FDA

It’s Just Another Week


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Reading time 3:11  .  .  .

We have endured an onslaught of one catastrophe or outrageous event on top of another. That both keeps us from focusing on individual events and seeing them through to the end, as well as dulling us to big events. That’s very bad for a democracy. Here’s a small sample from just the past 8 days.

Friday, September 18

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, progressive rights hero, dies. Less than 2 hours later Mitch McConnell promises to go full hypocrite, vowing to cram Trump’s replacement justice through the Senate.

Saturday, September 19

Emails are uncovered that “Detail [administration] Effort to Silence C.D.C. and Question Its Science.”

The Trump “drug pricing deal” is rejected by pharmaceutical companies. Trump had demanded that they supply a $100 prescription drug gift certificate to all 33 million Medicare beneficiaries before the election. The companies refused, so Trump now declares that they are to be called “Trump cards” and will be worth $200. They will be funded by the federal government and sent out before the election.

Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, “barred the nation’s health agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, from signing any new rules regarding the nation’s foods, medicines, medical devices and other products, including vaccines.” That effectively makes the FDA a solely political agency, not a health agency, this in the midst of a pandemic and right before a national election.

At a rally in Fayetteville, NC Trump declares that the coronavirus, “affects virtually nobody.”

Sunday, September 20

U.S. surpasses 200,000 dead from COVID-19.

Approximately 6.7 million acres of the U.S. west coast have burned. Trump blames the Forestry Service for poor forest management – he says they didn’t rake the forest floor.

Monday, September 21

Attorney General Wm. Barr threatens, “to withhold federal funding from New York, Seattle and Portland, Ore., over their responses to protests against police brutality .  .  . “

Tuesday, September 22

Lindsay Graham asserts his sincere belief that Democrats are as hypocritical as he and Sen. McConnell regarding when to nominate a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court. He declares, “I am certain if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do the same,”

Wednesday, September 23

The Kentucky Attorney General announces charges of wanton endangerment of the neighbors of Breonna Taylor against one officer involved in the police shooting death of Taylor. There are no charges filed relating to the death of Taylor against any of the three officers involved in the blaze of gunfire they aimed at Taylor and her boyfriend, as they executed a warrant against a third person already in police custody. There is a dispute about whether it was a no-knock warrant and also whether the police announced their presence.

Trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transition of power unless he wins, in which case he informs us that it will be a continuation of power.

Trump declares that a replacement Supreme Court justice will be necessary to determine the winner of the presidential election.

Thursday, September 24

Trump administration lawyers announce they will attempt to have Republican governors replace electors voted by the people with Trump electors. That would effectively disenfranchise all voters.

Trump  announces that in the upcoming election we must, “get rid of the ballots.”

CDC announces that the median age for people becoming infected with COVID-19 has dropped from 47 to 38 years. In their report they explain, “Given the role of asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission, strict adherence to community mitigation strategies and personal preventive behaviors by younger adults is needed to help reduce their risk for infection and subsequent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to persons at higher risk for severe illness.”

The FDA announces tighter safety protocols for vaccines. Trump attacks the FDA, claiming it is now politicized.

Friday, September 25

The Trump administration rescinds a Courage Award given to a Finnish journalist last year, this  after learning that she had criticized Trump in social media posts.

Trump gives up on repealing and replacing Obamacare, settling for nothing more than a re-branding, saying, “Obamacare is no longer Obamacare, as we worked on it and managed it very well.” “What we have now is a much better plan. It is no longer Obamacare because we got rid of the worse [sic] part of it — the individual mandate.” There is no claim made yet that it will now be called “Trumpcare.”

This is just a bit of the highlight reel of a typical week, a small part of the tsunami that makes Americans numb. This is why there is no accountability. The insanity is why our problems don’t get fixed, why we fail to meet our challenges and what stokes our anger.

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

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  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Update – v1


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Reading time – 4:48 .  .  .

Update To The Trump Election-Rigging Show

This is an occasional feature of these posts to and through the November election, as Trump attempts to manipulate, lie and cheat* his way to staying in office.

Recall that Trump must win the election in order to avoid criminal indictments for fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, Conspiracy Against the United States and more**. Those indictments will land in his lap the moment he leaves the protection of the Justice Department “no-criminal-indictments-while-in-office” memo. Let’s just say that he’s motivated to be “creative” in order to stay in office.

  1. Trump installed Louis DeJoy as postmaster general. DeJoy is no joy, as he has removed 600 high speed mail sorting machines, removed hundreds of mail drop boxes, eliminated overtime for postal workers and he makes postal trucks run around empty. The result is a hobbling of the Postal Service, such that it advised 46 states that mail may not be delivered in time to meet state requirements for the election. That will effectively throw millions of ballots into dumpsters. Trump wants to see that happen because more Democrats vote by mail than Republicans.
  2. Trump has accelerated his attack on the FDA. At first it was just blatantly disagreeing with the science around the pandemic. Since then it has become pressure to approve treatments that aren’t fully vetted and even more pressure to produce a vaccine, whether vetted or not – and he’s promised that it will be delivered before the election.
  3. He’s cut funding and recommendations for testing for COVID-19 in an effort to reduce the apparent number of cases. Of course, reducing testing won’t reduce the number of people infected and, in fact, will increase the number of Americans who get sick and die, since we won’t know to self-quarantine or be able to trace contacts.
  4. He’s attacked the FDA and now, ”  .  .  .  the administration recently installed a gun-rights advocate and right-wing journalist as the FDA’s chief spokesperson, allowing for partisan communication from an agency that has historically put out apolitical messaging. Now Trump has baselessly claimed that the FDA was part of a “deep state” conspiracy to harm his reelection campaign.
  5. He repeats his completely fact-less accusations of in-person and mail-in voter fraud.
  6. Trump used the White House, National Mall and other federal properties for his nomination acceptance speech. Looked great, if a bit over the top. But that ain’t kosher.
  7. He had Attorney General Wm. Barr’s Justice Department investigate the investigators of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Look for the release of Barr’s dishonest Trump-suck-up summary in mid-October, just as Barr did with the Mueller Report. He will then withhold its distribution so that there isn’t time to get the truth out before the election. Sadly, there is no law against the Attorney General, the top law enforcement official in the country, lying to the public.
  8. At Trump’s direction, The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will no longer give in-person briefings to our legislators, leaving them semi-ignorant at best. This is another Trump dirty trick to keep us in the dark about Russia’s involvement to help him win re-election and his conspiracy to defraud**.
  9. September 2 – From the Times: “Senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security intervened to prevent the publication of an intelligence report raising alarms about Russian interference in the 2020 election, according to a report by ABC News last [Wednesday].” That effectively prevents you and all of us from knowing about the breadth of Russian interference in our current election.
  10. Trump urged supporters in North Carolina to vote by mail and then attempt to vote in person on November 3. He later claimed that was how they could determine if their mail-in vote had been counted. Actually, Trump solicited fraud, a felony.
  11. September 11 – “President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to ‘put … down very quickly’ [protests and] riots on election night should aggrieved Democrats take to the streets in the wake of his potential victory.” Politico No word on whether he’d do the same if there were protests and riots by right wing hotheads when Biden wins.
  12. September 12 -“Political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services have sought to change, delay and prevent the release of reports about the coronavirus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because they were viewed as undermining President Trump’s message that the pandemic is under control.” Washington Post
  13. September 13 – Trump signed an Executive Order in a last-ditch drug pricing plan to force pharmaceutical companies to charge Medicare no more than the lowest prices charged in other countries. While that sounds attractive: first, it isn’t clear he has the power to do that; second, a lawsuit is on the way to stop this; third, other than flap his lips about phantom victories over drug pricing for 3.5 years, why do you suppose this is happening just 50 days before the election? Could it be that the election is more important to him than the health of American seniors?
  14. Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of harboring a ‘resistance unit’ determined to undermine President Trump, even if that opposition bolsters the Covid-19 death toll.” He accused CDC scientists of sedition and predicted left-wing violence if Trump loses the election and refuses to leave office. Perhaps worst, he’s in charge of warping CDC communications to the public into what Trump wants us all to hear.
  15. ”  .  .  .  first Politico, then The New York Times and other news media organizations published accounts of how Mr. Caputo and a top aide had routinely worked to revise, delay or even scuttle the core health bulletins of the C.D.C. to paint the administration’s pandemic response in a more positive light.” New York Times

That’s just top of mind stuff. With 40 days to go, we can be sure of an October surprise. What needs to be included? Provide links if you can. With your help we’ll keep a running tally until and beyond this election, showcasing the most brutally ANTI-DEMOCRATIC acts of this most ANTI-AMERICAN president in U.S. history.

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* Read Frank Bruni’s clear take on this.

** 18 U.S. Code § 371. Conspiracy to Commit Offense or to Defraud United States

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

18 U.S. Code § 2383. Rebellion or insurrection

Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

Just getting started on the list.

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From RepresentUs:

“With just 2 weeks until voter registration deadlines across the country, don’t let National Voter Registration Day pass you by without confirming that you can vote this fall. 

“Our voter registration tool powered by VoteAmerica makes it easy. So register to vote – or confirm your registration today.”

Click this sentence and confirm your right to vote.”

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

  1. Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Desperate To Look Like a Winner


Reading time – 1:44  .  .  .

Trump gambles with American lives so he can brag

As suggested in an interview with Dr. Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration, he was under extreme pressure from our “Public Health”First” president to issue emergency use authorization for treatments and preventives for Covid-19. Emergency use authorization (“EUA”) means giving the okay to meds or procedures that have not been fully vetted to ensure they are safe to use (i.e. won’t kill the patient) and that they actually do some good (efficacy). And now it’s happened.

The FDA has issued an EUA for convalescent plasma therapy. That’s a procedure where the blood plasma from a person who has had Covid-19 and recovered is injected into a patient suffering from the disease. The theory is that the antibodies in the plasma from the donor will fight the disease in the recipient. There was a statistically small beneficial effect for a narrow band of patients from this procedure in a trial at Mayo Clinic. So far it appears to be safe, but that’s not proven, and its efficacy has not been fully tested. In other words, according to the FDA’s guidelines, it isn’t ready for prime time. But it’s approved now, thanks to Dr. Trump’s manipulation. Recall his success in prescribing hydroxychloroquin and how that worked out for patients.

In the face of the scientific clarity that this procedure is chancy at best, Trump has pressured Dr. Hahn into authorizing this procedure right before the Republican National Convention. Without reality to support her, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has already announced that this procedure is a “major therapeutic breakthrough.”

Expect to hear waves of superlatives from Trump about himself as the protector of the people and some form of “Only I can beat this pandemic.” Expect this treatment to be described by Trump as “like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” “the greatest thing medicine has ever developed,” “We’re now winning the battle against the pandemic thanks to my strong leadership,” and more.

How odd, then, that over the weekend Trump tweeted that the FDA is part of the “deep state” that only he can crush. Odd, too, that economist Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President, Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, would confront FDA officials, pressuring them with, “You are all Deep State and you need to get on Trump Time.” Exactly how would he know a thing about what it takes to ensure safe and effective meds? Would you trust your life to Peter Navarro?

Don’t expect to hear from the FDA about its abandoning its own rules and ethics, as yet another department of government caves in to Trump in yet another of his epic tantrums to make the entire world about him and to get what he wants.

Too bad for the Covid-19 patients who learn that they were given false hope in Trump’s campaign to manipulate the election.

Be sure to read this post from Mike Murphy, a sane, formerly Republican consultant, on what can happen.

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so

  1. Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

I’m No Anti-Vaxxer


Reading time – 6:14  .  .  .

Conspiracy theories about vaccines abound. As well, reasonable, science based objections have made solid challenges to vaccines, too. Regardless, history tells us that blind acceptance of vaccines probably isn’t a good idea.

Take, for instance, the recent comments of FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn. He insisted that any Covid-19 vaccine would have to “adhere to standards” for safety and efficacy. Perfect. We want to know that a vaccine or med we take to protect us both works and is safe. That’s especially important reassurance now, given the enormous political pressure being applied to develop a vaccine by election day. That’s where this story grows dark.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner, FDA

Trump is making fantastical claims that we’ll have a vaccine by the election. Sometimes he makes solid promises – “We’ll have 100 million doses by November.” Sometimes they’re typical Trump vacuous teasers – “might be,” “very soon,” “like you’ve never seen before,”  “I think in some cases, yes possibly before [the November election], but right around that time,” “It will be unbelievable,” etc. Side note: He uses the word “unbelievable” like a circus sideshow barker to describe nearly everything he is promoting or claiming as a victory for himself. When he does that I know that he is at last speaking truth: it probably is unbelievable; i.e. not worthy of our belief. Back to the main point.

Nearly every time Trump speaks about the pandemic, fiction comes from his mouth in an avalanche, as he struggles to paper over his abject failure to meet the challenge. Note that when he at last admitted in March that the pandemic is here and is a big deal, he said we’re fighting a war and that he’s a wartime president. If that’s so, then it’s fair to say that he’s lost nearly every battle and the enemy is winning this war decisively. That’s why he’s desperate to have a vaccine before the election. His eagerness has nothing to do with your health.

So, Trump is leaning hard on the doctors, scientists, epidemiologists, researchers and pharma company CEOs to bail out his sinking wartime command ship. The good news is what Hahn said about adhering to standards. What you probably didn’t hear is that he left the door open to “emergency use authorization” of vaccines that haven’t yet “adhered to standards.” It’s a bit like chancey, off-label use of a drug; for example, hydroxychloroquine.

As you likely know, it’s a drug used to treat patients with malaria. That, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are the sole FDA authorized uses of this drug. Fairly early in this pandemic somebody decided to try using it to treat Covid-19. In fact it was given FDA off-label authorization for that use – right up until our VA hospitals realized that they were killing our vets with hydroxychloroquine. That’s when the FDA rescinded the off-label use of the drug.

To be fair, there are reputable criticisms that suggest that hydroxychloroquine wasn’t used properly, in that it wasn’t used in conjunction with medically significant adjunctive treatments. Regardless, it was the government/FDA’s authorization that caused the problems.

Oddly, our president continued to recommend the use of hydroxychloroquine. He even said that he was taking it prophylactically, although he didn’t use that big word. The result was that there was enormous demand for the drug. People stockpiled it in case they got sick. There were two problems with that. First, people who had malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis couldn’t get their meds on time because production couldn’t keep up with the Trump-caused, artificially inflated demand. Second, hydroxychloroquine just might kill the stockpilers if they were to use it to treat their Covid-19 and did so improperly. Nevertheless, Trump continues to either promote the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 or allows his prior nonsensical rah-rah for it to linger because he is incapable of admitting he made a mistake. And we pay the price for his limitations with our health and our lives. The key point is that the FDA allowed off-label use of hydroxychloroquine and that killed people.

Follow the money: Who benefits from the increased demand for hydroxychloroquine and why is Trump so invested in that?

Again, while Dr. Hahn promised that the FDA and manufacturers would “adhere to standards” for a Covid-19 vaccine, he left the door open for emergency use authorization of these as-yet unproven vaccines. That is expressly, intentionally not adhering to standards.

In other words, Hahn and his agency might succumb to political pressure and roll the dice with the lives of granny, your children and you so that Trump can get reelected. Wild guess: That probably doesn’t sound too good to you and you’re already doubting Covid-19 vaccines. It turns out this story gets worse.

AstraZeneca is one of the key players in Covid-19 vaccine development and their drug is in a phase 3 trial. They have selected 30,000 people to be vaccinated and then watch to see if they become protected from the virus or if they get sick and perhaps die. I’m wondering if they intentionally expose these human Guinea pigs to the virus to test the vaccine. How else would they know if the vaccine had successfully protected them against the virus unless they knew test subjects had been exposed to it? That makes me think of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

There are two efficacy problems with the trial. The first is that they are only testing healthy, relatively young people. That means that if you have any underlying health issue, especially hypertension, diabetes or obesity, or are older or a child – any condition that is substantially different from the test group  – whatever the phase 3 trial shows, you won’t know if the vaccine will work for you as it did for those phase 3 trial subjects.

The second issue is that this phase 3 trial is being run without a placebo comparison; i.e. this isn’t a blind, much less double-blind test. That means that there will be no way to determine the true efficacy of the drug – whether it actually works. And we are expected to trust this vaccine with our lives.

The FDA’s mission is to protect the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human drugs and more (taken from the FDA’s Mission Statement). That’s why they have protocols and standards. And President Trump is leaning hard on Mr. Hahn to abandon those protocols and standards in order to win his election. Frighteningly, Hahn may be willing to cave in to the pressure and issue “emergency use authorization” of these non-adhering-to-standards vaccines before the election.

“Do you feel lucky?” Dirty Harry Click the pic.

This looks to me like they’re giving the anti-vaxxers big gun ammunition at a time when we desperately need confidence in something to protect all of us and stop the Covid-19 rampage.

I’m no anti-vaxxer, but as I said, blind acceptance of vaccines – especially a proposed, new generation, emergency-use-authorization vaccine, the use of which is entirely politically motivated – probably isn’t a good idea.

Makes me think of Dirty Harry. Like the guy in the car, my answer is no. Click the pic to the right and you’ll understand.

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Post Office Update

Stopping by the post office to mail a letter just in time for the last pickup of the day brought me face-to-face with Lizzy (not her real name), a postal service worker who was emptying the collection box. We chatted for a bit and I asked her about the reported slow down of the mail system orchestrated by the new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. He is a big Trump contributor and a complete postal system know-nothing. He has eliminated overtime, slowed the sorting process and done other things, which have resulted in reported mountains of undelivered mail, especially at the big sorting centers. That’s what I asked Lizzy about.

“Oh, yeah, everything’s slowed down,” she said. “We hate that – we care about service.”

DeJoy claims to be a logistics expert and declares that he’s reducing costs. Sounds good. But our most mailed-in election balloting in history is already underway and he’s clogging the system. What do you suppose Donald Trump will say about the election when it appears he’s lost big and those mountains of undelivered mail are highlighted by him on November 4? Decide for yourself how much Trump election conspiracy to assign to that and let Professor Laurence Tribe be your guide:

Key Impact Point: Go to your secretary of state’s website, register to vote and request a mail-in ballot. The clock is ticking and soon you may run out of time to do that and make your vote count. Especially with DeJoy screwing up the system, you better move on this.
 

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Conservative Corner

Have you noticed how many things have gone on in the Trump era, like what’s covered in this post, that aren’t remotely conservative? As I’ve written so many times, we need the traditional Republican party to come back, to saddle up and hit the trail for America. Where are you guys?

Another 4 years of Trump won’t bring back conservatism. In fact, Trump will crush under his heel everything that conservatives hold dear and which he hasn’t already destroyed. It goes without saying that the things liberals/progressives hold dear are terminal, too.

Have you always voted Republican and cannot even imagine pulling the lever for a Democrat (I have such relatives and friends)? Now’s the time to imagine something bigger and for you to dare to go where you haven’t gone before while you still can. Remember that Trump has repeatedly threatened to cancel elections. That ain’t conservative.

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Finally

Leonard Cohen in 1988. Click the pic for his biography.

From poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen:

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.

These are hard times and it’s difficult to know what to do and where to start. What is important is simply that we start. That we ring the bells that still can ring. Follow Leonard Cohen’s advice. Today is a good day for that.

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so

  1. Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Nagging COVID Questions


Reading time – 3:21  .  .  .

On The Hunt

It makes good sense not to put all our eggs into one basket in pursuit of a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19. That’s why we have Operation Warp Speed, wherein we are stimulating the development of vaccines along several different avenues to find one that works and to do it as quickly as possible.

We just awarded $1.6 billion to Novavax to develop enough doses of a vaccine to treat 50 million Americans (2 doses each) by early 2021. If they can do that it will be quite an accomplishment, because the world record for vaccine development for a new virus is 5 years.

In addition, “.  .  .  an international group, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, awarded up to $388 million to Novavax in May to make its coronavirus vaccine available globally.” In addition, “In June, Novavax secured a $60 million contract from the Defense Department to guarantee the delivery of 10 million doses to vaccinate American troops for the coronavirus.”

That’s a lot of money to give to a company that has never brought a product all the way to market. Why would we do that?

The Trump Administration is doing its best to prevent transparency of where our taxpayer money goes in pursuit of a vaccine. What we know is that we have sent $4 billion to a total of 6 companies to produce a vaccine and we haven’t a clue how those companies were chosen, whether they have a track record suggesting they might succeed, if there are penalties for failing to produce a vaccine or where the money is coming from – i.e. which existing programs will become underfunded in order to pay these companies to develop safe and effective vaccines five times faster than such a thing has ever been done.

Because of Trump’s secrecy we also don’t know whether there has been favoritism or any other shady behavior involved in these significant public financial awards to private companies. This may all be on the up-and-up; maybe not. But the secrecy may well become damaging to our future health and the sleight of hand would be a scandal in any other administration. Today, it’s just another day at the White House.

Oh, and by the way, vaccines are only valuable to us if We the People take them, and there is considerable resistance to doing so. Only half of us say we’ll get the vaccine when it’s available; 30% are unsure what they’ll do; and 20% of us will refuse a COVID-19 vaccine. How will we deal with that in the absence of strong scientific, medical, social and moral national leadership?

Our Government and Your Health

The mission statement of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) begins this way:

The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices;

Sounds great. We want them to ensure the safety and efficacy of the medicines we put in our bodies. That’s why they did the slow work to make sure that if you contract malaria that hydroxychloroquine will be both effective against the disease and safe for you to use.

They didn’t do all the same work looking into that drug when used to treat COVID-19. But they did review its use in VA hospitals and found that it was useless against the coronavirus and an all too likely side effect of that malaria drug used against the coronavirus was death.

Now a Henry Ford study is claiming that the FDA review was flawed and – surprise! – Donald Trump is using that claim to once again promote hydroxychloroquine as a preventative and a treatment for COVID-19.

In the absence of a standard FDA approval based on its guidelines and procedures for safety, efficacy and security, why would Trump promote this drug to fight COVID-19? He’s a total know-nothing about medical and pharmacological science and has no authority to prescribe medications. That leaves us wondering about his motivation for his outrageous insistence on using this drug that has the potential to kill Americans. What’s in it for Trump to do that? Who is benefiting? As always, follow the money.

Schools

Click me

Last week Trump told us that he will “put pressure on governors and everyone else” to fully open schools in fall.

  • Nobody knows how to safely open schools in the presence of this pandemic and no nation has ever tried to send kids back to school with a virus raging at the level this one is in America. Said one school nurse in New York, “It feels like we’re playing Russian roulette with our kids and our staff,”
  • Click me

    Shouldn’t we instead consider the CDC’s clearly and consistently outlined dangers from this disease and give strong consideration to its recommendations for “opening” as we make decisions for our kids? And doesn’t our own common sense scream in our ears not to do stupid stuff?

  • Gambling with our kids’ health just isn’t a great idea. And caving in to the unhinged and self-serving demands of Donald Trump is exactly as nuts as it sounds.
Where Do You Get Your Information?

This is for our rugged individuals who refuse direction that impinges on their individual freedom or who simply don’t trust easily.

Karen Hughes

If you were to receive your coronavirus advice from a conservative Republican and if the advice were strong, clear and consistent, would you be willing to set aside your personal desires in order to do your part for the welfare of us all, including you?

Then read this essay by Karen Hughes, counselor to the president and undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs during the George W. Bush administration. Yes, that kind of conservative Republican. Then put on your mask whenever you leave home, because we can defeat this pandemic if at least 95% of us take this simple step.

And send along a link to Hughes’ essay to your friends and family who have found reasons not to wear a mask. Surely, they don’t want to put us all at greater risk, so help them to get the message.

Separate and Timely Issue: Voting By Mail

The president, vice-president and a significant proportion of senators and congressmen vote by mail. So do most of our military personnel, as do citizens who travel. Millions of people routinely vote by mail and there isn’t even a whisper of voter fraud to be heard, except what comes from the fraud-spouting mouths of politicians who are afraid for their jobs should the people make their voices heard and the majority at last rules.

Click me to learn about voting by mail in your state.

Because you don’t want to stand in line for hours with unmasked voters, you need to learn what to do to ensure you can vote by mail. Here’s a link if you live in Illinois and here’s a link if you’re a Wisconsin resident. Every state has its own website and procedures, so check for yours. I recommend doing a search on “vote by mail in ______” replacing the underscore with the name of your state. And don’t include the quotation marks in your search. Or you can click on the logo to the left and they’ll direct you. Pay careful attention to the instructions for your state because you’ll have to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot within a defined and limited time range. Then VOTE!

Bonus Question

There are 195 countries in the world. For 10 points, list each country that erects statues to and names their military bases for traitors to their country. Submit your answer below.

Special hint (we normally don’t offer hints): This list is very short.

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so

  1. Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2020 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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