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COVID-19 Open Letter to the Caretaker Irish Government

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Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984, or to Hitler’s Germany, certainly that is what Ireland is fast becoming for me.

Tonight, 07/04/2020, The Minister for Health Simon Harris has signed regulations giving Gardaí the power to enforce COVID-19 restrictions. There will now be extra Gardaí road blocks and checks as of 08/04/2020. One can only speculate that we will be interrogated, what next, will we need papers to travel? The reason given is that the government are afraid that the good people of Ireland will travel around the country because it is a “holiday” weekend.

What kind of “holiday” the Minister for Health or any of his colleagues could possibly imagine the average Irish citizen having at the moment I am not sure. They have effectively crashed the economy, people have lost jobs, their incomes have vanished to be replaced by a short-term stipend and many are so fearful that they are starting to view their fellow human beings with mistrust and fear. But of course, government members may still be in a jovial spirit as their salaries have not been lost, or placed in any jeopardy, and their movements probably not that much restricted, who is going to arrest them if they travel over 2km? I doubt very much that they are living in isolation and loneliness like many of us.

Our constitutional rights have been overridden, stripped away within a 48 hour period, with no end date set and no recovery plan in place. How is the Irish economy to recover? By March 2021 the unemployment rate is estimated to be 18% as compared to the beginning of March of this year when it was 3.5%.

On the 06/04/2020 I sent the following email to all TDs and all Seanad members, an excess of 150 people, to date (01:45 08/04/2020) three have replied, Louise O’Reilly, John Lahart and Josepha Madigan. If you are not happy with the current situation I encourage you to email all of them too and express your dissatisfaction and concerns. Maybe then a few more will reply, as is their job. I am happy for you to use any part of my email for that purpose should you wish, or write your own. If you are a journalist you may only reprint my post in its entirety.

No one will stand up for you, it is time for each to stand for themselves. If you are not happy with the situation say something. Public representatives email addresses are at end of post.

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am very concerned over the current situation in Ireland and I wish for you as a representative of the Irish people to make my concerns known to the caretaker government and to come back to me with their responses.

I have grave concerns over the emergency powers granted to the caretaker government and how they may be used to remove the rights of Irish citizens. In a period of 48 hours the caretaker government granted themselves the right to determine what aspect of every Irish citizens life was necessary or not, effectively stripping away freedom of movement and the protection of the constitution. By limiting the numbers of people who can gather they have also made it illegal for anyone to protest against these measures should they wish.

The Minister for Health has been granted extraordinary powers to make regulations. His decision is not accountable to anyone or group. While he must regard the advice of the chief medical officer and consult with ministers from other departments prior to implementation of any regulations, he has complete autonomy on the decision to implement. If an Irish citizen were to break one of these regulations it is deemed as an offence and the Gardaí have the right to arrest anyone breaking any regulation that the Minister enacts. The Minister for Health has been granted the right to detain people who are deemed by a medical officer as a “potential” source of infection. This detention can be in any place that the minister should decide. This is especially concerning considering that Dr Michael Ryan, in his official capacity with the WHO (World Health Organisation), has proposed that government officials be able to enter people’s homes and physically remove and detain anyone who “may” have the COVID-19. The new emergency powers that have been granted would allow exactly this, for strangers to enter a home and “drag” out a family member, a child, a parent, a grandparent. These are the images that, not so long ago, every Irish citizen felt thankful for that they did not live in a communist country.

The extraordinary powers have been put in place until November 2020 but can be extended by the government if passed by both houses of the Oireachtas. Considering that this act was passed through both houses within 48 hours, this sunset clause does not offer any comfort.

I am appalled by the powers that the caretaker government has granted themselves. Many of these powers are ones of control akin to communist countries. The freedoms of the Irish citizen have been removed and the constitution overridden. Now the Minister of Health suggests the suspension of Dáil sittings (2nd April) which would effectively remove the one remaining place where the actions of the caretaker government can be questioned.

I wish to know on what evidence the caretaker government based its decision to grant itself such autonomous and draconian powers?

Current tests for COVID-19 are, in fact, testing for a specific RNA that is assumed, but has never been proven by Koch’s postulates, to be from COVID-19 it therefore cannot actually be said that people have COVID-19 or another coronavirus. All coronaviruses create flu and respiratory symptoms.

I wish to know if the caretaker government is instructing the HSE to follow other countries (France, China, US) in the use of repurposing of drugs such as those that are showing extremely good results with coronavirus patients e.g. chloroquine[1]? Not only are results impressive but the drug is freely available and inexpensive. It appears to not only inhibit viral reproduction but also to inhibit the immune response so decreasing the tremendous amount of inflammation that is causing issues in older people.

On the 27th February 2020 a paper was published in which the novel Wuhan coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19) was sequenced and 77 molecules/ligands were identified that could bind with the virus so disrupting host-virus interaction. 21 of the 77 molecules/ligands have regulatory data and 20 are available for purchase, examples are nitrofurantoin, isoniazid pyruvate, eriodictyol, Cepharanthine, Ergoloid, Hypericin. Cepharanthine and Hypericin have prior data for their use as anti-viral agents against other coronaviruses.[2] Has the caretaker government instructed the HSE to investigate the use of these?

Has the caretaker government instructed the HSE to use Intravenous Vitamin C as many hospitals internationally are doing now e.g. US, China? There is plenty of evidence supporting its use.[3][4][5] Not only that but Ireland has an internationally respected board-certified MD, Dr Gabriel Stewart, who is highly experienced in the use and implementation of IV Vitamin C therapy. Has the caretaker government asked Dr Stewart for his advice or help?

Has the caretaker government asked the HSE to check out the emerging information from New York which is suggesting that patients need oxygen but not pressure? They do not have respiratory failure but oxygen failure. That by adding pressure when placed on a ventilator it leads to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), Dr Cameron Kyle-Sidell[6].

I am also concerned over what these drastic lockdown measures are doing to the health of the Irish people and its economy. Where exactly is the government planning on obtaining the money for the emergency aid? The cost to the country is estimated at €16 billion. Many businesses will go under and many will lose their jobs. There will be far fewer working to pay taxes as the estimated unemployment figure for March 2021 is 18% compared to 3.5% at the beginning of March this year. Do we think that the EU is going to help? The Italian government is finding otherwise at the moment.

Is the caretaker government considering the Swedish approach? In Sweden, they have offered to cocoon those who are vulnerable, advised on social distancing and kept their economy up and running. Their numbers for rate of infection and their deaths/million are still far lower than the worst hit countries and they are maintaining their economy while appearing to create natural herd immunity.

While we are on the subject of numbers:

  1. how can we know the cases for morbidity (the numbers infected) when we are only testing some of the population?
  2. those who are being tested are symptomatic, this misses all who are asymptomatic
  3. why are those who die with underlying current illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular issues being listed as dying of COVID-19? For seriously ill patients any virus could kill, the death needs to be categorised as the underlying health condition that created their susceptibility.

Trying to flatten “the curve” now only pushes out the inevitable. Our health system has been in trouble for many years now, and no matter where “the curve” hits it will not be in a position to deal with it.

Viruses mutate and this coronavirus is already doing that, locking everyone inside will just mean that we will see an inevitable infection with mutated versions on release. This strain of the coronavirus seems to mutate faster than many as stated by Italy’s Professor Stefano Montanari on March 19th.

The figures of morbidity and mortality (numbers who have died) of Italy, Wuhan and Spain are being used as a reason for driving current responses. However, there are many things to consider.

  1. Italy and Wuhan have a high degree of air pollution e.g. the WHO estimates that this is responsible for 8,000 deaths in 2006 in Italy[7]. Air pollution has been shown to increase the risk of viral lung disease in very young and old people[8]. Ireland does not have these same levels of air pollution.
  2. In Italy 27.4% of the vulnerable population (elderly) live with young people and in Spain 33.5%. In Ireland, for the most part, this is not the case.
  3. A study by Italy’s national health authority has found that 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions[9].
  4. The media is reporting on the large number of deaths of doctors in Italy. What is not being said is that these doctors were in the vulnerable age group, they were born in the 40s and 50s[10].

Of the 942,625 active cases of coronavirus worldwide today (6th April) 95% are mild. Of the closed cases to date 79% recovered and sadly 70,319 died. That is 70,319 out of a world population in excess of 7,000,000,000 (7 billion)[11]. Does this justify the far-reaching response of the caretaker government?

As the virus is mutating so fast it means that it is going to be impossible to create a vaccine for it. Many companies have entered “a race” to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Many governments and health officials are “waiting” for this saviour and ignoring the drugs and treatments currently available. It would serve all to remember what happens when a vaccine is rushed to market without due care. The current caretaker government has just paid out millions of the taxpayers’ money to just one of the many cases of narcolepsy/catalepsy that resulted from the H1N1 vaccine Pandemrix used for the swine flu.

By locking people up and having them live in fear:

  • Are we weakening their immune systems along with their mental states and creating another susceptible group?
  • Will it lead to an increase in violent crimes, especially domestic?

As of the 3rd April, Ireland’s maternity hospitals are prohibiting mothers of babies in the NICU from visiting for more than 15-30 minutes a day. This will cause immense mental anguish for those mothers; will it lead to an increase in post-natal depression? The long-term effects of the deprivation of mother to baby bonding and the prevention of natural breastfeeding cannot be underestimated for the child.

I am not alone in my concerns, many experts worldwide are questioning the panic and governmental reactions e.g. Dr Sucharit Bhakdi[12], Cr Wolfgang Wodarg[13], Dr Joel Kettner[14], Dr John Ioannidis[15], Dr Yoram Lass[16], Dr Pietro Vernazza[17], Frank Ulrich Montgomery[18], Prof Hendrik Streeck[19], Dr Yanis Roussel et al.[20], Dr David Katz[21], Michael T Osterholm[22], Dr Peter Goetzsche[23], Prof Knut Wittkowski[24].

Do we have any estimates of the fatalities that may arise from this drastic measure e.g. loss of life due to surgeries being cancelled, missed early interventions, suicides due to isolation, fear and loss of income, violent deaths?

The caretaker government is now making vague mention of extending lockdown of Irish citizens. I want to know on what basis? Where is the evidence that would back up this approach? How will they fund it? There is no such thing as public money, there is only taxpayers’ money. I, for one, feel that extending lockdown is a very bad idea. I also am not happy with the emergency powers that the caretaker government has given itself. I am not happy with my freedom and rights being taken from me.

Prof Knut Wittkowski, an epidemiologist of 35 years who was Head of Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Design at the Rockefeller University, tells us that flattening the curve only extends the epidemic and that a second wave will be a direct result of social distancing[25]. He puts it quite succinctly, “This is a pandemic like every flu is every year. I think people in the United States, and maybe other countries as well, are more docile than they should be. People should talk with their politicians, question them, ask them to explain because if people don’t stand up for their rights, their rights will be forgotten”.

So, I am writing to every TD and member of the Seanad and I am asking you these questions. I am standing up for my rights and I demand that you, in your elected capacity, defend every Irish citizen’s constitutional rights to freedom from tyranny and oppression that were fought for and obtained just over 100 years ago. End the lockdown, which is tyrannical, oppressive and destructive to Irish citizens and the Irish economy.

I wish to have the above questions and concerns raised in the Dáil and in the Seanad and I await your response with the answers. Thank you.

 

Yours sincerely,

Kelly CS Johnson

 

[1] Prof Didier Raoult infectious diseases specialist, head of l’Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Mediterranee Infection

[2] Smith, M., Smith, J.C., (2020). ‘Repurposing therapeutics for COVID-19: supercomputer-based docking to the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein and viral spike protein-human ACE2 interface’, ChemRxiv http://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv.11871402.v3

[3] Treatment Protocol, Shanghai Province, Shanghai Expert Group on Clinical Treatment of New Coronavirus Diseases. Expert Consensus on Comprehensive Treatment of Coronavirus Diseases in Shanghai in 2019 [J / OL]. Chinese Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2020,38 – Published 01 March 2020 http://rs.yiigle.com/yufabiao/1183266.htm

[4] Clinical Trial in China Vitamin C Infusion for the treatment of Sever 2019-nCoV Infected Pneumonia https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04264533

[5] Clinical Trial in Palermo, Italy https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04323514

[6] Emergency Medicine Physician, Brooklyn, New York

[7] Martuzzi et al. ‘Health impact of PM10 and ozone in 13 Italian cities’ World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe. WHOLIS E887002006

[8] Croft et al. (2019) ‘The association between respiratory infection and air pollution in the setting of air quality policy and economic change’ Annals of American Thoracic Society 16, pp.321-330

[9] Report sulle caratteristiche dei pazienti deceduti positive a COVID-19 in Italia Il presente report e basato sui dati aggiornati al 17 Marzo 2020 https://www.epicentro.iss.it/coronavirus/bollettino/Report-COVID-2019_17_marzo-v2.pdf

[10] UK Column https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KmyHP5szGY&t=854s

[11] https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

[12] Specialist in microbiology. He was a professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and head of the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene and one of the most cited research scientists in German history

[13] German physician specialising in Pulmonology, politician and former chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In 2009 he called for an inquiry into alleged conflicts of interest surrounding the EU response to the Swine Flu pandemic

[14] Professor of Community Health Sciences and Surgery at Manitoba University, former Chief Public Health Officer for Manitoba province and Medical Director of the International Centre for Infectious Diseases.

[15] Professor of Medicine, of Health Research and Policy and of Biomedical Data Science, at Stanford University School of Medicine and a Professor of Statistics at Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences. He is director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, and co-director of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS).

[16] Israeli physician, politician and former Director General of the Health Ministry

[17] Swiss physician specialising Infectious Diseases at the Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen and Professor of Health Policy.

[18] German radiologist, former President of the German Medical Association and Deputy Chairman of the World Medical Association

[19] German HIV researcher, epidemiologist and clinical trialist. He is professor of virology, and the director of the Institute of Virology and HIV Research, at Bonn University

[20] A team of researchers from the Institut Hospitalo-universitaire Méditerranée Infection, Marseille and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille, conducting a peer-reviewed study on Coronavirus mortality for the government of France under the ‘Investments for the Future’ programme.

[21] American physician and founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center

[22] Regents professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

[23] Professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis at the University of Copenhagen and founder of the Cochrane Medical Collaboration

[24] Head of Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Design Rockefeller University

[25] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH-J7QqAV3c

 

TD emails:

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peadar.toibin@oireachtas.ie; michael.fitzmaurice@oireachtas.ie; claire.kerrane@oireachtas.ie; Denis.Naughten@oireachtas.ie; frank.feighan@oireachtas.ie;

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marc.ocathasaigh@oireachtas.ie; james.browne@oireachtas.ie; brendan.howlin@oireachtas.ie; paul.kehoe@oireachtas.ie; verona.murphy@oireachtas.ie;

johnny.mythen@oireachtas.ie; john.brady@oireachtas.ie; stephen.donnelly@oireachtas.ie; simon.harris@oireachtas.ie; steven.matthews@oireachtas.ie; jennifer.whitmore@oireachtas.ie

 

Seanad emails:

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padraig.oceidigh@oireachtas.ielorraine.cliffordlee@oireachtas.iepaudie.coffey@oireachtas.ie; paul.coghlan@oireachtas.ie; martin.conway@oireachtas.ie; gerard.craughwell@oireachtas.ie; mark.daly@oireachtas.ie

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ned.osullivan@oireachtas.ie; james.reilly@oireachtas.ie; lynn.ruane@oireachtas.iekeith.swanick@oireachtas.ie;  fintan.warfield@oireachtas.ie; diarmuid.wilson@oireachtas.ie

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