☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Thursday, October 21, 2021 ☙ HANG ON 🦠

President Trump finally enters the social media fray; Florida’s surgeon general speaks out strongly against masking school kids; Yahoo News comes close to even-handed reporting, and more...

Good morning, C&C peeps. In today’s roundup: After months of rumors, President Trump finally enters the social media fray; Florida’s surgeon general speaks out strongly against masking school kids; Yahoo News comes close to even-handed reporting about the school mask controversy; I summarize the extended interview between Joe Rogan and Sanjay Gupta; the least likely corporate franchise takes a stand against vaccine mandates; a journal perspective article asks why some people seem to evade Covid altogether; a new study finds some positive effect from a horse deworming medicine (can you guess which one?); troubling allegations about Kaiser Permanente’s role in manufacturing injection mandates; and I summarize last week’s Florida Covid report for you. We’re doing great.

🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞

☎️ 5DAY: Keep an eye out for a major announcement this morning. It could be a game-changer. 🤞

🎈 Let me know in the comments about what you all would think about a live C&C conference, or maybe a few, like Orlando, Dallas, L.A..

🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞

🔥 President Trump announced a new venture yesterday, initiating the “Trump Media and Technology Group” as a public offering. He’s trying to generate startup funding for a new social media network called TruthSocial.Com. To get on the market immediately, he merged the new entity with an existing, publicly-traded tech company, Digital World Acquisition Corporation (DWAC). So far, an app is available for pre-order in the Apple Store, and folks can sign up for an invite on the website. The press release says the new social network plans to enter beta in November and will open publicly in the first quarter of next year.

The site’s attractive but thin web page doesn’t have much on it yet, just a box to enter your name and email address. DWAC is trading at just under $10 a share. I am SO curious to see what happens.

😷 Florida’s new Surgeon General Ladapo commented on masks yesterday at a press conference with the Governor:

“I want you guys to step back for a moment from what you constantly hear on TV. And just very briefly, in terms of the data that supports mask use on kids and mandate for masking kids, it is very weak. And that’s a fact. But there’s a substantial gap between the quality of the data out there supporting masking kids yielding any benefit for kids whatsoever. Factual. In Florida we’re going to stay close to the data, and we’re going to let you how we feel about the data. And the data do not support any clinical benefit for children in schools with mask mandates. The highest quality data find no evidence of benefit. And we’re going to stick with that, because that’s what the data show.

And Ladapo pledged to support parents who want to control their own children’s healthcare instead of leaving critical medical decisions up to underqualified school board members and overpaid superintendents:

“The other thing I’ll just add, is that, as a parent, hearing stories about what other parents are going through, and seeing parents around the country, these are impossible situations these parents are being put in. Putting a mask — something — on the face of your child, that’s a parent’s decision. That’s not a school’s decision, that’s not a school board’s decision, that’s not a governor’s decision, it’s no one else’s decision except for the parent. And parents are being placed in these impossible situations related to the health of their children. I’m here to help support parents in voicing how they feel their children should present, should be in the world. And I’m going to be here, to help with that, to support that.”

So.

😷 A surprisingly even-handed article on Yahoo News yesterday reported about CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s comment that the agency would continue recommending face rags for kids at school. First it quoted Walensky’s Fauci-like comment that, “As we head into these winter months, we know we cannot be complacent.” Apparently letting kids breath freely, see each other, and learn social skills is being complacent, or something.

Anyway, the article continued with some pro-mask comments, of course, but then actually quoted a couple experts going the other way. “Some educators and epidemiologists have criticized mask wearing in schools, arguing that evidence for the controversial intervention is not as strong as proponents like Walensky have said,” the article reported. It also quoted Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo as saying, “So many parents I talk to ask, ‘When does it end? We should be able to answer what conditions would enable an end.”

Imagine that — an end to masks. Is that even possible?

The good news is that corporate media might be starting to question the narrative, at least a little, teeny-tiny bit. Courage!, as disgraced mega-journalist Dan Rather would say.

Teacher’s unions were hardest hit.

🔥 Last week I reported about an interesting exchange with CNN’s TV doctor Sanjay Gupta and Joe Rogan on his podcast. Well, I went ahead and listened to the whole episode, all three hours. You’re welcome. If you have the time, it is fascinating. First, I’ll concede that Gupta comes across much more intelligent than he seems on TV or in the clips from the podcast that are going around. Rogan gets him to admit a lot of what all of us have been thinking and saying for a long time about Covid, which was gratifying. Apparently we’re not crazy. Who knew.

The remarkable thing was that Gupta won’t — can’t — say those same things on his own network.

For example, Gupta makes some surprising admissions about gain of function research. He all but concedes that it is likely that Covid was manufactured in the Wuhan lab using NIH money. He’s spoken directly to Francis Collins and Peter Dasazk and quotes them, I think skeptically.

Rogan gave Gupta an extremely hard time about the whole “horse dewormer” business, which is totally fair, and fun to listen to. Rogan just won’t let go of his argument that “CNN lied about that, what else are they lying about?” Gupta handles it with good humor but is clearly uncomfortable. Good times.

Next, and also fascinating, were the things Gupta wouldn’t concede. For example, he would not agree to ANY situation where someone shouldn’t get injected. Not healthy people, not recovered people, not even kids down to age five. And Rogan tried. Hard. Gupta also refuses to acknowledge any risks from the vaccine, seeming surprised when Rogan offered real-life examples of healthy people who’ve gotten very sick or died post-injection. Nor would Gupta give an inch when it came to ivermectin. “No evidence,” Gupta kept saying.

Finally, and maybe most interesting of all, was how often Gupta simply refused to understand Rogan’s point. Refused or maybe he just wasn’t able to. This is the phenomenon we’ve all experienced trying to talk to people about Covid facts. It’s like they’ve constructed a separate reality and any ideas that don’t match up simply do not penetrate. For example, in the part I reported on last week, Gupta struggles and ultimately fails to understand Rogan’s point about how parents make risk assessments for their kids relative to the risks of getting Covid versus the risks of getting injected. Gupta kept saying about something murky about long Covid and “what we don’t know” — ironically overlooking the exact same argument on the opposing side about the lack of long-term safety data for the injections.

Why — oh, why? — inject kids when we don’t know the long-term effects? Because long Covid. Or something.

All in all, if the episode weren’t so long, I would definitely recommend a listen. Rogan is a great interviewer and the discussion really highlights the intractable disconnect between people on both sides of the issues.

And one thing is clear. Joe Rogan gets it.

🍔 In-N-Out burgers is taking a stand! San Francisco shut down the restaurant’s iconic Fisherman’s Wharf location after the burger peddler scorned the city’s vaccine mandate. “We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” In-N-Out’s Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger said in a high-spirited statement. “It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant associates to segregate customers into those who may be served and those who may not, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason.”

Hospitals: zero. Burger joints: one. Go burger joints!

I think I may have found my next favorite fast food franchise. Grab some In-N-Out today. Let’s blow it out.

🔬 An international team of medical scientists has published a Perspective in the journal Nature Immunology. The article examines the great mystery of variability in the way some people respond to a Covid infection. A lot of folks, healthy and unhealthy, are “asymptomatic” — virtually untouched by the virus — but a small number of otherwise healthy folks get very sick and even die. Why? They don’t know.

The authors consider some possibilities. For example, some reports suggest that people with blood type “O” suffer less when infected. But why? There have been other studies suggesting certain proteins produced by the body are more or less active when confronted with the virus. The virus needs specific proteins that have receptors like ACE2 or TMEM41B. If people lack those receptors, the virus can’t replicate. Maybe that has something to do with it.

The point of the article is that the authors want to study folks who’ve been exposed but didn’t get sick, like the one member of a household that didn’t catch Covid. They are thinking that if they can figure out what makes people effectively immune, there might be a new treatment option in there somewhere. Seems like this could have been a good idea say, oh, a year ago.

Better late than never, I suppose.

🔬 A new preprint study landed in the Journals yesterday titled, “Repositioning Ivermectin for Covid-19 treatment: Molecular mechanisms of action against SARS-CoV-2 replication.” In its highlights, the study says, “Ivermectin also exhibits great potential in reducing SARS-CoV-2 viral replication via numerous modes of action, such as the disruption of the Importin heterodimer complex.”

That’s what I’VE always said. We should be looking at the “Importin heterodimer complex.” Of COURSE. It’s so obvious.

Anyway, the study’s summary concludes that “the collective review of recent efforts suggests that IVM has a prophylactic effect and would be a strong candidate for clinical trials to treat SARS-CoV-2.”

No evidence! It’s just a horse dewormer! Science! Shut up!

Don’t cancel me.

🪳 I’ve been reviewing the new lawsuit filed by America’s Frontline Doctors in California against the healthcare mega-giant Kaiser Permanente. It makes some interesting allegations, which appear to be backed up with publicly-available evidence.

First of all, Kaiser executives look like they were the original evil geniuses behind the Biden vaccine mandate. Thanks Kaiser. Second, the available evidence strongly suggests that the REASON Kaiser encouraged Biden to broadly mandate injections was because it was planning to do that in its own hospitals, but was worried that its nurses and doctors would simply quit and go work for competitive healthcare providers without mandates. So it convinced the Biden Administration to mandate vaccines everywhere, so that its employees would have nowhere to go.

Kaiser folks: I hope you’re paying attention.

📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY* 📊

We’ve had new Florida Covid data for a few days now, through the week ending October 14. The rush of events prevented me from summarizing it for you, so here are the highlights from last week’s report:

— Cases are scraping the bottom, with a 7-day average per county of only 41 cases.

— “Covid-related” death reports are also down to minimal levels, with a 7-day average per county of 0.26 per county. In other words, fewer than two per county for the week.

— The statewide positivity ratio is scraping the bottom at only 3.8%, a 25% drop from the previous week.

— Interesting, in Alachua County — one of only eight counties in Florida having a school mask mandate without a discretionary opt-out — cases and positivity ticked up a little, going the opposite direction from the rest of the state. Curious, isn’t it?

— Finally, notice that US hospitalizations are ticking up again — but not in Florida, where they are bottoming out. This is highly suggestive of the Northern States’ starting their winter Covid wave. We’ll see.

All in all, Florida looks great. Even for Northern States preparing for a Covid wave: you guys have more to fear from government overreaction than the virus. You’ve seen the third wave come and go in Florida without, and I can’t believe I have to say this again, without catastrophic failure of the medical system. Of course, this time you’re going to have to do it with a lot fewer doctors and nurses.

Have a terrific Thursday and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for re-caffeination.


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