Covid will stop expanding around the world when we’re all immune

Ilyas El Omari

So far, SARS-CoV-2’s most devastating impacts have been in developed countries. The U.S., U.K. and European Union have accounted for about a third of deaths, compared to their roughly 10% share of the world’s population. However, it’s been in the BRICS grouping of fast-growing middle- income nations where an outsized share of new variants of concern have been isolated and analyzed for the first time. From the original strain in China, to the Delta lineage picked up in India, the Gamma variety isolated in Brazil and the Beta and latest Nu strains from South Africa, only the U.K.-related Alpha variant has emerged outside these countries.

In part, that’s just a reflection of the fact that two out of five people in the planet live in one of the BRICS nations. It’s also no coincidence that new variants were first identified in countries with the sophisticated scientific infrastructure needed to spot them. The BRICS are some of the biggest players in the global market for generic drugs, and the likes of India and South Africa have performed a key role in debates over intellectual property waivers to increase access to medicines…

As natural and vaccine-derived immunity rises, viral evolution will have to get more and more ingenious to evade our defenses. So far, scarcely more than half of the world’s population has had a dose of a Covid vaccine. That means there’s still more than 3.4 billion people out there whose bodies the virus can treat as laboratories in which to develop new mutations. Until we reduce that number further, the odds aren’t as strongly in our favor as we’d like to think.

Read both linked article. El Omari link is below the image up top. Link in the first paragraph takes you to David Fickling, this article in Bloomberg…which requires a subscription much of the time.

Did you expect a Republican Senate to be independent of corporate cash?

Jim Lo Scalzo/AP

Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-Calif.) told Yahoo Finance that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is to blame for stalled stimulus negotiations in Congress, explaining that McConnell was “refusing” to bring a stimulus vote to the floor unless an aid package “wipes away all COVID-related lawsuits filed that allege injury or death due to corporate negligence.”

“He’s absolutely just kowtowing to his large corporate donors here,” Porter said…

“This is simply about doing the bidding, checking off an item that has long been on the wish list of the nation’s largest corporations,” Porter explained, adding that companies are already “protected from liability so long as they act reasonably and follow reasonable safety precautions with regards to their customers, patients, and workers.”

Understand that safety, fair pricing, have less to do with bringing a healthcare product than shortcuts that can increase profit margins. Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, simply want to take the risk of lawsuits for harming patients out of the profit structure…for the people that own their crooked hearts.

A man was reinfected with coronavirus after recovering…!

May James/AFP/Getty

A 33-year old man was found to have a second SARS-CoV-2 infection some four-and-a-half months after he was diagnosed with his first, from which he recovered. The man, who showed no symptoms, was diagnosed when he returned to Hong Kong after a trip to Spain.

There is no published peer-review report on this man – only a press release from the University of Hong Kong – although reports say the work will be published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The author, Megan Culler Freeman, asks and answers questions raised by the news reports.

Berlusconi barred from office for two years over fraud conviction

You actually had the balls to say – Mission Accomplished!

A court in Milan has banned Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister, from holding public office for two years, following his conviction for tax fraud…However, the ban must be approved by parliament before taking effect.

Earlier this month, a cross-party panel of the Italian Senate recommended his expulsion from the chamber.

If he is expelled from parliament, Berlusconi will lose his immunity from prosecution in a string of criminal cases.

Berlusconi had threatened to topple the coalition government over the issue but backed down during a confidence vote…

He will also spend a year under house arrest, or doing community service – his preferred option, according to a request he formally submitted last week.

The votes on his expulsion and ban on holding office are expected to take place within the next few weeks.

He was sentenced to four years in prison, automatically reduced to one under a 2006 pardon act. He was also banned from holding public office for five years.

That sentence was upheld in August.

As erratic as the course of justice may be in Italian politics, by comparison, this case is one more example of the ineffectual and cowardly attitude towards politicians in the United States. Liars and frauds like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney committed inexcusable crimes against humanity – and left taxpayers with a bill for trillions of dollars.

The financial cost is conveniently forgotten by Republicans. The ethical failure is ignored by both of the TweedleDeeDum parties we are allowed. Add to this Obama’s legalization of government snooping into the lives of ordinary citizens and you need no explanation as to why America’s international reputation for corruption continues to grow.

Researchers find first evidence of acquired immunity to rabies

American scientists studying remote communities in the Peruvian Amazon ravaged by vampire bats have found the first evidence of humans immune to rabies.

The team from the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that six of 63 people tested had rabies anti-bodies in their blood, without ever having been vaccinated for the disease…

It remains unclear whether the six were born with the anti-bodies or developed them after being infected with rabies and surviving despite the lack of medical facilities in villages rarely visited by doctors.

Either way, the discovery, revealed in this month’s American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, turns on its head the traditional notion that without immediate treatment, exposure to rabies means a certain hideous death.

Amy Gilbert, the lead researcher, said that death was still the nearly inevitable fate for anyone developing rabies symptoms, even with the best medical care. However, the new research indicates that some people exposed to the disease may never develop those symptoms…

The CDC discovery is now expected to pave the way for pioneering research to develop both new kinds of vaccinations and treatment for rabies. That could even involve genome sequencing.

Astounding. Though I’m never surprised at what genetic changes may resolve themselves in isolated communities. The likelihood of useful mutations, adaptations, evolved changes is pretty small given the possible short timespan involved.

Blood money frees CIA flunky – business as usual in Pakistan

Prearations for a lynching fair trial in Pakistan

Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor accused of murdering two men in Lahore, Pakistan, has been released after the families to the two men he killed were given “blood money” and the case was dropped, Pakistani officials said.

While Davis, who had earlier admitted to the killings but said he was acting in “self-defence”, was indicted for the murders earlier on Wednesday, Rana Sanaullah, the Punjab law minister, said he was immediately pardoned by the families of the victims in exchange for compensation or “blood money”.

The practice of pardoning those accused of murder under such an arrangement is permitted under Pakistani law…

The amount of money agreed to has not been made clear.

Davis had been arrested on January 27, after having killed the two men on a street in Lahore. He said that the two men were attempting to rob him, and that he acted in self-defence.

Chaudhry Mushtaq, superintendent at Kot Lakhpat jail, said Davis left the jail with US consulate officials…

Law, reason, accepted judicial procedures in Pakistan don’t mean a whole boatload to modern nations. Money is more important than justice. Clear and definitive.

Not that it isn’t disproportionately higher in Western esteem. But, a little subtlety might be nice. Har.

Blackwater guards to surrender for trial

Five former Blackwater security guards, indicted in a 2007 shooting incident in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqis dead, will surrender to the FBI on Monday, a source has told CNN…

Two people with knowledge of the case said Friday that a sixth security guard is in plea negotiations.

The exact charges handed up by a federal grand jury this week were not revealed, because the indictment remains under court seal. It could be made public by Justice Department officials Monday.

Charges under consideration included murder and assault.

Muddying the case are assurances of immunity initially given to the guards by State Department Diplomatic Security Agents, who were investigating the incident before the FBI tried to interview them when it took over the investigation…

The State Department renewed Blackwater’s contract this year over strong objections from the Iraqi government.

Crooks – hiring gangsters – to protect flunkys. They all should end up doing hard time.

“White House” contractors fear losing immunity would hurt Iraq mission

An American contractor says that the U.S. mission in Iraq will be undermined if the Iraqi government succeeds in revoking blanket legal immunity for American security contractors.

Carter Andress reacted to a government report that said the removal of legal immunity for American private security contractors could set off an “exodus” from war-ravaged Iraq and “impose significant limitations” on American reconstruction efforts. The scenario is outlined in the quarterly report issued to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction…

“We would undermine the U.S. mission here because they are so reliant on contractors,” said Andress, co-founder of the American-Iraqi Solutions Group. “For better or for worse, that’s reality.”

But the “exodus” comment in the report also prompted skepticism from a scholar who studies the subject. Peter Singer, a Brookings Institution scholar who is an authority on private security firms, said, “I don’t think we should worry about a market collapse, so to speak. There’s simply too much money to be made.”

The Iraqi government has criticized the blanket immunity because of the actions of security contractors, such as the September shootings in Baghdad of Iraqi citizens that involved Blackwater contractors. Seventeen people died in that incident.

RTFA if you feel a need to reflect upon the hurt feelings and potentially diminished income for the current crop of mercenaries living off American taxpayers.

You won’t find the word, “sovereignty” anywhere on the page. One more example of the lies and hypocrisy accepted with facility by an ignorant electorate. All the huckstering about supporting Iraqi sovereignty goes out the window when actual control of the fiefdom for the Oil Patch Boys comes into question.