☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Monday, January 17, 2022 ☙ FREE TESTS 🦠
Changes to Covid policy in now-red Virginia; changes to cruise line mandates; free government Covid tests; Pfizer makes an unexpected announcement; and more.
Happy Monday, C&C, and hello Facebook folks! I’ve been in jail for three days, it’s nice to see everyone back here. I’d say I’ve learned my lesson, except I have no idea what offended the censors last time. Anyway! Today’s roundup includes news about changes to Covid policy in now-red Virginia; changes to cruise line mandates; free government Covid tests; Pfizer makes an unexpected announcement; and more.
🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞
🪖 The first Writing Team assignment should be going out today, keep your eyes on your email inbox.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 Virginia swore Glenn Younkin in as Governor on Friday, making him the first Republican governor in that state in, well, a very long time. In fact, not even one Republican had won any statewide office in Virgina since 2009. Younkin’s victory was a part of a red wave that swept Virginia in November, signaling to democrats that Covid lockdown policies are a political loser. Younkin wasted no time, immediately signing a bunch of executive orders, all consistent with his campaign promises, the first of which banned mandatory masks in schools.
Haha! Now he has a bunch of rebellious school districts on his hands, who over the weekend were telling any news agency that would listen that Virginia’s governor has no legal authority to ban mask mandates, and they are going to keep masking kids anyways. So there.
It sounds familiar to me, since I was part of the legal team fighting school districts in Florida that refused to comply with Governor DeSantis’ mandate ban. But we know how that story ended, and I predict that it won’t take long for Younkin to stamp out the rebels, either. After all, republicans there took control of virtually every electoral office that was up for election in November. So Younkin has a lot to work with.
People, if this can happen in Virginia, it can happen in your state.
The leftwing corporate media is ALREADY attacking Younkin, of course. An article on MSNBC is headlined, “Glenn Youngkin reminds Virginians what GOP governance looks like.” You mean, pro-freedom? Not involved in every single teeny-tiny decision in our lives? Something like that?
No. The sub-headline explains, “Many Virginians assumed Glenn Youngkin and the GOP’s slate of candidates really were mainstream Republicans.”
Hahahaha! The article tries to explain away the blue state’s red wave by arguing that a lot of Virginia democrats were tricked; tricked into thinking that Younkin and ALL THE OTHER CANDIDATES were “mainstream” Republicans, which at last count only included Liz Cheney, who was voted out of Wyoming’s Republican Party late last year. “Mainstream.”
Anyway, Younkin’s first-day executive orders included:
— Banning mask mandates in public schools.
— Ending critical race theory. He said, “We are not going to teach our children to view everything through a lens of race…” The corporate media was experiencing a schizophrenic break trying to decide whether CRT even exists at all, so who cares, or if banning CRT (which doesn’t exist!) is the worst, most racist thing that has ever happened since the formation of the Milky Way galaxy.
— He rescinded the vaccine mandate for state employees.
— He ordered Loudoun County to be investigated. That’s the one where the school district protected a serial rapist, covered it up, and then had a parent arrested for trying to complain to the school district about his daughter’s rape. So.
— He signed an order combating human trafficking.
Also he promptly removed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion section of the Virginia Governor’s website, which might be the thing that triggered the liberal media the worst.
The comparisons to DeSantis have already started.
🛳️ As the Omicron wave rages and as overwhelmed hospitals continue to receive military support from the federal government, the CDC ended its cruise ship mandates. Yahoo News headlined a story about the change: “CDC guidance to become optional for cruise lines as COVID continues to spread.”
In a statement, the CDC said its mandatory Conditional Sail Order would be “transitioning to a voluntary COVID-19 risk mitigation program.” Seems like odd timing, what with being in the middle of a Covid surge and everything. But okay. There IS that pesky State of the Union coming up, after all.
For their parts, the cruise lines have been navigating rough waters lately, canceling trips on short notice, leaving many passengers upset and frustrated, and embarrassing the entire vaccination industry with repeated breakthroughs on fully-injected cruises. An article last week on MSN’s website described Texas residents Micah Cooper and LaQuinta Spears (no relation to the hotel franchise), who flew to Miami a couple weeks ago expecting to board Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas.
At 3:04pm the day before boarding, already in Miami, the pair got a text message from Royal Caribbean saying the cruise was off. For safety. That’s it. They had to glumly book new flights home.
MSN also reported that Emerald Rose and her family, intended cruise passengers also traveling to Miami, found out about the same cancellation while they were IN THE AIR on Friday afternoon before the Saturday boarding. Must have made the second half of the flight a lot of fun.
The Symphony’s cancellation was just one of SEVERAL cruises that Royal canceled the same weekend due to Covid breakouts among fully-vaccinated passengers and crews. “Despite stringent health and safety measures, including vaccination and testing requirements for guests and crew, and extensive contingency planning, we have had to move forward with this decision,” the cruise line said on January 9. Whoops.
🔥 As bad as the Royal Caribbean experience has been lately, a Norwegian cruise was even canceled in MID-VOYAGE last week. The Norwegian Gem departed New York on a 10-day cruise last week, made one stop at St. Maarten, then but ran into Covid trouble. Passenger Aimee Focaraccio said the cruise line notified the passengers that all remaining stops and the rest of the cruise was canceled “because Covid” but — get this — the return date stayed the same.
In other words, the passengers are being forcibly quarantined on the Gem. Sorry! Have a nice cruise to nowhere!
Norwegian has offered passengers — who are still bobbing around at sea — a refund plus a credit to their shipboard account. Hopefully they can access those shipboard credits now, for use at the bar.
🔥 Professor Hagai Levine, chairman of the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians, publicly called on Israel in an open letter to stop mass testing and quarantine for Covid. The letter calls on Israel’s Prime Minister to focus more on “health and not on testing,” adding that some policies which have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic have become “expensive and unnecessary … and harmful to the health of the Israeli public.”
You don’t say.
But Israel’s Health Ministry isn’t quite ready to end the pandemic, not yet. “It’s too soon,” one government health official said, “we need to study the disease for at least two more weeks in order to determine the scope of illness caused by infection.”
Just two more weeks! They are SO predictable.
🎾 Serbian tennis giant Novak Djokovic — the number 1 tennis player in the word for a record 356 weeks — having been released from confinement in Australia and given a valid vaccine exemption, was unceremonially deported from Down Under anyway, and will not be playing in the Australian Open. The reason? The government argued in court this weekend that Djokovic could become “an icon of free choice,” which is, apparently, a threat to the government.
Adding new dimensions to the term “kangaroo court,” in a hearing watched by over 80,000 people worldwide, the Australian judges agreed with the government and ordered Djokovic out of the country. Buh bye. On the other hand, he might not get to play tennis, but at least he isn’t locked in an Australian quarantine facility.
One suspects that these events will cast some kind of unwanted light on the Open this year. The winner will inevitably get that pesky asterisk. Nobody seems to like the outcome much. Even the New York Times (!) ran a story with this sub-headline: “Novak Djokovic lost to a government with powerful laws, determined to make an example out of him.”
🧪 According to an article in the Epoch Times, “Americans Will Be Able to Order Free At-Home CCP Virus Tests Next Week.” The article refers to the brilliant new Biden plan to shoot “free” tests out to everybody to help shut down the virus. Or something.
The Administration announced Friday that Americans can order tests starting on Wednesday. But you can only order four (4) per household, max. It’s not clear what you’re supposed to do if five or more folks live there. Or if your job makes you test three times a week. Or if you have three kids who have to test a few times to get a negative that will let them come back to school.
You can order your four free* test kits on COVIDtests.gov starting on Wednesday. It’s your patriotic duty! Your duty to help test manufacturers make a lot of government money.
(*free if you don’t pay taxes.)
The US Postal Service will be delivering the tests, and they understand how important these tests are. The USPS has committed to an ultra-fast delivery timetable of seven to twelve days, unless they get delayed or lost or something. Hey, come on now, that’s fast for the postal service.
The trick is, you need to plan your Omicron infection in advance, so that you can have your test kits when you need them. Or maybe everybody should just order them on Wednesday, to have around in case you need them. What could go wrong?
🔥 Pfizer announced that it is significantly cutting its U.S. sales staff, saying something about how doctors now prefer their pharma reps to use Zoom instead of coming by to drop off the swag in person. My first thought was, doesn’t Pfizer only have one customer anyway? Scrooge McDuck, I mean, Uncle Sam?
But the most interesting part of the story was that, according to Reuters, Pfizer said it figures that this change in sales force needs to happen because doctors will want fewer face-to-face calls “after the Covid-19 pandemic ends.”
Yep. That’s how Reuters described it. Not “IF” the pandemic ends. Pfizer is reducing its sales force NOW. Narrative 2.0?
💊 The Epoch Times reported on a recently-published review of 12 studies and trials showing that intravenous Vitamin-C was effective in reducing severity and mortality of Covid-19 in severely-ill patients. The FDA was not amused.
📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY* 📊
The new weekly report for Florida published over the weekend. It seems to be signaling a turn in the winter wave, right on schedule as predicted by independent modelers.
— Florida’s R-naught — which predicts whether infections are increasing or falling — fell below 1.0 to 0.92 — for the first time since the winter wave began.
— Cases increased, but at a much slower pace, creeping up from 397,114 to only 430,297.
— The positivity rate FELL, a little, from 31.2% to 29.3%.
— More importantly, hospitalizations dropped, a little, from 11,378 to 11,276. (National admissions were up, but previous reports have seemed artificially low.)
— Deaths were up from 44 to 111 for the week, but this is not unexpected, since they’re a lagging indicator. This is still a quarter of peak weekly deaths from the summer wave.
If the independent modelers are correct, we should see significant reductions in cases and hospitalizations next week. That will be an important report.
Have a magnificent Monday, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for more.
Help us spread optimism and hope! https://www.coffeeandcovid.com/p/-learn-how-to-get-involved-