☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Saturday, August 28, 2021 ☙ Much Greater
Welcome to the C&C Weekend Edition! The City of Gainesville tries to lead in the area of vaccine mandates, while City employees push back in a press conference and march on City Hall yesterday. I analyze yesterday’s Leon County decision against the Governor. A new blockbuster Israeli study concludes natural infection is a LOT better protection than vaccine protection. We look at the nearly-completely-unknown conscience objection to vaccination. Weird things are happening in Australia and Denmark goes the other way.
🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞
☎️ Boy, do we need a special session now, more than ever. At over 1,300 C&C callers, we are making our voices heard every single day. If you are new here and want to help, text 5DAY to 43506 or enroll online at app.txtsignal.io/w/a5f1d78d. Leave this message at each number: “You MUST convene a special session NOW to ban vaccine mandates. Vaccine mandates are threatening entire cities! We’re out of time. It MUST be now.” It should only take about 5–10 minutes total for all five calls. It matters.
Some folks are naturals at these calls, and some folks find the calls to be a little more of a chore. To encourage everyone, post your favorite / funniest / best call story in the comments today, along with your top pro tips about how to handle calls when folks answer live.
🪖 The outpouring of support over C&C’s deplatforming has been overwhelming. Folks were sending in checks yesterday, some substantial, others were offering to help set up alternative platforms, and others cancelled their own Patreon accounts in mutual protest. I don’t know what to say. You guys are the best. We’ll have an alternative going soon, and this minor hiccup won’t stop ANYTHING that we’re doing for change.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY*
🔥 After filing the first vaccine mandate lawsuit in the state, Florida attorney Jeff Childers held a press conference yesterday calling on the City of Gainesville, Florida, to pause its vaccine mandate until it can complete a proper risk assessment, and argued that proceeding without one was irresponsible. Here’s a link to a report on the press conference. [City employees demand pause to Gainesville’s vaccine mandate | WGFL](https://mycbs4.com/news/local/city-employees-demand-pause-to-gainesvilles-vaccine-mandate). Following the press conference, over 200 protestors marched on City Hall.
(Yes, yes, I know I’m talking about myself in the third person. But it makes more sense this way if you want to paste that paragraph somewhere.)
🔥 Speaking of the City of Gainesville, its local government appears to be ripping apart at the seams. Last week, one of the commissioners, Gail Johnson, resigned in disgust. “Power has been abused and misused. We have quickly gone from working in a low-trust environment to a no-trust environment,” she said. I’m out of here, in other words. Buh-bye.
Well, this week, amidst chaos in the wake of the City’s odious vaccine mandate, Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker called for the resignation of the City Manager, Lee Feldman. “We have seen a pattern, a systemic way of behaving that has caused more and more damage amongst the individuals that work with the city and it’s trickled down to the commission now,” she said. We have a several hundred page report, that outlines several complaints against Mr. Feldman and for some reason we have not done our due diligence in taking those complaints seriously, and that is something that I really believe our commission needs to rethink.”
Great job, Gainesville! Inspirational! True leaders, and all that. And by “true leaders,” of course I mean nincompoops.
👨⚖️ Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper enjoined the Florida Board of Education’s monetary sanctions against school districts yesterday, which has generated a lot of buzz around Florida, with pro-maskers triumphantly celebrating the decision. I have a different take. Let me give you a couple things to think about this ruling from a lawyer’s perspective.
First, the outcome was totally predictable in advance. Last summer, I watched a hearing with Judge Cooper on Leon County’s motion to dismiss State Representative Anthony Sabatini’s lawsuit against its mask mandate. At one point, Judge Cooper asked Sabatini, “Mr. Sabatini, what am I supposed to tell a parent whose child died because I enjoined the mask mandate?” I signed off the zoom hearing at that point. In the business, we say the judge “telegraphed” how he was going to rule. My assumption was right and he did, promptly dismissing Sabatini’s lawsuit.
So, that’s the same judge who heard the case yesterday. My guess is the plaintiffs picked Leon County circuit court in a well-known legal technique called “forum shopping.” I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the trial court case here because I expected the exact outcome that did happen. Let me be clear: I am NOT suggesting the judge did anything improper. All I am saying is that Judge Cooper’s beliefs about kids dying without masks is well known. Judge Cooper has a duty to evaluate each case separately on its merits, and I have no reason to think that he did anything else yesterday.
But if I were one of the Governor’s lawyers, I would have already been getting ready to go up on appeal even before I set foot in the courthouse. Which is prudent in any important case anyway. In fact, according to Politico, DeSantis officials said it was “not surprising” to see Cooper rule against the rights of parents and instead “in favor of elected politicians.” Seems like they expected it too.
The case now goes to the First DCA, which already ruled in my case that mandatory masking was presumptively unconstitutional. Judge Cooper held that Leon County had met the very high standard to enforce a presumptively unconstitutional law, and that will probably be one of the issues on appeal.
Last year, the very same thing happened to the Governor after he ordered schools to reopen. The trial court ruled against him, siding with the teachers’ unions, and shut down the reopening order. But the way, guess which trial court? Leon County. But the trial court was overturned on appeal and the schools reopened. So this is all part of the normal playbook.
“We are used to the Leon County Circuit Court not following the law and getting reversed on appeal, which is exactly what happened last year in the school reopening case,” DeSantis’ spokesman Taryn Fenske said. See? The show isn’t over. It’s not even intermission.
Finally, Judge Cooper left the DOH’s order requiring a parental opt-out to mask mandates in place. He only enjoined the BOE’s sanction against school funding. Which all the rebelling school districts were ignoring anyway. So his ruling doesn’t really change the landscape much. And after the ruling, DOE Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent non-compliance letters to eight more mandate counties.
💉 Folks are starting to dig into established state laws, and are finding that forcible vaccination has long been repulsive to all responsible, right-thinking citizens. A law review article this week focused on Illinois’ “Health Care Right of Conscience Act,” which passed in 1997 with only 2 objections. The law clearly states that it is “unlawful” to discriminate because of a person’s “conscientious refusal” to receive health care services “contrary to his or her conscience.”
Illinois law defines one’s conscience as “a sincerely held set of moral convictions arising from belief in and relation to God, or which, though not so derived, arises from a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by God among adherents to religious faiths.”
Florida does not have a parallel law, but conscience is one of the exceptions required under the statute governing the state’s ability to mandate vaccines. Florida Statute § 381.00315(4) says that “Individuals who are unable or unwilling to be examined, tested, vaccinated, or treated for reasons of health, religion, or conscience may be subjected to isolation or quarantine.” Let’s break that down.
Before we get to the scary-sounding language of isolation and quarantine, let’s look at the three exemptions. The statute clearly provides THREE types of exemptions. And they exemptions apply to testing, vaccination and treatment. They are: health, religion, AND conscience.
First, a “health” objection is a lot broader than what local governments have been offering, which have re-defined it as a “medical” exemption. Those aren’t the same.
Second, in addition to exemptions arising from “religion,” the statue includes an explicit right to object for “conscience.” Conscience is super broad. This basis for objection has been completely ignored by local governments. For some reason.
Now let’s talk about isolation and quarantine. Note carefully that the statute does NOT say “shall be subjected” to quarantine. It says “MAY be subjected.” That’s because putting someone in isolation or quarantine invokes about a million other constitutional problems, which have to be overcome in order to permit the quarantine. My legal opinion is that the state would have to give every single individual full due process before subjecting them to isolation and quarantine. They’d have to prove the person was a clear and present danger, at a very high standard of proof. And since they already require people who test positive for Covid to stay home anyway, there isn’t much benefit to a “quarantine” for health people. They can’t make everybody stay home and also stay in business.
And of course, we now know that vaccinated folks are potential carriers of the virus too. So, isolating and quarantining an unvaccinated person would treat similarly situated people differently, violating equal protection. Since both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can infect others, they are similarly-situated. Quarantining only unvaccinated people would be irrational, arbitrary, and capricious. It’ll never fly.
All of this goes to show the fundamental irrationality of vaccine mandates, especially — but not only — in the context of “leaky” vaccines that don’t provide sterilizing immunity. And, don’t even get me started talking about people who’ve already recovered from Covid and can’t infect anyone.
Too late! Let’s DO talk about that.
💉 Yesterday, Science published an article headlined, “Having SARS-CoV-2 once confers much greater immunity than a vaccine — but no infection parties, please.”
Much. Greater. Immunity. Much greater. MUCH.
The article refers to a newly-published Israeli study that, according to Science, concludes that “natural immune protection that develops after a SARS-CoV-2 infection offers considerably more of a shield against the Delta variant of the pandemic coronavirus than two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.” Oh. Even Delta, huh? And, I thought Fauci told us in February that vaccine-induced immunity was much better than natural immunity. Um, based on what data, doc? Dummy.
The researchers were careful to suggest that folks shouldn’t run out and TRY to get infected, saying “someone might die.” The science seems to agree for folks who are in high risk groups: elderly or very obese folks with two or more comorbidities. I’m not sure about everybody else.
It’s not a one-off study either. Science points out that “It’s the largest real-world observational study so far to compare natural and vaccine-induced immunity to SARS-CoV-2.”
(See, professor Allen? There’s another good example of how to use that pesky apostrophe: “It’s” the largest study. “It” apostrophe “s”.)
What did they find? In one of their analyses of two million Israelis that compared over 32,000 individual cases, the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19 was 27 times higher among the vaccinated, and the risk of hospitalization for the vaccinated was eight times higher than the unvaccinated.
It’s TWENTY-SEVEN times higher for vaxx people than for naturally immune people. And even after that, it’s still EIGHT TIMES more likely for infected vaxx people to develop a serious case of Covid that requires hospitalization than the much smaller number of reinfected naturally-immune folks.
The study also published data showing that people who recover from an infection keep on developing increasing numbers and types of coronavirus-targeting antibodies for up to a year. That’s an important feature of natural infections. Increasing antibodies. But the researchers said that double-jabbed people STOP seeing increases “in the potency or breadth of the overall memory antibody compartment” just a few months after their second dose. So, that’s pretty important, too.
This should reassure any vaxx folks who are worried that unvaccinated people will reinfect them. As the virus moves through the population of people who don’t take the vaccines, those people will be even MORE safe for vaxx people to be around than other vaccinated people. Maybe we should make a special gold star or something for recovered folks to wear, showing that they are safe for vaccinated people to be around.
💉 Another development yesterday showed how dumb Associate Professor Allen’s theory is that it’s “Republicans” who are the ones refusing the shot. That guy really needs to go back for some remedial education. Anyway, New York City’s largest police union doesn’t seem to be too enthusiastic about the jabs. “If the City attempts to impose a vaccine mandate on PBA members, we will take legal action to defend our members’ right to make such personal medical decisions,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said.
According to the New York Post, the latest figures show that only 47 percent of the entire uniformed and civilian NYPD workforce has taken the jab. So.
🦘In an under-reported and somewhat disquieting development in Australia, insurance providers are getting out of the life insurance in droves. All at the same time. Completely out. Buh-bye! For example, NRMA Insurance company’s website now says, “We don’t offer new Life Insurance anymore. We stopped offering new life insurance policies from 1 April 2021.” NIB Insurance’s website says, “We no longer offer new Life and Income Protection Insurance policies.” NAB Insurance: “Life Insurance — This product is no longer for sale.” An August 9, 2021 financial story reports, “Westpac has announced it will sell its Australian life insurance business to TAL Daichi Life Australia in a deal worth $900 million to the bank.”
TAL Daichi is a Japanese-owned insurance company. So. What do the Australian insurers know?
🦘 After 85 positive test results were found among its population of 60,000, the Australian government put large parts of the town of Shepparton under a severe mandatory quarantine. Local Australian news sources report that, after just one week of lockdown, the town is running desperately short on FOOD. That’s not too good.
Local media reports that Shepparton citizens have started panicking after all the supplies of bread and milk vanished off online stores and shelves. The staff at all of Shepparton’s supermarkets have been ordered into a fourteen-day quarantine, leaving online orders as the only option. But many Sheppartonians use cashless welfare cards and can’t buy food online.
The Australian military is starting to deliver food and emergency supplies, and soldiers are going door-to-door to ensure that the 20,000 residents in quarantine are complying with lockdown orders.
🔥 Meanwhile, AFP reported yesterday that “Denmark will scrap ALL Covid restrictions in two weeks and stop classifying it as ‘a critical threat to society.’” So.
📊*COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY*
We have a new weekly report, and it shows exactly what we expect as the summer Covid season works its way around the country, and continues to ebb in Florida.
As shown on today’s spreadsheet, US hospitalizations ticked up, as the northern states’s cases begin creeping, while on the other hand, Florida’s Covid hospitalizations FELL by over a 1,000 patients, decreasing for the first time since the start of the summer wave.
Florida’s positivity ratio also fell significantly, from 19.8% to 16.8%. Alachua County’s positivity ratio fell even more significantly, from 14.7% to 11.9%. Also significantly, Florida’s “R-naught” fell again, for the sixth straight week, to 0.77. As the R-naught falls, cases also start falling.
Although Florida’s “cases” increased a little, this has to be due to increased testing, since the positivity rate fell at the same time. My guess is that cases are up due to increased testing requirements on K-12 and college students, who are being tested in droves due to aggressive contact-tracing programs in schools, which began in earnest last week.
Florida’s weekly vaccination rates jumped significantly last week, probably as a result of coercive employer mandates and policies. On the other hand, Alachua’s weekly vaccinations fell from 2,739 to 1,991.
Florida weekly deaths increased a little, but at a slower rate. Since this is a lagging indicator, we expect it to start falling soon as hospitalizations keep trending down.
So, everything in this week’s report is reassuring, and reinforces what all non-partisan observers expected, which is that Florida is over the summer Covid wave and now it’s the northern states’ turn.
Have a terrific weekend, a very blessed Sunday, and I’ll see you back here on Monday morning to kick off the new week and the end of August.
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