Johannes Vermeer Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window 1657-59 (newly restored)
“Vaccinated people is equally infectious as non-vaccinated”
– Anthony Fauci of the NIH pic.twitter.com/DurlB7RcGT
— MAECC Malaysia (@MAECC_My) September 7, 2021
Perfect title to open the day with.
“..the act of expressing medical second opinions – a ‘luxury’ that doctors have enjoyed since at least the Middle Ages – has been outlawed..”
Reminiscent of Nurse Ratched in Ken Kesey’s classic 1962 novel, Australian officials have completely lost the plot over the virus, as they rob citizens of their basic democratic and human rights in the name of protecting them.
Eight o’clock the walls whirr and hum into full swing. The speaker in the ceiling says, ‘Medications,’ using the Big Nurse’s voice. – ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ While George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’ remains the go-to work of literature for helping wrap one’s brain around these increasingly mental times, Kesey’s masterpiece ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ has been relegated to the back of society’s bookshelf. That’s unfortunate, especially in the case of Australia, which appears to be hard at work penning the sequel.
The role of ‘Big Nurse,’ Kesey’s tyrannical antagonist, who has an arsenal of medication at her disposal, would go to Australian health chief Dr. Kerry Chant. This medical authoritarian recently informed the 8.1 million locked-down subjects of New South Wales that Covid will be with us “forever” and people will have to just “get used to” rolling up their sleeves for endless booster shots. Chant’s grim assessment of Australia’s future faced no challenges from other professionals, which should come as no surprise, since the act of expressing medical second opinions – a ‘luxury’ that doctors have enjoyed since at least the Middle Ages – has been outlawed. While few would find fault with Chant’s wry observation that “we want diseases to be totally eliminated,” it is the total absence of democratic procedure in this wild goose chase that is alarming.
After all, it was Dr. Chant who advised citizens in the heat of summer not to “start up a conversation” with others in public spaces – a wonderful excuse to keep the populace squirming under the heel of bureaucracy. In the next chapter of this Keseyian tragedy, Australian leaders are passionately signaling – virtuously, of course – that the only way to escape from creeping medical apartheid is for everyone to submit to the jab. “There is going to be a vaccinated economy, and you get to participate in that if you are vaccinated,” Victoria Premier Dan ‘Big Brother’ Andrews informed a roomful of puzzled and muzzled reporters. “We’re going to move to a situation where, to protect the health system, we are going to lock out people who are not vaccinated and can be.”
Aside from ‘ape-shit crazy,’ there is really only one way to interpret that incredibly disturbing remark: either you agree to submit to a vaccination, or the “vaccinated economy” will be closed to you. Now, whether that lockout will only apply to the bread and circuses that make up Victoria’s vibrant cultural scene – nightclubs, concerts and sporting events, for example – or to the more indispensable venues, such as grocery stores and medical clinics, the Dear Leader would not say.
Do we see him as fully exonerated now?
The mass vaccination hype will undoubtedly enter history as the most reckless experiment in the history of medicine. It will be cited as the unequivocal proof of how overuse or misuse of man-made antimicrobials leads to antimicrobial resistance, regardless of whether the antimicrobial is an antibiotic or an antibody administered through passive immunization or elicited via active immunization. Mass vaccination campaigns conducted in the middle of a viral pandemic will, for generations to come, become the most sobering example of the boundaries of human intervention in nature in general and of the boundaries of conventional vaccinology in particular. This irrational experiment will unambiguously highlight the clear-cut limitations of conventional vaccine approaches.
It will convincingly illustrate that – unlike natural acute self-limiting infection or disease – ‘modern’ technologies alone do not suffice to develop vaccines that are capable of preventing viral transmission or immune escape. For that matter, even ‘modern’ vaccines will not allow conventional B or T cell-directed antigens to generate herd immunity when massively administered in the heat of a pandemic of a highly mutable virus. Because of the disastrous consequences the current mass vaccination campaign will entail, I cannot imagine that the word ‘vaccine’ will continue to persist in the medical vade-mecum. In order to highlight the short-comings of all vaccines eliciting conventional B- or T cell-centered immune responses I propose to coin a new term for these vaccines and refer to them as ‘conditionally immune protection-inducing formulations’ (CIPIFs).
While the word ‘vaccine’ may be banned, the word ‘fact checker’ will only gain traction as a general term used for any scientifically illiterate person who uses arrogance to vilify those who speak the truth and promotes – in exchange for dirty money – a narrative and groupthink mentality that are merely inspired by the interests of the stakeholders they blindly support.
You might expect this over, say, the last two months. But not six; in February not many people were vaccinated.
Note: Case fatality rate among fully vaccinated is 5x higher than among unvaccinated.
Because of the threats now being made to give an experimental Covid-19 injection to children against the advice of the JCVI, and the confirmation that vaccine passports will be introduced in the United Kingdom from October, you’re probably not aware that Public Health England have released a report at precisely the same time which reveals 70% of Covid-19 deaths since February are people who had been vaccinated. The report titled ‘SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England’, is the 22nd technical briefing on alleged variants of concern in the United Kingdom and makes for extremely interesting reading once you realise what the statistics are actually telling us.
PHE have compiled a helpful table which shows the number of alleged confirmed Delta variant cases in the UK alongside the number of alleged deaths due to the variant. The table shows that since the 1st February 2021 up to the 29th August 2021 there have been 492,528 alleged confirmed cases of the Delta variant. Of these 144,067 had been confirmed in the past 28 days alone. The data shows that people who are not vaccinated account for just 44% of the alleged confirm Covid cases, whilst those who are fully vaccinated account for 23% of the alleged confirmed cases. A further 16% of the alleged cases are people who had received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at least 21 days prior to their alleged confirmed Covid-19 infection.
Unfortunately, it looks as if we have been lied to and instead of the Covid-19 vaccines being our route back to normal they are instead quite the opposite. Because the data published by Public Health England shows us that the number of alleged deaths due to the Delta variant are not just higher among those who have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, they are astronomically higher. The total number of deaths to have occurred since February 2021 involving the Delta Covid-19 variant that have been linked to vaccination status total 1,698. Of these just 30% have been among the unvaccinated population, despite the fact most second vaccinations were administered between April and June.
Whereas fully vaccinated account for 64.25% of Covid-19 deaths since February 2021, and when including the partly vaccinated in those numbers they account for 70%. However, it’s important to note that many of the deaths that occurred in the partly vaccinated population may have actually been people who had received two doses of a Covid-19 injection due to the fact PHE does not regard them as having had two doses if it has not been two weeks since they had the second dose. But what does this mean in terms of the risk of death if infected with the Delta Covid-19 variant? Well it means the risk of death increases significantly in those who have been fully vaccinated. 536 deaths have occurred among 219,716 confirmed cases in the unvaccinated population since February. This is a case fatality rate of 0.2%. Whereas 1,091 deaths have occurred among 113,823 cases among the fully vaccinated population. This is a case fatality rate of 1%.
It is official: the unvaccinated have become the scapegoats. As we said in August, “trust them at their word when they advocate restricting your rights and inflicting punishment if you remain unvaccinated.” This is the result (but not the end-result) of a creeping nastiness towards the unvaccinated that we warned about last month, after the NYC required a vaccine to “participate in society fully” and The Atlantic said the unvaccinated “belong on the no-fly list.” Others contributed and pushed things further. The call by the New York Times’ Ezra Klein to start “raising the costs of remaining vaccinated.” Dr. Fauci said the government needed to “do something to get them to be vaccinated.”
Biden listened. He is mandating that larger employers mandate vaccines or undergo weekly testing or be fined up to $14,000 per violation. As the AP reports: The requirement for large companies to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for employees will be enacted through a forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] that carries penalties of $14,000 per violation, an administration official said. The White House did not immediately say when it would take effect, but said workers would have sufficient time to get vaccinated. This coincides with Biden mandating federal employees and contractors get the vaccine. All except USPS, whose workers somehow escaped this mandate.
I would guess the USPS union donations (which are almost all to Democrats) and their endorsement of Biden in 2020 might have something to do with this exemption. Anyway, the Biden Administration will attempt to implement the employer vaccine mandate and punishments through an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Think of this as a temporary measure that allows the agency to bypass normal rulemaking and regulatory procedures. The ETS is governed by 29 USC 655, which states:
Look closely at part (A), which requires the Secretary of Labor to determine that “employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards.” How has OSHA determined ALL large employers are exposing their employees to “grave danger”? Here’s the answer: they haven’t. And they don’t think they have to. In using the ETS – which are temporary – the Biden Administration is bypassing statutory and caselaw requirements that govern permanent health and safety standards. Think of that for a moment: that they wish to use temporary regulations to mandate permanent vaccines.
If this were permanent, OSHA would have to make “a threshold finding that a place of employment is unsafe—in the sense that significant risks are present and can be eliminated or lessened by a change in practices.” This legal maneuvering, which lessens OSHA’s evidentiary and fact-finding burdens, should be no surprise. OSHA (like Biden himself) has a long history of unlawfulness and of ignoring its own regulations. Most recently, the agency is refusing to enforce its own rules (arguably) requiring employers who mandate vaccinations from recording the side effects.
For your entire life, you’ve known that when you get vaccinated, you’re protected from a particular disease. You’ve probably been vaccinated for such diseases as polio, tetanus, measles, diphtheria, and others, and you no longer have to worry about them, because the whole reason your parents took you to the doctor to get those shots was to protect you from those diseases. Polio, in particular, has been completely wiped out in the United States thanks to the immunity created by vaccination. This is why the CDC says that vaccines provide immunity, which means that we can be exposed to a disease without becoming infected by it. At least they used to. A recent change on the CDC website should disturb all of us because it appears that the CDC is trying to change how we understand vaccinations. Here’s the “Definition of Terms” for Immunization as captured on August 26, 2021. I’ve highlighted the key points.
These definitions have been in place since at least May 16, 2018. Here’s the “Definition of Terms” for immunizations now, which was updated on September 1, 2021, with changes highlighted.
So in a week, a vaccine went from being something that “produces immunity to a specific disease” to something that merely “stimulates the body’s immune response against diseases,” and a vaccination no longer “produces immunity” to a disease, just “protection” from a disease. Does anyone else find this disturbing? Why did the CDC suddenly redefine “vaccine” and “vaccination” to make them sound similar to your basic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or a prescription drug you have to keep taking regularly? No explanation for the change is given.
Is this part of the Biden administration’s efforts to make the public accept regular COVID-19 boosters by changing how we understand the purpose of vaccines? Vaccines, we’re now supposed to accept, don’t provide us with immunity, just protection from disease. This vague definition essentially makes it easier for the government to recommend endless boosters for COVID (or any other disease) because vaccines, they say, no longer make us “immune.” And yes, there are several vaccines that do need boosters, but that never changed our understanding or the definition of vaccines and vaccination.
@RepThomasMassie Check out @CDCgov ’s evolving definition of “vaccination.” They’ve been busy at the Ministry of Truth:
It is reasonable to wonder what would have happened if Trump had announced this.
In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19’s Delta variant and boost the U.S.’s vaccination numbers, Joe Biden is set to enforce new federal vaccination requirements that could impact at least 100 million Americans. The Associated Press reports that the new guidelines require people who work for employers with at least 100 workers to be vaccinated, or get tested for the virus every week. Those who work at health facilities that get Medicare or Medicaid also have to be completely vaccinated. Additionally, a new executive order will mandate that people working for the executive branch and contractors who work with the federal government will have to be vaccinated and cannot be regularly tested instead.
While speaking Thursday, Biden touted the progress made on COVID since he took office. He also accused “elected officials” of undermining his administration’s fight against the virus. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden’s “overarching objective here is to reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans,” with around 80 million adult Americans still unvaccinated. The new “action plan” also includes further requirements, like doubling federal fines for airline passengers who decline to wear masks during flights, or those who refuse to cover their faces on federal property. Biden is also working to expand the supply of virus tests, boost federal support to schools as they are opening, and require large entertainment venues and arenas to check vaccination cards or proof of negative test upon entry.
While there are over 208 million Americans who have been vaccinated with at least one dose, the number of cases has surged by 300 percent a day. There are also now two-and-a-half times more hospitalizations and almost twice as many deaths as this time last year.
“..get them out of the way..”
President Joe Biden on Thursday delivered a tyrannical speech announcing the federal vaccine mandates that he was decreeing by executive order. Seventeen Republican governors thus far have issued statements in direct opposition to Biden’s federal vaccine mandate. “In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant,” the AP reported. “Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the roughly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives,” the report said. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said. “And your refusal has cost all of us.”
President Biden also specifically threatened resistant Republican governors by saying that would he use his executive powers to “get them out of the way.” “Let me be blunt,” Biden said. “My plan also takes on elected officials in states that are undermining you in these life-saving actions. Right now local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying the schools.” “If they’ll not help, if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I will use my power as president to get them out of the way,” he added. “The Department of Education has already begun to take legal action against states undermining protection that local school officials have ordered.”
Republican governors have begun to issue their responses to the federal government’s overreach and the president’s threats. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis actually issued a statement in opposition to Biden’s executive order before it was officially issued. “How could we get to the point in this country where you would not let them earn a living because of their choice on the vaccine?” Gov. DeSantis said. “I just think that’s fundamentally wrong. I do not believe that people should lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that.”
“..the Postal Service is an independent agency of the executive branch, and it is required to be specifically included in executive orders that apply to working conditions for federal employees.”
All people are equal before “the scienceTM“, but some unions are more equal. We previously noted that in an unspoken footnote to Biden’s bombastic “no jab, no job” speech, various labor unions had quietly (and not so quietly) voiced their displeasure to the now official mandatory vaccinations including NYC teachers, California’s largest public sector union and of course, the US Postal Service. And now we know that while Biden was eager to frame his new vaxx policy as all inclusive and with no exception, that was not really true. According to the Washington Post citing a “White House official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss not-yet-public portions of the president’s plan”, U.S. Postal Service workers were not included in Biden’s executive order requiring all federal employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
While Biden framed his mandate as one covering all federal workers and all companies with more than 100 staff, he forgot to mention that any labor union that is instrumental in keeping the Democrats in power would be granted a very “unscientific” exemption. The loophole in question, according to the report, according to the White House source, is that the “USPS has a separate statutory scheme and is traditionally independent of federal personnel actions like this” even though postal workers would be strongly encouraged to comply with the mandate. Paradoxically, the WaPo also notes that this “explainer” is in conflict with reality: after all, the Postal Service is an independent agency of the executive branch, and it is required to be specifically included in executive orders that apply to working conditions for federal employees.
Gallup does an onion.
A new Gallup poll claiming a slim majority of Americans support vaccine passports also claims that nearly 1 in 4 unvaccinated Americans support banning themselves from flying and 1 in 5 support banning themselves from going to work, staying at a hotel, dining at a restaurant and attending events with large crowds. “Per Gallup, 20%+ of unvaccinated people want themselves banned from doing things,” columnist Phil Kerpen commented on Twitter. Here’s how Gallup’s “senior scientist” Frank Newport, Ph.D. tried to explain away the comically embarrassing results: The relationship between vaccination status and attitudes about vaccination requirements, however, is by no means perfect. As seen in the accompanying table, between 20% and 32% of Americans give seemingly contradictory opinions — vaccinated people who say there should be no vaccination requirements to do these activities, and unvaccinated people who say there should be.
The notion 20-25% of unvaccinated Americans want to be banned from leaving their home is not “seemingly contradictory,” it’s directly contradictory. On the flip side, people who took the shots not wanting to have an Orwellian vaccine passport control grid rolled out for everyone isn’t contradictory at all. Your poll is comically stupid and your analysis of it is even dumber. This is about as clear as it gets that Gallup polls are worthless garbage which are published to shape public opinion and influence government policy rather than reflect what the public actually thinks.
Greece. 40% of officers unvaccinated. At least.
The percentage of unvaccinated police officers in Greece is a big problem for the government’s plan to build immunity, Alternate Interior Minister Stelios Petsas said on Thursday. “It is a huge issue which undermines the credibility of [police] checks to a great extent and creates reactions among the citizens who are being checked,” he told Skai TV, adding that he is in favour of mandating inoculations for security forces. “I have said many times in the past about several categories of public sector workers who are in contact with citizens that this needs to be addressed.” Skai reported that the current vaccination rate stood at 60-62% among officers. Late August data seen by Kathimerini put the number of vaccinated officers to just 58% in the Hellenic Police (ELAS). ELAS is the main body tasked with enforcing the various health restrictions imposed by the government and its officers come in close contact with the public.
Moderna still hasn’t developed one single medicine that was approved.
Moderna has announced that it is developing a single-dose vaccine to bring to the market that will combine a two-in-one booster shot that protects against both Covid-19 and flu. On Thursday, drugmaker Moderna unveiled its latest innovation in the fight against Covid-19 – a “pan-respiratory annual booster vaccine” that combines a booster against Covid-19 and one against regular flu. “Our number one priority as a company right now is to bring to market a pan-respiratory annual booster vaccine, which we plan to always customize and upgrade,” said CEO Stéphane Bancel. Moderna is not the first to have announced the creation of a combined jab for Covid-19 and flu.
American vaccine-maker Novavax announced on Wednesday that it has started an early stage trial in Australia to test its own two-in-one shot, having enrolled 640 healthy adult volunteers between the ages of 50 and 70. Last week, Moderna submitted data to the European Medicines Agency for conditional approval for its Covid-19 vaccine to be used as a booster shot. Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration greenlighted top-up doses of mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna in mid-August for people with compromised immune systems. Moderna’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine boasts a high efficacy rate of 93% six months after the administration of its second shot, barely waning from the 94.5% protection reported during its phase-three clinical trials.
The pharma company also said that it is “making progress on enrolling patients in our rare disease programs, and we are fully enrolled in our personalized cancer vaccine trial.” It also said its phase-two study of its authorized Covid-19 vaccine for children between 6 months and 12 years was ongoing. So far, the study is being carried out on 4,000 children between 6 and 12, while dosage selection studies are still underway for younger age groups.
“Natural immunity from prior infection is 7-13x, and perhaps as much as 25x as effective as is a vaccine.”
The data is in folks, and the lies are collapsing. Biden is due to unleash his “six point” plan (the latest iteration) to alleged “Beat Delta.” You can bet it will contain more mandates. What it won’t do is recognize these key facts, and thus will fail and will kill Americans unless he is stopped. Natural immunity from prior infection is 7-13x, and perhaps as much as 25x as effective as is a vaccine. This is the data from Israel and multiple studies. A study from Cleveland Clinic, following more than a thousand of their employees who were infected, found zero reinfections. Think about that folks — zero so-called “breakthroughs” among previously-infected and not-vaccinated people.
The CDC ITSELF has published their own data that if infected while vaccinated you are equally contagious to someone who was not vaccinated. Further, contrary to the original claims of the CDC and vaccine makers that the vaccines reduce or eliminate symptomatic infections in virtually every case (95% of the time) they found that 79% of vaccinated people who got infected were symptomatic. This is statistically identical to unvaccinated persons who sometimes have fully-asymptomatic infections. If you are vaccinated and get infected you are just as likely to infect (and potentially sicken or kill) another person, vaccinated or not, as someone who is not vaccinated. This is formally-admissible evidence in court as it is a direct publication of the CDC! The CDC has admitted, in print, that there is no public-health benefit from the vaccines.
The vaccines are failures. This should not surprise as every previous coronavirus vaccine attempt also failed. Yes, they may provide personal protection against serious outcomes for a few months. The original trials may have been rigged to show that. The manufacturers deliberately set the dose to produce antibody levels much higher than natural infection. Why would you do that when, as with any drug, the higher the dose the greater the adverse effects? The logical reason is that you knew you had to keep protection levels adequate for the four months of the trial and then you intended to unblind the study which immediately destroys the ability to follow up and assess the effect of the vaccine over longer periods of time. Both Moderna and Pfizer did exactly that and the FDA let them.
Do not be deceived by outright lies in the media; if you don’t know someone who’s fully-vaccinated and got laid out flat on their back or killed by Covid-19, you will. In Texas at a monoclonal antibody infusion center (where you go if infected and at high risk) the case rate between vaccinated and unvaccinated is statistically identical to Texas’ vaccination rate. At Duke University where everyone must be vaccinated this year there have been multiple outbreaks. Cornell has a five times higher case rate now, with everyone vaccinated by mandate, than they did last fall. There are multiple such examples and they prove the vaccines rapidly become at best worthless. A “mandate” is thus a demand that you the take the risk of serious injury or death for no reason other than political demand.
JAMA, the official journal of the American Medical Association, has published proof that the vaccines are at best failures and at worst may be enhancing Covid-19 infections. Specifically, they published a study from blood donations showing the presence of alleged immunity in 83.3% of Americans. This is sufficient to suppress any virus with an R0 of up to just under 6, and obviously since May it has only climbed. They did differentiate between antibodies from infection and vaccination, which we can do in this case due to the design of the vaccines. This study found 20% of Americans have had Covid-19 and are presumptively immune; the balance was from vaccination. The problem is that if the vaccines worked the summer spike we have seen was impossible, yet it happened. This is hard proof the vaccines do not work over time; you have taken the risk of serious adverse events up to and including death for a benefit that lasts no more than six months.
US ruled by unions..
The Biden administration tightened its masking guidance after a prominent teachers union threatened White House officials with publicly releasing harsh criticism, internal emails show. The National Education Association sent a draft statement to White House officials that included harsh criticism of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s masking guidance, the emails show. But the teachers union ultimately published a version with a much softer tone, and the CDC clarified its guidance to indicate that everyone should be masked in schools, regardless of vaccination status. The new emails show further coordination between the White House and teachers unions just months after reports highlighted the extent the unions had influenced the administration’s messaging on school reopenings.
The watchdog group Americans for Public Trust obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request and provided them to Fox News. The CDC announced on May 13 that fully vaccinated Americans could stop wearing masks indoors and outside, which sparked confusion about how this policy would apply to schools. One day later, on May 14, Erika Dinkel-Smith, the White House director of labor engagement, said she stopped the NEA from releasing a critical statement that had called for immediate clarification. “Would you know when Dr. Wolensky would be able to call NEA-Pres. Becky Pringle?” Dinkel-Smith wrote in the email. “They’ve gotten significant incoming and are getting targeted for a response from the media. I’ve gotten them to hold on their statement calling for clarification.” That same day, Dinkel-Smith received the NEA’s draft statement, allowing them to weigh in on it.
“We appreciate the developing nature of the science and its implications for guidance, but releasing the guidance without accompanying school-related updates creates confusion and fuels the internal politicization of this basic health and safety issue,” the draft statement read. “CDC has consistently said, and studies support, that mitigation measures, including to protect the most vulnerable, remain necessary in schools and institutions of higher education – particularly because no elementary or middle school students, and few high school students, have been vaccinated.” “This will also make it hard for school boards and leaders of institutions of higher education to do the right thing by maintaining mitigation measures,” it continued. “We need CDC clarification right away.”
“Based on the 95% confidence intervals, we do not even know if surgical mask efficacy is more than 0%..”
An acclaimed study on the effectiveness of masks in reducing symptomatic COVID-19 has been widely mischaracterized and suffers from serious design flaws, according to critics. They include Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff, who was suspended from Twitter for a month for questioning the protective power of masks for unvaccinated elderly people. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 600 Bangladeshi villages from November through April was led by a management professor at Yale, Jason Abaluck, with participation from medical and public health researchers at Yale, Stanford and the University of California Berkeley, among other institutions.
The working paper was funded by a grant from charity assessment nonprofit GiveWell to the Institute for Poverty Action, which studies the effectiveness of programs to reduce global poverty, and has yet to be peer-reviewed. The nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research published a shorter and somewhat different version. Several variations were tried with the “treatment” villages. The researchers “cross-randomized mask promotion strategies at the village and household level, including cloth vs. surgical masks,” and some were given window signs indicating the household wears masks. A quarter of the villages were promised a “monetary incentive” for village leaders if they hit 75% mask compliance within the eight-week study. “Neither participants nor field staff were blinded to intervention assignment,” the study said.
About 335,000 people provided data on symptoms, if any, by the end of the eight-week period. In the villages that “received free masks, information on the importance of masking, role modeling by community leaders, and in-person reminders,” the interventions reduced “symptomatic seroprevalence” by 9.3% and the “prevalence of COVID-like symptoms” by 11.9%. Villages that got surgical masks reduced symptomatic infection by 11% — twice as high for those ages 50-60 and three times higher for those older than 60. Cloth masks, by contrast, had “an imprecise zero” effect. For surgical masks specifically, the differences between treatment and control groups were statistically insignificant for every age group under 50. This age-based finding was a red flag for some critics, as was the confounding variable of increased physical distancing observed among the masked group.
“Odd that mask advocates are excited by this study,” Kulldorff, a pioneer in vaccine safety research, tweeted last week. “As a vaccine advocate, I would be horrified if a vaccine trial showed 11% efficacy. Based on the 95% confidence intervals, we do not even know if surgical mask efficacy is more than 0%,” he wrote.
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