Denying the deniers

Wednesday, 10 March 2021 00:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

We need to focus on our economy, our currency reserves, our strategic alliances, restoring our educational vitality and seeking avenues to sustainable national competitiveness. Prudence, not panic, now has to prevail – Pic by Shehan Gunasekara

We have converted COVID- 19 into “nonscience” as I wrote last time. You can tell it is morphing into a cult that has to be packaged and sold (ask yourself the last time that was necessary for a virus), given all the associated rituals.

And the rituals are voodoo, ineffective, placebo-like, demonstratively ostentatious. The badges of faith (science free or “science lite”) include: school closings (against accumulated evidence worldwide), quarantining the healthy and not at appreciable statistical risk (words fail), smart-phone QR sign ups (what for no one knows), Perspex check out shields, cloth masks that don’t work (after straining every mathematical norm, CDC manipulated numbers egregiously in a recent study to get some redemptive headline here, and managed only to dubiously “demonstrate” a .5% increase in the rate of COVID “decrease” with mask wearing, every other study flatly contradicts even this, more below), the 3-foot to 5-foot to 6-foot rule, test-track-trace (good luck!), elbow bumps and fist pumps as “virtue signaling”, Obsessive-Compulsive disordered hand sanitiser use further infantilising our immune system, North Korean style “safety announcements”, Stand Here/Don’t Sit There decals, “support bubbles”, Hallelujah vaccines, immunity passports, public gathering limits, “positive tests” posing as cases to terrify people with unnuanced irrelevant large numbers, curfews, travel restrictions, border closures…these pointless displays of political control and alarmist theatrics, stoking wild panic over a not terribly lethal virus, with a global 99% recovery rate to boot. 

And then vacuous slogans galore, “save lives, flatten the curve, slow the spread, stay safe,” dialogue has devolved into simplistic ad copy.

And every allegation to bolster the above has been distorting or wrong.


Herd immunity

Most are not at risk, why not let them get infected while we briefly and temporarily shelter the elderly and when natural immunity is established in a large enough percentage, the virus stops spreading? 

When in our insane vanity did we decide we are brighter than biology and immunological evolution? Then, we are told, “the vaccines are coming” and they will establish herd immunity! Self-contradiction has never seemed to hold back the C-19 orthodoxy.



There was a claim that vaccines would provide stronger and longer lasting immunity. We knew globally of only two cases of purported “re-infection” after people were infected and recovered, so how much stronger or longer lasting was it going to be? 

Vaccines, on the face of it, provide an attenuated response, the full-blown immunity from being infected is approximated by them. Hence “greater protection” doctors indicate may be literally impossible. Furthermore, we now learn today’s vaccines were tested for symptom suppression and not for providing immunity anyway! Hence, we are still to keep cowering for a bit, vaccinated or not. So, what was all the hue and cry about then?

Universal mask use can stop the pandemic, saving hundreds of thousands of lives

Tell that to much of the Asian and African continent, which has arrived at flat lining the pandemic, with millions of lives less in terms of mortality than the high mask European and American adherents. WHO had already looked at non-pharmaceutical interventions for preventing influenza, including use of masks. While influenza and C-19 are distinct, particle size is similar, and they are spread in essentially the same way. WHO reported in 2019, “Ten RCTs (Randomised Control Trials) were included in the meta-analysis, and there was no evidence that face masks are effective in reducing transmission of laboratory confirmed influenza.” 

WHO admitted to BBC that they mellowed their mask guidance due to “political lobbying.” That must be the case, as since their own study, only one RCT has been done, in Denmark, which found once more negligible benefit, if any, from face masks (they were studying surgical masks). 

Critiques were showered upon the Danish researchers, who for months could find no journal even willing to publish their factually underwritten “heresy.” Upon being sufficiently flagellated, they conceded, “maybe” a measure of self-protection was provided. Not sure how it’s possible that masks don’t stop you infecting others, but “may” stop others infecting you? Alice and her Wonderland are tantalisingly nearby!

Fact checkers called aspects of the claim “Mostly False.” Is that akin to “Pretty Unique?” Not sure there are gradations here. And from Sweden to US states without mask mandates, the numbers confirm the Danes and WHO, as do earlier studies coming to the same conclusions in Hong Kong and Vietnam.


Number of deaths

The US definition of “COVID death” is so elastic that “comorbidities” can include poisoning or car accidents, and the UK tags anyone who tested positive within 28 days. Sri Lanka again, has a torrent of comorbidities on many death certificates, but the positive “PCR test” curiously rules.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick writes, “I have actually written COVID-19 on death certificates. Mostly they have been educated guesses. On at least five of them last year there wasn’t even a positive swab to go on, so I was going with probable symptoms.” He adds, “As were many other doctors at the time.” 

Since then, flu and influenza has virtually disappeared. Since we are only testing for one respiratory virus via PCR, and many of the symptoms are virtually the same, Dr. Thomas Binder of Switzerland, argues we are inevitably picking those up as well.

The US indicated over 200,000 of the deaths came from nursing homes. 100,000 weren’t from COVID, perhaps they were from lockdown, deferred care, untreated illnesses, suicides, opioid overdoses or more. A bad flu season in the US would account for about 100,000, and if those are embedded there, another distortion. And re “massaged” death certificates, plummeting numbers of heart illnesses and so on, suggest miscategorisation due to the presence of a positive test as well. And suddenly, the numbers are not so daunting, and even if taken at face value, age and population adjusted, such excess deaths were found circa 2003 in the US, and the planet did not grind to this absurd halt.

And for those who don’t click to the differentiation between dying “with” and dying “from,” imagine C-19 being like a big red mark on your nose. We would say if you then died, you died “with” a big red mark on your nose not “from” it. C-19 can be itself a contributor, a comorbidity, but it can just as easily be incidental, a true bystander.


Never say “Sweden”!

Despite the sputtering of their Monarch when there was a brief, seasonal surge, and the political posturing of its leaders, the health professionals in Sweden showed courage, clarity and a real immunity to shameful attacks. Told they were mass murderers, inflicting misery, 80,000 plus deaths were forecasted, of which about 12,000 have come to pass, about 70% from nursing homes which weren’t well managed. Sweden’s overall deaths per million are average for the EU, so all those mask mandates and locking up people and decimating the economy, didn’t help much did it?

Sweden also came into this with an unfair disadvantage, as 2019 was a year in which they had their lowest rate of death for 10 years. Cyclically, this is usually followed by a year where numbers look grim, as those still with us from the ‘mild’ year add their fates to those normally dying in the next year. 

But then the facts seem a tad strange. “All cause mortality” in Sweden was largely unchanged compared to the last four years according to a study in Medrxiv. From 2018 and 92,185 to 2020 and 97,941. Not a world changing surge. Looking at “bad” past years in Sweden, adjusting for population, the difference between say 2012 and 2020 in death rates is 0.012%. 120 extra deaths per million, which is 1,224 people among 10.2 million. How 12,000 are to have died of COVID makes you wonder what that has “displaced” at least insofar as filling death certificates.


Lockdown your sanity

So, lock up the healthy and not at risk and destroy your economy for a coronavirus with a 95% (above 70) to 99%+ (below 70) recovery rate for those without serious comorbidities? Lock up the healthy and the sick together? Don’t let people exercise though obesity is a prime contributing factor, Vitamin D kills viruses so don’t let them get enough sun, there are no recorded instances of outdoor transmission, so limit how much fresh air they get? Really, if someone undertook an “implausibility campaign” this would qualify. And how do we keep lapping it up?

The “top 20” lockdown countries, the death rate is 1,520 per million on average. Take four lockdown light or no lockdown countries: Japan, Belarus, Nicaragua, and Sweden, and it’s 391 per million; India now open hasn’t cleared 200,000 out of its population, air pollution are greater threats in both India and China. Florida outperforms virtually every lockdown state in the US, Oklahoma and Georgia too (open, no state-wide mask mandates, indoor dining, Disney theme park, large-scale sporting events).

Dr. David Nabarro, of WHO had to meekly tap dance around his unguarded moment of clarity, “We really do appeal to all world leaders, stop using lockdown as your primary method of control.” He continues with illuminating simplicity: “Lockdowns have only one consequence that you must never belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.” Amen.


The world and all of us

A journalist reported being quizzed in Australia about where in Sydney he hailed from, and this at a bar, lest he have slipped out from one of the “toxic” neighbourhoods. Assuring the bar manager he wasn’t from any of the hot spots, he asked her graciously, if she preferred he went elsewhere. She said that would be grand, her face lighting up like a Christmas ornament, in relief. Her night was complete, having lost some custom, and banishing a fellow citizen, who asymptomatically on scientific grounds, posed no risk at all (studies galore now testify to the nominal if even discernible risk of asymptomatic transmission).

The journalist was mystified at the emotions on display. We have a serious (but far from unique) respiratory infection, that targets an elderly, vulnerable demographic. Even there, average age of death hovers slightly above life expectancy.

Thinking this benevolent data came courtesy of the artificial sealing off of Australia, he cast his glance across to the UK. The purported UK “COVID deaths” if taken at face value, showed roughly 1,043.5 deaths per 100,000 population, higher than 2019, but lower than 2008, when, if the world shut down, it did so with such discretion that it passed the rest of us by. And it was higher, by the way, every single year all the way back to 1838 when such records began!

Those overflowing hospital beds in the UK? 90% was called “almost overflowing” which seems unusual given the NHS goal to have fewer than 15% of beds lying vacant at any time. Might the reduction of hospital beds in Great Britain from 300,000 to 140,000 in the last 30 years, while the population swelled by 10 million, shed any light? 

None of these mystified ruminations suggest there aren’t serious mortalities from C-19. But there are vile diseases galore we encounter, and here the price we have paid, and the toll exacted, given its actual impact, is out of all proportion. 

We locked down before there was any overwhelming impact, extrapolating from Wuhan alarmism, and followed the remedies of the totalitarian inclined orchestrators of the People’s Republic. Morons galore saluted the “resolve” on display when we saw Chinese welders sealing citizens into their apartments. How much of that was pyrotechnics for global consumption, and how much an actual playbook, who knows? But we can be overjoyed here in Lanka, that our cameras did not pick up armed police thuggishly throwing citizens to the ground and handcuffing them for the “crime” of taking a walk unmasked…only to achieve the catastrophic numbers being role modelled in Europe and the US. 

If here we can only jettison our PCR mania, understand that MoH guidelines are meant to keep you safe even if someone were infected (or they are meaningless), stop taking COVID liberties with death certificates, or fetishize vaccines which admit to having no demonstration of long-term protection, and realise we go for tourism at some point or we don’t without chasing people with PCR tests (there is no “science” behind segregating people from different jurisdictions, if we keep physical distance, apply hygiene, and monitor symptoms, eventually live and let live…overwhelmingly high recovery rates, and overwhelmingly low need for ICU attention outside the vulnerable demographic, make this overwhelmingly rational), we’ll be fine. We need to focus on our economy, our currency reserves, our strategic alliances, restoring our educational vitality and seeking avenues to sustainable national competitiveness. Enough with the face coverings and flawed tests sucking our reserves, our energy and our national attention. Prudence, not panic, now has to prevail.

Other countries have watched internal borders also be shut and mulishly acquiesced for the most trivial of excuses. There are countries like the UK and Australia, where absurdly selfish obstacles are posted for citizens hoping to come home, and aping North Korea, citizens cannot even leave their country unless applying for an exemption to be “granted” by some clueless, officious bureaucrat. Again, over a bloody virus? We’ve lost the script folks, the black death wouldn’t mandate this, as you provide guidelines, and leave it to people to live, and run businesses, and raise families, you tighten guardrails, but you don’t make the country a prison camp.

We are hearing now that “spitting saliva” could replace swabs for “testing” purposes. Let’s hope that’s true, as we can then “spit our way to freedom.”

The kinds of restrictions imposed, not in initial weeks of uncertainty, but a year later, recall travesties in human history, that those countries replicating, should be embarrassed and disgusted to be associated with.

Hundreds of billions of dollars lost, whole economies teetering, and devastation and a sharpened appetite for paranoia to show for it. And awash in this ocean of political incompetence, of the mindless and often heartless disassembly of economic and educational and medical prospects (vaccinations for more serious treatable diseases deferred, cancer screenings not done, routine exams that proactively catch future serious diseases not undertaken) for too many worldwide, this is considered the “orthodoxy?” 

Fruitcake self-destructive responses are lauded, all from the prism of one virus (barely 3% of an impact on global mortality in 2020 if you treat every purported death being literally caused by COVID as true, which we’ve seen is nonsense anyway). 

Some countries we can applaud: Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, some made good tough calls including Pakistan and later India and Bangladesh, Sweden, Belarus, US States, our own Sri Lanka once shedding curfew mania. Congratulations! We move on. Months ago, when visiting tea estates, I was told locals would fear us, as “contagion carriers.” Taking a hike at the outskirts of an estate, workers and their families came running up, with that utterly beguiling and “positively infectious” Sri Lankan warmth and welcome, waving and gesticulating (possibly saying, “What an apparition!” but doing so joy filled). Recently, wandering around Nuwara Eliya, locals grinned welcome, in Victoria Park people were keeping sensible distance, but they were out and about and living.

And let’s hope for a return to the time that you have a flu, you have symptoms, you take care, see a doctor if needed (not be hauled off to a quarantine camp). And most people sniffle behind bedcovers, not go rampaging around, seeing who they can infect by hacking all over them. A fever is not a sign of pestilence. It’s a sign to yes establish some distance and take a few days. And we know even the course of this “terror” is essentially done in about three to five days.

If it were even true that you might pass C-19 on unknowingly to someone who IS vulnerable, again that just argues for possibly vaccinating them if the vaccines deliver, and protecting them, and taking greater care around them, not penalising the entire planet and economy. Just read that and see if you don’t recoil from the insanity of that prescription.


We study stupidity we don’t enshrine it

Never again should we be terrorised into foreclosing on our present and our future on “models”. The multiple intrusions on our privacy and civil rights have to become a relic of an extremely tragic and misguided year. No more oxygen leeching masks except in very limited circumstances. No extreme social distancing. No more manic testing by mechanisms that don’t really “test.” No quarantining in hotels, quick Antigen test, or a spit, and let’s get on with it. Virtually everyone recovers! The few that don’t, let’s recall life is not risk-free. We have about 500 “ascribed” COVID deaths after a year in Lanka, and from March to December 2020 despite curfews and shut-downs, 12,000 car accident deaths! Let’s get a grip.

Leaders need more mental agility, global politicians need more wit and imagination to deal with fluid, complex problems without slavishly following their neighbours. 

We have to reclaim thousands of businesses, families, lives and futures…if we can. We must realise our “reaction” to a virus, not the virus itself, has cheated so many of what makes being alive (which is a lot more than “non-death”) matter, shared joy and sorrow, interactions, experiences and moments that mark our journey through life. 

Burdens of debt and despair have to be faced, and perhaps by our children as a result, and we have a dangerous template for idiotic bureaucrats as future challenges loom. Let’s decisively grow past any such temptation.

And here in Lanka, where leadership has not capitulated, has shown the ability to rethink and not buckle against mindless pressure at key inflection points, we must leverage that emerging wisdom, we must affirm it, we must make the very most of that in co-creating our future.

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