Government Failures Here and Abroad

A Wall Street Journal investigation reveals many governments left nursing home residents vulnerable to the COVID pandemic who accounted for over a third of fatalities in some countries.

Law enforcement in multiple cities report homicides have dramatically increased in 2020. 

In other news:

  • Our Jennifer Cabrera was recently interviewed on the Tom Woods Show.
  • According to a new study, COVID patients who recovered from the disease still have robust immunity from the virus eight months after infection.
  • The World Health Organization said that China has blocked the arrival of a team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Britain takes a hardline approach in its latest national lockdown: Police officers are now actively stopping people in the street and asking them to explain why they are out. 

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Additionally, we just released an update on how COVID-19 is playing out on university campuses.

COVID News

Massive 1-Year Rise In Homicide Rates Collided With The Pandemic In 2020

https://www.npr.org/2021/01/06/953254623/massive-1-year-rise-in-homicide-rates-collided-with-the-pandemic-in-2020

Last year, an alarming increase in homicides left communities — often in lockdown — reeling as officials searched for answers. That was evident at lots of news conferences as police officials and mayors in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City rolled out dire news.

At the end of 2020, Chicago police reported more than 750 murders, a jump of more than 50% compared with 2019. By mid-December, Los Angeles saw a 30% increase over the previous year with 322 homicides. There were 437 homicides in New York City by Dec. 20, nearly 40% more than the previous year.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the uptick should worry all New Yorkers and it has to stop.

“It’s clearly related, in part, to the coronavirus and to the fact that people are cooped up,” de Blasio said. “And it’s certainly related to the fact that the criminal justice system is on pause and that’s causing a lot of problems.”

Covid-19 Stalked Nursing Homes Around the World

https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-stalked-nursing-homes-around-the-world-11609436215

The global toll of Covid-19 has hit one vulnerable population harder than any other: nursing-home residents.

A Wall Street Journal review of data from more than two dozen nations with significant elder-care facilities shows that such institutions are tied to more than a third of Covid-19 deaths, though they typically house less than 2% of the population. These countries linked at least 233,000 of 641,000 overall Covid-19 deaths to nursing homes and other long-term elder-care sites. In the U.S. alone, the death toll tied to these facilities tops 125,000.

Nursing homes were a soft target for a highly contagious and deadly virus because they house the frailest people in proximity. The new coronavirus has generally proved most dangerous for the elderly, who have had the highest mortality rates overall.

But even among older people susceptible to Covid-19, nursing homes proved uniquely perilous. An analysis published in November in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine looked at a dozen Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries and found the Covid-19 mortality rate among long-term care residents was more than 20 times higher than that among older people living outside such facilities.

Commentary/Analysis

Ep. 1801 – The Ongoing Public Health Failure, with Jennifer Cabrera

Jennifer Cabrera joins me to review some new mask research, and assess the interventions that everyone is supposed to pretend are working.

How the White House COVID Task Force sunk the Trump presidency

https://jordanschachtel.substack.com/p/how-the-white-house-covid-task-force

President Trump took in the early days of 2020 from a position of incredible strength.  At the beginning of the year, no serious analyst would have told you that he was in major jeopardy of losing the 2020 election. The American economy was booming, we had solid employment numbers, no major international crises, and the president was setting up a bold agenda for his second term to further “drain the swamp” and bolster his domestic policy priorities. Election fraud was always a potential factor to be monitored, but there was no massive, unprecedented mail-in voting scheme to worry about.

But news reports coming out of Wuhan, China indicated that a potentially threatening situation was afoot. On January 29, President Trump acted with haste in authorizing the creation of a White House Coronavirus Task Force. A month later, the small task force expanded to include Vice President Mike Pence as its chairman. In what will be looked back on as a catastrophic delegation mistake, the VP decided to appoint Dr. Deborah Birx as the response coordinator for the task force. Prior to the COVID crisis, Birx was best known for her work on an HIV/AIDS vaccine, which does not exist. She had never been anywhere near having access to the levers of power in America.

The censorious war on lockdown sceptics

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-censorious-war-on-lockdown-sceptics

Britain at the start of 2021 doesn’t only have a Covid problem — it has a censorship problem, too. The germ of intolerance is spreading. Anyone who dissents, however slightly, from the Covid consensus will find him or herself branded a crank, even a killer. They will be hounded and demonised; online mobs will demand their expulsion from media platforms and from public life. I fear that this Salem-like hatred for sceptical voices will, like Covid itself, have a long-lasting and severely detrimental impact on this country.

In recent days, the censorious fury over Covid scepticism has intensified. The pitchforks are out for experts and commentators who query the seriousness of the pandemic or who suggest that lockdown is not an ideal policy. Karol Sikora, Sunetra Gupta, Carl Heneghan and others — all are now routinely branded as reckless, dangerous spreaders of ‘disinformation’, as toxins in the body politic. ‘Stop platforming them!’, columnists and their intolerant army of online cheerleaders scream at the BBC or anyone else who dares to give these sinning sceptics three minutes of airtime.

Research

Immunological memory to SARS-CoV-2 assessed for up to 8 months after infection

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2021/01/05/science.abf4063

Abstract:

Understanding immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 is critical for improving diagnostics and vaccines, and for assessing the likely future course of the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyzed multiple compartments of circulating immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 in 254 samples from 188 COVID-19 cases, including 43 samples at ≥ 6 months post-infection. IgG to the Spike protein was relatively stable over 6+ months. Spike-specific memory B cells were more abundant at 6 months than at 1 month post symptom onset. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells declined with a half-life of 3-5 months. By studying antibody, memory B cell, CD4+ T cell, and CD8+ T cell memory to SARS-CoV-2 in an integrated manner, we observed that each component of SARS-CoV-2 immune memory exhibited distinct kinetics.

Charts and Graphics

COVID – Hospitalization Census, Detected Cases and Reported Deaths 

  • CA has now surpassed all of FL’s summer peaks (Cases/Hosps/Deaths).
  • NY has surpassed 2 of 3 FL’s summer peaks with the 3rd (Deaths) getting close.
  • FL is also re-peaking and may surpass its summer numbers as part of the normal seasonal pattern.

Britain’s National Lockdown Rules Explained

International News

China stalls WHO mission to investigate origins of coronavirus

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/06/china-stalls-who-mission-to-investigate-origins-of-coronavirus

China has attempted to downplay concerns over its refusal to authorise a fact-finding mission to the country by the World Health Organization to study the origins of Covid-19, saying it is still negotiating access with the UN body.

A day after the head of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he was “very disappointed” that China had not authorised the entry of the 10-strong research team, led by Dr Peter Ben Embarek, China insisted there had been a “misunderstanding” between the two sides about agreed dates for the visit, adding that discussions were ongoing.

Tedros said on Tuesday that members of the international scientific team had begun departing their home countries over the previous 24 hours as part of an arrangement between WHO and China, but that he had discovered Chinese officials had still not finalised the necessary permissions.

“I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute, but had been in contact with senior Chinese officials,” he told a news conference in Geneva.

Police to question people who are outside during lockdown

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/01/06/people-face-police-checks-street-explain-third-covid-lockdown/

People who are outside during the new coronavirus lockdown will be questioned by police and those not wearing masks in places in which they are required will be fined, police chiefs have warned.

In a new hardline approach to enforcing the third lockdown, Scotland Yard said officers will stop people in the street and ask them to explain why they are out. 

Those without a lawful reason face fines of £200, potentially doubling for each subsequent breach up to £6,400.

There will also be no second chance for people caught not wearing masks where they should be worn as the Met warned that officers will not be reasoning with offenders but will impose fines straightaway.

The new instructions to officers – replicated by forces across England and Wales – say they should issue fines more quickly to anyone committing obvious, wilful and serious breaches of the regulations.

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