☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Tuesday, November 23, 2021 ☙ HOLIDAY BOOSTERS 🦠

New OTC treatments; vaccine passport logic; FBI pays MSD parents for failing to do its one job; China targets barking and meowing anti-vaxxers; NYT argues for perma-masks; and more...

Happy Tuesday, C&C! In today’s roundup: UF researchers find more effective over-the-counter treatments; vaccine passports make less sense than ever; a federal judge shot down Florida’s lawsuit against the CMS mandate as speculative; the FBI has to pay up for its incompetence; a new Florida bill would allow for the recall of more local officials; China is going after the anti-vaxxer animal reservoir; the New York Times makes the case for perma-masks under a deceptive headline; the CDC approves holiday boosters; Biden’s approval “unexpectedly” drops again; US Covid deaths shoot past 2020 levels, and you’ll never guess whose fault it is; and some important new research on coffee drinking.

🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞

💊 According to a new study by UF Health published in the journal Pathogens, two over-the-counter medications kill almost 100% of Covid virus in vitro when combined together. When the researchers mixed diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) with lactoferrin (a protein from milk), the compound reduced virus replication in monkey lung tissue by 99%. Sounds good. So, UF, now what?

🔥 The debate on vaccine passports continues in the UK. I’m so confused about vaccine passports. What, exactly, is the goal? Is it to reduce the spread of the virus by keeping uninjected people out of congregate venues? If so, since we now know that the injections don’t stop transmission, passports won’t work. Full stop. So, why do something expensive, discriminatory, and controversial that won’t work?

What I am starting to think is that vaccine passports aren’t about disease control at all. It’s beginning to look like they’re just a way to punish people who won’t take the shots. And any politician who goes along with that should end up in chokey. Probably solitary would be best. And then let the batteries on the digital key run out.

I wish a lawyer in New York City would take this on and make someone say — on the record, under oath — exactly what the justification is to violate constitutional rights and bar uninjected people from public accommodations. Let’s get someone in New York City’s government under deposition to explain WHY and what science they based it on. I’d be happy to brainstorm the lawsuit with you.

🔥 Saturday, federal Judge Casey Rodgers issued an 11-page order denying Florida’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the federal CMS injection mandate. Judge Rodgers said the state hasn’t proved irreparable harm. Her reasoning was that the state was just SPECULATING that a lot of healthcare workers would be laid off, because exemptions, and it was just speculating that the federal government would follow through with defunding noncompliant hospitals. I mean, how can you ever really know for sure?

Presumably, the case is next heading to the Eleventh Circuit on appeal.

🔥 According to Florida Politics, the FBI agreed to pay $127.5 million dollars to the families of 17 students killed in the 2018 Marjorie Stoneman Douglas school shooting incident. Documents discovered after the shooting showed that the FBI had received credible information that the shooter was threatening to shoot up the school but failed to investigate.

Imagine how different things would have been if the shooter had criticized the school board. Then the FBI probably would have gotten right on it. You have to have your priorities.

Shooter Nikolas Cruz pled guilty last month to 17 counts of first-degree murder. He’ll either get a death sentence or life in prison. The penalty phase of his trial begins in January.

🔥 Florida Senator Joe Gruters and House Rep Jayer Williamson filed identical bills yesterday proposing a constitutional amendment to allow the recall of a lot of county officials who are currently exempt from the recall process. The list includes county clerks of court, property appraisers, sheriffs, supervisors of elections, and tax collectors. It’s a good start. Should we multiply one of them?

🔥 According to Indian newspapers, China is now euthanizing pets of citizens who test positive for Covid. They are going after the animal reservoir, once and for all. Anti-vaxxer cats and dogs haven’t responded to threats of loss of employment, and they are just stubbornly refusing to get the jabs. So. What else are you supposed to do?

Some people like these kinds of policies. In a podcast interview that made the rounds yesterday, fretful CDC director Rochelle Walensky boasted “to give you a sense of what lockdowns were able to do in other countries, and I mean really strict lockdowns, in China their death rate is 3 per million.”

It’s cute how she believes the numbers reported by the Chinese communist government, isn’t it? China hasn’t reported a single “covid-involved” death since May of 2020. It’s a Covid miracle! Thanks, pets!

🔥 The New York Times ran a supposedly straight-news story yesterday headlined, “When Can the Covid Masks Finally Come Off?” An excellent question, except the answer was, “never.” The subhead confirms this: “Although the end of mask mandates is in sight, restrictions should remain in place through the holidays, experts say.”

Fourteen days to slow the spread!

The rest of the article is a grab-bag discussion comparing different state policies and interviewing cherry-picked pro-mask “experts.” I think the reporter’s idea was to give local governments and private businesses talking points for continuing mask mandates even in states like Florida where they are officially banned. Thanks, New York Times, for this insightful and elucidating reporting.

🔥 You saw this coming, right? On Friday, the CDC approved booster shots for everyone 18 and over. A few weeks ago, the FDA and CDC panels thought that only people aged 65 and older should get the extra shots. But after reflecting on it some more, or something, now they all think everybody could use more spike proteins. It’s amazing how much difference a few weeks makes during this interminable pandemic.

Panel member Dr. Oliver Brooks explained his decision like this: “I think important data … is the case rate is increasing and … there’s information that shows that there is some protection, at least for the first couple of months, in terms of potential transmission as we hit the holidays.”

Some protection. For the first couple months. For the holidays.

Holiday boosters!

ABC News reported that “the FDA said the benefits of a booster dose outweigh the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis, [and] heart inflammation conditions that have been linked to the mRNA vaccines[.]” So, there could be some collateral damage. But it’s okay. Because COLLECTIVELY the survivors will be better off. Thanks for your sacrifice!

This month, the FDA released the first 94 pages out of 325,000 pages of Pfizer’s clinical trial data, in the agency’s 55-year commitment to be fully transparent with the American people. So.

🔥 For some reason, in spite of all the great news about boosters and FDA transparency, former senator Joe Biden’s approval rating fell again this month in the polls, to a record new low of 36%. Weird.

🔥 The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that, despite two-thirds of Americans having been fully injected, the number of U.S. Covid deaths in 2021 has now passed total Covid-related deaths in 2020. It’s so odd. Experts are baffled.

The Journal unironically reported that “Covid-19 has proven to be an enduring threat even in some of the most vaccinated places, many of which are confronting outbreaks again now[.]” Safe and effective.

Whose fault is it? Public health officials. The WSJ said, “public-health officials failed to effectively communicate that the purpose of vaccines is to protect against severe cases of Covid-19 rather than to prevent the spread of infection entirely, which may have led some to doubt the effectiveness of the shots.”

See? It was just bad communication. Stupid public health experts! Now people are dead.

But public health experts aren’t taking this criticism lying down. They think it wasn’t their fault. It’s stubbornness. Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo, chief of internal medicine at the University of Miami, said he’s had “a lot of meetings with family where they say, ‘Oh he’s so stubborn, we told him to get vaccinated, but he wouldn’t.’”

So stubborn.

And also, it’s the injections fault! According to the Journal’s cherry-picked experts, the injections just aren’t perfect. “The vaccine is not a panacea,” said Ana Bento, an epidemiologist at Indiana University. But I thought … oh, never mind.

🔬 A new study published in PLOS Medicine found that drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk dementia, memory loss and reduced cognitive function. People who drank two or three cups of coffee per day had up to a 20% lower risk for stroke or dementia compared with those who consumed neither beverage, the data showed.

So! You’re in the right place.

Have a terrific Tuesday! Invite an unvaccinated person to Thanksgiving dinner since their relatives are probably demanding a negative test to visit. And, I’ll see you tomorrow.


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