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Great America

Anthony Fauci and the CDC: Inspiring Fear Since 1983

A politician first, Fauci has always played all sides of the equation because he knows that inspiring fear will always drive public policy in the direction he wants it to go.

In an alarming report issued on September 18, the Centers for Disease Control released a significant new guidance claiming that coronavirus droplets can remain suspended in the air to be later breathed in by others in indoor restaurants, classrooms, and businesses. Worse, the CDC claimed, the airborne particles can travel distances far beyond six feet—infecting entire indoor environments without good ventilation.

Three days later, the CDC withdrew the advice, saying only that “it had been posted in error” on the agency’s website. 

For nearly four decades, the researchers at the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have been regarded as heroes because of their commitment to public health and welfare. Fauci’s leadership in the early days of COVID-19 pandemic was laudable—inspiring confidence that the 15 days to “flatten the curve” would save lives by protecting hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

In fact, much of Fauci’s work and the work of the CDC truly has been heroic. In 1988, when then-Vice President George H. W. Bush was asked during the October 13 presidential debate to name a personal hero, he named Fauci. And when President George W. Bush awarded Fauci the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008, he reminded us that when AIDS, a “mysterious and terrifying plague began to take the lives of people across the world . . . it had a fierce opponent in Dr. Anthony Fauci.” 

As Randy Shilts’ 1987 book, And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, points out, Fauci was an early hero in his early days as an AIDS clinician at the National Institutes of Health Hospital. But Shilts also devotes several pages of his book to what he saw as a recurring problem with Fauci: that the hero in the AIDS fight was also a political player who was willing to distort research data to try to shape policy in the ways he thought it needed to be shaped. 

On May 5, 1983—contrary to all of the research data at the time—Fauci published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association stating AIDS was transmissible by “routine close contact.” Claiming that children could catch the deadly disease of AIDS from their families, Fauci wrote that if routine personal contact among family members in a household is enough to spread the illness, “then AIDS takes on an entirely new dimension.”  

Fauci’s 1983 editorial opened the floodgates of fear about AIDS. According to Michael Fumento’s The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, Fauci’s article moved AIDS from being “perceived as a gay disease to a ‘media event.’” Fumento’s review of media coverage via the computerized bibliographic news service Nexis revealed that during the second and third quarters of 1983, AIDS news coverage quadrupled to about 700 articles each quarter. And although reassurances were given to contradict Fauci’s felonious statements on the “casual contact” contention, the idea that “anyone” was vulnerable to contracting AIDS continued for quite a while. 

As Fumento wrote, “what really appeals to editors is raising the specter that AIDS is about to break out of major risk groups . . . If previously healthy straights were getting a fatal disease for which there was no cure and the number of cases was doubling every seven or eight months or so, the story would be in the papers every day.” 

Refusing to take any responsibility for the panicked response, Fauci blamed a “hysterical media” for taking his comments out of context. According to Shilts, Fauci had said, 

only that the possibility of household transmission might raise all these scientific implications. The lay public did not understand the language of science, he pleaded. Science always dealt with hypotheticals; this did not mean he was saying that AIDS actually was spread through household contact. Moreover, the chief villain, he would accurately note, was the press office of the American Medical Association which had so shamefully sensationalized the journal article in an effort to draw attention to a journal that always found itself playing second fiddle to Science and the New England Journal of Medicine.

No matter who was to blame, Fauci’s warnings about casual contact causing AIDS set in motion a wave of hysteria; it also set in motion a wave of government and private funding for research for a cure. 

The New York Times and USA Today ran Fauci’s flawed press release as did most newspapers in the United States as heterosexuals began to believe that they, too, were vulnerable. The media warned that heterosexuals “just like you and me” with no risk factors other than heterosexual intercourse could spread AIDS. Claiming that in 1986, the proportion of heterosexual transmission cases had doubled in one year from 2 percent to 4 percent of all cases, Fumento pointed out that the media neglected to ask the “hard questions” about the real data. 

Distortions of Data Then and Now

Blaming the CDC for distorting the numbers of heterosexual cases, Fumento wrote: “nobody was seeing these additional cases, to be sure but they existed on paper, with the trail of paper leading right back to the doors of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.” 

What the media did not tell us about these percentages was that the CDC had included AIDS cases discovered among new arrivals to the United States from Africa and Haiti who were classified as “undetermined” sexual orientation when they were diagnosed. The CDC later acknowledged that “it was probably an omission” to fail to state that the undetermined were lumped in with the heterosexuals in compiling the data on new AIDS cases: “It should have been put in there, but if somebody called we’d set them straight.” 

The distortions of data continue today. Although the threat of contracting the coronavirus that can lead to COVID-19 is very real for all of us, he rarely mentions that more than 80 percent of all deaths from the disease are among the elderly. Healthy young people are much more likely to have mild cases of the virus as even the CDC acknowledges that the vast majority of all COVID-19 patients—young and old—requiring hospitalization had at least one underlying health condition or risk factor, as did those requiring intensive care. Men are significantly more likely to die of COVID-19 than women but no one seems to worry about that.

According to the most recent data, children ages 0 to 19 have a .02 percent risk of dying if infected by the coronavirus. There are almost no cases of the virus causing problems in children under age 10. 

Yet, channeling his 1983 JAMA warnings, Fauci advised Congress in July that in some parts of the country, “schools should remain closed in the fall.” Claiming that if states reopen before meeting the criteria set out by the Trump administration, they risk reprisals of the outbreak, Fauci continues today to move the goalposts in reopening the country. 

President Trump was correct when he criticized the CDC for demanding schools do “very impractical things” to prepare to reopen. The president is also correct when he says that Fauci “wants to play all sides of the equation.” 

A politician first, Fauci has always played all sides of the equation because he knows that inspiring fear will always drive public policy in the direction he wants it to go. Some lives may be saved—but many more lives may be lost by continuing to keep children locked out of schools, parents locked out of work, and businesses closed. 

Great America

Coronavirus Cruelties

COVID-19 has been devastating to the elderly who catch it, but our response to the disease has also been devastating to them.

My mother died this week.

Mom was a victim of Alzheimer’s dementia. Up until six months ago, despite her memory loss, she was pretty happy. She was in one of the best care facilities in Nevada, catering specifically to Alzheimer’s patients. She loved her caregivers there, and she forged strong bonds with them.

My son and I took her on adventures. We took her to her favorite restaurants. Her favorite was Italian. She loved chocolate and she loved ice cream. We took her to Sigfried and Roy’s zoo that features lions and tigers, as well as dolphins. We took her to Redrock Canyon and to see the flamingos at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino. We wheeled her around the park on nice days, bought her ice cream, and brought her to my house on holidays and birthdays. The last years of her life weren’t perfect, but we made them as fulfilling as possible. 

Then COVID-19 came and made all of the above impossible.

When two weeks became six weeks and six weeks became months upon months, we knew it was only a matter of time. She was allowed to visit us only through Skype calls, which were confusing for her, or through the window, which seemed likely to make her more confused and agitated, as she began trying to escape. 

She tried to get her favorite caregiver to escape with her, so we knew if she saw us through the window, she would be beside herself. And we heard stories from other people, including close relatives of my great uncle (who died a month after COVID-19 lockdowns began), of patients crying and trying to push through the glass. We didn’t want her to go through that.

COVID-19 has taken many elderly lives, and while we all wish to protect them from that deadly virus, killing them via failure to thrive is not the answer. Our current policies will kill many more elderly Americans like my mother. 

There have been many cases of the disease spreading in nursing homes, particularly in New York where the governor signed an order in March to put COVID-19-positive elderly back in their facilities rather than keeping them at the hospital until the disease passed. That order killed thousands of elderly people in care facilities. Why Andrew Cuomo took that heartless step while making sure his own mother was safe is an astonishing mystery. Doing a “Cuomo” should really mean something going forward.

But there has to be a better way to care for these people than to lock them up with no hope of ever seeing them again. They are dying without their families around to love them. Their caregivers are depressed and anxious over what they see happening to their patients. They are watching people just give up and die. Their care, however good it might be, in no way compares to the love of one’s family and friends.

Yes, we need to protect our beloved elderly as much as possible. But we are probably fooling ourselves in thinking we can protect them forever from a respiratory illness like COVID-19.

 The disease still sneaks into facilities through staff members and deliveries, but as long as the infected person is taken to the hospital and not returned until there is no trace of the virus, good facilities have been able to deal with this challenge competently and keep other patients safe.

So long as this plague is handled in a professional manner rather than the “Cuomo way,” there should be no reason the elderly cannot be visited by their families with masks and maybe gowns on. There is no good reason to make them die alone in this way. COVID-19 has been devastating to the elderly who catch it, but our response to the disease has also been devastating to them. Our utopian and hubristic belief that we can perfectly protect them is having disastrous consequences.

Great America

The Executioner’s Face Is Always Well-Hidden

Just as the nuclear age stimulated open and public discussion of nuclear deterrence and nuclear defense, we need open and public discussion of biological deterrence and biological defense.

Personally, I am not reassured when scientists who have no experience in offensive biological warfare and who are not privy to sound intelligence tell us COVID-19 was not produced in a lab. I am even less reassured when, each time we see the argument, it is an argument from individual ignorance: “COVID-19 does not have property X. I, distinguished Professor J,  would have engineered a biological weapon with property X. Therefore, the Luxembourgeois did not engineer COVID-19.”

But even if COVID-19 was not a deliberate attack or an escaped lab product, the damage it has done—and that we have done to ourselves in responding to it—requires us to think anew about the prospects of a biological attack.

Suppose we are leaders of a rich and powerful country, a country with up-to-date biomedical laboratories and a country that, just on the edge of living memory, was the target of the worst biological warfare attacks in the history of the modern world. How can we arm ourselves with a contagious disease as a biological weapon while preserving deniability and avoiding, to the extent possible, blowback damage to our own population should we decide not just to prepare but to use that weapon?

We would need to have such a weapon ready, and at the same time have already hardened our population in secret against its effects. We know one way to do that. Every year in our large and densely populated country new human diseases emerge, and our scientists and physicians—working with the global community of researchers and bioengineers—work constantly to prepare prophylactics for those diseases, present and anticipated, imported and endemic. Our country has a large pharmaceutical industry and a widespread and effective system of clinics where the products of that industry can be given to patients. When a new disease—call it P—for which there is a vaccine hits us or hits abroad, we announce a vaccination campaign. 

To the vaccine for P, our pharmaceutical companies secretly add the vaccine for our secretly weaponized disease Q. Thanks to our effective system of “social credit,” we can make sure that all of our compliant citizens get stuck with the vaccines for both P and Q—the P vaccine we disclose or whose formula we have openly imported, and the Q vaccine we have secretly developed and secretly included.

Could hundreds of millions of people really be injected with a vaccine without knowing it? 

Consider your smartphone. The cybersecurity experts inside and outside governments assume, as a matter of course, that your smartphone is backdoored by every country where it was designed or manufactured and by every country where its software is designed or manufactured. And you put your phone in your pocket, from which the backdoor controllers, whoever and wherever they may be, suck out all the location, meta- and substantive data they request. You do not know—indeed, nobody knows—all the backdoors and spyware on your phone. But believe the experts when they assure you that your phone is compromised. 

Just as the cyber operators add a door to your phone you don’t know about, the biomedical industry and the doctors, operating through secret government coordination and with very few people actually needing to know, can add a shield to your immune system you don’t know about—a shield that would be useful should the biowarfare executioners get the command to attack.

What is to be done? Just as the nuclear age stimulated open and public discussion of nuclear deterrence and nuclear defense, we need an open and public discussion about biological deterrence and biological defense.  

Democratic countries need to discuss and decide on policies of deterrence of biological attack by whatever means, as well as the prospect for a Strategic Defense Initiative that might mitigate the fear of biological attack. Human nature being what it is, the Luxembourgs great and small will behave better if they know that misbehavior will be punished and that biological aggression not only will be chastised but has a good chance of fizzling before it does serious damage.

Great America

The Truth About Our Pandemic Response

While Cuomo, Biden, and Pelosi were all downplaying the virus, President Trump and his administration were shifting into high gear.

I’m sure you remember watching hours of pandemic press conferences featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Dr. Deborah Birx (who CNN called a “legend in global health”). When the two doctors spoke, President Trump listened.

Armed with graphs, data, and knowledge, these two professionals got the floor for long periods of time during the pressers. The nation watched intently as they spelled out what they believed was before us. They implored the citizens of the United States to “flatten the curve” so that hospitals would not be overrun with critical COVID-19 patients. The country unified around that mission, and then we flattened the curve.

The curve has been flattened for some time now. Hospitals never had to choose life or death between an elderly patient and a younger patient. We ended up manufacturing more ventilators than we needed. Free COVID-19 tests have been available for months across the country. We have been experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment because we’ve been relying so heavily on China to provide that PPE, but now we understand why it’s so important to keep critical manufacturing within the United States.

I’m sure you will also remember the food and goods shortages at all the grocery stores when the pandemic began. There was a definite shortage of toilet paper—gold in an apocalypse. But even in pre-pandemic years, when a snowstorm came, people in Southern states would routinely buy up all the milk and bread over a half inch of snow. 

People panicking when uncertainty strikes is a given. Luckily our president was busy deftly responding to the deadly pandemic while carefully listening to the experts and keeping a positive outlook regarding the future, choosing not to panic us further but instead to give us all the facts while taking care of business.

On March 19, the Washington Post reported that 2.2 million people in the United States could die if we didn’t flatten the curve and mitigate our chances of spreading COVID-19 unhampered. In fact, the same article noted that if we did the mitigation, we would still see 1.1 million people perish. Six months later, and the death toll is 190,714—as of this writing, only a fraction of what experts were expecting. 

In the beginning, China lied to us about the virus transmission and their patsies in the World Health Organization parroted those lies to the world on January 14, tweeting “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.” According to a timeline published in the New York Post, the first COVID-19 positive patient in the United States was identified on January 21. The first known case that was contracted in the United States was on January 30. 

President Trump shut down the borders to China on January 31. Joe Biden’s response was to call the president a xenophobe. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi was in San Francisco’s Chinatown in late February telling people there was no reason to stay away.

That same month in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio allowed the Chinese New Year celebration to continue with thousands of people in the streets. The media’s main concern at the time was that the COVID-19 scare was somehow xenophobic

On March 25, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo made the deadly decision to order nursing homes to take recovering COVID-19 patients back into their facilities rather than leaving them in hospitals until they tested negative or sending them to the USS Comfort. At least 4,300 patients were put back in their nursing homes resulting in thousands more deaths in New York state. New York state has had by far the most deaths of all the states and U.S. territories from COVID-1933,019 as of this writing.

While Cuomo, Biden, and Pelosi were all downplaying the virus and equating worry of viral spread with anti-Chinese bigotry, , President Trump and his administration were getting into high gear working on the systems and the task forces that would carry this country through the storm of 2020. 

On January 20, Fauci announced the National Institutes of Health were already working on a vaccine. On January 21, the CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center. The Coronavirus Task Force began meeting in the White House on January 29. You can read the impressive timeline of the administration’s efforts here.

The response from the United States government during this pandemic is unmatched throughout history. Thank God for President Trump and his hard-working administration keeping so many millions of people alive through this harrowing time.

Great America

Cuomo and de Blasio’s Sustained Assault on New York’s Working Class

The two mafia terrorists who rule over New York are committed to holding average people in a permanent hostage situation.

Woe to the little man who dares to defy Lord Andrew Goombah and his yapping lapdog in Gracie Mansion—those men who imperiously abuse the powers of their offices like thug mafioso.

Their shameless siege on small businesses—barbershops, movie theaters, universities, and especially bars and restaurants—continues unabated, without the slightest signs of clemency or rudimentary awareness for the damage they have wrought on their city and state.

Meanwhile children begin the new school year cloistering like frightened guinea pigs behind clinically sanitized glass panes, obeying the commands of the czar’s legion of dutiful school teachers who obsequiously follow the edicts of the state. They remind a little one that should his nose slip through his mask it would be tantamount to Armageddon.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signals a possible reprieve for the month of September. “Little Restaurant Owner,” sayeth he, “You have been good during my reign. I shall grant thee a pardon: you may expand your total occupancy to 25 percent capacity.” He spits out these words with that bulbous smirk, hinting that one slight or inadvertent misdemeanor will delay the openings for an indefinite period of time, perhaps forever.

“Don’t forget,” His Majesty snarls, “how wonderful a job I did in leading the charge against COVID-19. New York far exceeded every other state in the country. We made mincemeat out of that bloviated Orangeman in the White House!” 

Dare anyone suggest that Cuomo’s performance in fact was the exact opposite of what he proclaims; that New York needlessly suffered because of Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s incompetence; that but for Cuomo’s early decision to effectively hold thousands of New Yorkers hostage in nursing homes and hospitals, tolling the death knell for the septuagenarian-plus population, America’s total deaths from the Great Pandemic might have been half of what they are, and that person is a pariah. 

Blind Capitulation

Instead, Cuomo expects New Yorkers to bend over backwards for him, kissing his ring while sabotaging their own livelihoods for the Glorious Cause. He expects blind capitulation to the most criminal and suicidal policy ever enacted by a single governor in the country’s history.

To a degree, New Yorkers are receiving their just deserts for voting in these two sociopaths. Those who believe in second chances, however, even if these people made the mistake of voting for one or both men, will recognize that their penance has far exceeded any sin committed. 

Moreover, the reality is that the greatest victims of these lockdowns do not comprise Cuomo’s natural constituency; they are the middle-class business owners who grimace at the sight or sound of the names “Cuomo” or “de Blasio.” 

Any New Yorker with an iota of common sense would notice the barefaced politicking afoot in the Empire State. Unfortunately, politics today is mostly optics. And the Democratic Party is happy to see the look of frightened citizens remaining segregated, confused, and ignorant. 

Our dynamic governor-mayor duo fetishizes the humiliating sight of people’s faces festooned in a useless mask wrapped tighter than a baby’s diaper so as to further dehumanize them, perpetuating a culture of hopelessness, and promoting the idea that they must depend upon the likes of them to alleviate their suffering.

That is the clear agenda at work. But average people, for the most part, cannot identify these political trends. They don’t have the time to contemplate the shadowy forces at work behind the scenes, in part because they are not accustomed to think that way. They are not natural cynics. They still believe that our governments are not utterly corrupt beyond repair, or at minimum, that the people in charge of them are not megalomaniacs. 

The Ultimate Flex

Ordinary people prefer to go with the flow, prove their bona fides as dutiful citizens, and avoid the wrath of the state or its caporegime. The Chamber of Commerce or the Board of Public Health extend their tentacles into local business communities, pouncing upon people for the most trivial oversights. This is the ultimate flex of power by pathetic, power-hungry bugmen who salivate over the opportunity to plummet their state into fiscal oblivion, hoping thereby to permanently fortify their power. 

Yet pointing these things out does little good for those who choose to take notice.

Even the most politically unaware, however, might have occasion to ask himself: what benefit could possibly be derived from shutting down the most economically prosperous city in the world over a virus that has not killed a single New Yorker in weeks? Our data crunchers no longer even care to update the latest death figures, which seems at odds with the unrelenting alarmism coming from America’s Scientific Industrial Complex.

The short-term political game is quite clear: Cuomo and de Blasio’s party hopes to oust Donald Trump in the upcoming election. Many voters, not being especially percipient, tend to see only a single snapshot of a much larger revolution. So they reason: the economy is bad, Trump is president, ergo he’s to blame.

But others may detect something more menacing at work. The term “social distancing,” as brilliantly explained by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, seemed almost tailor-made for this particular crisis. One’s first instinct would not be to ascribe the label “social” to an objectively antisocial activity. Physical distancing would be getting closer to the reality of the call to “stand six feet apart.” If the phrase lacks the charm of “social distancing,” that’s because it bluntly conveys the message without political correctness.

This is important to note because shrewd observers will recognize this hasn’t been a “normal” pandemic. It has proven ripe ground for all sorts of experimentation—be it social with the “George Floyd riots,” and increasingly economic with the nonsensical excuses for keeping businesses on lockdown. Meanwhile, Zoom has seamlessly zoomed into schools, businesses, law firms, and myriad other professions, and is widely characterized as the next frontier in the full-throated campaign towards technological nirvana.

The Worst Is Yet to Come

Even more portentously, the lockdowns may prefigure an even more dramatic transformation of the American economy: an opportunity to usher forth something akin to the Chinese Communist Party’s social credit system. 

Under this future dystopian model, all economic decisions will be tied to social credit and managed by multinational corporations like Amazon. The drive to centralize healthcare is one example of this phenomenon. Where one is placed on the single-payer queue will be determined by the strength of his social credit, which will replicate the Chinese model, though it promises to be more “woke.” Those who tout the party line will be elevated on the intersectional totem pole. Trump voters, as Michael Anton notes in his new book, won’t be as lucky.

How will the deplorables be treated? Will they merely be relegated to the back of the queue, or is that too merciful an ask? If the end goal is absolute power, denying them a spot on the queue entirely would be the most reasonable, if sinister, way to go. 

That same reasoning could translate to food distribution. If America’s future food suppliers are all managed by elite corporations—a reality that otherwise would seem completely unthinkable if not for Cuomo and company’s onslaught on independently owned restaurants and supermarkets—it seems perfectly reasonable, and even plausible, to imagine that social credit ultimately will be linked to the food supply. Those who do not get on board with the program may starve.

Too outlandish? Consider the fact that small businesses, especially restaurants, are more than capable of returning to 100 percent occupancy today. Yet the two mafia terrorists who rule over New York are committed to holding average people in a permanent hostage situation. Obviously, this is no longer a question of public health, if it ever was. It’s a naked power grab; an unconstitutional and defiant exercise of power to a degree that was inconceivable only a few short months ago. 

It’s a question of fundamentally transforming New York, and the rest of the country with it, into a left-wing hellhole, in which mob-like interrogation, fear, and despotism rule the day.

Great America

COVID-19 in the U.S.: Who is to Blame? Who is Paying the Price?

Everyone is trying to figure out the right balance between opening the economy and reducing disease incidence. Bad faith and partisan arguments don’t help.

In an appearance on MSNBC in March, Washington Post columnist and obsessed NeverTrumper Jennifer Rubin asserted (more in sorrow than in anger) that more Republicans than Democrats would die from the novel coronavirus because of the unscientific policies (no social distancing, no masks, etc.) of Republican governors and other local officials who were being led, in spirit and example, by that most unscientific of chief executives, Donald Trump.

Rubin’s claim, which she elaborated upon at length at the Post, was risible on its face given the COVID-19 vectors originated in China and Italy and entered the United States through Washington state, California, and New York City and because—especially in the case of New York—the urban density in those locations was highly conducive to contagion.

Nevertheless, Rubin, who seemed more than anything to be blinded by wishful thinking, clearly suggested that the number of deaths in different jurisdictions would serve as evidence of which political leaders were culpable and which ones were not. 

In spite of the difficulty in realistically assigning blame for the COVID-19 deaths in the United States, it is nevertheless a talking point in this election season that more than 185,000 Americans are dead and someone must be responsible.

COVID-19 in Blue and Red

We have had a full five months of pandemic hell since Rubin’s provocative pronouncements. So what does the data say?

I have performed a simple calculation to estimate the number of coronavirus deaths of those who voted for Trump and those who voted for Clinton in the 2016 election. (This is distinct from numbers of Republicans and Democrats, of course—but this data is readily available and the Trump/Clinton distinction is, I think, a sensible proxy for Republican/Democrat under the circumstances). 

Election data is tabulated by county here. Daily U.S. deaths due to COVID-19 are compiled in the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering database (henceforth called the JHU data) again by county. The calculation is simple and it is described in more detail in my webpage AIVoyager.com and, further, the Python code and datasets used are available for download from my github page

Briefly, I have taken the number of daily deaths as compiled in JHU data and I have multiplied each death in a given county by the fractions of Trump voters, Clinton voters, and voting age nonvoters in that county to obtain the number of Trump voter/Clinton voter/nonvoter deaths on that day in that county. The calculation thus assumes that no deaths occurred for citizens who are ineligible to vote, i.e. under the age of 18.

Figure 1(a) shows clearly that throughout the pandemic Clinton voter mortality exceeds Trump voter mortality, but both are exceeded by mortality among nonvoters. The final totals (as of August 29) are 58,200 Clinton voter deaths, 40,400 Trump voter deaths, and 81,300 nonvoter deaths. The dramatic rise in late April clearly shows the concentration of the disease in the urban northeast—especially New York City. The second wave of the disease is more closely distributed between the two groups with nonvoters continuing to show a larger percentage than both voter groups.

If we assume the vote proportion in a given county is indicative of the overall support for the candidates—even among citizens who did not cast a ballot—then we can calculate the number of deaths of Clinton supporters as compared to Trump supporters. This is shown in figure 1(b), where all the deaths in a given county are attributed to one or the other candidate’s supporters. The absolute numbers are thus higher for each group, but the ratios of the “D” to “R” numbers do not change from figure 1(a).

If there is no systematic bias for Clinton voters or Trump voters—in a given county—to contract the coronavirus, then the data in figure 1(a) gives a statistically sound depiction of the relative mortality numbers. 

As I alluded above, however, the fact that more deaths occur in blue counties than in red counties is only one piece of evidence that red county policies are better than blue county policies—and a fairly weak piece of evidence at that. 

In an attempt to get somewhat closer to partisan political leadership and its influence on COVID-19 mortality, I have performed a second calculation. In this case, I have taken a majority of Trump or Clinton voters in a given county to indicate “local political control (RL/DL).” Further, I have included the political party of the governor of the given state to indicate “state political control (RS/DS).” 

If a county has local Republican control (RC) and state Republican control (RS), all of the deaths in the county are assumed to be the fault of Republicans. Likewise for DL and DS, all deaths are assumed to be due to Democrats. For split counties (e.g. Republican governor but the county voted for Clinton) half the deaths go in the Republican and half in the Democrat column. 

The results, shown in figure 2, are the number of deaths per day weighted by the political control of the county. Here the data indicate that an even larger percentage of deaths in the first wave were in democratic-controlled jurisdictions. The second wave is far more evenly distributed, however, and even has a slight bias toward Republican-controlled states and counties.

The total numbers of deaths, in this case, are approximately 122,000 under Democrats’ control and 58,000 under Republicans’ control.

A Ghastly Sideshow

The numbers show clearly that roughly 18,000 more Clinton voters have died from the pandemic than Trump voters. While this is interesting to quantify it is not particularly surprising given the epidemiology and underlying demographic factors. 

The question lurking at the back of the COVID-19 discussion, and made explicit by Rubin’s columns (to say nothing of various Hollywood cranks who claim that Trump has killed more than 185,000 Americans) is who is responsible for those deaths? The simple calculation of figure 1 does not answer that question and figure 2 only suggests an answer.

In Rubin’s original thesis, she posited that Republican governors and local officials, through their denial of the gravity of the pandemic, were behaving “recklessly” and that the abundant Trump supporters in those places were going to pay the price. 

Stripped of the snarkiness and Trump obsession, and, generously, conceding to Rubin that what she really meant was the number of COVID-19 deaths going forward after the entry points and coastal urban density were discounted, Rubin’s argument is one of policy and it is entirely reasonable. 

It is wrong. But it is reasonable. 

Everyone is trying to figure out the right balance between opening the economy and reducing the incidence of disease. At its simplest, Rubin’s argument is just a call for greater caution and slower opening.

But it is also a bad faith argument, as she fails to even acknowledge that far more dominant epidemiological factors (New York City subways, for example) are at play.

My personal view, and this may be heterodox, is that everyone—from Donald Trump to Governors Gavin Newsom (Calif.), Brian Kemp (Ga.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.) and many others in between—is doing his best in an unprecedented crisis. They all deserve to be cut some slack. What constitutes an “adult conversation” about the pandemic, and Lord knows we need one, is a recognition of this fact—a recognition that motivations are, for the most part, not sinister and that in 21stcentury America, appreciable competency exists in our executive offices for analyzing and countering pandemics like this one. 

But reflexive and, as this data shows, preposterously wrong claims—like Rubin’s—about expected Republican/Democratic mortality stemming from an obsession with Trump’s historically unique maladies is nothing more than a ghastly sideshow—one that, alas, we feel compelled to watch.

Still, we can hope for the brighter day when a future lethal, terrifying, and utterly nonideological threat to our nation is met with bipartisan comity and the collaboration of all. Now that is wishful thinking!

Great America

Why Don’t Alternative COVID Therapies Get More Trials in America?

Maybe there’s a shared consensus among elites that now is the time to screw down the freedoms Americans have taken for granted.

In case anyone still thinks it is, the COVID-19 pandemic is not a hoax. How and why it originated may never be known for certain. How societies ought to respond to it, and who are most vulnerable to the disease, are both topics of intense debate. But deaths in America from all causes are up year-to-date by over 200,000 compared to recent years, and while we may hope the worst is behind us, this is not over.

The single most authoritative source for statistics on deaths in the United States is the CDC website, and a way to eliminate any doubt about the cause of death is simply to bypass the categories and look at deaths from all causes. 

If that number is only marginally up this year, then you can argue that COVID-19 is overhyped. If that number is up significantly, then something terrible is going on, and COVID-19 probably accounts for most of that. As it is, for 2020 through the end of June, deaths from all causes are up by 15 percent over the average for the past six years, even adjusting for population growth.

The chart below shows deaths from all causes by week, starting when flu season starts in October, with data displayed through September for the six most recent previous years, and through August 26 for the 2019-20 flu season. The pattern of deaths from all causes tracks pretty evenly across the years, roughly 50,000 people per week die in America, except during flu season, when that number increases to somewhere between 55,000 and 60,000. 

Before this year, one outlier is the particularly bad 2017-2018 flu season, when weekly deaths spiked up to 67,495 during the first week of January 2018. But it is clear that 2019-2020 is much worse.

While comorbidity is a factor that can trigger legitimate debate regarding who is dying and how they are dying, these overall death statistics defy manipulation. Dead is dead. And starting around January 2020, deaths in America hit around 60,000 per week, which is within the normal range but on the high side, then spiked all the way up to an unheard of 78,641 during a horrible week in mid-April, before apparently dropping to a low of 57,154 during the week of June 25, then trending slightly up after that.

Anyone viewing the above graph needs to avoid concluding that the downward slope of the blue line representing the 2019-2020 death trend is indicative of reality. CDC data, for whatever reason, lags up to eight weeks behind. This means that any 2019-2020 weekly totals appearing on this graph after the first week in June are inaccurate and are going to rise significantly.

The next chart can provide an idea of what this means. It compares CDC data for 2019-20 as reported through June 24 (week 25) to more recent CDC data as reported through September 7 (week 35). The only reasonable conclusion is that the death rate in America in 2020 is set to remain significantly above average for at least several more weeks.

As can be seen by looking at the blue line on the chart above, the CDC on June 25 reported deaths so far for that week at 16,283. But by September 7, with most of the data for that week now submitted, the CDC reported deaths for that same week of June 25, shown on the red line, had risen to 57,154. This is an invariably consistent pattern. Weekly deaths are initially reported at a level one-half to one-third of what will become their eventual total once most of the data come in. This process takes at least eight weeks.

This chart graphically depicts the implications of this delay in reporting. A new peak is forming on the week of July 29 (the red line), with total deaths reported so far at 60,159. But this is only five weeks ago, which means the eventual total will be higher still. Subsequent weeks, where the reported numbers plummet, have diminishing predictive value. 

What is beyond doubt right now is that while the unprecedented levels of death seen back in April may not be repeated, for now they are settling at a plateau around 60,000 per week which is well above levels in previous years.

Why Aren’t All Therapy Options Granted Open Debate?

Another unknown surrounding COVID-19 is whether or not a vaccine can ever be sufficiently effective to wipe it out. The disease clearly has various mutations, some more virulent than others, and flu vaccines are typically only 40-60 percent effective. Equally to the point, before a vaccine is available, and certainly afterward as well, more people will die without effective therapies to treat COVID-19.

On July 21, I described the shameful, organized suppression of public debate, or even access to information about the drug hydroxychloroquine. Ongoing trials around the world continue to indicate this drug, taken in conjunction with zinc and the antibiotic Azithromycin, has therapeutic value in treating COVID-19, although more information and study is required. But as I detailed in July, the CDC, WHO, and reputable medical journals have all dismissed this therapy as useless, even dangerous.

Just a few days later on July 25, a group of doctors held a press conference to challenge the anti-HCQ narrative, claiming it was an effective therapy for their COVID-19 patients. That video, after getting nearly 20 million views in only a few hours, was removed by Facebook and YouTube, and their website was shut down by its ISP. Versions of that video still survive on BitChute.

The next graphic isn’t included because it’s accurate. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. It was found online on a Twitter account with the handle @MisaAlvo. In the discussion accompanying the graphic, there are comments that appear to question some of the data. 

But showing this graphic isn’t to attest to its veracity. It’s to ask a very simple question: Why isn’t the WHO or the CDC compiling this data, and presenting this chart? Why do we have to go to “Misa Alvo,” an unknown entity existing somewhere in the vast Twittersphere, to see a report that uses such an informative layout?

Another alternative therapy called Ivermectin shows some promise. Will information about this drug also be discredited and suppressed?

An early exposé on One America News, which aired August 13, discussed the potential of Ivermectin. Searches currently show information from multiple sources about Ivermectin. In BioSpectrum Asia, “Australian develops effective Triple Therapy to treat COVID-19.” Additional favorable (or at least balanced) reports come from TrialSite News, ScienceDirect, Medpage Today, Medscape, and the Journal of Antibiotics.

Why aren’t we hearing more about this drug? Why isn’t it being tested all over America?

We may never know what caused the COVID-19 outbreak. We won’t know if it was engineered or arose spontaneously. We won’t know if it was released deliberately or by accident. If it was deliberately released, we will probably never know who was behind it. We may never even know which precautions we took as a society were the most effective, and which ones were unnecessary or even counterproductive.

Amidst this profound uncertainty, however, we can be sure of one thing. The systematic denial of information on cheap and possibly effective therapies undermines trust in America’s institutions. Big Tech, Big Pharma, and the so-called deep state are all implicated. With people dying in numbers that are significantly and indisputably greater than normal in America, it is hard to think there are not sinister motivations behind the denial of information and access to various inexpensive and possibly life-saving treatments.

People should be free to try, they should be free to decide for themselves, they should be free to be wrong. Trial and error. Hypothesis and experimentation. Debate over the efficacy of HCQ should welcome all sides, advocates and detractors. 

Instead, only hydroxychloroquine’s detractors have the mic, and they sprinkle their arguments with obvious, discrediting lies, such as the lie that HCQ constitutes a serious danger to the health of anyone who takes it as prescribed.

What sort of hidden agenda could be behind all this, one might ask? Is it greed? Kill small businesses and let mega corporations take full control of the economy? Develop new drugs that are fabulously expensive, and restrict COVID-19 therapies to these highly profitable choices? Mandate vaccinations and make trillions by injecting everyone?

On the other hand, maybe there’s a shared consensus among elites that now is the time to screw down the freedoms Americans have taken for granted. Or maybe the political chaos and economic misery largely caused by the pandemic can be pinned on the president, which could then result in his defeat this November.

Or maybe all of the above. Meanwhile, people continue to die.

Great America

A Lesson from Texas

The arrival of the Chinese flu has given those who think of themselves as our rulers a new opportunity to exert control over those of us who are simply going about our daily lives. But in Texas, people are on to it.

My wife and I recently spent a week in the hill country of Texas. What a contrast from life in our California hometown! In Texas, at least in that part of Texas, people mostly didn’t wear masks. In fact, virtually no one did, except for employees serving the public who were required to wear them—waiters, store clerks, and the like.

When we talked with Texans about their decision not to mask up, the replies were much the same. The term “sheep” was often used. The idea was that the American people were being conditioned to get used to and to accept tyrannical rule.

I think the hill country Texans have it about right. 

My wife and I live in the California Soviet—which means a kid riding his bike to the beach will be wearing a mask as he pedals his way down a mostly empty street, and the occasional driver going by will also be wearing a mask. Around here, they take this mask business very seriously. It seems like only yesterday when failing to remember to bring your reusable shopping bag to the grocery store elicited the same level of disapproval that going out without a mask does today. The obsession with reusable shopping bags disappeared and quickly was replaced with the mask obsession. Carrying a reusable bag once meant that because you were toeing the line, you were an acceptable person, just as mask-wearing does today.

This strange new attitude of many American citizens has been developing for some time now. The 9/11 horror was used by government officials to oppress citizens just as the Chinese flu has been, and Americans knuckled under with little real pushback.

The only thing as strange as everyone wearing masks are the ridiculous “security” measures imposed on Americans at airports. 

When America was attacked by jihadis, the response of the government was to harass travelers. Soon after 9/11, I watched in amazement as TSA agents conducted themselves very carefully so as to avoid being charged with profiling. A group of obviously Middle Eastern young men who weren’t speaking English among themselves—that is, a group of men who perfectly fit the terrorist profile—were waved through while the agents, as I recall, searched for weapons on an elderly woman in a wheelchair and a middle-aged man who looked like a rancher. After 9/11, instead of profiling potential bad guys, the government imposed what has rightly been called “security theater” on American citizens exercising their unalienable right to travel in America. Everyone knows that what goes on at airports in the name of security is a fraud and a huge waste of taxpayer money, but it now seems Americans by and large accept it without question.

The arrival of the Chinese flu has given those who think of themselves as our rulers a new opportunity to exert control over the rest of us who are simply going about our daily lives. Rule-makers are running wild, giving wonderful opportunities to the kind of people who crave the power over others that “public service” provides them and also to the kind of people who, although they are not government employees, are keen to associate themselves with those who make and enforce the rules. 

Those rules lately have included imposing house arrests on American citizens who have done nothing wrong, who are simply living in America, and forcing those who dare to venture out to wear masks. People in the media, the elites who get to make the rules, and Americans who are eager to make sure their neighbors comply,  don’t seem to mind that the proliferation of rules has been wrecking the economy and destroying people’s lives. 

Of course, you already know that the “news” media are in lockstep on the Democratic panic—I mean the pandemic—and that people who challenge the pandemic narrative are being censored on social media. All this seems very un-American, and more like the way people in China behaved during the Cultural Revolution. It wasn’t safe to deviate from the party line in China back then, or for that matter, in China, and increasingly in America, today.

Great America

We Have Had Enough Lockdown

Take off the masks and remove the “social distancing” circles from the floors. Open the schools, liberate college campuses, fill the restaurants and the gyms and the churches and the salons. Enough.

If 2020 wasn’t twisted enough, the current political imbroglio centers around a verboten visit to a California boutique for a routine blow-out. Americans are lining up either behind House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who claims she was “set up” to visit the San Francisco salon, or the salon’s owner, a woman struggling to keep her business alive amid cruel and unscientific edicts issued by her governor months ago.

The incident is the latest in a series of “rules for thee but not for me” gut punches from the ruling class; whether it’s mask-free trips to the park or crowded funerals for anointed heroes or casual meals munched indoors, the government-ordered shutdowns apply to everyone except the sadists running government who order said shutdowns.

But here’s the rub: No one should be talking about Pelosi’s coif controversy because it should not even be a story. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Erica Kious should never have been forced to close her business, fire her stylists, and sneak in customers like some 1940s underground operation hiding from the nation’s modern-day face covering and social distancing Gestapo. Pelosi should be able to get her hair done whenever and wherever she pleases without concocting a preposterous excuse that she was framed for fluffy follicles.

Almost a half a year ago, Americans were asked to suspend their personal freedoms, business pursuits, and schooling for 15 days to “flatten the curve” of rising cases of the novel coronavirus. Americans, fearful of the unknown and willing to do what they imagined was the right thing to protect themselves and their family, acquiesced.

That was 172 days ago. What has happened since will be studied and debated for decades with one likely conclusion: Global lockdowns, particularly in the United States, were one of the costliest man-made disasters of all time. The decision was rooted in unscientific hocus pocus that resulted in economic, educational, mental, physical, and emotional catastrophes on a scale that can never be fully quantified—not to mention the way stay-at-home orders fueled racial and civil unrest across America months before a national election.

A very small handful of us recognized this horrific mistake at the onset; we were shunned by both the Left and Right as heartless grandma-killers and “armchair epidemiologists” with no place in the debate. It was clear from the start, however, that the “experts” were winging it. The data was totally unreliable; the suggestion a virus could be stopped defied science and common sense. Initial models, based on untested inputs promoted by hucksters with an agenda, were prima facie garbage.

“This is a dangerous time and not just because of the threat of a treatable disease,” I wrote on March 19. “Americans are willingly surrendering to government their freedom, their livelihoods, their long-term economic security, and their mental well-being over unjustified panic about a virus that might have already spread and now is abating. If this is the new normal, where incomplete data and media-fueled panic rule the day, that is an even more frightening prospect than what’s happening right now.”

Now, nearly six months later, the oppression of the “new normal” is baked into daily life. 

Kindergartners cry at computer screens instead of navigating those first wobbly days away from mommy, a rite of passage critical to human development. Remote learning strains the mental faculties and physical tolerance of teenagers now forced to stare for hours at virtual classrooms with no engagement or socialization. High school athletes who have suited up for football and soccer and cheerleading and cross country every season since grade school are sidelined; lifelong dreams of college scholarships, gone.

Millions of nursing home residents in some states remain neglected from the life-sustaining touch of a son or daughter. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis broke down during an emotional press conference September 1 when he announced the reopening of nursing homes to visitors. Loved ones would just “like to say goodbye or to hug somebody,” the first-term Republican explained. After composing himself, DeSantis wondered aloud whether the decision to shutter the eldery was the right one. “I think it’s difficult to think that some of our action may have . . . prevented that.”

Every age group is tortured by the inhumanity of quarantine. College dormitories, a place where new adults get the first glorious taste of grown-up liberation, resemble solitary confinement units. At a time when Democratic mayors are releasing criminals from prison, simpatico university deans are criminalizing young people for . . . acting like young people. Students were at first promised a few in-person classes and some semblance of a regular campus atmosphere—until tuition was paid.

Those of us parenting college students already know about the punishing rules and penalties imposed on our children; those who don’t should take a moment and read this collection of campus horror stories gathered by journalist Jordan Schachtel. The accounts are heartbreaking and infuriating. 

“My son is a Freshman,” one parent wrote. “All his classes are online. In his giant dormitory, his room is only one with three guys. They have knocked on doors in their hall trying to meet people, and have been chastised and hassled by the RAs for being ‘radicals’ for simply reaching out to others.”

We now live in a “Black Mirror” dystopia—as evidence proves how nonthreatening this disease is to the overwhelming majority of Americans, threats to comply with punitive commands from above escalate. Remedies are dismissed while moneyed interests plug forced vaccinations so we can “get back to normal.” Other serious health issues go ignored or untreated as we fixate on a virus that already has burned out in most parts of the country. 

The federal government just canceled contracts to buy more ventilators; nearly 120,000 machines are stockpiled and probably will go unused. Mandatory testing is rising at the same time studies show roughly 90 percent of positive results are meaningless. 

Students and teachers are back to school in Wuhan, the source of the plague, while our kids prepare to remain secluded and chained to laptops for the rest of the calendar year.

Meanwhile, grown adults argue over a stupid freaking visit to a hair salon.

This must end. At a Pennsylvania rally Thursday night, President Trump detailed the negative outcomes of the shutdown. He reminded Americans that he once warned the cure couldn’t be worse than the disease and warned prolonged lockdowns in Democratic states are politically motivated.

The president is right—he should now declare the “war on coronavirus” is over. Yes, there are battle scars but the country won. Now, the reconstruction must begin. Take off the masks and remove the “social distancing” circles from the floors. Open the schools, liberate college campuses, fill the restaurants and the gyms and the churches and the hair salons.

Enough.

Great America

The Lockdown Has Gone From a Mistake to a Crime

The lockdown is a crime. But even more upsetting is that it is supported by so many Americans.

Four months ago, I wrote a column titled “The Worldwide Lockdown May Be the Greatest Mistake in History.” I explained that “‘mistake’ and ‘evil’ are not synonyms. The lockdown is a mistake; the Holocaust, slavery, communism, fascism, etc., were evils. Massive mistakes are made by arrogant fools; massive evils are committed by evil people.”

Regarding the economic catastrophe in America and around the world — especially among the world’s poor who are dependent upon America and other first-world countries for their income through exports and tourism — I wrote, “It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe.”

Unfortunately, I was right.

The world should have followed Sweden’s example. That country never locked down and has even kept children under 16 in school the entire time. As Reuters reported on July 15, the number of Swedish children between 1 and 19 years of age who have died of COVID-19 is zero. And the percentage of children who contracted the illness was the exact same in Sweden as it was in Finland, which locked down its schools.

As regards teachers, Sweden’s Public Health Agency reported that “a comparison of the incidence of COVID-19 in different professions suggested no increased risk for teachers.” Nevertheless, with few exceptions, teachers in Los Angeles and elsewhere refuse to enter a classroom that has students in it. Their disdain for their profession has been superseded only by that of the Los Angeles teachers union, which announced that teachers will not resume teaching until the police are defunded.

People who defend lockdowns and closing schools point out that Sweden has the eighth-highest death rate per million in the Western world. But, needless to say, this has no bearing at all on the issue of whether Sweden was right to keep schools open or whether our country was wrong to close them, let alone keep them closed now. The overwhelming majority of deaths from COVID-19 in Sweden were among people over 70 years of age, and most of those were people over 80 and with compromised immune systems.

Reuters reported that three separate studies, including one by UNICEF, “showed that Swedish children fared better than children in other countries during the pandemic, both in terms of education and mental health.”

For more than a month, Sweden has had almost no deaths from COVID-19 while the entire society remains open and almost no one wears masks. (In Holland, too, almost no one wears masks.) For all intents and purposes, the virus is over in Sweden.

I live in California, a state governed by that most dangerous of leaders: a fool with unlimited power. Despite the fact that California ranks 28th among the 50 states in deaths per million, Gov. Gavin Newsom has destroyed and continues to destroy tens of thousands of small businesses and untold numbers of livelihoods. His continuing to forbid — a half-year after the onset of the pandemic — indoor dining in restaurants is leading to a projected permanent closure of approximately 1 in every 3 restaurants in the state. The same catastrophic destruction will likely affect retail businesses and services such as hair and nail salons. But all this human tragedy — not to mention increased depression and suicides among the young and increased abuse of children and partners — means nothing to Newsom, to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti or to the Los Angeles Times, whose editors and columnists continue to advocate for the lockdown while they receive their salaries.

Why can people eat with no mask in an airplane — inches, not six feet, from strangers — but cannot eat in a California restaurant, which is so much bigger than the inside of an airplane, while sitting six feet from others? Because Newsom ordered it, the Los Angeles Times supports it and, like sheep, Californians have accepted it.

According to the California Association of Museums, “Museums are losing over $22 million a day due to the statewide quarantine. As of August 1, 2020, California museums have lost more than $2.9 billion in revenue. Museums have a $6.55 billion financial impact on California’s economy, support 80,722 jobs, and generated $492 million in tax revenues for the State of California in 2017 and over $1 billion in federal taxes.”

And the American Alliance of Museums issued results from a survey on July 22, 2020, that warned 1 out of every 3 museums may shutter forever as funding sources and financial reserves run dry.

On Aug. 3, The Wall Street Journal wrote, “In March … There was broad public support for the prudent goals of preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed and buying scientists time to develop therapies.” But the left — the media and Democratic governors and mayors — immediately moved the goal posts to “bending the curve” and “saving one life,” enabling them to get away with destroying lives and livelihoods.

I conclude with the words of a Swedish medical doctor, Sebastian Rushworth:

“Covid is over in Sweden. People have gone back to their normal lives and barely anyone is getting infected any more. I am willing to bet that the countries that have shut down completely will see rates spike when they open up. If that is the case, then there won’t have been any point in shutting down in the first place … Shutting down completely in order to decrease the total number of deaths only makes sense if you are willing to stay shut down until a vaccine is available. That could take years. No country is willing to wait that long.”

The lockdown is a crime. But even more upsetting is that it is supported by so many Americans. This country is unrecognizable to those of us who lived through the 1968-1970 pandemic, which killed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 100,000 Americans — the 2020 equivalent of 170,000 Americans. Nothing shut down. Not one mask was worn.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

News

New Study Shows COVID-19 Lockdowns 10 Times More Deadly Than Virus Itself

COVID-19 lockdowns have shortened the lifespans of Americans much more than the virus itself, an eye-opening new study has found.

According to the study, commissioned by Revolver News, Coronavirus lockdowns are ten times more deadly to American citizens than the actual COVID-19 virus, and have devastated long term financial and social stability.

Drawing on existing economic studies on the health effects of unemployment, the Revolver study sought to quantify the net damage of the lockdowns in terms of a metric known as “life-years” and compared that number to how many lives will have been saved by the lockdowns.

… we found that an estimated 18.7 million life-years will be lost in the United States due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. Comparative data analysis between nations shows that the lockdowns in the United States likely had a minimal effect in saving life-years. Using two different comparison groups, we estimate that the COVID-19 lockdowns in the U.S. saved between a quarter to three quarters of a million life-years.

The news outlet opined that the results of the study confirm that “the COVID-19 lockdown measures that Americans have had to endure for the greater part of 2020 represent one of the most dramatic, consequential, and damaging policy measures undertaken in this nation’s history.”

The results are nothing short of staggering, and suggest that the lockdowns will end up costing Americans over 10 times as many years of life as they will save from the virus itself.

 

The lockdowns were widely accepted early on as a temporary precaution to slow the spread of the virus and save lives, but as time has worn on, many people have noticed a double standard in terms of enforcement, with different rules for different groups based on political affiliation. As new data emerges showing the virus to be less lethal than initially thought, Americans who have suffered dire economic consequences are feeling increasingly rebellious.

The media have consistently spread bad news about the virus, resulting in fear and panic among the populous, but as The New York Times recently admitted, the daily case counts heralded by the MSM have been wildly inaccurate.

 

The corononavirus death count has also been hugely inflated.

Recent data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that only a miniscule number of Americans have died of the coronavirus alone.

An analysis of deaths between 2/1 and 8/22 2020 found that only six percent of COVID-19 deaths in the United States occurred in people without any comorbidities.

President Trump has made clear that he opposes further devastating lockdowns, pointing out in his recent Republican National Convention speech that they have had a devastating effect on the lives of many Americans.

“The cost of the Biden shutdown would be measured in increased drug overdoses, depression, alcohol addiction, suicides, heart attacks, economic devastation, job loss and much more. Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but, rather, it’s a surrender to the virus,” Trump declared.

Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden, meanwhile has indicated that he would impose further lockdowns if “scientists” told him to do so.

 

Great America

WHO’s on First with Joe Biden

“White coat supremacy” meets watermelon environmentalism.

Building back better means building back greener,” sounds like the latest bromide from the Democratic Party’s chief cellar-dweller Joe Biden. But the speaker is actually World Health Organization boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, back on August 21.

 The coronavirus pandemic, Tedros said, “has given new impetus to the need to accelerate efforts to respond to climate change” and “given us a glimpse of our world as it could be: cleaner skies and rivers.” Yet “at the same time, we will not, we cannot go back to the way things were,” he warns. 

The millions suffering from the pandemic, particularly the unemployed, might wonder about the man who plagiarizes Joe Biden’s slogan. 

 Tedros is a veteran of the Marxist Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), responsible for atrocities against the Amhara ethnic group in northwest Ethiopia. Tedros earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1986, but never completed medical studies to become a physician. During his tenure as Ethiopia’s health minister from 2005 until 2012, Tedros purposely covered up cholera outbreaks in 2006, 2009, and 2011.

 The next year, as Ethiopia’s minister of foreign affairs, Tedros strengthened his country’s ties to Communist China, which has loaned more than $13 billion to Ethiopia. In December 2014, Tedros and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi co-authored an op-ed hailing the close bonds between the two countries.

 In 2017, Tedros became the first WHO chairman not qualified as a medical doctor. One of Tedros’ first actions was to name Zimbabwe’s Marxist tyrant Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador. In 2019, when the coronavirus hit, the WHO mirrored the policies of Communist China.

 In late January, after a trip to Beijing, Tedros said China’s actions “actually helped prevent the spread of coronavirus to other countries,” and the WHO boss was “very impressed and encouraged by [Xi Jinping’s] detailed knowledge of the outbreak.” 

Tedros’ actions, in turn, duly impressed Dr. Anthony Fauci. “He has been all over this,” Fauci said. “I was on the phone with him a few hours ago leading a WHO call.” 

Non-doctor Tedros is not the only high roller to link the pandemic to climate change. According to Bill Gates, efforts to get the coronavirus pandemic under control will facilitate the fight against climate change. As the software billionaire explains, “that idea of innovation and science and the world working together—that is totally common between these two problems, and so I don’t think this has to be a huge setback for climate.” 

Former National Security Council official Jason Bordoff says he believes “COVID-19 may deliver some short-term climate benefits by curbing energy use, or even longer-term benefits if economic stimulus is linked to climate goals,” which the NSC man did not spell out. Call it pandemic convergence, and Tucker Carlson of Fox News was all over it. 

“For Dr. Tedros and Bill Gates, pandemic and climate change share a very different connection,” Carlson noted recently. “Both are useful pretexts for mass social control. Both are essentially unsolvable crises they can harness to bypass democracy and force powerless populations to obey their commands.” 

A couple of backstories are playing out here. 

The modern environmental movement is a kind of fundamentalist pantheism pushing for Gaia rights. It was quickly outed as “watermelon environmentalism”—green outside and red inside—and as such ideal for social control. The “Green New Deal,” most stridently espoused by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in effect is a suicide note for the America that actually exists. Joe Biden is on board with it and WHO mouthpiece Tedros now joins Biden’s far-left puppeteer korps

 On the pandemic side, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force has been wrong so often—see Peter Duesberg’s Inventing the AIDS Virus and Michael Fumento’s The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS for details—he’s not even a broken clock. Yet this medical doctor, whose bio shows no advanced degrees in microbiology or biochemistry, recommends a lockdown that wrecked a thriving U.S. economy. (For further reading, see Angelo Codevilla’s “The COVID Coup.”) 

Fauci, 79, has headed the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, and like his pal Tedros, he’s never had to face the voters or own up to his mistakes. This is white coat supremacy in action, and the unmasked WHO boss now proclaims “we cannot go back to the way things were.” 

As Dennis (Michael Palin) explains in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses. Maybe that’s why Tedros shrink-wraps pandemic convergence in a slogan of presidential candidate Joe Biden. The election takes place on November 3, and as President Trump says, we’ll have to see what happens. 

Great America

When Will It End?

How long will we have to ask these questions before someone gives us some answers?

Masks don’t work according to the CDC, yet the agency recommends the public wear them anyway. If they don’t work, why are we wearing them? Why do some states have emergency orders from their governors to require wearing masks? Why does Joe Biden want a national mask mandate? Is it really just about this virus or is it something else?

Why are we willingly complying with these orders if masks don’t work? If they do work, why are many businesses mandated by emergency orders to stay shut down?

What if we must live with this virus forever and get used to it being here? Are we going to allow them to mask us forever? Are we finished going to concerts, bars, churches, festivals, and football games? Is this what you want for yourself and your family?What if these orders that suspend the United States Constitution don’t end because the virus doesn’t end? What if some people in power get used to having this kind of control on all our lives and begin to feel and enjoy the power they have? What if our trust in these state and local governments is misplaced? What if they really don’t have a good plan, other than shutting down small businesses while keeping giant corporations alive and prosperous?

What if schools are made to shut down for years to come every time one kid or teacher tests positive, whether or not they actually have any symptoms of this disease? Why are we not allowing our children to go back to regular school life, if their risk of death from COVID-19 is so low? What lasting damage is this having on our children? What about the children who don’t have the means to be taught effectively at home? Why would we allow our children to fall further behind in learning with each passing day? What about the children with special needs whose parents don’t have the necessary skills to teach them?

Why are we not allowing churches to open to their congregations, but somehow the same amount of people milling around each other at the grocery store each day is perfectly fine? Why are we allowed to feed our fat bodies at Walmart but not feed our starving souls at church? Why is our freedom of assembly being taken away in one place but overlooked in others? What lasting damage is this having on our spiritual lives?

Why are we testing people without symptoms when asymptomatic people are far less likely to transmit the disease? Why are we counting multiple positive tests for one person asif they were multiple people who had tested positive? Is there a reason asymptomatic positives are counted at all? Are we subtracting the number of false positives from the overall numbers? Shouldn’t we narrow our focus to symptomatic cases, hospitalizations, and deaths?

What is the endgame here? Will the mask mandate mysteriously go away the day after the presidential election, or will Democratic mayors and governors around the country continue their unconstitutional lockdowns, quarantines of people with no symptoms, and mask mandates when Donald Trump gets reelected? 

How long will we have to ask these questions before someone gives us some answers?

Great America

Discipline, Determination, and Data Will Get Us Through the Pandemic

Getting through the worst of the pandemic won’t be easy, but we need to be smart, resilient, and disciplined, and go where the data take us.

While discussing many pandemic-related issues with friends and colleagues, we were reminded of the quip of journalist and satirist H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

As we battle the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the illness it causes, COVID-19, the “fog of war” continues on both the medical and epidemiological fronts. On the public health side, different studies, especially those that involve modeling, seem to reach conflicting, or at least ambiguous, conclusions. And politicians and pundits have jumped in to make the fog denser, with many policy prescriptions contaminated by misinformation, ideological spin, and partisan politics.

                                                       Obtaining clarity about many aspects of COVID-19 has been elusive. Dr. Anthony Fauci has emphasized the virus’s unique “protean manifestations”: “I have never seen a virus in which you have 20 percent to 40 percent of individuals who could have no symptoms at all, to individuals who get mild illness and do not need to go to a hospital, to people confined to their beds at home for weeks with multiple post-viral syndromes,” he said. 

SARS-CoV-2 is also unusual in being able to infect a broad spectrum of body tissues beyond the respiratory tract, including the digestive tract, neurons that mediate smell and taste, kidneys, and most critically, the heart and lining of blood vessels. 

Infection often leads to widespread inflammation and tiny clots, which cause secondary deleterious effects. Moreover, an Italian research study found that upwards of 85 percent of patients who had been hospitalized have persistent, sometimes serious aftereffects that can drag on for an indeterminate amount of time, and possibly permanently. (The virus is too recent to know conclusively.)

The clear lesson is that efforts to prevent infection are critical. But, absent a vaccine, which is still likely far off, that’s complicated and involves difficult cost-benefit calculations.

Widespread Rapid Testing Is Crucial—And Expensive

The modes of transmission for this virus remain somewhat unclear, with scientists still working to understand the amounts of virus that constitute an infectious dose, and how infected individuals spread infectious virus. 

Recent evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 can pass from person to person both in large droplets that travel only short distances and also in tiny droplets (smaller than five microns in diameter) called aerosols that waft through the air and that can linger longer and travel further. A better understanding of those phenomena is critical, because the expelled droplet size (which varies across breathing, speech, singing, yelling, sneezing, and coughing) determines the distance of travel and duration of presence in the air.

These uncertainties make it difficult to evaluate transmission mitigation measures. One initiative, however, is of indisputable value: ubiquitous, frequent, and rapid-response testing for active infection, especially in places where transmission is potentially high (e.g. offices, school buildings, gyms, stores, etc.). 

Dealing with known infected individuals is a much easier proposition than coping with the impact of potentially infected people who can spread the virus while waiting for test results, and individuals who become ill and spread the virus while in the pre-symptomatic stage or who are asymptomatic and see no need to be tested.

This implies a need to refocus our testing capacity and implementation on screening for infected individuals in something close to real-time

This can now be accomplished rapidly and inexpensively with antigen tests that detect virus proteins (as opposed to the PCR tests that detect virus material, RNA, or fragments thereof). Because they are currently less accurate than PCR tests, however, their primary value is in screening, rather than diagnosis. Biweekly testing of everyone at schools and in certain workplaces with such tests, especially on pooled samples, could detect COVID-19 infections early on and keep the number of new cases to a manageable level, or even cause them to disappear in some locations.

This transformation won’t be easy or cheap. Among the hurdles facing widespread, repeat screening is the scarcity of such tests; and a national screening strategy likely would require at least 25 million fast tests per week, according to Jonathan Quick, who heads pandemic response for the Rockefeller Foundation. On July 16, the foundation released a national COVID-19 testing plan that calls on the federal government to spend $75 billion to provide 30 million screening and diagnostic tests per week.

A New COVID Infrastructure

Other kinds of interventions to lower virus transmissibility won’t come cheap either. One example is the improvement of indoor ventilation and filtration systems. Evidence is mounting that transmission of the virus outdoors in amounts that can cause disease is generally rare. Of course, close gatherings for extended periods (e.g. in stadiums) increase the risk, but many outdoor venues have sufficient air movement to dissipate and dilute potentially infectious levels of viral particles. 

Most transmission of the virus at levels that are infectious occurs indoors, so federal programs that encourage HVAC improvements, by direct or indirect subsidies, would be a sound investment that should reduce the incidence not only of COVID-19, but also of flu and colds. Presumably, such programs would be focused on workplaces, houses of worship, schools, and other places where strangers congregate.

Measures for which the cost is relatively low and the benefits are potentially huge include: regular masks for those with an average risk of being spreaders (especially indoors in stores, etc.), N95 respirators for those at greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 (especially indoors in environments with strangers), and distancing to the maximum extent feasible. Clearly, some situations such as workplaces and schools will have to find the optimal workable tradeoff between distance and density.

Avoiding indoor gatherings where movement is limited and exposure times are long (bars, arenas, large parties, etc.) is preferable, but the risk will depend on many factors, not the least of which is the degree of community spread in individual locales. (If the incidence of new cases and testing positivity are high, the risk of further spread is high.) These include the quality of ventilation and filtration, the feasibility of wearing masks (harder when eating or drinking is involved), and the demographics of the group. The tradeoff, of course, is that limiting these gatherings could bankrupt businesses and increase the public’s feelings of isolation and frustration.

Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder have modeled the risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2 aerosols in various scenarios, such as an indoor gathering, an energy-efficient office, a classroom lecture, strenuous outdoor activity, a subway ride, and so on, with and without masks. The graphs of estimated risk of infection versus time of exposure to those scenarios are instructive.

Don’t Be Stupid

It remains uncertain which additional interventions would be cost-effective, except in special environments such as long-term care facilities, where specific protocols can and should be implemented, given the hugely disproportionate death toll in people over age 75, especially if they have comorbidities. Additional interventions must also meet the test of not causing more harm than good, exemplified by restricting access to healthcare for non-COVID needs.

In formulating policy, at the top of the list of things that must be avoided are inconsistencies, illogic, and downright stupidity. The imposition of arbitrary, scientifically baseless constraints erodes public trust and deepens pandemic fatigue. (Should we even have to say that?) 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has provided some worthy examples: a prohibition on people traveling from one of their houses to another of their own properties; a restriction on motor-boating, although sailing and rowing were permitted; and the requirement that large stores close off areas that display carpeting, flooring, furniture, gardening supplies, and paint.

In Honolulu, taxpayer-funded outdoor spaces—beaches, parks, and hiking trails—are shut down, while indoor businesses including retail stores, restaurants, gyms, tattoo shops, and massage parlors that have less ventilation and more person-to-person contact are open.

Finally, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is mandating its employees wear face masks during video conferences, even if they are home alone. The department secretary admonished employees, “wear your mask, even if you are home, to participate in a virtual meeting that involves being seen—such as on Zoom or another video-conferencing platform—by non-DNR staff . . . Set the safety example which shows you, as a DNR public service employee, care about the safety and health of others.” This is reminiscent of the sublime British TV spoof of government, “Yes, Minister.”

Worst of all have been statements from politicians and even some public health officials that the motivation behind dangerous large gatherings—whether political rallies or activists’ demonstrations—should take precedence over public health considerations. 

Such actions and statements severely undermine the credibility of those “in charge.” This kind of behavior needs to stop in order to inspire confidence in interventions that are actually useful. There are signs it already may be too late.

Getting through the worst of the pandemic won’t be easy, but we need to be smart, resilient, and disciplined, and go where the data take us.

Great America

Whitmer’s Unilateralism Persists

At this point, it’s obvious that Michigan’s governor is engaged in a naked bid to extend indefinitely her despotic, one-woman show. So much for consent of the governed.

The Michigan Court of Appeals on Friday released its much-anticipated decision in House of Representatives and Senate v. Governor, in which it ruled 2-1 in favor of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s sweeping executive orders aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. The panel’s third judge, Jonathan Tukel, concurred in part and dissented in part from the decision.

In May, state legislators filed a lawsuit against Whitmer in the Michigan Court of Claims, which declined to invalidate her flurry of executive orders issued in response to the pandemic. The court ruled her executive orders were lawful under the 1945 Emergency Powers of Governor Act (EPGA) but that Whitmer had overstepped her authority under the 1976 Emergency Management Act (EMA). In a 4-3 decision in June, the Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear directly, on an expedited basis, the legislature’s appeal from the Court of Claims, saying the case should not leapfrog the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The appeals court on Friday said the two laws, which cover strikingly similar subject matters, need not be read together so as to harmonize them. Rather, because the “statutory language is clear and unambiguous, we must apply the statute as written. A court is not permitted to read anything into an unambiguous statute that is not within the manifest intent of the Legislature.” 

On that basis, the court’s majority said Whitmer has the legal authority to act unilaterally, as she has since March, under the EPGA; the court of appeals declined to answer the question of whether the “much more comprehensive, specific, and detailed” EMA also authorizes Whitmer’s actions.

The majority proceeds simply by reading the plain language of each statute, and it finds nothing in the text of the EPGA confining its application only to local or non-statewide emergencies, as the legislature contended in its brief and at oral argument as a way to distinguish the EPGA from the EMA. 

And because the EPGA applies “[d]uring times of great public crisis, disaster, rioting, catastrophe, or similar public emergency within the state, or reasonable apprehension of immediate danger of a public emergency of that kind, when public safety is imperiled,” the majority found that “epidemic”—which isn’t mentioned specifically in the EPGA, as it is in the EMA—is plausibly encompassed by one of those broader terms. 

Finally, the EPGA does not violate the Michigan constitution’s principle of separation of powers because:

the EPGA contains standards that are as reasonably precise as the subject matter—public emergencies—requires or permits, such that the Legislature, by enacting the EPGA, safely availed itself of the resources and expertise of the executive branch to assist in the execution of legislative policy. . . . The standards found in the EPGA are sufficiently broad to permit the efficient administration of carrying out the policy of the Legislature with regard to addressing a public emergency but not so broad as to leave Michiganders unprotected from uncontrolled, arbitrary power.

The dissent has the better of the argument. For Tukel, the statutes are in pari materia—“literally, ‘in a like manner’”—which means they must be read together so that one is not rendered nugatory or mere surplusage, thereby defeating the legislature’s intent in passing two distinct laws. The majority’s analysis renders two key provisions of the EMA nugatory and mere surplusage, Tukel wrote.

First, the more recently enacted EMA specifically lists an “epidemic” as a triggering event, but the EPGA does not. Tukel writes:

[I]t is clear that the Legislature which enacted the EMA did not understand the EPGA to encompass epidemics, because, simply put, the Legislature would not have intended to enact surplusage; we assume that when the Legislature crafts legislation it knows what the existing law is, and takes it into consideration, and there simply is no reason the Legislature would have included the word “epidemic” in the EMA if it understood the EPGA to already have covered such a situation.”

Second, the EMA places a 28-day time limit on the governor’s ability to act without legislative input; if the legislature declines to extend the governor’s power beyond the 28-day window, her authority under the EMA is stripped, and the status quo, representative government, is restored. 

For the legislature “[t]o engraft such a durational limitation on the EMA, while leaving the governor’s [allegedly] equivalent powers under the EPGA completely unconstrained, subject only to the governor’s whim, would render the EMA’s time limits surplusage,” Tukel argues.

In Tukel’s view, then, the more restrictive EMA governs this dispute, not the EPGA.

Finally, Tukel would ordinarily adhere to the doctrine of constitutional avoidance, which “directs [courts] to decline” to base a ruling on the Michigan constitution “if a case can be decided on other grounds.” Nonetheless, he does engage in a constitutional analysis because “the majority rejects the statutory analysis which I believe is mandated, which thus requires that I consider the constitutional question of whether the Governor improperly exercised (and continues to exercise) legislative powers, in violation of our Constitution.”

Tukel determines that “the orders issued by the Governor are in fact legislative” because, according to the majority’s interpretation, “the governor’s authority to issue the orders, . . . involve[s] the whole power of the Legislature, as there are no subject matters which are outside their potential scope.” Thus, the governor has been “granted . . . the full legislative power” and her orders are therefore “unconstitutional” under the Michigan constitution’s principle of separation of powers.

It is heartening to see a judge like Tukel take seriously his duty “to say what the law is,” but it is disappointing that there wasn’t a second judge like him to form a majority in the case.

It’s long past time for regular order to return to Michigan (not to mention the nation as a whole). Thankfully, COVID-19 is not the bubonic plague all the public-health “experts” insisted it was. When we thought it might have been, it was appropriate for an energetic executive to take the lead to protect public health and human life from what could have been a devastating pathogen. At this point, however, it is obvious that Whitmer is engaged in a naked bid to extend indefinitely her “despotic, one-woman show”—in blatant violation of the sacred principle of government by consent of the governed.

It now falls to the Michigan Supreme Court to recognize that truth.

Elections

Calling Out Democrats’ Lies at Lame Zoom Convention

Democratic leaders bungled COVID, Trump saved lives.

The biggest lie, among many, at the Democratic Party’s Orange Man Bad Fest on Tuesday night was that President Trump did not act aggressively or effectively to save lives from the Chinese coronavirus.

Here are a couple of key facts that Bill Clinton must have missed: President Trump ended flights from China in January, only to be attacked for “hysterical xenophobia” by former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa on February 1. President Trump ended travel from Europe in March to the dismay of Democrats, including Biden who said the order was “counterproductive.”

On March 13, as part of a larger announcement by President Trump on COVID-19 response, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an updated Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for how nursing homes should handle coronavirus cases.  

These measures, along with the Trump Administration’s historic industrial mobilization to ensure Americans have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to fight the coronavirus, are saving lives. The Monday morning quarterbacking at the Democratic convention this week is simply an attempt to deflect from the failed policies of their own party leaders, specifically New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo forced nursing homes in his state to accept COVID-19 patients, knowing those facilities could not treat them. His recklessness infected the most vulnerable populations in the state with the deadly virus and was in direct violation of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidance. The CDC directed nursing homes to only admit COVID patients if “the facility can follow CDC guidance for Transmission-Based Precautions” and to keep only those COVID-infected patients for which they could safely care for. 

CMS Administrator Seema Verma on May 21 noted, “In the guidance, CMS urged nursing homes to dedicate a specific wing to patients moving to, or arriving from, a hospital, where they could remain for 14 days with no symptoms.” 

That didn’t happen in New York, where, per Cuomo’s order, “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.” That was the case whether or not a nursing home had a wing for COVID recoveries.

While official state counts suggest about 6,500 died in nursing homes, it is suspected thousands of more residents died in hospitals after being transferred from their nursing homes. Now Cuomo has quashed attempts to investigate his handling of the crisis, particularly as it relates to the true number of his nursing home death sentences. It is incontrovertible that thousands of patients died because Cuomo did exactly the wrong thing in contravention of the CMS and CDC guidelines.  

President Trump had a much more effective response by comparison. Under the president’s orders, the USNS Comfort arrived at New York Harbor on March 30 to assist with patients who were not COVID-19 afflicted. The USNS Mercy was similarly stationed in Los Angeles in anticipation of a hospital emergency that never came. The president set up military field hospitals to assist local hospital systems that were stressed.  

In addition, the president invoked the Defense Production Act to ensure enough ventilators would be available to the American people. The fact is that due to the swift and aggressive actions of President Trump, no American had to do without a ventilator if he needed one, the hospital system did not overflow, and the curve was flattened.  

Early on, the president directed the Food and Drug Administration to find ways to fast track coronavirus therapies. The Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program is using every available method to move new safe, effective treatments to patients as quickly as possible. 

Today, the federal government is collaborating with McKesson Corporation, a central distributor of future COVID vaccines and related supplies needed to administer the vaccinations, to rapidly distribute a coronavirus vaccine as soon as one is approved. There are currently three candidates in phase-three clinical trials and are on pace to have more than 100 million doses of a vaccine ready before the end of the year and 500 million doses very shortly thereafter.

By September, the Strategic National Stockpile inventory, badly depleted during the Obama-Biden years, is on track to contain over 300 million N95 respirators and surgical masks, over 4.5 billion gloves, and more than 190,000 ventilators.

Second-guessing about the increase in cases ignores the reality that, with the exception of south Texas where American ex-patriots living in Mexico are stressing the system, our medical system is holding up well, PPE has been produced and distributed in record numbers and a variety of tests have been approved and distributed broadly across the nation. 

While Democrats were making stuff up about the president’s connection to Ukraine to obscure their current nominee’s corrupt hand in dealing with that country in the past, President Trump mobilized the best and brightest minds to combat the virus both from a health and economic perspective.  

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are alive today as a result of Trump’s valiant COVID response. It is sad that the Democrats, like Biden, were so quick to criticize and slow to come up with solutions. When they did, their solutions often mirrored steps the president had taken earlier in the fight.

The record is clear. The only reason anyone in America thinks that the federal government response was not aggressive is that the left-stream media hid the truth from them.

Elections

It’s Time for Trump Rallies to Resume

Peaceful assembly is an essential activity.

Trump should hold more rallies. Excuse me, “peaceful protests.”

Those who aren’t obsessed with the possibility of dying need to get busy living. For his part, President Trump needs to get busy winning

This election will be a close one despite Biden’s many obvious infirmities, lack of motivated supporters, and dearth of campaign events. When you have America’s billionaire donor class and every media apparatchik in the country trying to shove you into the presidency, you don’t need to form coherent sentences to have a fighting chance of taking office. 

Trump’s greatest assets against his enemies are tweets and rallies. Twitter gives Trump straight-line access to the people, unfiltered by our corrupt corporate media. But this is only half the battle. On Twitter, Trump can’t really see his supporters. Social media, whatever its uses, is fundamentally an abstraction. 

This is why Trump needs rallies. He needs to escape from D.C. and see the good people of America’s heartlandand not just in piecemeal limited events either. His supporters need to gather. They need unfiltered, no-teleprompter Trump. They need to hear the hallmark chants of “USA! USA! USA!” They need the president’s mockery of our corporate press, and the off-the-cuff humor and storytelling.

Nothing would do more for the morale of Trump’s voters (and therefore his poll numbers) than seeing the man himself. Of course our lying liberal media would hate every second of it. 

Wonderful.

The Trump campaign should hold these events without any restrictions, required masks, or weird rules meant to “protect” attendees from the virus. Americans should be allowed to judge for themselves whether to have community and political life. If he really wants to tweak the liberal schoolmarms, Trump should call these campaign rallies the “Peaceful Protest Tour” against intrusive government regulations and media-generated fear.

He should hold these rallies in little towns and rural venues where Americans are still sane. They should also be first-come, first-served. Online ticketing can be compromised by “Tik Tok Teens,” “K-pop Stans,” and Biden Bots. It isn’t necessary.

Trump already made an attempt to restart rallies back in June but met immediate and fierce resistance from the media and medical establishment. The “experts” began hyperventilating even more than usual. The rally was supposed to be a super-spreader event. It was responsible, local health officials claimed, for a “surge” in cases. On July 24, a local health official breathlessly reported that one man who needed a hospital bed in Tulsa for COVID-19 couldn’t get one all day because hospitals were being overwhelmed! 

All lies.

According to the Tulsa Health Department’s COVID dashboard, the “surge” in cases in Tulsa began two weeks before the rally. This surge in positive tests was not accompanied by a spike in deaths. This is, by now, a familiar story.

The article whose headline alleged that a patient was turned away from Tulsa hospitals due to overwhelming demand also includes a few random acts of journalism buried deep in the story. That same article quoted Tulsa’s Interim Health Commissioner, Dr. Lance Frye, who said the city had “not identified a situation in which a hospital is operating at maximum capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic” and that hospitals had the resources they needed. Another health official reported that ICUs in Tulsa were only 80 percent full. On July 24, the state’s executive report on COVID-19 medical capacity noted that 17 percent of ICU beds statewide were available and 66 percent of their ventilators were free. 

For context, Tulsa has lost 107 citizens to COVID-19 out of a population of 650,000. It’s worth noting 6,100 Tulsans die every year from all causes.

Normal people know that’s not an apocalypse. 

Journalists are not normal people. America’s vindictive and partisan corporate media decided to pin blame on Trump for deaths regardless of the facts. On July 30, Reuters tweeted that “Herman Cain, ex-presidential candidate who refused to wear mask, dies after COVID-19 diagnosis.” The insinuation from Reuters, the New York Times, and others was that Cain’s death was caused by visiting the Trump rally in Tulsa. There is no evidence this was the case. Cain’s spokesman, Dan Calabrese, noted that he had traveled a great deal the week before the rally. 

Even if Cain had gotten the illness at the rally, it doesn’t matter. He was an adult and a free man. He decided that living his life without restrictions was more important than trying to mitigate every potential risk. And as a stage IV cancer survivor, Cain had to be more aware of the risks than most people. That is the same choice every American makes every time they leave their front door and get behind a steering wheel. 

Peaceful assembly is an essential activity. Six months into this “global pandemic” the dangers of COVID-19 are well known. A small percentage of the population, with a median age of 80, dies from the illness. Most who contract it have unremarkable symptoms. The illness is a known risk, not a death sentence.

Those of us who are willing to accept those risks in the name of liberty have every right to do so. It is time for Americans to see their president in person. It is time for Trump to start holding rallies again. 

Great America

Reopening Schools Is Only Part of the Battle

This restrictive school climate will only exacerbate a prison-like feel, which is an ironic nod to the quip that schools and prisons have the same architects.

With blue-state Governor Andrew Cuomo signaling a desire to open K-12 schools in the fall, the tide may be swinging towards the end of widespread school shutdowns. But the battle is far from over. Lost in the debates between teachers, teachers’ unions, administrators, parents, and kids is clear communication to the public for what both K-12 schools and colleges will actually look like when reopened.

I got a first-hand glimpse of this reality as I moved toward my fall semester of teaching. Let’s just say I need to get Doc Brown, a DeLorean, a flux capacitor, and some plutonium fast.

Not that I need to say this to American Greatness readers, but I’m not writing from some self-centered, heartless point of view. If anything, I should welcome any restrictions that minimize the chance that I will get infected by my students. But I’m not afraid of a virus with at 99.97 percent recovery rate before stratifying the data. Rather, I’m more concerned for the students’ sake, because I don’t think they realize the restrictions they are coming back to. I hope I’m wrong.

As the summer has progressed and I became privy to policy changes at my own school and at other schools in the area, I found it harder to refrain from reflexively pushing back at the insanity. It does not take long to find policies for schools under the COVID-1984 “new normal.”

Forget about being able to use facial expressions to aid teaching and learning. Face coverings are mandatory for teachers and students. That will not be fun for hearing-impaired students, either. I was actually offered a megaphone to use in class. 

Forget about experiential learning as well. Students will be socially distanced in the classroom with mandatory seating charts for contact tracing. Many exams will be electronic to cut down on passing out infected paper. Mail-in voting will have nothing on the type of cheating that could take place. That’s just in the classroom. 

University students have a life, often a campus life, outside of class. That world is going to be regulated to the tune of limiting gathering in living spaces. Conflict is also likely if one roommate is on Team Mask and the other is on Team Face. I hope all deans of students are prepared to work overtime.

Maybe the students will embrace this environment. But, I wouldn’t write this essay if I wasn’t concerned.

At the root of these restrictions seems to be a blind, religious-like faith in the pronouncements of the Centers for Disease Control and their guidelines. Yet, we should be reminded that much of what the government-chosen scientists have modeled has needed revision, and even if many of their recommendations had merit, many institutions have lost sight that these are only guidelines. 

For those who like analogies, an appropriate comparison would be with the USDA’s dietary guidelines. Most people are aware of the magical 2,000-calories-a-day guidelines or the modern, colorful “MyPlate.” Could you imagine if governments took these guidelines to the level that they are taking the COVID rules? After all, given the obesity rates and the associations between obesity and health outcomes, including COVID-19, couldn’t one assert that obesity is a public health crisis?

If governors started throwing mandates around based on dietary guidelines, imagine widescale menu changes needed at most restaurants. Could anyone order fish and chips without also having to pay for a government-mandated side of broccoli? Imagine the shaming that the Karens would perform towards parents serving Happy Meals to their kids in the park.

Yes, the battle to simply open schools is important, but just like we cannot vote Republican and expect all our small government wishes to be carried out, we also cannot simply assume schools will be back to their flawed normal when they reopen unless there is a grassroots effort to push forth an anti-restriction vision.

I’m not going to sugar coat my recommendations. 

I’d summarize my views with a reference from Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Dr. Donald Henderson: “Evidence has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.” 

Local communities need to organize and push for schools to be open across the board with no restrictions for most of their population. 

For those who wish to self-identify as high-risk, their arrangements whether teacher, student, or administrator should be addressed on an individual basis, similar to accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If schools want to take some general precautions, they could look into limiting attendance at larger indoor gatherings, or move certain indoor gatherings outdoors, as the latter at this moment does not appear to be a large vector of transmission.

If this seems too utopian, it’s only because fans of liberty are so accustomed to compromising on the Left’s big government terms. 

Much of what is filtering out regarding reopening schools comes from the vantage point of having a sealed-off, sterile school and walking back restrictions a little at a time. This would only make some sense if lockdowns actually did anything, but as we’ve seen in California and recently in New Zealand, no matter what we do, the virus is gonna virus. This restrictive school climate will only exacerbate a prison-like feel, which is an ironic nod to the quip that schools and prisons have the same architects. 

Let’s start with the pre-COVID normal and force Team Apocalypse to justify their restrictions. They don’t get to impose unproven restrictions and force us to show why they don’t work. Doing so is more harmful to students than contracting COVID-19.

News

National Retail Chains, Restaurants Flee New York

“It will be years before retail has even a chance of returning to New York City in its pre-COVID form,” one popular retailer said.

The New York Times reports that national retailers and restaurant chains such as J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, Le Pain Quotidien, and Subway are permanently closing locations in New York City in response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s management of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a “mass exodus” of residents and businesses.

Business leaders warn that the city is facing a crisis of “historic proportions,” according to the Times.

Related: Trump on De Blasio: “Horrible” for New York City

Michael Weinstein, the chief executive of Ark Restaurants, which owns the popular Bryant Park Grill & Cafe, told the New York Times he would never open another restaurant in the city. “There’s no reason to do business in New York,” Weinstein said.

With tourists staying clear of the city and surrounding office towers mostly empty, the restaurant has been forced to close its 1,000-seat dining room and move service to the patio. As a result, Weinstein says the restaurant brings in only about $12,000 a day—an 85 percent drop in revenue.

The Times story highlights worrying signs that national brands are beginning to abandon the Big Apple and may never return. Chain restaurants including restaurants like Le Pain Quotidian, Subway, and Chipotle have seen big losses. Shake Shack reported a 40 percent decrease in revenue in the second quarter. Le Pain Quotidien has permanently closed several of its 27 stores in the city. Subway and retailers J.C Penney and Kate Spade have also closed their branches permanently.

The flagship Victoria’s Secret store at Herald Square in Manhattan has been closed for months and has not paid its $937,000 monthly rent in the meantime. “It will be years before retail has even a chance of returning to New York City in its pre-COVID form,” the retailer’s parent company recently told its landlord.

“In the prime real estate areas, all the stores rely on having half international tourists and half local tourists or those from the local neighborhoods,” said Thiago Hueb, a founder of a jewelry company whose product is sold in stores around the country. He had already decided to close his store on Madison Avenue before the pandemic struck because of high rents.

Hueb told the Times he has no interest in returning to the city.

“The avenue is no longer what it used to be,” he said.

News

McConnell Says It’s Time to Restart Coronavirus Talks

Democrats and Republicans are split over $1 trillion in state and local government aid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pushed Democrats and the White House to restart coronavirus relief talks over aid stalled again late last week as millions scramble to cover bills, The Hill reports.

McConnell told Fox News on Tuesday it was “time for everybody to get back to the table,” though he gave no indication he would reach out to Democratic leaders himself.

“The stalemate needs to be ended. It doesn’t make any difference who says let’s get together again, but we ought to get together again,” McConnell said, adding negotiations were currently at an “impasse.”

“There hasn’t been a meeting of any consequences between the two parties since last Friday,” McConnell said. “That’s too long, and it’s time to sit down and get a deal done.”

Negotiations collapsed on Friday and showed no sign of an agreement after nearly two weeks of closed-door talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

White House officials recommended that President Trump move ahead without Congress to try to address unemployment benefits, eviction rules, and student loan relief.

McConnell was not in the room for the days of talks, however. Meadows and Mnuchin briefed the GOP leader regularly about the closed-door negotiations.

Congressional Democrats and the White House negotiators haven’t spoken since Friday. Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday that she had not heard from Mnuchin or Meadows.

“Our differences are vast,” she said.

Asked if we should expect any updates this week, Pelosi added: “I hope so, we’ll see.”

Mnuchin and Meadows briefed Senate Republicans on Tuesday morning and gave GOP senators no indication as to when they would resume talks.

Schumer and Pelosi reportedly offered to cut $1 trillion from their $3.4 trillion top-line figure if the administration agreed to add $1 trillion to its package. That would have put them in the range of a final agreement between $2 trillion and $2.4 trillion, The Hill reported.

Mnuchin called the figure a “nonstarter.”

According to The Hill, McConnell on Tuesday called for Democrats to drop their demand for $1 trillion in additional aid for state and local governments.

“Take that off the table and let’s get this assistance directly to the people who need it,” McConnell said.