Friday August 5 Wall Street Journal OP/ED “Vaccine Mandate Puts National Security at Risk”

The commanding General of the Florida National Guard penned an Editorial stating he could lose 1000 service members over the vaccine mandate. I previously wrote about how Russian Trolls were responsible for 95% of Covid Disinformation on many websites. I sent General Eifert links to his officer’s magazine detailing Russian activity on anti-vax sites in his Spring 2020 Parameters Officer’s Magazine. The lesson from this is National Security is at risk not from vaccine mandates, but from Putin’s new generation warfare where Russian trolls target enlisted service members and young officers. General Eifert needs to study Russian disinformation. I would suggest this year’s January/February Foreign Affairs magazine along with the opening commentary from 2020 Spring Parameters on the US Army’s War College Website under publications would be a good place to stary. Here is a link to his editorial.

Here is a link to Spring Parameters 2020 before the vaccine became a political wedge issue.

Today’s Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor.

Today the Wall Street Journal published part of a letter to the Editor I wrote. The letter was in response to an editorial “Biden and Fauci Botched the Covid Response.”

Here is the link to my Wall Street Journal Letter:

The edit was reasonable and made my major point. Here is the complete letter:

Your Article “Biden and Fauci Botched the Covid Response” seems to the cherry pick facts and fails to mention that the state with the highest vaccination rate, Vermont, has 110 deaths per 100,000 population, while the state with the lowest vaccination rate, Mississippi, has 420 deaths per 100,000 population. In my state of Wisconsin, Dane County with a strong mask mandate, had 100 deaths per 100,000 when the rest of the state exceeded 200 deaths per 100,000. Your comparison of death rates “in the winter of 2020-2021” compares Florida to New York. In Florida Covid rates jumped in the summer when folks were indoors in air conditioning. Florida had time to prepare before the summer indoor air conditioning season and failed to do so.

The editorial writer seems to try to justify Texas’s and Florida’s response to covid by comparison with New York, which got hit early and has an extensive subway system which was a factor in spread. The editorial writer is trying to make the case that measures like mask mandates and high vaccination rates as pushed by Fauci and Biden, were of minimal importance. Texas and Florida had early warnings due to what was happening in New York, but failed to act in a timely manner. A more honest comparison would have been comparing winter in New York where folks are indoors to summer in Florida where folks are indoors for air conditioning. In states like Vermont and counties like Dane, in Wisconsin non-pharmaceutical intervention (like masking) and pharmaceutical interventions (like high vaccination rates) cut mortality rates in half. (I did send in a correction stating my Degree is DDS.)

Here is the link to the Wall Street Journal’s original editorial.

Russian Disinformation about Covid-19: Ukraine War Pivot by Russian Trolls reduces Covid-19 disinformation by 95% on some websites.

I posted previously about Russian Disinformation. Russia’s Cyber Warfare Department also referred to as “Putin’s New Generation Warfare” is behind most of the anti-vaccine, anti non-pharmaceutical Covid-19 intervention including anti masking posts. This article is from the Guardian. You may have to close their asks for support, but it is a worthwhile article to read. ‘Bot holiday’: Covid disinformation down as social media pivot to Ukraine | Social media | The Guardian Disinformation has been Russia’s most powerful weapon, and successful to divide the US and attack democracy.

Vermont, Dane County Wisconsin, Alameda County California Vaccination Results.

Vermont, Dane County Wisconsin, Alameda County California have vaccination rates of over 80%. All have under 80 deaths per 100,000. Mississippi has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and is at 350 deaths per 100,000. Our Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has been putting out anti-vaccine comments citing studies where his interpretation is faulty. What is worse he then claims he is telling the truth. I have made three open records request of his office over the last year without response concerning studies to support his statements. Sunday’s Oshkosh Northwestern 1/9/22 newspaper had an extensive report by a palliative/hospice physician who stated his patients are mainly not vaccinated.

Scott Gottlieb: “Covid-19 is a Three Dose Vaccine” Observations from Israel’s Third dose efforts.

Scott Gottlieb, Former CDC chief under Trump, said The Covid-19 vaccine should be considered a three dose vaccine. Israel is the first country to provide the 3rd dose, which has made Covid-19 outbreaks almost exclusively a epidemic of the un-vaccinated in Israel. Flu viruses have reproduction rates of 1 to 2 typically. Vaccinating 60% of the population is effective in limiting flu. The Covid-19 Alpha Variant has a reproduction rate of 3 to 4. To control Alpha 80% of the population needs effective immunity. A vaccine that is 95% effective,means 85% of the population needs vaccinated to end the epidemic. Israel achieved that with an 88% vaccination rate and by mid-May new cases dropped to 50 per day from several thousand new cases a day in March.

The Delta Variant appeared in June and daily new cases jumped back to several thousand by early September. There were a number of breakthrough cases. Delta has a much higher reproduction rate and 95% of people need effective immunity. to control Dela. To achieve this with a 95% effective vaccine, 100% needs vaccinated. Thus, while an 88% vaccination rate was high enough to control the Alpha variant, it was not high enough to control the Delta variant. Israel provided a third dose and new cases dropped from several thousand to just over 400 a day. Almost all of these cases are in those folks who did not get vaccinated. Some anti-vax folks posts Israel’s charts of new cases of covid-19 into September. These folks claim the charts show the vaccines don’t work because after achieving 88% vaccination rates numbers skyrocketed. The anti-vax folks, post Israel charts that are cut off sometime in September. They published their posts in October when the charts showed the 3rd vaccine dose had a hug impact on reducing new cases. A half chart is a half truth and these folk’s disinformation kills more people than any serial killer. When looking at any posts, look up the complete charts. The anti-vaccine folks seem to have become a cult. Physicians would almost need to deprogram their patients to convince them to get vaccinated. Unless the patient shows the reference for their beliefs, then physicians can show the patient the complete reference pointing out how they have been deceived by partial information, you will not convince them to be vaccinated.

The use of Anti-Parasitic drugs for treating Covid-19. In search of the Holy Grail.

We have witnessed two anti-parasitic drugs promoted for treating Covid-19, Hydroxychloroquine and Invermectin. There is research to repurpose drugs to treat Covid-19. So far only dexamethasone, an anti inflammatory medication to reduce the bodies immune response after an infection with Covid-19, has cut mortality. Timing and dosage is of extreme importance for dexamethasone. Given too early will harm the patient. Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug, can make Covid-19 less severe but does not reduce mortality. Remdesivir has been approved for Covid-19 treatment in several countries.

The issue for treating viral infections, is that by the time symptoms appear, you have produced and shed billions of viruses. The only viral diseases that have a therapeutic medication approved for their treatment is AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, Herpes, and Influenza A and B. Dexamethasone treats the bodies response to covid-19, not the virus itself. Remdesivir is an anti-viral that is effective in laboratory cells treated with Covid-19, but by the time symptoms appear in patients, it is given too late to reduce mortality, but does reduce the severeness of the disease. It is important to give anti-viral medications when symptoms first appear. Thus any therapeutic for treating Covid-19 or flu is given well after the virus has reproduced. This pretty well defeats the notion that a therapeutic anti-viral medication is the best strategy for dealing with a virus.

There are 9 anti-parasitic drugs, 7 of which in lab settings have some anti-viral effects. There is a push to find medications that can be repurposed to fight viral infections. Existing anti-viral medications in various combinations are the most promising. With any therapeutic for viral infection, the issue is being administered too late as symptoms appear far after the virus has reproduced a billion times. This means like Remdesivir, it will be difficult to reduce mortality from Covid-19 with a therapeutic. I watched a 90 minute podcast of a virologist who spent 17 years infecting respiratory cell cultures with coronal virus and then treating them with anti-viral agents. There were few products that he tested that killed viruses without killing lung cells. Remdesivir was the best.

Treating viruses is far different than treating bacterial infections. With bacteria you are either killing the bacteria or preventing its growth. Viruses use the bodies machinery to reproduce. One way to control viruses is to stop the virus from entering the cell, a second way is to prevent the cells machinery from reproducing the virus. Developing an anti-viral that keeps the cell healthy but stops it from reproducing the virus is the challenge researchers face. Medication, like anti-parasitic drugs, given in concentration high enough to kill viruses are usually toxic to humans. Scientist are concentrating efforts on early treatment by testing a combination of existing anti-viral drugs given when symptoms first appear.

The Holy Grail, for the anti-parasitic drug folks, is some combination of low non-toxic doses of more than one anti-parasitic or an anti-parasitic combined with a low does of another anti-viral compound that is not toxic to respiratory cells. This is sort of making a witches brew. Making a witches brew should be researched as long as the limits of anti-viral therapy is understood. So far studies of anti-parasitic medications as a viral therapeutic have shown mixed results with some studies showing benefits, while other studies do not show any benefit.

The whole emphasis on treating Covid-19 after the infection starts seems sort of like building 40 fire stations to put out fires instead of building one fire station as a backup to fire prevention in our city. Vaccines and strict masking are still the gold standard in dealing with viral infections. The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure needs to be updated for a viral pandemic to a ounce of cure is worth a ton of cure.

I support ongoing research into all avenues of anti-viral therapeutics. World wide there are scientists that look at medications that are given to treat a wide variety of conditions to see if there is a reduced incidence of another condition when patients are on that medication. If scientist find similar results from a thousand patients or more, they will ask the group their opinion about doing further research. Scientist may also ask if there are any researchers willing to study these findings. Hundreds of scientist are looking at data to find the next medical holy grail for treating medical conditions. The chance for a break through medication being found this way is low, but not zero. Viragra was being tested for other medical conditions.

Delta Airlines report cost of Covid-19 Hospitalizations.

It seems the Delta Covid-19 variant and Delta Airlines have had a mid-air collision. Delta increased insurance premiums by $200.00 a month for each employee that has not been vaccinated. Delta reports the total cost of an employee being hospitalized with Covid-19 is $50,000. They did not break down this number. If a person is hospitalized someone needs to be hired to do their job. The hospitalized person will receive sick leave for the duration of their missed work. There are cost far beyond the hospital bill. Insurance companies had been waving co-pays for Covid-19 patients. This is ending. Insurance companies made record profits due to the postponing of elective medical procedures and could well afford to do out of pocket waivers.

Delta reported that recent hospitalized employees have not been fully vaccinated. As companies are paying the cost associated with employees not being vaccinated, more companies are deciding that it is more cost effective to let an employee go than chance paying the costs associated with a hospital stay. These employers will not risk potential long term costs associated with long Covid-19. As these cost come into focus, more companies will require vaccines as part of future employment. Republicans have been opposing vaccine mandates on grounds of personal freedoms. Personal Freedoms have limits, much like freedom of speech, where you are not allowed to yell fire in a crowded theater. Personal freedoms end when you can infect your neighbor, then you have the same responsibility as a health processional not to infect your neighbor. Hospitals and medical offices are under increasingly strict rules to prevent passing a pathogen from a sick patient to another patient in the office. This must be applied to every business setting including any indoor space the public can enter.

Covid-19 Variant Risks and Russian Disinformation

There are 195 million Covid-19 cases that have been reported world wild. Assuming this is an under count by 50% to 100%, with 5 variants emerging so far, it means for every 60 to 80 million folks infected, a new dangerous variant emerges. Unfortunately, a public health issue has become politically divisive due to misinformation. Much of the disinformation comes from Russian sources. The Wall Street Journal called out Russian disinformation on the Pfizer Vaccine. If a third of the US population does not get vaccinated, with the Delta Variant taking hold, there is a high probability a second variant will emerge in the US. The Epsilon Variant emerged in Southern California.

Russia’s military added a cyber warfare division to their conventional and nuclear divisions. The purpose of the Russian cyber warfare department is to divide as many western democracies at they can divide. Below is a link to our Spring 2020 Military’s officers magazine Parameters. The opening 25 page commentary details the Russian efforts. Every American needs to read this commentary. The Russians have put out fake information about masking and supported anti-vaccine efforts by posting a lot of disinformation, on mainly conservative websites.

The net results of the Russian efforts are clear. While 10% of Democrats say they will not get the vaccine, 43% of Republicans state they will not get vaccinated. If Delta is at the high end of the calculated reproduction rate, it means you will either get the vaccine or get Delta. Please remember half of the folks that were asymptomatic on the Diamond Princes, had lower lung damage on lung scans. This political divide on a public health issue is disturbing. California reported 94% of their dentist are fully vaccinated. Another report had 96% of Physicians fully vaccinated. When folks do not understand risk factors due to disinformation, they avoid a risk that is 1 in a 100,000 to take on a risk that is 1 in 2. In addition to lung damage, there is significant risk to the heart and kidneys. A loss of smell means neurological damage.

Republicans must understand that an election tipping point is a close state can come from long term Republican Medical Providers, who never voted for Democrats, voted for Democrats in the last election for the first time in their lives because they are so disgusted with seeing the ICU nurses traumatized by having to zip dozens of body bags of nice folks who did not survive Covid-19. When you treat a person for one or two weeks, get to know their families, hear their life stories and they pass, it becomes very traumatic. Please get the vaccine as many nurses will reach a point where one more body bag is one too many. My Mother was a public health nurse in the 1930’s and after her kids were older she returned to nursing, but returned to the ER. She had previously stayed with families whose child did not survive whopping cough. In those cases she was a sort of pediatric hospice nurse. In ER you never built long term relations with families, who then had a love one pass. You did have to break the news of a loved ones death, and it was still traumatic, but not as traumatic as someone you built relationships over two weeks.

Delta Variant Impact, Vaccination more urgent according to Contagion Live.

I have been a subscriber to Contagion Live since Covid-19 began spreading rapidly in the US. Contagion Live has updates on many contagious pathogens, but a majority of the content is devoted to Covid-10. In addition to articles from scientist across the world, Contagion Live has links to several other similar subscription services, many like Medscape are free. The reproduction rate for the Delta Variant may be as high as 7. This means you may have only two choices, get the vaccine or you will get the Delta Variant. One report said there was evidence that the Delta Variant may cause lung cells to fuse enabling the virus to spread rapidly cell to cell. This may result in permanent lung damage in younger folks. While deaths for patients under 30 are rare, long term lung damage is common. With a reproduction rate of 7 the dream of herd immunity happening this summer may be just that, a dream. The Covid-19 infection rates could see a rebound in late July after the 4th of July holiday weekend.

Why did Vermont, wedged between two early Covid-19 epicenters, New York City and Boston, have the countries lowest Covid-19 Deaths for the contiguous 48 states?

Vermont had under 40 deaths per 100,000, while most rural states have had three times that number. Vermont is located between the early epicenters of the pandemic, Boston and New York. Midwest and southern states had time to prepare as the pandemic started on the coasts. Yet Vermont with a vulnerable elderly population, located between the epicenter of the pandemic with thousands of folks fleeing New York and Boston managed the Pandemic better than any other state.

In Wisconsin we had over 3 times the deaths per 100,000 folks. After comparing the the two states there are some huge contrasts. Wisconsin’s rural areas tend to be much more libertarian. At the county board meetings hundreds of folks spoke about their constitutional rights, the bill of rights and fear of the health officer. County board speakers expressed a fear of public health nurses imposing draconian measures limiting freedom. Noble Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, a champion of libertarian ideals, was clear that rights and freedoms ended with an epidemic where you could infect your neighbor. In these circumstances, you have an absolute obligation and responsibility to protect one another with every measure possible. Conservatives in Wisconsin made the debate all about personal rights and freedoms, making fighting a pandemic, not a policy and public health issue, but a cultural war with what they perceived as an assault on their liberty. When we turn a policy debate into a political debate, we all lose.

In contrast to Wisconsin, Republican Vermont Governor Phil Scott established a Covid-19 war room and pushed public health measures. Vermont, as opposed to its neighbor New Hampshire whose motto is “live free or die” chose not to live free and die. In Vermont you did not have an extreme form of libertarian revolt to Covid-19 public health measures and despite not having the warning time of Wisconsin or Florida had less than a third of the deaths. Vermont set up a Covid-19 war room. Vermont imposed strict reopening standards, which were accepted by it citizens. Vermont has reached 80% of its population having at least one vaccination. Vermont, by hitting Covid-19 public health benchmarks early, moved up reopening early. Vermont treated Covid-19 as a public health issue first relying on sound public health policy. Vermont did not have hundreds of folks attacking long time public health officials at a county board meeting.

Vermont’s economic outcome after Covid-19 is exceptional. Vermont has one of the two lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Vermont is flush with revenue taking advantage of Covid-19 federal government stimulus money and by controlling Covid-19 was able to keep tax revenues stable. As for a Republican Governor in a state with Bernie Sanders as Senator and where Biden won by 35 points, Phil Scott won his election by 40 points. The lesson of Covid-19 for all politicians two fold. First treat a pandemic or any other sudden catastrophic occurrence as a public policy issue, not a cultural issue and you will do well. Second, stop turning policy issues into political battles and you and your constituents will be better off.