Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 21 October, 2021

The FDA goes all in for vaxxing – any vax at all. Or so it seems.  No matter what vaccine you had, and also no matter which booster you might want, the FDA says “go for it”.

I am astonished at this – not so much the decision per se, but the lack of foundation for it.  Remember, this is the FDA that refuses to acknowledge the value of ivermectin due to “insufficient studies done”.  And remember also that the only issue surrounding ivermectin is whether it might provide some degree of benefit or not – its safety has been settled, over the course of billions of doses and many decades.  At present, there have been 126 studies on ivermectin, 64 of which had formal control and test groups, 82 of which have been peer-reviewed, and in total, involving 49,000 patients.  All but six of these studies have shown strong to overwhelming support for ivermectin, and the six outliers can be criticized for not fairly testing the scenarios in which ivermectin is helpful.

Add to that ivermectin’s “real world” use with millions/possibly billions of Covid sufferers (especially in India) and the clear beneficial impacts ivermectin has provided, and any reasonable person would surely believe the evidence supporting ivermectin is beyond overwhelming.

But, let’s play the FDA’s game.  If this level of research and trial is insufficient, let’s now see the level of research and trial it deems okay for controversial vaccines with unknown and sometimes troubling safety profiles, and at best dubious efficacy.  In particular the unprecedented endorsement of a “mix and match” approach would surely need to be supported by a substantial amount of trialing of different combinations of vaccines, and different amounts of delay between each dose.

The FDA reveals its endorsement now for a third Moderna shot is based on a study with 149 participants, and its endorsement for a second Johnson & Johnson shot was based on a 39 participant trial.  I’d further add that these two trials were done by the drug companies rather than by independent third parties.

And the studies supporting “mixing and matching”?  None were cited, just a vague allusion to information submitted.

The hypocrisy of this double standard is breathtaking.  I challenge anyone to justify how the FDA can approve such sweeping authorizations, on the thinnest shreds of “evidence” – either as an act on its own, or when contrasted with its “eyes wide shut” approach to ivermectin.

Is it any wonder that more and more people are becoming more and more skeptical of the FDA’s pronouncements and role as a watchdog?

Unsurprisingly, the CDC today echoed the FDA opinion.  My question is repeated – how can the CDC too have such a stunning dichotomy of standard as between safe effective ivermectin and the vaccines of controversial safety and effectiveness?

And, as a reminder that not all drug companies can be trusted or act in our best interest, and that not all third-party reviewing guarantees the data they provide, here’s the latest amazing revelations in the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos fraud case.

The Problem with Mixing and Matching

I instinctively distrust any advocacy that is based solely on “reasoning by analogy” but in the case of the mixing and matching of vaccines concept, there doesn’t seem to be any formal studies to evaluate, so I feel compelled to set out an analogy to explain my concern.

Let’s consider you live in the middle ages, and are king of a small kingdom.  You sensibly feel the need to build a castle to protect you and your subjects from attackers.  You only have enough resource to build a limited amount of defensive structures, and your choices are either to build a wide and deep moat around the castle, or strong high walls on the castle.

After you’ve chosen, you build your structure, and time passes.  Your moat, if you have one, loses water, and the bank edges crumble, raising the level of the bottom of the moat and reducing the depth of water.  Or, your castle walls are weathering, mortar is crumbling, and some of the stones are falling out.  In either case, your generals assess the formerly almost impregnable defense is now only about 50% effective.

You have enough resource to either repair your defenses, or half-build the alternate defense.  Which is better?

If you repair your defenses, you now have a 100% (more or less) impregnable defense again.  But if you leave that at 50%, and add a 50% effective partial secondary defense, that means your split defense is not almost 100% effective, it is 50% + (50% of 50%) = 75% effective.

I feel, absent evidence to the contrary, that the same concept applies to vaccines.  If you have a vaccine that has weakened, and your choice is either another dose of the same, or a single dose of a different vaccine that requires two doses to be fully effective, how can it be suggested that half a complete series of doses of a different vaccine is the same as another dose of an already full received dosage series?

The mRNA vaccines in particular encourage the creation of antibodies that have keyed onto specific segments of the vaccine.  Perhaps the Pfizer segment can be considered the “wall” segment and the Moderna segment can be considered the “moat” segment.  So why would you have half a wall and half a moat?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine gives a totally different “signal” to our anti-body system (in the castle analogy, maybe it is “boiling oil”).  Of interest, the virus itself causes our body to “see” a bunch of multiple different distinctive elements to recognize and attack, and rather than remembering the more narrow signal from the vaccine, has multiple ways of recognizing and responding to the virus in the future.  This is part of the reason why some people feel natural immunity is more robust than vaccine-derived immunity (but don’t go getting infected deliberately!).

Remember, this is entirely an analogy.  Where’s the hard data?  Why is there none?  We’ve over 100 million vaccinated people in the US, over a billion in the world.  There’s no shortage of test subjects – why are our public health leaders making important impactful decisions without strong data to support them?

Oh, by the way, the even greater lunacy is the suggestion of mixing and matching the original dosing.  That’s like building half a moat and half a wall to start with, rather than either a complete moat or a complete wall.

Current Numbers

The minor country list saw Seychelles finally overtake Montenegro in total cases.

There were no changes in the major country list.  The astonishing ascent of Romania in the death list continues, and we’re surprised there hasn’t been an eruption of “the sky is falling” stories about the extraordinary death rate there currently.  Russia is concerned with its all-time high death rate (48/million/week) but Romania is experiencing a rate of 141/million/week – almost three times the rate of Russia.

Talking about weekly rates, the list of most afflicted countries for the last week changed again, as always, and all countries on that list were showing higher case rates to qualify for their position than last week.  While the world as a whole reported a very mild 1% rise in cases, the worst afflicted countries are shooting way high.

In Europe, the Czech Republic’s new surge in cases is continuing, with a 95% growth in cases compared to last week.  Hungary had an 80% rise, and Poland a 78% rise.  At the other end, Sweden saw a further drop of 21%, Finland managed an 8% drop, and then we move into rising numbers.  France had a 10% rise, Italy was up 14%, and Germany rose 36%.  Europe as a whole had a distressing 20% rise in cases.

Happier news in North America.  Mexico dropped 26%, the US was down 15%, and Canada fell 11%.

Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)

RankOne Week AgoToday
1Seychelles (218,281)Montenegro (222,055)
2Montenegro (217,587)Seychelles (220,928)
3AndorraAndorra
4Gibraltar (170,052)Gibraltar (172,932)
5GeorgiaGeorgia
6San MarinoSan Marino
7St BarthSt Barth
8MaldivesMaldives
9BahrainBahrain
10Slovenia (146,666)Slovenia (151,089)

 

Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)

RankOne Week AgoToday
1Czech Republic (158,781)Czech Republic (160,114)
2USA (136,850)USA (138,441)
3UK (121,700)UK (126,425)
4Netherlands (118,522)Netherlands (120,152)
5ArgentinaArgentina
6Sweden (114,072)Sweden (114,444)
7BelgiumBelgium
8FranceFrance
9SpainSpain
10PortugalPortugal
11BrazilBrazil
12Colombia (96,494)Colombia (96,653)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

RankOne Week AgoToday
1Peru  (5,952)Peru  (5,956)
2Czech Rep  (2,844)Czech Rep  (2,849)
3Brazil (2,807)Brazil (2,819)
4ArgentinaArgentina
5ColombiaColombia (2,461)
6USA (2,225)Romania (2,280)
7Belgium (2,208)USA (2,260)
8ItalyBelgium
9MexicoMexico
10Romania (2,137)Italy (2,183)

 

Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population

RankOne Week AgoToday
1Latvia  6,317Latvia  8,584
2Georgia  5,868Georgia  7,734
3LithuaniaLithuania
4EstoniaEstonia
5RomaniaRomania
6SerbiaSerbia
7MongoliaUK  4,756
8UK  4,000Slovenia
9SingaporeArmenia
10SloveniaSingapore
11ArmeniaBulgaria
12Bulgaria  2,587Mongolia  3,569

 

The rest of this newsletter is for the very kind Travel Insider Supporters – it is their support that makes all of this possible, and it seems fair they get additional material in return.  If you’re not yet a Supporter, please consider becoming one, and get instant access to the rest of the Diary Entry, all the additional material on previous diary entries, and much extra content on other parts of the website too.

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Items below include a look at a new more infectious variant of the Delta strain, its implications, Russian and British plans to respond to their respective virus challenges, can the virus be contained anywhere now, molnupiravir garners some more unwarranted love (and profit), more on molnupiravir risks, Dr Fauci’s economies with the truth are getting increasingly exposed by his own NIH, ivermectin has some good experiences with the law and hopefully more to follow, are pharmacists unlawfully practicing as unlicensed physicians, possibly an explanation for the FDA’s aversion to ivermectin, a new article matches higher vaccination rates worldwide with higher Covid case rates, but its authors say they still recommend vaxxing, confusion about the durability of Covid booster shots, is Moderna playing fair, a Novavax update, a look at which countries are already dispensing booster shots, SAS to stop requiring pax to wear masks on shorter flights, and more shortages of more things.

SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

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Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Sunday.

Please click here for a listing of all our Covid-19 articles.

 

 

1 thought on “Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 21 October, 2021”

  1. I think it’s very hard to argue with your conclusions about the recent vaccine booster pronouncements and the politicized “science” that is involved. Our Public Health leaders seem to forget that their only real currency is public confidence. They can create all the rules that they want, but eventually “Irish Democracy” will prevail, and the vast majority of people will live their lives and peacefully resist/ignore the orders from above.

    I have one other fear about what is coming – the Biden Administration is making plans for the mass vaccination of 5-12 year olds. A population whose risk from Covid in all respects is so small that it can almost not be measured. I can only imagine how little data they have to support this.

    The long-term vaccine impacts are totally unknown; if you’re 70, the vaccine sure sounds good, but imagine how long these kids will have for negative effects to show up in the future. If I was the parent of a young child, a mandate to vaccinate them (possibly repeatedly, every six months) would have me very concerned and upset.

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David.