Finding Out Where It Began

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about the search for the origins of the coronavirus. It is not unreasonable to assume that China has not yet told the whole truth about the virus, where it began, and how many people have died in China as a result of the virus.

The article reports:

If Xi Jinping’s propaganda war and economic threats tried to save China from humiliation, it just backfired on Beijing. Health ministers from more than 100 countries have signed onto a call at the United Nations General Assembly for a probe into the origins of COVID, a demand drafted by the European Union. The demand doesn’t name China, but it does name the UN subordinate agency World Health Organization:

More than 100 health ministers from around the world are expected to call for an independent evaluation of the World Health Organization’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic during the organization’s 73rd general assembly on Monday. …

President Trump has been Beijing’s chief accuser, but he is not the only one to have alleged that Chinese officials covered up the virus during its early stages and exacerbated its spread into a pandemic.

The WHO has also faced criticism, with some observers saying the agency was at least far too credulous in believing Beijing’s reassurances, which it then amplified uncritically to the wider world.

The WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has also been under scrutiny after he heaped praise on Beijing’s coronavirus response.

The article concludes:

Xi is stalling for time, and transparently so. He wants to push this off as long as possible to (a) let the momentum behind this push abate somewhat, and (b) get more time to cover up what happened in Wuhan. The UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) and the WHO members who have funded China’s mouthpiece had better strike while the iron is hot.

Finally, perhaps this UNGA rebellion against Xi might take the blinders off the American media, who paint attempts to hold China responsible as some sort of dodge for Trump. It turns out that the US media’s bête noire isn’t the only one pointing the finger at China; in fact, pretty much everyone else but the American media is doing so. The only success Xi has actually had with his propaganda war has been in American newspapers and television broadcasts. If having the notoriously anti-American UNGA side with Trump doesn’t wake up the American media to its exploitation from Beijing, nothing will.

The Wisdom Not To Trust

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about coronavirus testing in Tanzania. The President of Tanzania is evidently a very smart and cautious man.

The article reports:

The President of Tanzania John Magufuli did not trust the World Health Organization or their coronavirus testing.
President Magufuli is also a chemist.

So President Magufuli submitted several samples to the WHO for testing.

President Magufuli: We took samples from goats. We sent samples from sheeps. We took samples from pawpaws. We sent samples from car oil. And we took samples from other different things. And we took the samples to the laboratory without them knowing. And we even named all the samples. Like the sample of car oil. We named it Jabil Hamza, 30 years old, male. The results came back negative. When we took a sample from a Jackfruit (Durian) we named it Sarah Samuel, 45 years old, female. The results came back inconclusive. When we took samples from a Pawpaw we named it Elizabeth Ane, 26 years old, female. The result from the Pawpaw came back positive that it has corona. That means the liquid from a pawpaw is positive. We took samples from (a bird) called Kware. The results came back positive. We took samples from a rabbit. The results came back undeterminent. We took samples from a goat and the results came back positive. We took samples from a sheep and it came back negative and so on and so on. And so now you see this you have taken samples and the results come back positive and they have the corona. That means all the pawpaws should be in isolation also… The goat should be in isolation also.

Pure genius.

This is how any medical information or test kits from the WHO should be viewed.

Very Interesting

On Monday, Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation against the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) for communications and other records of National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and Deputy Director H. Clifford Lane with and about the World Health Organization (WHO) concerning the novel coronavirus (Daily Caller News Foundation v. U.S. Department Justice (No. 1:20-cv-01149)).

The suit was filed after HHS failed to respond to an April 1, 2020, FOIA request seeking:

  • Communications between Dr. Fauci and Deputy Director Lane and World Health Organization officials concerning the novel coronavirus.
  • Communications of Dr. Fauci and Deputy Director Lane concerning WHO, WHO official Bruce Aylward, WHO Director General Tedros Anhanom, and China.

The time period for the request is January 1, 2020 to April 1, 2020.

Additionally, the DCNF requested and was granted expedited processing of its request.

In March 2020, Fauci praised the work of the WHO and their chairman, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying: “Tedros is really an outstanding person … I mean, obviously, over the years anyone who says that the WHO has not had problems has not been watching the WHO. But I think under his leadership they’ve done very well.”

In April, President Trump announced a halt to funding the World Health Organization. According to the president, the WHO put “political correctness over lifesaving measures.” Additionally, President Trump said: “The WHO failed in this duty, and must be held accountable,” adding that the WHO ignored “credible information” in December 2019 that the virus could be transmitted from human to human.

Daily Caller News Foundation Co-Founder and President Neil Patel said: “This virus has killed hundreds of thousands of people and turned the whole world upside down. We know that China and WHO could have done a lot more to prevent or reduce this catastrophe. We therefore have a legitimate and urgent news purpose for seeking these documents regarding U.S. officials’ communications with WHO and demand that the agencies in question stop stalling and start following the law that entitles us to this vital information.”

“It is urgent that the NIH follow transparency law during the coronavirus crisis,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is of significant public interest to learn what WHO was telling our top medical officials about the coronavirus that originated in China.”

If You Are Going To Investigate Something…

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today with the following headline, “STUNNING: Pelosi Blocks Investigation of China and Origins of Wuhan Virus — Puts All Resources into Another Hoax Investigation of Donald Trump.” Wow. Who cares about investigating the virus that killed thousands of Americans–let’s just get Trump.

The article reports:

Nancy Pelosi is not interested with finding the origins of the Wuhan virus that is decimating the US economy and has killed 60,000 elderly and sickly Americans.
Instead, Pelosi wants to spend her resources on another hoax investigation of President Donald Trump.

The article includes a quote from Breitbart:

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) told Breitbart News this weekend that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would rather investigate President Donald Trump again than focus on the actual origins of the Chinese coronavirus and U.S. tax dollars that went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology from which intelligence officials increasingly believe the virus leaked.

Appearing on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, Reschenthaler discussed his efforts to investigate tax dollars that flowed through a New York firm to the Wuhan lab. He said that Pelosi and House Democrats are not interested in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable and, instead, want to focus their oversight efforts on politically harming President Trump again just like they tried and failed with the partisan impeachment last year and earlier this year.

Breitbart reports:

“We should have an investigative body looking at these grants, but Nancy Pelosi is not going to do that,” Reschenthaler said. “So you have myself and House Republicans. I can tell you I’m going to continue to look into these grants. I’m going to continue to look into the Department of Homeland Security as well to see what grants are going from there to China. I’m also looking at defunding the World Health Organization and we can talk about that as well. But the bottom line of the Democrats’ behavior is this: They hate this president so badly that they would rather side with the Chinese Communist Party than defend Americans and defend our spending and spend wisely and just be honest. That is their hatred for President Trump and disdain for President Trump’s supporters.”

The Breitbart article also lists a number of grants from American sources that flowed to the Wuhan laboratory.

Just for the record, I do not believe that the virus was leaked intentionally. I believe it was leaked due to sloppy laboratory practices. When the Chinese realized how devastating the virus would be, they chose to share the devastation they were about to suffer with the world. I honestly believe that China remained silent because they did not want their country to be the only country in the world to be devastated by the virus.

What A Great Idea!

Yesterday One America News posted an article about the use of robots to sanitize places and things to stop the spread of the virus.

The article reports:

A company from Argentina is using robots in the fight against the coronavirus. UVD Robotics has been testing a new product that can sanitize both spaces and objects with ultraviolet light.

On Friday, developers tested the robot on a bus, where it was able to clean seats, walls and floor using just UV light.

According to the World Health Organization, cleaning products with chemicals such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide traditionally are only 60 percent effective against germs. UV light reportedly eliminates bacteria 99 percent of the time.

“Ultraviolet light is a light that the sun emits naturally,” explained CEO Martin Gonzalez. “In this case, we use type ‘C,’ which is very high energy and works by destroying the DNA of bacteria, the RNA in the case of viruses, thus avoiding propagation or spread.”

He added the robot can also be used to protect health care workers, who are being exposed to bacteria in hospital rooms.

What a great idea! You don’t have to clean up chemicals, you don’t have to worry about inhaling fumes, and almost all of the germs are killed.

It’s Time To Reward Good Behavior

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about Taiwan. As you know, Taiwan has been shunned by the World Heath Organization (WHO) and other international bodies because of the influence exerted by China.

The article reports:

China’s behavior during the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has been disgraceful — marked by deceit and an unwillingness to cooperate with the rest of the world until it was too late. In addition, there’s reason to believe that the virus originated in a Chinese lab that did not meet safety standards.

By contrast, Taiwan’s behavior has been exemplary. According to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S., Taiwan has donated more than two million Taiwan-made masks to the U.S. and more than five million to the EU. It plans to donate another five million globally.

Moreover, according to our friend Michael Auslin, Taipei tried early on to warn the World Health Organization that the coronavirus might be transmitted between humans. That body, which is heavily influenced by China, refused to act on these warnings. (To appease China, the WHO refuses membership to Taiwan.) “If the WHO and Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus had acted responsibly, the COVID crisis could have been significantly contained, even in the face of Beijing’s misleading the world about the nature of the virus and the numbers of infections and deaths in China,” says Auslin.

Indeed, Taiwan’s understanding of the virus, along with its experience with the SARS outbreak, enabled Taipei to respond to the outbreak in a highly effective manner and without a lockdown.

…The numbers (from Worldometer) demonstrate the effectiveness of the response. Taiwan has had 427 total cases (184 of them now active) and 6 total deaths.

The article concludes:

Moreover, Taiwan will be a key player if the U.S. diminishes, as we must, our reliance on China for supplies:

For decades, Taiwan has been a leader in the high-tech economy, and will become increasingly important as global supply chains shift away from China, due to China’s maturing economy, President Trump’s trade war and now the coronavirus. It has long been one of the world’s leading producers of advanced semiconductor chips, while Foxconn, one of the major suppliers to the iPhone, has already urged Apple to move its production out of China. As the competition between China and the United States heats up over semiconductors, 5G and artificial intelligence, a closer tech relationship between American and Taiwanese firms should be a priority.

I agree with Auslin that the U.S. should use its budgetary power to get Taiwan full membership in international groups such as Interpol and the International Civil Aviation Organization. We should also the leverage our $400 million contribution to the WHO, the world’s largest, to force WHO’s member states to invite Taiwan into the organization.

Taiwan never should have been exiled from the world. As Auslin concludes, “it’s long past time to bring Taiwan in from the cold.”

Taiwan is a successful democracy. The only reason they are blocked from joining various international organizations is the influence of China. China does not acknowledge their existence as a separate country and at some point in the not-to-distant future will attempt to take them over. China wants to take freedom away from Taiwan just as it took freedom away from Hong Kong (after promising not to). It is time to show Taiwan the respect and acceptance into the world body of nations that it deserves.

Good Idea

Yesterday Just The News reported that President Trump has frozen U.S. funding to the World Health Orgainization (WHO). This move illustrates the difference between having a businessman or a politician in the White House. A businessman fires someone who is not doing their job in a satisfactory manner. A politician generally does not.

The article reports:

President Trump said Tuesday that the United States was cutting funding to the World Health Organization, saying the body put “political correctness above life-saving measures.”

Trump said the WHO’s decision to recommend not banning travelers from China early on during the coronavirus crisis “accelerated the pandemic all around the world.”

“Many countries said ‘We’re going to listen to the WHO,’ and they have problems the likes of nobody can believe,” Trump said, claiming that “countless” lives could have been saved if the WHO had recommended quickly implementing travel bans from China, where the coronavirus originated.

The article concludes:

A University of Southampton study suggests the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% had China moved to contain the virus three weeks sooner. 

Most Democrats have a favorable opinion of the World Health Organization’s handling of coronavirus, while most Republicans have an unfavorable view, according to the Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen

The poll found 55% of Republicans had a “Very Unfavorable” or “Somewhat Unfavorable” view of the WHO, while just 20% of Democrats felt the same.

On the reverse side, just 38% of Republicans had a “Very Favorable” or “Somewhat Favorable” view of WHO, compared to 70% of Democrats. Independents were evenly divided. Additionally, most of those with strong positive views are Democrats, while most with strong negative views are Republicans.

I believe that the coronavirus has shown a light on the true cost of the partisanship in Washington. Congress was not able to pass a bill that would simply help solve the problems caused by the shutdown–the bill could not pass without millions of dollars of added pork. There was not consideration given to the fact that at some point in the future the cost of that pork would have to be paid for by our children and grandchildren–instead the passing of the bill was held up until the Democrat’s pet projects were funded–even though those projects had nothing to do with the problem at hand. Until we elect people who put the interests of the country above the interests of their party, we will not thrive as a country.

Two Very Different Solutions To A Problem

Lifesite News reported yesterday that United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has announced the creation of a fund for addressing the global coronavirus pandemic. Isn’t that nice? He is asking nations to contribute the equivalent of at least 10 percent of the annual income of the entire planet to a massive “human-centered, innovative and coordinated stimulus package” that would be administered at the international level. The United Nations is so well managed that we are going to give them more money? I don’t think so.

The article reports:

Guterres also wants 100 billion USD for the World Health Organization, whose president has been blamed for helping to cause the coronavirus pandemic by repeating in January the Chinese government’s false claim that COVID-19 is not transmissible to humans.

He also wants the same organization to build an “interconnected Global Health Emergency System for data, workforce, and supplies.”

The same WHO that told us that the coronavirus was not transmitted person-to-person and that China has done an excellent job of handling the virus? Again, I don’t think so.

There is, however, another suggestion that I think puts the responsibility where it belongs. Breitbart reported yesterday that Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) believes that China should consider waiving some of that debt given the communist nation’s role in the spread of the COVID-19/coronavirus.

The article reports:

During an interview that aired on Huntsville, AL radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” when asked, Blackburn explained ways to hold China accountable for the global pandemic, noting her effort to officially recognize China’s role and the debtor relationship the United States has with China.

“Indeed there is,” Blackburn replied. “One of the things is my Senate Resolution 553, which it expresses the sense of the Senate — that we know this came from Wuhan, China, and that they hid the information and were not transparent, that they blocked the World Health Organization and the CDC from coming into help. They tried to blame it on the U.S. military. And we hold them accountable.”

For the losses accrued from the pandemic, Blackburn called on China to forgive a portion of the debt owed to them.

“I will tell you I think we need to look at the fact that China owns over a trillion dollars of our debt,” she said. “They like investing in us. Why do they like that? Because we are a safe debt for them — a safe place for them to put their money. And knowing that they have made a global pandemic worse than it ever would have been because of their action — they should waive some of our debt. They have caused us a tremendous amount of loss of life, loss of businesses, suffering, inconvenience, shutting down our economy.”

Another component the Tennessee Republican argued for on the accountability front was to bring elements of manufacturing back from China to the United States.

“These are all things that we should take into consideration — bringing our manufacturing back, not only our pharmaceutical manufacturing — I was working with one of my colleagues today,” Blackburn explained. “There are other things we can bring back and put America back in the manufacturing business.”

For those who want to investigate the role of Chinese propaganda in the spread of the coronavirus, today The Center for Security Policy posted a timeline of events surrounding the beginning and spread of the coronavirus. It’s a rather long timeline, but it illustrates the role that the tyrannical Chinese state played in spreading the virus by misstating information and lying about the numbers of people in China impacted by it. The fact that the global migration that occurs around the Chinese New Year went on as usual without any government warnings has a lot to do with the worldwide pandemic we are currently seeing. The fact that the World Health Organization was sharing Chinese propaganda rather than valid health information is also a concern.

There needs to be a financial penalty placed on China for their behavior during the outbreak of the coronavirus. Had the Chinese acted quickly to contain the virus and accepted the help offered to them by other countries, the virus might be a thing of the past by now.

Be Careful Out There (Or Better Yet, Stay Home)

It’s hard to fight an enemy you can’t see, yet that is what Americans are being asked to do. We can debate the seriousness of the coronavirus if we choose, but we can’t debate that it is here and that it is killing people.

MSN posted an article yesterday about the death of two people in Washington state. I realize that compared to the growing number of coronavirus deaths in America, two people may seem insignificant (not to their families), but their story is significant.

The article reports:

With the coronavirus quickly spreading in Washington state in early March, leaders of the Skagit Valley Chorale debated whether to go ahead with weekly rehearsal.

The virus was already killing people in the Seattle area, about an hour’s drive to the south.

But Skagit County hadn’t reported any cases, schools and business remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced.

On March 6, Adam Burdick, the choir’s conductor, informed the 121 members in an email that amid the “stress and strain of concerns about the virus,” practice would proceed as scheduled at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

“I’m planning on being there this Tuesday March 10, and hoping many of you will be, too,” he wrote.

Sixty singers showed up. A greeter offered hand sanitizer at the door, and members refrained from the usual hugs and handshakes.

…After 2 1/2 hours, the singers parted ways at 9 p.m.

Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

The outbreak has stunned county health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.

The fact that the virus was transmitted at the rehearsal raises questions about the virus.

The article notes:

In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, eight people who were at the rehearsal said that nobody there was coughing or sneezing or appeared ill.

Everybody came with their own sheet music and avoided direct physical contact. Some members helped set up or remove folding chairs. A few helped themselves to mandarins that had been put out on a table in back.

Experts said the choir outbreak is consistent with a growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols — particles smaller than 5 micrometers that can float in the air for minutes or longer.

The World Health Organization has downplayed the possibility of transmission in aerosols, stressing that the virus is spread through much larger “respiratory droplets,” which are emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes and quickly fall to a surface.

But a study published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when the virus was suspended in a mist under laboratory conditions it remained “viable and infectious” for three hours — though researchers have said that time period would probably be no more than a half-hour in real-world conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not behaved well during this pandemic. There is a video of an official of the organization obviously avoiding a question about helping Taiwan. There are also indications that the WHO has made statements based on Chinese propaganda rather than actual facts (misinformation that has helped spread the virus).

At any rate–STAY HOME. Choir practice is fun, but when you sing, you may be projecting more than your voice. Normally that is not a problem–right now it is.

Stay safe.

I Suppose This Is Good News

Fox News reported yesterday that ISIS is advising terrorists not to travel to Europe for jihad. It’s a little ironic to me that ISIS is protecting its members from the flu while instructing them to engage in suicide missions.

The article reports:

ISIS’ al-Naba newsletter contains “sharia directives” urging its healthy members not to enter “the land of the epidemic” to avoid becoming infected, the New York Post reported Sunday.

But any sick jihadists already in Europe should stay there — presumably, to sicken infidels, the paper reported. The Sunday Times of London first reported on the newsletter, according to the paper.

The “healthy should not enter the land of the epidemic and the afflicted should not exit from it,” the ISIS newsletter advises, according to the Post.

…Ten people have died from the coronavirus in Iraq, where 110 cases have been reported, according to John Hopkins University which is tracking the endemic. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Europe is now the virus’ epicenter.

Iran has also become an epicenter for the coronavirus.

On February 28, The New Yorker reported:

Iran, a country of eighty-three million people, has now become one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus—with the highest mortality rate in the world. Based on official numbers, the mortality rate in Iran has fluctuated daily, between eight and eighteen per cent, compared to three per cent in China and less everywhere else. Iran is also unique, because a disproportionate number of confirmed cases are senior government officials. On Thursday, the Vice-President, Masoumeh Ebtekar—who gained fame in 1979 as Sister Mary, the spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy and took fifty-two Americans hostage—announced that she, too, had contracted the coronavirus. The day before, she had attended a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet. Two members of parliament, including the chairman of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, have also been infected, as has the mayor of a district in Tehran and a senior cleric who had served as Iran’s Ambassador to the Vatican. One of the lawmakers, Mahmoud Sadeghi, tweeted on Tuesday, “I send this message in a situation where I have little hope of surviving in this world.” The former Vatican Ambassador, who was eighty-one, died on Thursday.

The article in The New Yorker notes:

The first mention of the disease by the government was a report of two deaths in the city on February 19th. Initial reports indicate that the carrier of the virus may have been a merchant who travelled between Qom and Wuhan, in China, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated. The outbreak is estimated to have begun between three and six weeks ago, which would mean that the two Iranians who died could have been sick and infecting others for weeks.

The fact that the virus has impacted many high-level officials in Iran might be the result of the close relations between the Chinese government and the Iranian government. It seems that China’s failure to tell the truth about the virus has impacted both their friends and their enemies.

A Different Take On The Coronavirus

Michael Fumento posted an article at The New York Post yesterday about the coronavirus. He believes, based on the behavior of viruses in the past, that the number of cases of the virus will peak quickly and then subside.

The article notes:

More than 18,000 Americans have died from this season’s generic flu so far, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2018, the CDC estimated, there were 80,000 flu deaths. That’s against 19 coronavirus deaths so far, from about 470 cases.

Worldwide, there have been about 3,400 coronavirus deaths, out of about 100,000 identified cases. Flu, by comparison, grimly reaps about 291,000 to 646,000 annually.

China is the origin of the virus and still accounts for over 80 percent of cases and deaths. But its cases peaked and began ­declining more than a month ago, according to data presented by the Canadian epidemiologist who spearheaded the World Health Organization’s coronavirus mission to China. Fewer than 200 new cases are reported daily, down from a peak of 4,000.

Subsequent countries will follow this same pattern, in what’s called Farr’s Law. First formulated in 1840 and ignored in ­every epidemic hysteria since, the law states that epidemics tend to rise and fall in a roughly symmetrical pattern or bell-shaped curve. AIDS, SARS, Ebola — they all followed that pattern. So does seasonal flu each year.

Clearly, flu is vastly more contagious than the new coronavirus, as the WHO has noted. Consider that the first known coronavirus cases date back to early December, and since then, the virus has ­afflicted fewer people in total than flu does in a few days. Oh, and why are there no flu quarantines? Because it’s so contagious, it would be impossible.

As for death rates, as I first noted in these pages on Jan. 24, you can’t employ simple math — as everyone is doing — and look at deaths versus cases because those are ­reported cases. With both flu and assuredly with coronavirus, the great majority of those infected have symptoms so mild — if any — that they don’t seek medical attention and don’t get counted in the caseload.

Furthermore, those calculating rates ­ignore the importance of good health care. Given that the vast majority of cases have occurred in a country with poor health care, that’s going to dramatically exaggerate the death rate.

The article adds:

Like the flu, the coronavirus is afflicting high-risk groups: the elderly, those with ­underlying health conditions like diabetes or heart disease and those with compromised immune systems. Are there exceptions? Sure. But that’s the case with almost every complex biological phenomenon of the kind.

More good news. This month, the Northern Hemisphere, which includes the countries with the most cases, starts heating up. Almost all respiratory viruses hate warm and moist weather. That’s why flu dies out in America every year by May at the latest and probably why Latin America has reported only 25 coronavirus cases. The Philippines, where I live, has about a third of the US population, but it’s so damned hot and humid here, so far we have had no confirmed cases of internal transmission.

Pray for warm weather soon. Meanwhile, keep washing your hands.

A Little Perspective Please

As the coronavirus spreads, we need to put the threat into perspective. This is a serious virus, and people have died after contracting it, but how does this compare with the basic American flu season?

CNS News reports:

As explained by Johns Hopkins Medicine, COVID-19 is “caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.” The flu is “caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 45 million cases of the flu in the United States during the 2017-2018 influenza season. Among those cases, 810,000 people had to be hospitalized.

During that season, 61,000 people died from the flu.

…As of Feb. 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there were 80,239 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 34 countries. 

The WHO also reported that there have been 2,700 deaths from COVID-19.

As of Feb. 25, there were 54 COVID-19 cases in the United States but no deaths reported.

The coronavirus is a serious health concern. However, I am tired of watching news anchors with their hair on fire claiming we are all going to die and that it’s President Trump’s fault. These are the same people who criticized President Trump when he limited travel to America from China in January. That alone has probably prevented many cases of the virus in America.

Meanwhile, wash you hands. Stay away from sneezing and coughing people. Get enough sleep, and take your vitamins. Hopefully the coronavirus will be similar to the flu and will be seasonal.

 

Good News From The Medical Sector

Bloomberg News is reporting today that a blood test that may be able to detect breast cancer up to five years before symptoms develop could be available by 2025 if development is fully funded, U.K. researchers said. This is wonderful news. Breast cancer can be cured if it is detected early.

The emedicinehealth website includes the following chart:

The article at Bloomberg News reports:

“A blood test for early breast cancer detection would be cost effective, which would be of particular value in low and middle income countries,” Daniyah Alfattani, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham said in a statement. “It would also be an easier screening method to implement compared to current methods, such as mammography.”

About 2.1 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, according to the World Health Organization. It killed an estimated 627,000 women last year, accounting for 15% of all cancer deaths among women.

…“We need to develop and further validate this test,” Alfattani said. “However, these results are encouraging and indicate that it’s possible to detect a signal for early breast cancer. Once we have improved the accuracy of the test, then it opens the possibility of using a simple blood test to improve early detection of the disease.”

The research was presented at the U.K. National Cancer Research Institute cancer conference in Glasgow.

Wow. Wonderful news.

Wisdom From A Friend

John Droz, Jr., is a physicist who has spent a lot of time studying the impact of wind farms and wind energy. The following is the result of some of his research:

Wind Energy: Local Economics 101

What about the claim that industrial wind energy projects are a “financial boon” to hard-pressed rural communities? On the surface that sounds plausible, but to evaluate this assertion this we need to look a bit deeper. This is a two part answer…

First, we do not select our electrical energy sources based on the economic impact to host communities. Instead our electrical energy sources are chosen because of their reliability, true cost to ratepayers & taxpayers, proximity to demand centers, dispatchability, etc.

Wind energy fares poorly on ALL such metrics — which is why wind salespeople try the sleight-of-hand tactic to talk instead about local taxes, local lease payments, etc. We need to be careful about getting tricked by such marketing tactics.

Secondly, the only way that we can know if these projects are genuinely an economic asset, is if a proper NET financial analysis is done. In other words we need to do a comprehensive and objective investigation into the pros and cons of these projects.

We know the positives, as the developers and their proponents have done a fine job at spelling out the possible benefits: property tax income, lease payments to selected landowners, several construction jobs, a few permanent jobs, etc.

But what about the negatives? How do we come up with the numbers on the other side of the equation, so that we can do an accurate NET financial assessment? The answer is to carefully research studies done by independent experts — i.e scientists, academics, economists, physicians, etc. who generally have no dog-in-the-fight.

After carefully doing that research here are some reasons why a wind project can be an economic liability to a host community:

1 – Independent experts have concluded that local agricultural income can decrease as: a)bats being killed will reduce crop yields, b) turbines can affect local weather [up to 15 miles away!] which will also lower crop yields, and c) in some cases, farmers with turbine leases will reduce or terminate operations. For much more on this, see here.

2 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that there can be serious hydro-geological consequences from wind projects. Here is a sample study done in Vermont.

3 – Studies from independent experts have concluded tourism will drop in the region. For example, North Carolina State University (avid wind proponents) surveyed tourists. Although the majority of the visitors stated that they supported wind energy, 80%± said that they would not vacation in an area where wind turbines were visible. Some other studies that have concluded that tourism will be reduced are listed here.

4 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that property values will decrease for residences within 1± miles of a wind project. This was the conclusion of largest study in the world on this topic, done by the London School of Economics. Here is an extensive list of other studies and articles that came to the same conclusion.

5 – Studies from medical professionals have concluded that some nearby citizens will experience adverse health effects. The biggest concern is from infrasound (noise we can not hear). The World Health Organization has stated (p53) that infrasound is more problematic than audible sound. Infrasound can be so harmful that the US military is researching weaponizing it. Over a hundred studies have concluded that there will be health consequences (here is a representative sample, including cancer).

6 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can cause major eco-system damage. See this sample study (esp. pages 103-122).

7 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can harm wildlife and livestock animals. Sample reports: here, here, here, here and here.

8 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can adversely affect local hunting (and possibly fishing). Here is an explanation of that.

9 – Research by independent experts has shown that wind projects can cause serious interference with military facilities. Here is an overview of the topic.

10-Despite implications otherwise, leaseholders can suffer economic losses. See this explanation of 40+ possible legal and financial liabilities to signing turbine leases.

So what might the NET be after taking the positives and negatives into account? A sample analysis was done of the proposed NY Horse Creek wind project. The conclusion is that the NET economic impact would likely be a loss of $10± Million a year. For comparison, an analysis of the NC Timbermill wind project was also done. The conclusion is that there could be a NET economic loss of $12± Million a year.

So before any community can say that a “wind project is a financial windfall,” a comprehensive and objective financial analysis must be done. Right now, no one in any federal, state or local agency, is thoroughly investigating these wind energy liabilities.

Without such an analysis, all financial claims are simply one-side of the economic equation — and are not an accurate representation of the NET economic impact. The evidence to date indicates that wind energy is the “gift” that keeps on taking.

Let me know any questions (email: “aaprjohn at northnet dot org”). john droz, jr. physicist 5/31/19

PS — For additional information on all of these costs, please see WiseEnergy.org.

Wind energy is probably a good idea, but we are not there yet in terms of technology. If the free market were allowed to function in the energy industry, we might get there faster.

Note:  I have linked a few of the studies listed in this paper. To go to the original paper and get the complete list go here.

Propaganda Masquerading As News

On June 28, The New Yorker posted an article with the following headline:

Many Gazan Women Are No Longer Able to Enter Israel for Cancer Treatment

Horrible if true. Thankfully it is not true.

The article cites claims by patients Amani Abu Taema and Dena Mekhael, stating:

In 2012, Israel approved ninety-two per cent of medical permits for Gazans. In 2014, a year of deadly conflict, eighty-two per cent of patients were allowed in. But, since the beginning of 2018, with no announcement of a change in policy, more than half of applications for medical permits from Gaza have been turned down or left unanswered, according to Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, or P.H.R.I., a nonprofit organization that represents many of these patients. A 2017 directive from the Defense Ministry gave Israel twenty-three working days to process requests for medical permits, an increase from the previous ten-day processing time. (The extension, according to the ministry, was due to a backlog of some sixteen thousand travel-permit requests, the result of an overwhelming number of applications and the time needed to run proper security checks.) The average case now takes months—if it’s approved at all.

Since Mekhael’s last checkup in Tel Aviv, a year ago, she has found a new lump, this time in her right breast. She applied for a medical permit last December (the permits are only valid for a few weeks) but has not been approved to cross the border. “I never got a refusal, but they keep saying it’s ‘under review,’ ” she told me. Her options in Gaza are dismal: its public hospitals provide very limited and sporadic access to functional MRI and mammogram machines, so she has no way of receiving a diagnosis, let alone treatment.

This is shenanigans. According to reliable sources:

• Had reporter Ruth Margalit bothered to check Dena Mekhael’s account with the Israeli authorities, she would have learned that it is the Palestinian side which is holding up her permit approval; she has valid security clearance from Israel but the Palestinian committee has failed to provide the needed updated hospital appointment information necessary for her request to be approved.

• It is not true that Israel “turned down or left unanswered” over half of the applications for medical permits from Gaza in 2018. According to figures from the World Health Organization and Israel’s COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), Israel approved more than half of the applications this year.

…Regarding Amani Abu Taema, Margalit had reported, “In January, she was allowed into Israel for an MRI and radiation therapy, but since then her application for a permit has been declined four times without explanation.” According to the Israeli spokesman, Abu Taema did indeed enter Israel in January for medical treatment, but since then has not reapplied for an additional entry. The Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee has likewise not received any requests from Abu Taema since her January visit. Thus, Abu Taema’s claim that her application permit was declined four times was flatly rejected and refuted by the Israeli authority, with whom New Yorker never consulted.  

In addition, the claim that there are no MRI machines in Gaza is also false:

…according to the United Nations, a scientific  journal, Palestinian sources, and the European Gaza Hospital (a public institution), along with mainstream media, there are indeed MRI machines in Gaza. Notably, a 2017 report in The Journal of Radiation Research and Applied Sciences (“Evaluation of advanced medical imaging services at Governmental Hospitals – Gaza Governorates, Palestine“), noted there are two MRI machines in the Gaza Strip per one million inhabitants. This compares to four MRI machines in Israel per one million inhabitants. Both Israel and the Gaza Strip lag significantly behind other countries, including Turkey, France, Australia, and especially Germany.

There are a few things that are noteworthy in this article. First of all, the women were able to get treatment for cancer in Israel. After all the money the world has poured into Gaza, why aren’t the medical facilities there adequate? Where is the money going? With all the rockets, etc., Gaza has aimed at Israel, Israel is still treating patients from Gaza. It seems to me that Israel is the humanitarian force here–not Gaza.

The story in The New Yorker is an example of misstating facts in order to achieve a specific goal–anti-Israel sentiment. Nowhere does the writer question the lack of infrastructure in Gaza after all the money poured in there. Nowhere does the writer note that Israel routine helps with medical needs in Gaza. Nowhere does the writer mention the terrorist activities against Israel that originate in Gaza–the rockets, the tunnels, the suicide bombers, etc.

This is a blatant example of fake news with the purpose of stirring up anti-Israel sentiment while Gaza continues its terrorist activities with no repercussions.

In What Universe Does This Make Sense?

Townhall.com is reporting today that Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe has been named one of the World Health Organization‘s “Goodwill Ambassadors. Wow.

The article reports:

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since 1980, has seen the country essentially fall apart under his leadership. Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is just 60 years and Mugabe is accused of dozens of human rights abuses.

…Many major governments, including the U.K. and the United States, have criticized the WHO for this move. The organization is now reportedly “rethinking” their decision. 

Mugabe is hardly a goodwill ambassador for any cause, but it’s a sick joke to name him one for healthcare. 

The man is a dictator accused of human rights abuses. Why is he even being considered for a position with the United Nations?

This is the first item in the United Nations charter:

To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

The italics are mine. How can appointing a dictator accused of human rights violations be part of suppression of acts of aggression and conformity with the principles of justice and international law? It is time to stop funding the United Nations, remove them from New York (force them to pay their parking tickets), and start an organization that actually supports freedom and human rights.

The Keystone Kops Battle An Epidemic

There is nothing comical about Ebola, but right now it looks as if the Ebola virus is being fought by the Keystone Kops. If you were to make a horror movie about a world-wide epidemic spread by incompetence and a lack of common sense, the current Ebola crisis could easily provide the script.

This article is based on a number of articles. I am only including small parts of each article and strongly suggest that you follow the links back to the original articles to get the full story.

The New York Post is reporting today that a worker in the Texas hospital that cared for the first Ebola patient is now in quarantine on a cruise ship. What in the world was she thinking?

The article reports:

The Carnival Magic was being held off the coast of Belize on Friday until the hospital worker could be removed from the ship and returned to the United States.

“At this time, the guest remains in isolation on board the ship and is not deemed to be a risk to any guests or crew,” Carnival said in a statement. “It is important to reiterate that the individual has no symptoms and has been isolated in an extreme abundance of caution.”

The Belize government, however, turned down a request by the United States to evacuate the worker through the international airport in Belize City.

She is not showing any symptoms or feeling ill, but knowing the risk, why are we letting hospital workers who may have had contact in some way with the disease travel?

From the New York Post yesterday:

A passenger died on a Nigeria-to-JFK flight after a vomiting fit Thursday — and a top lawmaker said officials gave the corpse only a “cursory” exam before declaring that the victim did not have Ebola.

How does one detect Ebola after a cursory exam? Again, what is the likelihood of someone vomiting and dying on an airplane other than from some serious illness–whether it be Ebola or something else?

The New York Daily News reported today:

The World Health Organization has admitted that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, noting that experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems. 

Despite the admission, the U.N. health agency officially declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Senegal and the organization commended the country for its diligence in putting a stop to the transmission of the virus.In a statement Friday the WHO said the sole introduced case was confirmed Aug. 29 in a young man who had travelled to Dakar, by road, from Guinea, where he had had direct contact with an Ebola patient. 

The statement called Senegal’s response “a good example of what to do when faced with an imported case of Ebola.”

It said Senegal government’s response included identifying and monitoring 74 close contacts of the patient, prompt testing of all suspected cases, stepped-up surveillance at many entry points and public awareness campaigns. 

But the U.N. health agency acknowledged that, at times, the bureaucracy in its organization was a problem.

Note the stepped-up surveillance at many entry points. The bigger the bureaucracy, the less efficient it is.

These are just some of the examples of the departure of common sense in the handling of Ebola. Unfortunately, many people may die because of bloated bureaucracy and a total lack of common sense.

Under The Radar In UNESCO Funding

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about John Bolton’s book Surrender Is Not An Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad. In the book, John Bolton tells the story of the PLO’s efforts to be recognized by the United Nations without negotiating with Israel.

The article reports:

In early 1989, Bolton writes, the PLO had launched a major effort to join several specialized UN agencies in the UN system. — “yet another example of the PLO’s perennial strategy to improve its position vis-a-vis Israel by doing anything other than negotiating directly with the Israelis.” The PLO membership campaign followed from the PLO’s 1988 decision to change its name card at the UN from “Palestine Liberation Organization” to “Palestine” — “apparently under the theory that if you sound more like a country than an organization, people will treat you more like a country.”

The next logical step, Bolton reports, was to have “Palestine” become a member of the various UN agencies, thus further attesting to its status as a “state” in international circles in that membership in the organizations is limited to states. How could the United States effectively opposed the PLO’s charade given the PLO’s wide support at the UN?

The first targets of the PLO were the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The United States countered that move by telling the WHO that the United States would withhold funding if Palestine was admitted. We had already withdrawn from UNESCO, but stated that we would not rejoin if Palestine was admitted. In 1990, Congress passed a law requiring the termination of United States funding of any international organization that recognizes Palestinian statehood in the absence of a peace agreement with Israel.

Based on that law, we withdrew funding of UNESCO last year when Palestine was admitted. Unfortunately, President Obama has overturned that withdrawal.  The article reports:

But that’s not the end of the story. JTA reports: “The Obama administration formally announced its intention to ask Congress to waive a ban on funding UNESCO over its recognition of Palestinian statehood.”

And that’s not all! The Obama administration courageously buried announcement of its intention in a footnote to the budget that the White House submitted to Congress this month.

Will Congress restore funding? That’s not entirely clear, but not if Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has anything to do with it. “Any effort to walk back this funding cutoff will pave the way for the Palestinian leadership’s unilateral statehood scheme to drive on, and sends a disastrous message that the U.S. will fund UN bodies no matter what irresponsible decisions they make,” she said in a statement. The Bolton spirit lives on, if not in the Obama administration.

The President needs to follow the law as it was passed in 1990.

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