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Follow the Science? How COVID Authoritarians Get It Wrong


Muda69
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If It's Really a 'Pandemic of the Unvaccinated,' Mr. President, Why Is My Vaccinated 6-Year-Old Wearing a Mask?

https://reason.com/2022/01/04/if-its-really-a-pandemic-of-the-unvaccinated-mr-president-why-is-my-vaccinated-6-year-old-wearing-a-mask/

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President Joe Biden on Tuesday afternoon made some more public remarks about the still-spiking omicron variant of COVID-19. It wasn't pretty:

 

Of particular interest was the president's insistence on continuing to call it a "pandemic of the unvaccinated," a slogan that was unwise in July, untrue by December, and unbelievable at a time when the positive case rate in a 62 percent fully vaccinated country just reached an all-time high.

"Those who are fully vaccinated, especially those with the booster shots…you can still get COVID, but it's highly unlikely, it's very unlikely that you'll become seriously ill," Biden said, accurately. But then: "This continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated."

If the pandemic indeed no longer applies to me, my family, and the vast majority of people I know (about half of whom seem to have contracted COVID over the past month), then I have a couple of follow-up questions, beginning with: Why on earth is my vaccinated 6-year-old, all the vaccinated kids in her class and after-school, and all her vaccinated teachers and supervisory staff, being forced by state law (influenced directly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to wear masks all day long? Kids, knock on wood, continue to be by far the least COVID-vulnerable demographic; and kids who are vaccinated even more so. Who, precisely, are we protecting with masking requirements in 100 percent vaccinated environments?

"Please wear your mask in public to protect yourself and others," the president urged even fully vaccinated/boosted people, including presumably those tens of thousands of us who have contracted and cycled through the virus during the omicron wave. But if it's a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and I live in a city where 73 percent of adults are fully dosed, and the remaining 27 percent have had plenty of opportunity to get the shot, what do I need protection from, and how would me wearing a mask on Canal Street protect anyone, besides shielding them from my hideous mouth?

"At this point, if you haven't been vaccinated, it's really your own darn fault," Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in December, and he's right, at least when talking about adults. The logic of "pandemic of the unvaccinated" should take us vaccinated folks straight into living life as we please, rather than heeding orders or recommendations made by governments in the name of protecting grown-ass adults who decided differently. If the disease is no longer serious for us, then let us seriously make our own damn choices, including for our kids.

Some people more comfortable with COVID-related government restrictions reacted to my previous objections to the "pandemic of the unvaccinated" phrase by accusing me of splitting hairs. After all, if the unvaccinated are suffering disproportionately more serious impact from infection, doesn't it prove the president broadly right?

Well, not if we care about the definition of words. Pandemic means "an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affects a significant proportion of the population" (per Merriam-Webster), not "the minority subpopulation among those infected who experience the most serious effects." If the vaccinated experience more or less the same restrictions as the unvaxxed, then it's still our pandemic, Joe.

Yes, Biden is trying to encourage more vaccination by pointing out that vaccines prevent serious illness, but the way you do that is by pointing out that vaccines prevent serious illness, not by saying things that are neither technically true nor particularly helpful.

 

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After being on vacation for the past 3 weeks in Florida, I would like to make a few simple observations about Covid.....

1)  The "explosion" of recent cases come pretty much in tandem with the "explosion" of testing and testing kits and sites that are now all the fad anytime anywhere anyone has so much as a sniffle......

2)  Why doesn't anyone follow the all-Covid-knowing great and mighty Fauci's recent advice to follow the death count, not the case count?   Cases have nearly tripled, but deaths are down?  https://www.businessinsider.com/fauci-says-watch-covid-hospitalizations-as-infections-top-1m-2022-1

Covid Cases USA

704,369 1/5/2022

235,016 1/5/2021

Deaths USA

2,113 1/5/2022

3,689 1/5/2022

3)  If vaccines are really working, then WHY are there so many "breakthrough" cases?  It appears to be a fad to have the vaccine, then announce you have Covid and boosters, but now need to quarantine, like it's the latest "in" thing......  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-10386631/Today-anchor-Savannah-Guthrie-reveals-COVID-days-Hoda-Kotb-tested-positive.html

4)  Where is the real reporting of the long-term "side effects" from the vaccines especially for the elderly and the young kids relative to heart conditions? 

5)  Why isn't it concerning that it appears to be more than just the "redness or swelling at the vaccine needle site", and more kids (with comorbidities) have died from the vaccines than the virus itself.  https://www.medpagetoday.com/opinion/marty-makary/93029

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20 hours ago, swordfish said:

After being on vacation for the past 3 weeks in Florida, I would like to make a few simple observations about Covid.....

1)  The "explosion" of recent cases come pretty much in tandem with the "explosion" of testing and testing kits and sites that are now all the fad anytime anywhere anyone has so much as a sniffle......

2)  Why doesn't anyone follow the all-Covid-knowing great and mighty Fauci's recent advice to follow the death count, not the case count?   Cases have nearly tripled, but deaths are down?  https://www.businessinsider.com/fauci-says-watch-covid-hospitalizations-as-infections-top-1m-2022-1

Covid Cases USA

704,369 1/5/2022

235,016 1/5/2021

Deaths USA

2,113 1/5/2022

3,689 1/5/2022

3)  If vaccines are really working, then WHY are there so many "breakthrough" cases?  It appears to be a fad to have the vaccine, then announce you have Covid and boosters, but now need to quarantine, like it's the latest "in" thing......  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-10386631/Today-anchor-Savannah-Guthrie-reveals-COVID-days-Hoda-Kotb-tested-positive.html

4)  Where is the real reporting of the long-term "side effects" from the vaccines especially for the elderly and the young kids relative to heart conditions? 

5)  Why isn't it concerning that it appears to be more than just the "redness or swelling at the vaccine needle site", and more kids (with comorbidities) have died from the vaccines than the virus itself.  https://www.medpagetoday.com/opinion/marty-makary/93029

It doesn't fit their narrative.

20 hours ago, swordfish said:

After being on vacation for the past 3 weeks in Florida, I would like to make a few simple observations about Covid.....

1)  The "explosion" of recent cases come pretty much in tandem with the "explosion" of testing and testing kits and sites that are now all the fad anytime anywhere anyone has so much as a sniffle......

2)  Why doesn't anyone follow the all-Covid-knowing great and mighty Fauci's recent advice to follow the death count, not the case count?   Cases have nearly tripled, but deaths are down?  https://www.businessinsider.com/fauci-says-watch-covid-hospitalizations-as-infections-top-1m-2022-1

Covid Cases USA

704,369 1/5/2022

235,016 1/5/2021

Deaths USA

2,113 1/5/2022

3,689 1/5/2022

3)  If vaccines are really working, then WHY are there so many "breakthrough" cases?  It appears to be a fad to have the vaccine, then announce you have Covid and boosters, but now need to quarantine, like it's the latest "in" thing......  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-10386631/Today-anchor-Savannah-Guthrie-reveals-COVID-days-Hoda-Kotb-tested-positive.html

4)  Where is the real reporting of the long-term "side effects" from the vaccines especially for the elderly and the young kids relative to heart conditions? 

5)  Why isn't it concerning that it appears to be more than just the "redness or swelling at the vaccine needle site", and more kids (with comorbidities) have died from the vaccines than the virus itself.  https://www.medpagetoday.com/opinion/marty-makary/93029

You weren't hanging out with AOC (fully vaxxed and boostered) and her sandled boyfriend in South Beach, were you?  😉

 

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34 minutes ago, DE said:

You weren't hanging out with AOC (fully vaxxed and boostered) and her sandled boyfriend in South Beach, were you?  😉

 

Nope - I was NOT there.......I was in Sebring with my fishing boat.....Not at a Drag Show further South......

SF wonders how a Supreme Court Justice can utter falsehoods from the bench in a case without repercussions.  So does Rand Paul....

https://www.sarahpalin.com/2022/648499/far-left-supreme-court-justice-sonia-sotomayor-gets-brutally-fact-checked-after-claiming-100000-children-are-in-serious-condition-from-covid-2/?fbclid=IwAR0xOmBSX_eXrKG23Pslqmkyi9s3L85jUCIN6Ug_u1KJpMvuZ5x0epiUX_I

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The CDC Director says 75% of Covid-19 deaths had 4 or more comorbidities.....

(And NOBODY is asking her about this statement?)

https://gazette.com/ap/cdc-director-says-75-of-covid-19-deaths-had-4-or-more-comorbidities/article_2c944302-7267-11ec-91c9-a3689650d909.html

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said 75% of people who died of COVID-19 had at least four comorbidities, sparking an outpouring of commentary from people surprised by her statement and others saying, “I told you so.”

The top health official made the comment on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday, days after Dr. Anthony Fauci said on TV that statistics on child hospitalizations are being overblown.

Vaccine mandate skeptics have said the COVID-19 death toll was inflated by people who died with COVID-19 as opposed to dying of COVID-19, and some of them claimed they were made into pariahs or punished on social media for making these claims.

“This is a stunning admission and one that is quite literally at the crux of my Facebook lawsuit against their fact-checkers,” conservative commentator Candace Owens tweeted. “I reported on the scam of them calculating deaths ‘with Covid’ years ago and fact-checkers called me a liar.”

“The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75%, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities,” Walenksy said. She added that this was “encouraging news” considering the spread of the omicron variant, which health officials believe is more transmissible than other strains but causes less severe illness.

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Covid loses 90% of ability to infect within 20 minutes in air – study

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/11/covid-loses-90-of-ability-to-infect-within-five-minutes-in-air-study

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Coronavirus loses 90% of its ability to infect us within 20 minutes of becoming airborne – with most of the loss occurring within the first five minutes, the world’s first simulations of how the virus survives in exhaled air suggest.

The findings re-emphasise the importance of short-range Covid transmission, with physical distancing and mask-wearing likely to be the most effective means of preventing infection. Ventilation, though still worthwhile, is likely to have a lesser impact.

“People have been focused on poorly ventilated spaces and thinking about airborne transmission over metres or across a room. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen, but I think still the greatest risk of exposure is when you’re close to someone,” said Prof Jonathan Reid, director of the University of Bristol’s Aerosol Research Centre and the study’s lead author.

“When you move further away, not only is the aerosol diluted down, there’s also less infectious virus because the virus has lost infectivity [as a result of time].”

Until now, our assumptions about how long the virus survives in tiny airborne droplets have been based on studies that involved spraying virus into sealed vessels called Goldberg drums, which rotate to keep the droplets airborne. Using this method, US researchers found that infectious virus could still be detected after three hours. Yet such experiments do not accurately replicate what happens when we cough or breathe.

Instead, researchers from the University of Bristol developed apparatus that allowed them to generate any number of tiny, virus-containing particles and gently levitate them between two electric rings for anywhere between five seconds to 20 minutes, while tightly controlling the temperature, humidity and UV light intensity of their surroundings. “This is the first time anyone has been able to actually simulate what happens to the aerosol during the exhalation process,” Reid said.

The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggested that as the viral particles leave the relatively moist and carbon dioxide-rich conditions of the lungs, they rapidly lose water and dry out, while the transition to lower levels of carbon dioxide is associated with a rapid increase in pH. Both of these factors disrupt the virus’s ability to infect human cells, but the speed at which the particles dry out varies according to the relative humidity of the surrounding air.

When this was lower than 50% – similar to the relatively dry air found in many offices – the virus had lost around half of its infectivity within five seconds, after which the decline was slower and more steady, with a further 19% loss over the next five minutes. At 90% humidity – roughly equivalent to a steam or shower room – the decline in infectivity was more gradual, with 52% of particles remaining infectious after five minutes, dropping to about 10% after 20 minutes, after which these was no difference between the two conditions.

However, the temperature of the air made no difference to viral infectivity, contradicting the widely held belief that viral transmission is lower at high temperatures.

“It means that if I’m meeting friends for lunch in a pub today, the primary [risk] is likely to be me transmitting it to my friends, or my friends transmitting it to me, rather than it being transmitted from someone on the other side of the room,” said Reid. This highlights the importance of wearing a mask in situations where people cannot physically distance, he added.

The findings support what epidemiologists have been observing on the ground, said Dr Julian Tang, a clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, adding that “masks are very effective … as well as social distancing. Improved ventilation will also help – particularly if this is close to the source.”

Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor of virology at the University of Leeds, emphasised the importance of ventilation, saying: “Aerosols will fill up indoor spaces rapidly in the absence of proper ventilation, so assuming the infected individual remains within the room, the levels of virus will be replenished.”

The same effects were seen across all three Sars-CoV-2 variants the team has tested so far, including Alpha. They hope to start experiments with the Omicron variant in the coming weeks.

 

 

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Novak Djokovic, Freedom Fighter: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/novak-djokovic-freedom-fighter/

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The swift and resounding judgment by the Federal Court of Australia to let tennis superstar Novak Djokovic stay in the country was a humiliating unforced error by a government that has become accustomed to imposing draconian COVID-19 policies.

When Djokovic tweeted ahead of his departure for Australia for the first of the year’s Grand Slam tennis tournaments in Melbourne, he could not have anticipated the political storm he would cause. Nor could he, with a temporary travel visa and government documents in hand, have anticipated that his arrival at Melbourne airport would result in his detention and, within eight hours, being told his visa would be cancelled and he would be deported.

 

Djokovic could not know any of this because it is difficult for anyone outside Australia to understand the Covid-mania that has gripped this country. Australia’s fanatical pursuit of a Covid-zero fantasy has only succeeded in producing heavy-handed rules empowering arrogant and unqualified politicians and bureaucrats.

In other words, the Novak Djokovic saga did not come out of nowhere, but perfectly exemplifies a once-liberal-democratic country’s embrace of lawless Covid-zealotry as a pretext to impose a draconian style of government.

Prior to his arrival in Australia just before midnight on January 5, 2022, Novak Djokovic was diligently complying with the rules. In addition to holding a temporary visa entitling him to travel to and remain in Australia, Djokovic had also received a certified medical exemption from vaccination from the tournament organizer, granted after review by a panel established by the state government of Victoria. Djokovic also received a document from the Department of Home Affairs informing him that he met the requirements for quarantine-free arrival into Australia. 

Within hours of arriving in Australia, however, Djokovic was notified that his visa might be cancelled. At 4:11 a.m., a government official issued a notice of intention to cancel Djokovic’s visa, and gave him 20 minutes for further explanation. Djokovic asked to be given until 8:30 a.m. to contact legal and other representatives.

The delegate agreed to give Djokovic until 8:30 a.m., but by 6:00 a.m. officials were pressuring Djokovic to agree to an immediate cancellation decision. At 7:29 a.m., the officials cancelled the visa, which was handed to Djokovic at 7:42 A.M.

Between the time that Djokovic had announced that he was coming to Australia and his arrival in Melbourne, the federal government radically changed how it would enforce its unclear border regulations. At one point, the rules meant Djokovic’s evidence of prior Covid-19 infection in December was enough to allow him into the country. Suddenly, it wasn’t. 

In circumstances that can only be described as Kafkaesque, the government retroactively withdrew the approval it granted to Djokovic to enter the country by way of a temporary visa, then argued that Djokovic was in breach of the rules it had retroactively decided to enforce. 

Djokovic’s victory over the government in court was a victory for the rule of law, but such victories have been exceptionally rare in Australia over the past 22 months.

The only reason the Federal Court landed on the side of the Serb is because his case was too obvious. Djokovic complied with every rule for entering the country as he understood it, and the federal government acted unreasonably and in a persecutorial manner by detaining him and cancelling his visa. It was a lawless act motivated by political expediency and carried out by a rudderless political class that was given its well-deserved comeuppance by the court.

Previous legal challenges that have asked the courts to make value judgments about the proportionality of Covid measures have revealed the judiciary’s general unwillingness to step in. The courts have granted bureaucrats and ministers enormous discretion to define what counts as a “reasonable” use of public-health-emergency powers—effectively allowing bureaucrats to define the limits of their own power. At a time when oversight and accountability have been most important, the main institutional check on executive power has instead given the executive unlimited space to implement its will.

It is hard to say to what extent the court has fed the arrogance of the political class and its readiness to take advantage of pandemic powers, but it surely has not helped. If at any point some limitations had been applied to the use of public-health powers, then perhaps those powers would not have been so abused. 

Perhaps Zoe Buhler, pregnant mother, would not have been forcefully handcuffed and arrested in her house for the alleged crime of inciting non-compliance with public-health regulations after she posted about a protest on Facebook.

Perhaps protesters, who were attacked and silenced with rhetoric and force, would have been treated the same as Black Lives Matters protesters, who were given free rein to march through Melbourne in the winter of 2020 with the endorsement of senior police officials.

Perhaps the ongoing restrictions on movement between the Australian states would have been scrutinized. The lack of free movement has undermined the basis of Australia’s nationhood and has cruelly separated families and loved ones as they lie on their deathbeds or attend funerals. 

Perhaps the illogical decision to impose vaccine mandates on workers too would have been scrutinized. In Australia’s largest state, New South Wales, the government is asking vaccinated-but-infected health-sector workers to return to work to address a staff shortage, while workers who are unvaccinated but not sick remain out of work.

Perhaps if politicians had not been given carte blanche to issue innumerable draconian measures that treated Australians not as citizens but as subjects of a biomedical security state, then the federal government would not have been served this humiliation now.

The Djokovic saga reveals the moral compass of many Australians has been turned on its head. Many reacted to the news that Djokovic had been allowed into the country with anger, something that would have been preposterous prior to March 2020. But this is now the default setting of a populace which has been gaslit into believing in equality of misery and shared oppression. Instead of being angered by rule-makers issuing farcical regulations, many turn their anger on the non-compliant. Even if, like Djokovic, people are compliant with the letter of the rules, the many still count them as non-compliant with the rules’ repressive spirit, and bristle. “If I have to get vaccinated to keep my job,” they say, “then so should everyone else.”

It doesn’t help that official opposition to these regimes continue to be ineffectual. Federally, the left-of-center Labor party promises only harsher Covid rulemaking. But in the state of Victoria, which is hosting the Australian Open, the nominally right-of-center opposition leader Matthew Guy argued that, “if there are kids being booted off junior footy [referring to the sport of Australian Rules Football] because they’re not vaccinated, well why then at a state government facility…are we inviting major tennis players who are not vaccinated?” 

A better question would be whether young football players should have so much less freedom than adult tennis players. That Australians have generally not heard this argument from their elected representatives is indicative of a public-health egalitarianism that asserts, in a scenario where one person has more or less freedom than another, that all freedom should be taken away. 

We are still in the first month of the year, but 2022 is already shaping up to be a continuation of Australia’s 2021 embarrassment, when the country first became synonymous with overbearing public health tyranny. While many Australians are still stuck in Covid hysteria, an increasing number are beginning to recognize the reality that the rights and freedoms too easily surrendered to governments are not easily given back. Unless bumbling ministers intervene, Novak Djokovic will be competing in the Australian Open, where millions of frustrated Aussies will cheer on not just a sporting champion, but a champion of freedom and the rule of law.

 

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For those hailing the recent SCOTUS decision as a rejection of the Biden mandatory vaccination in the workplace regulation, I wouldn’t schedule the parade just yet. The ruling made it clear that it was based on OSHA exceeding its statutory authority to regulate safety in the workplace. So, mandatory vaccination won’t work as an OSHA regulation. But there are other ways to skin that cat.

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Just now, Bobref said:

And, he’s out … again.

Sounds like the authoritarians in the Australian government didn't like getting embarrassed Mr. Djokovic and their own court system so they took the next obvious route:  put pressure on Tennis Australia, the state and territory owned association that runs the Open, to kick him out.

 

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And here comes the government fines aimed at the unvaccinated:  https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/quebec-force-unvaccinated-pay-financial-penalty-82205073

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The premier of the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec announced Tuesday that adult residents who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus will be charged a financial penalty.

Premier Francois Legault said not getting vaccinated leads to consequences for the health care system and not all Quebecers should pay for that.

He said the levy will apply only to people who do not qualify for medical exemptions. It is the first time a government in Canada has announced a financial penalty for people who refuse to be vaccinated in the pandemic.

Legault said the amount of the penalty hasn’t been decided, but will be “significant.” More details will be released at a later date.

He said about 10% of adults in Quebec are unvaccinated, but they represent about 50% of intensive care patients.

“Those who refuse to get their first doses in the coming weeks will have to pay a new health contribution,” Legault said.

"The majority are asking that there be consequences. ... It’s a question of fairness for the 90% of the population that have made some sacrifices. We owe them."

Quebec previously announced a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Quebec liquor and cannabis stores will also require proof of vaccination to enter starting Jan. 18 and the government has warned that shopping malls and hair salons could soon require vaccine passports. Appointments for first doses jumped immediately after.

Quebec reported 62 more deaths related to COVID-19, the sometimes fatal illness that can be caused by the coronavirus. That raised the province's COVID-19 deaths to 12,028, the most in Canada.

Some European countries have started levying fees on their citizens who are not vaccinated.

In Greece, people older than 60 have until Sunday to get their first coronavirus shots or be fined 100 euros ($113) for every month they remain unvaccinated.

Austria’s health minister announced last month the government plans to impose fines of up to 3,600 euros ($4,000) on people who flout a coronavirus vaccine mandate that it aims to introduce in February for all residents age 14 and over.

In Italy, residents 50 and older are required to be vaccinated, and beginning in mid-February those failing to do so will face fines as high as 1,600 euros ($1,800) if they enter their workplaces.

The scourge of authoritarianism.  

 

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SCOTUS Correctly Blocks OSHA Vax Mandate

https://www.cato.org/blog/scotus-correctly-blocks-osha-vax-mandate

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Trying to predict Supreme Court rulings based on oral arguments is a risky proposition, but the writing that was on the wall on Friday did indeed make it onto the pages of today’s opinions in the federal vaccine‐mandate cases.

It’s not surprising that the justices blocked the federal mandate for private‐sector workers to get vaccinated or get weekly COVID tests on their own time and dime. After all, even if we accept federal regulation of workplace safety as constitutional, there’s a difference between occupational risk and the general risk of living in a pandemic.

“OSHA’s indiscriminate approach fails to account for this crucial distinction,” the Court majority wrote, “and accordingly the mandate takes on the character of a general public health measure, rather than an “occupational safety or health standard.” Moreover, as Justices Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito pointed out separately, the federal government lacks a general police power, so statutory text better be clear and explicit when an agency purports to read it as assigning massive regulatory authority—what’s known as the “major questions doctrine”—which is certainly not the case here.

As to the healthcare‐workers mandate, that’s a closer call because it’s a question of what kind of strings the federal government can attach to its own program funds—here Medicare and Medicaid—and through what processes it attaches those strings. The Court ruled 5–4 (with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh joining the Court’s progressive wing) to allow this mandate to stand, at least on a temporary basis while litigation continues in the lower courts—but the four dissenting justices make a strong case that the federal agency overreached here too. As Justice Thomas wrote, “the Government had found virtually unlimited vaccination power in definitional provisions, a saving clause, and a provision regarding long‐term care facilities’ sanitation procedures,” but that regulatory patchwork wasn’t exactly a specific power to impose vaccines across facilities.

In any event, the Court today showed that it’s possible to take statutory limits on federal power seriously, not just constitutional ones. To those who accept that basic premise, it’s no surprise that OSHA’s vaccine mandate went the way of the CDC’s eviction moratorium.

....

Good decision by the SCOTUS.

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22 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

SCOTUS Correctly Blocks OSHA Vax Mandate

https://www.cato.org/blog/scotus-correctly-blocks-osha-vax-mandate

Good decision by the SCOTUS.

The predictable result of a very clumsy effort on the part of the Biden Administration. There were several other ways they could have netted the same result. But selecting an OSHA regulation as their vehicle to implement nationwide health policy was just plain dumb.

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Children Bundle Up for Class Due to Boston Public Schools Open-Window Mandate

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/children-bundle-up-for-class-due-to-boston-public-schools-open-window-mandate/

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Parents have been forced to send their children to school dressed in multiple layers of winter clothing because of a Boston Public Schools mandate that windows be kept open 4 inches to mitigate the spread of Covid.

“Good morning families,” one school wrote in a letter to parents first reported by the Boston Herald. “It is still very cold. Remember the windows in our classrooms have to be open. I suggest layering your child’s clothes (2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts and a sweater, 2 pairs of socks, etc. (Plus all their outerwear (hat, glove, scarf, etc.).”

The policy has triggered outrage from some parents, who see the abundance of Covid caution to the point that kids are freezing in class as a hindrance to learning.

“These are the notifications I get from a BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOL … in the 21st century,” one parent tweeted. “I hate this so much. How is my 4yr old to concentrate on learning trying to keep warm?!? An adult has trouble in the cold these kids are enduring so much.”

Samantha Laney, a teacher at Holmes Elementary School in Dorchester, said at a School Committee meeting Wednesday that she and her students leave their coats on in class because the windows are required to be left open to circulate air.

Mary Dibinga, a Boston Latin Academy teacher, suggested to the School Committee that many of the Covid rules are arbitrarily implemented, given that the school buses she’s seen have been packed with students with no social distancing due to a driver shortage. She noted that she had to teach in a “55-degree classroom.”

There will be a walk-out on Friday morning to protest the school system’s poor working conditions for staff. The district doubled-down on the window rule Wednesday, adding that school facilities will turn up the heat to help stabilize the temperature, wasting expensive energy so that the windows can remain open.

“This is the protocol for each school to mitigate COVID risks,” a Boston Public Schools spokeswoman said Wednesday of the open-window mandate. “Temperatures in school buildings have been adjusted to 76 degrees to help combat the required window ventilation, and teachers/staff are urged to contact their school leader if they are experiencing issues with heat or cold.”

The spike in Omicron cases has sent school districts across the country into a panic, moving them to impose bizarre Covid mitigation measures such as forcing children to eat lunch, and teachers to take instruction, outside in frigid temperatures, while masked.

Insanity.

 

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Get ready for the shift away from Covid (as the next election cycle starts)

https://bangordailynews.com/2022/01/15/news/nation/a-shift-away-from-daily-covid-case-counts-has-begun-joam40zk0w/

The most familiar indicator of COVID-19’s inexorable nationwide spread—daily state and local case counts—may be on the way out.

Instead, public health officials are considering a shift from increasingly inaccurate case data to numbers they say better represent the effect of the disease on the community and the health care system: COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

Omicron case counts are shattering all previous COVID-19 records. But the numbers don’t carry the same weight they used to. State and local health departments are preparing to explain that to the public and start reporting more meaningful data on the virus.

“The goal of public health data is to provide information to people so they can take actions to keep themselves safer and healthier,” said Meredith Allen, vice president for health security at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “We’re getting to a point where a daily case count isn’t giving people that information.”

So far, Tennessee is the only state to scale back its COVID-19 case reporting since omicron hit. But experts expect other states to follow once the omicron surge subsides.

In addition, New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul last week asked hospitals to start providing more meaningful COVID-19 data by specifying whether patients were admitted because of COVID-19 or entered the hospital for unrelated reasons and incidentally tested positive for the virus.

 

For now, daily case counts remain the primary gauge of omicron’s nationwide spread. But epidemiologists caution that the numbers should be relied on only as broad indicators of the velocity and direction of the disease’s transmission.

Because of testing shortages, unreported home tests and a high percentage of asymptomatic infections going undetected, daily case counts are vastly underreported, said Janet Hamilton, executive director at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. The true number of infections is some multiple of the reported cases, she said.

This week, the average daily reported case count was 781,000, more than three times the daily count of 250,000 at the peak of the delta surge a year ago. On Jan. 3, more than a million omicron cases were recorded.

But that doesn’t mean hospitalizations and deaths, which lag new cases by several weeks, will rise in equal proportion. Early data indicates that omicron infections are producing milder symptoms and fewer deaths than previous COVID-19 variants.

“We don’t want to keep telling people there’s X number of new infections out there without giving them an idea of how many of those cases will have serious outcomes,” Hamilton said.

Despite its lower hospitalization and death rate, omicron’s soaring infections are resulting in a surge in hospital visits, almost entirely among unvaccinated people, straining health care systems nationwide. And even though it’s proving less virulent than previous COVID-19 strains, omicron is expected to result in more deaths because of the sheer number of people infected.

Better barometers

Months into the pandemic, epidemiologists said COVID-19 ultimately would become endemic, infecting nearly everyone and remaining in the population indefinitely.

That endemic era may have started. As a result, many state health officials say they’re preparing to scale back the frequency of case count updates, possibly as soon as the current surge subsides, Allen said.

“That would allow public health agencies to focus on prevention efforts in high-risk populations such as long-term care facilities and work more closely with schools and vaccination clinics,” she said, “rather than put the time and energy into producing that daily number.”

 
 
 

Tennessee shifted from daily to weekly reporting of new COVID-19 cases Jan. 1, citing a need to focus on other public health priorities, including the expanding opioid overdose crisis.

Florida, Iowa and Nebraska moved to weekly counts last summer, as COVID-19 cases waned nationwide. Alaska, Kansas and Michigan publish case data three times a week.

For now, though, state and local COVID-19 policies, including school and business closures, travel restrictions, mask requirements and quarantine rules, largely hinge on daily numbers.

Since the pandemic began, the rise and fall of case counts has proven a reliable indicator of whether the virus is gaining ground, leveling out or retreating, said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and adviser to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We all know that the data is less precise than it was,” he said. “But we do get a good sense of the trends over time and geographically, particularly in a state that is long and thin like Tennessee. It allows us to look at what’s happening in Nashville versus Chattanooga, for example.”

The CDC official guidelines continue to recommend that state and local health departments publish daily COVID-19 case counts, he said. But in discussions with health officials, the agency is “giving states leeway to put more emphasis on hospitalizations and other data.”

Schaffner and other experts say the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 may be a better indicator of the severity of the disease and its impact on communities and the health care system. Others argue that the number of patients in intensive care units would be a more meaningful measure.

Gray areas

As cases of omicron mushroom, it’s becoming increasingly likely that hospital patients will test positive for the virus upon admission or become infected while in the hospital, said Eili Klein, an epidemiologist and associate professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  

Even before omicron became dominant, studies showed that roughly half of patients admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 were there for other reasons. Still, their COVID-19 infections likely affected their health outcomes and the length of time they stayed in the hospital, Klein said, and it certainly meant the hospital had to expend additional resources to treat them.

It’s not easy to unspool COVID-19 hospitalization data, he said. “There’s a large gray area that’s difficult to determine in real time.”

Klein and other experts argue that use of intensive care is a better measure of the virus’ health burden.

“In Maryland, for example, hospitalizations are at an all-time high right now,” Klein said, “but use of intensive care is not.” Last year during the delta surge, hospitalizations in the state were much lower than they are now, but almost every patient was very sick.

“As we move forward, there needs to be some decisions about how we adjust our reporting,” Klein said. “Do we go to weekly reports, separate people admitted for COVID as opposed to those with COVID? It depends on how we plan to treat people who test positive but aren’t sick.

“Do we quarantine them? Maybe we stop doing that. We don’t quarantine people who have the flu.”

Testing shortages

From the beginning, testing shortages, inaccuracies and delays have plagued the nation’s response to COVID-19. As a result, many county and city health departments have never been able to publish daily case counts, said Adriane Casalotti, chief of public and government affairs at the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

In this omicron surge, she said, long lines at testing centers continue to stress city and county health departments, particularly as they field an avalanche of questions from the public about the CDC’s recent about-face on COVID-19 quarantines.

In December, the CDC announced that it was reducing its quarantine recommendations from 10 to five days. The American Medical Association and other experts called the weaker recommendations risky, suggesting that people get tested before ending quarantine.

With home tests still in short supply and people waiting hours to get tested at a public site, it’s a hard call for local health departments to suggest people get tested before they end quarantine, Casalotti said. On top of that, local health departments typically experience major public backlash when they try to implement stiffer COVID-19 restrictions than the CDC.

When will the testing shortage ease? President Joe Biden announced this week that insurance companies will be required to cover the cost of up to eight tests per person per month starting Jan. 15. But drugstores are still short of tests.

Mara Aspinall, a professor of biomedical diagnostics at Arizona State University, projects the nationwide supply of COVID-19 home tests will jump from 631 million tests this month to 732 million in February and 907 million in March. Since many consumers buy tests to have them on hand when needed, not all tests are used in the same month they’re purchased, she explained.

Since omicron hit the United States in December, Aspinall estimates Americans have been using an average of 4 million home tests per day, rising to 5 million per day last week as corporations distributed tests to employees coming back to in-person work. Whether that number stays the same, rises or falls depends on the spread of the virus, she said.

As it should be - with more testing availability obviously the case numbers are going to rise.

FYI - Anyone (Vaxed or not) can and WILL carry the virus, additionally - The tests will pick up any Cornonavirus.  (Not just the man-made one that can potentially be Covid-19 SARS) 

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As we begin to make the turn and head into the THIRD YEAR of "2 Weeks to flatten the curve" (March 2020 - ICYF) here is the reason for the current hysteria:

COVID CASES USA
712,051 JAN 17 2022
170,094 JAN 17 2021

DEATHS
774 JAN 17 2022
1,730 JAN 17 2021

 

Case numbers are almost 5 times last year's number, but deaths are about 40% of last year's number.  But let's keep the hype going anyway.  At least it's an election year, so look for the focus to shift around March (SF prediction).......

I heard yesterday that 80% of adults have been vaccinated to date - BTW - according to the news in March last year, we needed to hit 60%, then the virus was beat......So I guess it's over?

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