Ending lockdowns yet protecting the at-risk

The core message has to be: Don’t affect the entire population and don’t weaken the economy.

Overall policy should be to protect the vulnerable (elderly, people with co-morbidities; medical and nursing staff) from mostly viral pneumonia, respiratory distress and death. The core message has to be: Don’t affect the entire population and don’t weaken the economy (that will only attract military aggression from other countries). This is the lesson from the substantial body of experts who have sought to steer policy in ways that protect both lives and livelihoods. These two requisites are not antithetical, but congruent to each other. The findings of such experts need attention.

Most novel coronavirus cases in younger people are asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic. Over time, herd immunity will be formed and the epidemic will disappear. How long that will be is unclear. It is very much hoped that the steroid medicine Dexamethasone, antiviral medicines such Favipiravir and Remdesivir, and others will soon be approved against Covid-19 and become widely available to combat the disease, that will remove the “death sentence” fear associated with the disease, especially in the elderly. That is how HIV/ AIDS has been combated for the past 40 years — there has never been a vaccine against HIV/AIDS.

 In Japan, the longstanding culture of wearing masks against “Hay Fever” has had remarkable effect. That culture was in place decades before Covid-19. Japan did not have any draconian government measure. Everything has been voluntary. And despite being so close to China and having large numbers of Chinese visit before a ban was finally put on all Chinese and other tourists’ entry on 1 April, still the Covid-19 situation is very much under control today. Japan: 17,474 cases. 931 deaths.

Flattened the Economic Curve Rather than the Epidemic’s Curve:

Demonetisation implementation, GST implementation, and now lockdown implementation. Implementation of the bold policies of the Prime Minister is the key issue of this government. The essentially British era structure of administration preserved by Nehru and Patel has been kept intact, even after 2014. In fact, most of the officials who assisted the UPA in its various acts of omission and commission have gone on to even brighter careers under the NDA. Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to take an axe to British-era rules and regulations of the civil service that have remained unchanged decade after decade. At least a third of entrants need to be direct recruits, who should enjoy the same conditions as the rest. Dismissal or disciplinary action should be made easier and more frequent than the minuscule number witnessed decade after decade.

Further, there is a genuine problem in strategy formulation because only Lutyens-favoured experts — such as global consultancy groups known for cut-andpaste advice already given to previous clientele — are entertained. Theirs is essentially a one-size-fits-all “global” advice that is often wholly inappropriate for India, given the circumstances. This country needs not a Boston Consultancy Group model or a Johns Hopkins Model or a Goldman Sachs model but the Modi Model. For that, those anchored to past errors and worse need to be winnowed out of a dominant role in the policymaking matrix.

As of 17 June in India, there are 343,000 confirmed Covid-19 cumulative cases, with 10,000 deaths reported due to Covid-19. The US has 2.1 million cases. 116,000 deaths. From the start, this writer has said that there was no reason for “Covid-19 Panic” in India, and that May 2020 would see the beginning of a slowdown in cases. Higher testing has led to more discovered cases, but this does not prove that the disease is accelerating its grip. The monsoons will bring malaria, typhoid and other ailments. These have been taken in stride rather than having extraordinary measures taken. Swachh Bharat is the perfect remedy for Covid-19 and needs to be practised across the country.

IHME: Errors in Data and Statistical Models:

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington at Seattle is overwhelmingly funded by Gates Foundation — first grant was $100 million, then grant was renewed. Chris Murray is the IHME Director, and has no formal training in epidemiology.

IHME’s model — otherwise called the Chris Murray model — is not based on transmission dynamics but rather on a statistical model with no epidemiological basis. It is a travesty that this Chris Murray designed model is used to predict the pandemic and proscribe societal actions i.e. forbid, especially by law, and prohibit, make illegal, etc. The Chris Murray IHME model has been criticized by epidemiologists at Harvard University and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The IHME model is based on the fallacy of Farr’s Law in which epidemics are assumed to follow a roughly bell-shaped or “normal curve”. Farr’s Law dates from the 1840s. Given the number of laws and regulations in India that date to that period, it is no surprise that IHME prescriptions are avidly swallowed within the Lutyens’ Zone.

The IHME model implicitly assumes that the effects of social distancing policies are the same everywhere and that suppression policies will be implemented in all regions and will remain effective throughout.

This shows IHME’s weak understanding of harsh realities, such as those faced by Indian migrant inter-state workers, and slum-dwellers, as an example. In locations filled with sub-standard housing, hundreds share only a few bathrooms, for instance, making a mockery of social distancing.

Further, there are multiple unknown factors that result in variations in death rates — for instance the still unclear impact of BCG immunization against Tuberculosis (TB) that was carried out vigorously in India and Japan, as compared to almost no BCG immunization in recent times in the US because TB had largely been eliminated as a public health problem even in the 1950s. By simply assuming that all data can be used from anywhere without looking at the context, IHME continues to make the same mistakes year after year it has made previously in other studies. This is particularly erroneous–because while some countries imposed lockdowns, others focused on enhanced testing and contact tracing, and still others had variable efficacy in reporting deaths due to Covid-19 with some only reporting hospital deaths — so every country is not the same in terms of how the pandemic spread — but IHME’s statistical model does not account for those complexities.

 Yet Dr Deborah Birx herself presented this IHME model at a White House press conference. Please see below why Birx is beholden to Gates and therefore uses this Gates-funded statistical model. The Trump administration is filled with holdovers who in their hearts fervently wish to see the 45th President of the US defeated on November 3, 2020.

Examples of IHME’s Volatile, Rapidly Changing and Multiple Projections:

 For New York, IHME model projected 10,243 deaths: Range 5167 to 26,444 on 27 March. Three days later, on 30 March, it was changed to: 15,546 deaths: Range 016 to 22,255. In late March, IHME projected for the US that it will have 81,114 Covid-19 deaths over the next four months with a caveat that the actual number could be as few as 38,242 and as high as 162,106. In April, IHME projected for the US that deaths would be 60,000 by August 4, that a few days later was revised to 68,000 with 95% certainty that the actual toll would be between 30,188 and 175,965.

Factual epidemiology models use outbreak parameters such as a disease’s infectiousness to project the course of an epidemic in a way that policy makers can use. The IHME model is opaque and underlying source data are not revealed. Therefore, it is hard to understand the frequent changes announced. The same is the case with several of the models relied on by policymakers for imposing measures with far-reaching consequences on society and the economy. The absence of domain expertise within bureaucratic portals needs to be reversed in Modi 2.0.

There are still other models prepared by other universities. Every model in use today has fatal flaws and has created enormous confusion with the modellers taking no responsibility for the resulting major policy failures that can cause grave disruption to economies and intense hardship to ordinary people. Modellers should be made legally liable for causing intense hardships — they will then not produce so many outlandish models and press statements merely to get into the news for fund-raising purposes.

 It is high time that past projections and current reality are reported very transparently and publicly. Also, similarly, current projections should be accompanied by future reality checks. It is essential to also develop domestic robust epidemiological models to compare those “global” statistical models with, and have a vigorous debate with contrarian experts, before taking hugely consequential decisions. Confining consultation to a choir singing the same tune exposes the government to the dangers witnessed during the implementation — as distinct from primary conception – of historic reforms such as DeMo and GST.

Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the NGO called Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP), who also has an affiliation with a university in the US, went so far as to predict 300 million cases in India, using another opaque statistical model, in March 2020. Ramanan is no epidemiologist either.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/ story/coronavirus-cases-india-covid19-ramanan-laxminarayan-interview-1658087-2020-03-21

The only value of such projections is to enable claims that unscientific recommendations and decisions resulted in millions of lives saved, because the original projections were so exaggerated in the first place. Another model in use was prepared by Imperial College in London, and their staffer is Maria van Kerkhove, the woman who appears with W.H.O. DG Tedros every day at press conferences to present and discuss numbers, who now is on a W.H.O. contract. W.H.O. has been so discredited that most people no longer pay attention to their daily press conferences. Here are examples of WHO’s appalling mistakes: –

 “asymptomatic transmission is rare” (false) –

“healthy people don’t need to wear masks” (false) –

“no evidence of Covid-19 immunity via antibodies” (false) – “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” (false)

 Concentric Circles of US Conflict-of-Interest:

The top US health officials on COVID-19, Dr Tony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx who frequently appear with President Trump at news conferences, have tremendous conflicts of interest. Fauci and Birx have a 40 year track record of failures in HIV/AIDS vaccine research. They have squandered billions of US dollars on failed vaccine R&D against HIV/ AIDS. The latest failure of a clinical trial led by Fauci-Birx was announced just 4 months ago February 2020.


Experts have analysed that it is nearly impossible to make a vaccine against a highly mutating organism that HIV is — but Fauci-Birx persist year after year, apparently flush with money, squandering both government money and also Gates Foundation money, both directly and via the Gates mega-grantee International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Thus both Fauci and Birx are beholden to the generosity of Bill Gates. It must be added that Melinda is by all accounts a truly idealistic and dedicated individual. She needs to analyse the economic and societal effects of the policies the Gates Foundation has advocated in countries such as India in a manner free of bias from those investigating such phenomena.

Bill Gates is now the top donor to WHO thus gets access to world health data, directly and also via IHME (mostly funded by Gates) that has an MoU with WHO.

Dr Tony Fauci has vicarious responsibility for his millions of dollars of his Institute — National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s work on “gain-of-function” research, where a natural virus was synthetically altered to become more deadly, supposedly as part of a process to make vaccines–but when done in a sloppy lab or anything below a P4 level lab, it can lead to catastrophe. In Wuhan, a P2 level lab was also doing part of the work at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control. And even the P4 level lab itself was sloppy according to a visiting US Embassy team that sent diplomatic cables expressing concern two years ago.


Without fully probing what went on as part of the NIAID-funded work at Wuhan, how can Fauci advocate for seemingly endless lockdowns? Fauci argues that the money was only to study bat coronaviruses and not to support gain-of-function research at Wuhan. But there is speculation that in fact Fauci winked and nodded to the Chinese to use money that is fungible to do the sort of gain-of-function research that is hard to do in the US, because there are large ethical objections to such deadly research in the US.



https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/ why-would-the-us-have-funded-thecontroversial-wuhan-lab/;


There is no one to hold these Gates Foundation funded entities that have been responsible for endless alarm bells with no basis that caused the panic leading to imposition of lockdowns that flattened various economies.

Bill Gates today is a large biotech investor, and believes in the efficacy of vaccines. Vaccines are in some ways similar to software. Once approved, it can be reproduced cheaply and sell in huge volumes to everyone in the entire world. In the past 20 years, Gates has invested heavily into the biotech and vaccine industries and has substantial influence on the health/pharma sector in partnerships with key people like Dr. Fauci of the US Government.

What India needs and expects is not more lockdowns but policy designed to protect both lives as well as livelihoods. The examples of Japan and Taiwan are among many which show this is possible. India needs a policy reset in the matter of lives and livelihoods, and soon.


Jewell, Nicholas et al. “Caution Warranted: Using the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Model for Predicting the Course of the COVID-19 Pandemic” Annals of Internal Medicine. April 14, 2020