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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Stats on infection coronavirus rates not showing what you would expect. Time to open the economy.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We have been locked down long enough for the volume of statistics to build up to the point of allowing deeper analysis. As is always the case, the statistics can also be manipulated to give whatever answer you want. Deeper, honest analysis is starting to show surprising results, for example, the lack of correlation between infection rates and lockdown policies.

Surprising results on the low correlation will be mentioned after some game playing is described.

Wall Street Journal – 9/9/20 – The Sturgis Statistical Misfire – For this story remember the old saying

  • Figures don’t lie, but liars figure

The annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota routinely draws huge numbers of people to the town, whose population is only 7,000 people. Attendance at the 10-day event this year was lower than usual with an estimated 460,000 motorcycle enthusiasts hanging around.

Frightening news reports at the time said this would cause massive numbers of Covid infections leading to massive numbers of deaths.

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More churches resist shutdown of worship; one concedes. Pr. John MacArthur is open to starting a jail ministry.

May be a beautiful sanctuary, but in California the government won’t let you use it. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

In news over the last few days, Rev. Dr. John MacArthur said he would start a jail ministry if County officials toss him in the slammer, the Archbishop of San Francisco stands up to de facto shutdown of Masses, and one church concedes to the severe pressures from Santa Clara County.

Pastor John MacArthur open to a jail ministry.

Christian Headlines – 9/17/20 – John MacArthur Says He’ll Start a “Jail Ministry” if Arrested for Worshiping Indoors.

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Check out these requirements in Los Angeles County for a church to worship, then give a one word summary. Perhaps repression?

Check out the lengthy list of specific requirements imposed by the County of Los Angeles before a church can worship on campus. Pastor John MacArthur describes the requirements placed on Grace Community Church.

After I go through the requirements ponder how you would summarize these restrictions.

Ponder whether the net effect is to strangle worship.

Then ponder whether the net effect is an intentional strategy.

9/14/20 –HillFaithFaithful Disobedience: Here’s The Absurdly Detailed California Covid Orders to Prevent Churches From Meeting to Worship Indoors – A video embedded at the link gives the first four minutes of Dr. MacArthur’s sermon on 9/13/20. He received a rousing round of applause at the beginning.

He mentioned a few of the requirements placed on the church in order to hold any worship services. The following comments aren’t exact quotes, but are close:

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California’s efforts to suppress religious freedom will fail – #4 in a series.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Circumstances are now to the point in the state of California, and three counties in particular, where we can say that the government is now persecuting the Church. This presents itself as counties going after three specific congregations, but when you look at the details you see a broader pattern in play.

These efforts will fail.

Three previous posts discuss this issue.

A few updates to previous posts before getting to the main discussion.

The County of Los Angeles has unilaterally canceled the lease on land which provides something in the range of 40% or 50% of parking capacity for Grace Community Church. Oh, the lease has been in place for 45 years.

North Valley Baptist Church is now facing $52,000 in fines for the heinous offense of worshiping indoors. Keep in mind this is the church which was visited by spies from the county. It certainly appears that Santa Clara is acting like the Stasi back in about old days of East Germany. The pastor declared “We Are Not Closing down This Church” – California Pastor Warns Officials.

Also, additional Churches Defy California Guv’s Restrictions on Multiple Worship Gatherings including:

  • Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena
  • River of Life Church, Oroville
  • Destiny Christian Church, Rockland
  • South Bay United Pentecostal, Chula Vista

The article also provides the biblical explanation for standing up to unbiblical government rules.

These efforts will ultimately fail.

There may be short-term successes for the government.

There may be intermediate-term successes.

These efforts will fail.

Standing up for constitutional rights in court.

Los Angeles County doesn’t realize they have taken on a church that will not back down. I will make an easy guess that Grace Community Church will put whatever effort in time and dollars that it takes to stand up in court even if it involves going to state appeal court, then federal appeal, then US Supreme Court.

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California’s suppression of religious freedom, retaliation update – #3 in a series

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I was going to extend this two-part series to three, adding on an upbeat explanation that when counties go after the Church the government is destined to fail. Reference to Church with an upper case C refers to the worldwide church, the universal, invisible body of Christ instead of meaning one particular local congregation.

Planned for the next post to give a small illustration expanding out to wider examples in history and then going back to New Testament illustrations.

Then a news report yesterday about petty retaliation from Los Angeles County interrupted, showing I need a different post as the next discussion.

 

So, for your daily dose of shake-my-head amazement, consider…

8/31/20 – Disrn – LA County evicts John MacArthur’s Grace Church from parking lot lease held since 1975 – By now a few other news sources are covering the story, but as of this morning I did not find any major news organization that considered it important enough to have an article.

First, some background.

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California’s suppression of religious freedom getting more serious – 2 of 2. Oops – make that 2 of 3.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Update: Decided to make this a 3 part series. Next post – the effort to suppress religious freedom will not succeed.

Efforts to restrict the first amendment right of free expression of religion are growing in strength here in California. At least three counties are participating in the effort.

Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church are standing in the gap, but other churches are also receiving pressure including planted spies, as discussed below. This is second article in this specific series.

Previous post gave recap of enforcement efforts against Grace Community Church. At end of this post there is a great comment from the GCC elders why the state dictacts are a direct restriction of religious expression

8/24/20 – PJ Media – California’s All-Out War on Church Worship Intensifies With Bans, Fines, and Sending In Spies – Three churches in California standing up to the oppressive restrictions on religious activities are receiving increased pressure from the state and county.

Some background:

  • Worship in a sanctuary is banned.
  • Singing or chanting of any sort is prohibited in worship, even when the worship is conducted in a private home.

Ventura County

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California’s suppression of religious freedom getting more serious – 1 of 2

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The efforts by the state of California and at least three counties in the state to restrict the first amendment right of free expression of religion are growing in strength.

Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church are standing in the gap, but other churches are also receiving pressure, including planted spies. This is first article in this specific series.

Next post will give a concise explanation why prohibiting indoor worship, limiting worship size, and banning singing are direct restrictions on religious freedom.

In my humble opinion, the county does not yet know that in picking on GCC, they have targeted a church that will not back down when they have made up their mind. I predict there is a small but measurable chance this case could wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

8/20/20 – The Roys Reports – Julie Roys – Judge Rejects Request o Hold John MacArthur & Grace Community Church in Contempt – In the LA County Superior Court (that would be the initial trial court for proceedings) a judge refused to issue a contempt order for Pr. MacArthur and GCC. Also refused to impose $20,000 of fines.

Article gives recap of the legal efforts targeting GCC:

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California shut down again.

Economic performance, health outcomes, and educational achievements in California after a second round of shutdown. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We are a week into our second shutdown here in California.

Restaurants may only provide food to-go or for outdoor dining. The outdoor dining option only helps restaurants stay in business if they have enough outdoor patio space to have enough tables to seat enough customers to stay in business and then only if the temperature (during July and August!) is tolerable.

Churches are prohibited from having worship services inside. Churches who are rich enough to have lots of outdoor space to sit and well off enough to afford two sets of audio equipment can worship live. The first amendment has been partially suspended again.

Gyms, salons, and bars are closed.

On 7/14/20, the Wall Street Journal also explained the issue in a short editorial: California’s Second Shutdown.

The core issue:

A lockdown will cause more harm (economically, socially, physically, psychologically, educationally, and emotionally) than the pandemic will cause.

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After restoring some portion of religious freedom, California again revokes large portion of First Amendment.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

On Monday, May 25th, California allowed churches to resume meeting in person, as long as they restricted participation to 25% of seating capacity and had no more than 100 people in attendance.

That 100 limit was in substance a ban on worship for large churches, which often have facilities that can hold 500 or 2,000 worshipers or even more.

But at least religious freedom was partially reinstated after a strict ban on in-person worship. Many counties consented to outdoor worship after actual or threatened litigation reminded them to read the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On Thursday, July 2, the state dialed back the amount of allowable religious freedom by banning singing and chanting during worship services. I am not familiar with Jewish and Muslim worship practices. For Christians singing or chanting or both (depending on the specific tradition) is a major component of worship. It allows Christians to give praise and glory to God at the same time as being encouraged and uplifted by the concepts embedded in the songs.

On Tuesday, July 14, the state again prohibited in-person worship services held inside.

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Settled matters outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

John Trumbull: The Declaration of Independence painted by John Trumbull. Photograph by Thomas Cizauskas is in the public domain (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

 

Several statements in the opening of the Declaration of Independence are settled matters. The issues are resolved. They are final.

If those key issues are not final but are instead malleable or alterable or subject to revocation the consequences will be horrible.

A speech by Pres. Calvin Coolidge explained this idea back in the 1920s. Let’s expand the concept of those ideas being resolved issues.

Please consider President Calvin Coolidge’s Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 5, 1926.

He lists the three resolved issues:

“Three very definite propositions were set out in its (the Declaration of Independence) preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that

all men are created equal,

that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that

 therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.” (emphasis added)

He explained these issues are settled, resolved, final.

We can expand on those ideas. We need to bring them into further fruition. We can dive deeper into their meaning.

Setting them aside or replacing them means we go backwards. Declaring they are no longer true is regression to the ancient past.

More eloquently than I could ever describe, the president said:

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

Expanding those foundational concepts

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Text of the Declaration of Independence:

From the National Archives:

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. (more…)

Happy 244th birthday America!

American militia reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In the 1770s and 1780s, a ragtag collection of citizen soldiers waged a war of independence against the most powerful empire on the planet…

British Army reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

…and defeated them.

 

Two hundred forty-four years ago today marked the start of this wonderful, aspirational, fantastic, heaven-blessed, messy, delightful, powerful, flawed, and glorious experiment called the United States of America which has delivered unimaginable levels of freedom to hundreds of millions of people here in the US of A and contributed massively to the freedom of hundreds and hundreds of millions more around the world.

That experiment had multiple severe flaws baked into the design which are taking a long time to correct, yet the aspirational dreams then drove and still drive that wonderful experiment to constant improvement.

Before our independence, anything resembling a democracy had been absent for so many long centuries. Apart from the ruling elite, ordinary people were merely the subjects of their ‘betters.’  Common folk only had the very few rights and freedoms that those born to power consented to give them, like crumbs thrown from the table.  You and I would only have been able to do what those controlling us allowed us to do.

And then came those rabble-rousing founding fathers.

The results of this grand experiment in self-government, not tried before, has produced fabulous results.

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In spite of some preliminary signs of restoration of the First Amendment, there is resistance to the idea.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

California and Minnesota may be taking tiny baby steps to reinstate the First Amendment to the bill of rights, but there are indications here and there of opposition to any such efforts.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Excessive focus on the First Amendment is a “suicide pact”

5/23/20 – CNN – Federal appeals court upholds California’s ban on in-person Church services – A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ban on in-person worship does not violate the First Amendment.

The ruling can be found here.

Astoundingly the ruling stated:

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