JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Good News! Many Vax Mandates end in England, Ireland, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Denmark

It’s a miracle. Common sense. For the first time in two years government rules are shrinking.

A lot of this is thanks to Omicron, the gift from Africa.

In terms of infections the UK is past the peak, but most of Europe is a viral Firestorm. France just recorded a half a million new Covid cases in a single day, and with a test positivity of 31% awesome percent. Something like 1 – 3% of the entire French nation caught Covid yesterday.

All the past awful waves shrink before Omicron. | Source OWID

Despite the bonfire of cases, the deaths are lower than any wave:

A glorious contrast in graphs:

Deaths per million in Europe | OWID ..

With the disaster averted in the hospitals, suddenly political leaders are changing tune. We might think this is all just thanks to the magic of Omicronic nicety, but cases are still rising in places like Denmark and France and yet the Governments are already pulling back. That’s surely thanks to the pressure of mass protests. Without that pain and anger, political leaders wouldn’t be acting so early.

Though it helps that millions of people are catching Omicron and […]

Plastics are not forever: Bugs already evolved 30,000 new plastic eating enzymes

flockine

Plastics are a free dinner for life on Earth so it was just a matter of time before microbes evolved to eat it.

A PET bottle normally takes 16 – 48 years to break down, but if it were lunch for microflora it would take weeks instead. Hydrocarbons are ultimately just different forms of C-H-O waiting to be liberated as carbon dioxide and water. The only question was “how long” it would take bacteria and fungi to break those unusual bonds.

Sooner or later all plastic will be biodegradable.

Polyethylene-terephthalate (PET)

The first bacteria known to chew through PET bottles was discovered at a Japanese rubbish dump in 2016. But we had no idea then just how advanced the microbial world of plastic processing was.

Instead of hunting for single bacteria Zrimec et al mined through collected metagenomes of soil and ocean and found not just 5 or 10 new enzymes but 30,000. It appears that they could metabolize at least ten different types of plastic.

And in places where there was more plastic pollution, there were more enzymes. All over the world a whole new ecosystem is rising out of the puddles and bubbles […]

Oh the mystery of how coronavirus doesn’t infect and kill people in Japan anymore?

Absolutely no one who writes for newspapers has any idea of why Covid may have almost completely disappeared from Japan since the sudden Delta wave in August. The trajectory collapsed on August 25th and vaccines don’t explain it.

“While Omicron explodes around the world, COVID cases in Japan plummet and no one knows why”

Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 23

Call it the hunt for a potential “X factor,” such as genetics, that may explain the trend and inform how Japan could deal with the next wave. While the new highly transmissible Omicron variant has appeared in the country and experts suspect there is already some community spread, the overall transmission rate of the virus and coronavirus-related deaths in Japan have remained low. “

” “Honestly, we do not know the exact reason behind the sudden drop in COVID deaths in Japan,” said Taro Yamamoto, professor of global health at Nagasaki University’s Institute of Tropical Medicine. “

There is no mention of the-drug-that-shall-not-be-named — Voldermectin. But on August 13th as the third major wave was running out of control, a high ranking doctor in Tokyo recommended doctors use ivermectin. Dr. Haruo Ozaki, the […]

Another cheap safe way to cut Covid by 80% that the Health Dept can ignore

In more news you can use before Christmas, here’s another cheap easy way to put the brakes on Covid — this time with the antiseptic Povidone-Iodine (PVP).

While Carrageenan can clog up the virus in the passages behind your nose, it doesn’t necessarily do much to stop the virus replicating in your mouth and throat. But a regular swish or a sniff with Povidone-iodine can reduce the viral load to nothing in a matter of 15 to 30 seconds. Note, you’re supposed to spit it out again, not drink it and make sure to use a very dilute solution.

Saliva can contain as many as 100 million infectious copies of Covid per ml, so the aim here is to reduce the number drastically every four hours. It’ll reduce the risk of you infecting people around you, and probably help buy yourself time to fight back against the virus.

Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator

Between February and August last year Choudhury et al enrolled 600 people in Bangladesh. Half were asked to use a 1% povidone iodine solution to gargle, use in nasal drops and eye drops. They were asked to do this every 4 hours for 4 […]

News you can use for Christmas: Carrageenan, Irish Moss in nasal sprays reduced Covid infections by 80%

Irish Moss, by Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen. | 1896

More than one hundred years ago the Irish believed an extract from a red seaweed could cure sick cows, and humans with colds and flu’s. In terms of early treatment modern medical science is slowly catching up with 19th Century farmers. In a small trial this year medical workers were 80% less likely to catch Covid if they were using a nasal spray with the “Irish Moss” carrageenan extract. It’s only a case of 2 out of 200 catching Covid in the test group, compared to 10 out of 200 in the placebo group, so the “80%” is a rubbery number, but it was a randomized control trial, and there are other lab test results which suggest the effect is real.

And because we recently figured out it was useful against common colds and influenza’s, nasal sprays with this common safe food additive are already on sale at the Chemist. So you can pop in and get one before Christmas Parties.

Carrageenan or “Irish Moss” is a polysaccaride gel from a red seaweed. It works by gumming things up for quite a few viruses — basically getting in […]

Say hello Serf to your new Head of State, Mr Pfizer?

So imagine you live in a house with six people and you elect one of them to do a deal with the chemist to supply the whole house drugs. When you get back from Hardware Mart, he’s done the deal, but you can’t see the contract, or the trial data, you don’t know what it costs, or how long it lasts, but the money will be auto-drawn in unmarked tranches until such time as it is not. Then you find out you have to take the drug, or you won’t be allowed in the kitchen.

It’s a crime in the house, but ok for a nation?

There have been several allegedly leaked contracts with Pfizer, one from Albania, and others from Brazil and South America. They all make extraordinary claims, they can’t be backed up. They might all be fakes but here’s the thing, we don’t know they’re fake because we can’t see the real thing.

Is Pfizer the bully that asked Argentina to accept all liability on its behalf and put its bank reserves, military bases and embassies at stake as collateral? “That the rules of the land don’t apply”. That the government may not discuss […]

Antihistamines and the remarkable story of the freakishly good treatment plan in Spain that no one mentions

In March 2020 a group of doctors working in nursing homes in Toledo, Spain faced a new pandemic with no effective treatment plan. They figured out their own protocol as best they could with what can only be described as freakish success. In nearby Albacete when Covid struck 1084 nursing home residents, 303 of them died, a 28% fatality rate. But in Toledo, of the 90 patients in nursing homes under Doctor Blanco’s care, only 6 died, and they all died before the team figured out their own new treatment plan. Of the 84 residents who were then treated with antihistamines like Polaramine, all 84 would make it. Every single one, even though their mean age was 85.

It seems too good to be true. Antihistamines are used to calm an overactive immune system (itchy, sneezes and runny noses) but they are not known for their anti-viral activity, though it turns there is some.

And while the antihistamines are possibly very helpful, the whole treatment protocol was so much more, and also included nasal washes, antibiotics, and prednisone, as well as something called “respiratory physiotherapy”. Somehow these doctors, saints or geniuses, had figured out a combination that […]

Blockbuster paper: Covid vaccines may not improve your chances of staying alive at all even in a pandemic

A scandal of epic proportions

The data in the UK is some of the best in the world, but if a person has a vaccine and dies in the next two weeks, it’s classed as an “unvaccinated death”. People are not counted as fully vaccinated until 14 days after their second dose, which makes sense if we’re only looking at Covid deaths. But it doesn’t make sense when looking at other deaths. This delayed categorization leads to enigmatic effects, to say the least.

Strangely, the unvaccinated are increasingly likely to die from the week after other people in their age group get the vaccine…

The graph below of the 70-something age group in the UK, charts the non-Covid deaths — all the heart attacks, strokes, cancer and accidents. But notice how the first dose of Covid vaccines peaked in Week 5 (the grey dashed line), but the mortality of the unvaccinated (the blue line) peaks 2 weeks later? These are the non-covid deaths, so heart attacks, strokes, all kinds of things are killing the unvaccinated two weeks after the peak in vaccination for other people in their age-group.

Most 70-somethings who did get vaccinated, got their second dose […]

Omicron looking less deadly, but South Africa has a lot of natural immunity

The short: Get excited but not too excited yet.

Omicron is not putting as many people in the ICU as Delta did (so far) which is very promising, but it’s still early days, and in South Africa 60% of urban adults have already had Covid so carry the best kind of protection there is. In the UK, only 20% of the population carry these antibodies. In Australia, which has some of the most extensive testing in the world, only 0.8% of the whole population has tested positive.

Omicron appears to be fiercely contagious, which may turn out to be a good thing because it will replace the Delta strain at lightning speed. The spread is just extraordinary. Up to 4,000 Britons are catching Omicron each day, about 10% of Covid cases in the UK are already Omicron, and many of those are children. Projections are that Omicron may have completely displaced Delta by New Year in the UK. But even if hospitalizations are a third as likely, it could still overwhelm hospitals.

Hospitalizations are up 80% in South Africa in the last week. But cases in the original Gauteng region have leveled off, and are already starting to fall.

I’m […]

Is Omicron the vaccine we’ve been waiting for?

Omicron is a superspreader, but so far behaving better than expected

It appears Omicron will replace Delta around the world. Not only has it rapidly replaced Delta in South Africa, there have now been three superspreader events in Norway, one of which infected 120 people, and another one in Denmark that infected 52.

Omicron is acting for all the world like the same cluster spreading Covid we know so well. And of course, it is happily shed and spread by both the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. Quick, lock one of them up?

South African Covid Cases | Source: OWID

With 16,000 cases a day, and test-positivity up to 25%, there is no doubt there is a real and rampant wave of infections.

All over the world epidemiologists and doctors are watching for hospitalization statistics from South Africa. What is promising are the change in symptoms:

South Africa Fuels Omicron Hope as Hospitalizations in Check

In another encouraging sign, the Steve Biko and Tshwane District Hospital Complex in Pretoria, South Africa, said that most patients in the Covid wards didn’t require oxygen. That marks a departure from previous waves.

_MSN

There are conflicting […]