Fully referenced facts about Covid-19, provided by experts in the field, to help our readers make a realistic risk assessment. (Regular updates below)
“The only means to fight the plague is honesty.” (Albert Camus, 1947)
- According to the latest immunological studies, the overall lethality of Covid-19 (IFR) is about 0.1% to 0.3% and thus in the range of a severe influenza (flu).
- For people at high risk or high exposure (including health care workers), early or prophylactic treatment is essential to prevent progression of the disease.
- In countries like the US, the UK, and also Sweden (without a lockdown), overall mortality since the beginning of the year is in the range of a strong influenza season; in countries like Germany and Switzerland, overall mortality so far is in the range of a mild influenza season.
- In most places, the risk of death for the general population of school and working age is in the range of a daily car ride to work. The risk was initially overestimated because many people with only mild or no symptoms were not taken into account.
- Up to 80% of all test-positive persons remain symptom-free. Even among 70-79 year olds, about 60% remain symptom-free. About 95% of all people develop at most moderate symptoms.
- Up to 60% of all persons may already have a certain cellular background immunity to the new coronavirus due to contact with previous coronaviruses (i.e. cold viruses). The initial assumption that there was no immunity against the new coronavirus was not correct.
- The median age of the deceased in most countries (including Italy) is over 80 years (e.g. 86 years in Sweden) and only about 4% of the deceased had no serious preconditions. The age and risk profile of deaths thus essentially corresponds to normal mortality.
- In many countries, up to two thirds of all extra deaths occurred in nursing homes, which do not benefit from a general lockdown. Moreover, in many cases it is not clear whether these people really died from Covid-19 or from weeks of extreme stress and isolation.
- Up to 30% of all additional deaths may have been caused not by Covid-19, but by the effects of the lockdown, panic and fear. For example, the treatment of heart attacks and strokes decreased by up to 60% because many patients no longer dared to go to hospital.
- Even in so-called “Covid-19 deaths” it is often not clear whether they died from or with coronavirus (i.e. from underlying diseases) or if they were counted as “presumed cases” and not tested at all. However, official figures usually do not reflect this distinction.
- Many media reports of young and healthy people dying from Covid-19 turned out to be false: many of these young people either did not die from Covid-19, they had already been seriously ill (e.g. from undiagnosed leukaemia), or they were in fact 109 instead of 9 years old. The claimed increase in Kawasaki disease in children also turned out to be exaggerated.
- Most Covid-19 symptoms can also be caused by severe influenza (including pneumonia, thrombosis and the temporary loss of the sense of smell), but with severe Covid-19 these symptoms are indeed more frequent and more pronounced.
- Strong increases in regional mortality can occur if there is a collapse in the care of the elderly and sick as a result of infection or panic, or if there are additional risk factors such as severe air pollution. Questionable regulations for dealing with the deceased sometimes led to additional bottlenecks in funeral or cremation services.
- In countries such as Italy and Spain, and to some extent the UK and the US, hospital overloads due to strong flu waves are not unusual. Moreover, this year up to 15% of health care workers were put into quarantine, even if they developed no symptoms.
- The often shown exponential curves of “corona cases” are misleading, as the number of tests also increased exponentially. In most countries, the ratio of positive tests to tests overall (i.e. the positivity rate) remained constant at 5% to 20% or increased only slightly. In many countries, the peak of the spread was already reached well before the lockdown.
- Countries without lockdowns, such as Japan, South Korea, Belarus and Sweden, have not experienced a more negative course of events than many other countries. Sweden was even praised by the WHO and now benefits from higher immunity compared to lockdown countries. 75% of Swedish deaths happened in nursing facilities that weren’t protected fast enough.
- The fear of a shortage of ventilators was unjustified. According to lung specialists, the invasive ventilation (intubation) of Covid-19 patients, which is partly done out of fear of spreading the virus, is in fact often counterproductive and damaging to the lungs.
- Various studies have shown that the main routes of transmission of the virus are neither long-range aerosols (i.e. tiny particles floating in the air) nor smear infections (i.e. on surfaces), but direct contact and droplets produced when talking or coughing. However, in some circumstances, indoor aerosol transmission appears to be possible.
- There is still little to no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of cloth face masks in healthy and asymptomatic individuals. Experts warn that such masks may interfere with normal breathing and may become “germ carriers” if used repeatedly.
- Many clinics in Europe and the US remained strongly underutilized or almost empty during lockdowns and in some cases had to send staff home. Millions of surgeries and therapies were cancelled, including many cancer screenings and organ transplants.
- Several media were caught trying to dramatize the situation in hospitals, sometimes even with manipulative images and videos. In general, the unprofessional reporting of many media maximized fear and panic in the population.
- The virus test kits used internationally are prone to errors and can produce false positive and false negative results. Moreover, the official virus test was not clinically validated due to time pressure and may sometimes react positive to other common coronaviruses.
- Numerous internationally renowned experts in the fields of virology, immunology and epidemiology consider the measures taken to be counterproductive and recommend rapid natural immunization of the general population and protection of risk groups.
- At no time was there a medical reason for the closure of schools, as the risk of disease and transmission in children is extremely low. There is also no medical reason for small classes, masks or ‘social distancing’ rules in schools.
- Several medical experts described express coronavirus vaccines as unnecessary or even dangerous. Indeed, the vaccine against the so-called swine flu of 2009, for example, led to cases of severe neurological damage and lawsuits in the millions. In the testing of new coronavirus vaccines, too, serious complications and failures have already been reported.
- A global respiratory disease pandemic can indeed extend over several seasons, but many studies of a “second wave” are based on very unrealistic assumptions, such as a constant risk of illness and death across all age groups.
- In several places, nurses described an oftentimes fatal medical mismanagement of Covid patients due to questionable financial incentives and inappropriate medical protocols.
- The number of people suffering from unemployment, depression and domestic violence as a result of the measures has reached historic record levels. Several experts predict that the measures will claim far more lives than the virus itself. According to the UN 1.6 billion people around the world are at immediate risk of losing their livelihood.
- NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that the “corona crisis” may be used for the permanent expansion of global surveillance. In several parts of the world, the population is being monitored by drones and facing serious police overreach during lockdowns.
- A 2019 WHO study on measures against pandemic influenza found that from a medical perspective, “contact tracing” is “not recommended in any circumstances”. Nevertheless, contact tracing apps have already become partially mandatory in several countries. In some countries, such “contact tracing” is carried out directly by the secret service.
- On the treatment of Covid-19
- Studies on Covid-19 lethality
- On the origin of SARS-CoV-2
- The evidence on face masks
- European Mortality Monitoring
A. General part
Pre-existing immunity against the new coronavirus
At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was assumed that no immunity against the new coronavirus existed in the population. This was one of the main reasons behind the initial strategy of “flattening the curve” by introducing stay-at-home orders.
From March and April onwards, however, the first studies showed that a considerable part of the population already had a certain immunity to the new virus, acquired through contact with earlier coronaviruses (common cold viruses).
Further important studies on this topic were published in July:
- A new study from Germany came to the conclusion that up to 81% of people who have not yet had contact with the new coronavirus already have cross-reactive T-cells and thus a certain background immunity. This confirms earlier studies on T-cell immunity.
- In addition, a British study found that up to 60% of children and adolescents and about 6% of adults already have cross-reactive antibodies against the new coronavirus, which were created by contact with previous coronaviruses. This is probably another important aspect in explaining the very low rate of disease in children and adolescents.
- In the case of Singapore, a study published in the scientific journal Nature concluded that people who contracted SARS-1 in 2002/2003 still had T-cells that were reactive against the new SARS-2 coronavirus 17 years later. In addition, the researchers found cross-reactive T-cells, which were produced by contact with other, partly unknown coronaviruses, in about half of the people who had neither contracted SARS-1 nor SARS-2. The researchers suspect that the different distribution of such coronaviruses and T-cells may help explain why some countries are less affected than others by the new corona virus, regardless of the political and medical measures taken.
- Analysts have previously pointed out that many Pacific countries, and especially China’s neighbouring countries, have so far had very low Covid death rates, regardless of their population structure (young or old) and the measures taken (with or without lockdown, mass tests, masks, etc.). A possible explanation for this could be the spread of earlier coronaviruses.
- Harvard immunologist Michael Mina explained that the “drop in antibody concentration” after Covid disease, dramatized by some media, was “perfectly normal” and “textbook”. The body ensures long-term immunity through T-cells and memory cells in the bone marrow, which can quickly produce new antibodies when needed.
Other medical updates
Wuhan: A Harvard modelling study in the scientific journal Nature came to the conclusion that even in the Covid epicentre Wuhan, up to 87% of the infections went unnoticed, i.e. remained without symptoms or mild. This means that the Covid19 lethality (IFR) in Wuhan may also fall to about 0.1% or below. The Nature study confirms an earlier Japanese study in the journal BMC Medicine, which calculated an IFR of 0.12% for Wuhan already back in March.
However, Chinese authorities couldn’t yet know this comparatively low lethality in January and February and therefore built additional clinics at short notice, many of which eventually remained mostly unused. Only the systematic test results from South Korea and the cruise ship Diamond Princess showed that the lethality of the new corona virus in the general population is indeed lower than initially feared.
Italy: The Italian health authority ISS published a new analysis of the cause of death in about 5000 corona patients. According to this analysis, Covid was the direct cause of death in 89% of the cases. In 11%, other diseases such as heart problems, cancer or dementia were the primary cause of death. Covid was the sole cause of death in 28% of cases. It is also known that in about 4% of the deaths, no medical preconditions were present.
Covid lethality: In May, the US health authority CDC published a cautious “best estimate” of covid lethality (IFR) of 0.26% (assuming 35% asymptomatic infections). In July, a new IFR of 0.65% was published. However, this new value is not based on own calculations or new studies, but on a meta-study in which the existing literature was simply searched for all previous IFR values.
Thus, the meta-study mainly consists of previous modelling studies as well as “raw IFR values”, which are much too high compared to the actual, population-based IFR values from antibody studies. With few exceptions, the real IFR values are between 0.1% and 0.4%, and when mucosal and cellular immunity are taken into account, they are approximately 0.1% or less.
However, the virus has spread much faster than anticipated, thus causing a temporarily high death rate in some places, especially if nursing homes and hospitals got affected.
Non-infectious virus fragments: The U.S. CDC points out that in most Covid patients, infectious virus particles are no longer detectable ten to fifteen days after the first symptoms. However, non-infectious virus fragments (RNA) can still be found up to three months after the first symptoms. This is likely to be a significant problem with regard to PCR tests, as many people who have long since ceased to be infectious still test positive, triggering far-reaching tracing and quarantine false-alarms.
Deaths with or by or without coronavirus: In England and some other countries it has been reported that all deceased persons who tested positive for the new coronavirus since the beginning of the year were counted as Covid deaths – regardless of the time of the test, a possible recovery, and the actual cause of death. In the US state of Colorado, it was found that about 10% of deaths were with but not from coronavirus. In other US states, further cases of “corona deaths” became known that in reality were test-positive homicide victims and motorcycle accidents.
Children and schools
It has been known since March that the risk of disease and transmission in children is minimal in the case of Covid19. The main reason for this is probably a pre-existing immunity due to frequent contact with previous coronaviruses (i.e. cold viruses). There was and is therefore no medical reason for the closure of primary schools, kindergartens and day-care centres and for special protective measures in schools.
In the meantime, further studies on this issue have been published:
- The British epidemiologist Professor Mark Woolhouse stated that there is not a single confirmed case of infection of a teacher by a pupil worldwide.
- Tracing pioneer Iceland found “not a single case where a child under 10 infected their parents.”
- US CDC director Robert Redfield explained that additional deaths from suicides and drug overdoses by adolescents have been “far greater” than Covid deaths in recent months.
- A joint report from Sweden (without primary school closure) and Finland (with primary school closure) concluded that there was no difference in infection rates among children in the two countries.
- In the USA, three times more children up to 14 years of age have died of influenza than of Covid-19 (101 versus 31) since the beginning of the year, according to the CDC.
- A Canadian study found that most of the children with “Kawasaki-like” inflammatory symptoms had no corona infection at all. The disease in children is “very, very rare”, the researchers said.
- A German study came to the conclusion that children act epidemiologically “like brake blocks” and slow down the spread of the new corona virus.
Critical expert opinions
- The German virologist Hendrik Streeck advocates a pragmatic approach to the new coronavirus and targeted measures for people at high risk. According to Streeck, the long-term suppression of the virus and the hope for a possible vaccine are not sensible strategies.
- Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, explains in an interview that there is still no evidence for the effectiveness of masks in the general population. A permanent suppression strategy like the one in New Zealand is not sensible and causes high damage in the long term. The lethality (IFR) of Covid-19 is about 0.1% to 0.3% and is thus comparable to previous flu epidemics and pandemics.
- The Swedish chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell explains in an interview that eradication of the virus is not an option. In Sweden, the infections slowed down considerably even without a lockdown, and daily deaths now are close to zero. The evidence for the benefit of masks is still “very weak” and they might even be counterproductive. An introduction of masks at this point in time would make no sense. The lethality of Covid-19 is between 0.1% and 0.5% and does not “radically differ” from influenza.
- The epidemiologist and systems biologist Professor Francois Balloux, Director of the British UCL Genetics Institute, explains in an article that Covid-19 is comparable to a pandemic (but not seasonal) influenza. The main difference is the age-risk distribution: while Covid-19 is mainly dangerous for older people, a pandemic influenza is also life-threatening for younger people and children. Professor Balloux points out that the “Russian influenza pandemic” of 1889 may have been triggered by the coronavirus OC-43, which is now considered one of the four typical cold viruses.
- The Swiss chief physician for infectiology, Dr. Pietro Vernazza, pleads for a “controlled natural immunization” of society as an alternative to the “eradication strategy”. In most cases, Covid-19 is mild and the actual mortality rate is about 0.1%, which is in the range of a severe influenza. The Swedes “did nothing wrong” with their strategy, according to Vernazza.
- The former director of the Institute of Immunology at the University of Bern, Professor Beda Stadler, also pleads for a controlled spread of the virus. The danger of the virus had been overestimated due to the false assumption of a lack of immunity. Professor Stadler is critical of compulsory masks and mass tests. Stadler, who is now emeritus, explains that many younger immunologists no longer dare to speak out publicly on the subject due to the extreme polarisation of the debate by politics and the media.
On the other hand, Professor Karin Mölling, the former head of the Department of Virology at the University of Zurich and one of the earliest critical voices on corona measures, has now partly changed her opinion: Due to the sometimes serious lung damage, the virus should not be underestimated and containment measures are important.
The clinical picture of Covid-19
The lower-than-expected lethality of Covid-19 should not hide the fact that the new coronavirus, due to its efficient use of the human ACE2 cell receptor, in some cases can lead to severe disease with complications in the lung, the vascular and nervous systems and other organs, some of which can persist for months.
While it is true that most of these symptoms can also occur in severe influenza (including thrombosis, heart muscle inflammation, and the temporary loss of the sense of smell), they are indeed more frequent and more pronounced in the novel Covid-19 disease.
In addition, even apparently “mild” disease (without hospitalization) can in some cases lead to protracted complications with breathing problems, fatigue or other symptoms. The US CDC came to the conclusion that after one month, about one third of the “mild” cases still showed such symptoms. Even in the 18 to 34-year-olds without preconditions, about 20% still had after-effects.
On the positive side, researchers at a German clinic recently reported good chances of recovery: “We can see that the lungs can heal well, even in patients who have had three weeks of intensive care”. After three months, 20% of the intensive care patients had healthy lungs again, and in the remaining patients a clear regeneration was visible.
Nevertheless, the primary goal should be to avoid a progression of the disease.
On the treatment of Covid-19
Note: Patients are asked to consult a doctor.
Many countries adopted the strategy of imposing a lockdown during or after a wave of infection, thereby locking already infected high-risk individuals in their homes without treatment until they developed severe breathing problems and needed intensive care treatment immediately. Even today, test-positive high-risk persons are often simply quarantined without treatment.
This is not an ideal approach. Numerous studies and doctors’ reports have now shown that for people at high risk or with high exposure, early treatment immediately on onset of the first typical symptoms is crucial to avoid disease progression and hospitalization.
Studies and medical reports from various countries in Asia and the West recommend a combination protocol of zinc (which inhibits the RNA replication of coronaviruses), the antimalarial agent HCQ (which promotes the cellular uptake of zinc and has other anti-viral properties), and, if necessary, an antibiotic (to prevent bacterial superinfections) and a blood thinner (to prevent thrombosis and lung embolism).
Yale professor and physician Harvey A. Risch argues in a recent commentary that early treatment with HCQ and zinc as well as an antibiotic has proven to be “highly effective”. In the USA alone, according to Professor Risch, 70,000 to 100,000 deaths could have been prevented by the systematic use of HCQ. Risch is therefore calling for an immediate and prescription-free release of this medication, as is already the case in many other countries.
Meanwhile, a bizarre battle has broken out in western industrialised countries over the use of low-cost HCQ, which has been used successfully and safely for decades in the prevention and treatment of malaria and several other diseases. This battle appears to be driven in part by political and commercial interests and may produce a great many casualties.
Opponents of HCQ went as far as publishing falsified studies and using lethal doses during trials, as Dr. James Todaro explains, who uncovered one of these frauds that fooled top science journals, the WHO and health experts worldwide.
Many of these anti-HCQ activities are connected to pharmaceutical company Gilead, which wants to sell a drug that is over a hundred times more expensive (Remdesivir), but which is only used on intensive care patients and has some severe side effects.
In addition, a potentially effective early treatment stands in the way of the billion-dollar global vaccination strategy being pursued by numerous governments, pharmaceutical companies and vaccine investor Bill Gates. Directors of vaccine companies have already made about one billion dollars with stock and option gains alone, even without yet delivering a vaccine.
The hope for a safe and effective vaccine, however, remains questionable: Contrary to the positive media presentation, in the second test round of the RNA vaccine from the US company Moderna, 80% of the volunteers in the medium and high-dose groups (average age 33 years and healthy) reacted with moderate to severe side effects.
Read more: On the treatment of Covid-19
Bill Gates on vaccine side effects (CBS, July 23, 2020)
The effectiveness of face masks
Various countries are discussing or have already introduced mandatory face masks in the general population. In the updates of June and July, however, it was shown that the evidence for the effectiveness of cloth masks in the general population is still rather weak, contrary to what is reported in many media.
In previous influenza pandemics, cloth masks had no influence on the occurrence of infection. Despite masks, Japan had its last flu epidemic with more than five million diseased just one year ago, in January and February 2019. Even the outbreak of the Covid pandemic in Wuhan could not be stopped by the widespread use of masks there.
Due to the significantly lower hospitalisation and mortality rates of Covid-19 (compared to the original assumptions), masks are not necessarily required to “flatten the curve”. Masking only makes sense – if at all – in the context of a vaccination strategy that aims to suppress the virus until a vaccine is available.
BBC medical correspondent Deborah Cohen explained in mid-July that the partial update of the WHO recommendation on masks was due not to new evidence but “political lobbying”: “We had been told by various sources WHO committee reviewing the evidence had not backed masks but they recommended them due to political lobbying. This point was put to WHO who did not deny.”
The “political lobbying” is likely referring to the group “Masks for All”, which was founded by a “Young Leader” of the Davos forum and which is lobbying authorities and governments for a worldwide face mask obligation.
In connection with masks, the question also arises as to whether the new coronavirus can be transmitted over large areas by aerosols. According to experts, true aerosol transmission even outdoors still seems unlikely – otherwise the spread of the virus would have a different dynamic and, contrary to reality, would often be untraceable.
However, an aerosol-like transmission indoors – especially with closed air circulation by fans or during intensive activities such as singing and dancing – seems increasingly probable or certain due to various incidents.
In the case of aerosol transmission, however, cloth masks are likely to offer even less protection than against droplets due to their pore size and inaccurate fit. This was demonstrated, for example, by the corona outbreak at the German meat processor Toennies, which occurred at an air-conditioned workplace over a distance of up to eight metres despite the requirement to wear masks.
On the question of “asymptomatic transmission”, it can currently be said that true asymptomatic transmission still seems to be rare (which may explain the very low transmission rate in children), whereas pre-symptomatic transmission in the days before the first symptoms appear (with already high virus load) is very likely and may explain the rapid spread of the virus.
Pre-symptomatic transmission is also known from influenza, but the incubation period of influenza is much shorter, so this may be somewhat less relevant.
The following expert reviews and articles critically examine the effectiveness of cloth masks in the general population:
- Profs. Tom Jefferson and Carl Heneghan (Oxford): Masking lack of evidence with politics
- Dr. Lisa Brosseau and Dr. Margaret Sietsema, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota: Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data
- Professor Michael T. Osterholm, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota: My views on cloth face coverings for the public for preventing COVID-19
- Naoya Kon: Cloth face masks offer zero shield against virus, a study shows
- Eliza McGraw: Everyone wore masks during the 1918 flu pandemic. They were useless.
The Swedish chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell recently stated that the introduction of masks at this point in time, and even in public transport, would be “pointless” in view of the rapidly decreasing number of cases in Sweden. The Dutch government has stated that it will not in general recommend masks because the scientific evidence for their effectiveness is weak.
On the other hand, face masks are not harmless, as the following evidence shows:
- The WHO warns of various “side effects” such as difficulty breathing and skin rashes.
- Tests conducted by the University Hospital of Leipzig have shown that face masks significantly reduce the resilience and performance of healthy persons.
- A German psychological study with about 1000 participants found “severe psychosocial consequences” due to the introduction of mandatory face masks in Germany.
- The Hamburg Environmental Institute warned against the inhalation of chlorine compounds in polyester masks as well as problems in connection with disposal.
- The European rapid alert system RAPEX has already recalled 70 mask models because they did not meet EU quality standards and could lead to “serious risks”.
- In China, two boys who had to wear a mask during sports classes fainted and died.
- In the US, a car driver wearing an N95 (FFP2) mask fainted and crashed into a pole.
Conclusion: It is still possible that cloth masks can slow down the rate of infection in the general population, but the evidence for this is currently limited and the potential benefits are mainly relevant in the context of a long-term and still uncertain vaccination strategy.
Read more: Are face masks effective? The evidence.
Is Covid-19 a pure “test epidemic”? Certainly not.
Some particularly skeptical observers still seem to perceive Covid-19 mainly or solely as a “test epidemic”. However, this position has been untenable for months already.
The best known “test epidemic” is the so-called swine flu of 2009/2010, a rather mild influenza virus that only caused worldwide anxiety due to mass testing and media panic. A commission of the Council of Europe later called the swine flu a “fake pandemic” and a “big pharma fraud”.
What was noteworthy at the time was that a few months earlier, the WHO changed its pandemic guidelines and removed the criterion of increased lethality. In addition, pharmaceutical companies signed secret contracts worth billions with governments for a vaccine that later led to sometimes serious neurological damage and had to be disposed of for the most part.
Finally, researchers discovered that the swine flu virus itself probably originated from vaccine research and was released through a leak (or worse).
On the other hand, due to its special characteristics – in particular the very efficient use of the ACE2 cell receptor – the new coronavirus is a dangerous and easily transmissible SARS virus which can cause severe damage to the lungs, blood vessels and other organs. The good fortune is that many people already have a certain immunity to the new virus or at least are able to neutralize it on the mucosal membrane.
Covid-19 is therefore a real and serious pandemic and comparable to the (still stronger) flu pandemics of 1957/58 (Asian flu) and 1968 to 1970 (Hong Kong flu). The comparison with the swine flu of 2009 is only possible because the deaths caused by swine flu were greatly exaggerated.
(On the other hand, it should be remembered that during the 1968/1970 flu pandemic – or rather in the summer between the two main waves – the famous Woodstock festival was held and social life mostly went on as usual).
However, it can be argued that the real Covid19 pandemic has been amplified by a “test pandemic” due to the mass testing in the general population, causing unnecessary panic and high costs.
Stanford Professor Scott Atlas argued already in May that mass testing in the general population is of little use and that testing should instead be limited to vulnerable institutions such as nursing homes and hospitals (including for visitors).
Daily mass testing is also not effective because, according to antibody studies, the virus is already much more widespread than PCR tests show, anyway. Moreover, the tests are susceptible to false-positive (and false-negative) results and non-infectious virus fragments.
Countries such as Japan, Sweden and Belarus have shown that the pandemic can be controlled without a lockdown and without mass testing – and in the case of Sweden and Belarus also without masks – as long as the sensitive facilities are protected.
Conclusion: Covid-19 is a real and serious pandemic comparable to the (still stronger) influenza pandemics of 1957 and 1968, but in addition to the real Covid-19 pandemic, there is indeed a “test pandemic” which causes unnecessary panic and high costs.
The origin of the new coronavirus
The origin of the new SARS coronavirus remains unclear. However, researchers with access to Chinese documents were able to show in May that the closest related coronavirus was found in a mine in southwest China, where six miners contracted Covid-like pneumonia in 2012 and three of them died.
The miners’ illness was clinically virtually identical to today’s (severe) Covid-19, which is why some analysts have proposed to call the disease Covid-12 instead of Covid-19.
The Virological Institute in Wuhan received virus samples from the mine as well as from the tissue of the deceased miners in 2012 and 2013. It is conceivable that this virus escaped from the laboratory in autumn 2019.
In addition to the Chinese institute, however, the US health authority CDC and the US Department of Defense have also been shown to be working with SARS-like viruses from bats. The US NGO “Eco Health Alliance” cooperated on this issue with both the US Pentagon and the Virological Institute in Wuhan.
Direct transmission by an animal is also still conceivable, although previous candidates such as the well-known animal market in Wuhan or the Pangolin theory have been ruled out by experts in the meantime.
B. Countries and regions
The USA is one of the countries most affected by the new coronavirus so far. This could have political and medical reasons.
Medically, there are many relevant pre-existing conditions in the US population, such as obesity, heart problems and diabetes. Air conditioning systems could promote aerosol-like transmission indoors. Politically, there have been serious mistakes in dealing with nursing homes, misplaced incentives in the treatment of patients, and problematic back-and-forth with lockdowns.
- The US already has over 150,000 corona deaths, putting it in the range of a pandemic influenza, comparable to the 1957 and 1968 pandemics.
- 45% of corona deaths occurred in nursing homes. Over 50% of all deaths occurred in the six states that actively placed Covid patients in nursing homes.
- For people of school and work age (up to 65), corona mortality is comparable to mortality from other pneumonia diseases (e.g. influenza), according to the CDC. For children and adolescents, Covid is three times less dangerous than influenza.
- A nationwide antibody study showed that the new coronavirus is 6 to 24 times more widespread than assumed on the basis of PCR tests, depending on the region. However, the antibody levels are still in the single-digit percentage range in most regions, indicating that exposure to the coronavirus is less much less than 50% in many places.
- While the number of daily positive tests reached a peak in mid-July due to the high number of tests, the number of daily deaths was only half as high as in April, although recently with a slight upward trend again (see graph below).
- In Florida there were reports of at times allegedly very high positivity rates. However, an analysis showed that various laboratories only reported the number of positive tests and thus an apparent positivity rate of 100%. The actual positivity rate in Florida was mostly in the single-digit percentage range. In terms of deaths per capita, Florida remains in the lower midfield compared to the other states.
- The median age of Covid deaths in the USA is 78.5 years. This is higher than the median age of “other deaths”, but lower than the median age of Covid deaths in Europe (80 to 86).
- Yale professor and epidemiologist Harvey A. Risch recently called for immediate over-the-counter availability of HCQ for the early treatment of Covid disease.
- A group of doctors calling itself “America’s Frontline Doctors” held a press conference with the same goal of making HCQ available. The video of the press conference was seen by 20 million people within a day before it was deleted by Facebook & Co. as “misinformation”.
- In England and Wales there have been about 50,000 corona deaths so far. The overall mortality rate is thus still about 10,000 deaths below the strong flu epidemic of 1999/2000.
- There has been no excess mortality among those under 45 years of age compared to the last five years.
- The cumulative corona deaths since March correspond almost exactly to the cumulative influenza and pneumonia deaths since the start of the winter season in December 2019.
- Since mid-June, England and Wales have been in relative under-mortality and daily corona deaths have been below daily influenza and pneumonia deaths since then.
- By mid-April, 45% of NHS nursing staff had already been infected with corona. A significant proportion of patients may have been infected with corona in hospital. Corona patients were also transferred to nursing homes in England, which led to additional deaths.
France was relatively hard hit by the corona pandemic and registered about 30,000 corona deaths by the end of May according to the health authority SPF. About 50% of these deaths occurred in nursing homes, the average age of the deaths is 81.3 years. The median age of intensive care patients was about 67 years.
The region around Paris, eastern France and northern France were particularly hard hit, while large parts of western France and southwestern France were hardly affected at all (so far).
So although only part of France was affected by Covid, the cumulative excess mortality since the beginning of the year (compared to the baseline) is about 50% higher than during the seasonal flu waves of the past five years. In Greater Paris, the excess mortality rate is even around 500% or 10,000 people higher than in previous years (see graphs below).
Covid deaths accounted for around 16% of all deaths nationwide, but in Greater Paris, the figure was almost 40% of all deaths from early March to late May. The weekly peak mortality due to Covid-19 is comparable to the record hot summer of 2003 (see graph below).
Didier Raoult, a well-known professor of medicine and HCQ pioneer from Marseille, criticized the lack of early treatment and the ban on HCQ at a parliamentary hearing at the end of June. Until 2019, HCQ was available in France without prescription. At the beginning of the pandemic, however, its use was restricted to clinics and eventually banned altogether. The reason for the ban was the falsified Lancet study from the end of May (which was later retracted).
In his clinic, Prof. Raoult had been able to reduce the case fatality rate to a very low 0.9% by early treatment with HCQ, according to a published retrospective analysis.
Charts and report: Santé Public France
Germany counts only about 9000 corona deaths and has not experienced any significant excess mortality (in population-adjusted terms there was even a slight undermortality).
At the end of June, however, only 1.3% of blood donors had IgG antibodies against the new coronavirus. This value is very low. Even if non-blood donors (including children and sick persons), T-cells and mucosal (IgA) immunity are taken into account, exposure of the population to the virus is hardly more than 10% to 15%.
This means that the new coronavirus has not yet spread widely in Germany. The measures or – more likely – the anticipation of the measures by the population therefore seem to have been successful in this sense (see graph below).
On the other hand, this means that epidemiologically, Germany is essentially still where it was in April and that the risk of a new and stronger increase in infections and disease is indeed real. The comparison with France shows what this can entail.
The German government currently seems to be following a suppression and vaccination strategy. This strategy is socially and economically costly and its success remains uncertain. As an alternative or addition, an early treatment concept should be examined.
The political corona situation in Germany remains tense. Repeatedly, sanctions have been imposed on doctors, professors, lawyers and civil servants who are critical of corona, and in some cases serious attacks occurred against skeptical journalists and activists.
Since June, an extra-parliamentary committee of inquiry consisting of lawyers and medical experts has been dealing with the German Corona government policy. It should not be forgotten, however, that the corona pandemic in Germany is probably not yet over, given that by the end of June, only 1.3% of blood donors had IgG antibodies against the virus.
- The Swiss annual excess mortality is currently close to zero (see graph), which is below most flu waves of the last ten years. This is due to the mild winter and the very high median age of the approximately 1700 corona deaths (84 years). About 50% of the deaths occurred in nursing homes. The effect of the lockdown remains questionable.
- In the former hotspots Ticino and Geneva, IgG antibody levels in May were about 10%, about ten times higher than found by daily PCR tests. Taking mucosal and cellular immunity into account, exposure in southern and western Switzerland could already be around 50%. In German-speaking Switzerland, however, exposure is likely to be lower. The risk of a “second wave” is therefore real.
- In principle, the Swiss government is pursuing a suppression and vaccination strategy, which it is supplementing with mass testing, contact tracing and compulsory masking. As an alternative, infectiologist Dr. Pietro Vernazza brought up the idea of controlled exposure with protection of risk groups based on the Swedish model.
- Switzerland still has no early treatment strategy and thus risks an unnecessarily high hospitalisation and death rate.
- Sweden and Belarus, both of which managed the corona pandemic without a lockdown and without compulsory masks, have been removed from the Swiss list of “high-risk countries” in mid-July. Sweden had previously put Switzerland on its own high-risk list. In fact, the increase in Swedish “cases” was solely due to an increase in tests.
- A referendum was launched against the corona tracing app “SwissCovid”. The initiators are raising data protection and security concerns. Previously, Swiss Professor Serge Vaudenay published a critical analysis of the app, which isn’t as transparent as claimed, leaving Google and Apple in control, Vaudenay said.
- A referendum is also being prepared against the Swiss “Covid-19 Law”, which extends the Corona emergency law until the end of 2022. In addition, a petition has been launched calling for an extra-parliamentary commission of inquiry into the corona measures.
- A flyer campaign against the compulsory use of masks in public transport also caused a stir. The director of the BAG hastily called the arguments of the critics “fake news”.
- Infosperber: The Covid-19 task force massively exaggerated the benefits of masks
- For more current and critical corona analyses see corona-transition.org
- In Sweden, daily corona deaths are now close to zero. The overall mortality rate is in the range of earlier strong flu waves. Even the monthly peak mortality (in April 2020) remained below the strong flu waves of the 1990s.
- The example of Sweden (and Belarus) shows that a lockdown was not necessary if the population and institutions were well prepared. However, from the perspective of many lockdown advocates – governments and the media – this is very difficult to admit.
- Sweden is one of the few Western countries that – on the basis of the medical evidence – has not closed its primary schools. This decision was correct, too.
- Sweden made two real mistakes, which ironically are not covered by most of the media: 1) The nursing homes in the Stockholm area were protected too late and caused over 50% of Swedish deaths. 2) Sweden had no early treatment strategy that could have reduced the hospitalisation and death rates.
- Swedish cities showed an IgG antibody prevalence between 10% and 20% in July, which, together with mucosal and cellular immunity, indicates that the population was exposed between 50% and 100%. Sweden is therefore probably the best placed of all western countries to start the coming winter.
The following graphs compare the deaths in Sweden with those in England and New York.
Charts: Paul Yowell
An Indian antibody study came to the conclusion that around 23% of the 20 million inhabitants of the Indian capital Delhi already have antibodies against the new corona virus. This is about 35 times more people than confirmed by PCR tests.
This means that Delhi (and some other major cities) could already be beyond or near the herd immunity threshold, taking into account mucosal and cellular immunity.
Brazil has by now suffered 90,000 Covid deaths and thus ranges between the Netherlands and France in terms of deaths per population. In the meantime, Brazil has introduced an early treatment concept based on zinc and HCQ.
Chile and Peru currently have an even higher death rate than Brazil (based on population). With close to 20,000 deaths, Peru is in the range of Italy and Spain.
C. Political notes
- The US economy contracted by an annualized 32.9% in the second quarter, the highest rate since 1947. The second highest decline was in 1958 (10%) – in the wake of the Asian flu pandemic.
- In the US, up to 28 million people might lose their homes due to corona lockdowns and the economic downturn, which could trigger a new mortgage crisis.
- The German economy contracted by 10.1% in the second quarter compared with the same quarter of the previous year – the biggest decline since 1970.
- According to the UN, the corona lockdowns and the global economic depression could plunge up to 225 million people worldwide into a famine by the end of the year.
- The EU Commission demands or plans the “networking” of national corona tracing apps.
- The NGO Privacy International warns of a “looming disaster” with immunity passports and digital identity cards.
- The authoritarian government of Turkmenistan apparently banned the use of the word “coronavirus”. Consequently, there are no coronavirus deaths in the country, at least officially. Those who wear a mask are arrested by police, Reporters without Borders said.
On the development of the pandemic
In most Western countries, the peak of coronavirus infections was already reached in March or April and often before the lockdown. The peak of deaths in most Western countries was in April. Since then, hospitalizations and deaths have been declining in most Western countries (see graphs below).
This development also applies to countries without a lockdown, such as Sweden, Belarus and Japan. Cumulative annual mortality in most western countries continues to be in the range of a mild (e.g. CH, AT, DE) to strong (e.g. USA, UK) influenza season.
After the end of the lockdowns, the number of corona tests in the low-risk general population has increased strongly in many countries, for example in connection with people returning to work and school.
This led to a certain increase in positive test results in some countries or regions, which was portrayed by many media and authorities as an allegedly dangerous increase in “case numbers” and sometimes led to new restrictions, even if the rate of positive tests remained very low.
“Case numbers” are, however, a misleading figure that cannot be equated with sick or infected people. A positive test can, for example, be due to non-infectious virus fragments, an asymptomatic infection, a repeated test, or a false-positive result.
Moreover, counting alleged “case numbers” is not meaningful simply because antibody tests and immunological tests have long shown that the new coronavirus is up to fifty times more widespread than assumed on the basis of daily PCR tests.
Rather, the decisive figures are the number of sick people, hospitalisations and deaths. It should be noted, however, that many hospitals are now back to normal operation and all patients, including asymptomatic patients, are additionally tested for the coronavirus. Therefore, what matters is the number of actual Covid patients in hospitals and ICUs.
In the case of Sweden, for example, the WHO had to withdraw the classification as a “risk country” after it became clear that the apparent increase in “cases” was due to an increase in testing. In fact, hospitalisations and deaths in Sweden have been declining since April.
Some countries have already been in a state of below-average mortality since May. The reason for this is that the median age of corona deaths was often higher than the average life expectancy, as up to 80% of deaths occurred in nursing homes.
In countries and regions where the spread of the coronavirus has so far been greatly reduced, it is nevertheless entirely possible that there will be a renewed increase in Covid patients. In these cases, early and effective treatment is important (see below).
Global Covid-19 mortality is currently – despite the significantly older population nowadays – a whole order of magnitude below the flu pandemics of 1957 (Asian flu) and 1968 (Hong Kong flu) and in the range of the rather mild “swine flu pandemic” of 2009.
The following charts illustrate the discrepancy between “cases” and deaths:
The following charts compare Covid mortalities to earlier flu seasons (more):
The following chart compares deaths in Sweden (no lockdown) New York State:
The following chart compares the Covid-19 pandemic to earlier pandemics:
On the lethality of Covid-19
Most antibody studies have shown a population-based Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of 0.1% to 0.3%. The US health authority CDC published in May a still cautious “best estimate” of 0.26% (based on 35% asymptomatic cases).
At the end of May, however, an immunological study by the University of Zurich was published, which for the first time showed that the usual antibody tests that measure antibodies in the blood (IgG and IgM) can detect at most about one fifth of all coronavirus infections.
The reason for this is that in most people the new coronavirus is already neutralised by antibodies on the mucous membrane (IgA) or by cellular immunity (T cells) and no symptoms or only mild symptoms develop.
This means that the new coronavirus is probably much more widespread than previously assumed and the lethality per infection is around five times lower than previously estimated. The real lethality could therefore be significantly below 0.1% and thus in the range of influenza.
At the same time, the Swiss study may explain why children usually develop no symptoms (due to frequent contact with previous corona cold viruses), and why even hotspots such as New York City found an antibody prevalence (IgG/IgM) of at most 20% – as this already corresponds to herd immunity.
The Swiss study has in the meantime been confirmed by several more studies:
- A Swedish study showed that people with mild or asymptomatic disease often neutralized the virus with T-cells without the need to produce antibodies. Overall, T-cell immunity was about twice as common as antibody immunity.
- A large Spanish antibody study published in Lancet showed that less than 20% of symptomatic people and about 2% of asymptomatic people had IgG antibodies.
- A German study (preprint) showed that 81% of the people who had not yet had contact with the new corona virus already had cross-reactive T-cells and thus a certain background immunity (due to contact with previous corona cold viruses).
- A Chinese study in the journal Nature showed that in 40% of asymptomatic persons and in 12.9% of symptomatic persons no IgG antibodies are detectable after the recovery phase.
- Another Chinese study with almost 25,000 clinic employees in Wuhan showed that at most one fifth of the presumably infected employees had IgG antibodies (press article).
- A small French study (preprint) showed that six of eight infected family members of Covid patients developed a temporary T-cell immunity without antibodies.
In this context, a US study in the journal Science Translational Medicine, using various indicators, concluded that the lethality of Covid-19 was much lower than originally assumed, but that its spread in some hotspots was up to 80 times faster than suspected, which would explain the rapid but short-duration increase in patients.
A study in the Austrian ski resort of Ischgl, one of the first European “corona hotspots”, found antibodies in 42% of the population. 85% of the infections went “unnoticed” (i.e. very mild), about 50% of the infections went completely without (noticeable) symptoms.
The high antibody value of 42% in Ischgl was due to the fact that Ischgl also tested for IgA antibodies in the blood (instead of only IgM/IgG). Additional tests for mucosal IgA and for T-cells would undoubtedly have shown even higher immunity levels close to herd immunity.
Ischgl saw two Covid-related deaths (both of them men over 80 with preconditions), resulting in a ‘crude IFR’ of 0.26%. Considering the population structure and the actual extent of immunity, the population-based Covid lethality is likely to be below 0.1%
Due to its rather low lethality, Covid-19 falls at most into level 2 of the five-level pandemic plan developed by US health authorities. For this level, only the “voluntary isolation of sick people” is to be applied, while further measures such as face masks, school closings, distance rules, contact tracing, vaccinations and lockdowns of entire societies are not recommended.
The new immunological results also mean that “immunity passports” and mass vaccinations are unlikely to work and are therefore not a useful strategy.
Some media continue to speak of allegedly much higher Covid lethality levels. However, these media refer to outdated simulation models, confuse mortality and lethality, or CFR and IFR, or “raw IFR” and population-based IFR. More about these errors here.
In July, an antibody prevalence of allegedly up to 70% was reported in some New York City districts. However, this is not a population-based figure, but rather antibodies in people who had visited an urgent care center.
The following graph shows the actual development of corona deaths in Sweden (no lockdown, no face mask obligation) compared to the forecasts of Imperial College London (orange: no measures; grey: moderate measures). Swedish annual all-cause mortality actually is in the range of a medium flu wave and 3.6% lower than in previous years.
On the health risks of Covid-19
Why is the new coronavirus harmless for many people, but very dangerous for some people? The reason has to to with special features of the virus and the human immune system.
Many people, including almost all children, can neutralise the new corona virus with an existing immunity (due to contact with previous corona cold viruses) or through antibodies on the mucous membranes (IgA), without it causing much damage.
However, if this does not succeed, the virus can penetrate the organism. There the virus can cause complications in the lung (pneumonia), the blood vessels (thromboses, embolisms), and other organs due to its efficient use of the human ACE2 cell receptor.
If in this case the immune system reacts too weakly (in older people) or too strongly (in some younger people), the course of the disease can become critical.
It has also been confirmed that the symptoms or complications of serious Covid-19 disease can last for weeks or even months in some cases.
Therefore, the new coronavirus should not be underestimated and early and effective treatment is absolutely crucial for patients at risk.
In the longer term, the new coronavirus could develop into a typical cold virus, similar to the coronavirus NL63, which also uses the ACE2 cell receptor and nowadays affects primarily young children and nursing patients, causing upper and lower respiratory tract infections.
On the treatment of Covid-19
Note: Patients are asked to consult a doctor.
Several studies have now confirmed what some front-line physicians have been saying since March: Early treatment of Covid patients with zinc and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is indeed effective. US doctors have reported a reduction in hospitalisation rates of up to 84% and a stabilisation of the health condition often within a few hours.
Zinc has antiviral properties, HCQ supports zinc absorption and has additional antiviral properties. These drugs are supplemented by doctors if necessary with an antibiotic (to prevent a bacterial superinfection) and a blood thinner (to prevent infection-related thromboses and embolisms).
The alleged or actual negative results with HCQ in some studies were based, according to the current state of knowledge, on delayed use (intensive care patients), excessive doses (up to 2400mg per day), manipulated data sets, or ignored contraindications (e.g., favism or heart problems).
Sadly, the WHO, many media and some authorities may have caused considerable and unnecessary damage to public health in recent months through their negative stance, which may have been politically motivated or influenced by pharmaceutical interests.
French professor of medicine Jaouad Zemmouri, for example, estimates that Europe could have avoided up to 78% of Covid deaths by adopting a consistent HCQ treatment strategy.
HCQ contraindications such as favism or heart problems need to be considered, but the recent Ford Medical Center study achieved a reduction in hospital deaths of around 50% even with 56% African-American patients (who more often have favism).
However, the crucial point in the treatment of high-risk patients is early intervention as soon as the first typical symptoms develop and even without a PCR test in order to prevent progression of the disease and avoid intensive care hospitalization.
Most countries did the exact opposite: after the infection wave in March, they imposed a lockdown, so that infected and frightened people were locked up in their homes without treatment and often waited until they developed severe respiratory distress and had to be taken directly to the intensive care unit, where they were often sedated and intubated and were likely to die.
It is conceivable that a zinc HCQ combination protocol, which is simple, safe and inexpensive, could make more complex drugs, vaccinations and measures largely obsolete.
More recently, a case study from France showed that in four of the first five patients treated with the much more expensive drug Remdesivir from the pharmaceutical company Gilead, treatment had to be discontinued due to liver issues and kidney failure.
Read more: On the treatment of Covid-19
On the effectiveness of masks
Various countries have introduced or are currently discussing the introduction of mandatory masks in public transport, in shopping malls, or generally in public.
Some may argue that the discussion has become largely obsolete because of the lower-than-expected lethality and hospitalization rate of Covid-19 and the available treatment options, which have mostly eased the initial concern of “flattening the curve”.
Nevertheless, the question of the effectiveness of masks can be asked. In the case of influenza epidemics, the answer is already clear from a scientific point of view: masks in everyday life have no or very little effect. If used improperly, they can even increase the risk of infection.
Ironically, the best and most recent example of this is the often-mentioned Japan: Despite its ubiquitous masks, Japan experienced its most recent strong flu wave – with around five million people falling ill – just one year ago, in January and February 2019.
However, unlike SARS corona viruses, influenza viruses are transmitted also by children. Indeed, Japan had to close around ten thousand schools in 2019 due to acute outbreaks of the flu.
With the SARS 1 virus of 2002 and 2003, there is some evidence that medical masks can provide partial protection against infection. But SARS-1 spread almost exclusively in hospitals, i.e. in a professional environment, and hardly to the general public at large.
In contrast, a study from 2015 showed that the cloth masks in use today are permeable to 97% of viral particles due to their pore size and can further increase the risk of infection by storing moisture.
Some studies recently argued that everyday masks are nevertheless effective in the case of the new coronavirus and could at least prevent the infection of other people. However, these studies suffer from poor methodology and sometimes show the opposite of what they claim.
Typically, these studies ignore the effect of other simultaneous measures, the natural development of infection numbers, changes in test activity, or they compare countries with very different conditions.
- A German study claimed that the introduction of compulsory masks in German cities had led to a decrease in infections. But the data does not support this: in some cities there was no change, in others a decrease, in others an increase in infections (see graph below). The city of Jena, presented as a model, simultaneously introduced the strictest quarantine rules in Germany, but the study did not mention this.
- A study in the journal PNAS claimed that masks had led to a decrease in infections in three hotspots (including New York City). This did not take into account the natural decrease in infections and other measures. The study was so flawed that over 40 scientists recommended that the study be withdrawn.
- A US study claimed that compulsory masks had led to a decrease in infections in 15 states. The study did not take into account that the incidence of infection was already declining in most states at that time. A comparison with other states was not made.
- A Canadian study claimed that countries with compulsory masks had fewer deaths than countries without compulsory masks. But the study compared African, Latin American, Asian and Eastern European countries with very different infection rates and population structures.
- A meta-study in the journal Lancet claimed that masks “could” lead to a reduction in the risk of infection, but the studies considered mainly hospitals (Sars-1) and the strength of the evidence was reported as “low”.
The medical benefit of compulsory masks therefore continues to remain questionable. A comparative study by the University of East Anglia, for instance, came to the conclusion that compulsory masks had no measurable effect on the incidence of Covid infections or deaths.
It is also clear that widespread use of face masks couldn’t stop the initial outbreak in Wuhan.
Sweden showed that even without a lockdown, without mandatory masks and with one of the lowest intensive care bed capacities in Europe, hospitals need not be overburdened. In fact, Sweden’s annual all-cause mortality has remained in the range of previous flu seasons.
At any rate, authorities shouldn’t suggest to the population that mandatory masks reduce the risk of infection, for example in public transport, as there is no evidence of this. Whether with or without masks, there is an increased risk of infection in densely packed indoor areas.
Interestingly, the demand for a worldwide obligation to wear masks is led by a lobby group called “masks4all” (masks for all), which was founded by a “young leader” of the Davos forum.
The role of contact tracing
Numerous countries have introduced smartphone apps and special units for “contact tracing”. However, there is no evidence that these can make an epidemiologically relevant contribution.
In the case of tracing pioneer Iceland, the app has largely failed, in Norway it was stopped for data protection reasons, in India, Argentina, Singapore and other countries it became mandatory after all, in Israel contact tracing is operated directly by the secret service.
A WHO study on influenza pandemics in 2019 came to the conclusion that contact tracing is not useful from an epidemiological point of view and “is not recommended in any circumstances”. The typical area of application is rather sexually transmitted diseases or food poisoning.
Moreover, serious concerns about data protection and civil rights remain.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned as early as March that governments could use the corona crisis as an occasion or pretext for expanding global surveillance and control, thus creating an “architecture of oppression”.
A whistleblower who had taken part in a training program for contact tracers in the US described it as “totalitarian” and a “danger to society”.
Swiss computer science professor Serge Vaudenay showed that the contact tracing protocols are by no means “decentralized” and “transparent”, because the actual functionality is implemented through a Google and Apple interface (GAEN) that is not “open source”.
This interface has now been integrated by Google and Apple into three billion mobile phones. According to Prof. Vaudenay, the interface may record and store all contacts, not just those that are medically “relevant”. A German IT expert, for his part, described tracing apps as a “Trojan horse”.
For more information on “contact tracing”, see the June update.
See also: Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network (Wired)
On the origin of the new coronavirus
In the June update it was shown that renowned virologists consider a laboratory origin of the new coronavirus to be “at least as plausible” as a natural origin. This is due to some genetic peculiarities of the virus in the receptor binding domain, which lead to high infectivity in humans.
In the meantime, further evidence for this hypothesis has emerged. More in these articles:
- Covid-19 Virus Origin: The Mojiang Miners Passage Hypothesis (SPR)
- Seven year coronavirus trail from bat cave via Wuhan lab (London Times)
- Pentagon biolab discovered MERS and SARS-like coronaviruses in bats (DG)
Developments since the beginning of 2020 show that the new coronavirus cannot be seen as a “bioweapon” in the strict sense of the term, as it is not deadly enough and not targeted enough. However, it may well cause fear among the population and be exploited politically.
Nevertheless, besides a potential lab origin, a natural origin continues to be a realistic possibility, even though the “Wuhan wet market” hypothesis and more recently the pangolin hypothesis have in the meantime been ruled out by experts.
(Last updated: July 17)
A. General part
Studies of Covid-19 lethality
Stanford professor John Ioannidis published an overview of Covid-19 antibody studies. According to his analysis, the lethality of Covid19 (IFR) is below 0.16% in most countries and regions. Ioannidis found an upper limit of 0.40% for three hotspots.
In its latest report, the US health authority CDC reduced the Covid19 lethality (IFR) to 0.26% (best estimate). Even this value may still be seen as an upper limit, since the CDC conservatively assumes 35% asymptomatic cases, while most studies indicate 50 to 80% asymptomatic cases.
At the end of May, however, Swiss immunologists led by Professor Onur Boyman published what is probably the most important study on Covid19 lethality to date. This preprint study comes to the conclusion that the usual antibody tests that measure antibodies in the blood (IgG and IgM) can recognize at most one fifth of all Covid19 infections.
The reason for this discrepancy is that in most people the new coronavirus is already neutralized by antibodies on the mucous membrane (IgA) or by cellular immunity (T-cells). In most of these cases, no symptoms or only mild symptoms develop.
This means that the new coronavirus is probably much more common than previously thought and the lethality per infection is up to five times lower than previously assumed. The real lethality could thus be well below 0.1% and hence in the range of strong seasonal influenza.
In fact, several studies have now shown that up to 60% of all people already have a certain cellular immunity to Covid-19, which was acquired through contact with previous coronaviruses (common cold viruses). Children in particular often come into contact with such coronaviruses, which could help explain their insensitivity to Covid19.
The new Swiss study may also explain why antibody studies even in hotspots like New York or Madrid found infection rates of at most about 20%, as this would correspond to an actual rate of nearly 100%. In many regions, the actual prevalence might already be well over 50% and thus in the range of herd immunity.
Should the Swiss study be confirmed, the assessment of Oxford epidemiologist Prof. Sunetra Gupta would apply, who predicted early on that Covid-19 is very widespread and its lethality below 0.1%.
Despite the comparatively low lethality of Covid-19 (deaths per infection), the mortality (deaths per population) can still be increased regionally and in the short term if the virus spreads rapidly and reaches high risk groups, especially patients in nursing homes, as indeed happened in several hotspots (see below).
Due to its rather low lethality, Covid-19 falls at most into level 2 of the five-level pandemic plan developed by US health authorities. For this level, only the “voluntary isolation of sick people” is to be applied, while further measures such as face masks, school closings, distance rules, contact tracing, vaccinations and lockdowns of entire societies are not recommended.
Regarding contact tracing, a WHO study on influenza pandemics from 2019 also came to the conclusion that from a medical point of view this is “under no circumstances recommended”, since it is not expedient for easily communicable and generally mild respiratory diseases.
It is sometimes argued that the rather low lethality was not known at the beginning of the pandemic. This is not entirely true, as data from South Korea, the cruise ships and even from Italy already showed in March that the risk to the general population is rather low.
Many health authorities also knew this, as leaked emails from Denmark in mid-March show: “The Danish Health Authority continues to consider that Covid-19 cannot be described as a generally dangerous disease, as it does not have either a usually serious course or a high mortality rate.”
Some media nevertheless continue to calculate an allegedly much higher Covid19 lethality rate of sometimes over 1% by simply dividing deaths by “infections”, without taking into account the age and risk distribution, which is absolutely crucial especially for Covid19.
The latest data from the European mortality monitoring Euromomo shows that several countries such as France, Italy and Spain are already entering a below-average mortality. The reason for this is that the average age of Covid19 deaths was very high and fewer people than usual are now dying in this age group.
See also: Studies on Covid-19 lethality
The role of nursing homes
Nursing homes played an absolute key role in the Covid 19 pandemic. In most countries, one to two thirds of all Covid19 deaths occurred in nursing homes, and up to 80% in Canada and some US states. Even in Sweden, which did not impose a lockdown, 75% of deaths occurred in nursing facilities.
It is all the more worrying that some authorities have obliged their nursing homes to admit Covid patients from the clinics, which has almost always resulted in numerous new infections and deaths. This happened in northern Italy, England and the heavily affected US states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
It is also known from northern Italy that the widespread fear of the virus and the announced lockdown of the country led to the flight of the predominantly Eastern European nurses, which further accelerated the breakdown of elderly care.
In the United States, at least 42% of all Covid19 deaths are accounted for by 0.6% of the population living in nursing homes. Nursing homes require targeted protection and do not benefit from a general lockdown of society as a whole.
It is well known that even common corona viruses (cold viruses) can be very dangerous for people in nursing homes. Stanford professor John Ioannidis pointed out already in mid-March that coronaviruses may have a case mortality rate of up to 8% in nursing homes.
In addition, it is often not clear whether these people really died from Covid-19 or from weeks of stress and total isolation. For example, there were approximately 30,000 additional deaths in English nursing homes, but in only 10,000 cases, Covid19 is noted on the death certificate.
In April alone, around 10,000 additional dementia patients without corona infection died in England and Wales due to weeks of isolation. Investigations into the situation in nursing homes have been initiated or requested in several countries.
The role of hospitals
The second central factor regarding infections and deaths, in addition to the nursing homes, are the hospitals themselves. A case study in Wuhan already showed that around 41% of hospitalized Covid patients had in fact contracted Covid in the hospital itself.
Contagion in hospitals also played a decisive role in northern Italy, Spain, England and other regions that were severely affected, meaning that the clinics themselves became the main place of transmission of Covid19 to already weakened people (so-called nosocomial infection) – an issue that had already been observed during the SARS outbreak from 2003.
Based on current knowledge, those countries that managed to avoid outbreaks of infection in nursing homes and hospitals had comparatively few deaths. The general lockdown of society, however, played no role or even a counterproductive role (see below).
An additional factor is the sometimes fatal medical mistreatment of Covid patients with aggressive drugs or invasive ventilation, the risks of which experts have been warning about for months. In the US, for example, there have been questionable financial incentives to connect Covid patients to ventilators, a practice that is now being investigated in several states.
See also: An undercover nurse reporting from the ‘epicenter’ in New York City (Video)
The clinical picture of Covid-19
Professor Püschel again emphasized that Covid-19 “is not nearly as threatening as was initially suspected”. The danger was “too much influenced by media images”. The media had focused on severe individual cases and fueled panic with “completely wrong messages”. Covid-19 is not a “killer virus” and the call for new medicine or vaccines is “driven by fear, not facts.”
The specific cause of death of the examined cases was pneumonia, but in about 50% of the cases there were venous thrombosis in the legs, which can lead to fatal pulmonary embolism. The kidneys and heart muscle were also partially affected. Professor Püschel therefore recommends the preventive administration of blood-thinning medication for serious Covid cases.
With regard to thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, Professor Püschel – like other experts before – emphasized that a “lockdown” with quarantine at home was “exactly the wrong measure”, since the lack of exercise itself promotes thrombosis. Indeed, US specialists have already been warning of this risk after even Covid-negative people developed unexpected thrombosis.
Many media again misinterpreted the autopsy findings and spoke of Covid-19 as a particularly dangerous disease which, unlike influenza, is said to lead to thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. This is not true, however: it has been known for 50 years that even severe influenza can greatly increase the risk of thrombosis and embolism and can affect the heart muscle and other organs. Even the recommendation regarding preventive blood thinner for severe influenza has been around for 50 years already.
Children and schools
Numerous studies have now shown that children hardly get Covid19 and do not or hardly transmit the virus, which was already known from the 2003 SARS outbreak. There was therefore no medical reason for the closure of schools at any time.
Accordingly, all those countries that reopened their schools in May saw no increase in cases of infection. Countries like Sweden, which never closed their primary schools anyway, had no problems with this either.
A preprint study by the German virologist Christian Drosten argued that the risk of infection from children is comparable to adults and schools should therefore remain closed. However, several researchers demonstrated methodological errors in the study. Drosten subsequently withdrew the recommendation regarding school closures.
In some schools, for example in France and Israel, alleged “corona outbreaks” are said to have occurred. However, it is likely that these are transmissions from teachers to schoolchildren that, to their dismay, are regularly tested, although they hardly show any symptoms and are themselves hardly or not at all contagious.
The British Kawasaki Disease Foundation again criticized the dubious and lurid media coverage of Kawasaki disease. In fact, there has been no significant increase in Kawasaki cases and no proven association with Covid-19. General inflammatory reactions in individual children are also known from other viral infections, but the number of cases reported so far is extremely low.
German medical associations have also given the all-clear: Covid-19 is imperceptible or very mild in almost all children. Schools and daycare centers should therefore be opened immediately and without restrictions, ie there is no need for small groups, distance rules or masks.
On the effectiveness of masks
Regardless of the comparatively low lethality of Covid19 in the general population (see above), there is still no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of masks in healthy and asymptomatic people in everyday life.
A cross-country study by the University of East Anglia came to the conclusion that a mask requirement was of no benefit and could even increase the risk of infection.
Two US professors and experts in respiratory and infection protection from the University of Illinois explain in an essay that face masks have no effect in everyday life, neither as self-protection nor to protect third parties (so-called source control). The widespread use of masks didn’t prevent the outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, either.
A study from April 2020 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine came to the conclusion that neither fabric masks nor surgical masks can prevent the spread of the Covid19 virus by coughing.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine from May 2020 also comes to the conclusion that face masks offer little or no protection in everyday life. The call for a mask requirement is described as an “irrational fear reflex”.
A May 2020 meta-study on pandemic influenza published by the U.S. CDC also found that face masks had no effect, neither as personal protective equipment nor as a source control.
A 2015 study in the British Medical Journal BMJ Open found that cloth masks were penetrated by 97% of particles and may increase infection risk by retaining moisture or reuse of the masks.
The WHO moreover declared in June that truly “asymptomatic transmission” is in fact “very rare”, as data from numerous countries showed. Some of the few confirmed cases were due to direct body contact, i.e. shaking hands or kissing.
In Austria, the face mask requirement in retail and catering will be lifted again from mid-June. A mask requirement was never introduced in Sweden because it “does not offer additional protection for the population”, as the Swedish health authority explained.
Numerous politicians, media people and police officers have already been caught putting on their face masks in a crowd especially for the television cameras or taking them off immediately when they believed that they were no longer being filmed.
In some cases there were brutal police attacks because a person allegedly “did not wear her mask properly”. In other cases, people with a disability who cannot and do not have to wear a mask, are not allowed to enter department stores .
Despite this evidence, a group called “masks4all”, which was founded by a “young leader” of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos, is advocating worldwide mask requirements. Several governments and the WHO appear to be responding to this campaign.
Many critics suspect that the masks are more likely to have a psychological or political function (“muzzle” or “visible sign of obedience”) and that wearing them frequently might even lead to additional health problems.
A study from Germany empirically showed that the introduction of face masks had no effect on infection rates (see graph). Only the city of Jena appeared to experience a strong decrease in infections, but Jena simultaneously introduced very strict quarantine regulations.
On the origin of the virus
In mid-March, some researchers argued in a letter to the journal Nature Medicine that the Covid19 virus must be of natural origin and not “from a laboratory”. They cited the structure of the virus and the fact that the binding to the human ACE2 cell receptor did not correspond to the theoretical maximum.
In the meantime, however, numerous renowned virologists have contradicted this argument. An artificial origin in the context of virological functional research is “at least as plausible” as a natural origin. In fact, coronaviruses of this kind have been intensively researched in several laboratories for almost 20 years (i.e. since the SARS outbreak in 2003), they say.
Arguments in favour of an artificial origin include in particular that the binding to the human ACE2 cell receptor is significantly stronger than in all common source animals and that no direct source animal could be identified so far. In addition, the virus contains some striking functional gene sequences that might have been inserted artificially (see graphic below).
The initial theory of the animal market in Wuhan has since been rejected because none of the animals there tested positive and a third of the very first patients had no connection to the animal market. The animal market is now seen as a secondary place of transmission.
It is known that the virological laboratory in Wuhan, in collaboration with the United States and France, researched coronaviruses and thereby also generated “potentially pandemic pathogens” (PPP) that are particularly easy to transmit and / or particularly dangerous. In addition, there have been several laboratory accidents with virus releases in China and the USA.
The unbiased observer must therefore continue to consider several realistic options: a natural origin of the virus (as assumed with SARS 2003), a laboratory accident as part of functional research (probably in Wuhan), or even a targeted release by a geopolitically interested actor in the East or West.
Nevertheless, the Covid19 virus is not a “biological weapon” in the classic sense: the virus is very easily transmissible, but not particularly dangerous for the general population. Animal studies have shown that much more deadly corona viruses can be generated.
Vaccines against Covid-19
Various politicians in Europe and the US have declared that the “corona crisis” can only be ended by a vaccine that is currently being developed.
However, many experts have pointed out that an express vaccine against the new coronavirus is not necessary or useful due to the overall low lethality (see above) and the already declining spread. The protection of risk groups, especially in nursing homes, could be much more targeted.
Some experts like the Swiss infectiologist Dr. Pietro Vernazza also pointed out that experience shows that the high-risk group in particular benefits the least from vaccination, since their immune system no longer reacts adequately to the vaccine.
Various experts have also pointed out the significant health risks of an express vaccine. In fact, vaccination against the so-called “swine flu” from 2009/2010, for example, led to sometimes severe neurological damage, particularly in children, and to claims for damages in the millions.
Nevertheless, several billion dollars of private and public funds have already been collected for the development of a vaccine. An “immunity certificate” for work and travel is still being discussed. However, contrary to most media reports, the two leading vaccine projects had some serious complications.
In the case of the Oxford University vaccine, in animal experiments all six rhesus monkeys fell ill with Covid19 despite vaccination and were as infectious as the unvaccinated monkeys. Nevertheless, the vaccine was moved on to the human test phase. However, the project manager explained that the coronavirus had already become so rare in the population that the clinical trial may deliver no result.
In the case of the novel RNA vaccine from Moderna, which was unusually tested directly in human experiments, 20% of the participants in the high-dose group had a “serious side effect”, although Moderna only allowed very healthy people to try it.
One of the Moderna participants was then presented and interviewed by CNN as a “hero”. However, it was agreed not to mention that the participant passed out after the vaccination and became “as sick as never before in his life”. Several experts also criticized Moderna for not disclosing their clinical data sufficiently.
The director of the US Corona Vaccine Rapid Development Program was himself previously a director at Moderna. President Trump also announced that the vaccine might be distributed nationwide with the U.S. military. Some countries, such as Denmark, have already created the legal basis for mandatory vaccination of the entire population. In Germany, too, various politicians have spoken out in favor of compulsory vaccination.
Proponents of compulsory vaccination, such as World Medical President Frank Montgomery, argue that the population must be vaccinated to protect those who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons. In view of the rather low lethality of Covid19 and the already wide prevalence, this argumentation seems rahter questionable, however. In addition, there are the serious vaccine risks outlined above.
Nevertheless, the head of the largest European ticket portal Eventim said that “major events may not return until there is a vaccine or a correspondingly effective medication.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who co-chaired the vaccine summit in early June with US billionaire Bill Gates, described the GAVI vaccine alliance as a kind of “health NATO”. Nevertheless, “immunity passports” are likely to fail since even antibody tests can only detect about 20% of all infections, as the study by Professor Boyman’s group has shown (see above).
Medication against Covid-19
The situation regarding helpful medication for severe Covid19 cases remains very unclear. The only consensus is that blood thinners are helpful in preventing life-threatening thrombosis and embolism (as with severe influenza).
There have been fierce discussions about the malaria drug hydroxychloroquin (HCQ) for months. The journal Lancet published a study at the end of May according to which HCQ leads to heart problems. The WHO then ceased all of its HCQ studies. Shortly thereafter, however, it became known that the Lancet study was based on a manipulated data set.
The Lancet study and another study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) had to be withdrawn, which is one of the biggest medical scandals in recent years. The reason for the manipulated study is not clear, however, the lead author seems to be involved in a study of competing drug Remdesivir at the same time.
The use of remdesivir by the pharmaceutical company Gilead came itself under pressure after a first study showed that the drug could not reduce the risk of death. However, many media ignored this and still reported positive about the drug.
A former French Minister of Health revealed in an interview that the editors of Lancet and NEJM stated in a confidential discussion panel that the pressure and influence of pharmaceutical companies had become so great, indeed “criminal”, that one could no longer speak of science.
Various clinics use or study HCQ in Covid19 patients, sometimes in combination with zinc, vitamins or other medications. However, it is known that HCQ can lead to fatal complications in people from Africa and the Mediterranean region that have a metabolic pecularity called favism.
Unfortunately, it must be assumed that incorrect or too aggressive medication with HCQ, steroids, antibiotics and antiviral agents as well as invasive ventilation has led to numerous additional and avoidable deaths during the corona pandemic.
Expert opinions (selection)
- Stanford professor John Ioannidis explains in an interview with CNN that Covid19 is a “widespread and mild disease” comparable to influenza (flu) for the general population, while patients in nursing homes and hospitals should receive extra protection.
- Stanford professor Scott Atlas explains in an interview with CNN that “the idea of having to stop Covid19 has created a catastrophic health care situation”. Professor Atlas says that the disease is “generally mild” and that irrational fears had been created, adding that there is “absolutely no reason” for extensive testing in the general population, which is only necessary in hospitals and nursing homes.
- The British chief medical officer Dr. Chris Whitty explained in a lecture that Covid19 posed “no danger to the vast majority of the population”. Most people do not or only mildly fall ill with it, and even with those who are seriously ill, the chances of recovery are good.
- Stanford professor and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Michael Levitt explains in a new article that the lockdowns did not save lives but cost many. A “panic virus” has spread among politicians worldwide, professor Levitt said.
- Professor Karel Sikora of the University of Buckingham argued in an interview that ultimately, fear will “kill a lot more people than the virus,” including untreated heart and cancer patients. Schools should be opened quickly and masks should remain an individual decision because their benefits have not been proven. One should go back to an “old normal” and not a “new normal”. (Note: The video with Professor Sikora was temporarily deleted by YouTube and only restored after protests).
- Professor Yoram Lass, former director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Health, argues that the lockdown measures have been “totally disproportionate” and are an acute threat to hundreds of millions of people. Covid19 is “comparable to a flu epidemic” and would never have justified such political destruction of livelihoods. People have been intimidated and “brainwashed”.
- The Oxford professor of epidemiology, Sunetra Gupta, argues in a new interview that the lethality of Covid19 is likely to be below 0.1% and that a large number of people have already come into contact with the virus.
- Leading German virologist Prof. Hendrik Streeck criticized the lockdown and explained that “all experts are returning to the assessment of the early days” that Covid-19 “should not be trivialized, but also should not be dramatized”. The reason for the declining risk assessment was the “enormous number of infections that remained without symptoms”. Streeck does not expect any excess mortality in Germany by the end of the year, as the average age of death is “rather above life expectancy”, and he doesn’t consider “corona apps” and widespread corona tests to be useful. He also criticized the general use of masks, saying that these are a “wonderful breeding ground for bacteria and fungi”. Schools should be reopened as soon as possible.
- An employee of the German Ministry of the Interior, responsible for disaster protection, together with external experts wrote a 100-page analysis paper on corona crisis management, which was leaked to the press at the beginning of May and created strong reactions. In the paper, Covid-19 is described as a “global false alarm” because “there was probably at no time a risk beyond the normal level” for the general population. The collateral damage caused by the lockdown is now significantly higher than the recognizable benefit and far exceeds the risk potential of the corona virus. In March and April alone, over a million operations were not carried out in Germany. Crisis management and threat analysis mostly failed and data supplied by health authorities were “inadequate” as the basis for decision-making. The official was subsequently fired because he had created the paper “without authorization”.
- A group led by Professor Sucharit Bhakdi founded the Association of Physicians and Scientists for Health, Freedom and Democracy (MWGFD), which has already been joined by over 16,000 supporters. At the beginning of June, the group published a call to the federal government and all state governments to immediately and completely lift the Corona measures. Professor Bhakdi’s book, Corona: A False Alarm?, appearing at the end of June, is already an Amazon bestseller solely due to the pre-orders.
- A senior physician for intensive medicine at the University Hospital Zurich, who cared for critical Covid 19 patients, criticized in a widely shared video the “scaremongering” associated with the disease. For the vast majority of all people there is no significant risk of death, the numbers are comparable overall to earlier flu waves. Risk groups could be protected in a targeted manner, while the lockdown only prevents the immunization of the general population. In addition, people die due to the medical undersupply in other areas. The medical and social damage has long been greater than the benefits. The partially mandatory mouth protection for schoolchildren also has “no medical sense and benefit” and places a heavy burden on the children. The “daily counting” of the cases is nonsensical and only spreads fear. The counterproductive measures must be stopped quickly.Swiss media tried to put pressure on the Zurich University Hospital after the video had been widely distributed. The doctor has since removed the original video.
- The Swiss chief physician for infectiology, Dr. Pietro Vernazza, using current case studies as an example, explains that fever measurements and contact tracing are not useful due to the often symptom-free course and easy transmission of Covid19.
- The well-known Swiss immunologist Dr. Beda Stadler explains in an article that Covid19 is a “very selective disease” and only poses a real risk for very few people. The media, on the other hand, focused on the few atypical individual cases that exist with every illness. Many scientists had focused too much on their models and too little on reality. The planned contact tracing is medically “senseless” and spreads “only panic”.
- Overview: 250 worldwide expert voices against corona dogmas (German)
Sweden: Sweden had no lockdown, no mask requirement and no primary school closures, but instead mainly relied on the personal responsibility and cooperation of the population. This approach worked well and Sweden saw only a low mortality rate in the general population, comparable to a seasonal flu wave.
Nevertheless, the overall mortality rate in Sweden was indeed higher than in the neighboring Scandinavian countries or in Germany, which was portrayed by many international media as an alleged “failure of the Swedish no-lockdown strategy”.
However, most media didn’t mention that three quarters of Swedish deaths occured in nursing facilities, which require targeted protection and do not benefit from a general lockdown of society. Indeed, at 86 years, the median age of Swedish Covid deaths is likely the highest in the world.
The Swedish government has also been one of the few to apologize for the insufficient protection of nursing patients and to announce an investigation, but this has again been portrayed by many media as an alleged “failure of the Swedish no-lockdown strategy”.
Yet even total mortality in Sweden remained below the strongest seasonal flu waves of the past thirty years. Moreover, Sweden may now benefit from a very high natural immunity, especially in view of the latest immunological studies on the actual range of antibody tests (see above).
Florida: Despite being home to many senior citizens, Florida introduced rather few restrictions and even the popular beaches were reopened early, which was heavily criticized by many US media. Nevertheless, Florida did very well compared to other states and recently had around 2300 deaths in a population of 21 million, which corresponds to Germany’s low mortality.
In an interview, the governor explained that contrary to the media, he realized early on based on the figures from South Korea and Italy that Covid19 was only dangerous for a very small risk group and he therefore protected the nursing homes as best as possible. In terms of prevention, nursing homes were even more important than the clinics themselves, and this strategy had proven itself. At the end of May, the governor announced that summer camps and youth activities could be carried out without restrictions.
Japan: Japan registered some of the first Covid19 cases outside of China, but did not introduce a lockdown. At the end of March, the Japan Times asked, “Where’s the coronavirus explosion?” Bloomberg now reports that a corona crisis never materialized: there were no restrictions on movement, restaurants and hairdressers remained open, there were no “tracking apps” and no mass tests of the general population. Nevertheless – or because of this – Japan now has by far the least deaths compared to the G7 industrialized countries.
It is sometimes argued that the respirators were decisive for Japan’s success. However, respirators are voluntary in Japan and did not stop the outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, while Sweden, Florida and other successful regions did not use masks in the general population.
Belarus: Belarus has probably implemented the least restrictions of all industrialized nations and carried out even major events such as the 75-year celebrations of the end of World War II. Nevertheless, Belarus officially counts fewer than 300 Covid deaths even after more than three months. Long-term President Lukashenko, who has repeatedly referred to Corona as a “psychosis,” said in mid-May that the capital, Minsk, had already passed the peak. The decision to treat Covid19 cases like normal pneumonia was correct. Ultimately, however, only statistics on overall mortality will be able to show whether the Belarusian numbers are really correct.
- Transmission routes: A new report by the US health agency CDC comes to the conclusion that the virus is transmitted primarily through direct contact with people and “cannot spread easily on surfaces.” The German virologist Hendrik Streeck was already able to demonstrate that the new corona virus does not or hardly spread through objects or through aerosols floating in the air.
- Distance rules: Iceland declared the distance rules optional at the end of May and reopened bars and clubs. Switzerland converted the distance regulations into a voluntary recommendation. A Cochrane study from 2011 already showed that there is so far hardly any evidence for the effectiveness of “social distancing” measures.
- Surgeries: According to an article in the British Journal of Surgery, around 28 million surgeries, including many cancer surgeries, have been canceled or postponed worldwide over 12 weeks due to corona measures.
- Years of life: An evaluation by four US professors comes to the conclusion that the lockdown in the USA will cost about twice as many years of life as Covid-19 and was therefore a very counterproductive measure even from a purely medical point of view.
- Virus test: A German mathematician explains why the low remaining infection numbers in many countries consist largely of false positive results, even with fairly accurate PCR tests, and the pandemic thus “never seems to end”.
- “Second wave”: Studies on a “second wave” sometimes make completely unrealistic assumptions, such as a constant risk of infection and death across all age groups. Nevertheless, the example of the 1968 Hong Kong flu shows that the global spread of pandemics can indeed extend over several seasons.
- Italy: Almost 5% of the population in Milan already had antibodies against Covid19 in mid-February, ie before the outbreak of the epidemic in Italy. This again indicates that the virus was already circulating in Europe earlier than previously thought.
- Unemployment: The International Labor Agency ILO expects that due to the political corona measures, half of the world’s employees or 1.6 billion people are at risk of losing their livelihoods.
- Fact check: 13 misleading and false claims about the corona epidemic (German)
- Review: Why life went on as normal during the global flu pandemics of 1968/1969 (Hong Kong flu, and the Woodstock music festival) and of 1957 (Asian flu).
Did the lockdowns save lives?
Many media reported on a study by Imperial College London, according to which the lockdowns in Europe allegedly “saved 3 million lives”. In reality, Imperial College London simply compared the unrealistic predictions of its own model with actual developments. This is particularly evident in the case of Sweden, which even without a lockdown had only a fraction of the deaths predicted by the Imperial College model (see graph).
The role of the media
Most traditional media, almost all of which are part of elite geopolitical networks, decided to run a campaign of fear during the coronavirus period, a behavior that is usually observed in connection with wars of aggression or alleged terrorist attacks.
The risk to the general population was greatly exaggerated, official policies were hardly questioned, the situation in hospitals was dramatized, manipulative images were used, campaigns were staged, and protesters were systematically defamed as “idiots”.
It is true that some conservative media criticized the economically harmful lockdown measures. The real question, however, is whether they will also criticize the surveillance measures now planned, such as the extensive societal contact tracing (see below).
Most independent media sooner or later realized that the risk of the corona virus was exaggerated and politically exploited. Only a few independent media outlets did not realize this, perhaps because they lacked a medical background or fell for the official campaign of fear.
Some analysts compared Covid-19 to a psychological operation that uses the media-induced fear of the virus to bring about political and social change.
US platforms such as Google, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter censored corona issues extensively by deleting critical (i.e. non WHO compliant) points of view even from doctors or restricting their distribution, a procedure that has long been the norm for geopolitical issues.
However, modern media users have the option of using manipulation-free search engines such as DuckDuckGo and independent video platforms such as Bitchute, as well as generally using an advertising and tracking blocker on certain media sites.
Numerous observers have already drawn attention to the fact that the predominantly politically induced “corona crisis” is or could be instrumentalized for far-reaching social and economic changes.
In March, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that governments are using the temporary corona crisis as an occasion or pretext for the permanent expansion of social surveillance and control, thereby establishing an “architecture of oppression”.
The measures currently being discussed or already implemented include in particular:
- The introduction of applications for society-wide contact tracing
- Building units to enforce tracing and isolation of citizens
- The introduction of digital biometric ID cards that can be used to control and regulate participation in social and professional activities.
- The expanded control of travel and payment transactions (e.g. cash abolition).
- The creation of legal foundations for access to the biological systems of citizens by governments or corporations (through so-called “mandatory vaccinations”).
More than 600 scientists have warned of an “unprecedented surveillance of society” through problematic apps for “contact tracing”. In some countries, such “contact tracing” is already carried out directly by the secret service. In several parts of the world, the population is already being monitored by drones and facing serious police overreach.
In May, Apple and Google added a contact tracing interface to the operating systems of three billion cell phones that can now be used by national authorities.
This is despite the fact that a recent WHO study on pandemic influenza came to the conclusion that contact tracing is not sensible from a medical point of view and is “not recommended in any circumstances”, as the epidemiological benefits of such apps remain doubtful.
It is often argued that the contact tracing applications would remain “voluntary” and “compliant with data protection”. However, in practice, neither is really true.
In several countries, the use of the applications is already mandatory for certain activities. Various employers, administrations, landlords and transport companies in India require the tracing app. In Argentina, everyone who is in the “public space” must activate contact tracing.
Some German politicians already advocated a preference for app users when traveling or dining out. The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, for his part, spoke of the use of “sensors” for distance control in children.
In Singapore, the “voluntary” app was installed by fewer people than expected, which is why the government now wants to make it mandatory for certain public spaces and services. In some parks, the distance control is already monitored by DARPA robots.
In Australia, people who do not want to use the contact tracing app are insulted by the media as idiots and a danger to the public, and are thus put under social pressure.
Singapore: A DARPA robot dog monitoring social distancing (CNA)
The data protection of the supposedly “decentralized” contact tracing is also problematic. The Dutch IT professor Jaap-Henk Hoepmann already explained in April that even supposedly decentralized solutions can very easily be used for monitoring and surveillance.
Due to the speed of the introduction, the President of the German Society for Computer Science suspected that the functions “had long been in the devices” and only a little “fine tuning” was required. He sees the apps as a “Trojan horse”.
In parallel to the introduction of the applications, many countries have started to set up special units to track contacts and isolate citizens.
In the United States a 100 billion-dollar legislation to set up a national “Corona testing and tracing corps” with up to 180,000 members has been proposed. The states of New York and California are already building “contact tracing armies” with up to 20,000 members each. In the state of Washington, the National Guard is to participate and those who do not cooperate “voluntarily” can be forced to do so.
Italy has announced the creation of a corps with 60,000 volunteers, and Switzerland and other countries have also started building such units. In Germany there have already been mass tests in residential buildings under the threat of police coercion.
The software for society-wide contact tracing in the USA, Great Britain and possibly in other European countries is provided by the CIA-related technology company Palantir of US billionaire Peter Thiel. In Israel, contact tracing software from notorious cyber spy company NSO is used.
A whistleblower who took part in a training program for contact tracers in the United States described it in a video interview as “totalitarian” and a “danger to society”.
All these measures are taken despite the fact that the epidemiological benefit remains unclear and that the WHO explicitly opposed contact tracing, which is otherwise used mainly for serious sexual diseases or food poisoning, which, unlike common respiratory diseases, are easy to trace.
In addition to applications and special units for contact tracing, there are also specific projects or plans for “immunity cards”, which could be used, for example, to control the travel and work activities of the population. In fact, the EU had been planning to introduce such a vaccination certificate since 2018.
Such “vaccination cards” are in turn linked to a worldwide “vaccination program”, which is also currently being worked on. For example, US billionaire and vaccine investor Bill Gates called for corona vaccination for “seven billion people”. AstraZeneca is currently preparing to produce two billion doses of the still untested Oxford vaccine.
From a strategic point of view, such a global vaccination programme would provide access to the biological systems of the population, in particular the immune and nervous systems and the genetic and reproductive systems.
In the economic area, there is a surge in digitization and centralization in favor of a few US technology corporations, as the American National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, demanded in a strategy paper in 2019 to be able to compete with China.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos, which together with the Gates Foundation and Johns Hopkins University already ran the well-known coronavirus pandemic exercise “Event 201” in October 2019, called for a global “Great Reset” in order prepare the economic and social structures for the 21st century.
Meanwhile, several cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church warned in an open letter that, under the pretext of the coronavirus, a worldwide panic had been triggered to introduce “unacceptable forms of global surveillance and control” of the population.
The idea that a pandemic can be used to expand global monitoring and control is not new. As early as 2010 the American Rockefeller Foundation described in a working paper on future technological and social developments a “lockstep scenario” in which the present-day developments were anticipated with surprising accuracy (from page 18).
See also: Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network (Wired)
- Video: They Live – Coronavirus Edition (Trigger Happy Media)
- Video: Out of Touch – Run for your life (Kevin James)
- Video: What It’s Like to Believe Everything the Media Tells You (JP)
B. Countries and regions
- Denmark: In Denmark, leaked emails revealed that, contrary to political statements, the health authority spoke out against a lockdown in March and wrote: “ The Danish health authority continues to believe that Covid-19 cannot be described as a generally dangerous disease because it’s neither normally serious, nor does it have a high mortality rate. ” In addition, a lower reproduction number was not published for political reasons to justify the lockdown. The Danish parliament has now decided to investigate government policy by an expert commission.
- Norway: The Prime Minister of Norway publicly admitted that she panicked in March and that most of the lockdown measures would probably not have been necessary. In Norway, too, it became known that the reproduction number already fell to the stable value of 1 before the lockdown. In the case of a “second wave”, a much softer strategy without lockdown would have to be chosen, the Prime Minister declared.
- Sweden: Despite enormous international pressure, Sweden managed the Corona period well without a lockdown and overall mortality remained in the range of earlier strong flu waves. 75% of deaths occurred in nursing homes and nursing apartments, an issue the government promised to investigate. International media tried to portray this as “failure of the Swedish no-lockdown strategy”, which of couse is not correct, as nursing homes need targeted protection and do not benefit from a general lockdown of society.
- Schools: Both Finland and Denmark saw no increase in Corona cases after their schools reopened. Sweden kept its primary schools open to begin with.
- There were approximately 100,000 test-positive deaths in the United States by the end of May. The overall mortality rate since the beginning of the year was, however, in the range of the strong flu season of 2017/2018 (see chart below).
- At least 42% of deaths occurred in nursing homes, which account for 0.6% of the U.S. population and did not benefit from a general lockdown.
- In the states that did not implement a lockdown or removed it early, there was no increased mortality, according to a study by JP Morgan.
- An evaluation by four US professors comes to the conclusion that the lockdown in the US will cost about twice as many years of life as Covid-19.
- In an open letter, over 600 doctors warned US President Donald Trump of the dangers of an extended lockdown. The lockdown was itself a “mass casualty incident”.
- In another open letter to US Vice President Mike Pence, American doctors are calling for the rapid opening of society. The dangerousness of Covid-19 turned out to be much less than originally assumed. The risk groups are known and can be protected in a targeted manner. A safe immunization of society is also possible without vaccination. The media has terrorized the population unnecessarily, triggering a sharp rise in despair and suicides.
- Most of the U.S. Army’s field hospitals, which were built for a total of $ 660 million, closed again in May without treating even a single patient.
- A California trauma doctor said in a post that there were more suicide attempts in May than usually in a year, and that the suicides far outnumbered the corona deaths in California.
- In the severely affected state of New York, an independent investigation was requested regarding the official order for nursing homes to admit Corona patients. There were over 5000 deaths in New York nursing homes. Such orders were also issued in the heavily affected states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
- New York’s largest hospital association has announced an investigation into the use of invasive ventilators. In April, it was confirmed that US hospitals receive large bonuses when they admit Covid-19 patients and connect them to ventilators, although experts long before warned of the dangers of invasive ventilation. A New York nurse even spoke of a “mass murder”.
- In the state of Washington , the health agency confirmed that even homicide victims were counted as “corona deaths” if they tested positive for the corona virus. The New York Times also listed a murder victim on their front page of alleged “Corona victims”. Even George Floyd, who died during an arrest at the end of May, tested positive for Corona.
- By the end of May, over 40 million people had been unemployed in the United States. Estimates predict that around 42% of lost jobs will not be recovered and that the worst recession since World War II is imminent (see chart below). Nevertheless, US billionaires saw corona add $ 434 billion to their wealth.
- In March and April, England and Wales experienced an excess mortality of about 46,000 people. This roughly corresponds to the strong flu waves of 1999 and 2000 (see graphic below). However, the health authority ONS notes that almost 30% of this mortality is not due to the coronavirus.
- For example, by early May, 8,000 more people died at home than usual, and 80% of these deaths, according to death certificates, had nothing to do with the corona virus.
- In British nursing homes alone, there were 30,000 excess deaths by the beginning of May, of which only 10,000 cases noted Covid-19 as the cause on the death certificate, as Cambridge professor David Spiegelhalter explained. In England and Wales, around 10,000 additional dementia patients without corona infection died in April due to weeks of isolation.
- Similar to northern Italy and New York, in England there was a fatal decision to move corona patients from hospitals to nursing homes, and the coronavirus was also spreading rapidly within the healthcare system itself.
- Most of the additional Covid field hospitals that were built remained largely empty.
- The influential epidemiologist Neil Ferguson’s computer model, which predicted hundreds of thousands of deaths, was found to be highly flawed and unrealistic in an independent analysis by software and modeling experts. Ferguson had to resign as a government adviser after breaking the lockdown himself to visit his married lover. Based on his failed model, his university now claims that the lockdown “saved three million lives” in Europe.
- Analysis: Who controls the British Government response to Covid-19? (Part 1) and COVID-19: The Big Pharma players behind UK Government lockdown (Part 2)
- UK economic experts predict the biggest economic recession since the Great Frost of 1709 (in the Little Ice Age).
- Positive anecdote: Britain’s oldest tailor survived the corona virus at the age of 96 after not eating for ten days.
- More UK Covid statistics on Covid-19 In Proportion.
- After about four weeks of relative excess mortality, since the middle of May Switzerland is already in experiencing below-average mortality. The cumulative mortality rate since the beginning of the year is in the range of a normal flu season and far below the strong flu season of 2015 (see chart below). Around 50% of deaths occurred in nursing homes that did not benefit from a lockdown. The median age of deaths is around 84 years, which is slightly above the average Swiss life expectancy.
- There were a total of 130 test-positive deaths in the Canton of Zurich. More than half of this (78) took place in nursing homes. Again slightly more than half of these deaths (40) took place in two nursing homes that had to take Covid19 patients from hospitals and were sometimes unable to adequately isolate them.
- ETH Zurich has repeatedly rephrased its study that the decline in the spread of Covid19 began before the lockdown, in order not to openly contradict to the Federal Council. But the result remains the same: the lockdown was medically unnecessary and socially counterproductive. The forecasts of the authorities and universities were based on often completely unrealistic assumptions.
- Researchers at ETH Lausanne have presented a study warning of the risk of a “second wave” that could overwhelm Switzerland. The main author of the study, Professor Jacques Fellay, is also a member of the Federal Council’s Corona Task Force and a supporter of a Corona vaccine. An independent analysis of this study, however, showed that it is based on completely unrealistic assumptions and, for example, predicts a constant risk of infection and death for all age groups.
- Medical entrepreneur Stephan Rietiker from Inside-Corona comes to a devastating conclusion with regard to the Corona management of the Federal Council. The Federal Council largely ignored the findings of its own pandemic commission and made grotesquely wrong decisions with serious consequences for the population and the economy. An unsuitable “containment strategy” was pursued in the naive belief that the time until a vaccine could be “bridged”. The planned “contact tracing” will consume tons of money and ultimately “fail miserably”. It is high time to abolish the emergency laws and hold the decision-makers accountable, according to Rietiker.
- The Aargauer Zeitung reported on the supposedly first child who “died from the coronavirus”. The infant, flown in from Macedonia in an emergency, actually died of meningitis, which is not caused by coronaviruses.
- In May, the NZZ once again spread the false report that Corona had brought the southern canton of Ticino “to the brink of disaster”. In fact, there were no serious problems outside of nursing homes in the canton of Ticino.
- SRF TV editor-in-chief Tristan Brenn defended himself against allegations that SRF was spreading propaganda about Corona. Shortly afterwards, a wheelchair-bound participant in a corona demonstration pointed out how SRF had used him for propaganda.
- In Switzerland there have been weekly demonstrations for fundamental rights in Bern, Zurich and other cities since April. This led to considerable police violence, see »Corona repression in Switzerland«. The participants in these demonstrations were mostly defamed by the media as dumb or extremist.
- The Federal Council plans to convert the existing emergency ordinances into urgent federal law, whereas an online petition has been launched against this step.
- The Federal Council adopted a legal basis for the “corona-tracing app”, which must be approved by Parliament in the summer session. Apple and Google have now equipped their mobile operating systems with an appropriate interface. The use of the app should remain “voluntary” (see above).
- The canton of Zurich and several other cantons have already set up centers for society-wide contact tracing, consisting of police and health department employees who are to contact potentially “infected” people and instruct them to be quarantined. The experience of March and April had shown that the center would have to be expanded or outsourced in the future.
- A survey by the University of Applied Sciences ZHAW showed that 40% of Swiss fear a stronger monitoring by “Corona apps”. Still, a majority plan to use the contact tracing app.
- In February 2020, US billionaire and vaccine investor Bill Gates donated 900,000 US dollars to the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products Swissmedic for “projects in Africa”.
- Switzerland will support Bill Gates’ global vaccine alliance GAVI with CHF 30 million for the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
- The Corona-critical doctor from Aargau, who was brutally arrested in April by a special police unit and temporarily admitted to the psychiatric center, requested an external administrative investigation into his case, which the government has now initiated. It was previously known that, contrary to what the police had said, the doctor neither threatened relatives nor the authorities nor was he in possession of a loaded weapon.