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Great America

Freedom in the Face of the Plague

Going outside, meeting with those we love, and gathering to worship God may come at a cost. The decision to shut down large swaths of our public life by fiat definitely does.

Live free or die!” So cries a noble people in the face of danger. Our forefathers, who prevailed in the War of Independence, were such men. They faced danger with courage and resolute firmness.

Our modern leaders do not.

Instead, they cower. Out of fear, state governors across America dictated draconian shutdowns in response to the spread of the Chinese coronavirus. These acts are contrary to our way of life; we must repeal them.

The preservation of life must include the preservation of liberty. The cure must not inflict more damage than the disease.

I do not deny that the coronavirus poses a serious public health threat. Many thousands have died, and there is much our regime could and should do to confront this scourge.

The federal government could ban the arrival of infected foreigners. State and local officials could provide food and medicine to those who choose to self-quarantine. They could also facilitate the production of medical and protective equipment on American soil.

Each of these measures would mitigate the spread of disease. None of them violates the right of citizens to work, assemble, and worship.

But we didn’t choose those solutions. Instead, state and local leaders turned our country into an open-air prison camp.

In Florida, police arrested a pastor for conducting Sunday services. In New Jersey, officials arrested a couple for hosting a wedding. In Rhode Island, the governor dispatched the police and National Guard to go door to door ordering out of state travelers—sick and healthy alike—into quarantine.

In an especially egregious act, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a blanket order stating that, with little exception, “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited.”

Even the prisoners in Stalin’s gulags had the right to sit and converse in each others’ presence.

Even worse, these draconian mandates result not from legislation but from executive fiat. State governors cast aside the normal political process in the face of 8,000 deaths in one month. To put this in perspective, 7,600 Americans die from other causes . . . every day.

Hurricanes, tornados, heart disease, floods, suicide, cancer, drug overdoses, and car accidents together kill hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. As deadly as these things are, they are not potent enough to destroy our existence as a people. The Chinese coronavirus should not be different! As bad as the worst fearmongers make it out to be, it does not constitute an existential threat to our way of life by itself.

The same cannot be said of these totalitarian lockdowns.

How can we preserve our liberty when our rights disappear at the first sign of crisis?

Having tasted the power this state of emergency gives them, our leaders will invoke such excuses again. The precedent now exists that in times of trouble we must suspend all of our democratic and republican norms. Human activity itself—friendship, love, and worship—must also effectively cease.

Next Sunday is Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar. Tens of millions of Christians cannot attend services by law. Even the Soviet Union at the height of its power could not have stripped Americans of this right. And yet our own governments have done so without just cause.

A free people cannot accept this!

Mine is not an argument for government inaction, callous disregard for the elderly, or insipid worship of money-making. Instead, I embrace the right of the people to face this crisis on their own terms.

Going outside, meeting with those we love, and gathering to worship God may come at a cost. The decision to shut down large swaths of our public life by fiat definitely does.

As for myself, I will honor the spirit of my forefathers. I choose freedom—even in the face of coronavirus.

Elections

Corona Meltdowns

Is the bad and self-negating behavior of so many of Trump’s enemies setting him up for an even more impressive victory in the fall?

As the coronavirus outbreak begins to reach its zenith, it remains unclear whether the measures taken to stem its tide will prove sufficient, insufficient, or an overreaction. What is certain, however, is that a number of individuals and entities have behaved shamefully and demonstrated no capacity for leadership or usefulness in this moment.

Nancy Pelosi: Gone are the mythologies that Nancy Pelosi was a pragmatic liberal voice of reason among the otherwise polarizing American Left, honed after years of paying her dues to the Democratic Party, as the mother of five dutifully ascended the party’s cursus honorum.

It does not matter whether her political and ethical decline was a result of her deep pathological hatred of Donald Trump. Who cares that her paranoia arose over the so-called “Squad” that might align with socialist Bernie Sanders to mesmerize Democrats to march over the cliff into McGovern-like oblivion? All concede that very few octogenarians have the stamina and clarity to put in the 16-hour work-days and transcontinental travel required by a Speaker of the House.

Instead, all that matters is that for a nation in extremis she is now puerile, even unhinged—and increasingly dangerous.

In retrospect, the public will remember how in fear and confusion she reversed course to spearhead impeachment, outsourced the task in the House of Representatives to its most incompetent and perfidious members—Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)—and wasted weeks of the country’s precious energy and time as it was on the cusp of an epidemic.

Pelosi then quickly weaponized the viral crisis in hopes that COVID-19 could do what Robert Mueller’s dream team and impeachment had not done—destroy the administration of Donald Trump before the November 2020 election. Only such an obsession explains why any sober politico would damn Trump as culpable in January for ignoring the viral dangers, while nearly a month after his necessary and controversial travel ban of January 31—that stopped perhaps 7,000 Chinese citizens entering California per day, some on direct flights from Wuhan—she was doing a photo-op tour to urge the public to get out and shop in San Francisco’s crowded Chinatown: “That’s what we’re trying to do today is to say everything is fine here“.

Such a crazy juxtaposition is not just politics or hypocrisy—it’s insanity. The night before an impeached Trump was acquitted in the Senate, and five days after Trump had controversially stopped incoming Chinese visitors, Pelosi tore up his State of the Union address before a national television audience, a level of spiteful vitriol not seen in the U.S. Congress since the years leading up to the Civil War.

When the Congress finally agreed to call a truce and pass a bipartisan “rescue bill” to stave off a depression and deliver some relief to millions of unemployed, Pelosi single-handedly delayed passage to insert irrelevant progressive treats into the authorization—until she was reprimanded by her own party to cease and desist.

She is now, in the middle of an epidemic, insanely talking about a “truth” impeachment-light commission to investigate Trump. She is absolutely clueless of the nihilistic circus that would ensue when her own previous on-the-record statements, the parasitic investment practices of U.S. senators of both parties, the bizarre behavior of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the empty January braggadocio of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Joe Biden’s smearing of the Trump travel ban would be fully aired.

Does she have any idea that by forcing Trump to “own” the virus—predicated on the notion of trusting in bleak but widely criticized Armageddon modeling—she is greenlighting Trump to take credit for the response, especially if coronavirus proves in the end comparable to the 60 million infected, roughly 1 million hospitalized, and 15,000-60,000 dead in the prior influenza epidemics of 2009 or 2017?

It is difficult to find one thing Pelosi has said or done that has not made the country worse off since the virus officially hit our shores in late January.

The Media: Watching the media deal with the daily White House briefings reminds the country that we have never had journalism of this low character before—not in the acrimony over the Founding, not in the furor during the Civil War, not even in the age of yellow journalism at the turn of the 20th century.

Reporters do not wish to transmit knowledge to the public that might aid in confronting the virus. They do not even wish to clarify murky statements from public officials to ensure Americans know exactly what the government wants them to do.

Instead, journalists during White House briefings fixate on two agendas.

One is to goad the president into saying something sloppy, by repeatedly suggesting that in reacting to the virus, he was in error, that he is cruel and heartless, or that he is dangerous. That gotcha obsession explains why the media can call Trump a xenophobe and racist for issuing a travel ban against China—contrary to the earlier advice of WHO, the Centers for Disease Control, the media, and the entire Democratic Party hierarchy—then silently support it. It explains why they then use doctored Chinese data and propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party to convince Americans that China—a nation that lied about the origins, spread, and nature of the virus—is admirably doing a better job in containing the virus than is their own country. Even the media cannot keep straight their own anti-Trump gymnastics.

If evidence convinces Trump to let the public know that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are efficacious in treating patients infected with coronavirus, then reporters will seek to persuade Americans that such off-label uses have no utility and are dangerous—even if they have to stoop to find some nut who drank fish-tank cleaner, clearly marked unfit for human consumption, to argue that a nonpotable chloroquine derivative cleaning agent provides proof of “Dr.” Trump’s deadly ignorance.

But the White House press obsesses over a second agenda, too. It must always prove that previously respected figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, once embraced by the liberal media in their pre-Trump days, either are in revolt against their doltish boss or brain-washed into obsequious enslavement to the president. Often the media advances both antithetical scenarios near simultaneously.

The third rail for the media is that Fauci and Birx are empirical and sound mostly politically disinterested. They seek to provide Trump with scientific data about the virus to balance his incoming streams of financial, economic, military, and cultural information.

When Trump accepts their advice over objections from other advisors with competing national concerns, the two feel it was for the good of the country. When he demurs, they press their arguments as advocates of public health. And when they rarely lose an argument the two concede the president has to balance dozens of existential concerns.

In other words, it would be hard, for anyone other than the current press corps, on Monday to paint Fauci and Birx as frustrated scientists at the mercy of a moron who refuses to listen to science, while on Tuesday writing off both as Trump toadies who have joined the forces of darkness.

But that is currently the schizophrenic state of the American media. The only constant is that whatever Trump advocated, they are against, even if lives are at stake. And whatever Trump policy seems to be working for the good of the country, they either deny or ignore it.

Another irony: While the current media is the logical culmination of the liberal biases of the more polite leftwing domination of network and print media of the late twentieth century, it is now also far more vulnerable to exposure and ridicule. After all, it was progressive Silicon Valley’s creation of the Internet website and social media that have allowed truth to emerge past even media filters, truth that has largely exposed the media as incompetent, meanspirited, and increasingly irrelevant.

Joe Biden: The virus shutdown was first seen as providing a necessary respite for the 77-year-old former vice president to go home, rest up, and recuperate after an exhausting summer, fall, and winter of campaigning—an ordeal that supposedly had explained Biden’s increasing flubs and gaffes.

Indeed, when the shutdown first began, a rested Biden, coming off a well enough debate performance against Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was to broadcast daily out of his home. In informal fireside chat fashion, good ol’ Joe from Scranton would offer “here’s the deal” homilies and “point one, point two, point something or other” commentaries on the virus and Trump’s inadequate response to it.

But what followed was an ungodly disaster, as if the problem all along never was Biden’s weariness, but Biden himself. A rested Biden’s botched commentaries only convinced observers that a President Biden at this moment would be a veritable catastrophe. Biden seemed more confused from his home than he was on the campaign stump. He tried reading from a teleprompter script, and then talking ex tempore, and then both, and found he could do neither.

After blasting Trump as a xenophobe and racist for the January 31 travel ban, Biden hemmed and hawed and finally conceded he agreed with the ban. His staff claimed his xenophobic/racist allegations were in connection to Trump’s use of “Chinese virus”—a rubric first institutionalized probably by CNN. Yet Trump used that terminology only after, not before, Biden’s smear. Now Biden apparently is trying to argue that Trump should have issued the once “racist” and “xenophobic” ban even earlier—as Biden its former critic supposedly would have done. Once Biden decided he had to be against everything Trump was for, and once Trump was for most things that the so-called experts thought best, then Biden inevitably was in Pavlovian fashion against what was good for the country.

The truth is that Biden cannot find much to disagree with, given that most Democrats—Pelosi and DeBlasio, especially—were playing down the severity of the virus, as was Anthony Fauci himself in January.

Anytime Biden faulted Trump for belated responses, it was easy for Biden’s opponents to show that almost no one but Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in early January was alarmed about the impending danger (and smeared by the Left for his warnings), and even easier given that Trump’s travel ban met fierce opposition as not merely racist but unnecessary and exaggerated.

Biden earlier also had promised a diversity vice president and is now wedded to that commitment. But the only Democrat in the present crisis who is winning mainstream media acclaim is Governor Andrew Cuomo, despite the paradox that he was also once exaggerating his own readiness for the virus and bragging about the openness of New York to the world. So far, he governs a state with the greatest numbers of virus cases as well as deaths and per capita fatality rates—facts which according to the blame—game logic of the Left are political fodder.

Nonetheless, Cuomo is being touted both as the far more competitive candidate in a crisis than the fumbling Biden, and yet he will prove almost impossible to nominate given Biden’s long campaign and delegate lead. The best squaring of that circle in the eyes of Democrat politicos would be to have Cuomo as the vice-presidential nominee on the ticket. He could rectify some of Biden’s gaffing, and do most of the fall campaigning, while with a wink and nod reassuring voters that he would likely have to step in for a President Biden if the latter’s present disturbing lapses continue.

Now that option seems less likely given Biden’s earlier politically correct grandstanding of promising a diversity vice-presidential pick without a clue of who such a person might be.

For now, the media, Pelosi, and Biden, along with the Left in general, wish to perpetuate a sense of viral Armageddon to make it politically impossible for Trump to initiate a graduated plan of returning America to work. Their hope is for a summer and fall of continued lockdown, a near depression rather than a mere recession, and enough public furor to end Trump in November—while hoping that a sudden post-election end to the lockdown will allow the natural recovery of Trump’s booming economy on their watch in 2021.

Missing in all these calculations is empathy for those who are ill and the losses that such macabre expectations certainly entail. Also absent is a sense of the irony that, by unfairly scapegoating Trump in hours of darkness, they are ensuring that in the upcoming dawn, he will be credited by their same logic with owning what will likely be an impressive U.S. response to suppressing the virus and reviving the economy.

Great America

What a Year! The Coronavirus Crisis in Retrospect

The crisis led to a new appreciation of contingency—an appreciation of the fact that our world is beset not only by the fragility of normality but also the normality of fragility.

December 31, 2020. What a roller-coaster of a year it has been.

In January, congressional Democrats were busy trying to impeach the president of the United States. That same month, news of a new, highly contagious virus leaked out of China and began to circulate in the West. The stock market stumbled, then recovered and went on to new heights, flirting with the magic number 30,000. Unemployment was at historic lows.

Then more worrying news about the virus emerged from China. It was difficult to wrest the facts from the secretive Communist Party. At the end of January, President Trump suspended all flights from China, a decision for which he was roundly condemned as “racist” and “xenophobic.”

It was not until March that the narrative shifted. In January, Trump had overreacted. By mid-March, he was accused of under-reacting. For weeks on end, there was only one subject: coronavirus, the “Wuhan virus,” the CCP flu.

It seems long ago now, but the dual onslaught of the new coronavirus and the resulting economic meltdown turned the world upside down.

For a brief period, hysteria reigned. The stock market plunged by thousands of points, erasing trillions of dollars of wealth. Whole states went into virtual lockdown. People started parading about—to the extent that they went out at all—in latex gloves and medical masks. All businesses deemed “non-essential” were shuttered for weeks. Many schools and colleges closed, first for weeks, then for the rest of the semester.

Suddenly, millions were out of work. Unemployment claims soared, and people began asking who it was who determined what counted as “essential.” (Some wags even wondered why it was that the people assigned with making such determinations never seemed to lose their jobs. Why was that?)

President Trump began holding near-daily press briefings. It became clear that some government intervention would be necessary. Trump at first mentioned the figure of $2 billion. Congress said $8 billion. When all was said and done, the aid package exceeded a staggering $2 trillion.

You could practically see some Democratic politicians salivating at the prospect of so much money floating about. Representative James Clyburn (D-S.C.) spoke for many when he said so much federal money provided “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” Was this not an opportunity to fix “climate change,” support wind mills, solar panels, and all the other items of the menu of the Green New Deal?

But where was the House of Representatives? It was not in session at all from March 13 to March 22. From March 23 to March 26, it was in session for 10 minutes. The “rescue bill” was finally passed on March 28, a week late. Only a week, but see if landlords and grocery stores regard getting paid on time as “nonessential.”

A new, vaguely Orwellian argot cropped up as the phrase “social distancing” was everywhere employed to describe the anti-social practice of shunning friends and neighbors. Books like Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year and Albert Camus’ The Plague enjoyed a new vogue. Aspiring Jeremiahs predicted mass death and societal collapse. CNN commentators rubbed their hands in glee at the prospect. “The ratings, Darling, the ratings!”

Then, around Easter, things began to change, gradually at first, and then suddenly.

New cases of the virus peaked and then began to decline. People began taking a harder look at what became the epicenter of the epidemic, New York City. The demographics were illuminating. In early April, Julie Kelly noted something that the so-called mainstream media was reluctant to acknowledge. Queens was the hottest spot of the hotspot New York.

“[T]he borough of Queens,” she wrote, “now represents nearly 10 percent of the total number of coronavirus-related fatalities in the entire country. In most neighborhoods in Queens, at least 50 percent of COVID-19 tests came back positive; several ZIP codes in the borough have positive results upwards of 60 percent.”

Why? Well, the hardest-hit area, Elmhurst, includes one of New York’s three Chinatowns. Some of its residents had recently traveled back from Wuhan, China, where the virus originated. The area is densely populated and, as Kelly reported, quoting John Liu, a state senator for the district, many households include multiple generations or groups of single workers living “on top of each other” under one roof.

But that was a long time ago. As new cases plateaued in April, aggressive testing showed that many more people had been infected with the virus than was originally thought. Millions upon millions. But since many are infected without getting sick, or suffering only minor, flu-like symptoms, they did not know they had the virus.

One result of this new understanding was a sharp decline in the projected fatality rate. At one point in late March, it was predicted that without full-bore “mitigation” (keeping businesses closed and “sheltering in place”), there would be more than 2 million deaths from the virus in the United States. With full mitigation, the projected number of deaths was between 100,000 and 240,000.

But April came and went with a much lower number of fatalities. People began to reflect on the fact that, since the overwhelming majority of fatalities occur in elderly people with serious underlying health issues, the claim that someone died from the coronavirus had to be taken with a grain of salt. There was a big difference between dying from the virus and dying with the virus.

But, again, it all seems so long ago now. As soon as it became clear that this was not a modern-day reenactment of the bubonic plague, normality began to reassert itself.

People calmed down. They appeared in public without medical masks, then without latex gloves. They still were cautious. They washed their hands more often and more thoroughly than they had before. Some researchers noticed that the hand-soap industry was doing very well, and stock in those companies soared.

Soon, in fact, the market generally soared. Donald Trump was reelected handily in November, and that was another shot in the arm for the market. It will take a while, however, to repair the damage of this extraordinary assault on the economy, not to mention the wounds left behind on the national psyche. How long it will take to address the incontinent discharge of fantasy money into the nation’s lifeblood is an outstanding question.

There is no question, however, that the extraordinary events of the winter and spring 2020 had many lessons to teach.

One sobering lesson concerns the world’s relation to the Chinese Communist Party. As we got a handle on the disease and then the economy, it became clear that the CCP, to a large extent, was to blame for the world’s subjection to this epidemic. They blatantly lied about its extent and severity, and their decision to let millions of people travel from Wuhan to celebrate the lunar new year endangered populations around the world.

In a more general sense, the Wuhan virus caused many countries to reconsider their taken-for-granted assumptions about the risk-free beneficence of the new-world globalist order in which nations were to be subservient to the ideology of transnational progressivism (and all were meant ultimately to be subservient to the “inevitable” rise of Chinese hegemony). By the end of 2020, people were rediscovering the importance of nation-states, and therefore of borders.

I said that normality began to reassert itself. That happened in late May. But it was a new, more skeptical normal that asserted itself. For the crisis had led to a new appreciation of contingency—an appreciation, that is to say, of the fact that our world is beset not only by the fragility of normality but also the normality of fragility.

Great America

Why the Shutdown Is Necessary

This is not just a bad flu.

Let me start by saying I’m very hopeful about treatments, which may come any day, reduce all these numbers, and quickly resolve this mess. I hope they do. But since we can’t count on that, we have to make decisions now based on the best numbers we have.

Everyone wants to know what will be the final mortality rate. This is a combination of the attack rate (how many will get it), and of those, the case fatality rate (how many will die).

All of these numbers are in flux but let’s try to tighten our understanding of each:

Attack Rate: The attack rate is doubling every three days. It’s still very low—with only Spain at over 0.25 percent—but it has been doubling unabated in all but a few countries like South Korea (a nation we should be emulating). The current low attack rate is of little solace, however, because in cases where we have had an isolated population, we see much higher numbers. Diamond Princess had an attack rate of 19 percent, the staff at a Washington state nursing home (average age 43.5) had a rate of 29 percent, and a 60-person choir in Washington state had an attack rate of 75 percent. Attack rates in the 20s are common for flu (despite 37 percent of people having been vaccinated each season) and for other coronaviruses like the common cold. We have seen no examples where natural immunity protected people at a better rate. Therefore we must start with 20 percent as a minimum assumption and just hope it doesn’t go to over 50 percent. The nominal case fatality rate (CFR) in the United States, using Worldometer’s numbers, is currently at 2.57 percent. This nominal number is very rough and we have to look at four factors to adjust it. One of these factors will dilute it down but three factors will push it up.

1) Down: Undetected cases, if found, would drive the percentage down. If we really have 10 times the number of cases than we think, our CFR is really only 0.255 percent. But do we? Well, the country with the fewest undetected cases is probably South Korea. They are testing like crazy with over 50 tests per detected case. Plus, they have contact-traced and have almost slowed down new infections so they aren’t hitting a moving target anymore. I would say that undetected cases largely have been baked into their numbers. Their CFR is 1.73 percent and rising (the rising part is explained by the next factors). Their denominator is solid and clearly points to a CFR over 17 times that of the flu.

There has been some talk that the virus has actually already spread undetected widely throughout society and that most people have already gotten over it. This question can and should be resolved over the next few weeks with a new test. The current swab test looks for the antigen (the virus which is present in your nose). A new blood test looks for the antibody (the cure that your immune system creates once it’s beaten the virus and which floats in your blood thereafter). If this conjecture were to prove true, it would be great news—although cases are still rising, the virus would be about to run out of new people to infect. The sick ones we see now would be about all we’d get.

This conjecture likely won’t hold up. Consider the Diamond Princess Cruise. Of 3,700 people, 19 percent got the virus, and eight died (and some are still sick). The conjecture says the virus is already widespread in society, so 19 percent detected on the Diamond Princess is not unusual.

But do similar populations all have 10 pneumonia deaths to match? We’d expect any group of 3,700 Americans with similar ages to have about 0.16 flu or pneumonia deaths per month. Instead the Princess got 10—60 times higher. The Diamond Princess is not typical. It only got 60 times the number of deaths because its 19 percent attack rate was 60 times higher than society’s. Therefore, society may have a long way to go before the virus runs out of victims.

2) Up: Falsely Detected Positive Cases and the “Bayes Theorem.” Many, and perhaps most, of the detected cases don’t actually have the virus and this drives the denominator back down. This is confusing math, but it’s well known among researchers and very common among all tests.

Let’s say you have 1,000 infected people and you mix them with another 100,000 who are not infected. So your universe is 101,000 people.

Let’s say you have a test that is 97 percent accurate. If you test positive, given that the test is 97 percent accurate, you are naturally going to assume there is a 97 percent chance you have the disease. But surprisingly, the odds that you have it are only about 25 percent.

How is that even possible? Here’s how:

  • 100,000 are in fact negative: 97,000 test negative and 3,000 (incorrectly) test positive.
  • 1,000 are in fact positive: 970 test positive and 30 (incorrectly) test negative.

So even though you only have 1000 infected people, you have about 4,000 positive tests (3,970 to be precise).

Thus if you tested positive you have a 25.2 percent chance (1000/3970 = 25.2) of really being infected. Some studies have indicated that the current test is allowing for about half of the positives to be wrong. So if we have 200,000 positive tests reported on Worldometers, we might have found 100,000 infected people. Of course, this plays off the first factor of untested people and so the number goes up again. So if we have 200,000 positive tests with 4,000 dead, what’s the CFR? Well, if only 100,000 of the 200,000 actually have the virus, then our “real” CFR is 4 percent. But if there are 400,000 infected out in the world (which might require 800,000 positive test results to find), then our real CFR is 1 percent. So these first two factors make the denominator hard to know, but just realize that while undetected cases are often cited, they are offset by false positives which are rarely mentioned.

3) Up: Unresolved Cases. Also known as counting chickens before they’ve hatched. Yes, in the United States, only 2.57 percent of the detected people have died, but another 2.2 percent are in serious condition, and 64 percent, were just diagnosed in the last week! They are hardly out of the woods and many will die—only 4.5 percent are listed as fully recovered. This disease kills 1-2 weeks after being detected. You can’t just hand everyone with a positive test at a drive thru an “I survived corona” t-shirt and dump them into the “didn’t die” bucket.

Worldometers distinguishes between active, serious and resolved cases, but people just want to jump to the deaths/cases number to get a quick and dirty nominal CFR. By this nominal method, South Korea was looking great for a while at 0.6 percent—that is, until they stopped getting many new cases to artificially dilute their CFR. Once the cases they already had were given time, the CFR began, predictably, to inch up. It’s now up to 1.73 percent and rising every day.

The same is true of Germany. They looked to be at 0.3 percent as recently as late March, and a Stanford professor claimed that by finding almost all undetected cases, Germany had revealed the “true” CFR of only 0.3 percent. But it was wishful thinking. Germany’s CFR had been diluted by prematurely counting unresolved cases. In just a week it more than quadrupled to 1.40 percent and is rising so rapidly that I had to adjust it up five times while editing this article. Similarly the United States has drifted up from 1.5 percent last week to 2.57 percent today, despite discovering tens of thousands of undetected cases, which otherwise would have brought those numbers down.

Even as I review these numbers, notice that the 0.1 percent CFR of the flu is less than the daily rounding errors. COVID-19 isn’t just a bad flu.

4) Up: Overwhelm—COVID-19 has one of the highest hospitalization rates, longest hospital stays, and requires very difficult PPE. It’s exhausting and nerve racking for medical personnel to suit up, disinfect, go home to the family and hope you aren’t contagious. Even getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom are big deals. This is a war for the medical profession. On April 1, 1,049 people died of COVID-19 in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death at the moment. Heart disease and cancer are at about 1,700 per day but those are nowhere near as taxing on the staff. Remember that 1,049 died from an attack rate at only about 0.1 percent, not the 20 percent or more we might see soon.

Right now we are within our medical capacities and we are growing those capacities. But if we were to let the attack rate continue repeatedly to double, which it surely would absent the shutdown, we would overrun our capacity. To be conservative, I’m actually downgrading overwhelm as a factor in the United States. Recent data is showing that the ventilators, while lifesavers for some patients, aren’t helping as many as hoped. Perhaps one-third of ventilated patients are saved. So, for every two that die today, a third patient might die for lack of a ventilator—a 50 percent jump for that subset. I think that we will be able to keep up with demand for other treatments.

Where does this leave us?

The nominal (not adjusting for any of the above factors) global CFR is 5.37 percent but is too muddled to be predictive of the United State’s final CFR. Our best guides appear to be South Korea and Germany. Having already extensively tested and contact-traced, newly detected cases are unlikely to bring their CFRs down further than their current 1.73 percent and 1.4 percent respectively. In contrast, the other three factors have been and will continue to drive up their numbers. Remember that Bayes Theorem means that we will likely never see a correct denominator and that those two CFRs would already calculate to well over 2 percent if they could be Bayes-corrected. But ignoring that factor (as everyone else will) and looking only at the nominal method that most will use, we will continue to see the South Korean and German CFRs trend higher towards 2-3 percent, primarily because active cases will become resolved.

So, this argues that if treated in modern hospitals and in manageable numbers a 2-3 percent CFR is the “natural” effect of the disease itself. Deviations from that are the result of how a country handles it in bulk.

If we were to fully reopen the economy, we would experience an unchecked attack rate and this threatens to overwhelm the system. The overwhelm factor is an escalating factor. That is, if you have a natural CFR of 2 percent, the overwhelm might jump that to 2.4 percent, but if the CFR is naturally at 3 percent, the overwhelm might kick in even more and jump the CFR to 4.5 percent.

First World countries such as Italy and Spain will probably see their numbers drift down (if they test) because undetected cases are likely a larger factor than unresolved cases. After weeks of quarantine their new infections are trending down, so further overwhelm may not occur, but some overwhelming damage is already done. Their final CFRs will probably be in the 4 percent range—if they figure out how to prevent new outbreaks, stave off civil unrest, and restart their economies (piece of cake).

Undeveloped countries will likely see the overwhelm factor dominate throughout the pandemic and see CFRs of 5-6 percent or more. We are unlikely ever to know their denominators and will eventually switch from CFRs to overall population mortality numbers and won’t allow us to distinguish the CFR and attack rate separately. Sadly, developing countries might be better off accepting a high attack rate, as any methods used to lower it may trigger a famine and an even higher death rate. There may simply be no solution for those countries other than to hope for treatments. For them it may be 1918.

If we were to lighten up our controls and let the attack rate rise to its natural biological level, we easily could end up with 20 percent or more being infected (65 million), with 2-3 percent CFR, plus an overwhelm factor. So 1.5 million to 2.5 million fatalities. To be honest, I’m still being conservative here because there’s no evidence that the attack rate couldn’t be 50 percent if unchecked. Then you are talking about 4 million to 6 million deaths. In the event of 200 million cases with 2 percent CFR overwhelmed to 3 percent and boom—you are at 6 million. That’s hard to think about but it’s in the realm of possibility. But even 1.5 million is too high for the public to accept, just to save the economy.

This is why there is a shutdown. Letting the attack rate hit its natural biological number without quarantine is just not acceptable to most people. I’m very hopeful that effective treatments can drive the CFR way down, but with no guarantee of that, I’m pointing out what I consider to be the most reliable current math, if we were to immediately resume the economy as normal. This is nothing like a bad flu. I notice a lot of shutdown opponents who are comparing predicted fatalities with the shutdown and saying that the shutdown isn’t worth it. But they are mixing apples and oranges. The 100,000-200,000 fatalities that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci is talking about will not hold if we remove the measures.

What I fear the “don’t panic” advocates are missing is that once people start dying, individuals aren’t going to want to go to Las Vegas or to ballgames, anyway. They won’t want to go out to eat or go to shopping malls. Either we shut down with a plan, or we half shut down by individual decision, ruin the economy anyway, but then don’t stop the spread.

To halt the attack rate now, we are using a full shutdown—a very blunt instrument. We might be able to implement a far more precise instrument and get a decent result with only a partial shutdown. The “flatten the curve” strategy actually assumes we arrive at the natural biological attack rate, just slowly, preventing only the overage deaths from overwhelm.

We are in this predicament because we let the horse get out of the barn. Painful as it is, we have to put it back inside by using this shutdown and testing. Then we can look at how we can partially operate while keeping R0 (the replication number) below it’s “chain reaction” number. That is, the attack rate will grow, but it will not be allowed to engage in regular doublings. We have to do that while we wait for a vaccine or treatments.

How can this be done? South Korea and Japan are already succeeding. What to do next will be the subject of a future piece.

Stay safe and healthy.

Great America

Maybe It’s Time To Unfriend People Who Eat Bats?

What Americans ought to keep in mind is that China is not America and China’s problems don’t warrant Chinese “solutions.”

Remember Bat Boy? He was the mascot of the old supermarket tabloid, The Weekly World News. He’d appear on the cover every now and then, allegedly because he had appeared somewhere again.

He’s been gone for awhile now.

Maybe the Chinese ate him. They eat practically everything else. Cats, dogs, owls, salamanders—and bats (not, apparently, interbed with boys).

Raw—and still alive—fish and snakes, cut-up on the spot and still writhing on the plate. The concept of cooking food—to kill bacteria—is not firmly established in the land of Wuhan, where one can dine on practically anything, cooked or not. Living or not. Served up in back alleys teeming with rats and bugs—also on the menu, if caught—by the anti-matter opposites of Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay, sans not only hair nets but sans hand sanitizer, too.

If it moves, it’s what’s for dinner. They would probably eat Bruce Wayne, too.

There is a reason why WuFlu flew out of control in Wuhan—and China, generally. Many digestive reasons, actually.

The first may have to do with the menu of awfulness on the table in China. Not just the awful things that are eaten but the appalling conditions in which they’re prepared and served. A diet of Civet cat, golden retriever, and still-twitching snake is probably not conducive to good health. It is certainly a way to spread a plethora of nasty things and—critically—the way things aren’t spread here in the United States. This is not the South Beach Diet.

You might get the runs from something you bought from a food truck, but the odds of getting dead are right up there with getting polio—which is to say, low.

Americans are much more careful about how they eat—as well as reluctant to eat the things eaten in the Hidden (and not-so-healthy) Kingdom.

There is another reason Americans ought to keep in mind, a compounding factor, for the greater lethality of the WuFlu in China—where several thousand Chinese have died.

It is that many Chinese live in squalor that makes the scenes portrayed in “Deliverance” seem hygienic. The crazed hillbillies in the movie at least had outhouses. In China, there’s a bowl—or a hole in the ground. In their houses.

According to the World Health Organization, 329 million Chinese—equivalent to the entire population of the United States—“lack access to at least basic sanitation.” Imagine the entire population of the United States doing number one and number two in bowls and holes.

The Coronavirus outbreak can be traced to the Huanan Market in Wuhan, China. An aerial view of the place speaks volumes. And leaves one speechless. It is a densely packed warren of shanties with scrap metal roofs, with dirt floors being as common as the absence of bathrooms—or even a place to wash your hands.

Stacked cages and filthy pens crowded with live animals—chickens and hogs, for instance—which are notorious disease-spreaders. Little airflow. No sanitary precautions. And people are surprised that people got sick? I am getting nauseous just writing this.

Many of these Chinese already were. And prone to getting sick.

In addition to the filth all around them, there is an almost unimaginable amount of filth in the air—from pollution—which is much worse in authoritarian countries like China (as well as the old Soviet Union; see Chernobyl) than in free countries like the United States, where the government is restrained from fouling the environment.

This is an irony perpetually lost on the Left, which worships environment-fouling regimes such as the one in China.

There the people have been wearing masks for years—long before anyone outside of epidemiological circles had even heard of “Coronavirus.” They have been doing so to keep the soot and other unhealthy-for-living things out of their lungs. Including the airborne dung and cremated remains of millions of swine-flu-infested swine, burned up in a chimney without filters, the hash allowed to rain like snow upon the populace.

No one knows for sure how many of these infected swine were eaten before they could be cremated. Nor whether the source of the infection which migrated to the human population came from the swine.

Or the bats. Maybe the felines.

What Americans ought to keep in mind, however, is that China is not America and China’s problems don’t warrant Chinese “solutions.”

The government doesn’t control our diets and we are doing just fine.

Great America

Don’t Downplay the Wuhan Virus—the Real Story Is China

Instead of directing our anger at the shutdowns or our president, we should direct our anger at the politicians—both Democrats and Republicans—who allowed China to become the menace that it is, and happily allowed countless American jobs to be outsourced there.

In confronting COVID-19, there are two connected but distinct contagions—one medical and the other financial. We need a balanced and informed policy that grasps the seriousness of the medical problem and addresses it even at the cost of damage to the markets and economy.

But in addressing the disease we cannot inflict deep and lasting damage to our way of life: 35 percent unemployment is just not tolerable.

Faced with this dilemma, some have tried to minimize the danger of the disease, comparing it to a seasonal flu. They are wrong.

On the other hand, some advocates of taking all medical precautions are heedless of the suffering that a prolonged shutdown would cause—particularly to vulnerable groups among the elderly and unemployed. They are wrong, too. Each of the extremes in these opposing views is unbalanced and uninformed.

Further, at a time when there is an overriding need for national unity, the debate over governmental responses to COVID-19 is intemperate and politicized. This is also wrong.

It is pointless and destructive to play the blame game. America’s current health crisis is not the fault of President Trump or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). It cannot be pinned on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-Ky.) or New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Want to point an accusing finger? Point it at China.

We Should Reopen Soon

Without question, we should reopen the economy at the end of this month. People need certainty. A long term shutdown is not an option, and does nothing to stop the ultimate spread of the virus. The only purpose of a shutdown should be to prepare the economy for the eventual re-opening, which means stocking up on medical supplies and creating programs so at-risk persons can get the added help that they may need to maintain their distance from the rest of us.

It’s also true that there’s been some hysteria about the Wuhan virus. Surely, the initial estimates of deaths have probably been overstated. Yet—in order to make the case that we should reopen the economy sooner than later, which is more-or-less correct—many on the Right have been downplaying the danger of the Wuhan coronavirus.

For example, in a post by Scott Johnson on Powerline, former United Health Group general counsel Kevin Roche writes, “The average person has basically a zero chance of having a serious illness from the virus, even if they were in heavy contact with it.” Because of this, “the threat is actually low, consistent with a serious flu year.”

To come to this conclusion, Roche cites the example of the Diamond Princess cruise ship that experienced an outbreak as this whole thing was getting started:

There were over 3,700 passengers and crew on the vessel. Every one of them undoubtedly had constant, heavy exposure to the virus in close quarters. Using gold standard testing, less than 20% of the 3,711 people were positive, meaning they were actually infected. And out of those positive tests, a little over half were actually symptomatic. [Eight] people died, or about 2% of those with symptoms or .2% of percent of the vessel population.

But this approach is wrong. The Wuhan virus didn’t spread to all 3,711 people on board the Diamond Princess ship precisely because the ship locked down as soon as the outbreak was discovered. If Roche is arguing against a shutdown, he can’t assume only 20 percent of the population will get the virus.

The Death Rate Is Likely 5 to 10 Times Worse Than the Flu

This virus is so spreadable that most everyone will eventually get it, especially if we return to business as usual. That’s not an argument for an eternal shutdown, however. Even if we keep shutting down, it just delays the fact that the majority of the population will get this virus eventually, and things won’t be better until most people have already gotten the virus.

In fact, the most positive case right now is that many more people have the virus than authorities can know, and most of these people were asymptomatic, while the rest had symptoms that didn’t require hospitalization (you only get tested if you go in, and even then tests have been short in supply and rationed).

Again, all this is why we shouldn’t shut down forever, and we should use the shutdown to prepare for opening back up. Yet if we want to open back up, and be smart about when we do that, the correct question is: Out of those who were infected, how many experienced severe symptoms and what was the death rate?

Take the same Diamond Princess example. Of the 3,700 aboard, around 700 were infected. Out of the 700 infected, 400 were asymptomatic, and eight died, while around 300 experienced symptoms, often severe. Eight dying out of 700 is around 1 percent. And while the population on the cruise ship was relatively older, they were also relatively healthier and possibly received a degree of medical attention that many would not.

The answer as to the death rate is that on the ship it was about 1 percent, and looking at the broader population as low as 0.5 percent. But that’s still (ballparking a bit here) 5-10 times worse than the seasonal flu.

It’s not the bubonic plague, but it’s still 5-10 times worse than the flu, which kills in the tens of thousands every year. For those who experience severe symptoms, they often include severe fever, headache, and breathing problems. In bad cases the virus often hits a person with a fever, then comes back, several days after they recover from the initial fever, worse than before. While it’s true that being older greatly increases the risk of death from COVID-19, young and healthy people can still experience these severe symptoms.

Other odd symptoms abound. Many people lose their sense of taste and smell right before they get sick. While sick, many have severe joint and nerve pain much unlike the normal aches and pains of the flu. There are also some concerns the virus can have long-term effects, including on a person’s fertility and lung capacity.

Of course, many more experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Yet Roche saying that “The average person has basically a zero chance of having a serious illness from the virus, even if they were in heavy contact with it,” and that “the threat is actually low, consistent with a serious flu year” is completely untrue. We are seeing otherwise young and healthy healthcare workers experience a disproportionate number of severe cases, precisely because they are being exposed to such large quantities of it.

Trump’s Response Is the Correct One

But the point isn’t to pick on Kevin Roche, who is a highly accomplished and intelligent man. A large number of other conservatives are needlessly downplaying the Wuhan virus.

On Fox News, for example, only a handful of personalities—including Tucker Carlson—have been consistent in taking the virus seriously from the get-go. This widespread downplaying of COVID-19 is both politically wrongheaded, and bad for the country—just like overblowing the virus is bad for the country.

It is politically wrongheaded because politicians, including Trump, have an incentive to err on the side of caution during times like these. Voters will forgive a bad economy in times of crisis, at least momentarily, but they won’t forgive a leader who doesn’t appear to be taking action in the face of death. That’s why Trump’s plan—to continue suppression measures through April and then move to mitigation—is the correct course of action. His rising approval numbers that the media is trying hard to ignore show this to be the case.

It’s also worth pointing out that the narrative suggesting the economy was perfect before the shutdowns came along is wrongheaded. America was sitting on the highest-ever corporate debt load to GDP before the virus hit, and the global economy has been slowing since 2017—this possibly explains why the market has reacted as it has. This isn’t Trump’s fault, and the president’s policies have kept the economy chugging along in spite of this. But business cycles, which seem to end about every 10 years, exist. And neither tax cuts—nor anything else for that matter—can eliminate them.

Aren’t Trump’s reelection odds now in shambles? It’s not unlikely that the economy, absent the virus, would have slowed throughout the remainder of this year. But now with the virus, the economy could actually come bouncing back (albeit from a lower level) during election-time. When it comes to elections, the direction of the economy is much more important than the absolute level. And the president can blame all economic problems on the virus . . . and China.

Which brings us to the most important point: Don’t miss the real story.

The Real Story—the China Menace

The real story is that this virus may have escaped Wuhan’s biosafety level-4 lab, one of the only such labs in the world, by accident. Here, Chinese scientists likely were sloppily messing around with things they shouldn’t have been messing around with, which included studying bat viruses.

The mainstream media has called this a conspiracy theory, but even a paper by researchers at the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou said that the virus “probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan,” after a researcher was infected by a bat in the laboratory. That wouldn’t be the first time, as China had a SARS outbreak in 2004 that originated from a lab. And after this Wuhan virus outbreak, China just happened to pass a new “biosecurity” law.

Of course, the Guangzhou paper immediately was taken down by the Communist Party, and China vehemently denies the virus has anything to do with its biosafety level-4 lab in Wuhan. Yet this is the same government that forces abortions, interns millions of Uighurs, and packs warehouses in residential areas full of explosive chemicals. China’s government-run economy pollutes so much that a huge chunk of its farmland is toxic. The Chinese Communist Party is equally indifferent to human life, corrupt, dangerous, and sloppy.

Lab outbreak or not, once the virus started spreading late last year, Communist Chinese officials persecuted the medical professionals there who spoke out about it. China, after suppressing information about the outbreak and blatantly lying to the world, went on to blame a seafood market, the pangolin, and then the U.S. military. Although the U.S. media still repeat the seafood market claim, the Lancet called that explanation into question immediately.

China’s behavior and lies wasted the little time we had to react to the virus. We closed our borders to China, but we didn’t close them to Europe until it was too late. China spread the virus to Europe, and Europeans spread the virus to the United States. To top it off, we now know that Xi Jinping, China’s president, allowed 5 million people to leave Wuhan and infect the rest of the world.

Today, to add insult to massive injury, China is attempting to ship shoddy medical supplies to the rest of the world. European governments are saying that the equipment is uniformly “below standard or defective.” China has also launched meaninglessly small amounts of aid to boost propaganda efforts at home.

Be Angry at China, Then Do Something About It

Instead of directing our anger at the shutdowns or our president, we should direct our anger at the politicians—Democrats and Republicans alike—who let China become the menace that it is, and happily allowed countless American jobs to be outsourced there.

We don’t even make essential medical supplies in our own country anymore, including antibiotics. Incidentally, China has threatened to cut supplies of antibiotics to America unless we tone down the criticism.

It seems even our media is in the pocket of Communist China’s dictatorship. For example, they’ve consistently repeated Chinese propaganda about how well China is handling the virus compared to America, even though China’s infection stats are quite literally unbelievable.

Not focusing on the China threat is bad for the country. Our policymakers, at the least, should be frantically working to get the production of these critical supplies back onto American shores. Next, organizations that have close ties to China, and repeat Chinese Communist Party propaganda, should face repercussions—not just in the court of public opinion. This includes corporations, universities, and media outlets.

Finally, America should be rethinking the benefits of globalization, all the more after this crisis. That doesn’t mean totally abandoning the rest of the world, it means the launch of a new working-class conservatism and middle-class capitalism here at home.

Great America

Why is Queens the Hotspot of Hotspots in the Nation’s Coronavirus Crisis?

While failing to offer an honest explanation about how this disease continues to consume New York City, Cuomo nonetheless is demanding the rest of the country surrender to tyrannical and punitive government “cures” to do what he did not.

According to reports, the death toll from coronavirus-related illness in the United States, according to some sources, reached 6,000 on Thursday. The country remains in lockdown and the economy is in freefall after the White House warned this week that between 100,000 to 200,000 people will die in the United States over the next few months from the Wuhan flu.

The country’s main hotspot remains New York City. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is holding daily press briefings to riff about how we are “all in this together,” whine about the dearth of critical supplies his administration failed to secure as the crisis unfolded overseas, and wisecrack with his brother. Nearly half of all U.S. fatalities have occurred in New York state, according to tracking reports.

Cuomo insists that New York is the “tip of the spear” of COVID-19 cases; it’s only a matter of time, Cuomo predicts, before the rest of the country is under siege by the lethal virus.

But New York is not the tip of the spear—it is the spear.

As I detailed here, Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio failed to prepare for the inevitable spread of coronavirus until it was too late. There were warning signs dating back to January that the disease would sweep through certain areas of the city, endangering the lives of health care workers, state residents and people across the country.

A January 27 article in the New York Times sounded an early alarm. “With isolated cases of the dangerous new coronavirus cropping up in a number of states, public health officials say it is only a matter of time before the virus appears in New York City,” Joseph Goldstein and Jeffrey Singer reported.

Goldstein and Singer described how city residents returning from Wuhan—the source of the outbreak—were worried they had been infected with the contagious disease before coming back to the states. “In Queens, some who recently returned from China have even self-quarantined. But officials have urged calm,” they wrote.

Calm. New York City officials urged calm. (As late as March 11, DeBlasio was encouraging people to go out to eat and downplayed the risk to the general public.)

It’s hard to underestimate how dangerous and deadly that approach has been. With a population of about 2.3 million people, the borough of Queens now represents nearly 10 percent of the total number of coronavirus-related fatalities in the entire country. In most neighborhoods in Queens, at least 50 percent of COVID-19 tests came back positive; several ZIP codes in the borough have positive results upwards of 60 percent.

One area particularly hard hit is Elmhurst, Queens and surrounding neighborhoods. (One, ironically, is named Corona). It is home to one of New York City’s three Chinatowns; nearly half of its residents are Asian. It also is home to Elmhurst Hospital Center, which has been besieged by coronavirus sufferers and victims. (This video shows how the facility is located in a neighborhood populated with Chinese retailers and signs in Chinese.)

A March 25 article in the Times described the harrowing conditions inside and outside of the facility; 13 people died in one day at Elmhurst, although the reporters did not confirm each victim succumbed to COVID-19.

“Elmhurst, a 545-bed public hospital in Queens, has begun transferring patients not suffering from coronavirus to other hospitals as it moves toward becoming dedicated entirely to the outbreak,” the Times reported. “Doctors and nurses have struggled to make do with a few dozen ventilators. Calls over a loudspeaker of ‘Team 700,’ the code for when a patient is on the verge of death, come several times a shift. Some have died inside the emergency room while waiting for a bed.”

Videos and photos of overwhelmed health care workers from Elmhurst flooded social media. A truck parked outside the hospital awaited dead bodies. People were lined up at dawn for testing.

President Trump referred to Elmhurst Hospital last week in an emotional statement during a daily press briefing. “Body bags all over, in hallways. I’ve been watching them bring in trailer trucks, freezer trucks, they’re freezer trucks, because they can’t handle the bodies, there are so many of them,” Trump said.  “This is essentially in my community, in Queens, Queens, New York. I’ve seen things that I’ve never seen before.”

So, aside from a high population of Asians, some of whom had traveled back to Queens after visiting parts of China, including Wuhan, what else is driving the high infection and death rates there?

John Liu, the state senator who represents the area, explained that his district is densely populated “with multiple generations living under one roof, or a group of single workers living together.” Liu said the fact that so many people “live on top of each other” makes it nearly impossible to abide by CDC-mandated social distancing guidelines.

Oddly, the news media is incurious as to why Queens—and the Elmhurst area in particular—is overrun with coronavirus activity. New York City officials are just as sly. The city’s health department releases daily reports that include figures for both U.S. citizens and “foreign residents treated in NYC facilities.”

But city officials refuse to indicate whether a victim is an American citizen or someone who traveled here from an infected region such as China and spread the virus throughout an overcrowded city that failed to institute any precautions until just a few weeks ago.

That’s why it is so galling to hear Cuomo lecture America each day. While failing to offer an honest explanation about how this disease continues to consume New York City, Cuomo nonetheless is demanding the rest of the country surrender to tyrannical and punitive government “cures” to do what he did not. But Topeka and Des Moines and Scottsdale aren’t Queens or the Bronx: people in flyover country, a target of scorn for Big Apple elites, nonetheless, are paying the price.

Further, as the economy crashes, millions lose their jobs, and politicians on both sides imprison citizens in their own homes to “stop the spread,” Cuomo and De Blasio need to give specific answers about how coronavirus took hold and why it continues to spread. The truth might not be comfortable—then again, neither is living in a locked-down country separated from family and friends because a few politically correct officeholders dropped the ball and now want to shift blame.

News

Doctors Rate Hydroxychloroquine ‘Most Effective’ Coronavirus Therapy in International Poll

A newly released international poll has found that doctors around the world prefer using hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by President Trump, to treat patients with the coronavirus, according to the Washington Times.

In a survey of of 6,227 physicians in 30 countries, 37 percent rated hydroxychloroquine as the “most effective therapy” to fight the virus from a list of 15 options.

The survey, which was conducted by Sermo, a global health care polling company, also found that the most commonly prescribed treatments for COVID-19 patients are analgesics (56%), azithromycin (41%) and hydroxychloroquine (33%).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave chloroquine and its next-generation derivative, hydroxychloroquine, emergency-use authorization Monday for treating the novel coronavirus, although the drug was already being used off-label by some doctors and hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

Azithromycin, known by the brand name Zithromax or Z-Pak, was rated the second-most effective therapy at 32%, followed by “nothing,” analgesics (including acetaminophen), anti-HIV drugs and cough medicine.

Hydroxychloroquine, which is sold under the brand name Plaquenil, was prescribed mainly in the United States for the most severe cases, but not so in other countries.

“Outside the U.S., hydroxychloroquine was equally used for diagnosed patients with mild to severe symptoms whereas in the U.S. it was most commonly used for high risk diagnosed patients,” the survey found.

The survey results weren’t all good news. It also found that 63 percent of U.S. physicians believe that the epidemic’s peak is still at least 3-4 weeks away. A whopping 83 percent of global physicians believe there will be a second global outbreak, “including 90% of U.S. doctors but only 50% of physicians in China.”

As a vaccine for the virus is still a year or more away, this endorsement of the hydroxychloroquine remedy is welcome news, although several doctors in the United States have already gone on the record to spread the word about the drug’s benefits in treating COVID-19 patients.

President Trump was savaged in the media last month after he touted the “unproven” drug as a promising treatment and potential “game-changers” in the war against the coronavirus.

Like children with oppositional defiant disorder, media critics ganged up on the president, accusing him of peddling “snake oil” and giving Americans “false hope.”  Twitter at one point actually removed a tweet from Fox News host Laura Ingraham touting hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure. All because “Orange Man Bad” had promoted it.

Communications strategist Drew Holden flagged numerous tweets highlighting the media’s anti-hydroxychloroquine bias in a lengthy Twitter thread.

 

Great America

Petit Tyranny

The drastic measures needed for this “chemotherapy” against a serious disease have unshrouded the suppressive nature of a hearty minority. Watch “Karen” and learn what she’s capable of doing.

It’s perhaps surprising to learn just how many of one’s fellow citizens would thrive in modern-day Belarus or latter-day East Germany.

The Great British lockdown this week has given succor to those inclined to the petit tyrannies common to countries of our curious pity.

Facebook groups have sprung up, leaping with the caps-locked indignations of women named Karen. “My neighbor has been outside TWICE today.” Such statements spin with exclamation marks, and interrobangs—“Should be locked up, if you ask me.”

One gentleman called the police on his neighbor, demanding his arrest for a suspected second jog of the day.

We are allowed out for an hour once per day. It’s like a Danish prison. Our neighbors, some at least, have adapted this lockdown into a Stanley Milgram experiment in which they swing the truncheons.

No, I won’t call it a police state. I’m not a libertarian. This shutdown, if kept short, is chemotherapy for what is a serious disease. Yet, such drastic measures have unshrouded the suppressive nature of a hearty minority.

Why one would be bothered enough to “report” another going for a second run is beyond me. That runner, by the very nature of running, is unlikely to break the six-foot social-distance rule, unless, of course, someone chases him.

Though, I’m sure some would give chase, if only to force-feed their righteous indignation.

Police officers have taken government guidelines and added a dose of North Korea. Derbyshire Police, armed with drone footage, lockdown-shamed a couple walking their dog on the Peak District.

“Nonessential!” shrills the charge. And it’s one too readily chanted by those peacocking their righteousness, and denouncing their neighbors on Facebook groups birthed for purpose.

Humberside Police have taken note. They set up an online portal so Karen can denounce lockdown traitors in a manner more officious to her thickened tastes.

Some police officers are giddy, drunk on what must pose the ultimate dose of their authoritarian inclinations. (Many police officers possess but conceal this trait, much as nightclub bouncers conceal a Freudian daddy issue.)

One lawmaker broke the articles of social pariahdom. Stephen Kinnock visited his father Neil, ex-Labour leader, for a socially distanced birthday celebration.

The police, red-meating the hounds of Twitter, deemed such travel “nonessential.”

Yet British people have listened. Traffic is down two-thirds, three-quarters are complying with guidelines, green shoots are sprouting. There is no need for this Stasi-era tribute act.

A neighbor might have forgotten something he deems essential. Someone buying an Easter basket alongside their essentials is not dicing with lives.

Neither should anyone care if another goes for a drive. Drivers are essentially cocooned in a moving lump of steel and glass.

To break the social-distance rule would be possible only if they, in a mad fit of Corona-jihad, rumbled along the sidewalk, windows and rooftop down. The problem? There’s nobody on the sidewalk.

Everything has changed. And nothing has changed. To charge that lockdown has impulsed authoritarians is to clamp an ether rag around the mouth of cancel culture. It hasn’t gone away. It’s mutated into a novel strain of petit tyranny.

Not long ago, police officers dragged a YouTuber to court for teaching his pug a fascist salute. The same police interrogate for “hate crimes” including “liking” a “transphobic” poem.

Now those same police seethe the streets they hitherto didn’t “have the resources” to patrol, stopping cars, rustling through shopping bags, shaming lone walkers.

They’re bolstered by their gleeful little helpers. Those who in idle times report others for suggesting men can’t morph into women.

We’ve endured for some time with this Salem culture. And it has much greater sway than you’d think.

This is the culture that forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change tact from arms-length to lockdown.

His original “herd immunity” strategy dissolved after Imperial College, London, released a doomsday report charging the current course with 510,000 British deaths, and 2.2 million dead Americans.

Boris bottled it. The cries of The Guardian and their ilk slamming shut businesses and effectively placing more than 60 million people under house arrest.

The great irony is those who’ve spent years calling democracy a “coup,” impelled the man they deem a “fascist” to shackle controls on where citizens can go, for how long, and with whom they can congress.

The Imperial College study has suffered its own curious mutations.

The death count first plummeted from 510,000 to 20,000. Then it suggested 5,700 deaths. Now, as it stands, that figure is “wrong.”

Intensive care units, it is hoped, will now not repeat the fate of Italy. This mild dystopia could compare to an average flu season.

Two-thirds of those, Professor Neil Ferguson said, will “likely have died this year anyway.” A remarkable turnaround, or a hasty retreat.

Ferguson’s revision takes account, he says, of our lockdown strategy.

Perhaps his revision also took account of a rival Oxford University study suggesting the Wuhan virus hit these shores as early as December, spreading invisibly for months before the first case recorded itself in late February.

Professor Sunetra Gupta’s model suggests half of us may have had coronavirus, that 1-in-1,000 will need hospital treatment, that most have mild symptoms or none at all.

This would mean significant herd immunity has already taken place, that lockdown was an option for December, not April, and that millions are out of work and locked at home with a hidden immunity to what keeps them there.

Now, I am not a scientist. But, the violent conflicts between these two studies suggest someone has got this drastically wrong.

Which is a charge leveled at the Swedes. They have changed little about their lives. Bars and restaurants remain open, children still stream into school, those with symptoms must stay home for two days before returning to work. As the virus shifts its course, so do the guidelines.

The Swedes haven’t frozen an entire economy or placed an entire nation under house arrest.

Yet, they’ve limboed the ire of Guardian-types for the strategy they pilloried Boris into abandoning.

Of course, nobody knows who is right. A brief shutdown, to me, seems a sensible dose in lieu of a Swedish gamble.

President Trump’s face said it all as he steeled Americans to 200,000 possible deaths. This is no joke.

But we need better options than those presented.

Is it really a choice between the second Great Depression (one in which 10 million Americans in two weeks have signed up for unemployment insurance) or the second Spanish Flu?

Wouldn’t a sensible, moderate course be to ramp up testing, cocoon the vulnerable, and allow the immune back into a cautious and distant normality? Albeit one in which petit tyranny is never cured.

Great America

Doctors, Doctored Numbers, and Democracy

Many of our so-called health experts are acting less like good doctors and more like bad politicians.

The New York Times on Tuesday reported: “The numbers the health officials showed President Trump were overwhelming. With the peak of the coronavirus pandemic still weeks away, he was told, hundreds of thousands of Americans could face death if the country reopened too soon.”

These numbers, many millions of infections, hundreds of thousands of deaths, were ones that “health officials” had been spreading through a sensation-hungry media for some time. Together with a poll question that framed the choice just so, they had already helped produce another set of numbers: “Voters overwhelmingly preferred to keep containment measures in place over sending people back to work prematurely.”

This, the Times crowed victoriously, had stampeded President Trump to abandon his goal of restoring normal life by Easter.

Trouble is, though, these numbers come from just some doctors—they reflect neither reality nor broad medical opinion. They are synthetic products that hide the (often ignorant) assumptions that they reflect, substitute for reason, foster panic, and ruin the country.

The following shows how “soft” and hence divorced from reality these numbers are, what it would take to produce “hard” numbers—i.e. ones reflective of reality—and the manner consistent with self-government in which such matters should be debated and decided.

All admit that the numbers that are scaring the sense out of the country are mathematical projections. All projections are based on assumptions about the ever-changing numbers of “confirmed cases” of COVID-19, as well as of deaths resulting therefrom. But few—and here it seems we must include many “health officials”—consider that the latter numbers are themselves “soft” and tell us next to nothing about how much, how little, or what kind of dangers the virus poses to us.

Certainly, they give no guidance about what restrictions any of us should apply to ourselves, never mind what the government should do to the country.

How’s that? Because the number of “confirmed cases”—meaning cases that have come to the attention of the medical profession—tells us nothing about the number of people infected. Nor does that number tell us what happens to the gamut of those infected. Nor is the number of deaths “hard,” because it does not distinguish between those who die of the virus and those who die merely with it (that is, they might have died even without it).

To make intelligent decisions about countermeasures, we would need have hard data about all these matters. Yet, for two months, doctors such as Anthony Fauci have messed up millions of lives and commandeered trillions of dollars while scaring the hell out of people and watching curves based on projections based on meaningless numbers. Watching the several curves resulting from the testing that is now ongoing and that is projected to continue as the country suffers will provide only more guesses, that will feed more models and more disputes.

The most important fact about COVID-19, its true mortality rate, is the number who die of the virus divided by the number infected by it. No algorithms. Simple arithmetic.

In short, Fauci, et al., are showing themselves to be typical of our bureaucracy: over-credentialed, entrusted with too much power, and dangerously incompetent.

Learning the true figures about precisely what danger the virus poses to whom must begin by taking into account one thing we know for sure about COVID-19: that many, if not most, of those infected by this unusually contagious virus show few or no symptoms. This suggests eventual near-universal contagion.

But we don’t know how many of these asymptomatic people there are. Hence, meaningful epidemiological testing must include a random representative sample of the population, regardless of whether they are presumed to be infected or not. The numbers resulting from monitoring what happens to the health of individuals in this sample over a few weeks would tell exactly what percentage of people in each category and subcategory suffer what consequences from whatever contact with the virus they happen to have.

As it happens, a sizable chunk of such data is about to come into existence. The virus is rampant among the 5,000 or so personnel aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Everyone aboard is being tested. By the time that is done, as the ship sits off Guam, and it returns to the United States, we will have a good idea about the rate of infection and some factual notion of what happens to those infected—at least among the sailors’ demographic group.

The question of lethality is not resolved by mere counting of individuals who test positive and die. We have some data showing that COVID-19-positive people who suffer from certain diseases are likelier to succumb than others who suffer from other diseases or who are otherwise healthy.

Sorting out causes of death is properly a medical judgment. The doctors who are scaring the hell out of the country in general might better spend their time using their medical skills to sort out the virus’s specific consequences—and recommending what currently available drugs may keep the sick from dying.

President Trump, as well as the governors of some states, have been stampeded out of their common sense into shutting down the country until further notice. The bureaucratic-media complex has done this on the supposed basis of medical authority. But the doctors have not been speaking as doctors on the basis of knowledge of the human body while offering cures or even palliatives. No. Their judgments are based on speculation about the meaning of mathematical models.

They are not acting like good doctors but rather like bad politicians.

Fauci showed how thoroughly he and his cohorts have subordinated common sense to bureaucratic authority. Having strenuously campaigned to deny the usefulness of hydroxychloroquine, having been confronted by the fact that physicians on the front lines of the battle against the virus are using it themselves, and having been asked whether he—were he to come down with illness from the virus—would use it, he weakly conceded that he would but only as part of an approved study. He cared less about describing what the drug can do and can not do than about affirming his agency’s and the FDA’s prerogatives.

Backed by the media, Fauci and company have contended that actions by anybody, ordinary citizens, elected officials, or physicians that do not follow proper bureaucratic procedures are illegitimate. Who the hell do they think they are? We belong to ourselves. Not to them.

Decisions affecting each and all of us rightly belong to ourselves directly and indirectly through elected representatives. Congress and the legislatures should be making decisions on the basis of open debate and recorded roll call votes.

Surely, President Trump’s low point came when he supported bypassing roll call votes in the passage of a $2.2 trillion bill as part of his and other executive officials’ decisions to shut down the country. Making decisions on the basis of meaningless curves and bureaucratic authority rather than through open debate about hard facts followed by roll call votes is not just undemocratic. It’s stupid.

Great America

A Letter to an Ailing Friend

A few words of gratitude and thanks as a childhood mentor lies sick with COVID-19 in a New York City hospital.

It’s hard to write a story about someone else without injecting yourself into the story. But I feel compelled to write about this: for my mother, for those alone in the hot zones, in hospitals scared to death, and to those who are close to death.

For the candy man in a New York City hospital room alone in and for his wife who prays at home in isolation. Know the candy you offered was just candy to some, but for some like me, it offered a reprieve from our childhood hardships and sadness. You weren’t just offering Lifesavers; you were unwittingly saving young lives. (In the interest of full disclosure you didn’t offer Lifesavers—they weren’t kosher—but I thought it was a good line.)

As you lie in bed alone, I want you to know although you never had your own children, you helped raise many. There were the lentils, the kosher M&M’s—and, yes, they are kosher now. There were the aspirin candies, the lollipops, and the dearth of other treats I have forgotten about. Oh! And the Peanut Chews!

But more than the candy, it was the moments when we were real young sitting on your lap, and as we got older the moments sitting beside you. It was candy you offered, but sanity, love, and safety were the true treats.

Then there was that time of year, Simchat Torah, the giving of the Old Testament that you truly raised your game. There were the big suckers and the candy apples offered, not just to the young but there was always a candy for my mother and her dry mouth. She was your close friend, how close I didn’t realize until a certain fog was lifted from my own life.

You instinctively knew which one of your children needed extra candy, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I hadn’t seen you in years and sadly, for a while, I had switched the type of candy I consumed and changed the people I sat by for the “comfort” and “love” that I desperately sought. I was newly sober when I saw you again at a family event. I remember the massive smile you had on your face. What I didn’t know was that you and your wife were confidants of my mother’s throughout my struggles, always giving her all the support (and candy) she needed. What I also remember was there was no judgment, no questions, just a silent welcome back. It was never “Oh, Yehuda,” it was always, “Ohhhh, Yehuda.”

It’s been more than 22 years since that day, and we have seen each other only a handful of times. I just want you and your wife to know, you have raised many children, some more difficult than others, and it takes the most special of people to offer the more difficult more candy.

I know many a kid has come in between the time you helped me and today, but just know that all your children are praying for you right now, and it is imperative that you get better because we both know there is so much more candy that needs to be given.

Your name in English means life, you have enriched so many, saved so many, and we in turn at this moment are praying for yours. L’Chaim!

News

Infectious Disease Specialist Says Use of Coronavirus Drugs Touted By Trump is ‘Absolute Game Changer’

A noted infectious disease specialist who has treated 72 COVID-19 patients with the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin is claiming  that the combined use of the antimalarial medication and antibiotic are “an absolute game changer” in the war against the disease.

The results have been so promising, Dr. Stephen Smith, founder of The Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that “this could be the beginning of the end of the pandemic.”

During an appearance on “Ingraham Angle” Wednesday night, Smith pointed out that not a single COVID-19 patient that he put on the hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin regimen for five days or more has had to be intubated, a medical procedure that involves putting a tube into a patient’s trachea and placing them on a ventilator for respiratory support. Most of the people, he said, got better after only two days on the drug cocktail.

“The chance of that occurring by chance, according to my sons Leon and Hunter who did some stats for me, are .000-something,” he said, adding that “it’s ridiculously low.”

Amid much media nay-saying, research studies and anecdotal evidence increasingly show that the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are extremely effective at treating the coronavirus.

Smith said that his data supports an earlier French study showing that chloroquine taken with the antibiotic is an effective treatment for COVID-19.

“Now you actually have an intra-cohort comparison saying that this regimen works,” he explained.

“I think this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. I’m very serious,” Smith told Ingraham.

Last week, a Hasidic doctor in upstate New York claimed that he has successfully treated 699 people with moderate coronavirus symptoms.

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko has reportedly been in contact with President Trump’s new chief of staff, Rep. Mark Meadows, and the White House is evaluating the doctor’s protocol.

President Trump was roundly criticized in the media last month after he touted the “unproven” drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as promising treatments and potential “game-changers” in the war against the coronavirus.

 

News

As Rest of World Deals With COVID-19 Pandemic, China Ups Ante in South China Sea

While the rest of the world deals with coronavirus pandemic it started, China is moving aggressively in the hotly contested South China Sea, according to reports.

China is taking advantage of the power vacuum in the area by deploying large-scale military assets to the South China Sea and conducting military drills, Asia Times reported. This comes amid mounting speculation in the media that COVID-19 may have come from a government lab in Wuhan.

China is “officially celebrating strides made in exploiting disputed energy resources in the fossil fuel-rich sea,” according to the Hong Kong-based news outlet.

While some see China’s nationalistic messaging as a bid to rally its people during difficult Covid-19 times, others view the increasingly aggressive naval maneuvers as a bid to exploit America’s weakened condition to secure new advantage in the hot spot theater.

Rival Southeast Asian claimants are also in a compromised strategic position as they contend with worsening Covid-19 outbreaks.

The Philippines and Malaysia, both at territorial loggerheads with China in the sea, have both recently placed their administrative and commercial capitals under weeks-long, military-enforced lockdowns.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and top security officials including Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana are in self-imposed quarantines, with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Felimon Santos Jr recently testing positive for Covid-19.

The People’s Republic has a history of making “sweeping claims of sovereignty over the sea—and the sea’s estimated 11 billion barrels of untapped oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” antagonizing competing claimants Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

While China makes its moves in the disputed territory, United States, the region’s principal security guarantor, has been preoccupied with the world’s biggest reported outbreak of the China flu (over 235,000 cases to date and growing).

The Trump administration last week invoked the Defense Production Act, allowing federal government, including the U.S. military, to be more directly involved in the distribution of much-needed items like ventilators and face masks.

There

Back in February, scientists from the South China University of Technology released a research paper on the origins of COVID-19, leading  to speculation that the deadly virus was created in a Wuhan city lab.

The study confirmed that the virus came from a type of bat that doesn’t live within 900 kilometers of Wuhan and found no evidence that it was being sold at Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

“These scientists interviewed almost 60 people—59 of them—who frequented the Wuhan wet market. They confirm there were no horseshoe bats for sale there—period,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson noted on his show this week.  The scientists said they discovered two labs in the immediate vicinity of the outbreak that were conducting research on bat coronavirus, including the Wuhan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national center for China’s bat virus research.

The paper, by researchers Botao Xial and Lei Xiao and titled “The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus,” was quickly retracted.

Earlier this week, Bill Gertz of The Washington Times highlighted the work of Tian Junhua, a scientist in Wuhan who is touted as a leader in bat virus research.

A State Department official said the reports about Mr. Tian and his role in working with bat viruses are concerning.

“He lives and works at Wuhan’s CDC, a few hundred yards away from the Huanan wet market,” the official said. “He is among the small team in Wuhan that has contributed to China’s obsession in recent years with virus hunting and research.”

Some U.S. and international scientists have dismissed reports linking the new virus to one of China’s research labs. They insist the virus jumped naturally to humans and then began spreading from person to person.

But others say a growing body of evidence indicates the virus may have been under study in a Chinese laboratory and escaped, either through an infection of a worker or through an infected lab animal.

“This is one of the worst cover-ups in human history, and now the world is facing a global pandemic,” said Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R-Texas), a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Great America

The Wu New Deal

How Democrats intend to use the Wuhan virus crisis to restructure government and society according to their whims.

In his survey of the Great Depression and World War II, Freedom From Fear, historian David Kennedy makes the point that the New Deal—which manifestly failed to end the Depression—was only a failure if you assume that its purpose was, in fact, to end the Depression.

Likewise, the Democrats’ attempt at pushing their wish list of a Wuhan virus rescue bill.

If you assume, instead, that the purpose of the New Deal was to restructure the government’s relationship to the people and to society, then it was certainly a success. This is especially true of the so-called Second New Deal, passed mostly in 1935, which included Social Security, the Banking Act, the Wagner Act, other workplace protections, and unemployment insurance. Designed to provide a measure of security to periodically unemployed workers, it also made sure that people—for the first time—habitually looked to the government as the source of that security.

If you assume that its secondary purpose was to cement an emerging Democratic Party political coalition, then it was potentially an even greater success.

From the outset, Roosevelt had wanted to bring liberal Republicans into the Democratic fold, while marginalizing the more conservative southern Democrats who generally opposed his agenda. The prelude to World War II cut that short, as progressive Republicans from the west and Midwest—most prominently, Hiram Johnson, George Norris, and William Borah—stayed true to their isolationism. Nevertheless, blacks, urbanites, and union workers began voting for Democratic candidates in numbers that persist even to this day, though the current reshuffling of the parties threatens to undo some of that.

And there were people in the Roosevelt Administration who were sorry to see the economy recover because it closed the window on that restructuring.

Do you want to know where Rahm Emanuel got the idea for never letting a crisis go to waste? Look to the New Dealers.

Restructuring to “Fit Our Vision”

Which brings us to the Democratic version of the Wuhan coronavirus stimulus package. Now, the original idea—a payroll tax holiday, bridge loans to small and medium-sized businesses—wasn’t bad.

The eventual idea—trillions of dollars of helicopter money in an economy where there is less and less to spend it on, combined with some side-pork for votes—is less appealing. But at least it’s still geared toward doing something about the problem at hand. It seeks to tide over individuals and small businesses until the restrictions relax, and economic activity recovers.

The House Democrats had their own ideas, however. Via Senator Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) Twitter feed, we know that these included:

  1. Corporate pay statistics by race and race statistics for all corporate boards at companies receiving assistance;
  2. Bailing out all current debt of the postal service;
  3. Required early voting;
  4. Mandated same-day voter registration;
  5. A $10,000 bailout for each and every borrower with federal student loans;
  6. For companies accepting assistance, one-third of board members must be chosen by workers;
  7. Provisions on official time for union collective bargaining;
  8. A full offset of airline emissions by 2025;
  9. Greenhouse gas statistics for individual flights;
  10. Retirement plans for community newspaper employees;
  11. A $15 minimum wage at companies receiving assistance;
  12. Permanent paid family leave at companies receiving assistance.

None of this makes any sense if you assume that the purpose of the bill is to forestall or soften the economic effects of government action to combat the virus.

But if you assume that the House Democrats don’t really see the purpose of the bill as aiming at any of those things, but rather as Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said, “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” then it all makes a lot of sense.

I admit, I made the mistake myself. I assumed at first that, facing a collapse of in-person retail, a 33 percent drop in the stock market, a mother of all margin calls centered on international banking, and the prospect of the credit of the U.S. government being in play, Clyburn meant that he wanted the bill to fit their vision of economic aid.

No such luck.

Every item on that wish list is geared towards remaking society, directly grabbing political power, or solidifying what they see as their emerging coalition. And just because they didn’t make it into the bill that ultimately passed doesn’t mean those proposals are dead.

Democrats happily would insert the Justice Department into board elections, giving political hacks another tool to extract favors and money. They would replicate the damage caused by public unions, by putting private unions on both sides of the bargaining table. The inevitable green mandates would pay off the Tom Steyers of the world. Elections would become even more suspect. And they would include payoffs to universities (what, you thought unconditional student loan forgiveness was for the students?) as well as to increasingly liberal community newspapers.

In other words, restructuring things to fit their vision.

Great America

How Government Is Standing in the Way of Lifesaving American Innovation

In the race to find a solution to this pandemic crisis, President Trump needs to reject both Washington incompetence and Chinese subversion.

In plague times, politicians and physicians alike need to embrace the fundamental teaching of the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.” How then are we to understand the harm that a problem, COVID-19,and the “cure”—quarantine and its attendant economic catastrophe—that seems to be worse than the disease?

The current national state of emergency is as revelatory as it is sudden. It shows us both what we should do and what we shouldn’t. Let us be clear, to borrow a favorite phrase of a previous president: America First companies can protect us—if only bureaucrats get out of the way.

President Trump could order his administration to use America’s companies and tell his public health authorities that they’ve done quite enough—which is to say they’ve done far too little to prepare for the crisis.

We should use American companies to do contact tracing of the ill, and allow start-ups that want to administer at-home coronavirus tests to do so. Yet rather than acknowledge that extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary dispensations, our FDA stops U.S. innovators at every turn, preferring to do business with intellectual property thieves like the Chinese Communist-backed Beijing Genomics Institute, a state-owned entity currently in yet another legal fight with an American company.

President Trump Needs To Tell Fauci, the NIH, and the FDA: “You’re Fired!”

Recent history provides too many examples of institutional failure. We have already examined how lacking Dr. Anthony Fauci is now and has been before and during the HIV/AIDS crisis. He is a fraud. Whether he is a crook or a fool is perhaps open to interpretation.

“Despite President Donald Trump’s enthusiasm for the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus, the federal funding powerhouse led by Dr. Anthony Fauci isn’t spending any money on it, and clinical trials for it are lagging behind other drug studies,” CNN reports.

Instead Fauci has been touting Remdesivir from Gilead through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Gilead’s Remdesivir costs thousands of dollars and works less well than hydroxychloroquine—a generic that has worked all over the world. Remdesivir requires intravenous administration and has stronger side effects.

Why is the good doctor pushing a bad cure?

What motivates Fauci, as anyone can see from his many interviews and long career, is fame.

Vanity must be his favorite of the seven deadly sins. And deadly it has been—just not for Fauci.  HIV/AIDS activists wisely picked up on this character trait and shamed Fauci into doing more after years of inaction, as even fawning portrayals of Fauci acknowledge. ACT UP, having bent Fauci to its will, finally got him to act—but not before thousands of gay men perished. Then, as now, Fauci left patients in limbo while he cultivated his ties to the drug manufacturers.

Fauci works closely with Gilead and other drug manufacturers. Once again Gilead has helped advance Fauci’s public persona while he has advanced their drugs, sometimes even against the interests of the U.S. government or HIV/AIDS patients.

Fauci even praised a Gilead television ad for Truvada, or PreP, a $1,000-a-month drug. It’s illegal in most countries for pharmaceutical companies to advertise, but Fauci found much to like in the ad. He had reason to. After all, his organization funded the study with your money.

“What I really liked about the ad is it didn’t just say go get on PrEP; it said get tested,” Fauci told NBC News in 2018. “A, get tested. B, there are more options to protect yourself.”

Fauci has also spoken at events funded by Gilead and other pharmaceutical companies.

Later, President Trump’s HHS sued Gilead alleging that the drug manufacturer had profited from millions of taxpayer funded research dollars against the interests of patients. Gilead lost the suit right around the time it needed a new drug to help it take off. With few drugs available for the coronavirus, Daniel O’Day, Gilead’s new CEO only been on the job months—turned to Remdesivir, a drug marketed toward solving the Ebola virus. Remdesivir failed at that, too. Indeed Congolese officials found too expensive and too ineffective compared to cheaper alternatives.

“The results were most striking for patients who received treatments soon after becoming sick, when their viral loads were still low—death rates dropped to 11 percent with mAb114 and just 6 percent with Regeneron’s drug, compared with 24 percent with ZMapp and 33 percent with Remdesivir,” wrote Wired’s Megan Molteni.

Sound familiar? The same thing has been true of the ultracheap hydroxychloroquine which has proven effective nearly everywhere it’s been tried—if tried early enough.

For this reason alone, it is unconscionable that there are delays in testing results, thanks to the FDA’s byzantine rules that make it easier for Communist Chinese companies to test while hobbling U.S. firms.

Gilead is left with a huge stockpile of Remdesivir that is too expensive and too unnecessary—they’ll have more on the way once they are approved, they promise! Fauci has once again used taxpayer resources to force patients into a lengthy and ridiculous clinical trial process for the drug—only this time its Americans desperate for hope as opposed to Africans. If at first you don’t succeed, fail, fail, fail again.

With Fauci’s credibility invested in Gilead, we ought to ask to see Fauci and his family’s portfolio too, especially after he publicly admitted that he would take hydroxychloroquine.

Then again, it’s amazing how cheaply some people, especially scientists, will sell out.

Indeed, putting politics and press conferences ahead of pharmacology has been the medical establishment’s raison d’être as it offloads the costs of its expensive labs and bureaucracy. Dr. Francis Collins’s NIH, for example, charges the government thousands of dollars for genetic sequencing that costs the private sector just hundreds.

Hard Lessons in Self-Reliance

The success of generic drugs over Gilead’s Remdesivir reveals that Big Pharma—and its handmaiden, the NIH—won’t save us but will happily soak us with ever higher drug prices.

To anyone paying attention it ought to indict both the wastefulness of the National Institutes of Health ($40 billion annual budget) and the pharmaceutical industry (trillions in market capitalization) that wonder drug chloroquine (the typical dose costs $20 in the United States, pennies elsewhere) was developed in Germany in 1934—fully 10 years before the NIH itself was authorized by Congress and an American patient experienced its full effects.

The history of chloroquine and its derivative hydroxychloroquine deserves careful attention and was the subject of a rather amazing address by G. Robert Coatney in the 1960s. Dubbed “Mr. Malaria,” Coatney had explored 16,000 solutions to the malaria problem. During World War II, the War Production Board issued Conservation Order M-131 and heavily restricted the use of quinine. A synthetic had to be found.

“The effort involved scientists from the universities and industry, private individuals, the U.S. Army, the Navy and the Public Health Service, plus appropriate liaison with Great Britain and Australia,” and it also totally and completely failed.

The European powers understood that access to cures or treatments had national security implications. The power to blockade or restrict life saving drugs is the power to enfeeble and kill as both the Communist Chinese and the Food and Drug Administration remind us today. Holland blocked German access to its valuable Indonesian quinine farms so Nazi Germany—lacking any overseas colonies—was forced to innovate.

Autarky meant relying on the German people and their genius. Unlike today’s America, Germany put their best—and crucially, youngest—minds to work. Hans Andersag discovered chloroquine in 1934 at the tender age of 32—an amazing discovery but utterly consistent with all the available research that discoveries are made by the young.

In a gerontocracy like America, the NIH continues to dole out money to aging scientists without anything to show for it—even as its own research shows the persistent Boomer bias against younger scientists receiving funding.

To be sure, Bayer was very much a part of the Nazi regime, which barred Bayer’s scientists from receiving the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physiology after they discovered Prontosil, the first commercially available antibiotic. Germany’s innovations had to stay in Germany. Boomers love throwing around comparisons to the Great Depression and World War II, perhaps to suggest that they, too, would be capable of suffering what their parents endured. How ironic, then, that a company with Nazi ties ultimately made the drug keeping all the Boomers alive and the world economy running. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us. After all, Wernher von Braun gave us NASA and even Disneyland, after V-2 rockets rained down on London.

Of course, Bayer has rightly apologized for its human experimentation during World War II but we ought to be asking why our own medical system is so sclerotic and well, geriatric, that we rely on foreign science, foreign scientists, and foreign sources of funding. (Fauci is 79 while Collins is 69.)

And is it not human experimentation to force people into clinical trials for drugs that do not work?

Why does it take five, 10, or 15 days for coronavirus tests to be done? Why are people dying waiting for tests?

Why do we need a world war—or a metaphoric reference to it—to make our institutions work? How do you expect to cure a novel virus with old thinking and old institutions?

Beware Chinese Gifts

Technology means doing more with less and yet our government seems to do less with more. Technology means making space for the new and young as the tired and old retreat gracefully from the public stage in a peaceful handoff of power.

Technology has been sorely lacking from America’s response to coronavirus. Our so-called leaders have taken a more low tech approach, preferring to turn all Americans into Uighurs under involuntary house arrest indefinitely.

Zoom, allied with the Chinese facial recognition companies SenseTime and Megvii barred from the United States for their mistreatment of the Uighurs, laughably convince America and her institutions to trust them while they train their datasets on us.

Silicon Valley lamented that it took Zoom CEO Eric Yuan nine attempts to get his visa. What if the U.S. deep state was right about him? How should we think of the British government using Zoom to communicate? The company reported to the SEC that its large data center—an R&D center really—has 500 engineers and personnel in China. This is unheard of. A Silicon Valley CEO friend told me he looked to hire a project manager from Zoom and found he had 100 direct reports as compared to the typical 12. The disturbing behavior and lax user security ought to have us very concerned.

We ignore American ingenuity at our peril as we invite the world into our country, our cell phones, and our screens. Why did an American manufacturer of powerful spy cameras find he could only do business in China after receiving a DARPA grant? Follow the logic through. The U.S. taxpayer subsidized the creation of the Chinese surveillance state. Why do we allow drone manufacturer DJI to sell to every American municipality while Impossible Aerospace has built a better drone?

TikTok has even enlisted the “Governator” Arnold Schwarzenegger to make cringeworthy viral videos telling us to stay at home. Perhaps it would sound less alarming if not for that Austrian accent. That’s easy to do if you are a Boomer and have a home, but so few Millennials have been afforded the income or opportunity to make their house a home. Does Arnold’s Mexican maid stay at home with him or in the home he bought for her? No Muscle Beach for you, citizen!

If technology is meant to do more with less, would it be too much to ask that American-born companies restore America’s freedoms? Where are the America First companies here to protect our liberties while they protect our cell phones? Why is it OK to use American ingenuity to target us with ads but not to help us avoid infection?

U.S. allies—Taiwan, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, and even Czechia—happily use state power to direct its technological advantages without shuttering everyday life. Taiwan built an “electronic fence” to quarantine its people while sounding the alarm about China’s state sanctioned lies about the virus. Israel moved to tap secret troves of gathered cell phone data. Singapore introduced an app—TraceTogether—to help identify if someone crossed paths with the infected. South Korea revealed where the infected lived, when they left for work, what trains they took, and where they tested, according to the New York Times. Low technology solutions work as well. Czechia went from zero mask usage to 100 percent in 10 days and ended the growth of new coronavirus cases.

Our allies understand that privacy is a luxury good that we can ill afford in a pandemic. How long should we stay confined to our homes? At present no one has an answer except possibly for forever.

And yet our health officials force us to queue up where we can be infected en masse. That is, if we are lucky enough to even get a test. Once we take a test we must wait days for the state labs to get around to telling us the results. Some receive their results after dying waiting.

For now, however, the FDA won’t let us test at home. Apparently, the agency was too busy telling us not to worry about the addictive nature of opioids. A drug is a substance that causes a change in physiology or psychology. Food is, well, food. Under what authority do diagnostics fall under the Food and Drug Administration’s purview? The FDA doesn’t want to explore new technology. Peter Thiel rightly notes that the areas of least regulation in our economy have seen the most promise.

There is no way out from politics. The administrative state has not delivered the benefits it promised. In the state of emergency it is ultimately the sovereign who decides who to follow and who to ignore, who to copy and who to reject.

In the race to find a solution to this pandemic crisis, President Trump needs to reject both Washington incompetence and Chinese subversion.

News

Dem Governor Reverses Course on Coronavirus Drug Restrictions

The governor of Michigan has reportedly reversed course on her decision to block the use of the anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

Two small studies and anecdotal evidence have shown that the drugs can be effective at treating the disease.

After President Trump touted the drugs as promising potential treatments at a news conference last month, Democrat governors Steve Sisolak of Nevada, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan issued directives banning the use of the drugs to fight the deadly virus.

The day after the president’s remarks, Sisolak issued an emergency declaration restricting non-hospital doctors from prescribing chloroquine to treat coronavirus in the state, saying in a statement that there’s no consensus among experts that the drugs can help people suffering with the disease.

“At this point in time, there is no known cure for COVID-19 and we must not withhold these drugs from those who need them,” Sisolak said in a press release. “The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home for Nevada, not to stockpile these drugs.”

The governor claimed that the order was “aimed at preventing hoarding of the drugs” that could be used to treat other conditions.

Whitmer directed the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to issue a letter last week warning that stockpiling the drugs “will be evaluated and may be further investigated for administrative action,” citing the lack of proof of their effectiveness.

The letter stated: “Prescribing… the drug may create a shortage for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other ailments for which chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are proven treatments.”

“Pursuant to Michigan Administrative Code, R 338.490(2), a pharmacist shall not fill a prescription if the pharmacist believes the prescription will be used for other than legitimate medical purposes or if the prescription could cause harm to a patient. It is also important to be mindful that licensed health professionals are required to report inappropriate prescribing practices,” the letter reads.

The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday approved the emergency use of the drugs to treat patients suffering with coronavirus.

Meanwhile, HHS has allowed for the drugs to be “donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” according to a statement announcing that Sandoz donated 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to the stockpile and Bayer donated 1 million doses of chloroquine.

The Whitmer administration has since removed the threatening language from the LARA letter and is now reportedly asking the federal government to send shipments of the drugs to Michigan.

Both governors say that they only wanted to prevent people from hoarding the drugs because patients suffering from other diseases and conditions needed them.

“We want to ensure that doctors have the ability to prescribe these medicines. We also want to make sure that the people who have prescriptions that predated COVID-19 have access to the medication they need. And so all of the work that we’ve done is trying to strike that balance,” Whitmer said in a press conference on Monday.

According to Bridge Magazine, Whitmer’s office is now trying to get the Strategic National Stockpile to send more chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to the state.

 

 

 

 

 

News

China Concealed Extent of its Coronavirus Outbreak According to U.S. Intelligence Report

The U.S. intelligence community has reportedly concluded that China concealed the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak in its country, underreporting the number of total cases and deaths.

According to three officials with knowledge, a classified report received by the White House last week concluded that China’s public reporting has been intentionally incomplete and their numbers fake.

The outbreak began in China’s Hubei province in late 2019, but the country has publicly reported only about 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That compares to more than 189,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths in the U.S., which has the largest publicly reported outbreak in the world.

China eventually imposed a strict lockdown, but there has been growing skepticism of China’s reported numbers, Bloomberg reported.

 The Chinese government has repeatedly revised its methodology for counting cases, for weeks excluding people without symptoms entirely, and only on Tuesday added more than 1,500 asymptomatic cases to its total.

Stacks of thousands of urns outside funeral homes in Hubei province have driven public doubt in Beijing’s reporting.

This comes after the media for weeks echoed the the Chinese government’s aggressive propaganda campaign designed to absolve the Chicoms of wrongdoing.

In the past week, some in the media have even depicted Communist regime’s response to COVID-19 as more competent than the United States’ response.

Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist advising the White House during the outbreak, said Tuesday that China’s deeply flawed public reporting has influenced how health officials elsewhere in the world have viewed the nature of the virus.

“The medical community made — interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected,” she said at the COVID-19 task force news conference at the White House on Tuesday. “Because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain.”

Former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright called for the world’s “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies to investigate China’s culpability in spreading the deadly virus throughout the world.

“We need a Five Eyes response,” Wright tweeted in response to the Bloomberg report. “The intel services of the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, & the UK should release a public assessment of China’s culpability. Most especially whether the virus escaped a lab. It’s time to organize the allies.”

China is not the only country with suspect public reporting. As American Greatness reported on Monday, Russia and North Korea (which has not reported a single case) also appear to be drastically under-reporting cases of coronavirus in their countries. Western officials also point to Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt as potentially downplaying their numbers.

 

 

Great America

Hockey Sticks, Changing Goal Posts, and Hysteria

There’s still time to find a balance between public health and the economy: Trump must find it before April 30.

Last year, Glacier National Park in Montana began removing signs that warned visitors the park’s gigantic glaciers would start melting away by 2020 due to global warming. Park officials altered other climate change flair such as brochures and displays to postpone the threat to sometime in “future generations.”

Like so many claims about the catastrophic consequences of anthropogenic global warming, predictions about disappearing glaciers were quickly memory-holed. And, as usual, the experts behind the flawed science that misled millions of people to believe their actions would cause the destruction of one of nature’s most awesome sights didn’t apologize. No scientist or government official even had the guts to stand up and say, “Oops, my bad.”

Quite to the contrary—prophets of nonexistent doom are often cheered as heroes no matter how many times they’ve been wrong.

Take Dr. Michael Mann, for example. The Pennsylvania State University author of the infamous “hockey stick” graph is still considered a god among the international climate change set; his graph launched the modern-day climate movement even though his work has been widely refuted by scientists and hacked emails showed how he and his fellow researchers manipulated data to “prove” their theory.

Now, we have the latest version of the hockey stick graph and it is related to COVID-19. The alarming visual indicates a huge spike in estimated deaths and hospitalizations in the United States from coronavirus infections over the next few weeks. Last week, a researcher at the University of Washington released a study that appears to serve as the scientific justification to extend the CDCs social distancing guidelines until at least April 30.

Christopher Murray, director of the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, warns that daily fatalities will climb from zero on February 24 to a high of 2,214 on April 15. (Much like Mann’s hockey stick graph that claimed to show warming temperatures, data from the period before the spike cannot be accurate since the first case of coronavirus in the U.S. was reported in mid-January. If it’s as contagious and as lethal as we’ve been told, hundreds if not thousands of people would already have died from the disease in the first two months of the year unbeknownst to healthcare providers.)

By May 2, based on Murray’s model, more than 60,000 Americans will be dead; by the beginning of August, nearly 84,000 of our fellow countrymen will have succumbed to the disease.

The need for hospital beds, intensive care units, and ventilators will far outpace supply, according to Murray. By this Friday, U.S. hospitals will need more than 135,000 beds, nearly 26,000 ICUs and more than 20,000 ventilators to accommodate COVID-19 patients.

And this disaster scenario will occur even with the draconian measures enacted at the federal, state and local level to slow the disease’s death march.

“The estimated excess demand on hospital systems is predicated on the enactment of social distancing measures in all states that have not done so already within the next week and maintenance of these measures throughout the epidemic, emphasizing the importance of implementing, enforcing, and maintaining these measures to mitigate hospital system overload and prevent deaths,” wrote Murray.

From Common Sense to House Arrest

The White House, apparently, is listening. After first disputing an outlandish study produced by the UK’s Imperial College that projected a few million Americans would die from COVID-19 this year, Dr. Deborah Birx presented Murray’s report to the president over the weekend. Birx referred to Murray’s model in a Rose Garden briefing on Sunday.

“It’s anywhere, in the model, between 80,000 and 160,000, maybe potentially 200,000 succumbing to this,” Birx cautioned. “That’s with mitigation.” She insisted that the current measures would need to continue “with a level of intensity.”

During a confusing press briefing Tuesday evening, Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, presented the models to the American public. The president solemnly prepared the country for a “very tough two weeks” that could witness the death of 100,000 to 200,000 Americans. But neither Birx nor Fauci could convincingly explain the data supporting the ominous charts—while Birx seemed married to the ultimate death toll, Fauci tap-danced around the study’s projections, wish-casting about better outcomes and riffing about how new information would improve the model’s efficacy.

So in a matter of weeks, relying on sketchy and incomplete data, government experts have pivoted from offering common-sense steps to fight a virus to declaring government-imposed house arrest. “Flattening the curve” is old news; preventing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans requires tyrannical diktats that a month ago freedom-loving Americans could scarcely imagine.

COVID-19 wasn’t transmitted person-to-person before it was transmitted person-to-person. Masks weren’t necessary; now, they might be part of a required uniform should anyone dare to leave the house. It’s like a bad flu; now it’s way worse than the flu.

Governors are one-upping each other in an egregious power play that defies science, common sense, and decency in a despicable trampling of constitutional rights. The appeal to authority, a common tactic to quash any dissent in the climate change debate, is in full effect as laypeople are warned not to question the advice of credentialed medical and health professionals.

The consequences of this collective overreach—and that’s putting it mildly—have been mind-boggling. The world’s most vibrant economy is at a standstill. Millions of hourly employees are being laid off or let go as unemployment claims skyrocket to historic levels with the worst yet to come. Small business owners fear bankruptcy. The stock market is tanking while politicians on both sides of the aisle, along with the president, concoct bailout plans to fix the economic disaster they helped create.

School children and college students are done with public classes for at least five months. Job offers to college graduates have disappeared. Weddings, graduation ceremonies, and funerals are prohibited. Places of worship are shuttered; religious leaders who defy a government guideline—not a law on the books—to serve their flock are being arrested. Daily joys like a stroll on the beach or dinner at a restaurant or a game of pickup basketball or a round of golf have been stripped from our lives with shockingly little protest. And an army of Karens are policing public spaces to tattle on Facebook if anyone refuses to submit.

Sick people suffer alone; seniors are cut off from family and friends. Lonely children are further isolated as schools close down and their teachers and friends are out of reach. Panic and fear are weaponized to dictate individual behavior.

Echoes of Climate Alarmism

It all has an eerie ring to those of us who’ve covered the climate movement. (Barack Obama connected climate and coronavirus in a tweet on Tuesday: “We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial.”)

And just as happened with the climate change agenda, farfetched models with incomplete, untested data drive public policy decisions. Anyone who disputes the experts or challenges the assumptions must hate the environment or the children or the future. (In the case of COVID-19, you must hate grandma.) Anyone who laments the destruction of the economy is a heartless, greedy money-grubber. “Profits over people!” the detractors are taunted. The goalposts keep moving, doomsday is extended, but harsher and harsher actions are nonetheless demanded from above.

So, what if, as Trump accurately said just a week ago, the cure is worse than the disease? What if Murray’s models are woefully off by a factor of five or even 10 but it’s too late to salvage jobs or small businesses? His data is already way off: As of March 31, Murray predicted the U.S. would need 98,000 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients but only 22,000 were hospitalized that day.

Will the White House, much like Glacier National Park, just change the message while the agitators escape any accountability?

The president is trying to do the right thing but this is a breaking point. If Trump ruins the economy and torches his solid economic achievements based on a handful of flawed models and the evolving opinions of unsure advisors, it will be hard to walk it back. If these figures don’t move to support Murray’s modeling—and fast—Trump needs to reconsider his plan.

There’s still time to find a balance between public health and the economy: Trump must find it before April 30.

News

Woman Who Blamed Trump for Husband’s Death Is Prolific Donor to Democrats

The Arizona woman who blamed President Trump for her 68-year-old husband’s death after he ingested a substance used to clean fish tanks, is a Democrat who has donated thousand of dollars to Democratic groups and candidates, the Washington Free Beacon has found.

Although local and national media outlets withheld the couple’s names, the Washington Free Beacon established their identities through descriptions in local news reports, where the pair were identified by their first names and ages: Gary, 68, and Wanda, 61. The Free Beacon is withholding their identities at Wanda’s request.

The couple took chloroquine phosphate—a different and deadly form of the chloroquine drug touted by Trump—to protect themselves from the the coronavirus.

“We saw Trump on TV — every channel — and all of his buddies and that this was safe,” the woman told NBC News. “Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure.”

According to The Free Beacon, the woman’s most recent donations were sent in late February to a Democratic PAC called the 314 Action Fund, which bills itself as the “pro-science resistance.”

The PAC has repeatedly blasted the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and even highlighted the couple’s case on Facebook to slam the White House for “throwing its approval behind an experimental case before it’s time.”

According to Federal Election Commission records, over the past few years, Wanda has also donated to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and EMILY’s List, a liberal group that aims to elect pro-choice female candidates.

Wanda told the Free Beacon that she and her husband were both Democrats, not Trump supporters. They heard about the potential benefits of chloroquine, an antimalarial drug, in news reports. She decided at the “spur of the moment” to try taking it, but reached for a fish tank cleaner in her pantry that contains chloroquine phosphate, a different and deadly form of the chemical. The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for the use of chloroquine to treat coronavirus on Sunday.

“We weren’t big supporters of [Trump], but we did see that they were using it in China and stuff,” Wanda told the Free Beacon. “And we just made a horrible, tragic mistake,” she said. “It was stupid, and it was horrible, and we should have never done it. But it’s done and now I’ve lost my husband. And my whole life was my husband.”

“We didn’t think it would kill us,” she added. “We thought if anything it would help us ‘cus that’s what we’ve been hearing on the news.”

Wanda’s initial comments blaming Trump spurred numerous reports in the media suggesting that Trump was to blame for her husband’s death in numerous reports. Many in the media also suggested that the couple were ignorant Trump supporters who were blindly led astray by their leader. Prominent Never-Trumpers like George Conway and Rick Wilson took to Twitter to accuse the president of being somehow complicit.

Despite the media naysayers, initial studies and anecdotal evidence are proving hydroxychloroquine to be an effective treatment for COVID-19.

A doctor in New York said in a recent interview that he has successfully treated 699 coronavirus patients using hydroxychloroquine  in combination with azithromycin (Z-Pak), and zinc sulfate.

Update:

“Wanda” has a history of mental illness, significant health issues, and apparently had a rocky relationship with her deceased husband.

Read the entire thread:

 

News

CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tests Positive for the Coronavirus

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo announced Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with the coronavirus and is quarantined in the basement of his home.  Cuomo is the third CNN to have tested positive for COVID-19.

“I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive, and I’ve had fevers, chills and shortness of breath,” Cuomo wrote in a post online, adding that he hoped he hadn’t spread the virus to his wife Cristina and his kids.

The anchor said he will continue to anchor his 9 p.m. program “Cuomo Prime Time” from his basement.

“We will all beat this thing by being strong, tough, and united!” the anchor added, sounding almost Trumpian.

Cuomo was at CNN’s offices in New York City last Friday, according to CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter.

On Monday, he anchored his show from his home where he interviewed his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The vast majority of CNN employees have been working from home for several weeks. Anchors have been broadcasting from small studios and home offices. And office spaces are being regularly cleaned.

During the interview, Cuomo asked the governor if he was thinking about replacing Joe Biden on the Democrat ticket.

“Let me ask you something. With all of this adulation that you’re getting for doing your job, are you thinking about running for President? Tell the audience,” Chris Cuomo asked.

“No. No,” the governor replied.

When Chris Cuomo pressed his brother further about a presidential bid, Andrew Cuomo continued to flatly say no, he hadn’t even thought about it.

For the time being, Cuomo is “feeling fine,” according to Stelter.

Update:

Governor Cuomo commented on his brother’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis during his daily coronavirus press briefing, Tuesday.