May 2020 (vol. 35 #3)
A virus is not exactly alive itself. It is a bundle of chemicals so arranged that they attach to a living host’s cell membranes and are transported into the cell. The cell’s own metabolic machinery then begins to use the viral genetic blueprint to make more viruses. The raw materials, the chemical energy, the milieu that permits the synthesis of viral components to occur (such as pH and temperature) are all supplied by the host cell, bringing about its own destruction. The virus released into the environment can then repeat the cycle in other hosts, until there are no more receptive hosts because they are isolated, immune, or dead.
As viruses are replicated, many errors (mutations) occur, especially in RNA viruses, so that progeny may be more or less effective in causing infection.
All viral pandemics have come to an end, even those that have been far more devastating than the current COVID-19.
The world is full of pathogenic organisms. Animals survive only because their immune defense mechanisms rid them of the invaders or keep them in check. At times, an over-exuberant immune reaction, instead of the virus itself, kills the host.
Many deaths in COVID-19 are attributed to a cytokine storm, a term coined in the context of graft-versus-host disease and popularized for avian H5N1 influenza virus infection. It applies in many infectious and noninfectious diseases (e.g. pancreatitis). Cytokines are proteins serving as hormone-like messengers that coordinate the immune response. They can be pro- or anti-inflammatory. Infiltration of excess inflammatory cells can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and multi-organ failure in COVID-19 (). Balance in the coagulation system is also disturbed; many die with microthrombi blocking capillaries or clots in major vessels ( ).
The incidence of blood clotting problems in seriously ill COVID-19 patients is remarkably high. A series of 12 autopsies from Hamburg, Germany, showed that 58% had unsuspected deep vein thrombosis, and in four patients, pulmonary emboli were the direct cause of death ().
Initially, when an extraordinarily lethal virus was thought to have arrived recently and to be confined to a few hotspots, restrictions for the duration of the incubation period made sense. But when the computer projections of lethality were found to be wildly inaccurate, and the virus had in fact been widely circulating, probably at least since November, the unprecedented quarantine appeared to be both unnecessary and futile. Rather than lifting the restrictions and protecting those at greatest risk—tacitly admitting to an egregious error, government kept extending the lockdowns, month after month.
The healthy parts of the population were attacked, their livelihoods destroyed, and the arteries of commerce were clotted off, with wreckage up and down the whole supply chain. Has their oxygen been cut off too long to permit resuscitation?
Good citizens have complied with very little resistance, if not out of fear for themselves, out of a wish to protect others in case they were asymptomatic carriers. Those who dared to venture out, especially without a mask, have been shamed for being “no better than a serial killer.” Snitch lines to report noncompliance have lighted up.
As re-opening is being “phased in,” the “suspension” of personal liberty may become permanent. A massive surveillance system is being developed, using smartphone and Bluetooth technology. It could alert everyone who pinged within range of an infected person during the contagious period—and tell that person to self-isolate. A huge army of up to 100,000 “contact tracers” is proposed; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to hire 17,000. Texas signed a $295 million contract with the MTX Group, which soon plans to staff up with 4,000 Texas employees, including case investigators, epidemiologists, and contact tracers. Applicants will need to pass a six-hour-long online training course offered by an authorized organization such as Johns Hopkins University. Such a person might be empowered to make a quarantine decision for an exposed individual deemed incapable of “voluntarily” deciding that for himself, writes Larry Bell ().
Governments did not have an open discussion that included economists, biologists and epidemiologists, writes Kurt Wittkowski, who for 20 years was the head of biostatistics, epidemiology, and research design at the Rockefeller University Center for Clinical and Translational Science. “In Britain, it was the voice of one person—Neil Ferguson.” His fundamental flaw was “the assumption that one per cent of all people who became infected would die. There is no justification anywhere for that.”
If governments claim they are “following the science,” why didn’t scientists speak out? Wittkowski notes that most depend on government for funding ().
Policy has been dictated by technocratic planners, “self-appointed tyranny experts,” writes Douglas Wilson. If the results are disastrous, they claim things would have been much worse without their interventions (). As Thomas Sowell writes, “No matter what happens, the vision of the anointed always succeeds, if not by the original criteria, then by criteria extemporized later—and if not by empirical criteria, then by criteria sufficiently subjective to escape even the possibility of refutation. [emphasis added].
“The shutdown’s goal was not eradicating the [corona]virus. That’s not possible,” writes Betsy McCaughey. “Shutting down won’t stop the virus, but it will destroy our rights and the nation we love” ().
Czech physicist Luboš Motl asks whether freedom and prosperity can return at all (). There is no exit strategy from the extreme measures. If a society is ready to switch to martial law or a similar type of heavily centrally regulated regime “because of such numbers of infections that are still a tiny percentage of the population,…then it means that the switch to these de facto totalitarian regimes is basically unavoidable.”
Now that the totalitarian virus nurtured in our system has become visible to all, will we develop immunity—or succumb?
For Memorial Day
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae (1872-1918)
In Saxony, Germany, rooms in psychiatric hospitals are being freed up to confine, under police supervision, persons who resist home-quarantine orders. It is supposed to be a last resort, when all other measures have failed (tinyurl.com/utdf5q8).
Dress Rehearsal for a Police State
We are not yet a totalitarian state, writes Dennis Prager (tinyurl.com/yd8gon39); if we were his articles (and this newsletter) could not be published. But we are “living with all four of the key hallmarks of a police state”:
(1) Draconian laws depriving citizens of elementary civil rights. (2) A mass media supportive of the state’s messaging and deprivation of rights. “In fact, there is almost no more dissent in than there was in . And the Big Tech platforms are removing posts about the virus and potential treatments they deem ‘misinformation.’” (3) Use of police. The police must respond to every dispatch, and they are dispatched to the scene of persons jogging on the beach by (4) Snitches.
“On the CNN website…, Bill Weir, CNN chief climate correspondent, wrote an open letter to his new born son, [describing] his idealized future for America: ‘completely new forms of power, food, construction, transportation, economics, and politics.’
“You cannot get there without a police state.”
It is asserted that the “lockdowns worked”—despite evidence that the progress of the epidemic was about the same in nations that did and did not impose them (https://wmbriggs.com/post/30833/)—but how do we get to shore from our “life raft”? University of Hong Kong modeler Gabriel Leung states: “Governments will have to realize that there are basically three control knobs on the dashboard”: isolating patients and tracing their contacts, border restrictions, and social distancing. Admittedly, there are huge costs and no controlled experiments. A “suppress and lift” strategy is proposed to “ease discontent and economic damage” ( 4/17/20).
According to its website, the Draganfly™ unmanned aerial vehicle can detect fever, heart and respiratory rate, and coughing and sneezing from a distance of 190 ft. Drones are the “go-to technology for reaching the most remote areas with little to no manpower needed.” It also guides officers’ decision-making. It was to be tested in cooperation with the Westport, Conn., police force to monitor social distancing (tinyurl.com/y8pblp7s), but the plan was dropped because of popular resistance. About 1,100 law enforcement agencies have acquired drones over the past few years. At least 18 states require law enforcement agencies to get a search warrant to use a drone for surveillance or to conduct a search (https://tinyurl.com/yb7ffgyv).
· Canada: About 48 hours after its introduction, Alberta Bill 10, the Public Health (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act, was passed 14-7, a quorum being 20. This allows cabinet ministers to unilaterally create new laws (https://tinyurl.com/yax4wv5e).
· Germany: According to the https://tinyurl.com/y72jgu3j).(tinyurl.com/y9gg57cv), the federal government plans to introduce a coronavirus “immunity card” as part of its “Infection Protection Law,” which will grant the authorities the power to round up anyone “suspected to be contagious” and “forbid them from entering certain public places” (
· U.S.: Policymakers, invoking “science” and “data,” have written themselves the same letter that Cardinal Richelieu purportedly gave to his agents in 17th century France: “The Bearer of This Letter Has Acted Under My Orders and for the Good of the State.” This placed murders and other crimes above the law and beyond reproach (https://tinyurl.com/ya5jctwl).
Religious services, political campaign events, and protests against lockdowns—as well as playing outside even alone—can be suppressed with full force of the law. However, if the cause is protesting racism or social injustice, or the funeral is for a black man who died while being arrested rather than for your mother, the rules are suspended. Large crowds can stand shoulder to shoulder and sing, shout, or chant, with or without masks. For 10 days, Anthony Fauci said nothing (tinyurl.com/y938cwez). A letter signed by 1,200 health professionals said that protests should not be shut down over fears of COVID-19 transmission. Since “systemic racism” harms people’s health, “protest is a profound public health intervention” (tinyurl.com/yakzonyx). “White supremacy is a lethal public health threat that predates and contributes to COVID-19.”
The “four stages of ideological subversion” are well underway: (1) demoralization (guilt); (2) destabilization of the economy, political system, and culture; (3) crisis; (4) “normalization”—a cynical Soviet propaganda term (tinyurl.com/yb8xaz4d).
Jane Orient, MD,[send her mail] is executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and an internist in solo private practice.
Copyright © Physicians for Civil Defense
Copyright © Physicians for Civil Defense