A Slow Wind Down

Not only is everyone taking a look back at the advice of Fauci, but we’re starting to take a closer look at the COVID death count… and lowering it. Meanwhile, some Americans are dealing with mental health issues from the pandemic, and struggling to return to normal. Some governments are having trouble letting the state of emergency / emergency orders end, even as others find a continued drop in cases after lifting mask mandates.

In other news:

  • Martin Kulldorff, an infectious-disease epidemiologist, walks through the failures of the pandemic controls at Spiked
  • Now that we know Fauci’s private opinions were so different from his public ones, it’s time to rethink our appreciation for him, according to David Marcus at The New York Post.
  • Steven Quay and Richard Muller on why evidence favors the lab leak theory, with an explanation of gene splicing and gain of function research, in the Wall Street Journal.
  • Karol Markowicz wants someone to demand answers from Fauci about what he wrote in his emails, in The New York Post.
  • In a Medium post, Eyal Shahar compares data on the flu to COVID and lockdowns.

Want to support our work? Visit our Substack page and leave us a tip.

COVID News

‘They Had Suspicions’: Former FDA Commissioner Says Fauci Briefed World Leaders On Potential Lab Leak — A Year Ago

https://dailycaller.com/2021/06/06/scott-gottlieb-fauci-briefed-world-leaders-potential-coronavirus-lab-leak/

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday that he was told Dr. Anthony Fauci had briefed world leaders on the possibility that the novel coronavirus leaked from a lab.

Gottlieb told “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson that a senior official in former President Donald Trump’s administration had informed him there was suspicion that the strain “looked unusual,” which prompted Fauci to address the possibility that it had leaked from a research laboratory in Wuhan.

Dickerson began with the public release of Fauci’s emails, asking what Gottlieb made of the content.

Stanford epidemiologist says Dr. Fauci’s ‘credibility is entirely shot’ and says his flip-flopping over masks ‘made no sense’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9657451/Stanford-epidemiologist-says-Dr-Faucis-credibility-entirely-shot.html

A professor and epidemiologist at Stanford University has declared that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s ‘credibility is entirely shot’ following damaging revelations from his emails.

Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford, levied the criticism in an interview on Friday, questioning the rationale for Fauci’s reversal on universal mask wearing last year. 

‘I think he’s been all over the place on masks,’ Bhattacharya told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. 

‘There are emails you can find in the treasure trove of emails that have been released where he acknowledged the virus has been aerosolized — well the cloth masks people have been recommending, they’re not particularly effective against aerosolized viruses,’ he added.

Returning to the office stirs anxiety among workers

https://www.inquirer.com/business/covid-jobs-reopening-anxiety-return-20210606.html

Earlier this year, when the start-up where Danielle works decided to reopen its Philadelphia office, the project manager was so anxious at the prospect that she sought the help of a therapist for the first time.

“I started to get really nervous and unsure,” said Danielle, 39, who lives in the city and asked that her last name not be used over worries that it could impact her career. “I’ve been remote this whole year. …. I just have this fear — what if we reopen and we become the next India?” referring to the devastating outbreak there.

Even though an end to the pandemic seems to be in sight as vaccinations increase and restrictions ease, many workers are anxious about returning to the office — and in-person interactions — after more than a year away. And that anxiety might be short-circuiting the brain’s ability to cope.

“We’ve seen one another as threats for a year,” said Michelle Pearce, a clinical psychologist and director of the Integrative Health and Wellness Certificate Program at the University of Maryland. “That doesn’t disappear overnight, even after you get a shot in the arm. We need to retrain our brains.”

Alameda County’s new COVID death toll is 25% lower than thought

A quarter of all deaths previously attributed to COVID-19 in Alameda County weren’t actually caused by the coronavirus, the Alameda County Public Health Department announced today.  

That puts the county’s new official COVID-19 death toll at 1,223, down from 1,634.

The 25% decrease—or 411 cases—is due to the fact that COVID “wasn’t a direct cause” of death in these cases, according to county health officials. 

County officials decided to revise the numbers after they reviewed guidance from the California Department of Public Health about how to classify deaths as being caused by COVID-19. The new count more accurately reflects how many people died as a direct result of, or complications from, a COVID-19 infection. 

California’s COVID state of emergency won’t end on June 15, Gavin Newsom says

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article251907083.html

Amid a parade of fanfare surrounding California’s vaccine lottery Friday morning, Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed he will not lift the state of emergency when California reopens its economy on June 15.

“We’re still in a state of emergency,” the governor said. “This disease has not been extinguished. It’s not taking the summer months off.”

California will still reopen its economy on June 15, doing away with the business restrictions, mask mandates and phased reopening for counties. But the state of emergency will remain in effect, allowing the state to continue programs that deal with the ongoing effects of the disaster.

Newsom and other state officials for weeks have careful to note that the COVID-19 situation could change. Vaccination supply, virus variants and human compliance are all factors that could affect the public safety and require the state to reinstate the restrictions it has slowly been rolling back.

Commentary/Analysis

Why I spoke out against lockdowns

I had no choice but to speak out against lockdowns. As a public-health scientist with decades of experience working on infectious-disease outbreaks, I couldn’t stay silent. Not when basic principles of public health are thrown out of the window. Not when the working class is thrown under the bus. Not when lockdown opponents were thrown to the wolves. There was never a scientific consensus for lockdowns. That balloon had to be popped.

Two key Covid facts were quickly obvious to me. First, with the early outbreaks in Italy and Iran, this was a severe pandemic that would eventually spread to the rest of the world, resulting in many deaths. That made me nervous. Second, based on the data from Wuhan, in China, there was a dramatic difference in mortality by age, with over a thousand-fold difference between the young and the old. That was a huge relief. I am a single father with a teenager and five-year-old twins. Like most parents, I care more about my children than myself. Unlike the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, children had much less to fear from Covid than from annual influenza or traffic accidents. They could get on with life unharmed — or so I thought.

For society at large, the conclusion was obvious. We had to protect older, high-risk people while younger low-risk adults kept society moving.

Fauci’s emails should put an end to the cult media built around him

https://nypost.com/2021/06/03/faucis-emails-should-put-an-end-to-the-cult-media-built-around-him/

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This week, a Freedom of Information Act request led to a trove of emails from Dr. Anthony Fauci being released to public view. And that view, stretching back to early 2020, is a doozy.

The correspondence make it clear that Fauci’s private beliefs have been radically at odds with his public guidance to US leaders and the American people. Worse, the emails reveal a bureaucrat more interested in protecting Communist China’s public image than finding the truth about the coronavirus.

In a Feb. 5, 2020, email, Fauci wrote, “The typical mask you buy in a drugstore is not really effective in keeping out the virus, which is small enough to pass through the material.” Two months later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would encourage masks, with Fauci’s blessing, of course.

Did the virus get bigger? Did the masks magically turn more effective? Fauci won’t say. As millions of Americans spent months muzzled, there was no nuance from the Great Virus Whisperer — you had to swallow your questions and put on your damned mask.

The Science Suggests a Wuhan Lab Leak

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-science-suggests-a-wuhan-lab-leak-11622995184

The possibility that the pandemic began with an escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology is attracting fresh attention. President Biden has asked the national intelligence community to redouble efforts to investigate.

Much of the public discussion has focused on circumstantial evidence: mysterious illnesses in late 2019; the lab’s work intentionally supercharging viruses to increase lethality (known as “gain of function” research). The Chinese Communist Party has been reluctant to release relevant information. Reports based on U.S. intelligence have suggested the lab collaborated on projects with the Chinese military.

But the most compelling reason to favor the lab leak hypothesis is firmly based in science. In particular, consider the genetic fingerprint of CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for the disease Covid-19. 

In gain-of-function research, a microbiologist can increase the lethality of a coronavirus enormously by splicing a special sequence into its genome at a prime location. Doing this leaves no trace of manipulation. But it alters the virus spike protein, rendering it easier for the virus to inject genetic material into the victim cell. Since 1992 there have been at least 11 separate experiments adding a special sequence to the same location. The end result has always been supercharged viruses.

Was mask-wearing pointless after all? Fauci must be forced to answer

https://nypost.com/2021/06/06/was-mask-wearing-pointless-after-all-fauci-must-answer/

Did we ever need masks? 

It’s a touchy, complex question. People may not want to learn that millions of us covered our faces for 15 months for no good reason after all. But asking the questions is exactly what we must do.

Last week, a trove of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails were released to the public. In a Feb. 5, 2020, email to a Team Obama health official, the ­virus guru wrote that masks were for infected people, and that “the typical mask you buy in a drug store is not really effective in keeping out the virus, which is small enough to pass through the material.”

Fauci now claims that new information emerged in the time since that email proving the efficacy of masks. But did it? What was that new information?

Not a shred of doubt: Sweden was right

https://shahar-26393.medium.com/not-a-shred-of-doubt-sweden-was-right-32e6dab1f47a

Counting the dead used to be the work of epidemiologists, statisticians and demographers. So was analyzing the numbers and drawing conclusions. In the past year many are counting deaths, but the numbers have no meaning without the context of a relevant time period, population and history. That is, epidemiology.

The most counted country is probably Sweden, a stubborn dissenter that refused lockdowns, mask mandates and contact tracing. By the time of this writing, 14,349 Swedes have reportedly died from the coronavirus. Has the Swedish model failed? Were the lockdowns justified? Were the economic and social upheavals in most of the world an unavoidable necessity?

The answer to all is a resounding no. The first (and not the only) witness: Sweden. To understand the testimony, we need to learn only two concepts: “flu year” and “excess mortality”.

Research

Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case–control study in six countries

https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/early/2021/05/18/bmjnph-2021-000272

Abstract

Background Several studies have hypothesised that dietary habits may play an important role in COVID-19 infection, severity of symptoms, and duration of illness. However, no previous studies have investigated the association between dietary patterns and COVID-19.

Methods Healthcare workers (HCWs) from six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, USA) with substantial exposure to COVID-19 patients completed a web-based survey from 17 July to 25 September 2020. Participants provided information on demographic characteristics, dietary information, and COVID-19 outcomes. We used multivariable logistic regression models to evaluate the association between self-reported diets and COVID-19 infection, severity, and duration.

Results There were 568 COVID-19 cases and 2316 controls. Among the 568 cases, 138 individuals had moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity whereas 430 individuals had very mild to mild COVID-19 severity. After adjusting for important confounders, participants who reported following ‘plant-based diets’ and ‘plant-based diets or pescatarian diets’ had 73% (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.81) and 59% (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.99) lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity, respectively, compared with participants who did not follow these diets. Compared with participants who reported following ‘plant-based diets’, those who reported following ‘low carbohydrate, high protein diets’ had greater odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 (OR 3.86, 95% CI 1.13 to 13.24). No association was observed between self-reported diets and COVID-19 infection or duration.

Conclusion In six countries, plant-based diets or pescatarian diets were associated with lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. These dietary patterns may be considered for protection against severe COVID-19.

Charts and Graphics

International News

Victoria could be locked down indefinitely as bureaucrats say there’s NO level of vaccination that will guarantee the end of restrictions

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9658109/No-magic-number-vaccinated-Victorians-likely-stop-draconian-coronavirus-lockdowns.html

Victorians have been warned there is no ‘magic number’ of people getting vaccinated that would guaranteed the government stops using lockdowns to control future outbreaks of coronavirus.

The current lockdown – Victoria’s fourth in 14 months – was scheduled to end on Thursday but the continued emergence of new cases in the current small outbreak raised the prospect it will be extended.

Four new cases were reported on Sunday, including two linked to the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility in Melbourne’s northwest.

One is a 79-year-old resident who has had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. They live close to two other residents, aged 99 and 89, who have previously tested positive.

Despite being asymptomatic, the resident has been taken to hospital.

RELATED ARTICLES on RATIONAL GROUND

in
07/21/2021

Email to the Parents: A Template for the 2021 School Year

No doubt schools face an extraordinary challenge. Not particularly from the disease which as Dr....

in
07/20/2021

Locked out of Twitter Now

I'm a glass half-full guy and my wife Jenny thinks I'm too trusting but what...

in
07/16/2021

Justin Hart Takes Action Against Facebook Censorship

This week Facebook suspended my ability to post and comment for 3 days. This was...

Load more articles