May I start off with a request/reminder. There’s a reader survey in Friday’s regular newsletter, asking for your opinion on when things will return back to normal in the US. If you’ve not already responded to that survey, could I ask you to please do so now. A collation of responses, and comparing them to previous times the survey has been held, will be featured this coming Friday.
The key thing about any survey is of course that it should have a reasonably large number of responses, from people representative of the relevant population group as a whole. I know that, which is why I’m keen for as many responses as possible, but sometimes it seems our public health officials are unaware of this.
It continues to be dismaying to see how there is no clear consensus of opinion about many vital issues to do with the pandemic – things such as whether the vaccines are safe or dangerous, effective or useless, for example. Things like whether lots of people are dying, or whether the rates of death are now massively reduced and restricted only to the unvaccinated.
For example, how many times have you heard the statement that what we are now suffering is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”? That’s a really reassuring thing to see/hear if you’re vaccinated. But is it true? I’ve never thought to question it, because the claim has been backed up with claims that “99% of the people who die of Covid and 95% of people with Covid in hospital are unvaccinated” – that seems like an impossible to mess up statistic, right? There are only three states a person can be in – never vaccinated, partially vaccinated, fully vaccinated. There’s no room for interpretation or ambiguity in that status, similarly, there’s little ambiguity if a person is in hospital or not.
But, whether due to blithering idiocy or deliberate deception (and I’ve got to concede that with the never-ending and apparently escalating levels of blithering idiocy, one has to start to wonder about the other alternative) it turns out that this “pandemic of the unvaccinated” claim is totally fraudulent. The claim is not based on people in hospital yesterday or last week. It is based on older data, earlier in the year, and further, it is based on selective data. This is not “99% of everyone in hospital with Covid”, this is “99% of the people we selectively chose to count”.
Watch this video that starts off with the “Big Three” (CDC director Walensky, Fauci and Biden) all making the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” claim, then Walensky more uncertainly explaining the claim is based on analysis of data in only some states and back between January and June.
If you look at the three charts above, you’ll first note the low number of vaccinated people in the US in January and February. These are the people who would also be in hospital and dying in January, February, and much of March.
You’ll also note that any fatality and hospitalization data taken over the period January – June (the next two charts show US numbers) will be heavily weighted to the January/February data because that is when the vast majority of cases were occurring.
So, is it surprising that 95% of the people in hospital in January and February were unvaccinated? No, not at all surprising! The US didn’t even reach a 10% vaccination rate until 11 March, and that wouldn’t reflect in hospitalizations and deaths until later in March.
Walensky says “we are actively working to update those [statistics]”. How long does that take? How actively is the CDC working? Or does it like being able to claim scare statistics that might now be very different indeed if updated?
We don’t know. We totally don’t know. And the CDC is not telling us, even though it surely has every piece of data already loaded into its spreadsheets and databases.
A couple of days later, Walensky was quoted as saying “More than 97% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in mid-July were unvaccinated”. Speaking as a vaccinated person, I hope that is correct and that we can be reassured. But I’d sure like to see the raw data on which she is now relying.
By the way, it is interesting to keep watching the video, where a Professor of Viral Immunology brings up some interesting points about the downside of the vaccines we are using at present. He goes on to talk about the validity of immunity acquired as a result of being infected, and that’s another thing the experts totally can not agree upon.
At first we were told post-infection immunity would save us all (herd immunity), then we were told it might only last 3 – 6 months, then we were told that people who had already had a Covid virus should be vaccinated, then we were told they did not need to be vaccinated, then we were told that perhaps they should have one instead of two shots. We’ve been told the immunity might be long lasting, might protect us against fresh variants as they occur, and we’ve been told the opposite.
So, who do we believe? Why can’t the experts reach a consensus agreement on this? With now 15 months and millions of cases providing an extended time series and lots of data, why is the topic of immunity so contentious?
Another extremely important issue is what to expect of the future. The “bat woman” from Wuhan tells us to expect more mutations of the virus, (a cynic would suggest she tells us that because she’s hard at work making them as quickly as she can!) and the expert in the video linked to above also talks about how and why this is likely to happen. Other reports have also dwelled on doomsday scenarios suggesting it to be almost inevitable that worse mutations will appear and become prevalent – still more contagious, and still more deadly. Indeed, here’s an example of a new variant we know almost nothing about at present, but experts are rushing to say “it might be very bad” No experts are saying “it might not be bad at all”!
However, for a refreshing change, here’s an extremely calm level-headed and sensible analysis by another expert, who observes very correctly that the pandemic has created a market for doom and gloom. He makes an interesting point – he says
Over two million viral samples have been sequenced, and we’ve probably already seen all the mutations that are technically possible.
Could that be correct? That all viable mutations have already happened? Is it like rolling a pair of dice? Once all combinations of the two dice have appeared, each extra roll merely repeats earlier combinations?
I’ve of course absolutely no idea who is the more correct – this optimistic guy, or the doom and gloom crowd, who certainly are outnumbering the less pessimistic experts. But I’m unsettled by this huge divergence in analysis and prediction.
Another interesting thing to consider. The unspoken subtext to repeated claims that the lower mortality rate from the virus is due to more people being vaccinated is yet another apparent fact that may or may not withstand careful scrutiny. This New Yorker article raises some excellent points about how some experts are making the most amateurish of mistakes in not fairly matching death rates to the relevant infection rates. Because it takes a month or more between when a person is infected and the infection recorded, and when that person dies, if they’re going to die, and their death recorded (just getting the record of a death into the system can take two weeks!), some people confuse and mismatch today’s new case data with today’s death data.
But, remember, our case numbers are sharply rising at present. If you look at case numbers a month ago, instead of the 135,000 new cases being reported the last few days, you instead see numbers nearly ten times lower. When you compare today’s deaths to new cases a month ago, the mortality rate calculation rises ten-fold, and we end up much closer to mortality rates last year.
There is another consideration, too. The article mentions but doesn’t fully consider the implication of better care in hospitals. There is no doubt that doctors are slowly learning from their massive blunders of 15 months ago, plus some of the extremely expensive new treatments are effective. So the death rate is reducing not only due to whatever benefit vaccines are giving us, but they are reducing also by the use of regeneron and other treatments in the hospitals, too.
Again, one has to pause and wonder – are the experts truly making amateurish mistakes in misinterpreting the simple data, or are they deliberately distorting the data? I’m absolutely not saying they are deliberately distorting the data, but I am finding it harder and harder to ascribe every mistake to random incompetence.
One final opening point. Here’s a suggestion that I’ve been expecting to see for some time – if you’re not vaccinated, you should be required to pay all your own healthcare costs if you come down with a Covid infection.
This is an unsurprising suggestion, and on the face of it, even seems fair. We know that the vaccine costs very little, and we know that hospital stays cost ridiculously high sums of money. The vaccines are universally and abundantly available for everyone in this country; if a person refuses to be vaccinated, shouldn’t they have to cover the consequences of their decision?
But, here’s the thing. If we are going to apply that logic in this case, where else might it end up appearing, too? How about people who don’t get an annual ‘flu shot – if they end up with the ‘flu, should they pay for their healthcare too? Should smokers have to pay for cancer treatments (and those can quickly go over a million dollars, as friends have told me based on their experiences). Should people who don’t exercise sufficiently be required to pay for heart disease treatments? People who have unprotected gay sex be required to pay for AIDS treatments? If a person breaks a leg while skiing, must they pay for their leg to be set? And so on and so on.
The number and variety of illnesses and ailments that are foreseeable consequences of our lifestyle choices are enormous.
In the minor country list, Gibraltar rises another position. You may remember that Gibraltar is an interesting “special case” – it has vaccinated 116% of its entire population. The chart showing this achievement now adds an explanation – it has exceeded 100% because it has vaccinated non-residents as well. It reached the 100% point on 30 April.
But how is it not only still on the top ten list of minor countries, but rising up the list? I was talking about about the claims of this being a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. Not in Gibraltar…
The four countries near the top of the major country list, and all with very similar case counts, saw a series of place swappings this week, with the US rising up to fourth place, and Argentina rising two places to second. It is entirely foreseeable that the US might rise another place, and perhaps even two places, within the next week.
There were no changes of rank in the death rate table. And there were plenty of shifts in the most active country list. I noted the appearance of Israel, which surprised me because it is one of the world’s most vaccinated countries, and so out of interest, researched the vaccination rates of all the countries on that list – the 12 countries with the highest rates of new cases in the world, plus the US, and also showed the averages for Europe and the world.
I highlighted two of the data points – the world average, and the Europe average. In general terms, you’d expect France and Spain to be well below the European average vaccination rate, and most other countries to be well below the world average. But only four of the thirteen countries were where you’d expect them to be – below the world average. All the others were way higher, quite the opposite – almost seeming as if the higher the vaccination rate, the higher the infection rate.
Well, let’s simply say the benefit of being vaccinated is not immediately apparent from this chart, other than the claim that if you’re vaccinated, you’re less likely to be hospitalized or die, and as we saw above, both those claims seem to be unreliable rather than absolutely certain, too.
Top Case Rates Minor (population under 10 million) Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Andorra (189,641)||Andorra (191,677)|
|2||Seychelles (183,716)||Seychelles (187,663)|
|5||San Marino||Gibraltar (152,227)|
|6||Gibraltar (147,862)||San Marino|
|10||Luxembourg (115,969)||Luxembourg (116,549)|
Top Case Rates Major (population over 10 million) Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Czech Republic (155,975)||Czech Republic (156,083)|
|2||Netherlands (108,746)||Argentina (109,937)|
|3||Sweden (108,193)||Netherlands (109,789)|
|4||Argentina (108,137)||USA (109,693)|
|5||USA (107,381)||Sweden (108,622)|
|12||UK (86,136)||UK (88,891)|
Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Peru (5,869)||Peru (5,881)|
|2||Czech Republic (2,831)||Czech Republic (2,829)|
|8||Poland (1,991)||Poland (1,992)|
|9||UK (1,900)||UK (1,909)|
|10||USA (1,889)||USA (1,900)|
Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Cuba 5,422||Botswana 6,608|
|2||Georgia 4,881||Georgia 6,462|
|8||UK 2,722||UK 2,772|
|9||Kazakhstan 2,687||Israel 2,646|
|12||Iran 2,491||Spain 2,219|
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Items below include the CDC either can’t or won’t even bother accurately counting Covid cases, there’s a matching disinterest in solid vaccination statistics, a Pandora’s Box of new viruses, more lies and distortions about ivermectin – why are the anti-IVM people lying and distorting rather than quoting facts, how is it pharmacists can dictate what doctors prescribe, the lack of hard data to support any vaccine effectiveness claims, United switches from a carrot to a stick approach, but slowly, US new case numbers now hitting 130k a day, is the concept of “the wisdom of crowds” actually valid, pretty much the entire US should be wearing masks now per CDC guidance, a taxi company’s startling mask/vaccine policy, our own Federal Govt’s inconsistency with vaccination policies, and an ex-President sets surely a world record for the number of close friends.
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Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Thursday.