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Horowitz: The same organization that brought us lockdown now scaremongering over ‘reinfection’

The same Imperial College of London that wrongly scared the world into lockdown by exponentially overstating the projected casualties of COVID-19 during the first few months is now scaremongering about a supposed lack of immunity to the virus. The problem is its own research demonstrates why most people are already partially immune, even prior to infection, and will certainly not be worse off in terms of long-term immunity after getting the virus.

It has now become clear that the virus is “gonna virus,” regardless of what countries do in terms of non-pharmaceutical interventions. The virus will spread to every part of the world until a majority of people are exposed to it in some way. Now that people are increasingly coming to peace with this fact, the Imperial College of London is warning that immunity cannot be achieved and implying that people can get reinfected in a clinically meaningful way in large numbers. And the media are running with it. “COVID-19 herd immunity theory dealt blow by U.K. research,” read an emphatically panicked headline from the Financial Times on Tuesday.

There is simply no evidence to support this hypothesis and no reason to believe that the multi-layered immune response to SARS-CoV-2 should be different from that of any other respiratory virus. Moreover, to the extent the pro-lockdown crowd is correct about immunity, then we are all doomed anyway because there is no logical reason why a vaccine for a flu-like virus, which has never worked for any coronavirus to begin with, would somehow work against a virus that does not induce immunity through natural infection.

This week, the Imperial College published a pre-print study showing that antibodies disappeared in 26.5% of those who originally tested positive. The study observed a pool of 365,000 people between June 20 and Sept. 28 and found that over a quarter of those who originally tested positive through home-use finger-prick tests became seronegative by the end of September.

Of course, the implication they are pushing is obvious. “These data suggest the possibility of decreasing population immunity and increasing risk of reinfection as detectable antibodies decline in the population,” concluded the authors.

Never mind the fact that lack of presence of detectable antibodies is not uncommon in other viruses and doesn’t mean that the body no longer remembers the “recipe” for defeating the virus. What most media articles that have promoted this study as pretext for panic have failed to discuss is that their own findings demonstrate that most people already have inherent immunity without antibodies because antibodies are not the immune system’s primary defense for this virus.

The authors observed, “Antibody positivity was greater in those who reported a positive PCR and lower in older people and those with asymptomatic infection.” In other words, a number of people who didn’t have antibodies either never really had the virus or had it asymptomatically. Numerous studies have already shown that the weaker someone had the infection the more likely the antibodies will wane or will be nonexistent from the get-go. In fact, all my friends who had the virus last month when it hit my zip code in Baltimore County in early fall wound up testing negative for antibodies even just weeks after testing positive for the virus. And that actually indicates good news, not bad news.

The reality is that most people get this virus like a cold. The body doesn’t need to produce antibodies for a cold. It doesn’t need to waste energy and space keeping your blood full of every antibody you’ve ever needed to fight every flu and cold.

The likely reason why this virus is presenting itself so mildly in so many people is because most people have robust T cell immunity, primarily from other coronaviruses, an aspect of the immune system the Imperial College authors admitted they did not study. A comprehensive study from Singapore showed that people who never had COVID-19 but recovered from SARS-1 had cross-reactive T cells to SARS-CoV-2 17 years later! This was true of every blood sample the researchers tested. Numerous other studies have shown similar results. It’s therefore very unlikely that someone who gets infected with SARS-CoV-2 itself will somehow gain less immunity against future infection than someone who had another coronavirus.

And the same reason why those people were immune to serious illness the first time will undoubtedly protect them the second time to the extent that some might be exposed again and test positive for a trace of the virus. As one comprehensive T cell study from Sweden found, “SARS-CoV-2 induces robust memory T cell responses in antibody-seronegative and antibody-seropositive individuals with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19.” The study showed that “SARS-CoV-2 elicits robust memory T cell responses akin to those observed in the context of successful vaccines, suggesting that natural exposure or infection may prevent recurrent episodes of severe COVID-19 also in seronegative individuals.”

Another study from over a dozen researchers around the world found that 93% of “exposed asymptomatic” individuals in their study group produced a T cell response to SARS-CoV-2, even though antibodies were not detected in 40% of them.

There is a very strong possibility that this is why countries like Singapore and other Pacific Rim countries, that found a lot of people who tested positive for the virus, barely had anyone get clinically ill from it. They likely had more built-up memory T cell immunity from existing coronaviruses. Now that a significant portion of Western countries have gotten this novel form of coronavirus, the worst-case scenario is that some might test positive again for a trace of the virus, but the results of a hypothetical second round in the West shouldn’t be worse than the first round in a country like Taiwan, where just seven people have died.

The long-term immunity even from other viruses was observed in a brand-new study by Israeli researchers. They found that “individuals with diagnoses for common cold symptoms, including acute sinusitis, bronchitis, or pharyngitis in the preceding year” had a 26.3% lower risk of even testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, much less developing strong symptoms.

According to a recent U.K. study, roughly 86% of those infected in the study sample did not report any symptoms. The majority of the remaining cases are usually sub-clinical and often very mild. This is a phenomenon we’ve observed in the U.S. from entire confined populations that were infected, such as prisoners and meatpacking workers. It’s not those people we need to worry about, because they clearly already had partial immunity, even without ever having confronted this particular coronavirus. What we obviously don’t want is those who got it seriously to then be reinfected again. But there is no evidence that those people lose their antibody immunity in large numbers, much less T cell immunity. We never test for any virus millions of times each and every day. If we did this for other viruses, we would undoubtedly find a small but noticeable number of people who are technically reinfected, but how many are going to get serious symptoms twice?

Between antibodies and T and long-term B cells, there is no more likelihood of that occurring with this virus more than any other virus for all but those whose immune systems are completely destroyed. And if those cells cannot be marshalled to stimulate an immune response to block reinfection from invading the body, then there is no logical reason a vaccine would ever work.

How ironic that the media is turning to the same institution that induced the unprecedented first wave of panic as a source to create long-term panic. Let’s not forget that using the Imperial College model, there should have been “at least 96,000 deaths” in Sweden by July 1. Well, it’s the end of October, and Sweden has fewer than 6,000 deaths, even with a very liberal method of counting.

While there is no evidence of lack of immunity to this virus, it’s quite evident that the media will never be immune to a reinfection of false panic. God doesn’t provide us with these wonderous T cells to ward off that misinformation. He simply gave us brain cells.

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Horowitz: Why is Deborah Birx pushing lockdown on behalf of this administration?

One thing is certain if Joe Biden wins the election: There will be intractable pressure put on states to impose lockdown policies on the citizenry. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris keep promising to pressure the states to maintain strict mask mandates indefinitely. But unfortunately, those policies are already being promoted under this administration by Dr. Deborah Birx. The vexing question of the day is how — and why — she continues to pressure governors to impose failed policies that the president himself has already rejected.

Every week, White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx picks a new state to terrorize with her panic pornography. While Dr. Fauci is the more notorious face of lockdown panic policies in the media, Birx is traveling the country demanding that states follow Joe Biden’s policies.

On Saturday, Birx visited local health officials in Rochester, Minnesota, to warn them of rising cases. Minnesota has a liberal governor who has promoted restrictions and mask-wearing as strongly as anywhere in the country, yet the fact is lost on Birx that her own policies have failed to stop the spread. She claimed that the early cold weather drove people indoors and is causing the virus to spread in recent weeks. Well, given that Minnesota has a mask mandate, why should that matter? Ooops, I forgot, masks actually don’t work.

“We can see the increase in cases coming and continuing unrelentingly unless together as a community of individuals we do things we know will stop the spread of this virus,” said Birx.

So, what exactly are the things “we know” will stop the spread? What has ever worked anywhere in the world to stop the natural progression of a respiratory virus that has taken over the flu for this year?

In comes Birx with the maniacal idea of mass testing for asymptomatic individuals. “What we’re asking people is to empower their communities by coming forward even when you don’t have symptoms to get tested,” she said.

Earlier this month, she said in Rhode Island that “asymptomatic, silent spread in the community” is driving the pandemic (at the 4:30 mark).

First, this is not a new idea. We are testing around 1 million people a day, nearly as many as we test for the flu in an entire flu season. It’s not stopping the spread. Isn’t it time to take ownership for the results?

Moreover, the president just said that we need to stop using “cases” that are overwhelmingly mild (and frequently asymptomatic) as pretext to shut down our lives. Why is she opposing the president’s position? There is no fourth branch of government headed by Birx.

Birx, just like Biden, is trying to avoid using the word lockdown, but the idea that we are going to test every person in this country and have super-sensitive tests — rather than symptoms and hospitalizations — driving our policies is a recipe for shutting down every aspect of life. When asymptomatic individuals are included, this virus will likely target a large share of the 330 million people in the country. Remember, there is a lot of academic literature suggesting that a large chunk of the country gets the flu asymptomatically every year, possibly accounting for as many as 50% of those infected. There is nothing new about this virus. Were we to randomly test everyone for the flu every day and propose lockdowns in response, we would never survive as a civilization.

The reality is that despite all the hype and fear surrounding asymptomatic spread, every study that has actually examined transmission has failed to discover widespread asymptomatic transmission that could account for a meaningful percentage of community spread. A contact tracing study of 3,410 close contacts of 391 SARS-CoV-2 cases in a Chinese province near Wuhan during the peak months of the virus found that transmissibility seems to increase commensurately with the severity of symptoms presented by the infected individual. Of the 127 secondary infections that were traced to the original 3,410 cases, just eight were from individuals confirmed as asymptomatic.

The World Health Organization said in May that asymptomatic spread was “very rare.” Then, like any time a major scientific figure reveals the truth, the WHO suddenly recanted that position when the media raised a howl.

A U.S.-based study from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Department of Biostatistics, observed similar low rates of transmission among the asymptomatic. Researchers found symptomatic individuals transmitted the virus at rates 28 times higher than asymptomatic individuals. Another Chinese study from May found very weak transmission capability among asymptomatic infections.

Early on, when he was still motivated more by science than politics, Dr. Fauci said emphatically, “Even if there is some asymptomatic transmission, in all the history of respiratory viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. He added that “the driver of outbreaks is always a symptomatic person.”

According to Birx, not only would combating coronavirus necessitate endless lockdowns, but we’d never be able to function even after COVID-19 is eradicated. Given that this virus, especially in recent months, has a fatality rate close to that of the flu, if this is the new threshold for civilization lockdown and government control, then we’d have to do the same for the flu. Taking her position to its logical conclusion, given the pervasiveness of asymptomatic flu, you could be killing elderly people every single year and not even realizing it. And unlike with COVID-19, kids are actually strong vectors for the spread of the flu. Schools would be closed all year and kids perpetually kept away from adults unless they test every day during flu season.

The perplexing question is why is Dr. Birx is still able to tour the country as a Trump administration official and propagate panic that directly conflicts with the espoused views of her boss.

The tragic reality is that focusing on universal lockdowns and testing of the healthy hasn’t helped save a single life, even as it has destroyed millions of lives from collateral damage. Nobody contextualized this insanity better than the left-leaning Daily Beast. While noting Italy’s strong second wave of cases, the outlet observed that “the country has done everything experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have been advising.” These ideas include the following: “Face masks in public places have been compulsory for months, social distancing is strongly enforced, nightclubs have never reopened, and sporting arenas are at less than a third of capacity. Children who are back at school are regularly tested and strictly social-distanced, and yet, the second wave seems completely unstoppable.”

In other words, after destroying a generation’s mental and emotional health, they have nothing to show for it but a spreading virus. Yet shockingly, Dr. Birx said in August, “I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy.” She extolled Italy’s totalitarian policies of ensuring that “people weren’t allowed out of their houses.”

Sadly, while our lockdown wasn’t as bad as Italy’s, it still needlessly prolonged the epidemic and killed a great many people.

Indeed, the results of Fauci in this country are terrible. It’s enough that we have to endure his ego because of his past reputation, but do we really need to be ruled by this no-name attention seeker who sits on the board of Bill Gates’ Global Fund?

The president has been moving in a better direction ever since he brought on Dr. Scott Atlas. But if he wins a second term, he must speak consistently with one voice. Unless there is a policy shake-up, Birx will continue to promote Biden’s worldview even after he is defeated.

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California middle school student threatened with jail for missing online Zoom classes

A middle school student in California was threatened with being put in jail for missing online Zoom classes, according to the boy’s father.

Mark Mastrov said his family recently received a letter from his son’s middle school after his seventh-grade son reportedly missed 90 minutes of online classes. Mastrov said his son is a straight-A student who denies missing any classes.

The father hypothesizes that his son may have logged in after the teacher had already taken roll call during three 30-minute classes, causing the teacher to mark him absent. “I am not sure what happened,” Mastrov said.

What Mastrov does know for certain is that the potential punishment prescribed by the school is “ridiculous.”

“Out of the blue, we got this letter. It said my son had missed classes, and at the bottom it referenced a state law which said truants can go to jail for missing 90 minutes of class,” Mastrov told the East Bay Times.

The California Department of Education states that “a student missing more than 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times during the school year must be classified as a truant and reported to the proper school authority.” Parents of chronically truant children face fines of up to $2,000 and being put in jail for up to one year, according to the California Department of Education website.

Mastrov immediately called the Stanley Middle School because he wanted “to clear this up.”

“I said, ‘Are you going to come and try to arrest my son at my home, or fine me for not getting him to his Zoom class perfectly, on time every day?'” he explained.

“He can become a truant of the state and he could be arrested,” Mastrov told KGO-TV.

Stanley Middle School Principal Betsy Balmat said, “The letter is part of our responsibility to the state for our student attendance review boards. As always, the schools have a responsibility to ensure students are engaged and learning.”

Balmat added that the family should have been called before receiving the letter. Mastrov said that he never received a call from the school.

The letter read, “When a student is absent without a valid excuse, the student is considered truant according to California law.”

The letter lists six possible consequences for missing too many classes, including being put in jail: “The pupil may be subject to arrest under Education Code Section 48264.”

“Schools in California use their daily attendance numbers for qualifying for state and federal funding,” KIRO-TV reported.

Mastrov has written to state elected officials, asking that the truancy law be changed.

“Obviously we’re in a pandemic and Gov. Newsom is trying to manage it,” said Mastrov. “But if the state of California is focusing on arresting 12-year-old children for missing 90 minutes of school in ten months, it’s ridiculous.”

“Who passed this law in their infinite wisdom?” Mastrov asked. “Who in their right mind could do that?”

“I was told that it was the law. I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Then that’s a bad law,'” he said.

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Horowitz: Putting our seniors in solitary confinement is costing, not saving, lives

This is the new normal. You must remain isolated from people for years to come until we are into the second generation of vaccines.

That is essentially the plan from our elites, who are pushing panic, fear, and social isolation until years into the discovery of a vaccine – if they ever stop at all. It is utterly insane to do this to younger and healthier people given how nebulous a threat the virus poses to them compared to the collateral damage of lockdown policies and social isolation. But what is often forgotten in the shuffle is that locking down seniors for this long – even allowing for the fact that the virus poses a greater risk to them – is not an option either. It is a death sentence.

COVID-19 poses the greatest threat to those in the final months and years of their lives, often the same people who are experiencing declining mental health in addition to physical ailments. Insisting that they remain away from their families and pursuit of happiness under all circumstances indefinitely for the next number of years, however, is tantamount to putting them in the grave early. The fatality rate of COVID-19 could be statistically high to people in this cohort, but complete lockdowns leading to atrophy will cause a 100% death rate and ensure that the life they lived in their remaining months and years was not much of a life.

Last week, Dr. Laurie Archbald-Pannone, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Virginia, observed that during the summer of 2020, the number of dementia-related deaths was 20% higher than last year. A similar phenomenon has already been observed in the U.K. That there are 20% excess deaths among those recorded as having died of dementia is astounding given that we already know COVID-19 deaths are liberally coded. We know that anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in a nursing home and subsequently died of Alzheimer’s was still recorded as a COVID death. I know many friends, relatives, and podcast listeners who had parents enduring the days of Alzheimer’s, and they received a death certificate, much to their shock, listing coronavirus as the cause of death.

Hence, this 20% excess is over and beyond those who died of COVID-19 or even with the virus.

Robert Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with Politico that this finding is “highly unusual.” “There’s something wrong, there’s something going on and it needs to be sorted out,” he said when this data was first observed by the CDC in September.

Well, we don’t need Sherlock Holmes to investigate what is going on with our seniors. As Dr. Archbald-Pannone observes, “Social isolation, which essentially is little or no contact with others, is the last thing seniors with dementia need. But it’s what many have received, as caregivers are forced to limit visits during the pandemic.” It stands to reason that someone who is already suffering cognitive decline who faces today’s depressing and lonely world foisted upon us by the elites is going to decline rapidly. It’s likely this has already happened.

It’s one thing to be more careful with seniors; it’s quite another for long-term care facilities to shut out all family members indefinitely or even for seniors still living in their own homes to be completely abandoned by their children because they are convinced they can’t get anywhere near them. This is unacceptable, and any virus mitigation efforts even for seniors requires more precision and nuance that is based in observed science as to who they can see and under what circumstances.

For example, in Switzerland, it was understood already in April that the ability of grandparents to hug their grandchildren could be a matter of life and death. Switzerland confidently proclaimed that kids under 10 do not spread in any meaningful way and advised grandparents to hug their grandchildren.

My son, while he was struggling with the closure of school last year, developed a great relationship with his grandparents by spending time keeping them company. They also held our new baby girl since her birth in April. I know many others who refused to do this. They are undoubtedly well-intentioned, but are they considering the emotional cost and are they following the science?

Now that we see that children barely spread the virus, it’s quite obvious that babies most certainly do not. Babies rarely test positive even for asymptomatic cases. One study of 101 babies born to mothers with COVID-19 in a New York hospital during the peak of the pandemic in March found that just two had positive test results, “but none had clinical evidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), despite most infants rooming-in with mothers and direct breastfeeding.”

It’s one thing to suggest that we err on the side of caution for a few weeks, but to do this indefinitely is erring on the side of death and decline. Even for those in nursing homes, who are certainly at high risk to get seriously ill from coronavirus, a categorical ban on relatives is not an option. There are so many people who have gone without seeing their own spouses, much less children and grandchildren, during the final months of their lives. With mass testing available, there is no reason a strict testing regime can’t carefully allow a limited number of family members to visit under the right circumstances and environments. Solitary confinement is unacceptable. There’s a reason even hardened prisoners fear this form of punishment.

Steve McLaughlin, county executive of Rensselaer County, New York, spoke on my podcast last week about his rally in the state capital to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to open nursing homes to visitors. “You literally have people locked up inside nursing homes that are being denied the human compassion and human touch of their own families,” bemoaned the independent-minded county executive who represents the cities east of the state capital. “Even though those families can test negative for COVID, they are still not being allowed in.”

He pointed out how Cuomo is the same person who asked him and other county executives in March to place COVID-positive patients in nursing homes. Now he is overcorrecting the other way and killing people with imperious lockdown policies. McLaughlin said he defied Cuomo’s “evil” directive in March and, as a result, didn’t lose a single individual in his county-run nursing home. Likewise, he opened up outside family visitation under certain circumstances even before testing was widely available, despite Cuomo’s order. “Why are we pushing these people closer and closer to death by denying them their family?” said McLaughlin. It’s unconscionable.”

Aside from not allowing carefully planned visits, there is a more fundamental and counterproductive flaw in the lockdown strategy. By keeping younger people socially isolated to some degree, policies are ensuring that seniors remain caught between the dangers of the virus and atrophy for longer than necessary. We are now seeing tens of thousands of cases among college students, with very few hospitalizations and no deaths. Imagine if the colleges had never closed. We’d be closer to Sweden in terms of achieving partial herd immunity and making it safer for seniors in a shorter period of time.

Yet thanks to these policies, seniors are now facing the double-edged sword of an agonizingly drawn-out viral spread and a reaction to it that is even more deadly.

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Horowitz: How disproportionate coronavirus panic will create excess cancer deaths for years to come

Last week, I presented an analysis showing that not only does SARS-CoV-2 replace the flu while it is circulating, its casualty targets draw heavily from the pool of past and future flu and pneumonia fatality victims. This has the long-term effect of flattening out the curve of excess deaths over time to a point that the imprint of this virus will be barely noticeable in many states. However, our panicked response to the virus will likely produce excess deaths for years to come that will grow over time because the years of life lost are much greater.

There are dashboards in nearly every country to monitor and tabulate every death caused (or allegedly caused) by the virus, even though there is no evidence at this point that any human intervention could have prevented those deaths. But there are no dashboards for people like 31-year-old Kelly Smith, a U.K. cancer patient who had her chemotherapy paused for three months beginning in March. Unfortunately, she didn’t last long enough for the treatments to resume. According to the U.K Daily Mail, she is one of “thousands” of cancer patients abandoned by the lockdown policies, a policy that inherently regarded COVID-19 as a larger threat than cancer.

The overwhelming majority of COVID-19 deaths are people at or above life expectancy. The estimated 3-million-person backlog for cancer screenings in the U.K. will result in exponentially more life years lost because many of them, like Kelly Smith, are young. The U.K., like so many other countries, swapped out medical treatment and science that we know has worked for a strategy of locking down a virus that has never worked. The results are devastating and will continue to claim casualties long after the virus is over.

While the U.S. isn’t quite as bad off because we don’t have as much rationed care as the U.K., the death toll both from the initial lockdown and from the continued fear and panic, which drive people away from seeking preventive care, will continue to grow over time.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that medical billing and insurance claims data show there have been hundreds of thousands of missed and delayed mammograms and other forms of cancer screening since March. That is a recipe for thousands of people, over time, not getting a diagnosis until their diseases reacs stage 4 rather than the demonstrably more treatable stage 3. That is a very scary prospect, given that one in eight women develop breast cancer, and 78% of those with stage 4 breast cancer don’t live past five years. Remember, the chance of dying of COVID-19 for most people is an infinitesimal number – below 1%.

Although most of the effects will be long-term, the Journal reports that cancer care provider 21st Century Oncology has already seen noticeable increases in the share of breast and lung cancer cases that are in advanced stages relative to the past five years.

“Claims tallied by researchers at UnitedHealth Group Inc., parent of the largest U.S. health insurer, show mammograms dropped by as much as 95% in the second week of April compared with that same week in previous years,” reports the WSJ. “Screenings began to resume later in the summer, though they returned only to typical levels.”

The nation’s largest insurer has also observed through its claims data nearly a million fewer mammograms and colorectal and cervical cancer screenings for the first eight months of 2020, compared to the same period last year.

An analysis of medical billing from Community Oncology Alliance and Avalere Health indicate that oncology visits were down between 29% and 70% from March through July and biopsies for breast, lung, and colon cancer fell between 11% and 79% over the same period.

While the drop was the most severe during the first months of the actual full-scale shutdown, they are still well below average. According to the Health Care Cost Institute, mammograms fell 77 percent at the height of the pandemic, but were still down 23 percent in September long after the shutdown.

Why so? Although access to such care is no longer denied in most places, the fear and panic induced by the government and media are leading too many to believe that they are at greater risk of dying from the virus than from other ailments and to therefore delay critical preventive care. One Mayo Clinic doctor reported seeing more patients who ignored lumps in their bodies for fear contracting the virus while going out for testing. Other doctors and health networks have seen similar delays in colonoscopies, which have proven themselves lifesavers in catching silently growing colon cancer.

Now multiply these numbers of extra cancer deaths for many other ailments, such as heart and neurological illnesses, and you will find hundreds of thousands of excess deaths for years to come. A study published last week in Jama by Yale and Virginia Commonwealth University researchers found that even during the peak of the epidemic – from March through July – 33% of this year’s excess deaths were not from the virus, but from non-respiratory causes, primarily cardiovascular, diabetes, and dementia. The cancer excess deaths will likely be spread out over time for years to come and, as this coronavirus becomes less deadly and more treatable, overshadow the deaths from the virus.

Moreover, this study accounted heavily for New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, where the virus hit particularly hard. In many places throughout the country, excess deaths from non-COVID causes are already higher than COVID-19 deaths in that given area.

Take Colorado, for example. A recent analysis of excess deaths in the Rocky Mountain State showed that at least 1,038 Coloradans have died from Colorado’s reaction to COVID from June 14 through September 26, as compared to just 438 from the virus. My friend Karl Dierenbach, an engineer and attorney from Denver, posted an analysis of CDC mortality data showing that 200 of those excess deaths were Alzheimer’s patients and 300 were from circulatory disease such as heart attacks and strokes. This harmonizes with an analysis published by local Denver doctors showing more people died of heart attacks because they declined to come to the ER than died from the virus in the area during the two week stay-at-home order in early April.

Among young people under 45, Colorado recorded just 100 virus deaths for the entire duration of the epidemic, while the CDC shows 500 additional excess deaths not related to COVID-19. They were likely due to suicides and drug overdoses from the stress, depression, fear, and mental illness.

The cruel irony is that there are generations of science and data vouching for the effectiveness of preventive measures in lowering the death rate of heart disease, cancer, and strokes. On the other hand, after six months of observations, it has become clear that none of these draconian social control measures have done anything to save a single life from the virus. Rather, the panic, fear, and depression these measures induce in the population will kill more people just from the mental health issues and the higher blood pressure and stress alone.

How true were the words of King David thousands of years ago when he was presented with a choice between a God-made punishment of pestilence and a man-made problem of war. As he opted for the plague, he told the prophet, “Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.” ~2 Samuel 24:14.

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Michigan AG won’t enforce Gov. Whitmer’s coronavirus orders that have been ruled unconstitutional

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) will no longer enforce Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders on the coronavirus after the state Supreme Court ruled the emergency powers seized by Whitmer were unconstitutional.

Nessel’s office announced Sunday that Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions would no longer be enforced through criminal prosecution, effectively ending the statewide mandates for Michiganders. But a spokesman for the attorney general indicated local law enforcement agencies may continue to enforce COVID-19 mandates in accordance with local ordinances, Bridge Michigan reports.

“In light of the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday, the Attorney General will no longer enforce the governor’s executive orders through criminal prosecution,” Nessel spokesman Ryan Jarvi said. “However, her decision is not binding on other law enforcement agencies or state departments with independent enforcement authority.

“It’s her fervent hope that people continue to abide by the measures that Gov. Whitmer put in place — like wearing face masks, adhering to social distancing requirements and staying home when sick — since they’ve proven effective at saving lives,” Jarvi said.

Last Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court found that emergency directives issued by Whitmer unilaterally without authorization from the state legislature were an “unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution.” The ruling said Whitmer did not have the power to extend past April 30 orders shutting down businesses deemed by the government to be “non-essential.” The court said she had illegally drawn authority from two laws passed in 1945 and 1976 that were non-applicable.

The court noted that among the businesses closed by Whitmer’s order were “restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, hookah bars, cigar bars, vaping lounges, barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors, schools, churches, theaters, cinemas, libraries, museums, gymnasiums, fitness centers, public swimming pools, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas, casinos, and racetracks.”

“These policies exhibit a sweeping scope, both with regard to the subjects covered and the power exercised over those subjects. Indeed, they rest on an assertion of power to reorder social life and to limit, if not altogether displace, the livelihoods of residents across the state and throughout wide-ranging industries,” the ruling declared.

Whitmer responded to the decision critically, accusing the judges on the court of acting politically and claiming the restrictions would remain in place for the next 21 days.

However, Nessel’s announcement effectively lifts the mandates on businesses because they will no longer be enforced by state authorities.

Republican state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) said the court’s decision means Whitmer will have to work with the Republican-controlled Legislature to create a bipartisan COVID-19 plan. Shirkey told Bridge Michigan that the state mask mandate and several business regulations will likely not be supported by Republicans.

“We’re moving now from an era or a time when the focus was on mandating, dictating and frankly in some cases threatening, to more of an informing and inspiring and encouraging and loving and trusting people to do the right thing,” Shirkey said.

He added that lawmakers need to leave behind a “lingering notion that we could, by restricting everything, basically ignore the fact that the COVID exists and delay everything for perpetuity. The virus ultimately was going to win, it was just going to take a longer time.”

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Horowitz: Washington Post admits school openings have not caused widespread outbreaks

It was one of the most consequential policy debates of our time. Do we send our kids out to school in middle of an epidemic that poses no meaningful risk to children and younger people? The teachers’ unions fought tooth and nail to get many states to keep their schools closed. They even held mock funerals to protest the openings. So, over a month into the opening of schools in the areas where they failed to keep them closed, did we experience mass funerals?

“Feared coronavirus outbreaks in schools yet to arrive, early data shows,” read a recent title from the Washington Post. Kudos for their willingness to return to the issue rather than dropping it and moving on to the next panic-inducing prediction like a drive-by shooting. In the long and thorough article, the authors state the obvious: “Public health experts have found little evidence that the virus is spreading inside [school] buildings, and the rates of infection are far below what is found in the surrounding communities.”

Advocates for opening schools have made the point that not only is the virus not dangerous at all for children, but children rarely spread the virus. The fact that we are not seeing entire classes and grades catching the virus, but rather some isolated cases here and there, demonstrates that the children likely get the virus from home and would likely have contracted it anyway, but are not major spreaders to each other or to other teachers in school. Whereas college students have spread the virus quickly (although it is also not dangerous for them), new data from Brown University researchers shows very little evidence of outbreaks more than a month into the school openings.

While there is no complete surveillance data of all open schools, Emily Oster, an economics professor at Brown University, created a dashboard of 300 schools offering in-person classes. During the first two weeks of September, she and fellow researchers found just a 0.078% infection rate for students and a 0.15% for teachers, “much lower” than the community infection rate in most areas, such as in Texas.

According to the Post, “Teacher’s unions in Texas that keep track of infections say they have been surprised by how low it was.”

Well, knock me over with a feather. Studies from countries including the U.K., Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands, France, Ireland, Taiwan, and Iceland have all failed to find meaningful spread from school-age children. Sweden kept the younger grades open throughout the entire pandemic and didn’t experience a single death. The Public Health Agency of Sweden found no measurable difference in outcomes for children between Sweden and Finland, even though Finland closed its schools.

The Washington Post also observes that data from 37 school districts in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania that opened schools shows “there have been 23 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across 20 schools and no indication that the virus was spread in schools.”

In other words, what we are consistently seeing in grade school is that, unlike in college dorms, there are just a smattering of cases here and there with no evidence of children driving the transmission. A comprehensive review of COVID-19 cases in German schools conducted by the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin found that “most school outbreaks had few cases per outbreak, with more cases among older age groups who could have been staff or other persons epidemiologically linked to school outbreaks.” Additionally, they observe, “considering class sizes of usually 20 to 25 students per class the low number of cases in each age year suggests rather limited onward transmission within classes.”

The bottom line is that a mere discovery of some cases in schools does not mean these kids were infected from the school setting or would have avoided getting it by being out of school. The Post cites a spokeswoman for the Cherokee County, Georgia, school district, where there were several hundred confirmed cases. “District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said that none of the cases had been definitively linked to in-school exposure, although it had not been ruled out in about a dozen,” wrote the article’s authors. It turns out it was spreading far and wide throughout the community in August.

Both during the 1957 Asian flu and the Spanish flu of 1918, it was observed that children had higher rates of contraction at home. A 2006 paper from Johns Hopkins observed, “When schools closed for a winter holiday during the 1918 pandemic in Chicago, ‘more influenza cases developed among pupils . . . than when schools were in session.'” And that was with a flu for which children are more primary vectors for spread.

And of course, this is all a debate over negligible cases that are usually milder than the flu or strep throat or, often, even a cold. We are not seeing any greater threat to children of getting clinically ill from the virus because of schools reopening, much less fatalities. Yet there are still an estimated 711 million children out of school across the globe because so many schools are shut down.

Remember that CNN article that came out on July 30 suggesting children are mass spreaders with higher viral loads than even adults? Well, at least the Washington Post had the decency to revisit the issue now that we are living through the reality of schools opening. The paper CNN cited openly admitted that “transmissibility was not assessed in this study.” Which, of course, is par for the course in an information warfare campaign driven by panic and feelings, not facts.

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Horowitz: Did Joe Biden disavow lockdowns during the debate?

During the lead-up to the debate, I kept hearing pundits suggest that coronavirus was Joe Biden’s strongest issue. However, after listening to the debate, Americans are likely asking more questions about Biden’s true position on the lockdowns — the issue of our time.

Does Joe Biden support lockdowns or not? Even before moderator Chris Wallace got to the segment on the virus, Biden accused Trump of being responsible for virus deaths and not having a “plan” to deal with the virus. Then, when he got to explaining his plan, we all expected him to say that Trump pushed a reopening too soon. In fact, Biden accused Trump of shutting down the economy!

“We didn’t shut down the economy. This is his economy he shut down,” accused Biden during the segment on coronavirus. “The reason it’s shut down is because, look, you folks at home. How many of you got up this morning and had an empty chair at the kitchen table because someone died of COVID? How many of you are in a situation where you lost your mom or dad and you couldn’t even speak to them, you had a nurse holding a phone up so you could in fact say goodbye?”

Trump responded by asserting, wrongly in my view, that millions more would have died if not for the shutdown.

Biden explained that already in March he had a plan. But again, what is that plan?

We should be providing all the protective gear possible. We should be providing the money the House has passed in order to be able to go out and get people the help they need to keep their businesses open. Open schools cost a lot of money. You should get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap in your golf course and go in the Oval Office and bring together the Democrats and Republicans and fund what needs to be done now to save lives.

Huh? So now Biden is championing the opening of businesses and schools? Biden appears to be locked up in his basement, so he might not be aware of what is going on around him, but there are so many masks in this country that you find them on the sidewalks. Nobody has been lacking PPE for the past few months. The reason businesses and schools are closed in many parts of the country is because his party (as well as liberal Republicans) closed them, not because they lack the money to purchase cheap Chinese masks, which don’t help.

Remember, it was Biden who said last night, “The party is me. Right now, I am the Democratic Party.” Thus, the shutdowns are clearly him, and he has clearly expressed support for them in the past. However, throughout the night, he never defended a shutdown of businesses and schools, the crown jewel of Democrat economic policy at present.

Going forward, he warned about hundreds of thousands more deaths. Again, what’s his solution?

“His own CDC director says we could lose as many as another 200,000 people between now and the end of the year. And he said, if we just wear a mask, we can save half those numbers. Just a mask.”

Here’s the problem: Almost every school and business that is open, except for rural areas, has a universal mask mandate and has had one in place for months. Why is it not working?

This is really one of Biden’s greatest vulnerabilities. Trump began to discuss the calamity of the continued shutdowns, but he needs to press his advantage on this further without the distractions of some of his other theatrics. It’s part of a broader problem that Biden has on policy. He had to retreat from or dodge any question about lockdowns, packing the courts, defunding the police, the rioters, or the Green New Deal.

In future debates, rather than trying to talk over Biden, Trump should remain silent and force Biden to answer these questions with stony silence. Then he should use his time to define Biden and provide a bold contrast.

One of the later topics in the debate was supposed to be racial inequality and race relations. That would have been a perfect time to show how Biden has supported the shutdown of businesses and schools, which has caused greater inequality than any policy in recent memory.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the number of black-owned businesses plummeted 41% from 1.1 million in February 2020 to 640,000 in April thanks to the lockdowns. White-owned businesses decreased 17% and Hispanic-owned slid 32%.

As far as schools, the achievement gap caused by the shutdown is obvious. It’s parents who are already wealthy who can make other arrangements and form pods for group learning. Those who are less educated and have less means are totally reliant upon the traditional school system, which remains shut in most Democrat cities.

The simple reality is that Biden cannot keep his “I’m a man of Scranton” canard without disavowing lockdowns. It’s time for Trump to press that advantage. After all, Biden publicly owned the Democratic Party and all its baggage.

Coronavirus lockdown Disney california Disney lay off 28000 Disney layoffs Disneyland Intelwars

Disney to lay off 28,000 workers, citing COVID slowdown and California’s ‘unwillingness’ to lift restrictions

Disney has announced that it will lay off 28,000 employees in the United States across its Parks, Experiences, and Products unit as a result of coronavirus-related closures and limited-capacity operations.

What are the details?

Josh D’Amaro, chair of Disney Parks, made the announcement Wednesday in a memo to employees obtained by CNBC in which he said the company has been “forced to reduce the size of our team.

“As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy,” D’Amaro wrote in the memo. “For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.”

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic,” he continued.

In a statement, D’Amaro noted that two-thirds of the laid-off employees were part-time workers. He declined to break down the layoffs by individual park locations.

CNN previously reported that Disney’s profit plunged 91% in the first three months of 2020 after the coronavirus outbreak caused the company to close all of its theme parks in March.

According to CNBC, Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products unit accounts for 37% of the company’s revenue, which totals $69.6 billion.

Specific blame for California

D’Amaro seemed to place special blame on California for the company’s losses, as the state’s pandemic policies have not allowed Disneyland or California Adventure in Anaheim to open in any capacity since March. The majority of Disney’s profit comes from its U.S. operations.

All of Disney’s other parks in Florida, Paris, Japan, Shanghai, and Hong Kong have been able to reopen at limited capacity since the start of the pandemic.

D’Amaro made note of this Wednesday, saying the company’s coronavirus woes have been “exacerbated in California by the state’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.”

Disney has been unsuccessfully urging California officials to relax restrictions so that employees can return to work.

In a media update last week, D’Amaro said: “To our California government officials, particularly at the state level, I encourage you to treat theme parks like you would other sectors. Help us reopen. We need guidelines that are fair and equitable to better understand our future and chart a path towards reopening. The longer we wait, the more devastating the impact will be to the Orange County and Anaheim communities.”

The media update reportedly showcased Disney’s updated safety measures — including sanitizing stations, mask requirements, and cashless pay — that have been effectively implemented at its other parks.

“We’re ready and, more importantly, it’s time,” D’Amaro added.

But the go-ahead from California never came.

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Biden blames economic shutdown on President Trump. That’s not accurate.

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden clashed over coronavirus restrictions and the economy during Tuesday night’s debate, with Biden attacking Trump for shutting down the economy.

Responding to a question from moderator Chris Wallace, Trump said Biden would have been incapable of handling the coronavirus pandemic, noting that Biden criticized his early action to shut down travel from China at the onset of the pandemic as “hysterical xenophobia.”

Trump said that if Biden had his way, “millions of people would have died, not 200,000.”

The president also criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the H1N1 “swine flu” outbreak, recalling that even Biden’s
former chief of staff said “it is purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history.”

In response, Biden blamed the economic shutdown during the pandemic on Trump.

“There was no economic recession. We didn’t shut down the economy,” Biden said. “This is his economy, he shut down.”

Biden’s claim isn’t accurate. There was no federally mandated economic shutdown ordered by the White House. In fact, President Trump was criticized for resisting calls for a
national stay-at-home order. The president’s position was to give state governors flexibility to determine what coronavirus restriction were necessary in their individual states, and that’s exactly what happened. Coronavirus restrictions on businesses and public places were imposed at the state level.

Biden, on the other hand, said in August that if elected, he would
impose a national stay-at-home order if scientists recommended such action to combat a returning surge of the coronavirus this winter.

Trump accused Biden of wanting to shut down the country.

“He wants to shut down this country, and I want to keep it open,” Trump said.

A federally mandated quarantine order is constitutionally questionable. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the federal government has the authority to issue a quarantine order under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Public Health Service Act, constitutional experts disagree.

Polly J. Price, a professor of law and public health at Emory University,
told NPR in April that while the federal government has the power to issue an advisory, it cannot compel states to shut down businesses. That power remains excursively a state power.

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Horowitz: Tennessee data exposes the lie of coronavirus panic & masks

Tennessee has been in the news lately because the Nashville mayor was caught fudging data to keep businesses in the state’s capital closed for longer than necessary. The outrage triggered by the story caused the mayor to relent and ease some of the restrictions. But new data compiled by Nashville for Rational COVID Policy shows that the entire premise of lockdown and mask-wearing is unfounded because the scope of the threat of the virus, as well as the effectiveness of the responses to it, are exaggerated.

Josh Stevenson, a co-founder of Nashville for Rational COVID Policy, sent me a presentation that he shared with Tennessee lawmakers, showing how unremarkable the excess deaths have been in his state and how many of them, particularly among young people, are almost certainly due to the mental health crisis induced by the gratuitous panic. This is a pattern I’ve noticed in the CDC excess death data from most states outside the northeast.

Stevenson, who is a computer systems engineer and data analyst, began his presentation with this 5-year line graph of all-cause deaths in Tennessee.

Nashville for Rational COVID Policy

As you can see, the above-baseline increase in all-cause deaths in Tennessee is quite unremarkable and in fact doesn’t really stand out as much of an epidemic, much less one that caused such an irrational and draconian degree of panic. The trend line for this year, April 1-August 31, is only slightly higher than the existing upward trajectory from annual population growth. And of course, there hasn’t been any week that has come close to the magnitude of the worst days of the 2018 flu season – yes, the epidemic that you never heard of and that never disrupted our lives, even though there were more weekly excess deaths back then than today in many states.

What is truly shocking is that the most excess deaths detected in Tennessee are among younger people, which means it’s not from COVID-19, but likely from the response to it! For example, even though 31% of deaths were above the age of 81, it barely registers on an excess death chart.

Nashville for Rational COVID Policy

When you factor in the consistent baseline increase due to population growth, there are barely any excess deaths this year for those over 85.

Contrast that to the 25-44 age cohort, and you will see a notable bump in all-cause deaths.

Was there a rash of COVID deaths among young people? Nope. There were only approximately 100 reported deaths over that period of time among this age cohort. And of course, that includes those who died of motorcycle accidents but tested positive for COVID.

So where are the excess deaths coming from?

We know that drug overdoses in Nashville were up 42% during the first six months of the year and that the largest increase was among young people, according to the Metro Public Health Department of Davidson County.

Thus, our response to this virus has come full-circle. Public health officials created so much panic and mandated so much social isolation over a virus whose most noticeable casualty is now drug overdoses of young people … from the panic they sowed!

Additionally, schoolchildren are suffering from a massive loss of education. Earlier this month, the Tennessee Department of Education released preliminary data projecting a 50% decrease in proficiency rates in third-grade reading and a 65% decrease in proficiency in math.

Here is the twisted irony in the damage we have done to children: There are literally no excess deaths at all among those under 25 in Tennessee:

Yet most schools are making children either learn remotely or sit in class with a mask and plexiglass. Josh and his team also did an analysis comparing the outcomes in 21 counties where masks are not mandated vs. 17 counties where they are. Tennessee has no statewide mask mandate, but a number of counties have imposed them. Here are their results:

The positivity rate for the mask-mandate counties is slightly higher, as is their death rate and hospitalization rate.

Masks are the most visible sign of panic, turning America’s streets into the scene of a medical horror show and our classrooms into operating rooms. That is why the panic crowd has turned mask-wearing into a national cult. It perpetuates the very fear that has led to the depression and substance abuse over a virus that doesn’t harm young people. Ironically, this symbol does nothing to stop the spread of the virus.

The next time you hear liberals talk about an undercount in COVID deaths because of implied excess deaths, just remember that they are mainly coming from their preferred response to the virus, not the virus itself.

Coronavirus Coronavirus lockdown Intelwars NFL Virust testing

Horowitz: NFL rejects COVID testing regimen that picks up low viral loads. When can we do the same?

Science for me, but not for thee.

We’ve seen this happen throughout the country. One college kid comes down with the sniffles or milder respiratory infection symptoms than what typically goes around the dormitory during a change in weather. The school immediately tests everyone in the school and discovers an “outbreak” of asymptomatic infections. Then they either shut down the institution or turn all the students into jail inmates. However, there is a group of VIPs who get to live by authentic science: the players of the National Football League. Too bad we don’t have top-notch doctors advocating for our children in the same way.

Last month, a bombshell New York Times report showed that as many as 90% of the positive results in some states are infections in name only because they don’t contain enough viral load to make someone sick or infect anyone. The threshold of amplification in these testing labs is evidently set so high – what is called 40 “cycle thresholds” – that they are detecting what are, for all practical purposes, false positives. This would explain why we are seeing a constant panic of record “cases” in certain institutions and parts of the country, but the hospitals are completely empty. Well, the NFL is now able to abide by the real science.

Why is it that we are not seeing the same level of disruption in professional football as we are seeing in the schools and colleges?

Yesterday, my former colleague Jordan Schachtel discovered an interview with the NFL’s chief medical examiner from a month ago that provides us with the answer. In a conference call with the media on August 24, several days before the New York Times had us even discussing a “cycle threshold,” Dr. Allen Sills, the chief medical examiner for the NFL, was onto the fraud of hyper-amplification and was taking action to rectify the problems this process causes for his institution.

“The other thing that we look at is, we want to look at what we call low positives, which means they have a high … we’re looking at something called a cycle threshold and that is how many times the amplification process has to go through before it becomes positive,” said the NFL’s chief medical examiner on the conference call last month.

What are the policy implications?

“If we see a lot of patients that are testing positive with high-cycle threshold, then that’s also a red flag to stop and actually go back and look at our run. And then the other thing that we do is we take swabs of our hood on a fairly frequent basis and actually just swab all of the, around our hood, several times in different places and actually test those. Of course, that should be negative.”

In other words, football players get to follow science before their livelihoods are shut down and they are forced into lockdown for two weeks. They get to throw red flags just like they do out on the playing field. What about our college kids?

We already knew, as early as several weeks ago, that the NFL adjusted its testing policy to minimize false positives. CNN reported, “An initial positive test will continue to be followed by two more tests … But they now can be cleared on the same day if both test results immediately come back negative.”

Isn’t it nice to have the money and clout of the NFL? But what about the rest of us? We can’t obtain follow-up tests to appeal our lockdowns. We can’t investigate the cycle thresholds or whether the lab hoods were already contaminated.

The truth be told, this is one time the NFL actually got it right. What’s interesting is how our government and society recognize the faulty nature of positive tests without symptoms when it actually matters to their bottom line. The FDA sets strict standards for vaccine trials. So, what is the definition of a COVID-19 case for the purpose of Moderna’s vaccine trial? If you look at the protocol (p. 131), it clearly states that a positive test without symptoms does not meet the definition of a case to be used in a vaccine trial.

So, these bogus cases are real enough to serve as the sickness and the excuse to lock us down, but not to test the cure? Garbage in, garbage out.

The effect on children is devastating. My son’s private school in Maryland is shut down because of the existence of supposed cases that would never be known without this “test-demic” and where students and teachers, even the ones with symptoms, are less sick than they are from a flu or strep throat. Colleges have become virtual prisons. Meanwhile, out of nearly 50,000 known cases on a list of dozens of state university systems, there are just two known hospitalizations and zero deaths:

Despite all of the cases, there are now fewer people in ERs with COVID-like illness than at any time all year, according to the CDC.

And remember, those numbers include people who come in with trauma from a car accident or a pregnant woman coming in to deliver a baby but who test positive – with these same faulty tests.

So, the next time a school wants to lock down your child, just tell them he is training for the NFL. After all, they might not respect our national anthem, but at least they respect science … or have the clout to abide by it.

Ban gatherings Ban groups of two Boulder Colorado Boulder gatherings Coronavirus lockdown Intelwars

Progressive Colorado city forced to modify order banning college-age  people from gathering in groups of two

Thanks to a modification of a public health order, people ages 18 to 22 years old in Boulder, Colorado, will now be allowed to gather in groups of two again.

Changes to the drastic measure, which effectively forced college-age individuals to live in complete isolation, were made after the county’s public health agency was hit with an onslaught of negative feedback, including from young people who said they did not always feel safe while alone, the Denver Channel reported Monday.

Feedback also reportedly requested more provisions for other legal activities and for people with disabilities.

The kind and reasonable people at Boulder County Public Health apparently received the feedback with open minds and have graciously moved to allow young adults the ability to see one other person.

The health department also suggested that students concerned about walking on campus alone should contact Colorado University police or download the Guardian app and designate a family member or friend to virtually track their movements.

What’s the background?

After a surge of outbreaks in dormitories and fraternity houses were reported earlier this month, Boulder health officials decided to enact the most extreme measure they could possibly conceive of by banning gatherings of any kind for college-age people.

Officials also placed residents of 36 addresses linked to health order violations in a mandatory quarantine, preventing them from leaving their residence for any reason except to attain medical care or food, or to exercise alone.

The order took effect on Sept. 24 and was slated to last two weeks, although it is subject to extension. Violators could face fines and possible jail time or, if they are students at the University of Colorado, expulsion.

The ban on college-age gatherings coincided with the suspension of in-person classes and an emergency order prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m.

Anything else?

In theory, cutting people off from each other completely would be the best way to stem an outbreak. But it also puts nearly every other facet of society on pause, and not without consequences of its own.

That evidently was not a primary concern for health department director Jeff Zayach, who insisted “we must take stronger action to stop the spread of this virus in our community.”

“We have researched the actions we can take that would be effective while minimizing burden on those who have not been the source of increased transmission. We believe this strategy can achieve both goals,” he added.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis stood by the city’s decision.

“Governor Polis knows that the better students do avoiding gatherings, the sooner they can get back to in-person learning and the sooner they can resume their regular activities. We know this isn’t the school year that any of us imagined, but urgent action is needed to prevent further spread in the community,” read a statement from the governor’s office.

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Florida schools reopened and there was no surge in coronavirus cases, new analysis shows

New analysis of coronavirus cases in Florida finds that reopening schools with in-person instruction did not lead to a surge of virus infections among school-age children, as many feared.

According to USA Today, Florida’s positive case count among children ages 5 to 17 actually declined through late September after peaking in July. In counties where the coronavirus cases are surging, it’s college-age adults, not kids, who are reporting more positive infections.

Health experts told USA Today that these early results show social distancing efforts and mask wearing has been effective in slowing the spread of the coronavirus in Florida.

“Many of the schools that have been able to successfully open have also been implementing control measures that are an important part of managing spread in these schools,” said Dr. Nathaniel Beers, who serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on School Health.

While the data is good news, the analysis also found that the rate of decline in coronavirus cases slowed in areas where schools reopened. “That might mean cases have plateaued and schools have not fueled new, large outbreaks. Or it might mean those counties are at the bottom of a U and could soon turn upward again,” USA Today reports.

“It’s one of those things where it’s not a problem until there is a problem,” said Dr. Katherine Auger, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Because there is still a risk of viral infection, the experts who spoke to USA Today warned against reading the data and concluding that all schools should reopen or that safety measures should be abandoned.

In July, Florida state officials ordered schools to open full-time beginning in August. While other states reopened school districts with virtual learning plans, Florida mandated that public schools offer face-to-face instruction. The decision was attacked by the state teachers union, which criticized Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran for introducing, in their words, “a reopening plan that could expose students, teachers, or their families to illness, hospitalization, or death.”

According to state education officials, more than half of Florida families elected to return their children to school in-person, with the rest opting for remote learning. Now, with no surge in coronavirus cases materializing, more parents are requesting to send their children back to school.

A spokesperson for the Health Department of Martin County told USA today there is little evidence of in-classroom transmission within that county’s school district. Cases “are leveling off, and the trends are going in the right direction, (and) the preventive measures adopted by the school district community have been an essential part in stopping the spread of the virus,” the spokesperson said.

Counties with college campuses, however, are showing increased rates of infection primarily among 18- to 25-year-olds.

From USA Today:

Two counties – Alachua, with the University of Florida, and Leon, with Florida State University and Florida A&M – set records for cases in September. The number of young adult cases are rising even in counties without large campuses, the USA TODAY analysis found.

Many factors probably influence the contrast between college- and school-age cases, experts said.

When children go to school, they’re often in one classroom and under close supervision for most of the day. When they return home, many families limit social interactions.

Young adults might attend college classes with strict coronavirus precautions for only a couple of hours each day. The rest of the time, people in that age group tend to socialize with a broad group of people and work service jobs where they interact with dozens of strangers in a single shift.

One of the challenges facing Florida schools is mandated quarantine for students who’ve come into contact with adults who tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Assistant Superintendent David Harris of Bradford County, 43 students and 40 teachers tested positive for the virus since classes resumed at the end of August. As a result, 640 students were sent home to isolate and have been unable to attend class.

“Very, very few – less than five – of the kids who were quarantined tested positive,” Harris said. “We’re sending a lot of kids out of school for 14 days that don’t need to be. That’s our biggest issue. That’s a huge problem. …They’re falling behind.”

If cases continue to drop, some schools plan to ease safety precautions.

“Our positivity rates are declining, and if we can maintain and hold lower positivity rates, it is very possible that we could revise recommendations,” Kristine Hollingsworth, a spokeswoman for the Health Department in Collier County in southwest Florida, told USA Today.

Some parents and school officials in Florida are still trepidatious about fully returning children to school. Health experts are hopeful that as more data emerges about coronavirus transmission and infection, policy makers will be able to make better-informed decisions about returning to school safely.

Coronavirus lockdown Coronavirus Pandemic Intelwars Mental Health Military Suicides military veterans Pentagon U.S. Air Force U.S. Army

Officials: Overall active-duty military suicides up by as much as 20% during pandemic

Suicides by active-duty U.S. military service members have risen by as much as 20% during the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports from senior military officials.

While the Pentagon has not released 2020 data, which remains incomplete, U.S. Army and Air Force leaders told the Associated Press they believe the pandemic is adding stress to service members who are already under the strain of war-zone deployments, national disasters, and violent demonstrations in U.S. cities. They say there have been 114 active-duty suicides this year compared to 88 at the same time last year, roughly a 30% increase.

“Army officials said discussions in Defense Department briefings indicate there has been up to a 20% jump in overall military suicides this year,” the AP reports. “The Army Guard is up about 10%, going from 78 last year to 86 this year. The Navy total is believed to be lower this year.”

The causes of suicide are complex and cannot solely be attributed to stress caused by COVID-19, but Army officials say the increase in suicides is timed with the start of the pandemic.

“I can’t say scientifically, but what I can say is — I can read a chart and a graph, and the numbers have gone up in behavioral health related issues,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the AP.

“We cannot say definitively it is because of COVID. But there is a direct correlation from when COVID started, the numbers actually went up,” he added.

The active-duty Air Force and reserves had 98 suicides as of Sept. 15, the same number as reported last year. But 2019 was the worst year in three decades for active-duty Air Force suicides. While the overall number of reported active-duty and reserves suicides initially dipped beginning in 2020, since spring it has trended upward, discouraging military leaders.

“COVID adds stress,” Air Force Gen. Charles Brown said. “From a suicide perspective, we are on a path to be as bad as last year. And that’s not just an Air Force problem, this is a national problem because COVID adds some additional stressors — a fear of the unknown for certain folks.”

James Helis, director of the Army’s resilience program, attended department briefings on suicide data. He said lockdown-related isolation, financial difficulties, learn-from-home schooling, and the loss of child care happening suddenly and at the same time have put significant stress on military families.

“We know that the measures we took to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID could amplify some of the factors that could lead to suicide,” Helis said.

Among those measures was increased deployment time. Soldiers’ 10-month deployments were increased to 11 months because of two-week quarantine requirements at the beginning and end of overseas deployments. The Army is looking into shortening combat deployments to lessen the stress soldiers are facing.

“We were very focused on readiness four years ago because we had some readiness challenges, and we did a great job. The force is very, very ready now. But I think it’s time now to focus on people,” Gen. James McConville said.

The AP report noted that civilian suicides have also risen in recent years, but because 2020 data isn’t yet available, it’s difficult to compare with the military.

A CDC report released in August did note that 25.5% of 18-24-year-olds surveyed in late June had serious thoughts about committing suicide during the previous 30 days. “The levels of suicidal tendencies overall more than doubled since 2018 and nearly quadrupled for people between 25 and 44,” Daniel Horowitz wrote for TheBlaze.

Military officials are encouraging troops to reach out and support their fellow service members, particularly wounded warriors who may be less inclined to get mental or medical help due to infection concerns.

Need help? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) Military veterans press 1. Individuals can also go to: and veterans can go to or call the project’s resource center at: 888-997-2586.

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Maryland man sentenced to year in jail for throwing parties, breaking coronavirus restrictions

A Maryland man has been sentenced to a year in jail — his crime: throwing parties during the coronavirus pandemic that violated the governor’s emergency order.

On March 22, police officers went to a home in Hughesville after reports of a large party at the residence. Shawn Marshall Myers, 42, argued with the officers, but eventually shut down the party that had as many as 60 attendees, according to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.

Then on March 27, officers were called to the same house in Charles County after more complaints about a large party. Police estimate that there were more than 50 people at Myers’ bonfire party.

Myers was argumentative again with cops, claiming that the group had the right to congregate. He refused to disband the soiree, which was a violation of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) emergency order against large gatherings. At the time, the order prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Currently, Maryland allows gatherings of up to 50 people.

“Beyond being argumentative, Myers directed his guests to stay in defiance of [Gov. Larry Hogan’s] orders and the officers’ lawful orders to disband the party,” Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington said.

On Friday, Myers was convicted of two counts of failure to comply with an emergency order. A judge sentenced Myers to a year in the Charles County Detention Center for throwing parties that exceeded coronavirus capacity restrictions, according to WTTG-TV.

In addition to jail time, Myers was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and undergo three years of unsupervised probation after his release.

“He was given a warning,” Covington said. “It’s not like the police just swooped in there and said you’re going to jail. They gave him a warning. He had at least 50 people the first day and then two, three days later, he’s doing the same thing. And the second day he’s of a mind that he’s not going to cooperate, he’s going to tell people to keep the music playing.”

“These decisions were made for the public good, for people’s safety,” Covington said. “We’ve got 200,000 people dead because of the attitudes that Mr. Myers demonstrated that particular day.”

Myers, who is a tattoo artist, told WTTG that he regretted throwing the party when he “learned about the devastation COVID-19 caused in a short period of time after it reached the U.S.”

Earlier this week, a mother was tased and arrested at her son’s middle school football game after she refused to wear a face mask. Viral video shows the Ohio woman resisting arrest after being asked to wear a mask.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis moves to reopen Florida bars and restaurants at full capacity, suspends fines for not wearing masks

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday announced his state will move to into Phase 3 of reopening, lifting many restrictions placed on businesses during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

All statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants will be removed, and local governments will be prohibited from imposing new restrictions that would close businesses,
WJXT reported.

DeSantis’ executive order will allow restaurants to open at a minimum of 50% capacity and are allowed to operate at full capacity. The governor also suspended the collection of fines or fees for not wearing a mask.

“I think that this will be very, very important to the industry,” DeSantis said. “The order that I’m signing today will guarantee restaurants can operate and will not allow closures. They can operate at a minimum of 50% regardless of local rule.”

DeSantis’ order follows comments he made Thursday questioning the effectiveness of closing restaurants in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“I don’t think the closure of restaurants has proven to be effective. I get at how you could potentially have spread there, but I also have to look at that. They’ve been able to use outdoors, but we can’t have these businesses dying, so they’re not going to be able to be closed by locals anymore and they will to be able to operate at the capacity that they’re comfortable with. So that’s going to happen,” DeSantis said.

According to WKMG, the governor met with a panel of medical experts to discuss the state’s reopening strategy. DeSantis said his decision to lift capacity limits on restaurants was evidence-based.

“We had an ‘A-B test.’ Miami-Dade closed them at the height when everyone was panicking at the beginning of July, Broward didn’t. Broward kept indoor dining. I challenge you to show me the difference in those epidemic curves. In fact, I think Broward went down. They’re both dense counties, they both had significant epidemics, so I don’t think the closure of restaurants has proven to be effective,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis defended Floridians’ “right to work” while explaining why he’s blocking local communities from imposing new restrictions on businesses.

“We’ve worked great with locals, and I understand different problems and we’ve given them a lot of latitude to do things that I personally wouldn’t have done, but I think that’s the way to do it, bottom up. At the same time, I think everyone has the right to work. I think everyone in Florida has the right to operate a business. Now, there can be reasonable regulations on a local level, but to say ‘no’ at this point on a local perspective, I don’t think that’s viable,” DeSantis said.

Additional details from Phase 3 of the
state’s reopening plan reported by WJXT include:

  • Individuals older than 65 years of age and individuals with a serious underlying medical condition (such as chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immune-compromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure and liver disease) can resume public interactions but should practice social distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical unless precautionary measures are observed. Vulnerable populations should affirmatively inform their employer that they are a member of the vulnerable population so that their employer can plan accordingly.
  • Non-vulnerable populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments.
  • Non-essential travel may continue.
  • Employees should resume unrestricted staffing of worksites and implement the final phasing in of employees returning to work. For vulnerable populations, teleworking can be considered.
  • Local government meetings should return to in-person quorum and public participation for local government bodies.
  • Gyms and fitness centers should open to full capacity but should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation.
  • Theme parks may return to normal operations with limited social distancing protocols.
  • Vacation Rentals should resume normal operating procedures but should continue to thoroughly clean and disinfect the property between rentals.
  • Operators of retail businesses should operate at full capacity but should continue to maintain adequate sanitation practices for employees and patrons.

“If you go back in March, we were told 15 days to slow the spread,” DeSantis said. “In Florida, we followed that.”

“Now people are saying, ‘hey even if there is a vaccine, it’s still going to take another year before you can operate appropriately,’ and I don’t think that’s viable, I don’t think that’s acceptable,” DeSantis added.

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COVID-19 lockdowns are the ‘greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history’ besides slavery, AG Barr says

Attorney General William Barr was heavily critical of the COVID-19 lockdown measures that have been implemented across the world this year, saying they represent an almost unprecedented “intrusion on civil liberties,” CNN reported.

Barr was speaking at a Constitution Day celebration put on by Hillsdale College in Michigan, when he was asked about the legal ramifications of orders that restrict people from going to church.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest,” Barr said. “Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”

State and local government leaders in March implemented various levels of stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. Many of those orders were put in place after March 13, when President Donald Trump called for them for 15, and later 30 days.

The president has since claimed that the lockdown measures saved “millions of lives,” although the COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. is now heading toward the 240,000 death projection from the White House that seemed extreme to many at the time. Also, there is evidence of a significant death toll directly resulting from the lockdowns themselves in the form of suicides and overdoses.

What else did Barr say?

Barr spoke on a wide variety of topics at the event, including Black Lives Matter, which he accused of not having real interest in black lives at all. From The Federalist:

“They’re interested in props, a small number of blacks who are killed by police during conflicts with police—usually less than a dozen a year—who they can use as props to achieve a much broader political agenda,” he said. Barr instead views the priorities for black American lives as “not only keeping people alive, but also having prosperity and flourishing their communities.”

“Most deaths in the inner city of young black males below the age of 44…is being shot by another black person,” he noted. The left likes to talk about “root causes,” Barr said, hinting at claims of systemic racism. But all the political changes the BLM movement demands “depend on peaceful streets at the end of the day.”

Barr also addressed criticism from Justice Department employees who feel he has been overly partisan in the way he does his job.

“Name one successful organization or institution where the lowest level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct, there aren’t. There aren’t any letting the most junior members set the agenda,” Barr said. “It might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency.”

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Horowitz: COVID numbers games from Nashville mayor’s office reveal true agenda and endgame of lockdown

In the past, public officials often obfuscated the extent of public danger on various issues in order to prevent the citizenry from panicking. After all, what they don’t know can’t hurt them. In the Nashville mayor’s office, however, they are apparently of the opinion that the good news the public doesn’t know can’t calm the panic. Which is why they appear to have stifled good news about low COVID-19 case numbers spread in local bars and restaurants, while obfuscating the level of hospitalizations.

On Wednesday, WZTV-TV released copies of emails it obtained that show an effort on the part of the mayor’s office to cover up the news that the number of cases in bars and restaurants in Lower Broadway were remarkably low.

Leslie Waller from the health department asks in an email to Mayor John Cooper’s senior adviser, Benjamin Eagles, “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”

She was referring to the data they received for late June showing only 22 cases of the virus traced back to bars and restaurants, which have become one of the primary targets of the coronavirus restriction movement.

“Correct, not for public consumption,” replies senior adviser Benjamin Eagles.

Several weeks later, when a local reporter inquired about the seemingly low numbers among bars and why that would justify broader restrictions, health department official Brian Todd asked five health department officials to advise how he should respond.

“My two cents. We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site,” answered one official whose name was obscured in the email.

The mayor’s office declined to confirm or deny the authenticity of these emails to WZTV, but Councilmember Steve Glover verified with the news outlet that they were real.

The obvious question is why does it seem that both politicians and media figures are immune to good news — to the point that they seek to obscure or deny any good news about the virus? Why is there always an agenda to assume the worst of the virus at any given time in terms of deaths, hospitalizations, and modes of transmission and, if all else fails, downright lie about it?

And if public officials in Nashville are so eager to stifle good news in order to keep their control policies in place, what other metrics are they distorting? And why do they set certain metrics to begin with, which are almost impossible to meet, even without a raging epidemic?

WZTV’s Stacy Case has a coronavirus investigative companion piece looking into Nashville’s hospital metrics. The city government set a benchmark that 20 percent of the roughly 4,500 city hospital beds have to be free before the city can fully reopen. She notes that while 80 percent capacity sounds like a lot, it is essentially Nashville’s typical capacity level. The city never had a problem with a surge in hospitalizations, even in July during the Sun Belt coronavirus wave. As such, there is no way for hospitals to ever meet this benchmark, because even normal capacity levels equal or exceed the new benchmark for freedom of commerce.

Using the following graphic from Nashville for Rational COVID Policy, Case explains why this metric will never be met.

Source: Nashville for Rational COVID Policy

As you can see from the dark blue line at the bottom, COVID hospitalizations only consume about 107 of the 4,502 available beds. They never accounted for more than 210 beds. Given that 80% of hospital beds is about 3,600, and non-COVID hospitalizations represent anywhere from 3,500 to 3,750 or so at any given time, it’s almost impossible to ever meet this benchmark, even with zero COVID-19 hospitalizations! Even if they achieve this benchmark for a few weeks, there is no way even a mild flu season would not take them over that threshold shortly thereafter.

What is perhaps even more bizarre and revealing at the same time is Mayor Cooper’s response to WZTV’s inquiry about the outdated and misleading metric for reopening. “The hospital metric is very important because that’s really how we started all of this,” said Cooper. “What we know now with our hospital partners is they can create a lot of capacity if they have time. In the first month or two of the disease when we were really worried that the Music City Center was going to end up as one great big hospital, the capacity questions were all important.”

OK, sounds reasonable. They thought things would turn out really bad, but thankfully they never had people dying on sidewalks. So, they could revise this metric and move on with life, right?

Instead, Cooper uses the lack of hospitalization problems against his citizens. Now, they must look for new metrics, aka pretexts, to keep the city shut.

“Now, I think they do recede a little bit and that’s why it can’t be just on one metric. You’re navigating the course of the disease that, let’s be more realistic, it will be much more like a year we’ll be influenced by it.”

So now that it has become clear that the virus will not create a problem with hospitalizations, general hospitalizations are an excuse to be even more restrictive for even longer to achieve a new, undefined goal!

In other words, all good news must be used against the citizenry. Once you meet one benchmark, or in fact it turns out that the problem justifying that benchmark never existed, it is used as a ploy to move on to the next level of control. That next level is “the new normal.” It has nothing to do with hospitalizations or even coronavirus. It’s the flu or just plain old prevention of any cold or pathogen from now until the end of time. This will never end.

Are they simply grim reapers who just like spreading bad news? Well, if that is the case, perhaps they would like to raucously broadcast the drug overdose numbers in the region. Except those numbers are more the result of the reaction to the virus, not the virus itself. They don’t like discussing bad news about lockdowns and panicmongering.

For example, drug overdose deaths are up 47% this year in Davidson County, Tennessee, where there have been 354 fatal drug overdoses from March through July 25. That dwarfs the 186 coronavirus deaths over the same period of time in Nashville.

How about a public metric on the number of suicides and drug overdoses that will trigger a suspension of the shutdown and panic mongering?

In other words, if the American people were informed of the good news about the virus and a little more of the bad news and side effects of the response to the virus, they’d see a very different picture from what is broadcast on most news outlets.

National chemotherapy might be an appropriate treatment for a cancer diagnosis, but not for a flu or a cold. What is needed is an entirely new strategy and outlook on the virus and government policies. But such an approach would require transparency, hearings, legislative debates, and public votes in legislative bodies. And for an agenda that uses draconian restrictions and mandates as an end rather than a means, sunlight must be blocked at all costs.

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A majority of COVID-19 lockdown business closures are permanent, according to Yelp data

Six months into the economic disruption of COVID-19 in the United States, Yelp has found that more than 60% of business closures that have occurred since March 1 have become permanent, CNBC reported.

Breaking down the numbers

From March 1 through Aug. 31, 163,735 businesses have changed their status to reflect closures on Yelp, one of the world’s most popular online business directories. That represents a 23% increase in closures since mid-July, indicating that while the health impact of the virus may be lessening in some places, the business impact is still severe.

Of those 163,735 businesses, 97,966 of them have been marked as permanently closed — nearly 60%. That number of permanent closures is a 34% increase since mid-July.

The peak number of closures Yelp tracked was early in the pandemic when the total number was about 180,000.

Hardest-hit industries

The restaurant industry has been the hardest-hit during the pandemic. As of Aug. 31, 32,109 restaurants had closed, according to Yelp data. Of those closures, 61% have become permanent. Many places, even New York City, are now allowing for indoor dining services, but capacity limitations can make it difficult for some restaurants to make ends meet.

The retail industry has seen 30,374 closures, with 58% of those being permanent. That’s a 10% increase in permanent closures since July.

Some places have gone through multiple rounds of lockdown restrictions, and the burden caused by those lockdowns led many business owners to determine that it was not worth trying to continue business under the new conditions.

“We did everything we were supposed to do,” said Mick Larkin, owner of a karaoke club in Wichita Falls, Texas. “When [Texas Gov. Greg Abbott] shut us down again, and after I put out all that money to meet their rules, I just said, ‘I can’t keep doing this.'”

Impact in different locations

States that rely heavily on tourism, such as Hawaii and California, have suffered the most during the pandemic. In terms of closures per capita, Hawaii and California have been hurt the most, followed by Nevada, Arizona, and Washington state.

Large cities saw higher rates of closure than small cities and towns. Los Angeles and New York City led the way with 15,000 and 11,000 closures, respectively. Half of Los Angeles’ closures are permanent, as are 63% of New York City’s.

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Federal judge rules Pennsylvania COVID lockdowns unconstitutional, sides with counties fighting against Democratic governor

A federal judge on Monday ruled in favor of several Pennsylvania counties that filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine over coronavirus restrictions and a state order to close all “non-life-sustaining businesses.”

U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV wrote in his 66-page opinion, filed Monday, that Wolf’s restrictions violated the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly and the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, Paula Reed Ward reports for Trib Live.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Thomas W. King III, called the decision a “complete and total victory for the counties, businesses and the representatives.”

“You can’t order the entire population of Pennsylvania to stay at home,” he said.

The lawsuit was filed by Butler, Fayette, Greene, and Washington Counties, along with several business owners and state legislators, on May 7 after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take the case. They argued that restrictions ordering some businesses to close while other essential businesses were permitted to remain open violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Judge Stickman said in his ruling that while the governor’s administration was “well-intentioned,” “good intentions toward a laudable end are not alone enough to uphold governmental action against a constitutional challenge. Indeed, the greatest threats to our system of constitutional liberties may arise when the ends are laudable, and the intent is good — especially in a time of emergency.”

“Even a vigilant public may let down its guard over its constitutional liberties only to find that liberties, once relinquished, are hard to recoup and that restrictions — while expedient in the face of an emergency situation — may persist long after immediate danger has passed,” Stickman wrote.

He found that a policy limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to 25 and 250 people violates “the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment.” He also declared that Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home orders and business closures were unconstitutional, though they have since been lifted. His ruling would prevent such policies from being implemented again.

“There is no question that this country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort,” Stickman wrote. “But the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment.”

The Constitution “sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency,” he declared.

“The fact is that the lockdowns imposed across the United States in early 2020 in response to the covid-19 pandemic are unprecedented in the history of our commonwealth and our country,” the judge said. “They have never been used in response to any other disease in our history. They were not recommendations made by the CDC.”

Stickman pointed out that the Pennsylvania government never defined what a “life-sustaining” business is and that the closure of nonessential businesses was unprecedented in the state’s history.

“Never before has the government taken a direct action which shuttered so many businesses and sidelined so many employees and rendered their ability to operate, and to work, solely dependent on government discretion,” he said.

President Donald Trump nominated Judge Stickman to the federal bench in 2019 and the Senate confirmed his appointment on July 31 last year.

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LA County health director predicts schools won’t reopen until ‘we are done with the elections,’ raising questions about political motives

Los Angeles County’s public health director predicted schools won’t reopen until “we are done with the elections” in November, raising questions about political motivations behind keeping students at home.

What are the details?

Dr. Barbara Ferrer made the comment during a conference call with local educators, school nurses, and other groups while discussing the upcoming flu season, KCBS-TV reported.

“We don’t realistically anticipate that we would be moving either to Tier 2 [of California’s reopening plan] or to reopening K through 12 schools at least … until after the election, after, you know, in early November,” Ferrer said during Thursday’s call. “Like when we just look at the timing of everything, it seems to us the more realistic approach to this would be to think that we’re gonna be where we are now … until … we are done with the elections.”

Her comments were first reported by L.A. talk radio station KFI-AM, which provided an audio file of Ferrer’s comments along with the radio program hosts offering their takes on why the public health director chose Election Day as a milestone.

“I interpret it as they’re holding off until the election because sending the kids back into school would put everybody in a good mood,” one host reacted. “They’ll feel that the whole nightmare is over, and that gives good will to [President Donald] Trump and more votes.”

A host noted, “What caught my attention on this was that she said election not just once, but she says it twice.”

A host also pointed out what he sees as Ferrer’s “way left bent.”

What did LA County have to say?

An L.A. County Department of Public Health spokesperson told KCBS that Ferrer’s comment “was related only to timing any expanded school re-openings to allow for enough time from the implementation of changes to assess impact prior to expansions.”

The spokesperson’s statement added that the public health department “will be working closely with schools providing services and supports to high need students over the next 6-8 weeks to implement and assess safety directives and strategies for ensuring infection control and distancing. This information will be used to inform the timing of future activities at schools,” the station said.

Anything else?

In July, the 35,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles argued that schools cannot physically reopen unless certain policy demands are met, including defunding police, ending charter schools, and granting financial support to undocumented students and their families.

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Horowitz: Politicians indicating that flu season is the new threshold for emergency powers & panic

The notion that we would lock down our society until a vaccine is introduced to counter a virus with a 0.3% infection fatality rate and near-zero risk for non-immunocompromised individuals was shockingly insane. Then we were told that even after a vaccine is in place, the social control will not end because the vaccine will not fully work against COVID-19 for all people. Now, we are beginning to see that because indeed COVID-19 is not that much different from a pandemic flu, the flu itself will now constitute the new threshold for social control and panic in perpetuity. In other words, the totalitarianism that we blissfully accepted in March is here to stay forever, unless we reclaim our sovereignty.

“[Arizona] State officials Monday laid out a plan for ‘aggressively’ combating the upcoming influenza season as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, with the first step being to urge people to get a flu shot as soon as possible,” wrote the Copper Courier on Tuesday. “The state plans to increase funding for Medicaid recipients to get flu shots, combine flu-shot sites with coronavirus testing facilities, and more, while also advocating many of the same measures meant to head off the spread of COVID-19” (emphasis added).

The Arizona paper was reporting on a press conference held by liberal Republican Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona health department director Dr. Cara Christ, when they warned about “a perfect storm” of lingering COVID-19 mixing with the flu season in the coming months. They warned about mask-wearing and shutting down businesses that don’t participate in their unproven social control rituals. They also revealed that indeed hospitals get overwhelmed to a degree during the flu season and now that fact, which we always lived with every year, will be used to control our lives.

Folks, we have come full-circle. When this all began in early March, we were warned by the World Health Organization that COVID-19 was the worst epidemic in generations, with an infection fatality rate of 3.4% and a hospitalization rate exponentially higher that was going to swamp all of our big-city hospitals. As such, there was no way to compare it to the flu. Anyone who did was treated almost like a Holocaust denier.

Now, those same control freaks are comparing COVID to the flu! See, if they were right about the threat level of this virus, the contrast between it and the flu would be black and white. Talking about the perfect storm between COVID-19 and the flu would be tantamount to tethering the health care concerns of cancer to those of a cold. But now the truth comes out that this virus really is not that much different from a pandemic flu and that hospitals are always crowded at the peak of even a seasonal flu, much less a pandemic flu.

In July, Justin Hart, founder of, which promotes a rational approach to the virus, posted on Twitter a series of articles describing emergency measures in various ERs throughout the nation during the 2018 pandemic flu. Yet the media coverage at the time wasn’t incessant, it never became political, and the politicians never gave any thought to shutting down our lives. We lived with it, and few people ever heard of the 2018 pandemic flu.

That is all about to change. Now the flu is the new threshold for perpetual mask-wearing, draconian regulations on businesses and houses of worship, and government mandates of every facet of our lives.

Those who said the fatality rate of COVID-19 was much lower than the WHO claimed were right all along. This week, Icelandic researchers came out with a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine pegging the fatality rate at 0.3%. Lest you think that this might be the result of luck in Iceland, an analysis of COVID-19 in Indiana published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Wednesday estimates the IFR in that state at 0.26%, right around what Stanford epidemiologist and leading lockdown skeptic John Ioannidis predicted long ago.

But even that number is extremely lopsided and almost exclusively weighted toward people with several known immunocompromising conditions. According to the CDC, 94% of those who have died from the virus had at least one serious underlying condition. For healthy people, especially those under 65, the fatality rate is really no greater than the flu.

Hence, the politicians have gone from “Don’t you dare compare this to the flu” to “We should be doing this for the flu as well.” In other words, there’s a reason why politicians and the media warn about a “new normal.” It’s not because COVID-19 will necessarily be with us forever; it’s because the tyranny of the government response had nothing to do with COVID-19. That was simply the perfect pretext because so much was unknown about it earlier this year. Now that everyone is conditioned to go along with the suspension of democracy for “public health,” it’s not even a political leap to use the flu as the next excuse.

Consider how low the threshold is to continue the current quasi-martial law policies and invasion of personal privacy and bodily integrity. One university after another is discovering hundreds of “cases” of COVID with zero hospitalizations. This happens every flu season, and the students usually get sicker with more disruptive symptoms than they have now, when most of them only know they are “sick” because of mandatory testing. Yet this is the new threshold to turn colleges into prisons.

As my friend Kyle Lamb observes, according to the Kessel-Cohen-Milgroom study that PCR tests have a median false positive rate of 2.3%, in places like New York where the entire positive rate is under 2.3%, that could mean the number of real cases may be close to zero – or at least low enough that nobody would notice without this testing regime and dashboard obsession.

As far back as October 2019, according to the CDC, at least 1% of emergency room visitors exhibited COVID-like symptoms (CLI), even before the virus was known in the U.S. A certain number of people always come in with fever, coughing, sore throats, and trouble breathing all year round every year, and most certainly during the late fall and winter. Those numbers existed before the discovery of this particular virus and will continue to persist forever.

At present, we are at the point in this COVID “epidemic” where the flu season, which is driven more by symptoms and not testing, more definitely disrupts people’s daily schedules with illness. As Lamb notes, “By this logic, the virus would never go away and emergency powers will be indefinite.”

And indeed, that is exactly the point. That is their plan … if we let them get away with it.

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Commentary: A return to normal is the only ethical option for all of our nation’s hurting people

You know how much I love football. And you know how much I want it back. It is my personal escape from the rigors of the world. It is a symbol of what makes America great. It marks the time from August to January with weekly ritual and passion and glory.

It was my normal.

But even as a column I wrote — filled with endless data and analysis to help bring the Big Ten version of college football back from the grave in 2020 — went viral last week, I have increasingly come to understand that much of my motivation for such an intervention has to do far more generally with lives I will never encounter and concerns far outside the world of sports.

Whatever their version of normal once was, those lives desperately need it to return. Because there are people whose inability to return to normal comes with strings attached that far outweigh any frustration I might feel about not watching the Michigan Wolverines on a fall Saturday. In fact, their very lives are put in jeopardy because of the chaos we have let the national lockdowns sow into our sense of how to care for ourselves and those around us.

I read letters from some of those people on my show last week. That, in turn, compelled another viewer to share a story from the state of Tennessee for whom any return to normalcy will simply be too late.

A group called Tennessee Caregivers for Compromise is her megaphone as she remembers the final days of her husband, a man in his 70s dealing with dementia. Their normal wasn’t always easy before the lockdowns, but it was theirs to manage together after 52 years of marriage with long walks, simple conversations, and a loyal dog.

That ended abruptly one day in July with symptoms that suddenly took them to the hospital. The man, agitated and unable to effectively communicate due to his dementia, nonetheless was prevented from having his wife — his primary caregiver and source of peace and stability — by his side for long stretches of time, day after day, following a COVID diagnosis.

Were the ensuing hospital transfers, medications, and restraints to calm the man all necessary in her absence over the next five days? It’s impossible to know for sure. But what we do know is that a mentally broken man was discharged in poor health after less than a week and died shortly thereafter at home.

I simply can’t tell you with any degree of certainty if this outcome could have been prevented if his wife had been allowed to be there to help the hospital navigate this man’s challenges. But I am here to tell you with certainty that his wife should have been there regardless. Because it was civilized. Because it was normal.

We have been deeply confused during this pandemic about what is in fact essential and what is not. Sure, much of the “normalcy” that we had carved out for ourselves before COVID could often be construed as silly or pointless, but much of it is essential to the extent that it defines the very nature of humanity itself.

We were created by our Maker for companionship, with both Him and one another. And the best of relationships, the ones that reflect our Maker most deeply, are the ones that humbly survive no matter the ferocity of the storm. Because their promise to one another is eternal.

For better or worse. Rich or poor. Til death do us part.

Too many damn “experts” have stood in the way of that ethos since March. And I’ve knocked plenty of these pseudo-scientists off their pedestal these past few months, using actual data to crush their panic porn. But it’s a shame that I had to, and still do, because this pagan flat-earth voodoo separated a wife from her beloved when it never had to be like this.

Too much of 2020 didn’t have to be like this.