☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Monday, February 7, 2022 ☙ PIVOTING 🦠
The White House embraces Narrative 2.0; LinkedIn allows mandate-critical commentary; experts call for an end to the pandemic; it's all Trump's fault; party affiliation shifts, and more...
It’s Monday, February 7 — only 21 days until the State of The Union. I can’t wait! Today’s roundup includes: nearly conclusive evidence that Narrative 2.0 is officially coming in a White House pivot; LinkedIn begins allowing articles critical of the mandates; a new public health crisis is brewing, and it’s definitely not the jabs; herd-like, experts begin calling for an end to the pandemic; the White House knows just who to blame for bad Covid policy; Freedom Convoy news; Republicans censure party traitors; a historic shift in party affiliation; and a fun twitter poll.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 Narrative 2.0 is coming. The Hill ran a story yesterday headlined, “White House Gets Set for Cautious Pivot on Pandemic.” A pivot! Biden is pivoting! Cautiously. Because safety.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, but “pivot” is the euphemism that they always use for “flip flop.” Sometimes they say “evolve.” Like, “Kerry’s position on gay marriage has evolved since his first campaign for president.” Anyway, here’s how “cautious” they are being: the article does not identify a SINGLE change in policy. Not one. It’s a “pivot” to … something! You’ll find out later.
The Hill sets the stage for its article by observing that “new evidence is now emerging that gives the White House and plenty of others hope that the nation is veering out of the pandemic.” Hope! The White House is looking at new evidence; the new evidence is giving the White House “hope.” They’re hopeful — not worried. A pivot.
What we’re seeing now is the backroom strategy of hauling out the “experts” to confirm that the pandemic is over to give the White House cover to pivot. “It’s definitely time to move towards a more ongoing, robust, resilient strategy to prevent a surge from ever happening again while enabling people to get back to more normal life,” former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan told The Hill. “The public needs some more straight talk and guidance on what to do in this new phase.”
Straight talk! Wouldn’t that be nice for a change.
Here it is, the mask torn off, Narrative 2.0 in all its glory: “It’s unclear whether or when Biden himself plans to outline the way forward in the pandemic. White House officials and health experts say the country still has some time before reaching some kind of ‘new normal’.” Well, maybe its not clear to The Hill, but it’s clear to me when “Biden himself” will outline the way forward. How about March 1? Would that work?
“Covid as it is today is not Covid forever and we’re actively working towards that and what that will look like,” an ANONYMOUS administration official reportedly said, emphasizing that “the tools the U.S. has to fight the virus are working.” It’s working! They’re shutting down the virus. Just like Biden promised.
And guess what? A new gold-star panel is working on a new plan RIGHT NOW. “A group of outside health experts are preparing a detailed plan on a forward-looking Covid-19 strategy that they hope to have completed by early March and are planning to send to the White House.” Early March. Early. Great timing.
The Hill reported that Democratic strategist Rodell Mollineau said, “It’s time to have a serious conversation with the American people and say that we are going to be living with this for a long time. We’ve been looking at this in a very binary way. Things are likely to never go back to normal, but it doesn’t mean we have to live in fear.” No more living in fear.
Remember, about ten seconds ago, the public health experts were predicting a “winter of death and suffering.” But now, Lawrence Gostin, a public health law professor (a LAW professor) at Georgetown University said “we need to assure the public that, unless some really serious variant causes another emergency, that we’re going to soon stop our emergency response and start with a ‘living with COVID’ response.” Soon stop. Soon.
Soon? Like, maybe in about three weeks? Remember you read it here first.
🔥 On Friday, CNBC Travel published an article headlined, “It’s Time to ‘Move On’ From the Pandemic, Says Harvard Medical Professor.” The article quotes a Harvard Medical School professor who published an article on LinkedIn, which until about five minutes ago was still canceling anyone who questioned Narrative 1.0.
The article reports that Dr. Stefanos Kales says it’s time to let the young, healthy and “anyone who wants to move on” from the pandemic. According to CNBC, Dr. Kales’ LinkedIn article says that “Covid-19 is not a serious threat, only a nuisance that impedes schooling, work and travel.”
Covid is NOT a serious threat?? That definitely should have gotten him canceled. My goodness. But Dr. Kales, feeling confident, for some reason, doubled down: “Once Omicron peaks, subsequent variants are likely to be even more mild,” he said. “We badly need to allow the general public, particularly the young, to get back to normal life.”
And in a blatant insult to the Great Barrington Declaration scientists, CNBC reported — as if it were a brand new idea that sprang right out of the expert tool box — Dr. Kales said he favors focusing Covid-19 efforts on “the vulnerable” rather than the population as a whole. In other words, FOCUSED PROTECTION. Which is the EXACT SAME idea that provoked Fauci and Collins to scheme up a “devastating takedown” of the Great Barrington crew, and to call the the Great Barrington scientists “fringe epidemiologists.”
How times change! I think there’s a portal on the CDC’s website where fringe epidemiologists can apply to get their reputation back. Or something.
🔥 The Evening Standard has some bad news for us. There’s a new public health crisis brewing. It published an article yesterday headlined, “Up to 300,000 People Facing Heart-Related Illnesses Due to Post-Pandemic Stress Disorder, Warn Physicians.” The paper warns of a new psychological condition that is just like PTSD, except it’s called PPSD. The Standard admits that the four-letter syndrome is not yet “officially recognized,” but says “many experts” believe it should be.
The Standard reports that Tahir Hussain, a senior vascular surgeon, says “I’ve seen a big increase in thrombotic-related vascular conditions in my practice. Far younger patients are being admitted and requiring surgical and medical intervention than prior to the pandemic… We also have evidence that some patients have died at home from conditions such as pulmonary embolism and myocardial infarction.”
So weird! What could be causing this sudden jump in thrombosis? Dr. Hussain has a theory to explain this mysterious increase. It’s STRESS. “I believe many of these cases are a direct result of the increased stress and anxiety levels caused from the effects of PPSD,” he said.
But what, exactly, is his evidence that the cases come from pandemic stress? Elevated serotonin levels? Increased adrenaline in patients? Concurrent anxiety disorder diagnoses? The article doesn’t say.
Neither does the article mention the “v-word” anywhere either. So.
🔥 According to an article in The Hill yesterday, former Food and Drug Administration chief and newly-hired Pfizer exec Scott Gottlieb said on Sunday the nation could expect to see mask mandates lifted in schools wherever Covid-19 prevalence is low.
“I think you’re going to see governors start to do that,” Gottlieb told host Martha Raddatz on ABC’s This Week, when asked about government leaders lifting mask requirements in schools. “A lot of kids haven’t known a normal school day for two years. We need to try to lean forward aggressively to try to restore that and reclaim it when we can,” he added.
Gottlieb explained that “we are at a point where we can safely contemplate that,” suggesting “we can start to lean forward and take a little bit more risk and try to, at least, make sure that students in schools have some semblance of normalcy for this spring term.” Time to take more risks. For the children.
Plus, these soccer moms are getting all riled up about the masks and swinging elections and stuff. So, there’s that.
🔥 Last week there was much media chatter about a new study from Johns Hopkins, a meta analysis finding not only have lockdowns failed to reduce mortality during the pandemic, but they have caused tremendous societal harm. First, the researchers observed that non-lockdown countries did fine:
Mandates only regulate a fraction of our potential contagious contacts and can hardly regulate nor enforce handwashing, coughing etiquette, distancing in supermarkets, etc. Countries like Denmark, Finland, and Norway that realized success in keeping COVID-19 mortality rates relatively low allowed people to go to work, use public transport, and meet privately at home during the first lockdown. In these countries, there were ample opportunities to legally meet with others.
Um, what about Sweden? Oh, never mind. Next, the researchers even said that lockdowns might have made mortality rates worse: “Indeed, we do find some evidence that limiting gatherings was counterproductive and increased COVID-19 mortality.”
But the costs! Lockdowns are pretty expensive, when you think about it:
The use of lockdowns is a unique feature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns have not been used to such a large extent during any of the pandemics of the past century. However, lockdowns during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic have had devastating effects. They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy. These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best. Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.
Oh, Johns Hopkins! How dare you question the Narrative? Wait … sorry … that was Narrative 1.0. It’s okay to question that one now. In fact, maybe this new study was made to order, it’s so helpful to Narrative 2.0. Thanks Johns Hopkins!
🔥 I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, but doesn’t this all just make Biden look terrible, because he’s the one who ordered all those devastatingly ineffective lockdowns? Nope. It’s all President Trump’s fault.
The headline of a Washington Examiner article published yesterday says, “White House Casts COVID-19 Lockdowns as a Trump-era Relic.” The article uncritically reported that, when asked about the new Johns Hopkins study suggesting that the negative effects of lockdowns far outweigh any positives, freckled White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded that most of America’s lockdowns occurred during the Trump administration. It was all Trump’s idea.
In fact, Psaki said lockdowns were NEVER part of Biden’s plan for shutting down the virus. Never. “Most of the lockdowns actually happened under the previous president,” she said. “What our objective has been is conveying that we have the tools we need to keep our country open.”
No more lockdowns. Apparently. “We have the tools to avoid lockdowns, and we’re not moving back,” Psaki said. “That’s our intention at this point.”
🔥 As Narrative 2.0 shifts into full gear, it is time to remind everyone of Glenn Reynold’s December 30 op-ed in the New York Post titled, “We Must Make Public Health Authorities Accountable For Their Covid Lies.”
Reynolds graciously allows that honest mistakes are forgivable. Nobody’s perfect. Even pivots are okay, since you’re supposed to change your mind when you realize that you were wrong.
But, Reynolds said, lies and political manipulation are different. Those are a betrayal of trust, and they’re especially serious because trust is the public health community’s greatest asset. The experts have had a perfectly awful record during the pandemic, and according to Reynolds, now we need investigation and accountability.
He mentions the summer protests, widely endorsed by marionette-like public health experts while they were still saying it was reckless and dangerous for regular folks to congregate, the “gain of function” flip-flop debacle, and that many “public health” scientists publicly encouraged Pfizer to slow-walk the release of its mRNA vaccine until after the election so that Trump couldn’t take the credit, for just a few examples.
Reynolds concluded saying it’s time for a rigorous investigation — like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with subpoena power — to get to the bottom of how our public health authorities mismanaged this pandemic.
I couldn’t agree more. The experts will soon be politically vulnerable. Since the politicians skillfully offloaded all the pandemic-response decisions to them, the public health experts are now primed to be thrown onto the pyre as sacrificial goats. The evidence I’m right is that the administration is using NEW experts to publish Narrative 2.0. The old experts are depleted, the useful strength of their expertise now fully exhausted. They are political liabilities now.
As for me, I plan to help with the throwing. There are a lot of goats to toss into the fire.
🚛 In Freedom Convoy news, over the weekend the mayor of Ottawa declared a state of emergency in the capital city. We’ll see what he’s going to do with it. Stand by.
🔥 Last week, Congressional Republicans voted to censure Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for joining the January 6 Committee over the objections of all the other Republicans. The censure resolution passed unanimously on Thursday. It was included in a package with four other motions, including one to “hold Communist China accountable for Covid-19.” All four resolutions passed by a voice vote at the RNC’s winter meeting in Salt Lake City.
The resolution censuring Cheney and Kinzinger thundered that the two lawmakers are participating in “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” by sitting on the January 6 Committee. Since no other Republicans were willing to participate on the committee, it left five seats unoccupied. The Republicans offered a set of proposed participants, but Nancy Pelosi refused to seat them, arguably leaving the Committee illegally constituted.
🔥 In a story that Corporate Media completely ignored last month, the Gallup polling organization announced discovering a historic shift in party affiliation, leaving Republicans ahead of Democrats in national surveys. As of early 2021, Democrats held a +9 point advantage, but by the end of the year, it had shifted to Republican +5.
Joe Biden is polling 10 points under President Carter at this time in his term. We all know how that unfortunate exercise in witless leadership turned out. So.
🔥 Finally, Republican Representative Thomas Massie ran a twitter poll this weekend. About 16,000 people voted, and 96% said they trusted “Gas Station Sushi” more than the CDC (2%), the FDA (1%), or Pharma (1%). While I didn’t vote in the poll, I’ll venture that I would be more willing to eat gas station sushi than trust the CDC or the FDA at this point too.
📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY* 📊
A new weekly report is out, and it confirms what we’ve been forecasting: the Omicron wave is on the wane. All markers but deaths were down; and weekly deaths — a lagging indicator — only increased +4. As you can see on the chart, one interesting metric is that first-dose vaccinations are at the lowest point in the pandemic, with only +26,828 statewide for the week. Here in Alachua County, only +179 people got their first jab.
Previously, whenever jab numbers dropped, there was always a concerted effort by experts to pump the numbers back up. Now, it’s crickets. What could have changed?
Have a marvelous Monday! I’ll see you back here tomorrow with a brand new roundup.
You can help me push back, get the truth out, and spread optimism and hope: https://www.coffeeandcovid.com/p/-learn-how-to-get-involved-