☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Tuesday, January 25, 2022 ☙ A GREAT ASSET 🦠
DC rally update; FDA cancels mABs; Biden shows how not-mean he is, or isn't; a NY judge blocks the mask mandate; Gottlieb calls for end to mandates; great news about Covid stats; and more...
And we’re back! Good morning and happy Tuesday, C&Cers. Sorry about the wait. Today we have a steaming cup of Covid news, including: a DC rally update; the FDA cancels monoclonal antibody treatments; Biden shows how classy and definitely not mean the new administration is; a judge blocks New York’s mask mandate; Scott Gottlieb, of all people, calls for an end to mandates; great news about US Covid infections; quadruple-jabbed Israel sees cases continue to escalate; France and Spain jump on the Narrative 2.0 bandwagon; and Florida’s weekly report looks GREAT.
🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞
📢 Sunday, I spoke before thousands at the March for Freedom Rally in Washington DC, framed by the Lincoln Memorial, in freezing weather, with dozens of other high-profile speakers from across the political spectrum, continuing for almost three hours until the park service cut the power promptly when the rally’s permit expired at 3:30pm.
I was in the final segment, just after Del Bigtree and Angela Stanton King. Del was the final speaker before the power went off, but fortunately someone from the giant crowd happened to have a handy portable PA system, and they wired it in, allowing us to continue for several more minutes until law enforcement made it clear the event was over.
I did a Facebook live pre-event, but unfortunately the sound wasn’t great. If I ever do another one I’ll bring some audio equipment.
It was a terrific, high-energy event, despite the temperature and the long program, and even though I was grateful to climb into a scalding-hot shower back at the hotel later, with thousands of marchers streaming from the Washington Monument down both sides of the reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial, where a giant stage was set up. The speakers included nearly everyone publicly engaged in the battle against mandates, plus many more, like first responders, vaccine injured folks, a platoon of doctors, comedians, singers, and political figures. Notable by their absence: no politicians.
The airports were half empty, as were the planes, both ways. I don’t know whether it had anything to do with the lecture that the pilot delivered before takeoff yesterday, explaining how much authority he and the cabin stewards have to enforce mask mandates, or the TWO “mask safety checks” that had to be completed before we got underway. I also don’t know whether it had anything to do with the pilot’s omission of any suggestion to “relax” or “enjoy your flight.” Or whether it was his instruction to replace the mask between bites of pretzel.
But it does seem like air travel is getting to be more of a painful ordeal than ever these days. Hopefully Narrative 2.0 will chuck this unpleasant chapter into the history books soon. Hard to imagine though.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
💊 Yesterday the Florida Department of Health announced it is closing ALL of the state’s monoclonal treatment centers. According to a press release, the reason is that the FDA abruptly, without warning, revoked the existing EUAs for the two most common mABs — Regeneron and bamlanivimab. The FDA’s rationale was that these two mABs are “not effective against Omicron,” although there is no clinical evidence showing the lack of effectiveness, much less a total failure to help.
I might add that all the experts agree, and all the studies confirm, that the VACCINES are also not effective against Omicron. So we should revoke their EUAs too, to be consistent, right? Anyone? Bueller?
Science! Shut up!
💊 Meanwhile, the FDA has green-lighted wide scale distribution of Merck’s Covid pill, Molnupiravir, which according to a December 13 article in the journal Nature, failed to show any more efficacy than a placebo in its final clinical trials. The Nature article’s headline advises, “Merck’s COVID pill loses its lustre: what that means for the pandemic.”
Furthermore, the article explains that some scientists are actually worried about Merck’s drug, saying “molnupiravir’s novel mechanism of action has the potential for long-term safety risks.” The drug works by incorporating itself into Covid’s genes and interfering with its ability to replicate. But, according to Nature, “intentionally introducing mutations into viral RNA might create a more dangerous version of SARS-CoV-2, critics say.” Sounds great.
The FDA did not comment on why it approved an EUA for a drug whose CLINICAL TRIALS failed to show efficacy but cancelled the EUA for existing drugs without any clinical evidence of a failure to show efficacy. So. Weird.
I say Florida’s Department of Health should use its clinics to distribute free horse dewormer and fluvoxamine, since the mABs are now arbitrarily unavailable.
🔥 At the end of a photo op yesterday, responding to a question from Fox’s Peter Doocy about whether inflation was a political liability, Hunter Biden’s father, Joe Biden, answered clearly, on camera, that “it’s a great asset—more inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.”
It’s a good thing we don’t have that disrespectful mean-tweeter in office anymore!
🔥 New York State’s mask mandate was blocked yesterday by a Nassau County judge, who ruled the mandate is unconstitutional and violates state law. But since there was a previous ruling by another state-court judge that the mandate WAS constitutional, New York’s delusional governor Kathy Hochul said that the order was effectively stayed, and so several school districts have announced they will not comply with the injunction. Sound familiar? Game on.
🔥 Yesterday, former FDA director and new Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb, in a Squawk Box interview, said that mask and vaccine mandates should be ended. “I think certainly on the east coast where you see cases declining dramatically we need to be willing to lean in and do that very soon; I think as conditions improve we have to be willing to relax some of these measures with the same speed that we put them in place,” he said.
The former commissioner explained that “the only way to get compliance from people and get accommodation [is] if we demonstrate the ability to withdraw these [mandates] in the same manner in which we put them in.”
So. But don’t throw away your masks yet.
🔥 US Covid infections have been falling sharply. According to an article in the Epoch Times yesterday, back on January 10th, 4,110 out of every million Americans recorded infections, but that rate was only 2,643 as late as Friday, and had fallen to only 615 per million by Sunday. This sharp drop tracks the South African experience with Omicron, where the final wave was tall but very narrow, meaning the cases shot up quickly and then fell again just as fast as they had increased.
💉 But in Israel, where two boosters are now required, cases are still on the rise. Health authorities reported a 30% positivity rate yesterday. That’s one out of every three tested. The vaccine-happy country reported 67,198 new cases on Sunday alone, with over 500,000 active cases — which would be equivalent to 18 million active cases here in the US. Just saying.
🔥 Joining other European countries like Britain, Ireland, Scotland, and the Czech Republic, late last week France announced easing of Covid restrictions possibly including its draconian vaccine passport. According to France24, Health Minister Olivier Véran said “we are a bit more confident in saying we can relax some of these constraints and let people return to life as normal as possible.”
France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex and other officials said that even the vaccine passport system might be cancelled if the Covid numbers continue to improve.
Similarly, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told reporters late last week that the European Union should just treat Covid like the flu, since studies and data have shown Omicron is far less virulent than previous variants. “What we are saying is that in the next few months and years, we are going to have to think, without hesitancy and according to what science tells us, how to manage the pandemic with different parameters,” Sánchez said obliquely.
📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA* 📊
There’s great news in the Florida weekly report! We see clear evidence now that the winter wave is already headed back DOWN.
Most significant is Florida’s R-naught, which has now dropped to 0.54 — a clear sign that infections are shrinking fast. It is even close to the low point of 0.40 at the pre-Omicron trough.
Cases, which had slowed in the last update, but had still increased a little, fell dramatically this week from 430,297 to 289,204 — cut almost in half. Beds fell for the first time since the winter wave began, from 11,276 to 10,794. Since hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, we’ll be anticipating an even more significant drop in next week’s update.
No hospitals were overwhelmed.
Positivity rates and cases per 100K were also down from the previous week’s report.
So the best evidence that we have shows Covid infections are falling fast, all around the country. Just in time for the State of the Union!
Have a terrific Tuesday, and I’ll see you back here as usual tomorrow morning for more caffeine-loaded Covid news and commentary.
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