When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Links - 19th June 2021 (2) (Trans Mania)

Sexology Today!: Open Letter of Resignation from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) - "My 27-year association with SSSS must come to an end.  In the present culture war between science and popular appeal, the SSSS Board of Directors selected the latter. This is not the first time the SSSS Board abused their authority to silence science opposing their personal political views, and no valid organization can be in the name of science in name only.  I am grateful to the other sexuality scientists who have resigned in sympathy, both publicly and privately. To acknowledge the facts: I have long posted news items and opinion pieces to SSSS’s member listserv.  In July, I posted an essay of my own, When is a TERF not a TERF, challenging the extremism that has taken over public discussion of trans issues, pointing out, for example, that the unwillingness ever to recognize anyone’s transition is different from citing the research suggesting children should wait until age 12 to transition. A debate ensued, not focused on any argument or evidence submitted, but on whether such discussions should even be permitted.  The cessation of open, critical discussion is antithetical to the purpose of a scientific society.  Participating in the debate were three SSSS Board members and roughly a dozen general members, expressing a roughly 50/50 opinion... I then received an unsigned email informing me that I had been suspended from the listserv. Outrage among members ensued, triggering society resignations, list unsubscriptions, and a statement from the SSSS President, Zoë Peterson, defending the Board’s intervention... It is unfortunate to have lost SSSS as a genuinely scientific organization, but there is little point in the collective pretense that it hadn’t already happened a while ago."
By James Cantor
The "myth" of the slippery slope - now it is "transphobic" to say you shouldn't transition till age 12 (!)

Top Canadian sex researcher quits scientific group after being blasted for views on transgender issues - "He was not alone. Dr. Jack Drescher, a Colombia University psychiatry professor and prominent gender-identity expert, also stepped down from the society over its handling of the episode.“James can be provocative, but he’s always very fact-based,” Drescher said in an interview.“I understand from a psychological perspective that to some people words are experienced as violence,” he said. “(But) I’m not so sure that a professional listserv is the place that needs to accommodate this particular sensibility. I believe in the creation of safe spaces, but sometimes we all have to step out of our safe spaces.”... Cantor himself made his name at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for research on pedophilia, including studies using MRI scans that suggested pedophiles’ predilection for children was hard-wired in their brains.Now in private psychological practice, he has also spoken out against transphobia, promoting the idea of a transgender bill of rights.But Cantor said in the interview he believes gender dysphoria — a debilitating sense of not belonging to one’s biological gender — is less common than activists claim, and that some people are surgically transitioning unnecessarily. He likens the willingness of clinicians to accept gender-identity disorder as the cause of mental-health problems to the previous, unquestioning belief in repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse, a phenomenon now believed to be rare.The essay he posted on the listserv argues there is no defence for discrimination against transgender people in areas like housing, jobs, access to public washrooms and sports. But he says the dismissive acronym TERF — trans-exclusionary radical feminist — is used too broadly, including for Rowling or people who say children should not start transitioning before age 12, a view he says is backed up by science. But other society members said his comments essentially invalidated the lives transgender people choose to lead, with potentially dire consequences.“It makes me question the motivations and priorities of an author who wishes to come out in support of Rowling, rather than using their platform to demand justice for the lives lost due to transphobic violence”... Wayne State University PhD student Jami Pittman said “I would just like to express a great sense of violence that I feel from being exposed to this conversation.”Finneran Muzzey, a PhD student at Michigan State University, wrote of having been subjected to Cantors’ “harmful tactics” previously on the forum.Cantor responded forcefully to his critics on the listserv, asking them to point out any factual errors he had made.Purnell, in turn, accused him of “sea-lioning,” an online trolling tactic that involves “pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretense of civility and sincerity.”"
If someone disagreeing with you invalidates your life, you have psychological issues (given that we know many trans people have other mental problems, this is unsurprising)
It's telling that asking for evidence is a bad thing. If you don't want your agenda and incoherence exposed...

How to Eat Out a Non-Op Trans Woman - "Trans women refer to their genitals in myriad ways: Some say “clit,” “vagina,” “vulva;” some say “dick,” “girl-dick,” or “cock;” some say “junk,” some say “genitals,” some say “lady parts,” and one hilarious woman described her nether bits to me as “Brenda.” (For illustrative reasons, I’ve used anatomical terms like “glans” and “penis” at times in this piece, but have otherwise let the women interviewed describe their bodies however they prefer.) Names for oral sex also run the gamut, and include “cunnilingus,” “going down on,” “getting eaten out,” “face fucking,” and some women even enjoy the term “blow job.” It depends on the recipient and how they feel about the act and their genitals... Moon recommends “small licks about an inch down from the frenulum, on the ventral [under] side of her clit.”"
This is a very long article about "how to give a blowjob"
This is some next-level gaslighting

Pronouns are Rohypnol - "Almost without exception, the people who request, or demand, others talk about them using specific pronouns, are asking for pronouns associated with the opposite sex to their own.A simple politeness. A courtesy.I’ve heard many people tell me they don’t mind doing this, as a courtesy... One of the biggest obstacles to halting the stampede over women’s rights is pronoun and preferred name ‘courtesy’. People severely underestimate the psychological impact to themselves, and to others, of compliance... Forcing our brains to ignore the evidence of our eyes, to ignore a conflict between what we see and know to be true, and what we are expected to say, affects us.USING preferred pronouns does the same. It alters your attention, your speed of processing, your automaticity. You may find it makes you anxious. You pay less heed to what you want to say, and more to what is expected of you. It slows you down, confuses you, makes you less reactive. That’s not a good thing."

The Trans Ego: Why Allies are Becoming TERFs - "You did not say, I am trans and that’s ok, now let’s fight against male violence together. You demanded we call you women, demanded we allow you in womanhood, and you threatened those who disagreed.You demand the world fall at your feet instead. You demand the world worship your needs above all others. Especially above women... You call vaginas “front holes,” and surgically-altered and inverted penises “vaginas.” Because you need to be more woman than woman, despite the fact that you cannot ever be woman, by woman’s own definition. But the funny thing is, your ego will be your downfall... There is nothing wrong with admitting you are not the opposite sex. There is nothing wrong with having dysphoria and admitting that you are trans. There is nothing wrong with not fitting in with your natal sex. You can be something unique. And indeed if you look at the hundreds of ways trans people express their trans-ness, every trans person is unique. But all trans people are trans. But you decided that wasn’t enough to fight for. It wasn’t enough to fight for your own unique being. At least, it wasn’t enough for the male trans activists who became the loudest, most volatile part of the movement. Instead, you feel you must police the rest of the world into validating your dysphoria. But listen: We don’t tell anorexics that their body dysmorphia is right and that they are fat. We did not turn every restroom stall in the world into a disabled access stall. We don’t force people to fuck incels. We didn’t ban peanuts from existence when many people became deathly allergic. We did not allow Rachel Dolezal to claim trans-racial. And we shouldn’t be forced to sacrifice the needs and issues and concerns and spaces of 50% of the population for your minuscule, undefinable group."

Masculinity, anime, and gender dysphoria - "Anyone who spends a lot of time with the transgender debate will notice sooner or later that there are a ton of young trans-identifying males who are into anime, using anime girls for their social media avatars, sharing memes related to cute anime girls, and so on...
''I hate going to the psychiatrist but it's mandatory if I want to keep getting HRT. They're so smug and pretend like they know how i feel. When I tell them that I‘m not happy with the wayl look that stupid fucking cunt has the audacity to tell me that this is perfectly normal and that many women aren‘t happy with the way their body looks. l just want to grab her by the neck and shake her while screaming that my skeleton is all fucked up. my voice sucks and no matter how clean I shave I'll always have a fucking beard shadow because my skin is so pale and my hair is really dark. Plus I always had a huge fucking forehead and now I‘m terrified of going bald, So fuck them because they don't know how it feels for fucks sake. It just isn't the same as some lucky cisbitch crying about how her ankles are too fat. Why do I have to suffer like this!? I wish I was AGP those cunts seem so happy...'
Transgender male on 4chan expressing violent hatred for his female psychiatrist, attached with an image of an angry anime girl. For some reason, he thinks serious gender dysphoria precludes the possibility of having an autogynephilic aspect to the condition."

a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20190603062003/https://medium.com/t/@glinner/what-bravery-looks-like-20d6edfebe2a">What bravery looks like - "Get The L Out is a resistance campaign that aims to expose the betrayal of lesbians by Stonewall and other mainstream LGBT organisations, which currently state that it is possible for a ‘lesbian’ to have a penis... Given the abuse and harassment these women know is coming their way, I’m always surprised that ANYONE turns up to these protests. I mean, who wants to be aggressively lectured by a group of men acting on behalf of a group of straight men who claim they’re gay women? Who wants to stand in front of a Pride March and say to a bunch of people trying to paaaarty that you are being erased, that your words are being stolen, your living experience appropriated, your sexuality denied at the same time as it is colonised?For the moment, put to one side the threats, the targetting of employers, the social ostracization, the harassment and all the other good stuff that gets doled out to anyone who stands up against currently fashionable gender ideology, and consider the sheer guts it took for these two New Zealand women to do this."

TS Butch Queen ⚧️ on Twitter - "I read somewhere that God made trans people for the same reason they made wheat but not bread and grapes but not wine. “So that humanity might share in the act of creation.” They called it “the divine alchemy of the self.” I think it’s a beautiful perspective."
We had heterophobia. Now we have cisphobia
Actual quote: "God blessed me by making me transsexual for the same reason he made wheat but not bread and fruit but not wine: because he wants humanity to share in the act of creation" from the book “From Something That May Shock and Discredit You” by Daniel Lavery

Meme - "Trans Women, Cis Women, Trans Men, Cis Men"
"I Made a Thing"
"You Put Cis Women Over Trans Men That Is Very Fucking Transphobic"
"Yes? Trans Men Are Men and They Stil Have Privilege Over Women Since They Are Men"
"You're a Transphobic Plece of Shit You're Canceled Bye Delete Yourself"
"and You're Sexist and Misogynistic for Putting Men Over Women Oh Yeah and Im a Fucking Trans Man So Shove Your Opinions Up Your Ass Honey"
"Both of You Are Fucking Insane 'Trans Women' Are Men in Dresses and 'Trans Men' Are Women in Mens Clothes"
"Coming From the Bisexual Who Thinks There Are Only 2 Genders. No One Has Time for You Hunny"
"There Are 2 Genders, Men Have Penises and Women Have Vaginas. Oh Yeah and You're Biphobic So Shut Your Trap"
"Can We Just Agree That OP Is Transphobic and Just Leave It at Here? I Agree With *** He Is a Internalized Transphobic Person. Putting Cis Ppl Over Trans People Is EXTREMELY Transphobic and if You Don't See That Get Your Head Checked. Cis Women Are Privileged Over Trans Men Therefore Cis Ppl Are Below Trans People"

HUNTER: Serial pedophile Madilyn Harks allegedly bolted while on weekend pass - "Madilyn Harks broke from her construction paper shackles last week and booted it back east while on a weekend pass. Harks — who was once Matthew Harks... is a special case, a long-term offender with an “all-encompassing preoccupation in sexually abusing young girls.” Detectives believe she had at least 60 victims before being nabbed for 200 offences that occurred in British Columbia.Three of his victims were under eight-years-old... Like a number of other violent pedophiles and killers, Harks played the transgender gambit. She began living as a woman in 2014 while jailed. And why not? Women’s prisons are typically easier time with substantially more freedom.Most of the inmates are doing drug sentences and aren’t violent. Some have kids. Little girls. And there stands Harks.“She creeped everyone out and had a predilection for younger inmates,” one former convict said.Oh, and while she was in the slammer, Harks sexually assaulted two fellow female inmates who were “child-like in appearance.” When Harks began living her best life as a woman, the parole board jumped through hoops to smooth the glorious road to rehabilitation and redemption. They dropped several conditions, including psychiatric treatment. The board said in its all thumbs-up review of Harks’ likelihood of rehabilitation: “Given your progress, it is reasonable and necessary to facilitate your reintegration into the community.”So far, it isn’t clear whether Harks has taken any tangible steps to transition to womanhood either through hormone treatment or surgery. Our source says no... Former sex crimes detective Keith Daniels was blunt in an interview with the Sun in March 2019 about Harks’ gender switch.“He’s a pedo. This is his new ruse to gain access to victims and not be recognized on the street,” Daniels alleged at the time. “These people are cold and calculating.”Yet, somewhere in the background of this sickening mess, there will be someone in the parole board anxious to virtue signal their way up the ladder.Harks, we will be informed, has made marvellous progress. She’s ready for the world."

Facebook - "The Worst of Twitter:
"Your language is so steeped in purism and exclusion, I'm not sure where to begin...Biology is irrelevant.Identification is irrelevant.You are making excuses to persecute a minority on the basis that their existence doesn't fit your worldview.That is all."
"Hi Edmund. Biology might appear irrelevant to you, as the default human, but it is of immense importance to the 4 billion humans oppressed on account of our sex."
"What makes you think humanity is biological?"
This is the next step, after all
Naturally the sane person has been suspended from Twitter. The insane person is a "teacher"

Literally Called Laura on Twitter - ""Terf extremism" = believing women exist and are allowed to have rights and talk about their realities. Can you hear yourself? You do know 99% of women would qualify as "terfs"right? Why don't you think women & girls are allowed to talk about their rights?
Couldn't be that a) you're a misogynist bigot or b) have no critical thinking skills whatsoever, could it? Terf is dehumanising hate speech and used by people who threaten women with violence for talking about their rights & realities. Dehumanising people is what Nazis do...
That's like a white person identifying as black and then complaining that they're being excluded by BLM when they're not put front and center of that movement. Equating biological males who identify as trans with black women who are biologically female is MASSIVELY racist.
You also seem to think that biological females are somehow privileged in society via their biological sex. Sadly, global facts & statistics refute that alternate narrative of yours. What are you doing about the male violence that is the predominant cause of trans murders btw?"

Unbiased America - Posts - "(K.R.) MEDIA NARRATIVE: The Trump administration today erased an Obama-era rule that protected transgender patients against discrimination by doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies.
REALITY: The rule “protecting transgender patients” had never gone into effect. The Obama administration tried to put it into place in 2016, but it was immediately overturned in court.
EXPLANATION: The 2010 Affordable Care Act barred any health program that received federal dollars from discriminating on the basis of sex. In 2016, the Obama administration reinterpreted the provision about sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of “gender identity.” That interpretation could have, among other things, required health care providers and insurers to provide treatment such as sex reassignment surgery to transgender patients... the Trump administration said it would abide by the original wording of Obamacare, which defined ‘sex’ as meaning male or female determined by biology instead of the interpretation that never went into effect and was blocked in court.Indeed the New York Times even says today’s announcement “does not have any immediate practical effects.”Despite this, nearly every mainstream media outlet uniformly presented this as the Trump administration rolling back protections against discrimination, with CNN even saying that the move was done “on the four-year anniversary of the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed at a popular LGBTQ venue in Orlando.”"

23andme for trans people? : Genealogy - "I convinced my friend to take a 23andme dna test for fun (she was born male, but now identifies as female), and her results came back with a Y-DNA haplogroup and only one X chromosome. This was really problematic for her and made her feel uncomfortable. Does anyone know if 23andme makes any accommodations for trans people? Has anyone here had any experience with it?"
"So they want to pay $100 + to be lied to so the truth doesn't offend them?"
""What do you mean you dont have bathrooms for dolfphins?!" Oh south park had it solid"

For non-binary musician Rae Spoon, a cervical cancer diagnosis came with an extra dimension of anxiety - "A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing moment, and especially difficult during a pandemic. But for non-binary musician Rae Spoon, the diagnosis has stirred up another layer of complication.Spoon, who uses the singular they pronoun, had been in the middle of cancelling flights for a planned tour of the U.K., Canada and Europe due to the COVID-19 pandemic when they received a phone call from their doctor saying Spoon had tested positive for cervical cancer... cervical cancer is what Spoon calls a "gendered cancer.""All of the information I looked up … it's very hard to find any resources that don't involve gendering the person who has cervical cancer as a woman"... As a non-binary person, Spoon does not identify as a man or woman. Spoon says having a gendered cancer means people will make assumptions about their gender and how they should be treated.Spoon, who came out as transgender 20 years ago and then non-binary eight years ago, says the thought of being misgendered and being addressed with the wrong pronouns during treatment is an added stressor in a time already full of anxiety.Spoon says pronouns carry the same weight as somebody's name... "Trans folks are often left out of screening and also for treatment, because things [like these types of cancer] are caught later as it has that gendered element," they explained. Depending on whether or not someone has physically transitioned or what secondary sex characteristics they may have, Spoon said, some people may not feel comfortable getting a pap smear or mammogram or prostate exam"
Cancer doesn't care about your mental illness
Since there are no guidelines on how to treat "non-binary" people with cervical cancer, maybe Spoon will die of it

ayybates on Twitter - "not wanting to date trans women stems from y’all not viewing them as “real” women... so yes your “preference” is transphobic."
"Man, we went from "someone else's sexual preferences are none of your business" to "shut up and take the dick, lesbians" real fast""

Autistic Teen Found Guilty of 'Hate Crime' for Asking Police Officer's Sex; Autism Group Condemns Prosecution - " Disability charities have condemned the prosecution of a teenage boy with Asperger’s for asking if a transgender police officer “was a boy or a girl”.Declan Armstrong, 19, was convicted of using abusive or insulting words to cause harassment. According to Judge Roger Lowe, the public order offence was uplifted to medium-level due to its transphobic nature... The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) called the incident a ‘hate crime’. Edward Marsh of the CPS said: “Comments deliberately targeting a person in this way have no place in modern society.”... police guidelines for dealing with members of the public who may have Autism appear not to have been followed. The National Autistic Society’s Guide for Police Officers and Staff warns officers people with Autism sometimes “speak honestly, to the point of bluntness or rudeness”... PCSO Freel had been in uniform on foot patrol in Mold, north Wales, in October 2019 when Armstrong twice shouted “is it a boy or is it a girl?”, the court heard.Prosecutor Rhian Jackson said: “Due to his transgender, when Connor heard Declan say what he said, it left him feeling upset and embarrassed.” As a result of the experience, the officer is now reluctant to go on foot patrols alone."
If you admit he was honest...
If the police officer is too upset to go on patrol alone because of "heckling", how can he deal with criminals?

Thread by @terfalicious - "I recently was asked to participate in an “interview” by a teenage TRA, Amy, who helps run an Instagram page with ~20k followers. She was starting a series on her page where she interviewed people w controversial beliefs that their followers wanted to learn the “truth” about. Their followers voted for a “TERF” to be the first person interviewed and submitted questions for me to answer. I saw this as a way to dispel false notions about radical feminism, so I accepted... We each spent a considerable amount of time painstakingly writing out our answers to these questions in a way that we felt this mostly-teenage TRA audience would be receptive to. Amy was very respectful to us and labored over creating the graphic design for our interviews... My interview was the first and only to be posted. After less than an hour of being on their page, the backlash was so severe that the other admins of the page made the decision to delete the post and an another admin immediately posted a brief apology. When Amy finished school, she posted a more comprehensive apology, pictured here. She and the other admins (some of whom are trans men, mind you) were being bombarded with private messages scolding them for “platforming a TERF” and for “triggering people’s dysphoria.”... Their acknowledgement of my “good points,” suggests to me that this trans person did not detect any transphobia/ arguments based in irrational hatred of trans people in what I wrote. Instead, their only gripe with it was how it made them feel. By publicly commenting on how it triggered their dysphoria & made them feel bad, it signaled to the other TRAs that my interview was bad, harmful, and had to be taken down immediately, which, being duitiful TRAs, they did. Notice how they specifically mentioned what I said abt “every cell in [a trans man’s] body being female,” which is a scientific fact, as making them “feel sick” & cry.I didn’t say “society will never consider trans men to be men,” I said they‘re still biologically female. I can’t help but see this as being dangerously unhealthy. This person’s identity rests on a house of cards that requires constant validation to remain stable and collapses with one mention of biology.Truly, how will this person function outside of their “safe space?”... Some of the commenters were even turning on Amy for conducting the interview and accusing her of being a terf.Keep in mind—these kids VOTED to hear from a terf AND they submitted the questions we answered. Yet somehow, Amy is a terf for doing exactly what they wanted?! This just shows how, under gender ideology, everyone is constantly on thin ice & under suspicion. It didn’t matter that Amy hosted the page w trans ppl, it didn’t matter that she executed the audience’s wishes—the feelings of trans people were hurt, & so she must be a terf... They start by saying that Amy’s apology “doesn’t seem genuine” bc one of the trans admins (not even Amy!) reminded them that they specifically asked for the interview and submitted the questions... These kids take zero responsibility for their own actions. They ASKED for this, submitted the questions, willingly chose to read something they knew would upset them, found no transphobia, and still demanded that it be removed & attacked Amy bc it made them “feel bad.” And of course, it works. If a trans person’s feelings are hurt, the world stops turning. Very few people call them on their bullshit, and the ones that do are silenced or fed some convoluted lie about why terfs absolutely can’t be heard. I suspect that these kids expected my interview to be a hot mess that they could all collectively laugh at and dismiss as a bunch of nonsense. Instead, they realized that the monstrous TERF actually “made good points” that were grounded in science and reality. While this interview failed, this event has further solidified my opinion that gender ideology is a disease that’s infecting young people and children & preventing them from developing critical thinking skills, among other things."
This is why trans activists are corrupting biology
When your feelings trump reality

The Princes in the Tower

Episode 3, The Prime Suspect | Princes in the Tower Podcast - HistoryExtra

"‘I have had conversations with people during my time working at the Tower of London, where I will ask them what they think about Princes in the tower, what they think happened. And they're very, you know, lively and happy to talk about it. And then I say, Oh, and I think Richard probably did it, and you see a veil descend across their face. They are outraged.’...

‘Why is it that some people in the 21st century are so keen to clear Richard’s name and feel such an affinity with a man that lived more than 500 years ago?’...

‘I think part of the reason that people hold on to this idea that it couldn't have been Richard The Third is, I mean, it's complex. But I think one of the things is, again, that ideal that a conspiracy theory is really interesting, that it's more interesting to say no, history has lied to us. And here is the truth. That is a more interesting narrative than just saying, oh, for 500 years, we've thought this and it's probably true’…

‘We certainly live in the age of the antihero, which also appeals to a lot of people. But also this idea that the Tudors themselves, we know that the biggest industry in, in the study of history, you know, everybody loves, in inverted commas, the Tudors, but a lot of people also despise what the Tudors did and what they became. And of course, if you despise something, you need the opposite to that. And who better than the first man the Tudors killed and got out of the way?… A lot of people are attracted to the concept of a victim who was wronged’...

‘Speaking about crimes, people often discuss priors. So what does Richard’s backstory tell us? If we go back to before 1483, the year when suddenly everything was thrown up in the air, we find Richard not as Richard the Third, but Richard, Duke of Gloucester, serving his brother Edward the Fourth in the north of England. Does anything in his behavior for these years leading up to his brother's death, indicate a man who would stop at nothing to seize the throne? Chris Skidmore’

‘When we sort of look at every aspect of Richard's character, right down to his piety, his establishment of various religious foundations, his sort of prudishness, in quite contrast to his brother Edward the Fourth, everything about Richard you know, strikes a historian as a successful nobleman who is desperate to build up his own dynasty and his own following in the north, and he's been highly successful in doing that. There is no indication whatsoever that Richard as Richard Duke of Gloucester, would have intended to have become king’

‘Matt Lewis agrees that there was little indication of murderous tendencies in Richard’s earlier career.’

‘I don't think, if you look at Richard the Third, he's a 30 year old man in 1483, when he comes to the throne. He’s spent just over the last decade, controlling the north of England for his brother, so he's an experienced governor. And the year before in 1482, he's led a campaign into Scotland to subdue the threat of Scottish incursions across the border. So he's an experienced governor, he has some military experience, too. But during that period, if we look at what his interests and his focus are, he has a strong interest in justice and fairness. And we can demonstrate that throughout the 1470s. And that really doesn't play against a man who marches into London in 1483, and thinks that's it, I'm going to make myself King and kill two children. That man just doesn't seem to exist before 1483. So either there's some seismic change in Richard, or there's something else going on… during his time as Duke of Gloucester, there are several instances of legal cases, for example. We have one where a lady called Catherine Williamson brings a case against three brothers for murdering her husband, and their father has sheltered them and harbored them. But he has also got himself into the service of Richard as Duke of Gloucester, and then tried to get his three sons into service as well. Now, the reason for doing this is because the system of livery and maintenance that's in operation in the late medieval period, would usually mean that if you enter the service of a Lord, you can expect that Lord’s protection from legal consequences of your actions. And what Richard does, is, he has the father sent immediately to jail in York as soon as he finds out about this case. And he has the matter brought before Parliament in 1472, demanding that the three brothers either submit to trial, or are found guilty in their absence, and lots of Lords might want kind of three murderous brothers and their dad who's happy to go along with it in their service, because these are the kind of men who get what you want. But Richard kind of ignores that and overturns that system, to have these people sent to jail and ultimately tried by Parliament. And you won't find any example during the 1470s or the early 1480s, of Richard kind of executing anyone, killing anyone... He's loyal to Edward, even when he seems to disagree with him’...

‘Unlike anyone Richard seized land from or executed, while he was serving the House of York, the two princes were different. They were his family. That's something else that makes this whole thing confusing. Because something that's often brought up in defence of Richard, is that he was known for his loyalty to his family and the Yorkist dynasty’

Episode 4, Examining The Evidence | Princes in the Tower Podcast - HistoryExtra

"‘The Great Chronicle simply states that before November 1483, so when Richard was still on the throne, it was certain they were departed from this world. To me that instantly reads they were killed. Somebody could say departed from this world could simply mean England. Hence they were perhaps shifted abroad and where they survived. You know, Dominic Mancini, who was writing in 1483, during the reign of Richard, he said that he had come across the reactions of Londoners and that many men burst forth into tears and lamentations, when mentioned was made of Edward V, the eldest of the Princes in the Tower and how there was a suspicion that he had been done away with. So he did add that by what manner of death so far, I have not discovered. So all of the quoted are along these lines. People are saying, we think they are dead, we don't know who did it. And that's all we can say about that.’...

'Not all of the experts I spoke to would agree with Matt Lewis on this.'

Episode 6, The Other Suspects | Princes in the Tower Podcast - HistoryExtra

"'The sad fact is, every single person in the kingdom at that time, with the key exception of the Woodville family, would have benefited from the boys being dead. You know, whether the Tudors, whether the Duke of Buckingham, whether the Howards, everybody stood to prosper with their death, that's a sad fact. Everybody had motive.'

‘If we're talking about murders in 1483, and the princes in the tower are dead, then I think Richard has to be your prime suspect. And murder investigations will always look for motive means and opportunity and Richard definitely has all three of those. In a way would Agatha Christie have ever got if it was always the obvious person in a whodunnit?’

‘If we widen the lens beyond Richard, and start to take in the bigger picture in 1483 this does indeed start to look ever more like the cast of characters from one of Agatha Christie's detective novels. Alongside the plotting uncle, we have the scheming noblewoman, the brutish sidekick, the spurned landowner, all armed with a motive to commit murder'...

'One interesting aspect to you know the topic of who killed the princes of a tower that's never really explored, is that it could have simply been somebody we've never heard about. Everybody's looking for this criminal mastermind. And we know that he's not something that's just restricted to the Princes in the Tower. We can look at the Jack the Ripper case, for example, people want the killer to be a royal doctor or a royal himself, you know somebody of influence, somebody of style... What if it was somebody whose name is simply not known to us today? And what I mean by that is the princes in the tower in 1483, everybody stood to profit from their death. Apart from their own maternal relations, the Woodvilles. If I am in the household of the Duke of Buckingham, if I kill the princes in the tower, then my master the Duke of Buckingham, you know what? He might be able to make a move for the crown himself. And if my master becomes King, that I am no longer the servant of a Duke. I'm a servant of a king. More power, more influence, more wealth for myself. I think the sad fact for the boys in the tower in 1483 is there wasn't just three or four people looking to kill them. There could have been hundreds of people looking to kill them. We only have to think back to Thomas Beckett to know that, you know, the king himself necessary did not command that deaths, but somebody decided to do it for him anyway'

Episode 7, Survival theories | Princes in the Tower Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘I don't think there's any way at all given the history of the Wars of the Roses that if someone was more useful to you dead than alive, you wouldn't kill them. Like I really don't believe that Richard the Third would have let survive that measure of threat against him. We see with Edward IV who is considered to be generally a sort of fairly liberal, well meaning, kind hearted, generous individual, he is still, at a certain point in the 1470s, he becomes just an annihilator of the Lancastrian dynasty. Person after person is, you know, thrown overboard on the way back from France or pursued in the case of Henry Tudor, you know desperate attempts to try and get him back into his clutches. People are executed, people are rounded up after the Battle of Tewkesbury. People are trouped out of sanctuary to be beheaded en-masse. If Edward IV does that, in the complete understanding that it is more useful to him to kill these people than to keep them alive, I fundamentally believe that Richard III would do the same thing.’...

‘They had to be taken out. You can't leave two boys who are threat to your position for evermore. They may not be a threat at that specific point in time, but in 15, 20 years time, when they’re grown men, even if they’re reluctant grown man, there will still be supporters of them, who will never give up until they die themselves to revive the boys’ rightful claim. And if they weren't a threat, what if they lived their life out in some small country retreat, but then had a couple of kids, a couple of grandkids. At some point, somewhere down the line, somebody is saying, you know what, I'm going for the crown here. After all, that's how the Wars of the Roses happened. It was a fight between descendants. So I just think that nobody could take the chance of that blood coming back one day to trouble them.’"

The theory that one of the "pretenders" Perkin Warbeck was actually the real thing (e.g. his fluency in English) was quite intriguing

Episode 8, A Conclusion (Of Sorts) | Princes in the Tower Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘I think it's quite clear that the resounding opinion among these experts, is that the most obvious explanation for events is the right one. There are logical reasons why Richard was blamed at the time. The boys were in his care when they vanished. And he was the person that benefited most directly from their deaths. But what's intriguing is that even though these historians come to the same verdict about what they think happened, they actually have very different explanations of why and how it happened. And I think this is where things get really interesting. While they have the same man fingered for the crime, the question of who that man really was, and what motivated him, remains as divisive as ever’...

‘It was possible for Richard to be both a loyal Yorkist with a track record for decency, and still feel that he had no other alternative than dispatching his nephews.’

‘I seem to have this quite unique viewpoint in that I believe Richard III killed the princes in the tower. Yet, I don't believe that makes him a monster. I don't believe that makes him an evil, you know, demon of a man, I actually believe oddly, he did the right thing for his circumstances at the time…  Richard in 1483, is a man with a son. Edward of Middleham. After his brother's death, Richard’s entire mindset had changed. So we already knew that Richard could not kill the princes in the tower, because he was such a loyal and devoted brother. And that's completely true. Richard was, you know, as devout, a brother, as anyone could have. But, again, if we're putting ourselves in somebody's shoes, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of Richard in May and June of 1483, not the shoes of Richard was wearing, even a couple of months earlier, before his brother's death. Everything had changed. So Richard’s, Richard’s, loyalty’s now shifted from his brother and his brother's sons to himself, and his own son. What's key for me here is that if Richard had not killed the princes in the tower, then perhaps 10 years down the line, 15 years down the line, those claims of the princes in the tower would have been revived. Richard would have known that he could not possibly control things further down the line. Let's say he had died, his son had become king. And then in 20 years time, a new Wars of the Roses erupted with the descendants of Richard and the descendants of his brother IV now fighting for the crown. I think to say Richard III didn't kill the princes in the tower, is oddly demeaning to him himself. He wasn't a fool. You know, he was. He was, he was a hardened soldier. He was a great legislator. He was a powerful Baron. People are so fixated on Richard being Richard couldn't have been this bad uncle to his nephews. Those people forget his primary objective, once he became king was to be a good father. Now we, with hindsight, know that his son died a year later. He didn't know that in 1483.’"

Links - 19th June 2021 (1) (Covid-19)

Ethnic minority Covid risk 'not explained by racism' - "A scientist advising the government on ethnicity and Covid says "structural racism is not a reasonable explanation" for black and south Asian people's greater risk of illness and death... Dr Raghib Ali suggested it was time to stop using ethnicity when deciding who needed help.  He said focusing on factors like jobs and housing would help more people.  The newly appointed expert adviser said this approach would help prevent everyone at risk - including poorer white groups living in crowded housing - from missing out on help... He pointed out that generally people from BAME backgrounds have better health outcomes than other groups"

Richard Zussman on Twitter - "BREAKING - BC will be putting in a order to stop people from travelling outside health authority. There will be random checks. Province will be working with BIPOCs to make sure they are not targeted. Horgan - "This is about travel" #bcpoli"
Minorities get to be exempt from covid restrictions

‘Voter ID racist, but vaccine ID not a problem?’ Conservative activist Candace Owens asks, amid calls for vaccine passport system

COVID-19 Becoming Less Deadly
Naturally, this didn't reduce covid hysteria

60% of restaurants across Canada could permanently close by November - "The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), produced by Statistics Canada with support from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, shows that 29 per cent of accommodation and food service businesses cannot operate at all with physical distancing measures in place.A further 31 per cent say they can only operate up to 90 days with distancing measures in effect, which means that within three months, up to 60 per cent of Canadian restaurants could close their doors."

Ryan Saavedra on Twitter - ".@BillGates  on Covid: "Even through 2022” we should be prepared for life to not return to “normal”    Says “sadly" it’s "appropriate” for bars and restaurants to close over the next "four to six months""
"Man worth $118.8 billion says that average people should have their businesses closed down"

AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, experts insist, but more countries suspend its use
Ironically, this is for reasons similar to covid hysteria in the first place: the salience of anecdotes, media hype, and prioritising the seen over the unseen in accounting. Also ironically, this will only make covid worse

'Buckle it up': Walz orders MN to 'stay at home' to curb virus spread - "“Buckle it up for a few more weeks,” the governor said. The order takes effect Saturday and lasts through April 10."
From March 2020. So much for "15 days to flatten the curve"

Toronto sex shops are fighting to have sex toys recognized as legitimate medical supplies - ""The reason we can stay open is that businesses that sell medical supplies or devices are considered essential and that is what sex toys are. There are conditions for which sex toys are the only treatment"... "This isn't some radical argument, there are entire research journals dedicated to this," Kazoleas explained citing New Zealand, the United States, and various European nations as countries which have already acknowledged sex shops as selling essential goods."
Everything is "essential"

Taiwan Vows to Stick to Covid-19 Limits - The New York Times - "The real test for Taiwan, he said, is if the vaccines do not end up offering long-lasting immunity and the world needs to live with Covid for longer. How well would Taiwan’s people bear being sealed off from the wider world for another year? Another five years?“This is why we’d say close your borders if you just want to buy time to get yourself organized,” Dr. Fisher said. “But don’t think of it as a strategy.”"

Montreal woman says officer insisted on searching her lunch bag during curfew stop - "Sarah Vresk was heading to work at around 4 a.m. Tuesday when she was stopped near her home by Montreal police and asked to prove she had the right to be on the road during curfew."I got my letter out of my glove compartment and he asked for my ID. I gave him that," said Vresk. "He then asked me what was in my bag."Vresk demanded to know why that mattered, and why she wasn't free to go after showing a letter from her employer stating she works for a snow-removal contractor and needs to be on the job during curfew.The officer questioned the validity of that letter, saying it's just a piece of paper, and threatened to give her a ticket anyway, Vresk said. The officer accused her of delaying detainment by not co-operating and showing the bag's contents.Vresk finally gave into the officer's demands, allowing him to inspect her lunch bag... A police intervention should end as soon as a citizen shows proof that they're allowed to be out during curfew hours, said Jeffrey Boro, a criminal defence lawyer in Montreal."It's none of his business what's in the bag," said Boro."He has no reasonable or probable grounds to search. He hasn't got the power to do that and the woman has certain constitutional rights to be free of an abusive search."... "When you fine people for doing things that pose no danger to public health, people really start to question why the rules are in place and whether they make any sense," Zwibel said."It erodes trust and confidence in the government.""
Covid hysteria means everything is justified

THC chemical in cannabis could help prevent and treat deadly COVID-19 complications - "A study by researchers in Israel found that a specific terpene compound in cannabis could also be used to prevent cytokine storm syndrome, an inflammatory response that can lead to fever, fatigue and vomiting in COVID-19 patients.Early results from that study, which was published in August, found that terpene was twice as effective in suppressing cytokine storms than Dexamethasone, a common corticosteroids treatment for inflammation.And another study published by Canadian researchers in June found that a specific strain of cannabis could help block the virus from entering the body in the first place"

Media Criticizes Trump For Downplaying Virus Threat By Not Dying | The Babylon Bee

Coronavirus lockdowns fuel an 'explosion' of anti-Semitism online - "Online anti-Semitic hate incidents in the United Kingdom are on the rise, with conspiracy theories accusing Jews of creating and spreading Covid-19 circulating online... Although the figures show a 13% fall from the 911 incidents recorded in the first half of 2019, it is the third-highest number of incidents the CST -- which has been recording anti-Semitic incidents since 1984 -- has ever recorded in the January to June period of any year, the charity said.Online anti-Semitic incidents rose 4% in the UK from January to June, the monitoring organization found, warning that the pandemic and lockdown measures fostered an "explosion of antisemitic discourses.""
It's all Trump's fault for calling covid The Chinese Virus!

Genève Campbell on Twitter - "“Are you a virologist?? If not, fuck off!!!” she screams, referencing a series of ethical questions and value judgements regarding the social policy of a complex, multi-disciplinary systems problem."

Krispy Kreme is making vaccinations extra sweet with a free doughnut a day for the rest of the year

Vinay Prasad MD MPH on Twitter - "Shaming people on the beach Shaming people who signed GBD Not really that different Empty signaling that didn't help anyone"
"Gainfully employed “experts” who support policies that rob people of their livelihoods and create widespread poverty (while giant corporations add billions to their worth) have totally destroyed my once strong faith in the technocracy..."

Kevin McKernan on Twitter - "The John Snow Memorandum = Nerd Sweater Mafia These authors are infamous for attacking the Great Barrington Declaration as being some @AIER libertarian think tank. Let’s stoop to their level and see how they take a dose of their same immature associative fallacy medicine.
Let’s look at their declared conflicts in the Surgisphere famous journal, The Lancet.We see a lot of conflicts of interest in C19 testing and therapies. The Biz plan for many of these therapies rests upon a scared populace...
Rupert Beale.Cozy with Bill and Melinda (B&MGF).Is on a paper in Medrxiv with B&MGF funding. Pushing the PCR testing of asymptomatics. Gotta stoke asymptomatic fear to get the population salivating for a vax's to free of this.Sings Gates praises... Debbie Bogaert. Gates Funded... Isabella Eckerle. Drosten trained."
Since we are told that if there is a conflict of interest, you can't trust anything someone says...

Lockdowns 'kill more Britons than they save' - "Top economists warned yesterday that the Government is 'killing more people than it could possibly save' through lockdowns. Giving evidence to the Treasury Committee, three experts urged Boris Johnson to rethink his approach.Two of them claimed blanket lockdowns have already caused more suffering than they mitigated – damaging the economy, mental health and job prospects. Gigi Foster, a professor at the University of New South Wales who has been advising Australian policy, said: 'It's very clear that the UK is killing many more people via lockdowns and suspended health services than it could possibly save from Covid.' David Miles, of Imperial College London, said a short, sharp lockdown could have been effective but that a three-month lockdown 'didn't look sensible'.Tony Yates, of think-tank the Resolution Foundation, was cautious of relaxing restrictions too speedily but said the first lockdown should probably have ended sooner... Professor Foster urged policymakers to focus resources on protecting the elderly and vulnerable.She added: 'I think the main thing that's needed is a new Government message. One of the big mistakes of the UK Government and other governments around the world has been to fan the fear of the virus rather than controlling the fear and dampening it and providing perspective.She claimed that global data from the World Health Organisation indicated that Covid-19 was not deadly for most people, who should be going about their business as normal"
Of course, we only listen to experts when they tell us what we want to hear, i.e. promote covid hysteria

Ontario parents of young children say 'no learning happening at all' during virtual school - "One year after students were sent home for an extended spring break to suppress COVID-19 spread, early research and anecdotal reports point to measurable learning loss, racial and socioeconomic disparities, and an urgent need to mitigate harms that may not even be obvious yet."We need to mobilize more -- everything that we can -- to help teachers deal with this crisis," says Carleton University neuroscience professor Amedeo D'Angiulli, who predicts more developmental and learning disorders due to a combination of delayed medical screenings and school interventions."The real wave will be that in two, three years we'll wake up and we'll see that we have more social inequality, illiteracy and other things that we then need to fix."D'Angiulli says there's no question academic disruption has had myriad detrimental impacts extending to emotional, physical, social and mental well-being -- the combination of which further hinders brain function.He says he and his students analyzed about 100 papers on the pandemic's impact on education and child development around the world, finding delays at every age to varying degrees and in different ways. Of particular concern are the early readers in Grades 1, 2 and 3, says University of Alberta researcher George Georgiou, director of the J.P. Das Centre on Developmental & Learning Disabilities.When Georgiou compared Alberta reading scores in September 2020 and January 2021, he found students in these grades improved, but were still performing six-to-eight months below their grade level."We know that 75 per cent of the kids who are not learning at grade-level by Grade 3 never read at grade-level later on"... Barrett spoke to teachers again in December and January and found social and emotional hurdles just as worrisome, with teachers unsure how kids can ever gain ground on pandemic-prohibited people skills such as reading facial cues and body language... teachers feared most for students with special needs, those living in poverty, racialized and Indigenous students, as well as English-language learners... it's only a crisis if we allow it to become one, says Julie Garlen, co-director of childhood and youth studies at Carleton University in Ottawa.Benchmarks are socially constructed targets that can be changed, she says, and this is a good time to rethink the education system as a whole."Is there flexibility in those benchmarks? Why do we have the benchmark set as we do?" says Garlen."I'm not saying that there shouldn't be benchmarks (but) I think that we can understand now that it's not really possible to just go back to the old curriculum."However, there are risks to adjusting academic requirements, counters D'Angiulli.He says provincial benchmarks are already set at "the bare minimum."... She describes this as "the largest education emergency" in global history and wonders why there appears to be little evidence of concrete measures to combat it."
More lockdowns!
Meanwhile there're surely still libertarians who are still for virtual school because they hate public schools so much
I like how the solution is to lower standards

Addendum: Also titled: 'More than just a disruption:' education experts warn of pandemic-driven 'crisis'

Ontario expected to see 10K cases of COVID-19 per day by mid-February - "It is also noteworthy that previous modelling data hasn't been accurate — the predictions released in November, for example, said that the province could see 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December if more drastic measures weren't implemented.The actual numbers ended up being around 2,000 new cases per day by that time"
Of course, 10k cases per day by mid-February wasn't accurate either - it was under 1k, despite no new restrictions

FUREY: Ontario's virus goalposts have shifted -- but to what? - "What is it that Ontario’s actually trying to accomplish now with its COVID-19 response? What’s the objective? What’s the game plan?None of those questions were answered at Thursday’s news conference featuring Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams and Science Table head and Dalla Lana School of Public Health Professor Steini Brown. Last year, things were a lot clearer: Flatten the curve? We knew what they meant and — take a look at that chart showing Ontario’s massive drop in cases — we accomplished it. Protect the hospitals from overwhelming? Again, mission accomplished.How about this one: No more tragedies at long-term care facilities. Another check mark. “Vaccination in long-term care has paid off,” reads the new Science Table report. As LTC residents are near 100% vaccinated, there have been a few days recently where the number of new cases and deaths in those facilities has been zero. So what’s the new plan, guys? One can be cynical and ask where have the goalposts moved to this time or one can be genuine and ask to be given a new mission statement to line up behind — but whatever the question, no answer was offered... So is the new objective then just to get to zero cases?! It better not be. Because every infectious diseases expert will tell you that this is an endemic illness and is here to stay in one form or another.It should not go unnoticed that while the news conference was going on, Ontario was enjoying its warmest and most beautiful day of the year so far. And yet the patios in Toronto and Peel were not allowed to be open and Sudbury just learned their ones were being shuttered, as they’re now pushed back into lockdown... One reporter from other media even pressed Williams not once but twice on whether or not regions could be pushed not just back into grey lockdown but back into the “stay-at-home” order. It’s almost like there are people out there who want Ontario to be kept locked down.Meanwhile, there are stories every day about how health officials and politicians south of the border re-opening their society even more... The momentum in the United States is clearly propelling them to find reasons to re-open. Whereas the momentum here in Ontario — where Toronto and Peel are the most locked down jurisdictions in North America — is all about finding excuses to keep things closed."

ZUBY: on Twitter - "Exercise mandates, smoking bans, and alcohol bans would save infinitely more lives than mask mandates, lockdowns, and house arrests. 'But Zuby! That would be illiberal and an infringement upon people's liberties, autonomy, and rights!' Oh... Now you get it."

Genève Campbell on Twitter - "Around the time southern states began “reopening” late last spring, we internalized a sort of neo-asceticism. A secular re-enchantment in which public expressions of joy invite spirits that may encourage spread of the virus. Lots of terrible anti-scientific policy decisions continue to spring from this mindset. (Like bans on outdoor masked, distanced walks with three people from separate households, something in effect here in San Francisco until earlier this month!)"

The beach-going Grim Reaper on his Florida protest: 'Someone has to stand up' - "Times are truly strange when a man dressed in a grim reaper’s costume in 90F (32C) heat is the most sane person around. But last week, as people flocked to Florida’s recently reopened beaches, Daniel Uhlfelder had a message for beachgoers.“The grim reaper represents death. This is a deadly virus. It’s a global pandemic”"
Guess he wanted people to stay indoors and become Vitamin D deprived, get no exercise and infect each other
Covid asceticism is very interesting. Covid hystericsts believe the more we suffer from lockdowns, the better covid can be controlled - confusing intentions with results

Um. One of the largest medical systems in the U.S. will NOT require its 89K employees to get the Covid vaccine due to "general uncertainty" around such a new treatment. - "The gigantic University of Pittsburgh Medical Center — one of the top health care systems in the U.S. — will NOT require its 89,000 employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine. This despite requiring all of them to get the flu vaccine every year"

The Elderly vs. Essential Workers: Who Should Get the Coronavirus Vaccine First? - The New York Times - "Historically, the committee relied on scientific evidence to inform its decisions. But now the members are weighing social justice concerns as well, noted Lisa A. Prosser, a professor of health policy and decision sciences at the University of Michigan. “To me the issue of ethics is very significant, very important for this country,” Dr. Peter Szilagyi, a committee member and a pediatrics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said at the time, “and clearly favors the essential worker group because of the high proportion of minority, low-income and low-education workers among essential workers.”That position runs counter to frameworks proposed by the World Health Organization, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and many countries, which say that reducing deaths should be the unequivocal priority and that older and sicker people should thus go before the workers, a view shared by many in public health and medicine... Marc Lipsitch, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, argued that teachers should not be included as essential workers, if a central goal of the committee is to reduce health inequities. “Teachers have middle-class salaries, are very often white, and they have college degrees”"
So much for "following the science", or blackmailing countries into shutting down forever because otherwise you want to kill grandma

We are putting woke idiocy above saving lives - "In the UK, retired doctors are volunteering to become Covid vaccinators to speed up the process. But the bureaucratic hurdles to volunteering are bordering on the absurd.Retired GP Claire Barker, in a letter to the Telegraph, writes that she is expected to have documentation that she has received training in ‘conflict resolution, equality, diversity and human rights, fire safety, and preventing radicalisation’.In other words, medically qualified doctors cannot administer a life-saving vaccine unless they have had diversity training... This is not the first time in the pandemic that wokeness has apparently trumped health.In the Australian state of Victoria, lax infection controls at quarantine hotels led to a second wave and strict lockdowns. An official working in the quarantine hotels told an inquiry that he had received no training in infection control – but he was given a one-hour lesson on diversity.In the US, a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that the elderly should not be first in line to receive the vaccine, even though they are most vulnerable to Covid. This was because, according to one health ethicist, ‘older populations are whiter’ and already live longer. The vaccine should instead be used to ‘level the playing field’ among races, even if this means more Americans (including ethnic-minority Americans) dying, the argument went. Wokeness kills."
And health and safety. Which according to leftists is good unless you're a greedy right winger who just wants to profit at the expense of lives
Political correctness kills once again

Should skin color decide who gets the vaccine first? - The Spectator - "Saving lives? You thought eight months of coronavirus lockdowns were about saving lives? Foolish. We now know that the correct way of setting health policy is to make sure the correct skin colors benefit."

Justin Trudeau is an Idiot - Posts | Facebook - "UN praises Canada for keeping borders open to refugees during pandemic"
"But Canadians are denied visiting family. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recently praised Canada for being one of the few countries that kept admitting refugees during the coronavirus pandemic."

American professionals who advocate for lockdowns don't have to make any real sacrifices - "America's professional class—and the big companies that employ them—are doing just fine. They can continue to advocate for lockdowns because, other than the occasional cancelled brunch, they are barely affected by the closures that have shuttered city centres and disemployed people across the country. America's professional class and their corporate employers make sacrifices on their own terms, while dictating that everyone else do as they are told. Americans in the service and hospitality sectors have been left out in the cold, unable to earn a living because of government shut downs and corporate layoffs, all while being told they are selfish for wanting to work... Amazon is doing great, by the way, as are those who have simply tightened their circles, brought their kids home to study remotely with the help of robust Wi-Fi networks, and moralized as to how necessary it is for us to all do our part.Many other big corporations are sailing through the pandemic with ease as well. Despite layoffs and closures, or maybe because they are so quickly able to shed payroll, major companies are able to decrease spending, increase profits, and share tidy sums with shareholders—who are undoubtedly sitting home working remotely. Findings published in the Washington Post revealed that "Between April and September, one of the most tumultuous economic stretches in modern history, 45 of the 50 most valuable publicly traded US companies turned a profit." These profits come at the cost of many Americans' livelihoods. WaPo reported that "at least 27 of the 50 largest firms held layoffs this year, collectively cutting more than 100,000 workers." In discussing the economic recovery in the wake of coronavirus-inspired shut downs, the Wall Street Journal wrote that "well-educated and well-off people, businesses tied to the digital economy or supplying domestic necessities, and regions such as tech-forward Western cities," are "By and large," "prospering.""

Chief medical officers are a bigger danger to Canadians' health than COVID - "In April of 2020, I wrote to all of Canada's health ministers and chief medical officers, asking about what impact lockdowns would have on public health. Eight months later, no meaningful or specific responses have been provided by any of them.When it came to estimating deaths from COVID-19, our politicians and politically appointed doctors spared no efforts in producing scary projections or models, based on the wildly inaccurate predictions of Neil Ferguson of Imperial College. But when it comes to estimating the number of deaths that lockdowns have caused and will cause, politicians and chief medical officers have not provided the public with any models... There is abundant data available that tells us that loneliness is bad for your health; isolation is bad for your health; isolation facilitates abuse; contact via zoom and skype are insufficient to sustain healthy relationships; excessive alcohol consumption is bad for your health; staying indoors is bad for your health; lack of exercise is bad for your health; poverty is bad for your health; depression is bad for your health; anxiety is bad for your health; delayed cancer diagnosis is bad for your health; lack of hugs and other physical contact is bad for your health. This list doesn't include Canadian lockdown deaths resulting from cancelling over 200,000 surgeries and delaying over 500,000 medically necessary MRIs and CT scans to diagnose cancer and other life-threatening conditions, nor does this list include the increased deaths from suicide and drug overdoses that lockdowns have caused... Politicians continue to justify violating our Charter freedoms to move, travel, associate, assemble and worship with the stated goal of "saving lives." If they are actually serious about saving lives, the Charter requires them to do two things. First: demonstrate with evidence that lockdowns have saved lives; speculation and conjecture are no substitutes for evidence and science. Second: make an honest and concerted effort to find out how many Canadians have been harmed or killed by lockdowns, and the exact nature and extent of all the lockdown harms to public health. Politicians have failed abysmally to protect vulnerable seniors in nursing homes, who make up at least three quarters of COVID-19 deaths in Canada. Instead, they continue to inflict harm and damage on tens of millions of healthy Canadians who are not in any way threatened by this virus."

Carl Quintanilla on Twitter - "“COVID-19 has been obliterated in Israel,” says @fundstrat. Daily cases have plunged from 1,200 .. to just 39. The rollover began as vaccine penetration hit 26% — a level the US is now approaching. “If Israel is a template, US cases are set to rollover in a sustained way soon.”"
Strange. We were told that natural herd immunity meant untold numbers would die since the threshold was too high

First Covid, Then Psychosis: ‘The Most Terrifying Thing I’ve Ever Experienced’ - The New York Times
It is interesting how you shouldn't panic over anecdotes about covid vaccines (e.g. blood clots), but anecdotes about covid mean you need to shut down the world until covid is eradicated

Partisan differences in physical distancing are linked to health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic - "Numerous polls suggest that COVID-19 is a profoundly partisan issue in the United States. Using the geotracking data of 15 million smartphones per day, we found that US counties that voted for Donald Trump (Republican) over Hillary Clinton (Democrat) in the 2016 presidential election exhibited 14% less physical distancing between March and May 2020. Partisanship was more strongly associated with physical distancing than numerous other factors, including counties’ COVID-19 cases, population density, median income, and racial and age demographics. Contrary to our predictions, the observed partisan gap strengthened over time and remained when stay-at-home orders were active. Additionally, county-level consumption of conservative media (Fox News) was related to reduced physical distancing. Finally, the observed partisan differences in distancing were associated with subsequently higher COVID-19 infection and fatality growth rates in pro-Trump counties. Taken together, these data suggest that US citizens’ responses to COVID-19 are subject to a deep—and consequential—partisan divide."
That's looking at covid *cases* alone of course, not covid deaths or non-covid health (or other) outcomes

Genève Campbell on Twitter - "“A worker wearing a hazmat suit uses a fogging machine to disinfect a street as preventive measure against COVID-19 on March 26, 2021 in Manila, Philippines.” Over a year later and we’re still doing the ghostbusters thing. This is liturgical at this point."
Meanwhile, in the developed world we're still doing hygiene theatre and increasing antibiotic resistance with hand sanitiser

Countries Need to Reopen Borders Before It’s Too Late, Even as They Struggle to Get COVID-19 Under Control - "Even as they struggle to control the pandemic, governments should move quickly to reopen borders instead of giving in to xenophobia, nationalism, and illusions of autarky."
When covid hysteria makes liberals abandon their sacred cows

Security camera catches L.A. County health inspector breaking into dance like a psycho moments after ordering bar to shut down
Power corrupts

Why 2020 was the fourth best year in history | The Spectator - "if we were to take it literally – the worst year ever – it’s the kind of statement that can only be explained by a spectacularly short memory. Just since the early 20th century (and mind you, 'ever' is even longer than that) we have experienced two world wars, the Great Depression, the Holocaust, the Gulag and Mao’s Great Leap.Even if we limit ourselves to pandemics, the Asian flu of 1957-58 and the Hong Kong flu of 1968 killed a comparable number of people when the world population was much smaller. Had Covid-19 been as deadly as the Spanish flu, just a century ago, we would not have been looking at 1.7 million deaths worldwide now, but somewhere between 200 and 400 million. And most of those victims would have been between the ages of 15 and 35... The global economy probably crashed by something like 4.2 per cent in 2020, so GDP per capita in real terms ends up slightly lower than in 2017, but higher than in 2016. To get to the highest GDP per capita mankind has ever attained we will now have to wait until 2022... Had we faced this new coronavirus in 2005, we would not have had the technology to even imagine such mRNA vaccines, if it had appeared in 1975 we would not have the ability to read the genome of the virus, if it came in 1950, we would not have had a single ventilator on the planet. And if we had suffered from this pandemic before the internet, our economy would have collapsed completely, as would our social relationships."
Ironically, without mRNA vaccines, the internet etc the world would just have continued on pretty much like the previous flu pandemics with barely worse (or even better) net outcomes

Intersectional inequities in COVID-19 mortality by race/ethnicity and education in the United States, January 1, 2020–January 31, 2021 - "Non-Hispanic Black rates were not appreciably different from Non-Hispanic White rates in the lowest education categories, whereas a moderately increased risk of COVID-19 death for Non-Hispanic Blacks emerges for those with some college education or higher (IRR=1.3, 95% CI 1.2, 1.3) compared to Non-Hispanic Whites in the same educational category (summarized in Table 2). In contrast, significantly elevated rates are seen among Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaskan Natives relative to Non-Hispanic Whites in all educational groups with the exception of high school graduates, with the magnitude of the disparity varying from 1.3 to 2.0. Meanwhile, though Hispanics were observed to have higher crude mortality rates relative to Non-Hispanic Whites (Figure 1b), within strata of educational attainment, Hispanics have substantially decreased mortality rates, as do Non-Hispanic Asian Pacific Islanders."
Damn white supremacy and structural racism, making Non-Hispanic Asian Pacific Islanders have the lowest mortality rates!

Philippine police probe death of curfew violator forced to do squats - "Philippine police said Wednesday they are investigating the death of a coronavirus lockdown violator who was forced to do a hundred squat-like exercises as a penalty for breaking curfew.  Police have punished more than 10,000 people for breaching a 6:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew imposed on Metro Manila and four provinces bordering the national capital region last week to curb soaring infections.  Darren Penaredondo, 28, was detained Thursday night after going out to buy water in General Trias city, south of the capital... Rights groups have previously raised concerns about excessive punishments for people caught breaching Covid-19 restrictions.  During last year's monthslong lockdown, police and officials held curfew violators in dog cages and forced them to sit in the midday sun as punishment, Human Rights Watch said."
Clearly, the reason the Philippines hasn't defeated covid is because their lockdown isn't strict enough

‘Covid “denier” is a disgusting, dog-whistle slur’ - "Brendan O’Neill: I want to start off by asking you about the political climate in late-stage lockdown Britain. It’s getting worse and worse. Anyone who raises any questions whatsoever about the efficacy or wisdom of lockdown, or even about how long lockdown will go on, is rounded upon, denounced, demonised and in some cases shunted from polite society. What do you make of this climate? How bad do you think it has got?
Peter Hitchens: It’s bad and rapidly getting worse. The whole debate, such as there is a debate at all, is being shifted away from asking whether lockdown is worth doing. Now, people are telling sceptics to shut up, telling them people are dying and blaming them for that. It’s all our fault. It’s our fault for having had Christmas and it’s our fault for having spoken to or met anybody...
O’Neill: The notion that even to raise questions is virtually to kill people has to be one of the slimiest methods that is used to silence dissent. The other way in which people try to shut you down is through the use of the word ‘denier’. For most people this is said about, it is not true. Most of the experts and critical voices fully accept Covid is a real virus which poses a challenge to our country. But it seems the word is used as a way of demonising anyone who raises questions – to such an extent that they are essentially put on a par with Holocaust deniers...
Hitchens: What these people are basically saying is that they are not prepared to argue with you. They would rather slur and slander you than argue with you and anyone who does that is immediately admitting that they have no case.  But when you hear it, you know that the people who are using it against you are worried by your very existence. And that’s another problem. Lockdown sceptics were recently described by one commentator as dangerous. I pointed out he was not saying our ideas are dangerous, but that we are dangerous – and that is a direct staircase to the showtrial. What do you do with a dangerous person or thing? Confine and destroy them.
O’Neill: One of the things I have been most shocked by is the bile thrown at experts like Professor Karol Sikora and Professor Sunetra Gupta. What has been said and done to them over the past few weeks in particular has been genuinely shocking. You use the term showtrial, which is not an exaggeration. There has at least been a media showtrial. A writer for the Observer described these people as ‘agents of disinformation’. Disinformation doesn’t mean getting things wrong; it means purposely deceiving the public for wicked ends. What do you think all this does to the culture of scepticism?
Hitchens: I am concerned about what it does to the culture of scepticism, but I’m much more concerned about what it does to respect for the scientific method... Now, if you have the wrong opinion in a scientific debate, you are not to be listened to, you are to be derided and in some cases insulted. All this is a great blow at the pursuit of knowledge, at the Enlightenment and at civilisation. It’s also a great blow at freedom, which seems to be diminishing visibly all around us as we speak. I have become more and more convinced over the past several years that people don’t actually value freedom as much as they pretend to. So I’m not especially surprised after the past surrenders of freedom – like on the pretext of counterterrorism – to find people are not rushing to defend it."

They call it "the Covid conundrum." Why do open states have fewer Covid cases than locked-down states? The Today Show tries to explain it away and fails in truly epic fashion. - "As anyone with a cognitive ability north that of patio furniture could have told you, shutting people up inside where the virus spreads quickly and easily is a "bad" idea whereas permitting people to move about as is their right, is a "good" idea, particularly for the people least vulnerable to the virus. Anyone paying attention already knew this. A survey of hospitalizations last May in New York was among the earliest evidence.
A new survey of 1,300 patients at 113 hospitals around New York state suggests that 66 percent of all new hospitalizations are people who are sheltering at home. And only 3 percent in New York City had been using public transportation...
Confronted with mounting evidence that lockdowns don't work and do more damage than good, the Today Show did what any credible journalistic institution with the pedigree of NBC News behind it would do and conceded that the scientists and governors who went with a looser strategy were right all along. Ha! I had you there for a moment, didn't I? No? Not even a little bit? Naturally, we cannot permit science to become the handmaiden to truth, no, we need "SCIENCE!" to reaffirm our preexisting narrative lest the citizenry starts to question the wisdom of our leaders shutting down the economy, suspending the constitution, traumatizing a generation of children, and overall ruining people's lives.  That way lay anarchy!  We no longer really have a scientific community, but rather court wizards whose job it is to justify their rulers' claims for clinging to power. And so The Today Show offers three explanations for why the more open states are doing better, each uniquely ludicrous in their own way.
#1 Cherry Picking...
The testing rates between Texas, an open state with low infection rates, and Pennsylvania, a more locked down state with higher infection rates, don't explain why Pennsylvania infection rates per capita are more than twice that of Texas...
# 2 Using an Example That Proves The Opposite
#3 The Hit Job"

ZUBY: on Twitter - "2021 Newspeak Translator:
'conspiracy theorist' = anyone who does research
'anti-science' = questioning the mainstream narrative
'killing grandma' = opposing lockdowns, mask mandates, or house arrests
'anti-vaxxer' = anyone who has questions or concerns around THIS vaccine"

People's Savings Are Down To $0 Because Of The Pandemic

Even virtual concerts are now banned under Ontario lockdown rules - "Adding insult to injury, certain rules pertaining to media industries mean that much of film and TV production can continue — but for whatever reason, the same does not apply to the music industry."
How you know lockdowns aren't really about controlling covid transmission

Vaccinate essential workers on the job because they're hardest hit by COVID's third wave: experts - "  There’s also a growing push for legislation to provide paid sick leave to such workers. A majority 58 per cent of Canadian employees are not compensated when off sick, which only encourages workplace virus spread, said Patty Coates, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.   In fact, she said, “what we’re hearing is that there are a number of these workplaces that are telling workers to come in to work even if they’ve tested positive.”  This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. Ontario’s Conservative government scrapped a law that did provide two days of paid sick leave before the pandemic started."
Clearly the solution is to tighten lockdown and institute a curfew

Doug Ford’s ‘stay home’ message is absurd. Workers in the hardest-hit areas can’t stay home — they’re essential | The Star - "A retiree in Rosedale is vaccinated against a virus she’s highly unlikely to catch. Meanwhile, the 35-year-old warehouse worker from North Toronto who is boxing up the retiree’s water resistant throw pillows just in time for patio season is still awaiting his shot"

Scoot passenger flights barred from entering Hong Kong after 2 passengers tested Covid-19 positive
Covid hysteria means you might as well ban all flights

Testing Is Key to Beating Coronavirus, Right? Japan Has Other Ideas - The New York Times - "As the world tries to get a handle on the coronavirus and emerge from paralyzing lockdowns, public health officials have repeated a mantra: “test, test, test.”  But Japan went its own way, limiting tests to only the most severe cases as other countries raced to screen as many people as possible. Medical experts worried that the approach would blind the country to the spread of infection, allowing cases to explode and swamping hospitals.  It hasn’t happened. Japan — the grayest country in the world and a popular tourist destination with large, crowded cities — has one of the lowest mortality rates from Covid-19 among major nations. The medical system has not been overwhelmed. And the government never forced businesses to close, although many chose to... A national law on infectious diseases mandated that anyone who tested positive, even those who were asymptomatic, had to be placed in one of the country’s few isolation wards, creating a strong disincentive for doctors to test patients with milder symptoms."
This suggests that the key to covid "success" isn't as straightforward as covid hystericists imagine

In Japan, more people died from suicide last month than from Covid in all of 2020 - "Women make up a larger percentage of part-time workers in the hotel, food service and retail industries -- where layoffs have been deep"
Clearly covid is Japan's bigget public health problem and they need to lockdown more

WHATLEY: Ford's declaration of COVID defeat isn't justified by lack of beds - "  Ontario now has 2,250 new acute care beds, which include 1,492 new ICU beds with ventilators. Spring shortages have disappeared. PPE abounds. If the mood strikes, you could bathe in alcohol hand sanitizer, and no one worries about running out of toilet paper. A massive vaccination program has just launched, and untold hundreds of millions of dollars have distracted voter anxieties. Yet after all this success, and more, Ford is declaring defeat, issuing another complete lockdown this week.  What evidence informs his decision? Are Ontario’s 3,504 critical care beds all full? Have COVID patients flooded Ontario’s roughly 24,000 acute-care hospital beds? In the spring, the province shut down to flatten the curve and protect the health-care system. We needed time to build capacity, spread out demand. The first wave was sharp and short. At the peak, roughly 1,000 admitted COVID patients per day populated a curve that looked much like other epidemics. Most hospital beds remained empty and ICU beds unused.  Now, ten months later, we have hit 1,000 COVID patients in hospital again. Almost 270 of those patients are in ICU, approximately 180 on ventilators. But unlike the spring, we have 2,250 new hospital beds. If the beds were one giant COVID hospital, it would be less than half full of COVID patients today, and over 80% of the ICU would lie empty. My own almost-500-bed hospital on the outskirts of Toronto has only 20 COVID cases on the ward, five in ICU. We could care for over 80 ICU patients if necessary.  So why is the entire province facing a brutal provincewide lockdown over the ordinarily festive Christmas season?  Politicians are vote maximizing machines, so we cannot blame them for following votes. Given all the media concern about case counts, who would vote against lockdown? Salaried hospitals workers love lockdowns. It makes life so much easier and less risky for the same amount of effort. White-collar workers love them too. Why commute when you can telecommute for half the cost and none of the risk? Civil servants love lockdowns secure in their jobs, programming on hold. To this, point, these groups have swayed politicians, winning the media debate over concerns about the economic devastation, the plight of customer-driven small businesses, isolated people suffering without family, and those who would emphasize a more sensible risk-benefit analysis that preserves individual freedoms to conduct business and personal affairs safely.  Part of the premier’s previously successful pandemic strategy was to accept that the pandemic situation varies greatly across this massive province. Colour-codes were assigned. Areas such as Ottawa and Eastern Ontario had lighter restrictions based on their manageable level of spread. Without question, some regions suffer more, and in parts of the GTA stricter controls might be required. But a crude, provincewide lockdown has been applied everywhere. Once again, the premier declares defeat in the face of victory.  Over 95% of COVID deaths occurred in patients over the age of 60. More than 80% of deaths occurred in LTC patients. COVID kills the elderly. Will a provincewide lockdown protect them? Will it keep LTC patients safe? Or do we need more drastic measures for LTC but less drastic for everyone else? Maybe we need to quarantine and isolate LTC staff in two-week shifts, creating COVID-free bubbles like professional sports teams.  Disasters require leaders trained in disaster response. Politicizing a disaster guarantees a politicized response. Politicians and public health doctors have designed new disaster plans with each wave, with comments from critical-care docs for good measure. If COVID-19 is a true disaster, then we should have a broad-based, multidisciplinary disaster response team to weigh all the risks, without trying to mitigate only one. Even before COVID, some hospitals were in a state of emergency due to overcrowding. This is not new. Going into COVID, Ontario had only 2.4 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, eighth lowest among 42 OECD countries. Japan has 13.1 beds per 1,000, South Korea 12.3, Russia 8.1, and Germany 8.0.  We need more beds, but more lock downs will not deliver them. If hospitals have too few beds or staff, then hospitals must cancel surgery and delay treatment. This is harsh, but nowhere near as harsh as a provincewide lockdown.  The hospital crisis is not new. COVID adds a new twist. Real solutions require more than lockdowns and emergency measures. Yet here we are again. After ten months of preparation, calling for lockdown seems an admission of failure."
From December 2020, about the second lockdown

WATCH: California health secretary admits that outdoor dining closures were to keep people home, and not because restaurants were spreading COVID
The political theatre of lockdowns

The political and corporate elites are engaged in vicious class warfare against small business owners and working Canadians - "Cyberpunk 2077 is set in a future where global mega-corporations dominate every aspect of life, with regular people left vulnerable and powerless to impact the course of their societies.  Most people are reduced to a desperate existence, while a very select few controls everything, and are protected from the brutality of life.  When we think of a future like that, we often wonder, "how would people let things get that way?" Turns out, we are seeing exactly how that happens today. Whether through mendacity, incompetence, or a mixture of both, many of our politicians have done precisely the wrong thing at every step of the China Virus Crisis.  When it could have been mitigated early on, they spent months calling it "low risk" and accused people of "racism" for wanting the borders closed. When it could have been slowed down at airports, they failed to put true quarantine or testing measures in place until it was too late.  When the initial lockdown and a summer of lower cases bought months and months of time to protect the vulnerable at care homes and provide support to improve health, they squandered that time. And now, they offer nothing but lockdowns once again. Yet, the pain from these lockdowns is not being equally shared.  Some are exempt. Some are even profiting.  For example, revenue of global mega corporations like Amazon and Walmart have surged, and many globally owned big box stores are doing better than ever. Those big box stores are doing so well because they have been allowed to remain open by the politicians.  The politicians have also kept government-run liquor stores open. You can walk into a government-run liquor store, but you can’t hold a church service.  And of course, politicians and government workers continue to receive their full pay, without interruption. In some cases, they even gave themselves their scheduled raises—at our expense of course. Meanwhile, those same politicians who exempted themselves, exempted big corporations, and exempted government-run stores from economic pain, have decided to lockdown small businesses in massive numbers.  They deemed most small businesses, "non-essential," shutting them down, while failing to provide anything close to equal compensation for the damage done... What we are witnessing is nothing less than vicious class-warfare. It is class warfare being perpetrated by the political and corporate elites, the new "protected class" above the rest of us, who issue orders from their offices while being insulated from the impact of those orders."

Florida Private School Bars Vaccinated Teachers From Student Contact - The New York Times - "A private school in the fashionable Design District of Miami sent its faculty and staff a letter last week about getting vaccinated against Covid-19. But unlike institutions that have encouraged and even facilitated vaccination for teachers, the school, Centner Academy, did the opposite: One of its co-founders, Leila Centner, informed employees “with a very heavy heart” that if they chose to get a shot, they would have to stay away from students."
Of course, when institutions have policies that require employees/students to get a covid vaccine, liberals cheer and say you can't prevent private entities from implementing these policies

COVID-19 in Children: Looking Forward, Not Back - "in most studies, researchers suggest that children appear less likely to transmit, compared with adults, or present as index cases in household clusters... As SARS-CoV-2 continues its inexorable march through susceptible populations, we must remember that there is no setting on Earth guaranteed to be safe from SARS-CoV-2. With that sobering recognition, we must work to fulfill the medical, academic, social, and emotional needs of children, despite knowing that providing such care cannot ever be completely free of infectious disease risk. As has been shown in the US and around the world, with appropriate mitigation strategies, we can successfully minimize (although not eliminate) the risk of COVID-19. We fear that one day, we will look back on this terrible pandemic and recognize the extent to which we have failed our children, by being more afraid of their infection and transmission risks than of the prospect of letting them down precisely when they needed us most."
Apparently "covid deniers" get to publish in peer reviewed journals now. Time to deplatform Pediatrics. We cannot let our kids return to schools until covid is eradicated. And if covid is never eradicated, they must stay home forever!

Parts of Taiwan lock down after record 29 new Covid cases - "Taipei’s mayor has announced the indefinite closure of bars, internet cafes, gaming and entertainment venues and public sport centres from Saturday after Taiwan reported 29 new community transmission cases of Covid-19, its highest single-day figure since the pandemic began, including seven with no known source... Rapid testing stations will be set up in the Wanhua area, the first time Taiwan has used such a measure.. Taiwan locked down early, restricting non-resident entries, and has run a strict hotel and home quarantine system. Voluntary mask use has remained high."
What will all the covid hystericists in Singapore who blame India for Singapore's cases blame this on?

COVID-19 travel advisories create tensions in B.C. tourist towns - "Tourism-reliant communities in the B.C. Interior are appealing for calm after at least five vehicles bearing Alberta plates were allegedly vandalized, left with nasty notes or the drivers were aggressively confronted and told to go home... While it appears there have only been a few incidents where vehicles have been targeted, the hostile reception is at odds with the fact that the economies of many communities in the region are buoyed by inter-provincial visitors and seasonal residents."
Covid hysteria strike again

Sinovac Steps Up Defense of Shot After Confusing Data - Bloomberg - "China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. defended the efficacy of its Covid-19 shot, saying the vaccine that’s being rolled out from Indonesia to Brazil despite inconsistent data readouts is more effective in preventing the disease if the two-dose regime is administered over a longer time frame.  Nearly 1,400 of the 13,000 people who took part in clinical trials of Sinovac’s vaccine, called CoronaVac, received their doses three weeks apart, while most of the volunteers in the Brazil-based trials got the second jab two weeks after the first. The protection rate for the smaller group was nearly 20 percentage points higher than the 50.4% rate observed in the majority, Sinovac said in a written response to Bloomberg News.  The comments come after CoronaVac delivered vastly different efficacy rates in four clinical trial sites, fueling concern over whether the vaccine that’s key to the inoculation campaigns of some of the world’s Covid hotspots will be effective in stemming outbreaks."
Of course, the West is to blame for sabotaging the trials

Steven Godofsky on Twitter/a> - "The Chinese vaccines are clearly not doing the job."
Damn CIA! They must have introduced a new variant of covid to the Seychelles and Bahrain to make their covid numbers soar even though they have more people vaccinated than the US!

COVID-19: Why is China′s vaccination rate so low? - " "My friend's company told her last month that if she didn't get vaccinated she would be fired but she was breastfeeding her newborn baby at the time," Lee said. "For most people, even if they want to avoid being vaccinated with one of the Chinese vaccines, they still have to do it eventually, because no one can handle the pressure coming from the government."  In Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, local citizens have been lining up to get vaccinated over the last few weeks, sources told DW. While many people are doing so voluntarily, others say information about the jab is strictly censored and citizens have few opportunities to learn about the situation in countries that have inoculated many of their citizens with the Chinese vaccine.  "Many people in Wuhan only know that some countries have been receiving vaccines from China but they don't know whether the vaccines have been effective in reducing the number of confirmed cases after the rollout began"...   Some Chinese citizens have cited concerns over safety and efficacy as grounds for refusing vaccination. On April 11, China's leading disease control official said existing vaccines in China offered a low level of protection and that mixing different vaccines was one of the strategies being considered to boost their effectiveness.  "We will resolve the issue of vaccines not having very high protection rates," said Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "It's now under formal consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines for the immunization process."  Gao later told the Global Times, a Chinese state-run tabloid, that his comments had been completely misinterpreted by the international community.   Jason Wang, director of the Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention at Stanford University in the United States, told DW that China is using a "carrot and stick" strategy to get more citizens vaccinated. However, he believes that the most effective way to boost inoculations would be to address the root causes of people's hesitancy.  "One way to get people to take the vaccine is to provide incentives and every government can provide incentives, including negative ones," Wang told DW. "If they force people to do something and they don't feel safe, the government just becomes less trustworthy."   On the other hand, China has launched an aggressive "vaccine diplomacy" program over the last few months, supplying millions of vaccines to countries in several parts of the world. Still, countries like Chile, which has vaccinated a large portion of its population with Chinese jabs, are experiencing a new wave of infections."
Gao must be a CIA agent. He will soon be purged

Back to the drawing board in China — Sinovac just 50 percent effective in COVID-19 trial - "  Gao’s remarks, which appeared inadvertent and quickly spread through Chinese social media on Saturday before being mostly censored, marked a departure from the rosy assessments of Chinese-made vaccines by the government. By Sunday, Internet users were intentionally misspelling words in their posts while discussing Gao’s comments to keep them from being removed. The comments on Saturday come after the government has already distributed hundreds of millions of doses to other countries, even though the rollout has been dogged by questions over why Chinese pharmaceutical firms have not released detailed clinical trial data about the vaccines’ efficacy.  China has struck deals to supply many of its allies and economic partners in the developing world and boasted that world leaders – including in Indonesia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates – have taken the shots.  There have been signs that some countries remain skeptical: The UAE recently experimented with administering three shots of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, instead of two, over reports of low numbers of antibodies produced in some people, while Singapore has stockpiled but not used Sinovac shots...   The mRNA vaccines are widely accepted as having higher efficacy rates, and Chinese pharmaceutical executives have said they are racing to catch up and master mRNA technology themselves.  The admission by the head of the Chinese CDC undercut other arms of the government, including its propaganda organs and diplomats, who have spent months touting Chinese vaccines as part of a soft power push while aggressively sowing doubt about Western alternatives by questioning the efficacy and safety of mRNA technology."

Low Efficacy of Chinese Shots Sows Concern on Global Rollout - Bloomberg - "“They don’t really trust it themselves,” said Therese Hesketh, an expert on China’s healthcare system at University College London. “They really did a rush job on the vaccine and the clinical trials have never been properly scrutinized. I’m aware from colleagues in China that there’s huge vaccine hesitancy anyway.”  Chinese vaccine developers have been repeatedly criticized for a lack of transparency and lag foreign peers in publishing full trial data in peer-reviewed medical journals. The weekend study out of Sinovac vaccine’s late-stage trial in Brazil came three months after its first efficacy readouts, while state-owned Sinopharm has yet to publish full data from phase 3 trials for its two inactivated Covid vaccines. While a separate Sinovac study involving more than 10,000 people in Turkey put the vaccine’s efficacy at 83.5%, it just added to questions about the shot’s effectiveness. The company has said that differences in the severity of outbreaks, various Covid strains in circulation and the definition by which virus cases are identified in studies have all contributed to different results across several trial sites.  “The confusion that has arisen highlights the importance of full transparency with publication of results of trials in the peer-reviewed literature,” said Martin McKee, professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine."

Papua New Guinea Demands China Explain COVID-19 Vaccine Trial on Miners - "Papua New Guinea blocked the arrival of a flight carrying workers from China after a Chinese mine operator said its employees were given a coronavirus vaccine in a possible unauthorized trial"

How Effective Is China’s Sinovac Shot? Covid Vaccine Data Unclear - Bloomberg - "the confusion, which comes as several governments commit to inoculating their citizens with Sinovac’s shot, is fueling skepticism over Chinese vaccines, which have disclosed less safety and testing information than western front-runners. The data kerfuffle risks further undermining trust in shots that President Xi Jinping has promised to share with the rest of the world as a global public good.  “There is enormous financial and prestige pressure for these trials to massively overstate their results,” said Nikolai Petrovsky, a professor at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University.  “In many cases, such overstatements are also politically motivated, as countries that have failed to properly control the pandemic now want to overstate the benefits of the vaccines to win votes and appease local unrest.”... “Initially, Sinovac was going to ship the vaccine supply to Hong Kong in January. But they delayed the announcement of the Phase III clinical trial data three times,” said David Hui, a professor of respiratory medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who sits on the Asian financial hub’s Covid-19 advisory panel. “That would delay the assessment of their application.”"

Chinese health experts call to suspend Pfizer's mRNA vaccine for elderly after Norwegian deaths - Global Times - "Chinese health experts called on Norway and other countries to suspend the use of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by companies such as Pfizer, especially among elderly people, due to the vaccines' safety uncertainties following the deaths of 23 elderly Norwegian people who received the vaccine.   The new mRNA vaccine was developed in haste and had never been used on a large scale for the prevention of infectious disease, and its safety had not been confirmed for large-scale use in humans, a Chinese immunologist said.  The death incidents in Norway also proved that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines' efficacy was not as good as expected, experts said...   A Beijing-based immunologist, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Friday that the world should suspend the use of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine represented by Pfizer, as this new technology has not proven safety in large-scale use or in preventing any infectious diseases."
Excellent deflection from the poor efficacy of Chinese vaccines! Conveniently, 2 of the 3 "experts" cited are anonymous

Caution needed in using mRNA-based vaccines to prevent unknown risks including death - Global Times
Strangely, despite the article citing "experts", only 2 were actually mentioned: one of whom was anonymous and the other, who was named, cautioning against the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy

China's coronavirus vaccine diplomacy takes an anti-vax turn - "Chinese state media reports also distorted the words of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, Oslo’s national drug regulatory body, to suggest a causal link had been established. China Daily, for example, said in its headline that health authorities said the deaths were “likely related to vaccine.” This is inaccurate at best... Chinese state media, by insinuating that the Pfizer vaccine had deadly effects, plays a dangerous game of spreading disinformation, fanning the flames of the anti-vaccine movement at a time when the World Health Organization has declared vaccine hesitancy as one of the world’s greatest health threats. In a similar vein, a prominent state-television anchor, Liu Xin—perhaps best known abroad for her 2019 debate with Fox television host Trish Regan—tweeted last weekend demanding to know why foreign media were ignoring news of 10 deaths in Germany shortly after receiving the Pfizer vaccine. The tweet was also shared by the Chinese foreign ministry’s most abrasive voice. So far, however, there is no evidence linking the vaccine to the German deaths. As Brigitte Keller-Stanislawski, head of medical products and devices safety at Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute, the country’s vaccines body, noted (link in German), all deaths were of seriously ill patients and “we assume that the patients died of their underlying disease.”  China’s focus on the Norway deaths comes in the wake of English-language reporting on the efficacy results of the Chinese vaccines, and the sparse data accompanying them—which have been seen by some as a concerted effort to cast doubt on the Chinese vaccines. These vaccines are an important source of national pride, a sign that the country is competitive in science and technology with other advanced economies in the race to develop safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines that are widely used. They also offer the perfect opportunity to repair diplomatic ties damaged by its perceived failures in the early days in the pandemic, and strengthen strategic relationships amid intensifying global criticism of its human rights violations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang... This week, one of the purchasers of China’s Sinovac vaccines, Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte used the deaths to scorn senators who were urging authorities to prioritize securing Pfizer vaccines by asking them if they “want” the same situation as Norway. The Chinese edition of Global Times quickly reported on the exchange, writing in its headline (link in Chinese), “Duterte: You want the Pfizer vaccine? Remember Norway? I’ll order it for you.”  This isn’t the first time China’s tried to influence understanding of the pandemic, both at home and abroad. Notably, Chinese officials have spread conspiracy theories that suggest that the coronavirus might have been brought to China from the US, rather than originating in Wuhan, where the first outbreak occurred. Just days after the arrival in China of a WHO team in the city to investigate the pandemic’s origins, the Chinese foreign ministry began publicly pushing a conspiracy theory that a US military lab could well be the origin of Covid-19... China has already has experience of the dangers of disinformation in the pandemic—quashing genuine information circulated among doctors as “rumors” at an early and crucial state of the outbreak. With the stakes so high for the successful global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines—tens of thousands of lives and a semblance of some form of return to normality—an effort to intentionally sow doubts about their safety could be China’s most dangerous pandemic disinformation strategy yet."

Blinken denounces China's 'strings attached' vaccine diplomacy - Nikkei Asia - "U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced China's so-called vaccine diplomacy, saying it was "deeply unfortunate" that countries play politics with people's health."

China’s Southeast Asian ‘Vaccine Diplomacy’ Comes Into Relief - "the Chinese state media network Xinhua declared that China would “not turn COVID-19 vaccines into any kind of geopolitical weapon or diplomatic tool.” But it is hard to see Beijing not using vaccines to foster goodwill, advance its interests and otherwise white out memories of its role in allowing COVID-19 to spread across the globe in the first place... Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during his visit to Kuala Lumpur last month, promised Malaysia priority access to Chinese vaccines. According to an anonymous Malaysian official, he then discreetly asked for the release of 60 Chinese fishermen detained for trespassing into Malaysian waters just days before his visit. According to Nikkei Asia, the Malaysian government is reportedly considering the request. While Wang’s demand for the release of detained Chinese fishermen is relatively modest, it offers some signs as to how the Chinese government will seek to use “vaccine diplomacy” to pursue its broader regional goals... the Nikkei Asia article raises the possibility that bringing COVID-19 under control may require repeated doses of vaccines, on an annual or biannual basis. This would potentially make dependence on Chinese goodwill a recurring dynamic, rather than simply a one-off event."

Genève Campbell on Twitter - "Conspiracy theories can be a real threat to our societies and to democracy. The double-bind is that “conspiracy theory” is often defined as anything that challenges prevailing power dynamics or an official reconstruction."

WARMINGTON: B'nai Brith questions why some protesters not ticketed - "A lot of people noticed pro-Palestine demonstrators outside Toronto’s Israeli Consulate Monday were not ticketed even though some did not wear masks or follow social-distancing protocols... “B’nai Brith demands equal enforcement of the law,” Canada’s “oldest independent Jewish Human Rights organization” said in a strongly-worded statement Wednesday... “It is difficult to accept that while Jewish schools are forced to close, dangerous mass gatherings that call for the destruction of the Jewish State can apparently proceed without penalty,” said Mostyn.  It’s no secret that protests against wearing masks, social distancing and lockdowns are regularly greeted by police officers with handcuffs, ticket books, and police horses. Many opening restaurants or businesses have been hit with stiff fines."
Left wing protests don't spread covid. Only ones liberals disapprove of. And in the meantime, liberals will keep claiming that they have no power

Chris Rock: Democrats Worsened COVID-19 by Focusing on Trump Impeachment

The Seychelles is 60% vaccinated but still infections are rising. That's not as bad as it sounds - "The Seychelles is relying on China-made Sinopharm and Covishield, the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India. Of all fully vaccinated people, 57% received Sinopharm, which was given to those ages 18 to 60, while 43% took Covishield, which was given to those over 60. Around 37% of positive cases from the week to May 8 had been fully vaccinated, the government said, although it has not released data on which vaccines they received. The government hasn't released data on the age breakdown of Covid-19 patients. Around 20% of those who were admitted to hospital for treatment had been vaccinated, but their cases weren't serious, the Ministry of Health said Monday. Almost none of the critical and severe cases requiring intensive care had been vaccinated, and no one who has been vaccinated has died of Covid-19. Radegonde said Thursday that only two people in the country are in intensive care."
Covid hystericists only look at cases, so it's time to lockdown forever!

Nashville Officials Withheld COVID Numbers for Restaurants and Bars Over HIPAA Law Concerns, Mayor's Office Says - "the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. estimated that the city's businesses have lost $2.4 billion so far in visitor spending during the coronavirus pandemic and are reportedly losing $100 million every week"
How convenient. Obviously nothing to do with imposing blanket lockdowns without evidence

Melbourne lockdown: Fears over outbreak sparks restrictions - "Australia's second most populous state Victoria will enter a seven-day lockdown to counter a fast-spreading outbreak in its capital, Melbourne.  The lockdown will begin at midnight on Thursday (14:00 GMT).  Authorities have so far found 26 cases, and identified 150 sites where people may have been exposed to the virus.  There is growing anxiety over the outbreak which reminds many locals of a devastating second wave that swept the state last year.  Victoria's acting Premier James Merlino said the outbreak involved a highly contagious strain of the virus, the B.1.617 variant. A returned traveller was infected with the strain, which Mr Merlino said was spreading "faster than we have ever recorded"."
Apparently, Melbourne's repeated lockdowns are clear proof that lockdowns work if they're "done right"

Fauci falters on consistent coronavirus message - "Appearing on “60 Minutes” on March 8, Fauci attempted to reassure the public that wearing face coverings was not a very important public health measure and could even be counter productive.  “Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks,” Fauci confidently informed the interviewer Dr. Jon LaPook"
Some covid hystericist proclaimed that it was "time to make spreading  COVID (or any public health) related misinformation a crime" with "mandatory jail time". He then dismised Matt Taibbi as an unreliable source (when he pointed out that "fact checking" was a joke) and claimed that "Fauci has been pretty right on". But if Fauci says Fauci was wrong...

Double-masking: No science to support increased protection, Calgary infectious disease experts say - "Anthony Fauci backtracked initial support for the trend, saying the Centre for Disease control does not call for two masks to be worn for protection from transmission"

What Dr. Fauci Said About Wuhan Lab Theory in 2020, and What He's Saying Now - "Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), recently indicated that he was not entirely convinced that the virus originated naturally, and called for the origins of the virus to continue to be investigated by national and international authorities. But his position seemed to contradict a previous claim the top U.S. infectious disease expert made, arguing that scientific evidence leaned "very strongly" toward COVID-19 not originating in a lab environment."

Jentezen Franklin on Twitter - "California’s Governor just banned singing/chanting at church. Catholics can't recite mass; Evangelicals can't worship out loud. The very definition of discrimination is to allow thousands to march and scream without masks while telling churches 100 or less that you cannot sing."

Thomas Massie on Twitter - "A lot of people keep forg

etting that “flatten the curve” is/was about slowing the spread of COVID — not stopping the spread and not reducing the number of people who eventually get infected. It is/was about avoiding overwhelming medical resources until herd immunity is reached."

The Covid fines are a monstrous assault on justice - "What kind of cruel, Byzantine parallel universe have we entered, when two students can be fined £10,000 each for organising a snowball fight... Fixed-penalty notices are normally used for minor and straightforward infractions. They are also normally set at low levels, say £100 for littering or £130 for parking. The Covid fixed-penalty notices are neither minor nor straightforward, and their use during the pandemic has raised serious human-rights concerns. So serious that the House of Commons and House of Lords Joint Committee on Human Rights has recommended that every single fine be reviewed.   More than 85,000 fixed-penalty notices have been issued for breaking the Covid restrictions in England. An astonishing 27 per cent of the cases reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service were found to have been incorrectly issued. The Covid fines are not set at low levels either. As I have previously highlighted on spiked, they are the heaviest fines to be inflicted on the British people since the ‘Weregild’ (or ‘blood money’) fines of the Dark Ages. These fines include £200 for not wearing a face mask, between £1,000 and £10,000 for a business failing to implement a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, between £4,000 and £10,000 for failing to self-isolate, and £10,000 for hosting a rave... Before the lockdown, fines this expensive had only ever been issued by courts – not police officers or Covid marshals. And these fines are often set in line with earnings. For this reason, the Joint Committee on Human Rights recommends that fines should be graduated. It’s also hard to know what is and isn’t a fineable offence. The coronavirus regulations have changed at least 65 times, inevitably leading to uncertainty among police officers about how to enforce the law...   One key problem with the fines is that they create perverse incentives. This could end up perpetuating the Covid restrictions long beyond the pandemic itself. There are long-standing controversies over councils using parking, littering and speeding-camera fines to generate revenue. For instance, a Manifesto Club review into littering fines found an increase from 727 littering fines in 1997/1998 to over 35,000 in 2008/2009, and to over 250,000 in 2018. As councils have a financial incentive to hand out more fines, this leads to the ‘inevitable corruption of punishment’, the report argued... Although 21 June is when UK citizens expect their freedoms to be returned, some councils are nevertheless advertising jobs for Covid marshals lasting until 2022, or even – hold on to your hat – 2023. For instance, Hertfordshire County Council has advertised for 60 marshals from July until January 2022, with the possibility to extend the contract for a further year... What sort of society do we want to become? Do we want to be fined for Covid infractions for years to come? Scientists believe Covid is no longer at epidemic levels in the UK"

The sinister ‘spirit’ of lockdown - "  ‘Spirit’ has become a scary word. Derbyshire police have been criticised after they ‘surrounded’ Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, who had travelled five miles for a walk near their home. Derbyshire police issued the women with £200 fines. They claimed that drivi

ng to a location to exercise ‘is clearly not in the spirit of the national effort to reduce our travel’. They suggested the women could not carry hot drinks, as this would make their meet-up a ‘picnic’...   The belief in the ‘spirit’ of lockdown is rendering coronavirus enforcement increasingly absurd. Earlier this week, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said people should stop sitting on park benches during their daily exercise. Home secretary Priti Patel has said that anyone sitting on a park bench could be questioned by police and asked to move along. It is also resulting in appalling injustices. Carol and David Richards from Bridgend were fined £60 for driving 20 minutes to see Carol’s 90-year-old mother in a care home (care-home visits are permitted for compassionate reasons). It is claimed that only the most serious breaches of the regulations will result in legal action. But this is becoming harder to believe. Data published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council revealed that 32,329 fixed penalty notices were issued by forces in England and Wales between 27 March and 21 December. Prosecutions are starting to increase, too... the phrase ‘spirit of the lockdown’ is so scary. We are expected to abide by the ‘spirit’ of regulations, rather than their letter... We are being encouraged to assume that behaviour is illegal unless it is explicitly allowed for. This is why police officers feel able to say that carrying a hot drink is classified as a ‘picnic’, even though there is no possible justification for this in law. These officers believe that they should be able to fill the gaps left by the ambiguity of the regulations.   Civil liberty demands that where a law does not forbid behaviour, that behaviour ought to be permitted. The government’s approach to lockdown enforcement has undermined this completely.  Once the pandemic is over we will not be able to win back our freedom by simply repealing the coronavirus regulations. We will need to go further. We will need to defeat the ‘spirit’ of the lockdown. We will need to reassert the principle that we are free to do what is not forbidden by law. We will need to reassert that the role of the police is limited to enforcing the law. We will need to rescind any official ‘guidance’ which may intrude on our capacity to decide what is best for our own lives. We will need to defend communities against the intrusion of law and regulation. The lockdown may formally end in spring. But unless we push back, the corrosive ‘spirit’ of the lockdown may be around a lot longer."

Poll Reveals Who's Most Vaccine-Hesitant in America and Why -  "Vaccine hesitancy fell from 27.5% in January to 22% in March"
Even in the US, vaccine hesitancy isn't that high

In France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine, only 13-28% were vaccine hesitant. Removing France it was 13-22%. Removing Germany it was 13-19%. It's telling that Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden were hard hit

Vaccine hesitancy is lower in the UK. Why? - "in the United Kingdom vaccine hesitancy sits much lower; government polling shows it’s around 6 percent."

67% of S'poreans willing to take Covid-19 vaccine, 20% neutral; younger ones more likely to be concerned: IPS study - "Two in three Singaporeans are willing to take the Covid-19 vaccine if it were offered to them, with another one in five neutral. However, about half the population still have concerns about the safety and potential side effects of the vaccine, as well as its efficacy."

Covid: Australia's vaccine hesitancy worries medical experts - "one-third of Australians said they were unlikely to get vaccinated, reportedly up from previous months."
Vaccine hesitancy seems higher in places which are more "successful" at tackling covid

More than 1 in 3 New Zealanders remain hesitant or sceptical about COVID-19 vaccines. Here's how to reach them
Looks like Singapore, New Zealand and Australia are never going to open up

U.S. the biggest source of COVID-19 brought into Canada, study finds - "The importance of the U.S. as a source of imported virus raises difficult questions about how to make the world’s longest undefended border more virus-tight. The massive trade between the two countries means constant comings and goings, with largely no public-health restrictions.  But if data indicates that truck drivers are a significant source of virus importation, it might make sense to have handovers of freight at the border so the drivers themselves don’t cross over"
Clearly all flights being cancelled would have eradicated covid in Canada

Less Severe Cases of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa: Could Co-infection or a Recent History of Plasmodium falciparum Infection Be Protective? - "we hypothesize in this mini review that individuals with a recent history of malaria infection may be protected against infection or severe form of COVID-19. Given that both the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) merozoites bind to the cluster of differentiation 147 (CD147) immunoglobulin, we hypothesize that the immunological memory against P. falciparum merozoites primes SARS-CoV-2 infected cells for early phagocytosis, hence protecting individuals with a recent P. falciparum infection against COVID-19 infection or severity"

Puzzled scientists seek reasons behind Africa's low fatality rates from pandemic - "The continent’s governments have also battled deadly infectious diseases such as Ebola, which killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa in 2013-16. So officials took notice when the new coronavirus started spreading around the globe rapidly early this year.  Many African countries were quick to introduce screening at airports, suspend flights from heavily affected nations and enforce social distancing measures and mask wearing.  Within a week of Kenya reporting its first case, schools were shut, incoming travellers had to undergo a mandatory quarantine and large gatherings were banned. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, imposed a ban on interstate travel and a curfew. Many of its land borders had already been closed since August 2019 to cut down on smuggling, which helped fight the pandemic too.  South Africa introduced one of the world’s toughest lockdowns in late March, when the country had confirmed just 400 cases... For Sam Agatre Okuonzi, from the Arua Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda, the doomsday predictions were informed by entrenched prejudices, including that the continent is prone to disease.  “COVID-19 has shattered a lot of biases about disease in general but also about Africa,” he told Thursday’s briefing. “The severity of the pandemic has not played out in line with the outrageous predictions.”"

Why are Africa's coronavirus successes being overlooked? - "It has been well documented how a patronising attitude towards east Asia is what allowed European countries to be caught by such surprise at the spread of this disease. Now a similar mindset seems set to ensure we don’t learn the lessons Africa has to offer in overcoming it."

Opinion | Africa has defied the covid-19 nightmare scenarios. We shouldn’t be surprised. - The Washington Post - "As the United States approaches 200,000 deaths, the West seems largely blind to Africa’s successes. In recent weeks, headline writers seem to be doing their hardest to try to reconcile Western stereotypes about Africa with the reality of the low death rates on the continent. The BBC came under fire for a since-changed headline and a tweet that read “Coronavirus in Africa: Could poverty explain mystery of low death rate?” The New York Post published an article with the headline, “Scientists can’t explain puzzling lack of coronavirus outbreaks in Africa.”  It’s almost as if they are disappointed that Africans aren’t dying en masse and countries are not collapsing... This pandemic has coincided with a global movement challenging anti-Black racism and white supremacy. This should have been a moment for media outlets to challenge corrosive narratives about Africa and the idea that Africans are not capable of effective policy-making. We could be learning from the experiences that Africans and their governments have had with pandemics and viral diseases, including Ebola and AIDS.  Instead, the media has largely ignored the policy successes out of Africa. In doing so, Western media is reinforcing colonial narratives of Black inferiority and the inability of Black nations to govern themselves at all, much less govern better than resource-rich White nations... But overall, African countries have made great efforts to contain the coronavirus, and citizens so far have escaped the nightmare predictions. African lives have been saved thanks to the hard work of many dedicated health-care workers and the collective responsibility of communities.  In this global pandemic, Africa’s success stories matter more than ever."

Kenyan Study Suggests Parts Of Africa Saw Fewer Severe Cases Of Covid-19 Despite Wide Spread - "A Kenyan study that analyzed blood samples from donors across Kenya has found that by June 2020 nearly 4.3% Kenyans had antibodies to the coronavirus – a rate similar to what countries like Spain and the U.S. reported at the peak of Covid-19 outbreaks. The lesser number of deaths could indicate that the disease is weaker compared to what Europe and the U.S. experienced... The seroprevalence of 4.3% was considerably higher than what the researchers previously thought...   Most countries have relied on lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus but in developing countries these have disrupted health services, pushed up hunger and affected women disproportionately.    Researchers wanted to provide policy makers data that can be used to make these decisions. A younger population could be one of the explanations why Kenya wasn’t hit harder, according to the researchers of this study. The extent of spread is at odds with the number of deaths and supports "the impression that disease may be attenuated in Africa."  Other experts highlight the possible role of immunity. “People could have innate immunity to diseases or could have developed immunity after repeated infections,” said Dileep Mavalankar, director of the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) - Gandhinagar. Mavalankar was a part of a study that showed that even within the same household the chances of infections was only around 10-20%, suggesting a key role played by individual immunity."
So much for superior infection control with lessons learnt from Ebola and quick lockdowns being the reason and that if you disagree you're racist
I guess under-reporting isn't the reason why either

COVID-19: examining theories for Africa’s low death rates - "The emerging picture is that in many African countries, transmission has been higher but severity and mortality much lower than originally predicted based on experience in China and Europe...   An important possibility is that public health response of African countries, prepared by previous experiences (such as outbreaks or epidemics) was simply more effective in limiting transmission than in other parts of the world.  However, in Kenya it’s estimated that the epidemic actually peaked in July with around 40% of the population in urban areas having been infected. A similar picture is emerging in other countries. This implies that measures put in place had little effect on viral transmission per se, though it does raise the possibility that herd immunity is now playing a role in limiting further transmission... one thing that does seem clear is that the secondary effects of the pandemic will be Africa’s real COVID-19 challenge. These stem from the severe interruptions of social and economic activities as well as the potentially devastating effects of reduced delivery of services which protect millions of people, including routine vaccination as well as malaria, TB and HIV control programmes."

Are people in Africa being protected from Covid-19 by POVERTY? - "Professor Shabir Madhi, an epidemiologist who has been advising the South African government in its Covid-19 response, added: 'It seems possible that our struggles, our poor conditions might be working in favour of African countries and our populations.'... International travel in all of these countries is less  common than in the West, which could explain why cases and deaths did not rocket at the beginning, because it took longer for the virus to arrive in high numbers. But Covid-19 is so infectious that it should have eventually have ramped up to high levels seen elsewhere.  Scientists at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Analytics unit, at Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, South Africa, have come up with their own theory as to why third world countries have averted major crises. They believe people living in the toughest conditions have probably been infected by other coronaviruses that cause common colds, which have given them antibodies to be able to fend off Covid-19.  Professor Madhi told the BBC: 'It's a hypothesis. Some level of pre-existing cross-protective immunity… might explain why the epidemic didn't unfold (the way it did in other parts of the world).   'The protection might be much more intense in highly populated areas, in African settings. It might explain why the majority (on the continent) have asymptomatic or mild infections. I can't think of anything else that would explain the numbers.'   While colds and flu are common around the world, the theory is that the viruses have infect larger populations in poverty-ridden countries more often, because crowded neighbourhoods make it harder for people to distance for others. Sceptics might be quick to point to other developing nations like Brazil, with its its crowded favelas.   The South American nation has been obliterated by Covid, with 4million cases and 124,600 deaths, second only to the US.  And the outbreak in extremely-densely-populated India is spiralling out of control, with cases closing in on 4million and deaths nearing 70,000... Previous research, including one study done by Oxford University in July, has thrown weight to the theory of 'cross immunity'.    Experts have noticed the infection looks extremely similar to other, milder strains of coronaviruses which cause coughs and colds and circulate regularly.  While it remains unlikely that people will be totally protected from any infection at all, 'background' immunity could make their illness less severe and death less likely. The way cross-protection might develop lies in the fact that coronaviruses all have similar structures - that is, they have spike-shaped proteins on the outside. These spikes may look similar to the body's immune system and be recognised as a threat even if someone has not been infected with that particular one before."

High prevalence of pre-existing serological cross-reactivity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in sub-Saharan Africa - International Journal of Infectious Diseases - "Cross-reactivity vs. SARS-CoV-2 high in sub-Saharan Africa pre-pandemic samples. Reactivity against other human coronaviruses high in pre-COVID-19 pandemic plasma. Other coronaviruses may have induced cross-reactive antibodies against SARS-CoV-2."

COVID-19 in Africa: Milder-than-expected pandemic has experts puzzled - "SARS-CoV-2 has still had devastating consequences for Africa. "The virus indirectly has enormous effects on many people in the African states. The collateral damage caused by the pandemic measures could be much more acute in many countries than the direct damage caused by the virus," says physician Chu. The youngest ones are hit the hardest here, Chu says, adding that food and medication shortages often have fatal consequences for children in particular."
Clearly African countries need more lockdowns to control covid better

Malaria set to kill more people this year than Covid-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, experts warn - "Malaria will still kill many more people, particularly children, in sub-Saharan Africa this year than Covid-19, health leaders from the region have said, lamenting the lack of urgency in tackling the age-old disease.   Around 400,000 people die every year from malaria globally, more than 90 per cent of them in sub-Saharan Africa.   By comparison, so far this year, Covid-19 has killed 50,000 people across Africa, including north Africa. Closer to 20,000 have died in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the best estimates.   The World Health Organization has suggested that the pandemic could result in between 20,000 and 100,000 additional malaria deaths, too. Launching this year's World Malaria Report, the World Health Organisation's Africa chief, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said: "Certainly, the number of deaths will be much fewer for Covid-19 than for malaria [in this region]. The question is, why does it cause so much alarm with an acute event like Covid-19 or Ebola, and why is it so ordinary and normal that hundreds of thousands of children are dying of malaria every year? Why doesn't it raise that alarm, that response to investment?"... the knock-on effects of the pandemic may actually mean that there are more additional malaria deaths caused indirectly by Covid-19 in sub-Saharan Africa than deaths directly caused by Covid-19 itself, particularly among children"

Why Africa's COVID-19 Outbreak Isn't So Bad - "The COVID-19 virus appears to dissipate more quickly outside, where infectious respiratory droplets and aerosols can be easily dispersed, which is why most public health officials recommend that socializing, when necessary, be done outside. With a few exceptions, Africa’s mild winters mean that much of life can be, and is, lived outside, especially in rural areas. Limited public transport networks, usually a curse in the region, also mean that Africans do not travel as much between countries and cities, minimizing close contact and the risk of exposure."

How Our Neanderthal Genes Affect the COVID-19 Mortality: Iran and Mongolia, Two Countries with the Same SARS-CoV-2 Mutation Cluster but Different Mortality Rates - "Neanderthal genes possibly gave modern human protection against viruses. However, a recent study revealed that that a long sequence of DNA that is inherited from our Neanderthal ancestors can be linked to severe COVID-19 infection and hospitalization. Substantial evidence now indicates that our genetic background may be involved in the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 and the rapid progress of COVID-19 in some infected individuals. Although both morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 strongly depends on key factors such as age and co-existing health conditions, potential classes of human genomic variants possibly affect the likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its progress. Despite Iran and Mongolia seem to share the same SARS-CoV-2 mutation cluster, the COVID-19 mortality rates in these two countries are drastically different. While the population in Iran is 25.8 times higher than that of Mongolia, the number of confirmed cases is 1170 times higher. Moreover, the death rate shows a drastic difference. Since Neanderthals interbred with modern humans in Middle East between 47,000 and 65,000 years ago before going extinct 40,000 years ago, some Iranians have much more Neanderthal DNA than other people. Although neither genetic background nor environmental factors alone can determine our risk of developing severe COVID-19, our genes clearly affect both the development and progression of infectious diseases including COVID-19. Given these considerations, we believe that these great differences, at least to some extent, can be due to the proportion of Neanderthal genes among the people of these two countries."

Neanderthal genes may influence COVID-19 severity - "A study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine identified two gene regions associated with severe COVID-19 — one located on chromosome 3, which contains six genes, and the other on chromosome 9 that determines ABO blood groups. A September 2020 study that appears in the journal NatureTrusted Source presented more evidence that genes may play a role in the severity of COVID-19.  In the research, the scientists found a Neanderthal gene variant on chromosome 3 that significantly increased the risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms. They found having this variant meant there was a 60% increased likelihood of being hospitalized.  Scientists have found the variant in 16% of people from Europe and 50% of people from South Asia. Neanderthal variants are rare in Africa.  In particular, the researchers found this variant in 63% of people from Bangladesh, who have double the risk of dying from COVID-19, compared with white people in the United Kingdom... The latest study from the same team of scientists found another Neanderthal gene with the opposite effect"
What "structural racism" looks like

Taboo: Why Is Africa the Global COVID ‘Cold Spot’ and Why Are We Afraid to Talk About It? - "Journalists and even some scientists have been twisting themselves into speculative pretzels trying to explain this phenomenon. Theories range from sub-Saharan Africa’s “quick response” (no); favourable climate (which has not protected tropical sections of Brazil, Peru, and other warmer climes in South America); and good community health systems (directly contradicted by WHO and Africa CDC).  In each of those articles acknowledging these “puzzling” statistics, journalists were sure to suggest that Armageddon might be right around the corner...   So what’s going on here? And why are the media and most scientists so unwilling to engage one of the most plausible science-based factors: that black Africans appear to be protected, at least in part, by their ancestry? Combined with the fact that sub-Saharan Africa is the youngest region in the world—youth brings fewer co-morbidities and age is the most significant factor in contracting and dying from COVID-19—ancestry is likely a significant contributing factor to sub-Saharan Africa’s comparatively modest case and death count. With the notable exception of a research project in Hawai’i, scientists tend to shy away from exploring the population genetics angle, almost certainly fearful of stirring the embers of “race science.”  “It is really mind boggling why Africa is doing so well, while in US and UK, the people of African ancestry are doing so poorly,” Maarit Tiirikainen, a cancer and bioinformatics researcher at the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center, told us in an email. Dr. Tiirikainen is a lead researcher in a joint project at the University of Hawai’i and LifeDNA in what some believe is a controversial undertaking considering the taboos on “race” research. They are attempting to identify “those that are most vulnerable to the current and future SARS attacks and COVID based on their genetics.”  Blacks (along with other ethnic minorities) in the US and Great Britain who have contracted COVID-19 have generally fared worse than whites. “For the latter, it seems the Western socioeconomics may play a major role. There may also be genetic differences in immune and other important genes,” Dr Tiirikainen wrote. (The terms “black” and “white” are used here as shorthand for more cumbersome expressions like “those of African descent” or “people of European ancestry”—they are not science-based population categories.) Dr. Tiirikainen, like many candid researchers in this field, is skeptical that social and environmental factors alone can account for the extraordinarily low COVID-19 African infection and death rates. It is not because Africa took extraordinary steps to insulate itself as the pandemic spread. Healthcare remains fragmented at best and COVID information outreach has been limited by scant resources. At the end of March 2020, when much was still to be learned about the science of COVID-19, the co-authors of this article—the Genetic Literacy Project’s Jon Entine and contributing science journalist Patrick Whittle—discussed some of the potential reasons in the article “What’s ‘race’ got to do with it?” Following discussions with many experts, we decided not to reflexively exclude genetic explanations, which are a taboo subject. Rather, we examined the panoply of likely causes, rejecting the a priori Western prejudice that often excludes evidence that might be linked to population-level genetics and group differences for fear of “racializing” the analysis...   Why even discuss possible genetic factors? Because biases among researchers and public policy officials could undermine the development and deployment of treatments and antiviral vaccines for all of us, but particularly for more vulnerable populations in Africa and in the African diaspora. Blacks and other racial minorities in the US, Latin America, and the UK are more likely to suffer chronic health problems. For example, in the US, blacks are more than 50 percent likelier to report having poor health as compared to whites, and more than two-thirds of black adult women are overweight. Developing therapies for at-risk populations is critical. Those with genetic resistance to infection or who may be genetically protected in some degree from developing symptoms could help scientists develop treatments for all. Lives are at stake...   At least two studies show that blood type O could be associated with a lower risk of COVID-19 infection and reduced likelihood of severe outcomes, including organ complications. There is also some evidence that those with blood type A are more susceptible to COVID-19. The researchers did not find any significant difference in rates of infection between A, B, and AB types. About 37 percent of the world population is O+ and six percent is O-. About 50 percent of Africans have blood group O, the highest in the world.  It’s well established that certain HLA (human leukocyte antigens) alleles confer susceptibility to specific diseases. African-descended and European-descended populations implicate distinctively different immunity responses in dozens of diseases treatments...   Susceptibility to the coronavirus is negatively associated with having a genetic propensity to absorb Vitamin C, as is the case with black African populations. Across Africa, roughly 50 percent of people carry the Vitamin C-friendly variant and in some African countries, it is as high as 70 percent. In the US, 41 percent of whites carry this variant, compared to 55 percent of blacks, and only 31 percent of Asians. There is also preliminary evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplements at high doses might help protect against becoming infected with COVID-19 or limiting serious symptoms. How might this relate to people of African ancestry? Blacks as a population group have markedly low levels of vitamin D.  Yet in a paradox, people of African ancestry who take Vitamin D supplements get no skeletal benefits from them. Their bones are naturally less brittle than those of other populations. Black Americans, for example, have significantly fewer incidences of falls, fractures, or osteopenia compared to white Americans. Could the factors that naturally protect the bone health of blacks also protect them against more serious COVID symptoms? At the moment, there are no clear explanations for the vitamin D “black paradox,” but scientists we talked to say there may be some genetic factors at play.   Are black Americans and those of African descent in general less genetically susceptible to some viruses or diseases other than COVID-19? The evidence is fragmentary. Contradicting racist early-20th century theories that “frail” blacks are more susceptible to disease, during the 1918 pandemic, the incidence of influenza was significantly lower in African Americans. And according to a 2016 study of swine flus, when exposed, “African Americans mounted higher virus neutralizing and IgG antibody responses to the H1N1 component of IIV3 or 4 compared to Caucasians.”  The relationship of genes to disease is often convoluted. Populations of African descent are simultaneously more prone to sickle cell anaemia (particularly prevalent south of the Sahara) and have natural, genetic-based defenses against malaria. This connection was noted over 50 years ago. And in a tragic twist, some genetic variants thought to reduce susceptibility to malaria are believed to increase vulnerability to the HIV virus. While fear of AIDS has receded in the West and in developing countries in Africa, HIV still infects tens of millions of people, with hundreds of thousands dying of the disease each year, mostly in Africa. Adult HIV prevalence is 1.2 percent worldwide but nine percent in sub-Saharan Africa.  In the US, where the national rate is 0.6 percent, African Americans account for 42 percent of new HIV infections despite being only 12 percent of the population. It’s now believed that a gene variant common in some African and African diaspora populations that protects against certain types of malaria increases susceptibility to HIV infection by 40 percent...
Is it suspect—or even racist—to explore the relationship of disease to population? Although the historically problematic term “race” is considered a controversial subject, geneticists have long recognized genetic differences among populations in disease proclivities. Renowned population geneticist Neil Risch and colleagues addressed this issue years ago in a seminal paper, ‘Categorization of Humans in Bio-Medical Research: Genes, Race and Disease,’ writing:
[W]e believe that identifying genetic differences between races and ethnic groups, be they for random genetic markers, genes that lead to disease susceptibility or variation in drug response, is scientifically appropriate… Every race and even ethnic group within the races has its own collection of clinical priorities based on differing prevalence of diseases.  
Nevertheless, exploring this issue risks bringing opprobrium down on those who raise it. As Jared Diamond has written, “few scientists dare to study racial origins, lest they be branded racists just for being interested in the subject.”... Unfortunately, a common but mistaken belief among those suspicious of genetic research is that those who argue that population genetics should play a critical role in assessing disease susceptibility embrace the discredited belief that genes determine outcomes. By this facile argument, if genes are implicated in susceptibility/resistance to coronavirus, they must override everything else.  But no serious scientist studying this complex issue is a determinist; that’s a notion decades out of date... If genetics play a role in the apparent partial-immunity of native Africans to the coronavirus, similar influences for those of mixed African ancestry in the US and elsewhere could still be swamped by an onerous social environment faced by blacks and other minorities... A failure or refusal to explore this extraordinary phenomenon borders on scientific malpractice, some researchers have told us. By not focusing on the actual science, we are denying the world the fullest understanding of how virus susceptibility works. More importantly, if we followed the “race-related” scientific leads, using the latest genomic data, we could very well come up with measures to better protect most of the rest of the world from COVID-19 and future virus-driven pandemics...   There are critical genetic differences in responses to disease and treatments; some are meaningful. Incorporating them into our health assessments can mean the difference between life and death for the most vulnerable. We ignore them at the peril of the health of billions of people."
So much for liberals claiming that we shouldn't study racial differences and that it's unscientific to do so

WHO warns Covid-19 pandemic is 'not necessarily the big one'
When a truly deadly pandemic comes around, governments will be out of political and financial capital, having frittered it on covid

Singapore Announces New Restrictions After Vaccinated Airport Workers Become Infected - The New York Times - "Singapore said on Friday that it would ban dining in restaurants and gatherings of more than two people to try to stem a rise in coronavirus cases, becoming the latest Asian nation to reintroduce restrictions after keeping the illness mostly in check for months.  The new measures came after the city-state recorded 34 new cases on Thursday, a small number by global standards, but part of a rise in infections traced to vaccinated workers at Singapore Changi Airport.  The airport outbreak began with an 88-year-old member of the airport cleaning crew who was fully vaccinated but who tested positive for the virus on May 5. Co-workers who then became infected later visited an airport food court, where they transmitted the virus to other customers, officials said.  None of the cases linked to the airport outbreak are believed to have resulted in critical illness or death"
Clearly countries need to lockdown until covid is eradicated, and then ban travel until everyone is fully vaccinated. And since not everyone is both willing and able to be vaccinated, it means travel will never be possible again

Singapore planning for possibility that Covid-19 becomes endemic here: Lawrence Wong - ""But we are indeed planning for a plausible scenario down the road where scientists around the world... come to the conclusion that it's not going to be possible to eradicate this virus - it's never going to go away, and we then have to learn to live with it."... Mr Wong was asked how Singaporeans might go about their daily lives in the coming years, given that it seems difficult to picture the current restrictions on mask wearing and social gatherings lasting for a long time."
Better late than never. But convincing a hysterial population will be harder
Singapore was talking about exempting fully vaccinated people from low to medium risk countries from quarantine in the second half of 2021 - even before the recent surge and return to quasi lockdown. Meanwhile Iceland has been exempting those who have been previously infected or who have been fully vaccinated since April. The paradox of covid "success" is that paranoia will stop things getting back to normal longer because they don't want to threaten their "success"
Covid becoming endemic was already an epidemiological consensus in Feb 2020. To think that much of the hysteria and self inflicted carnage could've been avoided

As West races back to travel, ‘zero-Covid’ economies like Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia face hermit risk | South China Morning Post - " For authorities reliant on border controls to tame the virus, the path to reopening looks uncertain, experts say, as sluggish vaccine roll-outs , virus mutations, and an ingrained zero-tolerance mentality towards infections threaten to cut off Asia-Pacific economies from the world indefinitely.  “The problem is that I think there is a fear and risk aversion that has got worse in countries that have done it well, rather than better,” said Peter Collignon, a professor of microbiology at the Australian National University. “One of the issues is how you get the majority of society to accept a certain level of risk when you have markedly decreased the risks of death and a lot of disease and your health system being overwhelmed.”... The border closures have nonetheless inflicted a heavy social and economic cost, separating families across continents and decimating travel-dependent industries such as tourism and international education.  Modelling released by the Sydney-based McKell Institute this week estimated that Australia’s border closures were costing the country A$203 million (US$157 million) a day in lost economic activity. Hong Kong saw its GDP decline for a record six consecutive quarters, a period that also overlapped with civil unrest in 2019, before finally rebounding to 7.8 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2021...  Dale Fisher, a professor at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, warned that countries such as Australia that had effectively eliminated the virus through border controls were now “painted into a corner”... Governments adopting a zero-Covid approach have offered vague indications of the conditions under which restrictions could be eased. At most they have flagged incremental adjustments to border controls.   The emergence of new virus variants has been invoked to justify a cautious response...  In Australia, Minister of Health Greg Hunt last month suggested border controls could remain in place even after the entire country had been inoculated, as authorities would have to consider “different factors” including transmission risks and the situation overseas... Trade Minister Dan Tehan said his “best guess” of when borders might fully reopen was the second half of 2022.    In an oped in the Australian Financial Review last week, the newspaper’s European correspondent lamented that Australia risked becoming a hermit country to the detriment of its “economy, culture and international standing in ways that seem greatly under-appreciated”. In Hong Kong, where there is growing pressure to better incentivise vaccinations, Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee announced on Friday that people who were fully vaccinated would from May 12 be able to reduce their hotel quarantine from 14 to 7 days when returning from low-risk countries such as Australia and Singapore, and 21 days to 14 days for high-risk destinations.  People arriving from very high-risk areas including Britain and Ireland will be required to undergo 21 days of hotel quarantine, whether or not they have been vaccinated... Roberto Bruzzone, co-director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole in Hong Kong, said it was incumbent on authorities to take action to “move society outside of a paralysis that has been brought upon by the idea that we can keep this virus out of the door forever”.   “From a public health point of view, you get a vaccine precisely so that you can go on with your life, being a much reduced risk to all the rest of the community,” Bruzzone said, who expressed a preference for the looser approach to borders being taken in the US and Europe.   Bruzzone said questions such as when to reopen borders were political and societal decisions, not matters of science, and criticised authorities for delegating policy to “scientists who by definition will be risk-averse because they don’t want the decisions to be taken under their responsibility”...    Bruzzone also criticised media coverage for stoking fear with outsized attention paid to variants and other risks, including the approximately one-in-a-million chance of fatal blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine – a risk far lower than many everyday activities.   “You can have a car accident, you can have a stroke while you are running or doing sports. There are many things that can happen in life”... "I don’t think zero-Covid is actually a viable long-term option.”"

In chasing zero Covid-19 infections, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and others have become trapped by their own success | South China Morning Post - "they have expended significant resources and effort in suppressing Covid-19. The ‘sunk cost bias’ means these governments do not want to feel their previous efforts have been wasted; they are therefore more likely to persist with harsh suppression to maintain or achieve zero new cases than to accept, or adapt to, Covid-19 becoming endemic. Second, governments are loss averse: they care more about avoiding losses than pursuing gains. In places where new cases are down to very low numbers, even one new case is considered a loss (hence, mainland China’s obsession with zero infections). Opening up the economy is viewed as a gain that is weighted much less. Related to this is that decision-makers have a diminishing sensitivity to ever larger losses. As economic losses mount, decision-makers may have become insensitive to them. But in the places that have had zero (or close to zero) cases, even a handful of new cases is viewed as unacceptable. Third, there is the ‘status quo bias’. Now that suppression is the status quo in these places, it is very risky for officials to propose anything but a maintenance of, or quick reversion to, stringent measures whenever there is a spike in cases. If they fail to do this and the subsequent surge in cases reveals they had erred, they would be punished by an unforgiving public. Meanwhile, sticking to the status quo is virtually risk-free: even if they are found later to have been too risk-averse and should have loosened the restrictions earlier, no one is punished for excessive conservatism... In some instances, these governments are advised by experts who prioritise elimination of the virus above everything else, making it even harder for officials to pursue anything other than the same, or even harsher, suppression measures each time there is an uptick in cases. It is more realistic to ask these governments to step up their vaccination efforts and identify ways to reduce vaccine hesitancy among their populations. This is something most people can agree on, regardless of whether we think Covid-19 can be eliminated... Rather than focus on predicting the next wave (which is as pointless as counting waves in a sea), experts and policymakers should emphasise that the vaccines – which are also highly effective against the variants – are the best way to protect people. The Covid-19 vaccines are therefore more like seat belts and motorcycle helmets – we should all wear them for our own protection, all the more so if the risk of traffic accidents has increased. Second, if we accept that Covid-19 may become endemic – even if this is not a foregone conclusion – experts and policymakers would do well to modify their messages to the public. Already, people have a binary bias – a tendency to place information in one of just two categories, rather than see a spectrum of possibilities. In this instance, most people view Covid-19 as something that will either be eliminated completely or become a crippling disease that will overwhelm us completely. The middle scenario – of Covid-19 remaining with us for the foreseeable future, but not causing serious harm if most people are vaccinated – is not considered because it is hard for people to imagine... Already, we are seeing members of the public in places that have done well to suppress Covid-19 show an unwillingness to accept any relaxation of measures that may put their health at risk. And if vaccination rates remain low, it will further jeopardise their economic reopening. If so, their earlier “victory” over Covid-19 would be a handicap."

‘Covid Zero’ Havens Find Reopening Harder Than Taming Virus - Bloomberg - "A smattering of places, mainly across the Asia Pacific region, have seen breathtaking victories in the battle against Covid-19 by effectively wiping it out within their borders. Now they face a fresh test: rejoining the rest of the world, which is still awash in the pathogen.  In some ways, the success of “Covid Zero” locations is becoming a straitjacket. As cities like New York and London return to in-person dealmaking and business as usual -- tolerating hundreds of daily cases as vaccination gathers pace -- financial hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong risk being left behind as they maintain stringent border curbs and try to stamp out single-digit flareups... sustaining this vaunted status has also required stop-start lockdown cycles, near-blanket bans on international travel and strict quarantine policies. The few travelers permitted to enter have had to spend weeks in total confinement, unable to leave a hotel room. Now that mass inoculation drives are allowing other parts of the world to normalize and open up to international travel, experts and residents are starting to question whether walling off from Covid is worth the trade-off, if implemented long-term.  “The whole world is not going to be Covid Zero,” said Rupali Limaye, director of behavioral and implementation science at the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “That’s not an option here.”... the slower pace of vaccination in these places, and the threat of new variants, has meant that measures have become more and more onerous... “Because we have been so successful, we are even more risk-averse than we were before,” said Peter Collignon, a professor of infectious diseases at the Australian National University Medical School in Canberra.  “We are very intolerant of letting any Covid come into the country,” he said. “The fear has almost gotten out of proportion to what the risk is.” Continued isolation is the price these places will have to pay to maintain this approach in the longer term, as other parts of the world learn to tolerate some infections as long as medical systems aren’t overwhelmed.  Most experts agree that the virus is unlikely to disappear completely. Instead, it is expected to become endemic... To maintain zero infection rates, these economies will have to implement measures that are harsher and more strict, said Donald Low, professor at the Institute of Public Policy of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “This is neither wise nor tenable for much longer,” he said. “All this puts the places that have done well to suppress Covid-19 so far at a serious disadvantage as their societies -- not having been exposed to the possibility of Covid-19 becoming endemic -- are not willing to accept any relaxation of measures that may put their health at risk.”  Meanwhile, many countries -- particularly those in the west that are awash in vaccines -- are starting to reopen... For Hong Kong and Singapore, the drawbacks of maintaining an elimination strategy as financial centers like London and New York City re-open may be significant. As aviation hubs and financial centers, both cities’ economies are particularly reliant on travel, compared to export-led economies such as China and Australia that can stomach being shut for longer. In 2019, Hong Kong was the world’s most popular city with international visitors -- even after months of political unrest -- while Singapore came in fourth place. London was at No. 5 and New York at No. 11. A major obstacle to reopening is the slow vaccine rollout in these Covid havens, due to a combination of supply limitations and citizens’ lack of urgency about fronting up for shots... many residents fear the vaccine more than the virus... Covid havens face a growing dilemma. If vaccinations don’t pick up pace, they risk being stuck in a perpetual cycle, unable to move past the pandemic.  “If their vaccination rates are low, that further jeopardizes their ability to open up,” Low said. “If so, the earlier ‘victory’ of these places over Covid-19 would have been a Pyrrhic one.”"

Mike Bird on Twitter - "The year is 2287. Hong Kong and Singapore announce the beginning of discussions on a 'travel bubble', though no restrictions on international travel exist. The plans will be ritually withdrawn two months later. Nobody remembers the origin of this strange practice."

Commentary: Singapore-Australia air travel bubble is sensible but politically challenging - "In 2020, internal borders saw numerous closings. There was only a very brief period in December that all of Australia’s internal borders were open.  While all internal borders are now open again, enabling Australia to promote domestic tourism, there is still a risk they will close once again, making any international reopening difficult to pursue.  Until Australia adopts a COVID-19 containment strategy similar to Singapore it will be hard to implement and maintain any air travel bubble. Singapore’s containment strategy enables its economy to stay open under Phase 3, which includes only limited restrictions, and permits air travel bubbles if there is a small number of unlinked cases.  In Australia even a single case can result in snap lockdowns – such as what happened in Perth at the end of January and early February.  Very small number of local cases also have led to snap lockdowns in recent months in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and parts of Sydney.  While Australia’s federal government is now keen to keep internal borders open and start reopening internationally, starting potentially with Singapore and New Zealand, this could prove moot given how state governments have so far dictated their own strategies.  A trans-Tasman bubble between Australia and New Zealand was initially discussed nearly a year ago with a proposed implementation date of June 2020 but has been set back repeatedly by domestic issues in both countries. New Zealand also has a strict COVID-19 elimination strategy, prompting multiple snap lockdowns, including a lockdown following a single case that ended on Mar 7."

South Asian family suspected to have transmitted B1617 variant to airport worker, unlikely to be migrant workers - "Minister Lawrence Wong told Singaporeans at a press briefing that Singapore can’t afford to shut its borders as the country needs migrant workers to build homes. He was also trying to explain why Singapore did not close its border to India earlier, given the record new outbreaks happening there... “We are small… We need migrant workers to build our homes,” he said. “We’ve already become very tight, to the point that the backlog of applications has been growing… Many projects have been suffering from delays, as all of us know.”  “Some of our housing projects may now be delayed by up to a year or more. So it does come at a considerable cost to Singaporeans,” he added.  The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) later reiterated what Minister Wong had said adding that Singapore would have been hit hard if migrant workers had not been allowed to enter Singapore after the circuit breaker period last June... It said that there would have been a labour shortage of 70,000 service sector workers, 30,000 construction workers and 30,000 domestic workers if Singapore had closed its borders last year.  “At the same time, businesses have been appealing for more workers to be allowed to enter Singapore to address manpower shortages,” it shared. MOM added that the outflow of migrant workers has exceeded the inflow over the past year, and as a result of border restrictions to mitigate importation risks, Singapore has not been able to adequately replace those who have left."
Weird TOC logic: not all of the imported covid cases were from migrant workers, so Singapore should've closed its borders. Presumably TOC wants only migrant workers to be let in

"Shifting Attitudes Towards Lockdowns Amid Case Resurgence
Even in Texas, 76% of Texans supported a new lockdown in mid-2020

Lockdown: YouGov poll finds 80% of public support national coronavirus restrictions as Boris Johnson prepares to address nation - "Almost 80 per cent of the public support another national lockdown"
Jan 2021

2 booked under NSA in Manipur for FB posts that cow dung won’t cure Covid-19 - "The Manipur police have booked a journalist and an activist under the National Security Act (NSA), which provides for detention for up to a year without trial, days after they were arrested for saying cow urine and dung do not cure Covid-19 in their Facebook posts related to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state chief S Tikendra Singh’s death of the disease... some BJP leaders have filed cases against his clients, who have earlier faced sedition charges and were arrested on Thursday for writing the posts... Imphal West district police superintendent K Meghachandra Singh said the two were arrested on Thursday under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)’s Section 153 A for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc and acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony."
Hurting racial feelings and spoiling racial harmony! No wonder India is suffering from covid

Canadian business federation wants Ontario to 'immediately reopen' restaurants, gyms and retail - "The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on the Doug Ford government to revise its reopening plan and “immediately reopen” parts of Ontario’s economy, including non-essential retail, restaurants, and gyms...   “Yes, other provinces have used business lockdowns at various points during the pandemic. But no jurisdiction in North America – and very few in the world – have locked down businesses for the length of time businesses have been closed in Ontario,” the statement read. From decisions like closing ski hills and golf courses, to completely shutting down non-essential retailers and hair salons, the phrase ‘only in Ontario’ has been far too common throughout the pandemic. In British Columbia, retailers were never closed to in-store customers.”...   “Restaurants in Toronto have been closed to indoor dining for 367 days across the various provincial lockdowns, shutdowns, and emergency breaks. An entire year’s worth of business has been lost and the industry is looking – at minimum – at another 67 days of being closed to indoor dining under the current plan”... “This news is particularly frustrating to Ontario restaurant owners when their counterparts in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and much of Quebec were allowed to reopen to indoor dining in the first steps of reopening plans, instead of the last.”... “Time is quickly running out for Ontario small business owners to keep their firms afloat. Many have exhausted their personal savings and as of July, will start losing access to federal funding programs while still being fully shut down by the province”"
Of course, to covid hystericists/liberals (pretty much the same thing), no lockdown is too strict or too short, and no opportunity to bash Doug Ford can be missed
When you judge the effectiveness of covid restrictions by how painful they are, rather than how helpful they are...

Stop fearmongering about the Indian variant - "in the UK, things are looking very hopeful. So maybe we shouldn’t panic at the first sign of potential trouble... The vaccines remain reasonably effective against all the variants we’ve discovered so far. On top of all that, there is a significant proportion of the unvaccinated population that has already been infected with Covid over the past year, so there are good grounds for believing that the majority of them are also protected against reinfection... Yet some people seem unwilling to embrace this good news. The spread of one sub-variant – B.1.617.2, aka the Indian variant – has got a few alarm bells ringing... While caution is no bad thing, there is clearly insufficient evidence to claim that ‘the new variant of concern has fundamentally changed the risk’. It might be a serious issue, but before imposing or retaining restrictions – even the current ‘looser’ restrictions are unprecedented in peacetime – we should surely have better grounds than the possibility that the variant might be more transmissible. This logic could be used to justify maintaining restrictions – or at least, the threat of restrictions – semi-permanently.  Our current situation in the UK is abnormal in a positive way, too: fewer people are dying than usual. Indeed, we may currently be experiencing the lowest rate of mortality since the ONS started tracking mortality rates in 2001. But every time we have some new fly in the ointment, like a new variant, we set back our recovery...   The costs of further delaying the return of some kind of normality are considerable. They need to be justified by hard evidence of a serious problem. Instead, the reflex of so many politicians, commentators and scientists is to be overly cautious. Will they ever let the pandemic end?"

London may need restrictions for ‘longer’ as new variant clusters emerge, warn scientists - "the variant had been detected in Israel, which has very high vaccination rates, and it had not yet ‘risen to dominance or grown”.
There will always be new variants. Thus, lockdown must continue forever

Every time we think life might be returning to normal, along comes another Covid variant - "These variants are handy, aren't they? Each time the Government needs to scare the public into submission, a new mutation pops up and chastens anyone considering reclaiming their pre-lockdown life... there is currently no evidence to suggest any of the variants will evade the vaccine programme, or that a new rise in cases will lead to an increase in hospital admissions or deaths... This pattern has now been playing out for several months, and curiously emerged just as the public was starting to seriously question apocalyptic modelling predictions stating that deaths would rise to 4,000 a day... Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, said the Kent variant could be up to 30 per cent more deadly and suggested it may kill 13 or 14 of every 1,000 men over the age of 60 who caught it, compared to 10 in 1,000 of the old variant.    Dire warnings from Public Health England around that time suggested the variant had caused us to soar past the peak of the first wave. Yet the second wave always seemed worse because it occurred during the winter, when many people would ordinarily be expected to die.   In fact, despite this terrifying new deadly variant, second wave levels never reached the excess deaths of the first wave. It later emerged the Kent variant was no more deadly, and that the vaccines worked very well against it. King's College estimated it was probably about 35 per cent more infectious – far lower than the public was originally told... it was with a familiar sense of deja vu that the announcement of the latest release of restrictions on May 17 was accompanied by foreboding about the Indian variant. Again, we had warnings that it could be far more transmissible than even the Kent strain.   It is now clear that neither the South African nor Brazilian variants ever achieved a large foothold in Britain, being consistently out-competed by the less deadly Kent strain.  And there is currently no evidence to suggest the Indian variant is more lethal. In fact, Prof Sharon Peacock, of the University of Cambridge and Cog-UK which is monitoring variants for the Government, believes the current variant is outcompeting two other more dangerous versions from India... The vaccines have so far stood up to every variant thrown at them. The death rate for the Indian variant is far below the Kent variant, hospital admissions are not rising and the NHS is in no danger of being overwhelmed. This is despite one of the coldest springs for decades, which has forced people indoors... Mr Hancock suggested the majority of people in hospital with the variant had refused the vaccine. Can the rest of the county really be expected to forgo freedom because others have decided to not take the protection offered?   More recently, there has clearly been a tension in the Government between the optimistic tone of the Health Secretary, who is confident that his vaccine rollout can save the day, and the Prime Minister and scientists, who seem oddly fatalistic that the jabs may fail.   If they do, we are out of options. Variant booster jabs will not be ready for many months, and the country cannot stay in lockdown indefinitely.  We will only be able to test out hard-won vaccine resilience by unlocking. Nearly 70 per cent of the adult population of Britain has had at least one vaccine dose, meaning we are now safer than at any time through the pandemic"

Variant caution risks becoming an excuse never to return to normality - "There are few better windows into the state of the nation’s psyche than what the public is watching on online streaming sites. And as lockdown lifts, and people return to pubs, restaurants and the theatre, currently trending on Amazon Prime is a 2015 docudrama about the notorious Stanford Prison experiment. In 1971, professor Philip Zimbardo recruited a group of university graduates to participate in a mock prison. While pretend guards subjected their “prisoners” to psychological torture, submissive inmates harassed fellow comrades into following the rules.  The experiment went down as a lesson in how easily people can slip into authoritarianism. But there was another revelation that Zimbardo and his contemporaries didn’t know quite what to make of – how effortlessly the participants lost all sense of reality. The most sadistic guard became absorbed in the persona of the captain in Cool Hand Luke. Prisoners soon referred to themselves by their prison numbers rather than their names. Zimbardo himself described a Kafka-eaque feeling of unease about “where our roles ended and our personalities began”.  Are there parallels with our own experiment in lockdown? Those who hold the keys to our freedom have embraced their powerful new roles with vigour. Sage – today’s answer to the Zimbardo experiment's parole board of clinical experts – seems both academically and venally opposed to restoring our liberties, however successful the vaccines are proved to be. Not only is its influence dependent on the existence of a Covid crisis. It remains seemingly over-influenced by a group of Left-leaning scientists who have been quietly advocating a Zero Covid approach, with little regard for the consequences. A lucrative Covid catastrophism industry, ranging from entrepreneurial modelling pundits to vast behavioural theory corporations, both feeds off and fuels its power.   True, tortured libertarian Boris Johnson has accepted his role of jailer-in-chief with reluctance. But he has proven unable to change the script. Emboldened by the vaccine rollout, he might have shaken things up by appointing a panel of economists and child mental health specialists to better balance the forces that determine government decision-making. Or he could have stripped Sage of its influence by cutting its direct line to No 10; many have called for a new committee to weigh Sage advice on the risks of lockdown easing against the costs of roadmap delays. It has never materialised.  And now, instead of counting down the days to the full return of freedom, we inmates find ourselves counting daily cases of the Indian variant. It is all chillingly familiar (remember how the scare over the Kent variant erupted just as people started to look forward to Christmas?) Indeed, the sense of deja vu should dismay us. As should the weak evidence base of the case against society’s release. That the latest Sage model, which raised the spectre of ICUs again being overwhelmed, is so uncertain in its assumptions about the India variant’s transmission rates would have sparked fierce debate six months ago...   But it is as if swathes of the public, particularly those who have been shielded from the worst effects of lockdown, are suffering from a kind of Stockholm syndrome... many people seem as reluctant as Sage to let go of a new normal world that is as comfortingly simplistic as it is unnervingly dark. A world where controllable Covid is deemed to be a bigger public health threat than cancer. A world where we never have to face up to the fallout of lockdowns. A world where the biggest threat to individual freedom is not a new Covid surveillance state but managers who want employees to go back to the office. A silent social contract is emerging whereby the middle class accepts seasonal lockdowns in exchange for benefits such as flexi-working – a little like how the late Soviet Union created high paid, undemanding part-time jobs (like boiler room technicians) so the intelligentsia could be “free” to spend more time reading about physics.   But such an attitude is dangerous. We have reached the point in the pandemic where we face a choice: either we engage with reality – and all its painful trade-offs; or we stay stuck in the unreal lockdown world we are living through. All the while, the problems we face – which include but are not limited to Covid – are mounting. Some are now as cliched as they are overwhelming: from the debts we must repay, to the children’s futures we must fix.  Others continue to escalate under the radar. Even as the emergency recedes, the Government is ramping up rather than winding down the surveillance of its citizens. The state behavioural unit Spi-B – members of whom openly admit to “ethically questionable” use of fear tactics to encourage mass lockdown compliance – has set about amassing frighteningly detailed data on citizens. A recent deep dive into vaccine uptake cites mobile data used to track the movements of the newly vaccinated; it calls for more detailed research into the vaccine attitudes and hygiene foibles of certain ethnic minority sub-groups. Meanwhile, plans to build a new surveillance state are taking shape. Tech firms with government funding are even developing software that will scan the faces of customers when they enter pubs to check their coronavirus status. Where is the political revolt – the public outrage – as our privacy and civil liberties are dismantled and degraded?"

Genomic characteristics and clinical effect of the emergent SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage in London, UK: a whole-genome sequencing and hospital-based cohort study - "Emerging evidence exists of increased transmissibility of B.1.1.7, and we found increased virus load by proxy for B.1.1.7 in our data. We did not identify an association of the variant with severe disease in this hospitalised cohort."
Science is no match for moral panic

'Unjustified fears': When COVID-19 anxiety stops making sense - "It is far from the first time that public fears about COVID-19 did not match the reality on the ground. B.C. anesthesiologist Pooya Kazemi is one of a community of Canadian doctors actively criticizing overzealous lockdown measures. As he told National Post, “there is definitely a huge mismatch between what the literature shows and how people are behaving.”... When normalcy arrives, many may refuse to accept it. A familiar pattern has emerged whenever a pollster asks the public to gauge the risks of COVID-19: Across the board, people think the disease is deadlier and more pervasive than it really is. A recent survey from the Netherlands found that Dutch people think COVID-19 is about as dangerous as Ebola — a disease that kills 50 per cent of its patients.  A survey of pandemic anxiety among more than 6,000 Canadians last spring found that stress was particularly high among those of “younger age” — the one group that is relatively insulated from the epidemiological consequences of the disease. The same survey also found an “association between left-wing views and stress worsening.” In February, a French survey saw respondents estimating that COVID-19 killed one in every six people who caught it. The actual figures are closer to one in every 400 — and that ratio plunges dramatically for people under 70... [in] the United States, respondents estimated that about 40 per cent of U.S. COVID-19 fatalities were under the age of 55. Their estimate was wrong by a factor of six: Under-55s actually accounted for just 7.3 per cent of U.S. fatalities.  Poll responses were even more wrong when it came to COVID-19’s threat to children. Respondents said that around eight per cent of fatalities were under 24. In truth, it’s about 0.1 per cent. Notably, these overestimations were common to both Republicans and Democrats... psychiatrists are warning of a wave of COVID-centric anxiety. “Those with severe health anxiety are likely to become abnormally avoidant, continuing to isolate and practise repeated hand washing, checking their body temperatures, respiratory function, and even testing their ability to smell … over and over again,” reads a paper on “COVID-19 health anxiety” in the journal World Psychiatry.   In October, U.K. psychologists devised a questionnaire to gauge the severity of what they called “COVID-19 anxiety syndrome.” One of the questions has respondents answering how many times in the past two weeks they “have read about news relating to coronavirus … at the cost of engaging in work.” Singapore has seen only 31 deaths from COVID-19, but even they are not immune to COVID-19 anxiety. A recent study examining “inflated risk perceptions” among an elderly community in Singapore concluded that “the affective symptoms of anxiety and depression should not be overlooked; if prolonged, these mental health consequences may result in longer-term problems than the pandemic itself.”   Mental health concerns aside, there’s the very real policy problem that if the public isn’t reckoning with the realities of COVID-19, they’re more apt to back restrictions that make very little sense. Governments have continued to order the closure of playgrounds despite no evidence for them as vectors of transmission. Stefan Baral, an associate professor of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health noted back in February that of 99,226 COVID-19 studies to date, not one had identified playgrounds as “common sources in outbreaks.”   A similar phenomenon has been occurring across the continent through the continued closure of schools in jurisdictions such as Ontario and California. “We know that they’re not major sources of spread, we know that they weren’t major sources of outbreak and we know about the downsides of school closures,” said Ottawa ICU physician Kwadwo Kyeremanteng in a recent video calling for the reopening of Ontario schools...   “The one thing I’m seeing is that the government refusal to provide a roadmap back to normal is actually worsening vaccine hesitancy,” said Kazemi. He pointed to a recent UCLA survey finding that Americans were significantly more likely to take the vaccine if it meant being free to go maskless.  It’s why, despite his fervent pro-vaccine stance, Kazemi says he strongly objects to any efforts to shame  people who are doubtful of the shot. When vaccination changes nothing in a Canadian’s life, “it makes people hopeless,” he said. “I think it’s time to be proactive in term of what our exit strategy looks like.”"

As COVID-19 Ends, COVID-21 Begins - The Atlantic - "the T cells generated in people who have had COVID-19 seem to have similar half-lives to the T cells you get from being vaccinated against yellow fever—and yellow-fever protection usually lasts a lifetime.  Another promising sign comes from those who contracted the original SARS coronavirus in 2003. The T cells of people who were infected at the time reliably recognized the spike protein from the virus in lab experiments 17 years later. Gandhi believes that this memory, while not always as protective as having high levels of neutralizing antibodies in your blood, will likely be sufficient to prevent severe disease... This version of COVID-21 would be most dangerous, not because the virus has developed some new, sinister mutation, and not because our vaccines turn out to be inadequate. The risk instead would come from the way that it’s normalized. As the bioethicist Jackie Scully wrote in 2004, diseases morph “partly as a result of increasing expectations of health [and] partly due to changes in diagnostic ability, but mostly for a mixture of social and economic reasons.” They change with how we perceive them, and react to them.  We are at an inflection point that will change the reality of this disease. The most insidious future is one in which we fail to change our moral benchmarks, and end up measuring the danger of COVID-21 by the standards of 2020."
It's weird how it's supposed to be a bad thing to treat covid like other threats instead of keeping it as a moral panic

MSNBC refers to ‘Indian coronavirus variant’ after a full year of calling Trump racist for saying ‘China virus’ - "MSNBC and other major outlets are referring to this as "the Indian strain" of the virus, as it does appear to have originated in India. However, they refuse to say that the virus originated in China, despite overwhelming evidence to support it."

Scientists Who Didn't Predict A Single Thing Accurately For Last 12 Months Confident They Know What The Weather Is Going To Be Like In 100 Years | The Babylon Bee - "Authorities in the scientific community who touted faulty COVID-19 models are "pretty confident" they know what the weather is going to be like in 100 years"

'No truth' in India news reports claiming Singapore variant of COVID-19 virus: MOH - "The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (May 18) said that there is “no truth whatsoever” in the assertion in several news reports in India that there is a Singapore variant of the COVID-19 virus.  The claims were reported in articles published by the Hindustan Times and NDTV, both publications from India.  The articles quoted tweets from Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was cited as saying that the new strain is “extremely dangerous for children” and could result in a third wave of infection in India."
The nerve

Yes, 850 died of covid recently in a day, but 27,000 die every day in India - "Governments, international organisations and mainstream media continue to drum up fear and panic in India, even as the facts entirely contradict their claims.   At this time last year, in April 2020, much less information was known about the virus. But even though some models were suggesting that this could turn out to be a severe pandemic, our party, Swarna Bharat Party, had insisted that India not implement any lockdowns but follow, instead, an age-based risk management approach. Our recommendation was consistent with the approach identified in officially approved pandemic plans across the world and also with the approach supported later in 2020 by the eminent authors of the Great Barrington Declaration.   After one year of the pandemic, though, we are no longer at the mercy of ridiculous models. We know a lot more – enormously more – about the lethality of the virus. We can say without the slightest hesitation that covid is not a major pandemic by any stretch of imagination.  Around 27,000 people die in India from all causes every day: around one crore annually. People reporting on covid deaths in the media have forgotten that in the arithmetic of fractions there is thing called the denominator which exists for a reason: to provide a sense of context. If you take one piece of pizza out of eight, then it is 12.5 per cent of the pizza. Likewise, 850 (the number of people who died of covid in a single day recently) divided by 27,000 is around 3 per cent.   But if that is the worst that covid can do, it is definitely not a severe pandemic.   In actual fact, this is not how it works: the average daily covid deaths over the course of the year are far fewer. When we add up India’s covid deaths from 2020, we get a total of around 150,000, which is less than six days worth of additional annual deaths, or 1.5 per cent in all. This then qualifies as random noise – being entirely insignificant... oes anyone in the media know that approximately one billion people get infected with the flu each year in the world, i.e. roughly one out of eight persons on this planet, which is around 4.6 lakhs people per day in India. If the media were to tell us this figure – i.e. the denominator – then the number of daily covid cases today would not sound high at all.   And so, no matter which way we look at this pandemic, it is – at worst – in the range of the Hong Kong flu: definitely not enough to prompt draconian CCP-style lockdowns that have been imposed once again in many parts of India. We have clearly lost our marbles as a nation.  But even if it was the Spanish flu, lockdowns would never have been justified. Society-wide lockdowns were never imposed in human history. Instead, lockdowns are purely the personal invention of President Xi Jinping of China. As I have shown in great detail in my November 2020 complaint to the International Criminal Court, lockdowns are unsuitable even for Ebola, let alone for a respiratory virus which is necessarily endemic and cannot possibly be eradicated.   There are many other issues that we need to keep in mind while considering covid. For instance, there are serious problems with the use of PCR tests as a stand-alone diagnostic tool, as well as many problems with its accuracy. Then there are issues with covid death counts. Suffice it to say that posterity will note that both covid cases and covid death counts across the world have been grossly exaggerated in 2020 and 2021.   In the end, I wish to reiterate our party’s firm opposition to lockdowns. We are seeing the continuation of irrationality and hysteria in India, of a sort that the data does not support. These draconian lockdowns and curfews are further harming the poor of India, who are now on their knees: at the end of their tether."

India reports 259,551 new COVID-19 infections as states battle 'black fungus' epidemic - "Some doctors say there has been panic use of steroids to combat COVID-19, which has helped the spread of black fungus.  "Indiscriminate use of steroids to treat COVID-19 patients should be avoided"... Other doctors say the unhygienic conditions in some hospitals when putting coronavirus patients on oxygen cylinders has allowed black fungus to take hold."

Antibiotic misuse rampant in India, 0-4 years age group worst hit: Study - "Inappropriate prescription and use of antibiotics is often the major source of antimicrobial resistance that is a growing concern not just in India but also globally... The bigger problem, however, is prescribing third or fourth line antibiotics. “These antibiotics are meant for treating serious infections, but because of high misuse these drugs don’t work when needed. Patients are being lost in the ICUs because there’s anti-microbial resistance due to antibiotic misuse”"

The travel ban is a personal tragedy for modern families - "Like millions of others, my close family is spread around the world. I wrote how I was in America, where – after a year of almost zero family in the flesh – I had finally been able to see my parents after a period of self-isolation and testing.  I live alone, I am single, and 2020 was a very solitary year, and so I flew to Boston before Christmas. I couldn’t help but note that most of those who hurled their sneering disapproval at me for wanting to see my loved ones have their own families, and have not had to give up on all contact with kin for a year.    The ability to live transnationally – to always be able to hop on a plane, to visit the West but live in the East, to leave your loved ones across the sea and return to see them when funds and time allow – has underpinned life since the fall of the USSR, aided by the marvellous rise of cheap air travel.   Britain is home to more people that need to cross borders to see family than most other countries: in 2019, according to the Oxford Migrant Observatory, an impressive 14 per cent of the population was born in another country – compared with 9 per cent in multicultural France. London has 35 per cent of the UK’s foreign-born population. Are we really to celebrate the fact that so many of our countryfolk are now cut off from family indefinitely? And no: Zoom is no substitute for actual time spent together...   It is clear that the rancour of the “stick ‘em all in hotels” lot is not just about protecting Britain from the possibility of new strains of a constantly-mutating virus; it is suffused by the urge to punish. There is an assumption that ‘travel’ means sipping martinis on a yacht and sunbathing, like the Love Island influencers in Dubai singled out by Patel last week (Dubai has since been plonked on the list of quarantine hotel countries). This is a simplistic, mean-spirited approach to a hugely important, complex and varied part of people’s lives in what is, or rather what was, a global world order.   And actually, you know what? Now’s not the time, but there’s nothing wrong with going abroad to sip martinis on a beach. Holidays keep us going."

Long-distance truck drivers and the increasing risk of COVID-19 spread in Uganda - "Among the 442 cases that have tested positive, a majority, 317 (71.8%) were truck drivers, 75 (16.9%) were community cases, and 50 (11.3%) were international arrivals. A majority of the community cases have been linked to contact with long-distance truck drivers; interventions are urgently needed to protect long-distance truck drivers."

Lilley: Trudeau's diminished one-dose summer - "  At one point Tam was asked directly what the difference will be between the one-dose summer this year and the no-dose summer last year. Her answer, in practical terms, was not much. Mostly she spoke of how last summer there were unseen chains of infections that she hopes won’t happen this year.  As for you being able to get back to normal, she isn’t even recommending that after we hopefully have 75% of the population fully vaccinated this fall...   As the Brits open wide, as the United States continues to lift restrictions, we hope to be able to see friends and family outside while wearing a mask according to health officials. They tell us we could come close to a normal fall but will still have restrictions.  This is Justin Trudeau’s one-dose summer and two-dose fail."

EDITORIAL: This summer needs to be more open than last summer - "  Think about that: It’s almost a year later and Canadian provinces are set to have a summer more restrictive than the last.  Huh? Why? What gives?  It makes no sense.  Last summer, there were still many unknowns about COVID-19. Treatments were still being fine-tuned and data about who was most at high-risk of the virus and how it was spread was less known then than it is now.  Plus the big one: Vaccines. About half of Canadians have received the first dose of their vaccine...   It defies both medical science and common sense to have greater restrictions on the lives of Canadians now than were in place a year ago...   It’s almost as if Canadian politicians and health officials want to keep the lockdowns going. Or, at the very least, they’ve become so used to them that they believe it’s a natural resting place to keep us in.  It shouldn’t be. Every single day, politicians need to wake up and ask themselves if the restrictions in place are in fact 100% necessary and if they’re not, they need to be repealed."

Delaying second dose of Pfizer vaccine too long could boost infections and deaths, study warns - "clinical trials expert Ed Mills, an advisor to the Gates Foundation and part-time McMaster University professor, was dismissive of the model, partly because there is no previous data on COVID vaccination with which to verify the accuracy of the projections.  “This is all just made up,” he said. “It’s as likely to be true as if you or I ask our kids for their predictions.”"

Delayed second Pfizer COVID-19 shot produces more antibodies: Study - "Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine generates antibody responses three-and-a-half times larger in older people when a second dose is delayed to 12 weeks after the first, a British study said. taken with data showing good protection against hospitalization and death from just one shot of Pfizer vaccine, Public Health England said the study was further supportive evidence in favor of Britain’s approach.  “The approach taken in the U.K. for delaying that second dose has really paid off,” Gayatri Amirthalingam, Consultant Epidemiologist at Public Health England, told reporters."

Why Canada's big bets on delaying, mixing doses of COVID-19 vaccines could pay off - "Annual flu shots, for instance, can come from a variety of sources, meaning people could be getting a different brand or form of vaccine technology each year. Same with the shingles vaccine, Miller said, which had one formulation in its first generation while a different formulation was used for a later, more effective dose. "Prior to this, nobody would actually ask, 'who made my vaccine,' you would just go for a flu vaccine," said Labos. "And nobody seemed to realize that there were multiple companies making different types of flu vaccines, and they were being used in different segments of the population — people were relatively oblivious to this entire issue."  He also noted that preliminary results from a U.K. study suggest using different vaccines for different doses could even offer a "better immune response.""

Fewer Canadian kids hospitalized with COVID than previously thought - "“Only 36.6% of pediatric patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were admitted due to an acute respiratory infection”...  The rest of them were admitted to hospital for some other treatment or procedure and were only confirmed to be positive for the virus due to routine screening of all patients.  “This finding suggests that testing in these children leads to incidental finding of COVID-infection and the relatively mild symptoms seen in children are unlikely to lead to hospitalization,” explains Dr. Douglas P. Mack, an assistant clinical professor at McMaster University who studies pediatric issues... “The second key finding is that nearly 50% of pediatric patients had pre-existing conditions such as severe neurological disease, lung disease or malignancy, suggesting that overall, healthy children are at very little risk”... There have so far been 12 pediatric deaths associated with COVID-19. However, those deaths include a couple of 19 year-olds as well as cases where public health officials have stated that COVID-19 was not a cause of death.  One of the most frustrating aspects of the COVID-19 conversation in Canada has been how little emphasis has been placed on just how mild the virus has been proven to be in kids. A number of pediatric experts have stated that it’s less severe than influenza is in kids, and the data on hospitalizations and deaths backs that up... Now if only we could start using this data to revamp our approach to pandemic restrictions so that at least our kids no longer have to live under harsh rules."

FUREY: Michigan's situation debunks argument that lockdowns work - "The Ontario government and its medical advisors remain committed to the idea that blunt and broad lockdowns not only work but are the reason why the situation is improving throughout the province.  But some infectious diseases experts in the province say evidence out of Michigan — which borders Ontario — calls that argument into question. “The most important observation I would make is that their trajectories have been extremely similar to Ontario’s,” says Dr. Neil Rau, an infectious diseases physician based out of Oakville. “They’ve had a third wave just like we have had. They have not resorted to the restrictions Ontario has had and yet they’re also on the downward curve.”  Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, didn’t institute a lockdown during their third wave — keeping schools open as well as pretty much everything else, with capacity limits in place.  While Michigan has had more daily cases per capita than Ontario, its experience with the rise and fall of its third wave follows the same timeline as Ontario. Rau points to how the two jurisdictions have a similar climate, latitude and general population profile.  “How much of what we are doing is actually moving the needle?” he asks.  And while it’s now become a popular refrain to explain away the difference between Canadian and U.S. restrictions based on the idea that Americans are leaps and bounds ahead in their vaccination roll-outs, the evidence also calls that theory into question.  On Wednesday, Gov. Whitmer celebrated how 55% of Michiganders had by that point received the first dose of a vaccine. Ontario is behind, but not by that much — as the province currently sits at 45% vaccinated... The other thing there’s no question about is that Ontario remains the most locked down jurisdiction in North America with little to show for it.  “It is critically important that we ensure that we minimize collateral damage,” says Dr. Martha Fulford, an infectious diseases physician and associate professor at McMaster University. “We are at a stage where many of our actions are causing more long-term harm than COVID is. For example, all outdoor spaces need to be reopened. They do not contribute to transmission and allowing people to take part in outdoor activities is necessary for health and well-being.”...   The other curious question is why some medical voices remain almost ideologically committed to continuing with lockdowns, such as how the Ontario Science Table attributes the stay-at-home order as the key and almost singular reason why cases are now declining without even acknowledging the counterfactuals happening in other jurisdictions.  Ontarians who wish to listen to the experts might also want to consider how the medical officers in states such as Michigan have equal or greater credentials than the doctors they see on TV advocating for ever stricter measures."
Since lockdowns are political, it's more important to do something that is seen to work than something that works

Randall Denley: Doug Ford's not-really-reopening plan snatches defeat from the jaws of Ontario's vaccine victory - "The best the science advisers could come up with justify their excessive caution is that maybe there will be some new, unknown variant that will be resistant to vaccines. It hasn’t happened yet, but hey, let’s keep the province shut down just in case. Much of the muddy thinking behind this plan comes back to Dr. David Williams, the province’s chief medical officer of health. Williams is the sort of chap who would wear a raincoat and carry an umbrella on a sunny day. His favourite phrase is “out of an abundance of caution.”  Williams’s performance Thursday was typically eccentric and disconcerting. He said vaccines aren’t effective until “three or four or five weeks” after they’re given. The generally accepted number is two weeks. Williams also said Ontario could hit a 70-per-cent one-dose vaccination rate by early June, a number that is often considered the threshold for herd immunity. But Williams says he prefers waiting until 70 per cent of Ontarians have two doses. No one else is talking about that as the necessary reopening number. Amazingly, Ford’s reopening plan had nothing to say about schools, which are kind of a big deal for millions of Ontarians. That didn’t stop the media from asking about it, and Ford repeated the same lame answer he gave weeks ago. He’s only the premier so he can’t reopen schools without “consensus” from everyone with an opinion. And while Williams favours reopening schools and just about every sensible medical adviser agrees, some on the province’s advisory “science table” don’t agree, and Ford also claims the teaching unions aren’t on board... Ontario has hit a home run with its vaccination program and the province is almost at the point where the majority of people will be substantially safe from the virus. Nevertheless, Ford’s government expects them to keep living in fear and act like they’re still in the depths of the pandemic. Ford is compelling Ontarians to spend their summer living a restricted life, with many businesses trying to exist on government handouts and hundreds of thousand unemployed. There is simply no justification for it. None.  Even with victory in sight, Ford has found a way to create defeat. It’s an amazing accomplishment."

Ontario schools must 're-open immediately,' say SickKids and others - "All the top experts want Ontario Premier Doug Ford to re-open schools. So why won’t he do the right thing?  The leading paediatric organizations across Ontario have come together to call on the Ontario government to immediately re-open schools across the province... who are these Science Table members who don’t support re-openings? And why should anyone care, if they are so outnumbered? Why do we need total consensus?  But Dr. Martha Fulford, an infectious diseases physician specializing in pediatrics, points out how the open letter to Ford is endorsed by all the pediatric groups in the province. “Premier Ford has consensus,” Fulford says. “A few non-pediatric specialists should not be allowed to worsen this public health disaster for kids.”... “I’m an ICU doctor that has treated COVID patients since March 20,” Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, based at the Ottawa Hospital, posted to social media on Thursday. “Kids need to be back at school. School IS ESSENTIAL.”"

Businesses worry reopening plan is too little, too late | The Star - "Small businesses who have taken on an average of $208,000 in debt since the start of the pandemic will struggle without more aid, said Julie Kwiecinski, Ontario regional director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.  “This is not the light at the end of the tunnel businesses are looking for. They’ve basically said it’s going to be another month. But there was no new help announced,” said Kwiecinski.  Retailers, restaurant owners and movie theatres are also worried about the prospect of more time in lockdown... Many non-essential retailers simply won’t be able to survive another month, said Diane J. Brisebois, president of the Retail Council of Canada.  “This isn’t just another nail in the coffin for retailers; it’s the big mother final nail in the coffin. Keeping things closed until June 14 is ridiculous,” said Brisebois, who argued that retailers are being kept closed without justification.  “We’re not calling for a free-for-all. Of course, there need to be limits. But they need to be open now. Retail has not been the problem in this pandemic. Retailers follow the rules. They police the rules,” Brisebois argued... “He’s taken so much flak. I think he’s afraid to make any decision,” said Keefe. The head of the country’s biggest movie-theatre chain slammed the three-stage opening as “absurd.”  “We are all losing the summer. Canadian cinemas have welcomed more than six million guests during the pandemic and there have been zero resulting cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, Canada, or the world,” said Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob in an emailed statement.  “We have been operating safely in Quebec since February, throughout the entire third wave, while allowing 250 guests per auditorium. Based on what we heard today, cinemas will be locked down in Ontario longer than any other jurisdiction in the world, all due to a government that ignores the facts,” Jacob said."

GUNTER: It’s the COVID-zero zealots who will howl against reopening - "It is no surprise both Trudeau and Tam are in favour of extended lockdowns. Neither faces any consequences from continued economic restrictions. Neither will lose income, a business or a home.  They’re also believers in Big Government solutions, so they don’t see the dangers to personal freedom from continued infringements on Charter rights.  Marc Hetherington, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina, has conducted extensive research in the United States on the correlation between political views and COVID perceptions...   Hetherington found that the further left someone is, the more afraid they were of developing a serious case of the coronavirus and the more comfortable they were with restrictions on their freedoms (and others’) to keep them safe.  Such attitudes, though, are not supported by the science of COVID. Yet lefty lovers of lockdowns typically argue the science is on their side, even though it isn’t."

FUREY: While Americans embrace reopenings, Canadians remain unjustifiably afraid - "  They’ve moved on not because Americans are in denial, and not because they’re that dreadful term “covidiots,” but because the United States has embraced the painstakingly obvious truth that while you need to minimize the harms from COVID-19, you also need to find ways to learn to live with it and let low-risk people get on with their lives.  That is, after all, the approach that’s laid out in Canada’s various pandemic preparedness guidebooks, the latest one having been compiled by Dr. Theresa Tam’s office in 2018. Instead, we’ve deviated from the plan and too many people who should know better have allowed themselves to be drawn into the junk science COVID Zero ideology, which argues we need to shut down our society until we almost completely eradicate a virus that is in fact now endemic and therefore not going away any time soon.  It’s not just Republican Florida and Texas that are open. Left-wing politicians in America have been aggressively pushing for reopenings much more than right-wing politicians in Canada.  While Canadian media largely ignored it, on Wednesday Democratic New York Senator Chuck Schumer travelled to two different Canada-U.S. border locations to call for the border to reopen to some degree of non-essential travel...   Those who argue that vaccination rates are the key reason why life is very different in the United States than here in Canada are missing the mark. Yes, the Americans received more doses sooner and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed to live up to his end of the bargain, but the key difference is state of mind and the way of looking at the problem. American left-wing politicians such as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot were calling for responsible reopenings back in January, when Illinois was still contending with its second wave and few people had been vaccinated.  Early on, they embraced the idea of data-driven, evidence-based decisions and personal risk assessments, while Canada remains caught up in un-nuanced blunt responses – such as the Ontario science table’s myopic obsession with limiting “mobility” at all costs, which is why low-risk people remain barred from low-risk activities.  While Ontario officials refuse to say whether they’ll even allow children to play outdoor sports come late summer, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is already celebrating how Broadway shows will be open to full capacity by September. Americans are looking for reasons to reopen. Canadians are looking for reasons to stay closed.  The bulk of Canadian media and politicians seem all too pleased to keep this disconnect going. There seems to be an unspoken pact that reporting and discussion of basic but empowering facts that would enable us to evolve our response are off the table.  For example, we know that in Alberta 78% of people who died of COVID-19 were battling three or more underlying medical conditions, and a quarter of those who died were battling cancer at the same time. Only 2.5% of the deaths were among people who faced no underlying conditions – and that figure includes people in their 90s... While the U.S. has had a higher per capita fatality rate than Canada, they will also suffer far fewer of the long-term harms of lockdowns. The notion that Canada is doing better only holds up if you are OK with destroying society and perpetually harming our children because you believe the only thing that really matters in life is not getting COVID."

Sean Speer: Canada’s timid pandemic reopening plans represent a failure of leadership - "one may in theory be able to live a life free from tough decisions, but it will necessarily be a “safely inconsequential life: run no risks, confront no injustices, accept no roles of leadership.” This simple yet profound idea is something that our own leaders need to hear as they prepare to gradually reopen our economy and society... His remarks centred on the theme of being bold and taking risks. Although it’s something that he’s regularly spoken about in the past, it took on even greater meaning in the context of COVID-19 and his own decision to keep Purdue University open for in-person classes last fall.  It was certainly a bold decision at the time. Daniels was one of the first university presidents in the U.S. to advocate for students to return to campus despite the threat of the coronavirus. His essential insight was that this was a matter of trade-offs: the health risks for most of Purdue’s 40,000 students were minor in relative terms — especially when compared to the educational, social and mental health costs of abandoning in-person classes... Outsourcing decision making to the unanimous whims of a single group of experts forgoes the careful examination of available facts and thoughtful calculation of relative risks that ought to be core to prudential and thoughtful leadership. It, in the words of Daniels’ most recent commencement speech, “lets their (leaders) understandable human fear of uncertainty overcome their duty to balance all the interests for which they were responsible.” The result can be a neglect of trade-offs, unclear and erratic decisions or paralysis altogether. We’ve regrettably witnessed all three in Canada’s leadership over the course of the pandemic.  Daniels argues that this underlying risk aversion could have consequences far beyond COVID-19. It may undermine modern society’s ability to push ahead in science, technology and other fields necessarily marked by uncertainty...   “Certainty is an illusion. Perfect safety is a mirage. Zero is always unattainable, except in the case of absolute zero where all motion and life itself stop.”"

Randall Denley: Even after the COVID vaccines, Doug Ford is too afraid to reopen Ontario - "  Ford has been savaged in the past by those who think any sort of reopening is insanely risky. He looks a lot like a man who is afraid to do anything for fear of making another mistake, so now he is making the mistake of doing nothing, paralyzing his government and the province.  The circular argument that only a lockdown can keep people safe and prevent the need for another lockdown is one we have heard many times before, but it doesn’t take into account changing circumstances. It’s fair to say that Ontario did not react quickly enough to the increased transmissibility of the COVID variants, but now it’s not reacting quickly enough to the benefits of vaccination... the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is demanding N-95 masks for its members, even though teachers are eligible to be vaccinated. Why not full biohazard suits?...   A wide range of outdoor activities are banned in Ontario, but you will search in vain if for any real data that show the risk of golf or pickleball. In fact, you will have a hard time finding a risk of outdoor activity at all. An interesting analysis in The New York Times this week questioned the Centers for Disease Control’s unfounded statement that about 10 per cent of COVID cases are contracted outdoors. A closer look at the data shows that it’s less than one per cent. Ontario’s outdoor-sports ban is based on perception, not science. The government’s thinking is that you can’t ask people to stay at home, then allow activities that mean leaving home. Even if golf is safe, then what about pick-up basketball? Maybe it’s less safe. Better just to shut everything down to make everyone equally miserable."

EDITORIAL: Clarity needed on second AZ dose - "The Oxford University professor of medicine who presided over the development of the U.K.’s AstraZeneca vaccine has criticized Canada for endangering lives by “acting on a lot of hearsay, not facts.”  “At my last look, you guys are 3.6% vaccinated with two doses so just wait for (the Indian variant) to rip through the Canadian population, and then the problems you’ve had with these very rare clotting events will look pretty insignificant,” Sir John Bell told CTV’s Question Period...   This is precisely the kind of confusion that increases vaccine hesitancy."

The smear campaign against AstraZeneca - "The smear campaign against the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine could harm the provision of cheap jabs in the future, the BBC has revealed. The pharma giant is producing its Covid jab at cost – forgoing potentially billions in profit – in order to make its jabs affordable to the world’s poorest countries.   Speaking on the Today programme this morning, the BBC’s medical editor, Fergus Walsh, said senior figures at AstraZeneca have told him they may not make not-for-profit vaccines in future pandemics: ‘More than one senior person at AstraZeneca has said to me privately… “Would we do this again?”.’ ‘They see that Pfizer is going to make billions out of the vaccine’, he added.  Walsh’s comments came in response to yet another row about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca jab. The US Data and Safety Monitoring Board, an independent medical body, published an extraordinary rebuke to AZ on Tuesday, suggesting it had provided ‘outdated information’ when claiming its jab was 79 per cent effective against symptomatic Covid. AZ has subsequently revised this number to 76 per cent – a fairly minor reduction – and revised up the data on its efficacy among the elderly.   This is only the latest in a long line of unfair attacks on the AZ jab. Most of the criticism directed at it so far has come from the EU and European governments, who have undermined faith in the vaccine as part of a war of words with the company.  European leaders have, at various points, accused the vaccine of being ineffective in the elderly and of causing potentially deadly blood clots. This week, AstraZeneca was even accused – baselessly – of hiding vaccine doses from the European Commission. This smear campaign has resulted in huge numbers of AZ jabs lying unused in Europe.   As Walsh highlighted, it was partly thanks to this decline in confidence in the jab that AZ was so keen to release new data about its effectiveness – the same data which the Data and Safety Monitoring Board then slammed.  The constant smearing of AZ has already cost lives. Now, AZ may not bother making a non-profit vaccine again in the future, if this is the thanks it gets. Our ability to deal with future pandemics could be seriously compromised. Instead of constantly slating AstraZeneca, as the EU and others have done, we should be championing its generosity."

For AstraZeneca, vaccine success has proved more trouble than it's worth - "let’s not get things out of proportion. In the scale of corporate cockups, this is scarcely up there with the worst. There’s been no fraud, no cover up, no attempt deliberately to mislead. The worst the company can be accused of is excessive desire to please, together with a consequent tendency both to rush announcements and to overpromise. These seem forgivable traits given the pressures the company was under. In attempting to scapegoat AstraZeneca for their own failings, the politicians and regulators seem much more to blame... By offering its vaccine at cost, AstraZeneca has seemingly confused a commercial with a public, not to say nationalistic, purpose, and ironically raised international hackles accordingly. The vaccine might have found itself less of a political football had it not been so strongly branded by the UK Government as its own, Brexit Britain success story."

Britain could be in for a rough ride with the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, but there’s no need to panic - "Our collective goal must be to end the pandemic everywhere. This would be much more difficult without the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab."

Genève Campbell on Twitter - "The math of Covid coverage is not a whole lot more encouraging than Trump coverage in 2015-2016"
"Our panic economy incentivizes chaos. Same parasitic relationship, new object of obsession."

Hygiene Theater: Deep Cleaning Isn’t a Victimless Crime - The Atlantic - "The CDC has finally said what scientists have been screaming for months: The coronavirus is overwhelmingly spread through the air, not via surfaces... “For most respiratory viruses, the evidence for fomite transmission looks pretty weak,” Goldman said. “With the exception of RSV [respiratory syncytial virus], there are few other respiratory viruses where fomite transmission has been conclusively shown.”... Unlike the coronavirus, hygiene theater is very much alive on surfaces across America. Transit authorities are still taking subway cars offline to power-scrub their walls. Baseball parks are banning cash to protect fans from fiat germs. Schools throughout the country still require deep cleanings that sometimes shut down classes for hours or days. The Los Angeles Unified School District’s COVID-19 posters still urge people to “clean high-touch surfaces frequently,” with no mention of ventilation, air filters, or keeping windows open. Target is still running ads on Hulu bragging about how it calls in workers at 6 a.m. to mop and scrub for several hours, for the comfort of its germophobic customers... Whenever I’ve written about hygiene theater, some people have responded with the same objection: “Hey, what’s the matter with washing our hands?” That’s an easy one: Absolutely nothing. “Pandemic or no pandemic, you should wash your hands, especially after you prepare food, go to the bathroom,” or touch something yucky, Goldman said.  But hygiene theater carries with it an immense opportunity cost. Too many institutions spend scarce funds or sacrifice scarce resources to do microbial battle against fomites that don’t pose a real threat. This is especially true of cash-strapped urban-transit authorities and school districts that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on soap technology rather than their central task of transporting and teaching people.  Hygiene theater also muddles the public-health message. If you tell people, “This disease is on surfaces, on your clothes, on your hands, on your face, and also in the air,” they will react in a scattered and scared way. But if you tell people the truth—this virus doesn’t do very well on surfaces, so you should focus on ventilation—they can protect themselves against what matters. At the ideas level, the jealous protection of hygiene theater is an example of a larger American crisis. “When the CDC doesn’t update its fomite language for months while scientists are screaming about aerosolized spread, it just seems like a case of the precautionary principle taking over,” Goldman said. In his 2011 book, The Beginning of Infinity, the physicist David Deutsch defined the precautionary principle as a form of pessimism that “seeks to ward off disaster by avoiding everything not known to be safe.” The opposite of the precautionary principle is something like epistemic optimism: We don’t know enough, and we should always try to learn more... Los Angeles, for instance, closed its playgrounds and prohibited friends from going on beach walks, long after researchers knew that the coronavirus didn’t really spread outdoors. In the pandemic and beyond, this might be the fundamental crisis of American institutions: They specialize in the performance of bureaucratic competence rather than the act of actually being competent."
As with wokeness, obsessing over nonsense is actually harmful
Or maybe hygiene theatre can be seen as an attempt to take back control (even if it's illusory)

An0maly - Posts | Facebook - "Liberal journalists have this weird habit of cheering on left wing mass gatherings in America & abroad, then fear-mongering over events that blame their political opponents like Florida."
"Florida is going to kill us all"
"This is amazing" "Protesters in central Moscow chanting “Down with the Tsar!” Some have broken off and are heading to the Matrosskaya Tishina jail where opposition leader Navalny is being held."

The Dank Knight 🦇 on Twitter - "Pete Davidson rips Staten Island's anti-COVID-19 lockdown 'babies' on 'SNL'"
"Millionaires being paid to make fun of people that want to feed their families is peak 2020"

Mary Vought on Twitter - "We've become a nation that gives our politicians a pass for breaking their own lockdown orders but sits back & allows those same politicians to fine business owners & yank their licenses for trying to support their families. Something is terribly wrong with this picture."

Obesity report: Covid-19 death rates 10 times higher in countries where most adults are overweight - "The risk of death from Covid-19 is about 10 times higher in countries where most of the population is overweight, according to a report released Wednesday by the World Obesity Federation... the link persisted even after adjusting for age and national wealth... Dr Tim Lobstein, the report's author added, "Governments have been negligent, and ignored the economic value of a healthy population at their peril. For the last decade they have failed to tackle obesity, despite setting themselves targets at United Nations meetings." The researchers say that being overweight can also worsen other health issues and viral infections, like H1N1, flu and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)."
Clearly they should have locked down more
Of course this means that anorexia is the true threat and that we cannot "fat shame" and must glorify obesity

Sharri Markson on Twitter - "Scientist Kristian Anderson told Fauci SARS-CoV-2 has “unusual features” that “potentially look engineered”. Not long after this email, the scientists authored a piece insisting the virus was natural and Fauci said the same publicly. This is a massive cover-up. (Buzzfeed FOIA)"
It's fascinating how the liberal media is not mentioning any of this and pretending that the emails just prove there's nothing suspicious

Unbiased America - Posts | Facebook - "The controversy over thousands of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails is growing by the hour, despite some media outlets minimizing the story.  New questions continue to be raised over numerous seeming inconsistencies that the emails reveal between what Fauci has said publicly and what he said privately in his correspondence... The very next day after Anderson’s email, Fauci sent a seemingly worried email to his deputy Hugh Auchincloss: “Hugh, It is essential that we speak this AM. Keep your cell phone on. I have a conference call at 7:45am with Azar. It likely will be over by 8:45am. Read this paper as well as the e-mail that I will forward you now. You have tasks today that must be done.  Thanks, Tony.” The paper attached to the e-mail discusses how researchers from the United States and China were manipulating viruses make them more transmittable to humans. Auchincloss responded: "The paper you sent me says the experiments were performed before the gain of function pause but have since been reviewed and approved by NIH.”  He goes on to say that an associate “will try to determine if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.”...
An email from Dr. Erik Nilsen, a PhD physicist and CEO of a neuroscience research company, warned that his analysis showed that the Chinese Communist Party was sharing fraudulent data. “I’m confident that China stopped counting [the dead] since —January 7 2020,” he wrote.  Dr. Nilsen, who explained that he travels to China multiple times per year, also provided corroborating sources from within China:  “My suspicions were eventually confirmed by at least two of my sources in China [REDACTED].”  The names were redacted by the Freedom of Information release. Nilsen went on to warn that Chinese data should not be used for analysis. “If people analyzed the world’s data including China, the results are heavily biased towards nonsense, because China’s number of cases accounted for the majority of cases worldwide (until a day or so ago).” Fauci’s response: “Too long for me to read”...
Peter Daszak, whose non-profit was responsible for funneling $3.4 million in grants from the NIH to the Wuhan lab, sent an email to Dr. Fauci thanking him for publicly denying the lab-leak theory...
While the the above emails and others are leading to widening scrutiny from politicians and some media outlets, others don’t seem very interested at all. Both Buzzfeed and The Washington Post ran stories that centered on Fauci saying he was exhausted from so much work, and expressing surprise over his newfound celebrity. And CNN gushed that "Thousands of emails from and to Dr. Fauci reveal the weight that came with his role as a rare source of frank honesty within the Trump administration”."

Report: After Volcano Erupts On Caribbean Island, PM Says Only Vaccinated Can Board Evacuation Ships, Others Sent To Safety Elsewhere

Pandemic Delays In Prenatal Care Are Dangerous For Babies And Pregnant Women - "Not a single private hospital was open in Madurai, a city in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where they lived. "Everything had shut down overnight"...   The couple got their first ultrasound in the sixth month of the pregnancy at a private clinic. However, 120 private hospitals in the city still remained shut despite state authorities issuing notices asking them to re-open... When the baby was born, Ranjith says a pediatrician at the hospital said surgery would be needed to correct the bowel obstruction. The procedure was scheduled a few days after birth. The baby didn't survive the operation.  "My wife and I broke down emotionally," says Ranjith. The doctors told him that timely prenatal care would have helped identify the problem earlier. And a higher birthweight and better monitoring could have improved the baby's chances.  Ranjith blames the disruption in health-care services for the tragedy. "Most people waited for long hours to see a doctor at a government run hospital," he says. "It wasn't easy to get care anywhere during these times. Staff were very impatient and we weren't treated well. There was a lot of stress."... "This comparison revealed a noticeable decline in the number of women and children receiving lifesaving health services. They've paid the price for severe disruptions in services brought on by nationwide stay-at-home orders" ...   Iyer found that "many hospitals had turned into COVID centers or had shifted their attention and resources from pre- and postnatal care to testing for COVID and were overburdened."  What's more, she says, since many lower-income families in India rely on public transport, "people who wanted to access care could not do so because all transport had shut down during lockdown."  This halt in transport had a deep impact on primary care for pregnant women in a country that has the highest prevalence of anemia in pregnancy — a condition where a woman has an insufficient number of red blood cells to carry oxygen...   "If the situation continues, the next generation of kids may not be able to perform to their full potential""

Trudeau gets trolled by MPs, media with 'Tru-Anon' after he makes false COVID claims - "CNN attacked the prime minister's vaccine distribution on Monday, calling it a "real failure by the Trudeau government." Since then, the anchor's Twitter has been flooded by Trudeau supporters, claiming against all evidence, that things are really quite swell in the Great White North...American media is continuing to shred Prime Minister Trudeau's pandemic response, calling his governance "woeful."  In a recent article by Forbes, the journalist proceeds to write that Trudeau's COVID hotels have "failed;" that the vaccination program has been "woeful," and that "Canadians are [becoming] jealous of Americans."... Justin Trudeau had a dismal performance in Parliament today after he told Canadians that "vaccines aren't enough to end mask mandates and social distancing restrictions." He also stated, falsely, that Britain was suffering through the third wave of COVID."

Adam Zivo: Progressives are now the ones ignoring pandemic science - "After over a year of uncertainty and sacrifice, the pandemic is finally coming to an end. Most people are hopeful, but there is a sizable contingent of progressives who see lockdowns as an expression of their political identity and continue to advocate for harsh restrictions, even when they’re not necessary. As Canada completes its vaccination campaign and reopens its economy, it will be important to curtail this group’s influence.  Excessive partisanship has been one of this pandemic’s great tragedies, consistently undermining evidence-based policy-making to everyone’s detriment... progressives tend to grossly overestimate how often COVID-19 infections result in hospitalization. In the United States, a recent Gallup survey showed that only 10 per cent of Democrats correctly guessed the hospitalization rate, compared to 26 per cent of Republicans... parents who support reopening schools report being ridiculed and silenced; teachers unions in Massachusetts and Washington state have even gone as far as to accuse those who want to reopen schools of being “white supremacists.” Instead of allowing constructive debate, some progressive school administrators preoccupy themselves with hygiene theatre: reopening schools is off-limits, but investment in extravagant sanitation infrastructure, such as UV disinfection units, is seen as perfectly reasonable. Other examples of bad policies include restricting outdoor activities (such as closing beaches and playgrounds) and pushing for outdoor mask usage, despite overwhelming evidence showing that outdoor transmission is incredibly rare... Progressive hygiene theatre also includes extending lockdowns beyond their shelf life and stigmatizing jurisdictions that carefully open up early"
Catastrophising covid is a great way to increase state power

Patients died from neglect, not COVID-19, in Ontario LTC homes, military report finds: ‘All they needed was water and a wipe down’ - The Globe and Mail - "Dozens of residents in two Ontario nursing homes hit hard by the coronavirus died not from COVID-19 but from dehydration and neglect, the Canadian military says...   At Hawthorne Place Care Centre, 51 residents died of COVID-19 in the 269-bed facility. The military says it suspects those fatalities pale in comparison to deaths from other causes. “Residents are dying from non-COVID-19 causes more than they should be.”"

In locked-down Lebanon, many fear poverty more than virus - "  Tripoli was already one of the country's poorest cities before the pandemic, and before a crippling economic crisis hit Lebanon in 2019...  Among the worst-hit have been hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon.  Abdelaziz, 35, lives with his wife and three children in Beirut, where he works as a concierge.  "I haven't earned even 1,000 pounds since the start of the lockdown," he said, referring to the smallest Lebanese bank note now worth barely 10 US cents.  After fleeing Islamic State group jihadists, who captured his Syrian hometown of Raqa, he worries how his family will survive the coronavirus restrictions.  "We fled from Raqa when IS overran the area and destroyed our homes," he said. "It feels like we escaped death there, just to die of hunger here.""

LILLEY: Ford government apparently has no tools other than lockdowns - "What’s the old saying? When you only have a hammer as a tool, everything looks like a nail.  The Ford government apparently has no tools other than the hammer of lockdowns or in the new vernacular, shutdowns...   We are more than a year into COVID-19 taking over our lives and the Ford government and those advising it lack the imagination to think of anything other than shutting down businesses that are not responsible for the outbreaks. Even if the entire province goes into a “shutdown,” essential workplaces will remain open and those are the places where the spread continues to occur. Food processing facilities, warehouses, transportation outfits are the places that have never shut down and that continue to be the source of the spread, but we still have not done the simple thing and gone in to vaccinate those workers and their families...   One of the main problems with the Ford government is that they are beholden to a group of doctors who are almost uniformly attached to the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. This is an organization that has bought into the idea of COVID Zero. COVID Zero doesn’t think that we need to manage this virus or deal with it, COVID Zero believes that we need to eradicate it completely before opening back up. Good luck with that.  We won’t be done with COVID any time soon, so that means not seeing family, friends or anyone else until COVID-19 no longer exits. That’s like asking for the flu, the cold, or any number of respiratory diseases not to exist.  Some doctors have started to call the Science Table the Scientology Table saying that there is a cult-like atmosphere around the place. I can’t say that they’re wrong.  Ford refuses to listen to any doctor who recommends anything other than a lockdown.   British Columbia has long had better COVID numbers than Ontario and recently introduced “tough restrictions” that don’t meet what Ontario has been doing for months. Of the 2,333 new cases announced on Wednesday, 59% were in areas already in the “grey” zone, the zone just before a stay-at-home order. The decision to allow restaurants in areas like Toronto to partially open hasn’t even been allowed to go on long enough to determine if it has made a difference — that takes at least two weeks, but they’ve only been open 11 days.  In order to deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases in areas shut down since Nov. 23, the Ford government will order all businesses to close that have not, according to the science, been open long enough to contribute to the spread.   When Doug Ford goes looking for their support next election, he shouldn’t be shocked when the door is slammed shut in his face."

Coronavirus: Chinese propaganda encouraged Western nations to lock down - "Did China trick the world into committing economic suicide?  As the global community continues to grapple with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic – and the economic catastrophe caused by the associated “lockdowns” imposed by governments around the world – a chilling new theory has emerged.  It goes like this – China, in an enormous disinformation campaign spread via social media and through compromised voices in Western politics, science and medicine, aggressively pushed for other nations to follow its lead, with the goal of intentionally destroying their economies.  That’s according to Michael Senger, a lawyer and researcher based in Atlanta, Georgia... “By promoting fraudulent data, aggressively deploying disinformation, and flexing its institutional clout, Beijing transformed the snake oil of lockdowns into ‘science’, crippling rival economies, expanding its influence and sowing authoritarian values”... WHO enthusiastically endorsed China’s lockdown strategy as a framework for governments around the world to follow. “Copy China’s response to COVID-19,” Canadian WHO official Bruce Aylward said on February 26.  In the meantime, social media had been flooded with terrifying “leaked” videos appearing to show apocalyptic scenes from the virus epicentre – bodies stacked in hospital hallways, people collapsing in the street.  The New York Times first revealed in June that Twitter had removed tens of thousands of fake accounts that were being used in a co-ordinated effort to spread the CCP’s message, with a particular focus on Italy – the European nation with the closest ties to China... “The fact that CCP’s disinformation campaign focused on Italy is crucial,” Senger wrote. “The rest of the world followed Italy’s lead.”... Australia announced a sweeping inquiry into Chinese infiltration of the university sector, after revelations by The Australian newspaper that dozens of the country’s leading researchers had been co-opted into the CCP’s secretive “Thousand Talents” program.  In the US, leading science and medical research institutions including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and Harvard University have been rocked by revelations of undisclosed financial ties to the Chinese government.  Back in May, Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the esteemed medical journal The Lancet, told Chinese state TV that China’s lockdown was “not only the right thing to do, but it also showed other countries how they should respond in the face of such an acute threat”.  As citizens in the US, Australia, the UK and other Western countries struggle through various degrees of lockdown, China, it seems, may be having the last laugh.  Last month, thousands of people were seen crammed into a water park for an enormous summer pool party in the original epicentre of Wuhan – where there has reportedly been no community transmission since May.  This week, young revellers were photographed packed together on the dancefloor in a Wuhan nightclub.  The key question in all this is why China went to such extreme lengths to spread propaganda about the success of its lockdown strategy – and why it was so keen for other countries to follow its lead."

How Fear, Groupthink Drove Unnecessary Global Lockdowns - "Uppsala University (the oldest university in Sweden) also presented a model that could have caused the Swedes to abandon course and lock down as the U.K. did. However, Sweden did not buckle. While the Uppsala University model predicted 90,000 deaths within a month, the actual result was around 3,500. Besides deaths, there were also doomsday projections about hospital capacity, but those models also proved to be grotesquely exaggerated. On March 29, Columbia University projected a need for 136,000 hospital beds in New York City. The maximum ever used was under 12,000. At peak, New York City still had around 1 in 6 hospital beds open and around 1 in 10 ICU beds open. Hospitals had capacity, both in New York City and in Sweden... Italy’s alarming number of deaths fanned many of the early fears across the world, but by March 17 it was clear that the median age of Italian deaths was over 80 and that not a single person under 30 had died in that country. Furthermore, it was known that 99% of those who died had other existing illnesses. A much more rational strategy would have been to lock down nursing homes and let young healthy people out to build immunity. Instead we did the opposite, we forced nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients and locked down young people. There are now places like Santa Clara County in California, entering its third month of lockdown despite COVID-19 patients occupying less than 2% of hospital capacity and none on ventialtors. Yet there are 2 million county residents effectively under house arrest."

Cuba: Early hydroxychloroquine potent against COVID-19
"On an interesting note, Cuba is often referenced as an example of providing an effective state-run healthcare system, and it turns out that they claim that they have good results using medicines absolutely denied by American mainstream media to have any positive effect."

Mike Rowe - Posts | Facebook - "Mike. In a recent post, you said you’ve been to Tennessee and Georgia, giving speeches and filming for your new show. Before that, you were on the road shooting for Dirty Jobs. Is it really so important to film a television show in the midst of pandemic? Is it responsible of you to encourage this kind of behavior when infection rates are spiking? Don’t you watch the news? More and more cases every day – aren’t you concerned?
Darlene Gabon
Hi Darlene
Of course, I’m concerned. I’m just not petrified.
On March 15th, the day after my part of the country was locked down, I posted a link to an interview with Dr. Michael Osterholm... Dr. Osterholm is the Director of Infectious Disease Research and Policy. This is the same epidemiologist who ten years ago, predicted a coronavirus would come from China and turn our country upside down. In his book “Deadliest Enemies,” he anticipated the utterly irresponsible way in which the media would report on the situation, the completely opportunistic and shamelessly political way our leaders would likely react, and the unprecedented chaos and confusion that would arise from all the mixed messages from the medical community. His resume is unexampled, https://bit.ly/3jvzQTW, and his analysis of the situation is the most logical and persuasive of any I’d heard so far. He’s also the only expert I know of who hasn’t walked back his numbers, reconsidered his position, or moved the goalposts with regard to what we must do, what we can do, and what he expects to happen next. I say all of this because Dr. Osterholm publicly predicted - in early MArch - that we could conservatively see over 100 million COVID cases in this country, with a very strong possibility of 480,000 fatalities – even if we successfully “flattened the curve.”...
a) I am probably going to get COVID-19 at some point, b), I am almost certainly going to survive it, and c), I might very well give it to someone else.
I hope that doesn’t sound blasé, or glib, or fatalistic, or selfish. Four-hundred eighty thousand deaths is an obvious tragedy, and I’m deeply sympathetic to all who have been impacted thus far. I’m also very concerned for my parents, and everyone else in a high risk category. But when Dr. Osterholm says that COVID can be slowed but not stopped, I believe him. When he says a vaccine will not necessarily hasten herd immunity, I believe him. And when he says that people have confused “flattening the curve” with "eliminating the virus," I believe him. Thus, for the last three months, I’ve been operating from the assumption that this is a year-round virus that’s eventually going to infect 100 million people and kill roughly 1/2 of one percent of those infected, conservatively. I’ve accepted those numbers. Unfortunately, millions of others have not. Many people have no sense of where this is headed, and I understand why. They've been betrayed by a hysterical media that insists on covering each new reported case as if it were the first case. Every headline today drips with dread, as the next doomed hotspot approaches the next "grim milestone." And so, for a lot of people, everyday is Groundhogs Day. They're paralyzed by the rising numbers because the numbers have no context. They don't know where it will end. But Dr. Osterholm says he does, and I'm persuaded that he's correct. He might be wrong, and frankly, I hope he is, but either way, he's presented us with a set of projections based on a logical analysis, and accepting those projections has allowed me to move past denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, and get on with my life with a better understanding of what the risks really are. Fact is, we the people can accept almost anything if we’re given the facts, and enough time to get evaluate the risk and make our own decisions. Last year in this country, there were six million traffic accidents and 36,000 fatalities. Tragic, for sure. But imagine for a moment if no one had ever died from a car accident. Imagine if this year, America endured six million traffic accidents and 36,000 fatalities...for the first time ever. Now, imagine if these accidents and fatalities - over 16,000 and 90 per day respectively - imagine if they were reported upon like every new incidence of COVID. What would that do to our willingness to drive? For a while, I suspect it would keep us all off the roads, right? I mean, six million accidents out of the blue is a lot to process, and 36,000 deaths is scary – especially if you don’t know how high that number could get. It would take us a while to access the risk, before we blindly hopped into our cars again. Eventually though - after getting some context and perspective - we'd be able to evaluate the relative danger of operating a motor vehicle. Then, we could decide for ourselves when to drive, where to drive, and how much to drive. And so we do."
A year later, Covid hysteria is still well and alive, since now we have "variants" to keep the novelty going

brink on Twitter - *Packed John Lewis funeral*
"I get it. My dad wasn’t important. So it’s ok to limit his funeral to 10 people tomorrow."

Boomieleaks on Twitter - "*Black Democrat dies during a pandemic*
Democrats: “Let’s have a huge indoor funeral.”
*Black Republican dies during a pandemic*
Democrats: “He deserved it for going to a huge indoor event.”"

Gad Saad - Posts | Facebook - "Herman Caín thought Covid was a hoax, scoffed at wearing a mask. Died of Covid. Bill Montgomery, co-founder of pro-Trump, Turning Point USA, scoffed at virus. Died of Covid. Rep. Gohmert refused to wear a mask. Has Covid. See a pattern? Covid doesn’t care about partisanship."
"If an avid sunbather had just died from skin cancer, would you tweet about their sunbathing habits? If an overweight sedentary individual had just died from obesity-related issues, would you tweet about their poor life choices? If a smoker had just died from lung cancer, would you tweet about their smoking habits? If a gay man had just died from AIDS in 1985, would you tweet about their sexual habits? You allude to non~partisanship, and yet you use three Republican individuals in your tweet. Moral hypocrisy is lost on you. Please be a better human being. There are many things in life more important than political tribalism."

Organizer of Sydney anti-racism protest, 5 others arrested over coronavirus concerns - "Police arrested a leader of an anti-racism protest and shut down the demonstration before it started Tuesday after courts ruled the gathering in downtown Sydney was illegal due to the coronavirus pandemic threat... New South Wales state Assistant Police Commissioner Mick Willing said five protesters were issued 1,000 Australian dollar ($710) fines for breaching pandemic crowd restrictions. Another protester was charged with using offensive language."
The usual leftist obsessions are no match for covid, at least in Australia

Illegal BLM Sydney rally’s reckless few to fight fines - "In the end, Sydney’s contentious Black Lives Matter rally culminated not with a bang but a whimper, with few protesters following through on threats to defy a court ban and proceed with an illegal protest in the city’s CBD... Almost 4000 people had indicated on Facebook they were interested in attending the illegal rally in the Sydney’s inner-city, yet only about 40 turned up on Tuesday."

Lack of action against BLM protesters in Melbourne may be unlawful - "Damning legal advice has been released which reveals the Andrews government’s decision to not detain or fine Black Lives Matter protesters on June 6, could be unlawful"
No wonder they keep getting outbreaks

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Did Japan get lucky? - "There is a moral to this story. It is about understanding why so few people in Japan have died of COVID-19. If you look at Japan's neighbors: South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, you can point to a reason for their success. Early lockdowns, tough quarantines, massive testing and tracing systems. Japan hasn't done any of that. In February and March when the pandemic was raging in central China, Japan kept its borders open. The Japanese government has steadfastly refused to carry out mass testing. When in early April, it finally ordered a state of emergency, it was of the mildest form. People were asked to stay at home, if at all possible. At no point in the last three months have I been forced to stay in my house or even stop seeing my friends. Japan is not just close to China, it has the oldest population in the world. More than a quarter of Japanese are over 65, but as of today, fewer than 1000 people have died from COVID-19. How has Japan managed it? Could it be some factor x something that stops Japanese people catching COVID-19 or at least stops them getting sick? At Tokyo University Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama thinks it's possible. He's been testing the antibody reactions of Japanese COVID patients. He claims what he has found is astonishing. Japanese, he says, look like they've been exposed to a COVID-like virus before. And because of that they have some form of historical immunity. But Professor Kodama is not an epidemiologist, and those that are point to one fatal flaw in his theory, if a COVID like virus had really spread around Japan before, then why did it stop here? Instead, the epidemiologists think it's down to the way Japanese people and I underline people here, have responded. Stopping a pandemic is about stopping transmission of the virus. There are lots of ways to do that hand washing, bowing instead of handshakes, wearing masks. These are all good. And Japan does all of them pretty well. But those alone are not enough. In late March infections here began to grow fast. But the Japanese government got lucky. Data now shows it declared the state of emergency at pretty much exactly the right moment. A week or two later, and Tokyo may have had infection rates like those of London or New York. According to Professor Kenji Shibuya, Director of Public Health at King's College in London, what happened next is the key. Despite not ordering people to stay at home, that is what they did. Japan didn't order a lockdown, he told me, but it got the effect of a lockdown. The evidence has actually been all around. None of my Japanese friends have been to see their elderly parents or grandparents for months. Most stopped back in February, way before they were told to. And then there's that tunnel. People could have continued to drive through it to the beach to play golf, but they didn't. Now the streets of Tokyo are bustling again, there's no two metre rule here. The beaches and shopping malls are busy. Some of my friends have even been to see their parents. Will Japan continue to be lucky? Well, that will depend on how people continue to behave. Now is not the time to declare victory. But if the key to weathering COVID-19 is about being careful and obeying the rules, then I'd wager Japan is going to weather it better than most."
Or, lockdowns don't work (as most papers find)

Vaccine passports contentious issue for the unvaccinated - "A New Hampshire high school used black and red Sharpies on prom night to mark students vaccinated or unvaccinated.  The colour-coded system allowed Exeter High School to maintain a contact tracing system... “If the vaccination is effective, and at this point anyone within the state can have access to it (those vulnerable or not), what does it matter if the rest of the population is vaccinated? Aren’t those who have had the vaccine protected?”  One parent at the school complained that the unvaccinated young adults were being treated like prisoners in Nazi Germany."
I guess liberals don't like the "lessons" of Jane Elliott's Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment anymore

2 Passengers Test Positive for Virus on Caribbean Cruise - The New York Times - "Two passengers sharing a stateroom aboard the Celebrity Millennium, operated by Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises from the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday. The ship, billed as the first fully-vaccinated cruise in North America, has one more day at sea on Friday before returning to St. Maarten to disembark... the passengers tested positive during required testing before leaving the ship. The travelers are asymptomatic and are in isolation under observation by a medical team. Testing and contact tracing is in place for close contacts. The ship’s 650 crew members and 600 or so passengers (including a New York Times reporter) were required to be vaccinated before boarding, and had to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours before sailing"
Covid hysteria means even if everyone is vaccinated, things will not go back to normal

New York Yankees breakthrough Covid cases in vaccinated team members - "Seven of the infected members are asymptomatic and two have mild symptoms."
Time for another lockdown!

Canada Faces Pressure to Reopen the U.S. Border - The Atlantic - "Fifteen months after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S.-Canada border remains closed to all but essential travel, cutting off families, would-be tourists, and billions of dollars in commerce. Travel from the U.S. to Canada is down more than 80 percent since before the pandemic. Both countries have imposed strict limits on who can cross the border, but Canada’s restrictions are tighter, and its enforcement is far more severe. Travelers who fly into Canada must land at one of four airports and then pay to spend the first three nights of a 14-day mandatory quarantine at a designated “stopover” hotel, at a cost the U.S. government says could exceed $1,600. There are no exceptions, even for fully vaccinated people or Canadian citizens... With case counts plummeting and vaccinations rising, most states have relaxed or eliminated restrictions on travel and businesses. But in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears in no hurry to end the shutdown. The current limits are due to expire on June 21, but he has said that before he begins to loosen the rules, he wants at least 75 percent of Canadians to receive a first shot and 20 percent to be fully vaccinated... The delay is alarming businesses on both sides of the border that worry they’ll miss out on tourism revenue from a second lost summer season... Trudeau’s lack of urgency is also angering American politicians whose constituents rely on cross-border travel. Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and Representative Elise Stefanik, the upstate New York lawmaker who replaced the deposed Liz Cheney in the House Republican leadership, have beseeched Biden-administration officials to work with their Canadian counterparts on a reopening plan. Other Republicans have complained that while Canadians can cross the border to be vaccinated in the United States, Americans who own homes in Canada can’t access them. A bipartisan coalition of New England governors has also written to Biden and Trudeau asking that they be allowed to give excess vaccine supply to Canadian provinces to facilitate the speedier reopening of the border. Trudeau has said he won’t be rushed"

Think life goes back to normal once you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19? Not so fast, says health official | The Star - "Even after Canadians receive two vaccine doses, they won’t be able to count on relaxing individual and population-level public health measures like masking, physical distancing and avoiding gatherings because not enough is known about the effect of vaccines on variants, or on asymptomatic infection and transmission... Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said there are many factors at play: no vaccine is 100 per cent effective, so some percentage of people will not have immunity; it’s unclear how long immunity lasts after vaccination; it is unclear if emerging variants are resistant to vaccines; and it’s not known if vaccines fully halt onward transmission of the virus."
Eternal lockdown!

“What Would Fauci Do” now that he's fully vaccinated? As it turns out, not much. Not much at all. - "Out: WWJD?
Someone is way too comfortable with the way things are. It's almost as if he can't let it go... I've seen the terror in the eyes of people he's turned into complete neurotics. It's frightening."

Dangerous Conspiracy Theorist Doesn't Believe Vaccines Work | The Babylon Bee - "He spouted his deadly rhetoric in a speech today, going on about how even if Americans get two doses of the vaccine they should keep triple-masking, avoid going outside, and stay in their homes and die alone... "It's really scary how many people are listening to this dangerous, anti-science conspiracy theorist," said one scientist. "We're trying to get people to get vaccinated, and this guy comes along and starts spewing his nonsense about how vaccinated people could still get the virus and so can't go to theatres, baseball games, or restaurants for at least a year or two. He's really harming public discourse on the issue."... What's more, the conspiracy theory-pushing extremist is clearly a grifter, as images surfaced of him going to a baseball game and taking his mask off throughout last year."
On Fauci

Queen Should Have Sat with Family to Signal Confidence in Vaccine - "the 94-year-old monarch bid farewell to her beloved husband of 73 years masked and alone in a church pew— without the reassuring squeeze of a hand or an encouraging word from a family member whispered into her ear.  But why? The queen has been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. If these vaccines are as effective as we’re told they are, why on earth would she need to wear a mask, let alone social distance from family members?  And it gets worse. Both Prince Charles and Prince William, the queen’s son and grandson respectively, have recovered from COVID-19 infections. And Charles and his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, have both been vaccinated. Why could not Charles have sat with his mother? What kind of son leaves his mother alone at one of the lowest moments of her life?  And how much do you want to bet they checked vaccination cards before admitting anyone to the funeral?  This is nothing more than kabuki theater. If the queen wanted to set an “example” for her people, she’d shed the mask and sit with her family to signal her confidence in the efficacy of the vaccines. Instead, she’s signaling that the vaccine makes no difference. While people want to blame anti-vaccers and conservative pundits for what has been called “vaccine hesitancy,” the blame ought to be laid squarely at the feet of those who continue to mask and social distance despite being fully vaccinated or having recovered from the virus. How many people will lose their lives as a result of the mixed messages being sent by world leaders and health “experts”? This insanity needs to stop."

Why can’t we let the vaccines win? - "The vaccines were supposed to liberate us from lockdown. They have done no such thing...   In Britain, the most vulnerable had all received their first dose of the vaccine by mid-February – eight weeks ago. The groups that make up 99 per cent of Covid mortalities have at least partial protection. UCL modelling (of course, modelling should always be taken with a pinch of salt, as we’ll see later) expects us to reach the herd-immunity threshold, through a combination of vaccines, infections and pre-existing immunity, by Monday.   But instead of celebrating this vaccine miracle, and claiming victory over the virus, something else entirely has happened. We are in the fourth month of Britain’s third lockdown, and the government is dreaming up yet more restrictions on our freedoms, just as we are getting excited about opening up... As well as protecting the NHS, we’re being asked to protect the vaccine... Prime minister Boris Johnson recently told a Q&A session that two fully vaccinated people should not meet up indoors together. He surely understands the implications of this? Modellers that feed into SAGE have predicted that lifting restrictions, even with the vaccines, could result in a summer bloodbath of up to hundreds of deaths per day. Last summer, despite the government encouraging us to herd into restaurants and crucially, no vaccines, deaths were in the single figures. At least it is an improvement on last month, when SAGE was warning of thousands of deaths per day.  And then there is the fear that the vaccines themselves could make us ill. The MHRA, the UK drugs regulator, was careful to say the emergence of blood clots was extremely rare among recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine – finding that just 79 cases of blood clots and 19 related deaths occurred after 20million doses were administered. In other words, the AZ vaccine is less risky than many over-the-counter medicines or driving on the motorway. You are more likely to be struck by lightning than develop a blood clot...  Why can’t we let the vaccines win? Share Topics Politics Science & Tech UK  The vaccines were supposed to liberate us from lockdown. They have done no such thing. They are effective against the virus, of course – far more effective than many imagined possible, arriving far earlier than most experts had predicted. They cut the spread of the virus as well as reducing hospitalisation and death. And they are extraordinarily safe, too.  In Britain, the most vulnerable had all received their first dose of the vaccine by mid-February – eight weeks ago. The groups that make up 99 per cent of Covid mortalities have at least partial protection. UCL modelling (of course, modelling should always be taken with a pinch of salt, as we’ll see later) expects us to reach the herd-immunity threshold, through a combination of vaccines, infections and pre-existing immunity, by Monday.  But instead of celebrating this vaccine miracle, and claiming victory over the virus, something else entirely has happened. We are in the fourth month of Britain’s third lockdown, and the government is dreaming up yet more restrictions on our freedoms, just as we are getting excited about opening up.  We may be expected to take two rapid tests per week. We may need a ‘Covid status certificate’ to attend certain events and activities. Pubs and restaurants, when they reopen next week, will have more restrictions than they did pre-vaccine – each individual will have to sign the test-and-trace form (not just the leader), and you won’t be allowed inside (as you were in the days of Tier 1 and Tier 2) or even allowed to go inside to make payments.  Foreign holidays are in doubt, despite proceeding relatively normally last summer, due to a doomed attempt to stop the arrival of new variants in the UK – particularly vaccine-resistant variants which could derail the vaccine rollout. As well as protecting the NHS, we’re being asked to protect the vaccine. Why Labour is still losing Podcast Why Labour is still losing spiked  Similarly, the prospect of ‘vaccine passports’ has turned what should have been the great liberatory leap forward into yet another pretext for removing our most basic freedoms – perhaps indefinitely. Despite vaccine take-up being higher than anyone expected – among the most enthusiastic in the entire world – the government wants to coerce the undecided into taking medical treatment with the threat of second-class citizenship. It would turn us into an authoritarian ‘papers, please’ society.  Wittingly or not, with their excessive caution, politicians and scientists are in serious danger of sending the message that the vaccines do not work as intended. Prime minister Boris Johnson recently told a Q&A session that two fully vaccinated people should not meet up indoors together. He surely understands the implications of this?  Modellers that feed into SAGE have predicted that lifting restrictions, even with the vaccines, could result in a summer bloodbath of up to hundreds of deaths per day. Last summer, despite the government encouraging us to herd into restaurants and crucially, no vaccines, deaths were in the single figures. At least it is an improvement on last month, when SAGE was warning of thousands of deaths per day.  And then there is the fear that the vaccines themselves could make us ill. The MHRA, the UK drugs regulator, was careful to say the emergence of blood clots was extremely rare among recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine – finding that just 79 cases of blood clots and 19 related deaths occurred after 20million doses were administered. In other words, the AZ vaccine is less risky than many over-the-counter medicines or driving on the motorway. You are more likely to be struck by lightning than develop a blood clot. What’s more, the link between AZ and the blood clots is as yet unproven. Nevertheless, the regulator decided to advise that people under 30 should be given an alternative vaccine where doses are available. This may be a small ‘course correction’, as deputy CMO Jonathan Van Tam has suggested, and will hopefully have no impact on the rollout, but it gives a sense of how infinitesimally small a risk has to be to get our scientists worried. One thing has become abundantly clear: the government and its advisers have institutionalised the precautionary principle. It is not ‘following science’ that has led us into this trap. It is a culture of excessive caution and risk-aversion. It is only in such a context that a life-saving vaccine can be turned into a tool for more restrictions. It’s time to stop living in fear – let’s take back our freedoms and live our lives to the fullest once more."

As hunger rises, Australia must step up COVID response in world’s hardest hit places - "COVID-19 is estimated to push another 120 million people over the edge by the end of this year. And, sadly, children are bearing the brunt of the current food crisis. A toxic mix of destitution, armed conflict, climate change, and now the pandemic and its knock-on effects has put children’s health and long-term development at grave risk. Millions are on the brink of losing their futures as a result of rising poverty and pressure to earn money instead of going to school. School closures across the developing world are having a particularly catastrophic impact, as they give many children at least one decent meal each day and, through quality education, lift their prospects of a brighter future. Communities going hungry is bad enough, but last month the world learned that in some countries, hunger is about to evolve into something far more sinister – famine. Parts of Yemen, Congo, South Sudan, and Nigeria all on the brink. Famine means families lose the ability to feed themselves, become entirely dependent on outside support and, ultimately, many people die from hunger."
It's ok, at least if you die of hunger you aren't dying of covid

Government refuses police request for access to Australian coronavirus contact tracing app
Meanwhile, in Singapore...

Doug Ford says he'll speak with Ontario's health table about moving to Step 2 early - ""Given the fact that the COVID case picture has improved dramatically, lock downs across the province have led to an underground market when it comes to personal care services and you have to call a spade a spade"... "The reality is there's haircuts happening out there. It's in backyards, it's in garages. You've created an underground economy and given the COVID case declines, I believe there is a pathway to safely reopen in advance of July 2"... "More than 200,000 Ontarians are employed by the beauty & personal care industry. It is also one of the most female dominated industries in Canada (81 per cent of businesses are women-owned/operated) & among the most severely impacted by pandemic. It’s time to reopen this sector."...
"At this rate, many provinces will be back to normal business operations before Ontarians can even get a haircut. We need to pick up the pace now, or many businesses won’t even make it to reopening," he said in a statement released last Tuesday. "Most of these low-risk business activities have been open for weeks or months in other provinces, or, like retail in B.C., never closed at all during the pandemic.""

Australia and the inhumanity of Zero Covid - "The Australian government has made it illegal for its own citizens to return to Australia. In a crowded field of tyrannical power abuses by governments across Australia during the pandemic – shutting people in their homes for 23 hours a day, arresting a pregnant mother in front of her family over a Facebook post, among many others – this stands alone for its sheer brutality and indifference.  On Monday, the Australian government announced that any Australian citizen seeking to return home from India would be punished by up to five years in jail...   There are 9,000 Australians in India right now – 650 considered vulnerable. Many have been trying to get home for months. The government has told them they are on their own.   No planes are coming to rescue them. If they find their own flight, they will not be welcomed — they will be punished. Our health system, the envy of the world as so many hospitals are completely free of Covid patients, is closed to them.  This has never been done in Australian history. Not even when Europe and the US had Covid spikes – and both endured a higher death-per-million rate than that currently being seen in India – did the government do something so cruel as to close the borders to its own.   An Australian passport used to mean something. Inscribed on the first page is a message from our governor-general, saying the government will give the holder ‘every assistance and protection of which he or she may stand in need’. There is no fine print saying India is an exception.  ‘Medical advice’ has trumped a lot over the past year. It stopped us going to work, socialising with friends and family, and even attending funerals. It even trumped our right to free speech, as open-air protests against restrictions were banned. But now medical advice even outranks your citizenship and the basic responsibility of a government to protect its own people.   This is abhorrent, but it is also the logical endpoint of Australia’s approach to Covid. Many see Australia as the gold standard of handling the pandemic. Only 910 Australians have died from the disease, and there are only 246 active cases in the country.  But these numbers do not capture the long-term damage that the Zero Covid target is doing to our society, and to our humanity. They don’t capture how numerous Australian cities have been thrown into ‘snap lockdowns’ multiple times on no notice after minimal community transmission. Nor do they capture Australians’ constant fear that another lockdown is around the corner...   It has been over a year since the pandemic began, and Australia still approaches each case like it’s March 2020. There is no faith in our hospital system to manage outbreaks, even after a year of preparing for them. There is no faith in our contact tracing teams to manage even small outbreaks, even after thousands of tracers have been hired and trained for a full year in how to trace effectively. It is just panic, panic, panic.   And this is where Zero Covid is so insidious: the panic seeps into the population, and those termed to be ‘deniers’ or ‘selfish’ for travelling overseas in a pandemic – even if it was to help or mourn a vulnerable relative or for any other compassionate reason, with government permission no less – are seen as the enemy. Supporters of the law ask why they travelled in the first place, as if any form of travel is a betrayal of the nation.  Some of us are old enough to remember when prime minister Scott Morrison said last year that we were ‘all in this together’. Today those words would be laughable if they weren’t so tragic. We are simply not in this together and never have been at any point."
Meanwhile, liberals also cheer Australia's modern Berlin Wall which bans residents from leaving the country and seems like it's going to last for over 2 years before it's torn down

I Live in a Country With Virtually No COVID—but That Doesn’t Mean Life Is Easy - "When will we be able to be together again for real, not via video calls? None of us are getting any younger—even Max, our beloved family chihuahua, is turning gray and losing his hearing as time slips by.  Since COVID began, my worst fear is getting a phone call that one of my parents or loved ones is unwell, as I know I might not be able to get back home. Because I’m an American living in Australia, the country’s strict border restrictions make it nearly impossible to travel freely.  Australia has shut down its international (and, sometimes, state) borders for over 12 months now, prohibiting almost all international travel. Australia’s efficient and strong response to the pandemic has meant we’ve nearly eradicated the disease—but what do the border closures mean for the tens of thousands of ex-pats who are unable to leave the country to be with family in emergency situations?... In March 2020, the Australian government closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents—no reopening date has yet been announced. Currently, anyone who wishes to leave Australia (and come back) needs to apply to the government for a travel exemption, only given for personal travel in the case of “a compelling reason for three months or longer.” Temporary visa-holders are not permitted to come back if they leave. If you do manage to get an exemption, which isn’t easy, you face the challenge of limited flights, due to strict caps on flights arriving from overseas and you’ll need to leave Australia for a duration of at least three months... even if you are granted a rare government travel exemption, the financial cost and time requirements make it impossible for many to get home in an emergency. This is before you even consider the mental toll it takes and the stress and loneliness that come from forced isolation."
I saw covid hystericists bashing her for being "selfish". Clearly covid is the relevant consideration

Australia has lost its mind to Covid - "The 320-mile stock-route from Birdsville in Queensland to Marree in South Australia crosses three Australian deserts. No sane person would tackle it in the heat of summer without a four-wheel drive, two spare tires, a stack of jerry cans, two days food and water and a long-handled shuffle.  Yet scores of stranded citizens from the state of Victoria have been risking their lives to drive home from Queensland on this tortuous and dangerous route to avoid the nonsensical border closure with New South Wales imposed by their panicky state government. Residents of locked down Britain might be wondering what level of transmission nanny is prepared to tolerate before leaving us to live our lives in peace. The disappointing news from Australia is that for health bureaucrats risk is ever present, even when the number of new cases reported each day falls to zero, the hospitals are empty and no one has been killed by the wretched thing for months.   The existence of 100 or so so mild cases of Covid in NSW, none of which occupy an intensive-care hospital bed, was enough for the Victorian government to evoke emergency powers to declare its borders with NSW shut in the middle of the Christmas holiday. While it is doubtful if this iron-fisted measure made on the run will have prevented a single case of infection, the misery of innocent, healthy citizens barred from re-entering their home state is immense and entirely predictable... In the state of Queensland at the weekend, for example, there were just 28 locally acquired cases. Yet residents of the capital Brisbane risked fines if they were caught without masks, even if they were driving their own cars or stepping to the edge of their front lawns to check the mailbox."

I hate to think how long it will be before my parents in Australia can see their grandkids again - "In 2019, it was estimated that roughly one million Australians are living and working overseas at any given time. True, many of them have no burning desire to return permanently to their homeland - but far greater numbers of them go back frequently to visit.   For many of these people, the news that the country is unlikely to reopen its borders this year will come as something of a blow."

Covid restrictions mean Australians have never looked so imprisoned - "No staycation gives you the resuscitation my friend needed. She needs – we all need – to leave from time to time, and immerse ourselves in a different culture, different food. And no, Yorkshire and Norfolk don’t cut it.  Thankfully, my friend will be able to take just such a trip soon. This is more than can be said for the residents of Australia and New Zealand, countries that chose the path – much lauded by the everyone-must-suffer-to-the-max control freaks of the Left – of total imprisonment in perpetuity. Countries which, as the rest of the world looks for ways to return to normal in the Covid era, have chosen to remain prisons, with nobody out and very few in. They have no other way left to them – and what’s more, they’re smug about it.  In chasing, and nearly achieving, a Zero Covid standard in their own lands, the antipodes stand little chance of opening up to the rest of the big, bad world ever again. Unless, of course, their leadership is either lobotomised or replaced. For Zero Covid is not on the cards, globally speaking, ever.  Australia’s leaders seem to get a perverse thrill from keeping its populace under lock and key. How else to explain the statement by health minister Greg Hunt that even “if the whole country is vaccinated, you couldn’t just open up the borders”. Er…?...   Australia has almost no Covid – that’s the prize for becoming a prison – but, as the rest of the world understands, Zero Covid doesn’t actually exist. Which is why, for instance, cases have regularly appeared as if by magic even in New Zealand, months after no reported infections. It’s why a fully vaccinated airport worker tested positive a day after the travel bubble began last week. And it’s why, in most places, a single positive test isn’t treated as a total catastrophe. At a moment when people are wall-eyed with desperation to get out of the UK after just three months of ‘illegal’ non-essential travel, and when the vaccine passports that may enable them to do so are around the corner, Australia provides a heart-sickening vision of how much worse things could be. It shows what Covid has been able to do to a once-sane country."

Australia’s forever lockdown - "Melbourne’s fourth lockdown was supposed to finish last Thursday. After a week of restrictions, Melburnians were supposed to have their freedoms restored. But on Thursday, the state of Victoria, which is home to 6.6million people, recorded nine new cases of community transmission.  Australia’s forever lockdown Share Topics Politics World  Melbourne’s fourth lockdown was supposed to finish last Thursday. After a week of restrictions, Melburnians were supposed to have their freedoms restored. But on Thursday, the state of Victoria, which is home to 6.6million people, recorded nine new cases of community transmission.  This brought the total number of Covid cases in Victoria’s cluster to 54. Instead of relaxing restrictions, the Victoria state government extended the lockdown for another week at least. So far it has not said what thresholds need to be met for the lockdown to be lifted... We Melburnians know the reality of Zero Covid: we are currently locked in our homes 22 hours a day for another week because of six new local cases. This is no way to live. But, unfortunately, it is the way we will have to live for a long time to come.  A Zero Covid strategy is foolish. It involves confining people to their homes over a handful of cases. It involves closing schools, workplaces and churches. It involves cutting off people from friends and family at a moment’s notice... This is how we live in Melbourne. We are trapped in a seemingly never-ending cycle of lockdowns. Whenever we get some freedoms handed back to us, we know they are only loaned – and could be seized back again at any time.  Our politicians and experts know that public support for Zero Covid is wavering. Hence they are now trying to scare us into compliance by using apocalyptic terms to describe the threat Victoria is facing. For example, Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, justified this latest lockdown on the grounds that the particular strain we are dealing with is an ‘absolute beast’. People, he said, were being infected by ‘fleeting contact’ in ways the medical community had not seen before. This is a fearmongering tactic the British people are already familiar with – the talk of ever-more dangerous variants and transmissible strains. It seems the authorities will do whatever it takes to make the public toe the line on the restrictions... Biologist James McCaw, a member of a key advisory board to the federal government on Covid, has said the ‘beast’ line was false. ‘There is no epidemiological evidence that this virus spreads faster’, said McCaw, before adding that ‘there is no clear reason to think this virus is spreading in different ways’.  And now Sutton has come clean. He has admitted he used the phrase ‘beast’ to ‘warn against complacency’ and ‘motivate’ people to ‘follow the rules’.   Perhaps this may be a turning point. An extended lockdown over so few cases, combined with this overblown rhetoric, may finally cause the public to reject Zero Covid and push for more freedoms.  But it is very difficult for citizens to express their anger. We cannot legally protest under lockdown restrictions. We can vote against the government at the next state election, but that will not be until 2022. The only way for the Victorian government to change its ways is through pressure from other political figures. But these figures have been completely absent. One reason that Australian states have been so lockdown-happy over the past year is that the federal government has always stepped in to pick up the tab. Relief for individuals thrown out of work and businesses shutting their doors has been provided for. Under this set-up, why wouldn’t state governments pursue Zero Covid?...   And so Melburnians continue to live under a lockdown. When this lockdown ends, we will try to repair our lives until the next lockdown. And the process will repeat again and again and again. This is the warning from Melbourne about life under Zero Covid."

Australians won't travel overseas again until AT LEAST mid-2022 - "Australians won't be travelling overseas again until at least the middle of 2022 the government predicts - in a major shift on its previous claim that the border could reopen by October this year... Last year the Government predicted international borders would be open in October 2021 after the whole adult population has been offered a vaccination.   However, this timeline has now been pushed back as Australia's vaccination rollout falls behind due to supply shortages and vaccine hesitancy... Tonight's forecast is only a government assumption which could be wrecked at any point by a serious Covid outbreaks or mutant virus variants.      At the weekend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the border would remain closed 'indefinitely' to protect the Australian way of life."

Are World Leaders Loss Averse? - "We focus on the preferences of an extremely salient group of highly-experienced individuals who are entrusted with making decisions that affect the lives of millions of their citizens, heads of government. We test for the presence of a fundamental behavioral bias, loss aversion, in the way heads of government choose decision rules for international organizations. If loss aversion disappears with experience and high-stakes it should not exhibited in this context. Loss averse leaders choose decision rules that oversupply negative (blocking) power at the expense of positive power (to initiate affirmative action), causing welfare losses through harmful policy persistence and reform deadlocks. We find evidence of significant loss aversion (λ = 4:4) in the Qualified Majority rule in the Treaty of Lisbon, when understood as a Nash bargaining outcome. World leaders may be more loss averse than the populous they represent."

Political Implications of Loss Aversion - "Prospect theory offers powerful insights and propositions into political decision-making, especially in international politics. Evidence indicates that statesmen are indeed risk-acceptant for losses. This would help explain observed patterns in bargaining, deterrence, the origins of wars, as well as suggesting why states are less likely to behave aggressively when doing so would produce gains than when such behavior might prevent losses."

Hundreds of vaccinated Indonesian health workers contract COVID-19, dozens in hospital - The Globe and Mail - "More than 350 doctors and medical workers have caught COVID-19 in Indonesia despite being vaccinated with Sinovac and dozens have been hospitalized, officials said, as concerns grow about the efficacy of some vaccines against more infectious variants.  Most of the workers were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home, said Badai Ismoyo, head of the health office in the district of Kudus in central Java, but dozens were in hospital with high fevers and falling oxygen-saturation levels...   Across Indonesia, at least five doctors and one nurse have died from COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, according to LaporCOVID-19, although one had only received a first shot."
The CIA is at it again!

Coronavirus Reopening & Public Choice -- American Opinion Should Be Looked At - "The reason that many states’ highway speed limit is 65 mph is not that some transportation expert decided that is the ideal speed limit from a risk–benefit point of view. People simply won’t accept a lower speed limit on the interstate, even if it would save 20,000 lives a year. On the other hand, most people agree that driving 100 mph is excessively dangerous. The moral of the story is that people need and want a lot of things; balancing those priorities is what sets the bounds of “reasonableness.” And as it turns out, people think it’s perfectly reasonable to do lots of things that put both themselves and others at risk. That is true in virtually every major category of preventable death and serious injury, including those in which one person’s activity entails significant risk for others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017, a typical year, the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., and by far the leading cause of death for people under the age of 55, was “accidents.” Among accidents, the leading killers were drug overdoses, motor vehicles, alcohol, and firearms. In each case, preventive policies have been set not by experts but by public choice, often driven by priorities other than safety.   Among drugs, the leading killer is heroin, possession of which is a criminal offense. Many policy experts think that the War on Drugs is a bad policy because it entails social costs that cannot be justified by its meager benefits. But people are not willing to accept the legalization and regulation of such drugs, even if legalization might reduce both the risks to drug users and related externalities (such as ruined families and rampant crime). So the policy endures despite not yielding the hoped-for benefits. As former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld likes to say, public policies are usually judged by their intentions, not their results...   The third-leading cause of accidental death was alcohol. In the 1920s, the U.S. tried prohibition, and the chief result was a stupendous increase in organized and violent crime. Today, moderate social drinking is a highly prized pastime. Most people accept the necessity of laws against drunk driving, but they aren’t willing to accept excessive restrictions on their use of alcohol even to save tens of thousands of lives a year, to say nothing of the countless lives and families ruined by alcoholism.  Society accepts the risk of serious injury, from a variety of common activities, even more readily. Consider the sporting events you take your children to. Every year in American there are about three million emergency-room visits by children and young adults with serious injuries from sports and recreation. Football and basketball are the most dangerous of these, accounting for tens of thousands of emergency-room visits each year, followed by bicycling, soccer, skateboarding, and playing at playgrounds. But sports are important in child development, particularly nowadays, so good parents routinely rope their kids into activities that are considerably more dangerous than Instagram and Fortnite... If social distancing is enforced for bars and restaurants in places like New York City, the only establishments that will survive are those than can charge prices two or three times higher than currently. That would make bars and restaurants a rare luxury for the very rich.  Given a choice, many people who live in New York City are likely to prefer taking their chances with the virus over giving up the things that make living in New York City worthwhile."

Lockdown has cost people their livelihoods - "Lockdown has wreaked havoc on the economy. As a result, vast numbers have lost their jobs. A staggering 813,000 fewer people are now on payrolls than in March last year... things may get worse before they get better. Eventually the furlough scheme – which currently supports around five million jobs – must end, potentially resulting in mass redundancies.  All this points to the folly of lockdown and the problem with our glacially slow reopening of the economy. The longer we delay, the more lives will be ruined. We need normality back – now."

Opposition to lockdown is on the march - "the march was noticeably more working class and more diverse than other, student-dominated protests, with a lot of families taking part.  Noticeable by their absence were the left-wing groups who usually gravitate towards street protests. This is partly because the metropolitan left has convinced itself that anti-lockdown protesters, like the gilets jaunes in France and pro-Brexit protesters in the UK, are right-wing conspiracy theorists, probably affiliated to QAnon, if not outright fascists. That is all the more surprising given that many of the marchers I met on Saturday are left-wingers – or were... Lots of the protesters are anti-vaccine, but many who I talked to had already had the vaccine and could not understand why we were not opening up already...   What seemed clear was that a lot of people were clutching at reasons to be against the march. Which is odd. Surely everyone wants to see the restrictions on our lives lifted at some point or other, don’t they?... It seems that like many other popular protest movements of recent times, the anti-lockdown campaign is outside the political mainstream, be it left or right."

‘There is no such thing as a risk-free world’ - "There is a kind of media circus going on and it is rather neocolonialist in nature – the press is looking for poor countries with horror stories that it can film. This mantra that nobody is safe until we are all safe is simply not true. Once people have been vaccinated, they are protected against serious infection and death. If you are vaccinated, whether you go to India or not is a matter of indifference for your health. You might pick up the Indian variant but you would only get a mild infection... on the present evidence, it’s very hard to see any justification for continuing with these measures beyond 21 June, whether we’re talking about masks, social distancing or mass testing.  What the vaccination delivers is the possibility of treating Covid like any other of the 30 or so respiratory viruses that humans are subject to. We have never used any of these measures for any of those infections. There would need to be a much clearer justification for sticking with any of them for Covid.   We have to put the question: if we are not going to get rid of these measures on 21 June, when are we going to do it? What data would we require? You don’t start interventions unless you know when to stop them. But it has never been clear when any of this stops. It needs to be spelt out.  There are sections of the public-health and scientific community that have become infected with the general level of fear and anxiety in the population. You see that very clearly in the recent open letter signed by teaching unions and various behavioural scientists – more or less a coalition of the anxious – demanding that face masks be mandatory in schools until at least 21 June. These people are looking for a risk-free world. Anybody who understands the nature of risk knows that there is no such thing. The eradication of risk comes at unacceptable social and economic costs wherever you try to do it.  ‘There is no such thing as a risk-free world’ Share Topics Politics Science & Tech UK  Covid cases and deaths have collapsed in the UK. And yet numerous restrictions remain in place. Although some will be lifted later this month, others will stay until 21 June – perhaps even beyond. Why is the government unlocking society so painfully slowly? When can we finally bin our masks? When will normality return? Robert Dingwall is a professor at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Social Sciences. spiked caught up with him to discuss these questions and more.  spiked: Are continued restrictions justified?  Robert Dingwall: We have to strike a balance. There are tenable arguments for relaxing along the timetable the government has set out – as long as that timetable doesn’t slip.  The complete value of the vaccines is achieved after the second dose. After that, it still takes two to three weeks for the maximum protection to kick in. You can look at the progress with the vaccination of the highest-risk groups, and see that the maximum benefit from it won’t be achieved until late May or early June – by the time everybody in that part of the vaccination programme has had the opportunity to have two doses, and the doses have had time to work.  I am not part of the lobby of saying we can tear everything up today, though I think that is a defensible position. Nor do I agree with the people who think we should be worried about variants and what’s going on in Brazil and India. There is a kind of media circus going on and it is rather neocolonialist in nature – the press is looking for poor countries with horror stories that it can film. Why Labour is still losing Podcast Why Labour is still losing spiked  This mantra that nobody is safe until we are all safe is simply not true. Once people have been vaccinated, they are protected against serious infection and death. If you are vaccinated, whether you go to India or not is a matter of indifference for your health. You might pick up the Indian variant but you would only get a mild infection.  spiked: Can the government justify keeping masks and social-distancing measures in place beyond 21 June, as some reports suggest it might?  Dingwall: The government will certainly be under pressure to try to do that. But on the present evidence, it’s very hard to see any justification for continuing with these measures beyond 21 June, whether we’re talking about masks, social distancing or mass testing.  What the vaccination delivers is the possibility of treating Covid like any other of the 30 or so respiratory viruses that humans are subject to. We have never used any of these measures for any of those infections. There would need to be a much clearer justification for sticking with any of them for Covid. The rise of multi-ethnic conservatism Recommended The rise of multi-ethnic conservatism Rakib Ehsan  We have to put the question: if we are not going to get rid of these measures on 21 June, when are we going to do it? What data would we require? You don’t start interventions unless you know when to stop them. But it has never been clear when any of this stops. It needs to be spelt out.  There are sections of the public-health and scientific community that have become infected with the general level of fear and anxiety in the population. You see that very clearly in the recent open letter signed by teaching unions and various behavioural scientists – more or less a coalition of the anxious – demanding that face masks be mandatory in schools until at least 21 June. These people are looking for a risk-free world. Anybody who understands the nature of risk knows that there is no such thing. The eradication of risk comes at unacceptable social and economic costs wherever you try to do it.  The big challenge after June is how to dial the fear down. Will our friends in behavioural science apply as much imagination to reducing fear as they did to increasing it?...   The propagation of fear is visible not just in advertising but also in the constant reiteration of certain symbols. You will find public-health specialists say that they know masks don’t achieve very much, but they do remind people that there’s a pandemic going on. They address the question of how to keep people in a constant state of fear. The answer is to force them to constantly encounter control measures and symbols. There are also Covid Marshals, signs telling you where to walk, and there is even talk about immunity certificates. Immunity certificates simply serve as reminders that this is not a normal world. There is a lot of potential in them for the drift towards something like the Chinese social-credit system. That in itself is a very strong reason why we should be resisting them... Clearly, there is a division in political circles between the people who think it’s really important for the state to step back and those who do not. There are people in those circles who are infected by the fear. There is also an element of the scientific and public-health world that is a little bit drunk on the power.  If you go back to some of the origins of English public health, you find this notion of making citizens into better and healthier people – in spite of themselves. It was visible in the early 20th-century Fabians – the way in which science, public health and politics could come together in an elitist model of a socialist utopia, where everybody’s lives would be managed according to rational principles. There’s still quite a strong thread of that running through the biomedical sciences, medicine and public health. For a lot of people, it’s not particularly conscious – it’s just an assumption that the world would be a better place if they were running it. Democracy is messy, it’s uncontrolled, it can be disruptive. But all of those things are actually really important for a good society. It’s out of the messiness that creativity and change and innovation come. We are erring too far towards elitist control, which is what edges us closer to the Chinese model of the party and the party scientists decreeing what a good life for citizens is and devising systems and structures to enforce it. That should concern us."

At Disney World, ‘Worst Fears’ About Virus Have Not Come True - The New York Times - "In July, one infectious disease expert said Walt Disney World’s reopening was a “terrible idea” that was “inviting disaster.” Social media users attacked Disney as “irresponsible” and “clueless” for pressing forward, even as coronavirus cases surged in Florida. A few aghast onlookers turned Disney World marketing videos into parody trailers for horror films"
Fear is a great way to control people

‘The media are addicted to fear’ - "Ivor Cummins is a biochemical engineer who has developed a large following for his data-driven, lockdown-sceptical assessments of the Covid pandemic...  I would worry about the lockdown ideology. We now have multiple published papers in major journals saying lockdowns are very ineffective, or possibly no good at all, in terms of impacting mortality. There is no credible published paper that claims lockdowns are effective. We know that they cause enormous damage to society – to cancer diagnoses, to the future of the youth and to myriad other things. The idea that lockdowns work has become an ideology – a belief system... Covid is very potent. It hit Europe after soft 2019 and 2020 seasons for respiratory infections, which left alive a lot of people who are susceptible to Covid who might normally have passed away earlier. The science is new on this, but it is also possible that during this season, the introduction of Covid has resulted in an interaction in the virome and it looks like the flu largely disappeared from the scene when Covid came in... Comparing respiratory seasons, you see that in Europe in 2019, the rate of excess deaths was low. The EuroMomo database, which, as of today, covers 26 countries and around 290million people, shows that in 2018 there were around 140,000 excess deaths in the respiratory season, in the area it has data for. This year, the figure is 185,000. It’s around a third worse than 2018. I don’t think anybody in 2018 was taking any major action... The idea of the second wave being worse than the first only has one real precedent: the Spanish Flu. But there is strong evidence that the second wave of the Spanish Flu, which came in autumn, was actually a different virus, or a major mutation of the original. Also, a lot of the published papers on this, including Anthony Fauci’s from 2008, indicate from autopsies that bacterial infection was a major driver of the high second-wave mortality. It’s so incomparable to now.   You are better off comparing Covid with SARS, or with swine flu, or any recent epidemic – they always follow a Gompertz curve and fade, and then the second wave is usually not nearly as big as the first. The first wave has had access to an immunocompromised or immunonaive population because it’s a new virus. In such circumstances, the next season, when the virus triggers again, is usually more like a normal season. The expectation would be that the excess mortality in 2021 will be roughly like that in 2018 or 2017... In March and April, there was censorship of epidemiologists. YouTube publicly censored anyone who went against the WHO. That’s a serious, frightening problem. And it went on for many, many months. As a result, we have no science. When there’s censorship of technical views, science is gone, and you go back to medieval times.  The media coverage has almost exclusively given one side of the story, using modelling which is out by a factor of 12. The media should be comparing the respiratory season in 2018 and 2020, and showing all the papers saying lockdown is very ineffective. Some outlets are, but the media is 99 per cent made up of modelling terror. It’s like it is addicted to fear... The WHO is breaking all its own pandemic guidelines of 2019 and all the years before. It did not advise quarantine policies. It just copied China. People got religious in believing the Chinese solution was correct, and refused to look at any of the data... There are 10 to 15 published papers saying lockdowns are very ineffective. There are also two papers saying that though lockdowns may soften the load on hospitals in the short-term, they can actually result in a higher death toll in the longer term. You will actually end up with more Covid deaths. That’s because of the age profile of the victims, who are mostly very old. We should allow the virus to spread among the young and shield the elderly, resulting in more protection next winter.  There is also the direct effect of lockdowns. There are around 15 published papers on the effects of lockdown on things like psychiatric, cancer and cardiac issues. In England now, excess death is a little above the expected rate, but most are dying in their homes and not in hospital, which means they are probably not Covid deaths, they are probably lockdown deaths. There is going to be an enormous amount of blood on the hands of the people who drove lockdown.The cost-benefit analysis of lockdown may end up revealing it as one of the most catastrophic policies for decades or even longer. The impacts to freedoms and to the future of the young are dire. These people are ransacking the future and the economy, causing all this suffering – the suicides, the depression, the destruction of myriad small businesses. It is ruining our whole society, and all while we know that the benefit we are going to get from it is vanishingly small in comparison to the damage it does. What they are doing horrifies me."

Frustration grows amid restaurateurs over lack of data linking industry to COVID-19 - "The lockdown measures across the country that ban indoor dining have taken an enormous toll. More than 10,000 restaurants have permanently closed while legions of waiters, servers and bartenders have been laid off, according to data from Restaurants Canada.  Even among restaurants that remain open, eight in 10 are either losing money or barely scraping by, the association said.  And as industry proponents like to point out, many provinces have continued to see a spike in cases despite a ban on indoor dining.  Of the roughly 266,363 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Ontario, only about 575 infections have been linked to an exposure at a restaurant, bar or nightclub, according to provincial data...   In B.C., where indoor dining has continued with restrictions, the province does not have clear data on whether it's a notable source of transmission."

There's No Denying The Evidence: Restaurants And Bars Are Helping Spread COVID-19 - "At the aggregate level, the first study to portray the obvious correlation between restaurant openings and the spread of COVID-19 was published in June by Johns Hopkins University, using data on credit card spending by 30 million customers in the United States and correlating it to the evolution of the pandemic in each state. The relationship was clear: the more spending on restaurants, the greater the number of infections.  That study was followed by another, carried out by Stanford University and published on November 10. Using a very different methodology, the outcome was nevertheless the same: researchers tracked the smartphones of more than 98 million people between March and May, taking into account the number of times their subjects went to restaurants, gyms and hotels, and concluding that if restaurants were authorized to open at full capacity, they would be responsible for more than 600,000 infections in a city like Chicago, and that, in addition, the distribution was irregular and impossible to predict: 10% of the premises were responsible for 85% of the expected infections."
Strange how the usual "correlation is not causation" crowd is silent. And this misrepresents the Stanford study

Restaurants were 'superspreading' sites for COVID-19 last spring - "The findings, published today (Nov. 10) in the journal Nature, also suggest that reducing maximum occupancy at these venues may be more effective for curbing COVID-19 spread than blanket lockdowns, the authors said.  "Our work highlights that it does not have to be all or nothing," study senior author, Jure Leskovec, a computer scientist at Stanford University... the researchers found that limiting venue occupancy to 20% of maximum capacity reduced predicted infections by more than 80%, while only reducing overall visits to these venues by 42%... The authors note their model did not include all public locations, in particular it did not include schools or offices. In addition, because the study used data from the beginning of the pandemic, the findings do not necessarily apply to COVID-19 transmission today. For example, people are more likely to practice social distancing and wear masks at restaurants today compared with March. And health officials have noted that many new outbreaks in the U.S. are being driven by small gatherings in people's homes."

‘Restaurants have been demonized’ by Ontario rules, says boss at Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s | The Star - "I think it’s time for some intellectual honesty. I applaud Dr. (Bonnie) Henry and Dr. (Deena) Hinshaw, the chief medical officers in British Columbia and Alberta, for their approach. Those provinces have shared data and that’s how we know restaurants are not the cause of virus spread. Recently, Alberta reported that only one per cent of COVID cases can trace back to restaurants while 40 per cent are linked to households and social gatherings. We’ve been begging the City of Toronto and the province of Ontario to share that type of data and they’ve been highly reluctant to do so. When they did, they grouped indoor dining with casinos, bars, nightclubs, strip clubs. Restaurants are not nightclubs. The numbers you see in Alberta and B.C. shouldn’t surprise because restaurants are designed to keep people safe. We are one of the most regulated industries, so it’s not a big stretch for us to put on masks and separate people inside a restaurant. Hand washing, constant temperature-taking — we do that just from a food-safety perspective. So it’s ironic that the one industry uniquely suited to operate safely in this situation is the one the government is closing... Restaurants have been demonized in Ontario. If those implications were true, my staff should be dropping like flies. That is simply not the case. We have not received one call from public health indicating that somebody got COVID-19 in our restaurant or somebody with COVID visited our restaurant, so we know there is no causal data... People forget that our industry is one of the largest employers in this country and these are well-paying jobs. What’s going on with independents is tragic. Independent restaurants make up the fabric of a community. Our restaurants are chains but they are made up of small-business owners. But I wouldn’t want to see a world with just chains. I want those independents to survive and be our colleagues."

WATCH: NYC Mayor de Blasio says restaurants will stay closed but everyone should ride the subway - "The transmission rate at restaurants for indoor dining is 1.4 percent, as has been established by the city's own contact and trace program."

Numbers show that stores and restaurants aren't the drivers of COVID spread in Ontario - "provincial data continues to prove what many experts have long been saying: that struggling businesses like these and even people gathering socially are not the primary cause of rising case numbers, and thus shouldn't be the focus of Premier Doug Ford and his team's measures.  Salons in Toronto begged to be able to continue operations after they were shuttered in November, launching a campaign to show how few cases they had seen during their weeks of taking clients over the summer.  Participants cited zero infections among thousands of visits, and yet businesses offering personal care services in Toronto and Peel have yet to reopen since the fall, with the promise that they would be permitted to resume services again on April 12 now null and void following the enactment of the emergency brake provincewide over the weekend.  And it has been demonstrated that outdoor, socially distanced activities such as dining on a patio or a group fitness class outside are safe when proper measures are heeded.  So which settings are the culprits, then? Toronto Public Health data analyzed by the Star indicates that a staggering 69 per cent of workplace outbreaks in the city since the onset of the pandemic have been in warehouses, distribution facilities, construction sites, food processing plants and even offices...   Those who work in hospitality, personal care, entertainment and other now-devastated sectors are understandably incensed at the fact that their workplaces are being targeted and forced to constantly flip flop when they are confident they can safely operate with firm measures in place.      Some are sending Doug Ford invoices for all of the food, drink, glassware, heaters and other items they scrambled to purchase when they got the one-day notice that they could reopen their patios two weeks ago and finally had a glimmer of hope that they could recoup from months of forced closures."
When it's more important to be seen to be doing something that works than doing something that actually works. Clearly the solution to stop workplace spread was to shut playgrounds

Antler restaurant sends Ford $431 invoice for spoiled beer - "Shapiro calls the way this opening and closing has happened absurd and painful for all.  “We’re literally hiring, paying, and then laying off the same employees during the same payroll period”"

Toronto restaurants cancel takeout service over frustration with lockdown restrictions - "Two Toronto restaurants are halting their takeout service out of frustration with lockdown restrictions that never seem to stop changing.  Adrian Niman, founder of hospitality group The Food Dudes, consulted with his exasperated team at Sara and Rasa, and they made the choice collectively to suspend takeout at both restaurants, at least while the current lockdown is on.  And since they are also not offering delivery, all operations at both restaurants are temporarily suspended."

Ontario restaurants say patio closures cost the industry more than $100 million

Country level analysis of COVID-19 policies - "Full lockdowns, border closures, and high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with reduced number of critical cases or overall mortality. Balancing public health measures between effectiveness and inflicting unintended consequences with major long-term health consequences with reduction of QALY's remains one of the biggest challenges in managing outbreaks and pandemics in particular"

Teachers’ unions: Scapegoats or bad-faith actors in COVID-19 school reopening decisions? - "We find that school districts with lengthier collective bargaining agreements were less likely to start the fall 2020 semester with in-person instruction, were less likely to ever open for in-person instruction during the fall semester, and spent more weeks overall in distance learning. We further find that the shorter-term union power flexes—those captured by the social media posts—were associated with a higher likelihood of reopening for full, in-person instruction during the fall semester. These short-term reactionary responses were not enough to slow the pressure toward reopening; instead, it’s the long-standing, entrenched union power relationships captured by the length of the bargaining agreement that are associated with a slowed reopening timeline.  But what about COVID-19 rates? We find that pandemic severity, as measured by the county COVID-19 hospitalization rate, had no relationship with the probability of in-person reopening. Instead, the other strongest predictors of an in-person reopening during fall 2020 included political partisanship (the share of Trump voters in the county) and demographics (the percentage of white students in the school district)...   We should expect teachers’ unions to slow school reopening decisions just like we should expect them to advocate for increased education funding, lower class sizes, or enhanced teacher sick leave"

A tale of two lockdowns | The Spectator - "Because of the furloughing, economists predict a big drop in average earnings this year compared to last, but that drop will only be experienced by those in the private sector. Public sector workers have definitely had their own challenges and most have stepped up to the plate, but none have had the existential angst of having their livelihoods and dreams destroyed through no fault of their own, wondering how they are going to pay for their next meal, or whether they are going to have to sell their home.   It is noticeable that those in the public sector that I have spoken to have been far more reticent about ending the lockdown, because they have not had that financial imperative to do so. It is businesses in my constituency from garden centres to pubs that have been begging me to urge the government to lift the restrictions quicker. Not one public sector worker – such as a teacher – has urged me to do that"

Randall Denley: Ford's getting ready to loosen Ontario's lockdown. But is he ready for the blowback? - "Based on the criteria that Williams cited, Ontario could stay locked down indefinitely. A decision to ease the lockdown has to take into account more than just health-system numbers. It’s a difficult point to make when pandemic case and death numbers are in the news daily and the broader economic and psychological toll is more difficult to calculate and only sporadically reported"

Chris Selley: Ontarians finally discover a breaking point for the lockdown abuse they'll tolerate - "It has been a fascinating 72 hours in the burgeoning anthropological field known as What Ontarians Will Tolerate. When it comes to lockdown measures, it turns out we do, in fact, have a breaking point. And on Friday, when Premier Doug Ford closed the province’s playgrounds and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones empowered police to stop and question pedestrians and motorists as to why they’re out of the house, the Progressive Conservative government drove straight past that breaking point and into the ditch."

It’s the pro-lockdown lobby that is spreading fake news - "The double standard on ‘disinformation’ is very striking. That people can be branded deniers and cranks merely for raising questions about the lockdown, while other people continue to be lauded even as they promote fearful nonsense about vaccines and sick kids, is testament to the increasingly tight control over the public narrative and public discussion. If you back lockdown, you’re Good, and you can do what you want; if you criticise lockdown, you’re Bad, and your every utterance is a sin. Lockdown Britain has become a highly moralised place, where both physical and mental obedience is expected of everyone. Fail to do this, and you will be denounced, shamed, harassed out of polite society. Everyone who believes in freedom of thought and the virtue of scepticism needs to brace themselves – the lockdown of society is now going to be accompanied by an equally firm lockdown of free debate."

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