The Delta Variant & the Perfect Storm Looming over Canada (& Other Countries)
Today, COVID-19 cases in Canada are declining, from coast to coast, even if some lockdown restrictions remain in force. The summer is approaching and we are all eager to live a return to normality.
After all, we got a break last summer from this virus, and we expect some seasonality. OK the virus may return, but in the fall and winter. Not in the summer, please. We need a break. We need a life. That’s the conventional thinking currently prevailing among many in the country.
But, is the current situation, with declining cases, just the quiet before the storm?
Well, it may be the case, as a storm, maybe even a perfect storm, may be looming over Canada. Other countries are also at risk of a perfect storm, and we will touch upon that too in this article.
In meteorological terms, a perfect storm arises when a rare combination of circumstances does aggravate an otherwise normal storm. A similar phenomenon seems to be in the making in Canada when it comes to the next wave of the COVID-19 disease.
The making of this perfect covid storm can be explained by several factors. The Delta variant, originating from India, where it did spread like wildfire, is just one of them.
There are indeed aggravating factors for Canada, and those have nothing to do with the actual new variant. They have all to do with the continued ineptitude of the authorities, at the provincial and federal levels, in dealing with COVID-19.
Canadians Largely Unprotected from SARS-CoV-2’s Delta Variant
Let’s remember here that there should be 4 key parts/pillars of any strategy to deal with a pandemic: 1) contagion control to stop the spread, with social distancing, masks, etc.; 2) early home treatment, to save lives and to reduce hospital admissions; 3) late stage hospital treatment, as an ultimate safety net for survival, and 4) immunisation, either natural or through vaccination, and herd immunity.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the missing part/pillar has been, in Canada and in many other countries, early outpatient treatment, even if the first early therapies were developed in March 2020. Since then, the early therapies have considerably improved, yet those developed in early 2020 did already yield excellent results, as shown in retrospective research.
Canada, along with countries such as Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK, is one of the countries where the repression of early outpatient treatment has been the fiercest, with very strong warnings to doctors and to the population, by the provincial and federal authorities, along with medical and pharmacy boards, to prevent their usage.
In fact, all the countries that do prevent the use of early outpatient therapies are at great risk. In Europe, only Slovakia has openly approved the use of ivermectin, while the drug is prescribed off-label in a few other countries. Since its approval in late January 2021, the number of daily new cases has plummeted. The country with the fiercest opposition to ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine is without doubt The Netherlands, which has promised to give huge fines of 150,000 Euros to any doctor daring to prescribe these drugs.
Most Canadians are just not aware of this. The key medications required for treating COVID-19 early, that are essentially inaccessible to Canadians, are easily accessible in many countries, as diverse as India, Indonesia, Colombia and Switzerland. In many countries, they are available over the counter, in others, a prescription is required but availability in pharmacies is not an issue.
After a year of constant emphasis on vaccination as the sole means to bring us out of this health crisis, and after 6 months of vaccination campaign, 7.2% of the Canadian population are now fully vaccinated and 60.2% have received one shot. According to a recent British study, effectiveness against the delta variant (B.1.617.2) is respectively 60% and 88% after two shots of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines. After one shot, it’s only about 33%.
This means that, against this variant, there isn’t much protection provided by vaccination at this point in time. Even those having received two shots remain likely to contract the disease and become what is now referred to as “breakthrough cases.“ Like unvaccinated people, these people may develop severe disease, face hospitalization, ICU transfer and death. For them, like for unvaccinated people, early outpatient treatment is also a key to avoid a tragic outcome.
The Delta variant has spread like wildfire in India and is now reported in some 62 countries. In London, UK, two thirds of new reported cases are with this variant. This shows how transmissible this variant is. Estimates of increased transmissibility, compared to the alpha variant (B.1.1.7), range from 30 to 100% higher.
A personal communication from an Indian doctor, familiar with the situation on the ground, is as follows. Previously, when someone in a household would contract COVID-19, it would be very possible that the other household members would not contract the disease. Now, with the delta variant, it is no longer the case, and complete families typically contract the disease, very rapidly.
In England, a study was done by the University of Warwick to assess the impact of higher transmissibility on hospital admission. In its executive summary, the study notes: “England remains extremely vulnerable to novel variants with either higher transmission or that can partially escape existing immunity. A variant that is 30-40% more transmissible
than B.1.1.7 is projected to generate more total hospital admissions than the first wave.”
The high transmission of this delta variant was confirmed in the past days in Melbourne, Australia, with a cluster of 81 cases.The State of Victoria, which follows a strict “zero-covid” strategy, is now in extended lockdown. It’s not clear if the strict restrictive measures in place, that have so far contained virus spread in Australia, will work against this highly contagious variant. Less than 3% of the Australian population is presently fully vaccinated.
Note that an area where there seems there is no data available is the level of immunity already achieved in the Canadian population through natural infection (i.e. not vaccination). To this day, there are 1.39 million recovered coronavirus cases, according to official statistics.
Real World Evidence Shows Early Treatment Flattens the Curve
Like for Australia, India’s rate of full vaccination is very small, at 3%. Yet, after a huge spike in cases that occurred in late March and April in India, there has been a sharp and yet much less publicized decline in new daily cases, as can be seen in the graph.
The graph shows a 67% reduction in the number of new daily cases in less than a month! Today, the number of new cases per inhabitant in India is at 100 per million, which is just double of that of Canada. No doubt, very soon, daily new cases per capita in Canada will exceed those of India.
How could this sharp decline in new daily infections have taken place in India, in such a short period of time? We will never know for sure, as this is not a controlled experiment, but the most likely explanatory factor is the provision of early outpatient treatment, through drugs such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, which are widely used in India. Another factor is prevention / post-exposure prophylaxis, with the same drugs, for families having been exposed to a family member having developed covid.
Both ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are officially part of the national guidelines for the management of COVID-19 in India, and are used in most, but not all, states. The drugs are typically available over the counter (OTC), i.e. without prescription, at local pharmacies. They are produced locally – India is the world’s powerhouse when it comes to generic drugs.
The importance of both drugs in India was already highlighted by Dr Dhananjay Bakhle, in his article and interview with covexit.com.
Update: Since this article was written, a totally irresponsible and likely going to lead to numerous deaths, was taken by an Indian regulator, against the very drugs that helped squash this recent peak in cases and deaths.
We also reported about how Mexico, which was dealing with a different strain of the virus, achieved a considerable 80% reduction in daily new cases and mortality, by offering home treatment kits to those testing positive for COVID-19. Today, the number of daily new cases per capita in Mexico is half of that in Canada. Mexico also has a very low rate of vaccination, which cannot explain the decline in daily cases.
We have here two major countries, one with 1.3 billion inhabitants, and one with 130 million inhabitants, that responded with early treatment drugs to crisis situations of high infections and mortality. The results are in both cases remarkable and similar. The early treatments reduce both disease and contagion, thereby bringing the epidemic locally under control.
Canada’s Vile Alignment with the WHO
Now, the logical common sense approach, that any rational person would use, would be to adopt a similar approach in Canada, to contain the progression of infections that are expected with the highly transmissible delta variant. If a country like India is able to reduce new infections by some 67% within a month, why wouldn’t Canada do the same?
And yes, in theory, Canada could do the same. But Canada is highly unlikely to do so. For reasons that are beyond rationale, Canada and its medical establishment have decreed so far, contrary to countries such as Slovakia, India and Mexico, that drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are ineffective for COVID-19. Regulatory authorities even claim that the drugs are dangerous, unproven, and can therefore only be used in clinical trials, which essentially don’t exist and do unnecessarily risk the lives of the patients in the control group.
Canada prides itself to believe in evidence based medicine. But Canada is not looking at the evidence. There is overwhelming evidence, through observational and randomized clinical trials conducted all over the world, as well as through real world experiences in countries such as Slovakia, India and Mexico, that these drugs are effective for the early treatment of the disease.
But Canada does not agree with real world evidence, and even went a step further, with Ontario-based McMaster University conducting an analysis of existing randomized trials for the World Health Organization about ivermectin. The “Living Guideline” analysis shows an 80% reduction in mortality with the use of the drug for early treatment, which is considerable. Yet the Canadian researchers claimed the certainty of evidence to be “very low due to serious risk of bias and very serious imprecision” bringing them to conclude that “the effect of ivermectin on mortality is uncertain.” WHO shortly after issued a statement, aligning with the Canadian position and recommending the drug to be only used in the context of clinical trials, making the drug unavailable to most. Canada is therefore not only confirmed in its nihilistic position regarding Ivermectin, but also contributed to the flawed WHO position. To this day, the WHO position remains in force, even if Slovakia, India, Mexico and other countries, in Asia, Latin America and Africa, do not adhere to the WHO’s flawed position.
It must be emphasized that the Indian government fortunately resisted calls by the WHO to withdraw the drugs from the market. Recently, the Indian Bar Association is even suing WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, accusing her in a 71 point brief of causing harm to Indian citizens by misleading them about Ivermectin. See this screenshot of a tweet by Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, now deleted from Twitter.
Incidentally, the WHO is not the only organization trying to dissuade using ivermectin for COVID-19, as can be seen in the tweet below.
More Avoidable Deaths to be Expected in Nursing Homes and in Hospitals
It’s important to remember that the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths in Canada occured in nursing homes / long term care facilities. While early treatment medications could have easily been provided to those residents developing symptoms, nothing was done. On the contrary, care was reduced, and a very important agent for COVID-19, Vitamin D, was even removed from the daily medications of residents, at least in the province of Quebec. The vast majority of COVID-19 infected residents in nursing homes / long term care facilities were left dying, sometimes dehydrated, sometimes not fed, without any medical care, without any transfer to hospital.
With the delta variant expected to spread in nursing homes / long term care facilities, and with vaccine protection known to be only partial, as previously discussed, one can expect new episodes of mass mortality in these nursing homes / LTCs. And again, this large mortality will occur not because of the virus, but because of the absence of early outpatient care, using medication such as ivermectin. Treatment protocols for nursing homes exist. It’s just a matter of implementing them. But Canada is very unlikely to do so, as it falls outside its vaccination / lockdown ideology. See here a protocol for the prevention and early treatment of COVID-19 in nursing home / long term care facilities.
Outside nursing homes, Canada’s approach to COVID-19 is to treat only late, when the disease has progressed so much that it requires admission in hospital, where the likelihood of survival is much reduced, as hospital mortality rates for COVID-19 typically exceed 20% in Canada. Hospital level treatment for COVID-19 in Canada is of questionable quality, with the remdesivir drug still being used, even if proven ineffective by the major discovery/solidarity clinical trial and being recommended against by the WHO – one of the few science-based decisions the organization took during this pandemic.
With early outpatient treatment, the disease is caught much earlier, when it’s much easier to treat, which considerably increases the likelihood of survival and considerably reduces the need for hospitalization, as long as quality outpatient care is provided. Even with a relatively simple tri-therapy, a reduction of 85% in the need for hospital admission was achieved in an outpatient clinic of the state of New York, in the first phase of the pandemic, as shown in a peer reviewed retrospective study by Derwand et al.
Quality Outpatient Care Should be the #1 Priority
Hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are not the only drugs being repressed by the provincial and federal health authorities in Canada. They indeed mostly preclude any form of early outpatient treatment, even if two drugs – inhaled budesonide and colchicine – recently found their way in some provincial-level treatment guidelines. In Canada, the whole system is organized towards hospital level treatment. Outpatient, ambulatory treatment, in the community, close to the people, is totally neglected and nothing is done to make it happen.
When quality early outpatient treatment for COVID-19 is offered to the population, most people who are infected will rapidly recover, and also are less likely to infect others. Treating a disease early is the most logical and ethical thing to do. It is actually the only medical thing to do. There is no disease other than COVID-19 for which medical guidelines, in countries such as Canada, Australia, the UK and others, only recommend a late treatment of the disease, through hospital treatment.
It must be emphasized that recovering from COVID-19 delivers immunity against a future infection. This was suspected from the very beginning of the pandemic and even recognized, in an email, by none other than Dr Fauci himself. Recent studies have come to confirm that immunity is acquired, even following a mild form of the disease. See for example this study from the University of Washington. This finding is consistent with the rarity of true reinfection cases and makes vaccination of those having recovered from covid unnecessary (some argue, such as Prof. Harvey Risch, contraindicated)
The denial of early outpatient care has been described by the esteemed Professor Peter McCullough as “therapeutic nihilism.” In Canada, the standard of outpatient medical care for COVID-19 is the denial of such care. This is how bad the situation is.
What does Canada do instead of providing treatment to its people having COVID-19 at first symptoms? It implements strict lockdown measures, social distancing, school closures, masks mandates, closures of international borders, restrictions to internal and international travel, etc. which are now known to have at best very limited effects on virus transmission. Even the isolation of patients suffering from COVID-19 is done very imperfectly, and with the delta variant, one can only expect more and more household-level transmission of the virus.
Even if ineffective to manage COVID-19, and generating huge economic and social costs, the combination of lockdowns and vaccination is the chosen approach of Canada. Everything has been done to prevent early outpatient treatment. When the Province of New-Brunswick started a courageous early treatment program in late March 2020, it got in the mire of the federal authorities and the program was suspended shortly afterwards.
Solutions Exist but Remain Ignored
Now, well over a year into the pandemic, many medical doctors in Canada have realized that there is something fundamentally wrong with the response by the authorities to the pandemic. There are some 40,000 family doctors in Canada, but just a handful of them dares to do the right thing and prescribe early treatment to their patients. Yet, hundreds, maybe thousands of medical doctors, could readily treat COVID-19 early, if that medical practice was not repressed by the regulatory authorities and the medical boards.
Today, there is considerable knowledge about how to treat COVID-19 early, at first symptoms. There are several available treatment protocols, developed by medical doctors from countries such as the USA, France, South Africa, India, Brazil, Peru, to name just a few. It would be very easy to quickly train many Canadian physicians about the early outpatient treatment of COVID-19. As for the required drugs, the artificial restrictions imposed by the regulatory authorities and the pharmacy boards, for their use for COVID-19, could easily be lifted.
If there was a will to do what’s best for the population, it would take just one or two weeks to make early outpatient treatment the standard of care for COVID-19 throughout Canada. Yes, it would take just a short time to move from therapeutic nihilsm to excellence in outpatient care for COVID-19. Today, there are extremely qualified doctors and scientists in Canada who know this and want a radical change in the way COVID-19 is managed. They are unfortunately not heard and their voices are being suppressed.
A Perfect Storm in the Making
With the delta variant, neither lockdown restrictive measures nor vaccination can be expected to be of great help for Canadians. Cases will rise, pressure will again be mounting on hospitals and ICUs, triage will likely get into action and the death toll will rise again. Outbreaks can also be expected to occur again in nursing homes. With the same failed recipes as before, it’s unlikely that a sharp reduction in cases will be achieved, like it happened in Slovakia, India and Mexico.
The delta variant is likely to be a bad storm for Canada. But Canada would be perfectly capable of weathering that bad storm, if it were to use all the tools available and act rationally, in the public’s best interest.
The perfect storm that is in the making is not due to the delta variant. It is due to the expected continued ineptitude of the authorities in dealing with COVID-19.
Picture: Joseph Mallord William Turner, Fishing Boats caught in a Storm.