The material was originally published on www.swprs.org. All links and data were checked by SF Team.
The world continues to live in the conditions of the permanent media hysteria over the COVID-19 outbreak, with some sources even suggesting that a second wave of the spread of coronavirus is expected in the autumn. At the same time, more and more facts appear suggesting that the media hysteria over the current situation is no based on facts or even artificially created. While the coronavirus is an important factor influencing the situation around the world, the threat of the outbreak seems to be significantly overestimated. The July 2020 report can be found here. The June 2020 report can be found here. The August 2020 report can be found here. The October 2020 report can be fund here.
“The only means to fight the plague is honesty.” (Albert Camus, 1947)
Latest SPR Covid Updates
- The Zero Covid Countries (December 2020)
- Why Covid-19 is a “strange pandemic” (September 2020)
- New Antibody Data for the US and Sweden (November 2020)
- SARS-2 in Italy in August 2019? Very unlikely. (November 2020)
- Germany: Antibody seroprevalence studies (September 2020)
- Switzerland still without lockdown (December 2020)
- Belgium: Mortality since 1900 (November 2020)
- Covid: The Big Picture in 7 Charts (October 2020)
- Danish Mask Study: No Benefit (November 2020)
- On the Suppressed Danish Mask Study (October 2020)
- WHO Mask Study Seriously Flawed (September 2020)
Vaccines and Treatment
How did some countries manage to achieve a very low covid-19 prevalence?
Non-African countries with at least one million inhabitants but less than 1000 covid cases per one million inhabitants include, notably: Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan, Thailand, China (ex. Wuhan), New Zealand, South Korea, Cuba, Hong Kong, Australia (ex. Victoria) and Singapore (ex. migrant workers). Other major countries with a low covid prevalence include Japan, Finland and Norway.
The typical ‘reactive’ measures cannot explain this: it cannot be masks, as most of the worst affected countries have introduced mandatory masks, too; it also cannot be national lockdowns, as most of the worst affected countries have had lockdowns, too; and it cannot be mass PCR testing, as many of the worst affected countries have rather high testing rates, too.
Instead, the single most important factor has been early border control (as of January or February), something all of the above countries did. This is easiest for islands, which several of the above countries indeed are. In addition, countries directly bordering China – most of which already had experience with the 2003 SARS–1 epidemic – also introduced early border control.
(Overall, most major islands did well: besides Taiwan, New Zealand, Cuba and Australia, this also includes Iceland, Greenland, Sri Lanka, Madagaskar, Mauritius and Haiti.)
Even with early border control, however, a few infected people may already have entered the country. These people need to be identified and isolated very quickly. This can be done in a high-tech way (by rapid PCR testing, as in China, Taiwan and South Korea) or in a low-tech way (by batch isolation, as in Vietnam and Thailand. Vietnam isolated up to 200,000 people).
Moreover, most low-covid countries isolated potentially infected people not at home – where they may infect their family and neighbors –, but in dedicated isolation facilities. This is easiest for authoritarian countries (such as China, Vietnam and Thailand), but democratic low-covid countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Korea did this, too (often using empty hotels).
(Within Australia, only the state of Victoria and its capital city Melbourne failed to properly isolate infected people and, as a result of this, entered into a nightmarish months-long lockdown.)
Are there (non-African) low-covid countries without early and strict border control? No.
A few countries happened to avoid the spring wave, but got caught in the autumn wave. This group includes the Czech Republic (and most of Eastern Europe) as well as Uruguay in South America; some US states (notably in the Midwest) also belong to this group. Interestingly, in the US, the US President wanted to close borders early, but senior health experts were against it.
Germany, although located in the midst of Europe and right next to global hotspots like Belgium, the Netherlands and eastern France, managed to largely avoid the spring wave by closing borders and identifying infections just in time, but is now also facing a much stronger second wave.
The hypothesis of a ‘pre-existing immunity’ due to similar coronaviruses, e.g. in Southeast Asia, doesn’t seem to hold: while Thailand, Laos and Vietnam have few covid cases, their direct neighbors Myanmar (Burma), Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Philippines have many cases.
In contrast to influenza epidemics, primary schools have not been a major driver of the coronavirus pandemic. Secondary and tertiary schools are a different and more complex matter, however.
In conclusion, if you don’t want trouble with the coronavirus, don’t let the coronavirus in. Just a few weeks of delay may make all the difference, as in the cases of France vs. Germany or Norway vs. Sweden. In contrast, once the coronavirus is already widespread in a country, most of the much-discussed measures have turned out to be largely ineffective, and often destructive.
In the case of the highly infectious coronavirus, even the idea of “protecting the high-risk group” has turned out to be very difficult, if not impossible, in a high-prevalence environment. This is shown by the fact that in many Western countries, about 50% of deaths occurred in nursing homes.
In terms of economic impact, IMF data clearly shows that the harder and longer a lockdown, the stronger the economic contraction. However, most lockdowns occurred in response to an already high infection rate due to late border control. The economic impact moreover depends on the structure of an economy (e.g. the importance of the tourism and export industries).
Once the coronavirus has become widespread in a country, the single most effective measure to reduce severe illness and deaths appears to be large-scale early and prophylactic treatment.
The question of covid prevalence is different from the question of covid mortality. The latter depends mostly on demographics and possibly on genetic, immunological and lifestyle factors.
Many Western countries and Russia show high-prevalence and high-mortality. Many African countries and India show high-prevalence but low-mortality. Countries like Vietnam and Cambodia show low-prevalence and (likely) low-mortality. Countries like Japan and Taiwan show low-prevalence but (probably) high-mortality, although likely not as high as Western countries.
As anticipated, lockdown-free Switzerland experienced a very sharp increase in corona-related excess mortality in November (see graph below). The overall mortality in November – around 0.098% – corresponds to a very strong flu month, as last seen in January 1983, 1997 and 2000. A comparable November mortality was last seen in 1957 during the Asian flu (see below).
However, the median age of Swiss corona deaths remains very high, at 88 years for women and 83 years for men. In contrast to strong flu seasons, there is still no excess mortality under the age of 65. This extreme age gradient is the reason why Covid seems to be a “strange pandemic”.
(Nevertheless, even young and healthy people can suffer from protracted pneumonia or pronounced post-viral fatigue due to SARS-CoV-2 in about 5% to 10% of cases.)
The following graph compares the cumulative monthly mortality (as a percentage of the population) of 2020 with some peak years since 1950: the strong seasonal flu waves of 2017, 2015, 2000 and 1951, the flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968/1969 (against both of which vaccinations were available within a few months), the flu and heat year of 2003, and the flu and heroin year of 1990. For reasons of space, much stronger flu years such as 1929 and 1918 are not shown.
The following figure shows the cumulative mortality from January to November (excluding December) for the years from 1900 to and including the corona year 2020 (the increase at the very end of the curve). Daily corona deaths have decreased slightly since mid-November 2020, but antibody prevalence is assumed to be only 10% to 20% in most regions of Switzerland.
In total, about one in ten deaths in Switzerland this year was due to corona. Cancer was almost three times more frequent and heart disease almost four times more frequent than corona.
Switzerland still does not have a prophylaxis and early treatment concept that would reduce corona-related hospitalizations and deaths by up to 80% according to international studies. In fact, Swiss authorities and advisory bodies have repeatedly spoken out against such early treatment. Instead, they have relied on ineffective masks, problematic mass PCR tests and an inefficient contact tracing app.
The utilization rate of intensive care units in Switzerland is around 80%, a basically normal value, which was also achieved by reducing the number of non-urgent operations. In addition, there are significant regional differences: the utilization of intensive care units has so far ranged from around 60% in Graubunden to temporarily close to 100% in some western Swiss cantons.
Switzerland’s comparatively liberal and “self-responsible” approach to the Corona pandemic is also attracting – often critical – interest internationally: see for example the reports of German ARD and ZDF. Germany, for its part, is finding it difficult to back out of the “short-term lockdown”, which has already been extended until January, without risking a renewed increase in infections, especially since the corona virus season lasts until April.
Ultimately, the aim is to protect the population without achieving a Pyrrhic victory.
Vaccines: Successes and Controversies
A. Documentaries about the success of vaccines
A1. Hilleman: A Perilous Quest to Save the World’s Children (2016)
Summary: “The greatest scientist of the 20th century, and no one knows his name. This documentary tells the inspiring story of Dr. Maurice Hilleman, a man with a singular, unwavering focus: to eliminate the diseases of children. From his poverty-stricken youth on the plains of Montana, he came to prevent pandemic flu, invent the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, and develop the first-ever vaccine against human cancer.
Responsible for more than half of the vaccines children receive today, he is credited with saving more than eight million lives every year. Now through exclusive interviews with Dr. Hilleman and his peers, rare archival footage, and 3-D animation, this film puts a human face to vaccine science, revealing the character that drove this bold, complex, and heroic man.”
Year: 2016; Duration: 66min; Director: Donald R. Mitchell; See also: Official website
A2. The Polio Story: The Vaccine That Changed the World (BBC, 2015)
Summary: “It was 1952, and polio gripped the world in fear. There was no known cause, no cure and no help in sight for parents desperate to protect their children. Across the ocean, eager to beat the potentially fatal condition, polio-afflicted President Roosevelt inspired the American public to send in their dimes to fund research. In just a few years Joseph Salk, an ambitious 33-year-old scientist working from his basement lab in Pittsburgh, would bring infantile paralysis to its knees and change the course of medical history. Bill Gates is interviewed along with a number of world-renowned experts and survivors to tell the extraordinary story of how Dr Salk and the legendary ‘march of dimes’ came together to help conquer polio.”
Year: 2015; Duration: 45 minutes; Director: Tjardus Greidanus;
See also: How modern sanitation gave us polio (NextNature, 2014)
A3. Historical documentaries
- The Silent Invader (Westinghouse, 1957, 30min) “This film discusses how the United States is preparing for an outbreak of Asian influenza. Prominent physicians and the head of the US Public Health Service address types of influenza, the nature of the virus, mortality rates, spread patterns, vaccines, the physician’s responsibility, and medical advice for people who fall ill.”
- Mission, Measles: The Story of a Vaccine (Merck and USPHS, 1964, 20min) “This documentary details the history of the highly contagious virus that causes measles and the development of the measles vaccine in the 1950s and early 1960s. The pharmaceutical company Merck with help from the U.S. Public Health Service produced the film.”
- From Jenner to Wakefield: The long shadow of the anti-vaccination movement (Gresham College, 2011, 60 minute lecture) “In 1998 a medical furore broke out when The Lancet published an article by Andrew Wakefield questioning the benefits of the MMR vaccination which was being given unquestioningly to children throughout the UK. Coming 202 years after the first vaccination by Edward Jenner, which led to the eradication of smallpox throughout the world, this recent incident is only the latest in a long history of questioning the benefits of vaccination.”
B. Documentaries about vaccine safety concerns
B1. The Vaccine War (PBS, 2010/2015)
Summary: “Vaccines have changed the world, largely eradicating a series of terrible diseases, from smallpox to polio to diphtheria, and likely adding decades to most of our life spans. But despite the gains — and numerous scientific studies indicating vaccine safety — a growing movement of parents remains fearful of vaccines. And in some American communities, significant numbers of parents have been rejecting vaccines altogether, raising new concerns about the return of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough.
In The Vaccine War, FRONTLINE lays bare the science of vaccine safety and examines the increasingly bitter debate between the public health establishment and a formidable populist coalition of parents, celebrities, politicians and activists who are armed with the latest social media tools — including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter — and are determined to resist pressure from the medical and public health establishments to vaccinate, despite established scientific consensus about vaccine safety.”
Year: 2010/2015; Duration: 53min; Producer: PBS Frontline; See also: PBS website
B2. 1976 Swine Flu Pandemic Vaccine Injuries (CBS, 1979)
Summary: “Remember the swine flu scare of 1976? That was the year the U.S. government told us all that swine flu could turn out to be a killer that could spread across the nation, and Washington decided that every man, woman and child in the nation should get a shot to prevent a nation-wide outbreak, a pandemic. Well, 46 million of us obediently took the shot, and now 4,000 Americans are claiming damages from Uncle Sam amounting to three and a half billion dollars because of what happened when they took that shot. By far the greatest number of the claims – two thirds of them are for neurological damage, or even death, allegedly triggered by the flu shot.”
B3. The Swine Flu Profiteers (ARTE, 2009)
Summary: “The current  wave of influenza is scaring people around the world. The virus of subtype A/H1N1 – better known as swine flu – is spreading rapidly. In June, the World Health Organization (WHO) intensified its warning of a pandemic and declared the highest alert level. Since then, the health authorities in all countries have been trying to control the spread.
Hundreds of millions of euros are being made available for medicines and vaccines. Tax money has probably never been spent so quickly and unchecked as in the fight against the new flu virus. Has a mass hysteria gripped us or is the new flu really a deadly threat? In either case, there are tangible interests at stake. More and more scientists are criticizing the actions of the authorities.”
Year: 2009; Duration: 60min; Producer: ARTE; Language: German/English; Backup: Youtube
See also: Pandemrix vaccine: why was the public not told of early warning signs? (BMJ, 2018)
Pandemrix vaccine: why was the public not told of early warning signs?
B4. Vaxxed I: From Cover Up To Catastrophe (2016)
Summary: “An investigation into how the CDC, the government agency charged with protecting the health of American citizens, destroyed data on a 2004 study that showed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. This alarming deception has contributed to the skyrocketing increase of autism, potentially the most catastrophic epidemic of our lifetime.”
Year: 2016; Duration: 90min; Producers: Andrew Wakefield, Del Bigtree; See also: Official website
Critique: A critical review of the documentary and its claims (Wikipedia)
Other languages: German edition (Bitchute)
B5. Vaxxed II: The People’s Truth (2019)
Summary: “An exploration into a possible link between various vaccinations and illness, injury, and death.”
Year: 2019; Duration: 90min; Director: Brian Burrowes; See also: Official website
Additional data: Vaxxed vs. Unvaxxed – The Science (Children’s Health Defense, 2020)
Critique: A critical review of the documentary and its claims (The Guardian)
Other languages: German edition (Bitchute)
What is HIV? What is AIDS? What is being done to cure it? The HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten, and this is the first film to present the uncensored views of many of the major playersC. Documentaries about the HIV/AIDS controversy
C1. House of Numbers: Anatomy of an Epidemic (2010)
Summary: “What is HIV? What is AIDS? What is being done to cure it? The HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten, and this is the first film to present the uncensored views of many of the major players.”
Critique: A critical review of the documentary and its claims (Wikipedia)
C2. The Cause Of AIDS: Fact And Speculation (1992/1995)
Summary: “A documentary on the theory of latent syphilis as an unrecognized cause of AIDS. Originally produced by Colman Jones for the ‘Toronto: Living with AIDS Project’ starting back in 1990. The series won a MacLean-Hunter Lizzie Award in the Current Affairs category, received an Ontario Cable Television Association (OCTA) award, and was later rebroadcast in 1994 on the Rogers TV community cable channels in Toronto and Vancouver.”
Year: 1992/1995; Duration: 60 minutes; Director: Colman Jones; See also: Syphilis-AIDS theory
C3. The Origins of AIDS (2004)
Summary: “Did scientists inadvertently cause the AIDS epidemic? More than 20 years after the AIDS epidemic started, we still do not know its origins. Many believe that the answer is hidden in the research undertaken to find a cure to the polio epidemic. As the scientific community’s ethical responsibilities are called into question, the debate over the origins of AIDS rages on.”
Year: 2004; Duration: 90 minutes; Director: Peter Chappell; See also: Wikipedia article
C4. Operation “Denver”: KGB and Stasi Disinformation regarding AIDS
- Operation “Denver”: KGB and Stasi Disinformation regarding AIDS (Selvage & Nehring, 2019)
- AIDS disinformation and “disinformation squared” after five years (Geissler & Sprinkle, 2019)
- Operation “Denver”: The East German Ministry of State Security and the KGB’s AIDS Disinformation Campaign, 1985–1986 (Part 1) (Douglas Selvage, JCWS, 2019)
D. Additional documentaries and books
- TrustWHO (2018, Franck/Schlottmann, 90 minutes): “The World Health Organization (WHO) was founded with the aim of building a healthier future for everyone. It’s the body we rely on to resolve all public health crises, but can it be trusted? This powerful investigative doc uncovers an alarming picture of corruption and opacity as filmmaker Lilian Franck asks whether the organisation can be trusted to keep the public healthy.”
- Vaccines: truth, lies and controversy (Peter C. Gøtzsche, 2020) “There is substantial misinformation about vaccines on the Internet, particularly from those who reject all vaccines, but also from official sources, which are expected to be neutral and objective. The book is based on the best available evidence, and Professor Gøtzsche explains when and why we should not have confidence in the science and official recommendations.”
- Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare (Peter C. Gøtzsche, 2013) “In his latest ground-breaking book, Peter C Gotzsche exposes the pharmaceutical industries and their charade of fraudulent behaviour, both in research and marketing where the morally repugnant disregard for human lives is the norm. He convincingly draws close comparisons with the tobacco conglomerates, revealing the extraordinary truth behind efforts to confuse and distract the public and their politicians.”
- Website: Children’s Health Defense (An NGO founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.)
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Covid-19 Facts October 2020 Updates
- Covid-19 Facts August Updates
- Covid-19 Facts July Updates
- Covid-19 Facts June Updates