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Putin Says He Feels "Fine" After Taking Dose Of Experimental Russian Nasal Vaccine

Putin Says He Feels "Fine" After Taking Dose Of Experimental Russian Nasal Vaccine Russian President Vladimir Putin says he's feeling "fine" after taking an experimental nasal COVID jab earlier this week while also receiving a booster dose of the experimental "Sputnik V" jab as well. According to Bloomberg, Putin said late last week that the nasal version of the jab is still in trials and hasn’t been approved by regulators in Russia. But in a televised appearance announcing he’d taken the injected booster, Putin said he would also volunteer to participate in the testing of the nasal vaccine as well. Denis Logunov, deputy director of the Gamaleya National Research Center, which was responsible for developing Sputnik, said that taking the two vaccines together would help better protect Putin against infection in the upper respiratory tract. The long-serving Russian president, 69, said Logunov gave him the nasal version Monday. Putin told a government meeting that he was "feeling fine" after the boosters, and that he had exercised that day. Russia memorably claimed to be the first country to approve a COVID jab in the summer of 2020, but officials and scientists began getting the shots even before Sputnik V was registered. Putin, however, got his first two-dose inoculation only in March of this year. Gamaleya’s Logunov reportedly told Putin that workers at the center had also tried the nasal version of the jab, leaving it up to the president whether he would also like to try it. "That’s off-label and we’re testing it on staff as usual," he explained to the press in a statement. Meanwhile, in a meeting with Putin on Wednesday, Russian PM Mikhail Mishustin said pre-clinical testing of the nasal inoculation "showed it was safe and effective" and that Phase 1 clinical trials in adult volunteers had been authorized, with initial results due back in 42 days. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 20:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

The 15 essentials you should pack while traveling during a pandemic this holiday season

Stay safe this holiday season with these travel essentials that help you minimize exposure to COVID-19 and stay safe and healthy while on the road. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Hispanolistic/Getty Images Holiday travel is safer in 2021 than in 2020 but you should still take precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The best precautions for traveling are getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public spaces. Additional items like at-home COVID tests and portable hand sanitizer can also help you travel safer. Medical review by: David Aronoff, MD, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyWith rising vaccination rates in the U.S. and around the world, travel is reopening further. Americans are cleared to travel within the U.S. and, if fully-vaccinated, many places abroad, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).However, traveling isn't the same as pre-pandemic or even the same as mid-pandemic: Whether or not you're vaccinated, you need to take precautions when flying or driving. Everyone must wear a mask over their nose and mouth on planes, buses, trains, taxis, and other forms of public transportation.Most countries have other specific rules to visit, including proof of vaccination and certification that you've had a recent negative COVID test. Many experts also recommend taking a COVID test before and after you travel regardless of if it's required.While it's relatively safe to travel, that's only true if you take proper precautions. We've talked to three experts about everything you need to know to travel safely in the fall and winter of 2021, whether you're flying or driving, vaccinated or not.Here are the new essentials everyone should pack before traveling:Vaccine passport: CommonPassN95 mask: Kimberly-Clark N95 RespiratorKN95 mask: Powecom KN95 masks, 10 packDisposable mask: DemeTech DemeMask Surgical MaskFabric face masks: Herschel Classic Fitted Face MaskFace masks with removable filter: Halo Life Nanofilter MaskFace masks for kids: Onzie Mindful Masks (2-Pack)At-home COVID test: EmpowerDX At-Home COVID-19 PCR TestPortable hand sanitizer: Touchland Power Mist Sanitizer SprayTravel-sized disinfectant wipes: Clorox Disinfectant Wipes To GoA smartphone sanitizer: PhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV SanitizerPacking cubes: eBags Hyperlite Packing CubesTape to help your face mask fit better: Cabeau TapeA mask bracket for added comfort: HeartFormSF Mask BracketReusable bags for safety gear: Stasher Reusable Silicone BagWhat to consider before you goEmilija Manevska/Getty ImagesVaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the most important and effective way we can reduce the spread and severity of COVID-19, David Aronoff, MD, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told Insider during his medical review of this piece."While masks, reduced crowding, and social distancing are among the many things we can do to reduce the spread of COVID-19, vaccination has been shown to protect against getting infected, reduce the risk of symptoms or severe disease, and prevent death," he said.Be sure that anyone in your traveling party (or meeting you at your destination) is vaccinated if they are eligible, and that they've received their booster vaccine doses, which is now available for most people who've already been immunized.Additionally, all travelers should ask themselves before they go: Can I afford to be trapped somewhere if I or one of my travel companions gets COVID and can't travel home? "If the answer is no, stay home," Dr. Aronoff added.If you are traveling, Dr. Aronoff encourages checking your health insurance carefully to find out where and how to seek medical attention if you need it and exactly what your policy covers. Some countries require proof of travel health insurance that covers COVID to enter their borders. Dr. Aronoff also suggested having a plan for where you'd go to get care if you got sick and how you'd quarantine from the people you're visiting.What should be in your travel safety kitImages By Tang Ming Tung/Getty ImagesWhether you're vaccinated or not, driving or flying, remember the basics of COVID travel: Wear the best mask you can (ideally an N95-type mask), making sure it fits snuggly without gaps at the sides (layering two masks can help), and keep your distance from people outside your household as much as possible.Then, pack a portable COVID-19 safety kit, whether flying or driving.Proof of vaccinationAgain, getting the COVID vaccine is the best thing you can do to stay safe and keep other safe while traveling during the pandemic. Many countries require proof of vaccination before entering their borders, and even if you're traveling domestically, it's a good idea to have proof with you just in case a public space or business upon arrival requires it.If you want to travel with your physical vaccine card, we suggest putting it in a protective vinyl casing. But there are also a handful of apps, such as CommonPass and VeriFLY, that allow you to upload proof of vaccine and even connect PCR test results so you have proof of your low-risk all in one place.Card Protector Vinyl Sleeve (small)App (small)App (small)Masks for adultsMasks are required on all airlines, regardless of your vaccination status or where you're flying. They're also recommended for any public place while driving, like public restrooms or service stations.As coronavirus is an airborne virus, wearing a mask is still one of the key ways to reduce spreading or getting COVID, especially in an indoor, crowded place like an airport or airplane, Joyce Sanchez, MD, medical director of the Travel Health Clinic at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin tells Insider.Wearing the right mask the right way helps to protect not only the people around you but the wearer too.Nearly everyone can safely wear a mask, other than those who can't put on or take off a mask themselves. This includes those with chronic lung and heart problems, Dr. Sanchez says. "Even if it feels harder to breathe while wearing a mask, it doesn't actually affect how much oxygen your body gets," she assures.Why are masks so important? Think of the COVID virus like cigarette smoke spreading indoors — it flows throughout the space (beyond 6 feet from the person who exhaled it and around plexiglass barriers) and can hang in the air for hours, even after the person is no longer in the room.Considering its spreadability, and given how contagious the Delta variant is, it's more important than ever to wear a well-fitting mask to both prevent spreading the virus to others and inhaling it yourself.Quick tip: If your mask tends to suction to your mouth when you breathe in, look for a mask with a more structured frame that keeps the fabric away from your lips (like a KN95 mask). Or, insert a frame, like one from HeartFormSF, into a covering you already have.N95-type masks are best now that they're no longer in short supply like early in the pandemic, followed by KN95 masks (both technically called respirators rather than masks). Both seal the sides of the face and top of the nose to minimize any gaps where air can leak, and offer additional filtration of air as you breathe, Dr. Sanchez explains.However, counterfeits are common, so check the CDC's list of approved masks and suppliers. A quick way to tell is that real N95s have straps around the back of the head instead of ear loops and a TC number (e.g., 84A-XXX for U.S.-approved N95s).After N95s and KN95s, a three-layer cloth mask is your next best option. The outside two layers should be a tightly-woven fabric like cotton or linen and the middle a filter fabric, either built-in or added-in by you (a folded paper towel works great).It's important that your mask fits snugly to trap the potentially-infected air particles rather than leaking through the edges of the mask and being directly inhaled, Abe Malkin, MD, MBA, the founder and medical director of Concierge MD LA, tells Insider. Make sure there are no gaps around the edges of your mask — a detail of equal importance regardless of if you're vaccinated or not.Quick tip: If a mask causes your glasses or sunglasses to fog up, that's a sign it doesn't fit properly and is allowing potentially virus-laden air in and out. Use a special tape like Cabeau Tape between the fabric and your skin where there's a gap to create a better seal.If your mask has gaps on the top or sides or if you only have a single-ply mask, it's smart to double up with a disposable surgical-type mask underneath and a tighter cloth mask over top. And if your mask slips down under your nose as you talk, it's a sure sign you need a better-fitting mask.Quick tip: Pack multiple masks. When you travel, you should have enough coverings to wear a fresh mask each day, as well as extras on hand if it gets dirty or wet.It's also important to wash reusable masks daily — a clean-looking mask can be covered with germs, which can spread to your hands and everything you touch every time you take it off or put it on. Wash it as you do your hands, with a minimum 20-second scrub with soapy water and a thorough rinse, then hang it to dry.Skip the neck gaiters and bandanas — early reports that they're worse than no mask at all were likely overblown, but researchers do know real masks are more effective. Plus, many airlines don't allow them anyway.N95 Respirator (small)KN95 Masks (10 Pack) (small)DemeMask Surgical Mask, 50 pack (small)Classic Fitted Face Mask (small)Nanofilter Mask (small)Mask Bracket (5-Count) (small)Tape (small)Masks for kidsA well-fitting mask is the most important factor for anyone, so children should use masks made for kids, Dr. Malkin says, adding "adult masks are too big for them."If kids can help choose their own supplies, it increases the chance they'll use them. Dr. Malkin advises opting for a mask with a character or designs your child likes to increase the chance that they'll keep it on when you're not looking.Mindful Masks (2-Pack) (small)Mickey Mouse masks, 4-pack (small)Smurfs Original Blue Cloth Face Mask (small)Masks are generally required on planes for kids 5 and older, though sometimes it's 2 or older (check your airline's requirements before you go). And Dr. Aranoff advises all kids over 2 years old should wear one in indoor, public places unless they physically can't. The CDC does not recommend masks for children under 2.Kids need multiple masks just like adults, so stash a few extras in their backpacks and in the car, Jagdish Khubchandani, PhD, a professor of public health at New Mexico State University tells Insider.Quick tip: It's super important to model safe practices, Dr. Sanchez says. "If you're wearing a mask, disinfecting your hands, maintaining that distance, and reinforcing those behaviors through what you say and do — children pick up on and mirror that."At-home COVID-19 testMost countries require you to have proof of a negative COVID test to enter. Taking one is a good idea even if you're traveling domestically, especially if you're unvaccinated, the CDC advises.Even if your destination doesn't require it and even if you're vaccinated, it's wise to get a COVID test both before you travel and after you arrive to minimize the chance of spreading the virus to vulnerable people. "If you are planning on visiting others, make sure to get tested to ensure everyone's safety," Dr. Malkin adds.For international or domestic travel, the CDC recommends that people who aren't vaccinated take a COVID test one to three days before you leave, keep your distance from others as much as possible while traveling, and once you return home, take another viral test and self-isolate for a full seven days. If you don't get a viral test, you should isolate for 10 days. Either way, avoid being around high-risk folks for 14 days.As for where to get a COVID test, many towns have free testing sites. But you can also snag an at-home rapid antigen test or, slightly less common, more accurate molecular tests (such as a PCR test). Just remember, the tests aren't 100% foolproof.Many at-home tests require you to mail in a nasal swab or spit tube to be processed in a lab. But newer tests (both antigen and molecular) available in some countries let you get your results online in as little as 45 minutes, with some antigen tests delivering results right in front of you, within 15 minutes. (Just be sore to follow the instructions closely and the tests can give a false negative.)Most tests that are supervised by a health professional over video provide you with the certification you need for flights. Just make sure you know the precise time window to do your test and get the certification back before your flight.When our team researched and tested the leading at-home COVID tests on the market throughout 2021, we found EmpowerDX Nasal to be the most accurate, covered by most insurance or the cheapest test available out of pocket and turns results around within two days of the lab receiving the sample. Dr. Sanchez also recommends the Abbott at-home antigen test kit, which offers six tests for $150.Dr. Sanchez recommends each person bring at least two approved at-home test kits that meet the testing requirements when traveling internationally in case there's a problem with one or you need to re-test. "You do not want to be stuck or delayed in returning home because you have not prepared for that required step," she adds.At-Home Covid-19 Nasal PCR Test (small)BinaxNOW COVID-19 At-Home Test Kit - 6 Pack (small)Hand soap, sanitizer, and wipesTraveling exposes you to tons of germs — viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi — outside of COVID that can cause illnesses. It's super important to clean your hands before and after you eat, in particular. The best way: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and then dry them thoroughly with a paper or cloth towel (rather than an air blower).But since that's not always possible, the second-best option is to use hand sanitizer. Always pack one with at least 60% alcohol in your carry-on, and rub it all over your hands, even the nooks and crannies, until it evaporates.Antibacterial hand wipes are less ideal since they sometimes contain harmful chemicals and may contribute to antibiotic resistance. But in a pinch, they're definitely better than having unclean hands. Keep in mind that most wipes are formulated for objects and not for skin, Dr. Malkin points out. As with hand sanitizer, the formula needs to be at least 60% alcohol to kill viruses.Power Mist Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer (small)Antibacterial Aloe Wipes (small)Disinfectant wipesKeeping high-touch surfaces clean is important, but don't obsess over disinfecting every surface you come into contact with, Dr. Sanchez told us — you're not at all likely to acquire COVID by touching an infected surface. This is especially true when driving; there's no need to wipe down your car handles or steering wheel, for example.That being said, high-touch surfaces on planes — armrests, tray tables, in-flight entertainment screens — can transmit germs, so it's wise to wipe down surfaces around your seat with a disinfectant wipe.Be sure to clean your phone too — you might be surprised by how dirty it actually is. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for how to clean it and try to use it only with clean hands. (But be careful: Some cleaners can ruin your screen.)Disinfectant Wipes On the Go (small)HomeSoap UV Sanitizer (small)Storage bagsWhen flying, carry-on storage is essential to make it easy to access hand sanitizer and other essential items. Ideally, your carry-on bag has multiple pockets so you can keep things like food and extra masks separate from dirty items. You can also use a small pouch to keep these essentials right on top (we like these durable, zippered pouches from Baboon to the Moon).We also recommend having a few plastic bags available to store dirty masks, in addition to things like used disinfectant wipes or tissues until you can find a trash can. You'll want one for your car and in your carry-on.It's also helpful to have a designated clean storage bag where you can put your mask when you take it off to eat away from dirty surfaces or other people's breath, Dr. Sanchez advises. Avoid placing your mask on a table or your arm to minimize germ contamination.Reusable Silicone Sandwich Bag (small)Dopp Kit (small)What you should leave at homeGlovesYou don't need to bring gloves with you traveling. First of all, COVID-19 is transmitted by breathing, not by touching things and then touching your face. Regardless, germs can live on the surface of a latex glove, the same as skin, Dr. Malkin says. Plus, "some people become too relaxed when they are wearing gloves. They do not realize they are at more risk for spreading [germs] because they are touching multiple personal items in between other things," he adds.Studies have suggested that people who wear gloves tend not to wash their hands as often or notice when gloves get dirty or damaged. It's also easy to contaminate your hands when removing gloves. Plus, we don't need any more COVID-19 waste than we already have.Face shieldsHow important are face shields? "As we do not have data to support the use of face shields in protecting individuals from acquiring COVID-19 in the community setting, they should not be used as a substitute for a well-fitting mask," Dr. Sanchez says.She added that while she saw no downside to adding a face shield to your travel safety kit, "they are not an equivalent substitute for face masks." They might provide protection if someone sneezes in your direction, for example, but they don't protect others from any virus you may be carrying.Is it safer to fly or drive?RuslanDashinsky/Getty ImagesIf you do need to travel, driving is generally safer than flying commercially, Dr. Sanchez says. If you drive, you have control over who shares the car with you, where you stop along the way, and when you return.If you're fully vaccinated and wearing a well-fitting mask, it's generally safe to fly from a COVID-19 transmission standpoint, she adds.Just keep in mind that you're most likely to transmit or catch the coronavirus when in close proximity to an infected person, especially in situations where people aren't wearing masks at all or wearing them properly. That means airport lines are an issue (sitting on the plane much less so, as we'll explain below), as is driving with anyone not already in your household bubble. Eating indoors — since people have no choice but to remove their masks — is high risk.Regardless of your mode of transportation, it's important to be diligent with precautions.Your driving safety planRealPeopleGroup/Getty ImagesRemember that COVID is spread by people breathing and talking, not by touching surfaces. If you're driving, you don't need to wipe down your steering wheel. But it can bring peace of mind to clean your hands before getting in; have hand sanitizer at the ready before and after you eat, and for after you use a gas pump and public restroom, for example.Power Mist Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer (small)Choose restaurants where staff are diligent about wearing masks. Keep your mask on unless you're actively eating or drinking, and try to eat outdoors or in your car.Use public restrooms for bathroom breaks. Pulling over for a roadside bathroom break is actually illegal throughout the U.S. Just wear a mask and try to wait outside in a well-ventilated space for a free stall. If the toilet has a lid, close it to flush. (There's evidence that the coronavirus can spread by flushing.)Dr. Sanchez adds that you should assume public restrooms are not properly disinfected and that surfaces could be covered in many kinds of germs aside from COVID. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and then use a paper towel to dry your hands and turn off the tap and open the door. If you do touch anything on your way out, use your 60%-plus alcohol hand sanitizer.Your airport safety plandmphoto/Getty ImagesAirports — especially with lines at security, boarding gates, and within the plane itself — are risky because of the close proximity to other people. Wear your mask at all times and keep as much distance from others as you can.When the TSA has you lower your mask for identity verification, touch it from the ear loops rather than the middle to avoid transferring any germs on the fabric onto your hands. It's wise to sanitize or wash your hands after you've touched security trays, not so much because of the coronavirus, but to protect yourself from other germs.As for the plane itself, airlines have stepped up their disinfecting regimens. Many use electrostatic foggers nightly — sometimes between every flight. They spray a fine mist of disinfectant throughout the plane, and the electrostatic charge causes it to stick to all surfaces, not just fall to the floor.Though COVID isn't transmitted by touching things, don't assume your flight has been freshly fogged with disinfectant. Planes can be filthy. It's still wise to wipe down everything in your seat area with a disinfecting wipe like Clorox Ultra Clean Disinfecting Wipes; many airlines now hand out disinfecting wipes as you board, too.If you bring your own, look for "disinfecting" and at least 60% alcohol on the label — a cleaning wipe rids your tray table of that splash of Coke, but it won't kill bacteria and viruses. Settle into your seat and wipe down everything you're likely to touch: the seat belt, armrests, the tray table, the air vent, the window-shade handle, and all places you need to touch to operate the entertainment system.Then, thoroughly clean your hands with sanitizer. The TSA increased the size limit for sanitizer during the pandemic, and until further notice, you're allowed to bring one bottle that's up to 12 ounces in your carry-on bag. If you're flying internationally, note that some countries maintain the 3-ounce limit.Disinfectant Wipes On the Go (small)Power Mist Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer (small)You might be worried about sitting in an enclosed space for hours, but the air on planes is cleaner than in many indoor places, and airlines' mandatory mask policies help protect everyone from virus particles that anyone could be breathing out. A September 2021 peer-reviewed, real-world study showed that the risk of contracting COVID-19 on a plane is 0.1% thanks to mask policies, requiring negative COVID tests to fly, and planes' hospital-grade air filtration systems.When a plane cruises, the cabin air refreshes every three to four minutes, using both fresh air from outside and air that's gone through HEPA filters that remove virtually all viruses.However, if you need to eat or drink on a plane, it's wise to wait a few minutes after the people around you have put their masks back on before you take yours off.Minimize moving around on the plane, including wrestling carry-on luggage in and out of the overhead bin. If you need to use the restroom, be sure to close the toilet lid before you flush. After washing your hands for 20 seconds and drying them, use a paper towel to unlock and open the door. Avoid touching seatbacks as you return to your own, both to keep your hands clean (headrests are the dirtiest surfaces inside an airplane cabin) and so you don't disturb other passengers.After your flight, it's smart to avoid crowds around the baggage carousel — wait until space clears before you grab your bag.You'll also want to check your destination's latest COVID-19 rules for arriving passengers. Some countries require everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to have a negative COVID-19 test on arrival and self-isolate until it's confirmed negative.Our expertsFor this article, we deeply researched across leading health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We also spoke with the following experts:Joyce Sanchez, MD, the medical director of the Travel Health Clinic at Froedtert and the Medical College of WisconsinDr. Abe Malkin, MD, MBA, the founder and medical director of Concierge MD LAJagdish Khubchandani, PhD, a professor of public health at New Mexico State UniversityThis piece was also medically reviewed for accuracy before publishing by Dr. David Aronoff, MD, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 15th, 2021

Jim Quinn: Fear Of Our Escalating Power Is Leading Elites To Increasingly Reckless Directives

Jim Quinn: Fear Of Our Escalating Power Is Leading Elites To Increasingly Reckless Directives Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, The Wall Was Too High, As You Can See Hey you, out there in the cold Getting lonely, getting old Can you feel me? Hey you, standing in the aisles With itchy feet and fading smiles Can you feel me? Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light Don’t give in without a fight Pink Floyd – Hey You I wrote an article in December 2012, a week after the Newtown school shooting, called Hey You. My interpretation of this classic Pink Floyd song was related to how our culture has created generations of alienated and isolated people, allowing Big Pharma to peddle their pharmaceutical concoctions to the masses as the “easy” solution to living “normally” in a profoundly abnormal society. My contention was these mass shootings by young men (Newtown, Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Tucson) were caused by the Big Pharma psychotropic drugs prescribed to all these young killers by sick industry peddlers (aka physicians). The hugely profitable Big Pharma solution to alienation, isolation and depression is drugs that turn a percentage of those afflicted into psychotic killers. The article’s premise was how our techno-narcissistic society, encouraged and enabled by our totalitarian overlords through mind manipulation, drugs, public education indoctrination, and propaganda, has purposely created the alienation, isolation, and hopelessness to further their goals of power, control, and wealth. When it comes to dystopian literature, there is always a clash between Huxley’s softer totalitarianism versus Orwell’s boot on your face tyranny when assessing how our governments enforce their dictates upon their subjects. The Wall certainly has an Orwellian bent, as it explores the issues of abandonment, isolation, alienation, authoritarianism, the brutality of war, a tyrannical conformist educational system, and the walls individuals and society build to protect themselves from having to confront reality and deal with the consequences of their actions. Once alienated from society, having built a wall between yourself and the outside world, attempting to reengage with society can be almost impossible, as the wall becomes too high, and no one can hear your pleas. Sometimes, there is no escape. The opening lyrics are haunting to me. I have felt like I’ve been out in the cold since the outset of this pandemic of herd madness in March 2020. I’ve gotten older and feel older. While family, friends, and coworkers have been drawn into this vortex of falsity, I feel like I am standing alone behind walls constructed by the government, the media, and society in general. It’s lonely when you chose to make a stand against the lies being peddled 24/7 by corrupt politicians, fake news pundits, faux medical “experts” bought off by Big Pharma, mega-corporations, and Hollywood propagandists playing their parts. These demonic forces have tried to bury the light of truth under an avalanche of lies. I’m unsure of their true purpose, but I am sure it will not be beneficial to me, my family or the honest hard-working people trying to survive this dystopian nightmare. Most days it feels like the evil forces arrayed against me and other lovers of liberty and freedom have the upper hand and cannot be defeated. I do feel isolated and alienated from the majority, as they have been psychologically manipulated to obey their masters, as their double vaccine dose, now requires a booster after six months, and will require annual boosters for eternity. They will unquestioningly submit, without ever using their critical thinking skills to grasp these are not real vaccines and do not work. I will not give in to their mass psychosis. Since I was relating the song to the Big Pharma drug induced mass shootings, my 2012 article gravitated towards Huxley’s view of totalitarianism, as he believed our overlords would use pharmaceuticals, conditioning, and mind control to achieve their evil means. “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World “And always, everywhere, there would be the yelling or quietly authoritative hypnotists; and in the train of the ruling suggestion givers, always everywhere, the tribes of buffoons and hucksters, the professional liars, the purveyors of entertaining irrelevances. Conditioned from the cradle, unceasingly distracted, mesmerized systematically, their uniformed victims would go on obediently marching and countermarching, go on, always and everywhere, killing and dying with the perfect docility of trained poodles.” –  Aldous Huxley My dire view of our future was just as grim nine years ago as it is today. My belief was the alienation and isolation created by our sprawling, automobile dependent, technology obsessed, government controlled, debt financed society had spread like a cancerous tumor, slowly killing our country. As with most of my early articles I gravitated towards our dire fiscal situation and how it was surely unsustainable. My example was: Since 1979, Total Credit Market Debt in the United States has risen from $4.3 trillion to $55.3 trillion, a 1,286% increase in 33 years. It had gone up $51 trillion in 33 years. Well guess what? It now stands at $85 trillion, up another $30 trillion in 9 years, with no deceleration in sight. Since I wrote that 2012 article, the national debt went from $16 trillion to $29 trillion (up 81%), GDP went from $16 trillion to $23 trillion (up 44%), the Dow went from 13,000 to 36,000 (up 177%), and consumer debt went from $2.9 trillion to $4.4 trillion (up 52%). As usual, the plebs went further into debt, while their overlords saw their trillions in stock holdings almost triple in nine years. I thought the debt growth was unsustainable, but the Fed said hold my beer. Their debt creation orgy accelerates by the minute, with real inflation (as opposed to the fake BLS bullshit) running in excess of 10% hitting average Americans, while the Wall Street oligarchs get richer by the second. Even using the BLS bullshit inflation figures, the USD has lost 17% of its purchasing power since 2012, again screwing the little guy. The USD has lost 96.4% of its purchasing power since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. So much for meeting their “mandate” of stable prices. Do you get it yet? The Fed’s job is to enrich their owners (bankers & billionaire oligarchs) while enslaving you in debt and making sure your meager wages buy less and less each year. This is where the “You Will Own Nothing and Be Happy” slogan begins to make sense. The Build Back Better slogan, created by Schwab and his Davos co-conspirators, really refers to building a better wall around the plebs so they remain isolated, alienated and under control. Roger Waters has explained the song Hey You was also an exhortation to make connections with people, help each other, and overcome the alienation and isolation created by those pulling the strings of our societal dystopia. When I heard the song on the radio the other day, my take on the lyrics is now colored by the last two years of this engineered, weaponized, marketed Covid pandemic. The alienation and isolation have not been a choice of individuals, but a mandate from our authoritarian overlords. The wall is being built by those who want to destroy our existing structural paradigm and replace it with something they consider better, but which will be far worse for liberty and freedom minded individuals. A more Orwellian dystopia is being ushered in by Soros, Gates, Schwab and their chief lieutenants Biden, Pelosi, Fauci, Powell, along with the other highly paid apparatchiks in government, media, medical industrial complex, and military industrial complex. We were already in the death throes of the most dysfunctional, decadent, delusional, debt engendered era in the long history of mankind. Their debt saturated “solutions” from 2008 through 2019 reflected an air of desperation. Those in power realized their stranglehold on the narrative was slipping away and were in danger of seeing a sudden decline in their wealth and control over the masses. Rather than accept their slightly less profitable fate like normal human beings, these psychopaths have doubled down by using a relatively non-serious flu for anyone under 85 years old and not morbidly obese, to try and implement a new world order, where they continue to reap all the benefits and the masses incur the pain, suffering and death. The diabolical aspects of this evil undertaking are almost too outrageous to believe. They have redoubled their propaganda endeavors in order to convince the ignorant masses to willingly love their servitude. But it was only fantasy The wall was too high As you can see No matter how he tried He could not break free And the worms ate into his brain Pink Floyd – Hey You In today’s circumstances those lyrics reflect this fantasy/nightmare of Covid being used as the justification to destroy our economic system, drive hundreds of thousands of small businesses into bankruptcy, locking people in their homes for months, mandating useless masks as a dehumanization and fear tactic, mandating the injection of an experimental gene therapy into our bodies as a requirement to make a living, and using a bottomless supply of lies and media propaganda to convince an already dumbed down populace to beg for increased levels of servitude to those who haven’t been right about one thing since this scamdemic was launched. As others have noted, this hasn’t been a pandemic, it’s been an IQ test. And as a society we’ve scored low enough to be put on the short bus to the school for the slow-witted. The global oligarchs began constructing our wall, but millions of willing collaborator Karens and Todds are gleefully adding bricks to that wall. I’ve been flabbergasted since the outset of this propagandized and highly marketed fearfest, over a strain of the annual flu, by the lack of critical thinking skills exhibited by average Americans and their inability to understand simple mathematical risk calculations when they are told blatant lies by the likes of Fauci, Walensky and a plethora of Big Pharma bribed “medical experts” paraded on the boob tube every day. They have let feelings, emotions, and false narratives guide their actions, rather than facts, data, and scientific proof. Everyone has the freedom to verify what they are being told and calculate for themselves the 99.7% overall survival rate and 99.999995% survival rate for those under 25 years old. But they have been psychologically compelled to not question the State or embrace their Constitutional freedom to dissent and not comply. They unquestioningly inject their children with these drugs when unequivocal evidence shows a much higher risk from the jab than from Covid. Huxley realized decades ago a weak-minded populace could be easily manipulated. We have now reached peak complicity, compliance and cowering to the national State and those pulling the strings of our government. “This concern with the basic condition of freedom — the absence of physical constraint — is unquestionably necessary but is not all that is necessary. It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free — to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national State, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act.” –  Aldous Huxley Huxley was not a big fan of technological “progress” as he just saw it as a more efficient means of going backwards. Those who believe technology is the answer to all of our problems are either insanely myopic or profiting from this fallacy. Technology has certainly contributed to allowing corporations to generate profits through efficiencies, marketing, logistics, and replacing human beings with computers and robots. Technology has also made it very efficient for the State to utilize propaganda, fear, and social indoctrination through electronic media to control the population and manipulate the narrative to suit their diabolic purposes. For the few who dissent from their commands, technology is used to sensor, de-platform, restrain, monitor, and destroy their lives, if necessary. Modern technology has a dual purpose, as an entertainment aphrodisiac, and an electronic boot stomping on your face forever. They want you distracted, amused, and consumed by trivialities, while they execute their wealth pillaging scheme and slowly build a technological wall which grows ever higher and impossible to escape. Consumption, diversion, and obedience is all they asked. Societal stability, in the eyes of the sociopath unseen rulers behind the curtain, is based upon state designed happiness, social indoctrination disguised as public education, endless war, fear-based propaganda, and the use of pharmaceuticals to alleviate dissent and wrong thinking. Normalcy, traditional families, community standards, hard work, thrift, self-responsibility, neighborly connections, faith, and self-governing are all antithetical to the societal breakdown required to implement the Great Reset. Therefore, these values are banned in the world we inhabit today. The best laid plans of the ruling class began to go awry in late 2019, as the gears of the financial system began to grind and fracture. The never-ending Trump coup was floundering under the weight of lies. Their wealth, power, and control were going to take a major hit. So, they decided to pull it. They had laid the groundwork for decades, creating generations trained to value material possessions, require instant gratification, shun critical thinking, let feelings guide their actions, believe debt acquired possessions constituted wealth, trust politicians are working in their best interests, and do whatever those deemed “experts” by the corporate media tell them to do. They have created tens of millions of mentally ill sheep who only appear normal because they fit in to this profoundly abnormal society, where they forfeited the thinking and decision making for their lives to people like Gates, Soros, Biden, Fauci and Zuckerberg, who despise them. Because of their government created neurosis and cowardly compliance, we are all victims, and the wall we must scale to escape gets higher by the day. “The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” –  Aldous Huxley The walls erected within Roger Waters’ lyrics were figurative, referring to the isolation and alienation from society chosen by an individual (himself). My interpretation, based on what myself and many others are experiencing today, is more literal, with the isolation and alienation being created by government and their mentally ill, willfully ignorant advocates of lockdowns, masking, jabs, mandates, passports, quarantine camps, and coercion to command compliance. This entire pandemic scheme has been designed as a divide and conquer undertaking, with the purpose of implementing their Great Reset plan to own everything while the plebs own nothing and happily do as they are told. For those of us not willing to go along with their plan, they have alternate arrangements in store. We are in the midst of this struggle for the future of our country and the world. The Party has told you to reject unequivocal facts during this entire engineered psychological operation. They convinced the vast majority of the population to be terrorized by a virus with a 99.7% survival rate that only kills the very old and the very obese. They said it didn’t come from the Wuhan lab and wasn’t funded by Fauci. They convinced the masses masks worked when they knew they didn’t. They said a fifteen-day lockdown would slow the spread and end the pandemic. They said their vaccines would immunize you from catching Covid before they changed the definition of vaccines and told you it was always supposed to just reduce the symptoms. They have convinced a couple hundred million people to participate in an experiment as guinea pigs for an unproven untested gene therapy. They continue to proclaim vaccines work, even though they don’t, and of course get your booster, also because they don’t work. They refuse to acknowledge natural immunity to be far more effective and long-lasting than their jabs. No money to be made from natural immunity. They have censored and de-platformed anyone who showed proof ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine worked better than the vaccines. No money in subscribing either safe and effective treatment. They deny the vaccines have caused millions of adverse reactions and tens of thousands of deaths. They have instructed you to reject all of this evidence of their deceit and demonic designs to abscond with your wealth, freedoms, and liberties. As we enter Biden’s dark winter, you can sense the desperation of the Party/Deep State/Oligarchy as they employ more coercive and destructive tactics to force the non-compliant to obey and do as they are told. They are attempting to isolate and alienate those who refuse to submit to their clearly unlawful vaccine mandates by excluding them from society and threatening their livelihoods. The threats and intimidation have succeeded with a significant portion of the holdouts, but tens of millions are refusing to bend the knee. Many feel alone in their resistance to these totalitarian measures, as those in control of the narrative have painted a picture of only a small minority of conspiracy theorists rejecting their Great Reset authoritarian blueprint. The wall seems too high for many. The truth be told, their blueprint is growing stale, as they desperately attempt to strike fear into the masses with their latest variant of the month. The truth is they fear our opposition. They fear we will inspire more people to resist. They fear we will band together. They fear the truth, which is the backbone for our resistance. They fear we are heavily armed. They fear us realizing we are actually the majority. They fear they are starting to lose. Their fear of our escalating power is leading them to make increasingly reckless and drastic pronouncements and demands. The push back to their directives is gaining in intensity. They believe they can make the wall high enough to deter those who could foil their Great Reset scheme. The odds are in their favor because they control the politicians, media, corporations, and the minds of the indoctrinated sheep, but don’t tell me there’s no hope at all. We have truth, the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment, and millions of liberty-minded truculent partisans who will not bend to their will. We have no choice but to fight, using any means at our disposal. We realize we must stand together, because divided we will fall. Hey you, out there on the road Always doing what you’re told Can you help me? Hey you, out there beyond the wall Breaking bottles in the hall Can you help me? Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all Together we stand, divided we fall Pink Floyd – Hey You *  *  * The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/28/2021 - 23:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 28th, 2021

Alzheimer"s nasal vaccine to enter human trials for the first time, spurring renewed hope for preventing the disease

Brigham and Women's Hospital is conducting the first human trial of an Alzheimer's nasal vaccine meant to prevent or slow the disease's progression. A laboratory worker tests a nasal spray (not related to Alzheimer's) at the Pharma and Beauty factory in Saint-Chamas, France, on January 21, 2021.Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images Brigham and Women's Hospital is spearheading the first human trial of an Alzheimer's nasal vaccine. The vaccine is designed to prevent or slow the progression of the disease. It uses a drug, Protollin, to stimulate immune cells to remove sticky plaque from the brain. Alzheimer's treatments seemed like an unlikely prospect mere months ago.Drug trials tried and failed for 20 years to produce treatments that would stop the progression of the disease, and several large pharmaceutical companies abandoned the mission of developing Alzheimer's treatments altogether. So patients' only hopes of improvement were drugs that lessened Alzheimer's symptoms — including memory loss, insomnia, and loss of language or reasoning skills — for a limited time.Now, the field of Alzheimer's treatments may finally be opening up.Last week, Brigham and Women's Hospital announced it would spearhead the first human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer's, designed to prevent or slow the disease's progression.The trial is small — 16 people between ages 60 to 85 with Alzheimer's symptoms will receive two doses of the vaccine one week apart. But it builds on decades of research suggesting that stimulating the immune system can help clear out beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. The sticky plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. They form when pieces of beta-amyloid protein accumulate between nerve cells, potentially disrupting a person's ability to think or recall information. The vaccine sprays a drug called Protollin directly into the nasal passage, with the goal of activating immune cells to remove the plaque. The concept isn't entirely new, but it's particularly promising now that scientists better understand how to treat the disease, Jeffrey Cummings, a brain science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told Insider."The idea of activating immune cells is becoming more and more central to the idea of treating Alzheimer's disease," Cummings said. He added a nasal spray could be better at delivering Protollin to immune cells than an infusion or inhaler.The trial results could tell us more about how to thwart the disease's progression, since participants must be at an early stage in their illness and otherwise in good health. Before the nasal vaccine can advance to larger trials, though, researchers must demonstrate that it's safe and determine what dose to give.Approving new Alzheimer's drugs in the wake of controversyThe Food & Drug Administration campus in Silver Spring, Md., on October 14, 2015.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, FileThe nasal vaccine trial comes during a prolific year for Alzheimer's treatments. In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first new Alzheimer's drug in nearly 20 years, an antibody infusion called Aduhelm. But that approval quickly became controversial: Many scientists questioned whether the drug warranted the FDA's green light, since it didn't definitively improve memory or cognition in clinical trials. Aduhelm was shown to lower the levels of sticky plaque on the brains of Alzheimer's patients, but an FDA advisory committee determined that there wasn't enough evidence to confirm it worked as a treatment. Part of the skepticism stemmed from the fact that the drug's maker, Biogen, discontinued late-stage clinical trials in 2019, assuming the drug would fail. Then, roughly six months later, a small group of participants started to show positive results. "Biogen stopped the trial thinking that it was futile, then followed the patients and it turned out not to be futile — but of course that created a lot of controversy in the interpretation of the data," Cummings said. The FDA voted to approve the drug under a special accelerated pathway, which greenlights drugs that are likely to benefit patients even when there's uncertainty about how well they work.Scientists say they've 'turned a corner' on Alzheimer's researchDr. William Burke reviews a PET brain scan at Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.Matt York/Associated PressAs many as 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's — a leading cause of death among US adults. Nearly 122,000 Americans died of the disease in 2019, according to the latest available data.Alzheimer's deaths are also becoming more frequent as more Americans reach old age. From 1999 to 2019, the US mortality rate from Alzheimer's rose 88% — from 16 deaths per 100,000 people to 30 deaths per 100,000 people. That death rate may be an underestimate, since people with cognitive decline sometimes have difficulty seeking an Alzheimer's diagnosis or suffer from other health conditions.But in the last five years or so, Cummings said, new technologies such as brain scans and blood tests have made it easier to confirm Alzheimer's diagnoses and measure how well treatments are working."It just feels like we have turned a corner," Cummings said. In addition to Aduhelm, he said, a few other antibody drugs have shown promise. Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly plans to submit data for its Alzheimer's drug, donanemab, to the FDA by the end of the year, putting it on track for possible approval in 2022. Two more companies, Biogen and Eisai, are also jointly completing an FDA application for their antibody drug, lecanemab."These other drugs that are very like [Aduhelm] all seem to be producing clinical benefit," Cummings said. "That's the key: Are patients better, or at least losing their cognitive capacity less rapidly, if they are treated? That seems to be true across this whole class of drugs." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 24th, 2021

Universities are using vaccine mandates and testing to pave the way to a new norm in the pandemic

"I see people walking around. It feels great. Now that everybody's vaccinated," Northeastern University senior Juan Rodriguez-Calvet said. Clinical lab techs work in one of the labs to process the samples from students at a Northeastern University facility in Burlington, MA on Nov. 25, 2020. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images College students were forced to pack up their things and learn online when COVID-19 hit. Several universities have relied on vaccine mandates and routine testing to reopen in person. Northeastern University started its own lab to safely resume in-person learning. Since the pandemic began, universities across the US have grappled with ways to safely reopen for an in-person experience and several have leaned towards robust testing systems as means to do so. This year, Northeastern University in Boston required students, staff, and faculty to get COVID-19 vaccines and get tested once a week. Jared AuClair, Technical Supervisor for the Life Science Testing Center told Insider they processed up to 35,000 tests a day but that testing was critical in resuming in-person classes. Soon after the university closed for in-person learning in March of 2020, leadership set out to find a way to safely reopen.AuClair told Insider that while the university doesn't have its own medical center, leadership found that opening their own testing facility was the most efficient way to get accurate and fast results. Northeastern opened its own lab to test for COVID-19Within six weeks after making the decision in mid-June, the university received its accreditation, picked a location for the center, brought in staff, and chose a management system to get a lab up and running by August 2020, the start of the new academic year. "Last year when we did this testing was really the primary way we managed the pandemic," Senior Vice President of External Affairs Michael Armini, who co-chaired the COVID-19 task force, told Insider.Since the start of this fall semester the lab conducts 4,000 to 5,000 tests a day and is able to sequence and track variants. They're also now testing for the flu. The University of Southern California also tests students and staff regularly after reopening this summer. Dr. Sarah Van Orman, chief health officer at USC Student Health and a member of the American College Health Association, told Insider that despite being a nearly full-vaccinated campus, breakthrough infections meant there had to be a mandatory testing system in place. Van Orman said the university tests between 30,000 to 35,000 people each week. On the week of October 10, there was only a 0.1% positivity rate among students. At Northeastern, students are required to test once a week. AuClair told Insider the university has two testing centers: One for symptomatic testing, and one for asymptomatic testing. Students must schedule an appointment, which are completely free. AuClair said the lab is operational 24/7. Samples are collected at one of the two testing sites. Each sample has a barcode corresponding to the individual it was collected from. Those samples are then sent to the lab where scientists add "viral transport media to each of the swabs, which inactivates any virus that's there." In an effort to speed up the process, the lab has started combining five swabs to run one test, AuClair said. After the test is run, scientists will also look to sequence any potential variants. Results are then inputted back into the system and digitally sent back to the patients. AuClair said this process helps paint a clearer image of what's happening on campus, for example, if there's a new variant or a cluster outbreak. "All the positive tests are contacted through the university's contact tracing team. We're testing our own population so we know who lives in what dorm, for example, or if you live off-campus or what classes you go to. So, we can look at the data with that lens on and we can understand if there's sort of a cluster forming around a specific event or class or something of that nature," he said. Testing helps university leadership make decisions At USC, testing is connected through the university's electronic health record, [RECORDS?] Van Orman said. Similar to Northeastern, students must make an appointment through the health record, and a QR code is generated that they scan when they show up for their test. That code is then attached to a nasal swab collected on-site or a take-home saliva test that's dropped off. Results are usually ready the next day via the electronic health record. Van Orman said the system is attached to the university's pandemic management system, so when someone tests positive, it automatically flags that they should be in isolation and alerts officials on who the person may have been in contact with. A contact tracer is then able to reach out to the others potentially exposed. On top of testing, USC students have a daily "Trojan check" where they have to attest to feeling well and keeping on top of required testing in order to get a daily pass to campus. Without it, they won't be allowed on campus.At Northeastern, Armini told Insider that compared to last year, testing isn't so much about tracking positive cases anymore. Their goal is to track trends and hospitalizations and make sure the campus is healthy. "In other words, with a fully vaccinated population, positive tests are not the most important metric. And the reason is that if you're vaccinated and you test positive, it's very possible that you're completely asymptomatic or you'll have very mild symptoms," he said. "What we're really looking for now is hospitalization and severe illness. And right now we have zero hospitalizations, which is in a way the most important thing to look at today."Students prefer learning in-personStudents at Northeastern told Insider they're happy to be able to have a somewhat normal in-person experience. Several students said they greatly benefit from learning in class and being able to see others in person. Sophomore Darren Hsing transferred to Northeastern from Santa Clara University in California. He told Insider that while he always knew he wanted to attend the Boston-based school, its commitment to safety greatly factored in his decision to transfer. "I saw different news reports early on in the pandemic of how strict they were. So, I felt confident that I would be all right coming to school here," Hsing said. Grad student Shourya Kheterpal started at Northeastern during the last academic year. Kheterpal, an international student from India said the previous year was chaotic and despite testing, much of the learning was online and people were confined to their rooms. He said there was a feeling of fear that people would catch COVID-19 and a strict on-campus experience made him feel like he was missing out on a normal college experience. He returned to India in the spring and went to school online. "Last year there was nothing. I was just caged in my room. The only thing I knew about my college was this one building called AIESEC. That was the only thing. As an international student who just came to a new country, new people, it just took a toll on me mentally," Kheterpal told Insider. After returning to the Boston area this fall, Kheterpal said the experience is much different and he's looking forward to resuming an in-person experience, including joining clubs. For Emily Niemer, also at Northeastern, getting vaccinated has also alleviated a lot of concerns. Niemer said while she stayed on campus last year, she was very concerned that testing positive would mean she would have to be isolated for at least ten days as part of the university's protocol. Now, Niemer said she's less concerned about testing weekly not that she's vaccinated and lives off-campus. She said even if she tests positive she could now isolate herself in the safety of her own apartment. Edward Man, now a sophomore at Northeastern, said he was disappointed because the pandemic took away both his senior year of high school and his freshman year of college. However, he said the strict policies last year and the mandatory testing now means that the school doesn't shut down often and there's some normalcy. "So with all of these rules I was like 'it is what it is. I'm just going to have to follow this, so I can actually try and get an education at school.' But you know it makes sense. Like, I'm honestly glad that Northeastern's COVID-19 policies were as strict as it was. Cause I know other schools that literally had to be evacuated within three days but we were still operating," Man said. Both Niemer and Man said they both learn better in a classroom setting. While their grades have improved, they said they hope professors remain as flexible as they were during the pandemic. Niemer recalled getting sick often while on campus before the pandemic with what she said were normal illnesses that spread in college settings. She's glad the pandemic built in some leeway SO IF a student isn't feeling well, they can stay home and get their work done online. "I think that wearing masks, not even just for COVID-19, but for general hygiene and to avoid different sicknesses has been honestly really beneficial," Niemer said. Man said it's taking him a while to learn how to study again and pay attention in class, but he prefers it over sitting in his dorm staring and getting distracted on Zoom. Juan Rodriguez-Calvet, a senior at Northeastern, told Insider he sees the campus now getting back to normal. "I see people walking around. It feels great. Now that everybody's vaccinated," he said. Armini said the university initially required indoor mask use as people returned to campus, but as they evaluate testing data they may soon drop that requirement for the vaccinated. Universities adapt policies based on the data Van Orman at USC also told Insider data reviewed has led the university to drop its rigorous outdoor mask mandate. She said universities could be a model for other institutions, adding that successful and safe reopenings are contingent on policies that are "aligned with best public health practice."Van Orman said the new normal is now one where COVID-19 is part of the picture and decisions have to look at the best practices at any given time. While mask mandates may be dropped, they may have to be reimplemented if cases rise, for example. "I think it's very manageable and I think we are at a point where we can manage it at our colleges and universities. In many ways we have better tools to manage it at our colleges and universities than we do in many sectors and many other institutions," she said. "It will be here to stay but I think normal is coming in the next six to 12 months."Have a news tip? Email this reporter: salarshani@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 14th, 2021

A top emergency care doctor explains why she"s not boosted - but she"s making sure her mom gets a third shot before the holidays

Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease doctor who is not boosted, is recommending that her mother get a booster shot two weeks before Thanksgiving. Dr. Celine Gounder is an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at NYU and Bellevue Hospital. Courtesy of Celine Gounder A top infectious disease doctor in New York says she hasn't gotten a third booster shot yet, even though she's eligible. Dr. Celine Gounder is, however, recommending that her elderly mother get boosted, at least two weeks before holiday travel. "What if you learn that getting a third dose at six months is not as good as waiting a year?" she said. Dr. Celine Gounder is one of the leading infectious disease doctors in the US, and she takes care of sick patients at one of the nation's largest hospitals. As a frontline worker at increased risk of catching COVID-19, she's been eligible to receive a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine for several weeks now. But she hasn't."I have not gotten a third dose," she told Insider. "I, personally, am waiting and seeing what the science shows on longer-term immunity and what might make more sense."She's confident that her two initial shots are still providing her robust, long-term protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. There is only one person in her family who she has urged to get boosted ASAP.Why she's more concerned about boosting her mom"My mom is the only person in our family who, in my opinion, truly needs a third dose - is an elderly person," Gounder said. Older people, who naturally have weaker immune systems, are generally in need of more frequent and stronger vaccinations. For now, there is limited evidence that extra shots are really necessary for all adults, especially in the immediate term.Gounder told her mom to time her booster shot with her holiday travel plans. "What I told her was: wait until two weeks before Thanksgiving, because we don't really know what this means long term," Gounder said. "Then you get your peak antibodies for Thanksgiving." Studies have found that booster shots from Pfizer and Moderna tend to send people's antibody levels soaring to new heights, peaking about two weeks after their third jab. And according to recent data from Israel, there's evidence that boosters help curb the spread of the virus, at least for a little while. Most people are still very well protected against severe COVID-19 for at least 6-8 months after vaccination, studies findGounder said she grows frustrated with younger folks she's spoken with who've decided to get boosted, and "tend to think that, by getting the boost, they are then forever protected and they don't have to worry about it again.""These are not vaccines that provide sterilizing immunity," completely zeroing out the risks of infection and sickness in all its mildest forms, Gounder said.She cites fresh studies that find memory B-cell responses, which can produce new neutralizing antibodies as needed, remain intact six to eight months after vaccination, even if antibody levels drop."What if you learn that getting a third dose at six months is not as good as waiting a year?" she said.Dr. Rachel Presti, medical director of the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Unit at Washington University in St. Louis, is studying exactly that, by measuring people's memory responses to vaccination over time, along with her colleagues.Presti says, generally speaking, for "people who are under 50" who've been fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna, "it's not clear that you're getting a whole lot of bang out of another dose."But Presti also thinks people can make their own decisions about boosts. For example, if a young person who got vaccinated "nine months ago" is traveling to visit elderly family over the holidays, or lives with someone who is immunocompromised, they may choose to boost "to sort of maximize" protection, at least for a while, she said.Gounder isn't taking that approach. Pending results on studies like Presti's, Gounder is taking other proactive measures to prevent a coronavirus infection - masking up indoors, only outdoor dining, and generally avoiding socializing inside. Boosting too early could interfere with our immune system's learning process, some new research suggestsPresti says it's pretty unlikely that extra boosting will do any harm, but some of her most recent research suggests that a person's lymph nodes are "still working on perfecting their immune response to the original vaccine six months after." It's possible that interfering with that process, by boosting too soon, could be counterproductive. "There is that little risk that if you are getting too many, they might not actually work," she said of too-frequent boosts. The science here is still evolving - Presti says immunologists are trying to figure out the optimal timing for doses "as we go."But she's pretty confident that some day, boosters will be recommended for all adults. That's because many experts, Presti included, suspect the initial timing of first and second doses, spaced just three to four weeks apart, may have been too short to provide a truly lasting, robust immune response. In this sense, booster shots may come to be seen more as the final stage in an initial vaccination series."More space in between first and second doses would have been better, but even with what we got, it may actually still be fine," Gounder said. The privileged are getting boosted - but that won't help to stop the virus spreadingExperts all agree that giving out extra shots isn't going to work very well if some people are still getting no shots at all. "I think we do need to step back and just ask, what is it we're actually accomplishing?" Gounder said. "It's almost like people lining up to buy the new whatever it is." Gounder laments that the US has favored this everyone-for-themselves approach to vaccination, treating booster doses like new iPhones, instead of public health tools. "It is the most privileged who will get as much as they want, and the less privileged will not, the more vulnerable will not," she said.Whether or not people realize it, that sets everyone back in the long run."If you give dose after dose after dose to an individual, but there's a lot of circulation of virus around them in the community, they are still at risk," Gounder said. "I think that still hasn't really gotten through."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 13th, 2021

NYC Firetruck Availability Down To 55%, Manpower Shortages Due To Vaccine Mandate: NY Firefighters

NYC Firetruck Availability Down To 55%, Manpower Shortages Due To Vaccine Mandate: NY Firefighters Authored by Enrico Trigoso via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Two NYC firefighters gave The Epoch Times an update on the present situation of the FDNY under the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Most alarming was an internal document indicating that on Nov. 3, there were only 55 percent of firetrucks available. The normal number, according to him, should be about 90 percent. A picture of an internal document showing the availability of fire trucks in New York City. (Provided to The Epoch Times) “ENG,” short for engine, represents the firetrucks that have a water hose. “LAD,” short for ladder, represents the trucks that have a ladder. “My engine has about 25 guys, and of that, half of the guys went home,” said the firefighter, who now has less than 30 days before termination. A screenshot of the NYC Fire Wire App showing the fires that took place in New York City on Nov. 2. (NYC Fire Wire App) On Wednesday, there were four fires that went above 3rd alarm in the city, according to the two firemen that the Epoch Times interviewed and the NYC Fire Wire app that gives alerts and updates on the fires in the city. Every subsequent alarm means that a fire is getting bigger or it’s persisting to the point that members on the scene need replacement. Two of the fires went up to 4th alarm and one of them went to 5th alarm. “It’s very unusual. It doesn’t happen often,” the firefighter said, showing the Fire Wire app. Most of the firemen want to keep working for the FDNY, but are not allowed. “A lot of guys are looking for a side job, some guys are looking to retire, not by will, but because they feel like they’ve been forced. “They want to work. My company is out of service today as we speak,” he continued. “A lot of guys have to show up every tour and say ‘we’re here ready to go and you guys sent us home.’ They’re not allowed inside the firehouse building,” the firefighter said. He noted that he did a lot of research on his own about COVID-19 vaccines and feels that they haven’t been thoroughly tested. “I listen to doctors. I personally don’t want to take an experimental vaccine. I already had COVID and I have the natural immunity. I also was tested for the antibodies as well. So my natural immunity is working. I got sick at least twice from last year till now and I have recovered 100 percent every time by myself without any vaccines,” he said. Another fireman told The Epoch Times on Wednesday afternoon that “there were three multiple alarms today in the city.” “That doesn’t normally happen. That’s a direct result of manpower shortages. So a third alarm, fourth alarm, a fifth alarm, all in 12 hours. That’s a direct result of manpower shortages. And the manpower shortages are a direct result of de Blasio’s mandate, there’s no going around it. Those fires don’t go more than a room or a mattress or anything other [than] a small fire, but now they’re [going through] entire floors of buildings.” Some of the comments in the app blamed de Blasio’s mandates for the fire, while others asked for civility. Last Friday, Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro predicted that dozens of Firehouses could close due to the mandates. “According to the city, there are no firehouses closed, but they’ll leave one member in the firehouse answering the phones, answering the door if someone knocks, and that counts as a firehouse being open. The companies are closed massively throughout the city. Thirty to 50 companies every tour, which is a huge number. Around the fourth alarm in Brooklyn today there were two engines closed in the first response ticket, there was one truck closed and there were multiple engines understaffed,” the fireman said. Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter on Monday that no firehouses have been closed and that response times were normal. He recently imposed a vaccine mandate on all city workers, with no testing opt-out. The firemen were given until Monday to get the vaccine or be sent home on unpaid leave. The FDNY had already been short of staff since the pandemic began. About a week ago, according to the Fire Department Union leaders, about 30 to 35 percent hadn’t taken the vaccine, mostly citing natural immunity and religious objections. In a press conference on Thursday, they updated the number: 20 percent still haven’t taken it. But about 100 firefighters per day are now taking the vaccine, a daily 1 percent increase. Another update from the conference was that the city finally answered the Union’s demands at 7 p.m. on Thursday, giving them one day—which the leaders said is an unreasonable amount of time—to file their religious exemption and medical exemption applications, otherwise they will be sent home unpaid. The Union representation said that they thought that the unusually high, multiple alarms were a result of the cold season, and not related to de Blasio’s mandates. They also said that for a firehouse to be counted as open, at least four or five firemen need to be present. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/05/2021 - 16:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 5th, 2021

"An extraordinary effect": Pfizer says its COVID-19 pill reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 89% in high-risk patients

"Our ability to stop living in fear is now within reach," Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer, told Insider. Crystal Cox/Insider Pfizer's experimental COVID-19 pill decreased the risk of hospitalization and death, a new study found. "Our ability to stop living in fear is now within reach," Pfizer's chief scientist Mikael Dolsten told Insider. The New York drugmaker plans to apply for emergency authorization as soon as possible. Pfizer's experimental coronavirus pill slashed the risk of hospitalization and death by 89% among high-risk people recently infected with COVID-19, the New York drugmaking giant said Friday. The landmark result raises the possibility there could soon be multiple COVID-19 pills available for patients, as the drugmaker Merck has also recently announced positive results with its own antiviral pill, molnupiravir. The treatments appear poised to play a major role in addressing the pandemic, supplementing vaccinations by lowering the risk of severe disease for people who are infected."Our ability to stop living in fear is now within reach," Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer, told Insider."This should really break the fear, reduce the tremendous burden on hospitals, and the risk that, if you get infected, you'll end up in a hospital and die is statistically becoming smaller and smaller and almost non-existent," he added. "It's a huge medical advance for humanity."Pfizer expects to produce more than 180,000 treatment courses by the end of 2021 and at least 50 million more courses in 2022. A spokesperson said they are in the process of expanding capacity and plan to update these numbers in the coming weeks. Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer Pfizer Pfizer touts 'extraordinary efficacy' result combined with good safety profilePfizer's antiviral, which the company plans to name Paxlovid, is a a protease inhibitor designed to block an enzyme that plays a key role in the virus' copying process. The drug is given with a low dose of ritonavir, another antiviral that helps Paxlovid last longer in the body. The study had volunteers take three pills every 12 hours for five days - two pills containing Pfizer's antiviral and one pill of ritonavir.An early look at the study's results included data from 774 adults who enrolled, were at high risk of severe COVID-19 and were recently infected. Volunteers were randomly assigned to get Pfizer's antiviral or a placebo. Among those taking Pfizer's drug, less than 1% were hospitalized and none died. In the placebo group, about 7% of people were hospitalized and there were 10 deaths.Overall, the impact is an 89% reduction in hospitalization or death for patients who took Pfizer's drug within three days of symptoms. For those that took the drug within five days of symptoms, the benefit was 85%, Dolsten said. In both cases, the drug offered 100% protection from death in the study. The results were described in a Friday morning press release and have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. "I would say this is as close as you can come with an antiviral to short-term, cure-like outcomes," Dolsten said, adding he was expecting a good antiviral to show 70% or more efficacy. "It's an extraordinary effect."Pfizer is stopping its study early due to the strong results, and the company is planning to apply for emergency authorization with US and global health regulators as soon as possible.The safety data also appears promising. Most reported side effects were mild, and the placebo group actually had higher rates of serious side effects.The 89% risk reduction is greater than what Merck's molnupiravir showed in a similar study focused on high-risk COVID-19 patients. Molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by about 50%. The FDA is now reviewing molnupiravir, and UK authorities became the first country to approve the treatment on November 3.Questions remain on resistance and benefit for vaccinated Molnupiravir is an experimental oral antiviral developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that could treat COVID-19 Merck Despite the promising results, there are still some unanswered questions.Pfizer and Merck both excluded people who received a COVID-19 vaccine from their studies, making it unclear if vaccinated people will also see a meaningful benefit from taking the pills if they get COVID-19. Pfizer is running additional studies that include vaccinated people. Dolsten said he is optimistic they will have positive results early next year for these studies. The company is also studying whether the pill could be used to prevent infections and illness in the first place as a prophylactic.Some scientists are also concerened about COVID-19's ability to mutate, and if that could make antivirals weaker over time. If they are widely used, the pills could potentially lead to the virus developing resistance to the treatment. But Dolsten said he's not worried about the risk of resistance anytime soon. "I don't expect for the next many years - five, seven years - there will be resistance problems," he said, adding that Pfizer is looking out for that possibility further down the line. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 5th, 2021

How Nov. 2, 2010 Made the Rich So Much Richer

November 2, 2010, is a day that that has been mostly forgotten by history, but that should live in infamy. It was the day when America’s democratic institutions retreated to the sidelines of economic policymaking and largely left the nation’s economic development to the Federal Reserve. The result was a decade of printing money that… November 2, 2010, is a day that that has been mostly forgotten by history, but that should live in infamy. It was the day when America’s democratic institutions retreated to the sidelines of economic policymaking and largely left the nation’s economic development to the Federal Reserve. The result was a decade of printing money that has primarily benefited the very rich and stoked asset prices in ways that continue to destabilize global financial markets. Observing the anniversary of 11/2 is particularly important this year because we appear intent on continuing down the same path. Congress is wallowing into its comfortable habits of infighting and paralysis. The Fed is poised to continue to take new emergency actions even as it struggles to withdraw the massive monetary stimulus programs from past years and hoping to do so without causing a market crash. It appears as if Congress has grown comfortable with its own dysfunction while allowing the Fed do handle the heavy lifting on economic affairs. But another decade of democratic paralysis and aggressive central banking would be ruinous. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The events of the original 11/2 were poetic in their symmetry. Congress stepped back from the action, and the Fed stepped forward. On that Tuesday, Americans cast their votes in the first midterm election of Barack Obama’s presidency and gave the Tea Party control of the House. Tea Party politicians had campaigned on a platform of policy negation and government shutdown, and they achieved their aims. The Obama agenda came to a grinding halt. On that same day, an unelected committee of 18 people gathered for their regular meeting at the Federal Reserve. This committee, called the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) was led at the time by Chairman Ben Bernanke, who had a penchant for bold experiments. Bernanke enjoyed a level of autonomy that would be the envy of any U.S. president. When Congress created the Fed, it insulated the bank from voters, which allows the Fed to move fast in times of trouble. Bernanke used this power to great effect during the financial crisis of 2008, orchestrating large bailouts that propped up financial markets. By 2010, however, the Fed looked like it might be out of options. The FOMC had already cut short-term interest rates to zero and kept them there. But Bernanke had devised an experimental way to do more: a program called quantitative easing (QE). This tool had been used only once before, in the heat of the financial crisis, and now Bernanke wanted to use it as a way to boost overall economic growth. This was a radical plan, and some members of the Fed’s policy committee warned against it. They argued that quantitative easing would only encourage risky lending without creating many real jobs. Over a period of years, Bernanke justified taking such risks in part because Congress wasn’t doing anything to help. On November 3, 2010, after the second day of their meeting, FOMC members approved Bernanke’s plan for $600 billion in quantitative easing. The Fed made itself central to America’s economic growth. This was just the beginning. Between late 2010 and 2014, the Fed used quantitative easing to create about $2.3 trillion. To put that in perspective, that’s more than twice as much money as the Fed had created during the first 95 years of its existence. The bank crammed two centuries’ worth of new money creation into a few short years. The Tea Party wasn’t entirely responsible for the Fed’s increasingly ambitious efforts. Politicians from both parties were more than happy over the years to let the Fed take on more responsibility. Because the Fed didn’t have to collect tax taxes, its actions seemed relatively painless, recalled former Fed governor Elizabeth “Betsy” Duke, an FOMC member who voted for a massive round of QE in 2012. Read More: How Jay Powell Is Changing the Fed “It begins to seem like free money,” Duke said. “Free money to a politician is heaven.” But Duke and others inside the FOMC pointed out during internal debates that the experiment in QE did indeed carry costs. One of these costs was driving up income inequality. To understand why this flood of money primarily helped the rich, it’s important to understand how the Fed makes money in the first place. The Fed can’t make new dollars appear in normal people’s checking accounts. It can only create new cash in one narrow way: by making it appear inside the bank accounts of an elite group of 24 financial firms called primary dealers, such as J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Here’s how it works: A financial trader at the Fed will call up a primary dealer and offer to buy something like, say, a bunch of 10-year Treasury bonds for a price of $10 billion. When they agree to a deal, the Fed trader pays for the transaction by making $10 billion appear inside the primary dealer’s special reserve account at the Fed. Voila—new money is born. Quantitative easing is nothing more than a rapid series of purchases like this, which flood new cash into reserve accounts of a few institutions on Wall Street. By printing so much cash, the Fed created an all-powerful force in global markets called a “search for yield.” The wave of new dollars had to find somewhere to settle down and earn modest profit, or yield. By pinning rates at zero, the Fed helped ensure that the money could not earn even modest yields if it was stashed in ultrasafe assets like 10-year Treasury bonds. So pension funds, private equity firms and other investors desperately hunted for assets to buy that might produce even small yields. This is why quantitative easing drives up the price of assets like shares of stock, corporate debt, commercial real estate, and even fine art. There was too much cash chasing too few assets. A policy that drives up asset prices will benefit the rich far more than workers. The bottom half of Americans only own about 5 percent of all the nation’s assets, according to a Fed survey from late 2020. The top 1 percent own 29 percent of the assets while the top 10 percent own 65 percent. The rich enjoyed years of swelling asset prices under QE. But all that money couldn’t fix the deeper problems that hold back the middle class. The Fed could not build bridges, improve the education system, empower workers to bargain for more money, or reclaim any of the jobs that were lost to offshoring and automation. Only Congress can do such things. But the Fed’s easy money policies made it even easier for Congress take the path of inaction. Even if this dynamic was acceptable, the Fed’s money printing powers cannot carry America indefinitely. After a certain point, printing more money only stokes inflation and creates devastating assets bubbles. This is why Ben Bernanke’s successors, Chairwoman Janet Yellen and current Chairman Jay Powell, labored so mightily in recent years to scale back the Fed’s interventions. But every time the Fed tries to pull back, investors see what’s happening and they react by moving their money away from the investments the Fed incentivized them to buy in the first place. The Fed is trapped. It hasn’t been able to withdraw the easy money without precipitating a crisis. But the coronavirus pandemic has shown that there is a different way to boost growth. In 2020, Congress did something it had not done in at least a decade—it flexed its policymaking muscles. Congress sent billions of dollars directly to people, rather than to primary dealers. Emergency loans were given directly to small businesses, rather than just big banks. Billions of dollars was spent to solve real-world problems like vaccine development and medical equipment production, rather than just propping up financial markets. The results were immediate. The poverty rate fell quickly and hit the lowest level since 1967. Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses were administered. Millions of jobs were regained after the lockdown. But the fiscal fever is fading quickly. Conservative Democrats are luxuriating in their ability to slow down passage of Congressional action or kill it outright. Republicans have reverted to the Tea Party playbook from 2010, actively rooting for Democrats to fail. Republicans are positioning themselves to take control of Congress in next year’s mid-term. If they win, there is every reason to believe they will pursue a strategy of blocking any major legislation from a Biden White House. Observing 11/2 this year should remind us what’s at stake. One decade of QE-driven growth has deepened the divide between the very rich and everyone else while fueling sky-high asset prices. Another decade of this approach might push the system to the breaking point. Congress might enjoy not getting anything done, but the rest of us can’t afford it......»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 2nd, 2021

Babies are increasingly dying of syphilis in the US - but it"s 100% preventable

Babies with syphilis may have deformed bones, damaged brains, and struggle to hear, see, or breathe. A newborn baby rests at the Ana Betancourt de Mora Hospital in Camaguey, Cuba, on June 19, 2015. Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters The number of US babies born with syphilis quadrupled from 2015 to 2019. Babies with syphilis may have deformed bones, damaged brains, and struggle to hear, see, or breathe. Routine testing and penicillin shots for pregnant women could prevent these cases. This story was originally published by ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom, in collaboration with NPR News. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.When Mai Yang is looking for a patient, she travels light. She dresses deliberately - not too formal, so she won't be mistaken for a police officer; not too casual, so people will look past her tiny 4-foot-10 stature and youthful face and trust her with sensitive health information. Always, she wears closed-toed shoes, "just in case I need to run."Yang carries a stack of cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that show what happens when the Treponema pallidum bacteria invades a patient's body. There's a photo of an angry red sore on a penis. There's one of a tongue, marred by mucus-lined lesions. And there's one of a newborn baby, its belly, torso and thighs dotted in a rash, its mouth open, as if caught midcry.It was because of the prospect of one such baby that Yang found herself walking through a homeless encampment on a blazing July day in Huron, California, an hour's drive southwest of her office at the Fresno County Department of Public Health. She was looking for a pregnant woman named Angelica, whose visit to a community clinic had triggered a report to the health department's sexually transmitted disease program. Angelica had tested positive for syphilis. If she was not treated, her baby could end up like the one in the picture or worse - there was a 40% chance the baby would die.Yang knew, though, that if she helped Angelica get treated with three weekly shots of penicillin at least 30 days before she gave birth, it was likely that the infection would be wiped out and her baby would be born without any symptoms at all. Every case of congenital syphilis, when a baby is born with the disease, is avoidable. Each is considered a "sentinel event," a warning that the public health system is failing.The alarms are now clamoring. In the United States, more than 129,800 syphilis cases were recorded in 2019, double the case count of five years prior. In the same time period, cases of congenital syphilis quadrupled: 1,870 babies were born with the disease; 128 died. Case counts from 2020 are still being finalized, but the CDC has said that reported cases of congenital syphilis have already exceeded the prior year. Black, Hispanic, and Native American babies are disproportionately at risk.There was a time, not too long ago, when CDC officials thought they could eliminate the centuries-old scourge from the United States, for adults and babies. But the effort lost steam and cases soon crept up again. Syphilis is not an outlier. The United States goes through what former CDC director Tom Frieden calls "a deadly cycle of panic and neglect" in which emergencies propel officials to scramble and throw money at a problem - whether that's Ebola, Zika, or COVID-19. Then, as fear ebbs, so does the attention and motivation to finish the task.The last fraction of cases can be the hardest to solve, whether that's eradicating a bug or getting vaccines into arms, yet too often, that's exactly when political attention gets diverted to the next alarm. The result: The hardest to reach and most vulnerable populations are the ones left suffering, after everyone else looks away.Yang first received Angelica's lab report on June 17. The address listed was a P.O. box, and the phone number belonged to her sister, who said Angelica was living in Huron. That was a piece of luck: Huron is tiny; the city spans just 1.6 square miles. On her first visit, a worker at the Alamo Motel said she knew Angelica and directed Yang to a nearby homeless encampment. Angelica wasn't there, so Yang returned a second time, bringing one of the health department nurses who could serve as an interpreter.They made their way to the barren patch of land behind Huron Valley Foods, the local grocery store, where people took shelter in makeshift lean-tos composed of cardboard boxes, scrap wood, and scavenged furniture, draped with sheets that served as ceilings and curtains. Yang stopped outside one of the structures, calling a greeting."Hi, I'm from the health department, I'm looking for Angelica."The nurse echoed her in Spanish.Angelica emerged, squinting in the sunlight. Yang couldn't tell if she was visibly pregnant yet, as her body was obscured by an oversized shirt. The two women were about the same age: Yang 26 and Angelica 27. Yang led her away from the tent, so they could speak privately. Angelica seemed reticent, surprised by the sudden appearance of the two health officers. "You're not in trouble," Yang said, before revealing the results of her blood test.Angelica had never heard of syphilis."Have you been to prenatal care?"Angelica shook her head. The local clinic had referred her to an obstetrician in Hanford, a 30-minute drive away. She had no car. She also mentioned that she didn't intend to raise her baby; her two oldest children lived with her mother, and this one likely would, too.Yang pulled out the CDC cards, showing them to Angelica and asking if she had experienced any of the symptoms illustrated. No, Angelica said, her lips pursed with disgust."Right now you still feel healthy, but this bacteria is still in your body," Yang pressed. "You need to get the infection treated to prevent further health complications to yourself and your baby."The community clinic was just across the street. "Can we walk you over to the clinic and make sure you get seen so we can get this taken care of?"Angelica demurred. She said she hadn't showered for a week and wanted to wash up first. She said she'd go later.Yang tried once more to extract a promise: "What time do you think you'll go?""Today, for sure."The CDC tried and failed to eradicate syphilis - twiceSyphilis is called The Great Imitator: It can look like any number of diseases. In its first stage, the only evidence of infection is a painless sore at the bacteria's point of entry. Weeks later, as the bacteria multiplies, skin rashes bloom on the palms of the hands and bottoms of the feet. Other traits of this stage include fever, headaches, muscle aches, sore throat, and fatigue. These symptoms eventually disappear and the patient progresses into the latent phase, which betrays no external signs. But if left untreated, after a decade or more, syphilis will reemerge in up to 30% of patients, capable of wreaking horror on a wide range of organ systems. Marion Sims, president of the American Medical Association in 1876, called it a "terrible scourge, which begins with lamb-like mildness and ends with lion-like rage that ruthlessly destroys everything in its way."The corkscrew-shaped bacteria can infiltrate the nervous system at any stage of the infection. Yang is haunted by her memory of interviewing a young man whose dementia was so severe that he didn't know why he was in the hospital or how old he was. And regardless of symptoms or stage, the bacteria can penetrate the placenta to infect a fetus. Even in these cases the infection is unpredictable: Many babies are born with normal physical features, but others can have deformed bones or damaged brains, and they can struggle to hear, see, or breathe.From its earliest days, syphilis has been shrouded in stigma. The first recorded outbreak was in the late 15th century, when Charles VIII led the French army to invade Naples. Italian physicians described French soldiers covered with pustules, dying from a sexually transmitted disease. As the affliction spread, Italians called it the French Disease. The French blamed the Neopolitans. It was also called the German, Polish, or Spanish disease, depending on which neighbor one wanted to blame. Even its name bears the taint of divine judgement: It comes from a 16th-century poem that tells of a shepherd, Syphilus, who offended the god Apollo and was punished with a hideous disease.By 1937 in America, when former Surgeon General Thomas Parran wrote the book "Shadow on the Land," he estimated some 680,000 people were under treatment for syphilis; about 60,000 babies were being born annually with congenital syphilis. There was no cure, and the stigma was so strong that public-health officials feared even properly documenting cases.Thanks to Parran's ardent advocacy, Congress in 1938 passed the National Venereal Disease Control Act, which created grants for states to set up clinics and support testing and treatment. Other than a short-lived funding effort during World War I, this was the first coordinated federal push to respond to the disease.Around the same time, the Public Health Service launched an effort to record the natural history of syphilis. Situated in Tuskegee, Alabama, the infamous study recruited 600 black men. By the early 1940s, penicillin became widely available and was found to be a reliable cure, but the treatment was withheld from the study participants. Outrage over the ethical violations would cast a stain across syphilis research for decades to come and fuel generations of mistrust in the medical system among Black Americans that continues to this day. People attend a ceremony near Tuskegee, Alabama, on April 3, 2017, to commemorate the roughly 600 men who were subjects in the Tuskegee syphilis study. Jay Reeves/AP Photo With the introduction of penicillin, cases began to plummet. Twice, the CDC has announced efforts to wipe out the disease - once in the 1960s and again in 1999.In the latest effort, the CDC announced that the United States had "a unique opportunity to eliminate syphilis within its borders," thanks to historically low rates, with 80% of counties reporting zero cases. The concentration of cases in the South "identifies communities in which there is a fundamental failure of public health capacity," the agency noted, adding that elimination - which it defined as fewer than 1,000 cases a year - would "decrease one of our most glaring racial disparities in health."Two years after the campaign began, cases started climbing, first among gay men and, later, heterosexuals. Cases in women started accelerating in 2013, followed shortly by increasing numbers of babies born with syphilis. The reasons for failure are complex: People relaxed safer sex practices after the advent of potent HIV combination therapies, increased methamphetamine use drove riskier behavior, and an explosion of online dating made it hard to track and test sexual partners, according to Ina Park, medical director of the California Prevention Training Center at the University of California San Francisco.But federal and state public-health efforts were hamstrung from the get-go. In 1999, the CDC said it would need about $35 million to $39 million in new federal funds annually for at least five years to eliminate syphilis. The agency got less than half of what it asked for, according to Jo Valentine, former program coordinator of the CDC's Syphilis Elimination Effort. As cases rose, the CDC modified its goals in 2006 from 0.4 primary and secondary syphilis cases per 100,000 in population to 2.2 cases per 100,000. By 2013, as elimination seemed less and less viable, the CDC changed its focus to ending congenital syphilis only.Since then, funding has remained anemic. From 2015 to 2020, the CDC's budget for preventing sexually transmitted infections grew by 2.2%. Taking inflation into account, that's a 7.4% reduction in purchasing power. In the same period, cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia - the three STDs that have federally funded control programs - increased by nearly 30%."We have a long history of nearly eradicating something, then changing our attention, and seeing a resurgence in numbers," David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said. "We have more congenital syphilis cases today in America than we ever had pediatric AIDS at the height of the AIDS epidemic. It's heartbreaking."Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, warns that the US should not be surprised to see case counts continue to climb."The bugs don't go away," she said. "They're just waiting for the next opportunity, when you're not paying attention."Syphilis has fewer poster children than HIV or cancerYang waited until the end of the day, then called the clinic to see if Angelica had gone for her shot. She had not. Yang would have to block off another half day to visit Huron again, but she had three dozen other cases to deal with.States in the South and West have seen the highest syphilis rates in recent years. In 2017, 64 babies in Fresno County were born with syphilis at a rate of 440 babies per 100,000 live births - about 19 times the national rate. While the county had managed to lower case counts in the two years that followed, the pandemic threatened to unravel that progress, forcing STD staffers to do COVID-19 contact tracing, pausing field visits to find infected people, and scaring patients from seeking care. Yang's colleague handled three cases of stillbirth in 2020; in each, the woman was never diagnosed with syphilis because she feared catching the coronavirus and skipped prenatal care.Yang, whose caseload peaked at 70 during a COVID-19 surge, knew she would not be able handle them all as thoroughly as she'd like to."When I was being mentored by another investigator, he said: 'You're not a superhero. You can't save everybody,'" she said.She prioritizes men who have sex with men, because there's a higher prevalence of syphilis in that population, and pregnant people, because of the horrific consequences for babies.The job of a disease intervention specialist isn't for everyone: It means meeting patients whenever and wherever they are available - in the mop closet of a bus station, in a quiet parking lot - to inform them about the disease, to extract names of sex partners, and to encourage treatment. Patients are often reluctant to talk. They can get belligerent, upset that "the government" has their personal information, or shattered at the thought that a partner is likely cheating on them. Salaries typically start in the low $40,000s.Jena Adams, Yang's supervisor, has eight investigators working on HIV and syphilis. In the middle of 2020, she lost two and replaced them only recently."It's been exhausting," Adams said.She has only one specialist who is trained to take blood samples in the field, crucial for guaranteeing that the partners of those who test positive for syphilis also get tested. Adams wants to get phlebotomy training for the rest of her staff, but it's $2,000 per person. The department also doesn't have anyone who can administer penicillin injections in the field; that would have been key when Yang met Angelica. For a while, a nurse who worked in the tuberculosis program would ride along to give penicillin shots on a volunteer basis. Then he, too, left the health department.Much of the resources in public health trickle down from the CDC, which distributes money to states, which then parcel it out to counties. The CDC gets its budget from Congress, which tells the agency, by line item, exactly how much money it can spend to fight a disease or virus, in an uncommonly specific manner not seen in many other agencies. The decisions are often politically driven and can be detached from actual health needs.When the House and Senate appropriations committees meet to decide how much the CDC will get for each line item, they are barraged by lobbyists for individual disease interests. Stephanie Arnold Pang, senior director of policy and government relations at the National Coalition of STD Directors, can pick out the groups by sight: breast cancer wears pink, Alzheimer's goes in purple, multiple sclerosis comes in orange, HIV in red. STD prevention advocates, like herself, don a green ribbon, but they're far outnumbered.And unlike diseases that might already be familiar to lawmakers, or have patient and family spokespeople who can tell their own powerful stories, syphilis doesn't have many willing poster children. Breast Cancer survivors hold up a check for the amount raised at The Congressional Womens Softball Game at Watkins Recreation Center in Capitol Hill on June 20, 2018. Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call "Congressmen don't wake up one day and say, 'Oh hey, there's congenital syphilis in my jurisdiction.' You have to raise awareness," Arnold Pang said. It can be hard jockeying for a meeting. "Some offices might say, 'I don't have time for you because we've just seen HIV.' ... Sometimes, it feels like you're talking into a void."The consequences of the political nature of public-health funding have become more obvious during the coronavirus pandemic. The 2014 Ebola epidemic was seen as a "global wakeup call" that the world wasn't prepared for a major pandemic, yet in 2018, the CDC scaled back its epidemic prevention work as money ran out."If you've got to choose between Alzheimer's research and stopping an outbreak that may not happen? Stopping an outbreak that might not happen doesn't do well," Frieden, the former CDC director, said. "The CDC needs to have more money and more flexible money. Otherwise, we're going to be in this situation long term."In May 2021, President Joe Biden's administration announced it would set aside $7.4 billion over the next five years to hire and train public health workers, including $1.1 billion for more disease intervention specialists like Yang. Public health officials are thrilled to have the chance to expand their workforce, but some worry the time horizon may be too short."We've seen this movie before, right?" Frieden said. "Everyone gets concerned when there's an outbreak, and when that outbreak stops, the headlines stop, and an economic downturn happens, the budget gets cut."Fresno's STD clinic was shuttered in 2010 amid the Great Recession. Many others have vanished since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.Health leaders thought "by magically beefing up the primary care system, that we would do a better job of catching STIs and treating them," Harvey, the executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said.That hasn't worked out; people want access to anonymous services, and primary care doctors often don't have STDs top of mind. The coalition is lobbying Congress for funding to support STD clinical services, proposing a three-year demonstration project funded at $600 million.It's one of Adams' dreams to see Fresno's STD clinic restored as it was."You could come in for an HIV test and get other STDs checked," she said. "And if a patient is positive, you can give a first injection on the spot."'I've seen people's families ripped apart and I've seen beautiful babies die'On August 12, Yang set out for Huron again, speeding past groves of almond trees and fields of grapes in the department's white Chevy Cruze. She brought along a colleague, Jorge Sevilla, who had recently transferred to the STD program from COVID-19 contact tracing. Yang was anxious to find Angelica again."She's probably in her second trimester now," she said.They found her outside of a pale yellow house a few blocks from the homeless encampment; the owner was letting her stay in a shed tucked in the corner of the dirt yard. This time, it was evident that she was pregnant. Yang noted that Angelica was wearing a wig; hair loss is a symptom of syphilis."Do you remember me?" Yang asked.Angelica nodded. She didn't seem surprised to see Yang again. (I came along, and Sevilla explained who I was and that I was writing about syphilis and the people affected by it. Angelica signed a release for me to report about her case, and she said she had no problem with me writing about her or even using her full name. ProPublica chose to only print her first name.)"How are you doing? How's the baby?""Bien.""So the last time we talked, we were going to have you go to United Healthcare Center to get treatment. Have you gone since?"Angelica shook her head."We brought some gift cards..." Sevilla started in Spanish. The department uses them as incentives for completing injections. But Angelica was already shaking her head. The nearest Walmart was the next town over.Yang turned to her partner. "Tell her: So the reason why we're coming out here again is because we really need her to go in for treatment. [...] We really are concerned for the baby's health especially since she's had the infection for quite a while."Angelica listened while Sevilla interpreted, her eyes on the ground. Then she looked up. "Orita?" she asked. Right now?"I'll walk with you," Yang offered. Angelica shook her head."She said she wants to shower first before she goes over there," Sevilla said.Yang made a face. "She said that to me last time." Yang offered to wait, but Angelica didn't want the health officers to linger by the house. She said she would meet them by the clinic in 15 minutes.Yang was reluctant to let her go but again had no other option. She and Sevilla drove to the clinic, then stood on the corner of the parking lot, staring down the road.Talk to the pediatricians, obstetricians, and families on the front lines of the congenital syphilis surge and it becomes clear why Yang and others are trying so desperately to prevent cases. J.B. Cantey, associate professor in pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio, remembers a baby girl born at 25 weeks gestation who weighed a pound and a half. Syphilis had spread through her bones and lungs. She spent five months in the neonatal intensive care unit, breathing through a ventilator, and was still eating through a tube when she was discharged.Then, there are the miscarriages, the stillbirths, and the inconsolable parents. Irene Stafford, an associate professor and maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UT Health in Houston, cannot forget a patient who came in at 36 weeks for a routine checkup, pregnant with her first child. Stafford realized that there was no heartbeat."She could see on my face that something was really wrong," Stafford recalled. She had to let the patient know that syphilis had killed her baby."She was hysterical, just bawling," Stafford said. "I've seen people's families ripped apart and I've seen beautiful babies die." Fewer than 10% of patients who experience a stillbirth are tested for syphilis, suggesting that cases are underdiagnosed.A Texas grandmother named Solidad Odunuga offers a glimpse into what the future could hold for Angelica's mother, who may wind up raising her baby.In February of last year, Odunuga got a call from the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston. A nurse told her that her daughter was about to give birth and that child protective services had been called. Odunuga had lost contact with her daughter, who struggled with homelessness and substance abuse. She arrived in time to see her grandson delivered, premature at 30 weeks old, weighing 2.7 pounds. He tested positive for syphilis.When a child protective worker asked Odunuga to take custody of the infant, she felt a wave of dread."I was in denial," she recalled. "I did not plan to be a mom again." The baby's medical problems were daunting: "Global developmental delays [...] concerns for visual impairments [...] high risk of cerebral palsy," read a note from the doctor at the time.Still, Odunuga visited her grandson every day for three months, driving to the NICU from her job at the University of Houston. "I'd put him in my shirt to keep him warm and hold him there." She fell in love. She named him Emmanuel.Once Emmanuel was discharged, Odunuga realized she had no choice but to quit her job. While Medicaid covered the costs of Emmanuel's treatment, it was on her to care for him. From infancy, Emmanuel's life has been a whirlwind of constant therapy. Today, at 20 months old, Odunuga brings him to physical, occupational, speech, and developmental therapy, each a different appointment on a different day of the week.Emmanuel has thrived beyond what his doctors predicted, toddling so fast that Odunuga can't look away for a minute and beaming as he waves his favorite toy phone. Yet he still suffers from gagging issues, which means Odunuga can't feed him any solid foods. Liquid gets into his lungs when he aspirates; it has led to pneumonia three times. Emmanuel has a special stroller that helps keep his head in a position that won't aggravate his persistent reflux, but Odunuga said she still has to pull over on the side of the road sometimes when she hears him projectile vomiting from the backseat.The days are endless. Once she puts Emmanuel to bed, Odunuga starts planning the next day's appointments."I've had to cry alone, scream out alone," she said. "Sometimes I wake up and think, 'Is this real?' And then I hear him in the next room."There's no vaccine for syphilis A health worker tests a migrant from Haiti for HIV and syphilis to in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, on September 25, 2021. Daniel Becerril/Reuters Putting aside the challenge of eliminating syphilis entirely, everyone agrees it's both doable and necessary to prevent newborn cases."There was a crisis in perinatal HIV almost 30 years ago and people stood up and said this is not OK - it's not acceptable for babies to be born in that condition. [...We] brought it down from 1,700 babies born each year with perinatal HIV to less than 40 per year today," Virginia Bowen, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said. "Now here we are with a slightly different condition. We can also stand up and say, 'This is not acceptable.'" Belarus, Bermuda, Cuba, Malaysia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are among countries recognized by the World Health Organization for eliminating congenital syphilis.Success starts with filling gaps across the health care system.For almost a century, public health experts have advocated for testing pregnant patients more than once for syphilis in order to catch the infection. But policies nationwide still don't reflect this best practice. Six states have no prenatal screening requirement at all. Even in states that require three tests, public-health officials say that many physicians aren't aware of the requirements. Stafford, the maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Houston, says she's tired of hearing her own peers in medicine tell her, "Oh, syphilis is a problem?"It costs public health departments less than 25 cents a dose to buy penicillin, but for a private practice, it's more than $1,000, according to Park of the University of California San Francisco."There's no incentive for a private physician to stock a dose that could expire before it's used, so they often don't have it," she said. "So a woman comes in, they say, 'We'll send you to the emergency department or health department to get it,' then [the patients] don't show up."A vaccine would be invaluable for preventing spread among people at high risk for reinfection. But there is none. Scientists only recently figured out how to grow the bacteria in the lab, prompting grants from the National Institutes of Health to fund research into a vaccine. Justin Radolf, a researcher at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, said he hopes his team will have a vaccine candidate by the end of its five-year grant. But it'll likely take years more to find a manufacturer and run human trials.Public-health agencies also need to recognize that many of the hurdles to getting pregnant people treated involve access to care, economic stability, safe housing, and transportation. In Fresno, Adams has been working on ways her department can collaborate with mental health services. Recently, one of her disease intervention specialists managed to get a pregnant woman treated with penicillin shots and, at the patient's request, connected her with an addiction treatment center.Gaining a patient's cooperation means seeing them as complex humans instead of just a case to solve."There may be past traumas with the healthcare system," Cynthia Deverson, project manager of the Houston Fetal Infant Morbidity Review, said. "There's the fear of being discovered if she's doing something illegal to survive. [...] She may need to be in a certain place at a certain time so she can get something to eat, or maybe it's the only time of the day that's safe for her to sleep. They're not going to tell you that. Yes, they understand there's a problem, but it's not an immediate threat, maybe they don't feel bad yet, so obviously this is not urgent.""What helps to gain trust is consistency," she added. "Literally, it's seeing that [disease specialist] constantly, daily. [...] The woman can see that you're not going to harm her, you're saying, 'I'm here at this time if you need me.'"Yang stood outside the clinic, waiting for Angelica to show up, baking in the 90-degree heat. Her feelings ranged from irritation - Why didn't she just go? I'd have more energy for other cases - to an appreciation for the parts of Angelica's story that she didn't know - She's in survival mode. I need to be more patient.Fifteen minutes ticked by, then 20."OK," Yang announced. "We're going back."She asked Sevilla if he would be OK if they drove Angelica to the clinic; they technically weren't supposed to because of coronavirus precautions, but Yang wasn't sure she could convince Angelica to walk. Sevilla gave her the thumbs up.When they pulled up, they saw Angelica sitting in the backyard, chatting with a friend. She now wore a fresh T-shirt and had shoes on her feet. Angelica sat silently in the back seat as Yang drove to the clinic. A few minutes later, they pulled up to the parking lot.Finally, Yang thought. We got her here.The clinic was packed with people waiting for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. A worker there had previously told Yang that a walk-in would be fine, but a receptionist now said they were too busy to treat Angelica. She would have to return.Yang felt a surge of frustration, sensing that her hard-fought opportunity was slipping away. She tried to talk to the nurse supervisor, but he wasn't available. She tried to leave the gift cards at the office to reward Angelica if she came, but the receptionist said she couldn't hold them. While Yang negotiated, Sevilla sat with Angelica in the car, waiting.Finally, Yang accepted this was yet another thing she couldn't control.She drove Angelica back to the yellow house. As they arrived, she tried once more to impress on her just how important it was to get treated, asking Sevilla to interpret. "We don't want it to get any more serious, because she can go blind, she could go deaf, she could lose her baby."Angelica already had the door halfway open."So on a scale from one to 10, how important is this to get treated?" Yang asked."Ten," Angelica said. Yang reminded her of the appointment that afternoon. Then Angelica stepped out and returned to the dusty yard.Yang lingered for a moment, watching Angelica go. Then she turned the car back onto the highway and set off toward Fresno, knowing, already, that she'd be back.Postscript: A reporter visited Huron twice more in the months that followed, including once independently to try to interview Angelica, but she wasn't in town. Yang has visited Huron twice more as well - six times in total thus far. In October, a couple of men at the yellow house said Angelica was still in town, still pregnant. Yang and Sevilla spent an hour driving around, talking to residents, hoping to catch Angelica. But she was nowhere to be found.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 2nd, 2021

Ron DeSantis says he"s "offended" that a police officer "could potentially lose their job" over COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Gov. DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, said last month that President Biden's federal vaccine mandate was a violation of Florida law. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Gov. Ron DeSantis has pledged to fight the Biden administration over federal vaccine mandates. "I am offended that a police officer could potentially lose their job," he said on Thursday. DeSantis has opposed broad vaccine requirements and mask mandates in K-12 public schools. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a vocal opponent of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, on Thursday said that the state will fight the federal government in court over legislation regarding such requirements.DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, has spoken out forcefully against vaccination rules placed on employers, and last month said that President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate was a violation of Florida law."Let's not have Biden come in and effectively take away - threaten to take away - the jobs of people who have been working hard throughout this entire pandemic," DeSantis said during a news conference this week. "I am offended that a police officer could potentially lose their job.""I just think it's fundamentally wrong to be taking people's jobs away, particularly given the situations that we see ourselves facing with the economy," he added.The rule from the federal government mandates that employers with over 100 workers must require vaccination or conduct weekly testing, which would affect about 80 million Americans. The broader mandate would also affect about 17 million healthcare workers who are employed by hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, along with federal employees and contractors.Republicans last month quickly pounced on Biden's move.Even Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who has traveled throughout his conservative in an effort to boost the vaccine, said that Biden's decision to enact a federal mandate was not helpful to increasing inoculation levels among the public."I support businesses being able to require vaccination, but it's their own independent choice for their workplace," he said last month. "But to have the federal mandate will be counterproductive. It's going to increase resistance. We're going to grow our vaccinations whether you have this or not."DeSantis, who has rejected the use of vaccine passports and waged battles with school districts that have sought to implement mask mandates, recently appointed Dr. Joseph Ladapo to become the state's new surgeon general.Ladapo, who opposes mask mandates and feels that COVID-19 vaccines are "nothing special," last year boosted the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine to fight the coronavirus. The World Health Organization earlier this year said that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective form of treatment for COVID-19.Recently, the Florida Department of Health leveled a $3.57 million fine against Leon County, which encompasses the state capital of Tallahassee, after the jurisdiction mandated that hundreds of workers receive the vaccine.The county terminated the employment of 14 workers who chose not to receive the vaccine, according to The Tallahassee Democrat, and local officials are prepared to defend the requirement in court.A recent study conducted by the French government-backed scientific organization Epi-Phare, which looked at nearly 23 million individuals, found that vaccines reduced the risk of contracting a severe case of COVID-19 by at least 90% among individuals 50 years old or older. As Insider's Eliza Relman previously reported, medical professionals as well as public health and legal experts, have praised vaccine and testing mandates as effective and constitutional tools to promote public health -- especially as the unvaccinated pose a threat to others' health and safety.DeSantis said that the state's lawsuits against the federal mandates will be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.Florida, which this past summer experienced a surge in new COVID-19 infections fueled by the highly infectious Delta variant, has seen over 57,000 of its residents succumb to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 16th, 2021

Tyrants Of The Nanny State: When The Government Thinks It Knows Best

Tyrants Of The Nanny State: When The Government Thinks It Knows Best Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.” - Simone Weil, French philosopher and political activist We labor today under the weight of countless tyrannies, large and small, carried out in the so-called name of the national good by an elite class of governmental and corporate officials who are largely insulated from the ill effects of their actions. We, the middling classes, are not so fortunate. We find ourselves badgered, bullied and browbeaten into bearing the brunt of their arrogance, paying the price for their greed, suffering the backlash for their militarism, agonizing as a result of their inaction, feigning ignorance about their backroom dealings, overlooking their incompetence, turning a blind eye to their misdeeds, cowering from their heavy-handed tactics, and blindly hoping for change that never comes.  The overt signs of the despotism exercised by the increasingly authoritarian regime that passes itself off as the United States government (and its corporate partners in crime) are all around us: COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates that strip Americans of their freedom of movement and bodily integrity; censorship, criminalizing, shadow banning and de-platforming of individuals who express ideas that are politically incorrect or unpopular; warrantless surveillance of Americans’ movements and communications; SWAT team raids of Americans’ homes; shootings of unarmed citizens by police; harsh punishments meted out to schoolchildren in the name of zero tolerance; armed drones taking to the skies domestically; endless wars; out-of-control spending; militarized police; roadside strip searches; roving TSA sweeps; privatized prisons with a profit incentive for jailing Americans; fusion centers that spy on, collect and disseminate data on Americans’ private transactions; and militarized agencies with stockpiles of ammunition, to name some of the most appalling. Yet as egregious as these incursions on our rights may be, it’s the endless, petty tyrannies—the heavy-handed, punitive-laden dictates inflicted by a self-righteous, Big-Brother-Knows-Best bureaucracy on an overtaxed, overregulated, and underrepresented populace—that illustrate so clearly the degree to which “we the people” are viewed as incapable of common sense, moral judgment, fairness, and intelligence, not to mention lacking a basic understanding of how to stay alive, raise a family, or be part of a functioning community. It’s hard to say whether we’re dealing with a kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves), a kakistocracy (a government run by unprincipled career politicians, corporations and thieves that panders to the worst vices in our nature and has little regard for the rights of American citizens), or if we’ve gone straight to an idiocracy.  This certainly isn’t a constitutional democracy, however. This overbearing Nanny State despotism is what happens when government representatives (those elected and appointed to work for us) adopt the authoritarian notion that the government knows best and therefore must control, regulate and dictate almost everything about the citizenry’s public, private and professional lives. The government’s bureaucratic attempts at muscle-flexing by way of overregulation and overcriminalization have reached such outrageous limits that federal and state governments now require on penalty of a fine that individuals apply for permission before they can grow exotic orchids, host elaborate dinner parties, gather friends in one’s home for Bible studies, give coffee to the homeless, let their kids manage a lemonade stand, keep chickens as pets, or braid someone’s hair, as ludicrous as that may seem. Consider, for example, that businesses in California must now designate an area of the children's toy aisle “gender-neutral” or face a fine, whether or not the toys sold are traditionally marketed to girls or boys such as Barbies and Hot Wheels. California schools are prohibited from allowing students to access websites, novels or religious works that reflect negatively on gays. And while Californians are free to have sex with whomever they choose (because that’s none of the government’s business), removing a condom during sex without consent could make you liable for general, special and punitive damages. Up until a few years ago, Missouri required that anyone wanting to braid African-style hair and charge for it must first acquire a government license, which at a minimum requires the applicant to undertake at least 1500 hours of cosmetology classes costing tens of thousands of dollars. Tennessee was prepared to fine residents nearly $100,000 just for violating its laws against braiding hair without a government license. In Oregon, the law was so broad that you needed a license even if you were planning to braid hair for free. The mere act of touching someone’s hair could render you a cosmetologist operating without a license and in violation of the law. It’s getting worse. Almost every aspect of American life today—especially if it is work-related—is subject to this kind of heightened scrutiny and ham-fisted control, whether you’re talking about aspiring “bakers, braiders, casket makers, florists, veterinary masseuses, tour guides, taxi drivers, eyebrow threaders, teeth whiteners, and more.” For instance, whereas 70 years ago, one out of every 20 U.S. jobs required a state license, today, almost 1 in 3 American occupations requires a license. The problem of overregulation has become so bad that, as one analyst notes, “getting a license to style hair in Washington takes more instructional time than becoming an emergency medical technician or a firefighter.” This is what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government. Overregulation is just the other side of the coin to overcriminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal and everyone becomes a lawbreaker. This is the mindset that tried to penalize a fisherman with 20 years’ jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water. That same overcriminalization mindset reared its ugly head again when police arrested a 90-year-old man for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public unless portable toilets are also made available. It’s no coincidence that both of these incidents—the fishing debacle and the homeless feeding arrest—happened in Florida. Despite its pristine beaches and balmy temperatures, Florida is no less immune to the problems plaguing the rest of the nation in terms of overcriminalization, incarceration rates, bureaucracy, corruption, and police misconduct. A few years back, in fact, Florida officials authorized police raids on barber shops in minority communities, resulting in barbers being handcuffed in front of customers, and their shops searched without warrants. All of this was purportedly done in an effort to make sure that the barbers’ licensing paperwork was up to snuff. As if criminalizing fishing, charity, and haircuts wasn’t bad enough, you could also find yourself passing time in a Florida slammer for such inane activities as singing in a public place while wearing a swimsuit, breaking more than three dishes per day, farting in a public place after 6 pm on a Thursday, and skateboarding without a license. In this way, the Sunshine State is representative of the transformation happening across the nation, where a steady diet of bread and circuses has given rise to an oblivious, inactive citizenry content to be ruled over by an inflexible and highly bureaucratic regime. America has gone from being a beacon of freedom to a locked down nation. And “we the people,” sold on the idea that safety, security and material comforts are preferable to freedom, have allowed the government to pave over the Constitution in order to erect a concentration camp. The problem with these devil’s bargains, however, is that there is always a catch, always a price to pay for whatever it is we valued so highly as to barter away our most precious possessions. We’ve bartered away our right to self-governance, self-defense, privacy, autonomy and that most important right of all—the right to tell the government to “leave me the hell alone.” In exchange for the promise of an end to global pandemics, lower taxes, lower crime rates, safe streets, safe schools, blight-free neighborhoods, and readily accessible technology, health care, water, food and power, we’ve opened the door to lockdowns, militarized police, government surveillance, asset forfeiture, school zero tolerance policies, license plate readers, red light cameras, SWAT team raids, health care mandates, overcriminalization, overregulation and government corruption. In the end, such bargains always turn sour. We relied on the government to help us safely navigate national emergencies (terrorism, natural disasters, global pandemics, etc.) only to find ourselves forced to relinquish our freedoms on the altar of national security, yet we’re no safer (or healthier) than before. We asked our lawmakers to be tough on crime, and we’ve been saddled with an abundance of laws that criminalize almost every aspect of our lives. So far, we’re up to 4500 criminal laws and 300,000 criminal regulations that result in average Americans unknowingly engaging in criminal acts at least three times a day. For instance, the family of an 11-year-old girl was issued a $535 fine for violating the Federal Migratory Bird Act after the young girl rescued a baby woodpecker from predatory cats. We wanted criminals taken off the streets, and we didn’t want to have to pay for their incarceration. What we’ve gotten is a nation that boasts the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 2.3 million people locked up, many of them doing time for relatively minor, nonviolent crimes, and a private prison industry fueling the drive for more inmates, who are forced to provide corporations with cheap labor. A special report by CNBC breaks down the national numbers: One out of 100 American adults is behind bars — while a stunning one out of 32 is on probation, parole or in prison. This reliance on mass incarceration has created a thriving prison economy. The states and the federal government spend about $74 billion a year on corrections, and nearly 800,000 people work in the industry. We wanted law enforcement agencies to have the necessary resources to fight the nation’s wars on terror, crime and drugs. What we got instead were militarized police decked out with M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers, battle tanks and hollow point bullets—gear designed for the battlefield, more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year (many for routine police tasks, resulting in losses of life and property), and profit-driven schemes that add to the government’s largesse such as asset forfeiture, where police seize property from “suspected criminals.” According to the Washington Post, these funds have been used to buy guns, armored cars, electronic surveillance gear, “luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.” Police seminars advise officers to use their “department wish list when deciding which assets to seize” and, in particular, go after flat screen TVs, cash and nice cars. In Florida, where police are no strangers to asset forfeiture, Florida police have been carrying out “reverse” sting operations, where they pose as drug dealers to lure buyers with promises of cheap cocaine, then bust them, and seize their cash and cars. Over the course of a year, police in one small Florida town seized close to $6 million using these entrapment schemes. We fell for the government’s promise of safer roads, only to find ourselves caught in a tangle of profit-driven red light cameras, which ticket unsuspecting drivers in the so-called name of road safety while ostensibly fattening the coffers of local and state governments. Despite widespread public opposition, corruption and systemic malfunctions, these cameras—used in 24 states and Washington, DC—are particularly popular with municipalities, which look to them as an easy means of extra cash. One small Florida town, population 8,000, generates a million dollars a year in fines from these cameras. Building on the profit-incentive schemes, the cameras’ manufacturers are also pushing speed cameras and school bus cameras, both of which result in heft fines for violators who speed or try to go around school buses. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, this is what happens when the American people get duped, deceived, double-crossed, cheated, lied to, swindled and conned into believing that the government and its army of bureaucrats—the people we appointed to safeguard our freedoms—actually have our best interests at heart. Yet when all is said and done, who is really to blame when the wool gets pulled over your eyes: you, for believing the con man, or the con man for being true to his nature? It’s time for a bracing dose of reality, America. Wake up and take a good, hard look around you, and ask yourself if the gussied-up version of America being sold to you—crime free, worry free, disease free and devoid of responsibility—is really worth the ticket price: nothing less than your freedoms. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 15th, 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 first-ever COVID-19 pill may be just weeks away. A handful of other pills, inhalers, and nasal sprays also show promise.

Easy-to-take coronavirus treatments could complement vaccines. These are the most promising ones to watch. A man holds a capsule. Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images Treating COVID-19 could be simpler soon, thanks to the next generation of treatments. These could come in the form of pills, nasal sprays, or inhalers. On Monday, Merck asked the FDA to authorize its antiviral pill, which would be the first COVID-19 treatment of its kind. See more stories on Insider's business page. COVID-19 could get a lot easier to treat in the near future.Thus far, doctors have relied on expensive, invasive drugs that are limited in supply and often complicated to administer. But biotech and pharma companies are now working on simpler treatments that people could take as pills, nasal sprays, or inhalers. An antiviral drug from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics is on track to become the first pill authorized to treat COVID-19. On Monday, the companies asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize that treatment, which was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death among adults with mild to moderate COVID-19. If the FDA thinks the data is sound enough, it could greenlight the pill within weeks. So far, the FDA has fully approved just one treatment for COVID-19: the antiviral drug remdesivir, which is administered via injection. The drug has been shown to shorten the recovery time of hospitalized patients.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.Pills or sprays, however, could make it easier for people to treat COVID-19 symptoms right away, perhaps without needing to visit hospitals. Pills are also likely to be cheaper than antibody infusions, which are free for patients but cost the US government more than $1,000 per dose.The following drugs have shown the most promise in trials as potential COVID-19 treatments. None of them is a replacement for vaccines, though.Antiviral pills could lower the risk of hospitalization Molnupiravir, an experimental oral antiviral developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. Merck Warding off severe COVID-19 could eventually be as simple as taking a few pills.Merck's antiviral, molnupiravir, was originally developed as a treatment for the flu. Now it's being evaluated for mild to moderate COVID-19 in a study of nearly 1,900 volunteers. So far, the pill has halved the risk of hospitalization or death among a group of 385 people, Merck announced earlier this month. The participants took 40 pills in total: four capsules twice a day for five days.The pill belongs to a class of antiviral drugs called nucleosides, which try to block the virus from replicating inside cells.Two other companies, Roche and Atea Pharmaceuticals, are also jointly developing a nucleoside pill. That drug, called AT-527, was shown to reduce the amount of virus present in hospitalized patients with moderate COVID-19. The study was small, though - around 60 people - so Roche is waiting on data from a study of nearly 1,400 people, which could be available before the end of the year.Not all prospective COVID-19 pills are the sameOther companies are developing antiviral pills called protease inhibitors, which target an enzyme involved in the viral replication process.Pfizer is testing such a drug in combination with a low dose of another antiviral that slows the breakdown of the drug so it lasts longer in the body. The company kicked off a 3,000-person study in July and hopes to get data before the end of 2021.Meanwhile, a protease inhibitor from Japanese drugmaker Shionogi could help people with mild or asymptomatic infections. The company began a late-stage study in September. Two smaller biotech companies - Pardes Biosciences and Enanta Pharmaceuticals - are working on their own protease inhibitors, but they're far from late-stage studies. Pardes launched a 110-person trial in August, and those results could be ready by the end of the year. Enanta hopes to start initial testing of its pill in people in early 2022. The company previously developed a treatment for hepatitis C.Nasal sprays may be useful immediately after exposure to the virus A laboratory worker tests a nasal spray at a factory in Saint-Chamas, France, on January 21, 2021. Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images The coronavirus first invades the body through the nose, eyes, and throat, so scientists think there's an advantage to administering treatments directly into those areas. Nasal sprays, for instance, could kill or weaken the virus in the upper airways, before it spreads to the lungs, where it's likely to cause the most damage.A May study found that a nasal spray from the biotech company SaNOtize reduced the amount of virus present among 40 people with mild COVID-19. The spray uses a colorless gas called nitric oxide that's found naturally in the body. Israel is now offering that drug in pharmacies.Another company, IGM Biosciences, is developing a nasal spray that contains an antibody engineered to neutralize the coronavirus. The spray reduced the amount of virus in the lungs of mice, but scientists don't yet know whether it will be effective in humans. Zhiqiang An, a professor of molecular medicine who's involved in the research, told Nature that the spray could eventually serve as an emergency treatment after someone has been exposed to the coronavirus.Inhalers could shorten recovery among hospitalized patients Nurse Mari Paz takes an asthma inhaler at the Sant Andreu de la Barca Primary Health Care Center in Spain, June 2, 2020. David Ramos/Getty Images A couple of inhaled COVID-19 medicines are also showing promise, though more research is needed.In a study of about 100 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, an inhaler from Synairgen was found boost the odds of improvement and lead to quicker recovery times relative to patients who received a placebo.The inhaler uses a naturally occurring protein to stimulate the immune response in the lungs. Synairgen expects results from a late-stage study in hospitalized patients in early 2022.A large study also found benefits from inhaled budesonide, a generic anti-inflammatory drug that treats asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A UK study in high-risk COVID-19 patients found that budesonide helped people recover about three days faster than those who received standard care. But the same study found that budesonide didn't significantly reduce hospitalizations or deaths.This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published October 6.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

COVID-19 could get easier to treat soon: A handful of pills, inhalers, and nasal sprays are showing promise

Easy-to-take coronavirus treatments could complement vaccines. These are the most promising ones to watch. A man holds a capsule. Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images Treating COVID-19 could become much simpler in the near future. The next generation of treatments could come in the form of pills, nasal sprays, or inhalers. The most promising candidates are antiviral pills being developed by pharma giants Merck, Pfizer, and Roche. See more stories on Insider's business page. COVID-19 could get a lot easier to treat in the near future.Thus far, doctors have relied on expensive, invasive drugs that are limited in supply and often complicated to administer. But biotech and pharma companies are now working on much simpler treatments that people could take as pills, nasal sprays, and inhalers. Last week, Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced that their antiviral pill was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death among adults with mild to moderate COVID-19. The companies said they would ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize the pill for emergency use as soon as possible.So far, the FDA has fully approved just one treatment for COVID-19: the antiviral drug remdesivir, which is administered via injection. The drug has been shown to shorten the recovery time of hospitalized patients.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.Pills or sprays, however, could make it easier for people to treat COVID-19 symptoms right away, perhaps without needing to visit hospitals. Pills are also likely to be cheaper than antibody infusions, which are free for patients but cost the US government more than $1,000 per dose.The following drugs have shown the most promise in trials as potential COVID-19 treatments. None of them is a replacement for vaccines, though.Antiviral pills could lower the risk of hospitalization Molnupiravir, an experimental oral antiviral developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. Merck Warding off severe COVID-19 symptoms could eventually be as simple as taking a few pills.Merck's antiviral, molnupiravir, was originally developed as a treatment for the flu. Now it's being evaluated for mild to moderate COVID-19 in a study of nearly 1,900 volunteers. So far, the pill has halved the risk of hospitalization or death among a small group of 385 people, Merck announced Friday. The participants took 40 pills in total: four capsules twice a day for five days.The pill belongs to a class of antiviral drugs called nucleosides, which try to block the virus from replicating inside cells.Two other companies, Roche and Atea Pharmaceuticals, are also jointly developing a nucleoside in pill form. That drug, called AT-527, was shown to reduce the amount of virus present in hospitalized patients with moderate COVID-19. The study was small, though - around 60 people - so Roche is waiting on data from a study of nearly 1,400 people, which could be available before the end of the year.Not all prospective COVID-19 pills are the sameOther companies are developing antiviral pills called protease inhibitors, which target an enzyme involved in the viral replication process.Pfizer is testing such a drug in combination with a low dose of another antiviral that slows the breakdown of Pfizer's drug so it lasts longer in the body. The company kicked off a 3,000-person study in July, and hopes to get data before the end of 2021.Meanwhile, a protease inhibitor from Japanese drugmaker Shionogi could help people with mild or asymptomatic infections. The company began a late-stage study in September. Two smaller biotech companies - Pardes Biosciences and Enanta Pharmaceuticals - are working on their own protease inhibitors as well, but they're far from late-stage studies. Pardes launched a 110-person trial in August to test its pill, and those results could be ready by the end of the year. Enanta hopes to start initial testing of its pill in people in early 2022. The company previously developed a treatment for hepatitis C.Nasal sprays may be useful immediately after exposure to the virus A laboratory worker tests a nasal spray at a factory in Saint-Chamas, France, on January 21, 2021. Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images The coronavirus first invades the body through the nose, eyes, and throat, so scientists think there's an advantage to administering treatments directly into those areas. Nasal sprays, for instance, could kill or weaken the virus in the upper airways, before it spreads to the lungs, where it's likely to cause the most damage.A May study found that a nasal spray from the biotech company SaNOtize reduced the amount of virus present among 40 people with mild COVID-19. The spray uses a colorless gas called nitric oxide that's found naturally in the body. Israel is now offering that drug in pharmacies.Another company, IGM Biosciences, is developing a nasal spray that contains an antibody engineered to neutralize the coronavirus. The spray reduced the amount of virus in the lungs of mice, but scientists don't yet know whether it will be effective in humans. Zhiqiang An, a professor of molecular medicine who's involved in the research, told Nature that the spray could eventually serve as an emergency treatment after someone has been exposed to the coronavirus.Inhalers could shorten recovery among hospitalized patients Nurse Mari Paz takes an asthma inhaler at the Sant Andreu de la Barca Primary Health Care Center in Spain, June 2, 2020. David Ramos/Getty Images A couple of inhaled COVID-19 medicines are also showing promise, though more research is needed.In a small study of about 100 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, an inhaler from Synairgen was found boost the odds of improvement and lead to quicker recovery times relative to patients who received a placebo.The inhaler uses a naturally occurring protein to stimulate the immune response in the lungs. Synairgen expects results from a late-stage study in hospitalized patients in early 2022.A large study also found benefits from inhaled budesonide, a generic anti-inflammatory drug that treats asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A UK study in high-risk COVID-19 patients found that budesonide helped them recover about three days faster than those who received standard care. But the same study found that budesonide didn't significantly reduce hospitalizations or deaths.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

I just got the Pfizer booster shot at Walgreens - I felt a sense of urgency to do it since I can"t socially distance at my job

"I'd been eager to get my first shot to protect my family, but after the side effects hit me, I almost didn't get the second one," says Sagar Tolani, 36. Sagar Tolani is a math teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sagar Tolani Sagar Tolani is a 36-year-old high school math teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He got a Pfizer booster vaccine shot on Monday, September 27 at a local Walgreens. The side effects worse than his second shot, but not as bad as the first, he told freelance writer Sarah Prager. See more stories on Insider's business page. This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Sagar Tolani, a math teacher from Milwaukee, about getting the Pfizer booster vaccine shot. It has been edited for length and clarity.When I got my first COVID vaccination shot on March 1, 2021, I chose Pfizer because I could get fully vaccinated in five weeks instead of six. Every week and every day mattered, as my wife was home with our toddler and baby. I felt a similar urgency when booking my booster shot at Walgreens last weekend. I teach math at a public high school in Milwaukee, where nine out of 10 of my students live in households below the federal poverty level. We barely have room to maintain three feet of distance between us in the 24-by-32-foot classroom where I teach up to 23 teens who often don't keep their masks on. We're back to fully in-person school for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, and many of my students still haven't gotten their first shot.I'd been eager to get my first shot to protect my family, but after the side effects hit me, I almost didn't get the second one. I had a fever, chills, and aches for about 24 hours, which I'd never experienced before because I usually didn't get a flu shot before COVID (now I do). Despite being hesitant, I mentally prepared myself before my second shot and stocked up on ibuprofen and every other over-the-counter remedy that could possibly help. In the end, it just felt like I had a bad hangover the morning after my second dose. I took a couple of ibuprofen and that was it. With my 3-and-half-year-old and 15-month-old in daycare and COVID cases on the rise in Milwaukee, I felt a sense of urgency to get the booster shot, no matter the side effects.I didn't want to wait, so I scheduled an appointment as soon as I was able to sign up.I booked my appointment at 3:45 p.m. on Monday, September 27 at a Walgreens out of my way instead of my regular location, since all of the appointments there were booked.I showed up a few minutes early but there were eight or so people waiting ahead of me. Most seemed to be in the over 65 age group, and one looked about 12 years old with a parent. I got my jab at 4:15 p.m. My side effects were manageable this time - some aches and chills that lasted only that evening - worse than my second shot, but not as bad as my first. I went to bed early after taking some ibuprofen, and woke up fine. I'm waiting out my two-week clock now, hopefully building up some additional immunity to protect my children while we wait for their vaccine to become available. There have already been at least half a dozen positive COVID cases in my school this year, and I have a family history of diabetes and heart disease, so I'm hopeful this shot will help me and my family. My wife works from home now, so I'm the one out there exposing my family to the virus - I feel it was my duty to get the shot.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 30th, 2021

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con Authored by Julius Ruechel via Julius Ruechel.com, The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service) If a plumber with a lifetime of experience were to tell you that water runs uphill, you would know he is lying and that the lie is not accidental. It is a lie with a purpose. If you can also demonstrate that the plumber knows in advance that the product he is promoting with that lie is snake oil, you have evidence for a deliberate con. And once you understand what's really inside that bottle of snake oil, you will begin to understand the purpose of the con. One of the most common reasons given for mass COVID vaccinations is the idea that if we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we can starve the virus out of existence and get our lives back. It's the COVID-Zero strategy or some variant of it. By now it is abundantly clear from the epidemiological data that the vaccinated are able to both catch and spread the disease. Clearly vaccination isn't going to make this virus disappear. Only a mind that has lost its grasp on reality can fail to see how ridiculous all this has become.  But a tour through pre-COVID science demonstrates that, from day one, long before you and I had even heard of this virus, it was 100% inevitable and 100% predictable that these vaccines would never be capable of eradicating this coronavirus and would never lead to any kind of lasting herd immunity. Even worse, lockdowns and mass vaccination have created a dangerous set of circumstances that interferes with our immune system's ability to protect us against other respiratory viruses. They also risk driving the evolution of this virus towards mutations that are more dangerous to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. Lockdowns, mass vaccinations, and mass booster shots were never capable of delivering on any of the promises that were made to the public.  And yet, vaccination has been successfully used to control measles and even to eradicate smallpox. So, why not COVID? Immunity is immunity, and a virus is a virus is a virus, right? Wrong! Reality is far more complicated... and more interesting. This Deep Dive exposes why, from day one, the promise of COVID-Zero can only ever have been a deliberately dishonest shell game designed to prey on a lack of public understanding of how our immune systems work and on how most respiratory viruses differ from other viruses that we routinely vaccinate against. We have been sold a fantasy designed to rope us into a pharmaceutical dependency as a deceitful trade-off for access to our lives. Variant by variant. For as long as the public is willing to go along for the ride.  Exposing this story does not require incriminating emails or whistleblower testimony. The story tells itself by diving into the long-established science that every single virologist, immunologist, evolutionary biologist, vaccine developer, and public health official had access to long before COVID began. As is so often the case, the devil is hidden in the details. As this story unfolds it will become clear that the one-two punch of lockdowns and the promise of vaccines as an exit strategy began as a cynical marketing ploy to coerce us into a never-ending regimen of annual booster shots intentionally designed to replace the natural "antivirus security updates" against respiratory viruses that come from hugs and handshakes and from children laughing together at school. We are being played for fools.  This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other opportunists taking advantage of this crisis to pursue other agendas and to tip society into a full-blown police state. One thing quickly morphs into another. But this essay demonstrates that never-ending boosters were the initial motive for this global social-engineering shell game ― the subscription-based business model, adapted for the pharmaceutical industry. "Immunity as a service".  So, let's dive into the fascinating world of immune systems, viruses, and vaccines, layer by layer, to dispel the myths and false expectations that have been created by deceitful public health officials, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and media manipulators. What emerges as the lies are peeled apart is both surprising and more than a little alarming. “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”  - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Table of Contents:     Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication     SARS: The Exception to the Rule?     Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity     Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses     Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection     Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly     Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu     Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect     Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure     The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity     Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters     The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses     Introducing Immunity as a Service - A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)     The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again. *  *  * Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication Eradication of a killer virus sounds like a noble goal. In some cases it is, such as in the case of the smallpox virus. By 1980 we stopped vaccinating against smallpox because, thanks to widespread immunization, we starved the virus of available hosts for so long that it died out. No-one will need to risk their life on the side effects of a smallpox vaccination ever again because the virus is gone. It is a public health success story. Polio will hopefully be next ― we're getting close.  But smallpox is one of only two viruses (along with rinderpest) that have been eradicated thanks to vaccination. Very few diseases meet the necessary criteria. Eradication is hard and only appropriate for very specific families of viruses. Smallpox made sense for eradication because it was a uniquely human virus ― there was no animal reservoir. By contrast, most respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. COVID) come from animal reservoirs: swine, birds, bats, etc. As long as there are bats in caves, birds in ponds, pigs in mud baths, and deer living in forests, respiratory viruses are only controllable through individual immunity, but it is not possible to eradicate them. There will always be a near-identical cousin brewing in the wings. Even the current strain of COVID is already cheerfully jumping onwards across species boundaries. According to both National Geographic and Nature magazine, 40% of wild deer tested positive for COVID antibodies in a study conducted in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. It has also been documented in wild mink and has already made the species jump to other captive animals including dogs, cats, otters, leopards, tigers, and gorillas. A lot of viruses are not fussy. They happily adapt to new opportunities. Specialists, like smallpox, eventually go extinct. Generalists, like most respiratory viruses, never run out of hosts to keep the infection cycle going, forever. As long as we share this planet with other animals, it is extremely deceitful to give anyone the impression that we can pursue any scorched earth policy that can put this genie back in the bottle. With an outbreak on this global scale, it was clear that we were always going to have to live with this virus. There are over 200 other endemic respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus, many of which circulate freely between humans and other animals. Now there are 201. They will be with us forever, whether we like it or not. SARS: The Exception to the Rule? This all sounds well and good, but the original SARS virus did disappear, with public health measures like contact tracing and strict quarantine measures taking the credit. However, SARS was the exception to the rule. When it made the species jump to humans, it was so poorly adapted to its new human hosts that it had terrible difficulty spreading. This very poor level of adaptation gave SARS a rather unique combination of properties: SARS was extremely difficult to catch (it was never very contagious) SARS made people extremely sick. SARS did not have pre-symptomatic spread. These three conditions made the SARS outbreak easy to control through contact tracing and through the quarantine of symptomatic individuals. SARS therefore never reached the point where it circulated widely among asymptomatic community members.  By contrast, by January/February of 2020 it was clear from experiences in China, Italy, and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (more on that story later) that the unique combination of conditions that made SARS controllable were not going to be the case with COVID. COVID was quite contagious (its rapid spread showed that COVID was already well adapted to spreading easily among its new human hosts), most people would have mild or no symptoms from COVID (making containment impossible), and that it was spreading by aerosols produced by both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people (making contact tracing a joke). In other words, it was clear by January/February 2020 that this pandemic would follow the normal rules of a readily transmissible respiratory epidemic, which cannot be reined in the way SARS was. Thus, by January/February of 2020, giving the public the impression that the SARS experience could be replicated for COVID was a deliberate lie - this genie was never going back inside the bottle. Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity Once a reasonably contagious respiratory virus begins circulating widely in a community, herd immunity can never be maintained for very long. RNA respiratory viruses (such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses) all mutate extremely fast compared to viruses like smallpox, measles, or polio. Understanding the difference between something like measles and a virus like COVID is key to understanding the con that is being perpetrated by our health institutions. Bear with me here, I promise not to get too technical. All viruses survive by creating copies of themselves. And there are always a lot of "imperfect copies" — mutations — produced by the copying process itself. Among RNA respiratory viruses these mutations stack up so quickly that there is rapid genetic drift, which continually produces new strains. Variants are normal. Variants are expected. Variants make it virtually impossible to build the impenetrable wall of long-lasting herd immunity required to starve these respiratory viruses out of existence. That's one of several reasons why flu vaccines don't provide long-lasting immunity and have to be repeated annually ― our immune system constantly needs to be updated to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of countless unnamed "variants."  This never-ending conveyor belt of mutations means that everyone's immunity to COVID was always only going to be temporary and only offer partial cross-reactive protection against future re-infections. Thus, from day one, COVID vaccination was always doomed to the same fate as the flu vaccine ― a lifelong regimen of annual booster shots to try to keep pace with "variants" for those unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of a natural infection. And the hope that by the time the vaccines (and their booster shots) roll off the production line, they won't already be out of date when confronted by the current generation of virus mutations.  Genetic drift caused by mutations is much slower in viruses like measles, polio, or smallpox, which is why herd immunity can be used to control these other viruses (or even eradicate them as in the case of smallpox or polio). The reason the common respiratory viruses have such rapid genetic drift compared to these other viruses has much less to do with how many errors are produced during the copying process and much more to do with how many of those "imperfect" copies are actually able to survive and produce more copies.  A simple virus with an uncomplicated attack strategy for taking over host cells can tolerate a lot more mutations than a complex virus with a complicated attack strategy. Complexity and specialization put limits on how many of those imperfect copies have a chance at becoming successful mutations. Simple machinery doesn't break down as easily if there is an imperfection in the mechanical parts. Complicated high-tech machinery will simply not work if there are even minor flaws in precision parts. For example, before a virus can hijack the DNA of a host cell to begin making copies of itself, the virus needs to unlock the cell wall to gain entry. Cellular walls are made of proteins and are coated by sugars; viruses need to find a way to create a doorway through that protein wall. A virus like influenza uses a very simple strategy to get inside ― it locks onto one of the sugars on the outside of the cell wall in order to piggyback a ride as the sugar is absorbed into the cell (cells use sugar as their energy source). It's such a simple strategy that it allows the influenza virus to go through lots of mutations without losing its ability to gain entry to the cell. Influenza's simplicity makes it very adaptable and allows many different types of mutations to thrive as long as they all use the same piggyback entry strategy to get inside host cells. By contrast, something like the measles virus uses a highly specialized and very complicated strategy to gain entry to a host cell. It relies on very specialized surface proteins to break open a doorway into the host cell. It's a very rigid and complex system that doesn't leave a lot of room for errors in the copying process. Even minor mutations to the measles virus will cause changes to its surface proteins, leaving it unable to gain access to a host cell to make more copies of itself. Thus, even if there are lots of mutations, those mutations are almost all evolutionary dead ends, thus preventing genetic drift. That's one of several reasons why both a natural infection and vaccination against measles creates lifetime immunity ― immunity lasts because new variations don't change much over time.  Most RNA respiratory viruses have a high rate of genetic drift because they all rely on relatively simple attack strategies to gain entry to host cells. This allows mutations to stack up quickly without becoming evolutionary dead ends because they avoid the evolutionary trap of complexity.  Coronaviruses use a different strategy than influenza to gain access to host cells. They have proteins on the virus surface (the infamous S-spike protein, the same one that is mimicked by the vaccine injection), which latches onto a receptor on the cell surface (the ACE2 receptor) ― a kind of key to unlock the door. This attack strategy is a little bit more complicated than the system used by influenza, which is probably why genetic drift in coronaviruses is slightly slower than in influenza, but it is still a much much simpler and much less specialized system than the one used by measles. Coronaviruses, like other respiratory viruses, are therefore constantly producing a never-ending conveyor belt of "variants" that make long-lasting herd immunity impossible. Variants are normal. The alarm raised by our public health authorities about "variants" and the feigned compassion of pharmaceutical companies as they rush to develop fresh boosters capable of fighting variants is a charade, much like expressing surprise about the sun rising in the East. Once you got immunity to smallpox, measles, or polio, you had full protection for a few decades and were protected against severe illness or death for the rest of your life. But for fast-mutating respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, within a few months they are sufficiently different that your previously acquired immunity will only ever offer partial protection against your next exposure. The fast rate of mutation ensures that you never catch the exact same cold or flu twice, just their closely related constantly evolving cousins. What keeps you from feeling the full brunt of each new infection is cross-reactive immunity, which is another part of the story of how you are being conned, which I will come back to shortly.  Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses But let's pretend for a moment that a miraculous vaccine could be developed that could give us all 100% sterilizing immunity today. The length of time it takes to manufacture and ship 8 billion doses (and then make vaccination appointments for 8 billion people) ensures that by the time the last person gets their last dose, the never-ending conveyor belt of mutations will have already rendered the vaccine partially ineffective. True sterilizing immunity simply won't ever happen with coronaviruses. The logistics of rolling out vaccines to 8 billion people meant that none of our vaccine makers or public health authorities ever could have genuinely believed that vaccines would create lasting herd immunity against COVID. So, for a multitude of reasons, it was a deliberate lie to give the public the impression that if enough people take the vaccine, it would create lasting herd immunity. It was 100% certain, from day one, that by the time the last dose is administered, the rapid evolution of the virus would ensure that it would already be time to start thinking about booster shots. Exactly like the flu shot. Exactly the opposite of a measles vaccine. Vaccines against respiratory viruses can never provide anything more than a temporary cross-reactive immunity "update" ― they are merely a synthetic replacement for your annual natural exposure to the smorgasbord of cold and flu viruses. Immunity as a service, imposed on society by trickery. The only question was always, how long between booster shots? Weeks, months, years?  Feeling conned yet? Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection The current crop of COVID vaccines was never designed to provide sterilizing immunity - that's not how they work. They are merely a tool designed to teach the immune system to attack the S-spike protein, thereby priming the immune system to reduce the severity of infection in preparation for your inevitable future encounter with the real virus. They were never capable of preventing infection, nor of preventing spread. They were merely designed to reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you are infected. As former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is on Pfizer’s board, said: "the original premise behind these vaccines were [sic] that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials.” Every first-year medical student knows that you cannot get herd immunity from a vaccine that does not stop infection.  In other words, by their design, these vaccines can neither stop you from catching an infection nor stop you from transmitting the infection to someone else. They were never capable of creating herd immunity. They were designed to protect individuals against severe outcomes if they choose to take them - a tool to provide temporary focused protection for the vulnerable, just like the flu vaccine. Pushing for mass vaccination was a con from day one. And the idea of using vaccine passports to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated was also a con from day one. The only impact these vaccine passports have on the pandemic is as a coercive tool to get you to roll up your sleeve. Nothing more. Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly There are multiple interconnected parts to why immunity to COVID, or any other respiratory virus, is always only temporary. Not only is the virus constantly mutating but immunity itself fades over time, not unlike the way our brains start forgetting how to do complicated math problems unless they keep practicing. This is true for both immunity acquired through natural infection and immunity acquired through vaccination. Our immune systems have a kind of immunological memory ― basically, how long does your immune system remember how to launch an attack against a specific kind of threat. That memory fades over time. For some vaccines, like diphtheria and tetanus, that immunological memory fades very slowly. The measles vaccine protects for life. But for others, like the flu vaccine, that immunological memory fades very quickly. On average, the flu vaccine is only about 40% effective to begin with. And it begins to fade almost immediately after vaccination. By about 150 days (5 months), it reaches zero. Fading immunity after flu shot (Science, April 18th, 2019) The solution to this strange phenomenon lies in the different types of immune system responses that are triggered by a vaccine (or by exposure to the real thing through a natural infection). This has big implications for coronavirus vaccines, but I'll get to that in a moment. First a little background information... A good analogy is to think of our immune system like a medieval army. The first layer of protection began with generalists - guys armed with clubs that would take a swing at everything - they were good for keeping robbers and brigands at bay and for conducting small skirmishes. But if the attack was bigger, then these generalists were quickly overwhelmed, serving as arrow fodder to blunt the attack on the more specialized troops coming up behind them. Spearmen, swordsmen, archers, cavalry, catapult operators, siege tower engineers, and so on. Each additional layer of defense has a more expensive kit and takes ever greater amounts of time to train (an English longbowman took years to build up the necessary skill and strength to become effective). The more specialized a troop is, the more you want to hold them back from the fight unless it's absolutely necessary because they are expensive to train, expensive to deploy, and make a bigger mess when they fight that needs to be cleaned up afterwards. Always keep your powder dry. Send in the arrow fodder first and slowly ramp up your efforts from there. Our immune system relies on a similar kind of layered system of defense. In addition to various non-specific rapid response layers that take out the brigands, like natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, and so on, we also have many adaptive (specialized) layers of antibodies (i.e. IgA, IgG, IgM immunoglobulin) and various types of highly specialized white blood cells, like B-cells and T-cells. Some antibodies are released by regular B-cells. Others are released by blood plasma. Then there are memory B-cells, which are capable of remembering previous threats and creating new antibodies long after the original antibodies fade away. And there are various types of T-cells (again with various degrees of immunological memory), like natural killer T-cells, killer T-cells, and helper T-cells, all of which play various roles in detecting and neutralizing invaders. In short, the greater the threat, the more troops are called into the fight. This is clearly a gross oversimplification of all the different interconnected parts of our immune system, but the point is that a mild infection doesn't trigger as many layers whereas a severe infection enlists the help of deeper layers, which are slower to respond but are much more specialized in their attack capabilities. And if those deeper adaptive layers get involved, they are capable of retaining a memory of the threat in order to be able to mount a quicker attack if a repeat attack is recognized in the future. That's why someone who was infected by the dangerous Spanish Flu in 1918 might still have measurable T-cell immunity a century later but the mild bout of winter flu you had a couple of years ago might not have triggered T-cell immunity, even though both may have been caused by versions of the same H1N1 influenza virus. As a rule of thumb, the broader the immune response, the longer immunological memory will last. Antibodies fade in a matter of months, whereas B-cell and T-cell immunity can last a lifetime. Another rule of thumb is that a higher viral load puts more strain on your immune defenses, thus overwhelming the rapid response layers and forcing the immune system to enlist the deeper adaptive layers. That's why nursing homes and hospitals are more dangerous places for vulnerable people than backyard barbeques. That's why feedlot cattle are more vulnerable to viral diseases than cattle on pasture. Viral load matters a lot to how easily the generalist layers are overwhelmed and how much effort your immune system has to make to neutralize a threat. Where the infection happens in the body also matters. For example, an infection in the upper respiratory tract triggers much less involvement from your adaptive immune system than when it reaches your lungs. Part of this is because your upper respiratory tract is already heavily preloaded with large numbers of generalist immunological cells that are designed to attack germs as they enter, which is why most colds and flus never make it deeper into the lungs. The guys with the clubs are capable of handling most of the threats that try to make through the gate. Most of the specialized troops hold back unless they are needed. Catching a dangerous disease like measles produces lifetime immunity because an infection triggers all the deep layers that will retain a memory of how to fight off future encounters with the virus. So does the measles vaccine. Catching a cold or mild flu generally does not.  From an evolutionary point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense. Why waste valuable resources developing long-lasting immunity (i.e. training archers and building catapults) to defend against a virus that did not put you in mortal danger. A far better evolutionary strategy is to evolve a narrower generalist immune response to mild infections (i.e. most cold and flu viruses), which fades quickly once the threat is conquered, but invest in deep long-term broad-based immunity to dangerous infections, which lasts a very long time in case that threat is ever spotted on the horizon again. Considering the huge number of threats our immune systems face, this strategy avoids the trap of spreading immunological memory too thin. Our immunological memory resources are not limitless - long-term survival requires prioritizing our immunological resources. The take-home lesson is that vaccines will, at best, only last as long as immunity acquired through natural infection and will often fade much faster because the vaccine is often only able to trigger a partial immune response compared to the actual infection. So, if the disease itself doesn't produce a broad-based immune response leading to long-lasting immunity, neither will the vaccine. And in most cases, immunity acquired through vaccination will begin to fade much sooner than immunity acquired through a natural infection. Every vaccine maker and public health official knows this despite bizarrely claiming that the COVID vaccines (based on re-creating the S-protein spike instead of using a whole virus) would somehow become the exception to the rule. That was a lie, and they knew it from day one. That should set your alarm bells ringing at full throttle. So, with this little bit of background knowledge under our belts, let's look at what our public health officials and vaccine makers would have known in advance about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines when they told us back in the early Spring of 2020 that COVID vaccines were the path back to normality. From a 2003 study [my emphasis]: "Until SARS appeared, human coronaviruses were known as the cause of 15–30% of colds... Colds are generally mild, self-limited infections, and significant increases in neutralizing antibody titer are found in nasal secretions and serum after infection. Nevertheless, some unlucky individuals can be reinfected with the same coronavirus soon after recovery and get symptoms again." In other words, the coronaviruses involved in colds (there were four human coronaviruses before SARS, MERS, and COVID) all trigger such a weak immune response that they do not lead to any long-lasting immunity whatsoever. And why would they if, for most of us, the threat is so minimal that the generalists are perfectly capable of neutralizing the attack. We also know that immunity against coronaviruses is not durable in other animals either. As any farmer knows well, cycles of reinfection with coronaviruses are the rule rather than the exception among their livestock (for example, coronaviruses are a common cause of pneumonia and various types of diarrheal diseases like scours, shipping fever, and winter dysentery in cattle). Annual farm vaccination schedules are therefore designed accordingly. The lack of long-term immunity to coronaviruses is well documented in veterinary research among cattle, poultry, deer, water buffalo, etc. Furthermore, although animal coronavirus vaccines have been on the market for many years, it is well known that "none are completely efficacious in animals". So, like the fading flu vaccine profile I showed you earlier, none of the animal coronavirus vaccines are capable of providing sterilizing immunity (none were capable of stopping 100% of infections, without which you can never achieve herd immunity) and the partial immunity they offered is well known to fade rather quickly. What about immunity to COVID's close cousin, the deadly SARS coronavirus, which had an 11% case fatality rate during the 2003 outbreak? From a 2007 study: "SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years... SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."  (Bear in mind that, as with all diseases, re-infection does not mean you are necessarily going to get full-blown SARS; fading immunity after a natural infection tends to offer at least some level of partial protection against severe outcomes for a considerable amount of time after you can already be reinfected and spread it to others - more on that later.) And what about MERS, the deadliest coronavirus to date, which made the jump from camels in 2012 and had a fatality rate of around 35%? It triggered the broadest immune response (due to its severity) and also appears to trigger the longest lasting immunity as a result (> 6yrs) Thus, to pretend that there was any chance that herd immunity to COVID would be anything but short-lived was dishonest at best. For most people, immunity was always going to fade quickly. Just like what happens after most other respiratory virus infections. By February 2020, the epidemiological data showed clearly that for most people COVID was a mild coronavirus (nowhere near as severe than SARS or MERS), so it was virtually a certainty that even the immunity from a natural infection would fade within months, not years. It was also a certainty that vaccination was therefore, at best, only ever going to provide partial protection and that this protection would be temporary, lasting on the order of months. This is a case of false and misleading advertising if there ever was one. If I can allow my farming roots to shine through for a moment, I'd like to explain the implications of what was known about animal coronaviruses vaccines. Baby calves are often vaccinated against bovine coronaviral diarrhea shortly after birth if they are born in the spring mud and slush season, but not if they are born in midsummer on lush pastures where the risk of infection is lower. Likewise, bovine coronavirus vaccines are used to protect cattle before they face stressful conditions during shipping, in a feedlot, or in winter feed pens. Animal coronavirus vaccines are thus used as tools to provide a temporary boost in immunity, in very specific conditions, and only for very specific vulnerable categories of animals. After everything I've laid out so far in this text, the targeted use of bovine coronavirus vaccines should surprise no-one. Pretending that our human coronavirus vaccines would be different was nonsense.  The only rational reason why the WHO and public health officials would withhold all that contextual information from the public as they rolled out lockdowns and held forth vaccines as an exit strategy was to whip the public into irrational fear in order to be able to make a dishonest case for mass vaccination when they should have, at most, been focused on providing focused vaccination of the most vulnerable only. That deception was the Trojan Horse to introduce endless mass booster shots as immunity inevitably fades and as new variants replace old ones.  Now, as all the inevitable limitations and problems with these vaccines become apparent (i.e. fading of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccines proving to only be partially effective, the rise of new variants, and the vaccinated population demonstrably catching and spreading the virus ― a.k.a. the leaky vaccine phenomenon), the surprise that our health authorities are showing simply isn't credible. As I have shown you, all this was 100% to be expected. They intentionally weaponized fear and false expectations to unleash a fraudulent bait-and-switch racket of global proportions. Immunity on demand, forever. Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu At this point you may be wondering, if there is no lasting immunity from infection or vaccination, then are public health officials right to roll out booster shots to protect us from severe outcomes even if their dishonest methods to get us to accept them were unethical? Do we need a lifetime regimen of booster shots to keep us safe from a beast to which we cannot develop durable long-term immunity? The short answer is no.  Contrary to what you might think, the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses actually has several important benefits for us as their involuntary hosts, which protects us without the benefit of broad lifelong immunity. One of those benefits has to do with the natural evolution of the virus towards less dangerous variants. The other is the cross-reactive immunity that comes from frequent re-exposure to closely related "cousins". I'm going to peel apart both of these topics in order to show you the remarkable system that nature designed to keep us safe... and to show you how the policies being forced on us by our public health authorities are knowingly interfering with this system. They are creating a dangerous situation that increases our risk to other respiratory viruses (not just to COVID) and may even push the COVID virus to evolve to become more dangerous to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. There are growing signs that this nightmare scenario has already begun.  “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."  - President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Let's start with the evolutionary pressures that normally drive viruses towards becoming less dangerous over time. A virus depends on its host to spread it. A lively host is more useful than a bedridden or dead one because a lively host can spread the virus further and will still be around to catch future mutations. Viruses risk becoming evolutionary dead ends if they kill or immobilize their hosts. Plagues came, killed, and then were starved out of existence because their surviving hosts had all acquired herd immunity. Colds come and go every year because their hosts are lively, easily spread the viruses around, and never acquire long-lasting immunity so that last year's hosts can also serve as next year's hosts ― only those who have weak immune systems have much to worry about. In other words, under normal conditions, mutations that are more contagious but less deadly have a survival advantage over less contagious and more deadly variations. From the virus' point of view, the evolutionary golden mean is reached when it can easily infect as many hosts as possible without reducing their mobility and without triggering long-term immunity in most of their hosts. That's the ticket to setting up a sustainable cycle of reinfection, forever. Viruses with slow genetic drift and highly specialized reproductive strategies, like polio or measles, can take centuries or longer to become less deadly and more contagious; some may never reach the relatively harmless status of a cold or mild flu virus (by harmless I mean harmless to the majority of the population despite being extremely dangerous to those with weak or compromised immune systems). But for viruses with fast genetic drift, like respiratory viruses, even a few months can make a dramatic difference. Rapid genetic drift is one of the reasons why the Spanish Flu stopped being a monster disease, but polio and measles haven't. And anyone with training in virology or immunology understands this!  We often speak of evolutionary pressure as though it forces an organism to adapt. In reality, a simple organism like a virus is utterly blind to its environment — all it does is blindly produce genetic copies of itself. "Evolutionary pressure" is actually just a fancy way of saying that environmental conditions will determine which of those millions of copies survives long enough to produce even more copies of itself.  A human adapts to its environment by altering its behaviour (that's one type of adaptation). But the behaviour of a single viral particle never changes. A virus "adapts" over time because some genetic copies with one set of mutations survive and spread faster than other copies with a different set of mutations. Adaptation in viruses has to be seen exclusively through the lens of changes from one generation of virus to the next based on which mutations have a competitive edge over others. And that competitive edge will vary depending on the kinds of environmental conditions a virus encounters. So, fear mongering about the Delta variant being even more contagious leaves out the fact that this is exactly what you would expect as a respiratory virus adapts to its new host species. We would expect new variants to be more contagious but less deadly as the virus fades to become just like the other 200+ respiratory viruses that cause common colds and flus.  That's also why the decision to lock down the healthy population is so sinister. Lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing rules reduced spread among the healthy population, thus creating a situation where mutations produced among the healthy would become sufficiently rare that they might be outnumbered by mutations circulating among the bedridden. Mutations circulating among the healthy are, by definition, going to be the least dangerous mutations since they did not make their hosts s.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

Florida Judge Halts City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Florida Judge Halts City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A judge in Florida on Wednesday blocked a city’s COVID-19 mandate from taking effect. Circuit Judge Monica Brasington, a Sen. Rick Scott appointee, granted a request for an emergency injunction. That means the mandate, which was slated to take effect on Oct. 1, is blocked for now. “The city did not put on any evidence, at all, at the injunction hearing,” Brasington wrote in a 7-page ruling. “Without any evidence, the court is unable to consider whether the vaccine mandate serves a compelling interest through the least restrictive means, whether the vaccine mandate meets a strict scrutiny test, a rational basis test, or whether it meets any other standard,” she added. Gainesville’s City Commission on Aug. 5 decided all city employees needed to get vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19. A week later, City Manager Lee Feldman ordered employees to get at least one dose by Oct. 1 and be fully vaccinated by Oct. 14. More than 200 Gainesville employees sued, noting that the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in stopping transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus has stopped. They also said that the mandate did not make sense because many of them have natural immunity, or protection from having had COVID-19, and because area hospitals were not experiencing a shortage of beds. In a recent hearing, the employees argued that the mandate violated their right to privacy under the Florida Constitution. That means defendants have to show that the law “furthers a compelling state interest in the least restrictive way,” Judge Brasington said. But the city submitted no evidence, called no witnesses, and did not file any affidavits or declarations, leading the judge to rule in favor of the plaintiffs. “The city had an opportunity to present evidence that would show that this Vaccine Mandate was the least restrictive means to meet a compelling government interest. The city did not do that and, in fact, did not present any evidence, at all. Therefore, the court is required to find that the city failed to meet its burden of proving that the vaccine mandate furthers a compelling state interest in the least restrictive way,” she ruled. The city is prohibited from enforcing the mandate and firing or disciplining any employee who fails to comply with it. “The court agreed that the city doesn’t own its employees’ bodies,” Jeff Childers, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told The Epoch Times. Jon Cicio, one of the plaintiffs, said he was relieved. “It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can get back to focusing on serving the citizens the way they deserve, with no distraction,” he told The Epoch Times. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican who filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, also celebrated the ruling. “I was proud to stand with police and first responders to stop the city of Gainesville from firing them based on an unlawful government vaccine mandate. Today, the court agreed and protected their jobs. This is great news,” she wrote on Twitter. A lawyer for Gainesville declined to comment. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 11:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Noom users say they feel misled by the diet app

These are Insider's biggest healthcare stories for September 23. Hello,Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I'm Leah Rosenbaum, a new healthcare editor at Insider who will be helping Lydia with this newsletter for the next few months. Today in healthcare news:Weight-loss app Noom calls itself anti-diet, but users say they it relies on calorie restriction;Former Accolade executive Dr. Alan Spiro is joining at-home care startup Laguna Health;Polls show that Americans are just fine with COVID-19 vaccine mandates. If you're new to this newsletter, sign up here. Comments, tips? Email me at lrosenbaum@insider.com or tweet @leah_rosenbaum. As Lydia likes to say, let's get to it...First - some breaking news from last night. The FDA on Wednesday evening authorized boosters of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 and up and people at higher risk.That includes people between 18-64 who are at higher risk of getting a severe COVID-19 case, and people at higher risk based on where they work or where they live. Boosters are only available to people who were initially vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.Read the full story>> Crystal Cox/Business Insider Noom markets itself as an anti-diet lifestyle app. Users say they find themselves counting calories, receiving canned advice from burned-out coaches, and taking on expensive subscriptions.Noom is an industry leader in weight-loss apps with millions of dollars in venture-capital funding.The company pitches itself as offering personalized weight-loss support using psychological methods.Users and former employees say it relies on calorie restriction and coaches are burned out. Get the full story>> Laguna Health's app helps patients recover at home. Laguna Health A longtime Accolade executive is setting his sights on at-home care as the next big opportunity for upending how care is delivered in the USDr. Alan Spiro, a longtime Accolade executive, is joining Laguna Health as its chief medical officer and president.At-home care has been an area of growth for digital health during the COVID-induced funding boom.The rapid adoption of telehealth helped startups offering in-home care, Laguna CEO Yoni Shtein said.Check it out now>> A band-aid is placed on the arm of a 12 year old child after they received a first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine after it was approved for use by the FDA in children 12 and over at a Los Angeles County mobile vaccination clinic on May 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Patrick Fallon/AFP/Getty Images Poll after poll shows the same thing: Americans are cool with vaccine mandatesThree recent polls show that a majority of Americans support vaccine mandates. The popularity of vaccine requirements has risen as the Delta variant surged.Hardline opposition to getting vaccinated has fallen to a new low. Read more here>> More stories we're reading:Some doctors are spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Will they be held accountable? (Kaiser Health News)China's biotech industry has quietly surged to a $180 billion behemoth. Here's how it's reshaping biotech as we know it, from M&A to drug pricing (Insider)A new federal office plans to look at climate change through a public-health lens (The Wall Street Journal)Tennessee says vaccinated people should be last in line for antibody treatments to save them for the unvaccinated (Insider)-LeahRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

A man who tested positive for Omicron variant says 15 of his friends who joined him at a New York anime convention also have COVID-19

A Minnesota man who attended an NYC anime convention tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant. Now 15 of his friends have COVID-19 too. Costumed attendees take a break during Anime NYC at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City on November 20, 2021.Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images A man who tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant says 15 of his friends are also sick. The man and a group of 30 people attended an anime convention in New York City last month. It's unclear if his friends also have the Omicron variant, but health officials are investigating. A Minnesota man who attended an anime convention in New York last month — and later tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant — has reportedly told health officials that 15 of his friends have also contracted COVID-19.It's unclear if any of those individuals also caught the Omicron variant, health officials told media outlets. The man was one of the first reported cases of the Omicron variant in the United States, prompting questions of whether the variant spread throughout the convention, which tens of thousands of people attended."It's hard to say that it is a 'superspreader.' Certainly we're concerned about that," Kathy Como-Sabetti, manager of the COVID-19 epidemiology section for the Minnesota Department of Public Health, told The New York Times.Officials in New York and Minnesota and with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the variant's possible spread and tracing the man's contacts, according to The Washington Post."We don't know if we'll see a lot of Omicron, or we'll see a lot of Delta," Kris Ehresmann, the director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division at the Minnesota Department of Health, told The Post. "But we're likely to see a lot of COVID."The man had attended the late-November convention as part of a group of 30 people from across the United States — half of whom are now sick, he told health officials.Convention organizers noted that it's still unclear where the man contracted the Omicron variant and he may not have even picked it up at the convention at all. Organizers said all event attendees were required to wear masks and have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine."There have been no other mass cases reported from our event, and we are now way past two weeks" since the convention ended, Kelly Comboni, president of LeftField Media, which organized the convention, told The Times. The Times also reported Saturday that the man had been fully vaccinated and received a booster weeks before attending the convention. His symptoms were mild and he has turned over the names and contact information of some of his friends to health officials, according to The Times.New York officials announced Saturday that three new cases of the Omicron variant have appeared in New York state, bringing the total to eight.Gov. Kathy Hochul has urged calm and said the Omicron cases are "no cause for alarm," though health officials are taking the situation "extremely seriously."Though most reported Omicron cases so far have been mild or asymptomatic, experts have cautioned that hospitalization data is too preliminary to draw conclusions on the variant's severity. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider3 hr. 45 min. ago

Pfizer said it expects to have more data by end of year on whether COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to children under 5

Dr. Anthony Fauci has predicted that parents won't have to wait much longer for kids under 5 to receive a vaccine. Carlo Allegri/Reuters Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Friday said there will be more data on children under five receiving a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year. Pfizer has begun pediatric vaccine trials. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also planning to conduct trials.  Pfizer's announcement comes as the new Omicron variant begins to spread in the United States. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Friday said the company expects to know more about the effectiveness of its vaccines in children under 5 by the end of the year. "We have a study in children six months to two years and then another cohort of children 2 to 5 years," Bourla said, speaking in an interview with NBC News. "So [by] end of the year, beginning of next year, when we see the data, we will know more." Anyone five and older can get vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States. Kids younger than 5 are the only group of people in the US who cannot yet get a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's topmost COVID-19 expert, has predicted that parents won't have to wait much longer for kids under 5 to receive one. "Hopefully within a reasonably short period of time, likely the beginning of next year in 2022, in the first quarter of 2022, it will be available to them," Fauci said, according to a report from Insider's Hilary Brueck. Fauci, however, said there's no way to know for sure without additional data."Can't guarantee it, you've got to do the clinical trial," he said.Pfizer's Friday announcement on data for children under 5 comes as the Omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in the US. So far, scientists in at least 10 states said they've detected the variant. There could be about 2,000 cases of the variant in the US already, according to a calculation done by a former top-tier official at the California Department of Public Health.South Africa, where scientists were the first to raise alarm bells about Omicron, has seen a rise in hospital admission among children under the age of 4 amid a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections. A health official advised against panic, noting that the infections have thus far been mild.  Pfizer has begun pediatric vaccine trials. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also planning to conduct trials for vaccine effectiveness in young kids. In a joint interview with Bourla, Moderna's CEO Stéphane Bancel did not specify when data from the vaccine manufacturer would be available."With children, you want to go very slowly down in age," Bancel said. "And start at a low dose and then slowly increase the dose level to find the right one. So it's taking a bit more time because of the safety of those children in those studies is very important to all of us."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider17 hr. 1 min. ago