Much of the Covid debate is just that, debate and based on selective facts.
Some people who are acquaintances of mine have been particularly vexxing, as they have an on-going theme that they know better then the health profession how it should be run, despite not being medically qualified, and some posts contained a several too many factual errors to leave unchallenged.
Science generally follows these principles:
I have been working for 10 years in Health IT systems, and have a working idea at least of how the system works.
My area of work is the HealthOne team - recent work has been liaising with MIQ facilities to read in medical consultations of those in MIQ and BCMS (Border Control Management System) into the HealthOne system and identifying wider patients who are immuno-compromised for special attention against covid.
These here are my personal opinions and I am not a qualified Health Professional.
On facebook there was a long piece about how the Health system in NZ took a wrong turn in August 2021 once they abandoned elimination and switched to vaccination as a primary strategy. They evidently have a barely disguised distrust of the health system, the government advisors, vaccine manufacturers and promoters - There are quotes from their latest post such as
"Yesterday I talked with a university lecturer in the medical area who recounted a gem of wisdom passed on to him by his dean:
"Now it’s mortality rate is known to be similar to influenza and far lower than cancer and heart disease. Crucially also less than the third leading cause of death—medical misadventure—the chance of being killed by a modern medical ‘cure’. How did we miss that?"
"Now it has become apparent there is no correlation between vaccination rates and hospitalisation by country and by county. The figures in the UK have drifted towards higher hospitalisation rates for the vaccinated."
Comments on the above points - I am sorry to comment that
this post as at least 3 factual errors and so I am replying to give him
a peer review of his statements in public in order to minimise fiction and misinformation. 1 - Covid is not a mild disease 2 - Comparison with
Eugenics is obnoxious 3 - comparison with influenza/cancer/heart
disease under-plays seriousness of Covid.
WHO figures on deaths from influenza -290,000-650,000 per year
whereas Covid deaths since Jan 2020 are 5.5Million official figures
(Excess deaths suggests 3-4 times as high).
USA has passed 1,000,000 deaths as of May 2022- twice as many
americans as were killed in WW2 - more than total deaths in WW1, WW2,
Korea, Vietnam, 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan combined (and in 21 months -
much shorter period than any of these wars)
Covid is the leading cause of death in Europe as of Jan 2022,
and at times the last two years the same in USA - overall it is 3rd
behind Cancer and Heart Disease depending on how one corrects for
unreported Covid deaths. Here figures such as excess death
rate and years lost are more accurate. Excess death
calculations suggest the total Covid deaths are in the range of 5.5 to
18 million. See below
According to official statistics, COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and several U.S. states. But after accounting for undercounting of COVID-19 deaths, it was the leading cause of death in the United States, Iran, and Poland (all were second-leading before adjusting to account for total deaths due to COVID-19). COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in the Region of the Americas and the third leading cause of death in the European Region. People over 70, who are at higher risk of COVID-19 mortality, make up a higher share of the population in higher-income countries. Those countries also tend to have a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions that increase with age such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and respiratory illness, which likely contributed to higher rates of COVID-19 mortality.
The five countries where COVID-19 represents the largest fraction of all deaths are from Latin America (Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, Brazil, Panama).
This is possibly the most accurate figure of the toll of Covid as it measures how the overall death rate over several years and how it has changed in 2020-2021.
The figures in this graph are extremely sobering - we have not heard enough of the vast toll of Covid in South America, Russia and Iran. The dark red areas in the graph are where a countries death rate is over 200% (i.e. twice as high) of the usual year on year death rate. Russia scores the worst here, the excess death rate is just over 1 million.https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/coronavirus-excess-deaths-tracker
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/23/world/europe/who-europe-covid-death-toll.html (predicts 2M deaths in Europe)
Note New Zealand was one of the only countries to record a decrease in Excess Deaths due to successful elimination - the death rate in 2020 decreased by around 11%
Across weeks 13–42 (ie, during and after lockdown), the mean
weekly death rate was 11% lower than in 2015–19 (123·4 deaths per
million population vs 138·5 deaths per million population,
p<0·0001). The same pattern exists when compared with historical
mortality rates from the longer period of 2011–19
In May 2022 the WHO estimated the true death toll from Covid (using their
excess deaths figures) was around 13-14 Million, and said this confirmed
the high death rates in Russia, India and Peru amongst others -
this indicates the USA is not likely to be the most affected country.
This is the other meaningful figure - how many years of life have been lost to Covid
Oxford University research
Dr Nazrul Islam, of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health, who led the study, said he and his team were “shocked” by the findings, which were published in the medical journal the BMJ.
“We had to stop at one point to go over everything,” said Islam, who has himself lost relatives and colleagues to Covid. Despite having personal experience of the impact of the disease, Islam was still taken aback by the figures. “Nothing has shocked me so much in my life as the pandemic,” he said.
Similar in Nature
Understanding the mortality impact of COVID-19 requires not only counting the dead, but analyzing how premature the deaths are. We calculate years of life lost (YLL) across 81 countries due to COVID-19 attributable deaths, and also conduct an analysis based on estimated excess deaths. We find that over 20.5 million years of life have been lost to COVID-19 globally. As of January 6, 2021, YLL in heavily affected countries are 2–9 times the average seasonal influenza; three quarters of the YLL result from deaths in ages below 75 and almost a third from deaths below 55; and men have lost 45% more life years than women. The results confirm the large mortality impact of COVID-19 among the elderly. They also ]call for heightened awareness in devising policies that protect vulnerable demographics losing the largest number of life-years
Over the last few months the general trend has been the
disease as seen in hospitals is largely a disease of the unvaccinated
As in most countries the great majority are now vaccinated, so the proportion catching infections who are vaccinated will increase, but the trend is clearly for them less likely to be in hospital and much less likely to be in ICU. In NZ so far not a single double vaccinated person has been into ICU with Covid (MOH 16/12/2021).
Lockdowns and quarantine are 100% effective, vaccines around 90% effective, wearing masks around 50% effective - each when used properly.
However elimination via lockdown had stopped working in
Auckland, largely as various sectors had stopped cooperating - those
without permanent homes and various gangs, so Covid had escaped the
Michael Baker described vaccination succinctly as "To protect
ourselves, to protect others, and to protect the Health System from
examples of UK, France, Sweden, Germany, Cuba which have
generally the highest rated health systems
As of week of 20 Dec 2021, some parts of the NHS in the UK
have 40% of their staff off duty due to having to self isolate (as they
have been in contact with Covid cases) and are struggling to provide
even normal services.
100 NHS workers who had died by April 2020
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-53914546 by September 2020 it was 600 NHS workers
Sweden prides itself on being the best country to retire in -
"Stockholm its not a coincidence!"
yet the country with an ideal retirement system and a population 10M (twice that of NZ) has had 7000 in aged care die of Covid
40% of patients never saw a nurse or doctor, and either there were no free ICU beds or they were judged too ill to survive being transferred so the treatment was to close the door and let them die. Most of them were infected by the staff. One was Angela Adegren, mother of someone I am close to.
Around the world are the terrible sights of overflowing morgues (Italy/New York/Texas), and the huge numbers of new graves
There has been many comments that forcing many occupations to be vaccinated is like a Nazi society. This is inaccurate on several levels:
Here there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the Health System - the western allopathic system is known to be not great in treating chronic health conditions, but is the best in history in treating disease and accidents.The western system of medicine is mainly an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff system, and if you fall off a cliff you absolutely want a western medicine ambulance there.
Western Allopathic medicine has many treatments with damaging side effects, and in order of low to high risk the list runs roughly like
In combating serious disease, western medicine is primarily concerned with having the patient survive. It uses many treatments with adverse and toxic side effects, and is open about this - for instance it is well known that the primary cause cause of cancer is smoking, and the second (or possibly third after excess meat consumption) is chemotherapy. All medications carry a list of side effects.
The philosophy of western medicine is that if the patient should have the chance to survive - even if the treatment is horrible and brutal it is preferable to death.
The most modern promising treatments for cancer are the new generation of immuno treatments, where the body's own immune system is primed e.g. to attack distinct proteins etc in cancer cells. These are considerably gentler than radiation and chemotherapy, and are generally considered the future of anti cancer treatment.
This mRNA treatment has been developed against cancers by the founders for about 20 years, since 2008 at
Biontech. And as we know this is the tech behind the
Pfizer-Biontech Covid vaccine.
For western medicine, the seriousness of covid is that a
vaccine does not have to be very safe - it does have to be safer than
getting Covid is enough, and if it was at the low bar of safety of
chemotherapy it would be acceptable. Fortunately all
indications are that the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine is one of the safest
vaccines to emerge and is vastly safer than say chemotherapy or
radiation or hydroxochloroquine or ivermectin.
To focus on the small risk from vaccination and ignore the
much greater risk from Covid is a feature of the uninformed
There has been much research done on vaccine side effects. In most parts of the world reporting of the vaccine side effects has been voluntary, leading to some allegations that many side effects are being missed.
Some of the best research on this has been in the USA and
Israel military, where vaccination was very widely done and monitoring
was very thorough. In the USA military this monitoring was
because experience in 2003 where large numbers of military were
vaccinated against smallpox and there were a some cases of myocarditis
and two/three deaths from heart attacks (in 2003). Research on
the covid vaccinations showed relatively low risk - with monitoring
and treatment the small number (around 23) of affected people all
Heart-inflammation risk from Pfizer COVID vaccine is very low (nature.com)
US looks to Israeli military data to weigh safety of booster shots | The Times of Israelhttps://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2003/03/military-smallpox-vaccinee-dies-heart-attack-acip-considers-options
"It is important to remember that COVID-19 disease can also affect multiple organ systems in your body -- including the heart -- even in those without significant symptoms or who were asymptomatic during COVID-19 infection," Graves said. "Evidence available in peer-reviewed literature suggests that cardiac risk of complications are clearly higher in those with COVID-19 disease as opposed to a potential risk from the COVID-19 vaccine."
"more anti-vaxx people are dying of Covid-19 than general population are dying of the vaccines"https://www.sorryantivaxxer.com/
documents the reported cases of anti-vaxx people who have ended up very sick or died with Covid - note keep scrolling the page, current count is 306 (8 Feb 2022).
(Update - As of May 2022 now up to some 2400 entries - most
of them very comprehensive histories).
Not all of them died, just most of them.
I have not yet seen a site listing those who have died of vaccinations - only allegations that someone knows someone who knows of people who have had serious reactions. In New Zealand, when the media has investigated reported cases, they have generally been found to be not so - there have been 2 cases in New Zealand where the Covid vaccine has resulted in death from myocarditis.
The Ministry of Health put out warnings about these cases
as in at least one the person would likely have survived if treated.
As mentioned above, the US military monitored Covid
vaccinations due to the experience of Smallpox vaccinations in 2003
where 2 died of heart attacks, and all cases of myocarditis from Covid
vaccinations were mild, treatable and recovered (out some 300,000
To the contrary, there is a lot of evidence that vaccinations may boost the immune system
It is always wise to pick a side in a fight that has a chance of being correct.
Railing against the health system in Facebook is futile - most people paying attention here are at the level of road rage drivers, talk back radio ranters and people who are here to say something and not listen or learn.
Policy makers in the health system will not be following these arguments. In fact the main effect is to create FUD in the general readers - this is a technique pioneered by the IT industry - firstly by IBM and then by Microsoft to create "Fear Uncertainty and Doubt" so that the general consumer would be discouraged from thinking there was a consensus of new and best practice and would stick to conservative and older ideas.
I almost hesitate to comment myself such is the poor level of self questioning and objectivity and prejudice shown here but someone should say that Yes! you should challenge the Oil Industry, the Arms, Alcohol, Tobacco, and parts of the banking industries but the health system is a poor target for conspiracy accusations as the great majority of health workers are motivated by service and saving lives.
Much the same can be said for the current Labour/Green government - it is drawing a very long and improbable bow to accuse them of dictatorial and oppressive intents instead of asking "are they maybe better informed than I am?"
One fundamental of scientific inquiry is that one must be prepared and able to totally change ones ideas if they are wrong.
In this case I would say the arguments are on the wrong side of history - if we ever wonder how how witches were burned or catholics or jews massacred it was because people approached everyday issues so immersed in a pre-determined philosophy that they could not question their ideas.
These arguments remind me of the Catholic Bishops who refused to look through Galileo's telescope at craters on the moon as they already knew from scripture that the celestial bodies were perfect, or the Catholics refusing to allow use of condoms in Africa to combat spread of AIDS - the no contraceptive philosophy had become more important to them than saving lives.
I can think of three major areas of life where I have fundamentally changed my ideas about what is right - I challenge any of the readers here to do the same.
(One of the ideas I have changed is about vaccinations as I started with with much more reason than any of you to mistrust these)
as Socrates said "The life lived without self examination is not worth living"
Since late February, the NZ deaths from Covid increased from 42 to 1600 as of August 2022. This death rate is comparable to the 1918 Influenza which killed 8500 from around Oct 1918 to Dec 1918 - it is less than 1918 but much greater than that from any other natural disaster.
Worldwide Covid is estimated to have killed 6 to 20 million - even in these days of good statistics the figures are hard to be precise. The WHO estimates around 13-18 million. For the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, the figures are not surprisingly less precise - 20 to 100 million in 2 years.
A noted media commentator Kate Hawkesby who has been along with her husband downplaying the seriousness of Covid (before mid 2022) now has this to say:
Scientists say there is "compelling evidence" that Wuhan's Huanan seafood and wildlife market was at the centre of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Two peer-reviewed studies published on Tuesday re-examine information from the initial outbreak in the Chinese city.
One of the studies shows that the earliest known cases were clustered around that market.
The other uses genetic information to track the timing of the outbreak.
It suggests there were two variants introduced into humans in November or early December 2019.
Together, the researchers say this evidence paints a picture that Sars-Cov-2 was present in live mammals that were sold at Huanan market in late 2019. They say it was transmitted into people who were working or shopping there in two separate "spillover events", where a human contracted the virus from an animal.
One of the researchers involved, virologist Prof David Robertson from the University of Glasgow, told BBC News that he hoped the studies would "correct the false record that the virus came from a lab".