Tuesday’s news links – Sept. 7, 2021

“No One Has Come”: Queens Flood Victims Left To Fend For Themselves In Storm’s Aftermath Gothamist

The Productivity–Pay Gap Has Been Growing Since 1979 Economic Policy Institute

Mexico City Columbus statue to be replaced with one honoring Indigenous women TheHill

Palestine

IN PHOTOS: Gaza Families Celebrate Daring Escape of Six Palestinian Prisoners Palestine Chronicle

Afghanistan

The Other Afghan Women The New Yorker

More than seventy per cent of Afghans do not live in cities. In rural areas, life under the U.S.-led coalition and its Afghan allies became pure hazard; even drinking tea in a sunlit field, or driving to your sister’s wedding, was a potentially deadly gamble.

The Two Satans of Afghanistan – And Jimmy Carter’s Lips Are Sealed John Helmer, former White House aide of Jimmy Carter

If ever there was a man who displayed on his face the evil in his mind, it was Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security advisor for President Jimmy Carter when the US plot to start the war against the Soviet Union on the Afghan front was hatched in 1979. “Now we can lure the Russians into the Afghan trap,” he wrote Carter in a secret note of February 1979. In July of that year he followed with the directive Carter signed in secret to supply arms to the mujahideen “to induce a Soviet military intervention”.

Cuba in Africa: A Film by Negash Abdurahman

South Korea fires submarine-launched ballistic missile for first time as North prepares military parade South China Morning Post

#COVID19

What We Actually Know About Waning Immunity The Atlantic

Reports of vaccines’ decline have been greatly overstated.

One in 5,000. The real chances of a breakthrough infection. NYTimes

Delta really has changed the course of the pandemic. It is far more contagious than earlier versions of the virus and calls for precautions that were not necessary a couple of months ago, like wearing masks in some indoor situations. But even with Delta, the overall risks for the vaccinated remain extremely small.

Why You Should Get Vaccinated But Don’t Need A Third Shot

Q: Why do people who were vaccinated still get Covid-19?

A: The vaccines are not giving a ‘sterilizing immunity’. They were not designed for that and never promised to do so. What the vaccines do in fairy reasonable quality is to prepare the body to fight Covid-19 early and effectively. Nearly all people who got vaccinated will be protected from a severe progression of the disease.

Q: If the vaccine does not protect me from getting Covid-19 why should I still take one?

A: SARS-CoV-2, which causes Convid-19, is a new virus and our bodies are not prepared to fight it. The vaccines, by looking like a part of the virus, are teaching the body to fight the real virus. Once that is done special cells in our bodies will remember that fight. As soon as they detect a real infection they will be ready to attack it.

Q: But would that not also happen if just get infected by SARS-CoV-2 without being vaccinated?

A: Yes it would. But the speed at which the body can fight the virus is much slower in unvaccinated people. Speed is of great importance here. Remember that the Covid-19 disease happens in two phases. The virus first attacks in the upper respiratory tract – the nose and throat. Some seven days or so later it goes down into the lungs. It then can cause a so called cytokine storm during which the body overreacts and attacks itself in multiple organs. To avoid a progression into the second phase of Covid-19 the body must fight the virus as fast as possible.

Q: But the vaccine efficiency is waning over time and they are telling us that we need a third or even a fourth shot.

A: Yes, Pfizer and Co want to sell more vaccines. But for most people a third or fourth shot will not be necessary at all. Let me explain:

The vaccines induce certain cells in our immune system (B- and T-cells) to create specific antibodies (proteins) against the virus and to detect and kill infected cells. After the virus is eliminated from the body there is no need to keep the antibodies around. A few weeks after a vaccination or infection the body slowly discards them. The measurable level of antibodies in the blood decreases. This process, which is normal, has been depicted in the press as ‘waning immunity’. But that is pretty much nonsense.

Once a vaccine induced infection is fought off special B- and T-cells will remember the fight and what specific antibodies they had to produce to kill the virus. These memory cells will hibernate in our bodies until they are again needed. As soon as a new infection is detected they wake up and start to produce a huge amount of specific antibodies to (again) fight the virus.

Ask a Biologist has a fine explanation of that process:

Toward the end of each battle to stop an infection, some T-cells and B-cells turn into Memory T-cells and Memory B-cells. As you would expect from their names, these cells remember the virus or bacteria they just fought. These cells live in the body for a long time, even after all the viruses from the first infection have been destroyed. They stay in the ready-mode to quickly recognize and attack any returning viruses or bacteria. Quickly making lots of antibodies can stop an infection in its tracks. The first time your body fights a virus, it can take up to 15 days to make enough antibodies to get rid of it. With the help of Memory B-cells, the second time your body sees that virus, it can do the same thing in 5 days. It also makes 100 times more antibodies than it did the first time. The faster your body makes antibodies, the quicker the virus can be destroyed. With the help of Memory B-cells, you might get rid of it before you even feel sick. This is called gaining immunity.

Now think of the ‘first infection’ in the graphic as the vaccination. It has trained the B and T memory cells to fight SARS-CoV-2. Unlike the antibodies the B and T memory cells do not go away. When the next infection comes along the body will be quickly produce new antibodies and wrangle the virus down.

Q: But would not a third or fourth vaccination increase the efficiency with which the body can fight the virus?

A: That probably would happen but the effect would be very marginal. Unless someone is immune-compromised or has some other specific issues it is likely a waste of scarce resources that are better applied elsewhere.

Q: But why has the White House announced a third vaccine shot for everyone?

A: Well, that’s actually a scandal the pro-Biden media do not like to talk about.

The White House, which claimed to follow the science, did not follow the science but pharma lobbyists. It announced that everyone would get a third shot before the FDA had collected data on third shots, discussed the issue, and made a decision on it.

Stephen Gowans @GowansStephen – 14:00 UTC · Sep 4, 2021Here’s who it’s supposed to work:
FDA recommends -> White House approves -> Big Pharma acts
Here’s how it really works:
Big Pharma recommends -> White House approves -> FDA rubber stamps -> Pfizer, Moderna, J&J shareholders (including a hefty part of Biden’s cabinet) cash in

The head of the FDA vaccine office and her deputy resigned in protest over the White House announcement as there is not nearly enough data to justify a third vaccine shot. Scientifically there is simply no compelling reason for a third dose. The White House will now have to walk back its statements on the issue.

Q: So there is no reason at all to get re-vaccinated?

A: Currently there is no reason for an additional shot. But the virus is mutating over time and the vaccines we currently have were made to fight the original virus. They are a little less effective against the now predominant delta variant. There will fairly soon be new vaccines that are specifically designed to fight new variants of the virus. People who are in risk groups, the very old and those with diseases that may make a Covid-19 infection more problematic, should probably take those new shots when they become available. For most people they will most likely still be unnecessary.

Q: But what about the reports of vaccinated people in hospitals and ICUs?

A: Those people are probably very old or have significant additional  diseases. The media have overplayed the issue and most reports about severe ‘breakthrough’ infections are just sensational crap that is not based on actual data. Most people who now end up in the hospitals and ICUs are in fact not vaccinated:

“Most people here are unvaccinated,” says Dr. Ilya Kagan, head of the coronavirus intensive care ward at Beilinson Hospital near Tel Aviv, standing at the bed of a man in his 50s who is sedated and on a ventilator.

If you are vaccinated the chances for you to end up in the ICU is much, much lower than it is for not vaccinated people.

See yesterday’s news links here


Send suggestions and comments to [email protected]

Subscribe to
Struggle La Lucha
for news, analysis and to join the struggle for socialism. Get the latest stories and headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.