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As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director"s Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters "Available To Anyone Who Wants One"

As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director's Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters 'Available To Anyone Who Wants One' Now that CDC chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky - possibly working on behalf of her political puppet masters - has overridden her agency's advisory panel to expand the eligibility for Pfizer booster jabs to high-risk workers (a group that ACIP, the advisory panel, had decided to exclude given a paucity of efficacy and safety data), many employers are confused about whether the new guidance applies to them - and whether they might be left in a difficult situation with employees who didn't get the first two vaccines. At the end of the day, the big worry is that hundreds of thousands of shots allocated for workers might simply go unused, left to expire while dozens of poorer countries would be overjoyed to have them. According to the Hill, chaotic and at times contradictory messaging from federal health officials has culminated in a confusing set of recommendations about who should, and shouldn't receive booster jabs, and why? Panel members initially said they had excluded approving jabs on an employment basis because there wasn't enough evidence those people were losing protection. That decision was clearly a disappointment to the Biden Administration, which is possibly why Dr. Walensky interceded. The depth of Dr. Walsensky's contradiction of the science can be found in the exact wording of her decree: Starting immediately, anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 who is at increased risk of COVID-19 "exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting" can get a third dose. Legal experts told the Hill that those words are so vague, practically anyone could qualify. Already, many local level officials appear to be leaning toward simply giving boosters to anyone who asks. "There's going to be confusion. If we are going to create guidelines that are essentially making the vaccine available to almost everyone, the simplest solution is, make it available to everyone," said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at NYU and Bellevue Hospital. "The best public health programs are the ones that are simple and easy to understand and clear, and the more complexity you build into it, the more difficult it is to roll out." That statement above about not creating obstacles to the third shot - that's coming from a scientist who doubted whether they were even necessary. Gounder, who advised the Biden transition team on COVID-19, has been critical of the administration's fervent push for boosters, and said the evidence for a third dose based on occupation was mixed at best. "You have to step back and ask the question, why is it that we're vaccinating people in high risk settings? Is it because they as individuals are at high risk, or is it because it would be disruptive to the workplace," Gounder said. As far as the dramatic conclusion to what was supposed to be a 'staid' scientific process - the CDC director overruling her advisory panel on the issue of occupancy-based eligibility in a late night statement - that should be enough to alert Americans that something strange is happening. Despite the panel's claims, Dr. Walensky took to the White House press briefing on Friday to claim that she did not "overrule" the advisory committee and that she had listened to both sides on the issue of whether to approve boosters by occupational risk. Amusingly, the assiduously pro-Democratic the Washington Post was willing to dismiss this usurpation of "the science" as simply another communications breakdown from the doddering Dems. “Everyone is kind of confused,” he said. The current discontent has deep roots. In April, Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said a third coronavirus dose was “likely” to be needed. In late July, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that their vaccine’s efficacy waned over time. Data from Israel confirmed a drop. Then, last month, as the delta variant of the coronavirus surged and the World Health Organization decried the distribution of third shots in wealthy countries while poor countries were lacking first doses, President Biden announced that most Americans could begin getting boosters of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines Sept. 20 — subject to the government’s regulatory processes, which unfolded in recent days and focused only on Pfizer. Regulators already allowed third shots for the immunocompromised who have received Pfizer or Moderna shots but have not yet made recommendations for all recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The deluge of phone calls about booster shots to Primary Health clinics in Southwestern Idaho began weeks ago. On Friday morning, the group’s Garden City clinic, where Maddie Morris fields inquiries, saw an increase in calls, mostly from senior citizens. “The calls seem pretty nonstop,” the customer service representative said. “It seems like a lot of people are anxious to get a booster.” Doctors say confusion clouds patients’ willingness to receive boosters. In Idaho, the problem coincides with the primary health-care system’s struggle to meet the demands of the latest covid-19 crush, which earlier this month plunged the state into crisis standards of care — essentially the rationing of health care as demand overwhelms resources. Unfortunately for them, it looks like the whole thing is back-firing... Maybe they'll think twice next time around (though we doubt it, since 'next time' is literally happening in the coming weeks when they do this all again with Moderna). Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 13:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

NATO"s Plans To Hack Your Brain

NATO's Plans To Hack Your Brain Authored by Ben Norton via TheGrayZone.com, Western governments in the NATO military alliance are developing tactics of “cognitive warfare,” using the supposed threats of China and Russia to justify waging a “battle for your brain” in the “human domain,” to “make everyone a weapon.” NATO is developing new forms of warfare to wage a “battle for the brain,” as the military alliance put it. The US-led NATO military cartel has tested novel modes of hybrid warfare against its self-declared adversaries, including economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare, and psychological warfare. Now, NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare. Described as the “weaponization of brain sciences,” the new method involves “hacking the individual” by exploiting “the vulnerabilities of the human brain” in order to implement more sophisticated “social engineering.” Until recently, NATO had divided war into five different operational domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyber. But with its development of cognitive warfare strategies, the military alliance is discussing a new, sixth level: the “human domain.” A 2020 NATO-sponsored study of this new form of warfare clearly explained, “While actions taken in the five domains are executed in order to have an effect on the human domain, cognitive warfare’s objective is to make everyone a weapon.” “The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century,” the report stressed. “Humans are the contested domain,” and “future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digitally first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power.” The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare While the NATO-backed study insisted that much of its research on cognitive warfare is designed for defensive purposes, it also conceded that the military alliance is developing offensive tactics, stating, “The human is very often the main vulnerability and it should be acknowledged in order to protect NATO’s human capital but also to be able to benefit from our adversaries’s vulnerabilities.” In a chilling disclosure, the report said explicitly that “the objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies and not only the military.” With entire civilian populations in NATO’s crosshairs, the report emphasized that Western militaries must work more closely with academia to weaponize social sciences and human sciences and help the alliance develop its cognitive warfare capacities. The study described this phenomenon as “the militarization of brain science.” But it appears clear that NATO’s development of cognitive warfare will lead to a militarization of all aspects of human society and psychology, from the most intimate of social relationships to the mind itself. Such all-encompassing militarization of society is reflected in the paranoid tone of the NATO-sponsored report, which warned of “an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” The study makes it clear that those “competitors” purportedly exploiting the consciousness of Western dissidents are China and Russia. In other words, this document shows that figures in the NATO military cartel increasingly see their own domestic population as a threat, fearing civilians to be potential Chinese or Russian sleeper cells, dastardly “fifth columns” that challenge the stability of “Western liberal democracies.” NATO’s development of novel forms of hybrid warfare come at a time when member states’ military campaigns are targeting domestic populations on an unprecedented level. The Ottawa Citizen reported this September that the Canadian military’s Joint Operations Command took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to wage an information war against its own domestic population, testing out propaganda tactics on Canadian civilians. Internal NATO-sponsored reports suggest that this disclosure is just scratching the surface of a wave of new unconventional warfare techniques that Western militaries are employing around the world. Canada hosts ‘NATO Innovation Challenge’ on cognitive warfare Twice each year, NATO holds a “pitch-style event” that it brand as an “Innovation Challenge.” These campaigns – one hosted in the Spring and the other in the Fall, by alternating member states – call on private companies, organizations, and researchers to help develop new tactics and technologies for the military alliance. The shark tank-like challenges reflect the predominant influence of neoliberal ideology within NATO, as participants mobilize the free market, public-private partnerships, and the promise of cash prizes to advance the agenda of the military-industrial complex. NATO’s Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge is hosted by Canada, and is titled “The invisible threat: Tools for countering cognitive warfare.” “Cognitive warfare seeks to change not only what people think, but also how they act,” the Canadian government wrote in its official statement on the challenge. “Attacks against the cognitive domain involve the integration of cyber, disinformation/misinformation, psychological, and social-engineering capabilities.” Ottawa’s press release continued: “Cognitive warfare positions the mind as a battle space and contested domain. Its objective is to sow dissonance, instigate conflicting narratives, polarize opinion, and radicalize groups. Cognitive warfare can motivate people to act in ways that can disrupt or fragment an otherwise cohesive society.” NATO-backed Canadian military officials discuss cognitive warfare in panel event An advocacy group called the NATO Association of Canada has mobilized to support this Innovation Challenge, working closely with military contractors to attract the private sector to invest in further research on behalf of NATO – and its own bottom line. While the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) is technically an independent NGO, its mission is to promote NATO, and the organization boasts on its website, “The NAOC has strong ties with the Government of Canada including Global Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence.” As part of its efforts to promote Canada’s NATO Innovation Challenge, the NAOC held a panel discussion on cognitive warfare on October 5. The researcher who wrote the definitive 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare, François du Cluzel, participated in the event, alongside NATO-backed Canadian military officers. The October 5 panel on cognitive warfare, hosted by the NATO Association of Canada The panel was overseen by Robert Baines, president of the NATO Association of Canada. It was moderated by Garrick Ngai, a marketing executive in the weapons industry who serves as an adviser to the Canadian Department of National Defense and vice president and director of the NAOC. Baines opened the event noting that participants would discuss “cognitive warfare and new domain of competition, where state and non-state actors aim to influence what people think and how they act.” The NAOC president also happily noted the lucrative “opportunities for Canadian companies” that this NATO Innovation Challenge promised. NATO researcher describes cognitive warfare as ‘ways of harming the brain’ The October 5 panel kicked off with François du Cluzel, a former French military officer who in 2013 helped to create the NATO Innovation Hub (iHub), which he has since then managed from its base in Norfolk, Virginia. Although the iHub insists on its website, for legal reasons, that the “opinions expressed on this platform don’t constitute NATO or any other organization points of view,” the organization is sponsored by the Allied Command Transformation (ACT), described as “one of two Strategic Commands at the head of NATO’s military command structure.” The Innovation Hub, therefore, acts as a kind of in-house NATO research center or think tank. Its research is not necessarily official NATO policy, but it is directly supported and overseen by NATO. In 2020, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) tasked du Cluzel, as manager of the iHub, to conduct a six-month study on cognitive warfare. Du Cluzel summarized his research in the panel this October. He initiated his remarks noting that cognitive warfare “right now is one of the hottest topics for NATO,” and “has become a recurring term in military terminology in recent years.” Although French, Du Cluzel emphasized that cognitive warfare strategy “is being currently developed by my command here in Norfolk, USA.” The NATO Innovation Hub manager spoke with a PowerPoint presentation, and opened with a provocative slide that described cognitive warfare as “A Battle for the Brain.” “Cognitive warfare is a new concept that starts in the information sphere, that is a kind of hybrid warfare,” du Cluzel said. “It starts with hyper-connectivity. Everyone has a cell phone,” he continued. “It starts with information because information is, if I may say, the fuel of cognitive warfare. But it goes way beyond solely information, which is a standalone operation – information warfare is a standalone operation.” Cognitive warfare overlaps with Big Tech corporations and mass surveillance, because “it’s all about leveraging the big data,” du Cluzel explained. “We produce data everywhere we go. Every minute, every second we go, we go online. And this is extremely easy to leverage those data in order to better know you and use that knowledge to change the way you think.” Naturally, the NATO researcher claimed foreign “adversaries” are the supposed aggressors employing cognitive warfare. But at the same time, he made it clear that the Western military alliance is developing its own tactics. Du Cluzel defined cognitive warfare as the “art of using technologies to alter the cognition of human targets.” Those technologies, he noted, incorporate the fields of NBIC – nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. All together, “it makes a kind of very dangerous cocktail that can further manipulate the brain,” he said. Du Cluzel went on to explain that the exotic new method of attack “goes well beyond” information warfare or psychological operations (psyops). “Cognitive warfare is not only a fight against what we think, but it’s rather a fight against the way we think, if we can change the way people think,” he said. “It’s much more powerful and it goes way beyond the information [warfare] and psyops.” De Cluzel continued: “It’s crucial to understand that it’s a game on our cognition, on the way our brain processes information and turns it into knowledge, rather than solely a game on information or on psychological aspects of our brains. It’s not only an action against what we think, but also an action against the way we think, the way we process information and turn it into knowledge.” “In other words, cognitive warfare is not just another word, another name for information warfare. It is a war on our individual processor, our brain.” The NATO researcher stressed that “this is extremely important for us in the military,” because “it has the potential, by developing new weapons and ways of harming the brain, it has the potential to engage neuroscience and technology in many, many different approaches to influence human ecology… because you all know that it’s very easy to turn a civilian technology into a military one.” As for who the targets of cognitive warfare could be, du Cluzel revealed that anyone and everyone is on the table. “Cognitive warfare has universal reach, from starting with the individual to states and multinational organizations,” he said. “Its field of action is global and aim to seize control of the human being, civilian as well as military.” And the private sector has a financial interest in advancing cognitive warfare research, he noted: “The massive worldwide investments made in neurosciences suggests that the cognitive domain will probably one of the battlefields of the future.” The development of cognitive warfare totally transforms military conflict as we know it, du Cluzel said, adding “a third major combat dimension to the modern battlefield: to the physical and informational dimension is now added a cognitive dimension.” This “creates a new space of competition beyond what is called the five domains of operations – or land, sea, air, cyber, and space domains. Warfare in the cognitive arena mobilizes a wider range of battle spaces than solely the physical and information dimensions can do.” In short, humans themselves are the new contested domain in this novel mode of hybrid warfare, alongside land, sea, air, cyber, and outer space. NATO’s cognitive warfare study warns of “embedded fifth column” The study that NATO Innovation Hub manager François du Cluzel conducted, from June to November 2020, was sponsored by the military cartel’s Allied Command Transformation, and published as a 45-page report in January 2021 (PDF). The chilling document shows how contemporary warfare has reached a kind of dystopian stage, once imaginable only in science fiction. “The nature of warfare has changed,” the report emphasized. “The majority of current conflicts remain below the threshold of the traditionally accepted definition of warfare, but new forms of warfare have emerged such as Cognitive Warfare (CW), while the human mind is now being considered as a new domain of war.” For NATO, research on cognitive warfare is not just defensive; it is very much offensive as well. “Developing capabilities to harm the cognitive abilities of opponents will be a necessity,” du Cluzel’s report stated clearly. “In other words, NATO will need to get the ability to safeguard her decision making process and disrupt the adversary’s one.” And anyone could be a target of these cognitive warfare operations: “Any user of modern information technologies is a potential target. It targets the whole of a nation’s human capital,” the report ominously added. “As well as the potential execution of a cognitive war to complement to a military conflict, it can also be conducted alone, without any link to an engagement of the armed forces,” the study went on. “Moreover, cognitive warfare is potentially endless since there can be no peace treaty or surrender for this type of conflict.” Just as this new mode of battle has no geographic borders, it also has no time limit: “This battlefield is global via the internet. With no beginning and no end, this conquest knows no respite, punctuated by notifications from our smartphones, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” The NATO-sponsored study noted that “some NATO Nations have already acknowledged that neuroscientific techniques and technologies have high potential for operational use in a variety of security, defense and intelligence enterprises.” It spoke of breakthroughs in “neuroscientific methods and technologies” (neuroS/T), and said “uses of research findings and products to directly facilitate the performance of combatants, the integration of human machine interfaces to optimise combat capabilities of semi autonomous vehicles (e.g., drones), and development of biological and chemical weapons (i.e., neuroweapons).” The Pentagon is among the primary institutions advancing this novel research, as the report highlighted: “Although a number of nations have pursued, and are currently pursuing neuroscientific research and development for military purposes, perhaps the most proactive efforts in this regard have been conducted by the United States Department of Defense; with most notable and rapidly maturing research and development conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).” Military uses of neuroS/T research, the study indicated, include intelligence gathering, training, “optimising performance and resilience in combat and military support personnel,” and of course “direct weaponisation of neuroscience and neurotechnology.” This weaponization of neuroS/T can and will be fatal, the NATO-sponsored study was clear to point out. The research can “be utilised to mitigate aggression and foster cognitions and emotions of affiliation or passivity; induce morbidity, disability or suffering; and ‘neutralise’ potential opponents or incur mortality” – in other words, to maim and kill people. The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare The report quoted US Major General Robert H. Scales, who summarized NATO’s new combat philosophy: “Victory will be defined more in terms of capturing the psycho-cultural rather than the geographical high ground.” And as NATO develops tactics of cognitive warfare to “capture the psycho-cultural,” it is also increasingly weaponizing various scientific fields. The study spoke of “the crucible of data sciences and human sciences,” and stressed that “the combination of Social Sciences and System Engineering will be key in helping military analysts to improve the production of intelligence.” “If kinetic power cannot defeat the enemy,” it said, “psychology and related behavioural and social sciences stand to fill the void.” “Leveraging social sciences will be central to the development of the Human Domain Plan of Operations,” the report went on. “It will support the combat operations by providing potential courses of action for the whole surrounding Human Environment including enemy forces, but also determining key human elements such as the Cognitive center of gravity, the desired behaviour as the end state.” All academic disciplines will be implicated in cognitive warfare, not just the hard sciences. “Within the military, expertise on anthropology, ethnography, history, psychology among other areas will be more than ever required to cooperate with the military,” the NATO-sponsored study stated. The report nears its conclusion with an eerie quote: “Today’s progresses in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC), boosted by the seemingly unstoppable march of a triumphant troika made of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and civilisational ‘digital addiction’ have created a much more ominous prospect: an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” “The modern concept of war is not about weapons but about influence,” it posited. “Victory in the long run will remain solely dependent on the ability to influence, affect, change or impact the cognitive domain.” The NATO-sponsored study then closed with a final paragraph that makes it clear beyond doubt that the Western military alliance’s ultimate goal is not only physical control of the planet, but also control over people’s minds: “Cognitive warfare may well be the missing element that allows the transition from military victory on the battlefield to lasting political success. The human domain might well be the decisive domain, wherein multi-domain operations achieve the commander’s effect. The five first domains can give tactical and operational victories; only the human domain can achieve the final and full victory.” Canadian Special Operations officer emphasizes importance of cognitive warfare When François du Cluzel, the NATO researcher who conducted the study on cognitive warfare, concluded his remarks in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada panel, he was followed by Andy Bonvie, a commanding officer at the Canadian Special Operations Training Centre. With more than 30 years of experience with the Canadian Armed Forces, Bonvie spoke of how Western militaries are making use of research by du Cluzel and others, and incorporating novel cognitive warfare techniques into their combat activities. “Cognitive warfare is a new type of hybrid warfare for us,” Bonvie said. “And it means that we need to look at the traditional thresholds of conflict and how the things that are being done are really below those thresholds of conflict, cognitive attacks, and non-kinetic forms and non-combative threats to us. We need to understand these attacks better and adjust their actions and our training accordingly to be able to operate in these different environments.” Although he portrayed NATO’s actions as “defensive,” claiming “adversaries” were using cognitive warfare against them, Bonvie was unambiguous about the fact that Western militaries are developing these tecniques themselves, to maintain a “tactical advantage.” “We cannot lose the tactical advantage for our troops that we’re placing forward as it spans not only tactically, but strategically,” he said. “Some of those different capabilities that we have that we enjoy all of a sudden could be pivoted to be used against us. So we have to better understand how quickly our adversaries adapt to things, and then be able to predict where they’re going in the future, to help us be and maintain the tactical advantage for our troops moving forward.” ‘Cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date’ Marie-Pierre Raymond, a retired Canadian lieutenant colonel who currently serves as a “defence scientist and innovation portfolio manager” for the Canadian Armed Forces’ Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program, also joined the October 5 panel. “Long gone are the days when war was fought to acquire more land,” Raymond said. “Now the new objective is to change the adversaries’ ideologies, which makes the brain the center of gravity of the human. And it makes the human the contested domain, and the mind becomes the battlefield.” “When we speak about hybrid threats, cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date,” she added, noting that it aims to influence individuals’ decision-making and “to influence a group of a group of individuals on their behavior, with the aim of gaining a tactical or strategic advantage.” Raymond noted that cognitive warfare also heavily overlaps with artificial intelligence, big data, and social media, and reflects “the rapid evolution of neurosciences as a tool of war.” Raymond is helping to oversee the NATO Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defence, which delegated management responsibilities to the military’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program, where she works. In highly technical jargon, Raymond indicated that the cognitive warfare program is not solely defensive, but also offensive: “This challenge is calling for a solution that will support NATO’s nascent human domain and jump-start the development of a cognition ecosystem within the alliance, and that will support the development of new applications, new systems, new tools and concepts leading to concrete action in the cognitive domain.” She emphasized that this “will require sustained cooperation between allies, innovators, and researchers to enable our troops to fight and win in the cognitive domain. This is what we are hoping to emerge from this call to innovators and researchers.” To inspire corporate interest in the NATO Innovation Challenge, Raymond enticed, “Applicants will receive national and international exposure and cash prizes for the best solution.” She then added tantalizingly, “This could also benefit the applicants by potentially providing them access to a market of 30 nations.” Canadian military officer calls on corporations to invest in NATO’s cognitive warfare research The other institution that is managing the Fall 2021 NATO Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defense is the Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). A Canadian military officer who works with CANSOFCOM, Shekhar Gothi, was the final panelist in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada event. Gothi serves as CANSOFCOM’s “innovation officer” for Southern Ontario. He concluded the event appealing for corporate investment in NATO’s cognitive warfare research. The bi-annual Innovation Challenge is “part of the NATO battle rhythm,” Gothi declared enthusiastically. He noted that, in the spring of 2021, Portugal held a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on warfare in outer space. In spring 2020, the Netherlands hosted a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on Covid-19. Gothi reassured corporate investors that NATO will bend over backward to defend their bottom lines: “I can assure everyone that the NATO innovation challenge indicates that all innovators will maintain complete control of their intellectual property. So NATO won’t take control of that. Neither will Canada. Innovators will maintain their control over their IP.” The comment was a fitting conclusion to the panel, affirming that NATO and its allies in the military-industrial complex not only seek to dominate the world and the humans that inhabit it with unsettling cognitive warfare techniques, but to also ensure that corporations and their shareholders continue to profit from these imperial endeavors. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director"s Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters "Available To Anyone Who Wants One"

As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director's Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters 'Available To Anyone Who Wants One' Now that CDC chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky - possibly working on behalf of her political puppet masters - has overridden her agency's advisory panel to expand the eligibility for Pfizer booster jabs to high-risk workers (a group that ACIP, the advisory panel, had decided to exclude given a paucity of efficacy and safety data), many employers are confused about whether the new guidance applies to them - and whether they might be left in a difficult situation with employees who didn't get the first two vaccines. At the end of the day, the big worry is that hundreds of thousands of shots allocated for workers might simply go unused, left to expire while dozens of poorer countries would be overjoyed to have them. According to the Hill, chaotic and at times contradictory messaging from federal health officials has culminated in a confusing set of recommendations about who should, and shouldn't receive booster jabs, and why? Panel members initially said they had excluded approving jabs on an employment basis because there wasn't enough evidence those people were losing protection. That decision was clearly a disappointment to the Biden Administration, which is possibly why Dr. Walensky interceded. The depth of Dr. Walsensky's contradiction of the science can be found in the exact wording of her decree: Starting immediately, anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 who is at increased risk of COVID-19 "exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting" can get a third dose. Legal experts told the Hill that those words are so vague, practically anyone could qualify. Already, many local level officials appear to be leaning toward simply giving boosters to anyone who asks. "There's going to be confusion. If we are going to create guidelines that are essentially making the vaccine available to almost everyone, the simplest solution is, make it available to everyone," said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at NYU and Bellevue Hospital. "The best public health programs are the ones that are simple and easy to understand and clear, and the more complexity you build into it, the more difficult it is to roll out." That statement above about not creating obstacles to the third shot - that's coming from a scientist who doubted whether they were even necessary. Gounder, who advised the Biden transition team on COVID-19, has been critical of the administration's fervent push for boosters, and said the evidence for a third dose based on occupation was mixed at best. "You have to step back and ask the question, why is it that we're vaccinating people in high risk settings? Is it because they as individuals are at high risk, or is it because it would be disruptive to the workplace," Gounder said. As far as the dramatic conclusion to what was supposed to be a 'staid' scientific process - the CDC director overruling her advisory panel on the issue of occupancy-based eligibility in a late night statement - that should be enough to alert Americans that something strange is happening. Despite the panel's claims, Dr. Walensky took to the White House press briefing on Friday to claim that she did not "overrule" the advisory committee and that she had listened to both sides on the issue of whether to approve boosters by occupational risk. Amusingly, the assiduously pro-Democratic the Washington Post was willing to dismiss this usurpation of "the science" as simply another communications breakdown from the doddering Dems. “Everyone is kind of confused,” he said. The current discontent has deep roots. In April, Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said a third coronavirus dose was “likely” to be needed. In late July, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that their vaccine’s efficacy waned over time. Data from Israel confirmed a drop. Then, last month, as the delta variant of the coronavirus surged and the World Health Organization decried the distribution of third shots in wealthy countries while poor countries were lacking first doses, President Biden announced that most Americans could begin getting boosters of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines Sept. 20 — subject to the government’s regulatory processes, which unfolded in recent days and focused only on Pfizer. Regulators already allowed third shots for the immunocompromised who have received Pfizer or Moderna shots but have not yet made recommendations for all recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The deluge of phone calls about booster shots to Primary Health clinics in Southwestern Idaho began weeks ago. On Friday morning, the group’s Garden City clinic, where Maddie Morris fields inquiries, saw an increase in calls, mostly from senior citizens. “The calls seem pretty nonstop,” the customer service representative said. “It seems like a lot of people are anxious to get a booster.” Doctors say confusion clouds patients’ willingness to receive boosters. In Idaho, the problem coincides with the primary health-care system’s struggle to meet the demands of the latest covid-19 crush, which earlier this month plunged the state into crisis standards of care — essentially the rationing of health care as demand overwhelms resources. Unfortunately for them, it looks like the whole thing is back-firing... Maybe they'll think twice next time around (though we doubt it, since 'next time' is literally happening in the coming weeks when they do this all again with Moderna). Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 13:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

Fully vaccinated people who previously had COVID-19 should be last in line for booster shots, experts say

Fully vaccinated people who previously caught COVID-19 had "won the game" and likely had strong immune protection already, one vaccine expert said. A health worker administers a dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina, on August 29, 2021. Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images Fully vaccinated people with a past COVID-19 infection may be last to get booster shots. COVID-19 infection can trigger the immune response in a similar way to booster shots. Therefore, these people have already had "three exposures," one expert said. Fully vaccinated people who previously had COVID-19 could be the last in line for boosters, experts say.Fully vaccinated Americans with the highest risk of severe COVID-19 are eligible for an extra shot to boost immunity against the highly infectious Delta variant, which has mutations that help it avoid the immune response.Immunity from COVID-19 vaccines starts to wane after about five months, according to real-world data, so eventually most people will likely need an extra dose.But Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, immunologist at Yale University, told The Wall Street Journal that people who had been fully vaccinated and have previously caught the virus were "likely to be the last group that really needs the booster" because their immune system had had "three exposures" - two vaccine doses and one infection, all of which trigger an immune response.Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said that people who were infected and vaccinated "just won the game," per The Journal."I wouldn't ask them to get a booster dose. I think they just got it," he said, referring to the immune system boost from an infection. Offit, who is a member of the Food and Drug Administration's advisory panel on vaccines, supports boosters for older adults but not for the general public at this time, The Journal reported.Gary McClean, professor in molecular immunology at London Metropolitan University, told Insider that, theoretically, vaccinated people who previously had COVID-19 may not need a booster at all.Vaccines produce an immune response to one part of the virus, called the spike protein, so you get "spike-specific" immunity, McClean said. Getting COVID-19 triggers an immune response to more than one part of the virus, which means your immune system should later be better prepared to fight variants that have mutations, he said.But McClean also warned it would be "dangerous" for anybody to deliberately try to catch COVID-19 because of the risk of severe disease. Boosters are "generally safe" if given months after vaccination, he added. Determining who needs a boosterEmerging evidence suggests that people who caught COVID-19 and were then fully vaccinated have the strongest antibody response of any group - stronger than people who have only been infected, or only been fully vaccinated, for example.Paul Bieniasz, virologist at the Rockefeller University, said that catching COVID-19 after vaccination may not have the same effect. "It's more variable," Bieniasz told Insider.In the future, we may need antibody tests to determine who needs extra vaccine doses, Bieniasz said.We can't yet reliably detect whether people have had an antibody response to COVID-19 either before or after vaccination. Protection also wanes over time, so the timing of an infection or vaccination matters too - people who had COVID-19 prior to vaccination may eventually need a booster.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 13th, 2021

Dear NIH Director Collins: Before You Step Down, We Have Just One Question

Dear NIH Director Collins: Before You Step Down, We Have Just One Question The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis S. Collins, said he would step down by the end of the year, having led the research center for 12 years and becoming a prominent source of public information during the coronavirus pandemic. A formal announcement was expected Tuesday from the NIH. Politico reported Collins' plans Monday night. While news of Collins' departure was a surprise, Politico reported that the move had been in the works for some time. “There comes a time where an institution like NIH really benefits from new vision, new leadership,” Collins, 71, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “This was the right timing.” In the interview with the Post, Collins said he had decided not to stay too long into the Biden administration and was confident that the NIH's role in developing therapeutics, tests and vaccines for the coronavirus had reached “a pretty stable place.” Based in Bethesda, Maryland, and a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH is the nation’s medical research agency and operates more than two dozen institutes and centers. It lays claim to being the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world. In recent years this apparently also included offshoring gain of function virus research to Wuhan after it was banned in the US. The 71-year-old Collins was appointed director in 2009 by President Barack Obama and was asked to remain in that post by Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden. He is the only presidentially appointed NIH director to serve under multiple administrations, and is the longest-serving NIH director. Previously, Collins served as director of NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993-2008 and led the international Human Genome Project, which in 2003 completed a finished sequence of human DNA. During the coronavirus pandemic, Collins has been on the front lines urging Americans to wear masks and get vaccinated. While Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, became the most visible advocate for the administration’s vaccination efforts, the Biden administration has increasingly put Collins on network shows to urge vaccinations and defend the booster strategy as Fauci's credibility eroded. “This is the way it ought to be," Collins said about the Food and Drug Administration's decision late last month to limit boosters to certain vulnerable populations for now, despite the Biden administration's pledge that boosters would launch broadly by Sept. 20. "Science sort of playing out in a very transparent way, looking at the data coming from multiple places, our country, other countries, and trying to make the best decision for right now," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." Collins has spoken at length about his conversion from atheism to Christianity and penned a book in 2006 called “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.” A year later, he founded The BioLogos Foundation, a group that aims to reconcile religion and science and argues that God created the world through evolution. During his tenure, Collins drew the ire of anti-abortion groups that opposed his support of using fetal tissue in medical research, but emerged politically unscathed. A popular figure on Capitol Hill, Collins has also made efforts to reach out to the religious community throughout his career, which continued during the Covid-19 pandemic. “For somebody who’s a believer, this is what you could call an answer to prayer,” he told Religion News Service last month, in reference to the coronavirus vaccine. “If we’ve all been praying to God to somehow deliver us from this terrible pandemic, and what happens is these vaccines get developed that are safe and effective, well, why wouldn’t you want to say, ‘Thank you, God’ and roll up your sleeve?” Whether god is behind the vaccine we'll leave to the theologians, but we know one thing: the monetary benefits from it fall square in the laps of Pfizer and Moderna, two companies which have demonstrated an understandable lack of willingness to part with the generous cashflow stream. But more importantly, we have one question for Dr. Collins: back on February 2, when the public awareness about the covid pandemic was only starting to emerge, and one day before zerohedge was banned on Twitter and subsequently from various other social networks at great financial cost to this organization, we pointed out that in the days when the NIH was setting the original narrative for the Covid pandemic meant for public consumption, an email from British medial researcher, Sir Jeremy Ferrar, to Collins and Fauci notified the head of the NIH and his lackey that top World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and his "Special Strategic Advisor" Bernhard Schwartländer "have apparently gone into conclave" adding that "if they do prevaricate" which of course is a politically correct synonym for "lie", Ferrar said he would appreciate a call from Fauci or Collins "to think how we might take forward." But the punchline was a reference to Zerohedge link discussing the possibility that the China created virus may contain HIV insertions, stoking fears over an artificially created bioweapon. And courtesy of the FOIA'ed email, we know that later that day, Fauci sought to have a "quick call" with Collins, the same day we were banned on twitter. So before you retire Dr Collins, we have just one question: what did you and Anthony Fauci discuss on that February 2, 2020 call? This, of course, is not the first time we have asked: we did first back in June when it first emerged that Collins was part of the team shaping public opinion on covid. We ask again, however, in light of the recent shocking discovery that Peter Daszak's EcoHealth Alliance used federal money to fund bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan lab in China, and that at least two previously unpublished grant proposals (namely "Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence," and "Understanding Risk of Zoonotic Virus Emergence in Emerging Infectious Disease Hotspots of Southeast Asia," ) were funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whose parent organization is Collins' own NIH. The first grant was funded at a time when virus gain of function research was expressly banned by the Obama administration in 2014. The second grant was awarded in August 2020 and extends through 2025. The proposal, written in 2019, seems prescient, focusing on scaling up and deploying resources in Asia in case of an outbreak of an "emergent infectious disease" and referring to Asia as "this hottest of the EID hotspots." Tyler Durden Tue, 10/05/2021 - 09:01.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 5th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Hollywood"s top DC power players

And booster shots are officially being encouraged for many Americans. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Here's what we're talking about:Meet Hollywood's top Washington power playersCDC director breaks with outside advisors in endorsing booster shots for healthcare workersA draft of Arizona's election audit finds Biden won the stateWith Phil Rosen. DeDe Lea, Sarah Howes, Tyrone Bland, and Patrick Kilcur are lobbyists representing the film and TV industry. ViacomCBS, DGA, CAA, MPA 1. TINSELTOWN'S HEAVY HITTERS IN THIS TOWN: Hollywood has long had a fascination with Washington. Behind the scenes, this is about a lot more than just the setting for the next political thriller. Issues like net neutrality, copyright protection, trade, taxes, and, most recently, economic relief all affect the entertainment sector, which is why it's spent an estimated $26.4 million this year on lobbying for its favored policies.Here are some of the biggest power players:Tyrone Bland, head of government affairs at Creative Artists Agency: Bland, pictured above on the bottom left, got his start in politics as a chief of staff for the California State Legislature. He has experience working for or on behalf of the supplement seller Herbalife, Coca-Cola, Walmart, and Verizon.Gail MacKinnon and Patrick Kilcur, Motion Picture Association: MacKinnon handles global policy for the MPA, which represents the film industry's biggest studios including Disney, Sony Pictures, and Netflix. Kilcur, MacKinnon's US counterpart who is pictured above on the bottom right, was formerly a floor manager for Sen. Mitch McConnell. Also pictured above are DeDe Lea of ViacomCBS and Sarah Howes of the Directors Guild of America.Kerri Wood Einertson, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists: SAG-AFTRA's membership includes the industry's best-known faces along with workday actors, radio personalities, and other performers. Wood Einertson spent three years on the Hill as a legislative aide before returning to California to work for the consulting firm Korn Ferry and later working on behalf of the union.Check out Insider's entire list of the DC power players Disney, Fox, Apple, and others rely on.2. CDC director endorses Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for older Americans: Dr. Rochelle Walensky partially broke with the earlier findings of an independent group of medical advisors by also endorsing booster shots for people who're at an increased risk of getting COVID-19 while at work, such as healthcare workers, or because of where they live. Walensky noted her recommendation aligned with the Food and Drug Administration, which came to a different conclusion from that of the nonbinding CDC advisory panel. More broadly, Walensky also endorsed Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for Americans 65 and older, residents of nursing homes, and adults ages 18 to 64 with underlying health conditions. The CDC's latest move means many Americans are now encouraged to get boosters, though the primary pandemic challenge remains persuading people to get a first dose.3. Arizona's election audit says Biden won the state: Cyber Ninjas, the group leading the audit, is set to announce its findings later today, and Insider obtained a draft copy of the audit results. The draft 110-page report says Donald Trump actually did worse than previously thought, concluding he received 261 fewer votes than the official Maricopa County canvass while Joe Biden won 99 more votes. A representative for the audit told KJZZ Phoenix the draft was "not the final report, but it's close." Election experts and local Republican officials have complained about Cyber Ninjas' lack of election-related experience and other issues for months, The Washington Post reports. Trump, who doesn't appear to have seen that the draft report concluded he lost, touted the audit last night.The audits aren't over:Texas announced a review of four counties' returns just hours after Trump pushed for an audit bill: The Texas secretary of state's office said it had started a "full forensic audit" of results in Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant counties, The Texas Tribune reports. The office did not say why it was conducting a review into those counties. More on what this means.4. Capitol riot committee subpoenas close Trump aides: Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, said his panel was subpoenaing the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows as well as Dan Scavino, Steve Bannon, and Kash Patel. Thompson said the four men were working in or had close communications with the Trump White House in the days before the January 6 insurrection. This is a major step for the committee. Police officers outside the scene of a shooting at a Kroger supermarket in Collierville, Tennessee. Action News 5 5. Twelve people were wounded and one person was killed in a supermarket shooting in Tennessee: ​​"I've been involved in this for 34 years, and I've never seen anything like this," Chief Dale Lane of the Collierville Police Department said. Officers who responded to the shooting found some people hiding in freezers. The lone suspect died at the scene. More on the news.6. Senior diplomat abruptly resigns over the treatment of Haitians at US border: Daniel Foote, the US special envoy for Haiti, wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he would not be associated with what he described as the "inhumane, counterproductive decision" to deport Haitian migrants from Texas after thousands flocked to the border. Foote's exit is just the latest pushback to the Biden administration's handling of the situation.7. The White House is telling agencies to prepare for a government shutdown: Biden administration officials stressed that the White House budget office's notification was in line with past actions taken when a shutdown seemed possible and did not express an opinion of the likelihood of it happening, The Post reports. House Democrats passed a bill earlier this week that would fund the government, but their inclusion of a suspension of the debt ceiling has rankled Senate Republicans, who argue Democrats should have to avoid a debt default on their own. Here's where things stand as Democrats try to avoid the first shutdown of the pandemic.8. Brian Williams could leave NBC News: Williams, who anchors a late-night news show on MSNBC, is holding talks about whether to stay at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. A TV news industry insider told Insider there was talk of Williams and a representative, the high-profile Washington lawyer Bob Barnett, having discussions with CBS News and CNN. Losing Williams at a time when Rachel Maddow is reducing her live-TV time could be perilous for MSNBC.9. Let the holiday hiring wars begin: Amazon, Walmart, UPS, and FedEx are facing off in a race to staff more than 335,000 workers in a tight labor market. Supply-chain experts remain uncertain whether the big companies can meet their hiring goals amid the labor crunch. Here's what experts expect will happen this holiday season. The actor Daniel Craig, seen to the right of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, earned an honorary appointment to commander in the Royal Navy. Royal Navy 10. The name's Bond, James Bond (of the Royal Navy). The actor Daniel Craig became the Royal Navy's newest honorary commander ahead of his coming Bond movie, "No Time to Die," which will feature a Royal Navy destroyer. Craig appeared in the naval uniform, wearing three gold bars on his shoulder that denote a commander's rank, matching the rank of the fictional Bond. See the photos of 007 in uniform.Today's trivia question: Sticking with the character who has stirred audiences (but not his martinis) for decades, which president recorded a message from the White House gushing about his love for James Bond? Hint: His staffers were peeved when the president's words were used to promote the release of "Octopussy." Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Yesterday's answer: The Butt-Millet Memorial Fountain on the Ellipse (an area outside the White House) commemorates Archibald Butt and Francis Millet. They are thought to be the only two US officials killed aboard the Titanic.That's all for this week. Have a great weekend!Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

CDC director endorsed Pfizer booster shots for older Americans, people with underlying conditions, and those with higher risk on the job, partially breaking from advisory panel

The CDC advisory panel recommended not making healthcare workers and teachers eligible, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky overruled them. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky REUTERS The CDC endorsed booster shots for Americans 65 and older and at-risk groups late Thursday. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky partially broke with the advisory panel, endorsing shots for those at higher risk due to their job. That could include healthcare workers, teachers, and grocery store employees, among others. See more stories on Insider's business page. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed booster shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for select groups late Thursday evening. The move means the jabs can start being administered.In line with the recommendations made by a CDC advisory panel earlier on Thursday, the CDC endorsed the shots for Americans 65 and older, residents of nursing homes, and adults aged 18 to 64 with underlying health conditions.But Director Rochelle Walensky partially broke from the panel, endorsing the booster shots for people who are at an increased risk of getting COVID-19 while at work or because of where they live. That could include healthcare workers, teachers, grocery store employees, and people who live in prisons or homeless shelters.Hours after the panel voted 9-6 not to recommend boosters for those groups, Walensky overruled them."As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact," Walensky said in a statement late Thursday, according to The Associated Press. "At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good."Walensky noted her recommendation aligned with the Food and Drug Administration, which recommended on Wednesday that adults "in an occupational or institutional setting" that increases their risk of getting COVID-19 also be eligible for the shot.The CDC advisory panel, made up of independent medical experts, broke with the FDA on that recommendation in a split decision on Thursday. The panel said it was concerned the move could send mixed messages about the vaccines, which are incredibly effective at preventing severe illness.Walensky also said Thursday the primary goal remains to get unvaccinated Americans their first shot. According to the CDC, as of Thursday, 55% of the US population is fully vaccinated, while 64% had received at least one dose.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

CDC advisors green-light Pfizer boosters for older Americans and people with underlying conditions - but reject extra shots for healthcare workers, in a major break with the FDA

A panel advising the CDC poured over new data on vaccines this week before recommending boosters for adults aged 65+, but against shots for workers. A shot of the Pfizer vaccine at a FEMA vaccination center in Philadelphia. Mark Makela/Getty Images An advisory committee to the CDC voted 15 to 0 to recommend Pfizer booster shots for people over 65 and long term care facility (nursing home) residents on Thursday. They also voted to recommend booster shots for all adults with underlying medical conditions. The advisors voted 9-6 against recommending booster doses for adults who are "in an occupational or institutional setting" that puts them at higher risk of COVID-19 - a break with the FDA. See more stories on Insider's business page. An independent group of medical advisors to the CDC voted 15 to 0 on Thursday afternoon to recommend free booster shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to millions of older adults who had their first two shots at least six months ago.The panel also voted to recommend boosters to all adults with underlying medical conditions, but not unanimously, and there was some frustration with whether that makes the booster recommendation overly broad.The panel voted 13-2 to recommend boosters to 50-64-year-olds with underlying medical conditions, and 9 to 6 to recommend boosters for 18-49 year olds with underlying medical conditions.But the advisors voted 9-6 against recommending booster doses for adults who are "in an occupational or institutional setting" which puts them at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19, like healthcare workers or teachers.That decision marked a break with the US Food and Drug Administration, which authorized boosters for all adults who work or live in places that put them at higher risk of catching the virus on Wednesday."We have a really effective vaccine and it's like saying it's not working, and it is working!" Dr. Pablo Sanchez, a professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University who is on the CDC committee, said.The recommendations are expected to swiftly get the green light from CDC officials. But for now, they'll likely apply only to certain groups of people who've already been fully vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer. So far they include:Adults over 65 years oldLong term care facility (nursing home) residentsAdults with underlying medical conditionsThe top priority for the country, experts agreed, must still be to get the more than 1 in 4 eligible Americans who have gotten zero shots so far vaccinated. "We're fighting a pandemic, and it's not because people got two doses of vaccine," Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot, who serves on the CDC advisory committee, said during the meeting, echoing a sentiment repeated time and time again through hours of emotional comments from the committee members. Unvaccinated Americans are far more likely to get seriously ill, hospitalized, or die from COVID-19 than people who've had one or two shots, regardless of their age, making the booster decision merely something that "may move the needle a little bit," Talbot said. Boosters alone won't be enough to end the pandemic, she and others said. More needs to be done to get those who've had no shots vaccinated. Lacking evidence for younger people getting boostersDuring their deliberations, the CDC advisors took a look at hospitalization and infection data from around the country, and weighed the risks and benefits of giving booster doses to adults who are already fully vaccinated. The data suggested that, while the risks of boosting are low for everyone, boosting younger adults may not change much, while boosting people over age 65 could prevent a few more hospitalizations and severe cases of COVID-19. For example, CDC estimates presented on Thursday suggest that more than 480 adults over age 65 would need to get a booster dose in order to prevent one additional hospitalization over six months. That number jumps to more than 8,000 boosters per hospitalization prevented among adults in the 18-29 year old age group."This isn't about who deserves a booster, it's about who needs a booster," committee member Dr. Matthew Daley from Kaiser Permanente Colorado said during the meeting.Others agreed."If we can do a little bit of good by giving boosters to people over 65, I'm in favor of that," committee member Dr. James Loehr added. In particular, adults in their 70s, 80s, and beyond who are vaccinated are not as well protected by their shots, because their immune systems are older and weaker. CDC ACIP meeting, September 22-23, 2021. Only Pfizer boosters for nowFor now, only some of those people will be able to get boosters, though, since not everyone got Pfizer's vaccine initially. That doesn't "sound like good public health policy," committee member Dr. Sarah Long said.The issue could become especially thorny in long term care facilities, like nursing homes. (The FDA has promised that more booster doses will be on the way for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients, once more data is available on boosting those vaccines.)According to CDC estimates presented during the meeting, Pfizer boosters will bring vaccine effectiveness up to around 90% against infection, and up to 95% against hospitalization. For 18-65 year olds, that's only a very marginal improvement to the very strong vaccine protection they already have.Some argued in favor of extra shots for healthcare workers to keep them healthy as hospitals fill up Medical workers outside Houston Methodist Hospital on June 9, 2021. Getty Images/Brandon Bell One of the main reasons that healthcare workers were initially considered in the recommendations was in the hopes of keeping a strained healthcare system, near buckling under the burden of unvaccinated patients, afloat. "We don't currently have enough healthcare workers to take care of the unvaccinated," Dr. Talbot, who works at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, said during the meeting. Talbot stressed that boosters, if they help prevent more mild symptomatic infections, could keep more doctors and nurses healthy and at work, but that's mainly to take care of the "large populations which are unvaccinated.""We are declining care to people who deserve care because we are full of unvaccinated patients," she said. It's not clear yet whether boosters could reduce transmission of the virus from vaccinated people.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

CDC Panel Approves Pfizer Boosters For Older Americans Despite More Pushback

CDC Panel Approves Pfizer Boosters For Older Americans Despite More Pushback Update (1622ET): ACIP has also approved boosters for people aged 18-49 with underlying issues. This vote was 9-6. CDC ACIP BACKS BOOSTER FOR 18-49 WITH UNDERLYING CONDITIONS The next vote should define "at-risk" occupations. * * * Update (1600ET): Despite some disagreement about the necessity of booster shots (which we also saw at the FDA panel''s meeting late last week), the CDC's advisory panel has voted 15-0 and 13-2 to approve authorization for booster jabs for people over 65, and immuno-compromised adults between the ages of 50 to 64. As the CDC's advisory panel prepared to vote on their final set of guidelines for Pfizer booster jabs, some members of the panel have raised more objections to authorizing booster jabs, though they're not the same objections shared by members of the FDA's advisory panel. Members worried that the pandemic would likely be prolonged no matter what thanks to vaccine holdouts. In fact, with so many Americans refusing to get the jab, using booster shots would be tantamount to slapping lipstick on a pig. “My concern is that we’re just going to keep give booster doses to the vaccinated as different variants come onto the scene, and we’re not going to be able to move forward in truly mitigating the pandemic,” Lynn Bahta, a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices from the Minnesota Department of Health, said. During the meeting, which started earlier, none of the ACIP panelists spoke against recommending boosters for senior citizens, and debate focused on whether a third shot is warranted for younger people at high-risk of severe Covid and if so, how to target them. With more than 30% of the population refusing the jab, "it feels like we are putting lipstick on hogs," said Helen Talbot of Vanderbilt University. "This is not going to solve the pandemic." One participant noted that the data supporting boosters, including real-world evidence from Israel, have relied on shorter term follow-up, meaning the data isn't very credible. But at the very least, one Israeli study has shown that natural immunity is more than 13x more resilient than artificial inoculation. Per CNBC, the vote is still a "a win for President Joe Biden, whose administration has said it wants to give booster shots to all eligible Americans 16 and older as early as this week. While the CDC panel’s recommendation doesn’t give the Biden administration everything it wanted, boosters will still be on the way for millions of Americans." While CNBC may have actually reported that, from what we remember, President Biden initially pushed for boosters for the entire adult population, which provoked a backlash in the scientific community who argued there wasn't enough evidence to approve the boosters, and that they would be put to better use in emerging economies. The panel - officially, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP - has a few more votes to get through, including on whether to extend boosters to other groups including at-risk workers. Dr. Rochelle Walensky visited the panel earlier and acknowledged that while the data wasn't "perfect", "they do offer guidance" about whether to make a decision, she said. *  *  * Last night, the FDA - as expected - authorized the emergency use of booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jab for patients over the age of 65, the immuno-compromised, and the occupationally vulnerable. Now, it's the CDC's turn. The panel is preparing to wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, where it is deliberating a more specific set of guidelines regarding the booster jab and who will initially be eligible, and when. Before we get into specifics, it's worth noting that after the first day of discussion, some of the advisors were so befuddled by the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off the CDC's decision for a month to wait for more evidence. Such a decision would probably have driven the Biden Administration crazy. According to the AP, "the uncertainties were yet another reminder that the science surrounding boosters is more complicated than the Biden administration suggested when the president and his top aides rolled out their plan at the White House last month." On Wednesday, "the CDC panelists heard a series of presentations Wednesday outlining the knotty state of science on boosters. On one hand, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. On the other hand, there are signs of more low-grade infections among the vaccinated as immunity wanes." Ultimately, the function of the CDC panel is to "refine exactly who will be eligible" as Politico put it. For the booster jab, the focus will be on defining who's at "high risk". The discussions are expected to conclude Thursday afternoon. Politico has five key takeaways from day one, and what to expect on day two (text courtesy of Politico): The goals of vaccination might be changing: Data from the large clinical trials used to authorize Covid-19 vaccines in the United States suggested they offered strong protection against even mild infection, raising hopes that the shots would confer so-called sterilizing immunity — preventing vaccinated people from spreading the virus. But over time, scientists have realized that the vaccines' ability to ward off mild infection is waning, although protection against severe disease and death remains strong overall. CDC panel member Sarah Long, a pediatrics professor at Drexel University's College of Medicine, urged her colleagues to differentiate between ensuring the vaccines prevent hospitalizations versus all infection. "I don't think there's any hope that a vaccine, such as the ones we have, will prevent infection after the first maybe couple of weeks that you have those extraordinary immediate responses," she said. The elderly show the clearest need for boosters at this point: Antibodies from vaccination decrease over time among all age groups. But vaccine recipients 80 and older develop lower levels of neutralizing antibodies post-vaccination than younger adults do, said Natalie Thornburg, a respiratory virus immunology specialist at the CDC. That means that older people's antibodies may drop to undetectable levels faster, at which point their memory immune cells play a larger role in protecting them against Covid-19. But older people also may produce fewer memory cells than younger people whose immune systems are stronger — suggesting that older people would benefit from a third vaccine dose. Ruth Link-Gelles of the U.S. Public Health Service said current data shows significant drops in the efficacy of both the Pfizer and Moderna shots in people 65 and older in the time the Delta variant has dominated the domestic infection landscape. But Thornburg cautioned against viewing vaccines' protection as an on-off switch. "Immunity is not simply a binary" in which individuals are either protected or not against the coronavirus, she said. Most people are able to maintain some level of cellular immunity, which is likely enough to protect vaccine recipients from severe disease even after antibody levels drop off. Nursing-home residents face special risks, even with a boost Boosters may not be enough to fully protect residents of nursing homes, according to modeling data presented by Rachel Slayton of the U.S. Public Health Service. While boosters may help reduce the number of cases in long-term care facilities, she said, that depends on their inherent efficacy and on the vaccination coverage among facility staff. High community transmission will likely lead to more infections in nursing homes because staff can more easily import the virus, Slayton said. It's unclear whether booster doses could help curb transmission of the virus among vaccinated individuals. Experts are worried about confusing the public Members of the CDC's vaccine advisory committee expressed concerns Wednesday about green-lighting boosters from one brand over others with authorized Covid vaccines available to Americans, noting the potential for public perception and logistical issues. The panel is tasked with recommending to the CDC how the FDA's vaccine policy should be implemented in real-world settings. Long suggested that the group wait for more information on so-called mix-and-match doses — the ability to vaccinate someone with one brand's primary series with the option for a different manufacturer's booster later — before signing off on just the Pfizer booster, asking “whether we’re willing to panic half the recipients of Moderna." “I don’t want to jeopardize anyone," she said of delaying a booster decision. "At the same time, it’ll be very, very difficult to have a little less than half of the population who would be eligible to receive" a booster if people can only get the brand that matches their initial series. Moderna has asked FDA to authorize its booster shot, and Johnson & Johnson has begun submitting booster data to the agency with an eye to filing an application. Amanda Cohn of the CDC urged committee members to consider the recommendations they're making now as "interim policies" that will change as more data surfaces. The National Institutes of Health is conducting a study on mixing vaccine doses, with results expected later this year. "This is a rapidly moving target," she said. The booster rollout could be messy Still, there are a number of challenges to approving only one brand's vaccine for boosting. Immunocompromised Americans have already been permitted to seek out third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because of concerns they may not have mounted a sufficient immune response to the first two shots. While they've been told they can receive the other brand's shot if they can't access the one they initially got, FDA isn't expected to allow mixing brands for people outside that category, which could sow further confusion. More than 98 percent of Americans participating in a CDC safety monitoring program who have gotten additional doses stuck with the same brand they originally received. But it's unclear how many of those studied actually fell under the CDC's definition of immunocompromised since patients only have to attest to their eligibility — no doctor's note required — meaning there are few obstacles keeping people interested in boosters from acquiring them, anyway. Declining to allow mixing Pfizer and Moderna doses beyond the immunocompromised could make administering boosters in long-term care facilities difficult if residents received different brands, said Molly Howell, an immunization program manager at the North Dakota Department of Health. “I don’t know that it’s realistic to keep going back with different brands," she said. * * * Ironically, the deliberations on the booster jabs are happening during the slowest week for first-dose vaccinations since July (despite NY's mandate looming on Monday). Remember, all of the deliberation so far have  focused on the Pfizer jab. Regulators will decide on boosters for people who have received the Moderna or J&J jabs in the coming weeks. One thing we already know: Pfizer boosters won't be recommended for patients who received a different brand the first time around (though exceptions to this have already and will likely continue to be made). Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 16:12.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

CDC Panel Considers Delaying Booster Jabs Decision By 1 Month To "Wait For More Evidence"

CDC Panel Considers Delaying Booster Jabs Decision By 1 Month To "Wait For More Evidence" Last night, the FDA - as expected - authorized the emergency use of booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jab for patients over the age of 65, the immuno-compromised, and the occupationally vulnerable. Now, it's the CDC's turn. The panel is preparing to wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, where it is deliberating a more specific set of guidelines regarding the booster jab and who will initially be eligible, and when. Before we get into specifics, it's worth noting that after the first day of discussion, some of the advisors were so befuddled by the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off the CDC's decision for a month to wait for more evidence. Such a decision would probably have driven the Biden Administration crazy. According to the AP, "the uncertainties were yet another reminder that the science surrounding boosters is more complicated than the Biden administration suggested when the president and his top aides rolled out their plan at the White House last month." On Wednesday, "the CDC panelists heard a series of presentations Wednesday outlining the knotty state of science on boosters. On one hand, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. On the other hand, there are signs of more low-grade infections among the vaccinated as immunity wanes." Ultimately, the function of the CDC panel is to "refine exactly who will be eligible" as Politico put it. For the booster jab, the focus will be on defining who's at "high risk". The discussions are expected to conclude Thursday afternoon. Politico has five key takeaways from day one, and what to expect on day two (text courtesy of Politico): The goals of vaccination might be changing: Data from the large clinical trials used to authorize Covid-19 vaccines in the United States suggested they offered strong protection against even mild infection, raising hopes that the shots would confer so-called sterilizing immunity — preventing vaccinated people from spreading the virus. But over time, scientists have realized that the vaccines' ability to ward off mild infection is waning, although protection against severe disease and death remains strong overall. CDC panel member Sarah Long, a pediatrics professor at Drexel University's College of Medicine, urged her colleagues to differentiate between ensuring the vaccines prevent hospitalizations versus all infection. "I don't think there's any hope that a vaccine, such as the ones we have, will prevent infection after the first maybe couple of weeks that you have those extraordinary immediate responses," she said. The elderly show the clearest need for boosters at this point: Antibodies from vaccination decrease over time among all age groups. But vaccine recipients 80 and older develop lower levels of neutralizing antibodies post-vaccination than younger adults do, said Natalie Thornburg, a respiratory virus immunology specialist at the CDC. That means that older people's antibodies may drop to undetectable levels faster, at which point their memory immune cells play a larger role in protecting them against Covid-19. But older people also may produce fewer memory cells than younger people whose immune systems are stronger — suggesting that older people would benefit from a third vaccine dose. Ruth Link-Gelles of the U.S. Public Health Service said current data shows significant drops in the efficacy of both the Pfizer and Moderna shots in people 65 and older in the time the Delta variant has dominated the domestic infection landscape. But Thornburg cautioned against viewing vaccines' protection as an on-off switch. "Immunity is not simply a binary" in which individuals are either protected or not against the coronavirus, she said. Most people are able to maintain some level of cellular immunity, which is likely enough to protect vaccine recipients from severe disease even after antibody levels drop off. Nursing-home residents face special risks, even with a boost Boosters may not be enough to fully protect residents of nursing homes, according to modeling data presented by Rachel Slayton of the U.S. Public Health Service. While boosters may help reduce the number of cases in long-term care facilities, she said, that depends on their inherent efficacy and on the vaccination coverage among facility staff. High community transmission will likely lead to more infections in nursing homes because staff can more easily import the virus, Slayton said. It's unclear whether booster doses could help curb transmission of the virus among vaccinated individuals. Experts are worried about confusing the public Members of the CDC's vaccine advisory committee expressed concerns Wednesday about green-lighting boosters from one brand over others with authorized Covid vaccines available to Americans, noting the potential for public perception and logistical issues. The panel is tasked with recommending to the CDC how the FDA's vaccine policy should be implemented in real-world settings. Long suggested that the group wait for more information on so-called mix-and-match doses — the ability to vaccinate someone with one brand's primary series with the option for a different manufacturer's booster later — before signing off on just the Pfizer booster, asking “whether we’re willing to panic half the recipients of Moderna." “I don’t want to jeopardize anyone," she said of delaying a booster decision. "At the same time, it’ll be very, very difficult to have a little less than half of the population who would be eligible to receive" a booster if people can only get the brand that matches their initial series. Moderna has asked FDA to authorize its booster shot, and Johnson & Johnson has begun submitting booster data to the agency with an eye to filing an application. Amanda Cohn of the CDC urged committee members to consider the recommendations they're making now as "interim policies" that will change as more data surfaces. The National Institutes of Health is conducting a study on mixing vaccine doses, with results expected later this year. "This is a rapidly moving target," she said. The booster rollout could be messy Still, there are a number of challenges to approving only one brand's vaccine for boosting. Immunocompromised Americans have already been permitted to seek out third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because of concerns they may not have mounted a sufficient immune response to the first two shots. While they've been told they can receive the other brand's shot if they can't access the one they initially got, FDA isn't expected to allow mixing brands for people outside that category, which could sow further confusion. More than 98 percent of Americans participating in a CDC safety monitoring program who have gotten additional doses stuck with the same brand they originally received. But it's unclear how many of those studied actually fell under the CDC's definition of immunocompromised since patients only have to attest to their eligibility — no doctor's note required — meaning there are few obstacles keeping people interested in boosters from acquiring them, anyway. Declining to allow mixing Pfizer and Moderna doses beyond the immunocompromised could make administering boosters in long-term care facilities difficult if residents received different brands, said Molly Howell, an immunization program manager at the North Dakota Department of Health. “I don’t know that it’s realistic to keep going back with different brands," she said. * * * Ironically, the deliberations on the booster jabs are happening during the slowest week for first-dose vaccinations since July (despite NY's mandate looming on Monday). Remember, all of the deliberation so far have  focused on the Pfizer jab. Regulators will decide on boosters for people who have received the Moderna or J&J jabs in the coming weeks. One thing we already know: Pfizer boosters won't be recommended for patients who received a different brand the first time around (though exceptions to this have already and will likely continue to be made). Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 09:34.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

FDA Agrees With Advisors, Limits Booster Jabs To Older & Immunocompromised Americans

FDA Agrees With Advisors, Limits Booster Jabs To Older & Immunocompromised Americans Following Friday's decision by the FDA's vaccine advisory panel to only recommend the use of boosters for patients who are a) immunocompromised, b) overweight or c) both, Bloomberg reports that the FDA has decided to accept the advisory panel's conclusions, as expected - representing a major victory for "the science" over President Biden's political priorities. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee - also known as VRBPAC - is a panel of senior advisors for the FDA, and after a long public meeting on Friday, it voted overwhelmingly against approving a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab for every patient over the age of 16 (though it did leave a door open to approving booster jabs for all eventually). Now, the FDA on Wednesday has decided to accept VRBPAC's recommendations, according to Bloomberg. FDA TO AUTHORIZE 3RD PFIZER SHOT FOR 65 AND OVER, HIGH-RISK In keeping with panel reco — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 NEW: The FDA is set to authorize Pfizer boosters tonight, in line with VRBPAC recommendations, per a source. Boosters for 65 and up, those at high risk of severe cases, or in workplaces with high exposure risk, per source. Announcement said to be imminent but not confirmed. — Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) September 22, 2021 The expected emergency clearance for the number of booster jabs will be for people 65 and older, those most susceptible to severe disease and people whose jobs put them at risk, Bloomberg's source added. Most importantly, the FDA's decision will scuttle - well, at least for now - the Biden Administration's plan to start doling out third "booster" jabs to any American over the age of 16 (in Israel, they have been available to anyone over the ae=ge ofthat the Biden administration would have to forgo, temporarily, a wider rollout of boosters that it had proposed last month. Third doses are already authorized for certain people with compromised immune systems. While hundreds of thousands of Americans have already received a third dose (the CDC has allowed them for older, sick patients), only 54.8% of America's adult population has been fully inoculated. Along with the Biden Administration, which is scrambling to do everything in its power to combat the delta variant (even if some of those moves, like mandatory masking, aren't as effective as one might expect) Pfizer is also bound to be disappointed by the FDA's decision. The FDA's decision to defy Biden follows by nearly two weeks the president's own decision to abandon his promise not to mandate vaccines, when Biden ordered all federal employees, as well as employees for government contractors and other private small and medium size businesses, to get vaccinated. Polls have shown nearly half of Americans disapprove of the rule. This isn't the final word on whether the entire population will eventually be required - or aggressively "incentivized" - to get a third dose of one of the mRNA vaccines. The FDA has room to change its recommendations or decisions as more scientific data and research comes in. Looking ahead, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to meet Thursday to make its own recommendations about who should receive the additional dose. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

FDA authorizes boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for older adults and others at high risk from COVID-19

The hope is that booster shots will help protect those most at risk as the pandemic continues to rage. A nurse prepares to inject staff with the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images The FDA authorized boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for older adults and people at higher risk. Booster shots are likely to be available in locations like pharmacies and clinics at no cost. The US is still struggling to convince many people to get their first doses of coronavirus vaccines. See more stories on Insider's business page. The US coronavirus booster-shot campaign has cleared a crucial hurdle.The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for older adults and others at high risk from the pandemic. Boosters can be given starting six months after the first two doses of the shot. The agency said that getting a third shot is safe and can help increase protection against the disease.The FDA decision caps more than a month of messy debate over the US vaccination drive. In mid-August, a group of President Joe Biden's top health officials issued an extraordinary joint statement saying that boosters were coming. The statement prompted controversy because it came before reviews by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and before much data on the safety or effectiveness of boosters was available. The US has already greenlit an extra vaccine dose for people with compromised immune systems, and some countries have embarked on booster-shot campaigns focused on vulnerable individuals.Under the FDA's emergency-use authorization, four main groups of people are eligible for booster shots:People 65 and older;People 18 to 64 who are at high risk of a severe case of COVID-19 if they get sick;People 18 to 64 who are at higher risk of getting COVID-19 at work, such as healthcare workers and teachers;People 18 to 64 who are at higher risk of getting COVID-19 because of where they live, such as those in prisons and other institutions.Protecting the most vulnerable amid the pandemicThe hope is that booster shots will help protect those most at risk as the pandemic continues to surge, fueled by the rise of the Delta variant. Delta is more contagious, and appears to be able to partially elude the protection offered by vaccines.Still, the US is struggling to convince much of its population to get coronavirus vaccines at all. Just over 64% of people 12 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC."At this moment, it is clear that the unvaccinated are driving transmission in the United States," Dr. Amanda Cohn from the CDC said during an FDA meeting on boosters shots on Friday. Cohn said that masks and social distancing are still crucial, because "vaccination will never be perfect" at preventing every case.The CDC still needs to weigh in formally on who should be prioritized to receive booster doses. The agency's vaccine advisory committee is set to discuss booster shots on Thursday. Interim FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock. Tom Williams/Getty Images The Biden administration has said that once approved, booster shots will be widely available in locations like pharmacies and clinics. They'll be offered to individuals for free.Expanding the reach of boostersThe FDA decision is a setback for Pfizer, which had asked the agency to make boosters available to everyone over age 16, six months after their second dose.It comes after a panel of doctors and other experts advising the FDA voted against the idea of making booster shots available that widely. The panel instead said that boosters should be given to people 65 and older, and to those most at risk of severe cases of COVID-19.Experts on the panel said there wasn't enough evidence showing the benefits of an extra vaccine dose for younger people. They also expressed concern that there wasn't enough safety data for younger adults, highlighting the risk of myocarditis, or heart inflammation, that has been seen at higher-than-usual levels in teenagers and 20-somethings who have been vaccinated."The incremental benefit to the younger population really has not been demonstrated at all," Dr. Michael Kurilla, an infectious disease expert from the National Institutes of Health, said during the meeting."I think we need to target the boosters right now specifically to the people who are likely to be at high risk, and it's an older population." 'A good step to protect yourself'Infectious-disease experts who aren't on the FDA's committee said the group made the right call to limit the initial rollout to more vulnerable people."If you fall into the age category, this is a good step to protect yourself," said Gigi Gronvall, an immunologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.The booster rollout shouldn't distract from effort to get more unvaccinated people to get their initial shots, said Bernadette Boden-Albala, director of the University of California, Irvine's public-health program. "If you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated," Boden-Albala said. "If you are vaccinated, be vigilant. And if you're vaccinated and eligible for the booster, get it."The FDA still has plenty of work ahead on coronavirus vaccines. The agency is reviewing an application from Moderna to give a third shot of its two-dose vaccine. Johnson & Johnson recently put out data showing that its vaccine is more effective after a second dose, and said it'd provided the information to the FDA.The agency is also being pressed to make vaccines available to younger kids. Pfizer has said it plans to submit data from a study of kids ages 5 to 11 to FDA in early October, and the agency could reach a decision by the end of that month. The drugmaker then plans to submit data from kids between 6 months and 5 years old in November. Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer's head of vaccine research and development Pfizer The case for boostersTo make the case for booster shots, Pfizer presented results from at least eight studies showing protection from the vaccine wanes over time and that a booster could help. The company also cited data from Israel that showed big benefits from boosters in older people. That data comes from an observational study and could be skewed by factors that researchers weren't aware of or couldn't account for.The FDA's own review of the evidence for extra shots avoided taking a firm stance on some of the largest questions surrounding boosters, and noted that Pfizer didn't formally evaluate the efficacy of boosters.In a statement on Friday, Pfizer said that it believes booster shots are "a critical tool in the ongoing effort to control the spread of this virus.""We continue to believe in the benefits of a booster dose for a broader population," Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer's head of vaccine research & development, said in the statement.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 22nd, 2021

FDA Agrees Awith Advisors, Limits Booster Jabs To Older & Immunocompromised Americans

FDA Agrees Awith Advisors, Limits Booster Jabs To Older & Immunocompromised Americans Following Friday's decision by the FDA's vaccine advisory panel to only recommend the use of boosters for patients who are a) immunocompromised, b) overweight or c) both, Bloomberg reports that the FDA has decided to accept the advisory panel's conclusions, as expected - representing a major victory for "the science" over President Biden's political priorities. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee - also known as VRBPAC - is a panel of senior advisors for the FDA, and after a long public meeting on Friday, it voted overwhelmingly against approving a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab for every patient over the age of 16 (though it did leave a door open to approving booster jabs for all eventually). Now, the FDA on Wednesday has decided to accept VRBPAC's recommendations, according to Bloomberg. FDA TO AUTHORIZE 3RD PFIZER SHOT FOR 65 AND OVER, HIGH-RISK In keeping with panel reco — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 NEW: The FDA is set to authorize Pfizer boosters tonight, in line with VRBPAC recommendations, per a source. Boosters for 65 and up, those at high risk of severe cases, or in workplaces with high exposure risk, per source. Announcement said to be imminent but not confirmed. — Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) September 22, 2021 The expected emergency clearance for the number of booster jabs will be for people 65 and older, those most susceptible to severe disease and people whose jobs put them at risk, Bloomberg's source added. Most importantly, the FDA's decision will scuttle - well, at least for now - the Biden Administration's plan to start doling out third "booster" jabs to any American over the age of 16 (in Israel, they have been available to anyone over the ae=ge ofthat the Biden administration would have to forgo, temporarily, a wider rollout of boosters that it had proposed last month. Third doses are already authorized for certain people with compromised immune systems. While hundreds of thousands of Americans have already received a third dose (the CDC has allowed them for older, sick patients), only 54.8% of America's adult population has been fully inoculated. Along with the Biden Administration, which is scrambling to do everything in its power to combat the delta variant (even if some of those moves, like mandatory masking, aren't as effective as one might expect) Pfizer is also bound to be disappointed by the FDA's decision. The FDA's decision to defy Biden follows by nearly two weeks the president's own decision to abandon his promise not to mandate vaccines, when Biden ordered all federal employees, as well as employees for government contractors and other private small and medium size businesses, to get vaccinated. Polls have shown nearly half of Americans disapprove of the rule. This isn't the final word on whether the entire population will eventually be required - or aggressively "incentivized" - to get a third dose of one of the mRNA vaccines. The FDA has room to change its recommendations or decisions as more scientific data and research comes in. Looking ahead, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to meet Thursday to make its own recommendations about who should receive the additional dose. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

The FDA could authorize the first COVID-19 pill in December - here"s who may be eligible

Next month, the FDA will meet to discuss Merck's antiviral pill for adults with mild to moderate COVID-19. Pills seen with the Merck logo in the background. Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images The FDA will meet to discuss Merck's COVID-19 pill in late November, which means the treatment could get authorized in December. The drug seems to prevent vulnerable people from requiring hospitalization or dying. Here's how the pill works, who might be eligible to receive it, and where to find it. The first-ever COVID-19 pill could be available before the end of the year.This week, Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize their antiviral pill for COVID-19. An FDA advisory panel will meet to discuss the request on November 30 - the first time such a panel has evaluated a COVID-19 treatment. (It did not hold meetings about the other COVID-19 treatments authorized so far.)If the pill meets the FDA's standards for safety and efficacy, the agency will likely greenlight the drug in December.Merck's pill was found to halve the risk of hospitalization or death among adults with mild to moderate symptoms. Just 7% of people who received the pill in a clinical trial were hospitalized or died, compared with 14% of those who got a placebo. Each of those groups contained nearly 400 people.The drug could fill a major hole for doctors looking to treat sick, unvaccinated patients - particularly as the winter threatens to drive up cases."If you can stop the virus before it makes someone very sick, then it's a game-changer," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Program, said during a Facebook Q&A earlier this month.Antiviral pills, Ryan added, are the "holy grail" of treatments.Here's what to know about Merck's pill.Who will be eligible?Merck's pill, molnupiravir, probably won't be available to everyone who gets COVID-19.To participate in the company's trial, adults had to have at least one factor that put them at risk of severe COVID-19, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or being over age 60. Participants also started the treatment within five days of developing symptoms, so those who have been sick for longer than that may not be eligible.Merck's trial also looked exclusively at unvaccinated people, so it's not yet known whether the treatment will be recommended for those who get breakthrough cases after getting vaccinated.Why is a COVID-19 pill necessary?So far, the FDA has fully approved just one treatment for COVID-19: the antiviral remdesivir, which is administered via injection. That drug has been found to shorten recovery time for hospitalized patients, but it's not a treatment for mild or moderate COVID-19.The FDA also authorized the emergency use of monoclonal antibodies, drugs that help keep people with mild or moderate symptoms from developing severe COVID-19. These come in two forms, infusions or injections - both of which are administered at hospitals or clinics. Though monoclonal antibodies are free to the public, they can cost the government more than $2,000 per dose.So drugmakers have been working to develop cheaper, less invasive treatments.Merck's fits the bill: The drug would cost the government around $700 per treatment (though it would also be free to Americans). That full regimen consists of 40 pills - four capsules twice a day for five days. The drug will likely be available as a prescription at pharmacies.But it's not a replacement for vaccines, which still offer the highest chance of avoiding hospitalization or death. Molnupiravir is an oral antiviral developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat COVID-19. Merck Will the pill be easy to get?The US government has purchased enough of Merck's pill to treat 1.7 million people, and the company already started manufacturing the drug. Merck hopes to produce 10 million treatment courses by the end of the year, much of which would go to other countries.Merck has signed licensing deals with Indian manufacturers to help deliver the drug to most low- and middle-income countries, assuming the pill gets authorized in those places. The company plans to vary the price of the treatment by country.How does the pill work inside the body?Merck's pill belongs to a class of antiviral drugs called nucleosides, which can block a virus from replicating inside cells. This particular drug creates mutations in the part of its genetic code that the virus uses to replicate. Once enough of its code is changed, the virus dies out, preventing a patient's symptoms from getting worse."The virus essentially mutates itself to death," Richard Plemper, a virologist at Georgia State University, recently told Nature.Are there any side effects?People in Merck's trial reported a similar number of side effects regardless of whether they got the real drug or a placebo (40% of placebo recipients had side effects, compared with 35% of those who got the pill)."We're very comfortable that the drug will be safe if used as intended," Daria Hazuda, Merck's vice president of infectious diseases discovery, said in a press call earlier this month.This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published October 12.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt18 hr. 42 min. ago

The 5 best bed sheets in 2021 for every sleeper

We tested 19 sets to find the best sheets for your bed in 2021. Our picks include L.L.Bean, Pinzon, Sijo, Frette, and more. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Connie Chen/Insider Good sheets are essential to good sleep, which is why you need a set that's comfortable and durable. The L.L.Bean Percale Sheet Set is our top pick for most people because they're crisp and breathable. It's made from soft, durable, extra-long-staple cotton and is affordably priced for the quality. Read more about how Insider Reviews tests home products. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyI've spent four years trying out more than three dozen sets of sheets, and I can tell you - even if you have the perfect mattress and pillow, bedtime is incomplete without soft and comfortable sheets. For this guide, I put 19 sets of sheets through rigorous testing to determine the top five for a variety of preferences and budgets. L.L.Bean's Percale Sheet Set is the best option for most people.I spoke to hospitality experts and a textiles scientist to learn more about thread count, materials and fiber types, and fabric care. The FAQs section contains more info on why thread count is less important than you think, why you should look for 100% long-staple cotton as a sheeting material, and how to prevent wrinkles in your fresh sheets. The majority of our picks are made from cotton, which offers the best balance of comfort, durability, and affordability. But we've also included options like flannel and linen, which hold heat differently and may be more appropriate for specific seasons or those who tend to sleep cold or hot. Here are the best sheets for your bed in 2021Best sheets overall: L.L.Bean Percale Sheet SetBest cooling sheets for summer: Sijo Linen Sheet SetBest flannel sheets for winter: Pinzon Flannel Sheet SetBest hotel sheets: H by Frette Classic Sheet SetBest sheets on a budget: Threshold Solid Performance Sheet Set Best sheets overall Connie Chen/Insider The L.L.Bean percale sheets feel amazing on your skin — simultaneously light, crisp, and soft — and prove that quality materials are more important than thread count.Material: 100% Pima cotton, percale weave Thread count: 280 Sizes available: Twin, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions:  Machine wash in warm water with like colors. Use only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble dry on low and remove promptly. Pros: High-quality construction, very soft and comfortable, fitted sheet is labeled, accessible priceCons: Lack of prints and patterns, fitted sheet may be loose on thinner mattressesOf all the percale cotton sheets I tested, L.L.Bean's set stood out for its ultra-softness and comfort. It's our overall best pick because it boasts a bit of everything that most shoppers are looking for: lightweight, breathable, and cool fabric; crisp yet soft feel; and strong construction that can reliably stand up to multiple washes. The sheets are made from pima cotton, which is a high-quality, extra-long-staple cotton. Karen Leonas, a professor of textile sciences at the Wilson College of Textiles, NC State University, told us extra-long-staple cotton is even stronger and more resistant to abrasion than long-staple cotton. That's likely why the L.L.Bean sheets are extra soft and durable, even though the 280-thread count is on the lower end of the spectrum. Even after many washes, they also had a great feel and experienced no loose threads or shrinkage in the last three months.The fitted sheet fit well and never slipped off, but there was a little excess (it fits up to 15-inch mattresses) on my IKEA Haugesund mattress. I loved that the long and short sides were labeled, a thoughtful touch that always sped up the annoying task of putting on my sheets. (When you're constantly trying and washing different sheets, you notice and appreciate these things.) The sheets are available in a handful of light colors, and they have hemstitched detailing (decorative threading at the edges). If you prefer a simple look that fits into pretty much any room style, the L.L.Bean sheets won't disappoint. If you like fun prints and patterns, try Brooklinen's sheets. They came in a close second to L.L.Bean for comfort and durability and are also reasonably priced.  There's nothing gimmicky or "special" about these L.L.Bean sheets, and that's what makes them so great. They're simply well-made, extremely comfortable, and dependable — the best you could want out of something you're sleeping on every night. Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best flannel sheets for winter Connie Chen/Insider It's hard to imagine snuggling in anything but Pinzon's thick flannel sheets on a cold winter night. They'll keep you warm and cozy without causing you to overheat.Material: 100% brushed cottonThread count: Doesn't apply; 170 GSMSizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water. Tumble dry on low. Pros: Plush and cozy feel, heavyweight, breathable, affordable Cons: Lots of dryer lint, only available in solid colors, may be too warm for hot sleepersImagine you're nestled in a cabin in the woods, far, far away from the people and bustle of regular life. There's a fire crackling nearby, and you have a book in one hand and a mug of tea in the other. That's what it feels like sleeping in these flannel sheets, even if the reality is that you're laying your head to rest in a modern city high-rise. There's no better fabric than flannel to bundle your body in during fall and winter (and even beyond, if you don't sleep hot). Pinzon's flannel is thick, soft, and cozy from the very first use and the comforting feeling only gets better over time. They're velvety and a little fuzzy but were never itchy and uncomfortable. Though the sheets are very warm, they never felt stifling or unbreathable, despite the fact that I sometimes sleep warm. However, if you regularly sleep hot, the flannel sheets may be too stifling.These sheets make it dangerously tempting to take midday naps curled up like a cat or to sleep in every day as if it were a Sunday free of commitments and appointments. I consistently felt like I slept better and deeper because of how warm and comfortable these sheets are. Fortunately, there's been no shrinkage or pilling to get in the way of that comfort.Still, there are a few small inconveniences. Out of the package, they have a slight chemical odor, so you'll need to wash them before the first use. Also, be prepared to empty out a thick layer of fuzz from your dryer lint trap every time you wash them. If you have thicker or high-loft pillows, the pillowcases may be a tight fit. I used them on my Casper and Leesa pillows (both moderately-sized pillows), and the pillowcases were a bit difficult to pull on.Cotton Flannel Bed Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best hotel sheets Connie Chen/Insider When you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars a night to sleep at a luxury hotel, H by Frette's smooth and luxurious sateen sheets will take you there instead.Material: 100% extra-long-staple cotton, sateen weaveThread count: 300Sizes available: Twin, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in hot water. Tumble dry on low. If desired, remove before completely dry and iron to remove wrinkles.Pros: Luxury hotel-approved, quality materials, washes well, the brand has a long manufacturing historyCons: Only available in whiteRitz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Kimpton hotels worldwide turn to this iconic name for their bedding needs. We're talking about none other than Italian luxury brand Frette, once the official maker of linens for the Italian royal family. Sleeping in Frette's soft and smooth sateen sheets, you'll certainly feel like royalty. H by Frette is Frette's consumer line of linens and whisks you away into the sumptuous hotel bed of your dreams. But rather than paying for just a single night in a high-end hotel, you're dropping $300 for years of hotel luxury in your own room. The sheets are, of course, only available in white, and you can get them in sateen or percale, depending on your preference. The resulting bed looks simple, clean, and fresh. While housekeeping staff isn't included with your purchase, you'll probably feel motivated anyway to maintain the signature hotel style yourself because of how sleek and composed the all-white look is.Frette uses 100% extra-long-staple cotton, so even though the set doesn't have the extraordinarily high thread count (300) you might expect from hotel sheets, it feels very soft. Extra long-staple cotton is also very durable — important for hotels where housekeeping teams are washing each room's sheets constantly and important for you as a consumer if you want to be sure your investment goes a long way. Sateen sheets can be too warm for me sometimes, but Frette's felt perfect and cooler than other sateen sets I've tried. The sheets have a subtle gloss and a silky feel, and they remain comfortable after every wash. You'll find less expensive and equally comfortable sheets in the rest of this guide, but if you specifically want the sheets used in and approved by hundreds of hotels, then you'll be very happy with Frette's. Whenever I rotate through my sheets, I look forward to this set because I know it'll feel like a treat.Pro tip: "When recreating this [hotel] experience at home, think about using high lofting pillows, quality sheets, and a plush duvet with a duvet cover for the ultimate luxury experience," says Chan.Sateen Classic Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best sheets on a budget Connie Chen/Insider Threshold's sheets are popular among Target shoppers because they're comfortable, thoughtfully designed, and, best of all, affordable.Material: 100% cotton, sateen weaveThread count: 400Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water. Tumble dry on low. Pros: Affordable, great fit Cons: May trap body oils more, smell terrible out of the packageIt's the price tag that'll catch your eye first, then the great fit and soft feel that'll sell you completely on these budget-friendly sheets from Target brand Threshold. Of all the sets I tested, Threshold's fitted sheet was the easiest to put on and fit my mattress the best, despite being designed for mattresses up to 18-inch deep. The extra stretch in the corners of the sheet made a big difference and helped the sheet cling to my mattress without showing excess material on top. It also has a top and bottom label to speed up the fitting process. Once on, the sateen sheets are smooth and silky. They're made from 100% cotton and have a 400-thread count on the higher end of all the sets I tried.After some use, however, I noticed that they seem to trap body oils more readily and feel greasier than other sets, making them less pleasant to sleep on. I wondered if this was because Target uses a short-staple cotton, or if they applied some kind of treatment over the sheets to give them their "performance" qualities (wrinkle-resistant, bleach friendly), but the brand didn't respond to my requests for additional clarification. The problem does seem to go away if I wash the sheets more often.Either way, I had a comfortable experience overall; they just weren't the best of all the sheets I tried. And though they're touted as "performance sheets," most notably as being wrinkle-free, they certainly wrinkle. The best way to get rid of the wrinkles, as with all cotton sheets, is to iron them. Be warned — the sheets have a strong sour and chemical smell when you first take them out of their packaging. The smell lingers even after the sheets are aired out for a couple of days, so you'll definitely want to wash them first.If you're on a budget, a college student, or a frequent host looking to outfit a guest bed, these sheets are a smart decision. We're continuing to test and wash them to look for any durability issues, but so far, we haven't run into any. Performance Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best cooling sheets for summer Connie Chen/Insider The cool, airy, and beautiful linen sheets from Sijo will be your summer favorite, or if you regularly sleep hot, a durable yearlong standby.Material: 100% French flaxThread count: Doesn't applySizes available: Full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water on the gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low. Remove from dryer when slightly damp and hang or lie flat. They can also be hand washed or dry cleaned. Pros: Stays dry and cool, casually wrinkled style, flexible flat sheet option Cons: Doesn't come in as many colors and sizes as competitors, may experience some sheddingLinen is a contentious textile. It wrinkles very easily, feels a bit rough, and is notoriously expensive. On the other hand, some prefer the casual, lived-in look, and it does get softer with time and use. Most importantly, because it's made from hollow flax fibers, which absorb moisture and let air pass through, linen is breathable and stays dry even on the warmest, stuffiest nights. Sijo sheets are the best linen sheets I've tried because they strike the right balance of comfort, coolness, durability, and price. After a couple of months of testing, they knock out our former best pick, MagicLinen, because of how downright soft and comfortable they are, even while having the signature grainy texture of linen. And they get softer and better after multiple washes.If your preconception of linen is that it's too scratchy to enjoy, Sijo's sheets will change your mind. They're also airy and light, keeping me cool on California spring-nights-that-already-feel-like-summer (we recently had temps in the high 80s in late March). I loved the wrinkled look, especially combined with the soothing Blush color. I'm also a fan of Sky, a dusky blue. The color and overall construction have held up well so far, and the fabric continues to feel both substantial and lightweight. You should expect some shedding in the first few washes — it's a natural part of the process but a little annoying to pick off your bed.Unlike with MagicLinen, I didn't have any sizing issues with Sijo's sheets. All the sets have a 15-inch depth. You can also opt in or out of a flat sheet, which provides great flexibility and can bring the price of your purchase down.Linen Sheet Set (Queen) (button) What else we tested Connie Chen/Insider What else we recommend and why Brooklinen (sateen): As I mentioned earlier, it was a tight race between Brooklinen and L.L.Bean. We still highly recommend Brooklinen because the brand offers incredible value for long-lasting, comfortable, and beautiful sheets. But the set we tested (Brooklinen's most popular) may be too warm for some people because of the sateen weave, which is why we ultimately picked L.L.Bean's cooler percale. Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here.Brooklinen (linen): Brooklinen's sateen sheets usually get all the love, but we were also interested in its other fabrics. Each set of its cozy made-in-Portugal linen sheets is individually garment-dyed, so you'll feel like you have a unique piece of bedding. Our top pick is softer, but Brooklinen's are still pretty comfortable and come at the best price. Boll & Branch: Boll & Branch uses cotton that's both GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified, so if you live an organic lifestyle or are trying to incorporate more organic products into your cart, you'll love these ethically and sustainably made sheets. The sheets are comfortable and durable but keep in mind that the manufacturing process and certifications do come at a cost. Read our full review of Boll & Branch sheets here.MagicLinen: MagicLinen recently lost its spot as our top linen pick because it wasn't as comfortable or affordable as Sijo. There are a few reasons you might still want to buy MagicLinen, though: it comes in a lot more colors and sizes, including twin and deep-depth. If you're willing to pay a bit more to find a specific style and fit, MagicLinen's a good place to shop durable and airy linen sheets. Read our full review of MagicLinen sheets here. Riley: Riley's percale sheets are softer than other percale sheets, but not more so than L.L.Bean's. They felt cool and held up to all our washes well. I also appreciated the fair price point and the flexibility of opting for the add-on flat sheet, instead of being stuck with one you don't want. Parachute: Parachute's name often comes up along with fellow direct-to-consumer brands Brooklinen and Boll & Branch, all of which launched around the same time. We loved the smooth feel of its sateen sheets, which were softer than Brooklinen's. The one downside is they come in limited colors, and many sizes are currently sold out. Snowe: The crisp percale sheets from Snowe have both the feel and sensibility of a light button-down shirt. They're sophisticated and sleek, though not quite as soft as other percale options we've tried. I slept with them during the dead of summer, and they kept me cool and comfortable. Casper: Casper's newest bedding offering is the Hyperlite Sheet Set, made from Tencel lyocell, which comes from sustainably sourced wood. The material is indeed incredibly lightweight and soft, with a thin, gauzy construction — so thin that it's a bit see-through. They've held up really well after many washes. Bed Threads: This is another brand we love for fairly priced linen sheets. Bed Threads offers extended sizing and an assortment of beautiful colors to spruce up your bedroom. (I sampled the lilac.)What we do not recommend and why Crane & Canopy: We liked the comfortable feel and embroidery of these extra-long-staple, 400-thread count cotton sheets. Like L.L.Bean and Brooklinen, they're made from high-quality cotton and have a mid-tier thread count — but they're a lot more expensive. Since there are no other distinct features to set Crane & Canopy apart, we prefer L.L.Bean and Brooklinen for their better value.Serena & Lily: The home brand has many pretty and composed sheet options, like this Classic Ring Sheet Set, which has a percale weave and a 310-thread count. The feel is crisp and cool, but it's a bit pricey for what you get, and our other sheet picks offer better value. We also noticed after the first wash that there were already some loose threads on the pillowcases. Italic: Long-staple cotton percale sheets made by the same manufacturer of Frette, Four Seasons, and St. Regis sheets for $85? The Slumber Cotton set is enticing for this reason, and it's comfortable to sleep in. However, Italic has a $100/year membership model, so buying this set only makes sense if you plan on purchasing other goods from the site. We recommend first browsing the rest of the online shop to see if you're interested in the other home products, clothing, and accessories. Otherwise, you'll be paying $185, which isn't any more competitive than our picks above. Ettitude: Ettitude's claim to fame is using bamboo lyocell for its sheets. They're made from 100% organic bamboo with a water-efficient manufacturing process, and the result is uniquely soft, silky, and cool. However, we noticed they're more delicate than other fabrics, and the sheets showed more pilling and abrasion after we washed them.Bespoke Post: A defining characteristic of percale is that it's crisp and airy, like your favorite button-down shirt. The problem I experienced with Bespoke Post's new percale sheets is that they're too crisp and can rustle loudly if you move in your sleep (which is probably most of us). It also held onto and showed body oils easily, and you'd need to wash the set frequently.  Our testing methodology Connie Chen/Insider Here's how we tested the sheets over nine months. We'll continue to follow these steps in the upcoming months and note any changes.Washed and dried each set according to its respective instructions at least five times. Usually, we washed the sheets in a cold cycle with gentle detergent and dried them on a low tumble cycle. Put the fitted sheet on a 10-inch-thick mattress and noted slipping, sliding, post-wash shrinkage, and stretchiness of elastic. Slept on each set for at least one week and noted texture, overall comfort, breathability, and coolness. What we're testing next West Elm/Instagram Lilysilk: One category we'd like to add to our guide in the future is "best silk sheets." The luxurious Lilysilk sheets are made of mulberry silk and are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. We like that Lilysilk lets you customize what pieces are included in your sheet set. THX Silk: The THX Silk 19 momme silk sheet could have the same description as the Lilysilk sheets. They're made from OEKO-TEX certified mulberry silk, but they "only" cost $410. We're curious to see if these luxury sheets live up to their price.West Elm: West Elm's Fair Trade-certified linen sheets are popular among linen lovers. They come in around the same price as MagicLinen's and are also available in many beautiful colors, so we'll mainly be comparing their comfort and durability. Kassatex: These long-staple cotton, 300-thread count sateen sheets seem promising, especially considering a Queen set is only $100. We look forward to putting these inexpensive sheets through all our tests to see how they stand up over time and how they compare to our current picks.  FAQs Connie Chen/Insider Does thread count matter?Yes, to a certain extent. However, don't use it as your sole determining factor because its definition can be manipulated, and after a certain number, the difference in feel and durability is negligible. Thread count is the number of yarns per inch, horizontally and vertically. Leonas tells us that a ply yarn (two single yarns twisted together) has traditionally been considered one yarn, but in recent years, some brands have been using total ply yarn count as the thread count, resulting in an artificially high number. Remember that thread count only applies to cotton sheets and single yarn weaves. All of our best cotton sheets fall in the 300-500 range, and you likely won't need anything beyond that."When finding sheets that will last and provide comfort and a relaxing night's sleep, take a look at the material first and thread count second," said Ave Bradley, senior vice president of design and creative director at Kimpton Hotels. Kimpton uses 200-300 thread count cotton sheets from Frette in its rooms. Though bedding brands are often quick to show off high thread counts, they're less important than you might think. The type of fiber and weave also help determine the sheet's texture, breathability, and durability. Percale and sateen, for example, are both made of cotton but have different weave structures, resulting in different feels.What are the different types of sheets?The quality and type of material do matter. Below, we define, compare, and contrast different materials, fabrics, and terms you'll often run into while shopping for sheets. Drape: The fluidity or rigidity of a fabric. A fabric with a high or fluid drape, such as silk, is flowy and clings more to the object. A fabric with a low drape is stiffer and holds its shape more. Long-staple cotton: Cotton with longer-staple fibers that result in smoother and stronger yarn. This is compared to short-staple cotton, which has fiber ends that stick out and cause the sheets to be rougher and less abrasion-resistant. Brands will generally call out when they use long-staple cotton; otherwise, you can probably assume it's short-staple. Leonas says the industry definition of long-staple cotton is a fiber length of 1.15-1.22 inches.Egyptian cotton: Cotton grown in Egypt. It's often assumed that Egyptian cotton is long-staple, but it could also be lower-quality, short-staple cotton that just happens to be from Egypt, so be careful of this labeling and look specifically for "long-staple cotton." Pima cotton: Also known by its trademark name, Supima cotton. Extra long-staple cotton that is grown only in the US and has a fiber length of at least 1.5 inches. Extra long-staple cotton is even smoother, more flexible, and more resistant to pilling than long-staple cotton.Percale: A type of cotton weave where one thread is woven with another thread into a tight, grid pattern. It has a matte, crisp feel. It's airy and more breathable. Sateen: A type of cotton weave where three or four threads are woven over one thread into a looser grid pattern. It has a smooth, silky feel and a slight sheen to it. Compared to percale, it's less breathable and may not be suitable for sleepers who run hot. According to Leonas, sateen tends to snag more easily and show dirt more readily due to its unique "float" weave. If you enjoy the feel and look of sateen, keep in mind that sheets made using this weave require a little more care and maintenance. Polyester: A type of synthetic fiber that may be blended with cotton or used to make microfiber. It's less breathable and traps moisture more easily, and it may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. Microfiber: A type of synthetic material made with very fine polyester fibers. It's very soft and drapeable but doesn't breathe well. Lyocell: Also known as Tencel. A type of fiber made from wood (often eucalyptus) pulp. It's soft, silky, and breathable. Linen: A type of fiber made from flax plants. It's slightly rigid, with a rougher texture, and it feels cool and breathable. It wrinkles easily. Flannel: A type of fabric made with thickly woven wool or cotton. It's brushed to give it a slightly soft and fuzzy texture, and it feels warm.What kind of sheets do hotels use?Dennis Chan, director of retail product at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said his team looks at the fabric drape (the way the fabric hangs), hand feel, and construction of weave when sourcing bedding for hotels worldwide. Four Seasons produces its own line of bedding in its Four Seasons at Home collection, featuring 350-thread count sateen weave cotton sheets. Top hotel brands like Four Seasons and Kimpton outfit their rooms in 100% long-staple cotton sheets because they're soft, breathable, and durable, resulting in luxurious and memorable sleep experiences for their guests. Long-staple cotton has longer fibers, so it's stronger and softer than shorter-staple cotton, which is why we also generally recommend 100% long-staple cotton in our best picks. What are the different sheet certifications?You may notice that some of our best picks have a Standard 100 by Oeko Tex certification. This label means the final sheet product has been independently tested for more than 100 harmful chemical substances and is safe for human use. While it's not the only certification out there, it's widely used and known in the textiles industry.Our experts say you should look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for basic safety, but if you also care about manufacturing, look for STeP by Oeko Tex. It checks for environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and safe practices all along the production process.The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is another certification used specifically for organic textiles. GOTS-certified sheets contain at least 95% certified organic fibers and meet environmental and social standards at every stage of processing and manufacturing.What's the best way to care for your sheets?According to various bedding brands, you should wash your sheets every one to two weeks and have alternate sets to preserve their quality. We recommend following the specific care instructions that come with the sheet set you buy. Based on our experience, brands generally advise washing the sheets in a cold or warm cycle with gentle detergent, then drying in a low tumble cycle. Hot water can make colors bleed, cause shrinkage, and weaken fibers. Drying at high heat can also weaken fibers and cause pilling.What's the best way to prevent wrinkles?For all its great properties, cotton naturally wrinkles, and that's thanks to its molecular structure. Leonas explained that wrinkles happen when hydrogen bonds form as your sheets bump around in the dryer. "The only way to get rid of those bonds is to flip some water on it or apply high heat. That's why we use a lot of steam when we press things," she says. If you want to get rid of wrinkles, the best way is to iron them before fitting them onto your bed or remove them from your dryer a little before the cycle ends and fitting them onto your bed while slightly damp.Are alternative fibers any good? Alternative fibers like bamboo lyocell or microfiber are appealing because they're often very comfortable and affordable. However, in our testing experience, their durability doesn't match up to that of cotton or linen. They're more prone to pilling, abrasion, and shrinkage. Plus, the production and care of these alternative fibers can be murky and bad for the environment. The shedding of microfiber, for example, is polluting the ocean. What kind of duvet cover do you pair with your sheets? It's best to choose a duvet cover with the same fabrication as your sheet set — if you like how your sheets feel below you, you'll like how the same type of fabric feels on top of you. Most of the brands we recommend in our guide also sell matching duvet covers. If you want to mix and match bedding pieces, we'll soon be overhauling our guide to the best duvet covers.  Check out our other great bedding guides Jen Gushue/Insider The best pillowsThe best pillowcasesThe best duvet coversThe best mattressesThe best weighted blanketThe best cotton sheetsThe best flannel sheetsThe best sheets for kids  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

After Australia"s landmark sub deal with the US and UK, an underwater arms race may heat up in the Pacific

The AUKUS pact may drive China to expand its own sub fleet, and those are the only countries interested in bigger undersea arsenals. Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Sheean arrives for a port visit in Hobart, Australia, April 1, 2021. LSIS Leo Baumgartner/Australian Defence Force via Getty Images Indo-Pacific countries are interested in nuclear and non-nuclear subs and are developing, replacing, or expanding their fleets. The growing number of underwater vessels makes competition between them more dangerous, says academic. Australia's acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines from the United States and Britain will spark a complex naval competition in the Indo-Pacific above and below the water, according to analysts.The announcement of the Aukus pact and the plan by the US and Britain to equip Australia with, stealthy, long-range nuclear-powered attack submarines has clearly irritated its apparent target, Beijing, which will only accelerate its own rapid build-up of submarine fleets and anti-submarine forces to counter the new Anglo alliance.On September 30, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the move would "not only have a far-reaching impact on the international non-proliferation system but also bring real threats to regional peace and stability."In his address to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on September 16, China's ambassador to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun also warned that nuclear weapon states aiding non-nuclear states, such as Australia, could "give rise to serious negative implications on the ongoing international efforts" to address nuclear issues relating to North Korea and Iran."This is going to be a big threat to China, especially in the South China Sea region," said Hu Bo, director of the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative. "Although Australia's submarines can't be delivered in the near future, it will trigger an arms race." A Chinese Type 094A Jin-class ballistic-missile sub in the South China Sea, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer A 2020 Pentagon report said the Chinese navy had four Type 094A nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) in service, six Type 093 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) and 50 diesel-powered attack submarines. Type 095 SSN and Type 096 SSBN are also under development. In April this year, one more Type 094A entered service, commissioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping in person.On the other side, Australia operates six Collins-class diesel-electric attack submarines, and they are planning to acquire "at least eight" SSNs.Although the new vessels will not be operational until after 2030, or even in the 2040s, senior cabinet ministers of Australia have mentioned they may lease some attack submarines from the US or Britain for temporary use or training as a stopgap solution.The US Navy has the world's strongest underwater force, with 14 Ohio-class SSBNs and three classes of nuclear-powered attack submarines - Virginia, Seawolf and Los Angeles - making 52 vessels. All the US subs are nuclear-powered and at any given time US Navy fleets have some 24 deployed in the Indo-Pacific.Additionally, if the US Navy meets its goal of stationing 60% of its warships in the region, it would increase deployment to more than 31 vessels.Britain, which is geographically far from the Indo-Pacific but has military forces permanently based in the region, has four Vanguard-class SSBNs, four Astute-class SSNs and four Trafalgar-class SSNs in service, plus three more Astute-class and a new Dreadnought-class SSBN in construction.The Astute-class and the Virginia-class are among the candidates Australia may buy."Over the next 18 months, Australia will work with the United Kingdom and United States to intensely examine the full suite of requirements that underpin nuclear stewardship," Australia's newly formed Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force said in a statement. Ambush, a British Astute-class attack sub, at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, September 9, 2021. Royal Navy/LA(Phot) Stu Hill China is not the only potential opposition for Aukus. In the Indo-Pacific a lot more countries are interested in diving deep. India, North Korea and South Korea have either started or have plans to develop nuclear-powered submarines.Others are also expanding their underwater strength, even if they are not so keen on using nuclear power. Vietnam is buying from Russia and Thailand from China to bolster its fleets. And as tensions rise with Beijing, Taipei is also eager to replace its pair of aged submarines with new ones."The US will restrict Taiwan. But it might let Japan and India loose, or even transfer some of its SSN tech to India," said Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator, pointing out that the two are members of another US-led pact in the region, the Quad, which also involves Australia.India has commissioned one Arihant-class SSBN, with three more to follow. It has also just returned a Russian-made Akula-class SSN and will lease another one from 2025. And Japan, long focused on it strength below the surface, has 20 diesel-electric attack submarines in service and is building one more."Japan and India both have the ability to build their own nuclear-powered submarine. And Japan only needs the green light from the Americans, as do the South Koreans," Song said.In January, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country had finished the design of a nuclear-powered submarine capable of firing a "nuclear strategic weapon," and the development was in "the final stages of examination."In response, Seoul has reportedly negotiated with Washington for authorisation to build nuclear-powered submarines. It conducted its first successful underwater test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile earlier this month. A South Korean Navy Type 209-class sub surfaces near Busan, October 7, 2008. KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP via Getty Images A popular belief is that the best weapon against a submarine is a submarine. But observers said they were expensive to acquire, operate and maintain. Not every country in the region could afford, or was willing, to build subs.However, the rising tension means those that could not afford to create a new undersea fleet or expand existing fleets would probably also have to seek other anti-submarine warfare (ASW) solutions when caught up in this big boys' race."The 'cheaper' solution is to invest in other countervailing capabilities, in this case ASW-capable assets such as purpose-designed surface ships, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft," said Collin Koh, a research fellow from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.When deployed, many of these submarines are likely to be crowded in the South China Sea, a busy, strategic waterway that is deep enough for submarines."The more congested the regional littorals are, the risk of naval close encounters involving submarines and surface forces - as well as accidents such as collisions with other ships including civilian ones - correspondingly increase," Koh said.Submarines are essentially "invisible" for the most part while they are navigating and do not surface unless necessary, which makes the underwater competition more dangerous, he said, adding that mechanisms for preventing or mitigating underwater incidents in the region have yet to be developed.Last week, the US navy confirmed its Seawolf-class nuclear attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) "hit an unknown underwater object" in the South China Sea, which China said it was seriously concerned about.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

FDA Hints J&J Booster Jab May Be Beneficial, But Remains Mum On Approval Odds

FDA Hints J&J Booster Jab May Be Beneficial, But Remains Mum On Approval Odds With just one day left before the FDA's vaccine advisory committee meets in person to discuss booster-jab submissions from Moderna and J&J, the FDA has just shunned Moderna once again by suggesting that the agency might approve the J&J booster jab, one day after it suggested that Moderna's jab is still "too effective" to justify recommending a third jab. However, the agency's scientists also lamented the paucity of data submitted by J&J, and questioned the strength of the evidence submitted. The panel's decision on Friday could have significant influence on whether the 15 million Americans who have received the one-dose vaccine will be allowed to get a second shot, or if they will instead be urged to get a different brand of vaccine for added protection. Pfizer's jab has already been granted emergency approval for boosters in patients who are elderly or immuno-compromised. However, when it comes to J&J, the data to support a booster remains limited, and the agency hasn't verified all the information yet. “Although not independently confirmed by FDA from datasets, summaries of the data suggest there may be a benefit in a second dose administered approximately 2 months after the primary dose, when compared to the efficacy seen in the pivotal study COV3001,” they wrote in a 54-page document published on Wednesday. The main reason why the FDA might consider approving a booster jab for J&J is that data show the J&J jab simply isn't as effective as the Pfizer and Moderna jabs, so those who have received it might be better off receiving a booster dose to keep their immunity levels high. "The highest effectiveness estimates (including for more severe COVID-19 disease) across clinical trials and real-world effectiveness studies evaluating the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine are consistently less than the highest effectiveness estimates for the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines," they said. [...] "Although not independently confirmed by FDA from datasets, summaries of the data suggest there may be a benefit in a second dose administered approximately 2 months after the primary dose," the agency said in its report. Overall, the data show that single-shot J&J vaccine "still affords protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death in the United States." The report by FDA scientists is meant to brief the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which will meet Thursday to discuss he Moderna jab and Friday to discuss data on the safety and effectiveness of a second J&J jab. T The documents published so far offer a glimpse of the agency’s view on additional shots. J&J, which uses a modified adenovirus to elicit an immune response, asked the FDA to approve a booster shot of its one-dose vaccine for people ages 18 and older on Oct. 5. The briefing documents appear to suggest that the FDA is leaning toward authorizing a J&J booster jab, while the agency's advisory panel appears to be leaning toward rejecting a Moderna booster, at least for now, because - as we said - their data suggests the Moderna jab retains immunity for longer. Read the FDA's full J&J briefing documents below: VRBPAC 2021.10.14 15 Meeting Briefing Document FDA (Janssen) by Joseph Adinolfi Jr. on Scribd Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 13:09.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Live Free Or Die: Why Medical Autonomy Matters

Live Free Or Die: Why Medical Autonomy Matters Authored by Frank Miele via RealClearPolitics.com, Because I have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, I have been labeled everything from an anti-science Luddite to a domestic terrorist. If I lived in almost any other state than Montana, I might be denied basic human services such as health care, refused employment, or told I can’t shop at a store for such fundamental necessities as food. The powers that be in government, media and medicine have decreed me to be an undesirable and they want to force me and millions like me to be vaccinated against our will. They say that I am a danger to society, never for a minute realizing that they represent a much greater threat to society — the threat of totalitarianism, the state against the individual. George Orwell might just as well have never written “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” The Greatest Generation might as well have never defeated the Nazis. Ronald Reagan may as well have never defeated the Evil Empire of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. What’s the point if I have to surrender my dignity and willpower to the bureaucrats and technocrats and let them stick a needle in my arm to mark me just as a rancher would brand his cattle: owned. Oh, wait — I’m supposed to surrender for the greater good. I’m supposed to give up my ability to govern my own body because the people who are already vaccinated are still terrified of the virus that the vaccination supposedly protects them against. Something doesn’t add up, and until I feel comfortable with taking the vaccine, you can count me out. No, I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I’ve never had any problem with vaccines before. From the time I was a child growing up in the early 1960s, I understood that vaccines were to protect me — and society — from deadly illnesses. That’s not an exaggeration. Smallpox was fatal in up to 30% of cases, and even if you survived, you paid a price. One of my teachers bore the awful scars of smallpox on his face, and no one wanted to suffer as he had. Every kid in school also knew that if you had a run-in with a rusty nail, you ran the risk of being infected with tetanus, which went by the even scarier name of lockjaw. Then there were German measles, diphtheria and whooping cough. We kids may not have known much about those, but our parents sure did, and they could tell stories about cousins, siblings or friends who had perished from them. I never got measles because I was vaccinated at a young age, but it was a common problem in lower-income families such as mine, and was something you definitely didn’t joke about. I think vaccines have done the world a world of good. I remember getting my smallpox vaccine and waiting eagerly to get the scar on my arm that my mother’s arm showed off like a badge of courage, but it never appeared for me. Then when the oral polio vaccine was developed, I remember lining up in the gym at North Garnerville Elementary School in New York to get my first dose on a sugar cube. Yum. So yes, I’m pro-vaccine. I also generally get the flu vaccine every year. I even got a shot last year, although for some peculiar reason, influenza vanished last winter while COVID was enjoying its greatest reign of terror. And naturally, my three children have all been vaccinated against the usual childhood diseases and taken whatever was recommended to keep them safe. But one thing I never thought of doing was forcing my neighbors to get vaccinated against the flu. Did you know that influenza kills as many as 50,000 Americans a year? That’s approaching the number of U.S. soldiers killed in the entire length of the Vietnam War. On average, flu kills as many Americans every year as car crashes. Yet did anyone — even St. Anthony Fauci — ever dare to suggest that vaccination for flu should be mandatory because it would save lives? Hell, no, and even though many vaccinations are required of school children for good reasons, we also have allowed religious and medical exemptions for families that needed them. Because we aren’t supposed to be a nation of slaves, but a nation of citizens. If someone had a personal reason why they rejected vaccines, we didn’t put them through an inquisition or try to burn them at the stake of public opinion. This was America — land of the free. I also never thought of celebrating when a person who opted not to get the flu vaccine died of influenza. But vaccine mandate supporters seem to get giddy when a vaccine refusenik falls ill from COVID and dies on a ventilator or worse. This isn’t science; it’s scientific imperialism — and the CDC centurions are ruthless in their application of power to the masses. Obey or die. So why might a reasonable person decide not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in such a hysterical climate? Maybe because it’s an experimental and untested drug using a technology (mRNA) that has the power to tamper with the very genetic makeup of the cells in my body. Maybe because I’m more worried about herd instinct than herd immunity. Maybe because I’ve heard wonky scientists gloating about the power they wield over everyday Americans. Maybe because Big Pharma’s getting rich by inventing reasons why you just might need to get a new shot every year. Maybe because I want to decide for myself what’s best for me. Think of it this way. You are afraid of dying of COVID-19. So am I. But that doesn’t mean I am going to die from COVID. In fact, there is what I would characterize as an acceptably small chance I will die of COVID, and I’m 66 years old, right smack in the realm of the supposedly at-risk elderly population. According to data from the CDC reported at RationalGround.com, from Jan. 1, 2020 until Sept. 11, 2021, there were 12,702 U.S. deaths from COVID for my age cohort out of an estimated population of 3,618,069. That’s a death rate of 0.365%. Meanwhile, 100,449 people my age died during the same period of all causes, suggesting I have about a 12% chance of dying of something this year, a much scarier possibility than dying of COVID-19. Think of it! If I’m going to die this year, I’m 33 times more likely to die of anything else besides COVID. Based on the propaganda we are inundated with every day about the virus, I should be terrified! There are way worse things out there trying to kill me than COVID. But I’m not terrified, not even slightly, because life is always a risk. I can temper my risks by avoiding downhill skiing, ATVs, booze, surfing, and motorsports. Those are my choices, but heaven forbid I should dictate that you have to avoid those activities because they are not 100% safe. Your behavior is none of my business. I make my choices, and you make yours. Except with COVID. Then Joe Biden makes my choices, trying to protect me from myself. But here’s the thing. There’s no guarantee I’ll ever actually be exposed to the coronavirus, and if I do, there’s something like a 99% chance that I — as a generally healthy man with no co-morbidities — will recover. Now consider the risk of some kind of debilitating side effect from receiving one of the experimental vaccines being pushed by the government. It is much harder to come up with an actual percentage of adverse effects, because there are so many potential side effects and not all of them may be linked with the vaccine yet, especially when they show up weeks or months after the jab. We do, however, have a number of vaccine-related deaths officially reported by the CDC, using data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System: “More than 396 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through October 4, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 8,390 reports of death (0.0021%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.” Of course, this means the likelihood of dying from the vaccine is considerably lower than dying from COVID; in fact, if you do the math, it’s about 175 times less likely. That’s a pretty significant difference, even if you throw in the possibility that getting the jab will inflict you with one of the other known possible side effects such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, anaphylaxis, myocarditis, pericarditis, heart failure, thrombosis, brain damage, paralysis, menstrual disorders, and a variety of unexplained pain phenomena. All told, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson says there were more than 400,000 adverse effects recorded by VAERS through July 19 of this year. That number is closing in on 600,000 by now. But reasonable people can’t ignore the adverse effects of the vaccine, and in a reasonable world, they wouldn’t. Just last week, for instance, Sweden and Denmark halted Moderna vaccinations for those under 30 years of age. Finland did the same for men under 30. According to Reuters, “The Swedish health agency said it would pause using the shot for people born in 1991 and later as data pointed to an increase of myocarditis and pericarditis among youths and young adults that had been vaccinated. Those conditions involve an inflammation of the heart or its lining. ‘The connection is especially clear when it comes to Moderna's vaccine Spikevax, especially after the second dose,’ the health agency said, adding the risk of being affected was very small.” Small or not, the risk is real. The question is why you would want to leave the decision up to a health agency whether you should put something in your body that may harm or even kill you. Why not become informed and then make your own decision. Defenders of Big Pharma like PolitiFact say there is no evidence that the vaccines have killed anyone, but to believe that you would have to ignore the evidence of not just the VAERS data set, but also the numerous human stories told in news reports and obituaries of perfectly healthy men and women who died suddenly and often horribly after taking one of the vaccines. Now here’s the point. Knowing all that, if you or anyone else wants to take the COVID vaccine, God bless you, and may all turn out well. But don’t make that decision for me, and don’t turn me into a criminal for making my own decision. I have a conscience, I have a brain, and I have a God. They will inform my decision, along with the science, but the decision should be mine alone. I learned long ago in Psychology 101 that the individual is formed when the infant first cries, “NO,” and for now, that’s what I’m saying to any and all vaccine mandates. I refuse. I’m an individual citizen, not a vassal subject to the whims of my noble superior. Yes, there is a chance that I will contract COVID and suffer as a result. But there’s no certainty about whether I will ever be exposed to the virus while it is in a dangerous form. If I am, I may get very sick or only slightly sick or have no symptoms at all. Compare that to the absolute certainty that if I am vaccinated, I am putting myself intentionally at risk of known side effects by putting a vaccine into my arm that I don’t trust. Only a madman would do that, or someone who puts a much higher value on going along with the crowd than I do. I don’t want to die, but that’s not the worst thing that can happen. Being forced to turn my most personal medical decisions over to Joe Biden or Anthony Fauci is an insult to me and to the Founding Fathers who fought to free us from tyranny. “Live free or die” was their creed, if not yet a formal motto in 1776. Nearly 250 years later, it seems more appropriate than ever. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 11th, 2021

The US can"t fight China for Taiwan, but it can help Taiwan make China think twice about starting a war

The best way to deter China from attacking Taiwan is to encourage Taiwan to invest in its own ability to make China pay if it ever resorts to force. Taiwanese troops during an exercise simulating an attempted amphibious landing by Chinese forces, May 30, 2019. Kyodo News Stills via Getty Images Taiwan has become a focal point for tensions between the US and China. Many in the US have called for a commitment to defend the island against Chinese attack, but a war with China over Taiwan would likely be devastating. The US can and should help Taiwan improve its ability to defend itself and better deter China. Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former US Army lieutenant colonel. On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that US Special Forces and Marines had secretly been training Taiwanese troops on counter-invasion tactics.On Friday, the semi-official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, the Global Times, warned the presence of US troops in Taiwan will accelerate "preparations for military actions" and that once "war breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, those US. Military personnel will be the first to be eliminated."In combination with the recent increase in the number of Chinese warplanes flying into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone, this latest development continues a trend of rising tensions between the United States and China over the flashpoint of Taiwan.As I have previously written in these pages, there is virtually no scenario in which the US fights a war with China that we don't come out severely harmed; in a worst-case scenario, we stumble into a catastrophic nuclear conflict. Shiyu, or Lion Islet, one of Taiwan's offshore islands, seen in front of the Chinese city of Xiamen, April 20, 2018. Carl Court/Getty Images Before a crisis is thrust upon us, there is a clear imperative for the White House to consider the ramifications of being drawn into an unwinnable war. Of even greater importance, the US should identify non-kinetic means to protect our country, its security, and future prosperity in the event of a Taiwan crisis.Fortunately, there are viable alternatives to war that could see our security strengthened vis-à-vis China. Unfortunately, few in Washington are interested in these more prudent solutions.Secretary of the Navy Carols Del Toro gave a lecture to the midshipmen of the Naval Academy on Tuesday in which he said it is the Navy's "ultimate responsibility to deter [China] from what they're trying to accomplish, including taking over Taiwan."The secretary is essentially seeking to make the US armed forces the de facto security force for Taiwan. Under no circumstances should that aspiration become US policy.Del Toro isn't the only one who thinks we should commit to defending Taiwan, however, as a growing chorus of leading voices call for just such a policy change.Rep. Guy Reschenthaler cosponsored the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act which would authorize "the president to use military force to defend Taiwan against a direct attack." Such provocation would make war more, not less, likely. Meanwhile, the promise of US protection would perversely incentivize Taiwan to do less for its own security. Taiwanese troops fire a BGM-71 anti-tank missile during military exercises in central Taiwan, July 16, 2020. AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying My colleague at Defense Priorities, policy director Benjamin Friedman, argued on Thursday that instead of leading Taiwanese authorities to believe the United States will fight China on their behalf, Washington "should push Taiwan to invest more in its self-defense capacity - especially radar and mobile anti-ship and anti-air missiles, which makes an amphibious attack on the island more costly."America's overwhelming imperative in the Indo-Pacific must be to avoid unnecessary war with China and the preservation of American security and economic prosperity. Both would be seriously harmed by a war with China.The best way to deter China from attack is to encourage Taiwan to invest in its own defense and acquire in the kinds of defensive weapons and training that will impose the most severe pain on China should Beijing ever resort to force.We must be candid and blunt, however, and acknowledge that a time may come when China will not be deterred, and attack Taiwan no matter how great a price they must pay. In the event Beijing does choose that destructive path, it is imperative that the United States not compound a bad situation by being drawn into a no-win war with China.Choosing to fight a war out of pride or an understandable affinity for democratic ideals will harm our military greatly, likely not prevent Taiwan's capture, and take us decades to recover from the military losses; in the worst case, things could spiral out of control and result in a nuclear exchange.In short, we have everything to lose and nothing to gain from fighting China - but much to gain by refusing to get drawn into the unwinnable war. Soldiers carry a surface-to-air missile to a launcher during an exercise at an air base in southern Taiwan, August 24, 2010. Nicky Loh/Reuters If China attacks Taiwan, they will have an albatross around their neck for years to come - much as we did throughout the Vietnam War - as part of Taiwan's defense strategy is to conduct indefinite guerilla warfare against the Chinese invaders. Even if China's conventional attack goes well, they will still suffer considerable loss in warships, combat aircraft, and troops.The PLA would then be severely weakened, even if successful, and it would take upward of a decade to rebuild its strength to its pre-invasion level. Meanwhile, the task of convincing Europe and other Asian nations to join with us and band together for a balancing coalition would be much easier, complicating Beijing's economic objectives for decades to come.I cannot more strongly reinforce this point: refusing to be drawn into a no-win war with China over Taiwan will see our comparative advantage over China increase dramatically. Their military would be seriously degraded from combat losses, while ours and all our allies would be at full strength.We should therefore do everything in our power to assist Taiwan in bolstering its self-defense capability, and encourage their political leadership to maintain the status quo.China wants eventual reunification with Taiwan, but Beijing overwhelmingly prefers to do so without the use of force. As long as the status quo is maintained - and if the cost to the PLA of an invasion is sufficiently high because Taiwan can defend itself - the chances of war across the Strait will remain low.Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the US Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of "The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America." Follow him @DanielLDavis1.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 10th, 2021

A Message To Fauci: You Are In No Position To Dictate The "Greater Good"

A Message To Fauci: You Are In No Position To Dictate The "Greater Good" Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, How does a fraud like Anthony Fauci find himself in the highest paid position in US bureaucracy? Well, Fauci’s career is a rather shocking testament to the reality of our government and our era – The more corrupt you are the more favors and promotions you will receive. Fauci is well known as a shameless opportunist among many within the medical research community. For example, the creator of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test, Kary Mullis, had nothing but disdain for Fauci. Mullis was an interesting figure who valued scientific honesty above all else. He often warned that his PCR test could be exploited to inflate infection numbers by identifying remnants of a virus in person’s body without distinguishing whether or not they are actually “infected” (sick). Sadly, his test is no be used in this exact manner today to exaggerate infection rates of the covid-19 virus. In interviews Mullis has referred to Anthony Fauci as a “liar”, arguing that he is a bureaucrat that “doesn’t know anything about anything”. Mullis noted that people like Fauci have an agenda that is outside of the public good, and that they have no problem misrepresenting the science to the populace to achieve their goals. It should also be noted that YouTube has made it their mission to consistently erase any traces of the Mullis interviews mentioning Fauci from their website. It is also not surprising that Fauci’s rampant fear mongering over AIDS in the 1980’s has gone mostly unmentioned by the mainstream media. His claim that 1 in 5 heterosexual Americans would be dead from AIDS by 1990 has been summarily memory-holed and the guy is treated like a scientific genius by the journalistic community in 2021. If there is any justice in this world then Fauci should really go down in history as one of the primary initiators of the Covid pandemic, being that he was the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that funded Gain of Function research on corona-viruses at the Wuhan Lab in China. This is the same research that Fauci blatantly lied about to congress on multiple occasions. And, the Wuhan lab is the same lab that evidence suggests was the ground zero source of the Covid-19 outbreak. It is important to note that it was Fauci and the NIH that LIFTED the ban on gain of function research on deadly viruses in 2017, and it was well known around this time that the Level 4 Wuhan lab in China was not secure. If anyone is responsible for global covid deaths, it is Fauci, the Chinese government and anyone else involved in that gain of function research which is primarily used to WEAPONIZE viruses under the guise of creating “therapeutics.” Gain of function research was originally banned under the Biological Weapons Convention which went into effect in 1975, unless it was being used for therapeutics. Now ALL gain of function research that is revealed publicly is labeled as therapeutics even if it is actually designed to produce biological weapons. This is sometimes referred to as “dual use research.” The prevailing narrative continues to be that even if the virus came from the Wuhan lab then it was surely an accident. I continue to believe according to the available evidence that Covid-19 was deliberately released in order to create a global crisis which could then be exploited by the establishment to introduce extreme controls over the populace to the point of medical totalitarianism. But of course, there is no smoking gun to prove this, only common sense. If we take the notorious Event 201 into account things get a little weird. Event 201 was a war game held by the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its claimed purpose was to simulate the effects of a deadly coronavirus pandemic “spread by animals” to humans and to develop the policies governments and their corporate partners should employ to deal with it. Interestingly, this simulation was held in October of 2019, only two months before the REAL THING happened. Nearly every policy suggested by the participants of Event 201 has now been adopted by most governments, including the social media censorship campaign against anyone that questions the origins of the virus and the safety of the experimental mRNA vaccines. Anthony Fauci and friends…. WEF founder Klaus Schwab was quick to announce at the start of the pandemic that Covid-19 was the “perfect opportunity” to launch the “Great Reset”, which is a globalist plan to completely erase free market systems and replace them with a highly centralized socialist framework. The WEF envisions a world in which carbon related power is banned, all financial transactions become digital and are monitored and controlled by central authorities, and they have even suggested that one day people will “own nothing and be happy”. This is a reference to the so-called “shared economy” of the future, where the concept of personal property is abolished and all people will live in communal housing collectives where necessities are rationed or rented out to them by the government. Something must have went wrong with covid, however, because the Event 201 death estimates for such a virus were around 65 million within the first year of the outbreak. This of course never happened with Covid-19. So, the resistance to the mandates has been high, or much higher apparently than the globalists expected. They have been forced to engage in an endless fear campaign for the past 18 months over a virus with a mere 0.26% median death rate. It is a virus that well over 99.7% of all people will survive and it has an extremely low chance of long term effects on those who do actually end up hospitalized. In the majority of states the hospitalization rates are between 10-35 people for every 100,000 people infected. These numbers come from the CDC and the medical establishment at large, yet they are ignored by propagandists like Fauci, just as Fauci has continued to ignore natural immunity as a factor in covid mandates. It might seem bizarre to almost any scientist, doctor and virologist not paid by the government, but Fauci has argued that natural immunity should be ignored when compared to vaccination. Multiple studies from around the world now show that natural immunity is up to 27 times more effective at preventing covid infection than the vaccines, but those with natural immunity are considered a threat to others under the new mandates unless they are also vaxxed. This simply makes no sense from a scientific perspective until you realize that the mandates are not about science, they are about authoritarianism. Fauci is the US front man for a campaign of medical tyranny being imposed in every nation; this is why he does not care about natural immunity. The idea of it is inconvenient to his narrative, so he pretends it is inconsequential. It is perhaps ironic that Fauci himself is becoming inconsequential as he is slowly fading away from the media limelight. I have noticed that ever since the NIH gain of function information was released to the public Fauci has been in the media less prominently. A documentary produced by National Geographic and soon to be distributed by Disney+ portrays the conman as a misunderstood savior and is sure to be a trash fire. That said, it does represent a clear last-ditched effort to save the man’s false reputation. There is a good reason for all of this. Fauci’s distaste for personal freedom has been well documented and is making him extremely unpopular. He even recently argued on CNN in favor of vaccine mandates using this perverse position: “There comes a time when you do have to give up what you consider your individual right of making your own decision for the greater good of society.” Fauci and his globalist ilk can be distilled down to this single mantra: Do as you are told for the greater good. But who gets to determine what the “greater good” is? Isn’t it disturbing that it’s always the same elitists that end up in that position? I know that leftists in particular love the idea of the vaccine mandates and worship Fauci, and they say we skeptics should “listen to the science”, but Fauci is not a scientist, he’s a door-to-door salesman, and as I’ve noted above the REAL science does not support the arguments for forced vaccinations or lockdowns. Hell, I keep asking the same questions on the mandates in these articles and not a single leftists or pro-vax proponent has come up with a valid or logical response, but out of morbid curiosity I would love to see Fauci give his answers: 1) Covid has a median death rate of only 0.26%, so why should we take ANY risk on an experimental mRNA vaccine with no long term testing to prove its safety? 2) Why not give support to the 0.26% of people actually at risk from dying due to covid instead of spending billions of dollars on Big Pharma producing a rushed vaccine that you plan to force on the 99.7% of people who are not at risk? 3) In majority vaccinated countries like Israel, over 60% of covid hospitalizations are fully vaccinated people. The exponential rise of fully vaccinated patients in multiple nations suggests that the vaccines do not work. Why should we take a vaccine that has been proven not to be effective? 4) If you believe the vaccines actually do work despite all evidence to the contrary, then why should vaccinated people fear anything from unvaccinated people? How are we a threat to them? 5) If the vaccines don’t work, then doesn’t this mean the mandates are pointless and the people that are most safe are the people with natural immunity? Shouldn’t we be applauding the naturally immune and encouraging treatment instead of useless vaccination? 6) Since the vaccines actually don’t work according to the data, isn’t it time to stop blindly dismissing treatments like Ivermectin and focus on trials and studies that research these alternatives? Why the vitriolic propaganda campaign to label Ivermectin nothing more than “horse paste” when it is actually a long used Nobel Prize winning treatment for human ailments? Is it because the experimental covid vaccines would lose their emergency authorization status under the FDA if effective treatments exist? 7) Why are government funded scientists so keen on defending Big Pharma to the point of ignoring all data that contradicts their claims? Are you just embarrassed of being wrong, or are you corrupt? 8) Who decided you are qualified to determine what constitutes the “greater good?” Globalists and errand boys like Fauci will never be able to answer these questions without twisting the narrative. They will say “What about the 700,000 dead in the US?” to play on the idea that the freedom minded lack empathy for their fellow man. Of course, around 40% of those deaths are patients from nursing homes with preexisting conditions, so we have no idea if they died from covid or from their previous ailments. Also, millions of people die every year from a plethora of communicable diseases including the flu and pneumonia, and we never tried to lock down the entire country and crush people’s civil rights because of this. If we maintained a running tally of flu and pneumonia deaths year after year as we are doing with covid, then the ever increasing number of bodies would seem just as forbidding. Society cannot function when it is preoccupied with death. Yes, around 0.26% of people die from covid, but life goes on for everyone else. Our freedoms are more important than your irrational fears. Our freedoms are more important than globalist agendas for centralization. Our freedoms ARE the greater good. Without them our society dies, and as our society dies millions more people will die from the inevitable collapse and tyranny that will follow; far more than will ever die from covid. This is why nothing Fauci says has any relevance to us. He is so transparent in his corruption that he might as well be invisible. We will continue to ignore his declarations and admonitions and we will continue to fight back against the vaccine passports and restrictions. When all is said and done, if Fauci, Biden and other globalist puppets try to use force to impose their agenda upon us then there will come a day very soon when they will be held accountable for their crimes against humanity, and then they will wish they were invisible. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

The Cost And Irritation Of Abandoning Common Sense In Dealing With COVID

The Cost And Irritation Of Abandoning Common Sense In Dealing With COVID Authored by Roger Kimball, op-ed via The Epoch Times, So, St. Anthony Fauci has come down from his mountain top with a new list of “thou-shall-nots” and the news that it is “too early” to say whether he will allow families and friends to congregate for Christmas. It is not too early for the body politic to engage in one gigantic spasm of retroperistalsis and expel that tyrannical medical pest from the community. After all, Dr. Fauci is the chap who tells anyone who will listen that, when it comes to vaccine mandates, “There comes a time when you do have to give up what you consider your individual right of making your own decision for the greater good of society.” Ah, yes, “greater good of society”—as defined, it goes without saying, by A. Fauci. It is long past time for this fomenter of hysteria to go. He has being terrorizing the American populace for decades. Give him a padded cell, a mirror, and a TV camera and he will be happy. Back in the 1980s, Fauci was a superspreader of the myth that an important vector for the transmission of HIV was heterosexual intercourse. For the last couple of years, he has been terrifying the public with tales from the crypt about the virus he helped develop with American taxpayer money for “gain of function” research in a Chinese virology lab in Wuhan. The fact that this Bela Lugosi of the medical establishment is also a publicity addict who can’t pass a television camera without primping and dispensing contradictory but depressing dicta makes him a public nuisance. You see his baneful influence everywhere. In our former newspaper of record, for example, The New York Times.  On Oct. 1, the Times ran one of its long emetic specials on COVID, the Delta Diaries. Deploying their signature mixture of nauseating human interest pabulum and tendentious statistics, they paid homage to the CCP virus for giving them something to write about now that Donald Trump is, for the time being, off the menu. According to the Times, the fact that the deaths of 700,000 people in the United States have been attributed to the virus means that it is now officially more deadly than the Spanish ’flu epidemic of 1918, which killed about 675,000 people in the United States. Remember the old saw about “lies, damned lies, and statistics”? The Times specializes in that wheeze. The CCP Virus can be serious, no doubt about it. But it represents a significant threat to a tiny part of the population, mostly the elderly, especially those with certain co-morbidities like diabetes and obesity. The Spanish ’flu, by contrast, cut a wide swathe through the young and healthy. The so-called Delta variant seems to be more infectious but less virulent than the original. It has affected some younger people, much to the delight of the Times and other members of Fauci fan club. But the Times story is just the Gray-Lady version of a domestic-strife story like those in the sensationalistic rags you see in the supermarket checkout line. “Betts and Andy on the Rocks: What Really Happened on Their Honeymoon.” Now on to those numbers. One critical distinction you won’t find mentioned in the Times cri-de-coeur is the difference between dying from the CCP virus and dying with it. Millions upon millions are infected. It is, after all, a very contagious virus. But not only is it the case that many who are infected experience mild or no symptoms, it is also the case that many who are infected with the virus and happen to die in fact die from other things. Remember the chap who was in fatal motorcycle accident, spread like jam across the highway, but had his death listed as due to COVID because the goo “tested positive”? Another set of numbers you rarely see in the reporting about COVID fatalities is the age of the people who died. The average life expectancy for males in the United States is around 78. If Mr. Smith, who suffers from diabetes and high-blood pressure, comes down with COVID and dies at 87, is his death due to COVID? You see why I like to say that the great thing about COVID is that it abolished death from old age. It also essentially abolished death from influenza. Generally there are anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 deaths from the ’flu in this country per annum. Last year there were some 700. Amazing. The CCP virus is a seasonal respiratory virus. The key to public health regarding it is the achievement of herd immunity. Masks, lockdowns, and “social distancing” impede achievement of herd immunity. The Harvard epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff and Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya got it exactly right when they wrote last spring that “The idea that everybody needs to be vaccinated is as scientifically baseless as the idea that nobody does. COVID vaccines are essential for older, high-risk people and their caretakers and advisable for many others. But those who’ve been infected are already immune.” At last, the clear voice of common sense—which is also, by the way, the voice of that “science” we’re supposed to be following. Messrs. Kulldorff and Bhattacharya go on to offer these wise observations: “Vaccine passports are unjust and discriminatory.” “Most of those endorsing the idea belong to the laptop class—privileged professionals who worked safely and comfortably at home during the epidemic.” “Millions of Americans did essential jobs at their usual workplaces and became immune the hard way. Now they would be forced to risk adverse reactions from a vaccine they don’t need.” “Passports would entice young, low-risk professionals, in the West and the developing world, to get the vaccine before older, higher-risk but less affluent members of society. Many unnecessary deaths would result.” “The widespread use of vaccines against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies and other pathogens has saved millions of lives. Vaccines are one of the most important inventions in human history—the reason that before last year many in the West had forgotten that infectious disease could pose a population wide threat.” “Those pushing for coercive COVID vaccination threaten all this progress by undermining public trust in vaccines. In this sense, they are more dangerous than the small group of so-called anti-vaxxers have ever been.” What a pity that the media did not elevate experts like Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya to the sacrosanct position it saved for Anthony Fauci. We all would have been saved a great deal of irritation not to mention economic ruin and political despotism. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/05/2021 - 22:45.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 5th, 2021