AIDS follies

Was thinking about similarities and differences between the reaction to AIDS and to  SARS-2.   AIDS hit much more slowly, of course.  It was way more dangerous per customer, but it was obvious early on that it was only spreading in a small fraction of the population.

The health authorities such as the CDC didn’t believe in quarantine then,  either, and they prevailed. They were wrong, of course.  They spent a lot of effort trying to convince the public that HIV was a significant threat to straight men and women: that was a lie.  Presumably it was  motivated by the probably-correct notion that people wouldn’t give a shit unless they were personally threatened, or possibly just because.  Wiki is still doing its part to further nonsense on this topic:  ” Announcements by various celebrities that they had contracted HIV (including actor Rock Hudson, basketball star Magic Johnson, tennis player Arthur Ashe and singer Freddie Mercury) were significant in arousing media attention and making the general public aware of the dangers of the disease to people of all sexual orientations.” Arthur Ashe got a bad transfusion: as for the others, what do you think? 

Although it really did manage to spread in the general population in Sub-Saharan Africa – but not much elsewhere.

I don’t remember if the CDC bought into this particular bit of madness, but some local health types argued that gay bathhouses should be kept open because it allowed efficient distribution of educational leaflets, which presumably had an effect like saltpetre.

It took time for people to realize what was causing the disease: nobody had much experience with retroviral infections, or with immunosuppression caused by a contagious disease. Molecular biology was much less advanced than it is today.

For a while, some suspected that it might be an effect of some newly popular drug used by gay men – this never seemed likely to me, but in the first few months, when information was scarce, the idea wasn’t crazy.  Peter Duesberg, noted virologist, bought into that and never let go – but then, he was crazy. Still is.

Crazy, because after a while there were transfusion cases, which clearly showed that  AIDS was caused by a communicable agent.  Some famous people died that way, like Isaac Asimov and Arthur Ashe.   These cases were made more likely by blood banks that refused to ‘discriminate’ against homosexual donors –  I understand they all went bankrupt after being sued into oblivion, but the damage was already done.  Political correctness is triple-distilled foolishness.  There oughta be a law.

The Duesberg story was a semi-interesting example of people being confused by credentials – mostly people that already wanted to be confused. I remember a friend asking why he should believe me, rather than a a tenured expert that was member of the National Academy of Sciences: answer, because of those transfusion cases, cases in hemophiliacs, contact tracing, etc. Simple, clear evidence. As I recall, my arguments didn’t have much effect. Now when the triple therapies showed up and worked, that had an effect.  It almost cured the disease, and that did change people’s minds.

Were there ‘conspiracy theories’? Sure: but comical ones, that involved the CIA having vast malice (probably not) and superhuman competence ( it is to laugh  !)  used to invent a new supervirus aimed at killing off various undesirables. I say comical, but  not sure they can compete with Bill Gates’ chunky-style COVID-19 vaccine, now with microchips !


















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275 Responses to AIDS follies

  1. sjb says:

    You might find this interesting.

    • Frau Katze says:

      The blood banks were trying to put off having to go the expense of needing to test blood. According Randy Shilts in “The Band Played On” the CDC man Don Francis got into an angry meeting with the blood bank executives, saying “How many people have to die?”

      But the linked article makes one mistake: the gays did not react as group. They were badly split, with one faction wanting to close the bath houses and take precautions, and another faction in denial. There was a lot anger and bitterness between the two factions.

      • gcochran9 says:

        In these time we’re talking about, there were as yet no tests. All they had was a question. Cost nothing. They were worried about discrimination lawsuits from gays and gay organizations. And about not being liberal enough.

        • Frau Katze says:

          I think the CDC was proposing sterilizing the blood somehow. The argument with Don Francis definitely occurred and it wasn’t about the question.

          But for sure suggestions about asking about it was considered politically incorrect.

          Someone, a parent of an infected hemophiliac maybe (can’t recall), suggested that only women should donate blood. That wasn’t done, of course. PC won the day.

    • gothamette says:

      @sjb ; read it, and the study it referenced:

      Homosexuals were major blood donors in the large cities on the east and west coasts.

      Why was that? Did they get paid by the bucket?

      • Frau Katze says:

        It was because of hepatitis C. It was a dry run for HIV. Gay men were getting it more. There was research going on to find a treatment. They did find some treatments but not a vaccine.

        Gay men donated more blood specifically to help this campaign. They were praised for it. It’s another thing I found out in “And the Band Played On”. It’s a fascinating book.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Quote from Wiki on Hepatitis C

        Sexual transmission of hepatitis C is uncommon.[9] Studies examining the risk of HCV transmission between heterosexual partners, when one is infected and the other is not, have found very low risks.[9] Sexual practices that involve higher levels of trauma to the anogenital mucosa, such as anal penetrative sex, or that occur when there is a concurrent sexually transmitted infection, including HIV or genital ulceration, present greater risks.[9][61] The United States Department of Veterans Affairs recommends condom use to prevent hepatitis C transmission in those with multiple partners, but not those in relationships that involve only a single partner.[62]

      • Frau Katze says:

        I think it worked like this: Gay men who didn’t have hep C (there must have been a test) donated blood to make up for their fellow gays who did have hep C.

        I read a lot about AIDS over the years but I haven’t read it recently. Or it’s lockdown brain fog.

        • gothamette says:

          Thanks – about the Shilts book, I’ve recently heard some revision. On the whole, it’s stood up, but Patient Zero (Dugas) was apparently not really the cause of the epidemic. He didn’t have 2,500 sexual partners and there were several other superspreaders as well. But mainly, Shilts got it right.

          • Frau Katze says:

            The entire picture was not known when Randy Shilts wrote the book. He was a reporter for an SF paper. He died of AIDS himself. So you have to take than into account. Unlike Pepin, he is not a scientist.

            Pepin’s book should be read too.

            Pepin goes through an exercise of trying figure how it entered the US. We can’t know for sure but he makes a good case for the Haitians. Many Haitians had been working in Africa, for quite some time, I can’t remember why. It explains why so many Haitians got infected.

            Scientists can now sequence the viruses and the one found in the early American is descended from the Haitian strain.

            • gothamette says:

              I was always surprised at the Haitian/African connection. Yes, I know that Haitians are of African origin but I didn’t know that many of them had worked in Africa.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Post WW 2, there was a strong “get the Europeans out” sentiment. It was strong in the Congo because the Belgian king had been much worse than average.

                I checked the book: the Europeans fled in a panic. But the blacks didn’t have education to replace them.

                Although it seems hard to believe now, apparently there were educated Haitians who could help. This was in the 1950s.

              • gothamette says:

                Were the Haitians black or mixed race or does the book say? They do make that distinction in Haiti.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Haiti became a place that catered to gay men. The notorious Gaetan Dugas, the airline steward, was one of them.

              • gothamette says:

                My guess is the Haitians just did it for the money, like Cuba before the Revolution. One good effect of the Revolution – it wasn’t all bad. It kicked out the Yanqui sex tourists.

              • Frau Katze says:

                The Haitians working in the Congo were either or brought their families over.

                This seems to take back to question of female to male transmission. But some of Haitians might been gay.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Black or mix race? The book doesn’t say. I thought that because the blacks chased out the French from Haiti that the majority would black. If they were more 50% European they were likely chased out too. But I admit to not knowing many details.

                The book says the they spoke French, as many of departing Belgians did. That was another reason to recruit Haitians, same language.

                I can’t remember if I read it in this book or elsewhere, a description of the “tourist area”. It was fenced off, because the country was so poor. If the tourists realized the extent of poverty they might not come back.

                No idea if the Haitians servicing the tourists were gay or not. The author of the book went to the trouble of looking up Haiti in gay guides for travels abroad in that era.

              • gothamette says:

                If they were more 50% European they were likely chased out too. But I admit to not knowing many details.*

                I always thought that all the Europeans and mixed-race people were either killed or expelled in the Haitian revolution, but that’s not 100% true. I’ve met several mixed-race persons whose parents were Haitian. They obviously had lots of European blood. In the US they played up their “of color” status and leveraged it, plus their educational creds, which were uniformly top caliber, to good effect.

              • random observer says:

                Replying to the whole sub-thread- the traditional upper class of Haiti was heavily mulatto, though not exclusively so. The Duvalierist regime was a step in the movement of even more dark-skinned Haitians into power, albeit not the first.
                There was a somewhat racial nuance to the politics of the 80s and 90s, although again, a subtext since the fast sequence of presidents of that era did include both dark [Manigat, based on photos] and very pale [Trouillot, for one] Haitians. But look at pictures of some of the senior army officers of the day, especially de facto ruler Raoul Cedras. Plenty of European in him, somewhere back a ways.

              • Stephen St Onge says:

                There were a lot of ex-colonies where the most wide-spread language is French. Which is the language of Haiti. Lots of jobs opened up in those ex-colonies for educated French speakers once the colonials left.

            • charles w abbott says:

              Pepin’s book on The origin of AIDS, published by Cambridge University Press, is a treasure. It contains a lot of technical lingo intrinsic to the the investigation but is accessible to the motivated reader.

              As I recall, most of book covers the spread of HIV in the context of events, policies, and the changing social millieu in Central Africa. Pepin worked in Africa (methinks especially in French Congo (aka Congo-Brazzaville) ) for a decade or more.

              And the band played on is a valuable book but it’s pretty old by now.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Yep, “The Origin of AIDS” is an excellent book. It is readable despite being academic.

                Randy Shilts’ book is more of a social history of the era. It still has value on that account.

          • Frau Katze says:

            Shilts is more of a social historian.

            • gothamette says:

              I think I had an instinctive aversion to reading the Shilts book because it described an aspect of the 80s that I’ve successfully blotted from my memory. I remember it and I remember thinking, “why don’t they wise up”?

              • Frau Katze says:

                Many did wise up but it was too late, they were already carrying the virus. The author is clearly on the side of wising up.

              • gothamette says:

                He died of AIDS.

              • Frau Katze says:

                @gothamette You only needed one exposure. You can’t assume all gay men were promiscuous.

                But he might have been. I have no idea.

              • Stephen St Onge says:

                He says in the book that 1982 was the watershed year. Most of those who started taking safe-sex precautions then lived.

                Shilts did, in 1982, but wasn’t in the “most” category. Bad luck. And stupidity, as the signs were there in 1980.

  2. Pincher Martin says:

    Arthur Ashe got a bad transfusion: as for the others, what do you think?

    I don’t think Magic was gay but he was known to be a “player” in more ways than one during his NBA career and so perhaps he experimented. There were rumors of a transvestite.

    Not that it affects your overall point.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Actually, there were rumors about Magic not long before he contracted it, but after he ‘came out’ as HIV-positive, those rumors were never again mentioned by the press.

      • Pincher Martin says:

        I think it more likely Magic picked it up via the Charlie Sheen-mode of transmission. Sheen was a notorious womanizer who apparently grew increasingly experimental in his sexual encounters, as he moved from messing around with promiscuous women to messing around with prostitutes and porn stars in group sex to hiring trannies. The only hint I’ve ever heard of Sheen being even bisexual is the questionable report he raped young Corey Haim, his costar in the 1986 film Lucas.

        By Magic’s own account he slept with over a thousand women. I can see a man like that trying to hide his homosexuality in the early nineteen-nineties with flamboyant reports of his heterosexuality, but why keep up that overcompensating pretense in 2013, when he gave an interview to Oprah about his womanizing ways and unprotected sex and when he has a gay son?

        At some point old lovers who desire publicity or have an ax to grind come out of the woodwork to get their fifteen minutes of fame. I’ve never seen any gay men come out and publicly make those kinds of claims about Magic. Perhaps I’ve missed them. I do know that Magic’s former best friend and NBA star Isiah Thomas reportedly spread malicious rumors that Magic was gay or bisexual, but those rumors came out only after Magic publicly declared he was HIV-positive – and Thomas denies them.

        • gcochran9 says:

          I saw the rumors about Magic shortly before he announced his HIV+ status and thus couldn’t have ever been gay.

        • Henry Scrope says:

          and when he has a gay son?

          He has, has he?

        • Joe says:

          You really think he would spend all that time lying and then come clean for reasons you personally find persuasive? Do you think it is accepted among the locker room dudes he wanted to be gm of?

          • Pincher Martin says:

            Why not? Magic has a gay son who he publicly supports. NBA players are no longer allowed to even speak disparagingly of homosexuality in public. The league will censor them. (Mark Jackson was likely fired from his coaching position in Golden State because of some not very controversial remarks he made about opposing gay marriage.) And there are not only gay executives in the league – Rick Welts of GS came out in 2011 – but the top NBA brass is highly supportive of anyone who comes out.

            In any case, it’s not controversial that Magic was a well-known lady’s man in the eighties.

            • Warren says:

              You have to believe we are magic
              Nothin’ can stand in our way
              You have to believe we are magic
              Don’t let your aim ever stray

            • Joe says:

              Down low dudes can be ladies men. There is a difference between making derogatory comments about gays and being one of the guys. Rick welts being gay is a lot different than magic being gay. Some nerdy white guy can get away with it.

              • Pincher Martin says:

                Magic doesn’t need to be one of the guys. Most players today have no better sense of who Magic is than I do of who Jerry West was. Even though he tried to make a comeback in the mid-nineties, his NBA career was basically over almost thirty years ago. To current players, Magic is just a legend who hangs around the game in some unofficial capacity. Except for the oldest players, guys like LeBron James, Kyle Korver and Tyson Chandler who are all in their mid- to late-thirties and would’ve seen and remembered the final seasons of Magic’s career, I doubt any players are likely to recall watching a single game Magic played in. Steph Curry was four years old when Magic and Larry played on the Dream Team in Barcelona in 1992, which was basically both of their retirement from the sport.

                So Magic doesn’t have to be “one of the guys” to work in the front office. He just has to be a legend.

                Down low dudes can be ladies men.

                I left open the possibility Magic’s busy sex life with women eventually bled over into experimental sex, a la Charlie Sheen. But do I think Magic was gay in that he routinely sought out and had sex with men. and just used pretty women as beards, a la Rock Hudson? No, I do not. Possible? Sure. Likely? No. Unlike Rock Hudson, Magic has spent his entire adult life in a confessional culture that seeks out secrets and displays them to the world. Some of Magic’s many former gay lovers would’ve gone public by now.

              • Joe says:

                Regarding your comment below, Pincher, yes, you make reasonable points. I also don’t think magic was a rock Hudson type who needed beards, but I think being on the down low is consistent with the possibility of experimental or rare gay sex. I think we should stop talking about this, I’m feeling gross.

      • Abelard Lindsey says:

        There were rumors that Magic Johnson “played both ends of the court” and that’s how he got infected.

      • Stephen St Onge says:

        Magic was bisexually promiscuous. THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR covered that, but no one else would.

      • Michael Fumento mentioned them in the American Spectator, December 1992, See below

        For all the talk about the significance of Johnson’s having gotten the disease from a woman, few have pointed out that this version of events is based on only one thing: Johnson’s word. Nothing else. Many in the media noted that the Lakers’ team physician, Michael Mellman, backed Johnson’s claim, saying: “This is a heterosexual individual who was infected through heterosexual activity.” But the physician was no less at Johnson’s mercy than we are — this wasn’t a broken ankle he was describing. The only way he or the legions of reporters or anyone else could possibly know how Johnson got the disease would have been to follow Johnson from bed to bed for roughly the last ten years.

        One Santa Monica newspaper, the Outlook, even quoted the president of the Phoenix Suns as saying that the NBA had told him that Johnson hadn’t contracted the disease from a blood transfusion or homosexual activity and “that leaves only one way — heterosexual activity.” Well! If you can’t trust official pronouncements of the NBA, who can you trust?

        As noted, not telling the truth about risk factors is common among men diagnosed with AIDS. The entertainer Liberace, aware of the tremendous difference between an open secret and just plain being open, denied both his homosexuality and his sickness until he died of AIDS. Dr. Joyce Wallace of the Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Disease in New York once had to interview an HIV-positive man four times before he finally admitted to engaging in receptive anal intercourse. Says Wallace, “In my experience, many men will say they’ve had sex with a dog before they’ll admit to sex with another man.”

        The New York City Department of Health has noted that the majority of men it interviews who have AIDS and who originally claim prostitute contact as their only risk later admit to homosexuality or drug abuse. Because the department takes lying into account and knows how truly difficult it is for a man to catch this disease from a woman, it has listed only twelve out of the more than 30,000 AIDS cases diagnosed in New York City as verified cases of AIDS passing from female to male through intercourse.

        Johnson has greater incentives to lie than other men. He’d be under tremendous pressure from his corporate employers, the Los Angeles Lakers and the image-obsessed National Basketball Association. His endorsement contracts, he says, are worth $12 million a year. He is apparently to receive about $5 million for a second autobiography. If HIV is going to kill Johnson, then Johnson is also going to make a killing off HIV. It’s all very understandable. But for him to admit to either homosexuality or drug abuse would wipe out any chance he’ll have at being “a spokesman for the HIV virus” (to use his curious locution), destroy the groundswell of sympathy he’s received, jeopardize his endorsement contracts and book deal, and shatter his dream of ever owning an NBA team.

        While no one doubts Johnson’s word that he has slept with many people, there have been rumors for years that he, as Woody Allen would put it, has twice the chance of having a date on Saturday night. The prevalence of the rumor is such that residents of Florida’s homosexual enclave on Key West have been spotted wearing T-shirts saying, “I love basketball; I had a Magic Johnson.”

        Will Johnson be “outed”? Eventually, probably yes, but quite possibly, like Malcolm Forbes, only posthumously. For one, while some homosexuals, such as tennis professional Martina Navratilova, are seething at the attention Johnson has received as a supposed heterosexual, and while it could be argued that it would be good for the cause of homosexual acceptance to establish that a beloved sports hero is “one of us,” the better argument is that Johnson at present is far more useful in getting heterosexuals on the AIDS bandwagon. Any individual who tries to come forward is likely to be ignored by the media. The tabloids have already staked out their position that Johnson was incredibly promiscuous but strictly heterosexual, just as prior to Forbes’s death they had him ever on the verge of marriage to Liz Taylor.

        • erica says:

          I’ve never understood why people even doubt Johnson is actually gay. He has many subtle gay traits, one of which is his soft voice and manner of speaking.

          As for his kid, I have no idea what this might mean as we don’t believe homosexuality to be inherited, but that kid is as flaming and flamboyant as any drag queen on stage.

    • E says:

      Magic’s son on the other hand……

    • Glengarry says:

      The truly magic thing about Magic and his Johnson is that he apparently survived being HIV+ since whenever in the mid-80s. Are there many more people who have done this?

  3. Frau Katze says:

    It was surprising that some professionals who should have known better fixated on these drugs that were popular amongst gays.

    One the earliest American cases was a female prostitute in San Francisco.

    In Europe, they were seeing Africans (ones who could afford to travel to Europe) early on. There were African women from the start seeking help. And they weren’t prostitutes either.

    • Henry Scrope says:

      Easier to see in retrospect. I can remember ‘poppers’ being the number one candidate for causing GRIDS and that would be 1982. I don’t think the link to the SLIM wasting disease in Africa was made until 1985.

  4. Pingback: Lyndon LaRouche: The American Conspiracy Theorist Tradition – Occidental Dissent

  5. ziel says:

    I remember being a bit intrigued by Duesberg’s theories, and the arguments of a young woman named Christine Maggiore, that is was recreation drug use, common among homosexuals. But then I started thinking about all the ballet dancers dying (not a group commonly known as drug addicts), vs very few rock stars, with the notable exception of Freddie Mercury, and finally realized how silly that theory was. And then the tragic end to Christine Maggiore’s story.

    • Frau Katze says:

      I had not heard of Christine Maggiore. I read about her at Wiki just now. A sad story.

      AIDS was so slow spreading and so slow to show symptoms that a denialist could go for years. Covid deniers are pretty much gone, although there are some people who minimize the risk.

      I had thought the Covid minimizers had some kind of psychological problem. But I was just talking to my daughter in law. She and my son try stay up to date.

      I asked her how her mom and dad were doing. Apparently they have trouble understanding that Covid is serious, especially at their age. It seems more of case where they just don’t know. You’d really have to living under the proverbial rock to be genuinely ignorant. Daughter in law tries to keep them on a safe path.

      Thinking about it, it might be something psychological after all.

      • Rosenmops says:

        Some people don’t follow current events at all. Everyone not living under a rock would have to know about the pandemic, as you say, but some people seem to know very, very little about it. Maybe some of us are a bit obsessive and spend most of our time reading and watching videos about it. I just watched this cheerful video about recovered covid patients who experience ICU delirium.

        The first comment after the video::
        “This means thousands of people have died thinking they were being tortured or in hell. That’s bleak.”

        One of the replies to this comment:
        “what if then they actually went to hell”

        Maybe I’ll go back to watching videos about air crashes (I got started on this last week after a Snowbird crashed on a house in my town.)

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      The dramatic success of the anti-viral drugs that first came out in 1995, resulting in people on their death beds getting up and going back to work, should have been sufficient evidence that AIDS was indeed caused by HIV and that all of the alternative theories were bogus.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Sure, but there was definitive evidence long before that.

        • Abelard Lindsey says:

          Agreed. But the profound success of the anti-viral drugs that came out in fall of 1995 should have ended the alternative theories once and for all. It did not. They only ended after all of their promoters, like Christine Maggiore, died off.

          Perhaps this is a variant of Plank’s second constant.

    • Age of Disinformation says:

      What’s scarier is how these people are given voice by the media, and their dangerous theories are presented as legitimate points of view instead of being shamed, ridiculed and ostracised.

      A Greek woman, little known outside her country, followed Maggiore’s footsteps and died just like her, but not before appearing multiple times on national television, while keeping her job as a columnist in a major newspaper and securing book deals with respectable publishers.
      One of them has been translated into English and is still sold in Amazon:

      The obituaries stopped short of calling her a heroine; however, her death was a hard reality check, impossible to ignore.

      • Frau Katze says:

        If people are prepared to die rather than listen to medical advice, there’s nothing to be done. That Youtube man that has become a minimizer (“Covid is no worse than ordinary flu”) also said he would never take a vaccine.

        I notice the some of people I used to think of as ideological companions seem to have lost their common sense over Covid.

        Look, you guys, I would tell them, it’s a new infectious disease. It’s pretty contagious and it’s killed an awful lot of people.

        Although not that common, we already know it can cause strokes in healthy young people. It can cause serious problems in children, again, not that common. I have not heard that any “ordinary flu” does this.

        We are still learning the details. Why is this so hard to accept?

        But there’s no way I’m returning to left, now full of other crazy people.

      • Frau Katze says:

        To matters worse, Alan Dershowitz (the well known law professor at Harvard) has said that, despite the US constitution, authorities are with in their right to force people to cease being a menace to the public, in the event of an epidemic disease.

        This caused the “don’t tread on me” crowd to go batty.

        Not long ago, I was looking at a digitized copy of a smallpox warning poster from England, dated in the 1850s. It was mostly giving people instructions on how to get vaccinated as the disease has broken out.

        In the small print at the bottom, people were encouraged to report anyone who refused to submit to vaccination. Given how serious smallpox was, perhaps this was not an altogether unreasonable request.

        Given how silly some people are becoming, I am most grateful for all the effort to eradicate smallpox. (Yes, I know, some has been kept). But the epidemics stopped.

      • Glengarry says:

        “What’s scarier is how these people are given voice by the media, and their dangerous theories are presented as legitimate points of view instead of being shamed, ridiculed and ostracised.”

        Bruce Charlton was fired from being editor of Medical Hypotheses for giving Duesberg a voice, so don’t wring your hands too much. Steps are being taken. Careers are being crushed. There now, just calm down. The safe space is over here.

        • gcochran9 says:

          Bruce Charlton used to comment fairly often on this blog. I seldom thought he made sense.

          • Glengarry says:

            I have a much more positive view of him myself. That particular part was just academic publishing (Elsevier) crushing the annoying outlier, no further discussion needed.

            Medical Hypotheses is a not-conventionally-peer reviewed[2] medical journal published by Elsevier. It was originally intended as a forum for unconventional ideas without the traditional filter of scientific peer review, “as long as (the ideas) are coherent and clearly expressed” in order to “foster the diversity and debate upon which the scientific process thrives.”[3] … The publication of papers on AIDS denialism[6][7][8] led to calls to remove it from PubMed, the United States National Library of Medicine online journal database.[7] Following the AIDS papers controversy, Elsevier forced a change in the journal’s leadership.


            So it was basically Big Dick flexing of the pencil-neck professors, and it opened my naive eyes, at least. Well, in retrospect, that was just a preview of sorts.

    • Joe says:

      Ballet dancers are not drug users? I never heard that one.

  6. Martin says:

    In all fairness, HIV could have become a significant threat to heteros if they had not been thoroughly scared into responsible behavior during the heart of the outbreak.

    • gcochran9 says:

      In all fairness, you’re wrong: it’s very hard to catch heterosexually. In particular, very very hard to transmite female-to-male.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Somewhat hard but not impossible. That’s from Jacques Pepin, “The Origins of AIDS”. He looks at Africa. The virus jumped from chimpanzees. In the past, anyone surviving a chimp contact (they’re strong and aggressive) and infected might spread it in his immediate but it ended there.

        Then Europeans introduced highways and cities. The cities opened a new opportunity for some women living in their villages, chafing at traditional restrictions. They were sort of like mistresses in the cities, except that they might service 2 or 3 men. They were called “free women.” They were reasonably common, especially if there was an excess of men in the city, as often the case in the early days.

        Some of the colonial powers launched well intentioned campaigns to stamp out certain illnesses. If this involved needle injection it went very badly as the need to sterilize the needles was not obvious.

        But if very few people were infected with HIV, lack of clean needles wouldn’t have spread it.

        Pepin reckons that chimp-human encounters that infected the human weren’t common enough to start the unsterilized needle chains. He thinks the free women were instrumental in getting to the stage where mass injection campaigns were deadly.

        I remember reading about a case in 1980s where a hemophiliac man infected his wife.

        • Frau Katze says:

          The hemophiliac doesn’t show anything about female to male transmission. I’m stupid or suffering from lockdown inability to think straight.

          • gcochran9 says:

            It shows something related to transfusion transmission…

          • Frau Katze says:

            I got this wrong. I went back to the book. He reckons the injection campaigns came first, with the free women causing later spread.

            Maybe needle injection is not as bad as I thought. You give a shot to X, who is infected. Then you go onto Y, who will the infection. Now you move on to Z. Would there still be enough virus to infect Z?

            I hope I’m not getting dementia.

          • Frau Katze says:

            I’m going to read the book again. The needle campaigns could have overlapped with the cities and free women

            btw, the women were called “free” because they could chose the men. In the traditional villages, the woman had no choice. Parents decided.

        • gothamette says:

          Thanks for the book recommendation. I’m reading it now. Excellent book.

          “sued to oblivion.”

          After wiping out many hemophiliacs. I’ve never been able to get an accurate number as to how many. I wonder why?

      • Rosenmops says:

        How did it get so out of hand in Africa?

          • Rosenmops says:

            The book looks interesting. But while checking it out on Amazon I came across this book and decided to buy it instead. It is about SARS.

            • Frau Katze says:

              The Pepin book is very professional.

              The other one looks a bit sensational. But maybe not. Let me know how it goes.

              I’ve been unable to read many books since the lockdown. I can’t seem to concentrate, I did manage 2 or 3 chapters on a book about the 1918 flu.

              • Rosenmops says:

                I’m reading “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City”. It is a bit boring and repetitive, but still interesting in a way. It is odd how she tries to say positive things about how the government is helping currently (in hopes she won’t be arrested or silenced, I suppose) but she also writes about mistakes that were made at the beginning, that allowed the virus to spread. She post her diary everyday, but even mild criticism of any government action causes her diary to be taken down by censors. I’m not really learning much that I didn’t already read when I was following news from Wuhan.

                But in some ways it is a very positive book because she keeps talking about how people are helping one another (not something you associate with China). She seems to be a compassionate person.

              • Panafancypants says:

                I’m reading Solzhenitsyn’s “The First Circle.” Not sure if it’s a great choice right now. 😆

              • gothamette says:

                @FK:The SARS book has a sensational title but I’m reading the free sample, and it seems good. Popular but not sensational. Check it out.

                @Rosenmops: thanks for the tip.

                What I keep wondering is, what is the functional difference between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2? What makes the 2nd version so much more deadly than the first?

              • Frau Katze says:

                @Gothamette Thanks for the tip on the book. I’ll check it out.

                I don’t have any idea why SARS-2 is different from SARS-1. It is beyond my pay grade.

          • Joe says:

            It does look interesting, but It’s not going to make the reading list anytime soon (list is long). So please humor me if you will, could it be that homosexual relations are more common in Africa, or is that ridiculous?

            • Frau Katze says:

              I’m not sure. I summarize what the book describe. It’s an academic work. The man spent years in Africa.

              (1) virus jumps from chimpanzee. According to Pepin, chimp-humans encounters weren’t that common because chimps are more than a match for a grown man, unless he has firearms. They’re strong and aggressively defend their territory.

              (2) But such encounters occasionally occurred. In the past the man might get infected there was limit to how far the disease could travel.

              (3) Enter Europeans with firearms and more. They started building railways and roads. Cities sprung up.

              (4) Some of the colonial powers thought they could help with certain diseases. Some of this involved injections. The risk of unclean needles was poorly understood at the time, early 20th century.

              (5) The cities attracted some women who wanted freedom from the repressive village clans, who would force her to marry someone. As a “free woman” she could exchange sex and chores like doing laundry for money to support herself. She could pick the man, or usually men, since she could service 2 or 3 men.

              So we see one way that HIV could spread: the disease control campaigns with possibly unclean needles.

              But could the free women spread it? It hinges on how well female to male transmission works. I’m rereading the book since I read a few years ago.

              I don’t think he mentioned homosexuality. It considered taboo by most Africans. Of course, with the new cities, some men could likely pair off but they couldn’t do so openly.

              And unlike everywhere else, men and women are infected in the same numbers.

              • Joe says:

                Thanks. Sounds like it’s still somewhat of a mystery.

              • Frau Katze says:

                @Joe Yes, the free woman theory would require female to male transmission, which seems rare, at least for women with no STDs.

                But maybe the undisputed unclean needles were enough on their own.

                The book tells a story that’s worth reading.

                He makes a case that HIV entered the US via the Haitians. I discussed Pepin’s argument in other comments on this post.

              • gothamette says:

                I don’t know whether this is in the Pepin book, which I haven’t read, but I have read that prostitutes in Africa allowed for more “back door” entry than in other parts of the world. I sure can’t vouch for the truth of that, but it makes the male/female parity more understandable.

        • Frau Katze says:

          Mostly from colonial attempts to get rid of various illnesses, that involved needle injections. The dangers of unclean needles was not known.

        • teageegeepea says:

          One theory is that there were a lot more tainted needles used there:

          • Frau Katze says:

            Not a theory: During the colonial times, some colonial powers tried to get rid some tropical diseases. Records survive in some cases. But in many cases, needles were not cleaned properly before use by the next person.

            It’s described in detail in the book, that I linked to, above.

      • Martin says:

        “Very hard” does not = “impossible”, especially if one or both partners have preexisting untreated STDs, particularly ones that cause genital sores, and particularly for certain high-risk activities. It’s not that hard at all for a man to pass it to a woman.

        • gcochran9 says:

          I looked at the studies at the time: out of about 60 couples, over five years, once. In the US, so maybe not much untreated STDs.

          Every STD is much more common ( 7-13 times) among blacks.

        • gothamette says:

          True, but the disease was much more likely to die with the rare heterosexual woman who got it. Whereas gay guys were spreading the disease rampantly. I also believe (although I expect to be disciplined by Dr. Cochran by saying this) that infection dose makes a difference. And immune status. A lot of these guys had crappy immune function to begin with and no, I’m not supporting Duesberg, just saying.

          • gcochran9 says:

            The dose makes the poison, but it is far less the case that that the dose makes the infection. One virion ( one copy of the virus) can do the job.

            Nor is there any reason to think that immune status has much to do with the risk of contradcing HIV.

            I know you want me to discipline you, but sorry, no can do.

    • Regret says:

      The levels of irresponsible behavior in the two groups was never similar.

  7. I was working at a psych hospital in those first years where one would get whiplash because training would change so quickly in order to avoid offending anyone. We were taught that it was deeply bigoted of us to even suggest that the disease affected gay men more often and to even suspect that anyone who set off our collective gaydar should be offered a test. We joked grimly whether we should ask them if they were Haitian dentists instead. Before the year turned they were attempting to shame us that we were not treating the disease seriously enough because it was a gay disease and we didn’t value those lives. A year later they tried to tell us both things at once in successive trainings. An irritated young woman tried to pin the trainer down by pointing out the contradiction and was dismissed as if she were the problem. The medical director, a wise man, sought her out later and told her “The fact that he wouldn’t answer your question answers your question.” She accepted that, as did the rest of us down the line.

    It was part of my journey out of liberalism, learning what could not be said.

    • gcochran9 says:

      I doubt if I would have “accepted” it. Presumably I would have been fired.

    • rgressis says:

      What do you mean by “dismissed”? As in “please leave this training seminar” or as in, “I’ve already answered your question. Next question”?

    • dearieme says:

      I appalled my then boss about twenty years ago when I said something frank, accurate, and nonPC.

      He enquired: “Did you grow up in the countryside?”

      • Dieter Kief says:

        That’s Steve what Steve Sailer learned from Darwin’s bio – that he was bold, because he grew up in the countryside.

        • Nick says:

          I grew up not far from Darwin’s childhood home. It still looks out over the nearby fields he explored as a child, but it’s a big house, a few metres from what was then the main London to Ireland road, on the edge of a sizeable town, and within walking distance of one of the best and most prestigious schools in the country, which he attended.

          I’m not sure he could really be described as a country boy, much as he enjoyed bug hunting by the river.

    • mtkennedy21 says:

      California, bastion of PC, passed a law that doctors could not learn the results of testing of their patients. Only the patient could know the result. I was running a trauma center at the time and we were often bathed in blood from sever trauma cases.

    • Dieter Kief says:

      Very interesting summary of the contradictions that were the price for pc reasoning. Thanks.

  8. Woof says:

    Any fool can believe the truth, it takes a particularly useful idiot to believe (or credibly pretend to believe) lies their masters want to promote. Fame and fortune await those willing to sell their souls and the truth for shot at rising in the hierarchy.

    • protokol2020 says:

      Besides, a fool can easily believe the truth, only when he meets the truth, which is occasionally. Therefore, the situation is even a bit worse than you (quite brilliantly) describe it.

  9. j says:

    “…‘conspiracy theories’? Sure: but comical ones, that involved the CIA having vast malice (probably not) and superhuman competence ( it is to laugh !) used to invent a new supervirus aimed at killing off various undesirables.”

    Comical ones, very. Conspiracy theories don’t die, they only change virus. See Ron Unz latest
    about COVID-19.

    • Frau Katze says:

      Unz on Covid. That sounds entertaining. I’m off to check.

      • Dieter Kief says:

        It’s not entertaining. It’s repetitious and boring, unfortunately. Reading that stuff is a bit like curing drug addicts. The subjective side of the story is so strong, that it gets repeated ad nauseam. Seem from the outside, it’s curious at best.

        • Frau Katze says:

          You’re right. It’s not worth spending time on.

          • j says:

            You are not missing anything. You will be able to read it again when and if COVID-21 appears.

            • horvact says:

              If there is a covid-21, I think the nomenclature for the current outbreak suggests that it would be a new virus, not a mutation of COVID-19.

              A list of covid-19 mutations is at:

              Most strains appear to have been detected in 2020, so it looks like they don’t update the name for new strains of a pandemic.

              It is normal for pandemics to have three maxima. WHO has a web page at It is beginning to look like we’re passing the first peak in the US and Europe. Given that India is still in the exponential increase phase, maybe the usual ideas of multiple waves of infection won’t apply. The world might be so tightly connected that we have to have permanent quarantine until the vaccine arrives. Otherwise, we’ll be back to exponential increases in cases.

              The big questions are: 1. can quarantine flatten second peak, which has been the largest in prevoius pandemics? 2. can we get the vaccine distributed before the second peak?

              My guess to both answers is no. We’re all going to be with our loved ones in quarantine for a long, long time.

  10. another fred says:

    Dr. Cochran, this is somewhat OT, but if you could comment on the claims in this article I would appreciate it. If you have already done so could you point out where. I do not always read all the comments.

    I would also appreciate informed comments from others.

    • R49 says:

      I read through the RaTG13 article (thanks for the link). To a non-expert like me, the arguments presented sound at quite consistent and interesting. It is not obvious drivel, I think. So it would be worth to have an expert read it and present a more researched opinion.

    • NonLinear9 says:

      It’s pretty funny, actually. The author thinks that the way one would generate a fake genomic sequence would be to type it by hand using Microsoft Word.

      I think perhaps they took this XKCD comic too literally:

  11. Cpluskx says:

    As the novel Coronavirus ravaged the world i was remembering your posts on American Samoa closing down and stopping Spanish Flu and Castro stopping Hiv. It’s amazing how things turned out similarly, most of the world behaved crazily stupid (or evil, China closed down Wuhan but not the overseas flights) once again and now we are stuck indoors.

  12. teageegeepea says:

    Last year in a discussion of “respectability cascades” someone brought up how odd it is that AIDS boosted the cause of gay rights rather than homophobia, and it still seems odd to me.

    • Frau Katze says:

      Randy Shilts (“The Band Played On”) says that the mainstream media did little reporting on it until it started infecting people other than gay men and needle injecting drug users.

      I remember the AIDS era but I was not paying much attention to it. The stories I read were about people like hemophiliacs.

      So the MSM was not particularly sympathetic to gays. All the more strange that it did not result in any backlash against gays.

      Perhaps this whole backlash thing is overrated, at least in the democracies.

      I have read the odd story about backlash against Chinese over Covid. But I get the impression there’s not much.

      • Damian Gray says:

        Twists and turns of narrative. When it was still sayable that homosexuals spread disease, didn’t want to draw attention to them spreading a disease. Now that it isn’t, they’re just victims. Same how NYC apologises for infecting blacks with COVID more than whites and apologises for arresting blacks more than whites for breaking the COVID restrictions. Since 2+2=4 is no longer even thinkable, safe to do this. Otherwise, would not have reported the second story.

    • Panafancypants says:

      Our Stolen Future highlights same-sex nesting occuring in animals other than frogs, notably birds in polluted areas, back in the 70s, but the research got flattened bc of advocacy groups and the assumption it was an evolutionary advantage somehow. It also caused behavior like stealing eggs etc.

      I feel like this is a finding that wouldn’t bode well in a politicized climate: businesses and economists wouldn’t want to admit the biological damage, social progressives wouldn’t want to say that their causes had a negative origin. Some people probably don’t see an issue with it at all. But the drop in human male sperm count seems kind of weird to me (that I don’t think can be entirely blamed on soy). I don’t know.

    • Frau Katze says:

      Commenters at the link noted that some Christians said it was divine punishment on the gays. I do remember that and I thought it was pretty heartless.

      Perhaps most people are more charitable than that, even among conservative Christians. Christian teaching also could be interpreted as saying the suffering victims of AIDS deserved sympathy and help.

      Mathew chapter 25, verse 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    • Jacob says:

      Because alligator tears are good social currency.

  13. Anonymous says:

    According to this guy:
    The KGB explicitly started a disinfo campaign around 1983-1985 to blame AIDS on the US military-biological warfare complex. Around that time both the gays and the LeRouche cultists started repeating this information. . How much of the modern globo-homo culture war is actually just KGB disinfo which took on a life of its own?

  14. dave chamberlin says:

    Sometimes you just gotta say fuck this world, I’m going to go eat a great sandwich. Reagan didn’t give a rat’s ass about the gays and Trump thinks science scorns him personally. You start with great bread and you toast it. Gotta be fresh, gotta be high class nut crunchy stuff. We turn on the news and some fat asshole is sitting on a crowded beach telling us he’s tough enough to take Sars2. While the bread is toasting you pull out the fresh avocado and slice it, get that fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes while you are at it. Some fuckhead on the boobtube is talking about China, as if he knows jack shit about it. Oh get that sliced swiss cheese and ham, don’t forget to goober it up with mayo. Now it’s done. Pile it high. Just barely get your teeth around it. Turn off the news or you will eat two to sedate yourself.

    • Reagan fast-tracked AIDS research, but because gays were still dying they needed to hate someone. Who better than “Dad?” You don’t work as an actor in Hollywood without having lots of gay friends. AIDS research leapfrogged a lot of diseases that killed more people, and fast.

      As for how the media, which was not all that gay-sympathetic ,contributed to their lionisation, it was because they hated anti-gays more. It’s best to keep things simple when considering motives. They are always mixed, but who will pay you and who will kick you always has a big influence.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Randy Shilts in “The Band Played On” would not agree. Reagan was cost cutting across the board,

        It was so bad that scientists at French Pasteur Institute were the first to isolate the virus.

        • Stephen St Onge says:

          The reason the Institute Pasteur got there first was that Robert Gallo was CERTAIN it was a variant of the HTLV-1 virus he’d discovered. The fact that his virus caused leukemia, while AIDS was marked by lack of t-cells didn’t stop him.

          Screwed up the research effort in the U.S.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        Cochran has the facts right. The government including the CDC and President Reagan on down absolutely bungled the handling of the Aids epidemic. Politics trumped science. It took way too long to act on what should have been an obvious call.

        • gcochran9 says:

          I don’t think you are even a little bit correct, Dave.

          • Frau Katze says:

            Why did the private French Pasteur Institute isolate the virus first if US funding was. adequate? Shilts says the CDC was underfunded. True, he was cutting everything, but still.

            He compares the reaction to AIDS with very rapid response to Legionaire’s Disease and the Tylenol poisoning.

            • gcochran9 says:

              If money was the explanation, how did the Institut Pasteur ever manage to do anything at all? Their budget in 1980: ~50 million. NIH budget: ~3.5 billion.

              • Frau Katze says:

                I don’t know why CDC delayed.

                Maybe Shilts was wrong. But the CDC acted quickly over Legionnaires and Tylenol poisoning.

                OTOH his viewpoint may have been distorted. If you know why they delayed tell us.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Legionnaires and Tylenol poisoning were easy to understand, easy to fix. Incidents, not epidemics. Legionnaire’s was caused by a bacterium that parasitized amoeba, sometimes found in the cooling towers of large air conditioning systems. No human-to-human transmission. Apparently it was preadapted for infecting macrophages. Solution: keep your water systems clean, treat with existing antibiotics. Tylenol poisoning? Nut control.

                AIDS was harder to understand, harder to deal with. First, it was an epidemic. Two, people didn’t clear it, didn’t get immune, which is why a vaccine is difficult and/or impossible. In fact, it usually went on to kill you. Next, it was a retrovirus, which we didn’t know a whole lot about. Next, we didn’t have highly effective broad-spectrum antivirals, then or ( I think) now. Next, fast-evolving: drug resistance routinely came to pass inside individuals.
                Last, politics made things worse, which hardly affected the Legionnaire’s outbreak and Tylenol-poisoning problems.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Somewhere I read that isolating the virus was not even that difficult. It only took a few weeks. That’s pretty much all I know. It seems incredible that CDC let the French get ahead of them.

                The US researcher Robert Gallo is portrayed in the book as being competent but had a rather difficult personality.

              • Frau Katze says:


                The isolating of the virus is likely worth its own book. It’s not relevant to Pepin. Randy Shilts was not a scientist and may have misread the situation.

                To this day, some gays say Reagan didn’t fund it enough. Shilts complained about funding long after the virus was isolated.

                The later complaints were more local. The city of San Francisco was pretty good at local funding. New York City would not do anything, according to him.

                That’s all I know.

          • dave chamberlin says:

            OK… I will explain myself further, I should have the first time. A very good friend of mine was an intern doctor at a New York hospital at the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic. It was her job to find out why one third of the beds in that hospital were filled with dying male homosexuals that had unusual symptoms She would examine them and would ask them their sexual behavior. They typically had or were recovering from not one but a number of sexually transmitted diseases. Their sexual behavior was typically outrageously promiscuous. Almost beyond belief how many sexual partners they had every night they visited those bath houses. It was immediately obvious that they were dying of a sexually transmitted disease. There was no other logical explanation, although it would take years to source the cause. So after stating that I will repeat myself, The government including the CDC and President Reagan on down bungled the handling of the AIDS epidemic. Of course the gay community absolutely shares the blame for happily continuing their behavior after it became obvious they were dying in droves and the obvious explanation was a new sexually transmitted disease. Blame should be spread all around. It is not governments job to correct behavior that breaks no law but come on, the inaction in this case for years was staggering.

            • Frau Katze says:

              Larry Kramer, who just died at 84, was a gay man who told fellow gays to smarten up, and stop the bathhouse and promiscuous stuff. He made a lot of enemies, according to Shilts. But he persisted.

              People may not realized how divided gay men had become. Camp 1 said this disease stuff was just more straight people going after gays.

              Camp 2 said, we have stop the promiscuity. We’ve already got all these STDs and now something worse. The two camps were very bitter about each other. They despised each other.

              But it’s possible that Randy Shilts misread the isolation of the virus situation. He wasn’t a scientist. Maybe the Pasteur Institute just got there first but not because of funding.

        • Stephen St Onge says:

          What happened was that the gays expected a huge effort that would quickly find a vaccine and a cure, and they wouldn’t have to change their behavior in any way. That wasn’t going to happen, because the problem wasn’t money, it was lack of knowledge and scientific researchers.

          Get an electronic copy of AND THE BAND PLAYED ON, and search for “condom” and “safe sex.” They don’t appear till well into the book, because the gays just refused to consider anti-STD measures.

          In RADICAL SON, David Horowitz writes about what he was discovering as a journalist, and what happened when he told a group of gay men that they had to change their sexual behavior or die: he nearly got attacked, physically.

          Nothing was going to work till ‘men who have sex with men’ accepted that they couldn’t let strangers fuck them in the ass unless the stranger was using a condom, and couldn’t share needles for injectable drugs. Once they did, the spread slowed down drastically.

    • It’s ridiculous to blame Reagan for AIDS. What was he supposed to do, go to the bathhouses himself and pry the queers apart? Even an idiot should realize that having unprotected anal sex with hundreds of random men is bad for your health, and the gays still did it.

      The idea that it should be a country’s priority to protect degenerates like heroin junkies and homos from the wholly predictable and inevitable consequences of their behavior is laughable.

      BTW last time I was in Los Angeles I saw a sign from a public health campaign warning gay men about the dangers of contracting shigellosis from unprotected oral-anal contact. Apparently gay men are bringing back dysentery in the 21st Century.

      Aren’t the LGBTQP+ wonderful?

  15. Jacob says:

    This is a good anecdote to share whenever people say that leftists are well-intentioned rubes, rather than ill-intentioned rubes. Leftists normalize social settings where HIV gets spread, reduce legal penalties for knowingly spreading HIV, and then advocate for people with increased risk to give blood donations. Do they do this because they love gays, or because they hate people in general? I would think the latter.

    • Frau Katze says:

      A lot of “activists” are really stupid. Plus, any excuse for riots, smashing windows and stuff. They like violence.

      • Jacob says:

        A friend lived in Portland’s South Waterfront district when these Quislings were protesting the ICE office there. Every time I would go to visit him, I would see trash in the streets, loitering, graffiti, and even small business owners yelling at the “protesters” to get the fuck away from their property. Yeah, stick it to the man, and by the man I mean literally everyone unfortunate enough to interact with you.

        • Frau Katze says:

          Bret Weinstein on today’s video showed photos he took driving around downtown Portland this morning. He noted that looting was a big draw. They broke into an Apple store, a bank (good luck with that) and a Sprint store (phones). Video showed young white men. Any excuse.

          Bret says the mayor sucks. He orders the police to stand down in anything less than last night’s violence. Why would he move his family to such a city after being let go by the leftist loon running Evergreen State College?

          They still cling to leftist beliefs. I’d head for a red state if it were me.

          I’m in Victoria, BC, that is still largely white with a few Chinese and dot Indians. Lots of feather ones around the city but they seem excitable than blacks. But give Trudeau time. He’s bringing in anyone who shows up.

          Immigrants don’t want to live on an island that requires a ferry trip.

          • Jacob says:

            Downtown is nice, when it’s not being looted.

            It’s honestly a pretty small place. Most Portlanders don’t live anywhere close to there. Weinstein certainly wouldn’t — he’s probably pretty cozy up in Hayhurst.

            The main downside of living around a bunch of shitlibs is that nothing can be nice. We have paper straws here, or we have to specifically ask for the plastic ones; we have these shitty, tissue-like paper grocery bags that don’t do any of the things that grocery bags are theoretically intended to do. A relative toured Aster Tower when looking for an apartment; apparently, in an effort to be “green,” they have eschewed modern plumbing infrastructure. It all goes into a big tank on the same property, which gets emptied once a month. The smell fills the entire building.

            • Frau Katze says:

              I’m sure it’s an attractive town in a beautiful spot. The whole west of the Rockies is beautiful, in both Canada and the US.

              Aster Tower doesn’t sound very good.

              • Jacob says:

                It has its draws. My career keeps me a little west of PDX, but I still go there pretty often.

                I’d like to imagine a better world, but I think you get to live around a bunch of fruitcakes (Portland, Seattle), a bunch of savages (cities with higher crime rates), or not very many people (smaller towns, rural areas).

                Aster Tower is a depressing example of civilization giving up on itself. Nice building in most respects, very nice facilities, but one severe cognitive/behavioral flaw in the people who decided what the building would be like got us to this point where it’s a terrible building regardless. They certainly had the wherewithal to put up a good building, but they didn’t really want to. Turd Tower is therefore a microcosm of the modern West.

  16. Gunther says:

    Peter Duesberg & David Rasnick’s theories that drugs largely cause AIDS seems plausible to me.
    2003 paper:

    In the early 80’s, illegal drugs (esp. poppers) used almost exclusively by gay men cause Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Pneumocystis pneumonia.

    Later, doctors would inadvertently kill relatively healthy HIV-positives with AZT and other toxic drugs. (See Kimberly Bergalis or Arthur Ashe.) Magic Johnson tried AZT but got so sick he ditched it. Went with the HAART treatment instead.

    Even HAART/ARV seems to be counterproductive. Once HAART was introduced in 1996, the precipitous decline in AIDS deaths that preceded it stopped. (“The cure is worse than the disease.”)

    • gcochran9 says:

      I approved this bozo’s comment as an outstanding example of just how stupid someone can be.

      Kaposi’s sarcoma is, by the way, caused by human herpesvirus 8, which causes a lot more trouble in immunocompromised individuals.

      • Gordon William Marsden says:

        wasnt the sarcoma which was a frequent early result blamed on drug use amoungst the gay community . its getting on 40 years now. . you hardly hear about it anymore . isnt the twitch that the media listens to.

        • gcochran9 says:

          At the time, nobody knew the cause of Kaposi’s sarcoma. It wasn’t new: was seen in elderly Jewish and Italian men, generally not very aggressive. Later noticed in parts of Africa. Not everyone with HIV had it – it was more common among gay men.

          If HIV is well-controlled, I don’t think Kaposi’s is much of a problem.

          The causative agent was discovered by Patrick Moore in 1994: it’s an interesting story.

          • Frau Katze says:

            It was noted in 1980s that Kaposi’s was found in homosexuals. Drugs addicts and hemophiliacs didn’t get it,

          • dearieme says:

            “was seen in elderly Jewish and Italian men”: is there a link there to the descent of Ashkenazi Jews being about 50% Italian (and 50% Middle Eastern)?

    • I have patients maintained on AZT for years.

    • Stephen St Onge says:

      Kaposi’s sarcoma is caused by a virus. I remember reading an early paper on the diseas (like 1915 or so), and seeing it hit the Jewish community in an Italian town. All you had to do was look without preconceptions, and the infectious nature was obvious.

      Pneumocystis pneumonia is caused by a bacterium.

      And AIDS is caused by HIV.

  17. Eponymous says:

    Greg, since I know you’re an Eisenhower fan, I’m curious to get your take on the claim that his administration screwed up vaccine supply during the 1957 Asian flu. The claim is that he was overly reliant on the private sector to produce the vaccine, resulting in a shortage, which a centralized vaccine production program could have avoided. See this article for details:

  18. Citizen AllenM says:

    Gah, science is so hard, and it hatz me, sayz the orange cheeto.

    I can’t believe that people will still commit the cardinal sin of taking small arguments in science and reversing the entire set of conclusions. Science is not a political argument, unless you believe it is all Lysenko all the way down. If you don’t believe in science, then you can tickle the dragon’s tail with impunity- the rest of us will be far far far away.

    In short, science is a cruel handmaid to truth, because we can always find more fine detail, but those broad strokes of insight cannot be denied when paradigms are updated.

    Faith versus virus is a silly argument, the virus simply attempts to replicate, and prayer makes the faithful happy.

    Someday this war’s gonna end…

  19. gothamette says:

    Worobey’s group also disputed a claim, published earlier this month, that a more transmissible lineage of SARS-CoV-2 viruses has emerged, arguing the increased geographic spread of viruses with that mutation pattern has more to do with timing than with increased infectiousness.

  20. Le Ed says:

    Greg wrote “I approved this bozo’s comment as an outstanding example of just how stupid someone can be.”

    Lol!! The reason for reading West Hunter is its lack of political correctness. Cheers Greg.

  21. dearieme says:

    The Guardian is a newspaper that purports to believe that the answer to all problems is More Government. That’s presumably because its journalists don’t reflect on the few factual stories it carries, such as the story that begins thus:

    ‘Hundreds of people with haemophilia in England and Wales could have avoided infection from HIV and hepatitis if officials had accepted help from Scotland, newly released documents suggest.

    A letter dated January 1990 said Scotland’s blood transfusion service could have supplied the NHS in England and Wales with the blood product factor VIII, but officials rejected the offer repeatedly.

    Large volumes of factor VIII were imported from the US instead, but it was far more contaminated with the HIV and hepatitis C viruses because US supplies often came from infected prison inmates, sex workers and drug addicts who were paid to give blood but not screened.’

    • Frau Katze says:

      I hadn’t heard of this but in general the companies producing Factor VIII were scandalous. Not wanting to lose money, it was only after a large number of hemophiliacs were infected that they acted.

      The dry powder Factor VIII required blood from a large number of people, so the chances that even one donor was affected was high.

      I read a couple of books about hemophiliacs in the AIDS era but they were really depressing.

      With the gay men, some fraction of them were very promiscuous. There was already a large number of STDs affecting them. You would think they would know better, what with the existing STDs.

      One didn’t feel as sympathetic as their behaviour seemed reckless. The bathhouses described by Randy Shilts were unbelievable. I won’t describe them here,

  22. RG says:

    Way OT so if Mr. Cochran wants to remove it I understand. The woke crowd has decided that medical facts are racist now. Can’t have any race differences showing up now can we.

  23. Frau Katze says:

    Larry Kramer, a gay writer from New York fought on the side of those who wanted to restrict promiscuous behaviour has died, aged 84. He was active in the cause though. He certainly lived to considerable age for the dangerous age he lived in.

    • Pincher Martin says:

      The age was dangerous for gays only if they were irresponsible in their personal lives, which many were.

      I disliked Kramer. He was stridently political in his activism an uninteresting way. And he was dumb. And like many gay men, he thought a lot of heterosexuals were in the closet. He believed nearly every American on a piece of U.S. currency was gay – Washington ($1), Franklin ($100), Hamilton ($10), Jackson ($20), and Lincoln ($5). Only the $50 bill (Grant) made it to the hetero column in Kramer’s crazy view.

      Kramer also thought that Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan were gay, which would make over 13% of U.S. presidents gay. (I think the case for Buchanan looks likely, but not for any of the others.)

      I’m pretty sure Kramer pilfered Gore Vidal’s idea about Washington and Hamilton being gay without giving credit to Vidal for being the first to come up with the crazy notion.

      • Frau Katze says:

        I wouldn’t know, I just know how he was portrayed. Though Shilts’ says he though Mayor Koch was gay. He was very combative. He could not run a volunteer organization because of his personality.

        Still, he must one of the last gay men of the era (I think he get AIDS, though I’m not positive. A long life, even if he didn’t get AIDS).

      • dave chamberlin says:

        You are quite the historian on US presidents Pincher. What I need to do is write up the story of my good friend Ellen who was a medical doctor in residency in a New York hospital during the outbreak of AIDS back in the early 1980’s. It is pertinent in 2020 for comparing to SARS2. I should have Cochran proof read it for errors and my bias.

        • Pincher Martin says:

          You are quite the historian on US presidents Pincher.

          Not really. I just happened to read all of Gore Vidal’s historical novels and essays when I was young and impressionable, and so many of these silly homosexual arguments stuck in my head. It’s amazing how trivialities will never leave your mind, no matter who useless, when you pick them up in your teens.

          History is mostly conspiracy, gossip and sensationalism with Vidal. That’s why I know that a small handful of people believe Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton because the Treasury Secretary accused the Vice President of an incestuous relationship with his daughter. I picked it up from Vidal’s novel Burr.

          • Pincher Martin says:

            “…no matter how useless…”

          • Curle says:

            After reading Mr Gore wax poetic regarding the virtues of mulatto hookers as sex partners in one of his Lincoln novels I could never look at Lena Horne the same way again.

            Only later did I learn Gore was gay. Which made his very memorable description all that more perplexing.

            • Pincher Martin says:

              Gore Vidal was one of those gay men in the fifties and sixties who claimed he was bisexual. Gays were more interested in espousing sexual freedom back then than they were in declaiming their enduring gay nature, and Vidal’s ideas about himself reflected that time. Gayness as a hard identity only came later.

              As a practice, however, Vidal really was gay. He just happened to have a few women lovers early in his life before settling into the same-sex pattern that would eventually define him. But some of Vidal’s novels like Myra Breckinridge (1968) and Two Sisters: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir (1970) covered these androgynous ideas.

              • j says:

                “He just happened to have a few women lovers early in his life before settling into…”. Doubtful.

              • Pincher Martin says:

                Vidal makes the claim himself. Could he be lying? Sure he could. Vidal was a habitual liar and fantasist. But one of those women was the writer Anaïs Ni, who wrote about it. Vidal even proposed marriage to her via letter back in the late forties after the war, despite the fact she was more than twenty years older than him.

              • Pincher Martin says:


                Anaïs Nin

  24. I spent time as a journalist covering the early days of AIDS. I may have been a merearts reporter but AIDS was hitting the arts hard, so I wound up working on many, many stories about it. Talked to Larry Kramer, Mathilde Krim and many others, from pols to victims to scientists. I also lived in Greenwich Village too so, although I’m straight as can be, I was pretty personally and professionally at Ground Zero of the AIDS crisis.

    Haven’t followed HIV/AIDS news in years, but fwiw the two books that I thought got the crisis more or less right were Michael Fumento’s “The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS” (American straights don’t have enough sexual partners to enable HIV to rip thru their population) and Gabriel Rotello’s “Sexual Ecology: AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men” (the HIV virus requires a very bizarre set of conditions to flourish, and late-‘70s/early-‘80s gay promiscuity and, let’s call it by its name, unprotected buttfucking between already-sick guys, was just what HIV needed). The “safe sex” (in other words, “we’re all in danger, so let’s all use condoms!”) campaign was pure politics, btw. Gay campaigners wanted to scare straights into coming across with a lot of research money, so they promoted the idea that straights were at risk too. Everybody in the know knew that straights weren’t really at much risk at all.

    Here’s a blog posting I wrote some years back, reflecting on the AIDS years.

    • Frau Katze says:

      We on this site are examining the history of AIDS, or at least I am.

      The only book I read on the American experience was Randy Shilts’ book.

      Certainly AIDS never spilled over to the straight community (excluding hemophiliacs, needle injecting drug addicts and a few transfusion cases). I remember the era, seeing stories a few of hemophiliacs.

      So why is it affecting the straights in sub-Saharan Africa? Greg has noted how hard it is to transmit from female to make with straight sex, assuming no STDs.

      Pepin’s book, The Origin of AIDS, puts forth a plausible scenario. Many cases were caused by colonial attempts to cure tropical diseases by using needle injected drugs. Poor cleaning of needles spread a lot of it. However, the colonials are long gone but it still affects straight people, including women.

      Some of Pepin’s theorizing, that Haitians working in the Congo in the1950s brought it back to Haiti, but I doubt the Haitian women of that time (presumably there with their husbands) were sleeping around with African men in any great number. I suppose some of Haitians could have been gay.

      • gcochran9 says:

        One thing about epidemiology, quantity has a quality all its own. A moderate change in how infectious a pathogen is, or in how it spread in a particular population, can make the difference between a fizzle and a pandemic.

        Blacks routinely have much higher prevalences of every other venereal disease, ~6-12 times. Maybe that’s enough to push HIV over R0 = 1 .

        • Frau Katze says:

          That could certainly be the case with the “free women” who typically serviced 2 or 3 men. She would see them on different nights, do their laundry. She would get paid and could pick the men (unlike the case in her traditional society).

          A conventional STD would spread easily. Say a given man switched or moved every few months and the woman would find another man to replace him.

          Pepin says this model was well suited to a situation with a shortage of women. He describes a case of men building a road, it could go on for months.

      • Stephen St Onge says:

        From what I’ve read, a lot of blacks are like the late Roy Cohn: they aren’t homos, they are just men who like to have sex with men. But many deny that they do this, and claim to be purely heterosexual.

        And having sex with open sores on the penis is likely the explanation for such female-to-male transmission as actually exists.

    • Frau Katze says:

      An infected man could easily infect his wife. And some wives of hemophiliacs were infected.

      But it would not go past that, even if the wife had a boyfriend because it rarely transmitted female to male.

      Straight men were far less promiscuous because women are not inclined to it. The straight man could never find that many partners.

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      The belief that HIV/AIDS was going to wipe out the larger heterosexual society was quite prevalent in the 80’s. I had a friend who told me around 1989 that 1/3 to 2/3’s of my generation was going to die of AIDS around 2010 (My HS class is ’81).

  25. OK, can I throw PC to the winds for a sec? Here’s the background AIDS story all too few people are aware of …

    Prior to the ‘60s not all that many gayguys were into anal sex. Numerous older gay guys told me this — that during their lifetimes most gay guys got off via oral or via dry-humping. Buttfucking was a super-rare event. But during the ‘60s buttfucking became the defining gay act. Why? Because the ‘60s were demonic. The inversion of all values, baby, was going to lead to liberation. Revolution was cool. So buttfucking became a kind of declaring-your-allegiance-to-the-team thing for gays, as did promiscuity. Hard to believe these gay-marriage days, but back in the ‘60s and ‘70s all the cool gay radicals were AGAINST marriage. Marriage was for boring square straights. The cool gayguys fucked and got fucked in wild numbers. The supercool gayguy was a daring revolutionary, a buccaneer and a pioneer.

    Meanwhile gays were demanding recognition. Civil rights … Stonewall … Legal protection … As the months and years went by, buttfucking and anal promiscuity became symbolic of the civil rights gays had fought for. Vast numbers of gay guys developed terrible infections and illnesses and cycled thru those infections and illnesses over and over again. But that was cool, because they survived and they were leading the revolutionary charge. And, let’s be honest, they were all on drugs. People do crazy things on drugs that they’d never do while un-drugged. Everybody knew in the ‘70s that the promiscuous gayguys were often sick, and everybody (at least everybody in Greenwich Village) knew why they were so often sick: drugged-out, hyper-promiscuous unprotected anal sex.

    Then AIDS started cropping up. It was perfectly obvious to anyone with half a brain how to stop the “epidemic” — isolate the sick people, close the bathhouses, crack down in any way possible on drugged-out gay anal promiscuity. But the gay political class wasn’t about to let that happen. They weren’t about to give up promiscuity or anal sex because those were, after all, “civil rights“ that had been fought for and painfully won. So the gay political class devised the “safe sex” campaign. They wanted not to stop what was enabling HIV/AIDS (promiscuous unprotected anal sex) but to continue acting as they’d been acting … but with a cure! So they complained about homophobia, tried to scare straights about AIDS, and complained about insufficient funding for “cure” research. They wanted all the benefits of running around screaming about an “epidemic” while refusing to change their behavior, and they certainly weren’t about to let society to take the usual steps to fight an epidemic. Because civil rights. Plus: it was straight society’s fault that gays were dying of AIDS! How convenient.

    HIV/AIDS could have been stopped dead in its track in just a few years if a hardcore anti-epidemic approach had been taken to dealing with it. But that wasn’t to be allowed. Gays couldn’t be required to knock off the unprotected anal promiscuity, although that was exactly what was needed. Instead, tens of thousands had to die and billions had to be spent in the quest for a cure. The gay political class has a lot of blood on its hands.

    Btw, none of this is a secret, and nearly all the people I interviewed back in the day would agree with what I’ve just just written. The Richard Berkowitz book I reference in the blogposting I linked to confirms what I’ve just said. This story — that unprotected anal promiscuity melded with civil rights, that the gay political class wasn’t about to give up its civil rights, and that the “safe sex” and “quest for a cure” campaigns came out of all that — isn’t controversial among anybody who was there at the time. Anyone with any firsthand knowledge of what was going on behind the scenes knew all this perfectly well.

  26. Confronted with AIDS, the gay political class said, “We aren’t going to give up our recently-won civil rights (ie., promiscuous anal sex),” and “We want all the p-r benefits of calling AIDS an ‘epidemic’ but we aren’t going to let society take the usual anti-epidemic steps.” And, as a consequence, tens of thousands of people suffered and died, and billions of dollars were spent over the course of decades in the search for a cure.

    It could all have been avoided if the gay political class had been wiling to let society crack down on insane, unprotected anal promiscuity.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      I recently talked to a gay artist who luckily moved out of New York for a few year stretch during the early eighties. When he came back his community was gone, all but three of his friends were dead. He hates Reagan with a passion for not putting a stop to the epidemic. I didn’t argue with him, but what was Reagan to do, have Nancy conduct a commercial campaign “Just say no to butt fucking.” Still, it was a deadly disease and for the CDC to do almost nothing for years to alert the public seems incompetent in hind sight. Lots of goofy information was being spread about AIDS during those years and crowds of ignorant people got on a really stupid side of a bad cause, just like now with SARS2.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Randy Shilts’ book portrays the gays split into two camps, one who saw any attempt to tell them what to do as a return to the bad old days and the other trying to convince local city authorities to shut down the bathhouses. The straight authorities seemed unwilling to offend the noisy first camp.

        By now we’ve seen how strong disease denial can be, even for a disease like Covid, which has no extra cultural baggage. People still want to minimize it.

        AIDS was so unlike other contagious diseases with its long latency period and long time to fatality. It lent itself very well to denial. Only after it became clear after several years that their whole community was infected and with death inevitable…. then the denial stopped.

        The bathhouses were a local affair, handled by city health departments. I don’t think they were ever closed but went out of business after it was far too late.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Reagan could have installed crowbars on the walls of bathhouses: “Break Glass in Case of Emergency”

      • Stephen St Onge says:

        What was the CDC supposed to say? “Don’t let strangers fuck you in the ass unless they have a condom on their dick”? “When you shoot up, use your own works”? That wasn’t politically acceptable to the gay community. Unfortunately, it was the only thing that would have worked.

  27. rgressis says:

    I’m curious to see whether all these protests and riots lead to a significant uptick in c19 cases. People are close, but they’re outside and many are wearing masks. Might this be a good test case to see how much wearing a mask and being outside matters?

    • Frau Katze says:

      I was wondering about this too. But as you say, they’re outside and the looters (often white Antifa types using the riots for cover) are typically masked. They likely are not staying around one area too long either. You want to get out as quickly as possible. Police might be along anytime.

    • Frau Katze says:

      The participants are also pretty young, This is not something for senior citizens. I predict few extra cases and likely no deaths.

      • TB says:

        Lots of younger people, true, but lots of socializing, traveling in cars together, sleeping together. A sharp uptick would not surprise me. The Blacks and Latins will be hardest hit, as always. We look at the numbers and see a very low death rate and lots of mild cases. But I see the young people in my unit suffering (young means 30s), barely able to breathe for days on end. This bug is harsh, and not just to people with pre-existing conditions.

        • Anthony says:

          The black community will be hardest hit because more young blacks live with their grandparents than young non-blacks.

          • TB says:

            Purely anecdotal, but the younger, serious cases seem to be mostly Latinos or Blacks, that I have seen personally. Small numbers, just what I have noticed.

      • gothamette says:

        But they can infect others. That’s how this works.

  28. AllenSheep says:

    Off-topic, what do you think of the covid predictions here:

    They use machine learning and give an estimated R0, so I think they could turn out to be pretty decent. They are also fairly pessimistic.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      No amount of machine learning can anticipate group behavior in the future. But I do think these predictions are as good as the modelers can do. Covid19 has infinite patience and humans don’t have much at all. When all those snot nosed kids go back to their schools in the fall this model predicts the continuation of a slow decline, I don’t. Even though children barely have symptoms they will spread it far and wide just like they do all the other germs. State wise there will be winners and losers in the battle to decrease new cases every day, just like there is now but I don’t see how the numbers keep going down after the schools load up with kids.

  29. Andre says:

    An italian chief physician and college professor, Alberto Zangrillo, said that the virus has “clinically disappeard”, since all recent tests from positive patients turned out to have a very low viral load. He claims this means the virus is now very unlikely to cause serious cases of the disease that we saw in large numbers until a few weeks ago. However, many other scientists claim that’s not true. Do Zangrillo’s words make sense? Who is right?

    • gcochran9 says:

      Probably he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

      • gkai says:

        Lockdowns have relaxed fast all across Europe those last 2 weeks. People interactions are close to pre-covid19 with a two notable exceptions: no large gatherings, especially inside, and reduced transmission within offices and public transportation (masks, and more teleworking). Is this enough to keep transmission around 1, while it was around 3 before? Because there sure is no rebound, it’s flat flat flat everywhere. Simple compartment models for epidemics are not very predictive when transmission evolution can not be guessed, and apparently guessing it, even approximately, is hard, at least for covid19.

        • Frau Katze says:

          Still locked down in B.C., Canada with several new cases today.

          I will be very happy if it turns out that Covid has ceased to be a threat, since I’m in a high risk group.

        • Frau Katze says:

          I may have misread your comment. Still no large indoor gatherings, with masks and teleworking. I am wondering if that would have adequate from the start. I was listening to someone in Taiwan. They remembered SARS-1.

          They never had a lockdown like ours, but returning folk from China had a 14 day quarantine. It was rigorously enforced, with fines, Wet markets were gone. Lots of masks,

          Covid is so much worse for the elderly (many retired) a limited lockdown might have worked, with the elderly staying in.

        • gcochran9 says:

          You’re talking unsense. Try to think it through.

  30. Abelard Lindsey says:

    “The health authorities such as the CDC didn’t believe in quarantine then, either, and they prevailed. They were wrong, of course. They spent a lot of effort trying to convince the public that HIV was a significant threat to straight men and women: that was a lie.”

    The CDC was logically self-contradictory. If AIDS was a serious threat to straight people (98% of the population), then a quarantine would have made sense. If its not, then the only people threatened by a lack of quarantine are gay men who engage in anal sex. It was like the CDC was trying to have its cake and eat it too.

  31. Sinij says:

    Rioters are almost certainly do not observe social distancing. Why are we not seeing 6 days into this?

    • Frau Katze says:

      Give it a few more days. Mind you, they’re mostly all young. Rioting isn’t an old man’s game.

      Related, a news report that in St. Louis, the AG says all the rioters and looters turn out to be criminals (many violent) released from prison owing to the Covid hazard.

      If this is true, don’t expect them to turn up looking for help, as it might well be a ticket back to jail.

    • Pincher Martin says:

      As Frau Kratz points out, the rioters are young enough that if they become infected the vast majority of them won’t need to go to the hospital when (and if) they turn symptomatic.

      Wait for some of them to pass it on to the more vulnerable, like the rioters’ parents and grandparents. And then that older group needs an incubation period of a few days before it starts to show up among them.

      There will also likely be a randomness to it based on chance. For whatever reason – lack of a super spreader in the group or just luck – some protest cities will miss out, while others get hit hard.

    • Sinij says:

      Now a few days later and I still have not heard about a spike in COVID cases. Is it not being reported? I fully expected a lot of protesters to get infected.

      What am I not seeing?

      • Frau Katze says:

        If they’re young, they won’t see a doctor for the most part. They’re outside and perhaps that is safer than we thought.

        If they get mild cases, they might pass it on to an older relative, so add a week for that.

        Maybe it will prove to be seasonal, although we know it can survive in heat.

        New Zealand seems to have eradicated it and Australia has low rates, despite going into winter.

  32. Curle says:

    Speaking of medicine, look what they are doing at the UW Medical School. This young lady, Ms. Stein really wants med students to DM her so she can set them straight.
    Elizabeth Stein
    Mar 28
    Medical school curricula continue to teach that race is a biological risk factor for disease, and students are rewarded on
    exams for overt stereotyping. We believe it is necessary to discuss race as social construct & the role of race in medicine before the 1st lecture 2/

  33. rgressis says:

    I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to realize it, but the reaction to these protests on the part of public health officials reminds me a lot of the AIDS follies post.

    • gothamette says:

      Good observation.

      Some of the dramatis personae are the same: Fauci, Birx.

      • rgressis says:

        Have Fauci and Birx also made any of the following claims? (which I find in this letter:

        Racism is a greater public health threat than the coronavirus.
        (a) Given that racism is a greater public health threat than the coronavirus, and (b) given that protesting against racism is an effective means of undermining racism, (c) people not only may publicly protest racism in massive, close-together groups, (d) but should do so, from the perspective of public health.
        (a) People should not protest lockdowns because such protests are likely to spread the coronavirus, and not only do they not undermine public health, but (b) they are rooted in white nationalism.

        I confess, I have issues with 1/2a. The same reasoning, it seems to me, could be used to argue that environmental damage is a greater public health threat than the coronavirus, that bad trade policy is, that bad industrial policy is, that bad tax policy is, that bad foreign policy is, etc. But do we want to think of all of these issues as public health issues? Won’t that just lead to all big political issues as public health issues? What’s to keep public health experts from describing the existence of non-leftists as a public health crisis?

        But even if you accept 1/2a, I don’t see how public health experts could know, or even have good evidence for 2b. 2b is what supports both 2c and 2d, so 2b is really crucial. But knowing that the protests will work to undermine racism seems to me to require lots of medical and social scientific knowledge that either these public health experts don’t have, or that no one can have (e.g., do protests against racism tend to work to undermine structural racism? Will the measures that these protests are calling for (insofar as they are calling for any measures in particular) do what they expect them to do should they be implemented? How many people are likely to get the coronavirus as a result of these protests? How many of those people will die or suffer lifelong physical damage?).

        Given 3a, it seems that public health experts must be committed to the view that the current protests are likely to spread the coronavirus. Should there be a spike in coronavirus cases two to four weeks after these protests, I wonder if public health experts will be willing to see the spike as stemming from these protests.

        I don’t know why public health experts’ expertise allows them to know 3b. I also don’t see the argument for 3b. I just don’t get it: why think that the desire to reopen businesses or go back to work is white nationalism? Usually I’m pretty good at simulating the mindset of social justice activists, but it seems like a stretch here. Maybe they meant white privilege or white supremacy? The thought would be that the reason white people want to prioritize going back to work, etc., over containing the spread of the coronavirus is that their whiteness gives them a strong sense of entitlement, and consequently, that it makes them think that their desire for things to go back to normal should trump public health concerns. I can see why that would be white privilege but why would that be white nationalism?

        • Frau Katze says:

          I’m suspicious. It’s nothing more than 1200 supposed professional signatures.

          From your link:

          “ (CNN)A group of health and medical colleagues has penned an open letter to express their concern that protests around the United States could be shut down under the guise of coronavirus health concerns.

          The letter — which went on to draw more than 1,200 signatures — focuses on techniques to reduce harm to people protesting racial injustice.”

        • An interested reader says:

          “The same reasoning, it seems to me, could be used to argue that environmental damage is a greater public health threat than the coronavirus, that bad trade policy is, that bad industrial policy is, that bad tax policy is, that bad foreign policy is, etc. But do we want to think of all of these issues as public health issues? Won’t that just lead to all big political issues as public health issues? What’s to keep public health experts from describing the existence of non-leftists as a public health crisis?”

          That is, in fact, the dominant ideology in the public health profession. Health is more important than anything else, and health disparities are the greatest evil. Social determinants are the cause of health disparities. Therefore, the role of public health is to reorganize any and all aspects of society in order to re-set the social determinants so that health disparities across population subgroups disappear.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      Science is complex and beautiful. This very simple virus is dazzlingly complex in how it works in humans. So little we know and so much to learn. Five years from now this and a hundred other directions of research will have taught us a lot about SARS2. It is truly weird and perplexing the range of symptoms from asymptomatic to death from this virus. While there is tremendous focus upon this now, once a vaccine is produced science will have it’s funding sources dry up and all kinds of research will stop.

      Politics on the other hand is simple and ugly. The politicians disappoint, the public are ignorant sheeple, and conversations rarely stay intellectually elevated as if we could use our minds constructively. Such a contrast between the two. That’s why I prefer scientific subjects and every time I bash that fatuous cheeto I read the following comments and resolve to STFU about him in the future. But he is like crappy song that sticks in your head first thing in the morning and distracts and annoys all day long.

  34. Kilo 4/11 says:

    Cheetos are bad for your health, but the alternatives in American politics aren’t exactly free range grass fed beef. When the choice is between cheetos and polonium 210, I’ll have another bag of the orange stuff this November.

  35. j says:

    No one here seems to have noticed that The Lancet retracted a very important article by Harvard Medical School Professor Mandeep Mehra about COVID -19 and hydroxychloroquine (the antimalarial drug recommended by Trump). I hope Greg will illuminate us about what is going on.

  36. BB753 says:

    Duesberg never got AIDS though and is still alive today. I’m not sure what to make of it.

  37. Abelard Lindsey says:

    Does anyone here know why or how Duesberg came up with his alternative hypothesis for AIDS, and why he clung to it despite the resounding success of the anti-retroviral treatments starting in 1995?

  38. peterschaeffer says:

    I would be the first to agree that most HIV/AIDS conspiracy theories have fallen by the wayside. However, there is one very important exception. Vast numbers of black people believe that HIV/AIDS was created by the CIA to kill them. This nutty view is highly prevalent and deeply/destructively influential.

  39. Ethan says:

    Greg, what do you think of the fact that antibodies to support the male homosexual fraternal birth order effect were found in 2017??? They were higher in mothers with ANY gay son (even first born) indicating all male homosexuality might be the result of an immunological reaction which destroyed gynephilic neural pathways.

  40. efalken says:

    Interestingly, currently, half of all HIV positive people in the US don’t take antiretroviral medication for it, and the mortality rates for HIV positive people are not different than HIV-negative people, nor do they die the way people were dying in the 80s and 90s. I think Duesberg is like that Ancient Aliens guy: he’s wrong, but he highlighted that the conventional understanding is wrong. We shouldn’t shame people with wacky, unconventional theories. Aristotle, Newton, Tesla, and Goethe were all geniuses and also promoted crazy theories.

    • gcochran9 says:

      I have a simpler theory: HIV can take quite a while to make you really sick, and people are more likely to get treatment when there are symptoms.

      • gcochran9 says:

        There is an unpredictable period in which HIV is gradually beating a particular component of your immune system to death. When that component is exhausted, you get clinical AIDS. “People who have the HIV virus and do not seek treatment will generally develop stage 3, AIDS, within 2 to 15 years after infection. After a diagnosis of AIDS, people who do not have treatment typically survive for 3 years. If a person who is not receiving treatment for AIDS also develops an opportunistic illness, their life expectancy drops to 12 months.”

        Last medically reviewed on June 7, 2018

        Personal lack of knowledge is not the same as mystery.

        Duesberg was full of crap.

  41. MEH 0910 says:

    Ron Unz entertains AIDS denialism:

    Unless the medical and media establishments swiftly and forthrightly challenges Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the issue of HIV/AIDS, all fair-minded observers must necessarily conclude they recognize that he is substantially correct. And if he is correct about AIDS, any shreds of remaining credibility in our public health authorities will surely be destroyed, while the longstanding theories of Berkeley Prof. Peter Duesberg will have been vindicated:

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