“Are vaccines becoming less effective at preventing Covid infection?”

Forgive me if I take a small victory lap on behalf of our Covid brain trust and Lambert for yet again delivering on the NC aspiration of being early and accurate. The headline above is from a Financial Times story, based on a spate of recent research showing waning efficacy of the Covid 19 vaccines, particularly Pfizer, from a variety of sources: data from Israel, which injected most of its population early, in January and February, with the Pfizer vaccine; a Mayo study, which showed falling efficacy for all vaccines, particularly Pfizer, which it found at 42% (Moderna holds by contrast at 76% over the same time period), a new Oxford report, and a study from Qatar.

The MSM finally starting to acknowledge that the vaccines are not all that they were cracked up to be came about largely due to foreign sources (doing a better job of tracking Covid cases than the US, a very low bar to beat) and one large US institution beyond reproach posting what has largely been missing from the CDC: actual pretty to very reliable findings. The fault isn’t simply that of the fragmented US public health care system. The CDC has not gone on the road to try to help/prod state public health officials. It hasn’t staffed up to fix VAERS. And the CDC has gone to some lengths to corrupt fact-gathering, most notably by saying it would not track breakthrough cases among the vaccinated as part of its May “Mission accomplished” chest thumping. And the CDC has engaged in dishonest PR by telling Americans that the vaccines would prevent Covid infection.

Mind you, in polarized, attention-deficit-disorder afflicted America, not being all in with vaccine cheerleading is a dangerous editorial position. Merely pointing out that the vaccines were overhyped was seen as being against them. So we’ve had to be more careful than we’d like in providing what we thought were early and important indicators that things were not well in vaccine-land. One was the number of breakthrough cases that IM Doc and his MD professional network (large by virtue of their participation in regular Grand Rounds and other sessions) when conventional wisdom was that that was impossible. And as time went on, IM Doc was seeing the breakthrough cases presenting as sicker and was also seeing and getting reports of breakthrough cases winding up in the hospital. From a mid-July e-mail:

To put it mildly, they are seeing a huge increase in hospitalizations in the Dallas area this week….A nurse XXX Hospital – deep in the heart of Dallas’ African American community – reported to me today that the hospital was full – certainly not with just Covid but there were many many COVID patients – starting to show up in just the past week or so – and she would guess 40-50% are vaccinated. She works on the COVID unit. She also reported to me that multiple nurses (as in critical numbers for staffing levels) have just up and quit this week – confirming my worst fears of the potential with our entire system. I fear that the front line nurses can see the approaching flood more clearly than anyone. They are paying her to work extra shifts up to 120 dollars an hour….

There are now press reports in Dallas stating that every admitted patient is unvaccinated. Who am I going to believe – my trusted colleagues who have just stated to me otherwise tonight? Or the media which has lied again and again and again? It really is a bad feeling as an American to be living under Pravda.

The next day, in a different hospital, when confronted with showing confirmed Covid cases in the area running nearly 57% vaccinated, one doctor went into meltdown, saying something pretty close to:

It is completely obvious to anyone with a brain that these people are liars – these supposedly “vaccinated” people never got vaccinated- it is that simple – they are lying – THE NUMBERS IN THE RESEARCH ARE JUST TOO OVERWHELMINGLY POSITIVE. We are surrounded by liars.

Within a month, he and 6 family members, all fully vaccinated, came down with Covid.

Along with IM Doc’s on the ground sightings, GM was relentlessly watching data. He had predicted in April, which was confirmed by Moderna data in May, “So basically protection against those two variants {P.1 and B.1.351] is gone after 6-8 months if you have been vaccinated against the original strain.”. And they have proven to be more vaccine-tractable than Delta.

Recall that GM was also alarmed at the rapid rise in cases in the Seychelles, which opened up after it hit a 63% vaccination level and immediately saw a spike in cases. GM also caught this snippet in early July:

The latest Israel reports show vaccine efficacy against severe Covid for the >65 year olds vaccinated first to be down to 54%:

The Financial Times article also discusses another topic we’ve dared to broach: that the vaccines have not proven to be terribly effective in preventing the spread of the highly contagious Delta. Ys the officialdom is doubling down on at best marginally effective vaccinations rather than promoting cheap tests and quarantines.

For convenience, we’ll repeat an extract from Charles Ferguson’s newsletter that we showcased in Links yesterday:

Case growth in high vaccination areas. Most national media coverage and government statements have portrayed the Delta surge in both cases and hospitalizations as primarily driven by states with low vaccination rates and/or anti-masking laws, implying that states with higher vaccination rates and/or stronger regulation are being spared. This is flatly false. Over the last month, the state with the highest growth rate in new covid cases in the entire U.S. is Vermont, which also has the highest vaccination rate of any U.S. state. Covid cases in Vermont grew nearly a factor of ten in the last month (from a seven day average of 10 cases on July 12 to a seven day average of 95 on August 12 – and 126 new cases on August 12 alone). Over just the last two weeks ending August 12, high vaccination states with higher covid case growth rates than Texas and Florida include not only Vermont (263% growth in the last two weeks) but also Hawaii (176% growth over the last two weeks), Oregon (144%), Washington state (146%), New York (108%), and Washington DC (158%), versus Texas with 72% growth in covid cases over the two weeks ending August 12, and Florida with only 50% growth. California is slightly behind Florida with 48% growth.

Furthermore, high-vaccination states are also experiencing high growth in hospitalizations. The seven day average for hospitalizations over the two weeks have increased 425% in Vermont, 140% in Hawaii, 70% in Washington state, and 128% in Oregon. This is not to say that vaccination rates and masking policy are unimportant. Without question, the policies of Florida, Texas, and other “resistant” states have worsened their problems…

The Financial Times article is very much worth reading in full.1 Key sections:

A rise in vaccinated people becoming infected with coronavirus has cast doubt over the lasting efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, according to new studies, including one that found protection gained from the BioNTech/Pfizer shot declined more rapidly than that from the AstraZeneca jab.

An Oxford university study published on Thursday found that the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine against symptomatic infection almost halved after four months, and that vaccinated people infected with the more infectious Delta variant had as high viral loads as the unvaccinated.

Two research papers from the US and Qatar have also fuelled debate over the need for top-up booster shots as they found higher numbers of “breakthrough infections” than anticipated, even though protection against serious cases of the virus appears to hold.

A preprint based on evidence collected at the Mayo Clinic hospital chain in the US state of Minnesota showed protection against infection fell from 91 per cent to 76 per cent between February and July for the vaccine made by Moderna, and from 89 per cent to 42 per cent for the Pfizer jab….2

A separate Qatar study focusing on the Delta variant found that two doses of Pfizer were 60 per cent effective at stopping infection, whether symptomatic or not, while Moderna was 86 per cent effective. 

Interestingly, the Financial Times acted as if a third shot might not be the way to go since UK health officials are still weighing the issue:

Pfizer has said for some time that a third shot would be necessary, probably about eight to 10 months after the second dose. It has applied to several regulators for approval for a booster shot. 

Adam Finn, a member of the UK’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation, said there was “no clear evidence” of the need for a booster and urged caution, especially when some companies had a “strong financial incentive to propose boosting”. 

Perhaps they’ve looked at Moderna data on a third shot, which GM reviewed months ago. His bottom like (supported by earlier tech-speak): “The booster only upped the neutralization activity against the variant to half of what the levels were against the original strain.” And again, these were against easier-to-thwart variants that Delta.3

For the bioscience-literate among you, Igancio added:

It [the article[ points out most of the uncertainties on vaccine efficacy due to the timing and speed of Ab waning, the different behavior of the Delta variant and differences in vulnerabilities between age cohorts. It also mentions, though only by passing, the possible differences in the complexity of the immune response with different vaccines which in my opinion, and I have said this repeatedly, is now the most important feature of the vaccines with the dominating Delta strain. When you have a virus that replicates much faster than previous variants the importance of NAb levels might be lower, with viruses outnumbering NAbs by much. Then, non-neutralizing Abs that trigger NK activity and others might have a more important role in protection as well as nursing better Memory B cells.

A hugh research effort is needed to do detailed immunological profiles of infected people (and uninfected vaccinated) at various times after shots, compare profiles with disease outcomes and identify the factors that provide better protection. This would provide orientation for decisions on 3rd shots and might save the life of many.

As you can imagine, no such research effort will occur in the US. If we are very very lucky, the UK might take a stab and we will piggy back on it.

So the US gearing up for a third shot of the current mRNA vaccines against Delta looks an awful lot like “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” And the really sorry part is our health establishment has other tools that for the most part, they are refusing to use.


1 It appears to have a misconstruction, which is not the reporter’s fault. A source claimed that the Moderna vaccine had “three times the mRNA” as Pfizer. That sounded simplistic enough to be wrong. From GM:

It’s not exactly the same thing though, so it is hard to compare 30 ug of one vs. 100 ug of the other

And Ignacio:

The immune response profile, not only NAb levels, is slightly different between Moderna and Pfizer, but there hasn’t been a direct and thorough comparison between them, and it is a pity. (And not only those, what about ChadOx or Novavax). Not everything has to do with NAbs, neither with reactogenicity. How the cellular response is balanced between Thelper 1 or 2 cells and the levels of non neutralizing antibodies might be of outmost importance, specially for delta variant.reactions.

But if NAb levels go higher with Moderna (something I have also read in a systematic review and meta-analysis paper) one can expect longer times for NAb waning and more durable protection.

2 From later in the article:

One complication is that the Pfizer jabs were given first and Moderna’s rollout has been more recent, but the researchers tried to compensate for this by only comparing groups vaccinated in the same month.

3 It’s weird to see the campaign of silence against J&J in the US. As GM pointed out:

In reality J&J is just half of a course of AZ, perhaps a bit more potent. But remember how people were talking about how the first dose gives you most of the protection? Well, it was indeed true, but it no longer is after the appearance of B.1.617.2

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  1. vlade

    Not only this, but there’s also much more acceptance (at least in some media), that vaccines do not stop transmission and that a fully vaccinated person can have the same viral load as an unvaccinated one.

    We’ll see when it seeps into the political game.

    1. PHLDenizen

      Absolutely none of that matters in my personal experience. I’ve just stopped talking about it with anyone I know. Same as the stuff with Trump. I hear refutations of unpopular and “fringe” data (such as what’s reported above) of the following variety:

      “Fauci and the WHO are doing the best they can. The science is never settled.” Basically “whocouldanode” and shifting goal posts. And ad hominems. And confirmation bias. And appeals to authority.

      “No one had any idea the virus was aerosolized when Fauci said masking was irrelevant. It’s entirely novel and there was no precedent for it. What part of unprecedented do you not get? Go back to your Alex Jones bubble. Fauci never lied or misled. There are just too many unknowns and everything is fluid. There’s never been a pandemic like this. You can’t look backward and make judgments. Did I say this was unprecedented and no one really knows anything?”

      “If Trump weren’t in office and we’d had someone like Biden, the pandemic would be over by now. It was Trump and his anti-vaccine conspiracy scumbags that are responsible. Trump made all those hillbilly idiots refuse vaccines by telling them injecting bleach or swallowing sunlight or whatever was a legit cure. That was irresponsible because it made people think the vaccines were useless. These are people who are so stupid they’ll believe anything and Trump fed into that, making the country worse.”

      “You aren’t an expert. I guess you have some secret career in biochemistry and medicine you’ve never mentioned. I’m going to trust actual doctors and public health officials. Who are you to question these well-intentioned, incredibly qualified public health officials who were stymied by Trump? What choice did they have? Trump tied their hands.”

      “Stop reading these [i.e. NC] sites. They don’t know anything. Their experts are probably liars or secret Trumpers who just say stuff without any clue. If they’re so right, how come 99% of the press says the opposite? Are you going to start listening to Alex Jones?”

      “I’m tired of having my life held hostage to these stupid, mouth-breathing, lazy scum bags who just refuse to get a vaccine. They deserve to die. How hard is it to get a shot? It takes 15 mins. They just need to get out of their trailers and go to a drug store. It’s free. Just take off work and go get it. What’s their problem?”

      “Ok. There are like 2 reports of menstrual cycle problems, but the vaccine is perfectly safe. If it were that big a deal, Fauci and the CDC would have said so. Think of how many children have already died because people didn’t get vaccines. It’s just a little spotting and even if a tiny minority of women can’t have kids now, saving the rest of society is more important. These people look for any excuse to kill us. These women are just ignoring the science. They’re probably secret Trumper Alex Jones fans and too stupid to know they’ll be fine. Periods are always irregular and there are so many factors that can affect them.”

      And on and on and on. The pandemic has made me a misanthrope because I’ve discovered how committed even my closest friends are to triumphalism. And they treat Trump like a bitter spouse they divorced 20 years ago, but still can’t shut up about, despite this spouse having zero to do with their life now. Fauci can’t be judged and history is irrelevant, but somehow Trump is still the boogeyman living in their brains.

      1. Bdy

        I’m getting similar feedback. Treading as softly as I can: “I will be masked at the poker game given the numbers are pretty high, kids are spreading it and sometimes being hospitalized, it looks like the vaccines are not so hot and Delta’s awfully contagious. You guys do what you want of course, but I’ll bring a stack of KN94s for whoever’s interested.”

        “Where did you see the vaccines aren’t so hot? Link please? . . . Naked Capitalism is conspiracy theory and I don’t believe conspiracy theory. I will take the New York Times’ appraisal of my chances, thanks” (with a link to the paywalled NYT COVID map implying — I’m sure you can guess — the Delta resurgence driven by the unvaccinated masses)

        It’s getting colder within much of what’s left of a dwindling social circle. People desperately want the MSM message of victory by biotech to be true. These are old friends with shared values, including a strong sense that making small sacrifices for the greater good is something to do as a matter of course, even take pleasure in. And they’re hearing over and over again that they are so, so tired — that a “normal” of two jobs at 50 hrs a week to service debt on 2200 conditioned square feet, afford annual vacays and finance their kids’ multiple activities will be a relief if only they don’t have to wear masks inside.

        A smart person once said to me, “The brain is a funny thing. You tell it something enough times and it starts to believe.” Here’s to the repeating “conspiracy theory” of precaution in a pandemic and doing more with less in an extinction event. It’s hard that it’s become so alienating in the face of popular denial.

      2. Screwball

        Same here. I shook my head at this one buy a guy I’ve known for years;

        Am I a bad guy if I root for an outcome in which Darwin culls a good deal of that population?

        about the vaccine hesitant. And of course many agreed with him.

        It must be me, but I can’t comprehend people thinking like this. What a country we live in. I can’t see this ending well.

        1. tegnost

          Am I a bad guy if I root for an outcome in which Darwin culls a good deal of that population?

          This is a huge point that should not be overlooked, and sadly imo it’s pretty common.

        2. Eric377

          Also, pretty weak understanding how Darwin thought this actually works. A disease much more punishing to the over 50 versus a vaccine with possible long term reproductive impacts pushed at teens, 20s and 30s. I’m absolutely not claim knowledge of reproductive impact…I don’t know. But thinking high elderly mortality is Darwinian somehow is pretty odd.

      3. Whatdoiknow

        You know it’s over when media start calling them “Trump vaccines”. Eventually we will get there.

      4. Duke of Prunes

        I am vaxxed, but recently had this conversation with a relative that was going off on how everybody should be vaxxed.
        Me: “Why do you care about other people’s vax status? Isn’t it their choice, and aren’t they only hurting themselves? How does it impact you?”
        Her: “I don’t want to get sick”
        Me: “The vax doesn’t stop you from getting sick, it only reduces the symptoms.”
        Her: “Right, but I don’t want others to get sick”
        Me: “But you being vaxxed doesn’t stop you from getting sick. Therefore, it doesn’t stop you from spreading it. You just agreed you can still get sick, and once you’re sick you can pass it to others.”
        Her: “Hmm… I just think it’s bad”
        Me: “But you don’t know why it’s bad?”
        Her: “No, I just think it’s bad”.

        1. Duke of Prunes

          Yes, mission accomplished for those selling the narrative. Bernays would be proud. Not getting the shot is bad because it is bad. Hard to sway that opinion. This woman runs a fairly successful small business. I believe she is fairly representative of many 60-ish middle class suburban women.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Kudos of course to the NC Covid brains trust on this. They’ve gotten it right far more often than any source I know.

    The speed we’ve gone from ‘the vaccines will save us’ and ‘breakthrough cases are rare’ to ‘we need a third shot’ is quite remarkable. In our gaslighting world of course none of those who have been consistently wrong will ever apologies for it.

    Its become deeply politicised everywhere of course. On Twitter, Deepti Gurdasani has been saying that she is getting private messages from medical authorities asking her not to highlight the current surge in Scotland on account of the situation being ‘complex’, which I interpret as meaning ‘its political’. In the meanwhile, I saw this morning a very prominent science blogger insisting that there is no evidence that Big Pharm is making excess profits from the vaccines.

    Increasingly, its becoming clear that the biggest casualty of Covid is the integrity of medical science.

    1. vlade

      Progress, one death at a time. Except it wasn’t meant to be the deaths of innocents.

      TBH, it’s not just the medical science. Many UK non-medical scientists went on the limb to say how stupid the people were for having any questions on vaccines, when it wasn’t clear what, if any, long-term risks were there, how long would be the vaccines effective and it WAS clear that they were not sterilisng. “Trust me”, when it’s clear they are obfuscating at the best, is not really a good strategy.

      I lost a lot of respect for the scientific community in the last year.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve lost count the number of times in the last 18 months I’ve heard people who are far smarter than me, and with far more scientific/medical knowledge, state things as scientific facts that are clearly, objectively and provably untrue. Some of them are people I know (and respect) personally. I’ve also seen too many times those scientists willing to question this being overtly bullied, on social media at least. By other scientists and doctors.

        I do think there has been a strong push to circle the wagons around ‘scientific truth’, even when its not actually true. To some extent I’m sure its related to rabid anti-Trumpism and the need to shore up creditialism, but I think the initial failure to react correctly is the key. Put simply, the scientific authorities got things badly wrong in the first months of the pandemic and then doubled down, and since nobody wants (for all sorts of reasons) to be the tall poppy in the field – far too many have found it easier to just repeat things that will please their peers and seniors, even if they know full well its probably wrong.

        1. JTMcPhee

          All thanks to Edward Bernays for his path finding work in the operation of gaslights, and the unheralded minions in the “public relations deception” sector of the broke-d!ck political economy we mopes perforce must try to stay alive in…

        2. Mantid

          I have a feeling a root cause is people’s desire and worship of “stardom”. The placing on the pedestal of sports figures, movie stars, artists and musicians and of course politicians. Everyone wants to look so good on social media. And, in a way they’re right. To be shunned on youtube or twitter is death to some people. A few doctors and nurses with daily Covid updates, whom I respect, never mention Ivermectin (though they have in the past) and in the background of their videos are displayed awards for X amount of “likes” on youtube. Some have moved to other platforms but it’s only a matter of time before Odysee (for example) will want to use their media power and edit or de-platform shows they disagree with.

          The Star Search has been going on for a while with scientists as well. How many IPCC type of reports were published regarding global warming, or should I say climate change (a Republican, passive, talking point )wherein we would reach 2 degrees C by 2200? How many times did we hear “in the next 100 years” or “by the end of this century”? Yet, here we are at the stove’s surface.

          Control and worship at the feet of My Space, Facebook, Google, Twitter, MSM and the next shiny object has left people very worried about their appearance. And to an extent, rightfully so. One or two accusations of a misdeed can blow up and become a world wide headline.

          Very difficult times and few people willing to stand up and tell the truth. Hats off to NC and their readership for helping us all deal with reality.

        1. Raymond Sim

          Time to assume that health research is fraudulent until proven otherwise?

          Past time, way past time, decades past. For me it’s been the most shocking revelation of the pandemic thus far.

          My father, a sociologist, taught me the natural trajectory of any institution is towards corruption and incompetence. Though it may seem counterintuitive, I think the more criticial the organization’s mission is, the more rapidly and thoroughly corruptible it is.

            1. Pate

              I think you and Raymond Sim make a very important point. Maybe the best example for me is the Christian church. From Christ’s social gospel eye of the camel to now god wants you to be rich

              1. Raymond Sim

                My favorite example!

                “Give up everything you have and follow me.” gets turned to “God wants the pastor to have at least two jets.”

                1. Pate

                  Great minds think alike lol. Another somewhat related (I think) favorite for me is how powerful institutions “co-opt” “adversarials”. For example MLK is recognized as a hero for the purpose of identity politics and not for his capitalist/imperialism critique.

            2. Raymond Sim

              Importance provides both motive and protection. A sacred cow can be rotting on her feet, stinking to high heaven (see US Dept of Defense) and people will go on feeding her, pretending she’s making milk.

          1. desai

            natural trajectory of any institution is towards corruption and incompetence.

            Are there any books or research paper written by your father (or anybody else) on this? I am very much interested in this subject.

            1. Raymond Sim

              My father died many years ago, and I’ve returned to the subject in my thoughts so many times over the years since that I’m not even sure if the ‘natural trajectory’ formulation is mine or his – or it could well be from the literature.

              When he spoke about this topic he would always refer to work done on the ways that bureaucracies evolve, which I think was done back in the 1920’s or 30’s. I don’t know article titles, or the names of the investigators, but given Dad’s high regard for it I bet there’s a fair chance someone reading this is familiar with it. Anyone?

              And isn’t it a fascinating topic? It seems almost self evident at this point that all the -isms we’ve ever had have eventually run onto the shoals of institutional decay. Is there a Karl Marx or Adam Smith of the subject?

              1. desai

                It seems almost self evident at this point that all the -isms we’ve ever had have eventually run onto the shoals of institutional decay

                Indeed, all -ism seems to be heavily dependent on effectiveness of bureaucracies of institutions. Bureaucracy eventually becomes corrupt and incompetent thus decay and collapse seems almost inevitable. This makes it very fascinating subject. Proponents of Capitalism tries to hide bureaucracies of modern corporation under the euphemism of “management” and pretends that bureaucracies only exist in government.

              2. Irrational

                Coming late to this fascinating discussion.
                Mancur Olson “The rise and decline of nations” may interest some of you.

    2. Cocomaan

      The speed we’ve gone from ‘the vaccines will save us’ and ‘breakthrough cases are rare’ to ‘we need a third shot’ is quite remarkable.

      As Glen Greenwald pointed out on Twitter yesterday, it’s been about 10 weeks. Walensky et al were saying that vaccines prevent infection and so on only ten weeks ago.

      The half life on trust has to be decreasing, right?

      I agree with you that pharma’s slimy tentacles are manipulating the situation, but seriously, cui bono? Why would the CDC, FDA throw in so hard with this?

      I have a problem in this life. I’m constantly asking myself, “is this person/entity stupid or cunning?” And on this one, I feel like it’s a combination of the two. You have a beltway that’s a huge echo chamber with a small group of people making a lot of money

      It’s hard to believe that’s all it takes, but we kind of saw it with the 2003 Iraq disaster. Nobody except KBR and Raytheon etc made money off Iraq, but it involved us all.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The Peter Sandman link in todays ‘Links’ section above gives I think a very good assessment of why medical establishments frequently lie or dissemble about medical knowledge. Sometimes there is a pretty good reason for it (he goes through a number of these).

        But I think with Covid we have a perfect storm of groupthink, corruption, rotting institutions and just plain bad science adding up to what has been in most countries an unbelievably bad response. Worst still, many countries are getting worse, not better. Even Denmark, one of the countries which has done a very good job up to now, has apparently dropped the mask mandate for public transport, for no good reason I can see.

        1. cocomaan

          thanks for the recc on that article, I usually can only surf NC before the sun comes up and then miss all the good Links.

          I agree, seems to be a vortex of poor decisions cast across generations, a current crop of lousy leadership, combined with awful economics and bad incentives.

          1. LilD

            I’m always reading it a day or two late and can’t engage effectively
            But it’s been my best source of information for 10-12 years
            Hit the tip jar again

        2. JTMcPhee

          Yes, even Vietnam (that CommuCapitalist paradise) and New Zealand are now joining the race to the bottom — after standing atop the successful arrest of the early pandemic. “ Community Cases Rise in HCMC [Ho Chi Minh City, ex Saigon] — Part of the plan, or a bad sign? https://vietnamweekly.substack.com/p/community-cases-rise-in-hcmc?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoyMTI2MTE2LCJwb3N0X2lkIjo0MDIxMjkyNiwiXyI6ImVqUlBNIiwiaWF0IjoxNjI5NDY2ODkxLCJleHAiOjE2Mjk0NzA0OTEsImlzcyI6InB1Yi0xNTA5MiIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.k7BswsHQTzV4DOTb48UQU1cmzOiZX-rZ0Ddfm1rLQoU

          1. juno mas

            …JT, NZ is in a stage 4 lockdown! Seems like the most definitive method of mitigating Delta, at his moment in time. (NZ is short vaccine supply—so what would you propose?)

            1. Grant Hodgson

              Plus we have strengthened and widened our mask mandate here in NZ. The containment measures, contact tracing, and effective political leadership and communications all appear to be still working to make elimination an achievable goal, thanks very much.

              1. Greg

                I suspect we’re screwed though – the number of leaks out of Auckland into the rest of the country while people were being stupid, especially the number of selfish idiots who think lockdowns don’t apply to them… We’re going to be super lucky if we get this tamped down now. Not for lack of effort, but we’re going to need luck to get there.

                Also, I think we’re seeing continuing evidence that spreader behaviour correlates with income.

              2. Karen

                That might be OK if you live on an island, but to much of the rest of the world, NZ and Australia look to have lost their minds. The abrogation of civil rights in these former democracies is stunning.

                Why has the world so completely (conveniently?) lost sight of what Sweden is doing?

                1. Roger

                  Because Sweden is a disaster when it comes to COVID, way higher case and death rates than their Scandinavian neighbours.

                  Cases and deaths per 1M population, from COVID Worldometer

                  Sweden 109784 / 1438
                  Denmark 57906 / 441
                  Norway 27070 / 148
                  Finland 21898 / 182

      2. lordkoos

        “Why would the CDC, FDA throw in so hard with this? ”

        Are not both agencies beholden to, or captured by, big pharma?

        1. marku52

          I saw an appalling stat the other day. As a result of slow drug approval in the HIV era, the FDA was allowed to have the drug cos “Help with costs”

          Now it seem that 65% of the FDAs drug approval money is provided by Pharma.

          That explains a lot, for example, why the FDA never has a good word for repurposed treatment drugs.

        2. CloverBee

          The CDC has been completely politicized and corporatized. I have a *close relative* with a 40+ year career as GS virologist at the CDC. This person used to love to talk about their work, and I grew up enjoying a great education in their lab, and as an adult love the regular and detailed updates I used to get on their work.

          This person remains under the gag order imposed by Trump. They have ceased calling family for any but the most necessary and brief conversations. Their work is NEVER discussed in even the barest terms. They will not even offer advice outside the official narrative (which is unusual). When they leave their job, they will be replaced with a contractor.

          Beginning under Clinton, the CDC was gutted of it’s GS employees, and replaced them with contractors. This has fueled the incompetence that is referred to in NC regularly. It also means that most scientists there cannot push inconvenient findings forward, because they will be removed if they do.

          So, in answer to your question, the research done has become a revolving door, and if you want a career, don’t you dare go against what big pharma wants. The leadership is politically and financially motivated, as they will need to look to big pharma for high paying work as well.

      3. HotFlash

        but seriously, cui bono? Why would the CDC, FDA throw in so hard with this?

        Check their stock portfolios. V srsly.

    3. Jen

      “In the meanwhile, I saw this morning a very prominent science blogger insisting that there is no evidence that Big Pharm is making excess profits from the vaccines. ”

      My humble institution holds IP on the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines. We’re anticipating quite the windfall from royalty payments.

      Meanwhile, in our 99.1% vaccinated student population, the B school is moving orientation on line after a spike in cases, and closely monitoring the case count to determine the format of classes, which begin next week. The B school is requiring indoor masking at all times, and upping requirements for testing.

      Fully vaccinated asymptomatic undergrads are still allowed to go maskless anywhere in their dorms.

      Narrative wise, we’re not yet onto “the boosters will save us.” It’s more “you won’t end up in the hospital or the morgue.” Long covid? Whatever.

      One last bit of anecdata – one of my Dad’s neighbors was not feeling well and went to the local hospital. They could not give her a room. Sent her home with instructions to follow. She tried calling the hospital several times over the next half day and could not get through. A friend of hers became concerned after not hearing from her and went over to her condo – found her dead with her phone in her hand.

      Not good.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Here in Tucson, the University of Arizona starts its fall semester on Monday, August 23. In addition to the academics, the U has quite the party scene, and I imagine that some major ragers are being planned for this weekend.

          But, before we go all in on tut-tutting the young ‘uns and their parties, I’d like to share a couple of tidbits from my emailbox:

          1. An invitation to a post-pandemic pool party. It’s a fundraiser for a local non-profit, but y’know, there’s this thing called caution. That’s why I’m not going.

          2. An invitation to a statewide business organization’s first in-person networking event in over a year. It’s going to be held indoors, in a bar, and I doubt that the ventilation is anything to write home about. That’s why I’m staying home.

          1. LilD

            We have been invited to a neighborhood “f**k the masks” party next week.
            I think I’m the only lefty in a big sea of reaganites

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        Memphis, TN via @samhardiman on twitter. https://twitter.com/samhardiman

        Two days ago “The heads of local emergency departments say they could have to start triaging care based on probability of survival as COVID-19 surg threatens to overwhelm short staffed hospitals.”

        On Aug 16th a letter was sent to local officials that says: “We must inform you that we may have to begin triaging care to patients in the next few days.”

        1. antidlc

          If North Texas runs out of ICU hospital beds, doctors can consider a patient’s vaccination status

          North Texas doctors have quietly developed a plan that seeks to prepare for the possibility that due to the COVID-19 surge the region will run out of intensive-care beds.

          If that happens, for the first time, doctors officially will be allowed to take vaccination status of sick patients into account along with other triage factors to see who gets a bed.

          1. lordkoos

            I assume this means that if you have been vaccinated and become ill with COVID, you are kicked to the curb?

          2. antidlc

            Story has been updated:


            Updated at 8:15 p.m. Aug. 19, 2021: After this story was posted, Dr. Mark Casanova gave interviews to local media and revised his story. He described the memo to the task force as a “homework assignment.” In a reversal, he told NBC-5 that vaccinations should not be among the factors hospitals should consider when making critical care triage decisions.

        2. polar donkey

          Here in Memphis, I heard it was a 24 hour wait at some emergency rooms. County instituted a mask mandate, TODAY. Not a month ago when everyone saw it is all headed in the wrong direction. Total cowardice in local politicians. The mask mandate is less strict than a year ago when things were better and a less transmittable strain. Restaurants still 100% capacity. First 2 weeks of school, 1,720 kids tested positive for covid. Also, plenty of breakthrough cases and breakthrough deaths. It has been a total sh-tshow.

          1. Stillfeelinthebern

            I understand hospital staff are lured away to hot spots with double the hourly pay creating the staffing shortages. (This happened in earlier surges) This is coupled with ER admissions that are 2 to 3 times normal. Also staff quitting because of vaccine mandate. Only one hospital is without a vaccine mandate.

          1. Jeff

            Here in the US, we hate each other. It’s really pathetic what we’ve allowed our culture to devolve into.

            I love our values… The ones we refuse to live but give an awful lot of lip service to.

    4. Ignacio

      And regarding third doses I am missing a thorough analysis on what would be the best strategy: time gaps between shots, best candidates for 3rd shoots, analysis by age cohorts etc. This would need the integration of research efforts for public interest and eliminate proprietary barriers, plus a lot of international coordination for best results. The research effort would be indeed enormous to build the immune response profiles and compare with disease outcomes. But it would almost certainly save many souls from death.

    5. caucus99percenter

      In recent years, every previously respected institution and professional caste has turned into a fractal hierarchy of Baghdad Bobs all the way down, telling you what their bosses, donors, PR advisors, and ideological comrades-in-arms want and need you to believe, irrespective of actual truth value.

      NC and principles and ideas it has raught me to value (such as “counter-suggestibility” and “the phishing equilibrium”) is a rare searchlight in the fog.

      1. Raymond Sim

        “In recent years, every previously respected institution and professional caste has turned into a fractal hierarchy of Baghdad Bobs all the way down,…”

        It has sure seemed that way to me. But, it being so universal, I’m inclined to reckon it unlikely to be all that recent. I believe that, though I fancied myself well-informed and rather cynical, I was actually thoroughly propagandized and naive. I’d like to think it was very skillful propaganda, but who am I kidding?

  3. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Nothing wrong with the Ka-ching level of lasting protection though as the Daily Mail has just reported that the UK has approved the Covid antibody cocktail Regeneron to be used as a prophylaxis. The Mail also notes that at 1- 2 grand a shot it is unlikely to be made widely available while on the other hand they later in the article state that it will be used by the NHS, but in any case only works for about a month so is not a substitute for a vaccine.

    Boris & Javed are it seems very happy as yet again greed apparently saves the day.


    1. GM

      That’s a sure recipe for breeding vaccine resistant variants.

      This has been observed time and time again — you give those things to people, E484K and other such things emerge.

      So far people on mAbs have been always confined in hospitals, which means that they are much less likely to transmit, thus those effects have not resulted in disaster yet.

      But now in Florida and other places they are starting to give Regeneron out as candy with no restrictions on movement. Guess what that will do…

      1. Shonde

        Many here probably watch the FLCCC Wednesday updates.

        On the last one, the docs explicitly stated they are getting good results from the Regeneron cocktail. There was no discussion of “breeding vaccine resistant variants.”

        Might be the right time for those with a scientific background to get on FLCCC Twitter to prompt a discussion. We certainly can’t count on the CDC or FDA to do so.

        1. Arizona Slim

          You can get invitations to those weekly updates by going to:


          Click on the “Connect to the FLCCC Alliance” box at the top of the page. It will take you to a popup that asks for your email address so you can subscribe and get updates.

          Me? I make sure that I’m on my couch by 3:55 p.m. Wednesday so I can get my laptop ready for logging into the FLCCC Zoom call at 4:00. It’s that good.

  4. The Rev Kev

    A hat tip to Yves, Lambert & the Covid brain trust for being right and one of the first to put all the pieces together. I can see a horrible train crash coming in regards to the effectiveness of these vaccines though one politician here in Oz actually said though that they were the light at the end of the tunnel (inset punchline here). Here is a thought for the US. Your midterms are not until 8th November 2022, right? So by that time most Americans who want to be vaccinated, will be vaccinated. And by then most people will be facing booster shot number three or perhaps number four. Assuming of course that getting a booster shot is no harder than getting an annual flu shot which is drawing an awfully long bow. I would imagine that tempers will be fraying under the realization that this pandemic is going nowhere. And this is discounting the possibility of a new variant supplementing the present dominant Delta strain. I know that this is not an optimistic view but I think that this is the way that it will be. Sorry.

    1. Cocomaan

      > Assuming of course that getting a booster shot is no harder than getting an annual flu shot which is drawing an awfully long bow

      Also assuming there’s no side effects from repeatedly hacking your immune system.

    2. GM

      That’s the hard to understand part.

      There are very plausible scenarios under which something much more lethal and much more vaccine resistant is circulating in 2022 while all we have is booster shots against the 2019 virus.

      And the politicians will still be refusing to do anything to stop it.

      There has to be a level of death and disability at which a political price is to be paid. So what are they thinking?

      Or maybe I am engaging in wishful thinking and they are successfully betting on boiling the frog without any consequences…

      1. Shonde

        My worry: Our government has already purchased millions of doses of the 2019 Pfizer vaccine to use as booster shots while the Mayo Clinic recent research seems to show it is only 42% effective against Delta if I read the research results correctly.

        Wasn’t 50% effective the FDA cutoff for EUA for vaccines?

        1. Objective Ace

          Sounds like the fix is already in for the FDA to just approve them anyway (based on what-Im not sure?).. in which case EUA doesn’t matter anymore

        2. Eric377

          I think that Delta may be more of a correlate to time-decay. I have not seen data that freshly vaxxed individuals are down anywhere near that low for Delta. So it’s possible that January, February vaxxed folks are getting infected now at a pretty good clip and since Delta is what’s out there, they get Delta.

          1. GM

            That is correct up to a point, if what was circulating now was B.1.351, they would be catching B.1.351, because of the antibody decay.

            But the nature of the variant makes a difference — B.1.351 gives you an 8x factor of neutralization reduction, and B.1.617.2 a little bit less almost there (with a live virus, pseudovirus shows it to be only 2.5-3x; the mechanisms of evasion are different).

            What happens is that:

            – protective level is on average 20% of the nAbs that the convalescent have at their peak
            – the vaccines give you 10x that amount, i.e. you are 50x above the threshold
            – nAbs decay with a half life of 2-3 months, so people vaccinated early are now down to 6x-12x above the protection level
            – we divide this by 8x because of the variant, and we arrive at the conclusion that people are right at the point where they are crossing the protection threshold

            Of course this would have happened even with no viral evolution, but then it would have become apparent some time early next year, maybe even mid-201, not now.

            BTW, the exact same thing happens with natural infection with the common cold coronaviruses — natural immunity decays completely on a time scale of 1.5-2 years, but that is still selective pressure on the virus to evolve escape, and so it does, and then some people get reinfected even sooner than that.

            P.S. Anyone who is telling you “the vaccine is X% effective against variant Y” is either lying on purpose or has no idea what he is talking about. VE is a function of both the circulating virus and of time (and also of the age of those vaccinated), it is not a static number.

    3. JEHR

      It is really jarring to realize that all the hoopla over vaccine is for naught. Well, it is better to face reality even when it means a much starker future than I had anticipated. I worry most for my children as my span has been quite long enough.

      1. Carla

        Yes, I am so grateful not to have grandchildren. It’s bad enough worrying about everyone else’s.

    4. JTMcPhee

      Some politicians in Vietnam are talking about imposition of martial law nationwide as the only way to break the infection. Looking to see how well that will work out. VN already has a number of quarantine structures in place, blocking off whole chunks of cities and locking them down. Case counts are still rising, for some unexplained reason — maybe having to so with turning certain necessary or preferred parts of the economy loose to “do business…”

  5. VietnamVet

    What is distressing is that the unvaccinated are being blamed for the rise of COVID cases and for terminating “a summer of freedom”. Also, the CDC and the Media are avoiding issuing warnings that anybody, including the vaccinated, could be shedding the virus just like before the vaccination campaign started. The mRNA vaccines do not stop transmission and the vaccinated may even have higher viral loads than the unvaccinated. This makes vaccination mandates and apps pointless. The mRNA vaccines have no public health value except for lowering the severity of the COVID illness and preventing death. They are money making for-profit treatments. But even this could be questionable since the rise in deaths from the Delta Variant in the USA tracks almost exactly the beginning of the spike in deaths in November 2020 for the earlier variants when there were no mRNA vaccines.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Seems from what I am reading that the mRNA vaccines, like the Moderna I got from the VA, are in fact NOT successful in reducing severity, transmission and long-term effects, nor do they provide any reliable assurance that the virus won’t result in one’s “early (excess) death.”

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Not correct, Moderna is successful for longer than Pfizer in reducing severity and both are successful for months. The not as hot performance on reducing getting infected at all and infecting others appears to be due to Delta. But the problem is as GM said above that we are going to continue in variant whack a mole mode.

        1. Kris Alman

          The variable that never gets quantified in efficacy is compliance with masks as infections/hospitalizations/deaths mount.

          The original Pfizer study emphasized mask wearing and social distancing–and the cohort of studied individuals were generally healthier and of higher SES than the general public (homeless people were certainly not included in the study!).

          So how do we interpret any efficacy data when public health agencies pull the plug on masks? What if the true efficacy has always been much lower, with data masked by masks and more restrictive public health policies?

        2. Badbisco

          Is there any way to definitively determine whether delta’s more infective or if we were just seeing the decline in vaccine effectiveness given the time frame? Seems the data is hopelessly mixed together and difficult to separate given the CDCs purposeful avoidance of collecting good breakthrough data.

      2. vlade

        the vaccines do work – it’s just that they are not even close to the silver bullet they were/are being sold as.

        They were quite successful on Alpha, but are showing to be much worse in dealing with Delta. Given how fast the virus mutates (and how, see GM above) and the vaccine antibody fall-off, it’s extremely dubious whether variant-boosters are a viable strategy.

        I believe GM also mentioned that the boosters were shown to be not very boosting (although I assume it was w/o mixing the shots, so maybe mixing can make it better). We’ll see from Israel, which is now desperately getting out third shot.

        Right now, the only reliable assurance of not dying of Covid is dying of something else before the Covid gets you (well, or a total isolation from most of human society, which some would consider a worse fate).

        1. HotFlash

          And don’t forget that non-humans can harbor the virus and mutate there. Rats, deer, for sure — maybe bats, pangolins, too? There is also a mysterious die-off of NA birds, cause so far unknown TMK. I have been seeing (I think) a lot more dead birds, as in flattened on our urban streets, than I have ever seen — 4 in ~ 2km today. Pigeons don’t normally just fall out of the sky, nor do they usually fly so low to be hit by cars. I wonder…

    2. Eric377

      I live in Wisconsin and simply don’t recognize that “a summer of freedom” was terminated. You can do anything you want really. I don’t know if we are simply putting on a brave show, but everything is open, no sub-100% capacity limits. Went to a Packers preseason game with 70000 of my “close friends” last Saturday and Brown County Fair today. Haven’t been to a bar in at least a decade, but they are all open. Restaurants. Our Lady of Good Help Shrine mass was maxed out. Some hotels and inns are below capacity, but for difficulty getting staff. Where exactly are people feeling that summer got canceled?

  6. K.k


    I think the above may have been linked in the comments by someone a couple days ago. Posting for those that may have missed it. From the above link, “What is clear is that “breakthrough” cases are not the rare events the term implies. As of 15 August, 514 Israelis were hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19, a 31% increase from just 4 days earlier. Of the 514, 59% were fully vaccinated. Of the vaccinated, 87% were 60 or older. ”


    Israel expanded the age cohort to 40 and above that are now eligible for booster shot. “Israel hopes that a third dose will boost antibody levels and thereby stop the spread of the virus, and above all the rise in the number of serious cases. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has advocated widespread vaccination as an alternative to lockdowns, recently instructed the directors of Israel’s four health maintenance organizations to double their vaccination rates and to offer inoculations around the clock.”

  7. SteveB

    Is there any data on Delta positives comparing the unvaccinated who have never had covid to the unvaccinated who have previously had covid.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Haha, data? Are you kidding? This is the US!

      Having said that, it might be possible to work that out from Imperial College data in the UK, but they would also have had to sequenced the virus as part of their regular big surveys. It’s possible that they did that, the UK unlike here does tons of sequencing.

      1. Raymond Sim

        “Haha, data? Are you kidding? This is the US!”

        I’ve been on alert for anything like meaningful data on this since last year, when herd immunity began to look like a no-show. I think that now that n-dshc’s (non-defacto shithole countries) are, thanks to the likes of us, experiencing real trouble, we might get some. The sad fact is that to the extent you’ve got a Covid problem, you’re probably a dshc, and don’t do data.

    2. Raymond Sim

      I have as yet to discover any. The current high rates of infection among the vaccinated might provide the opportunity for a statistical analysis to tease this info out – but our lack of sound data on overall prevalence will make it more difficult, both technically and because prevalance is a hot potato, or will be if folks ponder it for a minute or two.

  8. none

    In Israel the apparent surprisingly high rate of vaccinated hospitalized patients can apparently be interpreted as an example of a statistical phenomenon called Simpson’s paradox ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpsons_paradox ). Basically a lot of the hospitalized are elderly due to the vulnerability of that age group, and almost all elderly people in Israel are vaccinated (much more than in the general population). So the resulting stats of vax vs non-vax in hospitals follows naturally from the Bayes rule. Explanation here:


    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is irrelevant to the slide from the Israel data presented above, but nice try. It does NOT EVEN REMOTELY work from % of vaccinated patients. It looks at hospitalization rates within particular cohorts, by date of vaccine and age.

      The findings in that Israel update have now been broadly corroborated by three other studies, as the Financial Times article explained. Not age stratified. The Oxford and Mayo studies were on very large populations.

      And there is no discrepancy pf the sort asserted in the article when you work through the latest slide show.

      Finally the date of that presentation was after the article you linked to and trumps it by producing specific results on vaccine efficacy v. severe cases.

      Moreover, IM Doc, who taught statistics, has not had time to look at that particular paper but it skeptical of the use of Simpson’s paradox:

      I think this is some degree of data manipulation. When I hear Evidence Based Medicine people haul out Simpson’s Paradox – it is often a sign to really pay attention – something is going on under the table.

      But there are also some cases where it is applicable.

      Paging our stat maven Terry Flynn in the meantime.

      Plus you need to use a real handle and a bona fide e-mail address. Not approving future comments from your current signature.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’m curious about how many comments flow into NC from what might be called the Narrative Hive, written subtly to infect the discussions with bits of fear, uncertainty and doubt, to minutely in particular instances, but more massively in massed numbers, defeat any chance of understanding how us mopes are being led up the chute to the killing floor… have seen lots of these over the years, including a person using the moniker “Joe from Worcester,” and of course there’s that person who daily edits Wikipedia in support of the Narrative, I forget the name used…

        Bless you gatekeepers for your constant and likely frustrating efforts to move the discourse always toward objective truth.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I don’t think we are that important. However, once in a while there are exceptions. Phillip Cross of Wikipedia showed up to act as an enforcer of precisely that sort. I wouldn’t have connected the dots except he was too persistent, which catches my eye, dogmatic, yet as Lambert would say, shiny.

        2. Michael McK

          Phillip Cross is the Wiki super-editor for NATO et al. I took the commenter here using that name to be tongue-in-cheek.
          How did I not see Yves above. I guess it was not fake (double fake) and am surprised he used the same ID here since he had been outed already at the grayzone https://thegrayzone.com/tag/philip-cross/

              1. Basil Pesto

                Nah, he was asked even before that, last year I think (and iirc denied outright, hence my reply at the above link)

                1. Acacia

                  AFAICT, he first appeared at NC to comment on this article, on Oct 30, 2020, concerning the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, and Glenn Greenwald’s resignation from the Intercept (a narrative that needed managing?). Curiously, “Phillip Cross” sought in that comment to belittle “Trump vs. The IC”. The only other comment in 2020 seems to be when “Cross” returned on Nov 13 to weigh in scoffingly once again on — coincidence? — conspiracies. Nobody called him out for his handle on those occasions.

      2. Terry Flynn

        Thanks Yves. I thought of commenting but thought people will get sick of my repeated comment. You CANNOT aggregate data from limited dependent variables (logit/probit etc) models until you have normalised the variance – “consistency of infection leading to a given discrete outcome like hospitalisation or death in a given patient”.

        Otherwise your answers are biased. Often in a direction you don’t expect. I typically dealt with this in stated preference data but it’s just as true in revealed preference (actual clinical) data. And the vaccines certainly seem to be “turning mountains into gentle hills” regarding the likelihood function (much larger area under the curve suggesting non-serious infection) but mean (likelihood of infection) probably barely changed.

        This has serious implications since the only trial the med statisticians ever decided to “measure” variances are n-of-1 trials and these can’t be done in vaccination.

    2. Mantid

      None, Nope. In the FLCCC weekly of Aug. 11th (date?) Doctors Korey and Merick mentioned repeatedly the they and their comrades, in the trenches at many hospitals in the US, we seeing younger people in hospital, 30s and 40s who are being admitted. Including vaccinated individuals.

    3. Greg Taylor

      Simpson’s paradox illustrates why we can’t make causal statements (i.e the vaccine is effective or ineffective) from observational data. Morris shows that by adding one more variable to the analysis (age) he can make what otherwise looks to be a relatively ineffective treatment into one that appears far more effective. The “paradox” occurs because younger people have lower vaccination rates and lower incidences of severe disease.

      By the same logic, there could be another unmeasured “confounding” variable that if considered would make what appears to be an effective treatment at the end of Morris’ analysis into one that is ineffective. There is no way of knowing if such a variable might exist with observational data.

      Well designed experiments and clinical trials get around this problem by randomly assigning subjects to treatment groups. With such an experiment, younger people would be randomly assigned a vaccine or placebo at the same rate as older folks so you wouldn’t see Simpson’s Paradox.

      Timely experiments to determine changes in efficacy and longer-term vaccine side effects (fertility, pregnancy, birth defects…) could have provided useful information to those who those weighing personal vaccine risks and rewards. The costs would have been a very small fraction of covid-related health care expenditures.

      Lack of universal health care and work/school-related disincentives to seek tests/treatment will create additional confounding variables. Observational data analysis and interpretation will be even more difficult in the US than in Israel and many other countries.

      1. Eric377

        I feel certain the the test positivity rate is a measure heavily influenced by circumstances. Last fall in Wisconsin it was very common to duck tests if you didn’t think you were positive or even if you just felt you were not feeling worse after a day or so. Even at “terrible” positivity of 20%, well 4 of 5 tested people got tied up waiting on test results and maybe getting family bogged down too. Not great, but lots of folks that public health imagined were heading to the test centers were deciding to skip.

  9. Tinky

    Yes, a tip of the hat to NC, and especially for giving IM Doc a forum on which to provide his trenchant, front line reports.

    Recently, Jeffrey Morris, a statistical data scientist, professor and Director of Biostatistics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a very good breakdown of the Israeli data, which, as most readers know, is derived from one of, if not the most complete national health databases used to track COVID.

    Here is the link:


    If you scroll down to the chart just above his conclusion, you will find a useful breakdown of the number of “severe” cases per 100,000, based on age groups, and whether the patients were fully vaccinated or unvaccinated. Note that the breakdown is far from perfect, in that it does not parse out when the last vaccine was administered, nor, crucially, whether the patients had co-morbidities. However, it is still very useful.

    The chart does suggest a broad, protective impact of the vaccine, but it also underscores how “accurate” statistics can be broadcast in very different ways, depending on the message desired to be emphasized. For example, in the 60-69 age group, severe case risk is 12.4 times higher for the unvaccinated. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? But the chances of experiencing a severe outcome for the unvaccinated is only .76/1000, and that is without parsing out co-morbidities! Needless to say, if the latter were to be taken into account, the chances of a severe outcome would be far lower. And that’s for 60-69 year-olds. The chances of healthy, younger people being severely impact are obviously much lower.

    1. QuicksilverMessenger

      “Obviously”. Yves has addressed this a couple of times already today in the comments. In other words, this is debunked.

      1. Greg

        Not “debunked”, we’re not dealing with true/false here, we’re dealing with interpretations of complex data. As Greg Taylor mentions above, there are layers of potentially confounding factors, and we aren’t getting good or complete datasets to work with.

        It’s quite possible for vaccines to reduce frequency of severe complications *and* for there to be high numbers of people with severe complications who have been vaccinated. See also: not a silver bullet (not even chromed at this point).

      2. Tinky

        You failed to read carefully.

        In addition to Greg’s points, no one has “debunked” the fact that younger people are, as a group, far less likely to be hospitalized as a result of contracting COVID.

        I made a simple observation in my original comment, which is that based on the Israeli numbers, the chances of having a “severe” outcome are quite low for those under 70, even if unvaccinated (less than 1/1000). Those numbers are clear, though I am not suggesting that they would necessarily be the same in other countries.

  10. Jackiebass63

    I personally thought from the beginning that the vaccine wasn’t going to provide life long protection from Covid. At some point in time a booster would be needed. Kind of like the flu vaccine. It happened sooner than I expected. There are better vaccines being developed. We need to be cautious in our behavior.

    1. GM

      I am a well known pessimist and I expected boosters in a year, i.e. early 2020.

      Not in 6 months…

      Meanwhile B.1.617.2 is undergoing very rapid evolution that nobody is able to keep up with and few people are even trying.

      We are up to AY.22 now, of these AY.3 is taking over big time in the US and starting to displace vanilla Delta in the UK, while Israel actually has its own flavor — AY.12 — which may or may not be more vaccine resistant than the varieties found elsewhere, but, again, we will know that many months from now, when it is will be too late to react.

      And almost all of these distinguishing mutations are not in the S protein, they are in the Nsp and ORF proteins.

      If that is what results in increased immune escape, that is really really really bad news, because those proteins are not even in the vaccine, i.e. it is evolving replication kinetics-level immune escape that no vaccine will ever be able to do much against…

      1. The Rev Kev

        A well known pessimist? Or an unacknowledged realist? I won’t pretend that I understand the finer, technical details of your comment but your last paragraph is warning enough as it is exasperating to read that simple truth. So if I understand properly what you said, vaccine-wise that will drop us back in December of 2019 again – right back at square one.

        1. PHLDenizen

          Difference between a pessimist and an optimist is that the former is simply more well-informed.

        2. skippy

          Critical Realist … something that sends the positivist casual reasoning sorts vibrating in high pitched unison …

      2. Raymond Sim

        I am often described as ‘negative’, unfortunately when I am, it usually means I’m right.

        I believe I wrote in comments here a while back that by Fall, boosters would be the hot topic. So I guess I got it pretty near to right. I never imagined though that we might just start chucking them into arms willy-nilly. But with it starting to look as if everybody who’s anybody already has one, terrified ten percenters are liable to start clamoring for them. I guess that’s one way of recruiting a trial cohort.

  11. Cocomaan

    This article is making the rounds. A little Friday dark humor from the propaganda wars:


    ‘He avoided double death?’ Man killed by Covid was spared ‘worse condition’ because he was fully vaxxed, reassuring report claims

    As experts extol the life-preserving qualities of Covid jabs, a news story has claimed that the condition of a man who perished from the virus could have been worse had he not been vaxxed, kindling philosophical debate on Twitter.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is like something of medieval times in it’s attitude as in

      ‘Yeah, they died a horrible death. But they confessed their sins first so it was all good.’

  12. jr

    Many thanks again to NC and the Trust. The levels of confusion and bad info are off the charts out there. I now have a protocol in place, based mostly off of info found here.

    A good friend, a very talented artist, has COVID at the moment. Visiting family who don’t take even the basic masking precautions gave it to her. I asked if she had used the Betadine gargle I had discussed with her but she said, sadly, she forgot to get some. My protocol is to always have some on me when I leave the house other than popping around the corner. I bought a small plastic bottle with five good slugs in it. It’s in a double sealed Ziplock to stop leaks, in my bag.

    I hope for her, and the world’s sake, she can continue to work afterwards. She seems to be recovering. So it goes.

  13. Sawdust

    The big question now is how vaccine-produced immunity compares to that acquired from exposure to the virus itself.

  14. Emma

    Jeffrey Morris at Covid Data Science further analyses the Israeli results and finds that the vaccines are still holding in a Delta world. He talks about Simpsons Paradox being involved here, tanking perceived efficacy.

    Here’s the link

    I wonder what would you think about this take… Good News ? Bad Science ?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      See the reply to none above: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/08/are-vaccines-becoming-less-effective-at-preventing-covid-infection.html#comment-3593022

      Shorter: thesis already debunked by newer Israel data + the three other studies in the FT article. IM Doc, who has not yet had time to review the statistical analysis, says Simpsons Paradox often used in bad faith. And MDs are really bad at statistics, so huzzahs from them mean little.

      Maybe Terry Flynn, a house statistical maven, will have a look if we get lucky.

      1. Hiroyuki

        “says Simpsons Paradox often used in bad faith”
        in this case, they are right to call out age as a significant confounding variable. But they then fail to even consider that there are many confounders at work here and have always been at work with the observational trials. Oddly there was no mention of Simpsons paradox when cases were plummeting…

  15. marcyincny

    Today Syracuse will be hosting The Great New York State Fair through Labor Day, the longest NY state fair ever!!

    I think our fate will be made clear in about a month.

    1. lordkoos

      Out here in the wild west, for labor day weekend our little town is hosting the 7th largest rodeo in the USA, along with our county fair which is in the same facility. Although mostly outdoors, people are packed together in crowds at the fairgrounds and in grandstands for the rodeo. The events were cancelled last year (accompanied by much complaining and gnashing of teeth from the more rural types as well as local business) so everyone is now stoked for this 4-day event to be back on track, as labor day weekend tourism has always been a big money-maker for this town. It will be interesting to see what the consequences are.

  16. David

    Admiring from a distance the ability of the NC commentariat and its experts to be right about things once more before anyone else, I’ve started wondering about something I know a little more about – the political effects. I don’t mean the trivial effects that the media is obsessed with – who’s up, who’s down which party might benefit. I mean the much greater question of the confidence in, and even the tolerance of, various governments by their people. All governments, after all, rely on unspoken intimidation to some extent to stay in power. That being so, determined resistance from 5-10% of the population is usually enough to frustrate governments, and can in fact actually bring them down. And here, we might be talking not about a change from Party A to Party B, but a change in the entire political system, with consequences impossible to foresee. This doesn’t have to be (and probably won’t be) violent or even armed resistance, but rather a sullen, passive, mass refusal to cooperate. It’s a question of numbers. If you break the law, you have a problem. If a million people break the law, the government has a problem.

    Does this sound alarmist? Well, try for a moment to envisage a scenario – one of many possible ones – in 12 to 18 months’ time. The virus is still with us, and new strains appear every month, many from abroad brought by travellers. The first signs of long Covid illnesses are now evident. The hospitals are always full, the health services are perpetually over-extended. There are bitter debates about which vaccines, if any, are still effective and how many doses are needed. There are equally bitter debates about the usefulness of prophylactics and treatments. The consensus on these issues, such as it is, changes all the time, and differs from country to country. Supply chains continue to be badly affected. Lockdowns are now a regular feature of life. There are multiple, often contradictory, rules about how you can travel and with what medical documents or certificates. Schools and universities remain mostly closed but try to open for a few weeks or a month when they can. Restaurants, theatres and concert halls in many countries are progressively closing down. Sports events are only played before empty stadiums. And the key part of this is that the restrictions will already have been in place for several years, and there is no sign that they will ever be lifted. This is what “living with Covid” means, insofar as it means anything at all. It could be worse than that of course.

    What about the political consequences? Three things stand out, I think. First, most of the population of the western world has never known large-scale insecurity, political upheaval, the risk of hunger or, of course, long-lasting pandemics. They have grown up in a narcissistic culture where What I Want is what counts, and politicians who wish to prosper have to accept that. Second, few political systems are actually geared to dealing with complex, multi-faceted problems. We can see this already with Covid, and it’s going to get worse. The politics of spin and slogan have been around for so long now, that the ability of most governments to deal with, or even properly appreciate, complex problems, has largely disappeared. Third, it’s almost impossible to pass complex political messages, even when times are calm. In the age of Twitter, it’s impossible. It’s this, rather than mendacity or conspiracy, which explains the constant flailing of governments after a single message, and the fact that these messages change frequently. But with Covid I don’t think it’s possible to pass simple messages, and I suspect it will be more and more difficult as time goes on. In the end, governments may simply be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem, and by their inability to settle on any coherent policy, much less explain it. At which point, things could get very sticky.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for articulating it so well.

      On a more basic level, I wonder what will happen if a number of the worst case scenarios work out and everyone starts saying: ‘Hey, actually, the anti-vaxx crazies were right’. When people lose faith in non-political institutions then… well, we’ve seen this week what happened in Afghanistan when it became clear that nobody believed the army was capable of defending Kabul.

      What I fear is that many in authority are unwilling to call a halt to things and admit they were wrong, and then set out a new, clear path. Maybe it will be long term No Covid, maybe it will be ‘hold the fort until we find a safe sterilizing vaccine’. Or maybe something else. Instead, we will get endless gaslighting ‘hey, we always said the vaccines might not work’ and, what we are seeing increasingly, a push towards a ‘live with it’ strategy, with the fault placed on the sick for not being healthy enough. Even Beijing is now is openly flirting with the idea of allowing Delta to rip through the population. There are clearly a lot of people in powerful places who seem to think this is a good idea. For all the reasons you’ve outlined, this seems shortsighted in the extreme.

      1. vlade

        Do you have an English-lang link on that China tidbit you mention? If it’s true, that likely means CCP believes it can’t control Delta anymore, but wants to be seen as in control (“we let it rip through” vs. “we could not control it anymore”).

        I really really want to know how NZ will handle their outbreak.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          It was Zheng Wenhong, a very prominent scientist who floated the idea. I was originally about to say that he said it in official media without being silenced which is usually a sign in Chinese circles that the idea is being floated to see the reaction, but on searching for where I read it (SCMP I think), I found that he’s now being investigated for plagiarism. Thats probably a sign that the idea went down like a lead balloon so he’s been made an example of.

          Given the opaqueness of Chinese decision making its impossible to say what they really think, but it indicates that at the very least they were considering it. On the basis of that article, it may be that keeping China Covid free has become too much of an article of faith for nationalists, so they’ll do their best to suppress it. Not good news for airlines or French luxury good manufacturers.

        2. Jeotsu

          This morning is day 4 of the lvl 4 lockdown.

          Lots of chatter in the opinion pages. Lots of contact tracing, testing and vaccinating (Pfizer) going on. Some cases in Wellington discovered — not real surprise given lots of internal air travel to and from Auckland. The whole country being kept on lockdown until at least next Wednesday, to give time for any more clusters outside of Auckland to be detected.

          From the RNZ interviews with people waiting 2-4 hours in line for testing, the public mood is currently pretty good/cooperative.

    2. vlade


      I’ll add to it one thing. So far, most populists/populist parties that got to power were shown to be very incompetent very quickly, and failed to deliver most of what they promised their voters. Some (Boris, and to a lesser extent Trump) had some luck, which has hidden the fundamental incompetence for a while.

      A semi-competent populist could now IMO easily win elections, and stay there. It’s not just because of Covid, it’s because the polis was delivering the promises of western democracy to fewer and fewer people for some time now. In a way, a lost fight with Covid would be a trigger that historically would be a war, famine or similar, leading, as you say, to a governmental system change.

      Another interesting tidbit. New Zealand govt was seen as being competent, and was rewarded (in the last elections, she won majority in a system designed to stop parties getting majorities). Based on what I’m told by my Kiwi friends, Arden is actually not that exceptional under normal circumstances, but she shines in a sharp crisis (cf Covid vs the insane house price rises in the NZ, storing down problems long term). It’s sad that averagely competent government is then seen as a role model now. Of course, with the current NZ outbreak, we may get so see how people react when the competency fails (and it may fail purely because success was never really possible, not due to an innate fault of the government).

      May we live in interesting times.

      1. Greg

        My personal opinion is that Ardern is good in a crisis because she, weirdly, doesn’t appear to be a sociopath.
        It’s really obvious during a crisis if the leader is a narcissistic sociopath, because their plastic pretend faces are incapable of convincingly showing they care about the people dying.
        Humans are usually really good at detecting false sincerity, and strong emotions make it more obvious.

        ETA: in case it’s not obvious, I agree that there isn’t any unusual level of competence involved.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Your scenario is compelling just taking Covid into account, much less increasing disasters in the form of hurricanes, forest fires, new pandemics, drought, etc.

      This was going to happen sooner or later, just as Biden said about Afghanistan, and given the overhang of the ecological catastrophe that’s unfolding, sooner is better.

      I came across another treatment of Donella Meadows’s modeling of our dilemma in her 2002 update of the Club of Rome warnings. This paper includes Meadows’s model as well as the time graphs projecting food and industrial production, pollution and population for this century. Her projected collapse in food and industrial production takes place, under the current way of operating, before 2050.

      And the review linked above along with the KPMG study reviewed here, both find the last twenty years of data track Meadows’s worst case scenario.

      Covid’s effect on political stability will inevitably have impacts on economic growth with the result that we may have more time to change direction before 2 degrees warming is inevitable. If you’re right about the impacts on the stability of institutions, then one essential focus from this point on is developing and building new institutions in the interstices and lacunae that develop as existing systems collapse.

    4. Tom Doak

      I agree with your premise and I think that some of what has been labeled “anti-vaxx” in the past few months is exactly the phenomenon you are describing – “refusal to cooperate”.

      But of course it will not be described that way in the MSM, because they know that would be a real problem. That’s why it is necessary not just to promote the vaccine, but belittle the people who won’t take it as uneducated and reckless.

      All you have to do is look at voter turnout in the USA to know that there are a lot of people who are refusing to cooperate. They just aren’t organized.

    5. ZacP

      People in Healthcare World do not fully grasp how interconnected are public health and government. Why doesn’t everybody listen to the expert recommendations about vaccines and the like? In our lifetime the government has unfortunately done many untrustworthy things, which of course undermines confidence in the expert physicians who have enmeshed themselves in the establishment.

      But now to your point in how government itself may be undermined by the workings of Healthcare World. Many hospitals see triaging on the near horizon, i.e. person A gets treatment because they have a higher survival chance, person B gets sent home to die. This is accepted by the people as an unfortunate but necessary function of a hospital distributing a now scarce resource. Apparently an interhospital critical care group in Dallas suggested using vaccination status as part of the triage criterion.

      North Texas doctors have quietly developed a plan that seeks to prepare for the possibility that due to the COVID-19 surge the region will run out of intensive-care beds. If that happens, for the first time, doctors officially will be allowed to take vaccination status of sick patients into account along with other triage factors to see who gets a bed.

      Afterward it came out they explained how vaccination status would just be a proxy for survival chance, so actually not a change. But how is this going to look to the people? How are people going to react when they perceive that their family members are being discriminated against based off vaccination status? The fact that representatives from a number of hospitals sat in a room and came to this conclusion will probably now make these next few weeks even uglier for the frontline workers who have to deal with the public. And now the people will push back even harder against those who are trying to govern.

    6. Ignacio

      This is a very good analysis on the possible political implications of whatever epidemic outcomes to come in the near future. Rising expectations too much might result in widespread frustration with unpredictable political results. And these might be very different in each country. For instance in Spain with a decentralized health care system the government has decided to shift responsibilities (on lockdowns etc) to the regional authorities and this could be seen as a clever political move.
      I believe an important checkpoint will arrive by the end of December when there is potential for further disruptions depending on how the epidemic evolves. I just hope but only hope that things do not get out of control.

    7. Basil Pesto

      What about the political consequences? Three things stand out, I think. First, most of the population of the western world has never known large-scale insecurity, political upheaval, the risk of hunger or, of course, long-lasting pandemics.

      I was thinking about this earlier tonight and it really dawned on me how unwilling people are to grasp or accept that the world has changed. Instead they cling on to this notion of ‘going back to normal’ like some tattered old comfort blanket. Maybe this is what ‘The End of History’ actually is, man lulled into a false sense of security, their understanding of events like the second world war limited to toothbrush moustaches and genocide, rather than the all-encompassing struggle that it actually was. A fable, rather than a protracted crisis of staggering breadth and depth.

      I recall commenters here have posted about various histories of the flu pandemics of the late 19th/early 20th century. I have not read those histories so I’m sure someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect that these pandemics shaped the world in some way after them, as major historical events are wont to do.

      It seems that while we generally understand that cataclysmic events like the World Wars shaped the world in some way, this is less the case with, say, pandemics (or even financial crises; another reason NC is invaluable). Thus we fail to understand that it’s not a question of returning to the status quo ante, as though these earlier pandemics were brief interruptions and world history continued either side of them as it otherwise would have if they’d never happened in the first place; it’s about how humanity adapts to the new situation, the new normal (forgive the lapse into a cliché I don’t really like, but it’ll have to do for the moment). The pleasantness or otherwise of this adaptation to the emerging new reality, and the severity of the reality itself, will be dictated by the international response to the crisis. So far, so bad.

    8. AndrewJ

      I know maybe two people who have passing familiarity with the concepts we find here on NC. The rest don’t know and don’t care to find out. There are dyed-in-the-wool Team Blue types, for whom official organizations can do no wrong, as long as their team is in charge. There are people whose lives are so comfortable and/or filled with petty drama that they absolutely will not consider politics or the behind-the-scenes of current events – they are repulsed by the topic. There are people who know they are at the bottom of the ladder, don’t have any hope of improving their lives, and are checked out. There are people who blame everything – everything – on whatever whiteness or colonialism means this week. Then there are the neo-hippies, also with no interest in politics or self-governance or citizenship, but who fervently believe they can beam love out into the world, call in positivity, and everything will be all right, somehow.
      I like to think I am doing the best I can to see things coming, but missing the reality of the oncoming pandemic until early March of last year, despite keeping up here, was some much-needed hubris. All this is to say I don’t know how all these folks I know will react as the pandemic lingers, and lingers, and lingers. They’re ignorant, often willfully so, propagandized, and misinformed – and given the state our media at large and the need to constantly hustle to make ends meet, I don’t really blame them (aside from the vaccine cheerleaders, those types piss me off). The incoming Republican government will give them a convenient bogeyman, and enable them to collectively shrug and say they’ve done their part by voting for the right team, or say that voting is pointless but there is no alternative, and not connect the dots that there is no alternative because, deep down, there is no desire to form alternative organizations or power structures. There is no desire because they cannot articulate why it needs to be done.
      So I think our kayfabe theater government will keep rolling along, red vs blue vs red vs blue, all the way until people here run out of food.
      It feels like pandemic is just one tumbler on a fruit machine. The others are still spinning.

      1. LilD

        I try to troll my team blue friends
        Eg “what do we want?”
        “Incremental change!”
        “When do we want it?”
        But they just go on with how wonderful it is to have the orange man banished.

    9. Peter

      To add to this thought, what happens if there’s a worse case scenario with the vaccines – the vaccines end up causing more harm to people than not taking them would have? What would that do to the people who have put there blind faith in the government and MSM only to find out doing that caused them serious harm?

      There are plenty of possible scenarios where the vaccines could that. ADE where the vaccines make the virus more dangerous to the vaccinated. The menstrual issues being experiences by some women are actually the early that there are some reproductive damage is occurring. That what happened in some animal studies where the spike protein and the lipid nanoparticles can cross / damage the blood brain barrier and cause brain issues turns out to happen in humans as well.

      What happens when a large segment of the populations who has put there complete faith in governmental and political institutions discovers they’ve been systematically deceived for years? That’s could lead to an awful lot of angry, dangerous energy let loose in our society.

    10. lordkoos

      We can probably learn something from previous pandemics such as bubonic plague, which altered the course of history. There is an interesting video about the effects of the eruption of Krakatoa in 535 AD, which led to a type of “nuclear winter” effect that lasted 18 months.


      One result of this was a dramatic lowering of the ability of humans to absorb vitamin D from sunlight (there was very little sun during this period) which in turn contributed to the spread of plague. Pandemics do seem to have some association with climate change as well.

    11. VietnamVet

      A brilliant comment.

      What we Americans do not want to comprehend is that the US federal government has already failed; 1) the Afghan debacle and now reestablishing new bases to evacuate left behinds (a magnitude worse defeat than Saigon 1975), 2) out of control western forest wildfires and a dire Southwest drought, 3) Delta Variant spike, booster shots, and a collapsed public health system & 4) missing workers and supply shortages.

      Literally for western civilization to continue, a system change from predatory capitalism is necessary. Being old enough to remember the 1950s, a New Deal and the restoration of the rule of law is the only way I can see to avoid chaos.

    12. Thistlebreath

      David: I have anxiety about how long that guy in the guard shack at the entrance to the gated community is going to be willing to take a bullet for the BoBo’s in the McMansions who are serene in their confidence that they can ride this one out.

      I have to use the Wayback Machine to call up the last posting from Deagel.com in March or so when they still did 5 year forecasts about world populations. Deagel took down the stat after they got too much grief. The bad news: they projected there will be ~60% fewer of Americans in 2025.

      Deagel’s gone back to being number crunching stats wonks for the likes of Rand Corp, counting fighter planes, destroyers, howitzers etc. of the world’s countries. That’s apparently less controversial.

      I’m not so sure violence isn’t going to emerge. I don’t want it but that may mean little.

      “Sticky” is the understatement of the year.

    13. HotFlash

      Last time I saw a govt negotiate this sort of multi-lema it was Cuba under Castro dealing w the collapse of the Soviet Union. Iran is another case, straits maybe not as bad.

  17. Sean

    Ok so what’s the best course of action if you are high risks?

    My moms getting her third shot. She had Pfizer. Before I told her to get moderna as a booster. Is that still the best action or is it better to get a non mRNA vaccine. I’d prefer she lives her life and not waste her retirement. If covid gets her it’s better than hiding.

    For treatments fluvoxamine and antibodies early seem worthwhile.

    Is the end game we all eventually get wild virus covid and develop a better immune response than a vaccine can give you but hopefully with the tools to minimize bad outcomes?

    1. Anonymous

      I wondered the same thing, Sean. My better half got 2 Pfizers and I got 2 Modernas (a random outcome based on availability). Imperfect as all the choices on the current menu obviously are, are we best served right now to get a J&J?

      1. lordkoos

        I for one will never take another Pfizer vaccine after a nasty reaction to my second shot. I am considering taking a Moderna booster shot.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      We do not give medical advice. And we are operating in a fog of information.

      Having said that, you might read up on articles suggesting that mixing up vaccines is better.

      Also if she does not have any thyroid issues I’d recommend a povidone iodine gargle, 2-3X a day. Take the 10% stuff you get in drugstores and dilute to 0.5% or 1.0%.

  18. ArkansasAngie

    I think this is an excellent article and I love the concluding words. If I posted this on FaceBook … would it get censored … banned? I think I’ll go do a scientific experiment. I’ll use the last lines as my lead-in. Bets anyone?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Since the title comes from the Financial Times, this would be a test.

      Why not just try the FT title and a link to it first, and just hoist some of the paras from the FT that we excerpted, then the NC link at the end “for further discussion”?

  19. Ghost in the Machine

    This is how breakthrough cases were framed in The Salt Lake Tribune today:

    “According to UDOH, Utah has seen 7,548 “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19 — people who contracted the virus two weeks or more after being fully vaccinated. That’s about one in every 203 people who are fully vaccinated.

    Of that number, 450 have been hospitalized, one in about every 3,404 fully vaccinated people. And there have been 32 deaths, one in about every 47,871 fully vaccinated people.“


    Does this seem to be an odd (disingenuous?) way to parse the numbers? By total vaccinated? There should at least be a comparison with the same ratios of the unvaccinated sick to the unvaccinated total. To similar maybe?

    1. Mikel

      And comparison with unvaccinated/vaccinated, but those that previously had Covid and onset from the previous case.

    2. Utah

      I think all that data is available on the state covid dashboard. There are two wonderful humans who keep track of those numbers and post them in the coronavirusut subreddit with the news article of the daily numbers. It includes percentage rates of getting covid vaccinated versus unvaccinated. I follow those religiously. I do tend to think now that the numbers of first doses are wrong now because, anecdotally, I’ve had a few friends go lie and get boosters by saying it’s their first dose.

      To your question, I don’t know that their framing is disingenuous. It’s just a way for them to parse the numbers. But perhaps they could have done the same with unvaccinated numbers, like you suggested.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      What is more problematic is there is no tally of asymptomatic cases among the vaxxed and unvaxxed. And we know they can spread Covid. The UK can make a stab at that through its every 5 week or so random blood samples of ~100,000 people.

      1. LilD

        Had an argument with a tech person who claims that any python developer could solve the database problems
        I made no headway arguing that it’s not the db, it’s not the model, it’s just the damn data that is missing or bogus

  20. ptb

    Big thanks for NC for providing a forum for this valuable reality check. Likewise big thanks to the docs, nurses, and others posting from health care, for having the courage to voice their principles.

    Not sure what to say about the rest of it. I find the state of data gathering in the US mindboggling most of all.

    Someone correct me if I have it wrong, but it seems, by default, that the endgame is annual / biannual shots for upper age groups. For the rest, maintaining natural immunity through repeated exposure. With vaccines for all being a way to buffer the shock of the initial ramp-up?

  21. chris a

    Thanks for the great info

    With respect to the state data, I think a case can be made, especially in my state of Florida, that the data may be less than accurate. Hospitals in some counties are supposedly filled to overflow with covid patients and staff are stressed to the limit.

    Additionally, the data for Florida may be suspect because of the methods and reporting timelines.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Not to mention the presidential ambitions of one Ron DeSantis. And don’t tell me we don’t elect people named “Ronald…”

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      This is a pet peeve of GM’s. Via e-mail:

      Take a look at this thread:


      Florida’s reporting has become even more messed up than before.

      To try to summarize:

      1. They switched to reporting once a week but they were still reporting to the CDC daily, but only Tuesday to Saturday. They also stopped publicly disclosing anything other than cases and deaths. Still, one could get the numbers in near real-time from the CDC, except for the Tuesday weekend backlog dump. This shift happened in May.

      2. Then a couple weeks ago they switched to reporting deaths by date of death rather than by how many deaths entered the system on a given day. This has the effect that the curve always looks to be going down because of the long delay between deaths and their reporting (and in Florida’s case it can be a very very long delay — last year the delays reached 3-4 months on some cases).

      3. Now they seem to have also started doing this in big dumps on some days of the week, making it even more irregular.

      Absolutely impossible to figure out what is going on — whatever the reporting system is, at least one can calibrate certain expectations based on it if it is consistent. But changing it every few weeks makes that impossible.

      We know hospitals are hit very hard and a lot of people are dying, but how many we will only know from excess deaths a very long time from now.

      And one can’t help but suspect that this is exactly the goal here — so that they are able to say “we are not hiding anything, everything is being reported” while still obfuscating as much as possible how bad things are so that people don’t know how bad they are.

      1. Raymond Sim

        GM on Florida sounds like me on California a year ago. My poor wife could probably recite it from memory.

        At this point I consult official statistics largely to look for fishy artifacts, as they can provide (slightly) early warning.

        Speaking of which, I’ve noticed some complaints on Twitter about LA area statistics getting jiggered this week. Haven’t looked into it, but the timing seems about right.

      2. mn

        Unless people are going home from the hospital, it is not that easy to discharge CV patients.
        So, they linger for a while taking up the bed.
        Fully vaxxed elderly that finished treatment and need to return to long term care, need 2 negative tests or an open covid bed. There are a lot, a lot of uninsured people that should go to rehab due to deconditioning and oxygen requirements, but no one will take them$$$.
        Last winter people were just dropping off, from where I sit people are sick, but it isn’t as severe.
        There are many asymptomatic positives that need placement but that + test prevents a timely discharge. We hold these people and others stack up in the ED hold.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This has NOTHING TO DO with GM’s comment on poor Covid reporting in Florida. It comes off as you are trying to discredit him when you didn’t lay a glove on him.

          1. Raymond Sim

            Whoops, I didn’t see your response before I posted my own.

            But while I’m here, my opinion, for what it’s worth Yves, is that you’re being targeted pretty heavily. If the shot-callers are at all competent then you’re important enough for that if you show signs of becoming important enough.

        2. Raymond Sim

          How does this relate to anything I said? Or anything Yves quoted GM as saying? I think you’re just slipping some bogus anecdata into this comment thread.

          Who’s “we”? You’re describing a hospital being overloaded with patients who should be cared for elsewhere – but this is cool – because from “where you sit” it’s not as severe?

          Where do you sit? Please tell me it’s not an endowed chair.

  22. JeffC

    Take the extended quote from Charles Ferguson’s newsletter with a large grain of salt, as the 91-divoc.com data flat-out contradict his statements. For example, Fergusun says Vermont has the fastest-rising per capita new-case rate when actually Vermont’s rate is rising just like all the others. There’s nothing special there at all. I’m guessing Ferguson made the mistake of looking at a computed table of numbers rather than the graphs and as a result got caught out by day-to-day noisiness.

    I posted a parameter-tailored 91-divoc.com link after yesterday’s links —too late in the day for anyone to notice — if you want to check.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Hyperbolic rises in cases generally presage more hyperbolic rises. They don’t tend to rise like that and suddenly level off.

      And the South is afflicted not just by low vax rates but high levels of dire poverty, poor diet, and resulting high levels of obesity and diabetes. When I was in NYC and would fly to the South to see my mother, and to the rest of the country for meetups, it was shocking to see that consistently on planes to Atlanta and Birmingham, the ratio of wheelchair passengers was way higher than on any other routes. Has to be due to diabetes.

      1. Randall Flagg

        Would the idea that in nasty, hot humid weather that encourages folks to stay inside with the AC on contribute to the rising spread of Covid in the south as well?
        Up here in the Green Mountain State our numbers are rising now and with schools opening over the next couple weeks, daylight getting shorter and cooler weather with the approaching fall season I would imagine the numbers getting even worse as folks spend more time indoors.

      2. CloverBee

        And the more time spent inside == less Vitamin D production, which IM Doc (I believe) has highlighted as so important to immune system fighting COVID once infected.

      3. Raymond Sim

        There seems to be a widespread failure to appreciate the rate of change and rate of acceleration as harbingers of what’s to come.

        1. Roger

          Human brains seem to have a problem dealing with exponential growth, where a small number can become a large number very suddenly. Same with ecological limits and doubling rates, its the last doubling that goes from 50% (we are ok!) to 100%, like Lilly pads on a pond.

          1. Raymond Sim

            I taught calculus three or four times. There were a few students whose eyes lit up when I explained that graphing calculators had not made exercises in using the first and second derivatives to sketch the graph of a function obsolete, because the purpose of the exercises was to cultivate their intuition into the meaning of the derivative, and thus make them something better than a calculator. A few, but most just looked glum.

    2. Hiroyuki

      you are missing one important point. it is SUMMER in Vermont. They did not have a summer wave last year of any note. It is not just Vermont. Many highly vaccinated states are seeing rapid rises with Delta.

      1. Randall Flagg

        Absolutely, last summer as the virus was spreading, we were also starting to live our lives outside more. Working , gardening, you name it. There were mask mandates, distancing, outdoor dining at reduced capacity, if allowed at all and a very compliant population. With the way vaccines have been sold as a get it and don’t worry about a thing, life is good and back to normal. That Covid numbers are rising now even though it’s summer and many are vaccinated strengthens the idea that vaccine protection is waning and is not good news. I was just trying to point out that as we move our lives back inside I would imagine that the numbers will grow even worse with less fresh air, sunlight, and the fact that Vermont has one of the oldest populations of the US.

  23. CanChemist

    I’d be curious for some opinions from the other docs/scientists on this recent Lancet paper, which measured antibody decline on both Pfizer and AZ:

    “Spike-antibody waning after second dose of BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1”

    Data fits an exponential that approaches zero around 6 months. The plot above in the post only goes to 4 months, and the paper I linked to seems to show that in the end there’s no real difference. If anything AZ levels seem way lower overall.

  24. JeffC

    Another anecdote: we have a hospital Emergency Dept travel nurse in the family. She’s been working mostly Covid for a year without yet, as far as she knows, contracting a (Pfizer) breakthrough case herself, but the current caseload at her Maryland (DC area) hospital is so shocking, even to her jaded sensibilities, that she fully expects to have Covid by October latest. And politically liberal Maryland is one of the better Covid-numbers states (per 91-divoc.com).

    BTW, the various state per-capita new-case data curves have grown very much in parallel on a log plot, so exponential growth rates (so also doubling times and effective reproduction numbers R_t) are not signicantly affected now by the states’ radically different levels of masking. What that tells me is that the casual nature (cloth, stylish, leaky around edges, poorly or intermittently worn) of US masking culture has made masking here largely a placebo. You need a carefully worn N95, KN-95, or KF94 at a minimum. Personally I’m transitioning to a North 7700 with P100 (they don’t make an N100 for it) filter cartridges.

  25. Skip Intro

    Yves, you are being a bit modest. I understood from the very first release of mRNA vax statistics, based on reading NC, that the 95% effectiveness was for hospitalization, and there were no reports of, or even testing for, vaccinated asymptomatic covid ‘carriers’. This was flagged here more than once before any vaccines were administered. Maybe this super-early warning has slipped from memory, because the likelihood, at that time, that the vaccines would not stop the pandemic, and might make it worse, was too horrific even for us connoisseurs of the ‘hermeneutic of skepticism’ that keeps edges so sharp here. ‘NC, it’s like being from the future’.

    1. Greg

      I too recall reading ridiculously early in that the vaccines were not likely to be sterilising, from comments or articles in links on NC.
      Possibly Ignacio or one of the other bio boffins talking about how the mRNA vax actually worked? Back when they were new and interesting in the distant past of 18 months ago.

  26. urblintz

    One can only hope that a serious evaluation of ALL possible treatments and vaccines will emerge from this cluster#*^#. It’s the only responsible way to proceed and yet the likelihood that govt. will double down on misdirecting from their failures seems inevitable. This is when professionals will have to step up, yet clearly there are not enough IMDoc’s, GM’s, ignacio’s or sites like NC with the courage to produce articles like this one and more importantly not enough urgency to warn the public of what’s happening and what’s likely to happen in the future.

    For those in position to make policy, ignoring treatments in deference to this terribly compromised vaccine is unforgiveable. Unforgiveable…. especially given that mass global vaccination was never going to happen. Never.

  27. Bazarov

    One additional problem with the vaccines that goes beyond their waning effectiveness: their universally “leaky” nature. Even if a third shot greatly increases protection against the virus, it will not stop the virus from “rolling the mutation dice” in an environment that selects for immune escape. This in turn increases the likelihood that more virulent strains will develop.

    This is not merely a layman’s supposition. The phenomenon has been documented by scientists–in chickens. Marek’s disease, caused by a virus, cost the chicken industry substantially. It sought after a vaccine, which was successfully developed. However, that vaccine–like ours against covid–was leaky, and after being used in a mass chicken inoculation, created evolutionary conditions that gave rise to a much more virulent form of Marek’s disease.

    By “much more virulent,” I mean that it has mortality approaching 100 percent for chickens that are not vaccinated. To have any chance at all against the virus, chickens have to be vaccinated against the virus.

    At least one paper has been written about the issue, from 2015:


    From the abstract:

    “Our data show that anti-disease vaccines that do not prevent transmission can create conditions that promote the emergence of pathogen strains that cause more severe disease in unvaccinated hosts.”

      1. saywhat?

        Gives new meaning to “Just us chickens”?

        We sure need a sterilizing vaccine. I wonder how likely one of those is?

        1. MarqueJaune

          Very good those film references!
          On the Beach was the first thing that crossed my mind the other day when skimmimg a link for a DW piece asking if NZ was the safe place for the 0.1% to ride the apocalipse…

    1. CanChemist


      Any way you slice it, I can’t see how the current conditions of unmitigated spread in some locals + leaky vaccines in others, isn’t going to cause huge issues.

      There was a publication recently on specific circulating mutations and how the worst combination of the known ones hasn’t even turned up in the wild yet… so I’m guessing that’s next for starters.

  28. Kris Alman

    The variable that never gets quantified in efficacy is compliance with masks as infections/hospitalizations/deaths mount.

    The original Pfizer study emphasized mask wearing and social distancing–and the cohort of studied individuals were generally healthier and of higher SES than the general public (homeless people were certainly not included in the study!).

    So how do we interpret any efficacy data when public health agencies pull the plug on masks? What if the true efficacy has always been much lower, with data masked by masks and more restrictive public health policies?

  29. chris

    Yes, I’ve been grateful to have NC as source of non-triumphalism during this time.

    But one thing keeps nagging at me throughout all the discussion of the pandemic…

    If we saw a disease outbreak in a population of deer that had a lot of sickly animals in it, because they didn’t have to deal with predators, and that disease drastically reduced the population over a year or two, we’d all nod our heads and say that’s how nature works.

    But we have a population of humans who also don’t have physical predators, have become sickly, and developed habits (e.g., globalization) that makes spreading disease easier, and somehow we think this is a crime against nature that we can fix.

    What if the answer is we have too many old, sick, unhealthy people, and our society has too many habits that make it hard to protect them from these risks? What if this pandemic is a natural as a deer herd being culled because there’s not enough food and too many sick animals to be supported in an area? What if the answer is we can’t stop this? What if there is no answer? I’m not suggesting we can’t help manage this pandemic. I’m saying that no matter what we do there isn’t an end to this.

    I’d look at our authorities with more respect if they could admit that. But I don’t think we’ll ever see that level of discussion in our society. It is too horrible to contemplate for me and many others I suspect. It would also require many, many, many people to give up sacred cows like “you can be obese and healthy” and concepts like “ableism”. It would also highlight the cruelty in our society for faulting the poor for having habits that make them more susceptible to this illness when we don’t give poor people the resources to help themselves to be healthier. Nature doesn’t care about stuff like that but we’resupposed to. We’ve had the illusion of control for so long that we think we’re beyond the hard limits of predator and prey. Between this and climate change, maybe we’re about to remember that those rules apply to us too.

    1. tegnost

      I view the food pyramid as a production schedule, not a health advisory…
      Diabetes? kaching, overweight? kaching, glyphosate? kaching, and on and on and on…

    2. AndrewJ

      This “culling of the herd” may be the end-point of this pandemic, but that doesn’t mean I, personally, don’t expect the government that exerts, upon pain of impoverishment or imprisonment, ultimate control over my life to *try*. Try to *stop* the pandemic, early in 2020. Try to buy time to develop effective treatments to reduce mortality. Try to properly staff our medical system so it doesn’t become overwhelmed.
      Instead, to me, it is abundantly clear the choices our government has made has been to keep rich people making money, and they are literally* throwing Grandma under the bus to do so. They could have made many different choices if they wanted to prolong and preserve lives. They didn’t.
      The pandemic may be unstoppable at this point, but what is always in our hands is a say in how we collectively make decisions, and I refuse to meekly accept life under a government that doesn’t ATTEMPT to prevent or slow the loss of life and health that is happening, no matter how unlikely it is that “we can’t stop this”.
      A collective i.e. governmental choice of “there is no answer” and accepting being culled by nature is sick.

  30. samhill

    Grim reading on NC today! Here’s my worry, I assume the gain of function research on SARS viruses was being carried out because the fear was that original SARS and MERS could mutate to become more contagious, if so, then there should be an equal worry that Covid19 could mutate to become more lethal. The SARS1/MERS experiments were probably to see how many steps it would take (how easy) for high infectivity to be achieved, and looking now at SARS-Covid19, not many. I have no way to know if Covid is a first, second, third cousin to SARS1 or MERS or a bother, but if the latter then it might not take many steps for it to turn into a nightmare, maybe even just one. Since Covid19 is most contagious before people have symptoms it is likely to be indifferent to how virulent it gets and with 8 billion people on the planet it could be decades before it would need to mellow to maintain its viability. So, am I wrong in thinking it could rather easily randomly mutate into a MERS type virus? MERS had 30% fatality.

    Seems we are doing everything possible, leaky vaccines, slow, non-comprehensive vaccination, ignoring the poor, etc. to give the virus every opportunity and then some to mutate. The correct and only policy from the start was a united relentless global one of eradication, vaccination, and economic support, universally applied to every corner of the planet. We were able to do this during the Cold War with polio and small pox but the neoliberal system is so warped it makes even self preservation of the species anathema.

    And, I apologize for the added grimness.

    1. GM

      So, am I wrong in thinking it could rather easily randomly mutate into a MERS type virus?

      Most likely it’s not going to happen exactly “easily”, it will be a gradual process, but yes, that is not only plausible but it is in fact the direction things have been going in so far.

      MERS had 30% fatality.

      That’s the CFR (Case Fatality Rate). The IFR (Infection Fatality Rate) is almost certainly lower — camel herders in the Middle East often have antibodies, which suggests they got infected but survived, while in the same time it is not the case that it is somehow common for them to drop dead of acute respiratory failure. But how much lower we do not know. On the other hand, most significant outbreaks have been in hospitals, where it is easy to catch almost all cases, i.e. the denominator in the CFR calculation is such situations is not severely underestimated. And the CFR is still very high. So probably not 30% but nearly certainly above 10%.

      Seems we are doing everything possible, leaky vaccines, slow, non-comprehensive vaccination, ignoring the poor, etc. to give the virus every opportunity and then some to mutate.

      That is exactly what we are doing.

      The correct and only policy from the start was a united relentless global one of eradication, vaccination, and economic support, universally applied to every corner of the planet.


      We were able to do this during the Cold War with polio and small pox but the neoliberal system is so warped it makes even self preservation of the species anathema.

      I doubt in today’s world we would be able to muster the political will to eradicate even SARS-1 as we did in 2003.

        1. GM

          That won’t do, unless you force-vaccinate under the barrels of guns (as was done for smallpox).

          You need to eradicate, this is way too dangerous to be left to fester out there in any part of the globe.

          And even if you have sterilizing vaccines, you need nearly everyone to take them to stop transmission…

          Old-fashioned draconian quarantine measures are a better option IMO – we can get started immediately, without hoping for miracles (there is absolutely no guarantee there will be a sterilizing vaccine that lasts).

          1. Raymond Sim

            I think you’re right that we couldn’t even handle SARS. If SARS had arisen here I doubt we’d even detect it till some other country clued us in.

            Which of course is pretty much where we are right now vis a vis Delta’s children, or even RSV for God’s sake.

        1. saywhat?

          1) Take away their land and give them jobs.
          2) Later, take away their jobs and give them welfare.
          3) Then, complain about “useless eaters.”

          Note that government privileges* for banks have been instrumental in 1) and 2).

          * Eg. government guarantees** of private, including privately created (“Bank loans create bank deposits”), bank deposits.

          ** President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself was dubious about insuring bank deposits, saying, “We do not wish to make the United States Government liable for the mistakes and errors of individual banks, and put a premium on unsound banking in the future.” But public support was overwhelmingly in favor, … from Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

        2. Raymond Sim

          “…genocidal elites is a parsimonious explanation. Farther than that I cannot yet go.”

          I would put mere cruelty ahead of the urge to cull the herd. If the suffering is part of the payoff neoliberalism makes so much more sense. And I daresay it’s like pornography, with the aficionados tending to be always needing something more extreme?

          1. JBird4049

            My, it’s either genocidal or sadism? This might be parsimonious, it might be true, but I am not so sure.

            Much as I have come to loathe our Elite’s supposed Meritocracy, which they use to justify, at least subconsciously, their oppression of the Disposables, it also takes competency to actively be genocidal or sadistic on a national level.

            Perhaps, it is just willful stupidity. All one needs to understand the dangers of what is happening is to have a little knowledge of history, biology, evolution and epidemics, of the kind any good college, even high school, is likely to give you, to understand what is going to happen. Just doing some research on the intertubes is enough.

            Perhaps, there is something just wrong mentally or emotionally with our leaders and with some of our fellow Americans. I once heard, IIRC, the podcaster Dan Carlin comment that people who lived through hard times would write that some lost their minds; the stresses, such as war, disease, death, and enslavement made them unable to think rationally.

            Our previous generations of Americans, my own great grandparents, grandparents, and parents had to enjoy regular epidemics that killed or crippled people: smallpox, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, scarlet fever, yellow fever, polio and others. I am just old enough to have lost much of my hearing to one of the last American epidemics of rubella. They dealt with diseases that often lacked effective treatments, never mind cures. And yet, our current society is on meltdown because of a epidemic that is being made more virulent even though there are some effective ways to deal with it.

            Indulging in some early schadenfreude, which is not very mature or nice, at least the new, more lethal, more infectious variants will also get our elites too.

    2. Eric377

      Maybe an unspoken message is that COVID just isn’t at all as health threatening as polio or smallpox and so galvanizing billions is very hard and consequently not too successful. It’s real and has the capacity to inflict severe illness. But take a random 10 actual cases and the stories aren’t going to feel like descriptions of either smallpox or polio pandemics and there are no doubt millions whose cases were so mild they do not even realize they had it.

  31. Ping

    My editing time expired as I intended to only post this summary without Kennedy’s book pitch etc

    With the obligatory disclaimer that I am not anti-vax, it is obvious that Fauci, at the junction of NIH enormous public funds and Big Pharma and riddled with conflict of interest, is no more than a political operative controlling the “narrative” or censorship for the medical institutions that depend on grants. He has been at the helm re-defining “public health” with Edward Bernays psy-ops terrifying the bewildered herd into abandoning the concept of what it means to practice good health habits and instead trained to rely on the next whiz-bang pharma concoction with the latest exploration being mrna, a technology with enormous unrealized implications for the immune system.

    I second other posters incredulousness amongst otherwise informed thoughtful peers who in panic embrace everything the broadcast over msn without critical analysis and have never examine Fauci’s absolutely sociopathic history.

    Unfortunately we are in an era of transference from the military industrial complex, having depleted the tax structure and public support to the max, is now pharmaceutical industrial complex who regard humanity as no more than biological units for experimentation.

    Here is pre-view of Kenney and Children’s Health Defense new book on Fauci.
    As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr. Anthony Fauci dispenses $6.1 billion in annual taxpayer-provided funding for scientific research.

    The research I conducted for my new book exposes how Fauci’s gargantuan yearly disbursements allow him to dictate the subject, content and outcome of scientific health research across the globe.

    These annual disbursements also allow Fauci to exercise dictatorial control over the army of “knowledge-and-innovation” leaders who populate the “independent” federal panels that approve and mandate drugs and vaccines — including the committees that allowed the Emergency Use Authorization of COVID-19 vaccines.

    Fauci uses the financial clout at his disposal to wield extraordinary influence over hospitals, universities, journals and thousands of influential doctors and scientists — whose careers and institutions he has the power to ruin, advance or reward.

    These are the same doctors who appear on network news shows, publish on the op-ed pages of influential media, and craft and defend the pharmaceutical cartel’s official narratives.

    Fauci only rarely performs NIAID’s traditional mission of researching the causes behind the exploding epidemics of allergic and autoimmune diseases — as evidenced by the fact that under his watch, the chronic diseases Congress charged NIAID with preventing rose from 1.8 % among children when Fauci came to NIAID in the 1960s, to 54% today, when obesity is factored in.

    Instead of addressing the rise in chronic diseases, Fauci transformed NIAID from a world-class regulator into a product incubator for Big Pharma by developing new drugs and vaccines for which he, his agency and his employees often share patents and royalties.

    For example, Fauci and four of his hand-selected deputies will partake with Moderna in millions of dollars in royalties from sales of Moderna’s COVID vaccine — which was co-developed by Moderna and NIAID.

    Fauci has made himself the leading proponent of “agency capture” — the subversion of democracy and public health by the pharmaceutical industry.

    As “The Real Anthony Fauci” reveals, Fauci has steadily failed upward. His legacy is a nation that uses increasingly more pharmaceuticals, pays nearly three times more for prescription drugs than people in dozens of other countries, and has worse health outcomes and a sicker population than other wealthy nations.

    Today, prescription drugs — many developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) during Fauci’s tenure at the NIH’s NIAID — are America’s third leading cause of death.

    My book also reveals how Fauci and his cohorts in Pharma profit handsomely from sickness — but not so much from good health.

    50 years as the ‘J. Edgar Hoover of public health’

    Fauci has survived half a century in his government post — he’s the J. Edgar Hoover of public health — by kowtowing to (and profiting from) pharmaceutical interests.

    He launched his career during the early AIDS crisis by partnering with pharmaceutical companies to sabotage safe and effective off-patent therapeutic treatments for AIDS.

    Fauci orchestrated fraudulent studies, and then pressured U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulators into approving a deadly chemotherapy treatment he knew to be worthless against AIDS.

    The FDA deemed AZT too toxic for human use. Many researchers today argue AZT killed far more people than AIDS.

    Thanks to Fauci’s corrupt intervention, AZT, at $10,000 per patient per year, became history’s most expensive commercial drug — one that made billions for GlaxoSmithKline.

    Fauci repeatedly violated federal laws to allow his Pharma partners to use impoverished and dark-skinned children as lab rats in deadly experiments with toxic AIDS and cancer chemotherapies.

    In 2005, Congress cited his agency for consistently breaking federal laws in outlaw experiments on Black and Hispanic orphans in foster homes in New York and six other states.

    Fauci’s long list of unethical and genocidal experiments on Africans caused mayhem and tragedy across the continent, particularly for children and pregnant mothers.

  32. SteveB

    Hope this doesn’t offend. I thought it was Funny and hope others do as well.


    Bud: ‘You can’t come in here!’
    Lou: ‘Why not?’
    Bud: ‘Well because you’re unvaccinated.’
    Lou: ‘But I’m not sick.’
    Bud: ‘It doesn’t matter.’
    Lou: ‘Well, why does that guy get to go in?’
    Bud: ‘Because he’s vaccinated.’
    Lou: ‘But he’s sick!’
    Bud: ‘It’s alright. Everyone in here is vaccinated.’
    Lou: ‘Wait a minute. Are you saying everyone in there is vaccinated?’
    Bud: ‘Yes.’
    Lou: ‘So then why can’t I go in there if everyone is vaccinated?’
    Bud: ‘Because you’ll make them sick.’
    Lou: ‘How will I make them sick if I’m NOT sick and they’re vaccinated.’
    Bud: ‘Because you’re unvaccinated.’
    Lou: ‘But they’re vaccinated.’
    Bud: ‘But they can still get sick.’
    Lou: ‘So what the heck does the vaccine do?’
    Bud: ‘It vaccinates.’
    Lou: ‘So vaccinated people can’t spread covid?’
    Bud: ‘Oh no. They can spread covid just as easily as an unvaccinated person.’
    Lou: ‘I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. Look. I’m not sick.
    Bud: ‘Ok.’
    Lou: ‘And the guy you let in IS sick.’
    Bud: ‘That’s right.’
    Lou: ‘And everybody in there can still get sick even though they’re vaccinated.’
    Bud: ‘Certainly.’
    Lou: ‘So why can’t I go in again?’
    Bud: ‘Because you’re unvaccinated.’
    Lou: ‘I’m not asking who’s vaccinated or not!’
    Bud: ‘I’m just telling you how it is.’
    Lou: ‘Nevermind. I’ll just put on my mask.’
    Bud: ‘That’s fine.’
    Lou: ‘Now I can go in?’
    Bud: ‘Absolutely not?’
    Lou: ‘But I have a mask!’
    Bud: ‘Doesn’t matter.’
    Lou: ‘I was able to come in here yesterday with a mask.’
    Bud: ‘I know.’
    Lou: So why can’t I come in here today with a mask? ….If you say ‘because I’m unvaccinated’ again, I’ll break your arm.’
    Bud: ‘Take it easy buddy.’
    Lou: ‘So the mask is no good anymore.’
    Bud: ‘No, it’s still good.’
    Lou: ‘But I can’t come in?’
    Bud: ‘Correct.’
    Lou: ‘Why not?’
    Bud: ‘Because you’re unvaccinated.’
    Lou: ‘But the mask prevents the germs from getting out.’
    Bud: ‘Yes, but people can still catch your germs.’
    Lou: ‘But they’re all vaccinated.’
    Bud: ‘Yes, but they can still get sick.’
    Lou: ‘But I’m not sick!!’
    Bud: ‘You can still get them sick.’
    Lou: ‘So then masks don’t work!’
    Bud: ‘Masks work quite well.’
    Lou: ‘So how in the heck can I get vaccinated people sick if I’m not sick and masks work?’
    Bud: ‘Third base.’

  33. Kevin Carhart

    The brain trust and NC editors deserve a victory lap.

    ‘IM Doc’ is easily findable with a ^f find inside of the browser page. But there are some false positives when you search ‘GM’. So I would appreciate if you wouldn’t mind changing your name to something obscure like GM_fdfgfjgxz.

    (JOKING!! The point is, I read the brain trust as often as possible and I pore over it.)

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