Patients in Wuhan, China, are being saved with high-dose vitamin C. In the U.S., you can get your Twitter or Facebook account deleted or your video scrubbed for even talking about it.
Strikingly, the 10 countries with the highest COVID-19 mortality rates are large Western countries, including the US, UK, France, Spain, and Italy. The non-Western country with the highest mortality rate is Ecuador, ranked at #13. Ecuador only has 195 deaths/million, however, compared with the median of around 450 deaths/million in the “top 10”. No Asian countries make the top-20 list despite being close to the epicenter of the epidemic and having high population densities. No African country makes the list despite many having much traffic from China.
Table 1. The 20 countries with the highest COVID-19 mortalities (2020-06-03)
*Eliminated from the comparison are countries with less than 100k population (San Marino, Sint Maarten, Montserrat, Monaco, Bermuda, Isle of Man, and Andorra).
The popular hypotheses, such as the use of anti-malarial drugs in some countries and anti-tuberculosis vaccination of children in others, do not explain these differences.
Chloroquine and similar drugs are not widely used for malaria prevention in India and other malaria-affected countries. Travelers do take anti-malarials for prophylaxis, but locals acquire some immunity from exposure to it in childhood. If they do contract malaria, they are treated with chloroquine or artemisinin combo for a few days. India uses less HCQ per million population than the US.
One observational hypothesis posits that full national anti-tuberculosis vaccination (BCG) correlates with lower COVID-19mortality. BCG is typically given to babies at birth, sometimes with boosters in late childhood. This hypothesis suggests that BCG provides some degree of long-term immunity to COVID-19. Even if there is correlation, however, it is not relevant here. The UK had full BCG from 1953–2005. Belgium had it from about 1953–1995 and France from 1950–2007. Ireland started mandatory BCG vaccination in the 1950s and still has it.
Other factors exist. Less developed countries might not detect and report cases and deaths from COVID-19 as completely as more developed countries. They also have lower ratios of older people and have low urbanization.
On the other hand, population density in the cities of non-Western countries is typically higher than in Western ones. Mumbai has 32 thousand persons per km2, while New York City has just 10,000 persons per km2. People in non-Western countries also tend to have less physical distance between them. There are more persons per area at work and home, and multiple generations often live together in the same households. Even in developed Russia and Ukraine, the typical physical distance between persons is about three times less than in the US, which should translate to a much higher transmission speed, and exponentially higher rates of cases and deaths.
Many non-Western countries also have low hygienic standards. Many suffer from bad nutrition, cold weather, lack of UVB sunlight, and other immunity-compromising factors. Less developed countries also have much lower capacities to hospitalize and treat those who are severely ill.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
The top dozen Western countries share another distinguishing factor: information flow dominated by Google, Facebook, Twitter, and their accomplices (here, Masters of the Universe or “MOTUs”). The media are downstream of them, depending on information, clicks, and even cash handouts from them. These companies collaborated with the WHO, spread panic (like Google’s SOS Alert), misled government health agencies and the public about coronavirus mortality (e.g., calling COVID-19 a pandemic was wrong). They have been removing helpful medical advice and even opinions simply because they were not endorsed by the WHO or confused government agencies. Notice that this debate ban prevents scientists and clinicians from communicating helpful information to government agencies, and even communicating among themselves. Many governments censor information, such as the Soviet Union. With all the inferiority of such a model, the Soviet government developed and possessed all the anti-epidemic expertise and capacities it wanted. In the US, most expertise and capacity in this and other fields is with its citizens, from whom the government can receive help and advice when needed. Citizens do provide such help and advice, but the MOTU use their physical control of the communications channels to block and remove information helpful to fight the epidemic. For example, Google blocked access to the scientific paper An Effective Treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19) by James Todaro and Gregory Rigano, which made a case for CQ and HCQ on March 13–15.
Effects of COVID-19 Misinformation in the US
In the US, most COVID-19 deaths happened in the New York cluster. NYC also spread COVID-19 nationally and internationally. These are some main mistakes made by NYC in handling the epidemic:
- It blocked early HCQ treatment of COVID-19 victims.
- It failed to recommend and, where relevant, implement nutritional and environmental mitigation measures to slow the epidemic.
- It allowed COVID-19 patients to mix with other patients and unprotected healthcare personnel in hospitals.
- It sent young COVID-19 patients to nursing homes.
None of these mistakes was caused by material factors or a lack of knowledge in the public domain. None of these are obvious only in hindsight. All were caused by incorrect assumptions about COVID-19 and/or by panic, both of which were spread by the MOTUs (General incompetence and the politics of NYC have just aggravated these mistakes, I hope).
The resistance to recommending vitamin C, which was caused by misinformation spread by the MOTU directly and through their proxy “fact-checkers,” is an example of how much damage they inflicted.
Vitamin C has always been recommended as safe and helpful for many health conditions, including the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections. An abundance of evidence and studies supports the use of vitamin C to prevent and alleviate respiratory diseases.
Despite this, in February, the WHO published a Q&A on COVID-19 advising against taking vitamin C, even comparing taking vitamin C to smoking:
“The following measures ARE NOT specifically recommended as 2019-nCoV remedies as they are not effective to protect yourself and can be even harmful:
* Taking vitamin C
* Drinking tradition herbal teas
* Wearing multiple masks to maximize protection
* Taking self-medication such as antibiotics
With all the incompetence and power hunger of the WHO, this is bad copywriting rather than bad judgment. An ordinary person can easily recognize that. However, the MOTU “fact-checkers” interpreted it in the worst conceivable way.
Apparently, it started in the article “These are false cures and fake preventative measures against coronavirus. Help fact-checkers spread the word” (February 13) published by the Poynter Institute (the entity that certifies the fact-checkers used by Google, Facebook, and Microsoft):
Aos Fatos reported that the World Health Organization says on its website that taking vitamin C is not recommended as a way to prevent coronavirus. It is actually dangerous, just like smoking and taking antibiotics without a prescription.
The linked Aos Fatos article did not say that. The Poynter Institute omitted the “not specifically recommended” clause. “Fact-checkers” are in the clickbait business, too. This “advice” went beyond Google and Facebook: the New York Times (NYT) article “Coronavirus Myths” (March 17) said:
You might be tempted to bulk order vitamin C or other supposedly immune-boosting supplements, but their effectiveness is a long-standing fallacy. Even in the cases of colds or flus, vitamin C hasn’t shown a consistent benefit.
Unlike Google, the NYT is supposed to have human editors. Where were they? Its other article with the strange title “Supplements for Coronavirus Probably Won’t Help, and May Harm” (March 23) called vitamin C “a purported immune booster.”USA Today was even worse: “We rate the claim that vitamin C can help cure or prevent the novel coronavirus FALSE because it is not supported by our research”—as if it conducted research.
It seems that Google and Facebook forgot that these fact-checkers were intended as proxies to justify their politically motivated editorializing by pretending it was third-party information. They started using them as authoritative sources. By May 20, it was easier to find “stabilized oxygen” than vitamin C in Google searches including the word COVID-19.
The MOTU financially benefited from their misdeeds. More people were forced to use Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, YouTube, and Microsoft Skype instead of meeting face-to-face.
Facebook and Twitter Examples
The MOTU have been collaborating and colluding with the WHO to misinform the public and government in the US and other countries since early February. The NYT article “W.H.O. Fights a Pandemic Besides Coronavirus: an ‘Infodemic’” (Feb 6) wrote
Google launched what it calls an “SOS Alert,” which directs people who search for “coronavirus” to news and other information from the W.H.O., including to the organization’s Twitter account . . .
The health agency has worked especially closely with Facebook. The company has used human fact-checkers to flag misinformation, which can come to their attention through computer programs that identify suspicious keywords and trends. Such posts can then be moved down in news feeds, or, in rare cases, removed altogether.
These are some results of this close work. “Coronavirus: World leaders’ posts deleted over fake news” (BBC, 2020-03-31),
Facebook and Twitter have deleted posts from world leaders for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. Facebook deleted a video from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro that claimed hydroxychloroquine was totally effective in treating the virus.
Brazil is the sixth-largest country of the world by population. By that time, the use of CQ or HCQ for COVID-19 had been endorsed to some degree by the governments of China, India, and the US. Did Facebook and Twitter executives think they knew better?
Facebook: Combatting COVID-19 Misinformation
We regularly update the claims that we remove based on guidance from the WHO and other health authorities.
Once a post is rated false by a fact-checker, we reduce its distribution so fewer people see it, and we show strong warning labels and notifications to people who still come across it, try to share it or already have.
Facebook: An Update on Our Work
Informing People Who Interacted With Harmful COVID-19 Claims
We’re going to start showing messages in News Feed to people who have liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that we have since removed. These messages will connect people to COVID-19 myths debunked by the WHO …
Broadening our definition of harm to address content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information. . . . [W]e will require people to remove tweets that include:
* Denial of global or local health authority recommendations to decrease someone’s likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 . . .
* Description of alleged cures for COVID-19, which are not immediately harmful but are known to be ineffective . . .
* Denial of established scientific facts . . .
* [The list is going on and on]
It is incredible: denial of recommendations … global health authority … alleged cures … denial of established scientific facts. “Require people to remove tweets” means temporary disabling their accounts until they remove the tweets that Twitter dislikes.
The global conversation about COVID-19 and ongoing product improvements are driving up total monetizable DAU (mDAU), with quarter-to-date average total mDAU reaching approximately 164 million, up 23% from 134 million in Q1 2019 . . .
… manufacturing delays in China have compromised the supply chain, resulting in delays in deliveries to our data centers.
Have they de-platformed critics of the Chinese government to avoid “manufacturing delays” or something else?
Most people would think that if Google, Facebook, or Twitter deleted information related to treatment or prevention of the pandemic, they were 100% sure it was false and harmful. Few would believe that they did that on a whim or based on the opinion of entities like Snopes. And they would be branded “conspiracy theorists.”
Other Possible Factors
Anti-tuberculosis vaccines and their administration schedules vary by country, and some countries might have COVID-19 protective effects from them.
Another hypothesis is put forward in the following papers:
“Have the malaria eradication measures been behind the COVID-19 pandemic?” Elnady Hassan M., Sohag Medical Journal, opinion article
“Parasites and their protection against COVID-19—Ecology or Immunology?” Ssebambulidde et al., preprint:
One plausible hypothesis for the comparatively low COVID-19 cases/deaths in parasite-endemic areas is immunomodulation induced by parasites.
I consider these hypotheses too exotic to discuss here and just mention them. Many confounding factors remain when comparison among countries is done.
- Another commonality among the highest-mortality countries is climate alarmism taking over the scientific community.
- The “fact-checkers” seem to be the original sources of some of the worst hoaxes on the Internet.
- Yes, the MOTUs used artificial intelligence to misinform the public and governments about COVID-19.
- Besides the direct effects of bans, removals, and the deplatforming of information and speakers who knew more about COVID-19 than the WHO, these actions had chilling effects on discussions related to COVID-19.
- Coughing into one’s elbow is outright harmful advice because it makes the sleeve a virus-spreader.