☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Tuesday, September 14, 2021 ☙ Vaccinate or Terminate 🦠

Today’s roundup includes news about the City of Gainesville’s leadership implosion, Governor DeSantis’ blockbuster press conference yesterday supporting our lawsuit, the two FDA leaders ...

Happy Tuesday! As I head into a showdown with the City of Gainesville over its “vaccinate or terminate” policy on behalf of over 250 city employees, I will be in trial preparation mode and C&C will be running a little shorter than usual. But we’ll be back to full steam next week.

Today’s roundup includes news about the City of Gainesville’s leadership implosion, Governor DeSantis’ blockbuster press conference yesterday supporting our lawsuit, the two FDA leaders who resigned speak out about boosters in a widely-published scientific opinion, and a new study destroys the Covid hospitalization metric.

🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞

🔥 My local City of Gainesville — which passed one of the very first “vaccinate or terminate” policies in Florida — continues its rapid implosion of leadership. The City has six key charter officers. With the resignation yesterday of City Manager Lee Feldman, five of the six have quit since the summer. In a midnight session yesterday the City Commission tried to fire the sixth officer, the Regional Utility’s General Manager, but after a showing of robust support from GRU employees and citizens, Ed Bielarski narrowly managed to hold onto his job.

🔥 Governor DeSantis held a press conference in Newberry, Florida yesterday supporting heroic first responders and other City employees who are suing the City of Gainesville over its “vaccinate or terminate” policy. Standing beside the Governor were Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, U.S. Congresswoman Kat Cammack, State Senator Keith Perry, and State Representatives Chuck Clemons and Chuck Brannan, many of whom also spoke.

DeSantis said emphatically that “We’re here today to make it very clear that we are going to stand for the men and women who are serving us, we’re going to protect Florida jobs, we are not going to let people be fired.”

The Governor said that the City of Gainesville was acting illegally: “if a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition to employment, that violates Florida law.”

A number of first responders from Gainesville and Orange County spoke passionately about their belief that the personal choice to take the Covid vaccine should be voluntary and not coerced.

DeSantis referred to the two FDA leaders who abruptly resigned two weeks ago, pointing out that “Biden’s administration came out and said we’re going to do boosters on a specific day, but it had not been studied by the FDA … Can you imagine if Trump had unilaterally set a date for FDA, without their having underlying data? The corporate press would have a meltdown. It would be wall-to-wall hysteria about him perverting science and not following the experts or whatever.”

The Governor also said that Biden’s vaccine mandate was unconstitutional. He referred to Biden’s comments about brushing uncooperative governors out of the way, saying that governors are constitutionally designed to “be on the front lines of pushing back when the federal government, particularly the president, is overreaching.”

DeSantis said, “My message from Florida is this: when Joe Biden violates the Constitution, when Joe Biden attacks the jobs of Floridians and Americans, when Joe Biden targets the livelihoods of Florida families and American families, I am fighting back against him. .. He’s got no authority to do what he’s doing. .. We are going to be on the front line with a full-spectrum response. That is the least we can be doing.”

He also attacked Biden over the disgraceful exit from Afghanistan. “If he spent a little less time talking about Florida, and more time doing his job as commander in chief, we might not have 13 service members who were killed in action in Afghanistan because of his ineptitude and dereliction of duty. He’s embarrassed this country by leaving billions of dollars of military equipment in the hands of terrorist groups.”

DeSantis isn’t wrong.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said she was going to file an amicus brief supporting the courageous City employees in their lawsuit against Gainesville. By mid-day, the AG’s office had filed a motion seeking permission from the court to file its supportive brief.

🔥 Speaking of the two FDA leaders who abruptly resigned two weeks ago. People speculated the resignations were over Biden’s booster plan. The two directors who quit were Philip Krause and Marion Gruber, director and vice-director of the FDA’s vaccine research review bureau. Well, yesterday they and a bunch of other scientists published an opinion article in the Lancet and other high-profile journals.

The article, titled “Considerations in boosting COVID-19 vaccine immune responses,” warns AGAINST booster shots.

The article begins by stating that “Careful and public scrutiny of the evolving data will be needed to assure that decisions about boosting are informed by reliable science more than by politics.“ You’d think something like that would be common sense, not controversial. Not these days, apparently.

“Evolving data” means they still doing know exactly what’s going on. Things are changing constantly. And the reference to “politics” instead of “reliable science” was an indirect shot at Joe Biden.

The most compelling argument for boosters are the immunocompromised, who may need extra protection because some experts think they are a high-risk group. But the article points out, “It is not known whether such immunocompromised individuals would receive more benefit from an additional dose of the same vaccine or of a different vaccine that might complement the primary immune response.”

So, they don't even know WHICH booster shot will help an immunocompromised person. They don't mention the lack of data about efficacy of boosters in immunocompromised at all.

The authors’ next argument is that there currently doesn’t appear to be any NEED for boosters. The vaccines appear to still be effective at reducing the risk (to whatever extent) of severe illness and death. They say the data shows the vaccines are equally effective at this against all known variants: “the currently available evidence does not show the need for widespread use of booster vaccination in populations that have received and effective primary vaccination regimen.”

So why boost? What’s the rush? Why is the Biden Administration pushing boosters? What’s the science? Shouldn’t we follow it or something?

Their second argument was that boosters should be designed to address the most common variants. This is the flu-shot approach. But the current boosters were designed for wild-type virus.

The third argument was that boosters present unknown risks: “there could be risks if boosters are widely introduced too soon, or too frequently, especially with vaccines that can have immune-mediated side-effects (such as myocarditis, which is more common after the second dose of some mRNA vaccines, or Guillain-Barre syndrome, which has been associated with adenovirus-vectored COVID-19 vaccines).”

It’s pretty clear where they’re going with all that. In other words, NOBODY KNOWS. Boosting at this point is half-witted insanity.

🔥 In a story headlined, “Our Most Reliable Pandemic Number Is Losing Meaning,” the Atlantic reported yesterday that “a new, nationwide study of hospitalization records … suggests that the meaning of [“hospitalizations”] can easily be misinterpreted—and that it has been shifting over time.”

Imagine that. If only we’d known. All those hysterical reports of overwhelmed hospitals based on bed counts.

The Atlantic points out that the reports that hospitals have to give about their Covid patients don’t distinguish asymptomatic and mild cases from more serious cases. Again, if only someone had pointed this out earlier. So how can we know how many “real” Covid patients are in the hospital?

The paper reports that “In August, researchers from Harvard Medical School, Tufts Medical Center, and the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System decided to find out.”

The researchers analyzed electronic medical records of 50,000 Covid hospital admissions at the 100+ VA hospitals in the United States. They checked to see whether a patient needed supplemental oxygen or had a blood oxygen level below 94 percent — the NIH’s own definition for “severe COVID.” If either of these conditions were met, the researchers classified that patient as having moderate to severe disease; otherwise, the case was considered mild or asymptomatic.

Guess what they found? From mid-January through the end of June 2021, the proportion of patients with mild or asymptomatic disease was 48 percent (48%). In other words, HALF.

So basically, the study suggests that HALF of all the hospitalized patients showing up on Covid-data dashboards in 2021 were probably admitted for another reason entirely, or had only a mild case of the disease. Half.

The researchers also discovered an outsized number of hospitalized Covid patients who’d been vaccinated — fifty-seven percent (57%). The Atlantic’s experts speculated that this is a GOOD SIGN because it suggests that a lot of vaccinated folks might have mild or asymptomatic forms of the infection. Uh-huh. Why a good sign? “People ask me, ‘Why am I getting vaccinated if I just end up in the hospital anyway?’” Daniel Griffin, an infectious-disease specialist at Columbia University said. “But I say, ‘You’ll end up leaving the hospital.’”

Oh, okay. So I guess we’d better stop saying the drugs prevent hospitalization, huh? You still get to go to the hospital, where they just give you remdesivir and put you on the vent, but your hospitalization won’t be AS bad. Or something.

The article concludes with this quote from one of the quoted experts: “we should refine the definition of ‘hospitalization.’ Those patients who are there ‘with’ rather than ‘from’ COVID don’t belong in the metric.”

You don’t say, doc, you don’t say.

🔥 UF Health — which runs the massive Shands hospital complex — published an advisory Sunday that says if you want the monoclonal antibody treatment, don’t bother coming to the hospital. The notice said:

> “You may have heard of monoclonal antibody treatment to help with COVID-19 infection. If you’re interested in receiving treatment, please do NOT go to emergency rooms in Gainesville. The closest facility for no-cost monoclonal antibody treatment is available at Fellowship Church in High Springs, Florida.”

So let me get this straight. A simple outpatient treatment that is over 70% effective at preventing serious illness and death in symptomatic Covid cases ISN’T AVAILABLE AT YOUR HOSPITAL? But … WHY NOT? What on Earth is going on?

📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY* 📊

I noticed a lot of chatter on Twitter yesterday about Florida’s ‘high’ Covid cases and deaths based on some articles in South Florida newspapers. Nonsense. The seven-day average cases in Florida is down over forty-percent (40%) in TWO WEEKS. So, people, PLEASE.

Have a terrific Tuesday and I’ll be right back here tomorrow.


Join the C&C Army!
You can also find me on MeWe, mewe.com/i/coffee_and_covid.