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Brownstone Institute

The Naked Absurdity of Global Public Health

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BY DAVID BELL

“Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities.” ~ Voltaire.

Something is fundamentally wrong with global public health. More accurately, something is fundamentally wrong with the mindset of global health professionals, particularly those in positions of leadership. It has become normal to speak, repeat, and defend complete absurdity, as if illusions and fantasies are real. There are no sanctions for operating in this way – indeed it is proving highly successful. Statements of demonstrable stupidity are becoming prerequisites for career advancement and the approval of peers. It is like living within a fantasy, except those it kills are real.

The world at large struggles to understand that they could be fed falsehoods on this level. Most people still consider the experts quoted in the media to be credible, serious people. They believe that those leading the health professions would not habitually lie. For professionals to act like this, they would have to be deeply troubled, insecure people, or they would have to be quite malevolent. This does not fit the popular image of global health experts.

Beyond individuals, we now have entire institutions mocking reality. They lie to each other and the public, repeat these lies, and applaud each other for doing so. They can state obvious stupidity with impunity as a once critical media now sees its role as backing them unquestioningly, disseminating their pronouncements and suppressing any information to the contrary for a perceived public good. The emperor’s obvious nakedness has become proof that he is clothed. Acknowledging the evidence of one’s eyes as he parades his wares is tantamount to the crime of Galileo and must be treated accordingly.

The opportunity of COVID-19

Over the last two years, the world’s premier health institutions pretended that humans were unlikely to develop effective clinical immunity in response to coronavirus infections, despite experience with the four common seasonal coronaviruses and the SARS-1 confirming that we do. Despite established understanding of mucosal immunity and T-cell function, the public were asked to believe that antibody titers against a single highly-variable pharmaceutically-induced protein were the only valid measure of effective immunity. The leaders and staff within these health organizations knew this was frankly silly, and that the evidence on COVID-19 was showing otherwise.

All these institutions knew that, in time, the relative effectiveness of post-infection immunity would become obvious to all. But this did not stop them from stating that vaccines were ‘the only way out of the pandemic,’ as if established fact, denigrating those who thought differently and ignoring the natural resolution of prior pandemics. Despite accumulating evidence that the obvious is indeed obvious, this position of fallacy still drives the COVAX global vaccination program. Current evidence that post-infection immunity is more effective than vaccination is of no value– truth simply does not matter to these people anymore.

In 2019, the term ‘genetic medicines’ referred to pharmaceuticals based on introduction of genetic material into a body for therapeutic purposes. It is standard industry terminology for mRNA formulations such as those that induce SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) spike protein production. In 2020, institutions that previously used this term for COVID-19 vaccines decided that continuing to do so would equate to promoting a ‘conspiracy theory’ – a particularly severe transgression. These mRNA medicines work by inserting synthetic genes into a person’s cells, using the host’s intracellular machinery to translate the genetic sequence into a foreign protein that is expressed by the cell. These cells are then recognized as foreign by the host’s immune system and killed. While this change to the definition of vaccine can be justified by the end result (an immune response), mRNA vaccines are indeed, as the pharmaceutical industry notes, genetic medicines.

It was considered necessary that the public consider such medicines to be indistinguishable from conventional vaccines that present proteins or other antigens to the immune system through an entirely different mechanism. The fallacy was formed to support the claim that if one type of vaccine was safe and effective, then the other must be.

The entire pharmaceutical industry knows this is an absurdity; mRNA injections may well be safe and effective, or they may not, but they are no more like injecting a protein or attenuated virus than riding a bicycle is to riding a train. If the department of transport told us that railways prove that bicycles are safe and effective, we would laugh. Except we wouldn’t anymore.

We would, apparently, signal our agreement because to identify differences between bicycles and trains would be evidence of incorrect thinking (misinformation, or a conspiracy theory). Similarly ‘incorrect’ thinking regarding COVID-19 has been characterized in the Journal of the American Medical Association, with a nod to Nazism, as a neurodegenerative disorder.

Tedros perfects the art

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the World Health Organization (WHO) he leads have perfected the art of mainstreaming the ridiculous through COVAX. With a budget several times higher than any prior international health program, it aims to vaccinate billions of already-immune people in age groups barely affected by COVID-19. WHO is aware that the vaccines do not significantly reduce spread, that post-infection immunity is effective, and that vaccinating people with post-infection immunity will provide minimal additional clinical benefit.

WHO promotes COVAX under the banner “No one is safe until all are safe.” WHO thus wants the public to believe that vaccinating an individual does not protect them until everyone else is vaccinated, whilst simultaneously believing, as WHO insists, that vaccination against COVID-19 is highly protective for all those who are vaccinated.

The complete incompatibility of these claims, together with the absurdity of claiming that a vaccine that does not stop transmission could protect others and ‘end the pandemic,’ does not matter. The writers and designers of WHO’s speeches and brochures know these opposing claims cannot simultaneously be true. They have found that stating absurdities is rewarded, and that if a young boy points to the emperor’s nakedness he can simply be denigrated and excluded, while the emperor swaggers on.

A pox on us all 

Tedros recently proclaimed monkeypox, a virus that had then killed 5 people globally, to be a public health emergency of international concern. His organization’s last such pronouncement contributed to an increase of about 45,000 added malaria child deaths in 2020, over 200,000 additional dead children in South Asia in the same year, rising tuberculosis, millions of girls forced into child marriage and sexual slavery, and the decimation of global education that will entrench future poverty for billions. Yet this man managed to concentrate the world on monkeypox, an outbreak of such tiny impact that annual mortality from bungee-jumping will likely be higher.

Whole countries followed his lead, global media ran headlines on how many people had this chicken pox-like disease, and the world pretended the emergency was real. Once this man would have been laughed out of office, but the world of 2022 considered this blatant absurdity normal and acceptable. It no longer expects or requires rational discourse from people in authority. Stupidity is expected and its dictates adopted.

The purpose of pointing out the above is not to single out WHO. WHO’s fantasy statements are repeated and supported by its peer health organizations. Gavi (the vaccine alliance), CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), UNICEF (the UN agency that once concentrated on vaccinating children but now leads mass vaccination against a disease targeting the elderly) all apparently agree that ‘No one is safe until everyone is safe.’

This needs to be understood as an entire industrial culture – global health is a business and its primary role is to support itself. Its members know their pronouncements are false or illogical, but dishonesty has become an important tool to achieve their goals. It fuels income and expansion, and therefore must be good. Many private corporations would act similarly if advertising standards were not enforced. These international health agencies operate outside of national jurisdictions, and so have no enforceable standards. The media, once a check on such malfeasance and misgovernance, has ceased to value truth.

The COVID-19 event has opened the gate to a new era in public health, and the absurdity of the monkeypox ‘emergency’ is an example of what is coming. A pandemic industry that has formed around these agencies, now with the weight of the World Bank behind it, is asking us to believe that pandemics are becoming more frequent, and that the world’s diminishing wildlife poses an ever-increasing threat.

WHO’s own publications may tell us that pandemics have occurred just 5 times in 100 years, with overall reducing mortality, but this is of no consequence. Fantasy, when repeated sufficiently in a matter-of-fact manner, can displace objective reality as a driver of policy. The removal of employment, disruption of supply lines, increase in mass poverty and the economic wreckage of the COVID-19 response is used to justify a call for repetition of the same, more easily and more often, by the same people who orchestrated it.

Killing by killing truth

Most health professionals, given a few minutes to sit down and think this through, can see that something is wrong. However, it is hard to hold onto this reality if the lie opposing it is repeated widely and frequently, echoed by all one’s peers. People who understand infection control can still put on a mask at a restaurant door to remove it at a table just meters away. Humans are fully capable of living a lie, of embracing absurdity in life and work, just to get along. We now have an entire international industry fully reliant on acceptance of such absurdity for its survival. Despite the risks, it works.

COVID-19 showed us how willing many people are to join the harming and denigration of others to defend positions they know are illogical and untrue. To see one’s own profession indulging in such behavior is difficult to reconcile, when that profession is in some ways entrusted with the welfare of others. But we should not be surprised, we are all human and this promotion of global harm will continue as long as it reaps local rewards. People do not easily tire of wrong – they get accustomed to it.

This institutional self-delusion would be of little consequence, even humorous, if it only involved an emperor walking the streets of a children’s tale. But many of the children in this tale are now dead from malaria and malnutrition, millions of girls are enduring nightly rape and tens of millions denied education will spend their lives in poverty. They did not ask these people in Geneva, Washington, or Brussels to remove their food security, education and healthcare to ostensibly protect elderly elsewhere from COVID-19.

They are not asking for a growing pandemic bureaucracy to gorge itself whilst entrenching further inequality. Our response to this level of institutional dishonesty and absurdity must not be one of amusement but rather of disgust, and concern for what could happen next.

Author

  • David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is the former Program Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Brownstone Institute

How the Dutch Failed their Children – A Cautionary Tale

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BY HANS KOPPIES

One of the best places to raise children is The Netherlands. In several consecutive UNICEF reports the Netherlands ranked first for raising the happiest children among wealthy countries (2008, 2013, 2020). However, in the spring of 2020, The Netherlands became a harsh place for children and young people. The Dutch government adopted a one-size-fits-all policy handling the covid-19 pandemic, which did not spare the youngest and took a great toll on Dutch children. The Nobel Laureate Michael Levitt remarked that the Dutch policies would ‘set the record for worst covid-response ever.’

 ‘Intelligent Lockdown’

Unable to withstand the rising global panic, the Dutch government on March 16th 2020 announced an “intelligent” lockdown, a phrase coined by Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Dutch society came to a halt. Offices, shops, restaurants and bars, libraries, sport facilities, as well as daycare centers, schools and universities were closed. The closure of schools was unexpected since the government’s official advisory group, the medics-dominated Outbreak Management Team (OMT), advised against it, for a school closure would have a minimal effect on the spread of the coronavirus.

A reconstruction of events showed that the main reason the Dutch government closed schools was that the educational field started to panic about keeping schools open. Closing schools was a political decision to follow the panic, not a medical decision. Schools supposedly closed for three weeks. Three weeks became three months. Research by The University of Oxford (Engzell, et al. 2021) shows that during the first wave the average Dutch student learned next to nothing during homeschooling. Moreover, students whose parents were not well-educated suffered up to 60% more learning losses.

School Closure ‘No Effect’

According to the Dutch equivalent of Fauci – Jaap van Dissel, chief scientist of the Dutch Health Agency (RIVM) and chairman of the Dutch OMT – the closure of schools in the spring of 2020 had “no effect.” Media, experts and politicians paid no attention to evidence though. Children were portrayed as ‘virus factories’ and schools were depicted as ’unsafe’ environments. Fear had a strong grip on the field of education and teaching unions exaggerated the risks of teachers in schools resulting in a drastic increase in safety demands.

The data was clear that not only did children not run any significant risk, but also that there was ‘no evidence that children play an important role in SARS-CoV-2 transmission.’ Still, a second lockdown would hit children. That second lockdown – now called a ‘hard lockdown’ – was announced on December 15th 2020. Schools closed again, this time advised by the OMT who had increased the number of areas it deemed itself expert on, on the basis of models, of course, proving Martin Kulldorff’s point that lab scientists are no public health scientists.

Dutch minister of Health Hugo de Jonge caused a stir by explaining this intervention was meant to coerce parents to stay at home. The international children’s rights organization KidsRights harshly criticized this policy: “The Netherlands has set a bad example internationally by closing schools during the corona pandemic to keep parents at home.” This children’s rights organization concluded that children were not a priority in Dutch corona policy and warned for the possible consequences.

As new insights on the negative impact of closing schools on children’s lives emerged, governments from countries all over the world decided not to close them again in the future. Undeterred, the Dutch government closed schools again on December 18 2021, just long enough to deny children their traditional Christmas dinner at school with their classmates, a big event in the childhood of Dutch children.

The deteriorating mental health of Dutch children was striking. The Dutch Health Authorities (RIVM) published a disturbing report which stated that more than one in five (22%) teenagers and young adults between the ages of 12 and 25 seriously considered taking their own life between December 2021 and February 2022 during the third lockdown. From happiest in the world to suicidal in a matter of three lockdowns.

Record Low in Sports Participation

Not only were schools closed by diktat. For two years, sports facilities were also repeatedly forced to close. The restrictions were constantly changing, with as a low point banning parents from watching their child play sports outdoors. Once again, there was no scientific evidence that this would help minimize the spread of the virus. The result is a record low in sports participation nationwide. The Dutch Olympic Committee and the Dutch Sports Federation (NOC*NSF) were ‘particularly’ worried by the negative effect on young people’s sports participation.

The Corona Pass

So no school and no sports. Another low point with regard to children was the corona pass (Coronatoegangsbewijs) that was mandatory from September 25th, 2021 for every Dutch citizen above 12. The corona pass was required for most social activities, such as going to the movies, attending a sports game with parents, or entering the canteen at sports club with teammates to drink tea or lemonade after the match.

Unsurprisingly, there was no scientific evidence that this intervention would reduce the spread of covid-19, but the Dutch government enforced it anyway. Crucially, the corona pass required vaccination, recovery from covid-19 or a negative result from a coronavirus test taken less than 24 hours before entry. So essentially, access to social life was used by the government to blackmail Dutch children into invasive medical procedures.

The madness continued, unsupported by evidence. At one point in time, outside playgrounds for children were closed. Parents were not allowed to enter swimming pools to dress their preschoolers before and after swimming lessons. In the winter of 2020-2021 the Dutch government even went as far as trying to regulate snowball fights, by dictating that only those from the same household were allowed to participate, and that their group could not exceed a certain number.

Neither sex nor the sea were exempt from the regulators. Young adults were advised which forms of sex were recommended, bearing the 1.5 m distance rule in mind. Drones were used to prevent people from gathering on the beach. To restrict the movements of young people even further, an evening curfew was introduced. It was not supported by any scientific explanation, just “boerenverstand” (common sense) as the advisory group OMT called it.

Restricting the lives of children and young people during the pandemic should require a great deal of evidence, as well as a risk-benefit evaluation. The Swedish government decided early in January 2020 that the measures in Sweden should be evidence-based. So it kept schools open, a decision supported by the evaluation of the Swedish Corona Commission in 2022. In Norway – where schools only closed briefly – the corona commission concluded in April 2022 that the Norwegian government had not done enough to protect children and that the measures regarding children had been excessive. The Norwegians essentially took the unethical initial decision to harm children without evidence and its authorities recognized that afterwards.

Sweden’s approach to the pandemic contains inconvenient truths for the Dutch, which is why Dutch authorities ignored the evidence from Sweden (and from Norway). As the Swedish journalist and author Johan Anderberg states in the epilogue of his book The Herd:

From a human perspective, it was easy to understand why so many were reluctant to face the numbers from Sweden. For the inevitable conclusion must be that millions of people had been denied their freedom, and millions of children had had their education disrupted, all for nothing. Who would want to be complicit in that?”

This year, my wife and I decided to spend our summer holidays in Sweden and after two years of often doubtful restrictions in our home country, the Swedish summer and the beaches of Skåne were a breath of fresh air. As a parent and a Special Needs Education Generalist (and former teacher of Physical Education) I am greatly impressed by the path chosen by The Swedish Public Health Agency and the Swedish Government as they remained focused on the health, well-being, and education of children in the process of policy-making. Anders Tegnell and his predecessor Johan Giesecke have tirelessly advocated for not disturbing the lives of children, and they have been proven right.

A very outspoken Giesecke gave his frank opinion on Swedish television: “I am a father and grandfather myself, and I feel if children are given the opportunity to receive a good education and that the risk for me to become infected with covid-19 would increase slightly, it is worth it. Their future is worth more than my future, and it’s not just about my grandchildren, it’s about all the children.”

The successful Swedish approach shows that in many countries government policies met the criteria of child abuse. A key lesson for the future is that schools should not close again in similar circumstances. The Dutch government and the OMT failed the children of their country, a dark and shameful chapter in our history that future historians will surely not look favorably upon.

All expert knowledge and wisdom that has contributed to the health and well-being of Dutch children was thrown out of the window overnight in the spring of 2020. Children and young people were made to carry the burden in order to ‘supposedly’ protect adults.

As Sunetra Gupta and many others have stated, that is the precautionary principle turned upside down. The Danish-American epidemiologist Tracy Beth Høeg rightly condemned such policies, which were also pursued in the US, by calling them: Sacrificing children’s health in the name of Health.

After two years of closing down children’s lives, I firmly believe we owe it to children and their parents to make amends for the wrongs that were done to Dutch children. Above all, Article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child should never be forgotten: “In all measures concerning children, the best interests of the child must come first.” It is mind-boggling how quickly children’s rights have gone out of the window worldwide. With disastrous consequences.

For children and young people a recovery plan should focus on repairing the damage done in education, recovering sports participation, and restoring the trust in the government and institutions that they can traditionally rely on for their health and their well-being. The Netherlands should be a safe haven for children, as it used to be. Pandemic preparedness also includes watching over children’s health and well-being and in this regard the Dutch failed their children and young people. We should do better in the future. Much better.

Author

  • Dr. Hans Koppies has completed the Academy of Physical Education (ALO). He then studied Pedagogical Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam, specializing in Orthopedagogics: Families in Psychosocial Difficulties. He has worked as a remedial educationalist at various institutions in youth care and special education. He writes about growing up and raising children, parenting and counseling in articles and essays in newspapers and magazines.

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Brownstone Institute

Another Flub by the Fact Checkers

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BY THORSTEINN SIGLAUGSSON

Recently, Danish health authorities decided to stop making Covid vaccines and boosters available to the general population under the age of 50. Note, the general population, not absolutely everyone under 50.

This interesting development, and the fact that the rationale for this decision has not been properly explained, has clearly wrought havoc among those whose day job it is to protect the reputation of these medications.

Flora Teoh, the Science Editor of the “fact checking” website Health Feedback, has now written an article which supposedly refutes the standard summary of this decision, i.e., the Danish health authorities have banned vaccines and boosters for nearly everyone under 50. Teoh‘s article is a typical fact-checking piece. She starts by stating a claim – “Denmark banned COVID-19 vaccines for anyone under 50” – which she then proceeds to refute, but the problem is no one has made that claim.

Two sources are listed, although the “facts” being “checked” are both supposedly contained in a headline above a video and a tweet linking back to an article, not in the YouTube video and article themselves.

The first headline, which refers to a video by Clay Travis, reads: “Denmark Bans Covid Shot For People Under 50 Years Old.“ The second, which is a tweet posted on Toby Young’s account linking to a piece by me in the Daily Sceptic, reads: “Denmark has banned the use of COVID-19 vaccines for people under 50 saying the benefits are too low. What it conspicuously fails to mention (though surely knows it) is that the risks are also too high.”

Unfortunately, neither the headline or the tweet state what Teoh claims they state, namely, that Denmark has banned the covid shots for anyone under 50. The word “anyone“ is crucial here. Instead, all that’s being claimed is that the vaccines have been banned in general for people under 50 and the discussion that follows in both cases contains details on which under-50s are exempt from this ban.

And those are, in effect, headlines. Headlines routinely generalise and exaggerate the contents of the videos and articles they’re flagging up. Let‘s take some examples:

“Food crisis if we ditch Russian oil,” The Times claimed on September 19th, 2022, while the article itself details that this is in fact the opinion of one central banking institute. In other words, it is not a fact that ditching Russian oil means food crisis, it is the opinion of some.

“High-profile Dems silent when asked about housing migrants,“ Fox News said in a headline the same day. But if you read the main text it turns out this does not at apply to all high-profile Democrats, only a handful. If Fox had said “All high-profile Dems silent…” its headline would be wrong. But it doesn‘t, thus it isn’t wrong. By the same token, while Denmark’s ban on Covid shots for people under 50 applies to almost everyone, there are a few exceptions.

Headlines are headlines. Branding a video description or a tweet as “misinformation” because they contain condensed and generalised information, with a more detailed discussion in what follows, has nothing to do with checking facts. It’s just about creating strawmen, especially when the “fact-checker” even distorts the quoted headline to make it fit her narrative. This is what Flora Teoh does in her article by adding the crucial word “anyone“.

Teoh then moves on, claiming the Danish ban on vaccinations only applies to boosters. This is incorrect. The first section of the Q&A on the official website explains to whom COVID-19 vaccines should be made available in general, not just boosters:

Question: Who will be offered vaccination against COVID-19?
Answer: People aged 50 years and over will be offered vaccination. People aged under 50 who are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 will also be offered vaccination against COVID-19.
Staff in the healthcare and elderly care sector as well as in selected parts of the social services sector who have close contact with patients or citizens who are at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 will also be offered booster vaccination against COVID-19.
In addition, we recommend that relatives of persons at particularly higher risk accept the offer of vaccination to protect their relatives who are at particularly higher risk.
Before the start of the vaccination programme, the Danish Health Authority will publish guidelines for which persons aged under 50 are recommended booster vaccination.

This is the full list of the groups to whom the vaccination will be available. People under 50 who neither work in the service sectors mentioned, nor are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, are NOT eligible for vaccination. Vaccinating them is banned.

Then on to the boosters:

Question: Why are people under 50 not to be re-vaccinated?
Answer: The purpose of the vaccination programme is to prevent severe illness, hospitalisation and death. Therefore, people at the highest risk of becoming severely ill will be offered booster vaccination. The purpose of vaccination is not to prevent infection with COVID-19, and people aged under 50 are therefore currently not being offered booster vaccination.
People aged under 50 are generally not at particularly higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. In addition, younger people aged under 50 are well protected against becoming severely ill from COVID-19, as a very large number of them have already been vaccinated and have previously been infected with COVID-19, and there is consequently good immunity among this part of the population.
It is important that the population also remembers the guidance on how to prevent the spread of infection, including staying at home in case of illness, frequent aeration or ventilation, social distancing, good coughing etiquette, hand hygiene and cleaning.

Notice the words in the first question: “not to be re-vaccinated“. This is a pretty definitive prohibition.

Flora Teoh then moves on with a number of claims which appear to be unsubstantiated or false:

She explicitly claims, referring to general vaccination, not boosters, that people “can still choose to get the vaccine if they wish”. While this may have been the message last April, it is clear from the Q&A quoted above that for the general population under 50 this is no longer the case.

She claims the “benefits” of the COVID-19 vaccine “outweigh their risks”, without providing any reference to support this statement, let alone acknowledge how research and real-life data already show how the risks in fact outweigh the benefits for younger age-groups, especially young males.

Discussing the reason the vaccination programme was halted last spring, Teoh says: “It was this level of high vaccine coverage, coupled with falling numbers of COVID-19 cases that enabled Denmark to stop broad vaccination efforts,” quoting a CNBC story. The CNBC story, however explains that the immunity rested on not only vaccination, but also on natural immunity. Teoh fails to mention this crucial fact.

Claiming the COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous is a “false narrative” Teoh says. This is wrong. As studies have already shown, there are multiple risks associated with those vaccines, and for many groups the risk of vaccination is higher than the risk of the disease. Thus, they are dangerous for people in those groups.

Flora Teoh‘s article has nothing to do with checking facts or correcting wrong statements. All it has to do with is creating and then attacking strawmen, by distorting headlines, ignoring the crucial difference between headlines and the text they refer to, and presenting a number of unsubstantiated or false statements. Her “key takeaway” does not even address the issue in question – it is simply pure propaganda for the vaccines.

Republished from the DailySceptic

Author

  • Thorsteinn Siglaugsson is an Icelandic consultant, entrepreneur and writer and contributes regularly to The Daily Sceptic as well as various Icelandic publications. He holds a BA degree in philosophy and an MBA from INSEAD. Thorsteinn is a certified expert in the Theory of Constraints and author of From Symptoms to Causes – Applying the Logical Thinking Process to an Everyday Problem.

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