Coronavirus Pandemic

Hey everyone,
long time no speak :) Hope everyone is doing fine in these strange times.
Anyone who really believes in the whole COVID story, and believes the response has been rational, should be able to answer a few simple questions:

1) What makes COVID so unique? The recovery rate from this disease is very high, so why exactly do we need to treat this so differently? In particular, how does COVID differ from flu?
It's a turbo-flu, it sends way more people to the hospital than "normal" flu: roughly 5% vs 1% for the flu we normally see every year.
Also it has a higher mortality rate, although it's not as crazy as the numbers that have been flying around, especially last year.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_influenza_statistics_by_flu_season
https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/99/1/20-265892/en/

2) Why exactly has LOCKDOWN never been used before, and is there clear evidence it really works in practice?
Yeah, it seems these measures have been pushed way too far.
Shutting down shops for months when they were already limiting the amount of customers inside, keeping distance between people, plus using masks and sanitizers.
Also denying physical activity outdoors and enforcing curfews. I mean, where I live you can still be fined for hundreds of euros if you get caught outside after 10:00pm, and it's not a high risk/red zone. It's getting kind of silly.

As usual the problem is how you use these tools. In Italy they have been used pretty badly, especially in the past 8-9 months.

3) Can society tolerate enormous damage just to get rid of one pathogen?
Of course not. The number of small businesses that have gone belly up and unenployment rates should be enough evidence. No?

4) How can we know how safe the vaccines are, given that they have not been tested for long, and are of a very novel design. I decided not to accept the vaccine, even though I am 71, and so slightly at risk.
We don't know, and now problems are starting to emerge. We're basically making an ultra large scale test with experimental drugs.

If you check the paper by Ioannidis (published by WHO) that corrected the overblown death rate estimated by WHO itself, you'll notice that the real risks start at age 70 and higher (or for younger people with conditions that elevate such risks).

Cheers
 
Hey everyone,
long time no speak :) Hope everyone is doing fine in these strange times.
It is really great to see you around again - I hope you are going to stay for a while!
It's a turbo-flu, it sends way more people to the hospital than "normal" flu: roughly 5% vs 1% for the flu we normally see every year.
Also it has a higher mortality rate, although it's not as crazy as the numbers that have been flying around, especially last year.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_influenza_statistics_by_flu_season
https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/99/1/20-265892/en/
The trouble is, they record deaths in a very peculiar way - at least in the UK. Everyone who tests positive for COVID and who dies within 28 days is considered to have died of COVID. It doesn't matter if they died from terminal cancer or by being run over by a bus!

Combine that with the fact that in-patients in hospital are all tested for COVID (reasonably enough) but that hugely biasses the statics, even if you assume the test doesn't show false positives, because while some people get COVID, but just stay at home for a few days till they feel better (and maybe never even take the test) - so it is very hard to get meaningful percentages. It also seems to be impossible - here in the UK - to get any independent check of the quality of those PCR tests. The inventor of PCR, Kary Mullis, was strongly opposed to the use of PCR in this way.
Yeah, it seems these measures have been pushed way too far.
Shutting down shops for months when they were already limiting the amount of customers inside, keeping distance between people, plus using masks and sanitizers.
Also denying physical activity outdoors and enforcing curfews. I mean, where I live you can still be fined for hundreds of euros if you get caught outside after 10:00pm, and it's not a high risk/red zone. It's getting kind of silly.

As usual the problem is how you use these tools. In Italy they have been used pretty badly, especially in the past 8-9 months.
I don't think there is any desire to invent sensible rules, the aim seems to be to damage society as much as possible.
Of course not. The number of small businesses that have gone belly up and unenployment rates should be enough evidence. No?
Again, I don't think that those devising these rules are concerned about the damage to society - except perhaps in a negative way. Consider, people have been concentrated into the supermarkets, which may have actually had the effect of spreading the illness.
We don't know, and now problems are starting to emerge. We're basically making an ultra large scale test with experimental drugs.

If you check the paper by Ioannidis (published by WHO) that corrected the overblown death rate estimated by WHO itself, you'll notice that the real risks start at age 70 and higher (or for younger people with conditions that elevate such risks).

Cheers
Yes indeed, Ioannidis is one of the scientists who found it necessary to post on a website that is trying to counter the censorship that has been applied here:

https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/24/12-experts-questioning-the-coronavirus-panic

David
 
I don't think there is any desire to invent sensible rules, the aim seems to be to damage society as much as possible.
Why the fixation with seeing ghosts I wonder?

Its not like societies throughout history aren't littered with examples of massive errors in judgement that don't tie off to some grand design. I wonder why its so hard to accept the simplest explanation here: that we hadn't faced a highly infectious pathogen in 100 years, were thusly unprepared, and made a bunch of suboptimal decisions. Amazes me this explanation is hand waved away without a second thought.
 
Why the fixation with seeing ghosts I wonder?

Its not like societies throughout history aren't littered with examples of massive errors in judgement that don't tie off to some grand design. I wonder why its so hard to accept the simplest explanation here: that we hadn't faced a highly infectious pathogen in 100 years, were thusly unprepared, and made a bunch of suboptimal decisions. Amazes me this explanation is hand waved away without a second thought.
Perhaps because there was a meeting to discuss how to handle a possible pandemic just weeks before the real thing kicked off:

https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/about

David
 
https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19...zeneca-vaccine-launches-legal-action-12278855

COVID-19: Family of Italian woman who died after Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine launch legal action


The legal proceedings launched by the family are just one of a number of cases across Europe being mounted against AstraZeneca.

The family's lawyer, Daniela Agnello, told Sky News: "The excellent state of health of Ms Turiaco, the absence of previous pathologies, the very short period of time between the administration of the vaccine, the appearance of the first illnesses and the very serious clinical picture and then death.
 
It is really great to see you around again - I hope you are going to stay for a while!
Cheers mate :)
I don't have much time these days, but I still listen to the podcasts more often than not.

The trouble is, they record deaths in a very peculiar way - at least in the UK. Everyone who tests positive for COVID and who dies within 28 days is considered to have died of COVID. It doesn't matter if they died from terminal cancer or by being run over by a bus!
I think the paper by Ioannids does a splendid job of addressing these issues and finally puts the pandemic in perspective.

The higher mortality rate compared to seasonal flu seems pretty obvious, although not with the insane figures that the WHO was claiming (3% and higher). Hospitals have been (and still are in many places) under lots of pressure, which is not typical for the common influenza. But it's also pretty clear that we've overreacted and pushed these strict lockdowns way too far. To the point we're doing more harm to society than helping anyone.

I don't think there is any desire to invent sensible rules, the aim seems to be to damage society as much as possible.
I think there's a bit of that (coming from "high above") and a LOT of incompetence and conformism at the lower levels.
In other words one fool makes a decision and another thousand just goes along with it without questioning.
Over here it looks like politicians are pushing these measure to show the population that they're actively doing something, that they keep us safe with masks, hand sanitizers, curfews and lockdowns.

Where I live the major has literally shut down every park and outdoors recreation area so that kids can't gather together to play soccer or whatever. Those pesky virus spreaders! Lock them in their rooms with no fresh air and sunlight. That will show'em! We've gone off the deep end :(

Cheers
 
Oh, by the way just found this one. I admit it's quite interesting:

Thanks for that. I was aware of that amazing study in which it proved impossible to transmit flu to healthy volunteers, despite the most drastic efforts. I was not aware that there were several studies with the same conclusion. This all came from a blog by a sceptical UK doctor, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick (who googles easily).

Dr Hope-Simpson came to the conclusion that the virus was a necessary but not sufficient condition for catching flu, and that some extra factor X was needed. X now seems likely to be a low level of vitamin D in the body. This makes sense of the simultaneous outbreaks because the skin can make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but at latitudes far away from the poles sunlight is inadequate in the winter.

Here in Britain, there is no instruction given to the general public to take Vitamin D, but my partner and I have taken 2000 IU per day for the past year, and have not caught any respiratory bug over that time. I also know a doctor who works for the RAF, and they were advised to take Vitamin D as a precaution. Since vitamin D does no harm at reasonable doses, you have to ask yourself why populations are not advised to take this simple precaution.

Vitamin D is reckoned to help build a strong immune system, and thus lowers the risk of a whole range of infections - which is why Big Pharma tries to downplay the importance of vitamins!

Does she have a website, as opposed to a Facebook page, because I am not on Facebook.

BTW, as far as I know, I am not related to Dr Sam Bailey.

David
 
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Vitamin D is reckoned to help build a strong immune system, and thus lowers the risk of a whole range of infections - which is why Big Pharma tries to downplay the importance of vitamins!
Just a quick reality check here.

You present this point in a vacuum. No sourcing, but for argument's sake let's say your statement is true.

A benefit to a free market economy is competition. So, if one company (or industry in this case: big pharma) is exerting its force to alter consumer opinion in its favor, there will be other companies (or industries in this case: vitamins/supplements) who will use their resources to counter this narrative.

The vitamin and supplement industry has been in a fast growing state for years now. According to IBISworld (a well respected industry research firm used by investment and asset management firms to help them make informed decisions) the vitamin/supplement industry is a $36.6bn market just in the U.S. alone. Its the 40th ranked manufacturing industry by size. In short, its big and it has pretty deep pockets.

Thus, if strong scientific data emerged that this industry could use to its advantage, it would do so. Specifically, in this case, they would be marketing the pants off the notion of Vitamin D being a COVID killer. So far, we haven't seen this.

Hardly anything definitive to take from this, but putting forth big pharma's supposed tamping down on this notion regarding Vitamin D and that being a root cause of why there isn't greater proliferation of its use is nonsensical. Too much money to be made by the contra industry (vitamins and supplements) if this were the case.
 
Just a quick reality check here.

You present this point in a vacuum. No sourcing, but for argument's sake let's say your statement is true.

A benefit to a free market economy is competition. So, if one company (or industry in this case: big pharma) is exerting its force to alter consumer opinion in its favor, there will be other companies (or industries in this case: vitamins/supplements) who will use their resources to counter this narrative.
The value to the manufacturer of a vitamin pill is negligible in comparison with the value of selling a proprietary drug. To appreciate The clout of Big Pharma, you need to look at the fines imposed on them for proven offences:

https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/bigpharma

They pay those fines out of the profit they make from their drugs - and still make a good profit!

Only sending senior management to jail would stop the abuses of Big Pharma.

Maybe you should also get hold of Hope-Simpson's book.

David
 
The value to the manufacturer of a vitamin pill is negligible in comparison with the value of selling a proprietary drug. To appreciate The clout of Big Pharma, you need to look at the fines imposed on them for proven offences:

https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/bigpharma

They pay those fines out of the profit they make from their drugs - and still make a good profit!

Only sending senior management to jail would stop the abuses of Big Pharma.

Maybe you should also get hold of Hope-Simpson's book.

David
You've missed the point.

The supplement/vitamin industry is big on an absolute basis and growing. They have money and ready access to additional capital which is all being used for growth. Its more than enough to provide a countering force to pharma's supposed negative influence on the value of, say, vitamin D. (Again, an assertion you haven't sourced.)

These forums have gotten quite lazy with these types of "just so" statements. Certainly not a case of "following evidence" when folks can just make unsourced assertions to support a narrative. That was my sole point in responding. I really didn't expect it to be well received. ;)
 
The supplement/vitamin industry is big on an absolute basis and growing. They have money and ready access to additional capital which is all being used for growth. Its more than enough to provide a countering force to pharma's supposed negative influence on the value of, say, vitamin D.
Hmm... actually most of the top vitamin/nutriceutical brands are already BigPharma, such as Bayer, Pfizer, Glaxo and friends. (e.g. take Centrum Silver which is the one of the largest vitamin manufacturers in the US, owned by Pfizer). No need for a countering force :)
 
Outcome Reporting Bias in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Clinical Trials

Abstract
Relative risk reduction and absolute risk reduction measures in the evaluation of clinical trial data are poorly understood by health professionals and the public. The absence of reported absolute risk reduction in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials can lead to outcome reporting bias that affects the interpretation of vaccine efficacy. The present article uses clinical epidemiologic tools to critically appraise reports of efficacy in Pfzier/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccine clinical trials. Based on data reported by the manufacturer for Pfzier/BioNTech vaccine BNT162b2, this critical appraisal shows: relative risk reduction, 95.1%; 95% CI, 90.0% to 97.6%; p = 0.016; absolute risk reduction, 0.7%; 95% CI, 0.59% to 0.83%; p < 0.000. For the Moderna vaccine mRNA-1273, the appraisal shows: relative risk reduction, 94.1%; 95% CI, 89.1% to 96.8%; p = 0.004; absolute risk reduction, 1.1%; 95% CI, 0.97% to 1.32%; p < 0.000. Unreported absolute risk reduction measures of 0.7% and 1.1% for the Pfzier/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, respectively, are very much lower than the reported relative risk reduction measures. Reporting absolute risk reduction measures is essential to prevent outcome reporting bias in evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine efficacy.

Conclusions
A critical appraisal of phase III clinical trial data for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine BNT162b2 and Moderna vaccine mRNA-1273 shows that absolute risk reduction measures are very much lower than the reported relative risk reduction measures. Yet, the manufacturers failed to report absolute risk reduction measures in publicly released documents. As well, the U.S FDA Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) did not follow FDA published guidelines for communicating risks and benefits to the public, and the committee failed to report absolute risk reduction measures in authorizing the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 vaccines for emergency use. Such examples of outcome reporting bias mislead and distort the public’s interpretation of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine efficacy and violate the ethical and legal obligations of informed consent.

https://www.mdpi.com/1648-9144/57/3/199

Absolute Risk Reduction: Your Secret Weapon in Literature Evaluation

If you spend any amount of time looking at clinical studies or doing literature evaluation, you’ll see the term Relative Risk thrown about liberally. You’ll also see things like Odds Ratio, and Hazard Ratio on the regular.

But you know what you won’t see all that often?

The unsung hero of literature evaluation: Absolute Risk Reduction (ARR).

Simply put, Absolute Risk Reduction is the only way to identify the true context of something reported in a clinical trial. It’s usually a much smaller number than Relative Risk Reduction (RRR), but it helps you assess the real world impact of a study finding.

https://www.tldrpharmacy.com/content/absolute-risk-reduction
 
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