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Posts Tagged ‘Influenza’

What They Said About Lockdowns Before Covid

Posted by M. C. on January 16, 2021

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2021-01-15/goldfix-what-they-said-about-lockdowns-covid

Vince Lanci's Photoby Vince Lanci

Authored by Micha Gartz of AIER.org

In 2020, beliefs about how to handle a new virus shifted massively. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, mainstream epidemiology and public health entities doubted – or even rejected – the efficacy of lockdowns and mass quarantines because they were considered ineffective. This all changed in March 2020, when sentiment flipped in support of lockdown measures. Still, there is a vast body of evidence explaining their original stance and why these mandates do not work. 

[Edit-links to original stories embedded  in sub headlines- VBL]

  1. Fauci said that shutting down the country does not work. (January 24, 2020)

Early into 2020, Fauci spoke to reporters saying, “That’s something that I don’t think we could possibly do in the United States, I can’t imagine shutting down New York or Los Angeles, but the judgement on the part of the Chinese health authorities is that given the fact that it’s spreading throughout the provinces… it’s their judgement that this is something that in fact is going to help in containing it. Whether or not it does or does not is really open to question because historically when you shut things down it doesn’t have a major effect.”

  1. World Health Organization Report discusses NPIs and why quarantine is ineffective. (2019)

In a table, WHO lists their recommendations of NPIs depending on severity level. Quarantine of exposed individuals is categorized as “not recommended in any circumstances.” The report explains that “home quarantine of exposed individuals to reduce transmission is not recommended because there is no obvious rationale for this measure, and there would be considerable difficulties in implementing it.”

  1. WHO acknowledges social-distancing did not stop or dramatically reduce transmission during the 1918 influenza pandemic. (2006)

The WHO authors ultimately conclude that NPIs, including quarantining, require better and more focused methods to make them more effective and less “burdensome.” “Ill persons,” the authors assert, “should remain home when they first become symptomatic, but forced isolation and quarantine are ineffective and impractical.” Summarizing reports from the 1918 influenza pandemic the WHO cites Lomé (British-occupied Togo) and Edmonton (Canada) as places where “isolation and quarantine were instituted; public meetings were banned; schools, churches, colleges, theaters, and other public gathering places were closed.” Yet, despite additional measures (Lomé halted traffic, and Edmonton restricted business hours) in both cases “social-distancing measures did not stop or appear to dramatically reduce transmission.” A United States, comprehensive report on the 1918 pandemic also concluded that closures “[were] not demonstrably effective in urban areas but might be effective in smaller towns and rural districts, where group contacts are less numerous.” 

  1. A study in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology regarding the 1918 influenza pandemic in Canada also concluded quarantines do not work. (2003)

The study simulated different levels of travel and found that travel limits could be effective but “that a policy of introducing quarantine at the earliest possible time may not always lead to the greatest reduction in cases of a disease.” The authors conclude that, “quarantine measures limiting intercommunity travel are probably never 100% effective, and simulation results suggest that such a situation may actually make things worse, especially in the absence of strong efforts to keep infectious individuals isolated from the rest of the population.”

  1. Popular author and Tulane adjunct professor John M. Barry, a strong opponent of the Great Barrington Declaration, argued that quarantines do not work in the case of the Spanish Flu. (2009)

Over a decade ago, Barry found that historically quarantines have been unsuccessful: “This author supports most proposed NPIs except for quarantine, which historical evidence strongly suggests is ineffective, and possibly school closing, pending analysis of recent events.” And instead promotes commonly touted measures, such as remaining home when unwell (and isolating from family members while doing so), frequently washing hands, and wearing a mask if you are sick. On the latter point he warns against healthy people wearing masks, noting: “Evidence from the SARS outbreak suggests that most health care workers infected themselves while removing protective equipment.”

  1. Seton Hall’s Center for Global Health Studies Director says travel restrictions did not delay the transmission of SARS. (2009)

Yanzhong Huang acknowledges that “travel restrictions and quarantine measures have limited benefit in stopping the spread of disease […] affecting travel and trade, dissuading the very kind of transparency and openness essential for a global response to disease outbreaks.” These measures ultimately undermine a country’s surveillance capacity because “people who show symptoms might choose to shun public health authorities for fear of quarantine or stigmatization [and squander] limited health resources […] Laurie Garrett of the Council on Foreign Relations [noted] by July signs of fatigue and resource depletion had already set in most of the world.

  1. A study from Wake Forest University encounters ‘self-protection fatigue’ in simulated epidemic. (2013)

Study uses a multiplayer online game to simulate the spread of an infectious disease through a population composed of the players. The authors find that “people’s willingness to engage in safe behavior waxes or wanes over time, depending on the severity of an epidemic […] as time goes by; when prevalence is low, a ‘self-protection fatigue’ effect sets in whereby individuals are less willing to engage in safe behavior over time.” They say this is “reminiscent of condom fatigue—the declining use of condom as a preventive measure—in the context of HIV/AIDS prevention.”

  1. In Biosecurity and Bioterrorism journal, Johns Hopkins epidemiologists reject quarantines outright. (2006)

In an article titled, “Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza,” JHU epidemiologists note problems with lockdowns: “As experience shows, there is no basis for recommending quarantine either of groups or individuals. The problems in implementing such measures are formidable, and secondary effects of absenteeism and community disruption as well as possible adverse consequences, such as loss of public trust in government and stigmatization of quarantined people and groups, are likely to be considerable.” Their concluding remark emphasized, “experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.”

  1. In a top journal, American Journal of Epidemiology, authors explain the conditions when quarantine would be effective, which do not align with the characteristics of Covid-19. (2006)

Specifically, they note that quarantines will only be effective when: (1) isolation is not possible; and (2) asymptomatic spread is significant and timed in a narrow way (none of which is the case for Covid). They conclude that “the number of infections averted through the use of quarantine is expected to be very low provided that isolation is effective.” And if isolation is ineffective? Then it will only be beneficial “when there is significant asymptomatic transmission and if the asymptomatic period is neither very long nor very short.” But, should mass quarantine be used it would “inflict significant social, psychological, and economic costs without resulting in the detection of many infected individuals.”

  1. In the Epidemiology Journal, Harvard and Yale professors Marc Lipsitch and Ted Cohen say delaying infection can leave the elderly worse off. (2008)

They explain how delaying the risk of infection can work counterintuitively when the pathogen is more lethal for older populations. They say, “Reducing the risk that each member of a community will be exposed to a pathogen has the attendant effect of increasing the average age at which infections occur. For pathogens that inflict greater morbidity at older ages, interventions that reduce but do not eliminate exposure can paradoxically increase the number of cases of severe disease by shifting the burden of infection toward older individuals.” Based on this analysis, Covid-19, which disproportionately harms the older more than the young, is better handled by allowing the community to be exposed, whether through natural infection or vaccination.

  1. A team of Johns Hopkins scholars say quarantines don’t work but are pursued for political reasons. (September 2019)

In the report, they explain how quarantine is more political than related to public health: “During an emergency, it should be expected that implementation of some NPIs, such as travel restrictions and quarantine, might be pursued for social or political purposes by political leaders, rather than pursued because of public health evidence.” Later on, they explain the ineffectiveness of quarantine: “In the context of a high-impact respiratory pathogen, quarantine may be the least likely NPI to be effective in controlling the spread due to high transmissibility.”

In March 2020, Michael Osterholm – now Biden’s Covid-19 advisor – also argued that lockdowns are not a “cure” for the pandemic, listing multiple costs from a lockdown. Yet, Osterholm’s New York Times article in August reveals a contrasting viewpoint, stating that “we gave up on our lockdown efforts to control virus transmission well before the virus was under control” by opening “too quickly.” Osterholm and (Neel) Kashkari promote a mandatory shelter-in-place “for everyone but the truly essential workers.”

Also in March 2020, these findings from the listed works and many others culminated in an open letter to vice-president Mike Pence signed by 800 medical specialists from numerous universities throughout the country which pointed out: “Mandatory quarantine, regional lockdowns, and travel bans[…] are difficult to implement, can undermine public trust, have large societal costs and, importantly, disproportionately affect the most vulnerable segments in our communities.”

While expert consensus regarding the ineffectiveness of mass quarantine of previous years has recently been challenged, significant present-day evidence continuously demonstrates that mass quarantine is both ineffectual at preventing disease spread as well as harmful to individuals. Learning the wrong lesson – assuming that mass quarantines are both good and effective – sets a dangerous precedent for future pandemics.

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Why Has the Flu Disappeared? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 23, 2020

They ‘overwhelmingly agree’ that this is so; their certainty is remarkable at this early stage. But why would these measures have worked so unintentionally well for flu, which has been with us for millennia, but Covid cases are still skyrocketing? Do masks let one particle through and stop another?

Flu disappeared because the government hands out a ton of money for COVID.

As noted by professor William M. Briggs, a statistical consultant and policy adviser at the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank, in the video above, “CDC, up until about July 2020, counted flu and pneumonia deaths separately, been doing this forever, then just mysteriously stopped … It’s become very difficult to tell the difference between these,” referring to the combined tracking of deaths from “PIC.” They’re even using PIC to state that cases are above the epidemic threshold:10

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/12/joseph-mercola/why-has-the-flu-disappeared/

By Joseph Mercola

Mercola.com

With COVID-19 still dominating headlines, influenza (flu) has been conspicuous in its absence, especially during what is typically peak flu season. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks influenza (flu) and pneumonia deaths weekly through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Reporting System.

It also creates a preliminary estimate of the burden of seasonal flu, based on crude rates of lab-confirmed flu hospitalizations. Such estimates are intended to give an idea of how many people have been sick from or died from the flu in any given season — that is, except for 2020.

“April 4, 2020, was the last week in-season preliminary burden estimates were provided,” the CDC wrote on its 2019-2020 U.S. flu season webpage.1 The reason the estimates stopped in April is because flu cases plummeted so low that they’re hardly worth tracking. In an update posted December 3, 2020, the CDC stated:2

“The model used to generate influenza in-season preliminary burden estimates uses current season flu hospitalization data. Reported flu hospitalizations are too low at this time to generate an estimate.”

They also added, “The number of hospitalizations estimated so far this season is lower than end-of-season total hospitalization estimates for any season since CDC began making these estimates.”3

Flu Deaths Plummet While COVID Cases Rise

In late summer 2020, warnings surfaced that there might soon be a “twin-demic” of flu and COVID-19 that would decimate the globe.4 So far, this hasn’t panned out. In the U.S., the CDC reported that the percentage of respiratory specimens submitted for influenza testing that test positive decreased from greater than 20% to 2.3% since the start of the pandemic.

As of September 18, 2020, they noted that positive influenza tests have “remained at historically low interseasonal levels (0.2% versus 1 to 2%).”5 Further, from September 29, 2019-February 29, 2020 to March 1-May 16, 2020, the CDC noted a 98% decrease in influenza activity.6

Similar drops have been observed worldwide, including in the Southern Hemisphere countries of Australia, Chile and Southern Africa, which often serve as sentinels for influenza activity in the U.S.

All three areas had very low influenza activity during June to August 2020, which is their peak flu season. From April to July 2020, only 33 influenza positive test results were detected in Australia; 12 in Chile; and six in South Africa, for a total of 51 positive tests. For comparison, during April to July in 2017 to 2019, 24,512 specimens tested positive for influenza.7

It was initially thought that the steep drops in influenza activity were due to decreased testing, since people with respiratory symptoms likely received COVID-19 tests instead. However, according to the CDC, public health officials have made a concerted effort to test for flu, and even though “adequate numbers” have been tested, little to no flu virus has been detected.

In Australia, meanwhile, they tested “markedly more specimens for influenza” this season than usual, yet still detected very few cases of flu.8 So what happened to the flu?

CDC Tracking Combines COVID, Flu and Pneumonia Deaths

The “COVID” deaths the CDC has been reporting are actually a combination of pneumonia, flu and COVID-deaths, under a new category listed as “PIC” (pneumonia, Influenza, COVID).

Their COVIDView webpage, which provides a weekly surveillance summary of U.S. COVID-19 activity, states that levels of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and “associated illnesses” have been increasing since September 2020, while the percentage of deaths due to pneumonia, flu and COVID-19 has been on the rise since October.9

As noted by professor William M. Briggs, a statistical consultant and policy adviser at the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank, in the video above, “CDC, up until about July 2020, counted flu and pneumonia deaths separately, been doing this forever, then just mysteriously stopped … It’s become very difficult to tell the difference between these,” referring to the combined tracking of deaths from “PIC.” They’re even using PIC to state that cases are above the epidemic threshold:10

“Based on death certificate data, the percentage of deaths attributed to PIC for week 49 was 14.3% and remains above the epidemic threshold.

The weekly percentages of deaths due to PIC increased for seven weeks from early October through mid-November and are expected to increase for the most recent weeks as additional data are reported. Hospitalization rates for the most recent week are also expected to increase as additional data are reported.”

Did Masks and Lockdowns Stop the Spread of Flu?

It could appear that flu hasn’t just vanished into thin air but rather cases could be being mistaken for COVID-19 — or even intentionally mislabeled as such. Another theory centers on viral interference, which is the phenomenon in which a cell infected by a virus becomes resistant to other viruses;11 basically, cells are rarely infected with more than one virus, so COVID-19 could be winning out over influenza.

However, with COVID-19 being such a novel virus, with reportedly only a minority of the population having been exposed, there should still be plenty of room for influenza to spread.12

According to the CDC, however, flu cases began to decline in response to “widespread adoption of community mitigation measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.” In other words, they believe that flu cases have plummeted because of the widespread adoption of mask wearing, social distancing and lockdowns.

In their MMWR weekly report released September 18, 2020, they state, “In the United States, influenza virus circulation declined sharply within 2 weeks of the COVID-19 emergency declaration and widespread implementation of community mitigation measures, including school closures, social distancing and mask wearing, although the exact timing varied by location.”13

But here again this leaves many unanswered questions, the primary one being why, if the COVID-19 mitigation efforts are so effective against the spread of flu, are COVID cases still rising? The two viruses are spread basically the same way. As Irish science journalist Peter Andrews put it in RT:14

“The scientific establishment is quickly forming ranks behind the theory that the flu has gone away because of Covid restrictions — especially masks, social distancing and lockdowns.

They ‘overwhelmingly agree’ that this is so; their certainty is remarkable at this early stage. But why would these measures have worked so unintentionally well for flu, which has been with us for millennia, but Covid cases are still skyrocketing? Do masks let one particle through and stop another?

The proponents of this theory have an explanation. They claim that people with Covid are more contagious than those with flu. It has a longer ‘incubation period’ than flu does, and its ‘R rate’ is three times higher than that of flu. But even if all of these estimates were right, there is still the unanswered question of why flu would have been eradicated so completely.”

Problems With Lockdowns

When asked whether he believes lockdowns were responsible for getting rid of the flu, Briggs said in the video, “No, absolutely not. Lockdowns only help spread the flu … Locking down the healthy, quarantining the healthy, is asinine.” Briggs believes that lockdowns would only increase flu infection because the virus spreads more easily when people spend more time indoors, in close quarters with others, in dry, indoor air.

He also pointed to lockdown failures, like the one that occurred in New York City. The mortality rate from COVID-19 reached beyond 50 deaths per million per day in April 2020, despite a full lockdown being implemented in March. The state ordered nursing homes to accept COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals until May 10, when the order was reversed, but by then the virus was already ravaging nursing homes’ elderly residents — the most vulnerable.

“By facilitating the transmission of the virus from hospitals to nursing homes, the rate of spread within the elderly population was maximized, and any possible benefit from lockdown of the young and healthy population was rendered moot,” Dr. Gilbert Berdine, an associate professor of medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, explained.15

Social Distancing and Masks to Stay to Fight Flu?

The CDC is already using the mysteriously low number of flu cases this season as an impetus to suggest that masks, school closures and social distancing could become the new normal every fall to combat the upcoming flu season:

“If extensive community mitigation measures continue throughout the fall, influenza activity in the United States might remain low and the season might be blunted or delayed. In the future, some of these community mitigation measures could be implemented during influenza epidemics to reduce transmission, particularly in populations at highest risk for developing severe disease or complications.”16

Meanwhile, even while stating that flu cases are next to nonexistent this season, and that the COVID-19 mitigation measures already in place are likely effective at curbing its spread — they still want you to get your flu shot, “especially this season”:17

“Given the novelty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of continued community mitigation measures, it is important to plan for seasonal influenza circulation in the United States this fall and winter. Influenza vaccination of all persons aged ≥6 months remains the best method for influenza prevention and is especially important this season when SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus might cocirculate.”

If you want to be proactive, it’s worth remembering that flu shots are controversial, and your chances of getting influenza after vaccination are still greater than 50/50 in any given year.

According to CDC data, for example, the 2017-2018 seasonal influenza vaccine’s effectiveness against “influenza A and influenza B virus infection associated with medically attended acute respiratory illness” was just 36%.18 Meanwhile, we already know that vitamin D optimization is a good idea, not only for COVID-19 but also for influenza.

Sources and References

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Whodathunkit Wally?

Posted by M. C. on December 5, 2020

A Marxist election victory stopped Russian “meddling” faster than COVID cured influenza last Spring.

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Watch “Unleashing The Beast: How Trump Green-Lit CIA Global Secret War” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2020

23:00 Moderna vaccine trials running 50% adverse reactions.

No thank you.

Also, past CDC report says masks ineffective in blocking influenza transmission.

 

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Erie County PA Influenza Cases

Posted by M. C. on May 27, 2020

Note the unusual high spike in cases then the sharp drop and the unusual reporting cutoff about the same time COVID raised its ugly head.

Is COVID Cash at work here?

My inquiries with a local government health official resulted in the comment if a patient had both COVID and influenza, he/she knew of no way one could tell which caused a resultant death.

Click to access Annual-Comparisons-2013-2014-to-2019-2020-1.pdf

 

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Lockdowns, Martial Law-Why This and Why Now? What About Influenza?

Posted by M. C. on March 25, 2020

Why are we not asking why?

Someone taking advantage of a Crisis?

Forget about waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine that works. See below for the reason.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.

Table 1: Estimated Influenza Disease Burden, by Season — United States, 2010-11 through 2018-19 Influenza Seasons

Symptomatic Illnesses Medical Visits Hospitalizations Deaths
Season Estimate 95% U I Estimate 95% U I Estimate 95% U I Estimate 95% U I
2010-2011 21,000,000 (20,000,000 – 25,000,000) 10,000,000 (9,300,000 – 12,000,000) 290,000 (270,000 – 350,000) 37,000 (32,000 – 51,000)
2011-2012 9,300,000 (8,700,000 – 12,000,000) 4,300,000 (4,000,000 – 5,600,000) 140,000 (130,000 – 190,000) 12,000 (11,000 – 23,000)
2012-2013 34,000,000 (32,000,000 – 38,000,000) 16,000,000 (15,000,000 – 18,000,000) 570,000 (530,000 – 680,000) 43,000 (37,000 – 57,000)
2013-2014 30,000,000 (28,000,000 – 33,000,000) 13,000,000 (12,000,000 – 15,000,000) 350,000 (320,000 – 390,000) 38,000 (33,000 – 50,000)
2014-2015 30,000,000 (29,000,000 – 33,000,000) 14,000,000 (13,000,000 – 16,000,000) 590,000 (540,000 – 680,000) 51,000 (44,000 – 64,000)
2015-2016 24,000,000 (20,000,000 – 33,000,000) 11,000,000 (9,000,000 – 15,000,000) 280,000 (220,000 – 480,000) 23,000 (17,000 – 35,000)
2016-2017 29,000,000 (25,000,000 – 45,000,000) 14,000,000 (11,000,000 – 23,000,000) 500,000 (380,000 – 860,000) 38,000 (29,000 – 61,000)
Preliminary estimates* Estimate 95% UI Estimate 95% UI Estimate 95% UI Estimate 95% UI
2017-2018* 45,000,000 (39,000,000 – 58,000,000) 21,000,000 (18,000,000 – 27,000,000) 810,000 (620,000 – 1,400,000) 61,000 (46,000 – 95,000)
2018-2019* 35,520,883 (31,323,881 – 44,995,691) 16,520,350 (14,322,767 – 21,203,231) 490,561 (387,283 – 766,472) 34,157 (26,339 – 52,664)

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Disease Burden of Influenza | CDC

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2020

Remember these numbers.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

Figure 1: Estimated Range of Annual Burden of Flu in the U.S. since 2010

influenza burden chart hi-res graphic

The burden of influenza disease in the United States can vary widely and is determined by a number of factors including the characteristics of circulating viruses, the timing of the season, how well the vaccine is working to protect against illness, and how many people got vaccinated. While the impact of flu varies, it places a substantial burden on the health of people in the United States each year.

CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.

Table 1: Estimated Influenza Disease Burden, by Season — United States, 2010-11 through 2018-19 Influenza Seasons

Symptomatic Illnesses Medical Visits Hospitalizations Deaths
Season Estimate 95% U I Estimate 95% U I Estimate 95% U I Estimate 95% U I
2010-2011 21,000,000 (20,000,000 – 25,000,000) 10,000,000 (9,300,000 – 12,000,000) 290,000 (270,000 – 350,000) 37,000 (32,000 – 51,000)
2011-2012 9,300,000 (8,700,000 – 12,000,000) 4,300,000 (4,000,000 – 5,600,000) 140,000 (130,000 – 190,000) 12,000 (11,000 – 23,000)
2012-2013 34,000,000 (32,000,000 – 38,000,000) 16,000,000 (15,000,000 – 18,000,000) 570,000 (530,000 – 680,000) 43,000 (37,000 – 57,000)
2013-2014 30,000,000 (28,000,000 – 33,000,000) 13,000,000 (12,000,000 – 15,000,000) 350,000 (320,000 – 390,000) 38,000 (33,000 – 50,000)
2014-2015 30,000,000 (29,000,000 – 33,000,000) 14,000,000 (13,000,000 – 16,000,000) 590,000 (540,000 – 680,000) 51,000 (44,000 – 64,000)
2015-2016 24,000,000 (20,000,000 – 33,000,000) 11,000,000 (9,000,000 – 15,000,000) 280,000 (220,000 – 480,000) 23,000 (17,000 – 35,000)
2016-2017 29,000,000 (25,000,000 – 45,000,000) 14,000,000 (11,000,000 – 23,000,000) 500,000 (380,000 – 860,000) 38,000 (29,000 – 61,000)
Preliminary estimates* Estimate 95% UI Estimate 95% UI Estimate 95% UI Estimate 95% UI
2017-2018* 45,000,000 (39,000,000 – 58,000,000) 21,000,000 (18,000,000 – 27,000,000) 810,000 (620,000 – 1,400,000) 61,000 (46,000 – 95,000)
2018-2019* 35,520,883 (31,323,881 – 44,995,691) 16,520,350 (14,322,767 – 21,203,231) 490,561 (387,283 – 766,472) 34,157 (26,339 – 52,664)

* Estimates from the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons are preliminary and may change as data are finalized.

Figure 2: Estimated U.S. Influenza Burden, By Season

Influenza Chart Infographic Influenza Burden Chart

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Why You Can’t Trust the CDC on Vaccines – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on August 4, 2019

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/01/27/why-you-cant-trust-the-cdc-on-vaccines/

Written by Jeremy R. Hammond

In Brief

  • The Facts:The major media dismiss public vaccine policy critics as “conspiracy theorists”, but no conspiracy is required to explain how it can be true that the CDC deceives about vaccines.
  • Reflect On:Why is this information constantly ignored and demonized? What’s really going on here?

As I have covered in previous articles for Children’s Health Defense, the fundamental assumptions underlying the recommendation of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that everyone aged six months and up should get an annual flu shot are unsupported by scientific evidence. Examining a case study from the New York Times, we’ve seen how the corporate media manufacture consent for public vaccine policy by grossly misinforming their audiences about the science—and how, in doing so, the media are just following the CDC’s example. We’ve seen how the CDC uses deceptive fear marketing to increase demand for influenza vaccines, and how the CDC’s claims that flu vaccination significantly reduces deaths among the elderly have been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community.

As far as the discourse about vaccines goes in the mainstream media, this problem doesn’t exist. The media treat the CDC as practically the most credible and authoritative source for information about vaccines on the planet and unquestioningly amplify the CDC’s public relations messaging. We saw in our New York Times case study just how blatantly the media participate in misinforming the public, with health writer Aaron E. Carroll supporting his argument that everyone should follow the CDC’s recommendation to get a flu shot by citing a study whose authors actually concluded not only that the CDC’s policy is unsupported by the scientific evidence, but also that the CDC deliberately misrepresents the science to support its policy!

As far as the mainstream discourse is concerned, the idea that the public is being grossly misinformed about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines requires belief in “conspiracy theories”. But no conspiracy theory is required to explain how it can be that the CDC is misinforming the public about vaccines. The media is just demonstrably serving its usual function, as outlined by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, of advocating government policy rather than doing journalism. This is not a conspiracy. It’s just an institutionalized bias stemming from what Chomsky has called the “state religion”—an undying faith in the fundamental benevolence of the US government and its agencies.

Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.

Likewise, no conspiracy theory is required to explain how it can be that the government agency charged with formulating public vaccine policy is misinforming the public about vaccine science. On the contrary, the CDC’s behavior can be explained to a considerable degree solely by good intentions. Public health officials generally are simply convinced that, in performing their individual function in the mechanisms of government, they are doing good and serving the public interest.

But as economist Milton Friedman once pertinently observed, “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.” The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the saying goes; or, as reiterated in Psychology Today, “If our interventions cause more harm than good, the interventions are not moral regardless of the loftiness of our intentions.”…

And it’s not as though the medical establishment has not been wrong before! As Dave Sackett, “the father of evidence based medicine”, once quipped, “Half of what you’ll learn in medical school will be shown to be either dead wrong or out of date within five years of your graduation; the trouble is that nobody can tell you which half—so the most important thing to learn is how to learn on your own.”

Too many people just don’t think for themselves, but succumb to groupthink. And this situation isn’t helped by the pharmaceutical industry’s undue influence on the direction of science. As BMJ editor Richard Horton has commented, “Journals have devolved into information-laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry.”…

Among the numerous other problems affecting the quality of research are financial conflicts of interests and institutionalized prejudices. As Ioannidis elaborated:

“Conflicts of interest are very common in biomedical research, and typically they are inadequately and sparsely reported. Prejudice may not necessarily have financial roots. Scientists in a given field may be prejudiced purely because of their belief in a scientific theory or commitment to their own findings. Many otherwise seemingly independent, university-based studies may be conducted for no other reason than to give physicians and researchers qualifications for promotion or tenure. Such nonfinancial conflicts may also lead to distorted reported results and interpretations. Prestigious investigators may suppress via the peer review process the appearance and dissemination of findings that refute their findings, thus condemning their field to perpetuate false dogma. Empirical evidence on expert opinion shows that it is extremely unreliable.”

As The Atlantic noted, Ioannidis has estimated that “as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed”, and “he worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to change—or even to publicly admitting that there’s a problem.”

That certainly also applies to the CDC, where corruption and conflicts of interest are an endemic problem.

The Endemic Corruption at the CDC

Perhaps the most infamous example is how the head of the CDC from 2002 to 2009, Julie Gerberding, left her government job to go work as president of Merck’s $5 billion global vaccine division. Merck’s CEO understandably described Gerberding as an “ideal choice”. She held that position until 2014 and currently holds the Merck job title of “Executive Vice President & Chief Patent Officer, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy and Population Health”. That is to say, the former CDC director is now in charge of Merck’s propaganda efforts. One might say she’s basically doing the same job now that she did for the CDC, but even more lucratively. Apart from her salary, in 2015, Gerberding sold shares of Merck worth over $2.3 million dollars.

A more recent example came in January 2018, when CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald was forced to resign after Politico reported that, after assuming leadership of the CDC on July 7, 2017, she “bought tens of thousands of dollars in new stock holdings in at least a dozen companies”—including Merck…

Examples of the corruption included the following:

  • “The CDC routinely grants waivers from conflict of interest rules to every member of its advisory committee.”
  • “CDC Advisory Committee members who are not allowed to vote on certain recommendations due to financial conflicts of interest are allowed to participate in committee deliberations and advocate specific positions.”
  • “The Chairman of the CDC’s advisory committee until very recently owned 600 shares of stock in Merck….”
  • “Members of the CDC’s advisory Committee often fill out incomplete financial disclosure statements, and are not required to provide the missing information by CDC ethics officials.”
  • “Four out of eight CDC advisory committee members who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”
  • “3 out of 5 FDA advisory committee members who voted to approve the rotavirus vaccine in December 1997 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”

US Senate report from June 2007 noted how surveys showed that Americans “overwhelmingly” viewed the CDC as doing a good job at keeping them healthy, as well as how the CDC took advantage of that perception by seeking ever increasing levels of funding year after year—and yet the CDC had little to show for its exorbitant spending.

The Senate report named Julie Gerberding as an example of the problem. Under her leadership, bonuses for the people managing the CDC increased dramatically. The top three CDC financial officers, for example, had “taken in more than a quarter million dollars in bonuses” over the previous several years. A New York Times analysis, the Senate report noted, had found that “The share of premium bonuses given to those within the director’s office has risen at least tenfold under Dr. Gerberding’s leadership.”

Contractors who previously were employed by the CDC appear to have found a lucrative way to make their CDC connection pay off.

Another problem was the “revolving door” of Washington…

Conclusion

In sum, while the CDC is the mainstream media’s go-to source for information on any vaccine-related story, the public has every reason to be skeptical of the information coming out of this agency. It is certainly no “conspiracy theory” to claim that the CDC is misinforming the public about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. On the contrary, that the CDC does so is demonstrable and recognized in the scientific literature.

It also requires no “conspiracy theory” to explain how this can be so. It certainly does not follow from the assumption that government officials in positions of power are acting out of benevolent intent that therefore their policies are not harmful. The institutionalized confirmation bias and endemic corruption are more than sufficient to explain how it can be that the CDC is misinforming the public about vaccines.

Be seeing you

 

 

 

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Germ Warfare In Ukraine

Posted by M. C. on February 1, 2016

If you were going to build a biological weapons lab what would be an ideal location? Why Ukraine of course. There currently is an outbreak of an influenza super-virus in Ukraine and there is a nearby US virus lab.

What the hell is a US virus research lab doing in Ukraine? Our concern for those poor souls suffering under a US led coup resulting in a hand-picked neo-nazi led government? Sure.

Zero Hedge reports there are claims the virus was ‘accidentally’ released from the US lab.

Does this sound familiar? It should.

More than once US government bunglers have sent live anthrax cultures to labs all over the US and some overseas. Why do we need so many anthrax labs? Read the rest of this entry »

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