Coronavirus Reality Check – R.R. Reno

Data are coming in, and their import is clear. The coronavirus pandemic is not and never was a threat to society. COVID-19 poses a danger to the elderly and the medically compromised. Otherwise, for most who present symptoms, it can be nasty and persistent, but is not life-threatening. A majority of those infected do not notice that they have the disease. Coronavirus presents us with a medical challenge, not a crisis. The crisis has been of our own making.

On March 16, Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London predicted a coronavirus death toll of more than two million in the United States alone. He arrived at this number by assuming that infection would be nearly universal and the fatality rate would be high—a terrifying prospect. The next day, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis sifted through the data and predicted less widespread infection and a fatality rate of between 0.05 and 1.0 percent—not that different from the common flu. The coronavirus is not the common flu. It has different characteristics, afflicting the old more than the young, men more than women. Nevertheless, all data trends since mid-March show that Ferguson was fantastically wrong and Ioannidis was largely right about its mortal threat.

But Ferguson’s narrative has triumphed, helped by our incontinent and irresponsible media. A young doctor in Wuhan died—COVID-19 must be dangerous and deadly for everybody. Hospitals in Italy are overwhelmed—we are witnessing a pandemic of epic proportions. China succeeded with draconian methods of mass quarantine—these must be our only hope of protection against the coming disaster.

By the end of March, most of the United States had been locked down. Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs. More than $6 trillion has been spent to save society from complete collapse. Relentless warnings have whipped the populace into frenzies of fear. All of this to contain a disease that, as far as we can tell at this point, is not significantly more fatal than the flu. Moreover, given how rapidly the coronavirus spreads, it seems likely that the radical and untested method of lockdown does little to control it.

In other words, the science increasingly shows that the measures we have taken in the last few weeks have been both harmful—with freedoms lost, money spent, livelihoods destroyed—and pointless.

This statement will provoke outrage. Most will insist that it is not true. But a study from the Oise region of France found an infection rate of 25 percent—which, if it is true for France as a whole, suggests that the virus fatality rate in that country (which is considered hard-hit) is 0.13 percent. Studies of Santa Clara and Los Angeles County likewise show rates of infection far higher than experts imagined possible, indicating fatality rates of 0.1-0.2 percent, again in line with Ioannidis’s analysis. A study of women at a New York hospital who gave birth during the pandemic, and a study of a homeless shelter in Boston, likewise point to a disease far more widespread than testing has identified—and therefore with a far lower fatality rate than previously thought.

Researchers reported that more than 30 percent of the densely populated town of Chelsea in the Boston area likely already had the virus. There the death toll has been significant, leading to higher fatality rates, though still within the range identified by Ioannidis. The same holds for studies done in Delaware and Miami, as well as Geneva, Switzerland.

In epidemiology, nothing is certain. The facts may change in the future. But as of now, this much is certain: Current data point to a disease that is far less deadly than was feared when our country hurled itself over the cliff of mass lockdown. The WHO was at that time issuing warnings that presumed a death rate 20-30 times higher than what now appears realistic.

We need fact-based policies. COVID-19 spreads rapidly, and any fast-spreading disease can strain medical resources as incidences rise. Long recovery times increase patient loads in hospitals. Careful planning and resource allocation are therefore essential. They were accomplished successfully in New York, much to the credit of medical professionals here. The American people need to be told of that success, which, given the density of New York, shows that we can and will succeed everywhere in our country.

We need to be told the truth about COVID-19’s effect. It is not a uniquely perilous disease; for people under 35, it may be less dangerous than the flu. We have every reason to take prudent measures to protect vulnerable people from the disease, but we cannot reasonably expect to contain the coronavirus. The high proportion of asymptomatic carriers defeats strategies of testing and tracing contacts. In all likelihood, it also defeats such radical measures as lockdowns, as the example of Sweden seems to suggest.

These truths point toward clear and urgent action. We need to allocate resources for protecting vulnerable populations. We need rigorous testing of nursing home workers (a five-country study in Europe reported that 50 percent of coronavirus fatalities occurred in elder-care facilities) and others who care for vulnerable populations. We need to allocate funding for at-risk poor people to move to hotels or other places where they can self-isolate.

We can do this without closing every restaurant and bar. We can do this without locking churches, without requiring everybody to stay at home, without throwing tens of millions of Americans out of work. The lockdowns can and must end.

But I doubt that truth will guide decision-making. There is too much fear. Fear of the virus is compounded by the (reasonable) fear of experts, policy-makers, and politicians that if they change course they will be exposed as poorly informed, reckless, and cowardly. Our entire ruling class, which united behind catastrophism and the untested methods of mass shutdown, is implicated in the unfolding fiasco.

Journalists continue to sustain the pandemic narrative. Ioannidis is still ignored, though the evidence I outlined above has been building for weeks. Scientists who should know better are either gullible or too cowardly to speak.

We’ve been stampeded into a regime of social control that is unprecedented in our history. Our economy has been shattered. Ordinary people have been terrorized by death-infused propaganda designed to motivate obedience to the limits on free movement. We have been reduced to life as medical subjects in our condition of self-quarantine. As unemployment numbers skyrocket and Congress spends trillions, the political stakes rise.

The experts, professionals, bureaucrats, and public officials who did this to us have tremendous incentives to close ranks and say, “It is not wise to tell people that the danger was never grave and now has passed.” Sustaining the coronavirus narrative will require many lies. It will be up to us to insist on the truth.

R. R. Reno is editor of First Things, America’s most influential journal of religion and public life . 

Revised Covid-19 Treatment and the Worsening Failure of Government

Any Drug Capable of Preventing a Virus From Entering A Cell Will Prevent And Stop An Epidemic When Used According To Validated Recommendations!

Revised Covid-19 Treatment and the Worsening Failure of Government

    We have revised the drug treatment plan that we currently recommend for the treatment of the current outbreak of the corona virus (Covid-19). This plan is based on the most current research submitted by true experts worldwide. Political authority and / or connections do not grant scientific credentials.
    This drug regimen is intended to address the clinical considerations necessary to halt a politically defined pandemic with an epidemiology showing many more infected than with previous SARS, MERS, H1N1 swine flu, etc. epidemics, but with a lower fatality rate. To accomplish that, the viral pool coming from every infected person infecting over two others needs to be diminished. Succinctly, the virus needs to be prevented from entering other cells to replicate.
    The good news is that a very safe drug that has been around for over 50 years is able to to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from attaching to the ACE2 receptor and another drug is able to prevent active entry into a host cell. Already in phase 4 trial in Germany, the two cost a fraction of what remdesivir and other antivirals that affect viral replication once it has entered the cell cost. More, the fact that normal cells are not destroyed allowing normal immune responses to develop, makes the combination ideal for dealing with viral infections such as we are now facing. Either hydroxychloroquine or camostat prevent Covid-19 from entering the cell.
    We find it inexcusable that government agencies rejected the use of hydroxychloroquine as a first line treatment for those with symptoms after having been tested for Covid-19. Could it be that these swamp dwellers are only about attacking the President rather than protecting the public health? Unwilling to join in the attack on America, this Committee must point out that any objections citing lack of controls, safety, etc. are groundless. As to controls, we have meta analysis data from many clinicians dealing with the current crisis that unequivocally states that to not use hydroxychloroquine is malpractice! Coupling that fact with the undeniable safety history of hydroxychloroquine elevates non use of it to a level of moral bankruptcy! And all to demean and diminish a President only seeking to honor his promises to the American people!
    This Committee will address the multipronged attack on the Constitution by politicians sworn by oath to “protect and defend” it in a later article. Suffice it to say that some call it treason!

    Our updated recommendation for those having symptoms of possible Covid-19 infection, but unconfirmed, is as follows:
  • 1.) hydroxychloroquine sulfate (HQ) – 200mg three times a day [tid] for 6 (minimum) to 10 days or until PCR (polymerase chain reaction) negative
  • 2.) zinc sulfate – 220mg once a day [qd] for five days
  • 3.) camostat mesilate (CM) – 400 mg three times a day [tid] for 6 (minimum) to 10 days or until PCR negative
  • 4.) azithromycin (AZ) – 500mg initial loading dose + 250mg on the first day, then 250mg twice a day [bid] for five days, if testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19), and the progression / worsening of the symptoms of the disease as accessed by a physician warrants its use.
  • 5.) PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) six days after instituting HQ treatment. If the test is positive, at four day intervals until negative.
Note: Hydroxychloroquine, camostat mesilate, and azithromycin, are prescription drugs to be taken under the supervision of a physician. Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may be prescribed off-label in America. Camostat mesilate is approved in Japan for other indications, and is not available in the U.S. through FDA approved channels.
   The above consensus opinion was arrived at considering the following, with camostat added for our global audience:
  •    Chloroquine is and has been used for decades in the treatment of malaria. Its safety and efficacy are well documented. Hydroxychloroquine is more efficacious and safer than chloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine act in preventing viral attachment to the ACE-2 receptor on cells. Both have safety concerns that are related to dose and duration of use. At 10 or less days of use and at the suggested dosing, most experts do not feel safety is a deterring concern. Prolongation of the Q-T interval > 500ms usually responds to decreasing or ceasing use. Its efficacy is maximized in a 24 – 48 hour window at the onset of symptoms. After that time, it has little effect on the progression of symptoms, and no effect on treating symptoms. It is ideal for epidemiological control, particularly considering its cost, safety, and efficacy, and should be in universal use to halt this pandemic. As with any drug, treatment should be appropriately monitored for any adverse effects.
  •    Viral entry into the cell requires S protein priming by cellular serine protease TMPRSS2 which is inhibited by camostat mesilate. Released in 1985 to treat chronic pancreatitis, it has a high safety profile.
  •    Azithromycin, in addition to its intracellular mechanisms which may interfere with viral replication, has anti-inflammatory effects which may mediate cell / viral integration and interaction. It may prolong the Q-T interval
  •    Zinc is postulated to have effects on the cell membrane the opposite of those seen with saponification mechanisms used to introduce genetic code in recombinant technologies. It may also affect the lipid viral envelope / membrane formation by interfering with RNA intracellular replication.  It is 100% safe.
       The multiple issues of government failure not only costing lives, but failing to gather critical information to find answers to the clinical presentation of the cytokine storm; clotting resulting in strokes or worse; leukopenia; compromise of the normal immune response; etc.; all require real time testing, data acquisition, scientific statistical analysis uncompromised by political interference and bias; and epidemiological studies. None of this information vital to protect the public health is going to be available, because government has missed this window of opportunity to mandate the testing required and collect the necessary data.
       Of those hospitalized with Covid-19, how many were treated with the hydroxychloroquine (HQ) regimen and / or the HQ /azithromycin (AZ) regimen, or any other regimen, for that matter? What was the timeline of that treatment, since it is known that that earlier the treatment with HQ (24 – 48 hours max), the more effective HQ treatment is.
       If treated with other drugs trying to address the cytokine storm, abnormal clotting, leukopenia; compromise of the normal immune response; etc.; what were those modalities, what was the timeline of treatment, and what were the outcomes? How do comorbidities affect the disease, both as to the virus and the cell? What could interferon and immune globulin blood panels that are not being drawn show?
       Why has government not mandated a universal comprehensive healthcare database to answer, not just the epidemiological, treatment, risk, etc. questions associated with this pandemic, but to alter the course of money driven healthcare? What does one hydroxychloroquine tablet or one camostat mesilate tablet really cost? What should big healthcare and big pharma be allowed to charge for those drugs or any drug?

Coronavirus Authoritarianism Is Getting Out of Hand

Coronavirus Authoritarianism Is Getting Out of Hand

April 13, 2020 3:28 PM
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer reacts after declaring victory in Detroit, Mich., November 6, 2018. (Jeff Kowalsky/Reuters)
We should be preserving our laws and our freedom in times of crisis.
It’s reasonable to assume that the vast majority of Americans process news and data, and calculate that self-quarantining, wearing masks, and social distancing make sense for themselves, their families, and the country. Free people act out of self-preservation, but they shouldn’t be coerced to act through the authoritarian whims of the state. Yet this is exactly what’s happening.

There has been lots of pounding of keyboards over the power grabs of authoritarians in Central and Eastern Europe. Rightly so. Yet right here, politicians act as if a health crisis gives them license to lord over the most private activities of America people in ways that are wholly inconsistent with the spirit and letter of the Constitution.

I’m not even talking about national political and media elites who, after fueling years of hysteria over the coming Republican dictatorship, now demand Donald Trump dominate state actions. I’m talking about local governments.

Under what imperious conception of governance does Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer believe it is within her power to unilaterally ban garden stores from selling fruit or vegetable plants and seeds? What business is it of Vermont or Howard County, Ind., to dictate that Walmart, Costco, or Target stop selling “non-essential” items, such as electronics or clothing? Vermont has 628 cases of coronavirus as of this writing. Is that the magic number authorizing the governor to ban people from buying seeds for their gardens?

Maybe a family needs new pajamas for their young kids because they’re stuck a new town. Or maybe mom needs a remote hard drive to help her work remotely. Or maybe dad just likes apples. Whatever the case, it’s absolutely none of your mayor’s business.

It makes sense for places like Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland to ban large, avoidable gatherings. But it is an astonishing abuse of power to issue stay-at-home orders, enforced by criminal law, empowering police to harass and fine individuals for nothing more than taking a walk.

The criminalization of movement ends with ten Philly cops dragging a passenger off a bus for not wearing a face mask. It ends with local Brighton, Colo., cops handcuffing a father in front of his family for playing T-ball with his daughter in an empty park. It ends with three Massachusetts men being arrested, and facing the possibility of 90 days in jail, for crossing state lines and golfing — a sport built for social distancing — in Rhode Island.

There is no reason to close “public” parks, where Americans can maintain social distance while getting some air or space for their mental and physical well-being — or maybe see a grandchild from afar. In California, surfers, who stay far away from each other, are banned from going in the water. Elsewhere, hikers are banned from roaming the millions of acres in national parks. Millions of lower-income and urban-dwelling Americans don’t have the luxury of backyards, and there is absolutely no reason to inhibit their movement, either.

Two days before Easter, Louisville, Ky., mayor Greg Fischer attempted to unilaterally ban drive-in church services for the most holy day in Christianity. It’s one thing if people are purposely and openly undermining public health. The constitutional right to assemble peacefully and protest or practice your religion, however, is not inoperable in presence of a viral pandemic.

Would-be petty tyrants, such as Dallas judge Clay Jenkins, who implores residences to rat out neighbors who sell cigarettes for “putting profits over public health,” forgets that we are not ruled by him, and that he is merely our temporary servant.

But it’s important and necessary, say the experts. Great. Convince us. Most polls show that 80-something percent of Americans will stay home for the rest of this month even if lockdowns are lifted.

The question of how many lives would be lost if we didn’t shut down economy is a vital one, but it is not the only one. There is an array of factors that goes into these decisions. One of them should be preserving our laws and our freedom in times of crisis.

“Reality check,” writes Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian in Axios, “Citywide quarantines, travel restrictions and obsessive public health checks aren’t authoritarian. They’re the kind of total mobilization that happens during major national crises such as war, regardless of the system of government.”

This position, often repeated, is utter nonsense. For one thing, we aren’t at “war.” There are no coronavirus spies and no coronavirus sabotage. Affixing “war” to societal problems — the war on drugs being the most obvious example— is typically a justification for expanding state power. Also, authoritarianism isn’t defined as “strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom except when there is a pandemic.” Your declarative sentences and forceful feelings do not transform the meaning of either authoritarianism or freedom. Though if we dump our principles every time there’s a crisis, they might as well.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun @davidharsanyi

Covid-19 Treatment and the Failure of Government

Covid-19 Treatment and the Failure of Government
    The following is the three drug regimen that our world recognized experts currently recommend for the treatment of the current outbreak of the corona virus (Covid-19).
1.) hydroxychloroquine sulfate – 200mg three times a day for 6 (minimum) to 10 days
2.) azithromycin – 500mg initial loading dose, then 250mg twice a day for five days
3.) zinc sulfate – 220mg once a day for five days
Note: The first two, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, are prescription drugs to be taken under the supervision of a physician. They may be prescribed off-label.
    We highly recommend the treatment of all submitting to Covid-19 testing with hydroxychloroquine sulfate – 200mg or the hydroxychloroquine phosphate equivalent, three times a day for six days and zinc sulfate – 220mg once a day for five days. This is an epidemiological recommendation to cut down the viral pool in demographic areas. This assumes that all tested have been screened for testing and exhibit flu symptoms. Those testing positive will have azithromycin – 250mg twice a day for five days added to the treatment regimen.
   The above consensus opinion was arrived at considering the following:
  • Chloroquine is and has been used for decades in the treatment of malaria. Its safety and efficacy are well documented. Hydroxychloroquine is more efficacious and safer. Hydroxychloroquine acts in preventing viral attachment to the ACE-2 receptor on cells.
  • Azithromycin, in addition to its intracellular mechanisms which may interfere with viral replication, has anti-inflammatory effects which may mediate cell / viral integration and interaction.
  • Zinc is postulated to have effects on the cell membrane the opposite of those seen with saponification mechanisms used to introduce genetic code in recombinant technologies. It may also affect the lipid viral envelope / membrane.  It is 100% safe.
    Additionally, this treatment regimen is based on the latest seminal research by Dr. Didier Raoult, M.D., Ph.D. and his group treating the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Marseilles, France, made available to this Committee on 20 March, 2020 pre-publication. Also, work shared by one of this Committee’s corona work group from past experience is extremely relevant. Metanalysis of constantly increasing reports of clinical successes shared with our work group continue to validate our conclusions. Whether 699 coronavirus patients treated with 100% success in New York, Dr. Raoult’s 80 patients, or the constantly mounting numbers shared with this Committee, the safety and efficacy of the treatment demands that the public has these FDA approved drugs prescribed to them. As indicated in prior articles published by this Committee, it is thanks to Congress not taking away the ability of physicians to prescribe and use FDA approved drugs, devices, etc. off-label, that this regimen is available. It just needs to be made aware of by a liberal media not focusing on false science and corrupted history, as they have in the past.
    Government failure witnessed in the FDA, CDC, NIAID, Congress, EoP, etc., across the board, needs to be held accountable. Members of this Committee have wasted, literally, documented hours trying to share state-of-medicine scientific research with them. Phone calls to those designated by the Constitution to represent us are answered by persons instructed to isolate their employers from any not contributing to their political campaigns or media not advancing their political agendas. Emails sent to the Executive Office of the President, senators, representatives, etc. go ignored, responded to by an automated “read” message, computer generated. The tyranny of the oligarchy, intended by the Constitution to make this a “government of the people by the people for the people”, experienced in this pandemic, with unnecessary death and suffering endured because of the failure of government, is so telling!
    Questions to be answered only by real-time statistics, tests, and epidemiological studies and follow-ups advancing medical science to prepare for and treat future medical problems are not going to be available, because government has missed this window of opportunity. Of those hospitalized with Covid-19, how many were treated with the hydroxychloroquine (HC) / azithromycin (AZ) regimen, and what was the timeline of that treatment, since it is known that that earlier the treatment the more effective? Twenty-four to 48 hours is a critical window. If treated appropriately are people still dying, and if so, why? How do comorbidities affect the disease, both as to the virus and the cell? Why are not interferon and immune globulin blood panels being routinely drawn from all patients? Why has government failed to mandate that tests to address the unanswered questions be accomplished? Why has government not mandated a universal comprehensive healthcare database to answer not just the epidemiological, treatment, risk, etc. questions associated with this pandemic, but to alter the course of money driven healthcare?