China Flu 2023 - A New Pandemic ?


PREMO Member
🦠 The next non-story was the new 2023 ‘China flu.’ They all covered it, but Reuters’ version of the story yesterday was headlined, “China grapples with respiratory illness spike, WHO says no unusual pathogen found.” Note Reuters’ restrained headline. It didn’t use words like “worry,” “experts,” “overwhelmed,” or even “mysterious.” And it even included a reassuring word from the WHO in the headline.

But, where corporate media failed to fearmonger, the social media doombloggers took over. Here’s one example:

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Now it’s the opposite of 2020. Back then, media spread the fear, and the independent bloggers tried to defuse the panic. Now the bloggers are panicking.

Corporate media’s stories about the outbreaks of pediatric bacterial pneumonia in two Chinese cities have, if anything, been understated and reassuring. Nor has the WHO or the CDC declared any kind of emergency, or even designated the bacteria as a “variant of interest.” The first two paragraphs of the Reuters article are a typical example:

China called for vigilance on Friday as a surge of respiratory illness hit schools and hospitals and the World Health Organization, which has asked the government for disease data, said no unusual or novel pathogens had been detected.

China is grappling with a spike in respiratory illnesses as it enters its first full winter season since it lifted strict COVID-19 restrictions in December, with cases among children appearing especially high in northern areas like Beijing and Liaoning province where hospitals are warning of long waits.

The key phrase was “since it lifted strict covid-19 restrictions.” Reuters was hinting the outbreaks are the fruit of lockdown-induced immune deficits. But in spite of the media’s delicate, hands-off approach, the outbreak story has triggered a giant wave of urgent hot takes on social media. It’s the big one! Here we go again, just like in 2020! It’s in the same country as Wuhan!

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From all available evidence, this is not the “big one.” Bacterial outbreaks are usually localized and can often be traced to a single source like poop-fertilized produce or septic-tainted water. Bacteria are bad candidates for pandemics, mainly because they’re too big to go airborne, and normally must be transmitted through food or water.

Comparatively, if a tiny airborne virus is like a mosquito, a bacteria is like an elephant. It’s a totally different scale, and bacteria, like elephants, are too fat to fly.

But the doomblogging drums beat on. Here is another example, which even used the tiresome word “overwhelmed,” and invoked a scary “mystery,” even though corporate media hasn’t used either term.

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Ugh. Nothing like that has happened yet. No deaths have yet been reported. No schools have yet been closed. No travel has been shut down. No hospitals have imploded. Given the popularity of these kinds of posts, sometimes I think there must be a lot of people out there who enjoy darkly fantasizing about remote, worst-case scenarios.

Doomblogging gets clicks and more followers. But the reality here is only — so far — that the Chinese are dealing with a couple bacterial outbreaks, and there is no evidence yet of any threat of a new pandemic. I do find it curious, even a little weird, how cautiously the media is approaching the subject, given how much they usually love a good disease story. But maybe the lagging world economy has them spooked.

Bottom line: I’ll happily debunk some over-hyped non-stories! It’s so much lighter than covering more exciting topics like real pandemics or war news.



PREMO Member

U.S. Sounds The Alarm After New Chinese ‘Pneumonia Outbreak Raises Serious Questions’

NBC News reported that the outbreak in northern China has caused hospitals to become “overwhelmed with sick children,” according to ProMED, a publicly available reporting system for emerging diseases and outbreaks.

The news comes after COVID-19 began spreading in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and in the span of a couple months threw the entire world into a global pandemic that killed millions and was used by governments to implement draconian measures.

“China’s recent pneumonia outbreak raises serious questions, and the World Health Organization is asking them,” said U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel.

“It’s time to abandon COVID deception and delays as transparent and timely information saves lives,” he said. “Full cooperation with the international community is not an option, it’s a public health imperative. Will Beijing step up?”


PREMO Member
🔥 Let’s talk mystery diseases! The “Chinese mystery pneumonia,” which is not a mystery, is “overwhelming” Chinese hospitals (meaning not overwhelming them), and “spreading” to other countries. The UK Express ran a story yesterday headlined, “Full list of countries affected by Chinese respiratory illness.”

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But, as we’ll see, it is NOT a “Chinese respiratory illness.” The headline was explicitly belied by the article.

The article claimed that Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Singapore are all reporting spikes in childhood respiratory infections, with Denmark reaching “epidemic” rates. But here’s the important part, which helps explain the “mysterious” coverage of this mysterious outbreak. The outbreak is not of any novel virus like covid. It’s an outbreak of familiar childhood infections:

A spokesperson from the National Health Commission explained on Sunday that the respiratory infections result from a combination of familiar viruses such as influenza, rhinoviruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenovirus, and bacteria like mycoplasma pneumonia.​

U.S. media is now cautiously reporting the same thing here in the states. The Messenger ran a story yesterday headlined, Mysterious Pneumonia Outbreak Emerges in US — Days After Similar Illness Reported in China. Mostly so far it’s only one county in Ohio. Check out the uncharacteristically reassuring sub-headline, “Officials in Warren county said that they do not believe there are new pathogens spreading.”

Media loves a good mystery disease story. The mystery is why they are down-playing this one.

Hmm. Since you can’t go wrong these days assuming that the Public Health Establishment (PHE) and the media are lying and trying to cover up some dreadful failure, let’s follow that line and see if we can figure out what might really be going on. This article provided two hints. Just like in China, and now in Europe, kids in Warren county, Ohio appear to be suffering from outbreaks of multiple known pathogens.

Unlike with covid, now the “mystery” isn’t with the bugs. They know which bugs are infecting kids. There’s nothing new about them. The mystery is, why are these particular bugs — which are commonplace and otherwise completely uninteresting, and against which kids should already be immune — why are they flaring up now?

No new pathogens have been detected in any of these outbreaks, so far quelling fears that these surges of cases are the early signs of a new pandemic. At least three known pathogens have been detected in the outbreak, including Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and the adenovirus. However, these bugs regularly circulate in the U.S., making it unclear why a sudden surge is appearing now.​

The PHE’s ‘tell’ is when they claim to be baffled. What we learned from covid is that PHE acts most confident when it knows the least about what’s going on. When they admit to being baffled, it means the opposite: they know exactly what’s going on, but don’t want to admit it. Probably because it was their fault.

The Messenger article included another hint, the evolving explanatory narrative — possibly a limited hangout — that lockdowns are to blame:

Chinese officials … blame the country’s strict COVID prevention policies for the large uptick in cases, saying their population is now vulnerable to regular bugs after limited exposure in recent years.​

In other words: immune suppression. Whatever the cause, immune suppression is not good for the PHE (or kids). If kids’ immune systems are suppressed because they didn’t get normal community exposure because of lockdowns and school closures, then the CDC’s nightmarish incompetence has heaved into sight once again. But there’s another possibility, the one keeping PHE up at night and making them invoke the “baffled” defense: what if it’s the jabs?

Jabbed kids could be immune suppressed by several possible mRNA mechanisms, including theories like autoimmunity, IgG4 class switching, molecular mimicry, immune imprinting, and so forth. Or, immune-suppressed adults could be breeding more virulent versions of common diseases, that are then being passed to kids, who are like sick canaries in the coal mine.

The most commonly cited culprit in the outbreak articles was Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a type of parasitic bacteria. Another hint! According to most of the recent articles, doctors are treating all these infections with antibiotics like azithromycin. But it only took me about five seconds to find this 2013 study:

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Ivermectin is the synthetic form of naturally-occurring “avermectin.” So. Granted, the above study tested ivermectin against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and did not speculate whether the drug is effective against the entire family of Mycobacteria. But I did find another study showing ivermectin effective against Mycobacterium ulcerans. And I found one concluding ivermectin combined with doxycycline was effective against both Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Streptococcus pneumoniae, in a 2022 study titled, Combined therapy with ivermectin and doxycycline can effectively alleviate the cytokine storm of COVID-19 infection.

It might be worth a look. I’m just saying.



PREMO Member
💩 Question asked! The New York Times reporters are just obsessed with Americans’ bathroom habits. The Gray Lady ran a scatalogical story yesterday (non-paywalled!) headlined, “We Are in a Big Covid Wave. But Just How Big?

(That’s what she said.)

It was another unintentionally hilarious feces-focus story, and in a sane world the conversation about wastewater testing as anything but a fetid fetish should be over. The sub-headline seemed to recognize the thin ice over the septic pond, admitting “Wastewater data has become perhaps the best metric to track the spread of the virus in the U.S., but it’s an imperfect tool.

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Bwahaha! Read the fine print under the chart again. I defy you to explain what on Earth this is supposed to mean:

Note: the C.D.C. calculates a viral activity level for each testing site as the number of standard deviations above a baseline, set at the 10th percentile of the normalized viral RNA concentration data. The national estimate is the median activity level for sites with at least six weeks of data.

Remember — the Covidians are clutching their wastewater data the way a hypochondriac hangs onto two months of carefully-collected stool samples. The article recognized this, acknowledging “For many who remain at higher risk from the virus — like those who are older, immunocompromised or already have a serious illness — it’s become a crucial tool helping them understand when to be particularly careful.” It’s all they have left! The other measurements have let them down. Disappointingly, as the article admitted, covid “hospitalizations and deaths have remained far lower than in previous years.”

So without wastewater estimates, it would be all over, time to take off the mask. Which is a terrifying nightmare for your average Covidian.

The sub-headline euphemistically called the viral-load estimates “imperfect.” How imperfect? Well, first — as that inscrutable disclaimer indicated — they lack data from everywhere. They only have it from a few testing sites. Just how many is a closely-guarded secret. Nobody’s saying how many sites are included; whatever that number is, it appears to change from week to week. That’s why they extrapolate the national figure.

Meaning, they’re guessing. Again.

But the, um, lack of precision gets even worse. Wastewater testing is doo-doo voodoo. Here are the various problems described at various points in the article, which I edited together:

(Wastewater testing is) an imperfect metric, useful primarily for identifying if there’s an acceleration of virus spread, not for telling you exactly how much virus is circulating. The data is often reported as normalized viral copies per milliliter or per gram, a number that is nearly impossible to translate into precise case counts. And the C.D.C. doesn’t show the actual concentration levels — its dashboard instead shows how much they have increased relative to when spread was low.

The amount of RNA in a sample will fluctuate depending on many factors, including the local population at any given time — think of a holiday influx into Miami or a college town emptying out for summer — and how much other material, such as industrial waste, is in the system. A peak in the data may not mean exactly the same thing this year as it did last year.

And nationwide estimates can be tricky. The data excludes people with septic tanks and cities with no wastewater testing. There can be data lapses, as when the C.D.C. switched contractors last year. Existing sites can stop testing, and new sites start up, as the network changes and expands.

Finally, there are changes to the virus itself that could make comparisons over time more difficult. Scientists say there are hints that this latest variant, JN.1, may be able to better replicate in the gut. It could mean that infected people shed more viral copies than they used to, (making the) same number of infections look like a lot more Covid.

Sounds great. By “great,” I mean completely unreliable. What does the Times suggest Covidians do with all these stinky problems that make wastewater testing look like a pile of BS? Here is the country’s top newspaper’s scientific suggestion:

Many experts who study this data recommend dropping any notion of precision and just squinting a little at the line’s recent trajectory.

Just squint at the wastewater data! No, not that much. If you squint just right, you might even start to believe.

It’s Science, so shut up.