A scientific paper claims that humans acquired COVID-19 from a Chinese research lab, and not a food market. But instead of having the paper peer reviewed, they are trying to suppress it.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

April 3, 2020

One of the great things about science is the peer review process. When one group of scientists comes to a conclusion, other groups of scientists are allowed to peer review the work of the original group, to try to determine whether or not the original research has merit.

This link, which no longer works, used to show a scientific paper: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339070128_The_possible_origins_of_2019-nCoV_coronavirus

Fortunately, the internet archive still has the paper at this link: https://web.archive.org/web/20200214144447/https:/www.researchgate.net/publication/339070128_The_possible_origins_of_2019-nCoV_coronavirus

The paper is titled, “The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus.”

The paper’s lead author is Botao Xiao, from the South China University of Technology.

The paper’s publication month is February 2020.

The paper states:

“An article published on The Lancet reported that 27 of 41 infected patients were found to have contact with the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. We noted two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus in Wuhan, one of which was only 280 meters from the seafood market. We briefly examined the histories of the laboratories and proposed that the coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory…”

“… The bats carrying CoV ZC45 were originally found in Yunnan or Zhejiang province, both of which were more than 900 kilometers away from the seafood market. Bats were normally found to live in caves and trees. But the seafood market is in a densely-populated district of Wuhan, a metropolitan of ~15 million people. The probability was very low for the bats to fly to the market. According to municipal reports and the testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors, the bat was never a food source in the city, and no bat was traded in the market.”

This paper has not been peer reviewed. I hope it will be.

If the statistics cited in the paper are true, then which of these two scenarios is more likely:

a) Humans contracted COVID-19 from a food market that is more than 900,000 meters away from the wild population of this bat species

or

b) Humans contracted COVID-19 from a lab that was doing research on bats and on coronavirus, and the lab is located only 280 meters from this food market

I’m curious to read of any peer reviews that get published.

And I’m curious to know why no peer reviews have been published so far.

And I’m also curious to know why the original link no longer works.

Note from Daniel Alman: If you like this blog post that I wrote, you can buy my books from amazon, and/or donate to me via PayPal, using the links below:

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April 3, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Animals, Health care, Science. 3 comments.

Identity Politics Lied. New Yorkers Died.

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/04/identity-politics-lied-new-yorkers-died-daniel-greenfield/?utm_source=whatfinger

Identity Politics Lied. New Yorkers Died.

April 2, 2020

Last year, New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot was warning that “even brief contact with the police or indirect exposure is associated with lasting harm to people’s physical and mental health”.

“We as a public health department have really been trying to frame criminal justice system involvement as an exposure,” Barbot’s epidemiologist, Kimberly Zweig, claimed.

Zweig had a degree in epidemiology, but her focus was entirely on PTSD and stress. Not on disease.

Why was New York City so badly unprepared for the arrival of the coronavirus? The answer was radical politics. And Barbot and Zweig embodied the public health mismanagement of a radical administration.

Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, the disgraced figure at the center of the city’s coronavirus meltdown, had graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1991. She had worked as a pediatrician, before being selected as the Medical Director for the Office of School Health in New York in 2003. Her qualification for the job was unclear and her bio doesn’t list any administrative degrees.

In 2010, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake chose Barbot as Baltimore’s health commissioner. Blake would later become infamous for announcing that she had given the city’s race rioters “space to destroy”.

The city’s murder rate has continued hitting new highs since.

A few years later, Barbot came back to New York City and began working her way up through the Department of Health. When she was named Health Commissioner last year, the big news was that the city had its “first Latina commissioner” who had come out the Bronx housing projects.

Barbot succeeded Mary T. Bassett: a 17-year veteran of the University of Zimbabwe. Bassett had launched the Center for Health Equity and spent her time warning of the public health threat from racism in talks, “Why Your Doctor Should Care About Social Justice”, articles, “How Does Racism Affect Your Health”, and research papers, “Uprooting Institutionalized Racism as Public Health Practice.”

As Health Commissioner, Barbot’s bio boasted that “she uses a racial equity lens” and credited her with “spearheading the creation of the Center for Health Equity which operationalizes the Department’s commitment to racial justice.”

As the coronavirus bore down on New York City, Barbot and the Health Department were busy operationalizing social justice while remaining oblivious to the scientific realities of the pandemic. The department’s focus on health equity required it to discourage recent arrivals from Wuhan from going into self-quarantine or avoiding large public gatherings like the Lunar New Year celebrations.

“We are very clear: We wish New Yorkers a Happy Lunar New Year and we encourage people to spend time with their families and go about their celebration,” Barbot insisted.

A week later, Barbot appeared at a press event promoting Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown.

“As we gear up to celebrate the #LunarNewYear in NYC, I want to assure New Yorkers that there is no reason for anyone to change their holiday plans, avoid the subway, or certain parts of the city because of #coronavirus,” she insisted.

By then there had already been over 17,000 cases of the Wuhan Virus in China with nearly 3,000 new cases in one day. For the first time, someone outside Mainland China had died of the disease.

Manhattan’s Chinatown, where Barbot had appeared, is one of the densest parts of the city. The old core community where the Lunar New Year celebration is based is a maze of cramped tenements, narrow streets, tiny stores whose counters extend far into the street, and other unsafe conditions

Barbot went on urging people to participate in the parade while spreading misinformation about the risk. “You won’t get it merely from riding the subways – you get it from secretions,” she even claimed.

The commissioner went on with the happy talk in March.

After the first coronavirus case in the city, she claimed that “disease detectives” would prevent the spread of the coronavirus and that New Yorkers were “at low risk”.

“As we confront this emerging outbreak, we need to separate facts from fear, and guard against stigma and panic,” Commissioner Barbot signed off: warning that the real enemy was prejudice.

“There’s no indication that being in a car, being in the subways with someone who’s potentially sick is a risk factor,” she told New Yorkers.

Four days later, she finally admitted, “It’s not just prolonged household contact as we initially thought. We have evidence that there are other types of interactions that can occur that can transmit the virus.”

Barbot and her boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio, had been spreading dangerous nonsense with no scientific basis. When asked about some of her claims at a press conference, she said, “This is a novel virus that we’re still learning a lot about.”

That was better than Bill de Blasio who, when asked how Barbot’s Department of Health had decided that the virus dies quickly in the air, rambled, “All information is valuable, but the information that we’re gleaning from our own direct experience is the most valuable to us.”

Had New York City’s health authorities lost their minds? Not exactly. They had enveloped their medical decisions in a fog of identity politics pseudoscience which had redefined medicine around equity.

That was Barbot’s real job. The obsession with equity in everything had been the signature of the entire De Blasio administration. Just as Marxists had used class as the master theory explaining all the problems of human history, radicals in this country had redefined racism as the explanation for all ills.

To Barbot and De Blasio, the coronavirus wasn’t the real threat, racism was. Their job was to suppress overreaction to the coronavirus by persuading New Yorkers that there was no real risk of contagion.

The actual science, objective research, was irrelevant compared to the city’s own truths about racism.

In the midst of the pandemic, this may seem inconceivable, but all that happened was that New York City’s leaders applied the same approach to the coronavirus that they had used for crime and terrorism.

When it came to terrorism and crime, the policy had been to minimize the risk, cover up actual cases and to warn against prejudice toward communities likely to engage in crime or terrorism. This approach had failed miserably in preventing crime or terrorism, but the actual scale of the damage had not been so devastating as to actually make a major dent in daily life in New York City.

New York City’s Health Department had already medicalized this approach with HIV. Last year, the Health Department was back to running ads encouraging sex with HIV positive people.

“This new U = U campaign underscores the fact that people living with HIV have more choices than ever before,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot boasted. “With a sexual health plan that includes taking HIV medication, regular medical care, and using condoms, New Yorkers with HIV can live long, fulfilling, and healthy lives with the options they have now.”

“People living with HIV are lovable, touchable, and should feel confident that, with effective treatment, they can live free of the concern of transmitting the virus,” Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Commissioner for the Health Department’s Division of Disease Control added.

The difference with coronavirus was how quickly the risk of a disease outbreak turned into the reality.

New York City’s politicized government had inhabited its own bubble in which filling the streets with criminals, protecting terrorists and illegal aliens, or encouraging unsafe sex, was ideologically correct. And the casualties of this ideological destruction, whether bicycling tourists in Manhattan, young gay men, or young women in Central Park, were easy enough to bury in press releases full of Newspeak.

But the coronavirus crisis did not work that way. And Barbot and De Blasio were behind the curve. The radicals running the city were not only out of step with science, but with the rest of the country.

By the time reality, in the form of angry editorials, state action, local protests, intruded, it was too late.

The coronavirus outbreak has exploded in New York City. And everyone has gone all in on the cover-up. The inept De Blasio administration, which didn’t bother ordering protective equipment until March, when it was still assuring New Yorkers that there was nothing to worry about, has been blaming Trump.

But that’s a mistake.

The coronavirus pandemic contains important lessons. Trying to suppress those lessons will carry an even heavier price. The price can be postponed, but the interest rate on it will be even higher.

New York City’s dense grid, its cramped public transportation, and large foreign population put it at risk, but it was an ideological contempt for objective science by identity politics radicals that left it naked.

The Chinese Communist leadership had refused to believe that a virus could take off in their perfect system. Ideology blinded them to the outbreak the same way it did their leftist counterparts in New York City who were obsessed with making sure that the Lunar New Year celebrations went forward in their perfect utopia to prove that science doesn’t matter and that the only real virus is racism.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had dismantled the city’s Department of Health, replacing its personnel with unqualified hacks whose job was to medicalize social justice, and warn of the public health threats of the police, or hair discrimination, while assuring city residents that they had nothing to fear from COVID-19.

New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot warned New Yorkers that brief contact with the police was dangerous, but that brief contact with people infected with the coronavirus wasn’t.

Identity politics lied. New Yorkers died.

April 3, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , . Health care, Political correctness, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

YouTuber laowhy86 claims that a Chinese science lab that was doing research on bats is located less than 1 km from the Chinese food market where the COVID-19 virus had allegedly originated

I don’t think this is an April Fool’s joke. If it is, then shame on me for thinking that it’s not.

I don’t know if this is true or not, but YouTuber laowhy86 claims that a Chinese science laboratory that was doing research on bats is located less than one kilometer from the Chinese food market where the COVID-19 virus had allegedly originated.

laowhy86 also says that lab workers came in contact with blood and other fluid from the bats, and that one of these lab workers has “disappeared.” No one know where this lab worker is. And she is no longer listed on the lab’s website, even though other former employees are still listed on their website.

I’m not saying that any of this is true, but I’m not saying that any of it is false either.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpQFCcSI0pU

 

April 1, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Health care. Leave a comment.

Why Are the Mainstream Media Ignoring Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Accusation Against Joe Biden?

https://reason.com/2020/03/30/joe-biden-tara-reade-sexual-assault-media/

Why Are the Mainstream Media Ignoring Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Accusation Against Joe Biden?

So far, it’s been silence from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and others.

March 30, 2020

On September 14, 2018, The New York Times reported the existence of an unverified sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The story cited three people who had read a letter sent by the accuser—Christine Blasey Ford—to Sen. Diane Feinstein (D–Calif.). Ford was not interviewed for the story; indeed, she wasn’t named.

Unconfirmed reports of a teenaged Kavanaugh assaulting a teenaged Ford evidently merited coverage from The Times. This prompts an obvious question: Why is the paper of record now declining to publicize a very troubling allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden?

The Times is hardly alone in this regard. The mainstream media have remained bafflingly silent about Tara Reade, a former member of then-Senator Biden’s staff who claims that he sexually assaulted her in 1993. Reade’s name has only appeared twice in The Washington Post, and both were quick asides: A news roundup from April of last year briefly acknowledged an earlier, milder version of Reade’s accusation, and a recent rapid-fire Q&A asked a Post political reporter to weigh-in on the political ramifications “of the Tara Reade bombshell.” (The nature of the bombshell is not described.)

And while the coronavirus pandemic is obviously dominating news coverage, CNN has made plenty of time for Biden. Chris Cillizza is still ranking Biden’s potential veep choices, and the network conducted a virtual townhall event with the candidate last Friday. Reade’s name didn’t come up, and it has never appeared at CNN.com. At NBC, it’s the same story: Chuck Todd interviewed Biden but didn’t ask about the allegation.

Reade’s story has garnered some coverage elsewhere, most noticeably from The Hill and The Intercept. Some left-leaning news sites—The Huffington Post, Vox—have written about it, and of course conservative media are all over the story. But the biggest mainstream print and TV outlets are, at present, silent.

I am not the only one to notice this. The Columbia Journalism Review notes that “media outlets on both the left and the right have covered Reade’s claim, yet mainstream news organizations have mostly avoided it.” That article links to a piece in The Guardian—part of a recurring feature called “The Week in Patriarchy”—that suggests the media may be ignoring the story because Reade’s accusations will be “difficult to prove.” To its credit, the Guardian piece acknowledges that this would be inconsistent with how the Kavanaugh accusation was handled.

That’s what’s most frustrating about this lack of mainstream coverage. Ideally, all media outlets—mainstream or otherwise—would tread carefully with respect to decades-old accusations. They would not rush to publish unverified rumors, instead carefully vetting them to the best of their ability. They would consider whether every salacious or scandalous detail of an important person’s past is worth revisiting.

Perhaps that’s what reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other outlets are doing. (I have heard it third-hand that various stories might be in the works, but nobody at those publications would confirm anything to me.) But Reade has already come forward. She has already identified herself and told her story. At this stage in the process of the Kavanaugh accusation’s public reveal, the mainstream press was already actively covering it.

As I wrote last week, there’s a case for taking Reade’s accusation more seriously than Ford’s, since the behavior described by Reade (penetrative sexual assault during Biden’s Senate years) is even worse than what was described by Ford.

And while it’s certainly true that there’s currently a global pandemic unfolding, that isn’t a good excuse to avoid discussing Reade. In fact, there’s some reason to proceed quickly: The Democratic Party will soon nominate Joe Biden to be its presidential candidate, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) is technically still in the race, and he is still making the case that he should be the one to face President Donald Trump in November. Whether or not Biden is credibly accused of sexual assault is extremely relevant to this rapidly approaching decision point. This seems only slightly less urgent than covering Kavanaugh’s alleged misbehavior during the period immediately before his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

If the media’s rule is this—We’re going to proceed extremely cautiously when revisiting unverified sexual misconduct allegations that are several decades years old—then fine. But that’s a new rule, isn’t it?

April 1, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , . Media bias. Leave a comment.

New England Journal of Medicine: “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%)”

The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported the following:

“the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%)”

So then why is the mainstream media reporting much larger numbers?

Is the mainstream media trying to scare people in order to get bigger ad revenues?

Is the mainstream media scaring people in order to try to make Trump look bad?

April 1, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Health care, Media bias. 1 comment.

How Shutting Down The Economy Much Longer Could Kill Tens Of Thousands Of Americans

https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/30/how-shutting-down-the-economy-much-longer-could-kill-tens-of-thousands-of-americans/

How Shutting Down The Economy Much Longer Could Kill Tens Of Thousands Of Americans

It is vitally important, literally life and death, that the proper costs and benefits are weighed with the decision on how much and how long to shut down economic activity through the pandemic.

By Thomas K. Duncan and Audrey Redford

March 30, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the world, leaders and policymakers have scrambled to respond to the growing health crisis. In the United States, multiple state governors have issued statements urging their citizens to follow social distancing guidelines.

Other governors have taken more extreme measures, issuing orders to effectively lock down entire state economies. The current goal of these responses has been to slow the spread of the virus in the hope of reducing the strain on the health-care system. Discussion over the proper precautions is a necessity in such a time.

There have been forecasted estimates of virus-related death totals for the United States from as high as 10 million, to 2.2 million, to more conservative estimates of 5,000. The models used to estimate the potential death rates are not without criticism and repeated adjustment. Sampling bias may be a significant problem. These data errors are an important problem to resolve as policymakers use these models to inform their responses.

Lives Depend on Economic Activity

The difference between social distancing and complete economic shutdowns is too dramatic not to be taken seriously. It is imperative that more testing be conducted to provide better access to data, as well as the health benefits that come with knowing who does and does not have the virus. However, as important as it is to get the cost of not shutting down right, it is also important that policymakers properly weigh the cost of the economic shutdowns themselves.

Getting the cost right is not simply a matter of valuing “profits over people,” as the social media memes may suggest. Rather, even in times of crisis, the ability to operate in a functioning economy is important for the people within it.

The economy is the people, and the people are the economy. The ability to continue to function in a market system does matter to individuals within the system, particularly when the ability of business to remain open and continue to employ them is in question.

We have already started to see some of these human effects as the unemployment has quickly rocketed beyond even the early initial projections. A rise in unemployment is correlated with a number of negative socio-economic effects. For some, these effects can be quite deadly, particularly when the changes are rapid, as is currently the case.

The Longer the Shutdown, the More People Will Be Hurt

The economic predictions for the shutdowns may be as varied as those for the virus itself. The Federal Reserve’s James Bullard has noted that unemployment may rise to as much as 30%. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has estimated a possible unemployment rate of 20%.

Bullard’s number is higher than the unemployment seen in the United States during the Great Depression (25%), and both estimates are significantly higher than the unemployment during the Great Recession (11%). Even if we take the more conservative estimate of 20% unemployment, that is a 16.5% rise in unemployment from its recent historic lows of 3.5% unemployment.

Although it is difficult to estimate how long this downturn may linger, that is a severe shock to the economic system. It is possible that people return to work and economic activity returns in strength in short order after the shutdowns are lifted.

Even then, the costs of shutting down will have been quite large. However, it is also possible that some businesses who had to pause activity for a month or more may not be able to return at all. The recession could be longer than some economists are projecting. If the economy does linger in its downturn, the human costs to the shutdown will inevitably begin to increase.

Possibly 28,797 More Deaths from Opioids

A 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research paper finds a 3.6% increase in the opioid death rate per 100,000 people for a 1% rise in unemployment. There were 14.6 opioid death rates per 100,000 in the United States in 2018. If we use the more conservative estimate of a 20% unemployment rate without a quick return to lower levels, then there would be an estimated 59.4% rise in deaths per 100,000, leading to an increase of 8.7 deaths for a total of 23.3 for opioids.

With a current U.S. population of 331 million, there are 3,310 groups of 100,000, meaning there is potential for an additional 28,797 deaths from opioids annually. Consider that for 2018, the Centers for Disease Control reports that there were 67,367 deaths from all-drug deaths, with 46,802 of those coming from opioid use. The 46,802 deaths were considered an opioid crisis. A possible 75,599 should not be dismissed quickly.

The negative effects will not be felt just through opioid use either. The numerical increase in deaths provided above is only for opioid users, but the all-drug death number will rise as well. In a 2018 study, Bruguera, et al, found that of the 180 drug users they surveyed about use during the Great Recession, 58.3% reported an increase in use while only 25.6% reported decreasing use, resulting in greater all-drug use for the period.

Similarly, Mulia, et al, (2014) connects a rise in alcoholism to economic loss during the Great Recession. The CDC estimates that 2,200 people die in the United States just from alcohol poisoning annually, not to mention the additional alcohol-related deaths that occur. In 2017 alone, there were also 22,246 deaths resulting from alcoholic liver disease. As the jobless rate increases and the economic losses continue to mount, these numbers are likely to rise.

Unemployment Increases Suicide, Homicide

The deaths related to economic downturns go beyond those from chemical dependency, also. The mental toll is not inconsequential. For example, Blakely, et al, (2003) find that being unemployed may also increase the risk of suicide two to threefold. Milner, et al. (2014) similarly finds that unemployment is associated with a higher relative risk of suicide, with prior mental health issues being a key factor in that association. While a study by Kerr, et al, (2018) did not find that unemployment is directly linked to suicides, it did find a significant link between poverty, suicide, and alcoholism.

When breaking the population into age groups, Lin and Chen (2018) do find that unemployment does have a direct impact on older portions of the population, the portion of the population many of the current shutdowns are most meant to protect. Whether it is the direct unemployment effect or the potential poverty produced from the economic shutdown that leads to greater suicides, an increase from the 48,344 suicides and 1,400,000 suicide attempts in the United States in 2018 should give decision-makers pause during their response to this pandemic.

Increased harm to oneself is not the only harm caused by economic downturns. There is also the threat of rising crime in general. Ajimotokin, et al, (2015) estimate that a 1 percent change in unemployment will increase the property crime rate by 71.1 per 100,000 people and the violent crime rate by 31.9 per 100,000 people.

With our estimated 16.5% rise in unemployment, we could see a significant increase in both property and violent crimes. The violent crime also may add to the death toll in this period. Kposowa and Johnson (2016) find that unemployed workers are more than 50% more likely to become homicide victims than those who are employed. They also find people not in the labor force are 1.3 times more likely to be victims than those who are employed. As workers become discouraged due to an inability to find jobs during a recession, their lives as well as their livelihoods are called into question.

The future during such a pandemic is largely uncertain, and misinformation is rampant in the current panic. Policymakers face tough decisions as they navigate the issues of data collection, virus transmission, and economic ramifications of doing too little or too much. It is vitally important, literally life and death, that the proper costs and benefits are weighed with the decision on how much and how long to shut down economic activity through the pandemic.

This article originally appeared from the American Institutes for Economic Research and is reprinted with permission, with slight alterations to implement AP style plus an editor-chosen title and subheds, as is the industry norm.

Thomas K. Duncan, Ph.D., is an associate professor of economics at Radford University. He received his Ph.D. from George Mason University. Audrey Redford is the assistant professor of economics at Western Carolina University. She earned her Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University.

March 31, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , . Economics, Health care. Leave a comment.

CBS News showed footage from an Italian hospital, but claimed it was from a New York City hospital

https://twitter.com/alx/status/1244647836031074304

March 30, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Health care, Media bias. 1 comment.

The real death rate of COVID-19 in the U.S. may be 140 times smaller than what is being reported

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 30, 2020

It’s possible that the number of people in the U.S. who are infected with COVID-19 is much bigger than the number that is being currently reported, but many of those people haven’t gotten substantially sick, and so haven’t gotten tested.

The death rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who die by the number who get infected.

But while we do have accurate information about the numerator, we really have no idea what the denominator is. It’s possible that the real denominator is magnitudes bigger than what is being reported, because most infected people have either no symptoms or minor symptoms, and thus, don’t get tested. If this is indeed the case, then it’s possible that the real death rate is far, far lower than the one that is being reported.

As of this writing (early March 30, 2020), in the U.S., 142,735 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and of those, 2,489 have died from it. (I got those numbers from this link, which is continuously being updated.)

Based on these numbers, the fatality rate in the U.S.  is 1.744%

Meanwhile, Iceland tested a large segment of its population, including people with no symptoms, and found that 6.3% of them have COVID-19.

The U.S. has 328 million people. If we extrapolate Iceland’s figure of 6.3% to the U.S., it would suggest that more than 20 million people in the U.S. have COVID-19. (I realize that extrapolating Iceland’s test results to the U.S. is not the ideal way to determine the rate of infection in the U.S. But given the absence of this particular type of widespread testing in the U.S., it’s probably the most accurate guess that we can make at this point in time. Hopefully, such widespread testing will be done in the U.S., and we will then have a more accurate number.)

So for the U.S., the real denominator may be 140 times bigger than the one that is being reported.

Which, if true, would indicate that the estimated real death rate in the U.S. is more than two magnitudes smaller than what is being reported.

And, if true, would mean that the estimated real death rate in the U.S. is 0.01246%.

Note from Daniel Alman: If you like this blog post that I wrote, you can buy my books from amazon, and/or donate to me via PayPal, using the links below:

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March 30, 2020. Tags: , , , . Health care, Math. Leave a comment.

YouTuber DoubleParker: Breaking Bad Coronavirus Parody – “Walter Wipe”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyIzhRvtIJ0

March 30, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , . Humor, Television. Leave a comment.

I created this COVID-19 meme based on the TV show “Freaks and Geeks.” Please feel free to share it.

Full size image at https://imgflip.com/i/3ulo88

March 30, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , . Humor, Television. Leave a comment.

Randa and Danica Meierhenry – I Just Wanna See My Friends

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKy7Tbay4tI

March 27, 2020. Tags: , , . Music. Leave a comment.

Stanford medical professors: COVID-19 death toll estimates may be ‘orders of magnitude’ too high

https://www.theblaze.com/news/stanford_coronavirus_too_high_death

Stanford medical professors: COVID-19 death toll estimates may be ‘orders of magnitude’ too high

They believe the projections are ‘deeply flawed’

March 26, 2020

A pair of public health experts from Stanford, Drs. Eran Bendavid and Jay Bhattacharya, warn Americans in a Wall Street Journal editorial that the current estimates about the coronavirus’ fatality rate may be too high by “orders of magnitude.”

According to Bendavid and Bhattacharya, both of whom are medical doctors, while they are supportive of social distancing guidelines and efforts to contain the disease, they fear that orders to shut down the entire economy may be based on shoddy research data.

Death toll projects may be ‘orders of magnitude too high’

“If it’s true that the novel coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines, then the extraordinary measures being carried out in cities and states around the country are surely justified,” they wrote. “But,” and what a big one it is, they add, “there’s little evidence to confirm that premise — and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.”

The two submit that because the United States and other countries largely focus their testing on symptomatic patients, the number of people who are infected with COVID-19 is likely much larger than the number of confirmed cases being reported by public health agencies throughout the country, which means the virus’ mortality rate is likely significantly lower.

“Fear of Covid-19 is based on its high estimated case fatality rate — 2% to 4% of people with confirmed Covid-19 have died, according to the World Health Organization and others,” wrote Bendavid and Bhattacharya. “So if 100 million Americans ultimately get the disease, 2 million to 4 million could die. We believe that estimate is deeply flawed. The true fatality rate is the portion of those infected who die, not the deaths from identified positive cases.”

How did they predict this?

The two professors argue that the best evidence of the coronavirus death rate being significantly lower than what is being reported may lie in the Italian town of Vò. On March 6, the town’s 3,300 residents were tested. Of these, 90 tests came back positive, indicating a prevalence of 2.7% of the population having the virus.

If one were to apply this to the entire province where the town is located, which has a population of 955,000, it would mean there were actually 26,000 infections at the time, and not just the 198 that were officially confirmed. This would be 130 times greater than the number of reported cases. Since Italy’s case fatality rate of 8% is estimated using the confirmed cases, Bendavid and Bhattacharya write, “the real fatality rate [of the virus] could in fact be closer to 0.06%.”

A ’cause for optimism’?

The two Stanford Health Policy experts even said the virus’ mortality rate might be on par with that of the seasonal flu:

Existing evidence suggests that the virus is highly transmissible and that the number of infections doubles roughly every three days. An epidemic seed on Jan. 1 implies that by March 9 about six million people in the U.S. would have been infected. As of March 23, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 499 Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. If our surmise of six million cases is accurate, that’s a mortality rate of 0.01%, assuming a two week lag between infection and death. This is one-tenth of the flu mortality rate of 0.1%. Such a low death rate would be cause for optimism.

A universal lockdown ‘may not be worth the costs’

Bendavid and Bhattacharya say that if they are right about the lower lethality of the epidemic, public policy experts should focus their measures on protecting the elderly and expanding medical capacity.

“Hospital resources will need to be reallocated to care for the critically ill patients. Triage will need to improve. And policy makers will need to focus on reducing risks for older adults and people with underlying medical conditions.”

The pair conclude that if their estimates are right, then the universal quarantine measures “may not be worth the costs it imposes on the economy, community, and individual mental and physical health.”

“We should undertake immediate steps to evaluate the empirical basis of the current lockdowns,” they added.

March 26, 2020. Tags: , , . Health care. Leave a comment.

Darth Vader shows how to practice social distancing in the time of COVID-19

Source of image: https://www.shutupandtakemymoney.com/even-vader-practices-social-distancing-meme/

 

 

March 26, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Movies, Star Wars. Leave a comment.

Shaggy from Scooby-Doo discovers the real source of COVID-19

This video is not some kind of fan edit. It’s actually the original video and original audio from when Batman and Robin appeared on the TV show The New Scooby-Doo Movies in the 1970s. Batman and Robin actually appeared on more than one episode of the series. This particular episode is officially titled, “The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair,” and it was originally broadcast on September 16, 1972.

Here’s a transcript of the scene in question:

Shaggy: Uh, Batman, like, when we get to the batcave, could I get a little snack?

Batman: Yes, Shaggy. We’ll all have a snack. Bat milk and cookies for everyone.

Shaggy: Bat milk?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHzs9tucRA4

 

March 26, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Television. Leave a comment.

Before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, these YouTubers bought a huge amount of toilet paper, and used it to build a fort. Now they are giving it away for free.

From the YouTube channel MoreJStu:

These guys give away lots of free toilet paper to total strangers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsXslvgYGxU

They had originally bought it before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-PvCvkt2T0

… and they used it to build a fort:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCbc4ZweYpA

March 25, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Kindness. Leave a comment.

Student Calls Cops on PragerU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdrtyVMcH9o

March 25, 2020. Tags: , , . Political correctness, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

The Young Turks: New Law Could DESTROY Independent Music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwpx-8Rl7lM

 

March 17, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

California Wedding Industry Turned ‘On Top of Its Head’ by Freelancing Law

https://www.theepochtimes.com/california-wedding-industry-turned-on-top-of-its-head-by-freelancing-law_3222935.html

California Wedding Industry Turned ‘On Top of Its Head’ by Freelancing Law

By Jamie Joseph

January 31, 2020

TEMECULA, Calif.—Temecula-based destination wedding and event planner Michelle Garibay has run her business for the past 14 years without employees. Garibay has appeared in some of the nation’s most prestigious bridal magazines, including Style Me Pretty, The Knot, and Southern California Bride.

However, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) has impeded her latest business operations, along with many others in her industry who use independent contractors. AB5 essentially prohibits freelance work, with a few exceptions; it mandates that businesses hire employees instead of paying contractors.

“This industry isn’t well suited to having employees, because the work isn’t steady,” Garibay said. “And the contractors I have working for me have their own businesses as well, and they’re moms with kids—they left full-time employment to be able to have the freedom to work as a contractor.”

In effect since Jan. 1, AB5 was passed by lawmakers in September to clarify a 2018 case, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Lawmakers intended for the bill to protect employees from companies that label them as independent contractors to avoid giving them the benefits due to employees.

But the bill has had a collateral effect on small business owners and independent freelancers who have made this business model their livelihood.

“A lot of the businesses in the wedding industry are women-owned,” Garibay said. “This is a female-dominated industry, so it takes away our freedom. It really does negatively impact the women in the workforce who want the freedom to work at home and be with their families.”

The law was originally backed by unionized gig-economy workers, such as those working for ride-share companies Uber and Lyft. One of the main writers of the bill, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), has received both praise and criticism for the bill.

“I’m sorry you feel that way. This is not a bad bill. Without it there would be no ability to freelancers to work under Dynamex. Also, thousands of workers would not have the protections they need. You want changes, that doesn’t mean the bill is bad.”

— Lorena (@LorenaSGonzalez) December 13, 2019

Due to the outcry and lawsuits from business owners and contractors in various industries, lawmakers are scrambling to write in exemptions. Earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom allotted $20 million in his proposed 2020 budget to enforce AB5.

Like many freelance-dominated industries, the wedding industry does not have a traditional work schedule.

Owners of small-scale wedding businesses hire contractors based on each wedding’s specific needs, Garibay said. It depends on the scale of the event. Both Garibay and her freelance workers are uninterested in forging a permanent employment contract, since those workers also have their own businesses.

When Garibay first heard about the bill, her reaction was to think about her team and “how unwelcoming this news would be.”

“They don’t want to be employees, they left full time jobs to do what they do now,” Garibay said.

Regarding the business owners who will have to hire their contractors as employees, Garibay said, “My heart goes out to those people who are going to be forced to bring in so much more [money] in order to pay the taxes that full employment requires.”

Small business owners in California already pay a lot of tax, and they will have to pay more to cover a portion of their employees’ taxes if they hire their freelancers.

California imposes both business and personal income taxes on small business owners who establish limited liability companies (LLCs), creating a double taxation on pass-through net income and the business itself.

Virtually all businesses in California are subject to at least one of three state income taxes on businesses: a corporate tax, a franchise tax, and an alternative minimum tax. Sometimes, small businesses are subject to all three.

To pay all these taxes, plus the added costs of hiring freelancers as employees, small business owners would have to increase their prices, Garibay said.

“This state is not very small-business friendly,” she said. “This is our main source of income to put food on the table for our families. It’s really cost-prohibitive when the state starts demanding that we now hire these people as employees because it’s going to completely throw this industry on top of its head.”

According to attorney Braden Drake, there’s an exception for business-to-business relationships within AB5 and there will likely be more exceptions carved out in coming months. However, in the wedding business freelancers who own their own businesses would not be exempted; they are hired for one day by the couple getting married, rather than another business.

Drake is working with small business owners to help them navigate the future of their businesses with AB5 in mind. “I’m trying to guide those business owners on how to meet those exceptions,” Drake said.

“We don’t know yet if they are going to enforce the law on California businesses who start hiring contractors outside of California,” Drake said. “What could happen is businesses could decide to relocate outside of California.”

Conversely, there are businesses in other states who are now refusing to work with freelancers in California, Drake said.

Small business owner Carla Kayes, a wedding and event florist in Riverside County—who has also been in the wedding industry for 14 years—is concerned about the industry’s future. Kayes has three part-time employees, but often hires freelance florists for high-end gigs, and said she was “sick to her stomach” when she first heard about the bill.

AB5 is “very unsustainable for my business,” Kayes said. “It’s kind of wiped out a whole industry of people here, and now people are hiring from out of state to get around it. The people that are in the state aren’t working. Literally everyone I know who is in wedding and events, they have to use freelancers consistently. It affects everyone.”

The freelancers Kayes hires “have their own floral businesses as well and fill in with work when they don’t have their own client bookings,” she said.

She plans to convert one of her freelance workers into a full-time employee, but can’t afford to convert more than one. Luxury wedding florists in Orange County, San Francisco, and more affluent cities who have to raise their prices to cover employee costs, presumably won’t experience a major negative impact, Kayes said.

“But for someone like me, who lives in Temecula, people are going to look at my work and say, ‘Oh, I can’t afford that,’” she said. “I think the lawmakers were completely unaware. I completely get the Dynamex case, and I think the employees winning that case were right, but I don’t think the lawmakers even knew how many industries would be affected.”

March 17, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

California’s AB 5 kills off 40-year Lake Tahoe Music Festival

https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/californias-ab-5-kills-off-40-year-lake-tahoe-music-festival/

California’s AB 5 kills off 40-year Lake Tahoe Music Festival

Another casualty in the quest to ‘save’ workers from ‘misclassification’

By Katy Grimes

March 1, 2020

California’s AB 5 has taken another life: The new law has now killed off the 40-year old Lake Tahoe Music Festival.

“After 40+ years of classical music concerts offered outside with family and friends, the Lake Tahoe Music Festival will call a wrap to our summer festival with two performances in August of 2020,” the official festival website says. The Festival also posted the announcement on their Facebook page.

Assembly Bill 5 by former labor leader Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), has already significantly limited Californians’ ability to work as independent contractors and freelancers. It was revealed during Senate debate in September that the AFL-CIO wrote AB 5.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that AB 5 has already affected more than 1 million independent contractor and freelance working Californians.

Gonzalez can now add one more casualty to the growing list of 300+ industries impacted by the new law.

The Lake Tahoe Music Festival explained their decision:

New CA employment law AB-5 requirements add to the challenge of meeting our financial goals and create the final stressor on our small non-profit organization. For several years we have experienced the same slowly eroding philanthropic support of cultural life faced by other small arts organizations in our state. We now join many who also face increased uncertainty regarding employment costs and infrastructure needs associated with AB-5. So we will bring our festival to a close with pride in our long-time contribution to community life in North Tahoe and Truckee.

How is this “protecting” workers?

The new law, effective January 1, 2020, was passed under the guise of protecting “misclassified” employees. Instead, the law has caused thousands of freelance journalists, musicians, actors, Uber and Lyft drivers, and  millions of gig workers, to suddenly find themselves out of work.

Gonzalez and Democrats who supported AB 5 say the “unintended” consequences of the law now need legislative fixes. But that’s bunk. California Globe attended the legislative committee hearings on AB 5, and witnessed how lawmakers were warned over and over by hundreds of freelance and independent contractors of the consequences.

But California’s Democrats’ devotion to Big Labor Unions always wins.

While Gonzalez has finally reluctantly acknowledged that freelance journalists and photographers will get an exemption from AB 5 and its randomly chosen 35 freelance articles per year, there are now more than 30 bills in the Legislature changing or removing aspects of the law — at what cost? This was totally unnecessary.

Most recently, AB 1850, authored by AB 5 backer Assemblywoman Gonzalez, would exempt freelance and independent contractor writers and photographers and remove the controversial ’35 content submissions a year’ rule, California Globe reported. Assemblywoman Gonzalez and other lawmakers had been considering such changes since December of last year, before AB 5 was even law. So they knew this was a disaster-in-waiting.

Thursday morning, the the California Assembly rejected a motion by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) to suspend AB 5 while corrective legislation is under consideration. Kiley’s Assembly Bill 1928 is an urgency measure to repeal AB 5 and would return the legal standard for independent contracting to what it was for decades before AB 5 and the Dynamex decision. Kiley proposed the Legislature suspend those recent changes pending further legislative consideration, but his bill was voted down by Democrats.

March 17, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

March 15, 2020: Bernie Sanders mentions the current “Ebola crisis” two different times. He also implies that multi-millionaires are immune from it.

Yesterday, Bernie Sanders mentioned the “Ebola crisis” twice.

Here are his exact words:

“The Ebola crisis, in my view, exposes the dysfunctionality of our health care system, and how poorly prepared we are despite how much money that we spend. And the Ebola crisis is also, I think, exposing the cruelty and the unjustness of our economy today.”

“We have more income and wealth inequality in America today than at any time in 100 years. And what that means that in the midst of this crisis, you know, if you’re a multimillionaire, no one’s happy about this crisis…”

Here’s video of Sanders saying those words. It’s the second video here, not the first one.

https://twitter.com/Julio_Rosas11/status/1239347669409173505

Here is a transcript of what Sanders says next:

“… if you’re a multimillionaire, no one is happy about this crisis, you’re going to get through it…”

Meanwhile, in the real world, there is nothing in the medical literature that says that multi-millionaires will “get through” either Ebola or the Coronavirus.

And assuming that Sanders meant to say Coronavirus and not Ebola, it is age, not wealth, that is, by far, the bigger factor that determines whether you will live or die.

Here is a chart that shows the death rate by age in China. Source of image https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

Click here to see a bigger version of the image.

 

March 16, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Economics, Health care. 1 comment.

Poll: Out of these possible causes of death, which one are you the least worried about?

 

March 15, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Health care, Math, Media bias, Polls. 3 comments.

The flu kills over 8,000 people in the U.S. and nobody bats an eye. The Wuhan coronavirus kills 40 people and everybody loses their minds!

Source of image: http://regime.adidaseqtsupportadv.com/?img=https%3A%2F%2Fi.imgflip.com%2F3n5lbm.jpg

 

 

March 15, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , . Health care, Math, Media bias. 2 comments.

Bernie Sanders bragged about how the government of New York is manufacturing hand sanitizer. What Sanders did not mention is that this hand sanitizer is not being made available to the general public. Only people who have the right connections will be able to get it.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 12, 2020

Note from Daniel Alman: If you like this blog post that I wrote, you can buy my books from amazon, and/or donate to me via PayPal, using the links below:

amazon logo

Yesterday, I wrote this blog post, which is called “Bernie Sanders praises the government of New York for making its own hand sanitizer, which is made by prison inmates who get paid 65 cents an hour.”

Today I have some additional information that Sanders also failed to mention.

The New York Times just reported that this government-manufactured hand-sanitizer

“by law, can only be sold to state and local government agencies, schools, police departments and some nonprofit organizations.”

So it’s not being made available to the general public.

Only people with the right connections will be able to get it.

This is typical of how things worked in the Soviet Union.

This is not the first time that Sanders has spoken out in favor of the government doing things like this.

Sanders once said the following:

“You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers”

Sanders also once said that it was a “good thing” when people have to wait in line for food.

These are Sanders’s exact words:

“It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, cause people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”

You can see and hear Sanders saying those words in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJBjjP8WSbc

But in the real world, it’s not a “good thing” when people have to wait in line for food.

In May 2017, the Washington Post reported:

“In a recent survey of 6,500 Venezuelan families by the country’s leading universities, three-quarters of adults said they lost weight in 2016 — an average of 19 pounds… a level of hunger almost unheard-of outside war zones or areas ravaged by hurricane, drought or plague.”

Then in February 2018, Reuters reported:

“Venezuelans reported losing on average 11 kilograms (24 lbs) in body weight last year… according to a new university study…”

That’s 43 pounds in two years.

Here’s a photograph from 2014 of people in Venezuela waiting in line for food: (posted here under fair use from http://www.businessinsider.com/long-food-lines-are-in-venezuela-2014-2 )

You can read all about how this came to be in this blog post that I wrote.

Sanders also  said:

“I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries.”

CNN reported that Sanders was in favor of nationalizing

“the energy industry, public ownership of banks, telephone, electric, and drug companies and of the major means of production such as factories and capital”

So here’s what we know about Sanders, based on his own words:

1) He wants the government to take ownership of major industries.

2) He wants people to have to wait in line for food.

3) He wants people to have fewer choices when it comes to consumer goods.

4) He supports a system where the general population does not have access to certain consumer goods, and only people with the right connections can get them.

5) He supports a system that uses prison labor to manufacture consumer goods.

6) He supports a system that pays these prison workers only 65 cents an hour.

Here are some of my other blog posts about Bernie Sanders:

Bernie Sanders does not want you to see these photographs of the health care that regular Cubans get

Video shows Bernie Sanders staffer Kyle Jurek advocating for riots, gulags, shootings

Bernie Sanders makes global warming and income inequality worse by spending his campaign donations on private jets

Bernie Sanders said it’s a “good thing” when people have to wait in line for food. Meanwhile, in the real world, this is what it’s actually like to wait in line for food in Venezuela.

Bernie Sanders wants to do the same things to the U.S. that Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro did to Venezuela

The only way that rich people could pay Bernie Sanders’s proposed annual 8% wealth tax would be by selling enough stock to get the money to pay the tax. This would drive down stock prices, and would hurt every single middle class person who has a pension, a 401K, or an IRA.

Here’s a bunch of horror stories from the Canadian health care system that Bernie Sanders wants the U.S. to copy

Hypocrite Bernie Sanders says it’s “not acceptable” that some of his employees have complained about getting paid less than $15 an hour

Hypocrite Bernie Sanders changes his tune on “millionaires and billionaires” after the media reports that he is one of them

Bernie Sanders in the 1970s urged nationalization of most major industries

I have four questions for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and anyone else who calls themselves a socialist

Bernie and Jane Sanders, under FBI investigation for bank fraud, hire lawyers

Bernie Sanders says he’s too busy campaigning to answer reporter’s question about the failures of socialism in Venezuela

Bernie Sanders says Uber’s employees are treated unfairly, so why does his campaign use Uber for 100% of its taxi rides?

Bernie Sanders supports $15 minimum wage, but only pays his interns $12 an hour

An open question to Bernie Sanders regarding your recent comment about deodorant

Bernie Sanders’ war on women

Note from Daniel Alman: If you like this blog post that I wrote, you can buy my books from amazon, and/or donate to me via PayPal, using the links below:

amazon logo

March 12, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders praises the government of New York for making its own hand sanitizer, which is made by prison inmates who get paid 65 cents an hour

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 11, 2020

Bernie Sanders just said the following:

“I just learned a few moments ago that in New York State the government is doing the right thing. They are manufacturing disinfectant, for hand washing, to make sure that everybody will be able to get the Purell or whatever they need.”

“What they’re saying is, they are telling the manufacturers today to stop the price-gouging. And they’re manufacturing it. And we are prepared to say that to the pharmaceutical industry: stop ripping off the American people.”

Slate just reported the following:

“New York Will Use Prison Labor to Make Hand Sanitizer”

“The incarcerated workers typically make 65 cents an hour”

Bernie Sanders is in favor of using prison labor that makes 65 cents an hour.

This is not the first time that Sanders has praised prison labor that makes horribly low wages. The prison known as “Cuba” makes it illegal for its 11 million inmates to move out of the country, and it pays its doctors only $40 a month. The condition that Cuba forces these doctor-inmates to live under is so horrible that their homes get running water for only one hour per day. Sanders thinks such a system should be a role model for the U.S.

Note from Daniel Alman: If you like this blog post that I wrote, you can buy my books from amazon, and/or donate to me via PayPal, using the links below:

amazon logo

March 11, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism, Health care. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders Promises ‘Absolutely Free’ Coronavirus Vaccine, Praises NY for Sanitizer Made with Prison Labor

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/03/09/bernie-sanders-promises-absolutely-free-coronavirus-vaccine-praises-ny-for-sanitizer-made-with-prison-labor/

Bernie Sanders Promises ‘Absolutely Free’ Coronavirus Vaccine, Praises NY for Sanitizer Made with Prison Labor

March 9, 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday pledged that he will provide all Americans with a free vaccine for coronavirus if he is elected president.

Addressing supporters in St. Louis on the eve of the Missouri primary contest, Sanders assailed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for saying the Trump administration cannot control the price of the vaccine “because we need the private sector to invest.”

“We are uniquely prepared to take on a pharmaceutical industry which in some cases charges us ten times more for the same exact drug that’s sold abroad,” Sanders began.

“Let me tell you, if elected president, everybody in this country will get that [coronavirus] vaccine absolutely free,” he then said.

“Is that a radical statement? I mean that is the most obvious statement that anybody can make,” he added.

Later in his remarks, Sanders noted New York state’s efforts of using prison labor to produce hand sanitizer in an effort to offset alleged price gouging by Amazon, eBay, and others as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States.

“I just learned a few moments ago that in New York State the government is doing the right thing. They are manufacturing disinfectant, for hand washing, to make sure that everybody will be able to get the Purell or whatever they need,” Sanders said.

“What they’re saying is, they are telling the manufacturers today to stop the price-gouging. And they’re manufacturing it. And we are prepared to say that to the pharmaceutical industry: stop ripping off the American people,” he added.

Dozens of research groups around the world are racing to create a vaccine as COVID-19 cases continue to grow. Importantly, they’re pursuing different types of vaccines — shots developed from new technologies that not only are faster to make than traditional inoculations but might prove more potent. Some researchers even aim for temporary vaccines, such as shots that might guard people’s health a month or two at a time while longer-lasting protection is developed.

“Until we test them in humans we have absolutely no idea what the immune response will be,” cautioned vaccine expert Dr. Judith O’Donnell, infectious disease chief at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. “Having a lot of different vaccines — with a lot of different theories behind the science of generating immunity — all on a parallel track really ultimately gives us the best chance of getting something successful.”

First-step testing in small numbers of young, healthy volunteers is set to start soon. There is no chance participants could get infected from the shots, because they do not contain the virus itself. The goal is purely to check that the vaccines show no worrisome side effects, setting the stage for larger tests of whether they protect.

First in line is the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. It is preparing to test 45 volunteers with different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc.

Next, Inovio Pharmaceuticals aims to begin safety tests of its vaccine candidate next month in a few dozen volunteers at the University of Pennsylvania and a testing center in Kansas City, Missouri, followed by a similar study in China and South Korea.

March 10, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders. Leave a comment.

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