☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Monday, August 30, 2021 ☙ Shrinkage

Happy Monday, coffee drinkers and covid news junkies. Let’s start off the week the right way. Today we look at a blockbuster new study that reinforces our severe caffeine habits. Let’s confirm some biases! Australia sinks even lower into the slough of lockdown despond, if that is possible. The British step up and reveal they’re working on some real solutions to the crisis. More details emerge about the FDA ’s insanely complicated approval of the Pfizer vaxx. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky finally speaks about Israel. The WaPo reports some odd statistics about uptake of monoclonal antibody treatments. Finally, Biden and Fauci talk about shrinking the booster window. Again.

🗞 *THE C&C ARMY* POST* 🗞

(*Just a metaphorical army. Don’t cancel me.)

☎️ Today, we enter Phase II of our calling program, with a new script. At almost 1,500 C&C callers, we are making our voices heard every single day. If you are new here and want to help, text 5DAY to 43506 or enroll online at app.txtsignal.io/w/a5f1d78d. Leave this message at each number: “We have asked you for a special session but you’re not listening. Later this week we will start calling donors instead of legislators. Please do the right thing. People are suffering.”

It should only take about 5–10 minutes total for all five calls. It matters.

🪖 With the amazing help of some awesome C&C volunteers, we did a lot of work over the weekend on building a secure replacement platform. Stand by for important updates!

📈 Yesterday’s post had nearly 30,000 views, according to Medium’s statistics page. So.

🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY*

☕ A new study just presented at the European Society of Cardiology concluded that up to three cups of coffee per day is associated with a lower risk of stroke and fatal heart disease. Furthermore, compared to non-coffee drinkers, light-to-moderate consumption was associated with a 12% lower risk of ALL-CAUSE DEATH. “The imaging analysis indicated that, compared with participants who did not drink coffee regularly, daily consumers had healthier sized and better functioning hearts. This was consistent with reversing the detrimental effects of aging on the heart,” the researchers said.

Not that it matters, of course. We’re drinking it anyway.

🦘 According to 9News Australia, four newborn infants were left to die after being denied access to life-saving surgery, because of the country’s Chinese-style restrictive COVID lockdowns. The hospital where they were born didn’t offer certain treatments that they needed, but they couldn’t be transferred to another hospital, because of the lockdown travel restrictions. Science!

So great job, Australia! “If it saves just one life,” and all that. Really super great. Maybe your Covid “experts” should have thought the lockdowns through a little better? But what do I know, I’m only a lawyer. So who gets arrested for criminal negligence and manslaughter?

I don’t mean to get on a high kangaroo here, but, c’mon Australia. This is bad. You guys are losing your way, fast. You’re practically sprinting there. Even if you don’t believe in God, you know what they say about Karma.

🇬🇧 I’ve been saying lately that the British seem to be catching on to the game. Last week, on advice of their CDC, they cancelled their plans for widespread boosters, reserving the third jabs only for high risk folks. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that some UK scientists have been quietly conducting challenge trials, where volunteers get infected with Covid so researchers can study the full progression of the disease. Challenge trials are a key way — maybe the best way — to develop therapeutic treatments and test vaccine efficacy.

“Because we can take so many different samples, we can get extraordinary insight into how the virus causes disease,” Imperial College researcher Dr. Peter Openshaw said. “We are learning more about the twists and the tails this virus has, and the ways it can cause problems in other organs. It’s all very important in learning how to prevent those complications.”

Scientists not affiliated with the government or the media have been loudly calling for challenge trials to be done here in the U.S. for nearly EIGHTEEN MONTHS. But our top taxpayer-funded scientists have been unable to get it together, citing “moral concerns.” It’s not like it’s a bizarre notion, either. Challenge trials are routinely used to research diseases such as influenza, malaria, cholera, salmonella, shigella and norovirus.

In the Covid vaxx clinical trials, researchers took a large number of people, gave half a vaccine and half a placebo, and then sent them on their way to be naturally exposed to the virus, if at all. But a human challenge study of even a relatively small number of participants can provide precise answers to specific questions, particularly those related to immune response.

The study, which began in March and is expected to conclude in September, has already revealed new information, the researchers said. But because their findings haven’t been published yet, they didn’t want to disclose the details now.

It’s over a year late, but it’s welcome news. Maybe we can send our U.S. experts overseas for training so they can learn how to study diseases.

💉 There have been a lot of questions about the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine last week, not least because of its incredibly complicated and Byzantine approval document. Here’s what we know so far:

— The media completely misrepresented or misunderstood what the approval actually says. Of course.

— The FDA approved a drug called “Comirnaty,” which is very similar but not completely identical to the Pfizer vaxx. The FDA admits the two drugs are “legally distinct.”

— Comirnaty will probably not be available for use in patients for some time, maybe not until 2025.

— Meanwhile, the original Pfizer vaccine will continue to be administered under the EUA designation.

— Comirnaty will not enjoy the liability shield that EUA drugs get, so Pfizer would have to pay claims from folks who die or experience adverse effects from the drug.

— But Pfizer’s EUA vaccine WILL continue to be shielded from claims by folks who die or experience adverse effects from the drug.

— Employers can legally require employees to accept licensed vaccines, like Comirnaty.

— But under 21 U.S. Code § 360bbb–3, folks cannot be required to accept an EUA drug.

If the vial says “Pfizer/BioNTech,” it’s the experimental vaccine, and may not be required. Only if the vial says “Comirnaty” is the drug the approved version. It doesn’t look like anyone will be offered the Comirnaty drug anytime soon. Thanks, media. Fixed it for you.

💉 CDC Director Rochelle Walensky finally talked about Israel! In a private presentation, which has been widely shared online, Walenksy says this:

“The data that we’ve been looking at is our international colleagues, who are ahead of us both in the Delta surge as well as, um, have vaccinated large — a few weeks ahead of us in terms of large portions of their population that have been vaccinated. Data that we’ve seen from our international colleagues, specifically and especially Israel, have demonstrated, um, a worsening of infections among vaccinated people over time. And so, um, we are — remain concerned about that. As we see in the context of Delta variant, some breakthroughs that are occurring, um, and decreased vaccine effectiveness that is occurring in the context of infection. Um, we are watching the experience of other countries carefully, and are concerned that we too will see what Israel is seeing, which is worsening infections over time.”

A WORSENING OF INFECTIONS AMONG VACCINATED PEOPLE OVER TIME. That’s right. She said it. Not me. Walensky. The Gold Standard. At least she didn’t talk about her unshakeable feelings of doom this time.

First of all. I’ve been telling you people about Israel for a month now. Finally! The CDC catches up to Coffee & Covid! A lawyer with a Facebook blog! You can’t make this stuff up.

Second. I wish I could say she went on to question whether the strategy of trying to reach herd immunity through vaccination was still the right approach. But no. The CDC is still behind us on that one. Jab more! Science!

So … what exactly is the plan NOW, Ms. Walensky?

It’s so frustrating! If only we had some alternative to widespread vaccination to try to control the virus.

💊 The Washington Post ran a story over the weekend headlined, “*Monoclonal antibodies are free and effective against Covid-19, but few people are getting them*.” Weird, isn’t it?

The WaPo reports that monoclonal antibodies are free to patients and there have been almost no side effects. They can be given on an outpatient basis, through a single infusion or by four quick subcutaneous injections around the body. Hospitals, urgent-care centers and even private doctors are authorized to dispense them.

“It is absolutely the standard of care for covid-19,” Erin McReary with the University of Pittsburg said. “It is my hope that clinics know that.” Although the treatment has been available since December 2020, neither the National Institutes of Health nor the Infectious Diseases Society of America included monoclonal antibodies in treatment guidelines they released for Covid-19.

The monoclonal treatment is effective within ten days after symptoms appear, which is why people should seek treatment as soon as they get a positive test result. Trials so far suggest the treatment reduces the chances of hospitalization and death by 70%, and shortens the duration of symptoms by four days.

From anecdotal reports, many symptomatic patients recover from all symptoms within 24 hours. I’ve heard from people whose symptoms have resolved the same day they received the treatment.

The experts cited in the WaPo article appear somewhat baffled as to why the successful treatment has been so slow to be widely recommended or used by traditional hospitals and clinics. The article cites Governor DeSantis’ initiative to deploy state-run treatment centers throughout Florida, but suggested it was just part of a plan to “thwart mask or vaccine mandates.” Okay. Saving lives has nothing to do with it, I guess. It’s just politics.

So strange. I was going to say that Covid was a “high-profile” disease that’s on everyone’s radar. But, wouldn’t it be fairer to say that Covid is THE “highest” profile disease? In the whole world? Of all? So why, oh why, are the big hospitals eschewing a successful, proven, approved treatment for Covid-19?

I’m open to suggestions.

🪳 On Friday, Joe Biden said that he and Dr. Fauci have discussed mandating Covid-19 booster shots every five months instead of every eight, as previously announced. “The question raised is, should it be shorter than eight months? Should it be as little as five months? That’s being discussed. I spoke with Dr. Fauci this morning about that,” Biden said in the Oval Office during a visit from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Biden said on Friday that booster shots for Americans “will start here on September 20th, pending approval of the FDA and the CDC committee of outside experts.” I wonder if the FDA will approve the boosters even though there simply hasn’t been enough time for normal clinical trials to be completed? Oh, never mind. That was a stupid question.

CDC data says that 73.5% of U.S. adults have had at least one shot and 62.8% are “fully vaccinated.” What do you think, C&C vaxx people? You ready to go another round? And then every five months for the rest of your life? Just asking. Don’t cancel me.

So I’m announcing a new C&C Challenge. I’m taking bets over whether they’ll stick at five months. $100 bets to all comers. If it shrinks again, you pay me $100. If it sticks at five months, I pay YOU $100. Come on, C&C haters. Let’s gamble!

Have a terrific Monday! I’ll see you back here again tomorrow morning for more C&C fun.

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