COVID is becoming less of a concern as the U.S. numbers trend in the right direction, but there is still plenty of news, much of it concerning, much still relevant, and much that we should all be aware of.
The U.S. cases and deaths continue to fall, although it’s a mixed bag around the rest of the world. In the chart below it easy to see the marked decline in cases and deaths the last five months. The U.S. is clearly still trending in the right direction, and there has been no flattening of either the case or death curve at the bottom. We will likely fall below the 10,000 cases per day milestone in the next week or two.
|Date||Deaths / Day|
|%Change||Date||Cases / Day|
|26-Jan||3473 (peak)||11-Jan||256,210 (peak)|
World-wide cases and deaths have declined since May, but remain stubbornly high and are increasing in Brazil, UK, Russia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Mexico, and Indonesia. Along with the U.S., India, Ukraine, South Korea, Argentina, Spain, France, and Germany are seeing significant decreases.
On the brighter side, Israel, the country to first lead the pack in vaccinations, continues to see very low numbers with cases averaging fewer than 20 per day throughout the month of June. There have been no COVID deaths in Israel since June 10 (9 days in a row now). How long can this last? The UK, another early adopter has seen cases rise the last month (since May 9 to be exact), but deaths still remain around 10 per day. Is the vaccine doing its job at preventing deaths in the UK even while cases rise? It is still too early to tell; these numbers bear continued watching.
Still Want to Hold on to Your Mask?
Masks have been overhyped for the last year. It seems they were at best ineffective but innocuous. I’ve worn a mask only when compelled, but I’ve always been of the opinion you should the wear the mask if it makes you feel better. Now we get this story from Town Hall that ought to give us all pause. Are the masks actually doing more harm than good? This story goes against the narrative our one-channel media has been pushing, so you it will likely be ignored and you may not hear much more about it (unless you look to the right sources):
A group of parents in Gainesville, FL, concerned about potential harms from masks, submitted six face masks to a lab for analysis. The resulting report found that five masks were contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and fungi, including three with dangerous pathogenic and pneumonia-causing bacteria. No viruses were detected on the masks, although the test is capable of detecting viruses.
The analysis detected the following 11 alarmingly dangerous pathogens on the masks:
• Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia)
• Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis)
Neisseria meningitidis (meningitis, sepsis)
• Acanthamoeba polyphaga (keratitis and granulomatous amebic encephalitis)
• Acinetobacter baumanni (pneumonia, blood stream infections, meningitis, UTIs— resistant to antibiotics)
• Escherichia coli (food poisoning)
• Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme disease)
• Corynebacterium diphtheriae (diphtheria)
• Legionella pneumophila (Legionnaires’ disease)
• Staphylococcus pyogenes serotype M3 (severe infections—high morbidity rates)
• Staphylococcus aureus (meningitis, sepsis)
Half of the masks were contaminated with one or more strains of pneumonia-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with one or more strains of meningitis-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. In addition, less dangerous pathogens were identified, including pathogens that can cause fever, ulcers, acne, yeast infections, strep throat, periodontal disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more.
The face masks studied were new or freshly-laundered before wearing and had been worn for 5 to 8 hours, most during in-person schooling.
Here is another reference from our pediatrician’s newsletter during which he talks about the craziness of continuing to follow disproven science:
“Put the Kids First” – a Washington Post opinion piece hits the nail on the head for what we should be doing for children. The article states: “Here’s one simple recommendation: Children should return to their normal lives this summer and in the upcoming school year, without masks and regardless of their vaccination status.”
Contrast this statement with the CDC’s guideline comments on May 28th, “Camps can safely reopen without masks and distancing if EVERYONE is fully vaccinated against Covid19.” By definition, they are really stating that kids will be masked and distanced despite all of the data against this policy because everyone being vaccinated will absolutely not nor ever happen. Vaccination history in America has already proven this fact. It is fundamentally illogical to ask for every child to be vaccinated as the backdrop for easing policies that are really no longer necessary based on all of the past 14 months school based transmission research, circulating viral volume and childhood disease risk. Yet, somehow, the CDC, our most trusted source of infectious disease information, says exactly that.
The opinion piece also states rightly, “Overall, the risk to children is too low to justify the remaining restrictions they face. Somewhere between 0.1 and 1.9 percent of covid-19 infections in children result in hospitalizations — and that’s likely an overestimate given that recent studies suggest approximately 40 percent of pediatric covid-19 admissions were misclassified. The risk of a child developing MIS-C, a serious inflammatory condition with effective treatments, is less than 1 in 1,000. The virus has claimed the lives of nearly 400 children in 17 months, lower than the estimated deaths among children in recent influenza seasons.”
The fact is very few want to wear the mask. Once the mask mandate was lifted in our state, it didn’t take long to go from more than 80% mask usage to about 10% (my observational estimates). Most will comply if they believe they are doing good, but once policy is changed the masks are quickly shed. Here is a good demonstration of that sentiment:
I don’t mock people who continue to wear masks; they may indeed have good reasons to do so, but check out this short clip of why some people continue to hold to their masks. They’ve been told to wear the masks for so long and they can’t let go of that feeling that are doing something that makes a difference:
I rarely agree with Rachel Maddow on any contemporary issue, but good for her for speaking the truth on the mask issue and coming to grips with her own biases:
Maddow is now telling her audience to think differently because those wearing a masks are not evil after all. The mask-less folks weren’t evil to begin with. In fact, we were the ones calling for the masks to be shed even before the CDC changed its guidance. Whether she realizes it or not, Maddow is speaking to people like this woman who is too embarrassed to take off her mask for all the wrong reasons:
I call my website: “Seek the Truth”, but that doesn’t mean I believe I have a lock on the truth. What would you think of me if I were to say criticism of my posts are attacks on the truth? Well, Dr. Fauci did something similar, claiming that attacks on him are attacks on science. Fauci is the science. He is science incarnate. I was stunned to hear this out loud. Anyone who disagrees with him, whether another doctor or a scientist or just a logical person who notices Dr. Fauci’s un-ending string of contradictions and sudden reversals is attacking science? Is this to be believed? I don’t have a lock on the truth and Dr. Fauci doesn’t have a lock on the science. Don’t skip over this short 30-second clip. In my opinion, it is a microcosm of what’s wrong with science and the public debate today:
Science is a never ending series of hypothesis which are tested and adjusted repeatedly. The science is never actually settled on anything because there is usually something more we have yet to discover. Science should always be open to challenging the prevailing wisdom; otherwise, what we know today about science will be all we ever now (and it could be wrong). But today we live in historic times; today we have the greatest of all doctors, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and when he speaks the science is indeed truly settled–at least until he changes his mind. Dr. Fauci’s statement in itself is anti-scientific, but Dr. Fauci has plenty of groupies who will defend him should you dare challenge him.
Dr. Fauci may be a scientist but he has crossed over into the realm of public policy and has been made into a political figure. We can and should challenge his flawed and inconsistent advice on handling the pandemic. We do not challenge his knowledge of medicine, but we do challenge his interpretation of the facts when it comes to imposing on our daily lives. Dr. Fauci is not a public policy expert, not by a long chalk; he was not elected and he shouldn’t be considered in charge. Dr. Fauci has been given far too much power, first by our elected leaders and then by the public in general who consider him the authoritative source on the science. We have created a Frankenstein monster. This adoration of him and constant seeking of his advice on all matters, science or not, have gone to his head.
Dr. Fauci has, as many others have, confused public policy with science. Public policy (whether we should have mask mandates, whether we should impose restrictions on large gatherings, whether to close schools, whether to lockdown, etc.) should be guided by science and facts, but there are multiple other considerations to account for when making public policy: what are the economic impacts? What are the legal considerations? What are long-term consequences not just the short term benefits of such policies? How are individual guarantees of freedom impacted? And so on. Fauci wants us to believe his decrees on public policy and lifestyle choices are science. They are not. Big Tech tells us there is the science path (the Fauci way) and the anti-science path (opposition to lockdowns, mask mandates, school closures, etc.) as if science can only follow one path at a time and science has never taken any wrong turns or reached any dead ends. Once upon a time science said we could measure intelligence by measuring skull sizes. These notions about the infallibility of science and blind allegiance to certain scientists lead us to the situation we are in today where debate among scientists and medical professionals themselves is squelched and science looks more like politics than anything else.
Second place in the Hubris Olympics goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo who this week lifted all COVID restrictions in New York and then took a victory lap for his own adoring throng.
Governor Cuomo said. “We led with nurse Sandra Lindsay, who was the first at Northwell to take that vaccine and to assure people it was safe. We’ve gone on to do more than 20 million vaccines, more per capita than any big state in the United States of America. Congratulations to New Yorkers because they are the ones who did it. We’re no longer just surviving—we’re thriving. The state mandates that have proven right and brought us through this pandemic are relaxed as of today, effective immediately.”
The New York state mandates can hardly be said to have been right or effective. New York’s death per capita rate is 2,772 per million, second highest in the nation. In fact, New York has been ranked second throughout the entire pandemic. Only New Jersey, which is basically a suburb of New York City, has a higher rate. If New York were a separate country, its death rate would rank fifth highest in the world. New York had some of the strictest lockdown measures and suffered severe economic consequences in order to achieve one of the world’s highest death rate and yet the governor still says the “state mandates have proven right” and he and his staff should be congratulated? I think not.
As I have mentioned before others took less restrictive approaches, put their citizens through less suffering, didn’t infringe on basic freedoms, and still achieved better results than New York. Some of us criticized Cuomo throughout for his approach and now that everyone is feeling good about COVID’s end, Cuomo wants to rewrite history and hope everyone forgets his own failures before the next election. Don’t let him or any other politician who took the wrong approach get away with this.
Look to the examples of Florida (26th nationwide in per capita deaths with a much older, more vulnerable population than New York) and Sweden (35th worldwide in per capita deaths) who achieved better results than New York at a much lower cost. Sweden took the least restrictive approach in the entire world and their per capita death rate is about half of New York’s; Sweden has had just 3 deaths in the last two weeks (since June 7). Further, Sweden’s economy was among the least impacted last year and they are doing better today than their European counterparts who took more severe measures and have comparable or higher per capita rate: Sweden’s Economy Grew In Q1 Without Lockdown | PYMNTS.com
It’s a mixed bag with vaccines as well. The U.S. continues to vaccinate at a high rate. As of June 19, we are at 53% partially vaccinated and 45% fully vaccinated. These numbers seem good, but who are we vaccinating? Those who already have the virus? Those who are not vulnerable to the virus (children and adolescents)? Those who are forced to be vaccinated to keep their jobs? Governors want to celebrate their numbers but quality not quantity matters more here. There is little to be gained in many of these vaccinations other than padding of the numbers.
The efficacy of the vaccines are one thing, but safety is another. There are many drugs on the market which are not efficacious but are at least safe. Recently, concerns about vaccine safety have been raised. In the link below, Dr. Simone Gold, head of America’s FrontLine Doctors, who was interviewed by Steve Deace last Thursday (skip ahead to the 30-minute mark for this interview) raises concerns about vaccine safety. I’ve been an advocate for the vaccine all along, but I continue to say it is not for everyone. People need to know the risks associated with vaccinations and weigh them against their own risk of contracting the virus. The vaccine should not be forced on anyone as a condition for employment. Vaccinating the young and healthy whose risk of death from COVID is negligible in order to boost the total percent vaccinated (and provide politicians a talking point) is a morally questionable proposition.
The numbers clearly indicate that the vaccines are effective (although not all vaccines are created equal). Nevertheless, the CDC has reported more than 5,000 deaths from the COVID vaccine on its VAERS website (Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System).
There are more US deaths related to vaccines in 2021 in less than 5 months than there were the entire past decade.
The number of deaths linked to vaccines this year has absolutely skyrocketed. According to the CDC’s own data, in 2021 n the first 3 months, the VAERS website recorded over 1,750 deaths due to vaccines in the US.
That number is now at 5,997.
The full article link is below:
Tucker Carlson first raised this issue on his Fox News show. In the clip below, he effectively summarizes the issues and the concerns while also pointing out the hypocrisy and double standards. Again, we see a false binary choice offered by our media, big tech, and government officials: either you are fully on-board with everyone being vaccinated or you are anti-science. It is not that cut and dried, but according to the “experts” the “science is settled” and everyone should be vaccinated. The “science is settled” argument is always trotted out by those who want to stifle any debate on an issue.
Carlson makes the point that the U.S. halted swine flu vaccinations after 53 reportedly died from it. Now we have reports of several thousands dying from the COVID vaccines and there is no curiosity and no studies have been commissioned to delve into it deeper and the President tells us we must all be vaccinated and makes no distinctions for different groups. Dr. Gold says that the increase in vaccination deaths have spiked by more 2000% in the last year. Shouldn’t we all be asking ourselves if the vaccine is worth our individual risk? A couple weeks ago I posted on this topic asking why we are offering free beer and lottery tickets to induce people to get vaccinated: https://seek-the-truth.com/2021/06/06/covid-the-big-drop-free-beer-and-a-good-show/. This is a dubious government tactic. Now, we see that our government wants us only to know about the benefits of vaccination without being aware of the underlying risks. I find this policy even more dubious.
Carlson in his monologue cites Joe Rogan, a popular podcaster. Rogan asks some of the same questions I have and he is labeled an anti-vaccine conspiracist just for asking questions. I am not anti-vax myself; I received the vaccine and I would probably do it again, but the calculus is not the same for everyone. With our two teenagers, my wife and I took a wait and see approach. There is enough doubt now that I can definitively say they should not get the vaccine. We are looking forward to our cruise vacation later in the year, but if the cruise line demands everyone be vaccinated before getting on board, we will forfeit our vacation. If our school demands they be vaccinated, we’ll find another school.
The FDA is now debating the issue of whether or not kids younger than 12 should be vaccinated. Given all we know about the risks from COVID and the risks from the vaccines, this is yet another morally dubious proposition. At least one doctor, Dr. Cody Meissner, advising the FDA is urging a cautious approach:
Dr. Cody Meissner, director of pediatric infectious diseases at Tufts University School of Medicine, said children are at low risk of severe disease from the virus and more study is needed about safety in younger age groups.
“Before we start vaccinating millions of adolescents and children, it’s important to find out what the consequences are,” Meissner said, noting a low Covid-19 hospitalization rate among children.
“As more people are immunized and become immune from infection, I think it’s likely that we are going to get this pandemic under pretty good control,” he said.
“I do not feel we can justify an EUA. The burden of disease is so small and the risks are just not clear.”
But other members of the committee sharply disagreed.
It is fine that members on the committee disagree and that there is serious debate on this issue. What is not fine is that voices like Dr. Gold and Dr. Meissner along with other reasonable voices asking reasonable questions (Tucker Carlson, Steve Deace, Joe Rogan, and others) be suppressed or mocked.
Representative Thomas Massey, one of the smarter folks in Congress (there are not too many of those), asked the very sane question: why he should be vaccinated when he already has immunity? He also has been mocked as if he doesn’t have a good reason for his own vaccine hesitancy:
Again, I ask the question why is everyone trying to get in between the patient and the doctor with regard to the COVID vaccine? The same people who say that argument suffices when it comes a woman’s “choice” regarding abortion, won’t contemplate any questions in this instance.
Finally, some countries (Seychelles, Brazil, Chile) have seen a spike in cases and deaths after achieving high vaccination rates. It turns out these countries are using the Chinese vaccine. We don’t use the Chinese vaccine in the U.S., but I think this is a good reminder that just because you are vaccinated, it doesn’t mean you are actually protected from the virus. There are dozens of vaccines being used around the world, all with different levels of safety and efficacy. Do your homework and determine what is best for yourself. I recommend you get an antibody test if you have been vaccinated or if not sure if you ever had COVID. I was vaccinated in April and this month got the antibody test just to be certain. It’s just a blood test at the local lab. My test confirmed I do indeed have the antibodies. The vaccine is not 100% effective, so get the antibody test so you aren’t surprised later when you get COVID after having been vaccinated or get the test so you know whether or not you need the vaccine at all.