Climate changes for the better?

Steven Hayward: We all know the Great Barrier Reef is in danger of disappearing because of c—— c—–. The climatistas tell us so, at every opportunity: Well guess what Mom? Check in with The Australian (behind a paywall so here is the relevant text—made available by the indispensable Global Warming Policy Foundation ): The annual data on coral cover for the Great Barrier Reef, produced by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, was released on Monday showing the amount of coral on the reef is at record high levels .

Source: Climate changes for the better?

Gaining depth on gain of function

(Scott Johnson)

Yesterday I posted “The fallacious Fauci strikes again.” My comments elicited a message from Michael S. Rogers, Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Research Associate in the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. I thought some readers might find it of interest. With his permission I am posting his message below the break.

 

Source: Gaining depth on gain of function

MIT Study: Vaccine Hesitancy Is ‘Highly Informed, Scientifically Literate,’ and ‘Sophisticated’

Sometimes the perception of irrationality is almost accidental, because arguments are usually social interactions, not strictly logical exercises. A vaccine skeptic may brush off a proponent by saying, “It’s approved for emergency use only; it’s not FDA-approved. I don’t think we should require it.” The skeptic is beginning with a fact that’s easily established and shareable. But when pressed, they might reveal that their line of thinking is elsewhere: “There are no long-term studies, and I’m worried about possible long-term effects.” Because the two objections aren’t exactly logically connected, the proponent concludes it is irrationalism all the way down.

But a study done at MIT showed that a substantial portion of public-health skepticism was highly informed, scientifically literate, and sophisticated in the use of data. Skeptics used the same data sets as those with the orthodox views on public health.

Source: MIT Study: Vaccine Hesitancy Is ‘Highly Informed, Scientifically Literate,’ and ‘Sophisticated’

The most recent Kaiser poll helps illustrate that the vaccine hesitant group doesn’t really lean Republican. Just 20% of the group called themselves Republican with an additional 19% being independents who leaned Republican. The clear majority (61%) were not Republicans (41% said they were Democrats or Democratic leaning independents and 20% were either pure independents or undesignated).

CNN

Putting the Biden government’s COVID pressure in a proper historical context

With a historical perspective, it’s plain that Fauci, Facebook, and Biden are being hysterical about vaccines solely to increase their power. On Friday, Pervy Joe, the man occupying the White House, insisted that Facebook was “killing people” because it wasn’t censoring enough information about COVID.

Source: Putting the Biden government’s COVID pressure in a proper historical context

The Reusable Bag Fairy Tale

First, mea culpa: I was a big believer in reusable bags, though I have the rip-stop nylon kind, not cotton. The entire 144-page paper, “Life Cycle Assessment of grocery carrier bags,” here . (See page 13 for “executive summary” in English.) This life cycle analysis by Denmark’s Environment Ministry compares plastic bags with alternatives. [ https://t.co/IRTGtP7alS ] It finds that you must reuse a shopping bag from Organic cotton 20,000 times if you want the environmental damage to be lower than that of 1 plastic bag. pic.twitter.com/zfg7XI9YIg — Max Roser (@MaxCRoser) July 4, 2021 The researchers’ take, ultimately:

Screen Shot 2021-07-04 at 9.21.45 PM.png

Source: The Reusable Bag Fairy Tale

Trump Vindicated (Again) by New Study on Hydroxychloroquine

A new study shows that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the antimalarial drug, combined with azithromycin (AZM), could increase the rate of survival by nearly three times for severely ill COVID-19 patients. The observation study analyzed 255 mechanically ventilated patients at the Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey.

“We found that when the cumulative doses of two drugs, HCQ and AZM, were above a certain level, patients had a survival rate 2.9 times the other patients,” the study, published by medRxiv. says in its conclusion.

By using causal analysis and considering of weight-adjusted cumulative dose, we prove the combined therapy, >3 g HCQ and > 1g AZM greatly increases survival in Covid patients on IMV and that HCQ cumulative dose > 80 mg/kg works substantially better. These data do not yet apply to hospitalized patients not on IMV. Since those with higher doses of HCQ had higher doses of AZM, we cannot solely attribute the causal effect to HCQ/AZM combination therapy. However, it is likely AZM does contribute significantly to this increase in survival rate. Since higher dose HCQ/AZM therapy improves survival by nearly 200% in this population, the safety data are moot.

An analysis of hospitalized COVID patients from last year in New York State’s largest health system found that the death rate of COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilation was 88 percent, compared to 21 percent overall, when treated with the HCQ/AZM combination.

….

There have now been over 250 studies into hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in treating COVID-19, the overwhelming majority of them showing positive results. Studies on early treatment with the drug showed a 66% improvement in mortality rates. But the media chose to ignore those studies, instead deciding to report on a few heavily flawed studies that allegedly showed the drug was either ineffective or increased mortality.

Dr. Fauci also dismissed the drug’s potential for treating COVID patients, claiming that “valid” scientific data showed hydroxychloroquine wasn’t effective in treating COVID-19.

Last year, as data continued to show that hydroxychloroquine was actually effective in treating COVID-19, doctors who spoke out in support of the drug were censored.

And the human cost of this media assault on hydroxychloroquine was catastrophic. One analysis suggests that over 2.4 million lives worldwide have been unnecessarily lost because hydroxychloroquine was not being widely used as a COVID therapeutic. That’s a lot of people who may have died unnecessarily just because the media hated Trump.

Source: Trump Vindicated (Again) by New Study on Hydroxychloroquine

Why the Science Points to a Lab Leak

In today’s Wall Street Journal, two eminent scientists explain why the evidence points toward a laboratory origin for the covid-19 virus:

In gain-of-function research, a microbiologist can increase the lethality of a coronavirus enormously by splicing a special sequence into its genome at a prime location. Doing this leaves no trace of manipulation. But it alters the virus spike protein, rendering it easier for the virus to inject genetic material into the victim cell.
***
In the case of the gain-of-function supercharge, other sequences could have been spliced into this same site. Instead of a CGG-CGG (known as “double CGG”) that tells the protein factory to make two arginine amino acids in a row, you’ll obtain equal lethality by splicing any one of 35 of the other two-word combinations for double arginine. If the insertion takes place naturally, say through recombination, then one of those 35 other sequences is far more likely to appear; CGG is rarely used in the class of coronaviruses that can recombine with CoV-2.

In fact, in the entire class of coronaviruses that includes CoV-2, the CGG-CGG combination has never been found naturally. That means the common method of viruses picking up new skills, called recombination, cannot operate here.
***
Although the double CGG is suppressed naturally, the opposite is true in laboratory work. The insertion sequence of choice is the double CGG. That’s because it is readily available and convenient, and scientists have a great deal of experience inserting it.
***
Now the damning fact. It was this exact sequence that appears in CoV-2. Proponents of zoonotic origin must explain why the novel coronavirus, when it mutated or recombined, happened to pick its least favorite combination, the double CGG. Why did it replicate the choice the lab’s gain-of-function researchers would have made?

Source: Why the Science Points to a Lab Leak

The Lab-Leak Theory: Evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Every good prosecutor will tell you that the best case is a strong circumstantial case — and that’s exactly what we have.

….

What NR’s Jim Geraghty has chronicled for months is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the coronavirus pandemic was generated by an accident — a lab leak, a not-uncommon mishap in medical research conducted by fallible human beings — at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Ditto the important work of Nicholas WadeVanity Fair’s Katherine Eban, our own Michael Brendan Dougherty, and a few intrepid others.

Lab accidents are common, and have been known to spawn infectious diseases (including the escape of SARS1 from the Chinese National Virology Institute in Beijing “no less than four times,” according to Wade). WIV scientists were conducting gain-of-function research on bat-based coronaviruses, in particular their capacity to infect humans. The bats in which are found closely related (but, importantly, not identical) viruses do not inhabit the vicinity of Wuhan — they are nearly a thousand miles away from that densely populated city and have limited flight range. The likelihood of naturally occurring interspecies transmission (outside a lab setting) is infinitesimal. The lab conditions in Wuhan were insufficiently safe — grossly so, it appears. Several of the lab’s researchers fell ill (at least three severely enough to be hospitalized) right at the critical time, in autumn of 2019, before the first identified case of infection with SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Here, two additional points are salient. First, those implausibly claiming that the circumstantial case is weak always skip past the inconvenient fact that the circumstantial case for their preferred theory of natural transmission (from bat to human, directly or through an intermediary species) is so weak as to be negligible — there being, most tellingly, no known existence of a bat (or pangolin, etc.) in which a virus matching SARS-CoV2 has been found.

Source: The Lab-Leak Theory: Evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Over at “Starts With a Bang”, we have a dissenting view:

Despite the enormous scientific knowledge humanity has gained, however, an unfounded conspiracy theory about the virus’s origin has gained a lot of traction: that it was genetically engineered with the purpose of infecting humans, that it was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and that’s where it came from. Most recently, disgraced journalist Nicholas Wade has penned an error-filled, misleading piece promoting this nonsense, but the science tells a different story.

Starts With a Bang

Essentially, we don’t have the technology to engineer a virus without lots of human testing, which would have been noticed.

Nothing, though, that I’ve seen disproving the notion that a naturally occurring virus might have been accidentally released from the lab in Wuhan.

Mask mandate and use efficacy in state-level COVID-19 containment

Abstract
Background: Containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires evidence-based strategies to reduce transmission. Because COVID-19 can spread via respired droplets, many states have mandated mask use in public settings. Randomized control trials have not clearly demonstrated mask efficacy against respiratory viruses, and observational studies conflict on whether mask use predicts lower infection rates. We hypothesized that statewide mask mandates and mask use are associated with lower COVID-19 case growth rates in the United States.
Methods: We calculated total COVID-19 case growth and mask use for the continental United States with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. We estimated post mask mandate case growth in non-mandate states using median issuance dates of neighboring states with mandates. Results: Case growth was not significantly different between mandate and non-mandate states at low or high transmission rates, and surges were equivocal. Mask use predicted lower case growth at low, but not high transmission rates. Growth rates were comparable between states in the first and last mask use quintiles adjusted for normalized total cases early in the pandemic and unadjusted after peak Fall-Winter infections. Mask use did not predict Summer 2020 case growth for non-Northeast states or Fall-Winter 2020 growth for all continental states.
Conclusions: Mask mandates and use are not associated with slower state-level COVID-19 spread during COVID 19 growth surges. Containment requires future research and implementation of existing efficacious strategies.

Medrxiv.org