WTF Community

🤮 Coronavirus (Community Thread)

Dr. Eric Topol is an epidemilogist remarks that gets a piece of ‘junk’ mail from a conservative think tank Hoover Institute and Trump’s former covid (non) expert Scott Arlas is at it again…saying the scientist are wrong and it is an egregious situation to close down businesses etc.

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Absolute madness…wtf

A National Guard convoy transporting doses of the COVID-19 vaccine was ambushed Monday morning in west Texas, according to police.

Larry Lee Harris, 66, allegedly started following the three National Guard vans, en route to Matador, Texas, after they stopped at a Love’s gas station in Lubbock, and “attempted multiple times” to run their vehicles off the road, Idalou Police Chief Eric Williams said in a statement.

After those attempts failed, Harris then turned his truck in front of the convoy, forcing it to stop. He got out of his truck and aimed his .45 caliber handgun at one of the guardsmen, who was unarmed.

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U.S. COVID response could have avoided hundreds of thousands of deaths: research

The United States squandered both money and lives in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, and it could have avoided nearly 400,000 deaths with a more effective health strategy and trimmed federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars while still supporting those who needed it.

Biden outpaces Trump by double digits in handling the pandemic, new survey shows

Undocumented immigrants were less likely to visit primary care physicians after Trump launched his 2016 campaign — suggesting his rhetoric had a chilling effect that made them less likely to seek critical care or, even now, Covid-19 vaccinations.

E.P.A. to Review Attacks on Science Under Trump

The agency said it would carry out an accounting of political interference in science, an unusually public act that Biden administration officials said was needed to restore trust in the agency’s decisions.

When Dogma And Politics Trump Science

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This is not an opinion; this is malpractice. Dr. Robert Redfield should be stripped of his license for these gross insinuations, that will only further to ramp up anti-Asian violence and spread fear and distrust.

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Ex Head of CDC Dr. Tom Friedan puts out a weekly twitter thread about where we are with vaccine distribution and beating this pandemic.

Because the last CDC head Dr Redfieldet has made controversial comments about the origins of Covid, Dr. Friedman is offering a few alternative explanations without entirely discounting it could be from a lab accident.

But these remarks are destructive and tends to inflame those Asia haters ever more.

A few selected…but worth reading all these tweets.

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:frowning_face:

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A new White House task force will examine instances where the Trump administration may have distorted or suppressed science in critical government decisions, with an eye toward creating fail-safes to prevent it from happening again, the White House said Monday.

In a letter to federal agencies, obtained by NBC News, the White House said the task force’s mandate would include identifying whether current policies effectively “prevent improper political interference in the conduct of scientific research” and “prevent the suppression or distortion of scientific or technological findings.”

“Restoring and safeguarding scientific integrity will require the participation and contribution of scientists from across government, who will bring their diverse perspectives to the endeavor,” the letter states, which was signed by Jane Lubchenco and Alondra Nelson, two officials in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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Some reality checks…

The planet could have a year or less before first-generation Covid-19 vaccines are ineffective and modified formulations are needed, according to a survey of epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists.

Scientists have long stressed that a global vaccination effort is needed to satisfactorily neutralise the threat of Covid-19. This is due to the threat of variations of the virus – some more transmissible, deadly and less susceptible to vaccines – that are emerging and percolating.

The grim forecast of a year or less comes from two-thirds of respondents, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of organisations including Amnesty International, Oxfam, and UNAIDS, who carried out the survey of 77 scientists from 28 countries. Nearly one-third of the respondents indicated that the time-frame was likely nine months or less.

Persistent low vaccine coverage in many countries would make it more likely for vaccine-resistant mutations to appear, said 88% of the respondents, who work across illustrious institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Yale, Imperial College, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Edinburgh.

“New mutations arise every day. Sometimes they find a niche that makes them more fit than their predecessors. These lucky variants could transmit more efficiently and potentially evade immune responses to previous strains,” said Gregg Gonsalves, associate professor of epidemiology at Yale University, in a statement.

“Unless we vaccinate the world, we leave the playing field open to more and more mutations, which could churn out variants that could evade our current vaccines and require booster shots to deal with them.”

The current crop of vaccines that have received emergency authorisations in different parts of the world is a mix of old and fresh technologies.

Of particular interest is the mRNA approach, employed by the companies Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, which can be tweaked at speed (within weeks or months) to accommodate new variants – however, manufacturing hiccups are always a potential problem.

But crucially, they are unlikely within reach of poorer countries, given that this set of vaccines are far more expensive and have comparatively onerous temperature storage requirements.

Meanwhile, resource-rich countries like the UK and US have administered at least one vaccine dose to more than a quarter of their populations and have secured hundreds of millions of supplies. In contrast, nations such as South Africa and Thailand haven’t even managed to get shots in the arms of 1% of their populations. Some countries are yet to administer their first dose.

Covax – the global vaccine initiative coalition aimed at countering so-called vaccine nationalism – hopes to be able to supply at least 27% of the population of lower-income countries with vaccines in 2021.

The urgency we see in rich nations to vaccinate their populations, aiming for all adults by the summer, is simply not reflected globally. Instead, we have Covax aiming for perhaps 27% by the end of the year if we possibly can manage it – that is simply not good enough,” said Max Lawson, head of inequality policy at Oxfam and the chair of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, which is calling Covid-19 vaccine developers to openly share their technology and intellectual property to boost production.

Where is the ambitious global goal? A goal that the science tells us is needed?’ I think that’s the key point – we just don’t see the ambition that would go along with it, widespread recognition that limited vaccination is quite dangerous.”

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Mind boggling…to think of how many people were not afflicted by polio, small pox and other diseases all because science helped create vaccines. Astouning that people are so mindless.

Antiscience has emerged as a dominant and highly lethal force, and one that threatens global security, as much as do terrorism and nuclear proliferation. We must mount a counteroffensive and build new infrastructure to combat antiscience, just as we have for these other more widely recognized and established threats.

Antiscience is the rejection of mainstream scientific views and methods or their replacement with unproven or deliberately misleading theories, often for nefarious and political gains. It targets prominent scientists and attempts to discredit them. The destructive potential of antiscience was fully realized in the U.S.S.R. under Joseph Stalin. Millions of Russian peasants died from starvation and famine during the 1930s and 1940s because Stalin embraced the pseudoscientific views of Trofim Lysenko that promoted catastrophic wheat and other harvest failures. Soviet scientists who did not share Lysenko’s “vernalization” theories lost their positions or, like the plant geneticist, Nikolai Vavilov, starved to death in a gulag.

Now antiscience is causing mass deaths once again in this COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in the spring of 2020, the Trump White House launched a coordinated disinformation campaign that dismissed the severity of the epidemic in the United States, attributed COVID deaths to other causes, claimed hospital admissions were due to a catch-up in elective surgeries, and asserted that ultimately that the epidemic would spontaneously evaporate. It also promoted hydroxychloroquine as a spectacular cure, while downplaying the importance of masks. Other authoritarian or populist regimes in Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Philippines and Tanzania adopted some or all of these elements.

As both a vaccine scientist and a parent of an adult daughter with autism and intellectual disabilities, I have years of experience going up against the antivaccine lobby, which claims vaccines cause autism or other chronic conditions. This prepared me to quickly recognize the outrageous claims made by members of the Trump White House staff, and to connect the dots to label them as antiscience disinformation. Despite my best efforts to sound the alarm and call it out, the antiscience disinformation created mass havoc in the red states. During the summer of 2020, COVID-19 accelerated in states of the South as governors prematurely lifted restrictions to create a second and unnecessary wave of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Then following a large motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.Dak., a third surge unfolded in the fall in the Upper Midwest. A hallmark of both waves were thousands of individuals who tied their identity and political allegiance on the right to defying masks and social distancing. A nadir was a highly publicized ICU nurse who wept as she recounted the dying words of one of her patients who insisted COVID-19 was a hoax.

Now, a new test of defiance and simultaneous allegiance to the Republican Party has emerged in the form of resisting COVID-19 vaccines. At least three surveys from the Kaiser Family Foundation, our study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, and the PBS News Hour/NPR/Marist poll each point to Republicans or white Republicans as a top vaccine-resistant group in America. At least one in four Republican House members will refuse COVID-19 vaccines. Once again, we should anticipate that many of these individuals could lose their lives from COVID-19 in the coming months.

Historically, antiscience was not a major element of the Republican Party. The National Academy of Sciences was founded in the Lincoln administration; NASA in the Eisenhower administration, and PEPFAR (U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), PMI (President’s Malaria Initiative) and the NTDs (neglected tropical diseases) program were launched in the George W. Bush Administration. I was a professor and chair of microbiology at George Washington University, based in Washington, D.C., during the 2000s and worked closely with members of the Bush White House to shape these programs.

I trace the adoption of antiscience as a major platform of the GOP to the year 2015 when the antivaccine movement pivoted to political extremism on the right. It first began in Southern California when a measles epidemic erupted following widespread vaccine exemptions. The California legislature shut down these exemptions to protect the public health, but this ignited a “health freedom” rallying cry. Health freedom then gained strength and accelerated in Texas where it formed a political action committee linked to the Tea Party. Protests against vaccines became a major platform of the Tea Party; this then generalized in 2020 to defy masks and social distancing. Further accelerating these trends were right wing think tanks such as the American Institute of Economic Research that sponsored the Great Barrington Declaration, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the home of physician Scott Atlas, who became a senior advisor to the Trump White House coronavirus task force.

The full antiscience agenda of the Republican Party has now gone beyond our national borders. In the summer of 2020, the language of the antiscience political right in America was front and center at antimask and antivaccine rallies in Berlin, London and Paris. In the Berlin rally, news outlets reported ties to QAnon and extremist groups. Adding to this toxic mix are emerging reports from U.S. and British intelligence that the Putin-led Russian government is working to destabilize democracies through elaborate programs of COVID-19 antivaccine and antiscience disinformation. Public refusal of COVID-19 vaccines now extends to India, Brazil, South Africa and many low- and middle-income countries.

We are approaching three million deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is increasingly apparent that the SARS CoV2 alone is not responsible. Facilitating the spread of COVID-19 is an expanded and globalizing antiscience movement that began modestly under a health freedom banner adopted by the Republican Tea Party in Texas. Thousands of deaths have so far resulted from antiscience, and this may only be the beginning as we are now seeing the impact on vaccine refusal across the U.S., Europe and the low- and middle-income countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Containing antiscience will require work and an interdisciplinary approach. For innovative and comprehensive solutions, we might look at interagency task forces in the U.S. government or among the agencies of the United Nations. Given the role of state actors such as Russia, and antivaccine organizations that monetize the internet, we should anticipate that any counteroffensive could be complex and multifaceted. The stakes are high given the high death toll that is already accelerating from the one-two punch of SARS CoV2 and antiscience. We must be prepared to implement a sophisticated infrastructure to counteract this, similar to what we have already done for more established global threats. Antiscience is now a large and formidable security issue.

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One of the important covid updates…continue online with thread…

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NYTimes: Kati Kariko Helped Shield the World From the Coronavirus

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