A Covid Tragedy: “Wholesale Discrediting of Our Health Science Institutions”

Yves here. Quite a few readers responded strongly to a comment that came late in Nick Corbishley’s post yesterday on Ivermectin, from a reader in despair about what Covid had reveled about the state of health science in America, not just too many signs of weak organizational competence (like the CDC’s test kit fiasco) but also the quiet contempt which too many institutional leaders apparently have for the public at large. Why, for instance, did anyone think it made any sense to tell the Noble Lie about masks? How hard would it have been to promote the purchase and use of cloth masks and discourage buying of medical procedure masks? And now to just expect everyone to forget the deadly flip-flopping on masks rather than taking the adult step of ‘fessing up and apologizing?

I will admit to having low expectations of medical professionals due to a near-lifetime of not-very-helpful care from orthopedists.1 And via one of my former attorneys (also a biomedical engineer), who’d started out at the NIH, later worked for Bristol Myers, and then did intellectual property work with former FDA commissioners as partners, gave me a sense as to how the agency had declined over the years. It’s also hard to miss the regular press discussions of the corruption of medical research, and the resulting high profile drug recalls, like Bextra, Vioxx, Cylert, Accutane, Meridia….and opioid abuses. And that’s before getting to the strong bias in the US to prescribe even when not clearly beneficial, as in the case of statins, and the way stimulants like Adderall are so casually dispensed that upper income kids have ready access to them as study/test performance enhancers.

One would have hoped that the high stakes of Covid would put real scientists, as in academic researchers, at the heart of investigating options. Looking at the confusion and lack of guidance and leadership in dealing with Covid, it’s hard to believe that the US was once capable of the Manhattan Project and sending a man to the moon with 1960s computers. As IM Doc put it:

We have created a world where every side has their own facts. Unfortunately, I believe we are all going to find the hard way that science is not going to work like that.

We have done everything possible to politicize medicine and science this year in this country – and look where it has gotten us. People not just here but all over Twitter and our media screaming at one another about things they have no clue about – just because their side says so. It has been a revelation.

I would also like to echo one of the above commenters – decrying the fact that most practicing physicians have just been cut loose to flap in the wind. Trust me – there are many days when I feel just like that. We have not had time for science in this pandemic to give us real answers – but the more unfortunate thing is that our national agencies have not even tried.

And now to reader vw:

Of so many tragedies to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the saddest to me – and probably the one with the longest-reverberating consequences – has been its wholesale discrediting of our health science institutions.

Here we are, over a year into this pandemic, and we cannot get a straight answer on whether or not this relatively cheap and safe drug saves human lives from COVID-19 or not. Worse, we can’t even seem to properly investigate it. All questions bring hysterics, or hardly-believable obfuscation, or (informed?) outrage, no matter what authority we turn to. The fallout in my own life from watching all this unfold has been… dramatic.

I don’t trust what the CDC says. I don’t trust what the WHO says. I don’t trust what the FDA says. I don’t trust Pfizer and the rest of the pharmaceutical companies any farther than I can throw them. I look with suspicion on my own scientist acquaintances, wondering if they are really following the data, or if they are clinging to a chosen worldview that science in America still works, oh god it still works, oh god it hasn’t been completely discredited, no it cannot be, my life work must have meant something, it must still work, it must still work….??

None of this means that ivermectin works–or for that matter, that it doesn’t work. It means that I have realized, slowly and then all-of-a-sudden, that I cannot know. Nor can any other layperson. We are alone, our economy is collapsing in slow-motion, and our lives are at stake. Or so we think! If we doubt so much, how much more should we really be doubting? I believe, for what it’s worth, that COVID-19 is real and that these experimental vaccines probably won’t kill us. At least… not that many of us.

But I wonder now, in my darker moments, whether the claim of those who don’t believe such things that refusing the vaccination is a “Darwin’s test – pass it and survive” have grokked something that was beyond me, in my previous worldview. How could it have come to this…? And if I am feeling like this, how must people with less scientific background (I attended a science magnet school) be feeling about it all??

Will my children be safe from measles, etc in the years to come? I have vaccinated them with the whole slate, and feel fine about that choice, but will the fallout from this debacle mean the end of herd immunity in America, as trust in the ‘health experts’ collapses into dust? How can we get it back, then – at gunpoint? With all that would imply… is it even worth such a high price…?

NC is doing the Lord’s work in finding the high quality news sources it continually brings forth for our viewing. But – pardon me – this isn’t something that should need to be be argued over in the comments section of a news site. This isn’t something that laypeople should have to suss out, with their own lives on the line. That it has come to this is a shame, and a shame so complete, that every time I really contemplate it I get the shivers. Our government has failed us. It has failed us. Yet we elected it. Oh, the shame…!

Is it my fate to live the rest of my life ashamed, utterly ashamed, of my own country? There has been no feeling reoccurring more regularly over the course of this past dreadful year, than that one. When, if ever, will the day come where I can live free of that dreadful emotion, attacking me every time now when I catch a glimpse of that flag flapping in the wind…?


1 The 50,000 foot version includes having to go to six orthopedists to get a successful treatment for plantar fasciitis, a common problem, that was so severe I was having trouble walking (“Wear a low heel and get orthodics”) and after a knee injury that didn’t resolve quickly, having one of the supposed top knee guys in NYC recommend an unnecessary surgery. I have much more in that vein. This was particularly distressing because orthopedics ought to be one of the most straightforward areas of medicine. If diseases that damage the joints and tissues like cancer are out of the picture, these are comparatively simple mechanical systems. I can only imagine what people with more complex or stubborn conditions must go through.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. dave

    “Our government has failed us. It has failed us. Yet we elected it. Oh, the shame…!”

    Our government isn’t really elected by us. It’s carefully decided and manicured for us by very powerful and wealthy elites locked in petty and eternal squabbles.

    It’s not a democracy at all.

    It can be very freeing to realize that you’re not responsible for any of this. Not your circus, not your monkeys. Tend to your garden as Voltaire suggested, and let the rest go.

    1. campbeln


      North Korea elects the Kim’s every chance they get! Just because their political party selects the single name on the ballot doesn’t invalidate their democracy!!?!

      Besides… America is double-plus-good in this regard because we have TWO parties that do all this hard work for us!

    2. Patrick Morrison

      I’m reminded of Solzhenitsyn’s “Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask anything of them.”

  2. oliverks

    I would add that many medical leaders claimed that a vaccine for a corona virus was going to be near impossible to make.

    Yet many groups made vaccines in a matter of days.

    Clearly people at the top, have absolute no clue what the state of the art is in the lab. How often are they dismissing good ideas, because they are completely unqualified to make any sort of a technical judgement.

    1. Comboman

      Citation needed. I don’t recall anyone in the medical community claiming a vaccine was near impossible. Don’t confuse science/medicine with science/medicine media reporting.

    2. Mikel

      If people end up having to get different shot each year, “vaccine” is a debatable label for the shots.
      And then we’ll really know what’s what if there is STILL a reluctance to study these other treatments under our noses the whole time.

      1. oliverks

        I think is valid to call the vaccine a vaccine. Under the standard definition

        a preparation that is administered (as by injection) to stimulate the body’s immune response against a specific infectious disease

        These shots clearly do that. Many vaccines need booster shots, such as tetanus. I suspect COVID might be more like flu where we need to deal with mutations, but that is not a failure of the vaccine.

        1. campbeln

          Medical definition of vaccine is correct, as a non-sterilizing vaccine.

          However… public perception is that a vaccine is sterilizing, and none of these have been tested for the efficacy of this.

          I’m still convinced that the vaccines are going to make things worse because “now I can’t get COVID!” which is untrue. They have been shown to limit the effects of the illness in varying percentages, but not infection rate nor the ability to transmit the virus to others. So we’ll have a bunch of “bulletproof” carriers taking the virus to those who cannot or haven’t been vaccinated (or who fall into the 10-30% of the population that the vaccine doesn’t work for). Mix in the variants that the current vaccines don’t work against, let alone any long-term effects of mRNA vaccines or otherwise…

          So very little good comes from any of this, as the spikes in infection rates seem to be showing across the globe.

          1. calltoaccount

            Merriam-Webster dictionary has quietly changed the definition of the term ‘vaccine’ to include components of the COVID-19 mRNA injection
            Merriam-Webster Dictionary Quietly Changes Definition of …
            Search domain theredelephants.com/merriam-webster-dictionary-quietly-changes-definition-of-vaccine-to-include-covid-19-mrna-injection/https://theredelephants.com/merriam-webster-dictionary-quietly-changes-definition-of-vaccine-to-include-covid-19-mrna-injection/
            The definition of vaccine was specifically changed due to the COVID-19 injection. The definition of ‘vaccine’ as of February 5th 2021: The definition of ‘vaccine’ as of February 6th 2021: A vaccine used to be “a […]

            1. Dirk77

              In M-W the definition remains as oliverks quotes above; only the specific examples have changed.

        2. footnote 4

          The definition you cite is the new one, according to the source provided by @calltoaccount

          It was inserted on Feb 6 2021 to replace the standard

          A preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease.

      2. bdw

        the main reason for getting them every year

        the virus changes year to year (as we can see today covid seems to changes a lot more often)
        course if you look up how a virus works, its completely dependent on others to replicate. just means to ‘survive’ it has to adapt constantly to do that)

    3. Skip Intro

      I think people were questioning whether vaccinations would have lasting effects against a corona virus. The jury is still out on this one.

    4. Lee

      Some viruses that cause the common cold, for which no vaccines have ever been developed, are in the Corona virus family.

      1. campbeln

        How can the DrugCo make billions off that?!

        And around we go with the subject of this posting…

        My wife contracted the chronic version of Guillain-Barre syndrome, ironically enough due to the requirements of her Green Card. Best guess is it was either the MMR or flu shot that kicked off the syndrome. So, out of anyone to be anti-vax… we have just about the most valid excuse to be.

        BUT… we are not. We understand that she had about 4x the chance of winning the lottery than getting her condition from the flu shot so our kids are fully vaccinated despite this personal experience. However, this history means she is not able to get the COVID vaccine. Further, I’m concerned that if I get it I could shed enough to get her infected or become lax enough to bring it home to her.

        Yet, we’ll be painted as “anti-vax” and Darwin’ed in what the media is setting up…

        America Is Now in the Hands of the Vaccine-Hesitant

        It feels like we’re being tossed aside as a necessary cost of “getting back to normal”.

      2. Dirk77

        Thank you. The people interviewed in the article discuss the difference between a vaccine that gives true immunity such as those for measles, and those that miss the mark some but at least enable you to become less ill. So their thoughts back then seem reasonable, especially as the latter is looking – at least to me – like what will be the long term situation for covid.

  3. TheCatSaid

    I’ve observed it has become more and more difficult to access information of many kinds on the internet. If one is searching for something that does not support the currently supported official narrative it takes much longer or is impossible. It is EXTRAORDINARY how quickly even published scientific papers have become harder to find. (E.g., the ones about the ferrets & other animal tests on mRNA vaccines, in which many or even all of the test animals died when exposed to the wild virus months later. Used to be easy to find. Now it’s hard.)

    Science has always been, by definition, a place that should offer a range of perspectives, with competing hypotheses and tests. Experts disagree, evidence is disputed, and those connected to more powerful figures “win” the coveted current narrative not necessarily based on “better science”.

    Facts don’t play a meaningful role in the shaping of dominating public opinion about any subject, even among scientists themselves. It is more about what we have been told and how often, and what one’s bosses think or whoever controls the money flows.

    Why should we expect COVID and government agencies to be any different, especially when there is so much money in play, and so many rich opportunities for social control and for large-scale data gathering? (All that DNA to be harvested! Being able to track the impact of various kinds of medical interventions and various populations! How much can we shift the Overton window on what people will accept or even demand? What fear-ratcheting techniques are most effective? Free human lab rats! Sign up to become one now!)

    It’s got nothing to do with politics, health or facts.
    It’s about control.
    Is this what you choose to support by your actions?

    1. SE

      Oh, so you noticed this about animal tests for other mRNA vaccines? I felt this way, but I’m still not sure I’m not bonkers. I have read that there were were problems in animal trials with SARS and MERS vaccines because they caused autoimmunity. I cannot find the sources. Would have links for these by any chance. Would love to have a look at those papers.

  4. Basil Pesto

    I often recall PlutoniumKun’s observation posted in comments last year that this pandemic is very good at highlighting the organisational, institutional weak-points of nations all around the world. Few nations come out of this with gold stars of course, but the outlook for the United States is particularly grim, as the authentic despair of the comment yesterday indicated. Without wishing to sound overly trite, it is a lamentable state of affairs.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That comment by PlutoniumKun was made way back in July of last year, so really early days, and I took care to save it-

      ‘I’ve been referring to Coronavirus for a while as the worlds most effective stress test of institutions, maybe the biggest such experiment in history. It has unerringly found the weak link in every country and society its hit – whether that weak link being weak institutions, stupid politicians, sclerotic bureaucracies, religious nutcases, institutional groupthink, authoritarian tendencies or whatever. In the US its found not just one, but a whole series of weak links it can exploit. The results are not pretty.’

      And it is so true. The WHO, CDC, governments, religions, institutions all go put to the test and so many have been found to be utter failures at what they aid that they could do.

  5. Juneau

    People like to think doctors are in charge and so they are easy scapegoats for what is wrong with this system going back at least 2 administrations. The corporations have had the upper hand for years. Our current administration doesn’t mind. Trust has been successfully eroded (you thought that was by mistake?) and profit motive continues to rule. Yes, people should be careful with procedures and new medicines!. I understand why some people hate doctors, but wish others knew how well they were manipulated into thinking docs are the biggest problem with the system. We are no longer in charge. Every move is under an administrator’s microscope. Someone with no medical license who doesn’t carry the real consequences but may have a healthy bonus agreement and is rewarded for physician productivity (profits/procedures). The employment contracts are not written in the interest of patients I will leave it at that.

    1. Susan the other

      I believe you completely based on my own recent, ongoing experience. It’s the profit motive. The monopoly motive. Just recently our docs here joined up with a big “non-profit” corporation running hospitals, specialty clinics, emergency rooms and associated family clinics. You can feel the tension at the clinic when you walk in the door. The doctors actually clock-in when they see a patient. They swipe their ID card across their computer, read the chart, have a quick discussion with you. The nurse takes your BP; verifies your meds. Takes your blood if necessary. Nobody calls you with the results. But you cannot assume everything is fine because, in fact, nobody’s on first. Maybe when they get their act down all the tracking and followup can be done by computer. If I were a doctor I’d be having an existential crisis about now. That “non-profit” straight jacket they have been put in is pure profiteering.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The problem is that most of the bad experiences I have had have been with MDs in NYC in solo or small group practices. They aren’t in large medical groups. That’s mainly due to my age (seeing doctors before MD practices started being bought up) and many NYC MDs being able to resist going into a large corporate practice.

      1. gwb

        Acupuncture works for plantar fasciitis. I had it bad in one foot, and after several months, it pretty much went away. I was impressed. The acupuncturist said that it would not happen right away, but over a period of several weeks or a few months, pf would gradually ease. It did. Modern medicine doesn’t have a monopoly on wisdom.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, it didn’t when I had it. Please don’t act as if your medicine works for others. I had the plantar fasciitis for over a year and tried a lot of approaches in addition to MDs, including acupuncture.

  6. Carla

    “they are clinging to a chosen worldview that science in America still works, oh god it still works, oh god it hasn’t been completely discredited, no it cannot be, my life work must have meant something, it must still work, it must still work….??” —

    The cri de coeur of one for whom America once “worked.” For millions upon millions, it never did. They worked for those of us for whom “it” worked and died without ever experiencing America “working” for them. Like vw, I once believed in American institutions. Now it seems to me that the slow peeling away of those beliefs was actually the painful process of growing up and learning to face reality.

    And if all of us are victimized by the utter failure of our cherished institutions and beliefs, will we finally be able to realize that we are all in this together? Could it be that America and privileged Americans will finally grow up?

  7. KillingUsSoftly

    The WHO and CDC have been the propaganda arms of the Apothecary Cabal for decades. Agencies with alphabet acronyms are designed to obfuscate truth and hide the damages they are suppose to report and protect us from. It doesn’t take much to see this. Wake up, we actually live in an oligarchy controlled corporate legislated system. It’s quite comical to believe “legislators” do anything but provide cover and distraction. Until we realize this collectively we will forever be slaves. Indeed it is a BIG CLUB and indeed YOU [99% of humanity] ain’t in it.


    1. Pavel

      Saagar on The Rising had a piece on how the NYT just blatantly lied in a headline about the former CDC head stating *his opinion* that Covid leaked from the Wuhan lab. The NYT stated in the headline that it was a “debunked theory” per the intelligence agencies when the latter had done no such thing. The WHO report on the matter was a clear whitewash controlled by the Chinese government officials.

      Here’s the video: Saagar Enjeti: NYT FALSELY Claims “Lab Leak” Theory Debunked After Former CDC Director Comes Forward

      The crazy thing is that the MSM think we aren’t paying attention. I used to be a big fan of the NYT — I remember reading it in my teens when my family lived in NY — but the newspaper today just can’t be trusted — not only in cases such as these but in all the stories they do not report.

  8. Miami Mitch

    I so deeply felt VW’s comment so thanks VW and NC for highlighting it because I missed it yesterday.

    And yes, the sciences are filled with very procedural people who lack creative thinking. My sister, who is way smarter than me, had cholesterol issues that statins did not help. The doctors gave up on her saying it was her diet but she told them she was eating almost zero cholesterol and lots of plants, she is not even close to over weight, and mind you our mother’s ticker pooped out at 45 though she managed to live till 70 with it a constant battle. So my sister went to a doctor to request some unusual tests that she researched on her own(I am hoping she texts me back because I forgot the name of what she has) and she was dismissed over and over again. Until one doctor listened and she was proven right and now she see’s a specialist and will probably be saved from heart and joint problems.

    And here, she just got back to me, she has sitosterolemia which she says “does not allow her to get rid of plant cholesterol so it build s up in her blood”. So they followed the science but it lead to a dead end and they just gave up. Paid doctors making more in a year than I did in a lifetime. So follow the science unless it is hard? And know we are all supposed to be as smart as my sister or ya die.

    So why should I be listen to Fuaci or the WHO if my sister’s own doctor does not really care that much if she lives or dies? I am being careful and I assume no one knows anything. Or maybe they are all making us afraid because people who are afraid will spend money to be not afraid.

    1. Cojo

      Thank you for this story. Even as a physician, I had to look up sitosterolemia as it is so rare. I was able to find this tidbit from Medline:
      “Only 80 to 100 individuals with sitosterolemia have been described in the medical literature. However, researchers believe that this condition is likely underdiagnosed because mild cases often do not come to medical attention. Studies suggest that the prevalence may be at least 1 in 50,000 people.”

      I will definitely be on the lookout for this condition in my patients in the future!

      1. Miami Mitch

        My sister was excited to hear one more doctor had information about this. She said it seems all doctors think that a disease is either on or off, where there can be a large gray scale in between. She’s in that category. I am thinking this is test that should be included for everyone with high cholesterol.

        1. Cojo

          Unfortunately, this is a genetic disorder and requires genetic testing. It would be hard to screen every person with elevated cholesterol (about 50% of the current US population) due to costs. That being said, It should be considered in the rare instances of patients who have cleaned up their diets and still have abnormally high lipid levels. If you look up Eric Topol, a thought leader in the cardiology world, his hope is that we will eventually get to the point where we can test every individual for their full genomic spectrum of disorders, but we are a long way off from that right now.

    2. Jennifer Hoppenrath

      Plants don’t have cholesterol. There is no such thing as “plant cholesterol”. Your liver makes the majority of the cholesterol your body needs.

      1. Miami Mitch

        I’m sorry, I am stupid and misspoke. No, plants do not have cholesterol, but they have phytosterols. Those phytosterols can cause cardiovascular disease just like cholesterol. But just in some people, like my sister. She has a genetic disease so I am in no way saying that plant steroids are bad for everyone.

    3. Dirk77

      I would hesitate to group physicians with scientists. As near as I can tell from the ones I’ve talked with, the day to day means of diagnosis for a physician is primarily pattern recognition, with little room for analytical “research”. A friend’s brother unwisely decided to pursue a combo MD/PhD. He said the experience of switching from one mode of thinking to the other was very hard on him. So you can’t expect your physician to venture too far away from what he/she was taught. I mean I’d bet they’d like to, but they don’t have the time. So if your condition is unusual, or the training they received is wrong, you can either go from one specialist to another expecting to hit on one who has learned something that will help; or you need to research it yourself and report back to them. So kudos to your sister.

      1. polecat

        The thing is, both groups practice lience quite well, and without failure, nor guilt.

        Just wait till C-passports become a thing.

  9. David

    Far be it from me to defend etc.etc….. not least because the situation in other countries has actually been fairly similar. In France, there was the same policy of the Noble Lie about facemasks, the same confusion about which prophylactic measures worked and, much more than in the US, consternation about vaccine delays. (“How come the country of Pasteur can’t make vaccines any more?”, every op-ed writer in France has asked at one time or another.) But there’s always a but.

    There are areas of genuine uncertainty, where “science” (in the sense of a set of practices, not a system of thought) doesn’t have a single point of view. (Ask yourself if you have ever read an article about any field of science where there are no controversies). So I have been trying to find out whether, when I’m vaccinated, I can still infect others. The answer, apparently, is it depends on the vaccine, probably, or perhaps possibly and we really don’t know. I don’t think this is scientists being stupid or having personal feuds, I think it just means there isn’t a consensus.

    The failure is therefore a systemic one: to properly integrate this scientific uncertainty into policy-making. As anyone who’s worked in government or large organisations knows, there’s an unresolvable tension between the political desire for quick and simple answers and the tendency of experts to equivocate. The real failure of the decadent government systems that we increasingly have, has been their inability to find a way of presenting guidance and deciding policy without clumsily moving from absolutist position to absolutist position.

    More controversially, perhaps, I would suggest that a lot of the problem lies with the elite media, and the parts of society they serve. Until recently it was possible to argue that it was the cheap-end media and the less well educated parts of the population that were unable to understand and accept “the science.” Since the anti-vaccine movement started, that’s no longer true: many anti-vaxxers are well educated and from the higher social and economic levels. These, of course, are precisely the parts of society that grew up with the gut belief in the need to “challenge authority” and “question the established narrative”, and who tell you over brunch that “of course all truths are socially constructed.” Except when as now, they clearly aren’t. But the endless “deconstruction” of systems of power and discourse by journalists who once had brunch with someone who once went to a lecture on Foucault has produced a mentality, found in the elite media everywhere, where truth is actually subservient to considerations of politics and power. So, anything that Trump favoured (and to a lesser extent Johnson favoured) must automatically be wrong, irrespective of lives saved and lost. The modern political/media tendency to view everything as appearance, nothing as reality, is here displayed in its most awful form. And the same inexpert journalists, rather than shutting up about things they don’t understand, have tried to sell their usual wares. Thus, the Human Rights industry, thus the IdiotPols (“but, but group X has been most affected by the virus”) thus the dreary accountancy of gender and skin-colour (the Grauniad was whining once more last week about the under-representation of women in Covid press-conferences, as if it actually made any difference). Yes, there’s a huge problem of institutional capacity, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a responsible and capable media, either.

    1. bdw

      possibly its the owners of the media companies, some have a point of view they push. some of it might also just be media business, if one of them pushes one view, one or more others have to have a different view to push (since now the media market is now split along lines of view)

      and while media business was always driven by what sells (if it bleeds it leads)

      1. flora

        And possibly, it is the billionaire philanthropy trusts that fund a huge portion of the science trials and vaccine research and the WHO and Unitaid that are putting their thumbs on the scales of what the answers “should be”, ignoring everything else that doesn’t lead to the answer said trusts seem to have pre-determined is the “right answer.” Is this the failure of govts as govts to act in the public interest, or is it the failure of govts and agencies *captured by private funding* to act in the public interest? Or is it a failure of govts and agencies to resist being captured by private interests? Follow the money. My 2 cents.

        I think my question is summed up by David’s observation:

        But the endless “deconstruction” of systems of power and discourse by journalists who once had brunch with someone who once went to a lecture on Foucault has produced a mentality, found in the elite media everywhere, where truth is actually subservient to considerations of politics and power.

        1. Carla

          Bingo! flora nails it, as she so often does:

          “Is this the failure of govts as govts to act in the public interest, or is it the failure of govts and agencies *captured by private funding* to act in the public interest? Or is it a failure of govts and agencies to resist being captured by private interests? Follow the money. My 2 cents.”

          Guess if we didn’t want to follow the money, we wouldn’t be spending so much time on our beloved Naked Capitalism blog.

          1. Susan the other

            I missed vw’s comment yesterday. Very eloquent. Talking about his losing faith in our government – at first slowly and then suddenly. My generation was luckier maybe – we lost faith in our “government” almost overnight when JFK was assassinated and LBJ took us off to bloody war. War was already an anachronism in 1965, but the “government” couldn’t resist giving it one last try. And then on to “unconventional war” (flat out murder) and so on. All to make the world safe for exploitation. The reason we do not trust our government any more is because it is not trustworthy. No great mystery; only tragedy.

            1. David

              So your argument is that your government is lying about the virus, it’s not a threat and it’s all been cooked up to take your liberties away? Or that it’s a greater threat than the government will admit? Or something else? How would a trustworthy government express itself?

              1. Susan the other

                The question is more what a trustworthy government would do and not do. I no longer give a crap how it “expresses itself.” For starters it would govern. In a democracy, by law, it would govern by consent and representation. It would not simply pretend to listen to constituents – it would listen and take legislative action. It does none of this. It governs unilaterally. It controls sovereign spending for the elite. It takes bribes in the form of campaign contributions and big payoffs after leaving office. It seems to break every contract it makes on foreign policy. It does not protect the citizens from the profiteers; it rewards the profiteers. It controls access to information. It limits access to decent health care. It limits access to justice. It underfunds essential social benefits. And it condones a huge off-the-books slush fund for the military. Actually, it seems to be “expressing itself” loud and clear. I could go on.

                1. upstater

                  Well put, Susan. Ultimately it is all about class interests and class servants. Some servants just don’t get that or wish to confuse and obfuscate.

              2. judy2shoes

                “So your argument is that your government is lying about the virus, it’s not a threat and it’s all been cooked up to take your liberties away? Or that it’s a greater threat than the government will admit?”

                No, her argument states the reasons why her generation lost faith in the government and now finds it untrustworthy. You are putting words in her mouth that don’t exist in her comment.

  10. Mikel

    This is the worst kind of crisis to have while the establishment is having a crisis of legitimacy, especially one prone to delusions.
    Thorough discussion of the results of the experimental “vaccination” shouldn’t be avoided and there should be more testing being done now than at the outbreak.

    There is a cluster of emergency approved experiments and the MSM covers this all like the only problem is people don’t all believe the same thing or what it means about some BS political affiliation.

  11. DJG, Reality Czar

    Thanks to Yves Smith for the insightful notes, to IM Doctor, and to VW.

    IM Doctor mentions Twitter, which was designed (well, maybe) as a way of exchanging information but has now turned into a place for struggles over power. Hence, the Twitter mobs demanding that people be fired. Like IM Doctor, my chiropractor, who insisted on treating me after my first and second piqûre of Moderna, talked about the horrors of the discussion going on in social media–among his colleagues. He wasn’t referring to the general public.

    And I want to compliment VW on getting so many ideas and observations in one place. VW has summed up the spirit of the times.

    About a year ago, when the full extent of this catastrophe had manifested, I re-read Albert Camus’s La Peste (The Plague) in French. I was lucky enough that my French, which is slightly rusty, came flooding back, as if by necessity. (And I do recommend this classic book to you.)

    What VW has observed is what Camus described. VW has applied some profound observations to U.S. conditions.

    Finally, FcBk, that font of wisdom, reminded me of a “memory” today. But Adorno’s insight isn’t a memory. It is how we live now, with so many institutions, from marketing departments to the “intelligence community” to religious groups engaged in lying, which turns out to be about power:

    “The confounding of truth and lies, making it almost impossible to maintain a distinction, and a labour of Sisyphus to hold on to the simplest piece of knowledge…[marks] the conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power.”

    –Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life

    I recall that one of Camus’s books of essays evokes Sisyphus. We all are Sisyphus now, knowing that the work of truth is endless.

  12. Tom Stone

    Once, long ago, I worked in a “BullPen” at a collection agency.
    A very loud, busy office.
    In one of those odd moments of complete silence that happen in places like that I heard an outraged voice
    “Well, if you can’t trust a Bill Collector, WHO CAN YOU TRUST?”.

  13. expr

    I had problems with plantar fasciitis for years, tried podiatrist, orthotics, orthopedist. Finally an orthopedist for a cortisone shot. Instead he massaged and stretched the plantar fascia and taught me the stretch that I added to my (then) running stretches and I have not had a problem since, Basically bend your toes up and massage the bottom of your foot
    Google plantar fasciitis stretches. My friends sister was having problems and I could not get her to stretch so I got her something like this
    and she said it helped a lot.YSMV

    1. antidlc

      I had a crippling case of plantar fasciitis where I could hardly walk.

      My podiatrist recommended stretching exercises (including rolling my foot over a tin vegetable can,) and a sock similar to your link. The exercises, plus running shoes for overpronation and an OTC orthotic, got me to the point where I am pain-free.

      After several weeks, I returned to the podiatrist, and she admitted that when I first came in, I was in so much pain, she wasn’t sure she could help. It has now been years that I am pain-free. I no longer have to do exercises, but need to purchase the running shoes and OTC orthotic.

      Good luck to anyone who suffers from this ailment. Hope you can find the relief that I received.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      I guess I’ll add my PF story. Kept getting it. Hard to walk. Bought fancy shoes that promised “great support”. No help. Bought some OTC inserts and they fixed it, partly, for a while, and then it would return. Repeat.

      Was talking to a co-worker whose wife used to make custom orthepedics to fix PF. She quit when she felt she was hurting rather than helping. Her recommendation: get shoes with little support, like Converse Chuck Taylors. You need to exercise those foot and toe muscles and tendons rather than lock them into a shoe with “great support”. Having tried everything else, I bought some “minimalist” shoes from OluKai and after some period of adjustment (you need to learn to walk differently – don’t lead with your heal, but rather step with the center of your foot hitting first), no more PF (unless, I wear my “great support” shoes for extended periods). Obviously, your mileage will vary, but if you’re run out of options, give it a try.

      1. Antagonist Muscles

        You and I had nearly the same conversation several years ago about shoe support and orthotics. I too had a bout with plant fasciitis. Back then, my primary care doctor refused to refer me to a podiatrist. Instead, he told me to stop wearing my minimal running shoes and wear shoes with thick foam “support” and ankle stabilization. Although that episode with PF lasted a painful six months, the PF disappeared with stretching and massaging similar to what expr and antidlc describe above.

        The root of the problem for my plantar fasciitis is the shoe itself. There are numerous foot and lower joint pathologies where the proximate cause is some trauma or overexertion but the ultimate cause is chronic shoe usage. (By the way, I am not a podiatrist, but I do often study pain.) So the shoe industry is indirectly responsible for many foot disorders, then the podiatrist orders…more shoes (or orthotics) from the orthotist. This is similar to the food industrial complex pushing food-like products into stomachs, which results in the doctor prescribing statins and referring to a nutritionist, who then proceeds to “fix” the problems caused by food-like products with a (purportedly) salutary and ingestible biochemical (vitamins, omega-6 oils). Sorry, these doctors and scientists don’t get paid by recommending eating more vegetables and exercising. What a world we would live in if those in power disregarded monetary and time constraints.

        But back to the topic at hand: shoes and feet. I have been barefoot since before the Covid-19 pandemic. This is easy to do because I am at home most of the time, and when I venture out I wear sandals I constructed myself. See these plans. These sandals are really just a flat piece of rubber and paracord. If you are super hardcore, I bet you can find some way to find a freely available blown car tire.

        How we got to the point where we decided that naked feet are dirty and improper is puzzling. My multi-year barefoot adventure resulted in stronger, healthier feet and joints. I don’t wear shoes, but my shoe size decreased from a US10 to US8 or US8.5. The width of my feet increased to EE or EEE. The thickness of my feet increased. Most importantly, the vasculature on the top of my feet looks augmented. Nobody ever made a single comment about the appearance of my feet until I boycotted shoes and exercised barefoot. Small sample size and this comes with the territory, but I received two independent compliments for my feet in the last five years.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Your situation bears no resemblance to mine. I absolutely cannot wear sandals, at least if I want to walk and not have a sprained ankle in very short order. I have little lateral stability in my feet and ankles. I need a lace up shoe and some arch support. If you were to look at a footprint, my arches are so high I have very little foot in contact with the ground. And on top of that, I don’t use my toes enough either and that’s also due to the super high hard arches.

          I was having difficultly walking as soon as I started walking. Please don’t assume your situation is generalizable to most people with foot problems.

  14. hoonose

    I think that so many here and everywhere don’t appreciate the vast difference and difficulty with making new medical recommendations in real time with a new and rampant disease, vs looking back retrospectively and saying shoulda coulda. Also many don’t appreciate the time necessary for the medical communities to find new potential medical solutions, study them, peer review them, publish them. And then have the docs in the field read about, absorb them, and then start using the new treatments on real patients where they have the utmost in responsibly in working towards their best interests. These processes normally take years.

    The Masks. Early on everyone and his brother were hoarding masks everywhere. This was before we had cases anywhere near our small rural community. (and zinc and HCQ) As a recently retired internist I had to give our paramedics what ever PPE supplies I still had. When my wife got Covid a year ago, they came to bring her to the hospital, and only one person on their team had enough PPE to be safe with her. This is why the first recommendation was for no masks. There were low risks in the US so far, and not enough supply for the front line medical people.

    Cloth masks, well sure. But the supply was very limited, as they weren’t yet any key product. Many of course improvised.

    Flip-flopping on masks, sure. When medical facts change, so do medical opinions and recommendations. As the Covid spread here in the US, and more was learned of its aerosol spread, masks were then advised. Not rocket science. Much was learned from this cruise ship early on:


    So here we are a year later still perseverating over miracle cures like HCQ and Ivermectin, when we already have our miracle cure, meaning the vaccines. Early on in the pandemic few docs were aware of the amazing possibilities of new technologies creating vaccines over such a short time frame. But here we are! The Pandemic will end because of the vaccines. These other treatments will continued to be used by experienced docs over the next few years and maybe longer, as the Covid becomes much less common and then sporadic world wide. IMO probably much like Influenza and Tamiflu.

    IMO a great failing with our Pandemic protocols was in not having some local and trusted medical person as a spokesperson in relating the local Covid risks in real time. The risks were different in every locale and could have been different every day of the Pandemic. And the risks were different for every person within any local community. I could envision a cell phone App + AI for use with future pandemics in assisting with these recommendations. Probably already done in some Asian nations. If our people will allow it of course. The medical communities had a great deal in difficulty in countering so much alt-right medical nonsense, that this probably won’t be an easy task.

    1. tegnost

      . Early on in the pandemic few docs were aware of the amazing possibilities of new technologies creating vaccines over such a short time frame. But here we are!

      Dollars to doughnuts the drug companies knew, and Ivermectin is a treatment, not a cure

      I could envision a cell phone App + AI for use with future pandemics in assisting with these recommendations.
      yeah I bet you could…

      The medical communities had a great deal in difficulty in countering so much alt-right medical nonsense, that this probably won’t be an easy task.

      yeah and now we have to deal with the alt left nonsense that everyone needs to get in line and support the bloated unusable charade that is medical care for most people in this country. Lucky for you that you are a doctor. I personally am all but banned from medical care and have no reason to trust any of the MBA’s that run your industry. Changing that won’t be an easy task.

      1. hoonose

        Docs and other scientists in the more closely related medical fields certainly knew. But I know no docs who believed that we would be there in just one year.

        I can agree that medical care has gone downhill. IMO in the ’90’s with the arrival of hospitalists, and the decline of 24/7 primary care docs, the deterioration was inevitable. And more costly. Also mid levels placed IMO into inappropriate positions. As a cost saver of course!

    2. curlydan

      It’s not just the mask flip-flopping, though. The pervasive bad advice based on $$$ is what really bothers me. Remdesivir offers a great example. Early in COVID, Gilead comes screaming out with good news on COVID that this is the great hope to help the disease. It turns out to have been a very expensive and not very helpful solution at all. The best early thing was inexpensive steroids, but political and health leaders were clinging to this expensive drug at first based on a press release.

      The vaccines may be the cure for COVID, but for Brazil, Mexico, and a host of smaller and poor countries, neither the vaccines (not widely available enough) nor expensive drugs are going to help in the short-term, so if Ivermectin is a possibility, then we should study intensely and quickly.

      HCQ was wrongly touted as a miracle cure by some, but HCQ detractors also unjustly said it was dangerous when the heart conditions it could case were very rare. That gets us back to VW’s original comment above. Who to trust?

      So I get the mask flip-flopping and the need to maybe say no mask in the beginning, but there are just too many other examples (often profit or politically motivated) where people just get tunnel vision based on their biases or incentives.

      1. hoonose

        The thing about HCQ, is that it is safe on its own. But early on the recommendation included azithromycin as a combo. And that combo has been a black box warning for many years due to the potential for serious EKG changes and then cardiac arrhythmia. It could easily be malpractice to Rx the combo and send your patient way without proper cardiac monitoring. In my unique position I was able to do this with my wife and she benefited from the Rx. Best trust your own doctor. Knowing that was not easy to do early on in the Pandemic.

        1. calltoaccount

          To set the record straight: the Mayo clinic specifically studied Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) heart risk and reported in March 2020 that there was no risk for 90+ percent of the population, and easily mitigable risk for the rest: see: https://mayoclinicproceedings.org/…/j…/jmcp/jmcp_covid19.pdf
          see also: Mayo Clinic QTC prolongation expert Michael Ackerman MD discuss : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB9SF5rgWwo.

          These reports were totally, reprehensibly missing from msm coverage and public discourse on the subject.

          Anthony Fauci and hysterical mainstream media warnings that HCQ was a dangerous heart risk appear to have been part of a concerted PR effort which began with the French health minister forbidding HCQ from being dispensed over the counter (as it had been for decades) in January 2020. Thereafter, a series of rigged, bogus, and retracted studies sought to further demonize the drug and scare the bejesus out people so that they wouldn’t even think of using it– let alone participating in trials to determine its efficacy or lack thereof.

          Public health “experts” knew damn well from earlier NIH studies of chloroquine, and zinc, that HCQ aided by a zinc ionophore, was indeed, a potent virus killer. One of those studies bears the name of none other than Ralph Baric– a longtime Fauci pal– who is also credited along with Gilead, as a co-discoverer of remdesivir!

          In April 2020, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko reported giving early HCQ+ treatment to 700 coronavirus outpatients with an 88%+ success rate: https://techstartups.com/2020/04/05/new-updates-dr-vladimir-zelenko-cocktail-hydroxychloroquine-zinc-sulfate-azithromycin-showing-phenomenon-results-900-coronavirus-patients-treated-must-watch-video/

          Around that time, tragically, Trump endorsed HCQ, and the stigma of his casual imprimatur not only had the vaccine guys jumping for joy at their unanticipated good luck, but facilitated the msm’s using the Trump endorsement to permanently poison the well as far as any objective evaluation, reporting, or discussion on the subject.

          Instead of rapidly and enthusiastically supporting easily organizable proper scientific studies for early preemptive use of inexpensive HCQ, zinc and when appropriate, Azithromeycin (the Zelenko protocol), the WHO, CDC, Fauci, and all their Wall Street big-pharma cohorts like Gilead and Moderna lobbied to fast track hugely expensive, substantially unproven drugs like remdesivir (which was found to have no measurable effect on patient survival, but was still lauded by Fauci as the “standard of care” for Covid-19 treatment)— and granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the vote of an interest conflicted and compromised FDA board.

          Because big pharma totally controls the mainstream media narrative on this subject, the public has virtually no idea that the medical establishment under the auspices of Fauci etal., refused to seriously research– or grant hydroxychloroquine “Emergency Use Authorization” (EUA) because the EUA process cannot be used for more than one drug or therapeutic, and the establishment was potentially saving the EUA pre-emptively for vaccines and remdesivir.

          Under the law, EUA status can only be granted if there is “no adequate, approved, and available alternative.” If they’d tested and confirmed the efficacy of HCQ and granted it Emergency Use Authorization, they would have had to change the law to grant EUAs for remdesivir and the “vaccines.” Coldblooded venal policy decisions.

          If and when the truth finally emerges and evades the censors, some very important people will have a great deal to answer for, including the willful and unnecessary loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

    3. Cojo

      Good synopsis hoonose. Although I agree the noble lie on masking could have been justified, real damage has been done. This, along with the whole politicization of this medical and global health emergency has widened previous schisms in our societies.

      You hit the nail on the head with the use of the word “trust” in your last paragraph. A major factor of these times is the lack of trust, both from citizens towards those in authority/expertise, and from governments/experts towards trusting in the citizenry to digest the information appropriately as well as to do the right thing for their communities.

      One thing I’ve noticed about northern European societies is that there is a general increase in trust in society/government as compared to other parts of the world. I’m afraid the US is veering towards “the other parts” on this front.

    4. flora

      I think that so many here and everywhere don’t appreciate the vast difference and difficulty with making new medical recommendations in real time with a new and rampant disease,

      I don’t doubt “the fog of war” effect. I do question the apparent govt and agencies refusals to investigate early and honestly the cheap existing FDA approved drugs that looked like they had good results preventing hospitalization if given early enough. Instead, patients were told to go home and hope they got well before needing hospitalization. These are complimentary therapies to vaccines, not replacements. And still a refusal to take seriously clinical trials and observational studies on off-patent, inexpensive, readily available HCL and IVM. (Now we know Merck and Pfizer are working on new antiviral meds, probably very expensive, and maybe only simple reformulations of HCL or IVM. You can bet that where there’s money to be made official approvals will follow. See: Remdesivir.)

      It’s not the understandable “fog of war” I discount, it’s the apparent privileging of private profits over patient health I discount. (Why else did Pharma cos want Argentina and Brazil to sign away things like their fishing rights and embassy building around the world as indemnification just to get the vaccines?)

      1. hoonose

        Many medical entities did and continue to investigate huge numbers of already approved meds for Covid and other diseases. That has been ongoing throughout the whole world. But you have to follow the conventional medical on this. Anecdotes can lead a doc just as often astray. ‘First do no harm’.

        It is so much easier looking retrospectively and saying this or that about some new potential treatment. In the real world docs were using HCQ. In fact I gave it (along with her ICU specialist) to my wife and her supplemental O2 needs were halved in just a few hours with her Covid 19 one year ago that nearly killed her. But that was early in the Pandemic. Today I would probably do different.

        1. flora

          How is it that FLCCC and the UKs BIRD group find their peer reviewed studies approved and accepted by major medical journals then suddenly find after pre-print, at the last minute, said journals’ editors pulling their peer reviewed papers because an “unnamed expert” finds the paper problematic? How often does an “unnamed expert’s” objection result in spiking a previously accepted peer reviewed paper for journal publication? Not often, is my guess. Do no harm? What if silence is harm?

          1. flora

            You say that you, in consultation with an ICU specialist, gave your wife HCL and it pulled her through. Yet, with the then demonization of HCL, how many would have tried that protocol? “Mistakes were made” is starting to look like a hand wave, imo.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      This Corona flu is not the first flu to come along and I do not believe it is remarkably different than other flus. Neither the coming of flu nor the lack of PPE nor the long narrow fragile supply lines or lack of domestic manufacturing capabilities were surprises — just conveniently ignored. The flu did not arrive in the US first. Many nations in the East presented examples for effective response to the Corona flu using centuries old methods combined with effective and applied testing. The aerosol spread of Corona should have been assumed until proven otherwise after decades old research had proved the aerosol spread of other respiratory diseases: tuberculosis, and the common cold. If few doctors were aware of the amazing possibilities of new technologies for creating vaccines then it could only be because they avoided reading about medical science. The amazing new technologies have been around for a few decades but remained experimental and primarily directed toward treating genetic diseases. I believe their ability to rapidly bring vaccines to the public has less to do with their amazing new technology than their EUA cut through a lot of slow BLA process. Other nations, have managed to create more conventional vaccines using old techniques in very nearly the same time.

    6. steve

      Flip-flopping? It was a lie. They knew it was a lie. They have admitted to the lie. The damage the lie has caused far exceeds any benefit it may have accrued. It greatly eroded public trust and I suspect you, like many, fail to appreciate how corrosive and long-term this is.

      1. Geof

        Yes, it was a lie. And not only in the U.S.

        Last spring, there was plenty of evidence that masks worked. There was also evidence that they did not. An informed person could have considered the possibility that masks did not help. But s/he could not have been certain of it.

        Yet that was the story we were told here in BC. A year ago, we were definitively informed that a mask would do nothing to protect the wearer. I argued with a friend at the time that this was either incomptence or a lie (originating where, I wasn’t sure: officials don’t always get to speak their minds).

        I also argued that the long term costs of being seen to lie to the public would be high. As they have been. I understand why there are anti-mask protests and pandemic conspiracy theories. What are they to think when they are so blatantly lied to? The attitude of authorities is clear: “Dont worry your pretty head about truth. When we lie, it is for your own good. You’re not smart enough to do the right thing with the truth.”

        These are the same people who missed the pandemic in January and February, when it was obvious to anyone paying attention. The anti-mask conspiracy theories have the wrong end of the stick, but they’re right about who not to trust.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          There was also a lot of muddying the issue, that procedure or cloth masks protect others; you need a N95 or KN95 to protect yourself.

          This pandemic has confirmed that a lot of people don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone but themselves.

    7. a different chris

      This was a very good comment and of course I’m gonna have to argue with one (and only one) part of it:

      >and only one person on their team had enough PPE to be safe with her. This is why the first recommendation was for no masks.

      No. If they need PPE, government has failed and it is simply not the responsibility of individual citizens to give up equipment they bought, quite possibly for this very purpose. One person gives up his PPE, gets sick and dies and how does that sound to the rest of us?

      Not good. If you show up in an ambulance I would expect you to have everything you need and quite a bit above and beyond that. It’s of course not the people in the ambulance’s fault if they don’t have PPE, but it certainly is not mine either. I suspect it’s somebody whose compensation dwarfs most of us, in fact.

      Speaking of that, does anybody think that, if everybody showed up at their local hospital and donated their mask supply, that said supply nowadays wouldn’t be heavily pilfered by the well-connected? Maybe not 50 years ago. But nowadays, in this Third World Country we laughing call the “United” States, it’s a sure thing.

      Lying always and ever backfires on somebody. Unfortunately not always the liars.

      1. hoonose

        This is a failure of central Pandemic planning. We’ve been pushing harder since post-9/11 and the Anthrax scares.

        “Public health is not commonly understood as a security issue, but it should be. Pandemic disease can destabilize regions, undermine economies, and create fertile territory for social and political unrest…We need to break the cycle in which our own public health system is beholden to emergency appropriations for specific epidemics… lacking the long-term budget certainty we need to shore up our defense for long term, accelerate development of vaccines….. bolster America’s public health infrastructure to deal with the new challenges facing our communities and our families, including a new Public Health Rapid Response Fund to better respond to public health emergencies…..Hillary Clinton July 2016.

        “That is why as President, I will create a Public Health Rapid Response Fund, with consistent, year-to-year budgets, to better enable the CDC, HHS, FEMA, state and local public health departments, hospital systems, and other federal agencies to quickly and aggressively respond to major public health crises and pandemics. I will also ensure that our government has strong leadership and is organized to better support and work with people on the ground facing public health challenges. Doctors and public health officials……Hilary Clinton August 24, 2016.

        “….in addition we need to do more to boost our preparedness for biological threats and bioweapons; to support research for new diagnostic tests, therapeutic treatments, and vaccines for emerging diseases; to build capacity in public health departments; to train the next cadre of public health professionals and ensure that public health and environmental health practices are standard to the educations of medical students; and to provide resources for states and local governments to plan for complex, multi-faceted public health threats, like the impacts of climate change and pandemics and build more resilient communities.”….Hillary Clinton October 2016

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        People can MAKE PPE. There were tons of videos and patterns for making them. And even more hard-core ones, with filters stitched inside.

        We showed early on how in Argentina they showed how to make them with doubled up baby wipes and scissors!!!

        I agree the government should have helped with a ramp up, but there is no way there way at the start of Covid enough capacity in the world to make enough procedure masks for everyone who was out and about during the day to get one per day.

  15. steve

    I have been up close and personal with the medical industrial complex since I was 13, I’m now 60, 47 years of chronic disease, countless surgeries, procedures and test. Until I was 25 it was what it was then I finally stumbled across a clinic with doctors and staff that were a world apart from anything I had experienced. Competent, patient dedicated and compassionate. On the first visit they diagnosed what had evaded countless doctors for years, and then promptly called for a gurney and had me admitted. This was at Jewish Hospital of St Louis. I was stunned, the atmosphere and care was so unlike anything prior. The nurses were kind and professional, worked 8hr shifts and were well staffed. It was such a relief to discover there was a safe place for treatment. I spent a lot of time there. That was 1985. Little did I know it was the beginning of the end for Jewish Hospital as I had come to know it. By the early 90’s Barnes Hospital had consumed Jewish Hospital and everything, everything! went to shit. I had to deal with Barnes for years having no other options. The old doctors retired, the clinic that saved my life and I had come to trust and depend on was no more and was replaced with a cold impersonal assortment of suits and harried nurses.
    It was so depressing to witness. Then 2014 rolls around and Martin Shkrelli starts Retrophin and buys the marketing rights to Thiola, an inexpensive but effective treatment that I depend on. The price skyrockets from $1.50 per pill to over $30 per pill, and I take 20 pills per day. Blue Cross promptly drops Thiola from their formulary. So began a two year struggle to acquire Thiola from the VA that took Sen. Shelby’s staff’s extraordinary help, a doctor from NYC and luck beyond imagine to finally obtain. They still make it difficult but I receive most months prescription, most. They manage to avoid 1-2 every year.

    I have been so lucky on so many counts throughout this ordeal, finding Jewish Hospital and the doctors there and having the VA on the hook for Thiola are only two of many lucky breaks. But FFS, why should your medical care depend on luck?

    This all will run to ground eventually. The incompetence, greed and selfishness that has infected the US will be its demise. Its rot from top to bottom and more and more people are beginning to see and experience the rot. Even those previously insulated from the more putrid chunks can now smell the stench. Its all around and pervasive.

  16. chuck jones roast

    Recently I had to get a new general practicioning Doc for my annual “wellness” test. Under the theory that men hear and women listen, I finally found a woman Doc who was accepting new patients. I told her that I would like her to prescribe a couple of doses of Ivermectin “just in case.” She insisted that Ivermectin didn’t work. We debated for a bit and our new relationship proceeded downhill from there. She knew way more than I did about the body that I have been living in for more then seven decades. The acid test in these “wellness” tests is not how quickly the Docs can tap input into their computers, but whether or not they are willing to don the blue glove, lube-up and do the disgusto probe. She failed that test too.

    “… You try so hard but you don’t understand
    Just what you will say when you get home
    Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
    Do you, Mr. Jones?”

    1. hoonose

      You were asking the doc to Rx a med she most likely had zero experience with. She most likely first read about the Rx about the same time you did. ‘First do no harm’ is a very prevalent and serious consideration when caring for patients.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        ‘Do no harm’ might include simply admitting ignorance and making an effort to find out more. Insisting that Ivermectin does not work without knowledge does potential harm.

        1. hoonose

          Sure. But there are real time limits in creating, dispersing and then learning and applying new medical information. And that might apply to many choices suddenly thrown out there all at the same time. That is why we have to rely on the orthodox medical systems and studies in most cases. Not always, as there will be off label use in many cases.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Doubt it. A medically knowledgeable friend says it’s unlikely that a doctor hasn’t previously prescribed Ivermectin. It’s widely used in nursing homes and even in prisons as a prophylactic for scabies. Also used to treat parasites, and people who’ve done exotic traveling and even not so exotic travel get them.

        Plus it takes all of 3 seconds to view its safety profile. Its record is way better than even ibuprofen, let alone acetaminophen and those are OTC.

  17. Peter VE

    A couple months back, I went for my annual check up. The blood and urine tests indicated a prostate infection, which corresponded with a symptom which I had recently begun suffering. The medico prescribed a strong antibiotic to deal with the prostate infection. After the first course of 10 days, the original symptom was still there, so I refilled the scrip. Near the end of the second course, I started having a whole new set of symptoms (leg weakness and sore Achille’s tendon), and when I read the 6 point type, they were known side effects of the antibiotic. I immediately stopped the antibiotic, and six weeks later, the side effects have mostly gone, meaning I can walk up stairs without leaning on the handrail. Meanwhile I’ve been researching other ways to support prostate health which don’t involve worse side effects…
    The process of unlearning the obedience to medical authority has been a tough one for me. I am the son of a pediatrician, and when she was nearing retirement in the early 1980s, she was concerned that her younger colleagues were more lax on the subject of vaccines than she. She had watched children die of whooping cough, unable to do anything, and the coming of the vaccine had been a miracle to her. On the other hand, she was willing to try homeopathic remedies if they worked, and encouraged me to take zinc long before it became accepted practice by the medical community.

    1. hoonose

      As an internist Levaquin was my go to antibiotic for many serious inpatients infections 20 or so years ago, and still a very good choice for many infections. After using the drug in many hundreds of patients, I never ran into the tendon side effects. At least no one ever complained to me.
      And then I took a course (not my first) not too long ago and ended up with Achilles tendonitis. Treated successfully and quickly with a heel lift. Sht happens!

      1. tegnost

        “and when I read the 6 point type, they were known side effects of the antibiotic.”

        …as an internist would you acknowledge listed side effects?

        1. hoonose

          Only much later in the game. I had no experience finding the tendonitis side effect with Levaquin in the ’90’s.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe Peter VE’s anecdote about drug side effects is indicative of a problem far more pernicious than “shit happens”. I recall a quip that standard training for a physician included six-months of studies about drugs, while a pharmacist studies drugs for six-years — yet physicians control the use of drugs. Pharmacy chains have pushed local pharmacies to the edge. Pharmacy chains in the US lack a pharmacist on the staff of their local outlets. Big Pharma has gone to lengths to seduce physicians. The six-point font lists of side-effects read more like legal disclaimers enumerating lists of side-effects than an effort at providing clear information noting side-effects, their prevalence, and potential for harm.

  18. AdamK

    I watched Sanjay Gupta documentary on the pandemic in which he I interviewed the physicians that were involved and made decisions during Trump times, and I was astonished to see that almost none of them took a hard look on their own performance and blamed someone else for their failure. At the end they were asked what made the US so worse than other countries and one of them said “hubris”. I would say that hubris in so many many levels that it is astonishing. First of all the thought that it could happen only in China, a backward country, the measures China took instead of alarming us were interpreted as none democratic measures, the tests – ours are better, the lies, and I have particular dislike to Dr. Faucci who served 7! Presidents and survived them all. It you listened to Dr. Osterholm you were far more knowledgeable. His assessments were much more informative and accurate than Faucci’s. When one deals with global pandemic one should be humble.

  19. antidlc

    Yves said, “I will admit to having low expectations of medical professionals due to a near-lifetime of not-very-helpful care from orthopedists.”

    After years of trying to help family members with debilitating depression, I can say the same about psychiatrists. For years we have been told depression is due to an imbalance of serontonin levels, yet there are some who say this has never really been proven. Whom am I supposed to believe?

    Here, try this pill. That doesn’t work? Here, try this one.

    1. Synoia

      I found that Yoga, which is primarily focused on stretching, was very good at relieving the effects of 70 years of Gravity. I’d cycle 6 miles to and from the Yoga class, 3 to 4 rimes per week.

      Until the Pandemic closed the Gyms.

      Then I took up cycling along our local river trail, and cycle 10 to 20 miles per day, on a heavy, inexpensive, bicycle.

      Why Inexpensive and heavy? I’ve had two bikes stolen. The concept of having an expensive Bike stolen is beyond my comprehension, and heavy because need I exercise, I don’t need to win races.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I have done yoga and stretching, but I have some overly lax joints, so yoga isn’t helpful there, as well as some that aren’t amenable (a fundamental problem is extremely rigid arches and very tight Achilles, so my feet don’t absorb shock properly, meaning all the joints above take too much stress from routine activity).

        1. HotFlash

          I do not mean to offer unsolicited advice on a subject that you have investigated deeply and on which I have only one anecdote, but I had amazing relief from doing Feldenkrais work. My martial arts sensei recommended it to all of us in the dojo and we, as a group, took a couple of short courses through (gasp!) our local school board’s continuing studies program. The results were stunning to me. Founder Moshe Fldnks, the instructors said, reasoned that people learned to do physical movement, such as standing up, walking, etc., when our bodies were very different than they are when we are adults. The F exercises effortlessly (gentle movement, mostly on the floor for what we-all did) reset the way I moved to my adult proportions (I think. Or something.).

          I now no longer wear out the heels of my shoes in a month, I now walk so soundlessly that some friends call me ninja foot, my feet feel fine, and my shoes last forever. At 20 I had bad back pain, my MD wanted to surge. A neighbour suggested a chiro, which went way better, but still… 3 times a week? Between Feldenk and a couple of Robin MacKenzie’s books, haven’t had back pain in nearly 40 years because I now stand up without stressing my back. I can throw and catch stuff, I never could as a kid/young adult; my reflexes are so quick (eg, catching falling objects, etc.) cause comment, and I am a septuagenarian. Note: as with MD’s, chiro’s, and cookie makers, not all Feldenkrais practitioners are, um, equally talented. Caveat emptor, which is Latin for shop around.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Trust me, I did 2 years of Alexander Technique, (which is similar to Feldenkreis, 3x a week of personal sessions, rolfing, private yoga, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, advanced reflex technique….you name it. Oh, Pilates too but the machines weren’t cabled hard enough for me, it felt like absolutely nothing happened in the few sessions I took.

            I did not crawl (which means certain neurological pathways were never established) and I was seeing orthopedists as soon as I started walking. So my situation isn’t remotely “You moved well once, then you grew and you adapted badly.” I have had movement issues all my life due to having feet that absorb shock badly (which no technique will change, this is structural), very lax lateral ankle tendons (no way to do anything about that, there aren’t enough muscles in the feet and ankles to compensate) and extremely tight Achilles as a result of the hard, high arched, rigid feet.

            And my walk is the opposite of yours pre-Feldenkreis. My feet take shock so badly that I avoid a hard heel strike to the degree that I have never had calluses on my heels….even with walking 3-5 miles daily on concrete.

        1. takeitto thebank

          IMO that is one of the most important reads about the industry out there: a must read

        2. Antagonist Muscles

          I know very little about mental health, yet I had to study the effects of various psychiatric drugs (duloxetine, gabepentin, nortriplyline, etc.) because there is a fair amount of overlap with drugs for neuropathic pain – which I suffer. I declined the drugs, and I am coping well with my pain with lifestyle changes. I have yet to look into the mental aspect of pain, but Arizona Slim has previously detailed here how that should not be overlooked.

          Whitaker’s book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” was meticulously researched. The sources he cited were invaluable to me when I was debating taking drugs for neuropathic pain. PubMed is invaluable too, but the doctors who write medical papers don’t interview the patients.

          Yves briefly mentioned that anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds “work” in the short term (and only on *some* patients), but in the long term, the outcomes are increasingly unfavorable. “Anatomy of an Epidemic” provides plenty more evidence of this view. In my own small circle of friends and family, the ones who worked hard to counter mental disorders (depression, anxiety, bipolar) with lifestyle changes (social, political, environment, introspective) fared far better than the ones who depended on psychiatric drugs. And that dependence became a chemical dependence.

          The good doctors who truly care about patient health (like IM Doc here) simply don’t have time to oversee lifestyle changes. antidlc is deserving of praise if he can get his family members to control their depression sans psychiatric drugs.

  20. bdw

    i think we all think that science doesnt change as once a theory is put forward, that means that’s how it works

    its not

    theories are constantly validated, and challenged .

    and theories will be changed based on data that shows some thing different
    problem that with so much being politically changed as needed…
    because politics = power. and politicians almost always are really into having power
    helping others…not so much….unless there is money involved some where

    ex…i seem to recall there were recommendations on masks. at first, wont help. then it will but just for medical staff…then just medical staff needed certain kinds masks.
    then there was every one really needs them, just not the same as the medical staff need
    was that based on data? maybe…really hard for non medical specialist could tell us.

  21. njbr

    You want certainty, go to church. Or talk to “Dr. Oz”.

    Science evolves. Knowledge and understanding evolve.

    Trial and error is the way of science, but people can’t stand the portion “and error”.

    Get used to the fact that in medicine, there are treatments that work for many, but not all. And for an unlucky few, the treatment dejour is actually harmful.

    Everyone reacts differently to treatments.

    Everyone wants certainty, but a trial involving 100, 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 people does not capture the full range of possible effects.

    Sorry to bum you out, but that’s the way it is.

  22. Reality Bites

    I see a number of comments about science having to evolve, theories change, etc. That may be true but that is not how it is presented to the public. The ivermectin discussion is a case in point. People have taken strident stances that are not supported by the available data. There is also no trusted source that is looking at evaluating the data. Vaccines are another one. There is much we don’t know but terms like “herd immunity” are still thrown about even though it may not possible.

    Even on masks, there were plenty of options that were available besides medical grade masks. Even now, mosts people are using cloth or basic surgical masks. Saying that the N95s and medical grade ones needed to be saved for medical staff doesn’t cut it. Many of my physician friends are reusing N95s because they still don’t have enough. PPE is still a problem that hasn’t been solved. It wasn’t the general public that was the problem. That excuse has been proven false as well.

    The bigger issue is that authorities have tried to use “science” and “data” as a cover for much larger failures. The CDC, FDA, and NIH are only further damaging their credibility by going along.

  23. GlassHammer

    I think the COVID response, the decay of institutions, the anti-intellectualism, the creation of isolated information networks (often referred to as digital walled gardens), and the weakness of the ideological mind follows a pattern that was detectable decades ago.

    Between the works of Richard Hofstader, Chris Mooney, Nassim Taleb, and a few others I think I could have broadly sketched out most of the public and institutional response to COVID right at the start of it all. And I am pretty sure others could have done the same.

  24. David B Harrison

    I see a lot of apologist for the powers that be in these comments.The simple fact is that the “experts” are not reaching their conclusions in good faith.If people make mistakes arguing in good faith then they are forgivable.If they are arguing in bad faith(protecting their own money,power,and privilege) they are not forgivable.

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    Many challenges face Humankind in the near future. The Corona pandemic is only a small ‘quiz’ and the US has failed miserably.

  26. Elizabeth

    At this point, I don’t have any trust in our “experts” who are telling us what will end this pandemic Everybody needs to be vaccinated!. It’s so simple. Recently, Fauci said that people should not be “vaccine shopping” – just take whatever vaccine is available. That pissed me off, because I’m very leery of taking the mRNA vaccines because no one knows the long-term effects of them. (if they do, they’re not saying). People have legitimate questions about them, but no agency, “expert” or other participant in this clownshow even gives voice to these questions. How long do they last? Why wasn’t this mRNA technology used before in treatments/drugs? Apparently, the technology has been around for 30 years, but this is the first time it’s been used in humans. It seems like an experiment to me. Another thing that many commenters have mentioned is why aren’t drugs that have been around for a long time, and are being used in other countries such as HCQ, and now Ivermectin being properly investigated as a form of treatment for Covid? After reading yesterday’s post here on Ivermectin, it surely is suspicious why no mainstream discussion is forthcoming. as It could possibly save lives and cut down on hospitalizations. One wonders if that is really the goal.

    On Dr. Fauci – I used to respect him pre-pandemic – now he’s become another participant who has not only added to the confusion, chaos and misinformation about this pandemic, but lost all of his humility (maybe he never had any). His statement that “it’s the best decision I ever made” (re OWS) was as if he alone was responsible for making these vaccines available. Huh? Also his excitement about Remsedivir as a “gamechanger” turned out to be bunk.

    Once trust is lost in anything, it’s nearly impossible to regain it, and that’s what bothers me about this pandemic – there will be another one, probably much worse than this one, and very few will have any faith in the messengers. One final point, I want to thank IM Doc for his comments. He/she is a credit to the medical profession, of which there are so few left.


  27. Hayek's Heelbiter

    There is a major point that no one seems to have pointed out, drugs can act as (a) cure / treatment, or (b) in prophylaxis (prevention), which often, once you have a disease, will do nothing.
    It seems to me that drugs such as hydroxchloroquine and possibly ivermectin, though potentially effective in prophylaxis, might not be efficacious in treatment and cure. Nevertheless they are tarred with the blanket condemnation, “Oh, they don’t work.”
    Neither does a condom (aka a prophylactic), if you put it on AFTER your partner becomes pregnant. It would be absurd to claim, “Oh, condoms don’t work.”
    Nevertheless, that’s what Big Pharma says about drugs used all over the world to PREVENT covid infections.

  28. mtnwoman

    “In a survey of representatives of the pharmaceutical preparations industry in the United States it was found that in 2019 the sector spent 402.3 billion U.S. dollars on advertising.”

    The media is not going to question the narrative put forward by the hand that feeds it. Same “hand” of Big Pharma has a revolving door in Academia, CDC, FDA, WHO, etc.

    Despite overwhelming positive evidence, this Iron Triangle [ Pharma/ Academia/ Govt, Natl Agencies ]does not want cheap, safe, effective IVM interrupting their gravy trail. That is criminal malpractice imo.

    Seasoned clinicians with no reason to push IVM are taken aback at how well it works in many instances.

  29. ian

    There is one pretty simple thing we can do to restore trust in these institutions: when someone makes an assertion, demand to see the data backing it up. You want me to wear a mask? You want me to wear two masks? Fine, show me the data.
    I don’t listen to speculation, guesswork and opinion calling itself ‘science’ any more. I don’t care if it’s the CDC, Dr. Fauci, or the WHO.

  30. Ping

    My faith in medical establishment is rock bottom after two dramatic prescribing conflict of interest.

    Recently a highly regarded rheumatologist pitched me 2 shots a year and viola ! about anti-reabsorbtive Prolia never mentioning horrific side effects and the need to be on it forever lest your bones crumble like bio-phosphates that work by reducing the bones ability to shed dead cells and thus become brittle. This website tracks pharm payments to doctors and this doctor made between 30-65K a year from Amgen maker of Prolia. No thanks.


    Also, I often go to “ask a patient” for drug reviews.


    Similarly when my broken ankle was misdiagnosed as sprained and I complained about pain that didn’t improve, he said keep taking Vicodin…do you need more let me know!! I would not be surprised if he was being compensated by Purdue and many doctors were during that time (fortunately I knew better than to follow his Vicodin advise and saw another orthopedists then needing 2 surgeries)

  31. John

    It wasn’t just the Noble Lie about masks. When the BLM protests kicked off, all of the sudden it was totally okay to congregate in big groups as long as it was for that one noble cause. This hypocrisy was not lost on conservatives.

    Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent article on this change in messaging from public health experts, btw.

  32. mtnwoman

    This seasoned MD has had enough of suppression of medical information:

    https://trialsitenews.com/silencing-mary-beth-pfeiffer-and-suppressing-ivermectin/ Silencing Mary Beth Pfeiffer and Suppressing Ivermectin

    “We must fight so these platforms are required to tell the entire story and to stop censoring medical information and opinion. Give doctors and patients the entire story, so they can make an informed decision. Ivermectin must not become an unspeakable name.”

Comments are closed.