12 JULY 2020 — Medium
Omar S. Khan
The “reality immunity” of panic porn
It’s hard to know how to have a coherent conversation on this topic. A quick smattering.
Globally cases are seemingly rising, particularly among the young, as testing is going up. The Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga mentions hospitals have plenty of rooms, most of these cases are young people “without symptoms,” and so they will go ahead with loosening voluntary restrictions (essentially all they’ve had), 5000 spectators allowed as of Friday at baseball games, with some distancing.
Then we learn, case numbers, acutely so in the US are being back-filled (more below), reclassifying months of old non-COVID or “with” COVID deaths, so we can hardly know if the stats are sane, or even for sentient absorption.
And then we find “Sweden’s coronavirus death toll is now approaching zero,” but “experts,” of course, warn against hailing it as a success. Forget coherence, sanity in terms of having a conversation is under severe stress.
Global leaders and policy makers would be wise to continue to follow the current course of focusing on targeted, focused, non-panic driven attention to COVID-19, realizing it is not the ultimate version of the Grim Reaper in terms of any objective global statistics, neither where locked down or not. And we all need functioning economies and societies to have a functioning health care system, so compassion for people mandates we continue to rebound, strengthen our resilience and provide the kind of targeted attention, when and if needed on the facts, that we’ve seen successfully applied recently in China and South Korea.
Otherwise, you have a situation where “caseload” gets increasingly decoupled from “mortality.” So, though death rates in the US continue to decline, and testing has increased massively, and despite mass protests and, therefore, younger people being infected, and cross-border issues with Mexico in Arizona and Texas and California, hospital capacity is not over-run, and yet the pandemic headlines are louder and more “virulent” than ever.
We have deaths attributed to COVID-19 to be merely 244 in the US as of June 6th, from a high of 1,212 in April…how that seems apocalyptic is difficult to grasp. Florida, which has had people hysterically fulminating has yet to reach the excess deaths of the 2018 flu season. We are institutionalizing derangement.
There seem to have been a surge of additional cases since then, however, it was reported that the CDC just dumped 4,576 into the new COVID-19 death count distributed on different days, but only 3% of those deaths were actually even in July. This statistical sleight of hand whereby numbers keep being back filled makes it virtually impossible to know the actual situation. So, for example, Florida reported 120 new COVID deaths on July 9th, the biggest increase in a day, however, only eight were actually from that day. The rest were back fill from earlier dates (the total for all of July as of the 10th was 135). Another example, 23 deaths were reported on July 9th in North Carolina, again, only one occurred that day, the rest, again, were all back fill.
Australia has fallen for its own PR in wanting to “eradicate” a virus, not a prudent objective. It is now winter there, seasonal influenza will occasionally spike. The total number of new cases July 10th? 300! No new deaths. Two days prior 173 cases, and no new deaths. Is that worth six weeks of reflexive shutdown? Should the jury at least not still be out especially when a high number of cases are claimed to be from security guards overseeing quarantine centers? This is hardly, currently, a raging surge of caseloads, and certainly not in terms of mortality (roughly 106 total deaths, total from COVID throughout across the country!), for an economy more than flirting with serious recession.
So, we had best just take this all to task once more with further insights that seem to get clearer as you take an unvarnished look.
Likely Not a New Virus at All?
Immunologists and virologists tell us there is only one issue here, how does our immune system see the virus, and therefore, going forward, what parts of the coronavirus could potentially be used in a vaccine?
In China, the parts of the country that had had large outbreaks of SARS, seemed to be far less infected by SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19). This could also explain the relatively low infection and death rates in East Asia, in addition to disciplined social distancing, etc.
The “No Immunity” Jabberwocky
Asserting this was a “new” pathogen should have required a test to demonstrate that, not just outright assertion. To date no antibody test exists that can answer: if someone is immune, since when, what the neutralizing antibodies are targeting, and how many structures are present on other coronaviruses that can equally lead to such immunity.
We have medical research emerging from Berlin from April showing 34% of people who never had contact with COVID-19 had T-cell immunity against it. Namely this is white blood cell immunity, whereby our natural defenses detect common structures in COVID-19 and regular cold viruses, and combat both. Numerous other studies reinforce this finding.
So, the suggestion that this is more terrifying as it’s “new” and there is no pre-existing immunity is far from clear.
The models as we now know, were awash with fatuous assumptions. Two of the most glaring were:
- There was no pre-existing immunity in the population (we now know this was around since last year, rendering that assumption even more implausible).
- They refused to accept these were potentially seasonal cold viruses. Just those two assumptions being challenged and tested, and being willing to submit to evidence, would have spared us untold grief.
Why schools are closed when the prevailing science re-susceptibility of children is so clear, beggars the imagination.
Why treating everyone as being equally at risk, leading to the compounding debacle in nursing homes, is also shocking.
The assertion you could be actually “sick” (rather than “testing positive” from a dubious test) without symptoms would upturn virtually every prevailing assumption in the insurance industry, and good luck getting kids to school if they can be “sick” suddenly with no symptoms!
Next comes the still at least semi-seriously discussed proposition that those who are not sick, have no symptoms, can still “carry.” Try to imagine what is being claimed. Essentially, neutralized viruses, would “survive” in enough quantities in a throat, as to be able to transmit to someone? Just how extreme does a contention need to be before we just ignore crackpot assertions relative to it?
Now, “pre-symptomatic” is different, so is being so “mildly symptomatic” that you discounted it, before the immune system dealt with it. In this situation the infection was clearly at some point, “live.” Other than that possibility, instituting “lockdown” is absurd on the basis of this specious premise of a somehow “dead though dormant” somehow “live” contagion.
Otherwise, pathogenic viruses follow the same route. They attack. Antibodies seek to address this. If that fails, and there are residual viri in cells, T cells go to work and eliminate them. Then, if you conduct a PCR corona test, you are likely detecting not the virus but a shattered part of the viral genome we are told by immunologists (this explained the small cluster of “false positive” patients after recovery reported by South Korea for example). The PCR multiplies even a tiny fraction of the viral genetic material enough to be detected. Ergo, we do not even know, how many of the daily reported infection numbers are simply reports of “viral debris!”
Has COVID Really Killed Anyone?
There is a claim emanating from a Bulgarian pathologist who claims, “no novel coronavirus-specific antibodies have been found.” If true, that is quite shocking. As autopsies are based on tagging antibodies with colors, and after giving them time to bind to the pathogens they’re specific for, the colors allow us to identify the connection.
But absent any monoclonal antibodies to the novel coronavirus, it cannot be verified whether it was present in the body, or whether the disease or mortality attributed to it, was caused by something else.
Dr. Klaus Pushchel, from the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Hamburg-Eppendorf says, “COVID-19 is a fatal disease only in exceptional cases, but in most cases it is a predominantly harmless viral infection.”
In medical circles, there is something called “Koch’s Postulates” which is used to determine if a virus actually exists and has a one-to-one relationship with a specific disease. To date, there is no identified discrete illness with a particular portfolio of symptoms or mortality triggers associated with what we are calling with grand, world-chilling portentousness, “COVID-19.”
Another expectation of a virus “existing” distinctly and separately is our ability to isolate and reproduce it and show it causes said discrete illness.
And while there are RNA sequences that correlate to the “novel” coronavirus, there is no proof they are the causative agents. WHO has strongly discouraged, and where it has the authority to do so, banned autopsies, relating to COVID-19.
Dr. Alexov from Bulgaria, along with pathologists from Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Sweden, who bucked the WHO pressure, and conducted a selection of autopsies concur that “there is no proof from autopsies that anyone deemed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus died only from an inflammatory reaction sparked by the virus (presenting as interstitial pneumonia) rather than from other, compounding, potentially fatal diseases.”
WHO has also rather curiously, and more than a little spuriously, tried to dictate that everyone said to be infected with the novel coronavirus who subsequently dies must have their deaths attributed to COVID-19.
A Closer Look at Koch’s Postulates
Minted roughly 150 years ago, the aim of the postulates are to determine whether a particular microbe is the cause of a specific disease, or just an incidental bystander. Decades of refinement went into these postulates, and they are as vital today as ever.
- The pathogen occurs in every instance of the disease in question and under circumstances that can account for the pathological changes and clinical course of the disease.
- The causative microorganism occurs in no other disease as a fortuitous and nonpathogenic parasite.
- After being fully isolated from the body and grown in tissue culture (or cloned), it can induce the disease anew.
This could be, indeed could have been, and certainly should have been, done for COVID-19 before shutting down the entire planet.
How? I asked an eminent medical researcher, who replied:
Test blood samples from a large number of people by any test that’s been demonstrated by several non-conflicted third parties to be accurate — very low false positives and negatives.
Then those who test positive and those who are “diagnosed” would have to be the same. But the issue is current diagnosis is unsupportably vague, and has us looking at pneumonia, or the combination of fever and dry cough — but that combo is present in numerous respiratory ailments.
While no attempt at the above has been reported, the isolating of the virus and showing that it causes the disease in other organisms has never been done either.
A few papers have made “claims” which were then debunked. There were Chinese and Dutch papers claiming to have isolated the virus. But both drew the virus from animals, and the Dutch study was 15 years old and applied to SARS-CoV, not its successor.
There are other reports that a seminal Chinese study either didn’t replicate or clone the DNA, and yet the gene sequence from the flawed study are integral to virtually all the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits out there. Other reports just gratuitously “declare” fulfillment of aspects of the above postulates with no references for independent verification. When such verification has been repeatedly requested, there seems to be a deafening silence.
PCR Tests Debacle
Walter Lippmann once declared,
“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.”
The mantra has been “test, test, test.”
The founder of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology, Kary Mullis considered his own invention inadequate to detect a viral infection! It was intended as a manufacturing technique to replicate DNA sequences millions and billions of times, not as a diagnostic tool.
While PCR tests frequently misdiagnose and this has been highlighted re whooping cough in prominent US headlines in 2007, there are particular issues re COVID-19. Essentially for a PCR test, you need a “gold standard” to compare it with. Most straightforwardly, you compare a pregnancy test with actual pregnancy. Only a virus, proven through isolation and purification, can be a solid gold standard. What we have done here is used COVID-19 diagnosis, which circuitously uses the PCR test itself, as said gold standard!
While it is clearly absurd to use the PCR test itself as part of the gold standard to assess itself (!), there are, as mentioned above, no distinctive specific symptoms of COVID-19 we could rely on instead, as the symptoms are akin to numerous respiratory ailments.
Moreover, it seems no researchers bothered to get “purified viruses” which are necessary to demonstrate that detected RNA from the particle in question comes from that new distinct virus. Needing to do so has been an article of faith from Marie Curie’s day, she purified 100 mg of radium chloride in 1898 by extracting it from tons of pitchblende, for example.
This leads to two rather inescapable conclusions therefore:
The RNA samples taken from in vitro trials for which PCR tests are calibrated cannot conclusively be said to belong to a specific virus, COVID-19, nor is there proof that those RNA sequences are the causative agent for this allegedly dire scourge, in a particular instance.
Four of the primary 2020 papers touting the discovery of a new coronavirus, concede in the proverbial “smaller print” that they have no proof that the origin of the virus genome was viral-like particles or actually cellular debris, pure or impure, or particles of any kind. Not quite sure how “facts” can be alleged from such speculative “faith.”
Irrational Test Results
The Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences conceded that PCR tests are only “30 to 50 per cent accurate.”
Just as an instance, the health authority in China’s Guandong province reported in the Journal of Medical Virology that 29 out of 610 patients at a hospital in Wuhan had three to six test results that flipped between “negative,” “positive” and “dubious.”
Another example is from a study from Singapore in which tests were carried out almost daily on 18 patients and the majority went from “positive” to “negative” back to “positive” at least once and up to 5 times in one patient. These are not outlier findings by any stretch of the reported or published medical literature.
In short, even if theoretically assumed that such PCR tests can identify a viral infection, the tests would be practically worthless with such fickleness creating an unfounded scare among those “tagged” as being “positive” when we are anything but positive that they are!
There are different prevalence scenarios that together constitute a “positive predictive value or PPV” (PPV prevalence hinges on two factors: prevalence in the general population and the specificity of the test, in other words, the percentage of people without the disease for whom the test is correctly negative).
There are mainstream scenarios that put the assumed prevalence at 3% and a PPV of 30%, that means, horrendously, that 70% of those testing “positive” are not, yet they are sent into enforced quarantine, with potential mass social disruption in their wake.
A second scenario touted in learned journals is a prevalence rate of 20%, generating a PPV of 78% would give us a 22% false positive rate, which, say, if there were 9 million people “positive” (the worldwide number at the time this journal was forwarding this analysis), that would be an unnerving 2 million false “positives!”
The Norwegian Health Authority, adding an unsentimental Scandinavian perspective to this, now declares that 14 out of 15 tests for COVID-19 might be false positives.
Why don’t we just let the US’s CDC and FDA make the summation for us (readily found in their files open to anyone’s scrutiny who is willing to labor through the thicket):
CDC Real-Time Diagnostic Panel: “Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms.” It goes on to say, “This test cannot rule out diseases caused by other bacterial or viral pathogens.” Surely, a devastating critique, absurdly overlooked and bypassed.
And not to be outdone, the FDA declares “…positive results do not rule out bacterial infection or co-infection with other viruses. The agent detected may not be the definite cause of disease.” A blare of trumpets should surely be forthcoming.
And indeed, instruction manuals of PCR tests admit they are not intended “as” a diagnostic test but to “aid” diagnosis. In a passing outbreak of candor, one of the leading test manuals declares, “For research only, not for purposes of diagnosis.”
And the Pandemic Pandemonium Continues
There are a plethora of other problems with the prevailing tests, from issues with them being “qualitative” when they purport to be “quantitative” but actually give no sense of “viral load,” the cycle quantification (Cq) values (the number of cycles of DNA replication to detect a real signal from biological samples) which are sometimes absurdly high, and more.
But taken overall, all these aberrant numbers, all the confusion about the identity and lethality of this virus, all the terrorizing people into thinking that testing “positive” is definitive, helps to strip people of liberties, impose penal lockdown, and plunge countless people into despair, poverty, compromised immunity due to surging stress, or even suicide.
And by calling a patient “positive” all non-viral factors may be ignored or side-lined, and highly toxic drugs and invasive intubations can be inflicted, making fatalities among the elderly and vulnerable actually worse.
TIME TO CALL A SPADE A SPADE
Former High Court Judge Lord Sumption writes in the UK: “The Prime Minister…has low political cunning but no governmental skills whatever. He is incapable of studying a complex problem in depth. He thinks as he speaks — in slogans.”
So whenever anyone purports to be guided by “COVID orthodoxy” and addresses none of the above, relapsing to unquestioned and untested beliefs, “rationalizing” disproportionate responses with doomsday scenarios we have no reason to expect or consider credible, stereotyping complex issues and responses and demonizing those who disagree, banning the ability to question stale thinking, or asserting unanimity with a pressure to conform, call the rubbish what it is.
Let us continue to focus on growing past this pandemic, learning to survive in and then thrive past the economic shock waves left by it, and then to pilot a reality-based, visionary future that protects citizens not only medically but by safeguarding their solvency and future prospects and, therefore, equally also their lives.