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.”

54 thoughts on “Ten Elements of the False COVID Narrative (first 5)

  1. You’re a smart guy, but you’re confusing cause of death with mechanism of death.

    “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.”

    You don’t die of cancer, you die of some organ system failing. But without the cancer, that organ system wouldn’t have failed. If someone went into the hospital with a comorbidity like diabetes or obesity or low vitamin D but died after contracting COVID, it wasn’t the comorbidity the killed them. Had they not gotten COVID, they wouldn’t have died at that time.

    This is really not a smart argument. You can do better.

    • Of course, most deaths have multiple causes. It’s funny that in the cases you cite, you’re emphasizing the long-term cause rather than the immediate problem that pushes the patient over the edge. In the case of COVID deaths, COVID is the immediate problem, and the long-term causes are COPD or diabetes or a compromised immune system.

      I think the reason this is worth talking about is that CDC has changed long-standing practices about how death certificates are filled out, and it’s legitimate to wonder why.

      • Making the argument about 6% of deaths being Covid only is a weak one as excess mortality shows the death figures are largely right.
        However the comorbidity point is still valid as whilst Covid did push those people over the edge the vast majority where close anyway.
        I’m confident that over the next two year excess mortality will be substantially below the mean line as the Deaths Covid brought forward don’t occur, and in two years time the two will balance out.

        • There is mortality data from the diamond princess cruise and other countries.

          Early mortality data was a few % of cases resulted in death. The problem was that like 5 percent was observed requiring hospitalization in early data. Supposedly worldometer says 1% are in serious condition, but their death rate suggests that might be underestimating.

          We have the worldometer death rate data on corona. Currently the worldwide results are that of cases that have been resolved 4% have resulted in death.

          Some suggest the death rate is 1%, but that is still quite high. But notable multiorgan damage has been found in a good number of cases including asymptomatics. Even people who do not die, are not out of the frying pan.

          I’ve heard it can hide in immune privileged locations like the testes, the eye and the nervous systems. Potentially could remain for months after the infection has died down by immune activity, and flare up again.

    • Weaker people with underlying diseases/disorders always die more quickly from a stressor like the flu or any serious infection or illness.

      Covid 19, or any virus or bacteria, would of course more easily infect and cull the weakest from them herd.

      This needs to be emphasized to the public. It has not been emphasized.

      To say a person with co-morbidities died from Covid 19 albeit technically accurate is not a helpful message. For transparency sake it needs to be tempered.

      To fail to emphasize the co-morbidity issue is evasion ethics, IMO.

      It is being used as a cudgel for political purposes and as a scare tactic to ensure that fear will render the public more pliable and submissive.

      In reality when someone with co-morbidities is infected with Covid 19 and dies, Covid 19 simply pushed them off a ledge they were already precariously perched upon.

      Now, if scads of totally healthy people with no underlying illnesses were infected with Sars Cov 2 and then died because the Virus destroyed lungs and various organs….well that is unequivocally a Covid 19 death.

      Moreover, that situation would be something to be very worried about.

      For people who are paying attention and understand the facts, that, however, is not what is happening.

      • Yes, thank you Heather. I think we shouldn’t read too much or too little into the 6% number. My father-in-law taught me the old name for pneumonia, “the old man’s friend”. Pneumonia, like COVID, is a life-threatening illness for people who are old or in a weakened state, but seldom bothers people who are young and healthy.

    • The statistic is very relevant. It confirms that we must protect the vulnerable with pre-existing conditions. But for remainder of the population, the risk is so minimal, a shutdown is much worse to our health. A shutdown would cause severe economic and mental breakdown from which we could not recover. Make your common sense choice!

  2. USA must have a Pandemic of Covid that induces conspiracies for you to have finished up where you are now Josh. I’ve noticed before when you stray off topic on ageing that you end up in strange places. Makes me wary of all you writings. I’m pleased that we’ve kept both Covid & conspiracies under control in Australia.

      • Overwhelming public support for our Australian Governments & Public Health Officials. USA is seen as a Covid joke….. as is Trump.

        • My cousin down under has now shut off all discourse with his Yank cuz, simply because I suggested views that differ with his. Kind of sad, but par for the course in 2020. There’s a deep divide in Australia as well, whether you want to admit it. Those who believe that masks are 100% the right thing, with an idea this must become a “new normal,” and those who believe it misguided, unwise, and ultimately unhealthy.

          • I don’t get the “masks are unhealthy” argument at all. The studies that are always cited have to do with wearing masks in high-exposure situations like hospitals.

            The Japanese, South Koreans, and people in other Asian countries wear masks regularly, even before the pandemic, and if you can cite anything demonstrating that’s somehow been detrimental I’d love to see it.

            As someone recently said the entire Pacific Rim from Australia up to South Korea has only 1000 cases a day, and mask wearing is pretty much the way in those countries, certainly more common than in the West. The arguments against masks seem like starting with a conclusion you want then working backwards to find some mostly unrelated research and a lot of speculation.

          • I agree – All I would claim is that wearing masks for long periods of time is not without risk, and can be very unhealthy for a subset of the population. There are anecdotes…

          • Suggesting that hiding faces from each other is somehow acceptable is beyond bizarre to me. Frankly, I shocked and disturbed that a good swath of the population seems to miss this profound point entirely.

            Can prove that the loss of natural social communication, one established through the entirety of human history, is trumped by masking’s [unproven],efficacy at preventing the spread of a virus?

            As for Japan, it’s not true that they all where masks. This idea is about as factual as saying all Indians are vegetarians. Maybe you’ve read, but many young Japanese wear masks as signals to be left alone. Now THAT is an effect of this absurd masking obsession.

          • There is not a deep divide on Covid in Australia & polling consistently shows overwhelming public support for Govt actions. There is a tiny fringe group of dissenters clearly influenced by US nutters. Because we’ve effectively controlled the virus very few have been required to wear masks unless at risk. One Australian City, Melbourne, had a second wave & introduced mandatory masks with near universal support. We look on with disbelief to the USA where Covid is epidemic & see the politicised division.

        • David,

          Boasting that Australians agree with you does you no credit. Australians are largely ignorant of the science and have a superficial understanding of American politics.

          In contrast Josh is a scientist and has written a reasoned essay based and cited evidence. To which you have responded with childish ad hominem. Shame on you

          • Peter,
            I’m merely reporting the polling on Covid restrictions in Australia. Covid is not highly politicised in Australia & we have used a national cabinet to ensure a cohesive approach based on consensus scientific evidence. Most state borders have been closed to non essential crossing to prevent spread & that has clearly worked. Australians are far more informed on science & American politics than you seem to think. I’m a PhD Scientist too with wide experience in virology & hence a close interest in this pandemic. A quick scan of the blog post rang my alarm bells that this was not good balanced science & fringe. I’ve learned not to waste too much time dissecting & debating fringe science.

          • Good Points, David.

            The other countries likely only know what is reported by the legacy main stream press, regarding the USA.

            With that said, my cousin lives in Australia and she claims that Australians are also deeply divided regarding the Covid 19 restrictions.

          • David is correct. There is widespread support for sensible containment measures in Australia. It’s been a huge success. There are always a couple of reactionary blowhards that can’t fathom the public good and get clicks by being ridiculous in Australia too. FYI this Australian has a PhD on US economic history and has taught US politics.

          • “In contrast Josh is a scientist and has written a reasoned essay based and cited evidence. To which you have responded with childish ad hominem. Shame on you”

            I hate to sound like a “broken record” and I couldn’t have said it better!

    • Australia has “kept conspiracies under control” because Aussies aren’t ALLOWED to go against the narrative. They’re arresting people who even TRY to question things.

      This is all going to a very bad place. The ending is scary. You won’t believe me if I tell you. You can research. Dig deep. The same group of people who run ALL media, Hollywood, etc are behind this farce. Many of them are in congress and the senate.

      It’s a depopulation agenda and Bill Gates is part of it. He’s even spoken publicly about depopulating. Henry Kissinger also has.
      Fauci and Gates are connected.

      They’re trying to make people scared of covid so they’ll go along with a mandatory vaccine.
      That vaccine will be the beginning of the end.

  3. I wish this “died with” vs. “died from” debate would disappear. Yes, if someone has diabetes they are apparently more likely to die *with* COVID-19, but does that suggest they would have died *from* diabetes in a matter of days or weeks? Certainly not. Also, the notion that this disease “only affects those with co-morbidities” is a bit of a strange argument to make when upwards of 10% of the US population has Diabetes ( ~34 million).

    • Yes but you are just focussing on comorbdities. However the evidence indicates those dying of Covid are the unhealthy even adjusting for their comorbiditues. Statistically they are far more likely to be resident in aged care (in some countries this population has the majority of the deaths). The median stay in those facilities is less than a year.
      So yes Covid is killing plenty but the evidence points that most had months

  4. I agree with you on all of your points except one. I have also thought the death count has been overstated until I did a search for “covid excess deaths” . If you go to the CDC website you will find a graph with weekly death counts from ALL causes and can see that in the US there are normally in the neighborhood of 60k weekly deaths but since February are well over that number.

    So to me it doesn’t matter if they are gaming the system with the cause of death, if we have 20k deaths extra per week from any cause something is going on, most likely covid unless they are faking the total death count too.

    • Unless you consider that some proportion of ‘excess deaths’ could be caused by the lock-down, i.e. not seeking medical attention for other issues, the effect of being confined at home, the effect of potentially losing your job, etc.

    • Lee, Michael Leavitt has also said that you will need to do this for a longer time period, such as a year. When it’s all said and done, if we have more deaths in April than normal, but the yearly deaths are within range, it means that maybe some people only died weeks or months earlier than they would have.

      • True, but I wouldn’t want to be the guy that “only” lost a year or two. And I say this as a person who thinks this has been overblown.

        My personal strategy this year has been to live life mostly normally, wear a mask only when mandated, don’t be right on top of people in close quarters and have niclosamide and chloroquine on hand for prophylaxis.

        Niclosamide is going to be the silver bullet for the country.

  5. I was surprised that Trump didn’t insist on chloroquine as part of his treatment. Of course it’s possible he did but is keeping it under wraps (which seems unlikely) or his doctors are not fans and insisted it not be included.

    • The doctor was not going to be the guy gambling with President Trump’s life. My bet is they used the very best data they had and went with it.

      As much as Mr Trump got skewered for making what I thought was a helpful observation at the time, they would have used it if they thought it was the best, safest choice. There was a lot on the line for the prescribing physician and I am certain Mr Trump had a say in how he was treated.

      • The doctors need to follow accepted “Standard of care” to avoid lawsuits.

        Hydroxychloroquine plus zinc has been demonized and is not presently considered accepted standard of care.

        Engaging in prescribing medications that do not fall into the category of “accepted standard of care” opens the doctors and the facility sanctions on their licensing, and/or law suits.

        https://aapsonline.org/fda-bureaucrat-brags-he-blocked-physician-prescribing-of-hydroxychloroquine-in-early-covid-19/

        • Heather, true but the president’s doctor does not need to follow the “standard of care”. Based on the experimental treatment he was given they did not follow any standard.

          If they thought chloroquine was best they would have used it. I say this as a guy who bought chloroquine to have on hand.

          • Lee:

            We will have to agree to disagree.

            With present brouhaha and issues surrounding Hydroxychloroquine plus zinc. Fewer doctors are willing to use it.

            There are some mavericks who still do, but they have waned amid all the negative publicity regarding hydroxychloroquine plus zinc.

            The treatments the doctors used on President Trump are those being touted as the treatments of choice.

            With a high profile person like a President, the doctors and the FACILITY they work for, may be far less likely to use a treatment that has been demonized, when alternatives that have been lauded are now available.

  6. Thanks, Josh. Thoughtful as always.

    I will say that I missed in their interview on UnHerd, any focus on the issues surrounding [poor] health affecting risk of death from Covid. Mentioned in passing, they instead gave most focus on protecting the elderly. I think the plan will indeed help protect them, but there will remain the young and middle aged who are indeed at risk with this virus—though perhaps no more so than influenza strains.

    I’ve not read, but hope that most all hospitals are aware of the terrible outcomes often accompanying respirators, once hailed as the only answer to treating Covid. The number of obese in this country, of all ages, strikes me as a particular issue to focus on. Starting with Trump, he should admit he is overfat and suggest to the country that we can all work to better protect ourselves by increasing our own metabolic health.

  7. Thank you for this info. Very informative and extremely helpful for me to read this. Really cleared up a lot of gray areas for me.

  8. The CDC 6 % information is most interesting. My concern has always been that the information most of us were receiving regarding the virus was either inadequate, editorialized or other wise misrepresented for some type of gain. Well meaning or not!

    My interest is to assess my individual risk and that of my family. If the 6% figure is accurate it presents a very different picture for the healthy and fit than what is usually presented. Emotionally this can be a terrific boost and relieve unnecessary mental stress. And for those that suffer from these underlying conditions, they need to be extremely cautious and need extra care and precaution. However one size does not fit all. Why this information is not more widely presented amazes me!

  9. That was a sobering analysis, Josh!

    I agree w/ what I’ll call the Dr David Katz hypothesis re letting the young and strong (no comorbidities) continue w/ life as normal, while protecting the rest, but I question your conclusions about face masks and some diabolical scheme by the government.

    Of course face masks are no panacea. You reference a study on the CDC site that concludes face masks (and hand washing) are not protective, and yet the call to wear face masks plus much information on which are best and how to use them are front and center on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html The right material and proper care (fit and cleaning) is clearly important for it to work.

    Re your statement, “…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.”, I also was dumbfounded and alarmed after 9/11 about various improbabilities, such as how the towers imploded, the aerodynamic infeasibility that the plane that crashed into the Pentagon would have to have done, and so much more; however, like w/ Covid, the pertinent question is — whose to gain?

    Who is to gain by restricting on travel and free expression? Does it make some cabal richer, or keep some group in power?

    • Joe, yours is a reasoned reply. I might disagree that masks are helping, given that they do not appear to influence outcomes where countries have imposed them strictly. Perhaps they’re not wearing the correct type or fit, but there’s also the understanding that achieving community immunity must be achieved so long as a safe vaccine has not been figured out, and masks appear only to delay the curve.
      I encourage folks to read the Great Barrington Declaration for the current thinking on protecting the vulnerable while getting back to life as we have known it.
      Details here: https://twitter.com/paulmelzer1/status/1313323896389562368?s=21

      Lastly, I wonder if we’re barking up the wrong tree when we’re looking to find who or what is gaining from the draconian lockdown measures. While we might “follow the money” to the pharma and certain industries that profit (lots!!$$), I think that’s a simple view that may well not yield a final answer. There seems to me a complex human response to danger that can act in strange ways, supporting things that otherwise would be seen as antithetical to human decency, liberty, and reason.
      There may not be an easy answer to why we are reacting as we are. I have to admit, I have shifted views nearly 180 degrees from February. I questioned fear (beyond its useful reach of getting my ass out of harms way), and am “protesting against the rising tide of conformity,” in this case, a false idea that fear should guide our vision.

    • I hope I have made it clear that I can see that what we are being told is not the truth, not even somebody’s version of the truth. But I don’t see who is behind it or why they are doing this or how they acquired power over media, governments, and the scientific community to pull it off. One ides – we might start here.

      • Aren’t the “democrat” run states/cities continuing with these “lock-downs”?

        Anyone like to take a guess who’s keeping this going?

        It is disgraceful and criminal that they would politicize a disease while people die!

        I believe the people will remember.

  10. Dear Josh; I’ve followed your insights for quite a while because your a great Scientist..
    After reading this, your also great freedom loving Patriot!
    Robert

  11. There is at least some diversity of opinion in Australia-

    President Donald Trump has received his third nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, this time by four Australian law professors who nominated him on the basis of the “Trump Doctrine” of foreign policy.
    Law professor David Flint appeared on SkyNews over the weekend, saying the “Trump Doctrine” is “something extraordinary,” and said, “What he has done with the Trump Doctrine is that he has decided he would no longer have America in endless wars, wars which achieve nothing but the killing of thousands of young Americans and enormous debts imposed on America, and nothing solved in the countries in which it is carried on. So he’s reducing America’s tendency to get involved in any and every war.”

    If I were to design a Covid 19-proofed country I would certainly include the following-
    High Relative Humidity coastal area
    High UV B
    Low population density
    Relatively homogeneous compliant population
    Strict immigration and tourism controls
    Strict import controls with experience identifying and prohibiting hazardous biologics
    Isolated so no uncontrolled international entry. Hmmm…it sounds a whole lot like Australia.

    It will be interesting to see how long their border stays closed.

  12. I have been and continue to be a fervent fan of this science blog by Josh. However, I am not as interested as some other people in public policy relating to health.
    It might be best if there were two separate blogs. One that deals with scientific developments in aging, and one that deals with public policy in health.
    I am sure Josh has a lot to offer in both directions. But the audience of the two blogs would be different. As it is obvious from some comments, some blog followers have been disappointed by Josh’s choice to deal with public policy on health. Some others are thrilled. Breaking the blog in two, might keep everyone happy.
    Of course, there is the reality of limited time.

    • Isn’t separating public health from scientific developments part of the problem, I believe “us” People can digest both.
      .
      I believe Josh is absolutely correct!

  13. Nature just did a roundup of all the studies supporting masks.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02801-8

    Evidence is far stronger than that one (flawed) study. One of the key effects of masks seems to be lessening the degree of exposure as well, causing less severity or building immunity.

    I’m not sure why people are questioning the deaths when there is such a large number of excess deaths this year? If you take the excess deaths and subtract out the deaths that might relate to lockdown, you end up in the same ballpark of the reported COVID deaths, in fact, under-reporting seems likely if anything. Surely some deaths are misreported, but it doesn’t change the magnitude of the problem.

    • If you take the excess deaths and subtract out the deaths that MIGHT relate to lockdown, you end up in the same ballpark of the reported COVID deaths, in fact, under-reporting seems likely if anything.

      Isn’t using words like MIGHT part of the problem?

      • The exact number of COVID deaths is going to be difficult to determine, and by any method, has to be estimated.

        The point is that by any reasonable method of estimating deaths you end up with a very large number, more than large enough to understand why politicians are ordering lockdowns, encouraging masks, etc.

  14. I am from Germany and we had a three month study (April-June) about the effectiveness of masks with 300 participants (150- control group that did not supposed to wear masks). The participants were tested every 5 days.
    Results: Non-masked group: 10 tested positive (only 1 with symptoms)
    Masked group: 1 tested positive (asymptomatic)

  15. Great Barrington Declaration: don’t fall into the trap

    The three authors of the petition, Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford, researches demographics and economics of health and aging as well as vulnerable population groups), Sunetra Gupta (professor of epidemiology at Oxford, vaccine developer) and Martin Kulldorff (Harvard, the USA advising on drug safety and risk management issues), offer us a delicious sweet dessert – which we shouldn’t eat.

    Everything that matters is missing. The so-called Great Barrington Declaration says nothing about the unscientific nature of the PCR tests, which erode civil rights, is silent on the erosion of civil rights and the antisociality of social distancing, and avoids the word mask like a cat avoids water.

    Not a word about the total surveillance state in the name of disease control, about contact tracing.

    And perhaps the greatest scandal in medical history, the planned mass vaccinations with possibly the most severe autoimmune reactions, with carcinogenic illness or genetically irreparable damages caused by the new mRNA vaccines, is not rejected by the Great Barrington Declaration.

    Bhattacharya, Gupta and Kulldorff want to seal off nursing homes and hospitals from the outside world by compulsory tests; anyone who is test-positive or refuses to take the test cannot get in. Anyone who is not continuously tested, maybe soon also anyone who is not vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, should not be allowed to work there (which then probably also will apply to schools and advisory offices, for professional customer contact at all). Mandatory vaccination through the back door.

    As a Trojan horse, the term vaccination is smuggled three times into the declaration. First. Without demanding that children be protected from any DNA or RNA-based vaccine or vector vaccine, such as those used against coronaviruses, one cries a little about “lower vaccination rates in children”. Secondly, the three authors pretend acting human and thinking about poor people (of the “underprivileged”), but had already put in front: “Maintaining these measures until a vaccine is available”. Third, according to the motto nothing has to be, everything is possible: “Herd immunity (…) can be supported by a vaccine, but does not depend on it”.

    “Focused protection” names the manifesto of the three mask understanders, test propagators and vaccination friends as a concept. “Those who are not in need of protection should immediately be able to lead a normal life again”, which demigod in white will make a judgment tomorrow about whether the individual is allowed to lead “a normal life”?

    Critics of the measures against COVID-19, that have been imposed on us for seven months without a scientific basis, should not sign the Great Barrington Declaration.

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