The continued false alarm
Germany has never been in a serious danger situation, Sucharit Bhakdi and Karina Reiss explain in the Rubicon interview.
by Sucharit Bhakdi, Karina Reiss, Bernd Seitz
[This interview published on Dec 17, 2020
is translated from the German on the Internet, Der fortgesetzte Fehlalarm | Rubikon.news.]
The Corona policy follows an interest-driven strategy rather than scientific knowledge and medical necessity. From a health policy point of view, it is a false alarm, as Prof. Dr. med. Sucharit Bhakdi, Specialist in Microbiology and Infection Epidemiology, and Prof. Dr. rer. NAT. Karina Reiss, a biochemistry, infection, cell biology and medical researcher, in their book on the subject. In it, they clarify objectively with data, facts and backgrounds. The great interest in this shows that the book was on the front line of the bestseller lists for weeks. The two scientists gave an interview to the trade magazine "Network-Karriere", which Rubikon can kindly take over. Editor Bernd Seitz spoke with Bhakdi and Reiss about the ongoing corona crisis, how they assess politics and how people can deal with a pathogen such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Bernd Seitz: Were the country and the people really so threatened that such drastic measures were justified? Or has the state proved to be one of the biggest producers of fake news in the Corona Crisis and, as your book titles, triggered a Corona false alarm?
Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi: When a new pathogen is at the door, it is not easy to assess the danger correctly at the beginning. Then, as we know, there are fundamental things that need to be taken into account. Firstly, as much data as possible must be collected as quickly as possible in order to make decisions based on facts. Unfortunately, that did not happen, quite the contrary. Secondly, all measures must be weighed up by the risk-benefit. That did not happen. The only employee of the Federal Ministry of the Interior who has taken up this issue on his own has been dismissed. Thirdly, it is necessary to constantly check whether the assumption of a dangerous situation was correct. That, too, has not happened. Because from April/May it was clear from international data and developments in Germany that we never had a serious danger situation. At the latest, the false alarm should have been recognized and terminated as such.
The corona crisis was very quickly upgraded to a corona pandemic. Worldwide, politicians, media and more or less self-appointed experts spoke of possible millions of corona deaths. Was there any danger to the population beyond the normal level at any time?
Dr. Karina Reiss: No. In the past, a pandemic could only be declared if a new pathogen caused many deaths worldwide. In 2009, the WHO changed the definition in time for the swine flu fake pandemic so that the criteria of "new" and "worldwide spread" were sufficient. All projections of supposedly millions of deaths have proven to be as wrong as they were then for swine flu.
Comparing the new "killer virus" with earlier coronaviruses and the flu virus: how great is the danger really?
Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi: For some time now, there has been an international consensus in the scientific community that we have never had to deal with a "killer virus. The assessment of the danger ranges between mild (about 0.1 percent mortality) and moderate (about 0.5 percent mortality) influenza. In years with a severe flu epidemic, such as 2017/2018, we are well above one percent. Even the hot spell in the summer of 2018 caused more deaths in Germany than the so-called "killer virus."
Many people think it's because of the measures taken by the German government that not so many people died overall.
Dr. Karina Reiss: That is wrong. The measures in Germany have not changed anything in the course of the epidemic, you can see it quite clearly in the figures. A very solid study has just been published that showed that the course of the epidemic was comparable in all countries, regardless of whether they had a lockdown or not. The measures did not play a role at all.
Regarding the current corona situation in Germany, what do R-factor, infection figures and mortality rates published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for Germany tell us?
Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi: From the strategy paper of the Federal Ministry of the Interior we learn how the people in this country should be made afraid. It says, among other things, that it would be better not to talk about the few deaths after all, because this number would cause little fear. It seems that this is why we keep hearing about the completely irrelevant so-called infection figures and not about the really relevant number of people who have actually fallen ill or who have causally died from COVID-19.
Why are you talking about so-called infections?
Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi: It is not permissible to speak of an infection on the basis of a positive PCR result, but unfortunately it is still done that way. The PCR test only says that viral material has been found. This may be found long after infection, or it may have come from coronavirus relatives and been misassigned. If infection is found, this does not have to be synonymous with disease and certainly not with causative COVID-19 death. The fact that these things are not distinguished by the mainstream media and our politicians is an irresponsible misdirection of the people of this country.
Lockdown with daycare and school closures, closed stores, social distancing and compulsory masking: Were and are the currently again tightening protective measures justified?
Dr. Karina Reiss: No. All of the measures were not only useless, as has now been scientifically proven, but they also caused immense damage. The word collateral damage comes from war. We waged war against a virus that, like all coronaviruses, usually goes unnoticed, sometimes causes severe, extremely unpleasant courses of disease similar to influenza, and in rare cases can lead to death in people with pre-existing conditions. The collateral damage of the measures has done much worse. There has never been and there is not a single scientifically sound rationale to support the usefulness of any measure. All measures should have been lifted since May at the latest.
In the meantime, there are protective masks made of all kinds of materials. Do these masks make sense, and if so, what minimum requirements would they have to meet in order to protect oneself and others?
Dr. Karina Reiss: Masks that are subject to certified standards make sense where people in a risk group need to be protected, for example in hospitals and nursing homes. If I wear a scarf mask in the supermarket, it has no effect on protecting my grandma in the nursing home. The idea is completely absurd. There is not a single scientific study that would prove that it makes sense for healthy people to wear masks in public. On the contrary, the damage that masks do physically and psychologically is immeasurable, especially to our children.
The political crisis managers and also parts of the scientific and medical community fear a second and even a third corona wave. In your view, is there a danger of such waves coming our way? If so, how can we protect ourselves against them?
Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi: If you look at the strategy paper of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, you will see that the reminder of the Spanish flu is part of the fear-mongering strategy. With the Spanish flu, there was a mild summer wave and then the real winter flu. People died primarily from bacterial superinfections. The bacteria took the opportunity to sneak in and killed people. Antibiotics against the bacteria had not yet been invented.
Coronaviruses differ from flu viruses in that they change constantly, but very little. Even as children, we go through countless corona infections and therefore have basic immunity to these viruses. That's why up to 85 percent of people didn't even realize they had a SARS-CoV-2 infection. We have been able to build on this basic immunity with the new virus. Even if, seasonally, coronaviruses come out of summer hiatus again in December, they will pose no greater threat than other coronaviruses before. If politicians have their way, we will again be sold "infection numbers" as extremely worrisome, but again they will not result in a worrisome number of deaths.
Does this mean that in the event of another wave of corona, there would also be no threat of overloading our hospitals and intensive care units?
Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi: Correct. Many bona fide medical professionals had already proclaimed in March, contrary to the panic-mongers, that our healthcare system would not be pushed to its limits. That's the way it was. Why should it be so next winter? The harmless viruses are the most successful because these do not kill their host.
It is claimed that mainly older people with pre-existing conditions are at risk of severe and even fatal corona, while children and healthy middle-aged adults have only mild or no symptoms. What are your findings on this?
Dr. Karina Reiss: The average age of people who have died with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test in Germany is 82, which is an age range where, unfortunately, people die. Reports of young people who also fell victim to COVID-19 were often found in the headlines. In almost all of them, however, it has turned out in retrospect that these people, despite their young age, had serious pre-existing diseases that went unnoticed. There are very few exceptions to this. The exceptions confirm the rule. On the other hand, age alone is not a risk factor. The oldest lady who survived COVID-19 unharmed was 113 years old.
There are increasing reports in the media that COVID-19 not only attacks the respiratory tract, but also increasingly other organs with serious effects. Does this correspond to the facts or are these cases more likely to be existing pre-existing conditions?
Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi: In order to make statements about this, a clear distinction must be made between what damage was already present before the COVID-19 disease, what damage came from the virus, what damage came from other pathogens that entered the body with the virus - keyword co-infection, differential diagnosis - and what damage resulted from the treatment? Invasive ventilation leaves a debris field, and even without it, severe damage has been set in patients by the treatments, especially in the beginning. Based on the data I've seen so far, I would assume isolated cases for the effects on other organs - as with all other respiratory infections - even with COVID-19.
What is the importance of coronatests in containing the pandemic, and how is it different from antibody testing? Does it make sense to get tested even without symptoms of disease?
Dr. Karina Reiss: No. People who have cold symptoms should be tested. People who don't have symptoms should not be tested. At the beginning of the epidemic, it would have made sense to do both to get an idea of how the virus was spreading. But that doesn't matter now, since we don't have a seasonal infection event alone. Even if the coronaviruses come back in December, only sick people should be tested. After all, you don't start testing everyone for cold viruses who doesn't have a cold. Antibodies are formed by our body approximately two weeks after infection. Those who had severe symptoms form many antibodies, those who had hardly any symptoms formed hardly any antibodies. So it is possible that you have no antibodies even though you have been through an infection. In that case, the defense against the virus by our immune cells was already so successful that the effort of antibody production was no longer worthwhile for our body.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers worldwide are in the process of developing a COVID-19 vaccine that, in contrast to previous approval regulations, should be ready for use in just a few months. After all, it's a billion-dollar business. Is the rushed search for a vaccine medically justifiable, and what are the short- and longer-term prospects for success and risks?
Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi: What is currently happening is a scandal. There have been no extensive preclinical studies, as is actually required. Gene-based vaccines that have never been used in humans are being administered to subjects without proper safety testing having taken place. All that is going on right now are unethical human trials that have an incredibly high potential for danger to the subjects.
A very personal question: Would you be vaccinated with a vaccine developed and approved under these circumstances?
Dr. Karina Reiss: Absolutely not.
In conclusion: What behavioral advice do you give our readers regarding Corona?
Dr. Karina Reiss: Fear is never a good advisor. Please pay attention to the things that really shorten your lifespan without it being directly noticeable: blood lipids (HDL/LDL levels), blood pressure, blood sugar, obesity, toxins (nicotine, alcohol). More than 1,000 people die every day in Germany because they did not pay attention.
When it comes to respiratory infections, the same thing that has always been true applies: you don't go to carnival events or to work with a cough, cold or hoarseness, and you certainly don't go to visit grandpa and grandma in the old people's home - instead, you cure yourself. You don't cough on anyone and you wash your hands regularly. That's all it takes. Man is a social being. Keeping your distance makes you sick, loneliness makes you sick, masks make you sick. Don't get sick, stay healthy!
Editorial notes: The interview first appeared under the title "Germany was never in a serious danger situation" in issue 10/2020 of the magazine "Network-Karriere", the trade journal for network marketing and direct sales. It is published in its 18th year as a monthly print edition. All network career issues of the years 2014 to 2020 are callable as free on-line versions. Publisher is Bernd Seitz, owner and managing director of Seitz-Mediengruppe GmbH, based in Tübingen.
Sucharit Bhakdi is a specialist in microbiology and infectious disease epidemiology. He headed the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz for 22 years and was involved in patient care, research and teaching. He published over 300 scientific papers in the fields of immunology, bacteriology, virology and cardiovascular diseases. In addition to numerous awards, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate.