Sunday, April 18, 2021

Covid 31, Articles arguing for lifting the PH lockdown

Not a comprehensive list but here are some materials that I could find, limited to Filipino columnists.

Lift the Lockdown

End the lockdown, no more extension
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.   April 22, 2020 | 7:05 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/end-the-lockdown-no-more-extension/

Inter-Agency to Terminate Functional businesses (IATF)
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.  June 10, 2020 | 5:50 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/inter-agency-to-terminate-functional-businesses-iatf/ 

Economic hardships worse than virus risks
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.   July 15, 2020 | 7:31 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/economic-hardships-worse-than-virus-risks/

Gaslighting the Filipino
Jemy Gatdula August 13, 2020 | 6:13 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/gaslighting-the-filipino/ 

Time to resume in-classroom learning
Jemy Gatdula September 10, 2020 | 5:09 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/time-to-resume-in-classroom-learning/

Mandatory vaccination is unconstitutional
Jemy Gatdula  September 17, 2020 | 9:39 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/mandatory-vaccination-is-unconstitutional/ 

Flatten the fear and hysteria, not the economy
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.  September 23, 2020 | 5:30 pm 
https://www.bworldonline.com/flatten-the-fear-and-hysteria-not-the-economy/

Flattening the rule of law
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.   October 7, 2020 | 6:02 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/flattening-the-rule-of-law/ 

Of lockdown, masks, and the banality of evil
Jemy Gatdula October 8, 2020 | 5:28 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/of-lockdown-masks-and-the-banality-of-evil/

The WHO on lockdowns: ‘It wasn’t me’
Jemy Gatdula October 15, 2020 | 6:46 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/the-who-on-lockdowns-it-wasnt-me/ 

Property rights and lockdown lefts
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.   October 21, 2020 | 5:59 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/property-rights-and-lockdown-lefts/ 

Mandatory public mask policies don’t work
Jemy Gatdula October 22, 2020 | 3:52 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/mandatory-public-mask-policies-dont-work/

Mandatory public mask laws are unconstitutional
Jemy Gatdula October 29, 2020 | 6:29 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/mandatory-public-mask-laws-are-unconstitutional/ 

Trade, stock markets and indefinite lockdown
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.    November 4, 2020 | 5:18 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/trade-stock-markets-and-indefinite-lockdown/ 

GDP contraction, CDC PH, and medicine taxes
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.   November 11, 2020 | 5:34 pm 
https://www.bworldonline.com/gdp-contraction-cdc-ph-and-medicine-taxes/  

Foreign investment damage under lockdowns
Jemy Gatdula  November 12, 2020 | 6:18 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/foreign-investment-damage-under-lockdowns/ 

‘Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten’
Jemy Gatdula December 3, 2020 | 6:05 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/even-in-a-pandemic-the-constitution-cannot-be-put-away-and-forgotten/

Putting ‘parens patriae’ in the dustbin
Jemy Gatdula December 10, 2020 | 6:06 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/putting-parens-patriae-in-the-dustbin/ 

First do no harm: Toward an exit strategy from the pandemic
Yen Makabenta   February 13, 2021
https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/02/13/opinion/columnists/topanalysis/first-do-no-harm-toward-an-exit-strategy-from-the-pandemic/840263/

Mobility control, growth control, price control
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.   February 15, 2021 | 6:45 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/mobility-control-growth-control-price-control/ 

How IATF has turned our pandemic plight into a catch-22 situation
Yen Makabenta   February 16, 2021
https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/02/16/opinion/columnists/topanalysis/how-iatf-has-turned-our-pandemic-plight-into-a-catch-22-situation/841440/

Global economic impact of lockdowns
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.    March 1, 2021 | 7:06 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/global-economic-impact-of-lockdowns/ 

IATF Covid rules: A travesty of constitutional administration
Yen Makabenta   March 13, 2021
https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/03/13/opinion/columnists/topanalysis/iatf-covid-rules-a-travesty-of-constitutional-administration/850615/ 

Lockdown déjà vu or back to normal
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.   March 15, 2021 | 6:59 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/lockdown-deja-vu-or-back-to-normal/ 

Behind Covid case surge, debatable policy decisions
Yen Makabenta  March 23, 2021
https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/03/23/opinion/columnists/topanalysis/behind-covid-case-surge-debatable-policy-decisions/854405/ 

The Philippines’ deadliest killers. And it’s not COVID
Jemy Gatdula  March 25, 2021 | 5:27 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/the-philippines-deadliest-killers-and-its-not-covid/ 

At the mercy of local governments and Covid-19; double masking insanity
Yen Makabenta   March 27, 2021
https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/03/27/opinion/columnists/topanalysis/at-the-mercy-of-local-governments-and-covid-19-double-masking-insanity/855953/ 

Fight with Covid-19 not over; on the horizon is Covid-21
Yen Makabenta  March 30, 2021
https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/03/30/opinion/columnists/topanalysis/fight-with-covid-19-not-over-on-the-horizon-is-covid-21/857212/ 

Juggling lockdown, quarantine and tough rules vitiated PH pandemic response
Yen Makabenta   April 1, 2021
https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/04/01/opinion/columnists/topanalysis/juggling-lockdown-quarantine-and-tough-rules-vitiated-ph-pandemic-response/858288/

Time to reopen the economy (1)
Joe Zaldarriaga  April 18, 2021 02:30 AM 
https://tribune.net.ph/index.php/2021/04/18/time-to-reopen-the-economy-1/
---------------

See also:
Covid 18, Lockdowns don't work, articles from scientists and medical professionals, August 10, 2020 
Covid 24, Lockdown damages in the Philippines, February 09, 2021
Covid 28, Drs. Villa and Landrito, Ms. Cuisia, on IVM and lockdown, April 01, 2021 
Covid 29, CDC PH on WHO, Salvana attack of IVM, April 09, 2021 
Covid 30, Dr. Romeo Quijano on IVM and vaccine mania, April 11, 2021.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

BWorld 483, Aging power plants and economic growth

* My article in BusinessWorld, April 13, 2021.


At the monthly briefing by the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) last week, it was shown that while average demand from March 2020 to March 2021 increased by 3.2%, average supply decreased 7.7%, resulting in an increase in average spot electricity prices by 76.4%, P1.80/kwh higher.

The main reason was the series of plant outages, scheduled and unscheduled, in early, middle, and late March. Among the big power plants that experienced outages last March were Sta. Rita (natgas), Ilijan (natgas), GN Power Mariveles (coal), Sual (coal), Pagbilao (coal), Kalayaan (hydro), Magat (hydro), and Makban (geothermal).

One characteristic of the Philippine electricity system is that many big power plants are old, especially hydro, geothermal, and oil plants. Coal plants are generally new except Calaca and it experienced a 10 month shutdown from March 2020 to January 2021.

Also last week, the Department of Energy released the list of existing power plants as of December 2020. It is a long list, so I listed only the big ones, those above 200 MW, in Table 1. Those above 25 years old, which were commissioned in 1996 and earlier, are highlighted in red.

Most power plants using renewable energy sources are new, but they are small. As of 2020, their installed capacity in the Luzon grid are: wind, 283 MW; solar, 312 MW; biomass, 178 MW; small and mini-hydro, 84 MW. They remain marginal electricity producers in the country.

Visayas power is dominated by coal and these plants are mostly new. Geothermal plants in Leyte and Negros are mostly old.

In Mindanao, big hydro still dominates and all the plants are old, more than 30 years old, even 60+ years old like Agus 6. They frequently conked out and Mindanao has experienced frequent “Earth Hours” daily. Things changed from 2016 up to the present with the commissioning of many big coal plants and Mindanao said goodbye to frequent blackouts and experienced having a power surplus, no blackouts and cheap electricity for the first time in many decades (see Table 2).

Coal power continues to be demonized but it is actually the workhorse of the Philippines power infrastructure. In the Luzon-Visayas grids for instance, coal produced 54% of total power generated in February-March 2021, followed by natural gas at 24%, geothermal at 11%, and hydro at 6%. The combined output of biomass, solar, and wind is only 5% of the total. The data comes from IEMOP.

In 2020, the Philippines was the worst performing economy in Asia with a GDP contraction of 9.6%. It was also the third worst performing economy among the top 40 largest economies in the world. To help in fast economic recovery, cheap and stable electricity is needed. The government’s new adverse policies against coal should stop and be reversed, otherwise expensive and unstable power will endanger our aspirations of high and sustained growth.
---------------

See also:
BWorld 480, 10 trends in mortality and spending economics, March 29, 2021 
BWorld 481, Carbon tax is not good, April 02, 2021 
BWorld 482, Rising cases, vaccine and Ivermectin, April 09, 2021.

Climate 99, Cooling trend, virus alarm and climate alarm

Here is the latest global lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly or variance from the 30-years average (1991-2020), drastic cooling at -0.01 C in March 2021.

YEAR MO GLOBE NHEM. SHEM. TROPIC USA48 ARCTIC AUST 
2020 07 0.31 0.31 0.31 0.28 0.44 0.26 0.26
2020 08 0.30 0.34 0.26 0.45 0.35 0.30 0.25
2020 09 0.40 0.41 0.39 0.29 0.69 0.24 0.64
2020 10 0.38 0.53 0.22 0.24 0.86 0.95 -0.01
2020 11 0.40 0.52 0.27 0.17 1.45 1.09 1.28
2020 12 0.15 0.08 0.22 -0.07 0.29 0.43 0.13
2021 01 0.12 0.34 -0.09 -0.08 0.36 0.49 -0.52
2021 02 0.20 0.32 0.08 -0.14 -0.66 0.07 -0.27
2021 03 -0.01 0.12 -0.14 -0.29 0.59 -0.79 -0.79

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2021/04/uah-global-temperature-update-for-march-2021-0-01-deg-c/

Is this because of global lockdowns, there is less CO2 emission in the world?
No. On the contrary, global CO2 concentration in the atmosphere continues to go up, global lockdowns have little or zero impact on CO2 level.

https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

And see the big divergence between global temperature projections vs actual.


https://www.friendsofscience.org/

Now in the fight vs Covid, there are several conflicts between climate alarm and virus alarm.

1. Proposed double mask. Climate alarmism says CO2 is a bad pollutant gas (must be over-regulated over-bureaucratized over-taxed). And we humans exhale CO2. Double mask means the CO2 that people exhale is partly trapped while fresh oxygen is restricted from coming in so people re-inhale that "bad pollutant gas" that they already exhaled. See, 

German Neurologist On Face Masks: ‘Oxygen Deprivation Causes Permanent Neurological Damage’ 
BY: HENNA MILLS VIA SOTT OCTOBER 21, 2020 
https://www.technocracy.news/german-neurologist-on-face-masks-oxygen-deprivation-causes-permanent-neurological-damage/

“The reinhalation of our exhaled air will without a doubt create oxygen deficiency and a flooding of carbon dioxide. We know that the human brain is very sensitive to oxygen deprivation."

2. Huge use of masks, faceshields, hazmats, other PPEs made of plastic and non-reusable materials. Both from hospitals and households. See,

Medical waste in pandemic-hit Philippines: As much as 2 million sacks of rice 
Gaea Katreena Cabico - April 14, 2021 - 5:51pm
https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/04/14/2091142/medical-waste-pandemic-hit-philippines-much-2-million-sacks-rice

Climate alarm says do 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle).
Virus alarm says No to 3 Rs but throw dispose. Use more masks shields, plastics, not less.

3. People mobility. Climate alarm says use more mass transportation, trains buses, avoid cars and save energy. Virus alarm says avoid high density transpo like trains buses, more cars better.

4. Outdoor activities. Climate alarm says do more outdoor work and exercises and use less energy, run on the roads not on treadmills indoors. Virus alarm says avoid outdoors, do more indoor work and exercises, stay home.
------------

See also:
Climate 96, Anthropocene line of Sir Noel de Dios, February 14, 2021 
Climate 97, Econ and infra implications of a cooling planet, February 24, 2021 
Climate 98, Australia's worst flooding for decades, March 25, 2021.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Covid 30, Dr. Romeo Quijano on IVM and vaccine mania

This beautiful paper by Dr. Quijano was posted and shared in several Viber groups in Manila today. I don't see any online link or publication so I am reposting this here. A doctor friend and former DOH UnderSecretary, Dr. Jade del Mundo, has this to say about Dr. Quijano:

Dr. Romy Quijano belongs to Class ‘74 of the UP College of Medicine, one year ahead of me. He was a faculty member of the Department of Pharmacology of the UP College of Medicine while I was with the Department of Physiology in 1977.
---------------
 

Loss of Common Sense in Covid-19: The Story of Ivermectin

 Romeo F. Quijano
Professor (Ret.), College of Medicine
University of the Philippines Manila

It is not only sense of smell that is lost in Covid-19 but also common sense. This is quite evident in the story of ivermectin. Most seriously affected by the loss of common sense are those in the government’s power structure of the country’s Covid-19 pandemic response, public health officials and “experts”, and the mainstream media. Common sense is perceiving things as they truly are and doing things as they should be. Common sense, however, is not just an instinctive decision resulting from sensual perception but also a rational conclusion as a result of logical reflection. It is the innate ability to perceive the truth behind the facade of common beliefs and managed information dished out by the ruling elite in a basically undemocratic society and servile citizens. Common beliefs or dogma can be manufactured but not common sense. Common sense is doing the right thing even in the face of common beliefs. Common sense is not the product of beliefs, tradition or submission but of careful observation, analysis and intuition. It is also not a product of attaining higher level of learning and education nor a result of climbing up the ladder of social class and structures of power. As Victor Hugo said: “Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.”

Government health officials and their “experts” say that ivermectin should not be used because there are no clinical trials that show that ivermectin is effective when used for patients with Covid-19. When confronted with the fact that there are in fact already clinical trials in several other countries that show the efficacy of ivermectin for Covid-19 prophylaxis and treatment, they modify their argument and say, yes there are, but they are insufficient, more clinical trials are needed. They also mislead people by saying that ivermectin is used only in animals. When confronted with the fact that ivermectin was first used for parasitic infections in humans, they say, yes, but the available ivermectin in the country is only for animals and therefore dangerous to use in humans. When confronted with the fact that ivermectin formulations have been registered previously and is listed in the national formulary of essential drugs, and has long history of safety as attested to by international bodies, they say, yes, but ivermectin is no longer registered for human use and there are serious adverse that can happen if used in humans. When informed that some doctors are already prescribing ivermectin to asymptomatic and mild to moderate cases of Covid-19, based on their own analysis of available studies and experience that the drug is safe and effective, they say, these doctors are violating the law. When informed further that the doctors prescribing ivermectin can save lives and is urgently needed by their patients since these patients are refused admission by hospitals and are told that they come only when symptoms become severe, they say, well, these doctors can apply for “compassionate use” and the ivermectin manufacturer or supplier can apply for “emergency use authorization”. When asked why can’t the government itself be proactive, be “compassionate” and make ivermectin available in this Covid-19 emergency situation where countless people are dying and ivermectin offers hope for desperate people, they hem and haw and avoid the question, repeating what they already said and invoking rules and regulations to be followed. They admonish people to have a little bit more patience since vaccines are already being rolled out, repeating the mantra that vaccines are the be-all and end-all that would solve the Covid-19 crisis. 

Now, let’s go into a little bit more details and try to make sense out of this story. The health officials say there are insufficient clinical trials and together with various local medical societies, they issue a joint statement saying “We do not recommend the use of Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. It has not been proven to significantly reduce mortality or improve other clinical outcomes.” citing a “systematic review of 6 randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) of good methodological quality” (1) without revealing that they receive quite a substantial amount of largesse from Big Pharma.  They completely ignore the fact that an independent group called Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) analysed a much more extensive list of clinical trials (50 studies, 26 were randomised controlled trials). Of the 50 studies, 98% report positive effects and 76% show lower mortality. Of the 26 RCT’s, 96% report positive effects, with an estimated 66% improvement. FLCCC is a group of highly published, critical care physician-scholars and allied physicians from around the world.(2) This was corroborated by another independent review of 11 RCT’s whose results show 62% reduction of mortality.(3)

They say that ivermectin is used only for animals and it is dangerous to use ivermectin for humans.

They seem to be ignorant of the fact that after about 3 decades of use in humans, ivermectin continues to provide a high margin of safety for a growing number of indications. Numerous studies report low rates of adverse events as an oral treatment for parasites. Even WHO have recommended have recommended mass administration of ivermectin for filariasis, saying it is safe and effective.(4) In fact, about 3.7 billion doses of ivermectin have been distributed in mass drug administration campaigns globally over the past 30 years.(5) In DR Congo, between the years 2003 and 2017, the total average population treated was around 15,552,588 with 55 deaths associated with ivermectin treatment.(6) Compare this to 4,095 deaths due to paracetamol in England and Wales during the same period.(7)

And why can’t the government itself  be proactive and make ivermectin immediately available in this Covid-19 emergency situation where countless people are dying and ivermectin offers hope for desperate people? Well, they say there are laws and rules and regulations that need to be followed, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the government has already declared a state of emergency and the legal impediments can easily be overcome, as the centuries old legal maxim states that the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law, especially under a national state of emergency. They admonish people to have a little bit more patience since vaccines are already being rolled out, without revealing that the safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines have been questioned by many credible independent scientists and are fraught with serious adverse effects including deaths. They turn a blind eye to the fact that 50,861 adverse events following COVID vaccines, including 2,249 deaths and 7,726 serious injuries between Dec. 14, 2020 and March 26, 2021 have been reported officially in the vaccine adverse events reporting system (VAERS) of the US.(8)

In their futile attempts to justify their irrational and anti-people behaviour, government health officials and their “experts” seem to forget that common sense is more important than technocratic directives, clinical trials, bureaucratic procedures, laws, rules and regulations. The Covid-19 spectre, vaccine mania, deceptive remedial schemes and brutal, anti-people pandemic responses  created by militarism and big money have shoved by the wayside pro-people, more sensible and a wider range of prevention and treatment strategies to address the pandemic. For people with independent minds and awakened consciousness, it is a mere matter of common sense to recognize that most governments, international bodies, academic and science institutions, mainstream medical doctors and mainstream media are under the effective control of Big Pharma and the global moneyed elite.

References:

1. Statement on the Use of Ivermectin As Treatment for COVID-19 
     https://www.psmid.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Ivermectin-1.pdf

2. Ivermectin_FLCCC database 
     https://c19ivermectin.com/

3. Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection: a SystematicReview and Meta-analysis 
       https://assets.researchsquare.com/files/rs-317485/v1/611bf808-b0eb-4a9a-b877-6d6cc8f79d54.pdf

4. Monitoring-Assessment-Mass Administration Ivermectin_Albendazole_Filariasis-WHO 

5. Ivermectin-Associated With Lower Mortality-Hospitalized Patients-Covid-19        https://journal.chestnet.org/action/showPdf?pii=S0012-3692%2820%2934898-4

6. Severe adverse effects following community-based ivermectin treatment-DR Congo        https://bmcpharmacoltoxicol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40360-019-0327-5

7. Death from drug poisoning by paracetamol in England and Wales 1993-2019        https://www.statista.com/statistics/471227/death-by-paracetamol-drug-poisoning-in-england-and- wales/

8. CDC Data Show COVID Vaccine Injuries Reported to VAERS Surpasses 50,000       https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/covid-vaccine-injuries-vaers-cdc/
---------------

See also:
Covid 27, Dr. Rafael Castillo on vaccine, Ivermectin, and lifting the lockdown, March 24, 2021 
Covid 28, Drs. Villa and Landrito, Ms. Cuisia, on IVM and lockdown, April 01, 2021 
Covid 29, CDC PH on WHO, Salvana attack of IVM, April 09, 2021.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Tax Cut 34, Bidenomics and reversal of Trump tax cut

US President Joe Biden's $2 trillion tax hikes plan will reverse many tax cut made by former President Trump. Among these tax hikes under Bidenomics are the following: 

1. Corporate income tax (CIT) rise from 21% to 28%.
Plus ave state taxes 4%, US CIT at 32%, higher than communist China 30%.

2. Create a new global minimum tax 21%.

3. Double the capital gains tax to 39.6%.

4. Raise indiv income tax back to 39.6%,...

Ten Things You Need to Know About Biden's $2T Tax Hike
by Alex Hendrie and John Kartch on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021, 6:14 PM
https://www.atr.org/ten-things-you-need-know-about-bidens-2t-tax-hike

Biden's true tax priorities
Hans Nichols   Mar 30, 2021
https://www.axios.com/biden-tax-plan-increases-b8905001-1ef2-45c8-8165-87ac89d1c2fe.html

CBO Study: Benefits of Biden’s $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Won’t Outweigh $2 Trillion Tax Hike
Scott A. Hodge   March 31, 2021
https://taxfoundation.org/biden-infrastructure-spending-tax-hike/

President Biden unveils his $2 trillion infrastructure plan – here are the details
Jacob Pramuk   WED, MAR 31 20215:00 AM EDT UPDATED THU, APR 1 20217:16 AM EDT
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/31/biden-infrastructure-plan-includes-corporate-tax-hike-transportation-spending.html

Architect Of Reagan Revolution Blasts “Bidenomics”
by Gregory Bresiger  April 07, 2021
https://insidesources.com/architect-of-reagan-revolution-blasts-bidenomics/

“Raising taxes will especially hurt the poor and minorities who need jobs,” said Laffer, adding, “It is more than bad policy; it is cruel.” 

PRESIDENT BIDEN’S $2.7 TRILLION AMERICAN JOBS PLAN: BUDGETARY AND MACROECONOMIC EFFECTS 
by Alex Arnon, Marcos Dinerstein, Jon Huntley, and John Ricco under the direction of Richard Prisinzano and Efraim Berkovich    April 7, 2021 
https://budgetmodel.wharton.upenn.edu/issues/2021/4/7/president-biden-american-jobs-plan-effects

The Richest New Yorkers Could Be Hit With a Top Tax Rate of Over 50%

Governor Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers are targeting wealthy residents just as some of them consider relocating permanently to low-tax locations.

By Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou  April 7, 2021, Updated on April 8, 2021, 1:36 AM GMT+8 
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-07/richest-new-york-residents-face-top-tax-rate-of-over-50-in-cuomo-s-budget-plan?sref=6uww027M

With New York City residents also paying city taxes, the combined top rate for the highest earners would be between 13.5% and 14.8%, surpassing the 13.3% rate in California, currently the highest in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.

Overall, experts say the increases, along with federal levies, would mean that the richest New Yorkers would be hit with a combined marginal rate of 51.8% — higher than levels in some European countries.
-------------

See also:
Tax Cut 31, Talk at Deloitte TRAIN forum, January 2018, February 11, 2018 
Tax Cut 32, Rene Azurin on zero income tax, May 31, 2018 
Tax Cut 33, WTA meeting and Asia tax competition, March 14, 2021.

Friday, April 09, 2021

BWorld 482, Rising cases, vaccine and Ivermectin

* My column in BusinessWorld, April 6, 2021.

"Our FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and DoH (Department of Health) are very strict about recommendations and demand for clinical trials on Ivermectin, fine. But where are the clinical trials on the safety and efficacy studies on mandatory face shields? Why give special treatment to new vaccines that still have no long-term safety studies and only a single placebo randomized controlled trial per vaccine, a consideration not given to the 24-RCT supported efficacy, very affordable and safe Ivermectin?”

— Dr. Benigno “Iggy” Agbayani, Jr.,
President, CDC PH 

The Philippines has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases starting March 12, with 4,000+ cases per day. The peak so far was 12,556 cases on April 3.

I checked some reports on countries that are using vaccines from China. Brazil, Chile and Turkey started inoculation in mid-January 2021 using Sinovac. Also Ukraine (Global Times, Jan. 12, 2021). Serbia and Hungary have also been using Sinovac since early March (LA Times, March 2, 2021). Countries that use the Sinopharm vaccine are Peru and Cambodia (Washington Post, Feb. 2, 2021), Pakistan (Al Jazeera, March 18, 2021), and Iraq (Reuters, March 2, 2021).

When I checked these countries’ recent COVID-19 cases, a pattern emerged — many countries that use Sinovac and/or Sinopharm have experienced a spike or surge in cases around mid-March to present (see Figure 1). Some countries that use Sinovac or Sinopharm did not experience this trend but they are a few, like Indonesia. Still, the pattern is troubling and governments should pause and not rush mass vaccination.

Recently, doctors affiliated with the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) have been resource persons in many fora and government public hearings.

On March 30, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Muntinlupa City chapter under the leadership of its president, Elvie Sanchez-Quiazon, organized a big forum, “How to end the pandemic: range of perspectives.” Speakers were Senator Bong Go, Congressperson Ruffy Biazon, and four physicians — health consultant Dr. Tony Leachon, CDC PH President Dr. Iggy Agbayani, Dr. Allan Landrito who is the author of the book Freedom from COVID-19 Now! Prevention and Cure at Hand, and Dr. Homer Lim, President of the International Anti-Aging and Integrative Medicine Society. The forum moderator was TV personality Luchi Cruz-Valdes, head of TV5 News and Information.

Dr. Leachon talked about the usual pillars to control a spike in infection — test, isolate, trace, quarantine; the usual barriers — lockdown, mandatory masks, face shields, frequent hand washing, etc. He did not offer prophylaxis except the vaccines that will be available to many people many months from now, nor early treatment using old and multi-decades proven drugs.

Dr. Agbayani talked about the safety of ivermectin (IVM), as river blindness and malarial studies demonstrated its safety. Then he discussed IVM efficacy — at least 24 published randomized control trials (RCTs), 36 observational control trials (OCTs), one published and four pre-print meta-analysis — all supporting or showing benefits of using IVM against COVID-19. But despite these, IVM is not readily available mainly due to politics like unusual strictness even in drug compounding.

Dr. Landrito talked about the important characteristics of IVM — it is anti-parasitic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer; and the important properties of IVM — it inhibits the replication of many viruses, it reduces viral load and fights organ damage, it prevents transmission of COVID-19, it hastens recovery and decreases hospitalization and mortality.

Dr. Lim talked about early treatment protocols for the mildly symptomatic like hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) plus azithromycin or doxycycline, or IVM plus azithromycin or doxycycline. Plus high doses of vitamins C and D, zinc, quercetin, and virgin coconut oil. He also discussed the basic findings of IVM Meta (https://ivmmeta.com/).

The CDC PH doctors also attended the public hearings conducted by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) led by Director General Jeremiah Belgica on the mornings of March 30 and 31. FDA Director Eric Domingo was there. Then the House of Representatives hearing, also on March 30, from afternoon till evening, Health Secretary Duque was there.

A recent paper, “Global trends in clinical studies of ivermectin in COVID-19” written by Dr. Morimasa Yagisawa, Dr. Patrick J. Foster, Dr. Hideaki Hanaki, and Dr. Satoshi Ōmura, was published by The Japanese Journal of Antibiotics in March.

An important summary of the studies reviewed is presented below. The p-values show significance of the studies. P values of less than 0.05 (≤ 0.05) are statistically significant, indicating strong evidence against the null hypothesis that there is no relationship between two variables being studied, that there is less than 5% probability the null is correct. Thus, the alternative hypothesis that the independent variable does affect the dependent variable, is correct. The results affirm that using IVM against COVID-19 does lead to a shorter hospital stay or no hospitalization, viral elimination is higher, mortality is lower, and symptoms are reduced (see Figure 2).

The indefinite lockdown policy is 13 months of failure in the Philippines yet it is still done. Government has never tried focused protection for the vulnerable and early treatment for symptomatic people at home. Sick people need to get so ill that they need hospitalization before treatment can be given. This is a dangerous government policy.
---------------

See also:
BWorld 479, Lockdown déjà vu or back to normal, March 22, 2021 
BWorld 480, 10 trends in mortality and spending economics, March 29, 2021 
BWorld 481, Carbon tax is not good, April 02, 2021.

Covid 29, CDC PH on WHO, Salvana attack of IVM

The President of Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH), Dr. Benigno "Iggy" Agbayani Jr., issued a statement to question the recent attack by the WHO of Ivermectin (IVM).



Dr. Iggy also noted that 

Merck Inc. a big Pharmacology company also did not recommend Ivermectin for COVID-19 and promoted such announcement on mainstream and social media. This is a case of profit as its main goal for it stands to lose millions of dollars from its upcoming new anti-Covid tablet. Ivermectin’s patent has expired since 1996 and can be sold as cheap as fifteen pesos a tablet, something Merck’s new product cannot match.

I repost here some cool messages that were shared around.


Finally, on the sudden rise in daily cases of 4k+ per day since March 12, 2021 until today, Dr. Iggy somehow predicted the rise.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Weekend Fun 75, Lockdown, inflation, climate memes

Indefinite, endless lockdowns in the Philippines with occasional liquor ban in many cities and provinces, this man tried to hoard large number of alcohol bottles before the ban is imposed for weeks, hahaha.

Btway, all memes and photos here I got from different sources -- FB, Viber groups, web -- none I made.

About inflation that has been picking up this year, below is an example of "disguised inflation" -- the price (barbq, litson manok, etc.) remains the same but the amount or quantity or serving has declined. 

And to cope with rising prices, people need more  "Quartadin" :-)


Yesterday was April Fool's Day, this is a good tattoo remover :-) 


And climate... 

--------------

See also:
Weekend Fun 72, Airline mergers, July 04, 2020 
Weekend Fun 73, Russia vaccine, ECQ, August 15, 2020 
Weekend Fun 74, CNN as the US' "Baghdad Bob", August 29, 2020.

BWorld 481, Carbon tax is not good

* My article in BusinessWorld, March 30, 2021.

Early this year, some sectors resumed their carbon tax-pushing agenda, proposing higher energy prices for many financially struggling companies and households while favoring intermittent renewable energy (RE) like solar-wind. These five reports in BusinessWorld capture this development:

1. “Carbon taxes could sap PHL competitiveness, Energy department says” (March 10).

2. “DoE to endorse 75 RE plants for feed-in tariff program” (March 13).

3. “Environment dep’t agrees PHL not ready for carbon tax” (March 15).

4. “Regulator says power distributors need to tap more renewable energy to meet 2040 target” (March 25).

5. “Diokno warns of risks associated with transition away from coal power” (March 27).

Good news in reports number 1, 3, and 5, the leadership of the Department of Energy (DoE) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that the Philippines is not ready for, that it is not advisable to impose, a carbon tax. And the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor warned about the “financial risks that may come with plans to move away from coal energy.” Thank you, Secretaries Alfonso Cusi and Roy Cimatu, and Governor Ben Diokno.

Reports number 2 and 4  were bad news, especially the one about adding 23 new solar projects and six new wind projects, on top of many big solar and wind projects that are already entitled to high feed-in tariff (FiT) or guaranteed prices for 20 years. Then there is the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) plan to push hard the renewable portfolio standards (RPS) by raising the RE quota from 1% to at least 2.5% per year, so that they will reach the target RE share of 37.3% of the total power mix by 2030, and 55.8% by 2040.

Solar and wind have the highest FiT rates. Until 2020, solar FiT was P10.12 to P11.28/kwh, and wind FiT was P8.59 to P9.90/kwh. Compare that with the recent winners of Meralco’s competitive selection process (CSP): three coal and gas plants at only P4-5/kwh. And if a battery is added plus standby gensets running on diesel or bunker fuel, the cost of solar and wind can jump to the ceiling.

Among the carbon tax pushers is the World Bank (WB). In its recent report “Uneven Recovery” (April 2021), among the proposals are “Going green without hurting growth or the poor… Policy options include: (i) phasing out fossil fuel and energy subsidies, (ii) adjusting carbon prices…” Lousy proposals.

If we look at how many countries have industrialized and modernized, among the important reasons is that they have used cheap, stable, reliable, fossil fuel energy.

I computed the average electricity generation from 1985 (earliest comparative data available) to 2000, then from 2001-2019 of 20 countries and compared them with their average GDP growth over the same period. Power data came from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy (BP-SRWE) 2020 and the DoE, while the GDP data came from the IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) database 2020.

With few exceptions, countries that have retained a high coal share to total power generation — at least 30% — have also experienced fast growth: China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Poland, and Taiwan. And countries that significantly raised their coal share in 2001-2019 compared with their share from 1985 to 2000 also experienced fast growth: Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines.

Countries that reduced their coal share in 2001-2019 experienced slower growth — the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, Italy, and Spain. Countries in Table 1 are ranked based on their total generation in 2001-2019.

Meanwhile, power supply and demand data in the Luzon and Visayas grids show that in the first quarter (Q1) 2021 there has been a contraction or flat growth, while prices — both the customer effective spot settlement price (ESSP) and load-weighted average price (LWAP) — show continued depressed levels. Data for Table 2 comes from the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippine.

Average demand in 2021 contracted -6.7% in January, -4.8% in February, and grew 1.5% in March.

With the imposition of a curfew then a stricter quarantine in late March, this modest growth may turn out to be another contraction.

Environmental protection can continue by directing attention at old industrial plants that pollute, but their ECCs were grandfathered from the 1950s and 1970s — they do not have to meet modern emissions standards. And they should look into polluting jeepneys, buses, and many government trucks.

Economic recovery, fast and sustained growth, requires cheap, stable, and predictable energy. If the Philippines will stop building new coal plants while China, India, the US, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, etc. keep building new and bigger ones, the dreaded emission impact is the same but we will deny ourselves the opportunity of additional affordable and stable power.
---------------

See also:
BWorld 478, Power demand contraction and natural gas cronyism, March 14, 2021 
BWorld 479, Lockdown déjà vu or back to normal, March 22, 2021 
BWorld 480, 10 trends in mortality and spending economics, March 29, 2021.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Covid 28, Drs. Villa and Landrito, Ms. Cuisia, on IVM and lockdown

Last Tuesday, Dr. Marivic Villa, a Filipina physician based in Florida shared this in the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the PH (CDC PH) group, very informative. She gave permission to share it with other viber groups, I shared it, reposting here too.
-----------

March 30, 2021

This is the comment I posted on Dr. Salvana’s FB account. Somehow I landed on his FB posts. He’s ignoring my comment, LOL 😅...this is very amusing to me. He's responding to the rest of the comments even the ones after me.

Hi Dr. Salvana, my name is Dr. Villa, I'm a practicing pulmonary Critical care/ Sleep medicine/ Internal medicine/ Functional Medicine provider here in Florida USA. I practice in this town called #TheVillages. It's the biggest retirement community in the US or I should say in the world. The entire town or metropolis is about 150K residents. Age 65 and above, the majority if not all with pre-existing comorbid conditions. They are very fortunate that they have excellent access to healthcare. I do see a lot of COVID cases. And I do treat them very aggressively in an outpatient basis.

Since late August/early September I've been using or prescribing IVERMECTIN in conjunction with Supplements protocol and surprisingly!!!, since then I've not had any significant morbidity or mortality from this disease. Well, except 1 who was a stage 4 lung cancer s/p chemoradiation therapy, he died. And I think he died from massive PE because he just suddenly collapsed. 

In Jan, 2021, I also started using MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY called Bamlanivimab by Elli Lily under EUA. The department of Health distribute it to us.

I also use it on an outpatient basis. I give the infusion in my office or clinic. 

With this combination of IVM and monoclonal, NOBODY gets severely ill, and NOBODY gets hospitalized. I also use systemic corticosteroids very aggressively both oral and IV in an OP basis. The diabetic hyperglycemic response is very easy to manage. I worry more if they became hypoglycemic for whatever reason.

I think the IVERMECTIN  is a very reasonable option for Filipinos considering the economic conditions of our kababayans.

From my standpoint, It is very effective, very SAFE!!! and at a very REASONABLE COST that most Filipinos can afford.

Even with the massive vaccination effort here in the US, I still prescribe it as prophylaxis. 

To me, vaccination is not the ultimate or is not the only answer to this pandemic. 

Not everybody can take the vaccine, not everybody can afford the vaccine. Not everybody has access to the vaccine.

And in the face of this rapid viral mutation. The vaccines will fall short in giving us the solution. 

It is already happening now!!!. For example Aztra Seneca is 100% ineffective to the African variant, 10-15%(???) less effective to the Brazilian variant. 🤷‍♀️

From my perspective, IVERMECTIN has better chances of combating this mutation. 

It's a very expensive proposition to keep on redesigning/reformulating the vaccine to overcome the mutation. Giving vaccine boosters that you would not be able to keep up with.

Only the well-to-do affluent countries, would be able to do this. We need to have good, acceptable, reasonable, accessible, available, and affordable therapeutics. I believe IVERMECTIN qualifies for this. 

Here in the US, we have coalitions of Doctors like FLCCC advocating the use of this agent for covid. Recommending it to become one of the first lines of therapy for COVID.

I was also very impressed with the BIRD meta-analysis done on most IVM trials from all over the world. They all line up. The positive result is very consistent.!

(I believe Bill Gates is doing or initiating a worldwide trial on this medication to be funded by him. 🤞🤞🤞. I hope it pushes through.)

We have several hospitals here that IVM has been included in the inpatient management both regular admit and in the ICU. Texas and Virginia are the 2 States for sure.

One of our pulmonologists here in Florida Dr. Rajter did the ICON study. The first study in the US was published in CHEST our official pulmonary journal in Oct. 2020. I had the privilege to communicate with him and he was very passionate and very excited to do further studies. This was presented in the US Senate.

The study was done in-hospital with 280 patients enrolled. The result of the study was very promising, mortality rate 38% on IVM vs 80% non-IVM (severely/critically ill patients).

The position of NIH is neutral they're not against it neither recommends it. But I have a feeling that it is going to be approved soon.

Currently, We are allowed to prescribe it as ” OFF LABEL USE”. It is also covered by prescription insurance here. 

Lastly, I am all for sensible mask use and physical distancing. I am very strict in my office. Mask is part of the outfit when you come to work and patients are not allowed to come in without one.

What do you think, what's your position on IVERMECTIN?
-------------

Yesterday, Ms. Ann Cuisia, describing herself as a "Concerned citizen, supporter of government in winning the battle against covid", shared her thoughts on lockdown and CDC PH, reposting this with her permission.

March 31, 2021

We are a volunteer group of concerned doctors and citizens of the Philippines and we want to help our government safely lift the lockdown so that more lives are saved and more livelihoods are restored. Our taxpayers money are dried up already, we cannot afford extending this lockdown anymore and spend on non-scientific protocols yielding very low to no result.

We have been doing daily research on what would be more efficient and effective in addressing the pandemic and new studies show that the best approach is to include prophylaxis and early treatment protocol. Our government has a 3 pronged approach: barriers, hospitalization, vaccination.  All we want is for our leaders to include cheap effective alternative to treating COVID-19 and be implemented down to the barangay level, available to all Filipinos.

We need to have a public discourse about the protocols imposed on our citizens because this concerns our body, our health and our rights. We appeal to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to allow “second opinion” from other doctors who are successful in treating thousands of patients. May they be allowed to present how they were able to treat and save significant number of patients.

Let us allow the public to question our protocols such as CT (cycle threshold) settings of our RT-PCR machine settings, yielding high false positives. Allow us to question DOH data reporting focused on cases and not number of hospitalized which determines whether our healthcare is overwhelmed or not. Allow us to have a choice regarding vaccination.

We all need to follow science as new studies come out every day. No one agency or individual can claim expertise to a pandemic we have not all experienced before. This is a continuous learning for everyone. And in this time of crisis, everyone needs to be humble and open.
-----------

Brave and intelligent ladies. There are more. s
Meanwhile this is the statement issued by Dr. Allan Landrito, March 26, 2021:

And this forum last Tuesday was cool and attracted many participants both in Zoom and facebook page of PCCI Muntinlupa.

I will discuss more about that event in my column in BusinessWorld next week.
----------

See also:
Covid 25, WEF celebrated global lockdowns, March 01, 2021 
Covid 26, CDC PH Statement on Ivermectin, March 20, 2021 
Covid 27, Dr. Rafael Castillo on vaccine, Ivermectin, and lifting the lockdown, March 24, 2021.

Elections 2022, The iOptions survey result Q1 2021

The Presidential, Senatorial, local elections in the Philippines just 13 months away, May 2022, I will try to follow some trends. Let me start with the recent survey results by iOptions Ventures Corp. released yesterday. The survey covers other topics from vaccine awareness, willingness to be vaccinated, and the elections.

Satisfaction of President Duterte's administration remains high at 62%, but Manila Mayor Isko Moreno's record is much higher at 80%, wow. Followed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao at 64%. Trust ratings also given. See the report here, 
https://www.ioptionsventures.com/post/survey-report-sukat-ng-bayan-2021-q1.


If elections were held today, who would you vote for? The result is surprising -- the top two candidates are local government leaders, City Mayors Isko Moreno and Sara Duterte. Both for President and Vice-President.

Among Senatoriables, Dr. Willie Ong is harvesting his belated popularity after he lost in the 2019 Senatorial elections.

https://e9441e59-c548-4b5e-b49c-4462289d9ea9.usrfiles.com/ugd/e9441e_a632026dc03f4c979f8301aa64bb49df.pdf

Good work, iOptions. Thank you for making your survey results quickly available in the web.

Monday, March 29, 2021

BWorld 480, 10 trends in mortality and spending economics

* My column in BusinessWorld, March 24, 2021.

The latest death and mortality data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) last week had many interesting aspects. Below we list 10 trends happening in the Philippines.

1 There were fewer deaths, not more, in 2020.

Since COVID-19 has killed thousands last year, the expectation is that there should be more deaths, high “excess mortality” over 2019 but this did not happen. The 1,700 deaths/day in 2019 became 1,578 deaths/day in 2020. Including some 95 COVID-19 deaths per day from March 11 (first COVID-19 death in the Philippines) to December.

2 There were 30,000 fewer pneumonia deaths, 7,000 fewer respiratory infection deaths, 5,000 fewer TB deaths. 

Most surprising is that there were over 42,000 fewer deaths from infectious diseases last year than in 2019.

There are two possible reasons: One, people became more health conscious, transmission of infectious diseases significantly declined. Two, ordinary pneumonia was labelled as COVID-19 pneumonia; ordinary infections became COVID-19 infections, ordinary tuberculosis (TB) became COVID-19 TB. Sort of COVID-19 has murdered many other infectious diseases.

One explanation for the possible mislabeling of causes as COVID-19 deaths is the high PhilHealth reimbursement. If a patient is hospitalized, recovers or dies, from what is declared as non-COVID-19 positive pneumonia, PhilHealth will pay a small amount. If it is due to COVID-19, case payment to the hospital is high: mild pneumonia about P100,000, severe pneumonia P333,000, critical pneumonia P786,000.

3 There were fewer transport accidents and fatal assaults, but more suicides.

Lockdowns, checkpoints, curfew, closure of all bars and occasional alcohol bans, led to fewer road accidents, less fights. But there was more self-inflicted harm or suicides (see Table 1).

4 Cases are rising.

Why? It coincided with the vaccination rollout this March. Two of the many possibilities: One, “escape mutations” of the virus, and/or vaccination-triggered cases in which the vaccine triggered symptoms or more inflammation in people who are positive but asymptomatic. Two, people’s immune systems have been weakened due to prolonged lockdown or mobility restrictions and lack of income, and there are no prevention prophylaxis, early treatment drugs for symptomatic persons to avoid hospitalization.

5 “Superspreader” scaremongering and OCTA.

Octa Research is “a polling, research and consulting firm” but it is now into making alarmist predictions. There have been at least six reports from different news sources: 1.) “Virus ‘Super Spreader’ cited as debates over reduced commuter distancing continue among Cabinet members, health experts” (One News, Sept. 16, 2020); 2.) “Seminars, minors in malls can be ‘dangerous superspreaders’” (Manila Bulletin, Dec. 9, 2020); 3.) “CTA Research warns gov’t vs. ‘superspreader events’ due to new COVID-19 policies” (Inquirer.net, Dec. 9, 2020); 4.) “Black Nazarene feast a ‘superspreader’ event, OCTA Research says” (GMA, Jan. 9, 2021); 5.) “Cinemas can be superspreader” (Daily Tribune, Feb. 13, 2021); 6.) “People below 18 may become COVID ‘supercarriers’ if age restrictions ease, OCTA warns” (Inquirer.net, Feb. 16, 2021).

We now turn to public spending during lockdown.

6 Revenues are falling to the floor…

With many businesses and companies closed, fully or partially, temporarily or permanently, government tax revenues declined significantly, from an average increase of P315 billion/year from 2016 to 2019, it declined by P281 billion in 2020, or a net decline of nearly P600 billion.

7 While spending is rising to the roof.

All the salaries, allowances and bonuses of government personnel from national to local and barangay levels were given. New subsidies were also created, bigger borrowings made and higher interest payment were paid.

8 GDP crashing to 2018 level.

The Philippines’ GDP contracted 9.5% in 2020 from 6.2% and 6% growth in 2018 and 2019 (see Table 2). This contraction put the GDP size at P17.5 trillion in 2020, similar to the size of the GDP in 2018 of P17.4 trillion. It is not the virus per se that caused this economic crash but the government’s strict and draconian lockdown policies.

9 Continued demonization of early treatment.

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Ph) has been advocating for focused protection of the vulnerable people (the elderly, those with comorbidities) via prophylaxis and early treatment using Ivermectin for humans (not Ivermectin veterinary products) plus supplements Vitamins C and D, zinc, and melatonin. Then all forms of lockdown and mobility and business restrictions can be lifted. But the Health department, the Food and Drug Administration, and World Health Organization, and various medical societies disapprove of, if not demonize, early treatment.

10 Lockdown déjà vu.

The current mobility restrictions for two weeks until April 4 are similar to last year’s. Government said in mid-March 2020 that it would take “only two weeks” to flatten the curve. The two weeks became two months, became 12 months — 12 months of failure to control virus transmission. Lockdowns do not work. The mantra “new normal” is actually “new dictatorship.”
--------------

See also:
BWorld 477, Global economic impact of lockdowns, March 09, 2021 
BWorld 478, Power demand contraction and natural gas cronyism, March 14, 2021 
BWorld 479, Lockdown déjà vu or back to normal, March 22, 2021.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Climate 98, Australia's worst flooding for decades

On "man-made" climate change and global warming, see one impact of heavy flooding recently in NSW Australia,

‘Horrific’ Swarms of Spiders, Snakes Invade Australian Homes Amid Devastating Floods
Elias Marat    Mar 24, 2021
https://themindunleashed.com/2021/03/horrific-swarms-of-spiders-snakes-invade-australian-homes-amid-devastating-floods.html

And people insist that man-made CC causes less flood and more flood, less rain and more rain. Less snakes and more snakes?

Is NSW flooding a year after bushfires yet more evidence of climate change?
Graham Readfearn   Mon 22 Mar 2021 09.05 GMT Last modified on Wed 24 Mar 2021 22.36 GMT 
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/22/is-nsw-flooding-a-year-after-bushfires-yet-more-evidence-of-climate-change

Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse 
March 24, 2021 5.52am AEDT
https://theconversation.com/yes-australia-is-a-land-of-flooding-rains-but-climate-change-could-be-making-it-worse-157586 

Worst flooding in decades continues for eastern Australia
By Adam Douty, Maura Kelly, AccuWeather meteorologist
Updated Mar. 24, 2021 11:37 PM PHT
https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/worst-flooding-in-decades-continues-for-eastern-australia/919279

14 years ago, famous Australian mammalogist and environmental Tim Flannery predicted "even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush."

Interview with Professor Tim Flannery 
Reporter: Sally Sara   First Published: 11/02/2007 
https://www.abc.net.au/local/archives/landline/content/2006/s1844398.htm

More here:

Carbon dioxide radically lower but floods destroy houses, cover beaches in debris across NSW in 1857 
https://joannenova.com.au/2021/03/carbon-dioxide-radically-lower-but-floods-destroy-houses-cover-beaches-in-debris-across-nsw-in-1857/

End of Rain? Guardian Blames NSW Flooding on Climate Change
Eric Worrall  March 23, 2021 
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/03/22/end-of-rain-guardian-blames-nsw-flooding-on-climate-change/

Meanwhile,

Climate change investing: jolly green giant or next bubble? 
Tony Featherstone    Mar 20, 2021 – 12.00am
https://www.afr.com/wealth/investing/climate-change-investing-jolly-green-giant-or-next-bubble-20210316-p57ba3 

Australian Financial Review Advises Readers to Embrace Climate Investments
Eric Worrall   March 21, 2021
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/03/19/australian-financial-review-advises-investors-to-embrace-climate-investments/
---------------

See also: 
Climate 95, Anthropocene, Extended La Nina, carbon tax February 9, 2021 
Climate 96, Anthropocene line of Sir Noel de Dios, February 14, 2021 
Climate 97, Econ and infra implications of a cooling planet, February 24, 2021.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Covid 27, Dr. Rafael Castillo on vaccine, Ivermectin, and lifting the lockdown

I'm reposting here three posts from Dr. Rafael Castillo, a famous and highly respected Filipino physician and weekly columnist in Inquirer Lifestyle’s Wellness page, https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/byline/rafael-r-castillo-md/. First paper was published in PDI, next two papers were shared in various Viber groups until today. Enjoy.
--------------

Doctor suggests six urgent steps that may help turn health crisis around
By: Rafael Castillo MD / 05:06 AM March 22, 2021
https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1409677/6-urgent-steps-to-turn-health-crisis-around 

I just read the report on rapidly developing “escape mutations” of the novel coronavirus, and tried to trace the development of the currently identified variants.

And it occurred to me that they all started in countries with massive vaccination clinical trials (the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil).

Now, additional escape mutations have been identified in countries like the United States after mass vaccination.

Just a coincidence? Or could the mass vaccination be paradoxically triggering the propagation of the virus? Hopefully not.

With a 400-percent surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, we definitely have to pause and rethink our situation.

I propose the following steps that may help us turn this medical crisis around, particularly in hotbed areas.

Moving target

At the rate escape mutations are developing, the current vaccines may no longer be effective in a few months, and it would require an urgent round of booster doses plus additional shots perhaps every three to six months to cover for the variants that could number in the hundreds within months.

The virus seems capable of mutating every 24-48 hours. It’s like shooting at a moving target, and as we hit one, it divides and creates new variants.

It’s time we recalibrated our anti-Covid strategy.

1. We should urgently shift from a vaccine-centric strategy to a more holistic multipronged approach. Vaccines are the least we need in Metro Manila and other hotbed areas.

2. Suspend vaccination for now and go full-blast with measures to control community transmission. Continuing the vaccination will only fuel the transmission and promote more mutations and resistance to vaccination.

3. Proceed with mass vaccination only in areas with controlled and stable community transmission.

20-40 age group

4. Withhold vaccination of the 20 to 40 year olds to reduce the rate of developing vaccine resistance. Vaccinating them will only create more breeding grounds for virus mutation and resistance development.

Besides, the risk of dying from COVID in the 20-40 age group is extremely low and just slightly higher than the risk of dying from vaccination-related adverse reactions.

It’s better to allow their system to develop natural, rather than vaccine-generated, immunity that can potentially weaken their innate immunity.

Let’s reserve the vaccination for the elderly, and other high-risk persons whose immune systems are no longer as healthy and reactive as the young adults’.

Ivermectin, etc.

5. Stop buying more vaccines for the next six months and reallocate the money to buy other immune-system- boosting agents like ivermectin, vitamins D and C, zinc, virgin coconut oil, and melatonin which should be provided for free in hotbed areas.

Face masks and shields should also be distributed for free in indigent barangays.

The government can invoke its police power and take over the manufacture of these products during this critical period. USP-grade ivermectin is not even available. The government should make emergency importation of this product, which can be easily procured from neighboring countries.

6. Agility in adapting and adjusting to prevailing circumstances is paramount.

Our previous plans on mass vaccination may not be suitable for now. It’s an excellent tool for prevention of future transmission, but is potentially disastrous in the current situation when community transmission is uncontrolled. 

This virus is making us think within the box as it slyly operates outside the box. It’s time we stopped being outsmarted by it.

With God’s mercy and grace, we can lick this virus for good. We just need to humble ourselves and stop believing we can solve this pandemic crisis on our own.

We need to unite, put our best ideas together, and swallow our pride if we want to win this crucial war against this unseen enemy.

Our window for survival is still very good, but quickly narrowing. It’s time to fight the war wisely, and with the right weapons.

God bless us all.
-------------- 

March 23

IMPORTANT REJOINDER TO MY URGENT MESSAGE COMMENTARY 
Dr. Rafael R. Castillo 

The commentary seemed to have stirred the hornet’s nest, with a few things taken out of context. Some clarifications are in order.

ON IVERMECTIN

My recommendation to use natural immune system boosters plus ivermectin also seemed to have hit a sensitive nerve. I’m well aware of the advisory of the FDA and several other professional organizations stating that the evidence is still not sufficient.

My apologies, but assessment of sufficiency and insufficiency of data or evidence is somewhat relative and arbitrary depending on quite a number of factors. I have my highest respect for all those who drafted the ivermectin advisory. But in times of pandemic, with so many lives hanging on the balance each hour of the day, we don’t have to demand the same rigid criteria for acceptability as we do with a non-emergency indication like mild hypertension with many therapeutic agents already available.

For me, what we should primarily ensure is that there’s no potential for significant harm on the patient.

Ivermectin has a world of difference compared to Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which I rarely used even at the peak of its scientific and media hype. I was scared of HCQ’s potentially deadly complications in patients with or without heart problems.

But for Ivermectin, it’s reported to be one of the safest drugs with around 3.5 billion doses already given worldwide. Of the more than 40 studies published on it, none showed a signal for significant harm. In the low to moderate-quality studies, there remains a strong suggestion of benefit to the tune of around 70-83% reduction in deaths, and a vaccine-like efficacy of around 90% in preventing disease transmission.

Even if you discount its mortality benefits by 50% to account for the bias and study design flaws, the benefit with ivermectin is still immense, and much better than commonly used drugs and interventions like remdesivir, tocilizumab, monoclonal antibodies, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), etc. Costs of these expensive treatments are around 300 to 800 times more than a 3-dose regimen of ivermectin costing around P100 for the 3 capsules or tablets.

I think Ivermectin is the great equalizer for the poor and rich patients with covid-19. During the last 2 weeks or so, when symptomatic Covid-19 patients could no longer be accommodated in the hospitals, I’ve personally treated and am still treating 14 patients with mainly a combination of high-dose melatonin and ivermectin. Some were also given oral antibiotics.

With God’s mercy and grace, 9 have already recovered and 5 are still on treatment and doing well.