COVID-19 isn’t just a disease but also a moral code with sins and righteous deeds. One of the most prolific righteous deeds for the COVID faith is committing to a public policy, moralizing the policy, shaming those that disagree, and never providing data or evidence for justification. Nashville closed bars and restaurants yet knew that bars and restaurants were driving 50X less cases than nursing homes and construction sites. Arizona lacked data on transmissions in fitness centers and gyms but still closed them anyways. Neither of these governments committed to find the answer and prove their case. Why? These businesses were already closed so what is the point? Bars, restaurants, and gyms looked “scary” and “risk”. They promoted COVID sins of normality and social interaction. Yet, COVID heretics are growing. After citing a disproved and poorly designed study to end their football season, the Big Ten switched course. Their football season will go on.
Oops! misguided policy and poor evidence, I will derail the life plans of tens of millions of people.
Nearly 30 million Americans are spending their 20s in the same place they spent their grade school years: at home with their parents. The big picture: For the first time since the Great Depression, the majority of 18- to 29-year-olds have moved back home. Those living arrangements can come with a great deal of awkwardness and pain, but families across America are making the most of it. “I’m worried about it,” says Jeffrey Arnett, a psychologist at Clark University, who coined the term “emerging adults” for 18- to 29-year olds. “I think we all should be. The rates of being depressed and anxious have really gone up among emerging adults.” Reasons for moving home vary. The coronavirus recession has hit young people especially hard, and many are living with family because they’ve lost their jobs or haven’t been able to find work after college or grad school. Others wanted some company during lockdowns.You can’t imagine how great it is to hear that I’m in the majority of my generation,” says Elsa Anschuetz, a 24-year-old working in public relations out of her childhood bedroom. “It is definitely not where I thought I’d be at this stage in my life, but, at least to me, it is definitely better than living in an apartment alone during this crazy pandemic.””My friends who are at home or with friends in large roommate groups seem to be faring better than people on their own,” says Alex Jang, a consultant in his early 20s who’s living with his parents, grandparents, girlfriend and dogs in Orinda, California.
The Big Ten vs Big COVID. Will they manage to save college football or end up dooming it through data literacy
The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) adopted significant medical protocols including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition. The COP/C voted unanimously to resume the football season starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020. The decision was based on information presented by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force, a working group that was established by the COP/C and Commissioner Kevin Warren to ensure a collaborative and transparent process. The Big Ten will require student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field for all practices and games to undergo daily antigen testing. Test results must be completed and recorded prior to each practice or game. Student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus through point of contact (POC) daily testing would require a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result of the POC test.“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Jim Borchers, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee. “The data we are going to collect from testing and the cardiac registry will provide major contributions for all 14 Big Ten institutions as they study COVID-19 and attempt to mitigate the spread of the disease among wider communities.”
Gov. Abbott going full COVID zealot over a safe outdoor activity. Remember, it is universally accepted outdoor transmission is as close to zero relative risk as possible.
New Braunfels, Texas, bills itself as “the tubing capital of America.” Every year, individuals travel to the city to enjoy its rivers, lakes and first-rate water park — Schlitterbahn. But this year, while Schlitterbahn was allowed to remain open, businesses that rent inner tubes and rafts to people who want to float down New Braunfels’s rivers were forced to close down. As our organization, Pacific Legal Foundation, explained in a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, that’s unfair and possibly illegal. Whatever you think of the government-imposed business shutdowns during the pandemic — and we think there are serious legal problems with them — it seems clear that it is more likely for COVID-19 to be transmitted indoors than outdoors. Thus, when Gov. Abbott walked back the state’s reopening in June, there was at least a justification for shutting down stand-alone bars. It’s troubling that a governor would single out for special treatment one industry among the many that allow patrons to gather indoors. But it’s even more senseless that the only other business besides bars he shut down were commercial rafting and tubing rental services. Outdoor activities, such as tubing, pose a much lower risk of contracting the virus than an indoor activity — perhaps 20 times less risk, some experts say. The governor has allowed Texans to shop at indoor shopping malls or go bowling. Why shut down businesses that rent them tubes so they can enjoy a day floating down the river? Abbott has provided no scientific justification for singling out tubing outfitters. And there’s no reason tubing rental businesses can’t adopt sensible social distancing measures just as other businesses are doing. Indeed, tubing outfitters have proposed reasonable safety measures, such as limiting the number of tubes they rent on a given day and preventing large groups from congregating, among others. But these proposals apparently have fallen on deaf ears in Austin.
“The coronavirus cases on lower Broadway may have been so low that the mayor’s office and the Metro Health Department decided to keep it secret. Emails between the mayor’s senior advisor and the health department reveal only a partial picture. But what they reveal is disturbing. The discussion involves the low number of coronavirus cases emerging from bars and restaurants and how to handle that. And most disturbingly, how to keep it from the public. On June 30th, contact tracing was given a small view of coronavirus clusters. Construction and nursing homes were found to be causing problems with more than a thousand cases traced to each category, but bars and restaurants reported just 22 cases. Leslie Waller from the health department asks, “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?” “Correct, not for public consumption,” writes senior advisor Benjamin Eagles.”
After 162 days, Emergent Ventures through Fast Grants has managed to produce 68 papers on COVID-19.
Science funding mechanisms are too slow in normal times and may be much too slow during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast Grants are an effort to correct this. If you are a scientist at an academic institution currently working on a COVID-19 related project and in need of funding, we invite you to apply for a Fast Grant. Fast Grants are $10k to $500k and decisions are made in under 14 days. If we approve the grant, you’ll receive payment as quickly as your university can receive it.
A Pew survey says 14% of U.S. adults have tested positive for COVID-19. Is this more accurate than the total number of positives?
Lockdown activists have nowhere to flee as Sweden heads to true “zero COVID”.
IHME is projecting COVID fatalities into 2021, yet have gotten 2020 all wrong.
Where you can and cannot play high school football. Do you see a pattern?
Excess death in the Mar.-Aug. 20 COVID-19 season may be over. A huge milestone past!
Who could have possibly predicted home isolation for months would lead to an increased in alcohol misuse?
“Addiction services in England could struggle to cope with “soaring” numbers of people misusing alcohol, the Royal College of Psychiatrists is warning. Many adults are drinking more since the coronavirus pandemic began, data shows. The college estimates that in June, more than 8.4m people in England were drinking at higher-risk levels, up from 4.8m in February. It says deep cuts made to addiction services could mean patients will miss out on life-saving care.The rise in risky drinking comes at a time when more people addicted to opiates are seeking help from addiction services, says the college, referring to National Drug Treatment Monitoring System statistics showing 3,459 new adult cases in April – up 20% from 2,947 in the same month the previous year.Guidelines advise people drink no more than 14 units of alcohol (equivalent to six large glasses of wine or six pints of beer) a week, spreading consumption over three days or more. Drinking too much can damage your liver and increases the risk of other health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. People with alcohol use disorder are more likely to develop serious complications if they catch Covid-19. The college is asking the government to invest millions more in addiction services. Prof Julia Sinclair, chair of the college’s addictions faculty, said: “Covid-19 has shown just how stretched, under-resourced and ill-equipped addiction services are to treat the growing numbers of vulnerable people living with this complex illness.”
Keep calm; Sweden on.
In the early days of the pandemic, President Emmanuel Macron exhorted the French to wage “war” against the coronavirus. Today, his message is to “learn how to live with the virus.” From full-fledged conflict to cold war containment, France and much of the rest of Europe have opted for coexistence as infections keep rising, summer recedes into a risk-filled autumn and the possibility of a second wave haunts the continent. Having abandoned hopes of eradicating the virus or developing a vaccine within weeks, Europeans have largely gone back to work and school, leading lives as normally as possible amid an enduring pandemic that has already killed nearly 215,000 in Europe. The approach contrasts sharply to the United States, where restrictions to protect against the virus have been politically divisive and where many regions have pushed ahead with reopening schools, shops and restaurants without having baseline protocols in place. The result has been nearly as many deaths as in Europe, though among a far smaller population. Europeans, for the most part, are putting to use the hard-won lessons from the pandemic’s initial phase: the need to wear masks and practice social distancing, the importance of testing and tracing, the critical advantages of reacting nimbly and locally. All of those measures, tightened or loosened as needed, are intended to prevent the kind of national lockdowns that paralyzed the continent and crippled economies early this year. “It’s not possible to stop the virus,” said Emmanuel André, a leading virologist in Belgium and former spokesman for the government’s Covid-19 task force. “It’s about maintaining equilibrium. And we only have a few tools available to do that.” He added, “People are tired. They don’t want to go to war anymore.” Martial language has given way to more measured assurances.
An Australian official resigns so he can speak freely about the horror of Australia’s forever-lockdown.
Last week I quit my job as an economist in the Victorian Department of Finance and Treasury so that I would be free to speak out against the state’s management of the COVID-19 infection.I had made a number of criticisms of the state government on social media. The head of human relations at Treasury asked me to remove them. I considered deleting the few direct criticisms, but they wanted all indirect criticism removed too. I resigned on the same day, the only honourable course for a free citizen of Australia. I never dreamed I would see some of the tactics being used to defend the state’s health.The pandemic policies being pursued in Australia – particularly in Victoria – are the most heavy-handed possible, a sledgehammer to kill a swarm of flies. These policies are having hugely adverse economic, social and health effects, with the poorer sections of the community that don’t have the ability to work from home suffering the most. Australia is signalling to the world that it is closed for business and doesn’t care for human freedoms. This will dampen business investment but also impact future skilled migration, the education industry and tourism. The whole thing hinges on the scare created by politicians and health professionals. For instance, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton claims this is the “greatest public health challenge since the Spanish flu”.
Lockdown Australia abandon’s citizens abroad out of COVID fear.
No job, no visa, no health care — and barred from returning home. This powder keg of misfortunes is the current reality for tens of thousands of expats who hold the world’s ninth most powerful passport. While situations differ, one point remains the same — Australians abroad feel abandoned by their government during the coronavirus pandemic. Sunday marked two months since Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced a cap of just under 4,000 international arrivals per week. He made the move in response to the country’s second coronavirus wave, which was sparked by a hotel quarantine security scandal. The cap has resulted in a barrage and backlog of canceled flights, with ticket prices skyrocketing. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) says at least 25,000 Australians, many of who are financially and medically vulnerable, have registered their need to come home since July. However, the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia estimates the true number of those stranded is closer to 100,000. Prior to the pandemic, the Aussie accent echoed across the world, with over one million Australians living and working overseas at any given time. Before the cap was put in place, Australia already had some of the world’s strictest coronavirus travel measures. Since March, hotel quarantine has been mandated, foreign tourists have been barred from entry and citizens banned from leaving. Those trying to return home now are Australian citizens who left the country prior to the pandemic, not holiday makers.
Need a vacation? Sit on a plane.
“Singapore Airlines is said to be considering a new route next month — what media reports are calling a “flight to nowhere.” Flights that take off and land from the same place — in this case, Singapore Changi Airport — may start as early as next month, according to a report in the local Straits Times and elsewhere. Singapore Airlines has not confirmed the flights and told CNBC that “none of these plans have been firmed up.” But if it does debut destination-free flying, it will not be the only carrier in Asia that’s doing it.Such flights could be seen as a way to help the embattled national carrier of Singapore cope during a year of record losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, reports claim, while also allowing residents of the small nation a chance to leave the island — if only for a few hours. Singapore Airlines, which is routinely ranked among the world’s best, has been hit hard by the global pandemic, since it does not operate domestic flights .Singapore Airlines told CNBC that it’s considering “several initiatives” to engage the public. “We will make an announcement at the appropriate time if we go ahead with these initiatives,” a Singapore Airline spokesperson told CNBC’s Global Traveler.Most of Singapore’s 5.7 million residents have been unable to travel since Singapore shut its borders in late March. Australian Leithen Francis, who has lived in Singapore since 2001, is interested in the no-destination flights should they become a reality. “I think it’s a great idea and would be willing to go if [Singapore Airlines] goes ahead with the idea,” he said. “Singapore is an island, and I am used to traveling so [I] definitely miss flying.””
Chinese propagandists working overtime to go after lockdown skeptics.
“In the words of Simon Leys, paraphrasing the great sinologist László Ladány, even the most mendacious propaganda must necessarily entertain some relation to truth. In Wuhan in late December, Dr. Li Wenliang warned his friends that a new SARS-like illness had begun spreading rapidly. Li’s message inadvertently went viral on Chinese social media, causing widespread panic and anger at the Chinese Communist Party. On Jan. 7, Xi Jinping informed his inner circle that the situation in Wuhan would require their personal supervision. Two weeks later, Xi personally authorized the lockdown of Hubei province based on his philosophy of fangkong, the same hybrid of health and security policy that inspired the reeducation and “quarantine” of over 1 million Uighur Muslims “infected with extremism” in Xinjiang. The World Health Organization’s representative in China noted that “trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science … The lockdown of 11 million people is unprecedented in public health history, so it is certainly not a recommendation the WHO has made.” The CCP confined 57 million Hubei residents to their homes. At the time, human rights observers expressed concerns. As one expert told The New York Times, “the shutdown would almost certainly lead to human rights violations and would be patently unconstitutional in the United States.” Regardless, on Jan. 29, WHO Director Tedros Adhanom said he was “very impressed and encouraged by the president [Xi Jinping]’s detailed knowledge of the outbreak” and the next day praised China for “setting a new standard for outbreak response.” Yet only six days in, the lockdown—“unprecedented in public health history”—had produced no results, so Tedros was praising human rights abuses with nothing to show for them.”
Rational Ground member Kyle Lamb released a podcast on how PCR is making people nervous.