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☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Monday, April 4, 2022 ☙ GOOD NEWS ROUNDUP 🦠
Musk makes a major move; U.S. hospitalizations scrape the bottom; the CDC drops its cruise ship Covid warnings; military service members enjoy two mandate wins; and much more...
Good morning and Happy Monday, C&C! It’s an “all good news” roundup for you today: Musk makes a major move; U.S. hospitalizations scrape the bottom; the CDC drops its cruise ship Covid warnings; military service members enjoy two mandate wins; a lunatic 2020 law in California is found unconstitutional; and and the WHO panics over a milder variant.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 BREAKING NEWS: ABC News reported this morning that “Tesla CEO Elon Musk takes a 9.2% stake in Twitter.” According to a regulatory filing this morning, Musk disclosed he has bought 73.5 million shares in the social media giant. In this filing, he designated the purchase as a passive investment, meaning he plans to hold the shares long-term.
ABC reported that investment advisor Dan Ives sent clients a memo early this morning saying, “We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter.”
Recently Musk has been extremely critical of Twitter’s censorship. The market seems to like the news, since shares have already surged 25%, also meaning Musk immediately made a ton of money on the buy.
Obviously, I have not had a chance to dig into this for you. But most publicly-traded companies have a threshold where people or companies owning a certain minimum share amount either get a seat on the board or have a significant say in corporate policy. It will be interesting to watch how Musk, now owning nearly 10% of the social media company, alters the firm’s future direction and prospects.
📉 According to the latest data from the CDC, Covid hospitalizations hit their lowest point since August of 2020. The 7-day average of daily new admissions sank to 1,494 on March 31, down from over 21,000 a day in mid-January during the Omicron wave, and even lower than the previous low point of 1,829 in June 2021.
Plus the CDC has been busy lowering deaths, too. Recently the CDC removed over -72,000 deaths from its tally, saying they were erroneously counted as Covid-related. Whoops! Sorry! The CDC’s re-calculations were so aggressive that Florida even complained that its share of that number, about 20,000, were in fact Covid-related and should be added back.
It’s not just the CDC that’s busy re-calculating, either. Santa Clara County in California cut its Covid death count by 22%, citing a change in criteria, and nearby Alameda County similarly revised down its death total by around 25%.
Honey, I shrunk the Covid numbers.
🛳️ The Epoch Times reported great news yesterday for cruise fans, in an article headlined, “CDC Drops COVID-19 Health Warning for Cruise Ships.” The federal health agency has announced it’s going to leave it up to travelers to decide whether they feel safe getting on a cruise ship. Imagine that.
“While cruising will always pose some risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers will make their own risk assessment when choosing to travel on a cruise ship, much like they do in all other travel settings,” CDC spokesman Dave Daigle said in a statement to news outlets last week.
The CDC explained the decision was based on low hospitalization figures.
Cruise lines were universally positive. Cruise associations issued statements applauding the move, and Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin told Yahoo Finance, “We finally see that the CDC has been listening to what we’ve been saying for a long time: that cruising is the safest way to travel. Of course, they have a tough job, but I think that they finally realize that cruising is safe.”
Most U.S. cruise lines still maintain a voluntary jab mandate. We’ll see how they respond to the latest move. When I checked this morning, Celebrity Cruises’ medical requirements page still lists the “full vaccination” requirement, including for kids five and up starting April 15.
Carnival’s medical requirements page also says, “We’re sailing with fewer guests for more space—and more luxury.” Uh huh. Maybe they could be sailing with more guests and more profits absent the mandate. Just saying.
💉 Fox Cincinatti reported late last week that military service members enjoyed a rare court win in an article headlined, “Big Legal Win For Wright-Patterson Air Force Members Fighting Vaccine Mandate.” A federal court found that the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) does, in fact, apply to the military, contrary to the Biden Justice Department’s arguments.
Judge Matthew McFarland, a 2019 Trump appointee, noted
“each of the plaintiffs who testified at the hearing indicated that they were being threatened with imprisonment for refusing the vaccine without an exemption.” He then explained “from the time our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and, later, the United States Constitution, United States citizens have been provided with the freedom to practice their religious beliefs as they deem fit.”
Then the judge cited a letter written by George Washington in 1793, in which the Nation’s Father explained:
We have abundant reason to rejoice, that in this land the light of truth and reason have triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened age and in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest offices that are known in the United States.
“Accordingly, “ the judge finished, “and with a respectful nod of gratitude to the Father of our great country, this Court, as a sworn guardian of the Constitution, will not order the Air Force personnel at this stage to forfeit the protections of our laws and of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.”
While the decision currently only affects the 18 Air Force members, a ruling on certifying the case as a class action remains pending. The decision comes on the heels of a federal decision in Texas issued earlier last week that stops the Navy from discharging sailors who refuse the jab, and turned that case into a class action.
🔥 An insane 2020 California law was ruled unconstitutional late last week, as reported by the AP Friday in an article headlined “Landmark California Diversity Law Requiring Minority, LGBT Directors On Corporate Boards Ruled Unconstitutional.”
The law would have required corporate boards of publicly traded companies with a main executive office in California to have a member from an “underrepresented community,” including LGBT, Black, Latino, Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander. Because science, or racism, or race science, or something.
The successful lawsuit was filed by Judicial Watch, which argued the law violated California’s constitutional equal protection clause, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender, race, etc.
The law had passed in 2020 after supporters tied the coronavirus pandemic emergency and its “disproportionate impact on minorities” to weeks of unrest following the May 2020 death of convicted felon George Floyd in Minneapolis. In signing the bill, jab-happy Governor Gavin Newsom argued that it was important for minorities to have a voice on corporate boards. Important to who? He explained his logic, saying “When we talk about racial justice, we talk about empowerment, we talk about power, and we need to talk about seats at the table.”
In other words, your business is California’s petri dish for bizarre social experiments. I guess the end result is to completely merge government and corporations. There’s a name for that ideology, I can’t remember it right now.
🔥 Hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are now officially-approved early treatments for Covid in Kansas. Last Thursday, Kansas’ Senate sent a letter to its state healthcare providers establishing that “the standard of care [for Covid-19] is early treatment with FDA-approved medications regardless of their labelled uses,” and warning that “failure to treat will now be considered wanton disregard.”
The notice follows the passage of Kansas’ HB 2280 into law. The bill was titled “Authorizing the prescribing and dispensing of medications for off-label use to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections and requiring child care facilities and schools to grant religious exemptions from vaccination requirements without inquiring into the sincerity of such religious beliefs.”
You’ll like the first paragraph of the bill. It provides:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a prescriber may prescribe a prescription drug approved by the United States food and drug administration, including, but not limited to, hydroxychloroquine sulfate and ivermectin, for an off-label use to prevent or treat COVID-19 infection in a patient.
The bill also says that recommending or prescribing off-label drugs for Covid treatment “shall not be considered unprofessional conduct.”
Kansans, leading the way.
🔥 The WHO has issued a new warning, this time regarding a scary new mutant variant of Omicron, XE. The international body raised concern over the variant’s douple-plus high levels of transmissibility making it “supremely contagious” and warning it could cause a new high risk Covid wave. This variant is, allegedly, “ten times” more transmissible than Omicron, apparently. I wonder how they calculate that.
But wait. Get this. An article reporting the story in the Economic Times of India noted quietly that “the newest variant of coronavirus does not lead to any severe symptoms.” Oh. Okay. So what symptoms does it have? “Headaches, sore throat, muscle soreness and fever.” Gosh. Not cold and flu symptoms. The horror.
Apparently variant XE doesn’t even cause loss of taste and smell.
So … in other words … the virus is continuing to do what was predicted from early in 2020, which is to keep mutating to become more transmissible and less virulent. I wrote about this many times during the first year of the pandemic. But for some reason the corporate media is constantly surprised and shocked when it happens. So. Weird.
Enjoy all the great news and have a marvelous Monday! See you back here tomorrow for more.
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