☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Tuesday, February 1, 2022 ☙ CANCELING MANDATES 🦠
A Canadian Trucker protest update; an unexpected Reuters headline; tons of mandates falling; and the Florida Senate passes a great pro-small-business bill.
Happy Tuesday, C&Cers! Today’s roundup is all good news: Canadian Trucker protest update; Narrative 2.0 continues to play out as expected; an unexpected Reuters headline; England cancels its healthcare mandates; Denver cancels its mandates; Massachusetts encourages colleges to cancel mandates; the New York Times encourages schools to cancel mask mandates; the University of Florida cancels mass testing and invokes the flu; and the Florida Senate passes a fantastic bill protecting small business.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🚛 The Canadian Truckers have now raised nearly TEN MILLION DOLLARS. Fox News pointed out that is more money than the major federal political parties of Canada raised during the last quarter of 2021. Possibly in response, yesterday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a video presser from exile, outside his secret bunker, essentially making two points. First, the triple-jabbed Prime Minister says he has tested positive for Covid, so he has to quarantine. He’s not scared. It’s for everyone ELSE’s safety.
Next he addressed the protest obliquely; criticizing the truckers without naming them. He said that Canadians have a “right to make their voice heard,” but NOT a right to “shut down our democracy or annoy their fellow citizens.” How Canadian! You can protest, but just do it where nobody can hear you. He also said he won’t cave to racists or people who disrespect veterans. Nobody seems to know what he’s talking about.
Trudeau allowed that SOME protests are okay, like Black Lives Matter, whenever he — Trudeau — agrees with the issue. I am not making that up. Trudeau seems to think he’s the arbiter of acceptable thought. Most Canadians don’t appear to share his high opinion of himself.
The truckers, for their part, are parked in the capital; today will be the fifth day. They don’t seem to be planning to leave anytime soon.
The Canadian Broadcasting Co. is desperately running stories suggesting that the trucker protest is really a RUSSIAN MISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN. I’m not joking. Don’t ask me to explain how that would possibly work, or why the Russians would be interested in staging a trucker protest over vaccine mandates in Canada. It is absolutely the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it passes for news up there somehow.
💊 You’re going to need to put your coffee down before you read this next story. Reuters — and I am not making this up either — actually published a story yesterday headlined, “Ivermectin shows ‘antiviral effect’ against COVID, Japanese company says.”
I know, you can’t believe your eyes. But yes, you DID read that right. Reuters published a pro-Ivermectin story.
According to Reuters, a publicly-traded Japanese pharma company called Kowa reported it has been working with Tokyo’s Kitasato University to test the anti-parasite drug against common Covid variants, and it was seeing positive results in its clinical study.
That’s it. That’s all Reuters has. No other details.
So … why now? Why publish a nothing-burger story with a big headline suggesting that Ivermectin might actually help? Until ten minutes ago, mentioning anything positive about the drug was expressly forbidden by media censors. There are a ton of ivermectin studies going on all around the planet. Why this one?
The story includes plenty of shade; it mentions Joe Rogan, and that ivermectin hasn’t been approved by any major health agency for Covid treatment. But still. You can’t get around that headline. What’s going on?
💉 Great Britain announced yesterday that it is canceling its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. UK health secretary Sajid Javid said they were canceling the mandate for SAFETY, of course, and because Omicron. Javid said he’s worried that the vaccine mandate will “endanger patients” because of the loss of key healthcare personnel from an already understaffed health service. You don’t say.
Before the announcement, healthcare workers had until February 3 to get their first jab or be fired. According to the Guardian UK, England’s National Health Service reports that as of late January, 127,515 medical workers had not gotten their first shot. Isn’t it weird how so many people with MEDICAL TRAINING don’t want the jabs? SO bizarre.
In an address to Parliament, Javid said, “While vaccination remains our very best line of defence, I believe it is no longer proportionate to require vaccination as a condition of employment by statute. I will launch a consultation on ending vaccination as condition of employment in health and all social care settings. Subject to the response and the will of this house, the government will revoke these regulations.”
Now, try to follow me here. If labor shortages caused by vaccine mandates for healthcare workers would hurt patients in Great Britain more than letting unvaccinated staff work in hospitals, wouldn’t that be true here in the U.S. as well? Does Covid work differently over there somehow?
💉 Denver, of all places, announced the retirement of its mask mandate and vaccine passport rules for local businesses, starting Friday. The mile-high city will still keep mask mandates at schools and day cares though, for “safety.” In making the announcement, Denver’s mayor said the virus will just be something “we’re going to have to manage and learn to live with.”
In other words, it’s endemic now.
Interestingly, the mayor said the STATE’S data models showed that lifting the mask mandate this week would have “little change” on the number of cases and hospitalizations in metro Denver. So this is coming from the Colorado state government, using “data models,” which can show anything you want. I wonder what could cause the State of Colorado to shift away from mandates.
🔥 In a remarkably similar development, the Massachusetts governor’s office sent a letter to college and university presidents yesterday, urging them to — and I am not making this up — end the campus Covid-19 mandates and restrictions. The letter darkly warns administrators about a “twindemic” of Covid plus social isolation, and decries the mental health epidemic affecting young people.
I guess they just noticed it?
Anyway, the letter encourages higher education institutions to be leaders; to lead the shift back to “near normal” by rolling back college Covid restrictions and investing in mental health services.
And they’re talking about almost all restrictions AND testing. The letter says:
“Early in the pandemic, we made trade-offs, and veered on the side of remote learning and isolation. Overly strict protocols that inhibit any level of social interaction are counterproductive at this time. Now is the time to reconsider these protocols, to help promote a return to healthy social interactions, including [by removing]: remote learning; restricting or discouraging group activities; overly aggressive surveillance testing; and mask type requirements.”
The letter didn’t mention vaccine or booster mandates, at all. They left that one alone for now. It doesn’t encourage or discourage jabs or take any position on them. But if they meant to keep the jab mandates, I would’ve expected to see that in the letter.
😷 In another unlikely development, the New York Times published an op-ed late last week headlined, “Let Kids Take Their Masks Off After the Omicron Surge.” Curiously, the op-ed is written by one of the Times’ staff op-ed columnists, Michelle Goldberg. I say curiously, because just four days earlier, Goldberg penned another op-ed, except this one was headlined, “What does it mean to be ‘Done with Covid?’ While the pandemic rages, normality isn’t an option.”
So, what happened over four days to transform one of the Times’ top opinion editors from “normality isn’t an option” in her January 24th editorial, but just four days later, to “masking was intended to be a short-term intervention” and “keeping kids in masks month after month also inflicts harm, even if it’s not always easy to measure”?
The new op-ed also reveals how they are going to thread the mask needle. Goldberg described a Harvard professor who suggests that “For anyone who fears moving away from universal masking, the great news is that they can continue to wear an N95 mask — along with being vaccinated and boosted — and live a low-risk life regardless of what others around them are doing.”
See? In other words, if you’re scared about being around maskless people, just put on an N95 mask, take your jabs, and you’ll be good to go! I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that sounds very similar to what we’ve been saying since day one. So.
🔥 The Florida Senate passed SB 620 late last week. The bill is called the “Local Business Protection Act,” and would allow local businesses to sue local governments if they pass any regulations reducing business profits by more than 15%. It offers various protections to local governments, such as limiting the recovery of lost profits to only 7 years, and giving local governments a three-month window to “undo” the regulation after being notified of a claim.
This would be a HUGE boost for small businesses if it passes in the House. I think it is mostly aimed at cruise ship restrictions in places like Key West, but it would also limit all kinds of other kooky socialist ideas like massively-expensive requirements for landlords to install “climate-change” features. Just think about what a law like this would have meant back when local governments were shutting down “non-essential” businesses back in 2020 and ordering restaurants to close indoor dining, or making them space their tables out, and all that other nonsense that accomplished exactly nothing.
C&C officially supports SB 620. Pass it!
🔥 The University of Florida sent out a remarkable letter Friday to the entire campus, announcing that “as the COVID-19 pandemic transitions to an endemic and the omicron surge rapidly declines,” the University of Florida is going to start “treating COVID as we do other contagious illnesses such as the flu.”
Now, I’m old enough to remember back in the old days when comparing Covid to the flu would get you banned from Facebook for killing grandma.
Anyway, UF’s “next phase” includes canceling asymptomatic mass testing of students. Now, Covid tests will be available on demand in Student Health Services, which is where a student would go to get a flu test, for example. Once mass testing goes away, the pandemic IS over. What will the media do then?
The letter seems a little defensive in its tone, in spots. For example, it carefully points out that “these changes have the full support and encouragement of our campus public health experts, and UF is by no means an outlier in this regard. Many other leading universities around the country are adopting similar approaches.”
See? Everybody else is doing it. It must be “consensus.”
The letter was signed by no fewer than EIGHT administrators. Safety in numbers. You can’t be too careful, after all.
Are you spotting a pattern of any kind in these stories? I don’t know, it’s so hard to tell. Oh well. I can’t wait for that State of the Union in a month. How about you?
📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY* 📊
This week’s update saw a drop of almost -100,000 cases statewide. In other words, cases fell by a third last week. Hospitalizations were also down again, now back below 10,000 for the week. Most significantly, the R-naught fell again, now at a near-record low of 0.45, showing that the pace of retreat of the virus is accelerating. And, highly-injected Alachua County continues to perform worse than the state average, even though it always performed better than the state during the pre-injection period.
The Alachua County Medieval Faire was extremely well-attended this weekend, by all accounts, with nary a mask to be seen, except for a few birdlike medieval plague masks, a nice touch. I’ve got to grab one of those; it would be fun to wear it on an airplane, and it feels like there might not be a lot of time left to do that.
Another week or two and the Omicron wave should be over.
Have a terrific Tuesday! I’ll see you back here tomorrow for another warm cup of Covid news.
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