Science struggles

Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science/Wikimedia Commons

The integrity of science is suffering as scientists rush to save the world from the pandemic driven by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Or so say scientists from Switzerland and Slovenia who examined the evidence contained in 559 studies – 204 of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, and 355 non-COVID controls – published in what are considered the world’s top medical journals earlier this year.

“We conclude that the quality of COVID-19 publications in the three highest-ranked scientific medical journals is below the quality average of these journals,” they reported in a peer-reviewed study at Plos One.

The researchers examined studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and The Lancet, a British Publication, from March 12 to April 12.

In their paper, they noted that “while our article was under review, two major analyses on the use of hydroxychloroquine and cardiovascular mortality associated with COVID-19 were retracted in the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine because source data could not be verified.

“Such situations raise concerns as to the quality of the data, the conclusions presented by the authors, and the peer review by the editors, due to the pressure to publish highly coveted information on COVID-19. The urgency of the outbreak suddenly appears to legitimize key limitations of studies, such as small sample sizes, lack of randomization or blinding, and unvalidated surrogate endpoints.”

Rush to judgment

Small sample sizes have been a problem plaguing many early COVID-19 studies, and the issue came up again this week in the wake of an announcement by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer that testing of its experimental vaccine had shown it 90 percent effective.

“The 90 percent efficacy they report we presume to mean that of the 94 cases of COVID-19 that were recorded in the trial participants, 84 of those cases were in people who were administered the placebo (so didn’t get the vaccine),” Dr. Larisa Labzin from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at The University of Queensland subsequently wrote at Scimex, a website for science news in New Zealand and Australia.

“There is still a long way to go however to determine how effective this vaccine is across the 43,000 participants who were enrolled (in the study), as 94 cases is a small proportion of that.”

To say that there is a widespread desire for a vaccine to help prevent a deadly disease for which treatments are limited might be an understatement. As a result, some of the rules of science are getting bent.

The Russians began inoculating some of their citizens with the so-called Sputnik V vaccine in September even before completing final trials.

“We have no idea whether this vaccine is safe or whether it works”, Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health told The Lancet at the time. “It is really worrying when people start to bypass the standard process we have for vaccine development.”

The Russians pushed back with the claim Western politicians and media were trying to “undermine the credibility of the Russian vaccine,” and on the Sputnik Vaccine website posted an op-ed – “rejected by all leading Western media” – explaining the vaccine’s development and effectiveness. 

If nothing else, the Russian op-ed served to illustrate the tangle of politics and science in which COVID-19 has become enmeshed.

In the West, the biggest issue has arisen around face masks opposed by some civil libertarians. Arguments between maskers and anti-maskers have hampered a public discussion of what masks can and cannot do to help control the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

The argument has now reached the point where a  long-anticipated, randomized controlled trial (RCT) of public masking conducted in Denmark can’t seem to find a publisher. One of the country’s largest newspaper reported the authors are having trouble getting a peer-reviewed journal to accept the study because the conclusions are “controversial.”

RCTs are generally considered the gold standard of medical research. RCTs of masks are sadly lacking as the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, a highly respected research center, pointed out early in the pandemic. It subsequently came under fire as “anti-mask” and was forced to defend its position.

CIDRAP stood by its initial report that mask effectiveness remains an unknown, but its website now notes that the center supports “the wearing of face coverings by the public when mandated and when in close contact with people whose infection status they don’t know. However, we also encourage everyone to continue to limit their time spent indoors near potentially infectious people and to not count on or expect a cloth mask or face covering to protect them or the people around them.”

Official policy

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control this week issued a new “Scientific Brief” supporting masking based on “experimental and epidemiological data” that indicates the “prevention benefit of masking is derived from the combination of source control and personal protection for the mask wearer. The relationship between source control and personal protection is likely complementary and possibly synergistic, so that individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use.

“Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation.”

The brief did not define “adequate ventilation.” It was not peer-reviewed; most government reports aren’t. Among the sources it cited as supporting masking was a study of an outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.

The brief said that study “found that use of face coverings on-board was associated with a 70 percent reduced risk.” The brief did not mention the study’s significant, self-noted limitation: It was “conducted on a convenience sample of persons who might have had a higher likelihood of exposure, and all information was based on self-report, raising the possibility of selection and recall biases.”

A separate, peer-reviewed study of the Roosevelt outbreak was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. That study did not mention masking, but did observe that “members of the medical department, who wore personal protective equipment (PPE) when evaluating crew members, had a somewhat lower attack rate (16.7 percent) than the overall crew, despite being at highest risk as a result of exposure to patients with Covid-19 in a small space.”

Masks are normal PPE for medical personal dealing with people with infectious diseases. The overall attack rate on the ship was 26.6 percent, but individual attack rates varied. The NEJM study underlined the importance of ventilation.

“Not surprisingly,” it said, “crew members working in the engine room and other confined areas of the ship faced a higher risk of being infected than their shipmates on deck.” The infection rate was also higher among enlisted personnel than among officers.

“Typically, enlisted crew members sleep in open bays packed with dozens of tightly spaced bunks, work in densely populated areas, and congregate in gathering points such as the gyms and galleys,” the study said. “These conditions probably facilitated the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, as evidenced by the higher likelihood of Covid-19 among enlisted crew members than among officers.”

Modern buildings are designed to be airtight to reduce the energy need for heating and cooling. Reducing energy use minimizes the production of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and saves money, but creates a closed environment that can hold viruses.

The importance of building ventilation during a pandemic caused by a respiratory virus has been known since the Spanish flu more than 100 years ago, but it wasn’t until this week that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an alert providing “guidance on ventilation in the workplace.”

Among other things, it recommended opening “windows or other sources of fresh air where possible.” Many modern office buildings lack windows that open. They are designed that way to make them more energy-efficient.

The U.S. Energy Star program estimates energy-efficiency efforts helped save U.S. commercial buildings $10 billion in 2016. Leaving doors and windows opens on commercial buildings and apartment complexes could undermine those savings and drive up costs.

Weighing evidence

Ventilation, social distancing and masks comprise a complicated mix of so-called nonpharmaceutical interventions hard to disentangle. A study of eight NPIs used in 41 countries from January to the end of May reached the conclusion that masks might actually make the pandemic slightly worse, but the Havard and Oxford university’s researchers leading that study said it was possible there are situations in which masking could help.

As with the scientists at CIDRAP, those researchers were not opposed to masking and didn’t encourage anyone to ignore masking mandates. They just said their research did not support it as an effective tool, possibly because it changed human behaviors that put people more at risk.

They’re non-peer reviewed study was posted on MedRxiv and received little media attention. Similar views expressed by Michael Osterholm, the CIDRAP director, received much more attention. They came under so much fire he felt forced to defend himself online.

“I’ve received increasing criticism in recent weeks because I’ve offered more nuanced messaging on whether everyone should wear cloth face coverings in public to protect against COVID-19 transmission – messaging that some view as unacceptable,” he wrote.

Osterholm made it clear he wasn’t against masks. “I wear one myself on the limited occasions I’m out in public. In areas where face coverings are mandated, I expect the public to follow the mandate and wear them,” he wrote.

But he warned of a dangerous “message creep” that could lead people to look at masks as a cure.

“We need to be clear that cloth face coverings are one tool we have to fight the pandemic, but they alone will not end it,” he wrote. “And we need to underscore the key role that physical distancing plays – even when you wear a face covering.”

Since Osterholm wrote those words, a New York University pilot study has reported almost a quarter of the transit workers in the nation’s largest city have come down with COVID-19, despite a mandatory mask requirement in place since April.

Those findings have, in turn, been challenged by the  American Public Transportation Association (APTA) which argues that “leading scientists emphasize that mask wearing may be the most important way to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.”

All of which might best serve to underline Osterholm’s most astute observation: “Science, when done well, can be messy, imperfect, and slower than we wish. And it’s ever-evolving.”

And that is the essence of the argument for subjecting scientific studies to thorough and aggressive peer-review.

Not happening

For whatever reason, the scientists involved in the Plos One study indicated that is not happening with COVID-19 research. In general, they said,  when COVID studies were weighed against non-COVID studies, the former were found to have gone to press with far less evidence in hand than the latter.

The researchers voiced the hope the situation would improve as the pandemic progresses, but also admitted to potential problems even bigger than those found by their examination.

“We did not expand our analysis to check source data,” they wrote. “The data scandal leading to retraction of two major studies emerged while our article was under peer-review. The tools we used would not be suitable to have detected this.”

They then offered something of a backhanded compliment to preprint servers – such as Medrix – where much SARS-CoV-2 research is now being published sans peer-review.

“Public data repositories and an ‘open science’ approach may facilitate data validation,” they said.

The pros and cons of open research are now much debated. MedRxiv (pronounced med-archive) co-founders Dr. Harlan Krumholz and Dr. Joseph S. Ross argue the “research revolution will not be peer-reviewed” while scientists at Stanford University warn against “the danger of un-vetted science seeding mainstream media stories with deleterious results.”

Unvetted science seeding mainstream media would be the interface where bad science meets what has come to be called “fake news” although, as with the bad science, not so much is fake –  as in made up – as it is distorted, contrived or simply unsupported by the evidence.

As Toby Hopp, a University of Colorado Boulder professor studying the subject has observed, “we tend to call it ‘fake’ news, (but) a lot of this stuff is not completely false. Rather, it is grossly biased, misleading and hyper-partisan, omitting important information.”

Fake news and bad science share a common trait. Both tend to paint black and white a world full of grays to justify their conclusions. Unfortunately science, especially medical science, is seldom black and white, which is why drugs have long been tested against placebos.

Almost everyone has heard of the “placebo effect,” which can cause an inert sugar pill to work as a pain killer. No one, as of yet, knows what mechanism or mechanisms make that happen.

“While the placebo effect has been observed in many scenarios, there’s still a lot about it that we don’t understand,” microbiologist Jill Seladi-Schulman writes at Healthline. “One of the big questions is the connection between mind and body. How are psychological factors like expectations affecting what’s going on inside us?

“We know that the placebo effect can lead to the release of various small molecules like neurotransmitters and hormones. These can then interact with other parts of the body to cause changes. However, we still need to work out more details about the specifics of these complex interactions.”

Complex interactions are what researchers call “confounders.”

In science, as in journalism, it is easy to ignore all the confounders in order to make a point or support a conclusion. This problem gets especially tricky in medicine where lives are often at risk and people want treatments to be simple and straightforward even if nature makes that impossible as it regularly does.

It has, for instance, long been known different people react differently to different drugs. Differences in male and female responses are well documented, and in recent years there has been an increasing focus on genetic differences that alter how drugs work on individuals. 

Researchers are now debating how genetics influence individual responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. There are suggestions that type O blood could reduce the risks of infection with the virus manifesting itself as the disease COVID-19.  There are indications that a genetic variation on a chromosome that traces back to the Neanderthals with whom the ancestors of some of today’s humans interbred 50,000 years ago could make modern humans more vulnerable to the disease.

There is a lot of interest in these discoveries because of the significant number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 who don’t get sick. Whether the number of these so-called “asymptomatic people” is relatively small or relatively large varies from study to study.

Ontario, Canada, researchers who went looking for SARS-CoV-2 in blood samples collected by Canadian Blood Services in that province in May 2020, this week reported an “estimated…5.88 infections occurred for every case identified,” an indication that a lot of Canadians caught the disease and were either asymptomatic or suffering so little they might have thought they only had a common cold.

Other studies have reported as few as one in five infections went unidentified. Science is messy.

The Canadian study was published on MedRxiv and was not peer-reviewed. Peer-review would surely have lent more significance to the study. Whether it would have altered the conclusions is unknown.

For every scientist arguing the good of peer review, there is likely one arguing the opposite with the majority probably somewhere between. Dozens of scientists interviewed in the past several months have uniformly expressed both their belief in peer-review and then confessed that they know it can be “gamed.”

“Sadly, very often journals publish manuscripts that do not use correct (logical) approaches because not all scientists are great and reviewers are often lazy, too busy, don’t care, unlogical, or don’t know enough,” one confessed in an officially off-the-record communication. “(And)
if you’re rejected, you just go to a different journal.”

A messy world

For better or worse, this all adds to the confusion in a world influenced by politics, economics, the speed of communication, and the psychology of the inherently fearful human animal in need of talismans to hold back those fears.

There are reasons humans created so many religions throughout history.

Science evolved against this historical background of Gods and demons not as a new faith, but as a method for finding answers to how the world works free of faith. Science grounded itself in the concept of demonstrable and reproducible results.

The ball goes up, the ball comes down. The ball goes up; the ball comes down. The ball goes up; the ball comes down. Voilà, there is a force at work on the ball, a force that came to be called gravity.

But not all science produces demonstrable and reproducible results. Some science operates largely in theory because it is hard to design the experiments the produce testable results or because the required experiments are deemed unethical. And some science produces results open to all sorts of interpretations.

When politics and economics get mixed in with the latter, things get real messy as Alaskans know well from the sometimes dueling studies of government scientists and oil industry scientists in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989.

In the years after – as litigation against cigarette companies working its way through the courts revealed company-paid scientists who claimed the product was safe knew it could increase the risks of some developing lung cancer –  the economics of scientific research has become an even bigger issue. Almost all publishers of scientific reports now require authors disclose their financial connections.

There is no such disclosure required for political biases, and that can cause problems when scientists go political. Kamran Abbasi, the executive editor The BMJ – formerly the British Medical Journal – warned against these entanglements in a scathing editorial on Friday headlined “Covid-19: politicisation, ‘corruption,’ and suppression of science.”

As have other scientists of late, he noted the risks to the credibility of science when scientists move beyond the bounds of cold, hard evidence to join political and/or economic scrums.

Some of the scientists have self-serving agendas. Others are driven only by the best of desires to do good, but as an old English proverb says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

And with money.

“The UK’s pandemic response relies too heavily on scientists and other government appointees with worrying competing interests, including shareholdings in companies that manufacture covid-19 diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines,” Abbasi wrote. “Government appointees are able to ignore or cherry-pick science – another form of misuse – and indulge in anti-competitive practices that favor their own products and those of friends and associates.”

The editorial was sparked in part by BMJ’s discovery that the British government blocked a study of a rapid diagnostic test that was the cornerstone of the country’s Operation Moonshot anti-COVID program. The study found the test fell “well short of performance claims made by its manufacturers.”

Abbasi noted the complex problem here in observing that “politicians often claim to follow the science, but that is a misleading oversimplification. Science is rarely absolute. It rarely applies to every setting or every population. It doesn’t make sense to slavishly follow science or evidence.

“A better approach is for politicians, the publicly appointed decision-makers, to be informed and guided by science when they decide policy for their public. But even that approach retains public and professional trust only if science is available for scrutiny and free of political interference, and if the system is transparent and not compromised by conflicts of interest.”

A transparent system free of conflicts of interest is a pretty big ask, especially in an increasingly tribalized world where political leanings seem to have crept into every corner of society including science and journalism. Probably the best way to protect science is for scientists to try their best to ignore politics and focus on the science.

But that is easier said than done if you believe you’ve discovered the information that could save the world. It is hard to trust to having that vetted by the fickle politics of any democracy. The alternative might, however, be worse.

“Politicisation of science was enthusiastically deployed by some of history’s worst autocrats and dictators, and it is now regrettably commonplace in democracies,” Abbasi wrote, and scientists were sadly in the mix.

Some have argued the U.S.-led eugenics movement begun in the 1900s with the good intentions of reducing human suffering by “breeding out” disease, disabilities, and undesirable characteristics set the stage for Adolph Hitlers “final solution” to kill every last Jew in Europe.

“As the concept of eugenics took hold (in the U.S.), prominent citizens, scientists and socialists championed the cause and established the Eugenics Record Office, the History website records. “The Eugenics Record Office…maintained there was clear evidence that supposed negative family traits were caused by bad genes, not racism, economics or the social views of the time.”

Forced sterilizations, led by the state of California, soon followed in an effort to rid society of bad genes. Hitler referenced this in Mein Kampf, his autobiographical, political manifesto, and subsequently tried to eliminate a cultural group that has included some of the modern world’s greatest scientists and thinkers.

One of them, Albert Einstein, was lucky to have survived by fleeing to America after suffering the anti-Semitism spreading across Germany even before Hitler took power. 























21 replies »

  1. One quibble.

    Modern buildings are actually not designed to be airtight. This statement may have been true in the mid 80’s, and we began to see serious problems with moisture management (or lack thereof). At this point any commercial building in Alaska that is competently constructed with modern techniques must have an air handling system to avoid problematic humidity accumulation. With a heat recovery ventilator of some sort we achieve air exchange rates similar to what what well built houses in the mid-20th century experienced (an air exchange every 3 hours, at the minimum) while ALSO circulating the unexchanged air through a filtration system that almost certainly further reduces viral load. It is almost a certainty that a commercial building constructed in the past 15 years in Alaska is safer than one constructed prior to that. The housing stock is more variable, although anybody building houses in Anchorage right now without managed ventilation cannot really say that they are building “modern” houses.

    • Airtight was a simplification. I agree with you on much of the rest. But in these times an air exchange every three hours is way too little whether the air is filtered or not.

      And then there is the not so little matter of humidity. The virus has been shown to survive best at low humidities as we tend to see here in the winter as those HVAC systems are running.

      I’m sure we could have an interesting debate about whether “a commercial building constructed in the past 15 years in Alaska is safer than one constructed prior to that” in regards to COVID-19.

      It would probably come down to how the HVAC is being run. The airlines have so far (knock on wood) had a very good record with SARS-CoV-2. The air exchange there is 20 to 30 times per hour, and the recirculated air is run through HEPA filters.

      Since you seem to have some expertise here, how many buildings do you know of that are changing the indoor air with fresh outdoor air 20 to 30 times per hour or using HEPA filters?

      I can tell you that the old ADN building over on Northway wasn’t so good on air exchange because back when we were writing about Anchorage’s winter CO problems we happened to test the air in the building and found out it was worse than the Outside air.

      It was acceptable per OSHA standards at the time. So nothing was done about it. I’d suspect it was due in part to a significant number of smokers in the building at the time. It surely got better after they were all kicked out in the cold. I’m not sure I’d want to be working in that building now, however.

      • HEPA Filtration is uncommon, but MERV 14 is in more HVAC systems than you might expect, and it should give you some benefit. Of course the actual dynamics of protecting people from virus enclosed in heavy water droplets is surely much more complicated than simply calculating air exechanges passing through a fine mesh. It would not at all surprise me that airplanes have circulation velocities adequate to evacuate heavy droplets that no normal building would have. I just dont see any reason to expect older building stock to be better.

  2. Dave Mc you are the smartest one on here!!! Most of the rest are drinking the Orange Liars koolaid!!! How can they trust such a LIAR!!!

  3. I’m just glad the Governor is finally saying what should have been said and stressed repeatedly from the get go, social distancing is the first line of defense against this virus. Maintaining distance from others is the best way to prevent transmission. Masks are PPE (personal protective equipment) and as such are the last resort in protecting yourself. The sooner this is common sense is given to those who do not have common sense the better off we will all be.

    Stay away from others.

    If you can’t for whatever reason wear a rated mask that will protect you. But first stay away from others.

    Science doesn’t fail, people do, and we’ve spent the better part of a year talking about masks when we should have been talking about staying away from each other.

    Stay away from other people.

  4. Dave Mc, though I appreciate your valor trying to communicate with an asylum of loons is a waste of your time. I do however, give a hat tip to Medred in that he lets it rip, unlike his cohort Downing whose feathers are so easily ruffled that one is summarily canned for being not cuckoo. No divide can be crossed by arguing with the 24/7 village idiot here.

    • Monk,
      True on both accounts, forgive me for trying to reason.Hell I’ll take an education if somebody can come up with reasonable views.It just isn’t that hard to understand the position we are in.
      Im fine with the Koolaid drinkers getting sick(or not that bad of symptoms as most will be),just keep it to yourself..
      And that as Frank Zappa used to sing Is “The crux of the biscuit”.
      A family friend is an ICU nurse in Georgia,she’s tired/scared/exhausted(that was 2 or more months ago).
      When my dad was dying of cancer some 20 yrs ago we learned to turn him over with a sheet and 2 people.Being flatbacked for long periods of time leads to bedsores(and ultimately infections, skin falling apart, not pretty).
      As the cancer progresses, you quickly lose weight,making the load quite easy, but very fragile.
      Camile is turning over 300lbers in the ICU.
      As somebody who spent a near lifetime man handling large dead fish by myself or with the help of one other,I can tell you, its all technique, experience and grunt.More the first 2 if your good.
      And Ive moved fairly large dead people too,(not much difference than an ICU except for the Rigomortis.)Pain in the a**,they aren’t much help in the endeavor.
      We didn’t have to end up here so quickly as predicted…..

  5. The West has been spreading viscious rumors about the efficacy of the “Sputnik” vaccine. Fake news! The principle behind this medicine has been proven for years. As explained by Russia’s leading immunologist and bartender, “Big drink wodka kill germ, da?”

  6. Surprise Surprise Scientists are fallible humans just like the rest of us.
    Many are well meaning but money, ambition, being part of the ingroup, power, prestige and all the other things people desire will temp, cloud judgement and corrupt.

    This is especially true when experimental results are not fully conclusive, which is true more often than not.

  7. “Truth is like surgery. It hurts but it cures. A lie is like a pain killer. It gives instant relief but has side effects”. – Unknown
    With lock downs and mask mandates we are living a BIG lie. For 99% of us this virus is nothing to worry about. Not even as bad as most flu. I had swine flu in 2009 and that was about as sick as I have ever felt in my life.
    We are being led over the cliff by a band of pointy headed power hungry bureaucrats and it is killing livelihoods far more than Covid is killing real lives. And don’t even get me started on the bogus death count for Covid. We are being manipulated by our betters and we will pay a steep price for our acquiescence.

    • Mark,
      certainly nothing to worry about now.Virus was going to end 11/3,thats what the big man said.
      Me thinks Ill just continue to wear these stupid masks, because the price of Ignorance is expensive.
      “Discretion is the better part of valor”.
      For those that believe its some sort of hoax or lies, than ask yourself what is the agenda, and what is the logical outcome.For a ruse to work there has to be a goal, either power or $’s (self destruction too I suppose).
      What REAL world outcome do you envision, and where is the smoking gun?
      its easy to believe in conspiracy.Bit harder to make it sensible, kinda hard to take over the world or even just the US without a massive police force.

      • Dave Mc, I’ll bite. The original goal of Covid was/is to kill millions of older Chinese people who have outlived their usefulness.. Not to mention those with weakened immune systems. A goal not missed by Democrsts. The Chinese also, (and Democrat, but I digress) knew how the West would respond and that would be to destroy their ecomomies.. With Trump sailing to victory on his economy, that fact wasn’t lost on Democrats either, and we have seen how criminal they are with voter fraud.
        So, it is a treasonous relationship between the Chinese and Democrats..

        Said this back in March that China intentionally developed Covid to kill off the old and weak. This article is from 2019:
        “By 2050, 330 million Chinese will be over age 65. Dire news for the prospects of the world’s second largest economy–and for those around the world who rely on it. “It’s the No. 1 economic problem for China going forward,” says Stuart Leckie, chairman of Stirling Finance Ltd., a Hong Kong–based pension-fund consulting firm that has advised the Chinese government.

        The World’s Population Is Forecast to Reach 9.8 Billion By the Year 2050

        If current trends continue, China’s population will peak at 1.44 billion in 2029 before entering “unstoppable” decline, according to a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences study released in January. The country will enter an “era of negative population growth,” the report says, warning that by 2065 numbers will return to the levels of the mid-1990s. Fewer people means less domestic consumption, and thus rapidly slowing economic growth. The ratio of young to old will be dramatically imbalanced by the rising ranks of the elderly, putting unprecedented weight on the ties that hold society together.

      • Bryan,
        Alright,then why did the Chinese lock down 10’s of millions of people if they wanted to kill them off.Why was the virus dismissed by a republican admin(the leader who admitted in a private interview that he knew it was airborne in January.While repeatedly giving a different public view), backed by republican controlled senate.
        So democrats did what?Because they win if we crater our Econ?really?
        And they did this by only controlling the House of Reps? really?
        Voter fraud, really? Suit after suit thrown out by the courts, by they week.
        Again Bryan,there has to be an achievable goal, the Chinese took it on the chin Econ wise, layered on another round of debt to the already ginormous pile of debt for zombie companies.
        As far as the US Econ goes, it never got over 3%,same as Obama.

      • Bryan,
        Alright,then why did the Chinese lock down 10’s of millions of people if they wanted to kill them off.Why was the virus dismissed by a republican admin(the leader who admitted in a private interview that he knew it was airborne in January.While repeatedly giving a different public view), backed by republican controlled senate.
        So democrats did what?Because they win if we crater our Econ?really?
        And they did this by only controlling the House of Reps? really?
        Voter fraud, really? Suit after suit thrown out by the courts, by they week.
        Again Bryan,there has to be an achievable goal, the Chinese took it on the chin Econ wise, layered on another round of debt to the already ginormous pile of debt for zombie companies.
        As far as the US Econ goes, GDP growth it never got over 3%,same as Obama.And blew the National Debt to +$7 trillion,approx, $3 trillion sans virus.

      • The Chinese didn’t lockdown 10’s of millions and nor did they shut down their economy..Quite the opposite, the profited to the tune of billions and continue to do so to this day. Why would the Chinese lockdown if the virus serves it’s purpose? Now of course they make it look good because they released the virus to not only help themselves but to help Democrats defeat Trump. Their medical system cannot handle much and they just throw the infected elderly in the burner. Think I am kidding, I am not. Their younger generation will build up herd immunity and who knows what they really have going on over there.. you don’t know, I dont and Congress doesn’t know, etc.. The Chinese see the “big picture” and operate accordingly. The dont care about your age and concerns, they don’t care about your scared nurse friend, as a matter of fact Dave they don’t care if your whole family gets Covid. THE DONT CARE!!! But, we all know Cuomo and CNN care right??
        Secondly, and I always tell you this – LAYOFF THE CNN KOOLAID. It was Trump in January who stopped travel from China and was labeled a “racist and xenophob” by Democrats..It was Cuomo and De Blassio who said in March “ride the subway, go to the theaters or take in a show”. It was Cuomo who had a warehouse full of vents while screaming we need “vents”. All lying Kool Aid you drank to make Trump look bad.. Dave, you have to understand and you clearly do not yet, that when a Democrat accuses you of something they are doing the same thing worse.
        So, suck on that Monk. Dave, I get you are older, concerned as you should be. But ponder this, if Democrats are passing laws to kill babies up until birth, some even after, where do you fit in your party into your 70-80’s? Here is to a healthy holiday season.

  8. There was (and still is) 15 years of peer-reviewed science starting roughly 2000 supporting the notion that lockdowns are a bad thing. The issue mostly went away until it was resurrected earlier this year and all that previous science jettisoned.

    The two hydroxy studies that were withdrawn earlier in the year both trashed the use of the drug.

    The Danish masking study is having a hard time getting published because it concludes masking has no positive impact on anything associated with controlling the spread of the virus.

    Aerospace America in their Sept issue had an article about the use of UVC to sanitize airliner cabins between flights. UVC is similarly used in hospitals to sanitize aimed at the spread of bacteria and viruses. We do a lot of talk about various limits in gatherings and precious little about sanitization before, during and after events. Perhaps we ought to start looking at UVC.

    Finally, there is evidence out there that folks who get COVID generally have some sort of vitamin D deficiency. Perhaps jacking up vitamin D levels on a daily basis would be a good idea. Same goes with zinc, though you need to be more careful not to OD on zinc, as metals tend to have some rather nasty side effects when you ingest too much.

    Science during this reminds me a lot of climate science – lots of wishful thinking, precious little data. Though, to be fair, when the data is garbage, the conclusions from analyzing it are likewise garbage (GIGO). Cheers –

  9. This is what Elon Musk wrote on twitter two days ago:
    “Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD.”

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