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Tue, 25 Jan 2022
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Health & Wellness


Scotland reveals how many Omicron patients needed intensive care

Omicron sign
© Reuters
Only one patient who was confirmed to have the Omicron strain of Covid-19 has ended up in intensive care since the variant began to spread in Scotland, according to data released by the government.

While one in 40 people in the British nation had Covid last week, according to government estimates, with around 80% of cases thought to be Omicron, fewer than 100 people were in hospital with the new strain.

In a potentially encouraging sign that the new, more infectious variant is not as dangerous as previous strains, out of all of the people who were treated in Scottish hospitals with Omicron, only one was put in intensive care.

Since the pandemic began, Scotland has recorded nearly 1 million cases of Covid-19, with 1,031 people currently receiving hospital treatment for the virus, as of yesterday. Scottish government advisor Linda Bauld told reporters:
"It looks like the odds of needing ventilation and intensive care are lower than they were and that's no doubt largely due to vaccines and boosters. However it's still likely" that some people will need hospital care."

Comment: One foot in, one foot out...responses are cautionary:
Ministers are expected to cut the self-isolation period from 10 days to seven within days - to bring Scotland in line with the other UK nations - amid continuing concern over the availability of tests. At the end of last week people trying to book PCR tests through a UK government online portal were told there were no slots or they were offered tests at locations up to 60 miles from their homes.

Analysis is ongoing to determine which hospital patients are being treated for a Covid-related illness and which patients have tested positive but do not have symptoms.

The Omicron figures published by the Scottish Government on Friday show a total of 91 people confirmed to have contracted the variant have required hospital treatment and one has needed intensive care.
"In London, what seems to be happening is some of the intensive care consultants are being asked to go on to the general medical wards because there are so many patients there. So, intensive care wards are not overstretched but other wards are overstretched. That just means you have a high volume of patients but they might not be as unwell.

"It's good news for individuals who pick it up but the concerns are the pressures on the sector now. The main worry at the moment is staff absences.

"People are being bombarded with reminders from the Scottish government to book a test if they have symptoms - only to find there aren't any tests to book."
The Scottish Conservatives welcomed the new figures:
"The government data suggests that despite Omicron's high level of transmissibility, we are not yet seeing this reflected in hospitalisation numbers. The SNP Government need to seriously consider this information ahead of any potential changes to the current restrictions that are damaging businesses and livelihoods. As a priority the government should update the self-isolation rules which continue to put pressure on our essential services."
England, Wales and Northern Ireland have already cut the Covid isolation period to seven days and in the United States it is now five days, dependent on a negative test.

Meanwhile teachers leaders are warning that a rapid rise in cases could cause significant disruption to schools unless immediate action is taken by the Scottish Government. The NASUWT union has insisted a range of measures are needed to help combat surging infection levels resulting from the Omicron variant.

Ministers are being urged to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission in the classroom by funding air-cleaning units for every school and college that needs such devices.


Whistleblower reports several new cases of 'mysterious' New Brunswick neurological illness, this time detected in caretakers of the sufferers

© Zoonar GmbH/AlamyLeyland Cecco
Young adults are developing troubling symptoms, including rapid weight loss, insomnia, hallucinations and limited mobility.
A whistleblower in the Canadian province of New Brunswick has warned that a progressive neurological illness that has baffled experts for more than two years appears to be affecting a growing number of young people and causing swift cognitive decline among some of the afflicted.

Speaking to the Guardian, an employee with Vitalité Health Network, one of the province's two health authorities, said that suspected cases are growing in number and that young adults with no prior health triggers are developing a catalog of troubling symptoms, including rapid weight loss, insomnia, hallucinations, difficulty thinking and limited mobility.

The official number of cases under investigation, 48, remains unchanged since it was first announced in early spring 2021. But multiple sources say the cluster could now be as many as 150 people, with a backlog of cases involving young people still requiring further assessment.

Comment: See also:


Australia's TGA evaluation report of the Pfizer vaccine

"The shortcoming of the repeat dose toxicity study design should not preclude approval of the vaccine." Really?

UPDATE: Thank you to this person on Twitter.
Twitter post Screen Shot
© Twitter
Well, well, well. This document that I will talk about today is not new, but it is hot. Where to start? Considering I'm not even sure what the quote that became the title of this article means, let's start with the title of the Report:
Nonclinical Evaluation Report

BNT162b2 [mRNA] COVID-19 vaccine (COMIRNATY™)

Submission No: PM-2020-05461-1-2

Sponsor: Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd

January 2021

Eval Rpt by TGA
The document begins with a summary of what they found in their own assessment of the safety of the COMIRNATY product made by Pfizer. The first thing that you should probably pay attention to is the comment about pharmacology and toxicity in the summary. But wait one second. Let's set the stage here.


Covid-19 exacerbates kidney problems for those with multiple comorbidities

times square covid test
© Reuters / Andrew Kelly
People queue for a Covid-19 test in Times Square as the Omicron variant continues to spread, New York City, US, December 26, 2021.
Covid-19 directly infects cells and can cause severe damage to the kidneys, according to a scientific study connecting serious infection with organ failure.

In a paper published in the scientific journal Cell Stem Cell on Friday, a group of researchers report that Covid-19 can cause serious complications affecting a patient's kidneys.

"SARS-CoV-2 directly infects kidney cells and is associated with increased tubule-interstitial kidney fibrosis in patient autopsy samples," the study says, acknowledging that, while kidney failure "is frequently observed during and after Covid-19," it had previously been inconclusive as to "whether this [was] a direct effect of the virus."

Comment: Covid for the vast majority is relatively harmless, similar to the flu, a great many don't even know they have it without a test, and so kidney failure is not a common occurrence at all. Those who do suffer more severe issues with Covid also have multiple comorbidities, which means that their physiology may already be seriously compromised. In fact, as noted below in red, this seems to be exactly what's happening.

Comment: See also: More than half of people with long Covid might NOT have 'long Covid' after all


Omicron Variant Sends Vaccine Makers' Stocks Soaring, as VAERS Data Show 913,000 Reported Adverse Events After COVID Vaccines

Covid Vaccine
VAERS data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included a total of 913,268 reports of adverse events from all age groups following COVID vaccines, including 19,249 deaths and 143,395 serious injuries between Dec. 14, 2020, and Nov. 19, 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data late Monday showing a total of 913,268 adverse events following COVID vaccines were reported between Dec. 14, 2020, and Nov. 19, 2021, to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is the primary government-funded system for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S.

The data included a total of 19,249 reports of deaths — an increase of 396 over the previous week — and 143,395 reports of serious injuries, including deaths, during the same time period — up 4,269 compared with the previous week.

Excluding "foreign reports" to VAERS, 664,745 adverse events, including 8,898 deaths and 56,297 serious injuries, were reported in the U.S. between Dec. 14, 2020, and Nov. 19, 2021.

Foreign reports are reports received by U.S. manufacturers from their foreign subsidiaries. Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, if a manufacturer is notified of a foreign case report that describes an event that is both serious and does not appear on the product's labeling, the manufacturer is required to submit the report to VAERS.

Of the 8,898 U.S. deaths reported as of Nov. 19, 20% occurred within 24 hours of vaccination, 26% occurred within 48 hours of vaccination and 56% occurred in people who experienced an onset of symptoms within 48 hours of being vaccinated.

In the U.S., 447.7 million COVID vaccine doses had been administered as of Nov. 19. This includes: 260 million doses of Pfizer, 171 million doses of Moderna and 16 million doses of Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

Comment: See also:

Star of David

Massive new bird flu outbreak could be 2022's deadly pandemic

Wild Cranes
© Sky News
Wild Cranes in Israel
Israel's National Security Council has assumed control of a massive bird flu outbreak in the Galilee, which scientists warn could become a "mass disaster" for humans.

Over half a billion migrating birds pass through the area every year, heading for warm African winters or balmy European summers, making this a catastrophic location for a major bird flu outbreak — right at the nexus of global avian travel.

The virus can be deadly if it infects people. The World Health Organization says more than half of the confirmed 863 human cases it has tracked since 2003 proved fatal. Most strains or variants of avian flu, H5N1, are relatively difficult to transmit to people.

Yossi Leshem, one of Israel's most renowned ornithologists, told The Daily Beast, however, that it is the ability of these viruses to mutate into new strains that poses such a threat, as we have seen with the coronavirus. "There could be a mutation that also infects people and turns into a mass disaster," said Leshem, a zoologist at Tel Aviv University and director of the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration at Latrun.

Comment: The heralds of this disaster are equating it with Coronavirus, ramping up a new bogeyman as the variants peter out. Reality: Another food source is dwindling.

See also:

Cupcake Pink

High-sucrose diet during adolescence may contribute to pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia

sucrose psychiatric
© Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science.
Hirai et al. demonstrated that a high-sucrose diet during adolescence induces psychosis-related behavioral endophenotypes, including hyperactivity, poor working memory, impaired sensory gating, and disrupted interneuron function in mice deficient for GLO1, an enzyme involved in detoxification of sucrose metabolites. I
Using a mouse model, a team of researchers at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science demonstrated that high-dietary sucrose consumption during adolescence is a potential risk factor for the development of behavioral phenotypes associated with psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Considering the global increase in consumption of simple sugars, the World Health Organization published guidelines that addressed concerns regarding body weight gain and dental caries development in 1995.

High sugar intake alone increases the risks of numerous chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease.

Comment: Interestingly, there's increasing evidence that sufferers of schizophrenia may be extra sensitive to a variety of foods, and that some alleviation of symptoms can be found in eating a more wholefood diet, lower in carbohydrates (simple sugars) and higher in animal fats. Anecdotally, some researchers have highlighted this point by showing that in more primitive societies, these kinds of mental disorders appear to be much less common:

Stock Down

As three more studies show NEGATIVE vaccine effectiveness, when will health authorities face up to what the data is telling us?

vaccine efficacy graph covid
The last two weeks have brought three new studies finding negative efficacy for two vaccine doses, meaning the vaccinated are more likely to be infected than the unvaccinated. These are study findings, not raw data, so have been adjusted for various biases and confounders, making it harder to dismiss them as anomalous or skewed.

The first is a pre-print study from Denmark, published on December 23rd, which looked at nearly all PCR-positive SARS-CoV-2 infections in Denmark from November 20th to December 12th and investigated them to see if they were likely to be the Omicron variant.

By comparing the vaccination status of those infected, the researchers found a vaccine effectiveness against the Omicron variant of minus-76.5% for Pfizer and minus-39.3% for Moderna three months after double vaccination (see chart above), meaning the double-vaccinated were considerably more likely to be infected than the unvaccinated.

They found the vaccine effectiveness against Omicron was significantly lower than against Delta, with Pfizer vaccine effectiveness at 53.8% and Moderna at 65% against Delta after three months. They reported that a third dose of Pfizer got vaccine effectiveness against Omicron back up to 54.6%, at least for a month. The full results are in the table below:

Life Preserver

Stop panicking: You are a third less likely to catch Covid this Christmas than last Christmas and 80% less likely to die from it

children playing
We're republishing the latest analysis by James Ferguson, a financial analyst, which argues - quite convincingly - that not only is Omicron considerably milder than Delta but also less transmissible.

Almost a year ago to the day, I noted that the reasons given for closing down Christmas celebrations in the U.K. last year had owed more to a basic mathematical error than the supposed increased transmissibility and virulence of the new alpha (Medway) variant.

This year, a similar threat from omicron appears to be scaring the politicos, but this again seems more a figment of the scare-mongers' hysteria than scientifically-grounded evidence.

The willful damage that certain so-called scientists have serially inflicted on the economy needs to be queried. However, the propaganda machine likens any healthy skepticism to flat-earth advocacy.

Consequently, this note takes a leaf out of Steven Koonin's excellent book on the climate debate Unsettled, and only interprets the Government's own official data.


Omicron variant could boost immunity against Delta and eventually displace it: study

covid testing
Infection with the Omicron coronavirus variant may provide increased immunity against Delta, according to a new South African study. Here, a passenger of a flight from South Africa is tested for the virus at Amsterdam Schiphol airport on December 2 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Omicron coronavirus infections may provide individuals with increased protection against the Delta variant and pave the way for Delta to eventually become displaced, according to a new study published in South Africa.

Researchers from the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) conducted a small study and found that people who are infected with Omicron, especially those who are vaccinated, gain stronger immunity against Delta.

The research involved 13 Omicron patients, seven of which were vaccinated and one who had received a booster shot. To conduct the study, the scientists measured how well participants were able to neutralize Omicron and Delta upon enrollment, and 14 days later. During that time-frame, they found that neutralization of Omicron generally increased 14-fold, while Delta neutralization increased 4.4-fold.

According to the paper, vaccinated participants "were able to mount a better neutralizing response against Delta" while those who were unvaccinated had "more variable" responses.