LATEST SEPTEMBER 28, 2020
The September 2020 edition of The Economic Standard features a paper entitled “Hydroxychloroquine and the Burden of Proof: An Urgent Call to Depoliticize Medicine in the Covid-19 Pandemic.” The paper “was written in close collaboration with practicing physicians and infectious disease specialists from across the United States and around the world.” It opens with the following statement: “The COVID-19 pandemic struck America nine months before a presidential election, turning basic medical activities like testing and treatment into partisan battlegrounds. No subject has been more distorted than hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a safe, versatile medicine that has treated hundreds of millions of people for numerous diseases for seven decades. HCQ was adopted as a COVID-19 treatment in Asia in January 2020 without fanfare, based on lab tests with the related coronavirus SARS-1. But when President Trump stated in March that the U.S. would also begin studying the drug’s potential against the virus, political opponents defied longstanding scientific and medical consensus to portray HCQ as harmful and Trump as a mortal danger to public health. Flawed and even falsified studies were published and promoted by media outlets eager to discredit Trump, while positive studies were impugned or ignored. This campaign persists even as evidence of HCQ’s benefit against COVID-19 grows--including scores of observational controlled trials showing therapeutic effect when administered early in disease progression. Hundreds of drugs have been approved for both indication-specific and general usage on the basis of similar observational trials, especially when conducted in large numbers and subject to careful meta-analysis. As a matter of medical practice and especially in a pandemic emergency, it is flatly not the case that only randomized controlled trials can justify adopting a treatment, as HCQ detractors have insisted while publicizing randomized controlled trials results that are themselves deeply flawed. The U.S. is an international outlier on HCQ. Right now, doctors around the world are prescribing HCQ to treat COVID-19 outside of hospitals, as well as prophylactically to prevent infection among healthcare workers and vulnerable populations. This paper argues that HCQ has met the appropriate burden of proof and urges members of the U.S. news media, public health community, and regulatory agencies to stop politicizing the use of this medicine. Tens of thousands of lives still hang in the balance.”
A large scientific study shows a whopping 73% lower death rate from Covid-19 in countries that have adopted early treatment with hydroxychloroquine compared with those that have disparaged the treatment. See “Early Treatment with Hydroxychloroquine: A Country-based Analysis,” updated Sept. 27, 2020.
A comparison of coronavirus fatalities in five Upper Midwestern states finds that (1) the virus is not very deadly and (2) lockdowns don’t appear to be effective. “Several months ago, I wrote a series of posts about COVID in the five Upper Midwestern states. The comparisons seemed useful because the states are similar in many respects, but their responses to the Wuhan epidemic were very different. Now that more water has gone over the dam, it is a good time to revisit those comparisons. These are the currently reported rates of “COVID deaths” for the Upper Midwestern states–again, bearing in mind that a “COVID death” is, in most if not all jurisdictions, the death of someone who probably had COVID, regardless of what actually killed him or her.
North Dakota: 0.00025
South Dakota: 0.00023
A few observations come immediately to mind. The first is that a disease with a fatality rate that begins with 0.000 is quite minor. It is remarkable that we have twisted our entire society and economy out of shape, devastating the lives of tens if not hundreds of millions, over this flu bug. ... the data reveal the utter futility of ‘shutdown’ measures such as those that have been enforced in Minnesota and other states. In this sample, the correlation between severity of shutdown and fatality rate is actually negative. South Dakota never adopted a shutdown and has a much lower rate of purported COVID deaths than Minnesota, which had (and still has) one of the harshest shutdown regimes in the country. North Dakota, which had a shutdown but a relatively casual one, also does much better than Minnesota. ... Of these comparisons, the most interesting is that between Wisconsin and Minnesota. Both had shutdowns for a while, but Wisconsin’s was invalidated by that state’s Supreme Court. This event was greeted with schadenfreude by Minnesota’s liberals. ... To say that the Wisconsin disaster failed to materialize is an understatement, as the above numbers show. By any measure, Wisconsin has far outperformed Minnesota despite having no shutdown order in place, and despite being open for business” (John Hinderaker, “Covid-19 in Five States, Revisited,” PowerLine, Sept. 27, 2020).
A new study finds that Covid-19 viral loads carried by patients are on the decline, along with the death rate. “Researchers at Wayne State University say viral loads from patients are continuing to decrease as the pandemic progresses. This is also showing a connection to a lowering death rate. Dr. Said El Zein and his team analyzed viral loads of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, coming from patient nasal swabs over two months. From April 4 to June 5, a downward trend in the amount of virus detected in patients at Detroit Medical Center was discovered. To estimate the viral loads coming from nasopharyngeal swabs, study authors use a cycle threshold (Ct) value that comes from the tests on these samples. A higher Ct means a sample has less SARS-CoV-2 in it. Their scale rates a high viral load as a Ct of 25 and under, intermediate loads as a Ct between 26-36, and low viral loads as a Ct over 37. During the week of April 4, just under half (49%) of COVID-19 patients had an intermediate viral load (VL). Low and high VL counts both came in at 25.5 percent of the patient samples. By the fifth week of the study however, 70 percent of positive COVID-19 swabs fall into the low VL category. El Zein adds that this drop in viral production coincides with a decrease in patient deaths. ... The findings were presented at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases’ Conference on Coronavirus Disease" (“Coronavirus weakening?” studyfinds.org, Sept. 27, 2020).
Covid-19 tests are detecting virus fragments that aren’t infectious. The following is excerpted from “Coronavirus cases are mounting but deaths remain stable,” by Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson of Oxford University, the Spectator, Sept. 1, 2020: “At the time of writing, the UK records 1750 new cases daily and one death in a population of 67 million. With a roughly similar population and an average of 602 cases a day, Italy has had just over four deaths a day over the last month. The ratio of cases to deaths is nowhere near what it was at the height of the pandemic. The other notable feature is a shift of cases to a younger population. There can be several explanations for this trend. ... A fourth possible and much more complex explanation is what we call the 'reality problem’. ... PCR [polymerase chain reaction] is a very sensitive test, which means that it detects the smallest fragments of the virus it is looking for by amplifying the sample millions of times. However, a fragment is not a whole virus, capable of replication and of infecting other human beings. It is a small part of the viral structure that the PCR primer is looking for, not the whole microorganism. Only whole viruses can infect us. ... You would expect all of this to be reported in a PCR results but it is not routinely done. There is worse news to come. A very sensitive test is vulnerable to contamination with extraneous genetic material (hence the need for suiting up operators). The rapid expansion of testing capacity may have degraded our capacity for sterility by increasing throughput and straining lab staff training. ... Evidence is mounting that a good proportion of 'new' mild cases and people re-testing positives after quarantine or discharge from hospital are not infectious, but are simply clearing harmless virus particles which their immune system has efficiently dealt with. ... So, we appear to have the reality of viral circulation, probably waning fast and the perceived reality of a misused and simply interpreted genial test.”
On the weekend of September 13-14, 2020, YouTube (owned by Google) removed a video interview with Dr. Scott Atlas discussing his view that the national lockdowns might have done more harm than good. The video was posted by the Hoover Institution where Atlas serves as a senior fellow. He is a prominent neuroradiologist, a professor at Stanford University Medical Center, and a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force. Yet YouTube took it upon itself to censor his science-based remarks. “Such actions might be deemed defensible when applied to videos that promoted actions that would patently endanger the health of viewers, denied the existence of the disease, or promoted conspiracy theories that included traditional memes associated with racial bias or antisemitism. Yet, a video from a widely respected think tank in which Atlas discussed a data-driven analysis of the catastrophic impact of the lockdowns does not fit into any of those easily identified categories that might deserve to be flagged” (“Censoring Scott Atlas,” The Federalist, Sept. 14, 2020). The video interview and a transcript can still be found at the Hoover Institution’s web site.
An open letter from 90 doctors, health experts, emergency room heads in Israel is calling on the government to avoid a new lockdown. “Dozens of doctors and scientists have launched a campaign urging the government not to impose a new lockdown, claiming that fears over the coronavirus pandemic are overblown and that the economic damage from such a move will prove too high a cost to bear. Among the approximately 90 doctors and researchers to sign an open letter warning against a general closure are Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner Michael Levitt and the directors of the emergency wards or coronavirus wards of several hospitals. In the letter, the experts warn that a lockdown is only a temporary measure that does not stop the virus but only delays it, thereby drawing out the damage caused by the pandemic and putting more people in danger. ‘Given the large amount of information piling up about the low danger of mortality among the healthy population, and given the lack of certainty about the the efficacy and safety of a vaccine being developed soon, and in light of the research done until now, it’s clear that the best way to get out of the crisis quickly with a minimum of death (and also damage to health and the economy) needs to center on developing deep immunity by preventing the elderly population at risk from being infected,’ the letter reads. ‘A closure is thus a strategic mistake, based on a lack of basic understanding of the mechanisms of a pandemic,’ it adds. ... One signatory was Dr. Amir Schachar, the head of the emergency wing at Laniado hospital in Netanya, which has recently seen a large outbreak within the hospital’s geriatric ward, reportedly stretching its resources. Schachar told Channel 12 news that his hospital was having no issues dealing with the caseload. ‘We know how to deal with seriously ill patients, the mortality rate is not out of the ordinary in comparison to other viral diseases, and the hysteria is totally unnecessary,’ he said” (“Health experts, ER heads,” Times of Israel, Sept. 7, 2020).
120 world-renowned professors, doctors, hospital directors, etc., have sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu demanding a recount of Covid-19 deaths in Israel, claiming that at least 30% of the deaths registered are not cause my the virus and that the mortality rate is smaller than influenza. “Member of Knesset (MK) Yoel Razvozov and leading medical and science professionals in Israel dispatched a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein and the Corona Project Manager Prof. Ronni Gamzu demanding a recount of the number of Israelis who have died of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) ... Razvozov is a member of the Knesset’s special Corona Committee. During a session Corona Committee this week, it became apparent that according to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines for hospitals, any person who dies in the hospital from any cause, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other causes of death and also suffers from Coronavirus, the main cause of death recorded in reports is Coronavirus. Razvozov said that these findings cast doubt on Coronavirus virus death count in Israel and according to expert estimates, at least 30% of people registered as dying from Corona died of other causes. ... Razvozov stated Wednesday that ‘for five months in the Corona Committee we have felt that something is wrong, that someone is not presenting us with all the data and the whole truth. Today, we understand that the method of counting those who died of the Coronavirus was fundamentally wrong. This is scandalous conduct by the Ministry of Health, which directly affects government decision-making, which leads us time and time again to closures and the destruction of the Israeli economy,’ he charged. Israel’s status in the world as a country with a high infection rate is also affected as a result of these data, and directly affects the flights to the country and the tourism and trade industries, he noted He called on Netanyahu and the Ministry of Health to ‘take this request seriously and to re-count and make a comprehensive overall assessment of the number of Coronavirus deaths. The current, most destructive, conduct is leading to unnecessary panic in the public and harming the country in a wide range of areas.’ Dr. Amir Shachar, Director of the Emergency Room at Laniado Hospital in Netanya, one of the top experts on emergency medicine in Israel and former Director of the Emergency Room at Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, said that accurate information is ‘of fundamental value for understanding the mortality rate of the disease, and for defining its risk.’ As an example, he pointed to the Ministry of Health’s data from Tuesday that there were 1,031 COVID-19 deaths out of a total of 135,288 cases since the outbreak, a 0.74% death rate, similar to that of influenza. If we added that number of infections who were exposed to COVID-19 but were not diagnosed, we get a much smaller mortality rate than influenza. ‘Hysteria. Conduct that is not based on facts. To what lower mortality rate, if any, is a closure supposed to bring?’ he demanded” (“Israeli Officials Demand Recount,” Israel Today, Sept. 9, 2020).
The terms “doomscrolling” and “doomsurfing” describe the phenomena of reading through a bottomless pit of bad news late at night thereby working oneself into a depression. Kevin Roose writes, “There is a term for that feeling when you can’t stop scrolling down Twitter, or reading news that you know will make you sad, anxious, or angry: I’ve been doing a lot of this kind of doomsurfing recently--falling into deep, morbid rabbit holes filled with coronavirus content, agitating myself to the point of physical discomfort, erasing any hope of a good night’s sleep. Maybe you have, too” (“How to Stop Coronavirus ‘Doomsurfing,’” New York Times, Mar. 20, 2020). The focus of doomscrolling doesn’t have to be the coronavirus. Since there is endless bad news in this fallen world and since the internet, social media, and the iPhone have made any and all bad news omnipresent and seemingly urgent, doomscrolling is a large and growing problem. That, plus alcohol and drugs, have doubtless been major contributing factors to the increase in suicide during the Covid-19 crisis. We have warned about too much surfing of news in these times. The best cure for depression is to make sure you are born again through saving faith in Jesus Christ and to meditate day and night in God’s holy Word. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Unplug from Facebook and plug into The Book.
A European study has found that hydroxychloroquine treatment resulted in a 30% reduction in death rate in Covid-19 hospital patients. The following is from the European Journal of Internal Medicine, Aug. 25, 2020: “We set-up a multicenter Italian collaboration to investigate the relationship between HCQ therapy and COVID-19 in-hospital mortality. In a retrospective observational study, 3,451 unselected patients hospitalized in 33 clinical centers in Italy, from February 19, 2020 to May 23, 2020, with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, were analyzed. The primary end-point in a time-to event analysis was in-hospital death, comparing patients who received HCQ with patients who did not. We used multivariable Cox proportional-hazards regression models with inverse probability for treatment weighting by propensity scores, with the addition of subgroup analyses. Out of 3,451 COVID-19 patients, 76.3% received HCQ. Death rates (per 1,000 person-days) for patients receiving or not HCQ were 8.9 and 15.7, respectively. After adjustment for propensity scores, we found 30% lower risk of death in patients receiving HCQ (HR=0.70; 95%CI: 0.59 to 0.84; E-value=1.67). Secondary analyses yielded similar results. ... Within the limits of an observational study and awaiting results from randomized controlled trials, these data do not discourage the use of HCQ in inpatients with COVID-19.”
FOLLOWING ADDED SEPTEMBER 4, 2020
Coronavirus cases rise in the UK and Italy, but deaths remain low. “In recent weeks, while case numbers in the UK and Italy have risen, deaths have not. Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) at the University of Oxford, and Tom Jefferson, honorary senior research fellow at CEBM, said this could be because tests are not able to distinguish between whole viruses capable of infecting people and fragments of the virus that are safe--but both give a positive test. Out of a population of 67 million people, on Thursday there were 1,735 new confirmed UK cases ... yet the data showed only 13 recorded deaths. This is just over 0.7 percent of the number of confirmed cases. Italy is presenting a similar picture of rising cases but low death rates, which are currently at around four deaths a day. ... A likely cause for this wide gap between new cases and deaths is what Heneghan and Jefferson have dubbed the ‘reality problem’ associated with mass testing and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests that are in widespread use to detect cases of the virus. ... ‘So we have many cases which are not infectious or dangerous to the health of the public,’ Jefferson said. ... Heneghan and Jefferson also observed that the demographic of cases testing positive has shifted to a younger age group. The ‘very sensitive’ PCR tests, they said, are picking up cases which are not infectious but ‘simply clearing harmless virus particles which their immune system has efficiently dealt with.’ Such people are not contagious because ‘only whole viruses can infect us,’ they said. ‘Young people whose immune systems are relatively more dynamic are exactly in the age group of observed positives and least likely to end with severe disease’” (“UK and Italy CCP Virus Case,” The Epoch Times, Sept. 4, 2020).
“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken” (Proverbs 3:25-26).
The panic about the number of coronavirus infections on college campuses is unscientific and dangerous. “Several weeks into the new semester, I’m sure most of you have seen the panicked headlines that are bean-counting the number of COVID-19 cases found on college campuses. What you likely did not notice buried under the headlines is that nobody is dying from these cases and very few would even know they had any pathogen if not for the obsession over testing college students and the super-sensitivity of those tests. Yet a virus that is largely less disruptive than seasonal illnesses for young adults is now being used as a pretext to turn colleges campuses into prisons for students. As of last Friday, the University of Alabama system reported 1,368 positive cases across its three campuses. But here’s the kicker: There has not been a single hospitalization among them. Thus, all the cases have been sub-clinical. What they fail to report is how many of the illnesses even rise to the level of the flu and how many are downright asymptomatic. A ‘casedemic’ is an epidemic that can only be identified by mass testing, because cases are so mild that people don’t know they have a virus. It carries no surge in hospitalization or rampant illness. The New York Times has already reported that up to 90 percent of positive cases in several states are only positive because of the hypersensitivity of the tests, which are picking up viruses that are either already dead or too low in quantity to transmit. [“Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive; Maybe It Shouldn’t Be,” New York Times, Aug. 29, 2020] ... According to the CDC, not a single college or school-age Alabamian has died from COVID-19. Contrast that to alcohol-related car crashes on college campuses, which often cause close to 2,000 fatalities a year nationwide. Imagine if every college had a dashboard for every drug or alcohol hospitalization or for every case of the flu or other seasonal illness and used those numbers as a pretext for shutting down classes or placing students under de facto house arrest. Imagine if we had mass testing with hypersensitive amplification to check for any pathogen in the body of a college student and then recorded it on a dashboard without any context provided about the severity of the illness. If the infinitesimal risk of coronavirus is the new threshold for locking down college kids, then we have a generation of young people who will face a growing mental health crisis” (“Anatomy of a CASEdemic,” Conservative Review, Sept. 1, 2020).
Potentially 90% of those who have tested positive for Covid-19 have such insignificant amounts of the virus that they “are not likely to be contagious, do not need to isolate and are not candidates for contact tracing (“Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive; Maybe It Shouldn’t Be,” The New York Times, Aug. 30, 2020).
Many governments are refusing further national lockdowns. “Some of the countries most devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic since the start of the year have indicated that, in spite of the substantial losses they suffered from the virus, they have no plans to reimpose national shutdowns to fight off the coronavirus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for instance--whose country is the sixth-hardest-hit country in the world by population-adjusted death rate--said in mid-July that he would strive to avoid a second lockdown and that he doubted one would be necessary in the future. ... pain has the fifth-highest adjusted death rate worldwide and was at one point in March the world epicenter of the pandemic. Yet, the government has declined to reintroduce a national lockdown even as cases have soared in that country following the easing of the first shutdown. One of the reasons that both the U.K. and Spain may feel comfortable avoiding new lockdowns is that deaths in both countries have remained largely flat since late June and early July. Spain's deaths have failed to spike to anywhere near the levels seen in March even as recent daily cases have at times approached the rates seen in the spring. ... [L]ast Sunday, when Italian Health Undersecretary Sandra Zampa downplayed the possibility of another nationwide lockdown but said targeted measures might be applied in localized regions if necessary. Health Minister Roberto Speranza was more blunt about it, telling the Turinese newspaper La Stampa: ‘We will not have a new lockdown.’ ... In France, which ranks 13th in adjusted deaths worldwide, Prime Minister Jean Castex said in July that his goal was to ‘prepare France for a possible second wave while preserving our daily life, our economic and social life. We're not going to impose a lockdown like the one we did last March,’ he said, ‘because we've learned ... that the economic and human consequences from a total lockdown are disastrous.’ ... And in Belgium, meanwhile--#3 in adjusted deaths worldwide, behind only Peru and the tiny Italian-bound microstate of San Marino--the country's Minister of the Interior and Security Pieter De Crem said in May that a second lockdown was not in the works. Cases in Belgium began to increase in late July ... yet cases appear to have been on a slight but steady downward trend in that country since mid-August. Deaths, meanwhile, have not risen above 13 per day since early June” (“Biden says he’d consider shutting U.S. down again,” Justthenews.com, Aug. 31, 2020).
Divorce rates in the U.S. have increased during the Covid-19 crisis. “According to a survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on relationships, 31% of couples say the quarantine has been damaging. ... With growing tensions between couples, we’ve seen a 34% increase in sales of our divorce agreement compared to the same period in 2019. ... Our data reveals that 58% of users pursuing a divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic were married within the last five years — a 16% increase from 2019. ... The rate of divorce in the south was two to three times higher than the rest of the US regions. The Southern states with the highest divorce rates were Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana. ... It’s clear from our data that the COVID-19 crisis has increased divorce rates across America--particularly in newlyweds and couples with young children” (“US Divorce Rates Soar,” LegalTemplates.net, Jul. 29, 2020).
On August 19, England reported zero deaths from Covid-19 for the first time since March 7. This good news was not reported by BBC or any other mainstream publication. With them, strangely, it is still doom and gloom and panic. “This is a remarkable event, but check the homepage of the BBC or any other mainstream publication and there is no mention of it at all. For months, the country was battered by daily headlines about Covid deaths, but with this good news comes no commensurate coverage. This is especially surprising given that the daily hospital deaths report has been the single most reliable indicator of progress throughout the coronavirus crisis. From early April, I started tweeting daily updates on English hospital deaths by the actual date of death, as provided by NHS England. ... This method meant that as early as the 10th April, we could identify that deaths had probably already peaked two days earlier. On 15th April, the Chief Medical Officer told the daily press conference that deaths were still increasing despite the fact that the date-of-death data told us unambiguously that we had passed the peak of deaths a week earlier. ... The date-of-death numbers have been in single figures more often than not since the end of July, a period when the now-discredited Public Health England deaths measure was still reporting over 50 deaths per day and giving the false impression that easing restrictions had stopped deaths decreasing. So the first day of zero reported deaths is a truly significant event. Lockdown was originally introduced in the middle of a crisis to stop the NHS being overwhelmed, but we are now in a very different situation: Weekly deaths involving flu and pneumonia are now over 6 times the number involving coronavirus, and Covid-19 hospitalisations have come down dramatically from a peak of more than 3,000 on the 1 April to an average of 50 per day now. In light of this progress, it is frustrating that decisions over local restriction measures are focusing so much on reported new cases. Now is the time for us to rediscover how to live life together to the full. Perhaps if the media played its role in reporting the news--good or bad--we might reach that goal faster” (David Paton, “A Major Covid milestone,” The Post, unherd.com, Aug. 24, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED AUGUST 26, 2020
New study finds very weak asymptomatic coronavirus transmission, which is very good news. “A recently published contact tracing study of 3,410 close contacts of 391 SARS-CoV-2 cases in a Chinese province near Wuhan during the peak months of the virus found that transmissibility seems to increase commensurately with the severity of symptoms presented by the infected individual. Of the 127 secondary infections that were traced to the original 3,410 cases, just eight were from individuals confirmed as asymptomatic. All asymptomatic individuals were followed up with 14 days later by study administrators to confirm that they had not presented symptoms. The study was published on August 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal. The study’s authors conclude not only that asymptomatic transmitters compose only a tiny slice of the spread, but that the rate of transmission increases with the severity of the illness, further validating the strategy of focusing on the sick, not the healthy. ... Researchers also found, as other studies have already concluded, that most of the secondary infections occurred among household members. Thus, putting together the low rate of asymptomatic transmission with the fact that most cases (of all severity levels) are spread in the home, why should we destroy our civilization over the concern of asymptomatic spread? Where is the evidence that a non-symptomatic individual merely passing someone for a few seconds in a store will transmit the virus? ... A U.S.-based study from the University of Florida, Gainesville Department of Biostatistics, observed similar low rates of transmission among the asymptomatic. They found symptomatic individuals transmitted the virus at rate 28 times higher than asymptomatic individuals. Another Chinese study from May found very weak transmission capability among asymptomatic infections. ... It would be one thing if just 10% of people are asymptomatic and the other 90% of those infected get fatal cases. But given that some estimates show more than two-thirds of those infected are asymptomatic, and we know most of the remaining individuals are not at risk of dying unless they have certain conditions, the asymptomatic quirkiness of this virus is actually something to celebrate, not a pretext for fear and panic” (“New study,” Conservative Review, Aug. 19, 2020).
Coronavirus hospitalizations drop dramatically across America. “As of August 13, according to the CDC’s surveillance program, those with coronavirus-like illness (CLI) are just 1.8 percent of emergency department visits, which matches the June 6 level before the surge in the South. In early July, it was up to 4.3%. Those numbers have bottomed out even lower than May levels, even in the South. Coronavirus patients make up fewer than 3 percent of patients in every region of the country. According to the AP, ‘Florida reported about 3,900 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday, the lowest daily total in nearly two months.’ ER visits for COVID-like illness are down 63% since the peak in July. Arizona has long been past its peak, even though the media continues to act as if the state is on fire. Arizona’s hospital census is the lowest it has been since June 3. And although Mondays are usually light reporting days, the state reported zero deaths yesterday and fewer than 500 new cases. In Texas, hospitalizations are down 43 percent from the July 22 peak and declining rapidly. Even the border counties, which were hit harder than almost anywhere in the country, have declined after a tough July. ... What’s becoming clear is that every major population area is going to achieve this 15%-20% threshold whether they like it or not. Even in many unnaturally confined places like ships, prisons, and meatpacking plants, although there are some exceptions, the infection rate seems to be just 25% where one would think 100% would get the virus, given how contagious it is. That could be the power of long-lasting T cell immunity, for much of the population that has already gotten partial immunity from having previously contracted coronavirus colds, unless they are immunocompromised. Take a look at the contrast between Stockholm and New York City. One city decided to panic, and one didn’t. One caused enormous numbers of excess deaths from a lockdown. But both of them achieved herd immunity between 15% and 20% infection rate ... Anticipating the coming of a de facto herd immunity threshold even before some questionable vaccine is delivered, some in the media are now scaring people into thinking there is no long-term immunity because antibodies wane over time. However, what they fail to reveal is that the same T cell immunity (even without antibodies) that prevented serious infection the first time around in most people because they already came into contact with other coronavirus pathogens, will most certainly work after having contracted this specific virus. Even the New York Times wrote an article titled, ‘Scientists See Signs of Lasting Immunity to Covid-19, Even After Mild Infections thanks to B Cells and T cells.’ ‘Yes, you do develop immunity to this virus, and good immunity to this virus,’ said Dr. Eun-Hyung Lee, an immunologist at Emory University who was not involved in the studies. ‘That’s the message we want to get out there.’ So why are our government officials immune to good news and why do they continue pre-emptively crushing our liberties without an expiration date? Sadly, there is no herd immunity or vaccine against an epidemic of power and control when its primary symptom is panic driven by herd mentality” (“Coronavirus hospitalizations down to lowest levels of pandemic,” Conservative Review, Aug. 18, 2020).
Big tech censors temporarily blocked President Trump’s accounts for saying children almost immune to Covid. “Facebook on Wednesday evening pulled down a post from President Trump in which he said that children are ‘almost immune’ to the coronavirus, saying it ran afoul of its COVID-19 misinformation rules. ... The post was a clip of Mr. Trump’s Wednesday morning appearance on Fox News where he said children were ‘almost immune’ to the coronavirus in making the case that schools should reopen for in-person learning. Twitter also said Wednesday that Mr. Trump’s campaign account would be blocked until the clip was removed. ... Mr. Trump said on Wednesday he had been talking about children getting very sick from the virus. ‘They get very sick, and they have problems with flus, and they have problems with other things. But for whatever reason, the China virus, children handle it very well,’ he told reporters at the White House. ‘And they may get it, but they get it, and it doesn’t have much of an impact on them’” (The Washington Post, Aug. 6, 2020). President Trump is right. Facebook and Twitter have no business censoring such statements. They aren’t medical gods.
Doctors are continuing to warn that more people are dying from the lockdowns than the coronavirus. “At Denver Health and other large hospitals across the metro area, the number of people showing up with cardiac emergencies dropped significantly as the state imposed increasingly strict measures encouraging people to stay at home to slow the virus’ spread. And this was not unique to Colorado--hospitals across the country and in Europe documented the same phenomenon. Had stay-at-home orders somehow also slowed heart attacks or were people in need of medical help simply not seeking it for fear of COVID-19? A new study from Stauffer and several Denver Health colleagues offers the first clue to the answer in Colorado. Looking at data on ambulance calls in Denver, they found that, while overall calls for service went down during the stay-at-home period, the number of people dying from cardiac arrests at home shot up. Stauffer’s team found that cardiac arrests at home in Denver more than doubled in the two weeks after the statewide stay-at-home order was issued compared with historical averages. ... Stauffer and his colleagues found that the number of people in Denver who died of cardiac arrests at home in the two weeks following the statewide stay-at-home order was greater than the total number of people who died of COVID-19 in the city during that time. ... The findings add significant insight to the question of “excess deaths” during the pandemic. Colorado, like many other states, has seen a rise in deaths during the time of COVID-19 that is above and beyond what can be explained just by documented deaths due to the virus or by population growth. April, for instance, was likely the deadliest month in Colorado history. ... Stauffer said it’s more likely that people who were having heart attacks tried to brush them off to avoid going to the hospital. ... Stauffer and his colleagues argue in their study that their findings need to be considered when thinking about future coronavirus restrictions and ‘the unintended consequence of the pandemic response in the context of chronic and emergent cardiovascular disease’” (“Denver doctors may have found the answer to a pandemic mystery,” The Colorado Sun, Aug. 17, 2020).
A case study by Dr. Gilbert Berdine, associate professor of medicine at Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center, suggest that lockdowns do not stop the spread of the coronavirus nor lower the death rate. The study Covid-19 in Sweden, New York, Illinois, and Texas, which had significantly differing lockdowns. “SWEDEN (blue dots) has served as a control group to compare policies intended to decrease deaths from covid-19. Sweden has been unfairly criticized for its policy despite having an outcome more favorable than places with authoritarian lockdown policies. Sweden did not close its schools. Other than stopping gatherings of more than fifty people, the Swedish government left decisions of closing businesses, using masks, and social distancing to the Swedish people. Mortality attributed to covid-19 hit a peak value of 11.38 deaths per day per million population on April 8, 2020. … For all practical purposes, the covid-19 epidemic is over in Sweden. Almost certainly herd immunity has been achieved in Sweden irrespective of any antibody test results. … Whether covid-19 will reappear this next fall or winter remains to be seen. NEW YORK (brown dots) has been a catastrophe. On March 20, 2020, a full lockdown was implemented. Nonessential businesses were ordered to close. ... In addition to the lockdown, nursing homes were ordered on March 25, 2020, to accept patients positive for the covid-19 virus in transfer from hospitals. … By April 7, 2020, within three weeks of the nursing home order, a daily mortality of over fifty deaths per day per million population had been reached. This daily mortality rate was almost five times the peak rate observed in Sweden, where no lockdown was implemented. ... The decline of deaths from the peak levels in New York, with its harsh lockdown, has followed roughly the same time course as what has been observed in Sweden without any lockdown. It is unclear whether the lockdown interfered with herd immunity or not. This will not be known until after the economy and schools are completely reopened for at least a month. ILLINOIS also implemented a harsh lockdown on March 20, 2020. There was no nursing home order as in New York. The daily mortality rate increased more slowly than it did in New York and Sweden, reaching a peak of over fifteen deaths per day per million population on May 17, 2020. The daily mortality has declined more slowly than it did in New York and Sweden, and it remains significantly higher than the rates in those places. The most likely explanation for the Illinois data is that the lockdown did indeed slow the rate of transmission among the young and healthy but also allowed a longer time for transmission from young people to elderly people. TEXAS (gold dots) had very few deaths following a less harsh lockdown than was implemented in New York and Illinois. Nonessential businesses were closed on March 31. … Texas appeared to be a success story, with a much lower mortality, and the state began a phased reopening of the economy on May 1, 2020. By late June, however, cases of covid-19 were increasing and the daily mortality rate was creeping up. The general reopening was paused, and some relaxations of measures were rescinded on June 26, 2020. The Texas daily mortality rate hit a peak of over ten deaths per day per million population on July 31, 2020. The Texas mortality peak is almost as bad as the peak rate seen in Sweden, but Texas still has a largely closed economy. Texans are debating whether schools should be reopened or not. Sweden does not have to worry about its schools, because it never closed its schools. Texas will eventually have to reopen its schools and economy. It would appear that covid-19 deaths were deferred rather than prevented by the lockdown. Although the overall covid-19 mortality is lower in Texas (293 deaths per million population) than in Sweden (570), the current daily mortality in Texas is much higher than in Sweden, so covid-19 mortality in Texas may catch up to Sweden over the next 30–60 days. Furthermore, the situation in Texas will likely get worse when the schools and economy are reopened, as they eventually must be. The lockdown appears to have made more deaths from covid-19 in Illinois than would have occurred without it. Almost certainly herd immunity has not been achieved and will not be achieved until the schools and economy are reopened. The data suggest that lockdowns have not prevented any deaths from covid-19. At best, lockdowns have deferred death for a short time, but they cannot possibly be continued for the long term. It seems likely that one will not have to even compare economic deprivation with loss of life, as the final death toll following authoritarian lockdowns will most likely exceed the deaths from letting people choose how to manage their own risk. After taking the unprecedented economic depression into account, history will likely judge these lockdowns to be the greatest policy error of this generation” (“Why Americans Should Adopt the Sweden Model on Covid-19,” Mises Institute, Aug. 15, 2020).
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that we need to move beyond lockdowns. “So-called lockdowns enabled many countries to suppress transmission and take the pressure off their health systems. But lockdowns are not a long-term solution for any country. We do not need to choose between lives and livelihoods, or between health and the economy. That’s a false choice. On the contrary, the pandemic is a reminder that health and the economy are inseparable. WHO is committed to working with all countries to move into a new stage of opening their economies, societies, schools and businesses safely. To do that, every single person must be involved. Every single person can make a difference. Every person, family, community and nation must make their own decisions, based on the level of risk where they live.”
FOLLOWING ADDED AUGUST 17, 2020
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), with 4.5 million members, have opposed school re-openings. We support them. America’s public schools should be closed until there is no more coronavirus in the world and the public education unions are driven out of business.
Multiple studies show evidence that people with a mild coronavirus infection have strong and lasting immunity. “The studies, which have yet to be peer-reviewed, uncovered that antibodies and immune cells capable of recognizing the virus were apparently present months after infections concluded. The findings could help to eliminate the previous concerns over whether the virus could trick the immune system into having a poor memory of prior infections. ‘This is exactly what you would hope for,’ Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington who authored one of the new studies told the New York Times. ‘All the pieces are there to have a totally protective immune response.’ ... ‘This is very promising,’ said Smita Iyer, an immunologist at the University of California. ‘This calls for some optimism about herd immunity, and potentially a vaccine’” (“Lasting immunity seen,” Fox News, Aug. 17, 2020).
In Massachusetts, the average age of Covid-19 decedents is 86. Only 146 people under the age of 50 have died, and none under the age of 20. When Howie Carr, host of the most popular talk show in New England, tweeted these facts based on the state’s own chart “Deaths an Death Rate by Age Group,” the Massachusetts Department of Health buried the chart. The state is down to one Covid-19 death per day (14 between Jul. 25 and Aug. 8, 12 of whom were over age 80), yet harsh restrictions remain in effect (“Baker Sinks to New Low,” howiecarrshow.com, Aug. 13, 2020).
Minnesota, with the harshest coronavirus shutdown in the Upper Midwest, has had a much higher fatality rate than the neighboring states of South Dakota and Wisconsin with much milder shutdowns. “Minnesota’s COVID fatality rate is nearly double Wisconsin’s, and more than double South Dakota’s. Moreover, both of those states’ economies have suffered far less than Minnesota’s. In fact, Minnesota has both the highest per capita rate of COVID fatalities in the Upper Midwest and the highest rate of growth of jobless claims--a remarkable exacta of policy failure” (“Covid Confusion Is Largely Intentional,” PowerLineblog.com, Aug. 16, 2020).
In Kansas, counties with mask mandates have about 77% more daily cases of coronavirus than counties without mandates. Kansas Department of Health Secretary tried to mislead the public by manipulating a chart (“KDHE doctored a Covid case chart to justify mask mandates,” The Sentinel, Kansas Policy Institute, Aug. 7, 2020).
The French government is deploying 130 riot police in the Marseille region to help enforce mandatory mask wearing during coronavirus (“France to activate riot police,” Just the News, Aug. 17, 2020).
A coronavirus gargle test invented at Israel’s largest hospital gives results in 1 second, at 95% accuracy. “Israeli scientists are testing a new ultra-fast gargle-and-spit test for coronavirus on hundreds of patients, and report that so far it is proving 95-percent accurate. The developers have built a USB-powered machine the size of an ashtray, which takes just one second to conduct light analysis of mouthwash that a patient has gargled. They are about halfway through a trial of 400 people at Israel’s largest hospital, Sheba Medical Center, and say that if accuracy levels continue to impress, they expect it to become available internationally by the end of the year. The innovation team, drawn from Sheba and the Newsight imaging company, says that the technology has the potential to replace PCR testing, which includes an unpleasant swabbing process and requires lengthy lab analysis, as the main screening method used worldwide. PCR tests are believed to be around 80% accurate. Accelerated PCR testing, the fastest current method, is not widely available and with a 15-minute turnaround at its best, comes at a financial cost and with a reduction in accuracy levels. ‘This system is very rapid, cheap, and is looking reliable,’ Prof. Eli Schwartz, head of the trial and of Sheba’s Center for Geographic Medicine, told The Times of Israel. ‘It’s suitable for mass screening, as well as airport screening, screening at nursing homes, and even screening at home’” (“In trial, Israeli gargle test,” The Times of Israel, Aug. 17, 2020).
Three medical doctors have published a devastating open letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating Covid-19. The doctors are George C. Fareed, Brawley, California; Michael M. Jacobs, Pensacola, Florida; and Donald C. Pompan, Salinas, California. The letter contains 124 questions. The introduction says, “You were placed into the most high-profile role regarding America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Americans have relied on your medical expertise concerning the wearing of masks, resuming employment, returning to school, and of course medical treatment. You are largely unchallenged in terms of your medical opinions. You are the de facto ‘COVID-19 Czar.’ This is unusual in the medical profession in which doctors’ opinions are challenged by other physicians in the form of exchanges between doctors at hospitals, medical conferences, as well as debate in medical journals. You render your opinions unchallenged, without formal public opposition from physicians who passionately disagree with you. It is incontestable that the public is best served when opinions and policy are based on the prevailing evidence and science, and able to withstand the scrutiny of medical professionals. As experience accrued in treating COVID-19 infections, physicians worldwide discovered that high-risk patients can be treated successfully as an outpatient, within the first five to seven days of the onset of symptoms, with a ‘cocktail’ consisting of hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and azithromycin (or doxycycline). Multiple scholarly contributions to the literature detail the efficacy of the hydroxychloroquine-based combination treatment. Dr. Harvey Risch, the renowned Yale epidemiologist, published an article in May 2020 in the American Journal of Epidemiology titled ‘Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk COVID-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to Pandemic Crisis.’ He further published an article in Newsweek in July 2020 for the general public expressing the same conclusions and opinions. Dr. Risch is an expert at evaluating research data and study designs, publishing over 300 articles. Dr Risch’s assessment is that there is unequivocal evidence for the early and safe use of the ‘HCQ cocktail.’ If there are Q-T interval concerns, doxycycline can be substituted for azithromycin as it has activity against RNA viruses without any cardiac effects. Yet, you continue to reject the use of hydroxychloroquine, except in a hospital setting in the form of clinical trials, repeatedly emphasizing the lack of evidence supporting its use. Hydroxychloroquine, despite 65 years of use for malaria, and over 40 years for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, with a well-established safety profile, has been deemed by you and the FDA as unsafe for use in the treatment of symptomatic COVID-19 infections. Your opinions have influenced the thinking of physicians and their patients, medical boards, state and federal agencies, pharmacists, hospitals, and just about everyone involved in medical decision making. Indeed, your opinions impacted the health of Americans, and many aspects of our day-to-day lives including employment and school. Those of us who prescribe hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and azithromycin/doxycycline believe fervently that early outpatient use would save tens of thousands of lives and enable our country to dramatically alter the response to COVID-19. We advocate for an approach that will reduce fear and allow Americans to get their lives back. We hope that our questions compel you to reconsider your current approach to COVID-19 infection” (“Open Letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci,” The Desert Review, Brawley, California, August 13, 2020).
In the U.S. military, which has continued to operate through the coronavirus pandemic, 28,700 have tested positive, while 495 have been hospitalized and four have died. That is a fatality rate of 0.01% (“Fourth U.S. service member dies from Covid-19,” The Washington Times, Aug. 5, 2020).
Another Democrat politician credits the hydroxychloroquine regimen for saving his life and thanks President Trump. “A Democratic New York City council member has credited hydroxychloroquine with saving his life after he contracted the novel coronavirus in March. Democrat Paul Vallone, who represents northeast Queens, told the New York Post he was struggling to breathe before his doctor prescribed hydroxychloroquine, which he took with Azithromycin, the antibiotic also known as Zithromax or Z-Pak. ‘I couldn’t breathe, very weak, couldn’t get out of bed,’ said Mr. Vallone in an interview posted Saturday. ‘My doctor prescribed it. My pharmacy had it. Took it that day and within two or three days I was able to breathe. Within a week I was back on my feet.’ ... A July 2 study conducted by the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit found that treating patients with HCQ ‘cut the death rate significantly in sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19--and without heart-related side effects.’ ... In a July 16 report, the Korean Society of Infectious Diseases also recommended early administration of HCQ, saying its study findings suggested that ‘patients confirmed of COVID-19 infection should be administered HCQ as soon as possible.’ ... another Democrat, Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett, credited in April her recovery from COVID-19 to hydroxychloroquine” (“Democrat NYC councilman,” The Washington Times, Aug. 9, 2020).
“The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:17-19).
On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the first “approved” coronavirus vaccine. It is named Sputnik-V, a reference to the surprise launch of the world’s first satellite in 1957 by the USSR, but it has not gone through the Phase 2 and 3 trials required by the U.S. and other nations and Russia has not released any scientific data or information about the testing procedure. Johns Hopkins University professor of heath policy Dr. Marty Makary says, “It's basically the equivalent of a Phase I trial approval when they say they've approved the medication. It’s really based on very little data” (“Putin claims to have won,” Fox News, Aug. 13, 2020).
The August issue of Pediatrics, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), examines multiple studies worldwide that show that children have little danger from coronavirus and are not important drivers of the virus. “One surprising aspect of this pandemic is that children appear to be infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, far less frequently than adults and, when infected, typically have mild symptoms ... Almost 6 months into the pandemic, accumulating evidence and collective experience argue that children, particularly school-aged children, are far less important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than adults. Therefore, serious consideration should be paid toward strategies that allow schools to remain open, even during periods of COVID-19 spread. In doing so, we could minimize the potentially profound adverse social, developmental, and health costs that our children will continue to suffer until an effective treatment or vaccine can be developed and distributed or, failing that, until we reach herd immunity.”
Dr. Scott Atlas, newest addition to President Donald Trump’s medical advisory team, says, “The risk of the disease is extremely low for children, even less than that of seasonal flu” (“New Trump medical adviser,” Just the News, Aug. 12, 2020). Atlas is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a member of the think tank's working group on health care policy.
FOLLOWING ADDED AUGUST 6, 2020
Sweden, which didn’t follow the lockdown routine, is doing well in the battle with coronavirus. “On Tuesday, Sweden reported 0 deaths and just 77 cases. Over the past week, deaths have been no higher than two per day. What is so remarkable is that while there are other countries that have had near-zero deaths for even longer, Sweden has achieved this through herd immunity; prevented the lockdown deaths, emotional abuse, drug deaths, suicides, and financial ruin plaguing other countries; and--most importantly--is more fortified against a resurgence than these other countries that delayed herd immunity. Jordan Schachtel observes, ‘Deaths have been declining for well over 100 days. This blows up the thesis that any mitigation measures (other than protecting nursing homes) were needed to handle the pandemic.’ We are now seeing a resurgence in many countries that were thought to have skated through this with minimal exposure, such as Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Germany, Australia, and Israel. The hallmark of all these countries is that they have had strict mask-wearing regimens for months” (“Sweden riding high,” Conservative Review, July 29, 2020).
Harvey Risch, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, says that tens of thousands of patients with the coronavirus are dying unnecessarily because of the politicization of hydroxychloroquine treatment. In an article published in Newsweek, July 23, 2020, Dr. Risch said, “As professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, I have authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and currently hold senior positions on the editorial boards of several leading journals. I am usually accustomed to advocating for positions within the mainstream of medicine, so have been flummoxed to find that, in the midst of a crisis, I am fighting for a treatment that the data fully support but which, for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines. As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily. Fortunately, the situation can be reversed easily and quickly. I am referring, of course, to the medication hydroxychloroquine. When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc. On May 27, I published an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE) entitled, ‘Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk COVID-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis.’ That article, published in the world's leading epidemiology journal, analyzed five studies, demonstrating clear-cut and significant benefits to treated patients, plus other very large studies that showed the medication safety. Physicians who have been using these medications in the face of widespread skepticism have been truly heroic. They have done what the science shows is best for their patients, often at great personal risk. I myself know of two doctors who have saved the lives of hundreds of patients with these medications, but are now fighting state medical boards to save their licenses and reputations. The cases against them are completely without scientific merit. Since publication of my May 27 article, seven more studies have demonstrated similar benefit. In a lengthy follow-up letter, also published by AJE, I discuss these seven studies and renew my call for the immediate early use of hydroxychloroquine in high-risk patients” (“The Key to Defeating Covid-19 Already Exists,” Harvey Risch, Newsweek, July 23, 2020). (web reference)
In the Los Angeles Police Department, 449 personnel have tested positive for coronavirus, and two have died, a fatality rate of 0.4% (“First LAPD officer dies,” Fox News, July 24, 2020).
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has joined the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in calling for public schools to reopen in the fall and warning about severe consequences if they do not. “The best available evidence indicates if children become infected, they are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms. Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults. At the same time, the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant. ... The best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children. Children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults. To put this in perspective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of July 17, 2020, the United States reported that children and adolescents under 18 years old account for under 7 percent of COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of COVID-19-related deaths. Although relatively rare, flu-related deaths in children occur every year. From 2004-2005 to 2018-2019, flu-related deaths in children reported to CDC during regular flu seasons ranged from 37 to 187 deaths. During the H1N1pandemic (April 15, 2009 to October 2, 2010), 358 pediatric deaths were reported to CDC. So far in this pandemic, deaths of children are less than in each of the last five flu seasons, with only 64. ... Reopening schools creates opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and future of one of America’s greatest assets--our children--while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff and all their families” (“The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools,” July 23, 2020, cdc.gov).
“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me” (Psalm 57:1-2).
Widespread reports about 85 infants testing positive for coronavirus in Texas over a short period of time turned out to be bogus. “Several national news organizations have reported about Nueces County after City County Health Director Annette Rodriguez mentioned at a press briefing on Friday that 85 babies were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Nueces County. ‘On Friday, July 17, during a press conference, a spokesperson mentioned that 85 infants under the age of one had tested positive for coronavirus,’ County Judge Barbara Canales said in a statement released Saturday afternoon. ‘This number reflects the cumulative total of positive tests for infants under the age of 1 since the beginning of testing in mid-March, ... However, without this context, stating this number during our press conference led many to believe that we had a sudden surge in infants under the age of one testing positive. We have NOT had a sudden surge of 85 infants testing positive’” (“Canales clarifies reports,” KRIS6 News, Corpus Christi, July 19, 2020). There are no confirmed deaths of infants from coronavirus in Texas.
In contrast to the media-induced panic narrative, while coronavirus infections have increased dramatically in Florida, the death rate has remained relatively small and the number of hospitalizations is steadily dropping. The average daily fatalities for the week ending on August 5 was 185, which is an increase over July, but the typical daily death rate in Florida of all causes is about 450 (“Stats of the State of Florida,” CDC). 42.5% of the fatalities have been among residents of long-term care facilities. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 fell from about 9,500 on July 22 to 7,600 on August 5 (South Florida Sun Sentinel, Aug. 6, 2020). “New York’s reported deaths topped 1,000 on more than one day in April. That’s in a state with 9% fewer people than Florida. New Jersey’s peak was 523 on April 20. That’s three times the current ‘record’ set in Florida--in a state that has 59% fewer residents. ... Another bit of missing context is where these deaths are occurring. ... 45% of them involved residents and staff at long-term care facilities. ... This finding also shows that what’s needed most is to protect at-risk populations, something that the generalized lockdowns failed to do. Pretending that coronavirus ‘doesn’t discriminate’ is a dangerous fiction. Then there’s the fact that Florida’s death count is almost certainly inflated because the state is counting people who died with the virus, not just those who died because of it. A report by CBS-12 in West Palm Beach, for example, found that the state has counted as coronavirus deaths: A 60-year-old man who died from a gunshot wound to the head; a 90-year-old man who fell and died from complications of a hip fracture; a 77-year-old woman who died of Parkinson’s disease. Out of 581 deaths attributed to coronavirus in that county, ‘The I-Team found eight cases in which a person was counted as a COVID death, but did not have COVID listed as a contributing cause of death.’ What’s more, only 169 deaths were listed as due to coronavirus without any other contributing factors” (“Florida Is a Case Study in Media-Induced Covid-19 Panic,” Issues & Insights, July 27, 2020). The total deaths officially attributed to coronavirus in Florida on August 5 was 7,750 which means that so far the people of Florida have a 0.03% chance of dying of that disease. Statistically, about 160,000 people will die this year in Florida. Of those, 46,000 will die of heart disease, 45,000 of cancer, 13,000 of accidents, 12,000 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, 12,000 of stroke, 7,000 of Alzheimer’s, 6,000 of diabetes (“Stats of the State of Florida,” CDC).
FOLLOWING ADDED JULY 21, 2020
Meatpacking facilities in America provide a laboratory to study Covid-19, and it is good news. There are 140,000 meatpacking workers in the industry. As of July 20, 45,807 have tested positive, but only 188 have died. That is a fatality rate of 0.41% of known infections, and a fatality rate of only 0.13% of all workers even in these close environments (“Mapping Covid-19 outbreaks in the food system,” Food and Environment Reporting Network, July 20, 2020).
A major factor in the recent increased hospitalization and fatality rate for Covid-19 in Texas is the onslaught of Mexican citizens crossing into America for treatment. “The numbers are truly extraordinary. On Sunday, 42% of all deaths reported in Texas were in border counties, even though those counties account for just 9% of the state’s population and are generally much less dense than the counties closer to the major population centers. The positivity rate of testing is almost twice as high in Hidalgo County (border) as in Harris County (Houston). Since June 1, Hidalgo County’s cases have grown by 1,800%, while Harris County’s cases have grown by 346%. Now we know why. On Friday, KVEO’s Sydney Hernandez, who has been covering cross-border news for years, reported that ‘doctors say they are not only treating Rio Grande Valley residents but people who crossed the border seeking medical attention.’ ‘One of the factors is the border, we in McAllen Medical are receiving many patients from Mexico, they are coming in because their resources over there are also limited so they are coming into our area seeking medical attention and by law we have to provide it,’ said Dr. Ivonne Lopez, medical director of McAllen Hospital Group at McAllen Medical Center. ‘The patients that cross the border say we don’t have hospital space over there, the oxygen is gone, we don’t have medications so we cross the border, that’s the situation in the border.’ Hernandez also quotes a Hidalgo County health official attesting to the fact that hospitals in Texas’ sister cities in Mexico are overrun and dysfunctional. This is why we are getting the most vulnerable people and serious cases from Mexico. That is the only logical explanation for why these counties seem to have more deaths per capita than any place in the country, especially with comparable population densities. It’s truly astounding that nobody in the state or federal government thought to either block medical tourism, issue mandatory quarantines for travel to and from Mexico, or at least set up field hospitals in Mexico at the border rather than burden our own hospitals and risk the danger of spread within hospitals of the most serious virus cases coming into our country. Americans were locked down under the premise of avoiding a strain on the hospitals, yet Mexican nationals were able to walk in” (“Medical directors in Texas border counties,” Conservative Review, July 21, 2020).
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has issued a statement opposing lockdowns. The following is from “AAPS Suggest Different Approach to Covid-19 Surge,” aapsonline.org, July 13, 2020: “As COVID-19 ‘cases’ (positive tests) surge in border states, governors are being accused of ‘re-opening too soon.’ Gov. Ducey of Arizona, Gov. Abbott of Texas, and Gov. Newsom of California are imposing more restrictions on still-surviving small businesses, and many jurisdictions are mandating mask-wearing by the public. These measures will destroy livelihoods, but there is little evidence that they will save lives. A better, evidence-based approach would be to protect the people most at risk of exposure and infection despite protective gear. These include medical and dental workers but also law enforcement, first responders, factory workers, truck drivers, clergy, and others who serve the public. Consider the response to HIV/AIDS. Despite decades of effort, there is no vaccine, but those who have been or might be exposed are offered post-exposure or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PEP or PrEP) with antiviral drugs. And of course, malaria prophylaxis has been routine for decades for those who live in or visit malarious areas. Recently published, peer-reviewed evidence shows that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is being used safely and effectively to prevent COVID-19 in exposed workers. Policemen and others may choose to take HCQ for prophylaxis in India, but not in the U.S. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has explicitly prohibited prophylactic use of HCQ by executive order. While physicians have the authority to prescribe any FDA-approved medication for any indication, most states have imposed unprecedented restrictions on physicians and pharmacists who prescribe or dispense HCQ for COVID-19. Research at Henry Ford Health System has recently shown that HCQ cut the COVID-19 death rate in hospitalized patients by half. There are now 53 studies (33 peer-reviewed) on HCQ in COVID-19, almost all with favorable results. The very few negative studies were meaningless because the treatment was applied too late to expect a positive result. To prevent sickness, hospitalization, death, and likely long-term health problems in COVID-19 survivors, governors must immediately remove all restrictions on HCQ use for pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis or treatment of HCQ. Doctors must be allowed to practice medicine.”
Hospitals in Florida are not in panic mode about the increase of coronavirus cases and ICU status; ICU length of stay and death rates have dropped in half. “AdventHealth's CEO Terry Shaw said their ICU capacities across their hospital system are running about 85 to 90 percent capacity. Shaw said they're prepared to make more space if they need more ICU beds across their 30 Florida facilities. Adult ICU bed availability across all Orange County hospitals is currently at 24.93 percent. SHAW ADDED ICU LENGTH OF STAY FOR CORONAVIRUS AND THE DEATH RATE HAVE EACH DROPPED IN HALF. ‘We have adequate personal protective equipment,’ Shaw said. ‘We have a stockpile of ventilators, and we have an amazing clinical team that have taken best practices from around the world and put them into our treatment protocols’ (“AdventHealth CEO,” Spectrum News 13, Orlando, July 13, 2020). “Daryl Tol, president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division, said the hospital system handles this level of bed capacity on a daily basis. ‘Across our Central Florida hospitals, 20% of ICU beds are still available and 16% of total beds are available,’ Tol said in a press conference Thursday. There are 16 AdventHealth hospitals in Central Florida. ‘That’s normal; many hospitals in Florida operate in this range of capacity on a regular basis. The capacity level is still within a manageable range for us’” (“ICU’s near capacity,” The Daytona Beach News-Journal, July 9, 2020).
Pediatric infectious disease experts at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine have stated that schools can and should reopen in the fall. “A commentary published in the journal Pediatrics, the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, concludes that children infrequently transmit Covid-19 to each other or to adults and that many schools, provided they follow appropriate social distancing guidelines and take into account rates of transmission in their community, can and should reopen in the fall. The authors, Benjamin Lee, M.D. and William V. Raszka, Jr., M.D., are both pediatric infectious disease specialists on the faculty of the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. ... The authors of the commentary, titled ‘COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame,’ base their conclusions on a new study published in the current issue of Pediatrics, ‘COVID-19 in Children and the Dynamics of Infection in Families,’ and four other recent studies that examine Covid-19 transmission by and among children. ... ‘The data are striking,’ said Dr. Raszka. ‘The key takeaway is that children are not driving the pandemic. After six months, we have a wealth of accumulating data showing that children are less likely to become infected and seem less infectious ... The fact that schools have reopened in many Western European countries and in Japan without seeing a rise in community transmissions bears out the accuracy of the modeling. Reopening schools in a safe manner this fall is important for the healthy development of children, the authors say. ‘By doing so, we could minimize the potentially profound adverse social, developmental, and health costs that our children will continue to suffer until an effective treatment or vaccine can be developed and distributed, or failing that, until we reach herd immunity,’ the paper concludes” (“Kids Rarely Transmit Covid-19,” uvm.edu, July 15, 2020).
Dr. Jennifer Lightner, pediatric infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone Health in New York says schools should open in the fall. “It really shouldn't be a debate of getting kids back to school, but getting kids back to school safely, ... I think children have had significant social and emotional concerns from online learning over the past several months. I don't think online learning works very well for children, especially young children, and especially children that are in poverty’ (“Back to School,” NBC News, July 13, 2020).
Five top pediatricians in America told Dr. John Torres, medical correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, that they would absolutely send their children back to school in the fall. They said, “I will; my kids are looking forward to it.” “Yes; period; absolutely.” “Absolutely, without a hesitation.” “I have no concerns about sending my child to school in the fall.” “I would let my kids go back to school.” (web reference)
A study in India has found that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) prophylactic treatment is effective in preventing infections and deaths. “The Vadodara health department has prepared a report analysing its drive of administering HCQ since April, taking a sample of over one lakh residents who took a course of the anti-malarial drug as prophylactic. Until Wednesday, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has administered the drug to 3.42 lakh persons, including health workers and other frontline staff. Each of these persons has or will have completed the entire course of the drug--400mg twice a day for the first dose and 400 mg per week for a minimum of three weeks. Of this, the administration has analysed a sample of over 1 lakh residents, who were mostly close contacts of positive persons and the effect of HCQ in containing the transmission of the virus. According to the analysis, of the 48,873 close contacts of positive patients who took one dose of HCQ, 102 turned Covid-19 positive and 12 succumbed to the infection whereas 48 of the 17,776 close contacts of positive patients who took two doses of HCQ turned positive and only one died. The study also states that of the 33,563 close contacts of patients who took three HCQ doses, 43 tested positive and one died. ... VMC Health Officer Dr Devesh Patel says, ‘The debate around HCQ is founded in the side effects of long term use of the drug for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other illnesses… So far, HCQ has not been used as a prophylactic… To us, it has shown positive results. We have the numbers and not one person has complained of complications. The only side effect reported is mild gastritis, which is common with administering heavy medicines and can be effectively handled.’ ... Dr Mohammad Hussain, president of Baroda Muslim Doctor’s Association (BMDA), who also runs Faith Hospital in Panigate area of the city, has been continuously promoting the use of HCQ among the community even now. .. ‘We have been able to restrict cases in clusters. Nagarwada no longer has a huge number of cases. ... Even in my hospital, I have ensured that all doctors and employees take HCQ as they are in the frontline. Thankfully, none has contracted the virus yet’” (“Vadodara administration drive: HCQ helping in containing Covid-19 cases,” Indian Express, July 2, 2020).
The coronavirus fatality rate increased dramatically in Switzerland after the nation banned hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) treatment on May 27 following the bogus study published in Lancet, and fatalities returned to a low rate when the ban was lifted. “President Trump expressed optimism based on studies in France and China, and the media freaked out. The president’s political opposition would go on to cling to any proof the drug would not work and suppress any information that it would. This politicization culminated in the horrific study published by Lancet that the publication quietly retracted. However, the damage was already done. The World Health Organization suspended trials immediately after the study published in Lancet. Switzerland, which had been using the treatment, prohibited the use of the drug in COVID-19 shortly after that on May 27th. The retraction was so stealth that the ban was not lifted in Switzerland until June 11th. This window allowed French researchers to analyze what happened in the entire population of COVID-19 patients during the ban. They used the case fatality rate (CFR) as the measure observed. The graph is stunning. It also the only period where the Swiss CFR approached or exceeded that in France where there has been no use of hydroxychloroquine outside a few isolated trials. The CFR returned to the highest level it had been since early in the pandemic at over 15%. Upon resumption of treatment with hydroxychloroquine, it returned to below 5%” (“Media Should Do a Mea Culpa,” PJMedia, July 15, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED JULY 14, 2020
Coronavirus deaths in America have fallen 80% since April 21. On that day 2,693 people died. On July 1, 525 died (https://covidtracking.com/data). “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an update Friday noting that the death rates from pneumonia, influenza and COVID-19 have dropped for 10 straight weeks, from 9.0% in week 25 to 5.9% in week 26 and almost reaching the point at which the outbreak would no longer be considered an epidemic. ... Alex Berenson, author of ‘Unreported Truths About Covid-19 and Lockdowns,’ said the ‘news is significantly better on all fronts’ ... ‘Deaths can lag positive cases by a couple of weeks, but they should not lag by a month or more,’ he said in an email. ‘So the decline in deaths is evidence that either the rise in positive tests is occurring mainly among younger people at low risk, doctors are getting better at treating COVID, doctors in [New York] and the early states made unfortunate and possibly preventable mistakes, or the virus itself is becoming less dangerous.’ That message has been all but lost amid the alarm over the summer surge of COVID-19 cases and talk about a second shutdown. ... “Continued efforts by top newspapers and large cable outlets to panic readers and views serve no one,” Mr. Berenson said” (“Coronavirus death rate keeps dropping even as alarm grows over summer surge,” The Washington Times, July 6, 2020).
Coronavirus deaths in Minnesota have fallen to four a day. The total deaths are 1,490, of which two were below 30 years of age. 81% were age 70 and over; 62% age 80 and over. The median age of decedents is 83.6. Some 78% of the deaths have occurred among Long Term Care residents. (web reference)
“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday” (Psalm 91:2-6).
A large new study shows that the hydroxychloroquine treatment reduces the death rate among hospitalized coronavirus patients. “Treatment with hydroxychloroquine cut the death rate significantly in sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19--and without heart-related side-effects, according to a new study published by Henry Ford Health System. In a large-scale retrospective analysis of 2,541 patients hospitalized between March 10 and May 2, 2020 across the system’s six hospitals, the study found 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine alone died compared to 26.4% not treated with hydroxychloroquine. None of the patients had documented serious heart abnormalities; however, patients were monitored for a heart condition routinely pointed to as a reason to avoid the drug as a treatment for COVID-19. The study was published today in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the peer-reviewed, open-access online publication of the International Society of Infectious Diseases (ISID.org). Patients treated with hydroxychloroquine at Henry Ford met specific protocol criteria as outlined by the hospital system’s Division of Infectious Diseases. The vast majority received the drug soon after admission; 82% within 24 hours and 91% within 48 hours of admission. All patients in the study were 18 or over with a median age of 64 years; 51% were men and 56% African American. ‘The findings have been highly analyzed and peer-reviewed,’ said Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of Infectious Disease for Henry Ford Health System, who co-authored the study with Henry Ford epidemiologist Dr. Samia Arshad. ‘We attribute our findings that differ from other studies to early treatment, and part of a combination of interventions that were done in supportive care of patients, including careful cardiac monitoring. Our dosing also differed from other studies not showing a benefit of the drug. And other studies are either not peer reviewed, have limited numbers of patients, different patient populations or other differences from our patients.’ ... ‘Our analysis shows that using hydroxychloroquine helped saves lives,’ said neurosurgeon Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO, Henry Ford Medical Group and Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of Henry Ford Health System. ‘As doctors and scientists, we look to the data for insight. And the data here is clear that there was benefit to using the drug as a treatment for sick, hospitalized patients’” (“Treatment with Hydroxychloroquine Cut Death Rate Significantly,” Henry Ford Health System, July 2, 2020).
Renowned urologic oncologist says the politicization of hydroxychloroquine therapy “resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths.” “Ever since President Trump stepped into the hydroxychloroquine controversy by announcing he was taking it as a prophylaxis to prevent contracting COVID-19, the political football was set in motion. Liberal news media promptly pounced on Trump’s decision downplaying the possibility of this drug’s potential for saving coronavirus patient’s lives. He was mocked relentlessly by the media for using it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi feigned concern over his health, referring to him as ‘morbidly obese.’ Her sidekick Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also chimed in calling him, ‘reckless.’ However, POTUS has remained COVID-free, always testing negative for the virus, I’m sure much to their chagrin. Since the beginning of the pandemic, doctors desperate to save patients lives resorted to using hydroxychloroquine. It was soon noticed that when used early on, patients recovered much quicker from the infection resulting in fewer deaths. Many of these doctors tried to relay this message to the public but often were quickly shut down. ... Debates over science are nothing new. It’s been happening for years. However, science should encourage both agreement and disagreement. And as evidence builds from more studies finding hydroxychloroquine to be an important piece of the puzzle in fighting COVID-19, I’m hopeful eventually we can find a way to agree. Dr. Marcus Zervos, the division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System admitted that ‘our test results differ from other studies.’ He emphasized that ‘just because our results differ from other published, it doesn't mean those studies were wrong. What it simply means is when looking at the nuanced data of which patients actually benefited and when, we might be able to further unlock the code of how this disease works. It’s important to note, that in the right settings, this potentially could be a lifesaver for patients.’ ... I appreciate Dr. Zervos' honesty. Hydroxychloroquine is not for every patient infected with COVID-19. Any patient sick enough to be hospitalized or on a ventilator, likely will not be helped with this medication. Research has demonstrated this to be true. However, for individuals diagnosed who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms, hydroxychloroquine can literally be a lifesaver when given before symptoms escalate. What bothers me most is the fact hydroxychloroquine worked this whole time. The media said it would literally kill you if you took it simply because POTUS promoted it as a cure. If only we could set politics aside by working together for a common good and had known sooner, thousands of lives likely would have been saved. Unfortunately, the media’s obsession with harming the president literally resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths. This is such a tragedy that could have been avoided. Instead, politics took over science and the American people paid the price” (Dr. David Samadi, Director of Men's Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island, “Let’s Admit Hydroxychloroquine Can Be a Lifesaver for Some,” Newsmax, July 6, 2020).
Charismatic Word-Faith prophets cursed coronavirus and nothing happened. On Feb. 24, 2020 Rodney Howard-Brown cursed the virus and said he had saved Florida. On Feb. 28, Shawn Bolz said “the tide is turning” and it would not become the pandemic that people feared. On March 4, Cindy Jacobs took “throne room authority” over the coronavirus and declared it illegal. On March 20, Kris Vallotton decreed that he had broken the power of coronavirus and Bill Johnson added his own word-faith declaration that no Christian would get the virus. On March 21, pink-haired Katt Kerr took authority over the coronavirus and commanded it to go away. On March 29, Kenneth Copeland declared “the coronavirus is over.” (This is excerpted from the Museum of Idolatry, piratechristian.com.)
FOLLOWING ADDED JULY 2, 2020
Deaths attributed to coronavirus continue to drop in the United States, even though the number of detected infections increase, and that is very good news. “States reported 575 US COV2 deaths today. That’s the lowest Tuesday figure since Mar 24 and down from last week’s 703. The 7-day avg falls to 525” (@tlowdon, July 1, 2020). That is 525 deaths per day in a nation with a population of 330 million. It is small compared to the daily deaths from some other causes, such as the 1,770 per day from heart disease and 1,640 from cancer. There are roughly 5,700 deaths per day in America from the top 10 leading causes (CDC.gov).
In Minnesota, 79% of coronavirus fatalities have been in long-term care (LTC) facilities, and about 98% had significant pre-existing medical conditions. Though the number of discovered infection rates are up, hospitalizations and deaths are way down. On June 29, there were only 10 deaths (four outside of LTC facilities) attributed to coronavirus in a state with 5.6 million inhabitants (“Coronavirus in One State,” Powerlineblog.com, June 30, 2020). One would think that this is good news, proving yet again that the virus is not very deadly to the overall population, but it is presented as a cause for increasing alarm, somehow. There have been 1,435 deaths in Minnesota attributed to Covid-19, which is a fatality rate of 0.026%.
Chief executives of Houston’s major hospitals have issued a statement that the level of media alarm about increasing coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas is unwarranted. “[L]eaders of several major hospitals in Houston this week urged the public to remain calm, suggesting that the extent of the outbreak has been overstated. At a virtual press conference on Thursday, the chief executives of Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann Health System, St. Luke’s Health, and Texas Children’s hospitals stated that their hospitals are well-prepared to handle an even greater increase in patients than that which has emerged over the past few weeks. The number of hospitalizations are ‘being misinterpreted,’ said Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom, ‘and, quite frankly, we’re concerned that there is a level of alarm in the community that is unwarranted right now. We do have the capacity to care for many more patients, and have lots of fluidity and ability to manage,’ Boom said. He pointed out that his hospital one year ago was at 95% ICU capacity, similar to the numbers the hospital is seeing today. ‘It is completely normal for us to have ICU capacities that run in the 80s and 90s,’ he said. ‘That's how all hospitals operate.’ He noted that around 25% of ICU patients are COVID-19-positive. But the hospital ‘[has] many levers in our ability to adjust our ICU,’ he said, claiming that the hospital capacity regularly reported by the media is ‘base’ capacity rather than surge capacity. Texas Children's Hospital CEO Mark Wallace added that his facility has ‘a lot of capacity. We have the ability to take care of all of the Houstonians that need a critical care environment, that need to be operated on, or acute care,’ Wallace said. ‘There is not a scenario, in my opinion, where the demand for our beds ... would eclipse our capability,’ he continued” (“Texas hospital CEO,” Just the News, June 25, 2020).
In Georgia, a state that opened from lockdown early in spite of doomsday forecasts, coronavirus infections have increased, but deaths have decreased. “The state's COVID-19 dashboard shows a seven-day running average of about 15.3 deaths per day as of June 15. The state's moving average has not been that low since March 28. ... The average number of daily deaths in the state has been on a marked decline for over two months, since it peaked on April 22 at an average of 43 deaths a day. Those low and continuously declining figures have defied earlier predictions that the state, which began reopening its economy on April 24, would soon see surging coronavirus numbers accompanied by a spiraling death rate. ... Though case increases have alarmed other state governors into reinstituting some lockdown measures shortly after they were lifted, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp--who in April was accused of being the United States's ‘dumbest governor’ over his reopening plans--has largely stayed the course” (“Georgia Covid-19 deaths hit 3-month low,” Just the News, June 30, 2020).
A federal judge has issued an injunction against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s orders restricting churches from assembling. “New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is wrong to limit worship services yet condone mass protests, according to a federal judge. After telling Thomas More Society attorneys in a June 18, 2020 hearing that he was “troubled by” the government’s responses, Senior U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe issued a preliminary injunction on June 26, 2020, prohibiting Governor Cuomo, his Attorney General Letitia James, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio from ordering or enforcing COVID-19 prompted restrictions on outdoor religious worship gatherings. ... Thomas More Society Special Counsel Christopher Ferrara remarked, ‘We are pleased that Judge Sharpe was able to see through the sham of Governor Cuomo’s Social Distancing Protocol which went right out the window as soon as he and Mayor de Blasio saw a mass protest movement they favored taking to the streets by the thousands. Suddenly, the limit on mass gatherings was no longer necessary to save lives. Yet they were continuing to ban high school graduations and other outdoor gatherings exceeding a mere 25 people. This decision is an important step toward inhibiting the suddenly emerging trend of exercising absolute monarchy on pretext of public health. What this kind of regime really meant in practice is freedom for me, but not for thee.’ ... In awarding the injunction, the court noted that ‘nonessential businesses’ that enjoy a 50% capacity limitation are not justifiably different than houses of worship. ... As a result of the federal order, Governor Cuomo, Attorney General James, and Mayor de Blasio are ‘enjoined and restrained from enforcing any indoor gathering limitations’ against the involved houses of worship ‘greater than imposed for Phase 2 industries,’ provided that participants follow the prescribed social distancing. They are also forbidden from ‘enforcing any limitation for outdoor gatherings provided that participants in such gatherings follow social distancing requirements as set forth in the applicable executive orders and guidance’” (“Federal Court Says,” Thomas More Society, June 26, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED JUNE 26, 2020
More than 80% of coronavirus fatalities in Canada are residents of long-term care facilities (“Study Finds Canada’s Proportion of LTC Deaths,” The Canadian Press, June 25, 2020). This means that the vast percentage of deaths are elderly people with pre-existing diseases, which has been true worldwide.
According to the latest statistics, in the United States, 92% of the 103,000 coronavirus deaths were age 55 and above; 80% age 65 and above; 60% age 75 and above (Alex Berezow, “Covid Deaths in U.S. by Age, Race,” American Council on Science and Health, June 23, 2020; Berezow is a Ph.D. microbiologist). Meanwhile, 1.16 million Americans have died since February 1, which means that 1,057,000 died of something other than coronavirus. Even in the 75 and over age category, 61,900 died of coronavirus, but 644,000 died of something else. In the age category of 45 and below, 7,606 have died of coronavirus, but 139,900 have died of other causes.
The CDC announced on June 24 that more than 20 million Americans could be infected by coronavirus, which is 10 times the official count (“Coronavirus may have infected 10 times more,” Reuters, June 26, 2020). This would mean that the asymptomatic infections are far greater and the fatality rate is far smaller than previously stated.
The number of deaths attributed to coronavirus in America continues on a dramatic downward trend. On June 22, there were only 297 Covid-19 deaths in the nation of 329 million people. That is the lowest number since March 22. “[In Florida] the virus also appears to already have gone through most of the vulnerable population and is now targeting younger people who don’t get too sick from it. According to Florida officials, the median age of those infected has gone down from 65.5 during the peak to 37. We now know from a new study in Italy of 4,326 individuals infected that 69.1% of those under 60 were asymptomatic. ... The median age of known cases has been going down from day one as testing became universally available. It started with seniors who had bad cases and now reflects roughly the median age of the population. It’s not that younger people don’t get the virus (although children are infected at a lower rate); it’s that very few get critically ill from it. Also, not a single child has died in a state of 21 million. ... This explains how the rate of cases seems to be going up in at least 20 states, yet the deaths continue to plummet. Every day last week set a new low for deaths by day of the week since the epidemic took off in late March. Deaths have been declining by as much as 20 percent every week, even as the cases have increased since late May in many states. ... Hospitalizations and ICU usage are also not on the rise nationwide, despite jam-packed protests in nearly every state for the past three weeks. ... At some point, the media needs to stop spinning all news on coronavirus as bad news” (“All the ways the media is misleading you about a record spike in Florida,” Conservative Review, June 22, 2020).
General Gus Perna, head of President Trump’s program to deliver a safe vaccine against Covid-19, said this week that it is likely to happen before year’s end. “‘What I thought was an aspirational goal 30 days ago when I was announced by the president, I have recently come to the conclusion that it is more and more likely to occur,’ said U.S. Army Gen. Gus Perna, COO of the vaccine and therapeutic development effort dubbed Operation Warp Speed. President Trump announced the joint Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services initiative on May 15, promising to deliver 300 million coronavirus vaccines by Jan. 1, 2021. ... The Department of Defense was chosen for the much-hyped Operation Warp Speed because of its logistics capacity. Perna, in particular, was displaced from a pending retirement to command the effort based on his leadership of Army Materiel Command, where he oversees some 190,000 service members, civilians, and contractors working on the military’s logistics. The joint public-private partnership to produce a vaccine and therapeutics is backed by $10 billion from the CARES Act” (“Coronavirus vaccine by year’s end no longer ‘aspirational,’” Washington Examiner, June 24, 2020).
Israeli quantum physicist Ido Kaminer calls for ultraviolet light to be widely installed as a virus disinfectant. “Haifa-based quantum physicist Ido Kaminer, working with colleagues in Europe, assessed the effectiveness of ultraviolet lights, which are being seized upon as a disinfection method in some countries, and found them to be highly effective. ... He said: ‘Our team has looked at a lot of solutions that are being proposed for reopening economies while preventing second waves, like chemical cleaning methods and anti-microbial coatings, and UV is the best in terms of how fast it can be deployed on a large scale, and the price of deployment.’ Kaminer worked with researchers at Spanish and British universities to examine the behavior of UVC light, and review existing research to asses its suitability for disinfecting against the coronavirus. The team included an optics specialist, an epidemiologist, an architect and a virus biologist, and has just published its findings in the American Chemical Society’s journal ACS Nano” (“For $1 per person, UV light can help protect world from virus,” The Times of Israel, June 24, 2020).
An Israeli study has found that more elderly die of coronavirus in countries with high numbers of long-term care facilities. “‘Old-age homes, the way they exist currently, cause deaths,’ Neil Gandal told The Times of Israel. ‘Many fewer would have died if they had been living at home.’ He crunched numbers for all 32 European countries for which they were available, and found a correlation between the use of care homes for the elderly and the number of coronavirus deaths. ‘We were stunned by this,’ said Gandal, a Tel Aviv University economics professor. The countries in his study with the highest death rates, including the UK, Italy, Spain and Belgium, all have high numbers of nursing home beds in proportion to population size. By contrast, countries with relatively low fatalities, including Greece and Albania, have low numbers of such beds” (“Why some countries suffer more,” The Times of Israel, June 24, 2020).
The Association of American Physicians & Surgeons is suing to order the federal government to release its stockpile of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19, being its proven effectiveness. “The case challenges the Department of Health and Human Services' withholding of millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine that were donated to HHS and the Food and Drug Administration. ‘Why does the government continue to withhold more than 60 million doses of HCQ from the public?’ asked Jane Orient, M.D., the executive director of AAPS. ‘This potentially life-saving medication is wasting away in government warehouses while Americans are dying from COVID-19.’ Her organization released a chart showing that in nations where hydroxychloroquine is allowed and encouraged--such as South Korea, Israel, India and Russia--the case fatality rate is in the range of 1%. But in nations where hydroxychloroquine is banned or discouraged--such as Italy, France, Belgium and the U.S.--the case fatality rate ranges as high as 18%. ‘Millions of Americans fear attending political gatherings, religious services, and even large family get-togethers without the availability of early treatment if they were to contract COVID-19," AAPS said. "Why should Americans have to wait until they or a loved one is on a ventilator before they gain access to medication to overcome this virus?’ ... ‘A perfect storm of politics in this presidential election year, along with conflicts of interest at the defendant federal agencies, has resulted in unjustified obstacles to access to HCQ, an inexpensive medication having a track record of more than 75 years of safety,’ AAPS told the court in its brief. ‘Last week the FDA even misled the public by falsely stating that HCQ should not be used to treat COVID-19, when multiple studies show its benefits, and thousands of patients have been successfully treated worldwide,’ AAPS said.
FOLLOWING ADDED JUNE 22, 2020
The media’s frenzy about a surge of coronavirus in Arizona since the lifting of lockdown needs to be given a proper context. The statistics that are most meaningful are not infections, but deaths. As for June 22, there have been 1,359 deaths in Arizona attributed to Covid-19. On June 21, there were only three deaths from Covid-19 in the entire state. As elsewhere, the coronavirus is mostly fatal to the elderly with multiple pre-existing medical problems. In Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous (Phoenix is located here) and hardest hit, 94% of the fatalities were over age 65 and had at least one chronic medical condition (maricopa.gov). 65% of the deaths were residents of long-term care facilities. Only 67 people in Arizona under age 44 have died of Covid-19. Though some reports have stated that ICU capacity is at maximum capacity, that is not the case. The total number of ICU patients (not just coronavirus patients) was about 460 on June 15. Gov. Doug Ducey said that the state’s hospitals are prepared to handle more patients and cited “misinformation” about the situation (AZCentral, June 15, 2020). Like Florida, Arizona has an unusually large elderly population because of its desirability for retirees. Arizona has a population of 7.2 million. So far, the citizens of Arizona have a 0.019% chance of dying of coronavirus. This year, statistically, 12,000 will die of heart disease, 12,000 of cancer, 4,000 of accidents, 3,800 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, 3,000 of Alzheimer’s, 2,600 of strokes, 2,000 of diabetes, 1,500 of drug overdoses, and 1,300 of suicide (probably more because of lockdown).
In Nepal, there have been 1,000 suicides during the three month lockdown and about 20 deaths from coronavirus. The suicides include 648 women (“Women committed suicide during lockdown,” Khabarhub, June 15, 2020).
Most asymptomatic coronavirus infections on the Diamond Princess did not progress to showing symptoms. “Japanese researchers were able to track outcomes for 96 coronavirus-infected passengers and crew aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which made headlines recently. ‘In this cohort, the majority of asymptomatic infected persons remained asymptomatic throughout the course of their infection,’ a team led by Dr. Yohei Doi, of Fujita Health University in Japan, reported June 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The plight of the 700 passengers aboard the Diamond Princess grabbed the world’s attention in February as coronavirus spread through the vessel while it was docked in Japan. ... Among the 96 passengers who at first tested positive for coronavirus but showed no symptoms, only 11--about 11 percent--went on to show any symptoms over the course of their infection, the Japanese team said. That meant that those 11 patients ‘had been presymptomatic, rather than asymptomatic’ for COVID-19, the researchers explained” (“Most asymptomatic Covid-19 cases stay that way, small study says,” HealthDay News, June 13, 2020).
Doctor at forefront of coronavirus testing in Pennsylvania says Covid-19 is weakening in the U.S. “Dr. Donald Yealy, the chair of emergency medicine at University of Pittsburg School of Medicine (UPMC), who’s been responsible for 30,000 tests in Pennsylvania, recently observed that those with the virus appear to be carrying lower viral loads and aren’t getting as sick from it as they did in March and April. This is why in Wisconsin, where thanks to the state supreme court ruling, citizens have been free from lockdown for nearly a month, not a single COVID-19 death was reported on Tuesday. Even though the number of positive cases has not gone down that much, deaths have plummeted” (“The new panic lie,” Conservative Review, June 12, 2020).
Dr. Matteo Bassetti, a leading infectious disease doctor in Italy, says the coronavirus is weakening. “The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity. In March and early April, the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult-to-manage illness, and they needed oxygen and ventilation; some developed pneumonia. Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed in terms of patterns. There could be a lower viral load in the respiratory tract, probably due to a genetic mutation in the virus which has not yet been demonstrated scientifically. Also, we are now more aware of the disease and able to manage it. It was like an aggressive tiger in March and April, but now it's like a wild cat. Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed, and they are breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days before. ... "Yes, probably it could go away completely without a vaccine. We have fewer and fewer people infected and it could end up with the virus dying out” (“Covid-19 is weakening, could die out without vaccine, specialist claims,” The Jerusalem Post, June 22, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED JUNE 9, 2020
In what should be a major game-changer for the lockdown policy, the World Health Organization now says that asymptomatic people with coronavirus are not driving the spread of the virus. “Researchers have previously argued that containing the virus would be extraordinarily difficult because of asymptomatic infections, but WHO officials no longer believe it’s the main way the disease spreads. ‘From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,’ said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the head of the emerging diseases and zoonosis unit at the WHO. ‘We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing,’ she added. ‘They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare.’ ... Clearly, people who aren’t sick don’t need to be shut down in their homes anymore” (“The W.H.O. Just Gave Us Another Great Reason to End the Coronavirus Lockdowns,” PJMedia, June 8, 2020). On June 8, Kerkhove tried to walk back her statement, but she had no new facts to present. She only said that asymptomatic spread is a “really complex question” and “we don’t actually have that answer yet.” She said that some estimates have proposed that as much as 40% of global transmission is from asymptomatic individuals, but “those are from models.” And we know a lot about coronavirus “models” now! The fact remains that a real boots-on-the-ground study found that such transmission is “very rare.” Further studies will either confirm or correct that, but “computer models” are just guesses.
Doctors in Philadelphia and New York say the coronavirus is weakening. Dr. Marc Siegel, physician and faculty member at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said, “The virus appears to be getting milder. People who are being admitted have milder symptoms. We heard the same thing out of northern Italy. And guess what? I have been hearing the same thing from many doctors here in New York City over the past week or two” (“Dr. Marc Siegel,” Tucker Carlson Tonight, June 6, 2020).
On June 5, the Michigan state Supreme Court ruled in favor of barber Karl Manke, overturning a May 28 appeals court decision against him. He can now stay open legally without fear of fines and other harassments. It negates a motion by the state attorney general to hold Manke in contempt and to fine him a draconian $5,000 a day. State justice David Viviano wrote, “It is incumbent on the courts to ensure decisions are made according to the rule of law, not hysteria. One hopes that this great principle--essential to any free society, including ours--will not itself become yet another casualty of COVID-19” (“Michigan barber wins,” The Washington Times, June 5, 2020). On May 5, the barber reopened his shop in Owossa, Michigan, in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order mandating salons, barbershops and other businesses to stay closed. He promised to stay open “until Jesus walks in or until they arrest me.” Customers immediately lined up for a haircut, even driving in from long distances. The next day Manke was cited by the police, but remained steadfast. “Heavens yes, I’m staying open unless they take me out in handcuffs or Taser me.” He said, “To tell you the truth, I am scared but I didn’t really have any choice. I need to work through that fear and open up” (“Owosso barber says shop will stay open,” MLive.com, May 6, 2020; “Owosso barber confirms he was ticketed,” MLive, May 7, 2020). He has been repeatedly fined, but supporters have paid them. The Michigan Home Guard posted men in front of the shop. On May 11, a judge denied the state attorney general’s motion to close Manke down because it presents “clear public health dangers.” On May 12, the Michigan Department of Licensing suspended the old barber’s license (“Michigan Gov. Whitmer Strips 77-Year-Old Barber of His License without Due Process,” PJ Media, May 13, 2020).
Over half of Minnesota coronavirus death certificates list something else as primary cause of death, bringing the official national coronavirus death toll into serious question. “What percentage of those who have been added to the COVID-19 death toll really died primarily or completely of other causes, especially those in nursing homes and hospices? How many would have died anyway within the day or week even without the virus? New data from the Minneapolis Department of Health obtained by CR shows the inflation of the COVID-19 death toll might be even higher than we first thought. ... Kurt Nelson, who spent three decades in Minnesota law enforcement, paid for a public information request from the Minnesota Department of Health detailing the information on all the death certificates of those who died in the state this year through May 25. He sorted the spreadsheet officials sent him and found that of the 741 death certificates that listed COVID-19 at all as a contributing cause of death, on just 338 was the virus listed on ‘line A,’ indicating that it was the primary cause of death. In other words, in only 44% of the cases was COVID-19 listed as the top and most immediate cause of death. ... Among those with ARD [Acute Respiratory Distress] on line A and COVID-19 on line B, the overwhelming majority were over 80 years old. Given the top-line data from the state, it’s likely that most of them were in nursing homes, where 22 percent of all annual deaths are due to pulmonary issues. This just underscores how difficult it is to truly determine the cause of death for those who had numerous comorbitities and were likely on their final months of life when the virus hit. ... At present, 83% of all deaths in Minnesota have been in senior care facilities. It’s one thing to list COVID-19 as the cause of death when it legitimately hastened their death by a few months. But in many of the cases where they died from Alzheimer’s, did the virus really contribute at all to their deaths? .. This new revelation casts serious doubt on the accuracy of the top-line death toll of 118,000 nationwide. ... Dan McGraw, president of Gill Brothers Funeral and Cremation in Minnesota, recently complained about the fact that almost all the deaths he deals with are being certified as the result of COVID-19, including those who died of cancer in hospice. ... This is likely occurring in every state. In Pennsylvania, where roughly 70 percent of official deaths occurred in senior care facilities, dementia is listed as the top condition among all those who died statewide” (“Over half of Minnesota coronavirus death certificates,” Conservative Review, June 8, 2020).
Nobel-prize winning scientist from Stanford says that the lock downs didn’t save lives, but have actually caused more deaths. “Prof Michael Levitt, a British-American-Israeli who shared the Nobel prize for chemistry in 2013 for the ‘development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems’, has said for two months that the planet will beat coronavirus faster than most other experts predict. Levitt’s projections on the pandemic were much closer to the mark than the often quoted Nile Ferguson of Imperial College coronavirus models. The Jewish Voice previously reported on Ferguson’s projections. Ferguson’s model projected 2.2 million dead people in the United States and 500,000 in the U.K. from COVID-19 if social distancing and other measures were not taken. As early as march, Levitt warned that Ferguson’s projections had over-estimated the potential death toll by ’10 or 12 times’, Zero Hedge reported. ... Prof Levitt told the Telegraph in a recent interview, ‘I think lockdown saved no lives. I think it may have cost lives. It will have saved a few road accident lives – things like that – but social damage – domestic abuse, divorces, alcoholism – has been extreme. And then you have those who were not treated for other conditions. I think that the real virus was the panic virus. For reasons that were not clear to me, I think the leaders panicked and the people panicked and I think there was a huge lack of discussion.’ ... Professor Levitt has now analysed the data from 78 nations with more than 50 reported cases of coronavirus. His investigations proved the virus was never going to achieve the type of exponential growth that the researchers at Imperial were predicting at the same time, according to The Telegraph” (“Brit-American-Israel Nobel Prize Winner,” The Jewish Voice, May 25, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED JUNE 5, 2020
The study published in the Lancet on May 22 casting doubt on the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine treatment for coronavirus HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN UNDER A CLOUD OF SUSPICION. Yet the study was widely touted by the media and was the basis for the World Health Organization’s cancelation of ongoing studies and for several governments to restrict the drug. An open letter from more than 180 scientists around the world on May 29 raised serious concerns about the scientific accuracy of the study and demanded access to the data and the peer review process. On June 4, the study’s authors and the Lancet issued a retraction. The Lancet said that the company that supplied the data, Surgisphere Corp., had reneged on its promise to cooperate with an independent review (“Researchers Retract Study Linking Malaria Pill to Heart Risk,” Bloomberg, June 5, 2020). An investigation by the Guardian found that Surgisphere’s employees have little or no data or scientific background. Last week there were only six employees listed, and one is a science fiction author and another is an adult model and events hostess (“Remember That Study Debunking HCQ? It Was Exposed as a Total Fraud,” Townhall, June 4, 2020). On June 3, there were only three employees listed for this company which is alleged to be “one of the largest and fasted hospital databases in the world.” It has almost no online presence. The Wikipedia page for Surgisphere’s chief executive, Sapan Desai, has been deleted. Desai was one of the four authors of the study that was published in the Lancet. The WHO is resuming trials with the drug. James Watson, a Thailand-based statistician with the University of Oxford’s Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, said, “Many of us in the scientific community were just very angry at seeing a poorly written and executed study published in the Lancet, given loads of publicity, and then having a hugely negative impact on carefully planned clinical trials around the world” (“Massive hydroxychloroquine study under scrutiny,” The Hill, May 29, 2020).
A large Colorado study shows a coronavirus fatality rate of 0.23%. “Now, Colorado has published the results of ongoing antibody tests with a massive sample size of 56,000. The study found, as of Thursday, that 7.75% of the entire state has been infected. That means that an estimated 489,500 Coloradoans have already had the virus. If you divide Colorado’s 1,135 deaths by the number of infections, you get a 0.23% IFR--almost exactly what the CDC pegged as the IFR nationwide! ... If you further divide the Colorado numbers by age group, you get a 0.03% IFR for everyone (sick and healthy together) under the age of 60. Even if you include all those under 70, the IFR comes out to 0.07%. ... What the Colorado data suggests is what we’ve been seeing everywhere all along--that this virus has been around longer than we thought, is more widespread than we thought, is therefore less fatal than we thought for all but the most vulnerable people, and that no degree of human intervention seems to work. When the virus is rampaging for those several weeks of the peak curve, no lockdowns work to tame it, and when the peak is over, a reopening doesn’t spike hospitalizations and deaths. Focusing on testing rates at this late stage is therefore ridiculous. It’s also very likely that because some people who get the infection don’t need antibodies to ward off the virus, we are missing a large number of people who were really infected but tested negative for antibodies. This would drive down the infection fatality rate even lower. Scientists at Rockefeller University conducted an immunological study of blood plasma samples from 149 people who have recovered from COVID-19. After attacking those cells with a sample of the virus, they found that in 33 percent of donor samples, ‘the neutralizing activity of plasma was below detectable levels.’ They concluded from this observation, ‘It’s possible that for many in this group, their immune system’s first line of defense had resolved the infection quickly, before the antibody-producing cells were called in.’ If this is true, the number of people who already have the virus could be up to one-third greater, thereby dropping the lethality of this virus even further. Furthermore, a large percent of the rest of the population might already have immunity from previous coronaviruses, as a recent study from Singapore suggests” (“Colorado antibody testing proves the CDC’s remarkably low fatality rate,” Conservative Review, June 1, 2020).
Top Italian doctors say that the coronavirus is losing potency. “‘In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,’ said Alberto Zangrillo, the head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan in the northern region of Lombardy, which has borne the brunt of Italy’s coronavirus contagion. ‘The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago,’ he told RAI television. ... Zangrillo said some experts were too alarmist about the prospect of a second wave of infections and politicians needed to take into account the new reality. ‘We’ve got to get back to being a normal country,’ he said. ‘Someone has to take responsibility for terrorizing the country.’ ... A second doctor from northern Italy told the national ANSA news agency that he was also seeing the coronavirus weaken. ‘The strength the virus had two months ago is not the same strength it has today,’ said Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital in the city of Genoa” (“New coronavirus losing potency,” Reuters, June 1, 2020).
A corona-killing device is going on trial at sports stadiums in Israel to disinfect fans. “The need to quickly and effectively disinfect large, high-traffic public spaces with safe substances has slowed the opening of sports stadiums, theaters, cinemas, military bases, railway and bus stations, airports, schools and shopping malls and requires the frequent cleaning of places that could be infected with COVID-19. But now, Israeli academics who have turned tap water into a safe disinfectant have joined with a company in Karmiel in northern Israel named RD Pack, to incorporated the disinfectant solution in a sanitary tunnel it developed to promote hygiene and safer entrance to public places around the world. The disinfection and sanitation tunnel sprays the water-based solution to provide maximum protection against bacteria and viruses, including corona-type viruses, for people and objects. Over the next month, the Sport Palaces of Tel Aviv Yafo Ltd.--a municipal company owned by the Tel-Aviv-Yafo Municipality that manages sports and cultural facilities including Bloomfield Stadium--will house the tunnel at the entrance to the stadium as part of a pilot program until the end of the soccer season. Researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan (near Tel Aviv) appeared on Tuesday at the stadium with representatives of the company, RD Pack, to show journalists how it works. ... Maor Benjamini, director of TA-Jaffa Sports Center commented: ‘We are delighted to reopen Bloomfield Stadium and host the Premier League games while maintaining the guidelines that will ensure the health of players and teams. We set ourselves the goal of being at the forefront of technology and exploring advanced measures such as the unique disinfection tunnel, to maintain health and to accelerate the return of the audience to the stands.’ ... Prof. Doron Aurbach and colleagues at the university’s chemistry department and the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials used electrodes to turn water into a simple disinfectant that eliminates viruses and bacteria and avoids the environmental damage of existing disinfectants. Working with Dr. Eran Avraham and Dr. Izaak Cohen, Aurbach was able to adapt water technology as a means of fighting pathogens; extensive tests on the product’s effects on pathogens were conducted by Dr. Inna Kalt and Dr. Dr.Tatiana Borodianskiy Shteinberg of Sarid’s lab in the university’s Faculty of Life Sciences and proven to kill the new coronavirus” (“New Israeli Corona-Killing Device Can Re-open Airports, Stadiums,” Breaking Israel News, June 2, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED MAY 29, 2020
Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker has lifted all threats against churches. “Rockford area attorney Austin Scott Davies reports that this announcement came ‘shortly before the 8:00 PM deadline given to Pritzker by the U.S. Supreme Court to respond to Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Logos Baptist Ministries emergency temporary restraining orders, filed on their behalf by Liberty Counsel.’ ‘Suddenly,’ Mr. Davies pointed out, ‘the Governor’s threats and intimidation have turned into recommendations, that churches are not obligated to follow.’ Gov. Pritzker and his legal team must have realized that his executive orders would be struck down by the High Court, as his orders abrogated the First Amendment civil rights of millions of Illinois citizens” (“Gov. Pritzker,” Illinois Family Institute, May 28, 2020). This means that Cornerstone Baptist Church in Chicago should be at liberty to congregate without threat of being closed down by the police.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has backed off of his lockdown rules for churches and is allowing them to congregate under CDC rules. This comes after 1,200 pastors and religious sent a letter to the governor announcing that they would open on May 31 with or without Newsom’s permission, citing the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and past and recent court opinions.
According to an ABC News study, the states that lifted lockdowns early have not experienced a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations or deaths, disproving widespread warnings. ABC News lead medical reporter Eric Strauss tweeted on May 29, “JUST IN: [ABC News] looked at 21 states that eased restrictions May 4 or earlier & found no major increase in hospitalizations, deaths or % of people testing positive in any of them. [SC, MT, GA, MS, SD, AR, CO, ID, IA, ND, OK, TN, TX, UT, WY, KS, FL, IN, MO, NE, OH] via [Ariel Mitropoulos].”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued a non-sensical announcement. On the one hand, he says that the Covid-19 pandemic may cause historic levels of devastation, including loss of $8.5 trillion in global output, widespread famine, and up to 1.6 billion people unable to earn a living. Obviously he is saying that the cure is FAR worse than problem! Yet he doesn’t acknowledge that it is the draconian lockdowns, and not Covid-19, that are causing the devastation, lockdowns that the United Nations itself has pushed. And he doesn’t call for an end to the lockdowns. He doesn’t say, “We know now that Covid-19 is not particularly deadly in the big scheme of things in this death-filled world; as the U.S. CDC has recently said, the overall death rate is about 0.26%, so we need to stop the national, all-size-fits one lockdowns before we kill everyone and everything. No, he doesn’t say that. Instead, he shows his globalist agenda in calling for “enhancing global financial liquidity, providing debt relief, promoting external finance, and tackling the climate crisis”! That boils down to “give us more money and power”! This Covid-19 thing is a totalitarian one-worlder’s “hog’s heaven.”
The vast majority of the 32,000 coronavirus deaths in Italy were elderly with serious underlying health problems. 86% of coronavirus fatalities were age 70 and over; 60% were over 80; the average age is 80! Only 3% were under 60 (“Covid-19 deaths in Italy as of May 20, 2020,” statista.com). 99% of Italy fatalities were suffering from previous medical conditions, primarily high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease (“99% of Those Who Died from Virus,” Bloomberg, Mar. 18, 2020).
Covid-19 is fading away so quickly in England that the Oxford vaccine trial has slim chance of success. “An Oxford University vaccine trial has only a 50 per cent chance of success because coronavirus is fading so rapidly in Britain, a project co-leader has warned. ... Professor Adrian Hill said an upcoming Oxford vaccine trial, involving 10,000 volunteers, threatened to return ‘no result’ because of low transmission of COVID-19 in the community. ... ‘It is a race, yes. But it's not a race against the other guys. It's a race against the virus disappearing, and against time,’ he said. ‘At the moment, there's a 50 per cent chance that we get no result at all.’ Hill said that of 10,000 people recruited to test the vaccine in the coming weeks--some of whom will be given a placebo--he expected fewer than 50 people to catch the virus. If fewer than 20 test positive, then the results might be useless, he warned. ‘WE'RE IN THE BIZARRE POSITION OF WANTING COVID TO STAY, AT LEAST FOR A LITTLE WHILE. BUT CASES ARE DECLINING’” (“Low virus rate,” The Sydney Morning Herald, May 24, 2020).
43% of coronavirus deaths in America are from 0.6% of the population (nursing homes and assisted living facilities). “2.1 million Americans, representing 0.62% of the U.S. population, reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. ... According to an analysis that Gregg Girvan and I conducted for the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, as of May 22, in the 39 states that currently report such figures, an astounding 43% of all COVID-19 deaths have taken place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Let that sink in: 43% of all COVID-19 deaths are taking place in facilities that house 0.62% of the U.S. population. And 43% could be an undercount. States like New York exclude from their nursing home death tallies those who die in a hospital, even if they were originally infected in an assisted living facility. Outside of New York, more than half of all deaths from COVID-19 are of residents in long-term care facilities. 70% of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio, 69% in Pennsylvania. In Minnesota, 81% of all COVID-19 deaths are of nursing home and residential care home residents. .... In New Jersey, nearly 10 percent of all long-term care facility residents--954 in 10,000--have died from the novel coronavirus. The tragedy is that it didn’t have to be this way. On March 17, as the pandemic was just beginning to accelerate, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis warned that ‘even some so-called mild or common-cold-type coronaviruses have been known for decades [to] have case fatality rates as high as 8% when they infect people in nursing homes.’ Ioannidis was ignored. Instead, states like New York, New Jersey, and Michigan actually ordered nursing homes to accept patients with active COVID-19 infections who were being discharged from hospitals. ... Contrast the decisions by governors like Cuomo with those of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. In Florida, all nursing home workers were required to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering a facility. On March 15, before most states had locked down, DeSantis signed an executive order that banned nursing home visitations from friends and family, and also banned hospitals from discharging SARS-CoV-2-infected patients into long-term care facilities. ... The fact that nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities means that the 99.4 percent of the country that doesn’t live in those places is roughly half as likely to die of the disease. ... states have the opportunity to learn from their own mistakes and do the right thing: by protecting vulnerable seniors, and letting millions of Americans get back to work” (Avik Roy, “The Most Important Coronavirus Statistic,” Forbes, May 26, 2020).
On May 28, a Michigan appeals court overturned the decision by county judge Matthew Stewart and has ordered him to sign an injunction to close Karl Manke’s barber shop, but the 77-year-old barber says he will keep the doors open. “I could care less. If they want to put me in jail, put me in jail. ... I will be governed — fair governing — but not ruled. This is a police state action” (“Court order defiant Michigan barber to close shop,” AP, May 28, 2020). On May 5, the barber reopened his shop in Owossa, Michigan, in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order mandating salons, barbershops and other businesses to stay closed. He promised to stay open “until Jesus walks in or until they arrest me.” Customers immediately lined up for a haircut, even driving in from long distances. The next day Manke was cited by the police, but remained steadfast. “Heavens yes, I’m staying open unless they take me out in handcuffs or Taser me.” He said, “To tell you the truth, I am scared but I didn’t really have any choice. I need to work through that fear and open up” (“Owosso barber says shop will stay open,” MLive.com, May 6, 2020; “Owosso barber confirms he was ticketed,” MLive, May 7, 2020). He has been repeatedly fined, but supporters have paid them. The Michigan Home Guard posted men in front of the shop. On May 11, a judge denied the state attorney general’s motion to close Manke down because it presents “clear public health dangers.” On May 12, the Michigan Department of Licensing suspended the old barber’s license (“Michigan Gov. Whitmer Strips 77-Year-Old Barber of His License without Due Process,” PJ Media, May 13, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED MAY 25, 2020
On May 24, Mayor Lightfoot of Chicago sent armed police officers to shut down services of Cornerstone Baptist Church, Pastored by Courtney Lewis. The church reopened its services on May 17. Following is an excerpt from Pastor Lewis’s letter to U.S. Attorney John Lausch, dated may 24: “Mayor Lightfoot today sent armed police officers to our small church (45 attendees today) to shut our services down today. They came with 3 squad cars, two unmarked Durango’s a Mayor representative’s car. Like the Soviet styled KGB they knocked on our locked doors; the only thing she hasn’t done ‘yet’ is beat the doors down and arrest our members. Thankfully our doors were locked as a normal safety precaution we take each service to protect our members from the escalating gun violence in Chicago. Mayor Lightfoot is defiant of the US Constitution and our freedom to worship. ... Our church has gone out of its way to follow CDC Guidelines ... We are trying to follow the laws of man as much as reasonably possible but when the laws of man conflict with the laws of God I as a Pastor have a duty to follow the laws of God. We will not be intimidated by this overhanded government bully, but we are requesting the assistance of our President and our justice department in correcting the grave miscarriage of the law. If it were not for a Chicago church practicing and reaching others I personally would be one of the people perpetuating the violence on the streets of Chicago, as I grew up on the streets of Chicago until I was reached for Christ through a church meeting together, not an online service.” (For more about Pastor Lewis and Cornerstone, see “Pray for Cornerstone Baptist Church,” May 16, 2020, www.wayoflife.org.)
Michael McHaney, Chief Judge of Clay County, Illinois, has called the lockdown “insanity” and the governor’s rules “royal decrees.” On May 22, after hearing arguments for Mainer v Pritzker, Judge McHaney issued the following statement: ““Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred: I won't get COVID if I get an abortion, but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy. Selling pot is essential, but selling goods and services at a family owned business is not. Pot wasn't even legal and pot dispensaries didn't even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential, but a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not. A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will. We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled. Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will. If I go to Walmart, I won't get COVID but, if I go to church, I will. Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families. These are just a few of examples of rules, regulations and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious, and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense. ... The defendant in this case [Illinois Gov. Pritzker] orders you to stay home and pronounces that, if you leave the state, you are putting people in danger, but his family members traveled to Florida and Wisconsin because he deems such travel essential. One initial rationale why the rules don't apply to him is that his family farm had animals that needed fed. Try selling that argument to farmers who have had to slaughter their herds because of disruption in the supply chain. When laws do not apply to those who make them, people are not being governed, they are being ruled. Make no mistake, these executive orders are not laws. They are royal decrees. Illinois citizens are not being governed, they are being ruled” (“Judge McHaney Speaks His Mind,” The Villagers Voice, Norris City, IL, May 23, 2020).
In Minnesota, over 700 Catholic and Lutheran churches have acquired legal assistance from Becket Law to inform Gov. Tim Walz that they are re-opening their churches on May 26 with or without his consent. This was after the democratic governor announced that malls and casinos and other businesses can open (@BECKETlaw, May 21, 2020). On Saturday, May 27, Gov. Walz announced that churches and other houses of worship would be allowed to host services with up to 250 people. “Rev. Dr. Lucas Woodford, president of the Minnesota South District of the LCMS [Lutheran Church Missouri Synod], said in a statement. ‘We are grateful that Minnesota decided to reopen churches, without needing to resort to legal action.’ Yet Woodford also insisted that Lutherans will remain vigilant. “We will remain prayerful and watchful, so that this agreement is just the beginning of a return to full, safe and responsible, in-person worship’” (“Gov. Tim Walz to let Minnesota churches open at 25% occupancy,” Star Tribune, May 24, 2020).
On May 21, Shiawasse County Judge Matthew Stewart ruled that Michigan barber Karl Manke can keep his shop open, saying that the state health department had failed to show that his little shop “has the potential to spread Covid-19 around the state.” On May 5, the 77-year-old barber reopened his shop in Owossa, Michigan, in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order mandating salons, barbershops and other businesses to stay closed. He promised to stay open “until Jesus walks in or until they arrest me.” Customers immediately lined up for a haircut, even driving in from long distances. The next day Manke was cited by the police, but remained steadfast. “Heavens yes, I’m staying open unless they take me out in handcuffs or Taser me.” He said, “To tell you the truth, I am scared but I didn’t really have any choice. I need to work through that fear and open up” (“Owosso barber says shop will stay open,” MLive.com, May 6, 2020; “Owosso barber confirms he was ticketed,” MLive, May 7, 2020). He has been repeatedly fined, but supporters have paid them. The Michigan Home Guard has been posting men in front of the shop. On May 11, a judge denied the state attorney general’s motion to close Manke down because it presents “clear public health dangers.” On May 12, the Michigan Department of Licensing suspended the old barber’s license (“Michigan Gov. Whitmer Strips 77-Year-Old Barber of His License without Due Process,” PJ Media, May 13, 2020). But he kept the shop opened and has vowed to fight on. Now on May 21 he has a green light from the judge. It is yet to be seen what the governor will try next to harass this persistent barber.
Doctors in northern California say they have seen more deaths from suicide than from the coronavirus, call for end to lockdown. “Doctors at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek say they have seen more deaths by suicide during this quarantine period than deaths from the COVID-19 virus. The head of the trauma in the department believes mental health is suffering so much, it is time to end the shelter-in-place order. ‘Personally I think it’s time,’ said Dr. Mike deBoisblanc. ‘I think, originally, this (the shelter-in-place order) was put in place to flatten the curve and to make sure hospitals have the resources to take care of COVID patients.We have the current resources to do that and our other community health is suffering.’ ... ‘We've never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,’ he said. ‘I mean we've seen a year's worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.’ Kacey Hansen has worked as a trauma nurse at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for almost 33 years. She is worried because not only are they seeing more suicide attempts, she says they are not able to save as many patients as usual. ‘What I have seen recently, I have never seen before,’ Hansen said. ‘I have never seen so much intentional injury’” (“Suicides on the rise,” ABC7 News, May 22, 2020).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published new statistics on coronavirus fatalities that is thirteen times lower than previous ones, and that is good news. “The CDC just came out with a report that should be earth-shattering to the narrative of the political class, yet it will go into the thick pile of vital data and information about the virus that is not getting out to the public. For the first time, the CDC has attempted to offer a real estimate of the overall death rate for COVID-19, and under its most likely scenario, the number is 0.26%. Officials estimate a 0.4% fatality rate among those who are symptomatic and project a 35% rate of asymptomatic cases among those infected, which drops the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) to just 0.26%--almost exactly where Stanford researchers pegged it a month ago. Until now, we have been ridiculed for thinking the death rate was that low, as opposed to the 3.4% estimate of the World Health Organization, which helped drive the panic and the lockdowns. Now the CDC is agreeing to the lower rate in plain ink. Plus, ultimately we might find out that the IFR is even lower because numerous studies and hard counts of confined populations have shown a much higher percentage of asymptomatic cases. Simply adjusting for a 50% asymptomatic rate would drop their fatality rate to 0.2%--exactly the rate of fatality Dr. John Ionnidis of Stanford University projected” (“Does this CDC study deliver the knockout blow in the Covid lockdown debate?’ Townhall, May 24, 2020).
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs, Mississippi, granting an injunction against the city’s refusal to allow the church to congregate. “Attorney Stephen Crampton, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society, stated, “This is a huge win for religious liberty, and it arrived on the same day that President Trump issued a call for reopening churches. While the whole of society has been forced to adopt social distancing behaviors, no city or state has the authority to hold religious organizations to a higher degree of isolation than other entities. First Pentecostal Church should not be more restricted than the retail outlets of Holly Springs, and we are thankful that the Fifth Circuit has enjoined enforcement of the Holly Springs Order’” (“Destroyed Mississippi Church,” Reformation Charlotte, May 22, 2020). An arson burned the church building down on May 19 and left graffiti at the scene saying, “Bet you stay home now, you Hypocrits.”
On May 22, President Trump declared churches and other houses of worship “essential services” and called on governors to allow them to reopen “immediately.” He said, “Today I’m identifying houses of worship--churches, synagogues and mosques--as essential places that provide essential services. ... Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential [but not churches]. It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. ... Governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now--for this weekend.”
A $21 million Brooklyn Field Hospital has closed after treating zero patients, and that’s good news The computer models were seriously wrong. “All told, the state spent upwards of $350 million on facilities that were built but never used. ... Governor Andrew Cuomo panicked and built facilities for tens of thousands more beds than the state needed. He relied on the same bogus models that were predicting a million dead Americans. ... On April 1, de Blasio said the city could need as many as 65,000 hospital beds and 20,000 critical care beds by May 1. With hospitalizations peaking at 12,000, not 65,000, someone has a lot of explaining to do. .... We know for a fact that the CDC and the White House task force relied on models coming from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Those predictive models proved to be worse than useless, as they have apparently panicked some state officials and the CDC into overreacting to the pandemic” (“$21 Million Brooklyn Field Hospital Closes,” PJMedia, May 23, 2020).
Dr. Anthony Fauci is now saying that lockdowns that extend too long could cause “irreparable damage.” “Fauci said during an interview on CNBC, ‘I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go. But now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to begin to seriously look at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try to get back to some degree of normal.’ ... Fauci’s comments came one day after two top Republicans--Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona--wrote in an op-ed that Fauci’s initial safety recommendations had ‘emasculated’ the nation’s health care system and ‘ruined’ its economy. Fauci and company have relied on models that were later found to be deficient. He even has suggested that he can’t rely on any of the models, especially if the underlying assumptions are wrong,’ the pair wrote in USA Today. ‘Yet, Fauci persists in advocating policies that have emasculated the medical care system and ruined the economy’” (“Fauci says,” Fox News, May 22, 2020).
Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, believes that the Covid-19 fatality rate is somewhere between 0.1% and 0.01% and remaining in lockdown is “extremely dangerous.” In an interview with Unherd in the UK, Professor Gupta said, “In almost every context we’ve seen the epidemic grow, turn around and die away — almost like clockwork. Different countries have had different lockdown policies, and yet what we’ve observed is almost a uniform pattern of behaviour which is highly consistent with the SIR model. To me that suggests that much of the driving force here was due to the build-up of immunity. I think that the epidemic has largely come and is on its way out in this country so I think it would be definitely less than 1 in 1000 and probably closer to 1 in 10,000. ... The question is, should we act on a possible worst case scenario, given the costs of lockdown? It seems to me that given that the costs of lockdown are mounting, that case is becoming more and more fragile. ... Remaining in a state of lockdown is extremely dangerous from the point of view of the vulnerability of the entire population to new pathogens. ... I think it is very dangerous to talk about lockdown without recognising the enormous costs that it has on other vulnerable sectors in the population” (“Sunetra Gupta: Covid-19 is on the way out,” Unherd.com, May 21, 2020).
Greece is reopening its restaurants and cafes and the ferry services to its popular islands three weeks earlier than previously anticipated in an attempt to restart its tourist industry. The country, which has been locked down since late March, has had only 171 deaths. Passenger limits are in place for the ferries and restaurants are required to reduce seating capacity. “A critical component of the Greek economy, tourism directly contributes more than 10 percent of the country’s GDP, as Greece struggles to arise from years of financial crisis. According to government data, over 34 million visitors visited Greece last year, spending about $19.5 billion.” (Fox News, May 25, 2020).
Neil Ferguson, whose computer model massively contributed to global coronavirus panic, resigned in disgrace after he broke the social distancing rules by conjugal visits to a married woman. “A leading British expert on coronavirus who pushed for the country to go into lockdown has resigned as a government adviser after breaching the quarantine rules. A government spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Neil Ferguson had resigned from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), after the Telegraph reported he had received at least two visits from his married lover and therefore broken social distancing rules. ... Earlier in the crisis, Ferguson, a professor from Imperial College London, had predicted that more than 500,000 Brits would die without a lockdown” (“Coronavirus adviser resigns,” Politico, May 5, 2020). “David Richards, co-founder of British data technology company WANdisco, told the Daily Telegraph, that the model created by Ferguson was a ‘buggy mess that looks more like a bowl of angel hair pasta than a finely tuned piece of programming.’ Richards added, ‘In our commercial reality, we would fire anyone for developing code like this and any business that relied on it to produce software for sale would likely go bust’” (“Nobel Laureate Scientists: Lockdown May Have Cost More Lives Than It Saved,” The Daily Wire, May 25, 2020).
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who never issued a stay-at-home order and has officially reopened all stores, restaurants, etc., at reduced capacity, says America has to learn to live with and manage Covid-19 instead of lockdown. “Well, my thinking is that we have to manage the risk. We take the virus very seriously. It’s a risk, it causes death, but you can’t cloister yourself in home. That is just contrary to the American spirit. And we have to discipline ourselves. We have to manage the risk. I make the comparison with--you know, you can be in an automobile and it’s very risky, but you manage the risk by wearing a seat belt. ... we have to manage the risk, grow our economy. We have to come back, and not just in Arkansas, but nationally, because this virus is deadly, but it’s going to be with us a while ... I think you have to exercise discipline and make sure you have the right constraints in place. And so, it’s education. .... We got to think about next fall. Where are we going to be? We’re not going to be cloistered in our home. That’s contrary to the American spirit. We’ve got to manage the risk next fall by the infrastructure that we’re building now” (“Arkansas Gov. on Fox News Sunday,” May 24, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED MAY 21, 2020
Israel is a scientific laboratory for Covid-19, and it is good news. As of May 21, there have been 16,667 confirmed Covid-19 infections and 277 deaths. That is a 1.6% fatality rate, but, of course, since only a select number were tested, the infection rate is actually higher and the fatality rate, therefore lower. The average age of the fatalities in Israel is 81.3, which means that most were older than 81. Only 10 have died who were under age 60. The vast majority of fatalities are people who already had multiple diseases. “[The] Health Ministry has provided age profiles for the first 237 fatalities. There were two people in their thirties, three in their forties, seven in their fifties, and 23 in their sixties. The rest were aged 70 or older, and the average age of the entire group was 81.3. The data did not include details of preexisting conditions” (“Most people we lost to Covid were already near death,” The Times of Israel, May 20, 2020). The directors of hospitals in Israel say that most patients were elderly and sick. “‘Coronavirus was the thing that tipped them over, but to be honest, for most of these patients who died here in Shaare Zedek [Medical Center], the chance is they had a year of life expectancy, not much more,’ said Ofer Merin [director general]. ... ‘Most of the patients who died would maybe be alive now, but coronavirus didn’t affect them in a different way than flu,’ he said, drawing a parallel between COVID-19 and common influenza as diseases whose fatalities are mostly elderly people with preexisting conditions. ‘We did not lose a single patient who was a healthy young person,’ he commented. ... At Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, chief medical officer Eyal Zimlichman also reported a high incidence of other illnesses in patients who have died from COVID-19. ‘The vast majority had preexisting conditions, more than 95%,’ he told The Times of Israel, adding that the average age of death in his hospital’s coronavirus wards has been 75 to 80. ... testing that shows that only 3% of the 4,500 staff members caught the virus” (“Most people we lost to Covid were already near death,” The Times of Israel, May 20, 2020).
On May 19, more than 600 medical doctors signed a letter to President Trump warning that continued coronavirus shutdowns are causing a “mass casualty event” with “exponentially growing health consequences” that will cause “millions of casualties.” “We write to you today to express our alarm over the exponentially growing negative health consequences of the national shutdown. In medical terms, the shutdown was a mass casualty incident. During a mass casualty incident, victims are immediately triaged to black, red, yellow, or green. The first group, triage level black, includes those who require too many resources to save during a mass crisis. The red group has severe injuries that are survivable with treatment, the yellow group has serious injuries that are not immediately life threatening, and the green group has minor injuries. The red group receives highest priority. The next priority is to ensure that the other two groups do not deteriorate a level. Decades of research have shown that by strictly following this algorithm, we save the maximum number of lives. Millions of Americans are already at triage level red. These include 150,000 Americans per month who would have had a new cancer detected through routine screening that hasn’t happened, millions who have missed routine dental care to fix problems strongly linked to heart disease/death, and preventable cases of stroke, heart attack, and child abuse. Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%. Tens of millions are at triage level yellow. Liquor sales have increased 300-600%, cigarettes sales have increased, rent has gone unpaid, family relationships have become frayed, and millions of well-child check-ups have been missed. Hundreds of millions are at triage level green. These are people who currently are solvent, but at risk should economic conditions worsen. Poverty and financial uncertainty is closely linked to poor health. A continued shutdown means hundreds of millions of Americans will downgrade a level. ... The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure” (“Doctors raise alarm about health effects of continued coronavirus shutdown,” Fox News, May 20, 2020).
ABC Chicago reported that more than 100 churches congregated in Chicago on May 17 in spite of a Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s lockdown order prohibiting religious gatherings of more than 10 people. Pastor Pervis Thomas of New Canaan Land Mount Baptist Church said, “We just want you to look at our church, at God's house as being more essential to than the liquor stores” (“Churches reopen for Sunday service,” ABC 7 Chicago, May 18, 2020). The meetings were held in spite of a ruling n May 13 by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman rejecting a lawsuit by two churches seeking a restraining order against the enforcement of the governor’s order. In a ruling that went against the grain of other court rulings that have favored the churches, Gettleman said the request for an injunction is “ill-founded and selfish.”
Pastor Stacey Shiflett, Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk, Maryland, tore up a cease-and-desist letter during his sermon on Wednesday night, May 20, saying that Hebrews 10:25 is “God’s parameters” and “we’re gonna do it God’s way.” Pastor Shiflett posted a one-minute video clip of this on his Twitter account. “God communicates His plan and His will for His church, not Egypt, and I’m telling you right now with the cease-and-desist letter in my hand, the Bible says to the New Testament church, ‘Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but so much more as you see the day approaching,’ and the close we get to Jesus coming back, the more church we ought to be having, not less church. Now that’s God parameters. So I’m tearing up this cease-and-desist order right here, and I’m telling you right now, we’re gonna to it God’s way! God tells us how to worship Him, nobody else gets to do that.” Fox News reported further, “Shiflett said a number of other churches in the state plan on reopening this Sunday during Memorial Day weekend and he is attending a ReOpen Maryland freedom rally Friday to offer a prayer after he was invited by organizers. ... David Gibbs III of the National Center for Life and Liberty and legal counsel for Calvary Baptist told the local CBS station: ‘If Walmart’s open, it’s time for the churches to be open.’ ... The pastor doesn’t plan on budging: ‘I don't plan on shutting the church. If they fine us, I'm not paying it. It's unconstitutional. They don't have a leg to stand on’” (“Baltimore pastor rips up cease-and-desist order,” Fox News, May 21, 2020).
On May 20, lawyers representing more than 1,200 California pastors sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, declaring religious services essential and announcing that the churches would start congregating on May 31 with or without the governor’s permission, citing the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and past and recent court opinions. The letter was entitled “A Letter to Governor Gavin Newsom from Churches - Declaration of Essentiality.” The letter says, “The clergy of this state are convinced that they must reopen their ministries to fully serve the needs of their communities. The spiritual services of ministries are absolutely essential to the health and welfare of the people of California. ... The indefinite nature of the restrictions on faith-based meetings is in violation of the very principles this country was founded upon. The Declaration of Independence was established in a time of fear and distress, but our founding fathers led the colonies with courage and conviction. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.’ ... The clergy is convinced that “we the people” are ultimately responsible to protect the individual liberties that may be lost unnecessarily during times of crisis regardless of whether public officials’ actions are well intentioned. Without the checks and balances of the courts and legislature, the clergy now stand as a counterbalance to unchecked regulatory action. We do not intend or desire to be mere contrarians, but we intend take our appropriate role in the governance of our state. ... Again, we believe you are attempting to act in the best interests of the state, but the restrictions have gone too far and for too long. In order to restore the proper balance between public safety and individual liberties, the clergy we represent have declared their intent to begin holding in-person church services beginning on Sunday, May 31, 2020. All services will be held in compliance with CDC and state guidelines for social distancing as is required of ‘essential businesses’” (Tyler & Bursch law firm, Tylerbursch.com).
Two new studies show that Covid-19 antibodies provide immunity from the virus. The studies by Beth Israel Deanconness Medical Center, published on May 20 in the journal Science, used laboratory monkeys. They show that the antibodies provide protection, whether they are triggered by an infection or a vaccine. These are among the first peer-reviewed papers on the subject. “Dr. Dan Barouch, head of Beth Israel’s Center for Virology and Vaccine Research and lead author of the studies, said more research must be done to determine whether the findings apply to humans. But he’s hopeful, given that humans and rhesus macaque monkeys share 93 percent of the same genetic makeup. ‘I can say these data increase our optimism that natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity can be achieved in humans.’ Neither study determined whether the immunity response is permanent or how long it may last. Still, other vaccine experts were buoyed by the findings. Dr. Louis Picker, associate director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, said the studies ‘convinced me that this is an infection that will be controllable with vaccination’” (“Two studies suggest Covid-19 antibodies provide immunity,” The Boston Globe, May 20, 2020).
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now says the coronavirus “does not spread easily” from “touching surfaces or objects.” “For those of you still wiping down groceries and other packages amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, breathe a sigh of relief: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says the novel virus “does not spread easily” from ‘touching surfaces or objects’--but experts warn that doesn’t mean it’s no longer necessary to take ‘practical and realistic’ precautions in stopping the spread of COVID-19. ... The change comes after a preliminary study from March suggested that the novel coronavirus can remain in the air for up to three hours, and live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to three days, prompting many to take to wiping down packages and other items. However, at the time, the study was yet not peer-reviewed, and, as Yahoo notes, did not determine if people could be infected from touching certain surfaces analyzed. Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer for the healthcare website WebMD, called the CDC’s changes an ‘important step in clarifying how the virus is spread, especially as we gain new information.’ ‘It also may help reduce anxiety and stress. Many people were concerned that by simply touching an object they may get coronavirus and that’s simply not the case. Even when a virus may stay on a surface, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually infectious,’ Whyte told Fox News in an email” (“CDC now says coronavirus ‘does not spread easily’ via contaminated surfaces,” Fox News, May 20, 2020).
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, debunks a widely cited study that concluded that treating Covid-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine is unsafe. “The Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration have been using hydroxychloroquine for 65 years for diseases such as malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, Wilkie told reporters Tuesday afternoon during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. ‘On any given day, the VA uses 42,000 doses of this drug,’ he said. Wilkie emphasized that the study in question was not conducted by the VA as has been widely reported. As WND has reported, it was a ‘UVA’ study, short for the University of Virginia. ‘Researchers took VA numbers and they did not clinically review them,’ Wilkie said. ‘They were not peer reviewed. They did not even look at ... the various comorbidities that the patients who were referenced in that study had.’ The researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine said they found that more patients who took hydroxychlorquine died than those who didn't. Renowned infectious disease specialist Dr. Stephen Smith--who has promoted hydroxychloroquine as a ‘game changer,’ reporting success among his patients--has called the Virginia study a ‘sham.’ [Dr. Smith, a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine and a former research scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is the director of the Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health in East Orange, New Jersey. He says, ‘I've never seen an efficacy trial of any drug where they didn’t list the dose or the days of therapy. It’s a complete joke.’] ... ‘Those of us who have had a military life--some of us around this table--we’ve been taking this drug for years,’ Wilkie said of hydroxychloroquine. ... Wilkie pointed out that New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked for ‘tens of thousands of doses’ of hydroxychloroquine for ‘frontline workers’” (“VA chief rebuts ‘phony’ study discrediting Trump drug,” WorldNetDaily, May 19, 2020).
“O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing” (Psalm 34:9-10).
Israel is reopening synagogues, restaurants, clubs, hotels, beaches, Temple Mount (The Times of Israel, May 19, 2020).
The sheriff of Dupage County, Illinois, James Mendrick, issued a public statement that they are not stormtroopers and they will not victimize lawful residents of the county for trying to put food on their children’s table. In a Facebook post dated May 17, the sheriff said, “As Sheriff, I feel that my own 1st amendment constitutional right to free speech has been completely trampled on by a governor who has threatened my Offices’ reimbursement and grant funds as a tool to force me not to speak. I just can’t do this any more. I stand with our citizens and businesses of DuPage County who have offered no trouble or no resistance to any rule we put upon them, no matter how strange. ... We are not stormtroopers. We are peacekeepers. All these years, you have told us that you want law enforcement that thinks before arresting, doesn’t violate your rights and treats their citizens with decency. Now you have that and are asking us to regress into what you didn’t want and didn’t deserve. Please let us be the law enforcement you always asked us to be. Non oppressive. ... This is not the time to introduce fear into our society by threatening class A misdemeanors,but instead it’s a time to assist our citizens and businesses to get back on their feet. I feel DuPage County is ready to re-open responsibly before everything is gone and I will not victimize lawful residents of DuPage County trying to put food on their children’s table.”
Dr. Karol Sikora, founding dean and professor of Medicine at the University of Buckingham Medical School and an ex-director of the WHO Cancer Program, stated in a recent interview that the virus is showing signs of “petering out” and the lockdown fear is causing more damage than the virus. Following are highlights from the interview: “In the past two weeks, the virus is showing signs of petering out. It’s as though the virus is ‘getting tired.’ It’s happening across the world at the same time. ... Sweden’s end result will not be different to ours--lockdown versus no lockdown. When the history books are written, the fear will have done much more damage than the virus, including large numbers of cancer and cardiological patients not being treated and dying unnecessarily. We should have got the machinery of the NHS for non-corona patients back open earlier. We should move to 1m social distancing which means restaurants and bars could reopen. More schools should reopen in June as ‘children are not the transmitters of this virus.’ We should be getting back to the ‘old normal’ not a ‘new normal’” (“Professor Karol Sikora,” Unherd.com, UK, May 18, 2020).
Infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Smith says that “American medicine has gone nuts” and “there’s just a craziness out there.” Dr. Smith is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine and a former research scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He has promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine therapy because of his own experiences with it and because of studies worldwide that have proven it to be safe and effective. In other words, he promotes it because of the science. “‘I don't have words to describe how frustrating this is,’ he said in a phone interview Wednesday morning with WND. ‘There's just a craziness out there, and I don't know how to correct it,’ Smith said. ‘The truth doesn't matter any more.’ Smith said the disconnect between the data and the statements of scientists who have access to that data is ‘unbelievably frustrating.’ ‘American medicine has gone nuts,’ he said. ‘It's one thing for the press to go nuts, but doctors have done that. The Journal of American Medicine has done that.’ ... Smith said the ‘consistency of approach to analyzing data is gone,’ and he finds it difficult to engage with colleagues on the subject of hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19. ‘Either I've gone nuts or they have, but we can't both be sane,’ said Smith, the director of the Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health in East Orange, New Jersey. ... Smith, who he has been taking hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic since early March, before he began treating COVID patients, said he has no financial gain in hydroxychloroqine. ‘To me, I just want to know the truth,’ he said. ‘The truth in medicine will come out eventually’” (“Infectious-disease expert,” WorldNetDaily, May 20, 2020).
The Trump administration has reproved the United Nations for using coronavirus financial aid to pressure countries to legalize abortion. “The Trump administration is blasting the United Nations for promoting abortion during the pandemic, particularly their efforts to push countries to legalize the practice using coronavirus aid funds. In a Monday letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, U.S. Agency for International Development Acting Administrator John Barsa criticized the U.N., writing, ‘The UN should not intimidate or coerce Member States that are committed to the right to life.’ ‘To use the COVID-19 pandemic as a justification to pressure governments to change their laws [on abortion] is an affront to the autonomy of each society to determine its own national policies on health care. The United States stands with nations that have pledged to protect the unborn.’ Barsa told the U.N. to stop promoting abortion as part of its work fighting the disease and noted how the United States had given the organization $3.5 billion. The USAID administrator also told the U.N. to strike ‘sexual and reproductive health services’ as part of their humanitarian response plan for the virus and observed how the effort placed abortions on par with food-insecurity, medical care, sanitation, shelter, and malnutrition. ‘[T]he U.N. should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an essential service,’ Barsa said” (“Trump administration blasts UN abortion push with Covid-19 aid funds,” The Christian Post, May 20, 2020). “Barsa’s letter comes after President Trump last month ended roughly $400 million in annual aid to the UN’s World Health Organization” (“US foreign aid agency accuses UN of ‘promoting abortion,’” New York Post, May 18, 2020). “The letter comes amid Ecuadoran political and pro-life leaders’ complaints about the UN using coronavirus aid money to pressure it to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions. Ecuador protects unborn babies’ right to life” (“Trump Admin Slams UN,” LifeNews, May 18, 2020).
A death metal rocker, who was in a coma in intensive care for two weeks with Covid-19, said he experienced a trip to hell and now has “a belief in a higher power” and doesn’t “think Satan’s quite as cool as I used to.” “Death metal drummer, Will Carroll of the group ‘Death Angel’ came down with coronavirus in March. ... On March 30 he came out of his coma. ‘I woke up on the hospital bed with tubes coming in and out of me, and there was a nurse right there and my first words were, Am I still in hell? She ignored me.’ He says, ‘As far as for my personal life and my experience of what I went through, I don’t think Satan’s quite as cool as I used to’” (“For Death Angel drummer, coming out coronavirus coma was like escaping hell,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED MAY 18, 2020
The U.S. courts continue to side with churches against the governors’ lockdown orders. Most recently, on May 16, a federal judge blocked North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s restrictions on indoor religious services during the Covid-19 pandemic. As stated earlier, Cooper was already under heavy pressure from police chiefs and sheriffs who disagreed with the policy. “Judge James C. Dever III sided with two Baptist churches who argued Gov. Cooper's restrictions on indoor church services violate their rights to worship and treat churches differently than secular entities like retailers. While Dever believes the governor has acted in good faith, the judge also finds restrictions applied to one group and not another burden religious freedom and do little to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the judge wrote in a 22-page order. ‘The record, at this admittedly early stage of the case, reveals that the Governor appears to trust citizens to perform non-religious activities indoors (such as shopping or working or selling merchandise) but does not trust them to do the same when they worship indoors together,’ Judge Dever wrote in his order. A spokesman for the governor, Ford Peter, said the governor will not appeal the decision despite disagreeing with the judge’s ruling” (“Federal Judge Blocks,” Townhall, May 16, 2020). On May 8, a federal judge in Kentucky overturned Gov. Andy Beshear’s ban on mass gatherings relating to churches. On April 27, a county circuit judge in southern Illinois, ruled that Gov. J.B. Pritzer’s stay-at-home order exceeds his emergency authority and violates individual civil rights. On April 26, a federal judge ruled that a church in Mississippi can reopen without fear of being shut down again or threatened by local government or its police force. On April 12, District Judge Justin Walker in Louisville, Kentucky, issued a sharply-worded restraining order blocking enforcement of Mayor Greg Fischer’s ban on drive-in church services. On April 14, the mayor of Greenville, Mississippi, nixed his ban of drive-in church after intervention by the U.S. Justice Department and the state governor in support of Temple Baptist Church and King James Baptist Church. On April 9, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department is watching local and state governments to protect religious rights, saying that religious liberty is the “first liberty, the foundation of our republic” and that any restrictions must be imposed equally on other types of gatherings and cause the least burden on First Amendment rights.
The coronavirus computer models were wrong about the state of Florida. On March 24, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper cited “A Stanford University-based group, COVID ACT NOW, model that projected the following: With limited action, Florida’s hospitals would reach an overload of over 465,000 patients by April 24; with three months of social distancing, Florida would still see 185,000 hospitalizations by May 14; with mandatory sheltering in place, the need is reduced to 18,000 hospitalizations by July.” On March 26, the Miami Herald cited experts from Stanford, Harvard, and Northeastern universities that predicted “anywhere from 450,000 to 700,000 people in Florida are likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19.” Gov. Ron DeSantis listened to his own medical advisors and refused to institute a draconian lockdown, even though the state has an inordinate number of elderly because of its status as a major retirement destination. The reality is that since the state begun easing up restrictions on May 4, ICU hospitalizations for Covid patients are down 21% and ventilator use by Covid patients is down 32%. The hospitals are not overrun with Covid cases. The number of deaths is decreasing (@GovRonDeSantis, May 16, 2020). Between May 10 and May 15, 200 deaths were attributed to Covid-19 out of a population of 21.4 million. The total deaths on May 15 was 1,917, which means that so far the people of Florida have a 0.009% chance of dying of that disease. Statistically, about 160,000 people will die this year in Florida. Of those, 46,000 will die of heart disease, 45,000 of cancer, 13,000 of accidents, 12,000 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, 12,000 of stroke, 7,000 of Alzheimer’s, 5,000 of drug overdose, 6,000 of diabetes, 3,200 of suicide, 3,100 of kidney disease, and 3,000 of chronic liver disease. (“Stats of the State of Florida,” CDC).
The warnings that Liberty University would be a virus disaster were wrong. “Despite some 750 media reports that Liberty University was writing COVID-19 death sentences for some 1,100 students returning after spring break, the Virginia Christian college recorded no cases with students on campus and is now holding itself up as the ‘model’ to follow in the fall. After the students left for home at the end of the college school year last week, President Jerry Falwell Jr. said, ‘We finished this year strong ... Liberty University created the model that other universities should follow for pandemics by protecting its students, faculty, and staff from COVID cases in the local community. We are thankful to God that nobody who lived in a campus residence hall or who worked in a campus office tested positive for the virus. ... It shows how one-sided the American media has become, that they sound the alarm on the false narrative that there are COVID-19 cases at Liberty, and then when they find out that there were none, total silence’” (“Liberty University,” Washington Examiner, May 16, 2020).
A new study by Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Stanford University professor, of Major League Baseball employees, shows that about 70% of those infected by Covid-19 are asymptomatic and the death rate is somewhere between 0.1 and 0.5%, which “is orders of magnitude lower than originally thought.” He warns that lockdown is not going to contain the virus and yet is having enormous negative effects. “I think in the back of people’s heads there is this idea that somehow we can eradicate this disease if we just stay locked down. That is not possible. The serologic evidence, even the MLB study, suggest this. It suggests the epidemic is too widespread to eradicate. ... There is no safe option. If you think that having a lockdown will provide you safety, you are mistaken. Because the problem is this lockdown has had enormous negative effects on the health of people in the United States and around the world” (Jay Bhattacharya interview with Peter Robinson of Uncommon Knowledge, The Hoover Institution, May 13, 2020).
Italy is opening the country for business and tourism weeks earlier than previously announced because of economic hardship. “Beginning on June 3, all visitors will be allowed back into the country and will no longer be obliged to self-isolate. Italians will also be able to move between regions, though local authorities can limit travel in specific areas if infection numbers spike. ... Italy’s restaurants, bars and hairdressers are being allowed to reopen on Monday, two weeks earlier than initially planned. Shops will also open and Italians will finally be able to see friends, as long as they live within their same region. Church masses will begin again, but the faithful will have to follow social distancing rules and holy water fonts will be empty. Italy’s mosques will also reopen” (“Italy to Reopen Borders,” The Times of Israel, May 16, 2020).
Two potential Covid-19 killers are in the works. One is being developed by the Biological Research Institute in Israel, which announced in early May the isolation of an antibody that reaches three major milestones: destroys the virus, targets it specifically, and is monoclonal, meaning it lacks additional proteins that can cause complications for patients (“Israeli lab confirms breakthrough,” The Times of Israel, May 5, 2020). Biological Research Institute’s antibody has not started trials and is at least several months away from approval. In America, Sorrento Therapeutics of San Diego announced on May 15 that it has developed an antibody that showed “100% inhibition” of Covid-19 in preclinical studies (“STI-1499, a Potent Anti-SARS-cov-2 Antibody,” PRNewswire.com, May 15, 2020).
Currently, 30 states in the U.S. are in the process of lifting restrictions. Eight states (Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming) never issued statewide stay-at-home orders. In many states, the number of Covid-19 infections has peaked and is going down (“Charts show how new coronavirus cases are progressing,” Business Insider, May 16, 2020).
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar says authorities are not seeing spikes in coronavirus cases in places that are reopening. “We are seeing that in places that are opening, we're not seeing this spike in cases,’ Azar said on CNN's ‘State of the Union’ program. ‘We still see spikes in some areas that are in fact close to very localized situations.’ Azar put the onus on reopening struggles on local governments. ‘These are very localized determinations. There should not be a one size fits all to reopening but reopen we must because it's not health versus the economy. It's health versus healthy,’ he said, adding there were serious health consequences to not reopening” (“Azar: No Spike in Coronavirus in Places Reopening,” Newsmax, May 17, 2020).
YouTube (owned by Google) has censored yet another anti-lockdown epidemiologist for going against the party line. “Big Tech companies are aggressively tamping down on COVID-19 ‘misinformation’--opinions and ideas contrary to official pronouncements. Dr. Knut M. Wittkowski, former head of biostatistics, epidemiology and research design at Rockefeller University, says YouTube removed a video of him talking about the virus which had racked up more than 1.3 million views. ‘With all respiratory diseases, the only thing that stops the disease is herd immunity. About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected,’ he says in the now-deleted video. ‘I was just explaining what we had,’ Wittkowski told The Post of the video, saying he had no idea why it was removed. The footage was produced by the British film company Journeyman Pictures. ‘They don’t tell you. They just say it violates our community standards. There’s no explanation for what those standards are or what standards it violated.’ In articles and interviews across the web, he has likened COVID-19 to a ‘bad flu.’ That likely made him a target for YouTube, which said in April it would be ‘removing information that is problematic’ about the pandemic. ‘Anything that goes against [World Health Organization] recommendations would be a violation of our policy and so removal is another really important part of our policy,’ CEO Susan Wojcicki told CNN” (“YouTube censors epidemiologist,” New York Post, May 16, 2020).
By Tuesday, May 19, most of Israel’s schools grades K-12 will be open for full-time classroom activities. The schools have been closed for two months. A few schools remain closed in former “hot spots” of Covid-19 infection. There are social distancing rules, etc., in place. Face masks are supposed to be mandatory for grades 4-10, but the Education Ministry has asked the Health Ministry to reconsider. “‘I don’t know how a kid is expected to sit and study with a face mask in the intense heat and in a crowded classroom,’ an elementary school principal in northern Israel was quoted as saying by the Makor Rishon newspaper. ‘There is clearly no chance of that happening. Even if we want to enforce that, we can’t’” (“More students return to school as education system set to kick into full gear,” The Times of Israel, May 17, 2020).
Oxfam warns that the global Covid-19 pandemic could push half a billion people into poverty. This is a loud reminder that the economy does matter and that the lockdown “cure” could be much worse than the disease. Oxfam is a confederation of independent charitable organizations “focusing on the alleviation of global poverty.” “Hunger is now the greater concern in poor countries where people struggle to earn enough to eat each day, or grow the food on which their families and local markets rely. ‘At the same time while dealing with a COVID-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic,’ David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme, told the UN Security Council last month. ... The concerns of widespread hunger are legitimate, says Emily Farr, a US-based expert on food security and livelihoods for Oxfam. She’s particularly concerned about people working in the informal economy. ‘Many people in urban areas rely on daily labor in street markets, petty trading, and women who sell prepared food, run a tea shop, [or] work as domestic workers,’ she says. As governments order people to stay at home, these informal workers will lose their income and ability to buy food. People in rural areas are also likely to suffer, Farr adds, noting that farm workers who are ordered to stay home and can’t get a daily wage, as well as the farmers who employ them to harvest crops, are also vulnerable. ... Widespread hunger due to the COVID-19 pandemic could push half a billion people into poverty. And there were already about 135 million at ‘crisis levels of hunger or worse,’ according to the UN. In addition, there are several countries like India that did not anticipate a food crisis this year, but are experiencing hunger because people can’t earn money to buy food due to policies designed to limit the spread of the virus” (“Fighting hunger and famine in the time of Covid-19,” Oxfamamerica.org, May 14, 2020).
New antimicrobial coating by Israel company Bio-Fence disinfects surfaces from virus. “Antimicrobial surface coatings developed by Jerusalem-based Bio-Fence to kill bacteria in food production environments also effectively destroy viruses, the startup announced. Established in 2018 in The Kitchen FoodTech Hub owned by the Strauss Group in collaboration with Israel Innovation Authority, Bio-Fence has proven its coatings effective in laboratories and food sites in Israel and worldwide. With the outbreak of Covid-19, the company decided to test its coatings against viruses as well. Ben-Gurion University virologist Prof. Mahmoud Huleihel found that Bio-Fence products destroy the herpes virus, which is significantly more durable than the Sars-CoV-2 (Covid-19) coronavirus. Bio-Fence products can be used for coating walls, floors, partitions and surfaces in institutions, hotels, offices, factories, train stations, airports, airplanes and more. The coatings are transparent and can be sprayed or painted on without damaging coated surfaces. The stabilized chlorine is meant to make the coating long lasting; Bio-Fence is developing a kit to test when it should be reapplied” (“New antimicrobial coating,” Israel21c.org, May 10, 2020).
The Florida State Attorneys’ Office has dismissed charges that were filed against Pentecostal Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne in March for violating a lockdown order. The pastor, whose church is located in Tampa, was charged with unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules, second-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500 (“Case against Pastor dismissed,” The Christian Post, May 15, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED MAY 15, 2020
The Netherlands has published a chart of the demographic risk of coronavirus, and it is good news. For those under 20, the chance of dying of coronavirus are zero. For those 20 to 39, the chance is about 0.006%. For those 40-49, the chance is 0.01%. For those 50-59, the chance is 0.1%. For those 60-69, the chance is 0.5%. For those 70-75, the chance is 1.6%. For those 75-80, the chance is about 4% and for those 80-85, the chance is 7.8%. So even if you are over 80 years old, your chance of surviving of Covid-19 is 92%. And this doesn’t take into consideration the large number of untested and unreported infections. “But even this chart doesn’t tell the full story. The virus lopsidedly targets people with particular underlying conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes” (“One chart exposes the lie behind the universal lockdowns,” Conservative Review, May 14, 2020).
Imagine all of the millions upon millions of different situations that people are in all over the world because of this pandemic and draconian lockdown. There are literally millions of people in Nepal and India, for example, who have been locked down in single rooms (entire families and multiple families in one room) for nearly two months. In Nepal, the borders with India and China are closed, the only national airport has been closed for nearly two months, the vast majority of the people are barely allowed out of their homes, only a handful of stores are open in the capital city of millions. Millions unable to work who live hand to mouth on meager daily wages when they were working. They have no government handout. There are people starving to death now in some places, and others will starve to death in the future, especially in Africa. There are people stranded all over the world, a great many with no resources. And the lockdowns are much more severe in many countries. The Washington Times reports that “Coronavirus crackdowns around the world make U.S. rules look lenient.” “Take the Philippines. In Manila, only one person per household is allowed outside for essential errands such as grocery shopping, and that person must have a government-issued pass. Belgians .[are] allowed to social distance with only four people--the same four, all the time” (The Washington Times, May 15, 2020). “1.4 million tuberculosis patients in India are not getting critical antibiotic treatments due to shutdowns” (“Stanford Antibody Studies,” PJ Media, May 14, 2020).
The saga of the 77-year-old Michigan barber vs. the governor’s lockdown order continues. On May 5, Karl Manke reopened his barber shop in Owosso, Michigan, in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order mandating salons, barbershops and other businesses to stay closed. Manke, who has cut hair in the town for 60 years, said, “I don’t need the governor to be my mother. I have one. God bless her, she’s gone now.” He promised to stay open “until Jesus walks in or until they arrest me.” Customers immediately lined up for a haircut, even driving in from long distances. The next day Manke was cited by the police, but remained steadfast. “Heavens yes, I’m staying open unless they take me out in handcuffs or Taser me.” He said, “To tell you the truth, I am scared but I didn’t really have any choice. I need to work through that fear and open up” (“Owosso barber says shop will stay open,” MLive.com, May 6, 2020; “Owosso barber confirms he was ticketed,” MLive, May 7, 2020). He has been repeatedly fined, but supporters have paid them. The Michigan Home Guard has been posting men in front of the shop. On May 11, a judge denied the state attorney general’s motion to close Manke down because it presents “clear public health dangers.” On May 12, the Michigan Department of Licensing suspended the old barber’s license (“Michigan Gov. Whitmer Strips 77-Year-Old Barber of His License without Due Process,” PJ Media, May 13, 2020). Manke’s lawyer continues to fight the suspension. On May 21, Shiawassee County Judge Matthew Stewart ruled that Manke’s barber shop can stay open, because the state health department had failed to show that the shop “has the potential to spread Covid-19 around the state” (“Michigan Barber,” The Epoch Times, May 22, 2020).
Brian BeGole, sheriff of the Shiawassee County, the county in which Karl Manke’s barber shop resides, said in a written statement on May 11 that he will no longer enforce Gov. Whitmer’s lockdown orders. “With limited resources, staffing and facilities, our priority focus will be on enforcing duly passed laws for the protection of Shiawassee County citizens” (“Shiawassee County Sheriff,” WiLX10, May 11, 2020).
Two county sheriffs in Arizona have stated that they will not enforce Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order, citing the U.S. constitutions. “Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb said they will not arrest or hand out fines to those violating a stay-at-home order. ... ‘My conscience will not allow me to arrest someone who is trying to make a living,’ Schuster told the paper. ‘I don’t believe it is a crime to try and make a living. If I were to consider enforcing that, I would be in violation of my oath. That is something I cannot do.’ Lamb echoed similar remarks in his interview with the paper, saying, ‘I think people want to know that we’re going to support their constitutional rights. I felt [Ducey] pushed me into a position where I needed to make our stance clear,; he told the paper. ‘The numbers don’t justify the actions anymore. Three hundred deaths is not a significant enough number to continue to ruin the economy,” he added” (“Two Arizona sheriffs,” The Hill, May 3, 2020).
Sheriffs in California refusing to enforce governor’s orders. Sheriff Margaret Mims of Fresno County said, “We do not stop the public to find out what they’re doing when they’re not sheltering in place. We don’t ask those question, we don’t ask if they’re ‘essential.’ We’ve got our hand full trying to re-arrest people that are released due to zero-dollar bail. So we’ve got other things that are on our mind that are more important than stopping normally law-abiding citizens” (Trevor Carey Show, iHeartRADIO, May 12, 2020). Fresno is the fifth largest city in California. Sheriff William Honsal of Humboldt County said, “As Sheriff, I am the protector of constitutional rights in Humboldt County, and if an order is issued that I believe violates our constitutional rights, I will not enforce it” (“OC Sheriff Will Not enforce Order,” Gateway Pundit, Apr. 30, 2020). The sheriff of rural Modoc County in California said he will not enforce Gov. Newsom’s lockdown order, and the county is opening back up (“Rural California counties move to defy Newsom’s shutdown order,” MSN.com, May 3, 2020).
Four sheriffs in North Carolina are refusing to enforce the governor’s ban on indoor church services. Sheriff Steve Blizell of Johnston County, North Carolina, says that he will not enforce the governor’s guidelines for church attendance, calling it “unfair” and “morally wrong.” The sheriff encouraged the people to HAVE CHURCH!” He said he “would lay down [his] badge and go home” before enforcing it. “Blizell was part of the 12-member executive committee of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association that asked Gov. Roy Cooper to allow indoor church services last week, saying that the guidelines for churches should be no more severe than those for retailers” (“N. Carolina Sheriff,” News Times, Newtown, CT, May 14, 2020). The sheriffs of Halifax, Harnett, and Nash counties have stated that they agree with Bizzell (“4 local sheriffs,” cbs17, May 14, 2020). Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said, “I would rather you turn toward the Lord than the liquor store. I’ve not enforced it and don’t intend to enforce it.”
Police chiefs in North Carolina have issued a statement that the governor’s executive order for church meetings is “illogical,” “unfair,” “unreasonable,” and contrary to national and state guarantees of religious liberty. The draconian rules include social distancing of at least six feet, constant movement (you can’t sit still!), and no more than 10 people congregating in a church building. “Can you imagine a worship service--trying to listen to the preaching--with people constantly moving around to avoid prolonged contact with any single person? The requirements are absurd and clearly designed to discourage worship service altogether. The North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police took issue with the executive order, stating, ‘Under the Order, retail businesses are allowed to operate every day for unlimited hours under rules that are significantly more liberal than those applying to periodic and comparatively brief worship services, which appears illogical and unfair from the standpoint of preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Freedom of religious worship embodied in the U.S. and N.C. Constitutions is held dear by our citizens and cannot be diminished with unreasonable and unjustified disparate treatment in law’” (“Police Chiefs Blast NC Governor,” Reformation Charlotte, May 11, 2020).
The coronavirus situation in North Carolina is good news. A reported 626 people have died of coronavirus in North Carolina, a state with a population of 10 million. Thus, so far North Carolinians have a 0.006% chance of dying with coronavirus, one-third the number of those who die annually of the flu. In fact, if you are under 60, and even if you are over 60 and in decent health, your chance of dying of Covid-19 is nearly zero. Statistically, about 71,000 people will die in North Carolina this year, but the vast majority will not die of Covid-19. About 19,000 will die of cancer, 18,000 of heart disease, 6,000 of accidents, 5,500 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, 5,000 of stroke, 4,000 of Alzheimer’s, 3,000 of diabetes, 2,400 of drug overdose, 2,000 of flu/pneumonia, 2000 of kidney disease, 1,400 of firearms, 1,500 of suicide, 650 of homicide (probably a lot more because of the lockdown). (“Stats of the State of North Carolina,” CDC)
A network of 3,000 churches in California has announced that they will restart services on May 31 instead of waiting until stage 3 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan. Pastor Danny Carroll of Water of Life Community Church says, “Our churches are part of the solution, we’re not the problem here. But we’ve been deemed nonessential. We’ve been kicked to the curb. ... The train has already left the station. Churches are ready to roll out, no matter what. That said, we are not trying to be rebels or activists here. We don’t want to go to court over this. We are not the MLB or the NBA. We are not a gathering of strangers. As pastors, we bury these people. We bleed with these people. We are a family, not a group of strangers” (“Evangelical church leaders vow to reopen sanctuary doors,” San Bernardino County Sun, May 7, 2020). On May 11, Elon Musk reopened the Telsa electric car factory in California in spite of the governor’s orders.
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force response administrator, is accusing the CDC of inflating the fatalities by as much as 25%, which would mean that the number of deaths might be closer to 66,000 than 80,000. “On Saturday, the Washington Post reported that Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force response administrator, is accusing the CDC of using an antiquated model to track coronavirus deaths that could be responsible for inflating the death numbers by as much as 25 percent. The Post cites four unnamed sources who reported a dispute between Birx and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last Wednesday over the modeling. ‘There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,’ Birx reportedly said, according to two of the Post’s sources. If the 25% inflation number is true, that would place the total deaths closer to the 66,000 death figure that the government predicted in April. ... Birx already publicly admitted last month that CDC is telling states to code any death of an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 as a coronavirus death, even if it is not proven that the death was caused by COVID-19. The problem is now that we know the virus is so much more widespread than previously thought, and therefore so much less deadly, how can we assume that anyone who merely tests positive for the virus died because of the virus? This is especially true now that we know that the majority of those who test positive for coronavirus in areas where everyone is tested (ships, meatpacking plants, and prisons, for example) are asymptomatic? ... Thus, at this point, according to the state data, we can say with certainty that at least 40,000 of the 80,000 reported national COVID-19 deaths were recorded among nursing home patients and that a certain number of overall deaths have been inflated, potentially dramatically so in nursing homes. If you take New York City and its surrounding environs plus nursing homes out of the equation, most of the rest of the country experienced a plague less devastating than the 2018 flu season, which killed 60,000. And the overwhelming majority of the remaining casualties had multiple co-morbidities” (“Bombshell report: Dr. Birx believes,” Conservative Review, May 11, 2020).
Computer modeling and the mainstream media have been completely wrong about Georgia and Florida, and the fact that they don’t broadcast their errors is a revelation of their true character. When these states announced that they were going to start lifting the lockdown in late April, the media was filled with chicken little warnings. One widely reported model warned that the number of deaths would double in Georgia by August and could be as many as 16,000 (“Georgia’s daily coronavirus deaths will nearly double by August,” CNN Health, Apr. 28, 2020). The Atlantic publications called the reopening “Georgia’s experiment in human sacrifice.” In reality, 1,500 have died in Georgia of Covid-19, and there has been no serious increase in deaths with the gradual lifting of the lockdown. In fact, the daily tally of cases and deaths have dropped markedly. “As of Wednesday, the seven-day moving average of new cases was 242, down from 773 on April 29. The seven-day moving average of deaths was 12, down sharply from 34 on April 29, according to the state health department” (“‘Experiment in human sacrifice’ fails to materialize,” The Washington Times, May 13, 2020).
The coronavirus situation in Georgia is good news. Georgia, with a population of about 10 million, has had about 1,500 Covid-19 deaths, so the chance so far of dying of the coronavirus in that state is about 0.01%. In fact, if you are under 60, and even if you are over 60 and in decent health, your chance of dying of Covid-19 is nearly zero. Statistically, about 62,000 people will die in Georgia this year. Of those, 18,000 will die of heart disease, 17,000 of cancer, 5,000 of chronic lower respiratory disease, 4,000 of accidents, 4,000 of stroke, 4,000 of Alzheimer’s 2,000 of diabetes, 2,000 of kidney disease, 1,600 of firearms, 1,500 of drug overdose, 1,500 of septicemia, 1,400 of suicide. (Stats of the State of Georgia,” CDC)
On May 13, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the governor’s “safer at home” lock down extension to May 26, ruling it an unconstitutional overreach of authority; governor and mainstream media predict the result will be a complete disaster. “The State Supreme court struck down Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order in its entirety, ordering all future orders to go through the Legislature. The court ruled 4-3 in a case brought forth by Republican lawmakers that sought to block the Safer at Home extension issued last month by Governor Tony Evers’ top health secretary, Andrea Palm. The court ruled Palm did not follow legal rule-making procedures when issuing parts of the Safer at Home order. The court also said that because proper rule make procedures were not followed, there could be no criminal penalties for violating the order. In the end, the court ruled that Ever's emergency order is ‘declared unlawful, and unenforceable.’ ... During oral arguments last week, Justice Rebecca Bradley suggested Palm’s decision to extend the order without legislative input amounts to tyranny. ‘I think there is a problem with the legislature giving away this much power to an un-elected cabinet secretary,’ said Bradley. ‘The people never consented to a single individual having that kind of power’” (“Safer at Home extension struck down,” abc27 WKOW, May 14, 2020).
The coronavirus situation in Wisconsin is good news. Wisconsin, with a population of about 5.8 million, has had 421 deaths for coronavirus. Thus, so far the people of that state have about a 0.007% chance of dying of Covid-19. In fact, if you are under 60, and even if you are over 60 and in decent health, your chance of dying of Covid-19 is nearly zero. Statistically, about 30,000 people will die this year in Wisconsin, but the vast majority will not die of Covid. Rather, 11,000 will die of heart disease, 11,000 of cancer, 4,000 of accidents, 3,000 of chronic lower respiratory disease, 2,500 of stroke, 2,500 of Alzheimer’s, 1,500 of diabetes, 1,100 of drug overdose, 1,000 of flu/pneumonia, 1,000 of suicide.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is warning state governors who have implemented “really draconian, arbitrary restrictions” that “you don’t have unlimited authority and people do have rights.” “DeSantis made the comments on ‘Fox & Friends’ in response to a question from host Ainsley Earhardt. ... ‘If you look around the country, clearly there have been examples of really draconian, arbitrary restrictions that have nothing to do with public health, like you can't plant a seed in your front yard in your garden, you can't walk around the neighborhood with your daughter or something like that. So some of this stuff I think has devolved into social control,’ DeSantis continued. ‘I think absolutely it's gotten out of hand.’ He went on to note that in Florida ‘we did not do that.’ ‘We were reasonable,’ DeSantis said. ‘We trusted the people to act appropriately and we’ve had better results than some of the states that you’ve seen’” (“Florida gov. DeSantis,” Fox News, May 14, 2020).
A new poll indicates that there might be a dramatic move to home school after the coronavirus epidemic. “A RealClear Opinion Research survey of 2,122 registered voters shows that support for educational choice is strong, and that a significant portion of parents are more likely to pursue homeschooling opportunities after the lockdowns end. The results show that 40% of families are more likely to homeschool or virtual school after lockdowns, and that 64% support school choice and 69% support the federal Education Freedom Scholarships proposal” (“National Poll,” American Federation for Children, May 14, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED MAY 11, 2020
In Nepal, people are many times more likely to die of lightning than coronavirus. While there are no deaths from coronavirus, 100 die each year of lightning strikes. Just since April 13, eight have died (“Nepal at high risk of lightning,” khabarhub, May 8, 2020).
The New York City area accounts for 32% of America’s Covid-19 deaths (23,900 of the 74,800) (“Here’s How Much New York City Is Skewing America’s Coronavirus Numbers,” PJMedia, May 7, 2020).
More than a dozen states in the U.S. are easing lockdown measures, with the number of fatalities decreasing significantly. These are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, West Virginia, and more coming online every day. There are still draconian rules in place for many businesses, but things will probably open back up quickly. We can’t imagine that it will work for long for some businesses to be open while others are banned, and for part of the country to remain shut down while other Americans are free. Thankfully, there are plenty of people who aren’t in panic mode and who are ready for life to get back to normal.
England’s chief medical officer says that the great majority of elderly survive the coronavirus. “Professor Chris Whitty, the country’s chief medical officer, sought to reassure the public that over-60s have a good chance of surviving Covid-19 if infected. ... Health chiefs have warned that older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heath disease are more likely to fall seriously ill from But Prof Witty said: ‘Even in the most vulnerable, oldest groups, in a very stressed health service--which Hubei was at the point when most of the data came out--the great majority of people who caught this virus--and not everybody will--survived it. The great majority, over 90 per cent. I think it’s easy to get a perception that if you are older and you get this virus then you’re a goner--absolutely not, the great majority of people will recover from this virus, even if they are in their 80s’” (“Coronavirus: Elderly people ‘not a goner’ and a great majority will recover,” Independent, Mar. 5, 2020).
The state of Georgia is getting back to work quickly, thanks to Gov. Brian Kemp’s move to start lifting the lockdown on April 24, and there is no disaster, in spite of loud warnings that he was being irresponsible and that coronavirus deaths would skyrocket. Stacey Lennox, formerly a Fortune 500 executive and healthcare professional, says, “As I have started to return to normal activities like shopping at retail stores and enjoying a meal out, I see a lot of happy people. Store clerks are friendly, even though they are behind plexiglass. Servers are happy to be back at work and learning to adjust to wearing the required masks. Outdoor venues like golf courses and patio seating are very popular. I do not see mass panic. Nor do I see employees not happy to be back at work. ... I am extremely proud of Governor Kemp for not caving to the mob who were denouncing his reopening plan. Georgia is proving with measured and careful steps forward we absolutely can do two things at once. Let the economy come back and protect the vulnerable to the best of our ability. Locally, I am already hearing calls to increase restaurant capacity to 50% so staff do not have to turn customers away. So, I will await the glowing news coverage of Governor Kemp’s success at leading the country in the effort to reopen. And of course, the apology from Stacey Abrams. However, I won’t hold my breath” (“Dear Media, Governor Kemp Will Accept Your Apology Now,” PJ Media, May 11, 2020).
Though the state of Florida did not instigate as severe lockdown as other states, and though it is on a steady path of a full reopening, and though the state has an unusually large percentage of elderly because of its popularity as a retirement locale, the coronavirus did not devastate the state, in spite of dire warnings, and there has been no disaster as the reopening has moved along. As of May 10, there were 1,700 deaths out of a population of 21.4 million, which means that so far the people of Florida have a 0.007% chance of dying of that disease. In fact, if you are under 60, and even if you are over 60 and in decent health, your chance of dying of Covid-19 is nearly zero. Statistically, about 160,000 people will die this year in Florida. Of those, 46,000 will die of heart disease, 45,000 of cancer, 13,000 of accidents, 12,000 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, 12,000 of stroke, 7,000 of Alzheimer’s, 5,000 of drug overdose, 6,000 of diabetes, 3,200 of suicide, 3,100 of kidney disease, and 3,000 of chronic liver disease. (“Stats of the State of Florida,” CDC).
Worldwide, 57 million people will die in 2020, mostly not of coronavirus. Of those, 15 million will die of heart disease and stroke, 3 million will die of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 3 million will die of lower respiratory infections, 1.7 million will die of lung cancer, 1.6 million will die of diabetes, 1.5 million of Alzheimer’s and dementia, 1.4 million of road injuries, 1.4 million of diarrhoeal diseases, 1.3 million of tuberculosis, 1 million of HIV/AIDS, 24,000 will die of lightning, (“The Top 10 Causes of Death, World Health Organization, May 24, 2018; “Lightning Deaths,” Outside, Jan. 4, 2013).
In America, statistically, 2.8 million people will die this year, but 97% of them will not die of coronavirus. Of those, 650,000 will die of heart disease, 600,000 of cancer, 170,000 of accidents, 160,000 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, 146,000 stroke, 120,000 of Alzheimer’s, 83,000 of diabetes, and 55,000 of flu/pneumonia. (“Deaths and Mortality Data for the U.S.,” CDC, fastats). The 80,000 coronavirus deaths so far will account for 2.8% of the national deaths (population 330 million). The chance of dying of coronavirus in the United States this year, so far, is 0.02%. The chance of dying of heart disease or cancer is 0.3%.
Through no choice of their own, about 630,000 unborn babies will be murdered in the womb in America this year. Those are souls that are made in God’s image and belong to God. “Behold, all souls are mine” (Eze. 18:4).
In response to a warning from the U.S. Department of Justice, the mayor of Norman, Oklahoma, Breea Clark, reversed her order against churches reopening on Mother’s Day. “She said, ‘I will not feud with the federal government, especially not over one week.’ Timothy J. Downing, the U.S. attorney for the western district of Oklahoma, had written Ms. Clark earlier in the day to say that if she was allowing restaurants, retail stores and salons to open, under social distancing and occupancy guidelines, then churches and other religious facilities must be granted at least those same rights. ‘There is no pandemic exception for civil liberties in the Constitution,’ Mr. Downing said Friday night after the mayor’s reversal. ‘The free exercise of religion is one of our bedrock liberties and for this reason I am grateful to the mayor for allowing churches to open this Sunday’” (“Oklahoma Mayor Caves to DOJ,” The Washington Post, May 9, 2020).
A federal judge in Kentucky overturned Gov. Andy Beshear’s ban on mass gatherings relating to churches. This was in response to a suit brought by Tabernacle Baptist Church, Nicholasville, KY. “U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove on Friday issued a temporary restraining order enjoining Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration from enforcing the ban on mass gatherings at aany in-person religious service which adheres to applicable social distancing and hygiene guidelines.’ ... Judge Van Tatenhove said, ‘If social distancing is good enough for Home Depot and Kroger, it is good enough for in-person religious services which, unlike the foregoing, benefit from constitutional protection. The Constitution will endure. It would be easy to put it on the shelf in times like this, to be pulled down and dusted off when more convenient. But that is not our tradition. Its enduring quality requires that it be respected even when it is hard’” (“Court halts ban on mass gatherings at Kentucky churches,” Associated Press, May 9, 2020).
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee has amended his goofy order banning religious gatherings of any size after being sued by a citizen. “Joshua Freed, represented by First Liberty Institute and the North Creek Law Firm, sued the state last month demanding he is allowed to hold a one-on-one Bible study amid the coronavirus pandemic. ‘After the governor twice refused to respond to our requests seeking a one-on-one Bible study exemption, his lawyers finally conceded in open court,’ Hiram Sasser, First Liberty executive general counsel, told Fox News, adding, ‘Based on some of the comments made in court by the Washington Attorney General's office, it appears the governor does not intend to enforce any of his shutdown orders against religious activities’” (“Washington governor allows,” Fox News, May 11, 2020).
Israel is opening parks and businesses. “Some 15,000 Israelis on Saturday visited national parks and nature reserves throughout the country, after the sites were given the go ahead to reopen as Israel eases its coronavirus restrictions. ... The reopening this week of parks and many businesses comes as the number of new coronavirus infections in Israel has dropped significantly in recent weeks, with only three new cases reported overnight. There have been 16,444 confirmed COVID-19 infections in Israel since the start of the pandemic, 4,886 of which are active cases” (“No New Virus Deaths Recorded,” The Times of Israel, May 9, 2020). The Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem reopened last week. Five weeks ago, two cubs were born to the zoo’s male and female Asian lions, Yasha and Gir. These are the first Asian lions to be bred in captivity in Israel. They are the type of lions that used to roam that land and are mentioned in the Bible, the type killed by Samson, David, and Benaiah. Yasha and Gir have been in the Biblical Zoo since 2014. “There are only around 500 Asian lions left in the wild throughout the world, most of them in the Gir National Park in Gujarat, in western India” (The Times of Israel).
Italy, one of three hardest hit nations in Europe, is easing restrictions. “After nearly 50 days of a strict lockdown in their homes, Italians flocked to parks and strolled the streets on Monday (May 4), the first day of “Phase Two,” when the Italian government loosened some of the restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus. ... In Italy, which still has the highest death toll in Europe, small weddings and funerals are allowed, but restaurants, gyms and churches will be the last to reopen at the end of the month” (“Rome’s Parks Buzz as Italy Eases Covid-19 Restrictions,” Christian Headlines, May 5, 2020).
Scientists have determined that “reinfected” coronavirus cases are “false positives.” “Last month, South Korean scientists made a very disturbing discovery. About 15 percent of patients who had recovered from the coronavirus was testing positive again. The same worrying phenomenon was discovered in China as well. The implications were disheartening. It meant that a large percentage of people may never become immune from the coronavirus, making an effective vaccine very difficult to create. But South Korean scientists kept investigating and have now found that it’s likely what the testing of coronavirus patients was detecting were “non-infectious” pieces of the virus that were causing the tests to register positive. ... Some of those who recovered from the coronavirus were showing respiratory symptoms again within a few weeks. But the testing showed that not only were the patients not suffering from COVID-19, but they also weren’t infectious. ... Some viruses like Hepatitis B and HIV are able to live on and constantly reinfect hosts. The coronavirus can apparently not do that, which is good news for the vaccine researchers” (“Scientists Determine ‘Reinfected’ Coronavirus Cases,” PJ Media, May 9, 2020).
About half of coronavirus fatalities in California have been nursing home occupants, largely elderly people with underlying health problem (“Nearly 50% of state’s Covid-19 deaths,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 8, 2020).
A reported 2,585 people have died of coronavirus in California, a state with a population of 39 million, therefore the chance of dying with the virus is 0.006%. In fact, if you are under 60, and even if you are over 60 and in decent health, your chance of dying of Covid-19 is nearly zero. Statistically, about 220,000 people will die this year in California, and the vast majority will not die of coronavirus. In 2017, 62,000 died of heart disease, 59,000 of cancer, 16,000 of stroke, 16,000 of Alzheimer’s, 13,000 of chronic lower respiratory disease, 13,000 of accidents, 9,500 of diabetes, 6,300 of influenza/pneumonia, 5,500 of hypertension, 5,300 of liver disease, and about 5,000 of drug overdoses. (“Stats of the State of California,” CDC).
Hawaii is opening back up. Retail stores and shopping malls are opening. The state has seen only 17 deaths from the virus. Hawaii’s population is about 1.4 million, which means that there is a 0.001% chance of dying of coronavirus so far. Statistically, we can expect about 10,000 people to die this year. Of those, 2,500 will die of heart disease, 2,400 of cancer, 750 of stroke, 630 of flu/pneumonia, 580 of accidents, 465 of Alzheimer’s, 370 of chronic lower respiratory disease, 300 of diabetes, 227 of suicide, 200 of drug overdose, and 200 of kidney disease. (“Stats of the State of Hawaii,” CDC).
According to the speaker of the House of Pennsylvania, the average age of coronavirus fatalities in that state is 79 years old, and two-thirds of fatalities were of occupants of long-term care facilities. 90% of those who died had “comorbidities” (multiple causes of death), mostly heart disease, diabetes, and chronic pulmonary disease. There was never any danger of the hospitals being overrun in Pennsylvania. Of the 37,000 hospital beds in Pennsylvania, 2,500 are occupied by Covid-19 patients (“This letter from Pennsylvania’s House speaker,” Conservative Review, May 8, 2020). About 3,700 people have died of coronavirus in Pennsylvania, a state with a population of 12.8 million, which means that the occupants of the state have a 0.02% chance of dying with that disease. Statistically, about 53,000 people will die in Pennsylvania this year. Of those, about 32,000 will die of heart disease, 28,000 of cancer, 9,500 of accidents, 6,700 of stroke, 6,600 of chronic lower respiratory disease, 5,300 of drug overdose, 4,200 of Alzheimer’s, and 3,700 of diabetes. (“Stats of the State of Pennsylvania,” CDC).
In Minnesota, 77% of the deaths from coronavirus were occupants of long-term care homes (“Minnesota has more Covid-19 deaths than non-lockdown neighbors,” Conservative Review, Apr. 29, 2020). People in Minnesota have a 0.01% chance of dying with the coronavirus (578 deaths in a population of 5.6 million). Statistically, we can expect about 32,000 people to die in Minnesota this year. In 2017, 9,800 died of cancer, 8,200 of heart disease, 2,700 of accidents, 2,400 of Alzheimer’s 2,400 of chronic lower respiratory disease, 2,200 of stroke, 1,300 of diabetes, 780 of suicide, 700 of flu/pneumonia, 730 of drug overdose, and 675 of Parkinson’s.
A study by McCormick School of Engineering has found that vitamin D levels appear to play a role in Covid-19 mortality rates. “After studying global data from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between severe vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates. Led by Northwestern University, the research team conducted a statistical analysis of data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States. The researchers noted that patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected” (“Vitamin D levels,” Science Daily, May 7, 2020).
A drug trio is showing promise to alleviate symptoms and shorten the duration of hospital stays. “The research, published in The Lancet, notes the combination of drugs interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir and ribavirin worked better than the lopinavir–ritonavir combination alone on patients who have ‘mild to moderate’ COVID-19 symptoms. ‘This study showed that early treatment with the triple combination of antiviral therapy with interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir, and ribavirin is safe and highly effective in shortening the duration of virus shedding, decreasing cytokine responses, alleviating symptoms, and facilitating the discharge of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19,’ researchers wrote. ‘Furthermore, the triple antiviral therapy rapidly rendered viral load negative in all specimens, thereby reducing infectiousness of the patient.’ The researchers found that the group that was given the three-drug combination tested negative for the virus after seven days, while the control group tested negative after 12 days. ‘The triple combination also alleviated symptoms completely within four days--a significantly shorter time than the control,’ the researchers added. The study, which was a Phase II trial, was conducted by researchers in Hong Kong who analyzed patients in the city-state” (“Drug trio,” Fox News, May 11, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED MAY 7, 2020
What evangelist Billy Sunday said about America in the 1930s has come to pass. In 1930, he said, “What’s hurting us is too much prosperity. ... Too much wealth, too much materialism, too much prosperity. ... One reason of our ... modernism, our falling faith in God, and falling interest in religion is because we are too prosperous, too wealthy. Let me tell you, if America does not turn away from material things and turn our eyes to God, America will sink to the depths of Hell.” In 1935, speaking about Roosevelt’s New Deal federal redistribution of wealth with a reporter in Knoxville, Tennessee, Sunday said. “If the government continues to extend its control over people as it has done since Mr. Roosevelt came into office, it won’t be any time until a fellow can’t kiss his own wife without legislative sanction.”
A Missouri pork plant in St. Joseph, Missouri, is a laboratory for Covid-19 study, and it is good news. Triumph Foods has about 2,300 employees. After 100% testing by May 1, 373 tested positive (about 13%) and all are asymptomatic. None have been hospitalized; none have died (“Nearly 400 Asymptomatic Workers at Missouri Pork Plant,” International Business Times,Apr. 5, 2020).
Scott Atlas, M.D., Senior Fellow of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, dismisses a new model from the University of Washington's Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) that projects more than 134,000 Americans will die of COVID-19 by Aug. 4 as states begin to reopen their economies. “‘We should look at the evidence. We don't need to rely on hypothetical projections,’ Atlas, a former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, told Martha MacCallum on ‘The Story’ Monday night. ‘We have a ton of evidence. And the evidence is consistent all over the world that we know the fatality rate is much lower than what the models were based on originally. We know that ... the curves have been flattened and the curves to note are not the numbers of cases. The only curves that count are the deaths per day and the hospitalizations per day.’ ... ‘We know it's factually true and proven all over the world that people under 18 have very little, if any, risk of a serious illness and essentially no risk of dying,’ Atlas said. ‘There is no reason to separate people in the age groups 0 to 18, six feet apart. It's just that there's no scientific evidence, really, to do that. There's no evidence really whatsoever to continue to have these schools closed.’”
Michael Levitt, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry and Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford School of Medicine, has been carefully analyzing to Covid-19 epidemic since its outbreak in China, and he says the full-on lockdown is “A HUGE MISTAKE.” “His observation is a simple one: that in outbreak after outbreak of this disease, a similar mathematical pattern is observable regardless of government interventions. After around a two week exponential growth of cases (and, subsequently, deaths) some kind of break kicks in, and growth starts slowing down. The curve quickly becomes ‘sub-exponential.’ This may seem like a technical distinction, but its implications are profound. The ‘unmitigated’ scenarios modelled by (among others) Imperial College, and which tilted governments across the world into drastic action, relied on a presumption of continued exponential growth — that with a consistent R number of significantly above 1 and a consistent death rate, very quickly the majority of the population would be infected and huge numbers of deaths would be recorded. But Professor Levitt’s point is that that hasn’t actually happened anywhere, even in countries that have been relatively lax in their responses. ... The explanation for this flattening that we are used to is that social distancing and lockdowns have slowed the curve, but he is unconvinced. ... He also observes that the total number of deaths we are seeing, in places as diverse as New York City, parts of England, parts of France and Northern Italy, all seem to level out at a very similar fraction of the total population. ... More generally, he complains that epidemiologists only seem to be called wrong if they underestimate deaths, and so there is an intrinsic bias towards caution. ‘They see their role as scaring people into doing something, and I understand that… but in my work, if I say a number is too small and I’m wrong, or too big and I’m wrong, both of those errors are the same.’ ... When asked his view of the lockdown policy as practiced by most of Europe and the U.S., Dr. Levitt replied, “I think it is a huge mistake. I think we need smart lockdown. If we were to do this again, we would probably insist on face masks, hand sanitizers, and some kind of payment that did not involve touching, right from the very beginning. ... England, France, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, are all reaching levels of saturation. They are very close to herd immunity. I think the policy of herd immunity is the right policy. I think Britain was on exactly the right track before they were fed wrong numbers. And they made a huge mistake. I see the standout winners as Germany and Sweden. They didn’t practise too much lockdown and they got enough people sick to get some herd immunity. I see the standout losers as countries like Austria, Australia and Israel that had very strict lockdown but didn’t have many cases. They have damaged their economies, caused massive social damage, damaged the educational year of their children, but not obtained any herd immunity. There is no doubt in my mind, that when we come to look back on this, the damage done by lockdown will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor’” (“Nobel prize-winning scientist: the Covid-19 epidemic was never exponential,” Unherd.com, UK, May 2, 2020).
A judge in Texas sentenced a hair salon owner to 7 days in jail and $7,000 fine for opening her business in the face of a court order forbidding it, but the state governor issued a new order eliminating jail time as punishment for violating stay-at-home orders, thus allowing her to be released. “Shelley Luther was given a choice: She could offer an apology for selfishness, pay a fine and shut down until Friday, or serve jail time. ‘I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I'm selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish. I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they would rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I am not going to shut the salon.’ After her refusal to show contrition, bailiffs led her away to be booked. Her sentence reportedly symbolizes the seven days she stayed open, despite county regulations” (“Jailed Dallas Salon owner,” Fox News, May 7, 2020). “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a new order Thursday eliminating jail time as punishment for violating stay-at-home orders, effectively allowing jailed salon owner Shelley Luther to be released. ‘Throwing Texans in jail whose biz’s shut down through no fault of their own is wrong,’ Mr. Abbott tweeted. ‘I am eliminating jail for violating an order, retroactive to April 2, superseding local orders.’ He added, ‘Criminals shouldn’t be released to prevent COVID-19 just to put business owners in their place’” (“Texas Gov. Abbort Drops Jail Time,” The Washington Post, May 7, 2020).
A Michigan barber says his shop will stay open “until Jesus walks in or they arrest me.” “There was a line of people waiting to get into Karl Manke’s barbershop on Tuesday. The 77-year-old barber, who has cut hair in town for 60 years, opened Karl Manke’s Barbershop on Monday in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order mandating salons, barbershops and other businesses to stay closed. ... “I don’t need the governor to be my mother," he said. “I have one. God bless her, she’s gone now. I don’t need another mother. I can make these adult decisions myself.” The barber expected to work another 14-hour day Tuesday. He said he worked from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday. ... The youngest person in his chair Tuesday was 19 years old and his oldest client was 90. People drove from Saginaw, Milford and Lansing to show Manke’s barbershop support. ... According to Manke, police officers issued him two citations and he must appear at court on June 6. He’s uncertain how much he has to pay. Owosso police previously confirmed investigating the situation and moving the issue to the prosecutor’s office. The barber said he still plans on staying open. ‘Heavens yes, I’m staying open unless they take me out in handcuffs or Taser me,’ Manke said. The Attorney General’s office previously said there is no basis for the barbershop to be open under the current executive order, but could not confirm whether someone has contacted Mankee. Those who violate the order are subject to a 90-day misdemeanor and/or a $500 fine. ... Mankee says, ’To tell you the truth, I am scared but I didn’t really have any choice. I need to work through that fear and open up’” (“Owosso barber says shop will stay open,” MLive.com, May 6, 2020; “Owosso barber confirms he was ticketed,” MLive, May 7, 2020). He has been repeatedly fined, but supporters have paid them. The Michigan Home Guard has been posting men in front of the shop. On May 11, a judge denied the state attorney general’s motion to close Manke down because it presents “clear public health dangers.” On May 12, the Michigan Department of Licensing suspended the old barber’s license (“Michigan Gov. Whitmer Stripss 77-Year-Old Barber of His License without Due Process,” PJ Media, May 13, 2020).
According to data from 100 New York hospitals, 66% of new Covid-19 hospitalizations are from people who have stayed at home and not ventured outside, and the next 18% are from the elderly in nursing homes. That means that a whopping 76% of the new infections are from people who are locked down, isolated! New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “This is a surprise: Overwhelmingly, the people were at home. We thought maybe they were taking public transportation, and we’ve taken special precautions on public transportation, but actually no, because these people were literally at home” (“Cuomo says,” CNBC, May 6, 2020). The governor doesn’t come to the conclusion that isolation does not prevent transmission and therefore the draconian lock down is ineffective. PJMedia observes, “That should be part of the calculus for ending the lockdown. While masks and hand sanitizers are valuable, as are social distancing measures, there are no simple answers to how to reopen the country. If people can become infected by items brought into the home or any contact with outsiders, there’s nothing anyone can do about that. We’d have to lock everyone away and not allow anything from the outside world in people’s houses” (“Cuomo: 66 Percent,” May 6, 2020).
An extensive study, reviewed by two medical doctors, show that anxiety from reactions to Covid-19 will destroy at least seven times more years of life than can be saved by lockdowns. “Based on a broad array of scientific data, Just Facts has computed that the anxiety created by reactions to Covid-19—such as stay-at-home orders, business shutdowns, media exaggerations, and legitimate concerns about the virus—will destroy at least seven times more years of human life than can possibly be saved by lockdowns to control the spread of the disease. This figure is a bare minimum, and the actual one is likely more than 90 times greater. This study was reviewed by Joseph P. Damore, Jr., M.D., who concluded: ‘This research is engaging and thoroughly answers the question about the cure being worse than the disease.’ Dr. Damore is a certified diplomate with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, an assistant attending psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy. ... Regardless of whether job losses from Covid-19 lockdowns are brief or sustained, the study found that the death correlation ‘is significant in both the short and long term,” lending “some support to the hypothesis and previous findings that both the stress and the negative lifestyle effects associated with the onset of unemployment tend to persist even after a person has regained a job.’ Also of relevance to current job losses, the study indicates that added unemployment benefits, like those recently passed into federal law, are unlikely to mitigate the deadliness of job losses. This is because the meta-analysis found that the associations between unemployment and death in Scandinavia and the U.S. are not significantly different, even though the Scandinavian nations offer more generous welfare benefits. Thus, the authors conclude that ‘these national-level policy differences may not have much of an effect on the rate of mortality following unemployment’” (“Anxiety from reasons to Covid-19,” JustFacts.com, May 4, 2020).
Coronvirus driving more US Jews home to Israel. Bible prophecy describes a return of Israel to the land in preparation for the rise of the antichrist (Eze. 37:8-10). A return in a spiritually-blind condition is necessary for the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27 and other prophecies. “Given that life in the US is far more comfortable, convenient and manageable than it is in Israel, many have long predicted that it would require some great danger or catastrophe to persuade the Jewish people living there to return to their true home. Recent statistics show that COVID-19 could be such a threat, or at least herald the kind of threat that will lead to mass Aliyah. In March and April of this year, Aliyah-focused organizations like Nefesh B’Nefesh noted a 50 percent increase in the number of American Jews interested in immigrating to Israel. ... And while air traffic to and from Israel has been shut down during the coronavirus crisis, planes carrying new Jewish immigrants have continued to land at Ben Gurion Airport. An incredible 961 Olim from the US arrived in Israel in March, and the application numbers cited above indicate even more could be coming soon” (“Coronavirus Driving More US Jews Home,” Israel Today, May 6, 2020).
On May 5, Pastor Jim Franklin of Cornerstone Church in Fresno, California, announced the church’s plan to reopen despite Gov. Newson’s lockdown orders. In a press conference, Franklin said, “As important as being able to buy clothes, have your pets groomed, or get a hair-cut, we believe a person’s spiritual health is essential and should be authorized. ... Why is it that Walmart can remain open for shoppers as long as they practice social distancing but churches must go online? How is it Constitutionally proper to say that liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, big box stores, even art, and craft outlets can remain open for business and have their parking lots full and hundreds of people gather under their roof under social distancing guidelines but churches under the same guidelines cannot open their doors?’
THE FOLLOWING ADDED MAY 4, 2020
In late March, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated in an editorial that when asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic cases are considered, the fatality rate of Covid-19 may be considerably less than 1% and compared it to “a severe seasonal influenza.” This is proving to be right as confirmed by a growing number of studies. The following is a quote from “Covid-19--Navigating the Uncharted” by Anthony Fauci, H. Clifford Lane, and Robert Redfield, New England Journal of Medicine, March 26, 2020: “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”
Statistics are showing that the vast, vast majority of people who have been infected with Covid-19 have survived. In New York City, the U.S. epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, the death rate for people 18 to 45 years old is 0.01%, for people over 75 it is 0.8%, and for children under 18 it is 0 (zero). (“Media’s Covid-19 Coverage Has Been Disastrous for America,” The Daily Wire, Apr. 30, 2020). In Massachusetts, as of April 26, there have been zero fatalities of K-12 aged youth and only 31 under the age of 50. The average age of the roughly 3,000 fatalities is 82 years old (Guy Benson, “Massachusetts Data: Zero School-aged young people have died from coronavirus,” Townhall, Apr. 29, 2020).
The Diamond Princess cruise ship is a scientific laboratory for Covid-19 infection among an older population, and it is good news. It was stricken with Covid-19 in February and quarantined off the coast of Japan. Every passenger and crew member was subsequently tested. It was a closed environment, so that the virus spread freely, and it had many days to spread before any significant effort was made to stop it. Further, the population was largely elderly. So it was sort of a worse case scenario. Of 3,711 passengers and crew the average age was 58, with 1231 being over 70 and 236 over 80. As of April, 16, 712 tested positive, 331 had no symptoms, 13 died (“Coronavirus patients on Diamond Princess,” Statista Research, Apr. 17, 2020). OF THE OCCUPANTS OF THIS CRUISE SHIP WHICH WAS WIDELY INVADED BY COVID-19, 99.65% SURVIVED. OF THE 1,015 PASSENGERS AGES 70-79, ONLY 234 TESTED POSITIVE AND 139 OF THOSE WERE ASYMPTOMATIC, WHICH IS 59%. Of the 215 passengers ages 80-89, 52 tested positive and 25 were asymptomatic, which is 48%. SO EVEN AMONG THE 1,230 WHO WERE IN THE 70-89 AGE GROUP, THE VAST MAJORITY SURVIVED, AND MORE THAN 50% OF THIS GROUP WHO WERE INFECTED HAD NO SYMPTOMS WHILE OTHERS HAD ONLY MILD SYMPTOMS. (Figures are from “Field Briefing: Diamond Princess COVID-19,” National Institute of Infectious Diseases Japan, Feb. 20, 2020, niid.go.jp.)
More than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study published by Italy’s national health authority. “The new study could provide insight into why Italy’s death rate, at about 8% of total infected people, is higher than in other countries. The Rome-based institute has examined medical records of about 18% of the country’s coronavirus fatalities, finding that just three victims, or 0.8% of the total, had no previous pathology. Almost half of the victims suffered from at least three prior illnesses and about a fourth had either one or two previous conditions. More than 75% had high blood pressure, about 35% had diabetes and a third suffered from heart disease” (“99% of those who died from virus had other illness, Italy Says,” Bloomberg, Mar.
A Stanford Prevention Research Center study has found that the risk of fatality from Covid-19 for those under 65 is “remarkably uncommon.” Following is the conclusion of “Population-level COVID-19 mortality risk for non-elderly,” medrxiv.org, by John Ioannidis, Cathrine Axfors, Despina Contoupoulos-Ioannidis: “People <65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in the hotbeds of the pandemic and deaths for people <65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are REMARKABLY UNCOMMON. Strategies focusing specifically on protecting high-risk elderly individuals should be considered in managing the pandemic.” [reference pdf ]
Consider the draconian lockdown conditions in the Dharavi section of Mumbai, India, which has 1.2 million people crammed into a sprawl of 2.4 square kilometers, about 20 times the population density of New York City. “Around 400 to 500 of its residents are using each toilet complex. Social distancing and isolation are therefore impossible here, as in other such locations all around the world and Dharavi has seen a recent surge of COVID-19 cases with a total of 330 cases and 18 deaths as of 29th of April. Within Dharavi, areas including Dr Baliga Nagar, Jasmine Mill Road, and Matunga Labor Camp, which are home to already vulnerable and marginalized communities have been marked as hotspot zones and sealed off under a municipal decree empowered by The Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897. As a result, this is compelling people to live in abominable crowded conditions and to remain there. This is likely to increase COVID-19 transmission rates. While Dharavi is an extreme example, the most densely populated lower income group urban residential clusters in India are not dissimilar” (“Rolling out mass hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis for covid-19,” BMJ.com, May 1, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 30, 2020
The U.S. military is a scientific laboratory for the Covid-19 fatality rate, and it shows a low fatality rate. As for April 28, 6,648 active duty troops, civilian service members, defense contractors and military family members have tested positive for Covid-19. Of those, 27 have died (“Pentagon rebuts Democratic senators’ complaints,” The Washington Times, Apr. 28, 2020). Those are the scientific facts. That is a fatality rate of 0.41%, but it does not take into account the millions of military personnel who have not been tested and doubtless have had asymptomatic Covid-19. This means that among U.S. military personnel worldwide, Covid-19 has a fatality rate so far of maximum 0.41%, but undoubtedly much lower than that, since it has been proven by multiple studies that a large number of Covid-19 infections are asymptomatic. On the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was 100% tested, about half of those infected were asymptomatic.
In New York City, the U.S. epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, the death rate for people 18 to 45 years old is 0.01%, for people over 75 it is 0.8%, and for children under 18 it is 0 (zero). (Joseph Curl, “Media’s Covid-19 Coverage Has Been Disastrous for America,” The Daily Wire, Apr. 30, 2020).
In statistics released on April 26 for the state of Massachusetts, there have been zero fatalities of K-12 aged youth from Covid-19, and only 31 under the age of 50. The average age of the roughly 3,000 fatalities is 82 years old (Guy Benson, “Massachusetts Data: Zero School-aged young people have died from coronavirus,” Townhall, Apr. 29, 2020).
A county circuit judge in southern Illinois, ruled on April 27 that Gov. J.B. Pritzer’s stay-at-home order exceeds his emergency authority and violates individual civil rights. “Clay County Circuit Judge Michael McHaney sided with Republican Rep. Darren Bailey, who sought a temporary restraining order against the Democratic governor’s far-reaching executive order. Pritzker has relied on an April 2 statewide disaster declaration as authority to close schools, shut down nonessential businesses and limit movement by individuals from their homes because of the potentially deadly COVID-19. Given word of the ruling during his daily briefing in Chicago on the state’s response to COVID-19, Pritzker accused Bailey, a Xenia resident, of being ‘blindly devoted to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity’” (“Illinois governor exceeded authority,” The Washington Times, Apr. 27, 2020).
The World Health Organization has retreated from its claim last week that there is ‘no evidence’ that recovered coronavirus patients will be resistant to future infections, saying that most will enjoy some level of immunity. “WHO responded Saturday by walking back the thread, saying it had “caused concern & we would like to clarify,” and replaced the tweet with: “We expect that most people who are infected with #COVID19 will develop an antibody response that will provide some level of protection” (“WHO retreats on ‘non evidence’ claim,” The Washington Times, Apr. 27, 2020).
Daniel Murphy, ER doctor on the front line in New York City says it’s time to start opening up. Dr. Murphy is chairman of the department of Emergency Medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx. “I’m an emergency physician at St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx. I have been in the ER every day these last few weeks, either supervising or providing direct care. I contracted a COVID-19 infection very early in the outbreak, as did two of my daughters, one of whom is a nurse. We are all well, thank God. COVID-19 has been the worst health care disaster of my 30-year career, because of its intensity, duration and potential for lasting impact. The lasting impact is what worries me the most. And it’s why I now believe we should end the lockdown and rapidly get back to work. ... t is precisely what I have witnessed that now tells me that it’s time to ease the lockdown. Here’s why. First, the wave has crested. ... Second, I worry about non-coronavirus care. ... Everyone seems to be avoiding the health system — an important and unfortunate consequence of the stay-at-home strategy. Third, inordinate fear misguides the public response. While COVID-19 is serious, fear of it is being over-amplified. The public needs to understand that the vast majority of infected people do quite well. Finally, COVID-19 is more prevalent than we think. Many New Yorkers already have the COVID-19 infection, whether they are aware of it or not. As of today, over 43 percent of those tested are positive in The Bronx. We are developing a significant degree of natural herd immunity. Distancing works, but I am skeptical that it is playing as predominant a role as many think” (“I’ve worked the coronavirus front line--and I say it’s time to start opening up,” New York Post, Apr. 27, 2020).
20th century flu epidemics killed large numbers of people worldwide and in America. The 1918-19 “Spanish Flu” pandemic was fatal to an estimated 50 to 100 million worldwide, 675,000 in the US. The CDC estimates that 1/3rd of the world’s population caught the virus. The 1957-58 “Asian Flu” (H2N2) pandemic was fatal to approximately 1.1 million worldwide, 116,000 in the U.S. The 1967-68 “Hong Kong Flu” (H3N2) pandemic was fatal to 1 million worldwide, and 100,000 in the U.S. The 2009-10 “Swine fFu” (H1N1) pandemic was fatal to about 300,000 worldwide, as many as 18,000 in the US. (Information from “5of the Worst Flu Outbreaks in Recent History,” Jan. 31, 2020, weather.com).
YouTube has pulled the video of two medical doctors in Bakersfield, California, who in a televised press conference gave a compelling case for ending the severe shutdowns. Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi own seven Accelerated Urgent Care facilities. The doctors were condemned in a strongly-worded statement by the American College of Emergency Physicians that even questioned their motives, even though the doctors gave clear facts from their own experience, their own testing data, data that is supported by a rapidly growing body of evidence, and they stated plainly that they were giving their own opinion. Don’t doctors have freedom of speech any more? Can there no more dialogue? Is all science settled? Must doctors now toe some party line given by higher ups? We wonder if the American College of Emergency Physicians has polled the doctors of America to see how many might agree that Dr. Erickson and Dr. Massihi might have some good points? And YouTube has taken it upon itself to censor these scientific men. It turns out that YouTube appears to be getting its marching orders from the United Nations. “Last week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told CNN that anything that would go against the World Health Organization [WHO] recommendations would be a violation of our policy’” (“Huckabee says YouTube must answer for pulling down doctors’ video: ‘Something is wrong with that,’” Fox News, Apr. 29, 2020). This fits a report from March 17 from Reformation Charlotte that WHO is partnering big social media corporations to stifle free speech globally. “The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it is partnering with social media giants to ‘flag and take down’ ‘misinformation’ regarding the coronavirus pandemic. ABC 7 reports, ‘There is a flow of misinformation online about the virus, which health officials are calling an infodemic and they are mounting a concerted effort to combat it. ... Andy Pattison, the manager of digital solutions at WHO, [says] this could well be the first global infodemic. ... The WHO is working directly with tech companies on a daily basis to flag and take down bad information, and to ensure that facts from reliable sources get to users first’ (‘How COVID-19 infodemic is infecting the internet with false information,’ ABC7news.com, Mar. 6, 2020). Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted in a comment on Facebook recently, ‘Given the developing situation, we’re working with national ministries of health and organizations like the WHO, CDC and UNICEF to help them get out timely, accurate information on the coronavirus. We’re also focused on stopping hoaxes and harmful misinformation...’ While there certainly is a plethora of false information being widely disseminated around social media, a free society has the obligation to allow it, protect the right to it, and to combat it with true information. The fact that a world government organization is partnering with social media to limit the information that they alone deem ‘false’ or ‘misleading’ should raise the hairs on everyone’s necks” (“World Health Organization,” Reformation Charlotte, Mar. 17, 2020).
Anders Tegnell, chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency, explains the nation’s strategy as sustainability. “Sweden, unlike its Nordic neighbors Denmark and Norway – and virtually every other country in the western world – has resisted extensive lockdown restrictions to stem the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, it’s largely kept society, including schools and restaurants open, and relied on voluntary social-distancing measures that appeal to the public’s sense of self-restraint. Polls show the strategy is broadly supported by most Swedes. ... Anders Tegnell, chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency--the nation’s top infectious disease official and architect of Sweden’s coronavirus response--denied that ‘herd immunity’ formed the central thrust of Sweden’s containment plan, in an interview with USA TODAY. Yet he also said the country may be starting to see the impact of ‘herd immunity.’ ... Tegnel: ‘We are trying to keep transmission rates at a level that the Stockholm health system can sustain. So far that has worked out. The health system is stressed. They are working very hard. But they have delivered health care to everybody, including those without COVID-19. That is our goal. ... If we wanted to achieve herd immunity we would have done nothing and let coronavirus run rampant through society. We are trying to keep the transmission rate as low as we can. We have taken reasonable measures without really hurting health care or schools. We are going for a sustainable strategy; something we can keep on doing for months. Coronavirus is not something that is just going to go away. Any country that believes it can keep it out (by closing borders, shuttering businesses, etc.) will most likely be proven wrong at some stage. We need to learn to live with this disease. ... We have many reasons to think that we are doing the right thing. It’s true that our death toll is higher compared to Denmark and Norway, but we have a lot of other things going for us. If you compare us to other countries in Europe who have severe lockdowns we are doing at least as good as them and in many cases better. Every country is wondering whether they are doing the right thing. What’s happening now is that many countries are starting to come around to the Swedish way. They are opening schools, trying to find an exit strategy. It comes back to sustainability’” (“Swedish official Anders Tegnell,” American-Statesman, Austin, Texas, Apr. 28, 2020).
Last week, the Washington State Supreme Court came one vote short of releasing thousands of the state’s hardened criminals, including murderers and rapists, from prison because of coronavirus. This possibly included Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, who is convicted of slaughtering 49 women and girls and is suspected of 71 others. “Throughout the country, law enforcement has set free thousands of prisoners to “protect them” from COVID-19 inside jails and prisons. While innocents are locked in their homes hiding from “the invisible enemy,” as President Trump calls it, county sheriffs, prison overseers, and governors have been busy freeing convicted criminals to stop them from getting the coronavirus. ... But nothing is more, what’s the word for it? Ah, yes--INSANE--than what Washington State prison reformers nearly succeeded in doing last week. ... A legal activist group, Columbia Legal Services, began agitating for inmates over 50 years old to be set free to save them from the virus. Ridgeway is 71 years old. ... ‘We’re not talking about low-level druggies and low-level property crimes,’ Skagit County Chief Deputy Criminal Prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula told the Skagit Valley Herald Tuesday. ‘We’re talking about really bad people.’ ... The vote was 5-4 [on April 23]. That means four of the Washington State Supreme Court were ready to empty the state prisons of 2/3 of the prisoners, including Gary Ridgeway” (“Insanity: Wash. State Came One Vote Away,” PJ Media, Apr. 28, 2020).
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s hometown put on a parade in her honor for her leadership in the coronavirus pandemic by resisting the pressure to issue a stay-at-home order. “South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was surprised Monday by several hundred vehicles– and one horse– driving past the governor’s residence in a show of support for how she’s handling the COVID-19 pandemic. ... When it was over, Noem spoke briefly with event organizer John Morris of Fort Pierre. She told him she’d had a tough day, and the show of support was exactly what she needed. The 20 minute parade included everything from fire trucks to a cement mixer, a heavy duty payloader and a road grader, to business vehicles, personal cars and pickup trucks” (“South Dakotans Parade,” GoWatertown.net, Apr. 28, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 27, 2020
On April 22, Pastor Kris Casey of Adams Square Baptist Church, Worcester, MA, notified the governor, mayor, and chief of police of their intent to begin congregating on April 26. The church met as planned without any trouble from the authorities. Following is an except from the notification, dated Apr. 22, by Pastor Kris Casey of Adams Square Baptist Church, Worcester, MA: “I am writing to inform you that, after much research, consultation and prayer, I have made the decision to resume gathering as a church for corporate worship. This coming Sunday, April 26th, we will hold a morning worship service in our church sanctuary located at 266 Lincoln Street in Worcester. We will also gather at the same location on Wednesday evenings for our midweek service. My congregation and I will observe the appropriate social distancing precautions, consistent with guidance from the CDC. ... Without at present belaboring the point, I notice that ‘liquor stores’ and ‘garden centers,’ for example, are designated under Exhibit A of the [Governor’s] Order as COVID-19 Essential Services, but that religious services of 10 or more people are not. In fact, it would seem that religious services are the only essential function whose core activity--association for the purpose of worship--has been basically eliminated. Such a shut-down of religious services violates clear Constitutional rights under the 1st and 14th Amendments. Also, as you may be aware, lawsuits by churches have in past days been successful in Federal Courts in Kentucky and Kansas on precisely this issue. These have caught the attention of the Department of Justice, with US Attorney General William Barr stating recently, in light of another lawsuit file by a church in Mississippi seeking to resume services in a modified fashion, ‘the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers. Thus, government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity.’ Furthermore, the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act contains strong penalties for those who would deprive a person of their civil rights. It is my hope and prayer that no government official would take action against the peaceable assembly of believers for corporate worship. Please be advised that any interference by you or your agents, including duly appointed police officers acting at your direction or otherwise under color of law, will be a violation of the First & 14th Amendments, Article 2 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, the US Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 USC §§ 2000bb, and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, G.L. c. 12, § 11I. ... Please keep in mind that my congregation and I will carefully observe all social distancing requirements, including keeping worshippers six feet apart at all times (although we may allow families to sit together). We will be taking precautionary measures by taking the temperature of all attendees prior to entry into the building as well as to provide them with hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves for the duration of the service, consistent with guidance from the CDC. A copy of this letter has been sent to Mayor Petty of Worcester and Worcester Chief of Police Steve Sargent. If you have any further questions or comments, you may reach me at any time on my cell phone... Respectfully yours, Pastor Kris Casey.”
A federal judge has ruled that a church in Mississippi can reopen without fear of being shut down again or threatened by local government or its police force. “In a federal lawsuit filed by the conservative legal group, Thomas More Society, on behalf of the First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs, U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills issued the order against the city of Holly Springs, whose officers disrupted and shut down a midweek Bible study, 10 days after disrupting the congregation’s Easter worship service and issuing its pastor, Jerry Waldrop, a citation. ‘These were outrageous violations of these parishioners’ rights,’ the group’s Senior Counsel Stephen Crampton said in a statement. ‘On both occasions, Holly Springs law enforcement personnel ignored the fact that all church members present were practicing social distancing and complying with all applicable health requirements.’ ... While the statewide stay home order classes ‘religious entities including religious and faith-based facilities’ as essential businesses or operations,’ the Holly Springs’ stay home order deemed churches nonessential, Crampton pointed out. ‘Clearly, the state order preempts the municipal order, which was selectively and prejudicially enforced against the church,’ he said. ‘The local Walmart store routinely houses gatherings of dozens and dozens of people, as does the Cash Savers store and the Dollar Tree store, yet Defendant has taken no action whatsoever against any of these entities.’ The lawsuit argued that the city of Holly Springs violated the church members’ rights to religious freedom, free speech, freedom to assemble, and rights of due process as constitutionally guaranteed under the First and 14th Amendments, and also claimed violation of the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act. ... The order also stated that neither Holly Springs, nor its police force, would interfere with the church’s drive-in service on Sunday” (“Pentecostal Church can worship freely without fear,” The Christian Post, Apr. 26, 2020).
A pastor in Louisiana has been placed under house arrest with an ankle bracelet after defying state orders against large gatherings. It is disgraceful that a pastor in the United States of America is being treated like a common criminal for exercising his first amendment rights. The church is testing for fever and practicing social distancing, etc. “Tony Spell, of Life Tabernacle Church in the city of Central, has been fitted with an ankle bracelet and placed under house after he would not promise to maintain social distancing, his attorney confirmed Sunday. Spell has admitted to violating Louisiana's mandate to avoid large gatherings by hosting church services. Joseph Long, Spell’s attorney, told NBC News in a statement that Spell lived 50 yards from his church, which still planned to host services Sunday. ‘The judge has found him in contempt of Court for refusing to promise,’ Long said. ‘Obviously, we believe this is an illegal order in violation of the Constitution, and will litigate the issue.’ ... In late March, Spell was issued a summons for violating the governor's executive order against gatherings of more than 50 people. He hosted a church service of about 500 worshippers. The following week, Spell was accused of violating the order again. He told CNN that he hosted around 1,220 churchgoers for a Palm Sunday service at his church” (“Pastor on House Arrest,” NBC News, Apr. 26, 2020).
A Hebrew University research team that includes a prominent epidemiologist is advising ending all coronavirus restrictions and reopening the country to international travel. “Epidemiologist Hagai Levine, chairman of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians and a faculty member at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, took the lead on the health data in the report. For the modeling, [David] Gershon [of the Jerusalem Business School] and fellow Jerusalem Business School professor Alexander Lipton drew on their PhDs in physics and years spent working in finance. Gershon is former global head of options for Barclays Capital in London. ... They crunched statistics from around the world and concluded in a newly published study that while lockdowns were necessary in London, New York and various other places, Israel didn’t need to confine people to houses or impose other strict rules. Though researchers admitted that without those limitations, Israel’s death toll would have been higher, even significantly so, they believed it would have stayed within manageable rates, while protecting the economy from massive damage. ... The message of the final report, ‘How to Manage the COVID-19 Pandemic without Destroying the Economy,’ sharply contrasts with that of the government. The scholars particularly admire Sweden, which controversially didn’t impose a lockdown, kept schools, restaurants and businesses open, and relied on people voluntarily following guidelines to slow the spread of coronavirus. ‘I think Sweden got it right,’ Gershon commented. ‘Israel should have done what Sweden did.’ He said that deaths due to illnesses are inevitable and the only criterion for assessing how a country should react is whether the health service is in danger of melting down. ‘If not, we are safe,’ he argued” (“End all restrictions, they were unnecessary,” The Times of Israel, Apr. 27, 2020).
See the full statement, “Managing COVID-19 Pandemic without Destructing the Economy, at https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.10324
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has developed a UV healing technology called Healight Platform Technology that eradicates a wide range of viruses and bacteria, including coronavirus and bacteria that cause ventilator associated pneumonia. Cedars-Sinai has signed an exclusive worldwide license with Aytu BioScience, a speciality pharmaceutical company, to commercialize the technology, which has been in development since 2016. “The Company is engaging with the research team at Cedars-Sinai and the FDA to determine an expedited regulatory process to potentially enable near-term use of the technology initially as a coronavirus intervention for critically ill intubated patients. Josh Disbrow, CEO of Aytu BioScience, says, ‘This first-in-class technology has the potential to be a game changer for clinicians treating patients infected with coronavirus and other respiratory conditions, and our team is working tirelessly alongside the Cedars-Sinai team to determine the safety and effectiveness of this device in humans’” (“Aytu BioScience Signs Exclusive Global License,” Apr. 20, 2020, AP News).
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places” (Hab. 3:17-19).
The naval super carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt is a laboratory for the study of coronavirus, and it shows that the virus is highly infectious but not highly fatal to healthy people. At the beginning of the infection, there were 4,860 sailors on the ship, a floating, self-contained city. On March 22, the first sailor tested positive to the virus. Subsequently, all of the sailors have been tested, 955 have tested positive (including the ship’s Captain, Brett Crozier). That is 19.6% of the sailors. Of the 955, 60% are asymptomatic and the majority of the rest showed mild symptoms. One sailor, 41-year-old Chief Petty Officer Charles Thacker, Jr., was admitted to ICU on April 9 and died on April 13. On April 17, seven of the 955 were in hospitalization and one was in ICU. As of April 24, none were in ICU. Thus, the coronavirus fatality rate on the USS Theodore Roosevelt has been 0.1%. (This information is based on the following reports: “955 U.S.S. Roosevelt crew members have tested positive,” The Washington Times, Apr. 27, 2020; “Coronavirus clue? Most cases aboard U.S. aircraft carrier are symptom free,” Reuters, Apr. 17, 2020; “Navy Sailor Assigned to USS Theodore Roosevelt Dies,” Apr. 13, 2020, www.navy.mil; “First Active-Duty Navy Sailor to Die,” Time magazine, Apr. 16, 2020; and “840 Sailors,” USA Today, Apr. 24, 2020).
On April 21, the governor of Texas reaffirmed that churches are “essential services” and issued “Guidance for Houses of Worship During the COVID-19 Crisis.” The order emphasizes that no local government can forbid churches to meet and the suggestions regarding social distancing, gloves, masks, and such are only “recommendations.” Under the extraordinary circumstances in which we temporarily live, these guidelines provide that houses of worship may remain open. The guidelines make only recommendations to houses of worship.” The Guidelines state, “The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I of the Texas Constitution protect the right of Texans to worship and freely exercise their religion according to the dictates of their own consciences. In addition, the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (‘RFRA’) provides additional protections to faith communities, and government must ensure that it complies with RFRA when it acts, even during a disaster. Thus, when state or local governments issue orders prohibiting people from providing or obtaining certain services, they must ensure that these orders do not violate these constitutional and statutory rights. By executive order, Governor Abbott has defined essential services to include ‘religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship.’ Institutions providing these essential services can provide them under certain conditions described in Executive Order GA 16 and local orders by counties or municipalities that are consistent with GA 16. To the extent there is conflict between the Governor’s Executive Order GA 16 and local orders, GA 16 controls. Local governments may not order houses of worship to close. Services that houses of worship cannot conduct remotely should be conducted in accordance with guidance from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (‘CDC’).”
Florida antibodies testing confirms that coronavirus not nearly as deadly as previously thought. Following on the heels of the same type of results in New York and California, University of Miami researchers have shown that the number of infections is 16 times higher than reported. “University of Miami researchers’ antibody testing out of Miami-Dade County in Florida showed that about 6% of the population has had the China-originated novel coronavirus, COVID-19, extrapolating to an estimated 165,000 infections countywide, about 16 times higher than reported. Since the recorded number of infections via the health department is well below that number, around 10,600 infections, this means the fatality rate is also far lower than reported” (“Florida Antibody Testing,” Daily Wire, Apr. 26, 2020).
Dr. Scott Atlas, former head of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, gives five reasons to stop panic and end total isolation. “Leaders must examine accumulated data to see what has actually happened, rather than keep emphasizing hypothetical projections; combine that empirical evidence with fundamental principles of biology established for decades; and then thoughtfully restore the country to function. Five key facts are being ignored by those calling for continuing the near-total lockdown. Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19. ... Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding. ... Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem. ... Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections. ... Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures. ... The appropriate policy, based on fundamental biology and the evidence already in hand, is to institute a more focused strategy like some outlined in the first place ... Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces and small businesses with some prudent large-group precautions. This would allow the essential socializing to generate immunity among those with minimal risk of serious consequence, while saving lives, preventing overcrowding of hospitals and limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation. Let’s stop underemphasizing empirical evidence while instead doubling down on hypothetical models” (Scott Atlas, “The data is in--stop the panic and end the total isolation,” The Hill, Apr. 22, 2020).
Two medical doctors in Bakersfield, California, owners of seven Accelerated Urgent Care facilities, in a press conference on KGET-TV 17, gave a compelling case for ending the severe shutdowns. Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi “understand and support the initial reactions to the COVID-19 outbreak by the federal, state and local governments. It was a novel virus and there was very limited information. However, now they assert that the data is telling them that the disease pattern of COVID-19 is more like the flu. Dr. Erickson phrased it this way, ‘Millions of cases, a small number of deaths.’ He specifically noted that the difference in the number of deaths between Sweden, with limited restrictions, and Norway, which locked down, is not statistically significant. ‘Lockdown versus non-lockdown did not produce a statistically different number of deaths. That is the bottom line,’ said Erickson. ... Based on their analysis, the death rate varies from 0.03% in California to 0.1% in New York state. ... they were very clear on how self-isolation can actually compromise the immune system in otherwise healthy people. Dr. Erickson explained that the immune system is actually built by exposure to pathogens. Coming in contact with viruses and bacteria in the environment fires the body’s system for fighting infection. Additionally, the normal flora, or good germs we have on and in us all the time, also drop when we isolate. ... Next, they say the current guidelines are not backed by science. Dr. Erickson repeated the finding that COVID-19 can live on plastic for three days. So, when you go to Costco or Home Depot, you pick up needed items that may carry COVID-19. He added that it is because of these fomites, inanimate objects that can carry and transfer disease, it is highly likely COVID-19 would be found if your home or car were sampled. Additionally, there is no science that says it is safer to go to Costco than it is to go to the small local restaurant for lunch. In the opinion of both doctors, the current guidelines are not based on rational thinking. They also think people should absolutely be spending time outside” (“California Docs Say Lockdown vs. Non-Lockdown ‘Did Not Produce a Statistically Different Number of Deaths,” PJMedia Apr. 25, 2020)
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 24, 2020
New York antibodies testing indicate that coronavirus not very deadly. “Nearly everything we’ve been told about models, rates of infection, deaths, and recoveries was inaccurate. ... [T]he one thing that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stunning announcement made clear on Thursday is that there are some pretty shocking--and what should be--reassuring truths. Cuomo announced that antibody testing in New York state, which only began four days previous, was already demonstrating that at minimum 13.9% of New Yorkers, had COVID-19 late stage antibodies. The implication of this is a shockwave to the system. With a population of 19,540,500 the findings point out that over 2,500,000 New Yorkers had the virus and have recovered. Keep in mind that as of this writing that only 263,000 New Yorkers have currently confirmed cases. Also as of this writing New York has reported 19,543 fatalities. We’ve been told that the true death rate is 7.4% in New York. We were told there would be hundreds of thousands dead. We were told that this was worse than the flu, which has still recorded more deaths to date in this past flu season--even though the CDC instructed medical personnel to start counting influenza, heart disease, pulmonary, respiratory, drug overdose, and possibly even car crash deaths as COVID-19 deaths. ... We were told that we had to upend an economy, go into solitary confinement, and divorce ourselves from normal life because this would rage beyond any previous pandemic. ... But none of these ‘truths’ turned out to be so” (Kevin McCullough, “Antibody Testing: Proves We’ve Been Had!” Townhall.com, Apr. 23, 2020).
Dr. Vladimir Zev Zelenko of Monroe, New York (near New York City), says that the evidence is in that the drug cocktail hydroxychloroquine, azirthromycin, and zinc, with an exact prescribed dosage protocol, reduces Covid-19 deaths by 95%. He has treated approximately 75% of the adult population of the America’s’ only Hasidic Jewish town, Kiryas Joel, in which the infection at first spread rapidly and unchecked. Dr. Zelenko is a Russian immigrant who became Hasidic as a young adult. He began treating patients with the cocktail in March, was shut down by state authorities on the morning of March 24 because they had had banned use of the drug outside state-approved clinical trials, but was back up and running that afternoon after intervention by the White House. In March he said his colleagues in using the protocol included Dr. William Grace of the hematology and oncology department at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Following is a transcript of part of Dr. Zelenko’s interview with Kevin McCullough on April 23: “Up to three days ago we have 1,450 patients that were diagnosed with Covid-19. Out of those 1,450 patients, I separated into two groups. The high risk group was over the age of 60 with serious medical problems like cancer or diabetes, or anyone who looked very sick. I treated that group only. There 405 high risk patients. Statistically, you would have expected 5% of them to die. That is 20 patients who would have died and about 40 patients on a respirator. My statistics were that two patients died and four were on the ventilator, and those four survived and are now off the ventilator. That was obviously a significant finding. Basically my results mirror that of Didier Raoult of France and that of the country of Brazil. The president of Brazil deployed my protocols three and a half weeks ago in several hospitals and clinics, and they had a decrease in deaths by 95%. The common denominator is that we all started treating early before the patient needs to go on the ventilator. It is clear to me that early intervention with these medications will essentially fix this problem. I wouldn’t have said this a few weeks ago, because I didn’t have confidence in the data, but I now do. I’m coming out with a study this week with over 2,000 case reports. I’m going to say this ... and history will prove this to be true, that if we deploy these protocols nationwide and begin to treat patients at the primary care level, meaning at the doctor’s office early in the infectious process, this plague will end, the number of deaths will go down by 90-95%, the hospital crisis and ventilator crisis will naturally resolve itself, and the economy could reopen within a week” (“Dr. Zev Zelenko’s Dismantling of Chloroquine,” Kevin McCullough Radio, Apr. 23, 2020).
The Liberty Counsel is calling for “ReOpen Church Sunday” on May 3. “After weeks of being closed due to the Coronavirus, Liberty Counsel is calling on the churches to open and believers to start meeting again on Sunday, May 3, which is being called ReOpen Church Sunday. May 3 is also the beginning of the National Day of Prayer week, which culminates on Thursday, May 7. ... ReOpen Church Sunday should include appropriate measures of sanitization and appropriate social distancing between families. .. Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The lockdowns have closed churches at a time of greatest need, and they must reopen to meet the burgeoning needs of the community. Churches are now more essential than ever to bring comfort, hope, and help to the people they serve. Each church is different and each one must assess when and how best to reopen’” (“Now Is the Time to Act,” Liberty Council, ReOpenChurch.org).
Professor Richard Sullivan, director of the Institute of Cancer Policy at King’s College, London, warns that the number of deaths from cancer could exceed that of coronavirus over the next few years due to the disruption caused by the lockdown. “Many people are avoiding hospitals, partly due to fear of coronavirus and partly due to the NHS implying that people should stay away so as not to burden doctors and nurses. This means that routine cancer screenings have all but stopped and there will be a massive backlog once normality resumes. ‘The cessation and delay of cancer care will cause considerable avoidable suffering,’ said Sullivan. ‘Cancer screening services have stopped, which means we will miss our chance to catch many cancers when they are treatable and curable, such as cervical, bowel and breast.’ People didn’t suddenly stop getting cancer when the coronavirus outbreak started, but now they are not getting treatment. One wonders what the point is in allowing such disruption in the name of saving lives, only to lose more lives to cancer in the long run. ‘Some stroke and heart attack patients are routinely waiting more than two hours for an ambulance, while 2,300 cancer diagnoses are being missed each week because patients are not going to see their GP or because they are not being referred for urgent tests and scans at hospital,’ reports the Daily Mail. ‘Another 400 cancers a week are, it is estimated, being missed because breast, cervical and bowel cancer screening has been suspended. For any of these patients, delay can be a death sentence.’ As we previously highlighted, despite many predictions that the NHS would be ‘overwhelmed’ by coronavirus, acute hospital beds across the United Kingdom are four times emptier than normal. One of the overspill hospitals built to handle with an excess of patients due to coronavirus in the north east remains empty and will never be used. In addition, the temporary Nightingale hospital in London has remained largely empty since it opened,’ according to HSJ.co.uk. Despite all this, the UK government has refused to even suggest when lockdown measures may end. ... A graph also shows that, when population differences are factored in, Sweden, which hasn’t imposed any mandatory lockdown measures, has virtually the same death rate as England, which has been under lockdown for over a month” (“Professor Warns,” Summit.news, Apr. 23, 2020).
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said the Justice Department may side with citizens who sue their state governments over draconic lockdown measures. “In an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Barr specified some of the legal issues raised by state orders--likening some to ‘house arrest’--and how they could lead the federal government to get involved. ‘Our federal constitutional rights don’t go away in an emergency. They constrain what the government can do,’ Barr said in the Tuesday interview. ‘And in a circumstance like this, they put on the government the burden to make sure that whatever burdens it’s putting on our constitutional liberties are strictly necessary to deal with the problem. They have to be targeted. They have to use less intrusive means if they are equally effective in dealing with the problem. And that’s the situation we’re in today. We’re moving into a period where we have to do a better job of targeting the measures we’re deploying to deal with this virus. You know, the idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,’ Barr said in the Tuesday interview. ‘I’m not saying it wasn’t justified. I’m not saying in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood. So these are very, very burdensome impingements on liberty, and we adopted them, we have to remember, for the limited purpose of slowing down the spread, that is bending the curve. ... And we are now seeing that these are bending the curve, and now we have to come up with more targeted approaches.’ ... Barr pointed out that not only is there an issue of going too far with measures that may impinge on constitutional rights, there is also the issue of the burden orders could place on interstate commerce, which falls under federal jurisdiction” (“Barr: DOJ may side with citizens who sue,” Fox News, Apr. 22, 2020).
A new mother is giving glory to God after having a healthy baby girl while in a medically-induced coma because of Covid-19. “A new mom calls herself a ‘miracle walking’ and gives all the credit to God after she gave birth while in a medically induced coma because of COVID-19. According to the Washington Post, 27-year-old Angela Primachenko was 33 weeks pregnant when she thought she had Spring allergies. Two days later she started running a fever and visited the hospital where she worked. A week later she was on a ventilator and fighting for her life. Primachenko, a respiratory therapist from Vancouver, Washington, woke up from the medically-induced coma on April 6th. She told NBC’s Today Show that she ‘woke up and all of a sudden I didn’t have my belly anymore.’ She discovered that doctors induced labor on April 1st and delivered her daughter, whom she named Ava. ... One special moment for Primachenko was when her colleagues showed up to cheer for her as she was dismissed from the intensive care unit. She said, ‘Everyone did a standing ovation and just clapped me out of the ICU, which was so amazing and such a huge thing to be able to leave the ICU and go to the floors.’ She concluded, ‘It was just the grace of God’” (“New Mom Gives Glory to God,” Christian Headlines, Apr. 16, 2020).
The lead scientist at the National Institutes of Health says they are on track for an emergency use coronavirus vaccine by fall and general use by spring. “Kizzmekia Corbett, the lead scientist at the National Institutes of Health working on the coronavirus vaccine, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 it’s ‘looking like we're on track for’ a vaccine that could be available for emergency use this fall. ... Asked why her team is moving faster than others, Corbett said, ‘It is based on several of our previous projects where we were investigating vaccines for MERS and SARS – coronaviruses which are very closely related to the virus that causes COVID-19. ... We've researched coronavirus vaccine development for the last seven years [and] particularly under my direction the team has researched this coronavirus development for five years. “And so, coming into the onset of this pandemic, we had an idea about what we wanted to do as far as the design of the vaccine,’ she said. ... ‘A lot of our work that we've done previously has essentially driven us into what we call a rapid response.’ ... ‘We're targeting fall for emergency use,’ she said. ‘That would be for health care workers and people who might be in constant contact and [at] risk of being exposed. … And then for the general population our target goal is for next spring. And that is if all things go well--if these phase one, phase two and phase three clinical trials work simultaneously for the good. Our plan is to have people vaccinated all over the world by next spring” (“NIH is ‘on track’ for ‘emergency use,’” Christian Headlines, Apr. 15, 2020).
New York Gov. Cuomo rejects God’s help in this crisis, but Texas Governor Abbott says to put your faith in Jesus Christ. In an interview with Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church, on Sunday, April 19, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, “When I was just 26 years old, I suffered, literally, a back-breaking injury. I found in the aftermath of that, as I continued to reach out to God, I found God reaching out right back to me. It empowered me to go on and become the governor of the great state of Texas. ... [If you believe] Jesus Christ and God, you will be able to weather this storm. God never promised us a life free of storms. What God promised was a pathway through those storms. That’s what I’ve seen in my own life, that’s what I’m seeing in Texas” (The Stream, Apr. 22, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 21, 2020
Facebook is blocking anti-quarantine protesters from using the site to organize in-person gatherings that violate states’ stay-at-home orders (“Republicans attack Facebook,” Politico, Apr. 20, 2020). “The world’s largest social network has removed protest messages in California, New Jersey and Nebraska from its site, a company spokesperson said Monday, after days of rallies across state capitals where protesters — many carrying pro-Trump signs — called for an end to the health restrictions. ... ‘We reached out to state officials to understand the scope of their orders, not about removing specific protests on Facebook,’ a company spokesperson said. ‘We remove the posts when gatherings do not follow the health parameters established by the government and are therefore unlawful.’ ... ‘Why is @Facebook colluding with state governments to quash people's free speech?’ tweeted Trump Jr., who has joined other supporters of the president in accusing Silicon Valley social media companies of suppressing conservative messaging. ‘Regardless of what you think about the lockdowns or the protests against them, this is a chilling & disturbing government directed shutdown of peoples 1st Amendment rights. Very dangerous!’ Hawley, another critic of the tech industry, tweeted: ‘Because free speech is now illegal America?’”
Kansas supreme court has ordered the state’s governor to stop closing churches. “Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order, issued just before Easter, bans religious services of more than 10 people. It also allows religious leaders and their congregants to be punished with fines of up to $2,500 and 12 months in jail for violations. Meanwhile, abortion businesses, including one in Wichita that kills unborn children in late-term abortions, can remain open. Previously, the state Legislative Coordinating Council and Attorney General Derek Schmidt took action to stop her executive order against religious gatherings. ... on Saturday they won their first battle as a federal district court issued a temporary restraining order requested by attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of two Kansas churches against Kelly’s mass gathering ban that unconstitutionally treats religious congregations different from many secular gatherings. Afterwards, Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker told LifeNews: ‘Singling out churches for special punishment while allowing others to have greater freedom is both illogical and unconstitutional. We’re pleased that the court halted the governor from subjecting our clients to that type of targeting and agreed that the churches are likely to prevail on their claim that doing so violates the First Amendment.’ ADF is representing two rural churches, First Baptist Church of Dodge City and Calvary Baptist Church of Junction City (“Court Stops Kansas Governor from Closing Churches,” LifeNews.com, Apr. 20, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 18, 2020
Dr. Ben Carson, prominent neurosurgeon, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and member of U.S. President Trump’s coronavirus task force, says the U.S. shouldn’t wait until virus is gone and he is confident that the economy will rebound. Dr. Carson told Sandra Smith of Fox News, “[W]hat we have to recognize is that we have going into this an incredibly strong economy. And things were going very well. The fundamentals, the underlying structure of our economy is very solid and very strong. So what we want to do is we want to maintain that economy, bridge the gap, and that means that you are going to have to infuse some significant federal funds. But we want to keep things going so that once the virus problem has been eliminated, we can go back. And it doesn’t mean that we have to wait until every vestige of the virus is gone. You know, common sense would dictate that if we wait until everything is gone our economy will be gone, also. So we have to recognize that obviously, you know, there are risks, benefits and risks in everything and we have to weigh those things. That’s what a task force does. We look at all the different variables; we look at medical variables; we look at social variables, economic variables; and we try to give the president the kind of advice that would be beneficial in maintaining people’s health but also in maintaining their lifestyle.”
Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina announce plans to reopen their economies. Georgia is reopening many businesses on April 24 and allowing hospitals to resume elective surgeries. Restaurants and movie theaters can reopen on April 27. Tennessee announced that the stay-at-home order will expire on April 30. South Carolina has announced the reopening of beaches, departments stores, florists, bookstores, and some other businesses previously deemed “non-essential.” “Social distancing” is supposed to continue, but it is doubtful whether that is feasible.
Florida, is beginning to come out of lock down with the reopening of parks, some beaches, and other venues. It was one of the worst-hit states, though there have been only 729 deaths so far. And this is a state with a major elderly population. Earlier computer models had projected nearly 5,000 deaths.
Texas is starting to reopen its economy for some businesses, state parks, some nonessential surgeries, with more to be announced on April 27. Schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year (only a few weeks left). There have been a little over 300 deaths from coronavirus in the massive state. No telling how many have thousands have died of other causes.
A new study shows coronavirus infections are dramatically higher and the death rate is much lower than reported. “Dr. Eran Bedavid, associate professor of medicine at Stanford University, led the study that tested 3,330 individuals for COVID-19 antibodies in California's Santa Clara County. Stanford researches found 2.5 to 4.16 percent of the subjects possessed antibodies to COVID-19. While the number of unreported infections is a far cry from herd immunity, the number surprised many in the medical community. In Santa Clara county, there have been approximately 1,833 reported cases of the coronavirus, but the study suggests somewhere between 48,000 and 81,000 people have had the virus in the county of nearly two million people. ‘Our findings suggest that there is somewhere between 50- and 80-fold more infections in our county than what’s known by the number of cases than are reported by our department of public health,’ Dr. Bendavid said in an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. With 50 to 80 times the number of reported cases, the corresponding death rate would be much lower” (Townhall, Apr. 17, 2020).
A large study by the University of California has found that 4.1 percent of Los Angeles county’s adult population has antibodies to the coronavirus, which means that far more people were infected than previously thought and thus the computer models are off by a large factor. There have been about 600 coronavirus deaths in Los Angeles county (with a population of 10 million). “We haven’t known the true extent of COVID-19 infections in our community because we have only tested people with symptoms, and the availability of tests has been limited,’ said lead investigator Neeraj Sood, professor of public policy at the USC Price School for Public Policy. ‘The estimates also suggest that we might have to recalibrate disease prediction models and rethink public health strategies.’ ... The estimated infection numbers are 28 to 55 times higher than the 7,994 confirmed COVID-19 cases L.A. County had reported at the time of the study in early April. ... Due to the greater infection numbers, it also means the fatality rate from the virus is much lower than originally thought” (“Testing shows hundreds of thousands in L.A. County,” Fox News, Apr. 21, 2020).
The Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio, 1,800 out of 2,500 inmates tested positive to coronavirus, but only 105 have symptoms and none have died. Commenting on this, Dr. Marc Siegel, physician and faculty member at NYU Langone Medical Center, concludes, “So we are talking about a virus that is in most cases dramatically mild; we are talking about a lower fatality rate than we thought” (“Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Fox News, Apr. 21, 2020).
Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church released a worldly rap video called the “Quarantine S.H.A.K.E.” to promote the CDC’s five coronavirus recommendations to children. It features a “robot” dancer called “The Helmut Guy.” The head of Saddleback’s Kids Ministry, Kurt Johnston, says The Helmut Guy was chosen “because he’s very recognizable and the kids really like the character. We know they will want to copy him and share the video with their friends” (“Pastor Rick Warren launches quarantine SHAKE video for kids,” The Christian Post, Apr. 20, 2020).
The coronavirus fatality rate per capita in the United States is lower than most Western nations. Of the 14 Western nations hardest hit, the U.S. is 9th in number of deaths per capita, after Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, Britain, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden. America has had more fatalities than these nations, but it has a much larger population (“Virus deaths climb in US, but per capital rate still lower,” CNSNews, Apr. 17, 2020).
The Netherland government is treating people as “adults, not children” and not totally locking them down, though the decision is under fire from EU, WHO. Schools and restaurants are closed until at least April 28, but many businesses are open. “The Dutch are among the few who began by openly embracing the contentious idea of group or herd immunity. ... Having shunned the stricter measures of neighbouring states the government has pursued an ‘intelligent’ or ‘targeted’ lockdown. It wants to cushion the social, economic and psychological costs of social isolation and make the eventual return to normality more manageable. ... ‘We think we're cool-headed,’ explained Dr Louise van Schaik of the Clingendael Institute of International Relations. ‘We don't want to overreact, to lock up everybody in their houses. And it's easier to keep the generations apart here, because grandpa and grandma don't live at home with their children.’ People have been advised to stay at home, but you can go out if you are unable to work from home, or have to grab groceries or fresh air, as long as you maintain 1.5m (5ft) social distance. It helps that the Dutch appear to be broadly compliant. One survey suggested 99% of people kept their distance and 93% stayed at home as much as possible. Prime Minister Mark Rutte described the Netherlands as a ‘grown-up country.’ ‘What I hear around me, is that people are glad that they are treated as adults, not as children,’ he said on Friday” (“Coronavirus: Dutch lockdown,” BBC, April 5, 2020).
Israel announced a partial reopening of the economy beginning April 19. “Shopping malls, open-air markets, and businesses that involve physical contact will not yet be allowed to reopen. Among the likely criteria for opening are regular disinfecting, taking customers’ temperatures, and abiding by social distancing regulations, according to Hebrew language media reports. Almost all factories will be allowed to resume work under the plan, according to Channel 12 news” (“Partial Reopening of Israeli Economy,” Breaking Israel News, Apr. 17, 2020).
Germany will start begin gradually reopening shops next week and schools in early May, beginning with the older children, and Switzerland is announcing a three-stage reopening. This follows gradual re-openings in Austria and Denmark. “Germany has confirmed more than 130,000 coronavirus infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. It has recorded over 3,500 deaths, but that is a lower number than in countries with comparable case figures and Germany's health system hasn't been overwhelmed. The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people” (“Germany Reopen Begins,” Newsmax, Apr. 15, 2020).
Dr. Marc Siegel, physician and faculty member at NYU Langone Medical Center and author, says the Covid-19 epidemic is under control in New York City, hospitals are not overwhelmed, and hospitalizations are going down. In an interview with Fox News, Apr. 16, 2020, Dr. Siegel said, “We built up a system that would have handled a lot more patients that we ended up getting. The system has worked here, and it is working well now.” Dr. Siegel is author of Bird Flu: Everything You Need to Know about the Next Pandemic.
Israel scientists have developed a testing method for Covid-19 that is 10 times faster and more cost-effective than current methods. “Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) said the test relies on an existing, well-known process to extract genetic material (RNA and DNA) using magnetic beads, common in genomic labs, but uses a special buffer solution to accelerate and ameliorate binding. The method was developed by Professor Nir Friedman at Hebrew University’s Institute of Life Sciences and School of Engineering and Computer Science and Professor Naomi Habib at HU’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science. ... ‘So we don’t need to actually change anything along the pipeline, just in the lab itself, we developed a ‘plug-in’ solution, so instead of doing the RNA extraction using commercial kits, which are really hard to obtain these days because there’s a shortage worldwide, they could use our solution with the magnetic beads. We’ve already adapted it to fit [with the testing process]; we’ve optimized the buffers, the different liquids, the volumes, and there’s a robotic application that works with 96 samples [at a time],’ Professor Habib tells NoCamels” (“Israeli Scientists, NoCamels, Apr. 15, 2020).
Sheriffs from four Northern Michigan counties have publicly stated that they will not strictly enforce Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s draconian stay-at-home orders. The rules ban gatherings of more than two and require stores to tape off aisles of items she has deemed to be “non-essential.” Her April 2 order also banned all “in-person instruction” of all children in public “and non-public schools” for the rest of the school year, but after a backlash from the Home School Legal Defense Association and the Great Lakes Justice Center she issued a clarification on April 13 stating that home schooling was not banned. “In a joint press release issued as thousands of residents protest at the state capital in Lansing, Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich, Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel, Manistee County Sheriff Ken Falk and Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said they will not strictly enforce Whitmer’s orders in their counties. ‘While we understand her desire to protect the public, we question some restrictions that she has imposed as overstepping her executive authority,’ the sheriffs wrote. ‘She has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens. Each of us took an oath to uphold and defend the Michigan Constitution, as well as the US Constitution, and to ensure that your God given rights are not violated,’ the sheriffs said. ‘We believe that we are the last line of defense in protecting your civil liberties. Together, as a community, we will overcome this pandemic, and as Americans, we will persevere and come out stronger than before. As sheriffs of your community we want you to know we have your back and will continue to serve the people who have entrusted us with your protection’” (“4 Northern Michigan sheriffs,” Michigan Live, Apr. 16, 2020).
Churches in California are suing Gov. Gavin Newson and other officials, arguing that the stay-at-home orders violate their First Amendment right to freedom of religion and assembly. “A group of pastors filed a lawsuit Monday against California officials including Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), for ‘criminalizing’ church attendance with stay-at-home orders meant to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The Center for Religious Liberty, in partnership with the Dhillon Law Group, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of three pastors and one churchgoer. One of the pastors is James Moffat, who was fined $1,000 for holding a Palm Sunday service in Riverside County. Harmeet Dhillon, CEO of the Center for American Liberty, said in a press release that the stay-at-home orders are ‘criminalizing individual participation’ in houses of worship and violating the First Amendment by not allowing religious groups to meet in person. ‘The state and localities have granted sweeping exceptions to the shutdown orders for favored businesses and professions, while specifically targeting people of faith and decreeing to religious institutions that it is ‘good enough’ that they be allowed to offer streaming video services,’ Dhillon said. ‘The state does not get to dictate the method of worship to the faithful. If a Californian is able to go to Costco or the local marijuana shop or liquor store and buy goods in a responsible, socially distanced manner, then he or she must be allowed to practice their faith using the same precautions,’ she continued’” (“Group of pastors sue,” The Hill, Apr. 14, 2020).
The mayor of Greenville, Mississippi, nixed his April 7 ban of drive-in church after intervention by the U.S. Justice Department and the state governor in support of Temple Baptist Church and King James Baptist Church. Attorney General bill Barr said, “The City of Greenville fined congregants $500 per person for attending these parking lot services--while permitting citizens to attend nearby drive-in restaurants, even with their windows open.” On April 14, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves tweeted, “Thank you to the Trump administration and Attorney General Bill Barr for this strong stand in support of religious liberty. the government cannot shut down churches. Mississippi is not China. This is still America. We will help support this any way we can.”
Japan has allocated $2.2 billion to help companies move production out of China. “As part of Japan’s record $993 billion emergency COVID-19 stimulus package, the country has allocated a full $2.2 billion to help Japanese companies move their production out of China. The change could have a major influence on camera and lens makers. ... China is Japan’s largest trading partner, but amid the pandemic, imports dropped by approximately 50%, leading to delays and strained production across various industries, imaging included. While no company will be forced to alter its supply chains, the $2.2 billion is a major incentive in that direction, and one Nikon, Canon, and others might be eager to take advantage of. On March 13th, in an on-ed about how the coronavirus had already changed the photo industry forever, we mentioned that supply chains would be one major impact felt in the years to come. Japan’s stimulus package contains the first overt step in this direction, but it’s likely companies in other countries will follow suit, even if their government doesn’t offer to help” (“Japan Allocates $2.2 Billion,” Petapixel, Apr. 10, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 15, 2020
Top Israel scientist shows that the coronavirus follows a fixed pattern, lock down or no lock down; calls the total closures “mass hysteria.” “Professor Yitzhak Ben Israel [chairman of the Israel Space Agency, chairman of the National Council for Research and Development, head of the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Studies Center at Tel Aviv University, former head of Military R&D in the Israeli Defense Forces, founder of Israel’s National Cyber Headquarters], who also serves on the research and development advisory board for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, plotted the rates of new coronavirus infections of the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Italy, Israel, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Spain. The numbers told a shocking story: irrespective of whether the country quarantined like Israel, or went about business as usual like Sweden, coronavirus peaked and subsided in the exact same way. In the exact, same, way. His graphs show that all countries experienced seemingly identical coronavirus infection patterns, with the number of infected peaking in the sixth week and rapidly subsiding by the eighth week. ‘Is the coronavirus expansion exponential? The answer by the numbers is simple: no. Expansion begins exponentially but fades quickly after about eight weeks,’ Professor Yitzhak Ben Israel concluded. The reason why coronavirus follows a fixed pattern is yet unknown. ‘I have no explanation,’ he told Mako, ‘There are is kinds of speculation: maybe it’s climate-related, maybe the virus has its own life cycle.’ ...Professor Ben Israel concludes in his analysis summary paper that the data from the past 50 days indicates that the closure policies of the quarantine countries can be replaced by more moderate social distancing policies. The numbers simply do not support quarantine or economic closure. On the reasonableness of Israel’s unprecedented quarantine and closure, he commented to the news agency, ‘I think it's mass hysteria. I have no other way to describe it. 4,500 people die each year from the flu in Israel because of complications, so close the country because of that? No. I don't see a reason to do it because of a lower-risk epidemic” (“Israeli Professor,” Townhall, Apr. 15, 2020).
Israel professor explains why Italy was so hard hit by coronavirus. “But what about Italy and their staggering 12% mortality rate? ‘The health system in Italy has its own problems. It has nothing to do with coronavirus. In 2017 it also collapsed because of the flu,’ Professor Yitzhak Ben Israel told the news agency. Indeed, Italy’s exceptionally high coronavirus mortality rate is eerily reminiscent of their unusually high flu mortality rates. Supportive of this theory, Germany, has low flu infection and mortality rates and similarly low coronavirus rates” (“Israeli Professor,” Townhall, Apr. 15, 2020).
The lock downs were based on faulty computer models published by a scientist who has a history of wildly wrong predictions. “While the American policies remain less restrictive than those of Israel, it is important to understand the origins of our own ‘mass hysteria’ response. President Trump urged a strong coronavirus response after consulting with Dr. Fauci and his team, who relied on a British model predicting 2.2 million deaths in the United States and 500,000 deaths in the U.K. But that model was developed by Professor Neil Ferguson, who had a history of wildly overestimating death rates through his prediction models. Professor Ferguson was not known for his reliability, and his 2001 disease model was criticized as ‘not fit for purpose’ after it predicted that up to 150,000 people could die in the U.K. from mad cow disease (177 deaths to date). Ferguson’s U.K. coronavirus deaths prediction is now down to 20,000 people, 4% of the original prediction” (“Israeli Professor,” Townhall, Apr. 15, 2020).
Stanford professor says coronavirus death rate “likely orders of magnitude lower” than first thought and he is hoping “we’ll be able to quell the fear that’s out there.” “Stanford University professor of medicine Dr. Jay Bhattacharya told Tucker Carlson Tonight Tuesday ... ‘Per case, I don't think it's as deadly as people thought.’ ... ‘The World Health Organization put an estimate out that was, I think, initially 3.4 percent. It's very unlikely it is anywhere near that. It's it's much likely, much closer to the death rate that you see from the flu per case.’ ‘The problem, of course, is that we don't have a vaccine,’ Bhattacharya added. "So in that sense, it's more deadly and more widespread than the flu, and it overwhelms hospital systems, the ways the flu doesn’t.’ The professor predicted that forthcoming research would give scientists and health officials a ‘much more accurate understanding of how widespread this is.’ ‘It really seems like there's many, many cases of the virus that we haven't identified with the testing regimens that we've got around the world,’ he said. ‘Many orders of magnitude more people have been infected with it, I think. I think that we realize that ... means that ... the death rate is actually lower than people realize, also by orders of magnitude.’ Bhattacharya told Carlson he was less afraid of the virus than when he began his research, adding that he hoped the improved numbers would help Americans deal with their fear of the virus. ‘I'm hoping to get numbers in place,’ Bhattacharya said. ‘We'll be able to really sort of quell the fear that's out there’” (“Stanford Professor, Fox News, Apr. 15, 2020).
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a press conference on April 12, said that God and faith had nothing to with the lowering of coronavirus cases. “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. “A lot of pain and suffering did that. That’s how it works. It’s math” (‘Cuomo Boasts,” The Daily Wire, Apr. 15, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 14, 2020
Michigan residents are planning to descend on the state capital today (April 15) to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s tyrannical new coronavirus guidelines. The guidelines even forbid homeschooling. “The so-called ‘drive-by’ demonstration ... aims to bring traffic to a gridlock in Lansing and protest the ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ executive order by Whitmer, a Democrat, mandating what businesses could stay home, what some businesses could sell and ordering people in her state against any gatherings--no matter the size or family ties. ‘Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people,’ Meshawn Maddock, an organizer of the protest with the Michigan Conservative Coalition, told Fox News. ‘Every person has learned a harsh lesson about social distancing. We don’t need a nanny state to tell people how to be careful.’ The protest – called ‘Operation Gridlock’--would be just one of a number of demonstrations of civil disobedience around the country by Americans upset with their state’s stay-at-home orders amid the pandemic. While the contagion has infected over 568,000 Americans and killed over 23,000, according to the latest estimates, protestors from North Carolina to Wyoming said they’ve been just as concerned with the economic and financial impact the coronavirus has inflicted on the country--echoing President Trump’s complaint that ‘the cure be worse than the problem.’ Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter who has been sounding the alarm about what he believes are flawed models dictating the aggressive strategy, drew attention to the protests in North Carolina, as well as a social media uproar in Michigan” (“Coronavirus stay-at-home orders stir protests,” Fox News, Apr. 13, 2020).
Wisconsin Governor reverses ban on outdoor church services. “Following an outcry from furious communities of faith, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a press release Thursday clarifying his administration’s earlier ‘clarifications’ banning outdoor church services. Evers’ press release, according to the governor’s office, was sent to ‘reiterate’ that ‘churches and religious entities are considered essential’ and that they can conduct outdoor services in ‘parking lots with congregants staying in cars, avoiding person-to-person contact.’ ... under Evers’ emergency orders ‘if the religious service is held in an unconfined outdoor space, there is no limit to the number of individuals that may attend at any one time’” (“Wisconsin Governor Reverses,” The Federalist, Apr. 11, 2020).
District Judge Justin Walker in Louisville, Kentucky, issued a sharply-worded restraining order blocking enforcement of Mayor Greg Fischer’s ban on drive-in church services. On Fire Christian Church had sued Mayor Greg Fischer. In a sternly worded 20-page ruling, the judge said the city is prohibited from “enforcing; attempting to enforce; threatening to enforce; or otherwise requiring compliance with any prohibition on drive-in church services at On Fire.” The judge continued, “That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of ‘The Onion.’ ... The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional” (“Judge: Kentucky church can conduct Easter Drive-in service,” ABC News, Apr. 12, 2020). Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul tweeted, “Thank God for a judge who understands the First Amendment prevents the government from prohibiting the free government exercise of religion.”
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
A spokesman for the Justice Department said action may be taken this week against local governments that have cracked down on religious services. “While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly [and] not single out religious [organizations],” DOJ Director of Communications Kerri Kupec tweeted on April 12.
Amazon is planning to hire 75,000 more workers jobs ranging from warehouse staff to delivery drivers. “The e-commerce giant (AMZN) now expects to spend over $500 million globally to increase wages for the workers during the pandemic, it said, up from a previous estimate of $350 million. The new hiring are in addition to the 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers it hired recently to deal with the demand surge. ‘We know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis and we welcome anyone out of work to join us at Amazon until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back,’ the company said in a blog post” (NewsMax, Apr. 13, 2020).
Arkansas Governor says, “You’re not going to win simply by a lockdown.” “Arkansas is one of eight states that has not imposed a ‘stay-at-home’ order, and on Sunday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said, ‘you're not going to win simply by a lockdown, because there's no such thing as a true lockdown.’ ... And you cannot lock down, you cannot shelter in place for six months. And so our approach--emphasizing the masks, the social distancing, being in it for long term, being able to have a modicum of business that's going ahead and functioning out there -- that's important balance that we have in our state. ... Right now, we have about 80 hospitalizations, and we have 8,000 hospital beds. And, of course, they're empty because we're not doing elective surgery’” (“Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson, CNSNews.com, Apr. 13, 2020).
Coronavirus vaccine may be ready by September, says Oxford scientist. “Dr. Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, told The Times on Saturday that she was ’80 percent confident’ that a vaccine being developed by her team of researchers would work and would become available to the general public in about five months. Human trials are due to begin in the next two weeks, she indicated. ... In the US, meanwhile, researchers have opened another safety test of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, this one using a skin-deep shot instead of the usual deeper jab. ‘It’s the most important trial that we’ve ever done,’ Dr. John Ervin of the Center for Pharmaceutical Research told The Associated Press afterward. ‘People are beating down the door to get into this trial.’ The experiment, using a vaccine candidate developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, is part of a global hunt for much-needed protection against a virus that has triggered an economic shutdown and forced people indoors as countries try to stem the spread” (“Coronavirus vaccine may be ready,” The Times of Israel, Apr. 11, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 11, 2020
Mississippi pastor tells the mayor, “Get Some More Tickets Ready.” “A shocking daylight raid of a church service attended by many elderly congregants was turned on its head by a defiant pastor who refuses to be bullied by the government. ... Despite participating in a drive-in service where worshipers were isolated in their own cars and listened to the sermon on the radio, congregants were found to be in violation of a City of Greenville order. Cops raiding the Temple Baptist Church on Wednesday didn’t just inform churchgoers of the order, but reportedly also issued a whopping $500 fine to every person who refused to leave — many of them elderly. ... ‘One of the police officers said the mayor [Errick Simmons] wanted to make an example of our church,’ Pastor Arthur Scott told Todd Starnes. ‘I told them to get some more tickets ready because we will be preaching Sunday morning and Sunday night.’ ... ‘I told him I’m going to fight them on this.’ ... It’s unclear why the government of Greenville thinks congregants in separate cars would risk transmitting the coronavirus to each other. ... With Easter quickly approaching, Scott’s shocking encounter with law enforcement is becoming the new normal in some places in America” (“Cops Raid Church Service, Ticket Elderly Worshipers,” The Western Journal, Apr. 9, 2020).
A day after Temple Baptist Church was harassed, Greenville, Mississippi, sent multiple police cars to surround King James Bible Baptist Church and to threaten Pastor Charles Hamilton who was preaching in the church parking lot to church members sitting in their automobiles. They were there to enforce the city council’s ban against church hosting drive-in services. The pastor preached on Acts 13 to the two dozen or more police in attendance. “A lot of people have quoted Romans chapter 13, that we should submit to authority, but the Bible says in verse number 3, ‘for rulers are not a terror unto good works but to evil.’ So the Bible says that rulers should not be against good works. It is a good work to have church service. It's a good work to tell people about Jesus,’ Hamilton preached. The few cars in the audience honked in agreement.” The pastor and people were warned that if they meet on Sunday they will get $500 citations. First Liberty has sent a demand letter to Mayor Simmons, urging him to retract the order. The governor, Tate Reeves, had promised he would not shut down churches, saying, “Mississippi is not China, and it never will be.”
Virginia pastor cited by police for having 16 people in services widely separated in a 300-seat auditorium. “Police served a summons to the pastor of Lighthouse Fellowship for holding a church service for 16 people spaced far apart in a sanctuary that seats 293. The charge is violating Virginia Governor Northam’s COVID Order 55 with a penalty up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Liberty Counsel is representing Pastor Kevin Wilson and Lighthouse Fellowship Church. ... Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel Mat Staver said, ‘Lighthouse Fellowship Church protected the health and safety of the 16 people by requiring them to be spread far apart in the 293-seat sanctuary. The church does not have internet. Some people do not have cars and they depend on the ministry of the church for their physical and spiritual needs. But because the church had six more people than the 10 allowed by Gov. Ralph Northam, the pastor is being criminally charged. There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ template that works for every church. We need to balance the First Amendment with protecting the health and welfare of people. Using an arbitrary number of 10 people for every church is not the answer’” (“Police Serve Summons,” Liberty Counsel, Apr. 9, 2020).
Is the hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combo coronavirus treatment dangerous? We have received several communications similar to the following from a preacher friend: “I’ve heard some bad reports about hydroxychloroquine as being part of the quinoline family, some of which have been ban from US Armed services because of the risk of anxiety, depression, Insomnia, paranoia, suicide feelings, psychotic thoughts, and lasting neurological symptoms such as tinnitus, vertigo, and dis-equilibrium.” ANSWER: In the four centuries since it was discovered as a cure for malaria, quinine has saved million of lives and brought relief to millions of sufferers in tropical countries (“Eastern Congo has the world’s largest quinine plantations,” The Economist, June 8, 2019). It has potential side effects, but it is not a particularly dangerous drug if used properly according to FDA guidelines and under a doctor’s instructions. Like many drugs, including aspirin, it can be toxic if abused. Our family, including the children, took it all through the 1980s when we would go to India or Thailand (every three months for 10 years). I knew lots of people who took it in this part of the world and never heard of any negative thing. The National Library of Medicine at the National Center for Biotechnology Information says, “Quinine is a natural cinchona alkaloid that has been used for centuries in the prevention and therapy of malaria. Quinine is also used for idiopathic muscle cramps. Quinine therapy has been associated with rare instances of hypersensitivity reactions which can be accompanied by hepatitis and mild jaundice.” No one is calling for the hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combo to be taken willy-nilly. It is to be taken under a doctor’s instructions, at the right time in the right dosage. Some of the medical doctors who are recommending the hydroxychloroquine combo are among the top doctors alive. They know the full picture. For example, Dr. Stephen Smith, one of America’s preeminent infectious disease doctors, described his own experience with the treatment in New York. He said, “It’s a game changer. It’s an absolute game changer. I think this data will go to really support the French data. Now you actually have an intra[inaudible] comparison saying that this regimen works ... I think this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. I’m very serious” (Laura Ingraham show, Fox News, Apr. 2, 2020). Dr. Anthony Cardillo, CEO of Mend Urgent Care in Los Angeles, says he is seeing dramatic effect on coronavirus patients with hycroxychloroquine combined with zinc (The Daily Wire, Apr. 6, 2020). Ben Carson, world famous neurosurgeon, said that the drug combo is showing promise in trials in New York City (interview with Alex Marlow, Breitbart News Daily, SiriusXM, Mar. 31, 2020). The bottom line is that the combo treatment is for sick people, who could die without it. If you were dying of something and there was a possible cure, you wouldn’t worry about a small chance of a side effect. The danger of the hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combo treatment has been blown way out of proportion by some.
The Kanas state legislature overturned the governor’s order forbidding churches to meet, based on good common sense, but the state supreme court sided with the governor. “The Kansas state legislature voted to overturn governor Laura Kelly’s stay-at-home order for churches during the coronavirus outbreak. ... The Kansas legislature argued that a one-size-fits-all move to forbid all churches from meeting is not the answer” (Reformation Charlotte, May 10, 2020). The governor sued the legislature and was supported on April 11 by the Kansas state Supreme Court, though the state Attorney General has advised law enforcement agencies not to arrest or charge violators (“Kelly’s order limiting Kansas church services stands,” The Wichita Eagle, Apr. 11, 2020).
U.S. Attorney General William Barr says the Justice Department is watching local and state governments to protect religious rights. “Attorney General William Barr says, ‘We've seen situations even up to now where some jurisdictions impose special burdens on religion that they don't also apply to other kinds of gatherings and events and we jawboned the local governments saying they really couldn't do that,’ he said in an interview Wednesday with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. Barr explained that restrictions on the First Amendment right to worship can be imposed if there is a ‘compelling" government interest, such as the public's health. However, there are many ways to interpret what is compelling, and any restrictions must be imposed equally on other types of gatherings and cause the least burden on First Amendment rights.’ ... He said the Department of Justice will watch ‘what the federal government is imposing ... but also what the states do.’ Barr said religious liberty is the ‘first liberty, the foundation of our republic. And a free society depends on a vibrant religious life among the people. Anytime that's encroached upon by the government I'm very concerned.’ He said the U.S. government should, as soon as possible, lift restrictions on church assemblies and explore other options for protecting the public. ‘When this period of time at the end of April expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under the bed,’ he said’” (“Barr,” WorldNetDaily, Apr. 9, 2020).
Sweden is refusing to lockdown its citizens, trusting the people to socially distance themselves. “Sweden's government is continuing its unusual coronavirus strategy of refusing to implement a lockdown, saying that people in the country are doing a good enough job of staying apart even as places like bars and restaurants remain open. The country defied much of the rest of the world by not introducing lockdown measures forcing people to stay apart. ... Ann Linde, Sweden's foreign minister, on Wednesday described Sweden's approach as "no lockdown, and we rely very much on people taking responsibility themselves.’ ... The World Health Organization has also called for Sweden to take more action, telling CNN on Wednesday that it is ‘imperative’ that Sweden increase measures to control spread of the virus, prepare and increase capacity of the health system to cope, ensure physical distancing and communicate the why and how of all measures to the population’” (“Sweden said it didn’t a lockdown,” Business Insider, Apr. 10, 2020).
A pastor in California held Easter communion. “The Thousand Oaks Acorn reports that Councilman Rob McCoy, pastor of Godspeak Calvary Chapel of Newbury Park, officially resigned from his position on Saturday evening, hours before he held Palm Sunday communion with members ... With bans on gatherings of 10 people or more in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the church abided by social distancing rules and only allowed 10 people at a time to enter the church building to receive communion. McCoy said in a video announcement to his congregation. ‘[We are] paralyzed and considered non-essential though we would have liquor stores considered essential, cannabis distribution considered essential. Across the country, abortions are considered essential. Is the Church going to sit back and say, Well, we will be relegated to non-essential? ... To not allow us to have communion is not proper, To consider it non-essential is not acceptable’” (“Calif. pastor resigns,” The Christian Post, Apr. 8 2020).
South Dakota governor refuses to shut down her state for coronavirus, slams “herd mentality.” “Republican Gov. Kristi Noem is refusing to shut down South Dakota. At a press conference Wednesday, Kristi eschewed a one-size-fits-all approach to the pandemic. During this present viral threat, she’s interested in a specific kind of protection--that of individual rights: ‘Our Constitution ensures the citizen’s right is protected. I agree with the role of our government as set forth in our state and in our national constitution. I took an oath to uphold these constitutions. My role with respect to public safety is something I take very seriously. The people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety. They are the ones that are entrusted with expansive freedoms--they’re free to exercise their rights to work, to worship, and to play--or to even stay at home, or to conduct social distancing. The calls to apply a one-size-fits all approach to this problem in South Dakota is herd mentality, not leadership. ... South Dakota is not New York City,’ the governor said. ‘On the foundation of my principles, commonsense conservative values, and the principles that we hold dear in America, the facts, the science, and the data will guide our decision-making here in South Dakota’” (“South Dakota Governor,” Red State, Apr. 6, 2020).
Ben Carson, famous pediatric neurosurgeon and a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, says, “We can’t operate out of hysteria.” “Housing & Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson told The Story Thursday that not enough public attention is being paid to ‘the number of people who have recovered from coronavirus’--which Carson said ‘is going to be about 98 percent of all the people who get it.’ ... ‘But people have been terrified because we've talked about the bad.’ ... Carson emphasized that Americans should continue practicing social distancing and follow the other guidelines from the White House coronavirus task force. He added that now is not the time for people to let their guard down. ... Carson acknowledged that if we ‘destroy the economic infrastructure of our country,’ there will be more hardship than there has been from the virus itself. ‘We can’t operate out of hysteria. When people are hysterical they don't do logical things’” (“Carson says,” Fox News, Apr. 9, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 9, 2020
The worst-case Covid-19 scenario for the U.S. has been dramatically revised down by computer modelers. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle has just revised down its COVID-19 worst-case scenarios for the country. One of the projected next hotspots, California, is projected to need only half the ICU beds, ventilators and critical hospital equipment than originally predicted because there will be many fewer COVID-19 cases, according to IMHE. All of the state's supplies are on hand, according to the survey. IMHE has revised down the number of expected COVID-19 deaths from 6,100 to 1,783 in California. The state's peak for the worst number of deaths originally was expected to be at the end of April; now it appears it will be mid-April ... IMHE says its constantly updated data now show fewer hospitalizations and deaths not only in California but across the country. KTLA reports the projected number of deaths has taken a dramatic downturn” (Victoria Taft, “Curve Ball,” PJMedia, Apr. 7, 2020).
The rate of coronavirus infections in Australia is trending downward. “The rate of new Covid-19 infections in Australia has been trending downwards for the past 10 days, from 460 new cases on 28 March to 119 on 7 April. The country’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, said in a press conference on Tuesday that the current situation in Australia is even better than the best-case scenario predicted by government modelling in January. However, he stressed that it ‘could all come undone’ if Australians flout the rules put in place to contain the coronavirus” (Australia seems to be keeping a lid on,” New Scientist, Apr. 8, 2020).
Kenneth Copeland trotted out his Word-Faith authority once again in an attempt to stop the coronavirus pandemic. On March 30, he “executed judgment on Covid-19” and said, “I call you done. I call you gone. ... It is finished. It is over. And the United States of America is healed and well again, sayeth the mighty Spirit of peace who is also the Prince of War” (“Judgment Is Executed on Covid-19,” Mar. 30, 2020, YouTube). That didn’t seem to work, so on April 2, he declared his authority over the weather to declare a heatwave across the country and the world. “Today, we speak to this atmosphere, from the State of Washington to the State of Maine, from Southern California to Brownsville, Texas ... and wherever else in the world it’s needed. Wind, almighty strong south wind, heat, burn this thing in the name of Jesus. Satan, you bow your knees, you fall on your face, COVID-19 … I blow the wind of God on you. You are destroyed forever and you will never be back” (“Virtual Victory Campaign,” Kenneth Copeland Ministries, April 2, 2020).
A Democratic state representative in Michigan is crediting the hycroxychloroquine combo and President Trump with saving her life. “State Rep. Karen Whitsett, who learned Monday she has tested positive for COVID-19, said she started taking hydroxychloroquine on March 31, prescribed by her doctor, after both she and her husband sought treatment for a range of symptoms on March 18. ‘It was less than two hours’ before she started to feel relief, said Whitsett, who had experienced shortness of breath, swollen lymph nodes, and what felt like a sinus infection. She is still experiencing headaches, she said. ... she does not believe she would have thought to ask for it, or her doctor would have prescribed it, had Trump not been touting it as a possible treatment for COVID-19” (“Detroit rep says,” Detroit Free Press, Apr.6, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 7, 2020
One of America’s preeminent infectious disease doctors calls the hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combo “an absolute game changer” (Fox News, Apr. 2, 2020). In an interview with Laura Ingraham on April 2, Dr. Stephen Smith described his own experience with the treatment in New York. He said, “It’s a game changer. It’s an absolute game changer. I think this data will go to really support the French data. Now you actually have an intra[inaudible] comparison saying that this regimen works ... I think this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. I’m very serious.”
Dr. Anthony Cardillo, CEO of Mend Urgent Care in Los Angeles, says he is seeing dramatic effect on coronavirus patients with hycroxychloroquine combined with zinc. “What we’re finding clinically with our patients is that it really only works in conjunction with zinc. ... Every patient I’ve prescribed it to has been very, very ill and within 8-12 hours they were basically symptom free and so, clinically I am seeing a resolution that mirrors what we saw in the French study and some of the other studies worldwide,” Cardillo continued. “But what I am seeing is that people that are taking it alone, by itself, it’s not having efficacy” (The Daily Wire, Apr. 6, 2020).
Leon County in Florida has asked its citizens to maintain a “1 alligator” distance from one another during the coronavirus epidemic. Floridians live with “gators.” There are an estimated 1.3 million of of the creatures, and the average length of a grown female is 8 feet and a male 11 feet, but the 6 foot size is common. (The record was 15 feet 9 inches and weighed 1000 pounds.) Florida, my birth state, has seen 14,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 296 deaths. There are an extraordinarily large number of elderly in Florida, a major retirement state.
Police shut down Friendship Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, for holding a service, even though they followed the governor’s guidelines. “Last Sunday Pastor Alvin Gwynn Sr. of Friendship Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, was holding an in-person church service when he was visited by the police who were seeking to gain entry into his Church building for supposedly violating coronavirus stay-home laws. ... Once on the scene, Lt. Suzanne Fries ordered her officers to ‘shut down the gathering,’ according to the incident report, after Gwynn ‘advised [officers] that he will not be cancelling any of his worship services in the future.’ Pastor Gwynn says he is undeterred by these unconstitutional actions, particularly because his service complied with the law by having fewer than 10 people, and again insisted that he did nothing wrong. ... Despite these gatherings NOT being in defiance of the law but rather fully in compliance, Governor Hogan still specifically singled out Gwynn on Facebook when he posted a Washington Post article decrying his behavior as an example of what not to do. ... The church met again on April 5, while a dozen officers and two members of the fire department looked on” (Pulpit & Pen, April 5, 2020).
The Christian Law Association is warning churches against applying for government loans under the CARES Act. In an alert posted on April 3, the Christian Law Association gave six warnings, three of which are as follows: “We strongly recommend each ministry to proceed with EXTREME CAUTION before accepting government funding. Your ministry’s religious liberty may depend on this caution. ... Our CLA attorneys, and other experts, anticipate that the rules and regulations could remove long-recognized exemptions available to churches in their hiring practices and in the provision of their services to those who attend. ... Lawsuits that we have prevailed in for fifty years have often been won because the ministry never received government funds as a matter of faith and principle. The receipt of these funds by a ministry is clearly the receipt of government funds, and they can be used against the interests of the ministry in future litigation.” Email: email@example.com
Coronavirus fatality statistics include people who had deadly pre-existing conditions. “During the White House Wuhan coronavirus task force briefing Tuesday evening, Dr. Deborah Birx said the United States has taken a ‘liberal approach’ in the way doctors classify deaths from the virus. ‘The intent is right now if someone dies with COVID-19, we're counting that as a COVID-19 death,’ Birx said. ‘There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition and let's say the virus caused you to go to the ICU and then have a heart or kidney problem. Some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death.’ In response, Brit Hume tweeted, ‘Well, Dr. Birx just said it. Anyone in U.S. who dies with Covid 19, regardless of what else may be wrong, is now being recorded as a Covid 19 death,’ and Tucker Carlson, ‘It seems entirely possible that doctors are classifying conventional pneumonia deaths as COVID-19 deaths. That would mean this epidemic is being credited for thousands of deaths that would have occurred if the virus never appeared here.’ There is a difference between dying from something and dying with something. The way Wuhan coronavirus deaths are counted matters for a number of reasons, but most importantly, its ‘lethality’ has been the driving force behind a countrywide economic shutdown” (“The Way the U.S. Is Counting Coronavirus Deaths Seems Problematic,” Townhall, Apr. 8, 2020).
A nurse has demonstrated how wearing gloves can give a false sense of security because of cross-contamination. “Molly Lixey, a Registered Nurse in Michigan ... put on gloves and used paint to show how germs spread, even with gloves on. She pretended to be at the grocery store, where she picked up a pack of toilet paper that had germs on the outside. Then, she touched her hands together, which caused the paint to spread. She then pretended to get a text message from her husband, at which point she picks up her phone and replies. The paint (and germs) are then on the phone. Lixey pretended to scratch her nose with the gloves on her hand, at which point the pretend germs are then on her face. Then, her makeshift phone rings. She picked it up, put it against her ear, at which point paint Is then on her cheek and near her ear. When everything is said and done, she took off the gloves and touched her cell phone, which is contaminated with the germs. ‘Look,’ she said, holding up her paint-filled hands. ‘This is called cross-contamination. There's no point in wearing gloves if you're not going to wash your hands every time you touch something. There's no point, friends’” (“Nurse Demonstrates,” Townhall, Apr. 7, 2020).
Pentecostal pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of Tampa, Florida, who was arrested on March 30 and issued second degree misdemeanor citations for conducting church services, has announced they will cease holding services. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared on April 1 that church is an essential activity, but Howard-Browne said he is shutting the services to protect the congregation “from a tyrannical government” and from “crazy infected people” who might try to expose the church to the virus (“Rodney Howard-Browne shutters megachurch,” The Christian Post, Apr. 2, 2020).
Israel contemplating an “exit strategy” to get the country back to work in the shortest time possible. Amnon Shashua, CEO of Mobileye and senior vice president at Intel met with a Knesset special committee on March 31 to present a plan that “will allow the country to overcome the current coronavirus outbreak, avoid a recession, and resume economic activity within months.” The plan is co-authored by Shai Shalev-Shwartz, computer science professor at the Hebrew University. “Shashua and Shalev-Shwartz propose an exit strategy based on dividing the population into high-risk [67 and older] and low-risk groups. ‘Quarantine the high-risk and gradually release the low-risk population to achieve a managed herd immunity of that population,’ they wrote. ‘The managed phase is designed to allow the health system to cope with the expected number of severe cases. ... The low-risk group is released to their daily routine while following certain distancing protocols that are aimed at slowing the spread.’ While the high-risk group would have to be quarantined for a longer period of time--as the low-risk group reaches a herd immunity level--the economy could remain largely undisrupted, they wrote. ... Nearly one in every four Israelis are now out of work, according to an update published in The Times of Israel on Wednesday citing official figures. Israel now has over one million unemployed, with the vast majority of them laid off in the last month” (“Coronavirus Exit Strategy,” NoCamels.com, Apr. 1, 2020).
The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on April 4 an expanded blood plasma therapy that is showing signs of success. “We, on Friday, stood up a formal convalescent plasma program. We have a great deal of enthusiasm for that,” [Dr. Stephen] Hahn said. “There are some reports that this is a benefit to patients in other countries who have had COVID-19 virus, and what this means is taking plasma from patients who have had the virus and who have recovered, and transferring the immunity, the immunoglobulins, from that person to someone who’s sick” (“FDA Head Highlights New Potential Treatment,” The Daily Wire, Mar. 4, 2020).
Dr. Jacob Glanville of Distributed Bio says the company has engineered a therapeutic antibody that blocks the coronavirus. “Glanville says, ‘This is the thing that turned the tide against Ebola. The Ebola used to be a death sentence, about 50 percent mortality rate. And then once a good antibody neutralizing solution was made, then I think 94 percent of people can walk away. We've also got antibodies to treat rabies. We've got antibodies to treat RSV in babies. Antibodies are used to for anti-venom. So this is extremely well-established platform technology. It has the advantage. You can produce antibodies much faster than you can make a vaccine’” (“Immunologist says he has a possible cure,” Fox News, Apr. 4, 2020). He hopes to move to scaled up human trials in August.
Some might consider the Bible study project that our church members are doing these days during our curfew. That is to read 11 books of the Old Testament that contain all of Old Testament history (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah) and make your own timeline. At each session, first read some chapters, paying close attention to the events, then go back and write out the main events. Then do the same with Matthew, then Acts. This will help strengthen the foundation of your Bible knowledge by putting the whole Bible timeline in your mind. It is like standing back and looking at a forest before you walk in to examine individual trees and other details. Aim to do the entire project as quickly as you can with good understanding.
Israel’s Galilee Medical Center is piloting the trial of a virus-neutralizing sticker that attaches to surgical masks to better protect medical staff (“Israel hospital pilots,” Israel21corg, Apr. 2, 2020). The 3D-printed sticker, which was developed at Israel’s Institute of Technology (Technion), “contains nanofibers that capture nanoparticles and disinfectants believed capable of killing any viruses in those nanoparticles.” If the trial is successful the sticker will be recommended for broad use.
On April 2, Italy and Spain announced that their countries have reached the top of the inflection curve for coronavirus (The Daily Wire, Apr. 3, 2020). In Spain, the rate of increase in new cases dropped from 70% at its peak to less than 8 percent on April 1. In Italy, the number of infections and deaths is also on a declining trend.
Israeli scientists present mathematical model for restarting world economy. “Prof. Uri Alon, a systems biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, and his team including graduate students Omer Karin and Yael Korem-Kohanim, together with senior engineer Boaz Dudovich of Applied Materials, have suggested a way out of this dilemma. Based on an epidemiological model they developed, their proposed policy would effectively suppress the coronavirus and at the same time allow sustainable, albeit reduced, economic activity. The model that the scientists developed is based on intermittent lockdown – five days of lockdown and two days of work every week. In this way, the virus replication number, i.e., the number of people infected by each infectious person, drops below one--the magic number that causes the epidemic to decline. A four-day work/10-day lockdown strategy is even better, the researchers suggest, as it would allow those infected at work to stop becoming infectious at home. Alon noted that after several such cycles, the number of infected people would drop dramatically. The epidemic could then be contained until sufficient testing is carried out and an effective medical treatment or a vaccine is developed--which will remove the need for a lockdown. Intermittent lockdown may be the only viable option for countries that can’t deploy sufficient testing in time, the Weizmann scholars continued. It would allow millions to work two days a week, sustaining key economic sectors. People will hold a 40% position instead of being completely unemployed--an economic and psychological game-changer. Fixed workdays for everyone will allow workers and managers to plan ahead and stay productive. ‘Our main message,’ concluded Alon, ‘is to open up the discussion on lockdown and point out that a well-designed smart lockdown strategy can suppress the epidemic and sustain the economy’” (“Israeli Scientists,” BreakingIsraelNews, Apr. 2, 2020).
In Manitou Springs, Colorado, a golden retriever named Sunny is delivering goods to a self-quarantined neighbor. “Sunny and his owner Karen Eveleth have lived next to Hellman for more than a decade. Hellman’s health issues and reliance on oxygen to breathe put her at high risk for getting sick from coronavirus, so Eveleth and her pup teamed up to get groceries for her. It’s simple: Sunny is in charge of retrieving Hellman’s grocery list, Eveleth buys the groceries, then Sunny delivers them all” (WMUR9, Colorado Springs, Mar. 30, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED APRIL 2, 2020
According to The Lancelot Infectious Diseases medical journal, the current estimates on the Covid-19 fatality rate is 1.38% of confirmed cases, .66% overall, and 7.8% for those over 80 (“The Lancet Infectious Diseases: comprehensive Covid-19 hospitalization and death rate estimates,” EurekAlert, Mar. 30, 2020). This is less than half of the rate that was reported earlier. It means that more than 99% of those who are contracting Covid-19 are recovering and 92% of those over 80 are recovering. We wonder what percentage of those over 80 who contract influenza recover? We could only find statistics for 65 and over, and 65-80 is a significantly different group than 80 and over. We do know that 12,000 people over 65 died of influenza in America the 2017-18 season (“Flu Deaths Rising for Americans over 65,” AARP. Oct. 2, 2018). The sad reality is that when you are over 80, you are likely to die of anything, anytime! I don’t think anyone over 80 would argue with me about that. The interesting thing is that three thousand years ago, God’s Word spoke specifically about the ages 70 and 80. “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:9-12). This is very good counsel. Our earthly lives are like like a passing shadow at best, and we need to apply our hearts to wisdom.
Ben Carson, world famous neurosurgeon and head of America’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD), spoke on April 1 of the development of medication to treat the virus that “could change the trajectory of its spread in the coming weeks” (interview with Alex Marlow, Breitbart News Daily, SiriusXM, Mar. 31, 2020). Carson, who was raised in the inner city by a single mother with a third grade education (but who restricted his television viewing and required him to read two library books per week and to finish his homework before he could play outside), was head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins at age 33, the youngest ever to hold that position. In 1987, he performed the first successful separation of conjoined twins who were attached at the back of the head. A member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, Carson said that clinical trials for medication are on a fast track, bypassing the ordinary rules. He said that the drug combo hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin is showing promise in trials in New York City, and “We’ll know that very shortly, in the next week or two.” He concluded, “The energy that is being put into this is phenomenal and the FDA has been looking at things and very quickly making decisions,” Carson said. “These are the kinds of things that will mitigate this situation.”
Some governors are including churches as essential services. Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order states, “If religious services cannot be conducted from home or through remote services, they should be conducted consistent with the guidelines from the president and the CDC by practicing good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation, and by implementing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” Abbott’s order supersedes “any conflicting order issued by local officials.” On March 24, Harris County Chief Executive Lina Hidalgo had issued a church closure order, and three Houston pastors applied directly to the Texas Supreme Court to declare the order unconstitutional, arguing that “the circumstances presented by coronavirus do not excuse unlawful government infringements upon freedom.” The governor of Florida published a list of “essential activities” and the first one was “attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship.” I was told that other states that have included church services as essential services are Michigan and Kansas. A pastor friend in New York wrote, “Governor Cuomo has stated several times in his emergency declarations that he is not closing houses of worship, but that he strongly recommends not meeting, but if they do meet, all emergency guidelines and health regulations should be obeyed (for example six foot spacing, less than 50 people at a time, ideally no more than 10, proper cleaning and sanitizing, etc.).”
Pastor Mark Spell of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana, has been issued six counts of misdemeanor charges for violating the governor’s order against large assemblies. He has continued to conduct services attended by hundreds. Spell has vowed to continue holding services, even if he’s eventually arrested. “When you close every door in this city, we’ll close this door and we’ll go underground, but we are going to assemble and congregate as God fearing Christians,” he said. “If they are to arrest me and take me out of this congregation, my assistant pastor will step in immediately, when he is arrested, the third man will step in” (“Pastor of La. church charged,” KLTV, Mar. 31, 2020).
The Malaysian government has backed down on posts it issued earlier on social media advising women during lockdown to dress up, wear makeup, avoid “home clothes,” and not to nag their husbands and to avoid being ‘sarcastic’ when asking for help with household chores” (“Don’t Nag Your Husband,” National Public Radio, Apr. 1, 2020). The hashtag was “WomenPreventCOVID29.” After strong negative response, Malaysia’s Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development removed the posts.
The bottom line is that America needs to repent of her wickedness before God, and that is doubly true for the churches. Radical political action and multi-trillion dollar national debts will not solve America’s ills, because the fundamental issue is her terrible sin against the God that has shown her such light and mercy. And the very root of it all is the apostasy, corruption, compromise, worldliness, and lukewarmness in her churches. And that includes the majority of the most staunchly conservative, evangelical, “fundamentalist,” and even “independent Baptist”! From my perspective, most “Bible-believing” churches in America are lukewarm at best. One pastor wrote to me as follows: “Will independent fundamental Baptist pastors cancel their services and keep their church doors closed if this goes on for months? If they do, I believe that their people will get so used to watching church online that they won't see the need to assemble together as a real church.” I replied, “I would say that if church members would stop attending church because of a few week’s closure, they shouldn’t be church members in the first place. That isn’t a regenerate church membership. And this is truly the fundamental issue--the sad spiritual state of the vast majority of so-called Bible believing churches.” We agree with Pastor John Quincy Henry of First Baptist Church in San Francisco, who said during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, [Churches] have been lamentably weak in moral and spiritual leadership and have not yet risen to the august occasion confronting them. Our churches have become conventional, cowardly and worldly. Not only the people, but the churches must repent their sins, and when they do the plagues will cease” (The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919: A Digital Encyclopedia). I believe that the promise of God to Solomon at the dedication of the temple has a proper application to God’s people in America today. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). What happens in God’s house dramatically affects the White House. It’s high time to exchange a frivolous fun and games program, an entertainment program with a thin veneer of religiosity, for a program of serious prayer, serious Bible study, serious Bible preaching with exegetical substance and plain reproof and rebuke, serious holiness, serious separation from the wickedness of this fallen world, serious pilgrim Christianity, serious Christian living in the homes, being serious about the fathers being the heads of the homes and the mothers being the keepers of the home, serious about putting God’s will before economics, serious training of children and discipling of youth, and above all, serious about a regenerate church membership!
Mexican drug cartels are cutting back on production of illegal drugs because they can’t obtain chemicals from China (“Mexican drug cartels struggle,” Fox News, Mar. 31, 2020). Johan Obdola, president of Global Organization for Intelligence, says, “COVID-19 has generated a huge loss regarding any illegal drugs, and specifically synthetic drugs, not only to Mexican cartels but to most drug cartels operating worldwide.” Fox News says, “Over the past decade, overdoses have claimed the lives of almost half a million Americans, and data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that some 69,000 died in 2019 alone.”
Pentecostal preacher Kenneth Copeland has exercised his prophetic “Word-Faith” powers to take authority over Covid-19 and to declare America healed. He said, “Standing in the Office of the Prophet of God, I execute judgement on you, COVID 19. ... I demand a vaccination to come immediately. I call you done. I call you gone. ... It is finished. It is over. And the United States of America is healed and well again, sayeth the mighty Spirit of peace who is also the Prince of War” (“Judgment Is Executed on Covid-19,” Mar. 30, 2020, YouTube). This deluded man is a reproach to the cause of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. I have seen him command a hurricane to dissolve and a crippled girl to be healed, and after the huffing and puffing and commanding and proclaiming was finished, the hurricane was still a destructive hurricane and the crippled girl was still crippled. It’s on video for all to see, just like this present fiasco. Jesus Christ can command storms and heal every disease, and He gave miracle-working sign gifts to His apostles to prove their apostleship. “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (2 Co. 12:12). But Copeland is not an apostle. He is “deceiving and being deceived” (2 Ti. 3:13), like the other Word-Faith hoaxers. I believe in miracles and have seen a great many miracles over these past 47 years of walking with Christ, and I believe in healing and have seen miraculous healings in answer to prayer, but we can’t demand and command these things. In this present time, we walk by faith, not sight, as we wait for the “manifestation of the sons of God” (Ro. 8:18-25).
Pentecostal pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was arrested on Sunday, March 29, by Hillsborough County (Tampa, Florida) deputies for holding services in violation of county orders limiting gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic. He was charged with a misdemeanor for “unlawful assembly and violating quarantine orders during a public health emergency” and released on bail within 40 minutes. Sheriff Chad Chronister said, “Our goal here is not to stop anyone from worshiping, but the safety and well-being of our community must always come first” (Tampa Bay Times, Mar. 30, 2020). Quoting Mark 12:31, Chronister said, “Loving your neighbors is protecting them, not jeopardizing their health by exposing them to this deadly virus.”
We have read of several pastors who have died of the coronavirus. We don’t know any of them, don’t know if they were saved or lost, just that they were pastors. Of course, even born again, theologically sound pastors die every day of all causes, and a many pastors worldwide have died of other causes since the beginning of Covid-19 epidemic, but their deaths don’t make national or international news. Pastors who have died of Covid-19 include Robert Earl Smith Sr. and Kevelin Jones of Bountiful Love Ministries, Genessee County, Michigan; Landon Spradlin of Virginia (died in North Carolina); Pastor Merle Dry of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Ronnie Hampton of New Vision Community Church, Shreveport, Louisiana; Isaac Graham of Macedonia Baptist Church in Harlem, New York City; Leon Franklin of St. Luke Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Angel Escamilla of Calvary Church in Naperville, Illinois; Timothy Scott of St. James Temple Church of God in Christ in Clarksdale, Mississippi; Alvin McElry of Friendship Baptist Church of Riverhead, New York; Nathaniel Slappy Sr. and Nathaniel Slappy Jr. of New St. Luke Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan; Manson Johnson II of Holman Street Baptist Church, Houston, Texas.
THE FOLLOWING ADDED MARCH 30, 2020
The FDA has approved emergency use of a new coronavirus test that delivers positive results in 5 minutes and negative results in 13. The device, produced by Abbott Laboratories, is the size of a small toaster, and the company will ramp up production to make 50,000 units per day beginning next week (Business Insider, Mar. 28, 2020).
For the child of God walking with God, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). By drawing near to God, we find power, love, and a sound mind, and fear flees away. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8).
The U.S. military is stepping up to the front lines to help America in this crisis. “Two massive U.S. Navy hospital ships, the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort, are being mobilized to treat COVID-19 patients off the coasts of Los Angeles and New York, respectively. In addition to the hundreds of U.S. Navy and civil personnel already aboard the ships, more than 100 reservists are being called up to help with the unprecedented emergency virus treatment. ‘When we were asked to help find medical professionals to help support this mission, we received hundreds of volunteer requests from our Reserve medical community in less than 24 hours,’ said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Schommer, deputy commander of Navy Reserve Force. ‘That’s extremely humbling.’ Indeed, America’s volunteer warriors are inspiring us with their willingness to step forward at great risk to their own health. Like doctors, nurses, first responders, delivery workers and countless others, the brave men and women of our military are performing brilliantly amid the uncertainty of a rapidly evolving public health crisis” (“Military’s Coronavirus Response Should Make All American’s Proud,” The Stream, Mar. 27, 2020).
Because of market sell-off, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which has $125 billion in cash, could afford to purchase almost any of America’s public companies, including McDonald’s ($125 billion), PayPal ($118b), Boeing ($102b), IBM ($100B), Tesla ($97b), and Starbucks ($82b). Buffett believes in financial security and “has pledged always to hold at least $20 billion to guard against external calamities” (“Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway,” Business Insider, Mar. 28, 2020).
“For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD” (Psalm 31:22-24).
The UK’s former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on world leaders to form a “temporary” global government to resolve the current medical and economic crises. He wants “an emergency body with executive powers” and an increase in funding for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (“Gordon Brown calls for global government to tackle coronavirus, The Guardian, Mar. 26, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED MARCH 27, 2020
British scientist Neil Ferguson, whose March 16 computer-modeled prediction of the deaths of 2.2 million Americans and half a million British due to Covid-19, was a major element in the global shut downs, has now backed off of his original doomsday estimates. Earlier he warned that critical care (ICU) bed capacity would exceed maximum supply by 30 times. He called for a shut down for 18 months! Now he says, “The UK should be able to cope with the spread of the Covid-19 virus and UK deaths are not unlikely to exceed 20,000, AND COULD BE MUCH LOWER” (“UK has enough intensive care units for coronavirus,” New Scientist, Mar. 25, 2020). He also said an 18 month shut down is not possible. As of March 29, 1228 people in the United Kingdom had died from the coronavirus with 19,500 confirmed cases.
“Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all pray” (R.A. Torrey).
Stanford University professors Eran Bendavid and Jay Bhattacharya have stated that CURRENT ESTIMATES OF THE FATALITY RATE “MAY BE TOO HIGH BY ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE.” They said, “If it’s true that the novel coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines, then the extraordinary measures being carried out in cities and states around the country are surely justified. But there’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high” (“Is the Coronavirus as deadly as they say?” Wall Street Journal, Mar. 24. 2020).
A new computer model by Oxford University suggests the Covid-19 pandemic is in a later stage than previously thought and estimated the virus has already infected at least millions of people worldwide. The head of the study is professor Sunetra Gupta, an Oxford theoretical epidemiologist. “If her work is accurate, that would likely mean a large swath of the population has built up resistance to the virus. Theoretically, then, social restrictions could ease sooner than anticipated. What needs to be done now, Gupta said, is a whole lot of antibody testing to figure out who may have contracted the virus. Her research team is working with groups from the University of Cambridge and the University of Kent to start those tests for the general population as quickly as possible” (“New Oxford study,” TheWeek.com, Mar. 24, 2020).
Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a Jewish doctor in New York, has treated at least 500 Covid-19 patients with near 100% success rate. “It's an out-patient treatment combining the common anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine with the popular antibiotic azithromycin (known as Z-Pak) and zinc sulfate. ... Zelenko explained that there are two different diseases, the Covid-19 infection and the catastrophic lung injury, called acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. ARDS is the affliction requiring the use of hospital beds and ventilators, which has become a hot political issue because of the severe lack of supply. His protocol won't treat ARDS, but it can keep people from ever developing it. ‘I believe it lowers the viral load and decreases the amount of virus that the immune system needs to deal with,’ he said. ‘It gives it time to overcome the development of the infection prior to development of ARDS or lung injury.’ Zelenko said the results are ‘remarkable.’ ‘I'm seeing respiratory symptoms resolve as fast as four hours. That's not the norm,’ he said. ‘It takes 12 hours on average, in my experience. ‘But I've seen remarkable results, and I have now colleagues who are implementing this as well and they are reporting the same anecdotal data.’ The colleagues include Dr. William Grace of the hematology and oncology department at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City” (“Doctor: White House has my successful coronavirus treatment,” WorldNetDaily, Mar. 25, 2020).
Dr. Ian Lipkin, an infectious disease expert from Columbia University, has announced that a blood-plasma therapy is showing good success in treating coronavirus patients. “About a week ago, I got a paper from a friend of mine, the former minister of health... telling me that he had treated 10 patients with plasma therapy – antibodies that have been taken from patients who'd recovered. All 10 of these patients did well. This is an old method that we used before we had antibiotics, and it'll work here too. One of the things that we're going to be trying to do is to ask people who have recovered from this infection to volunteer to provide plasma--there are a number of people who're beginning to think about this--so that we can use actually use this to treat other citizens, other people around the world who are infected, This is something that we think will make a huge difference in morbidity and mortality. This is available right now” (“Potential new coronavirus treatment,” Fox News, Mar. 27, 2020).
Ford announced on March 26 that it plans to restart its plant in Mexico on April 6 and plants in Michigan, Kentucky, Kansas City, and Ohio on April 14, “while introducing additional safety measures to protect returning workers” (Business Insider, Mar. 26, 2020).
Many CEOs and presidents of corporations are donating their salaries to their employees and companies. These include W. Kent Taylor of Texas Roadhouse, Arne Sorenson of Mariott (plus all executives are taking a 50% pay cut), Mark Hoplamaxian of Hyatt, John Zimmer and Logan Green of Lyft, Ed Bastian of Delta, Brad Tilden of Alaska Air, Oscar Munoz and Scott Kirby of United, Maurice Gallagher and John Redmond of Allegiant, Lawrence Culp of GE, and Bahram Akradi of LifeTime (Yahoo Finance, Mar. 20, 2020). Many others are taking major pay cuts. Donald Trump has donated his entire presidential salary ($400,000 annually) to various causes since his inauguration in 2017.
“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).
South Korea successfully “flattened the curve” of Covid-19 infections without shutting down the nation’s economy. The New York Times reports, “At the peak, medical workers identified 909 new cases in a single day, Feb. 29, and the country of 50 million people appeared on the verge of being overwhelmed. But less than a week later, the number of new cases halved. Within four days, it halved again — and again the next day. On Sunday, South Korea reported only 64 new cases, the fewest in nearly a month, even as infections in other countries continue to soar by the thousands daily, devastating health care systems and economies. Italy records several hundred deaths daily; South Korea has not had more than eight in a day.” The Daily Wire continues, “So how has South Korea pulled it off so far? It was not through draconian or economy-crushing measures implemented by the likes of China and now an increasing number of countries across the globe, including the U.S. The answer is four key measures: 1) rapid intervention before the pandemic is a full crisis; 2) implement widespread testing; 3) contact tracing and isolation; and 4) get the public to help” (“How South Korea Flattened the Curve,” The Daily Wire, Mar. 26, 2020).
Pope Francis has announced that a general absolution of sin can be obtained by confessing directly to God, instead of to a priest, during the Covid-19 crisis. Speaking at a live-streamed mass on March 20, the pope said, “This is the right time, the opportune moment. An act of contrition done well, and our souls will become white like the snow” (“If you can’t go to confession,” Crux, Mar. 20, 2020). Directly to God? What a brilliant idea! The problem is that the pope prescribed a false path to cleansing. The only way to become “white like the snow” is to approach God in His prescribed way, which is by repentance and saving faith in Christ, not by “an act of contrition,” sacraments, priests, Mary, and saints. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Ro. 10:9-11).
Cal Pierce, founder of International Association of Healing Rooms, prophesied on March 13 that the coronavirus would be gone in 10 days. Pierce was having a recorded conversation with Steven Strang, founder of Charisma magazine. The prophesy was based on the Word of Faith heresy that believers have the power to create reality with their words. Pierce said, “So, we have authority that Jesus has given us. He’s our head; we’re his body. He works through us, because we have authority. So, when we decree something which is the will of God or the Word of God, our decree or the sound of our voice becomes God’s will into the natural realm” (“See Covid-19 from the Perspective of Spiritual Warfare,” Charismapodcast, Mar. 13, 2020). Pierce proclaimed the “word of faith” that Covid-19 would be gone in 10 days. Obviously the man is one of the false prophets that the Bible so frequently warns about. “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:22).
Chuck Pierce, another Pentecostal “prophet” (and an apostle, to boot!) says “the Lord’s shown me through 2026, so I know this isn’t the end of time” (“This is not the end of the world,” The Washington Post, Mar. 17, 2020).
THE FOLLOWING ADDED MARCH 25, 2020
The Wuhan district of China, ground zero for Covid-19, is getting back to work, temporary hospitals are closing, and travel restrictions are being lifted. All of China had zero new infections on March 18-19.
The fatality rate for Covid-19 is smaller than WHO reports originally showed. Large numbers of those who have contracted the respiratory virus are not part of the statistics because the symptoms are often so mild. The current statistic is 1.4 percent even in Wuhan (“Coronavirus latest news,” New Scientist, Mar 19, 2020). Time magazine said, “That means the total number of reported cases is very likely an underestimate—and by not counting many mild or asymptomatic cases, we’re likely overestimating the disease’s overall mortality rate. ... Covid-19 LOOKS A LOT CLOSER TO THE SEASONAL FLU THAN TO PREVIOUS CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAKS. A more complete—and, hopefully, less severe—picture of Covid-19 will likely emerge as the outbreak continues, testing capacity increases and data are refined” (“The WHO estimated Covid-19 mortality,” Time, Mar. 9, 2020).
The anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin is proving successful in treating coronavirus patients in tests in Australia, France, and elsewhere. “A French study with a small sample size showed it to be 100 percent effective. The French study, led by researcher Didier Raoult and his team, has received worldwide attention. In it, six patients were given Plaquenil – a brand-name hydroxychloroquine drug – in tandem with the antibiotic drug azithromycin, Forbes reported. All six patients tested negative for Covid-19 by day six. In Australia, a University of Queensland study that used the anti-malaria drug in combination with an anti-HIV drug also was highly effective. The Queensland team is now using the drugs in a clinical trial. ‘Prior to the clinical trials going ahead, the medications were given to some of the first Australian patients infected with Covid-19, and all have completely recovered without any trace of the virus left in their system,’ David Paterson of the University of Queensland said in a press release. ‘These medications have the potential to be a real cure for all, unlike the random anecdotal experiences of some people.’ The university’s press release called it a ‘coronavirus cure’” (“Patients ‘Completely Recovered,’” Christian Headlines, Mar. 19, 2020).
President Trump is streamlining the testing of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 patients and has instructed the CDC to cut all red tape.
The Israeli company Teva is donating 16 million hydroxychloroquine tablets to hospitals in America for testing purposes (6 million immediately and 10 million more within a month). Teva is a global leader in generic and speciality medicines.
Following is the testimony of a man whose life was saved by hydroxychloroquine: “Rio Giardinieri, 52, who is vice-president of a company that manufactures cooking equipment at high-end restaurants in LA and around the world, thinks he contracted Covid-19 at a conference in New York. He had a fever for five days, horrendous back pain, headache, cough, and tiredness. ... Doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and coronavirus. They put him on oxygen in the ICU but he says he was still unable to breathe. ... Friday evening, he said goodbye to his wife and three children. ... A dear friend immediately sent him a recent article about hydroxychloroquine ... So, Giardinieri reached out to an infectious disease doctor. ‘He gave me all the reasons why I would probably not want to try it because there are no trials, there’s no testing, it was not something that was approved. And I said look I don’t know if I’m going to make it until the morning because at that point I really thought I was coming to the end because I couldn’t breathe anymore. He agreed and authorized the use of it and 30 minutes later the nurse gave it to me. ... they gave me some Benadryl [that allowed me to go to sleep and when I woke up at exactly 4:45 in the morning, I woke up like nothing ever happened.’ Miraculously, he’s since had no fever or pain, feels fine and he’s able to breathe again” (“A man with coronavirus,” Fox10 Phoenix, Mar. 23, 2020).
Remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug that holds out hope as a Covid-19 blocker, is undergoing large human trials in China and the US.
Kaletra, a combination of anti-HIV drugs that stops viral replication, has shown some effectiveness in trials in China. India’s Chief Medical and Health Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh announced on March 16 that three Covid-19 patients have recovered by means of a combination of HIV drugs. “It appears it is working because three patients have recovered. Good thing is that all the three patients are elderly and the successful result of the drug patients of such age is a big thing” (“Combination of two anti-HIV drugs proved crucial,” The Economic Times, Mar. 16, 2020).
Israel’s Institute of Technology (Technion) announced a new Covid-19 testing procedure that can test more than 60 patients at one time. The institute said they have “successfully tested a method that will dramatically increase the current Covid-19 testing capacity using existing available resources” (“Technion, Weizmann Institute,” No Camels, Mar. 18, 2020).
The first Covid-19 vaccine (by the company Moderna) has begun human testing in Washington state (“Biotech company ships first batches of vaccine,” Fox News, Mar. 16, 2020).
Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology branch at Galilee (MIGAL) has a vaccine that it hopes will achieve safety approval in a short time through expedited trials and fast-track approvals (“Israeli breakthrough in coronavirus vaccine imminent,” Israel Today, Mar. 16, 2020). MIGAL’s vaccine is a by-product of the development of a vaccine against Avian coronavirus.
Other companies have vaccines ready for testing. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is backing a vaccine developed by Oxford University and one by the US company Inovio, which had a vaccine ready three hours after the gene sequence was published in January. “It plans clinical trials in April and to have a million doses by December, if the approach works” (“The race to test coronavirus antiviral drugs and vaccines,” New Scientist, Mar. 11, 2020).
The French company Sanofi Pasteur is hybridizing the Covid-19 virus with a baculovirus already approved for its flu vaccine as a possible fast track to a vaccine that could be quickly mass produced.
With $87 million backing from the European Commission, German firm CureVac is promising a vaccine in around six months by fast track. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke of her hope to bring a vaccine to market “perhaps before autumn” (“More Firms Enter Race for Vaccine as EU Suggests Accelerated Trials Process,” CNSNews.com, Mar. 18, 2020).
Some companies in America are hiring large numbers of new workers to keep up with increased demands caused by the coronavirus crisis. Walmart announced on March 20 that it is hiring 150,000 additional workers and has expedited the hiring process from two weeks to 24 hours. Walmart is raising the wage for entry level workers and is also providing $550 million in cash bonuses to its hourly employees. Amazon is hiring 100,000 new workers for its American warehouse and delivery wings. CVS Pharmacy is hiring 50,000 and paying some workers bonuses of $500. Domino’s pizza is hiring 10,000. Walgreens is hiring 9,500. Pepsi is hiring 6,000 new full-time employees. Dollar Tree is hiring 25,000. 7-Eleven is hiring 20,000. Kroger, Costco, Albertson’s, and Aldi are hiring.
The coronavirus crisis has resulted in a massive increase in government surveillance of citizens. It looks like a trial run for a one-world government, and it is working very well. Ten countries are tracking phone data. Poland is requiring home quarantined patients to use a special app to take regular selfies to prove they are indoors; failure results in a visit from police (“Poland made an app,” Business Insider, Mar. 23, 2020). Taiwan has introduced “electronic fences” which alert police if suspected patients leave their homes (“Taiwan’s New Electronic Fence,” New York Times, Mar. 20, 2020).
A religious Jew who stole an antiquities artifact in Israel 15 years ago returned it, fearing that the end of the world is at hand. He was a teenager when he took the Roman ballista stone from an archaeological exhibition. It is from the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70. Now married with children, the man is seeking to have a clear conscience when he stands before God (“‘It’s the End of the World,’ Says Repentant Israeli Antiquities Thief,” Israel Today, Mar. 18, 2020). If he would read his Bible with open eyes, he would see that he will give account for every sin against God in thought and deed and therefore there is no possibility of being justified by one’s deeds; only through the Messiah’s vicarious atonement can a sinner be justified. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ec. 12:14). “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:5-6).
Iran has scaled back its terrorist activity across the Middle East because of the coronavirus (“IDF indicates Iran scaling back,” The Times of Israel, Mar. 17, 2020).
For the redeemed, the Bible is full of wonderful promises from God our Saviour. “But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand...” (Psalm 31:14-15). Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles, commented on this promise as follows: “Not one or two important epochs of my history only, but everything that concerns me;—joys that I had not expected,—sorrows that must have crushed me if they could have been anticipated,—sufferings which might have terrified me by their grimness had I looked upon them,—surprises which infinite love had prepared for me,—services of which I could not have imagined myself capable;—all these lay in that mighty hand as the purposes of God’s eternal will for me” (cited from Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr.).
The best news is that any individual infected by the deadly virus of sin can be healed through saving faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and escape certain eternal death. Sin has a 100% mortality rate, but Dr. Jesus has a 100% success rate for those who come to Him by the door of saving faith. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
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