☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Saturday, March 19, 2022 ☙ ORIGINAL SIN 🦠
Study shows fourth boosters don't help much; the CDC can't afford them anyways; NYT finds "very liberals" love mandates; Fauci scales back; Pfizer goes generic; China sides with Russia; more...
Happy Saturday, C&Cers, and welcome to the weekend. Today’s roundup includes: a new study shows, surprise, fourth boosters don’t do much; the CDC is broke and can’t afford them anyway; Fauci and Psaki echo each other; the New York Times finds wide differences between democrats on Covid policy; Fauci admits scaling back and suggests — could it be true? — he just might think about considering retirement; Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths explode in lockdown nations; Pfizer and Moderna license generics of their oral Covid treatments — but why?; a blockbuster Stanford study exposes a potentially horrible vaccine side effect; Business Insider discloses Congressional conflicts of interest; and China sides with Russia.
🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞
🪖 A new Epoch Times article mentions this week’s Operation Multiplier, and is headlined, “Sponsor of Florida Bill That Blocks Gender, Sexuality Lessons in Early Grades, Responds to Misinformation Campaign.” It quotes me from Coffee & Covid and some of the comments. Since the whole point of Operation Multiplier was to send a message, I think we are totally crushing it. Is anyone else doing anything like this?
Link to the Epoch Times article: https://tinyurl.com/yckmurz4
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 Just days after Pfizer’s CEO swore that a fourth booster would be “necessary” to get back to normal, the Jerusalem Post reported yesterday on a new Israeli study in an article headlined, “Fourth vaccine offers little protection against COVID-19.” Whoops! That’s not good for business.
The study, published by The New England Journal of Medicine, examines the efficacy of the fourth coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna. The interim results released show that the vaccine offers little to no protection against contracting the virus when compared to young and healthy individuals vaccinated with three doses.
“Among the approximate 600 participants, 270 of whom received either a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine, we found no differences, both in terms of IgG antibody levels and in terms of neutralizing antibody levels, which reached a level similar to that measured a month after the third dose was administered,” explained head researcher Gili Regev-Yochay.
Interestingly, the article was picked up and reprinted by many corporate media outlets including MSN, Today Online, and ABC News. The timing is probably just coincidental, but it makes you think. Anyway, SOMEBODY doesn’t know what they’re talking about, Pfizer or these Israeli researchers. Which do you want to bet on?
🔥 Pfizer’s fourth-booster plans took another hit yesterday, when the CDC’s timorous Director said the agency is broke and can’t afford to buy fourth booster shots, plus she accidentally left her wallet in her other purse from when she went out the other night. So she can’t pay for them anyway.
Thursday, Bloomberg ran a story headlined “Fourth Covid Shots Will Require More Funds, CDC’s Walenksy Says.” See? It’s a setup; it will all be those crafty Republicans’ fault. They’ll be the ones who thwarted jab lovers by obstinately refusing to approve a budget for boosters. You know those Republicans; they’re the WORST. (Don’t get me started on why these people who love jabs so much can’t buy the drugs for themselves.)
Like me, Bloomberg’s reporter noticed that “the White House continues to caution that its Covid funds are running dry … one day after Pfizer-BioNTech asked the FDA to authorize a second booster for Americans 65 and older.” If you read between the headlines, you can see Pfizer and the CDC negotiating. In other words, Pfizer opened the bidding earlier this week saying, we really enjoyed our last deal, and now we want to sell you guys fourth boosters for everybody. Yesterday the CDC responded saying, we can’t afford that, it’s too expensive.
🪳 Yesterday I reported that Fauci was back, scurrying down the kitchen wall — in broad daylight! — reminding us a couple days ago that Covid could still come back, you never know. Then yesterday, the Hill ran a story headlined, “The Memo: COVID-19 risks quietly rise.”
The article quotes Jen Psaki from Thursday’s press briefing saying, “The fact that the virus is no longer as disruptive of daily life as before “doesn’t mean it’s gone. It’s not gone.”
Not gone…? Psaki’s quote is eerily similar to what Fauci’d just said the day before. I smell the pungent aroma of clumsy White House coordination. It’s starting to look like they hauled Fauci back out to pimp Covid fear porn. The question is, why?
🔥 The New York Times ran a surprising article yesterday headlined, “Covid and the ‘Very Liberal’ — There’s a schism among Democrats.” How about that?
Also curiously, the Times reported it hired ITS OWN polling company to survey Covid opinions over ten levels of political ideology. That’s called making the news, by the way. The pollsters didn’t just ask if someone was a democrat or a liberal. Instead, the pollsters asked folks to rank themselves on a spectrum, for example, “very liberal” vs just liberal vs “slightly liberal.”
They found what they were looking for, I think. It turns out that the group of hardcore Covid lovers — the ones who still think it’s barking mad to ever let kids go to school unmasked — they are the only group scoring significant numbers on responses to Covid mitigation questions.
For instance, the Times’ pollers asked, “How much risk do you believe Covid poses to your health and well-being?” Almost half (47%) of those who described themselves as “very liberal” said they believe their personal health and well-being are still at “great risk” from Covid. Not just “at risk.” At GREAT RISK.
The next highest category was moderates, 27% of whom selected “great risk,” and the lowest category was conservatives, only 12% of whom still felt “great risk” from Covid.
When the pollsters asked respondents about masking strategies, SIXTY-TWO PERCENT of the self-described “very liberal” answered that “Masking is a *long-term strategy* and mandates should continue for the foreseeable future.”
Ten percent (10%) of those surveyed described themselves as “very liberal.” The Times says this demographic is typically younger than 50, with a four-year college degree, spanning all races but disproportionately white. The NYT explained that in recent years, these largely-white progressive professionals have “tended to adopt a cautious approach to personal safety.” In other words, they’re chicken.
As examples of progressive professional safetyism, the Times points out helicopter parenting, removal of contact sports, obsession with health foods and bicycle helmets, and worry about the sturdiness of car seats. The paper explains that safetyism “can lead people to obsess over small, salient risks while ignoring bigger ones,” and, while it “may lead to fewer broken bones, it does not necessarily maximize creativity, independence or happiness.”
According to the Times, “there is abundant evidence that the most liberal Americans are exaggerating the risks.” An over-emphasis on Covid has caused disruption and isolation that “feed educational losses, mental health troubles, drug overdoses, violent crime and” — somehow — “vehicle crashes.”
The reporter only quoted one expert for the story, Elizabeth H. Bradley, president of Vassar College and a “public health expert.” Bradley said “If you really go for minimizing the risk, you’re going to have unintended consequences to people’s physical health, their mental health, their social health. It’s Public Health 101.”
This might explain why Biden wasn’t more emphatic about ending Covid at the State of the Union. The “very liberal” are an important cohort for democrats, as they are probably the ones most likely to donate to political campaigns, volunteer, and be involved in liberal activist groups. I think stories like this are the machine’s attempt to shrink that last ten percent of noisy safetyist super-liberals who — apparently — are still worried sick about dying from Covid.
I’m not sure articles like this will work. Those folks really need therapists.
🪳 According to the Post Millenial, Fauci admitted to an ABC News podcaster this week that he has “scaled back” his pandemic responsibilities. We noticed and applauded his laudable initiative. Do more scaling back.
I wish it were a little more definitive, but Fauci told podcast host Brad Mielke that “I have said that I would stay in what I’m doing until we get out of the pandemic phase and I think we might be there already. If we can stay in this, then we’re at a point where I feel that we are done with this, but I don’t have any plans right now to go away, but you never know.”
When he was directly asked about retiring, Fauci, 81, allowed that “I have to do it some time. I can’t stay at this job forever, unless my staff find me slumped over at my desk one day. I’d rather not do that.”
On the other hand, SOMEBODY has to keep the coverup going until it doesn’t matter anymore.
🔥 An article in Vox yesterday was headlined, “Covid-19 cases are exploding in Asia. Here’s what it means for the rest of the world.”
If you read the article, you discover that cases might be exploding, but not in ALL countries. The article’s subhead clarifies that “countries with strong Covid-19 policies are now getting hammered.” Oh. Just countries with strong Covid policies.
Seems backwards, right? If a country has “strong Covid-19 policies,” then it shouldn’t be the only one “getting hammered,”right?
It’s not just cases, either. Vox notes that locked-down, vaxxed-up Hong Kong is now reporting the world’s highest death rate from the disease. Nearly 1 person out of 20 hospitalized there is dying. Which is not to say they aren’t also seeing lots of cases. They ARE. With a population of 7.4 million, Hong Kong is about a third as big as Florida. But they’ve rocketed past 66,000 new Covid cases A DAY. Compared to about 10,000 a WEEK in Florida.
Hong Kong has done all the things. It has maintained strict border controls, visitors face a 14-day quarantine requirement with location-tracking wristbands, when they are allowed to enter the city at all, their vaccination rate is well over 80%, and its health officials also maintained a robust contact tracing system until the number of cases made tracking impractical.
Vox admits that it looks like countries with strong lockdown measures and mandates have, at the end of the day, only shifted deaths and hospitalizations forward. But Vox assures it us would have been worse. The hospitals would have been overwhelmed otherwise. Even though hospitals weren’t ACTUALLY overwhelmed anywhere. But, you know.
💊 This story is kind of weird, and I’m not sure what to think about it. Pfizer has agreed to let 35 companies make generic versions of its Covid pill, with no obligation to pay royalties. Why? Is it cynical if I say this makes it look like Pfizer knows its pill doesn’t work and is worthless?
Specifically, the UN’s Medicines Patent Pool announced Thursday it signed an agreement with 35 companies to make generic versions of Pfizer’s drug, which can be sold in 95 low- and middle-income countries, which ABC News says contain over half of the world’s population.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla explained the deal “will play a critical role to help ensure that people everywhere, particularly those living in the poorest parts of the world, have equitable access to an oral treatment option against COVID-19.” But if it’s all about charity and fairness and stuff, why not license the jab the same way?
The ABC News article also notes that in January, the same UN group inked a similar deal with Merck to let two dozen companies make generic molnupiravir, its Covid pill. So both Pfizer AND Moderna have now gone generic with their oral treatments. How did this happen, I wonder?
🔥 A new Stanford study — very carefully and using precise technical language — suggests that the evidence shows the mRNA vaccines could actually be causing original antigenic sin and immune suppression. (Link to the study: https://tinyurl.com/4dv3dse4.)
The term “original antigenic sin” describes a horrible problem with some vaccines, where a vaccine developed from an early viral variant wrecks the body’s ability to deal with any new variants. The vaccine properly teaches the recipients’ bodies to make antibodies specific to that original viral strain. But later, when vaccinated people run into a new variant, their bodies start reflexively making antibodies for the ORIGINAL variant — but not the NEW variant. Since the original early-type antibodies are less or even not at all effective against the new variant, the unfortunate people are at risk of having their systems overwhelmed by a freely replicating virus for which they now have no effective immune response.
In other words, the vaccines themselves freeze the immune system into an ineffective antibody template and prevent the immune system from developing any newer antibodies for an evolving virus. This problem is called “original antigenic sin” or “OAS.”
In the paper, the Stanford researchers refer to the original Covid strain as Wuhan-Hu-1. They found that mRNA-vaccinated people who were subsequently infected by new variant types made plenty of Wuhan-Hu-1 antibodies, but far fewer antibodies for the variant types than unvaccinated people:
> “We find that prior vaccination with Wuhan-Hu-1-like antigens followed by infection with Alpha or Delta variants gives rise to plasma antibody responses with apparent Wuhan-Hu-1-specific imprinting manifesting as relatively *decreased* responses to the variant virus epitopes, compared with unvaccinated patients infected with those variant viruses.”
That’s not good.
The researchers noted that the vaccine makers seem to be aware of the problem, and are working on new jab formulas to accommodate variants. But, if the original vaccines do cause OAS, then the variant boosters might be useless. They may not work at all, or may have limited efficacy or wane even faster than previous boosters, because recipients of the original vaccines already have compromised immune systems.
In dry, technical language, the researchers suggested there should be more study into whether new variant boosters would even work at all, or more ominously, whether they would just make the OAS situation even worse:
> “The extent to which vaccine boosting or infection with different variants will effectively elicit antibody responses to [the] new epitopes or rather [just] increase responses to the [prior] epitopes …, as in the ‘‘original antigenic sin’’ phenomenon described for influenza virus infection and vaccination (Arevalo et al., 2020; Zhang et al., 2019), will be an important topic of ongoing study.”
At this point in the pandemic, it would be insane to start jabbing people with something that could even POSSIBLY freeze people’s immune system response, while we are facing a rapidly mutating virus like Covid. You would think the FDA would make Pfizer and Moderna prove their booster does NOT cause OAS. Oh well.
🚀 *THE MINORITY REPORT* 🚀
🔥 Business Insider ran an article yesterday headlined, “At Least 15 Lawmakers Who Shape US Defense Policy Have Investments in Military Contractors.”
Ah. Well, that might explain a lot.
Business Insider reported that throughout 2021, Democrats and Republicans serving on congressional Armed Services committees have been investing in or cashing out of the top military and defense industry companies in the country, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and G.E..
For example, Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper chairs the House’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee. He also owns up to $65,000 worth of stock in General Electric, a “leading supplier of integrated systems and technologies for combat aircraft, military transport, helicopters, land vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.”
The wife of California Democrat Rho Khanna, member of the House Armed Services Committee, has within the last two years traded up to several hundred thousand dollars in defense contractor stocks including Boeing, General Dynamics, General Electric, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.
Texas Republican Pat Fallon, member of the armed-services panel, reported buying and selling up to $1.4 million worth of Boeing stock in 2021 and reported still owning up to $50,000 in shares of General Electric.
Business Insider reported that the 15 lawmakers who’ve been investing in defense industry stocks all sit on the House and Senate panels responsible for writing the annual defense-authorization bill. “If you are invested in any of the top defense contractors then you stand to benefit personally from that bill,” said Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, government affairs manager at the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight who called the investments “a clear conflict of interest.”
It’s not so much about whether the lawmakers have good intentions or not. Appearances count. “It is impossible to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest when you have individual stock in a company whose industry you influence, and you can pick the winners and losers,” explained Kedric Payne, general counsel and senior director of ethics at the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center.
(They own quite a bit of pharma, too. Unsurprisingly, Pfizer is among Business Insiders’ “Congressional Top 50 Stocks,” with 28 House members and 9 senators holding shares. But I WAS surprised to see that Moderna is absent from the top-50 list.)
OF COURSE, we believe that all these lawmakers who are inflaming the war in Ukraine and voting on mandates are acting in good faith have only the country’s best interests at heart. It has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the lawmakers’ personal interests. Not even a little. How dare you.
🔥 NBC News reported a story yesterday headlined, “Biden warns China’s Xi of the consequences of supporting Russia.” I bet Xi is scared! Especially after watching how Biden dealt with those pesky Taliban. Who knows, if they keep it up, maybe we’ll give China a ton of brand-new military hardware too. That will teach them a lesson.
The story explains that just this week, China offered to help Russia in Ukraine and in other ways, which is not super great news for Biden’s anti-Russia coalition. It’s not too good for the unfortunate Ukrainians, either. NBC explained that Chinese officials blame the U.S. for the Ukraine crisis, and insist Western countries should respect Russia’s “legitimate security concerns.” Inconveniently, China has also agreed that the U.S. is funding chemical and biological weapons activity in Ukraine.
And here I thought the Ukrainian bioweapons story was a debunked conspiracy theory. Those Chinese will believe anything. I bet they got it off TikTok.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC Thursday that the State Department is worried China will start DIRECTLY supporting Russia against Ukraine, and the article mentioned high-level diplomatic talks that were held this week between US and Chinese diplomats. Apparently, our side was trying to discourage China from giving any “material assistance” to Russia.
But China recently agreed to lift all import restrictions on Russian wheat, throwing Moscow an economic lifeline as other countries impose sanctions. That seems pretty “material” to me. Or does Blinky just mean tanks and planes and stuff? Like, “materiél” assistance?
NBC also mentioned, offhand, as though it were only incidental, a joint Chinese and Russian statement from February declaring their mutual opposition to any NATO expansion, which, coincidentally, Ukraine recently expressed an interest in joining. You’d think that kind of joint statement would have been a little more significant. Like something we might have taken into account BEFORE now.
As I understand the narrative, anybody who sides with Russia is our enemy too, right? Great. So now we have TWO enemies. Putin AND Xi. China joining up with the narrative’s bad guys creates loads of problems. First, is China going to get the “Russia treatment?” Are we going to shut down Chinese take-out joints? Stop buying stuff made in China? Boycott and divest from Chinese companies? Call for the universities to chuck the “Confucius Institutes”? (Hopefully. At least for the last one.)
Second, what about social media? Will they start censoring Chinese influencers? Blocking Chinese misinformation? Where does it end? What’s it called when our government of the people won’t let us free citizens hear anything our political enemies say? Will they say it’s for our own good?
Maybe we should round up all the CCP spies and ship them back to China. I’d be in favor of that one, actually.
And don’t forget: It’s not just Russia and China. Never underestimate Joe’s ability to screw things up. In a few short weeks, Biden has also managed to alienate India — pushing the subcontinent into the alliance with Russia and now China. Russia-China-India is a big block. At what point does that block become politically irresistible and it’s just game over?
Once again, I am baffled — why don’t we just give Putin what he wants? Guarantee no NATO for Ukraine. Destroy or hand over all those biolabs that should have never been there to begin with. Arrest the nazis. Use the military aid package to help rebuild Ukraine’s damaged infrastructure. Stop the arms race. Russia gets out of Ukraine’s hair.
I bet the long-suffering Ukrainians would agree. The smart thing would be to concede on all these easy terms, let Putin “win” and save face, and stop the suffering of the Ukrainians. But I’m guessing we’re not going to do the smart thing. We haven’t done the smart thing at any point over the last two years. Why start now?
Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here at the beginning of the week, schedule permitting.
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