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Posts Tagged ‘covid-19’

Public Health “Experts” Have Fucked up Official COVID-19 Messaging

February 23, 2021 15 comments

As many of you have realized by now, the official messaging about (and recommendations by) COVID-19 by most public health “experts” has been incredibly bad- and it would still be a big understatement. While some of you might think that their disastrously bad messaging and policies will only cause short-term damage to public trust in medicine, I think otherwise. As you will see in rest of this post, many of the incredibly stupid recommendations and policies which are vociferously promoted by most public health “experts” are going to have some truly awful long-term consequences. Here is just a preliminary list..

1] I am sure that in the past few weeks, most of you have read many articles quoting public health “experts”, including leaky faucet, repeating the same bullshit- namely, that widespread vaccination won’t change their policy recommendations about ineffectual face-mask wearing, useless “social distancing” or other stuff such as reopening schools or public gatherings and events such as indoor restaurants, drinking establishments, music concerts, sporting events etc. And this raises an important question- what is the motivation for most people under 50 to get vaccinated (especially with untested mRNA-based vaccines) if nothing is going to change in the foreseeable future. It is is now common knowledge that COVID-19 infection in people under 50 has an extremely low mortality rate (about 1 in a few thousand).

To make matters worse, this position makes people wonder if other vaccines are effective. By claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are not effective enough to let western societies go back to the way they were before March 2020, these dumbfucks are providing an amazing amount of free ammunition for anti-vaxxers. Think about it.. if the vaccines that are claimed to be 95% effective (which they are not) cannot stop the spread of an infection to the satisfaction of these morons, what is the point of taking any other vaccine? I predict that we will see a huge increase in public skepticism towards vaccination, in general, in aftermath of this pandemic. It does not help that many diseases controlled by widespread childhood vaccination such as measles, chickenpox, rubella, mumps etc are quite rare nowadays and not dangerous to well-nourished children who are under 12 and living in developed countries.

2] Now let us talk about the side-effect profile of vaccines- specifically those based on mRNA (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna). As I have written in previous posts, the 2nd dose of both vaccines causes moderately severe side-effects resembling influenza which last 2-3 days in about 20-30% of those who take it. While this side-effect profile is acceptable in those above 70, it is not clear how most people under 50 (who are not brainwashed or addicted to virtue display) will accept vaccines if it causes a more severe illness in a higher percentage of them than the infection itself. And it keeps on getting interesting..

Not content to pretend that vaccines won’t change their ineffectual and moronic policies, the idiots have also spend a lot of time pretending that COVID-19 vaccines (specifically mRNA based) are free of serious side-effects. However even a cursory look at data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) of USA and Europe says otherwise. While the rates of vaccine-related death in older people is probably somewhere between 1 in few thousand, it is real and about 100x the rate for other common vaccines such as those for Influenza. They also demonstrate a noticeable tendency to cause otherwise rare side-effects such as idiopathic thrombocytopenia and 3rd trimester miscarriage in otherwise healthy pregnant women. Reports of moderate side effects such as disturbed menstruation patterns, pronged swollen axillary lymph nodes, transient peripheral neuropathy etc are far more common.

3] All this talk about vaccines brings us the issues of “mutants” or “new strains” of COVID-19 whose detection is breathlessly reported every day by the MSM. The morons aka public health “experts” want you to believe that these are unprecedented and will somehow render existing vaccines useless. Of course, as before these idiots betray their lack of understanding of viruses and the human immune system. So let me restate the obvious- the genetic material in all viruses, and living creatures in general, constantly mutates. While this process is slower in significantly faster in RNA-based viruses such as Coronaviruses than organisms which use DNA to store their genetic information (like human beings), it occurs nonetheless.

But here is the funny thing.. Coronaviruses have among the smallest rate of mutations for any major family of RNA viruses. Nor as they have segmented genomes capable of large-scale recombination like Influenza viruses. But what does any of this mean? Well.. for starters, the immune system of all vertebrates has evolved a number of tricks to deal with very similar viruses. These range from producing a mixture of antibodies to a single viral antigen which bind at overlapping sites to immune cell activation directed at multiple overlapping sequences (epitopes) from that antigen. Did I mention that all viruses contain more than one type of antigen.This is why it is possible to develop efficacious vaccines against RNA viruses such as those which cause Polio, Yellow Fever, Measles and many others even though they are more prone to mutations than COVID-19. But you won’t hear this from public health “experts”.

4] We should also talk about how the COVID-19 response has polarized people by politics and ideology. It is no secret that what people believe about the validity of official response to this pandemic is highly dependent on their political leanings and ideology. Currently promoted public health measures seem to have no effect on cumulative rates of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. If you don’t believe me, just compare Florida with California or Sweden and UK. To make matters more interesting, countries in East, South-East, South Asia and Africa have far lower (20-100 times) rates of hospitalization and death than what one might predict based on their population characteristics. And yes.. this effect is very obvious even after aggressively adjusting for age structure of their populations.

So what is going on? If you asked me.. I would say that those populations very likely have partial cross-immunity (mostly cell-based) from previous infections by other Coronaviruses. And let us clear about something, in countries such as India more than 50% of the urban population now exhibit serological evidence of previous infection by COVID-19 compared to rates of a few percent about 5-6 months ago. The point I am trying to make is all of the much vaunted and promoted public health measures have no worthwhile effect on the spread of COVID-19. But try telling any of this to the credentialed losers and “expert”-worshipers. You know.. the same types of people who have made a secular cult out of mindlessly repeating the rancid farts emanating from the mouths of all these ineffectual “experts”.

It is this cult of worshiping morons that is being everything from their resistance to reopening schools and universities, restaurants and bars etc. These are also the same idiots who pretend that international travel is dangerous in spite of western countries being the most heavily infected in world. We are already seeing a significant minority of this group defecting to the pro-open/normalization side because they are now being personally inconvenienced. Expect a severe electoral backlash against those seen as supporting ineffectual but highly damaging lockdowns and expert-worshipers (aka Democrats) in 2022 and likely 2024.

What do you think? Comments?

Long-Term Effects of Mismanaging COVID-19 Pandemic in West : 1

February 11, 2021 25 comments

As some of you might recall, I have written multiple posts (such as link 1, link 2) on the short-term effects of western countries mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic. It is gratifying to see that many of my predictions have come to pass and the rest look inevitable with each passing day. You might have heard that most people in large countries such as India and Brazil have largely stopped using face-masks and “social distancing” for past few months now and life in those countries has pretty much gone back to normal- at least for the majority whose sense of self doesn’t depend on need from approval by old white people. The same is true for almost every country in Africa and most of South-East and South Asia. Rest of world has seen that virus was nowhere as bad as incompetent “credentialed” old white people were pretending.

This is not to say that the virus is harmless, but something as bad as 1957 and 1968 Influenza pandemics is not something worth closing your economy over- doubly so if there is no clear exit strategy. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, still ongoing and politically-motivated school closings in many american states have already pissed off a significant percentage of their populations. You can also be very sure that the ill-will generated by these stupid stunts (along with revenue shortfalls) will have some nasty medium-term consequences for future funding of K-12 education in this country. Same is true for any future business or employment prospects for post-secondary educational institutions- especially in Anglo countries.

It goes without saying that the incompetent and “credentialed” leadershit + bureaucracy of these countries is going about their lives as if their stupid actions aren’t going to bite them in the ass later. You might have seen the sad farce of ‘Impeachment 2’ being played out in the capital of this nation, while the urgent needs of tens of millions for monetary compensation and assistance are ignored and belittled. And guess what.. Trump won’t be impeached by the necessary 2/3rd majority of Senate, once again. Then again, it has clear for over the past two decades that american political system has lost whatever touch it once had it with the lives of the majority. I am sure that all of this will end well for everyone concerned *sarcasm*.

So let us move to the longer-term effects of mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic by most western countries, but especially USA. As you will see, there are going to be some major and somewhat unexpected consequences of all the shit that has gone down over past year.

1] Many of you might have noticed that a lot of the bad, stupid and disastrous decisions were driven by mathematical models of infection spread and mortality. While such models have historically been useless and a complete shitshow, this was the first time that many people believed in the worthless predictions of these incomplete and unrealistic models. You might remember that many prominent epidemiologists (especially from UK) claiming that Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of COVID-19 was 3-13%, when in reality it is close to zero (less than 1 in 1,000 for age-groups younger than 70. You might also remember these same dumbfucks claiming that COVID-19 would kill tens of millions in the ‘global south’ while those regions turned out to be the most resistant to death from that infection. FYI, the population-wide IFR is closer to 0.2 or 0.3, even in aging developed countries.

Turns out that many average people have also noticed the almost total lack of connection of these models and their predictions to real-world outcomes. Now think of another popular type of models used to predict changes in reality. Yes, I am talking about “anthropogenic climate change” models. You can bet a lot of money that the utter failure of mathematical models from “prestigious institutions” peopled by “credential experts” to predict the real world course of COVID-19 pandemic will have massive effects of the willingness of people to believe in the predictions made by priests of that other secular religion aka environmentalism. This will be doubly so because implementing the suggestions made by the first set of morons has been so disastrous for the lives of majority. Expect a large increase in the number of people who will question the secular religion of ‘anthropogenic climate change’ and support for parties and leaders who don’t care about all that bullshit.

2] It goes without saying that the public-facing and administrative part of medical profession has not risen up to the occasion. From their unwillingess to even entertain the possibility that COVID-19 virus was an accidental leak from a Chinese research lab to their constant abrupt changes on issues ranging from the efficacy of face-masks to various therapeutic modalities for treating the infection and its complications- it is fair to say to say that the profession (especially its public-facing administrative side) has clearly demonstrated their deficiencies in the very topics they they claim expertise. And people have, once again, noticed this lack of competence. To make matters worse, many administrative types from this profession have facilitated the poor and disastrous decisions taken by political leaders and bureaucrats. These include pretending that all hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients when such occurrences were rare and no more common than in a bad influenza season.

To make matters worse, they have provided legitimacy to some of the worst decisions made during this pandemic- from closing small business, restaurants etc while letting large ones remain open to supporting the ill-advised school closures in many states run by democratic party. It does not help that many have actively obstructed or ignored trials of drugs which reduce mortality and morbidity from that disease. Their mindless promotion of mRNA vaccines for mass use in populations who are not at high risk of death from COVID-19, despite a rapidly increasing incidence of serious and deadly side-effects in addition to their less that stellar efficacy is unlikely to help their public image. While the degree of trust in medical profession has been on the decline for at least two decades, it is almost guaranteed that their bungling of the response to COVID-19 is going to accelerate that trend.

But it will be worse, as they are also the public face for another class of very bad decisions. Have you wondered how many people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities died alone and lonely of causes other than COVID-19 over past year? This is important because over 50% of those who enter such facilities don’t survive for over two years. Do you see what I am saying? And then there is the issue of all those who died of suicide, drug overdoses and late diagnosis of otherwise treatable conditions. In many countries, the number of under-50s who have died of suicides and overdoses is many times the number who have died from COVID-19. And let us be realistic, 80-somethings in nursing homes and assisted living don’t have much longer left on this earth unlike those under 50. If you think that all of this is not going to have any effect on their already worsening public image.. I have a bridge to sell. And yes.. there will be consequences, especially in this bad economy and widespread despair.

In the next part, I will go into how the liberal and leftist calls for even severe restrictions and shutdowns will doom them to political irrelevance in the foreseeable future. Will also go into how the role of internet monopolies in attempting to squash any dissenters who don’t profess faith in the “official truth” will have some incredibly bad and long-term consequences for the former’s future. 2021 might prove to be interesting than 2020.

What do you think? Comments?

Initial Thoughts on Real Significance of GameStop Short-Sell Squeeze

January 28, 2021 19 comments

In the past few days the intertubes have been full of news and opinion about the GameStop short-sell squeeze. The very short version is that a lot of normal people who spend too much time on the internet have decided to buy shares of that corporation to raise its price thereby squeezing a couple of large hedge funds who were shorting that particular stock. While this series of events would, as late as 2014, might not have had any long-term significance- we live in 2021. As I have mentioned in more than one of my previous posts, the context and background of events matters far more than the event itself.

Consider the fact that there were many attempts at political assassinations of royals in late 19th century Europe, with more than a few being successful. However only one, in the early 20th century, set off WW1. The key to understanding why all those other royal assassinations did not start a world war while that one did is to appreciate that the later occurred against the background of a peculiar set and mixture of social, economic, political, ideological, geopolitical and technological conditions which did not exist for all those other ones. Or think about how all of numerous revolts within east-European countries in the late- 1940s, 50s and 60s were easily put down by USSR but they were unable to do so in the late-1980s.

My point is that the background against which seemingly a insignificant event plays out make all the difference if it turns out to be a proverbial flash in the pan or presages something much larger. AS many of you know, I have long held the opinion that GFC of 2008 was the official beginning of the end for West. To quickly recap, that event destroyed the faith of people in meritocracy and competence of western ‘elites’ as well as making it impossible for them to return back to their pre-2008 view of how the world worked. The immediate aftermath of that event also marked the point when China’s economy (in real terms) finally surpassed USA.

It is no exaggeration to say that many events which have occurred all over the world since then, including Brexit vote of 2015 and Trump’s election in 2016, would not have occurred without the background of GFC and its persistent second and third order effects. But what does any of this have to do with people on social media banding together to short-squeeze hedge funds trying to make money by shorting shares of GameStop? For starters, consider the background against which this event is occurring and the reaction by ‘elites’ thus far. As most of you know, the background for this event is even darker than the GFC of 2008.

Over the past ten, or so, months a ever-expanding series of very inappropriate reactions by western governments and ‘elites’ to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused unprecedented levels of job and livelihood loss in addition to massive social disruption without any worthwhile effect on the spread of that disease. I would go so far as to say that overreaction and mal-reaction to this pandemic has caused many times the damage caused by it. An increasing percentage of the population of many Western countries has lost all residual trust in the governments that which rule those countries and, far more importantly, the institutions which support them. In this country, there is the additional issue of the 2020 presidential election.

It is no secret than only a minority of republican voters believe the “official” results of 2020 election- and for good reason. Not only did the MSM manufacture an endless parade of fake scandals to damage Trump from the moment he was elected in 2016 but it is now clear that the deep state and large corporations went out of their way to sabotage Trump- even when he tried to do stuff that was actually good. The way internet monopolies conspired with each other to de-platform Trump after January 6 have not helped either and let us not forget that he received almost 75 million votes in 2020. Between that and the government’s extremely ineffectual and disjointed response to the pandemic, it is no surprise that any residual legitimacy of institutions has taken a even larger hit in USA than other western countries.

And let us not even go into how the obvious lies and bullshit peddled by ‘liberal’ institutions from the FDA, CDC, MSM to teacher unions and democrat-led local governments in many states have screwed up things much more than Trump. Long story short, there is a massive and rapidly growing trust deficit among the majority of people in this country towards pretty much every single major institution and all of this is occurring against the background of depression-like economic conditions. Which brings us to the performance of stock market over the past 10 months in contrast to the rest of economy.

As you all know, the trillions of dollars pumped by government into the financial sector and large corporations over past 10 months has caused a massive increase in both their stock prices and wealth. It does not help that this is occurring at same time as the unwillingness of government to do anything worthwhile to help most people. In a previous post, I wrote about how financialization is the cause of brick-and-mortar retail in this country. Now put all of this together and you will understand why hedge-funds trying to short the shares of GameStop, a company which represented the old way of doing business, elicited the response it did. It is not a coincidence that the internet mob went after hedge-funds trying to short shares of AMC- another business representing the older way of doing things.

In my opinion, what we are seeing right now (everything from Brexit 2015 and Trump 2016 to ongoing anti-lockdown protests and riots in many countries +internet driven short-squeezing of hedge funds) represent steps towards a final and irreversible collapse of public belief in, and legitimacy of, institutions in Western countries. All of this is very reminiscent of what happened within east-European countries in the 1970s and 1980s. Think about it.. this country now has a visibly senile leader leading a bunch of equally senile people supported by small army of careerist apparatchiks who have no talent beyond being parasites and hiding their incompetence behind a facade of bullshit wordiness.

What do you think? Comments?

Damage Due to COVID-19 Restrictions Will Cause a Huge Backlash- 2

December 26, 2020 10 comments

In previous part of this series, I wrote about how the hugely botched response to COVID-19 pandemic by Western governments and public health “experts” is almost certain to cause an unimaginably large backlash in 2021. What makes this incredibly incompetent response even more remarkable is that things have gotten worse with every passing month. Don’t believe me? Well.. have a look at the late Autumn spike in “diagnosed” cases which occurred all over the western world irrespective of whether the leader of that country was Trump or somebody else. At the time of writing this post, the per capita incidence in almost every West-european country (at peak) is either close to, or more than, USA. In fact, the rates in many supposedly “responsible” countries such as Germany have now surpassed USA.

But why does this matter and what is it’s connection to the topic of this post? As some of you might remember, a lot of the public health measures floated by “experts” and enthusiastically promoted by politicians, main stream media and social media monopolies were supposed to prevent this exact outcome. Except that they did nothing of that sort! Feel free to compare the per capita incidence of PCR-positive cases in states that have implemented tons of society- and business- killing restrictions to neighboring states which didn’t implement them. It is as if all this bullshit about everybody wearing masks in public places, not re-opening schools and universities, closing restaurants and other small businesses or all that social-distancing lies had zero effect on the autumn rise in number of positive tests. In other words, all of that personal sacrifice (performed by those ‘little’ people) was in vain.

Do you really think that most people haven’t noticed that all of their largely uncompensated personal sacrifice had zero effect on the autumn wave of this disease? Maybe.. some losers with sinecured or otherwise stable jobs don’t mind the disruption to their lives, but a much larger percentage and number of people are now both very angry and in dire poverty due to those disruptions. Needless to say, they will find scapegoats among politicians, public health “experts”, MSM cocksuckers and SJWs in social media companies. But their hunt won’t stop with these obvious targets. It is no secret that many other sections of Western society have beclowned themselves during the botched response to this pandemic. Let us start by talking about how schools and universities have handled themselves.

1] As some of you might now, the death rate for COVID-19 infection in those younger than 25 is less than 1, in 10,000 and if you eliminate deaths in those who were already quite ill, it is likely less than 1 in 100,000. In spite of these figures being very consistent across many states and countries for past few months, a large percentage of schools in USA are still closed for in-person learning. While we can go into the reasons behind the decision of many teaching unions to beclown themselves, which include offering token #resistance to Trump, it goes without saying that even a scenario where every person below 25 in USA gets COVID-19, the excess mortality would be in the few hundreds or low thousands. Moreover most of this mortality could be avoided by keeping those susceptible to severe outcomes (cancer survivors, severely ill kids) at home for a few months. But what about the teachers, you might say.

Well..for starters, most teachers in USA and many other Western countries are women and under 50 and also have a really low death rate from to this disease. To put it bluntly, it was perfectly possible to reopen schools and run them like normal by having the chronically ill children and teachers over 50 stay at home. Even a 100% infection rate among teachers and students would result in no more than a couple thousand extra deaths in USA. You might not like what I am saying, but it is hard to argue with my reasoning. However this is only a small part of why backlash against teachers and their unions will be especially severe in USA. The first major reason comes down to the fact that public schooling in West is glorified babysitting which allows both parents to work 9-to-5 jobs. Keeping schools closed hurts the working class far more than numerically much smaller upper-middle class.

To make matters worse, a large percentage of the working class sees teachers as pampered, overpaid, incompetent and elitist assholes who owe their cushy jobs to unions- something that is not possible for most people in USA. Let me remind you that most working class people had to keep working during the pandemic at same time when all these teachers were sitting on their collective behinds at home while still receiving full pay. I predict that the backlash will take form of voters supporting right-wing politicians who want to cut school funding- either directly or indirectly. And given the significant shortfall in tax revenues for local and state governments in aftermath of this crisis, this outcome is almost inevitable. And to be honest, most teachers deserve it for how they have handled themselves during this crisis.

2] If you thought that teachers and schools had shot themselves badly in the foot by refusing to reopen during COVID-19 pandemic or did so with bizarre pre-conditions, think again.. because universities have outdone them by a mile. But before we go there, let us talk about the single biggest difference between schools and universities in USA. See.. while the vast majority of schools are pre-paid for by taxes and therefore free to attend, obtaining a university degree requires the median student to spend many tens of thousands of dollars in fees- and we haven’t even started talking about living costs in certain coastal cities. Did I mention that you cannot discharge student loans during a bankruptcy? To make a long story short, attending university in USA is a very expensive proposition with very onerous loan repayment conditions. So why do students keep attending them?

While part of the reason comes down to societal and employer pressure to obtain a university degree of some sort, a far bigger reason (for many) is that university is a place to network for future job and career opportunities. Of course, you can’t do that unless you physically attend university. To make matters worse, the online learning experience is inferior for those old CD-ROM courses offered by distance learning for-profit universities offered in the late 1990s. Did I mention that vast majority of universities have not reduced their fees since going online? To make another long story short, universities have decided to throw their student body (aka customers in USA) under the proverbial bus without considering long term consequences of such actions. Given the conditions and factors mentioned earlier in this paragraph, the medium- to long- term effect on their reputation and ability to attract paying customers (I mean.. students) is unlikely to be positive.

To make matters worse, if that is possible, universities in USA have largely gone through the large increase in student population between late-1990s and early- to mid-2010s caused by a wave of baby-boomer children. There just aren’t that many future local students for them in next decade, which is why so many of them are recruiting international students at record numbers since the early 2010s. These high-paying students (usually from China) have become an important source of income for many universities in past few years. It does not take a genius to figure out that shutting down physical university for a year is going to hurt ability of most universities to recruit rich overseas students. It does not help that many universities in this country are overloaded with useless administrative parasites and therefore barely getting by in spite of collecting record amounts of tuition from students.

Given the upcoming revenue shortfalls, I expect many of them to start cutting corners by laying of teaching staff rather than firing administrative types, thus entering a death spiral where loss of income leads to loss of reputation which leads to further loss of income. What makes this whole farce darkly comic is that the risk of death from COVID-19 among student aged people is also very low- less than 1 in 5,000 and most deaths occur in those with serious chronic conditions. I should also mention that majority of teaching duties in universities are already performed by junior teaching staff, contract and sessional instructors who are very likely to be under 50 and in good health. I mean.. we could just have had professors above 70 and those with serious chronic diseases stay at home for a few months.

In the next part of this series, I hope to go into the effects of these shutdowns and restictions on small and medium business who employ far more people than their revenues might suggest.

What do you think? Comments?

Damage Due to COVID-19 Restrictions Will Cause a Huge Backlash- 1

December 19, 2020 20 comments

For the past few weeks, I have been considering writing a post (or two) listing my predictions for 2021. Since I have some spare time right now, let me start by making an obvious series of predictions about the upcoming year. And yes.. I have tackled this topic in a previous series and other older posts. I have also written about the ineffectiveness of conventional face masks and likely issues with widespread use of any potential vaccine. Thus far, every aspect of the response in western countries to COVID-19 from damaging widespread lockdowns that have no worthwhile effects on caseloads, ineffectual facemasks policies, hamhanded and delusional vaccination policies are creating a lot of fuel for huge public backlashes in 2021.

1] The most important determinant of long-term public support for all governmental policies concerning any war, restrictions or other deprivations comes down to the simple question- how much does it inconvenience or hurt the median person? Let me remind you that american public support for Vietnam war was very high in the beginning, but declined sharply once conscription became widespread and increasing number of recruits came back in body bags or as cripples. Similarly, the Iraq War was popular towards in the beginning when many stupid muricans believed they could win it at very little personal cost. Once it became obvious that the war was creating an endless stream of brain-damaged and crippled veterans, it became far less popular. The inability to move freely in Iraq years after that failed occupation, due to multiple ongoing insurgencies, did not help its popularity either.

So how does this knowledge help us predict the now inevitable backlash against botched response to COVID-19 by western countries, especially USA. For starters, we now have tons of data from both adjacent countries and states that brain-dead measures such as lockdowns, public making, closing restaurants and other small business etc have almost no effect on the rise and fall of case numbers. While some of you might not have heard about this because of spending too much time watching CNN and MSNBC- it is now increasingly common knowledge that many measures such as public masking pushed by public health “scientists” and faceless bureaucrats are nothing more than public theater while others such as closing restaurants, small businesses and physical retail are actively harmful. In the first 2-3 months people went along with the bullshit because they were afraid of the unknown, but now too many know somebody who tested positive for COVID-19 and had an uneventful spontaneous recovery.

My point is that the number of people who know somebody who contracted COVID-19 and recovered without complications is many fold more than those who know somebody who died. And for good reason! Mortality due to that infection in the under-50 population is somewhere between 1 in 5,000- 10,000. In fact, it crosses the 1 in 1,000 figure only for people above 60 and healthy non-institutionalized old people between 70-80 have a mortality rate of about 2-3%. But why does this matter? Well.. to put it bluntly, western societies don’t care much about lives of very old and institutionalized. While they may pretend to care about such people to show others around them that they are “good people”, they cannot keep up the charade for long if it is causing them to lose lots of money. By continuously lying to people that COVID-19 is far more dangerous than it is, the public health establishment in West is is serious risk of losing any residual public credibility which it might still have.

Which brings us to the second set of reasons why things are going to go ballistic in many countries aka this shitshow has been going on for almost 9 months now.

2] As you know, most human beings are conformist cowards who will go along any stupid belief system for a short time. The real problems start once the ridiculous crap continues past a few months. At that point, people will start reevaluating their previous beliefs- especially if they think that those beliefs are causing them financial or other loss. This is why most people either don’t join cults or slowly drop out of them as things get more extreme. While west European countries have a significantly better social safety net than USA, even they cannot keep the economy going for more than a few months. Things are even worse in countries with more fragile service-based economies + low job and career security + almost non-existent social safety net such as USA. Note that the shutdowns and restrictions are causing far more unemployment and financial damage to people under 40 and 50 than those over 65-70.

The problem with public health “scientists” and politicians trying to push their ineffectual ideas about indefinite lockdowns is that in addition to exaggerating the threat of COVID-19 they have not adequately compensated the people whose businesses and livelihoods have been affected. Even European countries which have far more generous wage replacement schemes than USA have not been able to make up the income loss to affected workers, not to mention uncertainty about future of affected business. The simple fact is that there many times more people who are being deliberately pushed into poverty by lying and incompetent governments in Western countries than there are people above 80. Things are even bleaker in USA where wage support is basically nonexistent for most laid-off and furloughed workers. Did I mention that most affected small businesses in USA are fucked.

To make matters worse, in almost every single Western country including USA the center-left part and its vocal minority PMC-class supporters are in favor of indefinite lockdowns without any hope or compensation. These sinecured assholes have lost all touch with the daily reality of a much larger group in their country. I predict, with complete certainty, that this will lead to the sort of backlash which will make Brexit vote and Trump’s election in 2016 look quaint. For example- the results of 2022 election in USA, barring some miracle or extreme incompetence by Republicans, will make the previous defeats suffered by Democratic party look comically small by comparison. I also predict similar electoral carnage for many other ruling parties in Western Europe in next two years- along with significant improvements in public support for right-wing parties. History might not repeat, but it often rhymes.

3] Many of you might have also heard that many social media companies and internet monopolies in the “free” West are trying to censor “unofficial” information about COVID-19, vaccine side-effects etc. I predict that such behavior by these corporations will have two main effects. Firstly, it will greatly increase public support behind those attempting to break up and regulate those corporations. But more importantly, it will amplify the very messages and distrust in “credentialed” authority which they are trying to suppress. If you don’t believe ask anybody for pre-1989 Eastern European countries if they believed official news about their own country. And yes.. it also feeds back into the anti-establishment dynamic which I talked about in the previous paragraph. The next two years will be most interesting.

The already moribund public health establishment in Western countries will be among the biggest loser in aftermath of this backlash. For starters, they have they lost any residual public goodwill during the past 9 months due to their inability to control COVID-19. But far worse was their poorly thought decisions (not based in scientific facts) which have caused massive damage to lives of thousands of times more people than those who died from COVID-19. Their pathetic attempts to pretend that COVID-19 vaccinations are safer than natural infection in younger age-groups is almost guaranteed to start some backlash in the next few weeks. Then again, public health in the past 40 years has been largely an exercise in bullshit mathematical models and SJW beliefs with no basis in reality. Will write about the effect of backlash on public perception of schools, universities, PMCs and politicians in upcoming part.

What do you think? Comments?

COVID-19 Pandemic has Exposed Intellectual Bankruptcy of Liberals

November 21, 2020 19 comments

In the previous post, I wrote about how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed many of the chronic problems and systemic dysfunctions in West for all to see. While writing that post, I started thinking about another one on how this pandemic also exposed the mind-boggling levels of intellectual bankruptcy among liberals. And yes, I wrote two very similarly titled posts a few months ago (link 1, link 2). As far as my ideological roots are concerned, those who have read enough of my older posts know that I despise ideologies of all flavors- from CONServatism to LIEbralism. Sure.. some are a bit worse than others, but not by much. While many of early posts were about the intellectual bankruptcy of CONservatism, it has became increasingly obvious to me that LIEbralism has gone from being a little better than CONservatism to significantly worse- especially in the past five years.

1] The first serious instance of how the pandemic exposed LIEbral idiocy came pretty early. You might have heard something about how tests for antibodies against COVID-19 show far more widespread infection than PCR- and LAMP- based tests. It was also well known, rather early on, that infection in younger age groups was largely asymptomatic. This would suggest that the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) for this virus was much lower than the high Case Fatality Rate (CFR) as measured before extensive testing was deployed. But LIEbrals would have nothing of that. These dumbfucks tried to discredit and suppress any evidence that it was far less dangerous than the equally intellectually bankrupt MSM was trying to push.

What makes this, however, especially interesting is the arguments used by LIEbrals in their attempts to discredit the results of antibody testing. One of their main arguments was that these antibody tests had very high false positive rates. Well.. any person who understands the science behind these tests and laboratory techniques will tell you that even the most poorly designed modern antibody tests have false positive rates below 2%. In fact, a false negative result is far more likely than a false positive for these tests. And yet there was no shortage of self-proclaimed experts on Twatter, FakeBook and MSM who claimed that these tests were “wrong”. It is as if LIEbrals had close to zero understanding of STEM subjects, which is not surprising as most of these losers credentialed in “liberal arts” at university.

And it gets worse. Once it became obvious that their lies about antibody test results were making them look like idiots, they started claimed that antibody titres were the only predictors of immunity to viral infections. But as anybody with a proper undergraduate-level education in Microbiology can tell you, immunity to viral infections has much more to do with memory B-lymphocyte, helper T-lymphocyte and Dendritic cells activated in response to infection than the persistence of antibody levels. That is why immunity to many viral infections can often last a lifetime. Now, it harder and significantly more expensive to measure these post-infection responses than a simple antibody test- but they are far more important for lasting immunity to a specific virus than antibody levels.

2] Let us move on to non-specialized face masks, a topic which I have touched on in another previous post (link 3). In case you haven’t heard, a recent large RCT Danish study of mask efficacy which many journals were initially unwilling to publish clearly shows that surgical-grade face masks have virtually no effect on rates of COVID-19 infection. And this is not surprising, since similar studies done on the efficacy of surgical masks at prevent Influenza infection (caused by a virus of roughly similar dimensions) in the past had yielded similar results. In other words, unless you are wearing N95 or better face masks, such measures are not effective at preventing infections. But liberal idiots continue defending this dubious talisman, once again demonstrating their ignorance of experimental science.

To make matters more interesting, these LIEbral idiots still haven’t explained why dense and crowded cities in Asia and some parts of Africa have only a tiny fraction of the COVID-19 deaths which many of these same racist idiots were happily anticipating. Isn’t it interesting that almost none of these LIEbral idiots are even considering the possibility that.. maybe.. people in some countries have partial cross-immunity to COVID-19 due to previous infection by other coronaviruses. Or why states with mask mandates don’t have lower rates of infection that neighboring ones with far fewer restrictions. Then again, liberals would rather stick their head up their behind than care about anything which contradicts their belief system.. you know.. like real life. Having said that, it is fun to watch them make up explanations which are rationally inconsistent with their previous ones, while pretending that they aren’t doing so.

These same idiots keep pushing worthless measures that sound effective such as “circuit breaker lockdowns” with no evidence that they do anything other than temporarily suppress case numbers a little. Why do you think that something which didn’t work in Italy, Spain, France and UK in the spring is going to work again? Because you want it to work? Seriously? Also why haven’t all those Asian countries which have very low case numbers and kept it in control done so without lockdowns? Also how long are you going to keep up this shit? How do you plan to compensate all those business owners who will be bankrupted by this ineffectual bullshit? What about all the people who have lost their jobs- in many cases, permanently? I would rather have excess mortality among the 80+ crowd in nursing homes than destroy the lives of many tens of millions more in the prime of their lives.

3] Let us now talk about all those measures to control COVID-19. Given that most outbreaks occur in places that are indoors, crowded and poorly ventilated- why are we pretending that normal outdoor and indoor activities are risky? Given that this virus is airborne, what is the whole point of “social distancing”? Given what we know about Vitamin D levels and severity of disease, wouldn’t giving Vitamin D supplements to dark-skinned and older people be a far better use of resources. And why not give the older and otherwise vulnerable people free N95 facemasks rather than pretending that ersatz cloth facemasks are equally effective? And we have not even touched on the issue of how mortality strongly correlates with advanced age and presence of multiple chronic disease conditions. But try telling any of this to a STEM-illiterate LIEbral retweeting make-believe bullshit on Twatter and FakeBook.

Since we are past a thousand words, I will wrap up this post here. Based on your feedback, I might write another post. Here is a parting question.. Do the governors and administrations in democrat-ruled cities and states have a realistic plan to cover their massive upcoming revenue and tax losses? Do they think Biden will be able to bail them out?

What do you think? Comments?

Response to COVID-19 Has Exposed Chronic Dysfunction in the West

November 14, 2020 23 comments

While I would love to finish a bunch of my drafts about topics ranging from how the computer revolution of past 20 years has been a failure to why the 1990s was the last good decade for people living in west, we seem to keep coming back to topics such as COVID-19 and Trump. So consider this post as another one in an already long list about the incredibly dysfunctional response by western countries to the COVID-19 pandemic. But how is this one different from the ones I posted over past few months? Well.. because it seems that systemic dysfunction exhibited by western countries has not improved, and in some cases, gotten worse.

1] Have you noticed that even after 8 months, western countries have still not shown the willingness or wherewithal to treat COVID-19 infections in high-risk patients with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory drugs? Let me explain a bit about what I am talking about. See.. based on results of many small and large clinical trials around the world, we know that treatment of COVID-19 patients at higher risk of hospitalization with certain drugs does reduces the risk of hospitalization, ICU usage and death. Furthermore, many of them such as Indomethacin, Doxycycline, Ambroxol or Bromhexine, low-dose Colchicine, Ivermectin are both readily available and fairly safe, especially for short-term use.

Yet no government in the West has even bothered to honestly find out if all the positive results seen in other parts of the world are reproducible. It is noteworthy than many of these reports come from more than one country and were often published at round the same time. There is definitely something going on with these compounds. Of course, these drugs would be most effective in high-risk patients who receive them within the first 3-4 days of symptomatic illness. But almost no large clinical trial in the West is even trying to assess their efficacy in reducing hospitalizations, ICU usage and death. It is as if the establishment in West has no interest in strategies which don’t involve them riding on their favorite hobby-horses.

2] Related to this shortcoming, is the inability or unwillingness to deploy orally available direct anti-viral drugs to treat COVID-19 in high-risk patients as early as possible. As mentioned in at least one previous post, a Remdesivir analog known as GS-441524 has the same degree of efficacy against Coronaviruses as it well-known chemical cousin in addition to being orally available and noticeably less toxic. So why isn’t nobody in West trying to find out if giving this drug (already tested in animals) early in course of disease reduces the risk of hospitalization etc in older patients? What about EIDD-2801, another even more potent and orally available anti-viral compound which has passed toxicity and efficacy tests in animals?

Do you see a trend? It is as if there is no systemic and coordinated effort in the West to treat COVID-19 before people end up in the hospital. The same is true for all those monoclonal antibody cocktails which would be far more useful if they were given to high-risk patients before they get sick enough to be hospitalized. I mean.. look at Trump.. he got the antibody cocktail and anti-viral drug at right time and hence recovered much faster than otherwise. Isn’t it interesting to note that the most aggressive use of medicines to stop high-risk patients from getting worse is occurring in countries such as India, Russia, Malaysia etc rather than the supposedly “advanced” West? What is going on?

3] And it gets worse. Have you noticed that western governments are still pretending that COVID-19 can be controlled or eliminated by a hastily thrown together bunch of measures such as “hard lockdowns”, ineffectual talismans such cloth masks, social distancing and then pretending that the continued rise in cases in spite of implementing these measures is due to poor “compliance” rather than they being close to useless. Have you also noticed that most western governments are pretending that COVID-19 infections in children and adolescents have a higher mortality than the common cold. Also, if you are interested in preventing high-risk teachers from getting infected, why not keep teachers over 50 or 60 at home and let the others go about their normal routine.

They are still pretending that the mortality rates for under-50s is more than 1 in a few thousand. Even the rates for under-60 crowd remain at somewhere between 1 in 500 to 1 in a thousand. Shouldn’t we be therefore devoting resources (such as N95 masks etc) to those at high risk of adverse outcomes such as those above 70 or 80 and in assisted living situations rather than fight the losing battle to stop COVID-19 infections in low-risk people. Hasn’t it become obvious by now, after 8 months, that eliminating COVID-19 from the population by such measures is a fool’s errand. Who are trying to impress with this seemingly unending list of failures?

4] But the crowning glory of their ineffectualness has been their profound inability to come up with a realistic plan to emerge from this self-inflicted crisis. Do you see any government in the West putting forth a realistic plan for dealing from the situation. And no.. ideas centered around daily ‘cheap’ tests for everybody and vaccinating everybody are not realistic as anybody who knows even a bit about error rates in testing and logistics of producing and distributing vaccines knows. Too make matters.. more interesting.. most vaccines being developed in the West are of types which have not been previously used in humans. Yes.. RNA-based vaccines such as those being developed by Pfizer and Moderna have not been previously used in human beings. Nor have those which use adenoviral vectors such as the ones from Astra-Zeneca, CanSino or the Sputnik V Russian vaccine. To put it another way, we are in totally uncharted waters with these vaccines.

I cannot help pointing out that inactivated virus vaccines against COVID-19 are perfectly feasible. Indeed, such vaccines have been used against Poliomyelitis, Hepatitis A, Rabies, Influenza vaccines etc for many decades. Yet for some odd reasons, there are only a few groups developing inactivated virus vaccines for COVID-19. What makes this even more odd is that such vaccines have been successfully tested and used for multiple types of Coronaviruses affecting animals. So why aren’t we using tried and tested methods for vaccine development, which are almost certain to work, in favor of sexy but unproven methods of achieving the same results. And yes.. I am aware that inactivated virus vaccines require boosters, but so do the others being currently tested for COVID-19. Also, what about vaccines based around protein subunits, such as the ‘spike’ protein, another well-known way of developing them.

Since we are already past a thousand words, I am not going to go into the hilarious stupidity and callousness displayed by western governments when it comes to issues such as helping save small businesses, jobs in the most affected sectors, running schools and universities into the ground and much more. Might write a followup part based on responses.

What do you think? Comments?

Quick Thoughts on Short-Term Effects of Trump Catching COVID-19

October 3, 2020 19 comments

As readers know, 2020 has been a most unusual year full of all sorts of surprises. Who could have foreseen the decision by establishment Democrats to close ranks behind a frail old man with senile dementia to run against the orange idiot? Of course, not all events are unexpected even if many of their consequences might be hard to foresee. Trump catching COVID-19 is an excellent example of something which was totally predictable but whose consequences are much harder to predict. I had expected him to catch it months ago, especially given his unwillingness to hide in the basement like Dementia Joe. So it was not surprising when Trump announced yesterday that he had tested positive for COVID-19. With that on mind, let us talk about potential consequences.

1] As many of you have heard, Trump has received an infusion (8g) of two monoclonal antibiotics (REGN-COV2) manufactured by Regeneron. While this drug is currently in clinical trials, there is enough evidence that it causes a significant reduction of virus levels in body fluids. Since Trump received this drug before progressing onto the later and more serious inflammatory symptoms, it will very likely benefit him. He is also receiving a 5 day course of Remdesivir (200mg on day 1 and 100 mg on day2-5). Once again, since he received it before progressing onto inflammatory symptoms, it will benefit him far more than those who receive it after being quite ill for a number of days. While this might not cheer up MikeCA, Trump is very likely to survive this illness and be back in the White House sometime next week- ready to berate Dementia Joe again.

2] While Joe Biden had a negative COVID-19 test yesterday, this is likely to change over next few days since there is usually a 3-6 day period between infection and producing enough viruses to be detected by PCR-based tests. Since it is almost certain that Trump was in asymptomatic, but potentially infectious, stage when he shared the stage with Biden at the first debate. It does not help that more than a few of Trump’s entourage at that debate were also infectious. Did I also mention that normal cloth masks cannot stop COVID-19. Unlike Trump whose is in otherwise OK health for a 74-year old man, Biden is a very frail 78-year old in early stages of senile dementia. To make a long story short, if Biden gets COVID-19 his prognosis will be far worse than Trump. Biden might end up where many liberals and progressives are praying for Trump to end up.

3] While many talking-heads on corporate news outlet and twitter pundits are trying to demean Trump by spreading rumors and demanding an ever increasing amount of personal information about his medical status, this strategy is likely to backfire since he is now increasingly an object of sympathy as he now has something in common with an increasing number of people in this country. Many still remember how all these MSM cocksuckers kept on hyping “scandal” after “scandal” for the past four years. It is like the boy who cried wolf.. after enough false calls, the person making them loses credibility. Long story short, it is not going to hurt his poll numbers and will likely increase them as well as embolden his more determined (and armed) supporters. And as mentioned above, Biden isn’t out of the COVID-19 woods yet.

4] The case for Trump being an incompetent moron who does not deserve re-election could have been far stronger IF Democrats had presented a significantly better economic vision of future, demonstrated ability to fulfill at least some of their previous promises and selected a presidential candidate who did not have senile dementia. Instead these paid losers have decided to focus on bullshit which only appeals to white upper-middle class types such as “respectability”, bullshit about the “green new deal”, gobblygook on “extending” Obamacare, talk about banning semi-automatic guns and other “woke” cultural bullshit that nobody who does not live in certain coastal zipcodes cares about. People such as MikeCA are partisan democrats because it is about social class rather than actual belief in anything he pretends to care about.

5] Let me now repeat something which needs to repeated as long as people such as MikeCA pretend to be appalled by Trump. The orange buffoon, you see, is the result of everything which has been going wrong in this country for past four decades.. and let us not pretend that this decision was not bipartisan. Trump, or someone similar to him, was as inevitable in our era as Hitler in post-1930 Germany or Mussolini in post-WW1 Italy. People in this country have stopped believing that politicians are anything but greedy, cynical, corrupt assholes who are increasingly disconnected from the people who vote them into power. Trying to portray Trump as “uniquely bad” because he does brazenly what other politicians do more surreptitiously is not a recipe for defeating Trump. Then again.. perhaps, Democrats don’t want to defeat Trump, since they are fake opposition paid by same people as Republicans.

In summary, based on everything we know to date, Trump is very unlikely to die or even suffer prolonged hospitalization due to COVID-19. The same cannot be said about Biden, especially in next few days. The attempts by MSM outlets and Twitter pundits to defame and enjoy Trump getting sick with COVID-19 is likely to backfire on them and Democrats.

What do you think? Comments?

COVID-19 Face Masks are Modern Day Talismans of Liberal Scientism

September 28, 2020 18 comments

As regular readers know, I have written many posts about the hilariously ineffectual and visibly incompetent response of western governments to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing in that general direction, let us talk about another stupid intervention cooked up by all the credentialed dummies advising morons occupying elected office in these allegedly developed countries. Yes.. I am talking about the enthusiasm displayed by many countries in recent months to make people wear face masks that are incapable of stopping viral transmission. But as you will soon see, my issues with making people wearing ordinary face masks are about much more than them being generally ineffective at preventing infection by airborne viruses.

So let us start by talking about the efficacy of various types of face masks at preventing viral infections. Long story short.. only masks rated N95 or higher have been shown to reduce the transmission of viruses. And there is a very good reason for why that is the case. It comes down to the maximum size of particles which can pass through them. N95 or better masks can reliably filter out particles that are in size range of common larger viruses. Your normal surgical mask or cloth face mask cannot stop particles in the size range of most bacteria and viruses. At best, they are effective at reducing formation of aerosols created by wearer when speaking or breathing.

Remember that surgeons wear surgical masks to reduce the chance of bacteria from their nose and mouth from ending up on open wounds or during procedures. All of this is another way of saying that normal cloth face masks and surgical masks are basically useless at filtering out particles in size range of respiratory viruses. Sure they might reduce the size of inoculum by trapping larger droplets and aerosols, but let us not pretend that they do much for viruses such as influenza, rhinoviruses or COVID-19. Now some of you might say.. “isn’t a bit of protection better than no protection?”. Well.. sure, but only as long as you are being honest about their limited effectiveness. Pretending they are far more effective than they are is malpractice.

So why are LIEbrals, especially those found on social media site such as Twitter, Reddit etc so enthusiastic about forcing people to wear ineffectual face masks? To understand this, you have first accept that LIEbrals are as stupid as their CONservative equivalents. They just happen to believe in different religions. See.. while CONservatives believe in traditional religion with all its trappings, LIEbrals believe in the church of Scientism. So instead of blindly believing in the word of priests in white garb, LIEbrals choose to blindly believe the words of “credentialed” dummies who represent the church of Scientism. It is about blind faith, not rational and critical belief.

The LIEbral obsession with making people wear ineffective facemasks is better understood when you understand what they represent to believers in the church of Scientism. To make another long story short, ineffective facemasks promoted by the priests of Scientism are best seen as Talismans. In case you don’t want to click on the link, a talisman is an object that someone believes holds magical properties that provide particular power, energy, and specific benefits to the possessor. Note that Talismans or ‘good luck charms’ have a long history of use in pre-modern medicine and the cynical might say, even modern medicine. Some of you might say.. “but what is the harm of letting people believe in such bullshit if it makes them feel better?” Don’t many people keep their own lucky shirts, coats, dresses, shoes, baseball caps etc?

Well.. here is why. If you promote something as a highly effective for prevention of COVID-19 infection, people might actually believe you in the beginning. But what happens after it becomes increasingly obvious that normal face masks are almost ineffective at preventing COVID-19 or Influenza? While devout believers in church of Scientism might continue to believe in ordinary face masks irrespective of evidence, others won’t be so ideologically invested. Another long story short.. the loss of credibility caused by failure of such face masks will blow back on those most involved in promoting them and destroy whatever residual credibility they might still command.

If you thought people weren’t believing in the pronouncements of attention-hungry losers such as Fauci etc and institutions such as CDC and FDA now, imagine how bad things could get once it becomes once it is obvious that these face masks don’t work. To reiterate, while N95 and better face masks work quite well, the cloth and surgical ones promoted by western governments barely work.. if at all. Pretending that they do won’t change reality.

What do you think? Comments?

When Life Starts Imitating Art: The Sep 2020 Movie Edition

September 26, 2020 Leave a comment

Since I am feeling a bit lazy today again.. here is a spur of the moment post that was in my draft folder for past few weeks. As some of you remember, about three months ago, I had published another post with a similar title that highlighted the similarities between ongoing riots and some interesting clips from movies in recent past. In it there was a clip from the 2005 movie adaptation of the Alana Moore graphic comic ‘V for Vendetta‘. Over the next couple of weeks I noticed yet another interesting similarity between that movie and the world of 2020.

So here is some background for understanding what I am going to talk about.. In the graphical comic book version of that story, the rise of the ulra-religious, right-wing and fascistic ‘Norsefire’ political party comes about in the aftermath of a limited nuclear war which devastated USA, USSR and a few other countries. The movie in contrast, traces the rise of that party to the aftermath of a deliberately engineered virus pandemic. To make a long story short, some rich members of that party fund the creation and release of a virus that kills almost 100k people in UK to create fear, chaos and panic among public which allows them to win the upcoming election.

After the election of that party, a company owned by some ‘Norsefire’ member suddenly finds a cure and within a few months they frame, arrest and execute a few people for allegedly doing what they themselves did to the people of their own country. If you think that all of this is a bit too similar to what we are seeing in 2020, you are not alone. Feel free to open to open the clips in another window and read recent YouTube to them. It is amazing how accurate the movie was at predicting how all the FUD created by pandemic would be used to curtail or eliminate civil liberties, while simultaneously increase the power of a clearly ineffectual government full of corrupt, sadistic and self-righteous control freaks.

Clip # 1

Clip #2

What do you think? Comments?

American Political ‘Elites’ Have Lost, Almost, All Touch with Reality: 3

August 27, 2020 5 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how there is no significant difference between establishment Republicans and Democrats when it comes to their overall worldview. Sure.. one group pretends to care about a woman’s right to choose and “systemic racism” while the other pretends to be interested in “banning abortion” and upholding the 2nd amendment, but this is all crappy window-dressing to cover the fact that both are equally subservient to the interests of big corporations and very rich. In that post, I also pointed out the almost everyone in current crop of Democratic party establishment is a D-list actor who are incapable of anything beyond mouthing empty platitudes and pretending to care about useless cultural issues such as “gun control” and “diversity”. I do plan to devote a future post to why the ranks of leadership, both political and non-political, in west is increasingly made up of incompetent but credentialed D-list actor types.

Anyway.. back to the topic. As I have written in numerous recent posts- the way establishment Democrats, and their Republican equivalents, have reacted to the ongoing immiseration of many tens of millions due to COVID-19 fallout has shone a lot more light on their almost total loss of touch with reality. Readers might also remember that I recently wrote about how establishment Democrats (and Republicans) have no realistic plan to completely reopen and reboot economy. But have you ever wondered why one bunch of dummies are just as clueless as the other? Well.. there are a bunch of intersecting reasons which have a lot to do with how the composition of political (and other) leadership changes in late capitalism aka neoliberalism aka financialism. But rather than go on another deep dive into underpinnings of this change, let me use a few simple-to-comprehend examples to illustrate the various factors that go into creating this mess.

Have you noticed that political and technical elites in west have lost the ability to assess information rationally and make thoughtful decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are a few examples.. Remember how face masks were supposed to be useless until they suddenly changed their mind sometime in May or June? Given that the pandemic was well underway in China by early January AND caused by a virus from well-characterized family, isn’t it odd that the elites had no clue about whether wearing face masks in public was worthwhile as late as May? Here is a hint: masks without special filters, at best, reduce the size of inoculum rather than prevent airborne viral infections. But it gets worse.. much worse. Let us talk about how western political elites displayed a total lack of understanding about whether the virus was transmitted outdoors or indoors. Once again, it was obvious as early as February and March that the vast majority of viral transmission occurred indoors and in cramped quarters.

In China and South Korea, it became obvious within a couple of months that majority of those who were infected got it from their family, co-workers or others in very close proximity at indoor markets etc. Yet, we still see western political elites pretending that outdoor gatherings (such as beaches, parks etc) carry the same risk as being cooped up in the same house, apartment or crowded workplace. Need I remind you that the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 in USA have occurred in nursing homes, ships, submarines, prisons, meat-packing plants and crowded low-income urban housing complexes. Some of you might think that this is a sign of elite malfeasance rather than incompetence, and you are welcome to keep believing that, but I think otherwise because it is just one more in a long series of similar occurrences that strongly suggest incompetence. And this brings me to the next example of incompetence- namely, an inability to comprehend the statistics of risk, mortality, immunity, asymptomatic rate etc.

I have looked through the available mortality statistics for this infection in many west-European countries (Italy, Spain, Germany) and others such as Canada and South Korea. Here is what we know.. in countries with lots of testing and low positive rates, mortality from this infection among people under 50 is less than 1 in 2000, rising to about 1 in 1,000 for those between 50 and 60 and about 1 in 300 for those between 60-70. Note that hospitalization and ICU utilization rates are also pretty low until the patients are over 65. In every single one of these countries over 80% of deaths occur in people who are over 80 AND in assisted-living facilities. My point is that for everybody below 60 or 70, COVID-19 pandemic does not have a higher mortality than influenza pandemics of 1957-58 and 1968. Sure.. we should certainly protect people over 65 or 70 by providing them free N95 masks, hand sanitizer, food and grocery delivery etc. But let us not pretend that COVID-19 is more dangerous for most people than a bad strain of Influenza.

Of course, this display of incompetence does not end here.. is just the beginning. Consider the bullshit about testing for antibodies as a proxy for exposure to this virus. First, the political elite pretended to believe that available tests were not accurate enough. Once it became hard to keep up that brainless charade, they pretended to believe that antibody tests accurately captured the infection rates in population. Newsflash- anybody with more than a basic understanding of medical microbiology knows this is not the case. Let me explain.. see, antibody titres are most important when considering immunity to infections by bacteria that produce potent toxins or those with protective capsules etc. As far as viral infections are concerned, the development of specific memory cells which can survive for decades in body and start production of antibodies and kickstart immune response as soon as they encounter the antigen in question is what matters! This class of cells is, for example, why your body can produce specific antibodies etc many decades after a measles infection or MMR vaccine if you are re-exposed to virus.

To make a long story short, antibody titres after viral infections are fairly mediocre indicators of immunity. However we still use them since tests to measure antibody titres are much cheaper and simpler than those for measuring presence of memory cells. But that is also why we require clinical trials of vaccines for viral diseases rather than just measure the antibody response to them. This is also why sub-clinical reinfection which does not progress to clinical disease is quite common with viral diseases, even if you have immunity to that disease. Now you understand why reinfection, but not clinical disease, is possible even if you are immune to COVID-19 and almost any other viral infection. Also note that we know from a wide variety of veterinary coronavirus diseases that they almost exclusively cause acute infections with one notable example of a sub-acute infection (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) in some cats. Now tell me.. did you notice political, or other, elites mentioning these facts? If not, why not?

Some of you might think, once again, that this is part of a “bigger plan”. To which my answer is.. just read the transcripts of how political elites and “credentialed experts” talk about these issues. It is as if they don’t understand the subject matter in any detail, and this is not surprising since the types of elites who rise through system under neoliberalism do so because they are D-list actors who are good at court intrigue. Here is another example of incompetence. You might have heard about long-term effects of COVID-19. Here is the truth. Anybody sick enough to end up in ICU and under mechanical ventilation for more than a day WILL take a few weeks or months to recover completely. This occurs whether you end up in that situation because of a car accident, post-surgery complications or COVID-19. Invasive positive pressure ventilation (PPV) beyond a couple of days WILL cause some lung damage even if you didn’t have any to begin with. It usually resolves in a few weeks to months, though some never completely recover from it.

Similarly, most viral infections beyond common colds and minor stomach bugs WILL cause elevated levels of systemic inflammation in a decent minority of people for a few weeks after recovery. This phenomena has been fairly well studied in children with viral coup and asthma, young adults who experience upper-respiratory and systemic symptoms for up to 2-3 months after recovering from a bad lower-respiratory tract infection or people developing temporary joint issues after recovering from a bad case of salmonellosis. It should also be understood that many sensitive tests for measuring heart damage and systemic inflammation will come back mildly positive for up to a couple of months after recovery from moderately bad infections. Now tell me,, how much of this very well known (if somewhat specialized) knowledge factors in the series of bad decisions made by western elites since the beginning of COVID-19 crisis? Why not?

In the next part, I will go back to what I was originally going to write for this part- namely, how establishment Republicans are not that different from their Democrat counterparts when it comes to privileging corporate interest over their voters.

What do you think? Comments?

PS: I also hope to soon write a quick piece about my thoughts on what is going on in Kenosha, especially its longer-term indirect social and political effects.

American Political ‘Elites’ Have Lost, Almost, All Touch with Reality: 2

August 21, 2020 10 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how the pathetic response by american political (and other) elites to the COVID-19 crisis is yet another example of their disconnect with reality. As I also mentioned, their rapidly growing disconnect from reality was first obvious almost two decades ago, but it took a number of subsequent developments such as their inept response to 2008 GFC and election of Trump in 2016 etc for this phenomenon to become unignorable. The ongoing and incredibly dysfunctional response by american political elites to COVID-19 pandemic should therefore be seen, in it its right context, as the latest obvious sign of their loss of touch with reality. To be fair the political elites of other western countries have not done much better than their american counterparts, so this isn’t strictly an american thing.

As some of you might know, I recently wrote a series about how the COVID-19 crisis exposes the intellectual bankruptcy of LIEbrals (aka most american elites) and another about how their inept response will result in a public backlash. Let us take the points made in those posts and pursue them further. As many of you might have noticed the “response” (if you can call it that) to the COVID-19 pandemic and its sequelae fall along partisan lines. Establishment Democrats and their brain-dead LIEbral supporters are all in for stupid and ineffectual measures such as indefinite lockdowns, closing down schools and universities, mandatory face masks and other pandemic theater without grounding in reality. The “other side” aka Establishment Republicans and their delusional CONservative supporters want to open everything without any plan to mitigate the possible negative consequences of doing so.

Did you notice a few big fucking problems with both courses of action, apart from the fact that they are both bonkers. In case you haven’t.. let me spell it out for you. Firstly, neither Democrats nor Republicans have any worthwhile plan to make the tens of millions who have lost financially during the shutdowns whole again. Now people such as MikeCA might mutter something about financial help contained in some bill that is being held up by the Republican-dominated senate. To which my answer is.. bullshit! Democrats passed some bills in the house to convince dumb folks that they are “doing something”. They did it with full knowledge that those bills would never be passed by senate and become law. You might remember the Republican equivalent of this being their many attempts to rescind Obamacare during 2012-2016 even though they knew that those bills would never pass and become law. It is all Kayfabe, a feature of politics in dying empires.

And this brings up the inevitable followup question- namely, why are the political elites of both parties so clueless about the massive negative impact of lockdowns due to COVID-19 panic on the already precarious financial situation for tens of millions of their fellow citizens and millions of small business? I mean.. hadn’t things already become pretty bad for the younger age-groups over past decade manifested by decreases in house + auto sales and opioid epidemic? Also note that this apparent cluelessness is not just restricted to their lack of understanding effect of shutdowns on tens of millions. It extends to many other areas such as the lack of realistic plans to limit mortality due to pandemic, reboot the economy and much much more.

In fact, the types of speeches you are seeing at the hilariously bad Democrat convention simply bolster my claim. Have you noticed how these D-rate actors aka political elites are spouting all that bullshit about “decency and norms”, “democracy is under threat”, “our international image”, “what will the children think” and “identity politics”, while almost totally ignoring the horrible socio-economic effects of this shutdown on average voters? How can they continue spouting policy- and governance- free drivel about how people should vote for them because Trump is a bad.. bad.. man. It is as if they learnt nothing from 2016, or maybe they do not want to learn anything from that humiliation because even the act of acknowledging that it happened makes them look totally incompetent. How do you lose to a reality show clown who was constantly mocked by corporate media and had less than half the funds as your candidate?

But it gets worse.. much worse. Have you noticed that Establishment Democrats have no realistic plan about how to reopen schools, universities and the rest of economy. If you ask them about their plan, those pathetic circle-jerkers will say something about “follow the science”, “wear masks all the time”, “e-learning for all”, “constant testing” and tons of other bullshit that is not practical in real-life. They have no plan about the hundreds of millions of people who depend on public schools for what is essentially baby-sitting their kids. They have no feasible plans about how to reopen universities, many of which are already in a pretty precarious financial situation. How many universities, even many state ones, can survive a year of being basically closed for undergraduate teaching- which is essentially their main source of income.

Do they think that students are going to keep paying tens of thousands for zoom lectures during the fall and especially winter sessions? Democrats want people to believe that electing Dementia Joe in November will somehow magically change everything. Do they think that people who have become very cynical over years in addition to being immiserated because of decisions by political class will forgive them? Don’t they remember what happened in 2016? Perhaps they think that keeping schools and universities closed for next few months will somehow create enough chaos to create a popular revolt against Trump? If so, this is a very stupid and short-sighted decision since most schools in Republican-controlled states are going to be kept open by September and it will quickly become obvious that risks to the young are essentially non-existent.

Ironically, this stupid Democrat-promoted policy to keep schools and universities closed for next few months is going to hurt the economy of ‘blue’ states far more than ‘red’ states. And that is just the tip of iceberg, since all the other stupid ‘social distancing’ and other bullshit policies are already destroying small to medium sized business in ‘blue’ states far more than ‘red’ ones. Do you think all the people whose livelihoods and business are getting destroyed are going to care about “following credentialed experts” and all that other bullshit to contain a disease which kills less than 1 in 2,000 people under 50 and about 1 in 500 of those between 50-70? Also don’t forget that Establishment Democrats are already talking about implementing economic austerity if they win in 2020. Talk about being more stupid and delusional than Trump..

And it gets even worse, if you can believe that. have you noticed that in addition to blathering about “values and decency”, “our international image” and other coastal bourgeoisie bullshit, they are promoting plans that no sane party which wants to election in the current environment would even dare to mention. You know.. things like referring to Hispanics as LatinX, talking incessantly about ‘gun control’, supporting bullshit causes such as transitioning children, killing oil and gas sector jobs and many other brainfarts which are not popular outside certain coastal zipcodes. Notice everything is missing from that list? What about plans for a comprehensive universal single-payer healthcare system, higher minimum wage, taxpayer funded higher education, less expensive childcare, changes to zoning codes to allow the construction of more affordable housing. But wait, there is more.. much more.

Establishment Democrats have still not put forth a feasible plan (one which does not involve hand-waving and invoking underpants gnomes) to reopen the economy completely. Think about it.. even after four months of the ongoing bullshit, they still don’t have a feasible plan to reopen the economy. But why not? Here is my theory.. because they are intellectually bankrupt. One of the most interesting and universal effects of a country adopting neoliberalism is that its ruling class gets increasingly filled with conartists, shysters, mountebanks, careerists and other creatures who are incapable of original and independent thought. This is why, for example, why Democrats could not use their electoral victory of 2008 to pass any major changes that would make them more popular. This is also why the recent DNC circle-jerk fest looked like a bad infomercial filmed in 1992. My point is that establishment Democrats are actually incapable of thinking in ways which have not been preapproved by the incestuous social bubbles they inhabit.

In the next part, I will tell you about how establishment Republicans are not that different from their Democrat counterparts- especially when it comes to privileging corporate interest over those of the vast majority of their voters.

What do you think? Comments?

American Political ‘Elites’ Have Lost, Almost, All Touch with Reality: 1

August 14, 2020 14 comments

Throughout recorded history, one of the most consistent and definitive signs of the impending end for any empire is the disconnection of its political (and other) elites from reality. Some of the most famous examples of this from the past century include the incredibly and consistently bad decisions made by pre-1917 revolution elites in Russia, the highly dysfunctional decision making in last two decades of Austro-Hungarian empire, the unbelievably dumb decisions made by the three pashas and their flunkies in WW1-era Ottoman empire, the very stupid decision by British elites to get involved in WW1 etc. My point is that, regardless of the continent, ethnicity of people or historical era.. all dying empires end up being led by elites who have lost touch with reality. While I have theories about the reasons behind this pattern, it is best discussed in another post.

This post will focus on the many signs that american political elites, like their many predecessors in other dying empires, have lost all touch with reality. Some of you might think that losing touch with reality is the same as being stupid or incompetent. Well.. it isn’t. Losing touch with reality is something which occurs when the person in question has such faith in their own mental model of the world that they disregard any external evidence that it is incorrect. In other words, they keep making decisions based on a mental model of world that has increasingly tenuous connections to reality. While they might have some initial partial success due to system inertia, sooner or later their luck always runs out and a series of bad decisions end up sealing their fate. One of the most interesting features of this disconnect from reality is that, faced with increasingly bigger defeats, elites of dying empires double and triple down on the very positions causing their losses.

So what about 2020 makes me think the elites in this country have lost touch with reality? Well.. a whole fucking lot! And let us be clear about something else, their loss of connection with reality has been increasingly obvious since September 12, 2001. However, it has become too hard to ignore for the past decade and is a thoroughly bipartisan affair, with both major political parties and the deep state fully behind this disastrous trend. Since I have to start from somewhere, let us begin by talking about the decision of Democratic party establishment to nominate a person with visible signs of dementia (Joe Biden) as their candidate for the presidency. If they didn’t want Bernie (a spineless pushover) to win the nomination, they could at least have got a hack without dementia such as John Kerry to be the establishment’s favorite in primary.

But the Democratic establishment, like its Republican equivalent, is too intellectually bankrupt and lazy to pull off this shit in a semi-competent manner. Their selection of Kamala Harris, a black establishment politician marginally less slimy than HRC, as the “safe” choice for VP position in Democratic ticket simply shows more of their intellectual bankruptcy. Let me remind you that when Kamala Harris dropped out of the Democrat party primary, she was polling at 3-4% and ended up in 4th or 5th position in the state she currently represents as a senator. It is as if the Democratic party learnt nothing from their clobbering at the hands of Orange Man in 2016. Why else would they think that a black female version of Tim Kaine was the best choice for VP slot on their party ticket? Do they think that repeating 2016 will yield different results this time?

It appears that this is the case, and these dumbfucks believe that the result of 2016 election was an aberration rather than due to a buildup of popular discontent with the course of electoral politics over past three decades. They are delusional enough to believe that “racism” was the biggest reason Trump won in 2016 even though many swing voters who voted for him in the Midwest had previously voted for Obama.. twice. But intellectual bankruptcy and delusion is not a monopoly of Democratic party. Establishment Republicans are just as dumb and delusional as their Democratic counterparts. Witness their inability to stop a “reality show” clown from snatching the Republican party nomination from many establishment favorites in 2016 primaries. Do you remember how easily Trump ran over establishment favorites such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and many others.

But it gets worse.. remember what Republicans did after Orange Man was elected in 2016? Well.. they tried to repeal Obamacare without replacing it with anything better. While Obamacare is a sloppy blowjob to insurance companies, it was at least marginally better for many people than the web of shit which preceded it. MikeCA might not agree, but the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare was the main reason they got thrashed in 2018 mid-terms. So what have Republicans achieved since 2016? Not much, other than passing tax cuts for corporations and rich + getting lots of right-wing federal judges appointed to further the interests of corporations and rich + supporting wars in far off countries (the last two actions being bipartisan). In other words, they did exactly what you would expect establishment Republicans to do.

But how is any of this a sign of losing touch with reality? For the past thirty years, the Republican party has increasingly become a party of white people, especially of the working class type. So what promises does the Republican party offer the majority of its loyal voters? Well.. in addition to professed support for social conservatism (banning abortion, opposing homosexuality, upholding gun rights etc), they offer working class whites the promise of making sure that non-white people have a shittier life than them. But note that most Republican voters are actively opposed to most Republican economic policies such as free trade, job outsourcing, allowing corporations to become monopolies etc. This scam worked for about twenty years, though it had started to wear thin by the mid-2000s. Over the past ten years, changes such as legalization of gay marriage + inability to reverse Roe Vs Wade etc have made a mockery of their alleged social conservative platform, except perhaps for delusional old white people.

My point is the support for wedge issues based in social conservatism (with notable exception of gun rights) has become untenable. At the same time, the quality of life for white working class has decreased a lot over past two decades, but especially in aftermath of GFC of 2008. There is a reason why white working class has been doing so much methamphetamine, opioids and alcohol over past 10-15 years. This is also why the (empty) promises of Trump to restore manufacturing and similar jobs for this group resonated so much with that group during the electoral campaign of 2016. Given the changing racial demography of this country, the smart thing for Republican party to do would be courting this base with economic populist policies (not unlike Democrats under FDR) instead of fixating on social wedge issues that have been pretty much decided.

The white working class voter of 2020 cares far more about having a job, rising costs of housing, education and healthcare rather than banning abortion or gays. But Republican establishment, like its Democratic equivalent, is in thrall of corporations and ultra-rich. It is therefore unable and unwilling to read the writing on wall and adjust its positions. Luckily for them, the Democratic establishment, which is paid by same groups, has no desire or ability to exploit this weakness. But as Trump showed in a very spectacular manner in 2016, and politician willing to break away from the neoliberal economic orthodoxy (if only in words) can effectively steamroll the Republican establishment. You can bet that a few young Republican politicians (Cotton, Hawley, Rubio), who are smarter than Trump, have already internalized this message.

But how is any of this manifesting itself in 2020? For starters, both Democrats and Republicans have been unable (and unwilling) to understand how badly the COVID-19 shutdown has affected the economy, and not just in the short-term. While the relief package offered by Republicans is laughably inadequate, even the somewhat more generous one proposed by Democrats is quite inadequate. There is something darkly comic about Republicans showing contempt for working class people who have lost their jobs while Democrats pretend to care about budget deficits and maintaining collegiality with Republican counterparts. While somewhere between 30-50 million people in this country are either officially unemployed or cannot collect unemployment even though they have lost their jobs, politicians from both parties are attacking each other on social issues which almost nobody cares about right now.

Trump and his coterie of dumbfucks are promising a rapid return to normality, without the means or capability to do so. Democrats, for their part, are promising open-ended lockdowns which will mysteriously end if Dementia Joe wins on 3rd of November. Neither groups has any worthwhile plans on reopening the economy completely, procuring enough doses of an effective and safe vaccine let alone do anything about compensating the millions of small business that have been devastated and will likely shutdown forever by the time this shitshow is over. But what do you hear on Clinton News Network (CNN), MSDNC and Faux or read in establishment rags such as NYT and WP? Well.. it is mostly the latest clickbait scare news about COVID-19, bullshit about political manoeuvring and “norms” that very few outside the incestous political types care about, articles supporting the latest american wars and unsuccessful attempts at foreign intervention, more stuff about how Trump is a liar, stupid, evil etc. Notice what is minimized or missing?

These corporate news outlets either completely ignore or devote very little space to issues such as the socio-economics of reopening schools and universities, the tens of millions without jobs who are increasingly unable to pay rent or mortgages and in some cases afford to buy food and medicine, the millions whose small business or gig jobs have gone under, the total inadequacy of current government programs for helping the unemployed, the rapidly growing loss of confidence among people about “epidemiologists” and “experts”, the massive increase in rates of opioid overdoses in many economically distressed regions of country, the long-term effects of university lockdowns on finances of those institutions, the effect of revenue loss due to small business closure on local and state governments + the general loss of faith in the future of this country.

The political “elites” and their catamites in corporate media have their head too far up their behinds to actually notice that the country they pretend to lord over is rapidly coming apart. They keep on playing the stupid old games they know because they are intellectually bankrupt and therefore totally incapable of actually solving problems. I will write more about what the almost complete mishandling of COVID-19 crisis says about the american elite in the next post. I also hope to tackle how the willingness of this country to start conflicts all over the world without the wherewithal to actually win them is another sign of its loss of touch with reality.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Many Potential Real-Life Problems with Any COVID-19 Vaccine

July 23, 2020 26 comments

Most of you might have recently heard something about progress in the development of one (or more) of the many vaccines being developed for COVID-19. While I don’t want into a lot of detail about the types of vaccines being developed, two are getting most of the attention. One is the ‘RNA-based’ one such as those from (Moderna, Pfizer etc. The other type is adenovirus-based ones such as that Oxford-AZ and CanSino vaccine. Even with the initial results of these, and many more, vaccines- I predict that even the most successful vaccine will have to overcome tons of real-life problems. And I am not the only one to hold that opinion. Here is why..

1] RNA-based vaccines of the type developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are problematic for more than one reason. Firstly, no RNA-based vaccine has yet been approved for human or animal use. Sure.. this is partly due to the reason that the technology, injecting encapsulated mRNA to make you own cells produce the antigen you want to stimulate an immune response against is fairly new technology. But there is a second reason- specifically, mRNA based vaccines are notorious for causing grade 3 and higher reactions in a small percentage of individuals. Though Moderna is trying its best to obscure the data, more than a few people in their relatively small phase I trial developed reactions serious enough to require prompt medical attention.

Why does this matter? Well.. let us consider how things will play out if they have a 5% incidence of such reactions during a mass vaccination drive against COVID-19. Imagine you vaccinate a million people and 5% of them develop such reactions. Even if they are can be easily treated in the hospital or a clinic, you have 50,000 fairly ill people who wouldn’t be there if they had not taken this vaccine. Also, if there are 50,000 people ill enough to require medical attention, you can bet a few of them will end up becoming much more ill or even dying. Let me remind you that the mortality due to COID-19 in people under 50 is less than 1 in 1,000. What are the chances that the vaccine kills and hospitalizes as many people as the infection in younger age groups?

This is not to say that vaccines with such high rates of side-effects are useless. The vaccine for smallpox and older versions of the rabies vaccine also had rather high rates of side effects. But there is the thing.. smallpox, when it existed, was a very contagious illness with 30% mortality rate. Rabies has a mortality of almost 100% once the infection has reached the central nervous system. Most people will be fine with a vaccine for smallpox or rabies that kills one in a few thousand people, because of the high fatality rates of those infections. The same cannot be said about COVID-19. To make matters more interesting, we don’t know if mRNA based vaccines are more likely to induce auto-immune diseases than other, more conventional, vaccines.

2] The other main type of COVID-19 vaccines use fairly harmless adenoviral vectors that express some proteins from the virus in question. In contrast to mRNA based vaccines, we have a decent amount of experience with such vaccines in both animals and humans trials. Also vaccines that use a similar strategy- where one fairly harmless virus expresses proteins of a far more harmful virus to induce immunity to later have been used to develop a few vaccines used in animals and at least one for humans (Ebola vaccine). We can, therefore, be a bit more certain that the safety of vaccines in this category is not as unknown as those mRNA-based vaccines. Also, the rate of complications for such viral-vector based vaccines is noticeably lower than mRNA vaccines.

The initial data from the Oxford-AZ vaccine trials also suggest that they do a much better job at stimulating immunity to the virus among CD4 and CD8 T-lymphocytes. It is known that immunity to Coronaviruses in animals is more cell-based than antibody based. In other words, the Oxford-AZ vaccine is likely to produce better immunity under real-life conditions with noticeably fewer side-effects than mRNA based vaccines. The CanSino vaccine, which uses a human adenoviral vector, seems to be a bit less effective than the Oxford-AZ vaccine which uses a chimpanzee adenoviral vector- perhaps, because of pre-existing immunity to human adenoviruses. Between mRNA and adenoviral-vector based vaccines, I would put my money on the later.

3] The next issue concerning COVID-19 vaccination comes down to the logistics of producing, distributing and actually giving the vaccine. Having the best vaccine means shit all if you cannot produce it on a large scale without breakdowns in quality control. Once again, the adenoviral-vector based vaccines are a bit better than mRNA-based ones in that regard, especially with existing infrastructure. Distributing the vaccine, even if effective will however pose quite a few problems. For starters, who do you vaccinate first- the groups most likely to die from infection or those most likely to transmit it? How do you vaccinate hundreds of millions in a very short time without a huge number of people ending up in hospitals due to side-effects, even if temporary.

And what are you going to do about all the people who would rather wait and see what happens to initial bunch of vaccine recipients? What if there is a large wave of hospitalizations from first widespread use of whichever COVID-19 vaccine ends up being approved. Remember even a 2% incidence of severe reactions is a large number once you are talking about millions of recipients. How will you convince people to keep getting vaccinated if initial use of COVID-19 vaccine causes tens of thousands of hospitalizations? This is especially likely for mRNA-based vaccine such as those being developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Then there are issues of efficacy. What if the approved vaccines prove to be only 80-90% effective. While this is a perfectly acceptable for many existing vaccines- dumbfuck “ivy-league experts” have promised the sky to masses.

I can think of many other issues, but we are already past a thousand words. Might write more in a future post on this topic, depending on responses to this one.

What do you think? Comments?

Why Forcing People to Wear Face Masks is an Incredibly Stupid Idea

July 16, 2020 44 comments

As readers know, I often take positions that are contrarian and unpopular but eventually turn out to be right. Consider this article to be another one in that line. You might have heard or read that many politicians in this country and a few others are trying to force people to wear face masks in public for the alleged purpose of reducing or eliminating COVID-19 transmission. My thoughts on this turn of events is best summarized in the title of post, and ya.. I think it is an incredibly stupid idea. The longer version is however more nuanced than the title might suggest, and people who want to comment should first read the entire post completely. You will see there are a number of converging reasons, many of them not obvious, for my contrarian position.

So let us begin by talking about the three categories of face masks and what they are, and aren’t, capable of. The type of ersatz facemasks you see on people all over the country are.. well.. not good at preventing infection by respiratory pathogens. There.. I said it! Masks made of normal fabric (natural or synthetic) are too porous to stop anything smaller than clumps of bacteria or viruses in droplets of saliva or mucus. The only thing they are somewhat good at is reducing the amount of aerosols generated by a person suffering from a viral or bacterial infection. In other words, they have some efficacy at preventing an already infected people from spreading it, but are close to useless for preventing it in an uninfected person.

The second category include the so-called medical/surgical masks worn by medical professionals under certain situations. While somewhat better than ersatz masks, they are also most efficacious at stopping the wearer from infecting others which is very important when performing a surgical procedure or interacting with very sick or immuno-compromised patients. Do they have some efficacy in preventing the wearer from catching a respiratory infection? Perhaps.. if they are interacting with many people within a short time. However their effects on prevention infection of wearer appear to be mostly related to reducing the inoculum of the infectious agent- which is a fancy way of saying that getting infected with a smaller dose of the bug in question will cause a much milder disease than with a large dose. Moving on the the third category..

Masks that are rated N95 or N100, in contrast to the previous two categories are capable of preventing infection of wearer by a number of respiratory pathogens. This is possible because the masks form a tight seal around the nose and mouth while running all exhalations and inhalations through filters capable of retaining particles down to 0.2 micrometer or 1/5,000th of 1 mm. To make a long story short, only masks in the third category are actually capable of preventing the wearer from getting infected. The other two reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of already infected people from transmitting their infection. As you will soon see, this distinction matters far more than most people realize and is very relevant to this discussion.

Now let us talk about who benefits, and who doesn’t, from using all three mask categories. But before we go there, let us quickly revisit something I had mentioned in previous posts- namely, that mortality in people under 50 is less than 1 in 1,000 and hospitalization (not ICU) rates are less than 1%. It also happens to be the case that most people who get infected by COVID-19 are from this age-group. To put it bluntly, only people with chronic disease conditions and serious obesity in the under-50 age group benefit from using masks, specifically N95s as N100s are too bulky. Masks from other two categories give very little protection against infection, with surgical grade ones being marginally better than the ersatz ones.

One could certainly make the argument that providing surgical grade masks to people in certain occupations such as store clerks and cashiers, USPS and other delivery-people, airline stewards, people working in crowded environments and those working with older people would be helpful in reducing spread of infection to vulnerable populations. Other than that, the benefit of otherwise health people under 50 using ersatz or surgical-grade face masks is minuscule. But what about people between 50 and 70. Well.. once again, the risk of death for those between 50-60 is less than 1 in 500 and about 1 in 300 for those between 60-70. For such people, wearing surgical-grade masks could potentially reduce the size of inoculum would potentially reduce mortality. However their maximal effectiveness would still be restricted to crowded environments, rather than.. say.. walking your dog or getting a coffee from Starbucks..

The high risk groups aka people with multiple chronic diseases or in their 80s and beyond, are the only category who would benefit from using N95 type masks in most social situations. Note that these people will benefit very little from wearing ersatz or surgical-type masks. I say.. we should just give them a free supply of such masks and hand sanitizer until the COVID-19 epidemic is over. It would also be a good idea to provide such masks to people who take care of them, in institutions or otherwise. And this brings me to why so many politicians are pushing these stupid mask laws. It is.. you see.. about giving the appearance of action aka public theater. Demanding people wear masks outdoors is the 2020 version of TSA employees searching and scanning grandmothers and children for bombs and weapons after 9/11.

Which brings us to the next set of issues concerning mask laws. Who pays for masks, especially since a lot of people in this country are struggling to feed their families after losing their income due to the COVID-19 shutdown. More importantly, how do you enforce such laws? Haven’t we seen enough of how laws are disproportionately enforced against minorities and poor people? Do we want to see more video clips of black people being shot and strangled by cops for not wearing masks? Given the abysmally low trust of people in institutions and credentialed “experts”, why do you think people will obey such laws- especially since these same “experts” were claiming marks to be useless as late as early May of this year.

But wait.. it gets worse. Did you notice how voters behaved in 2016 when they were lectured by the so-called “elites” that Trump was not fit to be president. That is right.. they voted him in office. The same occurred with Brexit and the rise of many right-wing parties in western Europe due to public backlash against the refugee flood of 2014-2015. Most people hate busybodies, especially of the self-righteous variety, doubly so if there are members of the so-called “elite”. That dynamic combined with degree of political polarization in this country is going to cause some pretty ugly reactions and.. well.. situations. This is especially relevant since the same busybodies pushing for forced masks are the same ones who want to keep schools and universities closed indefinitely + cause millions of small businesses to go bankrupt.

And there is the other big question.. what happens if COVID-19 does not disappear in spite of forced mask laws and shutdowns? The so-called “elites” have tried to sell these measures as a guaranteed pathway to eliminate the disease, but have they even considered how most people will react if the promised end to new infections does not occur, in spite of these measures. Who are they going to blame? More importantly, will the already desperate and impoverished public care about their latest round of excuses? Sustained real unemployment rates about 20% seldom lead to a nice and orderly outcome, to put it mildly.

Finally, there is the issue of symbolism. Will retail and service sector business (employing numerical majority of population) go back to normal if everyone is wearing face masks a few months from now? Aren’t they a very visible reminder that things are not normal? Do you think that shops and malls are going to previous levels of commercial activity? What about restaurants and bars? Let me remind you that hotels, restaurants and bars + allied business in NYC or SF employ more people than the largest financial institutions in NYC or the biggest silly-valley corporation in the Bay area.

What about other small businesses or even larger business that depend on smaller ones? Do you have any idea about the magnitude of social disruption such a situation will cause? Do you have any clue about the amount of permanent job losses this will cause? Have you done some basic math about how this will crater tax revenue in cities and states all over this country? Well.. you should, because a situation where 1/3rd of people cannot make their rent or mortgage payment for month of July is far more scary than the consequences of people not wearing some stupid ersatz face mask of dubious efficacy.

What do you think? Comments?