When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

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

Official data is 'exaggerating' the risk of Covid, 500 academics tell Boris Johnson - "Official data is 'exaggerating' the risk of Covid-19 and talk of a second wave is 'misleading', nearly 500 academics told Boris Johnson in open letter attacking lockdown.  The doctors and scientists said the Government's response to the coronavirus pandemic has become 'disproportionate' and that mass testing has distorted the risk of the virus.  They said tests are likely to be producing high numbers of 'false positive' results and the Government must do more to put infection and death rates within the context of normal seasonal rates."
From November 2020

Powerful teachers union influenced CDC on school reopenings, emails show - "The American Federation of Teachers lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on, and even suggested language for, the federal agency’s school-reopening guidance released in February.  The powerful teachers union’s full-court press preceded the federal agency putting the brakes on a full re-opening of in-person classrooms, emails between top CDC, AFT and White House officials show.  The emails were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request... The final CDC guidance won high praise from the AFT. “Today, the CDC met fear of the pandemic with facts and evidence,” the union said in a Feb 12 press release.  Many others, however, were puzzled and angered by what they saw as the CDC willfully ignoring the science and slow-walking a return to in-person learning even as mounting evidence showed schools were not a primary source of coronavirus infections as long as they followed mitigation strategies... Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco who has written extensively on coronavirus, called the CDC-AFT emails “very, very troubling,”  “What seems strange to me here is there would be this very intimate back and forth including phone calls where this political group gets to help formulate scientific guidance for our major public health organization in the United State,” Gandhi told The Post. “This is not how science-based guidelines should work or be put together.”  The close communication between the union and the feds came despite repeated assurances from CDC and Biden officials that the medical guidelines would “follow the science” and be free of political interference... The AFT and its affiliates have long been one of the most reliable and deep pocketed donor constituencies of the Democratic party, dropping almost $20 million to elect party members during the 2020 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."
"Follow the science"

There is no evidence that the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has a lower fatality rate than the wild-type virus
Strangely, covid hystericist claims that the Delta variant is more deadly don't get fact-checked

Delta Variant Surge May Make Unvaccinated Americans Less Likely To Get The Shot, Poll Finds - "the variant and misplaced concerns over Covid-19 vaccines’ efficacy against it have made a majority of unvaccinated Americans instead question whether they should get the shot."
Covid hysteria increases vaccine hesitancy. Covid hystericists don't seem to believe the vaccines work, since even variants aside they don't behave as if they do

Study suggests COVID-19 in children is milder than the flu - "the team found that the flu patients had higher hospital stays, higher rates of intensive care and ventilatory support, and higher mortality compared to COVID-19 patients. Steroid and oxygen use rates were also higher in the children hospitalized for influenza"
Plus this is conditional on being in hospital in the first place. Looks like schools need to be shut forever to protect kids from the flu

‘Children better off catching Covid naturally than having a jab’ | News | The Times - "Allowing children to catch Covid-19 naturally may be better for them than vaccination, according to a member of the committee deciding whether to offer jabs to teenagers. Professor Robert Dingwall, of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said that given how mild illness was in teenagers, vaccines had to be “exceptionally safe” not to do more harm than good. Arguing that the current “last wave” of infections in young people may be bringing the pandemic to an end, he urged people not to “panic about infection rates”, saying that Covid was no longer a significant cause of death, and science should not aim to “deliver immortality”... his views have significant support among epidemiologists, who suggest natural infection among young people would be a good way of “topping up” immunity in the population in the long term... “medicine cannot deliver immortality and it is profoundly damaging to society to imply that it can, if only we try hard enough. We are all going to die one day – the question is why and how.” Other government scientists have privately agreed that allowing teenagers to catch the virus naturally could help ensure long-term immunity without the need for booster jabs."

Covid-19 vaccines for children: hypothetical benefits to adults do not outweigh risks to children - "there are multiple assumptions that need to be examined when judging calls to vaccinate children against covid-19.  First, the disease in children is commonly mild, and serious sequelae remain rare. Despite “long covid” recently garnering increased attention, two large studies in children show that prolonged symptoms are uncommon and overall similar or milder in children testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 compared to those with symptoms from other respiratory viruses. The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) estimates put the infection fatality rate from covid-19 among children 0 to 17 years old at 20 per 1,000,000. Hospitalization rates are also very low, and have likely been overestimated. Furthermore, a large proportion of children have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2. The CDC estimates 42% of US children aged 5 to 17 years have been infected by March 2021. Given that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces a robust immune response in the majority of individuals, the implication is that the risks covid-19 poses to the pediatric population may be even lower than generally appreciated. In the clinical trial underlying the authorization of Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine in children aged 12 to 15, of the close to 1000 children who received placebo, 16 tested positive for covid-19, compared to none in the fully vaccinated group. Given this low incidence, the fact that covid-19 is generally asymptomatic or mild in children, and the high rate of adverse events in those vaccinated (e.g. in Pfizer’s trial of 12-15 year olds, 3 in 4 kids had fatigue and headaches, around half had chills and muscle pain, and around 1 in 4 to 5 had a fever and joint pain), a comparison of quality-adjusted life-years in the trial would very much favour the placebo group.  Potential benefits from the vaccine, including protection of children against severe covid-19 or long covid, or covid-19 months in the future, could affect this balance, but such benefits were not shown in the trial and remain hypothetical.   Even if one assumes protection against severe covid-19, given its very low incidence in children, an extremely high number would need to be vaccinated in order to prevent one severe case. Meanwhile, a large number of children with very low risk for severe disease would be exposed to vaccine risks, known and unknown. Thus far, Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine has been judged by Israel’s government as likely linked to symptomatic myocarditis, with an estimated incidence between 1 in 3000 to 1 in 6000 in men ages 16 to 24.  Furthermore, the long term effects of gene-based vaccines, which involve novel vaccine platforms, remain essentially unknown.   In terms of the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from children to adults, this is also low and decreasing, though not negligible. School teachers are more likely to get SARS-CoV-2 from other adults than they are from their students. The contribution of schools to community transmission has been consistently low across jurisdictions. In addition, considering estimates that 42% of those aged 5 to 17 years in the US are now post-covid, this should only lower the risk of transmission from children.  Add to this the fact that most adults in rich western countries have received at least one dose of covid-19 vaccine—around 80% of UK adults now have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, whether from past infection or from vaccination—and it seems the opportunities for children to be vectors of transmission to adults are dwindling.   Given all these considerations, the assertion that vaccinating children against SARS-CoV-2 will protect adults remains hypothetical.  Even if we were to assume this protection does exist, the number of children that would need to be vaccinated to protect just one adult from a bout of severe covid-19—considering the low transmission rates, the high proportion of children already being post-covid, and most adults being vaccinated or post-covid—would be extraordinarily high. Moreover, this number would likely compare unfavourably to the number of children that would be harmed, including for rare serious events. A separate, but crucial question is one of ethics. Should society be considering vaccinating children, subjecting them to any risk, not for the purpose of benefiting them but in order to protect adults? We believe the onus is on adults to protect themselves... it is highly inequitable to be vaccinating very low risk children in wealthy countries while many vulnerable adults in low-income countries have not had any doses."

Five reasons why COVID herd immunity is probably impossible - "Most estimates had placed the threshold at 60–70% of the population gaining immunity, either through vaccinations or past exposure to the virus. But as the pandemic enters its second year, the thinking has begun to shift. In February, independent data scientist Youyang Gu changed the name of his popular COVID-19 forecasting model from ‘Path to Herd Immunity’ to ‘Path to Normality’. He said that reaching a herd-immunity threshold was looking unlikely because of factors such as vaccine hesitancy, the emergence of new variants and the delayed arrival of vaccinations for children... It’s unclear whether vaccines prevent transmission... “Herd immunity is only relevant if we have a transmission-blocking vaccine. If we don’t, then the only way to get herd immunity in the population is to give everyone the vaccine,” says Shweta Bansal, a mathematical biologist at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Vaccine effectiveness for halting transmission needs to be “pretty darn high” for herd immunity to matter, she says, and at the moment, the data aren’t conclusive... Vaccine roll-out is uneven... Immunity might not last forever... There’s another problem to contend with as immunity grows in a population, Ferrari says. Higher rates of immunity can create selective pressure, which would favour variants that are able to infect people who have been immunized... At current vaccination rates, Israel is closing in on the theoretical herd-immunity threshold, Aran says. The problem is that, as more people are vaccinated, they will increase their interactions, and that changes the herd-immunity equation, which relies in part on how many people are being exposed to the virus... Ending transmission of the virus is one way to return to normal. But another could be preventing severe disease and death, says Stefan Flasche, a vaccine epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Given what is known about COVID-19 so far, “reaching herd immunity through vaccines alone is going to be rather unlikely”, he says. It’s time for more realistic expectations. The vaccine is “an absolutely astonishing development”, but it’s unlikely to completely halt the spread, so we need to think of how we can live with the virus, Flasche says. This isn’t as grim as it might sound. Even without herd immunity, the ability to vaccinate vulnerable people seems to be reducing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. The disease might not disappear any time soon, but its prominence is likely to wane."
Looks like covid zero havens are doomed to be cut off from the rest of the world forever, if not doomed to a never-ending cycle of lockdowns. So much for covid "success"
Of course covid hystericists in the rest of the world will keep bitching to lockdown because they're fixated on case numbers, but hopefully they'll be ignored

Vaccines Could Drive The Evolution Of More COVID-19 Mutants - "this evolutionary pressure is present for any vaccine that doesn't completely block infection. So it's not just an issue for people who are between their initial shot and a booster. Many vaccines, apparently, including the COVID vaccines, do not completely prevent a virus from multiplying inside someone even though these vaccines do prevent serious illness."
Weird. Covid hystericists demand compulsory vaccination and endless lockdowns in order to prevent new variants. So...

Vaccination is not enough by itself to stop the spread of variants, study finds - "They said people need to wear masks and take other steps to prevent spread until almost everyone in a population has been vaccinated... if so-called non pharmaceutical interventions are maintained -- such as mask use and social distancing -- the virus is less likely to spread and change... The findings suggest that policymakers should resist the temptation to lift restrictions to celebrate or reward vaccination efforts. This is likely to be especially true with a more transmissible variant such as the Delta variant, said Fyodor Kondrashov, also of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria. "Generally, the more people are infected, the more the chances for vaccine resistance to emerge. So the more Delta is infectious, the more reason for concern," Kondrashov told reporters. "By having a situation where you vaccinate everybody, a vaccine-resistant mutant actually gains a selective advantage.""
So if you never get almost everyone vaccinated, you can never go back to normal life. Wonderful. RIP The Arts and all mass events, over a disease with an under 1% mortality rate. The irony is that those who support this are the ones who profess to care a lot about the arts
I'm sure restrictions never being lifted will motivate more people to get vaccinated

Take it from a publican: Wake up to the true cost of vaccine passports, before it's too late - "“I don’t see a problem. You just have to flash your phone or show your vaccine certificate to a member of staff when you go in.” Nothing riles me up more than statements like this, pushed by arrogant pundits and peddled by mostly middle class, occasional pub goers.  Despite previously saying that they had no plans to introduce vaccine passports – or “Covid-status certification” – in the UK, the Government has gone back on its word and endorsed the scheme, saying that businesses have a “responsibility” to only admit those who can prove they’ve had two jabs or a recent negative Covid test. And it isn’t just “large events” that they want to start using the passes. The guidance covers pubs, bars and restaurants too. Have these people ever run a pub? For a Covid passport to serve any purpose, no patron without one should step one foot inside that business. To do that you need staff on the doors, open until close, seven days a week. Even for a small pub this could cost between £1,000 and £2,000 per week, making those businesses unviable.  Then there’s the ethics of the scheme. A parliamentary committee found them to be discriminatory, on the basis of race, religion, socio-economic background and age, because of differing levels of vaccination. And what purpose do they serve? How can a Covid passport be of any use whatsoever, if it’s now obvious that double jabbed individuals can still test positive and pass on an infection?...   The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said back in April that we must learn to live with Covid, in a similar way as we live with flu. So what happened? I can’t ever remember declaring my flu jab status. Can you?  Many American states, meanwhile, have passed laws to make implementation of Covid passports illegal. That tells you something. America is 80 per cent open, without restrictions or face masks.   I fear for the future of my three kids, if a section of society here in the UK truly believes we need these sorts of controls on our lives. Too many have been sucked in by the fear and constant doom and gloom from our scientists and sections of the media.  They allow the likes of Independent Sage to rattle off apocalyptic predictions with little pushback, when they almost always turn out to be wrong. It seems the only winner in all this is The Fear PR machine and all the trappings of attention and money it generates."
The people who go around calling everyone they disagree with Nazis are the ones advocating "papers please".
Given how keen covid hystericists are to force everyone to get vaccinated, it's like they don't believe the vaccines work

EDITORIAL: Vaccine passports not needed in Canada | Toronto Sun - "Some people just don’t know when to let go of the pandemic. Those desperately angling to introduce vaccine passports left, right and centre certainly fall into that category... The truth is that vaccine passports really only serve two purposes: to punish the small percentage of people who are not vaccinated and to bring in a symbolic gesture that helps make people feel safe regardless of what it actually accomplishes.  Every adult who wants to get vaccinated, go and do it. Then let’s get on with our lives."
I saw a vaxhole saying an unvaccinated person is a "disease ridden flea bag" who should not be able to "walk out and about freely". Amazing. Of course liberals continue to mock those with concerns, or who draw parallels with the Nazis
Keywords: diseased

“Jews Are Lice: They Cause Typhus” - "The Nazis often portrayed those they persecuted as vermin, parasites, or diseases. Nazi ideology focused on the idea that Germany’s "racial purity" was under attack from the "blood of weaker peoples," and Nazi propaganda often depicted Jews, political opponents, and others as parasitic organisms that threatened the overall health of the "German racial community" (Volksgemeinschaft). During the years of the Nazi regime, German doctors frequently argued that Jews spread disease. Reflecting common themes in Nazi propaganda, these medical professionals repeatedly pushed the false claim that Jews were especially responsible for outbreaks of typhus—a deadly contagious disease spread by lice."
So it seems accusing everyone of being a "Nazi" is really just projection. But of course they'll pretend it's totally different

Vaccine passports are no ticket to freedom - "Vaccine passports won’t return our freedoms – they will undermine them.  Like any health intervention, whether people get vaccinated against Covid is and always should be a personal choice. Vaccine passports, in contrast, would pressure people into being vaccinated. Making them a condition for entry into pubs, restaurants and other venues will coerce people into having the vaccine, by shutting off a whole swathe of social life from the unvaccinated (unless they can produce a negative PCR test or proof of immunity). In a sense, vaccine passports would turn vaccination into a form of social credit. It’s not just the unvaccinated who will pay the price, either. In a free society, nobody should have to declare their medical history in order to access a service. The obligation to do so – the creation of a ‘papers, please’ society – should offend the jabbed as much as the un-jabbed. It is an attack on everyone’s rights...   This reflects the government’s wider anxiety about reopening society. It has finally committed to the delayed ‘Freedom Day’ on 19 July. But as the day approaches, the tone becomes ever-more cautious. Ministers fear the dire warnings of the forever-lockdowners, who think that any step towards pre-Covid life will unleash devastation... If we introduce vaccine passports now, other uses for them will be found and we might never get rid of them."
At least in Europe they accept recovery from a recent infection or a negative test in lieu of vaccination. Indeed, given that the vaccine may not prevent transmission, a negative test is going to be more useful for protecting others than being vaccinated. All this hating on the vaccinated is just another way to demonise an outgroup deemed evil

O’CONNOR: Why vaccine passports in Canada are a bad idea | Toronto Sun - "Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has rejected vaccine passports. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has been dismissive, even as Toronto Mayor John Tory vocally supports the concept.  Manitoba, by contrast, recently implemented a digital vaccine passport. This week, it also issued new public health orders requiring proof of full vaccination in order to access certain facilities and services. Only fully-vaccinated Manitobans can dine together at a restaurant, attend pro sports games and outdoor arts events, or visit casinos or theatres. Museums – including, ironically, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg – can only open to the fully-vaccinated. Operators of these facilities must take reasonable measures to ensure that only fully-vaccinated persons are present. Unvaccinated, or half-vaccinated persons, are banned from attending any of these facilities. Many Canadians cannot be vaccinated. Some experience medical conditions or disabilities preventing vaccination. Others may have sincere religious or conscience objections. Still, others may not wish to be vaccinated for other reasons.  Isolating them from the community – particularly when cases are low and nearly 80% of Canadians have received at least one vaccine dose – is not only unfair, it is an affront to civil liberties and medical privacy. Mandatory implementation and use of vaccine passports – as in Manitoba, and as contemplated elsewhere – would be yet another instance of government overreach during the pandemic, and, especially when implemented without exceptions, likely unjustifiably breaches the Charter of Rights and Freedoms...   Given Canada’s high vaccine uptake and low case counts, calls for mandatory vaccine passports should be seen for what they are: a final attempt by governments and proponents to do through the back door what they cannot do through the front door, requiring persons to get vaccinated who are otherwise unwilling or unable.  All Canadians who value liberty, equality, and equity should tell their governments that they will not accept living in a society that promotes segregation instead of inclusion. At the start of the pandemic, we often heard that we are “all in this together”.  Requiring proof of vaccination in order to participate in the community turns that noble phrase into a hollow lie."

Unvaccinated less likely to have jab if Covid passports become mandatory, says expert - "An ORB survey of more than 2,000 people found that, of respondents who had yet to receive a vaccine but were open to the idea, 44 per cent may be less likely to accept a jab if Covid certification became a requirement at clubs, theatres and sporting events... Dr Figueiredo's analysis of the polling showed that the introduction of vaccine passports could lead to a 27 per cent "net decrease in agreement to accept a vaccine"."
Ironically, a podcast on vaccine history pointed out that the medical establishment dishonestly pretending that vaccines had no risks or side effects, as well as a push to coerce people into getting vaccinated both increased vaccine hesitancy. Looks like vaxholes are nothing new

Sorry, Liberal Media, Kaiser Poll Shows It's Not Republicans Who Are COVID Vaccine Resistersa - "First, the experts said to get the shot, but remain inside. Then, they said we can take the masks off. And now some places are saying put those masks back on, the same store-bought ones that don’t curb the spread of COVID as noted by Dr. Anthony Fauci in his recently revealed emails.   Get the shot, return to normal. They work. That’s simple messaging, but to keep fear and panic alive for political purposes—the experts decided to give us all whiplash with pure science fiction. All this back-and-forth says one thing to most: the vaccines don’t work. That’s not the case—but this is a public relations monster of the Left’s own doing. This is their creature. Get vaccinated, but you can’t go outside, they say.  And then, these clowns turn around, go on television, and wonder why people aren’t getting vaccinated. It’s because you people fumbled the ball on messaging. You have been for months.  And to feed the moral superiority complex of liberal America and coastal snobs, they peddle a fake narrative about how vaccine hesitancy is only with Republicans and maybe the religious. Remember, liberals are learned, people. They don’t believe in God. They're smarter. Yeah, and then Kaiser dropped this nuke, which surprisingly CNN covered... Well, well, well—that sure is interesting. These people cannot move on from Trump. They’re still traumatized by the 2016 election—and so they’re just committing war crimes on anything they think ails America. That’s not healthy. It explains why they cannot move on from January 6, though most of us already have. But once again, the liberal media is wrong. I mean, what do you expect from a group of folks who have manufactured panic porn over this for months? So, share this far and wide, folks. I’m sure it will ruin any liberal’s day. These people are always wrong. Remind them."

Why politicians won't reach the vaccine hesitant - "A look at the data reveals that the vaccine hesitant group, however, are not big Trump lovers. They're actually likely not to be Republican. Instead, many of them are people who are detached from the political process and didn't vote for either major candidate in 2020.  The most recent Kaiser poll helps illustrate that the vaccine hesitant group doesn't really lean Republican. Just 20% of the group called themselves Republican with an additional 19% being independents who leaned Republican. The clear majority (61%) were not Republicans (41% said they were Democrats or Democratic leaning independents and 20% were either pure independents or undesignated)... The people who are vaccine hesitant are not old. The clear majority (about 60% to 70%, depending on the poll) are younger than 50"

Fearmongering is no way to win over vaccine refuseniks - "The Australian government has released an incredibly disturbing ‘Covid awareness’ advert. It shows a young woman lying in a hospital bed, gasping for breath, in a state of total panic... The advert is supposed to improve vaccine take-up among young people. No responsible government should be using these tactics. They are authoritarian and manipulative. And they callously imply that unvaccinated people have themselves to blame if they become ill.  Fearmongering is no way to win over vaccine refuseniks Share Topics Politics UK World  The Australian government has released an incredibly disturbing ‘Covid awareness’ advert. It shows a young woman lying in a hospital bed, gasping for breath, in a state of total panic.  It is distressing to watch. I know people who are terrified of getting Covid-19 and who would be profoundly affected by this video. That’s not to mention how disturbing it might be for those who have lost loved ones to the virus.  The advert is supposed to improve vaccine take-up among young people. No responsible government should be using these tactics. They are authoritarian and manipulative. And they callously imply that unvaccinated people have themselves to blame if they become ill.  Sadly, the Australian advert is hardly the first of its kind. Last year in the UK an advert was released at Christmas time by an organisation called NHS Charities Together. It showed a Covid-stricken Father Christmas being wheeled into hospital, unconscious, with an oxygen mask over his face. The people who made the film clearly had no consideration for how their portrayal of Santa on the verge of death might affect young children who still believe he is real. After receiving a lot of criticism from parents, the video was taken down...   This atmosphere of fear has consequences. Fearful people are more likely to support harsher restrictions on their fellow citizens. Fear-based messaging can be divisive and corrosive of social bonds. In my neighbourhood, during the lockdown, people called the police on a cancer-charity bake sale and on a children’s birthday party – even though the latter was being celebrated by a large family who already lived together.  The ends do not justify the means. If you want people to take the vaccine, addressing their concerns is much more effective than trying to shame them into compliance. In fact, research shows that these tactics make people more likely to withdraw and become unreachable.   Jessica Kaufman, an Australian researcher looking into vaccine hesitancy, has heavilily criticised the Australian government’s film. ‘We’ve seen, with vaccination in particular, that fear campaigns or scary messages about diseases can actually cause people to become more fearful of vaccine side-effects’, she told the Guardian. She has also argued that this kind of video makes people more distrustful of the government.  An endocrinologist once told me that the best way to help someone manage diabetes is not to shame them for their diet, but to try to understand their lifestyle and help them make the adjustments that will improve their condition. The same is true for all health problems. People need to be able to think clearly and calmly, especially during a pandemic. They should be empowered to assess risk for themselves so that they can make the right decisions."

America’s elites are fuelling vaccine hesitancy - "The groups most likely to express vaccine hesitancy are those who live in rural areas, those with conservative views and younger people. Unsurprisingly, the New York Times draws a political conclusion from this: ‘Least vaccinated US counties have something in common: Trump voters.’ Indeed, vaccine hesitancy has become another excuse for Democrats in ‘Blue America’ to voice their contempt for ignorant, selfish Trumpists in ‘Red America’.  But this smugness really isn’t justified. By most objective measures, Red America is coping with Covid better than Blue America. While many red states have removed all government restrictions on social activity (the latest being Florida), many blue-state residents are still living in lockdown...   As you’d expect, unemployment rates have been much lower in red states than blue states for months. This rosier economic outlook has not been at the expense of health, either. The states with the highest death rates from Covid are New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, while Florida and Texas are in the middle of the pack.  Liberals pride themselves on being more educated than Trump voters, who they believe are misinformed about Covid and everything else. Yet in a recent Gallup survey, Democrats did much worse than Republicans when asked the likelihood of someone with Covid needing to be hospitalised. About 40 per cent of Democrats thought the chances were 50 per cent or more, and another 28 per cent said the likelihood was 20 to 49 per cent. The correct answer is between one and five per cent... As one survey found, progressives are ‘the most neurotic’ when it comes to the pandemic. The wealthy and educated in Brookline in Massachusetts and Montgomery county in Maryland have voted to reintroduce mask mandates, after the governors of their states dropped them. Woke MSNBC presenter Joy Reid has proudly announced that, post-vaccination, she still wears two masks while jogging. In the towns where you’ll see virtue-signalling yard signs, proclaiming ‘IN THIS HOUSE… WE BELIEVE SCIENCE IS REAL’, the people are ignoring science and cowering in fear... Some have already caught Covid and therefore believe they have antibodies. And some, especially younger people, simply believe that even without vaccination their odds of death from Covid-19 are extremely low (which is true).   But one of the most important reasons for vaccine hesitancy is a lack of confidence in the authorities: there are many under-50s who do not trust the elites of the medical profession and political class. This is what journalist Derek Thompson found when he spoke with people reluctant to get vaccinated. The ‘no vaxxer’ outlook, says Thompson, can be summed up as: ‘I trust my own cells more than I trust pharmaceutical goop; I trust my own mind more than I trust liberal elites.’ A broader lack of confidence in political elites has been a factor in vaccine hesitancy as well. ‘Liberals, Democrats and public-health elites have been wrong so often, we’d be better off doing the opposite of almost everything they say’, is how Thompson characterises this view.  Our public officials have earned this lack of trust. From about-turns on guidance (masks were discouraged before they were required) to hypocrisy (politicians flaunting the lockdown rules they imposed on others) to outright political favouritism (BLM protests were exempt from lockdown because ‘racism is a public-health crisis’), the elites have only themselves to blame if people have lost trust in them and ignore their pleas to get a vaccine jab. Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser and Covid guru, Dr Anthony Fauci, recently said it was ‘disturbing’ that Trump voters were choosing to not get vaccinated. ‘We’ve got to dissociate political persuasion from what’s common sense, no-brainer public-health things… What is the problem here?’ Well, in a word, the problem here is you, Dr Fauci. Last December, Fauci admitted that he had, up to then, played down his estimate of what would be required to reach herd immunity, in order to encourage take-up of the vaccine. He had waited until ‘the country is finally ready to hear’ what he ‘really thinks’. Of course, on learning this, most people wondered what else Fauci was being dishonest about.   In an interview last week, Fauci called for ‘trusted messengers’, such as celebrities from the worlds of entertainment and sport, to be enlisted in a campaign to combat vaccine hesitancy. But he might want to ask why he and other leading health experts, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are not considered ‘trusted messengers’. Indeed, the CDC has done a lot to undermine its credibility. Two weeks ago the CDC relaxed its guidance somewhat. But it still insisted that vaccinated people must wear masks indoors and outdoors if there’s a crowd – despite no scientific rationale to support these continued restrictions. The CDC then followed up with insane guidance that requires kids at summer camps to wear masks at virtually all times – no matter how cruel it is to impose masks in summer heat, and despite the low risk Covid poses to kids... at the same time our politicians back up their restrictions on social life by reference to ‘The Science’, our scientific experts are shown to be thoroughly politicised and untrustworthy. When it comes to public messaging, no platform has a greater audience than a president’s bully pulpit. But Joe Biden is not a persuasive jab advocate. Biden’s more strident message – via both his words and actions – is to keep wearing a mask, even after vaccination. And he takes his mask-wearing to extreme lengths. Last month, the vaccinated president wore his mask on a Zoom summit with world leaders. Last week he wore a mask at an outdoor press conference – to announce new guidance that the vaccinated do not need to wear masks outdoors. Then he declared to NBC News that vaccinated people had a ‘patriotic responsibility’ to continue wearing masks...   As it happens, vaccine hesitancy is not as big a deal as the scaremongers make out. Yes, we do want as many people as possible to get vaccinated, but vaccination does not need to reach 100 per cent of the population in order to make Covid manageable and bring our lives back to normal. Covid impacts the elderly most of all, and here there is great news: 83 per cent of over-65s have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Moreover, as Dr Marty Makarty argues, the focus on vaccinations ignores natural immunity — that is, antibodies from prior infections. About half of the unvaccinated are immune, according to Makarty. When you combine this with the nearly 60 per cent that are vaccinated, it is no wonder the threat posed by Covid is rapidly dwindling... Whether it’s Biden, his scientific experts, or his liberal base of support – all are defined by excessive risk-aversion, and they can’t be counted on to bring life back to normal. Instead, they appear ready to engage in a divisive campaign to scapegoat the vaccine-hesitant, and use them as an excuse for postponing normality."

The myth of vaccine hesitancy - "there is simply no evidence that vaccine hesitancy is a major problem in the UK. Polling suggests that the UK has the highest willingness to take the vaccine in the whole world: 90 per cent have either had it or would have it, according to YouGov... The panic over vaccine hesitancy is just the latest expression of our establishment’s tendency towards authoritarianism. Officials and the media are far less interested in tackling Covid-19 than in shaming perceived deviants and enforcing draconian measures. Compare, for instance, the press’s demonisation of ‘Covidiots’ in parks and on beaches – which evidence suggests have never been linked to a single Covid outbreak – to their relative silence on the hospitals which released Covid-infected patients into care homes. Vaccine hesitancy may not exist on any large scale, but it does make for a good pretext for more illiberal measures, such as vaccine passports or continued social-distancing rules. Clearly, the goal posts on vaccine take-up have moved significantly. Last year, the WHO estimated that somewhere between 65 and 70 per cent of people would need to take the vaccine to be certain we could get our old lives back. Back in January, Matt Hancock said that once the most vulnerable had been vaccinated, we could ‘cry freedom’. The most vulnerable have been protected for several months now, and 70 per cent of the UK’s adults have been jabbed. But more hurdles keep getting placed in the way of reopening."

Vaccine Hesitancy and the Paradox of Choice - "A recent survey revealed that 29 percent of Australians said they were not likely to get a COVID vaccine. Even as a new outbreak had emerged in Melbourne, vaccination hubs were not being utilised anywhere near their capacity. Vaccine hesitancy appears to be the latest COVID related challenge for health authorities in Australia...   The vaccine hesitancy we are seeing may be partly an inevitable outcome of making vaccination seem like a consumer choice, rather than just another essential medical service. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell you what brand of flu vaccine they had received in the past, nor the brand of many other medical treatments they’ve used."
Covid "success" leads to vaccine hesitancy/apathy

COVID-19 vaccine stirs rare hesitation in nearly virus-free Singapore - "In a city-state where compliance with the authorities is generally high, some Singaporeans fear potential side effects - even if minimal - are not worth the risk when daily cases are almost zero and fatalities are among the world’s lowest. “Singapore is doing pretty well,” said Aishwarya Kris, who is in her 40s and does not want a shot.  “I doubt the vaccine will help at all.”  A poll by local newspaper The Straits Times in early December found that 48% of respondents said they will get a vaccine when it is available and 34% will wait six to 12 months... “Singapore is a victim of its own success,” said Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases expert at the city’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital... Even three nurses told Reuters under the condition of anonymity that they would prefer not to take the vaccine... John Han, a sales manager, said he wanted to wait for 80% of the population to take the vaccine without side effects.  “If there is a choice given, I might not take it. I don’t mind to put on the mask, be safe, avoid crowded places,” said Han, 40."

The Huge Economic Costs of Refusing the COVID-19 Vaccine - The Atlantic
So is it alright to "fat shame" since that increases the bill for everyone else?

Expats in Singapore, Hong Kong watch with envy as world opens up - "For Singapore, the extended closure has diminished its stature as host for high-profile global events and a travel hub via one of the world’s top-rated airports, particularly after winning plaudits for its early handling of the virus. The World Economic Forum’s annual gathering, planned for the city-state in August, has been nixed, as has this year’s Formula One race for October.  Hong Kong has the added pressure of Beijing’s tightening grip. A survey by the American Chamber of Commerce last month showed more than 40% of its members might leave Hong Kong, highlighting concerns over a China-imposed national security law and the handling of the pandemic.  The next three to four months for Singapore will be a “tipping point,” said Juliet Stannard, director of Citiprop Property Management, who has 21 years’ experience in the city’s real estate market. Expats may depart in the next six months if vaccinations and travel re-opening don’t go as planned — a danger she believes the government fully recognises.  If the government doesn’t meet its vaccinations goals, “they know their international reputation will be tarnished,” Stannard said. Amid the efforts to reopen, Singapore sees the economy growing 4% to 6% in 2021 after last year’s 5.4% contraction, its worst performance since independence more than a half-century ago. Hong Kong’s government is forecasting growth of 3.5%-5.5% this year.  In both cities, fewer people are arriving to replace those who’ve left, said Lee Quane, regional director with ECA International, which specialises in mobility. A reversal of that trend looks unlikely given ongoing restrictions and quarantine rules, while rival centers like New York and London open up... A big worry for foreign workers in both cities is how and when they’ll be able to return to Singapore or Hong Kong if they travel abroad, an especially fraught situation for those with virus-stricken families back home. If they are allowed back in, they could face quarantines of as long as three weeks... Elsewhere in Asia-Pacific, Australia, where roughly 30%, or 7.5 million residents, were born overseas, pressure is building on the government to articulate a plan for opening international borders. The nation’s biggest business lobby has called on the government to start opening from this month... In a potential sign of progress, Hong Kong is moving toward shortening quarantines for most fully vaccinated travelers who pass antibody tests, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday, easing a border policy that had been criticised as among the strictest in the world."

A jab for protection – and economic recovery - "with health experts warning COVID may be with us for many years, we are going to have find a way to ‘live with’ the virus for some time... we need as many Australians as possible to get vaccinated as fast as possible.   As a small, multicultural country that thrives on trade and capital flows with the rest of the world, we’ve become one of the richest nations in the world by engaging in global markets... in the long term, the extraordinary support from governments can’t remain forever, and closing ourselves off to the world for years and relying on lockdowns when outbreaks occur is not sustainable.   Various industries, particularly education and tourism – our fourth and fifth largest exports prior to COVID –would face significant headwinds. Meanwhile, individuals will remain disconnected from friends and family overseas as travel is restricted – a negative that will also drag on the many businesses that engage in commerce around the world."

Covid: Anger as half of Australians in lockdown again

NSW lockdown needs to run to September to reduce cases of Delta strain, modelling shows

Australia’s COVID Catch-22 - "It’s become like a Groundhog Day, set in late March 2020. In recent weeks community transmission has returned after leaks from hotel quarantine. This has led risk-averse state governments to reintroduce stay-at-home orders: first in Melbourne, and now in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Townsville, and the Gold Coast...   Australia has experienced the archetypical story of hubris. Aussies genuinely felt superior watching the rest of the world last year: we beat the virus, you got millions of deaths. The early success, however, bred arrogance and complacency. Now the overconfidence is coming crashing down in the face of failure. Australia never expected to be so successful in suppressing COVID-19. Like elsewhere, the original plan in March 2020 was to “flatten the curve” to ensure healthcare capacity was not overwhelmed. This meant accepting that some level of spread was inevitable. This all changed when early border closures—along with harsh lockdowns and effective testing and tracing—unexpectedly drove cases down to zero.   Life quickly returned to normal for most Aussies; with the exception of an extended lockdown in Melbourne last year. The economy has performed better than most comparable countries and few have died. Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious disease expert, “wished” the US could be more like Australia.  This sense of Australian exceptionalism drove complacency when it came to vaccines. The United Kingdom and the United States, in the face of large outbreaks, offered big money to speed up vaccine research and manufacturing. This meant signing big early contracts with a diverse array of producers using various technologies. Despite having plentiful resources, Australia was slow to procure, under invested, and opted for a heavily nationalistic approach. Then there was extraordinary bureaucratic failure and bad communications...   The approval of vaccines overseas marked the beginning of outward complacency from Australia’s political leadership. Morrison insisted in December that Australia would not take “unnecessary risks” by immediately approving vaccines. They would instead give Australia’s medical regulator—the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)—as much time as they would like. The lack of urgency is astonishing. Morrison has repeatedly declared “It’s not a race” over the last six months. It is almost like there is little interest in reducing the risk to human life, ending damaging lockdowns and reopening borders...   Even after regulatory approval, the rollout showed little urgency. It took an entire month for Australia to even begin vaccinating. Since then every target has been missed...   Soon, however, the biggest issue will be the growing levels of vaccine hesitancy. The lack of urgency, general mayhem and lacklustre communications has severely damaged public confidence.  In most parts of the world vaccine hesitancy has decreased over the last six months as hundreds of millions of jabs have shown it to be both safe and effective. Not in Australia. In August 2020, a poll found that 88 percent of Australians said they would get a vaccine, the highest among 27 surveyed countries. By December 2020, this had fallen to 64 percent. By May 2021, 55 percent of Australians would definitely get a “safe and effective” vaccine while 28 percent would refuse. Another survey suggested a concerningly low 35 percent of Australians said they would currently get a vaccine. This low level of interest in the vaccine will make it extremely difficult to get anywhere near the herd immunity level and mean a large number of people will remain vulnerable.   The rhetoric highlighting Australia’s “slow and steady” approach to vaccination was meant to instil faith that proper process was being followed. Instead, it has backfired by raising concerns. In the process of justifying Australia’s slow rollout, Morrison repeatedly insulted key allies by insinuating their faster programmes were unsafe, rushed, and problematic. At one point, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was forced to issue a statement correcting Morrison’s false claim that the UK does not test each vaccine batch for purity.   The AstraZeneca blood clot issue has also proven challenging for Australia. Sensationalist media reporting has exaggerated the risk of death, driving broader concerns over the vaccine in all age groups. The technical advisory group came out against anybody under-60 getting AstraZeneca—leaving millions of unused doses in the country. In the latest dramatic twist, the federal government announced this week that it would allow GPs to provide AstraZeneca to people under 40 who are willing to accept the risk. This opportunity was immediately taken up by thousands of younger people who have the most interest in ending lockdowns and continuing with normal life. In response, however, Queensland’s chief medical officer Dr Jeannette Young dramatically played up the risk of an 18 year old “dying from a clotting illness” after taking the vaccine. The playing up of a minuscule risk has been heavily criticised for providing a big gift to antivaxxers.   But in a way Young is right. There is no point in getting a vaccine when borders are shut and there are few locally transmitted cases. It’s a Catch-22: you cannot open the borders until people are vaccinated, but there’s no point in getting your vaccination while the borders are shut. Australia is on the cusp of becoming the Hermit Kingdom. There is no prospect of international borders reopening until 2022. There are calls for harsh arrival caps to be halved. Closed borders remain extremely popular. It will take another 12 months for the completion of Australia’s vaccine programme at its current pace. Even then, Australians seem unwilling to accept even a single case of community transmission. Even vaccines are not 100 percent effective and cannot guarantee zero cases and so quarantine and lockdowns could continue for some time... It will then be necessary, once the population is vaccinated, to have an adult conversation about how COVID-19 is not going to disappear from the face of the planet.  Australia did well at the start of the pandemic. But learning how to live with the virus is going to take a little while longer."
The media drives covid hysteria. It also drives covid vaccine hysteria. The media profits off hysteria, basically

Let’s live freely again - "Only our bungling PM could preside over a ‘Freedom Day’ such as this. In which an estimated 1.8million people are confined to their homes. In which only a fraction of those self-isolating have actually tested positive for Covid. And in which those needlessly confined masses include the PM and the chancellor.  Let’s live freely again Share Topics Politics UK  Only our bungling PM could preside over a ‘Freedom Day’ such as this. In which an estimated 1.8million people are confined to their homes. In which only a fraction of those self-isolating have actually tested positive for Covid. And in which those needlessly confined masses include the PM and the chancellor.  Freedom Day has also become a bit less free since it was delayed in June. Masks and social distancing may no longer be a matter for the law, but the government is still leaning on businesses and mayors to enforce them anyway. Vaccine passports may not be mandated, but ministers are pushing nightclubs to use them. The government is trying, hopefully in vain, to outsource its authoritarianism to the private sector.  Those who do want to go about enjoying their newly restored freedoms – like the young people queueing around the block outside clubs last night – soon find themselves accused of recklessness for doing so... To anyone who actually gets what freedom is, the very idea of Freedom Day will also stick in the craw. Not only is it pretty corny, it also presents our liberties as nice things to be gifted back to us by the government, and potentially taken away just as easily, rather than the rights of free citizens in a liberal, democratic nation... The idea that individuals should be trusted to run their own affairs and balance their own risks is now laughable to much of the great and good.  This casual disregard for individual liberty is informed by a fear and loathing of the collective. Covid, for the more influential sections of the working-from-home classes, has just turbocharged their pre-existing disgust with ordinary people."

Boris Johnson is adamant that freedom’s coming home, so try and enjoy it – even if it kills you | The Independent - "This is a new kind of freedom. This is the kind of freedom you really only get once in many generations. It is the freedom that comes when a prime minister just absolutely, 100 per cent cannot be bothered with any of it anymore. When, in the end, he decides it would be easier, at least for him if not for anybody else, not to send coronavirus packing, but to open up the door, throw its bags down upon the fourteen-grand-and-four-public-inquiries sofa and tell it to make itself at home.  From now on, everyone gets to fight their own very personal war on Covid, just like the Viet Cong but with nasal swabs instead of IEDs.  “We will move away from legal restrictions and allow people to make their own informed decisions,” the prime minister explained. If you want to wear a mask on public transport, you can. If you don’t, then don’t. These things are up to you now. Look, it’s not the government’s job to keep on top of basic public health.  Good old-fashioned British common sense can do that. And now it will. That’s also why, from 19 July, there’ll also be no more speed limits on the roads. If you want to do the school run at 90 miles an hour then you can, and if you don’t, then don’t. And if you wipe out the odd pedestrian or two then they were making an informed decision to cross the road, that’s their problem not yours."
It's weird how those who claim to "follow the science" don't believe the vaccines work and hysterically call for perpetual lockdowns, then bash "anti-vaxxers" (even if they're only skeptical about covid vaccines, not all of them)

Britain is suffering from ‘freedom hesitancy’ - "Pubs, bars, restaurants and other venues open their doors today for the first time all year. Galleries, museums, cinemas and theatres are also back. Yet the excitement is distinctly muted. On the same day the government is legalising a vast range of social activities, the prime minister is urging ‘a heavy dose of caution’... Of course, what’s on offer is a very limited version of freedom. Had there been no lockdowns, the restrictions we are still dealing with today would be seen as a monstrous attack on civil liberties. You can only meet in groups of six indoors and there will be no clubs, concerts or access to legal but seedy venues for some time yet.  But even this cautious reopening is still too much for some. The clouds of gloom are gathering on the horizon once again... Earlier this year, the modellers at SAGE were predicting thousands of deaths per day following the lifting of restrictions, even with a high vaccine uptake. Having revised down these estimates, SAGE is now convinced that the Indian variant changes everything and that hospitals are about to be overwhelmed. Many of the gloomiest scientists have not changed their message at all in light of the vaccine rollout. The Zero Covid campaigners at Independent SAGE were arguing that lockdown should continue ‘for the foreseeable future’ as far back as January, long before the Indian variant had arrived in Britain. They were also worried that the vaccinated would not abide by social-distancing rules and would take off their masks. Lots of people, particularly those in power, still support restrictions on social activity in the absence of a serious viral threat.  It seems that Britain is suffering from a serious bout of freedom hesitancy. One in 10 Britons wants lockdown measures to last ‘indefinitely’. The Guardian has grown so attached to lockdown that it expects its readers to organise regular, private ‘lockdown days’ after restrictions are lifted. Fifty-four per cent of Brits say they will miss some aspect of the lockdown. A third say the past year of house arrest has been similar or better for them on average than other years. Lockdown has become a way of life. What’s needed now is a campaign against incessant Covid doom-mongering. The government needs to say that the vaccines work and will offer us a one-way ticket to freedom. Scientists should give up on their models and look at the real world. In the US, states like Texas and Florida have abandoned control measures. Experts and President Biden warned of a deluge of hospitalisations and deaths in those states. But this has simply not materialised. Texas reported zero Covid deaths yesterday, two months after reopening, for the first time since March 2020."
From May. Of course, one delay was not enough for the covid hystericists
When the "science" is contradicted by reality, clearly reality is wrong, and we must "follow the science"

STEPHEN GLOVER: This is Boris Johnson's Falklands moment. Like Mrs Thatcher, he MUST now hold firm - "My new hero is Heiko Maas, Germany's foreign minister and a member of the Social Democratic Party, which broadly corresponds to the moderate wing of the Labour Party.  Earlier this week, Mr Maas said there were no political or legal justifications for maintaining coronavirus restrictions in Germany once the whole adult population has been offered a jab. This target is expected to be reached by the end of the month... If only Sir Keir and Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth were as clear thinking. Unfortunately, they whinge and they grumble without giving their own timetable for opening up society.  Let me make a prediction. Boris Johnson is about to enter the stormiest period of his prime ministership. If he keeps his nerve, he could be remembered not as a maverick easily tossed about by the waves, but as a resolute leader.  The infection rate will almost certainly rise over the coming weeks since the Indian (or Delta) virus is rampant. On Monday the PM imagined 50,000 new daily cases, while with seemingly greater candour the new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has suggested as many as 100,000.  If that happens, the death rate is bound to increase, though to levels very far below those of January. Unvaccinated people are obviously most vulnerable, but there are likely to be a few deaths even among those who have been double-jabbed. When that transpires, Labour will create a stink and attempt to represent Boris Johnson as a trigger-happy prime minister who doesn't care a jot for human life.  Critical scientists and self-declared experts will emerge in droves and be given a pulpit by our state broadcaster, the BBC, from which to throw missiles at the Government. By contrast, the scientists who support official policy will be given short shrift by Auntie... The Government's plan of action is not a reckless one. It is backed by many scientists, including, with only mild caveats, the normally gloomy 'Professor Lockdown', aka Neil Ferguson... Boris was right on Monday: 'if not now, when?' Unless we are shown a route out of the miserable and constricting circumstances of the past 16 months, how can we ever escape?  It's not just the PM who must hold his nerve. All of us have to. We have been indoctrinated into a state of fear for so long that many of us will blink nervously as we totter into the daylight.  Dear old Auntie (other channels aren't much better) has terrorised us with her graphic footage of intensive care wards and her phalanxes of medical folk who, like Sir Keir Starmer, always offer us reasons for staying in prison, never for getting out.  We have been traumatised by the daily litany of statistics —those with Covid, and those who have died.  Yet few of us fret about the much greater dangers of dying from cancer or heart disease or even an accident at home. Fact: Covid was only the 24th 'leading' cause of death in June. Let's free ourselves from the tyranny of statistics pumped out by the media which have the effect of exaggerating the dangers of Covid. And let's remember that life is never without risks."

Covid deaths just one sixteenth of level seen in previous waves - "Tim Spector, the lead scientist on the app and professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, said: "Whilst the figures look worrying, it's important to highlight that vaccines have massively reduced severe infections and, post-vaccination, Covid is a much milder disease for most people... every adult in Britain has been offered a first dose of a Covid vaccine, with 87.8 per cent of the population having taken up the chance of protection. More than two thirds of the adult population has also now had both doses."
Covid hystericists only focus on case numbers, which in vaccinated people is meaningless

We can't let them cancel Freedom Day because of another 'scariant' - "The pattern should be familiar by now. So familiar, indeed, that even the most trusting among us must start to suspect foul play. A few days before each stage in the roadmap, a new story about a Covid mutation – a “scariant” – is disseminated in the media. The sackcloth-and-ashes brigade from Sage hits the airwaves, clanging the Plague bell. This time, those adorable funsters from the Scientific Advisory Group and their trusty “model” said we could see 10,000 hospitalisations per day in July from the Indian variant... We know what comes next. A few days after Attack of the Killer Scariant 2/3/4, the news is quietly slipped out that the current vaccines can deal perfectly well with the new mutation (jabs appear to be 97 per cent effective against the Indian one). Even if it were more transmissible, so many of the vulnerable are vaccinated, there’s no way the NHS could be overwhelmed. Oops, sorry about that – no harm done, eh?  No harm done, except they’ve toyed with the fragile mental health of millions and further terrorised the one-in-10 Britons who believe lockdown should continue indefinitely, so well has the propaganda cast its spell... We’re being ridden like mules and, with one sharp tug on the reins, the illusion of personal liberty is removed.  Such cruel, underhand tactics are alien to a free society. They are explored by Laura Dodsworth in her timely new book, A State of Fear, which traces the disturbing role of psychology in the Government’s handling of the pandemic. Back in March 2020, members of SPI-B (Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour) warned that ministers needed to “increase the perceived level of personal threat” because too many people who were at no risk from the virus (as the majority of us weren’t) “still don’t feel sufficiently personally threatened”.  Fear was deployed indiscriminately to ensure compliance with lockdown rules. I vividly remember seeing a horror-film ad on Channel 4, which menaced: “All age groups are equally at risk.” It was a lie, and they knew it. “The way we have used fear is dystopian,” one SPI-B scientist admitted to Dodsworth, “the use of fear has definitely been ethically questionable. It’s like a weird experiment. Ultimately, it’s backfired because people became too scared.”  Thanks to the devious mind-manipulators of SPI-B, the famously doughty Brits are now a bunch of neurotic wrecks. We are more afraid of coronavirus than any other nation. We are the most likely to overestimate the mortality rate and the least likely to get back to the office. Oh, and the UK is one of the few countries not to publish its Covid recovery figures. Good grief, they might have given the dangerously reassuring impression that most people who contract the virus get better!... Ah, say the scientists, corrugating their brainy brows, “but we are concerned”. Me, too – I’m concerned about the I’ve-got-undiagnosed-cancer variant and the My-restaurant-will-never-reopen variant and My-three-year-old-has-speech-delay variant and My-dad-is-still-too-scared-to-leave-the-house variant. Where are the algorithms for those, Professor?...   I don’t believe vaccination should be compulsory, but if you are an overweight South Asian male with hypertension or diabetes, you are a sitting duck for coronavirus. That’s just a medical fact. I’m sorry, but people in high-risk groups who choose not to get the jab must live with the consequences. (The hospitals can cope.) The rest of us, who willingly ran whatever small risk is associated with the vaccines to get our society back on track, should not suffer as a result of their stupidity.  Is the Indian scariant being used to terrify a reluctant minority into the vaccine queue? I wouldn’t be surprised. Not only is such manipulation unethical, it ignores the untold psychological harm done to the rest of the population who, once again, feel happy and excited only to see their hopes dashed.   I’m afraid that scientists have developed a taste for totalitarianism and are loath to switch off the power. You know things are bad when members of SPI-B break cover to warn Laura Dodsworth that “psychology has been used for wicked ends… it’s dystopian, and it’s what wakes me up at 3am”."

SAGE cannot be serious - "It seems odd that no one from SAGE stopped for a moment to check the numbers against the real world. Someone ought to have questioned whether 10,000 hospital admissions per day was a reasonable estimate. The real scandal here is that SAGE as a whole decided to let the paper through and presented it to ministers as serious projections on which policy decisions might be made. Clearly, the modellers have learnt nothing from earlier misguided projections. Most infamously, the predictions by Neil Ferguson’s team at Imperial that, without a lockdown, Sweden could have had between 66,400 and 90,200 Covid-related deaths by the end of July 2020. In fact, the actual number was 5,721, less than a tenth of the lowest estimate... the government should instruct SAGE to present evidence not just on infections but also on the cost of the restrictions. It is scandalous that decisions are still being taken based on only one side of the cost-benefit equation – only Covid is considered and the harms of the restrictions are ignored.   Unfortunately, many scientists who sit on SAGE seem opposed in principle to easing restrictions. They are unlikely to change their minds even though policies based on their advice have had devastating implications for business, for public finances, and for the wellbeing and livelihoods of millions of people."

How did Sage get it so wrong? | The Spectator - "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 - and suggests that 74 per cent of the adult population had antibodies by 2 May... Although Ferguson’s team at Imperial College has been notable for its pessimistic predictions, it has not been alone. One modelling study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which also contributed to Sage's interim roadmap assessment in advance of the next step out of lockdown, assumed that two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would only give 31 per cent protection against infection and one dose just 72 per cent against dying from the disease. These are bewilderingly low figures, not only because of the much more encouraging field trial evidence that had been around for months, but also because a large-scale study on the ground found that a single dose of the AZ vaccine was 94 per cent effective in preventing hospitalisation in Scotland... 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."
I've seen a lot of attempts to explain Neil Ferguson's doomsday modelling being wrong, but this certainly seems unescapable, given that his 'optimistic' assumptions were wildly pessimitic

Do People Want Their Pre-Pandemic Freedom Back? - "When it comes to insanely restrictive (and, arguably, ineffective) pandemic measures, critics tend to point the finger at public officials and their appetite for power. But government functionaries may be no more of a danger to post-COVID freedom than some of our neighbors. Recent polling suggests that many among us not only approve of the lockdowns of the past year and foresee public health restrictions continuing into the indefinite future, but they also want the world to remain constrained by efforts to prevent illness—or maybe just constrained, and never mind the reason... "Polling by Ipsos MORI for The Economist suggests two-thirds think masks, social distancing and travel restrictions should continue for another month. A majority would support them until covid-19 is controlled worldwide, which may take years. Even more strikingly, a sizeable minority would like personal freedoms to be restricted permanently. A quarter say nightclubs and casinos should never reopen; almost two in ten would support an indefinite ban on leaving home after 10pm 'without good reason'"... Full results at the polling firm's website reveal 19 percent support for a permanent 10pm curfew. Significant minorities favor other permanent restrictions, including: keeping nightclubs and casinos closed forever (26 percent); enforced social distancing in theaters, pubs and sports grounds (34 percent); mandatory 10-day quarantines for people returning from foreign countries (35 percent); mandatory tracking-app check-ins when entering pubs and restaurants (36 percent); mandatory masks in shops and on public transportation (40 percent); foreign travel allowed only with proof of vaccination (46 percent).  Ipsos emphasizes that support for permanent restrictions is in the minority, although majorities favor keeping some controls in place "until COVID-19 is under control worldwide." But it's such a surprisingly large minority that The Economist portrays the data as evidence that liberty-loving England is a myth.   It's easy to scoff at the polling results from across the Atlantic—especially so soon after July 4th festivities. We knew there was a reason the founders wanted American independence, right? But a portion of the U.S. population shares a similar taste for public health restrictions.  "A plurality of voters say their area should start to roll back coronavirus restrictions when at least 75 percent of the local population is vaccinated," a Hill-HarrisX poll found in March. "14 percent said restrictions should be kept in place 'indefinitely.'" When you get more specific about "restrictions" support for them seems to increase.  "A growing number of Americans want to get the coronavirus vaccine, and a majority also support workplace, lifestyle and travel restrictions for those not inoculated against COVID-19," a Reuters/Ipsos poll found the same month. The poll found majority support for barring the unvaccinated from airplanes (63 percent), public schools (59 percent), gyms (54 percent), theaters (56 percent), and offices where they're employed (56 percent). All of this even though the vaccines against COVID-19 are remarkably effective at shielding those who take them against illness, no matter the status of people around them... Overall, despite high-profile protests and criticism by public health experts concerned that more harm than good was done by draconian limits on human life that "had no detectable health benefits" in the words of University of Chicago researchers, many Americans, like their counterparts in the U.K., approve of the lockdowns and mandates of the past year. Given their support for those policies, it's likely they'd approve of similar responses to public health challenges in the future. And some people see no reason to wait for new problems—they want the world to be less free going forward than it was pre-COVID-19.  The Economist suggests the pandemic may only be an excuse for those who already wanted a reason to constrain their neighbors.  "Many Britons did not go out dancing or drinking, or take overseas holidays, even before the pandemic," the magazine's writers point out. "Nightclubs, casinos and dark streets harbour all sorts of wrongdoers. For some, it seems, endless lockdown is an acceptable price for everyone else staying home."  We already know that many people in our fractured world disapprove of hobbies, businesses, and lifestyles enjoyed by others and would like to see them disappear. The virus, then, may just be an opportunity for those who want to rein in freedoms they find frightening. They happily applaud restrictions on liberty not because they're necessary for public health, but because they restrict.  Fortunately, those eager to permanently constrain our lives constitute a minority. But when added to the ranks of those who approved such public health measures before and seem inclined to support them again given half a reason, freedom looks all-too insecure in the post-COVID-19 world."

How Nations Are Learning to Live With Covid-19 Pandemic - The New York Times - "New Zealanders seem to have accepted the possibility of longer-term restrictions. In a recent government-commissioned survey of more than 1,800 people, 90 percent of respondents said they did not expect life to return to normal after they were vaccinated, partly because of the lingering questions about the virus... In Australia, several state lawmakers suggested this month that the country had reached “a fork in the road” at which it needed to decide between persistent restrictions and learning to live with infections. They said that Australia might need to follow much of the world and give up on its Covid-zero approach.  Gladys Berejiklian, the leader of the Australian state of New South Wales, immediately knocked the proposal down. “No state or nation or any country on the planet can live with the Delta variant when our vaccination rates are so low,” she said. Only about 11 percent of Australians over age 16 are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also backed away from calls for a shift in the country’s Covid protocols. After announcing a four-phase plan for returning to regular life on July 2, he has insisted that the strength of the Delta variant requires an indefinite postponement."
Ironically, this article cited Singapore and came out just as they locked everything down again

Evaluating the effects of shelter-in-place policies during the COVID-19 pandemic - "We study the health, behavioral, and economic effects of one of the most politically controversial policies in recent memory, shelter-in-place orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous studies have claimed that shelter-in-place orders saved thousands of lives, but we reassess these analyses and show that they are not reliable. We find that shelter-in-place orders had no detectable health benefits, only modest effects on behavior, and small but adverse effects on the economy. To be clear, our study should not be interpreted as evidence that social distancing behaviors are not effective. Many people had already changed their behaviors before the introduction of shelter-in-place orders, and shelter-in-place orders appear to have been ineffective precisely because they did not meaningfully alter social distancing behavior."
Yet another study showing that lockdowns don't work

Cloth face masks are 'comfort blankets' that do little to curb Covid spread, Sage adviser warns - "Standard face coverings are just "comfort blankets" that do little to reduce the spread of Covid particles, a scientist advising Sage on ventilation has said.  Dr Colin Axon, who has advised the government on minimising the risk of cross-infection in supermarkets, accused medics of presenting a "cartoonish" view of how how tiny particles travel through the air... "Medics have this cartoonised view of how particles move through the air - it's not their fault, it's not their domain - they've got a cartoonish view of how the world is," he said.  "Once a particle is not on a biological surface it is no longer a biomedical issue, it is simply about physics. The public has only a partial view of the story if information only comes from one type of source. Medics have some of the answers but not a whole view."  Dr Axon, Brunel University's senior lecturer in engineering, said that the true mechanisms involved are best evaluated through science...   Dr Axon, whose report on ventilation in supermarkets was used by both Nervtag and Sage to aid decisions, says that medics "cannot have it both ways" over asymptomatic spread.  He added: "Not everyone carrying Covid is coughing, but they are still breathing, those aerosols escape masks and will render the mask ineffective"...   "All around the world you can look at mask mandates and superimpose on infection rates, you cannot see that mask mandates made any effect whatsoever.  "The best thing you can say about any mask is that any positive effect they do have is too small to be measured.""

No ‘return to normal’ expected in post-pandemic New Zealand – and locals say that’s fine - "the vast majority of New Zealanders – 91% – do not expect life to return to normal, even once they are vaccinated. In recent speeches and media interviews, prime minister Jacinda Ardern has likened the Covid-19 pandemic to the 9/11 terror attacks in the US – in the sense that even after the immediate damage was cleared, the experience continued to transform the way countries approached security, travel and immigration. “After 9/11 our borders changed forever, and our borders are likely to change quite permanently as a result of Covid-19,” Ardern said... The human cost of closed borders – including separated families and the distress of stranded expats – seems to have had less of an impact. Throughout last year, around 75-80% supported keeping the border closed. According to the DPMC’s more recent research, 84% of people were “OK with stopping travel from very high-risk countries”, and 53% were worried about opening up travel bubbles beyond Australia and the Cook Islands... Epidemiologist and public health professor Michael Baker said for some countries, there is a deeper divide between the rhetoric and the reality of government policy. While the Australian government had been talking about a return to normal, its policies did not yet reflect that: “Actually, for the foreseeable future it’s fortress Australia – they’re actually taking a more intense elimination approach than even New Zealanders, for the foreseeable future, right into next year,” he said. New Zealand’s talk matches more closely to its reality. The country is aiming to complete its vaccine rollout by end of year, but there is still a long slog ahead. As of this week, about 13.5% of the adult population is fully vaccinated, and 20% have had one dose. Experts including Baker have warned for some time that even after that rollout is complete, many countries may not return to “normal”.  Without 100% vaccination, outbreaks will continue, and for countries that want to minimise death and illness, it’s likely that other public health measures like mask-wearing or brief lockdowns will be needed in future. “You could get to a point where we’d have quarantine free entry into New Zealand from other countries that are managing the pandemic well, countries with high vaccine coverage. Almost certainly the world will require vaccine passports to travel, and you may have pre departure testing,” he says.  “The roadmap for New Zealand might well be towards a long-term elimination state,” says Baker."
Another Hermit Kingdom

Covid: How busy are hospitals in England? - "When announcing the national lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the NHS risked being overwhelmed if the measures weren't taken.  But statistics suggest that the proportion of beds currently occupied by patients is actually lower than usual... The data shows that hospitals were at about 87% occupancy in December and early January, however this figure increases to just over 90% in London and the South East.  This means that for every 10 hospital beds available across England, roughly nine had a patient in them on any given day.  This occupancy rate is actually noticeably lower than a usual year. In a normal winter, occupancy tends to average between 93% and 95%."
Supposedly this doesn't reflect staffing intensity, but it's still a good refuting of the narrative that hospitals run out of beds due to covid

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend" — The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  Forbes has embarrassed itself by giving a ‘Tech Person of the Year’ award to a fired data manager who lied and exaggerated her involvement in Florida’s coronavirus website.  The State of Florida earned much of the criticism it received in the spring over its coronavirus messaging. This fed the political suspicion that was already rampant. Despite what much of the reporting says, Rebekah Jones wasn’t the Covid hero she was portrayed to be. Her job was to help manage a state-run website that displayed coronavirus data. She did not write the software that displayed the data, it’s a commercial package that she loaded the data into (and is used by many other states as well).  She was/is a contentious individual who took exception to withholding the publishing of data until it could be verified. A hold up of one day."
Addendum: Related

Rebekah Jones's Florida COVID Data Conspiracy -- Not a Word of It Is True - "T his is a story about Rebekah Jones, a former dashboard manager at the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), who has single-handedly managed to convince millions of Americans that Governor Ron DeSantis has been fudging the state’s COVID-19 data.  When I write “single-handedly,” I mean it, for Jones is not one of the people who have advanced this conspiracy theory but rather is the person who has advanced this conspiracy theory. It has been repeated by others, sure: by partisans across the Internet, by unscrupulous Florida Democrats such as Nikki Fried and Charlie Crist, and on television, by MSNBC in particular. But it flows from a single place: Rebekah Jones. To understand that is to understand the whole game. This is about Jones, and Jones alone. If she falls, it falls.  And boy does it deserve to fall... Jones knows exactly which buttons to push in order to rally the gullible and get out her message. Sober Democrats have tried to inform their party about her: “You may see a conspiracy theory and you want it to be true and you believe it to be true and you forward it to try to make it be true, but that doesn’t make it true,” warns Jared Moskowitz, the progressive Democrat who has led Florida’s fight against COVID. But his warnings have fallen on deaf ears. Since she first made her claims a little under a year ago, Jones has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through multiple GoFundMe accounts (and, once she realized that she was losing a percentage to credit-card fees, through paper checks); she has become a darling of the online Left; and, by pointing to her own, privately run dashboard, which shows numbers that make Florida’s COVID response look worse than it has been, she has caused millions of people to believe quite sincerely that the state’s many successes during the pandemic have been built atop fraud... Jones’s journey began on May 18, 2020, on which day she was dismissed by the Florida Department of Health. Today, she claims that she was fired because she had refused to take part in a massive cover-up. But as her personnel file shows, not only was there no cover-up but the agency did everything it could to de-escalate the situation around this employee before it eventually became untenable. Indeed, as the records clearly show, indulging Jones had been its approach from the outset. At the time she was hired, the state government knew from its background check that Jones had completed a pre-trial intervention program in Louisiana in 2018, thereby securing a “no conviction” record for “battery of a police officer,” and it knew that she had entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement with the State of Florida in 2017 after being charged with “criminal mischief.” And yet it hired her anyway. Had she applied for a more important role, the forest of red flags that Jones leaves wherever she goes might well have prevented this mistake—especially given that she did not mention any of them in her application. But Jones wasn’t there to fill an important role. She was there to run a website. That matters, for, with the enthusiastic help of the press, Rebekah Jones has unremittingly inflated the prominence of the position she held. And yet when one reads through the FDOH documents that chronicle the affair, one is struck by how dull and unheroic the whole thing really was. There are no “whistleblowers” anywhere in this story. There is no scandal. There is no grand fight for truth or justice. There is just a replacement-level government employee who repeatedly breaks the rules, who is repeatedly mollycoddled while doing so, and who is fired only when she eventually renders herself unworthy of the department’s considerable grace... [he] had written "posts on website [sic] and social media regarding data and web product owned by the Department that she works on without permission of management or communications”; that she had released infographics that “should have been identical to data published by our communication department” but were not; and, most seriously, that she had possibly exposed “personnel data” in the process. Asked to clarify the problem by Hicks, Curry confirmed that between April 9 and April 30, 2020, he had verbally told Jones to stop talking to the press without permission, and, more specifically, that he had told her to stop releasing health-department data or representing her employer without consent... Jones crashed the dashboard.  Without telling a single person what she was doing, Jones created a new account within the GIS system and moved a tranche of data into it. This both broke the setup and sincerely confused the department’s IT staff. “Because the team was not informed,” Curry wrote, it “began troubleshooting the issue as if it were a system issue”—which, of course, it was not... [She] has sought relentlessly to portray herself as a martyr who was dismissed for telling “the truth.” Having waffled a little in the first few days, she quickly hit upon a specific claim to bolster this overall impression: that she was instructed by Dr. Shamarial Roberson—the well-respected chronic-disease epidemiologist who is currently serving as Florida’s deputy secretary of health, and is the first African American to hold that post—to “delete cases and deaths” in order to present a rosier version of what was happening in the state. Absurdly accusing this official of being a “liar, fraud, murderer,” Jones now says that Roberson “asked me to go into the raw data and manually alter figures.” This, of course, is preposterous—not least because it flies directly in the face of Jones’s initial story. Today, Jones insists that the members of an ever-growing cast within the government of Florida ordered her to “fudge” the numbers. Back in May 2020, however, the Associated Press reported that she had not alleged “any tampering with data on deaths, hospital symptom surveillance, hospitalizations for COVID-19, numbers of new confirmed cases, or overall testing rates,” and that she had acknowledged that “Florida has been relatively transparent.” Why did Jones initially decline to make such allegations? Because, as she knew full well, she had not been in a sufficiently senior position to have been able to do such a thing, even if she had been asked. In her role as the manager of the dashboard, Jones did not have the ability to edit the raw data. Only a handful of people in Florida are permitted to touch that information, and Jones was not among them. Instead, each day she was given a copy of the data and charged with uploading it into the system in a manner determined by the epidemiological team. Had she for some reason decided to alter that copy, it would have been obvious to everyone within seconds of its being compared with the original. There is an extremely good reason that nobody in the Florida Department of Health has sided with Jones. It’s the same reason that there has been no devastating New York Times exposé about Florida’s “real” numbers. That reason? There is simply no story here... Jones’s “rebel” dashboard is hooked up directly to the same FDOH that she pretends daily is engaged in a conspiracy. As Jones herself confirmed on Twitter: “I use DOH’s data. If you access the data from both sources, you’ll see that it is identical.” She just displays them differently... In order to increase the numbers in Florida's case count, Jones counts positive antibody tests as cases. But that’s unsound, given that (a) those positives include people who have already had COVID-19 or who have had the vaccine, and (b) Jones is unable to avoid double-counting people who have taken both an antibody test and a COVID test that came back positive, because the state correctly refuses to publish the names of the people who have taken those tests. Likewise, Jones claims that Florida is hiding deaths because it does not include nonresidents in its headline numbers. But Florida does report nonresident deaths; it just reports them separately, as every state does, and as the CDC’s guidelines demand. Jones’s most recent claim is that Florida’s “excess death” number is suspicious. But that, too, has been rigorously debunked by pretty much everyone who understands what “excess deaths” means in an epidemiological context—including by the CDC; by Daniel Weinberger, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health; by Lauren Rossen, a statistician at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics; and, most notably, by Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida, who, having gone to the trouble of making a video explaining calmly why the talking point was false, was then bullied off Twitter by Jones and her followers. For a year now, pretty much everyone who has criticized Jones has met the same fate as did Salemi. It doesn’t matter who they are, or what they have been arguing, the play is always the same. First, they are called a sexist or a racist or a member of the “alt-right.” Next, it is implied that they are working with Ron DeSantis or with Vladimir Putin—or, sometimes, with both. Then they are told that they hate “science”—or, if they disagree with her or expose a given lie or confirm that she does not have the qualifications or experience she claims, that they have sold out. And, finally, they are added to Jones’s “enemies” list (she really has one, and used to publish it online), and an attempt begins to get them kicked off Twitter or Substack or whatever portion of the Internet they are using to explain the ruse. Because a good number of the people Jones has targeted are not journalists or public figures, but scientists and public servants, such attacks work pretty well. If your career is in epidemiology, and your employer is a public university, there is little to be gained by attracting scandal. One is almost left impressed by the strange alchemy with which Jones manages to transmute her own bad behavior into lucrative victimhood. A 342-page “manifesto” that Jones penned in 2019 gives example after example of this tendency. She manages to cast herself as the injured party in the passages in which she describes violating a no-contact order to engage with an ex-boyfriend, damaging his car, and harassing his mother. She also manages to cast herself as the victim in the parts in which she records being fired from Florida State University for having sex with a student in her office and for lying to her employer about her criminal record. She even presents herself in defensive terms in a now-removed part of the document that contains explicit text messages between her and her ex-boyfriend, as well as close-up photographs of the man’s genitals... Everywhere Jones goes—whether it’s Louisiana State University (where she got her master’s), Florida State, or the Florida Department of Health—she seems always to leave a trail of wreckage. And somehow, it’s always someone else’s fault. This tendency continues today. Much of the national attention that Jones has received is the result of her insisting that, having learned about her “whistleblowing,” Governor DeSantis used his “Gestapo” and “raided” her house, putting her children in danger. But this, too, is a ridiculous lie. Late last year, the police did indeed execute a search warrant on Jones. But they did so because a data breach at the FDOH—in which the personal information of 19,000 employees was stolen—was traced back to the IPv6 address that Comcast had assigned to Jones’s house. Governor DeSantis had nothing to do with it. The search warrant—which alleges that Jones committed a felony by not only temporarily accessing personnel data she had no right to access but permanently stealing it—was initially signed by Judge Joshua Hawkes, a Republican appointee, but subsequently upheld by Judge John Cooper, an elected judge in heavily Democratic Leon County. (Florida does not have explicitly partisan judicial elections.)... Not only did she prepare for the visit by creating a made-for-the-cameras sign that read “Biden hire me!”—hardly the instantaneous work of someone who is surprised that the cops are at the door—but she subsequently spread a host of extraordinary claims about the conduct of the police that, after festering online for a while and spawning a swiftly dropped lawsuit from Jones, were flatly disproven by the release of the body-camera footage."

Covid rules don't apply to the left

Aaron Rupar on Twitter - "I mean it sincerely -- Letlow's death is tragic. It was also avoidable. It shouldn't take tragedies for policymakers to treat the coronavirus pandemic with the seriousness it deserves."
Aaron Rupar on Twitter - "it's party time outside the White House *Joe Biden elected 46th President*"

Gleyber With No Brim on Twitter - "When the group that loves to call everyone a Nazi starts demanding that you carry your papers with you."

BrooklynDad_Defiant! on Twitter - "Rand Paul says if you get vaccinated you don't have to wear a mask. Rand Paul is WRONG. Rand Paul is not a real doctor. Rand Paul IS a real asshole. Don't be like Rand Paul."
BrooklynDad_Defiant! on Twitter - "WHOAAAA... The CDC announced that fully-vaccinated people can stop wearing masks indoors & outdoors. What a difference it makes to have competent leadership in the White House. Thanks President Biden!!!"

BrooklynDad_Defiant! on Twitter - "Kamala Harris isn't the ONLY person who is leery of the vaccine trump is trying to rush to market too soon. I won't be taking that shit until long AFTER people stop dying from taking a faulty vaccine."
BrooklynDad_Defiant! on Twitter - "If right wing TV networks like Fox, OAN, and Newsmax would STOP politicizing the vaccine and START running pieces like "these people regret NOT getting vaccinated," it might make a huge difference. GET VACCINATED, DAMMIT"
How much vaccine hesitancy in the US is due to liberals dissing the vaccines?

Harris on taking a COVID vaccine: If Trump tells us to take it, I won't
Of course, if you ignore Biden's exhortations you're anti-science

Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 on Twitter - "I mean, will anyone ... anyone at all ... ever fully trust the @CDCgov again? And who on God's earth would trust a vaccine approved by the @US_FDA ?? How do we get a vaccine distributed after this broken, Trumpist nonsense has infected everything? Even if Biden wins?"
Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 on Twitter - "This is the question. There are people on TV and on social media pushing anti-mask, anti-vax conspiracy theories or even denying covid is real. God knows how many people believe them and behave accordingly. And then we all meet up in crowds, without knowing who’s who..."

The timetable for a coronavirus vaccine is 18 months. Experts say that's risky - CNN
Past vaccine disasters show why rushing a Covid-19 vaccine now would be 'colossally stupid' - CNN
How to speak to someone who's hesitant to get vaccinated - CNN

Facebook - "[Captain Extra Strikes Again] This time round erroneously citing a *subgroup* ICU admission and mortality rate of children showing multisystem inflammatory syndrome, to the effect of misrepresenting the death rate for pediatric COVID cases in general. I quote the good captain, "see peer-reviewed meta-analysis of 129 studies from 31 countries involving >10,000 children where reported rates of intensive care admission 22.9% and death occurred in 3.6%... In essence, the 22.9% and 3.6% he cited are not "reported rates of intensive care admission and death", but rather the proportion of children in ICU suffering from MIS-C and the proportion of children suffering from MIS-C that didn't make it. And now we have the national broadsheet publishing without checking"
Can you get POFMAed for correcting the Singapore Government when they credulously reproduce David Lye's fear porn?

George Takei - Posts | Facebook - "There’s something obscenely American about refusing a vaccine that millions around the world are desperate to get."
Is there something obscenely American about having contempt for the freedom/citizenship that millions around the world are desperate to get?

Glenn Greenwald on Twitter - "All of this in response to *1* death. How many people are going to suffer and die from these extremely harsh and restrictive shutdown/isolation measures being imposed after 15 months?  This is what's breeding vaccine skepticism: this mixed messaging about whether it protects you. If you were to propose the speed limit be lowered to 40, almost nobody would support it: even though doing so would save thousands of lives. They would say: we can't incur those costs. It's worth it to allow those deaths.  Why is there no rational risk-benefit calculus to COVID?
Mental health suffering, isolation, depression, addiction and economic deprivation all also kill. Those deaths aren't less tragic or painful than deaths from COVID."

Strict COVID Travel Rules Leave Thousands Of Aussies Stranded Abroad - "getting home to Australia seems like an impossible dream for many right now. The government's measures to prevent COVID from spreading — throwing up hard borders that keep out citizens and foreigners alike — has come at a steep price to children and those in lower-income brackets.  Currently, the number of Australians who can enter the country each week is limited to just over 6,300. And all arrivals must quarantine in a hotel or a federally run facility for 14 days. More than 35,000 Australians are registered with authorities as wanting to return, according to a spokesperson from Australia's department of foreign affairs and trade. As for foreigners, most aren't allowed in at all...   While the Australian government struggles to keep COVID under control, tens of thousands remain stranded abroad. Those trying to come home include approximately 200 Australian children stuck in India without their parents.  Saanvi Naveen was two and a half when her parents took her to Bangalore to meet her extended family in November of 2019 — before the pandemic began.  When it was time to go home to Australia, Saanvi's grandparents begged the girl's father, Naveen Krishnamurthy, to leave her behind so she could get to know her extended family. Krishnamurthy and his wife returned to Australia with the plan that his parents, who had Australian visit visas, would bring Saanvi back on March 25, 2020.  Six days before she was due to travel, on March 19, the Australian government shut its borders.  "That has turned into almost 18 months now"...   While the quarantine upon arrival in Australia is mostly done in hotels, that's not always the case. Certain children end up in Australia's federal quarantine facility, called Howard Springs, in the north; their parents are not allowed to join them until the quarantine is complete...   Then there are those who can't afford to get home. After the government announced a curb on arrivals, the airlines sharply increased ticket prices to make up for the difference in lost sales on empty seats.  That comes alongside the price of quarantining in a hotel – which begins at $2,300 USD.  Many of those who want to return say they've already spent large chunks of their savings on a plane ticket home...   Cancellations are common, partly because the government can announce sudden reductions in the number of arrivals allowed to enter on a given week — usually after COVID cases leak out of quarantine into the community.  To ensure her passage home, Astner recently spent $12,000 USD on a first-class ticket. That's all her savings...   Robyn Murray, a 68-year-old Australian woman living in Egypt and married to a polygamous man, died not long after telling her daughter she wanted to come home but couldn't afford it...   For about two weeks, from April 27 to May 15, it wasn't just expensive to get home, it was banned for the some 10,000 citizens who were in India.  That temporary ban was imposed after large numbers of returnees tested positive for the highly contagious Delta variant.  But the move was met with a backlash from across the political spectrum because it appeared to largely target non-white traveling Australians: those of Indian descent. It even met the ire of one of Australia's most conservative commentators: Andrew Bolt... A recent poll by the Lowy Institute reported that nearly 60% of Australians felt the government had done enough to help citizens return. And keeping Australia isolated remains politically popular.  The popularity of Australia's hard borders, Krishnamurthy says, shows the Australian government's priorities. "They are more focused on keeping Australia as a zero-case country" — more he says, than bringing home Australian children."
It doesn't matter how many lives are ruined in the quest for Zero Covid
Apparently separating children from their parents isn't always bad according to liberals

Meme - "We need to stop using the phrase "Avoid that like the plague". Because it is obvious 1/3 of the populace doesn't ACTUALLY try and avoid the plague..."
Covid hystericists actually thinking that covid is a/like the plague is proof of how untethered from reality they are

Covid in Sydney: Military deployed to help enforce lockdown - "Soldiers will join police in virus hotspots to ensure people are following the rules, which include a 10km (6.2 miles) travel limit.  State Police Minister David Elliott said it would help because a small minority of Sydneysiders thought "the rules didn't apply to them".  Information provided by health officials indicates the virus is mainly spreading through permitted movement.  The Australian Lawyers Alliance, a civil rights group, called the deployment a "concerning use" of the army in a liberal democracy. The outbreak has largely affected critical workers and large family groups in the city's poorer and ethnically diverse west and south-west suburbs. About two million people live there.  Critics say those areas have already faced "targeted" policing measures. They point out restrictions there are harsher than for the rest of Sydney.  "Our people are one of the poorest demographics, and as it is, they already feel picked on and marginalised," said Steve Christou, one local mayor.  "They can't afford to pay the mortgage, the rent, the food or work. Now to throw out the army to enforce lockdown on the streets is going to be a huge issue to these people""
This for a disease which even among 80 year olds has a 90% survival rate
Of course, the people who go around calling everyone Nazis are supporting this.
A covid hystericist in a group I was in claimed that we should just shut down the world for 4 weeks and everyone should stay at home, then covid will be defeated. I challenged him on this. Among the issues being enforcement (if everyone stays at home, who will keep everyone at home) and people dying due to lack of care. I calculated that in some places the number of people in care homes and hospitals (who need care and would die without anyone tending to them) was much higher than the number of people who would die based on the covid IFR.  Eventually he had to claim that he was just offering a thought experiment, not being serious When the next pandemic comes along, which will probably be more deadly than covid, lots of people are not going to take it seriously due to how much covid has been overblown

COVID-19 Outbreaks and Cases in Ontario, by Setting: February 16, 2020 to December 26, 2020
The largest causes of covid spread are in essential settings. The only data I can find is for Ontario. Out of 4,151 outbreaks, 1,612 (39%) were in congregate care settings, 470 (11%) were in congregate living settings. Essential (construction, logistics, farm, food processing and manufacturing) workplaces accounted for 644 (16%) of outbreaks. That's 2/3 of outbreaks. No lockdown, however strict, is going to get rid of all this transmission

Fauci: The Response Of Trump Admin Has Been Impressive, I Can't Imagine Anybody Could Be Doing More
From March 2020

Anthony Fauci Is Wrong About the Need for 3-Year-Olds To Wear Masks - "all American adults who want to get a vaccine are basically able to do so, and 90 percent of the most vulnerable population—seniors—are already vaccinated. In other words, it's increasingly unlikely that a sick child would spread COVID-19 to someone who would be in serious danger of dying from it, unless this hypothetical person obstinately refused to take the vaccine. And in that case, it doesn't seem fair to continue to require children—who are not themselves particularly vulnerable to COVID-19—to continue masking up. Make no mistake: Unvaccinated children have as much natural protection from COVID-19 as vaccinated seniors do, according to Brown University economist Emily Oster, who writes that parents shouldn't be so quick to abandon their summer plans due to the delta variant.  "Twice a close-to-zero risk is still close to zero""

'It Is Still Not Safe To Go Outside,' Says Fauci's Head In A Jar In Year 2739 | The Babylon Bee - ""Honestly, even if you've been immunized and are quadruple-masking, per current recommendations, I don't think I would risk it," he said. "Although we eradicated the virus some seven centuries ago, we can't be too careful. We must remain vigilant."  "If we let up even a little bit, we could end up right back where we were in 2020."  Fauci also revealed that the alien invasion that occurred in 2471 was a "major setback" in the fight against the virus, as much of humanity refused to social distance while going to war against the creatures from the distant planet Graxon V.  "People were very careless during the War for Earth," he said. "We tried to get the troops to wear masks and such, but they continued to go outside and save humanity without the slightest care for COVID-19." Despite the grim outlook for the pandemic 700 years in the future, Fauci says he is optimistic that he will remain in the public spotlight at least until the heat death of the universe."

Fauci: 'It's Still Not OK' to Eat or Drink Indoors Even if You're Vaccinated

Report: Instagram Is 'Fact Checking' Jokes About Anthony Fauci - "Facebook-owned Instagram is “fact checking” satirical posts about Anthony Fauci, and forcing users to delete them... Facebook, which owns Instagram, has also repeatedly censored the Babylon Bee, a conservative-run comedy website that posts satirical news stories."

Watch CNN Personalities Squirm As They're Being Roasted Live On Air For Their Sycophantic "Fangirling" Over Dr. Fauci - "Ham takes on the media, as well as politicians, who simply worship Fauci and take everything he says at face value. She points out that many from the left and right say they are afraid to push back against Dr. Fauci on any of his statements of fact... She goes on to detail how Anthony Fauci admitted to deceiving the public about the effectiveness of masks as well as relying on polling to decide what he would say publicly about herd immunity.  Ham points out that Fauci's public lies have caused many people to distrust him, even if the leftwing media thinks the lies were "noble" and good."

Poll: Confidence in Anthony Fauci Decreased 42.2% in Past Year

BREAKING: Amazon, Barnes and Noble scrub Fauci's book amid backlash - "The scrubbing comes after a trove of thousands of pages of emails were released"

Coronavirus: Norway, Sweden overtake New Zealand in Bloomberg COVID Resilience Ranking - "Norway and Switzerland have overtaken New Zealand in Bloomberg's COVID Resilience Ranking - a list of the best and worst countries in the world to be in during the pandemic.  The ranking analyses how major countries around the world are dealing with the impacts of the pandemic, taking into account social and economic disruption, mortality and infection rates, freedom of movement, and the success of their vaccine rollouts.  There are 12 data indicators across COVID-19 containment, quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, overall mortality, and progress toward restarting travel and easing border restrictions.   With nearly half of its population vaccinated, few new fatalities, and a border open to some overseas travellers, Norway is now in the top spot, Bloomberg says.  Switzerland is in the second spot as the country embraces travel and records a decreasing number of deaths.  And despite being number one for six out of the nine months Bloomberg has issued the ranking, New Zealand has now dropped to number three, due to it "trailing" behind on vaccinations and reopening borders.  France is in fourth and the United States, which was number one in last month's ranking, has dropped to fifth...   "Parts of the Asia-Pacific region that have relied on eliminating COVID and keeping it out - meaning their overall mortality rates are vastly lower - score poorly on reopening," Bloomberg says.  "The low virus risk level has also damped the urgency for vaccines in some places, with both New Zealand and Australia's rollout covering less than a fourth of their populations."  New Zealand also scores poorly on vaccinated travel routes - which measures the number of inbound and outbound routes a country has with the rest of the world - and 2021 GDP growth forecast."
So much for Sweden being hell

Alice Perry on Twitter - "Going to keep wearing my mask on public transport. Even when it’s just me on the tube."
Follow the Science!

ಶರಣ DR JAGADISH J HIREMATH on Twitter - "Social distancing is a privilege. It means you live in a house large enough to practise it. Hand washing is a privilege too. It means you have access to running water. Hand sanitisers are a privilege. It means you have money to buy them. Lockdowns are a privilege. It means you can afford to be at home.   Most of the ways to ward off Corona are accessible only to the affluent.   In essence, a disease that was spread by the rich as they flew around the globe will now kill millions of the poor."

Meme - "Fuck Big Pharma! They caused the opioid crisis, killed people, price gouge, bribe doctors, commit fraud, and sell contaminated medicine!"
"Ok time for your big pharma COVID vaccine that we developed in record time"
"Yay I can't wait! I'm doing my part! I'm gonna post my vaccination card on Twitter!"

Vaccinated People May Spread the Virus, Though Rarely, C.D.C. Reports - The New York Times - "In yet another unexpected and unwelcome twist in the nation’s pandemic, fully immunized people with so-called breakthrough infections of the Delta variant may spread the virus to others just as easily as unvaccinated people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said... Learning just how different the Delta variant is from the original virus is “just jarring,” he added. “The brain doesn’t like to keep being jerked around like this.”"
If the vaccinated can spread covid as easily as the unvaccinated, then a negative test is much more valuable from the perspective of protecting others than being vaccinated.
But no doubt this will just get covid hystericists to insist even more insistently that everyone needs to be forced into vaccination, to "protect others", even though the rationale for that has been shot
Too bad letting go of covid hysteria is too good a solution to the brain being jerked around

Vaccinated people spreading Delta variant just as quickly as the unvaccinated: Leaked CDC document - "The document presents new science but also suggests a new strategy is needed on communication, noting that public trust in vaccines may be undermined when people experience or hear about breakthrough cases, especially after public health officials have described them as rare... The agency faced criticism from outside experts this week when it changed the mask guidance without releasing the data, a move that violated scientific norms, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania... "they do not appear to be candid about the extent to which breakthroughs are yielding hospitalizations.”...   The CDC document cites public skepticism about vaccines as one of the challenges: “Public convinced vaccines no longer work,” one of the first slides in the presentation states...   Kathleen Neuzil, a vaccine expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said getting more people vaccinated remains the priority, but the public may also have to change its relationship to a virus almost certain to be with humanity for the foreseeable future.  “We really need to shift toward a goal of preventing serious disease and disability and medical consequences, and not worry about every virus detected in somebody’s nose,” Neuzil said. “It’s hard to do, but I think we have to become comfortable with coronavirus not going away.”"
Naturally, I see all the anti-covid vaccine people now claiming vaccines are useless, and not understanding the differences between preventing disease and reducing transmission

Why Vaccinated People Are Getting ‘Breakthrough’ Infections - The New York Times - "Much has been made of Delta’s ability to sidestep immune defenses. In fact, all of the existing vaccines seem able to prevent serious illness and death from the variant. In laboratory studies, Delta actually has proved to be a milder threat than Beta, the variant first identified in South Africa."
So much for all the fear mongering about how Delta is more deadly so we need to lockdown more to protect against it

Delta variant COVID risk: Focus on vaccination, not fear, says Monica Gandhi. - "At the very beginning of the HIV epidemic, everything seemed scary. Any possible risk of getting HIV seemed scary. So it was why the words “stay away from each other” and “don’t have sex” was used instead of “actually, oral sex is really safe, and let’s do that” or “let me show you how to stay safe with other types of sex.” And those lessons were learned later. So actually, the way that scientists are talking now was how scientists were talking at the beginning of the HIV epidemic. It took some time, and everyone was scared and screaming, just like we are now, at the beginning of the HIV epidemic.  And it led to distrust. Because the public knew, just from experience, that this type of sex was more risky to get HIV than this type of sex. They just knew it, they saw what was happening. And that led to distrust of public health officials and politicians who said everything was scary, and who used doom and gloom to message. And actually it led to a paradoxical rise in infections. And what harm reduction means is you’re trying to decrease infections, by taking into account the totality of everyone’s experience, what they need out of their life, intimacy needs, being around people. In the case of COVID, wanting to see other people and not being socially isolated. You take the totality of experience, and you try to decrease infections that way... people distrust if you blanket, when it’s quite obvious that not every exposure was as risky as other exposures. And then people distrust the public health official, and then that can lead to covert activity that leads to an increase in infections. A good example is Christmas holidays in the winter in the United States, where there was so much with COVID. Saying that the only way is just stay at home, lock your door, do not go outside, that led to distrust, and then people went inside, and there were rises of infection... on May 13, when Dr. Walensky and Dr. Fauci and everyone talked about taking off your mask when you’re vaccinated, it seemed completely out of the blue—because there hadn’t been a consistent messaging up to that point that the vaccines are really effective and that the vaccines will work against the variants. That wouldn’t have seemed out of the blue and so startling to people if there had been a steady, calm messaging of optimism the entire time...
[I'm not worried about variants] Because of immunology. So, very early on, in January, there was a paper from the U.K. that showed that as B.1.1.7, or alpha variant, was rising in the U.K., anyone who had had the infection before couldn’t get B.1.1.7, and they did a deep dive on T cells. It was a preprint that showed that T cells go across the entire spike protein so that you can’t evade T cell immunity from the variants. And then I knew something else from HIV, which is that a virus can’t keep on mutating forever. HIV, the virus, mutates a lot to evade our antiretroviral medications, and it becomes less fit by mutating, there’s actually a fitness cost. It compromises itself to mutate to become more transmissible. So I knew it couldn’t become more transmissible, more virulent, and evade the vaccines at the same time. There’s one other thing I want to add. Not just T cells, but there’s something called memory B cells—when you get infected or you get a vaccine, you produce memory B cells, and they go into these hidden places like your lymph nodes and bone marrow. We’ve seen them, and there was a paper just last week that showed us that these memory B cells, if they see a variant in the future, they’ll make the perfect antibody for that variant. They’re not going to make an old antibody for an old type of strain they saw. They adapt their antibodies to that variant...
I think they’re using more scary terminology because they’re trying to motivate vaccination. But actually vaccination’s still going well. So the concern is places where we have distrust of vaccinations. And I keep on thinking, What’s a better way to increase trust?  I would be more trustful if I saw a headline that said something less scary. Like, “Let me tell you about this effectiveness that is going to work against the delta variant. Actually, it’s going to work really well. And let me explain to you why I think you should get vaccinated and let me make it easy for you.” And actually that is reporting. Maybe that isn’t scientists. Maybe that’s just how it’s reported. And then that would have to go back to you all in the media, and what’s going on on that end... children are not more susceptible to the delta variant, they’re threefold less likely to get any infection with any variant with any ancestral strain, and they’re half as likely to spread it"
Covid hysteria just increases distrust of "science"
Strange how this professor at the University of California, San Francisco specializing in infectious disease doesn't "trust the science" and tells us that the approved narrative isn't the gospel truth. She must be a far right conspiracy theorist anti-vaxxer

COVID-19 myths that refuse to die, from undue concern about children to variants and vaccines - "a National Health Service study concluded that any child under 18 who contracted COVID-19 in the U.K. had a 99.995 per cent chance of surviving. And the U.K’s child death rate is high by global standards. Only 397 children aged 18 and under in the U.S. have died of COVID-19, against more than 49,000 American children who died of other causes (and more than 598,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths total). In Canada, the number of under-18 deaths is 14, roughly 0.1 per cent of the country’s total COVID-19 death toll. Since the pandemic began, at least five times that number of Canadian children have died of drowning. What’s more, children’s inherent immunity to COVID-19 has been common knowledge ever since the first North American COVID-19 cases started hitting Washington State. As early as February 2020, it was clear from early case data out of Wuhan, China that the disease’s risk to children was roughly on par with the flu.    These numbers are an indictment of many child-centric lockdown policies, such as school closures. The extremely low risk of COVID-19 to children is why many epidemiologists are now cautioning against universal vaccination of teenagers given recent accounts of the Pfizer vaccine being linked to heart inflammation among youth.   While the side effect is extremely rare, the benefits that a COVID-19 vaccine offers to teenagers is so vanishingly small that it may not be worth even a minor risk of vaccine injury. This is why the U.K. is not recommending jabs for most children under 18, while countries like Germany and the Netherlands are only advising vaccines for children with pre-existing conditions. As the British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation put it in a July 15 statement, “the health benefits in this population are small, and the benefits to the wider population are highly uncertain.”... We have known for several months that if you are two weeks past your second dose of vaccine, your risk of dying from COVID-19 is about the same as dying from flu or tuberculosis. Despite this,  public health authorities across Canada have stubbornly continued to require masking or self-isolation regardless of vaccination status...
  Despite initial fears that vaccines would be useless against the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, June data out of Public Health England found the opposite. In some cases, vaccines were better equipped to ward off the Delta variant than against the earlier Alpha strain, which was first identified in the U.K., but has been overtaken by Delta. Two doses of AstraZeneca, for instance, were 92 per cent effective at preventing hospitalization from Delta variant infection — as compared to 86 per cent effective against the Alpha variant. More recent data has the protection levels even higher... New strains such as the Delta variant are more troublesome for the simple fact that they’re more contagious, and are thus better able to rack up new infections. Earlier this year, despite a wave of reporting that COVID-19 variants were more dangerous to young people, research soon showed that while more people were contracting the variants, they weren’t any more likely to die or require hospitalization once infected. In the words of an April study in The Lancet gauging the severity of the Alpha variant, “we did not identify an association of the variant with severe disease.”"
New variants pop up with sufficient regularity that by the time the research comes out showing that the newest is not more deadly than the others and that the vaccines protect against it at least as well, a new one will have shown up and covid hystericists will say we need to shutdown until we know what we're dealing with. So... eternal lockdown!

Five reasons why you don’t need to panic about coronavirus variants | MIT Technology Review - " “the virus hasn’t fundamentally changed,” says Kartik Chandran, a virologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Vaccines may become less effective over time, but there’s no evidence that we’re on the brink of catastrophe. “I don’t think that there’s an imminent danger that we’re going to go back to square one,” says Thomas Friedrich, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. “We should be concerned, but not freaked out.”...
1. Vaccines work, even against troublesome variants
2. The immune response is robust
3. When vaccinated people do get infected, the shots protect against the worst outcomes
4. The same mutations keep popping up
5. If the effectiveness of the vaccines begins to wane, we can make booster shots."

Alex George on Twitter - "Given the essential role of TMPRSS2 in #SARSCoV2 entry, higher nasal expression of TMPRSS2 may contribute to the higher burden of #COVID19 among Black individuals"
"This is racist."
"There are clearly genetic differences between ethnic groups that contribute to variable disease severities and susceptibilities."
"Race is a social construct, not a genetic one. There’s no such thing as biological/genetic race. There is more genetic difference w/in than btw racial groups. Racial group definitions have changed over time. Racism can be embodied, leading to health inequities. Racism, not race."
Social justice means people die because we don't want to recognise reality

Meme - "So, there's no need for racial diversity in the vaccine trials, right?"
"The Color of COVID: Will Vaccine Trials Reflect America's Diversity? Although racial minorities, older people and those with underlying medical conditions are most at risk from COVID-19, they've historically..."
"If race is a social construct, why would it be necessary to include black people in vaccine trials?"
"Racism can become embodied and have an impact on person's body, and structural racism creates inequitable access to resources. So it is important to ensure the vaccine works effectively, particularly for those who have been most affected by the virus (because of racism)."
We're just a few years away from "science" telling us that gender differences are due to socialiation

Meme - "I can tell you exactly how a study like this gets published: Zero Black, Indigenous, POC, on the research team, Zero BIPOC Reviewers & Zero BIPOC"
Weird. I thought "Science" is good because it is objective. Post-modern identity politics disagrees though

Reed Coverdale på Twitter - "It went from “if we can save one life” to “I literally hope you die if you don’t take the vaccine!” real quick."
It's about power

NBC Contributor Reveals He Never Tested Positive For COVID After Network Followed His Alleged Recovery - "After NBC News extensively followed the COVID-19 case of its own on-air contributor Dr. Joseph Fair, the virologist and epidemiologist revealed he tested negative for coronavirus as well as negative for the WuFlu antibodies, meaning he never had the virus... Despite having appeared on NBC and MSNBC almost a dozen times to discuss his recovery from the virus, neither network has still released a correction on air. As Krakauer points out, this story about Fair’s illness still has yet to be corrected."

‘It’s Been Devastating’: UMass Amherst Students Suspended For Not Wearing Masks Off-Campus - "What also infuriates the parents of the suspended students was video of the UMass Amherst Hockey Team celebrating their national championship on campus. Some students, including some of the players, could be seen not wearing masks...   Since their suspension, the students have been studying remotely at their homes. However, last week they were cut off from virtual learning. They were not allowed to take their finals, so parents say their kids’ semester was a total loss, both financially and academically.  “That negates this whole semester $16,000 of money and they have to reapply for next semester. But they missed housing registration,” Scott said."

Disturbing new University of Oregon policy claims jurisdiction to monitor students lives 24/7 off campus - "Does your college or university have the power to punish anything you say or do — even in your personal time, far from campus?   If you’re a student at the University of Oregon, the answer is now “yes.” If you’re a student anywhere, this development should alarm you."

So to Speak podcast: Mahanoy v. B.L. Supreme Court ruling analysis - "This week, the United States Supreme Court vindicated the First Amendment rights of a high school cheerleader who was punished for a salty Snapchat she sent outside of school. It was a resounding victory for free speech advocates and the first time the Supreme Court has considered a high school free speech case since its disappointing 2007 ruling in Morse v. Frederick."

Facebook - "In Covid Vaccine Data, L.G.B.T.Q. People Fear Invisibility"
"It’s probably because one’s gender identity and sexual orientation have literally nothing to do with the potential medical dangers of COVID-19.  While this vaccine was initially hard to get due to limited supply, this is increasingly simply not the case anymore. People are now literally driving from neighborhood to neighborhood to administer it for free. Disparities in vaccination are now mostly driven by vaccine skepticism, which is an ideological choice, not driven by some lack of access due to economic or racial factors.  Even in areas such as Oakland California, which set up specific vaccination sites that would be especially convenient for African-Americans, a disproportionate number of the people getting vaccinated there were white and asian, leading some activists to tell white and Asian citizens to stop coming to the site, even though the vaccine doses would simply go bad if people of any color did not show up to receive them.  Some people are so wedded to this view of the world they desperately want to dig up special oppression for themselves anywhere they can find it. Daring to imagine themselves simply fellow Homo sapiens in any context makes them lose a sense of purpose and meaning. "

June 27 update on COVID-19 in MN: Number of confirmed cases climbs past 35,000 - "People in their 20s now make up the largest age group of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota. That news comes after clusters of cases were tied to bars in Mankato and Minneapolis, suggesting that some younger adults aren’t doing enough to prevent the virus’ spread as they move back into public spaces.  Minnesota’s early sacrifices to limit COVID-19’s spread “will be undermined if we don’t get cooperation from all Minnesotans, especially younger Minnesotans, who are most active and social,” Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director, told reporters Friday.  “We desperately need younger Minnesotans to take it seriously,” she added."
From 2020. Nothing to do with BLM of course

A Thread from @DrewHolden360 - "There’s some revisionist history being written so to clarify:There was ZERO consensus in Feb/March that masks worked against coronavirus. Insofar as there was agreement it was that they DIDN’T work & SHOULDN’T be worn.Don’t remember? Well the internet is forever...
@NBCNews actually criticized @realDonaldTrump for ***focusing too much on masks*** on March 14th."

Meme - "Dr. Benjamin Benulis: When you say you "Trust the Scientists" Do you... Trust the Tobacco industry scientists? Trust the Coca-Cola scientists? Trust the Opioid scientists? Trust the Animal Factory Farming scientists? Trust the Coal industry scientists? Trust the Big Oil scientists? Trust the Fracking scientists? Or just the ones the media tells you to trust?"

ZUBY: on Twitter - "It's just 2 weeks to slow the spread. It's just to flatten the curve. It's just a mask. It's just until a vaccine is available. It's just until the elderly are vaccinated. It's just until everybody is. It's just an app for your safety. It's just a social credit score.
It doesn't have to be like this though.  People can say "No. Enough." at any time... And that's been the case from the beginning.  The collective is just a group of individuals. You don't have to keep running off this cliff."
The "myth" of the slippery slope strikes again

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