Jun 042021
 


Pieter Bruegel the Elder Dulle Griet, also known as Mad Meg 1563

 

Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins (Vanity Fair)
How Amateur Sleuths Broke the Wuhan Lab Story and Embarrassed the Media (NW)
Fauci Kept Funding Daszak’s Experiments after Trump Canceled Grant (NF)
Fauci Defends China, Doubles Down On Animal Origins Of Covid (DM)
Ex-CDC Director Threatened For Saying Covid-19 Likely Originated In A Lab (DM)
Where’s The Tar and Feathers? (Denninger)
Covid-19 Cases Hit Lowest Point In US Since Pandemic Began (Axios)
EU Purchases Its First Monoclonal Antibodies Cocktail For Covid-19 (RT)
The Netherlands Used Children As A Weapon In The Fight Against Corona (AD)
Delhi Reports Over 1,000 Cases Of ‘Black Fungus’ Amid Shortage Of Drugs (RT)
Nord Stream 2 To Cost Kiev $3 Billion In Transit Fees A Year – Zelensky (RT)
Russia’s $186 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Dumps All Dollar Assets (ZH)

 

 

When both Vanity Fair and Newsweek come out with in-depth articles about the very same topic (in this case how the DRASTIC group reported the lab leak theory), at the very same moment, that makes me nervous.

What also makes me nervous is the one-dimensional attention for Fauci. Much as I dislike the man, it starts to feel as if others are hiding behind him.

 

 

“Ivermectin is an off-patent drug that is one of the most widely used drugs in the world, and we know it is able to reduce Covid-19 symptoms at any stage of the disease by about 90%, so there is no need for vaccines.”

– Michael Yeadon, former CSO of Pfizer

 

 

 

Kory

 

 

“The idea of a lab leak first came to NSC officials not from hawkish Trumpists but from Chinese social media users..”

Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins (Vanity Fair)

The idea of a lab leak first came to NSC officials not from hawkish Trumpists but from Chinese social media users, who began sharing their suspicions as early as January 2020. Then, in February, a research paper coauthored by two Chinese scientists, based at separate Wuhan universities, appeared online as a preprint. It tackled a fundamental question: How did a novel bat coronavirus get to a major metropolis of 11 million people in central China, in the dead of winter when most bats were hibernating, and turn a market where bats weren’t sold into the epicenter of an outbreak? The paper offered an answer: “We screened the area around the seafood market and identified two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus.”

The first was the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which sat just 280 meters from the Huanan market and had been known to collect hundreds of bat samples. The second, the researchers wrote, was the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The paper came to a staggeringly blunt conclusion about COVID-19: “the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan…. Regulations may be taken to relocate these laboratories far away from city center and other densely populated places.” Almost as soon as the paper appeared on the internet, it disappeared, but not before U.S. government officials took note.

By then, Matthew Pottinger had approved a COVID-19 origins team, run by the NSC directorate that oversaw issues related to weapons of mass destruction. A longtime Asia expert and former journalist, Pottinger purposefully kept the team small, because there were so many people within the government “wholly discounting the possibility of a lab leak, who were predisposed that it was impossible,” said Pottinger. In addition, many leading experts had either received or approved funding for gain-of-function research. Their “conflicted” status, said Pottinger, “played a profound role in muddying the waters and contaminating the shot at having an impartial inquiry.”

Read more …

The bat lady returns.

How Amateur Sleuths Broke the Wuhan Lab Story and Embarrassed the Media (NW)

If there is a moment when the DRASTIC team coalesced into something more than its disparate parts, it would be this thread. In real time, for all the world to see, they worked through the data, tested various hypotheses, corrected each other, and scored some direct hits. The key facts quickly came together. The genetic sequence for RaTG13 perfectly matched a small piece of genetic code posted as part of a paper written by Shi Zhengli years earlier, but never mentioned again. The code came from a virus the WIV had found in a Yunnan bat. Connecting key details in the two papers with old news stories, the DRASTIC team determined that RaTG13 had come from a mineshaft in Mojiang County, in Yunnan Province, where six men shoveling bat guano in 2012 had developed pneumonia. Three of them died.

DRASTIC wondered if that event marked the first cases of human beings being infected with a precursor of SARS-CoV-2—perhaps RaTG13 or something like it. In a profile in Scientific American, Shi Zhengli acknowledged working in a mineshaft in Mojiang County where miners had died. But she avoided connecting it to RaTG13 (an omission she had made in her scientific papers as well), claiming that a fungus in the cave had killed the miners.

[..] One of those scientists was Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard who recognized the value of the information DRASTIC was producing and began to interpret it for scientists and nonscientists alike in crisp explainers on Twitter that made her a star science communicator. Chan acknowledged the group’s accomplishments in a long thread on Twitter. “Without the work done by the DRASTIC team, I don’t really know where we would be today with the origins of covid-19,” she wrote, adding, “The work of these outsiders…has had a measurable impact on the scientific discourse.” That scientific discourse jumped tracks on January 6, 2021, when the University of Washington virologist Jesse Bloom, one of the country’s most respected COVID-19 researchers, became the first major scientific figure to publicly legitimize DRASTIC’s contributions.

“Yes, I follow the work,” he tweeted, sending tremors through the scientific establishment. “I don’t agree [with] all of it, but some parts seem important & correct.” Bloom singled out Mona Rahalkar’s paper on the Mojiang mine, then added that in the early days of the pandemic, “I thought lab escape very unlikely. Based on subsequent work, I now say quite plausible.” Other scientists pressured Bloom to reconsider, but he held his ground, and the wall of silence began to crumble. In May, 17 scientists from Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, and other leading institutions, including Chan, joined Bloom in a letter in Science calling for a thorough investigation of the Wuhan lab. On nearly the same day, The Seeker struck again. Visiting a database hosted by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, he searched for all theses supervised by Shi Zhengli. Boom. Three hits. “I got it on my first try,” he says. “Not sure why no one else thought of this before, but I guess no one was looking.”

If there had been any remaining doubt about the WIV’s pattern of deception, these new theses put it to rest. They indicated that the WIV researchers had never believed a fungus had killed the Mojiang miners, contradicting Shi’s remarks in Scientific American and elsewhere. In fact, WIV researchers had been so concerned about a new SARS-like outbreak that they’d tested the blood of neighboring villagers for other cases. And they had known the genetic sequences for the eight other SARS-like viruses from the mine—which could have helped researchers to understand more about SARS-CoV-2 in the early days —long before the pandemic started, and had kept the information to themselves, until DRASTIC called them out.

Read more …

THIS should be investigated. Fauci as a state within a state.

Fauci Kept Funding Daszak’s Experiments after Trump Canceled Grant (NF)

Peter Daszak, who studied controversial “gain of function” experiments on coronavirus elements in Wuhan, received $7.5 million from Anthony Fauci after Trump cancelled his grant. Last April, reports emerged that the EcoHealth Alliance, an organization run by one Peter Daszak, was involved in funding and collaborating with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where researchers were examining coronaviruses extremely similar to the one behind the COVID-19 outbreak, and allegedly engaging in “gain of function” research relating to them. In an April 17th press conference, President Trump confirmed that a grant worth around $3.7 million since 2015 given to Daszak’s group by the National Institute for Health would be ended “very quickly” following the reports.

Only one week later on April 24th, all future funding for the EHA was cut, and they were ordered to stop spending the $369,819 remaining from its 2020 grant. “At this time, NIH does not believe that the current project outcomes align with the program goals and agency priorities,” Michael Lauer, the agency’s deputy director for extramural research, wrote in a letter to EcoHealth Alliance officials. From within the treasure trove of 3,200 pages of emails obtained from Anthony Fauci, one email can be found from Daszak, who thanked Fauci for dismissing the lab leak theory as being simply conspiratorial the day after President Trump announced the funding would be cut.

[..] Only a few months later in August, Fauci, who along with being put in charge of America’s response to COVID-19, is the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the NIH, helped confirm that Daszak’s organization would receive a new grant of $7.5 million to study coronaviruses as part of a new network. The CREID network, which contains 11 institutions including the EHA, “coincidentally” will continue to study the emergence of coronaviruses in Southeast Asia. Fauci said that the network will help “enable early warnings of emerging diseases wherever they occur, which will be critical to rapid responses,” while Daszak boasted that they will be working in rural hospitals, according to a statement, “in remote parts of Malaysia and Thailand to get to the front line of where the next pandemic is going to start.”

Video of Anthony Fauci announcing “NIH Lifts Funding Pause on Gain-Of-Function Research” at a NIAID Advisory Council meeting on January 29, 2018.

Read more …

That train has passed.

Fauci Defends China, Doubles Down On Animal Origins Of Covid (DM)

Dr. Anthony Fauci doubled down on claims that the coronavirus likely originated from an animal then was transmitted to humans in a Thursday morning interview on CNN, despite increasing speculation that it leaked from a China lab. Fauci, who served under former President Trump and President Joe Biden, continues to fight the idea that he downplayed theories that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a trove of emails exchange at the beginning of the pandemic revealed he was warned about a potential lab leak. ‘I have always said and will say today to you … that I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human,’ Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday on CNN.

Although he said he’s keeping an open mind about the possibility of a lab leak, Fauci said it was ‘far-fetched’ to think the Chinese would kill their own people. ‘The idea, I think, is quite far-fetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves, as well as other people. I think that’s a bit far out.’ In a separate Thursday morning interview on MSNBC, Fauci said they want to definitively find the cause of the coronavirus pandemic – whatever that origin is – but pointing the finger at China isn’t going to help. ‘It’s in China’s interest to find out exactly what it is,’ Fauci said. ‘Obviously, you want openness and cooperation. One of the ways to get it is not to be accusatory. Try to get a forensic, scientific and investigational approach. I think the accusatory part about it is only going to make (China) pull back more.’

Fauci was asked during the MSNBC interview if he thought it was in China’s best interest to hide information if the origin was a lab leak or if it was designing a weapon. He sidestepped, saying no matter what he says, ‘it will be taken completely out of context,’ which he said has already happened after more than 3,200 of his emails from January to June 2020 were obtained and published by Buzzfeed on Tuesday. The emails showed leading virus experts warned him COVID-19 may have been created in a lab while he publicly played such claims down.

GoF

Read more …

“The former director of the Centers for Disease Control received death threats from fellow scientists..”

Ex-CDC Director Threatened For Saying Covid-19 Likely Originated In A Lab (DM)

The former director of the Centers for Disease Control received death threats from fellow scientists after he said during a TV interview that he believed COVID-19 originated in a lab, according to an interview released Thursday. Robert Redfield, who served as the CDC director under Donald Trump when the pandemic began, told CNN on March 26 that he thought the most likely ‘etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory – you know, escaped.’ He said he wasn’t insinuating that there was ill intent, but that was his opinion. After that 10-second sound bite, he told Vanity Fair he was ‘threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis.’ At the time, the Wuhan lab leak was widely considered a ‘fringe theory’ at best, in favor of transmission from an animal to a human.

The Vanity Fair article said ‘death threats flooded his inbox’ from strangers who said he was being racist to prominent scientists, even some he considered friends. One told him to ‘wither and die,’ Vanity Fair reported. ‘I expected it from politicians. I didn’t expect it from science,’ Redfield said. Stephen Goldstein, an evolutionary virologist at the University of Utah, wrote an opinion piece on Webpagetoday on April 5 shooting down Redfield’s assertions on CNN. ‘Questions are undoubtedly going to persist about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 until, and if, a definitive answer is uncovered (and perhaps beyond),’ Goldstein wrote. ‘Until then, it’s imperative that leaders in science, public health, and government continue to call for rigorous study and stick to the science of viral evolution and viral ecology in their public commentary. ‘One of the fundamental principles of a life in science is to admit what you don’t know, and never be afraid to look it up. That’s where Redfield falls short, unfortunately on a big stage.’

[..] The magazine outlined the first moments Redfield heard about a mysterious new pneumonia affecting people in a Wuhan market from Dr. George Fu Gao, head of the Chinese CDC, on January 3, 2020. Redfield told Vanity Fair that he thought it was odd that family clusters were getting sick, and Gao later told Redfield that many cases had nothing to do with the market. That’s when it became apparent the virus was jumping from person to person, and Redfield told Vanity Fair he immediately thought of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He wanted to send researchers to the facility to rule it out, but the Chinese didn’t allow it, Vanity Fair reported. ‘A team could rule it out as a source of the outbreak in just a few weeks, by testing researchers there for antibodies,’ according to Vanity Fair.

Read more …

“All you need is for an entire profession involved in some very dangerous research to realize that they ****ed up and believe that through their ****up one percent or more of the population in their nation is about to die..”

Where’s The Tar and Feathers? (Denninger)

The so-called “MSM” isn’t even debating these parts of the email dump — they’re playing Ostrich instead, hoping they can bury it by “touting” all the “pressure” that was seen in the trove while ignoring that the archive damns not one man but entire professions including the vaccine/pharma connection. Yes, there is even evidence that the intentional refusal to look at and use existing drugs and the “decision” on how they were going to deal with this goes back that far, before the first American died. Bluntly put these people didn’t just ignore the evidence that accumulated by the summer months they literally ignored it all the way back to the start and thus it can be reasonably argued they are personally responsible for all of the deaths. If you want to know how you generate international hysteria you don’t need some cabal pulling a puppet string.

All you need is for an entire profession involved in some very dangerous research to realize that they ****ed up and believe that through their ****up one percent or more of the population in their nation is about to die with nothing they can do about it, and if it gets pinned on them as it should since they caused it every one of them deserves to be swinging from a rope. Oh, incidentally, Fauci also knew that masks in the general population were worthless. He pointed this out directly; that the virus was too small and would go right though it. His own words folks, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out but cannot say as “it’s against the consensus of experts”, according to Google, Facebook, Twitter and others, without being de-monetized, having videos pulled and risking being banhammered.

Now we know factually that Fauci stated this himself, so now the media and other “tech companies” are enforcing a position that the so-called “expert” generated with an intentional lie and they’ve maintained and forced that intentional lie for a year and are continuing to do so to this day. Now you know how the hysteria, cover-ups and outright lying happened. Now contaminate that with pharma money and you get what we’re doing now.

Read more …

This reads like a vaccine ad. “..the virus really is under control, nationwide and in every state, thanks almost entirely to the vaccines.”

But remember this graph, and remember they refused to use HCQ and ivermectin.

Covid-19 Cases Hit Lowest Point In US Since Pandemic Began (Axios)

The U.S. has brought new coronavirus infections down to the lowest level since March 2020, when the pandemic began. Nearly every week for the past 56 weeks, Axios has tracked the change — more often than not, the increase — in new COVID-19 infections. Those case counts are now so low, the virus is so well contained, that this will be our final weekly map. The U.S. averaged roughly 16,500 new cases per day over the past week, a 30% improvement over the week before. New cases declined in 43 states and held steady in the other seven. The official case counts haven’t been this low since Americans went into lockdown in March last year — when the pandemic was still new, no one knew how long this would go on, and inadequate testing meant that cases were undercounted.

Overall, roughly 33 million Americans — about 10% of the population — have tested positive for COVID-19. About 595,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S., making it deadlier for Americans than the past 80 years of wars and other armed military conflicts combined, including World War II. The U.S. largely failed to contain the virus until the vaccines arrived. Cities and businesses began shutting down last March. From there, the virus rolled into a second wave last summer, when cases climbed to over 65,000 per day, on average, and hospitals in many parts of the country said they were overwhelmed. That failure was then eclipsed in the winter, when hundreds of thousands of people per day were contracting the virus and deaths climbed over 3,000 per day for about a month.

But now, the virus really is under control, nationwide and in every state, thanks almost entirely to the vaccines. Just over half of American adults are now fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Cases and deaths are still soaring around the world, especially in the developing world, and the Biden administration is facing consistently mounting pressure to export more vaccines, now that the U.S. has contained the virus. The U.S. was never able to control the virus without vaccines, and it still can’t. The risk is still about as high as it’s ever been for unvaccinated people, as the Washington Post recently reported. An average of about 500 Americans per day are still dying from COVID-19, almost all of them unvaccinated.

There will still be some localized outbreaks in the U.S., especially in areas where relatively few people are vaccinated. But they will likely be small, and vaccinated people will be protected. Over time, the immunity from vaccines will likely wane, which, together with new variants of the virus, will likely require booster shots to stay ahead of another outbreak. For now, though, the U.S. has finally gotten the virus down to a level that just about every expert agrees is safe. Fewer than 20,000 cases per day, spread across the U.S. population of 331.5 million people, is a relatively low number of cases, and that number continues to improve across the board.

Read more …

Why not simply get ivermectin? Too cheap?

EU Purchases Its First Monoclonal Antibodies Cocktail For Covid-19 (RT)

The European Union has announced the purchase of 55,000 doses of the Roche-Regeneron Covid-19 drug, marking its first foray into potential treatments involving a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies. The EU announced it secured the shipment of the doses on Wednesday, as the bloc seeks to expand its portfolio of drugs and explores potentially promising treatments that can help in the fight against the virus. The deal was agreed earlier this year but the details were only confirmed on Thursday by an EU spokesperson, who said 55,000 doses of the single-shot treatment had been purchased. Roche stated that the company’s contract will cover 37 countries in Europe, including the UK and other non-EU nations. The cost of the shipment has not been made public by the EU or the pharmaceutical companies.


While the deal agreed between the companies and the EU is for the drug’s infusion version, there is also a shot that has been tested and developed. The Roche-Regeneron treatment is still awaiting formal approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) before the shipment is dispatched, with formal authorization expected between August and October 2021. The EMA is currently in the process of conducting a rolling review of preliminary data. The Roche-Regeneron Covid-19 treatment has already been granted emergency US approval for patients with mild to moderate symptoms, with Washington ordering 1.5 million doses. The monoclonal antibodies treatment seeks to replicate or boost the body’s natural immune response, helping to support Covid-19 patients who are at high risk of developing severe disease.

Read more …

Google translate. Holland closed schools not to protect children, but to make parents stay home. Think about how crazy that is.

The Netherlands Used Children As A Weapon In The Fight Against Corona (AD)

Due to the Dutch corona policy to close schools and thus keep parents at home, children have been used as a means to fight the epidemic. Our cabinet receives that hard slap on the fingers today in the annual worldwide children’s rights report, the KidsRights Index. According to the makers, the Netherlands has set a very bad example internationally, by not even trying to keep schools open safely. With all the consequences that entails for the mental health of our youth. The corona guidelines from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child have also been neglected. Youth has not been given any priority in Dutch policy, it sounds.

Statements by corona minister Hugo de Jonge, dated mid-December 2020, are presented as proof. Then De Jonge indeed mentioned on television as the reason why the cabinet decided to close the schools, that parents with children sitting at home will therefore start working from home more quickly. When parents take their children to school, that is another moment of contact, De Jonge explained at the time. “And we also learned from the first wave, when the schools were also closed, that the fact that primary education does not provide physical education also ensures that parents adhere better to another advice, namely: work from home as much as possible. ”, said the minister at the time.

“Children’s rights have been put in second place by the cabinet during corona time,” Marc Dullaert, founder of the international children’s rights organization KidsRights, now told this site. “They were the ankle bracelet for parents. These had to be kept at home in order to effectively fight the epidemic. At the expense of their mental health.” In the first phase, when everyone was looking for the right approach, this was understandable according to Dullaert. ,,But De Jonge’s statements came at a time when it was really no longer acceptable, in the second phase. And other countries – such as Belgium and Sweden – have done everything they can to keep the schools open, so there were alternatives on the table.”

Read more …

“..it has a fatality rate of around 54%..”

Delhi Reports Over 1,000 Cases Of ‘Black Fungus’ Amid Shortage Of Drugs (RT)

The number of cases of so-called black fungus, or mucormycosis, has almost doubled in Delhi over the past seven days, reaching 1,044 infections, the local health minister has said. The disease has particularly affected India’s Covid patients. A further 440 people have been diagnosed in the city since last week, when the number of afflicted patients stood at 600. Health minister Satyendra Jain said on Thursday that 89 people had succumbed to the disease in Delhi to date, while 92 others had recovered. The shortage of drugs to treat mucormycosis still remained a problem for the city of 29 million, the minister added. Cases of black fungus have been on the rise in India during the harsh second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.


As of May 25, the country saw 11,700 infections, which prompted several states to declare mucormycosis an epidemic. It also soon became clear that the health authorities didn’t have sufficient quantities of the antifungal drug Amphotericin B for the number of patients. Capitalizing on the weakened immune system in Covid sufferers, the fungi most commonly enter the human body through the nose and mouth before spreading to the lungs, heart, or brain. Its symptoms include facial swelling and black lesions – hence its name – and it has a fatality rate of around 54%. The spike in black fungus incidences among Indian coronavirus patients has been largely linked to the steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed during their treatment for Covid-19.

Read more …

The US did this to Ukraine.

Nord Stream 2 To Cost Kiev $3 Billion In Transit Fees A Year – Zelensky (RT)

The completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 project will deprive Ukraine of about $3 billion annually, with the country’s pipelines no longer necessary for the transportation of Russian gas to Western Europe. That’s according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who told a delegation from the US Congress that America should do what it can to prevent Nord Stream 2 from being completed. Once finished, the pipeline will connect Germany directly to Russia via the Baltic Sea. It aims to protect Berlin’s energy security and make the process less reliant on third countries transiting gas, thereby lowering the price. As things stand, according to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, around 100km remains to be completed, which should be achieved by the end of 2021.


“Only the United States and the administration of President Joe Biden can prevent the completion and commissioning of Nord Stream 2,” Zelensky explained. “Nord Stream 2 will disconnect Ukraine from gas supplies, which means ‘disconnecting’ us from at least $3 billion a year… We will have nothing to pay for the Ukrainian Army.” According to the Ukrainian leader, without this money, the country will no longer have a “powerful and well-supplied army” to continue “defending Europe and European values.” The construction of Nord Stream 2 has been significantly hindered by US sanctions, with Washington imposing numerous packages of measures against companies involved in the building, maintenance, insurance, and certification of the project. The American authorities have claimed that its completion would “undermine Europe’s overall energy security and stability.” However, some have accused the Americans of opposing the pipeline for economic reasons, as the country looks to increase its exports of liquefied natural gas to the continent.

Read more …

They’ll move into gold.

Russia’s $186 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Dumps All Dollar Assets (ZH)

Following a series of corporate cyberattacks that American intelligence agencies have blamed on Russian actors, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (officially the National Wellbeing Fund) has decided to dump all of its dollars and dollar-denominated assets in favor of those denominated in euros, yuan – or simply buying precious metals like gold, which Russia’s central bank has increasingly favored for its own reserves. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov made the announcement Thursday morning at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. “We can make this change rather quickly, within a month,” Siluanov told reporters Thursday.

He explained that the Kremlin is moving to reduce exposure to US assets as President Biden threatens more economic sanctions against Russia following the latest ransomware attacks. The transfer will affect $119 billion in liquid assets, Bloomberg reported, but the sales will largely be executed through the Russian Central bank and its massive reserves, limiting the market impact and reducing visibility on what exactly the sovereign wealth fund will be buying. “The central bank can make these changes to the Wellbeing Fund without resorting to market operations,” said Sofya Donets, economist at Renaissance Capital in Moscow. “This in some sense a technical thing.”

Jordan Rochester, currency strategist at Nomura International PLC, said, “This is a transfer of euros from the central bank to the wealth fund, we’ll then see the central bank the holder of the USDs and it’s up to them to manage it. No initial market impact.” The news isn’t a complete surprise: The Bank of Russia, Russia’s central bank, has steadily reduced its dollar holdings over the last few years amid increasing sanctions pressure from the US and Europe. That trend continued through President Trump’s term. Just a few days ago, we reported that the Russian parliament had just authorized the sovereign wealth fund to buy gold through the central bank. However, the central bank reports its holdings with a six-month lag, making it impossible to determine its current holdings.

Read more …

 

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Brilliant Ali on how he wants to be remembered.

 

 


The red train, Landwasserviadukt, Switzerland. Drone photo by Sebastianmzh

 

 

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May 042021
 


Franco Fontana Prague 1967

 

US To Authorize Pfizer Vaccine For Ages 12-15 Early Next Week (R.)
Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely In The US, Experts Now Believe (NYT)
The Missing Piece of the Covid-19 Death Puzzle: Co-Infection (Sardi)
The CDC, VUMC, Johns Hopkins Are All *DONE* (Denninger)
England To Pilot Daily Covid Tests As Way To Avoid Self-isolation (G.)
SARS-CoV-2 Variants Still Recognized by T Cells (NIH)
Covid S Protein Impairs Endothelial Function via Downregulation of ACE 2 (AHA)
Florida Gov. DeSantis Suspends All Local Coronavirus Emergency Orders (JTN)
‘Far More Likely’ Coronavirus Came From Lab, Ex-MI6 Chief (LBC)
The Criminalization of Dissent (CJ Hopkins)
Biden Family Justice (Kunstler)
Moscow Has Plan To Ditch US Dollar & Axe Dependency On West (Gavin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Main reason for hesitancy to take Covid vaccine from average Americans is they assume ALL risk. If something goes wrong, you can’t sue Moderna/Pfizer. And without FDA approval government isn’t accountable, either. Therefore, the patient/citizen assumes ALL risk.”

 

 

 

This for me remains the scariest part of it all.

“Pfizer and Moderna have also launched trials in even younger children, from six months to 11 years old.”

US To Authorize Pfizer Vaccine For Ages 12-15 Early Next Week (R.)

The US Food and Drug Administration is preparing to authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine for adolescents between ages 12 and 15 years by early next week, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing federal officials familiar with the agency’s plans. An approval is highly anticipated after the drugmakers said in March that the vaccine had been found to be safe, effective and produced robust antibody responses in 12- to 15-year-olds in a clinical trial. Responding to a Reuters request for comment, the FDA said its review of expanding the vaccine’s emergency use authorization was continuing, but it did not provide further details. The vaccine has already been cleared in the United States for people age 16 and above.


The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director, Rochelle Walensky, said earlier in April that the vaccine could be approved by mid-May. If an approval for the 12-15-year-olds is granted, the CDC’s vaccine advisory panel will probably meet the following day to review the clinical trial data and make recommendations for the vaccine’s use in adolescents, the report said. Approval of the vaccine would boost the country’s immunization drive and help allay fears of parents anxious to protect their children from Covid-19. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also testing their vaccines in 12- to 18-year olds, with data from Moderna’s trial expected to come soon. Pfizer and Moderna have also launched trials in even younger children, from six months to 11 years old. Both companies have said they hope to be able to vaccinate children under 11 as soon as early 2022.

Read more …

Vaccine promo (vaccine porn?) . One-dimensional. It’s a pattern: first promotion of hand cleaners, then masks, then of lockdowns, now of vaccines.

Where would we be if they had promoted vit. D and ivermection in the same fashion?

Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely In The US, Experts Now Believe (NYT)

Early in the pandemic, when vaccines for the coronavirus were still just a glimmer on the horizon, the term “herd immunity” came to signify the endgame: the point when enough Americans would be protected from the virus so we could be rid of the pathogen and reclaim our lives. Now, more than half of adults in the United States have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But daily vaccination rates are slipping, and there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable – at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.

Instead, they are coming to the conclusion that rather than making a long-promised exit, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers. How much smaller is uncertain and depends in part on how much of the nation, and the world, becomes vaccinated and how the coronavirus evolves. It is already clear, however, that the virus is changing too quickly, new variants are spreading too easily and vaccination is proceeding too slowly for herd immunity to be within reach anytime soon. Continued immunizations, especially for people at highest risk because of age, exposure or health status, will be crucial to limiting the severity of outbreaks, if not their frequency, experts believe.

“The virus is unlikely to go away,” said Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta. “But we want to do all we can to check that it’s likely to become a mild infection.” The shift in outlook presents a new challenge for public health authorities. The drive for herd immunity – by the summer, some experts once thought possible – captured the imagination of large segments of the public. To say the goal will not be attained adds another “why bother” to the list of reasons that vaccine skeptics use to avoid being inoculated.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration’s top adviser on Covid-19, acknowledged the shift in experts’ thinking. “People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is,” he said. “That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense,” he added. “I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”

Read more …

“The so-called “super-spreaders” are the asymptomatic RNA-vaccinated (Pfizer/ Moderna) individuals that shed the virus. In an anticipated misdirection, the unvaccinated will then be mistakenly blamed for the spread of the virus and a predicted witch hunt will ensue for the anti-vaxxers..”

The Missing Piece of the Covid-19 Death Puzzle: Co-Infection (Sardi)

Funny thing we realized on the way to the funeral parlor to bury our friends and loved ones who were vaccinated against COVID-19 coronavirus, that the vaccine didn’t work. COVID-19 vaccines, like flu shots, don’t work as well for new strains of the virus. For that, you will need perpetual immunization, say vaccine makers. Oh, there are people dying, 7700 every day in the US. But was their passing solely attributed to COVID-19? Since the COVID-19 fatality numbers are exaggerated by a PCR nasal swab test that results in 97% false positives (all of the COVID-19 PCR tests during the past 14 months have been found to be invalid), there is no way to confirm deaths were caused by COVID-19 or COVID-19 was a bystander, the difference between dying OF COVID-19 or dying WITH COVID-19! Deaths are being drummed up to create fear and false demand for vaccines.

Also, in case you hadn’t heard, “a resurgence in both hospitalizations and deaths will be ‘dominated by those that have received two doses of the vaccine,” says the respected Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group. “At least 60 percent of all new COVID-19 cases are occurring in people who were already vaccinated.” So far, hundreds who have been vaccinated got sick again and some have died. This is being reported in different locations. We have a vaccine that reduces severity of symptoms but not the ratio of hospitalizations and deaths among infected subjects! The so-called “super-spreaders” are the asymptomatic RNA-vaccinated (Pfizer/ Moderna) individuals that shed the virus. In an anticipated misdirection, the unvaccinated will then be mistakenly blamed for the spread of the virus and a predicted witch hunt will ensue for the anti-vaxxers, a development foreseen in my March 26, 2021 posting.

But how could a mutated common cold virus kill off humans like flies? Well, at no time were any human populations dying like flies. As stated in prior reports, the percentage of people dying of COVID-19 who reside outside of nursing homes is but one-quarter of one-percent. Vaccination, which is said to be 95% effective, but that is not 95 out of 100 in hard numbers. On an accumulated basis as of May 1, 2021 in the U.S., 31,889,171 laboratory- confirmed infections (9.7% of the population) with 568,836 questionable deaths (0.0017% or 1.7 per thousand). But even these numbers are fallacious. If the PCR nasal swab test were properly performed, then 97% COVID-19 infections as a cause of death cannot be confirmed.

Only 6% of deaths were without co-morbid conditions (diabetes, heart disease, etc.), meaning maybe only 34,130 COVID-19 deaths solely attributed to COVID-19 instead of 568,836 – for a true fatality risk 0.0001 or 1 in 10,000. That means 10,000 must be vaccinated to spare 1 life. While the serious side effect rate for the vaccines is very small, it exceeds the number who will potentially benefit from vaccination. Your chance of benefiting from vaccination is nil. And vaccination will not prevent infections or deaths if your immune system is not intact, or if the strain of the virus does not match the vaccine. [..] How are face masks, social distancing and hand washing, going to meaningfully reduce your risk of dying from COVID-19 when only 1 in 10,000 are at risk?

Read more …

“COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.”

“The science says it’s not harmless; it is in fact pathogenic. The CDC is lying and as a result people are dying.”

The CDC, VUMC, Johns Hopkins Are All *DONE* (Denninger)

There might be a few fathers left in this country. Maybe. If so it is my sincere hope that they hold people to personal account who inflicted these harms on their sons and daughters, of which there will be tens if not hundreds of thousands reasonably tied to these so-called “interventions”, including the shots, in the current and coming years. The ghouls involved did not give a crap about the law from the start. The EUAs were flatly illegal because we knew by summer of 2020 that there were decades-old proved safe and believed effective treatments. We didn’t use them, on purpose, for the explicit reason that doing so would prevent these EUAs from being issued. By deliberately lying the FDA, CDC and dozens of other organizations and individuals along with the corporate physician and hospital networks directly caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans who should not have died, and caused deliberate harm to hundreds of thousands more who are now left with what may well be a lifelong debilitating impact as a result of the scream-fest for “everyone” to go get these unproved and now-known-dangerous injections.

Nobody knows how bad, or for how long, those future disabilities and risk of death will be or for how long they will continue but that there is severe impact is now known; we are now down to trying to figure out how horrid. The CDC still claims the spike protein in the shots is “harmless” despite three scientific papers dating to December stating otherwise, one of which is peer reviewed and another from Salk, with the first known published evidence of a problem dating back to September of 2020. All were deliberately ignored and still are being ignored. “COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.”

The science says it’s not harmless; it is in fact pathogenic. The CDC is lying and as a result people are dying. If you think this can remain “under wraps” and not get into the public consciousness you’re wrong. While the pharma firms may have legal immunity no private entity or public other entity does and the ambulance chasers will be out in droves to make the next $10 or $50 billion windfall asset-stripping colleges and their endowments, sports teams, concert venues and other commercial and government entities of every bit of flesh they can pick off. Unfortunately the injured will get little or nothing after the lawyers get done, as has always been the case. The destruction of these entities is both just and will happen, but it’s nowhere near the end game or best of outcomes.

The best of outcomes, which we will also obtain, will be the complete destruction of any sort of trust, belief or other willingness to listen to so-called “public health” authorities for years or even decades into the future. This is not a bad thing; they’ve been full of crap for decades, poisoning people slowly by advocating the consumption of a carbohydrate-rich diet, essentially cramming liquid milk into the gullets of children, many of whom are lactose intolerant to some degree and for which there is no evidence of benefit, calling “ketchup”, which is mostly sugar, a “vegetable” and other similar outrages. McDonalds and the rest of the fast food industry followed said “guidance” and stopped using beef tallow from their hamburgers to fry the potatoes; that switch alone has killed hundreds of thousands over the last few decades, as vegetable oils of this sort should never be consumed in any meaningful quantity. They do not occur in nature in anything similar to what we consume today and every one of them has a horrid inflammatory profile.

Read more …

Next up: hourly testing.

Do any of these tests look for the presence of T cells?

England To Pilot Daily Covid Tests As Way To Avoid Self-isolation (G.)

Daily testing of the contacts of people who test positive for Covid is to be trialled, the government has announced, in an effort to reduce the need for people to self-isolate unnecessarily. People who test positive for Covid and their close contacts currently have to isolate for 10 days, but recent research has suggested compliance may be low. One study found that only about 50% of people who had Covid symptoms said they fully adhered to self-isolation. The trial, which launches on Sunday and is led by Public Health England (PHE) and NHS test and trace, will explore whether the use of daily testing of close contacts could reduce the need for people to isolate.


“We know that isolating when you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 is challenging, but it remains vitally important to stop the spread of infection,” said Prof Isabel Oliver, PHE’s national infection service director and the study lead. “This study will help to determine whether we can deploy daily testing for contacts to potentially reduce the need for self-isolation, while still ensuring that chains of transmission are stopped. “Contacts of cases are at higher risk of infection, so testing them is a very effective way of preventing further spread. This study will play an important part of our evaluation of daily contact testing and how the approach to testing might evolve.” The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had previously noted the potential for daily testing.

Read more …

From March 31 2021. It appears to say T cells come from vaccines or infection, but we know many people (81%?!) have T cells regardless. I’m not sure of these are the specific CD8+ T cells.

SARS-CoV-2 Variants Still Recognized by T Cells (NIH)

When variants of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) emerged in late 2020, concern arose that they might elude protective immune responses generated by prior infection or vaccination, potentially making re-infection more likely or vaccination less effective. To investigate this possibility, researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues analyzed blood cell samples from 30 people who had contracted and recovered from COVID-19 prior to the emergence of virus variants. They found that one key player in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2—the CD8+ T cell—remained active against the virus. The research team was led by NIAID’s Andrew Redd, Ph.D., and included scientists from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Immunomics-focused company, ImmunoScape.

The investigators asked whether CD8+ T cells in the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients, infected with the initial virus, could still recognize three SARS-CoV-2 variants: B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom; B.1.351, originally found in the Republic of South Africa; and B.1.1.248, first seen in Brazil. Each variant has mutations throughout the virus, and, in particular, in the region of the virus’ spike protein that it uses to attach to and enter cells. Mutations in this spike protein region could make it less recognizable to T cells and neutralizing antibodies, which are made by the immune system’s B cells following infection or vaccination. Although details about the exact levels and composition of antibody and T-cell responses needed to achieve immunity to SARS-CoV-2 are still unknown, scientists assume that strong and broad responses from both antibodies and T cells are required to mount an effective immune response.

CD8+ T cells limit infection by recognizing parts of the virus protein presented on the surface of infected cells and killing those cells. In their study of recovered COVID-19 patients, the researchers determined that SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T-cell responses remained largely intact and could recognize virtually all mutations in the variants studied. While larger studies are needed, the researchers note that their findings suggest that the T cell response in convalescent individuals, and most likely in vaccinees, are largely not affected by the mutations found in these three variants, and should offer protection against emerging variants. Optimal immunity to SARS-Cov-2 likely requires strong multivalent T-cell responses in addition to neutralizing antibodies and other responses to protect against current SARS-CoV-2 strains and emerging variants, the authors indicate. They stress the importance of monitoring the breadth, magnitude and durability of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 T-cell responses in recovered and vaccinated individuals as part of any assessment to determine if booster vaccinations are needed.

Read more …

Coincidentally, also from March 31 2021.

A comment: “Why spike protein containing or mRNA transcription to self-produce the spike protein (S-protein) is likely to increase blood clotting and inflammation, especially in at-risk individuals: The SARS-CoV2 (SARS2) spike protein is biologically active.”

Covid S Protein Impairs Endothelial Function via Downregulation of ACE 2 (AHA)

Read more …

2024. Watch him.

Florida Gov. DeSantis Suspends All Local Coronavirus Emergency Orders (JTN)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday suspended local coronavirus emergency orders via an executive order. The Sunshine State Republican also signed a bill approved by the Florida legislature which will give the governor the power to invalidate local emergency orders. The bill is effective July 1 and the governor signed the executive order effective July 1st that will invalidate local emergency coronavirus orders. “The bill ensures that neither the state nor local governments can close business or keep kids out of in-person instruction unless they satisfy demanding and continuous justifications,” DeSantis said.


“It also says that any local emergency order, excluding hurricane emergencies, are capped at seven-day increments and may only be extended to a maximum duration of 42 days. And most importantly, as governor I’ll have the authority to invalidate a local emergency order if it unnecessarily restricts individual rights or liberties,” the governor said. Prior to signing the documents DeSantis explained that he would “sign the bill, it’s effective July 1st. I’ll also sign an executive order pursuant to that bill invalidating all remaining local emergency COVID orders effective on July 1st. But then to bridge the gap between then and now I am gonna suspend under my executive power the local emergency orders as it relates to COVID. I think that’s the evidence-based thing to do.”

Read more …

Context: MI6: Russia, China, Taliban.

‘Far More Likely’ Coronavirus Came From Lab, Ex-MI6 Chief (LBC)

Coronavirus was more likely to have escaped from a lab than to have come from an animal, the former head of MI6 has told LBC. Sir Richard Dearlove said aspects of the virus “point in the direction of it being somewhat tailored” though he warned this may never be proven. The former “C” of the Secret Intelligence Service – equivalent to “M” in James Bond – also told LBC’s Tom Swarbrick that more information on the coronavirus’ origin will soon come out. Some have theorised the coronavirus could have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Work to establish the origin of the virus is ongoing. Sir Richard, who headed up the spy agency between 1999 and 2004, told Tom the World Health Organisation’s report, which said a lab leak was highly unlikely but further work was needed, was a “farcical investigation”.

While he admitted “it’s possible” the virus jumped to humans from nature, Sir Richard said: “But the fact that… it’s far more likely, if you’re a scientist, that it was put together. “All right, put it like this… It’s a natural virus that’s been, as it were, mucked around with and the characteristics of things like the spike protein, which make it so highly infectious, also point in the direction of it being somewhat tailored.” He alleged that Chinese influence was hindering the publication of scientific articles on the matter. “I honestly don’t think that this issue can be resolved one way or another,” he continued. “I think there’s a balance of probability. Obviously, if it cannot be proven, and I don’t think it can, because the evidence that could have proved it one way or another has been destroyed, because of the extent of the Chinese clean up.

“Okay, so you can’t prove it’s zoonotic. You can’t prove it’s a lab escapee. What I’m saying is there’s a balance of probability.” He expects forthcoming books to further outline the argument for coronavirus’ lab origin. Sir Richard described China as a more “acute” threat, though he added that Russia presents the most immediate challenge. He also said the UK should commit to training the security forces in Afghanistan for another two decades, after President Joe Biden announced the Americans would leave ahead of the September 11 20-year anniversary. It is a “mistake” to leave and the UK had become safer by deposing the old Taliban regime, he argued. “It could be (another 20 year stay),” Sir Richard said.

Read more …

“The United Nations and the highest levels of governments must take direct, even confrontational, approaches with Russia, and move to dismantle anti-vaccine groups in the United States.”

The Criminalization of Dissent (CJ Hopkins)

Here’s California State Senator Richard Pan, author of an op-ed in the Washington Post: “Anti-vax extremism is akin to domestic terrorism,” quoted in the Los Angeles Times: “These extremists have not yet been held accountable, so they continue to escalate violence against the body public … We must now summon the political will to demand that domestic terrorists face consequences for their words and actions. Our democracy and our lives depend on it … They’ve been building alliances with white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and [others] on the far right …” And here’s Peter Hotez in Nature magazine:

“The United Nations and the highest levels of governments must take direct, even confrontational, approaches with Russia, and move to dismantle anti-vaccine groups in the United States. Efforts must expand into the realm of cyber security, law enforcement, public education and international relations. A high-level inter-agency task force reporting to the UN secretary-general could assess the full impact of anti-vaccine aggression, and propose tough, balanced measures. The task force should include experts who have tackled complex global threats such as terrorism, cyber attacks and nuclear armament, because anti-science is now approaching similar levels of peril. It is becoming increasingly clear that advancing immunization requires a counter-offensive.”

We’ll be hearing a lot more rhetoric like this as this new, more totalitarian structure of global capitalism gradually develops. Probably a good idea to listen carefully, and assume they mean exactly what they say.

Read more …

“..the FBI was in possession of Hunter’s laptop from at least one month prior to the commencement of impeachment proceedings in December of 2019. And nobody was informed about that… not least the president’s lawyer?”

Biden Family Justice (Kunstler)

The campaign of false witness against US citizens went into overdrive when Donald Trump strutted onto the scene and “seventeen agencies of the Intel Community” conspired with The New York Times and other news media to manufacture the RussiaGate hoax. No top official across the boards has been taken to law for the stupendous cavalcade of false accusations and deceitful investigations associated with that venture in sedition, and the nation is still waiting for the apparition known as Special Counsel John Durham to make a peep. In fact, since 2017 much of the publicly-reported activity around the DOJ and FBI has demonstrated only their attempts to suppress their own felonious misdeeds — cover-ups on top of cover-ups.

Now comes the curious case of Rudy Giuliani, whose apartment was raided on a warrant last week by the FBI seeking his computers and cell phones. The probable cause remains murky — something to do with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in representing Ukrainian clients in the US? So, the DOJ wants Rudy’s files, emails, and memoranda on that? Of course, Rudy was acting as the President’s lawyer in impeachment No. 1 over a telephone call to Ukraine, and what was that about? Hunter Biden’s grifting activities, his cumulatively receiving millions from the Burisma Company, of which Hunter’s dad was due to receive at least his usual ten percent cut? And concerning which activity, Joe Biden threatened former Ukraine President Poroshenko in withholding US aid, unless an investigation into Hunter’s Burisma grift was dropped.

It might be helpful to the current occupant of the Oval Office to know what kind of evidence Rudy has acquired on all that and more over the years — yes? But then, there’s plenty of evidence about it and much much much more on Hunter’s wayward laptop. Perhaps hundreds of millions in wide-ranging grifts beyond lowly Ukraine all the way to China, where to this day Hunter retains active and substantial financial connections through his Skaneateles LLC financial company. And it has become known that the FBI was in possession of Hunter’s laptop from at least one month prior to the commencement of impeachment proceedings in December of 2019. And nobody was informed about that… not least the president’s lawyer?

Read more …

Majority of trade between Russia and China is in euros these days.

Moscow Has Plan To Ditch US Dollar & Axe Dependency On West (Gavin)

The characteristically blunt Zakharova told RT over the weekend that new economic barriers were “having a complex negative impact on both Russian and Western economies.” According to her, the price of playing out hostilities through the financial markets is high, and “estimates of the damage vary, but are well within the hundreds of billions of dollars.” “Unfortunately,” the diplomatic spokeswoman said, “the reality of our time has been the increased use of politically motivated unilateral measures by some Western states, mainly the US. We see the sanctions against Russia more and more as a ‘gesture of desperation’ due to the inability of elites to accept the new realities, abandon their collective groupthink, and recognize Russia’s right to determine its own development path and build relations with its partners.”

One reason behind this, she claimed, is that Washington and its allies “seem to find it difficult to accept the obvious successes of the Russian economy, the increase in its international competitiveness and the expansion of the presence of quality Russian goods and services on world markets.” While the ruble has been hit hard by falling oil prices, geopolitical uncertainty, and the global recession that has accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic, the country appears more resilient than most of its contemporaries. While a number of other European nations are still languishing in lockdowns, most Russian businesses have been trading consistently with few restrictions since an initial strict quarantine period in the first half of last year.

The governor of Russia’s Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, has previously said that “the economy is bouncing back rather steadily” and, “given the current positive trends,” its analysts have maintained their outlook on GDP growth for 2021 at 3 to 4%. Her bullishness comes at a time when the path back to growth appears uncertain for many countries.

Read more …

 

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Feb 082021
 


Claude Monet Houses of Parliament, Sunset 1904

 

South Africa Halts AstraZeneca Vaccinations Over Variant Data (R.)
New Israeli Drug Cured 29 Of 30 Moderate/Serious Covid Cases In Days (ToI)
In Corzano 10% Of Population Positive For English Variant (ANSA)
Even ‘Scientist’ Models Now Forecast COVID Scourge Ending By Summer (ZH)
WaPo Says COVID Lab Accident “Plausible”, “Must Be Investigated” (ZH)
UK Vaccine Minister Says Gov’t Is Not Planning Covid Vaccine Passport (RT)
The World Welcomes Biden But Hedges Its Bets (Feffer)
US Moves To Rejoin UN Human Rights Council (AP)
The Censorship Industry Suffers Several Well-Deserved Blows (Greenwald)
The Coming “Monetary Hurricane” Is A White Swan (Bassman)
“This Is For You, Dad”: Interview With An Anonymous GameStop Investor (Taibbi)
Shark Deaths Have Left a ‘Gaping Hole’ in Ocean Life (SA)

 

 

NOTE: Don’t miss John Day MD’s guide for COVID prevention and treatment that I published earlier today: Treat Your Own COVID.

It could save your life.

 

 

What happens when you bet everythig on red under emergency authorizations.

..preliminary data showed efficacy dropped to 22% against the South African variant..

South Africa Halts AstraZeneca Vaccinations Over Variant Data (R.)

South Africa will put on hold use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot in its vaccination programme, after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday that the government would await advice from scientists on how best to proceed, after a trial showed the AstraZeneca vaccine did not significantly reduce the risk of mild or moderate COVID-19 from the 501Y.V2 variant that caused a second wave of infections starting late last year. Prior to widespread circulation of the more contagious variant, the vaccine was showing efficacy of around 75%, researchers said.

In a later analysis based mostly on infections by the new variant, there was only a 22% lower risk of developing mild-to-moderate COVID-19 versus those given a placebo. Although researchers said the figure was not statistically significant, due to trial design, it is well below the benchmark of at least 50% regulators have set for vaccines to be considered effective against the virus. The study did not assess whether the vaccine helped prevent severe COVID-19 because it involved mostly relatively young adults not considered to be at high risk for serious illness. AstraZeneca said on Saturday that it believed its vaccine could protect against severe disease and that it had already started adapting it against the 501Y.V2 variant.

Still, professor Shabir Madhi, lead investigator on the AstraZeneca trial in South Africa, said data on the vaccine were a reality check and that it was time to “recalibrate our expectations of COVID-19 vaccines”.

Read more …

EXO-CD24

New Israeli Drug Cured 29 Of 30 Moderate/Serious Covid Cases In Days (ToI)

A new coronavirus treatment being developed at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center has successfully completed phase 1 trials and appears to have helped numerous moderate-to-serious cases of COVID-19 quickly recover from the disease, the hospital said Friday. Hailing a “huge breakthrough,” the hospital said Prof. Nadir Arber’s EXO-CD24 substance had been administered to 30 patients whose conditions were moderate or worse, and all 30 recovered — 29 of them within three to five days. The medicine fights the cytokine storm — a potentially lethal immune overreaction to the coronavirus infection that is believed to be responsible for much of the deaths associated with the disease.

It uses exosomes — tiny carrier sacs that shuttle materials between cells — to deliver a protein called CD24 to the lungs, which Arber has spent decades researching. “This protein is located on the surface of cells and has a well known and important role in regulating the immune system,” said researcher Shiran Shapira of Arber’s lab. The protein helps calm down the immune system and curb the storm. “The preparation is inhaled once a day for a few minutes, for five days,” Arber said. “The preparation is directed straight to the heart of the storm — the lungs — so unlike other formulas… which selectively restrain a certain cytokine, or operate widely but cause many serious side effects, EXO-CD24 is administered locally, works broadly and without side effects.”

The medicine will now move on to further trial phases, but hospital officials were already hailing it as a possible game-changer in fighting serious COVID-19 illness. Ichilov director Roni Gamzu, the former coronavirus czar, said the research “is advanced and sophisticated and may save coronavirus patients. The results of the phase 1 trial are excellent and give us all confidence in the method [Arber] has been researching in his lab for many years.” He added: “I am proud that at Ichilov we are… possibly bringing a blue and white remedy to a terrible global pandemic.”

Read more …

Through Google Translate.

10% of the village of Corzano Flag of Italy has the #B117 variant—10% of all residents! 60% of cases are kids from kindergarten and primary school, other 40% are their parents.

In Corzano 10% Of Population Positive For English Variant (ANSA)

10% of the population of Corzano, a town of 1400 people in the province of Brescia, is positive for covid. “We have 140 positives and 60% are elementary and kindergarten students who in turn infected their families”, the mayor of the town Giovanni Benzoni, also positive, explained to ANSA. “Three out of four have covid at home,” he said. According to the analyzes of Ats Brescia, the population is infected by the English variant of Covid. The mayor has closed schools until February 8. “But the ordinance will be extended – he specified – because the recall swabs begin today and therefore we will have to wait for the results”. The authorities would be considering the possibility of closing the country in and out. “I didn’t know anything, but I can say that in the last few hours we have had only one more case. All the families are in solitary confinement and we expect the curve to go down again,” commented the mayor.

Read more …

How much of the good news is due to adjusting PCR testing cycles?

Even ‘Scientist’ Models Now Forecast COVID Scourge Ending By Summer (ZH)

The covid pandemic was front and center today in economic news, when its impact was felt throughout the January payrolls report (if not to the same extent as December payrolls), whose disappointing +49k reading could be easily explained by continued job losses in the Leisure & Hospitality sector due to COVID-19 outbreaks and associated lockdown measures and restrictions. However, as BofA’s Hans Mikkelsen writes, “given that the US COVID-19 situation is improving rapidly – for example the number of people hospitalized is down one-third over the past month – and restrictions are lifted in many large states like California, it is straightforward to expect much stronger payrolls going forward.” Indeed, the latest Covid data shows that absent any major shocks – such as a mutant strain that is fully immune to any existing vaccines – the pandemic should be a thing of the past relatively soon.


Here are the latest facts: the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US has declined dramatically to 88,668, or 43,806 – one-third – off the peak which occurred on January 5th (Figure 4) – a rapid turn in the crisis (Figure 5). The decrease is broad-based (48 states+DC, except for AK, MT and VT that saw minimal 1, 1 and 7 person increases over the past week, respectively).

The weekly percentage change in US COVID-19 hospitalized is consistent with the largest declines seen during the Coronavirus crisis (Figure 6). Moreover the 7-day test positivity rate has declined to 7.6% from the 13.6% peak on January 8th (Figure 7).

Since hospitalizations are lagged relative to time of infection the US Corona outbreaks peaked back in the second half of December. Finally, the vaccine rollout continues in the US at a rapid pace of around 1mn doses per day and a cumulative 35.2mn doses administered through February 2rd.

Read more …

And now we’ll never know.

WaPo Says COVID Lab Accident “Plausible”, “Must Be Investigated” (ZH)

Exactly one year ago today, Zero Hedge was ‘enjoying’ our suspension by Twitter after we pointed out that scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been experimenting on bat coronaviruses, and that investigators trying to determine the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak might want to have a word with them. We later reported that the same scientists had been using ‘gain-of-function’ research to make bat coronaviruses more transmissible to human beings – for which they were roundly criticized in 2015. Thus, it seemed only logical that the possibility of a lab escape at ‘ground zero’ was at least non-zero, and should be investigated alongside the ‘natural origin’ theory which posits that the virus jumped from bats to an intermediary species, which then infected a cluster of people at a Wuhan wet market.

According to a study published in The Lancet, 66% of patients admitted to Wuhan hospitals (27 out of 41) as of January 2nd, 2020 had been exposed to the Huanan seafood market. Since then, the lab leak hypothesis has gained traction – and has been elevated to let’s at least investigate status by legitimate bodies. Three weeks ago, the US State Department announced that while they haven’t determined whether the COVID-19 pandemic “began through contact with infected animals or was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, China,” the US government “has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.”

And in late January, A World Health Organization (WHO) adviser who previously worked under President Clinton and then-Senator Joe Biden said that COVID-19 was most likely an accidental lab leak. Which brings us to the Washington Post, whose editorial board on Sunday suggested that the lab leak hypothesis was “plausible” and “must be investigated.” “Many scientists have speculated that the virus leaped from animals, such as bats, to humans, perhaps with an intermediate stop in another animal. This kind of zoonotic spillover has occurred before, such as in the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014. But there is another pathway, also plausible, that must be investigated. That is the possibility of a laboratory accident or leak. It could have involved a virus that was improperly disposed of or perhaps infected a laboratory worker who then passed it to others.”

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I would like to see them try, and then get stiffed in court.

UK Vaccine Minister Says Gov’t Is Not Planning Covid Vaccine Passport (RT)

Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi denied claims that the UK government is planning to introduce a “vaccine passport” detailing which Brits have been vaccinated and which haven’t, calling the idea “discriminatory.” Asked during an interview with Sky News on Sunday whether the government is looking at the possibility of creating a vaccine passport, as has been speculated, Zahawi said, “No we are not.” The minister explained that those who receive their first dose of the vaccine get “a card from the NHS with their name on it,” the date they received their first dose, and the date of the second dose, and that this is all the government is currently supporting.

Zahawi said the major reasons why the government is not planning a vaccine passport is because “we don’t know the impact of the vaccines on transmission,” with vaccinated Brits currently being warned that they could still carry the virus, and that the practice “would be discriminatory.” “I think the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward and be vaccinated because they want to, rather than it being made in some way mandatory through a passport. If other countries demand proof of vaccination for entry, he added, “then you can ask your GP, because your GP will hold the record.” Zahawi did acknowledge that technology companies have received funding from UK Research and Innovation to look at the creation of vaccine passport apps, but concluded, “We are not planning to have a passport in the UK.”

“I just want to repeat that because I’ve had a lot of it on my social media,” he explained, adding, “We are certainly not looking to introduce this as part of the vaccine deployment program.” A petition calling for the UK government to commit against rolling out a vaccine passport received nearly 60,000 signatures after reports indicated that it was looking at such a system to allow Brits to go abroad. The concept of a vaccine passport has become extremely controversial in the UK and elsewhere, with figures like former Prime Minister Tony Blair in support, but others arguing it would turn those who have not been vaccinated into ‘second-class’ citizens and essentially strongarm them into getting vaccinated against their wishes.

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Nothing changes. Other than the window dressing.

The World Welcomes Biden But Hedges Its Bets (Feffer)

The nightmare is over. The vanquished beast has crawled back to Mar-a-Lago to lick his wounds. The heroes are hard at work repairing the damage. As America returns to the international stage, the world heaves a collective sigh of relief. That, at least, is the story the incoming Biden administration is telling. “America is back, multilateralism is back, diplomacy is back,” as Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the administration’s nominee for U.N. ambassador, put it shortly after the election. According to this narrative of redemption, the globe’s Atlas shrugged off its burden during the four years of Donald Trump’s tenure but is now ready to reassume its global leadership responsibilities.

Don’t believe it, though. Much of the rest of the world seems visibly queasy at the prospect of sitting on America’s shoulders, since who’s to say that Atlas won’t shrug again? And perhaps Atlas wasn’t such a responsible fellow in the first place.

Over the last several decades, the United States has displayed all the hallmarks of a country suffering from a serious personality disorder characterized by mood swings of gargantuan proportions. From the compromised multilateralism of the Bill Clinton years, the United States pivoted to the aggressive armed unilateralism of George W. Bush. Then, after boomeranging back to the centrist (if still over-armed) internationalism of Barack Obama, it took the wildest of detours into MAGA-land with Donald Trump. In the latest case of foreign-policy whiplash, Joe Biden is now preparing to return the country to a “new and improved” version of Obama’s global liberalism (with a dash of anti-Chinese fervor thrown in). Americans are by now remarkably familiar with such side effects of twenty-first-century democracy. We’ve skimmed the fine print on the label more than once and become reasonably inured to the adverse consequences of our civic religion.

Much of the world, however, is not accustomed to such volatility. The Kim family has ruled North Korea from day one, while Paul Biya has run Cameroon since 1982. Over the last 30 years, China has settled into its predictable version of market Leninism. Putatively democratic countries like Russia and Turkey have had the same leadership for two decades, while a genuinely democratic country like Germany has had the same chancellor for 15 years. The rest of Western Europe has seen numerous changes in those who hold the reins of power, but oscillations in governance have generally stayed within a relatively narrow political spectrum. European Union policies have similarly remained on a remarkably even keel, despite disruptions like Brexit. These days, however, democrats and dictators alike are unsure, from one day to the next, whether the United States will be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.

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“Neither Obama nor Trump were able to reform this fundamentally broken UN agency that institutionally legitimizes human rights abusers. Biden must not only confront the Council’s systemic antisemitism, but its complicity in China’s human rights abuses.”

US Moves To Rejoin UN Human Rights Council (AP)

The Biden administration is set to announce this week that it will reengage with the much-maligned U.N. Human Rights Council that former President Donald Trump withdrew from almost three years ago, U.S. officials said Sunday. The decision reverses another Trump-era move away from multilateral organizations and agreements. U..S. officials say Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a senior U.S. diplomat in Geneva will announce on Monday that Washington will return to the Geneva-based body as an observer with an eye toward seeking election as a full member. The decision is likely to draw criticism from conservative lawmakers and many in the pro-Israel community.

Trump pulled out of the world body’s main human rights agency in 2018 due to its disproportionate focus on Israel, which has received by far the largest number of critical council resolutions against any country, as well as the number of authoritarian countries among its members and because it failed to meet an extensive list of reforms demanded by then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. In addition to the council’s persistent focus on Israel, the Trump administration took issue with the body’s membership, which currently includes China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses.

One senior U.S. official said the Biden administration believed the council must still reform but that the best way to promote change is to “engage with it in a principled fashion.” The official said it can be “an important forum for those fighting tyranny and injustice around the world” and the U.S. presence intends to “ensure it can live up to that potential.”

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Cancel Culture.

The Censorship Industry Suffers Several Well-Deserved Blows (Greenwald)

A new and rapidly growing journalistic “beat” has arisen over the last several years that can best be described as an unholy mix of junior high hall-monitor tattling and Stasi-like citizen surveillance. It is half adolescent and half malevolent. Its primary objectives are control, censorship, and the destruction of reputations for fun and power. Though its epicenter is the largest corporate media outlets, it is the very antithesis of journalism.

I’ve written before about one particularly toxic strain of this authoritarian “reporting.” Teams of journalists at three of the most influential corporate media outlets — CNN’s “media reporters” (Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy), NBC’s “disinformation space unit” (Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny), and the tech reporters of The New York Times (Mike Isaac, Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel) — devote the bulk of their “journalism” to searching for online spaces where they believe speech and conduct rules are being violated, flagging them, and then pleading that punitive action be taken (banning, censorship, content regulation, after-school detention). These hall-monitor reporters are a major factor explaining why tech monopolies, which (for reasons of self-interest and ideology) never wanted the responsibility to censor, now do so with abandon and seemingly arbitrary blunt force: they are shamed by the world’s loudest media companies when they do not.

Just as the NSA is obsessed with ensuring there be no place on earth where humans can communicate free of their spying eyes and ears, these journalistic hall monitors cannot abide the idea that there can be any place on the internet where people are free to speak in ways they do not approve. Like some creepy informant for a state security apparatus, they spend their days trolling the depths of chat rooms and 4Chan bulletin boards and sub-Reddit threads and private communications apps to find anyone — influential or obscure — who is saying something they believe should be forbidden, and then use the corporate megaphones they did not build and could not have built but have been handed in order to silence and destroy anyone who dissents from the orthodoxies of their corporate managers or challenges their information hegemony.

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Harley Bassman, creator of the MOVE index, aka the “VIX for bonds”.

The Coming “Monetary Hurricane” Is A White Swan (Bassman)

When one hears hoof beats, look for horses not zebras. There is no reason to ruminate over exotic possibilities when the problems we face are quite clear. Once again, ignore the merits of the public policy response – what is important is that there is wide support from both the Democrats and Republicans to offer significant Fiscal relief supported by massive Monetary expansion. Will this be inflationary – Yes; but it is unclear how soon. I made the case in my December 2, 2020 commentary, ”The Wages of Fear”, that demographics will set ablaze the dry kindling of printed money sometime between 2023 to 2025; and nothing has occurred to change that prediction. What is clear is that a financial bubble is being inflated, and there is risk on both sides of the distribution.

Ordinarily the bloviating pundits advise one to sell assets, or perhaps execute some sort of hedge such as buying puts or selling covered calls. They are looking in the wrong direction. While I am not a stomping bull, the approaching monetary hurricane could well make the “surprise” a further rally in equities. Printed money should elevate stocks; either via a continued flow into assets, or into the pockets of consumers who will spend it and thus increase corporate profits. (Yes, higher taxes could be an offset, but let’s save that for another Commentary.) As noted, inflation is an eventual certainty, so one should own real assets; and over the longest run stocks will hold their real value. Notwithstanding the Robinhood day traders, stock equity is an ownership right in a real company.

Weimar Germany is the nightmare scenario for inflation; but contrary to expectations, stockholders were protected. While the German Papiermark vs. USD exchange rate exploded (4.2 Trillion per USD), the German Stock Index, currency adjusted into USD, held its value. As such, when faced with nominal inflation – Do not sell call options.

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Great interview. Must read.

“This Is For You, Dad”: Interview With An Anonymous GameStop Investor (Taibbi)

Thursday, January 21st was a critical day in the story of the video game chain GameStop (ticker name: GME). Retail investors, including many subscribers to a Reddit forum called wallstreetbets, pushed the company’s stock from $6 to $43.03, but experts said playtime was over. It was time for the big shots to clean up. According to Citron Research, one of many funds that had bet on the brick-and-mortar store to fail, those investing in GME were “the suckers at this poker game,” and would soon be sorry when the stock went “back to $20 fast.” They were wrong. Instead of amateurs being shoved aside by hedge funds, it was the pros who had their backs broken, as GME soared to $65.05, beginning a steep ascent that would become an international news phenomenon.

It was the “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” moment for Wall Street. The pros had been sloppy. By late 2020, shares in GameStop were well over 100% short. A sudden rise in value would force shorts to pay exorbitant prices just to get out of the trade. By the afternoon of the 21st, all the “suckers” on Reddit had to do to beat them was nothing, and they did just that, behind the rallying cry “diamond hands,” signifying a determination to hold at all costs. Why hold? One of the millions of subscribers to wallstreetbets posted a note, explaining what the trade meant to him:

This is for you, Dad

I remember when the housing collapse sent a torpedo through my family. My father’s concrete company collapsed almost overnight. My father lost his home. My uncle lost his home. I remember my brother helping my father count pocket change on our kitchen table. That was all the money he had left in the world. While this was happening in my home, I saw hedge funders literally drinking champagne as they looked down on the Occupy Wall Street protesters. I will never forget that. My father never recovered from that blow. He fell deeper and deeper into alcoholism and exists now as a shell of his former self, waiting for death. This is all the money I have and I’d rather lose it all than give them what they need to destroy me. Taking money from me won’t hurt me, because I don’t value it at all. I’ll burn it down just to spite them. This is for you, Dad.

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Don’t count on them bouncing back.

Shark Deaths Have Left a ‘Gaping Hole’ in Ocean Life (SA)

Overfishing has wiped out over 70 percent of some shark and ray populations in the last half-century, leaving a “gaping, growing hole” in ocean life, according to a new study. Researchers found alarming declines in species ranging from hammerhead sharks to manta rays. Among the worst affected is the oceanic whitetip, a powerful shark often described as particularly dangerous to man, which now hovers on the edge of extinction because of human activity. Targeted for their fins, oceanic whitetips are caught up by indiscriminate fishing techniques. Their global population has dropped 98 percent in the last 60 years, said Nick Dulvy, the study’s senior author and a professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU).

“That’s a worse decline than most large terrestrial mammal populations, and getting up there or as bad as the blue whale decline,” he told AFP. Dulvy and a team of scientists spent years collecting and analysing information from scientific studies and fisheries data to build up a picture of the global state of 31 species of sharks and rays. They found three-quarters of the species examined were so depleted that they face extinction. These are “the most wide-ranging species in the largest, most remote habitats on the earth, which are often assumed to be protected from human influence”, the study’s lead author Nathan Pacoureau told AFP. “We knew the situation was bad in a lot of places but that information came from different studies and reports, so it was difficult to have an idea of the global situation,” added Pacoureau, a post-doctoral fellow at SFU’s department of biological science.

[..] For 18 species where more data was available, the researchers concluded global populations had fallen over 70 percent since 1970. Dulvy said the figure was likely to be similar, or even worse, for other oceanic sharks and rays, but gaps in data made it difficult to draw conclusions. The results were a shock even for experts, Pacoureau said, describing specialists at a meeting on shark conservation being “stunned into silence” when confronted with the figures.

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