Dean L. Gano
Long read but worth it!!!
Eight Lessons Learned (So Far)
From the COVID-19 Economic Shutdown
1. We solved the wrong problem.
2. Never listen to an epidemiologist again.
3. The “Scientific” Models Suck.
4. Groupthink will kill more people than the virus, so don’t let it suck you in.
5. Follow the science not the politicians or fake news media.
6. Change our laws to prevent any leader from ever trampling our liberties again.
7. Make all critical medicines and medical supplies in America.
8. Teach effective problem-solving skills in our schools.
1. We solved the wrong problem
The problem was defined by epidemiologists from the CDC, WHO, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director as a pandemic that would kill millions of people and overload our healthcare facilities resulting in more uncontrolled deaths and chaos. So, to prevent that from happening our politicians listened to these trusted experts called epidemiologists.
Epidemiologists are public health professionals who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury in humans. They seek to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education and health policy. When presented with an epidemic their go to solution is to prevent the spread so as to minimize the number of cases and hence deaths. Note, they are focused on preventing the spread, not death, or civil liberties or the economy. The tools they use to estimate the spread are called mathematical epidemiology, statistical models, dynamical models, agent-based models, machine learning models. For more details see this National Institute of Health paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3710332/
Once these scientists study the problem, they make recommendations to the politicians for any actions. It is the politician’s job to assess the validity and significance of the problem and act accordingly. And here in lies the fatal error most governors and President Trump made. These leaders apparently did not ask what the true significance of this problem was and how effective the models are, so let’s do that:
Significance Not Defined:
On March 5, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) told the world that the significance of this problem was a 3.4% death rate of those infected. Based on what the epidemiologists knew of the infection rate in the general population, that would mean about 2.2 million people in the United States would die. But, as we have learned, we cannot trust the WHO. So, what is the basis of their number? Could we do better?
One way to find out, would have been to study the only controlled infection case we knew of at the time – the Diamond Princess Cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan in February and March, 2020, where the death rate was only 1.3% of those infected, not 3.4% – but that is still 850,000 people in the US that would die. But is the cruise ship representative of the general population? NO, but we can still learn from it. The people were generally older than the average U.S. population, and they were, in effect, all living in the same house, but let’s look a little closer.
Among 3,711 Diamond Princess passengers and crew, 712 (19.2%) had positive test results for SARS-CoV-2 (Figure 1). Of these, 331 (46.5%) were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Among 381 symptomatic patients, 37 (9.7%) required intensive care, and nine (1.3%) died.
The above statement and Figure are provided by the WHO. Notice the death rate they give is for the number of people who contracted the virus, not the entire population of the ship. If we divide 9 deaths by 3,711 passenger/crew, we get a death rate for the entire population of 0.24%, or one in 412 people died. And over 98% of the people on this ship had no or minor symptoms. Does that sound like a problem we should shut down the economy over?
But let’s look a little closer at the cruise ship event. A cruise ship is like a home, where everyone in it is eating, socializing, and most importantly touching the same surfaces and breathing the same air. Unlike most of our communities where people live in their own houses and do not touch the same surfaces or breath the same air as their neighbors, except when they leave occasionally to go out for food, medicine, entertainment, etc. This is especially true in rural communities, but not so much for large cities like NYC and Seattle, where the number of infected people are highest. So, if this disease only severely affected 2% of the people on the cruise ship, it would be much less in the general population where only 21% of the population is over 55 years old compared to probably 90% of the cruise ship guests. Given these conditions, the number of people that would be affected in the general population would be much less than the 2%, and which has come true today.
Note: This information was known by all the epidemiologists in the world in late February, almost a month before the Governors started shutting down the economy, so why didn’t they know or acknowledge it?
Before any decisions should have be made on how to respond to this pandemic, the politicians should have asked how does the estimated number of deaths compare to other causes we accept as normal. This would have given them and us a relative significance on which to make a decision to proceed. If they would have asked, they would have found the following:
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 0.86% of the US population died from ALL causes in 2019, which is about 2,800,000 deaths. If the Wuhan corona virus kills 200,000 people in the US in 2020 as suggested by Dr. Anthony Fauci that would be a 7% increase in the total number of deaths from all causes. This provides some perspective of the significance, but let’s see how it compares to other causes of death in the United States:
Falls of people over 65
The total number of ALL deaths per year means one person in every 116 people die each year from “acceptable causes,” meaning causes that do not require us to cease living our lives, violate our fundamental liberties, and destroy our economy. As a point of reference, New York State, the hardest hit state in the union, is projected to have about one death from COVID-19 for every 850 people. That’s seven times less than what society seems to accept as normal.
If our chief epidemiologist Dr. Fauci had been right about the 200,000 deaths, which he is not, this problem would be the same significance as the number of old people who fall down and die each year. And, also note the similarity to this virus, in that it’s not the fall that kills them, it is some other pre-existing condition that the fall exacerbates.
So, the data was available in February to determine the significance of this new threat, but apparently no one even looked at it – WHY? Should we destroy the best economy this country has ever seen to prevent killing another 200,000 people? Not 2.2 million as the WHO predicted, but 200,000 and obviously much less? Or given current projections, about the same as the number of Drug Overdoses from last year. That’s 1 in 5000 people versus 1 in 116 for all causes of death, or 43 times less than what is acceptable to society today.
As we can see from this analysis so far, because our government leaders did not adequately define the problem and its significance. They came up with the wrong solution because they focused on the wrong cause. Was it Groupthink or incompetence or what? Let’s take another look, because there is much more to their ineffective thinking…..
2. Never listen to an epidemiologist again
Let’s look more closely at the logic behind this disastrous decision. The solution that was defined by Dr. Fauci and other epidemiologists was to stop the spread of the disease and by doing so reduce the number of deaths. Their focus has always been on stopping the spread, not stopping death!
What if they had focused on stopping the deaths instead? Of course, that is not what epidemiologist do, but it is what the politicians should have focused on. In fact, President Trump has tried several times to suggest we use various drugs to treat this disease, only to be poo-pooed by the main stream media, Democrats, and other Trump haters. He even made sure there were 35 – 40 million doses of Hydroxychloroquine available to the medical community and asked the drug companies to make more. So, who was right? In a recent global survey of physicians, President Trump has been proven right because they reported Hydroxychloroquine as the most effective treatment for COVID-19.
Had these government officials been a little more inquisitive, they might have asked a few more questions, like the following:
- Why are there so few deaths in countries where they have a problem with malaria?
Deaths from CV19
1 in 1.5 million
1 in 1.3 million
1 in 4 million
1 in 1.9 million
1 in 200,000
1 in 5.1 million
Possible Answer: Many people in these countries take Hydroxychloroquine to prevent malaria – they have been doing this for decades without any side-effects; it’s part of daily life and no one gives it a second thought. Also, very few people in these countries are obese, versus 40% in the US. And obesity is the number one comorbidity cause for COVID-19 deaths in the US.
News Flash: Another report from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said that the total number of reported COVID-19 patients treated with Hydroxychloroquine was 2,333. Of these, 2,137 or 91.6% improved clinically. Of the 63 deaths, 52 were severely ill before getting the virus.
- Why are half of those infected asymptomatic?
Once they discovered this fact from the Princess Cruise Ship in February, why didn’t someone start asking why? Do they have some natural immunity? What is it? Can we learn something more about the causes of transmission by understanding the answer to this question? Fortunately, some people did ask this question, but no one in government did – why not? The one report I found answering this question stated that those who were asymptomatic had high levels of zinc in their blood serum, but why didn’t the “experts” ask this question and get a definitive answer? By understanding the causes of this natural immunity, we could provide a simple solution for everyone on the planet.
All inflammatory and immunosuppressive diseases result from or are caused by Zinc deficiencies. Zinc is critical to over 300 enzymatic regulatory functions in the body.
Given this knowledge about zinc, wouldn’t a good solution be to help the immune system work better by giving it some Zinc? The Best Offense is a Good Defense, right? Well, that is what some clinicians have done, and it is working.
Dr. Vladimir Zelenko of New York treated 699 coronavirus patients with 100% success using Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate, Zinc and Z-Pak (aka Zithromax). For details read this report:
“Hydroxychloroquine is a game changer and the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic,” Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Stephen Smith says. See article below:
- Were the people that have died so far given the Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Z-Pak treatment?
I can’t find an answer to this question but if governors, like the one in Arizona are limiting use of hydroxychloroquine and my own doctor is reluctant to use it, we have a significant lack of knowledge going on here.
Furthermore, if some people are too afraid to go to the hospital and then go after they get really sick (which I think happens more often than not), did they receive Remdesivir , Pyrithione, or any of the other antiviral drugs that seem to work to stop the virus in its tracks within hours?
If people died because they did not get those treatments, then our medical community is remise. If they did get these treatments and they still died, was it because the pre-existing conditions were in the process of killing them anyway and the virus just sped up the inevitable? If it is the later, as it was in 83% of the deaths in the AAPS Report, then the deaths should not be primarily attributed to COVID-19; rather the pre-existing condition. Given this inappropriate counting, the official general-population death rate should be significantly reduced.
A major issue behind the scenes is that most drug companies don’t recognize the significance of zinc but stress the importance of the drug carrier of the zinc because they can’t make money on a natural food component. Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, and Pyrithione are drugs which transport zinc as the curative agent. President Trump did mention Zinc as part of the hydroxychloroquine solution but the news media and follow-up medical reports don’t report or recognize the significance of zinc as the curative agent and instead focus on the drug carriers of zinc. Remdesivir is currently being promoted as a potential cure but zinc is the actual curative agent and the drug ionophore is being sold as the curative agent. More on this in the next questions that should have been asked.
Also, a good friend of mine, E.J. Ledet, who is a retired Bio-chemist, asks the following two questions:
- What is it about Hydroxychloroquine and Remdesivir that makes it work so well?
Because both are ionophores, meaning they act as an agent to help bond molecules together. In 2010, a collaboration of university-based researchers in The Netherlands and the USA produced an NIH Report showing that the combination of the trace mineral zinc plus a zinc transport molecule called an ionophore facilitates zinc’s entry into cells and efficiently impairs the replication of RNA viruses, like the newly mutated COVID-19 coronavirus.
It appears that Hydroxychloroquine and Remdesivir work by helping the natural zinc in our bodies stop the COVID-19 and other corona viruses from replicating inside infected patient’s cells. We also know that many naturally occurring ionophores, like quercetin, resveratrol, ECGC, and other polyphenol flavonoids which occur in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate, red wine, green/black teas can do the same thing.
But wait a minute, if I can buy zinc and quercetin supplements over the counter or just eat healthy foods like oysters and crab meat along with some fruit and dark chocolate, why would I need these drugs? Oh, because the drug manufacturers don’t want you to know about this, because it would shut down their huge vaccine producing machine that they make billions of dollars from. Remember, these simple products (zinc & flavonoids) facilitate hundreds of enzymatic reactions in our body that prevent many viruses, including the common cold virus from replicating in our cells. And, our scientist have known about this for more than 10 years.
So, if you get nothing more out of this article, I hope you start taking zinc and bioflavonoid supplements, watch your weight, watch what you touch, wash your hands a lot, and get lots of sunshine.
- Why aren’t we testing for blood serum zinc levels?
Since the current COVID-19 testing methods have to be implemented and utilized in the field to determine if an individual has the virus and/or has been exposed to it and may have acquired immunity, why not develop a correlation between a simple blood serum, saliva, or feces Zinc test and these current RNA/antibody tests to determine if a person’s extracellular Zinc concentration can be a predictive indicator of survivability/mortality against COVID-19 and other inflammatory/immunosuppressive diseases?
Once enough data from all these tests can be collected and correlation graph(s) generated, then a simple, quick field test can be implemented to derive sufficient, representative data the world needs to fight, contain, and defeat this pandemic and other correlated Zinc deficiency diseases.
Mr. Ledet goes on to say: “Save lives and reopen our economy – Use blood serum zinc plus nature’s ionophores, the most cost effective and timely solution, to resolve the problem of a viral and economic pandemic.”
So, just like the fake science of man-caused climate change, Dr. Fauci and his Epidemiologist friends have failed us miserably. Let’s look a little closer to see why they failed us so bad.
3. The “Scientific” Models Suck
By listening to the “experts” in epidemiology who used defective models to base economic decisions on, our politicians have made yet another huge blunder.
The models have been wrong every step of the way, but why? These so-called scientific models take a dataset and plot it on a graph and then try to define the shape of the graph with some kind of algorithm. For example: Regression models try to detect an outbreak from a time-series of epidemic-free periods by monitoring a statistic of reported infected cases, say y(t). An epidemic alert is raised when a certain threshold, say k, is surpassed, defined by ½y(t) – m½> k, (μ being the mean value of the time-series distribution) within some confidence interval (read as guess).
A basic regression model that was initially constructed to monitor the deaths from influenza based on the seasonal pattern of pneumonia and influenza deaths is presented here: y(t) = a + bt + å c cos q + å d sin q + e(t). Where θ is a linear function of time t and the coefficients are to be determined by a parameter identification technique. The cosine and sine terms are used to approximate (again, read as guess) cyclical seasonal patterns; e (t) is the noise (assuming that it is Gaussian distributed with mean zero and variance σ2) which is estimated (guess) from the time-series. The model was fitted using data from 108 U.S. cities for a 3-year period starting in September of 1955.
As you can see, this is very precise science, right? WRONG, it is guessing! And while this may be too technical for the average person (including me), that’s OK. The important thing to understand about these models is they do not reflect reality – they are just a mathematical equation that kind of represents how various parameters interact, based on someone’s observations. This is also the same kind of modeling that is done by the “man-caused climate change scientists” and none of thier models have ever been correct in predicting future climate.
Reality requires that you understand all the causes of any given phenomenon. So, if we ask why did someone die from COVID-19, we might start by answering that it was caused by suffocation which was caused by their lungs filling up with fluid, which was caused by COVID-19 virus attacking their lungs, which was caused by a lack of blood serum zinc, etc. But, it is more complicated than that. The principles of causation, which define reality require us to follow some very specific rules when asking why.
The principles of causation are as follows:
- 1. Cause and effect are the same thing only viewed from a different point in time.
- 2. Each effect must have at least two causes and they come in the form of actions and conditions.
- 3. Causes and effects are part of an infinite continuum of causes.
- 4. An effect only exists if its causes exist in the same space and time frame.
Because every time we ask why we must get at least two causes, if we ask why again, we have four causes, and then eight, etc. See Figure 2 below for an illustration of this concept that defines reality.
Since our scientists have never been taught these fundamental principles, they do not use them and hence their work is suspect. Only by understanding the evidenced-based causal relationships can we have confidence in a model.
By not using a causal analysis, the models are defective at their core and should never be used to make public policy – especially a policy that kills our economy and robs us of our God given rights.
So why would these highly intelligent people do such a dumb thing? Because they are part of a huge scientific Groupthink that has never been taught the fundamental principles of causation. I know, because I taught these principles to tens of thousands of engineers and scientists all over the world for 30+ years and none of them knew about them. These are principles that have been around for thousands of years of human history, but have been ignored by our wonderful education system.
Figure 2: Infinite set of causes that defines reality
4. Groupthink will kill more people than the virus, so don’t let it suck you in
Nietzsche once said that ‘madness is the exception in individuals, but the norm in groups.’ The common condition of Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within any group of people in which the desire for harmony and conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. The group discusses a topic, and over time, a consensus in the form of a story or some dogma is born. It might be slightly modified as the narrative is created, but if anyone inside or outside the group challenges the agreed upon belief of the group, they are ridiculed and/or ostracized from the group. It doesn’t matter if evidenced-based facts are presented, if you don’t follow the dogma you can’t be part of the group. By our very nature, humans are social animals, so often times instead of thinking as an intelligent single-minded person, we are driven more by the need to be part of a group, than by thinking for ourselves. After all, thinking and arguing for something different than the norm is a lot of work and because the human mind is an economizing organ that does not like to waste energy breaking down existing longtime neural connections, we easily fall into this trap called Groupthink.
Today Groupthink is becoming much worse because of the fake news and the fanatical use of social media, where facts are not checked and the truth is based on whether the idea came from a trusted member of our group or someone else.
This phenomenon can be found in any group that we belong to, and is common in most, including the scientific community, political entities, fake news organizations, and the public at large who don’t question the fake news.
Consequently, we are being led by some psychopathic governor’s and others who are selling fear to an ignorant citizenry. And, as long as the public stays ignorant of the facts, the politicians will win this battle for our minds. As we will see in the next section, the Wuhan corona virus is narrowly focused on the sick and elderly and in a few high-density population areas like New York City where 31% of all US deaths have occurred so far. Don’t be part of the group, be part of the solution and get the facts.
5. Follow the Science not the politicians or fake news media
Every day we hear the politicians say we have to follow the science; the facts; what the experts say, etc.! And then they ignore them.
Well, the facts are in, as outlined in this article from The Hill, titled: The data is in – stop the panic and end the total isolation. In this recent article, Doctor Scott W. Atlas from Stanford University makes five evidenced-based scientific arguments for ending this nonsense (be sure to read this article):
The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19 – Current estimated fatality rate if infected is 0.1 to 0.2 %.
Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding – In NYC, 98% of those hospitalized were 75 years old or older.
Vital population immunity is prevented by the current total isolation policies, prolonging the problem – The fastest way to stop the spread of the virus is to let it be transmitted to the majority of the population who have minor or no symptoms Remember, in the Cruise ship case 98% of the people had little or no symptoms.
People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections. – The hospitals are going bankrupt because they have so few patients (see Table 1 below) and suicide has doubled in my county since the lockdown.
We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures – 99% of deaths had an underlying illness and 95% were 50 years or older, so why lock everyone else down?
Connecticut 100% bed shortage
Wash DC 36%
New Hampshire 11%
New Jersey 17% bed shortage
New Mexico 12%
New York 53% bed shortage
North Carolina 9%
North Dakota 5%
Rhode Island 61%
South Carolina 7%
South Dakota 0%
West Virginia 3%
Table 1: Hospital Bed Usage in US on 4/28/20
In 27 states, 90% of their hospital beds are empty – totally contrary to what our governors said would happen. Only 3 states have a shortage and they are in the NYC metro area. Healthcare is a $3.6 trillion/year business, so what do you think this shutdown is going to do to it and the fallout effects on the rest of the economy? But more importantly, how many non-COVID patients are going to die because some governors have prevented them from getting needed care?
OK, since many facts are now known, why do the politicians and fake news media continue to push this fake narrative? The short answer is they love power and they know they can attain it by selling fear. Remember, many politician’s motto is “never pass up a good crisis.”
Politicians are mostly driven by ego, power, and greed and as such are more prone to obfuscate and need attention. Many psychological studies show that politicians are more likely to show psychopathic traits, and in one study, Psychopathy by U.S. State, Ryan H. Murphy, Professor at Southern Methodist University, found the occupations that were most disproportionately psychopathic were in this order: CEO, lawyer, media worker, salesperson, surgeon, journalist, police officer, clergyperson, chef, and civil servant. He also found that the highest concentration of psychopaths is in Washington, D.C., which has almost twice as many as the next state, Connecticut.
Since most politicians are lawyers and live in our seats of power, these findings are not too surprising. Lawyers are taught how to argue for or against a given point or idea. They learn how best to persuade the listeners using many tactics, like appeal to their sense of fear, or attack the premise of the argument, but they are not taught the principles of causation and in fact the law does not allow them to acknowledge these principles, so they are not taught in law school.
As you read through the list of occupations most prone to psychopathy you also find media workers and journalists. This helps explain why we have so much fake news today.
The top five traits of a psychopath are as follows:
1. Pathological lying – incapable of recognizing or telling the truth
2. Glib and superficial charm – an absence of self-consciousness
3. Grandiose sense of self – notice how many TV personalities talk about themselves?
4. Need for stimulation or prone to boredom
5. Cunning and manipulative – use of deceit to cheat or con for personal gain
Stop for a moment and think of a classic political figure or fake news reporter and ask if you see any of these traits in them?
Now ask; why do so many people believe them? Sad isn’t it? The answer is in lesson learned number 8.
Politicians also know they can’t lose because if they follow the non-causal models and the epidemiologists who use them, and they are wrong, and fewer people die, then they can say they did the right thing. But in the process, they have killed the economy and stolen our freedoms. Had they focused on better understanding the virus and preventing death (as discussed in our first lesson learned), they could have saved the economy and had even fewer deaths. So, what do we do in the future to prevent this insanity?
6. Change our laws to prevent any leader from trampling our liberties
Many Governors have enacted absolutely insane orders that have no connection to the problem at all. In my state of Washington, our brilliant Governor has determined it is OK to build government buildings, but not private ones. Or, that it is OK to take a boat out onto our beautiful lakes and rivers, but you can’t fish. You also can’t golf or hunt or go for a hike on state owned land, but federal BLM land is OK. In Michigan, the Governor won’t let you buy seeds or gather to protest this stupidity. All this while we know that the Wuhan corona virus can only live for a few minutes in direct sunlight.
Also, some governors have ordered the medical community not to give a patient Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate unless they have tested positive for COVID-19, but since the tests are not available in many places, some patients have died. To work, Hydroxychloroquine must be given in the early stages of the disease. The Governor’s say they are trying to prevent a shortage of the drug when there are 40 million pills available and the drug companies say there are another 50 million on their way.
The lawyers tell us that government can enact rules that violate our fundamental rights if it can be shown that in doing so, their order clearly outweighs our civil liberties. But that is not the case here. As can be seen from all the causal evidence provided above, the problem does not even come close to what is accepted as “normal deaths”, nor does it focus on the real problem of protecting the vulnerable.
So, the bottom line in all of this, is that we need to first and foremost not re-elect any government official who has been party to this insanity, be it Governor, Mayor, Councilman, or Judge. Second, we need to pressure our elected officials to write laws that prevent this from ever happening again. These laws should require that any action taken by our governments that restricts our God given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to include our livelihood, cannot be infringed upon without an overwhelming show of evidenced-based causal relationships that clearly show us that to do otherwise would have grave consequences to our collective health and well-being.
Because our leaders have not focused on preventing death of the vulnerable, they have totally failed the citizenry. And as Heather Mac Donald points out in a compelling article about the consequences of these bad decisions titled: “The Deadly Costs of Extended Shutdown Orders.”, there will be hell to pay.
While many politicians have made disastrous decisions, we did not have the shortages of ventilators or hospital beds they predicted, but we did have shortages of PPE’s and other things. And as a result, it did makes us realize that if it had been as bad as they said it was going to be, we were woefully unprepared and we can’t let that ever happen again.
7. Make all critical medicines and healthcare supplies in America
This lesson is pretty obvious because we have seen how relying on China and others for so much of our medicines, even basic things like aspirin and cleaners, can have devastating effects when a pandemic occurs.
8. Teach effective problem-solving skills in our schools
At the core of this huge problem is the simple fact that we do not teach effective problem solving in our schools. Instead of immediately trying to understand all the causes of this threat, our scientists and political leaders did what they have always done: Tell stories, categorize the various causal factors, and then guess and vote on what to do. In the process they totally failed to deal with Reality, which as we learned in this article, requires understanding all the evidenced-based causal relationships that follow the principles of causation.
Had we ALL been taught how to effectively solve any event-based problem using these principles, the scientists would have better models, the politicians would have asked more questions, and us dumb citizens would have demanded better answers.
In the mean-time, since we know our government won’t protect us, make sure you take some zinc and bioflavonoid supplements, watch what you touch, wash your hands often and get lots of sunshine. These actions will not only stop many of the current pandemic deaths, they can prevent future ones by attacking all sorts of pathogens.
Dean L. Gano