Saturday, March 19, 2022

Last Call For The Horse Dewormer Goes Viral

The largest study yet on the efficacy of horse dewormer and quack-right favorite ivermectin on COVID-19 finds zero benefit as either prevention or as a cure for the virus.

The antiparasitic drug ivermectin doesn't prevent severe disease from Covid-19 any more effectively than symptom management and close observation by medical professionals, according to a study published Friday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. 
The study enrolled nearly 500 people 50 and older who were at risk of severe Covid-19 because of their age and underlying health. These patients were treated at 20 public hospitals and a quarantine center in Malaysia in 2021. 
Half of the patients took a relatively high dose of oral ivermectin for five days, and the other half -- the comparison group -- received treatment for their symptoms, such as fever-reducing medications. All were monitored for progression of disease. 
There was no difference in outcomes between the groups. In fact, slightly more patients in the ivermectin group went on to need extra oxygen compared with those who took a placebo, though the difference was not statistically significant. 
This was the main outcome researchers studied, but they also looked at whether patients needed to be hospitalized, had to go on a ventilator, needed intensive care or died from their infections. There was no meaningful difference in outcomes between the group that took ivermectin and those who got the placebo treatment. 
The study had several important strengths:

  • It was a randomized-controlled trial, the gold standard of medical research, in which researchers test an intervention against a placebo.
  • The study enrolled patients most likely to be at risk from severe Covid-19 disease: those over 50 with at least one additional risk factor and mild to moderate symptoms. People who had no symptoms or who had advanced disease were excluded.
  • Participants were enrolled only after a PCR test confirmed Covid-19 infection.
  • It was a multicenter trial conducted at 20 public hospitals and a Covid-19 quarantine center in Malaysia between May 31 and October 25, 2021.

In addition to the fact that ivermectin didn't work, people who took it had more side effects than those who didn't, and sometimes those side effects were severe, including heart attacks, anemia and diarrhea that led to shock. 
"The higher incidence of side effects with ivermectin in our study raises concerns about the widespread use of this drug outside clinical trial setting," lead researcher Dr. Steven Lim told CNN in an email. 
"The public should understand that the highly touted safety profile of ivermectin is related to its use as an anti-parasitic drug. The use of ivermectin as an antiviral in COVID-19 is a totally different ball game, with notable differences in dosing, duration and mechanism of actions," wrote Lim, an infectious-disease specialist at Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Perak, Malaysia. 
No benefit, statistically significant increase in the rate of side effects.
The horse dewormer doesn't work as a treatment, it was always quackery and a grift, but it was wildly effective as anti-vaccine propaganda.

A third of Americans remain vaccinated against COVID. One million have died from it. We're still seeing 1,500 deaths a day and the numbers will only keep going up as the next surge from the next variant continues. Tens of millions remain as a breeding and mutation ground for the virus, and it will continue to mutate as long as people refuse to get the damn vaccine.

Shut up and get the damn vaccine already.  Then get booster shots.

Climate Of Disaster, Con't

Temperatures in Antarctica are a staggering 70 degrees above normal this week for March, and climate scientists have no idea what to do or to expect as records are literally melting before our eyes.

The coldest location on the planet has experienced an episode of warm weather this week unlike any ever observed, with temperatures over the eastern Antarctic ice sheet soaring 50 to 90 degrees above normal. The warmth has smashed records and shocked scientists.
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“This event is completely unprecedented and upended our expectations about the Antarctic climate system,” said Jonathan Wille, a researcher studying polar meteorology at Universit√© Grenoble Alpes in France, in an email.

“Antarctic climatology has been rewritten,” tweeted Stefano Di Battista, a researcher who has published studies on Antarctic temperatures. He added that such temperature anomalies would have been considered “impossible” and “unthinkable” before they actually occurred.

Parts of eastern Antarctica have seen temperatures hover 70 degrees (40 Celsius) above normal for three days and counting, Wille said. He likened the event to the June heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, which scientists concluded would have been “virtually impossible” without human-caused climate change.

What is considered “warm” over the frozen, barren confines of eastern Antarctica is, of course, relative. Instead of temperatures being minus-50 or minus-60 degrees (minus-45 or minus-51 Celsius), they’ve been closer to zero or 10 degrees (minus-18 Celsius or minus-12 Celsius) — but that’s a massive heat wave by Antarctic standards.

The average high temperature in Vostok — at the center of the eastern ice sheet — is around minus-63 (minus-53 Celsius) in March. But on Friday, the temperature leaped to zero (minus-17.7 Celsius), the warmest it’s been there during March since record keeping began 65 years ago. It broke the previous monthly record by a staggering 27 degrees (15 Celsius).

“In about 65 record years in Vostok, between March and October, values ​​above -30°C were never observed,” wrote Di Battista in an email.
Needless to say, the positive feedback loop on rising temps is now a runaway freight train. We were warned a generation ago that this was coming, and corporate greed took precedent. Now, all we can do is triage the planet.
The next decade or so is going to be bad, and it's only going to get worse.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

The tiny town of Mason, Tennessee was not on the map for the state, much less the country. With a population of roughly 1,200 near Memphis, the town was small, quiet, and majority Black. And then Ford decided to build a battery plant nearby, and now everyone wants the land Mason is on, especially the state GOP, who is now threatening to take over and dissolve the town's charter in order to get at the now very valuable land in the area.

The Tennessee Comptroller issued an unusual appeal last week to residents of this small, majority Black town, which occupies fewer than two square miles in rural west Tennessee.

“In my opinion, it’s time for Mason to relinquish its charter,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower wrote in a letter mailed to each one of Mason’s 1,337 property owners.

Mumpower urged local residents to “encourage your local officials to do what’s necessary to allow Mason to thrive. There is no time to waste.”

State comptrollers, responsible for financial oversight of local government, typically communicate directly with elected local leaders and not their constituents. “We have not issued a letter to citizens like this before,” Comptroller spokesman John Dunn said, noting it is “unprecedented for us to publicly call for a town charter to be relinquished.”

But the Comptroller’s unprecedented public callout comes at an unprecedented time not only for Mason, but for the state. Mason, located in the southeastern corner of Tipton County, now finds itself with some of the most coveted real estate in Tennessee.

It’s one of the nearest towns to the massive new site to be built for Blue Oval City, a key component in Ford Motor Co’s multibillion-dollar pivot to electric vehicle manufacturing.

Mumpower’s letter has infuriated Mason’s part-time elected officials, who insist they have no intention of ceding their town’s 153-year-old charter – which would subsume the largely African-American, majority Democratic community under the governance of Tipton County, which is predominantly white and Republican.

“This is our home. We were born and raised here. The majority of the town is homegrown people that live here,” Vice Mayor Virginia Rivers said. “He is trying to conquer and divide us. It’s akin to a hostile take-over and it’s not hard to figure out why here, why now.”

Town leaders are accusing Mumpower and other state officials of big-footing a long-ignored, largely Black community now that major investment is heading its way.

Mason is 60% Black and includes descendants of men, women and children enslaved in the area before Emancipation. For more than a century the town was led by White elected officials.

That changed in 2016, when fraud and mismanagement allegations led to the resignations of nearly all City Hall officials, all of whom were White. Mason’s current mayor, vice mayor and five of its six alderman are Black.

“It’s because of the Black people that are in office,” said Rivers, who first became Vice Mayor in 2021.

“And it’s because of all the places in the world, Blue Oval could have selected, they selected here. There’s no way Mason won’t prosper and grow. And now they want to take it away from us.”
John Grisham couldn't have written a better script.  Evil, corrupt white politicians that embezzled millions and left the town's finances in ruins for years, a town struggling to right itself with a part-time Black government and no help for the Republicans in the state legislature who ignored the town and its people completely...

...Right up until the town became the home of Ford's new plant, with tens of thousands of jobs. 
Suddenly, Republicans came down on the town like a hammer.
Republicans don't care about anyone, folks. They care about being rich. They especially don't care about Black, rural America, and will use every opportunity to destroy us whenever they can get away with it. It's almost assured that they will, and that the town will be destroyed and the residents bought out or driven off to make way for new prime developments for Ford's workers and plant executives. Republicans want permanent fiefdoms run by state legislatures with GOP supermajorities, who can pass whatever laws they like. The rest of us are subjects and serfs.

The right people will get rich, as always. As they have for 400 years.
Those people will get crumbs, or worse, bullets.

Black Lives Still Matter.
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