We Need to Change Our COVID-19 Strategy

We would like to think that we can eliminate COVID-19, but doing so is far from certain. The medical system has not been successful in eliminating HIV/AIDS or influenza; the situation with COVID-19 may be similar.

We are discovering that people with COVID-19 are extremely hard to identify because a significant share of infections are very mild or completely without symptoms. Testing everyone to find the huge number of hidden cases cannot possibly work worldwide. As long as there is hidden COVID-19 elsewhere in the world, the benefit of identifying everyone with the illness in a particular area is limited. The disease simply bounces back, as soon as there is a reduction in containment efforts.

Figure 1. One-week average new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Israel, Spain, Belgium and Netherlands. Chart made using data as of August 8, 2020 using an Interactive Visualization available at https://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/ based on Johns Hopkins University CSSE database.

We are also discovering that efforts to contain what is essentially a hidden illness are very damaging to the world economy. Shutdowns in particular lead to many unemployed people and riots. Social distancing requirements can make investments unprofitable. Cutting off air flights leads to a huge loss of tourism and leaves farmers with the problem of how to get their fruit and vegetable crops picked without migrant workers. If COVID-19 is very widespread, contact tracing simply becomes an exercise in frustration.

Trying to identify the many asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 is surprisingly difficult. The cost is far higher than the cost of the testing devices.

At some point, we need to start lowering expectations regarding what can be done. The economy can protect a few members, but not everyone. Instead, emphasis should be on strengthening people’s immune systems. Surprisingly, there seems to be quite a bit that can be done. Higher vitamin D levels seem to be associated with fewer and less severe cases. Better diet, with more fruits and vegetables, is also likely to be helpful from an immunity point of view. Strangely enough, more close social contacts may also be helpful.

In the remainder of this post, I will explain a few pieces of the COVID-19 problem, together with my ideas for modifications to our current strategy.

Recent News About COVID-19 Has Been Disturbingly Bad


It is becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 is likely to be here for quite some time. The World Health Organization’s director recently warned, “. . . there’s no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be.” A recent Wall Street Journal article is titled, “Early Coronavirus Vaccine Supplies Likely Won’t Be Enough for Everyone at High Risk.” This article relates only to US citizens at high risk. Needless to say, creating enough vaccine for both high and low risk individuals, around the world, is a long way away.

We are also hearing that vaccines may be far less than 100% effective; 50% effective would be considered sufficient at this time. Two doses are likely to be needed; in fact, elderly patients may need three doses. The vaccine may not work for obese individuals. We don’t yet know how long immunity from the vaccines will last; a new round of injections may be needed each year.

new report confirms that asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 are indeed able to spread the disease to others.

Furthermore, the financial sector is increasingly struggling with the adverse impact shutdowns are having on the economy. If it becomes necessary to completely “write off” the tourism industry, economies around the world will struggle with permanent job loss and debt defaults.

Shutdowns Don’t Work for Businesses and the Financial System 

There are many issues involved:

(a) Shutdowns tend to lead to huge job loss. Riots follow, as soon as people have a chance to express their unhappiness with the situation.

(b) If countries stop importing migrant workers, there is likely to be a major loss of fruits and vegetables that farmers have planted. No matter how much money is printed, it does not replace these lost fruits and vegetables.

(c) Manufacturing supply lines don’t work if raw materials and parts are not available when needed. Because of this, a shutdown in one part of the world tends to have a ripple effect around the world.

(d) Social distancing requirements for businesses are problematic because they lead to less efficient use of available space. Businesses can serve fewer customers, so total revenue is likely to fall. Employees may need to be laid off. Fixed costs, such as debt, become more difficult to pay, making defaults more likely.

Shutdowns cause a major problem for the economy, because, with many people out of the workforce, the total amount of finished goods and services produced by the economy falls. Broken supply lines and reduced efficiency tend to make the problem worse. World GDP is the total amount of goods and services produced. Thus, by definition, total world GDP is reduced by shutdowns.

Governments can institute benefit programs for citizens to try to redistribute what goods and services are available, but this will not fix the underlying problem of many fewer goods and services actually being produced. Citizens will find that some shelves in stores are empty, and that many airline seats are unavailable. They will find that some goods are still unaffordable, even with government subsidies.

Governments can try to give loans to businesses to help them through the financial problems caused by new rules, such as social distancing, but it is doubtful this approach will lead to new investment. For example, if social distancing requirements mean that new buildings and vehicles can only be used in an inefficient manner, there will be little incentive for businesses to invest in new buildings and vehicles, even if low-interest loans are available.

Furthermore, even if there might be opportunities for new, more efficient businesses to be added, the subsidization of old inefficient businesses operating at far below capacity will tend to crowd out these new businesses.

People of Many Ages Soon Become Unhappy with Shutdowns

Young people expect hands-on learning experiences at universities. They also expect to be able to meet possible future marriage partners in social settings. They become increasingly unhappy, as shutdowns drag on.

The elderly need to be protected from COVID-19, but they also need to be able to see their families. Without social interaction, their overall health tends to decline.

We Are Kidding Ourselves if We Think a Vaccine Will Make the Worldwide COVID-19 Problem Disappear

Finding a vaccine that works for 100% of the world’s population seems extremely unlikely. Even if we do find a vaccine or drug treatment that works, being able to extend this solution to poor countries around the world is likely to be a slow process.

If we look back historically, pretty much all of the improvement in the US crude death rate (number of deaths divided by total population) has come from conquering infectious diseases.

Figure 2. Crude mortality rates in the United States in chart from Trends in Infectious Disease Mortality in the United States During the 20th Century, Armstrong et al., JAMA, 1999.

The catch is that since 1960, there hasn’t been an improvement in infectious disease mortality in the United States, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Society. As progress has been made on some longstanding diseases such as hepatitis, new infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS have arisen. Also, the biggest category of infectious disease remaining is “influenza and pneumonia,” and little progress has been made in reducing its death rate in the United States. Figure 3 shows one chart from the article.

Figure 3. Mortality due to influenza or HIV/AIDS, in chart from Infectious Disease Mortality Trends in the United States, 1980-2014 by Hansen et al., JAMA, 2016.

With respect to HIV/AIDS, it took from the early 1980s until 1997 to start to get the mortality rate down through drugs. A suitable vaccine has not yet been created.

Furthermore, even when the US was able to reduce the mortality from HIV/AIDS, this ability did not immediately spread to poor areas of the world, such as Sub-Saharan Africa. In Figure 4, we can see the bulge in Sub-Saharan Africa’s crude death rates (where HIV/AIDS was prevalent), relative to death rates in India, where HIV/AIDS was less of a problem.

Figure 4. Crude death rates for Sub-Saharan Africa, India, the United States, and the World from 1960 through 2018, based on World Bank data.

While the medical system was able to start reducing the mortality of HIV/AIDS in the United States about 1996-1997 (Figure 3, above), a 2016 article says that it was still very prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2013. Major issues included difficulty patients had in traveling to health care sites and a lack of trained personnel to administer the medication. We can expect these issues to continue if a vaccine is developed for COVID-19, especially if the new vaccine requires more than one injection, every year.

Another example is polio. A vaccine for polio was developed in 1955; the disease was eliminated in the US and other high income countries in about the next 25 years. The disease has still not been eliminated worldwide, however. Poor countries tend to use an oral form of the vaccine that can be easily administered by anyone. The problem with this oral vaccine is that it uses live viruses which themselves can cause outbreaks of polio. Cases not caused by the vaccine are still found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

These examples suggest that even if a vaccine or fairly effective treatment for COVID-19 is discovered, we are kidding ourselves if we think the treatment will quickly transfer around the world. To transfer around the world, it will need to be extremely inexpensive and easy to administer. Even with these characteristics, the eradication of COVID-19 is likely to take a decade or more, unless the virus somehow disappears on its own.

The fact that COVID-19 transmits easily by people who show no symptoms means that even if COVID-19 is eradicated from the high-income world, it can return from the developing world, unless a large share of people in these advanced countries are immune to the disease. We seem to be far from that situation now. Perhaps this will change in a few years, but we cannot count on widespread immunity any time soon.

Containment Efforts for a Disease with Many Hidden Carriers Is Likely to Be Vastly More Expensive than One in Which Infected People Are Easily Identifiable 

It is easy to misunderstand how expensive finding the many asymptomatic carriers of a disease is. The cost is far higher than the cost of the tests themselves, because the situation is quite different. If people have serious symptoms, they will want to stay home. They will want to give out the names of others, if they can see that doing so might prevent someone else from catching a serious illness.

We have the opposite situation, if we are trying to find people without symptoms, who might infect others. We need to:

  1. Identify all of these people who feel well but might infect others.
  2. Persuade these people who feel well to stay away from work or other activities.
  3. Somehow compensate these people for lost wages and perhaps extra living expenses, while they are in quarantine.
  4. Pay for all of the tests to find these individuals.
  5. Convince these well individuals to name those whom they have had contact with (often their friends), so that they can be tested and perhaps quarantined as well.

Perhaps a few draconian governments, such as China, can handle these problems by fiat, and not really compensate workers for being unable to work. In other countries, all of these costs are likely to be a problem. Because of inadequate compensation, exclusion from work is not likely to be well received. Quarantined people will not want to report which friends they have seen recently, if the friends are likely also to lose wages. In poor countries, the loss of income may mean the loss of the ability to feed a person’s family. 

Another issue is that “quick tests” are likely to be used for contact tracing, since “PCR tests,” which tend to be more accurate, often require a week or more for laboratory processing. Unfortunately, quick tests for COVID-19 are not very accurate. (Also a CNN report.) If there are a lot of “false positives,” many people may be needlessly taken out of work. If there are a lot of “false negatives,” all of this testing will still miss a lot of carriers of COVID-19.

A Major Benefit of Rising Energy Consumption Seems to Be Better Control Over Infectious Diseases and a Falling Crude Death Rate

I often write about how the world’s self-organizing economy works. The growth in the world’s energy consumption since the advent of fossil fuels has been extremely important.

Figure 5. World Energy Consumption by Source, based on Vaclav Smil estimates from Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects, together with BP Statistical Data on 1965 and subsequent

The growth in world energy consumption coincided with a virtual explosion in human population.

Figure 6. World Population Growth Through History. Chart by SUSPS.

One of the ways that fossil fuel energy is helpful for population growth is through drugs to fight epidemics. Another way is by making modern sanitation easy. A third way is by ramping up food supplies, so that more people can be fed.

Economic shutdowns lead to reduced energy consumption, partly because energy prices tend to fall too low for producers. They cut back on production because of unprofitability.

Figure 7. Weekly average spot oil prices for Brent, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Given this connection between energy supply and population, we should not be surprised if shutdowns tend to lead to an overall falling world population, even if COVID-19 by itself is expected to have a small mortality rate (perhaps 1% of those infected). Poor countries, especially, will find that laid off workers cannot afford adequate food supplies. This makes poor members of those economies more susceptible to diseases of many kinds and to starvation.

Epidemiologists Based Their Models on Diseases Which Are Easily Identifiable and Have High Mortality Rates

It is clear that an easily identifiable illness with a high mortality rate can be easily contained. A difficult-to-identify disease, which has a very low mortality rate for many segments of the population, is very different. Members of segments of the population who usually get only a light case of the disease are likely to become more and more unhappy as containment efforts drag on. Models based on very different types of pandemics are likely to be misleading.

We Need to Somehow Change Course

The message that has been disseminated has been, “With containment efforts plus vaccine, we can stop this disease.” In fact, this is unlikely for the foreseeable future. Continuing in the same direction that has not been working is a lot like banging one’s head against a wall. It cannot be expected to work.

Somehow, expectations need to be lowered regarding what containment efforts can do. The economy can perhaps protect a few high-risk people, but it cannot protect everyone. Unless COVID-19 stops by itself, a significant share of the world’s population can be expected to catch COVID-19. In fact, some people may get the disease multiple times over their lifetimes.

If we are forced to live with some level of COVID-19 (just as we are forced to live with some level of forest fires), we need to make this situation as painless as possible. For example,

  • We need to find ways to make COVID-19 as asymptomatic as possible by easy changes to diet and lifestyle.
  • We also need to find inexpensive treatments, especially ones that can be used outside of a hospital setting.
  • We need to keep the world economy operating as best as possible, if we want to stay away from a world population crash for as long as possible.

We cannot continue to post articles which seem to say that a spike in COVID-19 cases is necessarily “bad.” It is simply the way the situation has to be, if we don’t really have an effective way of containing the coronavirus. The fact that young adults build up immunity, at least for a while, needs to be viewed as a plus.

Some Ideas Regarding Looking at the Situation Differently 

(1) The Vitamin D Issue

There has been little publicity about the fact that people with higher vitamin D levels seem to have lighter cases of COVID-19. In fact, whole nations with higher vitamin D levels seem to have lower levels of deaths. Vitamin D strengthens the immune system. Sunlight raises vitamin D levels; fish liver oils and the flesh of fatty fishes also raise vitamin D levels.

Figure 8 shows cumulative deaths per million in a few low and high vitamin D level areas. The death rates are strikingly lower in the high vitamin D level countries.

Figure 8. COVID-19 deaths per million as of August 8, 2020 for selected countries, based on data from Johns Hopkins CSSE database.

The vitamin D issue may explain why dark skinned people (such as those from Southeast Asia and Africa) tend to get more severe cases of COVID-19 when they move to a low sunlight area such as the UK. Skin color is an adaptation to different levels of the sun’s rays in different parts of the world. People with darker skin color have more melanin in their skin. This makes the production of vitamin D less efficient, since equatorial regions receive more sunlight. The larger amount of melanin works well when dark-skinned people live in equatorial regions, but less well away from the equator. Vitamin D supplements might mitigate this difference.

It should be noted that the benefit of sunlight and vitamin D in protecting the immune system has long been known, especially with respect to flu-like diseases. In fact, the use of sunlight seems to have been helpful in mitigating the effects of the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918-1919, over 100 years ago!

One concern might be whether increased sunlight raises the risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. I have not researched this extensively, but a 2016 study indicates that that sensible sun exposure, without getting sunburn, may decrease a person’s risk of melanoma, as well as provide protection against many other types of diseases. Non-melanoma skin cancers may increase, but the mortality risk of these skin cancers is very low. On balance, the study concludes that the public should be advised to work on getting blood levels of at least 30 ng/ml.

(2) Other Issues

Clearly, better health in general is helpful. Eating a diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables is helpful, as is getting plenty of exercise and sunshine. Losing weight will be helpful for many.

Having social contact with other people tends to be helpful for longevity in general. In fact, several studies indicate that church-goers tend to have better longevity than others. Churchgoers and those with many social contacts would seem to have more contact with microbes than others.

A recent article says, Common colds train the immune system to recognize COVID-19. Social distancing tends to eliminate common colds as well as COVID-19. Quite possibly social distancing is counterproductive, in terms of disease severity. Epidemiologists have likely never considered this issue, since they tend to consider only very brief social distancing requirements.

A person wonders how well the immune systems of elderly people who have been cut off from sharing microbes with others for months will work. Will these people now die when exposed to even very minor illnesses? Perhaps a slow transition is needed to bring families back into closer contact with their loved ones.

People’s immune systems can protect them from small influxes of viruses causing COVID-19, but not from large influxes of these viruses. Masks tend to protect against large influxes of the virus, and thus protect the wearer to a surprising extent. Models suggest that clear face shields also provide a considerable amount of this benefit. People with a high risk of very severe illness may want to wear both of these devices in settings they consider risky. Such a combination might protect them fairly well, even if others are not wearing masks.

Conclusions – What We Really Should Be Doing

Back at the time we first became aware of COVID-19, following the recommendations of epidemiologists probably made sense. Now that more information is unfolding, our approach to COVID-19 needs to change.

I have already laid out many of the things I think need to be done. One area that has been severely overlooked is raising vitamin D levels. This is being discussed in the medical literature, but it doesn’t seem to get into the popular press. Even though the connection is not 100% proven, and there are many details to be worked out, it would seem like people should start raising their vitamin D levels. There seems to be little problem with overdosing on vitamin D, except that sunburns are not good. Until we know more, a level of 30 ng/ml (equivalent to 75 nmol/L) might be a reasonable level to aim for. This is a little above the mean vitamin D level of Norway, Finland, and Denmark.

Social distancing requirements probably need to be phased out. A concern might be temporarily excessive patient loads for hospitals. Large group meetings may need to be limited for a time, until this problem can be overcome.

 

 

This entry was posted in Financial Implications and tagged , , , by Gail Tverberg. Bookmark the permalink.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.

2,353 thoughts on “We Need to Change Our COVID-19 Strategy

  1. “A new report confirms that asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 are indeed able to spread the disease to others.”

    This is not applicable. Please be careful. The report confirms that the amount of “viral material” in asymptomatic persons is comparable to symptomatic persons. It doesn’t confirm the ability of asymptomatic persons to spread the virus in a manner of an infectious disease. The report states amongst others:

    “But they added that their study only looked at the amount of viral genetic material present and did not attempt to follow the subjects to see if that translated to the spread of infectious virus.”

    Simply because the virus resides in a person, it does not necessarily mean that this (asymptomatic) person will spread the virus in a condition that is able to infect other people. For example Prof Hendrik Streeck did some thorough testing in a German Hotspot and found that “the home of an infected family his team visited ‘did not have any live virus on any surface’ including on phones, door knobs or even the pet cat’s fur.”

    In short, a smear infection is not confirmed, rather the opposite. This is an example that covers smear infection, and of course it doesn’t deny the possibility of an asymptomatic person spreading an infectious airborne virus to others. But my point is that, as far as I know, it is not definitely confirmed if an asymptomatic person can spread COVID-19. If there is a definitive confirmation of that, please post/comment it.

    Generally, people mix infected persons and diseased persons together. This is a problem, it’s not the same.

    Best regards

    • The virus lives in the intestines and is often detected in stool samples, and so can presumably spread through flatulence. And as anyone who has ever been stuck in a crowded elevator can attest, flatulence will get you anywhere.

      I know I should be giving the merchants of fear any fresh ideas, but some kind of new posterior protection is definitely in order. I wonder what new mandatory body coverings they will come up with to deal with this life or death issue?

      • that’s interesting, that where you live the people do not cover their posteriors.

        here, we have what is commonly called “pants”.

        • We’ve got our rear ends covered, David, and that stops particulate matter.
          But I’m afraid the virus will whistle through bog-standard wide fronts.
          As for boxers’ shorts, forget it.

          On the other hand, some of Sir Harry’s kilt-wearing neighbors may be even more dangerously exposed.

    • Several studies in schools I read showed that spread in secondary schools was much higher than spread in elementary schools. The suggestion in at least one paper was made that younger children are much more likely to be asymptomatic than teens and that the lack of some symptoms (such as coughing) limited the therefore spread of the virus (in for example the air) and the chance of transmission to others.

      So, Gail, while, as you state, the amount of virus material present may not determine the chance of transmission and that it has more to do with (amongst others) being asymptomatic or not (as grbofw states).

      cheers,
      alex

      • We need better studies on transmission. We know of quite a few instances where an asymptomatic person infected quite a few other people (at a meeting or in a choir practice), so we know it can happen. People who are coughing without a mask on age clearly a problem, but there are other people who are problems as well.

  2. On this occasion I think Putin may have miscalculated:

    Coronavirus: Russia calls international concern over vaccine ‘groundless’
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53751017

    ‘Russia has dismissed mounting international concern over the safety of its locally developed Covid-19 vaccine as “absolutely groundless”.

    On Tuesday, it said a vaccine had been given regulatory approval after less than two months of testing on humans.

    … He added that the vaccine would be available soon.

    “The first packages of the medical vaccine… will be received within the next two weeks, primarily for doctors,” Mr Murashko said.

    Russian officials have said they plan to start mass vaccination in October…’

    If this vaccine is given to Russians and it later turns out that it has nasty side effects, even for a few % of people, you would think that there is the risk that the general public elsewhere might become more sceptical about receiving a vaccine themselves, even if it is not the same vaccine. Looks like various people are trying to talk them out of applying it before more comprehensive tests are completed.

    • Russia could go a long way to quelling fears regarding their vaccine if they would disclose Phase I & II test results for starters, but there are reasons why vaccines go through phase III testing and for Russia not to do that really seems like they’re skipping an important step.

      If it’s true that Putin’s daughter has taken it, then maybe they have a lot of confidence in it, but if that’s a lie, and people suffer complications significant enough to cause many to be hospitalized (which can happen with vaccine’s if not fully tested), then that could spook people worldwide about getting a vaccine.

      Apparently Putin, who has instituted himself as their leader whether the people like it or not, needs a win to improve his standing with his people. Big risk though as the article suggests.

      • Even without this, the rejection of any rapidly-developed new vaccine seems to be running at 50-60% everywhere – politicians, the WHO, scientists and big pharma are no longer trusted, and quite rightly.

      • The Russian people seem like Putin. The keep voting him in time after time and voting to change the constitution to let him keep running and winning because they see him as Making Russia Great Again. Either that or they are terrified of what will come after him and prefer the devil they know.

        As for vaccines, if you don’t trust Russian ones to be safe, why would you trust American ones?

        It typically takes 10 to 15 years to develop a vaccine. Yet all the major developers are now talking about working to “an incredibly accelerated timeline”. Regardless, anybody taking a vaccine that hasn’t been through at least several years of testing is playing Russian Roulette with their health, I would have thought.

        • Ah, but the sheer thrill of Russian Roulette, compared to being slowly throttled by a failing economic system: a few vodkas and we will all be up for it!

    • So much ‘concern’ directed at Russia over this, but I recall the highly responsible and competent (a little sarcasm might be noted) UK govt. promising an effective and safe vaccine ‘as soon as September’ a few months ago.

      One tires of the politicisation of this issue.

  3. I have far more confidence in Russia’s vaccine than the vaccine from the eugenicist computer nerd.

    • Vaccine? I call BS.

      How about no vaccine at all? The Taiwanese put the hammer down and how much disease is it there now? Basically nothing.

      When the deep state goes viral high tech, its about to go medieval on our and their asses.

      • There very likely will be disease later in Taiwan as well as other places, unless there is something specific to Taiwan that is helping, say masks plus lots of eating of oily fish. I don’t know what is happening in Taiwan. It is an island. Islands in general behave a little differently from other areas, because of their restricted access.

  4. MarketWatch
    George Soros bashes President Trump, explains why he no longer participates in this market bubble
    Shawn Langlois
    August 12, 2020, 10:20 AM·2 mins read

    The OLD Dinosaur finally 🤩 has had enough! LOL
    ‘We are in a crisis, the worst crisis in my lifetime since the Second World War. I would describe it as a revolutionary moment when the range of possibilities is much greater than in normal times. What is inconceivable in normal times becomes not only possible but actually happens. People are disoriented and scared. They do things that are bad for them and for the world.’
    That’s how the billionaire financier, a longtime bogeyman for the right, kicked off his wide-ranging birthday interview, posted on Wednesday, with Italy’s La Repubblica.
    Soros is confident the U.S. is better positioned to weather the pandemic than Europe, even though he took issue with the man calling the shots in the White House.
    ,..Pivoting to his legendary approach to financial markets, Soros acknowledged that we’re caught up in a bubble fueled by Fed liquidity, which has created a situation that he now avoids. He explained that “two simple propositions” make up the framework that has historically given him an advantage, but since he shared it in his book, “Alchemy of Finance,” the advantage is gone.
    …He went on to say the market, which he no longer participates in, is sustained by the expectation of more fiscal stimulus along with hopes Trump will announce a vaccine before November.

    We will soon 🤠 see the Fed has no cloths on

    • “… the worst crisis in my lifetime since the Second World War… ”

      Ah yes, the crisis in which your father made a fortune, now your fortune, by persuading the Jews of Hungary to entrust him with their property, while knowing full well they would never come back to reclaim it.

  5. “Great Reset”? A friend sent me the following clip. I thought it was needlessly dark and conspiratorial, but wonder what others here may know or think of this Davos-based effort?

    • I disagree with Michael Matt that COVID-19 is not a hoax. The Davos set didn’t come up with the “Great Reset” in response to the COVID-19 scamdemic. They came up with the COVID-19 scamdemic as a pretext for the “Great Reset.” How else were they to justify their demand for massive transformation on a global scale?

      From the video clip:

      “The world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil to gas to tech, must be transformed.” – Klaus Schwab, Founder, World Economic Forum

      Does any of the above read like a measured response to a genuine viral pandemic?

      There were two viral pandemic simulations carried out in 2019, before the COVID-19 scamdemic:

      Crimson Contagion – January to August 2019

      “Crimson Contagion was a joint exercise conducted from January to August 2019, in which numerous national, state and local, private and public organizations in the US participated, in order to test the capacity of the federal government and twelve states to respond to a severe pandemic of influenza originating in China.

      The simulation, which was conducted months prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, involves a scenario in which tourists returning from China spread a respiratory virus in the United States, beginning in Chicago. In less than two months the virus had infected 110 million Americans, killing more than half a million. The report issued at the conclusion of the exercise outlines the government’s limited capacity to respond to a pandemic, with federal agencies lacking the funds, coordination, and resources to facilitate an effective response to the virus.”

      Participants:
      National Security Council, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Commerce, United States Department of Defense, United States Department of Energy, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, United States Department of Interior, United States Department of Justice, United States Department of Labor, United States Department of State, United States Department of Transportation, United States Department of Treasury, between others State and Local organizations, public and private.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimson_Contagion

      Event 201 – October 18, 2019

      “The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise on October 18, 2019, in New York, NY. The exercise illustrated areas where public/private partnerships will be necessary during the response to a severe pandemic in order to diminish large-scale economic and societal consequences.

      In recent years, the world has seen a growing number of epidemic events, amounting to approximately 200 events annually. These events are increasing, and they are disruptive to health, economies, and society. Managing these events already strains global capacity, even absent a pandemic threat. Experts agree that it is only a matter of time before one of these epidemics becomes global—a pandemic with potentially catastrophic consequences. A severe pandemic, which becomes ‘Event 201,’ would require reliable cooperation among several industries, national governments, and key international institutions.”

      https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/

      Depending on what you believe, COVID-19 could be:

      1. A virus originating from the natural world
      2. A biological weapon created in a lab
      3. A simulation perpetuated by the media and various other organizations

      • “In recent years, the world has seen a growing number of epidemic events, amounting to approximately 200 events annually. These events are increasing…”

        of course they are increasing.

        the ever increasing population density is the reason.

      • “The world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil to gas to tech, must be transformed.” – Klaus Schwab, Founder, World Economic Forum.

        none of this has happened.

        none of this is happening.

        none of this will happen.

        • But Klaus Schwab still gets to enjoy the $1 million he was given by the State of Israel to promote their globalist vision. It seems what Douglas Reed called “protektion” is alive and well.

    • They are going to cull the population to shape the survival of the human race for the soon to be new world order it is as simple as that to survive what’s coming avoid all vaccines stock up in silver coins,live frugally and prep,prep,prep..You have reached a sane website of open minded thinkers that may survive the battle of their lives on their belief systems which are being laid seige to by the powers that be. Here are a few links for what and whom we are dealing with.We must also remember one more thing the powers that be are just like us they have been thinking about finite world issues for a long time so in a way they are doing what they are doing for the greater good the survival of the earth and its inhabitants .

      https://greattransition.org/gt-essay

      https://greattransition.org/explore/scenarios

      https://www.tellus.org/results/scenarios.html

        • for the good of everyone who isn’t culled!

          the culled will just have to accept that their sacrifice is for the greater good.

        • “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

          (C S Lewis, 1898 to 1963)

    • The speaker seems unaware of the fact that we are running out of affordable energy, and takes the point of view that if Trump is re-elected in November, all might be reasonably fine for the USA. I doubt that. It is difficult to over-exaggerate the financial difficulties the USA and most other countries in the world now face.

    • I think a lot of what is happening is just the way a self-organizing system operates:

      Leaders never let a good crisis go to waste. Instead, they push their prior agenda.

      Newspapers never lose an opportunity to sell their publications.

      People who have been convinced that we humans can stop every epidemic are convinced that this epidemic is no different. They will do anything to avoid the possibility of death or a long hospital stay.

      Lenders (World Bank and IMF) will push shutdowns, under the illusion that they will actually work, and a V-shaped recovery is possible.

  6. I thought that this Zerohedge article was interesting:

    Fox News Ratings Surge, Leading ‘Primetime Pack’ Despite Boycotts As CNN, MSNBC Lag

    While the national polls proclaim Joe Biden as the clear frontrunner, just like they did for Hillary Clinton back in the summer of 2016, signs of growing dissatisfaction with Biden, who has spent the last five months cowering in his basement in Rehobeth, abound, especially as more Americans grow weary of the progressives insistence on economy-crushing social distancing measures, even in areas where case numbers have declined substantially. They continue to hysterically condemn President Trump for causing 160,000 deaths (the number of Americans who have succumbed to the virus so far) without saying one word about the lapses in Wuhan that opened Pandora’s Box in the first place.

    As spread slows dramatically from New Jersey to Arizona to California, Americans consistently rate President Trump as “better” on the economy than Biden, though some carefully worded polls have pointed to a surge in public frustration with a federal response that has been characterized as slow and inept.

    But through it all, as the mainstream press doubled-down on its progressive slant – openly referring to violent rioters as “peaceful protesters” and reporting on ultra-progressive concepts like “white supremacy” and “the patriarchy” as if these theoretical interpretations are indisputable realities – conservative outlets like Fox News have picked up steam.

    • I Don’t buy anything from Fox News or CNN the fact that you’re quoting this makes me question your partisanship. Are you paid to do this website? When I see a political slant one way or the other I start to question it’s validity .
      Right wing people tend to watch more TV I thought you were a statistician. Funny how you throw out anecdotal evidence here and there a true statistician wouldn’t do that

      • Character assassination, accusations of partisanship and dishonesty, half-baked innuendo, and the no true Scotsman fallacy, all in a compact comment typed on a phone that’s way smarter than the typist.

        I’ve thought for sometime you were a troll, but now I’m leaning towards the theory that you are a chatbot. 🙂

      • okay, let’s look at this:

        “But through it all, as the mainstream press doubled-down on its progressive slant – openly referring to violent rioters as “peaceful protesters” and reporting on ultra-progressive concepts like “white supremacy” and “the patriarchy” as if these theoretical interpretations are indisputable realities – conservative outlets like Fox News have picked up steam.”

        in other words, more people are looking at “conservative outlets” because they are having some serious doubts about what is being presented by much of the MSM.

        this is what we do here at OFW: we question the standard economic fodder and try to get at the reality that is ignored or even hidden by the MSM.

        don’t be surprised if OFW turns to more political fodder in the next 90 days.

        that being said, my interest is more towards the ideas about capitalism working better in the decades/centuries of increasing net (surplus) energy, and socialism working better in these years/decades of decreasing energy.

        I’m guessing that there is a silent majority who will reelect Trump, and the turn to socialism will be delayed.

        but I have this odd feeling that it might be more fun to watch the D side be in control of the inevitable train wreck that we will see in the next 4 years.

        bottom line is that energy and economic issues, the base of OFW discussion, are related to political issues.

        • There has been a similar divergence in the UK between the presentation of events and reality, by the BBC among others.

          More and more people are waking up to this, as far as one can judge, and they are unhappy at being fed such crude propaganda.

          If they then happen fall for extreme-Right propaganda (and that does exist, of course) , the Left will have only their own dishonesty and ideological distortions to blame.

        • my interest is more towards the ideas about capitalism working better in the decades/centuries of increasing net (surplus) energy, and socialism working better in these years/decades of decreasing energy.

          I see socialism as an informal variant of feudalism, or as feudalism for industrial societies. It pre-dates capitalism, which was what pulled the masses out of poverty with a little help from fossil fuels, which would never have been exploited on a large scale if the feudal lords had kept a choke hold on all forms of progress.

          Socialism’s informality relates to its lack of an overt official hierarchy of classes, which is replaced by an informal hierarchy in which all citizens are deemed officially equal but in actuality, some are vastly “more equal” than others as officials are in positions of power and authority over the lives and livelihoods of ordinary citizens.

          The informal nature of the socialist hierarchy allows officials to exercise power or even tyranny without assuming responsibility for the welfare of those under their control. In other words, there is no noblesse oblige and little apart from common decency and compassion to compel officials from removing the boot from the face or neck of the little guys.

          By contrast, capitalism in the sense of free enterprise is a very progressive philosophy that uses self interest to motivate people to work harder and smarter in order to better their own situation. Corporatism or the control of a state or organization by large interest groups (which is where we are now) is the antithesis of free enterprise and is entirely compatible with socialism (which is where we seem to be heading).

          • Thank you, Tim, I found that most insightful. However, there is one key difference between feudalism and socialism: in a feudal society you know who your masters are, and where they live, so if things get too bad, …

            But yes, feudal societies tend to resist innovation. That is why they are usually sustainable, as for instance Edo Japan was. Sustainable and stagnant; surely a most unhappy bargain, but perhaps one we will be happy to make after the reset, collapse, or whatever it’s called today.

      • For how long have you been visiting OFW? Regulars will see your comment as silly.

        The most successful propaganda machine in the UK is the BBC, but they still publish relevant and informative articles. You just have to sort out the wheat from the chaff, or where necessary, refer to an article with a suitable health warning.

        • And in fact the political bias in the BBC is so evident and so crude these days that, in a way, it helps one to sift out the small gleaming nuggets of truth.

          However, it IS a disgrace,and part of the universal degeneration failure of established institutions.

          Do we really wish to have Pravda-like narratives, at a very low intellectual level, served up to us every day at such great expense?

          • You should know that I look for “data points” wherever I find them. I don’t disqualify a commenter, just because I don’t agree with them. I don’t disqualify any particular news outlet, especially when the issue is a claim of fact.

            Wherever I go, I am asking people questions, even if they have masks on. I know from talking to a fair number of older people that television watching is a favorite activity. So among the older generation, I would expect television watching to be a reasonably good metric. I am not sure about the situation with younger people. There are an awfully lot of young folks who are disillusioned with the system.

            Views are so divided now that media need to write to one “side” or the other, to sell their publications.

    • Well at least Kamala is articulate. I thought the democrats were against oppressive criminal justice systems. So a mean AG for VP? If she was male and white the choice would be decried as racist. The reality is the choice is racist. You cant practice racism and end it. Some animals more equal than others.

      • Kamala was oppressive of pot smokers, mostly black ones. Hoping we would forget that she smoked the stuff herself, and boasted about it on television. However, she was most unoppressive to child rapists of a certain religious persuasion, not only prosecuting none, but even sealing the massive documentation her predecessor had accumulated naming names of both perpetrators and victims.

        Quite by chance, her campaign was heavily funded by organisations of that same religious persuasion. Well, at least you can say this: she stays bought.

        Which leads me to the question nobody has asked: what will happen to a great republic that selects its leaders based on their chromosomes rather than their competencies? To find out, study what happened to Rome under Nero.

  7. Here’s an interesting discussion about masks from The Last American Vagabond. Apparently (I say this as I personally know nothing, nothing), according to the results of past published research, they WON’T stop Corona-chan. It even says so on some of the makers’ boxes. And they DO lower the wearer’s blood oxygen levels with all sorts of negative consequences including aggravating medical conditions such as emphysema and cancer. But on the upside, they DO provide psychological reassurance for worried and scared normies, and wearing one IS a great way to virtue signal.

    Joining me today is investigative journalist Ben Swann to discuss his recent coverage of the mask debate, and how he dared to consider the decades of scientific studies leading up to today before formulating his opinion. We also discuss how he was censored for objectively reporting on this past research, and it’s relevance to today, as well as his new platform, ISE.media. As armies of online influencers attack anyone daring to think for themselves as “anti-maskers,” despite many merely wanting clarity, all we should truly be seeking is objective debate. Does anyone feel that is what’s taking place today?

    • youre wrong im right that unfortunately is the state of mind for 99.99999999% of the people

    • I looked at a mask study a while back. In the study in question, the researchers paid a group of college students to wear masks for a period of time. Then they compared infection rates for those for another group of students without masks.

      I had a hard time believing that the study would show any impact at all, because the students with masks did not have any incentive to stay away from other students–not go out on dates in the evening, not eat together in the cafeteria with others, not socialize in the dorm with others without masks (such as their roommates), as far as I could see.

      I don’t know what instructions students were given, or how they were enforced, but it didn’t seem surprising to me that the results of the studies I read about showed “no difference.” If everyone were wearing masks, and the students were truly interested in staying away from the illnesses circulating, then I could imagine a difference. But not if the studies were as poorly designed as this one seemed to be.

    • Thinking that masks is the only path to viral salvation is obviously BS. Give me one source that gives such an outrageously dim witted statement.

      The mask is the first line of defense. That is the virus particles leaving the diseased person mixed in droplets of saliva and mucus.

      • This for surgical masks:
        Results: A surgical mask consisting of filter material performed better than did a surgical mask consisting only of a shell with a coarse pore structure. The latter passed 80% of submicrometer-sized aerosols with little flow dependency, whereas the penetration of submicrometer-sized aerosols through the mask made of filter material ranged from 25% at a flow rate of 5 L/min to 70% at 100 L/min.

        Conclusions: The mask that has the highest collection efficiency is not necessarily the best mask from the perspective of the filter-quality factor, which considers not only the capture efficiency but also the air resistance. Although surgical mask media may be adequate to remove bacteria exhaled or expelled by health care workers, they may not be sufficient to remove the submicrometer-size aerosols containing pathogens to which these health care workers are potentially exposed.

        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1524265/

        Meanwhile, according to a recent article in Nature magazine:
        Mounting evidence suggests coronavirus is airborne — but health advice has not caught up
        Governments are starting to change policies amid concerns that tiny droplets can carry SARS-CoV-2. And after months of denying the importance of this, the World Health Organization is reconsidering its stance…

        Converging lines of evidence indicate that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can pass from person to person in tiny droplets called aerosols that waft through the air and accumulate over time. After months of debate about whether people can transmit the virus through exhaled air, there is growing concern among scientists about this transmission route.

        https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02058-1

        Adding up these research results, it emerges that virus particles also travel in aerosols, most of which pass through ordinary mask material like mice going through Marble Arch. Ordinary masks don’t stop most aerosol pathogens, and so wearing one is likely to give the user a false sense of security with respect to viral infections.

        At this point, one might conclude that the best way to avoid catching this virus is, as Mr Miaji said to the karate kit, “Don’t be there!” But that’s not as easy as it seems. It is theoretically possible to catch this virus from eating a piece of contaminated fruit that you bought from the supermarket an hour after after someone with the virus touched or sneezed on it.

        Looking back now, we can see that Howard Hughes was way ahead of his time.

    • And 90-something percent of us seem to be able to deal very effectively with this virus while exhibiting zero to mild symptoms requiring no more than a box of tissues and an occasional gargle with salt water.

      Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it the uncommon cold virus? Except that nickname has already been reserved for Human adenovirus type-3.

      • “And 90-something percent of us seem to be able to deal very effectively with this virus while exhibiting zero to mild symptoms requiring no more than a box of tissues and an occasional gargle with salt water.”

        Way to little focus on this, lets say it all together now: S-C-2 does not strike on random and is harmless to more than 99 % of the population!

  8. A man after my own heart, playwright J.C. Hopkins describes the rise of what he calls the New Normals and where he thinks their behavior is leading us. I share his concerns and concur with everything he says in this article, although I prefer to call them the New Normies.

    I pray this glimpse into the New Normal future has terrified and angered you enough to rise up against it before it is too late. This isn’t a joke, folks. The New Normals are serious. If you cannot see where their movement is headed, you do not understand totalitarianism. Once it starts, and reaches this stage, it does not stop, not without a fight. It continues to its logical conclusion. The way that usually happens is, people tell themselves it isn’t happening, it can’t be happening, not to us. They tell themselves this as the totalitarian program is implemented, step by step, one seemingly harmless step at a time. They conform, because, at first, the stakes aren’t so high, and their conformity leads to more conformity, and the next thing they know they’re telling their grandchildren that they had no idea where the trains were going.

    If you have made it through to the end of this essay, your mind hasn’t been taken over yet … the New Normals clicked off around paragraph 2. What that means is that it is your responsibility to speak up, and to do whatever else you can, to stop the New Normal future from becoming a reality. You will not be rewarded for it. You will be ridiculed and castigated for it. Your New Normal friends will hate you for it. Your New Normal family will forsake you for it. The New Normal police might arrest you for it. It is your responsibility to do it anyway … as, of course, it is also mine.

    https://www.unz.com/chopkins/invasion-of-the-new-normals/

  9. The whole thing about masks affecting breathing is over-done.

    My breathing is almost never 100%, being asthmatic, sometimes very severely, but I have never experienced any worsening of my ability to respire when using a close-fitting mask.

    None at all, and I am very observant of how I breathe.

    People are becoming so dreadfully neurotic and pussified over these pseudo- issues; but I suppose they serve to divert attention from the real story, economic collapse.

    • This is a fair point. I also have never had any physical issues personally with wearing a mask for an hour or two. In my case, the main issue is that I don’t like being told what to do. It’s the gypsy in me! I resent having to conform to rules that I judge to be meaningless.

      Certainly people today, myself included, are pussified compared with earlier generations. My grandfather, I’m sure, would consider us irredeemably “soft”. Since he was a young man during the time of the 1918 influenza pandemic, he would have also thought the idea of going this far in worrying about this particular virus ludicrous.

      I’m aggrieved at the loss of autonomy in personal decision-making under this New Normal. Fortunately here in Japan so far the pandemic has been small in scale and the restrictions imposed on individuals have not been draconian. In the UK and parts of the US, by contrast, the pandemic has provided an excuse for a fresh source of laws to criminalize what used to be normal behavior and to empower petty tyrants looking for a power trip.

      The lockdown-mask-social distancing mentality has also revealed a lot of people intent on virtue signaling, judging and shaming others, obsessing over rituals, and slavish obedience to the dictates of officialdom. I think the problem runs far deeper than the pandemic and that the really serious malady is a decaying of the social fabric. We need to get back to a commonsense consensus that “my mask/vaccination protects me and your mask/vaccination protects you.” Otherwise we are on the road back to serfdom.

      • It is a very trivial complaint, of course, but as a wearer of spectacles, I find that my lenses fog up most irritatingly when I wear a mask, thanks to my breath being re-directed upwards past my nose.

          • perhaps you could try underwater goggles and a snorkel? leave off the flippers/fins. that would be overdoing it.
            but you will be able to fool the face recognition cameras!

            • You already carry the ultimate tracking device in your pocket. Soon you will have one implanted. Security cameras is silly.

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