The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Herd Immunity & Multiple Covid Waves Is a Monstrous Policy

Folks, what your leaders are doing to you (us), and what many of you think is necessary or good, is monstrous. Long Covid in people aged 16-30.

Researchers at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, have followed 312 Covid-19 patients for an entire year. 247 of them home-isolated, while 65 were hospitalized.

The results of their study were recently published in an article in Nature Medicine.

At six months, 61 percent of all patients had persistent symptoms, the researchers found.

Among those who home-isolated, 52 percent still experienced various symptoms after half a year.

Only sixty days, rather than six months, total population, not just 16-30.

Our team just published a paper on this subject out of our Arizona cohort, led by Dr. Melanie Bell. We found that 60 days post-SARS-CoV-2 infection, a total of 77 percent of participants were still reporting symptoms. None were hospitalized for their infection.

For all that we squeal about China, and bad, and fascist, and so on, here is the Chinese response to their latest “wave”. (We wouldn’t even call this a wave, the number of infections are so small. Remember, Chinese population is 1.4 Billion.)

China’s health authority reported on Monday that there were no new locally-transmitted cases of COVID-19 for the first time since July, offering more signs that the current outbreak which began late last month may be tapering off soon.

The latest outbreak was driven mainly by infections first detected among a few airport workers in the eastern city of Nanjing on July 20. Since then, more than 1,200 people in China have been confirmed to be infected.

The outbreak has spurred local authorities across the country to impose tough counter-epidemic measures including mass testing for millions of people to identify and isolate carriers, as well as treat the infected.

No one has died in the current outbreak, which has largely focused on the cities of Nanjing and Yangzhou in the province of Jiangsu, near the financial hub of Shanghai.

Across China, new local cases fell to the single-digits last week, after peaking in early August.

But over the weekend, Shanghai placed hundreds of people under quarantine after infections were found in cargo workers at one of its two airports, sparking concerns of a fresh outbreak in the city.

Shanghai has reported no new local infections since then. (my emphasis)

This is what properly done zero-Covid looks like. You quarantine, lock down when necessary, and so on.

On August 23, 2021 (one day), according to the New York Times, the US had over 150K new cases. During the entire last outbreak China had under 1,300.

The “Fascists” in China take better care of their people in a pandemic than the “free” Americans (or Canadians or Brits or Germans.) Even places like Australia have fucked up, because they do not properly quarantine or close soon enough when quarantine fails.

Covid is a test of nations, and virtually no western nations have passed. We are incapable of collective group action to protect our societies, even from a plague.

And because this is not the cold, because it cripples a lot of people for some period afterwards (we don’t know how many, or for how long, but we know it is not a trivial number) the idea of just letting multiple waves rip through society until everyone is sort of immune, even if that would work, is monstrous.

Indeed, because immunity to Covid, both from vaccines and from natural infection wanes over a period months, herd immunity as a policy probably won’t work; all that’s really going on is praying that eventually the dominant Covid strain becomes one that is mild, and then we just live with it.

Your lords and masters run societies in ways mean to kill you or hurt you terribly. They are acting worse than the totalitarian CCP.

As long as this set of elites stays in power in the developed world, you can expect you and those you care about will suffer and die, so long as it makes elites richer (which Covid does) or helping you inconveniences you (which is why enhanced employment benefits were cancelled in so many states when bosses whined).

It’s you, or it’s your elites. So far, in vast numbers, it is you.

(My writing helps pay my rent and buys me food. So please consider subscribing or donating if you like my writing.)




America Decides to Ensure Afghanistan Will Be a Chinese and Russian Ally


China is “Totalitarian,” We Couldn’t Do Zero-Covid


  1. Jason

    “China’s Health Authority reported…”

    Thanks for the report. We’ll take it under advisement.

  2. Plague Species

    I have been saying it forever now. The China response plus the vaccine equals zero cases and if the world adopted this protocol, the pandemic would be over and COVFEFE-45 would be managed. But it would require a massive downward distribution of wealth to accomplish this and world’s wealthy elite will not abide.

    In the meantime, there’s….


  3. Dan Lynch

    I was impressed that Nova Scotia’s Liberal government did a mostly good job of handling Covid, at the cost of sometimes harsh restrictions. Well, apparently voters did not like the restrictions because they recently handed power to the Conservative party (yet only 36% of the vote) that vows to lift restrictions even as Delta cases are picking up. It makes you wonder if we humans have evolved enough to deal with Covid?

    Covid was not the only issue in the NS election. Conservative leader Tim Houston promised to “fix” health care by magically recruiting more doctors and magically expanding services while magically reducing costs. It sounds like BS to me but I guess that’s what politicians do.

  4. Ché Pasa

    I agree with Ian. This is a monstrous situation for those of us in the developed countries, but it is far, far worse in the rest of the world. The global death toll has been stuck around 4 million for weeks. It’s likely the undercount is significant — as it is in the US — but we don’t know by how much.

    As for China’s apparent ability to control the virus, give them their propers. They’ve done what’s shown to work, and it seems it’s beyond the capability of any Western nation to emulate what works. Nope, they’d rather kill off some portion of their population and permanently disable a larger portion. And somebody gets richer off of it.


  5. Jason

    The global death toll has been stuck around 4 million for weeks. It’s likely the undercount is significant — as it is in the US — but we don’t know by how much.

    GM over at NakCap estimated it at 12-15 million this morning. He suggested Vietnam is beyond the ability to control it, and referred to videos out of China where people are once again “welded” into their homes as not being shown by western media “because covering it in detail will only expose the inhumanity and incompetence of the response to the crisis in the West.”

    GM failed to mention all the videos of Chinese families arguing vehemently with the CCP authorities who come around and attempt to dehumanize them.

    Commenter Plutonium Kun then weighed in:

    “Vietnam I think will be a test case as to whether its possible to eliminate it again from those levels. From what I’ve read, they are on pretty much a war footing.

    Unfortunately, due to the opaqueness of China (and the terrible state of reporting) its very hard to judge if China was successful, and from what baseline.”

    I think that brief exchange well encapsulates the great unknown. So here we are.

    The entire thread begins here:

  6. anon

    It’s largely a matter of culture. I have a friend in East Asia who does not see freedom in the same way that we do. He stated that all people wear a mask where he is because to them it is not a matter of choice or freedom. Everyone does it not just for themselves but for the safety of others around them. Good luck getting Americans to think that way regardless of political affiliation.

    I’ve lived in Asia and there are aspects of the culture that that are abusive and repressive compared to the USA. However, it also comes with an aspect of care and concern from the government, employers, and neighbors that I don’t see in the USA. For better or for worse, collectivism trumps individualism during trying times. The average American can’t even trust members of their own community which is why we have massive amounts of guns and violence. In Asia, there isn’t a debate about guns and freedom, masks and freedom, vaccines and freedom. Our “freedoms” in America are killing hundreds of thousands of people each year.

  7. Hugh

    Authoritarian states like China and Vietnam or relatively isolated ones like New Zealand have a better shot at implementing covid-directed national health policies. The problem in the US is that we have no national health response to covid and, despite all the moaning about freedumb, the rich and elites have not enacted the restrictions necessary to contain it.

    As Ian notes, herd immunity is not an option because the virus mutates, although not especially fast for an RNA virus, and immunity wanes over time.

  8. Jason

    For better or for worse, collectivism trumps individualism during trying times.

    This is a rather broad statement. What if the path the collective has chosen is ill-advised? It’s left to those pesky individuals to point this out. If the “collective mind” becomes too attached to their path, the individuals pointing out even the possibility of an error become pariahs.

  9. Hugh

    I agree with other commenters that the worldwide statistics on covid aren’t trustworthy. Covid deaths in India are estimated at over 4 million. The official statistic is 430,000. Authoritarian states and developing ones also may not be good at reporting deaths, in the first group because they tend to suppress bad news and in the second because they don’t have the tools and resources to measure them. In a country like the US, the reporting of deaths is better but still undercounted by around 10% which is still 50,000-60,000 people.

  10. Plague Species

    Is that Let It Rip Naked Capitalism? That seems to be the collective sentiment from the selected and privileged cyber operatives who dominate the commentary at Naked Capitalism. Let It Rip and treat it with therapeutics and let the chips fall will they may and whatever you do, don’t preach to or chastise the American Taliban.

    I’m all for welding selfish, moronic, ignorant, arrogant, recalcitrant jerks in their homes if they refuse to cooperate and let’s take their guns while we’re at it and sabotage the weapons manufacturers’ plants and shut them down or transform them into PPE plants.

  11. Joan

    The Chinese people getting welded into their own homes…is someone bringing them food? Is their water kept on, even if they can’t work in order to pay their water bill? Does someone un-weld them after two weeks? Good heavens, that sends a chill down my spine.

  12. NR

    I agree with everything Ian said about the elite response to COVID in the west. However, there is something very important he didn’t talk about, at least on the American side of things. And that’s people like this:

    This was a Board of Education meeting in Birmingham, Michigan. Many anti-maskers were in attendance, and one of them said this:

    If God wanted us to cover our mouth and nose, he would have made us that way.

    This was said by a woman wearing glasses, by the way. Also featured at the meeting was a man flashing the Nazi salute, and three people saying “Heil Hitler.”

    What Ian doesn’t seem to understand is that even if “elites” in America wanted to do a zero-COVID policy, these morons would never allow it. And Republican state legislatures in many states are passing laws banning schools from implementing mask mandates to pander to these morons. No discussion of COVID running rampant in America can be complete without talking about these people and their role in perpetuating the pandemic, and yet Ian never even mentions them.

    Ian is insightful about many things, but he has a serious blind spot when it comes to things like this.

  13. Troy

    I did some back of the napkin estimates of mortaility rates in India during their third wave. Came up with figures such as 5,000 a day, which could’ve quickly moved up to 10,000 to 15,000 a day. Not long after that, it could’ve grown to as much as 30,000 a day. Worried over the numbers but decided to keep it to myself as I wasn’t sure. It’s just a really unfathomable number of deaths. But it’s probably time to believe in those numbers. When things get bad, they can get very bad in a hurry when carelessness and indifference rules.

    It just seems to be a bad combination of disbelief, incompetence, and detatchment in Western elites. Nothing effects them so nothing affects them. We’re rudderless, oarless, and adrift. There will be no interruption, no distruption to business as usual even though the demographics stop agreeing. What it is, is the economic engine using peoples’ lives as fuel and as lubricant but soon it will run out of both in short order. The numbers just won’t be there. Well, actually, it is beginning to happen now already. Just short little gasps, as though there is air in the engine where there used to be people. What’s more, the current solution to labour shortage has been to draw from other nations but there too will be labour shortages. People will have no need to come to North America to find work because they will find it where they are.

    Just small shortages—not big enough to be of concern to the disaffected elite—but enough to show up in annecdotes about fast food restaurants not having enough staff to meet quotas, for grocery store shelves to be filled overnight and during the day, and so on. But it may also begin to emerge in white collar positions. What was once a position for business of being able to fill positions at a moment’s notice—just in time labour-ready economics—may change to businesses not having enough labour to do as much business as they’ve gotten used to.

    I think elites have not realized death is cumulative. Death from Covid-19 has been largely exponential in growth, but the numbers add up eventually. They say 26,000 died in Canada but some think it’s really as high as 52,000 dead. That’s a lot of people. Certainly many of the 26 thousand dead were those in retirement homes but for many of those in the hidden numbers, those were working people. Not a huge number when examined from a distant statistical position. but enough to make a small difference in the labour pool. To add to this, for nations Canada draws from for labour, those countries have been harder hit with numbers of deaths in the hundreds of thousands, and even millions. It’s likely millions more will die in the coming year or two. Add to this, Canada will be competing for these same labour pools with other countries such as the USA (and vice-versa), and suddenly finding workers abroad may not be so inexpensive as it could take more and more incentives to draw workers here.

    It’s ironic—in an actual sense of the word for once—business and political leaders tried to keep business going by keeping it business as usual, but ended up creating a sitaution where it could not moving forward by destroying its own labour pool. It’s much as the snake that devours its own tail.

    And just remind myself as I find my own tone too academic, too impersonal; people have died, people are dying, and people will die in greater and greater numbers unless a strategy of Covid-0 is finally undertaken.

  14. Jason

    The Chinese people getting welded into their own homes…is someone bringing them food? Is their water kept on, even if they can’t work in order to pay their water bill? Does someone un-weld them after two weeks? Good heavens, that sends a chill down my spine.


    In the thread I linked to above, commenter PK mentions that he has

    “an Australian based Chinese friend who has been stuck in China for months due to the travel restrictions. She has gone to Tibet for a break as she can’t do anything else – I find it significant I think that the Chinese are not restricting internal travel to Tibet (which of course has some land borders with India), which indicates to me that they are not worried about internal spread.”

    I don’t think I’m going unabashedly full-on Marxist here to note that PK’s “Australian based Chinese friend who has been stuck in China for months” is of the same class as PK.

    And, suffice to say, the Chinese who GM said were “welded into their homes” are not of that class.

    But hey, China is the model of the future, “lifting it’s people out of poverty” (forcing self-sufficient farmers into already overcrowded cities), building drab ultramodern superstructures and infrastructure that certain classes in China can use, as the rest of the Chinese toil away, poisoning themselves and the environment while making substandard, largely useless crap for most of the rest of the world.

    What a paradise.

  15. Jason

    Oh yeah, the CCP are also implementing an internal system of control – a full spectrum dominance internally, if you will – that the creeps who make up our own intelligence services marvel at.

  16. Willy

    Internal Fox News corporate policy is to vax and mask and test and isolate, but to publicly preach the opposite, all for the sake of maintaining profits.

    Milton Friedman cackles from the grave.

  17. Here is the mortality data from the 6 month Pfizer study on their Covid vaccine. You can find it in the supplementary appendix table S4 page 12
    Group 1: 15 deaths
    Group 2: 14 deaths.
    Group 1 had around a 7% higher all cause reported mortality rate compared to group 2.

    I’ll leave it to the individual readers to go check to see which group was the one receiving Pfizer’s Covid vaccine.

  18. js

    “No discussion of COVID running rampant in America can be complete without talking about these people and their role in perpetuating the pandemic, and yet Ian never even mentions them.”

    Yes and no. I mean the people are pushed every which way by the powers that be. Early in the pandemic for instance, spring 2020. Keeping lockdown restrictions in place polled really well. It had majority support many places. This is majority not unanimity, and it won’t mean you don’t have the opposition of a violent minority, maybe the right is so violent precisely when they are in the minority which is often. And all this with only the economic supports we had (extended unemployment if you could get it, the early stimulus etc .). But no politicians including blue state governors were going to keep things locked down. They didn’t, despite what the majority may have wanted.

    Over a year later, forever into a pandemic everyone is sick of, that everyone knows authorities don’t deal with well, with adults with some vaccination protection or refusing it, we are all supposed to die on the hill of getting ineligible for vaccination kids to wear cloth masks, that they take off at lunchtime it seems, in buildings they are in all day, with insufficient ventilation.

  19. Ché Pasa

    The story was that Chinese in quarantine were isolated in Special Facilities, camps of a sort, where they were supposed to be brought all necessities — food and supplies, get their laundry done, medicine delivered, etc. all no contact — or they were to isolate at home, and once again be delivered all essentials while being forbidden to be out and about with various persuasions and punishments if they didn’t comply. There have been reports that at the Facilities, deliveries didn’t always come and the patients felt forgotten. On the other hand, very few reports of people isolating at home not being supplied in a timely manner.

    Chinese can do this because of the urban organization of blocks and neighborhoods and communities watched over by monitors, but I’m not sure if it’s comparable in the countryside.

    Western society is not organized for this kind of care in crisis, nor for this level of monitoring for compliance. The public health system in much of the West is broken, and in many ways doesn’t exist any more, disease having been conquered and all.

    It’s certainly plausible that China’s reportage of Covid casualties and deaths is riddled with error and deceit. It’s also plausible that it is correct. It’s also certain that India’s count of Covid casualties and deaths is far lower than reality.

    We just don’t know.

  20. Why should I take seriously anybody who thinks the wearing or not wearing of $1 masks should be an issue, when the mask proponents don’t bother pushing for N95 masks, or the like? It’s not Spring, 2020. Everybody could have an N95, in most countries, if their governments really wanted them to have one.

    So what, exactly, is their problem? And, why don’t the mask finger-waggers wag their fingers about the missing N95? How many of the mask finger-waggers wear N95 masks, themselves?

    Likewise, I can’t take seriously people who criticize governments’ covid response, while completely ignoring reams of evidence regarding things like ivermectin.

  21. anon

    I typically like Breaking Points but their takes on COVID have been so wrong:

    What is happening in Australia is not dystopian. The USA would not have nearly a million people dead from COVID if it had acted similarly to Australia or Asian countries with lockdowns, tracking, and tracing. People who go out without a mask and knowing that they have COVID need to be imprisoned, period. There is no excuse.

  22. Alex Berenson

    The vaxxers have been playing with fire; and it looks increasingly like they’re going to burn themselves – and the rest of us.

  23. metamars

    People who go out without a mask and knowing that they have COVID need to be imprisoned, period. There is no excuse.

    No, you’ve got it wrong. People who go out with N95 masks, whether they know they have COVID, or not, should be imprisoned, period. And foithermore, anybody who says otherwise should be executed.

    It high time we got serious about COVID. There is no measure too extreme, and no downside to those same measure too great, that should not be forced down the throats of public.

    Is there such a thing as double N95 masking?

  24. metamars

    As a cost saving method, instead of welding doors shut, we should super-glue N95 masks on anybody who goes out in public without one.

    You and I can superglue with the best of them. Welding, OTOH, is a skill that takes time to learn.

  25. Jason

    Peter Doshi, a senior editor at The BMJ, went through Pfizer’s last preprint. Doshi stated,

    “The 20 page preprint matters because it represents the most detailed public account of the pivotal trial data Pfizer submitted in pursuit of the world’s first “full approval” of a coronavirus vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration. It deserves careful scrutiny.”

    Doshi goes on to show that there is absolutely no new data from Pfizer’s last missive in April, that the Delta variant cannot account for the waning efficacy, and that Pfizer was well aware of the waning efficacy yet chose to confidently and dishonestly announce “six month efficacy” back in April anyway. Doshi, stating the obvious,

    “Waning efficacy has the potential to be far more than a minor inconvenience; it can dramatically change the risk-benefit calculus. And whatever its cause—intrinsic properties of the vaccine, the circulation of new variants, some combination of the two, or something else—the bottom line is that vaccines need to be effective.

    Until new clinical trials demonstrate that boosters increase efficacy above 50%, without increasing serious adverse events, it is unclear whether the 2-dose series would even meet the FDA’s approval standard at six or nine months.”

    For its part, the FDA doesn’t seem too concerned.

  26. NR


    Read the full article I linked. These are not reasonable people who are tired of pandemic restrictions and governmental incompetence. These are people saying “God doesn’t want us to wear masks” and chanting “Heil Hitler” at a public school board meeting.

  27. Hugh

    metamars is always useful for keeping us up on whatever the most recent rightwing hysteria is. It’s not the criminal selfishness and irresponsibility of the anti-vaxxers and no-maskers that has done so much to kill 600,000 Americans and now fill ICUs. It’s the vaccinated. This is more of the upside down world we live in where real even existential crises are treated by dismissing them as hoaxes.

  28. Jason

    This is the report Peter Doshi was working from (it’s the first link in his article). The data is there for all to see. If you look at the comments, you’ll notice all the questions and confusion over basic data points and sets that were completely omitted from Pfizer’s report.

    Beyond that, and more importantly, it’s frightening from a public and individual health perspective.

    From a public health perspective, the vaccines don’t stop transmission, and their efficacy is nowhere near what we were told to begin with. Further, whatever significantly lower efficacy one might arrive at fades rather quickly anyway.

    Now they’re going all in on boosters from the same company that deliberately hid data, to sell us all on shots that they knew barely work.

    And we wonder how much more they knew. They haven’t even studied the menstrual issues that all those crazy witches are reporting.

    Oh, and then there’s that not too insignificant issue of, as Oakchair noted,

    on preventing death from covid-19, there are too few data to draw conclusions—a total of three covid-19 related deaths (one on vaccine, two on placebo). There were 29 total deaths during blinded follow-up (15 in the vaccine arm; 14 in placebo).

    Doshi noted also that the trials unblinded the participants and then didn’t do proper controls going forward, significantly distorting the results:

    “Despite the reference to “six month safety and efficacy” in the preprint’s title, the paper only reports on vaccine efficacy “up to six months,” but not from six months. This is not semantics, as it turns out only 7% of trial participants actually reached six months of blinded follow-up

    …So despite this preprint appearing a year after the trial began, it provides no data on vaccine efficacy past six months, which is the period Israel says vaccine efficacy has dropped to 39%.”

    Doshin shows how there’s not adequate data to measure outcomes against severe disease, even given the waning efficacy already evident in Pfizer’s clinical endpoint data. He goes on to state that the inadequate results Pfizer did submit weren’t reported correctly. IM Doc and others at Naked Capitalism and elsewhere have been calling out the shoddy data collection, tabulation, and reporting around covid and science and medicine in general. Marcia Angell warned of the same thing years ago.

    “The crucial question, however, is whether the waning efficacy seen in the primary endpoint data also applies to the vaccine’s efficacy against severe disease. Unfortunately, Pfizer’s new preprint does not report the results in a way that allows for evaluating this question.”

    The preprint is appalling and should invoke shame and embarrassment at all levels of all the institutions involved, corporate and government. Nothing like this would ever emanate from an even remotely healthy society. Here, Pfizer sends it with a wink and a nod to their people at the FDA, who happily approve it.

    And why not? There aren’t any consequences.

    Incompetence or malice? Perhaps a toxic brew of both.

  29. StewartM


    “Vietnam I think will be a test case as to whether its possible to eliminate it again from those levels. From what I’ve read, they are on pretty much a war footing.

    As someone who has both been to Vietnam and has friends in Vietnam in HCMC the army is patrolling the streets and you’d better have a valid reason to be out. And yes, they are bringing people restricted to their homes food, water, and medicines.

  30. So much of the above commentary reveals that the issue is not only (in the short run) elites, but also a matter of public consent. For things like pandemic measures, it is not possible to enforce without public acceptance of measures at a very high rate. 20% refusers or recalcitrant spells doom for the sustainability of restrictions.

    Most Western countries have a large population whose notion of freedom is in very large part identical to the notion of the socialization of risk. If you actually listen to “anti-measures” ideologues, you will see precisely that they say things like “isolate yourself, don’t force me”. That is, they are explicitly positing that freedom to them is the freedom to not be concerned about risks to others, i.e., to spread risk to others as one sees fit.

    The elites have a role to play in all of this, but the biggest elite “failure” is an old one: they spend decades popularizing the idea that the socialization of risk (and concomitant privatization of benefit) was morally good and even socially beneficial.

  31. Trinity

    “What if the path the collective has chosen is ill-advised? It’s left to those pesky individuals to point this out. If the “collective mind” becomes too attached to their path, the individuals pointing out even the possibility of an error become pariahs.”

    There is where “knowledge management” comes into play, and why certain indigenous peoples often had several people memorizing tribal “history” while others were being taught to eventually replace experts in specific problems/themes/issues. That’s all it takes. Choosing the right people is important. I can’t see that ever happening in a culture like the US with so many damaged people.

    Meanwhile, we’ve stupidly turned over our knowledge management to an algorithm, dependent on colossal amounts of energy, which more often than not fails to deliver authoritative information anyway. This “stupidity” is by design, however, because the people in charge don’t want people to understand what is really going on.

    The KM drum is what I beat at work every single day, and I’m totally ignored. My office uses Bing to search internally. You can imagine what that’s like. If I have a need, I’m expected to not only find who has the specialized knowledge, and then somehow extract it from them, but they are never willing because they are rewarded for hiding and not sharing. I’m not lying. And it can take weeks just to find that one person.

    Great article, Ian. It all boils down to “profit”, and getting back to business as usual to ramp the profit machine back up. If China seems to be doing better, it may be because they rely on their workers more. Here in the US? Not so much, there are not as many factories. The biggest product being “produced” is misinformation, to be fed into the algorithm, and then shared by people like Chris Cuomo. The dysfunctional circle is complete.

    The lunatics are running the asylum.

  32. Synoptocon

    Looking at the sequelae symptoms reported, there’s a crying need for blinded studies (i.e., take a symptomatic population and divide it into those that tested positive for COVID and those that had some other transitory respiratory ailment – unknown to respondents). Response priming through re-sampling is a thing.

  33. Synoptocon

    Wow. 0.00068412 vs. 0.00063866. Knock me over with that 7% difference.

    Worth taking a look at the differences in causes of death.

  34. different clue

    Individual survival is much more likely in a shared social collective-survival oriented society.

    Part of raising our long run individual survival chances might be lifting a finger towards growing a social-collective-survival oriented society, or maybe just a small version of one where we live at. Still, we have to take individual survival measures right now, so “most of one” and ” a little of the other also in addition if possible” might be a good thing to attempt.

    Blogger Ran Prieur left an interesting post on a lateral approach to this subject on his blog. I thought it perhaps germane enough as to deserve mention on the Preparing for Bad Times thread, right here . . .

    Times are already bad. They can get even badder, and then even more badderer after that, and they will. But times are already bad.

  35. bruce wilder

    People do enjoy their “outrage”.

    Ian encourages a focus on authoritarian measures, perhaps as a proxy for uncompromised effective measures, but the tone is not “effective”, the tone is amplified among commenters into harsh and puritanical and judgmental of others.

    I see a huge failure of professional elites to be effective and competent. I think ambivalence and doubt are normal in any large group, but it gets to be pathological, when the quality of information/policy put out by professional authority is low.

    Just as an example, it is a commonplace to doubt the statistics. And, for good reasons — or rather bad reasons having to do with the reckless way those statistics are tended. In the U.S., the Biden Administration showed themselves to be stupid liars pretty much just like the Trump Administration, when they decided to ignore “breakthrough” cases.

    A quarantine cannot be effective and voluntary — I absolutely get that. But, Americans are too inclined to grab hold of a cliched ideology that posits a “trade-off” is between freedom and effective governance. That’s not really how effective social organization works: social and political power is not a zero-sum game. That’s the secret of democratic socialism, after all: a more powerful state empowers individuals and families. Socialization of risk is a good thing, by the way — Mandos misspoke, I imagine; what the rich want, though, is an ideology of individual self-reliance built on well-founded suspicion so that they can sell over-priced “insurance” to the precariat — extraction thru usury by any other name.

    You can get enough consent and buy-in if the policy of quarantine is tailored to the case and explained in detail, so that people know what they should and should not do and why. Isolating people in crowded indoor spaces (aka at home — remember the cruise ship model from very early on; that should have been a clue) when the virus is being transmitted most effectively in poorly ventilated indoor space may not be entirely optimal. It is important not to be superstitious or ignorant or over-confident about things it is not possible to know. Some practical empathy for people who are not living the middle-class dream would be nice. That the vaccines were free in the U.S. was not publicized adequately and distribution was often not very imaginative or sufficiently work-place oriented. Given the red v blue warfare on-going for a generation, it would have been nice if some one in government with access to the propaganda resources of the state had intervened early to head off that division in the discourse instead of exacerbating it with false promises and threats (“you won’t have to mask” — those “other” people will be dirty and infectitious, not virtuous you)

    Public health authorities in the U.S. would be a lot more believable if they were aggressively and deliberately and obviously trying to find out critically important information. To me, that’s what’s lacking and it won’t be supplied by jackboots and concentration camps run by morons. Let’s just notice for a moment though that the public health professionals as a centralized authority (at the federal level) have failed from day one, and yet no one gets fired. And, what are the logical consequences, when responsible authority fails to demonstrate any interest in knowledge about what they are pontificating upon, let alone integrity? One range of consequences includes greatly exacerbating paranoia and suspicion.

    Naturally, the TPTB want us to feel contempt for “the others” — the Reds if we are Blue and we dutifully fall in line. If an endless round of vaccine boosters enforced by vaccine passports does not sound as much like incipient fascism to you as crazy putsches over mask mandates, you are not really listening.

    I recommend that people meditate calmly on what ideal public health establishment might have done, instead of what they did do and blame some people who might actually have expertise (or responsibility for having expertise) and responsibility for achieving results. I recommend leaving aside measures that would be draconian for the sake of being draconian — yes, to quarantining travellers away from their families, because there’s a rational basis; yes, to lockdowns of up to three weeks, perhaps, because they respect limits on what can be sustained and endured.

    Testing would be very aggressive and innovative and the results publicized — none of the awarding of testing contracts to well-connected contractors who fall into lengthy backlogs in the first hour. If there were lockdowns, they would be addressing outbreaks detected early and small and local.

    Massive public trials of treatments and vaccines, run by neutral public authority — we would know right now vital information about Long Covid, about how effective vaccines can be, about effective treatments. We might know about what makes for effective and tolerable masking. What can be done to improve ventilation in ways that reduce transmission risk. We might have realistic ideas about what vaccines can accomplish. Or, treatments — revolutionary thought!

  36. Hugh

    Thanks for the link, Synoptocon. What the study authors say about these 15 and 14 deaths is:

    “None of these deaths were considered related to BNT162b2 (the Pfizer vaccine) by investigators.”

    These deaths occurred during the original blinded part of the study. After unblinding (the open-label period), members of the placebo group were allowed access to the vaccine. Again none of these deaths had anything to do with the vaccine. The point of bringing them up was in fact to point out that as regards safety there was no difference between the vaccinated and placebo groups, each of which had some 22,000 people in them.

  37. I take it hugh never suffered the loss of his fingers; or never had none, via an accident of birth. Can you imagine how confused his utterances would be, if he relied on a speech recognition program to shower us with his pearls of wisdom? You just can’t get a very good outcome, speaking through your N95 mask.

    Can’t be done. No siree.

  38. It’s probably escaped nobody’s attention that the vaccine fetishists and the mask-eraders are hugely overlapping groups. I mean, certainly if you go by mainstream media, don’t the service intellectuals who can’t bring themselves to say “antibody dependent enhancement (ADE)” also fail to bring themselves to say “$1 face mask is a joke, compared to an N95.”? And, aren’t these largely the same clowns who either say nothing about ivermectin; or else just refer to it as a horse-dewormer?

    So, in the spirit of addressing this very well compensated, but not very astute group of societal manipulators, I’d like to draw everybody’s attention to the text of a tweet that was re-tweeted by none other than Stephen McIntyre, but you really should follow the link to see the graph @

    Stephen McIntyre
    if masks don’t protect Japanese from COVID, what is scientific basis for presuming that they protect Americans (or Canadians)?
    Quote Tweet
    · 11h
    Cases in Japan are now up 42,096% since a Forbes article on 6/22/20 said the high rate of mask wearing there was responsible for preventing COVID spread.

    It’s a remarkable feat of media gaslighting that politicians and experts are still getting away with pretending masks matter.

  39. “Sure the corporate data shows the vaccine increases mortality by 7% but the people selling it assure us their product isn’t to blame. These people are trustworthy despite those fraud cases they were found guilty of. Go buy their drug.” -Corporate Pravada spokesman.

    Oh, by the way a few weeks after the unblinding 5 more people given the vaccine died. Good thing we don’t include those deaths or the mortality rate increase caused by the vaccine would be even higher. That might interfere with drug sales.

    We shouldn’t be surprised considering previous animals studies for mRNA and coronavirus vaccines increased mortality. That’s why none were advanced to human trials until emergency authorization. Furthermore worldwide Covid vaccines are associated with increased all cause mortality.

  40. Hugh

    The thing about anti-vaxxers like metamars is that they love to invoke science, but if you look into their authorities they always end up being cranks. And if they should cite a legitimate scientific study and you look that up, it becomes clear they really, seriously can’t, won’t, didn’t understand it. I and others can point out their mistakes, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s not like we are going to change their minds. They aren’t interested in facts. What they want is to sell lies. Expose their lies and they will just repeat them, or change the subject, or come up with others.

    I don’t know exactly when the change occurred. Ten years ago, I would say when we called out a lie. The liars might double down on it, but there was always a certain desperation to that, a certain recognition that the lie wasn’t working. But now people lie like breathing. You can expose a lie, show how lame and ridiculous it is, and it doesn’t faze them for an instant. They go into automatic attack mode. If you don’t accept their bilge, you are the one who is being unscientific, illogical, projecting, engaged in transference, promoting hoaxes. In other words, their reaction is noise. They are not a part of any solution. They are part of the pathology that created the problems we face.

  41. Soredemos

    The FDA gaslighting the public over Ivermectin is breathtaking.

    For the record, not it isn’t ‘just a cattle drug’. It’s an anti-parasitical certified safe for use in humans by the fucking FDA itself in 1996. It’s been used to great effect in humans in Africa and has an incredibly robust safety record stretching back 30 years.

    The verdict is still out on if it actually does anything for treating Covid-19 (though there is a lot of credible evidence that it does), but even if this is all placebo there’s literally no reason not to prescribe it anyway. It’s extremely safe, certainly safer than approved treatments like Remdesivir.

    What’s happening now is that people, either desperate and unable to get a human dosage prescription, or simply unaware that it even exists in human approriate dosages, are taking amounts meant for cattle. And instead of making people aware that they can instead get it from a human doctor, and encouraging doctors to write prescriptions for it, the FDA has instead chosen to lie by omission and mislead the public that Ivermectin is just for cattle (as well as essentially mocking people).

    Amazing. And then the medical establishment and the government wonder why so many people don’t trust them. Because you’re literally fucking lying to us, assholes.

    The ‘public health professionals’ are shredding whatever was left of their credibility. What’s going to happen in six or nine or whatever months when they quietly admit Ivermectin works and they officially add it to treatment protocols? We’ve already danced this dance multiple times before: “it’s not airborne”, “vaccines make you immune; you don’t need masks anymore”, “we know for sure it didn’t come from a lab and you’re a crazy conspiracy theorist if you entertain the possibility that it did”. Each time is a blow to their credibility. But they just won’t stop lying.

    When this is all over and the sober histories are written, the accounts are going to be damning of the medical and public health professions.

  42. Hugh

    Well, one comment in mod. Oakchair, have you ever read a scientific study and understood it? Because it’s clear you don’t understand the Pfizer study. I’m surprised you even bothered with it. I mean you weren’t going to accept it, and you were going to bend and twist anything it did say. So we come back to you were going to believe what you believe, and try to dump some of your lies on us. But we knew that.

  43. Hugh

    As Soredemos says, “there’s literally no reason not to prescribe it anyway.” So why not magical incantations and spells?

    It is also important to understand that the dosing and formulation of a veterinary medication may be different from one meant for humans, and could have nasty consequences. A cow can weigh between 1200 and 1500 pounds. A cow sized dose of even a fairly benign medication could be lethal to a human.

  44. Ian Welsh

    New Zealand’s has done essentially the same things as China.

    Were they “totalitarian”?

    From what I know from the Chinese I follow, the CCP’s pandemic policies are not at all unpopular, by the way, because, well, they work and in fact they are well communicated. The Chinese have not botched their communications the way that the CDC and American pols have America’s.

    “Totalitarian” misses the point. Of course effective comms would be good, BUT you have to want to do the right thing first, and American/Canadian/British, etc… government does not.

    Western comms are bad because Western governments do not, in fact, even want to do the right things.

  45. What is going on is forced vaccine enthusiasts like Hugh have spent the last 6 months behaving like Donald Trump. They got the injections and don’t want to admit they were wrong and caused harm. Now that all the evidence even the research from the drug sellers shows the experimental injections increase mortality they are copying Trump again and doubling down on their logical fallacies and insults.

    They refuse to engage in a good faith logical discussion and are simply throwing metaphorical waste product. Their behavior is the definition of a term that starts with Tr and ends with l.

  46. @Metamars

    Metamars have you ever read a scientific study? You weren’t going to accept the science ever and would always state the evidence without corporate marketing spin. When you post data disagreeing with the party line you are a liar! You’re a crank for using evidence and not using ad hominem, and appeal to authority fallacies. There is not need to post evidence or logic to prove you wrong because you’re pathological and reject science. I am now going to get my third experimental injection because the first two were super effective. No need to have any evidence the drug is good because I am smart and part of the final solution. ,!!!

  47. Ché Pasa

    I was going through some internet stuff I’d kept from the ’90s and very early 2000s — pre-9/11. The Kosovo Thing. The Columbine Thing. Even a few scraps from the Impeachment Thing, c. 1996.

    What struck me just glancing through it was how nothing much has changed at least in terms of argumentation and what the sides contending say to and about one another. There was just as much internet hyperbole and hysteria, just as much inability of our rulers to move forward on anything positive or progressive, just as much unnamed fear, uncertainty and doubt concerning just about everything. A lot of it seemed pro-forma then just as it does now, argument for the sake of it not to persuade or change anyone’s mind. It wasn’t just hot-button political issues, either.

    I was involved in a planetary science group in those days, and it was much the same. Participants had opinions goddammmit! about Mars, say, and it took no effort at all for those opinions to become hard science in their own minds, and anyone who disagreed was a poopy-pants liar and deceiver, a know-nothing and a fraud. Even especially the credentialed academic planetary scientists who got their papers published in all the top journals. Frauds! The lot of them!

    And so it goes today as then. Crises have compounded one upon another, and yet nothing much changes, nothing much gets any better. It’s as if we must make a fuss, often over nothing, and whatever the case, “I am right, and you are a poopy-pants liar and fraud, nyah.”

    Human nature, I suppose. Made all the more central by the proliferation of social media (much less back then) and a constant cacophony of “news” from all sides and sources.

    And it’s certainly being exploited by the Overclass. Every crisis an opportunity for further looting, creative destruction and imposed impotence on the masses.

    Haven’t we been on this merry-go-round long enough? Is there any way to get off?

  48. Ché Pasa

    Oh, and David Koch has died. So there’s that.

  49. From Covid-19 “Vaccines” Could Lead to Antibody-Dependent Enhancement
    @ https://ghionjournal dot com/vaccine-risk-ade-smoking-gun/

    Conclusions drawn from the study and clinical implications: The specific and significant COVID-10 risk of ADE should have been and should be prominently and independently disclosed to research subject currently in vaccine trials, as well as those being recruited for the trials and future patients after vaccine approval, in order to meet the medical ethics standard of patient comprehension for informed consent”

    Perhaps fact-checker extraordinaire hugh would like to weigh in about the veracity of this claim. I have zero experience of this website, and have no idea whether this is likely to be disinformation, or not. (non-sarcastically, I’ll note that it’s a little suspicious I’m only hearing about this, now. this article is from 3 weeks, ago)

    While he’s at it, he can check out this other article, from 2 weeks ago, from the same website:

    Crimes Against Humanity: NIH Suppressed Covid-19 “Vaccines” Risk of ADE in Violation of the Nuremberg Codes

    This article has a quote, attributed to NIH:

    Antibody-based drugs and vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are being expedited through preclinical and clinical development. Data from the study of SARS-CoV and other respiratory viruses suggest that anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies could exacerbate COVID-19 through antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE).”

    The NIH link goes to a research article “Antibody-dependent enhancement and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and therapies”

    @ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih dot gov/32908214/

    but I’ve no time to read it.

    Maybe hugh can further improve the quality of this blog commentary community by explain his philosophy of trees falling in NIH forests. If a tree does fall therein, and everybody can see the tree, for themselves, does that mean that the tree has indeed fallen? Or, is this statement logically equivalent to “2 + 2 = 5”?

  50. Hugh

    metamars apparently found a “liberal” anti-vaxxer. The article is from one Teodrose Fikremariam who created the site “The Ghion Journal” where the article appears. Fikremariam’s main claims to fame are he says Obama used one of his speech ideas and that he is the direct descendant seven generations removed of the Ethiopian emperor Tewodros II who founded the modern form of the Ethiopian state in the mid-nineteenth century. Fikremariam thinks the US was founded as a freemason conspiracy and endorses wacko covid anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

  51. Soredemos


    Because unlike the voodoo, oh disengeous one, there’s actual reason to think that Ivermectin works.

    I’m not advocating its use instead of a vaccine, I’m advocating its use in addition to vaccines, as a treatment should someone get the disease. I myself have already had both Pfizer shots (I don’t think I’ll be taking them up on their booster shot offer however, particularly if they want me to shell out my own money for it). I’m not anti-vax, I’m anti-vaccine-triumphalism.

    Which, by the way, is also naked capitalism’s stance. Unlike what certain serial liars would like you to believe, NC has never been ‘let it rip’. In what world is advocating proper prevention, including masks and not reopening schools, and proper treatment ‘let it rip’?

  52. Hugh

    “there’s actual reason to think that Ivermectin works”

    Not really. The argument for its use is more often along the lines of “It can’t hurt and might help.” The studies so far are a pretty mixed bag, not to mention the problems with their methodology. The thing is if Ivermectin were as good as it is promoted to be, even in flawed studies it would show clear positive results. It doesn’t. We would all like a simple, cheap, safe, effective response to covid. From what I have seen of the ivermectin studies so far, it looks marginal at best.

  53. Soredemos


    None so blind as those who will not see.

  54. I read through ““Antibody-dependent enhancement and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and therapies”, and it was more cautionary than adamant that ADE was a concerning risk. It concluded

    ADE has been observed in SARS, MERS and other human respiratory virus infections including RSV and measles, which suggests
    a real risk of ADE for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and antibody-based
    interventions. However, clinical data has not yet fully established
    a role for ADE in human COVID-19 pathology. Steps to reduce
    the risks of ADE from immunotherapies include the induction or
    delivery of high doses of potent neutralizing antibodies, rather than
    lower concentrations of non-neutralizing antibodies that would be
    more likely to cause ADE.
    Going forwards, it will be crucial to evaluate animal and clinical
    datasets for signs of ADE, and to balance ADE-related safety risks
    against intervention efficacy if clinical ADE is observed. Ongoing
    animal and human clinical studies will provide important insights
    into the mechanisms of ADE in COVID-19. Such evidence is sorely
    needed to ensure product safety in the large-scale medical interventions that are likely required to reduce the global burden of
    Received: 16 May 2020; Accepted: 20 August 2020;
    Published online: 9 September 2020

    However, a different linked-to NIH publication “Informed consent disclosure to vaccine trial subjects of risk of COVID-19 vaccines worsening clinical disease” @ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih dot gov/33113270/

    does, indeed, contain the quote (in it’s abstract)

    Conclusions drawn from the study and clinical implications: The specific and significant COVID-19 risk of ADE should have been and should be prominently and independently disclosed to research subjects currently in vaccine trials, as well as those being recruited for the trials and future patients after vaccine approval, in order to meet the medical ethics standard of patient comprehension for informed consent.

    the full article is at:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih dot gov/pmc/articles/PMC7645850/

    It was published online Oct 2020, so maybe new research came to light that ADE was more of a risk than was evident in May 2020. However, I don’t see it’s submission date, so can’t compare on that basis. (Pub dates are Aug 2020 vs. Oct 28, 2020)

    I don’t want to read this article, now. Will look at it tonight.

  55. The report was supported by NIH. I’m not sure this means we should call it an “NIH document”. I would guess not.

    Supported by NIH award R21AI157604 (to TC).

  56. Bruce: I didn’t quite misspeak. The socialization of risk and the privatization of benefit is part of the elite ideology in the West, by which I mean, ignoring the manner in which one’s risk-taking affects others, while keeping all the benefits of your risk-taking. That belief is for example part of how consent was manufactured for the conditions that started the 2008 financial crisis.

  57. Hugh

    None so blind as those who will not see.

    Well, you would know, Soredemos. I am getting used to the vast, unwarranted assertions made by people who never read a scientific study, certainly never analyzed or understood one, and consequently have no idea where the evidence and literature are going. As I was saying, if ivermectin was more than marginal, we should be seeing evidence of that by now, not from its cheerleaders, but from the wider scientific and medical communities.

  58. different clue

    @Che’ Pasa,

    There’s probably lots of fresh young Kochies and Kochettes ready to pick up the fallen standard.

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