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Sunday, April 26, 2020

An ER Physician/Entrepreneur Perspective on the Wuhan Virus

In California recently, two emergency room doctors gave a powerful briefing on what’s going on when it comes to the Wuhan virus in their state, our nation, and the world over. The two doctors in the video below are Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi. Dr. Erickson is a former emergency room (ER) physician who now co-owns Accelerated Urgent Care in Bakersfield, CA. Dr. Massihi is his business partner. Bakersfield is the largest city and the county seat of Kern County, CA. Kern County has a population just over 900,000.

(UPDATE: It seems the original video has been removed by YouTube. This is totally unsurprising as the leftist media wants to censor most anything that contradicts the shutdown narrative. The above version is the "essential cut" version I also found on YouTube (here). Don't be surprised if YouTube removes all of these. However, they can't stop the truth. This video is elsewhere, along with many other truth-tellers!) (UPDATE 2: As I predicted, YouTube has now taken down the "essential cut" version. Above is again the full briefing. I embedded the code from the news site that produced this interview.)

The highlights from their briefing:

The Wuhan virus has caused “severe disruption” for their urgent care business. Because of the forced shutdown and the forced total focus on only Wuhan virus patients, their “volumes [of patients] have dropped significantly.” Confirming what Portland, OR nurse, Josie Alexander, boldly declared just one day prior to their briefing, Dr. Erickson also revealed that many California hospital ICUs “are empty, essentially.” Because of this, hospitals are “shutting down floors, they’re furloughing patients, they’re furloughing doctors.”

In certain places in California, the health system has been “evacuated” to the point that they are operating at a “minimal capacity—getting rid of our doctors and nurses because we just don’t have the volume [of patients].”After talking to ER physicians around the country, “because COVID has become the focus” of our healthcare system, Dr. Erickson concludes that people with critical illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and the like, are not going to the doctor out of “fear.” Thanks to the media and many politicians across the U.S., we are dealing with an irrational and uninformed fear.

When it comes to the widespread “shelter in place” orders that permeate the U.S., Dr. Erickson points out that typically we are supposed to quarantine the sick, not the healthy. “We’ve never seen where we quarantine the healthy—where you take those without disease, and without symptoms and lock them in your home.” This type of quarantine is not “really meshing with what we know as people of scientific minds that read this stuff every day.”

After testing 5,213 people for the Wuhan virus at their five Bakersfield locations—which is over half of the 9,197 tests performed in Kern County—340 came back positive. That’s a positive rate of just over 6.5%. This indicates a “widespread viral infection” that is “similar to [the] flu.” Dr. Erickson believes these numbers are “ubiquitous” for California.

The overall numbers for the state of California—those who tested positive divided by the overall number tested—show that about 12% of Californians are positive for the Wuhan virus. If you apply this rate to the overall population of California, you get just over 4.7 million Californians with the Wuhan virus. At the time of this briefing, California had 1,227 Wuhan virus deaths. That means, currently in California, you have about a 0.026% chance of dying from the Wuhan virus. These numbers differ vastly from the “woefully inaccurate” (Dr. Erickson’s words) models that first predicted millions of Wuhan virus deaths across the U.S.

Dr. Erickson next asks the important questions that many politicians in the U.S. seem unwilling to consider as most of us remain in some form of shutdown: Do such numbers “necessitate sheltering in place?” Do such numbers “necessitate shutting down medical systems?” Do such numbers “necessitate people being out of work?” Of course, the answers to each of these questions should be a widespread and resounding “NO!”

Also note, as most anyone with a basic understanding of math would see, the more you test, the rate of positives (those with the Wuhan virus) goes up. With the number of deaths staying relatively the same, the death rate then gets smaller and smaller. As Dr. Erickson repeatedly put it, “millions of cases, small amount of death.” This is playing out in every state in the U.S.—including the worst hit states such as New York. Also, it is well worth noting that across the U.S., the recovery rate for those actually contracting the Wuhan virus is well over 90%—much closer to 100% than 90% in most parts of the U.S.

When looking at the U.S. as a whole, with over four million Wuhan virus tests, we see a 19.6% positive rate. Again notice, more testing indicates a higher rate of Wuhan virus infection. If you apply 19.6% to the total population of the U.S. (~328 million) you get over 64 million infected. Per CDC numbers, that potential number of Wuhan virus infections is similar to what we’ve seen with the flu recently in the U.S. Likewise, the total number of Wuhan virus deaths is similar to what we’ve seen in recent bad flu seasons.

Dr. Erickson highlights the 2017-2018 flu season, where “50 to 60 million” Americans had the flu, with 43,545 flu deaths. (There are multiple reports that put the deaths from the 2017-2018 flu season at 80,000 Americans.) Again, these numbers compare very well with what we are seeing with the Wuhan virus. Yet, during the deadly flu season of 2017-2018, there was “no pandemic talk, no shelter in place, no shutting down of businesses, and no sending doctors home.”

“The flu’s dangerous, it kills people,” declares Dr. Erickson, and that’s with a vaccine. Yet, just because you have a vaccine—because only about half of Americans even get the flu vaccine—there are no guarantees when it comes to controlling the spread of, preventing death from, or that the vaccine will even be effective against the flu or a flu-like virus. So, unless we come up with a highly effective vaccine for the Wuhan virus, and unless we’re willing to force it upon people, as we see with the flu there are few guarantees when it comes to a vaccine.

Dr. Erickson is Norwegian, thus he compares Norway, which essentially shut down, to Sweden, which did not. These are neighboring Scandinavian nations, with significantly different approaches to battling the Wuhan virus. The results for both nations were “statistically insignificant” and again showed “millions of cases with small amount of death.”

Though Norway’s numbers were slightly better than Sweden’s, Dr. Erickson again asks the important question: Do Norway’s slightly better numbers justify “shutdown, loss of jobs, destruction of the oil [companies], furloughing of doctors?”

We then hear how the healthcare community’s almost complete focus on the Wuhan virus has led to a myriad of other negative health outcomes across the U.S. After hearing from the doctors in his clinics and ER doctors across America, Dr. Erickson concludes that the weeks-long isolation we’ve been in has led to a “severe” increase in child molestation, along with increases in spousal abuse, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Having made it their “life’s work” to understand immunology, microbiology, biochemistry, and virology, Dr. Erickson and Dr. Massihi conclude that all of our sheltering in place, excessive hand washing, not touching our faces, wearing of masks, wearing of gloves, disinfecting our homes, and so on, has robbed our bodies of their natural ability to develop immunities. In other words, by staying home for extended periods of time, we are weakening our immune systems. The longer we do it, the worse it gets.

There’s much more. The briefing is just over 50 minutes and is well worth your time. To sum up, we’re reacting to a virus in a way that we’ve never before reacted, with disastrous consequences—economically and otherwise. We’re in a hole, and it’s time to stop digging. It’s time to get out, go to church, go to work, go to school, go play, and get on with our lives!

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

Friday, April 24, 2020

If You Kill Capitalism, You Kill the Media

The economic destruction of our government-imposed, nationwide (for the most part) shutdown has been unprecedented, widely felt, and well documented. There’s no need to get into all of those details here, save one exception: newspapers. The UK’s The Guardian provides revealing details:
The devastating sweep of Covid-19 is the biggest story in a generation, and for most newspapers and news sites it has triggered record numbers of readers. Yet the virus, industry experts warn, will spell the end for “hundreds” of those organizations, laying off journalists and closing titles.

Media outlets across the US have already responded to a huge drop in advertising triggered by the economic shutdown by sacking scores of employees. Some newspapers, just as demand is at its highest, have stopped printing – reverting to a digital-only operation that is just as vulnerable to the whims of advertisers.

The decrease in advertising was swift, as businesses tightened spending due to the economic impact of Covid-19. For a journalism industry already barely scraping by, the impact was almost immediate.
The Guardian goes on to quote Penny Abernathy, “the Knight chair in journalism and digital media economics at the University of North Carolina.” Ms. Abernathy predicts that hundreds of U.S. newspapers and websites will close. She graphically describes it as, “An extinction-level event will probably hit the smaller ones really hard, as well as the ones that are part of the huge chains.” Hey media, are you ready to end the shutdown yet?

I was aware of what The Guardian was reporting, though not the scale, days prior to encountering the article referenced above. This is due to an email we received from our local newspaper last week. As most well know, for a couple of decades now, newspapers across America have been on the decline. Newspapers in Northeast Georgia have been no exception.

Since about half of newspaper revenue comes from advertising, the main reason local newspapers are suffering now like never before is because this shutdown has so devastated local businesses, many of whom currently have little to no reason to advertise. Our small local newspaper, The Gainesville Times, recently detailed their financial struggles in an email and in an online article.

Things have gotten so bad for our local paper that they are now asking for donations to support their journalistic efforts. In addition, they seem to be hoping for a federal bailout. Just a few days ago, after their request for donations, The Gainesville Times ran an article detailing how a letter to President Trump from members of Congress suggested “federal spending to go toward advertising that would benefit local media outlets.”

The article hopefully quotes the Congressional letter:
Local news and information on radio, television and newsprint is more in demand than ever, yet local media outlets are experiencing catastrophic losses in the advertising revenue that allows them to continue investing in providing that news to the public. This national emergency has caused a near halt to local business activity and in turn, the regular and vital advertising they purchase from local media. Without advertising revenue, local media outlets cannot survive.
I hate what this “national emergency”—or, more accurately, our government-inflicted economic destruction—is doing to all areas of our economy—including journalism. However, like virtually all of the mainstream media throughout America, I can recall nothing The Gainesville Times has done to at least give voice to those who believe it’s time to end this shutdown!

In addition to near-endless fearmongering over the Wuhan virus and downplaying any success in fighting it, the mainstream media has virtually ignored the widespread economic suffering that is the result of our government-imposed shutdown. Where are the stories on local businesses and employees suffering because of the shutdown? Where are the stories on those perhaps on the verge of losing their businesses? Where are the stories on families suffering because parents are unable to work? No doubt those stories exist.

To be fair, we do not take the print edition of any newspaper, so perhaps some of those stories are there. Even if that is the case, they have been far too rare. What’s more, in their latest editorial (Sunday, April 19), The Gainesville Times editorial board continued the fatalistic and foolish message that “We have to stay the course, stay home and stay smart if we are to stay healthy and stay alive.” Okay, but if that is the case, American capitalism will remain severely hamstrung, and the advertising revenue newspapers so depend upon will continue to dry up. In other words, a federal bailout can never replace capitalism.

As bad as The Gainesville Times has been on matters concerning our shutdown, Georgia’s largest newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC)—otherwise known as head of DNC print propaganda for the southeastern United States—has been worse.

Not even 24 hours after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced his first stage in the “reopening” of Georgia—because the models that Gov. Kemp had been relying on finally caught up with the real data—the AJC went on the attack. To begin their efforts at undermining the reopening of Georgia, the AJC ran an article that supposedly detailed how many of Kemp’s Wuhan virus task force “didn’t know about his order to reopen businesses.”

However, the article only mentions a handful of unhappy committee members (out of nearly 100), and how they were unaware of “some businesses” Kemp was allowing to reopen. Of course, that’s the real story here, isn’t it? Businesses all across America are being allowed to run because of a decision from a government executive. That should bother or scare nearly every right-thinking American, yet as our shutdown rolls on, the media merely yawns, implying “nothing to see here.”

And how many of those criticizing Kemp’s decision are sitting at home and doing without a significant portion of their income? It seems that the loudest critics of the “end the shutdown” movement—whether politicians, media, or others still working or getting paid—are not being hurt by the economic devastation sweeping the U.S.

After their task force article, the same day (4/21) the AJC ran an opinion piece, featured prominently on their website entitled, “When it comes to his pandemic decision, Brian Kemp is who he said he was.” The piece begins by labeling Operation Gridlock as a “Fox News-endorsed protest against shelter-in-place policies.” The column ignores the fact that the Operation Gridlock protests across the U.S. are the result of lives and businesses being destroyed because of these government-imposed shutdowns.

Later in the day, the AJC continued attacking Kemp with an articlenot an “opinion” piece—whose headline declared, “As business restrictions ease, Georgians on their own to fight virus.” As I stated at the time, this headline was nothing but pure evil—a brazen propagandist lie! Before editing their online piece—almost certainly after they saw my comments on the article—the author implied that Kemp was telling Georgians that it was “safe” to go about their business.

Of course, Kemp wasn’t telling people that it was “safe” to do anything, and neither is he telling business owners that they must open or customers that they must patronize any business. He was merely allowing people—again, tragic that we’re in such a position at all—who want to get on with their lives to do so. And neither was he leaving anyone “on their own” in our fight against the Wuhan virus. I doubt the AJC author himself really believes that. That accusation was made merely to hurt Kemp politically and further the preferred politics of the liberal fools that dominate the AJC. For publishing such garbage, the AJC richly deserves every decrease in advertising revenue that they experience!

Instead of fostering seemingly endless fear and sheltering in place orders over the Wuhan virus, the American media could do much to help end our shutdown. However, because they have been so focused on hurting—and ultimately getting rid of—President Trump and his allies like Gov. Kemp, the shutdown messaging dominates the mainstream media. Thus businesses—small and large alike—across America continue to struggle, and advertising budgets continue to shrink. So another great lesson from the Wuhan shutdown is revealed: if you kill capitalism in America, the media dies with it (right ESPN?).

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

Monday, April 20, 2020

Americans—Especially Liberals—Getting Important Lessons from the Wuhan Virus

If we are gaining nothing else from this foolish Wuhan virus shutdown, at least we’ve had the benefit of many Americans—especially American liberals—learning some valuable lessons about what their selfish, godless, anti-constitutional, anti-capitalistic politics has wrought. There have been few things to smile about recently, but perhaps the most hilarious moment during this pandemic panic has been to observe liberals getting angry when, to borrow from Red State, “they discover their own gun control laws.”

As Red State’s Kira Davis recently put it,
Not only are many liberals suddenly learning to love their Second Amendment rights, many of them are finding out that the gun control narrative in this country — as repeated loudly and often by Hollywood and the mainstream media — is a complete lie.

So, I contacted my friend’s father to ask about what he is seeing personally at his own range these days. Gregg Bouslog runs On-Target Indoor Shooting Range in Laguna Niguel, CA.
Mr. Bouslog revealed to Ms. Davis that he’s seen huge numbers of first-time guy-buying liberals coming in to purchase firearms in recent weeks. When asked how he knew they were liberals, Mr. Bouslog replied, it’s because “They’re shocked to discover they can’t just walk out of the store with a gun.” Ms. Davis goes on to note,
[T]he most amusing and annoying part for [Bouslog’s] staff has been watching these first-time buyers discover just how stringent gun laws in California really are, including one of our newest laws requiring background checks before buying ammunition. Bouslog says it’s a bridge too far for the people who have been told their whole lives that it’s easier to get a gun than an abortion.
“There are no atheists in foxholes,” goes the old saying. I suppose it follows that there’s no complaining about the Second Amendment during a pandemic. However, this hasn’t stopped little totalitarians such as Virginia’s democrat governor Ralph Northam—and his liberal enablers—from continuing their assault on the Second Amendment.

Of course, there are no “little” totalitarians running China. They have the real thing. I shudder to think how millions of unarmed Chinese fared during this pandemic as their military and their police came looking for the infected or those who might actually tell the truth about what has been going on in Wuhan. As America comes out of our fear-driven, self-imposed shutdown, American liberals would do well to remember—especially at election time—how important is our Second Amendment.

As Americans arm themselves during these troubling times, most are thinking of protecting themselves from criminals and are not thinking about how their own government might turn on them. There’s nothing going on here like what we’ve seen in China, but as John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist recently put it, the Wuhan virus “is exposing little tyrants” all over the United States.

Mr. Davidson rightly concludes,
There’s nothing like a crisis to bring clarity. The response of some mayors and governors to the coronavirus pandemic in recent days has made it clear they think they have unlimited and arbitrary power over their fellow citizens, that they can order them to do or not do just about anything under the guise of protecting public health.
Of course, most—but not all—of these “little tyrants” are elected democrats. We shouldn’t be surprised that those who were already often suspect of, and disappointed in, our Constitution would take the opportunity that a crisis affords to ignore it. In addition, those looking to flex their authoritarianism are exposing themselves as tyrannical technocrats who bow at the altar of scientism.

Thus, during our Wuhan virus outbreak we’ve frequently been subjected to government via computer model. Unsurprisingly, this has been a disaster, but many Americans are just now learning how bad an idea it can be to make policy from computer models. These models—and not the actual numbers we see from the Wuhan virus—have led to the unprecedented shutdown of our nation. Those hoping to keep our nation in shutdown mode—again, almost always democrats—are quick to point to models—that have proven time and again to be wrong—in order to make their case.

My home state of Georgia—led by republican Governor Brian Kemp—provides a recent and great lesson here. As late as Friday, April 17, the media in Georgia was reporting (scroll down until you see “original story”) that Georgia was to hit our “peak” in Wuhan virus deaths on May 3. And yes, this conclusion was reached by a “computer model.” Like politicians across the U.S., Gov. Kemp is making policy based not on real data, but on these models.

When it was announced early in the week last week that Georgia’s Wuhan virus peak was now extended to early May, I immediately was suspicious. According to Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report, for over two weeks now, both Georgia’s daily numbers of Wuhan virus cases and deaths have seen a significant decline. The graphics below show these declines:

From this data, it seemed clear that there was no way that Georgia was going to experience a Wuhan virus “peak” in any way in early May. Anyone without an agenda could clearly see that Georgia has been in a Wuhan virus decline. I vehemently told my wife so on Friday, April 17. Lo-and-behold, on the next day, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported,
A widely cited model [the same one that had Georgia’s peak in early May] from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation updated its projections Friday afternoon and indicates Georgia passed its peak for virus-related deaths on April 7, when 100 deaths in its model projections were attributed to COVID-19. The projections also said Georgia hospitals may have reached their peak use of resources last Wednesday.
Thus, the model told us what was patently obvious to my eyes. The same, or similar, models have led to widespread foolish and devastating “social distancing” and “shelter in place” orders throughout the U.S. Michael Fumento—who “has been writing about epidemic hysterias for 35 years”—is right: “After Repeated Failures, It’s Time To Permanently Dump Epidemic Models.”

Yet, right now, the models continue their rule. As a result, all across America, schools, churches, and businesses have been closed for weeks now—with no end in sight in many places. All entertainment—concerts, movies, little league sports, professional sports—have ceased. Some states and municipalities—usually where “little tyrants” (i.e. democrats) are most prevalent—have gone so far as to ticket church-goers (even if they don’t leave their vehicles!), handcuff tee-ballers, expel non-mask-wearing bus riders, ban the sale of furniture, arrest solo surfers, mandate one-way sidewalks, and so on.

The economic destruction has been unprecedented and widely felt. I won’t detail all of that here, with one exception: my local newspaper. As most well know, for a couple of decades now, newspapers across America have been on the decline. Newspapers in northeast Georgia have been no exception.

About half of newspaper revenue comes from advertising. Because this shutdown has devastated small businesses, small local newspapers are suffering as well—or at least that’s what they are telling us. Our local paper—The Gainesville Times—has gone so far as to ask for donations to support their journalistic efforts. We got an email with the request that takes you to the last link above.

My heart hurts for these people. I hate what this self-inflicted economic destruction is doing to all areas of our economy—including journalism. However, like newspapers and other such media all over America, I can recall nothing The Gainesville Times has done to at least give voice to those who believe it’s time to END THIS SHUTDOWN!

Where are the stories on local businesses and employees suffering because of the shutdown? Where are the stories on those perhaps on the verge of losing their businesses? Where are the stories on families suffering because parents are unable to work? No doubt those stories exist.

To be fair, we do not take the print edition, so perhaps some of those stories are there. Even if that is the case, they have been far too rare. What’s more, in their latest editorial (Sunday, April 19), The Gainesville Times editorial board continued the fatalist and foolish message that “We have to stay the course, stay home and stay smart if we are to stay healthy and stay alive.” Okay, but if that is the case, American capitalism will remain severely hamstrung, and the advertising revenue you so depend upon will continue to dry up.

The American media could do much to help end this shutdown, but because they have been so focused on hurting—and ultimately getting rid of—President Trump, the shutdown messaging dominates the mainstream media. Thus another great lesson from Wuhan shutdown is revealed: if you kill capitalism in America, the media dies with it (right ESPN?).

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Distancing Drivel, Shelter-Skelter, and Vaccine Voodoo

Have you seen or heard the latest report on social distancing? It seems that six feet just isn’t going to cut it anymore. According to the CDC and the Chinese—no laughing!—the aerosol transmission distance for the Wuhan virus “might be” four meters (a little over 13 feet). According to the study’s conclusions, “[T]he SARS-CoV-2 aerosol distribution characteristics in the GW [general ward] indicate that the transmission distance of SARS-CoV-2 might be 4 m.”

This is according to Zhen-Dong Guo, Zhong-Yi Wang, Shou-Feng Zhang, Xiao Li, Lin Li, Chao Li, Yan Cui, Rui-Bin Fu, Yun-Zhu Dong, Xiang-Yang Chi, Meng-Yao Zhang, Kun Liu, Cheng Cao, Bin Liu, Ke Zhang, Yu-Wei Gao, Bing Lu, and Wei Chen—the study’s authors. Thus, the question we must now ponder is, are we going to change our all-important (hear my sarcasm) “social distancing” guidelines for 330 million Americans based on what 18 Chinese communists now tell us “might be?”

I would be suspicious of any “study” that purported to tell me what “might” happen, especially when it comes to healthcare. However, if we’ve learned nothing else from the Wuhan virus, it’s that we can’t trust any numbers coming out of China related to the current worldwide pandemic. Whether or not it was done with malicious intent (don’t be shocked or surprised if it all was—we know some of it was), in the whole history of communism—whether China or the Soviet Union or Cuba or any other such regime—it could be argued that no greater damage has been done to the United States in such a short period of time by a communist regime than what the Wuhan virus has wrought these last three months.

There are countless reports—from The Washington Post, the Washington Examiner, USA Today, Breitbart, Bloomberg, the New York Post, and so on—that reveal that the Chinese long lied about what was happening in Wuhan and about how serious it was. No one—and I mean no one—with two brain cells to rub together should be surprised that godless communists would lie about anything. Of course, not all Chinese are liars, but because they stand against the Author of truth, it’s in the communist DNA—that is their worldview—to lie.

What’s more, the godless Chinese communists got their stooges at the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide cover for their lies. Worse still, as well-chronicled by The Federalist, the American media also gave cover to the lying communists. Because most of the American media is also rooted in godlessness, this as well should come as little surprise. Thus, there’s no way we should make public policy out of anything that comes from these misguided souls. But we have.

In the middle of March, it was widely reported that the Trump administration’s messaging on the Wuhan virus changed after a report on the virus, published on March 16 from the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team. As most paying attention well know, it was this report that estimated 2.2 million U.S. deaths would result from the Wuhan virus unless drastic measures—“social distancing” and “sheltering in place,” which means closing schools, businesses, churches, and the like—took place.

The numbers for the report relied on a “transmission model” that is described in the report. What many probably don’t realize is that this modeling again relied on numbers from the Chinese. On March 30, 2020, the Imperial College of London published an article that described the “model based analysis” used to estimate “the severity of the coronavirus disease.” Time and again the article references how numbers were obtained from the Chinese.

For example, the “Methods” section of the article declares, “We identified information on the characteristics of 48 patients who died from COVID-19 in Hubei [Wuhan is the capital of Hubei], reported by the National Health Commission and the Hubei Province Health Commission website up to Feb 8, 2020.” Later, the article reveals, “Data on 70,117 PCR-confirmed and clinically diagnosed cases by date of onset in Wuhan and elsewhere in China from Jan 1 to Feb 11, 2020, were extracted from the WHO–China Joint Mission report.”

At the end of the article, in the “Results” section, it states, “However, given that the epidemic in China has since declined, our posterior estimate of the mean time from onset to death, informed by the analysis of aggregated data from China, is more precise.” How did they know that the “epidemic in China has since declined?” What led to this conclusion? I think it’s safe to presume such a conclusion was based on what the deceptive communist officials in China were (and are still) saying.

The Imperial College report resulted in particularly devastating “shelter in place” orders across the vast majority of the U.S. Because of these orders, schools, churches, and businesses have been closed, all entertainment—concerts, movies, little league sports, professional sports—have ceased. Some states and municipalities have gone so far as to ticket church-goers (even if they don’t leave their vehicles!), handcuff tee-ballers, expel non-mask-wearing bus riders, ban the sale of furniture, arrest solo surfers, mandate one-way sidewalks, and so on.

All of this because we’ve been led to believe that staying home “saves lives.” As I and others have more and more started to note, this is not the case. We are staying home to “flatten the curve,” but as Rush Limbaugh, himself, recently noted, “we didn’t flatten the curve to save lives.” We flattened the curve so as to not overwhelm the hospitals, the ICU rooms, and the like. However, as John Hinderaker at Powerline recently revealed, it seems this wasn’t even necessary.

In a post entitled, “We Never Needed to Flatten the Curve,” Hinderaker rightly concludes,
The theory behind curve-flattening is not that the virus will mysteriously disappear while we are all hunkered down, and we will emerge when it is safe to come out. That won’t happen…

We know now, however, that the COVID-19 virus was grossly overestimated, at least with respect to the demand its victims would place on hospitals…

…America’s hospitals have not been overwhelmed by the number of Wuhan flu sufferers, not even in New York City. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations falls well within the natural variability in flu hospitalizations that we always see from year to year.

Once again, government officials are making decisions with catastrophic effects on many millions of lives, on the basis of models that have proved to be wrong. The shutdowns should end tomorrow.
Now we are being told that, even though we’ve flattened the curve, even though the vast majority of hospitals are not overwhelmed, and some are near-empty, we still need to “shelter in place”—for many more months, according to some. Ezekiel Emanuel, the architect of Obamacare, recently insisted that we have “no choice” but to continue with our nation-wide shutdown. He added, “We cannot return to normal until there’s a vaccine. Conferences, concerts, sporting events, religious services, dinner in a restaurant, none of that will resume until we find a vaccine, a treatment, or a cure.” This will take, “realistically,” according to Emanuel, another “18 months or more.”

That foolish message seems to be resonating with some. A recent headline by ESPN declared, “Poll: Sports fans won’t attend games without coronavirus vaccine.” The poll referenced was conducted by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business. According to the poll, of those who identified as sports fans (I’m not sure how that was determined.), 61% said they would not go to a game without a vaccine.

This comes on the heels of Kirk Herbstreit stating that, because we are “12 to 18 months from a vaccine,” he’ll “be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens.” According to the New York Post, “Herbstreit added that if he was NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or the NCAA, he would shut down their upcoming football seasons.”

For a virus that is rarely worse than the flu for the vast majority who contract it, this is, of course, absurd thinking. According to the CDC, the overall hospitalization rate for the Wuhan virus is .0046%. For those 18-49 years old (the age range of virtually every college athlete), the hospitalization rate is only .0025%, and it is even lower for those younger. What’s more, assuming a Wuhan virus vaccine is about as effective as your typical flu vaccine, the effectiveness is likely to be quite poor.

The Wuhan virus lies and the foolish fearmongering must stop—or at least we must stop paying attention to them. It’s time for America to get back to church, work, school, and play!

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

Friday, April 10, 2020

A Powerful Personal Hydroxycloroquinine Testimony (from my childhood hometown)

This Good Friday, some great news! Below is the powerful personal testimony of one of the few people in northeast Georgia who have contracted the Wuhan virus. According to James Harper, from White County, Georgia, his wife Emily (shown below) started showing symptoms of the Wuhan virus last Saturday (April 4). According to Mr. Harper,
Back on March 16, President Trump said he had been told Hydroxycloroquinine (sic), which was developed to fight malaria, could be used to fight the virus. He said he was having it looked into so it could be used for that. Almost on immediately, CNN and other lame stream news outlets said he was wanting to use a 'snake oil,' which would not work. One Democrat Governor threatened to pull the medical licenses of any doctor who prescribed it for anything other than malaria in her state. 
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine saw an interview on TV with a man who had been saved by Hydroxychloroqinine (sic). He was at the point of death and his family asked his doctor about the medicine. The doctor told them he could only administer it if they requested it and signed a waiver because it wasn't 'approved' by the FDA for anything but malaria. Four hours later the man was sitting up in bed talking to his family and three days later he walked out of the hospital.
Mr. Harper goes on to say that his wife did test positive for the Wuhan virus, and thanks to hydroxychloroquine and President Trump's promotion of the drug, he got to bring his wife home from the hospital yesterday. Read the rest of his story below. As you read, recall that just days ago, the state of Georgia received a huge donation of 200,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine from Amneal Pharmaceuticals. Also recall that, when our (Georgia's) media reported on the story of the donation, they were very critical of the drug and it's prospects. As Mr. Harper might put it, the "lame stream news" was at it again. 

The title of the AJC piece reporting on the donation declared, "Georgia gets trove of malaria drug unproven in fighting coronavirus." The very first sentence of the piece notes that hydroxychloroquine is a drug that "President Donald Trump has aggressively promoted to fight COVID-19 even though it has yet to be proven safe for that use." 

The article goes on to say that Georgia's "top health official has cast doubt about the efficacy of the drug to combat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus." On Tuesday, April 7, in their report on Georgia receiving a large donation of hydroxychloroquine, my local newspaper, The Gainesville Times said, "It has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19, although President Donald Trump has expressed his support for it as a possible treatment option." (See the screen shot below from The Gainesville Times' Facebook page.) 

The article on The Gainesville Times website expressed the same sentiments until my wife Michelle made them aware of the FDA's emergency authorization for use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of the Wuhan virus. In the Facebook comments section, Michelle revealed, 
This is from the CDC website: "FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to authorize use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine from the Strategic National Stockpile for treatment of hospitalized adults and adolescents (weight ≥50 kg) with COVID-19 for whom a clinical trial is not available or participation is not feasible." 
To their credit, The Gainesville Times edited their website article to reflect this information. However, their Facebook page still has the misleading teaser. As we have often seenin this instance and countless othersthe mainstream American media is again guilty of gross media malpractice. This malpractice comes at a time when reliable media efforts are greatly needed. 

Thousands of Americans are dying (though far less than we were led to believeanother result of media malpractice!), and tens of millions of Americans are suffering financiallyand are mostly getting ignored by the media. A trustworthy, reliable media could do much to help in both situations. Alas, we have an agenda-driven media dominated by a perverse leftist worldview, and tragically their evil agenda takes precedent over almost everything else. In moments like these, we need testimonies like those from Mr. and Mrs. Harper more than ever. Thank you James and Emily! May God continue to bless you as only He can!

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Wuhan Virus Reminds Us: Beware Scientism and the Technocrats

It was not unusual in ancient times for individuals to sell themselves into servitude—as “bondservants”—which was often described as a form of slavery. Usually this was due to excessive debt, but sometimes it was done simply to have a roof over one’s head and food in one’s belly. In other words, for millennia, in order to satisfy their most basic needs, human beings have often been willing to suffer under many a heavy yoke. As C.S. Lewis put it, “A hungry man thinks about food, not freedom.”

In today’s Wuhan virus-driven hysteria, a corollary to Lewis’s above quote would be, “One living in a pandemic thinks about remaining healthy, not about freedom.” Writing about the “great issues” of his day, Lewis wrote in 1940, “Lord! How I loathe great issues…Could one start a Stagnation Party— which at General Elections would boast that during its term of office no event of the least importance had taken place?”

Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, John G. West, writes that, “According to stepson David Gresham, Lewis was skeptical of politicians and not really interested in current events. His concern was not policy but principle; political problems of the day were interesting to him only insofar as they involved matters that endured.”

Nevertheless, West adds that Lewis did indeed have a “great deal” to say about politics, writing about such things as crime, obscenity, capital punishment, communism, fascism, socialism, war, the welfare state, and so on. Lewis’s political efforts resulted in “enduring political standards for all time.”

Nowhere is this clearer, West states, than in Lewis’s writings on tyranny and morality. According to West, Lewis was particularly concerned with the tyranny that could result from the union of modern science and the modern state. With the Wuhan virus pandemic, we are currently living a lesson in this.

Lewis disputed the notion that we must exclusively rely on the counsel of scientists because only they have the answers to today’s complicated problems. He did not dispute their knowledge, but he concluded that most of it was irrelevant. In West’s words, “Political problems are preeminently moral problems, and scientists are not equipped to function as moralists.” Lewis added that,
I dread specialists in power because they are specialists speaking outside their special subjects. Let scientists tell us about sciences. But government involves questions about the good for man, and justice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man’s opinion no added value.
What such “specialists in power” often do is give a Big Government, which is already too willing to encroach on our lives, even more of a reason for doing so. This is especially true in times of crisis. Few things illustrate this better than our current “crisis” that is the Wuhan virus pandemic. “What things are worth having at what price” is currently a question of great concern to Americans and all freedom-loving people the world over, and such a question should never be answered by relying only on the knowledge of scientists. Sadly, in such times many of us are far too eager to become what Lewis called in 1958 “Willing Slaves of the Welfare State.”

Typically, in order for any oligarchy effectively to rise and rule, it needs some “extreme peril,” something to cure, some desperate need that the rulers promise to fulfill. As Lewis asked, is this not “the ideal opportunity for enslavement?”

When a generation lives in fear or dread of some looming crisis or when a society is made to believe that someone else can provide the things that it cannot live without, is this not the opportunity for those who seek to rule over us to be seen as liberators rather than the tyrants that they are? Were not Stalin and Hitler first seen as saviors and deliverers?

Following two world wars and in the midst of a cold war, Lewis wrote that
The increasing complexity and precariousness of our economic life have forced Government to take over many spheres of activity once left to choice or chance…Read Montaigne; that’s the voice of a man with his legs under his own table, eating mutton and turnips raised on his own land. Who will talk like that when the State is everyone’s schoolmaster and employer?
To “fix” our problems (whether real or perceived) and to exert the power and influence necessary, today’s ruling class often tells us that we must more and more rely on the “experts,” and also on their computer models. This means that the politicians must increasingly rely on the knowledge and advice of scientists, until, in the end, the politicians become “merely the scientists’ puppets.”

Thus, we get the motto of the technocrats: “only science can save us now” or “science is the way out” of our Wuhan virus crisis. Whether it is a global pandemic, global warming, stem-cell research, the beginning of life, healthcare, crime, homosexuality and marriage, or even gun control or economic policies, the technocrats claim to have the answers. After all, as Lewis also noted, “If we are to be mothered, mother must know best.”

In other words, in times of crisis, many of our politicians (and scientists alike) are surrendering themselves to scientism. Scientism is not science. It is an ideology that is often confused with science. It is, rather, an abuse of the scientific method and scientific authority.

In other words, scientism is a religion with many denominations: Darwinism, environmentalism, feminism, hedonism, humanism, Marxism, socialism, and so on. How many Americans now find their fulfillment and purpose in these movements? They celebrate Earth Day and Darwin Day. They boldly assert, “Science is my Savior.”

Also, scientism arrogantly attempts to lift itself above all other beliefs and disciplines—philosophy and theology included. Thus, as we see, scientism seeks to elevate the methods of natural science to a level where it is the bar by which every other intellectual discipline is held. Scientism ridicules faith and religion and tells us that “God is dead.” Scientism tells us that the “debate is over,” so shut up and get in line.

And, of course, scientism leads us to technocracy. “I dread government in the name of science,” said Lewis. “That is how tyrannies come in.” What a profound conclusion! How many of us have been duped in the name of “science”? How many of us cower and yield—or “shelter at home”—because, well, if the “scientists” (and then the politicians) tell us to do so, then we must do so?

We have long seen the results: generations are taught that life began without God; that the use of fossil fuels is warming the earth; that homosexuality is genetic and unchangeable; that abortion is not really the taking of a life; that marriage is whatever we want it to be; that confiscating the wealth of some to give to others is “fair;” that guns are evil; and so on. Of course, we then get laws and official government policy based on such conclusions.

Sadly, too many of us then grow accustomed to our chains. We become children, or pupils of the State (like “Julia”). We continue to elect leaders who perpetuate the cycle of the “Welfare State,” based significantly on the lies of scientism. It’s time for Americans to wake up to this perversion of science and return science, faith, philosophy, and by all means, common sense, to their proper place. This is especially true in times of crisis.

(See this column at American Thinker and at Climate Depot.)

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America