Cuba and Vaccine

Here we are, more than a year into the pandemic and with millions dead around the globe, and still there is no waiver of intellectual property (IP) protections for COVID-19 vaccines. It's disgusting.
In the Latin American and Caribbean region only 20% of people are vaccinated.
It gets even worse for countries that we've targeted for regime change.

A month later, Venezuelan authorities said they had finally closed in on making a crucial $120 million payment to COVAX required to access vaccines, without providing details about the origins of the funds. But last Thursday, the country’s vice president Delcy Rodríguez announced that payments covering the final $10 million had been blocked.

Nevermind that Venezuela has to pay so much, but that they couldn't even buy life-saving vaccines is immoral. It's a similar story for Cuba.

In April 2020, the Cuban government said a Colombian cargo carrier declined to deliver a large shipment of masks and ventilators sent by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma because the shipper had an American shareholder. Cuban authorities also hoped to obtain ventilators from familiar Swiss suppliers, but claim new business was made impossible after the firms were acquired by a U.S.-based owner.

Faced with a health care crisis because of an inhumane embargo, Cuba found a way. The island nation began producing its own medical gear such as ventilators and CT scanners, saving millions of dollars in the process.
However, Cuba's big success was it's production of Covid vaccines, two of which are cleared for widespread use. Venezuela, unable to buy the expensive American vaccines, have switched to Cuba's more modestly priced Covid vaccine.

Authorities did not specify how many doses had arrived from Cuba, but did say that Venezuela had signed a contract to purchase 12 million doses of the shot. Cuba said earlier this week that the three-shot Abdala vaccine had proved 92.28% effective in last-stage clinical trials.

Many of those receiving those Cuban-made vaccines will be receiving them from Cuban doctors.

A few meters away, in the same room, as if to confirm that intrigue and lies will never undermine the prestige of Cuban medicine, Juan Velázquez, a 57-year-old driver, admits, "I had my doubts when I heard about this vaccine; some people out there don't say very good things about it."
“So why did you come, despite your doubts?” I ask.
“I'm here because the vaccine is Cuban; I want to take care of my life.”

Yesterday Vice President Harris traveled to Vietnam and promised them 1 million additional COVID vaccine doses. The same day Cuba also offered Vietnam Covid vaccine doses, but Cuba offered one other thing that Harris could never offer - sharing the technology.

Cuba will supply large quantities of its home-grown COVID-19 vaccine, Abdala, to Vietnam and also transfer the production technology to the Southeast Asian country by the end of the year, the Vietnamese health ministry said on Tuesday.

It's amazing what can happen when you eliminate the profit motive. Vietnam is not the only nation benefiting. Iran, also under a brutal sanctions policy like Venezuela, is already producing one of Cuba's vaccines.
If it wasn't for Cuba, the tens of millions of people in Venezuela and Iran would be defenseless from Covid because of our sanctions.
Mexico, Argentina and Jamaica have also expressed an interest in producing or buying Cuba's COVID-19 vaccines, some of which are proven effective against the Delta variant (unlike many of our vaccines).

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https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/u-s-deprives-cuba-of-syringes-it-ne...

Cuba, the first Latin American country to develop its own COVID-19 vaccines, is presently short of syringes for immunizing its population against the virus. It’s not feasible for Cuba to make its own syringes, and the U.S. blockade prevents Cuba from importing them from abroad.

Most countries are experiencing a shortage of syringes. The New York Times estimates an overall need of between “eight billion and 10 billion syringes for Covid-19 vaccinations alone.” Manufacturing capabilities are increasing, but because of the blockade are of no use to Cuba.

https://today.in-24.com/News/267856.html

BEIJING, August 20. – China sent 150 oxygen concentrators to Cuba, donated to support the confrontation there with the COVID-19 pandemic, diplomatic sources reported today.

The island’s embassy in the capital of China indicated that the gesture is another reflection of the friendship and brotherhood between the two peoples.
This is the second batch of aid from China that Cuba receives in less than a month, after the 30 lung ventilators sent at the end of July.

On that occasion, representatives of Havana considered the action an evidence of the will of the authorities and the population of the Asian giant to show their solidarity with the island just when it is going through a special situation, PL indicates.

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6 months before the virus swamped us.
I have a friend who negotiated some international corporate contracts, and he was expert at knowing the loopholes that allowed Cuba to just make enough profit to survive.
They are for their people, the oppressed. He had lunch with Castro's brother, now the pres, or until recently, the pres.
That is just an amazing effort for them to save lives when we are the freedom loving country that kills poor people in countries who do not allow us to steal their treasure.

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We should take a moment to acknowledge Cuban doctors again.
While every other nation on Earth was shutting down, nearly 40 countries across five continents have received thousands of Cuban medics during the pandemic. Some countries have received the medics for free.
In response, the U.S. pressured Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil to send back those doctors to Cuba, eventhough they couldn't replace the doctors, and it cost the lives of countless citizens of their own nations.

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@gjohnsit Was it Ecuador that said go home, drs., then turned around and let them back in?
The Cuban effort to keep people alive and thriving is a hallmark in humanity.

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@on the cusp
But it was Brazil that was forced to bring back the Cuban doctors because of the own-goal health care disaster.

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CB's picture

@on the cusp

Cuban Doctors Will Return to Assist the Poorest in Brazil
The Brazilian government will authorize 1,800 Cuban doctors who remained in the country after President Jair Bolsonaro ended the "Mais Medicos" (More Doctors) program to return to serve in the territory.

The lack of health personnel in the poor and remote areas of the Latin American giant, which Brazilian doctors avoid, has been the main reason for this decision, local media report.
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A study by the Pan-American Health Organization on the impact of "Mais Medicos" (More Doctors) revealed that, with the definitive end of the work of Cuban professionals in the territory, Brazil could have 37,000 deaths of children under five by 2030.

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@CB in Central or S.Am. that learned their lesson.

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zed2's picture

We're not killing them. Covid and a rigid IP-maximalist stance is and (I have not read any specifics on this) but presumably cannot afford the vaccines which can cost as much as $20-$40 per person.

The pharma companies see Covid as a "once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity".

There is a nexus of knowledge on the rest of the world's view of the vaccines and patents issues on the KEIonline.org IP-health mailing list.

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zed2's picture

There is a lot of information indicating that resveratrol, a stilbnoid with powerful immunomodulatory and antiviral effects - against Covid thats the subject of a number of investigations.

Anyway, a lot of information threads show that for many reasons, it may be useful against COVID. This is clear because it's made from the root of a plant thats already being used, as "Huzhang", for treating it in China - japanese knotweed,

Which is also (officially) a so called "invasive plant" thats legendary for its tenacity, and its not only free, people actually pay to have it removed.

What does it do? Taken orally, it down regulates the chemokines and cytokines that make up the exaggerated immune response that is common around a week after the first symptoms appear, just as some people are starting to recover.. RESV has major advantages over Huzhang, though. Its known to be safe as a supplement and may help people avoid cases that put them in the emergency room. Why don't we know more?

You can find out a lot more by searching on resveratrol and different covid symptoms one by one on PubMed. I have put some of the papers on this as links on my web site under http://policyspace.xyz/covid-19 Note: I also suspect n-acetylcysteine may be helpful so you will also see material on that, there. (Cysteine is also found in whey protein).

I was originally drawn to investigate RESV because of its usefulness against sepsis. And it was really striking how many of the life threatening aspects of COVID which are potentially impacted by RESV. Sepsis is what causes the organ damage and loss of pulmonary epithelium's cellular integrity (pneumonia) In experimental animals who are subjected to endotoxin caused pneumonia, some foms of resveratrol restore the lung's integrity. Thats a potential life-saver.

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In case anybody cares about whether vaccines work as advertised, there is a major surge going on in Cuba right now.

It is amazing, in my layman's opinion. Cuba had virtually no Covid at all through 2020 with a grand total just 12,000 cases and 146 deaths in the entire country as of the start of 2021. For the next six months both cases and fatalities climbed at a steady pace to 190,000 cases and 1300 fatalities. As of then, Cuba's numbers were moving in the wrong direction, but the aggregates were still better than most of the rest of the world.

But July and August have been like all those Trumpish states like Florida:

400,000 new cases, more than tripling the Cuban total for the pandemic over a period of eight weeks.


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3500 new fatalities, almost tripling the number of deaths

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This late summer surge still leaves Cuba with very favorable aggregate numbers -- per capita deaths are far below the USA, for example and far, far below the anomalous numbers from Peru which leads the world in percapita fatalities by a country mile, still far more than double the US experience.

Cuba's death rate is now worse than in that other media related catastrophe, India, by a score of 433 to 313 per million population. But Cuba's numbers are rising at an accelerating rate. India is moving in the other direction.

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Regarding the substance of the OP here -- playing games with who gets the vaccine tells you two things about how our government views the pandemic:

First, as the virus travels around the world as fast as our jets can fly, an outbreak anywhere can lead back to the USA. So if our fearless leaders want for the "rogue" nations to do without the vaccine, they obviously are not worried about the virus coming home. Perhaps they are not worried because they don't really believe in the vaccine to begin with.

Second, to use this diplomatic "tool" in an effort to change the behavior of rogue states is yet another war crime . . . . unless it turns out that the Cuban vaccine is a failure.

Irony never sleeps, does it?
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Anybody able to explain why the Cuban vaccine has not prevented, slowed or even made a dent in the Cuban surge? I am sure there is a logical answer.

Maybe Cuba did not really vaccinate enough of their own people?

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@fire with fire
Cuba couldn't obtain a Covid vaccine from the Anglo-American universe. So until a few months ago almost no one in Cuba had been vaccinated.
Plus, and maybe more importantly, our sanctions on Cuba has caused a critical shortage of syringes. Which causes delays in rolling out the vaccines.

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@gjohnsit

What percentage?

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

CB's picture

@fire with fire
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations
As of May 31, 2021 only 18% had received at least one shot - 17.99/100
As of Aug 23, 2021 over 100% had received one shot or more - 112.12/100

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CB's picture

@gjohnsit
started AFTER they had rolled out their vaccine.

Vaccination
...
If Cuba reaches its goal of widespread vaccination, it will be among the first countries in the hemisphere to achieve this.[36] On June 21, 2021, Cuba reported that its Abdala vaccine is 92.28% effective against COVID-19.[37] However, widespread vaccination has been limited by the shortage of disposable syringes which the country does not produce. [38] In July 2021, representatives of Global Health Partners announced the successful donation of six million syringes to Cuba for their COVID-19 vaccination campaign, financed by a coalition of American organisations opposed to the embargo.[39] Cuba already received around 380,000 syringes and needles in June 2021, donated by Cuban residents in Argentina and other aid organisations.[40]

New cases skyrocket at beginning of July

Maybe the virus was spread when people stopped social distancing and wearing masks because they thought they were protected? It usually takes 2 or more weeks for the vaccine to "kick in".

India has fared much better w/o using vaccines.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@CB How is Iceland doing? They had a high injection rate as well.

Cuba looks like an N of 1 study. Those without, then those same, with.

Can we say ADE yet? I see mixed messages on DELTA being more fatal or less. Which cohort has higher fatality? Injected or uninjected? The CDC quit testing vaccinated unless in hospital or dead. That leaves a lot of potential for less symptomatic spreading. But what is happening to those who have fully two injections and have 'breakthrough' ending up in hospital?

Thanks for your consistent reporting.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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CB's picture

@Dawn's Meta @Dawn's Meta
not be differentiated with deaths by COVID-19 alone. ADE caused by the vaccines, could in practice, actually be the leading cause of death. Especially for variants that have evolved a higher transmission rate but lower mortality. The Cuban experience actually points to that conclusion - higher transmission and higher death rate.

I doubt that TPTB would ever (or could) admit to that if it was in fact true. Nations with overall lower vaccination rate will be required to prove the thesis. But, it still can be covered up by blaming in on various 'variants' in these countries.

A perspective on potential antibody-dependent enhancement of SARS-CoV-2
Abstract

Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of disease is a general concern for the development of vaccines and antibody therapies because the mechanisms that underlie antibody protection against any virus have a theoretical potential to amplify the infection or trigger harmful immunopathology. This possibility requires careful consideration at this critical point in the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here we review observations relevant to the risks of ADE of disease, and their potential implications for SARS-CoV-2 infection. At present, there are no known clinical findings, immunological assays or biomarkers that can differentiate any severe viral infection from immune-enhanced disease, whether by measuring antibodies, T cells or intrinsic host responses. In vitro systems and animal models do not predict the risk of ADE of disease, in part because protective and potentially detrimental antibody-mediated mechanisms are the same and designing animal models depends on understanding how antiviral host responses may become harmful in humans. The implications of our lack of knowledge are twofold. First, comprehensive studies are urgently needed to define clinical correlates of protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2. Second, because ADE of disease cannot be reliably predicted after either vaccination or treatment with antibodies-regardless of what virus is the causative agent-it will be essential to depend on careful analysis of safety in humans as immune interventions for COVID-19 move forward.

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CB's picture

@Dawn's Meta
But they are blaming the unvaccinated for all their ills. There are much greater chances for COVID to mutate in order to escape antibodies in people who have been vaccinated with 'leaky' vaccines - ie who contract the disease AFTER having developed these antibodies. This report is actually covering up the problem.

Delta COVID Surge in Iceland Is Very Bad News for the U.S.
August 15, 2021

Iceland is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world. But that didn’t stop the tiny island nation from catching a whole lot of COVID in recent weeks.

Although the natural, immediate response to this news might be panic, experts who spoke to The Daily Beast said that Iceland’s recent surge in infections—fueled by the new Delta variant of the novel coronavirus—is probably a sign that herd immunity is within reach over there.

What’s happening in Iceland right now might be one of the final stages in the long, often painful process by which a country achieves some form of population-level herd immunity against a dangerous virus.
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“By allowing the virus to test a myriad of new variants in unvaccinated individuals, we may be naturally selecting the worst strains putting us all at risk—both in the U.S. and abroad,” Elias Sayour, a University of Florida professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics and director of the school’s Pediatric Cancer Immunotherapy Initiative, told The Daily Beast.

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@CB
in its recommendation of “Boosters”

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Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority. Meanwhile people are dying because of the material self-interest of a few. - Eduardo Giuliani

“Without a diversity of opinions, the discovery of truth is impossible.” - Alexander von Humboldt

As of July 1, 2021 when the current surge cranked up, Cuba was in ninth place in percapita vaccinations with 56 innoculations per 100. Since then, the total has doubled to 112 per 100. The graphs for cases and deaths have been moving steadily upward, but the last few days suggest some ambiguity. It might be flattening or may have peaked.

There is nothing in this information that suggests success for the Cuban vaccine. It is entirely possible that the "kick in" factor for the more recent injections will end the pandemic.

Possible but not happening as of now.

Source.

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@fire with fire It would take a team of investigators with an electron microscope to find a part of me that gave a sh*t about this vaccine kerfuffle.
It looks like a huge distraction away from things that actually matter. And if you are excited by it, I strongly believe you are being punk'd.

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@gjohnsit
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I get it. You don't care about "this vaccine kerfluffle." Of course.

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@fire with fire
So let me expand on this:

I can't help but think of motorcycle helmet laws when people complain about mask mandates.

I recently saw a post by an older person who found their old "vaccine passport" when they were young. It was for smallpox.

In these days when capitalism is destroying the environment, forever wars, and an oligarchy is strangling the economy and our democracy, I find it ridiculous to think that health care response to a pandemic - that is probably 80% over - is the top item.

Just like panic over Cancel Culture and panic over White Supremacy, panic over vaccines in no way challenges the power or wealth of the ruling elites.

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@gjohnsit
based on what I’ve been been reading. But I certainly hope your optimism pans out and that my concerns turn out to be baseless.

As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”

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Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority. Meanwhile people are dying because of the material self-interest of a few. - Eduardo Giuliani

“Without a diversity of opinions, the discovery of truth is impossible.” - Alexander von Humboldt

CB's picture

@gjohnsit
But I don't think the mask laws do shit. Not one in twenty are made of suitable material and/or are fitted/worn properly and TPTB must know that.

I definitively think we are being gamed with this pandemic. Too many knowledgeable people are being silenced for their views. The one very dangerous consequence is we are not very far away from requiring a 'social credit' passport to prove compliance. I give it till Christmas to be mandated. Especially if the pandemic worsens which it appears to be doing.

The pandemic is a PERFECT reason to initiate a social credit scoring system like they have in China. Here's a list of countries that are currently doing this in order to make your life more pleasant and convenient.

Which Countries Are Using COVID-19 Vaccine Passports?

International travel has been on the back burner for over a year now, and as more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine, nations around the world are itching to reopen their borders.

In a bid to kick-start the tourism industry, one by one, countries are introducing COVID vaccine passports. Although the name can be misleading, this documentation comes in all shapes and sizes – we're already seeing physical certificates, digital forms, and QR codes within national apps.

So, if you’re part of the 11.35% of the world that has received both doses of the vaccine, let’s find out where your next holiday could be.

What are COVID vaccine passports?

Before we dive in, let’s clear up any confusion about what a COVID passport actually is. Put simply, it’s a document that includes personal details, health records, and information about your COVID-19 vaccinations.
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Who can resist this? It's ONLY for your personal safety and convenience!

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@CB

But I don't think the mask laws do shit.

Because doctors have been wearing masks for maybe a century, and I'll trust them over anything I'll ever see on Twitter or Facebook.

As for "Mask mandates are an attack on our freedom", I'd like to remind everyone of a very simple fact that everyone seems to have forgotten:
One of the biggest dangers to our freedom is facial-recognition software. Remember when people were panicked about FRS just a couple years ago?

Well guess what everyone wearing masks does to facial-recognition software?
I'll give you exactly one guess.

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CB's picture

@gjohnsit
and fitted masks - depending on their application. They don't walk around with their nose hanging out. Go to Wally Mart and look at the proles shopping. BTW, a covid virus is 1/2 the size of a smoke particle from a forest fire.

Well guess what everyone wearing masks does to facial-recognition software?
I'll give you exactly one guess.

Let me guess. Very little. China and the UK have solved that 1 1/2 years ago. The Chinese have been accustomed to having their faces scanned to board HS trains w/o showing a ticket and also for other access. They get annoyed if they have to remove their masks.

How China built facial recognition for people wearing masks
3/18/2020

Hanwang says its technology has reached 95% accuracy in identifying mask wearers.

Hanwang, the facial-recognition company that has placed 2 million of its cameras at entrance gates across the world, started preparing for the coronavirus in early January.

Huang Lei, the company’s chief technical officer, said that even before the new virus was widely known about, he had begun to get requests from hospitals at the centre of the outbreak in Hubei province to update its software to recognise nurses wearing masks.

“We wouldn’t wait until something explodes to act. If three or five clients ask for the same thing . . . we’ll see that as important,” said Mr Huang, adding that its cameras previously only recognised people in masks half the time, compared with 99.5 percent accuracy for a full face image.

Since then, demand has soared, from police stations, railway stations and all the office towers that use Hanwang’s cameras to screen employees, and Mr Huang reassigned teams of people to work on the challenge.
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“The problem of masked facial recognition is not new, but belongs to the family of facial recognition with occlusion,” Mr Huang said, adding that his company had first encountered similar issues with people with beards in Turkey and Pakistan, as well as with northern Chinese customers wearing winter clothing that covered their ears and face.

Counter-intuitively, training facial recognition algorithms to recognize masked faces involves throwing data away. A team at the University of Bradford published a study last year showing they could train a facial recognition program to accurately recognize half-faces by deleting parts of the photos they used to train the software.

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@CB
Only a year ago this wasn't true about FRS (1, 2 3.)
But that changed without my knowledge (until now). Mea Culpa.

But your mask point is irrelevant.

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CB's picture

@gjohnsit

From your link:

Since the pandemic started, a slew of facial recognition companies, including UK-based Facewatch, California-based Sensory, and the China-based firms Hanwang and SenseTime, have all begun to tout their ability to recognize people wearing masks.

I'm not saying that masks are completely ineffectual. I believe we here at C99% understand how to choose and use them properly. Unfortunately the great unwashed masses out in the wild are not as reliable.

BTW, I was following along with the pandemic in real time since the very beginning in China. I have always had an interest in what China was up to since my days at DKos. I remember making comments about China and Russia and arguing that these countries were going to surpass the US - China in infrastructure and Russia militarily. They shot me down but I was correct.
My DKos name was Claudius Bombarnac. Secret

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@gjohnsit .

You are right that I do not understand you at all on this, your, thread.

Who said anything about masks?

Who said anything about vaccine passports?

Who is panicking?

Who said anything about cancel?

I really enjoy your contributions to this board and I agree with most of what you have to say. I do not understand your post at all.

I am noting recent information about the cause for me to have been stuck in my house for a year and a half -- and the cause for me choosing to "retire" several years ahead of my own preference. The pandemic and the political decisions made supposedly to ensure public health are by far the most important thing in my life right this second.

I can't help noticing the similarity of the topic of this thread to the one I posted immediately before this one appeared. I can't help noticing that you made the assertion that the reason why Cuba is having problems with the virus now is a lack of syringes. This struck me as a plausible defense of the Cuban Vaccine, but you did not supply a lick of evidence in support of your assertion.

So I took about 15 minutes to look up the available public information and posted it. It does not prove anything, but this information legitimately calls into question whether the Cuban vaccine is a success, a failure or a mixed bag. I made no assertion about what it means -- I just reported the facts.

I have noticed that one of the most common responses I get on this particular board is to tell me in one way or another that I should not be saying what I am saying. That does piss me off, but that is a triviality. My legitimate beef is that there is no doubt whatsoever that the various vaccine campaigns around the world are not bringing the pandemic to a close.

Why that is and and what this all means is a mystery to me. I have noticed that there are shit load of people writing stuff on all manner of internet platforms who do not find it mysterious at all.

Whatever.

It is nice to hear your opinion that it is almost over. Of course I hope you are right. This thing however, has not been kind to predictions -- especially those proclaiming the end of the crisis.

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@fire with fire
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This shit has finally gotten too weird

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@fire with fire

I can't help noticing the similarity of the topic of this thread to the one I posted immediately before this one appeared.

I have to admit that I didn't read that essay. Sorry.

I can't help noticing that you made the assertion that the reason why Cuba is having problems with the virus now is a lack of syringes. This struck me as a plausible defense of the Cuban Vaccine, but you did not supply a lick of evidence in support of your assertion.

True, sort of. I believe that at least one of the articles I had linked mentioned that this was causing a delay in the roll-out of the vaccine in Cuba. I could be wrong, and have read it elsewhere. But I didn't make this up.

I am noting recent information about the cause for me to have been stuck in my house for a year and a half -- and the cause for me choosing to "retire" several years ahead of my own preference. The pandemic and the political decisions made supposedly to ensure public health are by far the most important thing in my life right this second.

That's a good reply. It's not one that I can argue with.
The one element of those protesting the Covid response that I am in agreement with, is the unfairness of the lockdowns. When it comes to the lockdowns, all the costs have been laid upon the working class. While the upper classes have suffered almost nothing.
I have written a couple essays here saying as much.

I'm sorry if I assumed too much. I keep seeing posts by people that have gone a bit loco and it's starting to make me a bit loco.

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