Positive feedback is a bitch

Something is happening and it’s not good:

I’ve explained a few times now that when you get constant waves of widespread SARS-COV-2 infection in the population, bad things start happening. Namely, you start getting positive feedback effects: The damage incurred from infection makes your body susceptible to further infection, both from SARS-COV-2 and other pathogens (RSV, Influenza etc).

Upon exposure to this pathogen, a population can tip in one of two directions:

The first direction is towards herd immunity. The population’s immune response against this virus becomes strong enough that few susceptible hosts remain. Viral evolution slows down, breadth of the immune response improves over time in those who have been infected and other respiratory pathogens maintain their own ecological niches, competitively displacing SARS-COV-2.

The other direction a population can tip, is towards repeated immune-depleting infections, that then enable further immune-depleting reinfections. The population fails to develop lasting sterilizing immunity from infection, this enables further infections, which damage the immune system, which then yet again enables further infections. Viral diversity increases, which enables further mass infection. This is important to note. As an example, just ~25% of the population seems susceptible to BQ.1.1 infection. To get constant mass infections, you need large amounts of viral genetic diversity. We didn’t have this at the start, but we do have it now.

Factors that push your population towards herd immunity include:

-A young population.

-Low obesity rates.

-Widespread exposure to other pathogens, encouraging cross-reactive immunity.

-Healthy plant-based diets.

-Populations that live in nature.

Factors that push your population towards waves of constant immune-depleting reinfections include:

-Molnupiravir

-Mass vaccination

-High obesity rates

-An elderly population

-Diets based on animal products.

-Urbanized populations.

Why would it work like this? Why do I disagree with those who insist that either of these outcomes was inevitable, once the Zero COVID project failed? The first answer is because we can simply observe it. We can see what we did wrong. As an example, we have the evidence available that shows how through mass vaccination, we’re setting children up for reinfection:

We can also just look at the shape of the waves in different communities, as I have done before. The waves grow in places with high vaccination rates, they shrink in places with low vaccination rates.

The second reason is because we’re stuck in an evolutionary arms race with corona viruses. Humans have undergone natural selection by corona viruses, the genetic fingerprints of such selection are observable in our genome. In addition, there is evidence of such selection in primate genomes, the competition has gone on long before we became human beings.

The competition between the corona viruses and primates like us goes back far. Sometimes primate populations win, other times the corona viruses exhaust their prey and the primate population dies out. The four known hCov viruses are like dogs, domesticated friends that keep the wolves away from us.

As the viruses that circulate in our population have adapted to the best of their ability, a novel virus that enters our species would be expected to start out with a disadvantage. And this is what we see with SARS-corona viruses. Studies in China found that 2.7% of people living near bat colonies have antibodies against the bat corona viruses. In other words, the whole concept of a bat corona virus jumping into a human being is not some kind of rare unique anomaly: It happens constantly, but because we’re all constantly exposed to respiratory viruses that are adapted to our species these bat corona viruses can’t spread very far as they have a competitive disadvantage.

It was only through human stupidity, that this SARS-COV-2 virus managed to spread so far and has now managed to enter the snowball effect of constant reinfections. The corona virus now decimating our population needed a massive helping hand from our own species. Your experts accomplished that through their social distancing experiment in early 2020 (wiping out our domesticated friends who induce cross-reactive immunity that pushes r0 below 1), along with their mass vaccination project. The question is: Are they idiots, or evil? I have no proper answer to that.

What I do know is that in the Omicron era that began in late 2021, you entered the brave new world of population-wide positive feedback from unprecedented mass infection. This is why you’re now starting to see nasty problems, like unprecedented waves of RSV in children. As an example of someone who almost gets it, but then makes an error, take a look at this post, by a doctor who looks for an explanation of the unprecedented number of severe RSV cases:

COVID-19 infections (especially repeated ones) create permanent damage to the immune system. This one is possible, but it does not explain why it was not an issue in the previous two years.

What he skips over is as following: The pre-Omicron versions were much worse at infecting children than the Omicron variants. We haven’t just seen an increase in total infections, we’ve seen an expansion of the susceptible age range towards younger people. The number of children catching COVID jumped dramatically as the Omicron waves began. As a result, most immunity depletion in children has taken place in the Omicron era. Note what I’m not saying: I’m not saying Omicron is more severe in children than pre-Omicron variants.

But I wish to illustrate now what positive feedback looks like. Take a look at this study:

Type I and III interferons (IFN-I/λ) are key antiviral mediators against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we demonstrate that plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are the predominant IFN-I/λ source following their sensing of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. Mechanistically, this short-range sensing by pDCs requires sustained integrin-mediated cell adhesion with infected cells. In turn, pDCs restrict viral spread by an IFN-I/λ response directed toward SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. This specialized function enables pDCs to efficiently turn-off viral replication, likely via a local response at the contact site with infected cells. By exploring the pDC response in SARS-CoV-2 patients, we further demonstrate that pDC responsiveness inversely correlates with the severity of the disease. The pDC response is particularly impaired in severe COVID-19 patients. Overall, we propose that pDC activation is essential to control SARS-CoV-2-infection. Failure to unfold this response could be key to understand severe cases of COVID-19.

So, now you’ve learned that your plasmacytoid dendritic cells are responsible for seeking out SARS-COV-2 infected cells. They contact the infected cell, recognize that it’s infected and turn off its production of more viral particles. When they’re bad at doing this job, you get a more severe COVID-19 infection.

And that’s where the problem comes in: After an infection, the number of plasmacytoid dendritic cells you’re left with goes down for months. Take a look at this study:

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 infection induces an exacerbated inflammation driven by innate immunity components. Dendritic cells (DCs) play a key role in the defense against viral infections, for instance plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), have the capacity to produce vast amounts of interferon-alpha (IFN-α). In COVID-19 there is a deficit in DC numbers and IFN-α production, which has been associated with disease severity. In this work, we described that in addition to the DC deficiency, several DC activation and homing markers were altered in acute COVID-19 patients, which were associated with multiple inflammatory markers. Remarkably, previously hospitalized and nonhospitalized patients remained with decreased numbers of CD1c+ myeloid DCs and pDCs seven months after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Moreover, the expression of DC markers such as CD86 and CD4 were only restored in previously nonhospitalized patients, while no restoration of integrin β7 and indoleamine 2,3-dyoxigenase (IDO) levels were observed. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the immunological sequelae of COVID-19.

After seven months, people are still stuck with decreased numbers of plasmacytoid dendritic cells. This my friends, is positive feedback. It’s a bit like a kingdom that is invaded by a new enemy, just months after barely defeating a previous invading army. In the Omicron era, the average person is now infected twice a year, compared to 8% of the population who get influenza in a given year. This is how you trigger positive feedback on the scale of entire populations. And the result of this positive feedback can be expected to have an impact on RSV too, as controlling RSV depends on plasmacytoid dendritic cells too:

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is widely spread and is a major cause of bronchiolitis in infants and high-risk adults, often leading to hospitalization. RSV infection leads to obstruction and inflammation of the airways and induction of innate and acquired immune responses. Because dendritic cells (DCs) are essential in the elicitation of these immune responses, we investigated the presence and the role of dendritic cell subtypes upon RSV infection in the lung. Here, we report that RSV infection increased the number of both conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in the lung and the lung-draining lymph nodes. In particular, the increase in plasmacytoid dendritic cell numbers was sustained and lasted until 30 d after infection. Depletion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells resulted in decreased RSV clearance. In addition, depletion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells resulted in an exacerbation of all manifestations of immune-mediated pathology caused by RSV infection. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that both conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells are attracted to the site of RSV infection. It is demonstrated that plasmacytoid dendritic cells play a protective role during RSV infection by modulation of local immune responses.

I don’t claim that I knew all of this in advance. What I did know is as following:

-If humans are the descendants of populations that underwent selection by corona viruses significant enough to show up in our genomes.

-If a new SARS corona virus has shown up that’s killing millions.

-If our resistance to respiratory viruses as a population depends on a high degree of HLA diversity.

-If we are susceptible to reinfection.

-If we are receiving non-sterilizing vaccines, that homogenize our immune response at a population level by exposing us all to an identical version of a small part of the virus.

Then we’re setting ourselves up for disaster. That’s what I was in the process of figuring out about a year ago and that’s what we’re witnessing unfold today. But for whatever reason, most people don’t see it. I think this is because they have a mental model of vaccines as installing software packages on their computer, whereas I think of it more as giving an army information about which direction the enemy is going to invade from. You don’t create new soldiers, you simply tell them to place their emphasis elsewhere.

Positive feedback is everywhere in nature. As an example, look at climate change. When humans burn small amounts of fossil fuels, as we did before the industrial revolution, nature is able to process the waste we produce for us, for example through chemical weathering. When we burn large amounts of fossil fuels, the carbon dioxide rapidly builds up in our atmosphere, until the warming starts causing the release of more greenhouse gasses and the buildup of those greenhouse gasses starts depleting the mechanisms that normally break down those greenhouse gasses, as we now see with growing concentrations of methane in the atmosphere.

In the relationship between humans and respiratory viruses like SARS-COV-2, positive feedback exists too. Why were native American communities like the Aztecs depopulated by exposure to viruses that posed hardly a threat to Europeans at the time? One factor is their lack of previous exposure. Another factor is their relative lack of HLA diversity due to the Bering strait bottleneck. Finally, another factor is that they were exposed to multiple novel viruses simultaneously: Measles, smallpox, influenza and others were introduced simultaneously. Measles and influenza are both known to be immunosuppressive. Expose a population to a cocktail of novel immune depleting viruses and strange things can start happening.

The cause of our ongoing crisis has to be sought mainly in the mass vaccination campaign, which was the most important factor in tipping over our population towards repeated immune depleting reinfections. As an example, here is yet another study that recently came out, that found increased risk of reinfection with three shots versus two shots:

I first warned about this a year ago, where I explained that decreased breadth after boosting would lead to this outcome. They made a terrible decision by boosting everyone. It’s a huge mistake to assume the vaccines were a good idea, simply because we saw a decrease in severe outcomes requiring hospitalization.

Any evidence of increased risk of infection as a consequence of vaccination, is evidence of unacceptable vaccine harm. And because we are a species condemned to be engaged in an evolutionary arms race with corona viruses as a consequence of our high population density, we can not afford the risk of a long-term increased infection rate from a reduction of the quality of our immune response against this virus, no matter what the short-term benefit may have been.

Please understand: This was hypothetical back when I told you about it a year ago. But now you’re living in a brave new world, where it has come to fruition and where the evidence is openly available.

You can not justify any interventions on the basis of reducing the number of people on a ventilator in a hospital in a particular season. Rather, every intervention also needs to be observed through the lens of the evolutionary arms race between primates and corona viruses that has been going on for millions of years. Putting a synthetic furin cleavage site in a novel SARS corona virus was a massive unprecedented own goal by our team, the mass vaccination campaign is a second own goal that makes our chances of winning increasingly dim. Widespread use of Molnupiravir looks like it could become the third own goal.

The only way the human species can win the game is through holistic reintegration in nature. This includes:

-Dissolution of urban communities, with constant exposure of humans to forests that bathe our lungs in alpha-pinene and other terpenes.

-Dissolution of factory farms (ground zero of the outbreak in Western nations), transition to a plant-based diet.

-Cessation of the mass vaccination program.

-Ending the obesity crisis

-Ending intercontinental flights.

-Spiritual reconnection through widespread use of entheogens like psilocybe mushrooms, which are competent at repairing the damage incurred by infection.

This virus is not about to go back into the box it came from and as it depletes the population’s immunity, it aids other viruses in establishing themselves in our population.

14 Comments

  1. If I understand what you are saying: a frequently recurring coronavirus (SARS, common cold, et al) infection sequentially weakens the immune system to the point that the system collapses and the body dies.

    I am healthy late 50s no vaccine. I had a severe flu in November 2019. Nothing noteworthy since. My son is 13 no vaccine. Hasn’t been sick with fever in years. Are we somehow being infected and don’t realize what is occurring?

    There are people younger than I at my office with hacking cough right now.

    • >If I understand what you are saying: a frequently recurring coronavirus (SARS, common cold, et al) infection sequentially weakens the immune system to the point that the system collapses and the body dies.

      Basically yes. Note, none of this seems to happen with the common cold, because the common cold doesn’t have the synthetic Furin cleavage site spliced into it that gives SARS-COV-2 its much wider tissue tropism. The common cold was thus forced into a pathway towards attenuation, it could only survive through relative tolerance by our immune system.

      It’s the much wider tissue tropism that allows SARS-COV-2 to constantly churn out new variants that specialize in infecting different tissues (the quasispecies model you may have heard of). As an example, BA.2 hardly damages your lungs, BUT it became much better at infecting our brains than any of the variants that caused the waves before it. Same is true for BA.5:

      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41392-022-01241-2#MOESM1

      People seem to think it’s over now that we have Omicron, but we swapped a lung damaging virus for a brain damaging vaccine-enhanced virus that now infects the whole population, good luck with that.

      >I am healthy late 50s no vaccine. I had a severe flu in November 2019. Nothing noteworthy since. My son is 13 no vaccine. Hasn’t been sick with fever in years. Are we somehow being infected and don’t realize what is occurring?

      I haven’t had any severe cold myself either. But again, it’s not really a “common cold” virus. It has a wide tissue tropism. It can manifest itself in many different ways, especially once you already have localized immunity in your lungs from an infection. It can be gastrointestinal, it can be neurological. And there’s a fair chance your body never fully gets rid of an infection.

      If you really want to know if you’ve been infected, I’d say get an antibody test. About 95% of people test positive from the last numbers I’ve seen.

  2. Quote: “Dissolution of urban communities, with constant exposure of humans to forests …”

    You say mankind should go back into the forests.

    I say mankind should pay any price for reaching space settlement, even if the price is a ruined homeworld.

  3. >the Zero COVID project

    Zero Covid: no one gets infected and the virus peters out for lack of hosts.

    Herd immunity: everybody gets infected and the virus peters out for lack new hosts.

    From what I understand, no country except China pursued Zero Covid. Herd immunity was always the strategy, the only difference being in the percentage of immunization due to vaccination vs. infection. Sweden: more infection than vaccination. Australia: more vaccination than infection.

    The lockdowns were never meant to stop infection, but to make it manageable for hospitals (and undertakers, I guess).

    I remember pretty well measures passed to encourage infection right in the middle of a lockdown, like the Dutch government lowering ventilation standards for schools, and opposing in all possible ways the air-purifier experiments in the Staphorst schools.

    The lockdowns, annoying as they were, were not a “Zero Covid” project.

    • I don’t remember any coherent strategy statement during the pre-vaccine “lockdown” phase.

      They began in panic with no stated exit strategy. As infection rates declined in some areas, governments began reopening conditional on the virus not returning. That’s implicitly a zero covid strategy. What they firmly avoided saying was what they would do if eliminating the virus were not possible – implicitly eternal “lockdowns”, but everyone knew that releasing the virus would be preferable to eternal “lockdowns”, and that would also have rendered all the previous “lockdowns” useless.

      When covid came back in the late 2020 showing that “lockdowns” are unlikely to eliminate the disease, governments just flailed and the newly entrenched public health bureaucracy started manufacturing reasons to impose “lockdowns” anyway. There was no covid strategy at all at that point, other than a new interest group that wanted every possible intervention as a way of expanding its domain.

      • There was a lot of chaos in the beginning, so I doubt too, that the people in charge had a plan and stuck to it the whole time.

        However, I still think that in most countries the idea was “2 weeks to flatten the curve”, even though that eventually became two years, while in China it was “no curve no matter the price”.

        The lockdowns in Italy or the Netherlands (where I have some first-hand experience) were modulated to keep infections low, but not zero. Lifting restrictions would pretty much guarantee the resurgence of infections.

        Then sure, all you write about the entrenched bureaucracy that took of advantage of the situation is true.

        But I just wanted to point out that “the Zero Covid project” was only ever tried in China.

        • Yeah this is correct. The idea was to smear out the waves of infection, which were supposed to stop eventually once everyone has gone through an infection. This didn’t work of course, largely thanks to negative vaccine efficacy against infection that became readily apparent once Omicron arrived on the scene.

          Eradication was always a fringe position in the Netherlands. Out of all countries it would probably have been least viable in the Netherlands anyway. We depend on migrant labor of people who move from Eastern Europe to work here in food production. We’re a densely populated country, with free travel with other European countries. People readily travel between cities for work, so you can’t hermetically seal off a city either. It’s entirely impossible for this country to function if it were to shield itself off from other countries.

          It doesn’t really work in China either of course despite their high tech panopticon, where your QR code turns red if you stand near someone with a red QR code for more than ten minutes. They have had two million infections in Hong Kong because they received some hamsters from the Netherlands carrying Delta. Many of their cases go undiagnosed, as people literally run away when they realize they’re about to get tested.

          Australia and New Zealand tried to create some sort of dystopian zero COVID zone together where you can freely travel in their zero COVID world, but it was never going to work. Once the beta variant evolved in South Africa that carried N501Y in June 2020 it learned to jump into rodents. When it can jump into rodents, you’re never getting rid of it. Delta, Alpha and Omicron also show evidence of enabling jumps into rodents. Cats were already able to get infected and pass on the original strain to each other. I don’t know how people imagine some slum in Brazil (where the first cases found date to November 2019) would have had to eradicate this virus. You’re really lucky if South America manages to eradicate monkeypox (I honestly wouldn’t count on it, I expect we’ll actually see another wave eventually).

          Maybe if China had immediately figured out and announced by November 2019 or so that a genetically engineered virus was spreading in Wuhan they could have stopped it, but they kept things quiet so they could stockpile medical supplies for themselves. American bureaucrats spent February 2020 covering up their responsibility for its creation, then by March 2020 there emerged some sort of obscure movement to eradicate this virus, but there was no chance by then. And of course as they covered up that this is a lab-born monstrosity, they would have never found significant public support to become China 2.0 in an attempt to eradicate something that behaved like a boring obscure common cold virus at the time.

  4. Eugyppis, literally has the exact opposite take: Covid is over, Omicron just a nuisance and the jabs ‘bad medicine’ but there is not existential threat. I suspect the truth will prove to be something in the middle, but I admit I subconsciously find myself ‘rooting‘ for your outcome, even though no rational person should want that to come about. I just want those who pushed and defended the jabs and lockdowns to suffer and I want those who resisted to be vindicated in a biblical manner.

    • Same, same. Sometimes I forgive all of this crap and then I’ll read some fresh learned-nothing “expert” take that makes me wish for a Biblical lesson

      At the same time, I believe reality should be somewhere in the middle too.
      For years to come I expect the most boring scenario of the same shit happening right now: folks dying suddenly here and there, out of season respiratory viruses clogging hospitals regularly, slightly increased cancer and dementia…
      Just enough for the skepticals to talk about it and for the narrative followers to deny/misattribute it.
      I guess we’ll have to see how this Winter goes.

      • “The whole situation has merely gotten worse, I don’t know why everyone is in denial about this.”

        Possibly because the media don’t really mention COVID now. When they do, it tends to be in the past tense: “The post-COVID world.” This time last year, they talked about literally nothing but COVID and the vaccines.

  5. Have you looked into encephalitis lethargica from the 1918 pandemic. A lot of children recovered from the flu with extreme behaviour problem, criminal violent stabby kind of things. Mass shootings seem to be increasing. Can we expect the same now?

    • Mass shootings started increasing long before 2020, so it would be tough to deduce a trend. I’ve seen reports that long covid patients have strange outbursts of anger. It’s possible, but not something I’ve looked into much.

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