Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
FOLLOWING ADDED JANUARY 22, 2021
A new study shows that Covid transmission in schools is nearly non-existent. “A new study shows that transmission of COVID-19 is extremely low in K-12 schools providing face-to-face instruction. The study examined eleven school districts in North Carolina. It included nearly 100,000 students and staff and monitored the virus transmission over a nine-week period. To complete the study, they looked at each case identified and determined whether it was community-based or in-school spread. The determination was made by local health departments and showed that in-school transmission was extremely rare. The results were described by the researchers as follows: ‘Over 9 weeks, 11 participating school districts had more than 90,000 students and staff attend school in-person; of these, there were 773 community-acquired SARS-CoV-2 infections documented by molecular testing. Through contact tracing, NC health department staff determined an additional 32 infections were acquired within schools. No instances of child-to-adult transmission of SARS-CoV-2 were reported within schools.’ Because they looked at both primary and secondary spread, the researchers are confident in their findings. ... The study also cites a recent research review that estimates COVID-19 deaths would only be reduced by 2-4% through school closures alone” (“Covid-19 Transmission in Schools,” PJMedia, Jan. 17, 2021).
As of January 22, 2021, the Great Barrington Declaration has been signed by more than nearly 53,480 medical doctors, scientists, and practitioners, up from 15,000 when it was first published on October 4, 2020. The Declaration calls for a new approach to dealing with Covid-19. Published in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the authors are Harvard professor of medicine Dr. Martin Kulldorf, Oxford epidemiologist Dr. Sunetra Gupta, and Stanford Medical School professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya. “As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection. Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice. Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed. ... Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. ... Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume.” See gbdeclaration.org.
States throughout the U.S. are not distinguishing between patients hospitalized because of Covid-19 and patients who merely test positive while being hospitalized for other reasons. “Hospitalizations have for months been viewed as one of the critical indicators of the coronavirus pandemic: Countries worldwide have relied heavily on the number of patients sent to hospitals because of the virus as a way of measuring how severe a region or a nation's outbreak really is. ... The COVID Tracking Project, a group of public health experts and journalists who have been collecting COVID-19 data from state health departments since early 2020, currently lists over 125,000 hospitalized COVID patients nationwide, roughly double the earlier peaks seen in the spring and summer. Yet many, if not most, states are failing to make the distinction between patients hospitalized because of COVID-19 versus those who simply test positive for the disease while hospitalized for something else, according to a Just the News survey of state health departments. That data would provide a fuller picture of both the pandemic and its toll on local medical systems. Yet state public health officials consistently told Just the News that their respective health departments do not track that data. ... Marisa Maez, a spokeswoman with the New Mexico Department of Health told Just the News: ‘When the state releases its daily COVID count, all COVID related hospitalizations are counted which includes those who are specifically hospitalized for COVID and those that test positive while hospitalized for other conditions.’ ... ‘The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations reported is for all patients in the hospital with a lab-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, whether it is the primary diagnosis or a secondary one,’ said Charlie Gischlar with the Maryland Department of Health. ... The number of total hospitalizations in California ‘represents all who are hospitalized with COVID-19, including those being treated for other medical issues,’ the California Department of Public Health told Just the News. ... Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, said that it is ‘very likely that many patients who are listed as dying from COVID had underlying medical issues that make the designation of COVID as the primary cause problematic.’ ... Martin Kulldorff, a medical professor at Harvard University, agreed that the missing data raised a ‘related and equally important question’ of ‘how many of the reported COVID deaths are due to versus with COVID’” (“As Covid admissions surge, states conflating patients hospitalized ‘due to’ and ‘with’ virus,” Just the News, Jan. 3, 2021). This report cited similar statements from representatives in Wisconsin, Mississippi, Connecticut, Colorado, Alabama, and Michigan.
Stanford doctor says California’s ongoing lockdowns haven’t “contributed in any meaningful way” to saving lives in the state. “Dr. Jay Bhattacharya appeared on Fox News’ ‘The Story’ with guest-host Will Cain Monday night to discuss the effectiveness of lockdown measures imposed by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom in an attempt to fight the spread of COVID-19. ‘California has the strictest lockdowns in the country and cases there are absolutely exploding,’ said Cain. ‘What am I supposed to take from the usefulness of lockdowns?’ ‘Lockdowns are not a tool to eradicate the disease,’ Bhattacharya responded. ‘At best what they do is push the cases into the future. And California is reaping the whirlwind of that policy. For nine months we’ve been in lockdown. We’ve had schools closed, businesses closed, churches silent, private gatherings outlawed, travel restricted, and yet you can see the cases are still growing very, very sharply in California.’ Cain then played a clip of Newsom arguing that the imposition of such measures ‘have worked, substantially so.’ ... ‘[T]he problem is that he’s not a very good scientist,’ the Stanford professor said of Newsom. ‘You always need a control group when you’re thinking about whether something has caused A or B. You brought up Florida at the beginning. That’s a pretty good control group. It’s similar in climate to California in some ways and yet--and it’s basically been open since September. Disney World is open, schools are meeting in person.’ ‘There are very few business restrictions, and yet Florida actually has fewer deaths per capita now than California has,’ he concluded. ‘The lockdowns have not actually contributed in any meaningful way to the death toll from Covid-19 in California. And in fact the lockdowns contribute to deaths themselves. They’ve made it more difficult both physically and psychologically for the population of California.’ ... Cases topped 1 million on November 12, and has since more than doubled to 2.2 million despite some of the strictest coronavirus measures in the country” (“Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya,” The Daily Caller, Dec. 28, 2020).
Spiked, a U.K. online magazine, featured a report on Dec. 27, 2020, entitled “Lockdown: a deadly, failed experiment” by Fraser Myers. Following is an excerpt: “Lockdowns have become central to any discussion of Covid-19. The assumption that lockdown is the only way to prevent Covid deaths has become embedded in mainstream thinking. Apparently, the only permitted questions are if we are locking down early enough, hard enough or for long enough. Lockdown has similarly become the default response to rises in cases (though sometimes these now take local rather than national form). But the conventional wisdom that more lockdown means fewer deaths simply does not hold true in the real world. There is globally no association, let alone causation, between lockdowns and Covid deaths. And yet the harms of the policy are extreme. Developed countries have this year experienced record drops in economic output. Britain, for instance, has experienced its worst recession in 300 years (since the Great Frost of 1709, if you were wondering). The burden of this has fallen overwhelmingly on the poorest in society, while billionaires have watched their wealth multiply. In the developing world, the World Bank estimates that an additional 150million people will fall into ‘extreme poverty’. Children have born a disproportionate brunt of the lockdowns--even though children face very minor risks from Covid and school closures are not associated with reduced transmission. Nevertheless, an estimated 1.5 billion children--87 per cent--have been affected by school closures around the world. ... The effect on broader health has been similarly catastrophic. Hospital appointments, operations and screenings have been cancelled, often in cases where capacity was nowhere close to being reached. Patients took ‘stay at home’ messages far too much to heart and didn’t get serious illnesses checked out, including cancers which could have been detected and stopped. The number of Brits waiting for routine hospital treatment has risen from 1,613 to over 160,000 this year--a hundredfold increase. In the developing world, where Covid itself has had a much lesser impact than in the West, lockdowns have disrupted an estimated 80 per cent of programmes aimed at treating tuberculosis. In 2019, TB killed 1.4 million people worldwide. But this year, thanks to a 25 per cent reduction in case detections, 1.7 million deaths have been projected. One of the greatest costs--which cannot be quantified in lives lost or dollar signs--has been to freedom. And this goes deeper than the (hopefully) temporary curbs on everyday life. Our entire culture of freedom has collapsed. We now need and expect the state’s explicit permission for whatever limited activities we can do. Even Christmas can now be cancelled by the state.”
A U.S. university student and a competitive jet-skier were sentenced to four months in jail for breaking the covid restrictions in the Cayman Islands, a British territory. Mercer University student Skylar Mack and her boyfriend Vanjae Ramgett violated quarantine rules (Fox News, Dec. 21, 2020). Both have tested negative multiple times, but being covid free is not the real issue.
The Frontline Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), which is not quackery, is recommending the use of Ivermectin as a “miracle cure” and “wonder drug” for prevention and early treatment of Covid-19. We don’t know if it is true that no one who takes Ivermectin will get Covid, but it is obvious from the studies so far that it has a major effect. On Dec. 8, 2020, Dr. Pierre Kory, President of the FLCCC, appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs in Washington, D.C., to testify of the group’s scientific findings. Dr. Kory said, “We are a group of one of the most highly published physicians in the world. We have nearly 2,000 peer-reviewed publications among us. Led by Professor Paul Marik, who is our intellectual leader, we came together early on in the pandemic, and all we have sought is to review the world’s literature on every factor of this disease, trying to develop effective protocols. I was here [before the Senate committee] in May, and I recommended that it was critical that we use corticosteroids in treating this disease, when all of the national and international health care organizations said we cannot use those. That turned out to be a life-saving recommendation. I’m here again today with a new recommendation. ... We have a solution to this crisis. There is a drug that is proving to be of miraculous impact, and when I say ‘miracle’ I do not use that term lightly. I don’t want to be sensationalized when I say that. This is a scientific recommendation based on mountains of data that has emerged in the last three months. When I am told that we are touting things that are not FDA recommended, let me be clear, the NIH [National Institutes of Health], their recommendation on Ivermectin, which is to not use it outside of controlled trials, is from August 27. We are now in December. This is three to four months later. Mountains of data have emerged from many centers and countries from around the world showing the miraculous effect of Ivermectin. It basically obliterates transmission of this virus. ... We just came across a trial last night from Argentina by the chief investigator of Ivermectin in Argentina, Dr. Hector Carvallo. They prophylaxed 800 health care workers, not one got sick. In the 400 that they didn’t prophylax with Ivermectin, 247, 58%, got sick. ..,. We now have four large randomized controlled trials totaling over 1,500 patients, each trial showing that as a prophylaxis agent it is immensely effective. ... In early outpatient treatment, we have three randomized control trials and multiple observation as well as case series showing that if you take Ivermectin the need for hospitalization and death will decrease. ... We have four randomized control trials there, multiple observation trials, all showing the same thing. You will not die, or you will die at much, much lower rates, statistically significant, large magnitude results if you take Ivermectin. It is proving to be a wonder drug. It has already won the Noble prize in medicine in 2015 for its impact on global health in the eradication of parasitic diseases. ... Our manuscript has been submitted for peer review, but please recognize that peer review takes months, and we don’t have months. We have 100,000 patients in the hospitals right now dying. I am a lung specialist. I am an ICU specialist. I’ve cared for more dying Covid patients than anyone can imagine. They’re dying because they can’t breathe. ... They are on high velocity oxygen delivery devices, non-evasive ventilators, and/or they are sedated and paralyzed and attached to mechanical ventilators that breathe for them. ... By the time they get to me in the ICU, they are dying, they are almost impossible to recover. Early treatment is key. ... Any further deaths are going to be needless deaths. I cannot keep caring for patients when I know that they could have been saved with early treatment, and that drug that will treat them and prevent the hospitalization is Ivermectin.” Dr. Kory called upon the government’s medical authorities--the NIH, CDC, and FDA--to urgently review the latest data and then issue guidelines for physicians, nurse-practitioners, and physician assistants to prescribe Ivermectin for COVID-19. Following are the links to Dr. Kory’s interview, Dr. Hector Carvallo’s interview, and the FLCCC’s protocol for use of ivermectin as a prophylaxis:
Reference #1 (YouTube video)
Reference #2 (reddit)
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Since October, the World Health Organization has appealed to world leaders to stop using lockdown as the primary control method. The following is excerpted from “WHO warns against Covid-19 lockdowns,” Fox News, Oct. 12, 2020: “The World Health Organization has warned leaders against relying on COVID-19 lockdowns to tackle outbreaks--after previously saying countries should be careful how quickly they reopen. WHO envoy Dr. David Nabarro said such restrictive measures should only be treated as a last resort, the British magazine the Spectator reported in a video interview. ‘We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,’ Nabarro said. On Oct. 9, Nabarro said, ‘We really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method.’ ‘The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.’ Nabarro said tight restrictions cause significant harm, particularly on the global economy. ‘Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,’ he said. ... ‘Just look at what’s happened to the tourism industry in the Caribbean, for example, or in the Pacific because people aren’t taking their holidays,’ Nabarro told the outlet. ‘Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.’ ... Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, ‘We need to reach a sustainable situation where we have adequate control of this virus without shutting down our lives entirely, or lurching from lockdown to lockdown--which has a hugely detrimental impact on societies.’”
FOLLOWING ADDED December 14, 2020
The U.S. hospital system overall is not overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients. The following is excerpted from “Amid fears of overwhelmed medical systems, data shows ample hospital capacity nationwide,” Justthenews.com, Dec. 13, 2020: “As fears persist of overwhelmed medical systems and at-capacity hospitals nationwide, data indicate that ample hospital space remains available for both COVID-19 patients and other medical needs, with one official at a major hospital network stating that the country is ‘managing pretty well’ the latest surge of COVID-19. For most of 2020, rising positive test results of COVID-19 have brought with them fears of swamped hospitals, overwhelmed medical systems, emergency patients being turned away, and COVID-19 patients being triaged, suffering and dying in hallways and vestibules. ... In response, leaders and medical officials around the world suspended elective surgeries and constructed emergency medical facilities to cope with anticipated waves of COVID-19 patients. In many cases those facilities were eventually shuttered for lack of patients, even after millions of dollars had been invested in their construction. In Chicago, for instance, the city spent $120,000,000 on four facilities to treat a total of 38 patients. The latest spike in positive COVID tests has brought renewed fears of hospitals straining under an influx of COVID-19 patients ... Yet federal government data compiled from state-level reports suggests that hospitals nationwide have considerable space left to deal with both routine medical issues and COVID-19 patients. ... The HHS numbers belie forecasts of impending collapse of the U.S. medical system. As of Saturday, the department estimated that hospitals nationwide were at about 75% capacity. ICU beds were even lower, at 63.5%. Patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 occupied just under 15% of all beds nationwide. Even in areas that have recently posted huge surges in positive COVID tests, the numbers were largely similar to the national average: In New York, 76% of hospital beds (and 61% of ICU beds) were taken. In California, where positive test results have skyrocketed, 76% of inpatient beds were likewise filled (though the ICU numbers were notably higher than New York's, at 79%). Ohio, which has also seen a surge in positive tests over the last few months, has 71% of inpatient beds taken, and 77% of ICU beds. Those numbers are not far out of line with national average occupancy rates seen in normal times and are, in some cases, lower than what are widely considered optimal rates. ... Of course, many medical facilities across the country are working under considerable strain to deal with the current spike. Some hospitals, such as locations in California, Texas and elsewhere, have been forced to set up tent-based medical facilities to deal with surges in patients. Yet similar circumstances have been seen during particularly virulent flu seasons, as happened in 2018 in states across the country.”
Atilis Gym has been fined $1 million by the government of New Jersey for refusing to close as a “non-essential business” under Gov. Phil Murphy’s mandate. Owner Ian Smith reopened in May and his fines have steadily increased. The police have refused to enforce the state health mandate. On Dec. 13, Smith published a video declaring his intent to continue to “defy government interference with his right to work and feed his family” (“N.J. Gym Owner fined $1 million,” PJMedia, Dec. 13, 2020).
Oregon doctor loses license for speaking against Covid-19 politically correct agenda. “The Oregon Medical Board has indefinitely revoked a doctor’s license after finding that he and his staff refused to wear face coverings during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged patients visiting his clinic to remove theirs, concluding he is ‘a serious danger’ to public health. The panel voted on Thursday to issue an emergency suspension, determining that Dr. Steven LaTulippe ‘engaged in unprofessional conduct or dishonorable conduct.’ NBC News reports that the punishment comes weeks after LaTulippe spoke at a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally outside the State Capitol in Salem on November 7. ... ‘The purpose was only to shut down the American people,’ LaTulippe told attendees last month at the pro-Trump gathering. ‘This is a threat to your freedom, a threat to our Constitution. I petition all of you, please, take off the mask of shame. It is a mask that is just designed to control you and to shut you down.’ ... In an interview with the Salem Statesman Journal, LaTulippe said his office has strict coronavirus protocols in place. He has asked symptomatic patients to wear a mask to protect him during examinations, LaTulippe said. ... LaTulippe has treated approximately 75 cases of coronavirus, he said, adding that all of his patients recovered without requiring hospitalization. ... LaTulippe’s advice conflicts with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which suggests wearing ‘well-fitting cloth face masks or facemasks to cover a person’s mouth and nose” to prevent the transmission of coronavirus’” (“Oregon Doctor,” The Daily Wire, Dec. 7, 2020). “In a previous interview with NBC, LaTulippe said he believes there is ‘bad science’ supporting guidance over wearing face masks when coming into contact with people outside of one's household. ‘I have absolutely zero problems with infectivity, and I have completely successful treatments, so I ask, What is the problem? Why would I be demonized if I know what I’m doing?’ he said. ... ‘I'm very interested in sound medical practice, and I’m interested in good science,’ he has said. ‘And when science and medicine become perverted with corrupt politics, then I'm up for a fight, and that’s what made me go to that rally and say what I said’” (“Oregon Doctor’s License Revoked,” NBCNews, Dec. 5, 2020).
The Canadian province of Manitoba is locked down again and churches are forbidden to congregate, though the number of reported deaths from Covid-19 is less the number who die from flu in a typical year. On Nov. 29, 2020, police blocked congregants from attending a drive-in church service at the Church of God of Steinbach. The church was fined $6,000 for holding services. Pastor Henrich Hildebrandt said, “God has given us the right to worship Him together and He wants to see His people united. It seems like we’re living in a different Canada. It’s very heartbreaking to me. ... Faith communities have not been unaffected, in fact they have been singled out in many cases across the world and especially in Canada and certain states, south of the border. The Bible teaches Christians to be good citizens and obey the reasonable demands of our government. It does not, however, teach blind obedience to the authorities when onerous restrictions are placed on our freedoms. ... We are not asking for special treatment, just equal treatment. Christians have always believed that their faith and the reasonable expression of that faith is essential to their mental health and well-being and that being arbitrarily separated from each other is detrimental to them. On Sunday morning, people in this province interacted at Walmart, Costco, and other retailers. The same thing happened at the local liquor store, cannabis dispensaries, and the list goes on. Yet, it is our faith community that is singled out for public criticism, media attention, and visits by the RCMP, Manitoba Public Health and local bylaw enforcement” (Church of God Steinbach Facebook, Nov. 23, 2020). As of the weekend of Nov. 29, there were 15,600 confirmed cases of Covid in Manitoba and 266 deaths. The death rate from Covid in Manitoba is 23 per 100,000 (largely limited to the elderly with multiple comorbidities). The death rate from flu in Manitoba in 2018 was 28 per 100,000 (totaling about 306). 88% of the Covid fatalities in Canada are 70 years and above. The Canadian border with the United States has been closed to non-essential traffic since March. On Dec. 8, the province of Manitoba reported that drive-in church services will be allowed so long as people remain in their automobiles. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) had warned that it would seek an injunction to allow drive-in church services if the government did not reverse course.
Reference #1 (website)
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In what should be a wake up call for governments to look at the entire picture of life on earth and not only Covid infections and deaths, more people have died in Japan of suicide in the month of October alone than from Covid all year. “The National Police Agency said suicides surged to 2,153 in October alone, with more than 17,000 people taking their own lives this year to date, CBS reported. By comparison, fewer than 2,000 people in the country have died from COVID-19 in 2020. Experts say the pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues due to prolonged lockdowns, isolation from family members, unemployment and other financial concerns, and a lack of school structure” (“More people died of suicide,” Fox News, Nov. 29, 2020).
The CDC is now estimating that as many as 53 million Americans have been infected by the coronavirus, which is nearly eight times the number of reported infections (12.5 million) (“Coronavirus cases in US may be 8 times higher, CDC warns,” Fox News, Nov. 26, 2020). This is reported as bad news, but it is actually good news. It means that the overall death rate for this virus is less than 0.5% (259,000 have reportedly died of Covid-related sickness), with the largest part of the deaths restricted to the elderly with multiple co-morbidities. Back in March, the WHO estimated a 3.4 percent fatality rate for COVID-19, which caused the widespread panic and draconian lockdowns. That has turned out to a wildly wrong prediction.
FOLLOWING ADDED November 24, 2020
The Great Barrington Declaration has now been signed by more than nearly 5,000 medical doctors, scientists, and practitioners, up from 15,000 when it was first published on October 4. The Declaration calls for a new approach to dealing with Covid-19. Published in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the authors are Harvard professor of medicine Dr. Martin Kulldorf, Oxford epidemiologist Dr. Sunetra Gupta, and Stanford Medical School professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya. “As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection. Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice. Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed. ... Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. ... Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume.” See gbdeclaration.org.
While Covid infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are rising in Minnesota, as across the Upper Midwest, the median age for fatalities remains at 83 years. The vast majority of deaths are among residents of Long Term Care facilities. “Ninety-four percent of all those whose deaths are attributed to the epidemic had significant underlying conditions; two percent lacked them” (“Coronovirus in One State,” PowerLineblog.com, Nov. 17, 2020).
Nearly two months after a Covid spike began in the Midwest, hospitals are not overwhelmed by Covid patients and in fact are just below or just above the average U.S. hospital occupancy rate of 2015. “Nearly two months after COVID-19 cases began surging in the Midwest, most hospitals there appear to be handling the spike without major issues. Some hospitals in the region are nearing capacity, but none appear to be receiving a crushing wave of COVID patients after around seven weeks of sharply increasing positive tests. Hospitalization rates have for several months been one of the key metrics by which public health experts and commentators assess the state of the pandemic in the U.S. Global fears of overburdened medical systems began in March as the world witnessed parts of Italy's healthcare system strain and nearly break under a massive influx of COVID-19 patients. ... Concerns about a crush of COVID patients were raised anew in early September, when many Midwestern states began seeing significant rises in the numbers of confirmed coronavirus infections. Yet state-level data indicate that, with the exception of some facilities, most hospitals in that region remain below capacity, even as average COVID cases have soared far above the numbers seen over the summer. In Iowa, for instance, the state has around 3,100 hospital beds available, with a little over 60% of statewide capacity currently being utilized. Yet the state's coronavirus dashboard says just 12% of total statewide inpatients--564 as of Wednesday afternoon--were infected with COVID-19, meaning COVID inpatients could theoretically triple there without overwhelming state capacity. A similar ratio is reported in Nebraska, where about 12% of its hospital inpatients--436 of 3175--are COVID-positive. Nebraska is currently filling about 69% of its hospital beds, with a slightly lower occupancy rate in intensive care units. Both states are either just below or just above the average U.S hospital occupancy rate in 2015, about 65% according to CDC statistics. ... In North Dakota, about 86% of hospital beds statewide are occupied. Yet, much like in Nebraska and Iowa, just 11% of inpatients in North Dakota are hospitalized for COVID. In Michigan, meanwhile, the ratio is even lower: Of the 17,302 inpatient hospital beds in use in the state as of Wednesday afternoon, 8.5% of them--1,479--were "suspected [or] confirmed" to have COVID-19. ... Wisconsin is also seeing higher-than-average hospital occupancy rates. The number of hospitalized COVID patients in the state has more than tripled since the beginning of September. Yet, per the state's dashboard, over the last month total statewide hospital occupancy has increased by only about 1.5%. All told, about 10% of Wisconsin's hospital beds are taken up by COVID patients” (“Nearly two months after Covid spike began,” Just the News, Oct. 30, 2020).
There has been a big drop in Covid death rates among hospitalized patients in America. “Two new peer-reviewed studies are showing a sharp drop in mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The drop is seen in all groups, including older patients and those with underlying conditions, suggesting that physicians are getting better at helping patients survive their illness. ‘We find that the death rate has gone down substantially,’ says Leora Horwitz, a doctor who studies population health at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine and an author on one of the studies, which looked at thousands of patients from March to August. The study, which was of a single health system, finds that mortality has dropped among hospitalized patients by 18 percentage points since the pandemic began. Patients in the study had a 25.6% chance of dying at the start of the pandemic; they now have a 7.6% chance. ... The research, an earlier version of which was shared online as a preprint in August, appears in the Journal of Hospital Medicine. ‘I would classify this as a silver lining to what has been quite a hard time for many people,’ says Bilal Mateen, a data science fellow at the Alan Turing Institute in the United Kingdom. He has conducted his own research of 21,000 hospitalized cases in England, which also found a similarly sharp drop in the death rate. The work, which will soon appear in the journal Critical Care Medicine and was released earlier in preprint, shows an unadjusted drop in death rates among hospitalized patients of around 20 percentage points since the worst days of the pandemic. ... ‘Clearly, there’s been something [that’s] gone on that's improved the risk of individuals who go into these settings with COVID-19,’ he says. ... There is still no cure for this disease, and even patients who recover can have long-term side effects. ... ‘I do think this is good news,’ Horwitz says of her research findings, ‘but it does not make the coronavirus a benign illness’” (“Studies Point to Big Drop,” NPR.org, Oct. 20, 2020).
Though there is a media frenzy every time a professional athlete is diagnosed with Covid, but as far as we have been able to determine, ZERO American athletes who are currently active in professional sports have died of Covid-19. Several retired professional athletes have died, but the average age is 78 years old (“Here is the list of sports stars who died of Covid,” Outlookindia.com, updated Sept. 12, 2020). These include Roy Lester, football, died age 96; Dick Lucas, football, age 86; and Steve Dalkowski, baseball, age 80.
FOLLOWING ADDED OCTOBER 26, 2020
A document by top medical professors criticizing the lock downs has been signed by more than 15,000 medical scientists and practitioners. “The Great Barrington Declaration, which was released Tuesday and continues to gather signatures, was spearheaded by doctors from Harvard, Stanford and Oxford University. ‘As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection,’ said the declaration. The document argued for allowing most people to ‘live their lives normally to build up immunity through natural infection,’ while improving safeguards for the elderly and others at greater risk of death from COVID-19. ‘Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people,’ said the declaration. ‘Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.’ They include ‘lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health--leading to greater excess mortality in years to come.’ The three lead signatories, who authored the declaration in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, are Harvard professor of medicine Dr. Martin Kulldorf; Oxford epidemiologist Dr. Sunetra Gupta, and Stanford Medical School professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya. As of Thursday afternoon, the document had been signed by nearly 5,000 medical and public-health scientists; nearly 10,000 medical practitioners, and more than 128,000 ‘members of the general public,’ according to a tally on the website. ... ‘Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed,’ the document said” (“Thousands of scientists urge end to ‘devastating’ lockdowns,” The Washington Times, Oct. 8, 2020).
On September 25, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced the latest Covid-19 survival statistics and it is good news. For those younger than age 50, the death rate is .02%. For the healthy in all age groups, there is little risk of death from this coronavirus.
Ages 0-19: 99.997%
Ages 20-49: 99.98%
Ages 50-69: 99.5%
Ages 70+: 94.6%
Loss of smell is a major symptom of the coronavirus. “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become clear that many people with the infection lose their sense of smell [anosmia] and taste. Dr. Nicholas Rowan of Johns Hopkins University pointed to one study of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 that used objective tests to detect smell "dysfunction." Nearly all patients--98%--showed some loss of smell. But the problem isn't limited to severely ill patients. It appears to be common, and even a "cardinal" symptom, among people with milder COVID-19 infections. Cardinal symptoms are the key ones from which a diagnosis is made” (“Covid-19 Loss of Smell,” Webmd.com, June 4, 2020).
The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had no authority to issue or renew executive orders relating to Covid-19 after April 30. “The Court’s opinion was written by Judge Stephen Markman, a distinguished conservative jurist. The opinion states: ‘Our decision leaves open many avenues for the Governor and Legislature to work together to address this challenge [of the pandemic] and we hope that this will take place.’ (Emphasis added) This, indeed, is how the challenge should be addressed--by both political branches of the state working together to balance important competing interest. ... The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the case. The DOJ’s statement explained that the governor’s coronavirus orders raised constitutional concerns by imposing what appeared to be arbitrary and unreasonable limits on how, and ultimately whether, certain businesses could operate in Michigan relative to other similarly situated businesses. The statement of interest also explained that the federal Constitution provides for a cohesive national economy for all 50 states and all Americans and that the governor’s orders may be unduly interfering with interstate commerce. On receiving news of the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision, Eric Dreiband, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, said: ‘Today’s decision by the Michigan Supreme Court is a victory for all Michiganders and the rule of law. The United States Constitution guarantees a republican form of government to every state in our free country. The Constitution does not permit any public official unlawfully to restrict our liberty. All public officials must respect the right of the people to govern themselves at all times, especially during a crisis’” (“Michigan Supreme Court Strikes Down,” Powerline, Oct. 3, 2020).
Trump supporters held a large prayer rally outside Walter Reed Medical Center October 3. “Americans prayed and marched Saturday to show their support for President Donald Trump. Trump had been taken to Walter Reed National Medical Center on Friday after he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. As a result, the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital was deluged with Trump supporters who came to show their support. Many who participated in the gathering said it was time to get past political divisions and become unified behind the president. ‘This is not about--it’s not about race. It’s not about your political affiliation, right, it’s about … being [patriotic]. We are all American. We are standing behind you,’ one man told WRC-TV. ... Saturday evening, the group FreedomWorks held a ‘Get Well Soon, Mr. President’ prayer rally for Trump...” (“Trump supporters hold incredible prayer rally,” The Western Journal, Oct. 4, 2020).
In spite of an extremely low hospitalization/death rate, lockdowns continue in Minnesota and health authorities persist in pronouncing doom and gloom. “In Minnesota, Governor Walz continues rule by decree for the indefinite future. Evidence of the ‘emergency’ on which his rule by decree is predicated nevertheless continues to evanesce. In the data reported yesterday, for example, the authorities attributed 10 new deaths to COVID-19. Of these, 7 occurred among residents of long-term care facilities. As set forth in the Department of Health’s weekly report dated October 1, the median age of decedents remains 83. Of the 10 new deaths, two involved decedents in their 90’s, five in their 80’s, two in their 70’s, and one in his 60’s. I declare the hospitalization data now provided by MDH to be worthless. As I read yesterday’s daily numbers, no one was admitted to intensive care and one patient was hospitalized. (The numbers will be updated.) MDH no longer advises us of the total laid up in hospitals with the disease at any given time. Below is a chart based on the relevant numbers up until the day they turned out the lights on current hospitalizations last week (red=deaths, black line=new cases, green line=current hospitalizations), courtesy of C. Nelson, who comments: ‘It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s going on. If they’re trying to make the case for Cases…you can’t afford for people to see that hospitalizations are not increasing at an alarming rate’” (Scott Johnson, “Coronavirus in One State,” Powerline, Oct. 3, 2020).
With President Donald Trump’s policy of maintaining government as usual, the U.S. White House has been a coronavirus testing ground, and it is good news. President Trump and his wife Melania, Trump’s sons Barron and Donald Jr., plus several officials have tested positive and none have had serious complications. Many were asymptomatic. The officials are Hope Hicks, presidential counselor; Kayleigh McEnany, White House Press Secretary; Bill Stepien, Trump campaign manager; Kellyanne Conway, White House adviser; Robert O’Brien, National Security Advisor; Tomas Phillipson, White House economist; Kimberly Guilfoyle, campaign advisor; Steven Miller, a top White House aid; Katie Miller, Mike Pence’s spokeswoman; Nick Luna, White House aide; Mark Meadows, staffer; and Andrew Giuliani, staffer. In addition, some military personnel serving the Trump Whitehouse tested positive without serious complications.
A World Health Organization official stated on October 2 that their best estimate is that 10% of the world’s population have been infected with Covid-19; that would put the fatality rate at 0.13 percent. “While we can all agree that the deaths caused by the Chinese virus are terrible, some simple math can put this number into perspective--something the media seems to be missing. Worldwide, the WHO estimates 1,040,000 (rounded) have died from COVID. So, let’s do the math: 1.04 million deaths / 750 million infections = 0.1386 percent infection fatality rate. According to the CDC, in the 2017-2018 flu season, the seasonal flu had a mortality rate ranging from 0.129 percent to 0.1355 percent. Back in March, the WHO estimated a 3.4 percent fatality rate for COVID-19. The health experts advising various governments worldwide used dire predictions of incredibly high death rates to justify unprecedented lockdowns. ... By early May, there were at least five separate studies estimating a COVID-19 fatality rate of less than 1 percent, ranging from 0.06 percent to 0.72 percent. So, while this isn’t exactly news we haven’t heard before, it’s a huge deal that the World Health Organization, by their own ‘best guess’ scenario, has essentially admitted that COVID-19 has a comparable mortality rate to the seasonal flu. And that’s before you even consider the possibility that COVID-19 deaths have been overcounted, or consider that the seasonal flu has a vaccine” (“Did a WHO Official Admit,” PJ Media, Oct. 6, 2020).
FOLLOWING ADDED 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.
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).
For March 20 - May 15, see “Covid-19 Good and Odd Prior to May 15,” at www.wayoflife.org.
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