great viral debate rancourt
The gong sounds for Round Two of The Great VIRAL Debate. Track this debate's progress in our Coronavirus Debate Section. Dr Piers Robinson is our chair. Off-Guardian is your host. The proposition under debate is:
SARS-COV-2 merits suppression measures in order to combat the virus rather than the herd/community immunity approach
Dr Rancourt, arguing against the proposition, responds to Tim Anderson's first response from 17 Oct:

Tim spins a narrative about COVID-19, which is primarily intended to validate the state practice of medicine in select socialist jurisdictions ("China, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria"), while invalidating the state practice of medicine in select neo-liberal jurisdictions ("UK, USA, Sweden, Brazil").

Tim is focussed on political doctrine, and thus unable or unwilling to address my criticisms of his partisan views about COVID-19. I reiterate my criticisms below.

Likewise, it appears that Tim (who is in Australia) is significantly mistaken in terms of what actually occurred in Syria, according to a report by on-site investigative journalist Eva Bartlett.[1] Are Tim's interpretations of the actual events for other countries also mistaken?

Tim and I share disdain for the mass crimes of empire, and admiration for Cuba, which brilliantly practices diplomacy by humanistic medicine, but I cannot accept Tim's baseless arguments about COVID-19.

State medicine has a potential to be harmful, in both socialist and neo-liberal systems, not least via its paternalistic religion-like mesmerizing of the population. Medicine most everywhere has been modelled into a state religion, which creates an unhealthy dependence, and a debilitating perception of one's own body and place in the world.

In neo-liberal jurisdictions, the influence of Big Pharma is devastating, with prescription-drug addictions, and population-scale use of chemotherapeutic, psychotropic and palliative drugs. Most published research validating marginal benefits from these drugs is false.[2] It is no accident that the third-leading cause of death in the West is medical "error", not counting error-free "treatment".[3]

In addition, vaccines are generally a global industry of harmful exploitation, enabled by the captured WHO and CDC. It is a trillion-dollar industry, which supports the USA dollar as a global currency.[4]

The jurisdictions that are somewhat independent of the USA are not immune to the institutions captured by Big Pharma, nor to the global propaganda about the pandemic, because these jurisdictions know that fear can lead to war, and vaccines can create vaccine borders against trade and cooperation. Transmissible pathogens are a powerful pretext for total isolation and vilification of nations. Thus, except for Belarus that proves the rule, China and Russia must at least appear to take the West's pandemic seriously, and they must develop their own vaccines.

Tim's theory about COVID-19 is that a difference in "COVID deaths" between "neoliberal countries (UK, USA, Sweden, Brazil)" and "more independent countries (China, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria)" is caused by decimated and badly managed medical systems in the West versus responsibly managed and values-based medical care in his list of non-neoliberal countries.

Tim's theory is at odds with three main facts, which I have amply described in my articles and already spelled out in this debate:
  1. Viral respiratory diseases transmit highly in low absolute humidity conditions (in the winter of mid-latitude nations), not in humid (near equatorial) environments.
  2. The deaths mostly occurred in elderly persons in care homes (inter alia because these care homes were infected by transfers from hospitals, and are hot spots of transmission).[5] Therefore, one cannot compare societies with many elderly persons in care homes with societies in which elderly parents live more in nuclear families.
  3. Viral respiratory diseases transmit in closed facilities (hospitals, care homes, schools, etc.) having inadequate exhaust-ventilation, such as in cold climates or with air-conditioned spaces. Hot-climate spaces with natural ventilation are more ventilated.
Tim's narrative is a basket of apples and oranges.

Regarding the infection fatality ratio (IFR), Tim relies on Verity et al. (2020), which was published online on 30 March 2020. The article does not report measurements of the IFR. Rather, the authors infer a tenuous IFR using Bayesian inference theory:
To estimate the infection fatality ratio we fitted to data on infection prevalence from international Wuhan residents who were repatriated to their home countries...
Verity et al. obtain a large IFR estimate.

In contrast, Ioannidis, which I cited, calculated actual IFR values from seroprevalence data, and critically assessed such measurements in 36 studies and 7 national estimates. Ioannidis is one of the world's leading medical researchers. Tim argues that Ioannidis' numbers are the result of bias since the scientist tried to communicate his findings to the president of the USA, and expressed concern about the deleterious effects of lockdowns.

The main problem, however, is that to believe Tim, one has to forget the science about viral respiratory diseases prior to 2020. Non-pandemic influenza is a highly contagious disease that often devastates care homes for elderly persons, and I have already cited some of the studies of care-home influenza epidemics, in this debate. Case fatality ratios (CFR) and IFR are exponential with age, as is the case with COVID-19, and no worse.

Pre-COVID-19 care-home epidemics occurred by accident. Whereas, with COVID-19, care homes were systematically infected by transfers from hospitals, following the March 11th suggestions by the WHO to prepare hospitals for a pandemic, under conditions in which care workers fled out of fear. No wonder death counts were high in March-April-May.[6] [7] It is difficult to correct for these systematic effects in calculating an IFR that is intended, by definition, to be a characteristic of the viral pathogen in an unperturbed society. As such, many IFR evaluations will be overestimates. In addition, there has been a large positive bias in attributing deaths to COVID-19, in this propagandised pandemic, which also inflates calculated IFR values.

Instead of addressing my points about influenza and care homes, Tim relies on the bare uninformed statement: "The seasonal flu IFR is commonly said to be about 0.1%".

Finally, this figure from my latest article should put all of this in perspective.[7] It is the all-cause mortality by month in France from 1946 to 2020. The winter-burden mortality from viral respiratory diseases, primarily, is seasonal, and historical population-health status plays a dominant role throughout. An extra peak occurs in August 2003, which corresponds to a heatwave that killed 15 thousand. The last peak is the COVID-19 episode:
all-cause mortality france
Rancourt, DG, Baudin, M, Mercier, J (2020) "Evaluation of the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 in France, from all-cause mortality 1946-2020". 20 August 2020.
Dr Anderson's Round Two response will be published next week (w/c 25 Oct).

Track this debate's progress in our Coronavirus Debate Section


[1] Bartlett, E (2020) "My reply to Tim Anderson's statement on the "Great Viral Debate"". Patreon, and Facbook.

[2] Ioannidis JPA (2005) "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False". PLoS Med 2(8): e124.

[3] See my 2015 review in: "Cancer arises from stress-induced breakdown of tissue homeostasis"

[4] See my 2019 review in: "Geo-Economics and Geo-Politics Drive Successive Eras of Predatory Globalization and Social Engineering"


[6] Rancourt, DG (2020) "All-cause mortality during COVID-19: No plague and a likely signature of mass homicide by government response". 2 June 2020.

[7] Rancourt, DG, Baudin, M, Mercier, J (2020) "Evaluation of the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 in France, from all-cause mortality 1946-2020". 20 August 2020.