Pandemic Fallout

Americans are having a spike of mental health crises. A fire in Taiwan resulted in injuries and deaths when people were afraid to break quarantine. There is a new variant, “Lambda”. A COVID vaccine patent was filed just after COVID emerged. Teachers’ unions want to continue mandates through the fall. In Florence, Italy, they’ve banned evening walks to prevent crowding through the end of the pandemic.

In other news:

  • Ethan Yang looks back at lockdowns on Independence Day at AIER
  • Be wary how prepared some people are to lockdown stronger & harder, writes Jeffrey Tucker at Real Clear Markets
  • Janet Daley on how the UK is still waiting to get their rights back in The Telegraph
  • A look at how judges have limited the overreach of pandemic policy by Jacob Sullum at Reason

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COVID News

Americans Seek Urgent Mental-Health Support as Covid-19 Crisis Ebbs

https://www.wsj.com/articles/americans-seek-urgent-mental-health-support-as-covid-19-crisis-ebbs-11624786203

PITTSBURGH—Before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, psychiatrist Garrett Sparks usually treated about a dozen patients on his overnight shift in the emergency department at Western Psychiatric Hospital, this city’s biggest mental-health hospital. On a recent Thursday evening, he saw 21 cases.

As the night began, an agitated man sitting on a couch in a space reserved for acute cases loudly demanded turkey sandwiches. Parents of a 7-year-old who had been kicked out of school for emotional outbursts came in, saying their child’s behavior was spiraling and he was becoming more aggressive. A few hours later, police brought in a 17-year-old boy who had tried to commit suicide by jumping from a bridge.

“It seems like everyone has been holding their breath for a year, and now, it’s just a total explosion of everything, both in terms of high volume but also the severity of cases,” Dr. Sparks said. “You see a lot more people who were, pre-pandemic, kind of overwhelmed and stressed, and now they have full-on anxiety disorders or depression.”

‘If we don’t go, will we die?’: quarantine guests perish in hotel fire

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/if-we-don-t-go-will-we-die-quarantine-guests-perish-in-hotel-fire-20210703-p586if.html

When the fire alarm went off at a hotel in central Taiwan on Wednesday evening, Chen Chien-kuang, 59, a missionary, immediately thought of escaping. But he was one of 29 people in coronavirus quarantine inside the hotel and worried about breaking the rules, which required those in quarantine to stay inside their rooms.

“I don’t know whether I can go out or not. I’m afraid that we will be fined if we go out,” Chen said in a video he took and sent to his son, which was released by the local news media and confirmed by his wife’s brother, Chen Yi-sa. “But if we don’t go, will we die in the fire.”

COVID ALERT Fears over the ‘Lambda’ Covid variant that’s hit UK as ‘unusual’ mutations can ‘dodge vaccines’

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/15469863/fears-over-the-lambda-covid-variant-in-uk/

GLOBAL health officials warn an “unusual” mutation in the “Lambda” variant that’s hitting the UK could make it resistant to vaccines.

The new variant shares a similar genetic mutation as the Delta strain, making it more transmissible, the WHO claim.

Also known as C.37, the Lambda strain was first detected in Peru last year before quickly spreading to 27 countries, including Britain.

Scientist noticed the variant in December when it accounted for “just one in every 200 samples”.

By March, that jumped to 50 per cent of cases. Now that figure is a whopping 82 per cent, according to the WHO.

US-linked Chinese military scientist filed patent for COVID vaccine just after contagion emerged: report

https://nypost.com/2021/06/04/chinese-scientist-filed-covid-vaccine-patent-after-contagion-emerged-report/

A Chinese Communist Party military scientist who got funding from the National Institutes of Health filed a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine in February last year — raising fears the shot was being studied even before the pandemic became public, according to a new report.

Zhou Yusen, a decorated military scientist for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who worked alongside the Wuhan Institute of Virology as well as US scientists, filed a patent on Feb. 24 2020, according to documents obtained by The Australian.

The patent — lodged by the “Institute of Military Medicine, Academy of Military Sciences of the PLA” — was filed just five weeks after China admitted there was human-to-human transmission of the virus, and months before Zhou died under mysterious circumstances, the report noted.

America’s largest teachers’ union to vote on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, masks and testing for students

https://www.foxnews.com/us/national-education-association-vote-vaccines-masks-students

The National Education Association, America’s largest teachers’ union, is holding a vote on requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, masks and testing for students before classes return in the fall. 

The new business meeting action item submitted by 50 delegates is “awaiting debate” on the NEA’s website.

The action item calls for “mandatory safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for all students and staff before returning to face-to-face instruction in the fall, subject to medical exceptions, in accordance with existing law, and will widely publicize this position via social media.” Corey DeAngelis, national director of research at School Choice Now, first highlighted the action item on Twitter.

Commentary/Analysis

A Declaration for Anti-Lockdown Reforms

It would be almost a cliche to lambast the irony of celebrating Independence Day after everything this country has been through over the past year and a half. Nobody needs a reminder of the lockdowns, the school closures, the mask mandates, and the utter disdain for the sacred American institutions of individual liberty that poisoned our national discourse.

With the pandemic hopefully behind us, America will be able to enjoy a relatively normal July 4th celebration this year. However, we should not forget that exactly one year ago, on a day meant to celebrate a bold and immortal declaration of independence from tyranny, many citizens found themselves trapped under lockdown-style restrictions. It is high time to commit ourselves to enact legislation and pursue litigation to ensure such abuses of power never happen again. 

Maybe We’re Too Ready for the Next Pandemic

https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2021/07/02/maybe_were_too_ready_for_the_next_pandemic_783920.html

We are nowhere near coming to terms with what happened over the last 16 months. The camps of thought are all over the place. 

Some people regard the whole thing to be a fiasco of irrational panic and unwarranted compulsion at all levels of society. John Tamny and I are in this camp, along with growing numbers of scientists and the general public. Our hope is that we see the error of our ways and the next pandemic will be handled like 1957, 1968, and 2009: disease treated as a matter of doctor/patient relationships, not as an opportunity for a societywide takeover of life by government and their medical advisors. 

But others disagree. They believe that the real problem was not enough track-and-trace, too little control, too much diversity of response, too much pandemic traveling around, and too many people disregarding quarantine orders. Too many businesses, schools, and churches opened too soon. In short, there was too much liberty. Some of them are already preparing for next time. They write articles demanding even more power for the medical/political elites to lock us down. 

The Government has exploited our humanity to create an inhuman system

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/07/03/government-has-exploited-humanity-create-inhuman-system/

Sometime early next week we will learn whether the prison has been demolished or we have just been given time off for good behaviour. Or maybe we won’t. If the wording is, in the great Boris Johnson tradition, sufficiently ambiguous we may not have any clear idea of whether the Government really meant it when it said that this wretched roadmap we are sick of hearing about actually is “irreversible”.

The latest prime ministerial pronouncement was a master class in covering your bets: life should “pretty much return” to pre-Covid normal on July 19 but “further restrictions” might be necessary and – most infuriatingly – children and parents will have to “be patient” about a return to any sort of normality at all in schooling. This last point is critical. I cannot understand how the consequences of this appalling disruption not only to formal education, but to the social and emotional development of the country’s children, could have been so completely disregarded for over a year.

Why Didn’t COVID-19 Kill the Constitution?

The day after the nation’s first COVID-19 lockdown took effect in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would never impose similar restrictions. Telling residents they may not leave their homes except for “essential” purposes “scares people,” the Democratic governor told The New York Times on March 18, 2020, and “the fear, the panic, is a bigger problem than the virus.” Cuomo unequivocally ruled out a stay-at-home order in New York. “That is not going to happen,” he said.

Two days later, after California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a fellow Democrat, announced a statewide lockdown, Cuomo changed his mind. “We’re all in quarantine now,” he declared on March 20 while issuing an order “mandating that 100% of the workforce must stay home, excluding essential services.”

Research

Immobility, precarity and the Covid-19 pandemic: the impact of lockdown on international students in Portugal

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13676261.2021.1948981

ABSTRACT

This article looks at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic among international students in Portugal, focusing on their experiences during the Spring 2020 lockdown. The discussion begins with an outline of the research context, and recognition of the inherent precarity of much international student life. Our research questions hence look not only at the immediate impact of the pandemic on internationalised learning but also the heightening of pre-existing economic vulnerability among many of our research subjects. Using evidence taken from 27 interviews, we document their experiences, including the challenge of maintaining communications and coping with social isolation, and look at how the pandemic has undermined the financial integrity of international studentship. In conclusion, we argue that in addition to widespread stress and anxiety the pandemic has created additional forms of precarity for this cohort, creating a need to integrate better support measures into the governance of mobility at tertiary education level.

Charts and Graphics

International News

Florence BANS evening walks: Fury as authorities announce they will stop people wandering around city centre to prevent overcrowding during pandemic

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9752445/Florence-BANS-evening-walks-city-centre-prevent-overcrowding-pandemic.html

Florence has banned people from walking around the city centre in the evenings in a bid to tackle overcrowding.

The popular Italian city will only allow tourists to eat or drink but people cannot wander the city streets after 9pm.

Florence Mayor Dario Nardella signed the ordinance which bans people from wandering around the popular areas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings until further notice.

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