I wrote yesterday about the frustration of hearing scientists in charge of the COVID-19 response call incessantly for DATA, no matter how long it takes to get it. Well, Americans sitting at home with no work for the foreseeable future want data, too –- but a lot sooner.

For example, we want to know the real infection rates, recovery rates and “negative outcome” rates. (Everybody knows what doctors mean when they employ the euphemism “negative outcome.”) We need these to assess how necessary it is for us to grind the U.S. economy to a halt for months and possibly create global economic collapse, with all the disaster and hopelessness that would bring.

For many, the seriousness of this –- the full impact –- is just now really starting to hit. We hear it in President Trump’s voice, now that he’s had to extend the stay-at-home guidelines. The kids want to go outside and visit friends. People worry if they’ll have jobs to go back to. The rent was due on the 1st. Speaking of that, one way we know it’s bad is because April Fool’s Day came and went with precious few April Fool’s jokes.

Anyway, right now it’s impossible to know what the reality is, because we have no idea how many have been infected. That means “experts” are flying blind, too. An undetermined number of those who pick up the virus are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms that mimic some little respiratory thing and they don’t even get tested. That’s why estimates and predictions have been all over the map. Fancy charts and graphs mean NOTHING. You know how it is with computer models (including those for predicting “climate change”): garbage in, garbage out. Any infection rate we plug into these models is guesswork. Garbage.

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The way to get more people back to living their lives is to let them have the blood test for COVID-19 antibodies. That’s especially true, of course, for healthcare workers, who could benefit incredibly from knowing they have immunity. As of last week, an antibody test considered reliable by researchers has become available. But, as Laura Ingraham pointed out on her Wednesday FOX NEWS show, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that antibodies testing is not a priority right now. It will be important, “ultimately,” to “get a feel” for how far the virus penetrated society, to have an idea of “the herd immunity,” but that this is not their “immediate problem.”

Say what? I’m sorry, but that makes no sense. We need data on this NOW. Dr. Birx gets the importance of this test, at least for health care workers. She’s calling on universities to help and says they’ll be ready by this Friday. She says the test is fast and easy --- fantastic news for health care workers and all those on the front lines, but we also need this done on a larger scale to get the true picture of what this virus does. If the infection rate turns out to be a lot higher than we thought, then the “bad outcome” rate is far smaller than current guesses suggest.

On a positive note, six pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, are working on a vaccine. The company Moderna has already started human testing. Even big tobacco has joined the effort, with Lucky Strike saying they can quickly grow tobacco containing antigens to the virus. That is incredible. Still, the vaccine is a long-term answer; even an optimistic estimate for this to be ready is 12-18 months.

The President wants us all to be able SOON to go back to work and get back to normal. The old normal, the good normal. But be warned: there are many who aren’t focused so much on that. Researchers want their data. Doctors want a high percentage of “good outcomes.” China wants us weak. And leftist politicians in our own country want a “new normal” of limitless spending and control over our lives, forever and ever amen. If we’re not vigilant, the threat of contagion could easily become a permanent excuse for tracking us all with GPS, monitoring social activities and confiscating guns. Fun times.

Oh, and now Adam Schiff wants to investigate President Trump’s response to the pandemic.

But let's get back to talking about the legitimate, worthwhile pursuit of data. Here’s the biggest one of all: We sitting at home desperately want to see data on the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, both as a protective measure and, in combination with azithromycin and zinc, as a treatment for respiratory symptoms. I don’t mean the large controlled studies that take months or years, because we don’t have that kind of time, but smaller studies that reinforce the “anecdotal” reports we’ve been getting. Some doctors now are routinely treating coronavirus patients with the combination hydroxychloroquine therapy, though they have to monitor closely for possible adverse cardiological effects. (Note: this is why I advised against using “pop-up tents” outside hospitals to hand out mass quantities of the drugs.) In fact, eminent infectious disease specialist Dr. Stephen Smith reports that of all his patients, no one receiving at least five days of the drug therapy has had to go on a ventilator. This supports the results of that early French study that some “experts” were dismissing. The odds of these results happening by chance are, in effect, zero.

He called this “a game-changer.” In fact, he told Laura Ingraham, “I think this is the beginning of the end. Of the pandemic. I’m very serious.

Here’s another preliminary report of a different treatment that also looks very promising.

If that weren’t enough, here’s another piece of useful data: The more patients they treat, the more doctors are seeing that the ones far more likely to experience “negative outcomes” are those who are overweight or obese and/or diabetic or pre-diabetic. Sure, the gyms are closed for now, but I can’t think of a better reason to start some kind of diet and fitness program at home. Step it up when the gyms re-open. And toss away the cigarettes for good! Save the tobacco for antigen-growing.

Finally, again, we want data from China. And China is actually giving us some, in spite of its leaders’ efforts to keep the lid on. I’ve been commenting this week on the possibility that the COVID-19 virus originated not in the Wuhan live animal market but inside a nearby biotech lab. That’s not just speculation: scientists from the South China University of Technology have put together a compelling case that one of two labs in Wuhan Province researching coronavirus in the “intermediate Horseshoe Bat” is the likely source of the contagion.

Their paper has been online for two months but our media have virtually ignored it. (That Australian 60 MINUTES report I linked to yesterday talks about it.) Tucker Carlson and a few others have reported on it. But the director of the National Institutes of Health has, inadvertently or not, run interference for the Chinese government by dismissing the idea as “outrageous.” No, it isn’t.

Maria Bartiromo brought up the subject, with Ted Cruz.

And Jim Treacher at PJ Media has an excellent commentary on this.

Trampling Rights

April 1, 2020

I wrote briefly yesterday about the Tampa-area pastor who was arrested for holding a Sunday church service in defiance of an order against large gatherings, and asked for your responses. Since then, that story has exploded into other very important areas. Last night, I was on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News to discuss this story…

…which has taken on new meaning in light of rising infringements on Constitutional rights. Local authorities say they support freedom of religion, but the church service endangered the public health in violation of quarantine. However, the church claims the service was conducted with great care, including social distancing of attendees and other strict health precautions. My friends at the Liberty Counsel are defending the pastor. And a Pennsylvania pastor wants by holding an "outdoor Easter blowout service" a la Woodstock to show solidarity.

Both the defiance of the lockdown orders and the draconian measures some political office holders are using to enforce them have given rise to a serious debate about whether we are in danger of losing our Constitutional rights, not just during the current health emergency, but from now on. Personally, I believe that for the safety of me, my family and my community, it’s best to do whatever is necessary to stop the spread of this disease, and that can include innovative ways to worship, such as streaming services online or even this.

The bigger issue, though, is the swiftness with which our elected leaders, particularly mayors and governors of deep blue areas, have rushed right past “leadership” directly to “dictatorship.” While it might or might not be within their powers to curtail some freedoms during a deadly pandemic, their lack of concern for how that impacts individual rights is a warning sign that either they don’t understand those rights or hold them in contempt. Neither quality is acceptable in someone who holds powerful office.

For instance, it is one thing to order people to stay inside during an emergency. You might even justify arresting someone for defying that order. But in New York City, Mayor Bill DeBlasio threatened to “permanently” close any church or synagogue that violated it (tellingly, he didn’t threaten mosques, but that’s another issue.) By what possible right does he claim power to take away people’s right to freedom of religion and freedom of assembly “permanently”?

Some of these officials seem to be winging it without even thinking about it. For example, they’ll release all the criminals from jail, because they might catch the virus there. Then they try to deprive citizens of their Second Amendment right to defend themselves from the criminals they released by closing gun stores. The Mayor of Washington, DC, even threatened to arrest and jail people who go outside. So to recap: they’d empty the jails to protect criminals from getting the virus, then put citizens into the virus-ridden jails they just let the criminals out of, just for leaving their homes, because that might give someone the virus. If you can follow that circuitous reasoning, please send me the directions.

This is a time when it’s important for our officials to keep the public informed and alert, to show leadership and lead by example, and to impress on everyone the importance of voluntary compliance with guidelines to save lives. Draconian enforcement should be a last resort, not a first resort, and never should it be allowed to become commonplace after this passes.

Just as the public needs stern, sober reminders of why their cooperation is a matter of life and death, so do some political figures need a remedial lesson in Constitutional rights. Lesson one: the Bill of Rights is not a list of things that the state allows us to do, if we’re good and use them only the way they want. It’s a list of rights granted to us by God that the state cannot take away, except by tyranny.

Cancel the conventions?

April 1, 2020

Tokyo has already postponed the summer Olympics to next year, but there’s still some question whether America’s big summer spectator sport events – the major party political conventions – will still go on. Both parties use those conventions to boost enthusiasm and turnout, something Joe Biden particularly will need. Although some might argue that having him walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls would be less risky than putting him onstage in front of the nation for a high-pressure convention speech on live TV. (Just look at how many gaffes he got into a brief interview on MSNBC, from calling Wuhan, China, “Luhan” to confusing the CDC with CVS pharmacy.

Some top Democrats are pushing to cancel the convention in Milwaukee, while others are suggesting at least postponing it. President Trump wants to go on with the GOP Convention in Charlotte. Both might not be feasible, but the Republicans have a better shot, since their convention isn’t until August 24th, while the Democrats were set for July 13.

If the conventions have to be canceled, it would be a shame, since they are great spectacles and a traditional part of the American electoral process. But in light of what we’re dealing with now, having to forego hearing Maxine Waters screech about Trump to an arena full of people in donkey-shaped hats and Greta Thunberg T-shirts seems like a small sacrifice to make.

Sadly, we cannot depend on media outlets that are the victims of Trump Derangement Syndrome to alter their behavior at this late date. Astoundingly, CNN cut away from what was perhaps the most important daily briefing Trump has given yet. This came a day after one of their resident TDS patients, Don Lemon, declared that CNN should stop airing them because Trump causes public harm by misinforming TV viewers (if that were true, Trump could be a CNN commentator himself.)

Lemon idiotically compared the daily virus White House press briefings to Trump campaign rallies, which brought this appropriate response from Brit Hume.

Hume said people are hungry for information and the briefings “have been an absolute fountain of information about that subject.” But the reporters mostly ask divisive, unrelated (and I would add, “negative,” “hostile” and “accusatory”) questions, showing more interest in making Trump look bad than in eliciting vital information to help the public.

Hume said, "Reporters are like people who have one tool. You've heard the famous saying, 'If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.' If the only thing you've ever been is a political reporter and you are covering the White House briefings on a major worldwide pandemic, you might be tempted to ask a lot of political questions, which is what they've done."

I think Brit hit the nail on the head with that observation, although I admit that when I look at the White House Press Corps these days, I see more than just one tool.

It’s frustrating to listen to the “official” scientists when it comes to treating COVID-19 with promising drugs. Researchers want data –- YES, WE KNOW –- and they typically answer any question on the need for new treatments with the same spiel about controlled, double-blind, long-term studies.

Those studies take time. (Aside: in the meantime, we simply must go ahead and treat with medications that are safe and show promise.) And much of the data we need will have to come from far-flung places around the world. A few controlled studies are already going on, but we must wait for the results. Of course, in an ideal world, we would be getting solid data from China, everything they have, which would be especially useful because Wuhan Province is Ground Zero for this infection. But this is not an ideal world, and that is NOT happening and will never happen.

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Over the past couple of days, I’ve written about the lack of truthful information from Chinese leaders. It’s worse than that: they’ve created a bogus narrative about their effective handling of the spread of the disease that many in the American media love to perpetuate because it makes President Trump look bad by comparison. They hate him so much that I’m not sure it matters to them that the story out of China is a big lie.

One big eye-opener is a recent report from the Australian version of 60 MINUTES. Australia, being much closer geographically to China and the Asian Pacific, takes a warier approach than the American media do to anything China does or says, and this report is no exception. When the Chinese government claimed that only about 2500 people died, Australians weren’t buying it, in part because of the huge increase in the number of cremations. That’s right; it seems that if you want to “earn” money in China right now, you should definitely go into the urn business. There was also a corresponding decrease in the number of cell phones

According to “emerging diseases” expert Laurie Garrett, who has witnessed outbreaks of Ebola and SARS, the virus “festered” in the live animal market in Wuhan for at least a month and a half before the world was told. At least at the time of this interview, she believed the virus “jumped” from some animal species, such as a bat, to human as has happened with other viruses (Note: as we’ve discussed, at least one study has suggested the market was not the original source of infection, and a Level 4 biolab is suspiciously close by; so is the Wuhan Institute of Virology.)

Garrett takes us through the timeline that started in mid-November, when cases of “a strange new flu” began to surface. In early December, they determined that it wasn’t SARS or anything like it, and that it had been spread from that market. Anyone who suggested otherwise was “suppressed,” she says. An official announcement didn’t come until New Year’s Eve; they said they had closed the market and stopped the spread, and also that there was no human-to-human transmission. She says this was a deliberate lie, that by then they were seeing cases they knew had no connection with the market.

Garrett goes on to talk about the physician who tried to warn the world and has since died of the virus. He was among a group of eight doctors who were called in and forced to sign statements declaring themselves liars. Isn’t totalitarianism great?

The report also features an interview with Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, ranking Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee. He has been outspoken in accusing China of a criminal act, “the worst cover-up in human history.” From reports out of Beijing, we know that a lab had sequenced the new coronavirus by December 27 but was ordered to hand over or destroy its samples.

McCaul says that if the Chinese had done the right thing and notified the World Health Organization, an estimated 95 percent of the worldwide contagion could have been stopped. I would add that it’s ironic, in light of this, how much the World Health Organization is going along with China’s narrative now. Tucker Carlson had a good segment on WHO Tuesday night; he also references the Australian 60 MINUTES report.

The report goes on with the shocking timeline, contrasting China’s official statements with what they really knew about the virus. The culmination was the Chinese president’s decision to allow 5 million people, with no health screening, to leave Wuhan for points unknown around the world. Since then, another doctor, the head of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital, who tried to expose the deception has “disappeared.”

I’m linking to this piece with one caveat: the interviewee (a New Yorker) interjects politics and engages in some extremely undeserved Trump-bashing towards the end. Unbelievably, she blames both President Xi AND President Trump, “the two most powerful men on earth,” for the pandemic. She wrongly accuses Trump of “downplaying the significance” of COVID-19, never mentioning his early efforts to contain it by stopping travel from China. She notes instead his tweets praising China, not understanding the “big picture” and the diplomatic and practical reasons why he might do so. Anyway, if that part sickens you as it did me, you can skip over to the rest of the interview with McCaul, whose defense of the President –- believe it or not –- actually made it in.

Whistleblowers silenced by China could have stopped global coronavirus spread | 60 Minutes Australia

According to Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party in the UK, Radio Free Asia says the number of deaths in China from COVID-19 is more like 40,000. “But the one thing I do know,” he told Martha MacCallum on Monday evening, “absolutely for certain, is we cannot believe a word that Communist China says.”

He said that from the beginning, they hid the truth. “The doctor that exposed what was really happening was written off as a mad conspiracy theorist...and now we see China using its influence, using its money; we particularly see Huawei, the telecoms company, donating face masks, hand gel, donations in some cases, and even the state offering to sell ventilators to countries like Italy that are having serious problems. The country that caused this problem is now trying to present itself to much of the Western world as being its savior, and is trying to make a massive, massive power grab.”

Reminds me of the arsonist who plays “hero” and rushes in to save the family.

Farage says it’s time the Chinese government “owned up” and took some responsibility. Fat chance. I’d say it’s time our own media got a reality check and realized this is a totalitarian state, one that keeps people in line with prison camps and executions and will use the pandemic they caused to hurt us in any way possible, short-term and long-term, so they can eventually replace us as the leading world power. THAT is what President Trump has to deal with. Is there anything to convince our partisan media that the Chinese state is America’s enemy, and the one person they spend all their energy hating and abusing, President Trump, is really America’s dearest friend?

Farage, for one, understands Trump having to pay lip service to the Chinese president right now. “The truth of it is, we’ve become much too dependent on China for much of our supply chains in manufacturing...this needs a radical rethink. It is globalization that has caused this crisis.”

From Robin:

On the [Wuhan] BSL-4 lab. I have a little experience with bio and chemical stuff in the military.

Based on the photos I've seen from China, the researchers were not properly attired with protective gear for this environment. They should be completely covered with all seams sealed. No openings to the body at all. Second problem is you cannot take off the protective gear without first decontaminating the gear, then secondly yourself. I did not see anything for decontamination. There should also be available emergency decontamination stations for accidental incidents.

Without the above you're just a human guinea pig. Go home to your family and friends after that and there you go! An epidemic because of poor training, fear of questioning your supervisors, politicians and government. And everything done in closed secrecy so you can't get knowledge or advice from any scientists in the outside world.

Welcome to Socialism!

From the Gov:

You bring up some very interesting points. I’m reminded of Chernobyl; in the aftermath, we we were shocked about the poor safety standards. Again, welcome to socialism; I’ve always been mystified by those who say a socialist/authoritarian form of government would be better for the environment. We have only to look at the lung-clogging pollution in (yes) China to see the reality. There are no studies we can cite on this --- how could there be? --- but it stands to reason that Chinese urban dwellers already have enough lung damage to make them vulnerable to a respiratory virus.

Jennifer Griffin for FOX NEWS had an outstanding report on Bret Baier’s SPECIAL REPORT Monday night from the U.S. Army base at Fort Detrick, Maryland, which houses one of the nation’s Level 4 biolabs, to show what they’re doing to create a COVID-19 vaccine. She says these are the same Army scientists who found vaccines for anthrax, plague and Ebola viruses. They’ve got special equipment that allows them to assess results of the “fast-track” drug testing that’s currently underway.

Safety protocols are rigid. There’s an airlock into a decontamination area that’s kind of like a car wash, where researchers shower in their protective gear after their shifts to decontaminate it before taking if off. The gear has its own oxygen supply.

"These men and women have been here before,” said U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, “and they prevailed. And we’re going to find this vaccine, and we’re gonna win in the end.”

Much more at the link:

Abbott Labs, after getting emergency FDA approval, has announced it’s launching a 5-minute COVID-19 virus test that can be used just about anywhere. Every state will get at least 15 of these testing machines, which can perform up to 50,000 tests per day.

Also, GREAT NEWS (and thanks to Sean Hannity for this story): the drug hydroxychloroquine has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA after the promising results we’ve reported. The pharmaceutical company Novartis has committed to donating –- repeat, donating –- up to 130 million doses of the drug. Likewise, the Israeli company Teva Pharmaceuticals has supplied U.S. hospitals with 6 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets,with another 4 million on the way. Also, the Phase 1 testing of a vaccine has commenced; the speed of this truly is miraculous.

By the way, I'm sure you'd agree with me, Robin, that we should discount anything we hear from the World Health Organization. It appears to be Chinese propaganda, one step removed. Check out Tucker Carlson’s Monday interview with Gordon Chang, author of THE COMING COLLAPSE OF CHINA, about the World Health Organization’s denial to address anything concerning the nation of Taiwan. Why, it’s just as if Taiwan didn’t even exist! (Steve Mosher, author of the book BULLY OF ASIA, calls them “the China Health Organization.”)

As reported by Chang, the director general of the World Health Organization gave an interview in late January to China’s state media saying that Beijing’s response was “admirable, should be emulated by the rest of the world,” and that “it all showed the superiority of China’s socialist system.” (I am not kidding.)

Chang commented, “Well, China has a totalitarian system, and, really, what he was doing was attacking democracy on behalf of Beijing. So this is really despicable across the board.” He went on: “...This is dangerous, because for the last 10 days of January, and for the first 10-15 days of February, the World Health Organization was parroting Beijing’s line that no country should enact travel restrictions on China. And that’s –- because there were no travel restrictions, or very few of them, the United States being an exception, what happened was, this virus spread even farther...around China’s borders, and so, what’s the WHO has done, it’s actually helped spread the coronavirus around the world, and it did it on behalf of Beijing.”

Democrat Congressman Seth Molton of Massachusetts has also submitted to the power of Beijing, by withdrawing his support for a resolution condemning the Chinese Communist government. He talked about this on (where else?) MSNBC, and apparently chose to speak up to counter the implication that the Chinese government might be worse than the danger of the “racist” Trump administration. I think we can tell this idiot he needs to quarantine his mouth.

Thanks for writing, Robin, and for your perspective on China’s role in the spread of this virus.

RELATED READINGThe challenge of getting truth on origin of Chinese virus

From Dobbin:

Good article, Governor, but I don't think there is a level 5. Pretty sure level 4 (BSL 4) is as high as it goes, and if BSL 4 protocol were followed, this wouldn't have happened. If!

From the Gov:

Hi, Dobbin. Um, that line about “Level 5”? As the great ol’ cartoon rooster Foghorn Leghorn used to say, “That’s a joke, ah say, that’s a joke, son.”

From Julianne:

I recall some information coming out of China in late December about mass graves. The links I had to those are gone, missing, removed....something. Since this virus hit the elderly and sickly, those people were just considered collateral damage and expendable. We will never know how many died in China from this virus. The truth will not be told by those in power, and all those that know are dead or missing.

From the Gov:

Thanks for writing, Julianne. My researchers have encountered similar online brick walls. Also, they find that certain well-documented, credible stories from here in America are avoided by the mainstream media like –- pardon the expression –- the plague. (Always ask yourself about a story that seems to just go away, “Why am I not hearing more about this?”)

But to your point, you are correct about the value of life in that country being essentially on par with that of an 8-month-old fetus in the eyes of Planned Parenthood. As far as those in power are concerned, lives are expendable and certainly considered collateral damage if there is a larger goal to be achieved. Unfortunately, some in our own media, particularly social media, have been quite cooperative in their effort to –- again, pardon the expression –- “bury” stories and commentary. We’ll continue to look into the mass-graves story, but you’re right: many details about this will likely never be known.

From Jeanine (excerpt):

I listened to NPR and OPB the other day after the Task Force had given their faithful, intelligent update on the coronavirus and could not believe what I was hearing. Everything that was said on NPR and OPB was the opposite of what was reported by the Task Force. It was lying. And then hateful commentary.

From the Gov:

It’s as I said, Jeanine. One might as well be listening to Nancy Pelosi...or the Chinese Communist Party. And if Congress is looking for places in the budget to cut so they can more easily help shuttered businesses and Americans out of work...they might start with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Not that her comments are actually worth mentioning, but since some poor deluded souls on the left continue to think of MSNBC Russian Collusion conspiracy monger Rachel Maddow as an actual journalist, I should include this: Maddow, who recently (and hilariously) suggested that networks shouldn’t air the President’s daily updates because HE dispenses misinformation (!), said this to her viewers exactly one week before the USNS Comfort arrived in New York harbor:

“In terms of the happy talk we’ve had on this front from the federal government, there is no sign that the Navy hospital ships that the president made such a big deal of, the Comfort and the Mercy, there’s no sign that they`ll be anywhere on-site helping out anywhere in the country for weeks yet. The President said when he announced that those ships would be put into action against the COVID-19 epidemic. He said one of those ships would be operational in New York harbor by next week. That`s nonsense. It will not be there next week.”

In fact, President Trump made good on his promise to dispatch the 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort to New York harbor, and it could be ready to start taking in patients as soon as today. Here are some photos of it arriving under the watchful eye of the Statue of Liberty that will send a patriotic thrill up your spine, if you're not an MSNBC viewer. I can assure Ms. Maddow that these pictures were not created in Photoshop by Russians.