Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

The “only 6%” gambit: The latest viral COVID-19 disinformation

While Orac’s been away, there’s arisen a new bit of COVID-19 disinformation that deceptively claims that “only 6%” of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 were really due to coronavirus. It turns out that this is QAnon disinformation.

It’s always weird to try to get blogging again after an absence due to a health issue with a member of the family and other pressing issues that were more important than my little side hobby and thus crowded it out. True, the absence was only a week and a half, but it’s weird nonetheless. Sometimes, it’s hard to pick a subject. Fortunately (or unfortunately), over the weekend I started seeing memes and content on various social media that went something like this about “only 6%,” as shown by this collection of memes from @BadCOVID19Takes:

Many of them reference this blog post by one of the most idiotic right wing pundits out there, The Gateway Pundit:

The CDC silently updated their numbers this week to show that only 6% of all coronavirus deaths were completely due to the coronavirus alone. The rest of the deaths pinned to the China coronavirus are attributed to individuals who had other serious issues going on.

Jim Hoft, a.k.a. The Gateway Pundit, then went on to quote a Tweet by someone going by the handle Mel Q (@littllemel):

Mel Q's "only 6%" Tweet
Mel Q’s “only 6%” Tweet

Unsurprisingly, Mel Q was overjoyed to have had her Tweet retweeted by President Trump:

It was very disturbing indeed that President Trump chose to amplify this disinformation that “only 6%” of deaths attributed to COVID-19 had actually died of COVID-19 “alone” and that “only 9,210” had died from COVID-19. (Of course, these figures are a bit old, from when “only 153,504” died of COVID-19. The toll today is widely thought to be north of 180,000, which, according to the brain dead “logic” of people like Mel Q, would mean that “only” close to 11,000 people died of “only” COVID-19.)

This claim was rapidly amplified by COVID-19 denialists (those who deny that COVID-19 is deadly and that we need to take the pandemic seriously, instituting social distancing, masking, and in some cases lockdowns to control it), for example:

We’ve met Nick Gillespie before, when he spewed nonsense about the right-to-try and drug approval by the FDA. I’m not surprised that he swallowed disinformation about COVID-19 whole and then regurgitated it unthinkingly.

Amplification of the “only 6%” gambit also included Tweets by various conservative actors and celebrities, like Kevin Sorbo:

Unfortunately, even after Twitter deleted Mel Q’s Tweet, the “only 6%” hashtag is still going strong on Twitter.

I’m sure we’d all agree that this would be awesome if it were true! If “only 6%” of those who died with COVID-19 have actually died because of the coronavirus instead of dying of something else “with” the coronavirus at the same time, then it really would be true that the disease is much less dangerous than previously thought. Sadly, this claim is a huge truckload of fetid dingos’ kidneys piled on with a thick layer of bovine excrement. It’s a misrepresentation of the figures in this chart. Whether it’s unintentional or intentional can be debated. (Actually, to me it can’t. I know we’re not supposed to attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity, but in the case of COVID-19 deniers I’ve learned that malice and stupidity are usually both involved.)

Overall, the message was similar to previous messages by COVID-19 deniers:

  • That COVID-19 death tolls are being intentionally exaggerated by the media and government for nefarious purposes, in this case the “true” toll is “only 6%” of the toll usually cited.
  • That “only” the sick and the old are at risk.
  • That you don’t have to worry about COVID-19 if you don’t have one or more of the comorbid conditions listed.
  • That, because “only 6%” died of “only COVID-19,” lockdowns, social distancing, masks, etc., are unnecessary.

I sensed an astroturf campaign, much like the one that tried to promote hydroxychloroquine based on hilariously awful “science” not too long ago. But what’s behind it? Much in the manner that the campaign to promote hydroxychloroquine based on risibly bad epidemiology two weeks ago, this astroturf campaign to downplay the risk of COVID-19 (“only 6%” of what you thought it was!) is based on a laughably incompetent and awful interpretation of CDC statistics, with a dash of conspiracy theory thrown in (the CDC “quietly updated the COVID number,” as though the CDC was trying to hide something), because there’s always a conspiracy theory. Adding to the conspiracy theory was Twitter’s deletion of the original Tweet by Mel Q that had been retweeted by President Trump.

Also, note the “Q” in Mel Q’s Twitter handle. That’s not just any “Q.” It’s clearly a reference to QAnon, an utterly bonkers far right conspiracy theory that claims (among many other things) that a network of Satan-worshiping pedophiles—and cannibals who apparently eat the children after abusing them!—are running a global child sex-trafficking ring and are (not coincidentally) trying to take down U.S. President Trump, who, unsurprisingly, has refused to denounce QAnon as the dangerous nonsense that it is.

Worse, the idea has spread from the wingnutosphere into mainstream news. I’ve lost count of the number of stories in mainstream news sources that basically parrot (or at least don’t push back very much against) the idea that the CDC has somehow admitted that “only 6%” of those dying with COVID-19 died of COVID-19, although, fortunately, that changed as the weekend wore on, Trump retweeted the claim, and Twitter took down Mel Q’s Tweet. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop “only 6%” from going viral and trending on Twitter:

I also saw it all over Facebook, even in a Star Trek group that I joined a long time ago.

So what’s behind this “only 6%” gambit? Basically, on August 26, the CDC updated its breakdown of COVID-19 deaths in the US, and one of the tables has deaths categorized by what are described as “comorbidities.” Where did the “only 6%” figure come from? If you peruse the table first, as I did, you’ll have a hard time figuring it out, but then I looked at how the table (Table 3) is described on the CDC website:

Table 3 shows the types of health conditions and contributing causes mentioned in conjunction with deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death. The number of deaths with each condition or cause is shown for all deaths and by age groups. For data on comorbidities, click here to download.

If you peruse the table itself, you’ll soon see that it doesn’t show that “only 6%” of COVID-19 deaths were due primarily to COVID-19 and that, among those with comorbid conditions who died, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes. The only way one might make such an misinterpretation is either through a profound misunderstanding of how this table was compiled or through willfully lying about the significance of the figures in this table. For one thing, looking at the table you’ll see things like “cardiac arrest,” “septic shock,” “multiorgan failure,” and “respiratory failure.” These can all be sequelae of severe COVID-19 infection that ultimately lead to death; so it would be shocking if they weren’t on the table:

To understand how the CDC table was tabulated, let’s elaborate on the Tweet above. You have to understand that it was compiled from standardized death certificates. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to fill out a death certificate—thankfully!—but I still remember how they work. On the death certificate form, there is a space for the immediate cause of death and then several lines for underlying causes. In brief, death certificates are filled out by the medical certifier (who can be the physician who had treated the patient before death), who provides his best medical opinion regarding the cause of death. Part I of the death certificate includes the proximal cause of death, or what directly caused the death, and Part II lists conditions that contributed to the death:

For example, if a patient dies of respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which was the result of pneumonia, which was the result of COVID-19, the proximal cause of death was the respiratory failure, but contributing causes were ARDS and COVID-19, with the one farthest up the chain being the underlying cause of death under Part I. If the patient had hypertension or asthma, that would go under Part II. As I like to say, if you suffer a cardiac arrest due to blood loss after being shot, the cardiac arrest might have been the proximal cause of death, but you still died of a gunshot wound. Still, that didn’t stop the Twitter brain trust from asking idiotic questions like:

The answer is no. Anyone who has even the most rudimentary understanding of how death certificates are filled out would laugh at just how ignorant the person asking this question must be.

Sometimes these underlying causes contribute to the death. For example, if you have hemophilia and suffer a stab wound that leads you to bleed out and die when someone with normal blood clotting probably would have survived, then you still died of a stab wound, but the hemophilia was a contributing cause of death.

It’s really not that difficult to understand. Former fellow ScienceBlogs blogger Mark Hoofnagle Tweeted this:

And another, simpler, explanation:

And a couple of examples Tweeted three weeks before the “only 6%” disinformation campaign began:

It is true that sometimes determining the most important underlying cause isn’t always straightforward, but in the vast majority of COVID-19 cases it is. If someone with hypertension, obesity, and type 2 diabetes catches COVID-19, then develops pneumonia, then develops failure of multiple organ systems, and finally dies of respiratory failure, the proximate cause of death is respiratory failure, but the underlying cause of death is COVID-19, without which the respiratory failure never would have happened. Yes, it is well-known that certain conditions greatly increase your risk of dying if you contract COVID-19. These include, among several others:

  • Age (the chance of dying of COVID-19 begins to increase dramatically after age 50 and becomes truly frightening by age 80)
  • Obesity (BMI > 30)
  • Being male
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
  • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

These are contributory factors, but if you have one or more of these conditions when you contract COVID-19 and later die, it’ll very likely be the COVID-19, not your underlying health condition, that killed you. The underlying health condition(s) might have played a role in making you sicker, but it’ll be the virus that does you in.

Of course, the “only 6%” gambit is even more dishonest than it seems. Why? Because we have actual data published the same day as Table 3 telling us that. More importantly, the actual interpretation of the underlying data for the table shows:

In other words, COVID-19 is the underlying cause of around 92.3% of the deaths in the dataset, not 6%.

Also, the US isn’t the only country in the world with COVID-19. There are data from many other nations. As “Health Nerd” notes:

One important thing to note is that a lot of this is specific to the U.S. There are, oddly enough, quite a few other countries around the world, and they all have their own way of recording deaths. In some places, for example India, there has been a lot of criticism that the death reporting is shockingly bad and thus the country may be missing some or even the majority of their COVID-19 deaths. In other places, like Belgium, the death reporting is so good that it may explain the high COVID-19 death rates — they are simply picking up coronavirus deaths that other places have missed.

However, one thing remains true: most countries go to great lengths to ensure that deaths are correctly classified. Death reporting is incredibly important, and in most places it’s a detailed process that has to be checked carefully. In most cases, we can say with some certainty that deaths attributed to COVID-19 are, at best, a solid count, and at worst probably an underestimate. If anything, it’s likely that we are missing quite a few deaths that have been caused by coronavirus, but for whatever reason not picked up in our reporting systems, and thus the death count is actually higher than the reported figure.

And I say all of this as someone who has spent quite a bit of time studying COVID-19 death rates. I’ve now co-authored two studies looking at the fatality rates of COVID-19, and can say with some certainty that they are pretty good estimates, if probably a little low.

The bottom line is that the “only 6%” gambit is disinformation. It’s likely either astroturf or a product of the deranged minds of QAnon conspiracy theorists (or both). What’s most depressing is that we have a President who amplifies dangerous disinformation like this to a social media ecosystem of willing accomplices, allowing nonsense like this to go viral. As for the inevitable tone police trolls who will likely lament that I’m being way too sarcastic, insulting, and nasty, tough. Anything related to QAnon doesn’t deserve my civility.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

159 replies on “The “only 6%” gambit: The latest viral COVID-19 disinformation”

So, what we should be concerned about is –

A. That 6% of death certificates weren’t filled properly?

B. That we have so many people in the country so eager to imagine the pandemic away that they accept implausible claims at face value without checking?

Thank you for pulling this together. Sigh.

Honestly, the incessant gleeful gaslighting is the least of it. Encouraging y’all to chase the details while they control the grand overarching narrative is just another ruse. Their bestial instinct is to maximize chaos at every opportunity, and it’s working like a dream. Or, to summarize Pannapacker:

C. One-third of Americans want to kill another third, while the other third watches.

Encouraging COVID to rip great holes in US society is just another warm-up act. They don’t care about lives, they only care about ratcheting up extremism using every tool to hand, and as quickly as they can now they’re under time pressure. Trump may have played the GOP’s hand early, before the Overton window was entirely overhead, but this is a long game that’s been underway for 50 years and an awful lot riding on it to welch now. You have Fascists at the brink of power. Your COVID plague is a cuddly kitten in comparison. Putin must be laughing. Goebbels would be proud.

Wait, I thought Trump was a buffoon. So now he has Goebbels-level mad-skillz and is waiting in the wings, Palpatine-like to give the word to execute “Order 66”, and this will fulfill the GOP’s fascist conspiracy – one that is 50 years in the making?

This sounds even more fantastic that QAnon.

@BendToGovernment – Mussolini and Hitler were described as buffoons before their rise to power, I don’t think any of the dictators were known for their intellectual prowess. In USA right now there are armed militia killing people on the streets with the complicity of the police, obviously guilty friends of the president pardoned or the DOJ trying to stop trials, journalists targeted and election results disputed months before they’ve even happened. I’d say anyone in USA that isn’t worried about the future of democracy should pull their head out of the sand pretty sharpish, before they become ‘collateral damage’.

@ Carl (@ BendToGovernment)

“I don’t think any of the dictators were known for their intellectual prowess.”

I think that depends from what you mean by “dictator”. Lajos Kossuth was unanimously referred to as a “dictator” and he very obviously wasn’t an intellectual douchebag.

And, in more modern times, someone like Duvalier in Haïti wasn’t perhaps a genius, but a medical doctor with a rather good track record when it comes to infectious diseases…

The Red Khmers were educated academically in Paris and weren’t that “dumb”. Also, another example: Algeria is here listed as a dictatorship ruled by Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and, in fact, the mastermind behind his power was his brother, who has a PhD and some accomplishments in “artificial intelligence” and what are now known to be neural networks.

I’m pretty sure that you can find dictators that are far from being stupid. And I indeed would warn against making this association between intelligence and dictatorship, as the reverse inference that would guarantee someone cannot be a dictator if intelligent is bound to backfire. Be wary of both intelligent and stupid persons alike when you see the warning signs of infringements on civil liberties.

How about Asad?

And thought the Red Khmer or Khmer Rouge where against intellectuals they forgot to kill themselves first.

@ Renate

Well, Rand Paul is an opthalmologist, so at the very least the category doesn’t map well onto either intelligence or basic human decency.

@ Sadmar
At least it shows that not all with a medical education are humatarians. Or they divide the world in 2 those who are with them, and those who are against them and the latter are considered less human.

But being a dictator is not dependent of intelligence.


I don’t think any of the dictators were known for their intellectual prowess.

You are making the common mistake of mistaking intelligence for wisdom. While Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao Zedong were all disastrous for the countries they led, they managed to obtain power, which demands a certain level of intelligence.

@BendTo: No, Trump doesn’t care about establishing a fascist state—and I never said he did. Trump doesn’t care about anything except Trump. He loves feeling powerful and adores being the center of attention, but the presidency itself he’s mostly just spent Tweeting and playing golf.

The post-Goldwater GOP though, that’s a different beast entirely. It’s been selling off its principles for power ever since the 1960s, first with the Southern Strategy that won it millions of racist ex-Democrats enraged at LBJ’s signing of the Civil Rights Act in 64, securing the religious fundamentalist block in the 80s, Gingrich et al’s Scorched Earth policy on governing as a collaborative process in the 90s, Cheney et al’s government as military-industrial feedbag in the 2000s, and shameless embrace of white supremacy and foreign fascist regimes of this last decade, all bought and paid for by massively wealthy, unelected private entities profiteering from this fire sale and gaslighted 24/7/365 by saturation propaganda from their media outlets. With each new Republican lurch to the extreme obsequiously normalized by a Democratic party that is not so much a functioning opposition as a pot of gently boiling frogs.

Not that American foreign and domestic policies (with a few exceptions) have ever been particularly noble or altruistic, but c’mon. You have actual white supremacists dictating policy within your own White House, directing government forces and private militias to attack citizens in the streets. This is NOT normal. This isn’t even in the same hemisphere as “normal”.

For those who care about such things:

@Carl: While it’s easy to point to Hitler/Stalin/Mao as the very worst that can happen, FWIW I don’t think the GOP want that so much as a Franco/Pinochet/Putin statism. While they do have their ideologically-motivated extremists, the bulk of them are really just in it for the raw profit and absolute power. What’s frightening about the latter group is how stable and long-lived they can be.

Dear Orac –

You miss the point; it isn’t at all about intentional error, it’s about unintentional obfuscation.

Statistcs are difficult for most folks. I’m a retired statistician and I’ll freely admit they’re stilll challenging for me. Why might that be? Why would a 64 year old retired statistician have trouble interpreting and extracting meaning from published numbers?

The answer is simple, but unsatisfying; it centers on the subject of experiment design, which is an essential component of valid statistical findings. In this example, the author of the 6% hypothesis was out to prove a point (naturally) but was also blinded by his/her intent, which is a very common problem in the sciences.

It actually is very important to understand the true morbidity of COVID-19. That isn’t guff. Very important. However the methodology used is questionable and as scientists we need to examine it, perhaps expose its flaws with the hope of encouraging better studies, better analysis.

Keep up the good work, but try to be kinder to your compatriots. Like you, theyre only trying to discover the truth.

There’s no reason to be kind here. The only 6% gambit is not some honest attempt to find the truth. It’s intentional disinformation.

This story originated with an anti-vaccine chiropractor three towns over from me. There is no “hypothesis”, no question to test with the 6% statement. It’s just lying.

At this point in a highly-transmissible pandemic there is no room left for “kindness” to people who put out lies that could lead to other people getting infected and dying.

There is no “hypothesis”, no question to test with the 6% statement. It’s just lying.

That is my impression as well. This is straight out lying.

What does the data from the same period last year say? What were the main underlying causes of death from 2019?

It is improper for any death certificate to list cardiopulmonary arrest as a cause of death. That’s a final common pathway for everyone.

That’s just an excuse not to think.

For example, for an AMI, I would list acute myocardial infarction and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. No need to list cardiac arrest.

It’s odd, then, that there are a lot of death certificates in the CDC dataset that list “cardiac arrest” as a cause of death.

I’ll agree that there is lots of that going on, but I was taught when I was a resident that it is improper. I filled out lots of death certificates during my career, and I never did that. I even once got a call from a doctor requesting that I add that. Let’s say that I didn’t appreciate the call.

I used to joke that all of us die of cardiac arrest, although the pedant in me can’t help but add that there is one exception, brain death while on life support…

Even with brain death, we do not send the patients to the morgue until the heart has stopped for obvious reasons.

That brings up a story. I was once asked to go to the OR to remove a brain during an organ donation. My response was, intentionally, something that Dr. McCoy might have said: I’m a doctor, not an axe murderer.

Can you imagine the mess that trying to remove a brain while the patient still had blood pressure would make?

I was once asked to go to the OR to remove a brain during an organ donation.

Was his name “Abby, Someone?”

This reminds of the case in, I believe it was Pensylvania, where a man’s death certificate listed “cardiac arrest” as the cause of death, but failed to mention “Wife fed him antifreeze in the Jello” as the underlying/contributing cause.

They fixed that later.

Can confirm. When we did autopsies in residency, the attending Pathologist always warned us to NEVER list CP arrest as causes of death, especially since autopsies are expected to find causes of death more accurately than deaths without autopsies.

Also, in order to list a condition on a death certificate , the diagnosis needs to have at least a 50% chance of being correct, so in the US and some other developed nations, if someone who is middle aged or older drops dead suddenly, it would be acceptable to put cardiac arrhythmia due to acute myocardial infarction due to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease even in the absence of an autopsy because those conditions are so common.

I think many physicians have either forgotten that or were never trained properly, so they struggle with death certificates. Cardiopulmonary arrest is just an easy way out.

Obviously, the clinical history has to be taken into account. If there’s a history of being Tasered, I would use that as the underlying cause.

My most recent example was a chronic meth user who blew her heart up with a pregnancy and it turned into an argument over whether to put acute cardiomyopathy or arrest as the cause. Strong opinions were voiced on both sides. Ultimately it came down to the CDC guidance to never use “arrest” as the immediate cause.

This is going to be a painful Fall/Winter. Too many people refusing to take this seriously…the great incubator called school restarting….confusion by differing information from physicians over when to get a flu shot.

Almost, as if, a certain Nero wants it that way and what Little Nero wants, Little Nero gets.

One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial “herd immunity” strategy to combat the pandemic,
That this approach is even being discussed inside the White House is drawing concern from experts inside and outside the government who note that a herd immunity strategy could lead to the country suffering hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lost lives.
“We are aggressively sheltering those at highest risk, especially the elderly, while allowing lower-risk Americans to safely return to work and to school, and we want to see so many of those great states be open,” he said during his address to the Republican National Convention Thursday night. “We want them to be open. They have to be open. They have to get back to work.”

Atlas has fashioned himself as the “anti-Dr. Fauci,” one senior administration official said, referring to Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease official, who has repeatedly been at odds with the president over his public comments about the threat posed by the virus. He has clashed with Fauci as well as Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, over the administration’s pandemic response.
“When younger, healthier people get the disease, they don’t have a problem with the disease. I’m not sure why that’s so difficult for everyone to acknowledge,” Atlas said in an interview with Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade in July. “These people getting the infection is not really a problem and in fact, as we said months ago, when you isolate everyone, including all the healthy people, you’re prolonging the problem because you’re preventing population immunity. Low-risk groups getting the infection is not a problem.”
Atlas meets with Trump almost every day, far more than any other health official, and inside the White House is viewed as aligned with the president and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on how to handle the outbreak
Atlas has argued that the country should only be testing people with symptoms, despite the fact that asymptomatic carriers spread the virus. He has also repeatedly pushed to reopen schools and advocated for college sports to resume. Atlas has said, without evidence, that children do not spread the virus and do not have any real risk from covid-19, arguing that more children die of influenza – an argument he has made in television and radio interviews.

Atlas’s appointment comes after Trump earlier this summer encouraged his White House advisers to find a new doctor who would argue an alternative point of view from Birx and Fauci, whom the president has grown increasingly annoyed with for public comments that he believes contradict his own assertions that the threat of the virus is receding. Advisers sought a doctor with Ivy League or top university credentials who could make the case on television that the virus is a receding threat.

Atlas caught Trump’s attention with a spate of Fox News appearances in recent months, and the president has found a more simpatico figure in the Stanford doctor for his push to reopen the country so he can focus on his reelection. Atlas now often sits in the briefing room with Trump during his coronavirus news conferences, even as other doctors do not. He has given the president somewhat of a medical imprimatur for his statements and regularly helps draft the administration’s coronavirus talking points from his West Wing office as well as the slides that Trump often relies on for his argument of a diminishing threat.

Atlas has also said he is unsure “scientifically” whether masks make sense *, despite broad consensus among scientists that they are effective. He has selectively presented research and findings that support his argument for herd immunity and his other ideas, two senior administration officials said.
Birx has been at odds with Atlas on several occasions, with one disagreement growing so heated at a coronavirus meeting earlier this month that other administration officials grew uncomfortable, according to a senior administration official.

One of the main points of tension between the two is over school reopenings. Atlas has pushed to reopen schools and Birx is more cautious.

“This is really unfortunate to have this fellow Scott Atlas, who was basically recruited to crowd out Tony Fauci and the voice of reason,” said Eric Topol, a cardiologist and head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego. “Not only do we not embrace the science, but we repudiate the science by our president, and that has extended by bringing in another unreliable misinformation vector.”

*Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

“People wearing masks are so selfish, so unpatriotic to not do my will to catch coronavirus. When I’m re-elected, I will tell Qanon to shoot them. BRrrrr!”

I’ll give you all a chance to beat up on me in the comment section. Here is why most of us Great Unwashed are yawning at the Covid-pushers, and see them as disingenuous:

1) The lockdowns were sold as the only way to “Flatten the Curve”. Now that the curve appears to be flattened, it is now about the “New Normal” and “Wait for the Vaccine.” For better or worse, people feel like they have been sold a bill of goods.

2) Economic times were really good. People remember that. The lockdowns ruined the party. People know which side is pushing the lockdowns, again for better or worse.

3) We saw BLM protesters encouraged to protest. We saw excuses being made for them by those who were just telling the rest to mask up, not go to work, and stop the economy. That informed us that the whole thing reeks of politics.

4) Few of us know anyone who has died from this disease. I am not saying the disease is not deadly. But for most of the Great Unwashed, life isnt a daily self-message of “Covid can kill you!”. It is an affirmation of “Disease with 98% survival rate continues to not kill me.”

5) There seemed to be zero policy debate about the ultimate effects of lockdowns and paranoia. No public debate – but plenty of take-downs of videos of anyone questioning the measures. Plenty of public shaming about those who question the by products of a constant fear mindset. We ask ourselves “If Joe says doctors say to lock the the country down more, then why do we even need a President? Just have doctors run everything.”

In short, we do not think the Juice “being safe” is worth the squeeze of locking down. And our smarter masters have failed to convince us otherwise in light of the reasons enumerated above.

I agree with this, and I am a “COVID survivor.” My wife and I contracted it in Florida in Feb (so much for the timeline reporting.) No big deal, really, Got antibody testing as she’s being treated for cancer (talk about your scary comorbidities.)

My comment to the blog post is that the COVID-only stats are relevant. Much is made of the excess death counts, i.e. extrapolating ‘n’ must-be-COVID deaths because May 2020 is over May 2019 by ‘n.’ But the excess deaths are from a wide variety of things associated with lockdowns; forbid movement and you’ll have a lot more old folks falling down stairs trying to do that basement cleaning they’ve been meaning to do and didn’t have time for — among 10,000 other possible ways to die related in whole or in part to lockdowns that have nothing to do with the virus. This on top of the people turned away for cancer screenings, getting cuts that aren’t cleaned properly and dying of sepsis, and so on. All of this says that COVID assisting a death… so what. People with compromised organs are typically a flu away from disaster regardless.

In MN the scary number porn displays daily, showing hundreds of new infections; but the “no longer infected” isn’t graphed to make it simple for the innumerate. Suffice to say that the average daily “currently infected” rate of (4500- to 6000) is steady, as is the number of people in the hospital (300 +/- 20) and has been for quite some time. Yet MN is still quite locked. Over 300 people.!!!! No disrespect to the families of those who are hospitalized, but seriously, the panic porn needs to end. If people are compromised, great, lock them down, leave the healthy alone. In what world do we quarantine the healthy? “Oh look, Apollo 11 just made it back to earth, so let’s quarantine the entire planet, right?” IRL they quarantined the astronauts in a small airstream trailer. Golly, that made sense. Those were the days.

Oh, and the blogger needs to dial it back. Blogger, you understand that a superspreader isn’t a real thing, but a modeling artifact, right? You’re not on about science. You’re on about modeling.

“For better or worse, people feel like they have been sold a bill of goods.”
They were. By the federal government, who did nothing to get nationwide testing rolled out.

That’s how you stop an epidemic before you have a vaccine: test, trace and isolate. If you stop the chain of infection then the disease dies. But the US doesn’t have nearly enough testing, and people refuse to isolate, so now we are all royally screwed.

You sound like a person I know on Facebook, who said “I can’t stop living my life to survive”.

@Randomengineer de Leather

You are, of course, donating plasma to save lives, correct? I am assuming that your wife’s concurrent medical treatment precludes her from donating, but I am sure that you are doing your part to save lives in ways the rest of use can’t, right?

Personally, I know several people who died from it. And at least three of them were not high risk. And that’s not counting the people I know with long term issues even after “recovery”, some of whom were never even hospitalized.

Economic times were really good. People remember that. The lockdowns ruined the party.

If the lockdowns hadn’t been performed, the results would have been even worse. At the current fatality rate, the U.S. would have seen some 3 million deaths, which would “monkey wrench the economy”. Add in those who would have survived with sequelae, and the affects would be even more disastrous.

@ Randomengineer de Leather

In what world do we quarantine the healthy?

All the time.
Quarantines are meant to isolate the potentially infected and see if they develop symptoms of the disease. More importantly, they are meant to isolate potentially infected people before they spread the disease.

To belabor the obvious, until they show symptoms, everybody is healthy.
Now, if we Westerners and our wonderful civilization could have seen this pandemic coming and started developing testing and tracing measures in time…

People with compromised organs are typically a flu away from disaster regardless.

And of course there is no way to reduce the risk of them getting the flu or anything else. Maybe we should also get rid of all these handholds on stairways, old people are just a misstep away from breaking their frail bones anyway /sarcasm
You are talking like people dying from Covid19 had all a foot in the grave before the epidemics. That’s far from being the case.

Also, funny you mention death from flu. A friend of mine lost him mom to the flu, a few years back.
More precisely: she was an active and autonomous grandma, got the flu, and after some related complications, ended up bedridden. She couldn’t stand it and asked her doctor for an assisted suicide (it was in Holland).
I don’t know if she had “compromised organs” before the flu. I don’t think I’ll ask my friend.

Re: further above 3) We saw BLM protesters encouraged to protest.

BLM protesters tended to wear masks. The old guy who was pushed back by cops and ended in coma was wearing one.
The naked Athena who faced the cops at one protest was wearing nothing but a mask.
I’m talking about the protesters. The arsonists and looters are another matter.
Also, contagion in the open is a lot less likely than in an enclosed space. Like an office space, a school, a church, or a bar.

I would have thought that protesting against abuse of power was somewhat important enough to risk one’s own life. But what do I know? I’m not American, I’m just French.

“Economic times were really good.”

No. the stock market was high, but the stock market is not the economy. The economy was a house of cards before the pandemic hit.

“We saw BLM protesters encouraged to protest”

Do you write fiction often?

Your paranoid fact-free rant aside, you really need to care more about facts — but your online names shows you won’t.


The ‘stock market’ is mostly an indicator of how much wealth it is ‘believed’ can be extracted from workers.

Yeah, the stock market is just one measure… it is mostly based on the same thinking one has hoping to win the lottery.

We are retired and we live on our savings. We tried the stock market years ago and totally failed. We pay financial managers that are paid based on how much we have left (a set fee), and they invest very little of our money in stocks. There many more other investments out there with better statistics.

This is another way that diversity is very good.

If the 94% with underlaying cause of death as COVID have died of: pneumonia, influenza, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, etc. What did the 6% who had COVID as the single condition die of? How does one gets killed by COVID alone?

Yeah. As someone quipped (and I should have put in the post), perhaps that means 6% of the death certificates weren’t filled out correctly.

Limbaugh didn’t even get the 6% right. He stated “maybe only 6000” have died from it. The right wing chum is chumming it out and an old geezer listener I know is vehemently defending the claim as “the CDC itself said so!”

Have you looked at the same period last year to compare causes of death? Wouldn’t that clarify the questions of improperly filled in cetrificates? Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, accidental injuries are the leading causes of death in this country.

I believe it is shorthand for “otherwise healthy, died from effects of Covid”. For the general public, whether that pathway was cytokine storm, then lung damage, then organ failure, then death or some other sequence is of little interest.
Sorta like “Joe got hit by a car and died” is the relevant information for general use, while a coroner must decide whether it was the head injury or effects of tire tracks across the torso that proved fatal.

This man is flat. The uninitiated here may conclude that his death was because he was run over by that there steam-roller over there. All true, all true. But, Ya’ll see this? shakes empty hide This hole here; pokes finger through flat hide This man was shot first. And that is the importance of attentive forensic science.

I’m so glad to read this:
for months, the despicable sinkholes of unreason that I monitor have been really pushing dietary and supplemental prophylactics against Covid** . It blames the victim: if only they had had the sense to become vegans! Or they’re overweight! They eat pizza! ( Horrors!) If only they weren’t unhappy, selfish “careerists” but were spiritual instead and meditated!

Actually, the only person I know well who died of Covid was a very active exerciser, THIN, obsessive about quality food ( he owned a posh ristorante) and a DOCTOR : he worked with seniors at his office, at an Orthopedic rehab place.( not a nursing home).and a hospital. He caught the virus and died after 5 weeks in ICU.

** as well as reams of misinformation about masks, efforts at mitigation, shutdowns, tests, unproven medications, nurse insiders, vaccines, the un-deadly virus and conspiracy theories about Gates, Fauci and other evil doers..
see PRN, NN, AoA, High Wire, CHD, Stop Mandatory vaccination ,Bolen Report, Mercola, various anti-vax moms on twitter..

I think it was Hahn speaking but he was basically telling vax makers to send them what they have and that it would be considered totally “based on the science” for EUA. Funny that, nobody seems to have sent him their work yet — Disfuncional USPS??

And now here is (probably) an October vaccine (surprise, surprise) (not a vaccination — that takes taking it), a Trump vaccine. But many of the most vocal ‘persons’ that support (worship) Trump are anti-vax. What a conundum. Do we not take it and embarrass Trump (not that he gives a shit so long as he is re-elected and I highly doubt that the effects of taking it or not would show before the election — It is his balm is all that counts) or do we finally take an honest-to-god potentially unsafe vaccine to pwn the libs??

I would like to think the mRNA one works as I’m a little intrigued by what else that kinda thing might be able to do. But I don’t want my balls going violently exothermic either.

Because I follow the sport of cycling I remember a similar misrepresentation that occurred some years ago. A rider in one of the major races crashed on a high speed mountain descent and went head first into the stone wall alongside the road. Paramedics (who accompany the racers) were on the scene almost immediately. The rider suffered severe brain and spine trauma and went into cardiac arrest. They were unable to restore his heart beat on the scene or while he was transported to the hospital, so DOA. The rider was not wearing a helmet, and indeed few professionals did at the time. Incidents like this led to a mandatory helmet rule for professional and elite amateur races.

There were those who loudly proclaimed he had died of cardiac arrest and not head injury. Who were these idiots you might wonder? There was (and is) a vocal anti-helmet lobby. As you might expect they elevate personal freedoms and deride helmet laws and misrepresent or ignore the medical evidence. I am personally acquainted with a few of these people.

Idiots of all stripes gravitate to absurd causes like flies to a steaming pile of elephant dung. I wear a helmet.

It is just another “blame the victim” gambit. I have had an anti-vaxer tell me that my kid should die from a vaccine preventable disease because he has a genetic heart disorder and therefor “not fit.” Apparently that is part of Darwin’s natural selection, which is what justified eugenics.

Also, Orac, I think one tweet you linked to has been deleted. I would really like to know what dumb question was asked:
“Still, that didn’t stop the Twitter brain trust from asking idiotic questions like:

The answer is no. Anyone who has even the most rudimentary understanding of how death certificates are filled out would laugh at just how ignorant the person asking this question must be.”

Thank you in advance for clearing that up.

Ha. That user blocked me! Sorry, I can’t tell you. I suppose I should have saved a screenshot, but in cases like idiocy like that I sometimes just don’t care enough to bother…

I do not have a twitter account, but I can see her account. She deleted the tweet. Oh, well. I will find something else to laugh at. 😉

Like HCQ fanboi on SBM that claims the studies that he cited prove it works. Except the conclusions in all three say it makes no difference, and doesn’t work. He claims the authors are wrong, because any tiny percentage in HCQ’s favor is proof. Obviously he is not fond of error bars.

Nice to see you’re back to blogging. 3 pages of citations wow, the passion is real! Are comments down, or is it just me?

Thank you so much for this post . This 6% nonsense has been driving me mad all day . ” He didn’t die of Covid , he died of ards ! ” Its enough to make to scream.

Ugh. And now FDA Commisioner Dr Hahn says today he’s willing to fast track a coronavirus vaccine out of stage 3 trials if it’s showing preliminarily positive results (and of course not under any pressure from the person who almost certainly pressured him to give last week’s EUA for plasma). Might as well just go get Putin’s vaccine for all it’s worth.

You madlad. It is common knowledge that Putin’s jab contains molecules. Maybe not a lot of them; 3.6 Roentgen. not great, not terrible but the level of collusion required is just unsavory… one would have to go golfing.

Hm. Does not an FDA Commissioner have better job prospects after quitting that post? That’s civil service pay and no stock. Of course, s/he may want to stay in the post for other reasons such as continuity of leadership. Wouldn’t a firm “I can’t do that, if you insist I will quit and announce exactly what you just told me” have a rather substantial impact on a publicity conscious politician?

Trump has zero (perhaps less than zero) clue about science, which in the same neighborhood as the last two jamokes in his current office. He does not, however, want people to get sick. If convinced that “push this out too fast and S will HTF” I believe he’d pivot. Politician and Scientist are incompatible functions, one who excels at one is likely incompetent at the other.

No, he wants people to get sick and fall at his feet. Nero, much?? Imma thinking that you do not, or you would know these things.

Does not an FDA Commissioner have better job prospects after quitting that post?

I suspect the FDA Commissioner wants to stay in the job for a while. The only way to do that just now is to invent a world that the Tinpot Dictator™ desires to be true.

Don’t worry about the CDC commissioner or any other high-level CDC “public servant”. There is a veritable revolving door between the CDC and Big Pharma. Good thing there has never been a single conflict of interest between those empowered to shape public policies and the wishes of Big Pharma. 🙂

Good thing there has never been a single conflict of interest between those empowered to shape public policies and the wishes of Big Pharma.

The FDA Commissioner is a political appointment by the President of the US.

Spectator-just a few examples that may qualify your hypothesis of politicians and scientists and their respective incompetences. Margaret Thatcher- chemist;;Jimmy carter-nuclear engineer; Angela merkel-quantum chemist; Stephen Chu-US Secretary of Energy-Physics-Nobel prize 1997. There are many more examples.

“And now FDA Commisioner Dr Hahn says today he’s willing to fast track a coronavirus vaccine out of stage 3 trials”

When Trump said he would drain the swamp, y’all should’ve checked where he was draining it to. Even if you do manage to kick the fascists out of power you’ve a decade of mop-out ahead, and plenty of time for them to regroup.

Might as well just go get Putin’s vaccine

You probably would be a lot safer once the Phase 3 trail is finished.

Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of the vaccine have been completed on August 1, 2020.

Post-registration clinical trials involving more than 40,000 people in Russia will be launched in a week starting from August, 24. A number of countries, such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Philippines and possibly India or Brazil will join the clinical trials of Sputnik V locally

PHI and all that or I’d try to find a way to send a pic of the last two filled out here. Suffice it to say: Line #1 is “IMMEDIATE CAUSE” and the following lines are “COMPLICATED BY.” Line #1 for both was: “Acute Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure” line 2 was “COVID.”

. . . In other places, like Belgium, the death reporting is so good that it may explain the high COVID-19 death rates — they are simply picking up coronavirus deaths that other places have missed. . . .

Damn those Belgians, trying to make our glorious stable genius look bad by being careful and precise!

Thanks for the thorough explanation. After discussing the “6 percent” with deniers, I received this shared post via a FB thread. The original poster is a public figure who brands himself as a health policy expert.

While my gut senses there is some awry with his claims, I lack the expertise to debunk them. Does anyone here have insight?

“I am shocked. I am at a loss. It’s far worse than only 6% of all COVID deaths being without comorbid conditions.

4,794 deaths due to injury, poisoning, and other adverse events were coded as COVID deaths. If you don’t believe me, here’s the language from the CDC data file itself.

Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning, and other adverse events
S00-T98, V01-X59, X60-X84, X85-Y09, Y10-Y36, Y40-Y89, U01-U03
All ages 4,794

This is fraud – monetary, professional, and moral fraud. The CDC had this data, somewhere. You can’t tell me that all the data experts who poured over the CDC data files for months – specifically trying to find this information – missed it.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. You have to see this for yourself. Search for “U071” to go to the actual deaths caused directly by COVID.

Here’s the link to the data set. Export button is at the top right.

Direct link to the CSV for Excel file:

Just look for yourself.

As per my cover photo, I knew it… the upward second bump on the US fatality curve meant they were making an active effort to falsely code other disease conditions as COVID. I wonder which specific ones they used, though. Somebody will find that out.”

Any guidance is appreciated.

Well, that is all pretty awful. I’m on board as I have subungual melanoma — just at the tip but going diffuse; I have no GP:doctor that can give a referral.

Other than that, are you like a crazy person??

These seems to be medical error when treating COVID. Side effects are obviously related to medication.

“the great incubator called school restarting”

A pediatrician of my online acquaintance is insisting there’s no good evidence that schoolchildren can transmit Covid-19 to a significant extent, and that they should be exempt from any vaccine mandate because as a group they wouldn’t sufficiently benefit.

That should be a comfort to their teachers, other school workers and the rest of the population, especially those with pre-existing conditions that put them at particular risk.

…no good evidence…

Only because all schools shut down rather quickly in March with only a few now re-opening. The case counts to show this pediatrician wrong should emerge in the next few weeks.

We kept our schools open, mostly, and there has been very little transmission pupil to pupil and pupil to teacher in the younger grades. High schools on the other hand have needed closing from time to time. The bigger issue in our schools seems to be staff to staff transmission and staff to pupil transmission.

So I suspect it probably is harder for young children to pass on the coronavirus, but that doesn’t necessarily make schools safe to open, because schools have a lot of staff as well. With the level of virus currently circulating in the community in the US, schools will have to spend as much time closed as open.

“A pediatrician of my online acquaintance is insisting there’s no good evidence that schoolchildren can transmit Covid-19 to a significant extent”


What the ever-fiery hell passes for “precautionary principles” with these people? Preemptively blaming the negroes, perhaps?

@DB writes – “That should be a comfort to their teachers, other school workers and the rest of the population, especially those with pre-existing conditions that put them at particular risk.”

Well..if this vulnerable population is concerned about catching “the Rona” from children, these vulnerables need to be the first in line to receive the vaccine which will protect them. Right? Or will this vaccine be like the low efficacy, inflammation inducing flu vax?

In the meantime, the vulnerables could try: Losing weight, boosting vitamin D levels, quit smoking, getting their blood pressure and blood sugars under control. If they are older and sickly, move on and retire already…or don a mask, goggles, gloves and full-on HAZMAT suit. LOL!

You’re so gung-ho for everyone to get vaxxed. Did you sign up for the trials yet? They need your demo.


Good day.

None of this will absolutely prevent COVID. Accuse the victim is the plsybook, is it not. Infections are caused by virus, not by smoking., And you should take care of smokers, too

I would volunteer first trial I can participate. Of course vaccine should have been some reasonable animal work behind it.

You do understand that, if vaccines didn’t “induce inflammation,” they would not work, correct? I’m interested in the proof that the flu vaccine causes systemic, sustained inflammation…which seems to be what you’re inferring.

I have a single risk factor. Genetic. I don’t smoke, my weight is exactly where is should be. No high blood pressure, blood sugars.VitD levels are normal. And, yes, I signed up for the trials, but have not been selected. So you can take your victim-blaming “advice” and shove it, you waste of space.

@ triggered Terrie below writes, ” I have a single risk factor. Genetic. I don’t smoke, my weight is exactly where is should be. No high blood pressure, blood sugars.VitD levels are normal.”

Yes. Your genetic defect. You’ve mentioned it on RI on more than one occasion. We all have our issues and genetic pre-dispositions. Some of us just don’t put our troubles out there for others. I am glad you are doing what you can for your health.

“And, yes, I signed up for the trials, but have not been selected.” Too bad.

“So you can take your victim-blaming “advice” and shove it, you waste of space.”

Victim blaming “advice”? What is your advice, Terrie? Cower in your home? Slather yourself head-to-toe in hand sanitizer? Wait for a miracle vaccine brought to you by the Biden/Harris team? Watch TV daily and get a good dose of fear mongering? In the meantime, 99% are expected to put our lives on hold?

More than half the population in the U.S. has a chronic condition, some 2-3, medication-requiring conditions. Lifestyle has so much to do with baseline health. Why not encourage people to take control of their health and do what they can?

Good day and good health to you Terrie.

Good grief – I just read that Robert Kennedy is a speaker at a right-wing anti-COVID rally in Berlin, warning – ironically – of creeping totalitarianism.

Oh yes.
Unfortunately, I listened to his speech in its entirety – compleat with German translation.
It started with ( paraphrase) They told me Nazis would be here but you are the opposite of Nazis.
His earlier pre speech predicted a crowd of 1 million but the BBC said it was 18000. The Polizei broke up the rally because they didn’t wear masks and social distance, I think that you can be fined 50 euros for being without a mask
videos available at Children’s Health Defense and spread around the woo/ anti-vax circle

(Ironically: he says that kids are more chronically il nowl because of pollution when he sknow better because:
— he’s over 60 himself and can remember dirty air and rivers
— he’s worked to clean up pollution in rivers for decades with Riverkeeper.). ..

Kennedy has finally, completely and fully, jumped the shark. The fandom of anti-vaxxers must must be insufficient to feed his ego any more, so he has gone to cultivate QAnon, neo-NAZIs and other far-right lunatics. Maybe he is hoping for an appointment from the Tinpot Dictator™.

@Chris Preston: Bobby Kennedy is just so fricking blessed that he’s not alive to see it.

To paraphrase RFK jr at the rally : Governments love pandemics and wars because they can then impose controls that people wouldn’t otherwise accept. ( quoted by @ Ginger Taylor. Ann Dachel AoA )

It seems to me that many of those I survey have drifted to the right.
I live in the liberal bastion that suffered most with Covid. Governors worked together to impose strict controls regionally in March and Rt and positivity came down allowing re-opening to start gradually since May. Schools are re-opening, restaurants will allow diners to eat indoors and theatres will open later this week; gyms opened today. We don’t read that hundreds died EACH AND EVERY as we did in April

YET alties and righties – even scoffers at RI- insult us. We sacrificed and succeeded. I no longer see news reports of refrigerated trucks serving as morgues, tents as auxiliary hospitals and mass graves being dug on islands ( if you google any of these terms with Covid 2020/ images, you can see them too) The nation’s economic and cultural hub shut down.. This is not media hype or liberal lies: a major city shut down. I saw it myself.
No traffic and clear skies.

So, did they do this to control people or to SAVE people?

Not quite. Riverkeeper was part of a plea bargain when Robert was up for a felony drugs charge. something bigger than having personal use amounts. You or me would be doing 10 to 20 on that rap.


Responding to your comment below, not above:

You’re obviously a well-informed and intelligent individual, but perhaps there exists a different perspective.

If the region you’re referring to is NYC/Westchester/NJ-commuter and Long Island area, people have cause to trash that area’s response. They ran their chosen experiment, they got obvious results. No one likes to hear derogatory news about home, but the fax is the fax and they should have read it.

Leaders knew in January, they resisted until late March. They had access to all public and much non-public information, even we could see videos of apartment buildings being welded shut in China and bagged bodies left out on the street in the morning. Did they think the virus’ RNA checks it’s current Zip code?

2 The Mayor had to be dragged into accepting closures under threat of staff quitting and the Governor, as he often does, over-ruling local elected officials.

Both enacted policies which were wonderful from the virus’ point of view, if we ascribe one.
The results are obvious: Considered as a separate country (it’s arguably that different from the rest of the USA) Southern NY/NJ has the a Covid-19 death rate triple that of poor, meth and giant snail infested Florida, and higher than every other country in the world.

That is something I wonder about as well. People complaining about the things done to prevent Covid-19 and yelling it is undemocratic an fascist and at the same time carrying flags of an undemocratic regime or admiring Putin, who is also not really an example of democratic government.

@Renate: The hardest part about escalation is finding the means to justify it…and that part is not hard at all. We’re already past the verbal abuse and the spitting, then the pushes and shoves, and now the first fist is being thrown. It’s only a matter of time before democracy is on its back and they’re kicking straight at its head.

Democracy might die in darkness, but its murder gets committed in full daylight view.

A Google search using the phrase “COVID-19 vaccine” generated 30,000,000 results. There were only 4 results for the phrase “COVID-19 antivaccine,” and 121,000 results for “COVID-19 vaccine safety.”

@ Orac,

Q. Is”antivaccine” a legitimate concept or just disinformation.

Please advise.

From the BBC: “Later hundreds of protesters, many from the far right, tried to storm the Reichstag, the home of Germany’s federal parliament…Some of those involved had insignia from the far-right Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) movement. Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “Nazi symbols as well as Reichsbürger and Imperial German flags have no place in the German Bundestag.”

…The protests have also gained support from Robert F Kennedy Jr. The anti-vaccination campaigner, also the son of assassinated US Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F Kennedy and nephew of assassinated US President John F Kennedy, is at the demonstrations in Berlin.

Mr Kennedy told the crowd at the Victory Column that his uncle had famously addressed Berlin in 1963 to counter totalitarianism and that “today Berlin is again the front against totalitarianism”, warning of a surveillance state and the power of 5G phone networks.

Photos shared online also showed flags and slogans linked to the conspiracy group QAnon.”

In other news fresh off the crazy train, noted author Kent Hecken[del]loony[/del]lively believes Media Matters, George Soros and Bill Gates are likely behind a Barnes and Noble plot against his latest book, “The Case Against Masks”. B&N will deliver the book but at least some stores aren’t carrying it (in-store pickup and delivery are available for the previous two books Kent authored with daft ex-scientist Judy Mikovits).

Sounds like the Cabal is getting awfully careless, allowing these books to be sold at all.

*Kent has called in the support of a “pack of super-predators” to go “SCORCHED EARTH” on Barnes and Noble.
RI’ers could be next. If your doorbell rings at midnight and there are a couple of bedraggled guys wearing black raincoats and sandals on the stoop, better have a Flit gun handy.**
**obscure Field of Dreams reference.

On a positive note, the CBC seems to be ruthlessly deleting any comments that try to push the 6% nonsense. Such comments do go up for public view but disappear quite quickly. It may be because some reader is watching for them and flagging them, but I suspect the CBC has assigned someone to look for them specifically.

“I suspect the CBC has assigned someone to look for them specifically.”

You sweet summer child — hash values/signatures

I would give an informative murder prorn video to help explain the process, but I don’t want to trigger anything.

Does it no occur to your tiny addled brain that if the posts were being automatically processed they would not appear in the first place?

To a large extent, these things go into a queue for such large sites (billions of posts a day). A good example was commenter Harold’s YR video debunking preacher man’s mask/co2 buildup claim. Each re-upload would go dead after a few hours until someone tacked extra video up front and only then did it remain.

Known direct ‘naughty’ links are usually the only thing scrubbed during automated processing, these days.

Wouldn’t it be better for the CBC to make a note next to these comments highlighting how it is disinformation? Unless you’re blindly for corporations deciding what does and does not constitute disinformation. It is almost as if we don’t think people are smart enough to evaluate disinformation, especially if called out as such by those making the assertion.

There is plenty of evidence from the comments on CBC articles that a lot of people (or more accurately, a lot of the subset of people who comment there) are not able to evaluate disinformation and in fact are very inclined to spread it.
Some people favor having the disinformation deleted. My opinion is that if there has been good response by other commenters pointing out that it is disinformation and providing accurate info it is OK to allow it to stand. There has been more of it on this issue today and I haven’t noticed any deletions, but how and by what criteria the CBC moderators deal with anything is hard to fathom (e.g. sometimes links to anything are OK, other times even links to scientific papers in reputable journals get axed).

What does sometimes happen when something like this crops up is that it will be addressed in an article a day or two later when the CBC has had the opportunity to consult professional sources. Of course those to thrive on disinformation tend to reject expert opinion because it doesn’t match their biases.

I was wondering where the italian negationists’ “only less that 3000 covid death” trope came from. Now I (sadly) know.

The disease has been highly politicized and it is difficult to extract accurate information. Much of the disagreement arises directly over the utility of a genrealized lock down and the justification based on the virulence of COVID-19. Virtually all discussions are derivatives of this. Efficacy of treatment, likelihood of vaccination availability, overwhelming the healthcare system, are all secondary considerations. The epidemiological curve of the virus is not too different from other epidemics/pandemics in an immunological naive population. There is a initial and alarming high death rate as the pathogen takes the most vulnerable; followed by a exponential infection rate; and if the immunological response is effective, a declining death are and eventually a marked drop off in the number of new infections. We saw this in Hawaii in the early 1800’s in response to influenza, mumps and measles.

As a synopsis I think almost all will agree that the virus belongs to the corona virus family, a single stranded positive sense RNA virus that uses RNA polymerase. The corona virus family is a significant source of the common cold. As a single stranded RNA virus it has a high mutation rate. The most effective response is to encourage herd immunity. Herd immunity can be achieved through natural contagion or induced by vaccination. This high mutation rate makes it difficult to mount an effective immune response and is likely to be a problem for any vaccine that i s developed. Until this immunity is achieved the population remains vulnerable. This is not unique to COVID-19. We see this every flu season.

COVID-19 is uniquely virulent and adapted to infect and spread in the human host due to a highly specific, highly adapted, statistically unlikely mutation that allows the virus to be incredibly effective at bind Human AEC2 receptor.

COVID-19 is virulent but not equally virulent to every segment of the population. There are cohorts in the population that are uniquely susceptible: the frail elderly (who often are vitamin D deficient and have other co-morbidities, those with metabolic dysfunction (hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and associated biochemical abnormalities), and a smaller segment that is uniquely susceptible and may represent a genetic issue. The cohort susceptible to COVID-19 also has unique vulnerability to virtually all other common pathogens in the population, including influenza, bacterial pneumonia, and multiple respiratory viruses. Autopsy reviews show that most people who die from a respiratory illness are likely to have multiple pathogens in place.

There are two main phases of the disease: an early viral like syndrome and a later immune dysfunction syndrome. These are fairly stereotypical. Early disease is less than 48 hrs of symptoms; late disease starts around day 7 to 9. There is a transitional period starting around day 5, and manifested by oxygen de-saturation and clotting dysfunction. Much of the early deaths were due to a failure to understand these aspect of the disease and the recommendations to physicians not to use immuno-suppressive therapies.

Exactly how virulent is the virus in comparison to other background pathogens like the flu? This is an essential question as to the justification of the lock down assumes that COVID-19 is much more virulent than the flu. This piece of information is difficult to extract. It appears to be more virulent than the common flu season but no more virulent than a really bad flu season such as 1969 H3/N2 epidemic. Similar lock down policies were implemented in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic,without much success. Sweden acts a natural laboratory. They had a voluntary lock down (and people restrained certain activities). They had a high initial death rate followed by a significant drop off. This serves as the normal epidemiological curve. Countries with sever lock downs had similar epidemiological curves. There are probably too many hidden variable to get overly specific. But suffice to say: generalized lock downs are not effective in containing a virus that has already disseminated in the population. This is a core epidemiological problem: by the time one identifies a pandemic the virus has already disseminated in the population.

Lock down are themselves not without emotional and healthcare costs, with increased domestic violence, suicides, and foregone cancer screening/treatment.

So we find ourselves with two camps: those who believe the generalized lock down is justified based on science and those who feel the lock down is not justified based on science and the cost/benefit ratio. It is not a question as to whether the virus is virulent or not. It is my view that the science supports the “none lock down” camp.

Although I’m not a doctor or scientist, I have a pretty good grasp of both systems and statistics. It’s not unusual for people to misinterpret science — many folks believe climate change is an existential threat while most climate scientists reject that idea — but there are legitimate questions about COVID mortality.

1) I’ve had a number of acquaintances in hospital administration tell me there is real pressure to list cause of death as COVID due to the financial benefits. How does this tendency affect the statistics on COVID mortality?

2) Although cause of death may be COVID, how do significant pre-existing co-morbidities increase the mortality rate? If you have none of these conditions, regardless of your age, what is your risk?

3) Since the vast majority of students and most teachers don’t have any co-morbidities, what is the rationale behind disrupting the entire education system? The risk of death from flu or pneumonia are greater than from COVID for those under 18.

4) Although age is the #1 risk factor in Gorski’s list, minus any co-morbidities are those over 50 (or even 80) at higher risk? It seems that with age comes increased chances for other factors and it is those additional factors rather than age which lead to higher mortality,

Maybe some of you, rather than whining about evil Trump or nefarious QAnon, could get some clarity out there about the real risks of COVID. State mandates to wear masks or keep businesses closed without absolute clarity about the reasons for destroying economic and social systems will result in more people just ignoring the rules. Most MDs and epidemiologists are ignorant about the long term social and economic effects of COVID. The “let’s get everyone to wear masks since it may not help much but it can’t hurt” mentality, for example, is a clear display of that ignorance. You can’t solve an exaggerated problem.

Actually, most epidemiologists do understand the economic impact because this has happened before many times. We want to be like St.Louis in 1918, not Philadelphia.

Denial is not going to work.

Both the economy and society have changed radically since 1918 so it’s not a good comparison. It’s fair to say that we haven’t seen a pandemic like COVID since then so the idea that epidemiologists in general have a good grasp of COVID’s economic and social Implications is a stretch. People who have useful expertise in multiple fields are relatively rare. My point isn’t denial — I’m not denying the implications COVID — but that medical science isn’t the only factor in how we proceed and we need to be careful not to exaggerate the risk of the disease or underestimate the human cost of how we respond.

@DIP: What is the economic output of a corpse?
What is the economic output of a person with permanent lung damage? Or heart damage?

Increasing the number of dead or permanently injured people will not fix the economy. It’s not an angry god to be placated with human sacrifices.

Look at Sweden. They tried not shutting down. What did they get? Highest death rate in the region and the same economic damage.

Why don’t you look at what the health economists have to say? What are the DALYs for COVID? (Disability Adjusted Life Years).

You obviously do not know what happened in 1918. I recommend the book The Great Influenza by John Barry. Sick people are not very productive.

You might also want to become more familiar to epidemiologists who work in public health that actually do study economic effects. Like the authors of this paper:
J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.
An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.
Zhou F, Reef S, Massoudi M, Papania MJ, Yusuf HR, Bardenheier B, Zimmerman L, McCauley MM.

Here is some more reading if you so desire:

@Justa Tech

After an intial mis-step of not specifically protecting the vulnerable spiked mortalities, Sweden adjusted their practices and their death rate has plummeted. At least in the recent chart I stumbled across, they were actually doing better than their neighbors.

You know as well as I that the virus could not be eradicated in 2020, and the mitagation measures were to flatten the curve and possibly reduce the total number of people infected before natural burnout or (maybe) vaccine-induced herd immunity. There’s no Delete button for parts of Nature we don’t like.


blockquote> At least in the recent chart I stumbled across, they were actually doing better than their neighbors.</blockquote)


Sweden, Norway and Denmark are all having very few deaths in the past two weeks and so the current rate is the same for all three countries. Sweden had a higher death rate than Norway or Denmark from March 26 to August 18.

For the third time – no one, NO ONE is attributing a death to COVID that is not attributable. We have to have a positive sars-cov-2 lab to even include it in the differential, let alone document it in the record. That’s DAYS or WEEKS before most of the folks who succumb do so. Earlier on, there were patients coming in who were in full-blown pneumonia going straight to the ICU who, you guessed it, still tested positive for sars-cov-2 but until we had the lab we still put “Presumed COVID” based on history and symptoms. Most cases getting admitted today are coming in with a previous positive diagnostic test and days or weeks of battling symptoms that have been gradually worsening.

NO ONE is claiming a COVID death for some poor patient who comes in a dies of renal failure who had been stage 4 forever on dialysis and was in hospice regardless of whether or not that person comes back positive for COVID, for example. That just happened this morning and we didn’t even test that patient for COVID, because…wait for it…NO ONE WILL PAY FOR THAT TEST. We wouldn’t get reimbursed because it had ZERO clinical value and would in no way affect our management. Why do I bring that up? Because if your “friend” was right, these unscrupulous actors, be they physicians or otherwise, would get caught red-handed ordering an expensive test of zero value totally unrelated to the course of that patient’s episode of care. It would immediately follow that this was done simply to dump mortality onto the COVID ledger, and there would be ample, actual evidence (not anecdote) in the form of audits by Medicare.

Since we know who is in charge of the Executive and, by extension, Medicare – it follows that said person would immediately seize upon this information to tell the world how we are trying to make him look bad and rip off the taxpayer early, often, and without mercy. That hasn’t happened. Just one data point but a really powerful one when you look at the lengths this administration has gone to abusing government for self-dealing. He would never have missed this chance. Actually, he’s too stupid; those around him would never have missed this chance.

Since China intentionally delayed informing the world about the highly communicable nature of COVID for many weeks and the CDC’s incompetent arrogance on testing added several more weeks delay, I doubt anyone could have responded much better than the Trump administration despite his often poor rhetoric. Don’t let your disdain for Trump twist your judgement. Is he ignorant? Absolutely. Is he stupid? Doubtful.

My question about the financial incentives for a COVID diagnosis was based on anecdotal input from acquaintances at hospitals and care facilities. It was not intended to imply anything nefarious. There does seem to be some benefit for a COVID diagnosis from money granted by the federal government for COVID relief and from the Medicare & Medicaid systems. In the case of multiple pre-existing conditions, would even a mild case of COVID be the cause of death? That’s why I asked.

@DIP: Trump disbanded the pandemic preparedness group before the pandemic started. Therefore we know that the administration could have had a better response, but chose not to.

See also other countries around the world that have gotten on top of this.

“In the case of multiple pre-existing conditions, would even a mild case of COVID be the cause of death? ”

If you’re standing on the edge of a cliff and I push you off and you fall to your death, that’s my fault. Even if the push wouldn’t have caused your death if you’d been standing on flat ground. Pre-existing conditions are your standing position. COVID-19 is the push. Without the push you wouldn’t have fallen. That’s why COVID is on the death certificate. This was covered extensively in the post.

@ Dip

I suggest reading the article more carefully, with less of your own “pretty good grasp of both systems and statistics.”

#1: Citations, please. What financial benefits, specifically?

#2: There may not have been enough time to find out exactly how some
“co-morbities” play a part, although those who actually have experience and
knowledge may have some good ideas. Such may already be available,
possibly even determined, but I don’t know where. Apparently, neither do

#3: You seem to be ignorant of some of the longer term problems that
COVID can bring with it, even for those who started off healthy. A cursory search brings up several articles, such as (

#4: We are all going to die, someday, but as a general observation, age is almost always a risk factor for greater risk due to any insult to the body. You seem to already be aware of this, but willing to dismiss it.

Maybe some of you. . . could get some clarity out there about the real risks of COVID. . . without absolute clarity about the reasons for destroying economic and social systems will result in more people just ignoring the rules.

This site, as well as others (may I suggest Science Based Medicine at is attempting to bring clarity, but knowledge and study of this novel virus takes time, and science, especially in such fields as medicine, is messy work. Absolute clarity is hard to come by. Let the world know when you find a certain and sure path through it all. Don’t forget the evidence.

Overall, this is going to be a drop in the bucket since the vast majority of Covid-related hospital deaths have a positive PCR test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. And to compensate, there are many people who died without entering the hospital because their symptoms were mild and didn’t seem to require hospitalization when beds and equipment were in high demand. And there are also people who couldn’t get a PCR test because of the shortage of supplies. Some of them are still suffering the long–term effects of the disease and need to get serology confirmation to qualify for benefits.
This is why we list Covid-19 even if it wasn’t the primary or underlying cause. That makes the information available so scientists can analyze the results and answer your question.
The median age of teachers in the U.S. is 41.8. About 20% of them are 55 or over. It would be very impractical to run the schools without those teachers. Also, children can get infected and spread the virus. They get sick less often, but they can get sick and even die.

The 5 year old boy who died last month joined a high school senior girl who died a few months ago as the under 18 children in Dallas county who have died.
And those children can bring the disease home to their parents and grandparents who may have to babysit them so their parents can work.
4. I suggest you search Pubmed for recent research. It’s difficult to separate age alone from other relevant factors that increase with age like obesity and diabetes.

What do you consider the best source of information about the real risks of Covid-19? I’ve been following TWiV for the last several months and listening to weekly reports from a doctor and researcher who was on the front lines in New York City during the worst period in March, April and May. We continue to learn more about this disease and the more we learn, the less I want to just get it and get it over with. In the last episode, he discussed one of their staff who was in the ICU on intubation and not doing well.

Masks work.

Transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 m or more, compared with a distance of less than 1 m (n=10 736, pooled adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0·18, 95% CI 0·09 to 0·38; risk difference [RD] -10·2%, 95% CI -11·5 to -7·5; moderate certainty); protection was increased as distance was lengthened (change in relative risk [RR] 2·02 per m; pinteraction=0·041; moderate certainty). Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection (n=2647; aOR 0·15, 95% CI 0·07 to 0·34, RD -14·3%, -15·9 to -10·7; low certainty), with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar (eg, reusable 12-16-layer cotton masks; pinteraction=0·090; posterior probability >95%, low certainty).

The Texas governor imposed a mask mandate and closed bars (general restaurants with bar areas are still open at 50% capacity) just before the 4th of July. It took about 2 weeks for the effects to start showing up, but Dallas County lowered the daily case count from over 1000 a day to about 300 over the next 4-6 weeks.

And economists like Peter Navarro should be figuring out how to manage our economy through this crisis and efficiently procure and allocate the supplies our medical people need instead of trying to tell epidemiologists and virologists how to do their job.

It’s not an MDs or an epidemiologists job to know about the long term economic or social damage. If you ask them the best way to prevent the spread of disease they’ll tell you. Isolation to slow the spread until vaccination or an effective treatment becomes possible.

That advice doesn’t change just because it might cause hardship. What is done with that advice is up to the government. Not the doctors and epidemiologists.

Gangrenous leg? Chop it off. Don’t want to chop it off? Take the consequences. Ultimately, it’s your choice.

DIP “what is the rationale behind disrupting the entire education system?”

Because children have parents that they can transmit the virus to, parents that might have comorbidities that put them at higher risk. Based on the data from China most transmission was within family groups.

And you know who doesn’t learn well? Who doesn’t get much out of their educational experience? Children who parents die of an infectious disease the child brought home from school.

It’s not unusual for people to misinterpret science — many folks believe climate change is an existential threat while most climate scientists reject that idea…

Citation needed. My impression is that a lot of climate scientists see climate change, or the rate of climate change we’re seeing, as an existential threat.

Global warming won’t wipe out humanity. The resource wars that come with it, on the other hand…

as an existential threat.

Humanity may not be wiped out as a species, but the current civilizations will have some trouble continuing business as usual, as plenty of resources will become scarce. We can also mention that most of our electronics systems don’t do well above 40°C. Now look around you and spot all your stuff that has electronics in them.
Think societal collapse and the chance to get to live like in a Mad Max movie (or a Fallout videogame). Hopefully without having first to live through a nuclear apocalypse.
I would call this an existential threat.

Oh boy.

Trending on twitter: has Trump had a stroke? Divers rumours about his speech and gait being symptoms of a stroke/ mini strokes either this past month or last year.

I think if he really had had a stroke, his allies would cover it up.” He’s staying indoors to work on peace talks”

@ Denice

I think if he really had had a stroke, his allies would cover it up.

“He is pinning for the fjords”

Over at the site “Lowering the bar”, there is a menton of this odd legal case of a sect leadership. According to his followers, the sect’s guru is alive and well. Just deeply meditating. In a freezer.

Is anyone aware of a source that has anything to say about how many people who have died of COVID have been autopsied in North America (my primary interest) or elsewhere?

I’m sure there have been some research ones to document organ damage and what not. But I would think it would be generally frowned upon as overly messy dangerous.

When someone walks into the hospital with SpO2 of 76%, stays on a ventillator for a month, croaks,… What is to be learned by one? What should done besides a tox screen? (because they possibly could have been targeted by Putin or boinking Carl the Chemist’s wife).

DIP: “Since the vast majority of students and most teachers don’t have any co-morbidities, what is the rationale behind disrupting the entire education system?”

Your “vast majority” isn’t that vast.

“Nearly one third of teachers (29.2%) in the United States are ages 50 and older, according to new research by the National Center for Education Statistics. Private schools have the largest share of teachers (nearly 37%) who are at least age 50, while 29 percent of traditional public school teachers and 21 percent of charter school teachers are ages 50 and older. Teachers have significantly more social contacts than the average adult because they closely interact with dozens of students throughout the day. And because older people are at elevated risk for severe illness from COVID-19, schools need to consider the risks for teachers—especially their most experienced teachers—as they consider reopening.”


blockquote>Covid-19 isn’t content to simply infect cells that already express lots of ACE2 receptors. Instead, it actively hijacks the body’s own systems, tricking it into upregulating ACE2 receptors in places where they’re usually expressed at low or medium levels, including the lungs.

In this sense, Covid-19 is like a burglar who slips in your unlocked second-floor window and starts to ransack your house. Once inside, though, they don’t just take your stuff — they also throw open all your doors and windows so their accomplices can rush in and help pillage more efficiently.

The renin–angiotensin system (RAS) controls many aspects of the circulatory system, including the body’s levels of a chemical called bradykinin, which normally helps to regulate blood pressure. According to the team’s analysis, when the virus tweaks the RAS, it causes the body’s mechanisms for regulating bradykinin to go haywire. Bradykinin receptors are resensitized, and the body also stops effectively breaking down bradykinin. (ACE normally degrades bradykinin, but when the virus downregulates it, it can’t do this as effectively.)

The end result, the researchers say, is to release a bradykinin storm — a massive, runaway buildup of bradykinin in the body. According to the bradykinin hypothesis, it’s this storm that is ultimately responsible for many of Covid-19’s deadly effects. Jacobson’s team says in their paper that “the pathology of Covid-19 is likely the result of Bradykinin Storms rather than cytokine storms,” which had been previously identified in Covid-19 patients, but that “the two may be intricately linked.” Other papers had previously identified bradykinin storms as a possible cause of Covid-19’s pathologies.



And Covid-19 has another especially insidious trick. Through another pathway, the team’s data shows, it increases production of hyaluronic acid (HLA) in the lungs. HLA is often used in soaps and lotions for its ability to absorb more than 1,000 times its weight in fluid. When it combines with fluid leaking into the lungs, the results are disastrous: It forms a hydrogel, which can fill the lungs in some patients. According to Jacobson, once this happens, “it’s like trying to breathe through Jell-O.”

The bradykinin hypothesis also extends to many of Covid-19’s effects on the heart.
The bradykinin hypothesis also accounts for Covid-19’s neurological effects…Bradykinin — especially at high doses — can also lead to a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier.
Increased bradykinin levels could also account for other common Covid-19 symptoms. ACE inhibitors — a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure — have a similar effect on the RAS system as Covid-19, increasing bradykinin levels. In fact, Jacobson and his team note in their paper that “the virus… acts pharmacologically as an ACE inhibitor” — almost directly mirroring the actions of these drugs.
Jacobson and his team speculate that leaky vasculature caused by bradykinin storms could be responsible for “Covid toes,”
The researchers note that some aspects of the RAS system are sex-linked, with proteins for several receptors (such as one called TMSB4X) located on the X chromosome. This means that “women… would have twice the levels of this protein than men,”

Several, like danazol, stanozolol, and ecallantide, reduce bradykinin production and could potentially stop a deadly bradykinin storm. Others, like icatibant, reduce bradykinin signaling and could blunt its effects once it’s already in the body.

Interestingly, Jacobson’s team also suggests vitamin D as a potentially useful Covid-19 drug. The vitamin is involved in the RAS system and could prove helpful by reducing levels of another compound, known as REN. Again, this could stop potentially deadly bradykinin storms from forming. The researchers note that vitamin D has already been shown to help those with Covid-19. The vitamin is readily available over the counter, and around 20% of the population is deficient. If indeed the vitamin proves effective at reducing the severity of bradykinin storms, it could be an easy, relatively safe way to reduce the severity of the virus.

Other compounds could treat symptoms associated with bradykinin storms. Hymecromone, for example, could reduce hyaluronic acid levels, potentially stopping deadly hydrogels from forming in the lungs. And timbetasin could mimic the mechanism that the researchers believe protects women from more severe Covid-19 infections.

So, primarily a vascular disease with dire lung complications?? Have a cookie, Aelxa Hill.

Just to clarify- for readers/ I don’t argue with trolls

April 10, NBC ( similar ABC)
Earliest cases of Covid in NY area came from Europe ( analysed by Icahn School of Medicine) in early February a month before Trump stopped air travel from there.
There were 3 million people who arrived by plane in that time ( CNN)
NJ’s governor was alerted to Covid in early January by epidemiologists and documented his involvement so people like me could follow throughout the crisis.( @govmurphy) early actions undertaken culminating with a widespread shutdown as cases increased mid-March
Area governors are rated about twice as high as Trump for their response by residents. 50 000 people died in three states.

We were hit FIRST and hardest –a situation no one else had– in the nation’s most densely populated, leading business area- whilst little was known about the virus and we recovered because people acted rationally: No anti-mask movements here.
we aren’t floundering 6 months into the crisis without learning from other places that suffered first ( including Korea and us )
He can go bash liberals elsewhere.

I’m unaware of any reliable stats on what percentage of Covid-19 deaths result in autopsy. As usual, the people who are most enthusiastic about calling for autopsies are those who don’t have to do them.

Here’s a multi-institutional study (U.S. and Italy) hot off the press:

“Overall, our series of 68 autopsies from Italy and New York City show a consistent pattern of tracheobronchitis, alveolar injury, and vascular/thrombotic disease in patients with frequent co-morbidities such as hypertension and diabetes. As disease moves from the nasal passages to the upper respiratory tract and then to alveolar zones, acute alveolar injury is seen with viral associated, hyaline membrane lung injury; these foci persist well into week 2 of disease, and on occasion longer. One important manifestation is the high frequency of thrombi, especially platelet thrombi. Our findings highlight a high complexity of COVID-19 disease, involving several compartments, from upper airways (trachea, bronchi) to lung parenchyma, and the vascular bed. All these aspects could have an impact on clinical management. Thus, a deeper awareness and a better knowledge of histological alterations could lead to more appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.”

Lots of nice pictures.

Nice == The new ‘gross’? Because half those pictures are actually attributed as “gross.”

I peeked, It is a total barf-fest. Sicko.

Thanks, Dangerous!

Just as there are people who claim that SARS-CoV-2 has never been “isolated” I’ve encountered people who insist that there have been no autopsies of people who have died from COVID-19 and therefore it is wrong to claim anyone has died of COVID. I’ve found mention of specific PM findings in some papers but nothing discussing more than a very few cases in any one paper.

“When we looked at our COVID-positive athletes, whether they were symptomatic or not, 30 to roughly 35 percent of their heart muscles (were) inflamed,” Sebastianelli said. “And we really just don’t know what to do with it right now.

Stop cutting open football players while they are still alive — There is more cases because we cut open football players more than anybody in the world.

@ doug @ Dangerous Bacon

Met one who claimed that no outdoor propagation cluster has ever peen showcased and therefore that masks are useless outdoor.


I would tend to agree that outdoors is less risk. The same as auto exhaust outside is not the same as in the garage. Even being around thousands of cars outside is usually not a problem — Sure, there is sometimes that one guy in a ’73 Datsun…

@ Tim

I also tend to agree that there is less risk outdoors. I think there is a bit of a fetish mentality when it comes to masks outdoors, anyway, though it does not bother me that much.

But what I found annoying was not the claim itself (though it was phrased in an excessive way) but the instrumentalisation of reasoning: you cannot judge the usefulness of the mask, or rather its non-usefulness, based on a Pink Invisible Unicorn Argument arguing that no RCT for covid outdoor cluster have been performed in the last month and a half… Kind of a high-level requirement bar for evidence given the rather low-level evidence that one can reasonably expect to be produced on such a matter.

All the more annoying that I do not care much about the mask, personally, but that the guy felt entitled to a proof of a claim I never made in the first place…

People are going bonkers and are asking science to make claims it never did in the first place… just because they are angry.

I understand the anger. I feel much the same way on other aspects of medicine. But fuck! This is about masks… Not about botched up abortions against one’s will!…

It’s really rough being pro-disease and being ordered to provide proof for masks on claims you never made… Gee…

I saw that too. Why aren’t there ever consequences for the lies these people spew?

In other altie news…

— RFK jr still says that the crowd in Berlin was a million strong although the BBC says 18 000; other sources report 38 000.
Children’s Health Defense demands that the Daily Kos retract an article saying the rally included Neo Nazis. Not so, there were peace symbols and rainbows says CHD.

— Trouble with sales?
PRN posts many, many alternate ( reality) bios about Null’s expertise in 21 fields to counter Wikipedia’s “lies”.
They ask for followers to support their work on a monthly basis with a dedicated app designed explicitly for that purpose .
the decrepit old host said that he would stop running his personal “Whole Foods” store because he lost 50% of business.
( ” People all are leaving NY”!) however a new lease was given to a manager from CT according to a West Side local website .
he also will be selling vitamins out of his offices downtown. at his Vitamin Closet.

Many thanks for this. I have at least two 6%ers I am arguing with on FB, and this article is a godsend lol…

[…] As I’ve written many times before, there was never particularly convincing scientific prior plausibility that hydroxychloroquine would be effective against COVID-19 and have documented how the randomized controlled clinical trials of the drug have been resoundingly negative, which is why doctors have largely abandoned the drug as a potential promising treatment for coronavirus. Unfortunately, aided and abetted by President Trump himself (and Dr. Oz), there has been a major disinformation campaign promoting hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for COVID-19, an astroturf campaign that has at times gone to ridiculous lengths to sell the drug as effective. Similarly, there has been a concerted effort to portray SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as not a big deal, as lethal only to the elderly and those with comorbid conditions. […]

[…] As I’ve written many times before, there was never particularly convincing scientific prior plausibility that hydroxychloroquine would be effective against COVID-19 and have documented how the randomized controlled clinical trials of the drug have been resoundingly negative, which is why doctors have largely abandoned the drug as a potential promising treatment for coronavirus. Unfortunately, aided and abetted by President Trump himself (and Dr. Oz), there has been a major disinformation campaign promoting hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for COVID-19, an astroturf campaign that has at times gone to ridiculous lengths to sell the drug as effective. Similarly, there has been a concerted effort to portray SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as not a big deal, as lethal only to the elderly and those with comorbid conditions. […]

[…] As I’ve written many times before, there was never particularly convincing scientific prior plausibility that hydroxychloroquine would be effective against COVID-19 and have documented how the randomized controlled clinical trials of the drug have been resoundingly negative, which is why doctors have largely abandoned the drug as a potential promising treatment for coronavirus. Unfortunately, aided and abetted by President Trump himself (and Dr. Oz), there has been a major disinformation campaign promoting hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for COVID-19, an astroturf campaign that has at times gone to ridiculous lengths to sell the drug as effective. Similarly, there has been a concerted effort to portray SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as not a big deal, as lethal only to the elderly and those with comorbid conditions. […]

[…] As I’ve written many times before, there was never particularly convincing scientific prior plausibility that hydroxychloroquine would be effective against COVID-19 and we have documented how the randomized controlled clinical trials of the drug have been resoundingly negative, which is why doctors have largely abandoned the drug as a potential promising treatment for coronavirus. Unfortunately, aided and abetted by President Trump himself (and Dr. Oz), there has been a major disinformation campaign promoting hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for COVID-19, an astroturf campaign that has at times gone to ridiculous lengths to sell the drug as effective. Similarly, there has been a concerted effort to portray SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as not a big deal, as lethal only to the elderly and those with comorbid conditions. […]

[…] COVID-19 denial. COVID-19 deniers claim that COVID-19 is in actuality not a serious illness, that the pandemic is overhyped, and/or that it was intentional. I’ve written about the conspiracy theories that flow from COVID-19 denial before on multiple occasions. Most prominent are conspiracy theories that claim that the pandemic was really a “plandemic” intentionally caused by a shadowy cabal of governments, the World Health Organization, scientists, and (of course) Bill Gates, all in order to impose authoritarian controls on the world. (One such conspiracy theory, the Oblivion Agenda, even claims that COVID-19 is a bioweapon introduced by an unholy alliance of the global elite and aliens to “depopulate” the world in order to allow the elites to let the aliens in and thereby profit. I kid you not.) The other version of this conspiracy theory is the “casedemic,” which claims that the pandemic is a result of PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, in which the cycle threshold is set too high and thus too sensitive, producing way more false positives than true positives. The motivation? Again, control and profit on the part of drug companies, testing companies, and the government. How to explain the >400,000 deaths in the US (and climbing rapidly)? COVID-19 deniers claim that the vast majority of these deaths were really due to something else and intentionally misattributed to COVID-19. […]

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