Corona Bed-Wetters Song

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Pardon the absence.  I was gone for a few days to attend The Older Brother’s Oldest Son’s wedding, but mostly I’ve been busy working on this:

If you share my sentiments about the bed-wetters, please pass it around.  The song is also available on iTunes and Apple Music.

The wedding was in Illinois, so the wedding party was limited to 50 people.  How’s this for bed-wetter logic?  The outdoor facility could have legally hosted two weddings with 50 people per tent, but they weren’t allowed to split a single wedding party with 100 people into two tents.  So The Oldest Son and his fiancee had to tell dozens of people not to attend.  Welcome to Bed-Wetter Land, otherwise known as America in 2020.

Bed-wetter issues aside, it was a lovely outdoor wedding and reception.  It was nice to see people happily sharing a bar, a dining area and a dance floor without wearing masks.  I tweeted about that, and of course the bed-wetters jumped in to tell me how irresponsible the event was.

Yeah, I guess the three doctors attending the wedding should have warned us about our suicidal behavior … but they were too busy enjoying themselves.

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Bed-Wetter Politicians Get Introduced To The Constitution

I’ve been saying since April that lockdowns are worthless and will end up doing more harm than good. I’ve also wondered (more to myself than on the blog) how all this authoritarian overreach can possibly be constitutional.

We have a constitutional right to assemble, but governors and mayors have ordered people not to assemble (unless they’re BLM protestors).  We have a constitutional right to equal protection under the law, but governors and mayors have taken it upon themselves to order some stores to close while allowing others to remain open … not to mention (again) creating different rules just for BLM protestors. There’s no clause in the Constitution that says government officials can violate any of the rights enumerated here if a scary virus starts spreading.

I didn’t go looking for this video, but since I’ve run lots of searches on coronavirus lately, it showed up in my YouTube feed. Andrew Napolitano, the retired Superior Court judge being interviewed here, has been a staunch defender of civil liberties for years, regardless of which party tries to violate those liberties. He says exactly what I’ve been thinking about all this lockdown nonsense.

But … but … the virus! It’s scary! We need to violate liberties to stop the spread!

Look, if that’s what you’re about to say, stop and think about it:  do you really want to go down that road? Because if we do, it means any time politicians want to violate our civil liberties, all they have to do is point to some threat – real, imagined, or exaggerated – and say it’s very, very dangerous, and we’re doing this to protect you. That’s how we ended up with the $#@%ing Patriot Act.

I’ve been waiting for someone to start suing the lockdown fascists for violating our constitutional rights. Well, good news: a judge in Pennsylvania ruled on one such lawsuit last week:

That’s one. I hope many, many similar lawsuits and rulings follow.

But … but … the virus! It’s scary! I don’t care about the Constitution; I want more lockdowns so I don’t catch it!

If that’s how you feel, there’s a simple solution that doesn’t require violating other people’s rights to assemble, to open or patronize a business, to travel, etc., etc.

It’s called LOCK YOURSELF DOWN AND LEAVE THE REST OF US ALONE.

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Educating Bed-Wetters

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A few days ago, I tweeted that coronahysteria has been useful for helping my daughter narrow down her list of colleges: she’s eliminating the ones that are currently closed or remote-only because it means the school is run by bed-wetting weenies who don’t actually care about educating the students.

That one got a few hundred likes and a few dozen retweets. But of course, a couple of college perfessors had to chime in to say their schools are remote-only right now – to protect the students! – and I really needed to teach my daughter to respect the science and blah-blah-blah.

Oh, dear.

One of the perfessors replied:

Sorry to lose a student to it, as it appears they could use some critical thinking skills to overcome their parents ignorance.

That’s the exact quote. Fascinating … we have a college professor who doesn’t know the singular student isn’t a plural they, and doesn’t know how to use the plural possessive case for parents ignorance. Talk about ignorance. There’s a school we’ll avoid.

The other perfessor teaches nutrition (and we all how rigorously scientific that field is), and informed me that my daughter was missing out, because she and the other perfessors have spent hundreds of hours learning new, cutting-edge teaching strategies.

Ah, well, if it’s new and cutting-edge, it simply must be better. You all remember how New Math and Whole-Language English classes led to generations of Americans highly proficient in math and able to construct grammatically correct sentences.

I replied:

I appreciate the college teachers who are chiming in to publicly claim their bed-wetter status. We can scratch their schools off the list.

Now, you’d think that would clue the nutrition perfessor that arguing it’s not safe for students to be in class would only further convince me to avoid her school. But no, she kept thinking she could persuade me. So I replied:

I appreciate you making the extra effort, but you’ve already established yourself as a bed-wetter whose school we’ll avoid. No need to keep proving the point.

That didn’t stop her. Instead, she adopted a condescending attitude I’ve found to be strangely common among nutrition perfessors. It goes something like this: I have a PhD in nutrition, and therefore I’m a real scientist, so I must educate this ignorant plebe.

That always goes over really well with me.

The perfessor kept trying to convince me that of course schools should be remote-only, because THE CASES, THE CASES, THE CASES! The CASES keep going up!

When I replied that college-age kids are at almost no risk whatsoever from COVID, the perfessor replied sure, that may be true, but if they go to classes, they’ll spread the disease! The medical system will be overwhelmed! The only safe course is keep them out of school!

I replied with a link to the latest casedemic video by Ivor Cummins. Here it is, in case you haven’t seen it:

The video is 37 minutes, but the perfessor replied in roughly two minutes, which of course means she didn’t watch it. Nonetheless, she felt qualified to dismiss it. She replied that the notion that cases are rising because of massive testing is yesterday’s smokescreen. Yes, she wrote that.

I replied:

She’s a teacher, but tries to dismiss facts and data anyone can look up with “that’s yesterday’s smokescreen.” And she wonders why I wouldn’t send my daughter to her school. Sorry, we prefer schools with teachers who are critical thinkers capable of making rational arguments.

After more back-and-forth — with her reneging on at least two promises to slow it down and make just ONE more effort to educate me on the very real threat we face because of THE CASES, THE CASES, THE CASES! — I’d finally had enough. I won’t italicize or number my thread of responses.  Here it is:

———————————————————————–

Since you don’t have the brains to stop proudly claiming your status as a bed-wetter, I’ll slow this down and explain it for you ONE last time. College kids are at near zero-risk from COVID. So you duck that with “but it’s to protect other people!”

There’s no evidence of young, healthy, asymptomatic people spreading the disease to others. There’s some speculation by professional bed-wetters, but no actual evidence. If the families of college kids feel at risk, they can dealt with it.

So based on no threat to the college kids, and no known threat to the people in their lives, you and the other bed-wetters have decided to go with remote-only teaching, depriving students of the most enjoyable aspect of college: life on campus with other students.

Is that to benefit the students? No, it’s clear to anyone with a half a brain it’s to benefit yourselves. By gosh, you LIKE not having to show up in the classroom, so you keep peddling b.s. about how this is saving lives through some mechanism not supported by any evidence.

And you keep peddling b.s. about those CUTTING-EDGE! teaching strategies to convince yourselves you’re not depriving the students. Here’s a CUTTING-EDGE! strategy that’s proved its value over the centuries: get your lazy ass into the classroom and teach face-to-face.

Laughably, schools expect parents to pay full price for their kids to receive a remote “education” that could be replaced by any online teaching service already in existence. Keep it up; you’re proving yourselves unnecessary and it will come back to bite you.

Doubly laughably, you keep trying to convince us this is all about safety, doncha know. And yet schools have remained open in many other countries with no rise in hospitalizations or deaths. The “it’s to protect people!” b.s. won’t fly, no matter how many “cases” you cite.

And yet here you are, apparently thinking if you just link to this or that bit of nonsense, you’re going to convince me that by gosh, it really IS about protecting people! … even though college kids are at no risk. You wildly overestimate your powers of persuasion.

If you were actually intelligent, you would have realized days ago that every argument you make in favor of keeping your school closed is further evidence that you’re a bed-wetter who doesn’t care about the students, and thus someone to avoid like the plague — a real plague.

So the bottom line: any teacher not elderly or otherwise in real danger who argues for remote-only learning is a selfish, lazy slob who doesn’t mind depriving students of a true college experience, as long as it’s convenient for her. That’s a “teacher” parents will avoid.

———————————————————————–

End of the thread.

The word is slowly getting out: lockdowns didn’t do diddly … well, other than bankrupt countless businesses, vaporize countless jobs, and send the economy into a tailspin. Here are some quotes from an article in ZeroHedge:

The toll lockdowns have taken on human life and human rights has been incalculable. Increases in child abuse, suicide, and even heart attacks, all appear to be a feature of mandatory stay-at-home orders issued by politicians who now rule by decree without any legislative or democratic due process.

This was all done because some politicians and bureaucrats—who were in no danger of losing their large paychecks—decided it was a great idea to carry out a bizarre and risky experiment: forcing large swaths of the population to stay at home in the name of preventing the spread of disease.

… it’s now becoming apparent that lockdowns don’t work when actually tried. Earlier this month, for example, Donald Luskin noted in The Wall Street Journal:

Measuring from the start of the year to each state’s point of maximum lockdown—which range from April 5 to April 18—it turns out that lockdowns correlated with a greater spread of the virus. States with longer, stricter lockdowns also had larger Covid outbreaks. The five places with the harshest lockdowns—the District of Columbia, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts—had the heaviest caseloads.

In an August 1 Study, also published by The Lancet, the authors concluded “Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people.”

A June study published in Advance by Stefan Homburg and Christof Kuhbandner found the data “strongly suggests” the UK lockdown was both superfluous (it did not prevent an otherwise explosive behavior of the spread of the coronavirus) and ineffective (it did not slow down the death growth rate visibly).

In fact, the overall trend of infection and death appears to be remarkably similar across many jurisdictions regardless of what non -pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are taken by policymakers.

Lockdowns are causing far more harm than good. They’re not saving lives. And yet many people whose jobs aren’t currently in danger want to stay in lockdown and keep schools closed for the simple reason that they’ve gotten used to working strictly from home and think it’s awesome. So they’ll look for any reason to say the threat is still HUUUUUGE, and by gosh, we just can’t go back to normal yet.

So let’s thank the teachers who publicly insist on keeping their classrooms closed. They’ve let us know they don’t give a rat’s ass about what’s best for the students, so we know to avoid them.

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The Bed-Wetters Saved The World! (Just Ask Them)

Turns out that despite my frequent criticisms of the bed-wetters, they actually saved the whole world from dying. I know this because they’ve told me so on Twitter.

I pointed out that we can stop panicking because the despite the rising casedemic, the deaths and hospitalizations in places like New York have plummeted to near-zero. Like this:

That’s because of the lockdowns and the mandatory masks! the bed-wetters informed me. The pandemic is under control in places where the authorities took HARD ACTIONS!

Ahhh, I see. So that means in places that imposed HARD ACTIONS, like lockdowns and mandatory masks, the pandemic is under control, while in places that didn’t impose HARD ACTIONS, the hospitalizations and deaths must still be rising.

Well, Sweden didn’t impose lockdowns or masks. Let’s compare their COVID deaths to Italy and the U.K., which took HARD ACTIONS.

Hmmm, looks like the deaths in Sweden peaked a little later and then plummeted a little later, but the curve is nearly identical … except with fewer deaths per million people at the peak. That would almost suggest lockdowns and masks have little if any effect on how the virus spreads.

There are seven U.S. states that never issued stay-at-home orders. They’re the ones highlighted in yellow below. I also circled South Dakota because the state didn’t close any businesses either. It’s the least bed-wetting of all states. Notice the low death rate (the scale is deaths per 100,000 people).

Oh, yeah, sure! That’s because those states don’t have big cities!

That’s what the bed-wetters told me. Apparently they didn’t do well in social studies classes. Look at the states in the bottom half of the chart. Big cities in those states include Seattle, Portland, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Oklahoma City.

Population density! We meant population density! the bed-wetters replied. South Dakota only has, like, 12 people per square mile!

The bed-wetters seem to think people in low-population states like South Dakota spread themselves evenly across the land. They don’t. I used to do comedy tours in those western states. You can drive for hundreds of miles and barely spot a house. Then you get to a city with actual people (and a comedy club). I know that’s how it is in those states, but I nonetheless checked the data on a U.S. census site. Here are percentages of the population in several rural/western states who live in what the census bureau labels as urban zones: 90% in Utah, 80% in Oregon, 73% in Nebraska, 70% in Wisconsin, 66% in Oklahoma, 64% in Iowa.

So yes, even in those low-density states, most people live in or near cities. And please refer back to the chart and tell me which BIG CITIES in Mississippi and Rhode Island explain their high death rates.

But you’ve got to look at Florida! Second wave! Second wave! Second wave! They never should have opened up the state in June, because look at the deaths! They should have stuck with HARD ACTION!

Yes, there was a summertime rise in COVID deaths in Florida. But thanks to the videos posted by Ivor Cummins, I’m aware of how the COVID curves are following the curves for seasonal flu outbreaks. So with that in mind, I looked up curves for flu and other respiratory infections for previous years in Florida. Here’s a chart showing the curves for several respiratory infections:

June begins around week 23 most years. So what do we see in this chart? Yup, we see summertime spikes (or a SECOND WAVE! if you prefer) for respiratory infections in Florida. That’s the usual pattern.

Here’s a chart showing visits to a medical provider for flu-like illness in Florida in 2009.

See that big second spike beginning in the summer? Once again, this is normal.

The seasonal flu curves for northern regions and southern regions aren’t the same. Southern regions show a spike in the summer months. That’s why summertime COVID deaths rose in Florida, and it’s why they’re rising in places like Peru and Brazil.

And by the way, Peru took HARD ACTION that was harder than almost any other country … which makes this headline interesting:

The country with the world’s strictest lockdown is now the worst for excess deaths.

Here’s a chart comparing deaths in Peru (world’s strictest lockdown) to deaths in Brazil, which didn’t take the HARD ACTIONS the bed-wetters insist saved the world:

Oh, yeah? Well, if Florida had a summertime rise because it’s in the south, how do you explain the fact that Italy didn’t get a big summertime rise too? Huh? Italy is south, ya know! Huh?

Gee, I’m sorry you didn’t do well in geography classes. Italy is in the south of Europe, yes, but it’s not south as far as the world is concerned. Look at a globe. Italy is at the same latitude as the New England states in America.  Rome, for example, is at the same latitude as Providence, Rhode Island. Florida, meanwhile, is at the same latitude as the Western Sahara in Africa.  The summertime rise in southern areas isn’t about failure to impose lockdowns.  It’s about latitude.

Lockdowns didn’t stop the spread of the virus. Masks won’t stop the spread of the virus (which is why scientists in the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway recommended against mandating them). So why can’t the bed-wetters just admit they were wrong?

Because when one of their Grand Plans fails to fix a problem – or even causes more harm than good – The Anointed never, ever, ever admit the Grand Plan was a bad idea.

As you know, I borrowed the term The Anointed from Thomas Sowell and his book The Vision of the Anointed. In speeches and blog posts, I’ve summarized Dr. Sowell’s description of how The Anointed interpret the failure of a Grand Plan. They always decide that:

  • The plan was good, but people didn’t follow it correctly because they’re stupid
  • The plan was good, but it was undermined by people because they’re evil
  • The plan didn’t go far enough … so we need to do the same thing ONLY BIGGER.

Actually, Dr. Sowell added another interpretation I haven’t mentioned previously:

  • Sure, the Grand Plan didn’t fix the problem … but without the Grand Plan, the problem would have been EVEN WORSE!

That’s what the bed-wetters are telling themselves now. One bed-wetter on Twitter recently insisted that without the lockdowns, the coronavirus would have killed 500,000 Americans. All hail the HARD ACTIONS taken by The Anointed for saving us.

And prepare yourself … they may still decide we need to do the same thing again, only bigger.

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Bed-Wetter Logic Unmasked

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“There’s a virus out there that’s killing people.”

“Really? Which people?”

“Well, the median age is 80, and about half the people who died were in nursing homes.”

“Oh my god! Ya know what we should do? We should close all the schools!”

“Uh … but —”

“I mean, some young people died too, right?”

“Turns out the virus is less likely to kill young people than the ordinary flu, but yes, some younger people died. Nearly all of them had pre-existing diseases or metabolic problems like obesity, diabetes—”

“Holy moly! In that case, we need to cancel college sports! We can’t take a chance that 20-year-olds in peak athletic condition will get sick and die!”

“But … ya see … I was just pointing out that—”

“Is there any indication of when this horrible virus will stop killing people?”

“Actually, in most regions, hardly anyone is dying from it now. People aren’t even showing up in hospitals anymore.”

“That’s terrible! We need to make sure everybody wears a mask so this senseless slaughter will stop!”

Welcome to the world of bed-wetter logic, where facts and data bounce off people’s heads like tiny ping-pong balls.

Remember a few months ago, when the bed-wetter media breathlessly reported on the rising number of deaths? You don’t see that much anymore. Now the bed-wetter reports are mostly about THE RISING NUMBER OF CASES!

Well, yes, the number of people testing positive for some fragment of the virus is rising and rising and rising. That’s because we’re testing like crazy, and – surprise! – finding more of exactly what we’re trying to find. The vast majority of the people who test positive have no symptoms, which means for the vast majority of us, coronavirus barely qualifies as a cold. That ought to be good news.

But no, the bed-wetter media insist on reporting the rising number of (ahem) “cases” as if it’s proof the equivalent of airborne AIDS is blowing around out there and we’re all in danger. Not surprisingly, surveys show that a huge chunk of the public wildly overestimates how many non-elderly people have died. Here are some typical survey results:

Six months into this pandemic, Americans still dramatically misunderstand the risk of dying from COVID-19:

On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.

Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.

Americans overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 for people aged 24 and younger by a factor of 50; and they think the risk for people aged 65 and older is half of what it actually is (40% vs 80%).

Yup, lots of people out there believe thousands of school-age kids have died. That’s what happens when the bed-wetter media are more interested in scaring the hell out of the audience than in … oh, I don’t know, let me think back to journalism school and see if I can remember the supposed purpose of news organizations … oh, yeah: informing the audience.

Substitute watch TV news for read the newspaper, and Mark Twain’s observation has never been more relevant than it is today:  If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.

Thanks to our bed-wetter media, here’s how badly misinformed people are:

This misperception translates directly into a degree of fear for one’s health that for most people vastly exceeds the actual risk: we find that the share of people who are very worried or somewhat worried of suffering serious health consequences should they contract COVID-19 is almost identical across all age brackets between 25 and 64 years old, and it’s not far below the share for people 65 and older.

The discrepancy with the actual mortality data is staggering: for people aged 18–24, the share of those worried about serious health consequences is 400 times higher than the share of total COVID deaths; for those age 25–34 it is 90 times higher. The chart below truly is worth a thousand words:

The hysteria and the wild overestimation of actual risk among the misinformed has allowed bed-wetting politicians to get away with authoritarian overreach and impose restrictions that make absolutely no scientific sense.

In California (governed by a world-class bed-wetter) the schools are closed for the foreseeable future. We just can’t risk exposing kids to this horrible, deadly disease, doncha know. And how many school-age (under 18) kids have died from COVID-19 in California? Wait for it …

One. That’s right, one. In the entire USA, a grand total of 92 school-age kids have died from COVDID-19, and most of them had pre-existing health issues. Those are the actual facts. But thanks to the bed-wetter media’s constant hyping of the RISE IN CASES!, people are afraid their kids will get sick and die if they go to school.

The bed-wetter media apparently exist all over the world. Check out this video of a doctor being interviewed on Spanish television. (If you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll have to read the subtitles.) The journalist clearly wanted the doctor to confirm the EVERYTHING IS AWFUL angle of the story. Lucky for the viewers, the doctor told the truth instead. He keeps trying to point out that positive tests among people with no symptoms don’t mean anything, and the epidemic is basically over. Meanwhile, the bed-wetting journalist keeps interrupting to cite the positive test numbers as proof that EVERYTHING IS AWFUL. Never mind what the doctor who actually works in a hospital says.

Ivor Cummins has been using the term casedemic to describe the current round of bed-wetting. I don’t know if he originated the term or not, but it’s perfect. Here he is, using data to explain the difference between an actual epidemic and the current casedemic:

If you chose to skip the video, here’s what Ivor is talking about:  The bars above the red lines are cases, which are rising because of all the testing.  The bars below the red lines are deaths, which have plummeted to nearly zero, despite all those (ahem) “cases.”

Thank goodness, at least a few media outlets are making the distinction between cases and actual illness. Here are some quotes from an article in the U.K.’s Sunday Times:

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has fallen 96% since the peak of the pandemic, official data reveals.

Remember when lockdowns were all about flattening the curve so healthcare systems wouldn’t be overwhelmed? They’re clearly not overwhelmed. And yet the hysteria continues. Anyway, back to the article:

Hospital staff are now treating just 700 coronavirus patients a day in England, compared to about 17,000 a day during the middle of April, according to NHS England.

Last week, some hospitals did not have a single coronavirus patient on their wards, with one top doctor suggesting that Britain is “almost reaching herd immunity”.

I believe that’s true in the U.S. as well.

Wait … before any bed-wetters out there jump into the comments section to berate me, yes, I’m aware that deaths have been rising in some southern states, such as Florida. The summertime rise in the south is following the same curve as previous flu outbreaks. And as we saw elsewhere, 82 percent of deaths in Florida have occurred among the elderly, and nearly half of those occurred in nursing homes. Regardless of the recent (and predictable) rise in deaths in the south, here’s the latest CDC chart showing the deaths by age since the epidemic began.

Notice how younger people barely show up on the chart. And yet I’ve seen bed-wetters on Twitter post links to articles like this one, apparently thinking they’ve proved something awful is happening:

A Georgia school district that does not require masks has closed a high school and now has over 1,100 students and staff in quarantine due to the coronavirus.

Naturally, the bed-wetter reporter had to work does not require masks into the article. Yeah, that must be why the kids are infected, boy oh boy.  It couldn’t be that they were already infected and didn’t know it until they were tested.

The Cherokee County School District, based in Canton about 40 miles north of Atlanta, made the announcement Tuesday, just eight days after its schools reopened.

“This decision was not made lightly,” Superintendent Brian Hightower said in a statement about the temporary halt to in-person instruction at Etowah High School.

Ahhhh, the decision wasn’t made lightly. So there must have been a major outbreak of COVID-19 among the students, leading to a bunch of hospital admissions.

He said the high school had 14 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 15 tests pending as of Tuesday morning.

An entire high school was closed because 14 kids tested positive for a virus that’s soooo deadly, they didn’t know they’d been exposed … at least not until testing added them to the casedemic files.  I asked the bed-wetter who posted this article on Twitter to find the follow-up article telling us how many of those 14 kids required medical treatment.  I’m still waiting for his reply.

If closing schools actually stopped the spread of coronavirus, we’d see dramatic differences (or even kinda-sorta moderate differences) in outcomes between areas that closed their schools and areas that didn’t. But we don’t. Here are some quotes from an article in the Irish Times:

The reopening of schools in many EU countries has not led to significant increases in community transmission of Covid-19, according to a new report.

Child-to-child transmission of the disease in schools is uncommon and not the primary cause of infection in children attending class, particularly in preschools and primary schools, the report by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) suggests.

Schools are unlikely to be more effective environments for propagating the virus than other work or leisure settings with similar densities of people, the report states.

There’s a good reason schools are unlikely to be an effective environment for spreading COVID. Watch this report from the BBC and, if you’re impatient, skip ahead to about the 2:15 mark:

I’ll repeat what a researcher says in the report, in case you skipped the video entirely:

Unlike illnesses like influenza, which are spread wonderfully by children — they’re very good at spreading influenza — children don’t seem to be spreading the COVID 19 virus to anything like the same extent. and that’s very different from most respiratory illnesses, where it’s usually the child that’s brought the illness into the household. So there’s something different about this that provides some reassurance when it comes to opening schools.

Closing schools hasn’t made a difference. Lockdowns haven’t made a difference either. As I’ve been saying since coronahysteria began, the virus is here and it’s going to spread, period, whether we impose lockdowns or not. Here are some quotes from a BBC article:

Exposure to Covid-19 is similar in Stockholm and London, based on antibody tests, despite different lockdown strategies, research suggests.

Sweden chose to avoid a strict lockdown, with shops and restaurants staying open.

Health experts predicted that 40% of the population in the capital, Stockholm, would have developed antibodies to the disease by May.

The actual figure was 17%, according to a review of evidence.

The research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found that 17% of people tested in April in Stockholm had developed antibodies.

This compares with 17% of Londoners tested in April and May, and 5%-10% of people living in Geneva.

Sweden adopted a lighter-touch strategy for dealing with the pandemic compared with most other European countries, deciding not to institute a widespread lockdown, and putting in place relatively few restrictions.

This was based partly on the idea of letting Covid-19 sweep through the population creating so-called herd immunity. Such an approach was considered but then abandoned in the UK.

The herd-immunity approach shouldn’t have been abandoned, but unfortunately, the bed-wetters won the day.

By the way, if you’re thinking 17% of a population testing positive for antibodies doesn’t sound like herd immunity, think again. Remember, most people who test positive for coronavirus fragments never felt ill. It turns out many people shake off the virus without producing antibodies. Here are some quotes from an article in the U.K. Telegraph:

Antibody tests may be missing large numbers of people who contracted Covid-19 because they don’t work for people who had a mild infection, new research from Oxford University suggests.

A study of more than 9,000 healthcare workers suggested significant numbers of people were getting ‘negative’ test results, despite probably having had the virus.

The work has major implications for government health policy, and scientists said it might also mean reviewing where the threshold between negative and positive results lies.

Hospitalizations and deaths in Sweden – with no lockdowns and no masks — are now close to zero. I’m pretty sure at this point, the bed-wetters would prefer to pretend Sweden doesn’t exist. A professor of microbiology and immunology in Tel Aviv name Udi Qimron made that point when interviewed for the Israel National News:

“There is a very great interest for anyone who has supported the draconian measures taken around the world to say that Sweden’s policy has failed. Because if it succeeded, and trillions went down the drain for no reason, someone will have to answer for it.”

“That is why all over the world they prefer to claim that [Sweden] was wrong. But in the end, the truth came to the surface. In a world where decision makers, their advisers and the media were able to admit their mistake and the initial panic that gripped them, we would have long since returned to routine. The ongoing destruction due to the inability to admit this mistake, despite the epidemic’s small mortality numbers, is outrageous.”

Yup. It’s been several years since I mentioned the terrific book Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), which explains why people who take very public positions find it darned near impossible to admit they were wrong, even when the evidence proves they were wrong. We’re seeing the phenomenon described in the book among all the bed-wetter politicians now.

Back to Professor Qimrom in the Israel National News:

He said smart behavior would be the opposite of what we do today; Populations not at risk should become infected and create chains of immunity, which will protect the sick and the elderly. We are currently working for sweeping social distancing, which prevents such differential immunity, he said.

He went on to explain that infection of children is a welcome thing, because it protects at-risk populations. “For the same reason, I would open up the whole education system, because the vast majority is made up of people who are not at risk. Of course a solution needs to be found for teachers suffering from diabetes or other background diseases, but I see no reason to prevent activities that encourage the economy. Not only because it allows parents to go to work, but also because it lowers mortality in the long run. I would also ask children and young people to take off their masks.

But … but … in a Georgia high school that does not require masks, 14 kids were found to have fragments of the virus!

I was more or less agnostic on the wear your mask! issue at first. I suspected they wouldn’t do much to stop the virus because I saw at least three doctors explain that the virus is so tiny, wearing a mask to avoid spreading it is like trying to keep out mosquitos by putting up a chain-link fence.

But I also had my doubts because of some basic logic: if areas that imposed lockdowns didn’t fare any better than areas that didn’t impose lockdowns, why the @#$% would telling people to wear masks make a difference? Let’s think through that logic, shall we?

Okay, keeping people apart didn’t work, so we’ll let them out in public again – but they need to wear some cotton on their faces, because that will somehow do what keeping them apart didn’t do.

Suuuure, it will.

The wear your mask! crowd trots out studies showing one of two results: 1) wearing a mask reduces the distance saliva droplets travel if you cough or sneeze, or 2) the rate of infection among healthcare workers declined after they and all patients were required to wear masks in hospitals.

So if you’re out in public and still sick enough to spread the virus via your saliva (in which case, why the heck are you out in public?), a mask might stop you from sneezing the virus onto another person. Okay, we’ll go with that.

As for the reduced infections among healthcare workers after mask mandates were imposed … that could be a coincidence.  I haven’t seen anything like a control or comparison group for the same time period.

For the sake of the healthcare workers, I sincerely hope the masks do work. But again, we’re talking about healthcare workers who treat COVID patients sick enough to show up at a hospital. That means up-close-and-personal interactions with people who are likely coughing and sneezing the virus into the nearby air. It’s probably putting masks on the patients that made the difference, not putting masks on the healthcare workers.  Either way, that tells us absolutely nothing about the effectiveness of ordering asymptomatic people to wear masks when they’re out in public.

Scientists in other countries have formed an opinion, however:

Denmark boasts one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the world. As of August 4, the Danes have suffered 616 COVID-19 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

That’s less than one-third of the number of Danes who die from pneumonia or influenza in a given year.

Despite this success, Danish leaders recently found themselves on the defensive. The reason is that Danes aren’t wearing face masks, and local authorities for the most part aren’t even recommending them.

This prompted Berlingske, the country’s oldest newspaper, to complain that Danes had positioned themselves “to the right of Trump.”

Because wearing a mask should, of course, be a political decision, not a scientific one. No wait … that doesn’t sound right …

This apparently did not sit well with Danish health officials. They responded by noting there is little conclusive evidence that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of respiratory viruses.

Denmark is not alone.

Despite a global stampede of mask-wearing, data show that 80-90 percent of people in Finland and Holland say they “never” wear masks when they go out, a sharp contrast to the 80-90 percent of people in Spain and Italy who say they “always” wear masks when they go out.

Well then, Spain and Italy must have much lower COVID deaths rates than Finland and Holland, thanks to those masks. Let’s check the data:

Oops.

Dutch public health officials recently explained why they’re not recommending masks.

Does the explanation look something like this?

“From a medical point of view, there is no evidence of a medical effect of wearing face masks, so we decided not to impose a national obligation,” said Medical Care Minister Tamara van Ark.

There’s more about Holland’s decision not to mandate masks in the U.K. Daily Mail:

The nation’s top scientists, having examined key data and research, have declared there is no firm evidence to back the use of face coverings. Indeed, they argue that wearing the wretched things may actually hamper the fight against disease.

Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence,’ said Coen Berends, spokesman for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. ‘There is no benefit and there may even be negative impact.’

Norway isn’t requiring masks either:

In a memo, published in English on its website, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said that even in the best case, with medical masks which prevent 40 percent of infections, 200,000 people would have to wear them to prevent just one new infection per week.

That’s one COVID case, not one COVID death.

This, it said, meant that the likely negative impacts outweighed any benefits “in the current epidemiological situation”.

“The number of people who experience undesirable effects is likely to be much larger than the number of infections prevented,” it said.

Wait, what? Ya mean wearing masks can have undesirable effects?

Why yes, they can. Here’s a video posted by a woman who’s spent 20 years working as an OSHA-approved Personal Protective Equipment expert.

Yes, it’s a long video. I’d urge you watch to it, but in case you don’t, here are some of the points she makes:

  • Masks can’t possibly stop you breathing in or breathing out the virus because it’s incredibly tiny. (Again, I’ve heard doctors describe wearing cotton or even surgical masks to stop the spread of COVID as the equivalent of putting up a chain-link fence to keep out mosquitos.)
  • Yes, masks do reduce the amount of oxygen you breathe. She mentioned that several doctors and nurses have disputed that point by saying they wear masks in surgery all the time and breathe just fine. But what they don’t know is that OSHA has stringent requirements for hospital environments, including … wait for it … extra oxygen pumped into operating rooms because OSHA knows masks reduce oxygen intake. (I don’t need an OSHA expert to tell me that. When I wear a mask at the grocery store, I have to periodically pull it away from my face and take a few deep breaths to avoid feeling light-headed.)
  • Because masks reduce your oxygen intake, OSHA doesn’t allow employers to mandate masks unless each employee passes a medical exam to prove the mask won’t cause problems … and again, OSHA often requires the employer to pump extra oxygen into environments where masks will be worn. Now OSHA has mysteriously set those requirements aside.

Perhaps the dumbest argument I’ve heard for wearing masks goes something like this: Sure, there’s no evidence they actually stop the spread of the coronavirus. But if you wear a mask when you’re in a public place, it will make the people around you feel safer.

Allow me to interpret that:

Now that we bed-wetters have needlessly scared the hell out of everyone over a virus that’s a threat to almost nobody who goes out in public, we need you to wear a worthless mask on your face so the people we’ve terrified will feel less terrified. It’s your civic duty, doncha know.

Here’s my alternate suggestion: The virus is here, it’s not going away, and it’s going to spread, period … no matter how many lockdowns the bed-wetters impose, and no matter how many asymptomatic people they force to wear cloth over their faces. And for the vast, vast majority of us, that’s not scary news at all.  In fact, the sooner we get to herd immunity (if we’re not there already), the better.

So let’s tell the bed-wetters to @#$% off, put on their big-boy pants, and leave the rest of us alone. We have lives to live.

 

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Bullies, Bed-Wetters And The Seen vs. The Unseen

Someone recently accused me in comments of being a bully because I call the people who want ongoing lockdowns bed-wetters. That gave me a chuckle, since it’s bed-wetters who want to tell everyone else where they can go, how many people they can be with, which businesses can open, who has to wear masks in which situations, etc. – and they want anyone who defies them arrested. That’s a bully.

Thanks to the bed-wetters, the hysterical response to the coronavirus will likely cause more harm (including more deaths) than the virus itself. Why don’t the bed-wetters see that? I think the best explanation lies in a couple of concepts from disciplines outside medicine.

The first is a concept in software engineering called separation of concerns. In simplest terms, it means each of the major functions of the system lives in its own little code box and is designed and maintained by an expert in that function.

For example, I recently coded a user interface that displays data that’s retrieved from a database by a web service. Someone else coded the web service. And still someone else designed and maintains the database. We don’t need to know much at all about each other’s jobs … and good thing, because the IT field is too huge and too complex for anyone to learn it all.

Most of the time separation of concerns is a good thing in IT.  But sometimes the separation causes problems, such as when a database administrator decides to make changes to a database table, and those changes cause applications to break.

Separation of concerns exists in medicine as well, and that separation can produce lousy treatments. I remember my dad’s cardiologist insisting he MUST TAKE HIS STATINS! because his cholesterol was high. Never mind that Dad was slipping mentally and statins are known to cause cognitive issues. The cardiologist’s only concern was bringing down the cholesterol score. Dad’s brain health wasn’t his concern.

The second concept is from economics: the seen vs. the unseen. The brief explanation is that actions always produce secondary effects — often unseen, and often unwanted.

Suppose we raise the minimum wage to $20 per hour. Some low-skilled people will clearly earn more money. That’s seen. But employers will hire fewer people and, when possible, replace what are now too-expensive employees with kiosks and other technology.

As a result, it will become more difficult for an unskilled person to snag that all-important first job. That’s the unseen. Nobody reports on the people NOT hired because of the new wage. (Thomas Sowell wrote a terrific book on the seen vs. the unseen titled Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One. Stage One is the seen; the unseen effects show up later.)

If a new virus starts killing people and you ask a pandemic expert – we’ll call him Dr. Foolchi – what to do, he’s likely to recommend shutting down human contact as much as possible. The infection rate may slow down as a result, and in Dr. Foolchi’s area of concern, that means he succeeded.

But here’s the problem: Dr. Foolchi isn’t an expert in economics, or in cancer treatments, or in the effects of stress on heart disease, or in depression. If people lose their jobs, die from cancer that wasn’t detected in time because medical offices were closed, have heart attacks from the stress of being unemployed, or slip into a depression from lack of human contact and begin abusing drugs … well, those aren’t his concerns. So if you’re in a position to set government policy and you ask Dr. Foolchi how to respond to the virus, you need to keep in mind that he probably doesn’t know if a shutdown will create bigger problems than the one it supposedly solves.

Unfortunately, many of those bigger problems fall into the unseen category. Sure, we all know unemployment has spiked since the shutdown – which has prompted many self-righteous ignoramuses to declare I care more about lives than money!  But as many economists have pointed out, it isn’t a matter of lives vs. money. It’s a matter of lives vs. lives, because those unseen effects will kill people.

In a recent post, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick explains how financial stress likely caused a huge spike in heart-disease deaths after the Soviet Union broke apart and millions of people became unemployed.  The lockdowns are causing similar financial stress.  He concludes with this:

We were persuaded into lockdown with the promise that hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved in the UK – and millions worldwide. We were never warned about the many millions of lives that could – and, I fear, will – be lost as a consequence of lockdown. I consider that to be negligent. Especially as, in this case, the patient in question was the entire population of the Earth.

An article in the U.K. Daily Mail offered this warning:

More than 200,000 people could die because of delays in healthcare and other economic and social effects all caused by lockdown, a government report has warned.

The great majority of the deaths – 185,000 – are attributed to an extended wait for treatment in the longer term.

But up to 25,000 deaths would have come in the first six months because of healthcare delays, according to experts at the Department of Health and Social Care, Office for National Statistics, Government Actuary’s Department and the Home Office.

With lockdown measures in place and hospital priorities shifted, patients have likely missed out on life-saving care for heart attacks and strokes and early diagnoses of diabetes and kidney disease.

The University of Oxford discovered just last week that 5,000 fewer heart attack patients had attended hospital between March and May.

Granted, the numbers are speculation. But let’s say the estimate is exaggerated and only half that number will die in the U.K. because of lockdowns. That’s still 100,000 people. As of today, the U.K. is reporting a total of around 46,000 COVID deaths. If 100,000 people die from the unintended, unseen effects of the lockdown, then the lockdown killed twice as many people as the virus itself. That’s a lousy tradeoff.

And there’s this warning from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy:

According to a modeling analysis commissioned by the Stop TB Partnership, a lockdown that disrupts TB diagnosis, treatment, and prevention services for 2 months, followed by the 2 months it would take to get normal TB services back up and running, could result in a rapidly growing pool of undetected and untreated TB patients. Over the next 5 years, that could produce an additional 1.8 million TB cases and 342,000 deaths globally.

Under a worst-case scenario of a 3-month lockdown and 10-month restoration period, global cases would rise by 6.8 million, with 1.4 million excess deaths, the analysis found.

Hundreds of thousand of deaths – perhaps a million deaths – just from delays in diagnosing and treating tuberculosis. Dr. Foolchi and his colleagues around the world probably didn’t think of that one.  It’s not their area of concern.

And there’s this warning from UNICIF:

An additional 6.7 million children under the age of five could suffer from wasting – and therefore become dangerously undernourished – in 2020 as a result of the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF warned today.

According to an analysis published in The Lancet, 80 per cent of these children would be from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Over half would be from South Asia alone.

The estimated increase in child wasting is only the tip of the iceberg, UN agencies warn. COVID-19 will also increase other forms of malnutrition in children and women, including stunting, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity as a result of poorer diets and the disruption of nutrition services. UNICEF reports from the early months of the pandemic suggest a 30 per cent overall reduction in the coverage of essential – and often life-saving – nutrition services. In some countries, these disruptions have reached 75 per cent to 100 per cent under lockdown measures.

Now add in the stress and depression caused by the countless small businesses destroyed, the unemployment, the loneliness, etc., etc., and I’d say the cure has been far worse than the disease.

These unintended consequences weren’t caused by the virus. They were caused by the bed-wetter reaction to the virus. They were caused by shutting down major portions of the world economy so we can all shelter in place and be safe and blah-blah-blah.  Early on, when little was known about the rate of infection and death, a temporary lockdown made sense.  But continuing to act as if the coronavirus is airborne AIDS makes no sense whatsoever at this point.

So to all you STAY IN LOCKDOWN UNTIL WE HAVE A VACCINE AND WE’RE SAFE! bed-wetters out there, screw your I care about lives! virtue-signaling. What you mean is that you care about your life.  You don’t care about all the people around the world who will die from what amounts to mass hysteria. You’ll happily sacrifice those people if ongoing lockdowns mean there’s an itty, bitty, tiny reduction in the odds that you (or your 81-year-old grandma) will catch the virus.

If you’re not elderly or fragile from some underlying condition and want us all to stay in lockdown until a vaccine comes along, that means you’re willing to have other people die so you don’t catch a cold.

And if you think I’m a bully for pointing it out and calling you a bunch of bed-wetters, well, I really don’t care.

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