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Posts Tagged ‘Covid-19 Masks

Sad Stats and a world of unending fear

with 3 comments

Perhaps scary would be a better word. These being from the USA: Ten Statistics to Ruin Your Day.

Obviously there are pragmatic things like the $28 trillion debt of the USA and the increasing problems of getting military recruits because of obesity, other health problems and 10% of the pool (17-24 years old) having criminal records.

But these were the ones that I found sad:

1. The nuclear family fades in the USA:
According to a Pew Research study, the United States has the highest number of children living in single-parent households.  Almost one-fourth (23%) of children in the U.S. under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adult, which is the highest in the world.

3. Tens of millions can’t read:
More than 30 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level.

5. We’re not having kids:
America’s total fertility rate fell in 2020 to just 1.67 births per female, the lowest in history, and well below the replacement level of 2.1.

Given the fading of the family that last is not surprising. But then there is perhaps the saddest of all – which feeds right back in the 1st.

8. But we’re lonely: A poll of 1,254 adults aged 18 and older found that 27 percent of Millennials have no close friends, 25 percent have no “acquaintances,” and 22 percent — or 1 in 5 — have no buddies at all.

Lindsay Mitchell addressed some aspect of this in her post, “Millennial Fetal Contentment”:

When enough Millennials reached young adulthood in the 2010s they cried out in pain. The real world wasn’t like the highly structured environments of their daycare centers or schools. Suicide, self-harm, depression, deviancy, drugs, self-mutilation (eg tatooing,) shock-hair colouring, and piercings became epidemic. When enough young Millennials had the chance to be an influence they promoted ‘Safe Spaces’ and Feminism and Gender Pronouns and Climate Change Catastrophisation and Racism to try to change their uncomfortable world into a place they felt at home.

When the world hurts you, and especially when you find you can’t control everything about even your small part of that world, you withdraw from it. The online world has the best safety since it is the most controllable by you. Lindsay finishes her piece with this:

The Millennial dream is everyone else’s nightmare.

She means in terms of control but what those stats above tell us is that another nightmare will be upon us before long where we don’t have enough young(ish) people, especially enough capable people, to power the world forward.

There are more than a few in the West who perhaps rather like that idea.

This slow destruction started decades ago:

In March of 1970, Anne Bernays penned a piece titled “What Are You Supposed to Do if You Like Children?”[1]  Her target was the Women’s Liberation Movement that was ushering in ideas that “men are sexual vampires, [and] marriage is stunting and exploitative.”

Those women who are “willing to acknowledge the remotest emotional obligation to husband and children, especially to children during their fragile first five or six years of life … can’t summon the time, physical energy, and psychic equipment to do two jobs simultaneously.  You can’t split a woman’s life down the middle and expect each half, like a severed worm, to go happily crawling off, to survive and function in perfect health.”

Yet that is exactly what has been demanded of most women as they valiantly try to raise a family and work outside their homes.  Or they simply decide that children are not worth their time or effort, or some other agency is left to the care and development of their children.

What I find incredible is that this feminism I grew up with in the 1980’s, that every one of my female friends supported, has not made women happier, as it was supposed to do.

And now women are being erased from many spaces by the transgender movement, to the horror of feminists, even though it was their ideas that started the ball rolling:

… it was Shulamith Firestone in the 1970s  who wrote that it has “become necessary to free humanity from the tyranny of its biology” and “eliminate the sex distinction itself [so that] genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally.”  Ultimately, Firestone asserted that the “blood tie of the mother to the child would eventually be severed,” and the “disappearance of motherhood” would follow.

Wish fulfilled, as the article points out by noting the steady legalisation of eliminating or marginalising oppressive words like father, mother, parents, son, daughter, and so forth: replaced by “gender-neutral language”. And the “legal” aspect is nasty, as this article noted:

Whereas the gay rights movement was about demanding more freedom from the state for people to determine their sex lives unconstrained by the law, the transgender movement demands the opposite: it calls for recognition and protection from the state in the form of intervention to regulate the behaviour of those outside of the identity group. Whereas in the past, to be radical was to demand greater freedom from the state and institutional authority, today to be radical is to demand restrictions on free expression in the name of preventing offence.

Exactly. With force of law.

Going back to the sad stats of the Millennials, many of whom are driving the Woke movement, the question must arise of how this has been affected by our two-year Pandemic Panic? There have been a couple of occasions where huge blackouts in New York City have led to baby booms nine months later, but I’ve yet to see the same from our lockdowns anywhere in the Western world. What’s different this time aside from a longer period of “nothing else to do”? Over at the NYT, David Brooks does not have an answer to any of this but points out that:

Not only is reckless driving on the rise, Yglesias pointed out, but the number of altercations on airplanes has exploded, the murder rate is surging in cities, drug overdoses are increasing, Americans are drinking more, nurses say patients are getting more abusive, and so on and so on. … Teachers are facing a rising tide of disruptive behavior. …

What the hell is going on? The short answer: I don’t know. I also don’t know what’s causing the high rates of depression, suicide and loneliness that dogged Americans even before the pandemic and that are the sad flip side of all the hostility and recklessness I’ve just described.

Well the massive increase in the murder rate is down to the sort of Democrat cities that Brooks loves, the hangovers from the Antifa/Burn Loot Murder riots of 2020, and idiot theories of law enforcement. But the rest of it probably has a lot to do with the response of TPTB to Chinese Xi Snot.

Sadly these effects may not go away anytime soon in our “post-Covid world”, at least judging by this argument from Commentary magazine, The Atlantic’s Nervous Breakdown:

The Atlantic reader who visits the website rather than simply journeying there through social-media links is turned into a doom-scroller, confronted time and again as she journeys down the homepage with headlines like this one: “America Is Running Out of Time.” Note how the title lacks specificity; it doesn’t need specificity, because this is what nearly every article in the Atlantic is about. (A recent feature in the January/February print issue of the magazine was titled, simply, “Are We Doomed?”)

“Bring Back the Nervous Breakdown,” urged a 2021 article. And so Goldberg’s Atlantic has. An astonishingly large number of stories in both the print and online versions of the magazine now focus on the irrational feelings of a very particular and privileged class of people—elite, left-of-center, educated people who ironically believe themselves too sophisticated to be emotionally manipulated like the unwashed Fox-viewing masses they abhor.

Pieces like Ian Bogost’s essay “I’m Starting to Give Up on Post-Pandemic Life” typify the Atlantic’s panic porn—the titillating personal account of a distorted negative emotional experience described lubriciously with no observable larger social purpose.

I read that last article. My advice is that you should not. A godawful piece of existentially painful navel gazing from a self-absorbed twat, who just happens to be “an American academic and video game designer.” He’s not alone: the article looks at another Atlantic writer, Alexis Madrigal, who caught Covid at a wedding despite being fully vaxxed, and promptly had a meltdown:

“The life disruption—the logistical pain you cause those around you—is now a major part of any bad scenario. As I write this, I’m now 10 days past my first symptoms, but I continue to test positive on antigen tests, and so I have not returned home. I haven’t hugged my kids for 10 days.”

He experienced only mild illness, his kids never got sick, and yet:

Madrigal’s conclusion isn’t that he might have overreacted in his risk assessment. He doesn’t even entertain that possibility. Rather, he doubles down on the idea of living in permanent emotional lockdown because of COVID: “Things aren’t likely to change that much for quite some time. Even after however many kids get vaccinated, there will still be breakthrough infections. Other variants could spread. Maybe we’re in this space for another year or two or three.”

Christ! What a hideous fate for a grand old American magazine that made its name during the US Civil War and was still an excellent read just twenty years ago.

FFS, we’re certainly never going to have a “post-pandemic world” if it’s heavily influenced by people like this, and while it’s tempting for me to make scathing observations about the modern writers of The Atlantic, the terrible truth is that there are apparently millions of people in Western nations that have been driven as insane as this – including New Zealand, judging by the frightened hordes lining up this week to get their little kids jabbed.

Despite this doom and gloom I will finish with this hopeful quote:

Human nature possesses an irreducible—or, if you will, an irremedial—capacity for resisting domination. We humans will not accept an harmonious arrangement of our lives that denies us all freedom to act as individuals. . . . We will not recognize as good any course of action that annihilates our sense of responsibility for the course of our lives. We cannot care for a world, however ostensibly good, in which we cannot recognize ourselves, or any whom we love.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 20, 2022 at 6:00 am

Political Science

with 9 comments

No, not the “scientific” study of politics.

We’re going to have to add another category:

There have been some extraordinary flip-flops in the USA over the last couple of weeks on the Chinese Xi Snot disease.

Cloth masks don’t work – CNN

“Cloth masks are not appropriate for this pandemic,” CNN’s Dr. Leana Wen said on Monday night. “It’s not appropriate for omicron,” she continued. “It was not appropriate for delta, alpha, or any of the previous variants, either, because we’re dealing with something that’s airborne.”

On the other hand, back in July of 2020, Wen was actually touting cloth masks on Twitter. “It’s a lot less uncomfortable than ventilators, dialysis lines, all of those things that have had to happen to my father,” she warned.

PCR tests are unreliable – CDC director:

The newly updated CDC guidelines don’t require testing at the end of isolation because PCR tests can stay positive for up to 12 weeks, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told “Good Morning America” Wednesday. “So we would have people in isolation for a very long time if we were relying on PCRs,” Walensky explained.

I can think of other problems raised by such sensitive tests that can produce a bucketload of false positives – like huge numbers of cases that could scare the shit out of ordinary people when publicised by unscrupulous or moronic MSM sources and government healthcare bureaucrats – and politicians of course.

Ten day quarantines can be cut to five days – CDC

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just dropped adjusted quarantine guidelines for COVID-19 and vaccinated individuals. This is after an outcry from the airline industry that the guidelines and the surge in Omicron variant cases were causing staffing shortages.

Wait! What? You mean to say they took other factors into consideration rather than just “YOU WANT TO KILL GWANDMA.

The reason for the change then was not “SCIENCE” but complaints from industry. This was promptly backed up by none other than Dr Fauci. The decision is based on keeping things open because the sheer number of people testing positive with Omicron would crash things if they were all told to follow the previous CDC rules.

As a result the Left hit the roof, as you can see from the responses on that Twitter thread. My fave so far (H/T Spongebob Squarepants):

sAcRiFiCe YoUr LiFe FoR tHe GlOrY oF mAmMoN

Although it’s a tough competition since they’ve thrown their idol as far under the bus as they could (from that link):

The Left “embraces the science” only when the science embraces the left’s narrative. When it does not, science is to be ignored, manipulated, dismissed out of hand, or bald-faced lied about it. BTW, one of the nutters there, Rashida Tlaib, is a member of Congress; part of “The Squad” actually, those fearsome new Women of Colour taking the baton of socialism from Bernie Sander’s dying hands.

Yet the same Left is aghast that Fauci admitted that “The Science” is really The Politics. But barely anything in the past two years of the pandemic has been done because of science. It’s all politics. And dirty, crude, base-stroking politics at that.

In fact this is the CDC doing science, although they’re just catching up – to the point where they’re obviously now going to start treating C-19 like every other respiratory virus. Cold and flu contagions are generally within the first 2-5 days of onset of symptoms. If a person has no symptoms, then it is a waste of time, money, manpower, and critical resources forcing them to isolate. They had been warned a few days earlier:

A trade group representing major U.S. airlines urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halve its recommended quarantine time for individuals with breakthrough cases of Covid-19, warning the current 10 days could lead to labor shortages and flight disruptions.

An implicit lockdown then. Well duh! And it wasn’t just the CEO of Delta Airlines either.

Folks on the Left are mad at Fauci and the government for making it so plain that it isn’t just about public health – that economics and politics factored into the decision. Why were those important factors not important enough to consider before when small businesses were being shut down and people were losing their jobs? It was always true that you should consider other factors. It’s just that earlier they didn’t care and were willing to throw everything under the bus. Some of them – not just the screamers – still are:

Is it because they don’t want society to grind to a halt under Joe Biden? I’d bet that it is.

Which is why we got this from The Big Guy: “There is no Federal solution”. Plus an assist from the “conservative” journalist, Jennifer Rubin at the WaPo, whose brain was so broken by Trump that she flip-flops shamelessly on everything; here on what rising case numbers mean politically for DeSantis vs Biden a few months apart.

In this she and the rest of the MSM are just acting as stenographers for the Administration; here’s Biden COS Ron Klain repeating the same argument that saw Right wingers and other opponents of these policies cancelled from FaceTwit just months ago. It should always have been about protecting those most at risk and not locking everyone down. But the Democrats were too busy pushing fear pornography.

The FaceTwit banning shit is still going on:

But in nine months time, they’ll find out he was right the whole time, which will then add some more fun to Right Wing commentator Ben Shapiro’s selection of all these backtracks and more in this thread:

So once it became clear that covid was not in fact a pagan god visiting vengeance on the unwashed Trump voters alone, the media and Democrats are now willing to admit the following:

1. Cloth masks are ineffective against omicron (Leanna Wen, CNN);
2. The vaccinated can spread and get covid;
3. The death rate is comparable to the flu (Chris Hayes);
4. Many people are entering hospitals with covid, not from covid (Fauci);
5. Natural immunity is a reason omicron hasn’t been as virulent (Fauci);
6. We have to take into account societal needs, not just spread prevention (CDC);
7. The asymptomatic should not be tested (NFL);
8. We should focus on hospitalizations and deaths, not case rate (Biden);
9. Children are not at risk and schools should remain open;
10. Covid is predominantly an illness affecting the immunocompromised and elderly and we should not shut down society.

I wonder when anybody in New Zealand, starting with our MSM, is going to catch up with any of this?

Oh, who am I kidding, they were ideological bitches for the Left before this started and thanks to $110 million they’ve moved to be whores for Labour.

What’s normal again?

I already covered this topic in the post, We’re never going back to normal, which were actually the words spoken by some Australian health official suffering from Fauci/Hendy/Baker/Wiles/Bloomfield disease.

But it’s nice to see that some former fanatics are having a bit of re-think, as evidenced by an article in – of all places – the NYT, “Is it time to start moving back to normalcy?”.

The writer, one David Leonhardt, reports the views of “one of the more cautious” of “the Covid experts I regularly talk with”, Dr. Robert Wachter, chairman of the medicine department at the University of California San Francisco:

“He worries about ‘long Covid,’ and he believes that many people should receive booster shots. He says that he may wear a mask in supermarkets and on airplanes for the rest of his life.”

Okay. So obviously not a right-wing Covid denier. Nonetheless he…

… also worries about the downsides of organizing our lives around Covid. In recent weeks, he has begun to think about when most of life’s rhythms should start returning to normal. Increasingly, he believes the answer is: Now.

This belief stems from the fact that the virus is unlikely to go away, ever. Like most viruses, it will probably keep circulating, with cases rising sometimes and falling other times. But we have the tools – vaccines, along with an emerging group of treatments – to turn it into a manageable virus, similar to the seasonal flu.

Given this reality, Wachter, who’s 64, has decided to resume more of his old activities and accept the additional risk that comes with them, much as we accept the risk of crashes when riding in vehicles.

A sane conclusion. Meantime, Leonhardt, also reaches a sane conclusion based on the data he’s gathered:

Covid now presents the sort of risk to most vaccinated people that we unthinkingly accept in other parts of life

When The Washington Post recently asked Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, when the pandemic would end, she replied: “It doesn’t end. We just stop caring. Or we care a lot less.” She added, “I think for most people, it just fades into the background of their lives.”

I realize that answer may sound jarring, but the alternative – a society permanently dominated by Covid – is jarring, too. Eventually, the costs of organizing our lives around the virus will exceed the benefits. In some cases, we may have already reached that point.

He should try living in New Zealand. Even though Covid-Zero was abandoned weeks ago it seems to me that this government and its supporters, including the scientists listed above, pushed the low death rate so hard and so successfully as a measure of their success (something endlessly echoed by their supporters) that they’re terrified of the backlash that would occur were it to rise into the hundreds or higher, and they are willing to do anything to avoid that.

They’re not alone. At the wonderful Stromata blog, which has only recently re-started after a decade, I came across this anecdote:

Just this weekend, I heard about a writer at a science fiction convention who complained vehemently to the organizers when a single unmasked individual appeared in the audience at one of her panels. The incremental risk that she faced as a result was undoubtedly too slight to be measured, yet it threw her into a simulacrum of fear.

As that blogger points out about his own area in Washington State (data obtained via that NYT link to another site):

The CDC has decided that a [7-day average] rate over 10 per 100,000 [popn.] is dangerous enough to demand special precautions, and most of the country outside the Southeast is above that level. In my home county (Pierce County, Washington), it’s 30 per 100,000 as a I write. If the disease were to move steadily through the county at that rate, each inhabitant could expect to fall ill at some point in the next nine years. That hardly conjures up images of the Black Death and makes one wonder why the CDC thinks the rate must be a third of that to be tolerable.

So here’s our case rate – 3.6 per 100,000.

There are other ways of overstating the risk, which have been used to the maximum here in New Zealand by our health experts, government, and MSM, and that is the deception of aggregate statistics and averages that don’t actually give one a true picture of risk:

According to another of the site’s maps, one in nine people in Pierce County has so far suffered from CCP Flu; one in 988 has died of it. Bear in mind that the number of cases is most likely understated (because those who are infected by the virus but have no symptoms are counted only by happenstance) while the risk of death may be overstated.

As Mr. Leonhardt notes, “The aggregate statistics on Covid deaths and hospitalizations exaggerate the risk to most Americans, because a disproportionate share of severe illness occurs among people with specific medical vulnerabilities.

The Italian Institute of Health has found that only three percent of patients in that country who were suffering from CCP Flu at the time of death were free from other morbid conditions.

But actually this is not new, or specific to Delta. This has been known from the start, based on information from China and Italy, as well as the petri dish of the Diamond Princess cruise liner, all in early 2020.

There have been similar comments from the US state of Minnesota, which seems awfully similar to NZ in terms of its approach to lockdowns, masks, vaccinations and the rest, including the new fanaticism of vaccinating kids aged 5-12. Author Kevin Roche managed to get an opinion column published in the Minnesota Star Tribune, “Time to face hard truths and get on with life – virus and all”, which did a detailed breakdown of the numbers and the problems the state government faces (he also runs the blog Healthy Skeptic)

Many people must now be wondering how the COVID-19 epidemic ever ends. The approach adopted by the current federal administration, and echoed in Minnesota, relies on demonizing the unvaccinated and doubling down on largely futile actions. There is no reason to have confidence in this approach, as it fails to address the underlying problem, which is the vaccines’ failure to meet inflated expectations.

Misinformation provided by governments has also created an inaccurate picture of the epidemic and of the steps which likely do create a rational and reasonable exit strategy.

Our current problem is not that large numbers of people aren’t vaccinated, but that notwithstanding extremely high levels of vaccination, we see ongoing significant numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths and renewed epidemic waves in different regions.

He suggested six steps to exit the pandemic, all of which apply to New Zealand as well:

  1. Stop obsessive reporting (faint hope: If It Bleeds, It Leads)
  2. Stop over-testing. (start recording “cases” the way we do with the flu, i.e. symptomatic people)
  3. Stop quarantining children and adults who have not tested positive. (Asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transmission is actually low. Most transmission occurs from a few persons who are symptomatic, have large viral loads and substantial contact networks.)
  4. Stop wasting money on ineffective contact tracing (take a look at our growing number of “unlinked” cases)
  5. Refocus public policy on overall public health and well-being. (how many surgeries have been cancelled?)
  6. Most importantly, declare the epidemic over, declare victory if you are a politician and need that win, and celebrate that we survived this epidemic.

That last will only happen when the politicians – whether Minnesota Governor Walz or NZ PM Adern – have this ongoing “crisis” start hurting them politically rather than helping them as it has.

But Roche got an avalanche of hostile comments, so he then wrote a piece in the famous Powerline Blog:

What really strikes me is how wedded many people are to having the epidemic and its restrictions last forever. What kind of mental illness is this? But I have made the point many times before that I have no intention of trying to change these people’s minds.

This is belief and religion on their part, not data or science or logical analysis. I don’t even want to engage with these people. And they are a serious impediment to trying to get our society back to some kind of rational policy on the epidemic.

In the words of Captain Adama: So say we all.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 17, 2021 at 11:05 am

The Fear

I saw these graphs earlier today, the first one courtesy of Kiwiblog:

DPF of course is doing what any good, cynical political operator does; take something that the government once crowed about as a symbol of their success, and hang it around their neck as it turns bad.

In this case, cases of Covid-19 detected in the community courtesy of who turns up to be tested because they feel a bit crook, and that fantastic PCR test that could find strands of viral RNA in a glass of drinking water.

Fear porn be damned when there is electoral advantage to be gained. Right Jacinda’s advisors?

The second courtesy of the MOH – and a trace and track system that we found out weeks ago, cannot cope.

Health officials have revealed they’re no longer spending time trying to find out how mystery cases became infected, and the focus is instead turning to isolating contacts of mystery cases.

From the Old Left, Chris Trotter has decided to become even more florid and hysterical than usual, with Turning Up Angry, in which he imagines a gigantic shit-storm fight between the vaxxed and the unclean.

Of course, if we’d talked from the start about Covid-19 in the same way we talk about the flu – “cases” being people who turn up with actual symptoms and who need health care, and counts of actual, Covid-19 induced deaths – we would not have started down this road in early 2020. As per the MOH document of 2017 on how to deal with flu pandemics, we might not be in this place.

Fun game: search that MOH PDF for the word “Lockdown”.

Anyway, it also brought this to mind. It’s even got a teddy bear and fuck loads of diamonds. Enjoy.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 1, 2021 at 5:31 pm

Controlled Experiments

An interesting story – and for those so inclined, an amusing one – out of the United States.

How Amish Communities Became The First To Achieve Covid “Herd Immunity”.

A reporter interviewed members of the Amish communities in Pennsylvania to see how they’ve been handling Covid-19 without electricity, TV or the Internet, with limited phones and basically just being cut off from the outside world, as has been their practice since their founding in the US over a century ago.

The Amish are a Christian group that emphasizes the virtuous over the superficial. They don’t usually drive, use electricity, or have TVs. And during the Covid-19 outbreak, they became subjects in a massive social and medical experiment.

After a short shutdown last year, the Amish chose a unique path that led to Covid-19 tearing through at warp speed. It began with an important religious holiday in May.

You can read the details at the link but some key quotes:

There’s three things the Amish don’t like. And that’s government— they won’t get involved in the government, they don’t like the public education system— they won’t send their children to education, and they also don’t like the health system. They rip us off. Those are three things that we feel like we’re fighting against all the time. Well, those three things are all part of what Covid is. (Calvin Lapp, Amish Mennonite)

Funnily enough that’s the surname of the Amish family with which detective John Book resides in the famous movie Witness.

When they take communion, they dump their wine into a cup and they take turns to drink out of that cup. So, you go the whole way down the line, and everybody drinks out of that cup, if one person has coronavirus, the rest of church is going to get coronavirus. The first time they went back to church, everybody got coronavirus.

Also interviewed was one Steve Nolt, a scholar on Amish and Mennonite culture, and Mennonite himself.

Sharyl: “So, are you saying, as of about May of 2020, things kind of went back to normal in the Amish community?”

Steve Nolt: “For the most part, yeah, by the middle of May, it’s sort of like back to a typical behavior again”.

Back to a normal life by May 2020 and ever since! With no lockdowns, no masks and no vaccinations.

There’s debate over case numbers because the Amish largely refused to get tested:

Lapp: “We didn’t want the numbers to go up, because then they would shut things more. What’s the advantage of getting a test?

Well if you’re a government and you need to frighten the shit out of a population but can’t show sufficient numbers of hospitalisations or deaths then “case numbers” become vital (BTW, it looks like NZ’s track-and-trace system is about to break down).

But here’s the key aspect:

One thing’s clear: there’s no evidence of any more deaths among the Amish than in places that shut down tight— some claim there were fewer here.

Lapp: “Oh, we’re glad all the English people got their Covid vaccines. That’s great. Because now we don’t have to wear a mask, we can do what we want. So good for you. Thank you. We appreciate it. Us? No, we’re not getting vaccines. Of course not. We all got the Covid, so why would you get a vaccine?”

Meantime, at almost the opposite end of the scale for a technological society….

The good news for Singapore is that the death rate continues to clunk along at … around 0.015%.

The bad news, out of Israel, is that two jabs no longer counts as “fully vaccinated” and a booster shot is now required in that country. With a stroke of a pen that nation went from 80%+ fully vaccinated to about 65%.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 15, 2021 at 8:42 am

New Zealand is more frightened than Britain

I came across a fascinating, sad article today about the “post-Covid” world of Britain’s population, The Most Frightened Nation.

It lists a number of the things done in that country over the last two years in The War Against Covid-19.

First up are some examples of the propaganda used by the Tory government:

The most heavy-handed of the government’s several advertising campaigns—which together have constituted the real “blitz”—was “Look them in the eyes . . . and tell them you’re doing all you can to stop the spread of Covid-19.” Posters showed rheumy patients staring into the camera looking soulfully woeful while muzzled by oxygen masks. These images alternated with exhausted nurses in full PPE regalia.

No wonder other health care experts began getting worried about patients not turning up to hospitals, even when they had urgent problems.

The numbingly repeated “Stay Home/ Protect the NHS/ Save Lives” tagline chevroned each podium during the government’s televised Covid briefings…It took a surprisingly long while for media wags to observe that the purpose of the NHS is to protect the people, not the other way around. The government might as well have warned the populace to avoid expressing bellicose sentiments about foreigners so as to “protect the Army.”

Further into the pandemic, that monotonous coronavirus motto morphed to the catchily asonant “Hands/Face/Space”—a slogan that would be right at home in a nursery school and parallels the efficacy of “duck and cover.” By this point, viral transmission from surfaces allegedly accounted for only about one in 10,000 cases; real-world evidence that masks make any substantial contribution to the curtailment of infection remained conspicuously scant; and the virus was known to be communicated by fine aerosols that can circulate aloft for hours, making the government’s two-meter social distancing requirement arbitrary and unscientific.

Then there were the police actions, some of which I caught a year ago (The Police could be worse):

Derbyshire police drones photographed a couple hiking in the wilderness with their golden Labrador with no one else in sight, and then published the shot on Twitter with the strapline “WALKING YOUR DOG IN THE PEAK DISTRICT / NOT ESSENTIAL.”

In January, two women who had driven five miles to go for a socially distanced walk were surrounded by so many police that one of them “thought someone had been murdered.” The women were fined £200 each because driving out of your local area for exercise was “not in the spirit of the lockdown” and the hot drinks they were carrying were not allowed because they were classed as “a picnic.”

What if you’ve neglected to fill out a form at the airport or filled it out incorrectly? That’ll be another £10,000, thank you. A ten-grand fine is more than enough to destroy the average Briton. Fortunately, the courts, the last bastion of sanity and due process, have voided convictions for violating Covid restrictions wholesale.

Well yes, but the main driver of such things is that the process is the punishment. You may emerge with no charges, let alone convictions but The Powers That Be know they’ve hurt you, which will make you more compliant. It’s a form of psychological torture increasingly approved of by our Police and governments because it works and leaves no visible marks.

Of course none of this would work without the assistance of Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter.

Only three days into the first lockdown, the Northamptonshire force alone had received “dozens and dozens” of public reports about, for instance, neighbors who had been out for a second run in one day (more “guidance,” not law). By early April 2020, a full 11 percent of Derbyshire’s 2,300 daily calls were to rat out lockdown flouters. Last autumn, Johnson encouraged local councils to hire citizen “Covid marshals” to bully and harass the noncompliant.

The article also goes into the insanity of the rules that can lead to fines. My favourite being the debates over whether a Scotch egg counted as a “substantial meal”.

But here’s the kicker to all this, and it actually comes at the start of the article, where it quotes an Ipsos MORI poll conducted in July, which I’ll bullet point here:

  • 27% of Britons want to impose a government-mandated nationwide curfew of 10 PM—not then in force—“until the pandemic was under control worldwide” When will that be?
  • 19% would impose such a curfew “permanently, regardless of the risk from Covid-19.”
  • 64% want Britain’s mask mandate in shops and on public transport to remain a legal requirement for the duration of the global pandemic
  • 51% want to be masked by law, forever. 
  • 35% want to confine any Briton who returns from a foreign country, vaccinated or not, to a ten-day home quarantine—permanently, Covid or no Covid.
  • 46% would require a vaccine passport in order to travel abroad—permanently, Covid or no Covid.
  • 36% want to be required to check in at pubs and restaurants with a National Health Service contact-tracing app forever.
  • 34% want social distancing in “theatres, pubs and sports grounds,” regardless of any risk of Covid, forever.
  • 26% of Britons would summarily close all casinos and nightclubs forever.

But read the whole article.

I wonder what such a poll would show about New Zealand. Judging from the comments I’ve seen here, on neighbourhood groups, and left wing blogs

I know that part of their concern is working alongside unvaccinated co-workers…I know many people who are very uncomfortable about the idea of travelling on airlines with unvaccinated people. 

… I think we’re at least in the same ballpark as Britain.

Part of me likes to think that, as with wartime regulations, censorship and the like, this too shall will pass. But the other part notes that, around the world, “victory” constantly slips away with this virus, leaving the masks and the lockdowns and the behaviour behind, vaccinated or not.

I also note the old adage that while you can replace governments you can’t replace a people.

==================

On the note of how the Police could be worse, here’s Australia, again. Muldoon and the Police of his time would have loved to have had this tech during the 1981 Springbok Tour protests.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 12, 2021 at 4:42 pm

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate

From the government that is, which is not surprising, even with a Prime Minister with a Bachelor’s degree in the subject who has been lauded as a great communicator from the start.

The real problem is sooner or later you get a reality so ugly that no amount of communication – otherwise known as spin and bullshit – can cover up for it.

So, having saved us from Covid for 18 months, our government has just surrendered to the virus, announcing a “transition plan” to loosen restrictions while Covid is still spreading in the community. This is exactly the sort of insanity which has led to outbreaks and mass death in the UK and NSW, and there’s no reason to think it will end any differently here.

I’m just glad I don’t live in Auckland (and glad that there will still be a hard border to slow the coming shitshow’s spread to the rest of Aotearoa). But I’m also sorry for everyone who lives there. You deserved better than this. And you deserve a government which will keep you safe, rather than sacrificing your lives for a pack of greedy whiners.

Meanwhile, I guess Aotearoa’s days of being a “model Covid response” are over. The government has just decided to surrender to the virus, because they were sick of the whining from the Auckland business class. They’ve basicly become quislings for the virus, just like Boris Johnson and Gladys Berejiklian. And we’ll be paying the price for their cowardice in deaths and long Covid.

That’s Hard Lefty, NoRightTurn, who at least has the reputation of brutal honesty when his own side lets him down – which is often – although you should note the deliberate exclusion of Victoria from his list, thanks to it’s Lefty, Lefty, Lefty reputation and government. I guess he’s a fan of Dan Andrews, in spite of “outbreaks” and “mass death”. I’ll be interested to see how Chris “Wonder Woman” Trotter copes, given his recent, tub-thumping demands for Virus Justice.

But this is so typical of the Left; the mentality of waging yet another Moral Equivalent of War: that’s Jimmy Carter on energy in 1979, to go with similar outstanding successes such as LBJ’s “War on Poverty”, Nixon’s “War on Drugs”, and GW’s “War on Terror”.

The trouble actually goes all the way back to the original phrase of early Yank philosopher and “progressive” William James, who pondered how to…

…”sustain political unity and civic virtue in the absence of war or a credible threat” and “sound a rallying cry for service in the interests of the individual and the nation.”

It’s a crap idea, but the Old Left just can’t let go of it (Trotter on The Coming War Against Climate Change), for the obvious reason that all other means of persuasion have failed them.

The basic problem is that nothing outside of war can actually be turned into one, in either strategy, tactics or final victory. This is why you had Trotter weeks ago thundering against The Business Class “selfishly” attacking the brave elimination strategy and why we now have NRT moaning about “surrendering to the virus” (I know, right? These viruses are fanatics. Fanatics I tell you).

Yes, after firebombing Tokyo and most other cities into rubble and dust we need something else. Unfortunately the mRNA vaccines have not turned out to be the Atomic Bomb for the virus. We’ve nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the little bastards still won’t surrender. Let’s look for other targets on which to unleash our rage.

Getting back to the specifics of what the government announced yesterday, let me return, once again, to what the Swedish epidemiologist said about lockdowns in April 2020:

Getting out of the lockdowns will be the big challenge since the question is around which restrictions can be lifted, followed by watching for upticks in cases and deaths at each stage, with increases met by what? Reinstating the restriction?

Like an alcoholic, Adern has now accepted the first truth that’s been obvious to most other non-warmongers for a long time now: opening up had to happen sooner or later and when it does there will be “the sad realities that come with it – cases, hospitalisations and deaths.”.

I’m not going to knock her for this, even if it comes awfully late into this brutal strategy. It’s a glimmer of light. What she’s actually doing is backing into the scenario explained in the Swedish quote; she’s making it clear by implication that although cases, hospitalisations and deaths are coming, that will NOT mean another lockdown. She appears to have finally reached a point where she’s not going to follow all the advice of her “experts”. Whether that’s because of political reality or not is not something I care about.

The fiddly, vague bullshit of “steps” is her technical “out” from the purity of “levels”, with L4 lockdowns and the crude rules of L3 and below. Hell, we might even be looking at L3 or such just on specific places like small towns or suburbs – which would actually be the track, trace and quarantine option that health authorities worldwide planned for epidemics before the insanity of lockdowns was embraced in 2020.

She’s not explicit about that. She can’t be at this stage, but she wants all her worshippers (especially the MSM) to get used to this idea and she’s hoping that the vax rate and reduced lethality of Delta will mean the numbers, especially the last two, don’t grow relentlessly.

I think we will see jumps in those numbers, but I don’t think it will be terrifying, let alone exponential growth leading to “mass death”, aside from the MSM’s “If It Bleeds, It Leads” hysteria. Personally I think that it’s a smart move (finally), even if the “steps” stuff is eye-rolling nonsense.

When it comes to communication this should not be forgotten either, because we shouldn’t rush to war.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 5, 2021 at 7:00 am

Throw another granny on the tarmac

That’ll be the new phrase for Australia, rather than the famous 1980’s line run by Aussie comedian Paul Hogan in US TV advertisements promoting tourism to The Lucky Country.

Those of course ran in the wake of the famous 1983 America’s Cup victory by Australia and the huge 1986 movie hit that made Hogan a global star, Crocodile Dundee.

But that was a long time ago. As the famous phrase has it: The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

I’m tempted to find out if my three Lefty friends in Melbourne support all this. They almost certainly voted for Dan Andrews and his Labour Party, so it’s likely they do. A big part of me does not want to know.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 30, 2021 at 2:00 pm

We’re never going back to normal

At least according to a senior Australian health official.

It won’t matter if you’re vaccinated, double-jabbed or whatever apparently, even to levels of 80% or more in the eligible population. The future will be one of Covid-19 booster shots forever, masks indoors and outdoors, social distancing, and with the occasional lockdown thrown in anyway – just in case.

We’ve had similar language used here in New Zealand by Professor Michael Baker

“University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told Stuff we may never return to level 1, with mask wearing becoming a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future.”

“Unfortunately this is the new reality,” he said.”

“There isn’t a utopia of living with the virus in the future. It may be quite grim.”

… so I guess the following could be our future as well.

What’s the limiting principle here? How much tyranny is acceptable in the name of “saving lives,” and where does it end?

Based on what I’ve seen and heard of our politicians here, our Public Health leaders, senior police and 75% of the voters, plus the uselessness of our Bill of Rights and the courts who make judgements on it, I think what we’re seeing in Australia is in our future as well.

Mask Pornography

I’d already taken a shot at the mask stupidity (Masquerade) that has attended the great Chinese Xi Snot pandemic, as well as the hypocrisy of the rulers on the subject.

But I recently came across another great article on the subject in City Journal, Do Masks Work?

This took a slightly different approach by looking at the CDC’s approach to studies rather than the studies themselves (click the previous post if you want to see that). Statistician Jeffrey H. Anderson looks closely at Randomised Control Trials (RCT’s) that have tested whether mask wearing in fact reduces virus transmission. Why that sort of trial?

A randomized controlled trial divides participants into different groups on a randomized basis. At least one group receives an “intervention,” or treatment, that is generally tested against a control group not receiving the intervention. The twofold strength of an RCT is that it allows researchers to isolate one variable—to test whether a given intervention causes an intended effect—while at the same time making it very hard for researchers to produce their own preferred outcomes.

This is true at least so long as an RCT’s findings are based on “intention-to-treat” analysis, whereby all participants are kept in the treatment group to which they were originally assigned and none are excluded from the analysis, regardless of whether they actually received the intended treatment. Eric McCoy, an M.D. at the University of California, Irvine, explains that intention-to-treat analysis avoids bias and “preserves the benefits of randomization, which cannot be assumed when using other methods of analysis.”

His bottom line:

In sum, of the 14 RCTs [randomized controlled trials] that have tested the effectiveness of masks in preventing the transmission of respiratory viruses:

  • Three suggest, but do not provide any statistically significant evidence in intention-to-treat analysis, that masks might be useful.
  • The other eleven suggest that masks are either useless – whether compared with no masks or because they appear not to add to good hand hygiene alone – or actually counterproductive.

Of the three studies that provided statistically significant evidence in intention-to-treat analysis that was not contradicted within the same study, one found that the combination of surgical masks and hand hygiene was less effective than hand hygiene alone, one found that the combination of surgical masks and hand hygiene was less effective than nothing, and one found that cloth masks were less effective than surgical masks.

In addition, in all but one of these studies, the masked participants wore surgical masks, not the cloth masks that are ubiquitous today.

It turns out that the font of science, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has largely ignored evidence from randomised trials. Instead they’ve touted observational studies, which lack controls, have difficulty filtering out confounding variables and generally…

… are not only of lower quality than RCTs but also are more likely to be politicised, as they can inject the researcher’s judgment more prominently into the inquiry and lend themselves, far more than RCTs, to finding what one wants to find.

It’s striking how much the CDC, in marshalling evidence to justify its revised mask guidance, studiously avoids mentioning randomized controlled trials. RCTs are uniformly regarded as the gold standard in medical research, yet the CDC basically ignores them apart from disparaging certain ones that particularly contradict the agency’s position.

In a “Science Brief” highlighting studies that “demonstrate that mask wearing reduces new infections” and serving as the main public justification for its mask guidance, the CDC provides a helpful matrix of 15 studies – none RCTs. The CDC instead focuses strictly on observational studies completed after Covid-19 began.

With one exception, the studies that Mr. Anderson cites were conducted before the Covid-19 epidemic began. That’s no reason to reject them of course since the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is not going to be repelled by masks that are ineffective against other viruses. In any case, the only post-Covid study done is consistent with the earlier ones:

The only RCT to test mask-wearing’s specific effectiveness against Covid-19 was a 2020 study by Bundgaard, et al. in Denmark. This large (4,862 participants) RCT divided people between a mask-wearing group (providing “high-quality” three-layer surgical masks) and a control group. It took place at a time (spring 2020) when Denmark was encouraging social distancing but not mask use, and 93 percent of those in the mask group wore the masks at least “predominately as recommended.”

The study found that 1.8 percent of those in the mask group and 2.1 percent of those in the control group became infected with Covid-19 within a month, with this 0.3-point difference not being statistically significant.

Instead we get the following video (to add this previous one), which is not surprising after the last eighteen months of horror stories from the MSM, gleefully jumped on by power mad health bureaucrats and politicians around the world.

Those two terrified people are probably never going to recover. I’d bet they’re double vaccinated as well, and at the first sign of a sniffle they’ll book themselves into an ICU, stat!

Written by Tom Hunter

September 26, 2021 at 6:00 am