Thursday, September 17, 2020

Face Masks as Rudimentary Vaccines?- Variolation, Mask Wearing Increases Rate of Asymptomatic Covid Infection

Theoretically, it seems masks can and do allow for variolation.  Because masks simply can’t and don’t block all the viruses that are surrounding us.  You’d have to be a fool to believe otherwise. And yes, I know there are lots of fools around.  

It does also appear there is an observational correlation between mask mandates and increased Covid positive tests. Including here in Canada. I've certainly noticed it! And mentioned the correlation on more then one occasion here at the blog.

Most recently:  

NYT’s

The theory, “ described in a commentary published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, is inspired by the age-old concept of variolation, the deliberate exposure to a pathogen to generate a protective immune response. ( Herd Immunity) First tried against smallpox, the risky practice eventually fell out of favor, but paved the way for the rise of modern vaccines.(Also risky)                               
"SARS-CoV-2 has the protean ability to cause myriad clinical manifestations, ranging from a complete lack of symptoms to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and death. Recent virologic, epidemiologic, and ecologic data have led to the hypothesis that facial masking may also reduce the severity of disease among people who do become infected.3 

This possibility is consistent with a long-standing theory of viral pathogenesis, which holds that the severity of disease is proportionate to the viral inoculum received. Since 1938, researchers have explored, primarily in animal models, the concept of the lethal dose of a virus — or the dose at which 50% of exposed hosts die (LD50). With viral infections in which host immune responses play a predominant role in viral pathogenesis, such as SARS-CoV-2, high doses of viral inoculum can overwhelm and dysregulate innate immune defenses, increasing the severity of disease. Indeed, down-regulating immunopathology is one mechanism by which dexamethasone improves outcomes in severe Covid-19 infection. As proof of concept of viral inocula influencing disease manifestations, higher doses of administered virus led to more severe manifestations of Covid-19 in a Syrian hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection.4

If the viral inoculum matters in determining the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, an additional hypothesized reason for wearing facial masks would be to reduce the viral inoculum to which the wearer is exposed and the subsequent clinical impact of the disease. Since masks can filter out some virus-containing droplets (with filtering capacity determined by mask type),2 masking might reduce the inoculum that an exposed person inhales. If this theory bears out, population-wide masking, with any type of mask that increases acceptability and adherence, might contribute to increasing the proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infections that are asymptomatic.

The typical rate of asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2 was estimated to be 40% by the CDC in mid-July, but asymptomatic infection rates are reported to be higher than 80% in settings with universal facial masking, which provides observational evidence for this hypothesis. 

Countries that have adopted population-wide masking have fared better in terms of rates of severe Covid-related illnesses and death, which, in environments with limited testing, suggests a shift from symptomatic to asymptomatic infections. Another experiment in the Syrian hamster model simulated surgical masking of the animals and showed that with simulated masking, hamsters were less likely to get infected, and if they did get infected, they either were asymptomatic or had milder symptoms than unmasked hamsters.       

In an outbreak on a closed Argentinian cruise ship, for example, where passengers were provided with surgical masks and staff with N95 masks, the rate of asymptomatic infection was 81% (as compared with 20% in earlier cruise ship outbreaks without universal masking).

 That’s a straightforward correlation between mask wearing and widespread infection with Covid-19.  Asymptomatic infections 81 percent masked vs 20 percent unmasked? Masks help to spread the infection.

To test our hypothesis that population-wide masking is one of those strategies, we need further studies comparing the rate of asymptomatic infection in areas with and areas without universal masking. To test the variolation hypothesis, we will need more studies comparing the strength and durability of SARS-CoV-2–specific T-cell immunity between people with asymptomatic infection and those with symptomatic infection, as well as a demonstration of the natural slowing of SARS-CoV-2 spread in areas with a high proportion of asymptomatic infections.
Ultimately, combating the pandemic will involve driving down both transmission rates and severity of disease. Increasing evidence suggests that population-wide facial masking might benefit both components of the response.

Evidence suggests that wide spread mask wearing will spread the virus further. Or you wouldn't have such an increased rates of asymptomatic infections

Finally from NYT's

“You can have this virus but be asymptomatic,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician at the University of California, San Francisco, and one of the commentary’s authors. “So if you can drive up rates of asymptomatic infection with masks, maybe that becomes a way to variolate the population.”

Variolate = Herd Immunity sans the vaccine

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Confirmed. Exposure to 9/11 Towers Collapse Worsened the Covid Situation in New York

  You all should recall the report I'd done explaining the most probable, sensible reason that the respiratory ailment labeled as Covid 19 hit New Yorkers so hard?

It wasn't because Covid was so deadly. It was because so many New Yorkers had been exposed to the toxic cloud from the multiple towers collapse.  That left their respiratory systems horrendously compromised. It's estimated that more then 400,000 New Yorkers were exposed to the 'air that was safe to breath' ala Christie Todd Whitman

If you don't recall the report it's relinked below

New York: 9/11 Trade Tower Destruction's “Witch’s Brew” Births Covid Fatalities?

Roughly 400,000 people from all walks of life were exposed, for months, to that witches brew. Could anyone have really believed that would not have caused substantive long term  harm? Particularly when a virus that specifically causes respiratory distress comes calling?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
 All these exposed individuals with significant reduction in lung function, asthma, chronic bronchitis, inflamed lungs would now be nearly 20 years older. And very likely chronically ill.

Though it should have been obvious to all, it is only now that the msm is acknowledging these inconvenient truths:

Wall Street Journal
When the new coronavirus pandemic hit New York City, New York Police Department Sgt. Raymond Holub stocked up on disinfectants and bleach cleaners, scrubbing surfaces at work four times an hour, washing his hands and keeping a distance from others.

But Covid-19 sickened him and others in his detail in late March. Five months later, he still hasn’t fully recovered, in part because of underlying health problems, including a respiratory condition, from his time spent working 14- to 16-hour shifts at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Sgt. Holub, 55 years old, is part of a small, particularly vulnerable population of New Yorkers who are ill from 9/11-related conditions and suffered severe illness from the coronavirus. He avoided the hospital, but months later still relies on oxygen. His long-term prognosis remains unclear, and doctors now consider him a long-haul patient, he said. He has been out of work since April 1.

His needing oxygen is more likely tied to his respiratory ailments brought on by exposure to toxic dust and we can't say with any certainty that his reliance on oxygen wasn't in the cards, anyway. 

“My plan was to continue working till I could get kids through college without leaving them in debt,” said Sgt. Holub. “I don’t know if I will be able to do that now.”

Roughly 400,000 New Yorkers—first responders, residents, workers, students and others—were exposed to caustic dust and toxic pollutants in the 9/11 dust-and-debris cloud, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Yorkers who survived the attack and the aftermath suffer from dozens of medical conditions ranging from asthma to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and cancer. These are all dangerous underlying conditions that can make a case of Covid -19 far more serious
Because they have chronic underlying diseases, comorbidities etc.,  Any virus would affect that much more seriously. An influenza virus. A rhino virus. Any of the other coronaviruses. 

I'm a stickler for fact over fiction. Also having a  family member who relies on oxygen. Cold and flu season is a concern every year. No matter the virus in circulation.
 
From earlier today:

Implication of Oil Deal for PKK/YPG Leadership and US Military in Occupied Syrian Territory

 

Implication of Oil Deal for PKK/YPG Leadership and US Military in Occupied Syrian Territory

What's the real point of this deal?


* Setting the groundwork for recognition of the stolen occupied territory.

* Financing the continuing occupation of Syria. Financing attacks on Turkey and Iran (enabling arms purchases etc)

* Rebuilding the occupied territories. Housing the occupiers.   

* Depriving Syrians outside of the occupied territories their ability to live

*Increasing pressure on the Assad government in Damscus

* Etc.,

This oil deal should also be understood as a military/financial agreement between the US military and it’s chief of  occupiers- Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the SDF (PKK)

We’ve met Mazloum Abdi a couple of times here at the blog

Chatham House:

The Kurds have entered a complicated game following the oil agreement between American company Delta Crescent Energy and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to modernize the oil fields and increase production in north-east Syria.

The complexity lies in the fact that the Americans have firmly resolved to prevent the supply of oil to the Syrian regime due to the Caesar Act, but the SDF needs an outlet to rapidly sell oil in nearby markets. This puts the SDF ( doubtful) in a state of disarray at both national and regional levels, as any operation to export oil to regime areas will be subject to sanctions for directly contributing to military operations.

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES) has resorted to several proactive measures in preparation for the sanctions, including a decision issued on June 6 to prohibit delivery of wheat crops to regime areas. This decision seemed to be issued at the request of the US to throttle the regime and tighten the embargo, as well as to preserve wheat reserves for fear of the worsening economic crisis in the region.

The administration also took a number of steps to distance itself from any form of rapprochement to the regime, such as replacing the Syrian government’s educational curriculum in the areas around al-Hasakah by a curriculum specific to Autonomous Administration areas.

High-ranking political leaders in the Democratic Union Party, the nerve center of the Autonomous Administration, also requested American exceptions to keep their areas from falling into the sanctions trap, basing their request on the support they gave in fighting ISIS. The US issued an exemption from the State Department and the Department of the Treasury to conclude an agreement between the SDF and Delta Crescent Energy, which would increase oil production by approximately 60,000 barrels per day, providing a daily income of US$3million.

This production can be achieved through two mobile oil refineries from the company, without needing to build large permanent oil refineries. This suggests the agreement is temporary, but will increase the Autonomous Administration’s budget, which according to a former Autonomous Administration employee, is currently about US$2.5billion mostly from oil and gas revenues but also from strategic crops such as wheat.

This agreement appears to support the financial independence of the Autonomous Administration, as stated by US President Donald Trump on October 22, 2019 after the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria: ‘Maybe we'll get one of our big oil companies to go in’ - this would pump money to the Kurds.

But the nature of the agreement does leave a loophole as it was concluded with the company as an investor and not with the American administration. Because the SDF has no international status legally speaking, the agreement is not a political recognition of the Autonomous Administration as some see it but resembles a de facto agreement only.

de facto- adverb: de facto; adverb: defacto

  1. in fact, or in effect, whether by right or not.
     

So, from the perspective of the Syrian regime, the SDF has no legal status to sign an agreement with any foreign entity. According to the Syrian constitution, the executive branch alone has the authority to sign such an agreement, after which it is sent to the People’s Council of Syria for ratification. In reality, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned this oil agreement, but parliament is not aware of most of the agreements the regime enters into with Russia or Iran, and really is a council in name only, following the policy and directives of the Syrian regime.

While this deal economically stimulates the north-east of Syria, it faces several obstacles such as Turkish opposition and possible tension in the region’s relationships with both Russia and the Syrian regime, which in turn may punish the Autonomous Administration regions with measures such as stopping intra-regional trade or cutting off electricity. This explains the SDF’s repeated attempts to take control of the electricity company in al-Hasakah to avoid being at the mercy of the Syrian regime.

The SDF is trying to alleviate tension by winning Russia to its side through developing economic relations with it. Abdul Hamid al-Mahbash, co-president of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, said the administration is studying requests from Russian and American companies for investing in various service areas in the region, thereby opening the region to wider Russian investment.

If the regime takes punitive economic measures, the Autonomous Administration may rely more on Iraqi Kurdistan to import the products it needs while marketing oil to the region itself. (that's the plan!)This raises the cost as well as increases dependence on the region at the level of export and trade, putting north-east Syria under the domination of the region as a whole, both economically and politically. It is also not clear how money will be received in exchange for oil exports, as the Autonomous Administration does not have a banking system through which oil revenues can be received.

In conclusion, this oil agreement has no political or legal status. It is a de facto agreement with a military dimension as it was brokered between the US company and Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the SDF, not the Autonomous Administration, the civil service entity in the region.

The agreement is also full of complications and ambiguity regarding the results and size of the revenues and their repercussions on north-east Syria. No-one appears to have examined the text of the agreement, and it arrives during a state of political inertia in Syria with a lack of stability in the forces at work on the ground.

In reality, it appears this agreement is not practically linked to eliminating the effects of the Caesar Act, but rather aims simply to increase oil production and strengthen economic division within Syria. But revenues from production, and how they are disbursed, still leaves the Autonomous Administration at the mercy both of the Caesar Act and an uncertain political situation with Damascus and Russia.

 Somebody has to bust those sanctions, and the guys that do that successfully can turn their skills into political influence or they can pursue other types of illicit activity. Sanctions increases the pool of people experienced with informal transportation networks, money laundering, the use of front companies, and corrupting public officials – and often that’s just to trade in legitimate goods. When the shooting stops it’s naïve to think they will all gravitate from high-risk/high-reward, “patriotic” illicit activity to a quiet life approved by the U.S., the United Nations (UN), or the European Union sanctioneers."
This is where the Usrael Kurds are shining bright.  PKK has all the necessary tools for illicit activity

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Will a Surge in Coronavirus Cases Result in a Similiar Surge of Deaths?

 Intriguing Evidence from Sweden and the US Say Not Necessarily So!

The UK's rise of 21,300 cases in the last week - more than double the figure of 8,700 two weeks ago - has sparked fears that Britain is following in the footsteps of France and Spain which have both seen alarming spikes in virus cases.

But despite warnings from the WHO that Europe's death toll is likely to mount in the autumn, experts hope that the second peak will be less deadly because patients are typically younger and doctors are better prepared for the disease.

In Sweden, the death rate has been falling steadily since April despite a peak of cases in the summer - with the country's top epidemiologist saying that deaths can be kept low without drastic lockdown measures.

France recorded its highest-ever spike in cases with more than 10,000 on Saturday, but deaths are nowhere near the mid-April peak and the country's PM says it must 'succeed in living with this virus' without going back into lockdown. 

In the United States, cases surged to record levels in July and August after the first wave had receded - but death rates in summer hotspots such as Texas and Florida were well below those in New York City where the virus hit hardest in the spring

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the Daily Telegraph that the autumn and winter are 'unlikely to be as bad as the spring' in Britain.

'Covid will probably spread less fast in the elderly than the first time round. I don't think we will see as many deaths this winter as in spring,' he said, suggesting that a smaller second peak in deaths would become the norm. 

After cases slowed in May and June, they reached a fearsome new peak in the summer, with up to 67,000 cases per day compared to 32,000 in the spring. 

However, the rise in deaths was more muted. The average daily death toll during the summer was never higher than 1,100 per day and is now below 800 again.   

While New York City has seen 282 deaths per 100,000 people as a result of the disastrous April death toll, the equivalent figure is only 59 in Florida and 49 in Texas which were both hit hard by the second wave.

I'm going to write about the New York death toll- Let's call it an update to a previous report

Last week, French prime minister Jean Castex singled out Marseille and Bordeaux as among the cities hardest hit by the resurgence. 

However, he did not announce any major new restrictions, shortening the quarantine period for people who catch the virus to just seven days from 14. 

'We have to succeed in living with this virus, without returning to the idea of a generalised lockdown,' he said in a televised address.

Germany too has seen cases rise from fewer than 400 per day in mid-June to more than 1,300 per day at the moment, but deaths are as low as ever with only 23 recorded in the last week.  

Germany, France and Spain have severe mask mandates. As does the UK. And they have more cases of Covid... (yes IMO it's mask related)  The problem with the PCR testing also sheds light on why there are so many Covid cases 'detected'

Monday, September 14, 2020

Covid House of Cards(3) More PCR Testing Problems "Could be Picking Up Dead Virus"

 BBC

 More PCR Testing Problems

Most people are infectious only for about a week, but could test positive weeks afterwards.

Researchers say this could be leading to an over-estimate of the current scale of the pandemic.

But some experts say it is uncertain how a reliable test can be produced that doesn't risk missing cases.

Prof Carl Heneghan, one of the study's authors, said instead of giving a "yes/no" result based on whether any virus is detected, tests should have a cut-off point so that very small amounts of virus do not trigger a positive result.

He believes the detection of traces of old virus could partly explain why the number of cases is rising while hospital admissions remain stable.

The University of Oxford's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine reviewed the evidence from 25 studies where virus specimens from positive tests were put in a petri dish to see whether they would grow.

This method of "viral culturing" can indicate whether the positive test has picked up active virus which can reproduce and spread, or just dead virus fragments which won't grow in the lab, or in a person.

This is a problem we have known about since the start - and once again illustrates why data on Covid is far from perfect.

But what difference does it make? When the virus first emerged probably very little, but the longer the pandemic goes on the bigger the effect.

The flurry of information about testing and the R number creates confusion.

But however we cut it, the fact remains there are very low levels of infection in the UK overall, lower than a number of other European countries.

Where there are local outbreaks the system - by and large - seems to be having success in curbing them.

And this comes after the opening up of society over the summer.

False positive risk

But when you take a coronavirus test, you get a "yes" or "no" answer. There is no indication of how much virus was in the sample, or how likely it is to be an active infection.

A person shedding a large amount of active virus, and a person with leftover fragments from an infection that's already been cleared, would receive the same - positive - test result.

But Prof Heneghan, the academic who spotted a quirk in how deaths were being recorded, which led Public Health England to reform its system, says evidence suggests coronavirus "infectivity appears to decline after about a week".

He added that while it would not be possible to check every test to see whether there was active virus, the likelihood of false positive results could be reduced if scientists could work out where the cut-off point should be.

This could prevent people being given a positive result based on an old infection.

 

 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Covid and the Endocrine System- Evidence for Hormone Involvement- Vitamin D (Hormone) Beneficial Treatment?

Interesting article: Evaluating Hormone Related Targets and Risks Associated With Covid- 19

The evidence for hormone involvement in COVID-19 infection and treatment will be evaluated and discussed by endocrine experts in a dedicated COVID-19 session at e-ECE 2020. The European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting is going online 5-9 September 2020 and the e-ECE 2020 programme will feature cutting-edge science and the latest in clinical practice and patient care. This includes a new, dedicated COVID-19 session, where experts in the field will present, summarise and examine evidence for the role of the endocrine system and hormones in COVID-19 infection risk, disease severity and potential treatment.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has massively affected how we all live and work and has become the major focus of medical research, as the scientific and medical communities strive to understand it better, develop effective treatments and create a vaccine. This has led to a huge volume of studies being pushed out to the public domain, including some that have not been subject the usual rigorous, scrutiny of peer review. This has resulted in conflicting messages in the media and has contributed to mistrust of experts.

Although initially thought to be a respiratory, influenza-like condition, several studies have now implicated that the severity of COVID-19 infection is increased in people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. This raises the possibility that the consequences of viral infection are being affected by the endocrine system. 
Additionally, severe illness is more common in men, further suggesting that sex, possibly male and female sex hormones, are affecting coronavirus infection. More recently the glucocorticoid, dexamethasone, has shown promise as a treatment in severely ill patients with COVID-19. All of these findings indicate a key role for the endocrine system in mediating infection, disease severity and as a possible therapeutic target.

In the dedicated COVID-19 session at 16:45 CET on 8 September, three experts will review the evidence for the endocrine system’s role in SARS-C0V-2 infection, and discuss how to mitigate these risks, with a view to better managing future cases and saving more lives.
* Daniel Drucker will discuss, ‘Endocrine targets related to COVID infection’

* Julia Prado will discuss, ‘Managing the cytokine storm’

* Matteo Rottoli will discuss, ‘How strong is obesity as a risk factor for COVID-19 patients?’

These sessions aim to critically evaluate the role of the endocrine system and endocrinology in the COVID-19 pandemic, with expert debate and hopes of identifying new protective strategies and treatment options, to reduce the disease severity and risk of death in the future.
This is where my mind wanders to some solid studies suggesting the HORMONE known as vitamin D is an effective treatment for Covid and many others dis-eases

New study may prove vitamin D cheap, effective treatment for COVID-19 

The control group was not given any extra vitamin D supplements, whereas the test group was given an analog of the vitamin, calcifediol, which is the hormone produced by taking vitamin D and is much faster acting.

Those that took the calcifediol, or vitamin D analog, were admitted to intensive care at a rate of 2% of all patients in the group – whereas those who didn't take the vitamin D analog were admitted to intensive care at a whopping rate of 50%. Meanwhile, 7% of patients not taking the added vitamin D died, whereas 0% of those who took it did.

While the number of patients in both studies was few (489 and 76, respectively), the results are nothing short of breathtaking.

Addressing vitamin D deficiencies not only may prevent many from contracting the virus but for those that already have it, may treat the symptoms faster and with fewer complications.

Additional reading- Here  and here 

Get out in the sun, people. Then your body will manufacture it's own supply of Vitamin D.

 If you can't..  then supplement.

This fact has been talked about previously and repeatedly. Be pro active. Don't wait for the vaccine that could possibly give you massive neurological damage. (Which is nothing new for vaccines)

Astra Zeneca Definitely Expedited The Covid Vaccine Review Process As Trials Resume