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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Links - 29th August 2020 (2) (Coronavirus: Schools etc)

No more pencils, no more books - Closing schools for covid-19 does lifelong harm and widens inequality | International | The Economist - "Schools have striven to remain open during wars, famines and even storms. The extent and length of school closures now happening in the rich world are unprecedented. The costs are horrifying. Most immediately, having to take care of children limits the productivity of parents. But in the long run that will be dwarfed by the amount of lost learning. Those costs will fall most heavily on those children who are most in need of education. Without interventions the effects could last a lifetime... Closing schools even briefly hurts children’s prospects. In America third-graders (seven-year-olds) affected by weather-related closures do less well in state exams. French-speaking Belgian students hit by a two-month teachers’ strike in 1990 were more likely to repeat a grade, and less likely to complete higher education, than similar Flemish-speaking students not affected by the strike. According to some studies, over the long summer break young children in America lose between 20% and 50% of the skills they gained over the school year.Closures will hurt the youngest schoolchildren most. “You can make up for lost maths with summer school. But you can’t easily do that with the stuff kids learn very young,” says Matthias Doepke of Northwestern University. Social and emotional skills such as critical thinking, perseverance and self-control are predictors of many things, from academic success and employment to good health and the likelihood of going to jail. Whereas older children can be plonked in front of a computer, younger ones learn far more when digital study is supervised by an adult. Then there are those who are missing crucial exams. Germany is reopening schools for final-year high-school students who face exams soon. But most countries are not willing to do that. China has postponed its Leaving Certificate exam (gaokao) until July. Britain and France have cancelled this year’s exams. Grades will in part be decided by teachers’ predictions of how a student might have performed. This fuels fears about inequality, as some experts worry teachers unconsciously discriminate against disadvantaged children and give them unfairly low marks.Statistics Norway estimates “conservatively” that the country’s educational shutdowns—from crèches to high schools—are costing NKr1,809 ($173) per child each day. Most of that is an estimate of how much less today’s schoolchildren will earn in the future because their education has been disrupted. (It is assumed they are learning roughly half of what they normally would.) The rest is lost parental productivity today.Of course schooling has not stopped completely, as it does during holidays. Nearly nine in ten affected rich countries are providing some form of distance-learning (compared with fewer than one in four poor countries). But video-conferencing has its limits. For poorer children, internet connections may be ropey. Devices may have to be shared and homes may be overcrowded or noisy. Of the poorest quarter of American children, one in four does not have access to a computer at home.Less well-off children everywhere are less likely to have well-educated parents who coax them to attend remote lessons and help them with their work. In Britain more than half of pupils in private schools are taking part in daily online classes, compared with just one in five of their peers in state schools... by the autumn the sizeable group of American children whose learning loss started when schools closed might have lost as much as a year’s learning. Since every year of education is associated with an increase in annual earnings of roughly 10%, the consequences for those children become clear. “I fear we will see further inequality and less social mobility if nothing is done”... In the end, the only way to ensure all children get an education is to reopen the doors. At the Alan Turing primary school in Amsterdam, it quickly became clear that 28 of its 190 pupils could not take part in online classes. The school now opens its doors for 15 from this group three mornings a week and has found other ways to help the remaining 13, such as arranging for them to get assistance from their neighbours"
Of course lockdown fetishists only see the terror of covid-19 and insist that schools be locked down till covid-19 is defeated and get very upset at people who suggest otherwise

Sweden's health agency says open schools did not spur pandemic spread among children - "Sweden’s decision to keep schools open during the pandemic resulted in no higher rate of infection among its schoolchildren than in neighbouring Finland, where schools did temporarily close, their public health agencies said in a joint report... The report showed that severe cases of COVID-19 were very rare among both Swedish and Finnish children aged 1 to 19, with no deaths reported. A comparison of the incidence of COVID-19 in different professions suggested no increased risk for teachers... State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the health agency, who has devised Sweden’s response to the epidemic, has said there is little evidence linking the death toll to the absence of a lockdown, pointing instead to conditions at nursing homes, a decentralised health care system and travel patterns.  Separate studies by Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet (KI), an independent medical research institute, and the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children and Unicef, showed that Swedish children fared better than children in other countries during the pandemic, both in terms of education and mental health."
To lockdown fetishists, even one child dying from covid-19 is one too many, and putting teachers in danger is unacceptable. Presumably no one should drive or be driven to school, since they can be hit by cars

Reopened schools in Europe and Asia have largely avoided coronavirus outbreaks. They have lessons for the U.S. - The Washington Post

'Effects of isolation' are surfacing: Pediatricians call for return to school - "Pediatricians south of the border are recommending that kids go back to school in September, wearing cloth masks, staying in small groups, maintaining distance from each other, and riding buses in assigned seats.The Canadian Paediatric Society is also urging a return to classrooms in the fall, but stops short of giving specific recommendations for how schools should look...  The CPS says long-term school closures due to COVID-19 have had negative consequences on all children and teens and that those with special needs or from low-income or unsafe homes who rely on the physical and mental health services, food programs, safety, and supports offered by schools are “disproportionately impacted.”“The immediate and short-term effects of isolation on children and youth are surfacing while the potential for long-term physical, emotional, development and academic effects grows,” the CPS wrote in a June 25 letter to provincial and territorial education ministries.“Schools are more than places of learning,” said Dr. Karen Leis, a Saskatchewan pediatrician and chair of the CPS’s Action Committee for Children and Teens in a press release. “They provide important mental health supports, nutritious food and – for some children – a refuge.”Pediatric organizations on both sides of the border say the risk of COVID-19 among children is low and that safety measures can further minimize the risk of transmission...  Health care leaders at Canada’s top children’s hospitals sounded the alarm Monday, saying COVID-19 is creating a “crisis” in children’s health and even violating children’s human rights, including their rights to a quality education, highest standards of health, protection from violence and access to recreation.Lack of access to childcare, recreational activities and uncertainty around the coming school year are keeping children isolated, cut off from essential supports and facing a backlog for assessments, therapies and surgeries, said a group of CEOs from three children’s hospitals in Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto, and Children First Canada.“In areas like mental health care, we are already seeing a surge in demand for crucial services that were stretched to begin with,” said Alex Munter, president and CEO of CHEO in Ottawa in a group press release. “Everyday matters in the life of a child and these kinds of delays for specialist care, developmental therapies or needed surgery will have huge impacts on kids’ well-being and development. This issue needs to be an important priority for all levels of government.”The latest calls for a return to school join those of an advisory group from the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto last month, which strongly urged schools to reopen. The expert panel said there is mounting evidence that children are less susceptible to COVID-19 and less likely to transmit it to others, and that the negative impacts of keeping kids out of school are much more dire."
Strange how those who claim that we should listen to the experts and listen to the science/scientists are the same ones who hysterically insist that schools need to remain shut till covid-19 is gone. And who get very upset when you point out what the experts are saying

Opinion | Remote School Is a Nightmare. Few in Power Care. - The New York Times - "With expanded unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of July, many parents will have no choice but to return to work by September. Even for parents who can work from home, home schooling is often a crushing burden that’s destroying careers, mental health and family relationships. And online school has had dismal results, especially for poor, black and Hispanic students. Yet the nightmarish withdrawal of the key social support underlying modern parenthood is being presented as a fait accompli, rather than a worst-case scenario that government is mobilizing to prevent. “This school system should be leading the country on figuring out how to bring our kids back,” said Stringer. “And there’s no creativity. There’s no energy behind it.” This isn’t just a New York City problem. At every level, government is failing kids and parents during the pandemic... Few seem to be exploring the possibility of outdoor classes where weather allows. Experts I spoke to knew of no plans to scale up child care for parents who will need it. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, described school districts as “immobilized” by lack of funding... There’s some evidence that young kids don’t transmit the coronavirus at the same rate as adults. In countries where schools have reopened, few outbreaks have been traced to elementary schools. As NPR reported, there have been no reported clusters at the child care centers that stayed open all over the country this spring to watch the children of essential workers. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that “all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” Schools, it says, “should weigh the benefits of strict adherence to a six-feet spacing rule between students with the potential downside if remote learning is the only alternative.”"

L.A. teachers union says schools can't reopen unless charter schools get shut down, police defunded - "A major teachers union is claiming that the re-opening of schools in its district cannot occur without several substantial policy provisions in place, including a "moratorium" on charter schools and the defunding of local police.United Teachers Los Angeles, a 35,000-strong union in the Los Angeles Unified School District, made those demands in a policy paper it released this week. The organization called on local authorities to "keep school campuses closed when the semester begins on Aug. 18."... The union also demands the implementation of a federal Medicare-for-All program, several new state-level taxes on wealthy people, and a "federal bailout" of the school district"
Covid-19 is such a strange virus, that it spreads in charter schools but not public ones
Of course anyone saying public education is politicised is a far right conspiracy theorist

North Carolina Teachers’ Union Demands Benefits For Illegal Immigrants Before Returning To School - "In a recent statement denouncing the school district’s reopening plan, the Durham Association of Educators (DAE) called for universal healthcare, as well as guaranteed income regardless of a person’s immigration status."

Study finds very low numbers of COVID-19 outbreaks in schools - "Public Health England detected just 67 single cases and 30 outbreaks (defined as two or more linked cases) in schools across England in June... Staff members were more likely to be affected by the virus than students, though not more likely than the general population as a whole. Where children did contract the infection, they were most likely to catch COVID-19 at home, usually from a parent. Half the outbreaks did not involve any students at all and transmission between students was very rare."

Adding to Dr. Fauci's diagnosis: The critical case for ending our shutdown - "Basic science underlying a viral pandemic is absolutely critical. But now is the time for the design of sound public policy — and that involves a far broader formulation than a single-minded focus on stopping COVID-19 at all costs... There has been a failure to remind everyone that the stated goal of the policy — total lockdown and whole-population isolation — has been accomplished in most of the United States, including the epicenter of New York. Specifically, two curves, hospitalizations per day and deaths per day, have flattened. The goal was to prevent hospital overcrowding and, aside from a few in the New York area, hospitals were not overcrowded. Today, most hospitals stand under-filled, necessitating layoffs of personnel. More importantly, it was never a policy goal to eliminate all cases of COVID-19. That is impossible, unnecessary and illogical, when 99 percent of infected people have no significant illness from it. There has been a failure to reassure everyone that we fully anticipate more cases will occur, whether we test or not, with continuing relaxation of today’s isolation...
There has been a failure to educate the public that the overall fatality rate is not only far lower than previously thought but is extremely low in almost everyone other than the elderly...
There has been a failure to clarify to parents the truth about the extremely low risk to children, and that has accompanied a gross failure to offer a rational medical perspective regarding schools reopening...
In children, despite exceptionally rare cases, COVID-19 is not a significant risk — even compared to influenza. The CDC stated on May 15 that “for children (0-17 years), COVID-19 hospitalization rates are much lower than influenza hospitalization rates at comparable time points during recent influenza seasons.”...
We must not forget that total lockdown — not the virus — is generating catastrophic harms...
Here’s the real failure: Public policy must never be one-dimensional. It can never be foisted on people without careful consideration of its consequences, including the harms from the well-intentioned attempt to solve the initial problem. True leadership demands far more than empathy and caution. Leaders are expected to rationally integrate the evidence, even if complicated, and then apply policies using common sense and a knowledge-based perspective. Conveying rational thinking is how to reassure the public and instill confidence in a chosen pathway."
Since any risk of kids getting covid is unacceptable, schools need to be shut down forever since the flu is a bigger threat

Children of a lesser pod | Spectator USA - "As New York City schools grapple with how to handle a virus that has an under 1 percent infection rate in children, parenting boards frequented by the educated, monied-but-not-so-monied-as-to-send-their-kids-to-private-school set, are forming ‘pods’. A ‘pod’ will be a small group of children, usually no more than five, who will meet at each other’s homes in lieu of traditional schooling in September. You, and four other families in your same tax bracket, will hire a teacher to educate the five children in the pod. Parenting boards are overwhelmed with requests for these tutors. The families will agree to only interact with each other: an absurd and impossible promise that will surely be broken. We’re in a time where there is a ‘right’ opinion on everything, and every other opinion is stupid and likely racist. The right opinion right now is that it would be just crazy to open schools in New York City in the fall. This is despite the fact that every other country is opening schools and New York’s governor is on a prolonged victory tour on late night television for his celebrated handling of the COVID crisis…which resulted in the death of 32,000 New Yorkers.If you’re a parent who is pushing to open schools, well, you don’t care about the lives of teachers. Those sending their kids to private schools which plan to open must love their kids less than the podders. Pods have become the only acceptable way to educate your children this fall... It would be one thing if parents revolted and asked for $25,199, the amount spent per student in New York City’s largely failing school system, to be returned to them to educate their kids as they wish. But school choice is stupid, and racist, and only those terrible Republicans want that. These parents are doing something very different than icky school choice. They’re choosing, you see, to keep their white, rich kids safe and educated when their local schools won’t do it. As for the people who don’t have the money to hire a tutor, and need to be at their own jobs while their kids are either on some wacky part-time school schedule or fully remote, that’s their problem."

Covid 19 coronavirus: Claims guards at Melbourne quarantine hotels had sex with isolated guests, sparking new outbreak

We are all in this to get her! : melbourne

8 Years of Liberal Tears - Posts - "Traverse City MI cancelled July 4th fireworks, the annual Cherry Festival (the bedrock of the summer economy in the county) due to #CoVid19 and replaced it with... an LGBTQA Street festival! Because the antidote is apparently, “cock”."

Melissa Chen - "If Trump is a dictator or tyrant, as the left has been screaming about for ages, he’s a very bad one.The pandemic and the riots presented the kind of chaotic opportunity for someone with dreams of ruling as Leviathan to take over and hoard power.In fact, a dictator with absolute power might even have been more effective at quelling disorder, as we have seen in how easily protests have been quashed around the world in countries under the rule of iron-fisted authoritarians.Instead, what we have is the opposite. He’s not a dictator, he’s just a bad leader who cannot seem to lead his country out of the darkness."

Brendan O'Neill - "Millions of people, white and black, are losing their jobs as a result of a lockdown that the left feverishly supported, and the left is on the streets demanding the toppling of statues of people who died hundreds of years ago. I don’t think I have ever detested the left as much as I do right now. They are the enemy of the working class."

Will life go back to normal after the coronavirus? - "“A big part of airport hotel business is the 12- to 15-person meeting,” Morse went on. “People fly in, you just need to meet, then they fly out.” You didn’t need a city to do that, just an airport and a conference room. Suits were already meeting near hubs in Dallas or Chicago; American executives with partners from Europe, the Middle East, or Africa could meet at his hotel. And fly right back home again. It seems insane, but that’s the way things go in the corporate world. For businesses that trade primarily in ideas, study after study has shown enormous benefits associated with being in one place. Economists call this the “agglomeration effect”; it explains why firms keep clustering in places like Silicon Valley despite the expense... Small disruptions create small societal shifts; big ones change things for good. The O.J. Simpson trial helped tank the popularity of daytime soap operas. The New York transit strike of 1980 is credited with prompting several long-term changes in the city, including bus and bike lanes, dollar vans, and women wearing sneakers to work. The 1918 flu pandemic prompted the development of national health care in Europe.
The implications for permanent working from home, or for eliminating 'wasteful' business travel...

Meme - "Social distancing is communism"
"I have willed myself into thinking temporary inconvenience is oppression and a conspiracy to strip me of my rights because I have no idea what real oppression is like."

Nicola Sturgeon accepts care home transfer policy contributed to huge resident death toll - "Nicola Sturgeon has appeared to accept that transferring hundreds of untested patients out of hospitals into care homes contributed to Scotland's huge coronavirus death toll in the institutions... the 1,623 death toll in care homes - 46 per cent of Scotland's total - was "heartbreaking and will haunt many of us for a long time to come". It compares with around 27 per cent in England... Ms Sturgeon has argued that Scotland's much higher care home death rate is because of under-reporting in England, citing a study produced by the London School of Economics.However, an analysis by academics last week found the Scottish care home death toll would be at least 400 higher if it included residents who died in hospital, as happens in England already.They also found that Scotland so far appears to be suffering a proportionally higher number of confirmed Covid-19 fatalities than the rest of the UK, with 9.4 per cent of confirmed coronavirus deaths in Scotland, home to just 8.2 per cent of the overall population."
It's all Boris's fault!

'They told us it wasn't contagious' - "A Chinese author who kept an online diary about her lockdown life in Wuhan has revealed how authorities initially told residents the deadly coronavirus was 'not contagious between people.'Wuhan-native Fang Fang, 64, launched a 'forbidden' journal to capture what she heard, read and saw during the epidemic from the viewpoint of an ordinary resident at the epicentre of the crisis... authorities in Wuhan had withheld 'key details' about the magnitude of the initial crisis at the start of the year... Fang Fang's diary of the tragedy unfolding in her hometown wasn't met with positivity from all her millions of readers, and she revealed last month she has faced death threats after agreeing to publish it in the West.Several of her candid accounts have been deleted, the author told Caijing in April, and her account on Weibo was blocked temporarily during the two-month quarantine.She said she has received threats and was worried for her family's safety after being targeted by furious web users who spread fabricated and defamatory claims about her and even exposed her home address.One angry reader even sent a death threat to Fang Fang in the form of a huge poster posted on a street in central Wuhan... The Caijing report also disappeared shortly after its publication, but some Chinese websites based overseas have managed to re-post the piece... 'A doctor friend said to me: in fact, we doctors have all known for a while that there is a human-to-human transmission of the disease, we reported this to our superiors, but yet nobody warned people'... Critics say the 64-year-old, who was awarded China's most prestigious literary prize in 2010, is providing fodder to countries that have slammed Beijing's handling of the pandemic.China has been accused of concealing information about the deadly virus from international powers at the start of the pandemic.Some critics have even accused Fang Fang of being a 'hanjian', a derogatory term for a race traitor to the Han Chinese. Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of nationalist tabloid Global Times, said the diary's foreign publication 'is not really in good taste' in a Weibo post on March 19.'In the end, it will be the Chinese, including those who supported Fang Fang at the beginning, who will pay the price of her fame in the West,' Hu said in the comment that drew more than 190,000 likes.An article in the state-run newspaper said that to many Chinese people, the book is 'biased and only exposes the dark side in Wuhan'"
No Chinese coverup indeed
Anything that make China look bad is 'biased'

It's almost time for pandemic apologies - "The safest take on the coronavirus pandemic has always been uncertainty. There is so much about this virus we do not know, and, as a result, so little we can pronounce with justified confidence. The information we have is misleading or incomplete more often than not; models accordingly need frequent revision; and it seems there are exceptions to every plausible rule.Unfortunately, uncertainty doesn't play well in politics, and long-formed habits of confident statements by officials, experts, and pundits were not broken by the appearance of COVID-19. The result is many things many people have said with at least an affect of strong certainty have been proven wrong. Many more of these things will be proven wrong over the next month or two, as states implement varying plans to re-open their economies... The case which got me thinking about it is Georgia's early re-opening, which began on April 24 and was met with widespread derision... Commentator Ron Fournier told his Twitter followers to "[m]ark this day. Because two and three weeks from now, the Georgia death toll is blood on [Kemp's] hands." The spike Fournier anticipated doesn't seem to have happened. Georgia's active infections continue to decline. Fournier, to his great credit, made a frank admission of his mistake... Absent some very compelling data, I think an apology from anyone who promoted a curfew is due: The virus doesn't care what time of day it is, and shortening the commercial day forces more people into stores at once... The apology-refuser-in-chief is President Trump. He repeatedly claimed the virus would "disappear," that it would go away "like a miracle," that April's warm weather would vanquish it, that testing would be easily expanded beyond its availability in other nations. None of that proved true, but it is inconceivable the president would confess he has been wrong time and again. Chief pandemic adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has been wrong, too. At 85,000 deaths and counting, we are well beyond the 60,000 deaths model he touted, and his January statement that COVID-19 wouldn't affect most Americans clearly didn't pan out... "when the data starts coming in, the data always trumps the model. In other words, you come back, you re-look at the model" and change your prediction accordingly. Note, however, that Fauci in that interview isn't quite apologizing. He's not saying, "I got it wrong, as I now see;" but rather, "I got new information, so I changed my mind." That's good, but we need outright apologies as well. (Dr. Drew, of all people, has set an example here.) This alone will not undo many Americans' loss of trust in expertise — for some, it will only confirm their belief that the experts were worthless all along. But for others, it would demonstrate a trustworthy commitment to the truth over personal pride and reputation."

Ng Yi Kai Aaron - " Why is everyone so obsessed with showing hindsight superiority on general mask wearing?...  Many people wanted to wear masks at the start NOT because they of asymptomatic transmission to others but to protect themselves, which is the wrong reason. It is rich now to claim hindsight accuracy that they were right to insist on wearing masks in the first place.Next, with compelling new scientific evidence that asymptomatic transmission is clearly an issue, we change our policy in response. How is that flip flopping?"

Jennifer L Kasten, MD, MSc, MSc - Posts - "1) Critiquing the "Belgian-Dutch Study: Why in times of COVID-19 you should not walk/run/bike close to each other" (what's the infectious dose for COVID anyway, and why 6' is necessary, but 30 is overkill); 2) How that idea of infectious dose dictates how we can interact with the world/food/people/mail/things other people have touched...
Bert Blocken, wind tunnel sports guy, decided to get into experimental virology and then decided his conclusions were too important to submit for publication or any form of peer review, so immediately posted them on twitter and contacted a newspaper for an interview. [Since the Medium piece, he has submitted a pre-print]. He did not consult a virologist, clinical physician, or epidemiologist in his research. Since we're all used to only having vetted, peer-reviewed research put out in the public square like this, readers- including Thoelen- took it as scientific fact... He made a wind tunnel and installed some spray nozzles, with the holes in the nozzles set to sizes which somewhat line up with human droplet and droplet nuclei particles. He set different temperatures, and different levels of humidity, and different windspeeds. He decided that whether or not the particles evaporated was a good proxy for whether or not they're infectious. And he simulated runners and cyclists side-by-side / behind each other /diagonally, and calculated how many non-evaporated droplets hit them. He concluded if ANY droplets hit the trailing athlete, they'd get infected; and came up with the 30-feet rule, implying all of the guidance on social distancing was laughably ineffective.
Several immediate problems are obvious:
- Humans aren't spray nozzles generating a continuous mist of droplets under steady pressure
- Droplets are infectious if they contain live virus, and denaturation occurs prior to complete evaporation. A LOT OF PARTICLES ARE DEFECTIVE IN HUMAN RESPIRATORY VIRUSES- the particles "fail to infect" (this in virology is called the particle-to-PFU ratio, and the coronaviruses make a bunch of useless ones).
- No attempt to use SARS-CoV-2-specific infectious particle size was made
- Unless you're heading straight into a gale, particles from a cough/sneeze spread out in front of you and disperse laterally
- MOST IMPORTANTLY BY FAR: there was no attempt made to simulate an appropriate infectious dose. How many virions do we need to inhale in order to reliably become infected? How much virus does an infected person generate, anyway?
The answer is: we don't exactly know...
We also know most everyone out exercising has an innate immune system, too. So run like the wind, everyone, Inhale some virus, you can still beat it.
Summary: if you're closer than 6', you'r have a good chance of getting an infectious dose of virus. Farther than than, you don't. But of course, risk is never actually 0... it's just very improbable.
And much, much, much more importantly- we know there is a HUGE difference between "viral RNA detected" on a surface and at a distance, and actual live infectious virus. Bringing us to:
2) It's really *almost* impossible to get COVID from a cereal box or a piece of mail...
viruses denature (degrade/fall apart) rapidly in the environment. They need cells to "live" (replicate) and without cells, they're at the mercy of entropy. Their protein coat dissolves and denatures, and eventually, their core RNA is left lying around, like bleached bones in the sun. Although the world is awash with enzymes which digest RNA some sequences will survive to be picked up by an enterprising researcher with PCR. And without that spike protein to dock with a living human cell (via that ACE-2 receptor), SARS-CoV-2 RNA can't do anything. It can't infect a cell and begin replicating. So when experiments based on PCR (which amplifies just the RNA) say they detect viral RNA, they are not necessarily detecting infectious virus. Over very long periods of time- the cruise ship- they almost certainly are not... On cardboard, in the NEJM paper where they computer-simulated infectious virus by spraying aerosols on surface and modeling the decay (NOT confirmed by PCR), the virus fell below the infectious dose within a couple of hours- even assuming it was 100% viable in each and every particle, which it totally isn't.
Secondly, it's a respiratory virus. It can only dock with certain cells in your body. When you eat live, infectious virus, the enzymes in your saliva start to work- and then, within a few seconds, the virus hits your stomach where the acid environment causes it to fall apart. Although virus has been isolated from stool, good-quality data shows that it was not infective virus, it was mostly denatured and digested virus.
So, the cereal box. Let's say someone spray-sneezes all over your cereal box. The virus has a half-life of 70 minutes, on cardboard, so you'd have to pick it up right away and rush home with it. A small amount of infectious virus is transferred to your hands when you pull it off the shelf (you need a few hundred/thousand to successfully end up in some part of your body with the correct receptors , remember?). The virus cannot burrow into your skin- so, on your hands some will denature further, just hanging out; some will fall off whenever you touch anything else. By the time you accidentally touch your face or wipe your nose, you don't have much left. And then- it's just on your face, close to a mucus membrane, maybe some gets in? Unless you take a deep, fragrant, admiring sniff of your hands, or the cereal box... it's tough."

Who Gets the Ventilator? (Ep. 413) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "PATHAK: And so there’s some interesting tidbits in the New York document that really got us thinking. And one of the tidbits was a statement in that guideline that said, we do not think that essential personnel or frontline health workers should be prioritized. And, here I am talking to my spouse, who is trying to find a way to get N-95 masks online. And my sister is looking at different face shields for welding from Home Depot before she goes into the emergency room. And I asked them, “What do you think about this?” And they both said, “This is crazy.” But New York’s rationale was based on the idea that if we give essential personnel the highest priority, then we could be in a state where a hospital has 20 ventilators and they only go to essential personnel. And that got me thinking...
EMANUEL: I wrote my first paper about this in 2006, which was basically an analysis of the Department of Health and Human Services’ plan for rationing vaccines and treatments if we had an influenza pandemic. So the government had been thinking about this way back in 2005 and they came up with an initial plan. And I thought that plan was unethical because that plan said, our goal is to save the most lives.
Wait a minute: what’s wrong with a plan where the goal is to save the most lives? The H.H.S. plan made clear that older people were most likely to die in an influenza outbreak, and so:
EMANUEL: And so we should save them first. And that just struck me as wrong, because it emphasized saving the most lives and it ignored saving the most life-years. People who might, if you save them, live a long time... One of the things we know from the influenza pandemic of 1918, it was people in the prime of life — young kids up until young adults — were the most likely to die in that episode. And so if you focused in on older people, you would end up “sacrificing” younger people who had way more potential time to live.
But the H.H.S plan prioritized older people.
EMANUEL: So we wrote a paper criticizing it. And then it turned out, if you survey the public, they agreed with us — that, in a pandemic, you ought to save young people and not just old people...
They’re likely to be suffering from A.R.D.S. — Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
HAN: And prior to Covid-19, we’ve done tons of research studies on how best to treat A.R.D.S. regardless of the cause. And so there are certain protocols that we have in place, like keeping the size of the breaths that we deliver on the ventilator low. One of the things that people may not realize is that oxygen itself is toxic in high levels. The other thing people may not realize is that the amount of air that we push into the lungs, beyond a certain point is actually harmful, and it can actually cause lung injury.
Because Covid-19 is a new disease, doctors around the world are frantically trying to work out how to best use ventilators against it.
HAN: You know, there’s no time for a randomized trial of how to ventilate patients; everyone is just doing their best.
There are a few different views.
HAN: One camp of thought is that we should be treating Covid-19 just like any other A.R.D.S. that we’ve seen, and follow the same protective protocols that we would normally follow. There is this other camp of thought that maybe this isn’t really like A.R.D.S. and maybe we should be using larger lung volumes.
Some researchers suspect that Covid-19 is attacking the lungs of some patients in a manner more similar to high-altitude pulmonary edema, where the problem has to do more with how the lung’s blood vessels regulate blood flow. This would mean using a ventilator on Covid-19 patients in the way it’s used to treat A.R.D.S. may be suboptimal, at best...
Some states have decided to give doctors and nurses priority, while others have decided not to...
PATHAK: So, I’m not an ethicist, but I can try to guess what the ethicists were saying. At core, their principle is a nondiscrimination idea. So, everyone should be treated equally. That’s our collective values as a society. And if we prioritize someone based on their occupation, there’s two issues. One is, why one occupation versus the other? So if I say frontline healthcare workers are taking on greater risks, we could also say that there are certain types of jobs that are more valuable to society that should be prioritized as well.Second thing is actually defining what a frontline health worker is. So is that a respiratory therapist? Is that an E.R. doc? What about a dermatologist? Do they count? And it’s possible that category gets very large. What they’re worried about is that the key workers would use all of the supply up. And that’s going to deprive all of the other groups — people like you and me, Stephen — from getting access."

Ethicists agree on who should get treated first for coronavirus - "As health care systems are overwhelmed with more patients than they can feasibly treat, medical personnel are forced to decide who should get the available ventilators and ICU beds. Quartz spoke with eight ethicists, all of whom agreed that in such dire situations, those who have the best chance of surviving get priority"
Looks like the utilitarians don't look at lifetime utility

U.S. Civil Rights Office Rejects Rationing Medical Care Based on Disability, Age - The New York Times - "The director of the federal health department’s civil rights office said on Saturday that his office was opening a series of civil rights investigations to ensure that states did not allow medical providers to discriminate on the basis of disabilities, race, age or certain other factors when deciding who would receive lifesaving medical care during the coronavirus emergency.The office released a new bulletin on civil rights during the coronavirus crisis, days after disability rights advocates filed complaints arguing that protocols to ration lifesaving medical care adopted by Alabama and Washington State were discriminatory... Many of the plans would prioritize patients who were most likely to survive their immediate illness, and who also had a better chance of long-term survival when taking other factors into consideration. Some assign patients a score based on calculations of their level of illness, with decisions between patients who have the same score made by random selection."
So much for the philosophers. In the name of "non discrimination" it is good for more people to die

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Wednesday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "‘How much will the Coronavirus set back the whole economy? The office for budget responsibility which does the Official UK forecast has come up with its estimate - a 35% drop in GDP in the second quarter and as much as 12%, perhaps more, for the whole year. That would make it bigger than the hits from the first or second World Wars, and probably the biggest one year fall since 1709’"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, We will all have to 'learn to live with the new reality of life' - "‘Yes, we will have to wear masks. Yes, there will have to be more physical distancing. Yes, we must protect the vulnerable. But most importantly, we must all learn how to interrupt transmission. It's a revolution, like happened when it was discovered that dirty water brought cholera in 1850. Or, like perhaps 25 years ago, we all learned about HIV-AIDS and its relationship with sex. We changed and we adapted. We learned how to live with these new realities. We've also got to learn to live with the new reality of life with COVID.’"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The head of MI5 Andrew Parker speaks to the BBC in a wide-ranging interview - "‘It's been pointed out that the death toll from Coronavirus in one day is larger than the number of Britons killed in terrorism since 911. Do you think we've been focused too much on terrorism, to the neglect of some other issues?’
‘I'm not sure that's one for me to call really. The task that we’re given as MI5 is to deal with those deliberate covert directed threats against the country and against the public where people are setting out to do us harm. Setting out to murder members of the public, setting out to conduct appalling terrorist attacks of the sorts we've seen in recent years. And our job is to do all we can to tackle those. I don't envy frankly, elected politicians who have to make those priority decisions about where you place relative priorities and therefore taxpayers’ money between different sorts of risk between the possibility of pandemic versus these national security threats versus, you know, road safety.’"
Of course, if more Britons had been killed in terrorism it would mean MI5 hadn't been doing its job

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Tuesday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "‘The very first few weeks’ response to the rising pandemic was to clear hospitals to create capacity. And that meant lots of untested residents who are potentially positive, being admitted to care homes without anyone knowing that they were infected.’ Clearly the high number of deaths is because the UK didn't lock down early enough, and didn't protect the NHS!

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, New Zealand begins to ease lockdown - "‘Is there a lesson for the WHO, indeed for all of us in the fact that you had a very strict travel ban and you imposed it in spite of some advice from outside that says that those bans don't work?’
‘I think the WHO’s position is that it doesn't endorse or advocate travel bans. And that's quite a lot to do with the murky geopolitical realm within which it operates. And also because it fears that if it were to support  it, it might not get full cooperation from countries. But I have no hesitation in saying that New Zealand, banning travel from China at the very beginning of February and later from Iran, and then in March moving to stricter and stricter controls, with only New Zealand citizens and green card holders coming in. This worked for us. And I think Zealanders will be pretty hesitant to see people just flying back in again, until we see that globally, there is some much greater level of control over this disease…
Clearly, all countries need to engage with China, the most populous country on Earth, a powerful economy now, but in our engagement, I think we should make clear expectations that China also will play the game. Being open and transparent when a new virus emerges is extremely important. There can be no delay in notification to the WHO. Now, okay, the delay wasn't three months as it was with SARS in 2003. But it was a delay. And China, like a number of other countries, was slow to warn its own citizens of the risk that the virus posed. So for China, I think the message has to be, be open, transparent, to be taken seriously, as a global leader. You owe it to the international community to be there.'
‘But does there have to be some kind of international coordinated pressure then on China to make that happen? Because at the moment, we know, we know from some Chinese ambassadors in Europe, including in Britain, they've been quite bullish about saying, no, we're not going to submit to this kind of bullying, etc, etc. What, what actually, in practical terms can be done to make China do the things that you just outlined?’
‘I think China has to see it as being in its own self interest, because in the end, it's not in China's interest if the economies of the West are wrecked and it can't sell its consumer goods. It's not in its interests of the developing countries to which it has extended lines of credit and made huge investments in a falling over one by one because of economic weakness brought on by the pandemic. So if an appeal to do the Right Thing doesn't work, perhaps an appeal to material self interest would.’"
3 years of being closed off from the world!"

Was the Coronavirus Red China’s Pearl Harbor Attack? - "Not only did the Chinese Communist regime know that the virus spread by contact, and lie about it. It shut down the infected province to travel inside China, but continued to send people from there all around the world. Does that remind you of anything? Maybe old stories of U.S. soldiers giving smallpox-infected blankets to Indian tribes they hoped to wipe out? Or the German general staff shipping Lenin to Russia, to bring down its tottering regime in 1917, and knock it out of the war?"

Satellite data suggests coronavirus may have hit China earlier: Researchers - "Dramatic spikes in auto traffic around major hospitals in Wuhan last fall suggest the novel coronavirus may have been present and spreading through central China long before the outbreak was first reported to the world, according to a new Harvard Medical School study.Using techniques similar to those employed by intelligence agencies, the research team behind the study analyzed commercial satellite imagery and "observed a dramatic increase in hospital traffic outside five major Wuhan hospitals beginning late summer and early fall 2019," according to Dr. John Brownstein, the Harvard Medical professor who led the research. Brownstein, an ABC News contributor, said the traffic increase also "coincided with" elevated queries on a Chinese internet search for "certain symptoms that would later be determined as closely associated with the novel coronavirus."...  Brownstein and his research team used satellite imagery in 2015 to investigate how health care systems could predict outbreaks of influenza-like illnesses as they occur.“We previously validated this method of indirectly measuring disease activity by monitoring hospital parking lot usage in Chile, Argentina and Mexico,” said researcher Elaine Nsoesie, a global health professor at Boston University who worked with Brownstein on both projects. “Using the data, we were able to forecast trends in influenza-like illnesses over several years.”"
Of course China shills and other people who like to propagate anti-West conspiracy theories will pretend this is meaningless and just point to analyses showing that covid-19 was spreading earlier (than its official start in Wuhan) as proof that it didn't come from China but instead the West, but either way that won't stop the "wet markets are bad" crowd from trying to shut them down despite covid-19 coming from wet market being disproved

Coronavirus divides lovers, friends at Swiss-German border fences - "Constance, Germany, and Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, are divided cities these days, with a strip of grass and two fences separating them after the countries closed their borders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.In a park on Lake Constance's shoreline residents of both cities normally move freely across an invisible line marking where one nation ends and the other begins. But everything has changed: Most Germans cannot come to Switzerland, most Swiss are barred from Germany.On Sunday, lovers, brothers and sisters, parents and their children, and old friends pressed against the chain links in the spring sunshine, just close enough to say "I love you", too far apart to touch."This is our only chance to stand across from each other, face-to-face," said Jean-Pierre Walter, a Swiss who drove an hour from Zurich to see his German partner, Maja Bulic. "We can at least speak to each other. That's something."... This is a coronavirus no-man's land. It traces the route of a barbed wire-topped barrier that split Switzerland and Germany during World War Two and that was removed long ago.The fences have become a meeting point for people divided by the epidemic - and a reminder of its disruption for Europeans accustomed to traveling where they please. Switzerland is not in the European Union, but agreements allow Swiss and the bloc's citizens to travel virtually unfettered, in normal times.As the coronavirus spread -- it has killed 559 people and infected 21,100 in Switzerland, while in Germany the toll is 1,342 dead and nearly 92,000 infected -- the governments clamped down on border traffic.Currently, those Swiss and Germans with cross-border jobs can go back and forth. For nearly everybody else, it's forbidden.The fence went up in mid-March as a single layer.This week, officials added a second, since people were passing beers, playing cards and kissing through the chain links - hardly the required two-metre (six-foot) separation.Kreuzlingen officials said of the decision that too many people were not obeying the rules... Germans, for whom a wall long divided East from West, said they never imagined another one in Europe."It's like being in jail," said Veronica Campanile, a Constance resident meeting friends from the Kreuzlingen side... They had hoped to touch but settled for sharing chocolate bars thrown quickly across when border police weren't looking."
I guess fences work after all, and are a good thing

3 States Account for 42 Percent of All COVID-19 Deaths in America. Why? - "In a recent article in The Atlantic, Thomas Chatterton Williams decried America’s handling of the coronavirus... In some ways, COVID-19 data are like a Rorschach blot from which writers, politicians, and experts can glean whatever conclusions they wish to find. Take Sweden, where daily COVID-19 deaths recently reached zero.According to Newsweek editorial director Hank Gilman, Sweden’s “lighter touch” approach was a failure because seven times as many people died there than in neighboring Scandnavian countries such as Finland and Norway. He is not alone in the assessment.On the other hand, Sweden suffered far fewer deaths per capita than several European neighbors that instituted strict lockdowns—including Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom—and has avoided some of the economic fallout other nations have endured. Unlike other countries, its currency is growing stronger.Indeed, Sweden’s death rate is remarkably close to that of France, which Williams praised as a model in contrast to the “utter disaster” in the US. However, the US actually has a lower per capita death rate than both Sweden and France—at least for now... 42 percent of all COVID deaths in the US come from just three states—New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. These three states account for nearly 56,000 of the nearly 133,000 deaths in the US, even though they represent just 10 percent of the population. If these three states are excluded, the US suddenly finds itself somewhere in between nations such as Luxembourg (176/1M) and Macedonia (166/1M), where some of the better fatality numbers in Europe are found... evidence suggests it could be policy related.New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year received a great deal of criticism when the state’s policy of prohibiting nursing homes from screening residents for COVID-19 came to light. Cuomo eventually reversed that decision under intense criticism from public health experts and trade group leaders... both New Jersey and Massachusetts had similar policies in place... there is currently a great deal of scrutiny on states such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona, which have seen case numbers increase in recent weeks, a spike that began in mid-June after states reopened their economies. The implication is that these states dropped the ball by reopening too soon.None of these states, however, has a per capita fatality rate that even approaches New Jersey, Massachusetts, or New York... Considering these numbers, one would not expect to see a governor from New Jersey, New York, or Massachusetts lecture these other states on their handling of the coronavirus. But that’s exactly what Gov. Cuomo did, claiming his state-ordered lockdown “saved lives” and chastening governors who opened their economies. “I say to them all look at the numbers,” Cuomo said, referring to leaders in the states seeing rises in COVID-19 cases. “You played politics with this virus, and you lost. You told the people of this state, you told the people of this country, the White House, ‘Don’t worry about it. Go about your business.’”Cuomo makes no mention of the social costs of the economic lockdowns—mass unemployment, widespread bankruptcy, and surging mental health deterioration, drug abuse, and global poverty. Nor does he mention his state’s catastrophically high COVID death toll."
Working backwards from a pre-determined" conclusion - that lockdowns are good and that Trump is bad- is an easy way to interpret data

New York Governor Cuomo calls coronavirus the ‘European virus’
"Racism" against white people is good

A mixed prognosis - The covid-19 pandemic will be over by the end of 2021, says Bill Gates | International | The Economist - "MILLIONS MORE are going to die before the covid-19 pandemic is over... Most of these deaths, he said, would be caused not by the disease itself, but by the further strain on health-care systems and economies that were already struggling... Almost 90% will be indirect deaths, he says. Lockdowns will reduce access to immunisation and medicine for other diseases. Deaths from malaria and HIV will rise. Lower agricultural productivity will see hunger spread and education rates fall. When it comes to the fight against poverty, the virus could wipe out a decade of gains... It is not enough for there to be a vaccine: people have to be willing to take it. And on this, too, Americans are lagging behind. A recent poll by Gallup found that one in three would not agree to receive an FDA-approved vaccine, even if it were free. But here the news is more favourable. The latest research, Mr Gates explained, suggests that the other coronaviruses in circulation, and partial immunity afforded by vaccines already in use for other diseases, already grant a measure of protection against covid-19. It is also not as contagious as some other diseases. The current best estimate is that 30-60% of the world’s population will need an effective vaccine in order to halt the pandemic. “Fortunately, this isn't measles. We don't need over 90% of people to take the vaccine.”"

Brits Believe Coronavirus Death is 100 Times Larger Than It Really Is - "New polling from Kekst CNC has revealed that on average the British public believe a whopping 7% of the UK population has died from Coronavirus, a number 100 times higher than the recorded-death reality... Brits wouldn’t be so frightened if the media they don’t trust was not always catastrophising…"
Explaining lockdown fetishism. Maybe liberals are obsessed with pushing lockdowns because they trust the media more and so imbibe more alarmism

Science And Public Policy - "'Over the course of the COVID crisis, we have repeatedly seen leading scientists and scientific organizations change their recommendations, and we have seen multiple scientific studies retracted or at least highly debated.  Many view this as proof that science doesn’t work and/or scientists don’t know what they are doing.  In reality, this is exactly what we expect to see when science works.  Science is a method, not a body of facts, and the method is often messy.  Peer-review does not end with publication.  Rather, studies are subjected to the scrutiny of the entire scientific community, and the fact that high-profile papers sometimes get retracted is evidence of science correcting itself.  Similarly, the fact that scientists change their views as new evidence about a novel virus comes to light is a good thing!  It means that scientists are learning and adjusting their views rather than clinging to biases and preconceptions.  That’s how science works.'...
science in the face of a novel circumstance, viral or otherwise, is fickle and is therefore a lousy basis for public policy making until such time as it has settled down.  In a situation like this one the virus is moving faster than the science possibly can which means that the science will not settle until after the fact.So the question becomes how then to make policy?  Heck of a question, isn’t it?In a situation like this, leadership matters more than policy – much more. No policy is going to be the right policy because the right policy cannot really be determined until this is all over.  Only history will be able to determine the right policy.  This situation also means policy debates will be endless.  That makes leadership matter even more for leadership moves things forward while the debate rages."
Ironically this means people who like to go on dogmatically about what "the science" shows, and that we must all follow "the science" and those who don't are ignorant or even evil, are wrong

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "It’s time to take a step back and examine our responses to the coronavirus.The experts told us in January that the virus had a low chance of affecting the United States. In February we were told by the experts it could controlled within the United States. In March we were told by the experts that masks were not useful to the average user, but might even worsen the spread. In May we were told by the experts that all Americans should wear masks in public.Now, we are mocking leaders who don’t sufficiently agree with the experts. But the experts don’t agree. A pediatricians organization believes that less harm would be done if children started attending schools again. Epidemiologists disagree. Siding with one side or the other is considered a moral failing.Meanwhile, a serving establishment may open if it serves more food than alcohol, but must close if it serves more alcohol than food. A protest that opposes lockdowns is said to spread the disease while a protest against police is said to not spread the disease. I suspect some tribal rationalizations are involved here.Meanwhile, and I agree with the author here, those who are arguing hardest for mask wearing are also the ones doing the least distancing from others. Meanwhile, millions of others are quietly sitting at home not ranting about masks and not getting infected.The debate hasn’t been rational.I’m not faulting the experts for being wrong... But what evidence do we have that the experts are right in all matters now? The odds are they aren’t. Meanwhile economies are crumbling, affecting the math on what actions should be taken.This isn’t the time to silence those who disagree on how to deal with the pandemic. What we need is vigorous debate. Tribalism isn’t helping."

COVID-19 Conversation Is Plagued With Misinformation - "We’re supposed to believe that fifty people in a bar or a hundred people in a church are the cause for the uptick in cases, but that tens of thousands of people protesting and rioting is perfectly safe. The idiots pushing this line are actually going with a “but everyone was wearing masks” defense. Yeah, a lot of them were, but not all of them. And the ones who were wearing them often pulled them down to yell at cops. I’d be a lot less cranky about COVID compliance if this kind of disingenuous crap weren’t rampant.The reality is that the most self-righteous COVID scolds I know are the ones who are going out in public and being around other people a lot, and not for work reasons. They all believe that their cloth masks are some kind of COVID Captain America shields that make them invincible."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Labour calls for ‘a national consensus’ on tackling coronavirus - "The chancellor has said the lockdown just isn't sustainable as the furlough scheme alone could soon cost as much as the NHS"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, 'It's much much worse than the financial crisis' - "The hit to the economy was always bound to be huge. In the past hour, the Bank of England has warned that that hit sets looks to be the worst since the South Sea bubble burst in 1720. Back then frantic bankers poured into Parliament and order was only restored after the reading of the Riot Act"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Could testing for Covid-19 be more efficient? - "I never thought it would be so easy to take people's freedoms away and so hard to persuade them to take them back. That is what Boris Johnson is said to have told his colleagues recently."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, England's Coronavirus Test & Trace system starts - "‘Supporting people through this isolation is obviously in everybody's interests, because we want to help people to isolate and look I absolutely appreciate what-’
‘Yeah, you have a simple message here. I want to be sure that there's no small print on this. People can't leave home. 14 days. They stay at home.’
‘We are instructing people to stay at home for that 14 days’
‘They can’t drive? They can't go to a beauty spot?’
‘Well, the instructions are absolutely clear. And they are that people should self isolate at home for that 14 days. That's right.’
‘Well you see, I remember the last time you said that things were very clear. In fact, you used the word instruction that you've just used. And then the Prime Minister's advisors did something completely different, Dominic Cummings, and what will you say if a member of the public: you can keep your lock down, if other people don't abide by it, why on earth should we? The words quoted by a Conservative MP to the Prime Minister yesterday?’
‘I think that the vast majority of people will understand that it is in everybody's interests that those who are at higher risk, follow these requests from the NHS, these instructions and it's very, very important that they do. And and frankly, this is about how as a country, we get out of this lockdown in the safest possible way, short of having a vaccine or an effective treatment, which obviously we're working on, but we don't yet have.’
‘But yes, Simon Hoare, the Conservative MP said earlier, look, I know you want people to cooperate, I know you're saying it's in their interest. I know you’re saying… I want you to address, to address the direct quote from Simon Hoare if you would. I know government wants to move on from Dominic Cummings. But not everybody does. Indeed, many people in the country are still extremely angry about it. So I want you to do what the Prime Minister did not do yesterday. What would you say to the Conservative MP’s constituent who says and I quote again, you can keep your lockdown. If other people don't abide by it. Why on earth should we?’
‘Because it is in everybody's interests. It's in that individual’s interests. It's in the whole community’s interests that people follow the instructions from the NHS. And I think that the overwhelming majority of people will, and that is’
‘Did Dominic Cummings do the right thing, to use your phrase?’
‘I think as I've said before, I've answered that question. And what-’
‘Well, did he do the right thing? Did he do the right thing? Did he do his duty?’
‘Nick, I've answered this question before a couple of days ago, and the Prime Minister's answered all these questions endlessly.’
‘No, no, no. He's never answered the moral case - whether he did the right thing?’
‘While I've said that, I think that he was acting within the guidelines. I also understand why reasonable people might disagree with that, but what matters, what matters is-’
‘Well then forgive me. What matters is not dodging the question that I'm asking you. What I’m asking you, using your words, Secretary of State, these are your words. You say duty, you say right thing. You say do your bit. And what people are saying to you is, Mr. Cummings did none of those. And whenever ministers are asked, they try and dodge the question. So did he do the right thing?’
‘Far from dodging the question, Nick, I've directly answered it, because my judgment is that, that, as has been told in great detail in public, my view is that he followed the guidelines. I understand why some people don't agree with that. But that is my view’"

Cummings trips damaged UK lockdown unity, study suggests - "The scandal over Dominic Cummings’ trips to and around Durham during lockdown damaged trust and was a key factor in the breakdown of a sense of national unity amid the coronavirus pandemic, research suggests.Revelations that Cummings and his family travelled to his parents’ farm despite ministers repeatedly imploring the public to stay at home – as exposed by the Guardian and the Daily Mirror in May - also crystallised distrust in politicians over the crisis, according to a report from the thinktank British Future."

Public Health England's exaggerated death statistics are a scandal that has fed fear - "Has Public Health England been exaggerating the Covid-19 daily death statistics? It appears that PHE compiles “out of hospital” deaths by searching the NHS database for whether that person ever tested positive. It then apparently fails to consider how long ago that person tested positive or their actual cause of death. “By this PHE definition, no-one with Covid in England is allowed to ever recover from their illness,” Professors Yoon K Loke and Carl Heneghan, who discovered the statistical flaw, explain.It is astonishing: under these terms, a person who tested positive a few months ago but then gets hit by a bus this week would be recorded as a Covid death. In fact, if left unchanged, every single one of the 292,500 people who have tested positive will some day be a Covid-19 death statistic – even if they live for decades and die of completely unrelated causes. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has ordered an urgent review. This scandal has real consequences. It provides the impression that England is still experiencing over 100 deaths some days, while Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have near zero. It has played havoc with analysis about who is most at risk from the virus, be it by age or pre-existing condition. It also undermines our understanding of the extent of spread, hotspots and the steps required to combat the virus.The PHE death figures have been reported every day in news bulletins and on newspaper front pages. They have fed into existing public anxieties that are holding people back from shopping, dining and drinking. They have also dissuaded people from returning to work."
The high covid-19 death toll in England proves that Boris Johnson is the UK's Trump!

Prof Carl Heneghan: can we trust the Covid-19 death numbers? - "“There’s an important distinction between lives lost and life years lost. One of the things we’ll be watching very closely over the next six months is how many people would have actually died in the next six months… That’s where the excess deaths really matter. If we start to see it trend significantly under for the next few months, we’ll start to come forward with information that suggests there was a group of vulnerable people that any respiratory infection would have shortened their life.”
“In the media you’ll always hear about catastrophe and the consequences of that. One of the things we notice is that when you don’t hear anything that usually means there’s good news happening. So when Sweden looks worse you hear about it but when it’s not so bad, like now, you never see it in the media.”"

'Breakthrough' treatment slashes virus death risk: Study - "An aerosol-based treatment could drastically reduce the number of new coronavirus patients dying from the disease or requiring intensive care, according to preliminary results released Monday (June 20) by a British biotech firm.In a randomised trial of 100 patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19, those who received an inhaled formula of the protein interferon beta were at 79 percent lower risk of developing severe disease compared to those who received a placebo."

‘Striking’ Crisis Gap Exposed as Swedish Economy Stands Out - Bloomberg - "Capital Economics presented data that give Sweden an irrefutable edge. From peak to trough, Swedish GDP will shrink 8%; in the U.K. and Italy, the contraction is somewhere between 25% and 30%, according to estimates covering the fourth quarter of 2019 through to the second quarter of 2020. The U.S. is somewhere in the middle"
A lockdown fetishist proclaimed that Sweden had failed since its economy still suffered. I pointed out that following the same logic, countries with lockdowns had failed since people still died of covid-19

Sweden, Which Never Had Lockdown, Sees COVID-19 Cases Plummet as Rest of Europe Suffers Spike - "The seven-day rolling average of Sweden's daily new cases has been dropping consistently since June 29. Its daily case count has been mostly decreasing since June 24... "We are now seeing rapidly falling cases, we have continuously had healthcare that has been working, there have been free beds at any given time, never any crowding in the hospitals."The failure [of the strategy] has of course been the death toll…that has been very much related to the long-term care facilities in Sweden. Now that has improved, we see a lot less cases in those facilities""
Naturally lockdown fanatics spout non-sequiturs when faced with this report

Multiple errors in the New York Times article about Sweden’s corona strategy

The Truth about Sweden's Corona Strategy is Staggering
Sweden's excess death data isn't particularly striking, which suggests that the breathless claims don't hold water

No, Sweden has not changed its mind about lockdown - "Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, has admitted to making some mistakes over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. His acknowledgement that Sweden’s death toll was ‘too high’ has been seized on by our fervently pro-lockdown media as a sign that Sweden’s more relaxed strategy has failed... he was acknowledging that, like many countries, Sweden had failed to protect the elderly, particularly those living in care homes. As the pandemic progresses, other mistakes will come to light, too.As Fraser Myers pointed out on spiked recently, lockdown hardliners will seize on any bad-sounding news that comes out of Sweden, even if it means fudging the facts. At the same time, the mainstream media gave little coverage to the Norwegian chief of public health admitting that Covid could probably have been managed without a lockdown, and that the lockdown must not be repeated in the event of a second wave. They also largely ignored a similar story from Denmark, where public-health officials have accused the PM of ‘abusing’ their advice. The experts had actually recommended very few restrictions.It is time for the UK media to report more honestly about the lack of evidence in support of lockdowns, and to stop demonising Sweden’s open and rational approach to Covid."

WHO praises Swedish approach to coronavirus: "It's a model for the future" - "Dr Mike Ryan, WHO chief executive, firmly defended the approach of this Scandinavian country, which has come under criticism from the public for the mild measures it has introduced... He described the Swedish approach to coronavirus as “partnership with the population”.“If we want to achieve new normality, Sweden will in many ways be a model for the future if we want to return to a life without quarantine”"

Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Will Soon Be the World’s | Foreign Affairs - "Based on updated behavioral assumptions (social-distancing norms are changing how Swedes behave), the Stockholm University mathematician Tom Britton has calculated that 40 percent immunity in the capital could be enough to stop the virus’s spread there and that this could happen by mid-June... Efforts to contain the virus are doomed to fail in many countries, and a large percentage of people will be infected in the end. When much of the world experiences a deadly second wave, Sweden will have the worst of the pandemic behind it. Sweden’s response has not been perfect, but it has succeeded in bolstering immunity among the young and the healthy—those at the lowest risk of serious complications from COVID-19—while also flattening the curve. The country’s intensive care units have not been overrun, and hospital staffs, although under strain, have at least not had to juggle additional childcare responsibilities because daycares and lower schools continue to operate.Whether or not they have openly embraced the Swedish approach, many other countries are now trying to emulate aspects of it. Both Denmark and Finland have reopened schools for young children. Germany is allowing small shops to reopen. Italy will soon reopen parks, and France has a plan to allow some nonessential businesses to reopen, including farmers’ markets and small museums, as well as schools and daycare centers. In the United States, which has by far the highest absolute number of reported COVID-19 deaths, several states are easing restrictions at the urging of President Donald Trump, who despite bashing the Swedish model, is pushing the country toward something very similar. There are good reasons for countries to begin easing their restrictions. It will take several years to tally the total number of deaths, bankruptcies, layoffs, suicides, mental health problems, losses to GDP and investments, and other costs attributable not just to the virus but to the measures used to fight it. It should already be obvious, however, that the economic and social costs of lockdowns are enormous: estimates from the OECD suggest that every month of pandemic-related restrictions will shrink the economies of advanced countries by two percent. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, according to the OECD, will see their economies shrink by more than 25 percent within a year. Unemployment is rising to levels unheard of since the 1930s—fueling political backlash and deepening social divisions. Lockdowns are simply not sustainable for the amount of time that it will likely take to develop a vaccine. Letting up will reduce economic, social, and political pressures. It may also allow populations to build an immunity that will end up being the least bad way of fighting COVID-19 in the long run. Much about the disease remains poorly understood, but countries that are locked down now could very well face new and even more severe outbreaks down the road. If these countries follow the Swedish path to herd immunity, the total cost of the pandemic will decrease, and it will likely end sooner. Sweden’s approach to COVID-19 reflects the country’s distinctive culture, and aspects of it may not be easy to replicate elsewhere. In particular, reliance on official recommendations and individual responsibility may not travel well beyond Scandinavia. Sweden is a special country characterized by high levels of trust—not just between people but between people and government institutions. Swedes were primed to take voluntary recommendations seriously in a way that citizens of other nations may not be... Even in places like the United States and the United Kingdom, where the pool of at-risk people is much larger, the cost of protecting these people is much lower than forcing everyone to stay home. Managing the path to herd immunity means, above all, protecting the vulnerable. Sweden learned that the hard way, but the situation there is now under control."

If there is a second wave of Covid, the Swedish approach will have been right all along - "There have been times during this pandemic that I’ve felt as if my memory is playing tricks on me. I’m sure I remember scientists telling us that a second wave was inevitable. I could have sworn I saw a graph at the press briefings showing a scary bell curve of infections in the spring and an even scarier one in the winter. I’m sure I heard experts explaining that the only way COVID-19 would disappear would be when herd immunity was achieved, either through natural antibodies or vaccination.Official documents reassure me that I am not going mad. The minutes from a Sage meeting in March say: “Sage was unanimous that measures seeking to completely suppress the spread of Covid-19 will cause a second peak.” As far as I can tell, this is still their view. Suppressing a wintry virus during the sunniest spring on record could turn out to be no great achievement. The worst may be yet to come. One country can look to the winter with less trepidation than most. Last week, a study suggested that 30 per cent of Swedes have built up immunity to the virus. It would help explain why Covid-19 has been fizzling out in Sweden... Not going into lockdown was described as “a mad experiment” by Marcus Carlsson of Lund University in March. Dr Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute accused the government of “leading us to catastrophe”, and predicted that the healthcare system would collapse unless a lockdown was introduced. Every model predicted an exponential rise in infections.With half of humanity living under lockdown, photos of Swedes socialising in bars and restaurants seemed like communiqués from another dimension. Aside from a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, life carried on as normal. Children aged under 16 went to school. No one wore a mask. This, surely, was the calm before a terrible storm. The catastrophe never arrived. As in most other European countries, Sweden saw a peak in Covid-19 deaths in the first half of April followed by a steady decline. Shown on a graph, the pattern of mortality is indistinguishable from that of many countries that locked down... Once it became clear that their apocalyptic prophecy had failed, critics of the Swedish approach turned to post hoc rationalisation... It is now considered gauche to compare Sweden to Britain, Italy, Spain or any other country that had a higher death rate. You are only allowed to compare it to its immediate neighbours where the death rate is lower. Mention the UK or, heaven forbid, Belgium (which locked down a week before the UK and has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world) and you will be told that they should have locked down sooner. The proposition becomes unfalsifiable. Heads they win, tails you lose. The goalposts have shifted. The purpose of lockdowns is no longer to protect health systems, but to prevent death at any cost. New Zealand has managed to eradicate the virus for the time being, but only by kissing goodbye to its biggest export industry – tourism – which sustains ten per cent of its economy and fourteen per cent of its workforce. Isolated from the rest of the world, it is a prisoner to a vaccine that may never be found. Australia thought it had beaten the virus, but parts of Victoria are back under lockdown after new cases were found. There have been resurgences in the United States, Israel and South Africa, to name but three. Winning the battle against the first wave may prove to be like the invasion of Iraq, merely a prelude to a long war of attrition that wastes more money and lives... Sweden will not be unscathed by the global recession. Its GDP is expected to decline by 5.3 per cent this year. But GDP is expected to fall by 8.7 per cent in the Eurozone, by 9.7 per cent in Britain and by more than 10 per cent in Italy, France and Spain. Sweden has not put its children’s education on hold. It has not put its citizens under soul-sapping house arrest. If a vaccine goes into production by autumn, the Swedes will look reckless. But that is not going to happen - and winter is coming."

There is no empirical evidence for these lockdowns - "Comparing US states shows there is no relationship between lockdowns and lower Covid-19 deaths."

Full lockdown policies in Western Europe countries have no evident impacts on the COVID-19 epidemic.

A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes - "Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people. However, full lockdowns (RR=2.47: 95%CI: 1.08–5.64) and reduced country vulnerability to biological threats (i.e. high scores on the global health security scale for risk environment) (RR=1.55; 95%CI: 1.13–2.12) were significantly associated with increased patient recovery rates."

The invisible pandemic - "It has become clear that a hard lockdown does not protect old and frail people living in care homes—a population the lockdown was designed to protect. Neither does it decrease mortality from COVID-19, which is evident when comparing the UK's experience with that of other European countries... Everyone will be exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, and most people will become infected. COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in all countries, but we do not see it—it almost always spreads from younger people with no or weak symptoms to other people who will also have mild symptoms. This is the real pandemic, but it goes on beneath the surface, and is probably at its peak now in many European countries. There is very little we can do to prevent this spread: a lockdown might delay severe cases for a while, but once restrictions are eased, cases will reappear. I expect that when we count the number of deaths from COVID-19 in each country in 1 year from now, the figures will be similar, regardless of measures taken.Measures to flatten the curve might have an effect, but a lockdown only pushes the severe cases into the future —it will not prevent them... our most important task is not to stop spread, which is all but futile, but to concentrate on giving the unfortunate victims optimal care."

Jerry Dunham was killed by the lockdown—not by COVID-19 - "Jerry had been hospitalized during the previous 18 months due to heart complications, and he had almost died. With Jerry’s heart operating at 25 percent capacity and not improving, doctors determined that he needed a pacemaker as soon as possible, before eventually obtaining a heart transplant.On April 16, 2020, Jerry went to see his doctor to set a date for his pacemaker surgery. But a nurse told him that his surgery was “non-essential” and would not be happening. Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Deena Hinshaw had cancelled all “non-essential” surgeries like Jerry’s a few weeks earlier, in March. Jerry posted on Facebook: “…my government told me they’re willing to let me die, which according to them is for my own safety.” Like many other Albertans, Jerry received no medical care because of government lockdown measures. Six weeks later, he had a heart attack and died. During those final weeks, Jerry suffered with anxiety as he worried about his chest pains, and about who would provide for his children if he died. He was too weak to work... Some nurses at the hospital told Krista the death was a shame, because the operating room had been almost empty since March, when Dr. Hinshaw cancelled 22,000 “non-essential” surgeries. One of the same nurses also asked Krista whether they should "put this down as a Covid Death" because “it is related since his surgery got delayed.""

‘The lockdown is causing so many deaths’ - "spiked: Was there any danger of hospitals becoming overwhelmed from Covid?
Kendrick: The clarion call was to clear the hospitals of patients. There was a point when my local hospital was a quarter full. Staff were wandering around with nothing to do. You hear this idea that all NHS staff have been working 20 times as hard as they have ever done. This is complete nonsense. An awful lot of people have been standing around wondering what the hell to do with themselves. A&E has never been so quiet. This initial response was understandable, but it quite rapidly became clear that it was an overreaction... I said to our managers that we had to test people and could not just be throwing them into nursing homes. But that is what they did. Homes were virtually ordered to take elderly patients. We had one nursing home that ended up with 12 deaths in a week... They had one objective – to clear the hospitals – and everything else was subordinate to that. Of course, they will never say this is what happened. But that is precisely what did happen...
How many people aged 15 or under have died of Covid-19? Four. The chance of dying from a lightning strike is one in 700,000. The chance of dying of Covid-19 in that age group is one in 3.5million. And we locked them all down. Even among the 15- to 44-year-olds, the death rate is very low and the vast majority of deaths have been people who had significant underlying health conditions. We locked them down as well. We locked down the population that had virtually zero risk of getting any serious problems from the disease, and then spread it wildly among the highly vulnerable age group. If you had written a plan for making a complete bollocks of things you would have come up with this one...
We are spending as much on Covid-19 as we would spend on the NHS in three normal years. You have got to ask the question of what we are going to get from that. Refusing to engage that question is political cowardice... I have looked at the impact of social upheaval in the post-Soviet Union countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Russia had five million excess deaths in that period due to economic problems. That is how powerful the effects can be. We are going to see the downsides of lockdown policies around the world. It will probably be okay for Britain – we will be a bit worse-off for a while. But some countries in Africa, South Asia and South America are just going to obliterate themselves trying to model their response to Covid-19 on a lockdown they just cannot afford. South Africa is already bursting at the seams. We have to look at this with a global perspective. This is going to be extremely costly and destructive of huge sections of the population. Even just the health costs are huge. We had a patient who had lung cancer. He was very unwell and was being treated with chemotherapy, but they just stopped treating him. He died. His life expectancy was not great, but in my mind it is absolutely a case of cause and effect – the stopping of his chemotherapy meant he gave up hope, despaired and died. That is going to be a theme... This has cost us at least £300 billion. It is going to destroy the health of a lot of people. And for what? All of these factors are of considerable importance, and I know they are just going to be swept under the carpet. If you are not willing to accept that you might have done more harm than good, you cannot look at the situation accurately or objectively.If you are someone who says, ‘this is bollocks’, you are dismissed as not caring about people, as wanting people to die. Dare question the orthodoxy and you face a full broadside. People want to be seen as caring. But the economy is pretty important. If you do not have an economy, you do not have a health service. If you do not have a health service, everyone dies...
Epidemiologists would rather overestimate a threat by 100 times than underestimate it by 10 per cent. These models will always hugely overestimate risk. Everyone has to say things will be really serious because they would look terrible if they said things would be all right and they were not. If they are proved wrong, they can say it was just as well to warn people because it could have been terrible even though it did not end up being so. This approach is taken without any cognisance of the damage that the advice they have given has caused.Take the Imperial College modelling. It said 80 per cent of people might get infected. That has never happened with a virus. It was also predicated on the idea that everybody was equally likely to get the virus and nobody had any internal immunity against it. This also turned out to be nonsense. It also assumed a death rate of 0.9 per cent. This figure might be right for people with symptoms, but not for the wider population. The modelling was based on the worst possible scenario. And unfortunately, Imperial College seems to have an immense influence... We are probably all going to get Covid-19 and we are all going to keep getting it. The only purpose of lockdown was to protect the health service from being overwhelmed, which did not happen. The end result is that lockdown was a waste of time. It cannot be continued forever.They have been trying to get a vaccine for HIV for the last 30 years and they have not managed it yet. There is a reason for that, and it is probably the same reason why they will not get a vaccine for this."

Lockdown may cost 200,000 lives, government report shows - "More than 200,000 people could die from the impact of lockdown and protecting the NHS, an official government report shows... It estimated that in a reasonable worst case scenario, around 50,000 people would die from coronavirus in the first six months of the pandemic, with mitigation measures in place.But in the report published in April they calculated that up to 25,000 could die from delays to treatment in the same period and a further 185,000 in the medium to long term - amounting to nearly one million years of life lost... The UK's National Statistician, Prof Sir Ian Diamond also said on Sunday that there had been no uptick in cases since lockdown measures had been eased... Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific advisor (GSCA) have both expressed concern that the damage from lockdown could be severe."
Addendum: i.e. Lockdowns kill more than covid

The fatal cost of lockdown - "Even in Sweden, where the government response to coronavirus has been liberal compared to the rest of Europe, the economy will face a sharp recession, though a much shallower one than in countries that did lock down. For example, estimates of Swedish GDP suggest a fall of six to seven per cent in 2020, compared to IMF forecasts of GDP declines of over 10 per cent in the UK and over 12 per cent in France and Italy."

Why woke leftists love the lockdown - "Our culture treats some freedoms, like the rights of sexual and ethnic minorities, as sacrosanct and unquestionable. Yet it treats others, like the freedom to visit family or have a drink at the pub, as conditional, liable for revocation whenever the state decides that the supreme law of public health requires it... [Perhaps] freedom no longer means what it once did. A century ago, most Brits would have identified freedom, or better still liberty, with procedural constraints on state power, like habeas corpus and the right to trial by jury. Freedom was a ‘negative’ concept, identifying what the state could not do to the subject... We have since extended the envelope of liberty to benefit marginalised groups, but this has involved redefining liberty. First, the 1960s cultural upheaval identified social attitudes (and the majority who held them), alongside state action, as a potential cause of unfreedom. To be free, then, individuals were encouraged to liberate themselves from the traditional values of faith, flag and family. At the same time, the key to the good life changed. Individuals were no longer to discipline themselves, and control their desires, in order to be free. Instead, they were implored to give in to and fulfill their desires, a reversal most evident in the changing attitudes to sexuality. Together, these changes meant that freedom could be identified with the freedom to satisfy one’s desires. The second wave of change was linked to the ‘great awokening’ of the past decade – although this began with the rise of political correctness in the 1980s and 1990s. The great awokening preserves and intensifies the 1960s countercultural belief that the truest freedom lies in expressing one’s authentic self-identity. It then identifies individual actions, such as offensive speech, as the bases of the oppressive social attitudes that constrain this authentic self-expression. Leftish woke thinking reifies these social attitudes as ‘structures’, giving them names like ‘white supremacy’ and ‘patriarchy’.Moreover, the woke left not only sees these oppressive structures everywhere, it also discerns them embedded in traditional procedural constraints on the power of the state. The presumption of innocence for rape suspects, for example, is derided as patriarchal privileging of the structurally more powerful male defendent’s testimony. Limits on state power are therefore grasped as a potential problem for today’s liberal-left, and traditional liberties, like free speech, are seen as a license to oppress others. The lockdown is the natural consequence of this new concept of liberty. We are now much less likely to see the state as a threat to our freedom, than we are the attitudes of our fellow citizens."
Another theory I saw is that liberals love lockdowns because they increase state power (including making people dependent on the state) and destroy capitalism

1/1024th Liberty Memes - Posts - "People on the left live their lives in constant fear of death. This dictates their irrational behavior. Everything is going to kill them. Climate change, pollution, guns, racism, lack of healthcare, and now COVID, and the only thing that can save us all is slavery to government, who will stop these things (in their mind) by stopping all those bad people from "dangerous behavior". These are people who psychologically cannot accept their own mortality and spend their entire lives begging for slavery in a vain attempt to avoid death. There's a verse in Hebrews that talks about freeing those who "all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." This fear is the most crippling thing you could ever take upon yourself, and it dictates their lives. Ironically, this makes them miserable while they're living. Right now, unfortunately, many of us are being "held in slavery" by the crazy leftists' fear of death."

Florida Health Officer Labels Motorcycle Crash Victim a Coronavirus Death - "In an odd continuation, Pino went on to insist that one could “argue” that COVID-19 may have “caused” the individual to crash"

Leonydus Johnson on Twitter - "Can someone explain the logic to me? It was NEVER supposed to be about keeping people from getting COVID. That was never even a possibility. The whole point was to try to slow down the spread. But now people are screaming that we have to keep people from getting it altogether???
Literally, the ONLY concern that supposedly justified extreme measures was hospitals being overrun. So we allowed it and ended up with empty hospitals all over the country and and small businesses being crushed with only isolated pockets of issues mainly in New York.But now?"

The Scourge of Hygiene Theater - The Atlantic - "To some American companies and Florida men, COVID-19 is apparently a war that will be won through antimicrobial blasting, to ensure that pathogens are banished from every square inch of America’s surface area.But what if this is all just a huge waste of time?In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines to clarify that while COVID-19 spreads easily among speakers and sneezers in close encounters, touching a surface “isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” Other scientists have reached a more forceful conclusion. “Surface transmission of COVID-19 is not justified at all by the science,” Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told me. He also emphasized the primacy of airborne person-to-person transmission. There is a historical echo here. After 9/11, physical security became a national obsession, especially in airports, where the Transportation Security Administration patted down the crotches of innumerable grandmothers for possible explosives. My colleague Jim Fallows repeatedly referred to this wasteful bonanza as “security theater.” COVID-19 has reawakened America’s spirit of misdirected anxiety, inspiring businesses and families to obsess over risk-reduction rituals that make us feel safer but don’t actually do much to reduce risk—even as more dangerous activities are still allowed. This is hygiene theater... The fact that surface areas—or “fomites,” in medical jargon—are less likely to convey the virus might seem counterintuitive to people who have internalized certain notions of grimy germs, or who read many news articles in March about the danger of COVID-19-contaminated food. Backing up those scary stories were several U.S. studies that found that COVID-19 particles could survive on surfaces for many hours and even days.But in a July article in the medical journal The Lancet, Goldman excoriated those conclusions. All those studies that made COVID-19 seem likely to live for days on metal and paper bags were based on unrealistically strong concentrations of the virus. As he explained to me, as many as 100 people would need to sneeze on the same area of a table to mimic some of their experimental conditions. The studies “stacked the deck to get a result that bears no resemblance to the real world"... A good case study of how the coronavirus spreads, and does not spread, is the famous March outbreak in a mixed-use skyscraper in Seoul, South Korea. On one side of the 11th floor of the building, about half the members of a chatty call center got sick. But less than 1 percent of the remainder of the building contracted COVID-19, even though more than 1,000 workers and residents shared elevators and were surely touching the same buttons within minutes of one another... “In the entire peer-reviewed COVID-19 literature, I’ve found maybe one truly plausible report, in Singapore, of fomite transmission. And even there, it is not a slam-dunk case.”... the excesses of hygiene theater have negative consequences.For one thing, an obsession with contaminated surfaces distracts from more effective ways to combat COVID-19. “People have prevention fatigue,” Goldman told me. “They’re exhausted by all the information we’re throwing at them. We have to communicate priorities clearly; otherwise, they’ll be overloaded.” Hygiene theater can take limited resources away from more important goals... Money that could be spent on distributing masks, or on PSA campaigns about distancing, or actual subway service, is being poured into antiseptic experiments that might be entirely unnecessary. Worst of all, these cleaning sessions shut down trains for hours in the early morning, hurting countless late-night workers and early-morning commuters... In Japan, ridership has returned to normal, and outbreaks traced to its famously crowded public transit system have been so scarce that the Japanese virologist Hitoshi Oshitani concluded, in an email to The Atlantic, that “transmission on the train is not common.”... hygiene theater builds a false sense of security, which can ironically lead to more infections. Many bars, indoor restaurants, and gyms, where patrons are huffing and puffing one another’s stale air, shouldn’t be open at all. They should be shut down and bailed out by the government until the pandemic is under control. No amount of soap and bleach changes this calculation."
Security and hygiene theatre are, like mask fetishism, a security blanket
How ironic that the writer mentions masks without considering that they have many of the same problems as hygiene theatre

Is It Okay to Go to the Beach? - The Atlantic - "why on Earth do so many articles about this crisis feature pictures of people frolicking on wide-open beaches? Why is an attorney dressed as the grim reaper bothering beachgoers in Jacksonville, Florida? Why are cities such as Los Angeles shutting down beaches?The answer, unfortunately, goes a long way to explain why, of all the developed, rich nations, the United States may well be stuck in the worst-case scenario, and for the longest amount of time.Our national pandemic conversation, like almost everything else, has turned into a polarized, contentious tug-of-war in which evidence sometimes matters less than what team someone is on. And in a particularly American fashion, we’ve turned a public-health catastrophe into a fight among factions, in which the virus is treated as a moral agent that will disproportionately smite one’s ideological enemies—while presumably sparing the moral and the righteous—rather than as a pathogen that spreads more effectively in some settings or through some behaviors, which are impervious to moral or ideological hierarchy. Add in our broken digital public sphere, where anger and outrage more easily bring in the retweets, likes, and clicks, and where bikini pictures probably do not hurt, and we have the makings of the confused, unscientific, harmful, and counterproductive environment we find ourselves in now.  “You’d think from the moral outrage about these beach photos that fun, in itself, transmits the virus,” the Harvard epidemiologist Julia Marcus told me. “But when people find lower-risk ways to enjoy their lives, that’s actually a public-health win.”The beach shaming is especially terrible because, so many months in, we now know that the virus spreads most readily indoors, especially in unventilated, crowded spaces, and even more so in such spaces where people are talking or singing without masks. Outdoor transmission isn't impossible, of course, but being outdoors is protective for scientifically well-understood reasons: Open air dilutes the concentration of virus in the air one breathes, sunlight can help kill viruses, and people have more room to stay apart in the great outdoors than within walled spaces. In other words, one can hardly imagine a comparatively safer environment than a sunny, windy ocean beach. It’s not that there is any activity with absolutely zero risk, but the beach may well be as good as it gets—if people stay socially distant, which is much easier to do on a big beach.And yet many news organizations have seized upon beaches, and scenes of beachgoers, as a sign of why things are so bad in the United States. For example, a New York Times article about the “disturbing” number of younger cases featured a beach photo with two women—in bikinis—who are very far away from everyone else in the image frame, who are also clearly far away from everyone else, alone or in small groups. They’re demonstrating the ideal precautions public-health experts have been begging us to undertake for months. Similarly, a Washington Post article talking about how Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, became “a coronavirus petri dish” includes a picture with the caption “Crowds pack the beach in Myrtle Beach,” but the very few people in the photo are separated by tens or even hundreds of feet, at least, and there are no crowds and no packing. Still, people enthusiastically retweet or share photos of beaches in disgust, even when the photograph shows no crowding whatsoever. Worse, many photos make a scene look more packed than it actually is, because of the way the camera lens or the angle distorts the distances. It’s gotten to the point where even articles about the coronavirus in cities that don’t have a beach feature photos of beaches... A pandemic is a communications emergency, as the saying goes, and the only effective way to communicate risk effectively is to tell people the truth in plain language, and to give them evidence-based advice on reducing risk. Furious scolding about the least risky part of a potentially risky chain of activities is certain to backfire. When we scold, people stop listening, especially when they figure out that the scolding isn’t evidence-based—and they eventually will. When authorities close parks and beaches without strong scientific evidence, socializing may well move out of sight to more dangerous settings indoors... This furious scolding isn’t limited to beaches, but often to anything that can be deemed frivolous. But that is no way to sustain ourselves through a pandemic that may last another year"
Covid-19 hysteria satisfies many needs

Research Suggests a Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and COVID-19 Deaths - "This research adds to a growing body of scientific literature linking vitamin D to COVID-19 severity"
Of course, if you don't go outdoors you get less Vitamin D. So the vicious circle will justify more hysteria

Toronto says there's no evidence of a COVID-19 spike related to Trinity Bellwoods so far - "More than two weeks after thousands of young people gathered in Trinity Bellwoods Park to socialize and party, Toronto Public Health says there has been "no evidence" of a spike in new cases that can be linked back to that day. This will likely come as a surprise to many, as the Bellwoods crowds were the subject of much public shaming and blaming due to their lack of social distancing and mask usage at the time."

Another Coronavirus Nursing-Home Disaster Is Coming - The Atlantic - "Of the country’s nearly 130,000 coronavirus deaths, more than 40 percent have been residents or employees of nursing homes and long-term-care facilities... yet, state and federal officials seem to be doing little to protect the elderly from further devastation... Nursing homes’ COVID-19 deaths may seem inevitable, given that their elderly residents live cooped up together. But according to interviews with nearly a dozen nursing-home experts, it didn’t have to be this way. Worldwide, entire cities and individual nursing homes have remained coronavirus-free... Immediately after the 2003 outbreak, the Hong Kong government launched a revamped policy of infectious-disease control that required nursing homes to have a designated, government-trained infection-control officer, according to Lum. All nursing homes had to maintain at least a month’s supply of face masks and other PPE.As soon as COVID-19 broke out in Hong Kong, in January of this year, its nursing homes halted nonurgent hospital trips among residents as well as family visitation, Lum said. Nursing-home staffers donned masks as they cared for the residents. Any nursing-home residents who caught COVID-19 were isolated in hospital coronavirus wards—not in nursing homes—until they had tested negative for the virus at least twice.There was a human cost to the lack of family visits, Lum told me; patients who had dementia deteriorated more quickly without social interaction. But nursing-home administrators were certain that if even one COVID-19 case snuck into a nursing home, it would spark a conflagration with tragic results. Some American nursing homes have likewise succeeded at keeping out the coronavirus... To make matters worse, nursing homes across the U.S. took in COVID-19 patients from hospitals... Adding to the challenge is that it’s not clear whose problem the nursing-home shortcomings are. Considering CMS is tasked with nursing-home safety, if the agency doesn’t “have enough resources, they should be going to Congress and demanding those resources,” Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of CMS under President Barack Obama, told me... nursing homes received different levels of help and guidance from states and localities. Some states helped nursing homes test all of their staff, for example, while others didn’t" Clearly, Trump is the only one to blame for this since the US does not have a federal system

CBC attacks Scheer for breaking lockdown rules, gives Trudeau a free pass three times - "The CBC is mandated with the task of providing non-partisan coverage to Canadians. It is funded by 100 percent of the population to do so. In recent years, however, it has hardly attempted to veil their admiration for the prime minister—losing viewers rapidly as a result"

New York’s policies clearly failed to flatten the curve.Florida, meanwhile, did not have a surge. Deaths were kept much lower, even on a population-adjusted basis, than New York.In other words, Florida successfully flattened the curve.However, just as the initial charts from March predicted, a state that successfully flattens the curve doesn’t avoid a surge, it just delays it. And that’s what’s happening in states like Florida right now. Because there have been so few cases, not as many people are immune, and the state remains vulnerable to outbreaks.But by delaying the outbreaks, states like Florida now have better treatments available, and have had more time to put in place better protocols to protect the at risk population (the elderly).So while Florida and Texas and California are having more cases right now, their death rates are much lower than the states that didn’t flatten their curves, like New York and New Jersey.Indeed, a recent analysis of the case data seems to bolster this notion. According to an analysis of every county in the country with at least 100 cases, “Surges seem to be most intense in counties that had avoided the worst coronavirus outbreaks earlier this year.”In other words, the counties experiencing the highest number of new cases now are the ones that were relatively unscathed in the spring. And vice versa. The real test going forward will not be whether the number of cases stays low, but whether the death rate remains lower than in places like New York. If the “flatten the curve” advocates were correct, places like Florida will see an increase in deaths, but nowhere near as severe as in New York."

How Long Does COVID-19 Immunity Last? - The Atlantic - "“I was definitely very worried when I saw the headlines,” said Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. “But then I looked at the data. And actually, looking at the data, I feel okay about it.”... our immune system is a mysterious place, and the KCL study looked at only one part of it. When a new pathogen enters the body, our adaptive immune system calls up a team of B cells, which produce antibodies, and T cells... A growing collection of evidence suggests that T cells provide the strongest and longest-lasting immunity to COVID-19—but this study didn’t measure them at all... He pointed me to a study from France’s Strasbourg University Hospital, which found that some people recovering from COVID-19 showed strong T-cell responses without detectable antibodies... the virologist Shane Crotty told me that while the decline in antibodies was troubling, it was hardly catastrophic. “It’s not unusual to have fading antibody response after several months,” he said. “The drop-off isn’t that surprising. When you look at something like the smallpox vaccine, you see the antibody response is down about 75 percent after six months. But that’s a vaccine that works for decades."... low levels of antibodies can still be enough to knock out COVID-19, because they can prime a larger immune response some time later... a recent paper shows that 17 years after SARS first struck East Asia, many patients have “long-lasting T cell immunity” that might even be helping them fight COVID-19, a k a SARS-2."

Intrafamilial Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 Induces Cellular Immune Response without Seroconversion - "Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 can induce virus-specific T cell responses without seroconversion. T cell responses may be more sensitive indicators of SARS-Co-V-2 exposure than antibodies. Our results indicate that epidemiological data relying only on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies may lead to a substantial underestimation of prior exposure to the virus"

Flu and Heart Disease & Stroke - "Studies have shown that flu is associated with an increase of heart attacks and stroke. A 2018 study found that the risk of heart attack was 6 times higher within a week of confirmed flu infection. These findings were most pronounced for older adults and those experiencing their first heart attack."
This contextualises breathless claims about covid-19 complications

Inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine is associated with lower mortality among Covid-19 patients in Brazil

A Hand-Kissing Baba in Madhya Pradesh is Now a COVID-19 Super Spreader - "An Indian Healer Who Kissed Hands to Cure Coronavirus Died of Coronavirus"

Coronavirus: Dexamethasone proves first life-saving drug - "The low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus, UK experts say.The drug is part of the world's biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus.It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth... About 19 out of 20 patients with coronavirus recover without being admitted to hospital. Of those who are admitted, most also recover... The Recovery Trial, running since March, also looked at the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which has subsequently been ditched amid concerns it increases fatalities and heart problems.The antiviral drug remdesivir, meanwhile, which appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus, is already being made available on the NHS... So far, the only other drug proven to benefit Covid patients is remdesivir, which has been used for Ebola.That has been shown to reduce the duration of coronavirus symptoms from 15 days to 11.But the evidence was not strong enough to show whether it reduced mortality.Unlike dexamethasone, remdesivir is a new drug with limited supplies and a price has yet to be announced."

With liquor shops locked down, 10 die in India drinking sanitiser - "Ten men died in a southern Indian state on Friday (July 31) after consuming alcohol-derived sanitizer, as local liquor shops were closed due to a coronavirus-related lockdown"

Study says over 75% of respondents gaining weight in pandemic
Of course, we know that no one dies from obesity so lockdown harms no one

Rogan O’Handley 🇺🇸 on Twitter - "If you’re outraged by Trump saying “Kung Flu”, but not by Cuomo forcing infected COVID patients into nursing homes You might be a fraud"
This is a great example of words speaking louder than actions to liberals

Ben Hart - "AUSTRALIA vs SWEDEN on COVID: Exact same point I made yesterday about Japan. Australia set out to crush Covid. Imposed draconian lockdowns (like NY and NJ). And they did it early. Australia was held out as the model for how we should have handled Covid. Sweden, by contrast, did nothing. El Zippo. Zero, zilch, nada. Bars, restaurants, movie theaters, schools stayed open throughout. Sweden decided to allow the virus to just run its course and let herd immunity build. Death rate in Sweden about the same as the rest of Europe and here. But the crisis is over in Sweden. And Sweden never shut down its economy. Now Australia is under a super-charged lockdown. It's like living in North Korea. They think that will crush the virus. Same thing is happening in Japan, Israel and much of Europe. They thought they had beaten Covid. But as soon as restrictions ease, it's baaaaack -- until the virus runs its course and herd immunity is achieved. We can either bite the bullet and go the Sweden route and get this over with quick. Or we can be stuck with this for many more months with absurd lockdowns, restrictions and social distancing, and end up in exactly the same spot at the end -- but with a shattered economy. Many more people die from these lockdowns and economic ruin than die from Covid. We can slow down Covid's spread with lockdowns. But as soon as the lockdowns and social restrictions relax, the virus springs back to life. No way to stop the virus because we have no vaccine. I'm betting we never get a vaccine. We might get something like a Flu shot, which is only 40% effective in years we get it right. We almost never get a real vaccine for a virus because viruses constantly mutate and change. So I'm betting against any kind of effective vaccine. All these lockdowns and restrictions are in vain. They produce nothing but poverty, misery and death. There's nothing we can do about this virus except let it run its course -- like Sweden did."

Unicef warns lockdown could kill more than Covid-19 as model predicts 1.2 million child deaths - "The risk of children dying from malaria, pneumonia or diarrhoea in developing countries is spiralling due to the pandemic and “far outweighs any threat presented by the coronavirus”, Unicef has warned.In an exclusive interview Dr Stefan Peterson, chief of health at Unicef, cautioned that the blanket lockdowns imposed in many low and middle income are not an effective way to control Covid-19 and could have deadly repercussions... “One size fits no one. The objective is to slow the virus, not to lockdown people. “We need to lift our eyes and look at the total picture of public health.” According to a stark report published in Lancet Global Health journal on Wednesday, almost 1.2 million children could die in the next six months due to the disruption to health services and food supplies caused by the coronavirus pandemic... In some countries the public are also avoiding hospitals and health centres for fear of picking up Covid-19, while services have also been diverted to focus on the pandemic. Vaccination campaigns against diseases including measles have also been disrupted - at least 117 million children worldwide are likely to miss out on routine immunisations this year.Dr Peterson warned that these trends have resulted in a reduction in the “effective utilisation of services” - a shift which, in some places, could be more dangerous than the virus itself.  And lockdowns have a heavy economic toll, which could trigger a rise in poverty and malnutrition... Such a situation has some precedent - research has shown that in 2014, during the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, more people died from indirect effects than the disease itself. But the scale of the pandemic means the consequences will be far greater... he was concerned that the current battle against Covid-19 was turning into a “child’s rights crisis” and robbing a generation of their health, education and economic prospects."
It is better that ten kids die due to lockdown than that one gets covid-19.

Fauci warns of 'irreparable damage' if stay-at-home orders last too long - "Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, said on Friday that extended lockdowns could cause "irreparable" harm and worse health outcomes."We can't stay locked down for such a considerable period of time that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences, including consequences for health"... Fauci's remarks echoed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's earlier this week. During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Mnuchin said there was a "risk of permanent damage" if states delayed reopening their economies"
Fauci just wants grandma to die!

‘The Biggest Monster’ Is Spreading. And It’s Not the Coronavirus. - The New York Times - "According to one estimate, a three-month lockdown across different parts of the world and a gradual return to normal over 10 months could result in an additional 6.3 million cases of tuberculosis and 1.4 million deaths from it. A six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy may lead to more than 500,000 additional deaths from illnesses related to H.I.V., according to the W.H.O. Another model by the W.H.O. predicted that in the worst-case scenario, deaths from malaria could double to 770,000 per year... “Nobody is testing for TB at any facility,” he said. “The mind of clinicians in Mexico, as well as decision makers, is stuck with Covid-19.”“TB is the biggest monster of them all. If we’re talking about deaths and pandemics, 10 million cases a year,” he said, Covid doesn’t compare yet to that toll... The pandemic is also shrinking the supply of diagnostic tests for these killers as companies turn to making more expensive tests to detect the coronavirus. Cepheid, the California-based manufacturer of TB diagnostic tests, has pivoted to making tests for the coronavirus. Companies that make diagnostic tests for malaria are doing the same, according to Dr. Catharina Boehme, the chief executive of the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics.Coronavirus tests are much more lucrative, at about $10, compared with 18 cents for a rapid malaria test... The pandemic has hindered the availability of drugs for H.I.V., TB and malaria worldwide by interrupting supply chains, diverting manufacturing capacity and imposing physical barriers for patients who must travel to distant clinics to pick up the medications."

Extra 10,000 dementia deaths in England and Wales in April - "There were almost 10,000 unexplained extra deaths among people with dementia in England and Wales in April, according to official figures that have prompted alarm about the severe impact of social isolation on people with the condition. The data, from the Office for National Statistics, reveals that, beyond deaths directly linked to Covid-19, there were 83% more deaths from dementia than usual in April, with charities warning that a reduction in essential medical care and family visits were taking a devastating toll... A survey of 128 care homes by Alzheimer’s Society reveals that 79% report that lack of social contact is causing a deterioration in the health and wellbeing of their residents with dementia. Relatives of those with dementia in care homes have spoken of their loved ones feeling confused and abandoned, stopping eating and losing the ability to speak. One man told the charity he was “really fearful my wife won’t recognise me at the end of this”... The charity thinks the increased numbers of deaths from dementia are resulting partly from increased cognitive impairment caused by isolation, the reduction in essential care as family carers cannot visit, and the onset of depression as people with dementia do not understand why loved ones are no longer visiting, causing them to lose skills and independence, such as the ability to speak or even stopping eating and drinking.Another factor may be interruptions to usual health services, with more than three-quarters of care homes reporting that GPs have been reluctant to visit residents."
Meanwhile the UK only had 46,566 deaths - in total - from covid-19 up till August 8th

The COVID-19 shutdown will cost Americans millions of years of life - "The policies have created the greatest global economic disruption in history, with trillions of dollars of lost economic output. These financial losses have been falsely portrayed as purely economic. To the contrary, using numerous National Institutes of Health Public Access publications, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and various actuarial tables, we calculate that these policies will cause devastating non-economic consequences that will total millions of accumulated years of life lost in the United States, far beyond what the virus itself has caused... In addition to lives lost because of lost income, lives also are lost due to delayed or foregone health care imposed by the shutdown and the fear it creates among patients... These unintended consequences of missed health care amount to more than 500,000 lost years of life per month, not including all the other known skipped care.If we only consider unemployment-related fatalities from the economic shutdown, that would total at least an additional 7,200 lives per month. Assuming these deaths occur proportionally across the ages of current U.S. mortality data, and equally among men and women, this amounts to more than 200,000 lost years of life for each month of the economic shutdown.In comparison, COVID-19 fatalities have fallen disproportionately on the elderly, particularly in nursing homes, and those with co-morbidities. Based on the expected remaining lifetimes of these COVID-19 patients, and given that 40 percent of deaths are in nursing homes, the disease has been responsible for 800,000 lost years of life so far. Considering only the losses of life from missed health care and unemployment due solely to the lockdown policy, we conservatively estimate that the national lockdown is responsible for at least 700,000 lost years of life every month, or about 1.5 million so far — already far surpassing the COVID-19 total... To end the loss of life from the economic lockdown, businesses as well as K-12 schools, public transportation, parks and beaches should smartly reopen with enhanced hygiene and science-based protection warnings for any in the high-risk population. For most of the country, that reopening should occur now, without any unnecessary fear-based restrictions, many of which repeat the error of disregarding the evidence"

Longitudinal changes in mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from the UK Household Longitudinal Study - "The percentage of participants experiencing mental health problems (GHQ-12 score ≥3) increased from 23.4% in 2017–2019 to 37.1% in April, 2020. All population subgroups examined showed statistically significant increases in mental health problems"

Sargon of Akkad - Posts - "Who Britons would hold most responsible if the UK was to suffer a second wave of coronavirus:
The public: 52%
The government: 31%"
"This reflects two different worldviews. Conservative voters believe in the power of the individual, Labour voters believe in the power of the state."

Being Classically Liberal - Posts - "The whole COVID situation is increasingly ridiculous.Lockdowns and social distancing mandates were sold as temporary and effective solutions, but 6 months later, it should be clear to everyone this has not been the case.Even places like California, which locked down early and hard, the pandemic is raging worse than it was months ago.Given the fact that “experts” argue for continued lockdowns and restrictions, it seems like they want to keep the US locked down indefinitely while completely ignoring the unintended deleterious effects of these measures."

Without compassionate exemption, quarantined Kiwi watches terminally-ill mum die over FaceTime
The cost of "victory" against covid-19

In A Twist On Loyalty Programs, Emirates Is Promising Travelers A Free Funeral If Infected With Covid - "Emirates’ insurance for travelers stipulates that if one of its passengers is diagnosed with COVID-19 during their journey, the Dubai-based airline will cover their medical expenses, up to €150,000 (about $176,000). It will pay €100 ($118) per day for quarantine costs – such as a hotel room – for up to two weeks.And if the worst happens, Emirates will offer €1,500 (about $1,765) for a passenger's funeral. The insurance is automatic with ticketing, effective immediately, and carries no fees for travelers."

France to transform surplus wine into hand sanitiser - "Major wine-producing countries such as Spain and Italy have resorted to similar measures to regulate the excess, as well as to the exceptional destruction of young grape vines."

Prof Karol Sikora: Covid-19 death toll may be less than half of what has been recorded - "The Covid-19 death toll may be less than half of what has been recorded because many victims of the pandemic would have died soon anyway, one of Britain's leading medics has said.Professor Karol Sikora, a senior oncologist who has built a huge Twitter following for his positive takes on the virus crisis, said doctors were sometimes too eager to put Covid-19 on death certificates.Speaking to The Telegraph's Planet Normal podcast – which you can listen to on the player above – Prof Sikora said the virus would be mentioned on death certificates when there was "any hint" that it could have been the cause, without proof, as well as retrospectively over the phone... Prof Sikora predicted that the overall death numbers at the end of the year would show that many of those who have died over the course of the pandemic would have died by the summer anyway... "It could end up that more people have died because of lack of medical care directly caused by the unavailability of it, because its facilities have been taken over for Covid... deaths for June were already "below what you'd expect for the yearly average in the summer". "The reason for that is simply that many of the people, sadly, that would have died in June, July and August, actually died during the peak of the pandemic," he said."

Opinion | It’s 2022. What Does Life Look Like? - The New York Times - "some of the virus-related destruction will have damaging side effects. When local newspapers close, corruption and political polarization tend to rise, while voter turnout tends to fall, academic research has found. Cuts to higher-education budgets could make it even harder for poor and middle-class students to graduate."

Milwaukee police’s stay-at-home arrests reveal disparities - "African Americans make up the majority of residents arrested on charges of violating Milwaukee’s stay-at-home order, according to data obtained from the Milwaukee Police Department through a public records request.Of the 177 individuals arrested from March 27 to May 12, 138 were African American (78%), and 21 were Hispanic (12%), according to MPD data. Only 6% of those arrested were white... “The Milwaukee Police Department took great pains to ensure that our members educated the public prior to taking enforcement action.” But leaders from the ACLU of Wisconsin say the arrests point to a troubling pattern by the Milwaukee Police Department."
Clear proof that "white supremacy" and "structural racism" are why minorities are dying more from covid-19!

NHS officials told me Muslim households are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus – it’s important to understand why - "Many Muslims live in extended families, often, like my household, with three generations under one roof. This means there are a higher number of carriers who can (and often will) infect an elderly relative. An older person cannot effectively self-isolate when they are living in close quarters with their children, grand-children and perhaps even extended family. We are all social creatures, but maybe Muslims are more social than most. We eat together – often from one plate, sharing utensils and side dishes. For many Muslims, social intimacy like handshakes and hugs are so hardwired into their behaviour that the week-old invention of “social distancing” is both alien and absurd to them... During Friday prayers (attendance at which is, under normal circumstances, an obligation for most Muslims), the close proximity of worshippers makes the spread of coronavirus a near certainty... A ban on gatherings of more than 100 people is essentially a ban on Muslim funerals – I have never been to one with fewer than 300 attendees."

The Unique U.S. Failure to Control the Virus - The New York Times - "When it comes to the virus, the United States has come to resemble not the wealthy and powerful countries to which it is often compared but instead far poorer countries, like Brazil, Peru and South Africa, or those with large migrant populations, like Bahrain and Oman... the United States faced longstanding challenges in confronting a major pandemic. It is a large country at the nexus of the global economy, with a tradition of prioritizing individualism over government restrictions. That tradition is one reason the United States suffers from an unequal health care system that has long produced worse medical outcomes — including higher infant mortality and diabetes rates and lower life expectancy — than in most other rich countries... many agree that the poor results in the United States stem in substantial measure from the performance of the Trump administration... Some Republican governors have followed his lead and also played down the virus, while others have largely followed the science. Democratic governors have more reliably heeded scientific advice, but their performance in containing the virus has been uneven...
Already, the American death toll is of a different order of magnitude than in most other countries. With only 4 percent of the world’s population, the United States has accounted for 22 percent of coronavirus deaths...
“People need a bit more than a suggestion to look after their own health,” said Dr. Mackay, who has been working with Australian officials on their pandemic response. “They need guidelines, they need rules — and they need to be enforced.” Travel restrictions and quarantines were central to the success in controlling the virus in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia, as well as New Zealand, many epidemiologists believe... By the time the virus became a problem in Germany, labs around the country had thousands of test kits ready to use. From the beginning, the government covered the cost of the tests. American laboratories often charge patients about $100 for a test.Without free tests, Dr. Hendrik Streeck, director of the Institute of Virology at the University Hospital Bonn, said at the time, “a young person with no health insurance and an itchy throat is unlikely to go to the doctor and therefore risks infecting more people.”... In large parts of the United States, officials chose to reopen before medical experts thought it wise, in an attempt to put people back to work and spark the economy. Instead, the United States sparked a huge new virus outbreak — and the economy did not seem to benefit... The United States has not performed uniquely poorly on every measure of the virus response.Mask wearing is more common than throughout much of Scandinavia and Australia, according to surveys by YouGov and Imperial College London. The total death rate is still higher in Spain, Italy and Britain. But there is one way — in addition to the scale of the continuing outbreaks and deaths — that the United States stands apart: In no other high-income country have the messages from political leaders been nearly so mixed and confusing."
In a federal system, the federal government apparently bears all the responibility for any failures. And in a country with a strong tradition of checks and balance (e.g. lawsuits challenging interstate travel restrictions and quarantines)...
Mask fetishists must be confused

Partitioning the Curve — Interstate Travel Restrictions During the Covid-19 Pandemic - "In the United States, attempts to restrict interstate travel present distinctive legal issues... When laws infringing the right to travel across state lines are challenged in court, they are usually subjected to heightened scrutiny... One court suspended Kentucky’s orders that residents and nonresidents entering the state must self-quarantine for 14 days, finding them overbroad... the court that initially upheld Maine’s order was persuaded that it discriminated against out-of-state residents in practice because visitors who don’t own a home in Maine would have greater difficulty self-quarantining. This finding matters because when states treat out-of-state travelers differently, they confront greater constitutional uncertainty than when their regulations affect residents and nonresidents even-handedly. Courts are mindful that, historically, differential travel restrictions have served as a pretext for turning away minorities or impoverished people and for economic protectionism. Courts also tend to be more skeptical when exceptions are granted to some interests and activities but not to other, similar ones. In sum, states seeking to impose interstate travel restrictions must navigate a very uncertain legal path"

Around 40% Of U.S. Adults Have Underlying Health Conditions That Lead To Severe Covid-19 Illnesses - "Around 40% of adults in the United States possess one of the five underlying medical conditions that most prominently lead to severe symptoms upon contracting Covid-19, with the highest prevalence in Southern states that are currently seeing surging daily case totals... Individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and obesity experience more complications from the virus"
This is part of the reason why the US has so many cases and deaths

I-Team: Deaths incorrectly attributed to COVID-19 in Palm Beach County - "A 60-year-old man who died from a gun shot wound to the head.A 90-year-old man who fell and died from complications of a hip fracture.A 77-year-old woman who died of Parkinson's disease... of the 581 deaths on the spreadsheet, only 169 deaths are listed as COVID without any contributing factors. Governor Ron DeSantis said in a recent appearance on Fox News that his office is aware of deaths incorrectly attributed to COVID-19, like the case of a man in Orange County who died in a motorcycle crash, but was listed as a COVID death"

NBC Virus Expert Who Claimed He Had ‘Undiagnosed’ COVID-19 Reveals He Never Had Virus - "“What Fair, Todd, and NBC News didn’t tell the audience is that before he made this claim, Fair had already tested negative for COVID-19 at least five times,” Inside Sources reports. “Fair followed that up with an antibody test to detect if he’d ever had the virus. The results were negative.”“And now we know Dr. Fair never had coronavirus, despite nearly a dozen appearances on NBC and MSNBC where he talked about having it or recovering from it”... 'NBC’s viewers were left with two very alarming — and false — impressions. First, that an expert virologist can take every precaution but can still catch COVID-19 through his eyes. False. Second, that tests can be so untrustworthy that you can have multiple negative tests and still have coronavirus. [Today co-host] Craig Melvin described them as ‘false negative tests’ in that initial report on May 14. Hoda Kotb said, ‘every time it came back negative, but clearly you have it.’ False.'"

When Can I Travel to Uzbekistan? Now, But Most Tourists Must Quarantine - "Having rapidly shut its borders in March, Uzbekistan was well set up to make it through these strange and surreal times with few major outbreaks. Now the central Asian country is gradually lifting its lockdown – and the country’s government says that if travellers catch Covid-19 during their trip, they will receive $3,000 (£2,400, A$4,400) in compensation.The guarantee protects all travellers who visit Uzbekistan as part of a group tour led by a local guide. The sum is equivalent to the cost of care travellers would receive in the country should they test positive.It’s quite the opposite approach to Cambodia, which is requiring visitors pay a deposit of $3,000 upon arrival in case they fall ill while abroad. The money would be used to cover medical fees, food and accommodation."

US bankers stole $7 trillion during COVID-19 lockdown, destroyed small businesses
Even by the standards of silly articles, this is ridiculous. There isn't even an attempt to conjure up voodoo logic to calculate the alleged $7 trillion figure

Covid-19 and the creeping state | The Spectator Australia - "Initially, most New Zealanders acquiesced to what has been assessed as ‘the most significant impact on human rights in living memory’, with government imposing lockdown level four. However, the estimated number of deaths of those unable to access hospitals for scheduled cancer, kidney, heart and other urgent surgery and care is apparently going to be far greater than from Covid-19... A country facing virtual financial ruin is now saying enough is enough. Growing  opinion is that there was no need for the government to strangle the economy as it has, given that the Australians, with similar results, are keeping theirs ticking over. This is partly because of the scandal arising from leaked Crown Law advice from Bronagh McKenna to the government, including Attorney-General, David Parker, and the present and previous police commissioners, showing that apparently, for the first nine days of the lockdown, our government acted ultra vires – beyond its legal power... However  the attorney-general and police commissioners apparently wanted this kept under wraps, possibly because anyone harassed or arrested by the police for non-compliance issues might now be able to claim damages. Ardern’s government is now accused of breaking its own laws and, by enforcing these illegal actions, behaving despotically... Other issues have arisen in relation to Miss Ardern’s constant exhortations to be kind, compassionate and put teddy bears in our front windows for a reason which escapes me. This compassion was not extended to the lonely, the ill and elderly dying in rest homes and hospitals... For example, the quarantined Christchurch man pleading to see his dying wife one last time. With no illness symptoms and a letter of support from his GP, his exemption request was repeatedly denied, although he was willing to travel with personal protective equipment and undergo physical distancing. Most New Zealanders think this is outrageous – as with the woman forced to give birth in isolation, without her husband, or the mother allowed only a body bag glimpse of her dead teenage son. However, the feisty Oliver Christiansen, coming halfway around the world to see his dying father, and refused more than once, obtained a court decision making the Ministry of Health back down and  review their procedures, with Ardern belatedly invoking compassion – honoured in theory. Questions have also been raised about her government’s racist bias in granting $NZ56 million to Maori interests to manage Covid-19 – but only $27 million to the usual accredited welfare agencies. Moreover, with no longer any full-blooded Maori in New Zealand, nor any scientifically-accepted definition, individuals of European descent with as little as 1/8, 1/16, or 1/32 Maori genetic inheritance can and do constantly claim disadvantage – or to manage these handouts. The police have also tolerated illegal roadblocks erected by various part-Maori groups, including gang members. One excuse proffered was that if these were challenged, a larger police presence would be required. So much for mob rule. With the public envisaging quite different action if others set up their own roadblocks, the reputation of our police force for impartiality has not been enhanced."

Covid-19: Most of World May Face Virus Without Vaccine - Bloomberg - "Winter is coming before the vaccine. There will be an increase in cases, and there will be problems containing it because people seem not very amenable to more constraints in their movement and freedom... I would assume that by the middle of next year a significant portion of the world will have antibodies. That will increase gradually over time. Then there will be a third wave, and when that is over, I would think that 80% of the world may have antibodies if lockdowns are not instituted, which I doubt... It’s not the vaccine that’s going to end the pandemic. The virus will end this pandemic by burning every piece of dry wood it will find. The fire will not go out before the last susceptible person has been affected.Then the question is what role will any vaccine play afterward... We have to find a way to open our community in a way that supports our long-term medical goal, which is the least number of casualties over time, knowing that you cannot avoid the spread of infection. There is no other tool available... We have to live with this virus and we have to find a proper way to ensure that when we are through with this we look back and say we did the best to prevent death and disease. But we cannot do the ostrich policy here and hope that some miracle will happen and the virus will disappear. The perfect strategy isn’t available."

India: COVID-19 patient dies after family unplugs ventilator to turn on cooler - "A COVID-19 patient in Rajasthan's Kota district died after his family disconnected the ventilator to plug in the air cooler to combat the scorching heat... The family members of the COVID-19 patient, who came to meet him in the MBS hospital, unplugged the ventilator and had put on the cooler switch that they had brought from outside. The ventilator worked for some time on battery but later it collapsed and the patient turned critical. The doctors were reported of the patient's critical condition who came rushing and did all they could do to save his life, but the result was unfavourable and the patient died.The relatives, on the other hand, attacked the resident doctors after the patient died"

Hydroxychloroquine being 'discarded prematurely', say scientists - "A trial investigating the drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventative treatment against Covid-19 may never find out if it's effective, say scientists involved.Controversy around the drug - touted by President Trump and the subject of online misinformation - is stopping completion of the trial, they say.It is ineffective in hospitalised patients, but investigators hope it might work if given earlier on.Hospitals have pulled out of the trial... "We know now that it doesn't work in treatment of hospitalised patients," says Prof Nick White, one of the study's investigators."But it's still is a medicine that may prove beneficial in preventing Covid-19."The UK medicines regulatory body MHRA halted hydroxychloroquine trials, following a now-discredited paper in The Lancet claiming it caused harms. Trials resumed in late June but the investigators says these concerns over safety, and the drug's politicisation, have made it difficult to get participants."
Many people's reactions to hydroxychloroquine - whether fervently for or against - say more about them than the drug.

Surgisphere: governments and WHO changed Covid-19 policy based on suspect data from tiny US company - "The World Health Organization and a number of national governments have changed their Covid-19 policies and treatments on the basis of flawed data from a little-known US healthcare analytics company, also calling into question the integrity of key studies published in some of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.A Guardian investigation can reveal the US-based company Surgisphere, whose handful of employees appear to include a science fiction writer and an adult-content model, has provided data for multiple studies on Covid-19 co-authored by its chief executive, but has so far failed to adequately explain its data or methodology."

Coronavirus: Monkeys 'escape with COVID-19 samples' after attacking lab assistant

COULD COUNTRIES’ CULTURES CAUSE COVID-19 CASUALTIES? - "Geert Hofstede’s “Dimensions of Culture” is not a generally well-known concept for most people but scholars and management consultants use it to illustrate and explain how a society’s collective culture affects the values and behaviors of its citizens... I chose three of the six Hofstede's “cultural dimensions” that are deemed relevant to this discussion: Individualism (IDV), Short-term Orientation (STO) and Indulgence (IND) and added up these three indices... the lower the Cultural Sum CS=IDV+STO+IND, the lower the corresponding Death Rate DR for that country! In the table above with ten countries picked, the three East Asian countries with low CSs have death rates in single digits, and all four European countries have higher 3-digit CSs also have 3-digit DRs! Then the three “in-between” countries of Russia, Turkey and Iran have both CSs and DRs also in between the numbers for the two blocs of East/West countries... Please note that the "virus divide" is not 20-100% but 20 to 100 times between the "exemplary" Asian countres and most European and North American countries"

No Evidence That Domestic Violence Is Rising Due To COVID-19 - "The supporting evidence seems anecdotal and often histrionic; it is usually provided by advocates or organizations with a vested interest in DV funding. These factors do not invalidate the data offered, but they heighten the need for scrutiny and for more neutral sources to be checked... Some people will ask, “What’s the harm?” Apart from expending taxpayer money in a time of fiscal crisis, DV prevention is correctly considered to be a worthy cause that deserves compassion and cash. A great deal of harm occurs, however. DV is further politicized and pushed away from what is real about the issue. For example, media accounts almost always refer to the victim as female and the abuser as male even though the abuse of men is common"

Thailand’s ‘Monkey City’ overrun by gangs of hungry, horny macaques - "It’s been three months since Lopburi, Thailand, closed itself off to tourists due to the novel coronavirus — and three months since the city’s wild macaques last had a good banana."

Covid-19 vaccines in America could be undermined by the obesity epidemic - "Scientists know that vaccines engineered to protect the public from influenza, hepatitis B, tetanus and rabies can be less effective in obese adults than in the general population, leaving them more vulnerable to infection and illness. There is little reason to believe, obesity researchers say, that Covid-19 vaccines will be any different."
Cancel the sizeist vaccines!

Body positivity’s big silence | Spectator USA - "By now, we’ve all breezed over the rapidly diminished and forgotten grievance industry of the American left. We simply don’t have time for the petty fixations of the social-justice bourgeoisie... Nevertheless, social justice warriors persist to flail their way into the conversation, however feebly, and their buddies in the media still give them whatever airtime is left over. So far, they’ve hit all the boxes, except one... To acknowledge personal lifestyle choices and cultural differences is the ultimate blasphemy of progressive doctrine. Imagine if, instead of spending millions of the rapidly-depleting state budget on a ‘COVID-19 racial disparity task force’, as kooky Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer announced this week, she frankly told the public it all comes down to personal lifestyle choices — eat well and exercise and you’ll probably survive the next one. Fat people of all colors, ages, genders, and sexualities need to be extra careful."

Guy Lev Raz - "Remember how the Europeans did everything right (aside from that little blip of having higher-than-the-US per capita deaths in several countries) and “crushed the curve”? Yeah, about that. Virus gonna virus."

Coronavirus | 57% of Mumbai slum population has developed antibodies: Study - "A sero-surveillance study done in Mumbai has revealed that 57% of slum population and 16 per cent of non-slum residents in three civic wards had developed antibodies, indicating many people would already be affected by COVID-19 than the official tally suggests...  “These results will be valuable to learn more about herd immunity,” stated a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) release...  The civic body said the sero-surveillance survey also indicates that the infection fatality rate (IFR) is likely to be very low, in the range of 0.05-0.10 per cent."
When you consider T-cell immunity, the true number will be even higher

The infection fatality rate of COVID-19 inferred from seroprevalence data - "Infection fatality rates ranged from 0.00% to 1.63% and corrected values ranged from 0.00% to 1.31%. Across 32 different locations, the median infection fatality rate was 0.27% (corrected 0.24%). Most studies were done in pandemic epicenters with high death tolls... Among people <70 years old, infection fatality rates ranged from 0.00% to 0.57% with median of 0.05% across the different locations (corrected median of 0.04%)... Estimates of infection fatality rates inferred from seroprevalence studies tend to be much lower than original speculations made in the early days of the pandemic."

Lucas Lynch - "Coronavirus: 'Nature is sending us a message', says UN environment chief"
"This is "God sent us COVID-19 because we let gay people get married" for leftists.COVID-19 isn't nature's retribution. It's simply nature.In a state of nature, this happened all the time, with absolutely nothing to hold it back. We just forget what the good old days were like."

Containing COVID-19 with a two-day workweek - "A weekly cycle of 2 work days and 5 lockdown days can provide a good tradeoff between minimising health impact and maximising economic activity. It can keep the infection load low while allowing a sustainable, albeit reduced, economy. It can eradicate the virus without reaching herd immunity, thus preventing a large number of deaths."

Coronavirus: Swiss brothels to reopen on 6 June - with rules - "Swiss brothels have been given the green light to open on June 6 as the country exits lockdown, with strict health rules including keeping your faces 'one forearm length apart' during sex.Doggy style and reverse cowgirl positions are among those which would comply with the new rule - but threesomes are out and 'anal practices' will require gloves. Anonymity is also a thing of the past, because clients' personal details will have to be kept for four weeks in case they are needed for contact tracing. Rules drawn up by a sex workers' group also call for masks to be worn if possible and bed sheets to be washed after each client departs to stop the spread of coronavirus. Prostitution has been legal in Switzerland since 1942 and industry group ProKoRe has been lobbying the government to let it restart as soon as possible... The rules acknowledge that some of the Swiss government's preferred outcomes such as plexiglass screens between customers and staff are not achievable in brothels... Many protective measures in brothels or smaller studios can be checked by the police, they wrote.Sex positions cannot be monitored in this way but the same is true of private dealings between people and their doctors or therapists, ProKoRe says.'Kisses were only exchanged rarely even before the coronavirus pandemic,' the group points out."

So now you care about the economy? - "The brass neck is astonishing. The very same people who demanded lockdown are now complaining that lockdown has hurt the economy. Not only did they demand lockdown, they wanted a stricter lockdown, a longer lockdown – forever lockdown. The blow to the economy has been devastating. The UK has experienced the worst recession of any major nation. The drop in output dwarfs the Great Recession of 2008 and the Great Depression of the 1930s (though hopefully, the Covid depression won’t last as long). You have to go back to 1709, before the Industrial Revolution, to the Great Frost – the coldest winter of the past half-millenium – to find an event which has so devastated economic life.But this is fine, isn’t it? Time and again we were told it was selfish, reckless, callous to so much as raise a peep about the economy. Who cares about money when we should care about saving lives? Unsurprisingly, the brassiest neck of them all belongs to Piers Morgan, who has banged the drum for turning Britain into a Covid concentration camp practically since the first Chinese person caught a cough in Wuhan. Now he is bemoaning ‘the worst recession in Europe’. Whenever the lockdown was tentatively eased, Morgan was on hand to scream about the government ‘putting economic interests above lives’.Twitter went ballistic with every easing, too... The fact that cases continued to fall as the country opened up was steadfastly ignored by everyone.The question of the economy was framed in two ways: either as lives vs money, or – even more cynically – as poor people’s lives vs rich people’s money... In reality, of course, it is the poor who will suffer most from the explosion of joblessness, whereas the rich have grown fat on government bailouts and the spoils of people working from home. Big Tech is doing better than ever and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is on track to become the world’s first trillionaire. The economy and lives cannot be separated. The economy is people’s lives. When the economy gets worse, and people become unemployed, people’s health deteriorates. The government’s research estimates that deprivation caused by the lockdown could lead to an additional 15,000 to 17,000 deaths in the long run. Lockdown fanatics have found a way to get around this. Their argument is that an earlier, shorter lockdown would have avoided the economic pain... To this date, the country with the highest number of Covid deaths per capita is Belgium. Not only did Belgium have a much stricter lockdown than many countries in Europe, it also started much earlier, on 17 March – nearly a week before the UK... what they also ignore is the control group in this deranged lockdown experiment: Sweden. Sweden did not have a lockdown and has fared better than the UK both in terms of deaths from the virus and the economy. Certainly, Sweden still took an economic hit – there were restrictions and social-distancing guidance. But economically, Sweden has been hit less hard than other countries in Europe. Sweden has suffered its largest fall in GDP since the 1980s, rather than the 1700s."

44% of people in Singapore tired of rules to limit Covid-19 spread: Survey - "With seven in 10 Singaporeans saying the Covid-19 outbreak has lasted longer than they anticipated, people are becoming weary of the rules to limit the spread of the virus... 27 per cent said that having to wear a mask was the most frustrating virus countermeasure.One in five saw checking in with SafeEntry as a nuisance, while 14 per cent were unhappy about having to limit the size of physical gatherings with friends and family. People were also unhappy about not being able to travel overseas, events being cancelled or postponed, and entry to public facilities being limited. Stadiums, swimming complexes and gyms, for instance, have a restricted operating capacity of 10 sq m per person.Nearly four in 10 believed the rules were "a bit strict, but reasonable", while 5 per cent thought they were "overly restrictive"."

Horowitz: CDC: 25% of young adults seriously considered suicide during lockdown - "Sheriff Lamb has a message for the politicians: “You guys are only making decisions based on public health, but you are totally disregarding public safety. Your decisions are creating multiple public safety issues.”If only we had the desire and technology to create a dashboard and count all of the suicides, drug overdoses, violence, and depression cases created by the propagation of panic. “If it saves only one life …”"

Extreme poverty rises and a generation sees future slip away - "Decades of progress in one of modern history’s greatest achievements, the fight against extreme poverty, are in danger of slipping away because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The world could see its first increase in extreme poverty in 22 years, further sharpening social inequities."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delays election over Covid-19 - "New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she is delaying the country's parliamentary election by four weeks to October 17 after the reemergence of Covid-19 in the country last week.The announcement on Tuesday that locally acquired cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in the New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland, prompted the government to introduce strict level three lockdown measures on August 12. This comes after around 100 days without community spread.The rest of the country was put into level two lockdown, with both lockdown periods extended until at least August 26 as further cases of coronavirus were confirmed... New Zealand has already spent five weeks under one of the world's strictest lockdowns, which closed most businesses and schools from March 25, and saw people stay at home."
As if the hysteria shutting down Auckland (with even takeout closed) wasn't enough
Of course, the same people praising Ardern slammed Trump as a dictator when he suggested delaying elections - at the same time that they slam Trump for "murdering" all the covid-19 fatalities in the US and mocking him for "making" the US one of the worst affected developed countries

Evolving Virulence? Decreasing COVID-19 Complications among Massachusetts Healthcare Workers: A Cohort Study - "The hypothesis of attenuating SARS-CoV-2 virulence has been raised. We examined the temporal distribution of COVID-19 complications (ER visits, hospitalization, intubation/code, and/or death) among healthcare workers in one system that applied uniform screening criteria throughout the research period, and found the complication rate significantly decreased after April 15, 2020."

Coronavirus has downgraded from 'tiger to wild cat' and could die out without vaccine - "Coronavirus has downgraded from a "tiger to a wild cat" and could die out on its own without a vaccine, an infectious diseases specialist has claimed.Prof Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the Policlinico San Martino hospital in Italy, told The Telegraph that Covid-19 has been losing its virulence in the last month and patients who would have previously died are now recovering... "I think the virus has mutated because our immune system reacts to the virus and we have a lower viral load now due to the lockdown, mask-wearing, social distancing. We still have to demonstrate why it's different now."Yes, probably it could go away completely without a vaccine. We have fewer and fewer people infected and it could end up with the virus dying out."Prof Karol Sikora, an oncologist and chief medical officer at Rutherford Health, previously said it is likely the British public has more immunity than previously thought and Covid-19 could end up "petering out by itself"."

On My Mind: They Blinded Us From Science - "The first round of our Franklin Templeton–Gallup Economics of Recovery Study has already yielded three powerful and surprising insights:
Americans still misperceive the risks of death from COVID-19 for different age cohorts—to a shocking extent;
The misperception is greater for those who identify as Democrats, and for those who rely more on social media for information; partisanship and misinformation, to misquote Thomas Dolby, are blinding us from science...
On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.
Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.
Americans overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 for people aged 24 and younger by a factor of 50; and they think the risk for people aged 65 and older is half of what it actually is (40% vs 80%).
These results are nothing short of stunning. Mortality data have shown from the very beginning that the COVID-19 virus age-discriminates, with deaths overwhelmingly concentrated in people who are older and suffer comorbidities. This is perhaps the only uncontroversial piece of evidence we have about this virus. Nearly all US fatalities have been among people older than 55; and yet a large number of Americans are still convinced that the risk to those younger than 55 is almost the same as to those who are older. This misperception translates directly into a degree of fear for one’s health that for most people vastly exceeds the actual risk: we find that the share of people who are very worried or somewhat worried of suffering serious health consequences should they contract COVID-19 is almost identical across all age brackets between 25 and 64 years old, and it’s not far below the share for people 65 and older. The discrepancy with the actual mortality data is staggering...
Our susceptibility to how the information is presented also plays a role. The same data can be portrayed in different forms on a graph—some reassuring and some alarming. Our study finds that how the data are presented has a very strong impact on people’s attitudes. For example, respondents who were shown COVID-19 case trends for Texas and Florida in isolation were much less willing to reopen schools and businesses than those who were shown the same trends compared to New York. And more alarming graphics tend to be used more frequently, as they generate greater engagement. This misinformation has a very concrete adverse impact. Our study results show that those who overstate deaths among young people are more cautious about making purchases, more reluctant to travel, and favor keeping businesses and schools shut.Here again, we find a significant difference across partisan lines... This misinformation also causes another fundamental problem. The policy decision of what activities to keep shut and for how long is a very difficult and consequential one. It requires balancing two opposite effects of uncertain scale: on the one hand the benefits in terms of slowing COVID-19 contagion, on the other hand the harm to the economy and to people’s long-term health and livelihoods. This decision is strongly influenced by public perceptions of dangers, not only because politicians are sensitive to the public’s concerns but also because politicians are people too, subject to some of the same biases. Our poll results suggest fundamental misperceptions of the risk of death or serious adverse health consequences from COVID-19 could be distorting these decisions...
If those who can afford it are willing to pay significantly more for extra perceived safety, we might see a significant rise in inflation down the line. And, higher inflation would further exacerbate the rise in inequality caused by the recession."
One covid-19 hystericist I showed this to got very upset, claimed that this was made-up and a "Republican" study, and asserted that new news about children transmitting covid-19 meant the results of this study were invalid - despite the study not being about children transmitting covid-19 at all. Naturally, he hates Trump, demonstrating the truth of the study

Ignorance About Covid-19 Risk Is 'Nothing Short of Stunning,' Research Report Says; Huge Age Variance - "What’s perhaps most striking from the survey is the connection between age of the respondents and their misconception about the virus. The younger you are, the more likely it is that you don’t understand...
'Fear and anger are the most reliable drivers of engagement; scary tales of young victims of the pandemic, intimating that we are all at risk of dying, quickly go viral; so do stories that blame everything on your political adversaries. Both social and traditional media have been churning out both types of narratives in order to generate more clicks and increase their audience.'"

Population immunity is slowing down the pandemic in parts of the US | MIT Technology Review - "The large number of people already infected with the coronavirus in the US has begun to act as a brake on the spread of the disease in hard-hit states... Natural infection also turns out to be extremely efficient at reducing virus transmission—even more effective than an equal number of people getting a vaccine. The reason is that the virus has been finding and infecting precisely those people who—whether because of behavior, circumstances, or biology—are most likely to be part of transmission chains.Perhaps they are college students on spring break, or hospital nurses, or people who touch their face all the time. Whatever the reason, once these individuals become infected and are removed from the equation through death or immunity, the effect on the pandemic is outsized. By contrast, vaccinating a sheltered older person might protect that individual but does relatively less to stop transmission. “When the disease itself causes herd immunity, it does so more efficiently than when we give out vaccine at random,” Marc Lipsitch, a public health modeler at Harvard University, told the political pundit Bill Kristol... “I would say in Sweden there is no doubt that immunity plays an important role, more than in other countries,” says Britton. “Now this epidemic is slowly stopping.”"
Approaching herd immunity, perhaps

Fauci says Trump's coronavirus policy decisions helped save lives - "Testifying before Congress on Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci repeatedly credited President Trump for coronavirus policy decisions that saved lives.Those measures included Trump’s decisions to ban flights from China, the UK and the rest of Europe, and the administration’s “Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread”  quarantine policy, initially ordered in mid-March and then extended to a total 30 days. Appearing before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Response, Fauci said he participated in, and approved of, all of those policies — and that he believes they all resulted in the saving of lives."
The same people who hate Trump love Fauci. So probably the way they resolve the cognitive dissonance is to say that Fauci was lying for political reasons

Office partitions useless in preventing the spread of coronavirus: Experiment - "The partition has to be at least higher than a person's head in order for it to be effective in containing the spread of infection"
Cubicles are good. Open offices are bad

Experts say Canadians permanently working from home should expect salary changes - ""if you live in a location where the cost of living is dramatically lower, or the cost of labour is lower, then salaries do tend to be somewhat lower in those places"... “It’s inevitable because the cost and expense structure of work has changed”... Leblanc warned that varying remote work salaries can create “a global competition for talent in an online world.”People who apply for permanent remote jobs, he said, may find they’re fighting for the role against far more people than ever before because companies will be able to source talent living anywhere in the world."

Coronavirus Can Infect Cats - Scientific American - "scientists at a high-containment lab for animal diseases control in Harbin, China, deliberately squirted coronavirus into the noses of cats and other kinds of animals to see whether they became infected. In some good news, they did not see the virus taking hold in dogs, pigs, chickens or ducks. But it did replicate rapidly the respiratory tracts of both cats and ferrets.Within a few days after infection, all of the cats they inoculated started shedding virus in their feces. The researchers placed an uninfected cat in a cage adjacent to each infected one. One third of those healthy cats then caught the virus from their sick neighbors."
More reasons cats are evil

Coronavirus Misinformation Is Its Own Deadly Condition - Scientific American - "The misinformation that’s come out is just incredible. And a lot of politicians are the major vehicles of this misinformation. They’ve somehow gotten the word that young people can’t get sick, young people can’t die, they won’t be hospitalized. It’s really not a problem. It’s only old people, like me, that can get sick and die, so what the heck, I’ll go ahead and go out and wander around and go jogging and hang out with my friends in the park for a picnic."
Somewhat, ironic, given that Vitamin D seems to be protective, we know that being outdoors means transmission risk is low and months of data from around the world tell us that young people are at relatively low risk

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