Pandemics and Propaganda

A scene in Beirut on March 18, 2020 (full story)

Published: December 2022
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How SPR covered the pandemic and defused the propaganda.

“It is disturbing to reflect back on the influence they had at the height of the pandemic.”
“The closest to the truth I’ve seen regarding coronavirus.”
“They have produced nothing but fake news.”

Early Days (March 2020)

In mid-March 2020, when much of the world was just starting to panic in earnest, Swiss Policy Research was one of the first research groups in the world to comprehensively challenge, at the scientific and medical level, the looming international lockdown strategy.

Most importantly, data from Asia and Italy already showed that covid was going to be an unstoppable, flu-like pandemic that posed a much lower risk to the general population than claimed by many health authorities and media outlets. Because of this, with few exceptions, there never was any rational justification for the imposition of lockdowns, school closures, and many other restrictions, most of which soon turned out to be ineffective, anyway.

At the time, SPR analyses reached several million people per day, were translated by volunteers into close to 30 languages, and, most importantly, inspired numerous other researchers, doctors, independent journalists and activists to launch their own investigations, channels and publications.

Early Expert Statements (March 2020)

In addition to providing cutting-edge data and analysis, SPR also republished statements by several other medical and epidemiological experts from around the world who early on warned that lockdowns, school closures, mass testing, and other panic-driven responses would not only be largely ineffective, but also highly disruptive to society and the global economy. Almost three years later, it is painfully obvious how right they were.

In late March, SPR exclusively published the open letter by German Professor of Medical Microbiology, Sucharit Bhakdi, to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The letter, which was translated into more than a dozen languages, was one of the first high-profile interventions by a leading academic and called for an urgent reassessment of the pandemic response.

These early experts were joined, half a year later, by thousands of signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration. Many of these skeptical doctors and academics subsequently suffered vicious media attacks, censorship, or even legal persecution. Nevertheless, from the earliest days, they stood on the right side of history.

Biosecurity Response (March 2020)

Already in mid-March, it was obvious to SPR and some other observers that the covid outbreak didn’t trigger a rational public health response, but rather a global biosecurity response.

This response, largely based on the Chinese model and plans developed by the US Department of Homeland Security and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), consisted of complete lockdowns, mass PCR testing and large-scale contact tracing, digital contact tracing apps, drone surveillance, psychological operations to enforce compliance, global mRNA mass vaccination, vaccine mandates, and the use of digital biometric vaccine passports.

Predictably, all of these biosecurity interventions ultimately failed, but the technological and legal framework has nevertheless been put in place and continues to be developed, in the context of digital biometric identity systems, by the WHO, the EU, the WEF, the G20 and other institutions, as anticipated by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as early as March 2020.

Mass PCR Testing (April 2020)

In a 2019 review, the WHO strongly advised against the use of mass testing and contact tracing during flu-like pandemics. Nevertheless, in 2020 an unprecedented global PCR and antigen mass testing campaign was implemented.

Unsurprisingly, later studies found that mass testing had no influence at all on infection and mortality rates. Targeted PCR tests may have been useful, though, to support tight border controls in places like Australia and to secure places like hospitals and nursing homes.

The SPR analyses on PCR tests were used in several court cases, including in a famous Portuguese court case that first confirmed a positive PCR test was not sufficient to establish infectiousness.

The Ventilator Panic (April 2020)

In early April, based on clinical feedback, SPR first warned against the premature intubation of hospitalized covid patients without clear medical indication. In the following weeks, several doctors and nurses in New York City and elsewhere went public and demanded an immediate halt to early intubation, which was based on Chinese SARS-1 anti-aerosol hospital protocols.

Together with a ten-fold overestimation of covid hospitalization rates, the ventilator panic was a key driver behind early lockdown decisions. Professor Thomas Voshaar, chairman of the association of German pulmonologists, recently stated that the early intubation of hospitalized covid patients was one of the worst medical mistakes of the entire pandemic.

Covid Lethality (May 2020)

In early May 2020, after the first covid wave was already over in most countries, SPR provided one of the most comprehensive overviews of covid infection, hospitalization and death rates per age group.

The overview, continually updated, showed that death rates were much lower than initially estimated by the WHO; the median age of covid deaths was over 80 years in most Western countries; and about 50% of early covid deaths occurred in nursing homes.

This early data also confirmed that healthy children were at a very low risk of severe covid and that children and schools were not “drivers of the pandemic”. Despite this, several countries would continue to impose serious restrictions on children and schools.

Coronavirus Origins (June 2020)

In early 2020, some alternative media still argued the novel coronavirus was an engineered “bioweapon” with AIDS-like properties and a very high fatality rate. Together with fake videos of collapsing and dead people in the streets of Wuhan, these claims greatly increased panic and helped enforce lockdowns. In reality, by early March it was already clear that with the exception of elderly people and other high-risk groups, SARS-CoV-2 had a very low, flu-like fatality rate.

Nevertheless, in the spring of 2020, serious genetic analyses started to indicate that SARS-CoV-2 was indeed an engineered virus, as was already the case with the 2009 swine flu virus. Beginning in May 2020, SPR reviewed the early work of Yuri Deigin, the DRASTIC research collaboration, and the Mojiang mine connection. In July 2020 SPR provided one of the first comprehensive overviews of scientific hypotheses on the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

In 2021, it was revealed that American and Chinese researchers had been engineering coronaviruses just like SARS-CoV-2, and that a small group of virologists, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci in the US and Dr. Jeremy Farrar in the UK, tried to suppress the likely lab-related origin of SARS-CoV-2 for over a year by pushing the already debunked “animal market” theory.

At that point, many observers concluded that SARS-CoV-2 likely emerged through a lab leak in Wuhan. But the totality of the available evidence indicates that a US origin or a deliberate release of the virus in Wuhan remain just as likely, or perhaps even more likely.

Face Masks (June 2020)

After the first covid wave, many governments started to introduce face mask mandates, despite the fact that decades of research, including a WHO review in late 2019, showed that face masks were entirely ineffective against airborne respiratory virus transmission in the general population.

In response, SPR provided a comprehensive overview of scientific and real-world data on face masks, including a refutation of flawed “modelling studies” that claimed to show face masks were effective. The SPR overview served as a key scientific resource to the global resistance against mask mandates and was used in several court cases on mask mandates in schools and elsewhere.

In June 2020, The Lancet published a very influential, WHO-comissioned meta-study that claimed to show that face masks were 80% effective. SPR quickly exposed this meta-study as a complete fraud. Somewhat later, a Danish randomized trial confirmed masks were not effective, but the publication of the trial results was suppressed for several months.

In August 2021, SPR published “The Face Mask Folly in Retrospect”, detailing how mask mandates were based on fake science, flawed reasoning, and political lobbying.

Asymptomatic Transmission

A related topic concerned the question of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic coronavirus transmission. Many health authorities tried to justify mask mandates by invoking the risk of asymptomatic transmission, while many “anti-maskers”, in response, denied the reality or the relevance of asymptomatic transmission.

The evidence showed that asymptomatic transmission and especially pre-symptomatic transmission were very real (30% to 50% of all community transmission), but face masks still weren’t effective, and for the exact same reason: transmission occurred via aerosols, not via droplets.

Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic aerosol transmission was already known from influenza and likely played a key role in driving the coronavirus pandemic.

A Second and Third Wave? (August 2020)

During the summer of 2020, many health authorities and many skeptics believed there would be no second covid wave: health authorities believed face masks and “contact tracing” would be sufficient to suppress transmission, while many skeptics believed “herd immunity” was already achieved.

But emerging antibody data showed that immunity rates were still very low outside of major hotspots, and the scientific data was clear that face masks and “contact tracing” were not effective. Thus, SPR expected and predicted an upcoming winter wave and a third wave.

Early Treatment (July 2020)

In anticipation of the second wave, and because most health authorities still hadn’t devised a protocol for the early outpatient treatment of high-risk covid patients (to prevent hospitalization), SPR in July 2020 published a simple and safe early treatment protocol based on the available scientific and medical evidence.

The protocol was continually updated to reflect the latest data and, together with the US FLCCC protocol, became one of the most influential covid early treatment protocols in the world.

The two most controversial early treatment drugs certainly were HCQ and ivermectin. Despite many questionable studies, the evidence ultimately indicated that both drugs were likely somewhat effective against severe covid, though not as antivirals, but thanks to their well-known immuno-modulatory, anti-inflammatory, and anti-platelet properties.

Concerning ivermectin, the lead investigator of the large TOGETHER trial confirmed that there was “a clear signal that ivermectin works in COVID patients”, and the renowned French Institute Pasteur found that ivermectin “limited inflammation and prevented clinical deterioration”.

Finally, SPR warned early on against the use of expensive “antiviral” drugs Remdesivir and Molnupiravir (which turned out to be toxic and useless) and cautioned that Paxlovid, while effective, may lead to rapid re-infection (it led to frequent infection rebounds).

“Long Covid”: Real or Hoax? (August 2020)

By the summer of 2020, it became clear that even after mild covid, some people, including some young and previously healthy people, suffered from prolonged and sometimes quite debilitating symptoms. Most notably, this included a continued (partial) lack of taste or smell; breathing problems, chest pain, and asthma-like conditions; and post-viral fatigue or rapid exhaustion.

At the time, many journalists exaggerated and sensationalized the issue, many health authorities used “long covid” to justify further restrictions, while many skeptics claimed long covid was a hoax and didn’t exist at all. In contrast, SPR provided a first evidence-based overview of the topic.

Initially, some MRI studies claimed to have found widespread heart damage even after mild covid, but fortunately, this turned out not to be the case: the researchers may have over-interpreted very mild heart inflammation, which is found even after a common cold.

A Strange Pandemic (September 2020)

Prior to the winter wave in late 2020, people were living in two different worlds: some people believed covid was a major threat and a devastating pandemic, while other people believed covid was no big deal and no real pandemic at all.

In “Why Covid is a Strange Pandemic”, SPR in September 2020 reviewed the key differences between the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the 2009 swine flu “fake pandemic”, and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, highlighting the crucial role of age-specific fatality rates and pre-existing immunity.

In the end, while covid killed about 20 million people globally, including about 5 million people in India and over one million people in the US and in Russia, the average age of hospitalization and death was so high that many younger people didn’t notice anything unusual.

Obesity and the Pandemic (2021)

In addition to age, it turned out that obesity was another major risk factor for severe covid (due to a hyper-inflammatory auto-immune response). In 2021, SPR proposed that national obesity rates might explain not only differences in covid mortality, but even differences in transmission dynamics and infection rates (due to much higher exhalation of bioaerosols by obese people).

This distinction perhaps explained why countries with high obesity rates – such as in Latin America, the Arab world and some Western countries – experienced more explosive covid outbreaks, whereas countries with the lowest obesity rates in the world – notably in East Asia – had lower transmission rates regardless of mitigation measures (prior to omicron).

Other hypotheses to explain the “East Asian paradox” included pre-existing immunity (which was never confirmed, though) and genetic factors (e.g. differences concerning cell receptors).

Where did the flu go? (February 2021)

Another fascinating question concerned the fact that influenza viruses and some other respiratory viruses disappeared from global circulation during the coronavirus pandemic. Many “health experts” and journalists claimed this was due to lockdowns, face masks and “social distancing”, while some skeptics believed the flu was simply “rebranded” as covid.

In reality, the novel and more infectious coronavirus displaced other respiratory viruses due to the well-known but still poorly understood phenomenon of viral interference. Because of this, the flu disappeared even in places without lockdowns and face masks, such as Sweden and Florida. For the same reason, new coronavirus variants displaced previous variants within weeks.

SPR predicted that the flu would first return to countries that had achieved a high coronavirus infection rate. In mid to late 2021, this was indeed the case, and the flu first returned to places like India, Sweden and Brazil. In contrast, high covid vaccination rates were not sufficient since vaccination didn’t provide mucosal immunity against infection.

New Variants and Omicron

In 2020 and 2021, several new coronavirus variants emerged that exhibited small genetic mutations. Many media outlets described each new variant as a possible doomsday variant, while many skeptics argued that new virus variants were bound to become milder.

In reality, successive virus variants became somewhat more infectious and, in the case of the delta variant in particular, somewhat more virulent, but the differences weren’t dramatic.

In July 2021, SPR predicted, based on an immunological model, that by the end of 2021 a first immune-escaping variant might appear. This was indeed the case, though it later turned out that the highly infectious omicron variant was likely another synthetic virus.

Fortunately for everybody, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, omicron turned out to be significantly milder than previous coronavirus variants.

Lockdowns in China (2021)

In 2021, many Western “zero covid” zealots still viewed the Chinese covid response as a resounding success and a role model. In contrast, quite a few skeptics believed China faked everything, from numbers to lockdowns, to fool the West into self-destructive panic.

But China was dead serious and continued its relentless zero covid policy throughout 2021 and much of 2022, imposing extreme lockdowns on entire megacities whenever a few infections were detected, building hundreds of quarantine camps, running daily mass PCR testing campaigns, and controlling the movement of citizens through digital QR code passports.

SPR continued to provide unique and shocking insights into the Chinese zero covid reality and predicted the ultimate collapse of the Chinese policy almost two years in advance.

Covid Vaccines (2021-2022)

The arrival of covid vaccines in late 2020 opened a new chapter in the covid pandemic. Health authorities and most “health experts” hailed the vaccines as perfectly safe and highly effective. Some lockdown skeptics joined this position because they hoped vaccination would end restrictions, but many other skeptics adopted a very negative view of covid vaccines due to their experimental genetic technology and very short trial periods.

SPR was one of just a few research groups in the world that remained completely open-minded and unbiased towards covid vaccines, highlighting successes, limitations, risks, and injuries. In particular, SPR provided some of the most comprehensive reviews of both vaccine effectiveness and vaccine adverse events.

Although covid vaccines initially achieved very high effectiveness, early data from Israel soon showed that protection against infection declined within weeks. Thus, by mid-2021 it was already clear that “vaccine passports” were useless and the pandemic would not be ended by covid vaccines, but only by much more durable natural immunity. At that point, SPR predicted that the pandemic would ultimately turn into a “pandemic of the vaccinated”.

In addition, early reports from Israel and elsewhere showed that covid vaccines caused some serious cardiovascular, neurological and immunological adverse events at rates higher than reported in trials. Because of this, by April 2021 it was already obvious that covid vaccination was only indicated for people at high risk of severe covid, and that “vaccination mandates” had no justification whatsoever, not even for healthcare workers.

Vaccine protection against severe disease was more durable, lasting about 6 to 12 months, but in 2022, the immune-escaping omicron variant further degraded vaccine protection.

Covid vaccines achieved a remarkable reduction in all-cause mortality in 2021 and fully restored life expectancy in several countries, but their long-term health impact on both young and old people remains a very important and contentious topic that has to be monitored closely.

2020

2021

2022

Sweden Vindicated (December 2021)

The success of the Swedish covid strategy was already apparent in April/May 2020, when their first covid wave ended without any lockdown and without a collapse of the healthcare system. Sweden also avoided useless mask mandates and harmful primary school closures.

By 2021, many European countries already reported higher excess mortality than Sweden, and by December 2021, even Austria, a demographically similar country that had one of the most repressive covid regimes in Europe, overtook Sweden in terms of excess mortality.

In 2022, even Sweden’s Nordic neighbors – which benefited from lower population-weighted densities and early border controls – approached or equalized Swedish excess mortality, which overall remained below the European average.

The Qimron Letter (January 2022)

In January 2022, SPR published an unauthorized translation of an open letter written by Israeli immunology professor, Ehud Qimron. Although addressed to the Israeli Ministry of Health, the Qimron Letter was one of the most powerful indictments of the failed and highly destructive global pandemic response.

The letter was ultimately translated into over 20 languages, including as professional audio versions by some radio stations, and reached millions of people around the world.

The Propaganda Pandemic (February 2022)

In February 2022, SPR published a comprehensive review of the many PR campaigns, government psyops, cover-ups, and mass psychosis delusions that shaped the pandemic. As one reader put it, “you may need a strong alcoholic drink when reading through this article”.

Covid and Reality (September 2022)

During the pandemic, many people, including many skeptics, seem to have lost touch with reality at some point. In September 2022, SPR discussed possible causes driving this development, including the abstract nature of a viral pandemic, propaganda campaigns, psychological pressure, politicization, scientific contradictions, and financial motives.

While traditional media outlets were mostly unhelpful as a guide through the pandemic, the situation with independent media and social media was more complex: on the one hand, they successfully challenged many misleading official narratives, but on the other hand, they also amplified a lot of questionable information and unfounded fears.

Conclusion

The coronavirus pandemic could have been a time of courage, clarity, cooperation, and victory, but in most places, it quickly turned into a time of panic, psychosis, repression, and failure. To prevent another such episode, mankind should urgently find out who exactly designed this virus, how exactly it was released, and who exactly shaped and contributed to this devastating response.

∗∗∗

Annex

Coronavirus in Sweden: Predictions vs. Reality (first wave)

Sweden: Predicted vs. actual deaths (S)

See also


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