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Retracted article questions Covid19 death numbers

 
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Could Covid19 really be no more lethal that a bad flu season?  The numbers in a fresh study published by John Hopkins Newsletter (and almost immediately 'disappeared') point in that direction.  
https://www.aier.org/article/new-study-highlights-serious-accounting-error-regarding-covid-deaths/

(A webinar done by Prof. Genevieve Briand is not no longer on YT, but is on Bitchute.com - search her name.)
 
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nancy sutton wrote:Could Covid19 really be no more lethal that a bad flu season?  The numbers in a fresh study published by John Hopkins Newsletter (and almost immediately 'disappeared') point in that direction.  
https://www.aier.org/article/new-study-highlights-serious-accounting-error-regarding-covid-deaths/

(A webinar done by Prof. Genevieve Briand is not no longer on YT, but is on Bitchute.com - search her name.)



I’m always sceptical when a case is made based on a retracted paper, or article. Journals are very careful of their reputation, which in this context means that articles need to stand up to peer review scrutiny.

I’ve been following the discussions about “excess deaths” as a better measure of the impact of covid. That is, the deaths in excess of the equivalent weeks over the past few years. I have attached a graph below.

The figures in the mentioned article just does not jibe at all with the publicly available data that I have seen.

The article also seems to dismiss “94% of covid deaths have comorbidities” as though those deaths are somehow less significant than others. I find that interpretation to be callous. I have colleagues with health conditions that put them at severe risk of death from covid, but who otherwise would be expected to live a full normal life. They are terrified of covid as a result, and yet this interpretation of the data would wave away them losing 40 years of life as a case with comorbidities. It does not say it outright in the article, but the analysis is clear dismissive of those cases as being some how not really covid deaths.

I’m glad that article has been pulled.
C3126E8B-F190-4D83-A3C2-BB4C1E8A8B34.png
covid death rate
96E3281C-5D47-472B-A0C9-54ECF67C10BF.png
2020 does not look much like 2018, which the article indicates was somehow a comparable year
2020 does not look much like 2018, which the article indicates was somehow a comparable year
 
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It's almost certainly overblown in some places and under reported in others. here they are very careful to make it clear that there is almost no risk from covid if you are healthy and under 60. (26 people have died in Denmark of covid under the age of 60) 60% of all deaths from/with it are of people over 80 and 82% of all the people who died had a serious disease. In 5 years if you go back and average the deaths out here I seriously doubt there will be a spike at all. as the people who die are well over the national life expectancy to begin with and something is going to get them soon whatever we do.

As to the UK I remember a few weeks back the ONS published stats on deaths over average and I think it was within the normal variation, something like 1k extra deaths over average. Of course there's going to be the odd person who dies unfortunately young, but how many will be killed by the "cure".


What I really don't understand is why some countries are struggling a lot more than others, despite having much more draconian laws about things, unless it is simply the method of counting that is different between countries. I read the news in two different countries and they both complain about the same things, illegal parties, people gathering when they should know better, hospitals getting close to full.. but the death statistics are seriously different. (DK 139/million UK 851/mil) and then look at Belgium (1412/mil) I do not believe these numbers can be down to people not behaving which is what the media would like us to think, some may be population density but countries like Italy and Germany have nearly the same density (and both have large areas of unused land) and wildly different figures.

Reading reports in 5-10 years will be very enlightening I hope. The only thing I think one should take away from this is that this is not The disease but if The disease comes, governments fail totally at protecting their people you need to look after yourself.
 
Michael Cox
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Some of those differences are caused by different age distributions in the population, and when the covid first wave happened.

The UK got its first wave comparatively early, and a made many mistakes in the early days. For example, they drastically underestimated the degree of transmission between nursing homes and the general population. A substantial portion of the early deaths here were due to insufficient precautionary measures around those facilities, and rampant spread once covid arrived.

Similarly, Italy has a disproportionately elderly population who are particularly vulnerable.

Add in again that’s one nations health care facilities were totally overloaded during the initial spike, while others were not, and you can see where the varying figures come from.

As it stands now we are weeks away from the initial vaccine deployment, and probably a few months away from having the vulnerable protected. I’m happy to stick with the precautions for a few more weeks with that solution on the horizon.
 
Michael Cox
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I belatedly twigged that the author of the original article is an economist, not a medical professional. I guess that they have looked at summary figures and reached conclusions without the full depth of context that someone intimately familiar with the field would have.
 
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Michael Cox wrote:

nancy sutton wrote:Could Covid19 really be no more lethal that a bad flu season?  The numbers in a fresh study published by John Hopkins Newsletter (and almost immediately 'disappeared') point in that direction.  
https://www.aier.org/article/new-study-highlights-serious-accounting-error-regarding-covid-deaths/

(A webinar done by Prof. Genevieve Briand is not no longer on YT, but is on Bitchute.com - search her name.)



I’m always sceptical when a case is made based on a retracted paper, or article. Journals are very careful of their reputation, which in this context means that articles need to stand up to peer review



I'm always skeptical and disappointed when something like this is disappeared. It then looks like a conspiracy, cover up or censorship. Unfortunately the U.S. government has a regular history of all of those things so it's easy for people to make the argument that that is the cause, whether or not it's true. Imo, better to leave it up (If it was good enough to publish initially, what changed) and publish the peers' rebuttals.
 
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Sonja Draven wrote:
I'm always skeptical and disappointed when something like this is disappeared. ....... Imo, better to leave it up (If it was good enough to publish initially, what changed) and publish the peers' rebuttals.




....and unless I'm wrong, it seems to go against the normal "retraction" mechanism of scientific publishing, wherein the original paper is left accessible, albeit with a "RETRACTED" designator clearly indicated on the article.

Agree with the general sentiment that there will be all ranges of factors that impact incidence and fatality of a novel infectious agent.   Just seems prudent to tread cautiously around something so unknown.
 
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Michael Cox wrote:

The article also seems to dismiss “94% of covid deaths have comorbidities” as though those deaths are somehow less significant than others. I find that interpretation to be callous.



I'm also very bothered by the definition of "comorbidities" in the case of covid. They aren't just things that would normally be considered, heart disease, immune disorders, and the like. Another factor was obesity. That has now been changed to "overweight". Depending on the study you look at, that is anywhere from 40-60% of all Americans. Factors like this make it easy to say thing like "covid alone is only responsible for x percent of the excess deaths" with x being an artificially low number.

 
Michael Cox
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I tracked down the retraction statement from the original publisher.

Retraction explanation

I think they have been totally clear in their reasoning, and they have a left a link to the original pdf of the article available.  I see nothing underhanded here.


(EDIT - My emphasis.

Note that while the publisher is associated with a prestigious university, it is actual a student run magazine. It is not a formal academic journal, or other publication. The article itself was written based off a student journalists interpretation of a presentation, and not written directly by the professor indicated, although it does quote their content)



Editor’s Note: After The News-Letter published this article on Nov. 22, it was brought to our attention that our coverage of Genevieve Briand’s presentation “COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data” has been used to support dangerous inaccuracies that minimize the impact of the pandemic.

We decided on Nov. 26 to retract this article to stop the spread of misinformation, as we noted on social media. However, it is our responsibility as journalists to provide a historical record. We have chosen to take down the article from our website, but it is available here as a PDF.

In accordance with our standards for transparency, we are sharing with our readers how we came to this decision. The News-Letter is an editorially and financially independent, student-run publication. Our articles and content are not endorsed by the University or the School of Medicine, and our decision to retract this article was made independently.

Briand’s study should not be used exclusively in understanding the impact of COVID-19, but should be taken in context with the countless other data published by Hopkins, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As assistant director for the Master’s in Applied Economics program at Hopkins, Briand is neither a medical professional nor a disease researcher. At her talk, she herself stated that more research and data are needed to understand the effects of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Briand was quoted in the article as saying, “All of this points to no evidence that COVID-19 created any excess deaths. Total death numbers are not above normal death numbers.” This claim is incorrect and does not take into account the spike in raw death count from all causes compared to previous years. According to the CDC, there have been almost 300,000 excess deaths due to COVID-19. Additionally, Briand presented data of total U.S. deaths in comparison to COVID-19-related deaths as a proportion percentage, which trivializes the repercussions of the pandemic. This evidence does not disprove the severity of COVID-19; an increase in excess deaths is not represented in these proportionalities because they are offered as percentages, not raw numbers.

Briand also claimed in her analysis that deaths due to heart diseases, respiratory diseases, influenza and pneumonia may be incorrectly categorized as COVID-19-related deaths. However, COVID-19 disproportionately affects those with preexisting conditions, so those with those underlying conditions are statistically more likely to be severely affected and die from the virus.

Because of these inaccuracies and our failure to provide additional information about the effects of COVID-19, The News-Letter decided to retract this article. It is our duty as a publication to combat the spread of misinformation and to enhance our fact-checking process. We apologize to our readers.

 
nancy sutton
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I'm heartened to see the discussion here.... I think that's what is tragically missing from the MSM, where it is a non-stop, be-afraid (no, be panic stricken!),

(Maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to this 'campaign' because CNN is on most of the time here as it is SO's main form on entertainment.  So I'm very familiar with this overwhelming 'campaign', and there is pretty much no mention of 'the rest of the story and even the terminology (positive PCR test results - on a test with a potential 30% false positive rate, per it's inventor - are labeled certain 'infections), has been changed - 'infections' have been redefined as 'cases', which has meant 'illness requiring medical treatment' up to now.  (BTW, almost invariably,  the nonstop stories of tragic 'Covid19' deaths show a lovable overweight person, and no mention is ever made of their medical status.)

Re: the original report, isn't it fishy that, typically, X number of over-60 people die of a, b, c disease every year, but in 2020, that same X number is dying of Covid, and that same X are NOT dying of a, b, c .... while the total death numbers (from all sources) are pretty much the same, i.e., minimal 'excess deaths' ?   At least this seems to be the case per the CDC's numbers, in the US.  IF this is true, why aren't the implications being discussed?

But most alarming (and most telling) to me, is why are not reasonable questions, not only not addressed, but never met with legitimate answers?    
 
Michael Cox
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nancy sutton wrote:
Re: the original report, isn't it fishy that, typically, X number of over-60 people die of a, b, c disease every year, but in 2020, that same X number is dying of Covid, and that same X are NOT dying of a, b, c .... while the total death numbers (from all sources) are pretty much the same, i.e., minimal 'excess deaths' ?   At least this seems to be the case per the CDC's numbers, in the US.  IF this is true, why aren't the implications being discussed?

But most alarming (and most telling) to me, is why are not reasonable questions, not only not addressed, but never met with legitimate answers?    



I'm glad you came back to this thread. I was worried that you may have been scared off by the apple cores.

Attempting to answer your final question, in the context of the paragraph above. What EXACTLY is your question? The paragraph above makes a few fairly nebulous claims, without pinning down exactly what you think is wrong. You say something seems fishy. There is no way to respond to that "feeling fishy" sentiment in a meaningful way.

My experience has been that when I actually start looking at specific questions in the context of covid, the answers are usually there. Although they are sometime buried deep in rather technical publications. But no one is seriously trying to respond to your emotional sense of suspicion, because an emotion isn't actually something that an evaluation of the evidence can help with. However emotions are directly manipulate by scaremongering headlines, as you yourself have noted.

For example, you could narrow down your inquiry:

What is the average expected number of anticipated deaths with heart disease listed as a contributing factor, per month over the past 5 years? This would let you look at trends prior to covid.
What is the number of deaths by month in 2020 with heart disease listed as a contributing factor.
Compare those two data sets and you would get a feel for the number of deaths over and above the normal that could be attributed to covid/heart disease comorbidity.


It would be a reasonable that any spike in numbers here is due to deaths that have been accelerated due to covid. Notice that those questions strip out all emotion and ask questions that it would be possible - with access to the right data - to answer. This type of analysis is EXACTLY what the medical profession have been churning out regularly for the past year, while they try to figure out what has been going on, and what factors make an individual vulnerable. But those analyses don't make for interesting news headlines. Instead we get the filtered hyped up headline versions that sells clicks online, but quite rightly causes suspicion in many people.

But here is the crunch. Those media outlets LOVE to feed human suspicion, because it gets people coming back for more over and over and over.

So the line I take is to get clear in my head exactly what question I want to know the answer to, and then start digging back to the primary data sources - original journal articles if at all possible.

 
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nancy sutton wrote:

But most alarming (and most telling) to me, is why are not reasonable questions, not only not addressed, but never met with legitimate answers?    



An excellent question, and I think that reasonable questions are being asked and are having multiple quality answers offered, all over the globe. We could speculate for days I suppose as to why it appears it's not, but I believe the source of information presented is the likely reason why this appears so. I think TV news, internet news websites, and remaining print news sources for examples, are tailored and catered information rooted in some degree of fear, leaving much untold, and will never offer material in a way for people to consider both sides, or all sides as there are likely more than two, so viewers and readers have a chance to form their own conclusion. I think what makes it even more difficult is Media has cried wolf so many times and has thus ruined it for everyone, not just recently but with decades of misinformation and propaganda for examples that many readily believe whatever they're told, and it's practically impossible to determine what is real. Even though I chose to abandon TV news and all news outlets, I still inadvertently hear about things, usually orts from my wife, which I disregard not because I don't trust my wife, but because I don't trust where she learned it from. I think a real sad consequence of Media is even if something factual is presented somewhere else by good people, many will doubt it because people all over the globe are growing tired of being hoodwinked by years of Media's gaslighting, and no longer trust any source.

 
Michael Cox
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Follow up on looking at data - I don't know where to find equivalent data for the USA, but here in the UK the Office for National Statistics publishes raw data, with various summaries, every month. They were doing this long before covid, so you can go back through the data and compare trends.

I have no intention of doing that myself, but it is an example of how the raw data is in the public domain for those who want to investigate it first hand.

Office of National Statistics - Deaths
 
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The most authoritative study about the fatality rate of Covid-19 is that of John P A Ioannidis, who looked at the data of a huge number of studies world wide. It's a well known study, and published by the World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.20.265892.pdf. The basic conclusions are all listed in the first page, in easy to read sentences.

When the virus first showed up, it struck quite hard, because there was little immunity. Over time, immunity in the population has built up, this is a natural occurrence; people's bodies are able to resist the virus better now; the fatality figures have come down and are still going down.
So if you want to compare with the flu, it's difficult to make that comparison a fair one. The flu has been around for longer, and there are vaccination programs around it. Still it's a lethal disease for many people. You can compare the flu with a wild animal that we've learnt how to tame but is still making lots of casualties. Then Covid is a new wild animal, it could strike by surprise because it was unknown, but slowly we're taming it. Do you want to compare the flu and Covid-19 both in their tamed form? Then keep comparing the data as they continue to evolve, but it could become a silly comparison in a while, as viruses come and go and perhaps in a while Covid-19 could be all but gone. The Spanish flu went rampant and then disappeared again, and so have lots of other, less lethal viruses. Then Covid-19 could also remain rather dangerous for certain people; it's still now a real threat for very old people.
EDIT: The flu comes back in a different strain every year, but Corona viruses have a habit of disappearing, so this one is likely to disappear at some stage. End of Edit.

I would advise people who want to form an opinion about the virus and what measures to take to gather data, just lots of data. Not individual stories and images, because they can skew the big picture. There's lots of data out there, the virus has been around for almost a year now and has been intensively studied. There are conflicting opinions about strategies, but then it's always good to go back to the data. There are even plenty of graphs that help evaluate the effectiveness of the measures.
 
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I recognize that the media can exaggerate and cause alarm depending on how they handle a story although I'm not ready to believe that so many professionals in the medical field have conspired against the world and are misleading us when it comes to this virus.  I actually do believe the 'numbers' of covid deaths and that there is a pandemic emergency the world over.  It is not the flu.

Personally I'm very thankful that my family and friends take the severity of this illness seriously and have helped my husband and I protect ourselves from exposure.  Saying that most of those who died have 'pre existing conditions' does not mean it is ok for them to die years earlier than they would have if they could avoid illness.  I have lung challenges...but I hike miles a week, eat well and at seventy will likely live a couple more decades so would really like to avoid an early death by a known senior citizen killer...even though I have a 'pre existing' condition or two does not mean I'm ready to go quietly

I think much of what is happening now is that a medical problem is being politicized in order to put the blame somewhere for political gain and in my mind that is what is getting in the way of solving the pandemic itself.  It is the same thing that gets in the way of solving world hunger and other humanitarian crises.

and in some ways I'm feeling the way I did during Vietnam.....my parents watched the news every night at supper and there were the numbers...every night, more and more, my peers, but on the news they were numbers and statistics  ...discussions were about acceptable casualties, for political positioning...not for the benefit of anyone other than politicians and so many young men dead who were considered expendable....sometimes I think I hear that same argument coming from certain politicians and their followers today except now it's the old and infirm rather than young boys and Vietnamese.


Nancy, It would be interesting to learn just why the article was pulled?  There have been articles that have been just made up to fit someones perspective, or for political gain...all kinds of reasons.  Without knowing I could not take it seriously.








 
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Judith Browning wrote:
Nancy, It would be interesting to learn just why the article was pulled?  There have been articles that have been just made up to fit someones perspective, or for political gain...all kinds of reasons.  Without knowing I could not take it seriously.



Judith, I quoted the reasons above.  You can also go to the original article in question: https://www.jhunewsletter.com/article/2020/11/a-closer-look-at-u-s-deaths-due-to-covid-19

You can verify the jhnewsletter claims about the article being used out of context with a simple search.  I just put "Johns Hopkins Briand" into DuckDuckGo and got a burst of sites touting "truth" and "finally revealed" - or a whole bunch of hype from outlets with an axe to grind.  The search result in Google is bubbled ... and wow, there I actually found she does have some credentials (a PhD in Economics from Washington State).  Curious that no one refers to her as Dr. Briand or Genevieve Briand, PhD.
 
Eliot Mason
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Judith - yes! that happens!  Its hard to read, consider, respond without the conversation running away!  I find this form of asynchronous long form conversation difficult but much more satisfying than most internet comment areas or Twitter.  Please excuse me if my post (and attitude?) caught you in between screen refreshes!
 
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Just so you know, I do wear a mask, because it reassures my 84 yo cancer-patient husband.  But my 'fishy' is aroused by simple numbers that don't make sense.  Re: 'peer reviewed', etc, does anyone remember the 'Surgisphere' paper published by Lancet AND NEJM ?  Surely best reviewed, etc. but yanked after 2 wks , when uproar proved its utter falsity (and it's purpose was to finally end the use of HCQ in early Covid cases... another question, why this puzzling attack on innocuous drug.)  

I'm 74.. and apparently the only one who remembers thalidomide?  the 'Mighty Wurlitzer' ?  Recently, Hancock, a top British health official, publicly stated that studies showed Vitamin D was of no help in Covid... and had to backpedal furiously.   Now my question is, why did he want to discourage use of Vitamin D (proven to be significantly correlated to better Covid outcomes).  BTW, FDR may have been right when he said that 'in politics, nothing happens by accident'.

There is so much that is worse than 'fishy' about what is being done to our societies .... and the average citizen does not have time to do the research, and SHOULDN"T HAVE TO, if TPTB are trustworthy.  It is certainly more comfortable to just 'go along', but things are getting waaaaay to crazy to continue floating, IMO.

 
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Vit D is only going to help if you are deficient in it to begin with. (A high % of people in Europe are, I am and I take a prescribed supplement, after starting that I no longer get colds that hand around for 2-3 months) It is probably worth prescribing a low dose to everyone as a precaution however.

I suspect a lot of the conflicting information is simply because that is how science works, someone runs a study and it shows X someone runs another study of the same thing and it shows Y only after multiple studies can any conclusion be realistically drawn. The largest Danish study on masks found the difference between wearing and not wearing (for the wearer) was statistically insignificant (2.9% against 3.1% infection rate) The scientists point out that that is to low a difference to draw conclusions and because masks are now mandated in some places no further studies can be done. and there was no way to check if they protect other people in the real world if you have it. Morals in science really do stop us getting nice answers. Putting 20 infected in one room and then 200 uninfected in masks or without would give a nice set of data.. but would be highly unethical.

I think the first warnings that this was not going to be the disease they were playing it up to be (here) were the Black lives matter demonstrations, thousands of people packed into the street standing right next to each-other, and 3 cases. Since then I'm glad to live in a country where I can still go out whenever I want meet with whoever I want and hold a party for 100 if I so wish.  I honestly believe that the fact we can do all these things means we don't do them. there's nothing like saying NO to something to make it the most desirable thing ever.
 
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It's far easier for me to believe that a new Corona virus developed that we haven't figured out how to deal with yet than to believe that every country in the world got together and lied about the death rate from covid. I have heard a number of people theorize that this is all a conspiracy to scare people and that will better enable "them" to control us. I don't understand who "they" are and what ends are accomplished by telling people to wear masks and stay six feet from one another. I've been wearing a shirt to go into stores all my life. I don't feel controlled by that requirement. I also have a job that requires me to be involved in several meetings a week. I've rarely seen an instance where you could get any ten people to agree on something, and if you did, you certainly couldn't get them all to keep quiet about anything. Can anyone imagine the feat it would be to get the entire world to conspire to lie about covid death rates? And to what end specifically?
 
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https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/11/13/elon-musk-covid-test-bogus/

When Elon Musk can have 2 positive, and 2 negative tests in the same day, I do not trust the testing method.


https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/19/tanzanias-president-shrugs-off-covid-19-risk-after-sending-fruit-for-tests


When fruit tests positive for covid, you know they are pulling much wool over our eyes.....

Also consider how much $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$    they will get if the hospital reports a positive covid case ->

https://www.chiamass.gov/federal-covid-funds-boost-flagging-hospital-revenue/


I do believe the virus exists, but I also believe hospitals will gladly write patient has covid in order to get more federal dollars.        I mean how are you going to prove they did not have covid?


The other thing is look at all the fact checkers that are writing off proven helpful treatments.      There is a big agenda to say ONLY the vaccine will help you nothing else will help you.



 
nancy sutton
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Trace, food for thought:  Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Michael, being insatiably curious, it's my research that has uncovered alarming facts, including Dr. John Ioannidis' Oct report in WHO, peer reviewed, indicating 0.05% IFR for under 70's ... so effective action would be protecting the over 70's.  BTW WHO now advocating to not use lockdowns.
 
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how excess mortality is measured in Canada and how it relates to covid-related deaths. (note, it is usually said covid-related here, not died of...)
https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2020001/article/00076-eng.htm#:~:text=For%20example%2C%20in%20British%20Columbia,19%20over%20the%20same%20period.
 
Michael Cox
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nancy sutton wrote:Re: 'peer reviewed', etc, does anyone remember the 'Surgisphere' paper published by Lancet AND NEJM ?  Surely best reviewed, etc. but yanked after 2 wks , when uproar proved its utter falsity (and it's purpose was to finally end the use of HCQ in early Covid cases... another question, why this puzzling attack on innocuous drug.)  



The Surgisphere Scandal: What went wrong

I would argue that this is a case where peer review has worked almost as intended. Peer reviewing doesn't stop once a paper hits the press, it is really only just getting going. When a journal peer reviews a paper they send it to a handful of professionals who are working in closely related fields. They read it and try to determine if the paper has merit, is valid etc...  But this is a very small group of people who have to make quick decisions on a high volume of papers being produced. They make mistakes. In this case I doubt they were checking for out right fraud, but they probably should have been at least wary of the possibility. Once the paper was published and in the public domain literally thousands more scientists reviewed it, and some of those spotted the discrepancies. End result is the paper was reviewed by the scientific community and got pulled.

I'm sure the Lancet et al are embarrassed they didn't pick up on it themselves, but it did get caught in the wider community.

Re your final question: Why this puzzling attack on (an) innocuous drug?

It's not the drug itself that is the problem, although it is has a rather ferocious list of side effects. It is that the use of HCQ for covid treatment literally does not work. Medical professionals were being put under intense political and social pressure to treat patients with a medication that they knew was ineffective. It's like having a broken leg and prescribing leeches, instead of a plaster cast and crutches! And with the media hyping the use of HCQ as a miracle drug in the popular awareness it takes a BIG public pushback to get things back to normal.

But above all, the bad guy in this narrative is the author of the fraudulent paper. Not the Lancet (although they could have been more careful in their peer review process), not the scientists who reviewed the paper after it was published, and not the medical professionals who then kicked up a storm in the media about being forced into using a treatment that they knew was ineffective at best, and at worst had harmful side effects in patients who were critically ill.
 
Michael Cox
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nancy sutton wrote:Trace, food for thought:  Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Michael, being insatiably curious, it's my research that has uncovered alarming facts, including Dr. John Ioannidis' Oct report in WHO, peer reviewed, indicating 0.05% IFR for under 70's ... so effective action would be protecting the over 70's.  BTW WHO now advocating to not use lockdowns.



We have been sharing links through this thread. Would you mind sharing that one, as I don't think I have seen it.

I don't see why that fact should be alarming at all. It jives with much other data I have seen. We all know that the elderly are the most vulnerable, but that headline figure doesn't exclude younger people with underlying health conditions from being vulnerable. Nor does it reflect the impact of non-fatal cases on the health services, or the lingering impact of covid on the approximate 10% of people who end up with "long covid" symptoms (like my father, who still has no sense of smell after 6 months).

Using headline figures like this is a fundamentally bad way to understand something as complex as covid, and yet it is the type of statistic that sensationalist journalism will jump on to push a particular agenda.

Here in the UK we had hospitals in some areas that were overwhelmed with cases, without enough ICU facilities to support those who needed ventilators. It is known that the mortality rate of those who need hospital treatment jumps five fold when the health system is overwhelmed. Your headline figure take no account of that, or of the general state of the health system in the various countries.
 
Michael Cox
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Mart Hale wrote:https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/11/13/elon-musk-covid-test-bogus/

When Elon Musk can have 2 positive, and 2 negative tests in the same day, I do not trust the testing method.



That article is behind a paywall for me, but I did find this one

BBC: Elon Musk's covid tests

On Friday, he had questioned the veracity of rapid antigen testing, tweeting: "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."

He said he was awaiting the results of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which are regarded as the gold standard by epidemiologists and the one used most around the world



(My emphasis in bold)

Nothing surprising here. The rapid antigen tests are substantially less sensitive than the PCR tests, and it is a known issue that they don't reliably pick up low levels of infection - such as when people first become contagious, or at the tail end of an infection. What they do do well is give a strong positive result when people do have the virus. It is used to pick up asymptomatic but infectious people, but here in the UK that initial quick screening is usually followed up by  PCR test to confirm.
 
Michael Cox
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Mart Hale wrote:

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/19/tanzanias-president-shrugs-off-covid-19-risk-after-sending-fruit-for-tests

When fruit tests positive for covid, you know they are pulling much wool over our eyes.....



I hadn't seen the article before, but I read it just now. I personally dismissed this out of hand as a political stunt by an unreliable political figure with an agenda. It says much more about him than it does about the testing process. His claims are completely unverifiable.
 
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Mart Hale wrote:
Also consider how much $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$    they will get if the hospital reports a positive covid case ->

https://www.chiamass.gov/federal-covid-funds-boost-flagging-hospital-revenue/
I do believe the virus exists, but I also believe hospitals will gladly write patient has covid in order to get more federal dollars.        I mean how are you going to prove they did not have covid?



This is a global pandemic. I can guarantee that no federal dollars reach my local hospital as a result of covid cases. Local inefficiencies and potential corruption in no way detracts from the harms that covid is causing on an international scale. Perhaps this might be the trigger that tips the America towards universal healthcare, instead of the mess of for-profit private systems you have currently.
 
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There is so much that is worse than 'fishy' about what is being done to our societies .... and the average citizen does not have time to do the research, and SHOULDN"T HAVE TO, if TPTB are trustworthy.  It is certainly more comfortable to just 'go along', but things are getting waaaaay to crazy to continue floating, IMO.



Nancy, I wish there was some way to reassure you....

Things might appear more 'fishy' now because we see any and all sorts of thoughts and opinions on social media and on the news.  There is always something out there that seems to support whatever direction we lean.

My feeling is that much of the 'fishiness' has always been there...we are just more aware and have nonstop information available now whether it's true or false, good or bad, it's out there.  

I think it's important to take breaks from the news cycle...maybe regulate it to a few minutes a day from a trusted source or even a day or a week long news fast

as Trace says, there is just no way this could be a world wide coordinated elaborate exaggeration of illness and death....what purpose would that serve? ...to what end?

I appreciate those who take the pandemic seriously and try to control the spread.  I don't live in fear, just carefully...wearing a mask seems like such a easy thing to do and because I'm retired, fortunately I can easily avoid crowds, etc.

I hope by the time covid19 is over, fades on it's own, is wished away by all those 'thoughts and prayers', controlled by vaccines, or whatever.... we will have learned something positive about our own nature when it comes to world views and taking care of each other.


 
Michael Cox
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As an aside from the direct discussion, I'd like to mention something I have noticed is really prevalent in discussion about covid - here to some extent, but it is happening everywhere. There is a serious lack of symmetry between the ease of "voicing a concern", and the ease of refuting that concern. It is reminiscent of the Gish Gallop.

The Gish Gallop is the fallacious debate tactic of drowning your opponent in a flood of individually-weak arguments in order to prevent rebuttal of the whole argument collection without great effort. The Gish Gallop is a conveyor belt-fed version of the on the spot fallacy, as it's unreasonable for anyone to have a well-composed answer immediately available to every argument present in the Gallop. The Gish Gallop is named after creationist Duane Gish, who often abused it.



I am NOT saying that anyone is doing it intentionally, far from it, but the impact is the same. The media throws out alarming sound bites which get repeated over and over in other platforms. Many of these concerns are easy to address, but addressing them is time consuming and requires effort. I have responded to a few in this thread already, and have probably invested well over two hours into those responses. It's exhausting to be the one digging into these claims over and over, as you know the likely outcome (eg the media has hyped some out of context piece of evidence) but still have to go through the steps and present the evidence.

The bottom line is that it is much MUCH easier to cast doubt on something, than to refute that same claim, and the end result is that in many circumstances the voices of worry can end up dominating while those responding get exhausted and walk away. And when those people walk away, the last voice left in the discussion is likely to be someone with yet another claim.
 
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Michael Cox wrote:As an aside from the direct discussion, I'd like to mention something I have noticed is really prevalent in discussion about covid - here to some extent, but it is happening everywhere. There is a serious lack of symmetry between the ease of "voicing a concern", and the ease of refuting that concern. It is reminiscent of the Gish Gallop.

The Gish Gallop is the fallacious debate tactic of drowning your opponent in a flood of individually-weak arguments in order to prevent rebuttal of the whole argument collection without great effort. The Gish Gallop is a conveyor belt-fed version of the on the spot fallacy, as it's unreasonable for anyone to have a well-composed answer immediately available to every argument present in the Gallop. The Gish Gallop is named after creationist Duane Gish, who often abused it.



I am NOT saying that anyone is doing it intentionally, far from it, but the impact is the same. The media throws out alarming sound bites which get repeated over and over in other platforms. Many of these concerns are easy to address, but addressing them is time consuming and requires effort. I have responded to a few in this thread already, and have probably invested well over two hours into those responses. It's exhausting to be the one digging into these claims over and over, as you know the likely outcome (eg the media has hyped some out of context piece of evidence) but still have to go through the steps and present the evidence.

The bottom line is that it is much MUCH easier to cast doubt on something, than to refute that same claim, and the end result is that in many circumstances the voices of worry can end up dominating while those responding get exhausted and walk away. And when those people walk away, the last voice left in the discussion is likely to be someone with yet another claim.



Just as importantly in my mind is the fact that refuting each of those claims generally accomplishs exactly zero. I read each of your well thought out and articulated responses. I have no doubt that you spent at least a couple hours researching and typing your responses. I have very great doubt that those responses actually changed anyone's mind in the least.

I have a close friend at my job. We have been friends for 10 years or so. We have an ongoing discussion that is a near textbook example of what you are saying. My friend gets much of his information from Facebook. He will make a claim and I will spend hours digging into the original research and present it to him. Without doing more than a very quick skim of the info, he will respond with "well what about this?" and throw out an equally spurious claim. And this repeats, seemingly endlessly.  I get exhausted and stop discussing that subject with him until something new that relates catches one of our eyes. And then it begins again. Interestingly to me, in ten years, I have not affected his point of view a single iota.
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:


What I really don't understand is why some countries are struggling a lot more than others, despite having much more draconian laws about things, unless it is simply the method of counting that is different between countries. I read the news in two different countries and they both complain about the same things, illegal parties, people gathering when they should know better, hospitals getting close to full.. but the death statistics are seriously different. (DK 139/million UK 851/mil) and then look at Belgium (1412/mil) I do not believe these numbers can be down to people not behaving which is what the media would like us to think, some may be population density but countries like Italy and Germany have nearly the same density (and both have large areas of unused land) and wildly different figures.



I would hypothesize that there are cultural factors influencing the numbers. Most people don't realize how many of their everyday habits are due to the culture they grew up in. Tiny differences in behavior, such as how close they stand when talking to a friend, or how much force they put behind certain syllables, could change how easily a virus is spread. And since those differences would be more drastic with older generations, the very generations most vulnerable to the virus, the end result would be a difference in fatality rates.

Just a hypothesis, though. It could just as easily be a difference in dietary habits. Although, I suppose those would qualify as "cultural" as well.
 
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Judith Browning wrote:
Personally I'm very thankful that my family and friends take the severity of this illness seriously and have helped my husband and I protect ourselves from exposure.  Saying that most of those who died have 'pre existing conditions' does not mean it is ok for them to die years earlier than they would have if they could avoid illness.  I have lung challenges...but I hike miles a week, eat well and at seventy will likely live a couple more decades so would really like to avoid an early death by a known senior citizen killer...even though I have a 'pre existing' condition or two does not mean I'm ready to go quietly



Judith, I'm so grateful to you for posting this.  I'm in my 50s and have a couple of risk factors for morbidity from this virus, and what you have described is the situation for basically everyone I know and love.  (Living in one of the bottom-ranked states across a bunch of health measures probably doesn't help here.)  Everyone has health/medical challenges, but there's no reason to think most of us don't have at least another good decade or two or three if all these things are managed properly.  It's hard not to feel attacked upon encountering the suggestion that if I should get infected, the inclusion of my illness or possible death in the statistics makes those statistics somehow illegitimate or not worth worrying about.
 
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