Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Australia: Too late for mask mandates as Omicron continues to drive high case numbers

Omicron’s measles-like infectiousness, five times higher than any other Covid strain, is driving the continued high number of cases across the nation, but experts say Australia has done relatively well in terms of controlling case numbers.

They also say it is now too late for governments to impose restrictive rules and mask mandates, with the path out of Covid reliant instead on better public health messaging, better vaccines and earlier access to antivirals.

The reach of Omicron is clear in the numbers as the nation reached a grim milestone on Sunday, surpassing 10,000 Covid-­related deaths since the virus landed here in January 2020.

Of those deaths, almost 8000 were in the first half of this year when Omicron has been the dominant strain.

The majority of mortalities occurred in Victoria and NSW, with the states recording 3934 and 3590 deaths, respectively.

The 2022 death toll is nearly four times the previous two years’ mortality rate combined, with 905 reported in 2020 and 1323 in 2021, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

While increased movement and relaxed rules following lockdowns caused transmission to increase, Deakin University chair in epidemiology Catherine Bennett blamed the arrival of Omicron and sub variants “first and foremost” for skyrocketing cases.

“It’s the most infectious variant we’ve had. It’s more equivalent to measles than the first strain and more than five times more infectious,” Professor Bennett said.

“It’s because we’ve got these sub variants. Every time the numbers start to drop a little bit, the next sub variant comes along with not even a brief respite between.”

Ms Bennett said while masks had been proven to reduce transmission, the debate over reintroducing mandates was too late.

“This is the long haul now. You have to move from rules to something else and that something else is really good public health communication and really good education … what I think we have missed is converting to a new way of managing this disease.”

Griffith University Infectious Diseases and Immunology director Nigel McMillan said targeted vaccines were the clear next step in combating the Omicron strain.

“What we’re really holding out for, of course, is that the next vaccine to come on to the market will be a multicomponent vaccine,” he said. “It’ll have the ancestral strain, plus Omicron, and that vaccine will be much, much better in terms of preventing infection, and even much, much better at preventing hospitalisation and serious illness.”

Professor McMillan said we should be making antivirals more accessible during earlier stages of infection. “Antivirals reduce the ability of the virus to grow inside you and therefore give your body a chance to recover better to limit the infection and for your immune system to kick in and really give you full recovery. “However, they have to be used early on in infection.”

Currently, antiviral drugs are limited to people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised or those aged over 65 with some sort of comorbidity, such as diabetes.

Professor McMillan has called on them to be made more widely available if supply allows.


3 Reasons America Is Great

1. A Culture of Self-Government

Americans, even before the birth of the United States in 1776, have always been a self-governing people. One of the first orders of business for the Pilgrim settlers when they arrived on the shores of Massachusetts was to create the Mayflower Compact, a basic statement of self-government and loyalty to the British crown.

The Jamestown colony in Virginia set up the House of Burgesses in 1619, the first legislative assembly in the New World.

Following their heritage, the British colonies in America almost immediately established institutions of self-government where community participation in the creation and upholding of laws was extensive.

But in the almost two centuries between the arrival of British colonists in America and the American Revolution, the colonists’ attachment to self-government deepened in comparison to their cousins back in England, where representation was often more symbolic rather than actual.

Amid Parliament’s ultimately foolish attempts to ham-handedly rein in the colonies at the end of the French and Indian War, it was the Crown that triggered the separation, the drive for total independence.

The thought of losing their grip on self-government made the colonists believe that they would soon end up in the vice of absolute tyranny. After years of discontent and pleading with British authorities to loosen their grip of control, the colonies rebelled.

The Declaration of Independence, a remarkable and timeless document, did not just lay out the essential God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in its most famous lines.

It also lays out the blow by blow steps of the British government and the colonies to establish that it was not just the rights of the colonists that had been violated, but that the very tools of self-government that could have rectified the situation had been arbitrarily stripped from them.

Americans were a people fitted for liberty and would tolerate no less.

2. The Constitution and the Rule of Law

When the Founding Fathers set about creating our own system of government, they codified the principles of self-government to serve countless generations unborn.

After the false start, so to speak, of the Articles of Confederation, the Framers wrote, and the American people ratified, the Constitution of the United States.

This remarkable document created a framework of America’s federal system that lasts still today despite the countless societal changes that have occurred in the last two centuries.

And while, in many ways, that constitutional and federal system has been eroded over time, Americans have remained committed to the idea of the Constitution as the glue that defines our government and binds Americans under a single system with many parts.

This is the cornerstone of liberty and order that defines our republic, ensures that we have an energetic but ultimately limited government.

Certainly, other nations have codified their laws and created founding documents of many stripes, but none matches the enduring legacy of the Constitution of the United States.

The American civilization may be young, but our system of government is quite old, and has excelled through the test of time.

3. The American Dream

Self-government and the Constitution have made America strong and adaptable to changing circumstances. Just as importantly, they’ve created a system whereby the average person can thrive and prosper.

The country’s strength lies in the millions of free-born, self-governing, and self-sufficient people who have taken the protections our unique government provides and created the most wealthy and prosperous nation in human history.

Americans are, and have always been, an enterprising people. But more than just create wealth, we have used our wealth and prosperity.

America’s attachment to the rule of law and defense of private property has allowed the growth of an expansive middle-class.

Yes, America has produced many titans of industry, but the real source of our strength is the fact that the average American has had opportunities to generate wealth and prosperity and create a vibrant civil society.

Many homesteaders went West to get rich, but many more went West to build families and ensure that their children would have a better life than they had.

That’s the spirit of America.

We have used our tremendous resources not only to improve our own lives but the lives of others.

And because of our enormous prosperity Americans remain, by far, the most generous people on Earth.

This Fourth of July, as with every Independence Day, we should be thankful and grateful to be Americans, we should be proud of what our country—though imperfect as all of mankind is imperfect—has accomplished.

It is important and essential that at this time we remember, defend, and pass on what has made this country great.

4 July, 2022

'Our country is going to hell in a hand-basket': WWII veteran celebrating 100th birthday breaks down in TEARS while discussing current state of America

It's hard to disagree with him. Who ever foresaw calls to defund the police and prosecutors who refuse to prosecute?

Remembering his time in the Marines, Carl Spurlin Dekel said that while fighting in the war was his biggest pride, soldiers had not died for the America of today

It comes amid plummeting approval ratings for those in the country's highest offices, including President Joe Biden

A World War II American veteran celebrating his 100th birthday broke down in tears as he discussed the current state of the country.

Reminiscing about his time in the Marines, Tampa Bay veteran Carl Spurlin Dekel said that while fighting in the war was his biggest pride, slain soldiers had not died for the America of today.

'People don't realize what they have,' Dekel told Fox13.

'The things we did and the things we fought for and the boys that died for it, it's all gone down the drain. Our country is going to hell in a hand-basket.'

Dekel became inconsolable as he spoke about the contrasts between the America he grew up in and the current state of affairs in the country.

His remarks came during an interview to commemorate Dekel's 100th birthday, which the Silver-medal holder spent with friends and family.

Dekel said he had lived a good life and hinted at his appreciation for the little things as the reason behind his longevity and good health.

'I really believe in this whole world and believe everything is beautiful. I mean if I wake up in the morning and see these plants, and all of those flowers, and the green grass in the ground, that's beautiful,' he told Fox13.

Dekel proudly showed his many medals from his time in the Marines. But the war veteran burst into tears when thinking about the friends he had lost to the war.

'We haven't got the country we had when I was raised, not at all,' he said.

'Nobody will have the fun I had. Nobody will have the opportunity I had. It's just not the same. And that's not what our boys, that's not what they died for.'


'Armed insurrection': What weapons did the Capitol rioters carry?

Recently, Scott MacFarlane, an NBC4 reporter in Washington who covers the Capitol riot prosecutions, tweeted, "As of tonight at least 65 of the Jan. 6 defendants have been charged with 'entering a restricted area with a dangerous or deadly weapon.' A counterpunch to those who argued this didn't appear like 'an armed insurrection.'"

It was just a tweet, which, by definition, can't contain much information, but it left open the question: What weapons did they have? What were the arms in the "armed insurrection"?

The Justice Department maintains a website listing the defendants and the federal charges against them in the sprawling Jan. 6 investigation. At this moment, about 670 people have been charged, many of them with misdemeanors such as "Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building."

Of the cases involving weapons, there are four main charges: "Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers Using a Dangerous Weapon"; "Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon"; "Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon"; and "Engaging in Physical Violence in a Restricted Building with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon."

Going through the Justice Department site, as well as some media databases, I counted 82 defendants who have been charged with at least one of those offenses. It's possible I missed a few, but I think they represent the vast majority of those who face weapons-related charges in the Capitol riot investigation. In each charge, prosecutors have specified the weapon the defendant is accused of using.

A few observations on the list. First, on the issue of guns. Five suspects — Christopher Michael Alberts, Lonnie Leroy Coffman, Mark Sami Ibrahim, Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., and Guy Wesley Reffitt — are charged with possessing firearms. But none are charged with using them during the riot.

Alberts was arrested at 7:25 p.m., after the riot was over, when police enforcing the District of Columbia curfew suspected he had a handgun under his coat as he was leaving.

Coffman was arrested at about 6:30 p.m. after he told police that he was trying to get to his parked pickup truck. Officers found two handguns on Coffman's person and two more guns, along with possible bomb-making materials, in the truck.

Ibrahim was a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who had given his notice to resign and was on personal leave on Jan. 6; at the riot, he was carrying his DEA-issued badge and pistol.

Meredith was not in Washington at all for the riot. He arrived later that evening after allegedly texting a threatening message about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Meredith told police that "he had two firearms in his truck, and he knew that he was not supposed to have the firearms in Washington, DC. Therefore, he moved the firearms to his trailer," according to court documents. Officers found a handgun, a rifle, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the trailer.

Finally, court papers say Reffitt had a handgun on his person on Jan. 6.

So, those are the gun cases. Many observers have pointed out that other rioters surely had guns. Since so few were arrested and searched at the scene, that is impossible to know. But it's certainly possible. What is more certain is that none of the suspects fired any guns at any point during the riot. The only shot that was fired during that time was by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd, who shot and killed rioter Ashli Babbitt as she tried to force her way into an area near the House chamber.

As for the rest of the weapons, six defendants are charged with having a knife, although none are accused of using the weapon on another person. Five defendants are accused of having a Taser or stun gun. Three are charged with having an ax. Four are charged with having a baseball bat. Seven are charged with having a crutch. Eleven are charged with having a baton of some sort. Thirteen are accused of having some sort of pepper or other irritant spray. Nineteen are charged with having a pole, usually a pole for the flags they carried. Eight are accused of having a shield, several of them police shields they apparently took at the scene.

Some of the weapons were obviously brought with the intention of being in a fight. Others were clearly improvised on the spur of the moment; in one case, the deadly or dangerous weapon used was a desk drawer. In another, it was a traffic barrier. In yet another, it was a helmet. That doesn't mean those objects could not be dangerous; one could beat a person to death with a desk drawer. But it does suggest the rioter did not arrive at the Capitol bent on armed insurrection.

In addition, the overall numbers are relatively small. Eighty-two people charged with weapons-related offenses, out of how many? That is about 12% of the 670 or so currently charged. And 670 is smaller than the total number of rioters on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. Does that amount to an "armed insurrection"? Especially when just five people have been charged with possessing firearms, the weapon of choice for modern armed insurrectionists, and one of them didn't arrive until after it was all over, and none of them fired the weapons, even in the intensity of the physical struggle that day?

And that is the problem with the "armed insurrection" talking point. By any current American standard of civil disorder, what happened on Jan. 6 was a riot. There were some instigators, and there were many more followers. A small number were anticipating a fight, probably with antifa. And as the day went on, some people lost their heads and did things they should regret for a very long time. But a look at the Justice Department prosecutions simply does not make the case that it was an "armed insurrection."


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

https://immigwatch.blogspot.com/ (IMMIGRATION WATCH)

https://awesternheart.blogspot.com/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)


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