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Analysis of the Current COVID-19 Situation in China

Analysis of the Current COVID-19 Situation in China

By Rob Rennebohm, MD

December 15, 2022

Note to Reader: Much of the information provided in this article is based on the study, experience, concerns, and writings of Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche, who has developed and shared an extraordinarily deep and wise understanding of the immunology, virology, vaccinology, evolutionary biology, and glycosylation biology involved in the COVID-19 situation [1-9, 10-14]. For background information, the reader is encouraged to access Dr. Vanden Bossche’s website: www.voiceforscienceandsolidarity.org

Also, for further background, the reader is encouraged to click on the five links below to access companion articles that provide further explanations and references for statements made in the current article. (The Open Letter to Parents and Pediatricians—Part 1 has 1078 references.)

What is the Current State of the COVID Situation?

What is the Current State of the COVID Pandemic?—Part 2

An Open Letter to Parents and Pediatricians—Part I

Open Letter to Parents and Pediatricians—Part II: A Review and Update

A Template for Exempting and Protecting Children from COVID Vaccination


The government of China is currently relaxing many of the most extreme components of the “Zero COVID” policies it has had in place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This relaxation has, in great part, been prompted by angry protests waged by ordinary citizens.

The government of China is probably aware that a sudden and extensive reversal of zero COVID policies will likely result in a dramatic increase in numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths (not to mention other collateral infections and illnesses), but the government probably does not fully appreciate how catastrophic this increase could be or why it could be so catastrophic [1, 2, 9].

As their zero-COVID policy suggests, the government of China has not fully appreciated how necessary and appropriate it would have been, at the beginning of the pandemic, to “allow” the young and healthy people (as opposed to the elderly and more vulnerable) to be exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, so that herd immunity could have developed. At the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 in young and healthy people was not likely to result in hospitalization and death. Accordingly, it would have been appropriate to have “allowed” the young and healthy to become infected—because such infection, in most cases, would have resulted in development of sterilizing immunity against COVID-19, which would have contributed to achievement of herd immunity [9-13].

The government of China apparently did not fully appreciate that the only way for a pandemic to subside and come to an end is if a sufficient percentage of the population cumulatively develops sterilizing immunity to the virus, due to either natural exposure to the virus or to exposure to a vaccine that induces sterilizing immunity (which all current COVID-19 vaccines fail to do) [9-13]. Once the percentage of the population with sterilizing immunity becomes sufficiently high, herd immunity is achieved. Herd immunity does not occur if an inadequate percentage of the population has not developed sterilizing immunity. The government of China apparently did not fully appreciate that the COVID-19 vaccines do not induce sterilizing immunity and, therefore, do not contribute to herd immunity. In fact, they interfere with development of herd immunity [9-13].

As their zero-COVID policy suggests, the government of China, at the beginning of the pandemic, apparently believed that it was inappropriate to “allow” the young and healthy to become exposed and infected with SARS-CoV-2—“because too many people would become seriously ill and die if this were to be ‘allowed.’” That way of thinking would be appropriate if the virus had an extremely high “infection fatality rate (IFR)” in young healthy people. But at the beginning of the pandemic the IFR for SARS-CoV-2 in young, healthy people was similar to that of ordinary influenza infection. What the government apparently did not fully appreciate is that, cumulatively, far more people end up dying from COVID-19 when such a pandemic is managed with a mass vaccination campaign that uses suboptimal vaccines (vaccines that do not prevent infection or transmission and are, therefore, non-sterilizing), than when such a pandemic is managed without such a vaccination campaign—as will be further explained below.

The government of China has apparently not appreciated the fact that none of the available COVID-19 vaccines is capable of contributing to herd immunity, because none of these vaccines is capable of creating sterilizing immunity in the vaccinee [9-13]. None of the COVID-19 vaccines adequately prevents infection, viral replication within infected cells, or transmission from one person to another. At best, the vaccines have temporarily provided some brief and modest protection from severe disease and death. The vaccines not only fail to contribute to herd immunity, but they also interfere with development of herd immunity (by interfering with the immune system’s normal, natural, multidimensional immune response to the virus—particularly, by interfering with training of innate immunity).

The government of China has also apparently not fully appreciated how harmful and unwise the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign has been, and predictably so, at a population level [1, 2, 9, 14]. The government apparently has not appreciated that health authorities should never try to end a pandemic like the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing a rapid mass vaccination campaign (across all age groups), in the midst of an active pandemic (particularly involving a respiratory virus that easily and rapidly mutates), using a suboptimal vaccine (one that does not induce sterilizing immunity). Such a campaign, predictably, prolongs the pandemic and makes it more dangerous [1, 2, 9, 14]. Why? Because such a campaign puts immense immune pressure on the virus, at a population level, and this pressure inevitably results in the emergence of a succession of variants that are capable of overcoming the immune pressure and become dominant because they are more fit and can outcompete other variants. In other words, variants that are able to escape the vaccinal neutralizing antibodies (and, thereby, become more infectious) have a competitive advantage and, via natural selection and survival of the fittest, these variants become dominant. This leads to a prolonged series of new variants, each becoming more infectious than their predecessors [15-21].

The government of China also probably has not adequately appreciated that non-neutralizing antibodies induced by the COVID-19 vaccines become “infection-enhancing” when the vaccinal neutralizing antibodies drop below a certain level [9-13, 24, 27-29]. The non-neutralizing antibodies cause a conformational change in the spike protein which puts the spike protein in an “open position.” When in an “open” position, the spike protein can more easily fit into the ACE-2 receptor, which results in easier entry of the virus into host cells. This is a form of “antibody dependent enhancement (ADE)” of infection. The non-neutralizing vaccinal antibodies actually facilitate entry of virus into host cells. That is, the non-neutralizing antibodies render the vaccinated person more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The government also probably has not appreciated that the COVID-19 vaccines do not educate or train the innate immune system to fight SARS-CoV-2 and, instead, interfere with development of innate immunity against COVID-19 [3-5, 9–13]. Both the neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies induced by the vaccines sideline the innate immune system [3-5, 9-13]. They do so by outcompeting natural (innate) antibodies for binding sites on the spike protein. Normally, by binding to viruses, natural antibodies play an important role in the foundational education and subsequent training of the innate immune system’s natural killer cells (NK cells). When natural antibodies are sidelined (by the vaccinal antibodies), proper education and training of the innate immune system does not occur. This adverse effect is particularly harmful to young children, who have a limited window of opportunity for optimal foundational education of their innate immune system [3-5].

Furthermore, because the vaccinal antibodies are non-sterilizing and result in infection-enhancing antibodies, the vaccinated are predisposed to repeatedly becoming reinfected with SARS-CoV-2. This repeated infection keeps the innate immune system sidelined and almost constantly activates MHC-unrestricted cytolytic T cells (CTL-CD8+ T cells), which ultimately leads to immune exhaustion and immune dysregulation [9]. This sidelining of the innate immune system, coupled with “immune exhaustion”/immune dysregulation, results in diminished capacity to fight off not only SARS-CoV-2 but also many other types of infections [9, 11-13].

In addition to all of the above adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, It is inevitable that a SARS-CoV-2 variant will emerge that has evolved to be more virulent in addition to being more infectious [22-26]. This is because of the principles of natural selection and survival of the fittest— principles of evolution developed by Charles Darwin more than 160 years ago. As explained in a companion article (What is the Current State of the COVID Pandemic?—Part 2), when the COVID-19 pandemic is treated with the current ill-conceived mass vaccination campaign, the SARS-CoV-2 virus does not evolve to become less virulent.

So, what does all of this mean for the 1.4 billion people in China? What kind of a COVID-19 situation has the combination of the “zero COVID” policy and the “COVID mass vaccination campaign” created for the people of China? Has this combination of policies placed the people of China in a situation that is better than that of most people in the world, or worse? And what is likely to happen once the zero COVID policy is relaxed, particularly if a more virulent variant evolves and becomes dominant?

The COVID-19 situation in China is currently characterized by the following:

  • Because of the extremely strict zero COVID policy, fewer people became exposed to the virus and, therefore, fewer people developed sterilizing immunity to COVID-19, and because the COVID-19 vaccines have not been capable of inducing sterilizing immunity, it is unlikely that herd immunity has been achieved in China.
  • Furthermore, those people who have never been significantly exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (in part, because of the zero COVID policy) currently have no naturally acquired experience with the SARS-CoV-2 virus—which means that neither their innate immune system nor the adaptive arm of their immune system has had the precious benefit of prior natural experience with the virus. Such people are particularly vulnerable to becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, especially once a more virulent variant appears.
  • The COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign has, predictably, resulted in a prolonged series of new dominant variants, each being more infectious than their predecessors, each being increasingly resistant to vaccinal neutralizing antibodies [15-21].
  • Because the non-neutralizing antibodies induced by the COVID-19 vaccines facilitate entry of the SARS-CoV-2 virus into host cells (i.e., are “infection enhancing”), vaccinated people are at greater risk of becoming infected (and repeatedly re-infected) with SARS-CoV-2 [24, 27-29]. While infected, they at least briefly spread the virus and increase the amount of virus in the population, thereby perpetuating and prolonging the pandemic.
  • In those who have been vaccinated, the vaccinal antibodies have sidelined their innate immune system [3, 4, 9, 11-13]. This means that their innate immune system has not been able to participate normally in the immune reaction against COVID-19, and it also means that their innate immune system has not become optimally trained to protect against COVID-19. This adverse effect of the COVID-19 vaccination not only decreases the vaccinated person’s ability to fight off SARS-CoV-2, but it also decreases the vaccinated person’s ability to handle other virus infections, and it renders vaccinated people more susceptible to autoimmune disease and cancers. (See companion articles written by Dr. Vanden Bossche and by Dr. Rennebohm.)
  • Although the non-neutralizing vaccinal antibodies have, heretofore, possibly been providing some protection against severe COVID-19 (a “virulence-inhibiting” effect of the vaccine), it is inevitable that a variant will soon evolve that is capable of overcoming this virulence-inhibiting effect [22-26]. Such a variant will be resistant not only to the vaccinal neutralizing antibodies but also to the “virulence-inhibiting” effect of the vaccinal non-neutralizing antibodies. Once this occurs, COVID-19 vaccination will no longer provide any protection against severe infection. At that point, COVID-19 vaccination will only provide its deleterious “infection-enhancing” effects and its other deleterious effects [11, 33, 34, 36].
  • To summarize, the net effect of the above phenomena is that the vaccinated people in China are in a very precarious, dangerous position:
    • There is no herd immunity to protect them.
    • Most people in China have developed very little naturally acquired immunity against COVID (because of the zero-COVID policy).
    • Vaccinal antibodies have been sidelining their innate immune system, rendering it unable to gain valuable training and unable to optimally participate in a fight against SARS-CoV-2.
    • Their vaccinal antibodies are unable to protect them from getting infected—in fact, their non-neutralizing vaccinal antibodies are now infection-enhancing, rendering the vaccinated more susceptible to becoming infected.
    • The mass vaccination campaign has already resulted in a series of increasingly more infectious variants and will soon result in more virulent variants that will be totally resistant to the COVID-19 vaccines.
    • Once a more virulent variant appears, the vaccinated people will have little ability to fight off the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Their vaccination will provide no benefits, while continuing to have deleterious effects.
  • The unvaccinated people in China will be in a better position than the vaccinated because:
    • Their innate immune system has not been sidelined and compromised by COVID-19 vaccination. Their innate immune system will be able to react in a normal way.
    • They will not have infection-enhancing vaccinal antibodies.
    • The adaptive arm of their immune system will be free to react in a normal way.
    • Those who have been somehow exposed to SARS-CoV-2 will have had opportunity to develop naturally acquired immunity, which is far superior to vaccine-induced immunity.
  • However, even the unvaccinated people in China will be in a difficult position because:
      • Herd immunity has not been achieved in China.
      • The mass vaccination campaign has resulted in new, increasingly infectious variants and will soon result in a more virulent variant(s). Such variants will be difficult for the unvaccinated to avoid and to handle, though they will be better off than the vaccinated.
      • The mass vaccination campaign has also resulted in vaccinated people having infection-enhancing antibodies, which means more people will be infected and more virus will be circulating in the population, which means unvaccinated people are more likely to become infected because so much virus is circulating in communities, thanks to the mass vaccination campaign.

Because of the above, all people in China, particularly the vaccinated, but not just the vaccinated, are currently in a difficult and dangerous position—particularly if the mass vaccination campaign is continued, particularly when the more virulent variant(s) appears on the scene. At that point, a highly infectious, much more virulent, totally vaccine-resistant variant will likely dominate the scene and cause a marked increase in hospitalizations and death.

When a highly vaccinated population that has had little past natural exposure to SARS-CoV-2 is suddenly exposed (due to rapid relaxation of the zero-COVID policy) to a large amount of circulating virus that is highly infectious, has become quite virulent, and is totally vaccine-resistant, there is potential for catastrophic loss of life, particularly for the vaccinated but even for the unvaccinated [9].

So, what can China do at this point? Before addressing that question, let us be aware of a new false narrative that some governmental officials in China might start promoting.

A potential new false narrative:

It is easy to imagine that this dangerous situation will soon be blamed (by some governmental officials in China) on the protesters who “whipped up” such “intense social pressure” that the government felt “forced” to make dramatic changes in its zero-COVID policies, lest civil disobedience escalate and lead to chaos.

The great increase in hospitalizations and deaths will be blamed on those who “failed to get fully vaccinated” and those who “spread COVID-19 misinformation” that undermined confidence in the government’s COVID-19 policies.

The worsening situation will be used to “vindicate and justify” China’s zero COVID-19 policy.  The “low COVID-19 death count” during the zero COVID era and the worsening statistics upon loosening of restrictions will be used to justify a return to extreme mitigation measures and an escalation of the mass vaccination campaign. (A new campaign to increase vaccination is already occurring in China, particularly among the elderly. To date, approximately 90% of China’s total population is fully vaccinated, but among those 80 and older only 65.8% have been fully vaccinated and only 40% have received a booster, so far.)

The worsening situation will also be used to justify the punishment of protesters, “spreaders of misinformation,” and the unvaccinated—-for “causing so many deaths.”

The governments and health authorities in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand will likely side with the Chinese government’s interpretations, claims, and some of their responses. The USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand will use the China experience to justify and vindicate their own COVID-19 policies to date, and will return to past mitigation policies but not to the levels imposed in China. In fact, the governments and health authorities in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand will likely claim that they are implementing a “kinder, gentler” version of mitigation policies (compared to those in China) because they are more compassionate than leaders in China and are more sensitive to and respectful of the limits to which the citizenry can/will tolerate impositions.

The worsening situation in China will also be used by the World Health Organization (WHO) to justify and encourage global escalation of the mass vaccination campaign and further crackdown on those “spreading misinformation.”

It is important for ordinary citizens in China, the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere (India, e.g.) to be aware that the above new narrative might be rolled out. If such a narrative is rolled out, citizens need to see through it and counter it with scientifically sound information—like the information Dr. Vanden Bossche has been providing.

What can China do at this point?

There are several proactive, protective actions that people in China (and citizens in all countries) can take—individually and collectively:

      • Thorough, accurate, honest, scientifically sound, understandable, and demystifying patient education about COVID-19 can be provided to the Public—particularly regarding COVID-19 vaccination and the concerns mentioned in this article (and in the companion articles cited) [1-14, 30-36]. To date, in most countries, adequate education has not been provided by the promoters of the prevailing narrative and its mass vaccination campaign—but this can be corrected.
      • The Public can be helped to understand that the problem we are currently facing—the continuing appearance of a succession of new dominant SARS-CoV-2 variants that have become increasingly infectious and will likely soon become worrisomely virulent, especially for the vaccinated—is profoundly serious. They must realize that this problem has been created by the misguided, scientifically unsound mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign, not by the lack of vaccination. That mass vaccination campaign must, therefore, be stopped, including the new “updated bi-valent vaccines” [8]. Vaccination of the elderly should also be stopped, because the risks associated with vaccination of elderly people will be far greater than any putative benefit.
      • The adverse effects that the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign has had on the evolutionary biology of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the predominance of more infectious and potentially more lethal variants) is the major reason and is sufficient reason, all by itself, for immediately shutting down the entire vaccination campaign. On top of that reason are the many adverse effects the vaccines have had on individuals—abnormal clotting, myocarditis/pericarditis, neurologic disease, sudden unexpected and unexplained death, etc. [11, 33, 34,36] Those side effects, on individuals, are also sufficient reason, by themselves, for immediately shutting down the vaccination campaign, even for the elderly and otherwise vulnerable.
      • We must now shift to preparing for an emphasis on anti-viral therapy (rather than vaccination), using anti-viral agents with the best-known benefit/risk ratio [31, 32].
      • For those who become infected, early (and accurate) outpatient diagnosis (with disclosure of PCR Ct values [35] and verification of COVID-19 by genomic sequencing in selected instances) and early (timely) outpatient treatment with safe, effective, widely accessible, and affordable anti-viral therapies [31, 32] may help prevent escalation of disease. Such anti-viral therapies have been used with apparent success by many physicians throughout the world [31, 32]. (Paxlovid and Molnupiravir do not fulfill criteria for being widely accessible and affordable and, unfortunately, their safety and efficacy have not been adequately established.)
      • In addition to promptly starting early outpatient anti-viral treatment, prompt initiation of careful monitoring can be immensely helpful—to document whether the patient is following a reassuring clinical course or is heading into a worrisome hyperimmune phase. It is helpful to follow: serial COVID-19 PCR Ct values to document the extent to which the initial viral load is reassuringly decreasing, or not [35]; serial CBC, blood chemistries, CRP, ESR, serum ferritin, d-Dimers to document the extent to which the patient is or is not developing a hyperimmune reaction and/or hypercoagulable state [30]; and use of a home pulse oximeter to document the extent to which the patient is developing a drop in O2 saturation due to worrisome lung disease.
      • For those who develop a hyperimmune/hyperinflammatory reaction (usually during the second and third weeks of illness, but possibly much sooner with new more virulent variants), prompt and appropriately aggressive immunosuppression (with, for example, appropriate use of corticosteroid and anti-cytokine therapies) and appropriate use of other therapies may be critically important [30].
      • When a highly infectious and highly virulent SARS-CoV-2 variant appears, particularly in highly vaccinated communities/countries/populations, it may be necessary to treat virtually everyone prophylactically, or at least those who become infected, with prompt safe, effective, widely accessible, affordable anti-viral therapy (at appropriate doses), perhaps for several weeks, in an effort to thoroughly reduce the viral infectious pressure in these populations/communities and to interrupt the vicious cycle of high infectious pressure causing enhanced immune pressure on the viral life cycle and, hence, driving immune escape.
      • Good exercise, good nutrition (including immune-supporting vitamins and other nutraceuticals [31]), fresh air, sunshine, and good emotional health (including reduction of COVID-19-related mystery, confusion, anxiety, and cognitive dissonance) will help optimize people’s immune systems, particularly their innate immune systems. The angst of confusion, mystery, and frustration is counter-therapeutic. De-mystification and “having a specific proactive plan,” in advance of becoming infected, are therapeutic.
      • When the highly infectious and highly virulent variant appears, particularly in highly vaccinated communities/countries/populations, it may be necessary to consider moving elderly folks (particularly those who are most vulnerable) out of crowded nursing homes/retirement homes into single family dwellings (e.g. into the home of an elderly person’s son, daughter, or relative), to the extent possible/practical—-or to designated small COVID-19 facilities that are properly staffed and protected.
      • It is important for physicians, health care officials, politicians, and citizens to appreciate the great complexity of the COVID-19 situation. Simplistic understandings that are not rooted in a deep appreciation of the complexities of immunology, virology, vaccinology, evolutionary biology, and glycosylation biology are potentially dangerous and should be avoided. For example, the simplistic and misleading statement that the vaccines are “exceedingly safe and extremely effective; get vaccinated! It’s your social responsibility; do it for others, if not for yourself; our patience is growing thin!” is scientifically incorrect, dangerous, divisive, and abusive. These simplistic and incorrect directives need to stop.
      • It is critically important that the scientists and physicians who have been responsible for the prevailing COVID-19 narrative and its policies engage in respectful, healthy scientific dialogue with those scientists and physicians who have challenged the prevailing narrative and its policies. To date there has been very little such dialogue, despite pleas by Dr. Vanden Bossche and others for such dialogue. This must change. More than one narrative must be allowed. That is a fundamental principle of science and medicine. The demonization and persecution of those who have responsibly challenged the prevailing narrative must stop. If Dr. Vanden Bossche is wrong in his understandings and concerns, this needs to be established through thorough thoughtful scientific dialogue. If the promoters of the prevailing COVID-19 narrative have been wrong, especially regarding their COVID-19 vaccination campaign, this needs to be established through thorough extensive scientific dialogue.
      • I would like to again emphasize that I would much prefer that the issues discussed in this article be addressed by a representative international panel of physicians and scientists with exemplary expertise in immunology, virology, vaccinology, evolutionary biology, glycosylation biology, and epidemiology who would engage in respectful, scientific, video-archived dialogue about these questions. Physicians, including me, need and deserve that help. Citizens and physicians could then view and listen to that dialogue and decide whose explanations make the most sense and whose recommendations seem wisest.
      • Unfortunately, the vast majority of physicians (at least in the USA and perhaps in China, too) have either supported the prevailing COVID-19 narrative and obediently executed its policies or, if they have disagreed with the prevailing narrative and its mass vaccination campaign, they have remained silent (often out of fear of reprisal if they challenge the prevailing narrative). It is imperative, now, for physicians to do their homework and speak up—for the sake of science, medicine, their patients, and Humanity. To facilitate that homework, I have created an educational website: www.notesfromthesocialclinic.org
      • In addition to promoting respectful, healthy, scientific dialogue among health care professionals, we must also promote such dialogue among citizens. We must promote dialogue and demystifying education that will elevate understanding of the complexity of the COVID-19 situation, create consensus, bring people together, and unite people in positive, constructive efforts to do what is needed to preserve lives and end this pandemic.
      • It is important that the “vaccinated” and “unvaccinated” not be pitted against each other. This has never been a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” nor is it helpful to view it as a “pandemic of the vaccinated.” It is a pandemic that has been prolonged and made worse by a misguided mass vaccination campaign. Vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens should kindly and sensitively work together to correct the many mistakes that have been made in the management of this pandemic.
      • Finally, it should be realized that (at least in the USA and Europe but also possibly in China) it is unlikely that the White House COVID-19 Task Force, the CDC, FDA, NIH, WHO, the medical establishment, pharmaceutical companies, and the conventional media (and equivalents in China) will honestly acknowledge and correct the mistakes they have made. More likely, they will espouse a new narrative (like the new false narrative mentioned earlier) and try to avoid accountability. Correction of these mistakes, therefore, will likely depend on the careful homework and thoughtful advocacy and altruism of ordinary citizens (both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated).
      • If citizens, particularly mothers and pediatricians, unite to properly educate the Public and open the eyes and minds of unaware promoters of the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign, then Humanity, particularly our children and grandchildren, will have a chance for a good outcome, despite the damage the mass vaccination campaign has done to the immune ecosystem and to individuals.

Note: The images embedded in this article are paintings by Honore Daumier (1808-1879)—three of which are paintings of Don Quixote.


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For further reading, please see the “Notes on COVID-19” posted on the following website:


For example, to access companion articles, click on the following links:

How Would Three of Canada’s Greatest Historical Figures Respond to the COVID Situation, If They were Alive today?

Pediatricians, Internationally, Please Call for an Immediate Halt to the Global Campaign to Vaccinate Children Against COVID

Open Letter to Parents Regarding COVID Vaccination—Part III: Questions to Ask Your Physician

Open Letter to Parents and Pediatricians—Part IV: The Harmful Immunologic Consequences of Vaccinating Children Against COVID

Open Letter to Parents and Pediatricians—Part V: Let us Forget neither the Art nor the Science of Medicine

Robert Rennebohm, MD

Email: rmrennebohm@gmail.com

Website: www.notesfromthesocialclinic.org