☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Tuesday, December 28, 2021 ☙ FEDERAL SOLUTIONS 🦠
Biden signals a potentially massive shift in federal Covid policy; the CDC cuts quarantines; NYC's Covid policies fail; South Africa's CFR bottoms out; the Times questions booster logic, and more...
Two more days until the giant cup of coffee drops and Covid’s second year fades into the history books. In the roundup: Biden’s Covid deaths surge past Trump’s; Biden signals a potentially game-changing shift in policy (if he knows what he was saying); the CDC cuts quarantines; New York’s strict Covid policies don’t bear fruit; South Africa’s case fatality rate plunges; the New York Times runs an unexpected article questioning booster logic; Rogan predicts his April event in Canada won’t go; and the latest U.S. migration data shows bad news for blue states.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 It’s official! There have now been more “Covid deaths” under Joe Biden than there were under President Trump. In 2020, during the presidential debates, Biden warned darkly that “anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.”
Well, Joe? Your move.
🔥 Now, I positioned this next item as a funny rejoinder to the previous one. But there’s more to it. First, what happened: on a call with the governors yesterday, some buttlicker was praising Biden’s Covid response and offered a “word of encouragement” to Biden as he “looks for federal solutions” to the pandemic.
Biden interrupted him. “Look, there IS NO federal solution,” he said curtly. “This gets solved on the state level.”
Um. Gosh. There’s just so much to work with here. What about “I’m not going to shut down the country, I’m going to shut down the virus?” Remember that one? And what about:
— OSHA Mandate
— CMS Mandate
— Federal contractor mandate
— Federal employer mandate
— Preschool Mandate
— Military Mandate
— CDC No Sail Order
— Transportation Mandate
— and so on…
So anyway. You get the idea. This could be the very first time that Biden has taken what was always President Trump’s position: that the power to deal with health emergencies lies with the states. And that was really smart. It was smart because it was consistent with constitutional law, it was smart because it supported conservative principles of federalism and states’ rights, but it was also politically genius because Trump couldn’t be blamed for how the pandemic went.
Biden then said something remarkably Trumplike: “My message to the governors is simple: if you need something, say something,” he said. “We’re going to have your back any way we can.”
Oh! So it’s on the Governors now.
Over the last year, Biden — or whoever writes his teleprompter scripts — had fallen into the trap of trying to federalize the Covid project. If he runs it, he owns it. Maybe Team Biden is starting to get cold feet, looking at the latest case numbers?
The question that has the media buzzing this morning is, does this signal any kind of shift in policy or was it just another “Joe moment?”
Anyway, the Supreme Court, which is about to consider whether the federal government has legal authority to order the OSHA Mandate, will be very interested to hear Biden’s comment that “there is no federal solution.” We’ll see!
🔥 The CDC has “updated” its guidance on quarantines. Now it says that, instead of 14 days, it is an “acceptable alternative” to only quarantine for only 7 days after infection. And, if you don’t have symptoms, you can come back after a negative test after 7 days, or even without a test after 10 days. How about that?
Too bad they didn’t figure this out earlier, huh? Thanks experts!
🔥 Two weeks into the new mask mandate, cases in New York City are up an astounding +542% … and they are up +863% since the Golden Apple started its vaccine passport program. So.
🔥 The moving average case fatality rate (CFR) in South Africa — the putative origin of Omicron — has crashed through the floor. It’s now reporting at the lowest levels EVER. The CFR is the ratio between confirmed cases and confirmed deaths. Since September 2020, it has averaged around 4% in South Africa, spiking up to 10% at times, and dipping three times to just under 2% — the previous lows.
But since December 20 or so, it fell straight down and has been hovering just above zero. For the first time. Ever. It sure looks like a “pandemic over” moment.
🔥 The New York Times — the Times! — ran an unexpected article yesterday QUESTIONING BOOSTERS. I am not making that up. The headline was “Israel Considers 4th Vaccine Dose, but Some Experts Say It’s Premature.”
And check out the subhead: “Some scientists warn that too many shots might actually harm the body’s ability to fight the Covid-19 virus. But Israeli experts say there isn’t time to wait.”
There’s such as thing as “too many shots?” Holy unexpected headlines, Batman.
Now, that subhead could have gotten you thrown off Twitter about ten seconds ago. The Twitter censors must really be struggling over what to do about this one.
The article comes just a few days after the paper’s 49-year-old Asia editor died, just 24 hours after getting his Moderna booster. The Times now reports that boosters might not be a good idea, not at all, explaining “some scientists warned that the [booster] plan could backfire, because too many shots might cause a sort of immune system fatigue, compromising the body’s ability to fight the coronavirus.”
You don’t say!
Not only that, but the Times reported that a “new British report shows that booster doses are less effective against Omicron than previous variants, and their effectiveness wears off faster — within 10 weeks.” Who could have seen THAT coming?
After almost six months of pushing boosters every chance it got, the Times now reports — as straight news — quotes from Israeli scientists that disagree with the proposed booster plan. “I respect the opinion of those who say better safe than sorry,” Professor Hagai Levine said, “and there is no problem with being prepared. But before giving a fourth shot, it is preferable to wait for the science.”
Wait for the science? In the middle of a pandemic? But why?
The story doesn’t just quote one person. It quotes SEVERAL people raising questions about the wisdom of boosting in response to the Omicron variant. In case you missed the point. For example, it quoted Chely Edery, 59, the owner of a gift shop in Jerusalem. “Like many people, I’m very ambivalent. The last thing I want is for my business to close, but I have the feeling that this time, they don’t know enough.”
Now remember, when corporate media quotes some random person, it’s to editorialize, to push the reporter’s view disguised as straight news. They quoted shopkeeper Edery to make a point. Has the Times shifted its view about the wisdom of boosters? Did the untimely death of its Asia editor have something to do with it?
The story ends on this note: Benny Muchawsky, 80, an architect, said the booster plan “seemed like hysteria.” Hysteria! The Times finally discovers hysteria in a government’s Covid response! It’s a Covid miracle.
I’m taking this for a very good sign.
🔥 Joe Rogan doesn’t think his sold-out April event in Vancouver, Canada, is going to happen. He explained, “I don’t think I can even get into the country. I’m not vaccinated. I’m not going to get vaccinated. I have antibodies — it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think I can go, and even if I do go, I don’t trust that Vancouver’s not going to follow suit along with what Toronto did, cut capacity by 50%.”
🔥 The 2021 population migration figures have come in, and there seems to be a pattern emerging. It’s hard to say for sure, but some states seem to be doing better than others, for some reason. Florida is the biggest gainer, adding +220,890 citizens. Of course, California is the biggest loser, as -367,299 of its most productive citizens have now fled the state as Covid refugees. The second place rungs on the ladders of triumph and shame are respectively occupied by Texas (+170,307) and New York (-352,185).
I wish I could figure out what the difference is. It’s so weird. I feel like there must be a simple explanation of some kind for this mass-migration event. But what? There could be yet ANOTHER shift in congressional house seats in favor of red states soon.
Have a terrific Tuesday and enjoy the last few days of 2021. I’ll catch you back here tomorrow morning, for more.
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