Think About What Is Being Said Here

Hot Air posted an article today that included a recent quote from a Washington Post article:

Hot Air reports:

Over at the Washington Post, Keith Humphreys ended the week on a pessimistic note, opining that no matter how much testing and contact tracing is required to get us fully past this pandemic, America will never do as well as several other countries that seem to be taming the virus more quickly. The reason? Because Americans love their “freedom” too much. (Please note for the record that it was Humphreys who put the word freedom in scare quotes, not me.)

We love our “freedom” too much?! You mean that same freedom that men died for in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1912, World War I and World War II? You mean that same freedom that men and women today serve in our military to defend? You mean that same freedom that men and women spend months away from their families to protect? You mean that same freedom that allows you to post really dumb things in your newspaper?

The article continues:

He begins by quoting medical professionals who insist that the only path toward the new normal relies on our ability to “test, isolate, contact trace and quarantine.” He then lists a few examples of countries where those practices appear to be helping them tame the virus, including Germany, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. But, the author argues, we may never succeed in the same fashion because such programs would require not only a willingness to surrender considerable privacy rights and freedoms, but also a general attitude of trust towards the government which doesn’t exist in the United States today.

The article concludes:

I suppose we should examine this analysis with two questions in mind. First, is Humphreys correct? And second, even if we assume that he is, should we really be envious of people living under harsher authoritarian rule and emulate their behavior if it gets us past the pandemic faster?

As to the first question, I have no argument to offer. The author is absolutely correct. Americans are probably just about the orneriest group of curmudgeons on the planet when it comes to bending to the will of the government. That’s because we are arguably the freest people on Earth. We were born of generations of people who had experienced life under the rule of a monarch without any serious assurances of God-given rights. And they wound up telling that monarch to go stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. We’re not all that different today.

…In the end, we’re probably doing the best we can do in our fight against the novel coronavirus. Every nation has to come up with their own solution and ours will wind up being uniquely American, framed around both our scientific capabilities and our values. If that means that we can’t get our virus numbers down to nearly zero as fast as some other nations, so be it. Heck, we still don’t know with 100% certainty if this virus can ever be eliminated or if we’ll ever have a vaccine. But if not, we’ll at least go down swinging.

I wish we still taught civics in school. If we did, Keith Humphreys might realize that America was founded by people who had just fought a war against a tyrannical government. They set laws in place to protect what they referred to as ‘God-given rights.” The laws were to limit the government–not to limit people’s freedom. Anyone who wants to live under a more tyrannical system is free to move to another country–there are many out there that fit that description. Meanwhile, Americans like their freedom and are generally willing to protect it.

No Longer Fair And Balanced

“Fair and Balanced” has been the slogan of Fox News since it began in 1996. Unfortunately, as the children have taken the management over from their father, the station is no longer quite as fair and balanced as it used to be.

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday reporting that Fox News reportedly cut ties with social media personalities Diamond & Silk after the pair stirred controversy over incorrect comments about the novel coronavirus. Actually I am not sure anyone on the news is currently making accurate comments about the coronavirus.

Diamond & Silk are Trump supporters who are entertaining and funny. They do not claim to be scientists. They are as entitled to their opinion on the coronavirus as much as anyone else is. I believe that they are being censored not because of their comments about the coronavirus but because of their support of President Trump.

The article reports:

“After what they’ve said and tweeted you won’t be seeing them on Fox Nation or Fox News anytime soon,” a source with knowledge of the situation said according to The Daily Beast.

Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller.

The siblings came under fire after saying on March 30 that the number of Americans who have died from the novel coronavirus is being misreported to make President Donald Trump look bad, The Daily Beast reported.

They also accused billionaire Bill Gates of being involved with the virus on April 10 during a livestream, saying he has pushed for “population control,” the publication reported. Diamond & Silk said they would not be taking any vaccine that Gates was involved in producing, according to The Daily Beast.

Just for the record, Bill Gates is an advocate of population control and is one of the major fund sources for the World Health Organization. It may be that Diamond & Silk were fired because some of what they were saying was a little too close to the truth.

Much Of America Is Focused On Solving The Problem Rather Than Politicizing It

On March 30, The New York Post posted an article about the ways that Americans are fighting the pandemic of the coronavirus. The title of the article is, “Answering the coronavirus: exponential American innovation.”

The article reports:

America has long led the world in innovation, and the coronavirus won’t change that. Indeed, US inventors and entrepreneurs are rising to the occasion, jumping in to fill urgent needs.

With ramped-up testing the best way to discover who has the virus and so learn what the fatality rate really is, the news from Abbott Laboratories couldn’t be better. The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency-use approval to Abbott’s new test, the fastest available at the point of care: It can deliver a positive result in five minutes and a negative result in under 15.

…Even more promising are serology tests that can find antibodies in a finger-prick of blood — proving that you had COVID-19 even without any symptoms. That will make it easier to track contacts and clear some people to stop isolating. Biomerica has developed one that can deliver results in 10 minutes at a cost of $10; it’s already shipping kits to Europe but needs emergency-use Food and Drug Administration approval for US use. (Get going, FDA.)

The list goes on. Startup BioIntelliSense has developed the BioSticker, a wearable sensor that can measure vital signs — temperature, heart and respiratory rates and coughing — and transmit it to clinicians in near-real time.

Vici, an InTouch Health robot with a camera forehead, tablet chest and keyboard navel, let docs in Washington state communicate with the first US COVID-19 patient in isolation. And Stanford researchers are using the Crispr gene-editing tool to see if they can stop the coronavirus from hijacking human cells.

Other companies are at work to end shortages of vital equipment: The FDA on Sunday approved the nonprofit Battelle’s request to sterilize N95 masks without limit (after the agency at first tried to set a 10,000-a-day limit — why?). Battelle’s seeking approval to sterilize other equipment, such as ventilator parts, as well.

Here in New York, the Northwell hospital group is converting anesthesia machines and BIPAP devices (used for sleep apnea) into ventilators.

With the pandemic’s peak still ahead, take some consolation in the fact that innovators’ responses are expanding exponentially, too.

The test that can detect antibodies will be a game-changer. Once we can discover who has the disease, who has had the disease, and who is immune to the disease, we can limit our lockdowns to the people and places that are necessary. One of the reasons we are seeing the numbers in New York and some other places is that those places are densely populated and people we out eating, gathering together for plays and music, and generally spending time in close proximity for at least a month without anyone understanding the risk. When we reach the point where we know the risk and can test freely, we should be able to gradually open our economy back up.

A Very Interesting Possibility

Townhall is reporting today that a group of scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine believe that they may have found a vaccine for the coronavirus.

The article quotes The New York Post:

The researchers announced their findings Thursday and believe the vaccine could be rolled out quickly enough to “significantly impact the spread of disease,” according to their study published in EBioMedicine.

The vaccine would be delivered on a small, fingertip-sized patch. When tested on mice, the vaccine produced enough antibodies believed to successfully counteract the virus.

[…]

“These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus,” read a statement from co-senior author Andrea Gambotto, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the Pitt School of Medicine.

“We knew exactly where to fight this new virus.”

[…]

Researchers said they sided with using a patch, rather than a traditional needle, to deliver the spike protein to the skin, which elicits the strongest immune reaction.

The patch contains 400 tiny “microneedles” made of sugar and protein pieces. It would be applied like a Band-Aid with the needles dissolving into the skin.

The vaccine would be “highly scalable” for widespread use, the researchers said in a news release.

Stay tuned. This may be the best news we have had since January.

 

You Might Not Have Read This In The Mainstream Media

Yesterday The Western Journal posted some comments by Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at New York University, a medical correspondent for Fox News, and the author of “False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear.”

The article reports Dr. Siegel’s comments:

“I’ve been handling these emerging contagions for about 20 years now, and I have to tell you, I’ve never seen one handled better,” Dr. Marc Siegel said regarding the actions of President Donald Trump since the coronavirus first emerged as a concern in January.

…“The task force are really top players,” said Siegel, noting the inclusion of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci is “one of the top infectious disease experts in the country,” he noted.

“They’ve been doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said, listing actions Trump has called for such as “restricting travel, isolating patients who are sick and, trying to cut down on contact. It’s a very hard thing to do when people are pouring in from all over the world.”

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, a virologist, and Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an expert in vaccines who has been sounding the alarm about the virus, are also important members, he said, though he believes the “doom and gloom comment” about the inevitable spread of the virus was uncalled for.

Siegel said that the coronavirus is different from diseases such as SARS or the flu.

“SARS had about a ten percent mortality [rate], but it only affected about 8,000 people. Swine flu had a very, very low mortality for flu, but flu itself really only causes about a point-four percent death rate, and [coronavirus] is about one-point-four percent. So this is killing more than flu, but I want to make a couple of points that will reassure people,” he said.

“One, at the beginning of an emerging contagion, it always appears more deadly than it actually is. The 1918 flu is an exception, but normally as time goes on, it’s less deadly, and part of that is because you see more immunity appearing, and you also find a lot of milder cases — or even cases where people don’t get sick at all. You find that as you start to test more people,” he said.

He also noted that people who were infected but never got sick do not show up in statistics, making the virus seem more deadly than it is.

The bottom line here is that the coronavirus is serious, but it is not the 1918 flu. Wash your hands, and use common sense. Winter is ending, and hopefully the flu season will end with it!

We Need To Re-evaluate Vaccine Requirements

There have been stories in recent years that childhood vaccines may cause autism. I have no idea whether or not this is true. My children were routinely vaccinated in the 1970’s with no ill effects, but I have no idea if today’s vaccines are the same as the ones given to my children. However, as more and more people decide to decline vaccinations for their children because of fear of autism, we need to look at the consequences of that decision (for all of us).

The New York Post posted an article today about measles in America.

The New York Post reports:

America has charted 387 cases of measles across 15 states since the beginning of the year — the second-highest number of reported infections since the disease was declared “eliminated” in 2000.

The number was topped only once before, in 2014, when 667 cases were reported by the same date.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s graph of year-over-year cases — updated every Monday — shows that 2019 passed last year in terms of outbreaks as of March 28. There were 372 cases confirmed by this time in 2018.

The states that have reported cases are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Outbreaks — defined as three or more cases — are ongoing in California (Santa Cruz and Butte County), New Jersey, New York (Rockland County and New York City) and Washington, according to the CDC.

Rockland County has banned unvaccinated minors from public spaces. The recurrence of measles in America is the result of two things–parents who refuse to vaccinate their children and travelers who brought the disease to America from foreign countries such as Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines, which currently have measles outbreaks.

We need to find a way to make the vaccine safer (divided into more doses?) to assure parents that it is a good idea to vaccinate their children. This is a public health issue. The other aspect of this measles epidemic is that we need to make sure we control our borders to insure that immigrants are not bringing diseases into this country that have been eradicated. We need to question both legal and illegal immigrants about their health history.

Actions Have Consequences

I am not a doctor, and I raised children before the controversy over vaccines began. I had my children vaccinated because it was what their pediatrician recommended. At the time that was pretty standard. Times have changed, and I am not sure what the right answer is, but at some point it seems that common sense should play a role.

The Hill is reporting today that state lawmakers are considering eliminating the vaccine  exemptions that have been granted to parents. The reason is the recent outbreaks of measles.

The article reports:

But the most recent measles outbreaks, which have infected 159 mostly unvaccinated people in 10 states, is leading some states to reconsider.

“That goes beyond religious freedom,” said Burke.

Every state requires that students be vaccinated to enroll in school, and all states allow exemptions for children who are too sick to receive vaccines or who have a weakened immune system.

Most states also allow exemptions for religious reasons, and 17 states, including Washington and Texas, allow exemptions for both religious and personal or philosophical beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Both Washington and Texas have seen measles outbreaks this year.

Lawmakers in Iowa, New Jersey and Vermont, which already ban personal or philosophical exemptions, are now debating proposals to eliminate religious exemptions.

I am concerned that if these exemptions are eliminated, exemptions for more controversial vaccines will also be eliminated. I am also concerned that smallpox vaccines are no longer given to American children because the disease is said to have been eradicated in America. Unfortunately, a person recently stopped while attempting to enter America illegally was diagnosed with smallpox. I would like to think that he was the only person with the disease attempting to enter America, but I am not sure that is realistic.

The article concludes:

Outbreaks can occur in communities where there is not a high enough percentage of people who are vaccinated.

Described as “herd immunity” by public health experts, at least 94 percent of a community must be vaccinated against measles to prevent the disease from spreading.

Herd immunity protects those with weakened immune systems, babies who can’t be vaccinated or those who are too sick to receive vaccinations.

But as more and more parents claim vaccine exemptions, experts say, the disease is more likely to spread.

And federal officials have indicated the government might step in if state legislatures don’t.

“Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they’re creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications,” Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNN last week.

If “certain states continue down the path that they’re on, I think they’re going to force the hand of the federal health agencies.”

Health committees in the House and Senate are set to hold hearings on the measles outbreaks this month.

It will be interesting to watch the hearings. Good arguments can be made on both sides of this issue.

Smile, You Have Been Manipulated

Last Sunday KRAE News 13 posted an article with the following headline, “Measles outbreak casts spotlight on anti-vaccine movement.” We all heard about the supposedly scientific report that showed a link between vaccines and autism. We also heard later that the research was fraudulent and there was no link. Generally speaking, I think I would vaccinate my children, which is what I did, but not everyone makes that choice. Because of the outbreak of measles that began in Disney World, there has been a focus on those parents who have not vaccinated their children–as if they were responsible for the outbreak of measles. Admittedly, they may not be helping the situation, but before we attack those parents who have refused vaccinations for their children, let’s look at some facts.

A website called stason.org posted statistics on the number of children worldwide who receive vaccinations. These are statistics from the early 1990’s, but they are interesting. In America, parents opt out of vaccines because they fear the consequences of the vaccine more than they fear their child contracting the disease in question. In many other countries, the vaccines are simply not available or not affordable.

According to stason.org (1992 figures):

 About 80% of the world’s children aged less than 1 were
reported to have received measles vaccine

The CDC Website cites a measles vaccination rate for Americans of about 91 percent.

So what am I getting out here? Most American children are protected against measles.

The article at KRAE News 13 reports:

Health authorities believe the outbreak was triggered by a measles-stricken visitor to one of the Disney parks who brought the virus from abroad last month.

As one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations, Disney was a perfect spot for the virus to spread, with large numbers of babies too young to be vaccinated and lots of visitors from countries that do not require measles shots. The disease has since spread beyond Disneyland.

Last summer there were a number of children from South American countries who crossed the Mexican border into America. What percentage of those children was vaccinated? It seems to me that rather than focus anger on parents in America who have refused the measles vaccine, we should be looking to the number of illegal aliens in this country (both children and adults) who because of poverty have never been vaccinated. One of the unintended consequences of President Obama’s policy of not enforcing our southern border may be a much more serious measles epidemic than might have otherwise occurred.