JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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How to ignore 94% of Covid deaths?

Be wary of junk data and junk conclusions

Death data has become a political tool (stretched both up and down by vested interests). We’ve all heard of the motorcyclist who crashed into the Covid tally, and the payments for US docs. We know there’s junk data out there, but the suggestion we only count deaths “from” Covid, and not the deaths “with” Covid is unscientific in the extreme.

Stick with me. We all want WuFlu to be nothing, but scientists and skeptics need to pick their targets carefully. Don’t lose sight of the real scandal and the real solutions. It’s a travesty that people are dying while cheap vitamins and antivirals are being ignored. Let’s fight for Vitamin D, HCQ, Ivermectin, and all the other potentials like Interferon, Bromhexine, Melatonin, steroids, asthma drugs etc etc. But let’s not get distracted by a hopeful fantasy that the true US  “death tally” is only 6% of Covid deaths in the US.

There’s an idea out there that only 9,680 people have died of Covid in the US, not 161,392 people. It’s because of this CDC quote:

“For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with [...]

Wow. Vitamin D deficiency may cause 40% of respiratory deaths in older people

It’s really quite a scandal.

Missing out on the Sunshine Vitamin?

Historians will marvel that societies that were advanced enough to stream reality-tv-shows at 100 million bits per second, were also so backwards that half the population was deficient in Vitamin D — something that costs 6 cents a dose or comes free from the sun. Nearly 60% of older Germans were deficient, and the ESTHER study puts a fine point on how much that matters. Almost 10,000 people were followed for 15 years  in Germany,  and during that time about half the people who died of respiratory illnesses might not have died if they had enough Vitamin D.

In  this German study 44% did not have adequate Vitamin D and about 1 in 6 people have levels so low they are clinically deficient.

Imagine if someone found a drug that stopped nearly half of all influenza deaths?

Right now, the Northern Hemisphere has higher levels of Vitamin D than most months which is quite likely reducing the death rates.  The message needs to get out about Vitamin D before the next Northern Winter.

 

Morethan half the population is deficient.

In terms of respiratory diseases, those whose [...]

Countries that use Hydroxychloroquine may have 80% lower Covid death rates

The  scandal from the Swamp: Too rich to get a cheap drug?

Poor countries all over the world are using Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and it appears to be very useful.

The new HCQTrial suggests that despite the billion dollar budgets and expert staff, people in wealthier countries are dying from Coronavirus at far higher rates than people are in lands where HCQ is being used. And the effect of HCQ apparently holds even after researchers correct for patients being older, heavier, with higher blood pressure, living in high density apartment towers, or with getting tested more.

If word ever gets out that the Politico-Academic-Corporate-Swamp buried useful drugs because they were unprofitable and out of patent, there will be hell to pay.

The HCQTrial was done anonymously by @CovidAnalysis – who say they are PhD researchers, scientists.

You can find our research in journals like Science and Nature. For examples of why we can’t be more specific search for “raoult death threats” or “simone gold fired”. We have little interest in adding to our publication lists, being in the news, or being on TV (we have done all of these things before but feel there are more important things in [...]

Three quarters of mild to moderate Covid illnesses show heart damage

No wonder the Chinese lockdown a million people with every outbreak. Two thirds of these cases were not hospitalized.

These studies are small and need confirmation, but the medical specialists are asking if it is possible that Covid infections create new cases of heart failure which may trigger problems long after infection?

A startling number of COVID-19 patients suffer lasting heart damage

Fermin Koop, ZME Science

A study from the University Hospital Frankfurt looked at the cardiovascular MRIs of 100 people who had recovered from the coronavirus and compared them with heart images of people who hadn’t been infected.

Most of the patients hadn’t been hospitalized and recovered at home, with symptoms ranging from none to moderate. Two months after recovering from COVID-19, the patients were more likely to have troubling cardiac signs than people in the control group. Up to 78% of them had structural changes to the heart, while 76% had evidence of a biomarker signaling cardiac injury typically found after a heart attack, and 60% had signs of inflammation.

The Puntmann study was based in Germany, and the average age of cases was 49. Troponin is a marker used in standard [...]

More cheap potential Covid treatments, Ivermectin saves 50%

Coronavirus may leave a trail of benefits in its wake. Who knew that there were so many cheap antivirals around? Will people get fed up with the limited choices on offer next time there is a quarantine.

While newspapers in Australia were pretty keen to share the discovery of an antiviral role for HCQ, not so many were interested in the followup studies.

Ivermectin, like hydroxychloroquine is a kind of superdrug — in the sense of being in worldwide mass use.  Some 3.7 billion doses are estimated to have been given since its approval. It has been called the Japanese Wonder Drug. It’s the farm drench, a head lice treatment, and works against worm, mites and ticks too.

It was estimated to reduce viral loads in vitro massively but most people didn’t think it would work at lower safe doses. Then Bangladeshi doctors claim it was “astounding”. Last month US tests suggest that it reduced deaths by 40%. (Rajter)

These are all every priminary results.  More studies are promised for Ivermectin. Especially in Peru, where a grassroots movement of Doctors has ensured it will be used.

A US clinical trial of the drug ivermectin found that it reduced [...]

For 80 years cholesterol experts said ‘eat less fat’. But where was the evidence?

Depressing. A consensus based on nothing much, still lasted three generations

And it’s not dead yet: Groups like the American Heart Association, UCSF Guidelines, VicHealth, etc are all still advising that people avoid saturated fats, and eat whole grains.

For years, people with the kind of high cholesterol linked to their genes, were told they could lower their cholesterol if they stopped eating things like butter, cream, eggs, cheese, chocolate, and even coconut oil.

A new study looked for evidence to justify that advice and couldn’t find any. They are, of course, not the first –  even in the 1950s John Yudkin was already warning people about the dangers of sugar. But the vested interests and fat-police leapt into gear, and thus and verily a million low-fat products filled the shelves, most of them with added sugar.

How many people did this consensus kill?

People with high cholesterol should eliminate carbs, not saturated fat, study suggests

“For the past 80 years, people with familial hypercholesterolemia have been told to lower their cholesterol with a low saturated fat diet,” said lead author David Diamond, professor and heart disease researcher at the University of South Florida. “Our study showed that [...]

Hydroxycholoroquine *may* save half the people who were going to die of Covid

 Good news on the HCQ front

The Henry Ford HCQ study is by no means decisive, but with death rates seemingly halved (sorta, maybe, kinda) — it does show how crazy it is to ban hydroxychloroquine. It also shows it’s low risk, and with all the conflicting studies out there, that there are a lot of ways to stuff things up.

With 10 million cases around the world it seems a bit incongruous that it’s taken so many months to get a trial this basic done with 2,000 patients. When the world only had 10,000 patients in January we already knew that the three drugs that were “fairly effective” were  Remdesivir, Chloroquine and Ritonavir. As far back as February 13, the South Koreans were already recommending hydroxychloroquine and telling us the anti-virals should be “started as soon as possible.” They warned that after ten days, doctors “do not have to start antivirals”. South Korea was the experiment that worked — but we ignored it.

Speaking of slow research, the UK hydroxychloroquine trial that was stopped has restarted again as of three days ago.  This is a trial to see if HCQ can prevent coronavirus in 40,000 healthcare workers.

Perhaps [...]

The mysterious debilitating Coronavirus convalescence

In Northern Italy, people are talking about how some people have not recovered even two months later. Patients with mild infections can recover, feel fine, and test negative, but then slide into debilitating fatigue, with strange aches and pains, bouts of diarrhea, and  burning eyes. Some of them even test positive again.

And these were not the serious ICU cases which are paralyzed and ventilated. The head doctor of a hospital in Lombardy said “the discomfort often seems to last even longer for people with lighter symptoms. “

Surviving Covid-19 May Not Feel Like Recovery for Some

Debilitating symptoms can last long after a person’s body has gotten rid of the coronavirus, a reality Italians are now confronting.

Jason Horowitz, New York Times

The stubbornness of the virus and the length of the convalescence have become topics of conversation in northern Italy where some of the longest-suffering Italians are finding themselves in physical and financial uncertainty, unable to shake sickness and fatigue and get back to work.

But even some of the infected who have avoided pneumonia describe a maddeningly persistent and unpredictable illness, with unexpected symptoms. Bones feel broken. The senses [...]

Who knew? Most people in lockdown like their own families

It turns out being locked up in our own homes with our own families is not the end of the world

Some said the lockdowns would cause skyrocking divorces:

More couples will SPLIT and divorce rates will skyrocket as strict social distancing rules force partners to spend more time together

Instead, people like spending time with their partners and kids:

Lockdown is making us love our families MORE: Britons are less likely to split up from partners, are eating and sleeping more…

Of all those in live-in relationships, 37 per cent say the experience has led to them wanting to spend more time with their partner, as opposed to the ten per cent who are keen to broaden their horizons again.

A total of 26 per cent say their relationship has improved, while 13 per cent say it has worsened.

Only nine per cent of people think they are now more likely to split up as a result of lockdown, compared to 27 per cent who think it is less likely.

Respondents have, on the whole, also enjoyed being cooped up with their children, with 45 per cent saying it had left [...]

Mysterious, amazingly low oxygen levels, a pulse oximeter may give the first warning of coronavirus

A pulse Oximeter     | Image Thinkpaul: Wikimedia

A cheap device might keep people off ventilators and be the first warning of trouble

In coronavirus blood oxygen levels can silently drop to unheard of levels. People may be unaware they even have coronavirus as oxygen levels fall to the point, medicos are rewriting the record books. This is a hypoxia crisis — it’s a defining feature of the disease. In the UK, the demand for oxygen at hospitals is so great that the NHS is running out, rationing it, and asking docs to lower their blood oxygen targets.

People are monitoring their “blood oxy sats” at home so they get an early warning that they need more serious medical help. Normal blood oxygen levels are 95-100% saturated. Doctors used to get uppity at levels below 92%, and hospital alarms often go off if children with asthma fall below 90%. At 88% doctors are putting people on continuous oxygen therapy. Levels below 80% are considered dangerous enough to start causing organ damage. But medical staff are finding conscious covid patients with levels so low they are unheard of — an unbelieveable 50 percent. I read somewhere an ambulance medic found someone [...]

Death tolls could be 60% higher than official numbers

Mortality rates show that this is a medical situation we have not seen since WWII

All statistics are suspect but some numbers still tell us something important. In the early fog of a global pandemic, a proper diagnoses is difficult if not impossible. People are dying of heart attacks because they are too scared to go to hospital, but equally, Covid is causing heart attacks and strokes that might never have happened. It’s fair to ask how many deaths are due to Coronavirus and how many are due to the lockdown, but it’s not realistic to expect that we can do an autopsy on every single patient. And as the Financial Times team points out, the excess deaths also occur in the regions of the UK with the highest infection rates — which suggests they are due to the virus, not just collateral damage. Though people will also be less willing to visit a hospital in a zone where there are more cases. On the other hand, in areas with lockdowns but no major outbreaks, the mortality rates are 10% below normal (see many US states). So these peaks could have been even higher but the lockdown saved some people [...]

New York “like mass casualty event”: coronavirus and other deaths up three-fold

Across the US all-cause mortality is down as as people avoid catching the flu, getting run over, and other risks. But in New York where coronavirus has hit hardest, all-cause mortality is at record highs.

This is nothing like the seasonal flu

For the whole month of March, deaths in New York were twice as high as normal. This includes not just extra coronavirus deaths but all other causes. Deaths were even higher than the number of known coronavirus deaths, leaving cardiologists worried that there may have been an increase in other conditions like heart attacks or strokes, because people were afraid to go to hospital or couldn’t get help in time.

This is an underestimate.  The authors expect this number to rise as more paperwork gets completed. It’s still only a small excess in a giant country, but it hints at the scale of the event were no quarantine measures put in place, no flights stopped, and the virus allowed to spread naturally. The current epidemic is stabilizing in New York, but if major action wasn’t taken, this would be the early weeks of a pandemic about to sweep across all fifty states. And this would not be the [...]

Urgent new medical theory on Coronavirus: hold the ventilators, stop blood clots instead

For doctors or nurses reading — there’s a call to share this widely

An information event on this online SUNDAY April 12 8pm US Eastern time. (Open, free to anyone who wants to listen). That’s 10am Monday morning EST Australia.

This is not the flu. Most of the time apparently it’s not ARDS either.  Coronavirus it turns out — is a vascular disease as much as lung disease. In fact in 70-80% of ICU patients putting them on a ventilator straight away may make the situation worse.

Currently patients in ICUs have about a 50:50 chance of making it out alive. The odds are terrible. Doctors have been reporting how people can degenerate suddenly into a life threatening crisis situation. Now, perhaps this explains it. This kind of hypothesis is one of the reasons we really want to crush the curve, now, because we are so underprepared and there is so much to learn. If this is right it will save many lives.

This could solve several mysteries at once

This virus causes heart damage, it raises clotting factors. People seem fine, then they relapse.

One recent paper found people with high levels of D-dimer, a clotting factor, [...]

Crushing the Curve in Australia — “unknown source” covid cases trending down

Australia remains the star Lucky Country compared to overseas. Infections are low, deaths are even lower. It’s all so much better than the desperate situation in Europe and the US. These are enviable, fantastically small numbers. Politicians are afraid to say so, lest the population relax, and party too much this Easter and the “unknowns” increase. (Which might well happen).

At the moment, the trend that matters most is the daily new cases of unknown transmission and it is trending down. There is community spread, but social isolation is shrinking it. This is what “Crushing the Curve” looks like. Right now there are still asymptomatic spreaders out there, but they are infecting less than one other person each (Ro < 1), so the infection is on its way to extinguishing itself — assuming we keep up the distancing.

But these great figures are not a reason to let up on social isolation, they’re a reason to go harder. We want to achieve the Golden Holy Grail — no new infections, and business as usual with no lockdowns, no curfews and a zone of freedom.

Australia is the Lucky Country, and doing the right thing

Why is the situation so good here:

[...]

No doubt about it: 12 days after lockdowns, quarantines and isolation, Coronavirus slows

Ancient technology wins: Not only are quarantine and isolation measures useful, they’re the best tools we have.

Some people don’t seem to realize that the only reason the daily growth of infections is slowing anywhere, is thanks to drastic quarantine measures or changes in human behaviour. We can see this in graphs from Italy, Spain, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, and China, but not in Sweden or Brazil where there’s not much quarantine and not much slowing of growth curves either. In all of the former, the big meaningful actions were followed around 12 days later by an obvious slow down.

Willis Eschenbach, for example, wondered If Lockdowns Worked, but counted subdivisions of any quarantine type action as a measure of the severity when it’s more a measure of the wordsmithiness or indecision of leaders.

To see if major action matters, it’s better to look at the dates that borders, schools and shops were closed. The graphs of daily new cases below show that around 12 days later in so many countries, the growth in cases slows too. The delay is due to both the incubation period of Covid-19 and testing. By the time a lockdown is declared (or [...]