When the Science Goes Away 5 - Masking the Truth

Truly seeking truth requires not repressing views that don't agree with you.

In his best-selling book The Demon-Haunted World, famous science explainer Carl Sagan presented an account of a fake faith healer named Carlos, who intentionally put on a national hoax to prove a point.

The hoax was staged by James "The Magnificent" Randi, an accomplished magician who had made a practice of exposing fake healers and other charlatans.  He knew about what had worked for other faith healers to coach Carlos to put on a really good show.  It was very convincing, right up until the proof was laid before all who'd been fooled.

But it made little difference: many people continued to believe in Carlos even after the hoax was confessed by Carlos himself.

Fake faith healers can generally generate genuine-seeming success stories because of the "placebo effect."  Some sick people are very suggestible and will feel better after receiving a shot of ineffective saline solution if they're told they're being given morphine, which is a potent painkiller.  The placebo effect is so strong that the FDA insists that proposed treatments must show that they work better than a placebo before being approved.

We also discussed Steve Jobs' death from pancreatic cancer.  His cancer was quite rare, and there were very few data to help decide how to treat it.  Mr Jobs decided to start treatment with acupuncture, diet change, and other alternative approaches.  He then had surgery and lived another 7 years.

Even though millions of people worldwide have been diagnosed with Bat Soup Flu, we know very little more about covid than we know about Mr. Jobs' cancer.  Elon Musk who had 4 covid tests, two of which said he had it and two of which said he did not.  Ms Badu had two tests which disagreed.  With a 50% error rate, how can we know how many people have had it and how many really died of it?  Flip coins?  Throw darts at the wall?

American Thinker tells us that even the New York Times is aware of the fragility of testing results.  Saith the Times:

"Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive; Maybe It Shouldn't Be," according to NYT reporter Apoorva Mandavilli.  Essentially, positive results are getting tossed around way too frequently. ...

"The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample . .. the more likely the patient is to be contagious."

Unfortunately, the "cycle threshold" has been ramped up.  What happens when it's ramped up?  Basically, "huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus" are deemed infected.  However, the severity of the infection is never quantified, which essentially amounts to a false positive.  Their level of contagion is essentially nil.

If a person isn't contagious and feels fine, do we really want to count them as a covid case?  As American Thinker put it, "We've been duped."

Lack of reliable information hasn't stopped our political masters from making sweeping changes in our country and our economy based on very little real evidence.

The Religion of Covid

The American government has been dealing with pandemics since the time of George Washington, but quarantines to keep sick people away from the healthy was about all they could do.  Over time, people figured out that a pandemic would spread until the population got to "herd immunity."  That comes when enough of the population is immune to the disease that it can no longer spread.  Only then will the pandemic end.

Before vaccines, the only way anyone could become immune was to survive the disease.  As treatments improved, more people were able to fight the disease long enough for their immune systems to win the battle.  They'd survive as immunes instead of dying.  Dead or alive, the disease couldn't afflict them any more, and the plague stopped when the virus ran out of new candidates.

Edward Jenner performed the world's first smallpox vaccination in 1796 based on milkmaids telling him that they wouldn't get smallpox if they'd had cowpox.  These were related diseases, much as covid is related to diseases caused by other corona viruses.

The goal of both the virus and of the vaccine is to make you sick.  The vaccine should make you less sick than the virus but sick enough that your immune system learns how to fight off the virus.  Cowpox made milkmaids less sick than smallpox would have, but they got sick enough for their bodies to learn how to defend against smallpox.

In a sense, vaccination is no different from the traditional method of becoming immune by surviving the disease, except that you survive a handcrafted version of the disease which is less likely to kill you than the real thing, you hope.  Unfortunately, early vaccines often brought other diseases along with the disease they were trying to treat, and people became increasingly skeptical of the benefits.  As with today, anti-vaxxers had a point.

Health Affairs tells us that the controversy between individual privacy concerns and the "common good" was settled long ago.

In 1905, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Jacobson v. Massachusetts that the need to protect the public health through compulsory smallpox vaccination outweighed the individual's right to privacy.  Barring exceptions for religious belief, which exist in all but two U.S. states, this tenet has been consistently reiterated and is lent scientific muster by the concept of "herd immunity," whereby a certain target of the population-approximately 85–95 percent, depending on the disease-must be immunized for protection to be conferred upon the entire group.  [emphasis added]

"Herd immunity" was considered to be "settled science" as recently as the beginning of 2020.  As far as epidemiologists know, herd immunity, which is when enough of the population is immune that the virus can't spread, is the only way to stop a pandemic.

There's an old saying, "When something can't continue, it stops."  A vaccine may help us get to herd immunity faster and at less risk because fewer vaccinated people die than those who get natural infections, but herd immunity is the only final solution we have.

Settled Virus Science

A virus being like a fire which burns until it runs out of fuel through herd immunity has been settled science for the past century or so.  In spite of all the strange things said about covid, it is still settled science among epidemiologists.

Remember the concept of "flattening the curve?"  When Bat Soup Flu hit Italy, we heard reports of doctors falling asleep while working and of elderly patients lying on cots in the halls because hospitals were overwhelmed.  Lockdown would delay the virus so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed.  Once we got through the peak, we were told, we could get let the economy get back to normal in 2 or 3 weeks.

Mr. Trump sent naval hospital ships to New York City and to Los Angeles to handle the predicted overflow.  The military put temporary hospitals in the Javits Convention Center and a charitable group built an overflow hospital in Central Park.

Not one of these overflow facilities was needed, or used beyond photo-ops.  The hospitals survived the storm... but the lockdown didn't end.  Why?

The lockdown hurt the economy badly which took away Mr. Trump's strongest claim to re-election.  Politicians realized that the lockdown would keep Mr. Trump from holding rallies which were his most powerful method of campaigning.  To keep the lockdown going, however, they had to bend the rules of science into a pretzel.

The Wall Street Journal published "Epidemiologists Stray From the Covid Herd" which summarized some of the contradictions.  It was written by two well-credentialed epidemiologists "who are, in the eyes of their critics, dangerous contrarians for opposing Covid-19 lockdowns."

Having banned church services, Democrats had to say something when BLM protests came along without masks or social distancing.  "1,300 epidemiologists signed a letter saying that the gatherings were consistent with good public health practice." The "same epidemiologists" were arguing that "we should essentially quarantine in place" when not protesting.

People forgot that nobody ever said lockdown would prevent disease, it would simply slow the spread and postpone disease until the hospitals could learn more about treating it and overcome equipment shortages.

A colleague accused Mr. Kulldorff of practicing "Trumpian epidemiology" after he gave an interview to the far-left Jacobin magazine in which he called for a "radically different" approach to pandemic management.

Critics seem to feel that anyone who opposes the lockdown or talks about "herd immunity" wants to kill people.  Lockdown advocates, who are mostly liberal professionals who work from home and don't have to go to work to survive financially, aren't thinking long-term.

"You can't just look short-term." Dr. Bhattacharya says we will "be counting the health harms from these lockdowns for a very long time." He says anti-Covid efforts are sowing the seeds of other epidemics: "Pertussis-whooping cough-will come back. Polio will come back because of the cessation of vaccination campaigns. All these diseases that we've made substantial progress in will start to come back."

They also explain herd immunity:

[it is the] "end state of any epidemic where some immunity actually happens after infection. It's a biological fact. It's not something nefarious or strange." Many media outlets, he complains, have said that "we're advocating a herd-immunity strategy. That's a propaganda term. After all, the lockdown-until-a-vaccine strategy will also end with herd immunity."  [emphasis added]

Locking down may slow our path to herd immunity and a vaccine may get us there faster, but either way, the pandemic won't stop until the virus can't infect anyone anymore.  The WSJ gave us a good idea of just how strangely anti-science questioning "herd immunity" really is:

"You wouldn't have physicists talking about whether we believe in gravity or not. Or two airline pilots saying, 'Should we use the gravity strategy to get the airplane down on the ground?' Whatever way they fly that plane-or not fly it-gravity will ensure eventually that the plane is going to hit the ground."  [emphasis added]

One way or another, as surely as any airplane will eventually come to rest on the ground, the herd will be immune.

Masking the Truth

Mandating masks is just as bogus as arguing about the science of herd immunity which has never yet been seriously challenged.  After discussing many studies which show that public mask-wearing makes little if any difference to infection rates, The Federalist tells us:

There are dozens of similar studies. Many show plots of when masks were mandated and the subsequent later rise of positive cases. Mask mandates have had no provable effect. Meanwhile, power-hungry policymakers ignore countries like Sweden that did fine without mask mandates[emphasis added]

The best one could say for masks is that evidence for their general use is ambiguous. ...

Danish health authorities discourage the use of facial masks outside the health-care system.

The Federalist also published "These 12 Graphs Show Mask Mandates Do Nothing To Stop COVID."  They ignored issues with testing accuracy and took reported case statistics at face value.  The graphs are quite striking.  They show how reported covid cases vary before and after mask mandates are applied.  There is no correlation between mask mandates and any effect on case rates.

The article ends:

History does not bode well for times that politics meddles with science [We've mentioned a few - ed]. Martin Kulldorff, a professor at Harvard Medical School and a leader in disease surveillance methods and infectious disease outbreaks, describes the current COVID scientific environment this way: “After 300 years, the Age of Enlightenment has ended.”

Like wanting to lock us up despite increasing evidence of the overall economic and public health harm done by stopping the economy, requiring masks is just another unjustified power play.  The Washington Post tells us that enough people have caught on to the mask scam that a public health worker in Missouri is suffering death threats for promoting masking and contact tracing:

I get the same comments all the time over Facebook or email. "Oh, she's blowing it out of proportion." "She's a communist." "She's a bitch." "She's pushing her agenda." ...

We call everyone that's had a positive test and say: "Hey, this is your local health department. We're trying to interrupt disease transmission, and we'd love your help." It's nothing new. We do the same thing for measles, mumps, and tick-borne diseases, and I'd say 99 percent of the time before covid, people were receptive. They wanted to stop an outbreak, but now it's all politicized. Every time you get on the phone, you're hoping you don't get cussed at. Probably half of the people we call are skeptical or combative. They refuse to talk. They deny their own positive test results. They hang up. They say they're going to hire a lawyer. They give you fake people they've spent time with and fake numbers. They lie and tell you they're quarantining alone at home, but then in the background you can hear the beeping of a scanner at Walmart. ...

I have people in my own family who believe covid is a conspiracy and our doctors are getting paid off. ...

The board [of health] decided to go ahead with the [mask] mandate anyway, but part of the community revolted. We did a survey a few weeks later, and mask-wearing had actually gone down by six percent. We required it, and people became more likely to do the opposite[emphasis added]

It's easy to understand why nobody believes what officials say about masks.  We've seen enough news stories of powerful politicians ignoring their own mask mandates to make us cynical.  Dr Fauci originally said public masking would do no good.  He later said he'd lied to preserve masks for health care workers, they do reduce spread, and everyone should wear them.  Democrat governors have issued masking mandates and been photographed maskless while mixing with crowds, so why should anyone care what they say?

It Might Have Been

The intense criticism of President Trump's handling of the virus reminds us of John Greenleaf Whittier's observation: "Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are, 'It might have been.'"  The implication behind the criticism is that if our federal government in general and President Trump in particular had handled the virus better, we'd have suffered a lot less from Bat Soup Flu.  Democrats in particular are fond of pointing out how much better they'd have done if only they had been in charge.

For example, nature.com published "How Iceland hammered COVID with science" which implies strongly that both Iceland and New Zealand handled the covid virus far better than the United States.

Most of the information about Iceland came from Kári Stefánsson, founder and CEO of deCODE genetics, a human-genomics company in Reykjavik.  His firm had been sequencing genomes of as many Icelanders as they could, matching what they found with the extensive Icelandic marriage and birth records which go back many generations to determine how diseases are inherited.

The World Health Organization had announced a death rate of 3.4%, which turned out to be wildly overestimated because there were so many carriers without symptoms.  As testing progressed, 43% who tested positive reported no symptoms and many others had mild systems which wouldn't normally have come to the attention of the medical system.  As more and more non-fatal cases were found, the Icelandic fatality rate fell to 0.3%.

deCODE was able to test enough Icelanders that contact tracing and quarantines kept the disease under control.  Based on the initial WHO fatality estimates, Iceland shut off travel from the outside world much as New Zealand did.

In March, New Zealand's government implemented a stringent countrywide lockdown aimed at eliminating the virus. "Essentially, the New Zealand population more or less stayed at home for 7 weeks. After that, we emerged into a virus-free country," says Michael Baker, a public-health researcher at the University of Otago in Wellington.

Enough of Icelandic businesses depend on tourism that the government realized their economy couldn't survive if they kept the country locked down as tightly as New Zealand could.  As they started admitting tourists from other nations, they got infections from tourists whose tests hadn't shown the virus when they left for Iceland.  They tightened the regulations:

Travelers must either self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival or participate in two screening tests: one on arrival, followed by five days of quarantine, then a second test. This method has led to the discovery that 20% of people who test negative in the first round will test positive in the second, notes Guðnason.  [emphasis added]

With all these uncertainties facing a visitor, tourism has dropped by 75-80% compared with earlier years.

Instead of proving that the US did a bad job compared with Iceland, the article shows that the only health-related result of shutting off tourism was to delay the spread of the virus in Iceland.  They can't stay cut off forever; the virus will spread to everyone over time no matter what they do.

The Icelandic .3% fatality rate agrees with the only dataset we really trust.  Of the 3,711 people on the Diamond Princess, 705 passengers and crew infected, and 9 died, for a fatality rate of .24% of the ship's overall population.  We suspect that Iceland's fatality rate would be lower if they had found all the cases.  The disease turned out to be so much less lethal than originally estimated that we believe the economy-wide lockdown was never justified.

As the Wall Street Journal said, all pandemics end with herd immunity whether you like it or not.  Shutting off tourism, mass testing, contact tracking, and quarantine of the sick clearly slowed the rate of infection in Iceland and delayed herd immunity, but everyone will be exposed sooner or later as the economy opens up.

Slowing the spread gave the medical system time to learn more about treating the disease.  Better treatments mean that more people will survive their inevitable bout with the virus, but the economic costs of lockdown have been horrific.  The lockdowns were based on computer models that suggested that as many a 4 million Americans would die if something drastic wasn't done; those models have turned out to be no more accurate than the warmists' climate models.

It's by no means clear that the overall costs of the lockdown were worth it, and it's become abundantly clear that it's time to end it.  Our MSM refuses to report that Illinois, whose Democrat governor enforces a strict lockdown, found more single-day covid cases than Florida ever has, despite having 40% fewer people.  The fact that Florida has fewer cases in spite of ending their lockdown doesn't fit the "lock 'em up" Democrat narrative.

Vaccine Follies

Headlines told us that Pfizer's covid vaccine was "more than 90% effective" and Moderna's version was 94.5% erffective.  What does that mean?  The media aren't telling us about an article in the British Medical Journal which presents a less rosy view:

None of the trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus.  [emphasis added]

Say what?  These trials are not designed to see if the vaccine reduces hospital admissions, intensive care, or deaths?  If the vaccine doesn't do that, what good is it?

Moderna's trial included 30,000 people but BMJ reported that their trial is far to small to measure what we need to know:

Hospital admissions and deaths from covid-19 are simply too uncommon in the population being studied for an effective vaccine to demonstrate statistically significant differences in a trial of 30,000 people. The same is true of its ability to save lives or prevent transmission: the trials are not designed to find out.

In other words, serious covid cases are so very rare that testing a vaccine on a mere 30,000 people doesn't tell you whether it reduces illness, death, or keep people from transmitting the virus.

Vaccinating billions of people against a disease with a 99% survival rate for people under 70 is a scam, pure and simple.

Lying in Plain Sight

Real science can't operate with any old data, it depends on accurate data.  Newtonian mechanics, which turned out to be incorrect overall, thrived until better data came along.

There has always been controversy about how covid deaths were counted.  Hospitals were paid 20% more to treat covid, for example, and the more covid deaths could be blamed on Mr. Trump, the better for the TDS narrative.

We spoke earlier of a professor being fired because his research didn't support the BLM narrative of police deliberately gunning for black people.  Similarly, the establishment is trying to hide the degree to which covid statistics have been falsified.  Both PJ Media and Redstate reported a story published by Johns Hopkins University "COVID-19 Has 'Relatively No Effect on Deaths' in U.S." which was deleted from the JHU web site soon after being published.

When Briand [the researcher] looked at the 2020 data during that seasonal period, COVID-19-related deaths exceeded deaths from heart diseases. This was highly unusual since heart disease has always prevailed as the leading cause of deaths. ...

As Briand compared the number of deaths per cause during that period in 2020 to 2018, she noticed that instead of the expected drastic increase across all causes, there was a significant decrease in deaths due to heart disease. Even more surprising, as seen in the graph below, this sudden decline in deaths is observed for all other causes[emphasis added]

The data make it clear that there has been massive fraud in recording causes of death.  Death votes were moved from the "heart disease" column to the "covid" column and the same manipulation was done for "all other causes!"  The PJ Media article includes many links to articles about questionable counting.

Red State explains why JHU took down their article: 

... the JHU Newsletter pulled the article, saying that "was being used to support false and dangerous inaccuracies about the impact of the pandemic."

JHU pulled their accurate analysis of death figures because the facts didn't support their preferred narrative of covid being an extremely serious matter.  Falsifying medical data will most assuredly make our medical system less effective.

How many extra deaths were caused by the lockdown, which was initially justified because of very bad computer models and is continuing on the basis of falsified death figures and questionable case counts?  Japan, which doesn't seem to have fudged their data, had more suicide deaths in October than 10 months of covid deaths.  How would those suicides be counted in America?

Government officials who exaggerate covid for political purposes have blood on their hands, but we wouldn't hold our breath waiting for them to be held accountable.

People know that our social media giants deplatform anyone who disagrees with the CDC or the WHO, but those organizations shredded their credibility long ago.  Blocking opposing views has increased ordinary citizens' interest in seeking out opposing views.

Having discussed the bogus science behind our scamdemic, let's move on to the even more expensive, and equally unscientific, climate change scam.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

"I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."

The above was once a sentence used to teach children what free speech really means. It must not be used anymore.

It amazes me that half the country sees a patriotic duty and moral imperative to censor news and comment that might hurt Democratic party interests, including scientific information. When I mention that the Hunter Biden laptop story was burried and censored for the 2 weeks before the election, most people react by saying the laptop had something wrong with it. They don't see that the American free speech answer to any problem with the laptop is to debate the problem, not censor and suppress the story.

It's no wonder people don't believe the media, experts or politicians. They've all been caught in so many lies, that they make the boy who cried wolf look truthful.

December 21, 2020 2:22 PM

The masses are being fed bowl after bowl of disinformation designed to stoke fear which is exactly what it has done and will continue to do. When all the CNN pundits, governors, Drs Birx and Fauci, and all the rest are caught not wearing masks or distancing, the gullible masses looking for a little relief from the nonstop unsettledness and anxiety the fear is causing, swallow the lies in an effort to get a pat on the head from the media that “yes, you’ve been a good boy and are safe”.
Just like the wizard of oz. the wizard stoked great fear in the others until they were pushed too far and pulled back the curtain to reveal the little weasel he really was. And all the while, the weasels that are the media, big tech, all Dems, and most politicians local, state and federal, are advancing their dystopian agendas to destroy the US.
When people become unable to trust what their own eyes see, ears here, nose smells, mouth tastes, they will be unable to judge right from wrong and will become more and more emotionally disturbed with some lashing out to make it stop. That’s how minds react under great stress and duress.
What we are witnessing is evil incarnate.

December 22, 2020 8:11 AM

Remember the huge controversy about using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a therapeutic for COVID? We have been told for years that Democrats were convinced that nobody should intrude on decisions made by a doctor and a patient, but then many Democrat governors threatened to pull a doctor's license for prescribing HCL. It seems that they are pro-choice only when peasants choose in the ways they prefer. You need to read this open letter to Dr. Fauci. They asked him some very good questions about why he's opposed to HCL.

https://spectator.org/questions-for-dr-fauci/

This article explains how the American medical Association joined in the "Orange Man Bad" chorus:

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/12/ama_lied__how_many_died.html

Last spring, the AMA issued a statement critical of hydroxychloroquine as it was being used off-label in the treatment of COVID, not FDA-approved for this purpose with supposed “dangerous side effects.”

Quietly at the end of October, the AMA issued a new statement, conveniently overlooked by the media, giving the green light to doctors prescribing HCQ to their COVID patients.

How many died because their doctors feared losing their licenses if they did what was best for their patients?

December 26, 2020 2:24 PM
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