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The Normalization of Dishonesty in Medical Science


I subscribe to a publication called MedpageToday, which is an excellent way to follow what is going on in the mainstream medical discussion, and not least to better understand what is wrong with it.

This week they published a piece on the benefits to infants from maternal vaccination, reported in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 22nd. In the introduction, the study authors make the following claim: “Infants younger than 6 months of age are at high risk for complications of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)” 

This came as a surprise, so I checked the source they quote in support of this statement. In short, the source tells us nothing about risk of hospitalization. All it tells us is the number of hospitalized infants over time per 100,000 in the population, which shows that early January this year, during a surge of Omicron infections, there was of course also a surge in hospitalizations; if we look at the general trends we see this in all age-groups

This has nothing to do with hospitalization risk at all.

“… [H]igh risk for complications …”? In the general population, the probability of hospitalization following a Covid infection according to the CDC in October 2021 was around 5%; this means one in every 20 people infected was admitted to hospital. 

After Omicron took over, this number went down by 50-70%, to between 1.5-2.5%. And if we look at the latest CDC estimate on relative risk between age groups, children up to 17 have the lowest risk of hospitalization, including infants. That means, for infants the risk of hospitalization is about 1/10th of the risk for the oldest age-group. It might be added that their risk of death is less than 1/330th of the oldest age-group. This is low risk, not high risk.

Still, according to the authors of this study, infants are “at high risk for complications of coronavirus disease 2019,” contrary to all evidence, referring to a source that doesn‘t address the matter.

Clearly, we cannot be concerned with the risk of Covid-19 for infants, for as the numbers tell us, it isn‘t concerning at all; infants are in very little danger from Covid-19. We should in fact be more concerned with the injection of mothers-to-be with substances which health authorities in Scandinavia have not recommended for children under 12, with the exception of Denmark only, a decision they now regret. It adds to those concerns to see the spikes in complications during pregnancy, infant mortality and stillbirths which we’ve seen this year.

We cannot be very concerned with such a low risk. But we should be deeply concerned when we see a study, authored by around 40 medical doctors and PhDs, and peer-reviewed by I don‘t know how many, putting forth a claim that is obviously false, and supporting it with a source that doesn‘t support it.

What might be the reason? Have all those people become so blinded by a preconceived conclusion, so biased toward what they think they are supposed to believe, that they are now unable to understand the simple distinction between hospitalization risk and transmission? 

Or have they taken it a step further? Do they in fact understand, but choose to ignore or distort the facts to please their peers and superiors, trusting in the safety of numbers? Has dishonesty become normalized now in medical science?

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  • Thorsteinn Siglaugsson

    Thorsteinn Siglaugsson is an Icelandic consultant, entrepreneur and writer and contributes regularly to The Daily Sceptic as well as various Icelandic publications. He holds a BA degree in philosophy and an MBA from INSEAD. Thorsteinn is a certified expert in the Theory of Constraints and author of From Symptoms to Causes – Applying the Logical Thinking Process to an Everyday Problem.

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