The nature of the events of the Covid era

A detailed summary of PANDA's current understanding

PANDA is committed to open scientific debate and challenging long-held assumptions, and staunchly opposed to the censorship and stifling of critical thinking which characterizes the present day. Our principles assert as much, unequivocally. Science should never be regarded as “settled.” As an organisation we are used to embracing lively debate and new evidence, even to the extent that such inquiry might (and does) falsify core hypotheses we had previously thought were correct.

For instance, in November 2023 we published a revised “vaccine stance” which, though building on work we had done over the past few years, took us to what many regard as a radical position, certainly in comparison to the position we had taken a year before.

It is well known that our material to date is highly critical of governments’ actions over the past 4 years. However, most of our articles, especially those written prior to the past year or so, explicitly or implicitly accept the proposition that there had been an event which justifies the use of the word “pandemic”, and that this had been caused by “the virus”.

In our revised vaccine position, we stated inter alia that in our view the “Covid vaccines” were simply not required because, under any reasonably useful or sensible definition of the word, we had not had a pandemic.

This position statement seeks to set out in more detail what our current thinking is in relation to this relatively new position.

What do we mean by “there was no pandemic”?

The conventional understanding and public perception of a pandemic is one associated with the spread of a disease which a) increases the risk of death for many people, including the previously healthy, and b) directly causes a high number of deaths that would not have otherwise occurred.

Indeed, governing authorities and public health officials implied that everyone, regardless of age and health status, was susceptible to the new virus, anyone could die from it, and that infection by it created substandard immunity which needed augmenting by novel therapeutic injections.

However it quickly became apparent in 2020 that whatever “Covid” was, it did not seem to afflict the healthy any more than many other common respiratory infections, left huge swathes of the planet untouched (even with vast over-attribution), and had no discernible effects on global all-cause mortality.

Hence, under any reasonable and commonly held understanding of the meaning of the word “pandemic”, we were not experiencing one. This is so whether or not a novel virus did emerge at some point prior to 2020 to cause a novel disease referred to as “Covid-19”.

Many of those who insisted we had experienced a pandemic have switched to relying on a meaning of pandemic which does not require that it involves large numbers of deaths, only illness.

However, a wave of largely non-fatal and nondescript respiratory illnesses mainly affecting the elderly and otherwise frail was NOT the basis upon which the establishment justified instituting what turned out to be extraordinarily harmful measures, including the coerced administration of novel therapeutics to billions of people.

Regardless of whether or not what transpired accorded with any entity’s definition of pandemic, it is clear that authorities misled the world – with catastrophic consequences – about the existence of a sudden global health emergency, including the events which preceded and followed the pandemic declaration.

Many have characterised the events of the Covid era as an overreaction to a novel virus which turned out to be less serious than initially claimed, and that serious mistakes were made in the response.

However, we go further than that. We challenge the core assumption underpinning the entirety of most discourse around the subject, as we shall expand upon below.

So, if it wasn’t really a “pandemic”, surely something novel was spreading?

It appears to have become an accepted truth that:
Something novel spread person-to-person from some point directly causing waves of a novel illness.

In 2020 the narrative being promoted was that of a virus with a zoonotic origin which emerged in Wuhan before spreading around the world causing a global pandemic.

More recently, the idea that the zoonotic origin story is false and was being used as a cover-up for the dangerous Gain-of-Function (GoF) research which actually “caused the pandemic” appears to have been gaining traction. It may be significant that, whereas in other respects the mainstream media appears to still be extremely reluctant to report counter-establishment material in relation to the Covid era, the lab-leak theory no longer appears subject to any such censorship.

Our view is that the “lab leak” and “zoonotic spillover” theories are the two constituent parts of a false dichotomy – the presentation of these two options, and the promotion of lively debate solely between them but not outside those parameters, is acting as a distraction from a number of very important questions about the essential nature of the pandemic episode, especially during its early weeks and months.

At present, although there are differences in belief as to where precisely “the virus” originated and how serious an illness it would have caused had authorities “responded better”, there is near-universal acceptance of the following core narrative, including by some of those who have opposed most or all recent government Covid policies:
There was a novel disease caused by a virus which originated from a lab where Gain-of-Function research was being carried out before spreading person-to-person around the world causing a global pandemic.

Not only does PANDA argue against there having been a pandemic, we also do not accept that it has been proven that something novel spread person-to-person from some point directly causing waves of a novel illness.

Is “was there a lab leak” the right question?

Apparently there are hundreds of lab leaks every year. Curiously, none of these have ever seemed capable of causing a significant mass death event, let alone a global pandemic.

So the pertinent question is not “was there a lab leak?” but rather “did a lab leak from a point source result in a virus spreading around the world, suddenly causing lots of people to become sick with a novel illness?”

In PANDA’s assessment, there is no convincing evidence supporting this hypothesis. It is important to note that the establishment narrative requires that all three of these elements be true:

  1. That viruses can be engineered so as to have dangerous pandemic potential.
  2. That the waves of deaths and serious illnesses are linked to the spread of such a virus.
  3. That the virus and disease caused by it are novel, under any rational meaning of that word.

1. Can viruses be engineered so as to have dangerous pandemic potential?

The relationships between sequence, structure and function of viruses are complex and poorly understood. We do not accept that scientists can predict what effect changing a number of base pairs, or inserting some additional genetic material, would have on a virus when it encounters selection pressure in the wild.

We actually doubt that it is possible to create engineered viruses in a laboratory which are, in the real world, replication-competent on a broad scale.

However, even if it were possible to create engineered viruses which are replication-competent, we doubt they could add any significant additional burden of illness or death to the human population let alone do so in such a short timeframe.

Moreover, even if it were possible to create replication-competent engineered viruses which can cause significant illnesses, because of the inverse relationship between contagiousness and virulence whereby all novel viruses rapidly attenuate, such effects are likely to be limited and localised.

We therefore believe that the chance of an engineered virus, which is replication-competent such that it can spread from person to person around the world, causing a dangerous pandemic to the human population globally, is vanishingly small.

2. Were waves of deaths and serious illnesses linked to the spread of such a virus?

The clusters or ripples of illness that would characterise spread of a dangerous contagious pathogen from a point source are not in evidence.

“Pandemic outcomes” differed hugely between neighbouring countries and regions, appearing to obey national, political and administrative boundaries. Differences in the ways in which panic, fear, hysteria spread, and the ways in which harmful pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions were applied, are much simpler and more likely explanations for such observations than a spreading pathogen.

With respect to timing, the commencement of the state of “pandemicity” is congruent with the declaration of a pandemic, with no prior signs of abnormality anywhere. Furthermore, there is evidence that the same signal (detected via PCR testing) used to assert viral spread was actually present globally for months before the “emergency”.

The models developed and used to predict the course of the “pandemic” and inform governments as to what measures they should take are underpinned by multiple baseless assumptions about how viruses spread. In truth, the evidence base regarding mechanisms of transmission for respiratory viral pathogens is extraordinarily thin. This is especially the case for pathogens for which the population has substantial prior immunity.

3. Was there a novel virus causing a novel disease, under any rational meaning of “novel”?

It is simplistic to use this word to refer to “genetically novel” since that would mean every flu was novel. It would also mean that every time there was any mutation of a virus (something which happens with great regularity, even within a single infected person), the result would be a “novel virus”.

The use of the word “novel” by the government officials and agencies which promoted the pandemic narrative conveyed the misleading notion that there was no adequate immune recognition, and that the virus was capable of causing a novel disease with unique characteristics or signatures.

However, whatever SARS-CoV-2 was, there was in fact substantial and effective prior immunity, correlated to the extent of recent exposure to similar coronaviruses. Nearly every healthy person mounted an immune response which was sufficient to prevent serious illness. This is incompatible with any reasonable or useful understanding of the meaning of “novelty”.

We do not accept that there is convincing evidence of a novel disease entity caused by a novel virus. Every characteristic of Covid and all the harms pinned on “the pandemic” can be accounted for by a combination of: the features of known respiratory infectious illnesses; observation and confirmation bias; maltreatment, non-treatment or inappropriate treatment; and other harms consequent to the response to the perception (false, in our view) that a novel deadly virus was circulating.

So what – if anything – did spread?

The starting point in understanding the events of 2020 is acknowledging that whatever the “novel virus” was, it had silently become widespread months before the start of “the pandemic”.

In PANDA’s view, the notion that something then spread during the “pandemic phase” was not driven by person-to-person pathogenic spread but by an extremely rapid ramp-up of PCR testing finding increasing numbers of “positive cases”.

Retrospective analyses of blood (and other) samples collected months before the Covid era consistently found evidence of “the virus” across a wide geographical area. Startlingly, such spread occurred without any reported clusters of unusual illnesses or excess deaths – these only started upon the institution of the response to the assumption that something novel was circulating.

PANDA believes that the rapid rollout of inappropriate, non-specific and oversensitive PCR testing created the illusion that something novel was spreading, whereas in fact all that was truly spreading was the testing itself. In many cases the testing was finding other known or unknown viruses, including those associated with normal seasonal coronavirus waves, whole or fragmented, infectious or not.

As these positive cases were found, a number of perverse incentives created a positive feedback loop, involving more and more testing (especially of “contacts”) being carried out, more “cases” being identified, more testing being demanded, more “cases” being found and so on.

PANDA believes that this conflation of spread of what can be regarded as a mere bystander signal with the spread of a dangerous disease lies at the heart of key conceptual differences between individuals and groups who otherwise share a passion for fundamental human rights and freedom from medical tyranny.

PANDA contends that the harms to health we have witnessed are iatrogenic in nature and/or consequences of the response to the detection of that novel signal, and absent its detection, nothing unusual would have been noticed.

While we accept that front-line clinicians perceived the presence of a deadly and novel disease, this does not account for what would have been observed had people’s interaction with healthcare not been changed so dramatically and augmented by the relentless campaign of fear waged by governments. It is to be emphasised that the putative causative agent had spread widely across several areas without causing such effects well before the “emergency” was declared.

Why does PANDA think this is such an important issue?

PANDA maintains it is a mistake to blame “a virus” when the true culprits are those who fashioned and propagated a false narrative. Using the analogy of John Snow and the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak, it is this false narrative – and not a “virus” – which is the pump handle which we need to remove.

As described below, there are dangers inherent in the false narrative currently being enthusiastically embedded in humanity’s psyche. PANDA believes that the best way of insulating us from these is to show that the pandemic was, essentially, a conjuring trick – once the methods of the magicians are revealed, the power of the illusion is lost forever.

Many benefited financially, politically and in other ways from the Covid pandemic narrative, and their ability to continue to do the same for “the next pandemic” does not rely on identifying whether the origin was zoonotic or lab-leak. The perpetrators can continue to argue for the need for a “pandemic preparedness industry” whichever becomes the favoured solution to the “mystery of how the pandemic occurred”.

However, what would be fatal to the future of this lucrative industry is the realisation that we did not have a pandemic at all under any reasonable definition of that word. Hence the extreme reaction to anybody who questions the underlying basis for assuming there was actually a pandemic in contrast to the tolerance shown to those who debate its origin.

The belief that GoF research resulted in a deadly pathogen spreading around the world to create mass illness and death is being used, and will continue to be used, to justify the existence and proliferation of the pandemic and bioterrorism preparedness industries.

Many are demanding that to “prevent the escape of another pandemic-generating GoF virus” we must outlaw GoF research. To be clear, we believe the GoF enterprise is unethical and wasteful, regardless of what it has or hasn’t produced.

History tells us, however, that attempts to enforce moratoria will likely be no more straightforward than previous attempts to outlaw anything once knowledge of it becomes widely distributed. This is especially the case since it is often asserted that any lab can now do this, and the Covid era has, as we have argued above, demonstrated that nothing need actually escape from any lab anyway. The mere seeding of the narrative of escape, rollout of testing and resultant social contagion is all that is needed to perpetuate the perception of a pandemic.

Therefore, if the underlying and false assertion that GoF research can create a global pandemic is not confronted, the spectre of “the next pandemic caused by GoF research” will perpetually hang over humanity like a sword of Damocles.

This will, we predict, result in a relentless march toward more and more draconian measures and pervasive programmes being instituted in the name of “doing better next time”. These will inevitably involve biosecurity surveillance, international treaties to ensure a coordinated global response with stronger and enforceable centralised powers, 100-day vaccine capabilities and the like, all of which are currently being touted as necessary measures.

It is probably not necessary to review the harms and potential harms of such purportedly required measures, other than to remark that their implementation over the past few years was responsible for the transfer of several trillion dollars from the citizenry into the hands of private corporations and other institutions, as well as a variety of other non-financial gains by many actors in the realm of politics, ideology and control.

It is no wonder that those who have profited from all aspects of the Covid narrative would like to retain the rights to this lucrative franchise.

What this statement does NOT say

Firstly, it is not to be read as questioning the existence per se of naturally-occurring viruses. This is not to deny that there are clearly many unknowns with respect to viruses – and the extent of what we don’t know appears to be immeasurably greater than virologists would care to admit. How viruses are transmitted, how and why they infect certain people at certain times and not others, where they come from, how they change, and whether/if they can disappear are poorly, if at all, understood

Secondly, stating that we doubt an engineered virus escaping from a lab caused a deadly pandemic called “Covid” says nothing about any belief around whether bioweapons capabilities exist. Our articles, commentary and this position statement contain no assertions about bioweapons as a general category. Bacterial, bio-chemical, nerve gas and toxicological weapons would seem to be potentially extremely dangerous and all warrant our attention, but not because they can cause pandemics, their effects being localised.

Thirdly, this statement says nothing about what doctors and patients experienced, the nature of illnesses or conditions being treated, or the efficacy of treatments administered. However, in our view the many inconsistencies between these specific observations in specific places, and the story of a novel virus spreading across the world, demand further detailed examination.


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