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Conspireality: Is It Time For A Serious Conversation?

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The Anatomy of Conspiracy Theories
Photo Credit: Getty

Madhava Setty, M, Guest Writer

Whether you believe in conspiracy theories or not, we can all agree that the use of the term has exploded in media and in conversation. The question is, why? Are we now using the term “Conspiracy Theory” more indiscriminately and on more platforms than previously? Are we, as a society, simply becoming unhinged and absurd? Are seemingly nonsensical stories, for some unknown reason, starting to resonate with people? Or are some conventional narratives getting challenged because some of these “alternative” explanations are in fact accurate, despite the fact that conventional sources refuse to acknowledge them as even potentially valid? Notice that the last two possibilities are different sides of the same coin. If you think “conspiracy theorists” are unhinged, it is highly likely that they are suspicious of your sanity as well. Both sides insist that they are right and that the other has been hoodwinked. Note that if you choose to not pick a side, you are, by default, allowing the conventional narrative to perpetuate. That is how convention works. 

Merriam-Webster defines the term conspiracy theory as “a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups”. The key elements of this definition remain consistent across all authoritative lexicons: the group responsible for an event must be powerful and covert. However, if we refer to the Wikipedia definition as of 11/2018 a new element emerges: “A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy—generally one involving an illegal or harmful act supposedly carried out by government or other powerful actors—without credible evidence.”

When an explanation is labelled a “Conspiracy Theory,” by today’s definition, it has no evidence to support it. An explanation with no supporting evidence is a hypothesis, not a “theory.” “Conspiracy Theory,” as it is used today, is thus an oxymoron. These “Conspiracy Theories” we seem to hear about everyday should really be called “Conspiracy Hypotheses.” More concerning is that the “Conspiracy Theory” label identifies an explanation as inherently baseless. Given this linguistic construct, where is there room for a conspiracy that is in fact true?

There is also something troubling about using the term “credible” in the definition of conspiracy theory. Legally, evidence that is credible is that which a reasonable person would consider to be true in light of the surrounding circumstances. If evidence suggests an explanation that seems at the surface to be unreasonable, how does a reasonable person avoid automatically labelling the evidence not credible? If we are not careful, the credibility of the explanation and resultant conclusions would then determine the credibility of the evidence that supports it. Is this really so important? Perhaps you are quick to see that with this approach, our understanding of what is true and real can never evolve. If any evidence arose that radically disproved our understanding or eroded our faith in trusted institutions we would automatically discard it as “not credible” and remain entrenched in our accepted paradigm. “Credible” evidence cannot be a necessary requirement of a theory that challenges what is credible to begin with.

To better illustrate this; let us consider an old but very real “conspiracy theory.” About 400 years ago, European civilization was emerging from centuries of scientific and philosophical stagnation known as the dark ages. What more befitting a place for such a renaissance to occur than the center of the universe? You see, the idea that the Earth was one of eight planets revolving around a star that is orbiting the center of one of hundreds of billions of galaxies would have been absurd in Europe in the sixteenth century. Any sane person could see that the Sun and the Moon and every celestial body rises in the East and sets in the West. At that time, if someone went about proposing the idea that everything rises and falls because the Earth was spinning, they would have been laughed out of the tavern. Would that person be a conspiracy theorist? They are not proposing that “powerful actors are carrying out a harmful act,” they are merely suggesting an alternative explanation for what is observed. However, the implication of their suggestion seems to incriminate the authority on such matters as ignorant of the truth or, possibly, the perpetrators of a lie. The possibility of a conspiracy has now been introduced.

Now, let us say that this person claims to have proof of their absurd theory. Would you have taken the time to examine the evidence or would you have been more likely to dismiss them without further consideration? The very idea that they could be right would have been not just silly or heretical, but inconceivable to many, if not all. How could the evidence be credible if it implied something inconceivable? Dismissing their idea would have seemingly been the most logical and, therefore, the smartest thing to do.

When Galileo Galilei appeared in 1610 armed with a rudimentary “telescope,” few would peer into it. He claimed that the refractive properties of the pair of “lenses” would allow you to see things at great distances very clearly. With it one could see Jupiter and its moons revolving around the giant planet just as our moon revolves around Earth. How enchanting! The difficulty would arise when you put the telescope down: your feet would no longer be planted on the previously immovable center of creation. Would you have looked into his telescope? What would have been the harm in taking a peek? Certainly the fear of being proven more gullible than most would have been on your mind. What about the fear that he might be right?

Imagine what must have been going through Galileo’s mind after his monumental discovery. He saw irrefutably that the entire model of the universe had been completely misconceived. One just has to look. Most did not. I can only imagine how hard he must have tried to convince anyone to simply stop, look and listen to what he had discovered. At the time, Galileo was the Chair of Mathematics at the University of Padua and had previously held the same post at the University of Pisa. Despite his bonafides and reputation as a solid contributor to the Italian renaissance, his discovery would likely have died in obscurity if it weren’t for the support of an influential family, the Medicis, who offered Galileo a platform from which he could spread his theory. It was only through allying himself with political power that he was able to slowly generate interest in his heliocentric model of the solar system. His proposition eventually caught the attention of the Catholic church, who initially warned him to desist. Eventually, he was brought to trial in the Roman Inquisition 23 years after his discovery. At the age of 70, the intrepid mathematician and astronomer was allowed to return home if he agreed to recant his story. Instead Galileo chose to spend the rest of his years in prison because he believed that that would be the only way to get people to open their eyes.

Did it work? It did not. Galileo died incarcerated while Europe continued to slumber under stars that moved around them. By today’s standards, Galileo would have been labelled a Conspiracy Theorist from the day he announced his findings until he was proven right fifty years after his death. When the Principle of Gravitational Attraction eventually became widely accepted as true, the church had to retract their position because the motions of the stars and planets could not be explained under Newton’s laws. 

On the other hand, Galileo is credited with being the father of not only observational astronomy, but of the scientific method as well. The scientific method demands that one tests an explanation without bias towards an outcome. All data is considered before deductions are made. When all other explanations have been proven wrong, the only explanation remaining becomes a theory. The theory persists as long as all subsequent experiments continue to uphold it. This is how we ultimately know what we know and have an inkling of what we don’t. If I had to choose a posthumous title for myself, “The Father of the Scientific Method” is one I could die with. Galileo is credited with this honorific not only because he valued it more than his freedom, but because he had the discipline to regard evidence objectively despite how unimaginable the implications were. This is how a body of knowledge expands. By considering the validity of the evidence first, we then can accept what was previously un-imaginable; otherwise what we know tomorrow will be no different than what we know today.

All conspiracy theorists are not Galileos. Neither are all conspiracy theories true. However, can we be certain that all of them are false? At their very core, all conspiracy theories directly or indirectly point at a central authority acting covertly and simultaneously at the media for either missing it or looking the other way. This, of course, is unimaginable, as we all know the government can make mistakes but would never do anything intentionally harmful to its citizens and then hide it. Even if they did, somebody would come forward and the media would let us know about it. This is why such a deception could never occur. The idea that your lover could be in bed with your best friend is inconceivable. Evidence of such a thing would not be credible. Dismissing all conspiracy theories seems logical and therefore seems like the smartest thing to do. 

In “Sapiens”, Yuval Harari proposes an explanation for why our species, Sapiens, out fought, out thought and out survived all other H. species on the planet. He suggests that it was our unique ability to describe and communicate situations and events that had no basis in reality which set us apart. In other words, we could tell stories and they could not. By uniting under a common idea, story or even myth, thousands (and now thousands of millions) of Sapiens could come together with a shared purpose, identity or belief system to disband our cousins who were as individuals more sturdy and just as cunning but not nearly as good at cooperating as we were. This advantage, Harari proposes, has not only led our species to eventual supremacy over all others, but has also allowed us to form communities, governments and global alliances.

Siding with the majority has served us well–until it hasn’t. One only needs to revisit the history of Galileo and basic astronomy to understand this. In actuality, the first observant minds woke up to the fact that the Earth went around the sun and not the other way round nineteen centuries before Galileo did. The Greek mathematician, Aristarcus, is thought to be the first Western person to place the Sun in the middle of a “solar system” in 270 BC. A human being travelled to the moon just 360 years after Galileo “discovered” what Aristarcus had shown nearly two millennia before. How many centuries was this journey delayed because an alternative explanation in ancient Greece became a “conspiracy theory” against authority and convention?

This poses an intriguing question. Is there something hardwired in our behavioural patterns that push us towards conformist narratives and away from alternative ones at a precognitive level? Is it this tendency that gave rise to our enhanced ability to unite that keeps us in “group-think” more than we should be? How do we know we are looking at the world objectively and rejecting alternative belief systems from a purely rational basis? How does one know whether one is biased or not?

One way is to apply the scientific method. The scientific method demands that every possibility, no matter how outlandish, is tested for its veracity and dismissed only when it can be proven wrong. Without this objective pursuit of truth, misconceptions can persist indefinitely, just as the geocentric model of the universe did. Interestingly, Aristarcus was allowed to retain his theory because he lived at a time and place where philosophers, mathematicians and scientists were revered, protected and free to pursue their notions. The freedom ancient Greek society afforded its scientists only endured for a few centuries after Aristarcus lived. In Galileo’s day, the Roman Catholic church had been presiding over such things as facts for well over a thousand years. His incontrovertible proof was suppressed by the power that had the most to lose.

These days, establishing the facts of the matter may not be as easy as we presume. Conspiracy theorists claim to have proof just like the debunkers do. How do we know that the proof offered on either side is valid? Who has the time to apply the scientific method? It certainly seems safer to go with the conventional narrative because surely there are more rational minds in a larger group. Though it seems a reasonable approach, it may be in fact where we misstep. By deferring to others, we assume the majority will arrive at the truth eventually. The problem is that those in the majority who are trained to examine evidence objectively often must take a potentially career-ending risk to even investigate an alternative explanation. Why would an organization be willing to invest the resources to redirect their scientific staff to chase down and evaluate evidence that will likely endanger their reputation with the public without any upside? Thus, conventional narratives survive for another day, or in the case of an Earth-cantered universe, for a couple of thousand years.

Whether or not you are not a “conspiracy theorist” we can all agree that there is a possibility, however slight, that some conventional narratives could be wrong. How would we know? Is there a source that we can trust 100%? Must we rely on our own wits? A short inquiry into this question can be disquieting. Most of us must admit that our understanding of history, science and geopolitics are merely stories that we have been told by people, institutions or media that we trust explicitly or implicitly. Because most of us are not authorities on anything, it would be impossible to overturn any conventional narrative with an evidentiary argument. Challenging these paradigms is necessarily left to others. Generally speaking, there is no real reason to argue with convention if everything is seemingly unfolding acceptably. But what if you wanted to know for yourself ? Is there any way to ever really know the truth without having to have faith in someone or something else?

There may not be. However, it is also naive to believe that if someone, scientist or not, was in possession of evidence that challenged our deepest held beliefs that it would take root in the ethos on its own. Galileo enjoyed unsurpassed credibility as one of Italy’s foremost mathematicians. He also possessed irrefutable, verifiable and reproducible evidence for his revolutionary theory, yet the convention he was challenging did not crumble through his discoveries. History has shown us that it makes no difference how valid a point is; truth emerges only when someone is listening

So, rather than seeking to independently validate or refute what we are being told, it becomes more productive to ask a different question: How biased is our society by historical standards? How does our society regard alternative theories? Do we let them co-exist with convention as the ancient Greeks did? Do we collectively invest resources to investigate them openly? Or do we dismiss, attack and vilify them as was done in the papal states in Galileo’s time? Which kind of society is more likely to get it right? Which runs the greater risk of being hoodwinked in the long run? Which is more free?

About the Author

Although I am an Electrical Engineer and a practicing Anesthesiologist, I consider myself to be primarily an Epistemologist. In other words, I am most interested in how we, as individuals, know what we know. It doesn’t require much inquiry to see that most of us adopt narratives largely from what we have been told. Conscious Media, or the dissemination of information devoid of bias so that it may be considered openly and objectively is therefore vitally important to any society that is interested in the compassionate pursuit of truth. I offer my perspective as a physician and engineer in the hope that it potentiates Collective Spark’s mission to responsibly explore relevant topics and events in a manner that encourages curiosity and engagement.

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As Predicted: Immunity Passports Are No Longer A Fantasy

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Photo Credit: Truth Theory

Derrick Broze, Activist Post

As the European Union announces they are preparing to implement vaccine certificates,” the largest airline association is also preparing to roll out their version of the controversial Immunity Passports.

On Thursday, the European Union’s 27 political leaders held a 5-hour virtual call to discuss the future of reopening travel across the continent. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters the leaders have “agreed that we need vaccine certificates.” Merkel also sought to quell fears about the use of such certificates, stating, “it will certainly be good to have such a certificate but that will not mean that only those who have such a passport will be able to travel; about that, no political decisions have been made yet.”

The discussion around immunity passports has grown in recent months, with the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and Spain all considering some method of verifying whether an individual has been vaccinated or achieved immunity from COVID-19. UK officials have also discussed the potential for the use of a digital verification tool for domestic travel. In the United States, plans for immunity passports are also being developed. On January 21, Joe Biden outlined a 200-page national coronavirus pandemic strategy which included a call for the U.S. government to “assess the feasibility of linking COVID-19 vaccination to International Certificates of Vaccination.”

The statements by world leaders comes on the heels of a press conference held by the International Air Travel Association, which represents 299 airlines. On Wednesday, Alexandre de Juniac, the IATA’s Director General and CEO, detailed the upcoming release of the organization’s own immunity passport, the IATA Travel Pass. A slideshow presentation discussing the IATA Travel Pass indicates that the organization plans to have their app fully functional by the early summer.

“With respect to health credentials these past weeks have seen more airlines sign-up to trial the IATA Travel Pass. That will help us be ready for the restart.,” De Juniac stated. He went on to say that the IATA Travel pass must be secure, work with existing systems of travel, and respect data privacy. He did not provide specific details of how privacy would be respected. De Juniac also noted that proof of vaccination and COVID-19 test results must be digital because “fraudulent COVID-19 test results are already proving to be an issue.”

Immunity Passports

Despite the quick pace of the roll out of these immunity passports, they are not without controversy. According to a poll in June 2020, and a more recent study by the Brookings Institution, the public is evenly divided among support and opposition for immunity passports. “Almost half favour conferring some form of immunity privileges and a small majority are opposed,” the Brookings Institution writes.

The “small majority” opposed to the passports are pushing back out of fears that the passports will create a two-tiered class system where the vaccinated are allowed to travel freely, and the unvaccinated are denied the right to travel, attend concerts, visit museums, drink at the bar, and potentially even shop at the local market. Nicole Hassoun, professor at Binghamton University, recently wrote an opinion piece for Scientific American stating that, “Immunity passports may be inevitable, given current developments in the private sector and historic precedent, but in order for them to be ethical, they must at least include some exceptions. People who cannot access vaccines for health reasons but need to work, attend school, travel and so forth should be able to do so when the benefits exceed the risks.”

Regular readers of TLAV will not be surprised by any of these developments.

In May 2020, TLAV first reported the IATA’s plans for air travel in the post-COVID-19 era. At the time, the IATA issued their publication, Biosecurity for Air Transport A Roadmap for Restarting Aviation, which outlined their strategy to open up air travel as governments begin to lift travel restrictions. The IATA’s call for pre-boarding check-in using “electronic travel authorization platforms” coincided with the announcement of the Covipass and the Health Pass from Clear, both of which call for a digital ID system using biometrics and storing travel, health, and identification data.

In their May 2020 report, the IATA called for temperature screening at entry points to airport terminals and recommended “face coverings” for passengers and protective equipment for airline and airport staff. They also stated that “immunity passports could play an important role in further facilitating the restart of air travel.” Now, one year later, the IATA is helping bring that reality to life as their IATA Travel Pass joins the ranks of the Covipass and Health Pass as proposed options for allowing individuals to travel once again.

In May 2020, TLAV first reported the IATA’s plans for air travel in the post-COVID-19 era. At the time, the IATA issued their publication, Biosecurity for Air Transport A Roadmap for Restarting Aviation, which outlined their strategy to open up air travel as governments begin to lift travel restrictions. The IATA’s call for pre-boarding check-in using “electronic travel authorization platforms” coincided with the announcement of the Covipass and the Health Pass from Clear, both of which call for a digital ID system using biometrics and storing travel, health, and identification data.

In their May 2020 report, the IATA called for temperature screening at entry points to airport terminals and recommended “face coverings” for passengers and protective equipment for airline and airport staff. They also stated that “immunity passports could play an important role in further facilitating the restart of air travel.” Now, one year later, the IATA is helping bring that reality to life as their IATA Travel Pass joins the ranks of the Covipass and Health Pass as proposed options for allowing individuals to travel once again.

As the European Union and the IATA begin to reveal their plans for digital certificates of vaccination, some health experts are speaking out about the ethical and moral concerns regarding the immunity passport schemes. Dr. Deepti Gurdasani, clinical epidemiologist at Queen Mary University of London, told CNBC that “the scientific evidence doesn’t support” vaccine passports and, she believes, “there are lots of ethical concerns about them that I think are legitimate.”

Liberty, the U.K.’s largest civil liberties organization, has also spoke out against the concept. “One thing every suggestion has missed is that it’s impossible to have immunity passports which do not result in human rights abuses,” the organization recently stated. “We should all be able to live our lives free from unnecessary interference – any form of immunity passport would rob us of that. And history tells us that once we give up these hard-won rights, we rarely get them back.”

What was seen as fantastical and paranoid delusion just one year ago – the idea that individuals could have their lives restricted for not vaccinating – is no longer a fantasy. Immunity passports are here. It is likely that by the Summer nations all around the world will require some measure of digital certificate or proof of vaccination for travel, play, work, and shopping. The opponents of these measures need to think and act quickly to decide what, if anything, they are going to do to slow down the march towards medical authoritarianism.

About the Author

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2 and Manifesto of the Free Humans. Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact Derrick@activistpost.com

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New Lancet Article Suggests 50-75% Of “Positive” PCR Tests Are Not Infectious People

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Covid19 Virus
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

PCR testing (polymerase chain reaction testing) has come under fire from numerous doctors, scientists, politicians and journalists since the beginning of this pandemic. Not everyone would know this if their only source of information was mainstream media however, as they’ve chosen not to cover the controversy surrounding it. This is not to say that PCR testing hasn’t been praised as a useful tool to determine a covid infection, but again, there are great causes for concern that aren’t really being addressed.

As far back as 2007, Gina Kolata published an article in the New York Times about how declaring pandemics based on PCR testing can end in a disaster. The article was titled Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t. In July, professor Carl Heneghan, director for the centre of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, an outspoken critic of the current UK response to the pandemic, wrote a piece titled “How many Covid diagnoses are false positives?” He has argued that the proportion of positive tests that are false in the UK could also be as high as 50%.

The Deputy Medical Officer of Ontario, Canada, Dr. Barbara Yaffe recently stated that COVID-19 testing may yield at least 50% false positives. This means that people who test positive for COVID may not actually have it. Former scientific advisor at Pfizer, Dr. Mike Yeadon, argued that the proportion of positive tests that are false may actually be as high as 90%.

Furthermore, 22 researchers have put out a paper explaining why, according to them, it’s clear that the PCR test is not effective in identifying COVID-19 cases, and that as a result we may be seeing a significant amount of false positives. You can read more about that here.

These are simply a few of many examples from the recent past, and it’s concerning because lockdown measures and more are based on supposed positive “cases.”

Another concern recently raised comes from an article published in The Lancet medical journal titled “Clarifying the evidence of SARS-CoC-2 antigen rapid tests in public health responses to COVID-19.”

In it, the authors explain that most people infected with COVID are contagious for approximately one week, and that “specimens are generally not found to contain culture-positive (potentially contagious) virus beyond day 9 after the onset of symptoms, with most transmission occurring before day 5.” They go on to explain:

This timing fits with the observed patterns of virus transmission (usually 2 days before to 5 days after symptom onset), which led public health agencies to recommend a 10-day isolation period. The sort window of transmissibility contrasts with a median 22-33 days of PCR positivity (longer with severe infections and someone shorter among asymptomatic individuals). This suggests that 50-75% of the time an individual is PCR positive, they are likely to be post-infectious.

Once SARS-CoV-2 replication has been controlled by the immune system, RNA levels detectable by PCR on respiratory secretions fall to very low levels when individuals are much less likely to infect others. The remaining RNA copies can take weeks, or occasionally months, to clear, during which time PCR remains positive.

They explain:

However, for public health measures, another approach is needed. Testing to help slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 asks not whether someone has RNA in their nose from earlier infection, but whether they are infectious today. It is a net loss to the health, social, and economic wellbeing of communities if post-infectious individuals test positive and isolate for 10 days. In our view, current PCR testing is therefore not the appropriate gold standard for evaluating a SARS-CoV-2 public health test.

An article published in the British Medical Journal explains:

It’s also unclear to what extent people with no symptoms transmit SARS-CoV-2. The only test for live virus is viral culture. PCR and lateral flow tests do not distinguish live virus. No test of infection or infectiousness is currently available for routine use. As things stand, a person who tests positive with any kind of test may or may not have an active infection with live virus, and may or may not be infectious.

The relations between viral load, viral shedding, infection, infectiousness, and duration of infectiousness are not well understood. In a recent systematic review, no study was able to culture live virus from symptomatic participants after the ninth day of illness, despite persistently high viral loads in quantitative PCR diagnostic tests. However, cycle threshold (Ct) values from PCR tests are not direct measures of viral load and are subject to error.

Searching for people who are asymptomatic yet infectious is like searching for needles that appear and reappear transiently in haystacks, particularly when rates are falling. Mass testing risks the harmful diversion of scarce resources. A further concern is the use of inadequately evaluated tests as screening tools in healthy populations.

The UK’s testing strategy needs to be reset in line with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ recommendation that “Prioritizing rapid testing of symptomatic people is likely to have a greater impact on identifying positive cases and reducing transmission than frequent testing of asymptomatic people in an outbreak area.”

The academics who published this paper are one of many explaining how another approach is needed, given the fact that PCR tests are the basis of lockdowns that might have already, and will kill more people than COVID itself, all for a virus with a 99.95% recovery rate for people under the age of 70. Many are in fact calling for the end of testing for asymptomatic people.

Michael Levitt, a medical professor at Stanford University and a Nobel Laureate for chemistry is one of many who has been emphasizing this:

Getting tested right to avoid making more mistakes going forward [is crucial].” He writes, “very disturbing that PCR test can be positive for up to FIVE times longer than the time an infected person is actually infectious. Many implications.”

Rosamond A K Jones, a retired consultant paediatrician, and part of the Health Advisory & Recovery Team (HART) in Slough, UK, writes with regards to testing in UK schools:

If testing 5 million secondary school pupils twice a week, those 10 million tests would be expected to generate 30,000 false positives. These children would presumably all be sent home from school, with their 30 classmates, leading to almost a million children incorrectly out of school each week.

According to an article written by Robert Hagen MD, who recently retired from Lafayette Orthopaedic Clinic in Indiana:

By base rate fallacy/false positive paradox, if the specificity of a test is 95%, when used in a population with a 2% incidence of disease — such as healthy college students and staff — there will be 5 false positives for every 2 true positives. (The actual incidence of active COVID-19 in college age students is not known but estimated to be less than 0.6% by Indiana University-Fairbanks data. Even using a test with 99% specificity with a 1% population incidence generates 10 false positives for every 9 true positives.

Using the same test on patients with COVID-19 symptoms, because their incidence of disease is 50% or greater, the test does not have to be perfect. Even using a test with only 90% specificity, the number of false positives will be much less significant.

Another issue is with PCR testing is the cycle threshold. PCR seeks the genetic code of the virus from nose or throat swabs and amplifies it over 30–40 cycles, doubling each cycle, enabling even minuscule, potentially single, copies to be detected. I first learned about this when Elon Musk revealed he had completed four rounds of COVID-19 testing, tweeting that something “bogus” is going on because two of the tests came back false, and the other two came back positive.

He also mentioned he was “doing tests from several different labs, same time of day, administered by RN & am requesting N1 gene PCR cycle threshold. There is no official standard for PCR testing. Not sure people realize this.”

And therein lies the problem, something that the World Health Organization finally addressed recently. On January 13th the WHO published a memo regarding the problem of asymptomatic cases being discovered by PCR tests, and suggesting any asymptomatic positive tests be repeated. This followed up their previous memo, instructing labs around the world to use lower cycle thresholds (CT values) for PCR tests. The higher the cycle threshold the greater the chance for false positive rates.

Is this why case rates around the world have started to decline? It seems plausible since the same time cases dropped the WHO told labs to monitor the cycle thresholds which means false positives would reduce.

A Portuguese court has determined that the PCR tests used to detect COVID-19 are not able to prove an infection beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus determined that the detainment of four individuals was unlawful and illegal. In the Portuguese appeal hearing, Jaafar et al. (2020) was cited, explaining how a high CT is correlated with low viral loads.

“If someone is testing by PCR as positive when a threshold of 35 cycles or higher is used (as is the rule in most laboratories in Europe and the US), the probability that said person is infected is  <3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97%.” (source)

The court further noted that the cycle threshold used for the PCR tests currently being made in Portugal is unknown. You can read more about that story here.

“Cases” Are The Basis of Lockdowns 

The information above is indeed telling, because PCR tests are being used to justify lockdown measures and yet there is a huge amount of controversy and inaccuracy with them.

Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight covid as have died of covid.

study published by four medical professors from Stanford University has failed to find evidence supporting the use of what they call “Non-Big Pharma Interventions” (NPIs) like lockdowns, social-distancing, business closures and stay at home orders. According to the study, these measures have not been sufficient and are not sufficient to stop the spread of COVID and therefore are not necessary to combat the spread of the virus.

A group of doctors and scientists published an essay for the American Institute for Economic Research explaining and presenting the data as to why they believe lockdowns are not only harmful, but useless to combat COVID. In the essay they present a multitude of studies supporting the same conclusions found in the Stanford study cited above. You can read that here.

Lockdown harms were pondered early on in the pandemic, a report published in the British Medical Journal titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May .

Bhattacharya, MD, PhD wrote an article  for The Hill titled “Facts, not fear, will stop the pandemic.” In it he points out a number of facts regarding the implications of lockdown measures, which also include that fact that:

Internationally, the lockdowns have placed 130 million people on the brink of starvation, 80 million children at risk for diphtheria, measles and polio, and 1.8 million patients at risk of death from tuberculosis. The lockdowns in developed countries have devastated the poor in poor countries. The World Economic Forum estimates that the lockdowns will cause an additional 150 million people to fall into extreme poverty, 125 times as many people as have died from COVID.

Is a Great Reset Really required? Or should we just go back to normal?  Even if we weren’t in a lockdown, should we still be questioning how we feel about our “normal.” You can dive into a deeper discussion about that here.

The Takeaway 

The one thing that has many more people questioning their government with regards to COVID seems to be the fact that countless amounts of scientists, doctors, journalists and more are being heavily censored for sharing their information, data, research and opinions about COVID when they don’t fit within the accepted framework of mainstream culture.

For example, the Swedish government has said that it will strengthen laws on academic freedom after a leading Swedish academic announced that he was quitting his work on COVID-19 because of an onslaught of intimidating comments from people who disagreed or disliked his research findings. (source)  This is one of many examples, you can see more here.

Dr. Kamran Abbasi, former (recent) executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and a consultant editor for PLOS Medicine. He is editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and JRSM Open recently published a piece in the BMJ, titled “Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science.” I reference this quite a bit in many of my articles so I apologize if you’ve come across it already.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –

I say it in almost every article I write about COVID, should we not have the right to examine information openly and transparently and determine for ourselves what is and what isn’t? Why is it that someone like Dr. Anthony Fauci gets to make an appearance on television with instant virality anytime he desires, while other experts presenting opposing viewpoints are completely ignored? Can the mainstream media make the “consensus” or the majority seem like the minority and the minority seem like the majority?

How are we going to make sense of what is going on and make effective decisions about it all if we are not allowed to talk about certain ideas?

This article (New Lancet Article Suggests 50-75% Of “Positive” PCR Tests Are Not Infectious People) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Two Leading Swedish Health Experts Explain That COVID Lockdowns Have Killed Millions Of People

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Woman holding Swedish flag mask
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

“Over the course of this pandemic I have often wished that Hans Rosling was still alive. For those who are unaware, he was a medical doctor and a professor at Karolinska Institutet who had a particular interest in global health and development. In 2012, Time magazine declared him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. During the last few months of his life, in 2017, he wrote an excellent book called “Factfulness”, that summed up most of his thinking, and described how many of the things people “know” about the world are completely wrong. Hans Rosling is something of a hero of mine, and if he was still alive, I’m sure he would have contributed to bringing some sanity to the current situation. With his global influence, I think people would have listened….Two of Hans Rosling’s former colleagues at Karolinska Instituet, professor Anna-Mia Ekström and professor Stefan Swartling Peterson, have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and come to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight covid as have died of covid directly.”

The quote above comes from Sebastian Rushworth, a medical doctor in Sweden. Reading his recent blog post, I came across the fact that, as you can see above, two of Hans Rosling’s former colleagues at Karolinska Instituet, professor Anna-Mia Elkström and professor Stefan Swartling Peterson, have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and come to the conclusion that least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID directly. I verified this using multiple sources, and it’s true, these professors did in fact come to this conclusion, and there are many sources expressing this. They have been interviewed about their findings on SVT, the Swedish public broadcaster. If you speak Swedish, you can watch a documentary that discusses their conclusions here. (source)(source)

Before we go any further, I’d like to mention that lockdowns may have in fact killed more people already given the fact that we know deaths being marked as “COVID” deaths, in many cases are not actually a result of COVID. For example, Ontario public health clearly states that deaths will be marked as COVID deaths whether or not it’s clear if COVID was the cause or contributed to the death.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the following during the first wave of the pandemic,

If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death.

Professor Anna-Mia Elkström and professor Stefan Swartling Peterson haven’t been the only ones to express concerns. The consequences of lockdowns are many, and we are choosing this approach for a virus with a 99.95% survival rate for people under the age of 70, and a 95% survival rate for people over the age of 70. That said, we do know that the primary reason is to avoid hospital systems from becoming overburdened by apparent COVID cases.

Lockdown harms were pondered early on in the pandemic, a report published in the British Medical Journal titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May .

Bhattacharya, MD, PhD wrote an article  for The Hill titled “Facts, not fear, will stop the pandemic.” In it he points out a number of facts regarding the implications of lockdown measures, which also include that fact that:

Internationally, the lockdowns have placed 130 million people on the brink of starvation, 80 million children at risk for diphtheria, measles and polio, and 1.8 million patients at risk of death from tuberculosis. The lockdowns in developed countries have devastated the poor in poor countries. The World Economic Forum estimates that the lockdowns will cause an additional 150 million people to fall into extreme poverty, 125 times as many people as have died from COVID.

Let’s not forget about the mental/psychological consequences of lockdowns as well, along with the economic factors.

Furthermore, many scientific publications have shown that lockdowns have no impact on the spread of the virus. For example, a study published by four medical professors from Stanford University has failed to find evidence supporting the use of what they call “Non-Pharma Interventions” (NPIs) like lockdowns, social-distancing, business closures and stay at home orders. According to the study, these measures have not been sufficient and are not sufficient to stop the spread of COVID and therefore are not necessary to combat the spread of the virus.

A group of doctors and scientists published an essay for the American Institute for Economic Research explaining and presenting the data as to why they believe lockdowns are not only harmful, but useless to combat COVID. In the essay they present a multitude of studies supporting the same conclusions found in the Stanford study cited above. You can read that here.

Another issue with the pandemic is the problem of false positives. A number of reputable sources, including many public health officials have raised concerns about the potential of false positives, especially when testing asymptomatic people. Many of these people, and based on my research the majority of them, will actually be “false positives.” Meaning they don’t have the virus, and/or are not capable of transmitting it to others. Of course, Facebook fact checkers and others argue otherwise, and herein lies another challenge. With fact checking comes censorship of differing opinions, and thus many are not hearing about these other perspectives because they are being shut out. Should we not be allowed to explore other credible perspectives?

You can find read more about that (PCR testing and false positives) and access sources for that claim, here.

The Censorship of Science

What’s plagued scientists who share the type of information shared above is the censorship they experience. For example, a letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden” expressed that:Formun Üstü

“Despite Sweden’s having kept schools and preschools open, we found a low incidence of severe Covid-19 among schoolchildren and children of preschool age during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic…No child with Covid-19 died…Among the 1,951,905 million children who were 1 to 16 years of age, 15 children had Covid-19, MIS-C, or both conditions and were admitted to an ICU, which is equal to 1 child in 130,000.”

According to a recent article published in the British Medical Journal:

“The Swedish government has said that it will strengthen laws on academic freedom after a leading Swedish academic announced that he was quitting his work on COVID-19 because of an onslaught of intimidating comments from people who disagreed or disliked his research findings.”

The leading Swedish academic is the one who published the paper referenced above.

Below is a tweet from Professor Jay Bhattacharya, a medical professor from Stanford who is also referenced earlier in the article.

At the end of the day, what does it say about our world when so many scientists, credible information, and data is censored? What does it say when only one side of the coin is emphasized and pushed by our governments and mainstream media while the other side is ridiculed, ignored, unacknowledged and, when it does manage to gain traction and reach the masses, it’s labelled as a “conspiracy theory?

Below is a tweet from Martin Kulldorff, a Professor of Medicine at Harvard University. Along with Bhattacharya and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology and one of the world’s foremost infectious disease experts, the Great Barrington Declaration started.

If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s the fact that open and transparent scientific debate should be encouraged, not shut down and censored. I’ve said it many times before, it’s odd how someone like Dr. Anthony Fauci can achieve instant virality through mainstream media yet tens of thousands of experts in the field never see the light of day.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. – Dr. Kamran Abbasi, executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and a consultant editor for PLOS Medicine. He is editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and JRSM Open. Taken from his published a piece in the BMJ, titled “Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science.”

Even If We Weren’t In A Lockdown, We Should Still Be Questioning Our “Normal.

This is an important question at the moment, and we are seeing it in everything from alternative media to mainstream media. As we saw with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, even politicians are warning their citizens that what you see happening now will be the ‘new normal’ to some extent. What do they mean by this? Should we want things to go back to how they were prior to this pandemic? Do we have a future of even more restrictions in sight?

From my perspective, I don’t want things to go back to ‘normal’. Why do I say this? Because I ask myself the question: was life prior to, and even during this pandemic, truly allowing humanity to thrive? Was it anywhere even close to what humanity is capable of? Or is it a society and world designed out of programming that has convinced us to accept basic survival as being how we should live… as normal?

This can be a question for everyone no matter where you live on this planet. Whether the weekly rat race is reality or whether having to worry about whether you will get your next meal is your reality, is this truly how we want to live and what humanity is capable of?

If not, then how can we shift the conversation to begin exploring how we might change the way we live in our society?

Read more here.

This article (22 Scientists Publish Paper Claiming The PCR Test Is “Useless” For Detecting COVID-19 Cases) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Texas & Mississippi Both Lift Mask Mandates & Some Business Restrictions

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Texas & Mississippi Both Lift Mask Mandates & Some Business Restrictions
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

This will feel like good news to many, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has just lifted many of the Covid-19 restrictions in his state. Businesses will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity starting March 10th, and citizens will no longer be required to wear face masks.

The news was given during a speech to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce on March 2nd, letting small businesses and community leaders know that a path towards rebuilding their livelihood is being paved.

The governor also added these words with regards to still abiding by certain safety practices instilled since COVID began:

Following Texas’ announcement, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he plans to end the state’s mask mandate and end all COVID related business restrictions as well. The Governor feels that improved case and hospitalization numbers are a sign that things are ready to return to normal.

Mississippi Governor Reeves feels his latest order “will be one of my last executive orders regarding Covid-19.” The new order replaced the current restrictions with much milder ones that are considered to now be recommendations starting on March 3. There will still be a rule limiting indoor arenas to 50-percent capacity, as well as restrictions on K-12 schools.

Governor Reeves does still remind people that maintaining proper social distancing and other basic safety guidelines is a good idea.

Are we about to see a wave of more states opening up? Might this spread to other countries around the world? We shall see. But the sort of openness and enthusiasm seen by the Governors of Texas and Mississippi is not shared by all, and other health officials feel now is not the time to consider easing restrictions.

Both governors’ stand in stark contrast to that of President Joe Biden, who believes the idea of masks is crucial in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Biden also expects all Americans will remain obedient and in support of masks until at least 2022 and plans to have enough Covid-19 vaccines to vaccinate every citizen around May of 2021.

Why Have Case Counts Dropped?

Answering this questions is very difficult, and this has been the issue with COVID since the start. If you take an honest look at multiple sources, you will see that no one can agree on why anything is happening the way it is. Further to that, open inquiry and proper scientific dialogue is not allowed nor happening. We’ve seen the greatest crisis in collective sense-making I can recall.

Are cases dropping because the WHO updated their instructions for medical professionals in determine what a ‘positive’ result from a PCR test is? A move that would inevitably remove thousands upon thousands of false positives?

Is it because of masks? Some believe so, while other papers show they have no effect. (Additional resource)

Is it because of the lockdowns? Again, some believe they are effective, while other studies show a completely opposite perspective.

You will hear arguments stated assertively from many different camps, but the truth is, no one really knows all that firmly why cases dropped, and to some extent this is normal in a new and developing scientific story.

But all that aside, one thing we do know is that anyone who disagrees with the way COVID is being handled is not allowed to have a platform to speak. What does that tell us? You decide.

Click here for more of our COVID-19 coverage.

This article (Texas & Mississippi Both Lift Mask Mandates & Some Business Restrictions) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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