Thursday, April 15, 2021

Vaccine passports are instruments of control

Vaccine Passports Prolong Lockdowns | Wall Street Journal - Martin Kulldorff & Jay Bhattacharya:

April 6, 2021 - "As tens of millions are inoculated against Covid-19, officials in places as diverse as New York state, Israel and China have introduced 'vaccine passports,' and there’s talk of making them universal. The idea is simple: Once you’ve received your shots, you get a document or phone app, which you flash to gain entry to previously locked-down venues—restaurants, theaters, sports arenas, offices, schools.

"It sounds like a way of easing coercive lockdown restrictions, but it’s the opposite. To see why, consider dining. Restaurants in most parts of the U.S. have already reopened, at limited capacity in some places. A vaccine passport would prohibit entry by potential customers who haven’t received their shots. It would restrict the freedom even of those who have: If you’re vaccinated but your spouse isn’t, forget about dining out as a couple.

"Planes and trains, which have continued to operate throughout the pandemic, would suddenly be off-limits to the unvaccinated. The only places where restrictions would be relatively eased would be those still fully locked down, such as many live-event venues and schools. Yet even there, the passport idea depends on keeping the underlying restrictions in place — giving officials an incentive to do so for much longer as leverage to overcome vaccine resistance.

"The vaccine passport should therefore be understood not as an easing of restrictions but as a coercive scheme to encourage vaccination. Such measures can be legitimate: Many schools require immunization against common childhood illnesses, and visitors to some African countries must be vaccinated against yellow fever. But Covid vaccine passports would harm, not benefit, public health. The idea that everybody needs to be vaccinated is as scientifically baseless as the idea that nobody does. 

"Covid vaccines are essential for older, high-risk people and their caretakers and advisable for many others. But those who’ve been infected are already immune. The young are at low risk, and children — for whom no vaccine has been approved anyway — are at far less risk of death than from the flu. If authorities mandate vaccination of those who don’t need it, the public will start questioning vaccines in general.

"Effective public health relies on trust. The public has lost trust in officials in part because they’ve performed poorly — relying on lockdowns to disastrous effect — and in part because they’ve made clear their distrust of the public. Trust, after all, is a two-way street. Coercive vaccination policies would erode trust even further. Even well-informed people may legitimately wonder: Why are they forcing me to take this shot if it’s so good for me?

"Vaccine passports are unjust and discriminatory. Most of those endorsing the idea belong to the laptop class — privileged professionals who worked safely and comfortably at home during the epidemic. Millions of Americans did essential jobs at their usual workplaces and became immune the hard way. Now they would be forced to risk adverse reactions from a vaccine they don’t need.... 

"The widespread use of vaccines against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies and other pathogens has saved millions of lives. Vaccines are one of the most important inventions in human history — the reason that before last year many in the West had forgotten that infectious disease could pose a populationwide threat. Those pushing for coercive Covid vaccination threaten all this progress by undermining public trust in vaccines. In this sense, they are more dangerous than the small group of so-called anti-vaxxers have ever been."

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

New York's vaccine pass fails

New York's vaccine passport program is already failing | The Dossier - Jordan Schachtel:

April 5, 2021 - "The New York State 'Excelsior Pass'  vaccine passport system, which was created by IBM, has so many issues that I wouldn’t be surprised if the program was scrapped altogether before the end of the calendar year. It has massive security flaws, a shrinking customer base by design, it remains incredibly impractical, and it’s incredibly easy to manipulate.... Excelsior Pass sucks, thanks to the idiocracy 

"Say you want to attend a Knicks game this evening at Madison Square Garden, a partner to the Excelsior Pass program. It’s 9 a.m. and your event is at 7:30 p.m. If you don’t have the vaccine yet, that means you will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test to receive your pass. Want to take that test this morning? Not so fast! The antigen test needs to have been administered within the last 6 hours, so you better plan your entire day around navigating that short window between your COVID test and the event this evening.

"Just received your second dose and you’re ready to hit the town? Not so fast! You must wait at least two weeks before your green check mark appears on your vaccine passport. Has it been more than 90 days since your last dose? Rejected! You only have a 76 day window (more than 14 days, under 90 days) to acquire a vax pass, which has to be renewed every 30 days.

"Received a vaccine or COVID test from out of state? Took a private at home test kit or a test from a provider that is not registered in the New York State central database? Looks like you’re out of luck. You will not be able to receive your prized Excelsior Pass, because your information never made it into the system.

"Are you an out of state resident looking to attend an event or enter an Excelsior Pass participating store? You’re out of luck! The New York system does not communicate with other databases, and other states plan on rewarding vaccine passport contracts to other companies.

"In order to download Excelsior Pass on your phone, you need the latest version of Android or iOS. For users of phones that are more than 4-5 years, this means you will not be able to access the application. If you have an iPhone 6 or earlier, you can’t download Excelsior Pass because it only runs on the latest operating system, which doesn’t work on these older phones.

"Users of the app are absolutely hammering it for its dysfunction. Of the 240 reviews for the application on iOS, over 100 reviews received 1 star out of 5....

"The IBM-New York vaccine passport system has incredibly lax security protocols, making it easy for a random individual to steal your identity and obtain Gov. Cuomo’s vaunted Excelsior Pass. In order to see if someone is eligible for an Excelsior Pass (and acquire their COVID-19 health records), all you need is a first and last name, a date of birth, and a zip code (yes, not even their address, just their zip code). If you’re eligible for the pass, you then get taken to a second screen where you have to enter more relatively easily obtained information to 'verify your identity.' Even if you get some questions wrong, it appears that you can go back in and answer an unlimited amount of times until you get the right combination. 

"Vaccine passports are inhumane, discriminatory, and will lead America on a direct path to a China-like social credit score system that restricts our unalienable rights. The good news for you New Yorkers is that the Cuomo Administration and IBM are the dream team of incompetence. Excelsior Pass will almost certainly fail, because a legacy governor and a legacy tech outfit are not sophisticated enough to produce a working totalitarian product for their COVID Safety Regime."

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Children left behind in USA's return to normal

Will COVID hysterics ever let our children live normal lives? | New York Post - Karol Markowicz

April 11, 2021 - "The end of the pandemic is nigh. Americans continue to get vaccinated at a rapid clip. Life will be moving on. Except, it seems, for children. For more than a year, they have suffered from irrational, unscientific and downright superstitious policies inflicted upon them by adults — and there is no end in sight.

"In March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ­issued new guidance that three-foot social distancing suffices in schools, instead of the usual six. Yet in many localities where teachers unions wield power, schools still didn’t fully reopen. In New York City, schools have ­reopened on a (very) part-time basis in large part owing to the ­debunked six-foot rule. United Federation of Teachers boss Michael Mulgrew immediately balked at the guidance, calling it 'strange' and saying the union would consult with its own experts. But the real question is: Why do kids even need to socially distance at all?

"Many places in Europe, including Britain, as well as some schools across America, long ago scrapped social-distancing ­requirements for kids. They opened their schools and kept them open. That’s ­because ­research has repeatedly showed that children are at minuscule risk from the disease and also transmit it a much lower rate than do adults.

"We also need to cut it out with the masking of kids. Let’s notice that every video of a 2-year-old being escorted off an airplane for not wearing a mask is set in America. On European flights, masks are required for ages 6 and up.... And while masking 6-year-olds still seems unnecessary and should hopefully end soon, it’s saner than sticking one on a toddler. 

"In November, Maria van Kerkhove, head of the World Health Organization’s emerging-diseases unit, clarified that 'for children under 6 years old, we don’t recommend the use of masks.' This, she said, was 'for many reasons — because of the way children are developing' and because enforcing adherence is a fool’s errand. She added: 'Between 6 [and] 11, we recommend taking a risk-based approach depending on where the children are, the types of activities they are doing.'

"Yet last week, YouTube removed a video of scientists from places like Stanford saying much the same to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Google-owned video service called it 'medical misinformation.' This, even though last April, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcocki said her site would interdict 'anything that would go against World Health ­Organization recommendations.' In this case, it’s YouTube itself that was contradicting WHO....

"There is a specific reason ­other developed nations treat children differently than adults, and it seems hard for the coronavirus hysterics to accept: Again, COVID-19 largely doesn’t affect children. 

"Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), caused a stir when he said last August that 'seasonal flu is actually, in many cases, a deadlier virus if [kids] contract that' — a claim that Politifact was forced to rate 'mostly true.' It’s actually completely true, and if this is surprising news, it’s because the CDC, virus guru Dr. Anthony Fauci and the media at large have failed to tell the truth about COVID’s risks to children and the risks of children spreading it to adults."

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Lockdowns return to India & South America

Fresh COVID lockdowns worldwide as vaccine efforts stumble | Al Jazeera

April 10, 2021 - "Fresh lockdowns and curfews have been imposed on tens of millions of people from India to Argentina as COVID-19 infections surged again and vaccine rollouts were hampered by shortages and fears of side effects. 

"In India, the worst-hit state of Maharashtra was running out of vaccines as the health system buckled under the weight of the contagion ... [India] the world’s second-most populous nation has added more than a million new infections since late March. Every weekend, from Saturday until the end of April, Maharashtra’s 125 million people will be confined to their homes unless travelling or shopping for food or medicine.

"Stay-at-home orders were also set to come into force for the eight million inhabitants of Bogota, as the Colombian capital battled a third wave of infections, adding to curfews already covering seven million across four other big cities. Argentina entered a night-time curfew on Friday, running from midnight to 6am every day until April 30. It will be in force in the country’s highest-risk areas, mainly urban centres, where bars and restaurants will close at 11pm. Argentina and Colombia have recorded about 2.5 million coronavirus cases, numbers surpassed only by Brazil in the region.

"All of France is subject to restrictions of some form, while the German government’s attempts to curb movement and commerce have been stymied by several states refusing to go along with the proposals. Now Berlin is changing the rules to centralise power, adjustments likely to usher in night-time curfews.... 

"But some countries were in the process of opening up. Italy was set to end lockdowns from next week for Lombardy, the epicentre of its coronavirus pandemic, and several other regions with improving contagion statistics. Neighbouring Slovenia announced it would ease coronavirus restrictions and suspend a six-month-long curfew starting on Monday....

"In Brazil, the Senate said it would open an inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic, as President Jair Bolsonaro continued to resist lockdown measures even with COVID-19 deaths at new records. Yet, on Friday, Rio de Janeiro was reversing restrictions in place for two weeks, reopening restaurants and bars, though the city’s famed beaches remained closed."

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

A fat chance of dying with Covid

Lockdowns Worsen the Health Crisis | American Institute of Economic Research - Kiley Holliday & Jenin Younes: 

March 27, 2021 - "A recent global study found that obesity is a 'driving factor in COVID-19 deaths,' and that Covid-19 death rates are an astonishing ten times higher in countries where most adults are overweight.  Although advanced age is the strongest indicator of a severe outcome from a coronavirus infection, 'being overweight comes a close second,' the report determined.  The CEO of the World Obesity Federation went so far as to blame the 'failure to address the root causes of obesity over many decades ... for hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths.'  While the study makes evident the degree to which poor underlying health is a driving force in coronavirus deaths, we have known almost since the beginning that being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of a severe outcome.

"Given this information, the Anthony Faucis and Eric Feigl-Dings of the world should focus on alerting people to the dangers of being overweight and obese, and expending significant efforts to encourage exercise and healthy diet.  Instead, they have spent the past twelve months urging people to 'stay home, save lives' and to wear two masks, if not three or four, a measure not shown to have mitigated coronavirus deaths at all.

"In a similar vein, governors around the country have ordered gyms closed, along with countless other businesses.  In New York, gyms have been open since this past summer, but patrons must wear a mask at all times ... despite the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) advised against wearing a mask while exercising, pointing to research demonstrating that wearing them even during mild to moderate physical activity can 'lead to significant negative cardiovascular and pulmonary effects in both healthy people and those with underlying respiratory diseases'.... Likewise, especially at the beginning of the crisis, governors around the nation closed playgrounds, national parks, and hiking trails, another policy choice that simply deprived people of the opportunity to engage in healthy outdoor activities.... 

"The exhortations of the 'stay home' crowd, as well as the implementation of measures such as gym and park closures have had the expected impact, which is that 42 percent of adults in the United States reported undesired weight gain during the past year, with an average of twenty-nine pounds.  Millennials as a group fared the absolute worst, with 48 percent reporting unwanted weight gain, at an average of forty-one pounds.  Suffice it to say, a significant portion of adults who in March of 2020 were not at substantial risk of a severe outcome from coronavirus now can be categorized as in an elevated risk group.

"The cause of this national belt-loosening is not merely staying home and moving around less, but anxiety and depression caused by social isolation, both of which have been demonstrated to cause weight gain and obesity.  Society has now organized itself around the principle of depriving people of meaningful social contact with family, friends, and coworkers for the better part of a year.  One need not have a degree in psychology to recognize that such an approach is bound to aggravate the obesity crisis, as indeed it has. In fact, our newly confirmed Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy has written an entire book on health effects of loneliness, arguing that it is associated with increased risk of heart disease, dementia, obesity, and sleep disorders.

"Yet despite these circumstances, publications such as the New York Times have been running grossly irresponsible pieces with headlines such as Should You Worry About Your Kid’s Pandemic Weight Gain?  (the answer of the author, Virginia Sole-Smith is, generally speaking, ‘no’).... Sole-Smith ascribes the rising incidence of childhood obesity to the pandemic itself, rather than the decision to shutter classrooms for many months. She contends that because childhood dieting can lead to adult eating disorders, parents should avoid treating their children’s weight gain as a 'problem to be solved'.... 

"A more recent Times article, by Sandra E. Garcia, dodged the issue of underlying health, and instead argued that people whose body mass index (BMI) qualified them for early vaccination should take advantage of that status.... Apparently, Garcia’s ideological commitment to the narrative of identity politics precludes any admission that being overweight, and particularly obese, is a significant predictor of a severe outcome from a coronavirus infection, and that many people can take steps to lose weight and thereby become healthier and even remove themselves from at-risk categories.  Getting vaccinated will not solve the larger problem, as it can only protect one from the coronavirus and does not cure the various comorbidities resulting from poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle....  

"We suspect that one day, the quarantining of entire societies that was carried out in response to the coronavirus pandemic, leading to vast swaths of the population becoming unhealthier overall and ironically more susceptible to severe outcomes from the virus, will be seen as the 21st century version of bloodletting.  As the epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff has observed, public health is not just about one disease, but all health outcomes.  Apparently, in 2020, the authorities forgot this obvious truth."

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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Alberta government barricades GraceLife Church

RCMP raid GraceLife Church; JCCF ‘outraged’ by ‘unjustified violation’ of Charter | Western Standard - Alexander Dhaliwal: 

April 7, 2021 - "With the police’s help, Alberta Health Services (AHS) barricaded GraceLife Church (GLC) at dawn Wednesday, preventing access to the building until the church complies with Alberta’s public health measures. The church, just outside Edmonton, under Pastor James Coates, has been breaking COVID-19 lockdown regulations every Sunday by holding packed services.

"Coates recently spent 35 days in solitary confinement at the Edmonton Remand Centre after turning himself in willingly for breaking COVID-19 public health measures. He was released without conditions in advance of his trial on May 3.... NDP leader Rachel Notley rejoiced over Alberta Health Services taking further steps to enforce public health orders at GLC....

"According to an AHS press release, they have attempted to work collaboratively with GraceLife for several months to address the site’s ongoing public health concerns.... From July 10, 2020, to April 6, 2021, AHS has received 105 complaints from the public about GLC. AHS inspectors, who were denied entry by Church elders last Sunday, have conducted 18 inspections at the site since July 10, 2020, and violations were observed at each visit. There have been no outbreaks reported to health officials or confirmed during the course of the pandemic at GraceLife....

"Representing Pastor Coates and Grace Life Church, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms expressed outrage at the Alberta Government’s decision to enter and put up a double barrier wall around private church property today.... 'The Alberta government has known for many months that it will be called to publicly account before the judiciary for its lockdown destruction of the Alberta economy and trampling of Albertan’s civil liberties,” states lawyer John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre. 'The government has so far refused to justify the limits on worship and gathering. Health orders are inconsistent, differing from province to province, and arbitrarily created by one public health official who is under no obligation legally to advise the legislatures of the science and rationale which supposedly are the basis of the orders,' continues Carpay.

"The Justice Centre is in the process of filing a subpoena to require Alberta Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw to testify at the trial of Pastor Coates on May 3, 2021. The Alberta Government Crown Prosecutor is requesting the Court adjourn the May 3 trial, claiming the government needs until summer to assemble its evidence."

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Friday, April 9, 2021

Ontario premier imposes new stay-at-home order

Ontario issues emergency alert on new stay-at-home order to curb COVID-19 | CTV News - Canadian Press:

April 8, 2021 - "Ontarians have received emergency alerts on their cellphones, radios and televisions telling them to stay home. The emergency message on the province's stay-at-home order that took effect today was sent by the Ministry of the Solicitor General through the province's Alert Ready broadcast system. 

"The message asks people to only leave their homes for essential purposes such as food, healthcare, exercise or work. It is the latest attempt to communicate new public health measures that came into effect today as COVID-19 case counts surge.The province used a similar emergency alert in January to communicate the start of a stay-at-home order....

"Premier Doug Ford announced the latest stay-at-home order on Wednesday, saying it was prompted by a surge in cases driven by more infectious variants. Stores that sell goods such as groceries, cleaning supplies and pharmacy products can remain open but only to sell essential items. Non-essential retail can open for curbside pickup or delivery only.

"The province is declaring the third state of emergency since the start of the pandemic to invoke the new measures."

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Ontario doctor encourages people to get outdoors as stay-at-home order begins | CTV News - Phil Tsekouras:

April 8, 2021 - "While Ontario’s new stay-at-home order will force most people indoors for the next month, one doctor says there’s nothing wrong with a little fresh air.

"'From a medical, scientific and public health standpoint, we know that outdoor environments are way safer compared to indoor environments when we look at transmission,' Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CTV News Toronto on Thursday. As an infectious diseases specialist and member of the province's vaccine distribution task force, Bogoch says that while there is still a chance you can catch COVID-19 while outdoors, the risk is very low. 'If people are separated by a couple metres outside, I really think the risk is negligible,' he said.

"Ontario entered its second stay-at-home order on Thursday, which legally requires residents to stay indoors unless they are going out for essential purposes.... Residents are allowed to leave their homes to get some exercise, which Bogoch believes should be encouraged during this time.

"'This year has been tough enough with everything that’s been going on, I think promoting outdoor activities safely would do wonders for mental health and for physical health and of course, it aligns with sound medical and scientific principles,' he said.... 'Anything you move outdoors from indoors, is a step in the right direction. This isn’t new, this was done, for example, in the 1918 flu pandemic,' he said. '“There were school settings that were moved outdoors, this information has been around for a long, long time. We quickly forget our past. But this is not new.'"

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