Nov 112020
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Student at a table by candlelight c.1642

 

 

We would by now have expected the narrative surrounding COVID19 to be simpler to understand, but it’s not. We may understand much more about the disease and everything that has to do with it, but we’re finding there is so much that has been left unsaid, not discussed, neglected.

The discussion has been stuck in an All Else Being Equal (Ceteris Paribus) mode, but all things do not remain equal. It’s not even as if you get rid of the disease, all your problems go away. Not only do various COVID measures inflict huge damage on economies, on people’s jobs and incomes, they also cause entire new sets of health problems.

Epidemiologists and virologists are not equipped for such massive problems. They may be able to say the odd wise word in their field -and even that will be 90% rear-view mirror stuff, because they must compare what they see to what happened in the past-, but the disease doesn’t only affect their field. It affects many fields they have no knowledge of.

Their ideas are then taken on board by economists, not exactly the most scientific of sciences, and off go the government policies. But that was 6-7 months ago, and we learned so much since, right? By now we have involved for instance mental health experts on a large scale, right? Yeah, sure.

The point is, you can’t force lockdowns, masks etc. onto people, without looking at what the consequences of that will be. Because all things do not remain equal for 6-7 months.

A nice example comes from a July 2020 study published in the Lancet, which indicates that “..the number of smokers in a population was correlated with a 3% decrease in covid deaths.. Wow, that’s great. Let’s get everybody smoking, said … nobody. But if your sole focus is COVID19, and for many governments it is, why not? That’s of course because smoking is one thing people recognize as “bad”. But how about other things, that are not?

That same Lancet study, as interpreted by a Sebastian Rushworth MD, also says there is no proof that lockdowns work:

 

Does Lockdown Prevent COVID Deaths?

The factors that most strongly predicted the number of people who died of covid in a country were rate of obesity, average age, and level of income disparity. Each percentage point increase in the rate of obesity resulted in a 12% increase in covid deaths. Each additional average year of age in the population increased covid deaths by 10% . On the opposite end of the spectrum, each point in the direction of greater equality on the gini-coefficient (a scale used to determine how evenly resources are distributed across a population) resulted in a 12% decrease in covid deaths. All these results were statistically significant.


Another factor that had an effect that was significant, but more weakly so, was smoking. Each percentage point increase in the number of smokers in a population was correlated with a 3% decrease in covid deaths. Ok, let’s get to the most important thing, which the authors seem to have tried to hide, because they make so little mention of it. Lockdown and covid deaths. The authors found no correlation whatsoever between severity of lockdown and number of covid deaths. And they didn’t find any correlation between border closures and covid deaths either. And there was no correlation between mass testing and covid deaths either, for that matter. Basically, nothing that various world governments have done to combat covid seems to have had any effect whatsoever on the number of deaths.

Which is intriguing, because countries like France, Belgium, Netherlands appear to have had spectacular success with their recent new lockdowns.

 

 

 

Problem is, you can’t lock down countries and people forever. And if the coronavirus has become endemic in the population, the “success” would seem to be inevitably short-lived. In the Netherlands just now, numbers were announced that already are 15% or so up from the 24 hours before. What if a lockdown is not the answer, or not anymore at least? I don’t have the impression that there is a Plan B.

But it would appear to be useful to by now stop throwing all “cases” on one heap, and find a better definition, for instance “positive PCR tests”. Or even “positive PCR tests that require medical attention.” And you will also have to define much better who requires that attention, and who dies. If you’re talking, say 90%, only about people who are either very old and/or have severe underlying conditions, maybe a general lockdown is not your thing.

Maybe you should aim to protect these vulnerable groups, and leave the rest alone. Maybe obese people, who are very much at risk, should be locked down, but not their fit and slimmer neighbors. Maybe you should ban food that causes obesity and diabetes, maybe you should hand out Vitamin D to everybody. Maybe you should simply accept that some people are going to die of the disease.

Whatever else you do, maybe you should prepare for the risk that the virus is endemic, and it’s here to stay. And then take it from there. Because, for one thing, it’s not all that obvious, it’s all still riddled with misconceptions. Renowned medical site medrxiv.org has this:

 

Association Between Living With Children And Outcomes From COVID-19

Close contact with children may provide cross-reactive immunity to SARs-CoV-2 due to more frequent prior coryzal infections from seasonal coronaviruses. Alternatively, close contact with children may increase risk of SARs-CoV-2 infection. We investigated whether risk of infection with SARs-CoV-2 and severe outcomes differed between adults living with and without children.

This is the first population-based study to investigate whether the risk of recorded SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe outcomes from COVID-19 differ between adults living in households with and without school-aged children during the UK pandemic. Our findings show that for adults living with children there is no evidence of an increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes although there may be a slightly increased risk of recorded SARS-CoV-2 infection for working-age adults living with children aged 12 to 18 years.

Working-age adults living with children 0 to 11 years have a lower risk of death from COVID-19 compared to adults living without children, with the effect size being comparable to their lower risk of death from any cause. We observed no consistent changes in risk of recorded SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe outcomes from COVID-19 comparing periods before and after school closure. [..] Our results demonstrate no evidence of serious harms from COVID-19 to adults in close contact with children, compared to those living in households without children. This has implications for determining the benefit-harm balance of children attending school in the COVID-19 pandemic.

And yesterday we had this from Reuters: “Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common among recovered COVID-19 patients…and the researchers also found significantly higher risks of dementia…”

One of the Automatic Earth’s in-house doctors, Doc Robinson, rightly said qualifying insomnia as a mental illness is a very broad stroke. Whereas my attention was drawn to this line:

“.. people with a pre-existing mental illness were 65% more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19..”

How does that work? Why would you be 65% more likely to catch COVID, or be diagnosed with it, if you’re already depressed? Depressed people are more likely to attend Trump rallies? Or Biden celebrations?

 

One In Five COVID19 Patients Develop Mental Illness Within 90 Days

Many COVID-19 survivors are likely to be at greater risk of developing mental illness, psychiatrists said on Monday, after a large study found 20% of those infected with the coronavirus are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days. Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common among recovered COVID-19 patients in the study who developed mental health problems, and the researchers also found significantly higher risks of dementia, a brain impairment condition. “People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings … show this to be likely,” said Paul Harrison, a professor of psychiatry at Britain’s Oxford University.


[..] The study also found that people with a pre-existing mental illness were 65% more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than those without. Mental health specialists not directly involved with the study said its findings add to growing evidence that COVID-19 can affect the brain and mind, increasing the risk of a range of psychiatric illnesses. “This is likely due to a combination of the psychological stressors associated with this particular pandemic and the physical effects of the illness,” said Michael Bloomfield, a consultant psychiatrist at University College London.

As I said two days ago: “Just lovely! If you catch COVID, you get mental health issues. And if you go into lockdown so you don’t catch COVID….you also get mental health issues.”

 

Children Regressing And Struggling Mentally In Lockdown

Children hardest hit by Covid-19 measures have regressed during the pandemic, with some who were potty-trained pre-lockdown reverting to nappies and dummies, and others forgetting basic numbers or how to use a knife and fork, according to the schools watchdog Ofsted. Older children have lost physical fitness as well as reading and writing skills, and some are showing signs of mental distress, which can be seen in an increase in eating disorders and self-harm, according to Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman. [..]


The findings, based on 900 visits to schools and social care settings by Ofsted inspectors since schools fully reopened in September, paint a worrying picture of the impact of the pandemic on children at every stage of the education system in England. While children with good support structures have coped well, those whose parents were unable to work flexibly and have therefore been less available to help have lost out most. Children with special educational needs and disabilities have been “seriously affected” across all age groups, both in their care and education, losing vital support including speech and language services.

Lockdowns are based on pretending we can make time stand still. That, like in one of those slick videos, everything else stops moving while you can walk around it. All Else Being Equal. It never is, not for 6-7 months. And that the first lockdown didn’t work, at least not for long, should perhaps be a lesson. Maybe you should look for answers elsewhere. Because the damage just goes on, economically, psychologically, physically.

I’m not pretending I have the answers. I do have questions though. While the situation reminds me of Sisyphus, forced by Zeus to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity. Every time he nears the top of the hill, the boulder rolls back down.

We need to find a balance between the threat of COVID19 and the threat of everything else, very much including those things that are caused by our approach to COVID.

 

 

 

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Nov 102020
 


Hedy Lamarr Born November 9, 1914. As well as acting in 30 films, during the Second World War she co-developed a frequency-hopping guidance system for American torpedoes, the principles of which are used in Bluetooth and WiFi today.

 

 

 

Trump Campaign Alleges Potential Fraud In Pennsylvania Election Lawsuit (JTN)
System ‘Glitch’ Also Uncovered In Wisconsin – Removes Lead from Joe Biden (GP)
Fore! (Jim Kunstler)
Maricopa GOP Chair Failed to Show Up to Certify Dominion Voting Machines (GP)
The Grifters, Chapter 3 – Election Prediction (Ben Hunt)
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Fired And Replaced, Trump Announces (RT)
COVID19 Vaccine From Pfizer and BioNTech Is Strongly Effective
China Vaccine Trial Halted After Serious Adverse Event (BBG)
Chancellor Merkel, Put an End to the COVID “Fear Machine” (German Doctors)
One In Five COVID19 Patients Develop Mental Illness Within 90 Days (R.)
Children Regressing And Struggling Mentally In Lockdown (G.)
Lockdown Named Word Of The Year By Collins Dictionary (G.)

 

 

Man of the Year (2006)

 

 

Wait until you hear about Russia Collusion

 

 

Predictably, this leads some people to call for Barr’s impeachment. Maybe because the only thing the Dems have been successful at was Trump’s one-sided impeachment. But Barr faces a conundrum: There is a longstanding tradition at the DOJ to not investigate “until after the election certification process is completed”, but that would mean an official result would be there, which would then have to be reversed in case there is serious fraud, but by then it would be much harder to execute.

Barr Authorizes DOJ Prosecutors To Investigate Election Irregularities (JTN)

Attorney General William Barr has issued a memo in which he said that he authorized federal prosecutors “to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections in your jurisdictions in certain cases, as I have already done in specific instances.” Barr noted that this did not serve to indicate the Justice Department has determined that voting irregularities affected election outcomes. “Such inquiries and reviews may be conducted if there are clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual state,” Barr wrote. “Any investigation of claims of irregularities that, if true, would clearly not impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State should normally be deferred until after the election certification process is completed.

While U.S. Attorneys maintain their inherent authority to conduct inquiries and investigations as they deem appropriate, it will likely be prudent to commence any election-related matters as a preliminary inquiry, so as to assess whether available evidence warrants further investigative steps”. Media outlets recently projected Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential contest, but President Trump has not conceded and has made allegations of voter fraud. “While it is imperative that credible allegations be addressed in a timely and effective manner, it is equally imperative that Department personnel exercise appropriate caution and maintain the Department’s absolute commitment to fairness, neutrality and non-partisanship,” Barr wrote in the memo.

“While serious allegations should be handled with great care, specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.” “Nothing here should be taken as any indication that the Department has concluded that voting irregularities have impacted the outcome of any election,” Barr wrote. “Rather, I provide this authority and guidance to emphasize the need to timely and appropriately address allegations of voting irregularities so that all of the American people, regardless of their preferred candidate or party, can have full confidence in the results of our elections.”

Read more …

Heritage Foundation “There was an unprecedented number of lawsuits filed before election day—with one common theme: ALL tried to eliminate security protocols for absentee ballots and tried to implement vote harvesting in every state.”

Trump Campaign Alleges Potential Fraud In Pennsylvania Election Lawsuit (JTN)

The Trump campaign on Monday announced that it had filed a lawsuit against Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Kathy Boockvar and the Boards of Elections in seven counties. The election-related lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and plaintiffs include the Trump campaign and two individuals. “Voters in Pennsylvania were held to different standards simply based on how they chose to cast their ballot, and we believe this two-tiered election system resulted in potentially fraudulent votes being counted without proper verification or oversight, as well as many voters being disenfranchised simply for casting their votes in-person,” Trump 2020 campaign general counsel Matt Morgan said in a statement. “We will not stop fighting for transparency and integrity in our electoral process and ensuring all Americans can trust in the results of a free and fair election.”

Read more …

A whole series of “glitches” by now. Not worth investigating, you say?!

System ‘Glitch’ Also Uncovered In Wisconsin – Removes Lead from Joe Biden (GP)

We’ve reported on numerous events identified in the 2020 election already which are being referred to as ‘glitches’ by the Democrats. Tonight we just uncovered another ‘glitch’ in Wisconsin. When this one is confirmed it will result in a 19,500 vote gain for Trump making the Wisconsin race a total toss-up. There is now a pattern of events we have uncovered across the country where votes are being taken from Republicans at all levels and transferred to competing Democrats in offsetting amounts. These are not random because in every case votes are moved from Republicans to Democrats. This is beginning to appear like a strategy used by the Democrats to steal this election.

We reported first on a system glitch, as it was labeled, in Michigan which switched 6,000 votes back to President Trump. Then another example was uncovered in Oakland County Michigan where again a Republican won his race as a result [of] this glitch. Then in Pennsylvania a ‘glitch’ was uncovered where nearly 20,000 votes were moved from President Trump to Biden. When this is confirmed it will result Biden’s lead being cut by 40,000 votes in Pennsylvania bringing this race back to even. Then we found approximately 6,000 votes which were taken from Trump and moved to Biden in Georgia due to a ‘glitch’. Now tonight we have identified approximately 10,000 votes that were moved from President Trump to Biden in just one Wisconsin County.

This information came from an individual who saw this happen in Rock County Wisconsin. On election night the results of the county were presented during the evening and showed that President Trump won Wisconsin in 2016. At 10:59 the votes came in and the race was close with both candidates at around 29,000 ballots. Then by 11:12 President Trump had taken a nearly 1,000 vote lead on Biden with 31,000 votes to Biden’s 30,000. At 11:21 these results had not changed much. Then at 11:43 more votes came in and they showed Trump had taken a commanding lead at 46,649 to Biden’s 37,133. This was a 9,516 vote lead for Trump.

But then suddenly at 11:57 these votes had swapped. Biden was reported with 46,649 and Trump was reduced to Biden’s former total of 37,133. These votes had swapped from the President Trump to Biden – again a swap from a Republican to a Democrat. The net impact was 19,032 votes. We checked these numbers again tonight from a different source and the final numbers are still showing Biden ahead of President Trump by the same 9,516 votes. Currently the race in Wisconsin is showing Biden with a lead of 1,630,570 votes to President Trump’s 1,610,030 votes. When this adjustment is confirmed Biden will only hold a 1,508 vote lead. This of course is before any of the hundreds of thousands of questionable votes showing up for Biden in Milwaukee early in the morning after the election are validated.

Read more …

“..the software’s development was funded by the Clinton Global Initiative in 2014..”

Fore! (Jim Kunstler)

The Democrats… the Resistance… “progressives,” the Left — whatever you want to call them — are much less afraid of being caught for committing election fraud than for getting nailed on a long list of previous and quite serious crimes dating back a decade, including SpyGate, MuellerGate (Russian Collusion), Ukraine-WhistleblowerGate, Uranium One, the Skolkovo technology transfer, the Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play doings, and the recently disclosed influence-peddling and money-laundering schemes of the Biden Family. A little election fraud ain’t nuthin to that massive, reeking landfill of perfidy and sedition, and folks apparently forget that the election happened just on the eve of whatever investigative results John Durham & Company may be ready to drop on the nation — including the afore-alluded-to Biden Family hijinks, of which there is a live case at the DOJ. Boy are they afraid of all that.

Just sayin… in case you put it out of mind in all the excitement. So, now we will discover whether they committed targeted election fraud, and then, perhaps, we’ll find out how those other matters turn. As for the election fraud itself, you can be sure that a holy host of computer nerd statisticians on Mr. Trump’s end have been working backstage, out of the limelight, to sift those kwazy numbers coming out of places like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada where the race was pretty darn tight. From a strictly procedural point-of-view, Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes look like an open-and-shut case of official misfeasance — insofar as that state’s Supreme Court exceeded its authority in changing the election law to allow ballots received after 8p.m. election day to be counted for days afterward (election law being the sole prerogative of the state legislature).

And that’s a lot of ballots. That will likely be adjudicated in the US supreme court, and pretty pronto, given the exigent circumstances. Then there are the janky numbers in all those other states where the Dominion vote tabulation software was used: 130,000 here… 27,000 there… et cetera. By the way, the company that puts out this Dominion product is partly owned by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard C. Blum; one of its top executives is Nancy Pelosi’s former chief-of-staff; and the software’s development was funded by the Clinton Global Initiative in 2014. I guess they know a good thing when it jumps up and bites them on the lips.

Read more …

“..the company “uploaded something last night, which is not normal, and it caused a glitch.” “That is something that they don’t ever do. I’ve never seen them update anything the day before the election..”

Maricopa GOP Chair Failed to Show Up to Certify Dominion Voting Machines (GP)

Republican Arizona State Rep. Kelly Townsend is calling on Maricopa County GOP Chairman Rae Chornenky to step down, along with her first Vice Chair, for failing to show up to certify the Dominion Voting Machines. There has been major controversy over their machines due to the company’s ties to Democrats and the Clinton Foundation. “I just found our that Maricopa County GOP Chairman Rae Chornenky failed to show up to certify the Dominion / Machines. For this reason, I call for her resignation, along with her 1st Vice Chair,” Rep. Townsend tweeted.


The machines were used in 33 states, including Arizona, Michigan and Georgia. Mark Malloch Brown, Chairman of the Board of Smartmantics, which makes the machines, also serves on George Soros’ Open Societies Foundation Board. In Georgia, voting was halted for two hours after the company sent an “update” to their machines. Marcia Ridley, elections supervisor at Spalding County Board of Elections, told Politico that the company “uploaded something last night, which is not normal, and it caused a glitch.” “That is something that they don’t ever do. I’ve never seen them update anything the day before the election,” Ridley said. Ridley said she did not know what the upload contained.

Read more …

“Polls create the plays. Election models create the score. Fivey Fox and “Nate Silver” announce the game. All to create engagement with a giant media corp.

No one understands how to create and sell a spectator sport better than Disney.”

The Grifters, Chapter 3 – Election Prediction (Ben Hunt)

How do you get more engagement with your news programming? How do you trigger more neurotransmitter brain chemicals in your ABC News audience? By creating “news” that can be transformed into an entertaining/enraging game. By transforming a singular Election Day event into a months-long spectator sport, complete with plays and scores and announcers and cheering/anxious fans. That’s what election modeling does. That’s why public polling and election modeling exist. Polls to create the “news”, election models to create the score, Fivey Fox and “Nate Silver” to announce the game. All to create engagement with a diversified media corporation.

That’s why Disney acquired FiveThirtyEight. That’s why they originally had it within ESPN and then transferred it to ABC News. That’s why they created the cartoon characters of Fivey Fox and “Nate Silver”. No one understands how to create and sell a spectator sport better than Disney. Here’s the kicker. This spectator sport that Disney/ABC News/FiveThirtyEight has created around Election Day has very little connection with the election itself. The “scores” and the “announcing” and the game itself are a totally distinct thing from the process and dynamic and the outcome of our most important political institution. And they know it. And yet they sell their game over and over again as if it were the real thing. That’s what makes it a grift.

In a nutshell, the FiveThirtyEight prediction model is designed around thousands of simulations of statewide results (based on statewide polls and a hypothesized probability distribution on state level results) that are then mapped against the Electoral College. These thousands of simulations of possible statewide results create a probabilistic distribution on the Electoral College outcome, and whatever percentage of outcomes are on the good side of 269 Electoral College votes for a candidate is the answer for the point-in-time odds of that candidate winning. FiveThirtyEight went into Election Day 2020 assigning Joe Biden a 90% chance of winning, which was even more divorced from election reality than their 2016 “prediction” that Hillary Clinton had a 72% chance of winning.

There is zero alpha … zero useful information … in a model that predicts an election outcome with near certainty when in truth that outcome hinges on a few tens of thousands of votes out of 150 million votes cast. To use a spectator sports analogy, FiveThirtyEight set the 2020 betting odds for this “football game” with Joe Biden as a massive favorite, say 20 points. He won by 1 point. In 2016, FiveThirtyEight had Hillary Clinton as a somewhat less massive favorite, say 15 points. She lost by 1 point. There’s nothing “robust” about these predictions, as “Nate Silver” is currently claiming. These predictions are disasters. FiveThirtyEight would be laughed out of Vegas for setting odds like this.

Read more …

Mark who?

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Fired And Replaced, Trump Announces (RT)

President Donald Trump has announced via Twitter that US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has been removed from his position, and has already been replaced. Christopher C. Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will take on the defense secretary role “effective immediately,” Trump tweeted. “Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service,” he added. Rumors have circulated for months that Esper would either be fired or resign. In June, he publicly disagreed with the president floating the idea of deploying active-duty military to cities dealing with riots stemming from Black Lives Matter protests. The two have disagreed on other issues too, and Trump even suggested in August that Esper was on his way out. Asked if he had confidence in Esper’s leadership, Trump referred to him as “Mark Yesper” and said he “considers” firing everybody. “At some point, that’s what happens,” he said. Esper had served as secretary of defense since June 2019.

Read more …

Twitter comment: “Wait, the vaccine was known to be successful weeks ago?? Fauci, Biden, media mocked Trump at this time for saying vaccine was close. The Oct announcement just happened to be delayed AFTER the election?”

COVID19 Vaccine From Pfizer and BioNTech Is Strongly Effective

Pfizer and partner BioNTech said Monday that their vaccine against Covid-19 was strongly effective, exceeding expectations with results that are likely to be met with cautious excitement — and relief — in the face of the global pandemic. The vaccine is the first to be tested in the United States to generate late-stage data. The companies said an early analysis of the results showed that individuals who received two injections of the vaccine three weeks apart experienced more than 90% fewer cases of symptomatic Covid-19 than those who received a placebo. For months, researchers have cautioned that a vaccine that might only be 60% or 70% effective.

The Phase 3 study is ongoing and additional data could affect results. In keeping with guidance from the Food and Drug Administration, the companies will not file for an emergency use authorization to distribute the vaccine until they reach another milestone: when half of the patients in their study have been observed for any safety issues for at least two months following their second dose. Pfizer expects to cross that threshold in the third week of November.

In their announcement of the results, Pfizer and BioNTech revealed a surprise. The companies said they had decided not to conduct the 32-case analysis “after a discussion with the FDA.” Instead, they planned to conduct the analysis after 62 cases. But by the time the plan had been formalized, there had been 94 cases of Covid-19 in the study. It’s not known how many were in the vaccine arm, but it would have to be nine or fewer. Gruber said that Pfizer and BioNTech had decided in late October that they wanted to drop the 32-case interim analysis. At that time, the companies decided to stop having their lab confirm cases of Covid-19 in the study, instead leaving samples in storage. The FDA was aware of this decision.

Read more …

“Serious adverse events that occur in drug trials include death, immediate risk of death, long term or serious incapacitation, and hospitalization.”

China Vaccine Trial Halted After Serious Adverse Event (BBG)

The final-stage trial of a Chinese frontrunner vaccine candidate has been halted in Brazil due to a serious adverse event, the first time that any of the Asian nation’s rapidly developed Covid-19 shots have met with such a setback. Testing of Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine, called Coronavac, has been halted in Brazil after an event that occurred on Oct. 29, said the Brazil Health Agency on Tuesday, without any further detail on the illness. The study is interrupted in accordance with regulations while the agency analyzes if the study should continue, it said. Serious adverse events that occur in drug trials include death, immediate risk of death, long term or serious incapacitation, and hospitalization.


Such pauses are not uncommon in large-scale drug trials and two western developers – AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – have paused their vaccine trials in recent months due to serious adverse events, only to re-start them after investigation. But China has already started administering its vaccines, including Coronavac, to hundreds of thousands of people under an expansive emergency use approval, making the prospect of a safety issue being detected at this stage more concerning. Last month, China’s science ministry said its companies have inoculated about 60,000 volunteers in final-stage trials, but there have been no reports of serious adverse events.

Read more …

You can’t listen only to virologists and epidemiologists. It’s bad science.

Chancellor Merkel, Put an End to the COVID “Fear Machine” (German Doctors)

Dear Chancellor Dr. Merkel, We, the signatories, are doctors from all areas of healthcare, who have been serving people in practices and clinics for decades. During this time, we have witnessed more than one seasonal infection in Germany, most of them with far more severe conditions and significantly more deaths than since January 2020 from COVID infectious diseases. Together we serve approx. 70.000 people. The circumstances of the coronavirus wave in the FRG have been perceived differently than the media and the ongoing warnings of politics, which were unjustified in fact, presented to the public for months. Predictions of individual advisory virologists with millions of seriously ill and hundreds of thousands of deaths in Germany have not been true in any way.

In the practices, hardly any infected patients were infected and if, then with normal, mostly mild progressions of virus flu. The hospitals have been more empty than ever before. There was no overload of ICU. Doctors, doctors and nurses were skillful in short-term work. Initially, we found the wave of the virus running towards us to be threatening and were able to understand the infection protection measures. However, there are months of secured evidence and facts that this wave of the virus is only slightly more intense than an ordinary seasonal flu and must be considered much more harmless than, for example, influenza infection in 2017/2018 with 27.000 deaths in Germany. According to the data situation, there hasn’t been a threat to the German population from Covid-19 for months. This must be the reason to return to normal life in Germany a life without restrictions, fear and infection hysteria.

We’re increasingly seeing older people with depression, young children and adolescents with severe anxiety and behavioral disorders, people with severe conditions who could have been cured in timely treatment. We notice disruptions in interpersonal cooperation, hysteria and aggression caused by fear of infection, there are more and more vigilations and denunciations of “positive swab victims” – all this leads to an unprecedented tension and division of the population. The development of additional severe chronic diseases is foreseeable. These diseases with their severe consequences are expected to far outweigh the possible Covid-19 damage in the FRG.The signatories therefore call on those responsible for health care and politics to discharge their responsibilities for the people of our country and immediately avert this threatening development.

We demand an immediate revision of the available data by an independent panel of experts from all relevant specialized groups and a prompt implementation of the resulting consequences for the people of our country.We demand that ineffective and possibly even harmful anti-infection measures be stopped immediately and that mass testing is meaningful (e.g. Currently, 1,1 million tests / week, of which 99,3 % negative, cost per week: EUR 82,5 million) to be audited by a panel of independent experts. We demand to intensify the protection of risk patients and only from them, where every viral infection can take a dramatic course – the healthy, immune competent population does not need protection beyond the general hygiene and health measures that have been known and proven for generations.

Read more …

“Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common among recovered COVID-19 patients…and the researchers also found significantly higher risks of dementia…”

One In Five COVID19 Patients Develop Mental Illness Within 90 Days (R.)

Many COVID-19 survivors are likely to be at greater risk of developing mental illness, psychiatrists said on Monday, after a large study found 20% of those infected with the coronavirus are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days. Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common among recovered COVID-19 patients in the study who developed mental health problems, and the researchers also found significantly higher risks of dementia, a brain impairment condition. “People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings … show this to be likely,” said Paul Harrison, a professor of psychiatry at Britain’s Oxford University.

Doctors and scientists around the world urgently need to investigate the causes and identify new treatments for mental illness after COVID-19, Harrison said. “(Health) services need to be ready to provide care, especially since our results are likely to be underestimates (of the number of psychiatric patients),” he added. The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, analysed electronic health records of 69 million people in the United States, including more than 62,000 cases of COVID-19. In the three months following testing positive for COVID-19, 1 in 5 survivors were recorded as having a first time diagnosis of anxiety, depression or insomnia. This was about twice as likely as for other groups of patients in the same period, the researchers said.

The study also found that people with a pre-existing mental illness were 65% more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than those without. Mental health specialists not directly involved with the study said its findings add to growing evidence that COVID-19 can affect the brain and mind, increasing the risk of a range of psychiatric illnesses. “This is likely due to a combination of the psychological stressors associated with this particular pandemic and the physical effects of the illness,” said Michael Bloomfield, a consultant psychiatrist at University College London.

Read more …

Just lovely! If you catch COVID, you get mental health issues. And if you go into lockdown so you don’t catch COVID….you also get mental health issues.

Children Regressing And Struggling Mentally In Lockdown (G.)

Children hardest hit by Covid-19 measures have regressed during the pandemic, with some who were potty-trained pre-lockdown reverting to nappies and dummies, and others forgetting basic numbers or how to use a knife and fork, according to the schools watchdog Ofsted. Older children have lost physical fitness as well as reading and writing skills, and some are showing signs of mental distress, which can be seen in an increase in eating disorders and self-harm, according to Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman. More children are being taken out of school to be home-educated, particularly among families from minority ethnic communities, who are at greater risk from Covid and may be more fearful of catching it. Meanwhile, school leaders are “fire-fighting” as concerns grow about budget pressures.


The findings, based on 900 visits to schools and social care settings by Ofsted inspectors since schools fully reopened in September, paint a worrying picture of the impact of the pandemic on children at every stage of the education system in England. While children with good support structures have coped well, those whose parents were unable to work flexibly and have therefore been less available to help have lost out most. Children with special educational needs and disabilities have been “seriously affected” across all age groups, both in their care and education, losing vital support including speech and language services. Ofsted remains worried about children at risk of neglect, exploitation and abuse. Child protection referrals fell while schools were closed to most pupils and have not yet returned to normal levels.

Read more …

But not facemask?!

Lockdown Named Word Of The Year By Collins Dictionary (G.)

Lockdown, the noun that has come to define so many lives across the world in 2020, has been named word of the year by Collins Dictionary. Lockdown is defined by Collins as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction, and access to public spaces”, and its usage has boomed over the last year. The 4.5bn-word Collins Corpus, which contains written material from websites, books and newspapers, as well as spoken material from radio, television and conversations, registered a 6,000% increase in its usage. In 2019, there were 4,000 recorded instances of lockdown being used. In 2020, this had soared to more than a quarter of a million.


“Language is a reflection of the world around us and 2020 has been dominated by the global pandemic,” says Collins language content consultant Helen Newstead. “We have chosen lockdown as our word of the year because it encapsulates the shared experience of billions of people who have had to restrict their daily lives in order to contain the virus. Lockdown has affected the way we work, study, shop, and socialise. With many countries entering a second lockdown, it is not a word of the year to celebrate but it is, perhaps, one that sums up the year for most of the world.” Other pandemic-related words such as coronavirus, social distancing, self-isolate and furlough were on the dictionary’s list of the top 10 words. So was the term key worker.

Read more …

 

 

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Very much worth watching.

Tucker: We heard you. It’s hard to trust anything. Here’s what we know.

 

 

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Nov 032020
 


David Hockney Nichols Canyon 1980

 

 

There are two things happening simultaneously in the world today that affect the lives of many millions of people, but that we are told we cannot talk about: Hunter Biden and a second wave of lockdowns. As if the US presidential election and COVID19 are not in and of themselves stressful enough, now we also may not discuss them, other than to “parrot the party line”. This is having a severe impact on our mental health, though nobody apparently wants to talk about that either.

The whipped up fully one-sided frenzy for clickbait in the MSM on the topic of Donald Trump Orange Man Bad, aligned with RussiaRussia, Julian Assange and anything that can be mixed in in order to keep the narratives flowing, have split America, and much of the rest of the western world, in half, though probably not exactly down the middle, as we will find out after the election is done. And there, too, the MSM is sure to whip up more frenzy. Because it sells to pit people against each other.

So we find ourselves with Glenn Greenwald leaving his The Intercept because his own organization refuses to let him discuss Hunter Biden, though he is undoubtedly a newsworthy subject. Even if the entire MSM attempts with all its might to deny this, joined recently by Twitter and Facebook.

As I said a few days ago: “A strong sign of what US media has become, that Greenwald needs to go to Fox to be able to tell his story.” But that’s what this has turned into. Of course now you have people saying: “look who Greenwald’s hanging out with these days”. Well, he’s with the only people who won’t censor him. And say what you will, but Greenwald is as eloquent as ever. You may not like what he says, but that is still undeniable. Which, combined with his track record, means censoring him is nuts. As Matt Taibbi described:

Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From The Intercept

Greenwald, after commenting pointedly about the reaction by press and Democratic Party officials to the New York Post story, reached out to Intercept editor Betsy Reed to float the idea of writing on the subject. The first hint of trouble came when Reed suggested that yes, it might be a story, if proven correct, but “even if it did represent something untoward about Biden,” that would “represent a tiny fraction of the sleaze and lies Trump and his cronies are oozing in every day.” When Greenwald retorted that deciding not to report on one politician’s scandals because those of another politician are deemed worse is a “corrupt calculus” for reporters, Reed expressed concern. Based on this, on his comments on Twitter, and other factors, she worried that “we are headed for a conflict over the editing of this piece.”


Greenwald insisted he wasn’t planning an overwhelming amount of coverage but wanted to do a single article, reviewing the available facts and perhaps asking the Biden campaign to comment on the veracity of the Post story. Reed agreed that he should write a draft, then they could “see where we are.” An aside: when reporters and editors interact, they speak between the lines. If an editor only ever suggests or assigns stories from a certain angle, you’re being told they don’t particularly want the other angle. If your editor has lots of hypothetical concerns at the start, he or she probably won’t be upset if you choose a different topic. Finally, when an editor lays out “suggestions” about things that might “help” a piece “be even stronger,” it’s a signal both parties understand about what elements have to be put in before the editor will send the thing through.

Tucker Greenwald

 

 

In exactly that same vein, Sunetra Gupta, a professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford, turned to the Daily Mail to express her views on lockdowns. Because nobody else wants to listen.

A Contagion Of Hatred And Hysteria

Lockdown is a blunt, indiscriminate policy that forces the poorest and most vulnerable people to bear the brunt of the fight against coronavirus. As an infectious diseases epidemiologist, I believe there has to be a better way. That is why, earlier this month, with two other international scientists, I co-authored a proposal for an alternative approach — one that shields those most at risk while enabling the rest of the population to resume their ordinary lives to some extent. I expected debate and disagreement about our ideas, published as the Great Barrington Declaration. As a scientist, I would welcome that. After all, science progresses through its ideas and counter-ideas. But I was utterly unprepared for the onslaught of insults, personal criticism, intimidation and threats that met our proposal.


The level of vitriol and hostility, not just from members of the public online but from journalists and academics, has horrified me. I am not a politician. The hurly-burly of political life and being in the eye of the media do not appeal to me at all. I am first and foremost a scientist; one who is far more comfortable sitting in my office or laboratory than in front of a television camera. Of course, I do have deeply held political ideals — ones that I would describe as inherently Left-wing. I would not, it is fair to say, normally align myself with the Daily Mail. I have strong views about the distribution of wealth, about the importance of the Welfare State, about the need for publicly owned utilities and government investment in nationalised industries.

 

 

And Trump advisor Scott Atlas went to RT for the same reasons, only to be “forced” into a cowardly mea culpa for having talked to a “propaganda network”. Well, the real propaganda networks are the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN etc. We’ve seen that an awful lot these last few years, people accusing others of exactly what they themselves have done. Which is precisely what makes Hunter Biden a newsworthy story.

Trump COVID Adviser Atlas Forced To Apologize For RT Interview

Trump administration Covid-19 adviser Scott Atlas ripped public-health officials for “egregious” policy failures – only to be forced to apologize after mainstream media deflected his points by attacking him for appearing on RT. On Saturday, the Stanford University doctor, who has emerged as President Donald Trump’s top adviser on responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, called the lockdown policies an “epic failure” and argued they are “killing people,” while speaking with Afshin Rattansi on RT’s Going Underground show. “The public-health leadership have failed egregiously, and they’re killing people with their fear-inducing shutdown policies,” Atlas told RT.


“The lockdowns will go down as an epic failure of public policy by people who refuse to accept they were wrong – were wrong, refused to accept they were wrong, didn’t know the data, didn’t care. And it became a frenzy of stopping Covid-19 cases at all costs, and those costs are massive,” he said. “The argument is undeniable: The lockdowns are killing people.” Atlas then pointed to job losses, rising suicides, rising drug abuse and the harm being done to young people, tying the issues to the Covid-19 restrictions put in place. One study showed that 25 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 thought about killing themselves in June “due to the lockdown”, he said.

Further on the lockdowns topic, Howard Beckett tweeted on Sunday about the UK: “Governments own stats have 4% of cases arising from hospitality, 20% from the workplace and a whopping 36% from education. So we shut bars & restaurants and keep schools & universities open.”

I’ve said earlier that a lockdown when days get shorter and nights get colder is a dangerous game. It’s a mental health issue, plain and simple, and one that very much MUST be discussed.

Last but very much not least, “At 10:04 PM on the night before an election, we discover that as part of his investigation into DNC hacking/election interference, Mueller declined to indict Assange and WikiLeaks due to a lack of evidence and First Amendment concerns.” But Buzzfeed, which reported the story, still keeps talking about hacked emails. There never were any. It’s the same thing Mueller himself did when he kept accusations against Assange and 12-13 Russians in his final report. The man should be investigated.

Mueller Declined To Indict Assange And Wikileaks Due To Lack Of Evidence

Prosecutors investigated Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, and Roger Stone for the hacking of Democratic National Committee servers as well as for possible campaign finance violations, but ultimately chose not to charge them, newly released portions of the Mueller Report reveal. Although Wikileaks published emails stolen from the DNC in July and October 2016 and Stone — a close associate to Donald Trump — appeared to know in advance the materials were coming, investigators “did not have sufficient evidence” to prove active participation in the hacks or knowledge that the electronic thefts were continuing. In addition, federal prosecutors could not establish that the hacked emails amounted to campaign contributions benefitting Trump’s election chances and furthermore felt their publication might have been protected by the First Amendment, making a successful prosecution tenuous.


The fresh details of special counsel Robert Mueller’s decision not to charge Assange, WikiLeaks, or Stone for their role in influencing the 2016 election come just a day before voters head to the polls for the 2020 presidential election. The material sheds new light on the seriousness with which the special counsel investigated the hacks of Democratic party computers. In July 2018, Mueller indicted 12 Russian officers belonging to the Kremlin’s intelligence directorate, the GRU, for the theft and distribution of those emails. The role that Stone and Assange may have played in the hacks or their distribution has been the subject of much speculation. Little, however, was known about how intently the special counsel focused on those individuals as possible targets for prosecution during the two-year investigation into Russian election interference.

In order to maintain or regain your mental health, you need today to either ignore all news all the time, or you have to make sure you are well-informed. You might even say you have a right to that. But it has become an awful lot harder the last 5 years. Because your formerly trusted media have been selling you out for profit. You have all become clickbait targets instead of respected readers and viewers.

If Trump might lose the election today -or next week, next year, who knows- this entire model will be dead in no time. The media may try to carry on on the back of supposed litigation against him, but that will only go so far. They have bet on one horse, and then tried as hard as they could to cripple it, and now find themselves with nowhere left to turn.

In a way, that’s a good thing. No matter who wins the election, we will end up with better media. If Biden wins, the entire circus will just fizzle out, and if Trump wins, they will be found out. It’s high time. Unfortunately, the brains and minds of countless people will be scarred by the double whammy of Trump Derangement Syndrome and ever more lockdowns for a very long time to come.

But, you guessed it, we cannot talk about that.

 

 

 

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