to openly state their real aim, which seems to have been the single-minded promotion of vaccines.

Rapid response to:

Covid-19: US cases and hospital admissions climb to record levels as Biden promises more tests

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o76 (Published 12 January 2022)Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o76

Are public health officials guilty of insincerity?

Rapid Response:

Dear Editor,

Janice Hopkins Tanne’s report of the acrimonious exchange between US senators, the NIH’s Anthony Fauci and the CDC’s Rochelle Walensky (BMJ 2022;376;o76, January 12) immediately reminded me of words of George Orwell: “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting ink. In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” (Politics and the English Language, 1946)….Hard words, but they apply exquisitely today.

Tanne refers to “confusing advice from the CDC” echoing a front page headline in the New York Times: “Fumbled Communications Cloud C.D.C. Covid Policy” (January 6). The CDC’s confusing advice and failure to communicate are the inevitable result of their failure to openly state their real aim, which seems to have been the single-minded promotion of vaccines. Along with other public agencies, the CDC has systematically exaggerated the harms of Covid-19; they have systematically exaggerated the effectiveness of vaccines while ignoring their adverse effects; they have relentlessly dismissed the vital importance of natural immunity.

The pandemic would have ended months ago if we had listened to the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration and their hundreds of thousands of signatories.

[coloured by me] It would have ended months ago with fewer deaths, far less social and economic dislocation, and the expenditure of far fewer $billions if we had not been influenced by Anthony Fauci, Francis Collins and other functionaries in some public health agencies. (Kulldorff & Bhattacharya, “The Collins and Fauci Attack on Traditional Public Health” The Epoch Times, January 5, 2022)….More hard words, but reinforced by recent reports:

1) Natural immunity is important.(Kojima & Klausner, “Protective immunity after recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection” Lancet Inf Dis 2022;22:12) This includes cross-reactive immunity from old infections with other human coronaviruses. (Kundu et al, “Cross-reactive memory T cells associate with protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID contacts” Nature Communications, January 2022)

2) Three to five months after two doses of an mRNA vaccine the risk of infection with the Omicron variant is increased 39% (Moderna) to 77% (Pfizer). ( See table in Hansen et al, “Vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection with Omicron or Delta variants…A Danish cohort study” medRxiv preprint, online December 23, 2021)

3) Covid case rates are currently highest in the most vaccinated US states, with a moderately strong correlation between the proportion of the fully vaccinated population in 50 states and their average of daily cases per 100,000 population: r=0.48, P=0.00042) (“Tracking coronavirus vaccinations and outbreaks in the U.S.” graphics.reuters.com. January 10, 2022)

4) In men under 40 the frequency of myocarditis following the Moderna vaccine is one in every 9900 recipients, nearly 15 times their risk of myocarditis following a Covid infection. (Patone et al, “Risk of myocarditis following sequential COVID-19 vaccinations by age and sex” medRxiv preprint, online December 2021)….One in 1860 men 18-24 develop myocarditis after the second shot of an mRNA vaccine. (Sharff et al, “Risk of Myopericarditis following COVID-19 mRNA vaccination in a Large Integrated Health System” (medRxiv preprint:doi:https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.21.21268209, December 27,2021)…In a report of 136 cases following the Pfizer vaccine there was a fatality from fulminant myocarditis. (Mevorach et al, NEJM 2021;385:2140)

5) Six former advisers to President Biden, who became frustrated with his coronavirus policies (largely guided by Dr. Fauci), have gone public with an extraordinary but polite critique. (Stolberg, “Ex-Aides Urge Biden to Redo Covid Strategy” New York Times, January 7, 2022. Tanne, BMJ 2022:376:o56, January 10) Here, in my view, is the key statement in three articles: “The ‘new normal’ requires recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more. COVID-19 must now be considered among the risks posed by all respiratory viral illnesses combined. Many of the measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (eg, ventilation) will also reduce transmission of other respiratory viruses. Thus, policy makers should retire previous public health categorizations, including deaths from pneumonia and influenza or pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19, and focus on a new category: the aggregate risk of all respiratory virus infections.” (Emanuel, Osterholm and Gounder, “A National Strategy for the ‘New Normal’ of Life With COVID” JAMA online January 6, 2022)

These and other voices give me hope that we will soon see a sincere return to traditional public health policy at its broadest and most benevolent.

ALLAN S. CUNNINGHAM 16 January 2022

Competing interests: No competing interests