Ten Elements of the False COVID Narrative (last 5)

I am heartened that the tide seems to be turning. The Great Barrington Declaration is attracting thousands of scientists’ signatures each day. And the World Health Association’s COVID spokesperson has done an about-face and come out in opposition to lockdowns, recognizing explicitly the suffering, the poverty, and the health implications of the policy most of the world has pursued these 6 months.

The global response to COVID claims science for its foundation, and my aim in this series is to show that what is being done does not represent a scientific consensus, and is deeply variant from past public health practices. I don’t understand who is behind this, but I suspect that it is not mere incompetence or bureaucratic inertia; this suspicion is based on

  • Fraudulence of chloroquine trials
  • Suppression of scientific dissent
  • Evidence that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a lab, and suppression of this evidence in the scientific literature and in the press
  • Secrecy in planning the political response to COVID
  • Neglect of all the ancillary harms from lockdown in deciding on a response. (This warning published last March in the NYTimes by a senior epidemiologist from Yale probably could not be published in October.)
  • Well-established, safe and effective treatments for COVID are being bypassed to hang the world’s future on the mirage of a vaccine, though vaccines are (1) far more expensive and (2) much harder to prove safe and effective [See #10 below]
  • Public announcements and even the way the numbers are calculated are inciting widespread fear in the public. I think this fear is far more than is warranted, and I suspect that this is by design.

The method behind this madness remains elusive to me. But political journalists outside the established media are emphasizing the military connection. One investigative journalist whom I respect for her courage and her diligence is Whitney Webb. Here, she shows us that Operation Warp-speed is a military project much more than a public health project. It is plausible to me that COVID originated in a bioweapons research lab. And from the beginning, the US response was planned not by public health experts but by secret meetings of military leaders

I hope you will explore these connections and come to your own conclusions. My more modest goal in this series is to establish that “science” cannot be invoked to justify the lockdowns, the masking, the secrecy, the closure of schools and churches and cultural institutions. Least of all can “science” justify censorship, because the process by which science reaches for truth depends on open debate from a diversity of perspectives.


6. “New cases of COVID are expanding now in a dangerous Second Wave”

We’re concerned not for the virus but for the suffering and death that it causes. In March and April, we were frightened by the rising numbers of COVID deaths. But in May, CDC stopped reporting daily deaths and switched to reporting daily cases.

Traditionally, “cases” are defined as people who become seriously ill. That was the definition for a short while. Then it was “people who test positive for the virus”. On May 19, CDC started adding people who tested positive for antibodies to the virus as “cases”. We’re told that there is a troubling increase in COVID cases lately. If people really were getting sick, this would be disturbing. But if it is an increase in perfectly healthy people testing positive for antibodies, it is a wholly good thing. It’s called “herd immunity”.

No test is infallible, and invariably there are people who test positive who don’t really have the virus. These are false positives. As the prevalence of COVID has dropped with summer weather and more of the population already exposed (herd immunity), the rates are so low in many urban areas that false positive tests are swamping the true positives, and we really can’t say anything about trends. This recent article concludes that the quality of available data is no longer a reliable basis for policy data decisions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/29/health/coronavirus-testing.html

The low death rates are, of course, a good thing. The problem is that the false positives are being reported without explanation as though they were meaningful data about prevalence of COVID.

COVID is no longer among the top 5 causes of death in America. Why is our government slanting the reports in ways that keep us scared? I don’t have an answer to this question. I know there is a great deal of money riding on vaccines, and that by any sane criterion, COVID vaccines are past their usefulness, even if we had reason to believe they were safe. But I don’t think this fully explains the fear campaign. I suggest that it’s my job and yours to keep asking questions.

7. “Dr Fauci and the CDC are guiding our response to COVID according to the same principles of epidemic management that have protected public health in the past.”

On the contrary, standard public health procedure is to quarantine the sick and protect the most vulnerable. Telling a whole country full of healthy people to stay at home is entirely new, unstudied, a sharp departure from previous practices.

Closing down manufacturers, offices, stores, churches, concert halls, theaters, even closing private homes to social and family guests—all this is a radical new experiment. There are no scientific studies to justify it, because it has never been done in the past.

Containment of the virus is feasible if it is begun very early, when the virus is geographically contained and the number of cases is small enough that every case can be accounted for. It’s then possible for severe isolation to halt the virus in its tracks. (This was the strategy pursued by China.) Once there are thousands of cases, it is feasible to slow the spread, but not to change the fact that eventually, everyone in the population will be exposed.

Dr Fauci was clearly aware of this, because when he made his March announcement, he was asking America to isolate only for a few weeks. His goal was explicitly to “flatten the curve”, meaning to make sure the disease didn’t spread so rapidly that hospital ICUs would be overwhelmed. At the beginning, he (quite reasonably) did not claim that the measures he prescribed to America would contain the virus, but only slow its spread.

It worked. Except in a few isolated regions, there was never a shortage of hospital beds. But six months later, we are still masking and social distancing, long past when the original justification for these measures has been forgotten.

8. “Asymptomatic carriers are an important vector of disease transmission, which must be isolated if we are to stop the spread of COVID”

The justification for separating healthy people from other healthy people is the idea that we never know who is really healthy. We know from past history that colds and flu become contagious a day or two before they have symptoms, though the viral load that they transmit is greatly increased once the virus has taken hold and they are coughing and sneezing.

Extending quarantine from the traditional application to people who are obviously sick to the general population is a huge innovation, imposing tens of trillions of dollars in lost productivity worldwide, as well as social and psychological hardship. Isolation kills. It could only have been justified by evidence that the virus could not be contained by the same methods that have been used for all previous epidemics. Where is the evidence that asymptomatic carriers are a critical link in the chain of transmission?

Dr Fauci got it right at first when he said, “In all the history of respiratory-born viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. The driver of outbreaks is always a symptomatic person.” [Jan 28] Subsequently, there were anecdotal articles documenting particular cases in which asymptomatic transmission did occur [one, two, three]. How can we know if asymptomatic carriers are an important part of the dynamic spread of the disease? This paper is the only attempt I have found to study the question with a detailed mathematical model; but, in the end, it just calculates unknowns from unmeasurables, and reaches no conclusion. We are left with common sense, which says that patients with symptoms have much higher viral levels (that’s why they are sick). They are also coughing and aspirating more of the virus (that’s why the virus evolved to make us cough). When Maria van Kerkhove, speaking for the WHO, stated that asymptomatic transmission was not important, she was reined in by those who control the narrative, and she walked back the statement the next day.

9. “The lower death rates now compared to April are due to protective measures such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and limited travel.”

Why would we expect lower death rates? From measures intended to limit social contact and spread of the virus, we should expect lower infection rates. But that’s not happening; instead, we have higher case rates coupled with lower death rates. This can reasonably be explained by (1) changes in definition of what constitutes a “case” (see #6 above), (2) wider testing, (3) the virus evolving, as most viruses tend to do, toward higher infectivity and lower fatality, and (4) fall weather.

10. “With enough resources, pharmaceutical scientists can develop a vaccine in a matter of months, and provide reasonable assurance that it is safe.”

This is the most dangerous of all the fictions and, not incidentally, the one most closely related to $6 billion in NIH investments and tens of billions in projected corporate profits.

The subject of vaccines is highly polarizing. On the one hand, the mainstream press, especially the scientific press, has been hammering with singular purpose the message that vaccines are safe and effective and necessary not just for individual protection but for public health. On the other hand, there is about one third of the American public who distrust what they hear about vaccines, enough so that they will refuse a vaccine (if not coerced). [Updated to half of Americans, according to recent Pew survey] So much has been written about vaccine safety that I would not presume to try to convince you one way or the other in a few paragraphs. I can tell you that my own attitude changed when I had a bad reaction four years ago to a pneumonia vaccine (PCV13), and learned that there is no corporate liability for vaccine injuries. An act of Congress in 1986 exempted vaccines from the standard testing for safety and efficacy that other medications must pass, and also indemnified vaccine companies from all liability for harm caused by either design or manufacture. In my opinion, this is a dangerous situation, as it removes all motivation for companies to make a safe product. Recent amendments to the 2005 PREP act take the extraordinary extra step, for COVID vaccines only, of absolving the companies for liability in advance for fraud and intentional infliction of harm.

I’ll close this series by defending my claim above that, compared to treatments, vaccines are (1) far more expensive and (2) much harder to prove safe and effective.

  1. One reason that vaccines are more expensive for the public (and correspondingly more profitable for the industry) is that vaccines are for everyone, while treatments are only for less than 1% of the population that becomes sick enough to need them. There is a race to patent a vaccine, a race for billions of dollars in private profits that derive from spending public research funds, and the profit potential is distorting our public priorities. The best treatment we have is hydroxychloroquine, which is out of patent, has a 65-year safety record, and costs pennies per dose. FDA can only legally approve vaccines on a fast track basis if they find that no viable treatments are available. This is ample explanation for the campaign to discredit chloroquine and other effective treatments.
  2. Because a vaccine is given to 100 times as many people, it must be 100 times safer in order to impose the same health burden from side effects. COVID is only life-threatening for people who are old and/or disabled; so to establish the safety of a vaccine, clinical trials must include people who are old and/or disabled. The relevant question is: are people who receive the vaccine dying at a lower rate than people who received a placebo?  But none of the trials are being designed to ask this question.

    There is a reason why vaccines are tested over many years, and why “warp-speed” testing cannot tell us what we need to know. Though a vaccine is always designed with one particular pathogen in mind, the effects of vaccination—beneficial and detrimental—extend to the immune system generally. This is the complex subject of cross-immunity [refrefrefref]. It is generally true that live virus vaccines tend to confer cross immunity toward non-target viruses, while vaccines made from protein fragments tend to impair immunity to non-target infections. Only one of the candidate vaccines is derived from live, attenuated virus. The new class of RNA vaccines [Moderna] is entirely untested, and we have no idea what the long-term effects would be, but initial results give us pause.

If you are open to an honest and competent criticism of vaccine science and politics, I recommend Robert F. Kennedy’s web site.


The Bottom Line

The story that we are being told about an ultra-lethal virus that “jumped to humans” and the scientific community converging on a response proportional to the threat—this story is unraveling, as more and more doctors and public health professionals are adding their voices to a global movement to restore sanity and integrity in the pandemic response.

Ten Elements of the False COVID Narrative (first 5)

Last week, I called for scientists to come forward and make a public statement that the world’s response to COVID is not consistent with best public health practices. As if in answer to my prayer, a meeting was held at Great Barrington, MA, from which emerged this statement, signed by doctors and professors from the world’s most prestigious institutions, as well as hundreds of professionals and thousands of others. You can sign, too. In this video, the three main authors present their message.

Their proposed strategy is to protect the old and most vulnerable and quarantine people with COVID symptoms, while allowing the young and strong to go back to school, go back to work, acquire herd immunity for the benefit of everyone. This is fully aligned with past practice, and is just what Dr David Katz (Yale School of Public Health) proposed in the New York Times and in a video presentation back in March. 

What they didn’t sayThe authors of the statement were cognizant of politics and avoided judgment and recrimination. I agree, this was wise. They avoided talking about the evidence that the virus was laboratory-made. I agree, this was wise. They avoided mentioning the ineffectiveness of face masks. I agree, this was wise. They avoided mentioning effective treatment strategies of which chloroquine is the best we have. I think this was a political judgment with which I disagree. Their statement would have been so much stronger if they were able to say that the limited risk that they proposed for the young and healthy will be that much lower because effective early and preventive treatment is available.


Here are ten messages that are essential pieces of the standard COVID narrative, but which are unfounded in actual science, and the promised rebuttals to each.

  1. “The origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was one of many random events in nature in which a virus jumps from one species to another.”
  2. “Chloroquine kills patients and is too dangerous to use against COVID”
  3. “The Ferguson model warned us of impending danger in time to take action and dodge a bullet.”
  4. “American deaths from COVID: 200,000 and counting”
  5. “Masks and social distancing are keeping the virus in check in our communities”
  6. “New cases of COVID are expanding now in a dangerous Second Wave”
  7. “Dr Fauci and the CDC are guiding our response to COVID according to the same principles of epidemic management that have protected public health in the past.”
  8. “Asymptomatic carriers are an important vector of disease transmission, which must be isolated if we are to stop the spread of COVID”
  9. “The lower death rates now compared to April are due to protective measures such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and limited travel.”
  10. “With enough resources, pharmaceutical scientists can develop a vaccine in a matter of months, and provide reasonable assurance that it is safe.”

Detailed rebuttals and references

1. “The origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was one of many random events in nature in which a virus jumps from one species to another.”

Strong but not dispositive evidence points to genetic engineering as the most probable origin of the virus. I wrote about this in detail last April in two installments, [Part 1Part 2].

There is no credible path by which a virus with the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 could have appeared naturally in Wuhan last December. The “wet market” hypothesis died, while no one was looking. The bats that harbor SARS’s closest cousin virus live 1,000 miles west of Wuhan, and the pangolin viruses that harbor another part of the genome live 1,000 miles east of Wuhan. The SARS-CoV-2 genome includes a furin cleavage site and a spike protein matched to the human ACE-2 receptor. These very modifications to bat coronaviruses were the subject of published research, sponsored by our own NIAID and conducted at Univ of NC and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

2. “Chloroquine kills patients and is too dangerous to use against COVID”

Evidence for the effectiveness of chloroquine + zinc is overwhelming. It was the drug of choice to treat the first SARS epidemic in 2003. Countries in which chloroquine is used have COVID death rates typically four times lower than countries in which use is restricted.

source: HCQtrial.com

Dozens of credible studies have found major benefits of chloroquine, especially if it is used early and especially if it is accompanied by zinc supplementation. (Apparently, the mechanism of action is to open cell membranes to allow infected cells to be flooded with zinc, which effectively stops the virus from replicating. Quercetin is an over-the-counter supplement which has the same effect of opening cell membranes to zinc ions, and there are a few studies of quercetin for COVID [for example, onetwothree].)

Suppression of chloroquine treatment has defied historic precedents, and represents the most extreme denial of real science on this list of 10. Chloroquine is a cheap, widely-used drug with a 65-year history of use by millions of patients. It has a well-studied safety profile, since it is routinely prescribed not only for malaria treatment but as prophylactic protection for people traveling to areas where they are at risk of malaria exposure. It is also standard treatment of lupus.

For the first time, doctors have been restricted in the off-label prescription of a drug. (Why aren’t they screaming about this?) WIth the combined effects of intimidation of doctors, actual restrictions, and policies of pharmacies, chloroquine treatment is effectively unavailable in most US states.

A major study in May was published prominently in The Lancet, claiming that among 100,000 COVID patients on three continents, the death rate of those taking chloroquine was three times higher than those who did not receive chloroquine. Many smaller studies around the world were immediately canceled and never re-started. But when the authors could not produce data to support their calculations, the study was retracted by its authors without comment. I am not alone in calling the Lancet study a major scientific fraud, but none of the authors of the study or the editors of the Lancet have been held accountable to date.

Smaller frauds are perpetrated with studies that are designed to fail. (Anyone who has epidemiological experience knows how much easier it is to design a study to fail than to design a study that can succeed.) There are three ways this is usually done:

  • Failure to incorporate zinc supplementation.
  • Starting late. Once patients are in the hospital, treatment with HCQ is less effective, and by the time they are dying from a cytokine storm, HCQ is useless.
  • Using toxic dosages, up to 4x the standard chloroquine dose, which triggers heart arrhythmias in some patients.

Some of these “designed to fail” studies actually showed significant benefit, and were reported in such a way as to understate their significance. (Anyone with experience in reading pharmacology studies has seen that almost always, the authors put their best results out front at the risk of overstating their significance.) Here’s an example of doublespeak in a recent review:

“Trials show low strength of evidence for no positive effect on intubation or death and discharge from the hospital, whereas evidence from cohort studies about these outcomes remains insufficient.”

Is this sentence intended deliberately to confuse with double negatives? “Low strength of evidence for no positive effect?” What they really found was “overwhelming evidence for YES positive effect”. In the only large study among the eight reviewed, the death rate of patients receiving chloroquine was half the death rate among controls, despite the fact that all patients were started on chloroquine much later than optimal, and without supplemental zinc.

3. “The Ferguson model warned us of impending danger in time to take action and dodge a bullet.”

Neil Ferguson is head of the UK-SAGE, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. Ferguson and his team at Imperial College have made draconian predictions that failed to materialize on many occasions in the past.

In 2002, he calculated that the mad cow disease would kill about 50,000 British people and another 150,000 once it was transmitted to sheep. There were only 177 deaths. In 2005, he predicted that the bird flu would kill 65,000 Britons. The total was 457 deaths…[Fergusson], true to his alarmist mindset, predicted with his “mathematical model” that 550,000 British people would die from Covid, as well as more than 2 million Americans, if a fierce lockdown did not come into effect. Benjamin Bourgeois

Subsequently, the population death rate of COVID-19 was discovered to be an order of magnitude smaller than what Ferguson was assuming, the lockdown was shown to be ineffective (see below), and still the death tolls in Britain and the US were not close to Ferguson’s predictions.

Ferguson predicted that without a lockdown, Sweden would suffer 100,000 deaths through June, 2020. In reality, the COVID death count for Sweden is 5,895 (as of 1 October), and the death rate is below one per day.

Was Ferguson the most credible biostatistician that the European governments could find in planning a response to COVID last winter, or was he only the most terrifying? Why were no other experts consulted?

4. “American deaths from COVID: 200,000 and counting”

At every turn, the COVID death count has been overestimated.

  • Hospitals were incentivized to add COVID to diagnosis and death certificates.
  • In an unprecedented departure from past practice, CDC instructed doctors to report COVID as the cause of death whenever patients seemed to have symptoms consistent with COVID, or of they tested positive for COVID and died of something else. Cases about motorcycle accidents reported as COVID deaths are no joke.
  • The tests themselves have a high false positive rate. PCR tests were previously used only for laboratory research, not for diagnosis. They involve making 35 trillion copies (based on 45 amplification stages) of every stretch of RNA in a sample from a patient’s nose or mouth and looking for some that match a stretch from the COVID genome.

It is impossible to know what the real death count has been, but three weeks ago CDC released the bombshell that people who died of COVID alone with no pre-existing chronic diseases was only 6% of the reported total.

5. “Masks and social distancing are keeping the virus in check in our communities”

Wearing a mask is perceived as an act of caring by a large proportion of Americans. But the actual benefit in slowing spread of the virus is small enough that not benefit has been detected in the overwhelming majority of studies to date. Here is a bibliography of 35 historic studies showing that face masks have no meaningful effect on the spread of viruses, and 7 more studies that document health hazards from masks. Yes, wearing masks for long periods of time imposes its own health risks, especially when the masks are not removed and washed frequently. This is certainly significant for people required to wear them many hours at a stretch.

Here is the conclusion of one meta-analysis from the CDC web page. The authors find that the benefit is too small to rise to statistical significance even in a compilation of ten studies:

In our systematic review, we identified 10 RCTs that reported estimates of the effectiveness of face masks in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the community from literature published during 1946–July 27, 2018. In pooled analysis, we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.51–1.20; I2 = 30%, p = 0.25)

In recent months, several studies have been published that contradict the historic findings, and seem to justify the use of masks. Here is one that is prominently published (PNAS) and highly cited:

Our analysis reveals that the difference with and without mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic. This protective measure significantly reduces the number of infections.

Here’s how this conclusion is reached: In three locations where face masks were introduced (Wuhan, Italy, NYC), the authors note a linear rise in incidence of COVID, followed by the curve bending over later on. Their estimate of effectiveness is derived by subtracting the number of actual cases from the number of cases which would have occurred if the linear increase had continued through the period of observation.

An obvious objection to this analysis is that the curve always bends over. The initial rise is exponential as the virus expands into an unexposed population, and then it bends over and eventually falls, as the virus runs out of susceptible people to infect. For a short stretch after the exponential phase, the curve may look like a straight line, but inevitably the curve is destined to decline as the population is gradually developing herd immunity. Authors of this study make no attempt to separate the effect of herd immunity from the effect of masking. To do the comparison correctly, it should compare these three cases to control cases, regions in which no masking requirement was decreed. Did the curve turn over more quickly in locations with masks compared to locations without?

This objection and others were voiced by Paul Hunter, Louise Dyson, and Ed Hill in (separate) responses to the study on the UK Science Media Center website. They point out that the kind of shoddy science published in PNAS would never have received such prominent attention in an unpoliticized environment.

Viruses are spread either by aerosols or by droplets. Droplets are exhaled water that contains virus particles, and masks can trap droplets. They are the dominant mode of spread when people are in very close contact, as in a doctor-patient relationship. But droplets fall quickly from the air, especially in humid summer weather, and droplets don’t penetrate deep in the lungs, where viruses are most dangerous. Aerosols are molecular-scale virus particles, far too small to be stopped by a mask. They are the predominant form of virus spread, and outdoors they are the only way the virus spreads.

In urban environments, there are always tiny quantities of prevailing viruses in the air, and for the great majority of people this is a benefit. It means that just going about their business, they are exposed to tiny quantities of virus that educate their immune systems without accumulating to a load sufficient to cause disease. The best outcome for populations—indeed, the normal outcome for every flu season in the past—is that most people acquire T-cell immunity in this way, and then the virus can no longer spread through the population. By imposing lockdown and social distancing, governments the world over have curtailed this well-known, natural process for acquisition of herd immunity.

What is the rationale for slowing spread of the virus? Originally, the stated goal was to “flatten the curve”, so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed by a sudden burden of severe cases all at once. If there was any danger of this, it passed back in April. So, at this point, slowing the spread of the virus is only important if we hope to stop the spread at some future date. This relies on the promise of a vaccine, which, I will argue in part 3, cannot be adequately tested in a relevant time frame. Hence, even the most optimistic assessment of masks and social distancing will not save lives, but only delay deaths by a few months.

NYU Prof. Mark Crispin Miller’s extended essay on masking cites copious evidence for their ineffectiveness as well more stories than you want to read about recent violence that has erupted between masked and unmasked factions, or between law enforcement officials and unmasked civilians.

Tentative conclusions

It was four years after 9/11 that I finally considered the possibility: this was never about brown-skinned men with boxcutters who hijacked airplanes; it was about restrictions on travel and free expression and a new Federal bureaucracy gathering information about our whereabouts and our contacts, all imposed in the name of keeping us safe. This time, I am a little less slow on the uptake, and I am beginning to suspect that COVID 19 is not about a viral pandemic; it is about restrictions on travel and free expression and a new Federal bureaucracy gathering information about our whereabouts and our contacts, all imposed in the name of keeping us safe.

END OF PART 2

I will answer points 6 through 10 in Part 3 later this week. In the meantime, I welcome your comments. With your help, I am trying to make sense of the worldwide response to COVID. “We’re all in this together.”

The Men who Speak for Science

The scientific community has something that American corporations and politicians want. It’s not technology or research. It’s not understanding or policy guidance. It’s the people’s confidence.

In recent decades, every institution in America has suffered decline in public confidence. The press, the Federal government, religious institutions, banking, corporations, even academia confidence levels are all in the 30-40% range. But public confidence in science is still over 90%.

Sources: GallupGallupGallupPew

It follows that if you want to market a product or win an election, claiming that “science is on my side” is a powerful selling point. If you want to halt human colonization of the global ecosphere or move people out of their cars into public transportation, the backing of science is natural and maybe even honest. If you have more sinister goalsshutting down democracy, dividing a nation so it is politically dysfunctional, destroying small businesses and handing their markets to multinational giantsthen claiming the imprimatur of science is probably the only way to con hundreds of millions of people into a program so profoundly contrary to their interests.

Look around. You see responsible citizens and good neighbors cooperating to curtail the spread of a deadly virus. But if you blink and look again, you may see the widest, fastest, most successful mass deception in the history of the world.

They’ve come so far because they have money and government and the press on their side. But they could not have captured so many minds without the support of a few people who claim to speak for science. Of course, Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci and Neil Ferguson are not representatives of a scientific consensus. But, curiously, they have not been laughed off the stage. The scientific community has not come together, 8-million strong, with a public statement that “These men do not speak for science.” And years of anemic public education has taught the populace to accept a scientific world view, rather than to trust their own evidence-based thinking.

We the People will not pull out of this nightmare on our own. The public will continue sleepwalking into medical martial law without a strong and credible counter-narrative. There is a powerful need for We the Scientists to come together and override the mountebanks who have hijacked the mantle of science.

It’s not news that science is subject to political and financial influence. Examples from the past must start with the pharma industry as the most egregious offender; and also FDA diet recommendations, health effects of cell phones, suppression of energy technologies, past suppression of data about asbestos and tobacco and lead.

But never before 2020 have so few people with so little scientific credential claimed to speak for the scientific community as a whole; and never has the public been asked to modify our daily lives and sacrifice our livelihoods on such a scale.

Anecdotal Evidence

Biological weapons are an abomination. No government or research institute has even tried to convince the public that biowarfare research is a good idea, because it would so obviously stir more opposition than support.

After WW II, Nazi bioweapons programs were transplanted to the US, thanks to Operation Paperclip. The story is told in horrifying detail by Stephen Kinzer.

In the wake of international treaties and acts of Congress to outlaw bioweapons research, the US project was re-branded as pandemic preparation and transferred to civilian laboratories. The ruse was that in order to prepare for the next killer pathogen that may soon emerge from the wild, we must create laboratory-modified viruses so we can develop vaccines and treatments for them. The obvious flaw in this logic has been no obstacle to the bureaucratic momentum behind the project.

In 2005, 700 prominent scientists protested to the NIH, calling attention to the masquerade of biological warfare as public health [NYTimes]. Our largest and most prestigious association of scientists, AAAS issued a strong editorial denouncing biowarfare research. Though they did not succeed in halting the program, they created a public relations nightmare for NIH, and after Obama’s election, the NIH program was indeed curtailed, and had to be moved (temporarily) offshore.

The situation is very different in 2020. In April, Newsweek helped alert the public that Dr Fauci’s own NIAID was sponsoring gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, that modified bat Coronaviruses so they could infect humans. President Trump got wind of this, and ordered that  gain-of-function research at NIAID be immediately defunded. I’m confident that scientists as well as the public were overwhelmingly supportive of this sensible, belated gesture.

But that was not the response of record. In short order, a prominent group of (geriatric? bamboozled?) scientists was reported to protest the move. 77 Nobel Laureates Denounce Trump Officials For Pulling Coronavirus Research Grant. And last month, AAAS produced editorials in support of continuing this insanely dangerous program. Even in a year as bizarre as 2020, I never expected to be siding with Donald Trump against the institutions of science. I read and reread the article in Science before I was forced to conclude that Trump was wearing the white hat.

In the same issue, there was a second editorial denouncing Trump for “politicization of science” by permitting research to go forward with plasma from recovered COVID patients as treatment for present patients. This approach to treatment is logical, it has historic precedent, and by all means it should be tested. The only reason I can imagine for suppressing convalescent plasma is that, if it works, it obviates the need for a vaccine, and NIH as well as private investors have billions of dollars sunk in vaccines. I would not dare to make such a charge if I had not seen an even more blatant example of the same phenomenon in the suppression of chloroquine [refrefrefref].I shouldn’t have to say this, but please don’t interpret my position here as any kind of general support for Donald Trump. I believe he is as corrupt and ignorant a president as I have known in my lifetimethough GWBush gives him a run for his money. One of the unfathomable turns of politics this year is that so many Democrats have been so enraged by Trump’s ascent to power that even when he does the right thing they leap to oppose him. Look at the Democratic response when he announced withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

COVID-19 and the Perversion of Science

The political response to COVID, in the US and elsewhere, has been not only contrary to well-supported medical science, but contrary to common sense and contrary to past practice. In every respect, the response has been either ineffective or likely to make the situation worse. We started too late for a quarantine program to be effective; then we failed to protect the most vulnerable and failed to quarantine the sickest patients. In fact, we forced nursing homes to take in COVID patients, triggering a predictable tragedy. Ventilators remained the standard of care long after it was reported by front-line doctors that they were killing COVID patients. Healthy, young people are at very low risk for serious complications, and should have been out there earning our herd immunity; instead, they were kept terrified and locked up. The economy and all cultural and religious institutions were closed down, leading to tens of thousands of deaths of despair [video by Glen Greenwald]. Masks and social distancing, the least effective protections, were endlessly promoted while simple, effective protections including vitamin D and zinc were actively disparaged by health authorities. And all the while, the most effective treatment of all, zinc + chloroquine, was criminally suppressed. Now, as deaths from COVID are down to a fraction of their April peak, government and media continue their campaign to terrorize us with a false narrative, while extending lockdowns, school closures, and masking into the indefinite future.

Call for a response by the scientific community

Mosts scientists are curious and open-minded, opinionated but cognizant of others’ opinions, the opposite of polemical. It is not a natural community from which to recruit activists. But the misrepresentation of science in this pandemic has been extreme, and it threatens the future of science and its role in guiding public policy. There have been many scientists who have stood up to counter the COVID narrative. Many more have been censored, their videos taken down from social media. This is a time when we, the scientific community, have been called to come together and call the misleadership of AAAS into account. There is an urgent need for scientists who have been shy about public stands in the past to come forward and speak out.


Over the next week, I will post details of ways in which I have seen science distorted in support of a government and corporate COVID agenda. 


Here are ten messages that are essential pieces of the standard COVID narrative, but which are unfounded in actual science. Stay tuned for a detailed rebuttal of each.

  1. “The origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was one of many random events in nature in which a virus jumps from one species to another.”
  2. “Chloroquine kills patients and is too dangerous to use against COVID”
  3. “The Ferguson model warned us of impending danger in time to take action and dodge a bullet.”
  4. “American deaths from COVID: 200,000 and counting”
  5. “New cases of COVID are expanding now in a dangerous Second Wave”
  6. “Masks and social distancing are keeping the virus in check in our communities”
  7. “Dr Fauci and the CDC are guiding our response to COVID according to the same principles of epidemic management that have protected public health in the past.”
  8. “Asymptomatic carriers are an important vector of disease transmission, which must be isolated if we are to stop the spread of COVID”
  9. “The lower death rates now compared to April are due to protective measures such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and limited travel.”
  10. “With enough resources, pharmaceutical scientists can develop a vaccine in a matter of months, and provide reasonable assurance that it is safe.”

END of Part 1