Lockdown: 18-May-2020 Update

This sub-section discussion is still related to the efficacy of the lockdown policy in respect to the Covid-19 pandemic. As such the goal is still primarily as an informal repository of various issues and informed references, which may provide a different and wider perspective to the many issues surrounding the pandemic. While it is hoped that the references provided are generally authoritative, it is recognised that others may simply reflect personal opinions, which cannot be fully substantiated at this time. As such, some caution has to be highlighted, although these opinions should not simply be dismissed.

Note: We clearly live in an increasingly complicated world and how we come to understand this world depends on the amount of truthful information we can access. As discussed under the heading of ‘The Scope of Propaganda’, we are now subject to much information that purports to be authoritative, but can often include both misinformation and disinformation in the form of rumours, half-truths and falsehoods that intend to both influence and deceive public opinion. For this reason, it has been suggested that the veracity of information might be questioned, if it claims to represent a consensus founded on certainty, but then seeks to suppress any alternative narrative. Of course, such criteria have also to be applied to any information presented in this discussion.

This update was triggered by an ‘interesting’ video that makes many claims, but which needs to be questioned as it clearly seeks to promote a business interest, such that this discussion will not include a link to the video, but will detail some of the claims for further reference. While these claims have not necessarily been verified, aspects of the claims to be discussed in the bullets below do not seem incompatible with previously reference videos detailing health advice.

  • It is claimed that 1 in 2 people in America will get cancer. Other sources suggest that men have a 40% risk of getting cancer in their lifetime with a fatality rate of 21%, while women have a 38% risk with a fatality of 18%. However, the chart below highlights that the risk of cancer and its mortality is correlated to increasing age. In addition, it is now generally accepted that cancer progression may result from the ability of cancer cells to avoid immune detection, especially if the system is deficient for the reasons previously highlighted. See Path to a Cancer Cure for a wider introduction.

  • The next claim is that 1 in 5 have an autoimmune disorder, although this might depend on what is classed as an autoimmune disorder. More general sources of statistics suggest 24 million people in America have some form of autoimmune disorder, which would equate to about 7%, i.e. less than 1 in 10. However, it is unclear whether the impact of insulin and leptin resistance, as previously highlighted in earlier videos, is taken into account in these numbers. If not, then the number of people with weakened immune systems could be much higher than claimed.

  • Heart disease is the cause of 1 in 4 deaths. This figure is not incompatible with statistics suggesting that of the 616,000 deaths in the UK in 2018, over 28%, i.e. 171,702, related to some form of cardiovascular disorder. Again, there is considerable complexity in such statistics when all demographics are considered, although the general claim does not seem unreasonable. Likewise, there appears to be a general ‘consensus’ that heart disease can be minimised by pursuing a healthier lifestyle.

  • Having attempted to provide verification of some of the initial claims, others will simply be listed for further reference. Liver disease affects 10%, depression affects 5%, 30% of the elderly die with dementia, 12% have thyroid problems, 40% are diabetic and 74% have chronic digestive disorders. However, at this point some general reference will be made to the discussion Prevention versus Cure and the video The Story of Fat, dated 30-Aug-2016, that might help explain most of these problems, which also lead to adverse outcomes in the current pandemic.

  • On a more general note, 45 million people in America had influenza in the 2017-18 season resulting in 61,000 deaths – see CDC site for more statistics. While the details for reporting deaths caused by influenza in the US is not known, apparently in the UK, the death certificate of somebody previously dying of pneumonia would not necessarily have required any reference to influenza as the cause. However, in the case of the current Covid-19 pandemic, there is now a requirement to record the suspected presence of the Covid-19 virus. Therefore, concern has been raised that even if the virus were present, there is no requirement to prove it was the cause of death. As such, the video ‘How coronavirus charts can mislead us’, dated 28-Apr-2020, might be interpreted in a number of different ways. First, we might consider that all the infection curves started to flatten before most lockdown policies were implemented. Second, if the number of recorded infections was far less than the actual number of infections in any population and the number of deaths attributed to the Covid-19 virus was less than the recorded number, then statistics might suggest a death rate closer to influenza, which occurs most years without any call for a lockdown policy.

  • Next is the claim that the lockdown policy can aggravate stress, inclusive of physical, emotional and chemical stress, which in turn can affect health. While this discussion will not attempt to address this complexity in might make reference to a video entitled The Failure of Expert Predictions and Models, dated 30-Apr-2020, but which appears to be opinion, not verifiable fact. However, despite this caution, it is unclear that this perspective should be dismissed.

  • This discussion is not qualified to consider the claims made about vaccine safety. However, it is possibly naïve to assume that all vaccines do not have any serious side-effects, especially in people with many types of immune deficiencies. Likewise, while statistics might be the best way to assess the risk of any side-effects, further consideration of this risk might be needed if governments allow researchers within the pharmaceutical industry to fast-track approval trials. This concern may also need to be further highlighted if ethical considerations restrict these trials to relatively small populations of healthy adults, such that the effect on children and an increasing number of adults with immunity problems may be essentially unknown. While, at this stage, it is unclear whether governments will mandate mass vaccination, concern has also been raised about the stated goal of the ID-2020 Alliance and the GAVI Alliance, supported by vaccine manufacturers, to tag and vaccinate every ‘global citizen’ by the year 2030.

  • However, reference is then made to the enteric nervous system, which is worthy of further consideration, where the previous Wikipedia link states that it is one of the main divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) that governs the function of the gastrointestinal tract. This system is said to act independently of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The enteric system is sometimes described as a ‘second brain’ because it consists of sheaths of some 100 million neurons embedded in the walls of the gut, which can trigger more than 30 neurotransmitters. However, it needs to be recognised that the understanding of this complexity is still at an early stage of research - see video Enteric Nervous System, dated 24-Dec-2017, if requiring more detail.

  • Reference is made of the work of Justin Smith, which suggested that approved drugs, like statins, can damage the gut microbiome and contribute to antibiotic resistance, which resulted in a book entitled ‘Statin Nation’’, dated 23-Nov-2017. The following outline of the book below appears consistent with the message in the following video entitled ‘Heart Stents, Cholesterol and Statin’, dated 9-Oct-2017, which contradicts the idea that statins are a safe wonder-drug, as promoted by the pharmaceutical industry that profits from such drugs. As such, this does not appear to be a conspiracy, but rather legitimate concern – see video Everything Cholesterol, dated 12-Aug-2018, for more details.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and for decades conventional health authorities have pushed that the culprits are fat and cholesterol clogging up coronary arteries. Consequently, lowering cholesterol has become a hugely lucrative business, and cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are now the most prescribed medication in the world, with clinical data showing one billion people eligible for prescription. However, these cholesterol guidelines have been heavily criticized, and increasingly, doctors and researchers have been questioning the role cholesterol plays in heart disease. We now know that people with heart disease often do not, in fact, have high cholesterol, and even the strongest supporters of the cholesterol hypothesis now admit that no ideal level of cholesterol can be identified.

  • Claims are also made that polypharmacy, i.e. the concurrent use of multiple drugs, is the cause of many life-threatening side-effects. It is claimed that the average 65-year old person may take 7 different drugs per day and may be prescribed up to 28 different drugs per year. In addition, it is stated that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggests that more than 100,000 people die each year because of the side-effects of taking such a cocktail of drugs, especially in elderly people subject to changes in their base metabolism. Studies also suggest that up to 30% of hospital admissions of elderly patients are linked to an adverse drug reaction.

  • In support of the claim above, reference might be made to a report entitled ‘Physicians under the Influence: Social Psychology and Industry Marketing Strategies’, dated Aug-2013. As a generalisation, it is suggested that over the last 35 years, patients have suffered from a largely hidden epidemic of side effects from drugs that usually have little offsetting benefit. In this context, it is said that the pharmaceutical industry has corrupted the practice of medicine through its influence over what drugs are developed, how they are tested and how medical knowledge is created. Again, reference might also be made to a video lecture by Jason Fung entitled ‘Financial Conflicts of Interests and the End of Evidence-Based Medicine’, dated 24-Sep-2019, which addresses similar issues.

  • Again, in the context of the role of the immune system for good health, reference might be made to some vitamins and minerals. It is claimed that vitamin-D may influence 3,000 of the 21,000 genes in the human genome. There is also growing evidence that vitamin-D deficiency can increase the risk of cancers and heart disease with a 124% increase in all-cause mortality. Likewise, magnesium is used by all organs in the body, but especially the heart, kidneys and muscles. It is estimated that 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient to some lesser or greater extent. Magnesium is also found in more than 300 different enzymes, which play an important role in various detoxification processes. In addition, it is now recognised that vitamin-D, and vitamin-K2, must be in balance with magnesium in order for it to be utilised properly. 

  • Another claim is made about the efficacy of face-masks, that might be linked back to the comments made by Professor Cahill. Reference can be made to an article entitled ‘Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19’, dated 6-Apr-2020. The following statements are taken from just the first page of the report, which can be reviewed in full via the link above. Also see video Does Wearing N95 MASK Increase CO2 Levels and Reduce Oxygen, dated 14 May 2020, for other details.

Studies of influenza, influenza-like illness, and human coronaviruses provide evidence that the use of a medical mask can prevent the spread of infectious droplets from an infected person to someone else and potential contamination of the environment by these droplets. There is limited evidence that wearing a medical mask by healthy individuals in the households or among contacts of a sick patient, or among attendees of mass gatherings may be beneficial as a preventive measure. However, there is currently no evidence that wearing a mask by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including Covid-19….The use of medical masks in the community may create a false sense of security, with neglect of other essential measures, such as hand hygiene practices and physical distancing, and may lead to touching the face under the masks and under the eyes, result in unnecessary costs, and take masks away from those in health care who need them most, especially when masks are in short supply.

The UN risk report stated that nearly 369 million children across 143 countries who normally rely on school meals for a reliable source of daily nutrition have now been forced to look elsewhere. Compared with adults, children infected with the coronavirus are less likely to have symptoms and more likely to have a mild illness. However, the UN report warned that economic hardship experienced by families as a result of the global economic downturn could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020. The UN has also estimated that between 42-66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the coronavirus crisis this year, adding to the estimated 386 million children already in extreme poverty in 2019, while 188 countries have imposed countrywide school closures, affecting more than 1.5 billion children. The potential losses that may accrue in learning for today’s young generation, and for the development of their human capital, are hard to fathom. More than two-thirds of countries have introduced a national distance learning platform, but among low-income countries the share is only 30 percent.

While caution has been raised on the possibility of too many speculative assumptions, it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that the efficacy of any lockdown policy, especially if required to remain in place until a vaccine is available, needs some wider public debate. While the following quote taken from Aldous Huxley’s book: Brave New World, is still a fictional concern, it is also one that should not simply be dismissed.

A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.

See All-Cause Mortality for further issues