Friday, June 7, 2024

Living in a False Reality

Without testing or wastewater data warning us of rising cases of viruses in our regions ahead of time, we can only look to excess deaths after the fact. Bleak times.

This is a graph of Finland's excess deaths relative to pre-pandemic levels. Pay attention to that blue line.  It's the excess deaths of children aged 5-9. The dip in 2021 is when kids all wore masks and fewer died of  RSV and the flu. The current excess death rate for kids is 2.4 times pre-pandemic levels. More than twice as many kids are dying, and we're still not acting on this. 

Schools are the number one vector of infection. If we can halt transmission there, it will make a huge difference. We could have CO2 monitors in every room that beep at 500 ppm to alert the teacher to open doors and windows. And we could have super quiet and super cool CR boxes that run on computer fans. The CO2 monitor is a one-time buy at about $200 - likely far less in bulk, and the CR boxes are under $300 fully assembled or under $200 if you make them yourself - again, far less if in bulk. Those changes would be cheap and doable today, except opening windows and having CR boxes in class will get you in trouble in my neck of the woods. If we actually wanted to spend money protecting kids - and the rest of us by extension - we could add upper room UV!!

But the easiest route that circumvents school boards' inane bureaucracy is to give kids five N95s each month (to rotate weekly), at a cost of $8 per kid per month if bought in bulk. But, hold the phone: that's $2,400 for a classroom of 30 kids each year!! BUT, if governments could subsidize masks in order to have quality masks on offer for free, and if parents and teachers were actually taught their benefits -- like, actually made to sit down and learn about Covid, that could be a game changer. Masks already were a game changer, even when we just had crappy ones, preventing more children's death that we weren't even aware needed preventing back in 2021. 

Don't start with all the worry about waste! Five N95 per month makes less waste than one trip though the Tim Horton's drive-through for a bacon-chicken-ranch wrap and an ice-cap. And there are many other respirator options, like the Flo Mask, that are more reusable and make far less waste. But, seriously, if the landfill is your biggest concern, fight against industrial and commercial waste, which uses up at least two-thirds of our landfill space. Or fight against any drink sold in plastic bottles. Don't fight against useful mechanisms that prevent viruses from getting into our children's bodies. 

We need masks; we don't need Faygo.

In The Washington Post, oncologist Dr. Kashyap Patel, said, 

"'I've been in practice 23 years and have never seen anything like this. We were all shaken'. . . . Multiple patients contending with multiple types of cancer arising almost simultaneously, and more than a dozen new cases of other rare cancers. The uptick in aggressive, late-stage cancers since the dawn on the pandemic is confirmed by some early national data and a number of large cancer institutions. . . . The idea that some viruses can cause or accelerate cancer is hardly new. Scientists have recognized this possibility since the 1960s, and today, researchers estimate 15-20% of all cancers worldwide originate from infectious agents. . . . 'We are completely under-investigating this virus. The effects of repeatedly getting this throughout our lives is going to be much more significant than people are thinking.' . . . Coronavirus infection can induce in inflammatory cascade and other responses that, in theory, could exacerbate the growth of cancer cells. 'Covid wrecks the body, and that's where cancers can start.' . . . 'It's rare the data are so striking'. . . .  Patel is conducting his own research into what he has taken to calling 'an unusual pattern' of cancers. He is driven by watching patients -- especially younger ones -- die so quickly." 

And as we saw with climate information, some of the best articles about Covid are from finance-type publications. People are very worried about how these scenarios will affect their investments, and they need to know the bare-faced facts about it. The Institute for New Economic Thinking has an excellent interview with Dr. Phillip Alvelda: 

INET: A recent Gallup poll says that 59% of Americans believe the pandemic is over. What's the actual situation?

PA: By no means is it over. It is a continuing pandemic that most nations are not only failing to address--but are addressing more and more poorly.

INET: So most of us are currently living in a false reality?

PA: That's correct.

He explains variants and why we should all be getting vaccinations every six months. And the harm Covid causes.

"Even a mild or asymptomatic infection can harm the immune system. It can make you susceptible to new diseases that might not have bothered you before, but now, with your weakened immune system, these new diseases can find a foothold and attack you. Also, conditions that may have been dormant or held in check in your body by your immune system could resurface now that it's weakened - things like shingles, HIV, or a resurgence of herpes. . . . We're also seeing a resurgence in measles, whooping cough, and polio-- all these things that we thought we'd gotten rid of. . . . A Covid infection can double your risk of heart attack, increase the risk of stroke by three times, and double the risk of diabetes. . . . We know that the virus attacks and kills the neurons in the brain any time you are infected. We can measure the shrinkage of your brain matter. Even an asymptomatic case of Covid can result in IQ points lost. . . . 90% of Long Covid patients had mild or asymptomatic initial infections. . . . 
You don't realize that all kinds of symptoms you might be experiencing actually come from Long Covid. The challenge is that the virus can attack you anywhere in your body. You're vulnerable wherever you happen to have a weakness to begin with. The cognitive impact might show up as anxiety, depression, or lack of emotion. You might experience postural tachycardia, which means that when you stand up, your heart rate shoots up. Or maybe you just can't exercise the way you could anymore. You've lost lung capacity. . . . 
The mainstream media has been kind of decimated by the current business model, and they're less capable of doing real journalism anymore. They just publish the stuff that comes to them. The major channels of information are, unfortuneatly, propaganda channels from governments. . . . In February 2020, the WHO put out an office memorandum about a return to their Geneva offic scheduled for May 2020. In the memo, the WHO disclosed that they'd upgraded all of the air handling systems as well as their filtering systmes. While they were telling the public at large to wash their hands and don't worry, it's not airborne, they upgraded all the airborne protections for their offices. They absolutely knew and they refused to admit it over and over. . . . We know about the ongoing seriousness of Long Covid because of the survey information and the continuing excess deaths. We also know of it because of the drop in labor participation attributed to long-term disability from disease. All of these things are coming through. 
We see long-term illnesses that only started to spike when the pandemic began, and really took off when all the mitigations were lifted. . . . Long Covid has been skyrocketing in the last year. . . . With every new infection, your chances of getting Long covid increase - and not by a little bit. . . . This is debilitating to our society and to the economy. We have the stats about people leaving the labor market and not coming back. We see the massive decline in the number of teachers, the massive decline in the number of hospital and healthcare workers--all these people that were on the front line that have had the most infections. . . . 
As long as you have an N95 mask, that's great protection for you. . . . A good N95 mask, like the 3M Aura, gives you like 99.5% protection, so you can be in an airborne virus-laden environment much longer and not catch it. So that's number one. Number two is that fresh air is king. Wherever you are, open the windows. . . . 70% of [transmission] happened in schools. Most of that was in schools that had poor ventilation. And it's entirely fixable. All we need are indoor air quality standards. . . . The school where [former CDC director] Rochelle Walensky's children go, they have these upgrades."

He explains that it's so much worse because we've removed all mitigations, and public schools were given money that they spent on the wrong things: plexiglass, surface cleaners, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Not enough are masking and not enough businesses and schools did enough to reduce risks. People have stopped getting vaccinated at all anymore. In some places, having two shots back in 2021 counts as being fully vaccinated despite the waning protection on offer. You're not really vaccinated at all unless you've had a shot in the last six months. We really have to do all the things. Remember this??

But it's actually possible to stop so many viruses in their tracks with minimal inconvenience, but it's unlikely because masks are a little annoying, and believing that Covid exists might reduce how much shopping we do. 

We're likely to have better ventilation for dairy cows and pigs than our kids. Not that stopping the spread of H5N1 on farms isn't important, but can't we also stop the spread of viruses in school as well?? The difference is that pigs and cows are profitable, and preventing illness in our children is seen as an expense instead of an investment.

ETA: The Long-Term Health Effects of Covid-19 is just out!

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