Governor Ducey Should Follow the Science by Signing the “Mask Freedom” Bill

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Democrats have become far too comfortable with controlling you. For many of them, COVID-19 has been a power grab, seizing the opportunity to enact emergency orders and implement other restrictions on your freedom.

They’ve crushed restaurants and other businesses with severe limits and unnecessary closures. They’ve instituted illogical curfews (because apparently the virus only comes out at night). And most recently, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego closed parking lots and grills at Phoenix parks during Easter weekend. Maybe Mayor Gallego should’ve read the guidance from the CDC that says being outdoors is safer than being indoors if you plan to celebrate with others. But no. Despite Governor Ducey’s call for all Arizona parks to remain open during Easter weekend, she decided it was better to play a game of politics.

The draconian measures need to go. But too many government officials around our state are still fighting back against reopening. And nowhere is that more obvious than with the left’s beloved mask mandates, which have been nothing but divisive without any data to back them up.

Thankfully, Governor Ducey took a step in the right direction at the end of March by requiring cities, towns, and counties throughout Arizona to lift such mandates. But more work needs to be done. Mayor Gallego and others from the left love their masks. In fact, City of Phoenix officials recently announced that they are defying Governor Ducey and leaving their mask mandate in place.

But right now, a bill sits on the governor’s desk that can end this once and for all. HB2770, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Chaplik (R-LD23) and dubbed the “mask freedom bill,” passed the Arizona State Senate last week. It simply asserts that a business is not required to enforce a state, city, town, county, or other jurisdiction’s mask mandate on the business’s premises.

This is a commonsense solution. It allows people to exercise their freedom while removing the burden from businesses to play mask police. So, naturally, the Democrats voted against it. Not a single one voted for the bill throughout the entire process. Apparently, the left would rather cling to their power than follow the science. Just ask State Senator Martin Quezada (D-LD29), who voted against the bill despite his excessive need to cross-contaminate his own mask by touching it 22 times in three minutes.

It’s time to return to normalcy and put an end to this foolishness. Businesses need to be protected, and citizens should be treated like responsible adults who can decide what’s best for them. That’s what it means to live in a free country.

Now, it all comes down to the pen of Governor Ducey. He showed a desire to do what’s right a few weeks ago by temporarily lifting mask mandates throughout Arizona. And he can make it permanent by signing the mask freedom bill. The process to reopen has been well underway. Governor Ducey should follow the science and finish the job.

Why Is Everyone in Texas Not Dying?

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I’m sitting at a bar in Texas, surrounded by maskless people, looking at folks on the streets walking around like life is normal, talking with nice and friendly faces, feeling like things in the world are more-or-less normal. Cases and deaths attributed to Covid are, like everywhere else, falling dramatically.

If you pay attention only to the media fear campaigns, you would find this confusing. More than two weeks ago, the governor of Texas completely reversed his devastating lockdown policies and repealed all his emergency powers, along with the egregious attacks on rights and liberties.

There was something very un-Texan about those lockdowns. My hotel room is festooned with pictures of cowboys on horses waving guns in the air, along with other depictions of rugged individualism facing down the elements. It’s a caricature but Texans embrace it. Then a new virus came along – as if that had never happened before in Texas – and the new Zoom class took the opposite path, not freedom but imposition and control.

After nearly a year of nonsense, on March 2, 2021, the governor finally said enough is enough and repealed it all. Towns and cities can still engage in Covid-related mischief but at least they are no longer getting cover from the governor’s office.

At that moment, a friend remarked to me that this would be the test we have been waiting for. A complete repeal of restrictions would lead to mass death, they said. Would it? Did the lockdowns really control the virus? We would soon find out, he theorized.

I knew better. The “test” of whether and to what extent lockdowns control the virus or “suppress outbreaks” (in Anthony Fauci’s words) has been tried all over the world. Every serious empirical examination has shown that the answer is no.

The US has many examples of open states that have generally had better performance in managing the disease than those states that are closed. Georgia already opened on April 24, 2020. South Dakota never shut down. South Carolina opened in May. Florida ended all restrictions in September. In every case, the press howled about the coming slaughter that did not happen. Yes, each open state experienced a seasonality wave in winter but so did the lockdown states.

So it was in Texas. Thanks to this Twitter thread, and some of my own googling, we have a nice archive of predictions about what would happen if Texas opened.

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom said that opening Texas was “absolutely reckless.”
  • Gregg Popovich, head coach of the NBA San Antonio Spurs, said opening was “ridiculous” and “ignorant.”
  • CNN quoted an ICU nurse saying “I’m scared of what this is going to look like.”
  • Vanity Fair went over the top with this headline: “Republican Governors Celebrate COVID Anniversary With Bold Plan to Kill Another 500,000 Americans.”
  • There was the inevitable Dr. Fauci: “It just is inexplicable why you would want to pull back now.”
  • Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke of Texas revealed himself to be a full-blown lockdowner: It’s a “big mistake,” he said. “It’s hard to escape the conclusion that it’s also a cult of death.” He accused the governor of “sacrificing the lives of our fellow Texans … for political gain.”
  • James Hamblin, a doctor and writer for the Atlanticsaid in a Tweet liked by 20K people: “Ending precautions now is like entering the last miles of a marathon and taking off your shoes and eating several hot dogs.”
  • Bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald flipped out: “Goddamn. Texas already has FIVE variants that have turned up: Britain, South Africa, Brazil, New York & CA. The NY and CA variants could weaken vaccine effectiveness. And now idiot @GregAbbott_TX throws open the state.” He further called the government “murderous.”
  • Epidemiologist Whitney Robinson wrote: “I feel genuinely sad. There are people who are going to get sick and die bc of avoidable infections they get in the next few weeks. It’s demoralizing.”
  • Pundit Bill Kristol (I had no idea that he was a lockdowner) wrote: “Gov. Abbott is going to be responsible for more avoidable COVID hospitalizations and deaths than all the undocumented immigrants coming across the Texas border put together.”
  • Health pundit Bob Wachter said the decision to open was “unforgivable.”
  • Virus guru Michael Osterholm told CNN: “We’re walking into the mouth of the monster. We simply are.”
  • Joe Biden famously said that the Texas decision to open reflected “Neanderthal thinking.”
  • Nutritionist Eric Feigl-Ding said that the decision makes him want to “vomit so bad.”
  • The chairman of the state’s Democratic Party said: “What Abbott is doing is extraordinarily dangerous. This will kill Texans. Our country’s infectious-disease specialists have warned that we should not put our guard down, even as we make progress towards vaccinations. Abbott doesn’t care.”
  • Other state Democrats said in a letter that the decision was “premature and harmful.”
  • The CDC’s Rochelle Walensky didn’t mince words: “Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19.”

There are probably hundreds more such warnings, predictions, and demands, all stated with absolute certainty that basic social and market functioning is a terrible idea. The lockdown lobby was out in full force. And yet what do we see now more than two weeks out (and arguably the lockdowns died on March 2, when the government announced the decision)?

Here are the data.

The CDC has a very helpful tool that allows anyone to compare open vs closed states. The results are devastating for those who believe that lockdowns are the way to control a virus. In this chart we compare closed states Massachusetts and California with open states Georgia, Florida, Texas, and South Carolina.

What can we conclude from such a visualization? It suggests that the lockdowns have had no statistically observable effect on the virus trajectory and resulting severe outcomes. The open states have generally performed better, perhaps not because they are open but simply for reasons of demographics and seasonality. The closed states seem not to have achieved anything in terms of mitigation.

On the other hand, the lockdowns destroyed industries, schools, churches, liberties and lives, demoralizing the population and robbing people of essential rights. All in the name of safety from a virus that did its work in any case.

As for Texas, the results so far are in.

I’m making no predictions about the future path of the virus in Texas. Indeed for a full year, AIER has been careful about not trying to outguess this virus, which has its own ways, some predictable and some mysterious. The experience has or should have, humbled everyone. Political arrangements seem to have no power to control it, much less finally suppress it. The belief that it was possible to control people in order to control a virus produced a calamity unprecedented in modern times.

What’s striking about all the above predictions of infections and deaths is not just that they were all wrong. It’s the arrogance and confidence behind each of them. After a full year and directly observing the inability of “nonpharmaceutical interventions” to manage the pathogen, the experts are still wedded to their beloved lockdowns, unable or unwilling to look at the data and learn anything from them.

The concept of lockdowns stemmed from a faulty premise: that you can separate humans, like rats in cages, and therefore control and even eradicate the virus. After a year, we unequivocally know this not to be true, something that the best and wisest epidemiologists knew all along. Essential workers still must work; they must go home to their families, many in crowded living conditions. Lockdowns do not eliminate the virus, they merely shift the burden onto the working class.

Now we can see the failure in black, white, and full color, daily appearing on our screens courtesy of the CDC. Has that shaken the pro-lockdown pundit class? Not that much. What an amazing testament to the stubbornness of elite opinion and its bias against basic freedoms. They might all echo the words of Groucho Marx: “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

*****

This article was published on March 2, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from AIER, the American Institute of Economic Research.

CDC Finds Masks, Indoor Dining Bans Don’t Stop Virus, Media Ignores

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Masks and bans on indoor dining do little to stop the spread of  COVID-19, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection, and media outlets that covered the findings downplayed the results.

According to the CDC report, published March 12 in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, while mask mandates and indoor restaurant bans did decrease daily cases of COVID-19 and deaths, the results were a correlation and a tiny one at that.

Mask mandates reduced case growth between zero and 1.8 percent, and COVID death rates by .7 and 1.9 percent, with an increase in deaths 21-40 days after the mandate went into effect.  Indoor dining bans decreased case growth between .1 and .4 percent with an increase in cases in four time periods the bans were implemented. Restaurant bans were associated with a slight growth in COVID mortality.

Media outlets reported the findings but downplayed the numbers. “CDC study shows link between mask mandates, reduced COVID-19 spread as states lift restrictions,” reported ABC on March 5 (the day the result released to the public). “CDC study finds easing mask and restaurant rules led to more COVID cases and deaths, as some states move to lift restrictions,” stated CNBC.

Mississippi and Texas governors have announced a full re-opening of their states after months of mandates have crippled some industries and reduced education to tumultuous virtual learning. President Biden criticized reopening as “Neanderthal thinking.”

Low Impact, Nothing New

The CDC’s findings on masks are in line with a Danish study published in November and a study on quarantined Marine recruits published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December. Both studies found limited evidence that mask-wearing was effective in stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2.  On September 11, CDC reported in a group of 314 with and without COVID-19, there was no significant difference in vigilant mask use.

On March 8, CDC stated fully-vaccinated people do not have to wear masks while mingling with vaccinated people or unvaccinated individuals from a single household who are at low-risk for severe disease

“Masks do little to protect people from disease,” said Patrick Wood, director and founder of Citizens for Free Speech. “There are no scientific studies that show this. People will ask, then why have masks always been worn in medical settings? The answer is simple – to protect patients and providers from saliva, Wood told Health Care News. “There may be a reason for some people to wear face masks in public, but for the general population, masks can pose a health risk. Medical experts agree and a number of people are making this point.”

The mask guidance for vaccinated individuals is curious, says Marilyn Singleton, M.D., J.D., a former president of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons who has written widely on masks. “The vaccine guidance says that vaccinated folks while visiting with other fully vaccinated [people] can take off their masks and get close to one another in their own home as if most people were not already doing that,” said Singleton. “They can also go mask-less with unvaccinated low-risk individuals. Fully vaccinated folks are still told to wear masks outside the home. We are told to accept this unscientific recommendation as ‘the new normal’ as if that makes it reasonable or rational.”

Florida v. California

Now state lockdowns have been in place for one year, it is easier to measure the effectiveness of mitigation measures. AnneMarie Knott, a business professor with Washington University who has been examining COVID trends. Most recently Knott has compared weekly COVID-19 deaths between highly restrictive California and Florida, which limited restrictions, using CDC data.

“Florida’s population is much older, so it should have had a higher COVID death rate than California, but it took the hits early, and in the end has a lower total death rate of 1.22 per 1000 versus 1.32 per 1000,” Knott told Health Care News.

Death rates in highly restricted versus low-restriction states do not support mask efficacy. As for the slight decrease in cases, CDC noted for masks, Knott offers one explanation. “One thing the study may be picking up is that states impose masks when cases are rising. Cases naturally peak after that, then decline.  So the study may be giving masks credit for something that happens naturally.”

Common Sense

Indoor dining bans have devastated the dining industry with restaurants and bars losing more than 370,000 jobs in December, a record high,  according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On-premises dining was reopened in the majority (97.9 percent) of U.S. counties during the CDC’s study. According to the report, “Changes in daily COVID-19 case and death growth rates were not statistically significant.”

The bottom line is the contagion control taught nothing not known earlier. “What we really have to rely on is common sense,” said Singleton. “If you are sick, stay home and isolate. If you are healthy, get some sunshine, cough into your elbow, and most important wash your hands.”

*****

This article appeared on March 15, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the Heartland Institute.

 

Sweden Saw Lower Mortality Rate Than Most of Europe in 2020, Despite No Lockdown

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New data from Europe suggest Sweden’s laissez-faire approach to the pandemic was far from catastrophic.

Few people in 2020 came under more heat than Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s top epidemiologist.

But the man who forged Sweden’s laissez-faire approach to COVID-19 early in the pandemic says new international data reveal a hard truth about government lockdowns.

“I think people will probably think very carefully about these total shutdowns, how good they really were,” Tegnell told Reuters in a recent interview. “They may have had an effect in the short term, but when you look at it throughout the pandemic, you become more and more doubtful.”

Tegnell was referring to data published by Reuters that show Sweden, which shunned the strict lockdowns embraced by most nations around the world, experienced a smaller increase in its mortality rate than most European countries in 2020.

Preliminary data from EU statistics agency Eurostat compiled by Reuters showed Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years. Countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns, such as Spain and Belgium, had so-called excess mortality of 18.1% and 16.2% respectively.

Twenty-one of the 30 countries with available statistics had higher excess mortality than Sweden. However, Sweden did much worse than its Nordic neighbours, with Denmark registering just 1.5% excess mortality and Finland 1.0%. Norway had no excess mortality at all in 2020.

For nearly a year, Sweden was at the forefront of the debate over how governments should respond to the coronavirus.

Reports last April showed that despite widespread criticism for not embracing a full government lockdown, COVID-19 had reached what Tegnell described as a “plateau” in Sweden.

“If Tegnell’s characterization turns out to be true, it will be quite a vindication for Sweden, which has been widely denounced for bucking the trend among governments of imposing draconian ‘shelter-at-home’ decrees that have crippled the world economy and thrown millions out of work,” Bloomberg reported.

Months later, data showed that Sweden had successfully “flattened the curve” in contrast to many other global hot spots.

Many critics countered by comparing Sweden’s death rate to its Nordic counterparts Norway and Finland, which had some of the lowest mortality rates in Europe. Norway and Finland, however, embraced policies even less restrictive than Sweden’s for most of the pandemic.

Public health experts in Sweden say the latest data are further evidence that Sweden was one of the few nations to get the virus right. “Some believed that it was possible to eliminate disease transmission by shutting down society,” said Johan Carlson, Director, Public Health Agency of Sweden. “We did not believe that and we have been proven right.”

Pandemics are awful and COVID-19 is a nasty virus. (I had it recently myself, and it was no picnic. I was severely sick for days.) But lawmakers around the world made two severe miscalculations when they decided to discard fundamental liberties and embrace lockdowns.

First, they concluded that they could contain a virus through central planning. They failed—as numerous academic studies show.

Second, policymakers forgot the basic reality of tradeoffs, something economist and political scientist James Harrigan recognized early in the pandemic.

In times of crisis, people want someone to do something, and don’t want to hear about tradeoffs. This is the breeding ground for grand policies driven by the mantra, “if it saves just one life.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo invoked the mantra to defend his closure policies. The mantra has echoed across the country from county councils to mayors to school boards to police to clergy as justification for closures, curfews, and enforced social distancing.

Rational people understand this isn’t how the world works. Regardless of whether we acknowledge them, tradeoffs exist.

What Harrigan and Davies were getting at is that policies don’t always work as planned. They often come with a host of unintended consequences, which can be adverse or even destructive.

“Every human action has both intended and unintended consequences,” Antony Davies and James Harrigan explained. “Human beings react to every rule, regulation, and order governments impose, and their reactions result in outcomes that can be quite different than the outcomes lawmakers intended.”

One reason Sweden saw a lower mortality rate than most of its European counterparts is because its leaders recognized this. As a result, Sweden avoided much of the collateral damage associated with lockdowns, which includes economic distress, increased suicide, depression from social isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, and other adverse public health consequences.

America did not. For example, the US saw mental health hit a 20-year low last year. The CDC reports surging depression in young people. There have been spikes in suicidedrug overdoses,

Globally, we’ve seen similar trends. Child suicide is surging around the world, physicians recently told the Associated Press.

“This is an international epidemic, and we are not recognizing it,” said Dr. David Greenhorn, who works in the emergency unit at England’s Bradford Royal Infirmary. “In an 8-year-old’s life, a year is a really, really, really long time. They are fed up. They can’t see an end to it.”

This is heart-wrenching. It’s also maddening because top US public health acknowledged early in the pandemic that extended lockdowns could cause “irreparable damage.”

“We can’t stay locked down for such a considerable period of time that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences, including consequences for health,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, told CNBC last year.

Fauci was right. Unfortunately, unlike Tegnell, he didn’t have the courage of his convictions. And Americans paid the price.

*****

This article was published on March 26, 2021, and is reprinted with permission from The Foundation for Economic Education

The NIH China Emails

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From day one of the coronavirus crisis, Judicial Watch has been working around the clock to get information about how the Federal Government has handled COVID-19. Representing the Daily Caller News Foundation, Fitton discussed the lawsuit “filed for communications between Dr. Fauci and Deputy [NIH] Director Lane, and the World Health Organization officials concerning the novel coronavirus. 

The subset of documents… show that there was this accommodation given to China on confidentiality and other communication control,” Fitton noted Friday. Recently released emails between the NIH and the WHO show that there was an agreement to grant China some sort of veto power … over communications concerning covid.” As Fitton stated, a “WHO briefing package was sent to NIH officials traveling to China as part of the COVID-19 response, and it asks that officials not share information until they have agreement with China.” 

Now we know “why President Trump pulled the United States of America from WHO,” Fitton stated. The WHO, Fitton contends, “was acting as a front for China as opposed to an independent agency that would independently pursue public health measures.” This emerging political scandal was “not exposed by Congress, we had to sue for the basic information about what was going on with China… and WHO on a public health issue that shut down the entire world.” 

*****

This Press Release was published March 24, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from Judicial Watch.

You can find a complete summary of Judicial Watch’s findings here. If you’re concerned about the handling of the coronavirus crisis and want answers on the government’s response, support Judicial Watch’s work today.

The Many Variants of Fauci’s Mutating Covid Advice

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In an explosive Senate hearing on March 18, Dr. Anthony Fauci clashed with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul over a subject that has characterized much of the White House health adviser’s recent commentary on Covid-19: the specter of reinfection, caused by one of the emerging variants of the virus.

Several recent studies suggest that both natural and vaccine-induced immunity to Covid-19 is robust at least for the medium term, and even those hinting at possible reinfections suggest it is a rare phenomenon mainly afflicting people with severely weakened immune systems.

Fauci nonetheless maintains that reinfections, particularly from the South African variant of the virus, are not only commonplace but justify maintaining a suite of restrictive nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPI) such as lockdowns, mask mandates, and social distancing regulations – perhaps even for another year.

Paul pressed Fauci to cite the scientific literature supporting this claim, to no avail. Instead, Fauci deflected the question by repeating platitudes about masks and exaggerating a recent study about reinfections. According to Fauci, previously recovered people who “were exposed to the variant in South Africa” reacted “as if they had never been infected before. They had no protection.”

A Danish study that Fauci later referenced to justify this assertion made no such claim about reinfection being widespread. Quite the contrary, its authors concluded “that protection against repeat SARS-CoV-2 infection is robust and detectable in the majority of individuals, protecting 80% or more of the naturally infected population who are younger than 65 years against reinfections.”

They did further observe “that individuals aged 65 years and older had less than 50% protection against repeat SARS-CoV-2 infection” and recommended targeted vaccinations for this group to bolster immunity. But even this finding came with several acknowledged limitations, as the study was not designed to test for repeat infection among the vast number of mild or asymptomatic cases of the disease, or to directly verify whether suspected reinfection cases were the result of misclassified lingering infections.

The study did not, however, support Fauci’s contention that reinfections are becoming commonplace.

Last week’s hearing is not the first time in recent memory that Fauci has exaggerated the evidence around reinfection, specifically invoking the South African variant. In early February, a pair of studies produced evidence that reinfections from this strain were possible, although at this point they appear to be rare. The first confirmed one single case of reinfection from the South African variant after extensive testing to rule out a misclassified lingering infection.

The second, conducted as part of the Novavax vaccine trial, indirectly inferred that a tiny number of its participants may have become reinfected with the South African variant, “suggest[ing] that prior infection with COVID-19 may not completely protect against subsequent infection by the South Africa escape variant.”

In no sense did either study claim that reinfections are commonplace or widespread. If anything, they were measured scientific calls for further investigation of each possibility. Yet here is how Fauci described them in a mid-February interview with CNN: “[t]he experience of our colleagues in South Africa indicates that even if you’ve been infected with the original virus, that there is a very high rate of re-infection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against re-infection, at least with the South African variant.”

This sort of overstatement is a familiar theme for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) lead infectious disease bureaucrat, dating all the way back to his mishandling of the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s. Fauci has a bad habit of seizing onto a small kernel of scientific data, drawing sweeping inferences upon it through unfounded speculation, and then presenting his own exaggerated spin to the public as if it is a matter of scientific fact.

Fauci’s Mutating Scientific Commentary

All the more curious, Fauci’s recent exaggerations about Covid-19 reinfection place him in direct conflict with another “expert” assessment of the very same question: his own, at various points over the course of the pandemic in the last year.

On March 28, 2020 – just shy of a year before his recent tangle with Senator Paul – Fauci aggressively contested the likelihood of reinfection in an interview with the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah. “It’s never 100%,” he explained, “but I’d be willing to bet anything that people who recover are really protected against re-infection.”

The NIH administrator’s many credulous enthusiasts in the news media will likely respond to such contradictory assertions by claiming that Fauci is simply updating his assessment in light of new evidence. Yet his track record over the past year suggests a very different story. Far from incorporating the latest scientific findings, Fauci appears to selectively invoke or downplay the specter of reinfection based on whether or not it serves his political objectives of the moment.

Fauci’s claims about reinfection do not follow a consistent trajectory of emerging evidence about whether or how frequently it happens. Instead they vacillate between depicting the possibility as either an overblown fear, concerning only a few rare cases, or an imminent cause for alarm that could spread to the entire population.

During the first several months of lockdowns in the United States, Fauci repeatedly asserted that immunity from the virus would preclude reinfection among those who had contracted the disease and recovered. “It’s a reasonable assumption that this virus is not changing very much,” he explained on an early April 2020 webcast for the Journal of the American Medical Association. “If we get infected now and it comes back next February or March we think this person is going to be protected.”

Fauci repeated a similar claim in a July 2020 interview with NIH director Francis Collins, who specifically asked him about the possibility of reinfection. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a rare case of an individual who went into remission and relapse,” he explained, “But Francis, I could say with confidence that it is very unlikely.”

These early statements aligned with Fauci’s political messaging in the first few months of the pandemic. He was operating under the assumption that lockdowns would successfully contain the virus, even praising Europe at the time for “successfully” pulling off this strategy (the fall second wave would belie this claim, as well as the notion that lockdowns even minimally guard against the course of the virus). If the United States would only accept similar measures through the summer and perhaps fall, the pandemic could be tamed through NPIs. Meanwhile, reinfections remained a non-issue in Fauci’s eyes.

When medical researchers documented one of the first confirmed cases of reinfection last August, Fauci saw no cause for alarm. During a virtual address to the staff of the Walter Reed Medical Center on August 26, he dismissed the prospect as “purely rare and anecdotal.” Fauci continued: “In every anecdotal case I’ve seen, there could have been another explanation for that. So, I can say that although we have to leave open the possibility, it is likely so, so rare that right now with what we know, it’s not an issue.”

Keep in mind that this description could just as easily apply to the recent studies of the South African strain, which have only confirmed or suggested a tiny number of reinfections. Fauci simply interpreted these earlier studies with greater caution and restraint against exaggerating their implications.

Not long after his August 2020 remarks, Fauci’s messaging on reinfections shifted to an opposite tack. With the looming prospect of another round of lockdowns in the fall, a group of scientists convened for a weekend meeting at AIER. On October 4th they issued the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), challenging the efficacy of Fauci’s lockdown-centered strategy and calling attention to the widespread collateral harms it had inflicted on society. Instead, the GBD argued, we should adopt a strategy of “focused protection” for the most vulnerable until we built up herd immunity in the general population.

Herd immunity is a biological fact rather than a policy strategy. It comes about through the combination of naturally acquired immunity from recovered persons, and vaccine-induced immunity among the still-vulnerable. With anticipated testing and approval of the first vaccines in the late fall or winter, focused protection offered a viable pathway to reopening and thereby alleviating the widespread social and economic destruction caused by the lockdowns over the last year.

Suddenly Fauci began pivoting his messaging on reinfections. Shortly after the GBD came out, White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas endorsed “focused protection” as an alternative to a perpetual cycle of lockdowns. Fauci himself previously conceded the reality of herd immunity effects in the spring and summer when he pointed out that reinfections were anecdotal, rare, and unlikely. But now he saw his political authority being challenged by the GBD authors and by Atlas’s parallel recommendations.

On October 16, 2020 Fauci accordingly went on CNN with a new message of alarm about reinfections: “We’re starting to see a number of cases that are being reported of people who get re-infected, well-documented cases of people who were infected after a relatively brief period of time. So you really have to be careful that you’re not completely immune.”

Fauci’s statement implied that he had access to a growing body of new evidence on reinfection. In reality, he had a textbook example of the type of case he previously characterized as “rare and anecdotal” in August when he was trying to allay fears of the same phenomenon. A few days prior to the October CNN interview, a team of researchers in the Netherlands reported a single confirmed case in which an 89-year-old patient undergoing treatment for advanced cancer had contracted the disease, recovered, and then passed away after becoming reinfected with another strain. To Fauci however, the possibility of reinfection – once dismissed as an uncommon occurrence – became a political tool to ward off the GBD’s challenge to the lockdowns.

For the next several weeks, Fauci raised the reinfection specter whenever the subject of herd immunity came up. “We have seen specific instances of re-infection, people who got infected, recovered, and got infected with another SARS Covid-2,” he claimed in a C-Span interview that aired on November 12th. This statement came in response to questions about herd immunity from the NIH’s Francis Collins – the same person who asked a similar question in July. Recall Fauci’s answer then: “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a rare case of an individual who went into remission and relapsed…But Francis, I could say with confidence that [re-infection] is very unlikely.”

On November 18th Pfizer announced the successful completion of its vaccine trial and intention to seek emergency authorization from the FDA within a matter of days. Fauci, who had been deprecating the herd immunity concept and hinting at reinfection only a week prior, pivoted his messaging yet again.

In a sense, he had no other option. The central premise of vaccination is to expedite reaching herd immunity in the population. As the GBD authors noted, natural immunity among the recovered and vaccination among the still-vulnerable work in concert with each other, bringing society above the necessary threshold for population-wide herd immunity. Initially, Fauci concurred, stating in an interview on November 22nd that “if you get an overwhelming majority of the people vaccinated with a highly efficacious vaccine, we can reasonably quickly get to the herd immunity that would be a blanket of protection for the country.

Within a matter of days, Fauci’s rhetoric shifted even further away from reinfection and toward touting the medium-term efficacy of immunity after vaccination. On November 27th he told McClatchy News: “From what we know of the duration thus far of immunity, I would be surprised if it turns out to be a 20-year duration, but I would also be surprised if it was less than a year. I think it would probably be more than a year.” A few days later, Fauci told Fox News that the country would reach herd immunity once about 70% received the vaccine.

Then the goalposts shifted

Faced with mounting political pressures to relax lockdowns and other NPI measures in the wake of the vaccine, Fauci began casting about for new rationales to extend their duration. In a now-notorious interview with the New York Times’s Donald McNeil on December 24th, Fauci bumped his herd immunity threshold upward toward 90%. The lower targets from the previous month, he now insisted, were part of an elaborate noble lie to coax the public into greater compliance with his own directives: “When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent. Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.”

Throughout this period, the public discussion around Covid-19 refocused on the emergence of new variants of the disease caused by ongoing mutations of the original virus. Fauci’s messaging shifted as well, focusing again on the matter of reinfections with a clear message of downplaying the risk. That’s the argument he conveyed to California Governor Gavin Newsom in a brief webcast on December 31, 2020. The new UK variant, he insisted at the time, “doesn’t seem to evade the protection that’s afforded by the antibodies that are produced by vaccines…people who have been infected don’t seem to get reinfected by this.”

With each new strain however, Fauci’s message continued to pivot. By mid-February, as noted above, he was again raising the specter of reinfection from the new South African variant as a pretext for keeping mask mandates and social distancing requirements in place, even after vaccination. Fauci also pivoted away from setting target thresholds for herd immunity as vaccination numbers rapidly rose in the early spring. On March 15, 2021 he told a White House press conference that “We should not get so fixated on this elusive number of herd immunity” and should instead simply focus on vaccinating as many people as we can.

Fauci’s exchange with Rand Paul over the possibility of reinfections would take place later that same week, where he again engaged in unfounded speculation based on emerging evidence from the South African variant. While the aforementioned studies of this variant documented or inferred the possibility of reinfection, neither supported the claim that this was common or widespread.

Except Fauci’s depiction of them offered no such nuance. Instead, he offered Paul a sweeping generalization at the March 18, 2021 hearing. People with prior Covid-19 infection “had no protection” from the South African variant, according to Fauci. He doubled down on the exaggerated speculation the next day, telling CNN “I’m afraid, if people hear what Rand Paul says, and believe it, and you have an elderly person who has been infected, and they decide, ‘Well, Rand Paul says let’s not wear a mask,’ they won’t. They could get reinfected again and get into trouble.”

In just under a year’s time, Fauci’s messaging on reinfection and herd immunity has now mutated across dozens of variants of its own, each conveniently aligning with his political messaging of the moment. Although reinfection from new strains continues to be an avenue of research and investigation, the evidence we currently have suggests it remains uncommon. That hasn’t stopped America’s “leading infectious disease authority” from indulging in wildly irresponsible speculation from a national stage though, invariably appealing to alarmism as a pretext for continuing the same failed lockdown policies he has been peddling for over a year now.

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This article was published on March 23, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

The 6-Foot Mandate Was Bad Science

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

On March 19th the Centers for Disease Control issued a press release detailing changes to its operational strategy for K-12 students. It stated that among other things, students may now reduce their social distancing from 6 feet to 3 feet. The release begins as follows,

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is updating K12 school guidance to reflect the latest science on physical distance between students in classrooms. CDC now recommends that, with universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings. CDC has updated its operational strategy to say:

  • In elementary schools, CDC recommends all students remain at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal — regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high.
  • In middle and high schools, CDC also recommends students should be at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal and in communities where transmission is low, moderate, or substantial.

Although this updated guideline is still ridiculous, it’s at least more in line with the established science on the transmission of airborne diseases, not whatever we have been working with for the current pandemic.

In an essay published in 2006, Dr. Donald Henderson, most famous for leading the eradication of smallpox, noted that the US Department of Health and Human Services recommended that social distancing measures of at least 3 feet be used. The World Health Organization has maintained since the beginning of the pandemic that 1 meter or roughly 3 feet would be the optimal minimum social distancing protocol. Reuters notes that,

“The further you stand away from someone, the fewer droplets you will be exposed to. One meter only prevents you from being exposed to the largest of droplets; two meters reduces your exposure – but doesn’t make it zero risk.”

A study in The Lancet this month found that physical distancing of at least 1m lowers risk of COVID-19 transmission, but that 2m could be more effective.”

It is of course necessary to note that not seeing anyone at all is the most effective way to prevent transmission but that isn’t realistic, just like staying six feet away from everybody. The point is that the scientific consensus says that 3 feet of social distancing is effective at reducing transmission. It will always be more effective to be as far as possible but to say that 6 feet is the minimum is not only unrealistic but unscientific. 

In fact, the United States has some of the strictest social distancing measures in the world. Reuters notes,

“China, Denmark, France, Hong Kong and Singapore recommend social distancing of 1 meter, and many people also choose to, or are required to, wear face masks in public spaces.

Australia, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal advise people to keep 1.5m apart. Switzerland this week also reduced the required distance to 1.5m from 2m.

The guidance in the United States is six feet, or 1.8m.”

Although K-12 students may begin to observe a 3-foot rule rather than a 6-foot rule, the CDC still maintains the rest of the population abide by the latter. However, it is worth noting that any official recommendation at all is futile and ignorant because it is virtually impossible to observe any social distancing policy consistently. Although it is certainly good information to keep in mind that maintaining distance from others may help reduce the spread of infectious diseases, social distancing should not be hailed as the key to stopping a virus as it has with Covid-19.

Dr. Henderson explained this common sense critique of social distancing mandates when he wrote,

“It has been recommended that individuals maintain a distance of 3 feet or more during a pandemic so as to diminish the number of contacts with people who may be infected. The efficacy of this measure is unknown. It is typically assumed that transmission of droplet-spread diseases, such as influenza, is limited to “close contacts”—that is, being within 3–6 feet of an infected person. Keeping a space of 3 feet between individuals might be possible in some work environments, but it is difficult to imagine how bus, rail, or air travelers could stay 3 feet apart from each other throughout an epidemic. And such a recommendation would greatly complicate normal daily tasks like grocery shopping, banking, and the like.”

Although Dr. Henderson noted this in 2006, it seems like we have had to rediscover this truth in 2020.

Why Is This Important

Although it is good to see the CDC slowly relaxing its policies and embracing established science, there is something far more important at play. That is recognizing how overly risk-averse the CDC has always been and how damaging this has been for the perception of public health. Robby Soave from Reason notes,

“It’s important to keep in mind that the CDC has always urged people to follow impractically cautious health guidelines. For instance, the CDC currently recommends that men consume no more than two alcoholic drinks and that women consume no more than one drink, each day. The agency’s clear preference is for people not to consume alcohol at all. It recommends that all women who possess the capacity to be pregnant abstain from drinking entirely. It would be very funny, then, if the CDC suddenly published guidance that it was once again safe to flock to bars and restaurants. That’s not something the CDC believed, even in normal times. If COVID-19 vanished from the earth overnight, government health officials would still urge you to never eat raw cookie dough.”

There will likely never be a time when the recommendations of public health completely intersect with normal societal functions, which is why they should remain recommendations, not law if they are to be broadcasted at all. There will be a concerted effort in the next few years to rewrite the narrative to suggest that because of the leadership of the CDC and the lockdown governors, America was spared from further devastation. However, all they did was crush society under the boot of authoritarianism while doing little to protect the vulnerable from the virus.

The change from 6 feet to 3 feet is a welcome trickle of common sense and established science. However, we should understand that this otherwise trivial reduction of distance is representative of the long and problematic relationship between public health bureaucrats and the normal functioning of society.

The CDC along with overprotective public health experts have always had a long list of absurd and unrealistic recommendations for society. In the age of Covid-19, we finally gave them the keys to control and now we have seen firsthand the dystopia they would create. It is important that we establish this fact and learn this lesson, because those who intend to write history may see things differently.

*****

This article was published on March 23, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the American Institute of Economic Research.

Non-COVID Death Epidemic of the Future

Estimated Reading Time: 11 minutes

Consider the possibility that science is a process of questions and answers. Not all answers are correct and not all questions are valid. Yet all need to be considered and evaluated separately and carefully. Within that context we broach the subject of this COVID debacle that stands in our way to a free and productive life. The draconian measures undertaken have had profound and lasting impressions on the American psyche that will not be washed away any time soon. But we wish to explore the unscientific labors of a few minds that compelled the nation and indeed the world to point to a far worse intermediate term future of the health of our citizens. Although, Non-COVID related deaths include the psychological trauma to the society as a whole, including suicides, drug abuse and harm related to physical abuse, and their future impact, we will focus on the non-psychological medical harm to the people as a whole.

Was this Flawed Science?

What has COVID wrought on our nation and the entire planet? What has become a daily treadmill of fear and peril at every fork in the road? While we do not minimize the enormous loss of life from the pandemic, we certainly argue against the mechanics used to mitigate the pandemic. We have climbed through the hoops of shutdowns and lockdowns and found that wanting. The fact that lockdowns have done harm, is not in question. Entire companies have gone bankrupt and households have lost loved ones via the egregious efforts of confinement and proximity. Restaurants have closed, movie theaters are threatened, and brick and mortar stores have shuttered. Millions have lost their jobs and most others are skating on thin ice that keeps getting thinner by the day. We were told that masks were not helpful once, not too long ago but then they suddenly defied all previous principles of apolitical science and became helpful in mitigating the viral onslaught. But that was not enough because what one mask couldn’t seem to do in regards protecting the individual, two were recommended as “common sense.” Suddenly we were told ‘science’ had proven the fidelity of such a declaration.

More policy mandates were promulgated and schools were shutdown to “protect the young.”  John Ionnadis, MD from Stanford University, linked such arbitrary, yet draconian shutdowns to a greater harm on society. Skepticism of such motives would be considered blasphemy, after all the policy was made to protect the young from acquiring the infection. Somewhere in the new science world, the whole idea of facts was lost. The data showed that children less than 10 years of age had a 0.002% chance of severe illness and those under twenty years of age had less than 0.1% chance. Even UNESCO reiterated that school closures cause harm to the young.  And the 1.9 billion children were directly impacted by such measures, harming the lower income far worse. Within this dichotomy of action and reaction was buried the 1840 Farr’s Law about pandemics that everyone seemed to have missed: “Epidemics (also holds true for pandemics) events rise and fall in a roughly symmetrical pattern.

The time-evolution behavior could be captured by a single mathematical formula that could be approximated by a bell-shaped curve.”

Further irregularities in reporting occurred in February and March of 2020, when the Infection Fatality Rate was conflated with Case Fatality Rate. The difference between IFR and CFR is in the denominator: infections or cases. All cases are infections, but not all infections are confirmed cases related to the virus, so the number of infections (of x + y infections) always exceeds the number of cases (x infection), making IFR less than CFR. The IFR for the Seasonal Flu is 0.13% (0.1-0.18%) yet in March of 2020 that number was reported by the media and confirmed by Dr. Fauci in his testimony to be 3%. The difference between the numbers is an order of magnitude that not only was alarming but overnight created enormous fear.

The Failing Diagnostics

In all this hubbub of the “new science” where the priors were considered to not add to the current vogue concepts, something was lost: facts! The data mining of the COVID infections was cluttered with miscues. The data mined, created a bucket of “cases both asymptomatic and symptomatic”, “hospitalizations,” and “deaths.” The “cases” we have come to know are not as were assumed in the early phase of the pandemic. Not everyone with a fever, a cough or those feeling listless was infected with the virus.

Even those tested positive with the Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR method were not truly infected, were based on diagnostic methodology and did not represent the actual incidence of infection. We discovered that the thermal cycle threshold used in the PCR method was the hidden arbiter determining an infection “case.” The higher the number of thermal cycles used for amplification of the RNA, the higher the degree of probability that the test would be rendered positive. In other words, a person with a non-infectious fragment of an RNA from a previous coronavirus infection could be counted positive due to the high sensitivity and low specificity based on high amplification cycles, this inherent weakness, brought into question the very accuracy of the case-count.

But what of the Deaths? Since deaths are considered the “lagging indicator” in the disease and determine the deadly virulence of the virus itself. What did that number actually represent? And this is where we lay our tale.

Excess Mortality Data

The CDC data suggested and continues to show the “Excess mortality numbers” on a weekly basis. Any spike above the mean is considered excess and suggests that the increased mortality is from the virus itself. Science again asks us to remain skeptical. So, we are going to question with rational arguments and factual data these question that hound us.

Excess mortality depends on the structure of the population demographics. The older the population, the higher the excess mortality numbers. These age structures, however, can be standardized to make valid comparisons. Based on this standardization the United States has an excess mortality of 12.9% with Expected Age-standardized Mortality 2020 (per 100,000)

of 1020,  Age-standardized total excess mortality (per 100,000) of 1152 and  Excess age-standardized mortality (per 100,000) of 132

What Constitutes COVID Death?

How does a physician categorize death on a death certificate? If a person has a diagnosis of terminal cancer but on the last day of their life, the organ failure from the ravages of the cancer ends their life. How would one account for that death? Is it the organ failure, such as heart failure, kidney failure or liver failure etc.? Or is it the cancer itself? Any logical mind would say the latter. But then if the physician would write Heart Failure as the cause and Cancer as the extenuating secondary causal event, would he be wrong? The answer is simple, yes! And that problem has been circulating in the medical world for a long time. Death Certificates are full of errors, as much as 51%  based on the data, both by interpretation and sometime by intent.

We have over the past year seen COVID being labeled as the cause of death in car accidents, in gunshot related traumatic deaths and other organ failure maladies. Were these all COVID deaths? The answer is no. Was it contributing in nature, perhaps?  But definitely not as a proximate cause. It is a fairly remarkable statement to make, yet the facts seem to agree with that assertion.  Several cases in the newspaper articles account for such blatant incongruities.

We have also ascertained over the similar one-year period of time that normal causal reasons of death have decreased dramatically. The numbers of deaths related to cancer have plummeted as have heart attacks, diabetes and other chronic diseases related events. In similar vein, the number of Influenza cases have also dramatically been reduced. And in the latter case, one wonders if we are testing the RNA fragments common to other coronaviruses and calling every Influenza like illness a COVID infection? Since data exists that the SARs-CoV2 shares 96.2% homology to other coronaviruses including the bat virus and other coronaviruses such as MERS and Influenzas. A question that should keep experts researching?

The Declining Screening Measures

Non COVID deaths are taking a back seat in counting these days. There is a large price yet to pay and has been paid if we place this concept in the crucible of reality. We have unfortunately turned back the time on preventative medicine. Several studies have identified a substantial drop in health care utility in March and April as most medical offices closed or dramatically scaled back operations, and people have generally avoided interactions with the health system in the hopes of not contracting the virus. This included reductions in outpatient visitsemergency department visits, and elective surgeries like lower joint replacement. Lesser number of colonoscopies are being performed. It is a proven fact that colonoscopy examinations save lives by removing a polyp that will over time turn into cancer. Colonoscopies, declined by almost 90% at one point in mid-April 2020 compared to 2019, and as of November 2020 are still down about 10-15% compared to last year.

Similarly, mammogram and breast examinations have been reduced to a trickle. Mammograms and Pap smears were down nearly 80 % in April 2020 compared to 2019. However, both services recovered throughout the summer and fall, with Pap smears and mammograms rebounding above 2019 levels in August and November, respectively. And for males, PSA tests, which are used for prostate cancer screening, while down approximately 70% in early April, have seen a strong rebound, with delivery of PSA tests returning to 2019 levels starting in June, and reaching 25% above 2019 levels in September 2020.

What follows is that a treatable and potentially curable malignancy, with delay, will usually reveal itself as late stage incurable cancer. In fact, the legal profession prides itself in suing physicians for negligence due to delay in diagnoses. Our fear of catching a virus is leading us inexorably to the fate we dread the most. Who or what one faults is not the premise that we intend to uncover? We are merely bringing the conscience of all to bear on this potentially formidable looming tragedy.

The Actual Harm and the Science

Lancet study from the UK reveals: “We collected data for 32 583 patients with breast cancer, 24 975 with colorectal cancer, 6744 with oesophageal cancer, and 29 305 with lung cancer. Across the three different scenarios, compared with pre-pandemic figures, we estimate a 7·9–9·6% increase in the number of deaths due to breast cancer up to year 5 after diagnosis, corresponding to between 281 (95% CI 266–295) and 344 (329–358) additional deaths. For colorectal cancer, we estimate 1445 (1392–1591) to 1563 (1534–1592) additional deaths, a 15·3–16·6% increase; for lung cancer, 1235 (1220–1254) to 1372 (1343–1401) additional deaths, a 4·8–5·3% increase; and for oesophageal cancer, 330 (324–335) to 342 (336–348) additional deaths, 5·8–6·0% increase up to 5 years after diagnosis. For these four tumour types, these data correspond with 3291–3621 additional deaths across the scenarios within 5 years. The total additional YLLs across these cancers is estimated to be 59 204–63 229 years.”

What  is even more appalling is that these non–COVID-19 excess deaths are most apparent in the 25- to 44-year age group for women and 15- to 54-year age group for men as revealed in this article and here. “There are several potential reasons for this undercount,” Woolf said in a university news release. “Some of it may reflect under-reporting; it takes a while for some of these data to come in. Some cases might involve patients with COVID-19 who died from related complications, such as heart disease, and those complications may have been listed as the cause of death rather than COVID-19,” Woolf explained. “But a third possibility, the one we’re quite concerned about, is indirect mortality — deaths caused by the response to the pandemic,” he said. “People who never had the virus may have died from other causes because of the spillover effects of the pandemic, such as delayed medical care, economic hardship or emotional distress.”

Woolf further stated, “The demographic and time patterns of the non-COVID-19 excess deaths (NCEDs) point to deaths of despair rather than an undercount of COVID-19 deaths. The flow of NCEDs increased steadily from March to June and then plateaued. They were disproportionately experienced by working-age men, including men as young as 15 to 24.  If deaths of despair were the only causes of death with significant net contributions to NCEDs after February, 30,000 NCEDs would represent at least a 45% increase in deaths of despair from 2018, which itself was high by historical standards.”

The fears projected onto the public by the public health policy experts and the Media may have created the greatest tragedy of our times. “Due to fears of contracting COVID-19 or taking up space in hospitals, patients experiencing a heart attack or stroke are delaying their essential care, causing a new public health crisis,” said Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org.

S.H. Jacobson and J.A. Jokela discussed Non–COVID-19 report on excess deaths by age and gender in the United States during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Public Health, 2020; 189:  “At COVID-19’s peak for March and April, diabetes deaths in those five states rose 96% above the expected number of deaths when compared to the weekly averages in January and February of 2020. The five states also had spikes in deaths from heart disease (89%), Alzheimer’s disease (64%) and stroke (35%). In New York City, there was a 398% increase in heart disease deaths and a 356% increase in diabetes deaths. “

To complicate the picture, the British Medical Journal suggested, “during March, while age standardised death rates for COVID-19 show it was the third most common cause of death, ischaemic heart disease was 26% lower than the five-year average for March, and cerebrovascular and chronic lower respiratory diseases were 18% and 10% lower, respectively.”

That conclusion is emerging from new research showing deaths are increasing from causes such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes – while emergency room visits for those conditions are down. A JAMA study found huge increases in excess deaths from underlying causes such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania – the five states with the most COVID-19 deaths in March and April. New York City experienced the biggest jumps, including a 398% rise in heart disease deaths and a 356% increase in diabetes deaths.

In May of 2020, Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, stated, “The data, based on death certificates from states, shows a spike in so-called “excess deaths” in the United States, split between confirmed COVID-19 fatalities and undiagnosed or unrelated deaths. Amid the pandemic, at least 66,081 more people in the United States have died than expected since January 1. More than 32,300 of the excess deaths have not been attributed to COVID-19. When you put it in context with the weekly deaths over the last couple of years, you see quite a remarkable jump.”

The CDC reported in late June of 2020 that in the 10 weeks after the pandemic was declared a national emergency on March 13, hospital emergency department visits declined by 23% for heart attacks, 20% for strokes and 10% for uncontrolled high blood sugar in people with diabetes.

Another JAMA study in July 2020, found approximately 781 000 total deaths in the United States from March 1 to May 30, 2020, representing 122,300 (95% prediction interval, 116,800-127,000) more deaths than would typically be expected at that time of year. There were 95 235 reported deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 from March 1 to May 30, 2020. The number of excess all-cause deaths was 28% higher than the official tally of COVID-19–reported deaths during that period.

More data from the JAMANetwork Join Point analysis revealed,in October 2020, “Of the 225,530 excess deaths, 150,541 (67%) were attributed to COVID-19. The analyses revealed an increase in deaths attributed to causes other than COVID-19, reaching statistical significance. US mortality rates for heart disease increased between weeks ending March 21 and April 11 (APC, 5.1 [95% CI, 0.2-10.2]), driven by the spring surge in COVID-19 cases. Mortality rates for Alzheimer disease/dementia increased twice, between weeks ending March 21 and April 11 (APC, 7.3 [95% CI, 2.9-11.8]) and between weeks ending June 6 and July 25 (APC, 1.5 [95% CI, 0.8-2.3]), the latter coinciding with the summer surge in sunbelt states.”

New data from a research letter showed that US deaths per month—a commonly consistent rate—increased by 20% from March-July of 2020. COVID-19 was a documented cause of death in two-thirds of these excess cases. Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH, et.al. sought to update previous analysis which showed COVID-19 was cited in just 65% of excess deaths in March-April from this year, while non-coronavirus causes of deaths increased sharply in the 5 states reporting the most COVID-19 deaths. From March 1 – August 1, investigators observed 1,333,561 excess deaths in the US—a 20% increase over the estimated expected 1.1 million deaths (1,111,031; 95% CI, 1,110,364 – 1,111,697). Of the 225,530 estimated excess deaths, 150,541 (67%) were attributed to COVID-19. The 3 states to account for 30% of all excess deaths in this period—New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts.

In October, 2020 a StatNews article showed, “There were also differences among different age groups, with the largest increase occurring among people age 25 to 44, who saw excess deaths that were 26.5% higher than average. People 45 to 64 had 14.4% more deaths, while those 65 to 74 had 24.1% more deaths. Deaths among people 75 to 84 were 21.5% higher and 14.7% higher for people 85 and above. Deaths this year for people under 25, however, were 2% below average.”

A more recent article in January 2021 confirmed that 78% of cancers were missed due to lack of screening. Scott Atlas, MD extrapolates this to 1 million people in the U.S. to be impacted from such lack of detection.

Estimates from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reported in the New York Times, reveal that,“40,000 extra deaths from diabetes, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure and pneumonia. Nationwide, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, which usually affects older adults, are 12 percent above normal this year, with several Southern states seeing larger increases. 40,000 extra deaths from diabetes, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure and pneumonia.”

The total deaths make the virus look deadlier. But so far this year, three times as many people have died of heart ailments. “I’ve got about 1 million deaths from January to April,” said Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality-statistics branch of the National Center for Health Statistics. “About 230,000 are from heart disease. Nearly 200,000 are cancer deaths, 61,000 are chronic lower-respiratory diseases, 55,000 are accidents and 52,000 are strokes.” Recent research confirms that excess all-cause mortality was 2.4 per 10,000 individuals in the United States in April 2020  –  the first full month of the pandemic – which represents about 30% more deaths than the number of COVID deaths reported in that month

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, according to the Imperial College data, “Around 9,000 non-COVID-19 deaths in England during three months of the pandemic would not have occurred had the pandemic not happened.”

It brings us back to the question of reason and reality. Masking reality without reason lays bare the profundity of the harm that is before us. All this will be accounted for as the doctors are allowed to go back to their business of saving lives. There will be a rash of deaths that could have been prevented in the recent past and more so in the coming future, from not-screening, not diagnosing and not being able to care for. We might all rue the day when the public health policy experts did not consider the ramifications of their singular tunnel-vision focus.

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This article was first published on March 15, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the American Institute for Economic Research.

America’s light usage reveals insanity of relying on weather-dependent wind & solar

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

The U.S.A. Light Usage Map demonstrates that most of America’s population is East of the Mississippi which represents areas most susceptible to erratic weather patterns, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and ungodly amounts of rain and snow and frigid temperatures extremes, which perpetuate the unreliability of any intermittent electricity attainable from wind and solar.

The northern hemisphere turns on bitter winters – getting wind turbines and solar panels to turn on during one, is another matter. Wind chills below zero from a nor’easter have recently hit much of the country.  The push to go Green at any cost would leave America dependent on weather-dependent intermittent electricity from wind turbines and solar panels.  This would be an energy disaster.

The wild weather swings around the world have been supported by continuous uninterruptable electricity generation from zero-emission nuclear generation, natural gas-powered generations, and coal-fired power generation.

Interestingly, coal-fired power plants continue to be dominated by China and India for abundant, reliable, and AFFORDABLE electricity. Today, neither China nor India, the two fastest-growing sources of GHG emissions, have committed to make reductions by 2030.

Today, a few wealthy countries like German, Australia, Great Britain, and America are wishing to go ‘green’ via wind turbines and solar panels for intermittent electricity. Under ideal weather conditions, these “renewables’ have yet to perform under perfect weather yet alone under severe weather conditions. Freezing Germans, desperate for coal-fired power, are probably having a good, hard think about their obsession with ‘green’ energy.

The same wealthier developed countries that have access to continuous uninterruptible electricity from coal, natural gas, and nuclear, also have access to heating, air conditioning, and insulation that has virtually eliminated weather-related deaths. In the last 80 years, climate-related deaths have gone down by a rate of 98%. Globally, the individual risk of dying from weather-related disasters declined by 98 percent from a high of almost 500,000 deaths in 1920 from floods, droughts, storms, wildfires, and extreme temperatures.

The Democratic platform loves California and wants to clone its policies and regulations for the other 49 states. The Democrats should open his eyes to what is going on in California, before cloning it for the other 49 states. To meet its electrification goals of the state, California, with some of the most temperate climate in America professes to be the leader of everything but has become the State that imports more electricity than any other state, through its dysfunctional energy policies, as renewables have proven to be a failure in replacing those reliable generating plants that have been, and are being shuttered.

California has achieved the dubious record of having the least reliable electrical power system in the nation. Between 2008 and 2017, California was the leading U.S. state for individual power outages with almost 4,297 blackouts in the ten-year period, more than 2.5 times as many as its closest rival, Texas. Power outages are now commonplace in California.

As a result of California following the failures of the green energy programs in German and Australia, California’s energy policies of phasing out nuclear and natural gas power plants, and pioneering a system of subsidies for industrial wind and solar have made the state’s electricity and fuel prices among the highest in the nation which have been contributory to the rapid growth of “energy poverty” for most Californians including the 45 percent of the 40 million Californians that represent the Hispanic and African American populations of the state, i.e., 18 million.

In recent years, California continues to downsize its natural gas fleet. At the same time, the state’s “green” religion remains adamantly against coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydro power plants. In the near term, California has five more power plants to shutter in the crosshairs – the last nuclear plant at Diablo Canyon and four more natural gas power plants. Renewables in the temperate climate of California has failed to fill the void of the shuttered electricity generation.

To compound the dysfunctionality, ramifications from Governor Newsom’s recent Executive order to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035 will be devastating to the state’s economy and environment, as the Governor wants to add more electrical charging demands onto a dysfunctional energy program. The state has already sacrificed reliable electrical power on the altar of the fight against global warming.

Reliance on intermittent electricity from wind and solar is promoting a reversal of the climate-related fatalities as few other states have a temperate climate like California. The state of California can survive on dysfunctional energy policies as the growing outages are not impacting the public and businesses like they would in other states with much harsher weather inclusive of tornadoes, hurricanes, and ungodly amounts of rain and snow and frigid temperatures extremes, which perpetuate the unreliability of any intermittent electricity from wind and solar.

Yes, getting-off-fossil fuels would reduce those fossil fuel emissions, but it would also drastically impact the lifestyles that we have become accustomed and would result in reverting to extensive diseases and weather-related deaths, which fossil fuels and electricity from natural gas, nuclear, and coal have virtually eliminated.

With the nor’easter storm that recently hit much of the country, maybe we should learn something about Europe’s experiences with wind and solar during those harsh times when continuous, uninterruptible, reliable electricity is required to maintain the basics of living in extreme climate conditions as chaotic wind and solar collapses are threatening an entire Europe-wide blackout.

The current trends to shutter continued uninterruptible electricity generating plants are revealing the insanity of relying on intermittent electricity generated from weather-dependent wind and solar. While intellectual infants continue to babble about our ‘inevitable transition’, the grown-ups can see the looming and inevitable disaster, with remarkable clarity.

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This article first appeared on March 9, 2021, is reproduced with permission from The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. 

‘We are completely in the dark’: Arizona mayor says Biden admin refuses to give info about illegal aliens it plans to drop off in his town

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‘The federal government has to step up and do their job. They’re the ones that created this problem; they need to fix it’

Gila Bend, Arizona, Mayor Chris Riggs has had it with the Biden administration’s handling of the ongoing border crisis (which the White House still refuses to admit is a crisis).

What’s going on?

Riggs told Fox News’ “Your World” Monday that Gila Bend is being made into what the outlet called “a waypoint for illegal immigrants captured by federal authorities.”

The mayor said his community is “very economically depressed” and cannot handle a massive influx of illegals.

But the feds don’t appear to care, as the Border Patrol prepares to drop people off in Gila Bend and force the town to fend for itself, Riggs said.

“We can barely afford to take care of the people that we have here in our community now, and as of the second [of March], the Border Patrol advised us that they’re going to drop people off here and [say], ‘They’re your problem,'” he said…..

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Continue reading this article, published on March 17, 2021, at Blaze Media.