Apocalypse Not #13 Mask Off Mask On

A few weeks back there was a Black Lives Matters protest in downtown McAllen, Texas. They did not get far before being confronted by a local man with a chain saw. The man was screaming racial slurs which he, uncharacteristically for these parts, helpfully translated into English for those who are a little rusty with the lingua franca.

The man was arrested after scattering the handful of over socialized, under educated, upper middle-class white kids who were protesting in support of Black Lives Matter. Black lives are not a thing in South Texas where blacks are less that 1% of the population and the vast majority are Hispanic.

The South Texas Chain Saw man in action

So, while the rest of you are dealing with riots and cancel culture  we are dealing with an outbreak of SARS CoV-2 that is threatening to overwhelm our hospitals. As is expected with democrat declared emergencies nobody actually knows any SARS CoV-2 patients, the local hospitals are still laying people off and hemorrhaging money. Despite a total lack of any evidence other than news people droning on about increased numbers Hildalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez decreed that as of midnight tonight (19 June) masks must be worn in all businesses, at all times in the Rio Grande Valley. Even when you are working out in a gym.

I do not believe the new COVID numbers for the Rio Grande Valley and nor should you. Dellridge Health & Rehabilitation Center in Paramus New Jersey leads the nation in nursing home deaths according the Federal Center for Medical and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS reported that Dellridge had 753 deaths (in a 96 bed facility mind you). The facility had reported 16 deaths of patients who tested positive for COVID-19.

We know the media and the CDC have engaged in gross inflation of the COVID numbers and it is not a mystery why. Any attempt verify an increase in COVID numbers at local hospitals in McAllen are thwarted by armed guards and recalcitrant public affairs officers. There is no way to know what the hell is going on because trusting the government or media to tell us what is happening is for knaves or fools.

As is the case in every progressive district across the land our  judiciary is dangerously unaccountable and mostly a validation mechanism for the imposition of elite opinion. Elite opinion is Orange Man Bad and they have been engaged is a systematic campaign to undermine the President since before he was elected.

The SARS CoV 2 response will go down in history as the most blatant example of expert class arrogance and media malfeasance. Quoting from this piece by Stacey Lennox:

Economies across the world were shut down based on a model that was blatant panic porn built on shoddy code. Even more maddening is the fact expert Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College had a history of getting almost every prediction he ever made completely wrong.

What is now at stake are the reputations of the scientific expert class, the Federal bureaucracy, the media, and virtually every big money interest, from the pharmaceutical industry to Silicon Valley to Hollywood. If President Trump gets four more years those special interests are suddenly not  going to be so special.

Where is the first place you heard about hydroxychloroquine? President Trump’s COVID update where he mentioned it and stuck by his belief, based on reporting by front line physicians, that it worked. Just last week the authors of a study published in the medical journal The Lancet that said treating coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine could be fatal retracted their findings.

Hydroxychloroquine cost $3.00 per treatment. Remdesivier, which doesn’t even work well, costs $1,400 per treatment and it has a patent. Do you believe big Pharma was not behind the coordinated assault on the effectiveness of a drug that was proved to work on SARS CoV1, which has identical modes of attachment with SARS CoV2? Maybe it was all a coincidence, what do I know?

One thing I know is the doctors in the Rio Grande Valley are using (but have run out of) Remdesivir. Hospitals in the RGV are considered by our government to be  “Hispanic Serving Institutions” which entitles them to lots a federal grant monies. They are rule followers to the nth degree and despite knowing hydroxychloroquine and zinc will work they are not about to do anything to jeopardize grant monies. So they use Remdesivir, but have run out of the stuff and are now using Tylenol.

Welcome to the revolution. On one side are the American people who believe in our founding principals that guarantee every American has equal opportunity for success. We’ll call them the Ameri- cans . On the other side are Americans who believe in the French Revolutions concept of equal outcomes for all. We’ll call them Ameri-can’ts. The Ameri-cant’s are rioting, claiming the country is inherently racist and all the ” Four Olds” (old customs, old ideas, old habits and old culture) must go . Have you ever heard of the four Olds before? Here’s a quick reminder:

The campaign to destroy the Four Olds began in Beijing on August 19, 1966, shortly after the launch of the Cultural Revolution.

The last crew to use the four olds killed millions of their own citizens. In America that is not going to happen because the one thing that democrat progressives cannot do is export their organic lunacy and blatant anarchy outside the urban centers they control. Unlike China (or any other country) we have the 2nd Amendment, you want to defund the police and place the responsibility for my security on me? I have no problem with that at all.  I am one an Ameri-can’s and most of us are well armed.

My prediction is the President will win by a landslide this November. This country is still majority Ameri-can’s and we bend our knee to no man.  The remaining weeks running up to the election are going to be painful to watch given the media’s continuing encouragement of rioting. And we may face the painful prospect of no NCAA football this fall  (I don’t watch or care about the NFL or any other professional sport).

If my prediction is wrong then we get to experience what happens when you try to force “equality in outcomes” (Jacobinism to the historically literate) to a country founded on the principal equal opportunity for all. A country where the citizens are armed and where trampling on individual liberties is not tolerated. I don’t think that will work so I hope for the best while not fearing the worst.

Apocalypse Not # 12 The SARS COV 2 Pandemic is Over

As COVID Anxiety is turning into COVID rage I am putting my streak of forecasting exactly how the SARS COVID 2 pandemic will play out on the line with another bold prediction. As this comes to pass remember you heard it here first (unless you listen to the No Agenda podcast). The SARS COVID 2 pandemic is over, the numbers of new infections may increase but the numbers of those patients requiring ICU treatment or dying from the virus will continue to plummet. This is because the virus was manipulated for gain of function experiments and once it got out of the lab and into nature; Mother Nature, recognizing a freak when she sees one, is forcing the virus back to its original state which is an annoyance to humans not a death dealing pathogen.

I am making this prediction from the work of Chris Howard, PhD (Biochemistry) and his wife Lynn Howard, MD (Pathogenic Microbiology and Infectious Disease Specialist). The paragraphs below are my notes from their presentation which can be found here. 

Lynn and Chris Howard are both experts on viruses and biology. And they coach Rugby (Dallas Reds and Atlantis). I prefer my experts to be  athletic as fitness is crucial to cognitive health as we age. I trust fit people over Fauci looking people because they demonstrate a fundamental  understanding of cause and effect.

Coronaviruses are found in most animal species in humans there are over 100 different variants of coronaviruses,  Historically they are nothing more than an annoyance, they cause  and viral sinus infections, or common colds. They have a distinct ability to penetrate epithelium cells, your first line of defense in the immune system, so when you find a virus that penetrates that epithelium and activates to enter a host cell then you pretty much have an annoyance and it’s usually a respiratory issue.

Coronaviruses have never been that virulent until the SARS 1 epidemic in 2001 -2002. We were originally told SARS 1 was found in bat caves  but if you look at the genetic sequence of SARS 1 RNA and compare it to SARS found in bats there are many similarities however they are not identical. The assumption is that it made a zoonotic leap from the bat to the human and in doing so mutated.  That sounds reasonable until you look at the sequence themselves and realize what has changed is not your typical zoonosis mutation. If  you dig deeper you’ll discover that many years ago (80’s and 90’s) we were manipulating viruses to learn more about them, and by manipulating them we made them more transmissible, more infectious, and more virulent. This supposedly teaches scientist and epidemiologist epidemiological behavior of potential pathogens and this type of study is called gain of function research.

When virus’s mutate and jump from to a different species or change hosts the main driver of those changes is evolutionary pressure to be able to bind better. Viruses themselves do not change; they are around for one thing; to make more viruses. When a virus finds a good mode of attachment, you will see less change in the virus. Both SARS 1 and the SARS 2 have identical modes of attachment from the ACE 2 inhibitor binding to S1. S1 splitting to the TMPRSS 2 binding site which opens the virus leading to exocytosis into the cell.  There’s no difference between SARS 1 and SARS 2 in that respect except for the internal dynamics of the virus’s which means it was man-made.

SARS COVID 2 (the etiological agent is for the disease state) is a chimera which by definition is made in a lab. Chimera’s take a target virus, incorporate other characteristics from other viruses to create something different.  A pertinent example of gain of function would be to use a COVID virus to create an HIV vaccine. HIV is a retrovirus and they don’t have that ability to penetrate epithelium. Vaccinating someone for HIV is not possible so scientists are trying to  find a way  to carry a vaccine (or antigen in this case) through the epithelium.

When the genome of SARS COVID 2 was uncoded there were four subsets that are identical to portions of the genome of HIV. That impossible in nature, it could not have happened to the COVID virus in a laboratory..

For viruses’ evolutionary pressure usually is based on the binding; it doesn’t change the internal RNA or DNA strands of viruses. With chimeras as they reproduce you get a shift back towards the original, natural type of virus. As a chimera goes through patient after patient and population after population mother nature recognizes it to be a freak. When you hear there are now 30 strains of CVOID 2 there are not really 30 different strains (they all have identical binding site) it’s same virus changing enough to revert back to the original wild virus which is, to humans, an annoyance, not a life or death threat.

Lynn and Chris Howard practice what is known as precision medicine. Precision medicine is a catch phrase for using your genetics and using epigenetics to take a very precise approach to optimizing your health. This is high end medicine targeting wealthy, high end clients like professional athletes and I imagine that is why their research is not receiving more attention from our know-nothing press.

If you look at how the SARS COVID 2 pandemic has progressed it is clear (to me at least) the Howard’s have articulated the Occam’s Razor solution. It is the simplest of competing theories and thus (most likely) the closest to the truth.  Mother Nature does not take kindly to the release of genetically manipulated organisms into the wild. She recognizes them and eliminates them with the same pitiless certainty she applies to all her creatures that are unable to respond to evolutionary pressures only she knows and understands.

With each passing day the evidence that the lockdowns were a massive waste of time and money accumulates. In South Texas where the wearing of face masks has been optional for a week I often am the only person in the local HEB not wearing a mask. Masks do not protect you from viruses nor do they prevent you from spreading a virus if you have one. Mask wearing is Kabuki theater just like TSA checkpoints in our airports. We have been victimized by politicians and medical “experts” who have been wrong about every aspect of this pandemic. When confronted with the conflicting facts from the ground they have doubled down with unreasonable, unconstitutional, ineffective actions that terrorize the uninformed and are destroying our economy. For this they will pay. Inshallah.

Apocalypse Not #10 Something is Happening Here

What it is ain’t exactly clear; and that’s an understatement. In the past national emergencies brought the country together, at least a for awhile. From the reaction to 9/11 to the legions of people conducting water rescues after Houston flooded a few years back, we have always come together as a people to face down a threat. When the COVID-19 virus was discovered it appeared to bean an existential threat. Based on modeling from epidemiological experts we expected millions, then hundreds of thousands, then tens of thousands of deaths and this with the extreme lock down measures included in the modeling.

The models were not just wrong they were not even close. We now know, based on COVID -19 antibody testing in California, Boston, and Iceland that the infection fatality rate (IFR) is somewhere between 0.1 and 0.3 percent. The more testing we do the lower the IFR drops as the number of positives (the denominator) increases.

Last week a trio of Silicon Valley legends (T.J. Rodgers, Joe Malchow, and Yinon Weiss) conducted a regression study to determine if the rate of lock down  in each state had a statistically significant effect on the number of reported cases. They found the correlation coefficient on early vs late (or no) lockdowns was 5.5%. That number is so low that it is essential no correlation. The lockdowns had no effect on the outcome in each of the 50 states.

One of the most eminent Professors of Epidemiology, Medicine, and Population Health, John P.A. Ioannidis, MD, DSc  has again warned, we are making high-stakes decisions without reliable data. Yet the narrative marches on with the media and authorities using the case fatality rate (CFR), not the infection fatality rate (IFR) to justify their caution.

So what now?

Unfortunately there is no what now; instead there is a deeper polarizing division within the population. A good percentage of the population would agree with my timeline and assessment. But it is also apparent there is a large percentage of Americans who believe there is a deadly virus out there that will scythe through the population if we lift the various lockdowns affecting 43 of the 50 states.

There is no way forward if we cannot, as a nation, agree on or define the threat. The problem now is defining the threat becomes a threat to the reputations of the leading scientists running our public health system, powerful academic institutions like John Hopkins and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as powerful philanthropists like Bill Gates and, of course, the legacy media.

The failure to adopt to the virus as it has presented itself is, according to physicians on the front line, costing lives. John Hinderocker from the Powerline blog explains the details in this post. He quotes from Dr. Paul Marik, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, Critical Care COVID Management Protocol

It is our collective opinion that the historically high levels of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 is due to a single factor: the widespread and inappropriate reluctance amongst intensivists to employ anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant treatments, including corticosteroid therapy early in the course of a patient’s hospitalization. It is essential to recognize that it is not the virus that is killing the patient, rather it is the patient’s overactive immune system. The flames of the “cytokine fire” are out of control and need to be extinguished. Providing supportive care (with ventilators that themselves stoke the fire) and waiting for the cytokine fire to burn itself out simply does not work… this approach has FAILED and has led to the death of tens of thousands of patients.

As Powerline further notes:

The systematic failure of critical care systems to adopt corticosteroid therapy resulted from the published recommendations against corticosteroids use by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Thoracic Society (ATS) amongst others.

It appears the most effective treatment for COVID-19 is a combination of very inexpensive, readily available drugs. This will prove catastrophic for reputations of those who continue to insist that mass testing and a proven vaccine or effective drug targeting the virus like remdesivir, the antiviral medicine from Gilead Sciences , are required before the lockdowns can end.

The lockdowns are going to end and they are going to end soon. Shelter in place  type orders have proved an incredibly destructive policy, and the harms have not been distributed evenly across the United States. Some people are suffering much, much more than others.

Yet the lockdown continues here in Texas with the Kabuki theater of partial openings. Restaurants cannot turn a profit when they are forced to run at 50% capacity. I’m not sure why you would open movie theaters but keep gyms closed given the co-morbidity associated with lifestyles of the large and lethargic.

Getting the population out into fresh air and sunshine to bolster their immune systems with some exercise would seem to be what public health officials should want to do. But what they are doing is pretending they can calibrate the economy to limit exposure to a nasty bug despite the fact that “science” in the form of epidemiologic  studies and regression analysis would tell you these steps are not helping – they are hurting.

As Texas and other states come out of lockdown there will be more positive tests because there will be more tests. What we will not see is a giant wave of critically ill patients needing ICU beds. That hasn’t happened yet and it is not going to happen now or in the future.  When what is not going to happen, happens, what are the elites and the press and all the politicians who have been crying wolf for months now going to do? Who know? Owning up and admitting their mistakes is not part of their DNA so we can rule being honest out.

The great and powerful Texas historian T.R. Fehrenbach once wrote that America is a land so great that even fools cannot destroy it. We are in the middle of seeing his thesis tested. Let’s hope he was right.

Apocalypse Not #9 What Happened to the Models?

It is now obvious the modeling driving the COVID-19 response was wrong. They caused the nation to overreact and now that we realize COVID-19 is not the threat we were told it was what do we do?  What theTrump Administration just did, right in front of you, was disappear the models, switch data sets, and start talking recovery. It was awesome to watch made more so by the fact that not many people realized what they were seeing.

During Thursday’s Corona Virus Task Force presser all mentions of modeling were gone, replaced with slides from the   US Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network. From the linked article:

Birx said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be relying on its existing surveillance practices for “influenza-like illnesses,” which will be attuned to look for coronavirus, and fielding more new tests even for asymptomatic people to get better fidelity about the pervasiveness of the virus.

It appears the death rate from this virus will not exceed the number of flu deaths from the 2018-2019 flu season. We are learning, through anti-body testing, that the China Flu bug arrived here earlier than thought and has already passed through a good percentage of the population.

This is fantastic news but we’re not celebrating, or relaxing the lockdown, or re-starting the economy.

In Texas our governor has just appointed a commission to look at how to open up the state. When he announced the members of the commission he included Ross Perot, who died a year ago, which is suspicious. We are weeks away from spring football practice and the governor, instead of acting on facts, is appointing dead people to commissions. That is not very Texan like and I wish we had a better leader like one of the seven governors who were not bullied into economic suicide by hysterical progressive elites.

Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota – An American hero for keeping her state up and running. Too bad she isn’t a Texan; we could have used her common sense down here last month.

On the very day Governor Abbot announced his strike force Governor Inslee of Washington State launched a tweet storm of unhinged ad hominem attacks on the President. He is convinced The Wuhan will mow down millions if we dare break the protocols established to flatten a curve that never came, predicted by models that were wrong.

The insistence of progressives politicians in believing the obviously flawed models of elite academics is going to, without question, kill Americans. And we don’t need models to know how many. Citizen Journalist Betsy McCaughey points out:

No model or guesswork is required to foresee the deadly impact. Job losses cause extreme suffering. Every 1% hike in the unemployment rate will likely produce a 3.3% increase in drug overdose deaths and a 0.99% increase in suicides according to data provided by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the medical journal Lancet. These are facts based on experience, not models. If unemployment hits 32%, some 77,000 Americans are likely to die from suicide and drug overdoses as a result of layoffs. Scientists call these fatalities deaths of despair.

The impact of layoffs goes beyond suicide, drug overdosing and drinking. Researcher Michael French from the University of Miami points out the death rate for an unemployed person is 63% higher than for someone with a job. It is obvious that the unwarranted and unnecessary lockdowns come with a butchers bill that is larger than the COVID-19 threat.

Why can’t our leaders see this? There are dozens of pieces coming out daily pointing out the same thing yet the narrative continues on as if the pandemic is performing as predicted. 

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11 our country went through a spasm of federal government action to “make us safe”. What came of that was the TSA. The TSA is in the business of ‘Security Theater‘; it fails, over 95% of the time, security tests. They routinely allow weapons and ammunition to be unintentionally carried onto aircraft, something I’ve done myself. No security professional mistakes the TSA as anything other than Kabuki Theater. If you want safe air travel screening you need to do it like the Israelis do, but we won’t do that because of Muh Racism.

The Kabuki theater being generated by this crisis is going to be continued  ‘social distancing’ and mask wearing. As Dr John Lee, joining hundreds of other reality based front line physicians like Keith Rose and Jonathan Greach, point out there is no direct evidence the lockdowns are working. The argument that social distancing and mask wearing slows the spread of the Wuhan virus makes sense, but then again so does the argument for developing  herd immunity.

It is impossible to evaluate scientific data when the credentialed experts working the data do not agree on what it is saying. Occam’s Razor is a solid approach and it was the reason I have said at the start of the Pandemic, that we were too slow and bug had long ago escaped into the population. I had no way of knowing it would prove mostly benign but it did and here we are.

The truth about the threat of COVID-19 is obvious. The reluctance of progressive democrats to accept that their academics, experts, and pundits were wrong is fascinating to watch, but this isn’t funny. Lives are now in jeopardy by continued forced unemployment and forced loss of assets on the part of local and state governments.  If this does not end quickly we are going to lose more than the 2020 NCAA football season.

Apocalypse Not #8 South Texas Lockdown

The Rio Grande Valley consists of four counties Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy. The population is almost 90% hispanic, and the majority of the folks born and raised here, whites included, speak fluent Spanish. Despite the prevalence of Spanish speaking It’s still an unmistakably American place. The infrastructure is new as the population has grown significantly over the last 20 years. The VA system here is excellent as military service is and always has been popular with South Texans.

The migration pressure on the border comes from Central Americans who muster at collection points on this side of the border for speedy processing. Once processed and released they are taken to Catholic Relief shelter, given food and a bus ticket to the interior and dropped off at the Greyhound station. Mexican citizens can cross the border and stay in the valley as long as they want but they can’t go inland without a visa. A significant percentage of the local economies in cities like McAllen comes from Mexican tourism, especially during Christmas and Easter.

The McAllen/Edinburg area has a serious public health problem; we are (according to a recent Grub Hub ranking) the fattest metro area in the United States.  Morbid obesity leads to type II diabetes and hypertension, and all three are the principal comorbidity factors contributing to fatal outcomes from COVID-19.

The counties have all issued shelter in place orders and masks must be worn in public except when exercising. Cameron County has issued the most draconian mandates which include prohibiting more than two in a vehicle, which will be a problem for lawn maintenance crews, and children under age 14 have been confined to quarters. These measures are exactly the wrong ones to take if we are concerned about the health and welfare of our fellow citizens.

One of the known characteristics of COVID-19 is that hypertension, diabetes and being overweight dramatically increase hospitalization and fatality rates. It seems to me the perfect vehicle for public health officials to attack the epidemic of obesity in the population. If there was ever a time to start messaging about the necessity of a balanced diet combined with regular outdoor exercise that time is now.

Instead local officials have done the exact opposite. When the schools and non-essential businesses closed the local parks and play grounds were active. They were not crowded, there were no social distancing issues, but you would see groups of half dozen cross-fit folks working out together, families using the picnic benches, and others running or using exercise stations.

I would think the city leader would be encouraging people to get out of the house and into the many city parks to let their kids burn up some energy. Instead the city placed barricades around all jungle gyms, removed every picnic bench, closed all the park parking lots, and made it clear it doesn’t want people exercising in the parks.

Remember the purpose of flattening the curve was not to shelter in place until the bug was gone, the assumption that we will all eventually be exposed remains in place. If we are all going to get the bug eventually should we not be strengthen our immune systems now when we have all this time on our hands? Getting people, especially children, outside and active strengthens immune systems. Being immobile and sedentary indoors, passively watching television while eating highly processed food decreases immune systems.

The Land Shark is a lock down essential. It’s flat here, the streets are empty and this old school custom bike can fly. Getting outside to exercise instead of using an indoor gym has been the surprise of the COVID quarantine. I had forgotten how good it felt to train outside – and its good for the immune system too.

The local hospitals are empty so the curve has flattened which was the purpose of social distancing and mask wearing. Now that we accomplished the goal of the shut down why are we continuing the shut down?

The reason to open the economy is it will save more lives than it will cost.  There is little question that the lives lost to the economic catastrophe following an extended shut down and collapse of the economy would dwarf the numbers of lives lost from  COVID-19.

The alternative to relaxing the quarantine and allowing the virus to run its course is to remain locked down until there is a vaccine or cure. This is why prominent health policy types like Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel are talking about an 18 month lockdown. That is flat out insane. How can American look herself in the mirror and call herself the land of the free without NCAA football this fall? The question answers itself.

Apocalypse Not #7 Policy Based Evidence Making

The projected fatality numbers from the Wuhan Flu are sinking like a stone which is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the story line. From the start I have maintained the COVID-19 projections and mitigation steps were total BS based on my conviction when the federal government has closed the proverbial  barn door the horses are long gone. It is not “anti-science” to be skeptical of government claims to expertise in medical, social and political matters, it is “pro-historical.”

But there is no reason to take the word of a retired Marine on this topic. Dr Keith Rose explains, in an enjoyable 50-minute podcast, the medical perspective on the over-reaction to COVID-19. He is spot on and using contemporary data to explain why we should be getting back to work.

It is now so obvious that the Wuhan flu modeling is wrong that the legacy press now accuses republican politicians of using the bogus numbers to intentionally scare the public into reelecting them.

You cannot make this stuff up.

We have shuttered our economy, sentenced an unknown (but large) number of citizens to penury in an attempt to slow a virus we know very little about. To this day we have no idea how far it has spread or how deadly it really is. When we listen to “experts” explain why the mitigation steps are necessary keep in mind those experts do not know or understand the characteristics of the COVID-19 virus any better than you do. They are guessing at both its virility and morbidity based on obviously inaccurate computer modeling based on flawed data obtained from an untrustworthy international competitor.

Serious journalists are now challenging the coronavirus narrative. From the linked article:

Alex Berenson has been analyzing the data on the crisis on a daily basis for weeks and has come to the conclusion that the strategy of shutting down entire sectors of the economy is based on modeling that doesn’t line up with the realities of the virus.

The models are flawed, and you cannot say social distancing worked without first testing a significant percentage of the population for the COVI-19 antibody.

We will not know how easily this bug is transmitted or how deadly it is without extensive testing of the general population for COVID-19 antibodies. That provides an accurate denominator to use with the body count for determining lethality. When we have an idea on infection rate we still may over-state the Wuhan lethality as the legitimacy of the nominator  (body count)  is now questionable.

Remarkably, our meritocratic elites insist on doubling down on their flawed models and assumptions. We have seen Dr Anthony Fauci, continiously equivocate over the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating the Wuhan despite the fact that it obviously works. The legacy media, on cue, has been blasting away at the off label use of the anti malarial with articles like this one in today’s USA Today; What do you have to lose talking hydroxychloroquine? Potently your life.

What the press has refused to do is ask how many medical professionals in New York City are taking hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic. (anecdotally the number is high, but who knows)? That the drug works is now so obvious the  governor of Michigan has switched from outlawing its use  to demanding millions of doses.

An even worse example of ignoring the obvious is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the White House adviser for health policy under former President Barack Obama. He just said the following in a April 7th interview:

Realistically, COVID-19 will be here for the next 18 months or more. We will not be able to return to normalcy until we find a vaccine or effective medications. I know that’s dreadful news to hear. How are people supposed to find work if this goes on in some form for a year and a half? Is all that economic pain worth trying to stop COVID-19? The truth is we have no choice.

If we prematurely end that physical distancing and the other measures keeping it at bay, deaths could skyrocket into the hundreds of thousands if not a million.

Do any of you honestly believe that lifting our half ass quarantine will lead to a million deaths? That is obvious lunacy, a real time demonstration of cognitive dissonance among our meritocratic elite. The reality is the models used by our expert class were wrong, any attempt to attribute the flatting  curve to the effectiveness of social distancing or cower in place orders is disingenuous.

The COVID-19 is not even approaching the morbidity of this years flu season. Hat-tip to John Hinderacker at Powerline

The reaction to the Wuhan flu virus clearly demonstrates the futility of using computer modeling to make dynamic decisions in an environment characterized by limited, conflicting,  intelligence coupled with the demand for immediate action. A combat experienced infantry battalion commander would have the ability to make better decisions that react faster to the threat then an epidemiologist. One has trained to make life and death decisions quickly with a bias for action,  the other has trained in microscopic sleuth hunting and generating and manipulating data for use in academic research papers.

Maybe one of the lessons learned here will be to bring experienced high pressure decision makers into the process. Given the as incalculable damage to the economy and the lives of millions of our fellow citizens by flawed decision making one would hope for several volumes of lessons learned from federal, state and local officials.

There should foreevermore be healthy skepticism about our academic and scientific elites, the legacy media, seedy federal politicians who used this crisis to push their agendas, and state and local officials exercising excessive ’emergency’ powers. Special attention needs to be paid to elite institutions that drove us over this cliff; they are compromised by Chinese money and need to divest from it. Their research labs and programs are infested with Chinese spies; and there is no reason to continue to ignore this belligerent behavior from China.

You may not find the  Harvard Department of Health Management and Policy accepting a 350 million dollar naming endowment from China alarming, but I do. It is now the T.H. Chan School of Public Health and if you think the flow of money into institutions that formulate public policy is benign you are not paying attention to what is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the dust settles there better be some scalp collecting along with a transparent investigation into how and why the experts were (again) completely wrong about COVID-19. We have to develop better strategies that protect the vulnerable without shutting down our economy.

Apocalypse Not # 5 Argumentum ab Auctoritate

Argument from authority is defined as “Insisting that a claim is true simply because a valid authority or expert on the issue said it was true, without any other supporting evidence offered.” It is a classic logical fallacy that is used to stifle conversations that are becoming uncomfortable to those in authority.  There are technical areas that I know little about, and in those areas my observations are worthless, we all have that problem. One of the areas where I am not rank amateur is epidemiology, thus I feel comfortable weighing in on this important topic.

HM2 Tim Lynch ashore in Beirut hunting down the source of a nasty typhoid outbreak in early 1984. How many men do you know with real world pathogen hunting experience?

In fact, back when combat helmets were made of steel (as were the men who wore them), I was dispatched ashore at the Beirut International Airport to find the source of a para-typhoid bug that had damn near killed several artillerymen. I was an advanced lab technician  and my job was to obtain samples from sources the Environmental Health officers ashore had identified as potential problems. I obtained the samples, put the them in transport medium to take back to the ship (USS Guam LPH-7).  I then attempt to isolate the pathogen so we could target it with effective antibiotics instead of shotgunning every antibiotic we had into the fallen Marines.

I never isolated the bug, about a week into my attempt we pulled out of Beirut and headed for liberty call in Haifa, Israel.  Once we pulled the plug on the Beirut I autoclaved all the samples and prepared to fly back home. We clearly knew the problem Salmonella Paratyphoid but we never isolated or identified the strain.

I had forgotten all this until I started the Apocalypse Not series and got so much pushback from my liberal friends that I concluded I might be an asshole for writing what I was thinking. But I know a lot of assholes and I also know I’m not like any of them, so I’m continuing my attempt to explain why what you are seeing, has little resemblance to what the experts are telling you is happening.

The pushback from my earlier posts can all be summed up with “are you an authority? No? STF up then”.  The classic argument for authority response. Turns out I am an authority, I even have a degree (associates but still a degree) in medical technology and had mad, cutting edge, microbiology skills back in 1984. So, from this point forward remember that everything I say comes from a position of authority.

Now look at this:

Graph by John Hinderaker at Powerline

And this:

I believe what we are about to experience demonstrates the limitations of modeling. I have never believed the man-made climate change hysteria because it was based on models. The United States Marine Corps is about to become completely irrelevant as it sheds infantry, tube artillery and attack helicopters in favor of missiles, and that plan is based exclusivly on modeling. The lesson we are all about to learn is that modeling and reality are different things. In reality there are too many unknowns we cannot explain or anticipate that are never captured in computer models.

A relevant example of this can be seen in the reality of our current heavy handed public health measures. The biggest concern of every emergency management official when discussing the implementation of quarantines is public unrest. Yet around the country the public has accepted these extreme measures, have cooperated with authorities, and have caused no unrest (yet). The public unrest may yet surface but to date the American public is handling the destruction of their lives and livelihoods with remarkable equanimity.

What happens in two or three weeks when the crisis we have been told is eminent fails to materialize? What about the citizens who have been ruined by lockdowns and forced closures for a bug that was no worse than a flu bug? How will we look at “the experts” in the future when, once again, they were not a little wrong, but dead wrong about the nature of this pandemic?

The overreaction to this flu should drive a stake through the heart of man made climate change because the models supporting that theory are based on more speculative data then epidemiological models. That may be the only silver lining in this crisis.  I doubt identity politics, political correctness, open borders, and encouraging homelessness have long shelf life now either.  Those are issues of concern for affluent, educated people who have the time and resources to spend a lifetime worrying over shit they can’t change or understand.

I forgot where I found this but it speaks truth to current progressive power

My 1 virus 2 strain theory is surfacing again as people who are not experience virus hunters like myself catch up.  People are starting to understand the Pandemic has failed to materialize outside of New York City and the Pacific Northwest. The fatality rate in those two areas remains low, well below the morbidity and mortality of a regular flu bug. I understand that those numbers can shoot up and the bug suddenly start killing people in Ghenghis Khan type numbers because the New York Times told me so in this nifty graph they made to explain a complex event you cannot see out in flyover country.

What the experts cannot explain is how a virulent pathogen arrived in the country last November but waited until now to start replicating.

Even the Huffpo took a break in their 24/7 Trump Derangement Syndrome outbursts to publish “Is It Possible That You Had The Coronavirus Earlier This Year?” This article mirrors comments I’ve been seeing on Facebook as thousands of people speculate the flu bug that burned through the population in December/January was most likely the Wuhan flu. We will not know if that theory is true until we develop a test for COVID-19 antibodies. But the observations of my fellow citizens matches mine and I have to remind you I am an authority. My 1 virus 2 strain (which I’m unilaterally modifying to a 1 virus multiple strains because of expert reasoning I can’t explain to you damn laymen)  theory has more fact behind it than the NYT’s graph.

I am concerned about the millions of Americans who are stuck at home with no money, no food, no job, and bored children. The measly 1400 bucks that may show up in a few weeks is too little, too late to help them. What happens when the people understand that we have been fooled again by charlatans who will weather the storm they created without a problem or concern in the world? The people who are posing the unreasonable restrictions on every aspect of your life do not have to worry about getting tested, access to a ventilator if they fall ill, not having any money in the bank, or food in the house.  In fact they will make money buying stock at fire sale prices and (of course) rewarding themselves by allocating more tax money to themselves.

This analysis by the ever prescient Kimberly Strassel, writing in the Wall Street Journal, which you can now read because the paywall is down, sums up the new stimulus package nicely:

‘Missing from their list is an important category, which underlines an inescapable fact: Government mostly “Cares” for government. Bills that hand out money are written by appropriators. And appropriators never miss an opportunity to expand departments, agencies, bureaus and commissions. A rough calculation suggests the single biggest recipient of taxpayer dollars in this legislation—far in excess of $600 billion—is government itself. This legislation may prove the biggest one-day expansion of government power ever.”

Talk about never letting a crisis go to waste.

There is good news from this crisis; celebrates, professional athletes, and social influencers are no longer important or relevant. I like that because I find celebrity and pro sports culture unappealing.

Joe Rogan the actor/comedian is now irrelevant, Joe Rogan the podcaster is very relevant.   On the 10th of March he had on Michael Osterholm, an internationaly recognized expert on infectious disease, and the podcast was downloaded 17 million times. It unquestionably freaked out a large proportion of his vast audience. Here are some quotes from the interview:

First of you have to understand the timing of it in the sense that is just beginning and so in terms of what hurt pain suffering death is account happened so far is really just beginning. I think what people don’t quite yet understand and is this really is acting like an influenza virus something that transmits very very easily through the air we now have data to show that you’re infectious before you even get sick….I brought some numbers and we estimate that this could require 48 million hospitalizations, out of 96 million cases actually occurring and  over 480,000 deaths over the next three to seven months with this situation so this is not one that to take lightly.

Seventeen days later do any of those predictions sound likely to you? Granted maybe we dodged the bullet because of the lock downs and social distancing. My expert opinion is that is unlikely, the bug has been here since November and not one expert I know of can explain the curious lack of bilateral pneumonia cases that should be evident around the country given the virulence of the pathogen and delay in its detection (thanks to China, not Trump).

My county in South Texas is now on lock down,  if you leave the house for an unofficial reason and you could be fined 1000 bucks.  We have no Wuhan Virus cases in the county and the “shelter in place order” is scheduled to last two weeks. President Trump said he wanted to get the country back to work by Easter Sunday but we are on lockdown until the day after Easter Sunday….. maybe that is a coincidence, or maybe that is a dig at a President the elites despise, but who is growing more popular with the people by the day…you decide.

For now the only thing we can do is “shelter in place”, cooperate with the authorities and watch out for our neighbors. This is the land of the free which is why we should support our civic leaders but at the same time express our alarm at the destruction of our economy. Arguments from authority are a cowards way out of explaining what is increasingly obvious, cannot be explained.

Apocalypse Not #4: What Now?

I was convinced if the Wuhan Corona Virus was as virulent as advertised we would have already seen evidence of it. My theory that  a nasty strain of flu that swept the Rio Grande Valley last December was the S strain of the Wuhan was a SWAG and we can now see I was wrong. I then thought the data driven analysis explained the lack of an outbreak but that too, has been debunked.

New York City has been hit hard, but at least one hospital, Lennox Hill is using HydroxyChloroquin, and they have yet to lose anyone of the 100 plus cases that they are treating. That is encouraging. Although the number of positive tests for COVID-19 will skyrocket there as testing comes on live there has yet to be a flood of pneumonia patients outside of New York City.

That too is encouraging.

One of the most popular videos in my area on the pandemic  is this one from Dr Emily Porter, an Emergency Medicine physician from Austin, Texas.  In her analysis she assumes a low end infection rate of 45% of the population and then does the math to show how large a catastrophe  that would be.  I’m certain the forecasted numbers have decreased since she made her presentation and I don’t think we are going to see those kinds of numbers. But again I base that on the assumption that we would already be seeing a surge in emergency room admissions for pneumonia. Maybe I’m wrong and we will see a surge in hospitalizations in the coming weeks. I sure hope not.

Tokyo,  despite being one of the most densely populated places on earth, has weathered the Wuhan virus well.  The Japanese success at stopping the virus is an excellent argument for taking our shoes off before we enter the house. It’s not a bad habit to adopt these days.

I can no longer traffic in “Do you know anyone with Wuhan?” meme’s because my friend Smari McCarthy, who lives in Iceland, tested positive. He’s going to be OK which is good news. He reminded me about riding out the Swine Flu epidemic in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in 2009. I don’t have the ingredients for the malaria chai though, that needs some #1 hash ghee and a little tincture of opium and those are in short supply in Texas. Helps to have somebody who knows what they’re doing brewing the stuff too.

Without the malaria chai we are left to do little else but stay off the streets, help our neighbors as need and wait to see what happens.  The President was quoted as saying he will reassess where we are in two weeks and maybe lift the bans as appropriate.

I still suspect we should have isolated the venerable while protecting our economy but future events may well prove me wrong. I’m just encouraged by each new day that arrives without another cluster overwhelming a local hospital system. As long as that continues we’ll be OK, and if it doesn’t continue I think we’ll see Americans, at the community level, coming together to work through the crisis at hand.

For now the only thing to do is stay at home, look after your neighbors and check up on the elderly folks who are not getting out much to see if they need anything.

Apocalypse Not #2 -There are two COVID-19 Strains

My first Apocalypse Not post speculated that the Wuhan Corona Virus had already washed through the continental United States. I based that on my understanding of viral transmission rates combined with the length of time between the arrival of the virus and the start of mitigation efforts.  I had no explanation why the virus had passed through the population without sending massive numbers of Americans to the hospital. I have an explanation now.

On the 3rd of March The Oxford Academic National Science Review published a study titled On the origin and continuing evolution of SARS-CoV-2. An extract from the overview is pasted below:

Population genetic analyses of 103 SARS-CoV-2 genomes indicated that these viruses evolved into two major types (designated L and S), that are well defined by two different SNPs that show nearly complete linkage across the viral strains sequenced to date.

Dr Michael Skinner, Reader in Virology, Imperial College London, explained the findings this way

  • They speculate that the L form might be more ”aggressive” but that is not an adjective we normally apply to viruses, where we talk about transmissibility, fitness, virulence.
  • ”Viruses have to be able to replicate in each sequential host and transmit serially between them. It is quite possible for one form of the virus to be better at replication, another at transmission.

What he is saying is the  L strain is the most aggressive at replication which is why it is a potential killer. The S strain is easily transmittable but less aggressive. The paper went on to note that infection by the S strain provides immunity from the L strain and speculates that only the S strain is transmitted through aerosols.

This would explain the significant lag time between the arrival of the virus and a noticeable surge in hospitalizations. In fact there is still no noticeable surge of hospital admissions for pneumonia in the USA. I just goggled that and found nothing.

There are three facts at play: the first is  the virus arrived in the USA long before the first case was diagnosed. The second is there are two strains; one the is easily transmissible but not deadly and one that is not easily transmissible and very deadly. The third is there have been no reported increase in admissions or deaths from bilateral viral pneumonia.

The current panic being stoked by the legacy media and the actions being taken by  politicians are based off modeling by  highly credentialed  experts. The models have predicted that we are on the brink of a massive surge in hospitalizations due to respiratory complications (bilateral pneumonia). These results have to be taken seriously despite knowing the models have serious limitations.

In response the President has started daily press briefing with his China Virus team and they have been trying to talk down the panic with facts. Dr. Deborah Burke, who has been speaking at the daily press briefing with the President, had this to say about models.

Reporter: “Can you speak to the study predicting as many as 2.2 million people in the United States could die if there were not this kind of action taken by the government”.

Dr Burke: “ So I think you know the models are models and are  based on input and they’re based on infectiousness without any controls. I can tell you we’ve never seen that level of infection modeled up to 2.2 million in mortality… I have dealt with a lot of modelers in my time, they are wonderful people, but they all have their favorite inputs and they all have their favorite integration functions, so we’re evaluating all of those so we can integrate and create the best model for the United States based on the best data.

The State of Texas has now joined the panic and demanded all gyms, restaurants, and bars close. The damage that will done to our economy is incalculable and remember there has been no surge in deaths or hospital admissions reported yet in the USA.

There is no reason to believe the models without seeing evidence that the models are correct. Tweets like the one below are not helping anyone, Dr. Scott Gottlieb has less observable truth behind his tweet then I do with my two strains, no apocalypse theory.

Each day that ends without a reported spike in viral pneumonia deaths should be raising questions. In this era of diminished corporate  media, desperate for clicks and page views, it is difficult to tease out what is important. What is important is an explanation as to why so many senior leaders are taking such drastic action. Is this based solely of computer models and WHO concerns? That is hard to believe but what other explanation is there?

I do not know if the testing being developed for the Wuhan virus can differentiate between the L and S strains. I suspect,  just as Dr Burke has said repeatedly, that the number of reported cases will skyrocket as more testing comes on line. I also suspect that there will be no giant spike in COVID-19 deaths because the COVID-19 S strain has already washed through the population.

Time will tell, but if we don’t see a giant spike in hospital admissions soon we’ll know we have dodged a huge bullet thanks to the hyper competitive nature of Mother Nature. Having a mild flu out-compete a deadly flu for hosts, thereby saving the host reservoir for another day…you can’t make that kind of stuff up.

Apocalypse Not: The Fear of COVID-19 is Unwarranted

There is something about the current Wuhan virus response that is not adding up. The first case appeared in America on 17th of January, we then stopped direct flight from China on the 31st of January. From the time this pathogen surfaced in November until the end of January, there were daily flights from the Wuhan area to Seattle, LA, San Francisco, New York and Toledo, Ohio. This flu strain is unusually virulent and if that is true (which is not in doubt), by the time it surfaced in America it had already spread across the land.

Farr’s Law, named for British epidemiologist William Farr in 1840, states that epidemics, develop and recede according to a bell-shaped curve. This happens with or without human intervention. Farr’s Law undoubtedly is in play for the Wuhan virus.

Last Christmas my wife and several neighbors had a horrible flu bug that mimicked the Wuhan virus symptoms exactly.  She was miserable and did not respond to a Z-pack or a course of Levaquin our family doctor prescribed.

The bug she had was no joke, and when she mentioned my theory that the Wuhan had already washed through the population last Christmas her friends saw it immediately. She started hearing other stories about the Christmas bug that ravaged the Rio Grande Valley for a good four weeks. The stories all matched up to the symptoms for Wuhan virus.

The President’s early attempts to calm the situation were ridiculed as was his suspension of air travel to China. Then the narrative changed on a dime and the cancelations started with, as I recall, the Ivy League Universities leading the way. Once they did that every other major sports league (with the exception of the UFC) did the same.

The various leagues and venues that have closed had no choice, ignoring the experts advice and example would risk a devastating backlash if the Wuhan virus turns out to be as deadly as advertised.

But  Ivy League role in starting the current chain reaction of closing public venues is not a coincidence. The very experts who are on the TV daily had just  staged a Pandemic table top exercise. The response we are seeing is based off the dire predictions made in that exercise.

On the afternoon of Friday, 18 October 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hosted  a Virtual Exercise Called Event 201 and described as:

“a 3.5-hour pandemic tabletop exercise that simulated a series of dramatic, scenario-based facilitated discussions, confronting difficult, true-to-life dilemmas associated with response to a hypothetical, but scientifically plausible, pandemic”.

The pathogen used for the exercise was a COVID virus with properties similar to COVID-19. The exercise predicted that the virus would overwhelm the medical systems in North America resulting in catastrophic loss of life.

Tabletop exercises like Event 201 happen all the time, the fact that this one was played out a month before COVID-19 surfaced in Wuhan China is not that significant. What is significant is how different the current crisis is playing out compared to the one our experts war-gamed.

There were a seven recommendations made following the exercise (they can be found here). Every recommendation focused on the need for international cooperation with the free flow of information and people across national borders which is consistent with the ethos and vision of globalists like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other major donors, like Open Philanthropy .

But our response to the Wuhan virus has been the exact opposite of the “viruses know no borders” narrative of Event 201.  Instead we (and the rest of the world) have closed the borders, rebuffed international offers of help and turned to the private sector to fight the virus ourselves.

The Centers for Disease Control was not up to the task of testing for or tracking the Wuhan virus and they were rapidly sidelined by the President. This was the exact opposite of  Event 201 in which the CDC and every other similar international organization performed flawlessly. The ‘experts” may have been surprised the CDC failed so spectacularly but this is expected from those of us who know and understand government bureaucracies.

When the CDC failed the President  went straight to the private sector, suspended regulations inhibiting the development and production of test kits and protective wear, and solved the testing problem rapidly. He then held a press conference with these Titans of industry and did a good job of calming frayed nerves. After his poor start briefing the nation last Wednesday night watching him get back into the grove was gratifying.

This is not playing out as the experts who ran Event 201 thought. Then, in another move a blatant dishonesty, on the same day that China launches an IO campaign to deflect criticism from them onto the USA, our legacy media decides the Wuhan virus is now to be called COVID-19.  Any mention of the word Wuhan was now racist and news anchors were getting apoplectic about this new muh racism.

As events across the land started to close. Governors and DC mandarins ran to the TV cameras to announce the draconian measures they were going to take. These pronouncements have to moldy scent of Virtue Signalling. The men and women making these decisions have themselves, no skin in the game.  Regardless of how long this lasts or how bad it gets the people running Ivy League institutions, the federal legislatures, state governors and the media infotainment complex insiders – all of them will weather the storm just fine. In fact, most of them will make millions off  low interest rates while buying blue chip stock at a significant markdown.

You and your family? Not so much.

“I don’t claim to know what’s motivating the media, but, my God, their reporting is absolutely reprehensible. They should be ashamed of themselves. They are creating a panic that is far worse than the viral outbreak. The bottom line, everybody, is to listen to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the CDC [Centers of Disease Control and Prevention]. Do what he tells you, and go about your business.… Stop listening to journalists! They don’t know what they are talking about!” Dr. Drew Pinsky commenting on the media yesterday (17 March 2020)

An anonymous  source quoted in The Spectator points out the only salient (and obvious) fact now which is:  “We know the numerator (the number of deaths), but we don’t know the denominator, which is the number of people who have been infected by COVID-19. And without the denominator, we have no way of estimating either the spread or the fatality rate of COVID-19.”

That bothers me and it should bother you too, but at the moment there is nothing to be done except hunker down, avoid panic shopping, and wait to see what happens. How long Americans will tolerate these measures will be interesting to see.

There is no reason to think that this time the experts warnings about a catastrophic event are correct. They have a perfect record of being wrong with every prediction in the past because their models are incapable of predicting complex events reliably.

When the people discover that once again, they were manipulated by a partisan press, compromised academic shills, and virtue signalling politicians there is going to be hell to pay.  When the dust settles maybe we will de-couple science from politics and even dismantle the narrative driving legacy media.

It is time to keep your head down, and your powder dry. Courage and cowardice are contagions and few of our elected leaders seem to operate with an abundance of courage. Their default is finger pointing, name calling, and blame shifting. The rest of us should refrain from that behavior and focus on helping, not panicking our neighbors. When this emergency passes we may be able to hold incompetents to account but for now all we can do is what we do best; refuse to panic.