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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Links - 21st July 2021 (2) (Covid-19)

GUNTER: It’s the COVID-zero zealots who will howl against reopening | Toronto Sun - "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... 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. This past weekend, Tam insisted, regarding vaccinated citizens, that “there’s reduction in your risk of transmission, but it doesn’t necessarily eliminate your risk of transmission.” Therefore, even after we’re vaccinated, we should expect continued stay-at-home lockdowns for the foreseeable future."

Over 2,300 Uttarakhand cops Covid positive, 93% took both doses of vaccine - "Over 2,300 personnel of the Uttarakhand Police have tested positive for Covid-19, according to information released by the department. Of this 93 per cent of the police officers had been fully vaccinated before contracting Covid-19. While 2,382 police personnel have tested positive for Covid-19 in the state, five have succumbed to the virus."
Not all vaccines are created equal. So since even if the whole world had an unlimited supply of the mRNA vaccines AND everyone wanted to get them, not everyone could get them due to distribution and administration issues, it means the world can never open up and go back to normal again and we will need travel restrictions for the rest of time. And liberals will happily support travel restrictions from third world countries (with the said issues) to guard against "variants"

Hundreds of vaccinated Indonesian health workers get COVID-19, dozens in hospital - "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."

Independent Sage expert who warned against reopening is race adviser with no medical qualification - "A member of Independent Sage who berated the Government on Tuesday for not delaying the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Britain is a social scientist turned race adviser who has no medical qualifications. Dr Zubaida Haque, a founding member of the group, specialises in racial equality and has been involved with various government-commissioned reports on welfare issues. In an interview with Good Morning Britain, she said the Government should have stalled the latest stage of the roadmap out of lockdown."
"Listen to the experts"

ABC News on Twitter - "Majority white counties have significantly fewer COVID-19 cases: Study. It's not about luck or genetics, experts say. It's structural racism.""
Comment (elsewhere): "Thailand and Mongolia are also doing very well. I guess it's because they are racist"

Scott Adams on Twitter - "The two biggest news stories in the country are Coronavirus and race relations. No news source reports the relevant death counts of either one in a form that would be useful to citizens. The press is no longer pretending to inform. It is straight propaganda."

Meme - "Good Times: Drug companies are pure evil and their CEO's should be decapitataed
Bad Times: Pws Mr Pfizer sir, can I have a Vaccine?"

The New York Times - Posts | Facebook - "Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York was accused of hypocrisy after he said his mother and two daughters were traveling to Albany for Thanksgiving. He withdrew the invitation."
Naturally, there're comments defending him and trying to bash Republicans:
"This is a big distraction from trump putting amateurs and nutjobs in our defense depts, destroying suveillance planes, removing massive numbers of our troops? Etc. He's scorching earth everyday. We are not out of danger yet."
"He withdrew the invitation. End of story. He's awesome. Handled this whole thing better for ALL AMERICANS, especially New Yorkers, better than anyone! We were blessed, here in NC, to be able to listen to him every afternoon."
"He's human just like the rest us. Im pretty sure he will be taking heaven and earth to protect his mother just like many of us. Some of us will stay away. Some of us will get the testing necessary to be around family and quarantine for real. Get a grip people!!!"
"If he were Republican, he would have doubled down and invited every living family member to his house. Hysterical that they're the first to scream about this kind of thing."

Jeffrey A Tucker on Twitter - ""Stay home and save lives" really means "I'm privileged so I can work from home and still make money. I hereby transfer the burden of herd immunity to the workers & peasants who deliver my food and keep society functioning while I luxuriate in my personal digital utopia.""

STEPHEN GLOVER: Attacking awkward truths is a sinister sign of weakness - "Someone as wild as Donald Trump seems to have been installed at the Department of Health and Social Care. On Saturday evening this character tweeted an attack on a piece which appeared in that day’s Daily Mail. The article had cited numerous statistics which suggested that the effects of Covid-19 are less uniformly destructive than the Government would have us believe. A post on the Health Department’s Twitter account declared: ‘This article is misleading. There is a global pandemic – national restrictions have been introduced to keep people safe and save lives.’ Note that no examples were offered either in the tweet or in any accompanying statement as to how the piece by my colleague Ross Clark was in any respect misleading. Yesterday afternoon, after the tweet had been criticised by politicians and scientists, it was deleted without explanation or apology. The removal implies that the Department of Health is trying to back off from a controversy which it had set in motion. But isn’t it nonetheless sinister that an arm of the State should rubbish a newspaper article without making any kind of case? To my mind, the failure to do so only emphasises how utterly devastating Mr Clark’s piece was. Forensically and without polemic, he assembled countless facts which collectively might give a reasonable person the impression that the Government has either bent the truth about the pandemic, or withheld part of it. For example, although in recent weeks the Government has suggested that the nation’s hospitals are full to bursting with Covid patients, it turns out that only 13 per cent of NHS beds are currently occupied with patients with the disease, and only about 31 per cent of intensive care beds. The article also stated that 95.6 per cent of those who have died of Covid had at least one pre-existing serious medical condition. Of Covid deaths recorded in England to November 18, 53.7 per cent were among the over 80s. And in further evidence which suggests that most young people have little to fear from Covid, Mr Clark reported that in the same period just 275 recorded deaths (0.7 per cent of the total) occurred in people under 40. There were only 42 people in this group with no pre-existing conditions. The article also pointed out that Government advisers have sometimes exaggerated the dangers of Covid... The chief danger is for the elderly. But this is not the impression that ministers, and in particular Health Secretary Matt Hancock, like to give. He has repeatedly claimed that young people have much to fear from Covid. ‘Be in no doubt,’ he declared in the Commons on September 8, the ‘young are still at risk. The long-term effects can be terrible.’ That’s true, but it’s not often true. If Mr Hancock were entirely honest, he would say that Covid targets the old and the vulnerable. Why doesn’t he? Because it is Government policy that young people should make possibly life-changing economic sacrifices on the basis that the disease is a dire threat to everyone. It isn’t. The Health Secretary displayed a similar reluctance to engage with the facts when three distinguished scientists launched the Great Barrington Declaration... How did Mr Hancock react? He dismissed the declaration in the Commons without consideration as seeking the ‘flawed goal’ of herd immunity. In so doing he demonstrated his ignorance by wrongly asserting that there is no herd immunity with measles. My argument is not that the tens of thousands of scientists who have signed the Great Barrington Declaration are definitely right. It is that they might be. But Mr Hancock and his ilk are not interested in debate because they have made up their minds, and are seemingly ready to sacrifice the economy as they plough on regardless. Along comes an indomitable journalist pointing out some uncomfortable truths... The upshot, of course, is that the department weakens its case. For if people can see that the Government is unable to defend its position by engaging rationally with critics, they may take its restrictions less seriously... In mid-September, Sir Patrick made the terrifying claim that the UK could see 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October unless more draconian restrictions were introduced. Yet we have never got near that figure... During the ‘Halloween horror show’ press conference used by Sir Patrick and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty to scare the Government into implementing a second lockdown, one of their slides suggested that daily Covid-19 deaths could reach 4,000 a day by December. With ten days to go, we’re still at less than 15 per cent of that figure. In fact, as the graph above shows, the current death rate is significantly below almost every modelled winter scenario... the number of NHS England beds currently occupied is lower than last year’s average... The number of Covid-19 deaths is significantly lower than the peak in April... Despite what the fear-mongers would have you think, deaths are not far above average for this time of year"
From November 2020

Queen Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan demands 2-year-olds now wear masks, upset that her lockdowns haven't worked and sCiEnCe has failed her - "It seems Whitmer's god of sCiEnCe – that one-sided, no-room-for-debate ideology – has failed her. Instead of taking a step back, she is now doubling down by requiring toddlers to cover their faces as a sacrifice to that god."

Adamson BBQ owner Adam Skelly mounts constitutional challenge against Ontario - ""I complied with the two weeks to flatten the curve. I complied again during the 'second wave' when we locked down, when Doug Ford promised us that there would be supporting evidence to shut down the restaurants, bars and gyms," said Skelly at the time of his illegal reopening in November. "The data from Toronto Public Health that came out two weeks ago shows that two of the over 10,000 Ontario COVID deaths were linked to bars, restaurants and retail. So why are we getting we getting singled out? And the big multinational corporations are all essential while they're packed?"... "In response to the closure order I recieved under Section 9 of the Reopening Ontario Act, my legal team has filed a Constitutional Challenge," Skelly told blogTO this week. "The province has suspended our Constitutional rights due to a pandemic declared by the World Health Organization, without any internal debate in legislature, or cost/benefit analysis performed. This is unprecedented in Canadian history."... "We called six experts to speak on the multitude of issues used to hold up this 'pandemic' narrative. There are individual posts for all these experts, along with summaries of their reports, on our Instagram"... It's an impressive list, featuring former Manitoba Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Joel Kettner, Harvard and MIT-educated pulmonologist Dr. Gilbert Berdine, Yale epidemiology professor Dr. Harvey Risch, author and former Cornell professor Dr. William Matt Briggs, University of Guelph virology and immunology professor Dr. Byram Bridle, and Simon Fraser economics professor Dr. Douglas Allen. "The Crown has only called one expert, Dr. Hodges from U of T, who unsurpringly has done contract work with globalist organizations such as the WHO and UN. The health ministers, Williams, Jaffe and DeVilla are nowhere to be found on this challenge," says Skelly. "The Crown only cross-examined one of our experts, Dr. Bridle, choosing to accept the testimonies of the other five experts"... "Science is designed to inform policy makers, but when it is manipulated or falsified for ulterior motives, humanity as a whole suffers," reads one point in the challenge's Overview section. "In its response to the Covid-19 virus, the Governments (Federal, Provincial and Municipal) have invoked extraordinary executive powers predicated on unsubstantiated scientific and legal grounds with catastrophic consequences to people in Ontario, Canada and indeed throughout the world.""

Toronto salons fight lockdown by showing how little they contributed to virus spread - "A clever social media campaign was started this week to demonstrate why personal care services should be allowed to remain open by utilizing the undeniable: the numbers... And, as was intended, the numbers shared have been drastically low, indicating that these spaces are safe as far as the health crisis is concerned and should perhaps be permitted to have their doors open to the public... As one professional noted on Instagram, according to data from the federal government, personal care settings — that is, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and similar businesses — accounted for 34 outbreaks, 319 cases, and 0 deaths across the entire country, and only 5 outbreaks in the seven days leading up to Nov. 14."
Clearly closing down salons will prevent outbreaks at Amazon distribution centres

Toronto and Peel's small businesses have had enough after 100 days of lockdown - ""What was supposed to be only a couple of weeks has now extended into a fourth month," the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said in an offical statement issued Wednesday. "As each deadline has come and gone, officials have told small business owners to hang on just a little bit longer, only to have the football pulled away at the last minute each time."... Hudson's Bay even moved forward with legal action against the province for what it considered "unfair" closures despite the fact that data showed "retail shoppers are not contributing to COVID-19 spread in any significant way" and that restricting opening hours would only make risk of infection worse."
Of course this was followed by an even harsher lockdown

Retailers in Ontario are begging the government to let them open up - "only 0.2% to 0.9% of recent weekly cases related to outbreaks have been tied to retail spaces in Ontario — seemingly not enough justification to close their doors altogether."

Heart inflammation in young men higher than expected after Pfizer, Moderna vaccines: CDC
Meanwhile, those who point out that there is no long term data on the covid vaccines are, we are told, anti-vaxxers who think covid is a hoax

Fed-up expats begin drifting away from Singapore | Financial Times - "Meredith was just one of the many expats locked out of Singapore when the city-state imposed strict travel curbs as new clusters involving aggressive Covid-19 variants emerged. For some foreign professionals the restriction proved to be a breaking point. Frustration over travel constraints, vaccines and, perhaps most tellingly, fears over jobs have prompted expats to abandon the island for either their home countries or other financial hubs, such as Dubai. Uncertainty over when restrictions would “come and go and not knowing what your life will be like in the next few months” contributed to a 31-year-old management consultant’s decision to move back to Portugal... The employment difficulties for foreign professionals coincide with a push from Singapore to reduce its reliance on foreign labour after a Covid-19 outbreak last year ripped through crowded dormitories housing migrant workers. The labourers, who are essential to industries such as construction, account for almost 90 per cent of the city state’s caseload. Josephine Teo, the then manpower minister, in March called on companies to “strengthen their Singaporean core”. Last year, Singapore raised the qualifying salary for employment passes twice... Some expats, however, are still moving to the city-state including from Hong Kong, which has been rattled by protests, school closures and China’s imposition of a tough national security law. One Hong Kong executive making the move said that “from a career perspective Singapore is far more attractive than Hong Kong. And obviously it’s safe, convenient, more affordable and is a more international city.” Another attraction is Singapore’s efforts to craft a coronavirus exit strategy."

The Places Still Targeting ‘Zero COVID’ - The Atlantic - "Remarkably, Hong Kong’s mandatory-quarantine period remains in place even for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It is one of the onerous, expensive, and often confusing regulations that the authorities have insisted on keeping, despite having done well managing the pandemic. Like mainland China and other parts of Asia, Hong Kong adopted a “zero COVID” approach when the coronavirus began spreading last year... Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, and mainland China, as well as Australia and New Zealand, were also adherents to the “zero COVID” or “elimination” strategy, which called for getting daily new cases close to zero, then keeping the number extremely low by quarantining arrivals, conducting extensive testing, and intermittently requiring strict social distancing... Now, though, some of these early success stories are struggling to procure and deploy vaccines that would allow their residents to reengage with the world, even as other countries battered by the coronavirus push ahead with vaccinations and return to a semblance of pre-pandemic life. Eliminating COVID-19 was the “optimal strategy in the short term,” Ben Cowling, the head of the epidemiology and biostatistics department at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, told me. The transition to a more sustainable approach has, however, proved to be challenging, he said. “Herd immunity through vaccination is the safest way out of the pandemic and back to normal life.” Across the region, countries have adopted a series of prolonged and harsh measures to keep the virus at bay. Authorities have deployed extended border closures, ambush-style lockdowns, forced testing, and massive quarantine operations, as well as fines, jail time, and cancellation of work permits for rule breakers. The results have been positive, but are proving difficult to sustain, particularly as many of these countries struggle to deploy wide-reaching vaccination drives. Some, such as Hong Kong, paradoxically appear to have been at least partially a victim of their own initial success. With few cases and deaths, many of the city’s people believe there is no rush to be vaccinated, Cowling said. About 17 percent of the population is fully inoculated, despite jabs having been widely available for more than 100 days. The vaccination rate is actually far lower for elderly residents and those living in care homes, who are at higher risk of serious illness or death than the average city resident. According to a study carried out by Cowling and other University of Hong Kong experts, only about 55 percent of the population will be vaccinated by September... police cited the threat of COVID-19 when they canceled the city’s annual vigil to honor those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Yet an adviser to the government, a leading expert on coronaviruses, had said six days before the scheduled vigil that the city had reached its goal of zero cases and that the current wave of infections was finished... This ham-fisted effort to encourage Hong Kongers to get vaccinated, along with the “zero COVID” strategy that is still in place, has, if anything, inadvertently undermined any motivation for wavering people to get the jab. Hong Kong essentially treats vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals the same: Both groups must still wear masks in public and during workouts at gyms, and limit public gatherings to four people. Most sit through weeks-long hotel quarantines upon arrival from abroad, and navigate an ever-more-confusing flowchart of regulations for restaurants and bars... He pointed to Singapore—where officials have begun shifting their messaging, telling residents that they should prepare to live with the virus over the long term—as having a more realistic approach... In the early stages of the pandemic, much of Asia looked at Europe and the U.S. in horror, as people there refused to wear masks, socially distance, or adhere to lockdowns... et now the story lines appear to have flipped: Americans and Europeans are, more and more, able to freely and safely go to restaurants, meet in large groups, and return to life as “normal,” while their counterparts in East Asia, absent a society-wide vaccine drive, maintain harder restrictions in an attempt to suppress the virus in its entirety."

The Flawed COVID-19 Model That Locked Down Canada - "On March 16, Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London released an epidemiological model that took the world by storm.(2) The report warned that tens of millions would die in a pandemic that was compared to the Spanish flu, the deadliest epidemic in modern times... experts have uncovered serious flaws in the original Imperial College paper. Furthermore, evidence has emerged that Professor Ferguson himself has a long history of overpredicting deaths by a wide margin—a concern confirmed by data from countries that never locked down in the present crisis. It follows that Canada and other countries may have vastly overreacted to a single bad projection... Johan Giesecke, former chief scientist for the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has called his model “the most influential scientific paper” in memory, and also “one of the most wrong.” Why was Professor Ferguson so influential? Mark Landler and Stephen Castle wrote in The New York Times, “It wasn’t so much the numbers themselves, frightening though they were, as who reported them: Imperial College London.” With the professor’s ties to the WHO, the authors noted, Imperial was “treated as a sort of gold standard, its mathematical models feeding directly into government policies.” The title of the Times article said that Ferguson’s report had “jarred the U.S. and the U.K. to action,” as Britain shelved its original strategy of allowing herd immunity to spread in favour of a strict lockdown."

Governments cannot just ‘follow the science’ on COVID-19 - "There is not just one ‘scientific’ approach to dealing with COVID-19. Different countries are responding in different ways. Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany and New Zealand each provide different examples of how to limit the initial spread of the virus, with different policy mixes. Hong Kong, for example, never had a rigid lockdown. New Zealand ordered social distancing early and hard. These different approaches were informed by scientific findings, but they resulted from political decisions, not science... From my own research and experience of the processes by which scientific evidence gets into policy, I know that things are rarely as simple as ministers directly ‘following the science’. There is always a risk that bias enters this process, especially when it is hidden from view. An article in Nature (https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-05414-4), co-authored by the UK’s Chief Medical Office and Chief Scientific Adviser, stressed the importance of transparency in enabling open debate and testing of scientific advice. But, as of this writing, the proceedings of key advisory groups and projects, including SAGE and Exercise Cygnus (the 2016 scrutiny of the UK’s pandemic preparations), have not been published. It is also vital, if ministers wish to use the best scientific advice, that they do not influence its creation. I witnessed the risks of such interference first-hand when I was a member of a statutory scientific advisory committee. Between 2014 and 2019, I was on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which advises the UK government on illicit drug policy. In September 2019, I resigned due to concerns over political vetting and exclusion of suitably qualified experts. Niamh Eastwood and Graham Parsons were denied a place on the committee because they had previously criticised ministers... My previous research on the use of evidence in policy-making showed that ministers can trawl for evidence that suits their purposes or invest selectively in the types of research that are likely to show them in a favourable light. What results is the ‘survival of the ideas that fit’ (https://doi.org/10.1017/S1474746406003319). In working alongside senior civil servants, I learned how skilled they can be in selecting evidence that will tell the story that ministers want to be told. Ministers may well be sincere in their belief that they are following the best scientific advice. That does not mean that this advice reflects an unbiased, unambiguous picture of how different policy options will work out in practice. In the current crisis, there are worrying signs that British ministers are leading the science, rather than following it. The BBC reported, for example, on the decision to change the recognition of COVID-19 as a ‘high consequence infectious disease’ (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-52440641). In March 2020, the government suggested to the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens that this status be changed. This decision was reportedly taken not because scientific knowledge of COVID-19 suggested it was less consequential, but because the UK was running out of personal protective equipment (PPE). The disease had to be downgraded for ministers to escape a legal responsibility to provide high-grade PPE... Ministers have to decide for themselves. They must take responsibility for these decisions and their own inevitable mistakes, rather than relying on science as if it were an apolitical and indisputable tablet of stone."
Not to mention how science doesn't tell you what to do - it just tells you what to do to get certain reults

The length and severity of the coronavirus recession estimated from the dynamics of relaxing lockdown - "the strategy of restriction followed by gradual relaxation is likely to result in a net cost, in terms of average human lives lost, that will be comparable with the UK's sacrifice over the six years of World War Two. A policy of lockdown followed by gradual relaxation is likely to do much more harm to the nation's health than good."
From the J-value guy, who summarises his finding elsewhere as lockdown results in killing more than 10 times as many people as the worst case scenario for covid deaths.

Is Fear of COVID-19 Contagious? The Effects of Emotion Contagion and Social Media Use on Anxiety in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic - "Consumption of media about COVID-19 also predicted anxiety about COVID-19, though results were not moderated by emotion contagion. However, emotion contagion did moderate the relationship between COVID-19-related media consumption and elevated OCD symptoms. Although limited by a cross-sectional design that precludes causal inferences, the present results highlight the need for study of how illness fears may be transmitted socially during a pandemic."

The Impact of Social Media on Panic During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Iraqi Kurdistan: Online Questionnaire Study - "Participants reported that social media has a significant impact on spreading fear and panic related to the COVID-19 outbreak in Iraqi Kurdistan, with a potential negative influence on people’s mental health and psychological well-being. Facebook was the most used social media network for spreading panic about the COVID-19 outbreak in Iraq. We found a significant positive statistical correlation between self-reported social media use and the spread of panic related to COVID-19 (R=.8701). Our results showed that the majority of youths aged 18-35 years are facing psychological anxiety."

Fear, anger, and media-induced trauma during the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic - "Fear, anger and hopelessness were the most frequent traumatic emotional responses in the general public during the first stage of outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in the Czech Republic (N = 1,000). The four most frequent categories of fear were determined: (a) fear of the negative impact on household finances, (b) fear of the negative impact on the household finances of significant others, (c) fear of the unavailability of health care, and (d) fear of an insufficient food supply. The pessimistic communications used by the Czech mass media contributed to intensifying traumatic feelings, fears and psychological distress in the general public during the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic"
Of course, liberals tell us anyone who criticises the media is a fascist. Them aside when they bash the non-liberal media

Fear of the coronavirus (COVID-19): Predictors in an online study conducted in March 2020 - "We found four predictors for the FCQ in a simultaneous regression analysis: health anxiety, regular media use, social media use, and risks for loved ones"

(PDF) Fear Culture in Media: An Examination on Coronavirus Discourse - "Fear culture has become a central perspective of viewing life in Western societies where the feeling of vulnerability and insecurity has increased over the past few decades. Sociological studies on the culture of fear provide the theoretical background for understanding how the media coverage of the coronavirus outbreak helps to cultivate the audience’s anxiety. The purpose of this article is to examine how the COVID-19 outbreak was presented in British newspapers and what language means were used to breed the anticipation of danger even before the first lethal case was registered in the UK, that is from January 1 to March 5, 2020. To identify the verbal means employed by newspapers to present the coronavirus as the ultimate threat and thus to cultivate a fear culture among their readers, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is chosen as the main method of the research, since it looks into how language means are used in media texts to produce an intended effect on audiences. The study reveals that the newspapers' editorials, headings, and articles of that period framed the coronavirus pandemic in terms of fear-mongering by dramatizing reports on the epidemic in China, by metaphorically presenting the coronavirus as deadly living thing approaching Great Britain and finally hitting the country like a tsunami, by repeatedly emphasizing the globality of the pandemic and inadequacy of the government’s measure to curb the disease."

If It Bleeds, It Leads: Understanding Fear-Based Media

How Social Media Sells Your Fear and Outrage for Profit

The relation between length of lockdown, numbers of infected people and deaths of Covid-19, and economic growth of countries: Lessons learned to cope with future pandemics similar to Covid-19 and to constrain the deterioration of economic system - "during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic, countries with a shorter period of lockdown (about 15 days: Austria, Portugal and Sweden) have average confirmed cases divided by population higher than countries with a longer period of lockdown (about 60 days, i.e., 2 months: France, Italy and Spain); moreover, countries with a shorter period of lockdown have average fatality rate (5.45%) lower than countries with a longer length of lockdown (12.70%)... lockdowns of longer duration have generated negative effects on GDP growth: average contraction of GDP (index 2010 = 100) from second quarter 2019 to second quarter of 2020 in countries applying a longer period of lockdown (i.e., about two months) is about −21%, whereas it is −13% in countries applying a shorter period of lockdown of about 15 days (significant difference with Independent Samples Test: t4 = −2.274, p-value < .085). This finding shows a systematic deterioration of economic system because of containment policies based on a longer duration of lockdown in society. Another novel finding here reveals that countries with higher investments in healthcare (as percentage of GDP) have alleviated fatality rate of COVID-19 and simultaneously have applied a shorter period of lockdown, reducing negative effects on economic system in terms of contraction of economic growth. Overall, then, using lessons learned of the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic crisis, this study must conclude that a strategy to reduce the negative impact of future epidemics similar to COVID-19 has to be based on a reinforcement of healthcare sector to have efficient health organizations to cope with pandemics of new viral agents by minimizing fatality rates; finally, high investments in health sector create the social conditions to apply lockdowns of short run with lower negative effects on socioeconomic systems."
While I would question the causality, this shows that predictions that without lockdowns everyone will die are hysterical and shows that the obsession with lockdowns is silly

Use of fear to control behaviour in Covid crisis was ‘totalitarian’, admit scientists - "Members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B) expressed regret about the tactics in a new book about the role of psychology in the Government’s Covid-19 response. SPI-B warned in March last year that ministers needed to increase “the perceived level of personal threat” from Covid-19 because “a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened”. Gavin Morgan, a psychologist on the team, said: “Clearly, using fear as a means of control is not ethical. Using fear smacks of totalitarianism. It’s not an ethical stance for any modern government. By nature I am an optimistic person, but all this has given me a more pessimistic view of people.”... Ministers have faced repeated accusations that they ramped up the threat from the pandemic to justify lockdowns and coerce the public into abiding by them... "The way we have used fear is dystopian. “The use of fear has definitely been ethically questionable. It’s been like a weird experiment. Ultimately, it backfired because people became too scared.” Another SPI-B member said: “You could call psychology ‘mind control’. That’s what we do… clearly we try and go about it in a positive way, but it has been used nefariously in the past.” One warned that “people use the pandemic to grab power and drive through things that wouldn’t happen otherwise… We have to be very careful about the authoritarianism that is creeping in”... Another member of SPI-B said they were "stunned by the weaponisation of behavioural psychology" during the pandemic, and that “psychologists didn’t seem to notice when it stopped being altruistic and became manipulative. They have too much power and it intoxicates them”."
So much for this being a far right conspiracy theory

Covid-19 and cognitive bias - "Confirmation bias – seeking information that supports an initial conjecture and ignoring or playing down evidence that would be contradictory. This can be seen if, for example, evidence is selected where countries have introduced strict lockdowns, physical distancing, face mask use, etc, and improvements in the trajectory of the pandemic have occurred, with evidence from countries which have been more lax, but have had similar trajectories, being given less weight. It may also lead to contextual variables in certain countries being ignored, but which may turn out to be as important as measures such as lockdown (e.g. environmental factors, population density, history of vaccination)...
Sunk cost bias – once organisations or individuals have committed resources and reputations to a line of action, they may be reluctant to make different choices or admit to error, in spite of those lines of action now being considered as possibly mistaken. This can be seen in the reluctance of some government and expert figures to take courses of action in the pandemic which may be different from those to which they have committed significant resources or adopted major positions, even though the original commitments may now appear to be open to question. One way out of sunk cost bias is to encourage positive mood states and cognitive flexibility on the part of the key organisations and individuals.
Common practice bias – reasoning that because something is common, it therefore has validity. This was evident when the US government trade adviser Peter Navarro stated that because (as he claimed) all New York Hospitals were giving coronavirus patients the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine on admission, therefore the drug was likely to be an effective remedy for the condition...
Loss aversion bias – the pain of suffering a loss has more impact than the gain from an equivalent benefit. This has been evident when the consequences of the fear of catching a virus appear to outweigh the benefits from taking alternative measures. Thus, suffering chest pains and refusing to attend hospital due to fear of catching a virus at the hospital may override consideration of the benefits of having investigations for a possible cardiac illness.
Anchoring bias – excess focus on information which happens to be prominent. This can be seen when a reduction in cases of covid-19 or deaths is automatically associated with salient measures such as lockdown, when it could also be due to other factors, such as the natural evolution of the virus over time, changes in environmental variables such as temperature, etc. In clinical decision making settings during the current pandemic, such bias may be evident where shortness of breath and a high temperature are immediately diagnosed as likely being due to covid-19, while other possible important diagnoses such as sepsis may be ignored (although such a diagnosis of covid-19 may be understandable in the current testing climate)."

Covid-19 Fear Used to Justify Expanded Government Power - "Higgs sees government, as usual, vastly expanding during the crisis, and he’s sure that it will not shrink back to its former scale once the crisis is over. It never does, as he famously documented in his 1987 book, Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, and in later works exploring this “ratchet effect.” By surveying the effect of wars, financial panics, and other crises over the course of a century, Higgs showed that most government growth occurs in sporadic bursts during emergencies, when politicians enact “temporary” programs and regulations that never get fully abolished. New Deal bureaucracies and subsidies persisted long after the Great Depression, for example, and the U.S. military didn’t revert to its prewar size after either of the world wars. Besides charting the growth of government, Higgs identified the fundamental psychological cause. He recognized the political significance of the negativity effect, also called the negativity bias—the universal tendency of negative events and emotions to affect us more strongly than positive ones. In our recent book on this bias, The Power of Bad, social psychologist Roy Baumeister and I drew on Higgs’s work to argue that the greatest problem in politics is what we call the Crisis Crisis—the never-ending series of crises, real or imagined, that are hyped by the media and lead to cures too often worse than the disease. It’s a perpetual problem because it’s so deeply rooted in human psychology, as Higgs explained in a 2005 essay, “The Political Economy of Fear.”... "The people who have the effrontery to rule us, who call themselves our government, understand this basic fact of human nature. They exploit it, and they cultivate it.” Rulers instinctively heed Machiavelli’s advice: “It is much safer to be feared than loved”—a sixteenth-century formulation of the negativity effect... in the nineteenth century, came new fears to justify the creation of the welfare state. As Higgs noted: “People were told that the government can and should protect them from all sorts of workaday threats to their lives, livelihoods, and overall well-being—threats of destitution, hunger, disability, unemployment, illness, lack of income in old age, germs in the water, toxins in the food, and insults to their race, sex, ancestry, creed, and so forth. Nearly everything that the people feared, the government then stood poised to ward off.” As eager as politicians are to expand the government, in normal times they’re able to do so only slowly. People always fear tax increases, and a proposal to benefit one special interest will typically be opposed by another, creating a political logjam. But when a new threat like Covid-19 suddenly arises, the logjam is broken, as Higgs described in a 2009 essay, “The Political Economy of Crisis Opportunism.”... The Covid-19 lockdown measures are supposed to be temporary, but Higgs expects them to endure due to another consequence of the negativity effect: because bad events have more impact than good ones, people strive harder to avoid losses than they do to achieve gains. As a result, any new government program typically creates a powerful coalition committed to its preservation: an “iron triangle” consisting of a legislative committee, an administrative bureaucracy, and a group of special interests reaping benefits from the program. “Attempts to eliminate or diminish emergency programs,” Higgs wrote, “run up against a fundamental principle of political action: People will fight harder to keep an established benefit than they will fight to obtain an identical benefit in the first place. This asymmetry assists every effort to hang onto iron triangles created or enlarged during a crisis.” Could this crisis turn out differently? Fans of smaller government have been cheered by the suspension of hundreds of harmful regulations during the pandemic, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s rules slowing test development and the laws restricting telemedicine and preventing doctors from working outside their home states. Couldn’t some of these rules disappear permanently now that people have seen the alternative? Maybe, but Higgs is convinced that the overall result will still be dreadful. “I believe the crisis will produce a net increase in the government’s size, scope, and power,” he says. “That includes regulations. Some may be scrapped, but those that have been set aside in response to the crisis will likely be reinstated after the crisis has waned, because the political forces that caused them to be created in the first place will still exist—same special-interest lobbies, same politicians selling favors to the highest bidder, same capacity to slip anti-competitive clauses into huge statutes, and so forth.” The only way to curtail such overreach, he adds, is to “shrink the power of the state, and it will be a cold day in hell when that happens.” It certainly won’t happen any time soon, given the unprecedented shutdown of the economy and abrogation of civil liberties—mostly done with widespread approval, according to public-opinion surveys. It may seem astonishing for Americans to surrender their freedom so willingly, but Higgs isn’t surprised. “Americans, for the most part, are so liable to being terrified by government agencies and their kept media that they lose almost all judgment when told that a horrible threat of mass death hangs over them,” he says. “I foresee the worst depression since the Great Depression right around the corner. That alone would be enough to bring forth a host of bad government policies with long-lasting consequences. Many such policies have already been adopted. But much more awaits us along these lines.”"

The Cognitive Biases Behind Society's Response to COVID-19 - "while COVID-19 infections and deaths were widely publicized and therefore widely salient, the negative impacts of the impending lockdowns went largely unnoticed. In fact, the disregard for these impacts eventually got so perilous that a group of over 600 physicians sent a letter to President Trump warning about “the exponentially growing negative health consequences of the national shutdown,” and pointing out that “the downstream health effects…are being massively underestimated and under-reported”. The unintended consequences of the lockdowns have proven to be a sobering reminder of what can happen when we fail to look beyond the immediate intentions of narrow-minded policies"

Harms of public health interventions against covid-19 must not be ignored - "interventions to limit the spread of the coronavirus also carry negative health effects, which have yet to be considered systematically. Despite increasing evidence on the unintended, adverse effects of public health interventions such as social distancing and lockdown measures, there are few signs that policy decisions are being informed by a serious assessment and weighing of their harms on health. Instead, much of the discussion has become politicised, especially in the US... The harmful consequences of public health interventions can be direct or indirect—for example, psychological harms, equity harms, group and social harms, opportunity harms, and inequalities in intervention benefits. These interventions can increase the adverse outcomes they seek to prevent or affect other health outcomes. Policy makers, acting to protect public health, need to weigh the possible side effects when deciding on, implementing, and evaluating specific public health interventions... The underlying assumption of any public health intervention is that it will enable more people to live longer and healthier. Application of the physicians’ oath “first do no harm” to public health means that positive outcomes of public health interventions need to outweigh any negative effects. Therefore, the task for public health is not simply to consider the lives that may be saved by policy efforts to limit viral spread, but more importantly, to consider the total number of lives saved and lost as a result of the epidemic and responses to it... Restrictive measures on social mobility and the economy are associated with adverse health outcomes in both the short term and the long term. Short term health effects occur during or shortly after interventions are put in place. For example, in a review of the evidence of psychological harms of quarantines, Brooks and colleagues show that such measures increased anger, confusion, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). School closures, which require parents (or relatives) to stay at home, can also lead to adverse health effects—for example, if staff shortages from healthcare workers staying at home to look after their children reduce the quality of care. Lockdowns can also cause long term health harms, such as from delayed treatment and investigations... Lockdowns and social isolation measures affect some populations more than others, and the effects extend well beyond mortality. Disadvantaged low income communities and people with mental health and addiction problems are more likely to be adversely harmed by social distancing measures. This matters because it is these same groups that are most vulnerable to the virus... Although the evidence on the adverse consequences of measures to control covid-19 continues to grow, there remains a paucity of any such voices in the public and decision making conversation, which seems to convey a dominant narrative of pandemic mitigation at all costs."

Early estimates of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study - "Our least severe scenario (coverage reductions of 9·8–18·5% and wasting increase of 10%) over 6 months would result in 253 500 additional child deaths and 12 200 additional maternal deaths... if routine health care is disrupted and access to food is decreased (as a result of unavoidable shocks, health system collapse, or intentional choices made in responding to the pandemic), the increase in child and maternal deaths will be devastating."
Of course, only modelling that shows how terrible not locking down will be is acceptable. Only covid deniers look at models showing lockdown harms

Swedish and British scientists debate coronavirus lockdowns - The Washington Post - "Giesecke has been unusually blunt in calling the Ferguson model “not very good” and “overly pessimistic.” He noted it was neither peer-reviewed nor published in a scientific journal and said in a webinar briefing conducted by Chatham House, the London-based think tank, that he thought someone should write a book about “how a not very scientific paper changed the policy of an entire country.” In an interview with The Washington Post, Giesecke said the Imperial College forecasts were almost hysterical and the Ferguson paper so fundamentally flawed by debatable assumptions — for example, the percentage of people who were asymptomatic but still infectious — that “it loses all value” as a predictive tool."

Covid-19: Modelling the pandemic - "school closures increased the total number of deaths. Our first thought was that it was a mistake, but after a little work on the code, we replicated the result. The basic explanation for this counter-intuitive result is that an intervention that substantially suppresses the first-wave of the epidemic leads to a stronger second wave once the interventions are lifted. So, why was this advice ignored? Perhaps because the result only holds if there’s no successful vaccination programme for a couple of years. But more likely, the natural impulse of anyone faced with a result that goes against their preconceived ideas is denial—and scientists are no different in this respect... failing to suppress the pandemic in the short term, based on a prediction of saving lives in the long term would be politically brave: especially when the identities of those saved could never be known. While school closures are an interesting case, the general lesson from the model is simple. The effective interventions are those which focus strongly on protecting the vulnerable. Broader measures across all of society turn out to be counterproductive in the long term, even if compliance on the most effective features is uncompromised. In practice, the failure to focus on protecting care homes meant that the first wave was, disastrously, to concentrate the pandemic on the most vulnerable. Scientific predictions are often published to great fanfare, with retrospective analysis seldom attracting as much attention"
Oddly, this positive evaluation of the Imperial model didn't mention any numbers, only qualitative results, though we know from elsewhere it was a bad model

Forecasting for COVID-19 has failed - "Epidemic forecasting has a dubious track-record, and its failures became more prominent with COVID-19. Poor data input, wrong modeling assumptions, high sensitivity of estimates, lack of incorporation of epidemiological features, poor past evidence on effects of available interventions, lack of transparency, errors, lack of determinacy, consideration of only one or a few dimensions of the problem at hand, lack of expertise in crucial disciplines, groupthink and bandwagon effects, and selective reporting are some of the causes of these failures. Nevertheless, epidemic forecasting is unlikely to be abandoned. Some (but not all) of these problems can be fixed. Careful modeling of predictive distributions rather than focusing on point estimates, considering multiple dimensions of impact, and continuously reappraising models based on their validated performance may help. If extreme values are considered, extremes should be considered for the consequences of multiple dimensions of impact so as to continuously calibrate predictive insights and decision-making. When major decisions (e.g. draconian lockdowns) are based on forecasts, the harms (in terms of health, economy, and society at large) and the asymmetry of risks need to be approached in a holistic fashion, considering the totality of the evidence."

The turning point and end of an expanding epidemic cannot be precisely forecast - "Susceptible–infected–removed (SIR) models and their extensions are widely used to describe the dynamics of infection spreading. Certain generic features of epidemics are well-illustrated by these models, which can be remarkably good at reproducing empirical data through suitably chosen parameters. However, this does not assure a good job anticipating the forthcoming stages of the process. To illustrate this point, we accurately describe the propagation of COVID-19 in Spain using one such model and show that predictions for its subsequent evolution are disparate, even contradictory. The future of ongoing epidemics is so sensitive to parameter values that predictions are only meaningful within a narrow time window and in probabilistic terms, much as what we are used to in weather forecasts."

How did Sage get it so wrong? | The Spectator - "As an unofficial member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (he resigned in an official capacity after breaking lockdown rules) Prof Ferguson has been responsible for much of the pessimistic modelling during the pandemic. For example, his team at Imperial College were predicting as late as 30 March that only 45 per cent of the population would be protected against severe disease by 21 June, even under ‘optimistic’ assumptions. In fact, hard evidence based on the Office of National Statistics measurement shows that 68 per cent of the population already had antibodies against Covid-19 by 7 April, which meant that either they had received at least one vaccination or they had recovered from Covid-19 (or indeed both). Whatever the case, they would certainly have a fair degree of immunity, and thus be protected from serious illness. The growth in antibodies in England's population could be predicted using an uncomplicated computer model, so how did Imperial get it so wrong? The PCCF model I developed at the University of Bristol was able to match to within a percentage point the ONS figure on 7 April... A key component that has contributed to Sage's doomsday outlook is the R-number (the number of people the average person with Covid will pass the virus onto... There are two main problems with Sage’s working. First, their estimates are 18 days out of date when they arrive. Second, even then, they are inaccurate. The ONS figures, seen as the gold standard, are in red below: pretty far from the Sage range of estimates (in blue). It's a terrible shame that, for the last year, the government has not been guided by the ONS-based estimate of the R-number. Besides being fully scientific, ONS-based estimates also reduce the measurement delay, since they are only nine days in arrears when they arrive, as opposed to being 18 days out of date, like Sage's numbers. How different things could have been if the ONS data had been more influential on the government’s thinking. This would have allowed people greater freedom and minimised disruption to the economy while still keeping the NHS well protected. Fundamentally, Prof Ferguson and his team - and the other Sage modellers - have overcomplicated their modelling, which is inappropriate when the data we have on the virus is very limited, as it always will be with any new disease. The additional complexity of the Sage models might be academically satisfying and might, indeed, seem impressive to politicians. But it has not brought greater accuracy. At Bristol University, the PCCF model has also been used to forecast the R-number - and has come far closer to the ONS. In 2002 in the aftermath of the mad cow disease fiasco (which Prof Ferguson and others suggested could kill millions). I provided evidence to parliament alongside my colleague Professor Martin Newby. We had been sceptical of the dire figures bandied around by Imperial, which led to the slaughter of 4.4 million cattle and the adoption of pointless countermeasures costing billions of pounds after the risk to humans, always very small, had become negligible. Our straight-forward modelling showed, correctly, that variant-Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the human form) would result in a few hundred deaths at most... It is a shame that 18 years on this recommendation has not been heeded. Focusing on the advice of a handful of particular scientists, who all broadly agreed with one another, has meant that the PM has received inaccurate estimates of the R-number throughout the pandemic, despite it being an easy figure to measure. As we move forward, having defeated this pandemic, it is vital that lessons are learnt for next time."

How Reliable is the Modelling? - "One of the paradoxes of the coronavirus crisis is that the need for public scrutiny of government policy has never been greater, but there’s less tolerance for dissent than usual. That’s particularly true of the work of Professor Neil Ferguson and his team at Imperial College. Anyone questioning Professor Ferguson’s analysis is likely to be met with howls of disdain. Witness the furious reaction provoked by Professor Sunetra Gupta and her team at Oxford when they published a paper suggesting that the Imperial model might have underestimated the percentage of the population that has already been infected. The Financial Times printed a critical letter co-signed by a group of scientists that was reminiscent of left-wing academics denouncing one of their colleagues for dissenting from woke orthodoxy. They used the word “dangerous” in their description of the Oxford research, as if merely challenging Imperial’s model would cost lives, and Professor Ferguson has made the same argument to condemn other critics of his work. “It is ludicrous, frankly, to suggest that the severity of this virus is comparable to seasonal flu – ludicrous and dangerous,” he said. A more prudent approach would be for the Government not to place too much confidence in any one model, or set of models, but to encourage different teams of experts, working independently, to come up with predictions of their own and challenge their rivals. That’s the tried-and-tested scientific method and it has been bizarre to see respected pundits simultaneously argue that we should be strictly guided by “the science” and that any scientist expressing dissent from the prevailing orthodoxy is behaving “irresponsibly”. That was the same argument used by the Chinese authorities for silencing the doctors who first raised the alarm in Wuhan... We don’t want to repeat the mistakes we made during another viral outbreak, namely the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic. Tony Blair’s government adopted a strategy of pre-emptive culling which led to the death of more than six million cattle, sheep and pigs, with an estimated cost to the UK economy of £9 billion. That strategy was informed by predictive modelling produced by a team at Imperial College led by, among others, Professor Ferguson. Like today, there wasn’t much appetite for questioning his predictions. But we now have good reason to believe his analysis was wrong. Michael Thrusfield, professor of veterinary epidemiology at Edinburgh University, has written two critical reports about the government’s response to that epidemic, concluding that the Imperial College modelling was “severely flawed”."

A case study in model failure? COVID-19 daily deaths and ICU bed utilisation predictions in New York state - "For accuracy of prediction, all models fared very poorly. Only 10.2% of the predictions fell within 10% of their training ground truth, irrespective of distance into the future... We conclude that trustworthy models require trustworthy input data to be trained upon. Moreover, models need to be subjected to prespecified real time performance tests, before their results are provided to policy makers and public health officials."

This is what we do about anti-vaxxers: No job. No entry. No NHS access - "If we don’t want this Covid crisis to last forever, we need some new simple, guidelines: No jab, no job; no jab, no access to NHS healthcare; no jab, no state education for your kids. No jab, no access to pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, stadiums. No jab, no entry to the UK, and much else."
So much for my body, my choice. And what a mischievous conflation of those who are wary of the covid vaccines and anti-vaxxers. Given that vaccines are better at protecting the vaccinated than the unvaccinated, this is just an excuse to demonise an outgroup

COVID-19: Two doses of Pfizer or Oxford vaccine reduce risk of transmission by more than half, study shows - "people living with health workers who had been given one dose of a coronavirus vaccine were 30% less likely to get it themselves. The same study found that households of health workers who had received both doses were 54% less likely to contract the virus."
Notably, this is significantly less than the protection given to the vaccinated: vaccines are primarily to protect yourself, and not so much other people, which suggests that the logic of coercing others into getting vaccinated based on protecting other people has serious flaws
Keywords: reduce transmission, reduces transmission, NHS

Opinion: Don’t back the unvaxxed into a corner - "Which brings us to a fork in the road: either accept an imperfect global vaccination program or crank up the pressure. Some pundits have advocated exactly this — making life so miserable for the refuseniks that they will have no choice but to roll up their sleeves. A Chicago Tribune columnist proposed forcing the naysayers to wear T-shirts emblazoned with “I’m Selfish.” In my forays online, I have encountered suggestions that anti-vaxxers be imprisoned for crimes against humanity, jabbed at gunpoint, and barred from grocery stores. The urgent goal of herd immunity surely justifies a bit of strong-arming, doesn’t it? As with all judgment calls, we have to ask, at what cost? If we back the unvaxxed into a corner — if we make it impossible for them to live their lives without the jab juice — we will lose some of the tolerance and understanding that make the free world what it is. While not as tangible as the harms from COVID, this loss is no less vital. As the saying goes, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Gunning for a perfect vaccination program sets us up for failure. It also divides people and sets them against each other... Protection from COVID is important, but it’s not the only concern today. After a pandemic that has left deep divisions between countries, political parties, and individuals in its wake, we arguably need doses of tolerance even more than doses of vaccine. What we don’t need is more shaming, shunning, and coercion. We’ve had a year and a half of it and it’s made us all angrier. Besides, coercion has a habit of backfiring. Whether subtle or straight-up, it erodes trust and weakens the social fabric. Many of the vaccine holdouts will come around in their own time, once more safety data comes in or the urge to visit Edinburgh or Istanbul overtakes their resistance. A minority will dig in their heels, and that’s OK. On a planet of close to eight billion people, it should come as no surprise that not everyone will agree. We don’t need perfection to move forward." Perhaps Covid hystericists who are fanatical about vaccines don't believe they work, which is why they think the vaccinated need to be protected from the unvaccinated

Learning loss due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic - "School closures have been a common tool in the battle against COVID-19. Yet, their costs and benefits remain insufficiently known. We use a natural experiment that occurred as national examinations in The Netherlands took place before and after lockdown to evaluate the impact of school closures on students’ learning. The Netherlands is interesting as a “best-case” scenario, with a short lockdown, equitable school funding, and world-leading rates of broadband access. Despite favorable conditions, we find that students made little or no progress while learning from home. Learning loss was most pronounced among students from disadvantaged homes."

Covid: The devastating toll of the pandemic on children - "From increasing rates of mental health problems to concerns about rising levels of abuse and neglect and the potential harm being done to the development of babies, the pandemic is threatening to have a devastating legacy on the nation's young."
Sacrificing an entire generation for virtue signalling. Great tradeoff

Validity and usefulness of COVID-19 models - "although these models are useful in many ways, they currently lack a thorough validation and a clear communication of their uncertainties. Therefore, prediction claims of these models should be taken cautiously, and their merits on scenario analysis should be the basis for decision-making."

SAGE models overestimation of deaths - "Two SAGE model estimates have already proven to be invalid. We consider these analyses need checking with the raw data to verify the estimates against the actual death data and further verify whether the lower estimates reflect the actual data."

Anxiety and media exposure during COVID-19 outbreak in Kuwait - "there is positive correlation between media exposure and anxiety during COVID19 outbreak in Kuwait (p<.001), furthermore it revealed that there is significant relationship between the frequency of exposure and anxiety(<.001)"

Andrew Lloyd Webber backs down over threat to reopen theatres at full capacity - "Andrew Lloyd Webber has backed down over his threat to reopen his theatres without social distancing after being warned his entire staff and the audience could have been fined hundreds of pounds each... Lord Lloyd Webber’s new musical, Cinderella, will now begin previews on June 25 “at the Government’s arbitrary 50 per cent capacity”, with disappointed theatre-goers given either refunds or a new date to see the show. Lord Lloyd Webber said he would "personally bear the losses" while it remained economically unviable. The 73-year-old caused Mr Johnson deep embarrassment when he threatened to break the law and open fully after it emerged that the Prime Minister had decided he could no longer stick to his roadmap on lifting restrictions... Lord Lloyd Webber also thanked the public for messages of support after he had told The Telegraph last week that he was prepared to go to prison in defiance of Covid-19 laws. "Finally, can I thank the thousands of people who have contacted me with messages of support," he said. "Including those who wanted to come and bring me cake in jail.""
Of course, covid hystericists bashed him for being a rich, greedy person for wanting to reopen

Andrew Lloyd Webber Sues U.K. Government to Show Live Events Research - "Super-producer and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has joined his fellow artists working in the beleaguered theater and music industries in taking legal steps to get the U.K. government to release results of its ongoing Events Research Program. The program was set up to examine the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from attendance at events and explore ways to enable people to attend a range of events safely. To achieve this, the program, the first phase of which ran over April and May, explored how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions could inform decisions on safely lifting restrictions at events. However, the government has failed to reveal its findings so far. The U.K. was due to reopen fully on June 21 after a crippling series of COVID-19 induced lockdowns over the past 15 months, but this has been pushed back to July 19, due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant of the virus"

Covid modelling that pushed back June 21 was based on out-of-date data - "Dr Susan Hopkins, the deputy director of PHE’s national infection service, told MPs that the Government had known about the figures since last Friday. It means that the Government published modelling data to bolster a delay despite already knowing it was out of date."

New pan-European research reveals double the concern about mental health impact of Lockdown and associated restrictions than physical inactivity

When Will COVID-19 End?Data-Driven Prediction - "On April 18, 2020, we launched a webpage (https://ddi.sutd.edu.sg/when-will-covid-19-end/) (screenshot in Figure 1) to share data-driven predictions of next developments and end dates of COVID-19 in different countries and have also been continually updating the predictions daily with latest data. For each country, a simple figure is provided to show the estimated pandemic life cycle together with the actual data or history to date, which in turn reveals the inflection point and ending phase"
The predictions were wildly wrong. No wonder the page got removed

Americans misperceive the risks of death from coronavirus, research shows - "People who relied on social media as their main source of information on the coronavirus pandemic had the most “erroneous and distorted perception of risk”"

Why lockdown has become a lifestyle - "the pre-existing perspective of fear is key to understanding both the high levels of public compliance with Covid restrictions and people’s subsequent embrace of lockdown culture. In short, people were already primed to respond to a crisis like Covid in the fearful, lockdown-demanding way that they did, because safety was already being treated as a supreme value, an end in itself – one for which it was worth sacrificing virtually all aspects of societal life. In a sense, the embrace of lockdown by many people has been a long time coming. This is because generations of young people have been socialised in the culture of fear. Thanks to the adoption of new therapeutic childrearing and educational practices, in which protecting children from risk has been paramount, these children have grown up with a fearful perspective. Older character ideals, such as courage, have been marginalised. As the historian Peter Stearns pointed out: ‘Convincing the child that his or her environment was risk-free was essential; teaching him or her to overcome risk with courage dropped away – a truly fundamental change.’... As Aristotle and numerous other great philosophers have observed, the virtue of courage has long played an important role in the management of fear... In reality, the virtue of courage has been devalued at the same time as safety has been valorised. Hence the rise of the idea of ‘safe spaces’... Right from its initial conceptualisation, then, ‘safe space’ implicitly suggested that what lies outside it is likely to be unsafe. This pre-existing sense of unsafe space has expanded during the pandemic... But from what do safe spaces provide protection? On campus, safe spaces were not established in response to a public-health threat. They were instituted to protect people from the sometimes harsh judgment of others. They didn’t so much presuppose people’s physical vulnerability as their emotional and mental fragility. They were designed to protect an individual’s psychic identity... The idealisation of safety, the transformation of it into a socially valued objective, rests precisely on the devaluation of those qualities that we use to manage uncertainty and calculate risk — namely, courage and judgment. For it is judgement that we use to deal with our fears. And yet it is judgement that many today cast as a threat to people’s wellbeing and safety."

More than half of British public will miss elements of Covid restrictions - "around 54 per cent of people will miss some parts of lockdown, including family time, quieter roads, and being at home"
Presumably without furlough they won't feel the same way

The truth is many of us have loved lockdown | Comment | The Times - "some of the biggest winners appear to be among the third of British employees who have been furloughed but who now work one day a week or are volunteering. Some of the least happy are those still working full-time."
Clearly furlough needs to be made permanent so people can have free money and be happy

Social, financial and psychological stress during an emerging pandemic: observations from a population survey in the acute phase of COVID-19 - "The independent factors associated with stress worsening were: having a mental disorder, female sex, having underage children, heavier alcohol consumption, working with the general public, shorter sleep duration, younger age, less time elapsed since the start of the outbreak, lower stress before the outbreak, worse symptoms that could be linked to COVID-19, lower coping skills, worse obsessive–compulsive symptoms related to germs and contamination, personalities loading on extraversion, conscientiousness and neuroticism, left wing political views, worse family relationships and spending less time exercising and doing artistic activities."

The Liberals Who Can’t Quit Lockdown - The Atlantic - "For this subset, diligence against COVID-19 remains an expression of political identity—even when that means overestimating the disease’s risks or setting limits far more strict than what public-health guidelines permit... People who describe themselves as “very liberal” are distinctly anxious. This spring, after the vaccine rollout had started, a third of very liberal people were “very concerned” about becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, compared with a quarter of both liberals and moderates, according to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina political scientist Marc Hetherington. And 43 percent of very liberal respondents believed that getting the coronavirus would have a “very bad” effect on their life, compared with a third of liberals and moderates... progressives... stressed the scientific evidence, and then veered away from it... Public-health advice is shifting. But some progressives have not updated their behavior based on the new information. And in their eagerness to protect themselves and others, they may be underestimating other costs... Even as scientific knowledge of COVID-19 has increased, some progressives have continued to embrace policies and behaviors that aren’t supported by evidence, such as banning access to playgrounds, closing beaches, and refusing to reopen schools for in-person learning. “Those who are vaccinated on the left seem to think overcaution now is the way to go, which is making people on the right question the effectiveness of the vaccines,” Gandhi told me. Public figures and policy makers who try to dictate others’ behavior without any scientific justification for doing so erode trust in public health and make people less willing to take useful precautions. The marginal gains of staying shut down might not justify the potential backlash. Even as the very effective COVID-19 vaccines have become widely accessible, many progressives continue to listen to voices preaching caution over relaxation... scolding is still a popular pastime. “At least in San Francisco, a lot of people are glaring at each other if they don’t wear masks outside,” Gandhi said, even though the risk of outdoor transmission is very low. Scientists, academics, and writers who have argued that some very low-risk activities are worth doing as vaccination rates rise—even if the risk of exposure is not zero—have faced intense backlash. After Emily Oster, an economist at Brown University, argued in The Atlantic in March that families should plan to take their kids on trips and see friends and relatives this summer, a reader sent an email to her supervisors at the university suggesting that Oster be promoted to a leadership role in the field of “genocide encouragement.”... evidence mounted that schools could reopen safely. In Somerville, a local leader appeared to describe parents who wanted a faster return to in-person instruction as “fucking white parents” in a virtual public meeting; a community member accused the group of mothers advocating for schools to reopen of being motivated by white supremacy"
"White supremacy" is the standard liberal go to as a slur for someone they disagree with

COVID-19 media coverage decreasing despite deepening crisis - "We found that the proportion of media coverage that mentioned COVID-19 (with terms such as COVID or coronavirus) in early 2020 increased dramatically within 102 high-circulation newspaper sources across 50 countries around the world. This topic emerged as a dominant media storyline just as media coverage of climate change dropped precipitously over the same period across the same sources"
The media probably both leads and follows moral panics

FUREY: New Canadian study breaks down 'ineffectiveness' and harms of lockdowns - "Lockdowns are accomplishing little benefit, but colossal damage. That’s the conclusion of a research paper by Simon Fraser University Economics Professor Douglas W. Allen, who concludes “it is possible that lockdown will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history.” Professor Allen’s paper is an examination of over 80 research papers from around the world that studied lockdowns. He found that many of them employed false assumptions, greatly overestimated the benefits of lockdowns and underestimated their harms. Perhaps the greatest error in the reports and modelling, according to Allen, is the assumption that places without lockdowns would involve people taking zero precautions... “the variation in stay-at-home orders across the U.S. and found that lockdowns had only modest effects on Covid-19 transmission rates.” Among the 20 studies that did acknowledge the difference between mandatory and voluntary measures, “all of them find that mandated lockdowns have only marginal effects and that voluntary changes in behavior explain large parts of the changes in cases, transmissions, and deaths.” So not only are the benefits of lockdowns negligible at best, but their harms are overwhelming. Not that Canadian officials bothered to check. “Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no public evidence that either the federal or provincial governments of Canada have considered both the benefit and cost sides of their policy decisions,” the report notes. “To my knowledge, no government has provided any formal cost/benefit analysis of their actions.” (Ontario medical officers confirmed to me when I asked them during a press conference earlier this year that the province has not undertaken a formal cost/benefit analysis.) While there have been various standalone reports on lockdown harms such as job losses and mental health challenges, comprehensive studies are hard to come by. “Many of the costs will not be known for years as they work out in reduced graduation rates, reduced future earnings, and reduced long run health status,” notes Allen... “The benefit of lockdown, therefore, was the avoidance of this extra 22,333 years of lost life. However, the cost of lockdown… was 6,300,000 years of lost life.” Based on this calculation, the big picture long-term societal harms of lockdowns are 282 times worse than their benefits. It’s a staggering finding... the New Zealand Productivity Commission — a Crown agency similar to Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer — did a study using a metric known as Quality Adjusted Life Years to weigh the advantages of extending one of their lockdowns, and found the long-term harms were almost 100 times greater than the benefits."

New Zealand's lust for lockdown is the latest example of vapid political virtue-signalling - "Progressive mythology always demands a socialist valhalla; a nation to be idealised and held up as an inspiration. For years, Scandinavia, and particularly Sweden, played this role. The stereotype was never entirely accurate; Scandinavian social democracy is a far cry from full-throated socialism, yet it remained influential. In the face of the pandemic, however, the tables have turned; now it is the libertarian Right who are lining up to applaud Swedish exceptionalism, while progressives liken their controversial strategy to a form of eugenics. With Sweden consigned to the naughty step, the Left needs a new country to fetishise, and they have alighted on New Zealand. This was underway long before the virus arrived, thanks to NZ’s intoxicating combination of centre-left politics and a charismatic, young and importantly, female, leader: Jacinda Ardern. Her decisive leadership following the mass shooting in Christchurch propelled the New Zealand PM to global prominence, and she has since enjoyed fawning media coverage surpassing even the high water-mark of Trudeau-mania. The Left applauded NZ’s “wellbeing budget”, emphasising citizens’ happiness over GDP growth, and cheered when Ardern brought her baby into the UN assembly hall. Their zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19 has been especially influential. A group of weak-minded MPs and peers are currently urging our own Government to pursue a similar aim of total eradication. We should be under no illusion - this is no model for New Zealand to follow, let alone a sophisticated global economy like ours. NZ may have contained the virus, for now at least, registering the lowest mortality rates in the OECD, but it has taken genuinely draconian policies and great economic pain to get there. The Ardern administration is eliminating rights on a scale more reminiscent of authoritarian China than a Western liberal democracy. Last week, the whole of Auckland was sent into lockdown after the government announced a grand total of four new cases in the city. GDP has taken its biggest slide in three decades. A total ban on foreign arrivals has endured for months, with catastrophic results for tourism, directly employing 8.4 per cent of the workforce. New Zealanders returning from abroad must pay for the privilege of isolating in military-guarded facilities, to the tune of more than £1,500 per head. One man recently received a six-week jail sentence for hugging a friend quarantining in a detention centre. The NZ experience should serve as a cautionary tale about the normalisation of overreach. Though the country has not recorded a single covid death since May, the government decided to postpone the Autumn elections following the small-scale outbreak this month. Progressives, so alert to the subversion of democracy in the USA, had little to say about this extraordinary over-reaction. An elimination strategy has made them hostages to fortune; with precedence established, it will be politically toxic to change course... The implications of New Zealand’s autarchy go beyond its shores as well. Tourism accounts for a third of jobs in Fiji, Palau and Vanuatu; and two thirds of their visitors come from Australia and New Zealand. Yet amid mounting poverty and unemployment, island leaders’ pleadings for air bridges seem barely to have registered with an administration myopically focused on elimination. In seeking to be kind, the Ardern administration has ended up being very cruel indeed. Enthusiasts for this model imply that elimination, like the happiness budget, and like Ardern herself, puts people above the callous vicissitudes of the balance sheet. As we are increasingly finding, the two cannot be so easily disentangled. Excessively harsh lockdowns have become a form of international virtue-signalling; something only wealthy nations can afford, but which promises catastrophe for the world’s poorest. Before the recent spike, commentators lauded Ardern as being “on course to eradicate the virus completely.” The ambition was childish and hubristic in the extreme. Until the planet reaches a state of elimination, New Zealand will have to stay in indefinite isolation, with domestic lock-downs a likely fixture of life, perhaps for years to come. The economy cannot bear this for long. Nor can the people."

The lockdown’s founding myth - " It is not entirely clear what the government’s current policy is, but there is little doubt that it has changed since early March. The original policy was never explicitly defined either, beyond ‘flattening the curve’. The government always denied pursuing herd immunity per se, but once containment failed, the aim seems to have been to control the spread of the virus while accepting that it would infect much of the population sooner or later, with a second wave likely to occur in the winter. This meant that a degree of herd immunity would emerge in time, but the name of the game was to squash the sombrero, protect the vulnerable and prevent the NHS being overwhelmed. Call this a policy of herd immunity if you like. Whatever name you give it, it is not something that was dreamt up by Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings over a bottle of claret. It was a strategy devised and supported by eminent scientists in the field, such as Professor Graham Medley, the chairman of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, who explained the approach on Newsnight on 12 March. Or Professor John Edmunds from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who explained it on Channel 4 News on 3 March and again ten days later. Or Dr Jenny Harries, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, who said on 11 March that she was ‘absolutely delighted that we are following the science and evidence.’ It was obvious to anyone watching the early press conferences that government ministers were deferring to the scientists... For proponents of the lockdown’s founding myth, Whitty and Vallance are a problem. They are credible and prominent scientists who openly espoused an approach to COVID-19 that the government’s more highly strung critics now portray as akin to eugenics... The contents of the SAGE documents are illuminating, but it is what is absent that is most revealing. There is no mention of a lockdown in any document until 18 March when there was an inconclusive discussion about locking down London. By that stage, Italy had been in lockdown for nine days. The impact of school closures, voluntary self-isolation and various forms of social distancing were analysed by SAGE throughout February and March. There is no record of a full lockdown being similarly discussed. The idea of banning the entire population from leaving the house without a reasonable excuse does not seem to have been seriously entertained. When Professor John Edmunds, a member of SAGE, mentioned the lockdown in Wuhan on Channel 4 News on 3 March, he said – as if it were obvious – that ‘we’re not going to do anything anywhere near as stringent as that’. According to the founding myth, the study published by Professor Neil Ferguson and colleagues at Imperial College on 16 March changed everything. Contrary to popular belief, the infamous study did not call for a full lockdown, nor did it model the effects of a full lockdown... The only time Ferguson and colleagues use the word ‘lockdown’ in the text is when they are making a distinction between their proposals and an actual lockdown. They implicitly dismiss a lockdown as being too extreme for the UK, saying that their favoured policies are ‘predicted to have the largest impact, short of a complete lockdown which additionally prevents people going to work’... The accusation of dithering therefore rests on the government ratcheting up the restrictions over seven days, rather than immediately announcing a draconian lockdown that neither Ferguson nor SAGE had ever actually called for. Given the planning, preparation and notice needed to go from a standing start into complete lockdown, it is difficult to see how the government could have proceeded much faster. The SAGE documents show that behavioural scientists had serious doubts about the British public’s willingness to abide by even relatively modest restrictions on their liberty. Perhaps those doubts were ill founded, but it is what the experts were saying. Should the government have ignored the experts? That is the question running through all of this... At some point in the middle of March, the UK abandoned the Swedish approach and adopted the Chinese approach. Why? What changed? Ferguson’s model certainly played a part, not least because it predicted that the NHS would not be able to cope with the coming onslaught. But two other things changed as well. Firstly, on 9 March, Italy became the first democratic country to introduce a national lockdown after making a hash of its lockdown in northern Italy. This moved the Overton Window and opened up a policy option that had previously been unthinkable. Secondly, public opinion changed."

Would the UK have half the Covid deaths if Boris had “followed the science”? - "The former barrister Paul Chaplin has analysed these minutes in a lengthy blog post and concluded that placing the entire country under virtual house arrest was a political decision and not “based on the science”. His analysis is compelling. Chaplin finds plenty of evidence in the minutes that various different containment measures were discussed by SAGE, but at no point before 23 March did the group recommend the quarantining of the whole population"

More than half of people with strong Covid infection are asymptomatic, new figures show
A disease so serious most people don't know they have it

Asymptomatic transmission of covid-19 - "Unusually in disease management, a positive test result is the sole criterion for a covid-19 case. Normally, a test is a support for clinical diagnosis, not a substitute. This lack of clinical oversight means we know very little about the proportions of people with positive results who are truly asymptomatic throughout the course of their infection and the proportions who are paucisymptomatic (subclinical), presymptomatic (go on to develop symptoms later), or post-infection (with viral RNA fragments still detectable from an earlier infection). Earlier estimates that 80% of infections are asymptomatic were too high and have since been revised down to between 17% and 20% of people with infections... It’s also unclear to what extent people with no symptoms transmit SARS-CoV-2. The only test for live virus is viral culture. PCR and lateral flow tests do not distinguish live virus. No test of infection or infectiousness is currently available for routine use. As things stand, a person who tests positive with any kind of test may or may not have an active infection with live virus, and may or may not be infectious. The relations between viral load, viral shedding, infection, infectiousness, and duration of infectiousness are not well understood. In a recent systematic review, no study was able to culture live virus from symptomatic participants after the ninth day of illness, despite persistently high viral loads in quantitative PCR diagnostic tests. However, cycle threshold (Ct) values from PCR tests are not direct measures of viral load and are subject to error. While viral load seems to be similar in people with and without symptoms, the presence of RNA does not necessarily represent transmissible live virus. The duration of viral RNA shedding (interval between first and last positive PCR result for any sample) is shorter in people who remain asymptomatic, so they are probably less infectious than people who develop symptoms... The transmission rates to contacts within a specific group (secondary attack rate) may be 3-25 times lower for people who are asymptomatic than for those with symptoms. A city-wide prevalence study of almost 10 million people in Wuhan found no evidence of asymptomatic transmission. Coughing, which is a prominent symptom of covid-19, may result in far more viral particles being shed than talking and breathing, so people with symptomatic infections are more contagious, irrespective of close contact... Searching for people who are asymptomatic yet infectious is like searching for needles that appear and reappear transiently in haystacks, particularly when rates are falling. Mass testing risks the harmful diversion of scarce resources. A further concern is the use of inadequately evaluated tests as screening tools in healthy populations"

Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis - "Household secondary attack rates were increased fromsymptomatic index cases (18.0%; 95% CI, 14.2%-22.1%) than from asymptomatic index cases (0.7%;95% CI, 0%-4.9%), to adult contacts (28.3%; 95% CI, 20.2%-37.1%) than to child contacts (16.8%;95% CI, 12.3%-21.7%)... The lack of substantial transmission from observed asymptomatic index cases is notable"
In other words, asymptomatic transmission is low and transmission to children is lower than to adults
Addendum: So much for the moral panic over asymptomatic transmission

Evidence of asymptomatic spread is insufficient to justify mass testing for Covid-19 - "Data from PCR testing – for which there is no proper determination of an end-to-end operational false positive rate – has almost exclusively dictated tier restrictions and lockdown policy in the UK. PCR’s fingerprints can in fact be found all over the entire global response to this pandemic. Testing with Lateral Flow, other antigen tests and bedside PCR tests are all finding far fewer cases than diagnosed by PCR testing. Even a low sensitivity for all these other tests could not account for the size of the discrepancy. Mass testing and accompanying harmful lockdown policies are justified on the assumption that asymptomatic transmission is a genuine risk. Given the harmful collateral effects of such policies, precautionary principle should result in a very high evidential bar for asymptomatic transmission being set. However, the only word which can be used to describe the quality of evidence for this is woeful... Many early studies which purported to demonstrate the phenomenon of asymptomatic transmission were from China, yet the fact that Chinese studies are only published following government approval must bring into question their reliability... we did in fact find only 6 case reports of viral transmission by people who throughout remained asymptomatic, and this was to a total of 7 other individuals, however all of these were in studies with questionable methodology. Moreover in all these studies, confirmation of “cases” was made via PCR testing without regard to the possibility that any of the cases found might be false positives. The case numbers found, are, in any event extremely small and certainly not sufficient to conclusively determine that asymptomatic transmission is a major component of spread."

My child has only ever seen masked faces, and I worry for him - The Globe and Mail - " If a baby cries during a pandemic and no one’s around to hear it, does it still make a sound? My son was born in August of 2020, right smack dab in the midst of Canada’s pandemic shutdown. Now, at six months old, I sometimes wonder whether my son exists. Aside from my husband and me, he’s only been held by five people. My brothers have never touched him. He barely recognizes his grandparents because of their masks and physical distancing. Even when I was pregnant, only my mom and my husband ever touched my expanding belly. I had always imagined pregnancy and child-rearing as a social experience. People exclaiming over my bump, offering unsolicited advice, telling me how much I was glowing. I envisioned bustling women at my baby shower building diaper towers and guessing my due date. I thought my parents would be waiting anxiously in the waiting room as I gave birth. But the baby shower never happened, and my parents had to pace around their kitchen waiting for updates instead of hearing their grandson’s first cries... His future daycare sent us a questionnaire, a “get to know you” kind of thing. They asked how he interacts and plays with others. The thing is, he’s never even met another baby, let alone played with one... Recently, as the spring thaw began, he saw other children playing at the park. This might have been the first time he’d actually seen another child. When we got home he was so excited that he wouldn’t sleep for hours. I was both saddened and overjoyed. This was his big moment, seeing other children playing from afar."

Lack of Travel Is Taking Emotional Toll on People, Survey Finds

Democrat States Follow The Science By Doing What Florida Did Back In May | The Babylon Bee - "Democrat-run states are now calling on the nation to follow the science by doing what Florida did back in May, opening their economies with reasonable precautions and protections for the vulnerable."

Toronto doctor says parties aren't the main reason for COVID-19 spread - "things like curfews and more stringent lockdown restrictions on the general public that don't prioritizing essential workplace settings may not be the most effective. "Ironically, a curfew could potentially worsen things if more people on average are gathering inside," he adds. "Unintended consequences are important to consider. A large intervention is often like squeezing a balloon.""

Never has a virus been so oversold - "There’s nothing unprecedented about Covid-19 itself. The equally novel, equally infectious Asian flu of 1957 had commensurate fatalities in Britain: scaled up for today’s population, the equivalent of 42,000, while the UK’s (statistically flawed) Covid death total now stands at 46,000. Globally, the Asian flu was vastly more lethal, causing between two and four million deaths. The Hong Kong flu of 1968-69 also slew up to four million people worldwide, including 80,000 Britons. Yet in both instances, life went on. What is unprecedented: never has a virus been so oversold. Why, I’d like to sign on with Covid’s agent. What a publicity budget... The one constructive conclusion to draw from this debacle is that long, indiscriminate national lockdowns to suppress infectious disease are a catastrophe. Yet the most horrifying consequence of Covid-19 could be that lockdown — which once applied only to prisons — becomes officialdom’s established kneejerk response to any new contagion. There will be a new contagion, too, and a new one after that. How many times can you send the national debt soaring, devastate small business, paralyse government services — including health care — and cancel for months on end the civil liberties of an erstwhile ‘free people’? In preference to this repeated carpet-bombing, a literal nuclear option might at least get the agony over with fast."

Australia COVID: Singapore’s COVID plan offers pathway out of lockdowns - "With more than 5 million people in Greater Sydney locked down, other states implementing new restrictions, and Melburnians battle-weary after their fourth lockdown, people are asking when their lives will get back to normal. Many understand that COVID-19 will likely never go away but simply mutate and live on in a different form, much as the flu does from year to year. Most people recover from the flu without needing to be hospitalised. Some sadly die. Our society accepts this risk and people carry on with their lives during the flu season. What we need now is a national understanding of the COVID-19 risks and a national plan that outlines the risks, educates the public and unites communities across the country. It should resist politics and scope creep. Our endeavours at the start of the pandemic were focused on a low death rate. This has now transformed to an elimination strategy rather than simple containment and mitigation of risk: suppression at a low level should be the new normal. Whatever the final target, it should prepare us to deal with COVID-19 so we’re able to work, travel and shop without quarantines and lockdowns, even with the virus in our midst... Slowly, safe management rules can be eased and large gatherings will be allowed. Businesses won’t need to be afraid of disruptions from lockdowns... Uncertainty and fear are good political tools. Governments should be wary of using these for short-term gain. Instead, focus on educating and uniting the population so that we can all look forward to a happy future."
There's covid hysteria. And there's covid hysteria

Australia Covid-19: Perth and Brisbane lock down in fight against Delta variant - "Four of Australia's eight capital cities are now under Covid-19 lockdown, as authorities struggle to contain fresh outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant... Australia has fully vaccinated nearly 5% of its population, compared with more than 46% in the United States and 48% in the UK, according to Our World in Data. Its rates are more comparable with Indonesia and India, which, like much of the developing world, were left out of the agreements with pharmaceutical companies that secured hundreds of millions of vaccine doses for most of the rich world."
What covid "success" looks like

Harsher lockdown looms for Sydney with 111 new cases and a crackdown on rules breakers launched - "Thousands of Sydneysiders will be locked in their neighbourhoods, most shops shut, and 'non-urgent' construction banned as Covid cases spiked above 100 again. The new restrictions announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Saturday aimed to completely shut down the southwest Sydney epicenter of the outbreak. Sydney's numbers were again headed in the wrong direction with 111 new coronavirus cases recorded on Saturday to end the third week of lockdown. Another death was also announced on Saturday, a man in his 80s from south-west Sydney. The total number of deaths in NSW from Covid-19 is now 57. 'I can't remember a time when our state has been challenged to such an extent,' Ms Berejiklian said. 'Not a single one of these decisions was taken lightly.'... Those residents cannot even leave for work unless they work in heathcare, aged care or emergency services until midnight July 30 at the earliest. If they must leave their area for work for one of those reasons, they need to get a Covid test every three days... A new restriction likely to be unpopular is that from midnight Saturday anyone who leaves their Greater Sydney home must have a mask with them at all times and wear one if working outdoors, or even if standing in a queue for food or coffee... 'It has been conceded by the government that the current lockdown is not doing the job it needs to, so they will go harder,' Nine News reported... The city's infection rate has seen Australian Medical Association Omar Khorshid claim NSW will need to go harder - or face an 'indefinite' lockdown."
Covid hystericists claim lockdowns work if they're strict enough. Apparently Australia's lockdowns have been too lax

Some couples making rules around COVID-19 vaccination status for weddings, planners say - The Globe and Mail
Given that the vaccines are very successful at protecting those who get them, but not that successful at reducing transmission, all the moral panic about excluding the vaccinated suggests that people don't understand the facts about the vaccines, people want to coerce others into getting vaccinated and/or people catatrophise covid risk. If the claim is that those unable to get the vaccine must be protected, then a negative test and/or making the unvaccinated wear masks (since that's such a favored shibboleth) and/or socially distance should be enough.

Despite now being vaccinated residents still cannot leave their rooms - "Many people in Ontario’s long term care homes have been living in isolation for over a year... Despite now being vaccinated and living in homes where there is no COVID whatsoever, residents still cannot leave their rooms — even to walk in the hallway... He and his fellow residents have been confined to their rooms for months, with no outlet for exercise of any kind. “All day long we sit in our rooms, wasting away.” He’s had pneumonia twice in six months... He hasn’t even been allowed to shower in six months — only sponge baths in his room. Michelle Morriseau, whose mother is in a home in Thunder Bay, said her mother has been out only once in a year — for her husband’s funeral. Morriseau wept as she recounted how she, their daughter, was locked out as a caregiver, leaving her 88 year old father to take over her mother’s daily care. He died in February. After his funeral, her mother was put into isolation for nine days because she’d left the building. “She’s so different when she’s outside. She’s so bright and interested in everything. How can you take that away from an elder?” Her mother has likewise been denied baths and showers. Chuck Ferkranus, another LTC resident, asked a simple question. “What will it take for this to come to an end? Every resident and worker has been vaccinated. No one has COVID in this building and yet we cannot leave our rooms. We’re served our meals in styrofoam boxes with plastic knives and forks. I haven’t been able to shower for months. What does it take?” Dr. Amit Arya said the science is clear: the risk of spread is less outside than inside; “What is the point of vaccinating residents if they can’t go out? The operators and the government make decisions that are contrary to logic and to science. “Social isolation and loneliness is an epidemic with seniors and it makes them more likely to die early. Cognitive function declines, appetite declines, they become more susceptible to illness and infection.” Lawyer Jane Meadus said that since March of last year, over 150,000 residents have been detained illegally in their residence. Maybe it made sense at first, but now they’re all vaccinated. “This is a human rights abuse and an abuse of the elderly. We want a clear directive from the province to the homes, banning this kind of unlawful detention.”"
It's only bad if they die of covid, not anything else
Maybe decision makers don't actually believe the vaccines work

Ontario long-term care home residents beg for release from COVID-19 confinement - "Ferkranus, who challenged those in authority to live as he does for even a week, said residents are being treated worse than criminals... “If vaccinations don't end the rules, if no one having COVID doesn't end the restrictions, then what does it take before this comes to an end?”... even the law guarantees twice a week baths or showers... Dr. Amit Arya, a palliative care physician in long-term care, said quality of life is crucial and infection control can't be allowed to trump all... In some cases, activists said homes had called police to enforce the lockdown even though they have no authority to do so"

LEVY: Time to let long-term care residents out of their prisons - " McMahon noted Ontario’s stay-at-home order includes outdoor exercise as an essential reason to leave one’s room and it is “no different” for LTC home residents. An April 1 ministry memo made it clear that residents who aren’t isolating can go for walks even if the home is in an outbreak — on the home’s property or in the immediate area... She called the continued isolation “ludicrous” and speculated this is being done “for the convenience of the homes” which are already short-staffed."

‘Our health care system is going to totally collapse.’ These doctors listened to Doug Ford’s new plan and heard defeat and death | The Star - "“Closing playgrounds and golf courses and tennis courts just shows that the epidemiology of the disease is not fully understood. It’s indoor and it’s essential work that is non-essential, and it’s a lack of support for the people who need to be out there. That's the root causes.”... Ontario decided to criminalize public space and socialize death and illness in factories and warehouses and construction sites, because the donors must be rewarded. You can’t have paid sick leave, but you can have police. It was heartening to see police departments from Toronto, Ottawa, Peel, Waterloo, Peterborough, Guelph and London to say they would not randomly stop people. It is quite an indictment of the government that they didn’t check before their chaotic rollout of new regulations... “I do feel defeated,” says Dr. Michael Warner, the head of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in East York. “I’m kind of past anger, and on to defeat. I guess I’m just resigned to our shared destiny. I cannot see any circumstance where I can now protect my patients from being forced to be palliated because of the lack of beds.”"
From April. And of course the healthcare system didn't collapse, despite hystericists' predictions

Opinion: The needless pause on cancer care is a microcosm of Ontario’s flawed COVID-19 response - The Globe and Mail - "The directive to cancel all elective surgery from the province’s Chief Medical Officer, David Williams, is just another example of a pandemic response that harms Ontarians with its blanket, goalpost-moving approach. The order appears intended to make room for COVID-19 patients in hospital and to clear the ICUs. But for decades, hospitals have developed efficiencies and surgical techniques for cancer operations that do not require a hospital bed or an ICU (called ambulatory surgery). It should also be said that while there are shortages of ICU nurses related to COVID-19 demands, their skillsets are not as easily interchangeable with nurses from other departments, particularly those most familiar with the operating room. But this order may well be extended beyond May 20, as daily COVID-19 rates remain high – even though the lockdown is not achieving its goal. Numbers will eventually go down, but it will take months, not weeks. Some of my cancer patients can’t afford to wait that long. And so the surgery stop order has taken away our ability to treat those who do not need a hospital bed or ICU and, perhaps worst of all, it has taken away our ability to offer hope. One should not underestimate the power of hope in relation to major health conditions. Dr. Williams and associate medical officer of health Barbara Yaffe continue to cite the reduction of mobility as the reason for the province-wide lockdown. But while mobility may be associated with COVID-19 infection rates, there is no clear proof that mobility alone causes the direct spread of COVID-19; there is a major difference. There are other factors at play, including essential workers going to work sick and indoor gatherings serving as sites of transmission. And while the science is clear that outdoor activities do not spread the virus – as opposed to indoor activities, which enhance viral spread and in which the lockdown actually forces Ontarians to engage – tennis, golf, basketball and baseball have all been prohibited. These kinds of activities are part of the solution – not the problem. The novel coronavirus continues to spread, all while elective surgeries that could be done safely continue to be put on the shelf. How many lives have been lost or had their quality affected because of this ban on non-COVID-19 surgery and treatment? There are lessons to be learned looking south of the border. Florida and Texas have long been open and allowed people to participate in outdoor activities. They both fared better than California, where a lockdown forced people indoors."

WATCH: Trudeau says climate change 'emergency' has been 'made worse by the pandemic' | The Post Millennial
Nature isn't healing anymore?

Is My Child More Likely To Get COVID-19 Or The Flu? - "the risk that a child gets seriously ill is extremely small — comparable to the risk that children face of having serious illness as a result of the flu... Dr. Roshni Mathew, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, says experience at her hospital found that 45% of the time, a child who tested positive for the coronavirus was not actually sick with COVID-19... many parents seem more worried about the new and less familiar disease. That anxiety is heightened by the new guidelines on mask-wearing. But experts urge parents to try not to worry too much. "If you stop going into stores because you're terrified you'll run into an unmasked person, that's probably overreacting," says Gretchen Chapman, a psychology professor who studies health conundrums like this at Carnegie Mellon University."
Clearly schools can't be allowed to open till covid has been eliminated, and anyone who suggests otherwise hates children

A Supercomputer's Covid-19 Analysis Yields a New Way to Understand the Virus - "The end result, the researchers say, is to release a bradykinin storm — a massive, runaway buildup of bradykinin in the body. According to the bradykinin hypothesis, it’s this storm that is ultimately responsible for many of Covid-19’s deadly effects. Jacobson’s team says in their paper that “the pathology of Covid-19 is likely the result of Bradykinin Storms rather than cytokine storms""

Trump showcases idea heat, humidity could help fight virus - "The White House on Thursday pitched “emerging” research on the benefits of sunlight and humidity in diminishing the threat of the coronavirus as President Donald Trump encourages states to move to reopen their economies. Past studies have not found good evidence that the warmer temperatures and higher humidity of spring and summer will help tamp down the spread of the virus."
The Trump curse strikes again

Thomas Massie on Twitter - "Roughly 25% of ALL of the debt accumulated by the United States of America since 1776 was incurred in the last 12 months. This is NOT sustainable."
Endless debt is no barrier to locking down for virtue signalling (even in non-covid contexts, like those who claim covid has shown how the unsustainable piling on of debt shows that Universal Basic Income is possible)

Exhaled aerosol increases with COVID-19 infection, age, and obesity
Fat shaming!

Ben Shapiro on Twitter - ""Lockdown the entire society to flatten the curve and avoid overwhelming of hospitals" has somehow morphed into "lockdown the entire society until nobody ever dies again of covid." It's pretty incredible."

Meme - "Gavin Newsom dines at restaurant with 12. The pigs from Animal Farm dine inside while the other animals are forbidden indoors."

Gad Saad on Twitter - "California Medical Association officials were among the guests seated next to Gov. Gavin Newsom at a top California political operative’s opulent birthday dinner at the French Laundry restaurant this month."
"COVID has an enzyme, BS-13, that protects progressive people from being infected. That’s just science."

Facebook - "If we wear a double mask when alone inside or outside, get vaccinated, & head off to live in complete solitude in an Afghani cave, this does not imply that we are out of the woods. To defeat this virus, we must commit collective suicide because the virus cannot kill dead people. Through our willful self-induced mass extinction, we can leave off a better future for mole rats and mosquitoes. It will allow for a great reset for Mother Earth to heal. Everyone would win and we'd have a green economy. Shut up, science! [Dear Noble Censors of Proper Thinking, this is a satirical post meant to mock the faux-hysteria.]"

Cernovich on Twitter - "Saw a masked dad aggressively grab his son’s arm because the kids mask had fallen off. OUTDOOR PARK. That’s those people in a nutshell. Fascists in public and in their own homes. Avoid them and pray for their children."

Meme - "Guardian US @GuardianUS: Gwyneth Paltrow broke down and ate bread during quarantine. What was your lowest point?"
"I lost my job and my mother died"

David Hogg on Twitter - "I feel the need to continue wearing my mask outside even though I’m fully vaccinated because the inconvenience of having to wear a mask is more than worth it to have people not think I’m a conservative "
Literally virtue signalling

Facebook - "The same people who say have been saying for years that the government is systematically racist and needs to be burned to the ground, have been saying for the last 17 months listen to the government no matter what regarding Covid, TODAY are saying the government is moving too fast with reopening."

Hugs Over Masks - Niagara Chapter : Sorry everyone.. | Facebook - "Sorry everyone... we can no longer give CPR. You can just die. I mean it will be "from" Covid and lack of oxygen... So I guess that counts as a Covid death? It fit's the symptoms list? Does this make sense to anyone?"

Will Ricciardella on Twitter - "Ever notice that with Climate change, COVID, poverty, etc. all the "science" aligns perfectly with leftist orthodoxy? Free-markets must be abolished Strong central gov must limit freedoms Money must be redistributed & printed Spending must increase Dissenters will be punished"

Matt Walsh on Twitter - "A listener of the show tells me that he's in high school wrestling and they are no longer allowed to shake hands with their opponents before or after the match, due to COVID restrictions. But they can still wrestle each other. It's all science, folks. Just science."

One strict new COVID lockdown bans outdoor exercising and dog-walking - "South Australia began one of the world’s toughest lockdowns Thursday with even outdoor exercise and dog-walking banned as the state tries to contain a cluster of COVID-19 infections. For six days, only one person from a household will be allowed to leave home each day, and only for essential reasons, authorities said. Schools, universities, cafes and restaurants are closed, weddings and funerals are banned and mask-wearing is mandatory."
How you know that lockdowns are really about politics. This is even more insane than closing playgrounds. But of course self-flagellating people think the more you suffer, the more effective a lockdown is

Jessica Christian on Twitter - "Told my mom I’m not coming over for Thanksgiving. She cried and then told me my 4 and 5 year old cousins have COVID and possibly exposed up to 25 of my relatives. I can’t beg you all enough to stop gathering."

Jessica Christian on Twitter - "Traffic in the right lane northbound on the Golden Gate Bridge has slowed to a crawl with supporters in cars honking and chanting along with #BlackLivesMatter protestors. VERY positive and high energy"

White People are Denied Shots Under COVID-19 Vaccine Regime in Washington State - "In the state of Washington, white people are being denied shots under the COVID-19 vaccine regime under the guise of equality and fairness... The African American Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH) is leading the push to discriminate against white people and deny them vaccine shots based solely on the color of their skin... The state of Washington is defending their blatantly racist policies, arguing that excluding certain people because of the color of their skin is actually inclusive, as diversity cheapens the public discourse and makes everything more stupid... “under the current process, an older white person with obesity and cancer is at a higher risk than a young and healthy Black person. Yet the white Washingtonian would be denied access based exclusively on his skin color.” “Apparently, the DOH believes privilege grants white people magical access to limited vaccine appointments”"

Epidemiologist says school closures about keeping parents home | Toronto Sun - "An Ontario epidemiologist has admitted that the province’s school closures are more about getting adults to stay at home than they are about the transmission of COVID-19 within the classroom... Furness and Dr. Andrew Morris argued that school closures were useful, whereas Dr. Jennifer Grant, Dr. Ari Bitnun and Dr. Martha Fulford all countered that school closures caused great harms to kids with minimal benefits."

People get second opinions on personal health matters all the time. Is it wrong to question Toronto’s top doctor during a pandemic? | The Star - "It’s OK to disagree with the medical officer of health. In fact, it’s critical to be able to do so, sign of a robust institution and healthy democracy. However, some city councillors, especially those on the left, see the medical officer of health as off limits to disagreement."

Randall Denley: Doug Ford gives Ontario police-state tactics instead of COVID measures that actually work - "Some of the new rules are ridiculous. Golf is banned, tennis is banned, even playgrounds are banned. What was the risk? Apparently, it’s unsafe to be either indoors or outdoors now. To summarize Ford’s new plan, go into your house, close the door, lock it and don’t come out again until the government tells you to. Just when you thought you were already in hell, Ford has turned up the heat... It all seems so simple looking back, but it wasn’t. Hindsight overlooks a critical component of the equation. Ford couldn’t have shut down the province indefinitely back in mid-February just because modelling said something bad might happen. At that point, the new COVID variants were in the news, but the province had fewer than 1,000 cases a day. It has been a problem to get people to comply with rules now, even when the bad news is in their faces every day. Asking them to do it in February, based on modelling that had been wrong previously, would never have worked."

LILLEY: Let's be honest about the state of Ontario during the pandemic | Toronto Sun - "the Ontario Science Table released two documents to back up calls for further restrictions across the province but both documents, as presented to the public, are entirely misleading either in how the doctors presented them or how the media reported on them... are we seeing a spike in people in their 20s filling up ICUs? Despite plenty of reporting that makes it sound that way, it isn’t the case. The rise in people under 60 was predominantly those aged 50-59... In the spring, 4% of all COVID deaths in Ontario were under the age of 60. The ratio was the same in December and remains the same today... Shutting down whole sectors of the economy that have nothing to do with the spread, the cases, the hospitalizations or the deaths from COVID-19 makes zero sense. We are more than a year into this and we need better from our leaders and those advising them."
Of course they panicked and shut everything down for a long time again

SARS-CoV-2 Infection Can Block Pain, Opening Up Unexpected New Possibilities for Research Into Pain Relief Medication

Behind Vietnam’s COVID-19 Response, Deep Distrust of China - "the country’s leaders were not reassured by early, optimistic reports from China doubting the virus’ pandemic potential... Relations were only normalized in 1991. Vietnam today considers China its biggest existential threat as the two countries lock horns over Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea. The popular consensus in Vietnam is that China has been Vietnam’s enemy for millennia... Vietnam’s early border closure and flight suspensions almost certainly irked China, which had at the time broadly opposed such measures before later invoking them as the pandemic worsened worldwide."
Damn CIA! They've corrupted the Vietnamese!

Ministry data said to show Pfizer shot blocks majority of serious Delta cases - "a study from researchers at the Hebrew University and Hadassah University Medical Center indicated that the Pfizer vaccine is 60-80% effective against infection from the Delta strain... The Health Ministry figures, however, report that the vaccine is still considerably effective against preventing serious symptoms and hospitalization. During May that figure stood at 98.2%, according to the data obtained by Ynet, and during June it was 93%... The coronavirus cabinet is slated to meet Tuesday evening to weigh a series of new restrictions amid the rise in new cases. The potential steps reportedly under consideration include the return of limits on large gatherings, the reinstatement of the Green Pass, and requiring vaccinated parents of infected children to quarantine until they receive a negative test."
Of course covid hystericists say this means we must all lockdown again. Presumably we must also lockdown until the flu is eliminated

What's Wrong With Online Vigilantism: A Conversation With Praveen From SG (not) Covidiots - "in our short interview with SG Covidiots admin Ben Tay, he dismissed one of his critics Praveen Ramesh as a ‘troll’. No further explanation was given. Praveen, an NTU undergraduate who runs the group SG (not) Covidiots, reached out to tell his side of the story. For the record: no, he is not a troll. He first found out about SG Covidiots after stumbling upon their content on Facebook. After calling out some of the posts for their lack of empathy, he found himself labelled an ‘infiltrator’, banned, and his posts deleted. In response, he created the page SG (not) Covidiots to fight what he calls their toxic rhetoric, and to share some of the kindness and empathy he found lacking...
At first, I had very little impression on how the group was run or what they were posting. What really caught my attention was a post in which someone had snapped a photo of a bus driver with his mask down. The caption contained the bus license number, but nothing else. No context. No explanation. To me this was very dangerous because it showed a lack of empathy and a lack of respect for our essential workers. For all we know, the bus driver had just removed his mask to catch his breath for a moment. But the poster was insistent that just because you have your mask down for a minute, it means you deserve to have your photo taken and shared. It made me very angry, so I wrote a post about showing more empathy for older people. Quite a few members actually supported me, but my posts were deleted within an hour, along with other appeals for kindness made by friends who had also joined the group...
There was this post which showed a man running outside the Botanic Gardens, but there was no date, location or time mentioned. I commented saying it’s the Botanic Gardens, because you will know if you’ve been there. One of the admins replied asking ‘how do you know?’, but I didn’t bother replying because another admin from SG Covidiots soon confirmed my statement. Yes, it is the botanic gardens. I think this exposes a huge flaw in their system. If the admin cannot even verify if the photograph is taken in Singapore or where in Singapore it was taken, how can they verify anything else? How can they verify the time and date? This creates a situation where you can get a lot of misunderstanding or misleading information being posted."
Covid is just another way to draw lines and condemn the Other through toxic tribalism
Of course I doubt RICE would've been so interested without the racism/xenophobia angle

Identity Politics After Covid-19: The Same, But Worse - "The proponents of what James Lindsay calls Critical Social Justice—an umbrella term for the mobilized form of Contemporary Critical Theory—cannot detect an ounce of triviality in their current concerns. To them, their cause has only become more urgent. For the disciples of the Social Justice faith and practitioners of Critical Theory—Critical Race Theory, Whiteness Studies, Critical Pedagogy, Intersectional Studies, Queer Theory, etc.—a public health crisis demands a reorientation of priorities: just not in the way we might presume. Covid-19 is an opportune moment for contemporary Critical Theorists, whose modus operandi is to problematize existing norms, narratives and institutions that have been formulated by dominant culture—that is, the culture of the white, heteronormative, cis-gendered patriarchy—and question their hegemony. A disruption of the status quo presents a chance to critique these institutions, to reveal their inadequacies by highlighting the resultant disparities... Since the outbreak became widespread in western countries in early March, the warriors of Critical Social Justice have been following this strategy in three areas: gender, race, and family... You might assume that scientific disciplines are impervious to gendered perspectivism. You would be wrong. The Critical Social Justice affinity for standpoint epistemology informed by “lived experience” means that “It doesn’t matter how intelligent or aware a senior man in such a position is, they can never fully understand a woman’s health or experience of a health intervention.” Hamilton and others of his persuasion genuinely believe that sexism has stifled science. They would willingly delay vaccine development for the sake of combating systemic sexism and gendered norms. Hamilton’s article shows that, for Critical Social Justice ideologues, to whom the world is a zero sum struggle between oppressors and oppressed, Covid-19 is nothing more than an opportunity to talk about the real work: deconstructing white, male hegemony... At the Huffington Post, Emily Cousens has bemoaned the patriotic overtones of the wartime language characterizing the UK’s pandemic response—which is, apparently, antithetical to global cooperation and fosters a spirit of exceptionalism that Cousens finds detestable... She would rather her own countrymen suffer if it means that typical, colonial disease narratives are challenged. That’s the real work. To people who have bought into the Critical Theory worldview, the white supremacist, genocidal, ideological hegemony that they see everywhere is far more violent and deadly than Covid-19... Rather than asking how structural racism impacts health and healthcare, says Morse, we must ask how the healthcare in America—and its global reach—embodies structural racism. Economic inequities are a root cause of health inequities globally, and drive morbidity and mortality in tragically predictable ways, but people of color are uniquely targeted by systems of capitalism, imperialism and colonialism. Health professionals will never provide adequate care and rid the world of “global medical apartheid” unless they accept this, instructs Morse. What is to be done? First, anti-racist pedagogy must be employed to “accelerate change” towards “health equity.” To be anti-racist, as Ibram X. Kendi defines it in his bestseller How to Be an Antiracist, is not simply to be “not-racist.” “There is no neutrality in the racism struggle … One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist.” There is no such thing as a race-neutral position: there are only allies and detractors... Discrimination, then, is not wrong so long as it is rightly directed, argues Kendi. Hence, an anti-racist is an activist willing to discriminate for the sake of “creating equity.” To help lawmakers identify the right discriminatory policies, Kendi has proposed an anti-racist constitutional amendment which would establish a “Department of Anti-racism (DOA)”... To people like Morse and Kendi, the coronavirus is “exposing our racial divides,” and the real problem—the “pandemic within the pandemic”—is the systemic white privilege baked into the system since the early seventeenth century—not an infectious virus. Arguments like these influence public policy decisions. The UK’s Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), echoing the opinion of the National Health Service (NHS), recently called for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) health workers to be removed from the frontline response to Covid-19... The traditional nuclear family has also come under assault by Critical Social Justice warriors. Though, as intersectionalists, new critics of western family structures include criticisms of racism, capitalism, ableism, sexism and all other points of oppression in the matrix of domination... According to Sophie Lewis, coronavirus teaches us all that it’s time to abolish both the family and private households, which are “fundamentally unsafe space[s].” Queer and “feminized people” in particular cannot be expected to confine themselves to the “capitalist home.”... Douglas Murray has called out the insistence that the UK’s NHS focus their attention on transgenderism. Media outlets like Vice and Buzzfeed have been particularly concerned about transitioners whose gender reassignment surgeries have been delayed. This is, of course, because designating such surgeries non-essential exposes the cis-gender norms embedded in western conceptions of healthcare. Last year, Lionel Shriver suggested that it would take a catastrophe to rouse the west from its identity politics fever dream. Shriver may prove correct—but not yet. Pandemic or no pandemic, identity politics is here to stay. Given what we have seen thus far, events seem likely to justify Houellebecq’s prediction, not Hannan’s. Critical Social Justice warriors are both indefatigable and opportunistic—and that bodes ill for the rest of us." Dubya was mocked for saying you are either with us or against us. But Kendi is praised for saying you are either racist or anti-racist

COVID-19’s Gender Gap - "You might have noticed that in the media (for example, the BBC, the Guardian), and even in the world of health (for example, the World Health Organisation and the Lancet), a commonly recurring narrative has developed around the pandemic: More men are dying, but the real victims are women. Moreover, this narrative usually implies that men’s deaths are largely due to men’s poor decisions about health behaviour... for now we don’t have reasonable grounds to blame the greater number of men’s deaths on smoking or lack of hand-washing. In fact, such explanations look increasingly like victim-blaming—that is, blaming someone for their own misfortune without taking other factors properly into account... Men’s behaviour is often scapegoated as bad for their health in spite of research demonstrating that harnessing male-typical interests can facilitate physical and mental health. It is often overlooked that male-typical behaviour, such as taking risks, can be extremely beneficial to society. This is most clear in the emergency services, populated mainly by men, where risk-taking can be self-sacrificing—one person puts themselves in danger to benefit another. Indeed, men and women put themselves at risk of infection in ways that benefit others too (for example, health workers, delivery drivers, soldiers, supermarket cashiers, refuse collectors, and others) and they all deserve recognition. This negative narrative around men risks exacerbating the gender empathy gap, part of a wider unconscious bias against men, recently identified as an aspect of gamma bias."

Covid researchers study data suggesting Asian mortality rate lower - The Washington Post - "Parts of Asia reacted quickly to the threat and largely started social distancing earlier on. But researchers are also examining other factors, including differences in genetics and immune system responses, separate virus strains and regional contrasts in obesity levels and general health... Nobel laureate Tasuku Honjo, a Japanese physician-scientist and immunologist, said people with Asian and European ancestry have enormous differences in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) haplotype, genes that control the immune system’s response to a virus. That might help explain lower Asian death rates, he said, but is unlikely to be the only reason.
Damn white supremacy!
What would Ibram Kendi say?

Coronavirus tests are extremely sensitive. (That could be a problem, experts say.) - " According to Mandavilli, many coronavirus tests have fairly high cycle thresholds, with most set at 40 and some set at 37. That means a number of patients who aren't carrying much of the new coronavirus are still testing positive, even though they may not be contagious, Mandavilli reports. Mina explained that tests with high cycle thresholds could be detecting genetic fragments of the virus, or pieces of the virus that are leftover from a previous infection that don't pose any current transmission risk. Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California-Riverside, said she believes any test with a cycle threshold over 35 is too sensitive. "I'm shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive," she said. And according to Mandavilli, a review conducted by the New York Times of three sets of coronavirus testing data from Massachusetts, Nevada, and New York found that up to 90% of patients in those data sets who tested positive for the coronavirus had very low viral loads."

How many Covid diagnoses are false positives? | The Spectator - "The academic study accompanying the ONS Infection Survey from 26 April to 28 June makes this point: ‘Even in a purely hypothetical situation that the virus is not circulating, a test specificity of 99.9 per cent would be associated with an expected number of positive tests that is approximately equal to what we observed over the entire study period.’ Problems with test accuracy are likely to be more of an issue globally. The current US Centers for Disease Control test kits can generate up to 30 per cent false positives even in their best laboratories. Highly accurate tests can prove costly – more than £100 per test. So, we shouldn’t be surprised that in poorer countries, highly questionable cheaper alternative tests, which cost less than £3, have been distributed and used. A recent BMJ review reported that the specificity of PCR tests could be as low as 95 per cent, as PCR test performance can be much worse in low prevalence community settings. This would mean that, in our hypothetical of 10,000 tests, we’d have 500 false positives amongst the eight genuine positives. So the hundreds of false-positive Covid-19 results would dwarf the genuine results – meaning an apparent surge in infections that is not followed by a corresponding surge in hospital admissions or deaths. At very low prevalence, the proportion of people with infection falls and the numbers of falsely misdiagnosed increases. If Covid-19 completely disappears, then of our 10,000, no one will be infected. If you have followed the reasoning so far, you will have worked out this means that ten people would still be wrongly diagnosed as positive and the official data would show a national Covid-19 prevalence of 0.1 per cent. This is why understanding the accuracy of tests in the population that they are applied to matters: going off current testing practices and results, Covid-19 might never be shown to disappear."

Senseless Restrictions on Outdoor Activities Undermine the Goal of Curbing COVID-19 - "There are several problems with these restrictions on outdoor activities. First, many of them are inconsistent and scientifically dubious. Second, foreclosing opportunities for people to recreate or gather outside is apt to increase the risk of virus transmission indoors, especially in private settings where the authorities have no idea what is happening, even if they are notionally imposing limits there. Third, arbitrary COVID-19 edicts that make life more inconvenient and less enjoyable for no rational reason foster resentment and defiance, which make compliance with reasonable safeguards less likely. In their determination to seem like they are doing something to slow the spread of COVID-19, many politicians are actively undermining that goal."

Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions against COVID-19 in Europe: A quasi-experimental study - "We found that closure of education facilities, prohibiting mass gatherings and closure of some non-essential businesses were associated with reduced incidence whereas stay at home orders, closure of all non-businesses and requiring the wearing of facemasks or coverings in public was not associated with any independent additional impact."

Internet's 'Hide the Pain Harold' accidentally used by Swedish COVID-19 vaccine website

Today Show blames falling COVID cases in southern US on lack of testing - "Just last year though, outlets were reporting and debunking a comment made by former President Trump about a rise in cases being linked to increased testing... ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom, analyzed data last summer coming from testing data between Memorial Day and mid-June. They argued that the data showed there was no correlation between testing and increased positive results. States like New York, for example, administered 50 percent more tests by the end of that period, but had 60 percent fewer positive results. Arizona tested 175 percent more, but ended up with 698 percent more positive test results."

Gov. Whitmer blames travelers for Michigan COVID cases after asking for 'grace' for top staffer who travelled to Florida

Scientists challenge vaccine-makers’ claim that we need a COVID-19 booster shot - "COVID-19 vaccine developers are making ever bolder assertions that the world will need yearly booster shots, or new vaccines to tackle concerning coronavirus variants, but some scientists question when, or whether, such shots will be needed... Some of these scientists expressed concern that public expectations around COVID-19 boosters are being set by pharmaceutical executives rather than health specialists, although many agreed that preparing for such a need as a precaution was prudent. They fear a push by wealthy nations for repeat vaccination as early as this year will deepen the divide with poorer countries that are struggling to buy vaccines and may take years to inoculate their citizens even once."

Builder, 51, who died after falling from 10ft ladder was killed by coronavirus - "A builder who died after falling from a 10ft ladder was actually killed by Covid-19, scientists have claimed... Academics at the University of Zagreb said the Covid-induced illness had caused his fall, which they argued meant the death must be recorded as a Covid-19 fatality under World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines."

The Covid debate is still far too narrow - "many other issues are open to starkly differing interpretations between qualified, sensible, informed people. Suppressing discussion of these points, perhaps to avoid ‘confusing the public’, or to ensure that they comply with measures that we ‘know’ to be necessary, is simply to make the most elementary of scientific and medical mistakes. If it’s true that many hands make light work, it is also true that, especially for complex issues, many minds make better work. It seems to me that the government’s work is not being made easier, but more difficult by the relatively narrow descriptive framework it is receiving from its current select group of advisers. Wouldn’t we all be better off with wider discussion and debate of the many unclear and contentious issues that this crisis has thrown up? Wouldn’t it be easier to find the best ways forward for living with a virus that everyone now agrees will be with us forever, by re-engaging all the talents, rather than just sticking with what we currently ‘know’ to be true. Surely, everyone’s experience over the last year has already clearly demonstrated that this apparent ‘knowledge’ changes rapidly. We must keep questioning what we think we know about the pandemic, and about our responses to it."

Sean Speer: Vaccine deficit exposes structural flaws in our government - "there seems to be systemic issues — including poor incentives, institutionalized risk aversion, red tape and so on — that undermine effective and expeditious collective action. American lawyer and policy expert Philip K. Howard attributes these challenges to the growing labyrinth of government rules and the powerlessness and paralysis that can result. We’ve created a system that favours prescription over discretion, box-ticking compliance over human judgment and ultimately risk mitigation over collective reward. The net effect is to “pre-empt the active intelligence of people on the ground.” It’s important to emphasize that this isn’t merely the result of big government. Other countries with similarly sized governments — or even bigger ones such as Denmark, Finland and Israel — seem to be able to deliver more effective and expeditious public services than us. These examples show that a jurisdiction can theoretically provide for a high-tax, high-spending government and still deliver good governance. What one wants to avoid is the worst of all such worlds: a big, costly, slow and ineffective government. Canada’s vaccination deficit is a sign that we’ve fallen into this latter category. A major source of these challenges is state capacity. In its broadest sense, state capacity refers to the government’s ability to generate revenues, enforce laws and deliver public goods. A wide body of research shows that, although such governmental capacities may seem mundane, they’re closely linked to short- and long-term economic growth. As economist Tyler Cowen has put it: “Strong states remain necessary to maintain and extend capitalism and markets.” There are various causes for Canada’s diminished state capacity. A big part of the problem is the governance-by-rules ethos that has come to be reflected in modern Canadian policy and governance. Another is Ottawa’s instinct to want to impose national standards on any given issue. The idea that the federal government can anticipate every occurrence in a decentralized network of child-care centres or long-term care homes belies the complexities of human interaction. The simple lesson: we need to replace a system that tries to correct for human imperfection with one that accepts and accounts for it by empowering those closest to the problems that we’re trying to solve."

How Ottawa utterly botched Canada's COVID vaccine acquisition - "in one of the sharpest rebukes to Canada’s pandemic performance yet, the federal government has tapped into a global vaccine-sharing pool initially meant for developing nations... At first, Canada seemed to have vaccine-acquisition under control. The Chinese pharma company CanSino had developed what was then one of the world’s most promising vaccine candidates, and Ottawa struck a deal to have it undergo human trials in Canada, with Canadian laboratories free to reproduce and manufacture the shot. But only days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the arrangement, China shut off all shipments of the CanSino vaccine to Canada in what is believed to have been a spiteful retaliation for the continued imprisonment of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. In hindsight, it may have been a bad idea to bet the country’s pandemic recovery on one of Canada’s top geopolitical enemies... This might be a good place to mention that Canada has led the world in per-capita spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the collapse of the CanSino plan, Ottawa poured $126 million into the Biologics Manufacturing Centre, an under-construction National Research Council facility that, when complete, would be able to produce millions of vaccine doses per month. Unfortunately, it won’t be complete until 2022 at the earliest. In December, it emerged that Ottawa had stuck to this plan despite offers from a Montreal company to manufacture millions of doses by the end of 2020. PnuVax, a Montreal biomanufacturer, runs a Health Canada-approved facility just down the street from the Biologics Manufacturing Centre, and has an established pedigree of manufacturing Ebola and pneumonia treatments. Multiple industry sources told the Globe and Mail that it was indeed plausible for PnuVax to have been cranking out truckloads of vaccines by Christmas. Calgary’s Providence Therapeutics had a similar story, saying that although it had developed a vaccine that successfully blocked COVID-19 transmission in mice, Ottawa ignored their appeals to have the treatment proceed to human trials... Countries don’t necessarily need domestic manufacturing to ensure a good outcome in the vaccine race. Israel became the world’s most-vaccinated country despite not making a single dose on their own soil."

NP View: Liberal failures on vaccines will mean more COVID-19 deaths that should have been preventable - " This follows a series of failures and missed opportunities on the part of the federal government that may have been prevented if the prime minister and his cabinet had spent less time blocking the opposition parties from looking into the WE scandal, banning single-use plastics, planning new carbon taxes and working on other initiatives that would have been totally in keeping with a Liberal agenda during normal times, but should have been put on the back burner during a time of national crisis... it failed to uphold its promise to expand an existing NRC facility in Montreal by last fall, which could have been producing small quantities of vaccines by now. It is starting to become clear why Trudeau seemed so gung-ho to trigger an election in the fall: he knew he had a limited window to secure a majority government before all these failures caught up with him."

Kelly McParland: Not only have the Liberals failed us on obtaining vaccines, they won't even be honest about it - "While the prime minister continues to make announcements from the front steps of his home at Rideau cottage, he shrugs off difficult questions while insisting he fully expects to get Canada’s contracted supply of vaccines by the end of March and begs Canadians to remain patient. He dismisses complaints as mere “noise.” Government assertions appear to be contradicted by what’s known of the contracts signed with manufacturers, but details haven’t been made public, enabling ministers to insist they drove tough bargains even as supplies are withheld and people who received their first dose are left wondering when, and if, they’ll be able to get the second. Even Canada’s premiers, who are responsible for organizing and administering the vaccines, were refused when they asked Trudeau for contract details."

In defence of Canada’s unprecedented decision for a four-month vaccine interval - "As you read this, Canada has a lower rate of deaths from COVID-19 than Israel. That’s right; if you live in a country with near-blanket vaccination coverage, you are more likely to die of COVID-19 than in a country with a lower vaccination rate than Poland. After spiking in January, Canadian deaths from COVID-19 have been in freefall for two months... Getting just one dose of the Pfizer vaccine doesn’t provide the 95 per cent risk reduction of the completed two-dose regime, of course, but that first shot is turning out to be surprisingly potent. Even among patients that are 70 years or older, U.K. data is showing that just the first shot can lead to an 85 per cent decrease in deaths. There is no spreadsheet at Pfizer headquarters saying that 21 days is the optimum, experiment-tested gap to maximize the effectiveness of their vaccine. In fact, it’s a number largely pulled out of thin air... In fact, the typical rule of thumb is that booster shots have the best potency when administered at least two months after the initial dose. Vaccinations for HPV, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, among others, all have their boosters at five months or more. Boosters shots for avian flu, meanwhile, have been found to be more effective at six months than if given only 28 days after the first shot, according to a 2009 study. The main reason Pfizer went with a three-week interval was because it was the shortest reasonable timeline for a two-dose vaccine... All this is to say that while Pfizer has been careful to recommend a 21-day interval between doses, it’s a number that has about as much science behind it as the expiry date on a jar of mustard. It’s why, in both the U.K. and the U.S., vaccine advisory panels have had few qualms about extending the interval... Policymakers were thus at an impasse: How to squash this pandemic as quickly as possible with only a very limited supply of vaccines. And with a shot whose effects are far more dramatic as a first dose than as a booster, the raw calculus was easy."
From April. But of course this wasn't enough to lift the lockdowns more than Israel

Rupa Subramanya: The truth about Canada's vaccine roll-out — we're not doing that bad - "By contrast to the U.S., the European Union has done remarkably poorly in harnessing its internal manufacturing capacity for the benefit of its citizens. In the EU, vaccinations per capita are 16.8 per cent, slightly worse than Canada, with a utilization ratio of 79.7 per cent, slightly better than the U.S., but with deliveries per capita of only 21 per cent, which is lower than Canada’s. The comparison of Canada to the EU also shows that Canada is not doing at all that badly at sourcing vaccines, especially considering that we are the only G7 country that doesn’t have domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity. As noted, Canada has higher deliveries per capita than the EU, which has ample production capabilities within its borders... The widespread perception that Canada is faring very poorly in rolling out vaccines to its population is misleading, and purely a reflection of the fact that, for better or worse, for many Canadians, the U.S. is the one and only point of reference outside our borders. The truth is that, in a global crisis such as this, the U.S. has a unique advantage as the last superpower standing... Nor does it make sense, as some do, to compare Canada to tiny island economies with small populations and only a few hundred thousand people to vaccinate."

Conrad Black: Our politicians have failed us — through lockdowns and a lack of vaccines - "Of countries in the world with over four million people, Canada ranks 30th in percentage of population vaccinated. Israel is first (90 per cent), the United Arab Emirates second (62 per cent), the United Kingdom third (31 per cent) and the United States fourth (28 per cent). Israel is small, centralized and scientifically very advanced. The U.A.E. is a rich petro-state. The U.K. and the U.S. are the principal scientific pioneers, and that Canada should trail those four countries is not a surprise. But it is not excusable that our percentage of people vaccinated is barely half of that of Hungary and Poland and Slovakia, less scientifically advanced countries with less than half the per capita income of Canada. More outrageous still is the fact that Chile, Turkey and Morocco, all comparatively remote and underdeveloped countries, have achieved between two and three times as great a percentage of vaccinated people as Canada has."

Vaccines will get us back to normal. Why is Canada pretending otherwise? - "an official Canadian line on vaccines that has persistently understated their effectiveness and ability to restore the country to normal operations. In a world where vaccinated populations are preparing to return to work, Canada is continuing to prescribe masking and social distancing for the vaccinated that is well beyond what the science would suggest... There are indeed cases of “vaccine breakthrough” (patients who contract COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated), but they are low enough that a fully vaccinated American effectively faces the same risks from COVID-19 as from the common flu... As virtually every day yields more evidence of the miracle of vaccines, Canadian public health officials continue to downplay the obvious: That vaccination is ultimately a ticket back to normal life... Canadians would be right to question why their government is pushing a vaccine while simultaneously dismissing its many and increasingly documented benefits."
It's almost like covid hystericists don't believe vaccines work

Chris Selley: Canada's lockdowns-forever doomsayers are actively working against the vaccine miracle - "University of Toronto epidemiologist Dr. Colin Furness told The Globe and Mail this week that travelling between (and presumably within) provinces nowadays is just like drinking and driving: “It’s selfish, it’s irresponsible, it’s dangerous and it poses horrible harm to others.”... a leaked draft of a press release from the Canadian Medical Association that was scheduled to go public on Wednesday. In it, the CMA called for lockdown rules to not be relaxed for four months. Jurisdictions that are in lockdown should stay in lockdown for the entire summer. Jurisdictions that are not in lockdown should go into lockdown and stay there indefinitely. Unless governments “get serious,” the CMA was readying to say, we would “continue to be pummelled by wave after wave.”... Israel began reopening attractions and amenities to vaccinated people on March 7, when 57 per cent of thetotal population had received at least one shot (and 44 per cent both) and it was reporting 400 daily cases per million. It ditched its outdoor mask mandate, and reopened all schools, on April 18, at 17 daily cases per million. It’s now at five daily cases per million. No one there is anticipating “wave after wave.” England reopened gyms, swimming pools, golf courses and other recreational amenities on March 29, with 45 per cent having had one shot and 5.7 per cent having had both, and at 75 daily cases per million. It allowed many other retail, personal services, tourist attractions and outdoor dining to reopen April 12, with 48 per cent partially vaccinated (11.6 per cent fully), and at 40 daily cases per million. Cinemas, theatres and museums are slated to open May 17. In the space of three months, the U.K.’s daily average death toll dropped from 1,244 to 26; it’s currently at 13. It happened on the continent too. Spain fell from nearly 30,000 cases a day in mid-January — far more per capita than any Canadian jurisdiction has ever seen — to less than 5,000 in just two months. France suffered its second major peak in early April, at nearly 40,000 cases per day — again, far higher per capita than Canada has known — and cut it by 60 per cent in a month. On January 29, Portugal reported 12,778 new cases on a seven-day average; on April 29 it reported 449. Those numbers happened under lockdowns. But not all lockdowns were created equal: Restaurants remained open in most of Spain and Portugal throughout those dramatic improvements, for example. “Close everything you can for as long as you can” is not the only way out. The United States remains the most compelling proof of concept, simply because many states have opened so incautiously, relying on vaccination and natural immunity. The waves keep not coming... there remains no need whatsoever for the official narrative to be so bloody grim, so thin on reopening targets, so reluctant even to admit that the worst of this is over. It cannot possibly be helping vaccine takeup."

Public Health Agency of Canada's frantic reversal of vaccine exemption for border crossers inexplicable - "There’s something almost too perfect and on point with the Public Health Agency of Canada, having made a good decision to allow people to cross the border to get vaccinated without having to quarantine on return, frantically finding a way to reverse it in the subsequent hours. But that’s exactly what’s happening this week. If you weren’t already frustrated and angry enough with this agency, perhaps this will do it."

KINSELLA: Informed consent shredded in Canada by AZ vaccine debacle - "The Trudeau government has made a circus of the vaccine rollouts. They tried to get vaccines from China, where two of our citizens are being held contrary to international law. Then, they didn’t get enough vaccines. Then, they got vaccines too late. Then, they told us AstraZeneca was totally safe, and now they’re saying it might not be. The result? Provincial governments are being forced to roll the dice with the health and well-being of Canadians. And “informed consent” — which is at the very centre of our entire healthcare system — is being shredded. More than two million Canadians gave consent for something to happen, and now it seems something else is happening."

Canada didn't invoke dispute clause when Chinese vaccine deal fell apart, documents reveal - "What happened, though, does underscore why research relationships with Chinese entities can be fraught with risk, said McCuaig-Johnston, a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy. “The experience of this partnership demonstrates once again that any collaboration with China can be jeopardized by Chinese authorities with malign intent""

Coronavirus: Federal advisory panel recommends end to hotel quarantine in Canada - "A federal advisory panel that provides advice to the government on COVID-19 testing and screening is recommending an end to the mandatory hotel quarantine required of international travellers entering Canada."
It's more important to burnish the optics than follow the "science"

LEVY: Fully vaccinated traveller fined $3,750 for refusing hotel stay - "Even though he told them he was fully vaccinated, they allegedly responded that he should have thought about the quarantine issue before deciding to travel (long before the quarantine rules came into play). He even had a letter from her sister’s doctor verifying that his wife was the only family member who could take care of her during the time they were away but the cops were “completely disinterested,” she claims... Before all the COVID Kens and Karens jump on their high horses, Hannah explained that the airport in Israel was closed to international flights (to non-Israelis) for some time, making it hard to get back sooner."

Rex Murphy: Apparently, debate on Trudeau's quarantine hotels would threaten the nation - "the Trudeau government has put a 20-year seal on the deliberations that led to Canada’s “mandatory hotel rules.”... You’re stopped at the airport, brusquely ordered to go to a hotel, stay for three days at your own expense and eat plastic-wrapped sandwiches, all for an exercise many people view of dubious value. The rules are known. However, to hear of the thinking that went behind them, to have citations from the cluster of high-powered brains around the cabinet table that gave them birth — this is a threat to Canada’s national security for the next 20 years. (It would present a greater threat than opening the whole WE Charity file. That’s how serious this is.)"

Five-year-olds ‘having panic attacks over socialising with their friends’ - "Five-year-olds are suffering panic attacks about meeting their friends, NHS leaders have said, amid warnings 1.5 million children will need mental health treatment in the wake of repeated lockdowns."

Most common Covid symptoms are now headache and sore throat - "The most common symptom of Covid-19 is now a headache, say experts, as they warned people to get tested even if they did not think they were suffering from the illness. King’s College London, which has been tracking symptoms through its app since the pandemic began, found that a cough was no longer in the top three symptoms, with sore throat, runny nose, headache and fever now the most typical signs. Scientists are unsure whether the Indian variant is causing the change in symptoms or if the change is due to younger people catching the virus, and so experiencing a milder version."
Proof we need more lockdowns!

New Zealand children falling ill in high numbers due to Covid ‘immunity debt’ - "New Zealand hospitals are experiencing the payoff of “immunity debt” created by Covid-19 lockdowns, with wards flooded by babies with a potentially-deadly respiratory virus... Wellington has 46 children currently hospitalised for respiratory illnesses including respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. A number are infants, and many are on oxygen. Other hospitals are also experiencing a rise in cases that are straining their resources – with some delaying surgeries or converting playrooms into clinical space. RSV is a common respiratory illness. In adults, it generally only produces very mild symptoms – but it can make young children extremely ill, or even be fatal. The size and seriousness of New Zealand’s outbreak is likely being fed by what some paediatric doctors have called an “immunity debt” – where people don’t develop immunity to other viruses suppressed by Covid lockdowns, causing cases to explode down the line. Epidemiologist and public health professor Michael Baker used the metaphor of forest brushfires: if a year or two have passed without fire, there is more fuel on the ground to feed the flames. When a fire finally comes, it burns much more fiercely. “What we’re seeing now is we’ve accumulated a whole lot of susceptible children that have missed out on exposure – so now they’re seeing it for the first time,” Baker said. The “immunity debt” phenomenon occurs because measures like lockdowns, hand-washing, social distancing and masks are not only effective at controlling Covid-19. They also suppress the spread of other illnesses that transmit in a similar way, including the flu, common cold, and lesser-known respiratory illnesses like RSA. In New Zealand, lockdowns last winter led to a 99.9% reduction in flu cases and a 98% reduction in RSV - and near-eliminated the spike of excess deaths New Zealand usually experiences during winter. “This positive collateral effect in the short term is welcome, as it prevents additional overload of the healthcare system,” a collective of French doctors wrote in a May 2021 study of immunity debt. But in the long term, it can create problems of its own: if bacterial and viral infections aren’t circulating among children, they don’t develop immunity, which leads to larger outbreaks down the line. “The lack of immune stimulation… induced an “immunity debt” which could have negative consequences when the pandemic is under control and [public health intervientions] are lifted,” the doctors wrote. “The longer these periods of ‘viral or bacterial low-exposure’ are, the greater the likelihood of future epidemics.” New Zealand has reported nearly 1,000 RSV cases in the past five weeks, according to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research. The usual average is 1,743 over the full 29-week winter season. Australia is also experiencing a surge, with overcrowded Victoria hospitals also hit by unusually high rates of RSV. Peaks like the current outbreak don’t necessarily mean the country will have more RSV cases overall, Baker says – it may just be that all the cases are grouped together, instead of spread out over several years. But even that can cause major problems. “If you get a big peak it can overwhelm your health system, or put real pressure on it, which we’re seeing with RSV,” Baker said. The current outbreak is already stretching New Zealand’s hospitals... Health boards in Auckland and Canterbury have postponed surgeries to divert resources into children’s wards"
The price of covid "success"
Clearly New Zealand should have locked down even more.
We need to adopt the same approach to EBV (which can cause cancer) as covid, and need to lockdown the world forever so babies can't ever get sick, and children should live in bubbles for the rest of their lives to protect them! We need to ban kids from going outside where they can fall down and get hurt. They can always meet other kids virtually and go to virtual school

‘Triple whammy’ of viruses could push NHS to breaking point this winter - "The work by 29 experts for the Academy of Medical Sciences says time is running out to prepare the UK for the winter season, when a combination of Covid-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) could overwhelm hospitals. The effect of social distancing measures and mlockdown means a much larger group of people susceptible to flu and RSV could be exposed in the coming months, leading to a sudden spike in infections. In the worst-case scenario of a flu outbreak, the level of infections could be more than twice as bad as a typical year and may lead to up to 60,000 deaths if no action is taken."
Hilariously, the same people bashing Boris Johnson for this being part of his plot to destroy the NHS were and are also bashing him for not locking down enough

1/3 of NJ small businesses have shuttered, yet the governor is still considering another lockdown
Nov 2020

Remember, your small business wasn't ruined by Covid, your small business was ruined by the government. - "In Los Angeles, after restaurants spent untold amounts of money they do not have creating outdoor dining spaces in order to comply with government edicts, the city's Public Health Department decides to shut that down, too. At some point, you have to start wondering if they just hate you... And then there's the seeming incapacity of those imposing and espousing lockdown rules to follow them themselves. Let's leave aside the obvious hypocrisy for a moment, and even whether or not you think the virus itself is dangerous. If California Governor Gavin Newsom sincerely believes that dining in a restaurant beyond arbitrary limits set by him is dangerous, would he still do it?"

How Big Government Stacked the Deck Against Small Business - "Most of us wouldn’t list 2020 as our best year. But you know who would? Amazon, Wal-Mart, Google, Apple, and a whole host of other big corporations who’ve seen their sales and stock prices soar amidst the pandemic. Small businesses have been pummeled by excessive and insane governmental lockdowns of the economy. Experts warn that one third of small businesses could ultimately shut down for good, and hundreds of thousands have already done just that. Meanwhile, Amazon’s sales increased 40 percent in the second quarter alone, while their stock price increased 97 percent. Apple hit a $2 trillion market cap, the first publicly traded company to do so, and reported nearly $60 billion in revenue. Since the pandemic began, Facebook’s stock rocketed up 85 percent, Google’s by 50 percent, Netflix by 63 percent, and Microsoft by 57 percent. All saw their revenues greatly increase compared to last year’s numbers as well.... Small businesses are the lifeblood of America. They comprise the majority of U.S. companies and employ nearly 50 percent of all our citizens. Not only are they an essential part of our economy though, they represent the American Dream – the idea that no matter who you are you can come here, work hard, do the right thing, and build something for yourself and your family... From the very beginning of the pandemic, government stacked the deck in favor of some companies to the detriment of others. First, they arbitrarily decided which businesses were essential and which could be forced to close. In order to keep people in their homes, which the science shows was never effective at preventing the contagion in the first place, the government had to allow tech businesses to operate at full capacity. Without Netflix, Amazon, and UberEats, few would have agreed to stay in their homes for weeks on end. To a large extent, these big businesses deserve the boom they’ve experienced because they did provide essential needs for people during a crisis. That’s a market response that should be praised. But, there were many other businesses who could have provided similar services and were not allowed to because the government deemed them non-essential. Part of this is due to the fact the larger companies had the capacity to rev up their delivery abilities, but part of this is because they spend millions of dollars lobbying politicians to ensure they always receive carve outs from the worst government policies. Not only did government persecute certain businesses to the benefit of others, it also provided incentives, handouts, and other pork in the CARES Act that continued to favor big business. Twenty-five percent of the initial $2 trillion (remember, those are your tax dollars) went to big business, with $58 billion going to the airlines alone and another $17 billion to the military-industrial complex giant, Boeing. Only $350 billion was earmarked for small businesses, and of that, $243 million “accidentally” went to large companies instead – leading some companies to return the money over the ensuing outrage. All in all, only 5 percent of small businesses received PPP loans."

LA Mayor Garcetti admits 'connection' between coronavirus outbreak and protests, after downplaying link - "Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that public protests are likely causing the number of citywide coronavirus cases to spike, just two days after claiming there wasn't "any conclusive evidence" showing a connection between the two."

Belarus: the land Covid forgot - "Belarus has not adopted any of the Covid measures embraced by the Western political bubble. There is nothing of the West’s panic, induced as it is by the rolling death tolls, hospital footage, campaigning scientists, and subsequently nodded through in a daze by parliamentary and legal power-checkers neglecting their responsibilities. Belarus is of course in crisis, but it is a different kind of crisis, one that has the effect of a turn towards life, not away from it. Despite Lukashenko’s opponents wanting an end to his 30-year reign and arbitrary decrees, there is a small but significant sense of mutual understanding between Lukashenko and the opposition regarding Covid, even if it is not often explicitly stated. When Lukashenko called Covid ‘yet another psychosis’, and declared ‘I’ve gone through many situations of psychosis together with you, and we know what the results were’, he echoed the sentiment of many in the former Eastern Bloc, particularly in what used to be East Germany, who have lived through periods of state-managed fear before... No section of Belarusian society appears preoccupied with Covid. There are some differences of opinion about what constitutes taking precautions, but it is clear to everyone that this is not the plague, and it does not require anywhere near the level of reaction seen elsewhere."

Maher: Shouldn't Liberal Media Have To Answer For Making The Audience Believe A "Bunch Of Crap About COVID?" - "HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher whacked the media for peddling paranoid "bullsh*t" about COVID with negative coverage and praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for protecting his "most vulnerable population, the elderly, way better than did the governor of New York," Andrew Cuomo... 'I think a lot of people died because talking about obesity had become a third rail in America. I know you’ve heard me pound this fried drumstick before, but since I last mentioned it, a stunning statistic was reported. 78% of those hospitalized, ventilated, or dead from COVID have been overweight. It is the key piece of the puzzle by far the most pertinent factor, but you dare not speak its name. Imagine how many lives could have been saved. If there had been some national campaign Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Program with the urgency of the pandemic behind it. If the media and the doctors had made a point to keep saying, but there’s something you can do. But we’ll never know because they never did because the last thing you want to do is say something insensitive. We would literally rather die. Instead, we were told to lock down. Unfortunately the killer was already in the house and her name is Little Debbie.'"

We will be lost if we panic at every Covid mutation | Financial Times - "we need to get coronavirus in proportion. It is now the ninth most common cause of death in England and Wales behind diseases including heart disease and flu. As the pandemic retreats, scientists and politicians are suffering an adverse reaction to the imminent waning of their own power. The airwaves have been filled with speculation that the variant first detected in India is highly transmissible, with few mentions of the fact that hospitalisations are still falling. Experts have intoned gravely that case numbers are rising dramatically in some places with large ethnic minority communities, and muttered that government should impose new lockdowns. But national case rates are stable, just as with the variants detected in South Africa and Brazil were. The signs are that this new variant will, like them, be containable locally. What has happened to our legendary English scepticism? The UK government has a sensible plan to unlock gradually, and irreversibly, culminating on June 21. Every time it looks as if it will renege on that, it messes with our heads and with the economy. There is still no cost-benefit analysis of the impact of lockdowns on health and livelihoods. When the public originally accepted unprecedented restrictions on liberty, it was to protect hospitals from being overwhelmed. That danger is past. England’s age-standardised death rate is now the lowest since records began in 2001, according to the Office for National Statistics. Last month, deaths were 6 per cent below the five-year average. In these circumstances, it is unbelievable that ministers and unelected officials continue to use authoritarian language — and without a murmur from the public. Last year, we were supposed to be grateful to our government for having “saved Christmas”. Next month we will be expected to cheer being “unlocked” in a country in which Covid now represents a mere 2 per cent of all deaths. Boris Johnson warned this week that “you should not be going to an amber-list country on holiday”, although his “green” list includes no European country except Portugal, and returning travellers have to isolate at home for 10 days and take two tests, with the home secretary threatening they should expect police to “knock on the door”. It is even more surprising that this language comes from a Conservative government, headed by a former libertarian. But no serious political party is any different. Labour’s shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry this week lost no time in calling for travel restrictions to be “much stricter”. I wonder how she thinks that will help international trade? Scarred by having been slow to lock down after the virus first emerged, the top of government tries to salve its conscience by pledging eternal vigilance. But fighting the last war makes no sense. Britain is a global business hub, where one in four children has a foreign-born parent and most adults have had at least one jab. This government should be far more worried whether its citizens have become too scared to be the buccaneering entrepreneurs of post-Brexit Britain... RNA viruses mutate and doctors must keep a watchful eye. But is the rush to book holidays so foolish? There are many reasons why Brits might be in danger. We drink too much, we are rash enough to enjoy swimming in the sea, and we have this bizarre habit of driving on the wrong side of the road. In other words, we take risks. That’s something that all democratic societies need to do again, before we forget how."

Covid-19 outbreak in dorms due to migrant workers' poor hygiene & bad habits: Zaobao forum letter - "migrant workers themselves, wrote Li, have to take personal responsibility for their poor personal hygiene. Many migrant workers come from backward countries and they bring their living habits here, said Li. This includes eating with their hands, eating under the trees and on the grass, and gathering together to drink and chat... It might seem pretty jarring to see such a seemingly xenophobic forum letter printed in the papers, but a quick look at its comments section on Lianhe Zaobao's Facebook page shows that this is not an uncommon view among Chinese readers."
It's more important to tell pleasant lies than to confront dangerous hypotheses

WHO urges countries opening borders to vaccinated travellers to recognize Chinese vaccine - "The WHO statement said that any measure allowing people to travel with only a subset of WHO-approved vaccines would create a two-tiered system and further widen the global vaccine divide. The WHO added that not recognizing all WHO-approved vaccines would impact the growth of economies that are already suffering. “Such moves are already undermining confidence in life-saving vaccines that have already been shown to be safe and effective, affecting uptake of vaccines and potentially putting billions of people at risk”... vaccine recognition could be a problem for some five million U.K. residents who received a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine known as Covishield, which was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. In total, more than 70 million doses of AstraZeneca were administered in the U.K., but 5 million of those were Covisheild versions. The Covisheild version is chemically identical to AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in the U.K. or EU, but may not be recognized by EMA as it was manufactured in India."
One could say the same about mandating any vaccine

Stop school testing - "Children are mercifully immune to the worst impact of the virus and those more vulnerable have been vaccinated. Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, said in the Commons on Monday that we will have to live with Covid as an endemic disease just as we already do with flu and other ailments, for which routine testing is not required. If the phrase “live with Covid” is to mean anything then mass testing has to stop if it serves no purpose other than to cause further disruption to the lives of our young people."

Police services crack down on "Freedom Rally" organizers
Weird how BLM protesters weren't charged for the same thing

Coronavirus: BAME groups disproportionately fined for COVID-19 breaches - "The statistics for BAME men show they were nearly four times more likely to be fined than young white males - 57% of fines for a group that represents 14% of the population."
Of course the only link between this and BAMEs being disproportionately affected by covid-19 is that both are the result of structural racism and white supremacy

Genève Campbell on Twitter - "Ali Sultan, a parent of one of the students, points out to AFP a warning sign in red letters written on a perimeter wall. "Beware of Mines," it reads. The school is located in the middle of a minefield, that was partially cleared to allow the students to return. "We were faced with a difficult choice, either leave them at home or face the risk of bringing them here to study in this rubble," Sultan said."
"I wonder if Yemeni protestors mounted child caskets on their minivans there, too. “Not until it’s completely safe!” Or is maintaining societal function always fundamentally a risk/benefit calculation?"

Our Leaders Once Thought Globally; The Pandemic Has Made Them Parochial - "Staring death in the eye, some experts flipped their own moral logic on its head—and elevated parochialism from a dark force to a radiant virtue. Early last March, the New York Times had featured health experts who questioned the Chinese government’s authoritarian approach to the coronavirus. But soon enough, they were running pieces that showed great envy for that approach—and last September even published a graphic feature with a most Trumpian headline: “To Beat the Coronavirus, Build a Better Fence.” America’s progressive flagship publication led off that feature with ominous words: “To stop the coronavirus, the most successful countries slammed their doors shut to visitors. It worked. Until they let outsiders back in.” Stefan Baral, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, pushed back against the Times’ fence-erection scheme. Unchastened, the Times declined to publish Baral’s letter. Francois Balloux, director of the University College London Genetics Institute, also has pointed out a shift in how open-minded elites speak of the threat posed by outsiders. Experts who point out the downside of a maximalist, “zero-Covid” strategy aren’t driven by a desire to “have blood on their hands,” to cite the disappointing charge commonly hurled at them. Rather, they’ve made a sober calculation that democratic societies can’t long keep their souls if the fence-building approach goes too far or for too long. That’s one reason why we’re seeing renewed interest in Edgar Allen Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, a chilling depiction of a royal court attempting to lock out the world during a plague... “What do you do when, in a mania, a majority of your population (the same people who used to ideologically defend free movement) demands a sort of biopolitical hypernationalism?” Enlightened public health leaders like Harvard’s Julia Marcus and UCSF’s Monica Gandhi champion well-established protocols of harm reduction, which take into account broader human needs. But less helpful experts call for maximum curtailing of human activity—in many cases even after mass distribution of Covid-19 vaccines—until all risk is eliminated within their borders."

NYT Wonders: Why Are Right-Wing Governments Performing Better on Vaccinations? by Guy Benson - "After some throat-clearing about left-leaning governance being better at earlier stages of the pandemic (debatable), he looks at the data on vaccination rates... Leonhardt's top hypothesis is damning: "A common problem seems to be a focus on process rather than on getting shots into arms. Some progressive leaders are effectively sacrificing efficiency for what they consider to be equity...Some blue states have also created intricate rules about who qualifies for a vaccine and then made a big effort to keep anybody else from getting a shot. These complicated rules have slowed vaccination in both California and New York." In other words, in addition to over-meddling, red tape-laden, bureaucratic incompetence, a fixation of "equity" is slowing things down where leftists are in charge. Equity is a popular buzz word in the Social Justice lexicon these days. It is presenting an obstacle to getting shots in arms because some lefty governments are obsessed with process and and "fairness," over just getting the job done. If Leonhardt is correct (and I think he's posed this theory as his top accusation for good reason), it's hard to avoid the conclusion that wokeness is actually killing people"

California keeps key virus data out of public sight - "California Gov. Gavin Newsom has from the start said his coronavirus policy decisions would be driven by data shared with the public to provide maximum transparency. But with the state starting to emerge from its worst surge, his administration won’t disclose key information that will help determine when his latest stay-at-home order is lifted. State health officials said they rely on a very complex set of measurements that would confuse and potentially mislead the public if they were made public... At the start of last week, no regions appeared likely to have the stay-at-home order lifted soon because their capacity was well below 15%. But within a day, the state announced it was lifting the order for the 13-county Greater Sacramento area. Suddenly, outdoor dining and worship services were OK again, hair and nail salons and other businesses could reopen, and retailers were allowed more shoppers inside. Local officials and businesses were caught off guard. State officials did not describe their reasoning other than to say it was based on a projection for ICU capacity... Yet the state’s public model shows a roughly 30% decline in Southern California ICU patients over the next month even as hospitalizations flatten and deaths climb. The model shows a smaller but still significant decline in the equally hard-hit San Joaquin Valley. “My reading of the tea leaves,” Rutherford said, “is that we’re at the very cusp of entering a period of falling case numbers.”'"
From January. How convenient

Scientists Are Calling For PNAS To Retract A Controversial Face Mask Study - "More than 40 scientists, including leading epidemiologists studying COVID-19, are calling on a top journal to retract a paper from a Nobel Prize–winning chemist that claimed that wearing face masks is the crucial factor in slowing the spread of the coronavirus — diminishing the role that social distancing measures play in protecting the public. The scientists, who sent a signed letter to the journal PNAS on Thursday, say that the paper is based on false statements and flawed statistical analysis and could encourage people to put themselves at risk by congregating in groups, believing that wearing a mask is enough to protect them from infection. “One of the things we really worry about is that people will take this as rigorous science and base their actions on it”"

Bjørn Lomborg - Posts | Facebook - "Even moderate lockdowns likely a terrible idea for poorer nations We did a study with Malawi's National Planning Commission: Lockdown avoids about 7,000 deaths but costs $12 billion $3 million can avoid more deaths in Malawi (4,000 times cheaper)."

Are covid concentration camps still a "myth"?

Men are less likely to wear masks – another sign that toxic masculinity kills | Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian
If women are hesitant about the vaccine, it's because the health industry hasn't earned their trust | Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian
The Guardian strikes again

Facebook - "Do you remember the zealousness with which Shanmugam took Facebook to task for breaching people's trust? Well, I do. “To what extent can we take seriously all these protestations that you can be completely trusted to apply your internal guidelines? It’s very relevant."
On Singapore using supposedly confidential covid-19 contact tracing data for criminal investigations
Comment: "For those that have been arguing that there's nothing to be concerned about for privacy implications of Singapores tracing, either you:
1) change your mind and learn something about how you could have been mistaken
2) do some mental gymnastics to argue why this is still ok and maintain your coveted mental consistency to keep your fragile ego intact and lose a lot of credibility going forward (because your motives for your thoughts are now doubted)
I never had any doubts this was always the case and the plan. No surprises for me here, and no mental gymnastics to do."
They did this shit for ERPII too

Journalist: ‘I Want To Find An Antimasker And Beat Them To Death’; ‘You F***ing Christians’ Are What ‘Jesus Condemns’ - "left-wing journalist and New York Times bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald wished “pain & misery” on Republicans and said that he wants to find an “antimasker” and “beat them to death.” During the volatile rant, Eichenwald also scolded alleged “anti-mask” “F***ING ‘Christians’ who preen about God saving [them] from COVID,” claiming they are who “Jesus condemns.” “I have so much hate in my heart tonight. My sister, widowed by COVID, has Covid because of antimaskers,” he wrote on Thursday. “About 4,000 died today; GOP says nothing. [Republican Sen. Josh Hawley] & his ilk are working to harm America. I wish them & their loved ones all the pain & misery they inflicted on this country.”... In another tweet, which has been removed from the platform for violating its terms of service, Eichenwald wrote: “It’s at a moment like this that I want to find an antimasker and beat them to death. Since they believe they have the right to kill others, they have surrendered any right to object. #CategoricalImperative.”... In another post, Eichenwald said he does not “care” if folks’ children are left orphans if those people don’t take the COVID precautions he would like them to take... Rational Ground founder Justin Hart posted, “400 yrs ago when a real plague hit Italy it was thought that foreign invaders went around brushing city walls with plague-infested water. When an older gentleman was seen brushing off a pew to sit on accusations flew. He was taken out and beaten to death. I guess we’re there now.”"
How bad can covid hysteria get?

Meme - "HOSPITALS ARE LIKE WAR ZONES RIGHT NOW #STAYHOME *Screencaps from 8 tiktok videos*"
Covid hystericists are unaware of how much time it takes to edit videos. Much less how much rehearsal time non-professionals take to learn slick dance steps

How long does it take to edit a video? How much work is running a youtube channel? - "Editing is one of the most time-consuming aspects of running a youtube channel for sure! Editing will take more or less time depending on how particular one is about audio, color grading, timing, etc. Most professional editors will say about 1 to 1.5 hours per minute of edited video, and that's about right. For us, a 30-minute video takes about 40 hours of editing."

Singapore’s ‘living with Covid-19’ road map suffers setback as restrictions return | South China Morning Post - "all restaurant dining will be barred, social gatherings – including visits to households – will be restricted to two people and wearing masks will be mandatory for indoor sporting activities. The tightened restrictions will last until at least August 18... “Some people have also asked why we are tightening measures, if we are planning to live with Covid-19 eventually, and how this fits into our endemic Covid plan,” said Gan Kim Yong, co-chair of the coronavirus task force. “Our direction has not changed. However, when we outline our plans to live with Covid. We also emphasise that we needed to significantly raise our vaccination rate,” he said, adding that infections needed to be kept under control to protect the unvaccinated, especially the elderly... Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ’s government previously indicated it would pursue an “endemic policy” – that would treat Covid-19 as similar to the flu – after vaccination numbers rose and “battle weariness” took a toll on the public. Ong Ye Kung, the health minister who also is co-chair of the task force, said the government was tightening the rules now because it was very close to its milestone of having two-thirds of the population vaccinated. “Really just literally weeks away, it is really not the time to risk it all,” he said. The restrictions would give Singapore time to plough ahead with vaccinations so “when we emerge from it we will be much more resilient”, he said."
So much for the noises about "living with covid" - there're no concrete actions
And if not "enough" (whatever that is) people get vaccinated (maybe due to moral panics over new variants), Singapore can never reopen!
The case of the UK is instructive, where freedom day got delayed and yet covid hystericists were yelling bloody murder when it wasn't postponed again
Ironically it may be better to let covid in and get high case numbers, especially if you protect vulnerable populations. Then more people will get scared and get jabbed and you can return to normal (or something closer to normal) sooner. As opposed to covid zero haven purgatory. Like the multiple draconian lockdowns in Australia. So much for their "success", or lockdowns "working" if they are strict enough

Novavax Is Now the Best COVID-19 Vaccine - The Atlantic - "At the end of January, reports that yet another COVID-19 vaccine had succeeded in its clinical trials—this one offering about 70 percent protection—were front-page news in the United States, and occasioned push alerts on millions of phones. But when the Maryland-based biotech firm Novavax announced its latest stunning trial results last week, and an efficacy rate of more than 90 percent even against coronavirus variants, the response from the same media outlets was muted in comparison. The difference, of course, was the timing: With three vaccines already authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the nation is “awash in other shots” already... the asymmetry in coverage also hints at how the hype around the early-bird vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna has distorted perception. Their rapid arrival has been described in this magazine as “the triumph of mRNA”—a brand-new vaccine technology whose “potential stretches far beyond this pandemic.” Other outlets gushed about “a turning point in the long history of vaccines,” one that “changed biotech forever.” It was easy to assume, based on all this reporting, that mRNA vaccines had already proved to be the most effective ones you could get—that they were better, sleeker, even cooler than any other vaccines could ever be. But the fascination with the newest, shiniest options obscured some basic facts. These two particular mRNA vaccines may have been the first to get results from Phase 3 clinical trials, but that’s because of superior trial management, not secret vaccine sauce. For now, they are harder and more expensive to manufacture and distribute than traditional types of vaccines, and their side effects are more common and more severe. The latest Novavax data confirm that it’s possible to achieve the same efficacy against COVID-19 with a more familiar technology that more people may be inclined to trust. (The mRNA vaccines delivered efficacy rates of 95 and 94 percent against the original coronavirus strain in Phase 3 trials, as compared with 96 percent for Novavax in its first trial, and now 90 percent against a mixture of variants. Pandemic-vaccine success, as I wrote last year, was never just about the technology. You needed a good vaccine, sure—but to get it out the door quickly, you also had to have a massive clinical-trial operation going, and it had to be situated in places where the virus would be spreading widely at just the right time. Even if your candidate worked amazingly well, if you weren’t testing it in the middle of a huge outbreak, you’d have to wait a very long time for the evidence to build... Corporate strategy was another crucial factor. To “win” the vaccine race, a company would need to be able to produce high-quality vaccine doses reliably and quickly, and in vast numbers. It would also need to field the challenges of working with multiple regulatory agencies around the world. And it would need to do all of this at the same time. BioNTech, the German company that developed the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, could not have accomplished so much, so quickly by itself. Last October, the company’s CEO, Uğur Şahin, told German interviewers that BioNTech had sought out Pfizer for help because of the scale of the clinical-trial program necessary for drug approvals. That strategic partnership, and not simply the “triumph of mRNA,” was what propelled them past the post. (Moderna had the advantage of its partnership with the National Institutes of Health.) Consider this: The BioNTech-Pfizer first-in-human vaccine study appeared on the U.S. government’s registry of clinical trials on April 30, 2020—the same day as the first-in-human vaccine study for Novavax, which would be going it alone. In a parallel universe where Novavax had paired up with, say, Merck, this story could have come out very differently. In the meantime, the early success of two mRNA vaccines pulled attention away from the slower progress of other candidates based on the same technology. Just two days after last week’s Novavax announcement came the news that an mRNA vaccine developed by the German company CureVac had delivered a weak early efficacy rate in a Phase 3 trial, landing below even the 50 percent minimum level set by the World Health Organization and the FDA... The “sobering” struggles of CureVac perfectly illustrate what epidemiologists call “survivor bias”—a tendency to look only at positive examples and draw sweeping conclusions on their basis. When the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines triumphed, The Washington Post suggested that a bet on “speedy but risky” mRNA technology had paid off with a paradigm-shifting breakthrough. Anthony Fauci called the gamble “a spectacular success.” Such analyses usually had less to say about the non-mRNA vaccines that had gotten into clinical trials just as quickly—and about the other mRNA vaccines that were hitting snags along the way. Now we’ve seen what happened to CureVac, and that some mRNA formulations clearly work much better than others. By one count, nine groups were testing mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in animal studies as of May 2020, and six were expected to be in clinical trials a few months later. By the end of the year, only BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna, and CureVac had reached Phase 3 testing, compared with 13 non-mRNA vaccines. Of the nine mRNA-vaccine candidates that were already testing in animals in mid-2020, just two have proved efficacy at this point, while no fewer than nine vaccines based on more traditional technologies have reached the same mark... An international study of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, published in May, found that among the most common online rumors were those alleging particular dangers of mRNA technology—that it leads, for example, to the creation of “genetically modified human beings.”... In this context, the success of the Novavax vaccine should be A1 news. The recent results confirm that it has roughly the same efficacy as the two authorized mRNA vaccines, with the added benefit of being based on an older, more familiar science... The Novavax vaccine also has a substantially lower rate of side effects than the authorized mRNA vaccines. Last week’s data showed that about 40 percent of people who receive Novavax report fatigue after the second dose, as compared with 65 percent for Moderna and more than 55 percent for Pfizer. Based on the results of Novavax’s first efficacy trial in the U.K., side effects (including but not limited to fatigue) aren’t just less frequent; they’re milder too. That’s a very big deal for people on hourly wages, who already bear a disproportionate risk of getting COVID-19, and who have been less likely to get vaccinated in part because of the risk of losing days of work to post-vaccine fever, pain, or malaise. Side effects are a big barrier for COVID-vaccine acceptance. The CDC reported on Monday that, according to a survey conducted in the spring, only about half of adults under the age of 40 have gotten the vaccine or definitely intend to do so, and that, among the rest, 56 percent say they are concerned about side effects. Lower rates of adverse events are likely to be a bigger issue still for parents, when considering vaccination for their children."

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