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CDC Caught Spreading Misinformation About The Flu Shot: Here Are The Details

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The CDC declares to the public that the flu vaccine greatly reduces the risk of elderly people dying of the flu as though it was a scientifically proven fact. Yet, the reality is that the CDC’s bold claim has been thoroughly discredited.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are we bombarded through mass marketing and media to support and get the flu shot every year, without no mention of all of the scientists and doctors that are creating awareness about why we shouldn't. What is going on here?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone aged six months and up, including pregnant women, get an annual influenza vaccine. The two fundamental assumptions underlying the CDC’s policy are that vaccination reduces transmission of the virus and reduces the risk of potentially deadly complications. Yet multiple reviews of the scientific literature have concluded that there is no good scientific evidence to support the CDC’s claims.

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Notwithstanding the science, to increase demand for the pharmaceutical companies’ influenza vaccine products, the CDC makes use of fear marketing, asserting as fact that tens of thousands of people die each year from the flu, even though the CDC’s numbers actually estimate that are controversial because they are based on dubious assumptions that appear to result in a great overestimation of the negative impact of influenza on societal health.

-->Listened to our latest podcast episode yet? Joe and Dr. Madhava Setty deliver a special report aimed at gaining clarity around the COVID-19 vaccine. Is it safe and effective? Can it actually change your DNA? Click here to listen!

The primary justification for the CDC’s flu vaccine policy is the assumption that it significantly reduces the mortality rate among people aged 65 and older, the group at highest risk of potentially deadly complications from the flu. The CDC declares to the public that the vaccine does so as though this was a scientifically proven fact. Yet, the reality is that the CDC’s bold claim that the vaccine greatly reduces the risk of death among the elderly has been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community.

… contrary to the CDC’s claims of a great beneficial effect on mortality, influenza mortality and hospitalization rates for older Americans significantly increased in the 80s and 90s, during the same time that influenza vaccination rates for elderly Americans dramatically increased.

The Implausibility of the CDC’s Claims

Concerns about the CDC’s mortality claim were raised by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in a study published in April 2005 in Archives of Internal Medicine (now JAMA Internal Medicine). Their concern was prompted by the observation that, despite a considerable increase in vaccination coverage among people aged 65 or older—from at most 20 percent before 1980 to 65 percent in 2001—pneumonia and influenza mortality rates had actually substantially risen.

That is to say, to quote a review published in Virology Journal in 2008, contrary to the CDC’s claims of a great beneficial effect on mortality, “influenza mortality and hospitalization rates for older Americans significantly increased in the 80s and 90s, during the same time that influenza vaccination rates for elderly Americans dramatically increased.” (Emphasis added.)

As the authors of the 2005 NIH study commented, this result was “surprising” since vaccination was supposed to be “highly effective at reducing influenza-related mortality”—an assumption underlying CDC policy that “has never been studied in clinical trials”.

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Relying instead on post-marketing observational studies of the general population, the CDC has claimed that vaccine efficacy in preventing influenza-related deaths is as high as 80 percent. Furthermore, to support its claim of an enormous benefit, the CDC has relied on a meta-analysis of observational studies that concluded that vaccination reduces the number of flu-season deaths from any cause among the elderly “by an astonishing 50%.”

In their own study, however, the NIH researchers found that, over the course of thirty-three flu seasons, influenza-related deaths were on average only about 5 percent and “always less than 10% of the total number of winter deaths among the elderly.”

The obvious question was: How could it be possible for the influenza vaccine to reduce by halfdeaths during winter from any cause when no more than one-tenth of deaths in any given flu season could be attributed to influenza?

The most obvious answer was that it couldn’t, and so the researchers examined more closely the methodology of the observational studies that the CDC was relying upon. The conclusion they drew from doing so was that the CDC’s implausible numbers were due to a systemic bias in those studies. There was a “disparity among vaccination” in these studies between cohorts that received a flu vaccine and those that didn’t.

Specifically, it wasn’t that vaccinated individuals were less likely to die, but that sick elderly people whose frail condition made them more likely to die during the coming flu season were less likely to get a flu shot.

Faced with this identification of a systemic bias in their methodology and despite the obvious implausibility of its own claims, the CDC’s response was to question the methodology of the NIH researchers’ study while reiterating its unshaken faith in the studies it was relying upon to promote the flu vaccine.

Notwithstanding the lack of science to support the statement, and no doubt prompted by the need for government agencies to show solidarity on public vaccine policy, the CDC and NIH subsequently published a joint statement claiming that the seasonal flu shot was the best way to protect old people from dying.

The sharp decline in influenza-related deaths among people aged 65 to 74 years in the years immediately after A(H3N2) viruses emerged in the 1968 pandemic was most likely due to the acquisition of natural immunity to these viruses.

Ironically, and tellingly, while commenting on the lack of evidence that the vaccine was preventing deaths among the elderly and the observed increase in mortality, the NIH researchers in their 2005 study had also acknowledged the effectiveness of naturally acquired immunity at reducing mortality (emphasis added):

“The sharp decline in influenza-related deaths among people aged 65 to 74 years in the years immediately after A(H3N2) viruses emerged in the 1968 pandemic was most likely due to the acquisition of natural immunity to these viruses. Because of this strong natural immunization effect, by 1980, relatively few deaths in this age group (about 5000 per year) were left to prevent. We found a similar pattern in influenza-related mortality rates among persons aged 45 to 64 years, an age group with substantially lower vaccine coverage. Together with the flat excess mortality rates after 1980, this suggests that influenza vaccination of persons aged 45 to 74 years provided little or no mortality benefit beyond natural immunization acquired during the first decade of emergence of the A(H3N2) virus.”

The way the NIH’s joint statement with the CDC contrasted with its own research findings is a remarkable illustration of the institutionalized cognitive dissonance that exists when it comes to public vaccine policy.

The CDC’s Mortality Claims Further Debunked

Numerous additional studies have since been published highlighting the lack of credibility of the CDC’s claims about the vaccine’s effectiveness. A systematic review published in The Lancet in October 2005 found a “modest” effect of the vaccine on mortality, but its authors—which included lead author Tom Jefferson, a top researcher for the Cochrane Collaboration—cautioned that this finding must be interpreted in light of the apparent systemic bias of the observational studies. They likewise attributed the perceived effect of the vaccine to a difference in vaccination rates among the cohorts “and the resulting selection bias”.

Randomized controlled trials could minimize any such bias, they observed, but the evidence from such studies was “scant and badly reported.” Hence, placebo-controlled trials were needed to “clarify the effects of influenza vaccines in individuals”. The problem was that such studies were considered impossible “on ethical grounds” due to the fact that mass vaccination was already recommended as a matter of public policy.

In other words, the science wasn’t done before the CDC made its universal vaccination recommendation, and now they refuse to do the science on the grounds that government technocrats have already made up their minds that everyone aged six months and up should get an annual flu shot.

The lead author of the 2005 NIH study, Lone Simonsen, was also coauthor with W. Paul Glezen of a commentary in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2006 that reiterated the problems with the CDC’s claims. Although the vaccination rate for elderly people had increased by as much as 67 percent from 1989 to 1997, there was no evidence that vaccination reduced hospitalizations or deaths. On the contrary, “mortality and hospitalization rates continued to increase rather than decline”. The studies the CDC cited to support its claim of a dramatic reduction in mortality suffered from a selection bias that resulted in “substantial overestimation of vaccine benefits.”

study in the International Journal of Epidemiology also published in 2006 confirmed the systemic selection bias of the observational studies. Its authors concluded that not only had the results of those studies indicated “preferential receipt of vaccine by relatively healthy seniors”, but that the magnitude of this demonstrated bias “was sufficient to account entirely for the associations observed”. (Emphasis added.)

Not only is the evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of influenza vaccination lacking, but there are also reasons to doubt conventional estimates of the mortality burden of influenza.

Influenza vaccine researcher Peter Doshi followed up with a letter to the BMJ published in November 2006 under the headline “Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence”. As he summed up the situation, “Not only is the evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of influenza vaccination lacking, but there are also reasons to doubt conventional estimates of the mortality burden of influenza.”

Furthermore, “influenza vaccines impose their own particular burden—to the tune of billions of dollars annually.”

Indeed, the very high cost of yearly vaccination for large parts of the population was among the considerations of a 2014 Cochrane meta-analysis that concluded that the results of a systematic review of existing studies “provide no evidence for the utilization of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure.”

A randomized controlled trial studying the cost effectiveness of influenza vaccination in healthy adults under aged 65 and published in JAMA in 2000 found that this practice “is unlikely to provide societal economic benefit in most years”—when, according to their data, it generated greater costs than to not vaccinate.

Peter Doshi followed up in 2013 with another BMJ commentary. After all those years, the CDC was still sticking to its claims. And yet, if the CDC’s claims were true, it would mean “that influenza vaccines can save more lives than any other single licensed medicine on the planet. Perhaps there is a reason CDC does not shout this from the rooftop: it’s too good to be true. Since at least 2005, non-CDC researchers have pointed out the seeming impossibility that influenza vaccines could be preventing 50% of all deaths from all causes when influenza is estimated to only cause around 5% of all wintertime deaths.”

Despite scientists pointing out the “healthy user bias” inherent in the observational studies that the CDC relied on to support its bold claims, “CDC does not rebut or in any other way respond to these criticisms.”

“If the observational studies cannot be trusted,” Doshi asked, “what evidence is there that influenza vaccines reduce deaths of older people—the reason the policy was originally created? Virtually none…. This means that influenza vaccines are approved for use in older people despite any clinical trials demonstrating a reduction in serious outcomes.” (Emphasis added.)

“Perhaps most perplexing,” Doshi added, “is officials’ lack of interest in the absence of good quality evidence.”

He further observed how government agencies promote the flu shot by claiming it’s been proven safe. He cited the example of a YouTube video produced by the NIH in which the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, declared that it was “very, very, very rare” for a serious adverse event to be associated with the influenza vaccine.

Yet, “Months later, Australia suspended its influenza vaccination program in under five year olds after many (one in every 110 vaccinated) children had febrile convulsions after vaccination. Another serious reaction to influenza vaccines—and also unexpected—occurred in Sweden and Finland, where H1N1 influenza vaccines were associated with a spike in cases of narcolepsy among adolescents (about one in every 55,000 vaccinated). Subsequent investigations by governmental and non-governmental researchers confirmed the vaccine’s role in these serious events.”

The NIH’s presenter in the video, Anthony Fauci, also happened to be among the opponents of conducting randomized, placebo-controlled studies to determine the safety of the influenza vaccine. “The reason? Placebo recipients would be deprived of influenza vaccines—that is, the standard of care, thanks to CDC guidelines.”

“Drug companies”, Doshi continued, “have long known that to sell some products, you would have to first sell people on the disease.” Only, in the case of the influenza vaccine, “the salesmen are public health officials”.

Conclusion

In summary, there is no good scientific evidence to support the CDC’s claim that the influenza vaccine reduces hospitalizations or deaths among the elderly. The types of studies the CDC has relied on to support this claim have been thoroughly discredited due to their systemic “healthy user” selection bias, and the mortality rate has observably increased along with the increase in vaccine uptake—which the CDC has encouraged with its unevidenced claims about the vaccine’s benefits, downplaying of its risks, and a marketing strategy of trying to frighten people into getting the flu shot for themselves and their family.

By Jeremy R. Hammond, Guest Contributor, Children’s Health Defense

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Norway Investigates 29 Deaths in Elderly Patients After Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccination

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Norway has registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first Covid-19 vaccination shot, raising questions over which groups to target in national inoculation programs.

  • Reflect On:

    Should freedom of choice always remain here? Should governments and private institutions not be allowed to mandate this vaccine in order to have access to certain rights and freedoms?

What Happened: 29 patients who were quite old and frail have died following their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, Norwegian officials have since adjusted their advice on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to many given the fact that the clinical trials were conducted with people who are healthy. Older and sick people with co-morbidities were not used in the trials, and people with severe allergies and other diseases that can make one more susceptible to vaccine injury were not used either. It can be confusing given the fact that vaccination is being encouraged for the elderly in nursing homes and those who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.”

On the 15th of January it was 23 deaths, Bloomberg is now reporting that a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first COVID-19 shot. They point out that “Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway”, stating that the Norwegian Medicines Agency told them that as a result “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine.”

“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said. All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said. “Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”

Madsen also told the BMJ that,

There is a possibility that these common adverse reactions, that are not dangerous in fitter, younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines, may aggravate underlying disease in the elderly. We are not alarmed or worried about this, because these are very rare occurrences and they occurred in very frail patients with very serious disease. We are not asking for doctors to continue with vaccination, but to carry out extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it. This evaluation includes discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the patient and their families to decide whether or not vaccination is the best course.

The BMJ article goes on to point out that the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany is also investigating 10 deaths shortly after COVID-19 vaccination, and closes with the following information:

In a statement, Pfizer said, “Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of reported deaths following administration of BNT162b2. We are working with NOMA to gather all the relevant information.

“Norwegian authorities have prioritised the immunisation of residents in nursing homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some of whom are terminally ill. NOMA confirm the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations. All reported deaths will be thoroughly evaluated by NOMA to determine if these incidents are related to the vaccine. The Norwegian government will also consider adjusting their vaccination instructions to take the patients’ health into more consideration.

“Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

Vaccine Hesitancy is Growing Among Healthcare Workers: Vaccine hesitancy is growing all over the globe, one of the latest examples comes from Riverside County, California. It has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they have top priority and access to it.  At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials. You can read more about that story here.

Vaccine hesitancy among physicians and academics is nothing new. To illustrate this I often point to a conference held at the end of 2019 put on by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the conference, Dr. Heidi Larson a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project Emphasized this point, having  stated,

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen…still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider.

A study published in the journal EbioMedicine  as far back as 2013 outlines this point, among many others.

Pfizer’s Questionable History:  Losing faith in “big pharma” does not come without good reason. For example, in 2010 Robert G. Evans, PhD, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research Emeritus Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC, published a paper that’s accessible in PubMed titled “Tough on Crime? Pfizer and the CIHR.”

In it, he outlines the fact that,

Pfizer has been a “habitual offender,” persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians and suppressing adverse trial results. Since 2002 the company and its subsidiaries have been assessed $3 billion in criminal convictions, civil penalties and jury awards. The 2.3-billion settlement…set a new record for both criminal fines and total penalties. A link with Pfizer might well advance the commercialization of Canadian research.

Suppressing clinical trial results is something I’ve come across multiple times with several different medicines. Five years ago I wrote about how big pharma did not share adverse reactions people had and harmful results from their clinical trials for commonly used antidepressant drugs.

Even scientists from within federal these health regulatory agencies have been sounding the alarm. For example, a few years ago more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out an anonymous public statement detailing the influence corporations have on government policies. They were referred to as the  Spider Papers.

The Takeaway: Given the fact that everything is not black and white, especially when it comes to vaccine safety, do we really want to give government health agencies and/or private institutions the right to enforce mandatory vaccination requirements when their efficacy have been called into question? Should people have the freedom of choice? It’s a subject that has many people polarized in their beliefs, but at the end of the day the sharing of information, opinion and evidence should not be shut down, discouraged, ridiculed or censored.

In a day and age where more people are starting to see our planet in a completely different light, one which has more and more questioning the human experience and why we live the way we do it seems the ‘crack down’ on free thought gets tighter and tighter. Do we really want to live in a world where we lose the right to choose what we do with our own body, or one where certain rights and freedoms are taken away if we don’t comply? The next question is, what do we do about it? Those who are in a position to enforce these measures must, it seems, have a shift in consciousness and refuse to implement them. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer, but there is no doubt that we are currently going through that possible process, we are living in it.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Elizondo, Mellon & Justice Are Officially Leaving To The Stars Academy

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    UFO/UAP research organization To The Stars Academy officially announces the departure of COO Steve Justice, Director of Special Programs Luis Elizondo and Advisor Chris Mellon.

  • Reflect On:

    With so much mainstream attention on the UFO subject right now, many are wondering whether the public is being told the truth, or a sanitized version of it. Will we see new and groundbreaking material soon from these 3 key voices?

Since 2017, To The Stars Academy (TTSA) has been in the news in relation to groundbreaking events in mainstream UFO/UAP culture. You likely remember TTSA’s release of video footage showing UFOs making incredible maneuvers in the sky. The video was taken by a US Navy pilot while tracking and following the object for as long as possible. The story was heavily covered in mainstream and alternative media after the New York Times broke the story.

Since that day, TTSA has been in the limelight when it comes to the mainstream discussion of UFO disclosure. But with that success also came doubt and controversy. Why was the media suddenly interested in a topic it had ridiculed for so long? Credible evidence has been available for decades, so why is it only be acknowledged now? Why is TTSA getting so much attention when many other credible organizations, people, and whistleblowers were saying the same thing for years?

This skepticism amongst long time UFO researchers is fair, as these are good questions that don’t have clear or obvious answers. Further, TTSA was comprised of many former government and intelligence agency employees, former operations office at the CIA Jim Semivan, former CIA employee Dr. Nor Kahn, former Pentagon employee Lue Elizondo, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Christopher Mellon. With a roster like that, those with skeptical minds in a space shrouded by secrecy and deception would naturally question whether these ex-government employees are now in favor of disclosing government secrets, or whether they are part of a decade long cover-up program. This is healthy skepticism, it no no way means that these people are part of some sort of agenda to shape the perception of the masses when it comes to this phenomenon, but it’s an important discussion to have.

All that said, how can one deny the value TTSA has brought to this discussion? They have created massive awareness around UFOs/UAPs within the masses with their work, and this has resulted in a greater audience willing to explore this important subject credibly. As I have often said, just because there may exist an agenda to manipulate public perception on a subject, it doesn’t mean it won’t backfire and instead create massive positive public awareness.

Years ago we wrote an open letter to comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan about UFOs, as during that time he was denying the legitimacy of the subject and it was clear he had not truly looked into it. That piece was viewed hundreds of thousands of times, perhaps it got on his radar, perhaps it didn’t. But look now, with TTSA’s work and a change in the mainstream conversation, Joe Rogan has significantly changed his tune about the UFO phenomenon and is sharing that open-mindedness with millions of his podcast listeners. All this said, it’s hard to say TTSA has done anything but good.

But I’ll add one more small piece to this, people have been encouraged others to keep an open mind about TTSA’s intentions as some believe their focus is on a potential “ET threat narrative,” and this is believed to be part of a greater governmental agenda – even if that means by focusing on a threat it will bring haste to political action. You can hear these perspectives from researchers like Dr. Steven Greer and US constitutional lawyer Daniel Sheehan, both of who I shared screen time with in Dr. Greer’s latest film Close Encounters of The 5th Kind.

Nonetheless, the roster and goals at TTSA are now changing.

In a statement, TTSA informs the public:

TTSA now enters its natural evolution as a company as we adapt to a new global landscape with new opportunities and priorities.  TTSA looks to build on the momentum of business initiatives where we are seeing success and which are increasingly likely to yield shareholder value.  Data collection, artificial intelligence and entertainment opportunities remain our mainstays as key opportunities going forward and we are excited to announce more soon.

As we enter this new phase, inevitable changes will come with it, including a change in personnel.

We are incredibly grateful for the founding team members who helped establish TTSA, including COO Steve Justice, Director of Special Programs Luis Elizondo and Advisor Chris Mellon, who are moving on to focus on other endeavors, as TTSA continues to develop the new chapter in its evolution.

“This change does not alter the relationship TTSA and I have established or our collective dedication to the mission,” said Luis Elizondo. “We will continue to collaborate and strengthen our partnerships as we face new priorities and opportunities in the wake of COVID-19.”

TTSA thanks Steve, Luis and Chris for their meaningful contribution to the establishment of TTSA and an extraordinary three years. We wish them all the best in their future undertakings.

The Takeaway

It’s important to note that just because your favorite UFO researcher might have an opinion about a key aspect of this discussion, it may not be accurate or true. In the 12 years our team has been researching the UFO and extraterrestrial phenomenon, it’s clear that there is not much of whole-hearted collaboration, and there is a great deal of infighting and differing opinions about what is going on. That said, it’s important to keep an open mind, follow the evidence, listen to multiple sources, and dig deep to uncover what is available. I truly believe true disclosure has happened in many ways already, after we now have full disclosure from governments that UFOs exist. The question now is who’s manning them? We know much more about that question already, and don’t need the government to tell us so. This is why I feel full disclosure will happen primarily through the people – not necessarily a slow, sanitized, drip from the government.

The information released by TTSA is merely the tip of a massive iceberg, an iceberg that we already know a lot more about than what has been disclosed to the public. Here’s to hoping that Elizondo, Mellon, and Justice plan to focus on bringing that information to the masses in a timely fashion – my hunch is they already know a lot more than they have shared over the last 3 years.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading

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New Stanford Study Claims Lockdowns Are Not Effective To Stop Spread of COVID

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Four professors from Stanford School of Medicine have published a paper showing that lockdowns, stay at home orders and business closures are not an effective tool for stopping the spread of COVID. There are many studies claiming the same.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is information, science and evidence that opposes recommendations that governments are making sometimes ridiculed, censored, and largely unacknowledged? Why is scientific debate being discouraged?

Over the last few months, I have seen academic articles and op-eds by professors retracted or labeled “fake news” by social media platforms. Often, no explanation is provided. I am concerned about this heavy-handedness and, at times, outright censorship. – Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH (source)

What Happened: A study published by four medical professors from Stanford University has failed to find evidence supporting the use of what they call “Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions” (NPIs) like lockdowns, social-distancing, business closures and stay at home orders. According to the study, these measures have not been sufficient and are not sufficient to stop the spread of COVID and therefore are not necessary to combat the spread of the virus. Although they do mention that “the data cannot fully exclude the possibility of some benefits” they mention that “even if they exist, these benefits may not match the numerous harms of these aggressive measures.”

The authors used England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Sweden and the United States for the study. They found “No clear, significant, beneficial” effects of the methods being implemented (lockdowns, business closures, stay at home orders etc) to combat COVID case growth in any country.

You can access the full study here for a deeper discussion/analysis.

This Isn’t The Only Study: The recently published study by the Stanford professors is not the first. There are many examples.

A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes” by Rabail Chaudhry, George Dranitsaris, Talha Mubashir, Justyna Bartoszko, Sheila Riazi. EClinicalMedicine 25 (2020) 100464. “[F]ull lockdowns and wide-spread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”

Was Germany’s Corona Lockdown Necessary?” by Christof Kuhbandner, Stefan Homburg, Harald Walach, Stefan Hockertz. Advance: Sage Preprint, June 23, 2020. “Official data from Germany’s RKI agency suggest strongly that the spread of the coronavirus in Germany receded autonomously, before any interventions became effective. Several reasons for such an autonomous decline have been suggested. One is that differences in host susceptibility and behavior can result in herd immunity at a relatively low prevalence level. Accounting for individual variation in susceptibility or exposure to the coronavirus yields a maximum of 17% to 20% of the population that needs to be infected to reach herd immunity, an estimate that is empirically supported by the cohort of the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Another reason is that seasonality may also play an important role in dissipation.”

Comment on Flaxman et al. (2020): The illusory effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in Europe” by Stefan Homburg and Christof Kuhbandner. June 17, 2020. Advance, Sage Pre-Print. “In a recent article, Flaxman et al. allege that non-pharmaceutical interventions imposed by 11 European countries saved millions of lives. We show that their methods involve circular reasoning. The purported effects are pure artefacts, which contradict the data. Moreover, we demonstrate that the United Kingdom’s lockdown was both superfluous and ineffective.”

Did COVID-19 infections decline before UK lockdown? by Simon N. Wood. Cornell University pre-print, August 8, 2020. “A Bayesian inverse problem approach applied to UK data on COVID-19 deaths and the disease duration distribution suggests that infections were in decline before full UK lockdown (24 March 2020), and that infections in Sweden started to decline only a day or two later. An analysis of UK data using the model of Flaxman et al. (2020, Nature 584) gives the same result under relaxation of its prior assumptions on R.”

 Professor Ben Israel’s Analysis of virus transmission. April 16, 2020. “Some may claim that the decline in the number of additional patients every day is a result of the tight lockdown imposed by the government and health authorities. Examining the data of different countries around the world casts a heavy question mark on the above statement. It turns out that a similar pattern – rapid increase in infections that reaches a peak in the sixth week and declines from the eighth week – is common to all countries in which the disease was discovered, regardless of their response policies: some imposed a severe and immediate lockdown that included not only ‘social distancing’ and banning crowding, but also shutout of economy (like Israel); some ‘ignored’ the infection and continued almost a normal life (such as Taiwan, Korea or Sweden), and some initially adopted a lenient policy but soon reversed to a complete lockdown (such as Italy or the State of New York). Nonetheless, the data shows similar time constants amongst all these countries in regard to the initial rapid growth and the decline of the disease.”

Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions against COVID-19 in Europe: a quasi-experimental study” by Paul Raymond Hunter, Felipe Colon-Gonzalez, Julii Suzanne Brainard, Steve Rushton. MedRxiv Pre-print May 1, 2020. “The current epidemic of COVID-19 is unparalleled in recent history as are the social distancing interventions that have led to a significant halt on the economic and social life of so many countries. However, there is very little empirical evidence about which social distancing measures have the most impact… From both sets of modelling, we found that closure of education facilities, prohibiting mass gatherings and closure of some non-essential businesses were associated with reduced incidence whereas stay at home orders and closure of all non-businesses was not associated with any independent additional impact.”

Full lockdown policies in Western Europe countries have no evident impacts on the COVID-19 epidemic” by Thomas Meunier. MedRxiv Pre-print May 1, 2020. “This phenomenological study assesses the impacts of full lockdown strategies applied in Italy, France, Spain and United Kingdom, on the slowdown of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. Comparing the trajectory of the epidemic before and after the lockdown, we find no evidence of any discontinuity in the growth rate, doubling time, and reproduction number trends. Extrapolating pre-lockdown growth rate trends, we provide estimates of the death toll in the absence of any lockdown policies, and show that these strategies might not have saved any life in western Europe. We also show that neighboring countries applying less restrictive social distancing measures (as opposed to police-enforced home containment) experience a very similar time evolution of the epidemic.”

Lockdowns and Closures vs COVID – 19: COVID Wins” by Surjit S Bhalla, executive director for India of the International Monetary Fund. “For the first time in human history, lockdowns were used as a strategy to counter the virus. While conventional wisdom, to date, has been that lockdowns were successful (ranging from mild to spectacular) we find not one piece of evidence supporting this claim.”

There are dozens upon dozens of examples of published research showing and claiming that lockdown and other non-pharmacological methods for combating COVID have no benefit whatsoever on reducing the spread of the virus, so why are we being forced into these measures?

Below is a video of Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician and epidemiologist (also one of the authors of the study mentioned at the beginning of this article)  where the initiators of the declaration. Together, they created The Great Barrington Declaration. The declaration has an impressive list co-signers, and has also now been signed by more than 50,000 doctors and scientists and more than 700,000 concerned citizens, which is pretty impressive given the fact that it’s received no attention from mainstream media.  Follow their twitter account here.

The declaration explains why these health professionals and scientists strongly oppose lockdown measures, and also brings up the topic of herd immunity. In the video below they explain their belief of why there should be a different response to the pandemic.

The Consequences of Lockdown: The consequences of lockdown are many. And we are doing so for a virus with a 99.95 percent survival rate for people under the age of 70, and a 95 percent survival rate for people over the age of 70.

In Ontario, Canada, a member of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s caucus is speaking out against his own government’s policies and calling for an end to the province-wide pandemic lockdown.“The lockdown isn’t working,” writes York Centre Progressive Conservative MPP Roman Baber in a letter to Ford.  “It’s causing an avalanche of suicides, overdoses, bankruptcies, divorces and takes an immense toll on our children. Dozens of leading doctors implored you to end the lockdowns.” (source)

A letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden” has found that “Despite Sweden’s having kept schools and preschools open, we found a low incidence of severe Covid-19 among schoolchildren and children of preschool age during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic…No child with Covid-19 died…Among the 1,951,905 million children who were 1 to 16 years of age, 15 children had Covid-19, MIS-C, or both conditions and were admitted to an ICU, which is equal to 1 child in 130,000.”

Many experts  who are opposing lockdowns are not advocating for no measures to be taken, instead many of them believe we don’t have to shut down businesses and keep people inside to protect the vulnerable. They advocate for a more focused type of protection, especially in light of all the harms that lockdown measures seem to be creating.

These harms were pondered early on in the pandemic, a report published in the British Medical Journal titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May .

response by Professor David Paton, Professor of Economics at the University of Nottingham and Professor Ellen Townsend, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Nottingham School of Medicine, to an article  published in the the BMJ in November titled “Screening the healthy population for covid-19 is of unknown value, but is being introduced worldwide” states,

Taken together, the data are clear both that national lockdowns are not a necessary condition for Covid-19 infections to decrease and that the Prime Minister was incorrect to suggest to MPs that infections were increasing rapidly in England prior to lockdown and that without national measures, the NHS would be overwhelmed…Lockdowns have never previously been used in response to a pandemic. They have significant and serious consequences for health (including mental health), livelihoods and the economy. Around 21,000 excess deaths during the first UK lockdown were not Covid-19 deaths. These are people who would have lived had there not been a lockdown.

It is well established that the first lockdown had an enormously negative effect on mental health in young people as compared to adults. The more we lockdown, the more we risk the mental health of young people, the greater the likelihood the economy will be destroyed, the greater the ultimate impact on our future health and mental health. Sadly, we know that global economic recession is associated with increased poor mental health and suicide rates.

According to a recent study published in Pediatrics, lockdown and social distancing measures are strongly correlated with an increase in suicidal thoughts, attempts and behaviour.

According to Dr. John Lee, a former Professor of Pathology and NHS consultant pathologist,

Lockdowns cannot eradicate the disease or protect the public…They lead to only economic meltdown, social despair and direct harms to health from other causes…Scientifically, medically and morally lockdowns have no justification in dealing with Covid.

Bhattacharya, MD, PhD wrote an article  for The Hill titled “Facts, not fear, will stop the pandemic.” In that points out a number of facts regarding the implications of lockdown measures.

The media have paid scant attention to the enormous medical and psychological harms from the lockdowns in use to slow the pandemic. Despite the enormous collateral damage lockdowns have caused, EnglandFrance, Germany, Spain and other European countries are all intensifying their lockdowns once again.

By lockdowns, we mean the all-too-familiar shuttered schools and universities, closed playgrounds and parks, silent churches and bankrupt stores and businesses that have become emblematic of American civic life these past months. The relative dearth of reporting on the harms caused by lockdowns is odd, since lives lost from lockdown are no less important than lives lost from COVID infection. But they’ve received much less media attention.

The harms from lockdown have been catastrophic. Consider the psychological harm. Reader, since you’re reading this in lockdown, you can undoubtedly relate to the isolation and loneliness that these policies can cause by shutting down typical channels for social interaction. In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that one in four young adults had seriously considered suicide. Opioid and other drug related deaths are on a sharp and unsurprising upswing.

The burden of these policies falls disproportionately on some of the most vulnerable. For example, isolation led to a 20 percent increase in dementia-related deaths among our elderly population. Moreover, retrospective analysis of the lockdown in the United States shows that patients skipped cancer screenings, childhood immunizationsdiabetes management visits and even treatment for heart attacks.

Internationally, the lockdowns have placed 130 million people on the brink of starvation, 80 million children at risk for diphtheria, measles and polio, and 1.8 million patients at risk of death from tuberculosis. The lockdowns in developed countries have devastated the poor in poor countries. The World Economic Forum estimates that the lockdowns will cause an additional 150 million people to fall into extreme poverty, 125 times as many people as have died from COVID.

Other Strange Happenings: A lot of people are also raising concerns about COVID deaths being marked as COVID when they’re not really a result of COVID. You can read more about that, in detail here.

Concerns have also been raised with regards to PCR testing, you can read more about that in detail here.

Furthermore corruption and conflicts of interest also seem to be a big concern, you can read more about that in detail here.

The Takeaway: Never before have we seen actions taken by Western governments come under such scrutiny from so many people. COVID has really been a catalyst for more people to question what we are doing here on planet Earth, why we live the way we do and why we give so much power to governments that may not have the ability to make the best decisions for us due to a number of different factors.

The suppression and muzzling of scientists, journalists, doctors and people during this pandemic for simply providing information, evidence and opinions that oppose mainstream rhetoric has also forced many more people to question what’s happening here. The shutdown of open scientific debate is quite concerning, and social media platforms have completely banned the accounts of what seems to be thousands of health professionals, journalists and independent media outlets while someone like Dr. Anthony Fauci is given instant virality on television when expressing his views.

Why is it that we fail to have proper conversations about controversial topics and viewpoints? Why do we have to shut them down, ridicule them and ignore them? What’s going on here? Is there a battle to control the perception of the masses when it comes to not only this pandemic, but other topics as well? Why do we continue to listen to and rely on entities that don’t really have our best interests at hand? Is the political realm really a representation of truth? Can it provide us with the answers and advice we are looking for and ones that are actually good for us? Should we give governments such power where they can shut down the planet at will when so many people across the globe disagree? Should people have the freedom to do as they please? Should business closures, isolation, and stay at home orders simply be shifted to recommendations? Should people be able to choose what measures they wish to take and respect the decisions of others who oppose them? When everything is not so black and white as sometimes it is made out to be, I believe freedom of choice should always remain, what do you think? I don’t have the answers, but I do know that asking questions and having discussions is very important.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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