -  "Germany’s new government thwarted a plan by outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel to put in place a two-week Austria-style national lockdown, German tabloid Bild reported on Wednesday.... Merkel put forth the proposal on Tuesday evening, and according to Bild the lockdown would have applied from Thursday onwards. It was however knocked back by the incoming government, who said it would have been interpreted by the public as a 'bad political trick' in tandem by the old and the new government, Bild reported on Wednesday afternoon. 

"Citing several sources close to the government, Bild said Merkel wanted to cut rising infection rates through a ‘handbrake’ style national lockdown, which would have included closures of bars, restaurants and shops. Like Austria’s lockdown, which came into effect on Monday, November 22nd, the measure would have applied not only to the unvaccinated, but also to those who have been vaccinated against Covid or who have recently recovered from the virus. 

"Germany’s new Infection Protection Act came into effect on Wednesday, which prevents such a nationwide lockdown and instead places greater responsibility on Germany’s 16 federal states. Therefore, the new act restricts the current government’s power to put in place a nationwide lockdown should it be deemed necessary and will require agreement from the states should harsher measures be adopted. 

[This new amendment restores the situation that existed in Germany prior to April 2021, when the Merkel government amended the Infection Protection Act to allow the federal government to impose  lockdowns. - gd] 

"Covid cases have been surging in Germany in recent days, hitting record heights. Several parts of the country, primarily in the heavily-hit south, have put in place restrictive measures including stay at home orders and requiring restaurants to close." 

Read more: https://www.thelocal.de/20211124/germanys-new-coalition-government-thwarted-merkel-plan-for-two-week-lockdown/

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Partial lockdown fails, Austria back in full lockdown

Covid: Austria back in lockdown despite protests | BBC News

November 22, 2021 - "Austria has returned to a full national lockdown as protests against new restrictions aimed at curbing Covid-19 infections spread across Europe.... Austrians have been asked to work from home and non-essential shops have closed.... Last week Austria became the first European country to make Covid vaccination a legal requirement, with the law due to take effect in February.... 

"This is Austria's fourth national lockdown since the pandemic began. Authorities have ordered residents to stay home for all but essential reasons, including work, exercise and shopping for food. Restaurants, bars, hairdressers, theatres and non-essential shops must all close their doors. These measures will continue until 12 December, although officials said they will be reassessed after 10 days....

Speaking on ORF TV on Sunday night, health minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said the government had to 'react now'. 'A lockdown, a relatively tough method, a sledgehammer, is the only option to reduce the numbers [of infections] here,' he told the broadcaster.

"Tens of thousands of people protested in the capital Vienna ahead of the lockdown. Brandishing national flags and banners reading 'Freedom', protesters shouted 'Resistance!' and booed the police.... Jennifer Wall, a British woman who moved to Vienna about two years ago, has ... been double-jabbed. She described the protests over the weekend as 'disruptive' and 'scary'. 'The situation here is really tense,' she said. 'There is a clear divide between vaccinated and not vaccinated.' About 65% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated - one of the lowest rates in Western Europe."

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59369488


COVID-19: Austria coronavirus lockdown feels not just like a health crisis, but also a cultural, social and political storm | Sky News - Adam Parsons:

November 22, 2021 - "Yes, this is lockdown, but it isn't quite the eerie emptiness of 18 months ago. Instead, the Austrian capital feels like it's closed for business. The clothes shops, the ice rinks and, of course, the Christmas markets. All shut.... Austria has seen a precipitous rise in the number of coronavirus infections recently, recording far more daily cases than it did during the first wave of the pandemic. So it has now introduced a national lockdown that largely resembles the original version - people told to work from home and only to leave the house for essential purposes....

"The lockdown is in place for 10 days but can be extended for a further 10 if necessary. After that point, if rates have fallen, the ties may be removed for vaccinated people, while restrictions remain in place for those who have not been inoculated. Perhaps that's why this new lockdown feels so very different to previous incarnations. Last year, the people of disparate European towns and cities seemed to share a sense of 'in it together' camaraderie as they faced up to the hardships of lockdown. Vienna didn't feel like that [today]. 

"We meet a group of young men strolling through the town, all of them dubious about the lockdown. One of them, Matthew, tells me that he only allowed himself to be vaccinated because it was the only way he could be guaranteed access to bars and restaurants. But he insists that this latest lockdown is 'a breach of human rights'. His friend, Andrew, was vaccinated early, and is at pains to say he's not an anti-vaxxer, but is troubled by what he sees as the changing narrative. 'When we were saying that it's 95% effective at the beginning, we're seeing that it's definitely not the case now. We're saying no more lockdowns yet we're in lockdowns now. How can we really trust the information that's being given to us at the moment? I think at this point, it's very, very difficult to trust anything that's going on. And I don't necessarily think we can trust the reasons for why we're in this lockdown at the moment."

"That's why this lockdown is different. Europe saw a series of protests over the weekend, vehement in their opposition to either new restrictions, or vaccination programmes, or the spectre of mandatory vaccinations, or perhaps all of them put together. Many Europeans, rightly or wrongly, have had their faith eroded in both the political and scientific establishment. Very public promises have, in the eyes of many Austrians, been broken and now those disenchanted people feel as if they are being stigmatised. This doesn't feel simply like a health crisis anymore, but also a cultural, social and political storm. Many other nations will be watching, and waiting to see what happens in Austria, and learning lessons."

Read more: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-austria-coronavirus-lockdown-feels-not-just-like-a-health-crisis-but-also-a-cultural-social-and-political-storm-12476017

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

German government locking down unvaccinated


November 17, 2021 - "Those who, for varying personal reasons, have chosen not to get vaccinated against Covid are facing increased, targeted restrictions around the world. The introduction of lockdowns against the unvaccinated only in Austria and, in the coming weeks, in Germany is perhaps the most extreme example of separation yet.

"The incoming Social Democrat (SDP) government today warned that those 14million Germans who have not been vaccinated will be prevented, likely with the threat of fines, from using public transport and from going to work. Meanwhile, millions of other citizens will be permitted by the state to live their lives as normal (save from working and travelling alongside their unvaccinated friends and relatives). 

"The SDP and its coalition partners will present these plans to parliament for approval on Thursday. They have been labelled a form of 'lockdown apartheid'. Dirk Wiese, the Deputy Head of the SPD parliamentary group, was very willing to admit that 'this is actually a lockdown for the unvaccinated'. 

Daily Sceptic Editor Toby Young told Express.co.uk: 'Given its history, I hoped Germany would be a bit more inhibited about curtailing the rights of a part of its population on the grounds that they’re dangerous and unclean. But apparently not.' He added: 'The really worrying thing is that it could happen here.'

In the UK, thousands of care home workers have been sacked because they failed to comply with a new Covid vaccine mandate. The Government recently expanded its mandate to cover all frontline NHS staff – last year lauded for their efforts to curtail the impact of the virus. Vaccine passports have also been put on the back-burner and could be introduced if the Government decides to implement its winter ‘Plan B’. This would also trigger the re-introduction of face mask mandates and work from home guidelines.

"Reported cases reached a high of more than 50,000 in Germany on November 10."




November 22, 2021 - The German health minister has warned citizens that they would be either 'vaccinated, cured or dead' from COVID-19 by the end of winter as several European countries impose restrictions amid surging infections.... Germany’s worst-hit regions have ordered new shutdowns, including the closure of Christmas markets.

"In regions with high hospitalisation rates, the unvaccinated will be barred from public spaces like cinemas, gyms and indoor dining. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany’s current COVID restrictions, including barring the unvaccinated from certain public spaces 'are not enough'....

"Germany added another 30,643 cases on Monday, according to the Robert Koch Institute health agency, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to just more than 5.3 million. Almost 100,000 people have died so far, including 62 during the past 24 hours." 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Lockdown protests throughout Europe

Dutch police open fire on Covid lockdown protesters as European nations reintroduce restrictions | NBC News - Chantal Da Silva & Associated Press:

November 20, 2021 - "Police opened fire on anti-lockdown protesters in the Dutch city of Rotterdam Friday ahead of demonstrations in several European cities against new Covid restrictions. Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told reporters about police officers 'felt it necessary to draw their weapons to defend themselves' more than once after protesters tore through the city's central shopping district, setting fires in their wake. Describing the scenes as 'an orgy of violence,' he added that 'people were injured,' after officers 'shot at protesters'.... At least seven people had been injured in the clashes, police said in a statement on Twitter, which added that officers had also been injured in the clashes. Several arrests had been made, police said....

"In Vienna, thousands of protesters took to the streets to rally against new Covid measures that will make Austria the first European country to enforce a full national lockdown this autumn, as well as new rules that will make vaccinations mandatory. Meanwhile in France, where case numbers are also rising, demonstrators protested against the introduction of vaccine passports." [stress added]

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/police-netherlands-open-fire-covid-lockdown-protesters-european-nation-rcna6231


Second night of anti-lockdown violence in Europe: Netherlands riots spread to the Hague while tens of thousands gather to oppose full lockdown in Austria and demonstrations kick off in Denmark, Croatia and Macedonia | Daily Mail - Lauren Lewis, Chris Jewers, and Jacob Thornburn for MailOnline:

November 20, 2021 - "Europe descended into a second night of violent carnage on Saturday amid the return of strict lockdown rules aimed at curbing rising rates of Covid infection. Thousands of people took to Amsterdam's central Dam Square and the Hague on Saturday.... Video footage from the Hague showed motorists sounding their horns in support as a trio of small explosions could be clearly seen on the main road in the background. Elsewhere, protestors were pictured ripping down street signs in chaotic scenes. Anti-riot police were forced to clear the wreckage of smouldering scooters and burnt-out bicycles that were torched ... and left to block roads in one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the country since Covid restrictions were first implemented. 

"Meanwhile, similar demonstrations against virus restrictions also took place in Switzerland, Croatia, Italy, Northern Ireland, Austria and North Macedonia on Saturday.... [I]n Vienna on Saturday ... 10,000 protesters - many from far-right groups - took to the streets to demonstrate against new Covid-19 restrictions and mandatory vaccinations. Police were pictured arresting two protesters. A spokesman said there had been fewer than 10 arrests.... Chanting 'resistance!', waving Austrian flags and blowing whistles, the crowd swelled to more than 30,000. Many held signs mocking government leaders including Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein....  

"In Italy, 3,000 turned out in the capital's Circus Maximus, a field where in ancient times Romans staged popular entertainment, to protest against 'Green Pass' certificates required at workplaces, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, sports venues and gyms, as well as for long-distance train, bus or ferry travel within Italy. In Northern Ireland, several hundred people opposed to vaccine passports protested outside the city hall in Belfast, where the city's Christmas market opened Saturday - a market where proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test was required. The Northern Ireland government voted this week to introduce vaccine certificates for admission to nightclubs, bars and restaurants starting Dec. 13.... 

"Switzerland saw 2,000 people protest an upcoming referendum on whether to approve the government's COVID-19 restrictions law, claiming it was discriminatory, public broadcaster SRF reported. In Croatia, thousands gathered at in the capital Zagreb, carrying Croatian flags, nationalist and religious symbols, along with banners against vaccination and what they describe as restrictions of people's freedoms. And in Denmark, more than one thousand gathered outside the Danish parliament in Copenhagen to push back against the reintroduction of the national health pass. 

"North Macedonia also saw hundreds of ... protesters march in downtown Skopje on Satruday evening against the country's health authority's recommendation of mandatory vaccinations. Demonstrations against virus measures are also expected in other European countries - the latest in rising anger at the re-introduction of restrictions amid soaring cases on the continent." [stress added]

Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10225803/Europe-descends-chaos-second-night-protests-continue-Austria-Holland-Denmark.html

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Antidepressant cuts Covid ICU cases and deaths

Common antidepressant slashes risk of COVID death, study says | Nature - Saima May Sidik:

October 29, 2021 - "A cheap, widely available drug used to treat mental illness cuts both the risk of death from COVID-19 and the need for people with the disease to receive intensive medical care, according to clinical-trial results. The drug, called fluvoxamine, is taken for conditions including depression and obsessive–compulsive disorder. But it is also known to dampen immune responses and temper tissue damage, and researchers credit these properties with its success in the recent trial. Among study participants who took the drug as directed and did so in the early stages of the disease, COVID-19-related deaths fell by roughly 90% and the need for intensive COVID-19-related medical care fell by roughly 65%.

"'A major victory for drug repurposing!' Vikas Sukhatme at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, who studies drug repurposing, wrote in an e-mail to Nature. 'Fluvoxamine treatment should be adopted for those at high risk for deterioration who are not vaccinated or cannot receive monoclonal antibodies.'

"Study co-author Angela Reiersen, a psychiatrist at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, [who] has long been interested in using fluvoxamine to treat a rare genetic condition ... came across a 2019 study showing that fluvoxamine reduced inflammation in mice with sepsis. When COVID-19 hit, 'I immediately thought back to that paper with the mice,' she says. Reiersen and her colleagues partnered with the organizers of the TOGETHER Trial, which aims to identify approved drugs that can be repurposed to treat COVID-19. The team’s study included 1,497 people in Brazil who had COVID-19 and were at high risk of severe disease. Roughly half received fluvoxamine, and the rest received a placebo.

"The trial’s results, published on 27 October, mean that fluvoxamine is one of a handful of therapies that show strong evidence of preventing progression from mild to severe COVID-19. The only early-stage treatments currently recommended by the US National Institutes of Health are monoclonal antibodies, which are costly and difficult to administer in an outpatient setting. Experts are excited about the results, but stress that there are caveats.... 

"Fluvoxamine’s low cost could make it accessible worldwide, says study co-author Edward Mills, a health researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. A ten-day course costs only about US$4, and the drug’s patents have expired, meaning that any company can produce it.... It’s possible that pairing fluvoxamine with a drug that interferes with viral replication, such as Merck’s upcoming antiviral molnupiravir, could be even more effective, Mills says."

Read more: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-02988-4

Read study: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(21)00448-4/fulltext

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Vaccine mandates are the new segregation

Vaccine mandates: a new form of ‘institutional segregation’ | Baltimore Sun - Peter Doshi & Aditi Bhagarva:

August 31, 2021 - "Increasingly, vaccination is no longer a matter of choice. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of workplaces and schools are instituting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.... But mandating people and their children who have consciously chosen not to get vaccinated — a group that tends to be younger, less educated, Republican, non-white and uninsured — is a recipe for creating new and deeper fractures within our society, the kind of fractures we may profoundly regret in hindsight.

"Let’s not sugarcoat it: This is a new form of institutionalized segregation. Yes, some unvaccinated adults may swallow this bitter pill and comply.... But many will see it — along with requirements that the unvaccinated wear masks or undergo regular COVID testing — as a thinly veiled attempt at public shaming....

"These practices diverge substantially from the historical norm of equal opportunity. For all other required vaccines, religious and philosophical exemptions allow unvaccinated children to enjoy the same educational experience as the vaccinated. This is because exemptions reflect a social value that in the United States, there are valid reasons for refusing treatments or vaccines, and these reasons will be respected. Once exempt, there are no sanctions experienced in everyday life. But with COVID vaccine mandates, even those with exemptions are being sanctioned, sending another clear message: We really don’t care about your reasons.

"And in schools, where a child’s experience will be shaped by their parents’ decisions and those of policymakers, the situation could become tragic. If schools invite vaccinated children to lose their masks, what was once an act of social responsibility could morph into a mark of disease. What should we anticipate? Children of different ages being barred from mingling. Children being bullied, ridiculed and mocked, with taunts using terms like 'covidiot.' Differential treatment toward unvaccinated children by some teachers... Vaccinate-or-mask policies will drive a wedge between children and parents, cause daily psychological harm, carrying long lasting consequences for future generations.

"Some might see mandate resistance as a symptom of vaccine misinformation. But considering most of these individuals have complied with mandates for routine vaccines such as mumps and measles, diseases of far less societal consequence than COVID, is it not worth listening to their objections against COVID vaccine mandates?

"For some, there’s little value in a vaccine against a disease they have already recovered from, even as new variants develop. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by May, 120 million Americans of all ages (35% of the population) had already been infected with SARS-CoV-2. New data shows natural immunity is six to 13 times more protective against emerging variants than vaccines.

"For many, it is a product safety issue. The vaccines were developed and tested in months, not years, before rollout, and they were initially authorized by regulators in the context of an emergency. These people want greater assurances of safety and efficacy — something that requires additional time and data. Yet in response, some public commentators are calling for the FDA to speed its review process and approve all of the coronavirus vaccines.... Considering that the pivotal safety and efficacy trials were designed as two-year trials to finish in mid-2022, an approval this year can be seen as premature.

"Despite hundreds of millions of doses already in bodies, we are still in the learning phase regarding vaccine safety and efficacy, as can be witnessed in the data about “breakthrough infections” and previously unknown side effects like myocarditis and blood clots. Most people may accept this uncertainty and conclude that whatever the risks, they are outweighed by the benefits. But for the minority who desire greater scientific certainty, we should respect these reasons, not respond with mandates."

Read more: https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/op-ed/bs-ed-op-0901-no-vaccine-mandates-20210831-3f7ljoolbvg4bob76yqlnabqv4-story.html

Friday, November 19, 2021

Anti-mandate MPP launches Ontario First Party

Hillier announces run for Ontario Premier with new Ontario PPC party | Kingstonist - Cris Vilela:

November 8, 2021 - "Independent Member of Provincial Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston Randy Hillier announced on the morning of Monday, Nov. 8, 2021 that he would be running for Premier of Ontario in the next provincial election with a newly-formed Ontario PPC party. He made the announcement at a rally against vaccine mandates in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square.

"'I’ve got a little bit of announcement … you may have seen some paperwork going around the audience today. We’re gonna fight this politically as well. The purple wave is coming to Ontario,' Hillier announced to the crowd. 'We want to fight for freedom, for justice, for democracy, for fairness,' he continued. 'We have to fight this everywhere. But this is a cultural war, and how we win cultural wars is also at the ballot box … the purple wave is here, and we’ll be on the ballot box, and I’ll be leading them for the June election in 2022,' Hillier said, to cheers from the gathered crowd."

Read more: https://www.kingstonist.com/news/politics-2/hillier-announces-run-for-ontario-premier-with-new-ontario-ppc-party/


Pro-freedom, anti-mandate MPP announces run for Ontario Premier under new People’s Party - LifeSite News - Anthony Murdoch:  

November 9, 2021 - "Hillier, who has been an MPP since 2007, has been a fierce opponent to mask and COVID-19 jab mandates, having spoken at many anti-lockdown and pro-freedom rallies for well over a year. After being tossed from the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) by Premier Doug Ford in 2019, Hillier has sat as an independent for the riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston.

"On Sunday, Hillier said that the people are in a 'war' against 'the enemy of big pharma, big corporate interests that are profiteering through these 20 months' as well as 'big government' and public health.

"'To win this battle, it only takes one thing, and for all of us, to be honest, all of us to have this courage, the conviction, to speak truthfully and honestly, we’re going to fight this politically as well,” Hillier said. 'We ... are doing this for sons, our daughters, our grandsons, our granddaughters. Let’s do it and make sure that they have just as much freedom as when I was when I was that little boy back in elementary school. And let’s have a culture that reflects our faith, our freedom, and our family'....

"Hillier is not the only independent Ontario MPP who will be running in the 2022 provincial election under a new party. Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios, who was ousted from Ford’s PC party for voting against extending lockdowns, started a new conservative Ontario party with her husband Jim called 'The New Blue Party of Ontario.' The New Blue Party of Ontario will be a 'true blue' party with 'blue values,' the couple said."

Read more: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pro-freedom-anti-covid-jab-mandate-politician-announces-he-will-run-for-premier-in-ontario/


Thursday, November 18, 2021

New Delhi government looks at smog lockdown

Schools close as smog-laden India capital considers lockdown | CTV News - Sheikh Saaliq & Shonal Ganguly, AP:

November 17, 2021 - ""Authorities closed schools indefinitely and shut down some coal-burning power plants Wednesday to reduce air pollution in India's smog-shrouded capital and neighbouring states, as the country weighs an unprecedented and more far-reaching step: a lockdown in New Delhi.... 

"The New Delhi state government said it is open to the idea of a weekend lockdown to reduce automobile traffic and potentially other air-polluting activity in the city, and it is awaiting the go-ahead from India's Supreme Court. A decision could come as early as Nov. 24. It's not clear how extensive the lockdown would be. Authorities are discussing whether to allow industries to continue operating. 

"Some experts said a lockdown would achieve very little in controlling pollution and would instead cause disruptions in the economy and harm the livelihoods of millions of people. 'This is not the solution that we are looking for, because this is hugely disruptive. And we also have to keep in mind that the economy is already under pressure, poor people are at risk,' said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director at the Center for Science and Environment, a research and advocacy organization in New Delhi....

"Besides closing schools and shutting down some power plants, the Commission for Air Quality Management ordered a stop to construction until Nov. 21 and banned trucks carrying non-essential goods. The panel also directed the affected states to encourage work from home for half of the employees in all private offices.

"Levels of dangerous particles in New Delhi's air Wednesday were as high as seven times the safe level, climbing above 300 micrograms per cubic meter in some parts of the city. The World Health Organization designates the safe level as 25. Forecasters warned air quality will worsen before the arrival of cold winds next week that will blow away the smog.

"Earlier this month, air pollution reached the 'severe' level in the capital, and residents faced bouts of heavy, multiday pollution. That prompted the Supreme Court last week to order state and federal governments to take 'imminent and emergency' action. New Delhi authorities responded by proposing a lockdown and closing schools for a week....

"Experts say such emergency measures are not helpful in the long run. 'These are done only to ensure that you don't worsen the situation, that you shave off the peak. But it is not a silver bullet that is going to just clean the air immediately,' Roychowdhury said."

Read more: https://www.ctvnews.ca/climate-and-environment/schools-close-as-smog-laden-india-capital-considers-lockdown-1.5669436

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Washington D.C. mayor clings to mask mandate

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser Will Finally Relax D.C.'s Stubborn Mask Mandate | Reason - Robby Soave: 

November 16, 2021 - "Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will finally relax the city's mask mandate, she announced on Tuesday. On Monday, November 22, many indoor spaces will once again be allowed to forgo masks for customers, visitors, employees, and residents. Notable exceptions include public schools, public transportation, and government buildings....

"Bowser previously rescinded the mask mandate, then brought it back in July when COVID-19 cases began to increase.... Unlike the actions of local officials in nearby counties, including in Montgomery County, Maryland, who linked the mandate to a certain case threshold, Bowser never gave any indication what metrics would be used to determine when to relax the mandate. And while the delta wave did cause an increase in COVID-19 cases in Washington, it had no effect whatsoever on D.C.'s death rate. The city's seven-day death average has hovered at one or below the entire time that delta has been a serious issue. (It was last above one on May 24, 2021.)

"It would be hard to argue that the mask mandate was what kept delta deaths at bay, since all those masks failed to prevent cases from increasing. Widespread vaccination — which dramatically reduces severe disease and death — is the public health initiative that's working well, not the mask mandate.

"Yet Bowser's administration leaned hard on mask mandates as a pandemic prevention tool, even prioritizing them over vaccination in some curious cases. When D.C. gyms petitioned the city government to allow them to require their customers to be vaccinated rather than masked, for example, city health officials said no.

"Bowser's decision to keep the mask mandate in place for schools is a perfect example of the government's incoherent thinking about COVID-19 risks. While many school-aged children remain unvaccinated, they are at very low risk of a negative coronavirus health outcome — whether they are vaccinated or not. Elderly Americans who are vaccinated have much more to fear from COVID-19 than kids do, so it makes little sense to link the withdrawal of mask mandates to the degree of vaccination among the kinds of people who congregate in a given location.

"It is long past time to accept that COVID-19 is endemic and that there will always be some level of risk associated with it. People can drastically reduce their risk by getting vaccinated, getting booster shots, or even practicing greater caution if they so choose. It is not the government's responsibility to assign the correct level of risk to each individual American, and local officials like Bowser should not get to reimpose mask mandates just because they feel like it."

Read more: https://reason.com/2021/11/16/muriel-bowser-mask-mandate-washington-dc-covid-19/

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

New science undercuts case for vaccine mandates

McCaughey: New vax science shows mandates unwise | Boston Herald - Betsy McCaughey:

November 8, 2021 -"New scientific findings in the prestigious Lancet Infectious Diseases journal blow a hole in the argument that workers need to get vaccinated to protect those around them. The findings prove the foolishness of forcing police and other public employees to get jabbed or lose their pay. And President Joe Biden should retract his order to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to compel large employers to mandate vaccines.

"The journal reported Thursday that COVID-19 vaccines have 'minimal' impact on preventing transmission of the delta strain ... the COVID strain currently causing over 99% of U.S. cases. Vaccines protect the people getting the shots from serious illness, but they don’t stop the delta variant from spreading to others....

"Americans should choose to get vaccinated. The key word is 'choose'.... Though shots are no guarantee against getting infected and spreading it to others, they provide significant protection (90% or more) against hospitalization and death. I’m triple jabbed. Choosing not to get vaccinated is choosing to risk your own life. The health risk to others is minimal. Most vaccines — against polio, smallpox, measles and other diseases — prevent infection and spread. But not COVID-19 vaccines....

"Governors and mayors from Maine to Los Angeles are demanding that public employees, and even nurses and doctors, hailed just months ago as heroes, get vaxxed or go without a job. Just as politicians don’t read the bills before voting on them, they don’t keep up with science but still want to tell the rest of us what to do.

"The groundbreaking findings in Lancet show that fully vaccinated people who came down with COVID infected others in their household at the same rate (about 25%) as unvaccinated people did (about 23%). The vaccinated had just as much viral load in their upper respiratory tract, making them just as contagious. The British researchers also found that vaccinated people were only somewhat less likely to contract the virus (25%) compared with the unvaccinated (38%)....

"Meanwhile, the White House is pressing large companies to mandate vaccinations and calling on OSHA to enforce that policy with hefty penalties. The Build Back Better bill increases the penalties tenfold to as much as $700,000 per incident for hazardous conditions, threatening bankruptcy for all but the largest enterprises. The Biden administration expects to publish the rules in the Federal Register in the coming days, affecting about two-thirds of the private sector workforce. Yet the new science undercuts OSHA’s claim that unvaccinated people are a workplace hazard.

"Lancet Infectious Diseases stressed the urgency of improving current vaccines or developing new ones to actually 'protect against asymptomatic infections and onward transmission.' Foolishly, the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress vilify the vaccine developer Moderna for making a profit and threaten to seize its patents. It’s possible COVID will continue morphing into new variants, requiring new vaccines from companies like Moderna. When you’re fighting a war — in this case, against a killer disease — attacking your own ammunitions maker is no way to win it."

Read more: https://www.bostonherald.com/2021/11/08/mccaughey-new-vax-sciences-shows-mandates-unwise/

Read study: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(21)00648-4/fulltext

Monday, November 15, 2021

Lockdowns, protests in Austria and Netherlands

Covid: Dutch partial Covid lockdown sparks protests | BBC News - Reuters:

November 14, 2021 - "Police in the Netherlands have used water cannon on protesters opposed to a new partial lockdown imposed amid record coronavirus infections and rising intensive care cases. Three weeks of restrictions for shops, sport and catering were announced by Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday.... The Dutch prime minister said ... the three-week partial lockdown would start on Saturday evening:

  • Non-essential shops will have to shut at 18:00 (17:00 GMT) and supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and hotels at 20:00
  • Professional and amateur sport will continue, but behind closed doors. That includes the Netherlands' football World Cup qualifier against Norway on 16 November
  • The 18:00 closure applies to casinos and saunas as well as hairdressers and sex workers
  • A maximum of four guests aged over 13 will be allowed at people's homes
  • As many people should work from home as possible
  • Cinemas and theatres will stay open. 
  • Social distancing of 1.5m (5ft) is being reintroduced where Covid passes are not in operation.

"The catering industry has reacted angrily to the news; a spokesman told public broadcaster NOS the government had 'crossed a line'. Last weekend, thousands of protesters marched through The Hague in anger at existing Covid restrictions.... Protesters took to the streets in The Hague after Mr Rutte's announcement. Police fired water cannon after some of the crowd started throwing stones and fireworks at them."

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59258409


Austria Orders the Unvaccinated Back Into Lockdown | Reason - Christian Britschgi:

November 15, 2021 - "Austria is ordering its unvaccinated population back into lockdown in an effort to 'encourage' more people to get the jab. On Sunday, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced that those who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but who haven't received it or haven't recently recovered from COVID-19, will have to stay in their homes unless engaged in essential business or travel, reports Politico.

"That means unvaccinated people over the age of 12 will only be allowed to leave the house in order to do things like go to the grocery store or go on a walk, says the Los Angeles Times. Those with a negative COVID-19 test will be able to go to work as well, reports The Guardian.

"The new policy affects roughly 2 million people out of the country's population of nearly 9 million. Some 63 percent of Austria's population is fully vaccinated.... Violators will be hit with fines of 500 euros ($572). Police will also be conducting random stops of citizens to enforce the new lockdown policy. Those who refuse to participate in these checks can be fined an additional 1,450 euros ($1,658), says the BBC....

"Protests erupted in the capital city of Vienna in response to the lockdown, and the right-wing Freedom Party has promised to challenge its legality.

"German politicians are also considering similar restrictions. This week, the left-wing Greens and Social Democrats alongside the classical liberal Free Democrats (the three political parties likely to form the country's next coalition government) proposed requiring unvaccinated people to show a negative COVID-19 test when traveling on public transportation. Green co-chair Robert Habeck said the proposed restrictions amounted to a 'lockdown for the unvaccinated,' reports Politico. Berlin and other German state governments have gone further by limiting access to restaurants, theaters, and other public venues to the unvaccinated beginning this week."

Read more: https://reason.com/2021/11/15/austria-orders-the-unvaccinated-back-into-lockdown/ 

Protests occurred around the world on the weekend: 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Long Covid associated with beliefs, not antibodies

Mind over matter? Long Covid study sparks controversy | MedicalXpress

November 12, 2021 - "A large-scale French study suggesting symptoms of so-called long COVID may be more due to psychological factors than to infection with the virus has sparked debate among patients and scientists. The report that appeared earlier this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association focused on nearly 27,000 participants across France who took antibody tests to screen for COVID infection. After the subjects had received the antibody test results, researchers asked them whether they believed they had been infected with COVID and to report on symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness or impaired attention.

"The vast majority of respondents — over 25,000 people — tested negative for COVID antibodies and believed they had never been sick. Of the some 1,000 who tested positive, about 450 believed they had contracted the virus. Finally, about 460 people who received negative antibody tests said they nonetheless believed they had had COVID.

"Researchers found that people who believed they had had COVID, whether or not they had had a positive test, were more likely to report long-term symptoms. A positive antibody test, meanwhile, was only consistently associated with one long-term symptom: loss of smell. They concluded that persistent physical symptoms 'may be associated more with the belief in having been infected with SARS-CoV-2 than with having laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection'.

"The study coordinated by Cedric Lemogne, head of psychiatry at the Hotel-Dieu hospital in Paris, suggested the findings were important in order to allow research into other causes of the symptoms. 'A medical evaluation of these patients may be needed to prevent symptoms due to another disease being erroneously attributed to "long COVID",' it said."

Read more: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-11-mind-covid-controversy.html


Long Covid doesn't exist, volume one zillion | Substack - Alex Berenson:

November 10, 2021 - "The Journal of the American Medical Association has another stunning paper out ... on post-Covid symptoms.... Researchers asked people to report whether they had had Covid and whether they had any of 18 lasting symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, or cough. They found that self-reported Covid was very strongly associated with nearly every symptom. 

"But the scientists ... also ... compared self-reported symptoms in people with antibodies — that is, people who had actually been infected and recovered from Covid — to the general population. And they found no difference in almost any symptom. Covid was not a risk factor for chest pain, or breathing difficulties, or trouble focusing, or stomach pain, or any of the many, many other complaints that long Covid 'patients' and interest groups say are real. There was one interesting exception; people with Covid antibodies did have a much higher rate of anosmia, losing one’s sense of smell. Because anosmia is a known and lasting side effect, it serves as a useful control of sorts.

"The researchers also found that almost 60 percent of the people with antibodies HAD NO IDEA THEY HAD EVEN HAD COVID AT ALL. Meanwhile ... more than half the people who said they had had Covid had no antibodies.... The study strongly suggests that many people are using previous Covid diagnoses — either real or imagined — to help explain away common physical symptoms such as joint pain or cough. It also suggests that actually being infected [with] Covid is far less risky than thinking you have been infected with Covid for many people..... 

"This study should slow, if not stop, the rush to medicalize long Covid. It is yet more proof that the illness is a group of squishy (if painful and difficult) symptoms looking for a name - and more importantly a billing code. But so many patients and physicians and public health experts are now invested (in some cases literally) in making long Covid real that the gravy train will likely roll on."

Read more: https://alexberenson.substack.com/p/long-covid-doesnt-exist-volume-one

Read study: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2785832

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Sweden shows futility of lockdown experiment

How Sweden swerved Covid disaster | Unherd - Johan Anderberg:

November 8, 2021 - "Until recently, prohibition remained the largest experiment in social engineering a democracy had ever undertaken. And then, in early 2020, a new virus began to spread from China. Faced with this threat, the world’s governments responded by closing schools, banning people from meeting, forcing entrepreneurs to shut their businesses and making ordinary people wear face masks. Like prohibition, this experiment provoked a debate. In all the democracies of the world, freedom was weighed against what was perceived as security; individual rights versus what was considered best for public health.

"Few now remember that for most of 2020, the word 'experiment' had negative connotations. That was what Swedes were accused of conducting when we — unlike the rest of the world — maintained some semblance of normality. The citizens of this country generally didn’t have to wear face masks; young children continued going to school; leisure activities were largely allowed to continue unhindered. This experiment was judged early on as 'a disaster' (Time magazine), 'the world’s cautionary tale' (New York Times), 'deadly folly' (the Guardian).... The hypothesis of the outside world was that ... absence of restrictions, open schools, reliance on recommendations instead of mandates and police enforcement would result in higher deaths than other countries. Meanwhile, the lack of freedom endured by the citizens of other countries would 'save lives'. At this stage, it was not unreasonable to conclude that Sweden would pay a high price for its freedom. Throughout the spring of 2020, Sweden’s death toll per capita was higher than most other countries.

"But the experiment didn’t end there. During the year that followed, the virus continued to ravage the world and, one by one, the death tolls in countries that had locked down began to surpass Sweden’s. Britain, the US, France, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, Argentina, Belgium — countries that had variously shut down playgrounds, forced their children to wear facemasks, closed schools, fined citizens for hanging out on the beach and guarded parks with drones — have all been hit worse than Sweden. At the time of writing, more than 50 countries have a higher death rate.... If Sweden was a part of the US, its death rate would rank number 43 of the 50 states. 

Graph courtesy CTV News

"This fact is shockingly underreported. Consider the sheer number of articles and TV segments devoted to Sweden’s foolishly liberal attitude to the pandemic last year.... Suddenly, it is as if Sweden doesn’t exist.... 

"From a human perspective, it is easy to understand the reluctance to face these numbers. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that millions of people have been deprived of their freedom, and millions of children have had their education gravely damaged, for little demonstrable gain. Who wants to admit that they were complicit in this? But what one American judge called the 'laboratories of democracy' have conducted their experiment — and the result is increasingly clear.

"Exactly why it turned out this way is harder to explain, but perhaps the 'noble experiment' of the 1920s in the US can offer some clues. Prohibition didn’t win because the freedom argument prevailed. Nor was it because the substance itself had become any less harmful.... The reason for the eventual demise of the alcohol ban was that it simply didn’t work. No matter what the law said, Americans didn’t stop drinking alcohol.... The mistake the American authorities made was to underestimate the complexity of society. Just because they banned alcohol did not mean that alcohol disappeared. People’s drives, desires and behaviours were impossible to predict or fit into a plan. 

"A hundred years later, a new set of authorities made the same mistake. Closing schools didn’t stop children meeting in other settings; when life was extinguished in cities, many fled them, spreading the infection to new places; the authorities urged their citizens to buy food online, without thinking about who would transport the goods from home to home.

"If the politicians had been honest with themselves, they might have foreseen what would happen. For just as American politicians were constantly caught drinking alcohol during the prohibition, their successors were caught 100 years later breaking precisely the restrictions they had imposed on everyone else. The mayors of New York and Chicago, the British government’s top advisor, the Dutch Minister of Justice, the EU Trade Commissioner, the Governor of California all broke their own rules.

"It isn’t easy to control other people’s lives. It isn’t easy to dictate desirable behaviours in a population via centralised command. These are lessons that many dictators have learned. During the Covid pandemic, many democracies have learned it too. The lesson has perhaps not yet sunk in, but hopefully it will eventually. Then perhaps it will be another 100 years before we make the same mistake again."

Read more: https://unherd.com/2021/11/how-sweden-swerved-covid-disaster/

Friday, November 12, 2021

UK gov't set to fire 50,000 care home workers

Care homes in England set to lose 50,000 staff as Covid vaccine becomes mandatory | The Guardian - Robert Booth:

November 10, 2021 - "Tens of thousands of care home residents face losing vital support as unvaccinated carers clock off for the last time before double vaccinations become mandatory. About 50,000 care home staff who have not had two doses in England will not be allowed to work from Thursday. Analysis by the Guardian suggests that on current staff/resident ratios and without other measures to tackle the problem, the care of about 30,000 people could be affected.

"On Wednesday, care leaders pleaded with the health secretary for an 11th hour reprieve, urging Sajid Javid to allow unvaccinated carers to keep working at least until NHS staff face mandatory vaccines from next April.... Nadra Ahmed, executive chair of the National Care Association, which represents independent providers who are expected to be worst hit by staff shortages, said: 'There is still time to bring the deadline in line with the NHS and support the sector to have a fighting chance to get through the winter months. It may avoid the closure of essential beds when we most need them as a nation.'

"Care operators and health leaders have warned that staff shortfalls could prevent thousands of people from being discharged from hospitals this winter, limiting admissions and clogging up wards. They say it will increase pressure on remaining care staff to work longer hours, despite many being already exhausted.

"One of the largest not-for-profit operators, MHA, estimates that about 750 care homes may have already stopped taking new admissions because of the staffing crisis. Seven of its homes are closed to new entrants and it is losing up to 150 staff because of the vaccine policy this week....

"The Department of Health and Social Care has said councils will help care operators with staff shortages, that it has provided town halls with over £1bn of additional funding for social care this year, and that it is running a TV recruitment campaign.

"The National Care Forum, which represents not-for-profit care homes, said a snap survey last week showed that on average 3.5% of operators’ staff have already left as a result of resignation or dismissal, and estimate a further 4.4% might leave. Care operators fear remaining staff may be so stretched they will have no choice but to limit help with all but the most essential services, meaning trips out, games and entertainment, which create the sense of living rather than merely existing, will be reduced.

"On Wednesday, the Relatives and Residents Association warned that care home residents’ human rights continue to be breached as 'the only group still living under stringent government restrictions whilst the rest of the country gets back to normal'. Amid anger at ongoing visiting restrictions, it has told an investigation into the issue by parliament’s joint committee on human rights that it 'hears daily [on its helpline] about the devastating impact measures to manage the pandemic have had on the lives of older people'."

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/10/care-homes-in-england-set-to-lose-50000-staff-as-covid-vaccine-becomes-mandatory 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

US gov't employees file suit against vax mandate

NCLA & TPPF File Class-Action Suit for Naturally Immune Fed. Employees Against Covid Vaccine Mandate | New Civil Liberties Alliance (press Release):

November 5, 2021 – "Federal workers with naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19 filed a class-action lawsuit today against their employer, the U.S. government, as well as Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, the group designated to act as the intermediate enforcer of the executive order mandating that all federal employees get vaccinated. The lawsuit, James Joseph Rodden, et al. v. Dr. Anthony Fauci, et al., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil liberties group, contends that the Federal Employee Vaccine Mandate violates employees’ constitutional and statutory rights. The Texas Public Policy Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institution based in Austin, Texas, serves as co-counsel in the case.

"The named plaintiffs in this case are employed by government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Secret Service. All possess naturally acquired immunity as confirmed by recent SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests and a medical expert. In addition to James Rodden, they include: Isaac McLaughlin, Gabriel Escoto, Michelle Morton, Waddie Jones, Ryan Biggers, Carole Mezzacapo, Edward Surgeon, Susan Reynolds, Roy Egbert, and George Gammon.

"The Executive Order issued by the Biden administration in September proclaims that 'it is necessary to require COVID-19 vaccination for all Federal employees' to halt the spread of the disease. NCLA argues the Vaccine Mandate undermines Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to bodily integrity and to decline medical treatment, and their statutory right to withhold informed consent. It conditions their employment on their willingness to take a vaccine that is medically unnecessary for them given their existing antibody levels. Their proof of antibodies demonstrates sufficient natural immunity to protect their co-workers as well or better than approved vaccines for COVID-19.

"The federal government does not consider employees fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving a single-shot series or the second dose of a two-shot series. They must get the vaccine by November 8 to comply with the Vaccine Mandate. Those who do not comply with the looming, aggressive deadline face potential disciplinary action, including termination of employment. As established through their declarations, several experts attest that it is medically unnecessary for these individuals to undergo vaccination at this point. Though the COVID-19 vaccines appear to be relatively safe at a population level, they still carry a risk of side effects, including severe adverse reactions and even death in rare cases. And once administered, there is no way to un-vaccinate someone.

"Given naturally acquired immunity, the Federal Defendants cannot establish a compelling governmental interest in overriding Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights and personal autonomy by making their continued employment contingent upon their receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The Federal Vaccine Mandate also violates the Emergency Use Authorization law, which allows the government to authorize drugs that have not yet received full FDA approval and make them available to people who want them, on a strictly voluntary basis. The statute specifies that patients have a right to informed consent and to refuse administration of an EUA drug. But the Task Force has turned a permissive procedure to get possibly helpful drugs on the market in a crisis into an unlawful mandate.

"Plaintiffs request temporary and permanent injunctive relief from the Federal Employee Vaccine Mandate, and a declaratory judgment that the mandate infringes upon their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights'....

"For more information visit the case page here." 

Read more: https://nclalegal.org/2021/11/ncla-tppf-file-class-action-suit-for-naturally-immune-fed-employees-against-covid-vaccine-mandate/

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Melbourne Australia's largest pandemic protest

‘KILL THE BILL’: Largest protest in Melbourne so far | Rebel News - Alexandra Marshall:

November 05, 2021 - "Thousands have marched through the streets of Melbourne towards Parliament in a major protest event. The crowd gathered on the steps of Parliament to protest the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 put forward by the Daniel Andrews government. 

"This is the largest crowd by far to assemble since the beginning of the pandemic, stretching beyond view in all directions. According to independent journalist Rukshan – who was on the ground covering the event live – the protest was ten times larger than the protest last weekend. Protesters promised to assemble next weekend with double the number.

"'Each one standing here is a hero,' said one protester, on the steps of Parliament. 'We shouldn’t have to be standing here. Each one of you is standing here giving away the livelihoods that they [the government] are taking away from us.' The crowd [chanted] 'Kill the Bill!' in between announcements.

"The ... new pandemic Bill ... has been described by lawyers as affording the Premier ‘indefinite dictatorial powers’ over the state of Victoria. It is expected that the Bill will pass with the support of Labor and some independent parties, including the Animal Justice Party, Reason Party, and the Greens....

"The protest moved peacefully through the street with police monitoring, rather than interacting, with the demonstrators.... 

"'There is an army of people here today to protect Australia,' said another protester, talking about the destruction of human rights in Victoria. Australian flags were flown upside down to show 'dire distress in an instance of extreme danger to life or property'.

"'Obviously the numbers of people are growing, who are prepared to show some courage,' said ex-policeman Craig Backman. 'The bullshit narrative is crumbling all over the world. They have been lying to us for two years. The virus is fear. The pandemic is greed. There's always someone who wants to rule the world.'

"In particular, the speakers rallied against Daniel Andrews discriminating against people based on their vaccination status, including the Premier's threats to 'lock them out of the economy' well into 2022.

"'The media needs to take a hard look at themselves, because they participated in betraying the people,' said Rukshan, talking about the portrayal of protesters in the mainstream media as 'far right'. There have been numerous attempts to discredit Freedom, anti-lockdown, and 'Kill the Bill' protesters in Victoria with Labor politicians going so far as to call them 'man-baby Nazis' when CFMEU [Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union] workers protested outside the CFMEU headquarters."

Read more: https://www.rebelnews.com/_kill_the_bill_largest_protest_in_melbourne_so_far

SIGN THE PETITION TO KILL THE BILL. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Studies confirm Covid-vaccine protection waning

Study shows dramatic decline in effectiveness of all three COVID-19 vaccines over time | Los Angeles Times - Melissa Healystaff:

November 4, 2021 - "As the Delta variant became the dominant strain of the coronavirus across the United States, all three COVID-19 vaccines available to Americans lost some of their protective power, with vaccine efficacy among a large group of veterans dropping between 35% and 85%, according to a new study. Researchers who scoured the records of nearly 800,000 U.S. veterans found that in early March ... the three vaccines were roughly equal in their ability to prevent infections. But over the next six months, that changed dramatically.

  • By the end of September, Moderna’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, measured as 89% effective in March, was only 58% effective.
  • The effectiveness of shots made by Pfizer and BioNTech, which also employed two doses, fell from 87% to 45% in the same period.
  • And most strikingly, the protective power of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine plunged from 86% to just 13% over those six months. 

"The findings were published Thursday in the journal Science.

"The three vaccines held up better in their ability to prevent COVID-19 deaths, but by July — as the Delta variant began to drive a three-month surge of infections and deaths — the shots’ effectiveness on that score also revealed wide gaps. 

  • Among veterans 65 and older who were inoculated with the Moderna vaccine, those who developed a so-called breakthrough infection were 76% less likely to die of COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated veterans of the same age. 
  • Older veterans who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and subsequently experienced a breakthrough infection were 70% less likely to die than were their unvaccinated peers. 
  • And when older vets who got a single jab of the J&J vaccine suffered a breakthrough infection, they were 52% less likely to die than their peers who didn’t get any shots.

"For veterans younger than 65, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provided the best protection against a fatal case of COVID-19, at 84% and 82%, respectively. When younger veterans inoculated with the J&J vaccine suffered a breakthrough infection, they were 73% less likely to die of COVID-19 than were their unvaccinated peers."

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2021-11-04/study-shows-dramatic-decline-in-effectiveness-of-covid-19-vaccines

Read study: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abm0620


Covid: How long does vaccine based immunity last? | Sebastian Rushworth MD

November 5, 2021 - "It’s unfortunate that the drug companies decided to end their trials early, by giving active covid vaccine to the members of the placebo group after just a few months.... This means that we are instead forced to rely entirely on observational data as we try to understand how safe and effective the vaccines are over the longer term. That is why a recent study out of Sweden is so very interesting. It is currently available as a preprint.... The purpose of the study was to determine how effective the vaccines are at protecting against covid over the longer term.... 

"The authors of the study began by identifying all people residing in Sweden who had been fully vaccinated against covid-19 by late May 2021 [who] were then matched individually against people of the same age and gender, and living in the same municipality, who hadn’t been vaccinated. In total, 1,684,958 individuals were included in the study. They were followed until October to see if they developed covid-19....

"[T]he vaccines were very effective at preventing symptomatic covid around two months out from vaccination. This is what the randomized trials showed.... Overall, the reduction in relative risk at 31-60 days out from vaccination was 89%. However, after those first two months, there was a rapid decline in efficacy. At four to six months, the vaccines were only reducing the relative risk of infection by 48%!... One vaccine did still provide a better than 50% relative risk reduction at six months – the Moderna vaccine. At four to six months, the relative risk reduction with the Moderna vaccine was 71%. Pfizer was at the same time point only offering a 47% reduction in risk, and AstraZeneca was at that point not doing anything whatsoever to lower risk....

"By the nine month mark, the Pfizer vaccine is no longer offering any protection whatsoever against symptomatic covid-19. Unfortunately, nine month out data isn’t offered for the Moderna vaccine due to the small number of people for whom that information is currently available, but at six months out, the Moderna vaccine’s ability to prevent symptomatic covid-19 had dropped to only 59%. So there is a continuous decline in effectiveness at each time point measured even for the Moderna vaccine, without any sign of levelling off....

"People over the age of 80 initially show a good response to the vaccine, with a 73% reduction in relative risk of disease at one to two months out from vaccination. However this drops to only 50% at two to four months, and by six months there is no benefit whatsoever. Even for the middle aged (50-64 years) ... the vaccines are completely ineffective at preventing symptomatic disease by the four to six months mark. The only group for whom the vaccines are more than 50% effective by the four month mark is people under the age of 50 (for whom effectiveness at four to six months is 51%)....

"At one to two months out from vaccination, the vaccines provided a 91% reduction in risk of hospitalization or death. By four to six months, that had dropped to 74%. And from six months out, the reduction was down to 42%, although the difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated group was no longer statistically significant. In other words, at the six month time point it was no longer possible to detect a statistically significant effect of vaccination on risk of hospitalization or death....

"As I see it, there are two possible explanations for the rapidly declining effectiveness of the vaccines. The first is that it’s due to ... the vaccines themselves, and the second is that it’s due to ... the rise of the delta variant. If the second reason is true, then there is no reason whatsoever to give people boosters, because the boosters won’t do anything to improve immunity. If the first reason is true, then there is a case to be made for boosters, although it feels pretty absurd to give everyone a booster every four months to protect against a virus that for most people is little more than a cold.... There is however a pretty good case to be made for regular boosting of the multi-morbid elderly every four months, preferentially with the Moderna vaccine....

"The vaccines are much less effective than was initially believed, and effectiveness declines rapidly. With that being the case, the idea that it’s going to be possible for countries to vaccinate themselves out of the pandemic is clearly nonsense. The only way the pandemic ends is by enough people getting infected and developing natural immunity, which is the same way every prior respiratory virus pandemic has ended."

Read more: https://sebastianrushworth.com/2021/11/05/covid-how-long-does-vaccine-based-immunity-last/

Read study: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3949410

Monday, November 8, 2021

UK government split over NHS Covid-vax mandate

NHS staff should be forced to have the jab BEFORE winter says former Health Secretary Matt Hancock as his successor Sajid Javid plans to delay law until April | Daily Mail - Luke Andrews: 

7 November 7, 2021 - "NHS workers should be forced to get two doses of the Covid vaccine before winter, disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today. Mr Hancock — who quit in June after breaching his own social distancing rules by kissing a married colleague — said the move would act as another 'tool to save lives' during what is projected to be a harsh winter for the health service. He also scorned NHS staff who are still not vaccinated and don't have a valid medical reason, warning that it was their 'moral duty' and that they had 'ignored all the scientific and clinical advice'.

"Ministers have for weeks been considering whether to make Covid jabs compulsory within the health service after pushing through the requirement for care home workers in the summer. But last week the Health Secretary Sajid Javid appeared to push back the plans until April after being warned by NHS bosses that introducing the policy now could leave hospitals understaffed at a crucial period. There are also concerns about whether the move is even necessary, given that more than nine in 10 NHS staff are already vaccinated.

"Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hancock, who was Health Secretary for three years, warned ministers against delaying compulsory vaccinations for the sector into the new year. He said: 'Having looked at all the evidence, I am now convinced we must require vaccination for everyone who works not just in social care but the NHS — and get it in place as fast as possible... So as we prepare to a face a difficult winter, let's use all the tools we have to save lives'.... Mr Hancock said doctors and nurses had a 'moral duty' to get the Covid vaccine to protect their patients.

"A SAGE adviser said today it was a 'general standard of hygiene' for anyone in a frontline role in contact with vulnerable patients to be double-vaccinated against Covid. But they stopped short of calling for jabs to be made compulsory, saying this should only be done as a 'last resort'. 

"All care home workers will be required to have had two doses of the Covid vaccine from Thursday or lose their jobs, under a policy brought in while Mr Hancock was Health Secretary."

Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10176229/NHS-staff-forced-jab-winter-says-former-Health-Secretary-Matt-Hancock.html

Some 100,000 NHS workers are yet to get at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. The above graph shows the
percentage that have got their first dose (blue line) and the percentage with both doses (orange line) - Daily Mail

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Vaxxers and anti-vaxxers

 Vaxxers and anti-vaxxers

by George J. Dance

As a Covid libertarian, I have often been called an "anti-vaxxer" on social media. By "Covid libertarian" I mean that I am a libertarian when it comes to Covid. Being a libertarian just means holding the basic libertarian belief (that it is prime facie wrong to force or coerce other people), and since a person can believe that on one issue but not on another, a person (whether they identify as a libertarian or not) can be a libertarian or not on a particular issue. A Covid libertarian is one who applies that belief to Covid as a political issue, i.e. to government policy during and regarding the Covid pandemic. 

Covid libertarians, then, oppose government mandates, whether the government is mandating lockdowns, business and church closings, mask wearing, or vaccination. They can have various beliefs about the value of staying home, avoiding contact, wearing masks, or being vaccinated during a pandemic. For the record, and for what it's worth, I believe all four of the latter have value. What defines a Covid libertarian is a lack of belief that those things' value is a reason to ignore libertarian principles and human rights, and go with force and coercion instead. 

But what is an "anti-vaxxer"? And whom or what are they "anti"? It turns out the term has two definitions. Historically, it has referred to the view of a small minority that opposes vaccination, whatever the reason, and refuses to be vaccinated, a meaning best summed up in the Oxford English Dictionary definition: "a person who is opposed to vaccination, especially a parent who does not wish to vaccinate their child because they believe it could be harmful.".(1) The word has had that meaning since 1812, when Edward Jenner coined it to describe opponents of his cowpox vaccine.(2) I am certainly not one of those. Vaccination can help protect one from injury, death, and even disease, depending on the disease and the vaccine, which strikes me as a good reason to be vaccinated. 

But there is another definition of "anti-vaxxer," which has been around since at least 2008, and its use has increased exponentially during the Covid pandemic. In 2018 that definition was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "a person who opposes the use of vaccines OR regulations mandating vaccination."[stress added](3) By that definition I am an anti-vaxxer, because I oppose vaccine mandates. 

The Merriam-Webster (MW) definition looks like an example of what Ayn Rand called "package dealing", or "the fallacy of ... treating together, as parts of a single conceptual whole or 'package,' elements which differ essentially in nature, truth-status, importance or value."(4) As with Rand's original example of the fallacy – the early 1960s media crusade against "extremism" – that fallacy is often used to demonize a group through guilt by association with an already demonized group. That is exactly how the word has come to be used during the pandemic; but, as was noted on Quora as early as 2018, the term was already a pejorative before that:  

There are dictionary definitions of anti-vaxxers, but there is no agreement. The reason is simple. Most of the use of the word anti-vaxxer is by people who are against vaccine choices, who see and label their opposition “anti-vaxxer”.... Dictionary com gives a simple, and more accurate definition “(slang, derogatory) An anti-vaccinationist.” Wictionary org gives a very similar, accurate definition: “(slang, derogatory) An anti-vaccinationist. ”
"Both definitions make the important point clear. The important part of the definition of an anti-vaxxer is not the meaning of the term ... anti-vaxxer is a negative, derogatory, slang term. It is used to insult people, to put them, their understanding, their ideas, their research, and everything about them and their friends into the “negative” box.... Anti-vaxxer is a contemptuous term for anyone who challenges any vaccine or vaccination information or dogma. It is also a contemptuous term for anyone who might listen to such a person, try to understand their position, or even dare to befriend them in any way.
In general the term anti-vaxxer is used by people who are anti-anti-vaxxer, who want to dismiss, insult, or worse, people who wish to make informed medical choices for themselves and their children. People who are anti-anti-vaxxers extend the term anti-vaxxer to anyone who makes the slightest challenge, question, or suggestion that vaccines are not akin to God.... The term anti-vaxxer is used to describe someone who is so bad that no further analysis is attempted. 
This is clearly seen in some of the more ridiculous definitions. Here’s the top version from UrbanDictionary.... “A person who thinks they know more about medicine and public health than the overwhelming majority of doctors, scientists, immunologists, and every major health organization across the whole entire planet. ‘Pfffft, I don't need to believe in "evidence based medicine" & fancy "science" made up by sheeple and shills! I'm an arrogant anti-vaxxer!’”
and another from UrbanDictionary of similar style[:] "A particularly toxic kind of narcissist who places their own science illiterate beliefs in woo over the welfare of their own children and that of the general population. "Oh great, another measles outbreak, thanks to those dumbass anti-vaxxers."
Note: Attempting to create an honest definition of “anti-vaxxer” is likely to have yourself labelled as one." (5

So the term has always been a smear, an ad hominem used to label and discredit some people's beliefs by attacking the people rather than dealing with the beliefs. But now, thanks to Merriam-Webster, I have been successfully labelled with it as well. But if I am to be defined and labelled by anyone (and with such a term!) , I should at least be allowed to define and label them in return.

Who has defined and labelled me this way? The Quora article calls them 'people who are anti-anti-vaxxers,' which gets our essential opposition across, but is way too long for a label. Therefore, I propose coining my own word – "vaxxer" (which I am claiming because I have failed to find any prior use) – and defining it as someone who believes the opposite of MW's anti-vaxxer:

Vaxxer: "a person who supports the use of vaccines AND regulations mandating vaccination." (stress added)

By this definition, everyone (with an opinion) is either a vaxxer or an anti-vaxxer, and no one is both. 

Let there be no confusion: "Vaxxer" does simply mean being pro-vaccination. It does not mean someone who gets vaccinated, or who supports or encourages vaccination: someone like me who does both of the latter, but opposes vaccine mandates, is an anti-vaxxer by MW's definition, and therefore not a vaxxer by mine. To make the distinction: Someone who is pro-vaccination is interested in getting vaccinated, and in letting or helping others get vaccinated; a vaxxer simply wants to vaccinate all of them. Like Caesar, who wanted the whole world to be taxed, vaxxers want the whole world to be vaxxed. They want a society where everyone is vaccinated. If possible, they would simply grab and jab them all, with or without their consent. Barring the legal power to do so, they advocate forcibly segregating the unvaccinated, excluding them from society as much as possible, entirely if they could. 

By the above definitions – MW's and mine – I am definitely, and defiantly, an "anti-vaxxer". I am not opposed to vaccination; but I am opposed to vaxxers and their schemes. Whether the scheme is to vaccinate everyone to get "herd immunity," or to get rid of the virus entirely, the effect is the same: Government power is being used to coerce people, to police everyone, to harass and stigmatize a minority, and to violate human rights. While some anti-vaxxers may pose some danger to me, some risk of infection, so does everyone else, including the Covid-vaccinated; that is something I have been able to deal with by social distancing, by sometime mask-wearing, and now by getting vaccinated myself. I see far more real danger from vaxxers and their plans, both to me and to my society, and no good way (other than vocal opposition) to deal with that risk.


References (accessed Nov. 6-7, 2021

(1) "Definition of anti-vaxxer," Oxford Learners' Dictionaries. https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/anti-vaxxer

(2) Ruki Sayid, "Anti-vaxxer, willy-waver and Wagwan among new words in Oxford Dictionary - see list." Daily Mirror, Sept. 10, 2021. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/anti-vaxxer-willy-waver-wagwan-24951465

(3) "Definition of anti-vaxxer," Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anti-vaxxer 

(4) "Package-dealing, fallacy of," Ayn Rand Lexicon. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/package-dealing,_fallacy_of.html

(5) Tracy Kolenchuk, "What is the exact definition of an anti-vaxxer? Does it mean someone who opposes some vaccines, all vaccines, or only mandatory vaccines?", Quora, Aug. 27, 2018. https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-exact-definition-of-an-anti-vaxxer-Does-it-mean-someone-who-opposes-some-vaccines-all-vaccines-or-only-mandatory-vaccines/answer/Tracy-Kolenchuk