‘17 things we don’t know – and shouldn’t pretend to know about COVID-19’ (I)
By Femi Kusa
The philosophers tell us that the more we know about anything, the more we learn that we didn’t know much or anything about it. That is what we are now being told by an American specialist doctor, a woman, who has been looking her professional colleagues straight in the eye and telling them and the public that they lied to the World about COVID-19 to fatten their pockets against public health and interest, and that they are a huge disappointment to humanity. In particular, Dr. Lissa Rankin, 52, who has 24 years’practice as an obstetrician and gynaecologist behind her, castigated President Donald Trump, accusing him of collaboration with the huge pharmaceutical companies to defraud the world and cause the death of many Americans when simple natural medicines are available worldwide to cure this disease.
Dr. Rankin should know what she is saying. Besides obstetrics and gynaecology, she is a Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine doctor rolled together. This 1996 graduate of the University of Miami Medical School is the founder of Whole Health Medicine Institute.
When I read her criticism of the way doctors worldwide presented COVID-19 to their fellow country men and women, my thoughts went to Prof.Olatunji Dare, Editorial Page editor and chairman of The Guardian Editorial Board in that newspaper’s hey days, and what human or event he would present to his readers as 2020 MAN OF THE YEAR. What else could it be if not COVID-19, which has literally shut down our civilisation? I am not taking the wind out of Prof. Dare’s sail by presenting the other side of the coin of COVID-19. Really, will 2020 MAN OF THE YEAR be COVID-19 or, as Dr. Rankin says, THE BIGGEST FRAUD OF THE CENTURY?
Dr. Rankin’s presentation of her case against the profession of orthodox medicine agrees with the position of this column in a series of articles on CORONAVIRUS posted on www.olufemikusa.com. Her struggle to expose what she calls public deceit and fraud will be serialised in this column, under her original title: ‘17 things we don’t know and shouldn’t pretend to know about COVID-19.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Rankin has the floor…
A few days ago on Facebook, I made a casual comment questioning part of the dominant narrative (that the anti-viral remdesivir is indeed worthy of Dr. Fauci’s optimism and a lightning speed rush to FDA approval.) A physician and medical director challenged me, saying he was concerned I was dismissive of science and worried I might influence people in ways that would make them turn away from science. I welcomed his challenge and asked for his email so I could get him to peer review something I was writing about Remdesivir. He peer reviewed what I wrote and wrote a cogent response, which he also ran by some of his trusted medical sources. I was grateful for his scientific engagement and for the opportunity to have a respectful discussion. However, I noticed as I read his response to what I had written that his response was based on assumptions I was questioning (assuming that COVId-19 tests or COVID-19 death rates are accurate, for example). I realised that if any of those assumptions turned out to be false, our seemingly logical discussion could be at risk of cognitive error. This respectful scientific discourse with a professional colleague inspired me to make a list of all of the other assumptions I was questioning, which inspired me to crowdsource this list on Facebook), asking for help from my community to make a comprehensive list of assumptions we’re making in public health policy-making and clinical decision-making. It’s clear that there are many things we don’t yet know about COVID-19 and the SARS CoV-2 virus, but I have yet to see any “expert” clearly admit what we don’t know, so I thought I’d take a stab at it. Unless we’re willing to be transparent about where we’re uncertain, attempts at false certainty will only mislead the public and potentially interfere with personal and collective wise decision-making. After writing a first draft of this list, I also asked for peer review from ten medical doctors and researchers who I know well and trust that they have no hidden agenda or financial conflicts of interest. I then shared it with hundreds more doctors asking for feedback, including Gabor Mate, MD, author of When The Body Says No.
Gabor asked me a great question – “What is your intention for writing this essay? What do you hope to achieve by questioning these assumptions?” I told him that my intention is not to scare people or overwhelm anyone with all this uncertainty, but to be willing to question the dominant narrative respectfully and with scientific rigour, since good science is based on good questions, with a willingness to question every assumption. I told him I was also motivated to gather this list because I see people either rigidly complying with the rules of our leaders – and shaming everyone who doesn’t. I see others blindly rebelling against the rules with no apparent concern for public safety. Both are the result of trauma and conditioning early in childhood. I was conditioned to blindly comply with authority, so I have a tendency to just do as I’m told. Other people I know were conditioned to blindly rebel against authority, automatically resisting if anyone tells them what to do. Blind compliance is how Nazi Germany happened. Outright rebellion by not abiding by quarantine guidelines can compromise what’s good for the collective. “Now is the time,” I told Gabor, “for us to neither blindly comply nor automatically rebel. Now is the time to self-lead our parts, letting what I call your “Inner Pilot Light”) take the lead in your decision-making.” Self-leadership is not selfish; it doesn’t just consider what’s good for you. Because the divine essence of you is also connected to the divine essence of all beings, this center of your being can make wise decisions that expand to include all other beings. Compliant parts can put us at risk of becoming blind sheep in the midst of corrupt leaders that could silence us when we need to be speaking out. Rebellious parts can behave like tantruming toddlers who feel entitled to freedoms they’re not entitled to when public health is at risk. We need the inner children in us to calm down so the wise adults can lead our behavior. We also need to question the dominant narrative until we have better science- and better morals – informing those in positions of leadership.
So that is at the root of what motivated me to write this list of 17 assumptions I think are worth questioning. If we’re basing global behavior on assumptions that turn out to be untrue, all of our epidemiological models about what the future holds become little more than guesswork in a situation where we keep making best guesses that turn out to be wrong. Of course, in an emergency, we need to be willing to do our best and then admit when we make mistakes. We try something, we observe what happens, we modify our behavior based on what we’re learning – in other words, we use science to help us assess whether our hypotheses were correct – and we admit when we’re wrong.
For example, many of the doctors I know who are on the front lines initially thought ventilators were the solution. Then the numbers started rolling in, and it became more clear that (1) a huge proportion of people who got put on ventilators never got off them (2) ventilators may have worsened already-existing lung damage, which may turn out to cause permanent lung disability even if people do get off the ventilator (3) early intervention with oxygen – and not ventilators – may turn around this disease without causing the harm ventilators cause. So we try ventilators – and when we discover they may have unnecessarily killed people, we modify our behavior.
What other assumptions are we making that might be wrong? Everyone is saying “trust the experts,” but as a critical thinker and physician who is not an infectious disease expert, an epidemiologist, or someone trained in public health, it seems to me that many of the assumptions our “experts” seem to be relying on seem erroneous at best and flagrantly misrepresentative of the truth at worst. It’s crucial that we admit what we know and what we don’t know – and remain transparent around our assumptions, not misrepresenting them as proven facts.
For the record, inquiring about our assumptions in no way says I’m taking a position on whether lockdown is good or bad, whether I believe any conspiracy theories, whether I agree with masks and social distancing, whether I think this whole pandemic is intended to serve some globalist agenda, or any other assumption you might make about someone who asks good questions. I’m not taking a position here-and I don’t intend to take a position until we have more certainty. I’ve been 100% compliant with all of Governor Newsom’s recommendations and have hardly left my house in eight weeks except for my daily walk with my dog. I am merely noticing that there is tendency for people to attack, demonise, and censor anyone who questions the dominant narrative, and that is not good science. Rigorous science requires us to be curious and ask good questions! To put blind faith in the advice of “experts” is fundamentalism, not science. I realised in eight years of researching my book Sacred Medicine that sometimes it’s less about knowing the answers with certainty and more about asking the right questions with humility and a willingness to say “We don’t know.”
So, with all those disclaimers, based on my copious research on this matter, some assumptions I question and think need elucidation include:
1) That a COVID-19 PCR test is accurate. From what I can tell, that is very much in question.
2) That this is a primary respiratory disease. From what the doctors inside are telling me, the illness goes through phases, sometimes behaving like a respiratory disease, but sometimes more like a hematologic disease. If we treat hematologic hypoxia like a lung problem, we may do more damage than good.
3) That COVID-19 death counts are accurate. Some doctors I’ve spoken to who are on the frontlines tell me they are being pressured by hospital administrators to label anything suspicious of COVID-19 as a COVID death – without testing (yet even testing might be inaccurate). This is unprecedented. Why would we label someone who dies of end-stage lung cancer who has a positive COVID test as a COVID death? If someone dies of influenza, we have never labeled influenza as the primary cause of death. We would label it respiratory failure or whatever actually killed the person. In all seriousness, if we don’t have accurate death counts, how can we possibly test scientifically whether lockdown is helping or reopening is worsening the numbers?
4) That a vaccine is likely to help and therefore complete economic collapse and the poverty, starvation, and mental illness likely to ensue is worth waiting until we might have an effective vaccine. This is potentially a grave error in judgment, given that many viruses never get an efficacious and safe vaccine. I get why we needed to buy time so we could get adequate PPE and make sure hospitals don’t get overwhelmed – and it seems that places that locked down early – like California – have achieved that. It’s also true that in many other areas that locked down, hospitals are now way under normal capacity, with doctors and nurses getting laid off in many parts of the world. Most vaccines take years to develop, and to ensure that they’re safe can take even longer. We need to have realistic expectations and ensure that if a safe, efficacious vaccine is developed, the medical ethics principle of informed consent is primary. Nobody should be forced to have any medical intervention without their consent. I am not an anti-vaxxer. I vaccinated my child because I trust my intuition and my intuition and intellect guided the choice her father and I made together. I’m only saying that in no way will any forced medical intervention uphold the principles of medical ethics, so we must be vigilant and ethical in our attempts to manage this public health threat.
5) That once you have a positive COVID test, you will be immune and contribute to herd immunity. We do not have any idea whether having had COVID-19 once confers future immunity. So why are the “experts” and the mainstream media floating the story that mass testing (with inaccurate tests) will allow those who are positive to safely come out of lockdown?
6) That overall mortality is up in 2020 because of the coronavirus. There’s definitely a novel illness killing lots of people, and places like Italy and New York have been hit really hard. But what does it mean when The New York Times reported that we’re missing 46,000 deaths. If causes of death are not being accurately reported, how can we know whether someone actually died from cancer, heart failure, or another preexisting condition – and just happened to have a positive test. How can we know if more people are dying because they’re having heart attacks at home instead of coming to the ER for early intervention because they’re scared of getting infected? How can we know whether these deaths are side effects of lockdown and not the virus – from suicides, starvation, overdoses, etc? Again, I’m not disputing that there is a novel human illness, something my friend on the frontlines in emergency rooms have never seen before. But is this novel illness increasing overall mortality? We can’t be clear if we don’t have accurate death certificates.
7) That masks, lockdown, and social distancing definitively work to reduce the spread of this illness. For an infectious disease communicable through social contact, this certainly makes common sense. But is it scientific? It certainly appears that early intervention like we did here in California seems to result in a flatter curve and has successfully bought us time, but will it definitely result in fewer overall deaths because we delayed when we all get exposed? Has it worked before? If Woodstock happened in the middle of a pandemic, why did we lockdown now and not back then? Did we gather more science to prove this strategy would work and be worth the economic collapse and all its resultant side effects?
8) That this novel human illness we’re calling COVID-19 is 100 per cent for certain viral in origin. It looks like a virus. It acts like a virus. I believe it probably IS a virus. There’s definitely a real, novel human illness and it’s behaving like it’s viral. But are we 100 per cent certain that it’s not the result of some other cause, like an environmental insult that could look like contagion because people in the same environment may have the same toxic exposure? Given how this virus was purified and isolated, some scientists are questioning whether our COVID-19 tests are actually testing for the presence of naturally occurring exosomes, which can look remarkably similar to a coronavirus under an electron microscope. Because exosomes can be found in any human body exposed to physical or emotional stress, is it possible we’re actually testing for emotional stress and not the presence of the virus? Could this explain so many “asymptomatic” positive tests, since we’re all under a great deal of emotional stress right now, but maybe some of us are handling it emotionally and physiologically better than others? As one person who helped me peer review this article wrote, “Exosomes can be ‘contagious’ as well, blurring the distinction between exosomes and viruses. In many situations it is good that they are contagious: basically, what is happening is that one cell or organism is ‘teaching’ others how exactly to meet the environmental challenge. Because, exosomes are not generic. A specific configuration is necessary for each type of challenge. So, the genetic information spreads from organism to organism. For some, it is “too much information,” and the infected person gets sick and dies. Bad news for them, but on the population level, that is what has to happen for the new information encoded in the exosomes to spread. One of the hardest things for our polarised political culture to understand is that things are not usually black and white. When one learns that naive virus theory cannot explain COVID-19, there is a temptation to jump to a polar alternative and say there isn’t a virus or even that no diseases are caused by viruses. That will make you sound silly to anyone who has studied virology. Viruses were discovered at the end of the 19th century because of infection. The Tobacco Mosaic Virus was the first discovered, when they took sap from infected plants and injected tiny amounts of it into healthy plants. The healthy plants got sick, and there were no bacteria present. It was originally called a ‘non-filterable virus.’ So, I would challenge those who are promoting exosome theory to be less dogmatic, and look at the possibility that viruses and exosomes are on a continuum; that each offers a lens. In some cases the virus lens is more useful. In the case of COVID-19, I actually think the exosome lens is more useful. It would invite us to ask what is making our environment so toxic. It would invite different social responses. It would shift focus onto boosting overall health and immunity. And it would undermine the rampant fear of the world and other people that the virus lens plays into.”
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