☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Saturday, August 21, 2021 ☙ Triple Jabs and Masks
LOTS of news today after our C&C Army update. The best news, down at the bottom, is that this week’s Covid report shows Florida is finally over the summer peak. More news of bumbling and fumbling federal mismanagement throws more shade on the federal Covid response. Europe unmasks kids while Joe Biden mobilizes the entire ineffective federal bureaucracy to force kids to wear them. NPR tries — and fails — to explain what’s happening in Israel. Docs in North Texas who advise hospitals withdraw a leaked scheme to punish non-vaccinated folks by withholding medical care.
🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞
🪖 The C&C Army tripled in size yesterday as enrollments leapt to 166 volunteers! In two days! This might not even just be an army, I think we are looking at a movement. We are already taking action, focused now on getting our reluctant legislators back to Tallahassee for a special session. I spent two hours this morning (yes) working on developing our new national strategy, and I have a key meeting on Monday — which could only be arranged in flight — to negotiate some key alliances. Keep recruiting! https://www.patreon.com/coffee_and_covid_army.
I am so grateful for all of you. Yesterday saw even more outpouring of support. One of our C&C family even personally dropped off a gift of roasted coffee beans from his coffee-making business. I don’t even know what to say, except that if you’d told me a year ago that this kind of stuff was going to be happening, I would have told you to go lie down for a while and try to get some rest.
☎️ The C&C Calling Brigade is blowing out the phone lines. We filled up a bunch more legislative voice mailboxes yesterday as the brigade swelled to 1,053 members. Once we get the special session underway in Florida, we can start focusing on helping other states and helping nationally. Here are the instructions for joining up if you are just reading about this for the first time:
To sign up, text 5DAY to 43506 or enroll online at app.txtsignal.io/w/a5f1d78d. Make your calls each day, leaving this message: “A special legislative session needs to be called IMMEDIATELY. People are being discriminated against and segregated based on whether or not they are vaccinated or wearing a mask. People are suffering, and this session should be called NOW.” Should only take about 5–10 minutes.
💗 Just an FYI — I have over 600 un-accepted friend requests because we hit the 5,000-friend limit a couple weeks ago. Folks need to be following at this point. Totally unreal, but there it is.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 US Allies tore into Biden yesterday, suggesting that he may have single-handedly destroyed NATO. At least he’s accomplished SOMETHING. After Britain’s parliament held a historic vote yesterday to hold Biden in contempt, the incoming German chancellor weighed in. “It is the biggest debacle that NATO has suffered since its founding,” said Armin Laschet, the candidate who will succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in September’s elections. Great job, Joe!
Remember, these are the same folks who are running the federal response to Covid, which is now totally focused on wrapping kids’ faces in cotton, even though the Florida Department of Education said in April all the data from last year did not show ANY benefit from forced face masking.
🔫 The FBI made a major announcement about the January 6 insurrection yesterday. In an exclusive report, Reuters announced that “[t]he FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result.”
It continued, “[n]inety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases,” said a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. “[T]here was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.”
According to Reuters, FBI investigators “found no evidence that the groups had serious plans about what to do if they made it inside” the Capitol. No evidence. NO evidence. In other words, NO EVIDENCE.
You know, it occurred to me that all those folks sitting around in jail without bond might have found this information useful a few months ago. They might be thinking, “you know, I wish you’d had some evidence of a conspiracy BEFORE locking us up.” Oh well! Sorry!
Reuters said, “Prosecutors have also not brought ANY charges alleging that any individual or group played a central role in organizing or leading the riot. Law-enforcement sources told Reuters no such charges appeared to be pending.” So. Weird.
The Narrative is just NOT having a very good week. Good thing these geniuses are in charge of the public health, huh?
🔥 Several articles in national media yesterday wondered why the US is ignoring the fact that most of Europe has rejected mask kids in schools, and they still seem to be doing fine. Not overwhelmed, in other words. New York Magazine’s Intelligencer ran an article headlined, “*The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain.*” Two days ago, the European CDC published its guidance, saying:
In primary schools, the use of face masks is recommended for teachers and other adults when physical distancing cannot be guaranteed, but it is not recommended for students.
NOT recommended for students.
Most students in the United Kingdom and Ireland are not masking up. From Iceland to Denmark to Switzerland, most European children — and teachers — won’t be donning masks when they return to classrooms. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health explicitly advises AGAINST masking primary school-aged children. In *Sweden*, where masks are no longer even recommended on public transit at rush hour , masks have NEVER been recommended or required in the country’s schools, either primary or secondary. They will NOT be recommended when schools open this month.
So why is the “leader of the free world” personally babbling on and on about masking kids and ordering the federal agencies to punish states if they recognize kids’ face freedom? Who know, but it is definitely NOT politics. No way. This is about the CHILDREN. Because their hair smells SO GOOD. So. Science! Shut up!
💉 Oh, dear. The narrative is on a ventilator. After months of trying to ignore the elephant standing on its Chyron, Big Media is finally being forced to grapple with and explain away the growing failure of the vaccines even to prevent serious illness. NPR published an article yesterday headlined, “*Highly Vaccinated Israel Is Seeing A Dramatic Surge In New COVID Cases. Here’s Why.*”
The article makes the following sub-headlined points:
“1. Immunity from the vaccine dips over time.”
“2. The delta variant broke through the vaccine’s waning protection.”
“3. If you get infected, being vaccinated helps.”
Now, NPR says that most of the new hospitalizations are still un-vaxx. Which doesn’t seem consistent with the news coming out of Israel. I think NPR might be a little behind the times on that one. But in any event, the article admits that that the most serious post-vaccinated Covid cases are among the most vulnerable — elderly and those with co-morbidities. In other words, the folks most likely to die. According to NPR, the non-vaxx cases are in younger people, who are much more likely to survive.
“4. Israel’s high vaccination rate isn’t high enough.”
Um. The article says that 78% of eligible Israelis have now been fully vaccinated. But it’s still not enough. We need to get to 110%. NPR claims — without citing any study or evidence or even a media-selected expert — that un-vaxx people “helped fuel the rapid spread of the virus while the country remained open.” It has to be true. So, more jabs!
Now get this. The article admits that “only around 8% of Palestinians have been fully vaccinated.” But it leaves out the MOST interesting fact: cases and hospitalizations are at the lowest point in the pandemic in the Palestinian Territories. The opposite of Israel. Right “on Israel’s doorstep.” And NPR even points out that Palestinians need a vaccine passport to enter Israel. So THEY aren’t causing the big problems in Israel. If unvaccinated folks are really the problem, why isn’t Palestine — in the same latitude, longitude, climate, and geography as Israel — why aren’t they ALSO seeing spiking hospitalizations? Why not?
“5. Vaccinations are key, but they are not enough.”
So much for getting to herd immunity with the vaxx. I guess “herd immunity” is a bad word again. If only there was another way to get to herd immunity. Don’t cancel me for saying “herd immunity.”
“6. Booster shots offer more protection — if you are one of the world’s lucky few to get them.”
Um, I really HATE to quibble, but there is NO evidence to back up this claim. The article says, “preliminary research in Israel suggests booster shots significantly increase protection against the coronavirus a week after a person receives the third dose.” PRELIMINARY research. A boost for “a week.” That doesn’t seem too encouraging. We probably need more than a week’s protection.
And, Texas governor Greg Abbott is currently recovering from Covid this week after getting a booster. Just saying.
The article notes that in the “preliminary study” of 144,000 three-jab Israelis, “a Pfizer booster shot reduced the chances of infection by 86%.” Huh. Because, and again, I hate to nit-pick, but the ORIGINAL Pfizer clinical trials reported 95% protection after two shots. 95% is still more than 86%, right? So … they’re saying the third jab doesn’t even get people back to 95%? Is there any reason to think the protection won’t start to “wane” after the booster shot, just like after the first two jabs? Or, will each successive booster also drop below the starting efficacy of the previous one? So. Many. Questions.
The article concludes by discussing this uplifting notion: “Will we need COVID-19 vaccines every several months? We don’t know.”
Hahahahaha! Got ya, suckers! Every several months? Give me a break. We don’t even take a FLU VACCINE that often. (Some of us don’t even take a flu vaccine ever. Putting everybody else at risk for flu, I guess. Just saying.)
“I don’t know of any disease where we are vaccinated every six months, and to be honest, I don’t think the public will come to get vaccinated every six months,” said Ido Hadari, the researcher leading the preliminary booster study. “But you cannot predict anything with this disease.”
Oh really? You can’t predict ANYTHING with this disease? Now you tell us. Because, throughout the last eighteen months, I seem to remember a fleet of dumptruck-loads of never-ending quasi-scientific predictions about this disease, all dressed up as Science. In fact, there was a new prediction about every ten seconds, as I recall. All of them pretty grim, too. Or maybe I’m remembering it wrong? After all, Hadari is a scientist, and I’m just a lawyer. What do I know?
🏥 The Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that it got hold of a leaked confidential internal memo written by Dr. Robert Fine, co-chair of the North Texas Mass Critical Care Guideline Task Force. The task force is a volunteer group that periodically updates medical guidelines for hospitals in the North Texas region. The memo describes guidelines for hospitals to follow “in case” the pandemic gets worse.
In his summary attached to the memo sent to the task force, the good doctor said “vaccine status therefore may be considered when making triage decisions as part of the physician’s assessment of each individual’s likelihood of survival.”
Get that? Triage decisions are the decisions doctors make when there aren’t enough medical resources to go around. So, for example, if there are only ten ICUs available for twenty patients in the ER, then Dr. Fine suggests that doctors consider whether people have refused to take the jab when deciding who gets to go into the ICU and who dies in the ER.
Think I’m exaggerating? Fine went on to say, “accommodations may be needed when the reason for non-vaccination is beyond the patient’s control … Many are understandably angry and frustrated with the unvaccinated[.]”
See what he did there? He explicitly made a distinction between people who have reasons “beyond the patient’s control” for being un-vaxxed, and folks who DON’T have a reason “beyond their control” for not taking the jab. And then, he said that “many” are “understandably angry … with the unvaccinated.” Understandably angry. Understandably.
Fine tries to obscure his tracks by concluding, “triage must remain grounded upon likelihood of survival.” But if triage was ONLY grounded on likelihood of survival, he wouldn’t have needed to say all that stuff about being angry at unvaccinated folks. And, he explicitly says “vaccine status … MAY be considered.” So what he’s saying is, he’s angry at unvaccinated people and thinks they have a lower chance of surviving — a conclusion completely unsupported by any randomized controlled trial. Then he says doctors should move people with a lower chance of surviving to the bottom of the triage list. Connect the dots.
But it leaked! Haha! And just like that, before the long day ended, at 8:15pm last night Dr. Mark Casanova — spokesman for the task force — held interviews with local media and revised the story. Casanova described the triage memo as just a “homework assignment.” Well, okay then. In a stunning reversal, Casanova told Dallas NBC-5 that vaccinations should NOT be among the factors hospitals should consider when making critical care triage decisions. Should NOT be. So never mind.
If this doesn’t explain why doctors and experts shouldn’t be in charge, I really don’t know what’s going to do it for you.
Oh, and Dr. Fine’s ShareCare listing — which only has one review — says you can reach him at (214) 820–9258 if you have any suggestions.
📊*COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY*
We have a new weekly Covid update from Florida and guess what? It finally looks like Florida is over the summer Covid peak. All the following stats show cases falling off rapidly:
— Cases fell from 151,415 last week to 150,118 this week. This is the first reduction in cases since the summer peak started in late June.
— Florida’s cases per 100K fell from 689.0 last week to 683.1 this week, the first decrease since May.
— Florida’s R-naught (the viral reproduction rate) fell from 0.93 last week to 0.89 this week — the fifth consecutive decrease.
— Alachua’s cases fell substantially from 1,644 last week to 1,494 this week, the first reduction since the summer peak started.
— Alachua’s positivity rate, although really a function of testing, fell dramatically from 16.4% last week to 14.7% this week.
— Not shown on the spreadsheet, Alachua County’s R-naught fell dramatically from 0.94 last week to 0.78 this week. Remember, as the Harvard/Yale website says, “If it’s below 1.0, COVID-19 cases will decrease in the near future.”
While hospitalizations and deaths increased a little, they increased more slowly than the previous week, and are a lagging indicator that is expected to start falling between two and three weeks after cases come down.
So it looks like we may be over the hump now. Northern states, get ready for your turn!
Have a superlative Saturday, and a blessed Sunday. I’ll see you back here on Monday to kick off the week the Coffee & Covid way. 😉
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