Good Economic News

The Epoch Times reported the following yesterday:

Manufacturing in the United States, as measured by a key business activity gauge, surged to a 15-month high in July, exceeding economists’ expectations.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) business survey, published Aug. 3, shows that its topline manufacturing activity indicator, called the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), surged to a reading of 54.2 in July.

Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while those below mean contraction.

“The PMI signaled a continued rebuilding of economic activity in July and reached its highest level of expansion since March 2019,” Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said in a statement (pdf).

Economists polled by Reuters predicted the manufacturing index would rise to 53.6 in July, so the higher-than-expected number is encouraging, particularly in light of April’s 11-year low of 41.5.

Why is it that when a Republican is the President, good economic news always exceeds expectations?

The article also notes:

Another manufacturing sector gauge tapped by ISM in the survey is the New Orders measure, which soared to 61.5, up 5.1 percentage points from June.

“Orders starting to pick up. [An] increase of about 35 percent to 40 percent,” a chemical product manufacturing executive said.

“Incoming orders are slow. This is usually our busiest time of the year, but production is reduced due to lack of demand. Additional layoffs expected,” an executive at a furniture maker said.

Another gauge, the production index, showed 4.8 percentage point growth from June to July, coming in at 62.1, the highest reading of all the ISM gauges.

“Manufacturing outlook has improved greatly in June, as business has resumed at nearly 100 percent. We have implemented a number of safeguards that are costing extra money, but we are running,” an executive at a computer and electronics products maker said.

There was also some negative news included in the article, but considering the fact that the country has been locked down or in semi-lockdown since March, that is not surprising. The two-week shutdown has extended far past where it was scheduled to be. I would also like to note that the purpose of the lockdown was to avoid overwhelming our hospitals. Now we are in semi-lockdown to avoid the spread of the disease. There is significant information that this is not the best course of action (see article here), so why are we still in semi-lockdown? Why are churches limited in the amount of people they can allow in their buildings when the John Lewis funeral was packed? Why was there an exception to the quarantine rule for the people who attended the John Lewis funeral? Has the damage from the lockdown now exceeded the possible damage from the disease?

Another Way To Handle The Coronavirus

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about how the coronavirus has impacted Sweden.

The article reports:

After months without lockdowns, school closures and other mitigation measures widely imposed across the world, Sweden’s coronavirus cases and deaths have fallen to such minimal levels as to revive the debate over its so-called herd immunity strategy.

Some Swedish officials are far from declaring victory, warning there could be a second wave and that too many elderly died in the country during its comparatively lax pandemic restrictions. The country’s population-adjusted death rate, meanwhile, is in the top 10 worldwide, but lower than the rates for Italy, Spain and even New York, where heavy lockdowns prevailed.

…Throughout March, as much of the Western world was shutting down large swaths of its economies and strictly limiting individual mobility with stay-at-home orders, Sweden opted for a much lighter touch, refusing to close down service industries, leaving schools largely open, and allowing its borders to remain open. It did restrict large gatherings for a time, while some schools were closed.

The article concludes:

Throughout the pandemic, Swedish authorities have insisted that their country’s approach was one rooted in years of epidemiological research and that much of the rest of the world abandoned that data in favor of panic and hysteria.

“It was as if the whole world had gone mad,” Tegnell said several weeks ago, citing the worldwide rush to lock down and quarantine. “The cases became too many, and the political pressure got too strong. And then Sweden stood there rather alone.”

The epidemiologist has several times argued that the true results of various countries’ approaches to the coronavirus pandemic will only become clear after several years’ worth of study.

I think it may be time to reevaluate our response to the coronavirus. Please follow the link to the article to read the entire story.

Isn’t That Special?

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about the people who attended the funeral of Representative John Lewis.

The article reports:

Washington, D.C. attendees to the Atlanta funeral of the late Rep. John Lewis are exempt from following the District of Columbia’s strict quarantine rules after returning home from Georgia, the D.C. mayor’s office says.

Lewis, a longtime member of Congress and one of the major figures of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, died on July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. After lying in state at the United States Capitol, his body was returned to Atlanta for a funeral at that city’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

…The extraordinary exemption from Bowser’s quarantine orders is just one example of congressional members being released from strict coronavirus mitigation rules in the District of Columbia. 

Earlier in July, Bowser declared that D.C. residents must wear masks while in public indoor spaces, as well as outdoors when likely to be around other people for “more than a fleeting time.”

Yet exempt from that order were “persons in the judicial or legislative branches of the District government while those persons are on duty,” as well as “any employees of the federal government while they are on duty.”

Though the mayor’s office is not requiring members of Congress to wear face coverings, this week Pelosi instituted a mask mandate for the House of Representatives, shortly after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tested positive for COVID-19.

Pelosi threatened to have congressional members and staff removed from the House if they don’t comply with the mandate, calling the failure to wear a mask “a serious breach of decorum.”

Who says there is not a ‘ruling class’ in America?

It gets worse. Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted the following today:

The double standards in public health guidelines, left-wing protest, and all the rest might be enough to make a reasonable observer wonder if the plague is all it’s cracked up to be. Has anyone other than Amber Athey gone in for a close-up and asked the obvious questions in connection with the funeral of civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis? Athey asks the pointed question: “Who deserves a funeral?” Answer: Not you or me or our loved ones, that much I can tell you. (Thanks to Spectator USA for making Athey’s column freely accessible at our request.)

Maybe we need to take a closer look at some of the decisions being made ‘to protect our health.’

Sometimes We Don’t Know All We Think We Know

Yesterday France 24 posted an article detailing a series of events that contradict everything scientists think they know about the coronavirus.

The article reports:

Argentina is trying to solve a medical mystery after 57 sailors were infected with the coronavirus after 35 days at sea, despite the entire crew testing negative before leaving port.

The Echizen Maru fishing trawler returned to port after some of its crew began exhibiting symptoms typical of COVID-19, the health ministry for the southern Tierra del Fuego province said Monday.

According to the ministry, 57 sailors, out of 61 crew members, were diagnosed with the virus after undergoing a new test.

However, all of the crew members had undergone 14 days of mandatory quarantine at a hotel in the city of Ushuaia. Prior to that, they had negative results, the ministry said in a statement.

The article notes:

The head of the infectious diseases department at Ushuaia Regional Hospital, Leandro Ballatore, said he believed this is a “case that escapes all description in publications, because an incubation period this long has not been described anywhere.”

“We cannot yet explain how the symptoms appeared,” said Ballatore.

We really don’t know a lot about how this virus is spread or exactly how it works. It is a new virus, and it is going to take us a while to sort out how it spreads and how long it takes for people to come down with it.

Internet Censorship Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about a Laura Ingraham interview with Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi about what they have learned about the coronavirus through their testing and what they believe about what measures should be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

The article includes the following video:

The doctors had originally placed a video on YouTube explaining what they have learned, but YouTube took that video down. The video was taken down because it did not agree with official WHO policy (which incidentally does not have a great track record for being truthful or helpful).

The article at The Gateway Pundit reports:

Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi said their facilities have tested over 5,200 patients for the coronavirus throughout the county, making up for over half of all testing in Kern County. According to their data, the death rate of the coronavirus is similar in prevalence to the flu. And they believe only the sick and elderly should be quarantined and that businesses should open. They also revealed that the state of California is pressuring doctors to pad the COVID-19 numbers.

These two doctors are not the only medical professionals stating that the nationwide lockdown is not the answer. It is becoming obvious to many medical professionals and many others that we have made a mistake by shutting down the entire country and need to reopen it.

The article at The Gateway Pundit also includes a longer video by Dr. Erickson explaining what the doctors have learned about the virus and why they believe that the current lockdown is not the right way to protect Americans.

Putting The Safety Of Convicted Criminals Above The Safety Of Innocent American Citizens

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article that illustrates the folly of letting convicted prisoners out of jail to protect them from the coronavirus. First of all, the original idea is shaky. In order for a prison to have an outbreak of the coronavirus, the virus would have to enter the prison with someone. Prisons have the potential of being the ultimate ‘shelter in place’ example. If you control the people coming in–limit visitors until the virus is not active in the area of the prison and test your prison guards regularly (take their temperatures in a non-intrusive way), theoretically that would not allow the virus to enter the prison. You can also quarantine anyone with the virus. There is no reason to free convicted prisoners and endanger the lives and property of everyday Americans. Meanwhile, some states are doing really dumb things.

The article reports:

A Florida inmate released on March 19 to ‘slow the spread of the Coronavirus’ was arrested on a murder charge just one day after he got out of jail.

State officials are releasing hundreds of inmates into society over Coronavirus fears while they threaten and arrest law-abiding citizens for violating ‘social distancing’ orders.

What could possibly go wrong?

Tampa deputies say 26-year-old Joseph Edwards Williams committed second-degree murder just one day after he was released from jail.

…“There is no question Joseph Williams took advantage of this health emergency to commit crimes while he was out of jail awaiting resolution of a low-level, non-violent offense,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “As a result, I call on the State Attorney to prosecute this defendant to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Judges, prosecutors, and Sheriffs around the country are facing difficult decisions during this health crisis with respect to balancing public health and public safety. Sheriffs in Florida and throughout our country have released non-violent, low-level offenders to protect our deputies and the jail population from an outbreak. Our commitment as an agency is to keep this community safe and enforce the law.”

Letting prisoners out of jail before they have completed their sentences is not a way to keep our communities safe.

This Is A Really Good Question

Yesterday National Review posted an article with the following headline, “Why Are the Airlines Still Flying Out of New York?” That is a really good question.

The article reports:

I am baffled by the continuation of air travel between New York City and the rest of the country. At the moment, the greater New York area is at the center of the coronavirus crisis in the United States, and yet Kayak confirms that, even today, anyone from the city and its environs can get on a plane and travel almost anywhere within the United States. Why?

As I write, direct flights from Newark to Miami are going for $19 on Frontier and $29 on American Airlines. Given the seriousness of the pandemic — and the number of businesses that have been shuttered as a precaution — this seems downright bizarre. Why, one might reasonably ask, are airplanes not subject to the same social distancing rules as other commercial services? The crab shack on the beach near me is closed because the authorities in my county are worried that its customers may stand too closely together while waiting for their tacos. Is this not an equal risk in Basic Economy on United Airlines?

The federal government enjoys only limited powers — and it should enjoy only limited powers. But even my cramped reading of the Commerce Clause allows the authorities in Washington, D.C. to regulate commercial interstate air travel. President Trump threatened a federal quarantine the other day, and then, on the advice of his team, rescinded the threat. Given the legal questions at hand — and the fact that the national government simply does not have the resources to enforce such a rule — this was likely for the best; thinly tested though the relevant precedents may be, it is not at all obvious that the National Guard is allowed to prevent cars from crossing the state line between New York and Pennsylvania. But do you know what the federal government is allowed to do — and, indeed, what the federal government already does? Regulate commercial air travel. Why is it not doing so here?

Air travel should be suspended until we see the number of cases level off. Until then, the airlines are just allowing the virus to move freely around the country.

Rhode Island Has Discovered Border Security

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about a recent policy enacted by Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island.

The article reports:

Governor Gina Raimondo announced. Starting immediately, anyone coming into the state from New York state will be mandated to self-quarantine for 14 days, the governor said.

“No matter how you come to Rhode Island – bus, car, train, plane – you are ordered to quarantine for 14 days,” Raimondo said. “In my judgement this is the most prudent form of action in light of the crisis.”

Members of the National Guard will be stationed at train and bus stations to gather the contact information of anyone coming in from New York. In addition, the Rhode Island State Police will station troopers at the state border to flag down vehicles with New York license plates. The information collected will be used only for contact tracing by the Rhode Island Department of Health, Raimondo said.

“This is different. This is unusual. This is radical,” Raimondo said. “I don’t want anyone to panic. If anything, Rhode Islanders should breathe a sigh of relief. We are doing things to keep ourselves safe.” 

This is unbelievable. How many illegal immigrants has Rhode Island let in that hadn’t been vaccinated for the diseases that Americans are routinely vaccinated for? Were they ever quarantined?

The article concludes:

Keeping tens-of-thousands of migrant travelers from central America and Mexico out of the United States is an abomination to the humanitarian interests of our nation.  However, allowing Americans to cross state borders during a national health emergency is apparently a bridge too far.

One of the under-appreciated benefits of this COVID-19 crisis, is exposing the hypocrisy of the limo-liberal elite.   Notice how quickly a Democrat can turn totalitarian? I digress….

Funny how it was only a few short months ago when Russia, Russia, Russia hype was declared to be influencing the national political conversation, while these same democrat governors were quoting the statue of Liberty.  Alas….

I wonder if anyone will question whether or not this is constitutional.

I Had To Check To See If This Was A Satire Site

The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley, a member of the ‘squad’ that includes Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, has stated that now is the time to commute the sentences of some federal prisoners who are vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak. Well, wait a minute. Prison might be one of the safest places right now if access to the prison is controlled. The virus does not come from nowhere–someone has to come in contact with someone who has it or is in the process of coming down with it. It cannot simply walk into a prison without being carried by a person. If prisons are kept secure, there is no reason for anyone to be in danger of contracting the virus.

The article quotes her statement:

“This pandemic, COVID-19, has certainly highlighted and exasperated every socio, ratio, and political fault line in our country. And I’m just advocating to make sure that when we are talking about those that are most vulnerable, our low-income residents and citizens, those experiencing homelessness, our seniors, that we are also including the incarcerated men and women, who are certainly amongst one of the most vulnerable populations. And given the crowding and overpopulating in our prisons for a confluence of other reasons … are an ecosystem in a petri dish for the spreading of this pandemic, which is why I partnered with my colleagues, Reps. [Nydia] Velasquez, [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez, and [Rashida] Tlaib, to lobby the Bureau of Prisons to use their full power and to communicate guidance for how we will contain and mitigate this epidemic behind the wall,” she said.

…“Specifically, do they have access to testing? Secondly, has anyone already tested positive, and what are the quarantine measures? Again, given the overpopulating, and the fact that many of these facilities are already subpar, and that incarcerated men and women do not have access to soap, to alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and to regular showers: You know, what is the guidance both for those that are incarcerated and for staff?” said Pressley, who also mentioned exacting “clemency” to take care of the “most vulnerable” inmates.

Why are Democrats so anxious to put criminals back on the streets? There probably are situations where clemency might be a good idea, but the idea of letting a large number of criminals out could potentially put more Americans in danger due to criminal activity. Oddly enough, it might also put the former prisoners at higher risk for the coronavirus.

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 New Level Of Selfishness

The New York Post posted an article today about a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center staffer who recently returned from Italy and was asked to self-isolate until the results of his coronavirus test came back. Unfortunately he chose not to listen.

The article reports:

New Hampshire’s first coronavirus patient shrugged off his quarantine and went to an event in a different state — potentially exposing almost 200 people to the deadly illness, officials revealed.

The dimwit Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center staffer showed symptoms of the virus after returning from a trip to Italy, and was told to stay home while awaiting test results — which came back positive Monday, state health officials said.

But three days earlier, he had ignored the instructions and gone to a party over the border in Vermont, officials said.

“Despite having been directed to self-isolate, [he] attended an invitation-only private event on Friday,” the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

About 175 people were at the bash, organized by Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and held at The Engine Room in White River Junction, right across the river from the New Hampshire hospital.

“It’s very disturbing to be honest,” Brandon Fox, the owner and manager of The Engine Room told The Post. “He made a really bad decision.”

If anyone who attended that event contracts the virus and dies, can he be charged with involuntary manslaughter? I don’t think that should be out of the question.

The article notes:

But the patient is believed to have already infected at least one other man — also a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employee, officials said. The hospital said both men had no contact with patients.

An order of isolation has now been issued to the egocentric first patient under a state public health law to make sure he doesn’t break the quarantine again.

If he leaves the lockdown now, officials will be able to send police after him to keep him put.

But New Hampshire health officials didn’t respond to questions about if or how they were monitoring his self-quarantine this time around.

Meanwhile, Fox’s event space has been sanitized — twice — and health officials said events could continue.

Not only did this man put other people at risk, he negatively impacted a business. There are consequences to bad behavior. He worked at a medical center, you would think that he would have had some respect for the damage basic germs can do.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences At Work

Evidently the coronavirus has been around since December. China kept quiet about it, and when it spread to Iran in January, Iran kept quiet about it. One of the ‘advantages’ of a totalitarian regime is the ability to keep the public from knowing about a pending epidemic. Well, there seem to be some consequences of the fact that China and Iran chose to remain silent about the problem. As of now, Iran has the highest number of deaths outside of China.

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that after the death of Commander Soleimani,  Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif in a secret meeting in Munich. The meeting was in February.

The article includes a quote from the Israel National News:

This year’s Munich Security Conference may go down in history as the COVID-19 viral super-spreader “event of the century,” if not in all of recorded history. That’s because the Munich 2020 event took place from February Friday 14-Sunday 16, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attended.

Unknown to apparently all the high security-minded attendees, FM Zarif was likely carrying much more than the dark secret that the COVID-19 virus had already begun rampaging through the highest echelons of the Iranian government and society. FM Zarif , or one of his minions, was likely carrying the actual COVID-19, and infected who knows how many of the world’s highest and most influential politicians at the Munich event.

In fact, US Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, not only met FM Zarif, but met him in Zarif’s hotel suite where there was likely a rat’s nest of COVID-19. Unless drastic steps are taken, Sen. Murphy may become the Typhoid Mary of COVID-19, and infect the entire US Senate and House of Representatives.

As of February 28, 2020 there were officially 210 actual deaths in Iran. Unofficially, there have been over 500 reliably reported Iranian deaths. But, what is very unusual about the Iranian deaths is that a large number of extremely high ranking government officials in Tehran, the capital, have actually caught the disease and have died. The officially “First reported” Iranian case was on February 19. Working backward from the 19th, that means COVID-19 was likely already circulating in Iran from middle-to-late January when FM Zarif, or one of his staff, could have caught the disease.

I don’t wish anyone ill, but it seems like violating the Logan Act might be the least of Chris Murphy’s problems.

Human Nature vs. Common Sense

Remember when you were a teenager and you got grounded? Nobody likes being told they have to stay in one place and not move. In America, where we are used to having freedom of movement, it is even worse.

Hot Air posted an article today about the feelings of Americans regarding the quarantine of those exposed to Ebola versus the feelings of those who have been exposed to Ebola.

The article reports:

This should be perfectly intuitive for anyone who has had even fleeting exposure to human nature, but it is easy to suspect that an administration that reflexively bleats “science” in lieu of a cogent argument may lack the requisite experience to know that people will instinctively resist internment.

The media appeared certain that they had in nurse Kaci Hickox a figure they could transform into a victim of the imperious bully Chris Christie when she was involuntarily quarantined after returning to the United States from West Africa where she aided Ebola victims. In creating an object of pity out of Hickox, the press perhaps believed they could take some of the heat off of President Barack Obama who, in opposing the quarantining of those returning from West Africa, is on the wrong side of 80 percent of the public just days before a national election.

I listened to parts of an interview with Kaci Hickox on the radio today. She was talking about her decision not to be quarantined. Her argument was that she is healthy, feels good, and there is no reason to quarantine her. I am sure the doctor who is currently hospitalized in New York City with Ebola felt the same way.

The article reminds us of Doctor Spencer’s story:

“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around,” a source said.

Spencer finally ’fessed up when a cop “got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department,” a source said.

The refusal of Ms. Hickox to be quarantined for twenty-one days is an example of someone who is so wrapped up in what they want that they are unconcerned about the safety of those around them. Hopefully, Ms. Hickox will not come down with Ebola, but if she has been exposed to the disease, she needs to do everyone a favor and stay in quarantine for twenty-one days.