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Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Data Are (STILL!) Clear: STOP Quarantining Healthy Kids!

Thankfully, more and more right-minded Americans are standing up against foolish and useless Wuhan Virus mask mandates across the U.S. Here’s another great example, this time from the Fulton County, GA—one of the largest and most liberal school districts in Georgia—school district:

As encouraging as it is to see this, too many Americans are still ignoring the foolish and unnecessary “contact tracing” and subsequent quarantining of healthy students across the U.S. Tragically, millions of U.S. students have missed significant in-person schooling because of the ignorant quarantining policies across numerous U.S. school districts. A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that 23 percent of U.S. parents reported that their children had been sent home from school as a result of Wuhan Virus quarantining policies.

There are approximately 56 million k-12 students in U.S. public and private schools. Thus, the number of students forced to quarantine is almost certainly well into the millions. In most of these cases, the students are not sick. They have merely been deemed to have been “in close contact” with “COVID-positive” person.

Additionally, the “COVID-positive” individual is often not sick. They have merely been the victim of a positive Wuhan Virus test result. This is especially the case with k-12 students. Even if otherwise healthy k-12 students are sick, often their symptoms are quite minor and they are back to normal within a few days.

As I, and many others like-minded, have frequently pointed out these past 18 months: when it comes to young, healthy individuals, the data have long made clear that the Wuhan Virus presents virtually zero danger. Recently, it was reported that Los Angeles County—home to the second largest school district in the U.S.—health officials announced that school districts now have the option to change their close-contact quarantine policies. This is because,

In total, nearly 2% of all staff and students countywide have been identified as a close contact of a case since the school year began. Data to date indicates that very few of the identified close contacts have subsequently tested positive, according to [public health Director Barbara] Ferrer.

As of last week, among the almost 30,000 people that ended up quarantined, 63 tested positive. [Emphasis mine.]

“This amounts to what we call a secondary attack rate of 0.2%,” Ferrer said, calling the figure “extraordinarily low.”

Of course, given that we’re talking about Los Angeles County, even this modified policy is filled ignorant, anti-science nonsense. (For example, students in “modified quarantine” need to “continue to always wear a mask indoors, outdoors and on the school bus, except for when they’re eating and drinking.”) However, it is telling that one of the most liberal places in the U.S. would publicly (and finally) admit what is really happening with kids and COVID, and subsequently change its Wuhan Virus quarantine policy.

All contact tracing and quarantining of healthy students in all U.S. schools should end immediately. The data demands it.

(See this post at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2021, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Folly of “You Are Only as Good as Your Last COVID Test”

Just prior to the Georgia (UGA) vs. Clemson showdown on the first full weekend of the college football season, you could just sense that media leftists were aching to (AGAIN!) make the Wuhan Virus an issue. The last thing the residents of Covidstan want to see is tens-of-thousands of rabid college football doing what football fans are supposed to do:

Three days prior to the game, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that UGA’s head athletic trainer—Ron Courson— “has been diagnosed with COVID-19.” Most other outlets reported that the trainer had “tested positive.” As the UGA coaching staff was hounded with questions about how this would impact the team, UGA head coach Kirby Smart stated that, “We are above 90% [vaccinations]. Ron and his staff have done a tremendous job making sure that guys feel comfortable getting the vaccination. We feel really comfortable with where we are.”

Coach Smart continued, “My goal is always to be 100 percent, because I think that it is the safest thing for our players .... but you are only as good as your last COVID test.” There are numerous issues with Coach Smart’s statements here, not the least of which is his position on the Wuhan Virus “vaccines,” but I think everything wrong in this story can be summed up with the foolishness that leads one to conclude “You are only as good as your last COVID test.”

The full blame for that statement does not lie with Kirby Smart. Most of the blame for such a foolish conclusion lies with school administrators and health officials who have put coaches—and the like—into the position where they can only properly do their jobs if Wuhan Virus test results are what such officials want them to be.

For over a year and a half now we’ve had to endure the rampant fear porn of those who simply refuse to acknowledge that viruses are simply going to virus, and that, in spite of this, young people the world over are in little to no danger from the Wuhan Virus. This is especially the case among the physical specimens that inhabit football programs at the collegiate and professional levels. This begs the question: Why are schools and athletic programs continuing to administer Wuhan Virus tests to healthy, asymptomatic students and athletes?!

Of course, this does not mean no one should be getting tested for the Wuhan Virus, but given what we now well know about the Wuhan Virus, for schools to rampantly test the young and healthy is folly rooted in foolish fear. As healthcare expert Kevin Roche put it in February of this year “Massive [COVID] Testing is Pointless and Worthless.” He added,

How much you test has nothing to do with how many deaths you end up with. One of the biggest myths is that if we only tested more we would have gotten this under control. Just nonsense that overwhelmed contact tracing efforts and resulted in lots of false and low positives.

As Mr. Roche alludes, once an individual has a “positive” test—which by no means indicates they are actually sick—the infamous and unnecessary “contact tracing” begins. I’ve heard from numerous parents whose healthy children have been sent home from school simply because they were deemed “in close contact” with someone who “tested positive” for the Wuhan Virus.

All of this ignorant and foolish nonsense is due to the false notion that young, healthy people are in danger from the Wuhan Virus. As Joy Pullmann at The Federalist recently put it,

Continuing to keep kids locked into masks and out of normal life is a mass hysteria based on conspiracy theories far worse than QAnon. It has no basis in science, data, or reality. It is entirely a psychotic power play that sane people must refuse to allow to control our lives, because it’s hurting kids and destroying our nation’s future.

Nevertheless, the hysteria and conspiracy theories persist. As I was running errands this past Saturday, just past noon (EST), I turned on the radio to listen to a broadcast of one of the first Saturday games (Wisconsin vs. Penn State) from college football’s week one. Just prior to kickoff, one of the radio announcers began discussing each teams’ “COVID issues.” He ignorantly declared that COVID was “still a major threat to these student athletes.” Of course, the Wuhan Virus never was a “major threat” to student athletes, and it is still not a “threat” any more than a cold or the flu is a “threat!”

Foolish testing, masking, contact tracing, and the like, is also based on the false notion that the asymptomatic are significant spreaders of the Wuhan Virus. They are not. This is certainly the case on a football field! (As the CDC and the NFL revealed to be the case near the beginning of 2021.)

“You are only as good as your last COVID test” has taken on even more significance for UGA football. During his Monday (9/6) press conference, two days after defeating Clemson, Kirby Smart told reporters,

I’ll be honest with you, I’m as concerned as I’ve ever been, because we have three or four guys out with COVID and we have a couple staff members that have been out with COVID here recently. For us, we’re at our highest spike. And people are talking about vaccinations, well these are people that are vaccinated.

There is no mention if anyone is actually sick. If foolish contact tracing is employed in this situation, UGA could be down multiple players for its game this coming Saturday. For a team with national championship aspirations, and players who will never get this time back, that is no small matter. When reporting on this matter, Bleacher Report declared,

While Smart explained the players experienced breakthrough cases, they are statistically safer because they were vaccinated. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that those who are vaccinated are 29 times less likely to be hospitalized or killed as a result of the virus (h/t Katia Hetter of CNN).

Of course there was no mention of how “statistically safer” are young, healthy athletes, or how many times “less likely” a college athlete is to be “hospitalized or killed” as a result of the Wuhan Virus.

If you don’t want to worry about the outcome of the “last COVID test” of an athlete or student, fed-up parents and like-minded and influential school and athletic officials—especially coaches and athletic directors of powerful programs—need to demand most all “COVID protocols” cease! We don’t need to be testing anyone who lacks Wuhan Virus symptoms, and we certainly don’t need to be sidelining or quarantining the young and healthy.

(See this piece at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2021, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

"Team Reality Knows That Mostly the Virus is Gonna Virus"

A GREAT summary of where we stand with the Wuhan Virus. Courtesy of "TheBigFish," this is taken completely from the top comment on Charles C. W. Cooke's recent column at National Review, "The Bitter Truth: There’s Still No Rhyme or Reason to COVID-19."

1. We know that lockdown severity does not correlate with C19 mortality but leaves extra ACM ["all cause mortality"] for most countries. So lock downs are a net harm.

2. Mask mandates do not correlate with cases, hospitalizations, or deaths. The best quality studies prior to the issue being politicized showed little to no effect in curbing transmission. Both the CDC and WHO made that conclusion. The only papers/studies that support mask efficacy are lab experiments/simulations.

3. Kids less than about 17 have very low risk [from] C19, so low that vaccines for them carry more risk of hospitalization (per the CDC). There is no need at all to vaccinate them.

4. Elderly and high risk folks seem to be benefiting from the vaccines. It would be in their best interest to get vaccinated.

5. Ignoring natural immunity is one of the greatest sins by the public health institutions. NI is objectively better in every metric than immunity acquired by vaccination. Attempting to force this part of the population (~130m Americans) to vaccinate is madness. It wastes vaccine doses and adds a small amount of extra risk.

6. Seasonality is constantly being ignored by the "experts" but is one of the primary drivers of the timing of each surge.

7. Schools in Europe typically do not require kids to mask while at the same time the school systems have very low transmission rates. In Sweden, teachers had the lowest infection rate (last summer) of any identifiable profession in Sweden.

8. Sweden did it right. Their ACM for 20/21 is lower than their running 5 year average.

1-8 are undeniable true. Yet Team Apocalypse continues to engage stupid unproductive virtue signaling and abject superstition. The whole thing is crazy.

One thing I would correct: the "whole thing" isn't "crazy," it's EVIL! 

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Whole Truth on the Barnstable County, Massachusetts COVID-19 “Outbreak”

Near the end of July, the CDC reversed course and again told Americans to put on their face diapers. The renewed call for masks included even those who were vaccinated. Part of the justification for this was, as the Washington Post put it at the time, “new data showing vaccinated people can spread infections caused by delta variant.” The Post also noted that, “health officials also call for all teachers, staffers and students in schools to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status.”

The “new data” was reported by other media outlets as well. As NPR put it at the time,

When revising its mask guidance this week to urge even vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in much of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was criticized for not citing data in making that move.

Now it has — and the data is sobering.

The study details a COVID-19 outbreak that started July 3 in Provincetown, Mass., involving 469 cases. It found that three-quarters of cases occurred in fully vaccinated people…

The CDC said the finding that fully vaccinated people could spread the virus was behind its move to change its mask guidance.

At least NPR mentioned that it was “Provincetown” that was responsible for this “disturbing” outbreak. The CDC study referenced did not, though it had numerous opportunities to do so it its four-page report on the incident. When reporting on the numerous “breakthrough infections” that occurred, the CDC study only vaguely mentions “Barnstable County, Massachusetts.” There’s a reason for this.

As Ryan Bomberger at The Christian Post recently put it,

[Provincetown is] considered a gay Mecca to tens of thousands of homosexual men and women. In fact, the town’s Chamber of Commerce confirms such a description, stating on its website: “LGBTQA+ visitors are a major component of Provincetown’s tourism economy and continue to make Provincetown one of top GLBT destinations in the world.”

The CDC also never mentions that the “summer event” in Barnstable County at the center of the COVID-19 spread was “Bear Week.” As Mr. Bomberger describes it,

“Bear Week” is celebrated by Provincetown Tourism as “the largest gathering of bears [hairy and often overweight gay men] in the world” where “tens of thousands come to Provincetown during this annual [July] event.” The website proudly proclaims: “You know what you’re getting into when you attend.” By “getting into,” they mean a weeklong orgy among thousands of strangers. 

As they gleefully reported that Americans were now again under another mask-up edict from the CDC, leftists in the media also failed to report these important facts. As Mr. Bomberger rightly concludes, from an “epidemiological standpoint,” what happened in Provincetown is not at all representative of the general U.S. population. In other words, there can be little doubt that orgiastic homosexual behavior greatly contributed to the COVID-19 outbreak in Barnstable County, yet this is never reported by the CDC or its media allies.

Of course, none of this is surprising. Like the left-wing media in the U.S., the CDC has long been a nefarious agent in the evil LGBT agenda, and thus long ignored or glossed over the tremendous dangers of homosexual behavior. When warning others about putting trust in the CDC on all matters concerning COVID-19, I’ve often said, “They can’t even rightly tell us who is a male and who is a female. Thus, why should we trust them on any matter concerning the health of America?!”

Even if they weren’t apologists for the evil LGBT agenda, the CDC has proven wrong numerous times since COVID-19 entered the U.S. This is certainly true when it comes to the widespread masking of school children. And now many schools across America are again foolishly placing children (and teachers) in masks largely because of a homosexual orgy in Barnstable County, Massachusetts! The data from Provincetown again proves the CDC is a highly politicized organization that simply cannot be trusted when making policy on COVID-19 or any other healthcare issue.

Copyright 2021, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, August 26, 2021

STOP FOOLISH COVID-Based Restrictions in Schools! (Update 2)

Why Most All COVID Restrictions in Schools Should Cease:

1.) Kids are in virtually ZERO danger from COVID-19. We now have about 18 months of data that clearly demonstrate school-age children are in very little to no danger from COVID-19. Since early 2020 until now (as of this writing)—again that is a year and a half—according to CDC data, there have been a total of 385 deaths of 0-17 year olds “involving” COVID-19. In a recent report, the CDC itself admits that it could be vastly overestimating COVID-19 deaths in children, as over 35% of these deaths involved significant comorbidities. Nevertheless, again using CDC data, we see that five of the past eight influenza seasons were more deadly to children than COVID-19.
 

(Note: The “Covid 2020-21” total deaths do not include the entire 18-month period since COVID-19 entered the U.S. Also, a typical flu season in the U.S. is four to six months long.)

Recently, in an effort to promote vaccination against COVID-19, Northeast Georgia Health System put out the following graphic:
 

Note that, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health, the percent vaccinated who later died from COVID-19 was a miniscule 0.00058%. Yet, for Americans ages zero to 17 years old, the chances of dying from the COVID is smaller: 0.00051%. Given that the vast majority of COVID-related deaths in young people occur in those with significant co-morbidities, for healthy young adults, this number is even smaller. Why is this data ignored when making public policy on kids and COVID? As Bethany Mandel of the New York Post recently put it,
The vaccine offers a great deal of protection, but being a child offers even more. Children are less at risk of severe COVID risk and death than vaccinated adults, according to the vast amount of data we have gathered over the last year and a half of the pandemic, and the last year of vaccine research.
A recent Johns Hopkins study involving 48,000 children—with “Covid” listed in their health insurance information (which probably means that they “tested positive” for COVID-19, or were “exposed” to it)—found zero COVID deaths among healthy kids.

Using recent data, we see that a host of things are more deadly to children than COVID-19. Compared to COVID-19, children ages 5 to 14 are: 10-and-a-half times more likely to die from cancer; 9-and-a-half times more likely to die in an automobile accident; 7-and-a-half times more likely to take their own life; 3-and-a-half times more likely to die in a homicide; and more than twice as likely to drown.
 

The risk of hospitalization for children from COVID-19 is also extremely small. Joseph Allen, a scientist who works for The Lancet’s Covid committee, reported that, according to three major studies over the past year, “hospitalization rates for school-aged kids younger than 12 (the group that can’t yet get vaccinated, and thus one of the significant targets of foolish COVID-19 restrictions) hovered around three or four per million throughout the pandemic.” That’s between a 0.0003% and 0.0004% chance of hospitalization. Both of those numbers are much smaller than the NGHS data (again note the NGHS graphic above) that shows 0.0029% chance of requiring hospitalization if one is vaccinated.

But what about the “Delta Variant” of COVID-19? Given the media hype around this, one would think that the danger from COVID-19 for children has significantly increased, but again, the data tell a very different story. According to the CDC, the monthly number of deaths “involving coronavirus” for Americans age 0 to 17 are: Jan: 49, Feb: 22, March: 19, April: 25, May: 23, June: 11, July: 12, and Aug (as of this writing (8/26)): 20. Additionally, for the U.S. as a whole, for 0 to 17 year-olds, new hospital admissions for COVID-19 in Jan. was 0.30 per 100k. As of this writing (8/26), it is 0.43 per 100k.

2.) Kids are NOT significant spreaders of COVID-19. We knew as early as October of last year that schools were not significant spreaders of COVID-19. Even the CDC noted in December of last year that most COVID-19 cases in kids did not result from school contacts. Early this year, a peer-reviewed study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found the spread of COVID-19 in elementary schools to be “extremely limited.”

Additionally, multiple studies have shown the asymptomatic are not significant spreaders of COVID-19. In late February of this year, The Federalist reported on “a meta-analysis of 54 household COVID-19 transmission studies that observed 77,758 participants” which showed the “asymptomatic or presymptomatic” index case rate to be only 0.7%.

On the transmissibility of the Delta variant, noted health care expert Kevin Roche—who has written hundreds of posts and articles on COVID-19—reports, “It isn’t apparent to me that Delta is inherently more transmissible.” He concludes, “At the end of day, just like with Alpha, viral load and transmissibility will turn out to be very comparable and fortunately, the severity of disease much lower.”

Thus, the widespread testing of school populations should also cease. This also means any and all “contact tracing” should end. If school-age children are at little to no risk from COVID-19, and if they are not significant spreaders of the virus, and if the asymptomatic are not significant spreaders of the virus, NO STUDENT should be removed from school due to “contact tracing.”

3.) Masks (and social distancing, and the like) DON’T WORK!

When it comes to studies on masks, Jeffrey Anderson at City Journal notes that,
It’s striking how much the CDC, in marshalling evidence to justify its revised mask guidance, studiously avoids mentioning randomized controlled trials [RCTs]. RCTs are uniformly regarded as the gold standard in medical research, yet the CDC basically ignores them…
According to Mr. Anderson, there are 14 RCTs “conducted around the world that have tested the effectiveness of masks in reducing the transmission of respiratory viruses.” Anderson continues,
The only RCT to test mask-wearing’s specific effectiveness against Covid-19 was a 2020 study by Bundgaard, et al. in Denmark. This large (4,862 participants) RCT divided people between a mask-wearing group (providing “high-quality” three-layer surgical masks) and a control group. It took place at a time (spring 2020) when Denmark was encouraging social distancing but not mask use, and 93 percent of those in the mask group wore the masks at least “predominately as recommended.” The study found that 1.8 percent of those in the mask group and 2.1 percent of those in the control group became infected with Covid-19 within a month, with this 0.3-point difference not being statistically significant…

In sum, of the 14 RCTs that have tested the effectiveness of masks in preventing the transmission of respiratory viruses, three suggest, but do not provide any statistically significant evidence in intention-to-treat analysis, that masks might be useful. The other eleven suggest that masks are either useless—whether compared with no masks or because they appear not to add to good hand hygiene alone—or actually counterproductive.
Numerous noted doctors have concluded that children should not be in masks. Dr. Makary—an American professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and editor-in-chief of Medpage Today—and Dr. H. Cody Meissner—chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Tufts Children’s Hospital—together recently penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal arguing against mandating masks for children.

In their Wall Street Journal piece, Dr. Makary and Meissner also note the dangers of masking children in schools. Additionally, a recent study out of Germany and Poland found that masking children was not only unnecessary, but also dangerous. The study found that, within just minutes of putting on a face mask, the kids were inhaling carbon dioxide that was up to more than six times the acceptable limits for adults. The study also found that, the younger the children behind the masks, the higher the concentration of carbon dioxide.

On masks, and other attempted COVID-19 mitigation measures taken in U.S. schools, David Zwieg of New York Magazines’ Intelligencer recently reported,
At the end of May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a notable, yet mostly ignored, large-scale study of COVID transmission in American schools…[The findings of the study] cast doubt on the impact of many of the most common mitigation measures in American schools. Distancing, hybrid models, classroom barriers, HEPA filters, and, most notably, requiring student masking were each found to not have a statistically significant benefit. In other words, these measures could not be said to be effective.

In the realm of science and public-health policy outside the U.S., the implications of these particular findings are not exactly controversial. Many of America’s peer nations around the world — including the U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy — have exempted kids, with varying age cutoffs, from wearing masks in classrooms. Conspicuously, there’s no evidence of more outbreaks in schools in those countries relative to schools in the U.S., where the solid majority of kids wore masks for an entire academic year and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. These countries, along with the World Health Organization, whose child-masking guidance differs substantially from the CDC’s recommendations, have explicitly recognized that the decision to mask students carries with it potential academic and social harms for children and may lack a clear benefit. To date, the highly transmissible Delta variant has not led them to change this calculus. (Many experts I spoke with told me that while the Delta variant represents a major and concerning new development in the Covid pandemic, it probably shouldn’t change our thinking on a mask requirement for schools.)

…The study published by the CDC was both ambitious and groundbreaking. It covered more than 90,000 elementary-school students in 169 Georgia schools [many of them in our area] from November 16 to December 11 and was, according to the CDC, the first of its kind to compare COVID-19 incidence in schools with certain mitigation measures in place to other schools without those measures.
On masking students, Vinay Prasad, an associate professor in University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, summarizes the CDC studies’ conclusion: “[A] masking requirement of students failed to show independent benefit.” Mr. Zwieg continues,
After the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued their student-mask guidance last month, I contacted both organizations asking for the evidence or underlying data upon which they had based their recommendations. The AAP did not respond to multiple requests. The CDC press office replied that since children under 12 cannot be vaccinated, the agency “recommends schools do universal masking” and included links to unrelated materials on vaccines and a recent outbreak among adults. Over the course of several weeks, I also corresponded with many experts — epidemiologists, infectious-disease specialists, an immunologist, pediatricians, and a physician publicly active in matters relating to COVID — asking for the best evidence they were aware of that mask requirements on students were effective. Nobody was able to find a data set as robust as the Georgia results — that is, a large cohort study directly looking at the effects of a mask requirement.
According to the data from this study (see here)—again, performed by the CDC—the number of COVID-19 cases per 500 students where masks were required was 2.44. Where masks were optional it was 3.81. That is a difference of only 0.274%! That’s less than three-tenths of one percent! Hardly an indication that masks are effective. Social distancing (≥6 ft.) had even less of an impact. Schools where it was employed had 3.02 cases per 500 students. Schools where it was partially or never employed had 3.09 cases per 500 students. That’s a difference of only 0.014%!

And note, we’re talking about the ambiguous designation of “cases.” This is happening with Hall County schools as well. This past Friday, when reporting that “more Hall County schools to require masks,” Access WDUN stated, “On Friday morning [8/13], the Hall County School District reported a total of 245 COVID cases among students and staff. That’s up from 43 cases confirmed after the first day of classes for the new school year, which was just 10 days ago.” [Emphasis mine.] (By the way, that’s 245 cases out of a total 30,596 students, faculty, and staff. That’s an overall “case rate” of 0.8%.)

Reporting on “cases” without context is a foolish and irresponsible exercise. Most often, a “case” is merely a positive test, and not someone who is actually sick. And when someone is sick, almost always that person recovers without hospitalization. Also, notice how the media—and oftentimes school systems as well—keep a running count of “cases.” This is also misleading. If “cases” are positive tests, once someone tests negative or recovers, shouldn’t they be removed from the case count? In other words, case counts should not be a number that only continuously grows.

UPDATE 2: The CDC study mentioned above concludes: “COVID-19 incidence was 37% lower [when 'adjusted for county-level incidence'] in schools that required teachers and staff members to use masks...” However, the study also reveals that, in schools where staff and faculty were required to wear masks, COVID-19 cases were 2.44 per 500. In schools where masks were optional, COVID-19 cases were 4.42 per 500. Though some might deem this “statistically significant,” it certainly is NOT practically significant. The percentage difference in cases where masks were required vs. those where they were not is only 0.39%! What’s more, the CDC premises this report on the false notion that “Preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission in schools is imperative for safe in-person learning.” See part one of this article for plenty of evidence to the contrary. 

On COVID-19 “cases” and schools, note this data from last September (courtesy of Dr. Andrew Bostom):

From this we can see that, last year, after most colleges and schools had been in class for weeks, with over 48,000 reported COVID “cases” at 37 different U.S. universities, there were only two hospitalizations and zero deaths! Based on what we already know about young healthy people, such data is totally unsurprising. Yet the media virtually ignore this type of data, and reported (and almost always continues to report) only on “case” totals.

UPDATE 1:(8/28, from American Greatness):
Surgical masks were designed to protect patients’ wounds from becoming infected by medical personnel, not to prevent the spread of viruses. When COVID-19 hit our shores, the CDC initially recommended that most Americans not wear masks. On April 3, 2020, the CDC abruptly reversed this position. Surgeon General Jerome Adams explained that “new evidence” had revealed that “a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms” and “can transmit the virus to others before they show symptoms” (emphasis added).

As a rationale for wearing masks, this did not entirely make sense. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “potentially pre-symptomatic transmission . . . is a major driver of transmission for influenza.” Yet the CDC does not (yet) recommend that seemingly healthy people wear masks during flu season. It seems likely that the CDC panicked in April and wanted to be seen as doing something. Plus, public health officials are naturally enthusiastic about public health interventions. Here was an opportunity to introduce an intervention that would previously have been unthinkable to Americans. Granted, the research on masks’ effectiveness, or lack thereof, had not changed to suggest healthy people should wear masks. But why quibble about evidence in the interest of a good cause?

The day after the CDC endorsed nationwide mask-wearing, President Trump announced, “I won’t be doing it personally.” From that instant, the mask quickly became a symbol of civic virtue—a sort of Black Lives Matter flag that could be hung from one’s face. For many it conveyed a trio of virtues: I’m unselfish; I’m pro-science; I’m anti-Trump. What it also conveyed, incidentally, was rejection of longstanding Western norms, unhealthy risk-aversion, credulous willingness to embrace unsupported health claims, and a pallid view of human interaction.

The most reliable science on whether masks are effective in stopping the transmission of viruses comes from randomized control trials (RCTs), almost all of which were conducted before COVID-19 began. RCTs, in which researchers assign subjects randomly to different groups and study how those groups react to various forms of treatment, are the gold standard in medical research. They make it very hard for researchers to produce their own preferred outcomes. Observational studies, so called because researchers merely observe outcomes in pre-existing scenarios without being able to isolate one specific cause of those outcomes, are as much sociology as medical science. They introduce more bias and are far more apt to be politicized. Anyone doubting that researchers in the COVID-19 era have been more likely to benefit from generating pro-mask findings than anti-mask findings, might also be interested in some oceanfront property in Wuhan.

Randomized control trials have found little to no evidence that masks work to prevent viral transmission—either from the wearer to others or vice versa. In fact, some significant evidence from RCTs indicates that masks increase transmission. One team of researchers, led by Raina MacIntyre at the University of New South Wales, explained how masks could actually be counterproductive: “The virus may survive on the surface of the facemasks” and “transfer pathogen from the mask to the bare hands of the wearer.”

Forcing children to wear masks is particularly unreasonable. Minors are far less apt to spread the virus, and CDC statistics show that 99.9 percentof COVID-19 deaths in the United States have been of adults. Few spectacles are more ridiculous than that of school kids, outside, playing sports, wearing masks. Moreover, the WHO guidance on mask-wearing for children is comical in its implausibility: “Before putting on the mask, children should clean their hands . . . at least 40 seconds if using soap and water . . . Children should not touch the front of the mask [or] pull it under the chin . . . After taking off their mask, they should store it in a bag or container and clean their hands.” Sure. Got that, kids? 
A 2020 study by Professor Henning Bundgaard and his team in Denmark is the only RCT that has tested the effectiveness of mask-wearing against COVID-19. It found that 1.8 percent of those participants in the group wearing masks, and 2.1 percent of those in the unmasked control group, became infected with COVID-19 within a month. This difference was not statistically significant. The study must have had difficulty getting published, since it appeared months after it was conducted. Once it was eventually released, Vinay Prasad, a medical doctor at the University of California, San Francisco, described it as “well done” but noted (critically) that “[s]ome have turned to social media to ask why a trial that may diminish enthusiasm for masks . . . was published in a top medical journal.”

In attempting to justify its mask guidance on its website, the CDC has relied almost entirely on observational studies while studiously disregarding RCTs—aside from criticizing a couple of the more revealing ones, like Bundgaard’s, that do not support the agency’s guidance or goals. Anyone who thinks the CDC is an impartial, politically neutral agency, dedicated solely to the pursuit of scientific truth, should perhaps consider the recent email evidence that the teachers’ union and Joe Biden’s White House effectively rewrote sections of the agency’s return-to-school guidance. Like so many unelected leaders, CDC officials consider themselves more accountable to “stakeholders” than to the American people. That is why the founders vested power to make policy decisions—of all sorts—in elected legislatures rather than in remote bureaucrats.
Mask mandates—and the like—aren’t foolish and dangerous only because of their ineffective and unhealthy outcomes, but also because of the social and financial devastation that results. If widespread masking were really a necessary and effective means of stopping, or even slowing, the spread of COVID, there are countless human activities—as much of the past 18 months have well demonstrated—that simply cannot take place.

If there really is a need to wear masks, restaurants cannot be allowed to operate fully with indoor dining. Likewise with indoor gyms, bars, concerts, sporting events, movie theaters, churches, and the like. Thus, mask wearing means widespread lockdowns and shutdowns must occur. In other words, as ineffective as masks and lockdowns have been at stopping or slowing the spread of the COVID, they have been just as effective at destroying lives and livelihoods.

Finally, masks, as a means of slowing the spread of COVID-19, are used because the CDC says to use them. Anyone in authority over COVID-19 policy needs to stop acting like the CDC is an infallible authority on matters concerning this pandemic. They have been wrong numerous times since COVID-19 entered the U.S., and they continue to get things wrong. The CDC has long been politicized, and their health recommendations often reflect this politicization. They can’t even properly tell us who is a male and who is a female! Thus, why should they be widely trusted on any healthcare issue?!

Copyright 2021, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Vaccine Ratios vs Wuhan Virus Ratios

Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is one of the largest hospital networks in Georgia. Their Wuhan Virus data are widely used by the local media and other organizations throughout northeast Georgia. This week, NGHS tweeted out a graphic (see below) that has been circulated by those pushing the Wuhan Virus vaccine.

Of course the implication is that, given the data, if one is “fully vaccinated” your chances of testing positive for the Wuhan Virus, requiring hospitalization because of the Wuhan Virus, or dying from the Wuhan Virus are miniscule. Vaccine apologists need to be asked: If these small ratios are justification for getting vaccinated, why are other small ratios ignored when Wuhan Virus policy is being made?

I’ve long made the case that the actual data—especially where the young and healthy are concerned—on the Wuhan Virus are being ignored. For example, from the tweet above we see that, according to NGHS and the Georgia Department of Public Health data, if one is vaccinated, your chances of dying from the Wuhan Virus is a tiny 0.00058%.

If one is zero to 17 years old, your chances of dying from the Wuhan Virus is even smaller, 0.00048% (there are just over 73 million Americans ages zero to 17, and 354 deaths in that same age range). Yet the NGHS and the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) advocate widespread masking, including masks for school-age children. (Note: The GDPH doesn’t directly say this on their website, but on their “COVID-19 Guidance” page, under “Education” they link directly to the CDC’s page on “K-12 Schools Guidance.”)

There can be little doubt that similar tactics are playing out in other U.S. states. School boards and public health bureaucrats throughout the U.S. continue to ignore the data as they push for universal masking in schools. Don’t stand for it America!

(See this post at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2021, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, August 5, 2021

On Masks, We Are All Scarlett Johansson Now

If you think you are being kind, compassionate, or polite as a mask-wearer, please take note of this column. After the CDC and the Biden Administration again ignored science and recommended or re-imposed foolish mask mandates and the like, numerous municipalities and organizations eager to bow to—or afraid to ignore—left-wing dictates, went along with the latest round of Wuhan Virus absurdities. Walmart, Target, Publix, Chick-fil-A, and the like have again forced the unsanitary and unhealthy face diapers upon their employees.

Apple has gone a step further and is requiring customers in half of its stores—the ones in so-called “COVID hotspots” (apparently about half of Apple’s stores)—to wear the useless face masks again. Some schools—especially those in Democrat-run hell-holes, I mean large U.S. cities—are again forcing kids into masks.

School leadership making such decisions, along with the teacher unions, are the most foolish of all here. They are ignoring science and data on multiple fronts as the mask mandates, and perhaps even shutdowns, are re-imposed. Not only has science revealed the masks largely useless to prevent the spread of the Wuhan Virus, but the data have long revealed children to be at very little to no risk from the Wuhan Virus. In addition, schools the world over have long proven to be insignificant spreaders of the Wuhan Virus.

The mask mandates aren’t foolish and dangerous only because of their ineffective and unhealthy outcomes, but also because of the social and financial devastation that results. If widespread masking were really a necessary and effective means of stopping, or even slowing, the spread of the Wuhan Virus, there are countless human activities—as much of the past 18 months have well demonstrated—that simply cannot take place.

If we really need to wear masks, restaurants cannot be allowed to operate fully with indoor dining. Likewise with indoor gyms, bars, concerts, sporting events, movie theaters, churches, and the like. Thus, mask wearing means widespread lockdowns and shutdowns must occur. In other words, as ineffective as masks and lockdowns have been at stopping or slowing the spread of the Wuhan Virus, they have been just as effective at destroying lives and livelihoods.

At the end of 2020, we already knew that hundreds of thousands of U.S. small businesses were permanently shut down due to the lockdowns. More recent numbers indicate that this only continued into 2021. As the New York Post reported early last month,

The Biden administration recently projected that more than 400,000 small businesses have closed permanently, but that’s likely a massive underestimate: Already by June 2020, the Hamilton Project had counted 400,000 closures. Opportunity ­Insights data, meanwhile, show that by the end of May 2021, there were 38.9 percent fewer small businesses open ­nationwide than at the outset of 2020.

Small business forms the US economy’s backbone, accounting for more than 99 percent of all business entities, and before 2020, around half of growth domestic product and jobs. 

And these businesses bore the brunt of lockdowns. The Alignable report found that 37 percent of small businesses couldn’t pay their rent in full and on time.

There are many reasons to hate the masks, but this is perhaps the most important. For far too many of us, life simply can’t go on as it’s supposed to under mask mandates, and the results are devastating, particularly financially. Actress Scarlett Johansson provides a great example here. When she is political, Ms. Johansson is usually reliably left-wing—supporting the evil abortion industry and the perverse LGBT agenda. However, it seems she draws the line at leftist politics when it impacts her financial bottom line.

Ms. Johansson’s recent hit film, Black Widow, will likely soon be the top grossing U.S. film of the year so far, and at year’s end will almost certainly be one of the highest grossing films of 2021. However, it would have been even more of a financial hit if Disney had limited release of the film to theaters only. It sounds like Ms. Johansson thinks this was the agreement she had with Disney when she signed on to do the film.

Instead of a theatrical release only, Disney also made Black Widow available for streaming through Disney+ (for a $30 fee). Ms. Johansson is alleging breach of contract, and last week she and her legal team filed a lawsuit. Allowing viewers to stream the movie significantly reduces film revenues and thus also reduces Ms. Johansson’s overall compensation for starring in the film.

As is often the case with blockbuster films, the big name stars who lend their talents to such films receive a portion of the revenues. According to Fox Business, Disney’s move to simultaneously release Black Widow in theaters and on its streaming platform, “reportedly has cost Johansson more than $50 million.”

Fox Business also reports that “Disney released the movie on Disney+ because of the pandemic which caused theaters to limit in-person capacity.” In response to Johansson’s lawsuit, a Disney spokesman declared,

The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of ‘Black Widow’ on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.

In other words, because many theaters across the U.S. remain in lockdown mode, Disney decided to allow streaming of the film, and it is “callous” for one to question such decisions. Lots of us who’ve questioned the lockdowns, the mask mandates, and the like have been called “callous” and worse. Yet, as the data well proves, the masks and lockdowns aren’t saving lives as much as they are destroying them.

Whatever the outcome of her lawsuit, Ms. Johansson will (or should) be just fine financially and professionally. However, that is not the case for countless Americans. This is why masks and lockdowns must be opposed at every opportunity. Like Ms. Johansson, parents in Gwinnett County, Georgia are suing (and protesting) to stop the largest school district in Georgia from imposing a newly announced mask mandate. This needs to happen throughout America.

Wearing a mask isn’t merely a polite, precautionary activity that is simply a slight inconvenience. The masks and corresponding lockdowns have wrought widespread devastation and should be opposed at most every turn. Good for you, Ms. Johansson! I hope more Americans follow your lead!

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2021, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the 
The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com  

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

On the Wuhan Virus: Why Doesnt the NFL Believe Its Own Data?

This past Thursday, the NFL sent a memo warning all 32 of its teams that, “We do not anticipate adding a ‘19th week’ to accommodate games that cannot be rescheduled within the current 18 weeks of the regular season.” In other words, just like last year, the NFL intends on playing all of its games (this year, 17 games per team in an 18 week season). Other “highlights” from the memo:

  • Every club is obligated under the Constitution and Bylaws to have its team ready to play at the scheduled time and place. A failure to do so is deemed conduct detrimental. There is no right to postpone a game…

  • If a game is cancelled/postponed because a club cannot play due to a Covid spike among or resulting from its non-vaccinated players/staff, then the burden of the cancellation or delay will fall on the club experiencing the Covid infection…

  • If a game is rescheduled due to a Covid outbreak among unvaccinated players on one of the competing teams, the club experiencing the outbreak will be responsible for all additional expenses incurred by the opposing team and will also be required to pay any shortfall between actual and expected payment to the VTS pool.

  • If a game cannot be rescheduled within the current 18-week schedule and is cancelled due to a Covid outbreak among unvaccinated players on one of the competing teams, that club will forfeit the contest and will be responsible for the lost payment to the VTS pool.

  • If a game is cancelled and cannot be rescheduled within the current 18-week schedule due to a Covid outbreak, neither team's players will receive their weekly paragraph 5 salary.

Additionally, Breitbart reports,

According to another in a series of recent and aggressive new restrictions targeting unvaccinated players, the NFL announced on Saturday that if a player violates one of the league-mandated Covid protocols that applies to unvaccinated players, they will receive a $14,650 fine…

According to league rules, all Tier 1 personnel, including coaches, must receive the vaccine or provide religious and/or medical reasons for why they cannot.

Just what are those “league-mandated Covid protocols?” According to Yahoo! Sports,

[T]he protocols are different for vaccinated players than they are for unvaccinated players. And those differences aren't small. They're big, honking differences that will make life much more difficult for unvaccinated players.

The training camp and preseason protocols:

With all of this, not only is the NFL ignoring Wuhan Virus data the world over, but it is ignoring its own data from last season. As I noted in late January of this year, medical officials from the NFL and CDC found that in over 256 NFL games (not including playoff games), and for well over 1,000 practices (probably closer to 2,000) involving 32 teams and over 2,000 players, there was zero evidence of “on-field transmission.” 

Additionally, in well over 600,000 tests performed over several months in the 2020 season, only 329 NFL personnel (out of over 11,000) “tested positive.” As I also noted at the time,

It’s also important to note that in spite of these “positive” tests, almost zero serious illnesses from the Wuhan virus were reported.

In other words, though the NFL’s rampant testing yielded a few “positives,” virtually no one got sick. ABC News details each team’s “cases” as of early December here. Almost every player or coach who was reported to have missed a game had to do so because of a “positive test.” Thus, as we have seen throughout the past ten months, a “positive test” does not in any way indicate an actual Wuhan virus case. 

Only two NFL employees—Denver’s defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and Jacksonville running back Ryquell Armstead—reportedly had to be hospitalized due to Wuhan virus complications. Both have fully recovered.

Remember that all of this happened prior to the vaccine. So after thousands of hours involving hundreds of thousands of extremely close, maskless contacts in which bodily fluids were almost always present, the NFL and the CDC are telling us that there were zero person-to-person transmissions of the Wuhan Virus, and of those who did happen to test positive, virtually no one got sick.

In spite of all of this, and plenty of other evidence that suggests the vaccine is unnecessary for many of us—at its peak, the U.S. hospitalization rate for 18-29 year-olds (the age range for the vast majority of the NFL) was 1.13 per 100,000, and out of about 53 million 18-29 year-olds in the U.S., there have been 2,470 deaths “involving COVID-19” (that’s a 0.0047% rate)—and possibly dangerous for some, the NFL is mandating the Wuhan Virus vaccine for many employees, and for the personnel whom it is optional, is making life miserable for those who refuse it.

In other words, the NFL is fully bought into the Wuhan Virus fear-mongering, and wants to perpetuate that with an ignorant vaccine policy. Influential stars of the NFL who are against this should organize and speak out against it. Much of the world is watching (though fewer than would have been if the NFL hadn’t gone “woke”).

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2021, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the 
The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com  

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Don’t Fall for Alabama Doctor’s Wuhan Virus Fear Porn

In order to keep alive the false notion that “systemic racism” is rampant in the United States, leftists across America have peddled massive amounts of misleading information. (The hotly debated “Critical Race Theory” is filled with it.) Thus, it should come as little surprise that the COVID-loving mask cultists on the left would stoop to spinning false or misleading tales about Wuhan Virus doom and gloom in order to help keep as much of the nation as possible on edge.

Dr. Brytney Cobia of Alabama seems to be such a leftist. This past Sunday, Dr. Cobia posted the following on her Facebook page:

(NOTE: DO NOT "visit" Facebook's biased "COVID-19 Information Center for vaccine resources!")

To say the post went “viral” is putting it mildly. Not only was it shared wildly via Facebook, numerous news outlets and left-wing websites ran Dr. Cobia’s account as if it were the gospel truth. This includes The Washington Post, CNN,  NBC News, MSNBC, HuffPost, Newsweek, and the like. It’s almost as if they were just waiting on someone—anyone—to say that, “‘Young healthy people’ are now getting hospitalized and dying from the Wuhan Virus! Quickly, surrender your liberties!”

Of course, this is because as often as the left hypes the Wuhan Virus—along with the vaccine, masks, lockdowns, etc.—they keep getting put in their place by the data. It seems it has become particularly important to the COVID-worshipping left to scare as many as possible when it comes to the young and healthy. Yet the data here are especially troubling for the left’s Wuhan Virus narrative.

For the mask cultists, simply not enough young, healthy Americans are dying from the Wuhan Virus, or even requiring hospitalization. (A recent Johns Hopkins study found zero Wuhan Virus deaths among healthy kids.) Enter Dr. Cobia and her story. However—and again—when one actually looks at the data, her account shouldn’t strike the fear that she, and those like-minded, hopes it will.

The images from CDC charts below show the death totals “involving COVID-19” (note: this does not necessarily mean that a death recorded in this column is from COVID-19) for the state of Alabama:




As you can see, for ages 0-17, in April through July there are zero recorded deaths in Alabama “involving COVID-19.” This is actually the case for February through July of this year. In the 0-17 row for January, there is a blank cell. Again, as one can see, this is common in the chart. According to a note below the chart, “Empty data cells represent counts between 1-9 that have been suppressed in accordance with NCHS confidentiality standards.” So the empty cells represent death totals in the single digits.

What’s more, and again using CDC data, as of July 21, the “7-day Moving” average number of Wuhan Virus deaths (for all ages) in Alabama was 3. On July 18, the day of Dr. Cobia’s post, it was zero. At the end of June it was 3. At the end of May it was 4. At the end of April it was 7. For the U.S. as a whole, as of July 21, the “7-day Moving” average number of Wuhan Virus deaths (for all ages) was 223. At the end of June it was 225. At the end of May it was 413. At the end of April it was 612.

The numbers are similar when one looks at hospitalization rates. Again using CDC data, in Alabama, for ages 0-17, as of July 20, the hospitalization rate was 0.16 per 100,000. At the end of June the rate was 0.09 per 100,000. At the end of May it was 0.11 per 100,000. At the end of April it was 0.16 per 100,000. Likewise, in Alabama, for the age group 18-29, the July down to April numbers (per 100,000) are 0.67, 0.18, 0.31, and 0.33. Even though the latter group has seen an uptick in hospitalization rate in recent month, the July number (0.67) is exactly what it was at the end of March. For the U.S. as a whole, for ages 0-17, the corresponding rates (per 100,000) of hospitalization are 0.14, 0.09, 0.12, and 0.18. For ages 18-29 they are 0.53, 0.30, 0.40, and 0.63.

Thus, the data are again clear: whether or not “cases” are on the rise, whether or not vaccination rates have flattened, the numbers that matter most—hospitalizations and deaths—show no disturbing trend, in Alabama, or the U.S. as a whole. The lockdown, mask-up apologists need to take heed: we will not stand for your (mostly) useless, life-defeating, economic destroying measures again!

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2021, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com