30 thoughts on “Open Forum, Election Aftermath Edition

  1. Let uis start with this.

    http://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/points-of-information/new-study-lockdowns-masks-are-useless-and-might-even-increase-covid-19-spread/

    None of these strict lock down mandates, including continuous mask use, did anything to prevent transmission.

    Table from Marine recuit COVID-19 quarantine study
    More significantly, the control group of Marines who did not participate in this study, and thus were not under the same strict lock down rules, actually saw fewer infections, as shown on the table from the study to the right. While the difference wasn’t very large, it existed nonetheless. One could argue that the overuse of masks probably contributed to the higher numbers in the study group, since even in this tightly controlled setting it is still impossible to expect people to wear masks properly. Even if they replaced them regularly, it is unrealistic to expect people to never touch them while they wear them. Over long periods the masks will become havens for the virus, where the person breathes.

    • Michael
      I wonder if those complaining about following the science will consider this data. I doubt it because it is not the science they are pushing.

      Typically they attack studies as being too small.
      However, in this case with n being a number is excess of 1000 for both groups the margin of error is relatively small.

      I’d like to see this replicated because it supports my own beliefs.

    • Full quarantines done properly are very effective.

      The question for states is whether lock downs, which are NOT full quarantines, are effective and/or worth it. We know that masks are “relatively” effective as opposed to not wearing masks but since lock-downs are NOT full or even partial quarantines and it’s actually infringing on people rights it becomes a 100% political maneuver.

            • I summarize here.

              http://www.quora.com/The-US-is-one-of-the-only-countries-with-coronavirus-cases-increasing-Is-this-all-on-Trump-not-taking-it-seriously-and-telling-his-supporters-not-to-wear-masks/answer/Michael-Ejercito

              “However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as
              risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national
              public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in
              the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest
              protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to
              gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive
              stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.
              Those actions not only oppose public health interventions, but are also
              rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives.
              Protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden
              of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must
              be supported.” – 1200 public health experts


              After saying no to so many things, a significant number of public health
              experts have determined that massive protests of police brutality are an
              exception to the rules of COVID-19 mitigation. Yes, these protests are
              outdoors, and yes, these experts have encouraged protesters to wear masks
              and observe six feet of social distance. But if you watch actual footage of
              protests—even the ones where cops are behaving badly themselves—you will see
              crowds that are larger and more densely packed than the public beaches and
              parks that many mayors and governors have heavily restricted. Every
              signatory to the letter above may not have called for those restrictions,
              but they also didn’t take to a public forum to declare them relatively safe
              under certain conditions.

              “For many public health experts who have spent weeks advising policymakers
              and the public on how to reduce their risk of getting or inadvertently
              spreading the coronavirus, the mass demonstrations have forced a shift in
              perspective,” The New York Times tells us.

              But they could have easily kept the same perspective: Going out is
              dangerous, here’s how to best protect yourself. The added well, this cause
              is important, though, makes the previous guidance look rather suspect. It
              also makes it seem like the righteousness of the cause is somehow a
              mitigating factor for spreading the disease.

              Examples of this new framing abound. The Times interviewed Tiffany
              Rodriguez, an epidemiologist “who has rarely left her home since mid-March,”
              but felt compelled to attend a protest in Boston because “police brutality
              is a public health epidemic.” NPR joined in with a headline warning readers
              not to consider the two crises—racism and coronavirus—separately. Another
              recent New York Times article began: “They are parallel plagues ravaging
              America: The coronavirus. And police killings of black men and women.”

              Police violence, white supremacy, and systemic racism are very serious
              problems. They produce disparate harms for marginalized communities:
              politically, economically, and also from a medical standpoint. They
              exacerbate health inequities. But they are not epidemics in the same way
              that the coronavirus is an epidemic, and it’s an abuse of the English
              language to pretend otherwise. Police violence is a metaphorical plague.
              COVID-19 is a literal plague.

              These differences matter. You cannot contract racism if someone coughs on
              you. You cannot unknowingly spread racism to a grandparent or roommate with
              an underlying health condition, threatening their very lives. Protesting is
              not a prescription for combatting police violence in the same way that
              penicillin is a prescription for a bacterial infection. Doctors know what
              sorts of treatments cure various sicknesses. They don’t know what sorts of
              protests, policy responses, or social phenomena will necessarily produce a
              less racist society, and they shouldn’t leverage their expertise in a manner
              that suggests they know the answers.

              It’s clear that we’ve come to the point where people can no longer be
              expected to stay at home no matter what. Individuals should feel empowered
              to make choices about which activities are important enough to incur some
              exposure to COVID-19 and possibly spreading it to someone else, whether that
              activity is reopening a business, going back to work, socializing with
              friends, or joining a protest against police brutality. Health experts can
              help inform these choices. But they can’t declare there’s just one activity
              that’s worth the risk.”- Robby Soave

              “It’s not that public health folks are wrong that racism and police
              brutality have significant public health consequences; while coronavirus has
              the potential to kill hundreds of thousands in a short period of time, over
              the long-term racism and state violence can cause even greater harm.

              But here’s the thing: while it’s understandable that people want to take to
              the streets to protest racism and state violence, there is no
              epidemiological or other scientific evidence that such protests will have
              positive public health effects by spurring positive social and political
              change. Any scientist or public health expert who suggests otherwise is
              engaging in political and sociological speculation that is not only beyond
              their expertise, but that really beyond anyone’s expertise. But it’s worse
              when such speculation purports to be scientific, from experts whose
              credibility is crucial for containing the current and future pandemics.”-
              David Bernstein


              Some of my social media friends have been insisting for some time that many
              of the hardcore lockdown/social distancing advocates were less concerned
              about public health and more about imposing their own value system against
              what they considered an unenlightened public, and some subset of those
              people actually welcomed the lockdown because they prefer people to live on
              the government dole that to allow “capitalist exploitation.” I’m not, to say
              the least, a big fan of the political and public health establishment, but I
              nevertheless thought this was too cynical, and I did (and still do) think
              that many aspects of the lockdown were justified by public health needs.

              Yet today we see Mayor DeBlasio arguing that protesting racism is more
              important than being banned from attending religious services indefinitely,
              and Governor Murphy of New Jersey stating that protests against racism may
              flout social distancing rules, but he’s going to continue to enforce them
              against lockdown opponents.

              Worse yet, Slate reports that:

              Facing a slew of media requests asking about how protests might be a risk
              for COVID-19 transmission, a group of infectious disease experts at the
              University of Washington, with input from other colleagues, drafted a
              collective response. In an open letter published Sunday, they write that
              “protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden
              of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must
              be supported.”… By Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,000 epidemiologists,
              doctors, social workers, medical students, and other health experts had
              signed the letter.

              So much for the “expert public health community.”

              I don’t think anyone who knows me would describe me as at all credulous, but
              I think I need to get even more cynical.

              A final thought: For many of the left, anti-racism is basically a religion,
              and they don’t want the Covid crisis to interfere with an important
              anti-racism ritual, protest. But when it comes to accommodating actual
              religion, like having a religious quorum at a funeral? Feh, that’s not
              important.”- David Bernstein

              The very idea of public health has been discredited.

              It is as scientific as creationism, Lysenkoism, and Nazi racial “science”.

              These lockdowns were doomed to fail on June 5, 2020, when the public health establishment lost our trust.

      • Steve,
        Do you have any data to back up your assertion about masks? I have been trying to find data and all previous studies show very little effectiveness in mask wearing. Hand washing seems more effective. The studies that have come out after coronavirus have seemed suspect, at best. You can see in the article I have cited, the attempt to rewrite inconvenient history.

        https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577?fbclid=IwAR10n4XuIqgKFZQDEItYH73EhB0qLO78nid8PmRXeKHJ-1U2p9il5feY830

        This CDC study, published in May 2020 was criticized because it didn’t come to the ‘right’ conclusion.
        https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article

        Looking at the data from countries’ mask usage does not indicate any effect of mask usage.
        https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/29/these-12-graphs-show-mask-mandates-do-nothing-to-stop-covid/

        The problem with a lot of these recent studies is that they aren’t comparing groups without masks and groups with masks in a real-world setting. They also are studying masks with a much different usage than we currently have. The high-quality surgical masks, like the Halyard FluidShield that I am using are gone. The Kimberly-Clark or Halyard brand name masks are not available, even to medical workers (where are they?). What is left are poor-quality Chinese garbage. Even with the high-quality masks, you are only supposed to wear those for a few hours and discard them for a new one. That would require billions of masks/day in the US. That isn’t happening. People are wearing these single-use, disposable masks for days. These are all reasons that I am suspicious of the efficacy of mask usage.

        Here are some other articles, for good measure.

        https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/masking-lack-of-evidence-with-politics/
        https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2006372

        • Michael R. wrote, “Do you have any data to back up your assertion about masks?”

          I can personally vouch for their “relative” effectiveness. I’ve been around at least three people since mid August that tested positive for COVID-19 and the only precautions I’ve taken that are different than normal for me is wearing a mask when around others and reasonable social distancing when possible. One of those three infected was actively coughing before they went to get tested. I learned many years ago due to annual flu seasons to have some hand sanitizer around, routinely use it, and don’t put my uncleaned hands to my face.

          By the way; my wife just recently retired from working in health care and I’ve still got two people in my immediate COVID-19 inner circle that are currently actively working in area hospitals and one has been around active COVID-19 patients. We do what we can and masks are part of that.

          • Yes, but that is an opinion. I am asking for studies of effectiveness, like the ones I posted and the one posted earlier. Feelings is not science. I am living with 2 people who have been around COVID patients for months (one has been taking care of up to 50 COVID patients/day). I have been around over 20 people with COVID in the last few months. None of us have gotten sick. I didn’t wear a mask all summer in stores, etc with people with COVID. I didn’t get sick. That doesn’t mean NOT wearing a mask protects you.

            There are real downsides to wearing the masks. My wife’s work tested them for CO2 levels before they started wearing masks and after. Each month, they test her CO2 level right before she starts work (when she hasn’t been wearing a mask for 14 hours). It is still 50% higher than before she started wearing a mask, and it is into the ‘elevated’ range. I asked her why they don’t check the CO2 level at the end of her shift? The reason is the CO2 level would be so high that OSHA wouldn’t let them work. We are doing this to our schoolchildren. Several of the studies have found the cloth masks INCREASE the chance of getting sick. This is probably due to the fact that they get wet and bacteria and viruses grow on them, they don’t get cleaned enough, etc. This is why real-world studies and good statistical analyses are needed. Just because under ideal conditions in a lab it works, doesn’t mean it will work when you have 3rd graders running it.

            We shouldn’t be forcing everyone to do something that might be harmful because of feelings.

            • Michael R.
              I don’t have the studies or I would have provided them.

              Use a bit of logic; why do we cover our mouth and nose when we sneeze, it’s to stop the spread of the particles that come our of our mouth and nose, nurses in hospitals have been using masks as a base standard for years and years to prevent them from spreading damn near everything from one patient to another and for the most part it works. When there is a lack of studies, logic dictates.

              Michael R. wrote, “I am living with 2 people who have been around COVID patients for months (one has been taking care of up to 50 COVID patients/day). I have been around over 20 people with COVID in the last few months. None of us have gotten sick.”

              That’s not proof that masks don’t work.

              Michael R. wrote, “I didn’t wear a mask all summer in stores, etc with people with COVID. I didn’t get sick.”

              How do you know they had COVID-19, were they wearing a tag? Were those infected with COVID-19 wearing masks? Face it Michael, what you’re writing is the same as mine, it’s our opinion.

              I’m returning to what I originally stated that wearing masks is “relatively” effective as opposed to not wearing masks at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Is a mask perfect, nope and I have not implied or stated that it is. I stand by the sentiment of my original statement regardless of not having any studies to support it.

        • Graphs with Covid numbers increasing post-mask mandate are not looking at the whole picture. People becoming bored and impatient with the long virus timeline isn’t accounted for. I went nowhere outside of the supermarket once every 10 days,from late February until June. I got my first haircut of the year in August. I realized the other day that I’m going into the supermarket far more frequently than I did two or three months ago. People eventually revert to old habits. I see articles often nowadays about weddings of 50 guests or more resuming. The protests, marches, and election rallies had an effect. I see US friends out in large groups again the past two months on social media. These articles are disingenuous to ascribe increased cases to mask wearing, ignoring all the events that lead us to this point, and people’s personal choices and attitudes.

          The point of mask wearing is fewer people sick, not no people sick. Viral illnesses like colds, flu, and now Covid, resurge every winter. It can’t be prevented. Vaccinations and public health measures can slow the spread. No one who advocates masks does so with the impossible goal of 100% reduction in the number of cases, just preventing as many as possible.

          Last year at this time in Japan nationwide we had 5,048 active cases of influenza, there are now 24. While the Japanese have worn masks in winter since the 1918 pandemic, it wasn’t as prevalent as it is since Covid. I’d estimate we’ve gone from 30-40% seasonal mask wearing to over 90%, darn close to 100%. I’ve seen only three people in stores without masks over the past two months. We have no mask mandate, people are doing it on their own. Add on heightened awareness of hand washing and sanitizing, and we have a huge change from last flu season. Almost all shoppers make use of the hand sanitizer stations at store entrances, upon entering and leaving. Many people also carry small bottles of alcohol and spritz their hands after using elevators and escalators, or after using public restrooms. With half the US population, we had 1760 Covid cases yesterday.120,000 total cases since the start, 1883 deaths total. It’s not all masks and hand washing, though, genetics may play a role, and that has yet to be fully investigated. Japan also has far lower obesity rates, and lower numbers of diabetes patients. People are also still very strict about meeting in groups. It all helps.

      • Only a full quarantine of the Wuhan Province in December 2019 or early January 2020 that would have made a difference. That didn’t happen and the world was caught unprepared – either through Chinese negligence or intentional misrepresentations. We have been playing catch up ever since.

        jvb

    • Actually, the control group had the same lockdown procedures. The only difference was the extra testing and isolation of positive cases. It’s still interesting, but it doesn’t say much about lockdowns and masks except that that aren’t 100% effective.

      • I agree. The ones who were positive within two days of arrival should have been excluded from the study, as it takes 10-14 days to become infected and symptoms to appear, they did not get sick in camp, after the start of the study. The pre-arrival quarantine wasn’t effective, and home quarantine was self-reported, and therefore unreliable. Those diagnosed at 7 days were also infected in quarantine. What were the ‘supervised quarantine’ conditions, if 40 were found to be infected one week into mask wearing?

        It didn’t say in the paper that they taught or enforced proper mask wearing, removal, and disposal. The body of the mask should never be touched, they should be removed by the strings and disposed of in a bag, don’t leave your nose uncovered, if you touch your mask, wash your hands. It’s not that complicated, it just takes a little time to remember.

        They used cloth masks, which have already been proven to be ineffective, which is why they are no longer used in medical settings. They are porous, and stay wet much longer after removal.

    • People don’t know how to use masks. A lot of people only wear them because they don’t have a choice, not because they think they work. So they are not going to be careful to follow proper procedure.

      The media and politicians spend a lot of time obsessing over the death rates from the virus, and almost no time focusing on the effects the lockdowns and mask wearing are having on people. The economic damage, the depression, the increase in drug abuse and suicides. People who now cannot pay their rent or purchase food are a big deal. They matter. The collateral damage is astronomical, and no one in the mainstream media wants to talk about that.

    • I’m with Phlinn here. The article quoted misinterpreted the study. There was no control group. All recruits were in the same conditions. Participation in the study only meant extra testing.
      As Phlinn says, the only conclusion is that the strict measures described could not completely prevent spread. My assumption would be that spread would be rampant if lockdown measures hadn’t been present, but this study does nothing to address that question.

      • I’ve been using a single disposable blue paper mask that I keep in my car for the entire pandemic. months. It’s just a costume I wear to keep from being yelled at. I do not recall a single person sneezing or coughing anywhere while I’ve been out in public this entire year.

        • “Costume” is the perfect way to describe it. In my case, I’m pretty sure my wearing one isn’t doing anything to prevent the spread of COVID-19, since I already had the virus six months ago. But it keeps people from yelling at me, so I half-ass wear one when I go to stores or whatever.

      • I have doubts that a study about Marines can be extrapolated to the general population in this context.

        Lockdowns require public cooperation.

        Marines are known to have sworn an oath to obey all lawful orders, unlike the population in general.

    • ‘ While the difference wasn’t very large, it existed nonetheless.’

      If it’s not statistically significant, it’s not really a finding. It could be due to any number of factors.

      ‘ it is still impossible to expect people to wear masks properly. Even if they replaced them regularly, it is unrealistic to expect people to never touch them while they wear them.’

      Without training, yes. Annually thousands of people are trained to not touch their faces and to wash their hands between tasks, in the HACCP program (food handler’s licensing). I got my HACCP license in 2001, and it’s daily habit, in and out of the kitchen, to not touch my face. It takes getting used to, you can’t do it in a day. ‘Oh, well, you just can’t expect people to’ is just giving up. The paper looks like trying to buttress a predetermined conclusion.

  2. I am wondering about the ethics of our education system. Despite no evidence that students are at any type of substantial risk from coronavirus, schools have shut down or gone to ineffectual virtual teaching. At a nearby, large high school, the teachers have told me that the majority of the grades are ‘F’, despite the fact that they have lowered the grading standards to ‘turned something in’. The justification for the destruction of 2 years of student learning is that the teachers need to be protected. Meanwhile, the students at private schools are having classes like normal. The public school students were already behind the private school students by at least 2 years. Now, they will be 4 years behind. How will public school students ever compete with the private school (and homeschooled) students? We have created a 2-tiered education system, condemning the children of poor and rural families to severely reduced opportunities in their lives. Now some states are trying to address this…by banning private instruction.

    My state’s governor yesterday announced that he wants all public schoolchildren back in the classroom by January. He has come under withering fire from the teacher’s union and their media allies. His attempt is probably in vain. In Michigan, the ‘in-person’ instruction is now being done by teacher’s aides. The teacher is at home and zooms in a lesson on a screen. The poorly paid, non-union teacher’s aid is in the classroom to keep order, pick up assignments, and grade them. That seems to be the ‘new normal’ the teachers want to go to.

    Is the purpose of our education system to educate our children, or is it to provide teacher’s union members with sinecure positions?

    • Michael, school in its current form is more about indoctrination than much else anyway. Have you looked at the new standards for teaching “racial justice” administrators are adopting? Check out some Brain Pop videos to get an idea.

      In Abigail Shrier’s latest book, Irreversible Damage, she discusses how Kindergartners are taught gender stereotypes about what boys or girls do or like. They’re presented with a book called Who Are You? The Kids Guide to Gender Identity. Here, kids in K-6 grades learn about gender identities like, agender, neutrois, third gender, and two-spirit (on a personal note, the two-spirit one really pisses me off because only a few tribes ever used that term and quite frankly it’s racist to pretend that term or idea was ubiquitous to all tribes).

      In middle schools kids are getting gender workbooks and put through exercises imaging, “what it’s like to be another gender.” They’re asked, “What would be fun about being another gender?” They’re taught “it’s hard to not be a girly girl” so you may actually be a boy. In high schools, as part of anti-bullying or sex education, they learn about fisting and anal stimulation.

      A teacher interviewed in Shrier’s book stated, “Yes, we serve the community, but in some places, we have to lead the community.”

      Add to this, climate change is taught as hard science. No other sides or ideas are presented.

      So even when (or if) kids go back public school, they’re already at a disadvantage because the curriculum is pumping out ideologically tainted materials like “decolonizing math.” They’re spending less time learning how to read, write, and do math than ever before because these other “lessons” are supposedly just as important. Common Core rot is turning our tax dollars into what rap group Dead Prez said in their song “They Schools.”

      School is like a 12 step brainwash camp.

      This next generation of kids may potentially be pretty stupid, and this pandemic only adds to an already diminished public “education” system.

      • Mrs. Q,

        We’ve said it before, but it is for reasons like this my wife and I homeschool. I hope we can keep up with it; our eldest is in first grade, so we’ve yet to face the challenge of multiple children taking their lessons simultaneously.

        Alluding to our conversation in a previous post, we once contemplated whether take our kids out of public schools constituted some sort of retreat, akin to retreating from Facebook or WordPress or some other establishment. I had seen a video from an inspirational speaker (I believe it was Inky Johnson) who had the chance to leave a failing public school for a much better school, and insisted on staying to help those around him. That was an inspiration to put our children into public school, thinking they would do fine academically because my wife and I wanted to be deeply involved as it was. But others warned us that these are formative years for our children, and that they’ll spend more time being formed by the public schools than by us.

        Our vision now is to well-form our children with a classical liberal education, especially in logic, grammar, and rhetoric. If we do this right, hopefully they will be exposed to a variety of viewpoints and have the capacity to argue for or against them before we release them into the wild.

        Hopefully the surge in homeschooling will not fade away with the ending of the pandemic, and those homeschooled will form the backbone of the next generation of leadership. At some point, there has to be a definitive acknowledgment that the public school system as it stands is a failure and needs replaced. Maybe when this homeschooled generation reaches maturity, the evidence will be abundant and true change can finally occur.

      • They won’t all be stupid. We are going to have a caste system. Those who were homeschooled or private-schooled will be so far ahead of the public school kids that it won’t be a contest. Children relegated to the public school system will be completely unable to compete for spots in good college, spots in good post-college programs, and for decent jobs. The elites have always wanted this to some extent. Many medical schools used to require a recommendation from a licensed physician in the state to apply and the physicians were only allowed to give 1 or 2 recommendations in their lifetime. Most reserved them for their children. Wall Street requires unpaid internships to get good jobs there, something that only the children of the wealthy can afford to do.

        The public schools used to be good enough to give the best students a chance against the children of the elite. It looks like those days are over. The meritocracy is gone. The schools have made it practically gone and the leftists and MSM have made it philosophically gone by associating it with ‘whiteness’. The vast majority of the people will be assigned roles in society according to their race, gender, etc, and the elites will control all the high-paying and powerful positions in society. In other words, Communism.

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