Category Archives: COVID-19

COVID19 vaccination

25th October 2022

I have been somewhat quiet recently. I have started about ten blogs, then got bogged down …. possibly blogged down? Then stopped, and started again, then tore it all up – metaphorically.

The problem is that I have been looking at COVID19 vaccination.

There is much to say, maybe too much. However, one treads a very fine line here. I liken it to walking along a cliffside, in the dark. At any point you can make a small mis-step and plummet to your doom. Or, perhaps it is more like being in the trenches in World War I, knowing that at any point, a sniper could pick you off.

Yes, it is true that WordPress doesn’t seem to care much what anyone writes. Good for them, I say. So, I can write pretty much whatever I want. But the rest of the world watches, waiting for the slightest mistake. At which point you shall be denounced, then silenced, in all other outlets. If this happens, the vast majority of people stop listening to you. ‘Oh him, he’s one of those anti-vaxx nutters. Don’t listen to a word he says.’

Yes, I know there is a large community out there who do not follow the mainstream narrative. Those who know there are – or certainly may be – some significant issues with the COVID19 vaccines. In particular the mRNA vaccines. Speaking to them is easy, gaining their support is easy. They cheer you on.

However, there is no real point in reaching out to them, enjoyable though it may be. It is preaching to the converted. The people that I would really like to get at are those who firmly and absolutely believe that mRNA vaccines are highly effective, absolutely safe, and that everyone should be happy to be vaccinated. Along with their children.

The people who are also very critical of those who do not get vaccinated [I have had three doses, but I shall not be having a fourth, unless things change dramatically].

How do you reach these people? How can you even begin to get them listening to anything you have to say?

To give one example of the problem of starting a discussion. I posted a link in a discussion forum on the Doctors.net website (a website that can only be accessed by UK registered doctors). This link discussed some issues with vaccines. It didn’t seem, to me, to be hyper-critical.

However, I got a message from the moderators informing me that if I attached links to any information critical of vaccines, again, they would remove me from the site. This was my final warning. No discussion.

More recently, the post below was published on the same site. It was in response to a twitter comment which followed an interview with Dr Aseem Malhotra:

‘This is a disgraceful interview with this self-publicising charlatan and hypocrite. He says that “until proven otherwise, it is likely that Covid mRNA vaccines played a significant or primary role in all unexplained heart attacks, strokes, cardiac arrhythmias, & heart failure since 2021”.

That is so grossly irresponsible and untrue It staggers me to think he can be allowed to say this and remain a registered medical practitioner.’

The post I have duplicated here was published by a doctor who works, full-time, for a pharmaceutical company. Something he, surprisingly, failed to mention as a potential conflict of interest. Others piled on in support of him. Many of them agreeing that Aseem Malhotra should be flung off the GMC register forthwith – which would render him unable to work as a doctor.

I suggested that, perhaps it would be better to engage Dr Malhotra in debate, rather than attacking him as a charlatan. At which point I was attacked. In my opinion, if you find yourself being attacked for suggesting that it would be a good ideal to have a debate, it is not difficult to work out which way the wind is blowing.

I have discussed vaccination at my local sports club. At which point, almost everyone takes on that silent, arms crossed look, if you mention you have some concerns about vaccines.

They don’t debate the issue, because they can’t, because they don’t know anything other than what they have been told by mainstream media. But it is clear that some of them now see me as a bloody anti-vaxxer. Even if I say nothing more than, ‘I have some concerns.’

Yes, to ask for debate, or to dare express some concerns, is to be labelled an anti-vaxxer.

This is a very high barrier to overcome. I have tried irony. ‘Oh yes, I am absolutely one hundred per cent in favour of COVID19 vaccines. I think everyone should have them four times a year. Pregnant women, children from the moment they are born. No exceptions at all. Yes, these mRNA vaccines have been fully tested. It is clear that they are one hundred per cent safe and one hundred per cent effective. Yup, I cannot see any problems with them at all.’

Response. You are taking the mickey and you are an anti-vaxxer. I claim my prize.

I have also tried saying absolutely nothing at all. I still got accused of being an anti-vaxxer because I did not enthusiastic agree with criticising someone who was believed to be an anti-vaxxer.

Maybe I should just attend this meeting ‘The New Frontier of RNA Nanotherapeutic. Monday, October 24, 2022 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Hybrid Conference’:

‘The RNA vaccines against COVID-19 mark the beginning of a technological revolution that will transform the way we treat disease and restore health. “The New Frontier of RNA Nanotherapeutics” presented by the George and Angelina Kostas Research Center for Cardiovascular Nanomedicine, will feature a discussion on the events that led to the RNA vaccine breakthrough and preview emerging RNA Nanotherapeutics. Advances in the design of RNA constructs to improve stability and translational efficiency will be presented along with the leading-edge developments in nanomedicine to improve delivery and tissue specificity. The potential of nanotechnology-enabled RNA therapeutics to enhance health is virtually limitless.’

Any doubts I have will evaporate …. maybe.

Anyway. The answer as to … how can I even start a discussion on mRNA vaccines without being shot, falling of the edge of cliff, or being silenced, continues to elude me. Farewell enlightenment. Hello dark ages.

Science, to me, is debate. Science is attacking ideas from all directions. No exceptions. Those ideas which cannot be destroyed may turn out to be correct. But, if an idea is considered sacrosanct, with anyone questioning it condemned as an unbeliever, then we do not have science. We have religion. So yes, in my opinion, vaccines, and vaccination, have become a religious belief. No evidence needed.

Scary. Anyway. If anyone has any good ideas about how a debate can even get started, without descending into anger and accusation … please let me know. It seems beyond me. The end.

COVID19 – so many questions, so few real answers

14th September 2022

Some of you may remember COVID19. We had an epidemic, or a pandemic, or … choose whatever word you like best. The legacy of it still hangs about in many strange, disconnected actions.

My last flight in late August, on Lufthansa, required me to wear a mask. The connecting flight with Swissair, did not. No mask was required whilst waiting at Munich airport or being transported to and from the planes in a crowded bus. Go figure. I am sure this all makes sense to someone, somewhere.

Anyway, I thought it might be good time to have a catch up and see if we can learn anything more about the pandemic and the drastic actions taken to control it. The first thing to say is that this is a complex task. Mainly because the data surrounding COVID19 are unreliable. To say the least.

How many people have been infected with Sars-Cov2? How many have died? I believe we can only really guess. Worldometer, as of the tenth of September 2022, confidently informed me there have been around six hundred million people infected with COVID19 worldwide (613,234,326). The number of deaths is just over six million (6,514,989)1.

Quite remarkably, this represents infection fatality rate of pretty much bang on one per cent. As predicted by Imperial College London and Professor Neill Ferguson. Take a bow that man? Or perhaps not. How many people think that those figures are remotely accurate? Certainly not me. Just to start with, do we really believe that ninety per cent of people have managed to avoid a Sars-Cov2 infection?

My own belief is that virtually everyone in the world has been exposed to/infected by Sars-Cov2 and at least once. (The concept of what ‘infection’ means has undergone a bit of a transformation, a.k.a. mangling). We already know many people have been infected several times. In fact, as early as the autumn of 2020, doctors were seeing people who had been, proven, to be infected twice. Even then, these cases were considered to be the tip of the iceberg.2

If people were getting infected twice, within six months of the virus arriving, I think we can safely assume almost everyone else has been infected at least once. Maybe a few villagers in the Amazonian rain forest have remained exposure, and infection, free. As for everyone else… unlikely.

And as for the numbers of COVID19 deaths, again, can we know anything for certain? I wrote out four death certificates which included COVID19 as a cause. This was early on, before much testing was possible. I have no idea if they had COVID19, or not. I cannot imagine I was alone in adding to the COVID19 stats, whilst blundering around in the dark.

If we can’t really rely on these, the most basic of facts, then can we learn anything? I think so, I hope so. Indeed, from the very start I tended to focus my attention away from COVID19 specific data, towards data I felt I could trust. Namely, the overall mortality rate.

Although these data do not allow us to be certain who died of COVID19, the numbers are the most robust we have. Someone is either alive, or dead, and it is difficult to get the diagnosis wrong. Yes, there can be some delays in reporting etc. but in general dead is dead and alive is alive, and that is that. One hundred per cent accurate.

Of course, in order to use these figures, I have to make assumption (made by many others), that spikes in overall mortality would be the best way to get a fix on how many people COVID19 was actually killing. A big spike – more deaths from COVID19. No spike, no extra deaths from COVID19 (or very few).

So, did every country show pretty much the same pattern in mortality? Or were there extremes or outliers? I am a believer that it is at the extremes where answers can often be found.

I began by looking for countries – or populations within those countries – that suffered a major increase in overall mortality. Then I looked for matching countries, and populations, that showed no change, or very little change. Because here, maybe, we could find some solid ground to stand on.

The most easily accessed data can be found at EuroMOMO3. This is a resource where data on overall mortality are collated from many different European countries. The site then plots mortality against a (moving) five-year average.

I ended up focussing on European data, not just because it was easy to find, but mainly because most European countries are very similar in many important parameters. Standard of living, health service provision, demographics, life expectancy and suchlike. Which means that you are comparing like with like. Try to compare Norway with, say, Kenya, and you end up with a mess.

On the other hand, you can more reasonably compare Norway and Sweden. There are far fewer differences between them, which should make it simpler to spot the key one(s).

However, to start with I am not going to look at Norway and Sweden. Instead. I want to draw your attention to four countries that are not, in truth, separate countries. They are Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Four different ‘parts’ that make up the single entity known as ‘The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. Longest country name in the world – good pub quiz question.

It is true these four ‘countries’ did not do precisely the same things during lockdown. But the differences in timings and actions, were small – with a few (look at me, I’m locking down harder than anyone else, vote for me … thank you Nicola) variants. However, you will struggle to find any other four countries that were more alike in their characteristics and actions.

Despite their many similarities, one of these populations showed a hugely significant increase in overall mortality, and the other three did not. This difference can be seen most starkly within the age group of forty-five to sixty-four.

First, a short explanation of what you can see in the graphs below.

The – somewhat difficult to make out – dotted line represents the rate of overall mortality five standard deviations above the norm for the time of year. Mortality is always higher in winter than summer, but these graphs take this into account, and are mathematically flattened out.

The darker, spiky line represents the overall mortality rate. If it rises above the dotted line this is considered to be a ‘statistically significant’ event. Or, to put it another way, something is happening that is killing far more people than we would expect to see, and we need to find out what. This is normally due an infectious disease of some kind, almost always influenza.

The scale on the left -10, 0, 10, 20 is not an absolute figure. It represents the standard deviation from the mean (the z score). If it goes above ten, this is big time trouble. Above twenty, look out, the sky is falling. In general, two standard deviations from the mean is considered ‘statistically significant’ in medical research.

OVERALL MORTALITY RATES AGE 45- 64 IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
2017 TO SEPT 2022

As you can see. England had a three major mortality ‘peaks’. Spring 2020. Winter 2020/21 and a far more diffuse mountain range in autumn and winter 2021. The other three countries showed almost nothing at all.

I will just add in here that the difference is not restricted to this one age group. Below is a graph of the sixty-five to seventy-four-year-olds.

OVERALL MORTALITY RATES AGE 65 to 74 IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
2017 TO SEPT 2022

Pretty much the same pattern emerges. Two massive upticks in overall mortality in England, very little elsewhere. Absolutely nothing to see in Northern Ireland. If COVID19 was killing lots of people in Northern Ireland, it was not showing up.

First question, does England have a worse health service than the other three countries? No, it does not. Is the overall health worse in England? Well, in general, the English have a longer life expectancy than those in the other three countries, rather than the other way around. Which suggests that the English are, in general, healthier 4.

What was the same in these countries

  • The health services
  • The age of those dying (I matched people for age)
  • The lockdowns (very minor differences)
  • The treatments given
  • The vaccinations given
  • The climate
  • Overall life expectancy (very minor differences, should be favouring England)

So, what was different?

Over to you. Because if we can work out what caused all these people to die in England, and not in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we can probably learn something of great value.

Before that – and changing tack for a moment or two, in the early days of COVID19, everyone jumped around claiming that Norway had done things fantastically well, as they had no change in overall mortality, and very few recorded COVID19 deaths. ‘Look at them shutting their borders and enforcing a very tight lock-down. Way to go whoop, whoop.’

No-one bothered to mention Northern Ireland. Which did precisely the same as England. Yet also had no change in overall mortality, as per Norway. You could argue that Northern Ireland did not fit the agreed narrative, whereas Norway did.

Sweden, on the other hand, famously did not lock down, ‘shock-horror, everyone in charge should be fired, or thrown in jail’. Sweden did have significant uptick in overall mortality. Proof that lock-downs were essential?

Possibly … probably not. Many other countries in Europe which did lock down, have had far more COVID19 deaths, and a greater impact on overall mortality, than Sweden.

Here are the European countries that have recorded more COVID19 deaths, per head of population, than Sweden. In descending order1:

  • Bulgaria
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Hungary
  • North Macedonia
  • Georgia
  • Croatia
  • Czechia
  • Slovakia
  • Romania
  • Lithuania
  • San Marino
  • Slovenia
  • Latvia
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Poland
  • Moldova
  • Italy
  • Armenia
  • Belgium
  • UK
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • France
  • Liechtenstein
  • Austria
  • Estonia
  • Andorra
  • SWEDEN

Here, I did use COVID19 deaths, as reported on Worldometer – with all caveats recognised. The reason for using these figures rather than overall mortality, is that they were, initially, used to attack, the Swedish response. [People are a lot quieter about Sweden now] Also, calculating the overall mortality increases in these countries represents a very major task – with complex adjustments to be made. So, I didn’t do it here. I would also point out, for the sake of completeness, that Sweden is reported to have had 1,968 COVID19 deaths per one million of the population. Norway 728. [Two per thousand vs. point seven per thousand]

Lithuania, by the way, like Norway, is very similar to Sweden. For about a hundred years they ruled central Europe together within the Union of Kedainiai. In many ways, they have more in common than Sweden and Norway. It should be noted that Lithuania locked down early, and hard. You may note Lithuania pops up at number ten in the list above. Reported COVID19 death rate 3,528 per million.

You may disagree with my definition of European country … Gibraltar? Listen, I got this from Worldometer, so you can fight with them. However, if anyone wishes to tell me that Sweden suffered a unique catastrophe due to their reluctance to fully lock down, they may struggle to convince me that it was the critical factor. In fact, I may give a hollow laugh, even raise a quizzical eyebrow.

So, what else was different between Norway and Sweden? Something that could reasonably explain the difference in both recorded COVID19 deaths, and overall mortality. I believe there is another clue within the EuroMOMO data. If you choose to look at what you are actually seeing.

Below are the data from Norway from late 2017 (slightly annoyingly, their data only started in late 2017).

OVERALL MORTALITY NORWAY LATE 2017 TO 2022 – all ages

What stands out very clearly is that the Norwegian overall mortality rate has never spiked. At least not since late 2017… on EuroMOMO. This was even the case in the winter of 2018, which was a bad flu season across most of Europe. Something that shows up most clearly in Germany, although the same pattern can also be seen, to a lesser extent, in France, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, UK, Portugal, Italy etc.

OVERALL MORTALITY GERMANY 2017 TO 2022 – all ages

Did the Norwegians lock down in 2018. No, they did not. So, what stopped them dying from flu? The answer is … something else. And that something may well be the same thing that stopped them dying of COVID19.

As an aside, why did the Germans not panic in 2018, when more people were dying then, than from COVID19 in 2021? They had a z-score of very nearly twenty. Did anyone even notice? Was it front page headlines? No, of course not. It passed in virtual silence. Compare and contrast, as they say.

Anyway, I hope that I have given you a little puzzle to solve. I have been contemplating this puzzle for some time, and I think I may have identified the key factor that can explain the patterns in the UK, and also between Norway and Sweden. I am interested to see what other people’s thoughts might be.

Before coming back with answers. Remember, these data are age-matched. They compare overall mortality, not the number of recorded deaths from COVID19. They are not the absolute numbers of deaths, but variation from the mean. The z-score.

1: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

2: https://www.science.org/content/article/more-people-are-getting-covid-19-twice-suggesting-immunity-wanes-quickly-some

3: https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps

4: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/lifeexpectancies/bulletins/nationallifetablesunitedkingdom/2018to2020#:~:text=estimates%20for%20Wales.-,Life%20expectancy%20at%20birth%20in%202018%20to%202020%20was%20estimated,for%20females%20in%20Northern%20Ireland.

Care homes and COVID19

1st May 2022

[Lessons must be learned]

I love the phrase ‘lessons need to be learned’. It always makes me laugh when I hear it. Usually intoned with a voice of great seriousness by the leaders of an organisation found to have made disastrous errors. It is right up there with ‘safety is our number one priority.’ About the only group I have yet to hear say this are arms manufacturers. Although I wouldn’t put it past them. Maybe … ‘You could take someone’s eye out with that.

As I have occasionally remarked about airlines … when they tell us that safety is their number one priority. Well, in that case don’t take off. Everything is perfectly safe when your plane is on the ground. It’s that hurling yourself into the air, dashing about in the skies, then landing, where all the accidents take place.

Getting back to lessons learned. The only lesson I have ever learned, about lessons being learned, is that lessons are never learned. The same disasters occur again, and again, for all the same reasons. The reasons being institutional inertia and the overwhelming desire of those at the top to protect themselves from any criticism.

What I have also learned is that the primary function of any enquiry is to make sure that no-one who actually made those terrible decisions can be blamed for anything. A few scapegoats further down the pecking order will be dragged out and punished. Then all goes quiet again.

Mistakes were made.’ This is another one I enjoy. Mistakes were made – but who made them? The use of the passive voice is all you ever need to pay attention to Here. You never hear. ‘I made this mistake. Or, that person made this mistake.’ Even more rarely will you hear ‘I, alone, made this mistake.

Yes, once the dreaded passive voice comes into play, you know that no-one is going to be singled out, no lessons are going to be learned by anyone. Instead, some vague unidentifiable entity will have to learn from the mistakes that some other vague and unidentifiable entity may, or may not, have made.

Mistakes were certainly made in the COVID19 pandemic, and I have found myself bombarded by the ‘lessons have been learned’ claptrap.

The man in charge of healthcare in the UK, when COVID19 crashed upon the world, was Matt Hancock. This was also the time when patients were being flung out of hospitals into care homes, thousands of whom then went on to die.

He chose to hide behind an excuse. ‘No-one told me, so it wasn’t my fault.’ Is that what the Captain of the Titanic thought to himself as his ship slipped beneath the waves?

Here is one article about what went on during that terrible time. I cannot reference it for everyone, because it came to me through doctors.net, which is for doctors in the UK only. Here it is anyway, although, unless you are a doctor you will have no access. ‘Poor planning behind the illegal pandemic care home discharges’1. By the way, you are not missing anything. It mirrors many other articles that said exactly the same thing:

Bed shortages led to the illegal discharge policies that led to the deaths of hundreds of patients in care homes, the British Medical Association has alleged.

A court yesterday delivered a ground-breaking ruling that the government acted unlawfully in the advice it issued to the NHS on hospital discharge during the early stages of the pandemic.

The advice stated that there was not a risk from patients who had no symptoms of COVID infection. It led to the virus running amok in the care sector and a judicial review by two bereaved relatives gained the support of the courts yesterday.

I would disagree with the statement that hundreds of deaths occurred. It was in the region of twenty to thirty thousand, maybe more. What was Matt Hancock’s response?

Yesterday he (Matt Hancock) claimed the court ruling had not found him culpable, blaming Public Health England for failing to advise that the asymptomatic patients could transmit the virus.

So, what lesson do we think Matt Hancock has learned? ‘A big boy (public health England) made me do it’, seems an adequate summary. Yes, we know there was a lot going on at the time. A great deal of pressure, and panic, and suchlike.

Using pressure in a rapid changing situation as an excuse, as this Government has repeatedly done … This makes me think of a General explaining that all the mistakes he made during a battle were due to people rushing about firing guns and yelling. No-one can possibly concentrate, and get things right, with all that bloody racket going on.

The reason why you had a position of such power and responsibility, Mr Hancock, is that you needed to be the big grown-up boy. You were required to think quickly, and clearly. If people didn’t tell you things, such as the fact that an airborne virus can spread though asymptomatic people – as they all do, then, quite frankly, you bloody well needed to ask.

Of course, it seems he was told, he just doesn’t want to admit that he was … and someone has told him he can probably get away with that pathetic excuse, of an excuse:

Here is what, I think, he should have said. ‘Whilst the situation was difficult, I should have ensured that I looked at this issue in more detail. I needed to find out more about the impact of discharging elderly people back into care homes. The risk of transmission with asymptomatic patients. The difficulty in isolating elderly and often demented patients in that environment. I did not do any of these things adequately. I was the man in charge, I am deeply sorry … please hand me a gun.’

It is not as if this impending disaster was beyond the understanding of us mere mortals. On the 17th April 2020 I wrote a blog about it:

‘The government’s disregard of care home residents – old, sick people, acutely vulnerable to COVID19 – has been scandalous. As a GP, I regularly visit care homes. At one I visit, they recently had eight residents who died in a week, probably from coronavirus. But there’s no testing, so who could possibly know …

When COVID struck, many things were not known, and could not have been accurately predicted. The transmission rate, the case fatality rate, the best way to treat those infected

However, it was very clear, very early on, that COVID was killing the elderly in far greater numbers than anyone else. In Italy, the early figures released revealed that the average age of death was seventy-nine. The figures were slightly higher in Germany, and around eighty years old in pretty much every other country.

Equally, it was known that amongst the elderly who were dying, almost all of them had other serious medical conditions. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease and suchlike. This is often known in my line of work as “multimorbidity.”

In a world of uncertainty, one thing stood out. Which is that the unwell elderly were the ones who were most likely to die. Equally, they were the ones most likely to end up in hospital, potentially overwhelming the health services. As happened in Italy and Spain.

Ergo, you would think that someone, somewhere in the UK government, would have asked the obvious question. Where do we have the greatest concentrations of elderly, frail, people with multimorbidity? Could it possibly be that they are being looked after in care homes around the country?

Nursing homes, residential homes, care homes. They are all pretty much the same thing nowadays. Nursing homes tend to look after those with greater health needs, and they must have registered nurses looking after patients, but the distinctions have become blurred.

Many care homes are also specialised in looking after the elderly with dementia. In the UK, they are called EMI units [elderly mentally infirm]. These represent a particular problem in that residents tend to wander about from room to room.

So, in care homes we potentially had the perfect storm for the pandemic. They are full of elderly and infirm and highly vulnerable people. Environments where it is often impossible to isolate residents, and staff who have never been adequately trained in isolation measures. Equally, whilst relatives cannot visit hospitals, care homes have been continuing to allow them in.

It is not as if the warning signs were not there, flashing red.

What was the government’s strategy for dealing with nursing homes?  It has been, up until the last couple of days, to make things even worse. The instructions from the Dept of Health have been to send patients diagnosed with COVID out of hospital, and back into care homes, with further instructions to “barrier nurse” them, a term for a set of stringent infection control techniques.  Care homes were informed that they could not refuse to take the residents back …’ 2

It was after this that Dr Kathy Gardner (PhD, not medical doctor) contacted me, as her father had died of COVID19 in a care home. I wrote various lengthy replies to her lawyers about the situation, and my experience thereof. They may, or may not, have used my missives in the court case. The case that she battled so long and hard to get heard. She is quoted in the article:

At the time the Health Secretary Matt Hancock had claimed he was throwing a “protective ring” around care homes.

Yesterday he claimed the court ruling had not found him culpable, blaming Public Health England for failing to advise that the asymptomatic patients could transmit the virus.

One of the claimants, Dr Cathy Gardner, said the “protective ring” had proved to be a “despicable lie.”

Dr Gardner said: “I believed all along that my father and other residents of care homes were neglected and let down by the government. The high court has now vindicated that belief, and our campaign to expose the truth.’

Within the NHS I was also fighting my own lonely battles. Here is an e-mail (identifiers redacted) that I send to my manager in April 2020

‘I had a short chat with A yesterday about nursing homes X and Y.

Although things seem to be getting sorted out at Intermediate Care facility B there do not seem to have been any changes at nursing homes X and Y Both homes have several patients with Covid (proven positive swabs). It seems that the Hub is still sending Covid negative patients into both homes – putting these patients at immense risk. We have had staff to patient transmission at Intermediate Care facility B.

Equally patients are being discharged home without having swabs. So, they are arriving home and potentially infecting any partner living there – usually elderly and vulnerable. Equally, if community staff are going in to visit, they can also get infected – then pass the infection on to other clients in the community. The only patients being swabbed on discharge from nursing home X are those going to other care homes – at that care homes request.

Two out of three swabbed patients in nursing home X have come back positive. Which means we are clearly sending Covid positive patients back home – without a swab. I spoke to H, who said that this was still policy? I am not quite sure who’s policy?

I believe we must stop the hub sending Covid negative patients into our nursing homes. – until they are clear of infection. I also believe we cannot discharge anyone from our nursing homes without a clear swab.

I think if anyone were to be made aware that their relatives were being transferring into a Covid positive care home, where they will be at high risk of getting Covid, they would rightly be up in arms. They would rightly be up in arms because it is unsafe, it is putting staff and patients at risk. We already know that nursing homes are becoming the focus of Covid deaths, we should not be making this situation worse in nursing home X and Y.’

I am no genius. I was not the only one who could see that this was a stupid and deadly policy. I wrote about it, and complained about it, at the time. We have now had a court case saying what was done was illegal. But [squeaky voice] ‘no-one knew…’ The care home managers were all up in arms at the time. They bloody knew. But no-one chose to listen to their inconvenient truth.

So now what happens. It it almost impossible to see that anything of any value will occur as a result of this judicial health review. What lessons we be learned? None by the Department of Health and Social Care. Their comment:

‘A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “We specifically sought to safeguard care home residents based on the best information at the time.’ Yup, safety was their number one priority.

Well, God only knows what would have been the result if they hadn’t decided to ‘specifically safeguard care home residents, based on the best information at the time.’ It is difficult to think of anything they could have done to make things worse.

The best information?’ Who gave them this information? The same vague unidentifiable entity who made the mistakes and will now be learning the lessons I suppose. Maybe it was the exact same god-like entity that was spoken of, in hushed tones, during the pandemic …The Science. Yes, The Mighty Science that works in mysterious ways, its wonders to perform.

1: https://news.doctors.net.uk/news/6K3xX7oGioThSkt9LJYz0S?pk_campaign=dnb&pk_kwd=article02_button

2: https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2020/04/17/care-homes-and-covid19/

Why do we have Experts?

9th March 2022

The COVID19 pandemic has thrown an issue into sharp focus that I have been observing for many years now. What is an expert? The simple answer is someone who has expertise. Deep knowledge of a subject that has been gained by spending many years researching, reading, speaking to colleagues, and suchlike.

However, that is clearly not enough. I have spent years researching cardiovascular disease. I have written papers about it, written books, given lectures… but I have never been referred to, by any in mainstream medical research at least, as an ‘expert’. I am very much something else. A maverick, a denier, zealot a … [insert insult of choice here].

I used to joke that there must be a secret expert exam that you have to pass in order to be called an expert. Or perhaps it’s a bit like the Freemasons. Someone has a quiet word in your ear to sound you out. Then asks if you would like to join the international brotherhood of ‘experts.’ Dedicated to something, or other.

Very soon, after the COVID19 pandemic struck, Imperial College Business School had this to say on experts:

‘In 2016, when Michael Gove made his famous statement that “people in this country have had enough of experts”, it seemed experts and expert knowledge were on their way out. The opinion of populist politicians and online influencers were deemed much more relevant to decision making than the findings of scientists or the theories of economists. From the antivax movement to newly resurgent creationists, the spirit of the times was very much against the expert. Science and its evidence-based rationality were in retreat and the trend seemed unstoppable. 

Fast-forward four years and the world is suddenly a very different place. Experts like Imperial College London’s Neil Ferguson, and Peter Piot from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine are now central advisors to government and the profiles of experts are the material of front-page stories. With the arrival of a global pandemic, experts are back – and with a vengeance!

So, what has changed? And what can we learn from the recent success of the experts who are shaping government policy on coronavirus? First, the experts who are currently leading the government’s policy response to the pandemic are not just experts, they are leaders. They know that simply understanding a topic deeply and having something to say on an issue is not enough.’ Etc. etc, glory glory Imperial College 1.

I found the final sentence interesting. ‘They know that simply understanding a topic deeply and having something to say on an issue is not enough.’

In short, to be an expert you must also be a leader? I think this is probably true …. You certainly have to be at the top of some organisation or other.

Anthony Fauci for example. He was held by the mainstream media to be the number one expert about COVID19. His position unassailable – or at least it was. He was, and remains, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He remains the Chief Medical Advisor to the President.

Did he know more than anyone else about Sars-Cov2? Was this even a requirement? Tricky, as this was a completely new virus. Was he the perfect man for the job? He most certainly ticked all the expert boxes – so he should have been the ideal man? Hire that man right now…

Of course, there are those who have been far more sceptical about the value added by experts – to anything. David Sackett, who was a driving force behind the Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) movement – and who was also a very good man – wrote an article in 2000 entitled ‘The sins of expertness and a proposal for redemption.’

Here are a couple of sections. I suggest you read the entire article; it is not very long:

‘Is redemption possible for the sins of expertness? The only one I know that works requires the systematic retirement of experts. To be sure, many of them are sucked into chairs, deanships, vice presidencies, and other black holes in which they are unlikely to influence the progress of science or anything else for that matter.’

‘But there are still far more experts around than is healthy for the advancement of science. Because their voluntary retirement does not seem to be any more frequent in 2000 than it was in 1980, I repeat my proposal that the retirement of experts be made compulsory at the point of their academic promotion and tenure.’ 2

In this paper he refers to an earlier piece, written in 1983, where he first called for the retirement of all experts. Having voluntarily ‘retired’ himself as an expert in the field of ‘compliance with therapeutic regimes’. As he added:

I received lots of fan mail about this paper from young investigators, but almost none from experts.’

Some twenty years later he ‘retired’ himself again. This time as an expert in the field of evidence-based medicine, some would say the expert. He believed he had attained too much power and status and was therefore distorting everything around him.

As with all other acknowledged experts, he found that junior researchers deferred to him, and simply would not question him. He came to the conclusion that the very presence of an expert impaired scientific progress. [Of course, of all the experts in the world, he was the one that should not have retired].

In his opinion, experts crystallised into barriers to the progress of new ideas, and most other forms of innovative thinking. Their primary role became an immovable pillar, supporting the existing status quo. Of course, this expert problem has been recognised by many others … For example, Max Plank, in his famous quote:

‘A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.’

Or:

Science advances one funeral at a time.’

So, who you going to call? If, that is, you are a government, and there is a pandemic? You do what everybody does. You call on the established experts. Leaders who sit at the top of the pyramid.

Those professors garlanded with honours. Opinion leaders. Even the mighty key opinion leaders (KOLs). No need to look elsewhere. All the expertise can easily be found, right? And the experts all know each other, so they can also recommend their expert friends – the ones they know and get on with.

A few years ago, there used to be an expression in business, which went something like this: ‘you never get fired for hiring IBM?’ Why not? Because IBM was huge, and they had the reputation of being the major players in IT solutions.

No-one would ever ask you to explain why you hired them. You just did. IBM was also bloated, cumbersome and vastly expensive – containing about as much innovation as a squashed cabbage. Which eventually caught up with them… eventually. Now, you tend to hire another massive company … GE, or suchlike. IBM still exists, but it came very close to the edge.

Of course, everyone needs expertise. If you want to build a bridge, then hire an architect and engineers who are capable of designing and constructing one that does not fall down. This requires skills and knowledge that take years to attain. True, validated, expertise.

Equally, if you want someone to replace your hip, find an anaesthetist and an orthopaedic surgeon, and their team of experts. Don’t pop down the local Botox clinic and hope for the best.

However, if you find yourself in a situation never seen before, where no-one really knows what to do … Then you will find experts are always going to propose doing only what they have always done. What they already know. As used to be said of generals, that they always started off any new war, using the exact same tactics that were being used at the end of the last war. Which never worked. Things had moved on … they hadn’t.

I do find it ironic that when the pandemic started, the key advisor to Boris Johnson was Dominic Cummings? The great ‘disruptor,’ the man who wanted to break apart the ‘cosy establishment’ and replace it with new thinking, and innovation. Here from the article: ‘Dominic Cummings: A model of disruptive leadership?’ [Sub-header. “The best way to spot those at the vanguard of disruption is by their unpopularity”].

The underlying problem is widespread institutional inertia that serves to contain rather than facilitate change. Leaders soon realise that being truly disruptive carries risks that either they, their board-level superiors, or those they lead find hard to tolerate. Few therefore follow through on good intentions, the common default being safety first…

Rightly or wrongly, Cummings believes the UK is being held back by a cosy establishment that stands in the way of reform. He openly disdains convention, as when deliberately bypassing traditional campaigning methods to sell Vote Leave’s ‘Take Back Control’ message, even if this means sailing close to the ethical wind.

You can tell that Cummings hits raw nerves because criticism of his modus operandi is laced with attacks on everything from his personal manner to his dress sense. But you wouldn’t bet on him lasting much longer in the Whitehall machine. The quicksand of inertia has a habit of swallowing disrupters in organisations a lot less complex and cunning than that of government … [Good call]

Change rhetoric might tell us that we need more people prepared to break the mould but our recent political experience indicates that having the will to disrupt rarely guarantees success against stubborn guardians of the ‘same old, same old’. 3

Well, as everyone in the UK knows, Dominic Cummings is now history. Disruptor no more. However, in February/March 2020 he was still very much in place – and he had Boris Johnson’s ear, as his most trusted advisor. You might have thought, therefore, that the scientific advisory group for emergencies (SAGE) would have contained a disruptor or two.

But no, we got the exact same old, same old. The well-established experts. The Chief Medical Officer, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Scientific Officer, the chief of this, the professor of that.

The great problem is that this ‘same old same old’ was going to have an in-built, and almost pathological resistance to risk – of any sort. In this case, by risk, I mean doing anything that is slightly different. Anything that may open you up to criticism. This is the main reason why the SAGE doomsday predictions have never matched reality.

Just as you never got fired for hiring IBM. If you are an epidemiologist, you never get fired for modelling a worst-case scenario. If you say there will be six thousand Omicron deaths a day – in the UK alone – yet the highest number reached was three hundred. Then are safe. This is the approved, standard direction of error.

On the other hand, if you said there would be three hundred deaths a day and it ended up at six thousand… all hell breaks loose. To quote Professor Graham Medley, who chaired the SAGE modelling group.

‘Professor Medley said one of the ‘worst things’ would be for the modellers to under-predict the approaching wave.

He told MPs: ‘The worst thing for me as chair of the committee is for the Government to say “why didn’t you tell us it would be that bad?”, so inevitably we are going to have a worst case that is worse than reality.4

inevitably we are going to have a worst case, that is worse than reality’… Roll that idea around for a moment or two. I did, and this was my interpretation. ‘Inevitably, our models will always be worse than the worst thing than can ever happen.’ Ergo, our models are designed to be utterly useless and inaccurate. A great way to plan your response?

Any decent disruptor would have questioned the assumptions underlying this ‘worst thing’. A disrupter would flip the question on its head. The worst thing, surely, would be to drive the Government into a massive over-reaction that could lead to such things as … thousands of deaths from undiagnosed cancers.

Or patients dying of heart attacks, terrified to attend hospital. Or care homes being flooded with COVID19 positive patients, because the hospital had to be cleared out. Or a tidal wave of mental health problems in children and adolescents. Or an increase in domestic abuse. Or … keep going, there are many damaging things that were caused by lockdown.

They would also have questioned the massive financial cost of extended lock-downs. The new hospitals that could not be built in the future. The much-needed healthcare staff not being hired – because we have run out of money. The inability to pay inflation matching pay rises, leading to staff resignations and loss of morale. The drugs that can’t be paid for, and on and on.

They would have remined those on the advisory board that this was not a zero-sum game. Every COVID19 death prevented, no matter how much it costs, is not necessarily a positive. There will be major, damaging, downsides to your actions, and these have to be taken into account.

However, if you stuff your advisory body with established experts you will get what you got. A group of people whose primary motivation is to ensure that they cannot be blamed for making a mistake. They will ‘hire IBM’. They will battle to maintain the status-quo. ‘Think of how terrible things would have been if we had not driven lock-downs on the entire country for weeks and months.’

Disruptor: ‘Look at how badly wrong your predictions have been, and the enormous and widespread damage you have caused. The cost of which may never even be known.’

Yes, as you can probably gather, I am not a great fan of experts. Of course, I do love expertise… and I love doing things as well as possible. At least those things that have been proven to work. I love innovation, and new thinking. Different ways of looking at the world.

What I hate, what we should all hate, is that any attempt to shift the status quo seems doomed to fail:

‘Change rhetoric might tell us that we need more people prepared to break the mould, but our recent political experience indicates that having the will to disrupt rarely guarantees success against stubborn guardians of the ‘same old, same old’.

When COVID19 arrived, we needed disruptors, new ways of thinking, and acting. We needed clear sighted innovators. What we got, predictably, inevitably, depressingly, were ‘experts’ to lay their cold, dead, hands on the situation. Experts desperate never to be ‘wrong.’ Having first decided what wrong meant. In this case it meant never, ever, underestimating the number of COVID19 deaths.

At this point I feel the need to quote David Sackett once more: I repeat my proposal that the retirement of experts be made compulsory at the point of their academic promotion and tenure.

Hear, hear. ‘Do I have a second for this proposal?’

1: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/business-school/ib-knowledge/strategy-leadership/coronavirus-and-the-return-the-expert

2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1118019/

3: https://www.managementtoday.co.uk/dominic-cummings-model-disruptive-leadership/food-for-thought/article/1673425

4: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10571661/SAGE-expert-says-wildly-wrong-Omicron-death-predictions-failed-account-behaviour-change.html

Vaccination – silencing doctors in the UK

27th February 2022

My last blog discussed the possibility that mRNA COVID19 vaccines significantly increase the risk of myocarditis. Following this, a fellow doctor reached out to tell me about what has happened to them. They too, had questioned some aspects of the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

As a result, they have been sent two threatening letters, which are both of the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ variety. I asked their permission to reproduce them here. One is from the General Medical Council (GMC). The other from their responsible officer – I shall explain what this title means a bit further on.

Below is the letter from the GMC:

Dear Dr….

The GMC have received several complaints regarding your recent social media posts.

All doctors have a right to express their personal opinion regarding the Covid-19 vaccine, and while the GMC in no way supports this opinion, we don’t consider your comments are sufficiently strong to open a fitness to practice investigation at this stage.

However, we are referring this matter to your Responsible Office for your reflection through the appraisal process.

We ask that you consider what implications this complaint might have for your practise when you are discussing this with your appraiser. We would also like to remind you of GMC guidance, in particular ‘Doctors’ use of social media, and of the requirement of doctors to act with honesty and integrity to justify the public’s trust in them

What we will do now

We will share the complaint with your responsible officer for them to consider in the wider context of your practice and revalidation.

‘The wider context of your practice and revalidation.’ Which means what, exactly? I sometimes wonder if there a special training scheme where you learn to write creepy and threatening phrases that can later be denied as being creepy and threatening? ‘I was only trying to be nice. They just took it the wrong way.

‘Your children look charming. However, you may want to consider their continued existence on the planet in the wider context of your practice.’

The GMC, as mentioned before, have the powers to investigate complaints made against doctors in the UK, and impose various punishments (they call them sanctions, which sounds far prettier). Ranging from nothing very much to permanent erasure from the medical performers list.

The latter means that you cannot work as a doctor ever again. Anywhere in the world. The GMC will communicate your erasure to other national statutory bodies, upon request. They do it gladly… and speedily.

On the face of it, in this case, the GMC have decided to do nothing. ‘We don’t consider your comments are sufficiently strong to open a fitness to practice investigation at this stage.’

Jolly good.Nothing to see here, move along. Although they add the rider … ‘at this stage.’ Well, what other stages are left, after deciding to take no action? The … I have changed my mind and I am going to have you guillotined, stage?

However, in reality they have not done nothing – have they dear reader? The GMC have decided to refer the complaint to this doctor’s responsible officer. A responsible officer is a doctor who is ‘responsible’ for ensuring that other doctors working in their area have met the necessary requirement for revalidation.

Revalidation is a five-year cycle whereby a doctor has to meet various requirements. A few hundred hours of medical education, keeping up do date with mandatory training. Carrying out an audit, and a patient satisfaction questionnaire, getting sufficient colleague feedback, and suchlike.

There is also a need to have a yearly appraisal. Which is a meeting with an allocated appraiser, to discuss how things have gone. A look through any complaints about you, work you have done, audits that have been completed, actions to take in the next year to improve your practice – a personal development plan. Release of thumbscrews – or a tightening.

If all this is done successfully, over a five-year period, the responsible officer ‘signs you off’ and you are now able to continue work. If not, you are removed from the performers list, and you cannot work as a doctor until you are successfully re-validated. No-one has ever explained to me how you actually do get revalidated. In fact, there is no system in place for this to happen.

If you manage to fulfil the re-validation cycle, and attend appraisals, in theory there can be no grounds for removal. You cannot actually ‘fail’ an appraisal. You simply have to turn up, and ‘reflect’ on your practice. I have never heard of a responsible officer stepping in to remove a doctor from the performers list any time they so wish.

Bearing all that in mind, here is the follow up letter from the responsible officer.

Dear Dr….

I have today received a communication from the GMC regarding an ‘incident that occurred on social media.’ The GMC have advised that they have reviewed the complaint and that it does not meet the threshold for investigation.

However, I understand that you have been asked to consider what implications this complaint may have for your practise and there is a requirement for you to reflect on this matter at your next appraisal meeting.

As your Responsible Officer I have a statutory duty to ensure that any concern or complaint about your practise is responded to and dealt with appropriately.

I would be grateful if you could let me have your views on this issue, by completing the attached form and returning it as a matter of urgency.

Can you also complete the attached Monitoring of Clinical Practise for your file, please.

Your co-operation with this process is vital in order for us to come to an acceptable resolution as soon as possible, minimising impact to your practice and cost in time and money.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please to contact me to discuss further.

Kind regards

Dr X

Responsible Officer for X region.

I love the ‘Kind regards’ sign off. For this is a letter dripping with unspoken menace. Just to highlight one phrase ‘An incident that occurred on social media…’ An ‘incident’. You mean, someone wrote something that someone didn’t like, they then complained about it. This was not an incident, in the sense that anyone would normally choose to use this word.

[I also note that the GMC spells practice, practice. The responsible officer spells it practise – maybe they need to reflect on their spelling between them].

If you look up the word ‘incident’ on the Cambridge Dictionary it gives an example of its use:

‘A youth was seriously injured in a shooting incident on Saturday night.’1

It does not say. ‘Someone wrote a blog post that upset someone, somewhere, for a bit. But it’s alright now, they are looking at pictures of kittens to recover.’

Words. Words, words, words. They can be used in so many different ways. Their true meaning hidden behind layers of sophistry. But we all know what the word ‘incident’ means in this case. Someone was badly damaged by your actions on that day – do not attempt to deny it, comrade.

Then we move onto the real threat. The responsible officer wants to ensure an acceptable resolution, thus … ‘minimising impact to your practise and cost in time and money.’

What the responsible officer here is saying is that I have the powers to stop you practising medicine in the UK. If I find that your answer to this complaint – which was not strong enough to open a fitness to practice investigation by the GMC – does not satisfy me. Indeed (subtext), I do not actually care what answer you give, I may remove you anyway. This will certainly maximise the impact on this doctor’s ‘practise and cost in time and money’.

If you think this is not what is being threatened. Then ask yourself what else it could mean? There is nothing that needs to be ‘resolved’. A complaint has been made, but the GMC didn’t think it was serious enough to take forward. No patient was harmed, no laws broken … no wrecks and nobody drowned, in fact nothing to laugh at, at all. (small prize for who knows where that came from).

At this point you may have begun to allow the thought to enter your mind that the GMC have quite deliberately handed this complaint down to the responsible officer to carry out the required sentence and execution. Whatever the accused doctor says, the responsible officer can simply respond. ‘Sorry, not satisfied with your answer. I am now going to stop you working – for as long as I wish.’ No hearing, no possibility of review, no accountability. Bosh.

In truth I have always known that responsible officers possess this amazing and unrestrained power. I tried, and failed, to stop this happening years ago – when I was on various British Medical Association (BMA) committees. I found it incredible that the legislation in this area was going to hand over, to one individual, the ability to destroy someone’s career, with no regard to anyone else, or anything else.

Yes, we live in a democracy that has created a form of local tyranny.

Tyranny (noun) def: government by a ruler or small group of people who have unlimited power of the people in their country or state and use it unfairly, and cruelly.

You could say that this situation suits the GMC very well … Very well indeed. Because, you see, the GMC has tried to remove other doctors from the medical register for criticising vaccination. [The medical register is not quite the same thing as the performer’s list, but you need to be on both of them to work as a doctor in the UK].

These punishments were quashed in the High Court. Here from a legal firm that works in this area:

‘On Friday, the High Court handed down a judgment quashing the GMC interim order of conditions previously imposed on a GP, Dr Samuel White, as a result of his actions arising from the pandemic.  Dr White came to the GMC’s attention as a result of “spreading misinformation and inaccurate details about the Coronavirus and how it is diagnosed and treated”.  His comments have included assertions that the COVID-19 vaccine “inserts a code”, masks do “absolutely nothing” and hydroxychloroquine, budesonide inhalers and ivermectin are “safe and proven treatments”.  

The interesting point arising from Dr White’s High Court appeal is the technical point on which he won. The High Court found that the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS – the adjudication wing of the GMC) panel made an error of law in not properly considering the test required by section 12(3) of the Human Rights Act 1998 when deciding whether to impose an interim order.2

As this company also says:

As time goes on, we’re seeing more fitness to practise cases arising from COVID-19-related activities.  We’ve previously posted about the Irish GP interim suspended after describing COVID-19 as a hoax and the first UK nurse struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a result of COVID-19 denial activities.

‘COVID denial activities’ – what a deliciously Soviet phrase.

I have to say that I very much enjoyed the lawyers’ assertion that the GMC interim order was quashed on a ‘technical point’. Namely that the GMC had failed to consider the small matter of the Human Rights Act 1998. Riding roughshod over someone’s human rights is now a technical point of law. How quaint.

However, undeterred, the GMC have not been deterred from their vital work in punishing COVID-19 vaccine deniers – to ensure that they can never work again. They have just found another, simpler, far cheaper, and far quicker route to obliterate a doctor’s career. Call the responsible officer. No-one expects the responsible officer.

Who needs time consuming and costly hearings, where you might have to bear in mind the Human Rights act 1998 – and other such woolly liberal nonsense? When you can alert the local ‘tyrant’ to a doctor’s non-comradely Soviet ‘denial’ activities. Sorry, COVID19 ‘denial’ activities.

They will know precisely what to do, and they have the powers to do it. Why on earth did the GMC not think of this of this before? I could have told them about the ridiculous, frightening, and untrammelled powers of a responsible officer, but they never asked me.

Of course, you could argue the following. If the local responsible officer does obliterate someone’s medical career and does this without paying any heed to such things as well, the law, for example, then their actions will be over-turned in court. Well, I certainly hope so, in fact I would expect so. This may act as a deterrent … maybe.

However, during the months, or years, that it takes to get such a case to court, the doctor will be out of work and unable to earn. They will almost certainly end up bankrupt, and their reputation (have been struck off the performers’ list) will lie shattered in the gutter.

As for the responsible officer. Their punishment ‘please don’t do it again,’ would just about cover it. This is very much asymmetric warfare. I can punish you, terribly, but you can do absolutely nothing to me in return.

In the financial world they call this moral hazard. A banker can bankrupt you, and your family, and half the country, making stupid and risky decisions – that will earn them huge short-term bonuses. If, as a result, their bank goes bust, the Government simply bails them out and they keep their job, and their bonus. All gain, no pain.

As a sign off, the responsible officer (washing his hands of any personal responsibility of course) wrote this ‘I have a statutory duty to ensure that any concern or complaint about your practise is responded to and dealt with appropriately.’ Kind regards … Pontius.

However, one thing that has not happened, so far, is to actually take the time and effort to forward a copy of the complaints to the doctor concerned. Still, they must be guilty of something or other. So, it is clearly critical that they respond to these unknown complaints, of some sort or another, in some-way or other. ‘Here is a bottle of whisky, and a revolver…. You know what you must do.’

What a world this has become. I had hoped I would not live to see such a time in this country, but I have.

1: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/incident

2: https://www.brabners.com/blogs/high-court-quashes-doctors-gmc-interim-order-arising-covid-19-activities

A few thoughts on COVID19 vaccination

23rd February 2022

The first thing I want to say here is that there should be nothing in science that is beyond analysis and potential criticism. Because, once this happens, we can find ourselves in a very dangerous situation indeed. A place of unquestioned acceptance of the accepted narrative, with criticism enforced by the authorities.

Unfortunately, I believe this is the place we have reached with COVID19 vaccination. Here is just one example from the UK.

‘GPs have been warned that criticising the Covid vaccine or other pandemic measures via social media could leave them ‘vulnerable’ to GMC* investigation.’1

*GMC = General Medical Council. This is the body that can strike doctors from the medical register so they cannot work as a doctor.

‘Vulnerable to GMC investigation’. What a deliciously creepy phrase that is, dripping with unspoken menace, whilst pretending to be helpful. It sounds like something the Mafia would come up with.

‘I would keep quiet about this, if I were you.’ Baseball bat tapping gently on the floor. ‘No, this is not a threat, think of it as advice from a friend. We don’t like to see anybody making themselves, or their family, vulnerable, and getting seriously injured now, would we?’

It seems that, unless you prostrate yourself before the mighty vaccine, and intone ‘Our vaccine, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…’ and suchlike, you will be attacked from all sides … simultaneously. Indeed, to suggest that vaccines are not perfect in every way is the twenty first century’s equivalent of blasphemy.

he said Jehovah. Stone him.’

This does make any discussion on vaccines somewhat tricky. To criticize any individual vaccine, indeed any aspect of any individual vaccine, is also to be instantly defined as an anti-vaxxer. Then you will be furiously fact-checked by someone with a fine arts degree, or suchlike, who will decree that you are ‘wrong’.

At which point you will be unceremoniously booted off various internet platforms – amongst other sanctions open to the ‘vulnerable’. This includes, for example, finding yourself struck off the medical register, and unable to earn any money:

            ‘Hell, we ain’t like that around here. We don’t just string people up, son. First, we have a trial to find ‘em guilty, only then do we string ‘em up. Yeeee Ha!’

Spit … ding!

Yes, it seems you must support the position that all vaccines are equally wonderful, no exceptions. Try this with any other pharmaceutical product. ‘He doesn’t think statins are that great, so he obviously believes that antibiotics are useless.’ Would this sound utterly ridiculous?

But with vaccines… All are the same, all are great, not a problem in sight? I said, NOT! a problem in sight. However, I genuinely believe there are some questions which still have not been answered and simply because of the different types of vaccines that are available, no, not all vaccines are the same.

Just for starters, vaccines come in many different forms. Live, dead, those only containing specific bits of the virus, and suchlike. Now we have the brand new, never used on humans before, messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. So no, all vaccines are not alike. Not even remotely.

In addition to the major difference between vaccines, the diseases we vaccinate against vary hugely. Some are viruses, others bacteria, others somewhere in between, TB for example.

Some, like influenza, mutate madly in all directions. Others, such as measles, do not. Some viruses are DNA viruses – which tend to remain unchanged over the years. Others, e.g. influenza, are single strand RNA viruses, and they mutate each year.

Adding to this variety, some of those viruses which mutate very little, also have no other host species to hide in. Smallpox, for example. Which means that the virus was unable to run away and hide in, say, a chicken, or a bat. Others are fully capable of flitting from animal species to animal species. Bird flu and Ebola spring to mind.

Some vaccines just haven’t worked at all. For over thirty years, people have tried to develop an HIV vaccine, and have thus far failed. Early trials on animal coronavirus vaccines also showed some concerning results. Here from the paper ‘Early death after feline infectious peritonitis virus challenge due to recombinant vaccinia virus immunization.’

The gene encoding the fusogenic spike protein of the coronavirus causing feline infectious peritonitis was recombined into the genome of vaccinia virus. The recombinant induced spike-protein-specific, in vitro neutralizing antibodies in mice. When kittens were immunized with the recombinant, low titers of neutralizing antibodies were obtained. After challenge with feline infectious peritonitis virus, these animals succumbed earlier than did the control group immunized with wild-type vaccinia virus (early death syndrome).’2  

Yet, despite all this massive variety flying in all directions, with some spike protein vaccines found to increase the risk of death (in a few animal studies), attach the word vaccine to any substance, and it suddenly has miraculous properties that transcend all critical thought. Vaccines move in mysterious ways, their wonders to perform.

Yes, of course, some have worked extremely well. The polio vaccine, for example, although I have seen some valid criticisms. Smallpox… I am less certain about. Even though it is held up as the greatest vaccine success story of all. Maybe it was. Smallpox has certainly gone, for which we should be truly thankful. It was a truly terrible disease.

My doubts about the unmatched efficacy of smallpox vaccine simply arise from the fact that diseases come, and diseases go. The plague, for example. This was the scourge of mankind at one time. It tore round and round the world and leaving millions of dead in its wake, over a period of hundreds of years.

We do not vaccinate against the plague, yet it is virtually unknown today. Cholera killed millions and millions, thousands each year in the UK alone. Now … gone. In the UK at least. This had nothing to do with vaccination either. Measles. There seems little doubt that the measles vaccine is effective. But vaccination cannot explain the fact that measles deaths fell off a cliff and were bumping along the bottom for years and long before we started vaccination programmes.

In the US vaccination did not begin until 1963. So, what happened here? The virus did not mutate, so far as we know. It did not mutate because apparently it cannot. Or, if it did, it would no longer be able to be infective. At least not to humans:

‘While the influenza virus mutates constantly and requires a yearly shot that offers a certain percentage of protection, old reliable measles needs only a two-dose vaccine during childhood for lifelong immunity. A new study publishing May 21 in Cell Reports has an explanation: The surface proteins that the measles virus uses to enter cells are ineffective if they suffer any mutation, meaning that any changes to the virus come at a major cost.’3

So, measles didn’t change, but it did become far less damaging. From around ten deaths per one hundred thousand in the first two decades of the twentieth century, down to much less than one.

Why? What I believe happened with measles is primarily that the ‘terrain’ changed. Nutrition greatly improved. Vitamins, perhaps most importantly vitamin D, were discovered and added to the food supply. Rickets and other manifestation of vitamin D deficiency were rife in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Virtually gone by 1940.

Of course treatments improved as well, although antibiotics (to treat secondary bacteria pneumonia following measles), did not come into play until the late 1940s, at the earliest.

What we see with measles is simply the fact that infectious diseases have far less impact when they hit a healthy, well nourished person (healthy terrain), than when they hit an impoverished and undernourished child caught in the war in the Yemen, for example.

So, yes, vaccines have played a role in improving human health and wellbeing, but we shouldn’t inflate their impact to the point where they have become the unmatched saviours of humankind. They have certainly not been the only thing that reduced the impact of infectious diseases. They were probably not even the most important thing. ‘Yes … how dare you say this… string up the unbeliever, I know, I know.

Moving on, and and I think this is even more pertinant to the disucssion that follows. If we cannot accept the possiblility that, at least some vaccines, may have significant adverse effects, if we will not permit anyone to look into this, in any meaningful way. Then we can never improve them. Criticism is good, not bad.

Speaking personally, I do not criticize things that I do not care about. Primarily, because I don’t care if they improve, or not. I only criticize things when I want them to be as good as they possibly can be. It is a character trait of mine to hunt for flaws, and potential problems. Both real and imagined.

Some criticism is, of course, close to bonkers. Suggesting that COVID19 vaccines contain transhuman nanotechnology and microchips of some kind that will become activated by 5G phones … to what end? ‘World domination Mr Bond. Mwahahahahaha etc.’ Quantum dots? Yes, these do exist. But they would be pretty useless at collecting informaiton, and suchlike. Give it fifty years and … maybe.

The problem here is that wild conspiracy theories are simply gathered together with reasonable science-based criticism, to be dismissed as a package of equally mad, unscientific woo-woo tin-foil hat wearing, conspiracy theorist, gibberish.

Which means that, when people (such as me) suggested that COVID19 mRNA vaccination could, potentially, lead to an increased risk of blood clots – this was treated with utter scathing dismissal. I did not understand ‘the science’ apparently. Fact check number one. ‘Oh, look… clots.’

When people questioned the ‘fact’ that the safety phases of the normal clincial trial pathway had been seriously truncated, and that some parts were just non-existent, they were told that they knew nothing of ‘the science’ either.

I looked on the BBC website to find out the ‘official’ party line on vaccine safety information, sanctioned and approved by HM Govt, and SAGE I presume. It was an article entitled ‘How do I know if the vaccine is safe?’ The information rapidly contradicts reality. They say:

  • There are different approved types and brands available and all have undergone rigorous testing and safety checks
  • Safety trials begin in the lab, with tests and research on cells and animals, before moving on to human studies
  • The principle is to start small and only move to the next stage of testing if there are no outstanding safety concerns

The article then looks at fast track approval for vaccines against new variants

  • The UK’s drug regulator says new vaccines can be fast tracked for approval if needed.
  • No corners will be cut, with safety paramount.
  • But lengthy clinical trials with thousands of volunteers will not be needed4

What is wrong here? Well, ‘if the principle is to start small and only move to the next stage of testing if there are no outstanding safety concerns,’ then this principle was not followed. After pre-clinical and animal testing, we move onto trials in humans. Phase I, then II and then III.

Phase I may include as few as twenty people to check that humans don’t simply drop dead on contact with the new agent (it has happened).

Phase II may include a couple of hundred individuals, and usually lasts a few months… a bit more safety, and an attempt to establish the potential size of any health benefit.

Phase III may have up to thirty or forty thousand participants. This phase often lasts for several years.

Well, with the Pfizer Biontech vaccine, the concept of waiting to move to the next stage of testing did not truly occur. Because phase II and III were combined… and the phase III trials have now been, effectively abandoned. They were not supposed to finish until May 2022 at the earliest, and now apparently, they are not going to finish at all. At least not as a double-blind placebo controlled trial.

Yet, we are still informed by the BBC, in all seriousness, that no corners were cut, or will be cut. The fact is that corners were absolutely one hundred per cent cut. Slashed to the bone would perhaps be more accurate. To pretend otherwise is simply to deny reality.

It normally takes around ten years for any drug, or vaccine, to move through the clinical trials process, with each step done in series. COVID19 vaccines took around six months from start to finish, with critical steps done in parallel, and the animal testing was rushed – to say the least. To claim that no corners were cut is nonsense. Nonsense that we are virtually forced to believe?

It is possible/quite likely/probable that vaccine development can be shortened, but please do not tell us that all the normal processes were followed.  No-one is that easily fooled.

‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four[NK1] . If that is granted, all else follows.’ That freedom disappeared pretty early on in the COVID19 pandemic. I enjoyed the slant that ‘Important quotes explained’ had on the quote from Orwell’s 1984.

By weakening the independence and strength of individuals’ minds and forcing them to live in a constant state of propaganda-induced fear, the Party is able to force its subjects to accept anything it decrees, even if it is entirely illogical.

Of course, it could be that despite the speed with which these vaccines were pushed through nothing important was missed. It is almost certainly true that the standard ten years from start to finish in vaccine and drug development can be compressed, if everyone really wished. Bureaucracy expands to fill the space available.

But in general we are talking about a ten-year process, cut down to six months, or thereabouts. An additional concern is that this happened using mRNA vaccines, which represent a completely new form of technology. One that has never been used on humans before at all, ever.

We are not talking about the sixth drug in a long line of very similar drugs e.g. the statins.

  1. Lovastatin
  2. Fluvastatin
  3. Simvastatin
  4. Pravastatin
  5. Atorvastatin
  6. Cerivastatin
  7. Rosuvastatin etc.

Statins all do pretty much the exact same thing thing, in exactly the same way. Yet, each one fo them still had to go through the entire laborious clincial trial process. Years and years.

‘Can we not just skip this phase….please?’

‘No.’

‘Please?’

‘No.’

Hold on one moment, just step back, what was that at number six on this list, I hear you say… cerivastatin. You mean you’ve never heard of it. Well, it got through all the pre-clinical trials, then the animal trials. It then sailed through the human Phase II and III trials without a murmur. It was then was launched to wild acclaim. In truth that may be over-egging its real impact, which was a bit more ‘who cares, do we really need another one?

Here from a 1998 paper: ‘Clinical efficacy and safety of cerivastatin: summary of pivotal phase IIb/III studies.’

‘In conclusion, these studies indicate that cerivastatin is a safe and effective long-term treatment for patients with primary hypercholesterolemia and also suggest that higher doses should be investigated.’ 5

Here from 2001, and an article entitled: ‘Withdrawal of cerivastatin from the world market.’

‘Rhabdomyolysis was 10 times more common with cerivastatin than the other five approved statins. We address three important questions raised by this withdrawal. Should we continue to approve drugs on surrogate efficacy? Are all statins interchangeable? Do the benefits outweigh the risks of statins? We conclude that decisions regarding the use of drugs should be based on direct evidence from long-term clinical outcome trials.’ 6  

Yes, as it turns out, cerivastatin caused far more cases of severe muscle breakdown, and death, in a significant number of people. Which meant that it was hoiked from the market.

The moral of this particular story is that, even if you DO do all the clinical studies, fully and completely, one step at a time, over many years, in a widely used class of drug, your particular drug may still be found in the long term, not to be safe. Not even if it is the sixth of its class to launch.

The cerivastatin withdrawal is not an isolated event. You can, if you wish, read this paper ‘Post-marketing withdrawal of 462 medicinal products because of adverse drug reactions: a systematic review of the world literature.’7. So, what happens if you try to compress the entire ten year clinical trial process into around six months, on a completely new type of agent?

… Well then, it may be time to cross your fingers and hope for the best. But please do not insult my intelligence, or the intelligence of anyone else, by trying to tell me that vaccines have undergone: Rigorous testing and safety checks. Compared to what, exactly? Certainly not any other drug or vaccine launched in the last fifty years. ‘We rushed them through, and launched two years before the phase III clinical trials were due to finish.’ would be considerably more accurate.

Two plus two does not equal five, it never has, and it never will. However much you try to browbeat me, and everyone else, into accepting that it does. Indeed, as I write this, the simple fact is that not a single phase III clinical trial has yet ever been completed, on any mRNA COVID19 vaccine, and possibly not ever will be, in truth.

To repeat, this does not mean that mRNA vaccines may not be entirely safe. However, it has become impossible to to claim that we have not seen significant adverse effects from the mRNA vaccines. Effects that were not picked up in any phase of the clincial trials. Here, from the Journal of the American Medical Association in February. One of the most highly cited medical journals in the world:

‘Based on passive surveillance reporting in the US, the risk of myocarditis after receiving mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines was increased across multiple age and sex strata and was highest after the second vaccination dose in adolescent males and young men.8

I highlighted the first bit here. Namely, the words ‘based on passive surveillance reporting in the US.’ Whilst this adverse effect was not seen, or reported in the clinical trials it was picked up by the passive surveillance reporting system a.k.a. spontaneous reporting systems.

Drug adverse event reporting systems

Frankly, it is surprising that anything at all is ever seen using passive surviellance. In the UK we have the passive/spontaneous reporting system, known as the ‘Yellow Card system.’ In this US (specifically for vaccines) there is ‘VAERS’ (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System).

When I use the term ‘spontaneous reporting’, I mean a system whereby someone may (or more likely may not) report an adverse effect to a healthcare professional. They may (or more likely may not) fill in a form, whereupon it goes through to VAERS, who then look at it and can decide whether or not the adverse effect may (or more likely may not) be due to the vaccine. Same basic principle in the UK.

How good are these types of spontaneous reporting system in picking up adverse effects?

Well, as far as I am aware, only one serious attempt has been made to look at how many drug and vaccine-related events were actually reported in the US. Here, from a study by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:

‘Adverse events from drugs and vaccines are common, but under-reported. Although 25% of ambulatory patients experience an adverse drug event, less than 0.3% of all adverse drug events and 1-13% of serious events are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Likewise, fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported.’ 9

Fewer than one per cent of vaccine adverse events are reported. Their words, not mine. Even though, in the US, unlike the UK, there is a legal responsibility to report adverse events – I believe.

When the authors of this report tried to follow up with the CDC and perform further assessment of the system, with testing and evaluation, the doors quietly, but firmly, shut:

‘Unfortunately, there was never an opportunity to perform system performance assessments because the necessary CDC contacts were no longer available and the CDC consultants responsible for receiving data were no longer responsive to our multiple requests to proceed with testing and evaluation.’

This study was done over ten years ago, but nothing about the VAERS system has changed since, as far as I know, or can find out.

In the UK the Yellow Card system may be better, or it may not be. No-one has carried out the sort of detailed analysis that was attempted in the US. However it has been accepted that:

…all spontaneous reporting schemes have a problem with numbers: the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) itself says that only 10% of serious reactions and 2 – 4% of all reactions are reported using the Yellow Card Scheme. This means that most iatrogenic* morbidity goes unreported.’ 10

*Iatrogenic means – damage/disease caused by the treatment itself.

Frankly, I see no reason why the Yellow Card system would be any better than VAERS. The barriers to reporting are exactly the same. As the US report states:

‘Barriers to reporting include a lack of clinician awareness, uncertainty about when and what to report, as well as the burdens of reporting: reporting is not part of clinicians’ usual workflow, takes time, and is duplicative.’9

In other words, reporting an adverse event takes an enormous amount of time and effort. You don’t get paid for doing it, you certainly don’t get thanked for it, and you have no idea if anyone paid any attention to it. All made worse if you are not sure if the adverse event was due to the vaccine, or not.

I have filled in yellow cards three times, and several hours of work followed each one. As directed, I searched though patient notes for all previous drugs prescribed, the patient’s medical conditions, a review of the consultations and on, and on. Back and forth from the pharmaceutical company the questions went. Until the will to live was very nearly lost.

If you wanted to devise a system to ensure that adverse effects were under-reported, you could not devise anything better. Yes, doctor, please do report adverse effects to us. The result will be endless hours of work, with no attempt to report back that what you did had the slightest effect, on anything. Thank you for your continued and future co-operation. And yet this, ladies and gentlemen, is the system we have in place to monitor and review all drug and vaccine-related adverse effects.

Which becomes even more worrying because, as mentioned before a couple of times so far, nothing else of much use is going to come out of the clinical trials. With the Pfizer BioNTech trial, crossover occurred in Oct 2020. By crossover I mean the point at which they started giving the vaccine to those in the placebo group as well. End of randomisation, end of useful data. End of … well of anything of any use.

mRNA vaccines and myocarditis

Anyway, getting back to the JAMA study. Even with all the formidable barriers in place to reporting adverse events, JAMA reported an increase in the rate of myocarditis of around thirty-two-fold, as reported via the VAERS system.

I should make it clear that this was the increase seen in the most highly affected population. Males aged eighteen to twenty-four. [Myocarditis = inflammation and damage to heart muscle]. The risk was lower in females, and also in other age groups, although still high. But, to keep things simple, I am going to focus on this, the highest risk group, as far as possible.

The first thing to say is that a thirty-two-fold increase probably does sound enormous. Another way to report this would be, a three thousand one hundred per cent increase, which may sound even more dramatic?

However, myocarditis is not exactly common. In this age group, over a seven-day period, you would expect to see around one and three-quarter cases per million of the population. Multiplying this by thirty-two still only gets you to fifty-six cases per million.

Which is not exactly the end of the world. In addition, most cases may fully recover. Although, having just said this, I have no long-term data to support that statement. The closest condition we have to go on as a comparator, is post-viral infectious myocarditis. And this has a mortality rate of 20% after one year and 50% after five years.11

Which means that myocarditis is certainly not a benign condition of little concern.

Anyway, at this point, you could argue that if around only one in twenty thousand men, in the highest risk population, suffer from myocarditis post-vaccination, then this does not represent a major problem.

It could indeed be worse to allow them to catch COVID19, where the risk of myocarditis is even higher than with vaccination. In reality, we may be protecting them from myocarditis through vaccination. This certainly seems to be the current party line. I might even agree with it…. maybe. So, as is my wont, I looked deeper.

I looked for the highest rate of (reported) post-viral infection myocarditis, in younger people. I believe it can be found here. ‘Risk of Myocarditis from COVID-19 Infection in People Under Age 20: A Population-Based Analysis’ 12

Here, the reported rate was around four-hundred-and-fifty cases per million. On the face of it, this is much higher than the fifty-six cases per million post-vaccination. Approximately ten times as high. But … there are, as always, several very important buts here. There were two key factors that alter the equation.

First, in the JAMA post-vaccine study, the time period for reporting myocarditis was limited to seven days after vaccination. Any case appearing after that was not considered to be anything to do with the vaccine and was thus ‘censored’. In the study above, the time period was far longer. Anything up to ninety days post-infection was counted. A period thirteen times as long.

In addition, although it is difficult to work out exactly what was done from the details provided, the four-hundred-and fifty study only looked at young people who attended outpatients at hospital. These would have been the most severely affected by COVID19, or who had other underlying medical conditions. So, they represent a small proportion, of a small proportion …. of everyone who was actually infected. The vast majority of whom would only have suffered very mild symptoms, or none at all.

In short, we are not remotely comparing like with like here. I find that we very rarely are. We are not only going to vaccinate a small proportion, of a small proportion, of the population who are at high risk of myocarditis. We are going to vaccinate virtually everybody. So, the two populations are completely different.

Leaving that to one side, where else can we look for a comparison between the risk of post-vaccine myocarditis vs post-infection myocarditis. The CDC published this statement.

‘During March 2020–January 2021, patients with COVID-19 had nearly 16 times the risk for myocarditis compared with patients who did not have COVID-19, and risk varied by sex and age.’ 13 

Their figure appears to have been entirely derived from a paper published in the British Medical Journal: ‘Risk of clinical sequelae after the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection: retrospective cohort study’ 14. Different age groups were studied here which, again, makes any direct comparison tricky.

This study found a sixteen-fold increased risk, rather than a four hundred and fifty-times risk. A sixteen times risk is around half of the post-vaccination myocarditis risk reported in JAMA, in the eighteen-to twenty-four-year-old group.

Again, though, there were major differences. In the BMJ paper the observation period for inclusion of myocarditis considered to be ‘caused by’ COVID19, was one hundred- and forty-days post infection, not seven days. Twenty times as long for cases to build up.

Equally, after looking at nine million patients records over a year, slightly over two hundred thousand were diagnosed as having had COVID19. Of these, only fourteen thousand had post-infection problems, known as clinical sequelae. In this sub-group, which represents, one point two per-cent of one per-cent of the total, population there were so few cases of myocarditis that they didn’t even appear in the chart published in the main paper. You had to go to supplemental tables and figures 15

To be frank, there are far too many unknowns and uncontrolled variables kicking around here to make any accurate comparisons. However, I do not think it would be unreasonable to suggest that the risk of myocarditis post-vaccination, from these studies, is roughly the same as if you are infected with COVID19.

Once again though, we need to take a further step back. All of our figures here only make sense if all – or the majority of cases of myocarditis – are actually being picked up. What if they are not?

Worst case scenario

SAGE – the UK Governments scientific advisory group for emergencies – have been accused of scaremongering, and only presenting worst case scenarios for COVID19 hospital admissions and deaths. They are not the only ones. This is a worldwide phenomenon.

However, as Sir Patrick Vallance – one of the key members of (SAGE) – has stated, in response to such criticism.

‘It’s not my job to be an optimist’: Sir Patrick Vallance takes swipe at critics accusing scientists of scaremongering over Covid saying ministers need to ‘hear the information whether uncomfortable or encouraging.’ 16

SAGE believe it is their role to highlight the worst possible scenarios, the highest possible death tolls, and such like. So, let us now do the same, and focus on the worst-case scenario regarding mRNA vaccines and myocarditis. Whether ‘uncomfortable or encouraging’.

The worst-case scenario starts like this. If the VAERS system only picks up one per cent of vaccine related adverse effects, this means that we can start by multiplying the JAMA figures by one hundred.

Thus, instead of fifty-six cases per million, the reality is that we could be looking at five thousand six hundred cases per million, post-vaccination. Or very nearly one in two hundred.

If, in this model, we then include the possibility that post-vaccination myocarditis is as damaging as post-viral infection myocarditis, it means that one in four hundred eighteen to twenty-four-year-olds could be dead five years after vaccination.

Do I think that this is likely? I have to say that no, I don’t, really. Although this is where the figures, such as they can be relied upon, inevitably take you. Just to run you through the process a bit more slowly.

  • Relying on the VAERS system, JAMA reported a thirty-three-fold increase in myocarditis post COVID19 vaccination. An increase from 1.76, to 56.31 cases per million (in the seven-day period post vaccination)
  • It has been established that VAERS may pick up only one per cent of all vaccine related adverse effects
  • Therefore, the actual number could be as high as five-thousand six-hundred cases per million ~ 1 in 200.
  • Myocarditis (post viral infection) has a mortality rate of 50% over 5 years. So, we need to consider the possibility that post-vaccination myocarditis will carry the same mortality.
  • Therefore, the rate of death after five years could be one in four hundred (males aged 18-24)

There are approximately sixteen million men aged between eighteen and twenty-four in the US.

Total number of deaths within five years (men aged eighteen to twenty-four in the US)

16,000,000 ÷ 400                 = 40,000

(Divide by five for the UK) = 8,000.

Now, if I were in charge of anything, which I am not, which is probably a good thing, I would hope to have been made aware of these worst-case scenario figures. I would then immediately have begun to do everything I possibly could to verify them.

For starters I would want to know two critical things:

1: Is the VAERS system truly only picking up one per cent of vaccine related adverse effects?

2: Does vaccine related myocarditis lead to the same mortality and morbidity as caused by a viral infection?

If the answer to both of these questions were, yes, then I would have to decide what to do. And that could not possibly, be nothing. At least I would hope not. Yet, nothing appears to be exactly what is currently happening.

As you can tell, I still cling to the concept of ‘first do no harm.’ Today, with COVID19, it seems this this idea has become hopelessly naïve. The current attitude seems to be. ‘We are at war; you must expect casualties’ ‘Also, careless talk costs lives.So, my friend, I advise you to keep your ‘vulnerable’ mouth shut, if you know what is good for you.’

Well then, I just hope for everyone’s sake, that these figures are completely wrong. They are, after all, only a model. A worst-case scenario created using the most accurate information available at this time. However, as per the SAGE underlying philosophy, I believe it is important to present the information whether uncomfortable or encouraging.

The thing that most concerns me the most is that we have a worrying signal emerging about the mRNA vaccines. A signal surrounded by a lot of noise, admittedly. Yet, the ‘official’ response continues to be to sweep the entire thing under the carpet. ‘Nothing to see here, move along.’

Postscript

As with regard to the GMC, and the threat of sanctions, as you can see, I am only following their guidance

‘Healthcare professionals must also be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and relevant organisations, and take part in reviews and investigations when requested. They must also be open and honest with their regulators, raising concerns where appropriate. They must support and encourage each other to be open and honest, and not stop someone from raising concerns.’ 17

What do you do if it is the GMC itself that may be stopping someone from raising concerns. Should I report the GMC to the GMC? I imagine they will find themselves innocent of any wrongdoing. Quis custodiet Ipsos custodes?

1: https://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/breaking-news/gps-who-criticise-covid-vaccine-on-social-media-vulnerable-to-gmc-investigation/

2: https://europepmc.org/article/MED/2154621

3: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150521133628.htm

4: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55056016

5: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9737644/#:~:text=In%20conclusion%2C%20these%20studies%20indicate,higher%20doses%20should%20be%20investigated.

6: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC59524/

7: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740994/

8: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2788346

9: https://digital.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/docs/publication/r18hs017045-lazarus-final-report-2011.pdf

10: https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/psb.1789

11: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459259/#:~:text=Immediate%20complications%20of%20myocarditis%20include,and%2050%25%20at%205%20years.

12: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34341797/

13: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7035e5.htm

14: https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n1098  

15: https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/suppl/2021/05/19/bmj.n1098.DC1/daus063716.wt.pdf

16: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10341547/Sir-Patrick-Vallance-takes-swipe-critics-accusing-scientists-scaremongering-Covid.html

17: https://www.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/ethical-guidance-for-doctors/candour—openness-and-honesty-when-things-go-wrong/the-professional-duty-of-candour


Some observations on the infection fatality rate of COVID19

10th February 2022

Some observations on the infection fatality rate of COVID19
[Mainly that it does not really exist]

When COVID struck the world two years ago, or thereabouts, the first thing that happened was rather unfortunate. Namely, the instant and widespread distortion, nay destruction, of data. This happened so fast that it became almost impossible to know what on earth was going on. Who to believe … what to believe?

I have never been so naïve as to think that we are not constantly subjected to certain ‘truths’, which may or may not be true. After all, I have been battling against the dreaded ‘cholesterol hypothesis’ for decades. In doing so I have become something of an expert in recognising seriously distorted data when I see it.

I have learned to search for things not said, which are usually far more important than the things that are. I have also learned to treat the words used with great distrust. Words such as ‘fact’ for example. Facts have a disturbing tendency to crumble under pressure … note to the dreaded dementors, sorry fact checkers.

However, I felt I had become pretty expert in navigating the games played. I had learned to sail the stormy waters of scientific truths, or facts, reasonably well. Then came COVID, and the world of fact distortion achieved warp drive. Alleged facts flashed past so fast, and in such great numbers, that it all became a blur.

In this blog I will attempt to remove some of the blur surrounding the issue which became key to ‘The Great COVID Wars’. This is the Infection fatality rate (IFR) of COVID19.

You may not feel this was central to everything that occurred, or remains so, but I hope to convince you that it is the single most important ‘fact’ of them all. The keystone. Also, the one most jealously guarded by the fact checkers. ‘Put your weapon down, place both hands in the air, and step away from your IFR.

To begin. There was a time when epidemiologists, with regard to infectious diseases, used two different terms. Infection fatality rate (IFR) and case fatality rate (CFR). Although it has to be said that the distinction between the two was never exactly black and white.

After all, how do you decide when someone who is ‘infected ‘with a disease, reaches the point when they become a ‘case?’ Historically this happened when someone became so unwell that they were admitted to hospital. Whereupon the disease itself would be diagnosed with a test of some sort – sometimes. Sometimes clinical signs and symptoms were all that were used.

Which means that ‘cases’ have always been somewhat easier to count and compare. However, no-one has ever really known how many people were infected in the first place. By which I mean those people who were not seen anywhere, by anyone, and so never managed to the reach the status of a ‘case.’

In general, those with a mild infection just lay in bed, for a while feeling a bit sorry for themselves. Indeed, the advice for those with ‘flu’ always used to be to stay at home, drink plenty, and take some medication to control the temp and the aches and pains. This represents the traditional three Ps management technique. ‘Take two paracetamol and piss off.’ [Paracetamol is called acetomenophin in the US – take two As and piss off … nah, doesn’t really work]

Ergo, those with few symptoms, or no symptoms, were never seen or counted. So, the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR), which represent the total number of people who become infected, who then die, has always been subject to a great deal of guesswork.

A whole series of the underlying problems with defining IFR [and also CFR] were highlighted in the paper ‘case fatality risk of influenza A (HIN1pdm09): a systemic review.’ The authors looked at the Swine Flu epidemic of 2009, and also reviewed data on infection and case fatality rates from the past.

I shall paraphrasetheir main findings. ‘We haven’t a clue what the infection fatality rate was for this, or any other flu. In truth, neither does anyone else, because the data are complete rubbish.’

Their actual conclusion, couched in more scientific language:

‘A consensus is needed on how to define and measure the seriousness of infection before the next pandemic.’1

Did this consensus ever happen? You must be joking.

As you may have noticed, we have begun the move into very blurry waters indeed. You may ask how it is possible to compare the Infection Fatality Rate of COVID19 with previous influenza epidemics, when we have no idea what the IFR rate of previous influenza epidemics may have been.

Despite such great uncertainty, this IFR rapidly become a red line issue for the COVID wars.

On one side were the CDC, Fauci, Neil Ferguson and Imperial College London – and suchlike. The ‘establishment’ – the ‘experts’. They confidently stated, from the very beginning, that the Infection Fatality Rate of COVID19 was around one per cent. Meaning that for every one hundred people infected, one person would die (on average).

Quite how they knew this is beyond any real understanding? They say modelling. I say guesswork. Which, in truth, is pretty much the same thing. A brand new, never seen before disease, and they just knew what the IFR was.

This was also at a time before any accurate testing existed, and we had no idea how many people had actually been infected? Indeed, at this point, they were primarily relying on information from China … Oh well, at least we know that Chinese data are always fully reliable … thank God. Just don’t mention that pesky laboratory in Wuhan, or gain of function research. Or pretty much anything else that emanates from China, in truth.

On the other side were…. Well, there wasn’t really another side so to speak of. A rag tag bunch of researchers and epidemiologists who were fascinated by the data coming in, and what it was saying. It included those such as Professor John Ioannidis and Professor Carl Heneghan at the Centre of Evidence Based Medicine in Oxford, and suchlike.

I just watched with interest, at first. My own bias has always been to be very wary of any expert consensus that springs into life. This is because it will almost always be a slave to the inherent problems with human thinking that ride roughshod over a disinterested pursuit of the truth. Particularly in a crisis.

Problems such as: groupthink, confirmation bias, fast thinking rather than slow thinking, deference to ‘experts’, the desperate need to come up with ‘the answer’ and stick to it, and suchlike. We all know what they are. They all came into play, as expected.

Anyway, a key question here was, how did their one per cent figure compare with more common or garden influenza? This is very hard to say. I have seen figures of 0.67% for the flu epidemic of 1967. I have seen far less. ‘Spanish flu’, the big daddy of them all, was estimated to have had an IFR of around two to three per cent.

But how accurate can these figures be? In the paper I quoted above, the IFR estimates for swine flu (HIN1pdm09) ranged from less than one death, per hundred thousand infections, to more than ten thousand. Yes, from one in a hundred thousand, all the way up to ten per cent. This is what scientists call…. A pretty wide range.  You could call it other things.

Cutting to the chase, the reality is that, at the start of the COVID19 epidemic we had no idea what the IFR of a severe influenza epidemic was, nor did we know the IFR of COVID19. You would think that this would make any comparison somewhat tricky.

However, the mainstream consensus rapidly coalesced around two ‘facts’.

Fact one: a severe seasonal influenza has an IFR of around point one per cent. Or, to put it another way, one death per one thousand infections.

Fact two: COVID19 has an IFR of around one per cent. Which meant that COVID19 was going to be ten times as deadly. This, then, became our starting point.

What would this mean in the real world?

The UK has a population of sixty-seven million people. Which meant that if everyone were infected, we would end up with almost exactly two thirds of a million deaths. Which is one per cent of the entire population. The population of the US is three hundred and thirty million, so there would be three point three million deaths

Hold on a minute. The models also predicted that not everyone would get COVID19. Full herd immunity would kick in once about eighty per cent of the population – or thereabouts – had been infected. This, by the way, was another thing that the experts just knew, right from the very beginning. [But what about mutations, and variants, and re-infections I hear you cry…. ‘Oh, do shut up’].

In effect, the COVID19 epidemic would come to an end when eighty per cent of people had become ill, maybe slightly less. Ergo, the overall death figure would be about five hundred thousand in the UK, and just over two million in the US. Or thereabouts.

This is a lot of deaths. Around the entire world pop: ~7.9 billion. We could see nearly seventy million deaths.

This one per cent figure, then, became the trigger for everything that followed. I think of it as the ‘justification’ figure. It was used to justify lockdowns, and everything else that went along with them. Here, after all, was a disease ten times as deadly as a bad influenza epidemic. Something must be done, or millions will die.

A further complication

Of course, things are rarely this simple. Even if the one per cent figure were true, it is essential to ask a follow up question. Who exactly is dying?

The average age of death caused by the Spanish flu was estimated at twenty-eight. Yes, twenty-eight.2 The average age of death caused by COVID19 is around eighty-one – in the UK.3

I feel that the fact [and unusually this fact is almost certainly true] that COVID19 almost exclusively kills the elderly, and almost always the elderly who have many other comorbidities, had to be taken into consideration. But it wasn’t.

Instead of a disease that can wipe out young healthy people, aged twenty-eight, we had a disease on our hands that primarily kills those close to the end of their lives. Children and young adults, even middle-aged adults, even nearly old adults, have been almost remarkably unaffected by COVID19. This was known very early on.

What are the actual figures here? Turning attention specifically to the UK, we have had, at the time of writing, around one hundred and fifty thousand COVID19 deaths. Defined as… those deaths with COVID19 mentioned on the death certificate [whatever this actually means – another whole can of worms].

On the other hand, the number of people under the age of sixty, who have died from COVID19, with no other disease mentioned on the death certificate, is five hundred and forty-two. That was, by the 1st of February 2022.4

This is slightly under one per day during the epidemic. Or, to frame it another way, the risk of dying, for a healthy (or at least believed to be healthy – who knows for sure if they are or not) person under the age of sixty has been one in 79,131. [UK pop < 60 = 42,869,306].5

This risk, however, has been over very nearly two years. So, the yearly risk of death from COVID19 per years is 1:158,263. Or ~ 0.0075% … for this population. Just to give a comparator. The risk of dying from a road traffic accident in the UK, per year, is around eight times higher 6.

1in 20,000 per year vs 1 in 160,000

Thus, for more than two thirds of the population, the risk of dying from COVID19 has been 0.0075%. Instead of one per cent… it has been seven thousandths of one per cent.

Some people will say that this doesn’t matter. All deaths are of equal importance, we cannot discriminate on grounds of age, illness etc. In which case, taking the UK population as a whole, we have had 158,000 deaths with COVID19 mentioned on the death certificate. This represents a total risk of death of 1 in 424. Or ~ 0.25%.

Again, this has been over two years, so the total risk of death, per year [which is how risk is normally presented] has been 1 in 848, or ~ 0.125% per year. Which, as you may have noted, is around seven times less than one per cent.

Strangely, with COVID19, we have not stopped counting at the end of one year, and then started again. We have just kept on adding the figures year upon year – and will continue to do so? We have also continued to add in people who have been infected more than once…Double, treble, nay quadruple counting.

If we keep doing this, the IFR of COVID19 will eventually reach one. Not one per cent, but one. As in the entire population of the world will end up dying of COVID19. Although, at 0.125% per year this, as you may have worked out yourself, will take about seven hundred years. You may want to go and lie down and think about this.

Of course, the rough figures I have calculated above do not represent the Infection Fatality Rate. Instead, they represent the population fatality rate (PFR) i.e., forgetting about IFR and CFR, how many people, in total, have actually died. The population fatality has to be significantly lower than the infection fatality rate because not everyone has been infected… or have they?

The terrain is all?

We must now venture into yet another layer of complication. Yes, this onion has many layers. Most of which, you may be glad to know, I am not going to consider, or else this blog becomes a book. But the next layer is critical.

What does being ‘infected’ actually mean, and can we even know that it has happened?

At the risk of terrible oversimplification, historically there are two camps in the infectious disease world.

  • Camp one: the microbe is all (The germ theory).
  • Camp two: the terrain is all (The terrain theory).

Camp one believes that if you become exposed to an infectious agent you will inevitably become ‘infected’. You will then inevitably suffer (at least some) symptoms from the infection. You will then become unwell – maybe very unwell – and may even die. The germ theory. The severity of the disease is almost entirely dependent on the ‘viral load’ that you encounter.

Camp two states that the ‘terrain’ of the human body is far more important. We are surrounded by, and harbour microorganisms in our bodies. When exposed to pathogens ‘germs’ we become ill if our defences are weakened by deficiencies or toxicities. The germ itself is pretty much unimportant.

This is the ‘terrain’ theory. It means that many/most people, may not become ‘infected’ at all. Or that they may not even notice it – they simply shrug the infection off.

Historically, the two camps were led by Louis ‘the germ’ Pasteur and Claude ‘the terrain’ Bernard. It is said that, on his death bed Pasteur admitted. ‘Bernard was right, the pathogen is nothing, the terrain is everything.’

Well, yes and no. It is difficult to suffer any symptoms from a disease if you are never exposed to the germ. Which means that the pathogen clearly is something, not nothing. But … but we are making a greater mistake if we think that everyone is going to respond the same way to a germ. An assumption upon which our response has been predicated.

You may not think it, but the thinking behind all the actions taken is that COVID19 will inevitably ‘infect’ anyone who comes into contact with it. It will spread from person to person in a predicable manner, it will cause illness in everyone, and suchlike. In effect therefore, we have acted as if the terrain truly is nothing. Therefore, we must do everything possible to reduce contact, in order to reduce morbidity and mortality. In essence, the microbe is all.

The next assumption, following on from this, is that those who have not demonstrated any signs of symptoms have simply not been exposed to it, or not exposed to a sufficient ‘viral load’.

Personally, I find this impossible to believe. My daughter, a junior doctor who caught COVID19 working on a COVID ward in Wales, stayed at our house, suffered anosmia, and was diagnosed with COVID19 – with a PCR test, no less. No-one else got a snuffle.

At one point during the first couple of months of the epidemic, in May 2020 to be precise, I was standing next to two unmasked nurses in a small treatment room (we were not allowed to wear masks at this time) who were both coughing repeatedly in my face. Both were diagnosed with COVID19 the very next day and went off ill.

Every working day for six months, I went into nursing homes and an intermediate care centre. During which time, thirty-six patients died of – probably – COVID19. All of whom I saw and examined at least once. However, I did not become infected, and I never have. I also showed no antibodies – in a test in Autumn 2020.

If anyone tries to tell me that I was not exposed to the virus, or a sufficient viral load to cause infection, I can only laugh. I would reckon myself to be amongst an elite ‘most exposed to SARS-Cov2 virus in the world’ workforce. For at least two months I was working with no PPE – at all. Surrounding by staff and patients – many of whom died of COVID19 [no staff members, only patients].

If I was not infected, and officially I have not been, it raises the question. What, exactly, does infected mean? I speak as someone who also had to have seven Hepatitis B injections before I was able to raise a feeble, and pretty transient, antibody response. A friend and colleague had, if memory serves, over thirty Hep B vaccinations, and never raised a single antibody.

What does this, in turn, mean? That neither of us has any immunity to Hep B? That antibody tests are hopelessly flawed. That ‘immunity’ exists in ways that we have no idea how to measure – my current view.

Looking more specifically at COVID19, what happens if someone is found to be infected, as part of routine testing, yet has no symptoms, and produces no antibodies. Can you state that they were ‘infected’?

You may want to have a look at ‘The Flawed Science of Antibody Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Immunity.’ 7

It quotes this FDA statement

‘…results from currently authorized SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests should not be used to evaluate a person’s level of immunity or protection from COVID-19 at any time, and especially after the person received a COVID-19 vaccination.’

So, antibody tests cannot tell us if someone has been infected, or effectively, vaccinated, nor if they are immune to SARS-Cov2. Just run that idea round your head for a while. Then see what answer pops out.

One small study further suggested that if you were diagnosed with [had a positive test for], COVID19, but suffered no symptoms, there was a 92% chance that you would show no measurable immune response post infection. 8

These people, with a positive test, yet no symptoms, and no antibodies, were clearly ‘infected’ – they had a positive test after all [another can of worms]. However, these people must represent the most immune population of all. COVID19 hit them but was simply shrugged off. Leaving behind no sign that it was ever there.

Before I spin off down another hundred complications and side-issues – all of which are fascinating in themselves – I will attempt to highlight one immutable fact.

We have no idea how many people have been infected with SARS-Cov2, primarily because we have no idea how many people have been ‘infected’ yet demonstrate no sign of contact with the virus (unless they were coincidentally tested at the time). People such as, to pluck an example from the air … me.

It follows, therefore, that we cannot know what IFR rate might be. All we really have to go on (for all its further myriad flaws) is the Population Fatality Rate. Namely, how many people have actually died of COVID19.

In this end, this is the key figure. The one that counts [even if I have serious doubts about how this figure is created].

Thus far, across the world, over a period of very nearly two years, we have officially had five point seven million deaths from COVID19.

The total population of the world is seven point nine billion. Therefore:

  • The total population fatality rate is 0.072%
  • The total population fatality rate per year is 0.036%

This is a long, long way from the IFR of one per cent. Indeed, per year, it is around thirteen times less.

Is this because only one thirteenth of the world’s population have been infected? This is extraordinarily unlikely. The recent REACT study in the UK, found that 65% of those infected with the Omicron variant in January 2022 had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19.9

Seven per cent more had symptoms strongly suggestive of previous infection but had not had a confirmatory test at the time. Ergo, very nearly three quarters of those getting COVID19 in January 2022 had been infected before.

The authors are now attempting to backtrack from this finding. Why? Because, if it is correct that the vast majority of people infected represent re-infections, it means that the infection rate must be extremely high, much higher than anyone admits.

It also follows that exposure and transmission is extremely high. This, in turn, means that the IFR is significantly lower than anyone admits – or indeed can admit.

It is no surprise then to find that those running the REACT study are based in Imperial College London. Which is where all the original IFR estimates came from. The lair of Neil Ferguson et all. The originator of the ‘justification’ figure. Those who are now doing all they can to suggest that the number of people who have been infected with COVID19 remains low.

Even more telling, although this is less easy to confirm, we have cases of people with three, or even four, infections. How can anyone get infected four times, when people around them have not been infected once? Are they dancing naked around a flagpole, breathing in deeply from an inverted loudhailer in a COVID19 ward?

No, they are not. The explanation is that those getting re-infected are those who are unable to simply shrug of COVID19, for whatever reasons. Their terrain was different. Which means that they will likely keep on getting infected as new variants appear. Hopefully in milder and milder versions.

On the other hand, if we look at those individuals who show no evidence of infection – those who have never suffered symptoms and developed no antibodies – it is not that they have never been exposed, or ‘infected’. It is that they have more robust defences. As Claude Bernard argued, the most important thing here is not the germ, it is the terrain. It always was, and always will be.

As you may have gathered, I am convinced that we have all been exposed to and ‘infected’ with COVID19, probably all within the first year [even if I don’t know how you determine being infected]. Which means, in turn, that the PFR and the IFR – after two years of the virus spreading around – will have will be very much the same.

Can I prove this. No. If a large number of people develop no symptoms, and there is no test used that can accurately determine infection/exposure, I cannot possibly prove this. Equally, no-one can prove anything in the opposite direction.

A bit of a standout clue, however, is that three quarters of those found to be infected had been infected before. This could only have happened if people have been repeatedly exposed to a sufficient ‘viral load’ to get COVID19. And if they have, so has everyone else.

Of course, if we cannot accurately define what we mean by ‘infected’ no prediction can have been right. In turn, this means that we bet the house on an outcome measure so deeply flawed as to be virtually meaningless.

A strong clue that has been more widely recognised to be meaningless, is that it no longer exists. How so, I hear you cry? Well, it was decreed fairly early on that any positive COVID19 test represents a ‘case’ of COVID19. Something that kind of slipped through, without anyone noticing.

It was a worldwide thing, but the text below is taken from an NHS press briefing conference, using data from coronavirus.data.gov.uk. The bit in bold is most important.

Number of daily cases, UK:
Number of people who have had at least one positive COVID-19 test result, either lab-reported or lateral flow device (England only), by date reported – the date the case was first included in the published totals. COVID-19 cases are identified by taking specimens from people and testing them for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. If the test is positive, this is referred to as a case.
10

Once this happened, any historical comparison of IFRs, or CFRs, became impossible. If everyone who is infected is also a ‘case’ then everyone is an I/C, (infected/case). There is no longer an IFR. Nor can there be a CFR. There is a combination I/CFR.

This, in turn, means that the IFR rate has been artificially boosted. Case fatality rates will always higher than IFRs [people who become very ill from a disease are always more likely to die from the disease, than those who suffer no symptoms].

Add them together and the IFR jumps up. Or at least it does if no-one notices that you are flipping between, and combining IFR and CFR, at speed, and continue talking about the IFR as if it remains the same thing. Oh, the tricks that are played to inflate the IFR and ‘prove’ that the experts were right all along.

Despite the fact that it is now devoid of any meaning, the one per cent IFR for COVID19 remains the most fiercely guarded figure of all. Dare to state the IFR is significantly lower than the one per cent ‘justification’ figure and the dreaded dementors, sorry fact-checkers, descend from on high.

They will attack you, your personal habits, your professionalism, your motivations, your clear ‘anti-vaxx’ stance, your lack of being an expert – and anything else they can think of to personally denigrate and humiliate.

They will countenance no arguments, no discussion. It will be determined that you are simply wrong, certainly stupid, and unable to understand The Science and probably in the pay of someone evil cabal, or other. It is somewhat irritating. I want to discuss science, if not ‘THE SCIENCE’. They want me crushed and silenced.

End thoughts

We understand far less about infections than we like to think. We are simply scratching at the surface at present. It is all extremely complex. If you are up for it, you may wish to read this paper. ‘Pathogenesis of COVID-19 described through the lens of an undersulfated and degraded epithelial and endothelial glycocalyx.11

This paper represents a monstrously complex discussion of ‘the terrain.’ Namely, why do some people shrug off COVID19, whereas others may become so seriously ill that they may die?

According to this paper, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the things that we think of as part of the classic ‘immune response.’ T-cells, B-cells, cytokines, antibodies and suchlike. It is almost entirely to do with the ability of cells in our body to prevent viral entry.

Keeping things as simple as possible. If COVID19 (or other viruses) cannot get into an endothelial cell – or find it very difficult to do so – because the glycocalyx is healthy and robust, then SARS-Cov2 simply bounces off, and you will not become seriously ‘infected’. Yes, you will ‘shrug’ the virus off. It may enter your bloodstream, but that is about as far as it is going to get.

I mean, I have always been aware of the importance of cell entry in viral diseases. Both HIV and the Ebola virus enter a cell by hijacking a protein called CCR5 attached to cell membranes. There are a few people who have a thing called the CCR5delta32 mutation. If you have this mutation, it means that HIV and Ebola cannot attach themselves to the protein. Neither virus can then get into the cell and ‘infection’ cannot occur. The terrain is all.

Have any of those on SAGE, or Fauci, or Ferguson, or the CDC paid any heed to such things? I would be very surprised if any of them had even heard of the glycocalyx. A perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger* effect, I feel.

Yet, despite their stunning ignorance about such things, certain individuals and organisations grabbed the reins of influence in order to convince those in power that they had the answer.

The most important ‘answer’ being that COVID19 has an IFR of one per cent, which is at least ten times that of a serious influenza epidemic. Then, as the ‘germ’ is obviously everything, the only way to prevent hundreds of thousands, nay millions, of deaths was through lockdown, mask wearing, societal control, and suchlike.

We must stop spread, the ‘the germ is everything brigade’ cried. Although, with a 75% re-infection rate it is hard to argue that we have managed anything of the sort.

If this IFR figure was grossly inflated, which certainly seems to be the case, then all that we did was to create untold damage – for no good reason. I shall leave you with a post that I put up in a WhatsApp group recently. It followed a study from John Hopkins which estimated that COVID19 lockdowns only reduced deaths by 0.2%. [A study that will be attacked remorselessly, no doubt].12

‘Did lockdown work? No, the difference it made was marginal, at best. Were the models that we relied on accurate? No, they were bloody useless. Are the vaccines safe and effective? – Jury is out. Is there anything that was done justifiable by the evidence, in so much as it can be relied upon. I do not believe so.  What we certainly did was to explode the economy, pile vast debt on UK Plc. create a massive backlog of work for the NHS. Fail to diagnose and treat hundreds of thousands of cases of cancer, and suchlike and create a tsunami of mental health problems. We also ran roughshod over incredibly important human rights, that have taken centuries to take hold and grow. In my opinion, almost everything that was done has caused more harm than good. What is the counter-argument? If we hadn’t done all these things, it would have been far worse. The evidence to support this position is sadly lacking.’

*Dunning-Kruger effect is, in psychology, a cognitive bias whereby people with limited knowledge or competence in a given intellectual or social domain greatly overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain relative to objective criteria or to the performance of their peers or of people in general.

1: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809029/

2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3734171/

3: https://www.ons.gov.uk/aboutus/transparencyandgovernance/freedomofinformationfoi/averageageofthosewhohaddiedwithCOVID19

4: https://www.ons.gov.uk/aboutus/transparencyandgovernance/freedomofinformationfoi/deathsofthoseunder60fromCOVID19withnocomorbiditiesandmortalityratesin2020

5: https://www.statista.com/statistics/281208/population-of-the-england-by-age-group/

6: http://www.bandolier.org.uk/booth/Risk/trasnsportpop.html#:~:text=While%20the%20risk%20of%20dying,risk%20is%201%20in%20240.

7: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2785530

8: https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2021-06-18-latest-data-immune-response-COVID-19-reinforces-need-vaccination-says-oxford-led

9: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/public-health/two-thirds-of-omicron-cases-are-reinfections-uk-study-suggests.html

10: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1041270/2021-12-15_COVID-19_Press_Conference_Slides_PUBLICATION.pptx.pdf

11: https://doi.org/10.1096/fj.202101100RR

12: https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-a-preprint-looking-at-the-impact-of-lockdowns-as-posted-on-the-john-hopkins-krieger-school-of-arts-and-sciences-website/

Don’t just do something, stand there!

14th January 2022

A few months ago, I resolved not to write anything more about COVID19. I was having zero apparent effect on anything, or anybody, and I was just getting increasingly despondent at the destruction of science, debate, logic, humanity, personal freedoms … life.

However, my New Years resolution was to not have any more resolutions. Which lead to an almost inescapable logic loop from which I have only just managed to extricate myself.

In truth, I believe that I still have a few things left to say about COVID19 that may be useful in stopping some of the most egregious nonsense being repeated. [Fat chance, says the little man on my shoulder].

What I am about to write, I have written about before, in various different guises. However, I think it is worth going back over some old ground again. Hopefully in a more effective manner.

In this blog what I want to do is to look at how we think about a few things, primarily in medicine, and medical science. To try and highlight how some repeated flaws in thought have influenced the reaction to COVID19.

I hope that by doing this, it may help to prevent some us travelling down the terribly well-worn ‘paths of pointlessness’ again. Or, at least, to get people to stop and question how they are thinking, before throwing themselves into the fray.

To begin.

What I saw happening with COVID19 is a pattern that repeats in medicine over and over again:

  • We have a serious illness – panic
  • Something must be done – grab the pitchforks, run about screaming
  • An influential person, or organisation, grabs the initiative – ‘‘experts’ move in.’
  • I/We know what to do, you must follow me/us – simple idea + soothing paternalism
  • Frightened people latch onto their ideas – two legs good, four legs bad
  • A path is chosen – along the side of a cliff
  • Momentum builds – the unstoppable charge of the light brigade
  • Those who object to the path taken are crushed – 1984

Fast forward a few decades… ‘Oh, it seems that the thing we always do as standard medical practice… Turns out it does more harm than good.’ See under: removal of toxic colon, the radical mastectomy, strict bed rest following a heart attack, cutting teeth, use of radium water, plombage, mercury for syphilis, pre-frontal lobotomy etc.

Of course, this pattern is not true of every medical intervention, not by any manner of means. Sometimes the influential person, or organisation, promotes the best course of action. This has been known to happen from time to time… believe it or not. In addition, medical practice does eventually auto-correct – and ends up doing the right thing. Almost always. We no longer remove toxic colons to cure female neurosis.

But what never, ever, seems to happen is OODA. Defined as ‘a practical concept designed to function as the foundation of rational thinking in confusing or chaotic situation’.

OODA stands for. ‘Observe, Orient, Decide Act.’

It was developed by the Air Force Colonel, John Boyd.

What John Boyd taught was simple. If you don’t know what is going on, do not make immediate decisions. First, work out what is happening, then orientate yourself – before you decide what to do. That way you avoid most, if not all, stupid mistakes. For many years, without knowing anything of OODA my own medical strategy has tended towards ‘don’t just do something, stand there.

Unfortunately, the medical profession has always battled ferociously against doing nothing. It has always greatly favoured the ‘You must do something, anything, I don’t care what it is so long as it sounds like a good idea. Chaaarge!’ Strategy.

This, the ‘do something strategy’, has always proven far more seductive, and almost always wins. It is easier to attract followers to do something, than to than to do nothing. Why not whack a hole in the skull and split the brain apart to cure various mental diseases? Why not… indeed. Ah yes, the good old pre-frontal lobotomy.

A.N. Other doctor: ‘If you do nothing people will surely die. You cannot just stand there doing nothing.

Me:                             ‘But what if those things we do end up causing more damage, or killing more people?’

Many years ago, my father said to me. ‘You will always be blamed for failures of omission, rath than commission.’ At the time I was young,  I knew everything, and thought he was talking rubbish. In truth I didn’t really understand his point. Now that I know that… I know nothing, I fully understand how profound his comment was. I wish I had listened to him more.

Yes, doing something will always be looked on in a positive light. Effort has been made, decisions have been taken, activity carried out. In medicine this is reflected in a comment that I have had directed at me, from time to time. ‘At least you tried, doctor.’ Well, seeing as they are now dead, my efforts achieved very little. But thanks anyway.

In addition, if you do nothing, you can be accused of laziness, of being uncaring. You just stood there and watched them suffer, even die. You cruel swine. I see this overwhelming urge to do something, anything, in the person who cannot swim, jumping into a river to try and save their dog from drowning.

What exactly did they think they were going to achieve? Oh well, at least they tried, you may say. No… they were stupid. They drowned along with their dog. But who can stand on the riverbank watching their dog die?

Well, me, actually.

This also moves into the area of survival guilt. How am I still alive when others have died? Better to die trying than to have done nothing? It all further wraps round into it the almost irresistible urge to be seen to be doing something. I think it is hard-wired into our psyche. We must fight to protect those in our tribe and be seen to be doing it. Chop, chop, busy, busy, work, work, bang, bang 1.  

I am, however, reminded of the philosophy behind recruitment to the German army in the good old days – as recounted to me. Men were divided in to four categories:

  • Intelligent and lazy
  • Intelligent and hardworking
  • Stupid and lazy
  • Stupid and hardworking

At which point

  • Intelligent and lazy men were taken for officer training
  • Intelligent and hardworking men were turned into NCOs (non-commissioned officers)
  • Stupid and lazy men became privates – squaddies, to use the UK vernacular
  • Those who were both stupid, and hardworking, were taken out and shot, before they could do too much damage

Doing things, doing things, doing things. We place great value on it. Too much.

As Kurt Vonnegut Jnr noted in Cat’s Cradle:

“We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodely do,
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.”

Of course, if there are things to be done, they should be done. But that does not mean we should rush around doing stuff, just because it seems better than doing nothing. Here is what Vinay Prasad has to say in his blog ‘Will science do better post COVID19?’

‘When faced with a pandemic, we re-treated to all the old delusions. Bioplausibilty was sacrosanct— that’s why #maskswork! We can’t run RCTs— these are parachutes. Doing something is always better than doing nothing! More is better than less! Keep boosting, young man!! Newer is better than older. Disease bad; treatments good. Bad people (John Ioannidis) are always wrong (never mind, that a year ago we all thought he was brilliant).’ 2

The additional problem with doing things is that, once you have started doing them, it becomes damned difficult to stop again. After you have decided to blow four hundred billion pounds on lockdown, or thereabouts, then you are pretty much stuck with it. Or else, you are going to look pretty stupid. ‘Sorry, ahem, I seem to have wasted a teensy bit of money. Sorry, my mistake.

If everyone is ordered to wear a mask, on pain of death, you are stuck with that too. Back pedalling from instant decisions is very, very, difficult. For the scientists and politicians involved you cannot be seen to have been wrong. Reputations must be protected.

At which point, vast amounts of time and effort are expended in trying to batter down anyone who dares to suggest that we rushed into doing things that were completely pointless, even damaging. Science then becomes twisted and bent to justify the errors made. Those in power must retain power. The narrative must be supported:

  • COVID19 is really, really deadly
  • Lockdowns really, really, work
  • Masks really, really, work

If you question these narratives, people will demand an answer to this rhetorical question. Do you want people to die! (That’s always an effective weapon). The correct answer to this question by the way, is usually no – although I am willing to make exceptions.

The other terrible flaw in thinking here, especially in medicine, was also mentioned by Vinay Prasad. It is Bioplausibility. Often closely associated with fast thinking a.k.a. jumping to conclusions, because they just seem right.

Masks, indeed, must surely work. Because? Because they prevent the virus from spreading. In fact, masks represent an almost perfect example of bioplausibility a.k.a. sheer common sense. No-one can argue against using them. If you do, your arguments must be pure sophistry, or simply nonsense. ’You do not understand science.’ That’s a good one, I get that a lot.

‘I think you will find it is not I that fails to understand science.’ I think to myself. But I don’t say it, because it makes you sound like a prat.

Let me remind you of a time when, after a heart attack you had to rest in bed doing nothing for six weeks. The heart has been damaged and must be given a chance to rest. Yes, perfect Bioplausibility, believed by virtually everyone. To question it was to be cast into the outer darkness.

It is now known that the worst thing you can possibly do is to enforce strict bed rest post heart attack. This advice, in place from 1912 to about 1960(ish), killed tens of millions. Maybe hundreds of millions.

As for masks – the sort of masks worn by almost everyone.

‘The use of cloth facemasks in community settings has become an accepted public policy response to decrease disease transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet evidence of facemask efficacy is based primarily on observational studies that are subject to confounding and on mechanistic studies that rely on surrogate endpoints (such as droplet dispersion) as proxies for disease transmission. The available clinical evidence of facemask efficacy is of low quality and the best available clinical evidence has mostly failed to show efficacy, with fourteen of sixteen identified randomized controlled trials comparing face masks to no mask controls failing to find statistically significant benefit in the intent‐​to‐​treat populations. Of sixteen quantitative meta‐​analyses, eight were equivocal or critical as to whether evidence supports a public recommendation of masks, and the remaining eight supported a public mask intervention on limited evidence primarily on the basis of the precautionary principle. Although weak evidence should not preclude precautionary actions in the face of unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, ethical principles require that the strength of the evidence and best estimates of amount of benefit be truthfully communicated to the public.3

How can masks possibly fail to work?

Well, unfortunately, our brains work one way, and the world often works in quite another way. As does, therefore, science. For centuries people thought that heavier than air flight would only be possible if you flapped things that looked very like wings. Why, because birds and bats were the only flying things people had ever seen flying [apart from lemmings] and they mostly flapped about like mad – using wings.

Except that, if you looked closely, they didn’t – not really. If you thought flapping was the key to flight, you were not really looking. An albatross can stay aloft for hours, gliding above the waves, using the wind and updrafts, and barely moving its wings at all.

Yet, and yet, no-one was able to see this. When I say ‘see’ this I mean – look beyond the obvious, in your face, flappy stuff. Observe properly, deeply, to really understand what you are looking at – in this case aerodynamics. Eventually, of course, some people did. Et voila, the Wright Brothers.

With masks… Yes, it is both true, and self-evident, that a mask stops droplets being catapulted across a room after a cough or sneeze, or suchlike. So, they must stop spread…mustn’t they? I mean, you can even see it working in slow motion videos. A man coughs in London, virus ends up in New York – or something. Ah, the dreaded Bioplausibility… that can also be visualised. Double bubble.

But a mask can also turn droplets into an aerosol by breaking the droplet down into far smaller particles. Particles will float in the air for longer, and thus be inhaled for longer. Possibly, probably4. You didn’t think of that, did you?

A mask can also become damp and keep viral particles viable for longer. Once discarded – as many masks are – they represent receptacles for viruses and can spread disease when picked up. What happens when masks are used and used, and re-used? As they often are. Superspreading here we come. Blowing viral particles out of a wet mask.

As a wise man also said. Using cloth masks to prevent viral spread it like trying to pick up sand with a tennis racket. Virus particle size ‘x’. Holes in mask size 1000x.

A mask can also mean that people stand closer to each other than they otherwise would. A mask may, simply, never had had a chance to work at all. After all, we breathe in and breathe out the same amount of air whilst wearing a mask than not.

If there is virus in floating in the air, we are still going to breathe it in, and out. Masks do not stop us breathing, and the air has to come from somewhere. Unless masks act as a type of black hole, trapping, then transporting viral particles from here into another universe… I’m not putting much money on that hypothesis.

Some months ago, I wrote about the last people to be infected with smallpox. In one hospital, in Germany, a patient with smallpox was being treated on the ground floor. The patient in the room above, and then the room above that, become infected. Which means that viral particles must have got out the window, drifted upwards and infected those above.

Which just gives you some idea of how few viral particles were needed to spread a disease that was, up to that time, not even believed to spread through the air. No droplets required.

Early on, with COVID19 it was noted that ferrets could be infected with the virus. So, researchers put one ferret in a cage, with another ferret above with a solid barrier between them. The one below was infected with COVD19.

The only route for COVID19 to travel from one ferret to the other was through a tube that bent through ninety degrees, bent again to go upwards through the barrier, then across, and back round through ninety degrees

In essence, this tube was specifically designed to ensure that droplet spread was impossible. As droplets cannot go round corners, travel upwards, turn another ninety degrees… and suchlike.

Despite this, all of the uninfected ferrets became, very rapidly, infected. Conclusion – COVID19 can travel and infect through aerosol spread. Secondary conclusion – masks cannot stop this. At least not the sort of masks that virtually everyone wears, and then re-uses.

Of course, there are masks that you can use to prevent the spread of viral particles. But they have to be airtight, they have to have filters. They are uncomfortable to wear for any length of time, and they need to be changed regularly. They also prevent a great deal of communication, as people hard of hearing will tell you. Oh yes, there are serious downsides to mask wearing.

I only focus on masks here to make the point that masks appear totally ‘Bioplausible’. If, that is, you don’t think about all the issues too deeply. Also, getting everyone to wear masks represents doing ‘something.’ Doing something, especially something visible, is always better than doing nothing.

Yes… doing something, anything, and Bioplausibility. Two bear traps in human thought. Traps that seem impossible to eradicate.

There is another, major trap, which is the urge to draw ourselves into tribes. Then attack and attempt destroy anyone who does not agree with us. Humiliate and silence. Turn the ‘other’ into someone with evil intent. I am not getting into this in any depth here. We have all seen too much of it. The terrible seductive pleasure of righteous anger. Which so easily flips into hatred.

As also mentioned by Vinay Prasad. Bad people (John Ioannidis) are always wrong (never mind, that a year ago we all thought he was brilliant).’

As we all know, it is not just Ioannidis who is attacked. Dare to breathe one word of caution about vaccines and you become ‘dirty anti-vaxxer scum. You deserve to lose your job. Ha!’

This is no way for humans to act towards each other. Crush debate, silence those who dare to think differently. Bring in the Spanish Inquisition a.k.a. fact checkers. All bought and paid for by those who have vested interests in obliterating the opposition, of course.

Question:     When is a fact checker not a fact checker?

Answer:        When they are called a fact checker. [Especially if they work for a company that used to begin with Face and ended in Book. Or Witterpedia]

Also Meta…as in, I meta  ‘n’ idiot – who think it’s okay to silence anyone they disagree with, and claim this is science. Spare me.

Anyway, what do we do next time? How do we do better? How do we think better? Well, I suppose that first of all you have to get those in power to accept that they made mistakes…. Ho hum.

Frankly, that ain’t going to happen. Therefore, we need new people in power. People who can understand that things are complicated. That the immediate Bioplausible and simplistic ‘answer’ is as likely to be wrong, as it is right. More likely in truth.

We really need people to think better:

‘We have a crisis in medicine when it comes to understanding and appraising science. We do not teach this explicitly in medical schools, and it gets short shrift to mechanistic science. Our overemphasis on molecular mechanisms fuels the cognitive distortion that a reductionistic view is superior to empiricism*’ 2

*empiricism is the view that all concepts originate in experience, that all concepts are about or applicable to things that can be experienced, or that all rationally acceptable beliefs or propositions are justifiable or knowable only through experience.

Were there any examples of doing things better from which we could learn? In Sweden they did things differently – at least from most of the rest of Europe. Anders Tegnell, the state epidemiologist (yes they have such a post) was the man who led the Swedish response. It was to bring in very few restrictions and make almost everything voluntary. Lockdown ‘lite’ if you like.

He was ruthlessly attacked from all directions, but remained superficially calm. Although I imagine he felt most terribly bruised and battered inside. TIME magazine ran a story about the Swedish response entitled ‘The Swedish COVID-19 Response Is a Disaster. It Shouldn’t Be a Model for the Rest of the World.’5

You don’t really need to read the article. The title makes it entirely clear what tone was adopted, and also what the conclusion was going to be. Sweden = death and mayhem, run for the hills. Frankly, I am amazed that the Swedish Government held firm in supporting him.

At one point even the Swedish King, Carl XVI Gustaf ‘Gustaf –  the eminent epidemiologist’ as I believe he is also known – had a pop at poor old Anders. But the Government did support Tegnell’s light touch strategy – mostly. They held their nerve.

What was Anders thinking, the mad mass murdering fool? As he calmly stated in the British Medical Journal, after COVID19 deaths in Sweden had settled into the lower half of European figures. Not as good as some, better than most:

there is still disagreement among scientists about which measures are effective against the spread of infection. “This is what we are still struggling to understand: some measures work in some places, but it is difficult to see patterns.”

“Countries that went through lockdowns are not doing that much better,”6

Yes, he is describing his OODA journey. Anders is still observing and attempting to orientate, but he cannot see what to do. He still believes that the evidence for severe lockdowns, and mask wearing, simply does not exist. To put it another way, he cannot yet decide what should be done. So, he isn’t doing it.

Good man. We need far more like Anders Tegnell, and less of those like the members of SAGE in the UK. Screaming blue bloody murder with threats of hundreds of thousands dying if WE DO NOT ACT NOW! The sky is falling, the sky is falling. OMCIRON will kill us all… all I tell ee’. Beware the black spot Cap’n.

We also need more people to be sceptical. To look at the science and the evidence. We need, quite frankly, to learn to think… and grow up. Also, importantly, learn the incredibly difficult trick of doing nothing at all.

As they used to say in a UK advert. ‘Nothing acts faster than Anadin (a painkiller)’

Solution… take nothing

Nothing acts faster than a damn good lockdown

Solution…do nothing

Or, to quote the famous physician William Osler. ‘One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.’ I shall now leave you with two things to consider. The first is an open letter, written by Professor Ehud Qimron, head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Tel Aviv University and one of the leading Israeli immunologists:

Ministry of Health, it’s time to admit failure

In the end, the truth will always be revealed, and the truth about the coronavirus policy is beginning to be revealed. When the destructive concepts collapse one by one, there is nothing left but to tell the experts who led the management of the pandemic – we told you so.

Two years late, you finally realize that a respiratory virus cannot be defeated and that any such attempt is doomed to fail. You do not admit it, because you have admitted almost no mistake in the last two years, but in retrospect it is clear that you have failed miserably in almost all of your actions, and even the media is already having a hard time covering your shame.

You refused to admit that the infection comes in waves that fade by themselves, despite years of observations and scientific knowledge. You insisted on attributing every decline of a wave solely to your actions, and so through false propaganda “you overcame the plague.” And again, you defeated it, and again and again and again.

You refused to admit that mass testing is ineffective, despite your own contingency plans explicitly stating so (“Pandemic Influenza Health System Preparedness Plan, 2007”, p. 26).

You refused to admit that recovery is more protective than a vaccine, despite previous knowledge and observations showing that non-recovered vaccinated people are more likely to be infected than recovered people. You refused to admit that the vaccinated are contagious despite the observations. Based on this, you hoped to achieve herd immunity by vaccination — and you failed in that as well.

You insisted on ignoring the fact that the disease is dozens of times more dangerous for risk groups and older adults, than for young people who are not in risk groups, despite the knowledge that came from China as early as 2020.

You refused to adopt the “Barrington Declaration”, signed by more than 60,000 scientists and medical professionals, or other common-sense programs. You chose to ridicule, slander, distort and discredit them. Instead of the right programs and people, you have chosen professionals who lack relevant training for pandemic management (physicists as chief government advisers, veterinarians, security officers, media personnel, and so on).

You have not set up an effective system for reporting side effects from the vaccines, and reports on side effects have even been deleted from your Facebook page. Doctors avoid linking side effects to the vaccine, lest you persecute them as you did with some of their colleagues. You have ignored many reports of changes in menstrual intensity and menstrual cycle times. You hid data that allows for objective and proper research (for example, you removed the data on passengers at Ben Gurion Airport). Instead, you chose to publish non-objective articles together with senior Pfizer executives on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines.

Irreversible damage to trust

However, from the heights of your hubris, you have also ignored the fact that in the end the truth will be revealed. And it begins to be revealed. The truth is that you have brought the public’s trust in you to an unprecedented low, and you have eroded your status as a source of authority. The truth is that you have burned hundreds of billions of shekels to no avail – for publishing intimidation, for ineffective tests, for destructive lockdowns and for disrupting the routine of life in the last two years.

You have destroyed the education of our children and their future. You made children feel guilty, scared, smoke, drink, get addicted, drop out, and quarrel, as school principals around the country attest. You have harmed livelihoods, the economy, human rights, mental health and physical health.

You slandered colleagues who did not surrender to you, you turned the people against each other, divided society and polarized the discourse. You branded, without any scientific basis, people who chose not to get vaccinated as enemies of the public and as spreaders of disease. You promote, in an unprecedented way, a draconian policy of discrimination, denial of rights and selection of people, including children, for their medical choice. A selection that lacks any epidemiological justification.

When you compare the destructive policies you are pursuing with the sane policies of some other countries — you can clearly see that the destruction you have caused has only added victims beyond the vulnerable to the virus. The economy you ruined, the unemployed you caused, and the children whose education you destroyed — they are the surplus victims as a result of your own actions only.

There is currently no medical emergency, but you have been cultivating such a condition for two years now because of lust for power, budgets and control. The only emergency now is that you still set policies and hold huge budgets for propaganda and psychological engineering instead of directing them to strengthen the health care system.

This emergency must stop!

Professor Udi Qimron, Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University7

I suppose I should say that the opinions of Professor Udi Qimron are not necessarily those of the senior management of this blog. I, in exactly the same way as Google and Facebook (Sorry, Alphabet and Meta. ‘As I was going to St Ives I meta man with seven wives’… how many idiots were going to St Ives), and suchlike, am merely the repository for information, and articles. A warehouse if you like. I have no editorial control over content, so you cannot sue me for anything written.

Unfortunately, I am not rich enough to employ Fact Checkers and unleash them upon anyone who disagrees with me. Yet. You have been warned.

The second thing, that I shall leave you with, is the fact that doing nothing can be very rewarding, and sometimes pretty hard work. As outlined by this article in The International Journal of Doing Very little:

‘We’re busy doin’ nothin’
Workin’ the whole day through
Tryin’ to find lots of things not to do
We’re busy goin’ nowhere
Isn’t it just a crime
We’d like to be unhappy, but
We never do have the time,’

‘I have to watch the river
To see that it doesn’t stop
And stick around the rosebuds
So they’ll know when to pop
And keep the crickets cheerful
They’re really a solemn bunch
Hustle, bustle
And only an hour for lunch.’

La-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

‘We’re busy doin’ nothin’
Workin’ the whole day through
Tryin’ to find lots of things not to do
We’re busy goin’ nowhere
Isn’t it just a crime
We’d like to be unhappy, but
We never do have the time.’

‘I have to wake the Sun up
He’s liable to sleep all day
And then inspect the rainbows
So they’ll be bright and gay
I must rehearse the songbirds
To see that they sing in key
Hustle, bustle
And never a moment free.’

‘We’re busy doin’ nothin’
Workin’ the whole day through
Tryin’ to find lots of things not to do
We’re busy going nowhere
Isn’t it just a crime
We’d like to be unhappy, but
We never do have the time.’

‘I have to meet a turtle
I’m teachin’ him how to swim
Then I have to shine the dewdrops
You know they’re looking rather dim
I told my friend, the robin
I’d buy him a brand-new vest

Hustle, bustle
We never do have
We never do have
We never do, never do
Never do, never do, never do have the time
Never do have the time.’8

And if that don’t cheer you up, nothing will. And follow my motto. ‘Don’t just do something stand there….’ Whilst observing and orientating of course. Think first, act later.

1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bnWLTI-QmE

2: https://vinayprasadmdmph.substack.com/p/will-science-do-a-better-post-covid19

3: https://www.cato.org/working-paper/evidence-community-cloth-face-masking-limit-spread-sars-cov-2-critical-review

4: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-72798-7

5: https://time.com/5899432/sweden-coronovirus-disaster/

6: https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n3081

7: It’s an open letter you can go and find it yourself

8: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QxvPXK3Gv4

COVID19 and CVD – Bridging the gap

16th September 2021

Bridging the gap between cardiovascular disease and COVID19

[Where two diseases meet]

Having announced that I will not discuss COVID19 anymore, I am about to do so – at least in part. Yes, you may now be thinking… how can we believe anything this man says?

However, I do have an excuse for this. Because, as part of my transition back to more familiar waters, I am going to look at the links that COVID19 has to cardiovascular disease… my life-long obsession.

The reason is that I have found it amazing how two apparently unrelated diseases can be linked so closely, and greatly increase your knowledge of both.

I will start with a quote that I would like to you read slowly, and carefully, taking a little time to think about – if you can get through the jargon.

‘Host defense against infection is based on two crucial mechanisms: the inflammatory response and the activation of coagulation. Platelets are involved in both hemostasis (blood clotting) and immune response. These mechanisms work together in a complex and synchronous manner making the contribution of platelets of major importance in sepsis. This is a summary of the pathophysiology of sepsis-induced thrombocytopenia*, microvascular consequences, platelet-endothelial cells and platelet–pathogens interactions.’ 1

*thrombocytopenia = drastic fall in platelet levels (small cells that conduct the entire blood clotting orchestra).

Yes, as you may have noticed, this passage says nothing about COVID19. On the face of it, it has nothing to do with cardiovascular disease either. It also contains a lot of jargon which most people without a medical background will struggle to understand. To me, however, it is fascinating, as it opens an entirely new way of thinking about critical disease processes.

What these researchers are saying, in the typically impenetrable prose of medical writing, is that the immune system, and the blood clotting (coagulation) system, have been designed to work together to fight off infective agents. Indeed, from an evolutionary perspective, they started off as the same thing. As discussed in an article in the Journal ‘Immunity’. ‘The Coagulation and Immune Systems Are Directly Linked through the Activation of Interleukin-1α by Thrombin.’

‘Ancient organisms have a combined coagulation and immune system, and although links between inflammation and hemostasis (blood clotting) exist in mammals, they are indirect and slower to act. Here we investigated direct links between mammalian immune and coagulation system….The identification of a direct link between the coagulation system and the activation of the IL-1α* inflammatory cascade raises important questions.’ 2

*Interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1α) also known as hematopoietin 1 is a cytokine** of the interleukin 1 family that in humans is encoded by the IL1A gene. In general, Interleukin 1 is responsible for the production of inflammation, as well as the promotion of fever and sepsis. [Which is why you get hot and shivery when you get infected]

**a cytokine is a small protein that normally passes messages from cells to other cells and the immune system. Cytokines are key players in the immune response to infections, and there are many of them.

Anyway, put at its simplest. If you become infected (with almost any micro-organism,) you are far more likely to produce blood clots. Why? Well, it is probably because serious and life-threatening infections will often enter the body through a wound, or damage of some sort. Therefore, it makes sense that the body tries to seal off such wounds, or entry points, with a blood clot. This will not only stop the bleeding, but it will also trap the invading bacteria and viruses to prevent them spreading.

At which point the immune system gets to work on the trapped micro-organisms. Indeed, what better way to neutralize a virus, or bacteria, than by wrapping it up inside platelet fibrin complexes – two of the main constituents of blood clots?

At this point you may well ask, so what has this to do with cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic plaques? Well, as the same paper goes on to say:

‘Many diseases are driven by the interplay between coagulation and inflammation. Inflammation drives atherosclerosis and IL-1α can play a dominant role independent of inflammasomes suggesting another mechanism activates IL-1α. Plaques contain thrombin-antithrombin complexes and show fibrin localized throughout, implying thrombin activation occurs throughout atherogenesis. Thus, p18 IL-1α might drive atherogenesis.’ 3

In super-short version:

Infection → inflammation + coagulation → (if regularly repeated) atherosclerotic plaques = cardiovascular disease

I find it a remarkable coincidence that I was studying the impact of infectious agents on cardiovascular disease when the COVID19 tsunami broke upon the world. Then I started delving into what the Sars-Cov2 virus does to a wide range of physiological systems. It opened doors into new passageways of thinking, and research, that I never even knew existed.

Primarily, that there is a tight connection between the blood clotting system and the immune system. Who knew? Well, some people obviously did, because they were researching it and writing about it. However, until COVID19 came along I didn’t have the faintest idea. I hadn’t even thought to connect the two processes.

Yes, I already knew that infectious diseases, such as Influenza, could greatly increase the risk of a fatal blood clot in the days and weeks following infection. I knew that sepsis (bacterial infection of the blood) causes damage to endothelial cells that line all blood vessels, triggering small blood clots all around the body. A condition known as Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC), which is the primary cause of death in sepsis.

I also knew that ‘inflammation’ of the blood vessels, a condition often known as vasculitis, could greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Vasculitis essentially means damage of the endothelium (the layer of glycocalyx, and endothelial cells, that line all blood vessel walls).

The impact of vasculitis on cardiovascular disease is highlighted by the fact that the form of vasculitis associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) a.k.a. ‘lupus’ can increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by – up to – 4,900% in young women. 4

Indeed, all the vasculitides – plural of vasculitis – can greatly increase the risk of CVD, and thrombosis (blood clotting):

‘The relationship between inflammation and thrombosis is not a recent concept, but it has been largely investigated only in recent years. Nowadays inflammation-induced thrombosis is considered to be a feature of systemic autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), or Sjögren Syndrome (SS). Moreover, both venous and arterial thrombosis represents a well-known manifestation of Behçet syndrome (BS).5

Then, of course, along comes COVID19, which brought a number of these strands into tight focus. It became clear that COVID19 also links infection + coagulation + vasculitis.

How so? Well, it was rapidly established that COVID19 enters cells by linking onto a receptor known as the ACE2 receptor (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 receptor), before being dragged into the cell.

ACE2 receptors form an important part of the enormously complex Renin Aldosterone Angiotensin System (RAAS). Sorry, this is yet another strand, but please bear with me for a while, because it is important.

What is the Renin aldosterone angiotensin system? Well, keeping it super-simple, the RAAS controls blood pressure. If your blood pressure drops the RAAS kicks into action. [It also kicks into action if sodium levels fall, but that is an entirely different world of discussion]. The RAAS forces the heart to pump harder, it constricts blood vessels, it drives the kidneys to keep a hold of sodium and water etc. etc.

Although there are all sorts of hormones involved in the RAAS, with feedback and amplification loops here and there, they basically all end up triggering the conversion of a hormone called angiotensin I to angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is the active hormone that locks onto receptors in various organs, causing them to do their blood pressure raising thing.

[If you block the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II, you will lower the blood pressure. This is what the class of drugs known as ACE-inhibitors do. They inhibit the enzyme that turns angiotensin I into angiotensin II. Which means that they are called angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors. This reduces the amount of angiotensin II in the blood, and stops the heart rate increase, the blood vessel contraction, and suchlike. These drugs are widely prescribed]

As you might imagine therefore, ACE2 receptors are present in high numbers on the surface of membranes of cells that play a role in the RAAS. Basically, any cells involved in blood pressure control.

A large number are found in the cells in the lungs, because the lungs are where Angiotensin I (the inactive pro-hormone) is converted to Angiotensin II – the active form. Why does this conversion occur in the lungs, not the kidneys or liver? No idea. Something to do with evolution probably.

ACE2 receptors are also found in the cells that line all blood vessels – the endothelial cells. Why? Because angiotensin II links to these receptors to create messages commanding blood vessels to constrict – thus raising the blood pressure.

[In fact, sorry to add yet another complication, ACE2 receptors represent part of the ‘control feedback system’ for RAAS. When activated, ACE2 receptors block the effects of angiotensin II. They are ‘anti-angiotensin II’ receptors, if you like. They work to keep the effects of angiotensin II from running out of control. However, they are still an integral part of the RAAS system, and a critical part of the negative feedback loop to control blood pressure. Thus, wherever you have an ACE-receptor, you will also have an ACE2 receptor. Yin and Yang].

Why is all of this important, you may ask. Because it explains which cells are going to be most damaged by COVID19, and why. Essentially, the cells that are most damaged will be the cells that play a role in the RAAS. They are damaged because they have ACE2 receptors on their membranes.

Without this receptor, it is impossible for a cell to be infected by Sars-Cov2, and no damage can occur.

Years ago, I was looking at the Ebola virus. I found out that this virus gains entry through a protein stuck to the cell membrane known as the CCR5 protein. As with COVID19 and the ACE2 receptor, Ebola must find something on the cell membrane to link onto, before it can gain entry to the cell. A lock and key if you like. If the lock doesn’t fit the key – there can be no entry for the virus.

It was found that some people have a variant of this protein known as the ‘CCR5 Delta 32 mutation’. Because this protein has a different structure to the normal CCR5 protein, the Ebola virus cannot link to it. Therefore, it cannot enter any cells. Which means that people with the CCR5 Delta mutation cannot become infected with Ebola. Or at least, it cannot enter any cells in the body, so it cannot multiply, so it cannot cause any damage.  

It is of interest that HIV also enters cells using the CCR5 protein, and people with the CCR5 delta 32 mutation cannot be infected with HIV either.

Anyway, trying desperately to bring things back together… deep breath. Once inhaled, COVID19 gets into lung cells using the ACE2 receptor – creating lung damage. It gets into kidney cells – creating further damage. It gets into heart cells (myocytes, pericytes) – causing even more damage. It gets into endothelial cells – creating vasculitis. It also stimulates the coagulation system into action – as almost all infectious agents do.

If you survive the initial lung damage – which most people probably will do – then the thing you need to start worrying about is the vasculitis/blood clotting that will be triggered throughout the rest of the body. This will all be worsened by the fact that infected endothelial cells will be sending out cytokines (distress messages) to the immune system. Stating, simply. ‘I am infected, come and kill me and the virions within.’

This, then, is the basis of the ‘cytokine storm’ which you may have read about with COVID19. Ironically, the body’s own defence system, the immune system, can become the very thing that kills you with COVID19. It revs up, starts attacking the infected cells, and creates major problems such as myocarditis (inflammation/damage to heart muscle). Kidney damage/failure, and a more widespread severe vasculitis develops as the endothelial cells are machine gunned by their own side.

All of this creates widespread blood clotting, which was recognised quite early on. Here from the paper ‘Emerging evidence of a COVID-19 thrombotic syndrome has treatment implications.’

‘Reports of widespread thromboses and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in patients with coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) have been rapidly increasing in number. Key features of this disorder include a lack of bleeding risk, only mildly low platelet counts, elevated plasma fibrinogen levels, and detection of both severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and complement components in regions of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). This disorder is not typical DIC. Rather, it might be more similar to complement-mediated TMA syndromes, which are well known to rheumatologists who care for patients with severe systemic lupus erythematosus or catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome.’ 6

Again, much jargon. However, the final sentence which provided me with the intellectual equivalent of sipping a twelve-year-old malt whisky… Roll it around the palate with deep pleasure. Please read again, and think about it:

‘Rather, it might be more similar to complement-mediated TMA syndromes, which are well known to rheumatologists who care for patients with severe systemic lupus erythematosus or catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome.’

On the face of it, a rather boring sentence. What it is telling us, however, is that with COVID19 we are looking at almost the same pathological process as seen in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), with an added dash of antiphospholipid syndrome.

Lupus, as mentioned before, causes vasculitis, because the immune system attacks endothelial cells. It is made worse when the person also has antiphospholipid syndrome (sometimes called Hughes’s syndrome).

Phospholipids essentially, are cell membranes. Two layers of phospholipids stuck back-to-back like Velcro. Within this bi-layer of phospholipids are various channels and gates and receptors and (as you may have noticed), lots of cholesterol – which stabilises the cell membrane. No cholesterol, no cell membrane, it simply falls apart.

Getting back to anti-phospholipid syndrome, it means exactly what you would think it means. The immune system starts to attack the phospholipid bi-layer that makes up the endothelial cell membrane, it becomes an ‘anti-phospholipid system’. This creates damage, the damage exposes the underlying clotting factors, and you end up with blood clots forming on blood vessel walls. Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA).

Thus SLE/antiphospholipid syndrome, and COVID19, although they are completely different diseases, can create almost the same damage. The immune system and clotting system combining – along with severe endothelial disruption. This is also, almost certainly, why some children develop a severe vasculitis following shortly after the acute phase of COVID19 infection.

Here, from the article ‘COVID-19-associated vasculitis and vasculopathy.’

‘COVID-19 is a SARS–CoV-2 syndrome that can involve all organs, including the circulatory system. Endothelial cell inflammation occurs within arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules and veins and contributes to pathological events; including tissue hypoperfusion, injury, thrombosis and vascular dysfunction in the acute, subacute and possibly chronic stages of disease. Beyond re-writing the textbooks that hence will include SARS–CoV-2 as a causal pathogen for multi-bed vasculitis, the data will show that it is a new category of systemic vasculitis forever captured in the annals of medicine.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373848/

Look, I understand this is all complex, and I have taken you through it all at a bit of a rush, but I was hoping to give you a sense of my scientific excitement. When COVID19 hit, I was looking at vasculitis and how it caused cardiovascular disease. Here, are the very words I was writing.

‘Vasculitis means damage and inflammation to the blood vessels. Vascular = blood vessels; ‘itis’ = inflammation. As in tonsillitis = inflammation of the tonsils, or appendicitis = inflammation of the appendix.

There are many, many different sorts of vasculitis, and they all have impossible to remember names. However, I do love them, as they are so evocative of a bygone era in medicine. Here are several of them, not including systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia
  • Sjogren’s disease
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Behcet’s disease
  • Buerger’s disease
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome
  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Henoch-Schonlein purpura
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Takayasu’s arteritis

This is Harry Potter stuff. Wave your wand about and exclaim…’Vasculitis obliterans!’ Actually, that is another form of vasculitis. The reason why they don’t all appear on Qrisk3 is because many of them are considerably rarer than hen’s teeth. In addition, they not widely recognised to increase CVD risk – although they all do. If you choose to look.

Apart from increasing the risk of CVD, another characteristic they have in common is that they are also, what are termed as auto-immune conditions. ‘Autoimmune’ describes the situation whereby the body decides to attack itself….’

Immune system + vasculitis + coagulation.

How strange that a virus would come along and create an almost perfect model to highlight this world, I thought.

As a sign-off, I did wonder what it was with COVID19 that so directly stimulated the blood clotting system. As it turns out, it appears to be the spike protein itself. Here, from the paper ‘The unique characteristics of COVID-19 coagulopathy.’

‘Thrombosis is a major pathological driver in COVID-19. Evolving evidence suggests that in addition to the activated leukocytes and derangement of antithrombotic property of endothelial cells, hyperactive platelets participate in thrombogenesis. The direct and indirect effects of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein on platelets stimulate the release of platelet factor 4. The spike protein also upregulates inflammation and coagulation through the binding to ACE2 on macrophages/monocytes, lung epithelial cells, and possibly vascular endothelial cells, reactions that lead to micro and macro circulatory clotting known as CAC (COVID19 associated coagulopathy).’ 7

Yes, the spike protein. This, it appears, is the key antigen, the key driver of the immune/thrombotic system in COVID19. This is the factor that can lead to blood bloods, strokes heart attacks…sudden death.

‘The number of out-of-hospital sudden death episodes has increased since COVID-19 outbreaks. One of the possible reasons is the high incidence of major thrombotic events in patients with COVID-19.’

It would therefore seem that caution would be required, if you were to find a way to stimulate the creation of trillions of spike proteins within the human body. Caution.

Anyway, now you know – I hope – why I became so interested in COVID19. Because it links together a whole series of processes that, I believe, are key to understanding cardiovascular disease. Endothelial damage, blood clot formation, the central role of the blood clotting system.

Of course, COVID19 represents an acute vasculitis which comes and goes at some speed and is unlikely to lead to the longer-term damage required to create the repeated clot deposition necessary to drive atherosclerotic plaque formation. However, it can still cause acute clot formation, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks and kidney damage, and suchlike.

It is why, after I got vaccinated, I took aspirin for a month.

Next, fully back to cardiovascular disease – and associated stuff. I will even start to promote my new book – due to launch in October. ‘The enduring mystery of heart disease – The Clot Thickens.’ Yes, it was my son who came up with the title. Not that I will ever let anyone know it was him.

1:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6046589/

2: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1074761319300937

3: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1074761319300937

4: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2018.00200/full

5: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399148/

6: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41584-020-0474-5

7: https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-020-03077-0

I have not been silenced

3rd September 2021

Thank you to the many people who have e-mailed me recently and asked if I have been silenced. I have not. I have had letters from Public Health England and the General Medical Council, informing me that I was under investigation for daring to question anything about COVID19, particularly vaccines.

The good news is the investigations ended up nowhere, and were closed down. I have also had irate phone calls from doctors, telling me that I must not question vaccination and suchlike. This has been somewhat wearing and has caused me to remain silent for a while and think about things.

However, I do know how to play the medical regulations game. Don’t make a statement you cannot reference from a peer-reviewed journal. Don’t give direct advice to people over the internet. Provide facts, and do not make statements such as ‘vaccines are killing thousands of people.’ Or suchlike.

Not that I ever would. My self-appointed role within the COVID19 mayhem, was to search for the truth – as far as it could be found – and to attempt to provide useful information for those who wish to read my blog.

The main reason for prolonged silence, and introspection, is that I am not sure I can find the truth. I do not know if it can be found anymore. Today I am unsure what represents a fact, and what has simply been made up. A sad and scary state of affairs.

This is not just true of the mainstream and the mainstream media, which has simply decided to parrot all Government and WHO statements without any critical engagement…or thought. For example, the BBC intones that ‘In the last day, fifty people died within twenty-eight days of a positive COVID19 test…’ Or a hundred, or six. What the hell is this supposed to mean? It means nothing, it is the very definition of scientific meaninglessness.

Especially when it seems that very nearly a half of those admitted to hospital with COVID19 were not admitted to hospital with COVID19. They were admitted with something else entirely, then had a positive test whilst in hospital. In short, they were not admitted to hospital with COVID19, and almost certainly did not die of COVID19. They died with a positive COVID19 test. With, not of.

But the misinformation is equally a problem for those on the other side. Claims are made for the benefits of Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine that simply do not stand up to scrutiny. Yes, I believe both drugs may provide some benefit, but not the claimed 90% reduction in deaths that I have seen trumpeted.

So, I have given up on COVID19. It is a complete mess, and I feel that, without being certain of the ground under my feet, I have nothing to contribute. I too am in danger of starting to make statements that are not true.

However, before leaving the area entirely, I would like to make clear some of the things I currently believe to be true, and what I do not believe to be true. If this is of any assistance to anyone. Very little is referenced, because I can very easily find a contradictory reference to any reference I provide. For each fact, there is an equal and opposite fact.

1: SARS-CoV2 exists

Many people have stated, probably correctly, that the SARS-CoV2 virus has never been fully isolated. Whatever exactly that means. Have Koch’s postulates been met? [see a bit later on] I think for viruses, Koch’s postulates are very rarely, if ever, met. Does it matter, not really.

Despite this gap I believe that SARS-CoV2 truly is a ‘new’ virus that did not exist before. So, it must have mutated somewhere, or been mutated somewhere, from another coronavirus… probably. Although it seems that SARS-CoV2 does not mutate. Instead, it creates variants which, somehow or other, is a completely different process to a mutation! I have found that language in this area means little, and words are simply twisted to suit a particular narrative.

I feel it is most likely this mutation occurred within a laboratory in Wuhan during gain of function research. But I don’t suppose we will ever know. It seems unlikely to be something that the Chinese authorities are ever going to admit… ever. As a general rule, the more fervently, and angrily, the Chinese state denies something – the more likely it is to be true.

This is a special case of a general rule that I modestly call the ‘Kendrick reverse meaning law.’ Which developed from P.G. Wodehouse’s observation that ‘When an Englishman says ‘trust me’ it is time to start counting the spoons.

This reverse meaning was seen clearly when Matt Hancock (UK Health Secretary at the time) stated that ‘Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a ring of steel around our care homes.’ Which actually meant that ‘Right from the start we threw care homes under a bus.’ Unless, what he actually meant was that the ring of steel was put up to stop care home residents escaping. ‘Halt, who goes there….’ Sound of heavy machine gun fire, whistles screeching, attack dogs baying at the leash. ‘Go for the Zimmer frames, that should bring them down.’

2: SARS-CoV2 is generally more deadly than influenza

Of course, SARS-CoV2 is most certainly not deadlier than the influenza epidemic of 1918-19. Which is estimated to have wiped out 2% of the entire world’s population. It is probably not more deadly than the 1957 epidemic, or the 1967 influenza epidemic. But it seems more deadly than anything in the last forty years, or so. So, a bit more deadly than most influenzas that sweep through humanity every year, or so. Give or take.

Currently, SARS-CoV2 is reckoned to have killed four and half million people across the Globe. Which is 0.07% of the world’s population. However, there is an immediate problem here. With influenza, we count for one year, then start again the next year. With COVID19 we have just kept on counting, adding this year figures to last years, and so on!

Eventually, therefore, assuming COVID19 comes and goes like the flu, and we just keep on counting without end, it will end up killing a hundred million. Making it the deadliest virus ever. Far worse than any influenza? At the current rate this will take another thirty years, or so. Within one thousand six hundred and sixty-six years it will have killed everyone. Of course, there will have been a few billion replacement humans created during that time.

What is far more important is to know the infection fatality rate (IFR)? That is, what percentage of those infected with SARS-CoV2 will die? This, I am afraid, we are never going to know, as the definition of what the word ‘infected’ means has flipped this way and that and can never be pinned down.

Does it mean a positive test? Does it mean a positive test plus symptoms? [Which used to be called a ‘case’] Does it mean something else. What does infected actually mean…

Here, I defer to the Master – Lewis Carroll:

‘When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”

Accepting that no-one will define what COVID19 infection actually means, I believe the infection fatality rate is, (using previous used definitions) settling at around 0.15%. At least it was last time I looked. This was never enough to justify the panicked actions that have taken place around the globe. Never.

3: The figures make no sense – and never will

One of the central problems here, form which all other problems flow, is that the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is the test against which the PCR test itself is tested. We have nothing better. So, we are completely reliant on it being accurate. However, we cannot know how accurate it truly is, because there is no test against which to compare it.

I mentioned Koch’s postulates earlier. These are the tests which can prove if a ‘micro-organism’ is actually causing the disease. The ultimate gold standard:

  • The microorganism must be found in abundance in all organisms suffering from the disease, but should not be found in healthy organisms.
  • The microorganism must be isolated from a diseased organism and grown in pure culture.
  • The cultured microorganism should cause disease when introduced into a healthy organism.
  • The microorganism must be re-isolated from the inoculated, diseased experimental host and identified as being identical to the original specific causative agent.

And good luck with all of that. The truth is that these postulates can work for bacteria, but not really for viruses. Because it is very difficult to meet them. I am not sure if they have ever been truly met for any virus.

On the matter of finding out if the virus is truly present, in anyone diagnosed with COVID19, here is a letter that was published in the BMJ in October last year

‘We are told that the virus is everywhere – in the air, in our breath, on fomites, trapped in masks – yet public health authorities seem not to be in possession of any cultivable clinical samples of the offending pathogen.

In March 2020, the World Health Organisation instructed authorities not to look for a virus but to rely instead on a genome test, the RT-PCR, which is not specific for SARS-CoV-2 (1) (2).

A Freedom of Information request to Public Health England about cultivable clinical samples or direct evidence of viral isolation has no information and refers to the proxy RT-PCR test, quoting Eurosurveillance (3).

Eurosurveillance states: “Virus detection by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) from respiratory samples is widely used to diagnose and monitor SARS-CoV-2 infection and, increasingly, to infer infectivity of an individual. However, RT-PCR does not distinguish between infectious and non-infectious virus. Propagating virus from clinical samples confirms the presence of infectious virus but is not widely available (and) requires biosafety level 3 facilities” (4).

The CDC admits that, “no quantified virus isolates of the 2019-nCoV are currently available”, and used a genetically modified human lung alveolar adenocarcinoma cell culture to, “mimic clinical specimen”(5).

It appears, therefore, that we have public health bodies without clinical samples, a test which is non-specific and does not distinguish between infectivity and non-infectivity, a requirement for biosafety level 3 facilities to even look for a virus, yet we are led to believe that it is up all our noses.

So, where is the virus?’

(1) https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/10665-331501

(2) https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m2420/rr-5

(3) https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/679566/response/1625332/attach/ht&#8230;

(4) https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.32&#8230;

(5) https://www.fda.gov/media/134922/download 1

After reading this, do I still think SARS-CoV2 exists? Yes, I do. I firmly believe that I watched people dying of it, from it. They died in a way I have never seen people do so before, and I have seen a lot of people die. They seemed quite well, then suddenly their oxygen sats dropped like a stone – they still seemed okay otherwise – then they died. The end.

Very strange, and rather disturbing. I started slipping an oxygen saturation monitor onto my finger from time to time. Just in case. 99% is my average reading, if you are interested. It never dropped.

However, getting back to the testing. If you truly want to confirm the presence of a virus in a sample, you need to send it to biosafety level 3 facilities to isolate it, grow it (not really the correct word for a virus), and suchlike. This is never done in the clinical setting.

You could argue that if you wait for antibodies to develop, you can ‘prove’ that someone was infected, or not, and thus work out how accurate the PCR test has been retrospectively. Perhaps…

I speak as someone who needed seven Hepatitis B vaccinations before I produced any detectable antibodies. Did I have immunity after the first six, or not? Am I someone who simply does not make many antibodies, but still have immunity through other mechanisms?  Do others simply not produce antibodies, or their level drops so fast, that they effectively disappear?

Yes, serological testing (looking for antibodies), has its own very significant problems.

‘Serological tests for SARS-CoV-2 have accuracy issues that warrant attention. They measure specific antibody responses which may take some weeks to develop after disease onset reducing the sensitivity of the assay. If blood samples were collected during the early stage of the infection, they may produce false negative results. They do not directly detect the presence of the virus. Further, antibodies may be present when SARS-CoV-2 is no longer present giving false positive case diagnosis.’ 2

In reality, we are relying on a PCR test to diagnose SARS-CoV2 infection, the accuracy of which is entirely dependent on believing that the test is accurate. Yes, that is the route to madness.

At present, in the UK, we are doing about one million tests a day 3.

We are getting about thirty thousand ‘positive’ results. Or, about 3% positive. How many of these are truly positive? Well, you can take a wild guess on that one. At one point, the CDC stated that 30% of the PCR tests were false positives. A ‘false positive’ means that test says you have the disease, when you do not. [A false negative informs you that you do not have the disease, when you do] 4.

The thirty per cent cannot be the case currently, because that would mean if you did one million tests, you would get more than three hundred thousand false positives. Instead we are getting thirty thousand, which means that it is impossible for the false positive rate to be higher than three per cent.

So, what is the true rate? Well, if is three percent, then virtually every single positive test is a false positive test. [Three per cent of one million is thirty thousand] Which would mean that no-one in the UK currently has COVID19, and everything we are doing is completely pointless. It also means that people admitted to hospital with COVID19 do not have the disease, they are suffering from, and dying from, something else with a false positive COVID19 false test stamped on their forehead.

Is it possible that no-one actually is infected with SARS-CoV2? Well, it is certainly not impossible. Here is a graph of overall mortality (risk of dying of anything) from England. These figures, unlike most others, are pretty much fully reliable. Someone is either dead, or they are not. It is a difficult thing to get wrong, or manipulate. There can be some delay in registering a death, but this is not normally a major issue.

The graph starts in last quarter 2017. As you can see, a spike in overall mortality in Spring 2020, A spike in Winter 2020/21. Currently, no excess mortality at all. So, if COVID19 is infecting hundreds of thousands of people each week, it is not showing up as any excess deaths… at all 5.

Does this mean that COVID19 has gone, and we are rushing around panicking about false positive tests? Or is it still here? Still here I think… but who knows… who knows.

This is the main reason I have given up. I just don’t know what to believe – apart from overall mortality figures. The figures are spun and massage, twisted and mangled.

Another reason why I have given up trying to make any sense of COVID19 is the enormous differences in overall mortality seen in countries that are virtually identical in life expectancy, healthcare systems, actions taken against COVID19 etc. etc.

Afters studying the figures from England, I looked at the figures from Northern Ireland.

Both countries [yes, Northern Ireland is not actually a separate country, it is part of the UK] did almost exactly the same things when it came to COVID19. They both have the National Health Service, they are as close to each other as can be – in terms of COVID19, and most other things. Here is the graph of overall morality for Northern Ireland.

Which means that something very dramatic happened in England, with regard to COVID19? Yet nothing happened in Northern Ireland. This, to me, is fascinating, although I cannot explain it. However, I know that if you were able explain why these two graphs are so weirdly different, you will be unearthing some critical truths with regard to COVID19.

Of course, no-one is remotely interested in such anomalies. Instead, they point to a country like Norway and say – ‘Look how well they did with their rapid lockdown, and preventing people crossing the border’. No-one points to Northern Ireland and says, ‘look how well they did with all their….’ All their what? All their doing exactly the same as England.

Yes, Northern Ireland does not fit with the approved narrative, so it is ignored. Anything that does not fit with the mask wearing, social isolating, vaccination will save the world narrative is simply ignored.

Or it is shouted down or censored by the self-appointed Fact-checkers. Those mighty intellects who can determine what is true, and what is not. It was thoughtful of them to descend from Mount Olympus to mingle amongst feeble minded humanity and tell us what we should, and should not, be thinking. We must all be eternally grateful that the ‘Truth Gods’ now live amongst us, to firmly inform us all what, and how, we should be thinking. And shut us down if we veer from the official narrative.

Anyway, faced with a situation where there are almost no facts that can be relied upon, from anywhere, I have officially removed myself from all discussions on the matter of COVID19.

Instead, I shall return to other areas where, whilst the truth is constantly battered and bruised, and lying in a bruised heap the corner, it is still breathing … just about alive. Sometimes it is capable of weakly raising its head and whispering quietly into my ear. I shall let you know what it says.

1: https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3379/rr-2

2: https://systematicreviewsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13643-021-01689-3

3: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/?_ga=2.38943459.111756282.1590603430-1775824629.1590603430

4: https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n1411/rr

5: https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/

Covid19 – the final nail in coffin of medical research

28th June 2021

“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.” Edward Grey

Several years ago, I wrote a book called Doctoring Data. It was my attempt to help people navigate their way through medical headlines and medical data.

One of the main reasons I was stimulated to write it, is because I had become deeply concerned that science, especially medical science, had been almost fully taken over by commercial interests. With the end result that much of the data we were getting bombarded with was enormously biased, and thus corrupted. I wanted to show how some of this bias gets built in.

I was not alone in my concerns. As far back as 2005, John Ioannidis wrote the very highly cited paper ‘Why most Published Research Findings are False’. It has been downloaded and read by many, many, thousands of researchers over the years, so they can’t say they don’t know:

‘Moreover for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.’1

Marcia Angell, who edited the New England Journal of Medicine for twenty years, wrote the following. It is a quote I have used many times, in many different talks:

‘It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.’

Peter Gotzsche, who set up the Nordic Cochrane Collaboration, and who was booted out of said Cochrane collaboration for questioning the HPV vaccine (used to prevent cervical cancer) wrote the book. ‘Deadly Medicine and Organised Crime. [How big pharma has corrupted healthcare]’.

The book cover states… ‘The main reason we take so many drugs is that drug companies don’t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs… virtually everything we know about drugs is what the companies have chosen to tell us and our doctors… if you don’t believe the system is out of control, please e-mail me and explain why drugs are the third leading cause of death.’

Richard Smith edited the British Medical Journal (BMJ) for many years. He now writes a blog, amongst other things. A few years ago, he commented:

‘Twenty years ago this week, the statistician Doug Altman published an editorial in the BMJ arguing that much medical research was of poor quality and misleading. In his editorial entitled ‘The scandal of Poor Medical Research.’ Altman wrote that much research was seriously flawed through the use of inappropriate designs, unrepresentative sample, small sample, incorrect methods of analysis and faulty interpretation… Twenty years later, I feel that things are not better, but worse…

In 2002 I spent eight marvellous weeks in a 15th palazzo in Venice writing a book on medical journals, the major outlets for medical research, and the dismal conclusion that things were badly wrong with journals and the research they published. My confidence that ‘things can only get better’ has largely drained away.’

Essentially, medical research has inexorably turned into an industry. A very lucrative industry. Many medical journals now charge authors thousands of dollars to publish their research. This ensures that it is very difficult for any researcher, not supported by a university, or a pharmaceutical company, to afford to publish anything, unless they are independently wealthy.

The journals then have the cheek to claim copyright, and charge money to anyone who actually wants to read, or download the full paper. Fifty dollars for a few on-line pages! They then bill for reprints, they charge for advertising. Those who had the temerity to write the article get nothing – and nor do the peer reviewers.

It is all very profitable. Last time I looked the Return on Investment (profit) was thirty-five per-cent for the big publishing houses. It was Robert Maxwell who first saw this opportunity for money making.

Driven by financial imperative, the research itself has also, inevitably, become biased. He who pays the paper calls the tune. Pharmaceutical companies, food manufacturers and suchlike. They can certainly afford the publication fees.

In addition to all the financial and peer-review pressure, if you dare swim against the approved mainstream views you will, very often, be ruthlessly attacked. As many people know, I am a critic of the cholesterol hypothesis, along with my band of brothers…we few, we happy few. In the 1970s, Kilmer McCully, who plays double bass in our band, was looking into a cause of cardiovascular disease that went against the mainstream view. This is what happened to him:

‘Thomas N. James, a cardiologist and president of the University of Texas Medical Branch who was also the president of the American Heart Association in 1979 and ’80, is even harsher [regarding the treatment of McCully]. ”It was worse than that – you couldn’t get ideas funded that went in other directions than cholesterol,” he says. ”You were intentionally discouraged from pursuing alternative questions. I’ve never dealt with a subject in my life that elicited such an immediate hostile response.

It took two years for McCully to find a new research job. His children were reaching college age; he and his wife refinanced their house and borrowed from her parents. McCully says that his job search developed a pattern: he would hear of an opening, go for interviews and then the process would grind to a stop. Finally, he heard rumors of what he calls ”poison phone calls” from Harvard. ”It smelled to high heaven,” he says.’

McCully says that when he was interviewed on Canadian television after he left Harvard, he received a call from the public-affairs director of Mass. General. ”He told me to shut up,” McCully recalls. ”He said he didn’t want the names of Harvard and Mass. General associated with my theories.’ 2

More recently, I was sent a link to an article outlining the attacks made on another researcher who published a paper which found that being overweight meant having a (slightly) lower risk of death than being of ‘normal weight. This, would never do:

‘A naïve researcher published a scientific article in a respectable journal. She thought her article was straightforward and defensible. It used only publicly available data, and her findings were consistent with much of the literature on the topic. Her coauthors included two distinguished statisticians.

To her surprise her publication was met with unusual attacks from some unexpected sources within the research community. These attacks were by and large not pursued through normal channels of scientific discussion. Her research became the target of an aggressive campaign that included insults, errors, misinformation, social media posts, behind-the-scenes gossip and maneuvers, and complaints to her employer.

The goal appeared to be to undermine and discredit her work. The controversy was something deliberately manufactured, and the attacks primarily consisted of repeated assertions of preconceived opinions. She learned first-hand the antagonism that could be provoked by inconvenient scientific findings. Guidelines and recommendations should be based on objective and unbiased data. Development of public health policy and clinical recommendations is complex and needs to be evidence-based rather than belief-based. This can be challenging when a hot-button topic is involved.’ 3

Those who lead the attacks on her were my very favourite researchers, Walter Willet and Frank Hu. Two eminent researchers from Harvard who I nickname Tweedledum and Tweedledummer. Harvard itself has become an institution, which, along with Oxford University, comes up a lot in tales of bullying and intimidation. Willet and Hu are internationally known for promoting vegetarian and vegan diets. Willet is a key figure in the EAT-Lancet initiative.

Where is science in all this? I feel the need to state, at this point, that I don’t mind attacks on ideas. I like robust debate. Science can only progress through a process of new hypotheses being proposed, being attacked, being refined and strengthened – or obliterated. But what we see now is not science. It is the obliteration of science itself:

‘Anyone who has been a scientist for more than 20 years will realize that there has been a progressive decline in the honesty of communications between scientists, between scientists and their institutions and the outside world.

Yet, real science must be an area where truth is the rule; or else the activity simply stops being scient and becomes something else: Zombie science. Zombie science is a science that is dead, but is artificially keep moving by a continual infusion of funding. From a distance Zombie science looks like the real thing, the surface features of a science are in place – white coats, laboratories, computer programming, PhDs, papers, conferences, prizes etc. But the Zombie is not interested in the pursuit of truth – its citations are externally-controlled and directed at non-scientific goals, and inside the Zombie everything is rotten…

Scientists are usually too careful and clever to risk telling outright lies, but instead they push the envelope of exaggeration, selectivity and distortion as far as possible. And tolerance for this kind of untruthfulness has greatly increased over recent years. So, it is now routine for scientists deliberately to ‘hype’ the significance of their status and performance and ‘spin’ the importance of their research.’ Bruce Charlton: Professor of Theoretical Medicine.

I was already pretty depressed with the direction that medical science was taking. Then COVID19 came along, the distortion and hype became so outrageous that I almost gave up trying to establish what was true, and was just made up nonsense.

For example, I stated, right at the start of the COVID19 pandemic, that vitamin D could be important in protecting against the virus. For having the audacity to say this, I was attacked by the fact checkers. Indeed, anyone promoting vitamin D to reduce the risk of COVID19 infection, was ruthlessly hounded.

 Guess what. Here from 17th June:

‘Hospitalized COVID-19 patients are far more likely to die or to end up in severe or critical condition if they are vitamin D-deficient, Israeli researchers have found.

In a study conducted in a Galilee hospital, 26 percent of vitamin D-deficient coronavirus patients died, while among other patients the figure was at 3%.

“This is a very, very significant discrepancy, which represents a big clue that starting the disease with very low vitamin D leads to increased mortality and more severity,” Dr. Amir Bashkin, endocrinologist and part of the research team, told The Times of Israel.’ 4

I also recommended vitamin C for those already in hospital. Again, I was attacked, as has everyone who has dared to mention COVID19 and vitamin C in the same sentence. Yet, we know that vitamin C is essential for the health and wellbeing of blood vessels, and the endothelial cells that line them. In severe infection the body burns through vitamin C, and people can become ‘scrobutic’ (the name given to severe lack of vitamin C).

Vitamin C is also known to have powerful anti-viral activity. It has been known for years. Here, from an article in 1996:

‘Over the years, it has become well recognized that ascorbate can bolster the natural defense mechanisms of the host and provide protection not only against infectious disease, but also against cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases. The functions involved in ascorbate’s enhancement of host resistance to disease include its biosynthetic (hy-droxylating), antioxidant, and immunostimulatory activities. In addition, ascorbate exerts a direct antiviral action that may confer specific protection against viral disease. The vitamin has been found to inactivate a wide spectrum of viruses as well as suppress viral replication abd expression in infected cell.’ 5

I like quoting research on vitamins from way before COVID19 appeared, where people were simply looking at Vitamin C without the entire medico-industrial complex looking over their shoulder, ready to stamp out anything they don’t like. Despite a mass of evidence that Vitamin C has benefits against viral infection, it is a complete no-go area and no-one even dares to research it now. Facebook removes any content relating to Vitamin C and COVID19.

As of today, any criticism of the mainstream narrative is simply being removed. Those who dare to raise their heads above the parapet, have them chopped off:

‘Dr Francis Christian, practising surgeon and clinical professor of general surgery at the University of Saskatchewan, has been immediately suspended from all teaching and will be permanently removed from his role as of September.

Dr Christian has been a surgeon for more than 20 years and began working in Saskatoon in 2007. He was appointed Director of the Surgical Humanities Program and Director of Quality and Patient Safety in 2018 and co-founded the Surgical Humanities Program. Dr. Christian is also the Editor of the Journal of The Surgical Humanities.

On June 17th Dr Christian released a statement to over 200 of his colleagues, expressing concern over the lack of informed consent involved in Canada’s “Covid19 vaccination” program, especially regarding children.

To be clear, Dr Christian’s position is hardly an extreme one.

He believes the virus is real, he believes in vaccination as a general principle, he believes the elderly and vulnerable may benefit from the Covid “vaccine”… he simply doesn’t agree it should be used on children, and feels parents are not being given enough information for properly informed consent.6

When I wrote Doctoring Data, a few years ago, I included the following thoughts about the increasing censorship and punishment that was already very clearly out in the open:

…where does it end? Well, we know where it ends.

First, they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist

Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist

Then they came from the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist

Then they came for me, and there was no-one left to speak for me

Do you think this is a massive over-reaction? Do I really believe that we are heading for some form of totalitarian stated, where dissent against the medical ‘experts’ will be punishable by imprisonment? Well, yes, I do. We are already in a situation where doctors who fail to follow the dreaded ‘guidelines’ can be sued, or dragged in front the General Medical Council, and struck of. Thus losing their job and income…

Where next?

The lamps are not just going out all over Europe. They are going out, all over the world.

1: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

2: https://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/10/magazine/the-fall-and-rise-of-kilmer-mccully.html

3: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033062021000670

4: https://www.timesofisrael.com/1-in-4-hospitalized-covid-patients-who-lack-vitamin-d-die-israeli-study

5: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/14383321_Antiviral_and_Immunomodulatory_Activities_of_Ascorbic_Acid 6: https://off-guardian.org/2021/06/25/canadian-surgeon-fired-for-voicing-safety-concerns-over-covid-jabs-for-children/

Matt Hancock ‘I tried’

16th June 2021

This article first appeared in RT.com https://www.rt.com/op-ed/526539-catastrophic-care-homes-matt-hancock/

As a GP working mainly with elderly patients in Care Homes and Intermediate Care I witnessed, at first hand, the absolute disaster that was the Government policy at the start of the COVID19 outbreak. Elderly patients who were COVID19 positive, or not tested, perhaps even negative, were simply shovelled out of hospitals and into care homes. ‘The hospitals must be cleared out… nothing else matters.

At the time there was no personal protection equipment (PPE) available… at all. In fact, in many care homes staff were actually ordered by the management not to wear PPE. This was also the case in hospitals. Not that it would have made a great deal of difference in most care homes where patients with dementia often wander happily from room-to-room without masks, and oblivious to any potential danger. I had to usher one or two out of the nurse’s office from time to time.

In my work with Intermediate Care patients, looking after those who were too well to be in an acute hospital bed, but not yet well enough to be at home, we were placed under massive pressure to just send everyone home. That is if they were COVID19 positive, or not, or untested, where they could spread it to their – often elderly – relatives. Alternatively, they could infect their carers who would then travel to the homes of other elderly people they were looking after, without PPE.

In fact, if you wanted to design a system of ensuring that every single, vulnerable person in the country gained full exposure to COVID19, you could not have a done a better job. I wrote several increasingly frustrated e-mails to various managers, but they simply stated they were just following policy so ‘you can’t blame me’. Policy set at the very top.

Here is an example of the type of e-mail I was sending in April 2020. You may sense the frustration (I have changed the names of the unit and wards for confidentiality reasons).

I think this is very simple, Unit A is currently ‘hot’. We have five patients and four staff ‘COVID positive’ swabbed. Eight patients have now died of COVID.

If we admit COVID negative patients into Unit A this is putting them at great risk of being infected. So, we should stop admissions. The only ones that should come in are those found positive, recovered, and 14 days post positive swab – at least.

Equally if we discharge patients, we are, almost certainly, spreading COVID around the entire care community. Until fourteen days have passed.

There is also a plan to send COVID positive patients to ward B, and keep Unit A as green (no COVID). The only way Unit A can be green is if we stop admitting patients. Because, once new patients reach Unit A they are likely to get infected, then another 14 – 21 days must pass. So, we will go round and round, forever.

Also, another plan is to send high risk staff to Unit A, and have low risk staff in ward B, so the staff will be swapped around. Again, Unit A is currently red hot. We will be endangering high risk staff if we send them to Unit A. Some of them will get infected. Then, they will incubate for 7 – 14 days. They will infect patients, and other staff, then they will go off sick. Then, some of them may well die.

The current plan seems to be to admit elderly vulnerable patients into a high risk COVID ‘hot’ environment and hope they don’t get COVID. We have already seen staff to patient transmission in Unit A. So, some of these patients will get infected, with a very high risk of dying….

In a way, it is hard to blame management who were trying to follow ever-changing edicts from above. Edicts often directly contradicting what they had been told the day before. It was chaos. Now, we have Matt Hancock, the UK Health Secretary stating, amazingly without being struck down by a lightning bolt, that he threw a ring of steel around care homes and elderly hospital units at the time. A… ring… of… steel. This was presumably to stop anyone escaping somewhere safer. Of course, he now says that the most important word in his statement is ‘tried’ as in ‘We tried to throw a ring of steel…’

This will now be his perfect defence. I didn’t say we succeeded, I only said that we tried. How completely pathetic. First, he did the exact opposite of trying. He put in place policies that were directly responsible for the massive number of deaths in care homes. He commanded that hospital were emptied out of elderly patients. What’s his next excuse. ‘Lots of the other countries did the same thing.’ Which is true. But you can hardly claim you are a leader, if all you managed to do was follow others down a disastrous policy failure.

How many deaths did this cause? Well, during the first wave of COVID19 it has been estimated that forty per cent of deaths occurred in care homes. Here from the Nuffield trust:

‘…the burden of the virus fell much more severely on care homes (relative to the population generally) in the first wave. Of the 48,213 COVID deaths registered between mid-March and mid-June, 40% were care home residents.’ https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/news-item/COVID-19-and-the-deaths-of-care-home-residents

There are around half a million residents in care homes, which is nought point seven per-cent (0.7%) of the entire population. Yet they had forty per cent (40%) of the deaths.

Yes, the elderly, especially those in care homes were most likely to die from COVID19. But this was known very early on. In Italy, where COVID19 first hit Europe, the average age of death was eighty two, and almost all of those who died had other, significant diseases.

If there was one population that needed to be protected it was elderly, vulnerable care home residents. Matt Hancock presided over policy decisions that threw care home residents under a bus. Now he is trying to claim he did all he could to protect them. Anyone who works in the health service, or in the care sector, knows exactly what he did.

COVID19 – the spike protein and blood clotting

3rd June 2021

When COVID19 came along I was in the midst of writing my latest book on heart disease. What causes it – and what does not.

One section I was working on covers the wide range of conditions known as the vasculitis(es). I could immediately see a whole series of connections between COVID19, spike proteins, the immune system and blood clots. Some of which are deeply concerning, for reasons that should become apparent.

Before getting started, you can see an immediate problem here is there does not seem to be a plural form of vasculitis. A bit like octopus. You can have one octopus, but what happens then… two octupuses… or is it two octopi? Wars have been fought over less.

Anyway, a vasculitis is a condition whereby a factor, of some sort, causes damage to the vascular system. The vascular system being, essentially, the blood vessels and the heart. The suffix itis simplymeans inflammation. As in appendicitis, or tonsillitis. Or, in this case vasculitis.

There are many different vasculitis(es) or vasculiti? They range from Kawasaki’s disease to antiphospholipid syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, Sjogren’s disease and suchlike. They are many, and varied, and quite fascinating. At least they are, to me.

In all of them you have two things in common… that are most relevant to this discussion. First, with any form of vasculitis, the body decides to attack the lining of the blood vessels – causing inflammation and damage. Second, the rate of death from cardiovascular disease goes up dramatically. In some cases, a fifty-fold increase. This was seen in young women with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) with additional antiphospholipid syndrome1.

Why does the body decide to attack itself? This is a good question that I cannot really answer. If I could, I would be claiming my Nobel prize, right now. However, I can say that, for various reasons, the immune system makes the decision that it doesn’t like something about the lining of the blood vessels and believes it to have become ‘alien’ in some way. It then proceeds to attack. Which does not answer the question as to exactly why the attack happens? But it does tell you a bit about what happens.

Another major problem with vasculitis is that blood clots spring to life throughout the vascular system. This is because the blood is always ready to clot, at any time, and if you take away some of vital the anti-clotting mechanisms, the balance will be tilted firmly towards coagulation.

One of the most powerful anti-clotting mechanisms/systems is the protective layer that lines your entire vascular system, known as the glycocalyx. This is made up of glycoproteins (glucose and proteins stuck together). Under an electron microscope the glycocalyx looks like a tiny forest, or a badly mown lawn.

Many fish are covered with glycocalyx, which makes them very slippery, and difficult to get hold of. The glycocalyx also stops bacteria and viruses from gaining entry, in both fish and humans.

In your blood vessels, the glycocalyx protrudes out from endothelial cells, the cells that line all your blood vessels, and into the bloodstream. The layer of glycocalyx contains many, many, anticoagulant factors. Below is a short list of all the things the glycocalyx does:

The glycocalyx:

  • Forms the interface between the vessel wall and moving blood.
  • Acts as the exclusion zone between blood cells and the endothelium.
  • Acts as a barrier against leakage of fluid, proteins and lipids across the vascular wall.
  • Interacts dynamically with blood constituents.
  • Acts as the “molecular sieve” for plasma proteins.
  • Modulates adhesion of inflammatory cells and platelets to the endothelial surface.
  • Functions as a sensor and mechano-transducer of the fluid shear forces to which the endothelium is exposed; thus, the glycocalyx mediates shear-stress-dependent nitric oxide production.
  • Retains protective enzymes (e.g., superoxide dismutase).
  • Retains anticoagulation factors, e.g.: Tissue factor inhibitor, Protein C, Nitric Oxide (NO), Antithrombin.

Complicated stuff – that hardly anyone has ever heard of.

Anyway, if you damage the glycocalyx, or damage the underlying endothelial cells that synthesizes the glycocalyx layer, you will tip the balance very strongly towards the creation of blood clots. These can then then stick to the artery, or vein, wall. Sometimes they will fully block a blood vessel, leading to such things as a stroke or heart attack.

The interaction between vasculitis and thrombosis has been a relatively unexplored area of medicine. But it remains critically important in many diseases:

‘The relationship between inflammation and thrombosis is not a recent concept, but it has been largely investigated only in recent years. Nowadays inflammation-induced thrombosis is considered to be a feature of systemic autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), or Sjogren’s Syndrome (SS)2.

In super-short version. If you damage the lining of blood vessel walls, blood clots are far more likely to form. Very often, the damage is caused by the immune system going on the attack, damaging blood vessel walls, and removing several of the anti-clotting mechanisms.

Sepsis

Moving sideways for a moment. There are other things that can damage the blood vessel wall, leading to widespread blood clot formation. One of them is the condition known as sepsis. Which used to be called blood poisoning.

In sepsis, bacteria gain entry to the bloodstream through such things as a cut, an insect bite, a severe urine infection, and suchlike. When bacteria get into the blood, and start multiplying, they release exotoxins. Which are, effectively, the waste products of the bacteria.

These exotoxins then attack blood vessel walls, damaging the glycocalyx and endothelial cells. This drives the formation of blood clots throughout the body. The medical term for this is disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) = widespread blood clots in the vascular system.

The attacks not only cause clots, they can also cause the smaller blood vessels to weaken and burst. Which is why one sign of an infection with the meningococcal bacteria (the one that causes meningitis), is a rash. The rash is made up of dark, almost black, bruises. Once these start to appear, things are very bad. Potentially fatal, it means blood vessels are under severe attack and are breaking apart. Creating both bleeding and clots.

In truth, the ‘rash’ in meningitis is not really a rash at all. It is a sign of underlying, severe, vasculitis. The individual small bruises can also be called petechiae. Just to be scientific.

Another sign of widespread blood vessel damage, with the formation of multiple blood clots, is that the level of platelets in the bloodstream falls dramatically. For those who have never heard of such things, platelets are small cells that float about in the bloodstream. Their primary role is to co-ordinate the blood clotting system. If a red blood cell was the size of the Earth, a platelet would be about this size of the Moon.

If there is damage to blood vessels, platelets fling themselves at the area, and stick together to form a solid plug. They also release chemicals and enzymes that cause fibrin to be formed. Fibrin is the long sticky strand of protein that binds clots tightly together. Platelets also drag in red blood cells, and suchlike to make bigger and tougher clots. They have been called the conductors of the clotting orchestra.

In the process of doing all of these things, the number of platelets starts to fall. This is not surprising, as they are being used up to make blood clots/thrombi. Which means that one sign of widespread clot formation is a fall in the level of platelets (thrombocytopenia). This reliable sign of widespread coagulation, or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

Time for a quick re-cap.

What do we know?

What we now know, on the journey towards COVID19, are three important things.

  • If you damage the endothelial cells/glycocalyx, blood clots will form and stick to the side of blood vessels.
  • Damage is often caused by immune system attack.
  • Falling platelet levels are a sign of widespread blood clotting.

COVID19

What do we know about COVID19? First, it can only enter cells that have a receptor known as the angiotensin II receptor (ACE2 receptor). Cells with these receptors are mainly found in the lining of the lungs, and endothelial cells that line all blood vessels. Also, the epithelial /endothelial cells than line the intestines. If a cell does not have an ACE2 receptor, COVID19 simply cannot gain entry.

This was known years ago, when SARS-CoV was identified, the precursor of SARS-Cov2. Here from a paper in 2004:

‘The most remarkable finding was the surface expression of ACE2 protein on lung alveolar epithelial cells and enterocytes of the small intestine. Furthermore, ACE2 was present in arterial and venous endothelial cells and arterial smooth muscle cells in all organs studied. In conclusion, ACE2 is abundantly present in humans in the epithelia of the lung and small intestine, which might provide possible routes of entry for the SARS-CoV. This epithelial expression, together with the presence of ACE2 in vascular endothelium, also provides a first step in understanding the pathogenesis of the main SARS disease manifestations3.’

So, SARS-CoV gets into the body through the lungs and bowels. These are the places where the virus can gain access because it is where ACE2 receptors can mainly be found. Of course, SARS-Cov2 gets into the body in exactly the same way.

What happens once SARS-Cov2 gets into cells? Well, it does what all viruses do. It takes over various cellular mechanisms and forces the cell to produce more SARS-CoV2 viruses. This then kills, or severely damages those cells. This mainly occurs when ‘virions’ start to escape from within the cell. This damages the cell membrane, and in some cases can cause the cell to burst apart.

Essentially, SARS-Cov2 starts by damaging endothelial cells in the lungs, because it usually arrives here first. Fluid is released, and there is the breakdown of small blood vessels in the lungs, and the small airways. In this situation, the lungs begin to fail, and oxygen levels in the blood can fall dramatically.

Infection can also cause diarrhoea, as the epithelial cells in the intestines are damaged. To quote from ‘the COVID19 symptoms’ study:

‘We think COVID-19 causes diarrhoea because the virus can invade cells in the gut and disrupt its normal function 4.’

As far as I know, no-one has died of COVID19 diarrhoea. However, COVID19 can create such severe lung damage that people have died from respiratory failure or lung damage… call this form of disruption what you will. However, many/most people survive this phase.

It is what happens next that that kills the majority of people who become severely infected.

What happens next is that SARS-Cov2 gets into the bloodstream. It then invades endothelial cells, also pericytes and myocytes in the heart.  Both of which have a high level of ACE2 receptors. Both of which are kind of vital for heart function 5,6.

Then…

What we now have is a major widespread vasculitis on our hands, with severe endothelial cell damage and disruption and damage to the glycocalyx. Blood clots, blood clots, blood clots, everywhere.

‘Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes a spectrum of disease; some patients develop a severe proinflammatory state which can be associated with a unique coagulopathy and procoagulant endothelial phenotype. Initially, COVID-19 infection produces a prominent elevation of fibrinogen and D-dimer/fibrin(ogen) degradation products. This is associated with systemic hypercoagulability and frequent venous thromboembolic events. The degree of D-dimer elevation positively correlates with mortality in COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 also leads to arterial thrombotic events (including strokes and ischemic limbs) as well as microvascular thrombotic disorders (as frequently documented at autopsy in the pulmonary vascular beds). COVID-19 patients often have mild thrombocytopenia* and appear to have increased platelet consumption, together with a corresponding increase in platelet production.7

*a low level of platelets

The spike protein

Then, of course, we have the spike protein to consider. If this is the thing that the immune system recognises and attacks – which it almost certainly is – then cells which are growing SARS-Cov2 inside them, which then express the spike protein on their surface as the virions escape, will be identified as ‘the enemy’.

At which point, the immune system will start to attack the endothelium (and glycocalyx) in an attempt to wipe out the virus. This will tend to happen two or three weeks after the initial infection (sometimes sooner). This is after the immune system has had a real chance to identify the spike protein, then properly wind itself up to produce antibodies against it. This is the time of maximum attack on the endothelium.

This moment is often referred to as a cytokine storm. A point where every system in the immune system gets revved up and charges into action. At one point I wasn’t sure if I really believed in the cytokine storm. But I do now think it is a real thing. It is almost certainly why steroids (which very powerfully reduce the immune response) have been found to reduce mortality in severely ill patients.

All of which means it may well be the body’s own infectious disease defence system that creates much of the damage to the cardiovascular system. Not necessarily the virus itself.

Alternatively, it may be that the spike protein itself creates most of the blood clots. Here from the paper ‘SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 subunit induces hypercoagulability.’

‘When whole blood was exposed to spike protein even at low concentrations, the erythrocytes (red blood cells) showed agglutination, hyperactivated platelets were seen, with membrane spreading and the formation of platelet-derived microparticles8.’

Translation. Introduce SARS-CoV2 spike proteins into bloodstream, and it makes it clot – fast. Which is a worry.

Vaccines

It is a worry because the entire purpose of vaccination against SARS-Cov2 is to force cells to manufacture the spike protein(s) and then send them out into the bloodstream.

So, quick recap again, what do we know?

We know that a very high percentage of the people who die following a COVID19 infection, die as result of blood clots. We also know that they can also suffer severe myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), and suchlike.

We know that the spike protein can stimulate blood clots all by itself.

We know that the immune system attack on ‘alien’ proteins, such as the spike protein, can cause vasculitis.

We know that vaccines are designed to drive the rapid production of spike proteins that will enter the blood stream specifically to encounter immune cells, in order to create a powerful response that will lead to ‘immunity’ against future SARS-CoV2 infection.

We know that a number of people have died from blood clots following vaccination. To quote from the European Medicines Agency website report on the AZ COVID19 vaccine:

‘The PRAC (pharmacovigilance risk assessment committee) noted that the blood clots occurred in veins in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, CVST) and the abdomen (splanchnic vein thrombosis) and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding 9.’

This was all pretty much predictable, if you understood what was going with SARS-CoV – nearly seventeen years ago.

My concern at this point is that, yes, we have identified very rare manifestations of blood clotting: cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and splanchnic (relating to the internal organs or viscera) vein thrombosis (SVT). These are so rare that it is unlikely that anything else – other than a novel vaccine – could have caused them. I have never seen a case and I had never even heard of them before COVID19 came along. And I have spent years studying the blood coagulation system, and vasculitis, and suchlike.

So, if someone is vaccinated, then has a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or a splanchnic vein thrombosis, this is almost certainly going to be noted and recorded – and associated with the vaccination. Fine.

However, if there is an increase in vanishingly rare blood clots, could there also be an increase in other, far more common blood clots at the same time. If this was the case, then it would be far more difficult to spot this happening.

Millions and millions of people suffer strokes and heart attacks every year. Millions more suffer deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli. In fact, around the world, tens of millions die each and every year as a result of a blood clots forming somewhere in the body.

That is a hell of a lot of background blood clotting noise. Which means that it could be extremely difficult to disentangle cause and effect, especially if you are not looking. If an elderly person is vaccinated, then dies of a stroke a couple of weeks later. What caused the blood clot that led to the stroke? It is unlikely that any doctor would record this as a post-vaccine adverse event.

To give you one example of the difficulty of disentangling cause and effect, when you are looking at very common events, a few years ago Merck launched a drug called Vioxx (an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, or naproxen but not exactly the same class of drug).  It didn’t go well. Here from the article ‘Merck Manipulated the Science about the Drug Vioxx.’

‘To increase the likelihood of FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval for its anti-inflammatory and arthritis drug Vioxx, the pharmaceutical giant Merck used flawed methodologies biased toward predetermined results to exaggerate the drug’s positive effects. Internal documents made public in litigation revealed that a Merck marketing team had developed a strategy called ADVANTAGE (Assessment of Differences between Vioxx And Naproxen To Ascertain Gastrointestinal tolerability and Effectiveness) to skew the results of clinical trials in the drug’s favor.

As part of the strategy, scientists manipulated the trial design by comparing the drug to naproxen, a pain reliever sold under brand names such as Aleve, rather than to a placebo.’

The scientists highlighted the results that naproxen decreased the risk of heart attack by 80 percent, and downplayed results showing that Vioxx increased the risk of heart attack by 400 percent. This misleading presentation of the evidence made it look like naproxen was protecting patients from heart attacks, and that Vioxx only looked risky by comparison. In fact, Vioxx has since been found to significantly increase cardiovascular risk, leading Merck to withdraw the product from the market in 2004.

Tragically, Merck’s manipulation of its data—and the FDA’s resulting approval of Vioxx in 1999—led to thousands of avoidable premature deaths and 100,000 heart attacks.’ https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/merck-manipulated-science-about-drug-vioxx

Yes, not exactly their finest hour. However, the point that I want to highlight from this sorry tale is that it is estimated that Vioxx caused 100,000 additional heart attacks, in the US alone, and nobody noticed. This figure was only worked out when researchers analysed the figures on increased risk, that had been seen in the clinical trials – at least the figures that were finally seen when Merck were forced to release the data.

You may think. How could one hundred thousand heart attacks simply be missed? Well, there are very nearly one million physicians in the US. If the heart attacks caused by Vioxx were evenly distributed, only one in five physicians would have seen anyone suffer because of taking Vioxx. In those physicians that did see one, or two, would they have made the connection? No, they would not. Not in a million years. There would not even be a record of any possible connection made.

Elderly person has a stroke, or heart attack. Elderly person took Vioxx. And…?

All of which means I am not gigantically concerned about CVST and SVT. Blood clots in these veins are rare, and remain rare, even after vaccination – and will never be missed, particularly when they happen in younger people. Because when younger people die, great efforts are made to establish the cause of death.

However, I can see no reason why these specific blood vessels would be targeted by blood clots. Perhaps there is some reason why clots only occur in the central venous sinus vein, or splanchnic vein following vaccination. If so, I have been unable to find out. I am more than willing to be educated on this.

Time to move on to the other worrying observation, that can be found within the report by the pharmacovigilance risk assessment committee (PRAC) – as mentioned above:

‘The PRAC noted that the blood clots occurred in veins in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, CVST) and the abdomen (splanchnic vein thrombosis) and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding.

One blood clot, in one relatively small vein, is not going to cause a low platelet level. Nor will it cause bleeding – a sign of very low platelet levels. Which means that those unfortunate people who developed CVST and SVT almost certainly had widespread problems with other clots as well. Then, for reasons unknown, they triggered these forms of, vanishingly rare blood clot. The ones that killed them. The ones that were recognised – because they are so rare.

I shall finish here. You can join the dots yourself. Or not.

1: https://www.intechopen.com/books/pregnancy-thrombophilia-the-unsuspected-risk/thrombophilia-in-systemic-lupus-erythematosus-a-review-of-multiple-mechanisms-and-resultant-clinical

2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399148/

3: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15141377/

4: https://covid.joinzoe.com/post/covid-symptoms-diarrhoea

5: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2614534/ 

6: https://academic.oup.com/cardiovascres/article/116/6/1097/5813131

7: https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/512007

8: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210310/SARS-CoV-2-spike-S1-subunit-induces-hypercoagulability.aspx

9: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/astrazenecas-covid-19-vaccine-ema-finds-possible-link-very-rare-cases-unusual-blood-clots-low-blood


 

COVID19 – the end of scientific discussion?

24th May 2021

I haven’t written a blog for a while. Instead, I have been sorting out two complaints about my blog made to the General Medical Council. Also, a complaint from NHS England, and two irate phone calls from other doctors, informing me I shouldn’t make any negative comments about vaccines.

For those in other countries, who don’t know about such things, doctors in the UK are ruled by many different organisations, all of whom feel able to make judgement and hand down various sanctions. The deadliest of them, the ‘Spanish Inquisition’ if you like, is the General Medical Council (GMC) who can strike you off the medical register and stop you working as a doctor. They have great power, with no oversight.

Prior to this, I had been phoned by, and attacked by, two journalists and a couple of fact-checking organisations that have sprung up which can decide your guilt or innocence with regard to any information about COVID19. Of course, no-one can check the fact-checkers. They are the self-appointed guardians of ‘truth.’ quis custodiet ipsos custodes – indeed. (Who guards the guardians?)

In truth they have not scared me off, just greatly annoyed me. The problem is that if they really decide to hunt you down, then you are wiped from the system. Dr Mercola, for example, is having to remove information from his site in great haste. Once wiped from the internet, it becomes very difficult for anyone to read anything you write or listen to anything you say. A major problem if this is how one makes a living.

I was removed from Wikipedia a couple of years ago, but I do have a couple of insulting pages on Rational W (https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Malcolm_Kendrick) to take their place. Edited and controlled by – who knows?

I think it is the extreme wing of the Vegan party who decided to write my history, and thoughts, on rational Wikipedia. I say this because a large number of other people I know who are critical of the diet-heart hypothesis, those who dared to suggest that eating animal products is perfectly healthy, were also obliterated from Wikipedia at pretty much the same time.

I did rather like the idea of Wikipedia when it started, but it has been taken over by people, some may say zealots, with their own agendas. This is particularly true of a few scientific areas I am particularly interested in. Diet, heart disease and COVID19.

Frustratingly, there is nothing you can do if Wikipedia decides to wipe you out. There is no appeal. Those who have gained the power to edit Wikipedia are answerable to no-one. They rule their little empires with absolute power. They are, of course, exactly the sort of people who should have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with science. Their minds were made up years ago. They have agendas, they are the anti-science, anti-scientist brigade.

The main purpose of science is to question and attack. To subject ideas to the greatest scrutiny.  Those who decide to shut down and stifle debate … whatever they may believe themselves to be doing, they are in fact traitors to the cause of science. Stranglers of the enlightenment, assassins of progress.

They are not alone, and things have got far worse, in the last year or so. Science has taken a terrible battering with COVID19, I have always known that dissent against a widely held scientific hypothesis is difficult.

Just trying to get published is a nightmare. The peer-review system is one of the many weapons used against innovative thinking. ‘Let’s see what the current experts think of this new idea which threatens to overturn everything they have researched and taught over the last thirty years, and have built their reputations on… I wonder if they will like it, and approve it?’

Experts certainly create a formidable barrier to change. As described by David Sackett (a founding father of evidence-based medicine) in his article ‘The sins of expertness and a proposal for redemption.

‘….It then dawned on me that experts like me commit two sins that retard the advance of science and harm the young. Firstly, adding our prestige to our opinions gives the latter far greater persuasive power than they deserve on scientific grounds alone. Whether through deference, fear, or respect, others tend not to challenge them, and progress towards the truth is impaired in the presence of an expert.

The second sin of expertness is committed on grant applications and manuscripts that challenge the current expert consensus. Reviewers face the unavoidable temptation to accept or reject new evidence and ideas, not on the basis of their scientific merit, but on the extent to which they agree or disagree with the public positions taken by experts on these matters.’ 1

And his proposal:

‘But there are still far more experts around than is healthy for the advancement of science. Because their voluntary retirement does not seem to be any more frequent in 2000 than it was in 1980, I repeat my proposal that the retirement of experts be made compulsory at the point of their academic promotion and tenure.’

Expertise is great. ‘Experts’… well, that is a completely different matter. We certainly have a few formidable ones kicking about with COVID19. In the UK we have the great and good of the SAGE committee made up of – who knows? – chosen for whatever reasons. They wield enormous power, and never disagree on anything. In the US we have Fauci and the CDC. Ditto.

In the background we have the WHO … who can tell you what way the wind is blowing if nothing else. They remind me of Groucho Marx’s famous comment. ‘These are my principles. And you if you don’t like them…. I have others.’ However, we at the WHO would like to make it clear that nothing about COVID19 has anything to do with China, in any way. Can we have more money please?

Anyway, where are we with COVID19, and science?

In my opinion COVID19 succeeded in breaking my last vestiges of faith in medical scientific research. I cannot believe anything I read. I accept no mainstream facts or figures.

We are told such utter nonsense. For example, the ‘fact. that vaccination protects against COVID19 more effectively than having had the disease itself… This is just utter nonsense.

We were told that COVID19 was spread by touching contaminated surfaces… Really? We were told it spread though droplets, not aerosols. Which is the most complete garbage. We were told that everyone has to wear a mask. We were told it could easily be passed on by asymptomatic people. Based on nothing at all. I could go on.

Yet, no-one seems remotely bothered by any of this utter nonsense. The public seem to lap it up, and attack anyone who questions the current narrative. I feel that I am clinging onto a dying religion. The religion of Francis Bacon and the enlightenment.

Baconian method, methodical observation of facts as a means of studying and interpreting natural phenomena. This essentially empirical method was formulated early in the 17th century by Francis Bacon, an English philosopher, as a scientific substitute for the prevailing systems of thought, which, to his mind, relied all too often on fanciful guessing and the mere citing of authorities to establish truths of science.

After first dismissing all prejudices and preconceptions, Bacon’s method, as explained in Novum Organum (1620; “New Instrument”), consisted of three main steps: first, a description of facts; second, a tabulation, or classification, of those facts into three categories—instances of the presence of the characteristic under investigation, instances of its absence, or instances of its presence in varying degrees; third, the rejection of whatever appears, in the light of these tables, not to be connected with the phenomenon under investigation and the determination of what is connected with it.2

This way of thinking it seems, lasted from 1620 to 2020. Four hundred years of immense scientific progress. The age of enlightenment. We are moving back to the prevailing systems of thought… on fanciful guessing and the mere citing of authorities to establish truths of science.

The Dark Ages are returning.

1: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1118019/

2: https://www.britannica.com/science/Baconian-method

COVID19: Taking Stock

24th April 2021

What has happened with COVID19 has happened. All around the world Governments and their advisors have blundered about, all claiming they did absolutely the right thing. Maybe a bit slow in locking down here and there.

However, essentially, it is very clear that the COVID narrative has been written. It has been written by those in charge, who have far too much to lose if it is found to be nonsense. So, it is not going to change.

What was the narrative? I have never seen it formally written down, but I think it is pretty much as follows:

  • COVID19 is a new, mutated coronavirus, that is far deadlier than influenza. With an infection fatality rate of around 1%*.
  • In the UK, around 500,000 people were going to die from it. Around 2.5 million in the USA, unless action was taken.
  • It was going to overwhelm health services unless drastic action was taken. Therefore, even more people would die if we just let it run its course.
  • The agreed action was lockdown, which has now been demonstrated to be highly effective at lowering the rate of infection in all countries.
  • Masks are highly effective at reducing spread.
  • More generally, PPE is highly effective at reducing spread.
  • It can be spread by asymptomatic people to almost the same extent as those with symptoms.
  • It is spread by droplets, not aerosols, which is why masks are so important.
  • Herd immunity is not possible through allowing people to become infected naturally.
  • There would be far greater damage to the economy if we allowed it to spread unchecked, than would ever be caused by lockdown.
  • Virtually everyone recorded as dying of COVID19 has died of COVID19 – not with COVID19 – or from something else altogether.
  • Vaccination provides stronger immunity than catching the disease, overcoming it, and building up natural immunity.
  • Remdesivir is effective at controlling symptoms and saving lives.
  • Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Vitamin D, Ivermectin, Vitamin C are all completely useless and damaging and should not be given to anyone. Doctors prescribing them should be (and have been) struck off.
  • Steroids can dampen down the immune response and reduce mortality.

*No agreement on where it actually originated. However, China and the WHO have told us it couldn’t possibly, in any way, have been due to ‘gain of function’ research in a lab in Wuhan – so that’s been cleared up then. I am fully satisfied, and you should be too.

I have not referenced any of this, because you will all have seen these messages repeated… repeatedly. In one form or another.

How much of this is likely correct? Some of it? None of it?

I think there are two things on that list that I fully agree with. COVID19 is a new, mutated, coronavirus that is more deadly than (most forms) of influenza – in the elderly at least.

I don’t think anyone is yet arguing that COVID19 has been, or will be, deadly than Spanish flu. Whether or not the Russian flu of the 1890s was worse? Maybe.

The other major influenza epidemics of 1957 and 1967/8 were pretty bad, just as bad, possibly worse?

There were, again probably, fewer overall deaths, but the world’s population was only a half of what it is now. The figures on deaths are almost impossible to make sense of anyway.

The other thing I agree with is that steroids are effective in reducing mortality. If given at the right time. As for the rest of it? I think it is pretty much wall to wall nonsense from start to finish.

I believe that the images from China, with people apparently dropping dead in the streets, spooked almost everyone. Then, when Italy was first hit, there were the images of overwhelmed hospitals filling our television screens. At which point the glass was smashed and we hit the ‘we’re all going to die’ red button. Fear was unleashed.

It certainly all happened very suddenly. On March the 26th Anthony Fauci stated the following in the New England Journal of Medicine:

” If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.” 1

In the UK, on the 19th of March 2020, we had the following statement from the Advisory Committee of Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP):

COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK”.

“The 4 nations public health HCID group made an interim recommendation in January 2020 to classify COVID-19 as an HCID. This was based on consideration of the UK HCID criteria about the virus and the disease with information available during the early stages of the outbreak. Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCID criteria. They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about mortality rates (low overall), and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.

“The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID.

“The need to have a national, coordinated response remains, but this is being met by the government’s COVID-19 response.2

However, the doomsters had already managed to grab the narrative, and all attempts at scientific discussion were blown away. Fauci rapidly and completely changed his mind. COVID19 was, in fact, absolutely deadly and we must do absolutely everything possible to control it. At which point no-one else dared say anything else. Within a week the UK began, what is now called, Lockdown. An enormous, world altering decision had been made.

I find it slightly weird that, on March the 16th, Sir Patrick Vallance was recommending lockdown. Three days before this, the Advisory Committee of Dangerous Pathogens decreed that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as a high consequence infectious disease. Make your minds up guys.

Anyway, at some point in late March 2020, across the world the narrative had spread across the world like an iron curtain. There was to be no dissent from the party line. In the UK the BBC turned into the communications department for the Government, with health correspondents telling the public what they now needed to do. No longer reporting…instructing.

There was not, and has not been, the slightest attempt by the mainstream media to ask any serious questions about lockdown, or any other aspect of the actions taken. The opposition parties have all been falling over themselves to push more, ever tighter lockdowns, more punishment of offenders.

A ten-year jail sentence for making a mistake filling in a COVID questionnaire form. Yes, that is in place, although I very doubt anyone is ever going to be prosecuted for it. UK parliamentary democracy has been replaced by a dictatorship. No parliamentary scrutiny – at all.

In another sinister development, various agencies and fact checkers sprang into action. If you dared to question the narrative, you were subjected to the modern-day equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition. Accounts suspended, posts removed, access denied. Attacks raining down. At least you didn’t get burned at the stake – only your reputation went up in flames.

In stark contrast, a company called Surgisphere managed to publish an article in the Lancet, no less, claiming that hydroxychloroquine was useless. Which suited the narrative. It turned out they had simply made up their figures. In addition, they were closely financially connected with the pharmaceutical company that makes Remdesivir 3.

Where were the fact checkers on this …yes, completely silent, as they have been about anything in support of the narrative. On the other hand, dare to question the validity of, say, mask wearing, and they are down on you like a ton of bricks.

Levels of censorship like this have never been seen before in the West. Ever. Even the President of the US was being censored – by unelected and faceless individuals. Whatever you may have thought of The Donald, the office of President should command respect and it should have been several steps too far to shut him down.

In amongst all this censorship, where is the truth? Where are the facts? I am finding it very difficult to know. I consider myself pretty good at finding out what is going on, digging down to the truth. Analysing papers, sifting the evidence and suchlike. Helping others make sense of data. It’s kind of my thing.

Unfortunately, when I look to the voices on ‘the other side’ for balance they seem to have gone just as mad in the opposite directions. ‘Vaccination will kill hundreds of millions, women will be made sterile, it will drive the virus to mutate into a deadly, deadly, deadly, killer.’ Look, I am perfectly willing to accept that these vaccines were rushed through and may cause some significant health problems – some deaths. Which have already happened. But nothing destroys credibility faster than screaming blue bloody murder.

In my last blog I commented on a strategy known as OODA. Observe, orientate, decide, act. I have done a lot of observing. As for orientating. My current orientation is that everything we see around us has led from one error. As often happens.

The decision to lockdown was so massive, that it became impossible to question. If it was the wrong decision, all of those involved in making it would inevitably be held responsible for economic chaos, hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths, massive job losses and unprecedented social upheaval.

‘What was your legacy Boris’.

‘Well, harrumph, I made millions of people unemployed. In addition, by terrifying the public, I caused tens of thousands to stop attending hospital, who died unnecessarily. I blew four hundred billion, or thereabouts. I crushed personal freedoms. I prevented cancer diagnoses and treatments, and increased waiting lists by years – so people continued to suffer for years to come.’

‘Yes, but apart from that. How was lockdown?’

‘Well, to be quite frank, it achieved bugger all. Anyway, do you like my hairstyle. It does make people think I’m a bloody good chap.’

Can’t quite see anyone admitting to having made the greatest mistake in the history of the world. So now, everything is directed to the cause of ensuring that lockdown was seen to be the best thing to do, the only possible action that could have been taken. We had to the stop the infection spreading or everything would have been worse.

Anything, or any country, that does not follow that narrative has been attacked or explained away. For example, Sweden didn’t lockdown as much as the UK, or most other countries in Europe, and their actions have been ruthlessly attacked from all sides. They could not possibly be seen to have done better – than anyone. They have actually done far worse…look how badly it is going in Sweden… say what?

Standing in direct contradiction, but never commented on, it is simultaneously stated that they actually did lockdown. In fact, because the Swedes are so naturally law abiding, they locked themselves down. Suddenly everyone was a world leading expert on Swedish psychology.

Japan didn’t lock down. Ah, but they all wear masks, and don’t interact in the same way. Belarus didn’t lock down. Ah, but we don’t believe their figures. But we do believe the Chinese figures?

A randomised controlled study from Denmark showing that masks don’t really work was dismissed as useless and stripped apart by the Fact Checkers…. Studies from the US demonstrated that states that locked down tightly did no better than those that didn’t…. Oh, it was population density, atmospheric pressure, ethnic make-up, temperature. Throw whatever made-up evidence free explanation you like into the air.

This is the scientific equivalent of a fighter plane releasing chaff into the air to confuse and misdirect an incoming missile. You no longer have one target, you have thousands.

It is something I have been battled against in my cardiovascular research. Attack the ‘cholesterol hypothesis’ and it disintegrates into hundreds of different pieces in front your eyes. HDL, LDL, particle number, small dense LDL, light fluffy LDL, dyslipidaemia…. On and on it goes. A lifetime can be fully wasted examining each piece of chaff in minute detail. My advice, don’t bother, just learn to recognise chaff when you see it.

Which all gets us where?

Where, is that nothing is going to alter the direction of the narrative right now. It has the support of everyone in positions of power, almost everywhere around the world. Science is being bent to fit the narrative, and you can see it happening, if you know what to look for. Recently Boris Johnson stated that vaccination hasn’t really made any difference to falling rates in the UK, lockdown did the heavy lifting.

Why is he saying this? Because the pro-lockdowners are building the narrative fortress higher and higher to protect it from the inevitable future attacks. The likes of Imperial College London, and Neil Ferguson, who have massive responsibility for lockdown, can see there are now more and more scientists who are readying the evidence against lockdown. And it is starting to look strong.

A battle will be fought, and the pro-lockdowners are trying to get politicians to nail their colours fully to the lockdown side. They know that politicians around the world will happily throw all the pro-lockdown scientists to the wolves the moment it begins to look politically expedient. ‘They made us do it. We just followed their advice. Boo Hoo, it wasn’t my fault. Don’t be nasty to me.

Yes, we have realpolitik in place. Maybe we should call it realscientik. Neil Ferguson, and his ilk, pressed the emergency red button. It is a button they have been itching to press for years, decades. It is the ‘Here is the infection that is going to kill us all’ button. That infection may turn up at some point. COVID19 isn’t it. The button should never have been pressed.

The truth about the actions taken, and the true effectiveness of lockdown, and the damage of lockdown. This will not emerge for many years. By which time, the likes of Boris and Angela and Emmanuel, and Scott and Jacinda will be long gone, and won’t care. In my opinion there should be a reckoning. However, there won’t be.

1: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejme2002387

2: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid?fbclid=IwAR0VTwze8V8AORcSTAiBHZjw502Qav36yg-5WtGPazMuyL4YeEpGrGXzmdY#status-of-covid-19

3: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/10/surgisphere-sapan-desai-lancet-study-hydroxychloroquine-mass-audit-scientific-papers

A book on COVID by Sebastian Rushworth

8th April 2021

Early on in the COVID19 saga I came in contact with Sebastian Rushworth. He was, and is, working as an emergency care doctor in Sweden. It seemed we shared very similar ideas about what was going on. It was fascinating as he was working in Sweden, which has been attacked from all sides, for following WHO advice on the best actions to take in a pandemic.

Sweden did not fully lockdown, most schools remained open, as did bars and restaurants etc. As a result of this everyone died… Start again. As a result of this Sweden suffered around the average number of deaths (per head of population) in Europe.

European countries, above a certain size, that have done worse than Sweden, so far, include:

  1. Czechia
  2. Hungary
  3. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  4. Bulgaria
  5. Belgium
  6. North Macedonia
  7. Slovenia
  8. Slovakia
  9. Italy
  10. UK
  11. Portugal
  12. Spain
  13. Peru
  14. Croatia
  15. Poland
  16. France
  17. Lithuania

(NB: I left out micro-countries’ such as Gibraltar, San Marino, Andorra etc.)

You would think, from the howls of anguish that Sweden was now a smoking ruin, with hospitals full of the dead and dying. Which serves them bloody well right. They should have done what every other country did.

Anyway, it was interesting to link up with Sebastian to get a first-hand account of what was going on. You hear so much rubbish from the mainstream media, that it is difficult to know what is really going on. We live in a scary, censored world. Patrolled by self-appointed fact-checking dementors.

Sebastian has his own website at https://sebastianrushworth.com/ which I recommend as a good place for sensible thinking.

Now he has written a book. I should know, because he asked me to write the foreword for it, which I gladly did. It isn’t long, it is very readable, and you will learn a lot if you read it. It covers:

  • How Dangerous is COVID
  • Are the tests effective?
  • Does lockdown work?
  • Why did Sweden have more deaths than Norway?
  • Do face masks stop the virus?
  • Are the vaccines safe and effective?

I recommend it to everyone, and you can find a link to it on his website.

COVID19, hidden figures and OODA

20th March 2021

What figures about COVID19 do you believe?

Indeed, what figures can you believe?

Do you simply take them all at face value, and work from there? That would certainly be nice, but it’s not really possible, and you would come to some pretty weird conclusions.

For example, I was running through the Worldometer site the other day. Yes, what an exciting life I now lead.  Sitting right on top to each-other, on ‘deaths per million’ of the population were: Singapore, New Zealand and China. They are way down towards the very bottom of the list.

Deaths per million

  • Singapore (188) = 5 deaths per million (total deaths 30)
  • New Zealand (189) = 5 deaths per million (total deaths 26)
  • China (190) = 3 deaths per million (total deaths 4,636)

Just to give you a quick comparison with countries rather closer to the top of that list, where the deaths per million are around four hundred times higher, on average:

Deaths per million

Czechia (3)                                        = 2,206 deaths per million

UK (6)                                                = 1,843 deaths per million

USA (12)                                            = 1,649 deaths per million

Returning to Singapore, New Zealand and China. What do they have in common? From a COVID19 perspective they all locked down pretty hard. At least they say they did. They are all pretty wealthy countries. Apart from that… not much.

On the surface, there is nothing much to get excited, or confused about, yet. However, when you start looking a little more closely, you begin to notice stranger things. For example, if we look at total ‘cases.’

Total COVID19 cases

  • Singapore = 60,121
  • New Zealand = 2,432
  • China = 90,062

So, China with a population of 1.4Bn (One billion, four hundred million) had ninety thousand cases. Singapore with population of just over five and a half million, had sixty thousand cases. Just in case you cannot do the mental arithmetic. Singapore’s population is two hundred and forty-six times smaller than China’s.

Which means that Singapore had two thirds the number of cases in China – resulting in almost the same rate of deaths per million but in a population two hundred and fifty times smaller.

Where does this then take us? It takes us to a place where the case fatality rates are widely different. Not just between China and Singapore, but in all three countries. In fact, these figures are not even in the same ballpark. Not even in the same city. By case fatality rate (CFR) I mean the percentage of people with a clear-cut infection, who then died [terms and conditions apply].

Here are the resultant case fatality rates from the three countries, in order.

Case fatality rates

China                                                 = 5%

New Zealand                                    = 1%

Singapore                                          = 0.05%

Which means that, using the figures provided, the case fatality rate from COVID19 is one hundred times higher in China than in Singapore. Or, to put it another way, you are one hundred times more likely to die if you get COVID19 in China than in Singapore.

On the other hand, you are only twenty times more likely to die in New Zealand than in Singapore. So, should we all rush to Singapore and find out what on earth they can be doing to cure so many people. Or….

Yes, you’re right. These figures simply do not add up. Not even remotely. Medical interventions, sadly, have made very little difference to mortality rates from COVID19. A few percentage points here or there. So that cannot even remotely explain such massive differences.

What is the other explanation? It is, and can only be, that we cannot possibly be comparing like with like. Which, in turn, means that the figures in one, or all of these countries, are so incomplete, biased or wrong, as to be utterly useless.

Are they missing cases, or not counting cases, or defining cases and deaths from COVID19 in completely different ways? Whichever of these is true it doesn’t really matter. The only thing that really matters is that at least two of these three countries are reporting figures that are of absolutely no use to man nor beast. Perhaps all three.

Equally, if you’re planning what do to next in this pandemic, you must have figures that you can trust, otherwise you are simply floundering about in a sea of confusion. What’s the other choice. Delete the statistics from the countries where you simply do not believe them. And where would you start with that?

There is a military strategy called OODA: Observe, Orientate, Decide Act. It was used in the Gulf War, and by Dominic Cummins to achieve victory in the Brexit referendum – so it is claimed. It sounds simple, but it actually becomes complex, quite quickly.

With COVID19 you can observe all you like, and I have done a lot of observing. However, if the data you are looking at are clearly nonsense, it becomes impossible to orientate. Then, in turn, it becomes impossible to decide how to act.

It is why, up to this point, I have mainly contented myself with pointing out that the data that we have been presented with thus far is almost perfectly meaningless. Let’s consider another example. Which is that the gold standard for diagnosis of COVID19 is to use a system known as PCR (polymerase chain reaction). We do not use symptoms, or clinical signs, as has been the case for all other diseases known to humanity over the ages.  A major problem in itself.

Another major problem is we know that if you run PCR test processing for forty-five amplification cycles, the results become entirely meaningless. No-one will officially provide the data on how many cycles are being done. But it does seem that, in the UK at least, many labs were using forty-five cycles.

Now, the numbers of cases are falling, they have reduced PCR processing to thirty cycles. But, who knows?  Perhaps it is because they have reduced PCR to thirty cycles, that the cases have gone down. Or maybe it is the fact that we are using millions of lateral flow tests which has led to the number of positive tests falling. Because you get far fewer positive results with lateral flow kits than PCR.

In addition to that area of confusion and conflict, recorded deaths from COVID19 in the UK are based on having a positive test within twenty-eight days of dying. Yet we know that COVID19 tests can remain positive for months after someone has recovered. So, you can have had a positive test in November, go into hospital in January – for whatever reason – where you will have another test, that has remained positive. You then die of something completely unrelated. You become a COVID19 death statistic. What nonsense.

Even if you truly have COVID19, then die, how do we know if the main cause of death was COVID19, or something else? I have seen terminally ill patients close to death from cancer, or suchlike, who have had a positive swab. They then died, and they became another ‘COVID19 death.’ Really? Is that what killed them?

We do know that at least ninety-five per-cent of people who are recorded as dying of COVID19 had other serious medical conditions. Claiming that COVID19 was the primary/recordable cause of death in all of these cases is just ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous.

Frankly, anyone who asks me to trust in any data about COVID19 is going to have a pretty tough sell. Right now, I feel that there is almost no statistic which has not been wildly bent out of shape to suit the narrative.

At this point, I shall change direction slightly, and point you at the most incomprehensible statistic of all.

It comes from the UK. In this data set, the UK has been split into four countries. England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Here, we are looking at the figures on overall mortality – that is deaths from all causes – during the period January 1st, 2017 up until the present day. These data cover the age group of forty-five to sixty-four (I set the graphs to specifically show this age group).

What you would expect to see, I think, is that all four countries that make up the UK should show almost exactly the same pattern of deaths. All four countries are virtually identical in their demographics, life expectancy, and suchlike. All four countries ‘locked down’ in almost exactly the same way, at almost exactly the same times.

Below, are the figures (z-scores/deviation from the mean) on overall mortality. https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps#z-scores-by-country

We can see an enormous spike in England in the forty-five to sixty-four age group in Spring 2020, and Autumn/Winter 2021. We observe nothing, or virtually nothing, in the other three countries.

Just in case you are wondering. I do believe in these overall mortality data. If someone is dead, they are dead. It is difficult to misdiagnose or diagnose in any other way. So, these figures represent the real deal.

Observe, orientate, decide, act.

I observe that overall mortality rates went up sharply in England in the spring of 2020 and again in the autumn/winter of 2020/21 in the age group 45-64. I observe that the rates barely moved in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

Orientate

Something of great significance happened in England, that did not happen in the other three countries. I cannot orientate, because I have absolutely no idea what these figures are telling me.

Orientate

These data, unremarked open by anyone else – as far as I am aware – are trying to tell us something. Something that may well be of absolutely critical importance. These are the figures that we should be using to base our decisions and actions upon. If we could only understand what they were telling us.

There is one other country which has a pattern similar to England’s, and that is Spain.

Nowhere else looks remotely similar. For example, here is Sweden.

Orientate

What have England and Spain got in common? Or, at least, somewhat in common?

Decide

Do not decide anything until you are orientated. In turn, do not act until your decision is made on a good understanding of the environment you are operating in.

Do not decide what to do until you can explain why, for example, China has a case fatality rate that is one hundred times higher than in Singapore.

Equally, you cannot possibly claim to be orientated until you can explain why England, alone of all the countries in the UK, suffered such massive spikes in overall mortality in the forty-five to sixty-four year age groups.

In super-short summary, until you can rely on the figures that are provided from around the world, you cannot claim to be orientated.

Our glorious political leaders have decided that they are, indeed, oriented. Because of this false orientation, they have made decisions and acted. Based upon foundations of, precisely, nothing.

So, what are the odds that they acted in the right way?

Believing in impossible things – and COVID19

6th March 2021

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

1: ‘The Concept of Coronavirus Herd Immunity Is Deadly and Dangerous’ https://www.self.com/story/coronavirus-herd-immunity

Since COVID19 first hurtled over the horizon, before landing upon us all with great force, I find that I have been asked to believe in many impossible things. First, I was told that attempting to create herd immunity was not achievable. It would also be extremely dangerous and would inevitably result in many hundreds of thousands of excess deaths.

Then the vaccines arrived at fantastical speed and I was told that mass vaccination, by creating herd immunity, would be the factor that would allow us to conquer COVID19 and return to normal life. I am not entirely sure which of these things is impossible, but one of them must be.

2: ‘Vaccines, on the other hand, are believed to induce stronger and longer lasting immunity.’ https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/does-the-vaccine-give-better-protection-than-having-fought-off-the-virus_uk_601c0663c5b62bf30754c563

I was then told the vaccine would provide greater immunity than being infected with COVID19. Which was interesting. I am not sure if this is actually impossible, but it seemed unlikely that anyone could make such statements after about three hundred people had actually been studied, and just two months had passed.

At the time I was aware of two people proven to have been re-infected with COVID19, out of about ten million cases. So, getting infected certainly seemed to provide a pretty good degree of immunity. A re-infection rate of 0.00005%

I also know that vaccinations can only ever really create an attenuated response. Whereas a full-blown infection triggers a full-blown immune response. So, I think it is pretty close to impossible that vaccination can provide greater protection than that from getting the actual disease. Which is why I think it is utterly bonkers we are actually vaccinating people who have circulating antibodies in their blood.

3: ‘Universal mask use could save 130,000 U.S. lives by the end of February, new study estimates.https://www.statnews.com/2020/10/23/universal-mask-use-could-save-130000-lives-by-the-end-of-february-new-modeling-study-says/

I am also being asked to believe that face masks are essential to stop the spread of COVID19 and prevent millions of deaths worldwide. The use of masks to prevent viral spread is something I actually researched in depth before COVID19 arrived (for various reasons), as did the WHO. They looked at non-pharmaceutical interventions for prevention of influenza, and produced a hefty report, which covered the use of masks.

Yes, I agree, influenza is not exactly the same as COVID19. But it is pretty much the same size of virus, and it is thought to spread in much the same way. Anyway, the WHO reported their views on masks in 2019, using data from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) – the gold standard.

‘Ten RCTs were included in the meta-analysis, and there was no evidence that facemasks are effective in reducing transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/329438/9789241516839-eng.pdf?ua=1

Since then, there has only been one RCT done on COVID19 transmission, in Denmark. It did not find any significant benefit from masks in reducing spread. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33205991/

Never has a trial been subjected to such immediate and hostile reporting. Fact-checkers (whoever exactly they might be, or what understanding they have of medical research) immediately attacked it. One such, called PolitiFact, made the following judgement, which amused me.

“Social media posts claim, “The first randomized controlled trial of more than 6,000 individuals to assess the effectiveness of surgical face masks against SARS-CoV-2 infection found masks did not statistically significantly reduce the incidence of infection.”

The study concluded that wearing masks did not offer a very high level of personal protection to mask wearers in communities where wearing masks was not common practice. The study noted, however, that the data suggested masks provided some degree of self-protection.

We rate this claim Mostly False. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33205991/

So, according to PolitiFact, masks provided self-protection, but not personal protection. An interesting concept. Note to self, try to find out the difference between these two things.

In fact, this was just one of hundreds of critical articles, with self-anointed fact checkers clearly desperate to pull it to pieces. Yes, we have now entered a world when political fact checkers feel free to attack and contradict the findings of scientific papers, using such scientific terms as ‘Mostly false.’ Maybe they should have called it ‘very unique’ at the same time. Or, like the curate’s egg, that was good in parts.

Ignoring the modern-day Spanish Inquisition, and their ill-informed criticisms, I will simply call this study. More evidence that face masks don’t work. Perhaps someone will come along with a study proving that face masks work. So far … nada. Another impossible thing.

4: As of the 2nd March 2021 there have been 122,953 deaths from COVID19 in the UK.

Unlike many people I have actually written COVID19 on death certificates. Mostly they have been educated guesses. On at least five of them, early last year, there had been no positive swab to go on. So, I was just going on probable symptoms. As were many other doctors at the time.

Which means that you can take five off that number for starters. Although, of course, once written, that is very much, that … when it comes to death certificates. In fact, early on in the pandemic, we were probably underdiagnosing as often as over diagnosing deaths from COVID19. Although no-one will ever know. With no positive swab – and few swabs were being done – and almost no post-mortems – you were simply guessing.

As for now … NOW we have the very strange concept that any death within twenty-eight days of a positive COVID19 swab is recorded as a COVID19 death. Simultaneously, I am told that if I have a positive test at work, and then take some time off work (I can never remember the latest guidance). I am not to have another swab for ninety days.

How so? Because it now seems (I actually knew this a long time ago), that swabs can remain positive for months after the infection has been and gone [or was maybe never there to begin with]. Or to put this another way, you can have a positive swab long after you have been infected – and recovered. There are just some bits of virus up your nose that can be magnified, through the wonders of the PCR test, into a positive result.

Which means that an elderly person, infected months ago, can be admitted to hospital for any reason whatsoever. The they can have a positive swab – everyone is swabbed. Then they can die, from whatever it was they were admitted for in the first place. Then, they will be recorded as a COVID19 death.

In truth, this is just the start of impossible things when it comes to the number of COVID19 deaths. Do not get me started on PCR cycle numbers, and false positives. We would be here all day.

Equally, how many people have truly died of COVID19, instead of simply with COVID19? If I painted a blue circle on your forehead, then you died, I would not say that you died of a blue circle painted on your forehead. I would say that you died with a blue circle painted on your forehead.

5: The Swedish COVID-19 Response Is a Disaster. It Shouldn’t Be a Model for the Rest of the World

This was actually the headline title from an article in TIME magazine. The article went on to state that ‘The Swedish way has yielded little but death and misery. And this situation has not been honestly portrayed to the Swedish people or to the rest of the world.’  https://time.com/5899432/sweden-coronovirus-disaster/

Death and misery. Hmmmm, I might make this the title of my next book. Bound to be a best seller.

Yes, Sweden has been attacked from all sides with terrific venom, for holding out against imposing severe lockdown. How dare they… follow the WHO’s initial advice. That everyone else ignored.

So, have they done well with regard to COVID19 deaths? Not particularly. Have they done badly?Not particularly. On Worldometer they rank twenty fourth highest for deaths per million of the population. Which is pretty much bang on average for Western Europe.

One reason why they might not have appeared to do better is that, in the year 2019, they had their lowest rate of death for at least ten years. Three and a half thousand less in total than in 2018 https://www.statista.com/statistics/525353/sweden-number-of-deaths/ . In Norway, a country  used to beat Sweden with, due to their very low COVID19 deaths there was no difference in death rate between 2018 and 2019. To be blunt, the elderly population in Sweden had some catching up to do.

Once you factor this in, the much-lauded difference in deaths, between Norway and Sweden, kind of disappears.

‘Our study shows that all-cause mortality was largely unchanged during the epidemic as compared to the previous four years in Norway and Sweden, two countries which employed very different strategies against the epidemic. Excess mortality from COVID-19 may be less pronounced than previously perceived in Sweden, and mortality displacement might explain part of the observed findings.’ https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.11.20229708v1.full

In absolute figures. Sweden had

  • 92,185 deaths in 2018
  • 88,766 deaths in 2019
  • 97,941 deaths in 2020

A drop, then a rebound. Perhaps another way to look at the figures is to compare 2020 with a bad Swedish year in the past. In 2012, 91,938 people died. However, the population was lower at 9.5 million vs 10.2 million. So:

  • The absolute death rate in 2012 was 0.957%.
  • The absolute death rate in 2020 was 0.969%.

The difference between 2012 and 2020 is 0.012%. That is 120 extra deaths per million of the population, which is 1,224 people in population of 10.2 million. The statistics tell us that twelve thousand people died from COVID19 in Sweden. Maybe you can make all that add up. Frankly, I find it impossible.

6: Lockdowns have worked.

Before COVID19 came along, no country had ever attempted a lockdown – ever. So, no-one had any idea if such a thing could possibly work. There was no evidence, from anywhere, to support its use.

It was the Chinese who started it, and who claimed great success for their jackboot lockdown tactics. Well, they convinced me… not. Frankly, if I had to choose a country from which to obtain high quality, unbiased information, about anything, China would not feature in my top one hundred and ninety-four countries

But there you go, lockdown worked under the control of the kind and caring CCP. Hoorah, cheering all round, and the first person to stop cheering gets shot. Well, we don’t want any damned nay-sayers, do we? After that, according to almost everything I have read, everywhere, it worked for everyone else too. Remarkable.

Yes, it is certainly true you can find countries that locked down, closed their borders, and kept the rates low. That, however, is not proof of anything at all. The scientific method requires a little more rigour than this.

In fact, the main thing that scientific rigour requires is that you specifically do not go around looking for facts that support your hypothesis. Because that, I am afraid, is the exact opposite of science. What you need to do, instead, is to go around looking for facts that disprove your hypothesis. This is what Karl Popper called falsification.

For example, my hypothesis is that “all swans are white”. I seek, and find, only white swans. So, this makes my hypothesis is correct? No. What science requires you do is to hunt tirelessly for black swans. If you never find one, fine. However, you need to be aware that the moment you do, your hypothesis has just been disproven. In real life things are very rarely as simple as this, but that is the basic principle.

However, with lockdown (and I recognise that no two countries locked down in the same way) the hypothesis is that countries which did not lockdown will have higher rate of death for COVID19 than those that did.

So, let us look, first, at the countries with the highest rate of COVID19. Excluding very small countries e.g., San Marino, or Gibraltar, we have, in descending order of deaths per million of the population https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ .

  • Czechia
  • Belgium
  • Slovenia
  • UK
  • Italy
  • Montenegro
  • Portugal
  • USA
  • Hungary
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • North Macedonia
  • Bulgaria
  • Spain
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • Croatia
  • Slovakia
  • Panama
  • France

Every single country in this list carried out fairly strict lockdowns. The UK, apparently, has the strictest lockdown in the world, this winter.

Four countries that have been roundly criticized for having far less restrictive lockdowns are: Sweden, Japan, Belarus and Nicaragua (Realistically there are others, in poorer countries, where lockdowns have not happened – because they can’t afford it)

In these four ‘non-lockdowns’ countries, the death rate is, on average 391 per million.

In the top twenty ‘lockdown’ countries, the death rate is, on average 1,520 per million.

The only non-lockdown country in the top ninety for death rates is Sweden. It comes just below France, at number twenty-four.

Now, if the difference between lockdown and non-lockdown countries were ten per cent, or even fifty per cent, I would fully accept that there are many other variables that could explain such finding away. Although, of course, we should really look at a higher rate in the non-lockdown countries, not a lower rate.

Yet although this evidence is out there, I am being asked to believe that lockdowns work. At least the WHO agrees with me on this impossible thing. As Dr David Nabarro, the WHO special envoy on COVID19 said:

“We really do appeal to all world leaders, stop using lockdown as your primary method of control,” he said.

“Lockdowns have just one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-12/world-health-organization-coronavirus-lockdown-advice/12753688

Lockdowns, according to the WHO, in unguarded moments, have just one consequence. They make poor people an awful lot poorer.

‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If this is granted all else follows.’

How deadly is COVID19?

17th February 2021

I have spent large chunks of my life trying to untangle medial data and research. COVID19 has long since defeated me. I have been unable to make any sense of the information we are bombarded with daily. So, I decided to go back to basics.

At the start of the COVID19 saga, I was interested to know what the infection fatality rate (IFR) was likely to be. I felt I could then have a go at comparing it to other diseases, primarily influenza.

The infection fatality is the number of people infected with the virus who then die. This is very different to the case fatality rate (CFR), which is the number of people infected with the disease who become unwell enough (sometimes, but not always) to be admitted to hospital – the ‘cases’. Who then die.

Before COVID19 appeared, there used to be a reasonably clear distinction between the infection fatality rate (IFR), and the case fatality fate (CFR) and it is important that they should not get mixed up. Because the case fatality rate is almost always far higher than the infection fatality rate – as you would expect. People who are ill enough to go into hospital are far more likely to die than people who do not suffer any symptoms. Bear this in mind.

Another thing to bear in mind is that, at the start of any epidemic it is simpler to establish the case fatality rate, because most people who are seriously ill end up in hospital and/or will have tests to see if they have the disease in question. Those with no symptoms may never cross the path of a medical professional and are very unlikely to be tested.

What is the ratio between the two? It depends on the virus. With Ebola the infection fatality rate and case fatality rate are closely matched – more than fifty per cent of people who are infected, die. With the common ‘coronavirus’ cold, the spread is far wider, maybe a hundred to one, or a thousand to one – perhaps more.

The fact that most infections are never noted, is one of the reasons why the infection fatality rate for previous flu epidemics can vary so wildly from paper to paper. However, with influenza the CFR/IFR ratio has generally been estimated to be about ten to one. By which I mean that, for each ten infections, one will be severe, and it is amongst the severe infections that you get the deaths.

Armed with such knowledge, and assuming COVID19 had a similar case: infection ratio to influenza you could have a go at working out the infection fatality rate. Always bearing in mind that people with no symptoms, who are not tested, are very unlikely to appear in any figures.

You are always guessing – to some degree or another.  

However, you always know three things:

1: The infection fatality rate must always be lower than the case fatality rate.

2: The case fatality rate will appear to fall as less severely infected people are tested.

3: The infection fatality rate will also appear to fall as more people with no symptoms are found to have had the infection.

For example, in China, at the start of the COVID19 pandemic, the infection fatality rate was reported to be three to four per-cent. This rapidly fell. Then it went up a bit, then it fell, then it went up. Then, everyone started giving different figures. The highly influential Imperial College group, led by Professor Neil Ferguson, decided to use an infection fatality rate of 0.9% for their modelling.

Somewhat later on, John Ioannidis, an influential figure in the world of medical research, estimated the infection fatality rate to be 0.27%. This was a couple of months after the Imperial College figure was published 1.

Peter Gotzsche, who established the highly regarded Nordic Cochrane collaboration, put the figure even lower than this. He looked at a study in Denmark, where blood donors were tested for antibodies. Using these data, the researchers established an infection fatality rate of 0.16% 2. Other figures came in higher, some lower.

The most tested population in the World – per head of population – is Iceland. Last time I looked, Iceland had 6,033 ‘cases,’ and twenty-nine deaths. This represents a case fatality rate of 0.5%, which suggests an infection fatality rate of 0.05% 3.

However, these figures I am quoting from Iceland come from a time after everything changed. At some point, difficult to put an exact date on this, it was decreed that if you had a positive PCR COVID19 test, with or without symptoms, you were to be defined as a case. No matter if you had symptoms, or not. This had the result of making the infection fatality rate, and case fatality rate, the same thing. Suddenly, all cases are infections, and all infections are cases.

Which means that any comparisons of the infection fatality rate with COVID19, and other diseases became virtually meaningless. The infection fatality rate suddenly shot up to match the case fatality rate, which point I gave up trying to work out the infection fatality rate. I doubly gave up when I tried to find out the accuracy of the PCR tests. Were these tests over-diagnosing, or under-diagnosing?

So, I thought I would turn my attention to the population fatality rate instead. That is, how many people has COVID19 killed in a population, or country. This figure is the bald, unvarnished, death rate. It does not, necessarily, tell you how many people have been infected. It does not tell you the percentage of cases, that die. It simply tells you how many people have died… with COVID19 written somewhere on their death certificate. [Or even not written on their death certificate]

At present, in the UK, the total number who have died is one hundred and seventeen thousand. This represents a population death rate of 0.17%. if you knew how many people had been infected, in total, you could work out the infection fatality rate from this. But we don’t know how many people were infected, and now we never will. Because so many people are now being vaccinated. They will show antibodies, and it will not be known if that is because of an infection, or due to vaccination.

So, where to turn to next. If you look at the entire world, the current figure of COVID19 deaths, on the fourteenth of February, stood at 2,406,689 3. Which is a little over one in three thousand, or 0.033%. How many people in the world have been infected? Nobody knows that answer to this question. There are some countries that have done very little testing, others far more.

On the basis that there are so many questions, with very few clear-cut answers, I thought I would try to compare the two point four million figure with previous influenza epidemics.

A study was done in 2016, looking at the influenza epidemic of 1957 – one of the worst in recent history. They extrapolated the mortality figures from 1957 to 2005, because the World’s population doubled during that time period (I am not entirely sure why they chose 2005). Their conclusion was that a flu epidemic of similar magnitude to that of 1957 could kill two point seven million people.

‘In conclusion, our study fills a gap in the availability of global mortality estimates for historical influenza pandemics, which can help guide pandemic planning. Our model extrapolates 2.7 million influenza-related deaths (95% CI, 1.6 million–3.4 million deaths) should a virus of similar severity to the 1957 pandemic influenza A(H2N2) virus return in the 2005 population, which is intermediate between global estimates for the 2009 pandemic (0.3 million–0.4 million deaths and a devastating 1918-like pandemic (62 million deaths; range, 51 million–81 million deaths)’ 4.

Extrapolating onwards to 2020, where the population is significantly greater than in 2005, then the figure from the 1957 epidemic would now be just over three million deaths. Which means that, up to this point COVID19 has been thirty per-cent less deadly than the influenza epidemic of 1957 – per head of population.

If the Imperial College infection fatality rate of 0.9% is accurate, once around eighty per cent of the world’s population has been infected [at which point population wide immunity would be reached] we should see fifty-four million deaths. We are currently nowhere near that figure, and at the current rate of deaths, per year, it will take twenty-two and a half years to reach the fifty-four million figure.

Of course, people will argue that this outbreak is far from over, and millions more will certainly die. Yes, more people will die, but the current number of new cases and deaths is falling pretty rapidly worldwide, rather than rising. We may reach three million, we may not. It is exceedingly hard to believe we would ever have reached fifty-four million even without any vaccines.

So, how deadly is COVID19? It seems, so far, to be equivalent to a bad flu pandemic. Worse than most in recent times. However, it seems to have had an extremely variable impact.

In Singapore, there have been nearly sixty thousand ‘cases’ and twenty-nine deaths. A case fatality rate of around one in two thousand, or 0.02%. The UK has had four million cases and one hundred and seven thousand deaths. A case fatality rate of 3%. Therefore, if you get COVID19 you are one hundred and fifty times more likely to die of it in the UK, than in Singapore 3.

Yes, I went back to basics and the figures still didn’t make any sense.

 

1: https://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.20.265892.pdf

2: https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4509/rr

3: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

4: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4747626/

Does Lockdown work, or not?

27th January 2021

This blog was published on RT-com, after much discussion and a few changes. It can be seen here  It took a few days. The editors were concerned about the fact-checkers having a go at it and demanding retraction.

We went back and forward. I assured them that all my quoted facts were correct, so the fact-checkers could only attack the ‘opinion’ stated. Which they may well do. If so, fact checkers are no longer checking facts, they are decreeing which scientific opinions are correct, and which are wrong.

Which puts them in a very dangerous place indeed. We do not know who the fact checkers are, we do not know how much they are paid, we do not know what editorial control is exerted over them. We know nothing about them, yet their pronouncements are decreed final on all matters.

This is the recreation of Soviet show trials of another era. “We know you are guilty, you will be found guilty, all that is required of you is that you admit your guilt. We, the judges in this case, however, are subject to no control, no-one can find us in the wrong, or punish us in any way.”

Anyway, the main concerns of Russia Today were that I did not look at enough variable factors. What about population density? What about secondary lockdowns etc. I replied it was impossible to assess all variables fully. I sat and thought about the confounding variables inherent in lockdown, that you would probably need to include in any study on them:

Number of tests carried out
False positives
False negatives
How deaths are recorded/validated
Population density
Percentage of population living in cities [not the same as population density]
Population density within cities
Number of single person households
Average age of population
Age distribution
Percentage of ethnic minorities
Primary ethnicity of population
Number of people with multimorbidity’s
ICU beds per head of population
Time of first lockdown
Time of relaxation of first lockdown
How well lockdown measures were followed.
Time of second lockdown
Restrictions within lockdowns curfews etc.
Test and trace set-up
Vitamin D levels
Northern or Southern hemisphere
Strain 1 COVID
Strain 2 COVID
Strain 3 COVID
Air pollution
Main method of commuting, underground, buses etc.

That’s just for starters.

The total number of interactions between these twenty-seven factors is twenty-seven factorial 27 x 26 x 25….x 3 x 2 x 1

Which is …

10,888,869,450,418,352,160,768,000,000 possible interactions.

So, if anyone says you have not taken the interactions of all variables into account, you can say that this is – effectively – impossible. Perhaps they would like to demonstrate they have done so.

I also pointed out I was not the only person to believe that lockdowns had little, or no effect on transmission rates and death from COVID. Here is part of an article from South Africa, based on the paper ‘COVID-19 in South Africa’

The article was published on Prevention Web:

Lockdown didn’t work in South Africa: why it shouldn’t happen again

By Benjamin T H Smart, Alex Broadbent and Herkulaas MvE Combrink

At the start of October, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Chinese government lauded South Africa’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Yet data concerning both the spread of the virus and the indirect consequences of the lockdown suggest that the severe restrictions imposed in South Africa – some of the strictest in the world – were far from effective.

We recently reviewed the evidence for the effectiveness of the lockdown at slowing the spread of the pandemic. The mitigation strategies initially implemented may well have gone some way to “flattening-the-curve” – that is, reducing the rate at which the virus spreads through the population. But we found no decline in either daily new cases or deaths between around 27 March, which was the first day of level 5; and the latter part of July, when cases began to tail off during level 3.

Lockdown level 5 in South Africa was one of the world’s strictest. Citizens weren’t allowed to leave their residence except for essential purposes such as grocery shopping and medical care. All non-essential businesses were shut down, and cigarette and alcohol sales were banned.

If this “hard lockdown” had been effective, the rate of infection would have dropped significantly 7-14 days after lockdown was implemented. Note that one must look for a delay due to the disease’s 5-6 day average incubation period, and time for test results to be released. This simply did not happen.

Of course, the number of cases did increase over time, but what counts is whether the rate of increase changed when lockdowns changed. We found no such changes. As lockdown restrictions were relaxed and South Africa entered levels 4 and 3, when much of the economy re-opened and restrictions on movement were substantially reduced, there was no increase in the rate of infection.

In fact, during level 3, the pandemic peaked. And as the country entered level 2, the pandemic started to recede. If lockdown regulations were having the intended effect, one would expect the rate of infection to spike as restrictions were relaxed. This did not happen…..

Here is the article that first appeared in RT-com:

The scientific evidence so far on COVID lockdowns suggests that they don’t work – and may actually increase the death rate

We are being told that lockdowns halt the spread of the infection, but where’s the proof? The places with the worst death rates all followed that path – and the ones who didn’t have generally fared better. 

‘Paradoxically, human beings, when compelled to act, learn to justify a chosen course with an assurance unwarranted by the evidence for the course chosen.’ Bernard Lown.

I have studied the history of medicine, and medical interventions, for many years. The most extreme disasters have always followed a fairly distinct pattern. A series of steps, if you like.

Step one = we have a serious disease that is killing lots of people.

Step two = it creates great fear, and the medical profession has nothing much in place to deal with it.

Step three = a charismatic leader emerges to decree that he (almost always a ‘he’ up to now) knows how to treat it/control it, etc. This is ‘the idea’.

Step four = The ‘idea’ is enthusiastically taken up around the world and becomes mainstream thinking.

Step five = the ‘idea’ becomes standard practice.

Step six – the ‘idea’ is taught to medics and becomes accepted truth, a fact.

Step six = anyone who goes against the ‘idea’ is ruthlessly attacked.

There is always, of course, the possibility that the ‘idea’ is the best thing to do. This happens from time to time. However, there seems to be little or no correlation between the enthusiasm, and speed, with which ideas are taken up, and the likelihood they are correct.

The problem, as I came to recognise, lies between step two and step four. By which I mean that a charismatic figure convinces everyone that they have the answer, before there is any evidence to support it. The person may not be charismatic, simply someone who has the ability to grab attention and push the ‘idea’ forward. Such as the Chinese Premier.

Another thing that leads to disaster, which is perhaps of even greater importance, is that the ‘idea’ must sound like the most obvious common sense. It should trigger a response along the lines of ‘Yes, of course, that sounds perfectly reasonable’. Once that’s been achieved, the ‘idea’ drops neatly into people’s minds, settles down, and grows roots, creating not a ripple of cognitive dissonance.

At which point it cements itself in, and becomes difficult, even painful, to remove.

To quote the film Inception: ‘What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.’

We love ideas, they make us who we are. We defend them, sometimes with our very lives.

“Why do people insist on defending their ideas and opinions with such ferocity, as if defending honour itself? What could be easier to change than an idea?” J.G. Farrell.

So, yes, I have no illusions about the strength of ideas. They are so powerful, and so dangerous that you must be very careful where you aim them. Because ideas also have a God-like power, which is that they are immortal.

The damage inflicted by medical ideas

You can kill a person who holds an idea. You can kill thousands of people who hold the same idea – but you cannot kill that idea. Unless you kill every single person who believes in it, then wipe it from the historical record, so that no-one can ever think it again. See 1984.

I will give you a couple of examples of horribly damaging medical ideas. The first is the radical mastectomy. An idea first driven by William Halsted, a US surgeon from the end of the nineteenth century. He believed, as did almost everyone else at the time, that breast cancer spread locally – as did all cancers. Therefore, anything located anywhere near the cancer had to be cut away in case it had already been polluted.

With a radical mastectomy the entire breast, the other breast, muscles on the chest wall, lymph nodes, more muscles were cut out. Almost anything that could be removed without actually killing the women in the process.

The mutilated women were immensely grateful, and the surgeons proud of their expertise. They were doing a good thing, because the idea was considered to be inarguably correct. Questioning it was to be met with the response like, ‘Do you want these women to die – you heartless swine?

Except that it wasn’t correct. Breast cancer does not spread locally. At least, when it does, it does so very slowly. The spread that causes problems, and kills women, is not local. Cancer cells get into the lymphatic system, and the bloodstream, and spread widely around the body, very early on. Often, long before the primary cancer can be detected.

Those who questioned the radical mastectomy, were attacked. Geoffrey Keynes, brother of John Maynard, tried less radical surgery in the 1920s. It did not go down well:

‘Halsted’s followers in America ridiculed this approach, and came up with the name “lumpectomy” to call the local surgery. In their minds, the surgeon was simply removing “just” a lump, and this did not make much sense. They were aligning themselves with the paradigm of Radical Mastectomy. In fact, some of the surgeons even went further to come up with “superradical” and “ultraradical” procedures that were morbidly disfiguring procedures where the breast, underlying muscles, axillary nodes, the chest wall, and occasionally the ribs, part of the sternum, the clavicle and the lymph nodes inside the chest were removed. The idea of “more was better” became prevalent.’

More is better… this is another of the deadly repeating themes of ‘the idea.’ The idea can never be wrong, it is just that people are not doing with sufficient vigour. If women are still dying from metastatic breast cancer, even after radical mastectomies (and they were), the answer could not possibly be that the procedure doesn’t work. The answer is that we are not being radical enough: ‘Hack away more, and then more.’

 ‘I was greeted with hands stretched out in a Nazi salute’

Another big medical idea is that of bed rest following a heart attack. It was thought, at one time, that all heart attacks were fatal. James Herrick, another US doctor, described the first non-fatal heart attack in 1912, then suggested that following such an attack, strict bed rest was important. This would take pressure off the heart and allow it a chance to heal. Again, this sounds perfectly reasonable. As described by Dr Bernard Lown, a professor of cardiology and the developer of the  defibrillator:

“To a medical novice like me, the justification for enforced bed rest was persuasive. It was based on a sacrosanct therapeutic principle, the need to rest a diseased body part, be it a fractured limb or a tuberculosis-affected lung. Unlike a broken bone, which could be immobilized in a cast, or a lung lobe, which could be collapsed by inflating the chest cavity with air, the heart could not be cradled into quietude. The only approximation for a diseased heart was to diminish its workload. It was long known that during recumbency the heart rate slows and blood pressure drops, both indices of less oxygen usage and therefore of decreased cardiac work. Heart rest was therefore equated with bed rest.”

And so it became standard practice. It was simply what you did:

“Patients were confined to strict bed rest for four to six weeks. Sitting in a chair was prohibited. They were not allowed to turn from side to side without assistance. During the first week, they were fed. Moving their bowels and urinating required a bedpan. For the constipated, which included nearly every patient, precariously balancing on a bedpan was agonizing as well as embarrassing.

“Because world events might provoke unease, some physicians prohibited their patients from listening to the radio or reading a newspaper. Visits by family members were limited. Since recumbency provoked much restiveness and anxiety, patients required heavy sedation, which contributed to a pervasive sense of hopelessness and depression. Around one in three patients died.”

Bed rest started as a relatively mild thing. However, as it is with almost all things, it became increasingly ‘radical’. Lown, along with his mentor Dr Samuel Levine, tried to change this. He became involved in trying to get patients up out of bed to sit in a chair:

“Little did I realize that violating firmly held traditions can raise a tsunami of opposition. The idea of moving critically ill patients into a chair was regarded as off‑the‑wall. Initially the house staff refused to cooperate and strenuously resisted getting patients out of bed. They accused me of planning to commit crimes not unlike those of the heinous Nazi experimentations in concentration camps. Arriving on the medical ward one morning I was greeted by interns and residents lined up with hands stretched out in a Nazi salute and a “Heil Hitler!” shouted in unison.”

Step six = anyone who goes against the ‘idea’ is ruthlessly attacked

No evidence, no problem

Then, among all the other problems with ‘the idea’, between steps two and three, is one that I have not yet mentioned. It is that no study is ever done to find out if the idea works, or not. It is just conceived to be so obviously beneficial, such common sense, that there would be no point in wasting time and resources trying to prove it works.

No-one ever did a study to find out if the radical mastectomy improved survival. No-one ever did a study to prove that bed rest saved lives. They were both introduced on the back of absolutely nothing. In time, eventually, the folly of both was finally recognised. It took seventy years for radical mastectomy, fifty for bed rest.

Which takes us to lockdowns. The most expensive, invasive, and potentially destructive medical intervention ever attempted by humanity.  Was there any evidence from anywhere, in history, that lockdowns would work? No, there was none. But we have the six steps on full display here.

Step one = we have a serious disease that is killing lots of people – check.

Step two = it creates great fear, and the medical profession has nothing in place to deal with it – check.

Step three = a charismatic leader emerges to decree that he (almost always a ‘he’ up to now) knows how to treat it/control it etc. This is the ‘idea’ – check.

Step four = The ‘idea’ is enthusiastically taken up around the world and becomes ‘mainstream thinking’ – check.

Step five = the ‘idea’ becomes standard practice – check.

Step six – the ‘idea’ is taught to medics and becomes accepted truth, a fact – check.

Step six = anyone who goes against the ‘idea’ is ruthlessly attacked – check.

Does it work – have lockdowns worked? You can pick and choose countries to support the case that it does and dismiss any evidence you don’t much like. Unfortunately, once you introduce a medical intervention that affects everyone, everywhere, you have lost the possibility of carrying out a controlled experiment of any sort.

Despite the lack of any randomised evidence, most people are absolutely convinced that lockdowns work to control the spread of COVID-19. They point to various countries, e.g. New Zealand, Norway, Australia and Taiwan, to prove their case. They always have a ready explanation as to why countries that underwent lockdown still have high death rates and vice-versa.

The ‘idea’ has become the truth. Its proponents now demand that those who doubt the efficacy of lockdowns prove that they don’t work. However, I don’t believe it’s up to those who don’t believe that lockdowns work, to prove that case.

The starting point, for any scientific hypothesis, is for the proponents to disprove the null hypothesis. Demanding that those who believe something may not work, to prove that it doesn’t, is to turn the scientific method upside down. You can never prove a negative.

The null hypothesis, by the way, is that there is no difference between two things. Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) in medicine are designed to prove, statistically, that there is an actual difference between doing A or B. This is how science is done, how research is done.

We must look carefully at the death rates

Unfortunately, it is not possible to do a controlled trial with COVID-19. The possibility of doing any randomised study was lost very early on. Which means that we are forced to rely, instead, on observational studies. We can look at country X, that did Y, and see how it compares with country Z that did not do Y.

Or we can look at two countries that did Y, to see how they compare. Or two countries that did not do Y. With COVID, of course, no two countries did exactly the same thing. Not even the four ‘countries’ within the UK. So any observations become more difficult to rely on due to this ‘confounding variable’.

In some UK countries, six people could meet up, in others it was eight, or two households, or only one household etc. In some, restaurants were open, in others they were shut – at varying times. From a scientific perspective, it’s a mess.

Anyway, to simplify things, let’s look at the 10 countries around the world with the highest death rate from COVID. That is, deaths per million population (I have left out countries with population of less than one million, such as Monaco, or Liechtenstein, or Andorra because a few deaths here or there can distort the death rate considerably)

What did they do differently, what did they do the same? Looking only at first lockdown dates:

Belgium first locked down on March 18th, 2020.

Slovenia first locked down on March 20th, 2020.

Czechia first locked down on March 16th, 2020.

The UK first locked down March 23rd, 2020.

Bosnia-Herzegovina first locked down March 16th, 2020.

Italy first locked down March 9th, 2020.

North Macedonia first locked down March 18th, 2020.

The USA is highly federal and different states took different approaches – seven states did not issue lockdown orders: Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. In those seven states the death rate from COVID averaged at 1,280 per million vs. 1,254 as the US average.

In comparison, New Jersey first locked down March 21st, 2020, and its current death rate is 2,310 per million. New York locked down on March 12th – its current death rate is 2,130 per million. These states have the highest COVID related deaths in the US.

Bulgaria first locked down on March 13th, 2020.

Hungary first locked down on March 28th, 2020.

All countries locked down, Italy first, Hungary last.  As you can see, the date of first lockdown is unrelated to the death rate. The other stand out facts are that these are all ‘European’ countries. All with majority Caucasian populations. They are all in the Northern hemisphere.

If I were thinking of running a clinical trial where the hypothesis was that a lockdown was the best way to prevent deaths from COVID, then I would start by looking at observational data such as this.

I would find that the ten countries in the world with the highest death rates all locked down at similar times, with similar restrictions.

I would look at the US where the death rate in states that locked down, and those that did not, were almost the same rate (or vastly higher in the cases of New Jersey and New York), and I would conclude that the observational studies had – thus far – failed to disprove the null hypothesis. In fact, the evidence up to this point could suggest that lockdowns may actually increase the death rate.

In short, I would look for another idea.