Tag Archives: Covid-19

More evidence masks are merely a symbolic gesture

A new study has found that both improvised and surgical masks are ineffective in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

They found that “neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filtered SARS–CoV-2 during coughs by infected patients.” They also “found greater contamination on the outer than the inner mask surfaces,” suggesting that any contact with a mask worn for a long time will likely mean the mask increases the chance of spreading the virus.

Their conclusion?

[B]oth surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.

Granted the experiment only tested four individuals in a controlled situation, but what they found matches what many others have been saying. It also illustrates the uncertainty of the science. Considering that the World Health Organization (WHO) states now that healthy people should not wear masks, and that there are also health risks for those that do, it once again seems very inappropriate (I am using a very mild word here) for our leaders or anyone to now demand that we all wear them, all the time, in all situations, blindly.

If others wish to wear masks, all power to them. I however will not submit to something I consider irrational. And I suspect sadly that I am mostly alone in this, because I think that most who say they agree with me will still cooperate and put on a mask when told to do so. I will not. At the moment I am fighting with two doctors, who will not see me for regular doctors appointments unless I wear a mask. I have told them I will not, have cited the medical reasons why (I have asthma), and they so far have not bent.

If it means I no longer have any doctors to treat me, then fine. I would rather die than live in such a society. I was born free, I will die free. Or as Ronald Reagan once said:

I am no longer young. You might have suspected that. [Laughter] The house we hope to build is one that is not for my generation, but for yours. It is your future that matters. And I hope that when you’re my age, you’ll be able to say as I have been able to say: We lived in freedom, we lived lives that were a statement, not an apology.

I intend to live my life as a statement, not an apology.

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Doctors admit: Masks are nothing more than “symbols”, do little

Researchers admit masks are nothing more than “symbols”, and may in the end increase the risk of catching the coronavirus, or other diseases.

From the original New England Journal of Medicine paper:

A mask will not protect providers caring for a patient with active Covid-19 if it’s not accompanied by meticulous hand hygiene, eye protection, gloves, and a gown. A mask alone will not prevent health care workers with early Covid-19 from contaminating their hands and spreading the virus to patients and colleagues. Focusing on universal masking alone may, paradoxically, lead to more transmission of Covid-19 if it diverts attention from implementing more fundamental infection-control measures. [emphasis mine]

The paper than bluntly concludes that masks are really no more than a “talisman” and a symbol for influencing others to do what the mask-wearer wants.

Masks are visible reminders of an otherwise invisible yet widely prevalent pathogen and may remind people of the importance of social distancing and other infection-control measures.

It is also clear that masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask, particularly in light of the worldwide mask shortage, but it is difficult to get clinicians to hear this message in the heat of the current crisis. Expanded masking protocols’ greatest contribution may be to reduce the transmission of anxiety, over and above whatever role they may play in reducing transmission of Covid-19.

I am sick and tired of being forced to do empty, feel-good gestures that actually increase my risk, and do nothing except advance the political agendas of fools who are guided only by emotion and irrationality.

I will not wear a mask under these conditions, and I will tell anyone that tries to force to do it to go jump in a lake.

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The health dangers of wearing a mask improperly

Our new dictators in government and its bureaucracies are now attempting to impose a new “normal” on society, demanding that everyone where a mask wherever they go in public. They claim this is to “slow the spread of COVID-19”, but if you try to pin down the actual science that supports this claim, you will routinely have trouble finding it.

What you instead will find is that there is substantial peer-reviewed research that not only questions the usefulness of widespread mask use by the public in ordinary settings, but also notes serious health risks that can be caused by the masks themselves.

Today I want to take a look at the failure and absurdity of widespread mask use, using as my guide the very instructions given by the Mayo Clinic and the World Health Organization (WHO). What I am going to do is review these instructions, step-by-step, noting the absurdity of their expectations and the risks they scoff over so nonchalantly.

First, let’s look at the claims made by the Mayo clinic:
» Read more

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Almost all COVID-19 deaths occur in long-term nursing homes

Not only has the death rate for the Wuhan flu inflated falsely by government officials, they have obscured the fact that almost all the deaths have occurred not in the general population but within long term medical health facilities for the elderly.

Fact #1: 1.7% of the population in the US resides in long-term medical care facilities (LTMCFs) and total 5.7 million.

Fact #2: The residents of LTMCFs accounted for 38,800 or 53% of all COVID-19 deaths (based on recent data). The rest of the country, the 98.3%, have experienced approximately 34,600 deaths, or 47% of the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths.

That means the death rate, deaths expressed as a percent of those living in medical care institutions, is 0.682%, more than 50 times the death rate of the rest of the population at 0.012%. The death rate for the overall populations is 0.022%.

That should leave you speechless.

In other words, the death rate for the Wuhan flu is pretty much the same as the flu, and is really only a threat to the elderly sick. Protect that population, as Florida did, and you reduce the risk to everyone to practically nil.

Which means the demands upon us all — the lock downs, the social distancing, the requirement to wear masks — are all fake theater and are pointless in all ways but one: They give power to the thugs now running our government.

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COVID-19 deaths likely inflated by a minimum of 25%

The number of people listed daily by state governments throughout the United States are likely inflated by 25%, based on the policies from numerous different health departments.

The policy has been to count any death with even the slightest hint of the Wuhan flu, even without any tests, to be caused by it. This was discovered in Colorado when they listed a death as caused by coronavirus, when in reality it was a drunk who died from alcohol poisoning. The state was forced to change its counting system, slightly.

Colorado has switched to a dual recording system. It still keeps a broader category of “deaths among cases,” and the smaller category of “deaths due to.” But you have to go directly to its web site to see that. The number still reported to the CDC and thence to data aggregation sites like Worldometers or the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center to count Colorado deaths and U.S. deaths remains “deaths among.”

The dual system essentially amounts to an asterisk. Nevertheless, the difference is marked. The “due to” category is about a fourth smaller than the “caused by” one. And there’s no reason to think it’s different in other states. So when the nation hits the 100,000 Covid-19 death mark soon, if you subtract 25%, it would still be proportionately far less than half the 1968-1969 “Hong Kong Flu” (H3N2) which killed an estimated 100,000 Americans at the time — or 170,000 when adjusted for U.S. population increase.

And no, the economy wasn’t destroyed and constitutionally protected civil liberties suspended for the Hong Kong Flu.

Democratic Party states like Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, and others have all been found to fudge their numbers in the same way, and don’t yet make it obvious that they are doing so.

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More good news on the Wuhan flu front

Two stories today suggest again that there is no reason to fear COVID-19, especially if you are healthy and young.

The first story suggests that social distancing, masks, and the incessant cleaning of surfaces are ridiculous over-reactions and likely unnecessary. Nor am I surprised. We have always had similar expectations from all other flu-like illnesses, and have never required these paranoid requirements in the past. It is time for them to stop.

The second story provides more evidence that the epidemic is dying, as predicted and like all similar flu-like epidemics.

The team has recruited 10,000 people to test the vaccine, some of whom will be given the vaccine and others a placebo. But as it is unethical to purposely infect people in the trial with COVID-19, participants will be asked to go about their normal routine in the expectation that some will be exposed to it naturally. However, that is unlikely to happen if the virus is not spreading, meaning that no conclusions can be drawn one way or the other about the vaccine’s efficacy.

Hill expects that fewer than 50 people in the test population will catch the virus, but if less than 20 test positive the results may be useless “It is a race, yes. But it’s not a race against the other guys,” he said. “It’s a race against the virus disappearing – and against time. We said earlier in the year that there was an 80% chance of developing an effective vaccine by September. But at the moment, there’s a 50% chance that we get no result at all.

Let me repeat this: They have 10,000 volunteers, and expect fewer than 50 of those to get infected with the Wuhan flu. In other words, this seasonal epidemic is going away, as such things do. It might return in the fall, but expect that return to be smaller, and hopefully if some government officials get their brains out of their behinds and focus on protecting the sick elderly, it will have little impact.

In any case, the evidence continues to point to the end of the epidemic, and in the process the discovery that the virus is relatively harmless to almost everyone. People have got to relax and stop being so afraid. It is not the bogey-man the press and the politicians have claimed it to be.

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Florida’s successful response to COVID-19, based on the DATA

This review of the success of Florida’s government, led by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, in containing the Wuhan flu epidemic while not shutting down his state unnecessarily, can be summed up with this one quote from the article:

So how did DeSantis go about responding to the epidemic? It began with the data.

At the outset, DeSantis looked at South Korea’s experience, Then there was Italy: “I think the median age of fatality was something like 82 in some of those areas in Northern Italy … That really helped inform the strategy to focus most of our efforts on the at-risk groups.”

The DeSantis team also didn’t put much stock in dire projections. Instead, “we started really focusing on just what we saw.” [emphasis mine]

What the DeSantis team did was focus on protecting the elderly population, as shown by the data, while allowing the rest of the younger population to pretty much go about their business.

At the same time, Florida was giving its counties latitude in how they reacted to the crisis. “I said from the beginning,” DeSantis explains, “we’re a big, diverse state. Even at this point, 60 percent of our cases have come from just three counties.”

DeSantis issued his own statewide order, but he argues that it was more flexible and less prescriptive than those of other states. “We basically had businesses operating. We had the day cares open, we had recreation open, and my order never actually closed any businesses. We allowed them to operate within the context of just limiting contact between people outside the household.” [emphasis mine]

If only more governors had taken this common sense, rational approach, based on the available data, not on models that were nothing more than panicked opinions of doom. Had more done this, there would have been less panic, fewer businesses nationwide destroyed, fewer old people in nursing homes dead in New York, Michigan, and other Democratically-controlled states (where their idiotic governors forced infected patients into nursing homes), and millions still employed in viable prosperous businesses.

Instead we are now faced with a possible depression, imposed on us by incompetent governors nationwide.

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CDC confirms COVID-19 tiny death rate, comparable to flu

Are you enraged yet? The CDC has confirmed that the death rate for the Wuhan flu is probably less than 0.4%, slightly higher than the flu’s 0.1%, but when all factors are considered, including the data that shows it is almost completely harmless to everyone but the elderly who are chronically sick, the disease is essentially just another new flu epidemic, requiring no extreme measures other than acting to protect the vulnerable.

Plus, ultimately we might find out that the IFR [infection fatality rate] is even lower because numerous studies and hard counts of confined populations have shown a much higher percentage of asymptomatic cases. Simply adjusting for a 50% asymptomatic rate would drop their fatality rate to 0.2% – exactly the rate of fatality Dr. John Ionnidis of Stanford University projected.

More importantly, as I mentioned before, the overall death rate is meaningless because the numbers are so lopsided. Given that at least half of the deaths were in nursing homes, a back-of-the-envelope estimate would show that the infection fatality rate for non-nursing home residents would only be 0.1% or 1 in 1,000. And that includes people of all ages and all health statuses outside of nursing homes.

There’s more. Read it all.

What infuriates me the most is that the early data (not the fake models) all pointed in this direction, quite clearly, as noted in detail in this March 17 post, just when panicked state governors were beginning to impose totalitarian rule by edict. Even then it was clear that lock downs made no sense, and would only worsen the situation.

I repeat: Any disease like this requires a rational aggressive and focused response. We can’t ignore it. People need to voluntarily self-quarantine if they feel sick, or if they have older and sick relatives living with them. We should also wash our hands regularly, and avoid unnecessary physical contact with many other individuals.

At the same time, we mustn’t waste our energies doing things that are unnecessary, foolish, or downright counter-productive, such as releasing entire prison populations into the general population.

We also should be outraged by politicians who are using this situation not to deal with it but to impose their pet totalitarian rule over the population, such as passing entirely irrelevant gun bans and shutting down businesses willy-nilly and imprisoning everyone in their homes.

These actions will do little to ease the epidemic. Instead, they might worsen the situation by causing panic (as they have apparently done). Panic is not what this situation warrants. Instead it needs a calm rational response, something that only civilized rational people can give it.

Are we that? Watching what is happening I must sadly say I have my doubts.

In retrospect, it appears if many of our leaders have any rationality, they apply it exclusively to creating schemes for increasing their power and ability to oppress everyone else. Serving the nation and its citizenry appears the last thing on their mind.

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The only opposition that will matter to today’s lock down fascism will be opposition expressed in the ballot box

In the past week or so there have been numerous stories in the press suggesting that Americans have finally lost patience with the unreasonable Wuhan flu lock downs that have been arbitrarily imposed in the past two months by elected officials, sometimes indefinitely, for no justifiably rational reasons.

In Michigan there were armed protests, and then barbers began publicly defying the lock down orders of their fascist governor.

In New Jersey a health club defied the order of that state’s fascist governor and reopened to cheers from its customers.

In Baltimore a pastor stood at the pulpit and ripped apart the shut down order by that city’s health department.

In Minnesota the Catholic church announced it was reopening for church services, in direct defiance of the orders of that state’s governor.

I could cite many other examples, across the country, in both conservative and liberal states.

Are these push backs necessary? Certainly. These fascist governors and mayors, most of whom have been Democrats, have imposed unreasonable and blatantly illegal arbitrary restrictions on the freedoms of Americans, which must be resisted at all costs.

Are these push backs real? Forgive me if I must sadly remain skeptical. For fifty years I have watched as politicians, mostly from the Democratic Party but with more than ample support from large numbers of Republican Party hacks, have slowly but steadily worked to erode the freedoms of Americans.
» Read more

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The fascist states within the United States

It is now clear that a large number of state governments have decided to morph what had originally been called a very temporary lock down and request to social distance into a permanent state of martial law, with their governors retaining the right to rule by edict for as long as they personally deem.

As most states begin to move forward with measures to reopen their economies following strict lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, some governors and big-city mayors are now saying the restrictions will not fully be lifted until a vaccine or treatment for the disease is available — a timeline that could take a year or more.

The leaders’ comments indicate Americans could be living with orders restricting personal and economic activity for much longer than many anticipate.

And who are these new dictators? Here is the list from the linked article above:

  • Democrat Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey
  • Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan
  • Democrat Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois
  • Democrat Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles
  • Republican Mayor David Holt of Oklahoma City

Nor are these the only ones. » Read more

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Oregon fines salon owner, goes after her children

They’re coming for you next: For simply running her business in defiance of Oregon’s government-imposed lock down because she needs money to feed her children, petty dictator Kate Brown (the governor) has fined her $14,000, and sent Child Protection Services to her home to threaten her and harass her three children, all under six.

“On May 7 child protective services showed up at my home. They questioned my husband and I. Questioned my child without me present. They searched our home,” she said as tears welled up in her eyes during a press conference Friday. “And I never expected such a violent, aggressive, vindictive thing could ever be done to me or my family because I’m trying to earn a living. Because I’m trying to work,” Graham added.

Why should anyone be surprised? By law, Brown’s emergency shut down edicts can only be in effect for 28 days. Yet the courts have now ruled she can extend them at will, for whatever reason. With such power, we should expect such power-hungry people to act vindictively.

And to repeat:They’re coming for you next:

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Judge declares Oregon governor’s Wuhan flu edicts “null and void”; Overridden by state supreme court

UPDATE: Oregon’s state supreme court has blocked the local judge’s order and reinstated the lock downs.

Not surprisingly, the state’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, celebrated her new found fascist power:

“Following swift action by the Oregon Supreme Court, my emergency orders to protect the health and safety of Oregonians will remain in effect statewide while the court hears arguments in this lawsuit.”

She claims “the science is clear,” but that is the type of brainless claim made by every politician when they grab power.

Regardless, I am not surprised. Oregon wants its fascism. It is why they have allowed the Democrats to control the state.

The original post:
—————–
An Oregon state judge has invalidated all of Governor Kate Brown’s lock down edicts, stating she had exceeded her authority under law.

Brown has exceeded her authority by restricting activities, including church services and businesses, for longer than the 28 days the governor is authorized under a state law related to public health emergencies, [the judge] Shirtcliff said.

The judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement each of the more than 10 executive orders the governor has issued since March 8.

Shirtcliff’s decision applies to the entire state. He ruled on the motions because the lawsuit challenging the duration of the governor’s legal authority was filed May 6 in Baker County Circuit Court. Elkhorn Baptist Church of Baker City is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed by Salem attorney Ray Hacke of the Pacific Justice Institute, a nonprofit that defends religious liberty.

Expect more such victories in court. Most of the worst abuses have been cases where governors have completely ignored the law, and ruled by edict, as if they had that power.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a gym reopened in defiance of the shut down imposed by that state’s fascist Democratic governor, Phil Murphy. The police arrived, discovered themselves surrounded by a crowd of defiant customers, and told the owners they were in violation, but then left without doing anything else.

We need more such defiance.

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From Pennsylvania: more proof the lock downs were insane

An analysis of all the deaths so far in Pennsylvania reveals once again the absurdity of the government-imposed shut downs that have thrown millions out of work and destroyed whole industries.

[A]lmost 70% of deaths occurred in nursing home and care home settings, and 90% of the deaths were among people who had one or more complicating factors such as heart disease or other severe conditions. The letter goes on to state that as of May 15th, 2020, only 5% of available hospital beds were occupied by COVID19 patients and just over 1% were on ventilators.

The quote is summarizing the details from a letter released by the speaker of Pennsylvania’s House. It shows, without any doubt, that there was never going to be a big influx of Wuhan flu patients. Most of those that got ill were already in nursing homes, or under care for many other serious chronic illnesses. They were already in the healthcare system, meaning the system would not have been overwhelmed.

Moreover, this data once again shows that almost everyone in the population is under no threat from the disease. It only kills those who are old and already badly sick. There is no reason to fear your neighbors, your friends, the people you see on the street. You can go out and hug them. In fact, do it, so that you all get infected and thus kill this damn epidemic sooner so that the old and sick will no longer be threatened by it.

Don’t believe me? Then consider these similar stories:

We have bankrupted ourselves for no reason.

The brainless, panicked, and emotional fear-mongering over this disease has been unconscionable, immoral, and totally unjustified. The data shows overwhelmingly that Elon Musk is right. “The politicians & unelected bureaucrats who stole our liberty should be tarred, feathered & thrown out of town!”

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Large majority of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic

The evidence continues to build that the majority of people who get infected with the Wuhan flu end up showing no symptoms and do not even know they caught the virus.

The author gives eight solid examples where testing found a large population infected, with most asymptomatic. These included the crew and passengers on three different ships, prison systems in four different states (85% to 98% asymptomatic), a meat-packing plant, the homeless, pregnant women, and even in three nursing homes (!):

A survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine at an anonymous nursing home found that more than half with positive results were asymptomatic. In another nursing home in Washington state, 56% of those who tested positive were asymptomatic. One nursing home in Miami County, Ohio, tested every resident last week, and so far all of those who tested positive are still asymptomatic. [emphasis mine]

He also notes that in all but the last example, the number of fatalities were tiny, or none.

He then makes four common sense points. First,

The overwhelming majority of those infected are asymptomatic, which grows to an absolute super-majority when you factor in the mildly symptomatic. The fatality rate is therefore very small and very confined to a known population. Thus, it makes no sense to lock down younger and healthier people who overwhelmingly don’t get seriously ill, much less deathly ill, even if they contract the virus.

This confirms what was suggested from the beginning, that the death rate for the Wuhan flu is likely comparable to the flu.

Second, this shows it is absurd to release criminals. They almost certainly already have the disease, and weren’t bothered by it. They should serve out their punishments.

Third, “Contact tracing of the entire country is utterly insane. Most people have been spreading this virus while asymptomatic for months. What is left to trace?”

And finally,

By going back to normal with basic precautions for most of the population, we will be able to achieve herd immunity much less painfully than previously thought while shielding the more vulnerable population. … The fact that so many of the more exposed and vulnerable already got it and so many were asymptomatic means we could achieve herd immunity much quicker with fewer lives lost, certainly compared to lockdown.

The lock downs must end. We need to stop panicking and go back to normal. This disease is not the plague the press and politicians have been pushing. It does not require extreme measures to fight.

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The uncertainties of mask use demand that no one be forced to wear them

The uncertainty of science: Regular readers of Behind the Black will know that I have made it very clear I consider the requirement to wear a mask by government officials to be an incredible and inappropriate overreach of their authority, partly because they don’t have that legal right, and partly because the science is very uncertain, with some studies strongly suggesting that the mask could have serious negative health effects.

Still, the science remains uncertain. Because of this uncertainty, it seems to me in a free society, where everyone respects the idea of freedom, wearing a mask must be left up to each individual.

Sadly, the social justice warriors of our society no longer believe in freedom, and will try to shame and discredit you if you say publicly you will not wear a mask. In the past week I have had two friends tell me bluntly that they will never again be in the same room with me, because they insist that everyone should wear a mask in public, all the time. (This saddens me because I had considered them friends, and it appears those friendships are now over.) One even said “Not wearing a mask in public or with people who are not your immediate family is a true sign of disrespect for others, to put it mildly.”

The context of that last quote is important. » Read more

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Texas business reopens in defiance of shut down with armed security

The future: A Texas tatoo parlor decided last week to reopen in defiance of the shut down regulations imposed by its state government, and did so with the help of armed security.

When Jamie Williams decided to reopen her East Texas tattoo studio last week in defiance of the state’s coronavirus restrictions, she asked Philip Archibald for help. He showed up with his dog Zeus, his friends and his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Archibald established an armed perimeter in the parking lot outside Crash-N-Burn Tattoo, secured by five men with military-style rifles, tactical shotguns, camouflage vests and walkie-talkies. One of them already had a large tattoo of his own. “We the People,” it said.

“I think it should be a business’s right if they want to close or open,” said Archibald, a 29-year-old online fitness trainer from the Dallas area who lately has made it his personal mission to help Texas business owners challenge government orders to keep their doors shut during the coronavirus pandemic. “What is coming to arrest a person who is opening their business according to their constitutional rights? That’s confrontation.”

More businesses need to do the same. If enough do it, the police thugs will have no choice but to back off and let these Americans go about their business of freely pursuing life, liberty, and happiness.

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The epidemic has passed its peak

Link here. The author goes into great detail, with numerous graphs, illustrating that in nation after nation and state after state, the peak of the epidemic has passed, and we have done all the flattening of the curve we are ever going to do. Among a range of recommendations, he concludes that

In those countries and states that are past the peak, declare the emergency is over and open everything back up. Acknowledge that the chance to flatten the curve is gone, and revoke each and every emergency order. They are only valid for the duration of the emergency. [emphasis in original]

He notes, as I have repeatedly, that the lock downs have not worked. For example, he finds that the overall epidemic in Sweden, which did not lock down its society, trends smack dab in the middle when compared with all other countries. The lock downs made no difference.

If we need to do anything, he emphasizes again that you do not quarantine the healthy, you quarantine the sick.

He also notes that the economic crash, caused by those lock downs, has caused far more harm that the virus ever would have.

It’s like … it’s like … well, about the only example I can think of which has equivalent idiocy is if a mosquito were to land on your head and you grabbed a sledgehammer to get rid of it.

The lock downs must end, now. We need to accept the reality that the Wuhan virus is here to stay, and that it is really quite comparable to the range of similar viruses humans have lived with for eons.

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Kevin James – Out of Touch

This short film epitomizes the fascist nature of today’s lock down, social distancing crowd, working in lockstep with government power. It has been making the rounds on a variety of news websites. I think it needs to be highlighted.

The time has come to tell these ugly snitches that we don’t care what they think, and that we are going to live as we decide, freely.

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Lock down failure

First we were told that it was necessary to impose “social distancing rules” and shut down the economy for a few weeks in order to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed by a sudden influx of COVID-19 cases, predicted to possibly be in the millions. From a typical panicked news report on March 16:

Health officials take for granted that COVID-19 will continue to infect millions of people around the world over the coming weeks and months. However, as the outbreak in Italy shows, the rate at which a population becomes infected makes all the difference in whether there are enough hospital beds (and doctors, and resources) to treat the sick.

In epidemiology, the idea of slowing a virus’ spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time is known as “flattening the curve.” It explains why so many countries are implementing “social distancing” guidelines — including a “shelter in place” order that affects 6.7 million people in Northern California, even though COVID-19 outbreaks there might not yet seem severe.

Fortunately, the prediction that millions would become sick was so wrong it is now considered a joke. Moreover, it was quickly obvious that the healthcare system was not going to be overwhelmed.

So of course, we can now end these stringent social distancing rules and the lock downs, right?

Hah. Now we are being told that the new social rules and the government-imposed economic shut downs are necessary to stop the spread of the disease, to protect us from further infection, to make us all safe from coronavirus, forever. And if we do have to ease the lock downs at all, we have to do it as slowly as possible, and to change our behaviors forever. Masks must be worn, businesses can no longer serve as many at a time, and we must change and limit our freedoms, just because we might possibly save one life!

Consider the fascist Democratic governor of Pennsylvania and his demand that the state remain locked down for as long as possible.
» Read more

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Branson selling 25% of Virgin Galactic shares to save airline business

Capitalism in space:It appears that Richard Branson is selling about 25% of shares in Virgin Galactic in order to prop up his airline and travel businesses that have been crushed by the Wuhan flu panic.

Branson’s Virgin Group may sell as many as 25 million shares in the space-travel firm, with the proceeds going to his leisure and travel businesses, according to a statement on Monday. The 69-year-old Briton is trying to save Virgin Atlantic, which has struggled to qualify for a UK-supported loan program aimed at helping businesses survive the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. He’s seeking outside investors for the airline, while also weighing an infusion of his own funds.

The irony here is that Virgin Galactic has been a big financial money sink since its inception in the mid-2000s, having never flown a single customer in its fifteen-plus year existence. However, Branson has bamboozled a lot of people into buying its stock in the past year, since it went public, causing the stock to rise from its initial price of about $12 to about $18 to $20. This sell-off gives Branson an almost 100% profit on the stock, a good deal indeed for him, even if the company never makes a dime.

He says he is pumping the money back into his other businesses, but we shall see.

What the sale means however is that Branson no longer has a majority share in Virgin Galactic. The biggest shareholder is now Social Capital Hedosophia, created by venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya.

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Senior facilities account for 39% of all Wuhan flu deaths

More evidence the lockdowns and social distancing made no sense: A new study has found that 39% of all the deaths in the United Stated from COVID-19 have occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.1 million people live in nursing homes or residential care facilities, representing 1.6% of the U.S. population. And yet residents in such facilities account for 39 percent of all deaths from COVID-19, for states that report such statistics.

Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming do not break out deaths by residential categories. But among the 66,012 U.S. COVID-19 deaths captured by our analysis, 25,731, or 39 percent, were nursing or residential care home residents. Based on long-term care usage and demographics in the 11 largely rural states that do not report long-term care fatalities, we estimate that, nationally, the share of fatalities from assisted living facilities is 39 percent, and 50 percent outside of New York State.

Which once again illustrates the stupidity of bankrupting the entire economy and quarantining the entire population. Better to have put tighter protections on these specific facilities. And it would not even been necessary to make them prisoners. Make sure visitors are not sick, and maintain social distancing in these facilities. Masks here might even be worthwhile, when used in a careful and controlled manner.

Instead, we shut everything down, put millions out of work, destroyed whole industries, and in New York the Democratic governor even required nursing homes to take in patients who were sick with coronavirus, putting their other residents at far greater risk, for absolutely no reason.

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California Tesla factory reopens, defying local officials

Go get ’em! As he promised, Elon Musk has reopened his California Tesla factory, defying the demands of local officials who wanted it to remain closed until June.

Not only did he institute some stringent employee rules in connection with the Wuhan flu, he also as promised had Tesla initiate a lawsuit against those local officials.

Tesla filed a lawsuit against Alameda County on Saturday after the Fremont plant was shuttered amid the statewide lockdown on March 23. The suit claims that county officials ignored Gov Gavin Newsom’s allowances for ’16 crucial infrastructure industries,’ including transportation, to continue operating.

Personally I think the company’s stringent new health rules are ridiculous, but Musk has to play this “feel-good” game while fighting to survive against this government power-grab.

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Musk: Tesla leaving California due to government-imposed shut down

Good: Elon Musk yesterday announced in a furious tweet yesterday that he has had enough of the government-imposed shut down in California due to the Wuhan flu panic, and will be shifting Tesla operations from that state.

“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Musk tweeted. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen (sic) on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”

He is also suing Alameda County, since its order to stay closed contradicted the okay he had gotten from fascist governor Gavin Newsom. How these actions here will effect SpaceX is not yet clear. Last I heard that company was going to put its factory to build Starship in the port of Los Angeles. Maybe not now.

I expect more businesses that can will be shifting their operations from the dictatorial Democratically-controlled blue states to places that are more friendly to freedom and free enterprise.

A bit of history: This flight from leftist states mirrors what happened in East Germany during the 1950s during the Cold War. The Soviets, direct ancestors to today’s Democratic Party, were insistent on imposing communism in East Germany, which quickly resulted in poverty and an inability of anyone to make a living. In response people and businesses fled in great numbers, making East Germany the only country in Europe to be losing population.

To solve this, Khrushchev decided in 1961 to build the Berlin Wall and make everyone in East Germany a prisoner. I will not be surprised if the leftist states, such as California, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, and New York, soon consider the same solution. Nor would I be surprised if soon these very states find large portions seceding from them to also escape this tyranny.

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The epidemic model that panicked the world was junk

A software engineer has done a careful fact-based analysis of the code that runs the computer model of now disgraced and fired Neil Ferguson of Imperial College in London — the computer model that had predicted millions would die in mere weeks from COVID-19 and thus triggered the worldwide panic over it — and found that it is buggy, unreliable, produces different results with the same data, and often does so for completely irrelevant factors (such as simply running it on different computers).

Hat tip Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings.

The conclusion from this software engineer:

All papers based on this code should be retracted immediately. Imperial’s modelling efforts should be reset with a new team that isn’t under Professor Ferguson, and which has a commitment to replicable results with published code from day one.

On a personal level, I’d go further and suggest that all academic epidemiology be defunded. This sort of work is best done by the insurance sector. Insurers employ modellers and data scientists, but also employ managers whose job is to decide whether a model is accurate enough for real world usage and professional software engineers to ensure model software is properly tested, understandable and so on. Academic efforts don’t have these people, and the results speak for themselves.

The second paragraph applies equally to all computer modeling in the climate field, which has been repeatedly found to have similar problems.

Science should be based on data, from the field, not models predicting that data. Models have a minor use as a guide, but it is beyond dangerous to depend on them in any manner at all. Had our politicians relied on the available data when COVID-19 first started to spread, instead of these fake models, they would not have panicked, and would have instead done what they should have, focused on protecting the elderly and the sick, the only part of the population under serious threat.

Similarly, had the public and the press ignored these bad models and focused on that same data, they too would not have been frozen in fear, and would have demanded a more rational approach to the epidemic.

I know I have been repeating myself on this subject, but it must be driven home. The modelers are unreliable. The modelers are often driven by political agendas, not the facts. The modelers must not be relied upon for any long term policy.

Repeat this mantra to yourself, over and over again. It should sound a warning in your brain every time you read another article predicting doomsday from something, from global warming, from sea level rise, from the ozone hole, from some disease, from any crises these frauds want to latch onto.

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Study: 50% of all small businesses to vanish due to Wuhan lock downs

The Great Wuhan Depression: According to a new survey, it is predicted that 50% of all small businesses will vanish in the next six months due to losses incurred because of the government-imposed Wuhan flu shut downs.

The study also predicts that another 12% will go bankrupt in the next month. That’s 62% of all small businesses, gone in a flash, leaving their owners and all of their employees jobless. And though it is only implied at the link, the loss of those businesses will ripple outward, causing more businesses to fail. The consequences will be horrifying.

“Before the pandemic, food policy experts say, roughly one out of every eight or nine Americans struggled to stay fed. Now as many as one out of every four are projected to join the ranks of the hungry, said Giridhar Mallya, senior policy officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for public health,” the AP reported Tuesday.

And that’s just in the states. On a global level, the United Nations has predicted that hundreds of thousands of children may die before year’s end specifically because of the economic realities being engendered by the current crisis. “Economic hardship experienced by families as a result of the global economic downturn could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020, reversing the last 2 to 3 years of progress in reducing infant mortality within a single year,” a U.N. report published last month reads. “And this alarming figure does not even take into account services disrupted due to the crisis – it only reflects the current relationship between economies and mortality, so is likely an under-estimate of the impact.” [emphasis mine]

As I have written repeatedly, when you find yourself in this kind of crisis, you need to rationally and calmly do a cost-benefit analysis, figuring out the best solution that will do the least harm, to the most people. In this case a likely smart move would have been to look at the early data, now confirmed, that showed the the disease was only a serious threat to the old and sick, and that to the young and healthy the Wuhan flu was no threat at all. A wise plan then would have focused on protecting the elderly and the sick, while letting the rest of the population not at risk live their lives normally, get infected, and develop antibodies to the disease so that the epidemic would peter out quickly — as has been done with every flu-type epidemic for more than a century.

That would have been a rational approach, reasonable and likely very successful. It would not have prevented all deaths from COVID-19, but then no plan could. What it would have done is minimize the damage as much as possible.

Instead, our politicians, in their never-ending partisan battles, depended not on the data but on faulty computer models, which have been routinely found to be inaccurate and unable to predict anything. Those models, vastly wrong, said that millions would get sick and hundreds of thousands would die, and this would all happen in a matter of weeks. The politicians panicked, and destroyed the economy, even as they enforced policies that actually exposed the elderly and the sick directly to the disease, causing many more to die than was necessary.

The consequences of this madness in the coming years will be hard to measure. We can hope that the economy might recover. We can hope that our government will back off and reinstate its respect for the law, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and its citizens.

We can hope. I have no idea however if this is a vain hope. I am not optimistic.

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I am ashamed of the police

The nation’s police are supposed to be there to serve and to protect, to defend our laws and the Constitution, and to protect the ordinary innocent citizens pursuing life, liberty, and happiness — as declared in our Declaration of Independence — from criminals hostile to those fundamental rights.

In the past six weeks, however, too many cops have instead become storm troopers, thugs with no common sense who also seem to relish the sudden power they have been given by fascist governors and local officials who have arbitrarily and irrationally imposed lock downs and social distancing rules in their panic over the Wuhan flu.

Below are some examples, all of which show police either harassing, arresting, or pursuing individuals who are clearly in circumstances that make them no threat to anyone. Moreover, they are often alone or somewhat isolated, meaning there is no way for them to help spread the Wuhan flu. Yet the police move in aggressively, in a very obscene manner.
» Read more

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Pennsylvania: 79 average age of COVID-19 deaths; 67% in nursing homes

What was obvious two months ago has now been confirmed again in Pennsylvania: The average age of those who died from the Wuhan flu was 79, and 67% of the deaths occurred in nursing homes.

Moreover, almost all of those who died also had some underlying other chronic illness.

In other words, the early data that said the disease is really only a threat to the elderly and the ill has been confirmed, again, and that shutting down the whole society and destroying the economy made no sense. If you an ordinary healthy person COVID-19 is not a threat to you. In any way at all.

Meanwhile, what about that worry that the disease’s arrival would overwhelm the healthcare system? Well, this same Pennsylvania report found that, as of yesterday, of the 37,000 hospital beds in the state, only 2,572 were in use, meaning that 93% of the beds were empty.

In other words, we cancelled all other medical procedures, actually causing some people to die because they could not get treatment, and ended up with so much spare hospital capacity that hospitals are going bankrupt because they have no patients.

But don’t worry. Our politicians are godlike and know best. Kneel before them and obey their commands, without question. You will be saved.

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I will NOT wear a mask

A new fad has sprung up among our power-hungry and very ignorant politicians and leftist press who are panicking over the Wuhan flu. It apparently has not been enough that they have successfully destroyed a thriving economy, put millions out of work, destroyed the airline, entertainment, sports, and restaurant industries, over a disease that, at best is nothing more than a slight blip in the overall death rate, and at worst will be comparable to similar past epidemics that we lived through without government-imposed panic or economic disaster.

No, destroying millions of lives has not been enough. They need to do more. They need to find more ways to squelch our freedom, nullify the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and, to paraphrase Orwell, stamp a boot down on our faces, forever.

And in this case, they mean to do this, almost literally.

They are now beginning to demand that we wear masks at all times in public, in the mindless and stupid belief that this will somehow stop COVID-19 from spreading. Consider these stories:
» Read more

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California building “army” to track those infected with COVID-19

They’re coming for you next: The California government is now building an “army of tracers” to track those infected with COVID-19 and restrict their future movements.

Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the concern about inadequate contact tracing on [April 22], announcing plans to train 10,000 people to help local health departments. “The good news is we believe we have the capacity to build an army of tracers,” Newsom said, although he did not say when they’d be ready to deploy.

More on that “army” and its goals here.

“As people move more, we increase the risk for people to get sick,” Sonia Angell, California Department of Public Health director and State Health Officer, said in a live stream. “If people get sick, we want to identify those individuals very early, and then make sure that all of their contacts are also identified.”

…The new contact-tracing platform the state announced today will sync up with California’s existing digital disease surveillance platform, and contact tracers can use it to check in on people’s symptoms through texts, chat, emails, and phone automation, according to Angell. Angell emphasized that the database will focus on health information and will be kept confidential. [emphasis mine]

If you believe the last two words of that quote, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

The second link admits that for this whole plan to work, under present privacy laws “people must be willing to cooperate.” I can tell you this: If I am tested for the Wuhan flu, the very last people I will tell my results to will be these fascist thugs. They aren’t really interested in stopping the virus, which is impossible for them to do. No, what they want is to build up a database of people whom they will then have the right to oppress, by law.

And if you don’t believe me, I still have that bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Make you a good deal, too!

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New capacity limits will destroy most remaining restaurants

The beatings will continue until morale improves: The new capacity limits being imposed by state governments due to their panic over the Wuhan flu will likely destroy the bulk of the remaining restaurants that have managed somehow to get through the lock downs.

As some states across the country allow businesses to reopen with limited occupancies, there are still serious obstacles in the paths of restaurant owners. In those Tennessee counties that have already reopened, restaurants can’t exceed 50 percent of their maximum occupancy. Restaurants in most of Iowa will also have the option to reopen at half capacity. Those in Alaska will be limited to 25 percent capacity, and will only seat diners who make reservations in advance.

Ryan Pernice, who owns three restaurants north of Atlanta, didn’t jump with excitement when Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released a list of 39 guidelines in advance of a push to open certain businesses — including restaurants — on April 27. Most notably for restaurant owners, the guidelines do not allow more than 10 patrons per 500 square feet in dining rooms. After Pernice closed his restaurants on March 17, leaving just one of his restaurant kitchens open for delivery, he sat down to crunch some numbers.

Even with the lights and the walk-in refrigerators turned off, running a restaurant remains an expensive endeavor. Pernice decided to continue paying for services, like pest control, that couldn’t just be ignored, as well as major costs like rent and outstanding vendor invoices. To break even and cover expenses at Table and Main, Osteria Mattone, and Coalition — his three restaurants — would cost $4,128 a day. Though he’ll take the measurements and rearrange the tables to see if reopening is feasible, Pernice can’t imagine hitting that number with only half of the seats in his restaurants occupied. “Not having run the numbers, I seriously doubt that in Table and Main, a tiny restaurant of 1,800 square feet, that I could make more doing sit-down dining than I can right now through our takeout … I think there’s very little to be gained by being the first to this party, in terms of opening the dining room again.”

In other words, under these new rules, a large percentage of the remaining restaurants will be unable to make a profit and die.

The lock downs are expected to bankrupt 20% of all restaurants, putting more than 8 million people out of work. These new rules will probably destroy, at a minimum, another 40%, mostly the smaller, independently owned businesses.

And the rules are absurd, on their face. They will not stop the spread of COVID-19, in the slightest. All they will do is destroy the lives of the people who own the restaurants.

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