Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Natural Immunity vs. Vaccine Immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 Virus - Which is Superior

A recent study from Israel, the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination programs compares natural immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus to that achieved through vaccination.  Let's look at the results of the study by Dr. Sivan Gazit et al entitled "Comparing SARS-CoV-2 natural immunity to vaccine-induced immunity: reinfections versus breakthrough infections" as shown here:

Please note that the research has not been peer reviewed at this time.


The authors conducted a retrospective observational study comparing three groups of individuals noting that the fully vaccinated group served as the reference group for the study.:


1.) Individuals who had not been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus previously (SARS-CoV-2-naive) and who received a two-dose regimen of the Pfizer - BioNTech mRNA vaccine by February 28, 2021 and who did not receive the third dose of vaccine by the end of the study period.  A total of 673,676 individuals met this requirement.


2.) individuals who had been previously infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus as recorded using a PCR test by February 28, 2021 and had not been vaccinated.  A total of 62,883 individuals met this requirement.


3.) individuals who had been previously infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus by February 28, 2021 and who had receive a single dose of vaccine by May 25, 2021.  A total of 42,099 individuals met this requirement.


This is the largest real-world observational study that has been undertaken to date which compares natural immunity gained through previous SARS-CoV-2 infections to those afforded by Pfizer's BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine.


The study population included individuals aged 16 years and older who were vaccinated prior to February 28, 2021, who had a documented SARS-CoV-2 infection by February 28, 2021 or who had both a documented SARS-CoV-2 infection by February 28, 2021 and received one dose of the vaccine by May 25, 2021, 7 days prior to the study period began.


The authors evaluated four outcomes:


1.) SARS-CoV-2 infection.


2.) symptomatic disease.


3.) COVID-19-related hospitalization.


4.) COVID-19-related death.


The follow-up period was from June 1, 2021 to August 14, 2021 when the Delta variant was predominant in Israel.  


Here are the results of two of the models used, noting that the authors adjusted the results for comorbidities:


1.) Model 1 - Previously infected vs. vaccinated individuals with matching for the time of the first event:


During the followup period, a total of 257 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection were recorded with 238 occurring in the vaccinated group (breakthrough infections), 19 in the previously infected group (reinfections).  SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccinated individuals were 13.06 times more likely to have a breakthrough infection with the Delta variant compared to those who were previously infected with the virus.  


As for symptomatic infections during the followup period, a total of 199 cases were recorded, 191 of which were in the vaccinated group and 8 in the previously infected group.  SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccinated individuals were 27.02 times more likely to have a symptomatic breakthrough infection with the Delta variant compared to those who were previously infected with the virus.


As for hospitalizations, a total of 9 COVID-19 hospitalizations were recorded, 8 of which were in the vaccinated group and 1 in the previously infected group.


No COVID-19-related deaths were recorded.


2.) Model 2 - Previously infected vs. vaccinated individuals without matching for the time of the first event:


When comparing fully vaccinated individuals to those previously infected (including during 2020), the authors found that throughout the followup period there were 748 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection, 640 of which were in the vaccinated group (breakthrough infections) and 108 in the previouslyinfected group (reinfections).  SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccinated individuals were 5.96 times more likely to have a breakthrough infection with the Delta variant compared to those that were previously infected with the virus.


As for symptomatic infections, a total of 522 cases were recorded, 484 of which were in the vaccinated group and 68 in the previously infected group.  SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccinated individuals were 7.13 times more likely to have a symptomatic breakthrough infection with the Delta variant compared to those who were previously infected with the virus.


As for hospitalizations, a total of 25 COVID-19 hospitalizations were recorded, 21 of which were in the vaccinated group and 4 in the previously infected group.  Vaccinated individuals were 6.7 times more likely to be admitted to hospital than those who were reinfected.


No COVID-19-related deaths were recorded.


Here is an excerpt from the paper's conclusion:


"This analysis demonstrated that natural immunity affords longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization due to the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity. Notably, individuals who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant. The long-term protection provided by a third dose, recently administered in Israel, is still unknown."

Monday, August 30, 2021

Ethnomathematics and the Eurocentric Ideas About Teaching Mathematics

Thanks to A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction, we now know what has been wrong with mathematical education for generations and have been given a toolkit to help educators defeat the historic and systemic inequities that have plagued math teachers and their students though a program of "ethnomathematics".


Here is a quote from the "About" section of the Pathway website:


"This toolkit was developed by a team of teachers, instructional coaches, researchers, professional development providers, and curriculum writers with expertise in mathematics education, English language development, and culturally responsive pedagogy."


Here are the group's partner organizations:


...and, you'll notice right at the bottom in small print the collaborators wish to thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their "generous financial support". 


The Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction is:


"...an integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students in grades 6-8, addresses barriers to math equity, and aligns instruction to grade-level priority standards. The Pathway offers guidance and resources for educators to use now as they plan their curriculum, while also offering opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice. The toolkit “strides” serve as multiple on-ramps for educators as they navigate the individual and collective journey from equity to anti-racism."


The Equitable Math instruction program consists of five strides as follows:


Let's focus on the first stride, "Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction":


Here is a quote from the booklet with my bold:


"This tool provides teachers an opportunity to examine their actions, beliefs, and values around teaching mathematics. The framework for deconstructing racism in mathematics offers essential characteristics of antiracist math educators and critical approaches to dismantling white supremacy in math classrooms by making visible the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture with respect to math. Building on the framework, teachers engage with critical praxis in order to shift their instruc- tional beliefs and practices towards antiracist math education. By centering antiracism, we model how to be antiracist math educators with accountability."


Equitable Math is primarily for math educators but also advocates for a collective approach to dismantling white supremacy and the program is intended to be useably all teachers, leaders, coaches and administrators in the educational system as follows:


1.) Teachers should use this workbook to self-reflect on individual practices in the classroom and identify next steps in their antiracist journey as a math educator.


2.) Leaders and coaches should use the framework during observations and walkthroughs, annotating the behaviors and providing targeted feedback.


3.) Administrators should examine programs and policies and how white supremacy impacts student outcomes (e.g., tracking, course selection, intervention rosters). In addition, they can hold teachers accountable for completing the activities in this workbook.


Here are the terms that the authors believe identity white supremacy as defined by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun's "Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Change" in 2001:


• Perfectionism

• Sense of Urgency

• Defensiveness

• Quantity Over Quality

• Worship of the Written Word 

• Paternalism

• Either/Or Thinking

• Power Hoarding

• Fear of Open Conflict

• Individualism

• Only One Right Way

• Progress is Bigger, More

• Objectivity

• Right to Comfort


Here is a table showing how math classrooms have developed white supremacy culture noting that there are at least 2 spelling mistakes on the page (agnecy and sutdents):


Here's another key quote:


"These common practices that perpetuate white supremacy culture create and sustain institutional and systemic barriers to equity for Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students. In order to dismantle these barriers, we must identify what it means to be an antiracist math educator.


In order to embody antiracist math education, teachers must engage in critical praxis that interrogates the ways in which they perpetuate white supremacy culture in their own classrooms, and develop a plan toward antiracist math education to address issues of equity for Black, Latinx, and multilingual students."


The authors then outline the characteristics of antiracist math educators and how they can design a "culturally sustaining math space" and "center ethnomathematics":


I found these two issues particularly interesting:


"To help combat the problem of racism in their classrooms, math teachers undertake a multistage process with monthly assignments as follows:


Identify and challenge the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views.


Expose students to examples of people who have used math as resistance. Provide learning opportunities that use math as resistance."


The process for each month includes engagement, reflection, planning, acting (with accountability) and reflecting on these issues:

Let's look at what teachers are expected to accomplish in September as an example of the process of changing how math is taught.  Math teachers are to ask themselves "Who are my students?" and deal with how tracking students is part of white supremacy by:


While the Equitable Math program is California-based, other jurisdictions including Oregon are adapting the narrative that math is racist.  As shown in these screen captures from the Ontario, Canada Curriculum and Resources website for the grade 9 math curriculum keeping in mind that CRRP stands for Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy:


I like that; Eurocentric ideas about teaching mathematics.

Let's close with a few thoughts.  I'm really not certain how mathematics can be considered racist when students are expected to "get the right answer" and "show their work".  Reading between the lines, it would appear that the Equitable Math program is telling students who excel at mathematics under the current curriculum that they are somehow racist or white supremacists and gives students who are poor at mathematics a justification for their poor performance.  Successfully answering mathematical equations like this:


....and this:

...form a key part of careers in engineering and science.  Without the development of complex math skills, North American society must keep a wary eye on China where STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is now officially part of primary school curricula and is considered by parents as part of a well-rounded character.  There is only one right answer to a mathematical equation and I would prefer that the engineer who is designing the bridge that I travel over or the building that I work in has the skills to get the right answer.  Unlike the arts, mathematics is not a "touchy feely" subject and requires the ability to solve a problem successfully as well as the ability to memorize certain basic concepts.  It also requires educators who have a firm grasp of the concepts that they are teaching and the ability to help students that are struggling with basic skills by giving them the coping skills necessary to succeed.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

The Cancel Culture Part 2 - The Google Gods Strike Again

Apparently, this blog is now on Google's watch list.  Once again, I have offended the Google Gods by posting something that falls under their ever-watchful, Orwellian eye because it has "misleading content". This is the second time that I have been censored with my first offence being described here.


Here is the posting in question:



The posting contained an open letter that was published by the Ontario Civil Liberties Association in Ontario, Canada telling unvaccinated Canadians that they were not alone and that it is within their rights to say "no" to vaccines that have not been completely tested. 


Here are a few highlights:


1.) you can say no to a violation of your body.


2.) you are within your rights to question whether free and informed consent is possible given that the long-term health effects of the vaccines are not known.


3.) you are being targeted by the mainstream media, governments and social media companies which are telling you that you are endangering the world because you refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.


4.) you are being accused of being a factory for the new Delta variant (and others) because you prefer to rely on your natural immune system.


5.) you are right to question the preliminary vaccine trial results.


6.) you are right to call for a diversity of scientific opinions regarding the pandemic and the associated vaccines.


7.) you should not be intimidated.


If you wish to read the entire open letter, you can find it here.  For those of us who are growing increasingly concerned about our individual rights in this totalitarian time, it is well worth reading.


Somehow, this message offended the Google Gods whose business model now includes censoring any viewpoint that doesn't follow their own narrow view of the pandemic.  On the upside, the posting was read over a thousand times before Google decided that it was offensive, not a bad tally for this small-time blogger.

God forbid that freedom should reign.  That's oldthink and, as we have learned over the past 18 months, oldthink is doubleplusungood.


Friday, August 27, 2021

Personal Carbon Allowances

Now that elected and non-elected officials around the world have gained the knowledge that they can suspend our rights and freedoms without significant repercussions (in most cases) because of a health threat, I believe that the next existential threat that the our overlords will use as an excuse to suspend our freedom will be linked to the threat posed by climate change.  Since this threat is not at the forefront of most people's lives, governments will have to use what would have ordinarily be considered extreme means to get their citizens to change their behaviours when it comes to the consumption of greenhouse gas-emitting hydrocarbons just as they used extreme means to alter human behaviour during the pandemic.  Let's look at one of these means that has the potential to change our patterns of consumption.


A very recent article on Nature Sustainability looked at one method that could be used to mitigate climate change.  In the article "Personal carbon allowances revisited" by Francesco Fuso Nerini et al, the authors open by noting that the current planned climate policies will not meet the target of "well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels" and the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase that was ultimately agreed to in the Paris Agreement.  Here is a quote from the paper with my bold:


"Thus, although many countries have made pledges of net-zero emissions by 2050, implemented policies and pledges are insufficient to deliver the Paris Agreement ambition of limiting global warming to well below 2 °C."


In fact, according to the authors, in May 2021, Climate Action Tracker estimated that current global climate policies would lead to a temperature rise of 2.9 degrees Celsius which, if true, will give governments the perfect excuse to enact extreme and previously unthinkable measures just as they have during the COVID-19 pandemic.


One of the proposals to limit carbon emissions is the use of personal carbon allowances or PCAs.  Under a PCA system, all adults would receive an equal  tradable carbon allowance that would reduce over time in line with their government's climate targets.  There are two main ways of utilizing PCAs with a host of variations between the end points:


1.) A selective PCA - the allowance would cover around 40 percent of energy-related carbon emissions in high-income nations which would include individuals' carbon emissions related to travel including commuting, household heating, water heating and electricity consumption.


2.) A comprehensive PCA - the allowance would cover a far more comprehensive economy-wide emissions including food, services and consumption-related carbon emissions in addition to the aforementioned sources of carbon emissions.

An individual's PCA balance would decline with every payment for transportation (i.e. gasoline), home heating oil, electricity and other uses of carbon-emitting fuels.  People who experienced a shortage in their PCA could purchase additional units in the personal carbon market from individuals who had a surplus in their PCA account.


The authors note that PCAs are envisaged to deliver carbon-emissions-related behavioural change by way of three interlinked mechanisms as shown here:


Proponents of PCAs believe that, by assigning a visible carbon price to the purchase and use of fossil fuels, an individual's consumption behaviour will be changed since they will no longer have access to an infinite volume of fossil fuels.


There are three key technological barriers that must be solved before a PCA system is implemented:


1.) What technology is needed to manage personal carbon allowances?


2.) How will people keep track of their personal carbon allowance?


3.) How would personal carbon allowances be traded?


There are additional issues facing a PCA reality:


1.) Low social acceptability because of the complexity of the scheme and its potential to result in unfair distribution.


2.) Distributional impacts where low-income households would have surplus in their PCA since they consume less energy and high-income houses would have a deficit in their PCA since they consume more energy, necessitating the purchase of additional units.

In the past, consumers were reluctant to adopt a PCA program in part, because of privacy concerns.  Here is a quote from the paper regarding that issue with my bolds:


"In particular, during the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on individuals for the sake of public health, and forms of individual accountability and responsibility that were unthinkable only one year before, have been adopted by millions of people. People may be more prepared to accept the tracking and limitations related to PCAs to achieve a safer climate and the many other benefits (for example, reduced air pollution and improved public health) associated with addressing the climate crisis. Other lessons that could be drawn relate to the public acceptance in some countries of additional surveillance and control in exchange for greater safety. For instance, in many countries, mobile apps designed for COVID-19 infection tracking and tracing played an important part in limiting the spread of the pandemic. The deployment and testing of such apps provide technology advances and insights for the design of future apps for tracking personal emissions.  . Recent studies show how COVID-19 contact-tracing apps were successfully implemented with mandatory schemes in several East Asian countries, such as China, Taiwan and South Korea. In these countries, the apps assessed each user’s travel history and health status, playing a key role in tracking infections. These unique natural experiments give insights into possible strategies to use apps to track PCAs. For instance, the many digital contact-tracing algorithms that were developed and tested provide initial valuable information for the design of future apps that—for example—estimate emissions on the basis of tracking the user’s movement history."


So there you have it.  Thanks, once again, to the COVID-19 pandemic, we now have a template for smart phone-based apps that could be used to track our use of fossil fuels and our carbon emissions.


Here's one final quote from the paper:


"Finally, advances in digitalization and AI for sustainable development promise to shrink implementation costs and logistical challenges for PCAs—and to improve personalized feedback, information and advice. Recent advances in smarter home and transport options make it possible to easily track and manage a large share of individuals’ emissions. Evidence from the roll-out of smart meters and informative displays can be used to design feedback that is highly effective in engaging individuals to reduce their energy-related emissions. Furthermore, AI breakthroughs combined with very high ownership of smartphones will allow the low-cost development of new personalized apps to account for PCAs and trade personal emissions. For instance, machine-learning algorithms could be trained to automatically gather all the available information on someone’s emissions, and to fill data gaps and accurately estimate an individual’s carbon emissions on the basis of limited data inputs such as stops at petrol stations, check-ins at venues and travel histories. AI could be especially beneficial for PCA designs that also include food- and consumption-related emissions. Many voluntary smartphone apps can already capture personal travel and dietary behaviours for estimating carbon emissions and potential health consequences. Algorithms in those apps can intelligently understand the mode of transport on the basis of the user’s speed and trajectory, and can estimate food-related emissions on the basis of purchasing habits. More importantly, machine learning could also support our understanding of what information and advice are most effective for promoting behaviour change through PCAs."


In case you were wondering, there actually has been a trial of PCAs in the United Kingdom over 4 weeks in June 2011 as shown here:

Here is a graphic showing how the PCA was established:

The annual personal allowance for the PCA was 7.3 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person which is equivalent to 19.9 kg of CO2 equivalent per person per day.  The concept of a PCA received both good and bad reviews from consumers which I will cover in a future posting.


Given all of this information, it is not terribly surprising that the adoption of a personal carbon allowance scheme seems far less challenging than it did 20 years ago when the idea was initially brought forward as a solution to global climate change.  It's just a matter of time until governments figure this out and use their newfound powers of behavioural modification to implement a system of personal carbon allowances that intrudes even further into what little remains of our private lives.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

What Does the FDA's Full Approval of a COVID-19 Vaccine Really Mean?

With the legacy media gleefully reporting on the FDA's full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine now known as Comirnaty like this:


...and this:


...you might believe that the vaccine is now perfectly safe because it has been fully tested.  What is missing from most legacy media reports can be easily found in the FDA's Biologics Licence Approval (BLA) dated August 23, 2021. 


Let's start with the lead page of the FDA approval letter to BioNTech:



From this, it would appear that Pfizer has the full and unencumbered authorization necessary to manufacture and distribute Comirnaty.


Actually, on pages 4 and 5 and you will find this:


Despite the fact that govermemts around the world are vaccinating children as young as 12 years of age (and, in some cases, allowing children down to the age of 12 to make the decision on their own without parental input) should be concerning since even the FDA admits that studies for those under the age of 16 have not been completed no matter what your local public health official may tell you.  As well, it is also important to note the following study completion and final report submission dates for each of the three age groups:


12 to 15 years - May 31, 2023 - final report October 31, 2023


6 months to 11 years - November 30, 2023 - final report May 31, 2024


Ages less than 6 months - July 31, 2024 - final report October 31, 2024


In addition to these studies, Pfizer is obligated to complete additional studies for other health issues including myocarditis and pericarditis as shown on page 6, 7 and 8:



Please note the following study completion dates keeping in mind that the submission of final reports are not required for several months after the study completion dates:


1.) The study on any links between the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and myocarditis and pericarditis will not be complete until June 30, 2025.


2.) The study on any links between Comirnaty and myocarditis and pericarditis will not be complete until March 31, 2024.


3.) The substudy describing the natural history of myocarditis and pericarditis following administration of Comirnaty will not be complete until March 31, 2024.


4.) The prospective cohort study with at least five years of follow-up for potential long-term sequelae (a condition which is the consequence of a previous disease or injury) will not be complete until December 31, 2026.


5.) The substudy which assesses the incidence of subclinical myocarditis following the administration of a second dose of Comirnaty in participants aged 5 to 15 years will not be complete until November 30, 2023.


6.) The substudy which assesses the incidence of subclinical myocarditis following the administration of a third dose of Comirnaty in participants aged 16 to 30 years will not be complete until June 30, 2022.


As you can see, with nearly 170 million Americans already fully vaccinated these studies, which would normally have been done before the vaccine was unleashed on the public, will not see the light of day for between one and five years from now by which time the potential health damage will already have been done.  It will be a prime example of closing the barn door after the horse escapes. 


Remember, FDA approval does not mean that a drug is safe.  The FDA has a long track record of approving pharmaceutical products that have proven to be hazardous to human health and even has a classification for the recalls that are based on the severity of injury that is caused by the drug or device as shown here:



According to DrugWatch, on average, 4,500 drugs and devices are recalled by the FDA every year even though the products have received the FDA "seal of approval".  Here is a list of just a few of the drugs that were recalled with many having been used for decades before they were pulled from the market:


Just for fun, here is a very recent recall of a Pfizer product:


God forbid that the legacy media actually take a few minutes and read through the FDA BLA approval document and actually report on the details contained in its eleven pages, many of which are very important given the rapid rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, the hundreds of thousands of reports of adverse reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the United States alone as shown here:


...and the fact that many nations are already planning to roll out a third dose of Big Pharma's latest venture as well as making it mandatory for certain groups of people to be jabbed. 

Let's close this posting with this article that appeared on the British Medical Journal website on August 20, 2021:

Here are key quotes from the article with bolds being mine:

"Transparency advocates have criticised the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision not to hold a formal advisory committee meeting to discuss Pfizer’s application for full approval of its covid-19 vaccine.


Last year the FDA said it was “committed to use an advisory committee composed of independent experts to ensure deliberations about authorisation or licensure are transparent for the public.”  But in a statement, the FDA told The BMJ that it did not believe a meeting was necessary ahead of the expected granting of full approval.


“The FDA has held numerous meetings of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) related to covid-19 vaccines, including a 22 October 20202 meeting to discuss, in general, the development, authorisation, and licensure of covid-19 vaccines,” an FDA spokesperson said.


“The FDA also has held meetings of the VRBPAC on all three covid-19 vaccines authorised for emergency use and does not believe a meeting is needed related to this biologics license application.”


The spokesperson added, “The Pfizer BioNTech covid-19 vaccine was discussed at the VRBPAC meeting on 10 December 2020.3 If the agency had any questions or concerns that required input from the advisory committee members we would have scheduled a meeting to discuss.”…


Kim Witczak, a drug safety advocate who serves as a consumer representative on the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee,4 said the decision removed an important mechanism for scrutinising the data.


“These public meetings are imperative in building trust and confidence especially when the vaccines came to market at lightning speed under emergency use authorisation,” she said. “The public deserves a transparent process, especially as the call for boosters and mandates are rapidly increasing. These meetings offer a platform where questions can be raised, problems tackled, and data scrutinised in advance of an approval.”


Witczak is one of the more than 30 signatories of a citizen petition5 calling on the FDA to refrain from fully approving any covid-19 vaccine this year to gather more data. She warned that without a meeting “we have no idea what the data looks like.”


“It is already concerning that full approval is being based on 6 months’ worth of data despite the clinical trials designed for two years,” she said. “There is no control group after Pfizer offered the product to placebo participants before the trials were completed.


“Full approval of covid-19 vaccines must be done in an open public forum for all to see. It could set a precedent of lowered standards for future vaccine approvals.”"