The First Amendment Prevails Again

Last Friday, the Supreme Court, in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, issued emergency relief suspending California’s broad ban on indoor religious services. Still, it was a limited ruling. California cannot bar in-person services altogether, but can limit attendance to 25% of capacity.

In an interview with FOX News, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo believes China misled the WHO on its new COVID origins report and blamed the Chinese Communist Party for corrupting the organization.

In other news:

  • Going against progressive orthodoxy, San Francisco teachers are demanding schools re-open.
  • If you haven’t already, check our comprehensive anti-lockdown resource. If you’re looking for specific studies and stats around the lockdowns which have devastated much of the country then look no further, we have it HERE
  • In an extensive analysis, science writer Matt Ridley and the Broad Institute’s Alina Chan lay out what has been investigated so far, what the public has been told in the past year about the origins of COVID, and why they think that lab origins are plausible and must be investigated.
  • One year after his death, the late COVID whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang receives a flood of homages from Chinese netizens.

Interested in becoming knowledgeable on COVID? Become a premium member. Our premium members get special access to our personal data dashboards and analysis.

Want to support our work? Visit our Substack page and leave us a tip.

On Rational Ground for our premium members, our data analyses will always be available to you. Interested in becoming a COVID expert? Become a premium member.

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

COVID News

Supreme Court says California worship restrictions violate religious rights

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-california-covid-restrictions/2021/02/06/68aea492-687f-11eb-8468-21bc48f07fe5_story.html

The Supreme Court’s order late Friday night that California must allow churches to resume indoor worship services reveals a conservative majority that’s determined to guard religious rights and is more than willing to second-guess state health officials, even during a pandemic.

Under restrictions imposed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), almost all of the state was under an order to ban indoor religious services as officials battle the raging coronavirus pandemic. It is the nation’s most severe restriction, and the court said in an unsigned opinion that it violates the Constitution.

Instead, the justices imposed their own rule: The state must allow indoor services but may limit attendance at 25 percent capacity. The court left in place — for now — a ban on singing and chanting at those events, activities the state said were particularly risky for spreading the coronavirus.

Some S.F. teachers are ready to go back to the classroom. But they’ve been too scared to speak up until now

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/heatherknight/article/Some-S-F-teachers-are-ready-to-go-back-to-the-15928834.php

Every weekday, David Moisl, a kindergarten teacher at West Portal Elementary, puts on what he calls “The Mr. David Show.” He smiles, dances, reads in his most animated voice, jokes and hams it up, because that’s what it takes to get little kids’ attention through a computer screen.

But it’s not working. The morning circles? Gone. The singing together? Gone. Learning how to share and socialize? Gone. The joy? That’s mostly gone, too.

“What we’re left with is the other parts of kindergarten — the ABCs and the 123s,” he said. “Usually, it’s a feel-good profession. Now we’re putting in a lot of time, effort and work, and we’re not getting the emotional satisfaction.”

That’s why Moisl is ready to go back to the classroom once the Department of Public Health says all the necessary safety precautions are in place. And he’s not alone among educators in San Francisco’s public schools. So far, they’ve just been the quiet ones, too afraid to speak out. Until now.

Pompeo: ‘Significant evidence’ coronavirus originated in Wuhan lab, despite WHO claims

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/mike-pompeo-evidence-coronavirus-originated-china-lab

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “significant evidence” remained that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, casting doubt Tuesday on the World Health Organization’s assessment that it likely spread from animals to humans.

Pompeo told “America’s Newsroom” that the Trump administration had left the WHO because it was “corrupt” and said he hoped that China’s influence over the organization hadn’t affected its conclusions on the origins of the deadly virus.

“I must say the reason we left the World Health Organization was because we came to believe that it was corrupt,” Pompeo said. “It had been politicized. It was bending a knee to General Secretary Xi Jinping in China. I hope that’s not the case here with what they’ve announced today.”

The WHO announced its initial findings during a news conference Tuesday but stipulated additional research and investigations were required.

Commentary/Analysis

Lockdowns: pros and cons

Pros of lockdowns

    Low chance of a possible temporary suspension of a respiratory virus

    Gives politicians and bureaucrats the appearance of “taking the pandemic seriously”

Cons of lockdowns

People Suffering from Other Diseases

Did the Covid-19 virus really escape from a Wuhan lab?

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/did-covid-escape-from-a-lab/

The covid-19 pandemic has killed two million people and counting. It has created medical, social, psychological, and economic misery on a scale unprecedented in peacetime. So tracking down the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19, is vital to prevent a recurrence.

Begin with a simple question: why Wuhan? As far as scientists can confidently tell, all of the earliest cases in late 2019 were in the city of Wuhan or nearby within the province of Hubei, China. The first officially reported cases in Thailand, Japan, America, France, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, Russia and Sweden had traveled from Wuhan, or been exposed to individuals who had traveled from Wuhan. Persistent attempts by the Chinese government and scientists to play up possible origins in frozen food imports and pre-Wuhan cases in Europe have been unpersuasive so far.

At first, the answer to “why Wuhan?” seemed easy: 27 of the first 41 cases had visited a seafood market selling exotic wildlife. The Chinese government moved quickly to close the market on 1 January 2020. Covid looked like a rerun of the 2002-4 SARS epidemic, which had first infected food handlers. That virus had been quickly traced to infected animals at markets, including, most famously, palm civets. Evidence collected by May 2003 pointed to the considerable exposure of local animal traders to SARS viruses despite being underrepresented among epidemic cases. By mid-2005, scientists had tracked SARS-like viruses to their natural reservoir in horseshoe bats.

My Son Took His Own Life. It Was the Lockdown That Got Him

https://www.newsweek.com/my-son-took-his-own-life-it-was-lockdown-that-got-him-opinion-1567246

My elder son, Matthew, was 24 years old when he died. In June 2020, he moved to Birmingham, Alabama to embark upon a new career, a career for which he’d spent a year training in Greenville, South Carolina. In South Carolina, he had had a roommate. He’d worked with a team. He made friends. He fell in love. My gregarious son had a bright future ahead of him.

In truth, I don’t think that the move to a new city would have affected him all that much if it weren’t for the draconian measures in place isolating him from human contact. Instead of the regular interaction he had originally anticipated, he found himself working from home, interacting through email, Zoom meetings, and telephone calls. Lockdowns, shelter-in-place, and social distancing thwarted attempts to make friends and develop a life beyond the walls of his apartment. He was alone and, without the necessary social interaction, lonely.

So lonely he could die.

Research

Calling for benefit–risk evaluations of COVID-19 control measures

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00193-8/fulltext

We think government lockdowns cause substantial collateral health damage. For example, hospital admissions in the USA for emergency treatment of acute ischaemic strokes have been substantially lower in February–March, 2020, than in February–March, 2019, resulting in delayed treatment. Compared with a historical baseline, UK nursing homes and hospices saw an increase in the number of deaths between February and June, 2020, associated with acute coronary syndrome (a 41% increase), stroke (a 39% increase), and heart failure (a 25% increase).

The situation is similar for patients with cancer. In German hospitals, cancer cases decreased during the first national lockdown between March 12 and April 19, 2020: by 13·9% for breast cancer, 16·5% for bladder cancer, 18·4% for gastric cancer, 19·8% for lung cancer, 22·3% for colon cancer, and 23·1% for prostate cancer, suggesting that cancers might have been undetected and untreated during this period. In England, hospital admissions for chemotherapy appointments have fallen by 60%, and urgent referrals for early diagnosis of suspected cancers have decreased by 76% compared with pre-COVID-19 levels, which could contribute to 6270 additional deaths within 1 year.

Delayed diagnosis and treatment are expected to increase the numbers of deaths up to year 5 after diagnosis by 7·9–9·6% for breast cancer, 15·3–16·6% for colorectal cancer, 4·8–5·3% for lung cancer, and 5·8–6·0% for oesophageal cancer.

Charts and Graphics

Florida vs. Lockdowns

New York has the highest hospitalization rate in the country yet Florida’s done better for months.

A new CDC study says mask mandates may work. It studied mandates in 10 states March-October 2020. The study stopped in October. Now look what happened after October in the exact same states they were studying. 

International News

Dear Dr. Li: Chinese Netizens Confess To The Late Coronavirus Whistleblower

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/02/07/964455362/dear-dr-li-chinese-netizens-confess-to-the-late-coronavirus-whistleblower

For thousands of people, the late Dr. Li Wenliang feels very much alive. They flock to his social media page on Weibo each day to write to him:

“Hey Dr. Li, I just got a second COVID shot. It hurt a little. I miss you.”

 “Dr. Li, I pet a cute orange cat today! I’m happy!”

“When do you think the pandemic would be over? I long for the days without a mask.”

Li was a whistleblower in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in China. He started warning colleagues about a mysterious pneumonia-like illness in December 2019 and was reprimanded by police for doing so. Then, Li caught the virus himself. He was pronounced dead exactly a year ago, last Feb. 7.

But his legacy lives on through his social media page. And as the anniversary of his death drew near, thousands of people a day posted to it in collective mourning:

RELATED ARTICLES on RATIONAL GROUND

in
10/19/2021

The Always Excellent "School Opening Tracker" Resource from Burbio

An incredible weekly report gauging the impact of pandemic policies on our children and their...

in
10/18/2021

Debate time! Eric Ding vs. Justin Hart?

TownSircle.com is a fun new online forum incentivizing various opposing views into a discussion or...

in
10/11/2021

Your Natural Immunity Cheat Sheet

Quick references and tweet threads you can use in the debate of natural immunity vs....

Load more articles