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Antivax quack tycoon Joe Mercola profits selling COVID-19 disinformation

Joe Mercola is a physician whose nearly quarter-century of promoting quackery and antivaccine misinformation has garnered him a net worth north of $100 million. It is therefore not surprising that in the age of the pandemic, he has pivoted to fatten his bottom line promoting misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and the COVID vaccines.

I’ve written about Joseph Mercola, DO on a number of occasions over the years, dating back to before I ever joined this blog, first as a contributor and then as an editor. Out of curiosity, as I was writing this post I tried to identify the first time I ever wrote about Mercola. It turns out that it was quite long ago in 2005, at a point when my very first blog was just over six months old. At the time, Mercola was—surprise! surprise!—comparing school vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. Interestingly, the link to the original article that I discussed then now forwards to an article from 2009 that includes no mention of the Holocaust, and when I tried to find the original article at Archive.org, it turns out that the original link has been excluded from the almighty Wayback Machine. (It’s almost as though he was embarrassed by his use of the analogy, although it was useful to be reminded that the misuse and abuse of Holocaust was commonplace among antivaxxers even 19 years ago, years before my post.)

[Orac note: Yes, Orac is “on vacation,” recharging his Tarial cells. So if you’ve seen this post before (in a somewhat different form), well, that’s the way things roll. Orac will return later this week or early next week, depending on how fast his power cell recharges.]

Sadly, Mercola hasn’t been ignored, as The New York Times reported a week ago in an article by Sheera Frenkel titled “The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online“. It seems that every couple of years the mainstream media notices what an influential quack Mercola is; so I thought I’d take a look at the article with the benefit of a long history of having observed Mercola’s activities.

A superspreader of medical misinformation

I bring this bit of history up for a simple reason, to remind our readers that my SBM colleagues and I have been writing about this particular quack for a long time. We’re very familiar with him. Indeed, I can’t help but note that, since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mercola has unfortunately been a frequent topic of this blog because he has been one of the most prolific sources (if not the most prolific source) of COVID-19 misinformation, antimask conspiracy theories, and antivaccine fear mongering. Indeed, early in the pandemic, I noted his role in spreading COVID-19 conspiracy theories and how, by even May 2020 he had made a name as one of the “superspreaders” of COVID-19 misinformation, while others noted his false claims about COVID-19. Indeed, last fall Mercola spread the false claim that the influenza vaccine increases one’s risk of falling ill with COVID-19, all in order to spread fear of the flu vaccine. In retrospect, this amuses me, because it wasn’t long before Mercola embraced the “casedemic” conspiracy theory that claimed that PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) is overly sensitive, making most positive tests false positive tests—and, also, according to him COVID-19 is not deadly, except to the elderly. It rather made me wonder why he would be concerned if the flu vaccine really did increase the risk of COVID-19 if COVID-19 is just a “harmless” disease. (I guess that consistency is not a requirement for the claims of quacks and antivaxxers.)

Since even before COVID-19 vaccines were granted emergency use authorizations (EUAs) by the FDA in December, Mercola has turned his sights on them and, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., become one of the most prolific and widely read sources of misinformation and fear mongering about the vaccines. For example, as the mRNA-based vaccines were being considered for EUA, Mercola promoted the false idea that these vaccines can “permanently alter your DNA“, even going so far as to publish an article titled “Will New COVID Vaccine Make You Transhuman?” (which, by the way, was published in September 2020). Quickly following after that were a raft of articles on Mercola’s site falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccines cause miscarriages and make women infertile, were not really “vaccines” but “medical devices” or “experimental gene therapy” that was “hacking the software of life“, or even cause mass death resulting in “depopulation“. Unsurprisingly, as he was demonizing COVID-19 vaccines, Mercola also promoted unproven treatments for COVID-19 like ivermectin, while peddling conspiracy theories claiming that the “suppression” of ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment was the “biggest crime committed during the vaccine heist“. All of this doesn’t even consider all the other health misinformation that Mercola has promoted over the years, including cancer misinformation and quackery (including a promotional article about Tullio Simoncini, a quack who claims that all cancer is a fungus), “detox” nonsense, and tanning beds that supposedly reduce the risk of skin cancer, among naturopathy, homeopathy, and his online store of unproven supplements.

The truly depressing part is that over the last two decades Mercola has become fabulously wealthy publishing health misinformation. Indeed, I once referred to him as a “quack tycoon“, because his “natural health” empire had, as of 2017, garnered him a personal net worth in excess of $100 million. When I called Mercola a “quack tycoon”, I had last written about his online health empire in 2012 (under the title Quackery pays) in response to a previous news story about his links to the antivaccine movement. At that time, I drily noted that Mercola was “rich, as in filthy rich, as in ‘rolling in the dough rich, as in ‘raking it in hand-over-fist rich,’ adding that after all, “he had a spare $1 million lying around to give away to the NVIC and various other quackery-promoting groups.”

So what has the NYT found Mercola to be up to recently that we haven’t covered on SBM? In particular, I was interested in his grift: How much money has he made from promoting misinformation about the pandemic?

The quack tycoon profits from COVID-19 misinformation

The NYT article starts out with an example of something that we discussed about Mercola:

The article that appeared online on Feb. 9 began with a seemingly innocuous question about the legal definition of vaccines. Then over its next 3,400 words, it declared coronavirus vaccines were “a medical fraud” and said the injections did not prevent infections, provide immunity or stop transmission of the disease.

Instead, the article claimed, the shots “alter your genetic coding, turning you into a viral protein factory that has no off-switch.”

Its assertions were easily disprovable. No matter. Over the next few hours, the article was translated from English into Spanish and Polish. It appeared on dozens of blogs and was picked up by anti-vaccination activists, who repeated the false claims online. The article also made its way to Facebook, where it reached 400,000 people, according to data from CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned tool.

The entire effort traced back to one person: Joseph Mercola.

Interestingly, as I researched this post, I found that some of the articles, like Mercola’s ancient article likening vaccine mandates to a “silent Holocaust”, have been removed from his website, the URLs redirected to less offensive articles. For example, one article I discussed titled ‘How COVID-19 “vaccines” may destroy the lives of millions’ now redirects to an article titled ‘Why I’m Removing All Articles Related to Vitamins D, C, Zinc and COVID-19‘. (As was the case for the “vaccine Holocaust article,” Mercola excluded the original article here from archiving by the Wayback Machine at Archive.org. It’s almost as though he wants to memory hole his history. Scratch that. There’s no “almost” about it.) In the newer article, Mercola claims that “threats have now become very personal and have intensified to the point I can no longer preserve much of the information and research I’ve provided to you thus far”, spinning a conspiracy theory in which Bill Gates and big pharma have supposedly weaponized “terrorist experts to attack” him, painting himself as a brave hero who held up as long as he could but finally had to remove the offending information from his website. Of course, I can’t help but point out that since early May Mercola has easily replaced the old COVID-19 misinformation with a whole lot of new (and regurgitated) COVID-19 misinformation. Apparently the grand conspiracy didn’t “silence” him for long.

And, again, it’s all about the grift:

An internet-savvy entrepreneur who employs dozens, Dr. Mercola has published over 600 articles on Facebook that cast doubt on Covid-19 vaccines since the pandemic began, reaching a far larger audience than other vaccine skeptics, an analysis by The New York Times found. His claims have been widely echoed on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

The activity has earned Dr. Mercola, a natural health proponent with an Everyman demeanor, the dubious distinction of the top spot in the “Disinformation Dozen,” a list of 12 people responsible for sharing 65 percent of all anti-vaccine messaging on social media, said the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate. Others on the list include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime anti-vaccine activist, and Erin Elizabeth, the founder of the website Health Nut News, who is also Dr. Mercola’s girlfriend.

“Mercola is the pioneer of the anti-vaccine movement,” said Kolina Koltai, a researcher at the University of Washington who studies online conspiracy theories. “He’s a master of capitalizing on periods of uncertainty, like the pandemic, to grow his movement.”

Erin Elizabeth, of course, is the woman who’s promoted for several years a conspiracy theory in which “they” (whoever “they” are, be it pharma, government, or whatever) are murdering natural health practitioners, starting with autism quack Jeffrey Bradstreet in 2015, whose suicide was recast as a murder by a pharma hit squad, continuing with cancer quack Nicholas Gonzalez, whose death by heart attack was portrayed as something more sinister, and moving on to a whole lot of other alternative medicine practitioners and an antivax pediatrician. The last time I checked for my talk at NECSS in 2019, the apparent death toll from these murders was over 80. She’s no slouch at spreading antivaccine misinformation, quackery, and conspiracy theories herself. Between the two of them, the quack power couple of Joe Mercola and Erin Elizabeth make up one-sixth of the “disinformation dozen” listed earlier this year for their spreading of COVID-19 misinformation.

Meanwhile, Mercola carefully crafted a more “moderate” position on vaccines in which his antivaccine rhetoric is not as hard core as that of many other antivaccine activists:

But while Ms. Elizabeth and others are overtly anti-vaccine, Dr. Mercola has appeared more approachable because he takes less radical positions than his peers, Ms. Koltai said. “He takes away from the idea that an anti-vaccination activist is a fringe person,” she said.

Those of you who’ve been following SBM for a while will note, however, that this more “moderate” persona was thrown out the door when COVID-19 hit, with Mercola amplifying apocalyptic claims by people like Geert Vanden Bossche and others claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are a tool for “depopulation” and social control.

But how did Mercola get to his current status?

The rise of a quack tycoon

Perhaps the most comprehensive account of the rise of Joe Mercola comes from two sources: Bryan Smith in 2012 writing “Dr. Mercola: Visionary or Quack?” for Chicago Magazine (back before Mercola moved from the suburbs of Chicago to the more quack-friendly environs of Florida) and a 2019 Washington Post article by Neena Satija and Lena Sun titled “A major funder of the anti-vaccine movement has made millions selling natural health products“. How did Mercola get his start? Smith reported:

In 1997, as a way to share what he had found that would be “useful and helpful,” he started Mercola.com. It proved a hit. But because it didn’t charge for content or accept ads, it was also a money drain. In the first three years, Mercola estimates that he spent half a million dollars on the site. To keep it afloat, he says, “I had three options: to get paid subscribers; to sell information, which I didn’t want to do; or to sell products, which is what I wound up doing. . . . The purpose for selling items is to have a revenue stream so we can pay our staff to provide information to educate the public and make a difference and fund [our] initiatives.”

The success of the site gave a significant boost to his practice, Mercola says: “I had people flying in from all over the world. It always puzzled me: when people came in, I wouldn’t tell them anything different than I had written on the site. They could have just as easily looked it up for free. But they had to hear it from me.” (Mercola stopped practicing medicine six years ago to focus on the website.)

Yes, Mercola is approaching a quarter of a century of promoting quackery. In any event, as I said at the time, I’m sure the website probably was costing Mercola a fair amount of money back then, given that bandwidth was not as cheap in the 1990s. On the other hand, once you start selling products to support your bandwidth and website production expenses, the next logical step is for the website to turn into a marketing tool, such that its primary purpose shifts from informational to selling product. That’s exactly what appears to have happened with Mercola, and it made him incredibly wealthy—sure, not Jeff Bezos/Bill Gates-level billionaire wealthy, but then $100 million isn’t exactly chickenfeed, either.

I also noted how Mercola apparently deludes himself that the purpose of selling products was to support the website. That might have been true initially, but it’s very clear from his history that selling products soon became the main purpose of the website. After all, he wouldn’t have gotten to a net worth north of $100 million if had been selling only enough products to support the cost of bandwidth, maintaining a website and an online store, and paying writers for content that he didn’t write himself. He had to have been selling a lot of product at a generous markup, and even then most successful businesses aren’t nearly that profitable. Indeed, Satija and Sun reported in the Washington Post, by the time Mercola stopped seeing patients for good in 2009 his various online businesses were generating $3 million a month. By then, Mercola was already well on his way to being the quack tycoon he is today.

As Frenkel reports in The NYT:

As his popularity grew, Dr. Mercola began a cycle. It starts with making unproven and sometimes far-fetched health claims, such as that spring mattresses amplify harmful radiation, and then selling products online — from vitamin supplements to organic yogurt — that he promotes as alternative treatments.

To buttress the operation, he set up companies like Mercola.com Health Resources and Mercola Consulting Services. These entities have offices in Florida and the Philippines with teams of employees. Using this infrastructure, Dr. Mercola has seized on news moments to rapidly publish blog posts, newsletters and videos in nearly a dozen languages to a network of websites and social media.

It is all very deliberate and, unfortunately, savvy marketing:

Dr. Mercola has a keen understanding of what makes something go viral online, said two former employees, who declined to be identified because they had signed nondisclosure agreements. He routinely does A/B testing, they said, in which many versions of the same content are published to see what spreads fastest online.

I’ve long suspected as much, given the carefully chosen clickbait headlines and blurbs, coupled with certain repeated phrases, in Mercola’s articles. His website reeks of peak SEO, as do his articles. Of course, two years ago, when Google adjusted its search algorithms to deprioritize content considered unreliable, Mercola’s website traffic took a major hit, plunging (according to him) 99% in June 2019. Predictably, this lead to more of Mercola portraying himself as a victim of “censorship” with the usual conspiracy mongering.

The denials

Like most quacks who come under fire for their quackery and whom the FDA has targeted more than once over the years, Mercola is very good at playing the persecuted victim. As Frenkel reports in The NYT:

In an email, Dr. Mercola said it was “quite peculiar to me that I am named as the #1 superspreader of misinformation.” Some of his Facebook posts were only liked by hundreds of people, he said, so he didn’t understand “how the relatively small number of shares could possibly cause such calamity to Biden’s multibillion dollar vaccination campaign.”

The efforts against him are political, Dr. Mercola added, and he accused the White House of “illegal censorship by colluding with social media companies.”

This is, by the way, the new line I’ve seen coming from antivaccine activists, namely that, because Facebook and other social media companies consult, among other experts, experts at the CDC, NIH, and FDA, they are supposedly now acting as an arm of the government, thus meaning that the “censorship” by social media companies is actually that of the government, meaning that the First Amendment should protect them. It’s a dubious argument at best.

You can see the narrative, of course. It’s the same narrative favored of quacks the world over. Any attempt to prevent them from spreading misinformation or to counter the misinformation that they do spread is portrayed as “censorship” or even “cancel culture”.

Meanwhile, the main article on Mercola’s website yesterday was titled “How the Plague of Corruption Is Killing Mankind“. In it, he claims that the “blood supply and vaccines have been tainted with disease-causing retroviruses for more than three decades, and the U.S. government has been hiding it the entire time” and that “‘long-haul COVID’ is the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein activating endogenous HERVW and recombining with XMRVs, — introduced via vaccinations,” among other conspiracy theories, including Andrew Kaufmann’s claim (previously discussed) that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, “has never been identified” and that SARS-CoV-2 is actually a cloned monkey virus spread by “injection” of vaccines. (That’s a new one on me. I guess he must be abandoning the “lab leak” idea of how SARS-CoV-2 got started. Again, quack claims and pseudoscience don’t have to be consistent, I guess.)

The bottom line

Joe Mercola is arguably the most successful quack tycoon of all time. He is more effective in spreading health and vaccine misinformation than almost anyone else, likely because of his ruthless attention to marketing and SEO. In the past, that meant trying to seem more “reasonable” and “moderate” about vaccines. Unfortunately, in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, “moderate” doesn’t sell as well, and, savvy entrepreneur that he is, Mercola has changed with the times and gone for more histrionic and radical misinformation. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of social media companies to prevent it, his strategy seems to be working.

If it ever stops working, I’d be willing to bet that he’ll “memory hole” the offending posts yet again.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

171 replies on “Antivax quack tycoon Joe Mercola profits selling COVID-19 disinformation”

Mercola’s girlfriend, Erin Elizabeth announced on Health Nut News in the wake of the N.Y. Times article that she was preparing a response, but I haven’t seen any evidence of it yet.

In related news, the way is clear for Dr. Paul Thomas to resume his medical practice following suspension of his license – to a limited degree.

“According to the “interim stipulated order” issued in June, Thomas’s practice is limited to patients who require acute care and he is not permitted to engage in any discussions with patients or families about vaccine protocols nor conduct research involving patient care. That Thomas agreed to these stipulations “is not an admission of any wrongdoing,” the document states.”

“Thomas was accused of failing to properly vaccinate his patients and spreading misinformation about the benefits of his recommended immunization schedule. The board’s original emergency suspension order against the self-proclaimed “vaccine-friendly” doctor cited at least eight different cases of alleged patient harm and gross negligence — all stemming from their lack of immunizations…r cases in which parents who asked Thomas for standard CDC-recommended vaccines were told that his clinic didn’t keep them in stock…”

“It remains unclear how the limitations put forth in the “interim stipulated order” will be enforced; at the time of press, Thomas has not responded to request for comment and the board declined to comment about the case. But while Thomas may be barred from talking to patients about his vaccine schedule, which delays some shots and excludes others altogether, he continues to promote it on his YouTube channel, which currently has 1.45 million subscribers. Additionally, his 2016 book about his “vaccine-friendly plan” is listed as a “#1 Best Seller” in pediatric emergencies on Amazon, with thousands of 5-star ratings.”

“As of his July 6 video, Thomas said that he still hasn’t returned to his practice despite getting his license back, due to loss of malpractice insurance and other insurance contracts. He mentions a future 8-day hearing set to happen in January 2022 that will determine the fate of his medical license. (This could not be independently verified by MedPage Today).”

http://medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/93566

note: the linked article features a wonderful photo of “Dr. Paul” which I highly recommend for accompanying any future RI articles dealing with Thomas.

“He just lacks the oversized ears.”

Do you wish to bet on that over a specific period of time? Asking for the Kardashians.

I’m starting to think that calling yourself “Dr. [FirstName]” is a antivax warning sign between “Dr. Paul” and “Dr. Bob.”

It’s too bad that Oregon didn’t make a robust challenge to those who opposed flouridation of Porland city water and mounted a referendum to reverse the mayor’s order to flouridate. This in spite of the then Mayor issuing a lengthy and very science-based rebuttal of pseuso-scientific and conspiracy related objections.

It’s very disturbing that these vocal minorities are able to mount these campaigns that deliberately prey on the uninformed or easily persuaded.

Brainmatterz, what is the issue of Portland city water? I lived in Portland since 2013 and never heard bad things about it.
Thanks in advance

Serious question here guys.
My daughters both living in London were vaccinated due to the UK governments continual threat of the truncating of basic liberties to the non vaccinated, particularly not being able to travel to see me as I reside in another country (so you might understand my nauseating sense of guilt should they experience side effects, in fact I’m now contemplating vaccination in case there is any possibility of death as I could not nor would I wish to survive it).
Does anyone know of any proven methods to prevent or reverse any of the harmful byproducts of Covid vaccinations? I’m presently looking at medicinal fungi studies now.
God Bless
🌞

Does anyone know of any proven methods to prevent or reverse any of the harmful byproducts of Covid vaccinations?

Many years ago, when I frequented sMothering-dot-com, they were all over homeopathy for this purpose. Send them off to the nearest high street.

Serious question. What are you talking about?

What harmful effects have been proven by the clear broad daylight of science?
If your believe COVID vaccination is a problem .. please tell us plainly!! Everyone needs to know how exceptional you are as a vaccination scientist.

You know (You know but not better than here). What are those problems please? Need more information on that.

I want to answer your serious question. Data please.

Although I believe that nearly all of the charlatans and vaccine confabulators I survey may not adequately understand the SBM they critique endlessly as the spin conspiracy theories so they have the excuse of inadequate education but Mercola should know better. He has a standard medical education and worked in actual hospitals for many years.
If Mike, Del, Gary or even Kennedy repeat sci fi about Covid such as that outlined by Orac, we can give them the benefit of the doubt ** that they can’t differentiate SBM from woo. I could go into great detail about why their backgrounds are deficient ( even RFKjr who attended good schools but apparently missed out on life sciences) be that as it may, Mercola is different. Also he is probably aware that his advice will be taken more seriously than that of others because of his education and career.

** although they misinform and endanger people .

Mercola doesn’t care about science, ethics or the Hippocratic oath, even if he received a decent education at a medical school. Like a quintessential Ferengi from Star Trek, Mercola and his ilk value profit above any sense of truth or human ethics.

WaPo reports today the the leader of the Oklahoma GOP has gone far beyond even MTG with COVID-vaccination = Holocaust posturing.

The Nazis “gave [Jews] a star to put on, and they couldn’t go to the grocery store, they couldn’t go out in public, they couldn’t do anything without having that star on their shirt,” Bennett said. “Take away the star and add a vaccine passport… Limited access to travel within their State, Province or Territory. The bearer may not fly, cannot enter a pub, restaurant, club or theatre. … WAKE UP PEOPLE — Is this sounding familiar?” He warned that vaccine mandates are “totalitarian” and that if Oklahoma Republicans don’t act now, “it’s going to end in the same exact result as we saw when nobody stood up whenever the Jews were told that they had to wear that star.”

His FB post was accompanied by an image of a yellow Star of David patch with the legend “Unvaccinated”, identification numbers, and an embedded microchip. that Bennett posted on the Oklahoma Republican Party’s Facebook page on Friday included what appeared to be identification numbers and a chip.

Meanwhile, Alex Berenson Tweeted “Impfung macht frei” [substituting the German word for vaccination into the motto over the gate at Auschwitz] along with another Tweet, claiming, falsely, that a Pfizer study proved its vaccine didn’t reduce deaths from covid-19. Which got him banned from Twitter, which prompted a predictable Tweet of complaint from Ron Johnson, who called Berenson “a courageous voice of reason… a valuable counter-perspective to the group-think mainstream media” and directed his followers to Berenson’s substack site.

By contrast, the GOP leadership in the House was relatively subdued, only declaring “No Mask Saturday!” this past weekend.

Jarhead Bennett is quite the piece of work. Hint, John: The main threat to Oklahoma posed by “radical Islam” is finding a less crappy place to live and reducing the tax rolls.

Alex Berenson is unfortunately still on Twitter, doing his antisemitic thing, although he hasn’t posted in 4 days (maybe he has a temporary ban on posting).

@Quasidomo Berenson is misleading. Pfizer’s own data from phase 2/3 trials had 2 deaths in vaccine groups and 4 in placebo. But none of thwm was caused by COVID. Follow up studies established facts, like:
Haas EJ, Angulo FJ, McLaughlin JM, Anis E, Singer SR, Khan F, Brooks N, Smaja M, Mircus G, Pan K, Southern J, Swerdlow DL, Jodar L, Levy Y, Alroy-Preis S. Impact and effectiveness of mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations, and deaths following a nationwide vaccination campaign in Israel: an observational study using national surveillance data. Lancet. 2021 May 15;397(10287):1819-1829. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00947-8. Epub 2021 May 5. Erratum in: Lancet. 2021 Jul 17;398(10296):212. PMID: 33964222; PMCID: PMC8099315.
“Adjusted estimates of vaccine effectiveness at 7 days or longer after the second dose were 95·3% (95% CI 94·9-95·7; incidence rate 91·5 per 100 000 person-days in unvaccinated vs 3·1 per 100 000 person-days in fully vaccinated individuals) against SARS-CoV-2 infection, 91·5% (90·7-92·2; 40·9 vs 1·8 per 100 000 person-days) against asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, 97·0% (96·7-97·2; 32·5 vs 0·8 per 100 000 person-days) against symptomatic COVID-19, 97·2% (96·8-97·5; 4·6 vs 0·3 per 100 000 person-days) against COVID-19-related hospitalisation, 97·5% (97·1-97·8; 2·7 vs 0·2 per 100 000 person-days) against severe or critical COVID-19-related hospitalisation, and 96·7% (96·0-97·3; 0·6 vs 0·1 per 100 000 person-days) against COVID-19-related death”

In case you’re wondering who might be Mercola’s target audience-
Kieitman et al ( U Sydney, new study) found that the non-complaint re Covid were about 10% of the population ( US, UK, AUS, Canada) were more male, less agreeable, less considerate, less intellectual, less open to experience, more extraverted, more likely to priortise freedom and self-interest , not young , using denial and similar coping strategies., less use of official / government sources.
Now that’s a shock.

The article that appeared online on Feb. 9 began with a seemingly innocuous question about the legal definition of vaccines. Then over its next 3,400 words, it declared coronavirus vaccines were “a medical fraud” and said the injections did not prevent infections, provide immunity or stop transmission of the disease.

Orac, if I may interject here, I don’t follow Mercola or his arguments, but how can one not reasonably conclude that the Provincetown outbreak that forced the CDC to call for return to masking not evidence of the ineffectiveness of the vaccines, at the very least in mitigating that outbreak? My head is still spinning at all the vaccine fans denying that the data doesn’t suggest this. How on earth doesn’t it?!

Of the 469 cases, 74% was among he fully vaccinated. I checked Boston’s fully vaccinated adults stat and it is 64% (keep in mind some of the cases were out of state travelers who were likely less vaxxed). Simply, the fully vaccinated had a larger share of infections for their number. Even for preventing serious sickness, the biggest boast about the vaccines, only 1 unvaxxed (.4) was hospitalized while 4 vaxxed (over 1%) were. Seriously guys, I am desperately trying to understand how these numbers don’t speak to the vaccines abject failure in regards to that outbreak? Orac, Joel, Athaic, Aarno, Squirrel– please feel free to chime in here! Heck, Kevin Vicklund, I am so desperately searching for explanations, I might even entertain one of your hypothetical ‘comparisons’.

You need a nominator to calculate vaccine effiency, that is, how many people is vaccinated. Vaccine efficiency is breaktrough cases per number of vaccinated
As for Provincetown, some strange thing is happening:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/how-provincetown-achieved-a-114-25-vaccination-rate/ar-AAMurR0?ocid=uxbndlbing
Vaccination rate over 100 %. Actual vaccination rate is under 100, because COVID cases among unvaccinated were reported. Or were they visitors, too ?

I’m curious to see the final numbers. (I can wait, as I am fully vaccinated.) What is never mentioned is that July 4 in Provincetown is essentially a gay Sturgis. People fly in from all over the country, but the demographics aren’t in any way random. Especially in the health area. I wouldn’t be suprised to see 99% vaccinated. We know that Provincetown had a near universal vaccination rate among the residents.

You need a nominator to calculate vaccine effiency, that is, how many people is vaccinated. Vaccine efficiency is breaktrough cases per number of vaccinated

Yes, Aarno, the actual figure of the number of vaccinated would help, but you can make some educated guesses at it. With this outbreak, it would’ve likely been less than 75%. Even if we accept the wacky number that over 100% of Provincetown residents are vaccinated, only 200 of the 469 cases were Provincetown residents and the remainder being the likely less vaccinated Massachusetts and out of state residents. The vaccinated number also cannot account for why a greater percentage of the vaccinated cases were hospitalized. How was this possible when we are obsessively reminded that the vaccines are so awesome at preventing serious illness?! Aarno, Orac, Athaic, Squirrel, Kevin (still thinking about you 😆)?…

https://www.capeandislands.org/local-news/2021-07-28/provincetown-covid-19-outbreak-hits-765-more-than-two-thirds-of-mass-cases-are-vaccinated

And, to boot, the vaccine pushers mount the most absurd arguments to suggest that the Provincetown data isn’t really dreadful numbers for Covid vaccination. They say only 300 or so infected vaxxed cases just shows how well the vaccines were at protecting the thousands and thousands of concert goers. Hugh?! Well, being unvaxxed worked even better! They also say that 1.2% hospitalization rate for the vaxxed cases was well below the average for covid cass and proving how well the vaccines prevented serious illness. Hugh?! Again, the unvaxxers beat you here too! Seriously provaxxers, have you given up on all attempts to maintain semblance of sense?

No, educated guess is not good enough. A real vaccination rate is needed. Remember Provincetown had vaccination rate over 100%! Vacination was heavily promoted.
You cannot say that unvaccinated did better until you know how many unvaccinated you have. Every time they are actually counted, vaccine efficiency is still over 90%. Allowing pandemic to go on may change this, sadly.

@Aarno
“Every time they are actually counted, vaccine efficiency is still over 90%. Allowing pandemic to go on may change this”

Sadly, except in Israel according to MOH where mRNA experiment alleged benefit rate <70% and dropping to the point that they are about to lockdown within two weeks or so.

The mRNA must be examined as a driver to this.

Most scientific thing to do would be to strictly isolate the experimental group (mRNA injected) from the control group (uninjected), and compare parameters over time.

Israel is the ideal place to do this, the only logistical issue is getting the mRNA injected who are ordered into isolation into tent camps in the Negev for a month or two without tainting the uninjected control group.

It’s a sure thing that the Startup-Nation, now better known as the Vaccie-Nation, would come up with a creative solution!

You need to know the number of people who were exposed. If 500 people were exposed and 469 became cases, that would be a very concerning thing. If 10,000 people were exposed and 469 became cases, that’s a different story. If 50,000 people were exposed and 469 became cases, well, that sounds like the vaccine is working very well.

No one ever said any vaccine would be 100%.

And given that there were multiple exposure events, then it sounds like the vaccines are working very well.

You need to know the number of people who were exposed. If 500 people were exposed and 469 became cases, that would be a very concerning thing. If 10,000 people were exposed and 469 became cases, that’s a different story. If 50,000 people were exposed and 469 became cases, well, that sounds like the vaccine is working very well.

Actually, JT, knowing the number of people who were exposed isn’t as important here. Knowing the ratio of cases for the vaxxed and unvaxxed is what is important. If 500 people were exposed and 469 became cases and it turned out that there were 400 vaxxed cases and 69 unvaxxed ones, then that would suggest the vaccines weren’t that effective. If 50,000 people were exposed and 469 became cases and, again, 400 were vaxxed cases and 69 were unvaxxed ones, that would also suggest the vaccines weren’t that working well.

No, Greg, you’re not right there. The number of exposed also matters.

If a thousand vaccinated people, and 10 unvaccinated people were exposed to a disease, and 20 vaccinated people and 10 unvaccinated people got sick, yes there would still be more vaccinated people who got sick, but the percent of vaccinated people who got sick would be 2%, and the percent of unvaccinated people who got sick would be 100%.

We can say what the state vaccination rate was, but we don’t actually know, of all the people who were exposed, what the ratio of vaccinated to unvaccinated was. If, in a mixed group of people, most people are vaccinated, then yes, even with a very good vaccine, most cases will occur among the vaccinated because there are more of those people. But the percent of unvaccinated people who will get sick will be much, much higher.

This is better explained with a visual, but I can’t put that in a comment.

This is, after all, someone who thinks the statement “some of the cases were out of state travelers who were likely less vaxxed” is perfectly sensible.

“well, that sounds like the vaccine is working very well.”

It’s rat’s ass, Don. I want my OTA update. Now. It is what the dang chips are for.

No, Greg, you’re not right there. The number of exposed also matters.

If a thousand vaccinated people, and 10 unvaccinated people were exposed to a disease, and 20 vaccinated people and 10 unvaccinated people got sick, yes there would still be more vaccinated people who got sick, but the percent of vaccinated people who got sick would be 2%, and the percent of unvaccinated people who got sick would be 100%.

JT, funny but you weren’t talking percentages in your previous example. Anyway, I already addressed that point in my comment to Aarno. Yes, we might not know the exact amount of vaxxed and unvaxxed individuals that were exposed, but we can make some reasonable guesses at it. And, unfortunately for you guys, there is still not much room to work above the reported 75% fully vaxxed infection rate to suggest the vaccines were effective at preventing cases.

For instance, consider 200 of the 469 cases were from Provincetown. That would leave the remainder coming from other parts of Massachusetts or out of the state. Now, we know that Massachusetts fully vaxxed adult rate sits at about 64%, and is above the average for the nation. Assuming then that the concert goers were comprised of Provincetown residents vaxxed at 90% (I am being generous) and the remainder being non-Providence traveller’s vaxxed at 64%, that would still give us an overall vaxxed population of slightly under 75%, and still suggesting that percentage wise the vaxxed concert goers fared worse at avoiding infections.

Also, percentage of vaxxed and unvaxxed exposed cannot account for the fully vaxxed having a worse hospitalization rate with this outbreak.

Also, my earlier argument is assuming that whatever the number of the total exposed population was, it would’ve likely fallen within the known vaxxed/unvaxxed rate for the general population. This is what I was alluding to when I said knowing the precise number of concert goers that were exposed wasn’t as important. Of course, if for some reason the number of exposed concert goers defied the vaxxed/unvaxxed ratio for the general population then that would change things. Interestingly, somewhere else I read a lame defense suggesting the concert goers may have been disproportionately vaxxed with them feeling more brave to attend the concerts. Of course this makes little sense since it has consistently been shown that the unvaxxed are the ones that don’t take the pandemic seriously and are likely to take more risks, Anyway, assuming the total exposed population would’ve been consistent with the ratio for the general population is a reasonable default assumption, and anyone suggesting otherwise should give actual evidence for suspected confounders.

@Greg Unvaxxed/vaxxed studies can be done properly. Here is a classic example (no educated guesses):
Haas EJ, Angulo FJ, McLaughlin JM, Anis E, Singer SR, Khan F, Brooks N, Smaja M, Mircus G, Pan K, Southern J, Swerdlow DL, Jodar L, Levy Y, Alroy-Preis S. Impact and effectiveness of mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations, and deaths following a nationwide vaccination campaign in Israel: an observational study using national surveillance data. Lancet. 2021 May 15;397(10287):1819-1829. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00947-8. Epub 2021 May 5. Erratum in: Lancet. 2021 Jul 17;398(10296):212. PMID: 33964222; PMCID: PMC8099315.

Greg Unvaxxed/vaxxed studies can be done properly. Here is a classic example (no educated guesses

C,mon, Aarno! What are you really trying to hang your hat on?! We have no reason to believe that the exposed concert goers population would’ve exceeded a 75% vaxxed rate. What are you saying, it could’ve been 80, 85 or 90%? Let me play the devil advocate here and suggest it was 95%; what would this mean? It would mean the vaccines were 21% effective at preventing infections! Woo hoo!! Go Pfizer!!

Just sent another unvaccinated individual to the ICU. I have another one, pregnant nonetheless, in another exam room. Stopped by here for a distraction. The only people with clinical cases nowadays are unvaccinated. PERIOD. I have never seen a severe case in a person with at least one dose of the vaccine and I see it daily, still (Sadly.)

When oh when will I remember that Greg is a hard-core anti-vaxxer who wants nothing more than to fill his body with every pathogen known to humanity, and that there is no point in trying to explain anything to him?

@Greg Stereotypes do not make data. As I have said any number of times, Provincetown promoted vaccination heavily.

@GREG
My understanding as a layperson and community supporter, is that those who are vaccinated didn’t die at the rate of those not vaccinated. It’s just so obvious. Do you object on that — you happy to advocate death by freedom?

Here it is — simple

Get the proper vaccination and you will live longer. There is no misunderstanding to it unless some want to be jerks.

You help kill people. No worries. They are

You write such foolishness without proof, expertise, or compassion.

Just wow.

That there is an industry promoting ill-health with garbage, while people die taking shitty promoted pills, and these new shills b just hating the best experience of all US/World SCIENCE.

I checked too,

Greg, thanks for bringing this topic up, It doesn’t make sense when 114% of the residents are vacsinated. My next question would be how do you define “cases”

The city promoted vaccinations heavily, so many visitors were vaccinated, too. One can guess that vaccination rate of residents is qquite high, too,

One of the unintended consequences of vaccine mandates… **

( via PRN, last 5 minutes of the daily noontime woo-fest)
The hoary old host rants that, as NYC announces vaccine requirements for many indoor events, it’s time for everyone to MOVE to places where you can live free of masks and mandates- NY, NJ, CA , OR, WA, VA, IL, PA ( lists affluent blue states) are where fascism and criminality rule supreme so migrate instead to loci of liberty like ( western) Florida and ( eastern) Texas – where he’s moved- because it’s a superior lifestyle, healthier, better people, more natural beauty. Additional comments about the disgusting Bay Area and NY vs 20 states where you can live free.***

** OT but it’s quiet today
*** Covid rates soar freely too

Meanwhile FDA admitted PRC tests can’t distinguish between covid-19, common cold and the flu.

CDC did not speak about tPCR ests in general, it was one quite old test. It did nor mention common cold either

Let me know if you need me to explain this sentence to you.

Go ahead. It should be fun, since you’ve already failed to grasp the alert in its entirety (although anyone with a grain of sense would have noted that your core assertion implodes on the spot).

Let me know if you need me to explain this sentence to you.

Sure, have at it.

But perhaps you should look at what the outgoing PCR test is designed to find first and then look at what the new PCR test is designed to find.

I will give you a hint. Outgoing test is only for COVID-19.

@Chris Preston

I will give you a hint. Outgoing test is only for COVID-19.

LOL
Yeah COVID and anything else it thinks is COVID. That’s why the “scientists” on here think flu went extinct.

Anyway let me give you a hint.
Grab a dictionary and look up the word “differentiation”.

Let me know if you need me to explain this sentence to you.

So you were unable to explain the sentence.

Nobody is surprised.

BTW, no scientists are claiming influenza is extinct. The incidence is way down at present due to reduced travel, aided by lockdowns.

@Scientism Dave You perhaps should read scientific papers instead:
Böger B, Fachi MM, Vilhena RO, Cobre AF, Tonin FS, Pontarolo R. Systematic review with meta-analysis of the accuracy of diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Am J Infect Control. 2021 Jan;49(1):21-29. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2020.07.011. Epub 2020 Jul 10. PMID: 32659413; PMCID: PMC7350782.
Tests could be tested.
Interesting thing is that you do not like fact checks. You are very trustful person.

Bull. I use them daily. And I think you mean PCR. Had our first positive flu the other day of the season.

In the real world we run a respiratory pathogens panel for folks who have to get admitted, anyway. This is irrelevant to actual practice.

@MedicalYeti

Had our first positive flu the other day of the season.

Followers of Gorski believe that the flu is extinct (because of masks lol )
so you might get banned with that kind of talk.

C’mon, Dave. You’re brighter than this. Or maybe not.

The CDC has never said that PCR testing can’t distinguish between SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses. It suggests that labs use tests that can rapidly indicate whether someone has SARS-CoV-2 or influenza, without having to conduct another test in a SARS-CoV-2 negative individual to see if they might instead have influenza.

See? That wasn’t so hard.

In other antivax dimwittery, RFK Jr. has responded to Biden’s mandate for federal workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo regular testing, with the following gem:

“This type of coercion would be unthinkable to the founding fathers of this nation, and it should be unthinkable to all Americans today who value freedom from tyrannical governments.”

The founding fathers were actually pro-immunization, including George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, who supported mandatory smallpox inoculation for federal troops.

http://vaxopedia.org/2016/11/20/founding-fathers-on-vaccines/

“C’mon, Dave. You’re brighter than this. ”

You’re explaining card tricks to a puppy, DB. He’ll look quizzically at you, as if he’s trying to understand, but in the end all he can do is slobber and make a mess on the floor.

That “freedom from tyrannical governments” line sounds like RFKJ is on his way to following his anti-vax obsession into the arms of right-wing nuttery, forsaking whatever progressive politics may be left over from his past life as an “environmental lawyer”. After all, what does an environmentalist want but for the government to curtial the freedom of companies like Hooker Chemical from dumping stuff like deadly poisons into the earth/air/water in places like Love Canal? The proper analogy for this — to anyone sane, anyway — is that the government should act in the general interest by restricting the freedom of individuals to blow a deadly aeresolized virus into the air shared with other members of the community.

Here at DuPont, we have replaced the environment. We have also preserved some nature in fairly large chunks of Lucite.

That “freedom from tyrannical governments” line sounds like RFKJ is on his way to following his anti-vax obsession into the arms of right-wing nuttery

He is already there. This was the RFK, Jr who was hamming it up on stage in Berlin for a bunch of neo-Nazis.

His father would be appalled, just as Mario Cuomo would be appalled and so many other respectable parents of disappointing offspring. Of course it goes the other way too – Ron Reagan compared to his parents.

@Dangerous Bacon

You compare smallpox to covid? really?
“including George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, who supported mandatory smallpox inoculation for federal troops.”

I don’t recall being drafted into military in the last year.

So we spend 5 TRILLION dollars of federal dollars on Covid (that’s about 25 times more than we spend on cancer which kills far more people) and we all got a vaccine that doesn’t work against a new variant and inadvertently actually made the new variant even strong and more contagious.

So what is plan ‘B”?

“Lambda COVID Variant, Behind 1,000 Cases in U.S., Shows Vaccine Resistance”

https://www.newsweek.com/lambda-covid-variant-1000-cases-us-shows-vaccine-resistance-1615668

the actual study

“SARS-CoV-2 Lambda variant exhibits higher infectivity and immune resistance”

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.28.454085v1

Vaccines don’t cause resistant variants. You’re thinking of the mis-use of antibiotics.

If the existence of vaccines caused resistant variants then no vaccine would work for more than a few years, and yet smallpox is gone and polio is substantially reduced, due to vaccines.

Most cancers are not infectious, so your comparison is irrelevant.

Yes, with viruses, particularly RNA viruses, it’s quite the opposite: letting the virus run rampant is what leads to variants. The virus just mutates so easily and so quickly; the larger the repository in the wild, the more variants will show up. When you have trillions of viruses out there replicating the odds of one of them hitting the ‘jackpot’ and forming a more dangerous variant near unity.

You want to stop variants? Get everybody vaccinated. GLOBALLY. Before a variant shows up that evades the current vaccines completely.

(From what I’ve been hearing, the Delta variant is not actually evading the current set of vaccines; vaccinated people can still potentially catch it, but they have much milder symptoms and don’t spread it nearly as much because their immune systems are already most of the way up to speed.)

“You’re thinking”

Actually he’s spewing, which requires just a few limbic cortex neurons to fire.

@JustaTech

You ought to look things up after you make something up, just to make sure the voices in your head weren’t setting you up for humiliation.

In order to inform yourself about why your statement, “Vaccines don’t cause resistant variants. You’re thinking of the mis-use of antibiotics.” is ridiculous, definitely in the case of bacterial pathogens, search the following terms and read the many well documented studies – “Leaky Vaccines”.

That should help you understand the concept, and be more cautious in the future.

search the following terms [sic] and read the many well documented studies – “Leaky Vaccines”

Well, what’s your suggested reading list? You’re doubtlessly an expert in Marek’s disease by now at the very least.

It is also mildly interesting to me that Quasimoldo was needed to back up teh Bronskoid.

@Quasidomo Perhaps you should read leaky vaccine studies yourself. Start with definition. Leaky vaccine is a vaccine that produces a partial immunity. A totally different thing.

Kudos for taking on Charles, but people who can’t recognize the glaring errors in their “reasoning” are beyond hope. School children could correct his bad thinking.

@Quasimodo

1) That was very rude.
2) And your examples of “leaky vaccines” are?

Obviously it’s not the vaccine for measles, or mumps, or rubella, or polio or HIB or HepB or diphtheria or yellow fever or typhoid or typhus or chickenpox, so which one is it? Because those diseases are still prevented by vaccines.

@Quasidomo VAED is entirely different thing. Leaky vaccine is a vaccine that provides partial protection to all vaccinees, VAED is caused inadequate neutralizing antibody levels, and is acronym for Vaccine-associated Enchanced Disease.

“Vaccine-associated enhanced diseases (VAED)” is the term you want to use for actually learning something instead of being uneducated by propaganda.

Which is why you didn’t use it in the first place, of course.

@Quasimodo:
You link does not say anything about either measles or RSV becoming more virulent or escaping the vaccine. So obviously VAED is not an evolutionary change to the virus in question.

Here’s the thing about vaccines – if vaccines really did drive rapid and directional mutation of viruses, then every single organism that uses an adaptive (ie, memory-based) immune system would be extinct because the very nature of our immune systems would have created super-viruses long before the development of vaccines.

1000 cases total versus 17,000 a day in Florida alone. It’s certainly of interest bit it’s just a drop in the bucket at this point.

We’ll probably need a lot more cases to get statistics on vaccine effectiveness in preventing serious disease, hospitalizations and deaths. We If If we need it, we can always rollout updated versions of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to target Delta and Lambda. But there is reason to think the current vaccines will also be reasonably effective against Lambda.

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210705/Study-says-mRNA-COVID-vaccines-are-effective-against-Lambda-variant.aspx

So we spend 5 TRILLION dollars of federal dollars on Covid

Taking outlays, you’re off by 36%. Using funds obligated doesn’t change things much.

Reasoning skills are lacking on this site.
I got the 5 trillion dollar figure from the website you linked to.
The graph was dated the 30th of JUNE 2021.
as of that date 3.2 Trillion had been spent.
another .4 trillion was obligated to be spent before the end of the fiscal year (1 October 2021).
And another .8 trillion was titled for budgetary resources.
So 4.6 trillion will be authorized spending on Covid for fiscal year 2021. so 4.6 is really close to 5 Trillion.

You don’t think the US government will spend those additional funds allocated in the 4 months between 30 june and 1 october?

And you don’t think that if the government would increase the funding for cancer research and cures, by 25 times that we wouldn’t have a cure or vaccine in a couple of years ? (we only spend about 7 Billion a year on cancer research now, just think of spending 5 Trillion or 4.6 Trillion on cancer research).

Two small points in your post about getting everyone vaccinated ‘globally’ before a variant shows up.
the first small pox ‘vaccines’ were made in the 1800 and small pox wasn’t eradicated until the 1970’s (almost 200 years), plenty of time for a variant to reproduce.
its taken over 60 years to almost eradicate polio (maybe).
We have had the Covid vaccine for over 8 months and have only given 3.1 billion shots, even at that pace it will take 2-4 years for everyone to have had 2 shots.
Logistics are not on your side.

Neither smallpox or polio mutates as fast as SARS CoV2. Second thing is that to stop mutations, one needs herd immunity. SARS CoV 2 cannot be eracidated, because it has an animal reservoir.
There were no measles outbreaks, until antivaxxers step in.

@ Athaic

“Second thing is that to stop mutations, one needs herd immunity.”

People are denying herd immunity nowadays around here.

On this blog, anti-vaxxers twist their twats around herd immunity, the possibility to achieve it, its value or whatever. Here, they flatly deny the very notion of herd immunity itself.

It seems the situation is way worse than in the US in this respect. They were mediatically in the dark before the pandemic as public expression has its own rules around here, different than in the US. So we did not see them before. Denial goes both ways, it seems, and the payoff is awful.

@Charles Bronski 5 trillion is COVID stimulus package, to compensate for lockdowns. Lockdowns would help against cancer. and are not instituted.

So I’ve had 4 people who didn’t read the science and didn’t read the dumb down version in Newsweek.

“Japanese researchers believe that three mutations in the variant’s spike proteins make it more resistant to antibodies induced by vaccination.’
That was in the second paragraph, I guess that was too far for some of you to read.

For the the virus to be stopped by a vaccine and not mutate the whole world would by necessity be vaccinated at the same time (as it is an airborne virus, unlike Smallpox and Polio). As to the point of eradication of Polio, guess what, new mutant strains of Polio are being discovered, and spreading.

“Mutant viruses are threatening the polio eradication effort”

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-pulse/2019/10/02/mutant-viruses-are-threatening-the-polio-eradication-effort-767248

As to the point that only 1,000 cases in the US. “But the U.S. has sequenced only a tiny fraction of its cases, so that number does not reflect the actual number of lambda cases in the country.”
https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/07/22/1019293200/the-lambda-variant-coronavirus-what-you-should-know

As to the comparison to Cancer I was just pointing out had the US put as much effort to get rid of Covid (and failed), and had spent 5 TRILLION dollars (just in the US alone) for a few years we could have cured/prevented most cancers. Just FYI Covid has killed about 600,000 people in the US since January of 2020, in that same 20 month time frame over 1 MILLION people died of Cancer.

As to the comparison to Cancer I was just pointing out had the US put as much effort to get rid of Covid (and failed), and had spent 5 TRILLION dollars (just in the US alone) for a few years we could have cured/prevented most cancers.

Perhaps you could explain that in some measure of detail.

Personal gripe, I hate this assumption that if you throw money at a problem you solve it faster. If it takes three men to paint a house in a day, how fast would it get done if three thousand men tried? If you set up a thousand new cancer centers, what would get done? Where are you getting thousands of new researchers? Do we have thousands of new lines of inquiry just out there waiting? Can we complete a 5 year study in less a week? More money is better, but there is no point in creating a deluge when a normal rainfall would do.

“Japanese researchers believe that three mutations in the variant’s spike proteins make it more resistant to antibodies induced by vaccination.’

Antibodies induced by vaccination.
Not mutations induced by vaccination.

As a wild guess, what do you think happens to the antibodies induced in response to the wild virus’ infection, when confronted to these mutated spike proteins?

For the the virus to be stopped by a vaccine and not mutate the whole world would by necessity be vaccinated at the same time (as it is an airborne virus, unlike Smallpox and Polio). As to the point of eradication of Polio, guess what, new mutant strains of Polio are being discovered, and spreading.

Not necessarily at exactly the same time, but it would help if the virus encountered more quickly some barriers to its spread, not just some local speedbumps.
Although local successes – any country getting control of the virus spread within its borders – would still be good news.
For Polio and the happenstance of mutants, blame the antivaxers. And the CIA.

“For Polio and the happenstance of mutants, blame the antivaxers. And the CIA.”

It is hilarious that Bronski, Greg and the other pro-death advocates think that the victims of their lies count against the people who have been telling the truth. I picture Bronski standing above the body of the guy he just stabbed and pointing an angry finger at the police: “If you had spent your money more wisely, I wouldn’t have been able to stab my kid. It’s all your fault!”

Well, I don’t know what Charles thinks but I think that ‘naturally’ occurring antibodies would also be less effective against mutations in the spike protein.

5 trillion is compensation for lockdowns, essentially. So comparison with cancer is meaningless.
To stop COVID, you need herd immunity,. Eradication is entirely different thing. Think about measles. It is not eradicated, but there were no outbreaks until antivaxxers step in
It would actually usefull to cite original paper, not journos

“(as it is an airborne virus, unlike Smallpox”

Smallpox was spread through respiratory droplets as well as by skin contact or inhaling the dried pustules.

Did you not see the previous article about the progress that’s been made against many forms of cancer?

If you really want to do something about cancer, get asbestos banned in the USA.

So don’t come here looking for science news.
This brain trust doesn’t know that asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, that is in millions of acres of soil in the US (and around the world).
Thousands of people (women and children) who never worked around products made by man from asbestos are stricken with mesothelioma every year, one of the states with the highest rates of this kind of mesothelioma…… California as it has the highest deposits of naturally occurring asbestos. It is in the air we breath and the water we drink….. so yes ban it.

Oh, look what crawled out of the woodwork. I was reviewing asbestosis and mesothelioma case documents over 30 years ago, and it was not fun reading. Moreover, the cases haven’t completely stopped yet.

Go play with some, Sophie. A lot. It’s good clean natrul fun.

^ I imagine Sophie, in the spirit of consistency, is equally blasé about Operation Crossroads.

@Sophie Amsden So you would eat poisonous mushrooms because they are all natural ? Besides of that, facr that asbestos does not cause all mesothelioma cases does not mean rhat it does not cause any.

Great! I now see demonstrations just under my window that are explicitly anti-science. Not anti-vaccine, but outspokenly anti-science. Period. Because they are equating science and government.

We do not have a first amendment around here. Free speech, yeah, but incomplete. So they unfortunately do have a point.

I look forward to the future… but it’s starting to look like mob rule.

Anyhow, it’s not like I had a hard time seeing it coming when I was in solitary confinement.

Good luck, people.

If only it was possible to tell people like that if they hate science they have to give up their cell phones, because cell phones are based on science.

But they wouldn’t listen that long, or would have some absurd loophole (“this is technology, not science!”).

Oh the rich tapestry of humanity.

@ JustaTech

“But they wouldn’t listen that long, or would have some absurd loophole (“this is technology, not science!”).”

It doesn’t even go that far: to them “science” means “what the government is telling them”. And, to their credit, the government has been telling them just that: “science is what the government tells you”. So, no, they are not misrepresenting the arguments of their opponents. Unfortunately. They are right on that one.

Oh! And science is also what the nazis did. Hail Hydra !! (Talking point of both holocaust deniers / far right catholics and number-fearing pseudo-commies that has, as a matter of fact, gone mainstream.)

So, yeah, the game is over in this country.

There has been rallying popular support for vaccines over the last weeks, as anti vaccine rhetoric went over the top around here (far worse than anything I’ve ever read on Respectful Insolence, unfortunately). But that support is in no way grounded in any kind of support for science. Just support for State Authority.

I’m honestly quite desperate. We need a complete reboot, and not only a KulturKampf: if people do not have a right to ultimately vote on such matter, it will only feed into middle/far right and middle/far left rhetoric which is already antivaccine (at least by RI standards). There is no way to defend science if it so tied in people’s mind with compliance to government. Just no way. Zero.

We’ll be able to ultimately defend vaccines but not science. Because you know, medicine is art and not science, and vaccines are no more science than astrology. Indeed: astrology works, and that is proof enough by analogy that vaccines work. Kind of. Science has zero credit. Vaccines have more credit, because the government say they work.

We are paying the price of decades of incestuous relations between the State and Academia around here. University Professors and High School Teachers all are civil servants. So, of course “science = government”. Duh!… Everything is upside down. Total failure.

@ F68.10

We are paying the price of decades of incestuous relations between the State and Academia around here. University Professors and High School Teachers all are civil servants.

I get your point, but what’s the alternative?

If we go private (fully or partially), then the same detractors will say it’s Tobacco science.
(and likely for real – I have some trust in the concurrence between academics searchers to keep some modicum of honesty – although, yeah, sometimes that feel like low expectations. But concurrence between private companies, pharma or otherwise, has different objectives, it’s all about selling something while keeping it mostly secret. All I can really hope is for a better price, not necessarily a better product)

In North America, it’s an intermediate case: tenured academics are paid by the university, and the non-tenured have to find some funding for their wages.
They are all still seen as “civil servants”/the government by the population. And simulatenously in full thrall of Big whatever. You know how French are convinced that US academics are all paid by industrial grants.

In Japan, private companies fund a lot of research, including “academic” research. But as I understand it, the big private companies are pretty much the cultural equivalent of a local government. So we get both Tobacco science and “science is that the government is telling you” in one package.

Also, science is “what the government is telling them”. That one is very difficult to avoid. Government officials are supposed to follow the advice of scientific experts, that’s that specialists are for.
Either the politicians/the government are following experts or lying when telling that science is that they tell the people, but I don’t see any way for politicians not to be saying that “science is that I’m telling you”.

I don’t see any easy – or even any difficult – solution.
Restrain the flux of scientific information to a pre-digested “official” position, it’s condescending and censoring and overall very dangerous.
Provide the full field of scientific opinions and debates to the lay public, and people get overwhelmed and just latch emotionally at the one they like. People want simple explanations and solutions.

@ Athaic

“I get your point, but what’s the alternative?”

Honestly, given where we are now, I’d go full private. With a VERY generous voucher system below university. And full academic freedom and dissociation from the State in every regard. No “devoir de réserve”. Something like that.

But we all know that this is simply impossible in France given the ideological dogmatism on both the right (where they want a strong state and the Return of the King) and on the left (where they want the only legitimate aspects of social life to be state-run). We’re screwed.

When I got the aggrégation and spent my first weeks teaching, I must confess I got thoroughly frightened by the French mentality in the teacher’s room. I’d nuke that.

Anyhow, no point defending science in that context. It’s a waste of time. We need to change the context before attempting to defend science.

To be honest: if you want to teach in France, you have two choices: be a slave to state ideology (école publique) or be a slave to catholicism (école privée). As a normalien from Sainte-Geneviève, I can vouch for the validity of the dichotomy. I want private schools with no religious influence. There are none. I do not want to be forced to choose between the soviets and madrasas. Fed up.

@F68.10

To be honest: if you want to teach in France, you have two choices: be a slave to state ideology (école publique) or be a slave to catholicism (école privée).

I read somewhere that France is a Catholic country that pretends to be a secular country.

@ Julian Frost

That’s accurate: France is a catholic country that pretends to be secular. It’s also the first to break brutally with religion, but with a backlash as brutal as the revolution itself. The whole of the 19th century is a fight between catholicism and secularism with blasphemy and hence Jew’s civil rights at stake. A brutal fight. So it nowadays desperately tries to keep all religious tensions under the radar by making religion taboo. But in the Internet Age, this is not possible anymore. Old tensions are resurfacing. On one side, you have islam (~ 6% of the population). On the other, you have catholicism (culturally dominant), and catholics are seemingly going anti-vaxx as the Church always has hated the enlightenment and science which dethroned it. So, yeah… I myself was surprised to see the far right going full anti-vaxx so fast because they simply merely hate the Republic, Macron, and everything he does. There honestly is no logic whatsoever, and talking points are far worse than what I read on RI from US antivaxxers. Even Massive Jerks like Greg do try to make arguments. In France, there are none. Only God-Fearing Propaganda of the worst kind. Vaccines = Science = Free Masonry. No way to deal with such nonsense when blurted in one go. I mean, even Greg does argue in more than a one-sentence rant… I wish they’d put Joos into the mix, but no, not even that. They go from Science to Free Masonry and skip over Joos ! It’s 100 % ridiculous over here.

I miss South Africa.

In North America, it’s an intermediate case: tenured academics are paid by the university, and the non-tenured have to find some funding for their wages.
They are all still seen as “civil servants”/the government by the population.

What part of the population? By whom? The statement just doesn’t jibe with anything I’ve heard, and I’m still in Florida (and FIU seems to be very good in some fields and quality in others).

@ Narad

Replace “government” by deep state/elitists/liberals in my sentence. That’s about the French US bogeyman equivalent.
Or just replace everything by “soviet”.
That’s what people griping about civil servants or academics think.

@ Athaic

“Replace “government” by deep state/elitists/liberals in my sentence. That’s about the French US bogeyman equivalent.”

That’s true, but you’re missing an important point: in France, the link with the state is explicit. Not merely an accusation of intellectual complacency with a given ideology, liberals, say. An explicit de jure subordination to the state. Which means that civil servants are tied to the state by administrative law. Which functions 1. as a way to curtail their freedom of speech through the “devoir de réserve” 2. and grants them immunity in their functions from ordinary jurisdictions, making them above other citizens when criticized. So the situation is a tad more explicitly linked to the state than in the US. And quite glaringly so if only one wants to look at it.

That explicit link plays 100% in the trope “science = state”.

I mean, take Raoult. Why can’t he be fired from his position at the IHU ??

Because he’s not merely a “scientist” but a civil servant. So firing him gets political in an administrative sense. Not in a “civil society” sense.

Which hugely surprised Leonid Schneider when he contacted the university on the grounds of Raoult’s outrageous claims. The university did not budge. Because it feels no obligations to answer to civil society. It only answers to administrative jurisdictions in such matters. And hence knows it does not have to care in the least. The university will eventually care about political games in the higher echelons of government and administration. But media ? Nah. Civil society ? Nah. The rest of the scientific world ? Nah. Truth ? Nah. 99% immune.

@ F68.10

Because he’s not merely a “scientist” but a civil servant. So firing him gets political in an administrative sense. Not in a “civil society” sense.

I cannot deny this; That’s awfully true.
At some pont, the Ordre des médecins was tempted in putting Raoult on trial. I dunno where it went.

That being said, your example is an interesting case.
Raoult’s claim of fame was precisely that he was going out of the mold, going against the narrative from Paris/the State.
And he was protected from retribution mostly because, as you say, he was part of the civil servant system, and trying to fire him is just opening a matriochka of cans of worms.

@ Athaic

“And he was protected from retribution mostly because, as you say, he was part of the civil servant system, and trying to fire him is just opening a matriochka of cans of worms.”

Glad you agree on this observation. As you see, it goes both ways. Anti-vaxxer claim “Science = State” and it plays in their book. Pro-vaxxers may see the problem with “Raoult = State”, but do not dare touch this taboo.

Because as you say, this is opening a matriochka of cans of worms.

The thing is… I want to open these cans of worms. For two reasons: 1. freedom of academia from state influence and 2. (cough cough cough…) psychiatry.

Now, I fully know that I am a minority there. Both on the left and on the right. Both want the State in this position. For different reasons. Which is what I have a deep problem with.

So what’s up with that? He can post more crazy-ass screeds, disappear them after 48 hours and then have plausible deniability?

The Internet remembers.

It looks like it might have been possible (if extremely tedious) to slorp down most of the site with curl or wget if one started below the landing page, which is Javascripty.

There’s a video up on Health Nut News in which Erin Elizabeth explains Mercola’s devastating announcement.

I couldn’t watch all 7:23 of it, having incurred an attack of nausea when Erin referred to her own “journalistic career”.

Antivaxers have long been trying to fan racial discord by exploiting minority fears about “establishment” medicine and government mandates.

It’s discouraging to see the acting mayor of Boston, Kim Janey descending to the same level when talking about showing proof of vaccination before entering a restaurant.

“There’s a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers whether we’re talking about this from the standpoint of, you know as a way to, after, during slavery, post slavery,” she said. “As recent as, you know, what the immigrant population has to go through here. We heard Trump with the birth certificate nonsense.”

http://bostonglobe.com/2021/08/06/opinion/kim-janeys-unfair-attack-vaccine-mandates/

The backlash probably won’t help her election campaign.

That’s disappointing.
Why do people choose to not make a distinction between papers that define “who you are” and papers that describe “an action you have taken to be able to do something safely”.

Your vaccination record should be like a license: you have demonstrated that you can do something without endangering yourself or the public, like getting a pilot’s license, or a pyrotechnician’s license.

While I find my self in the uncomfortable position of replying to a cartoon character (big hand and little head).
Why were you not so concerned when both Biden and Harris were vaccine averse, because it was a “Trump” virus. Black are suspicious of the US government on anything related to health care (with good reason) and this vaccine mandate with forced Identification is just another version, but I digress

I think Kim will do just fine in the election. She was elected to the city council and is its president, she is the acting mayor, she is the first black mayor, she is the first female mayor and she is a democrat. Boston has is made up of about 45% black, with about 80% democrats.
With those kind of demographics I don’t see a white republican having much of a chance.

Dear Orac,
What is the purpose of this blog, vis-a-vis covid vaccines?

Yourself, your fans who post comments, the overwhelming bulk of the populace, the medical and pharmaceutical establishment, corporate and government authorities, and the entire media, all appear to be already 100% persuaded of the virtues of universal vaccination as the only solution to the pandemic.

What additional issues are you trying to unpack on here, or who else are you trying to reach?

Part of the solution.

Of course the other method is to do nothing and accept the deaths and the misery and the long term consequences. When you can’t get a hospital bed for treatment of extreme smugness, because the staff are all sick or the beds are all full, you can blame the government because your attitudes obviously have nothing to do with it.

“all appear to be already 100% persuaded of the virtues of universal vaccination as the only solution to the pandemic.”

Good, then masks and social distancing are no longer issues for the denialist crowd to whine about.

Only two reasons for existence of this blog.

One is vanity. He likes validation from groupies on here and his twitter echo chamber.
He can’t bring anything new to the subject but pasting twitter posts really impresses “academics” on here.

Second reason is that he thinks it will be a little easier for him to get grants from NIH/Big pharma if he can show that he doesn’t ask questions.

Absolutely right about the vanity. Orac likes feeling smart – and the more you post, the smarter Orac looks by comparison.

Dear Kimmy,

Me, just want you to think a bit and piss you off when you are just so uninformed. Why are you here thinking you got worthwhile time for serious professionals who look to save life every day. Every day. What do you do, every day?

The purpose of this blog (IMHO) is to keep us alive under the most unbelievable challenges. Really, why are you asking questions here? Also, if this blog makes you unhappy, I love that dance for me.

Actually, just here to confuse you and try to understand why you wouldn’t want people to live just a little longer and better. What do you have to make people live better?

Waiting.

Not to condone speaking ill of the dead, such as I am doing now, but anyone could clearly have seen the diabetes.

We’re doing this now?

There’s plenty of articles like this about people who got vaccinated.

Only low IQ people like Narad think this means anything.

Actually, my “he shoots he scores” will be Dan Bongino. DEA, secret service, FBI, beat cop in NYC. So troubled by balancing my right to be secured… personal effects… you might have smoked a joint…bla bla bla. vs. “am I the baddie?” Fuck you, Dan. Die in yu’r own snot from hanta. You aren’t even worth covid.

We’re doing this now?

TINW, Dave,

There’s plenty of articles like this about people who got vaccinated.

I’m waiting, but I can readily imagine what sort of hairballs you might hack up.

@Scientism Dave This is your change to do your own fact checking. Only really stupid people blindly accept party line.

Do you not understand that vaccine efficiency is breaktrough cases per number of vaccinated ? 1 minus 4100 per hundred million is very big number. It is much bettwr than zero, too.

I guess this is your version of the Nirvana fallacy.

I’ll use Wikipedia numbers for convenience although they run a bit low compared to other sources like the NY Times or JHU. (currently about 3 million cases and 30,000 deaths for the U.S.)

On Dec 14, 2020 when the first mass vaccinations were administered in the U.S. we had 15,843,983 cases and 284,408 deaths.

Since then we have had 17,114,726 cases and 298,807 deaths.
750 of those were in vaccinated individuals.

Since 50% of the U.S. population right now is fully vaccinated (another 8% have one dose), I’ll just use the same denominator for comparison.

So you are 397 times more likely to have died from Covid-19 in the last 8 months if you didn’t get vaccinated. I am very glad that my wife and I and our 3 children all got fully vaccinated.

Since February 1 here in New Mexico, 94% of the new confirmed cases, 93% of the hospitalizations and 98% of the deaths were in the unvaccinated.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2417721/nm-braces-for-delta-wave.html

Oh, Dave, you ignorant slut. That item is apropos of exactly nothing in this context. It’s not even close to what you promised. Seriously, you couldn’t argue your way out of a kiddie pool.

There’s plenty of articles like this about people who got vaccinated.

It doesn’t even look as though your hawked-up hairball site has “plenty,” Dave, and your favored vultures didn’t even bother with a narrative.

Oh, and did you notice something a wee bit off with those tweet images other than the freakish watermark? Shouldn’t you be trying to lick your balls or something?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asiYhDV968s

^ Let me put this in terms that are rudimentary and thus appropriate to your station in life, Dave: The two people I have called out were pro-disease (or frank denialists; I’m not going back) public influencers. One can only hope that their error will sink in with the poor sods they were busy misleading.

@Narad

LOL

I wonder what do you think you proved with that gofundme link?

You triumphantly confirmed the story.

BWAHAHAHA! lol awesome. loser.

“One can only hope that their error will sink in with the poor sods”

Yea, no. That does not seem to be playing out. It is now a full on tribal thing, I guess.

Mercola and his main squeeze Erin have been making a big deal out of Joe being pursued on his bicycle by a CNN reporter. From their frenzied description of the encounter, you’d think a CNN truck tried to run him off the road. From the actual video, it appears that a CNN reporter walked up to him as he was parking his bike, asking for comment on his being described as a pandemic misinformation leader. His response was to get back on the bike and pedal away, as the reporter called unsuccessfully after him. (the same reporter went to his office at Mercola Enterprises or whatever name it goes by, and politely asked if he was available. The employees said Mercola doesn’t show up there.

As confrontational journalism goes, pretty weak stuff.

Comically, Mercola’s website still brags about him being seen on various media outlets, including CNN.

In related anti-vax news from Wednesday….. better late than never **

NJ Governor Murphy referred to anti-vaxxers carrying home-made signs as ” the ultimate knuckleheads” who had ” lost their minds” – NBC, nj.com, patch

Now Narad might like to hear something like that where he is staying- which has a snowball’s chance of happening

** I was elsewhere scouting out obscure, remote small towns – Tomales, Dillon Beach, Jimtown etc.- but Stewart’s Point was impossible to reach only got 2/3s of the way there

And I am suppose to wear a mask and show my vaccination papers because……..

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9869959/John-Legend-Chrissy-Teigen-Dwyane-Wade-arrive-Marthas-Vineyard-Obamas-birthday-bash.html?ito=social-twitter_dailymailus

https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/566906-photos-of-obamas-60th-birthday-party-leak-out

And climate czar arrived in a private airplane.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/conservatives-hit-climate-envoy-john-kerry-for-allegedly-flying-private-plane-to-obama-s-birthday-party/ar-AAN3CE3

President Obama’s birthday celebration was an outdoor event in which all the guests were vaccinated.
Pretty weak shot, Sophie.

It wasn’t outdoors.
It was in an enclosed tent.
Vaccinated people can get and spread covid.

It wasn’t outdoors.
It was in an enclosed tent.
Vaccinated people can get and spread covid.

Gee, Dave, leaving aside Droolpoints 1 and 2, whoever the f*ck slops primitive thoughts into your head — probably so that you don’t hurt yourself — everyone had to submit a recent negative test as well.

Good to know people can refuse Covid vaccines and avoid wearing masks because Kerry sometimes uses a private plane.

Rotten privileged people, we’ll show ’em by getting sick.

I read Obamas party was only for double vaxed people and probably they tested everyone at the gate so no need to compare.

Well…I hope those who find it cute or thrilling to be “Edgy” and to “Fight the evil vaccine” are proud of themselves…we now have no ICU beds in any hospital for 300 miles. I checked with all of the CC docs when calling around…you guessed it…every single patient in there on a vent is unvaccinated. Seven hospitals in three counties. Not one case of serious covid in the vaccinated population but we are, once again, overflowing with cases in the unvaccinated. Good job. I had to fly a severe sepsis to CA to get a bed for her.

@ Dr Yeti:

Thank you for injecting doses of reality to counteract the flaming BS we hear constantly from alties and anti-vaxxers ( “Let’s catch this cold!” ; there is no disease etc ; vaccines cause illness) . Actually, one of the idiots I survey says he fears the vaccinated population because they spread disease! They’ve never treated anyone nor worked in an ICU so they can blithely conjure up fantasies about the ‘healing power’ of herbs, supplements or phytochemicals. which. don’t . work. at. all.

In other quackery news, you can be sent to prison for falsely passing yourself off as a naturopath.

Oh, and for running a Ponzi scheme.

From the Justice Dept.:

“Howard L. Young, 75, the founder of a Nashville-based holistic wellness business was sentenced
by U.S. District Judge William L. Campbell, Jr. to eight years in prison, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee. Judge Campbell also ordered Young to pay $693,128.66 in restitution for operating a Ponzi scheme, in which he duped over 80 patients, financial institutions and investors out of nearly $700,000.

Young was charged in a criminal Information in October 2020 with four counts of bank fraud; six counts of wire fraud; and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty in December.

The charging documents allege, and Young admitted, that in 2015, Young founded Integrative Medical Services (IMS), purportedly a holistic wellness business. Young also held himself out to hold a Doctor of Naturopathy but did not hold a Medical Doctorate and did not have a medical license.”

https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdtn/pr/holistic-wellness-business-founder-sentenced-8-years-federal-prison-ponzi-scheme

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