Take the hot newsflash about the Sturgis motorcycle rally being a super-duper super spreader event with a humongous grain of salt.

Suggested amount of salt to consume when reading some research reports. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

(Dark humor alert:  Sarcasm is not a healthy form of humor. Sometimes though, a healthy dose of ridicule accompanied by pointing and laughing is necessary to emphasize the ridiculousness of something. So, check out the following research…)

 

Breathtaking reports on social media claim there is scientific proof that the Sturgis motorcycle rally was a massive super spreader event.

Solid evidence.

Incontrovertible proof I tell you.

Study is described at Wall Street Journal on 11/21/20: CDC Study Links Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to Covid-19 Spread in Minnesota. Hosts of other news sites are doing their own re-write of the story.

Guesses are somewhere around 460,000 people attended the huge motorcycle rally held every year in Sturgis, South Dakota. This year it ran from August 7-16.

The lack of mask usage, the closeness of the event, and massive number of people was dangerous I tell you.

Coverage at the time and headlines now say this was obviously a super spreader event that would obviously cause 7 or 8 gazillion infections and just over half a bazillion deaths.

CDC research shows there, uh, weren’t, um, quite that many infections.

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More data is emerging about coronavirus infections and it is getting fuzzier instead of more informative.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Our political leaders have led us to believe they have incredible knowledge about the coronavirus, including how we get sick, how many are sick, transmission vectors, spread rates, etc. etc. As time passes there is an increasing amount of data that suggests the understanding of the virus is fuzzier than we have been told.

Merely a few of the recent articles pointing out the uncertainty surrounding the virus:

  • Officials across Europe (and New York City) are not able to figure out how most people catch the bug.
  • Estimated 1/5th of New York City residents were infected by early March, at the very beginning of the pandemic.
  • Estimated 1/8th of Orange County, California residents were infected by the end of the summer, far higher than the reported positive test rate.

11/15/20 – Wall Street Journal – As Covid-19 Surges, the Big Unknown Is Where People Are Getting Infected – Health authorities are having difficulty figuring out where people are catching the coronavirus.

Statistics on the percentage of cases that can be traced to a source:

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Wow. News about that outdoor dinner served indoors to six households gets worse by the day.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Details keep emerging about the governor’s $500 a person dinner with six households present which was held inside even though the governor said it was outside.

Previously it was disclosed that a longtime friend who is a heavy hitter lobbyist was also at the meal. One article said what a deal for the lobbyist – the entire world knows he has the ear of the governor of the state of California. Superb advertising, huh?

New info is tumbling out. Photos of the meeting emerged Monday showing the meal was served inside.

News yesterday was names of two of the other diners.

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The governor’s $500+ per person outdoor dinner wasn’t all that much, um, outdoorsy.

Previous post explained that while you and I are prohibited from having more than three households gather for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, and our gatherings must be in the backyard, and we must provide turkey, potatoes, and dressing in single serve containers, and we can only let guests use the bathroom if we sanitize the bathroom regularly, the governor of California attended a lavish private dinner party with at least 12 people present, meaning there were likely six or more households present. The governor, the lobbyist whose birthday was being celebrated, and the restaurant all say the meal was outdoors.

Well, turns out the “outdoor” dinner wasn’t quite so outdoor.

If your idea of outdoor dining consists of a room that’s enclosed on three sides with a ceiling and chandelier, along with sliding glass doors on the fourth side that can isolate your party from the rest of the dining room, then the meal was outdoors.

For us unwashed masses unable to rise above our lowly submissive serf status, that sounds like an indoor meal.

A more deadly issue than the hypocrisy

Before we explore the increasing depths of flaming hypocrisy in this story there is a severe side issue.

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Flagrant examples of hypocrisy just keep on rolling… This time $500 per person dinner with five other couples.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It is corrosive to public trust when those in charge issue harsh rules for you and me but those making the rules can ignore them when they wish.

The corrosion will undercut our democracy, create more distrust of politicians than already exists, erode respect for public health officials, and eventually undermine compliance with all government rules not just the silly ones.

We do not want any of that to happen.

I sincerely hope governors, federal health officials, elected county officials, and everyone in the public health world will quickly realize the damage they are causing and change their ways fast.

Is it possible to shout my warning any louder?

Today’s illustration of flaming hypocrisy is from the governor of California.

As I was composing the previous post, this story broke, which is a postcard-perfect illustration of corrosive leadership.

11/13/20 – San Francisco Chronicle – Newsom attended French Laundry party with more households than California advises during pandemic – California guidelines prohibit private gatherings with more than three households.

Such gatherings may only be outside.

You may allow guests to use the bathroom if you sanitize it regularly.

In spite of these requirements, the governor of California and his wife attended a dinner on 11/6/20 with at least 12 people with more than three households present. Neither the people involved nor the restaurant will say how many people were present nor how many households were represented.

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Rising danger from leaders revealing their hypocrisy during the pandemic lockdown.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Politicians and public health experts are undercutting public trust in their leadership. While a certain level of distrust of politicians is a good thing, ongoing hypocrisy and poor leadership destroys credibility of the entire political class and appointed public health officials. Destruction of trust is dangerous.

Many incidents have been in the news over the last several months. A few articles of late have illustrated the problem. For your consideration:

11/12/20 – Commentary magazine – Pandemic Hypocrites Produce Pandemic Cynics – Author suggests the level of cynicism is growing. Distrust of political leaders is accelerating.

Why is this corrosion of trust taking place? I will mention merely four of the many illustrations in the article.

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Continued pressure on churches in California to restrict worship as strip clubs open their doors in San Diego under protection of First Amendment.

Strip clubs in San Diego may resume indoor operations but churches may not. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A few updates on the craziness in California regarding free expression of religion:

  • Superior Court Judge in San Diego issues preliminary injunction which allows strip clubs to reopen – they may resume exercise of their free-speech rights under the First Amendment.
  • Another church stands up against prohibition on worshiping indoors.
  • One church files suit to stop city harassment for holding worship outdoors.

 

Judge finds stripping is protected speech under First Amendment

11/6/20 – San Diego Union-TribuneJudge overrules County, allows strip clubs to reopen

11/12/20 – Washington Free BeaconCalifornia Set to Reopen Strip Clubs Before Churches

Two strip clubs in San Diego hit with cease and desist orders filed suit to lift the orders. A San Diego Superior Court judge issued a temporary injunction against the cease and desist order. Full hearing will occur at the end of November. In the meantime both strip clubs are allowed to operate.

Argument made by the strip clubs is that stripping constitutes speech which is protected by the First Amendment. The judge concurred. Just to be clear, a woman taking her clothes off in front of paying male customers constitutes freedom of speech which is constitutionally protected.

That is the exact argument, apart from stripping naked, that churches have been making across the state.

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On this Veterans Day, it is fitting and proper to honor the sacrifice of Sergeant Alwyn Cashe.

Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.

While his clothes were on fire after an improved explosive device blew up the vehicle he was riding in, Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe returned to the burning vehicle, pulling out a soldier, then another, then another.

Ultimately he pulled six Americans and one national translator from the burning vehicle. Did I mention that his clothing was on fire as he removed each of the soldiers?

Sgt. Cashe is credited with saving the lives of six American soldiers. The national translator, working to free his people, died from the attack. Ten American soldiers were injured, seven seriously.

With 2nd and 3rd burns spread over 72% of his body, Sgt. Cashe died from his wounds a few weeks later.

America is so blessed that we keep finding men like Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe.

 

He was awarded the Silver Star. It took a while for the chain of command to fully understand the depth of his heroism. He will now finally get an even more appropriate award.

UPI reports on 11/11/20 that the Senate approved awarding Medal of Honor for Sgt. Alwyn Cashe.

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Devastating impact from shutdown visible in higher education, cancer treatment, pending evictions, and state government finances.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Every day there are fresh reports of the devastating impact from the shutdown of the economy. Damage is widespread. Impact is growing.

Just a few of the recent articles:

  • Early screening for cancer slowed down earlier, resulting in more serious cancers discovered now
  • People showing up for treatment have more advanced cancer
  • Wave of tenant evictions is on the horizon
  • State government budgets are collapsing
  • Freshman enrollment at colleges is down 16%

There is a severe cost to be paid from early mistakes and ongoing mistakes by a wide range of government officials.

 

Devastating impact from more serious cancers

10/15/20 – Wall Street Journal – Covid-19 Outbreaks Led to Dangerous Delay in Cancer Diagnoses – The closing of many health facilities meant regular screenings for cancer were not available for several months this past spring. Next, widespread panic kept people away from doctors’ offices. One insurance company reports the number of daily screenings for colorectal cancer dropped between 50% and 80% for about three months.

Only at the end of August was the number of screenings back to the normal amount compared to prior years.

The expected result?

A cancer care provider reports an increased number of patients are arriving with advanced stages of cancer.

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Restrictions on holiday celebrations in California. This is not a spoof. You will think it is a joke, but it is not.

No fun allowed sign. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The California Department of Public Health has listed their specific restrictions on holiday gatherings. There are serious limits on what you can do for your Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year celebration.

I’m not making this up.

Check out for yourself the Guidance for Private Gatherings published on 10/9/20.

In case you think I imagined all this, I will quote select portions of the guidance.

So, if you happen to be one of the people who have not yet moved out of California, or you are waiting for the moving van to arrive, here are the requirements for your holiday celebrations –

(Again, this is not a spoof.)

You may not gather with friends inside your home. You are still allowed to let guests use your bathroom, assuming you scrub down the bathroom quite frequently:

“All gatherings must be held outside. Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized.”

No more than three households may gather together.

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Health damage caused by the shutdown is becoming more visible.

There are consequences from the shutdown. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The damage to health caused by the lockdown is becoming more visible. The damage has been there from the beginning of the shutdown; it is just becoming more obvious. A growing number of news articles are describing the deteriorating health outcomes. A growing number of reporters are noticing the devastation.

A few recent articles for your consideration:

  • ‘Years of life lost’ caused by the shutdown is calculated in one analysis to be seven times the number of ‘years of life lost’ which are prevented by the shutdown
  • Frightening increase in suicide ideation by young adults
  • Mental health services pulled off line because of the shutdown
  • Seniors at one nursing home protest the shutdown and the loneliness it causes

Make a mental note that a large number of governors, state-level health officials, federal health officials, and county health officials are forcefully, willfully continuing the lockdowns.

5/5/20 – Washington Examiner – Stress from virus response will destroy 7 times more years of life than lockdowns save: study – Several studies are cited by the article.

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Economic damage from shutdown continues to spread.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Summarized below are a few of the recent articles pointing to expanding economic damage from the shutdown. Destruction in the movie business is noticeable in recent days:

  • Second largest movie chain in the US closes all its theaters
  • Wonder Woman director worried the entire theater industry may die
  • Disney restructures in order to increase focus toward direct-to-consumer distribution channel and away from theatrical release
  • Sales tax collections in San Francisco collapse
  • Passenger cruise ships are getting scrapped

10/5/20 – Wall Street Journal – Regal Cinemas Suspending Operations at All US Locations – The chain with the second largest number of theaters in the U.S. has closed all of its US theaters after having reopened only two months ago. Article does not indicate when any of the theaters will be reopened.

Article says release dates for a dozen movies have been postponed.

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Education – More reports on devastating impact from the shutdown.

Status of public education across the country two months into the new school year. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Increasing numbers of reports describe the damage to education of our youth.  Students of every age group being hurt by the lockdown. Impact on poor or disadvantaged or previously struggling students is even more severe.

I am heartbroken that the damage will continue for the near future. The compounding effect will be terrible.

9/28/20 – ProPublica – The Students Left Behind by Remote Learning – Keep in mind this article describing the devastating impact of the lockdown on students from disadvantaged families is from ProPublica, a far-left news organization and not from some wild eyed Libertarian organization that wants people to have the freedom to make their own decisions on absolutely every issue in their lives.

Article goes into great lengths describing the struggles experienced by one particular student who has been trying to learn in virtual classes. As a starting point, there’s a grand total of four hours online teaching per week. Four hours – one hour per day on Monday through Thursday. That is the only teaching time. For all his class subjects.

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Did the lockdowns have any beneficial impact on the rate of new infections?

Enough time has passed that there is enough information to start analyzing the lockdowns. Preliminary info is not pretty. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Indications are starting to emerge that the answer to the question may actually be no.

Previously mentioned one analysis which found a weak statistical correlation between weaker lockdown requirements and lower infection rate. The study found no correlation between the date that states started releasing the lockdown restrictions and subsequent infection rates.

 

The rate of infections accelerates rapidly and then hits an inflection point where the rate of infections either plateaus or the rate slows dramatically.

The following study suggests the lockdowns have no correlation to when the infection rates hit that transition point. In fact, the inflection point normally is reached before the lockdowns could have had any impact.

10/4/20 – National Review – Stats Hold a Surprise: Lockdowns May Have Had Little Effect on Covid-19 Spread

Authors pulled the daily infection rate for 13 states and graphed the data on a logarithmic scale. Seeing infections on a log scale makes it easier to see trends. There are visible transitions in every state from rapid acceleration to a flattened or greatly reduced infection rate.

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More updates on religious expression and restrictions thereof.

 

California church during regularly scheduled worship time. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Update on the effort by Los Angeles County to shut down worship at GCC. The march in San Francisco took place. Some churches are worshiping in minor league baseball parks.

9/26/20 – The Roys Report – John MacArthur will Face New Hearing in November for Defying Ban on Indoor Services – On 9/24/20 an LA County judge postponed a hearing to consider whether to hold Grace Community Church and John MacArthur in contempt.

A hearing will now be held on 11/13/20. What will happen then? I don’t know.

According to this article, the County’s expectation is the judge at that time will set a date for ruling on the county’s contempt request.

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