Back in 1847 gentlemen could settle a dispute with honour using the illegal practice of dueling at dawn, at a time the local constabulary were expected to be safely tucked up in bed when participants were instructed, “Gentleman, choose your weapons!”

There is far more than honour at stake here: the economy, business survival, jobs, education, general health and mental health must all be considered alongside COVID mortality.

But instead of epidemiologists dueling, or publicly debating, politicians dictate COVID strategy using their useful idiots, the media, to spread the message and censor dissidents.

Take mask wearing for example: now heavily recommended here and mandatory in some countries, they are part of an elimination strategy. Recently Dr Paul E Alexander, a Canadian epidemiologist, wrote:

Surgical and cloth masks, used as they currently are, have absolutely no impact on controlling the transmission of Covid-19 virus, and current evidence implies that face masks can be actually harmful.” (American Institute for Economic Research, Feb. 11, 2021.)”

The Epoch Times

But don’t expect to hear a public scientific debate here on the merits or otherwise of mask wearing.

US epidemiologist Dr Knut Wittkowski opposes social distancing, which is a major factor in elimination. He says lockdowns allow the virus to breed over a longer period of time, creating new COVID waves that put the elderly (who must be isolated and protected) at higher risk.

Ardern pursues an elimination strategy to flatten the curve, which Wittkowski says is a mistake. He says “flattening the curve” is a euphemism for “taking more time to spread the virus” thereby putting the vulnerable at higher risk and preventing the development of natural immunity.

The BFD. Cartoon credit SonovaMin election 2020

Wittkowski is adamant about protecting the elderly because they have the worst outcomes from COVID, but advocates strongly for allowing herd immunity in the community where the young and healthy predominate.

And what about the COVID vaccines which PM Jacinda Ardern expects to allow reopening our borders? Ardern is attempting to ride two horses at once. When she jumps off the elimination horse and onto the herd immunity horse, you can be certain she will have to jump right back on the elimination horse at some point in the future.

Lockdown, masks and sanitizer are integral to the elimination strategy; whereas a COVID vaccine is a man-made intervention to achieve herd immunity.

Wittowski likens the elimination approach to COVID to driving a car by hitting the gas and the brake at the same time.

We expect the powers that be to use the latest available data as they plot their course through COVID; but instead ours maintain a strategy that only works with repressive measures very costly in other areas.

Ardern should fear a public outcry when people realise future lockdowns are inevitable to sustain her elimination strategy. At the first hint of an outbreak, despite the vaccine, she must lock down again.

This is happening in Italy, where the vaccine has been distributed at the rate of 170,000 doses a day, but schools, stores and restaurants in most of Italy went back into lockdown on March 15. The same is happening in Beirut.

Wittkowski warns the current vaccines have not been sufficiently tested and the touted 95% efficacy applies only to the original virus which doesn’t exist anymore.

The process by which a virus spreads is what we call transmission. There are differences in the rates of mutations amongst different types of viruses. As an example, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus which causes the clinical entity we know as COVID-19 mutates approximately every 11-15 days.

That is about half of the rate of influenza (flu) and about a quarter of the HIV rates. Mutations generate variability within a population, which allows natural selection to amplify traits that are beneficial, in this case, to the viral particle, as viruses are not considered organisms per-se.

We know the coronavirus currently has 12,700 identified mutations, 12 main types of the virus (identified as 19 A, the original type, through 20 J), five strains and almost 4000 variants.

Spokane Regional Health

It doesn’t make sense to disregard our history of developing natural immunity to biological threats.

Community testing for antibodies in South Africa found stronger natural immunity had been developed during the second wave of the virus, implying efficacy against earlier variants.

The team found that plasma from the second wave was 15 times more effective at preventing the 501Y.V2 variant from infecting cells in a laboratory dish, compared with plasma from the first wave.

The scientists also found that second-wave plasma could neutralize first-wave variants with an effectiveness similar to that of the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine. This implies that updated vaccines against 501Y.V2 could also protect against earlier coronavirus variants.

Nature.com

Wittkowski admits his one fear in the COVID debacle is that our immune systems, protected through social distancing from responding to earlier versions of the virus, will fail to bind to future variants. They will not give us effective immunity or, alternatively they will recognise a biological threat and mistakenly bind to other things in our bodies, such as platelets, creating autoimmune diseases.

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Suze is an avid reader and writer after a career in accounting starting in the farming industry. 10 years working in the NZ mining industry made her passionate about accessing our resource potential whilst...