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Follow the Science? How COVID Authoritarians Get It Wrong


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WELP - Coronavirus cured the Flu!!   400,000 to 165 in one year!!!  #howstupiddotheythinkweare  

https://nypost.com/2021/02/17/flu-hospitalizations-at-historic-low-this-season-amid-covid/

The flu season has been virtually nonexistent this season — with the lowest rate of hospitalization ever since that data has been tallied.

Just 165 flu-related hospitalizations were recorded between Oct. 1 and Feb. 6, according to recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s compared to roughly 400,000 people who were hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, which also saw 22,000 deaths.

“This is lower than average for this point in the season and lower than rates for any season since routine data collection began in 2005, including the low severity 2011-12 season,” the CDC said.

With many schools closed, more school kids have been staying home during the global health crisis, which has likely helped in stopping the spread of influenza, NPR reported.

“COVID can be transmitted very readily among adults — very contagious — but flu, I think, really needs children to spread it around amongst themselves and then seed, if you will, the adults in their home and their neighbors,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, told the station’s “Weekend Edition.”

“Children are generally thought of as having the distribution franchise for the influenza virus,” he added. “They produce much more virus, they shed more virus for longer periods of time.”

Last year, a record number of people got the flu shot — amid warnings from health experts of the unprecedented combination of the flu season and the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 52 percent of people aged six months and older were inoculated, an increase of 2.6 percent from the prior season, the CDC said.

The mild season has also been aided by COVID-19 safety measures, including mask wearing and social distancing.

“Flu has been essentially nonexistent” this season, Schaffner said.

But he also warned that flu could come back with a vengeance come the fall.

“Many of us didn’t get a boost from encountering the flu virus this year, and so we haven’t had a chance to build up our antibodies,” he said. “All the more important to get vaccinated this fall.”

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https://spectator.org/follow-the-science-health-authorities-covid-19/ Agreed.  

Holcomb to send National Guard into nursing homes to help facilities care for residents https://www.jconline.com/story/news/health/2020/10/21/indiana-nursing-homes-receive-help-national-guard/371

So Dante, I guess you grow all your own food?  

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Grocery Store Owners Say That Pandemic Hazard Pay Laws Are Putting Them Out of Business

https://reason.com/2021/02/19/grocery-store-owners-say-that-pandemic-hazard-pay-laws-are-putting-them-out-of-business/

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Hazard pay ordinances mandating wage premiums for grocery store workers during the pandemic are spreading across the West Coast. Following them are store closures and complaints from owners that these new laws will soon put them out of business.

On Tuesday, Quality Food Centers (QFC), a Kroger-owned supermarket chain, announced it would be closing two of its Seattle locations. The decision, the company says, was "accelerated" by the city's new mandate that large grocery stores pay their employees an additional $4 per hour.

"When you factor in increased costs of operating during the COVID-19, coupled with consistent financial losses at these two locations, and this extra new pay mandate, it becomes impossible to operate a financially sustainable business," said the company in a press release.

That ordinance was passed unanimously by the Seattle City Council in late January and went into effect earlier this month. It is set to last as long as the city's declared COVID-19 emergency is in effect. It applies to all grocery stores that are larger than 10,000 square feet and are operated by companies with more than 500 employees globally.

Kroger's store closures in Seattle mirror its actions in Long Beach, California, where the company also closed two poorly-performing stores following the city's passage of a near-identical $4-an-hour "hero pay" law for grocery store workers.

Those aren't the only stores that could be on the chopping block. Everywhere pandemic hazard pay policies have passed, store operators are warning they'll soon be out of business too.

In court filings in a federal lawsuit challenging Seattle's hazard pay ordinance, two franchise owners of Grocery Outlet, a discount grocery chain, said the city's mandated $4-per-hour wage premium is forcing them to operate at a loss.

Steve Mullen, an owner of a Grocery Outlet in Seattle's Madrona neighborhood, said that the hazard pay law is costing him an additional $20,000 in labor costs each month.

"The store does not make that much on a monthly basis and [the hazard pay ordinance] will push the store into a significant deficit," said Mullen in court filings tweeted  out by independent Seattle journalist Kevin Schofield. "I cannot continue to operate a store that is consistently unprofitable. If losses occur as predicted, I will likely be forced to close the Madrona Grocery Outlet store."

It's the same story for Michael Sandberg, the owner of a Grocery Outlet in Seattle's Lake City area, who said the city's new law will increase his costs of employing his current 22 employees by about $10,000 a month.

"The store does not make nearly that much" per month, wrote Sandberg in a court filing for the same lawsuit. "Paying the mandatory hazard pay will cause the Lake City Grocery Outlet store to go into the red."

Mullen and Sandberg's declarations are part of a lawsuit being brought by the Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Food Industry Association, two trade groups representing grocers, against the city of Seattle in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Their complaint alleges that the city's hazard pay ordinance is preempted by the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which the grocers argue leaves it to companies and unions, not local or state governments, to hash out compensation agreements.

The two groups' complaint also says the city's hazard pay ordinance violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment and the Washington Constitution by arbitrarily requiring only grocery stores to pay out these wage premiums.

The California Grocers Association (CGA) is making identical arguments in six separate federal lawsuits it's brought against cities in that state which have passed their own hazard pay ordinances for grocery store workers.

Those lawsuits have also sparked identical claims of hardship from grocery store owners and operators.

John Franklin, chief financial officer for Northgate Gonzalez Markets, a Southern California grocery chain, declared in court filings in the CGA's lawsuit against the city of Long Beach that had the pay ordinance been in effect during all of 2020, its three Long Beach locations would have lost between $47,000 and $74,000 each month.

Defenders of hazard pay for grocery store workers, sometimes called "hero pay," say that grocery chains are using store closures as a scare tactic to discredit these policies and avoid pay increases they can easily cover with their record pandemic profits.

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 21—the union representing grocery store workers in Washington—called the latest QFC store closures "a transparent attempt to intimidate other local governments" from passing similar laws. The union notes that Kroger ended its voluntary $2-an-hour hero pay bonus in May 2020, even as the company's profits "soared."

Teresa Mosqueda, a Seattle City Council member, said in her own statement attacking the QFC closures that one of the company's stores was already slated for redevelopment.

The city of Long Beach has a made similar argument when defending its hazard pay ordinance from the CGA's lawsuit. Included in one of the city's court filings were links to news articles reporting that Kroger's net earnings doubled year-over-year during the first three quarters of 2020.

The grocery industry has countered that its increased profitability still leaves it with razor-thin profit margins that would be more than erased by these hazard pay policies.

A report from economic consultancy firm Capitol Matrix Consulting, prepared for the CGA as part of their lawsuits, found that a $5-per-hour hazard pay premium—which was passed in Oakland and is being considered in Los Angeles—could increase stores' average labor costs by 28 percent and overall costs by 4.5 percent. That's about three times the normal profit margin for grocery stores, and twice the profit margin grocers were making at the height of the pandemic.

Were a $5-per-hour hazard pay law to be applied to the entire state of California, grocery stores would have to cover those costs either with a collective $4.5 billion increase in prices or shed 66,000 jobs, the report says.

Viewed in this light, hazard pay laws look less like a free reward provided to grocery store workers and more like a massive transfer program from consumers to workers, or from some grocery store workers to others.

Of course, companies aren't limited to just raising prices or cutting staff positions. More likely, they'd do some mix of both, making other cost savings and maybe accepting slimmer profit margins.

Even when it comes to grocery store regulations, there's no free lunch.

 

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16 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

And here comes the straw man. 

Why do you hate grocery stores, Dante?  Your "to hell with them" statement speaks volumes.

 

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https://dvorak.substack.com/p/making-covid-about-climate?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email&utm_source=copy

The Covid-19 pandemic and the sheer volume of public fear and concurrent compliance has prompted a rethinking of the most promoted “crisis” of our time: “climate change.”

Climate change, which actually began with the global cooling rage of the 1970s, began its new life as “global warming,” then morphed into “climate change” and further evolved into the preferred new phrase, “climate crisis.” Along the rebranding road we also saw the short-lived “climate emergency.”

Trump’s election in 2016 derailed the urgency of fixing the “problem.” He relaxed the targets for CO2 and refused to play along with international efforts to create funds for third world and developing nations to help them cope. This means taking money from rich countries and giving it to poor countries. This is done under the guise of a sort of reparation for all the damage done to the environment by the rich countries.

Biden’s election has put the USA back on track, but the enthusiasm is still minimal because of the Covid panic. It seems as if the public-at-large can only worry itself sick about one thing at a time.

While the Covid panic should have been over by now, the media is continuing to promote it, whether it’s about the variants or needing a lot more shots or pushing the idea that you can get the disease multiple times.

None of this is helping the country transition back to climate change as the major concern.

The intermediate solution? Connect Covid to climate change. More and more articles and papers are manufacturing an often bogus direct connection between Covid and the changing climate, no matter how ridiculous.

The thinking is that it might be possible to keep the fear levels high by taking the Covid freak-out and somehow making it a climate freak-out. This is like replacing a light bulb with a candle and hoping nobody will notice.

Here are a few recent examples of the sort you will be seeing in this hopeless endeavor.


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One research paper shows that various bat populations moved south and may be the source of the virus in the first place. This event is a problem for those pushing the climate change agenda.

If climate change is causing animal migration, it would make sense that any population in the Northern Hemisphere would move farther north since it would be too hot for them in the old habitat. Moving south to what should be a hotter climate makes no sense. I’m sure some dubious but creative rationale will appear to explain the anomaly.

The major news media would prefer Covid fear porn for all eternity, but it will move to the climate change messaging in the months ahead. They feel obliged even though everyone knows that the "crisis" is proving to be a financial loser for everyone but the Chinese solar panel makers and the wind turbine manufacturers.

You’ve been warned. We’re back to 2016. Please adjust your calendar. -- jcd

 

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SF is certainly NOT a Fauci fan.  I recognize he is much more trained in diseases and health than I.  However, I have opined since seeing and analyzing his press coverage since March of last year that he is a brilliant politician who has the innate ability to give answers supporting both sides of the same topic which gives him great coverage either way the result comes out as the smartest guy in the room.  Admittedly he is in a job that kind of requires him to be that way.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/faucis-mixed-messages-inconsistencies-about-covid-19-masks-vaccines-and-reopenings-come-under-scrutiny

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci's often inconsistent comments and mixed messages on the coronavirus pandemic are prompting renewed scrutiny as debate rages over reopening schools and businesses nearly a year after the lockdowns started.

"Dr. Fauci is a very good public-health official. His job is to advise policy makers and inform the public," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said on Tuesday. "But his job is NOT to decide what we can do, where we can go or which places can open or close And his job is NOT to mislead or scare us into doing the 'right things.'"

"Why should we trust Fauci with a national plan? Back in March, Fauci famously told Americans, 'There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,'" wrote David Harsanyi in the National Review. "(Fauci now says we should wear two masks. No thanks, Dad.)"

Fauci in an interview on "60 Minutes" in early March of last year warned of "unintended consequences" of masks, saying "people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face." 

On masks, Fauci and former Surgeon General Jerome Adams – who also warned against buying and wearing masks in spring 2020 – said officials recommended against wearing masks early in the pandemic because at the time there was a massive shortage of PPE for medical workers who needed it most. Further, more evidence of asymptomatic spread of the virus later came out. 

Fauci later enthusiatically embraced wearing masks.

"What has changed in our recommendation?" Adams said in a White House briefing in July. "We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms."

Now, Fauci more recently has backed recommendations that Americans wear two masks instead of one if possible in order to keep the masks tighter on people's faces. 

"If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective," Fauci told NBC News last month. The CDC officially put out double-masking guidelines this month. 

Vaccinations

Another issue on which Fauci has adjusted his stances is on exactly what level of vaccination is necessary for the U.S. to reach herd immunity to the virus. Fauci previously said the percentage of Americans who need to be vaccinated to reach that goal was 70% before revising that number up to higher than 80%. 

This inspired a story in the New York Times that accused Fauci of "quietly shifting" recommendations. Fauci then explained to the paper that he was taking public opinion polls into account in how he shaped his comments. 

"When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75%," Fauci said, according to the paper. "Then, when newer surveys said 60% or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, waits to testify at a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Capitol Hill on June 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

He continued: "We have to have some humility here ... We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90%. But, I’m not going to say 90%."

And on returning to normal after Americans get their vaccines, Fauci has made several different comments that are not necessarily consistent. 

DR. FAUCI: US WILL HAVE 600M CORONAVIRUS VACCINE DOSES BY JULY 2021

"It's gonna depend very much on what the percent or level of efficacy of the vaccine is," Fauci said in an interview of what post-vaccine life would look like with Bloomberg in August. "I would be very happy with 70-75% and I would be accepting of 50 to 60%."

Fauci said continued public health measures would be necessary if the vaccine was on the low-end of effectiveness. But vaccines have been shown to be significantly more effective than anticipated – upwards of 90% – and Fauci now says Americans may need to wear masks until 2022. 

"Obviously, with a 90-plus-percent effective vaccine, you could feel much more confident," Fauci said on CNN in November. "But I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you have been vaccinated, because even though, for the general population, it might be 90 to 95% effective, you don't necessarily know, for you, how effective it is."

He added Sunday, also on CNN, that whether Americans wear masks into 2022 "depends on the level of dynamics of the virus that's in the community... If you see the level coming down really, really very low, I want it to keep going down to a baseline that's so low, that there's virtually no threat – or not no. It'll never be zero, but a minimal, minimal threat that you will be exposed to someone who is infected."

 

FAUCI CAUTIONS AGAINST DINING OUT, EVEN WHEN VACCINATED

More than 500,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, which is an airborne disease that is not severe in most healthy people but can be deadly to older people and those with compromised immune systems. Fauci and his defenders have said their recommendations on the virus, which did not exist before 2019, have evolved as Americans' understanding of the virus has evolved. They also say the strict recommendations reflect the vast number of deaths the virus is capable of causing and has caused. 

But those who are more critical of Fauci say he made pronouncements of "science" with far too much finality when the science was not in fact settled; has not leveled with Americans in some cases, including on the length of the lockdowns; and is not taking into account the mental and emotional toll of the virus lockdowns. 

Also this month, Fauci said on NBC's "Today" that "by the time we get to April, that would be what I would call ... open season" on vaccines and nearly full vaccination by "the middle and end of the summer." The epidemiologist was then contradicted by President Biden, who said in a CNN town hall that vaccine would be available to all Americans by the end of July, and it would take longer than that to get doses in everybody's arms. 

Fox News reached out to the NIAID for comment on Fauci's messaging on masks, herd immunity, vaccines and when life may return to normal and did not receive a response. 

Lockdowns

Many Americans continue to wonder when the nation's top infectious disease expert will tell them that they can resume life as normal.

One issue on which Fauci has remained more consistent is the reopening schools, which he has reiterated is possible before teachers get vaccines. In fact, he said this month on CBS that vaccinating every teacher before opening schools is "non-workable."

Q

Fauci on Sunday declined to say on CNN that grandparents who are fully vaccinated could see their grandchildren, saying "I don't want to be making a recommendation now on public TV. I would want to sit down with the team, take a look at that."

That prompted a rant from Meghan McCain on "The View." 

"I was very frustrated when I saw this clip," she said. "The fact that Dr. Fauci is going on CNN and he can’t tell me if I get the vaccine, I’ll be able to have dinner with my family... It’s terribly inconsistent messaging and it continues to be inconsistent messaging."

Fauci answered some of that criticism on CNN Tuesday. 

"If I'm fully vaccinated and my daughter comes in the house and she's fully vaccinated ... common sense tells you that in fact you don't have to be as stringent," Fauci said. But, he added, "we want to get firm recommendations from the CDC" on what people can and cannot do when they are vaccinated. 

 

Either way - SF is curious what everyone is planning to wear to the 1 year anniversary to "2 weeks to flatten the curve" coming up pretty soon.....

 

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