Saturday, August 14, 2021

Making children wear masks in the classroom is 'child abuse'

Making children wear masks in the classroom can stunt language skills and exacerbate anxiety, a health report commissioned by the Irish government has found.

The Health Information and Quality Authority's report published in March informed Dublin's decision not to mandate masks for children in elementary schools.

The HIQA paper noted that transmission of Covid was low in schools and that young children found it difficult to wear face coverings properly.

The scientists also gave evidence that masks had adverse psychological impacts, including causing anxiety and inhibiting the development of communication skills.

Tucker Carlson last night drew attention to the report on his Fox News show, describing it as 'child abuse' to force young children to 'wear moist paper burkas.'

'The question is, what's the benefit of doing it?' he asked. 'The Irish government looked into it and decided there is no benefit. Kids in Ireland are not getting sick from COVID. They are not transmitting COVID either,' Carlson said.

'So in the end, based on the scientific research using the disappearing art of rational decision making, the Irish government refused to implement mask mandates in school.'

The report found that since the pandemic started 'the extent of transmission between children or onwards to households by children, has been low.'

It said that while masks for adults were associated with lower transmission of Covid-19, the data showed a reduction in mask efficacy among children 'which may, in part, be due to reduced ability to comply with face mask wearing.'

Furthermore, the paper went on to add that 'there is concern regarding the potential harms associated with face mask use, for example, anxiety or negative impacts on the development of communication and language skills, particularly for younger children.'

In Britain, school children under the age of 12 have never been required to wear masks during the pandemic, neither at school nor anywhere else.

Public Health England's medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins said in March: 'The consensus view is to not advise schoolchildren at primary school age [12 and under] to wear face coverings.

'This is for two reasons: firstly they can have difficulty wearing them and keeping them on all day, and the second part of that is that it's really important that they can see facial expressions in order to develop their communications and language skills.'

The mask mandate for British secondary schools was dropped at the end of May.

Carlson last night said that the US had proceeded with its guidelines on masks for children without 'any data to justify it.'

'As of today, there has not been a single comprehensive study in the United States showing that children should wear masks in school or that masks would help them or anyone else in any way,' he said.

The host cited one study by researchers at Duke University which was published in The New York Times on Tuesday, with the headline: 'We studied one million students, universal masking works.'

According to Carlson, a fatal flaw with the study was that all of the kids in the study were at schools with mask mandates. 'In other words, there is no control group,' the Fox host said. 'Therefore, by definition, there was no way for the researchers to determine whether or not mass mandates work.'


The CDC Just Proved Milton Friedman Right (Again!)

I hate to say “I told you so.” Well, actually, I really enjoy saying “I told you so.” And, when it comes to the Centers for Disease Control and its pandemic power grabs, I did indeed tell you so.

In September 2020, I wrote for FEE that, “From draconian lockdown powers to taking over the rental housing market, it’s extremely unlikely our elected officials will cede all the authority they’ve seized during the pandemic.” We’re now witnessing my prediction play out in real-time.

Under the Biden administration’s purview, the CDC just unilaterally renewed its so-called “eviction moratorium.” It did so after the nationwide near-ban on eviction of non-paying tenants expired Saturday and in spite of Congress not passing legislation to renew it.

The new CDC order is somewhat more limited than the original one, claiming to only apply to areas with “substantial and high levels of [COVID-19] community transmission.” But this reportedly applies to roughly 90 percent of the US under the CDC’s definition. The two-month extension will now run until October 3. (When, presumably, there will again be a push for its extension).

“The emergence of the delta variant has led to a rapid acceleration of community transmission in the United States, putting more Americans at increased risk, especially if they are unvaccinated,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said. “This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads.”

The CDC is renewing this policy, yet again, even though the Supreme Court only narrowly upheld its last iteration. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh specifically wrote that “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”

Short version: The CDC doesn’t have the authority to do this.

And guess who agrees? The Biden administration. White House officials have repeatedly acknowledged that the federal government lacks constitutional authority to renew the order without Congress.

But this renewal is more than just an example of flagrant lawlessness and unconstitutional government overreach. It’s yet more illustration of the principle described by Milton Friedman when he said “nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

The Nobel-Prize-winning economist argued that we should be wary of “temporary” expansions of government power, because more often than not they become permanent, or at least part of the expansion remains. Why? Well, as Friedman explained, “temporary” programs “establish an interested constituency that… lobbie[s] for their continuation.”

Essentially, the public will acquiesce to more than it otherwise would under the promise that the infringement is temporary. But, then, the intervention will benefit some key parties so much that they will fight to keep it in place permanently after public scrutiny fades.

This is exactly what has played out with the CDC’s eviction moratorium dysfunction.

Even setting aside the fact that the first order was flagrantly unconstitutional from the get-go, it never made any sense. Ordering a halt to evictions without compensating landlords is like passing a law saying anyone may go into a grocery store, load up their carts with food, and walk out without paying. Applying this broken logic to rentals (predictably) bankrupted many middle-and-working class landlords and led to many rental properties being taken off the market altogether.

The moratorium has also created a $21 billion backlog in unpaid rent and millions of evictions that will occur when it is allowed to expire—costs that grow even bigger with every day it is left in place.

This has, as Friedman predicted, created a strong constituency demanding its extension time and time again, prompting the CDC’s latest move. But even setting aside the Constitutional questions, we can’t feasibly continue the policy forever any more than we could force grocery stores to hand out food for free into perpetuity. The shelves would run bare, and so, too, rental units will continue to evaporate from the market—ultimately leaving even renters themselves worse off.

The CDC order is essentially a ticking time bomb, bound to explode and hurt people whenever it ultimately lapses. But the government has every incentive to delay this damage as long as possible, even though it only grows more harmful with each delay. The result will likely be permanent and long-term dysfunction, all thanks to a “temporary” government measure that has proven to be anything but.

The CDC has created an absolute debacle, but there may be one small upside. Perhaps now more Americans will understand why Milton Friedman so famously warned the public to be skeptical of “temporary” government programs.




Friday, August 13, 2021

Delta makes herd immunity impossible

London: The Delta variant of COVID-19 has wrecked any chance of herd immunity, according to the Oxford scientist who led the AstraZeneca vaccine team, as he called for an end to mass testing so Britain could start to live with the virus.

Scientists who addressed Britain’s all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus said it was time to accept that there is no way of stopping the virus spreading through the entire population, and monitoring people with mild symptoms was no longer helpful.

Professor Andrew Pollard, who led the Oxford vaccine team, said it was clear that the Delta variant can still infect people who have been vaccinated, which made herd immunity impossible to reach, even with Britain’s high uptake.

The Department of Health confirmed on Tuesday that more than three quarters of adults in Britain have received both jabs and calculated that 60,000 deaths and 66,900 hospitalisations have been prevented by the vaccines.

Speaking to the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus, Sir Andrew said: “Anyone who is still unvaccinated will, at some point, meet the virus.

“We don’t have anything that will stop transmission, so I think we are in a situation where herd immunity is not a possibility, and I suspect the virus will throw up a new variant that is even better at infecting vaccinated individuals.”

Analysis by Public Health England has shown that when vaccinated people catch the virus, they have a similar viral load to unvaccinated individuals, and may be as infectious.

Paul Hunter, a professor at the University of East Anglia and an expert in infectious diseases, told the committee: “The concept of herd immunity is unachievable because we know the infection will spread in unvaccinated populations and the latest data is suggesting that two doses is probably only 50 per cent protective against infection.

“We need to move away from reporting infections to actually reporting the number of people who are ill. Otherwise we are going to be frightening ourselves with very high numbers that don’t translate into disease burden.”

On Tuesday, Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, confirmed that third dose booster shots would be given from next month. However, Pollard argued that Britain could be continually vaccinating the population for no real health benefit if mass testing continued.

“I think as we look at the adult population going forward, if we continue to chase community testing and are worried about those results, we’re going to end up in a situation where we’re constantly boosting to try and deal with something which is not manageable,” he said.

“It needs to be moving to clinically driven testing in which people are willing to get tested and treated and managed, rather than lots of community testing. If someone is unwell, they should be tested, but for their contacts, if they’re not unwell, then it makes sense for them to be in school and being educated.”

Dr Ruchi Sinha, consultant paediatrician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, told MPs and peers that choosing not to vaccinate children would be unlikely to cause problems in the health service.

“What matters is the burden of patient hospitalisation and critical care and actually there hasn’t been as much with this Delta variant,” she said. “They tend to be the children who have got their comorbidities, obesity, or severe neurological problems and those children are already considered for vaccination. COVID-19 on its own in paediatrics is not the problem.”


Liberalism Drops Its Mask

The past year’s devastation reveals elite special interest groups as liberalism’s master

Since the turn of the 20th century, progressivism and liberalism have been pushed for an increasingly massive state and burdensome government restrictions on personal conduct (outside the bedroom, at least) on a simple premise: It’s for the good of the people. Listening to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) today, one hears the same claims, with the socialist Left arguing that government should run health care to serve those who cannot afford it, or that the Postal Service should provide banking to serve those whom commercial banks do not.

But the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the truth behind this mask: modern liberalism, progressivism, democratic socialism, whatever else one wishes to call it, does not serve the people. Instead, It serves a set of defined special interest groups that often bear little resemblance to “the people” Sen. Sanders, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, and their allies invoke.

Since March 2020, Americans have seen liberals shutter schools and run the ones they allow to open as prison camps to placate teachers’ unions; they’ve seen their right to travel held hostage to the comfortable idleness of federal civil servants; they’ve seen well-heeled champagne socialists push the election of prosecutors who explicitly fail to do their jobs, unleashing a crime wave unseen since the 1990s.

The level of suffering government school systems have inflicted on children since March 2020 was unwarranted by the danger. Across most of the northeast and Pacific coast, teachers’ union industrial action (or the threat of it) led to school closures that lasted for most of the 2020-2021 period as “Apple ballot”-endorsed school board members did the bidding of the teachers’ unions who funded their campaigns and let “educators” pretend to work from home. The consequences to students were devastating; the year of “remote learning” put students at a massive disadvantage to those whose schools were open.

As the political winds shifted, even Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, conceded that perhaps schools needed to reopen. But the teachers’ unions’ ideal of “open” is not the liberal ideal of a school operated at public expense to teach classrooms of students in reading, writing, and arithmetic that many parents remember from their youths. Instead, classrooms have three-foot isolation, drinks of water taken facing a wall in the schoolroom corner, mandatory muzzles, and “critical race theory” indoctrination. Meanwhile, in the largely conservative states that have resisted teachers’ unions’ demands, schoolrooms have been open five days a week since fall.

Unionized teachers aren’t the only “public servants” denying rights to citizens by their pandemic-excused idleness. Applying for or renewing a U.S. passport has become a Kafkaesque nightmare because passport agencies and processing centers have not reopened at full capacity despite employees being prioritized for vaccination. Citibank, the contractor that operates document lockboxes that prepare applications for processing, is also operating below capacity, ostensibly due to COVID reasons.

Does “for the people” liberalism care that its inability to operate a bureaucracy denies Americans’ right to travel? Nah, not really. A Biden administration State Department official told the press: “U.S. citizens who wish to travel overseas this summer and do not currently have a passport may need to make alternate travel plans.” The liberal State Department, like the liberalism in school systems, operates not for the benefit of the people, but for its own elite class.

But at least the passport fiasco is one of mere idleness, not deliberate intention. In big-city prosecutors’ offices from San Francisco to Philadelphia, abdicating the responsibilities of government is not idleness, but a party platform. A class of “progressive prosecutors” were backed for election by the scions of Big Philanthropy, including George Soros and his family, Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskowitz, and Cari Tuna. Their platforms? Don’t prosecute and don’t jail.

The results are entirely predictable. In San Francisco, progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin presides over a surge in violent crimes against Asian Americans and shoplifters stealing with impunity. Philadelphia’s progressive prosecutor Larry Krasner presides over a 33 percent year-on-year surge in homicide that drew attention from the city’s liberal mayor. Other cities have similar Big Philanthropy-chosen prosecutors and similar spikes in crime.

The path of decadent-phase Great Society liberalism is clear. Unless “the people” have a checkbook or thousands of votes to give to the left-wing political leadership, the people don’t matter. The mask has fallen.

With Handouts Running Out, People Suddenly Find Jobs

Democrat giveaways are still exacerbating unemployment, but the tide is finally turning.

The U.S. economy created a robust 943,000 jobs in July, the best total since last August. In completely unrelated news, enhanced unemployment benefits ended in many states and will for all states in September, and until the last minute most tenants were operating under the presumption that they’d actually have to start paying rent or face eviction. We kid about this being unrelated, of course. These are the reasons people are finally going back to work. They have to.

President Joe Biden was happy to claim credit for the jobs report. “More than 4 million jobs created since we took office,” he posted on social media. “It’s historic — and proof our economic plan is working.”

What’s Biden’s plan? To spend the nation into oblivion, exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to enact much of the radical Left’s agenda items.

Want a $15 an hour minimum wage but can’t get Congress to pass it? “Enhance” unemployment benefits to equal or exceed $15 an hour, and then extend those benefits for months after lockdowns were lifted. People won’t go back to work for a long time, and when they finally do they won’t accept less than $15 an hour. Boom. Policy achieved.

Just don’t mind the rampant inflation caused by supply chain issues resulting from a lack of workers, followed by the higher costs businesses face (and pass on to customers) just to employ the workers they can actually find. (There are a record 10.1 million job openings.) Oh, and that inflation is chewing up real wage gains.

Want to create a new entitlement? Illegally extend an eviction moratorium and pay people to not pay their rent. It’s equivalent to expanding public housing.

Want to create universal basic income by default? Send “emergency” Biden bucks to most Americans nearly a year after the emergency. And then send parents with dependents default monthly checks that advance the child tax credit (which will reduce refunds or result in tax bills come filing time, but don’t mind that just yet). For those who don’t want this money now, opting out is a huge pain. And the Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill makes this “temporary” program permanent.

Want to forgive student loans? Soften the beaches by extending forbearance through January. Congress did this in March 2020 to alleviate the burden for borrowers losing jobs to government-imposed lockdowns. Is this still justifiable? Not according to the Wall Street Journal editorial board, which notes, “The unemployment rate among bachelor’s degree recipients was 3.1% in July.”

Never mind that. Biden just made it so that forbearance will drag on for nearly two years. Next up: Total loan forgiveness, just as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren wanted. Who won the Democrat presidential primary again?

We’ll close with another important point. President Donald Trump’s policies resulted in soaring jobs numbers for minorities, especially blacks. Under Joe “You Ain’t Black” Biden? Not so much. Among all demographic groups, blacks were the only ones who saw a decline in labor force participation in July. Is this the “equity” he keeps talking about? Or is this what “systemic racism” looks like?




Thursday, August 12, 2021

Using lockdowns to control spread of Covid in future won’t be justified and efforts should focus on protecting the most vulnerable

This is what I have said from the beginning

Blanket lockdowns can no longer be justified as a way to control Covid as Britain moves towards living with the virus, one of the Government's top scientific advisers said today.

Professor Andrew Hayward, a University College London epidemiologist and SAGE member, said future restrictions to control outbreaks should 'target the most vulnerable', rather than involving disruptive restrictions imposed on everyone.

Covid restrictions came to an end in England last month and were eased in Scotland and Wales in the last few days, bringing an end social distancing laws and other rules.

Since Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared last month that it was time to learn to live with Covid, experts have hinted at what that may look like.

Yesterday, one of the country's top coronavirus experts Sir Andrew Pollard said Brits who do not have symptoms should no longer take routine tests.

Sir Andrew, chairman of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, told MPs swabs should only be offered if people are unwell to reduce the enormous disruption to daily life from mass testing, tracing and isolation.

And today, Professor Hayward said resorting to population-wide measures to control outbreaks will no longer be acceptable. 

Population immunity against the coronavirus cannot be achieved due to the 'nature of the virus', a SAGE expert said.

But Professor Andrew Hayward said if scientists came up with a vaccine more effective and stopping the spread of the virus, it could be eradicated.   

It comes after Sir Andrew Pollard, a top coronavirus expert, said achieving herd immunity is 'not a possibility' because it still infects vaccinated people.

Herd immunity is when enough of the population is immune to a virus that stops it spreading to others.

Asked about these comments, Professor Hayward said immunity could not be achieved due to the 'nature of the virus'.

He said: 'The herd immunity threshold is a very changeable thing. 

'It changes according to if you've got more social mixing - the herd immunity threshold will be higher.

'For more infectious variants, such as the Delta variant, the herd immunity threshold will be higher. 

'But also of course the completeness of our immunity is important to consider here. 

'Whilst the vaccines are absolutely excellent at preventing severe disease and hospitalisation - probably like 95 per cent effective - they are only around maybe 60 per cent effective at preventing infection.

'And for some of the other variants, maybe less than that. 

'And so we think a herd immunity threshold to stop transmission of Covid would be somewhere in the high 80s, maybe even 90 per cent.

'And if you've got a vaccine that only prevents infection in about say 60 per cent, even if you've got everybody vaccinated, it's not feasible to reach that herd immunity threshold whereby the disease would be eradicated.'

He added: 'If someone could come up with a vaccine that was not only 95 per cent protective against severe disease, but 95 per cent protective against infection, then yes we would stand a chance of eradicating it. 

'Viruses change over time and so the vaccines would have to change over time. So I think it's a pretty distant prospect. 

'And we need to get used to the concept that this will become what we call an endemic disease, rather than pandemic disease. 

'So it's a disease that is with us all the time, probably transmits seasonally, a bit like influenza where we see winter epidemics.'

Asked about whether the UK could follow Germany's move to abolish free tests for asymptomatic people, Professor Hayward told BBC Radio 4's Today: 'I think as we generally move into an endemic rather than pandemic situation the potential harm that a virus can cause at a population level is much less.

'So you can't really justify such broad population-wide control measures and we tend to target the control measures more to those who are most vulnerable. 

'And so I think, not only in testing but in all sorts of forms of control, as we move into a situation where we're coming to live with this virus forever, then we target the measures to the most vulnerable rather than having the more disruptive measures.'

It comes as Covid infections begin to rise across Britain once again, after cases fell for more than a fortnight. 

Yesterday the UK's daily case load was 8.4 per cent up on the previous week, with 23,510 people testing positive. 

But deaths and hospitalisations are still a fraction of the numbers seen in previous waves because of the success of the vaccines. 

Professor Hayward's comments chime with a petition signed by more than 12,000 scientists and 115,000 members of the public in October, which called for an end to blanket lockdown restrictions.

The Great Barrington Declaration said young people should be allowed to return to life as normal while the elderly and most vulnerable are given 'focused protection'. 

The declaration was written by Dr Martin Kulldorff from Harvard University, Dr Sunetra Gupta at Oxford University and Dr Jay Bhattacharya at Stanford University.  

But No10 resisted the calls at the time, which came before life-savings jabs were available.

Ministers said they could not rely on the assumption that the virus would only 'rip' through younger age groups without putting more vulnerable people at risk.

Meanwhile, Sir Andrew, who helped develop the AstraZeneca jab, yesterday told the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus there should be a change to the testing regime.

He insisted herd immunity is 'not a possibility' because fully vaccinated people can still get infected and instead Britain must establish a strategy for 'living with Covid'. 

Sir Andrew said: 'Over time we need to be moving to clinically-driven testing... where it’s people who are unwell who get tested and treated and managed, rather than lots of community testing in people who have very mild disease.'

'I think this next six months is a really important consolidation phase and in that shift from the epidemic to the endemic, which is the "living with Covid".' 

He added: 'What does that mean in terms of the surveillance that we're doing, the testing that we're doing, and also how we should manage patients in hospital or even before hospital in their treatment to try and stop them getting into hospital?

'I think this next six months is a really important consolidation phase and in that shift from the epidemic to the endemic, which is the 'living with Covid'.

'That doesn't mean that we live with it and put up with it, we still have to manage those cases of patients who become unwell with it.' 

One of No10's top scientific advisers today claimed top-ups may only be needed for anyone with a weak immune system, such as cancer patients, the elderly and transplant recipients. 

Professor Adam Finn, who sits on the JCVI, said the evidence on whether all over-50s need them remains unclear.

Pfizer has insisted a third dose is necessary and BioNTech — the German firm which produces the vaccine — has said double-jabbed people need a top-up for a 'robust neutralization response'. 

It comes after a study claimed Moderna's vaccine is better than Pfizer's at stopping people getting infected with the Delta variant. 

One expert behind the research, by the US-based Mayo Clinic, argued Moderna's jab would be better for top-ups.



Free community college, preschool, and amnesty for millions: Senate unveils $3.5 trillion budget plan (Washington Examiner)

Mitch McConnell says GOP won’t help Dems finance “socialist shopping list” in debt-ceiling standoff (National Review)

Defense secretary to mandate non-FDA-approved COVID vaccine for U.S. military by September 15 (Fox News)

Double standards: Rashida Tlaib seen dancing at indoor wedding without mask after slamming Rand Paul for “throwing a tantrum as his state is being swallowed whole by this virus” (NY Post)

Chicago cops turn their backs to Mayor Lightfoot after two officers shot, one fatally (Fox News)

“There’s no compromise”: Governor Andrew Cuomo making futile attempt to avoid impeachment (NY Post) | Here are the charges Cuomo could face (Fox News)

How scared is Gavin Newsom of Larry Elder? The governor is cleaning trash off streets for photo ops ahead of narrowing recall election (Washington Examiner)

What could possibly go wrong? Oregon governor signs bill suspending math and reading proficiency requirements for high school graduates (Fox News)

Florida school officials could lose salaries over mask mandates (Washington Examiner)

Identity politics didn’t go over well in the Census: “Experts” puzzled by high rate of unanswered questions (AP)

Job openings jump to record high 10.1 million (Breitbart)

Eight things children are more likely to die from than COVID-19 (FEE)

Tokyo Olympics ratings spiral by 42%, spelling trouble for traditional TV (Axios)

Policy: The Democrats’ radical $3.5 trillion agenda (National Review)

Policy: The case against the Senate infrastructure agreement (National Review)




Wednesday, August 11, 2021

NBC: England Dropped COVID Restrictions. Delta Cases Surged, Then Plunged

We've been examining and referencing the UK's COVID trajectory over the last few weeks because it may offer a preview of where we're headed with our own Delta variant surge. The British government faced searing criticism for lifting COVID restrictions as Delta infections were soaring, with detractors warning that cases, hospitalizations and deaths would explode into a catastrophic emergency. But that hasn't happened. The UK is several weeks "ahead" of the US in its Delta curve, which could be a useful frame of reference, considering that they were battling the exact same COVID variant.

Beyond that, the UK has administered 129 vaccine doses per 100 people, compared to 105 doses per 100 people here at home. Nearly three-quarters of British adults are fully vaccinated, while more than 70 percent of US adults have gotten at least one shot. In other words, their vaccine uptake is stronger than ours – but our populations are at least roughly comparable. The Delta spike in the UK shot up dramatically, then hit a wall and declined precipitously:

NBC News looked carefully at the Brits' experience with Delta and found some hopeful signs:

It looked like a rolling disaster: England lifting almost all coronavirus restrictions just as the highly transmissible delta variant was sending infection rates skyrocketing. But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's gamble could well pay off, at least in the short term, providing a lesson to other countries desperate for any light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. "I think the U.K. is in a very favorable position, a better position than it's ever been during the pandemic," said Francois Balloux, a professor of biosciences at University College London. "I would say the near future, and perhaps even the long-term future, looks better than it ever has before." Crucial to Britain's apparent success are vaccines...Experts were aghast when last month Johnson pressed ahead with "Freedom Day" — so named by the tabloid press — despite the United Kingdom suffering the world's highest daily infection rate at the time. English restaurants were allowed to open at full capacity, bass once again shook nightclub dance floors, and social gatherings weren't limited in size...

Even though the government's "wall of immunity" kept most vaccinated people out of hospitals and morgues, many critics worried that allowing cases to hit 200,000 a day (as one former top government scientific adviser predicted) could breed new variants and leave hundreds of thousands of people with long-Covid. Some accused Johnson's Conservative Party of paying more attention to their libertarian beliefs than science. But the government held firm. And in mid-July, just as daily cases hit 60,000, they began to decline. More encouraging was data from Scotland, where infections not only began to fall a few weeks before England's, but were followed by a decline in hospitalizations, too. This third wave for the U.K. has been nothing like its first two, which caused nearly 130,000 deaths and briefly the world's highest daily deaths per capita. Whereas January's peak saw 80,000 daily cases and 1,300 daily deaths, July's peak of 60,000 daily cases brought no more than 78 deaths in one day. Experts say this is incontrovertible proof of the vaccines' power.

It's premature to declare victory or claim that highly-vaccinated countries are fully out of the woods, but the "experts" and "critics" were proven wrong about Boris Johnson's "freedom day" reopening plan. Vaccines and natural immunity were a massive game-changer, as new infections peaked then fell – without the horrible accompanying deaths of previous waves. Perhaps those who were "aghast" by loosened restrictions and jettisoned mandates should have placed more faith in the power of immunity. Their sky-falling predictions were not vindicated by events; they were, in fact, exposed by events. The United States is lagging behind the UK's Delta experience by several weeks, and there have been some indications that things are starting to improve here, even as communities with low vaccination rates are suffering. I think these statements are more or less incontrovertible at this point:

World-leading countries on vaccines are indeed experiencing Delta case surges. But hospitalizations and deaths are way, way down in those places, with the terrible exceptions almost exclusively afflicting unvaccinated people. Convincing unvaccinated people to get their free, effective shots will obviously take more than the same people making the same arguments. We know that cases spreading like wildfire among unvaccinated communities, with resulting pain, has been one powerful motivator. Mike Rowe has taken a different and nuanced approach to discussing the vaccines with his fans, and has taken heat for doing so (he's fought back thoughtfully and thoroughly). Finally, as I mentioned yesterday – and to Rowe's major point about open and simple data – it would also be helpful if the government were more transparent about how its decree-guiding benchmarks were determined. This sort of apparent disconnect is fueling skepticism and confusion:

I'll leave you with this item, which speaks to one element of vaccination hesitancy that is under-discussed in the media because it doesn't lend itself to easy, sneering attacks against conservatives:

Should the deaths highlighted in that piece also be pinned on the "DeSantis variant," partisan hacks? I'll remind you that Florida's vaccination rate is the best among red states, but the name-calling and broadsides are about elections, not public health.


Fmr. CDC Dir. Robert Redfield Acknowledges Lack Of Data Behind CDC School Masking Recommendation: 'It's A Fair Criticism'

Former Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield responded to pushback from Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum about the lack of solid data behind the agency's push to require masks in schools by calling it "fair criticism."

The Monday afternoon "The Story" segment saw MacCallum kick off the topic with a clip of Johns Hopkins surgeon Dr. Marty Makary - who, as Townhall's Katie Pavlich reported, co-wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that the science behind masking children is inconclusive - criticizing the guideline as "pretty stern and with zero data."

"There’s only one inconclusive study out there on masks and kids and no study funded by the NIH's $42 billion a year budget," Makary said in the clip. "Yet we had a very vigorous recommendation that all kids k-12 should be wearing a mask regardless of their vaccination status."

Asked why his former agency hasn't "spent the money on that study," Redfield called the question "really important."

"These policies should be grounded in data as opposed to opinion," Redfield told MacCallum. "I think [Makary] raises a very important part. There’s been very few studies that really are compelling in that setting of the classroom. We did a number of studies when I was there just in fixed settings and recognized that if you aerosolized virus through a mask, and then the recipient had a mask - and these were all dummies - in rooms that were ventilated to different degrees, you could have an impact on the amount of virus that went from one room to another. But that's not to say in a real-life scenario that that's efficacious in the classroom."

"When you look at what the CDC has recommended now, they are basically saying everybody should be masked, right?" MacCallum asked. "We talk about the fact that there has been no study that would back that up. And so the question is, you did some studies then but you did them with dummies - where have they been ever since then? What has been going on the past nine, ten months? Why don't we have data rather than as you say just opinion that's leading this push with our schools?"

"I think it’s a fair criticism, a fair criticism," Redfield responded. "You heard that I think in the Wall Street Journal they talked about $42 billion of NIH funding and less than 2% was on Covid. These are critical questions. Is routine screening twice a week in a school, is that the real way to limit intraschool transmission? Is it wearing masks or not wearing masks? I’m of the point of view this has to be locally decided as opposed to a general mandate. Particularly in the absence of data."

Citing a "paucity of data," Redfield recommended other methods of curbing virus spread in the classroom, such as frequent testing, improved ventilation, and parents not sending children with symptoms to school.

"So do you think the current CDC rule, that all kids should wear masks, you're saying that the current CDC is wrong on this issue?" MacCallum asked.

"I’m saying that I haven’t been able to review data that supports that recommendation," said Redfield, who suggested last year that face masks could be more protective than a potential vaccine.




Sunday, August 08, 2021

FDA Authorizes Antibody Cocktail as COVID-19 Prevention Treatment

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a monoclonal antibody cocktail as a measure to prevent infection in some groups of people who were exposed to the CCP virus, the pathogen that causes COVID-19.

The FDA on Friday announced that it had revised its emergency use authorization (EUA) for REGEN-COV, a treatment consisting of jointly administered casirivimab and imdevimab, expanding its use beyond just the treatment of patients who test positive for the virus.

While the product remains authorized for treating confirmed COVID-19 patients over age 12 who are at high risk of severe illness, the agency said the drug combo can now be given to high-risk groups as a measure after exposure to prevent progression of the disease.

The antibody treatment is only authorized for use in people who have been exposed to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, not as a pre-exposure preventive measure, the FDA said.

The agency added that REGEN-COV should only be used as a post-exposure prophylaxis by people who are not fully vaccinated or whose immune systems are unlikely to mount an adequate response to the virus, like those who take immunosuppressive medications or who are otherwise immunocompromised.

“Prophylaxis with REGEN-COV is not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19,” the FDA noted, while urging people to get the shot.

The FDA said the primary data driving the expansion of the emergency use authorization for REGEN-COV were based on a Phase 3 clinical trial that was randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled. The trial found an 81 percent reduction in confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 cases in people testing negative at the start of the study and who had household contact with people who were infected with the virus.

Dr. Myron Cohen, a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and one of the investigators behind the study of COVID-19 antibodies, told NBC that the REGEN-COV drug cocktail works by overwhelming the infection while it is still in its early stages.

“It’s a race between your ability to make an antibody to protect your lungs and the rest of your body and the virus,” Cohen told the outlet. “And if you’re likely to lose the race, you’re the person for whom these antibody drugs are appropriate.”


Palin to replace Murkowski?

One of the best ideas I have heard of

Wow! There is so much heat in Alaska right now that even glaciers will start to meltdown. And Sarah Palin’s revelations will put every RINOS upside down.

As you may be guessing, Palin will probably run for Senator to represent the state of Alaska.

Of course, Palin has yet to make an official statement. But the RINO Lisa Murkowski won’t like any of this. Probably, she’s panicking right now…

During a talk, last month, Former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin teased she may be interested in running for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

Now, Palin said she will run to remove Lisa Murkowski from her position if “God wants her to,” in one of her recent interviews.

“You guys better be there for me this time,” she added.

Well, we got the message.

Palin was talking about her failed VP run. She reminded everyone of the failure. In other words, Palin did the regular political speech. It means, “I’m running.” What did Murkowski say this time? She must be shaking in her traitor boots.

According to the Western Journal:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin hinted at a potential Senate bid in the 2022 midterm elections to challenge Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who was one of a handful of GOP senators who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump after he left office.

On July 22, Palin told New Apostolic Reformation leader Ché Ahn that she would try to become the senator for Alaska “if God wants me to do it.” This was confirmed in a footage shared by Right Wing Watch. It’s a website of the liberal-left People for the American Way.

Palin told her audience, referring to her failed stint running for vice president when John McCain was running for president in 2008, “I would say you guys better be there for me this time, because a lot of people were not there for me last time.”

Palin claimed “America was dedicated to God,” and that its “charters of liberty are written about and to God,” in the interview with Ahn on stage.

Palin warned against the “rapid shift to the left” that would trigger the nation’s destruction.

She said, “How dare we strip from our Creator what our Founders had dedicated to him?”

“How dare you try to take that back and change it for mankind, for some kind of secular use, secular enjoyment?”

Palin will have to go over several obstacles. President Donald Trump has already endorsed Republican Kelly Tshibaka. The former Alaska Commissioner for the administration said in March that she would take on Murkowski.

Republicans should make a decision. They can’t have several candidates. The votes need to go to one candidate. If this doesn’t happen, votes will split, and a RINO will win. We don’t want this to happen.