Following up on the Covidian Dream State of Israel

It has been two years since victory-through-vaccination was declared in Israel. Let’s check in and see how the county “did” as the Covidians say (the implication being that preserving lives from SARS-CoV-2 is the only goal of a human or a government and therefore the proper way to measure the overall success of a society is by a single excess deaths number).

Israel was a Covidian Dream State second only to China. Israel closed schools and businesses, made it illegal for people to gather and socialize, forced the peasants to wear masks, forced people to get vaccinated by excluding them from jobs, public places, etc. if they #Resisted. Israel did not suffer from the malgovernance of Donald Trump, who told Americans to inject bleach and steal their dogs’ ivermectin heartworm pills. Israel obtained the Sacrament of Fauci from Pfizer sooner than any other country. Given the proven effectiveness of mRNA vaccines, if any country could have escaped the ravages of COVID it should have been Israel.

What was the result? A dramatically worse outcome than in no-mask, no-lockdown, later-to-the-vaccination-party Sweden (Our World in Data):

Sweden suffered from 5% excess deaths over three years of coronapanic while Israel suffered 9%. What could be worse than that? Well… what if we adjust for demographics. We are informed by the CDC that COVID primarily kills infants and toddlers, which is why it is critical to ensure that year-old babies get their bivalent booster as a 4th shot. If we ignore CDC guidance and use Maskachusetts and international data that COVID kills at a median age of about 80, we would have expected Israel to suffer much less than Sweden from COVID. Israel’s median age, says the Google, is 30.5 versus 41.1 in Sweden.

Sweden is tough to beat, you say, because Anders Tegnell, MD, PhD was so smart? At least Israel beat the U.S., right? The above map shows that the U.S. suffered a 14% rate of excess deaths. However… the median age in the U.S. is 38.1.

If we adjust for age, therefore, it is quite possible that Israel, despite meeting all of the conditions of a Covidian Dream State, actually “did worse” than the packed-with-Deplorables United States!

Related:

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Battle of the Science-deniers at the Australian Open

What could be more unusual in the tennis world than the 1988 Australian Open? From Wikipedia:

Another event dubbed a “Battle of the Sexes” took place during the 1998 Australian Open between Karsten Braasch and the Williams sisters. Venus and Serena Williams had claimed that they could beat any male player ranked outside the world’s top 200, so Braasch, then ranked 203rd, challenged them both. Braasch was described by one journalist as “a man whose training regime centered around a pack of cigarettes and more than a couple of bottles of ice cold lager”. The matches took place on court number 12 in Melbourne Park, after Braasch had finished a round of golf and two shandies. He first took on Serena and after leading 5–0, beat her 6–1. Venus then walked on court and again Braasch was victorious, this time winning 6–2.

The gender-neutral (ATP) final match featured an elderly Long COVID survivor who went to prison rather than accept the Sacrament of Fauci (see Avoid travel to Australia now that Novak Djokovic is on the loose?). What were the odds of this unsanctified spreader of Covid competing against another Denier of Science? “Why So Many Tennis Players Don’t Want the Covid Vaccine” (NYT, August 2021):

Third-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas caused an uproar in his native Greece this month after he said he would get vaccinated only if it were required to continue competing.

“I don’t see any reason for someone of my age to do it,” said Tsitsipas, 23. “It hasn’t been tested enough and it has side effects. As long as it’s not mandatory, everyone can decide for themselves.”

Giannis Oikonomou, a spokesman for the Greek government, said Tsitsipas “has neither the knowledge nor the studies nor the research work that would allow him to form an opinion” about the necessity for vaccination, and added that people like athletes who are widely admired should be “doubly careful in expressing such views.”

Who watched the match? We were on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas and were too busy with Flowrider to spectate. At $100 per day per adult (kids free), the passengers were a representative cross-section of America, including quite a few Blacks and Latinx. Together with about 150 of our fellow cruise fans, we watched the first half of the Eagles-49ers playoff on the ship’s big screen and the crowd burst out laughing when the announcer referred to “Doctor Jill Biden” being in the audience. (We’re still in a COVID-19 emergency (not to be confused with the “existential” climate crisis), which is why filthy unvaccinated foreigners like Novak Djokovic cannot come here on a two-week paid visit, and our nation’s top physician has time to watch a football game?)

A view of the Finnish-built magnificents on the walk back from the charming all-natural island of Coco Cay on game day:

(Pro tip: Try not to visit Coco Cay until March or April. The huge pool is unheated, there is no hot tub, and the ocean is cold!)

Here’s what Flowrider is supposed to look like:

Beginners lie down on a boogie board until they end up in a tangle of limbs up at the top. (I told everyone that I made more than $3,000 in two Flowrider sessions… female spectators paying me to put my shirt back on.)

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The CDC’s alternate universe of compliance

Last week, from the CDC:

My comment:

You’re expecting parents of year-old babies who had three shots of Pfizer in the summer of 2022 to take the kids in for additional shots this month? Are you living in an alternate universe of compliance? Please show us a picture of a 1-year-old getting his/her/zir/their 4th shot!

Where are the Super Karens whose existence is assumed by the CDC? The American Academy of Pediatrics tries to keep track of this. Even with more than half of Americans voting for politicians promising lockdowns, school closures, mask orders, and vaccine papers checks, only 11 percent of children 6 months-4 years have been injected:

There is no state in which a majority of young children have received even a single dose of the life-saving vaccine:

The true believers are in D.C. (40%) if we are to believe statistics gathered by a government that can’t run basic services. Vermont’s 33% number looks suspiciously like a guess. The Maskachusetts 25% seems believable, as does the 4% in “walk it off” Florida. California leads in hypocrisy as usual. They want vaccine papers checked and vote for muscular action against SARS-CoV-2, but won’t inject their own kids.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk is taking some heat for saying that mass vaccination might be counterproductive:

Can Musk be right? The best thinker at Stanford Medical School, John Ioannidis, looked at this about 1.5 years ago. “Benefit of COVID-19 vaccination accounting for potential risk compensation” (Nature magazine). Short summary: If the vaccine is less effective than people imagine it is, infections/deaths from COVID will increase as a result of mass vaccination because people change their behavior in response to the false perception of protection. Based on my observations of the righteous, Dr. Ioannidis has been proven correct. Folks who express terror about getting COVID, Medium COVID, or Long COVID are nonetheless out and about on optional trips, e.g., packed airline travel to a theme park.

In case the original tweet is memory-holed:

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Immigrant who refuses to comply reflects on a year in Florida

“Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last,” said Martin Luther King Jr., honored on this day.

A lot of the folks who’ve been saying this lately are former subjects of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Florida Realtor of the Year 2020 and 2021. Let’s check in with one. (see also my own “Relocation to Florida for a family with school-age children“) “It’s been a year since we left New York for Florida. Here’s what we learned” (Karol Markowicz, via the dreaded Fox):

A year ago, my husband and three children got on an airplane, moved to Florida and never looked back. Our move had made the news. I’m a columnist at New York’s storied newspaper, the New York Post, but more than that I had long been New York’s greatest champion.

(When a journalist does something that millions of others have already done, it is news.)

We got a vacation rental in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, an area we hadn’t heard of before, and enrolled our three children in the local public school.

They were our neighbors to the south! Palm Beach Gardens (PBG) is across the main road from our MacArthur Foundation-built development (in Jupiter). PBG has a beautiful county-run park with a dozen soccer fields, clay tennis courts, pickleball courts, a 2-story country club-grade tennis clubhouse, a shaded playground with water, and clean public restrooms (try finding those in NY!). PBG also has a fake downtown/New Urbanism community called Alton that we rejected due to lack of green space, but we were there the other day at Panera, Pet Smart, and Home Depot and found a husky/wolf hybrid:

This animal would be illegal to possess in Maskachusetts, but was legally bred in Ocala, Florida and after some unfortunate incidents with cats, three stays in a shelter, and two previous adoptive homes, now lives with her forever parents in PBG. She was greedy for belly rubs from our 7-year-old.

Our heroic journalist returned to New York, presumably having heard that “COVID is over” and “there were no lockdowns” (one Manhattan-based friend now simply denies that New York was ever subject to any restrictions; schools were not closed, people were not prevented from gathering or working, nobody was ordered to wear a mask, his son loved being home for more than a year (this simultaneous with the son talking about the horrors of his time in lockdown)):

Schools did open for full-time learning in fall of 2021. But masks were required, even outside, even though Dr. Anthony Fauci himself had said that was unnecessary. My kids ate lunch on the ground outdoors, urged to mask between bites, while the elderly Gov. Hochul traipsed the state, maskless, eating as a normal person living a normal life.

Our youngest was falling behind academically. The mask was stunting his verbal skills. He was hard to understand and was having trouble understanding his teacher.

In November of 2021, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten was photographed maskless indoors. In her defense she tweeted “I wear a mask most of the time indoors. We took them off as people were having a hard time hearing us.”

Her departure was cheered by the New York governor:

We made the decision in late November of 2021 and by early January we were on a plane to Florida. We landed in our short-term rental and the kids started school, maskless, for the second half of the school year. We were done. We are free. A few months later Gov. Hochul would urge Republican New Yorkers to “jump on a bus and head down to Florida.” She included the dig that they’re not New Yorkers.

I agree with Governor Hochul. Cultures evolve and a critical part of 21st century New York culture is eager compliance with whatever politicians and public health officials order as well as agreement that the order is compelled by Science and that anyone who disagrees with stupid and irrational.

A question I get asked a lot is if I have any regrets about the move “now that COVID is over.” New York continues to have COVID restrictions aimed specifically at children.

My sons’ Brooklyn public school continues to do all of their school events outdoors. A recent one was held while it was 45 degrees.

Parents who haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 are not allowed inside the school buildings.

It’s 2023, we know the vaccine doesn’t control spread, and yet some parents haven’t been inside their kid’s classroom since 2020. It’s madness and it continues.

Not everyone I hear from is fully happy with their move. Some aren’t sure they landed in the right place. But I have yet to hear from anyone who is going back.

The great majority of people who contact me are like us: full of gratitude and happiness that we got to sanity, to safety, to normalcy. We’ll always love New York and wish for it to return to its former glory. But we’ll do that wishing from the Sunshine State that has become our family’s home.

On January 3rd our family will celebrate one year as Floridians. The concept is similar. Pursue freedom and celebrate where you find it.

We’ve met quite a few lockdown refugees during our 1.5 years in Florida. All have enough money to live in any part of the U.S. As Ms. Markowicz found, none of them have talked about wanting to return to a slave state. In fact, none have talked about leaving South Florida. We did lose a young friend, originally from Pennsylvania, to a town 30 minutes south because it is closer to her job.

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Could you please paint a portrait of me

I hope and trust that everyone has cleaned up from their Kwanzaa celebrations and recovered from any toaster-induced head injuries. Now that you all have some free time, I’d like to ask that you paint and mail a portrait of me so that I can cover all of the walls in our house with portraits of its most distinguished resident.

Inspiration for this project comes from America’s top doctor via the New York Times:

The walls in Dr. Anthony S. Fauci’s home office are adorned with portraits of him, drawn and painted by some of his many fans. The most striking one is by the singer Joan Baez. The two of them, he said, “have become pretty good friends over the years.”

Dr. Fauci seemed a little uncomfortable with people knowing about the pictures. He said that previously, when they were captured on camera, the “far right” attacked him as an “egomaniac.” If someone goes to the trouble of sending him a portrait of himself, he said, he would “feel like I’m disrespecting them” if he discarded it.

I know that none of you are sufficiently poisoned by far-right ideology and QAnon (whatever that is) to call me an egomaniac as a result of this decoration plan. I would also appreciate it if you would name your next dog after me, as this Maskachusetts resident has named his/her/zir/their Goldendoodle “Fauci”. A friend uses a Fi collar and sent me this screen shot related to another user’s dog from his app:

(At 20 lbs., this animal is not at high risk from COVID! Mindy the Crippler is a little heavier, but Science says that there is no point in trying to slim down to avoid a virus that targets the obese. If we take her to a lockdown state we can start calling her “Faucina”.)

I would like at least some of the portraits to reflect my commitment to #StoppingTheSpread. So the scene could include me getting a 7th booster shot at the local CVS, me swabbing my nose for a rapid Covid test before entering a crowded theme park, me putting an N95 mask and face shield on our golden retriever (Mindy the Crippler).

DALL-E can perhaps provide some inspiration.

“computer programmer with golden retriever”:

Just being Asian = “computer programmer”?

“computer programmer getting covid vaccine shot” = thoughtcrime

“golden retriever wearing N95 mask” shows some confusion regarding Faucism:

“computer programmer in his office surrounded by self-portraits”

“Lisp programmer”

Circling back to Anthony Fauci, my inspiration, “Fauci Leaves a Broken Agency for His Successor” (by a Hopkins Med School prof in Newsweek):

In a study of NIH funding published in The BMJ, my Johns Hopkins colleagues and I found that in the first year of the pandemic, it took the NIH an average of five months to give money to researchers after they were awarded a COVID grant. This should be unacceptable during a health emergency.

Consider the question of how COVID spread—was it airborne or spread on surfaces? (Remember all those people wiping down their groceries?) It lingered as an open question without good research for months, as Fauci spent hundreds of hours on television opining on the matter. Finally, on August 17, 2021—a year and a half after COVID lockdowns began—Dr. Fauci’s agency released results of a study showing the disease was airborne. Thanks for that. The announcement on the NIAID website, titled “NIH Hamster Study Evaluates Airborne and Fomite Transmission of SARS-CoV-2” came 18 months too late.

Imagine if, in February 2020, Dr. Fauci had marshaled his $6 billion budget, vast laboratory facilities, and teams of experts to conduct a definitive lab experiment to establish that COVID was airborne. On this question and many others throughout the pandemic, our problem was not that the science changed—it’s that it wasn’t done.

What science was done by Science?

the NIH spent more than twice as much on aging research as it did on COVID research in the first year of the pandemic, according to my team’s analysis. I’m all for aging research, but not when a novel virus is killing thousands of Americans per day.

the NIH spent more than twice as much on aging research as it did on COVID research in the first year of the pandemic, according to my team’s analysis. I’m all for aging research, but not when a novel virus is killing thousands of Americans per day.

Because the NIH moved at glacial speed, most of our COVID knowledge came from overseas. The critical discovery that steroids reduce COVID mortality by one-third came only after European researchers did a randomized trial that Fauci’s agency should have commissioned quickly. Similarly, a conclusive study showing that Vitamin D reduces COVID mortality, published last month, arrived two years too late.

Time to hit Costco for the Vitamin D!

The official government job description for Dr. Fauci’s role states that the director must “respond rapidly to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.” Dr. Fauci didn’t do that during the coronavirus pandemic. In order for the U.S. to respond better to the next pandemic, we will need our nation’s infectious diseases research agency, and its top doctor, to act with a sense of urgency.

The NIH’s disheveled COVID response is a window into a bureaucracy that has underperformed for decades. With obvious biases and blind spots, our nation’s top research institution has long hindered research progress in important topics, from food as medicine to the role of general body inflammation in disease. The “H” in “NIH” stands for health, and health means much more than laboratory medicine. That means it should fund proper studies on environmental exposures that cause cancer, not just chemotherapies to treat it. The NIH’s legacy system of having the oldest scientists in the room determine what research is worthy of investigation crowds out the study of fresh new ideas.

The last point is one made by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Evolution did not supplant preceding dogma because Darwin was persuasive to established scientists. Evolution prevailed as the dominant paradigm after the established scientists retired and/or died.

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Coronapanic continues in Maskachusetts

I’m back up in Cambridge to teach. I thought it might be worth checking out one of the places that made Cambridge pleasant (Darwin’s sandwiches/coffee is closed): the Regattabar live jazz venue. Here’s the web site, captured on 12/30/2022:

It’s been a three-year temporary closure (Yale graduates: note the failure to use the word “temporarily” by folks who sit three blocks from Harvard Yard).

For comparison, the schedule at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach:

What about Harvard’s American Repertory Theater? Before they began excluding audience members based on skin color (see this November 2021 post) I was a regular there. Their “plan your visit” page:

Followers of Fauci will be cheered to see that cloth masks meet the mask requirement (though N95 is recommended):

Here’s their “Blacks-only” policy from 2021:

What do people who refuse to sell tickets to white people call themselves? “Anti-racists”:

(They “pay respect” to the rightful owners of the land they occupy, but do not pay rent.)

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Outdoor masks at the University of California graduate student strike

If you’re freezing cold in a northern lockdown state today, here’s an image (source) that will give you a warm glow: University of California graduate student slaves and other campus peasants picketing for a living wage (from the faculty that claims to be expert at determining how much for-profit corporations should pay their workers out of fairness and decency):

We can see the full range of Faucism here. The bandana against an aerosol virus. The simple surgical mask. Some cloth masks. A double mask (cloth over surgical?). No 3M N95 respirators that might conceivably block some virions.

Keep in mind that these are America’s smartest young people.

Related, a star University of California faculty member cheers on the workers but doesn’t explain why his own peasants had to strike:

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Coronapanic Consequences: life rafts

A friend is planning a trip to the Bahamas in his new Cirrus SR22 (more than 1 million Bidies for a piston-powered airplane!). When out of gliding distance from land, it is prudent to carry both life jackets and a life raft in an aircraft. Pre-coronapanic, rafts of all kinds were in stock at retailers and would ship within a day or two of being ordered. What does it look like after Americans took months or years off work? “I can’t find any of the brands that people like without a multi-month wait,” he said. “Winslow dealers are telling me 8 months to 2 years.”

It is unclear to me why Winslow is so backlogged given that the company is located in Florida and they were never ordered by a governor to shut down. But perhaps they are having trouble getting the components and/or being part of Collins Aerospace (a big bureaucratic presumably corona-averse company) has contributed to the shortage.

What do these look like? Here’s one from Switlik, which I like because it can go 5 years between recertifications (cumbersome and expensive):

Also, Switlik is a supplier to the U.S. Coast Guard, which presumably knows water at least as well as Dr. Fauci knows SARS-CoV-2. When is the Switlik available? They can’t even say on their web site! “Due to demand and limited inventory, this product is experiencing longer than normal lead times. Please call for quote – 609-587-3300.”

A raft isn’t required for a private single-engine airplane headed over water so it is quite possible that the disruption in the economy caused by COVID lockdowns will lead to additional risks being taken. And for every aviator who is at risk there are presumably 100 boaters who are having trouble getting the life rafts that they want. This is a consequence that I don’t think the technocrats recommending lockdowns in the spring of 2020 would have factored into their decision.

Related:

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Government cannot agree on whether coronapanic is over

“Migrant Expulsion Policy Must Stay in Place for Now, Supreme Court Says” (NYT, yesterday):

The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that a pandemic-era health measure that restricted migration at the southern border would remain in place for the time being, delaying the potential for a huge increase in unlawful crossings.

Unlawful? If they’re coming over to claim asylum, isn’t that a lawful crossing of an open border?

“The administration asked to end Title 42, but there was no clear plan for how they would have managed the inevitable influx,” said Justin Gest, a professor at George Mason University who studies the politics of immigration.

The expulsion policy, first introduced by the Trump administration in March 2020, has been used to expel migrants — including many asylum seekers — about 2.5 million times.

“We are deeply disappointed for the desperate asylum seekers who will continue to be denied even the chance to show they are in danger,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents migrants challenging the expulsion policy. “But this ruling is only temporary, and we will continue this court battle.”

Justice Gorsuch, joined by Justice Jackson, said the legal question that the court agreed to address, about the states’ intervention, “is not of special importance in its own right and would not normally warrant expedited review.”

By issuing a stay while it addressed that question, he added, the court effectively took an incorrect position, at least temporarily, on the larger issue in the case: whether the coronavirus pandemic justifies the immigration policy. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had initially adopted the policy to prevent cross-border transmission of the disease, a policy that the agency has since said is no longer medically necessary.

“The current border crisis is not a Covid crisis,” Justice Gorsuch wrote. “And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency. We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.”

So… the CDC and Justice Gorsuch agree that coronapanic is over. We have nothing to fear from 2.5 million unvaccinated potentially SARS-CoV-2-infected immigrants.

But… at the same time, we are informed by the CDC that Science says coronapanic is not over. “Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers” (cdc.gov) has not been updated since July 14, 2022:

On October 25, 2021, the President issued a Proclamation to suspend and limit entry into the United States for non-U.S. citizens who are nonimmigrants, referred to as “Covered individuals,” seeking to enter the United States by air travel and are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. On the same day, CDC issued the Order: Implementing Presidential Proclamation on Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic to implement the President’s direction.

It might make sense to have two branches of government disagreeing, but in this case it seems that the CDC disagrees with itself. Millions of unvaccinated asylum-seekers crossing via land to settle permanently are not a threat. Even a single unvaccinated air traveler who intends to stay temporarily, e.g., Novak Djokovic, is an existential threat (like climate change). From CNN:

Readers: Is there a way for these two CDC positions to be rendered logically consistent?

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Gender studies graduates at Twitter fact-check the Harvard Medical School professor

Here’s a great example of gender studies graduates at Twitter practicing California-style Science. A statement is scientifically false if it “goes against CDC guidelines” (as it happens, Professor Kulldorff’s March 2021 heresy of recommending COVID-19 shots primarily for older folks is today the official policy of the Danish government, informed by MD/PhDs).

What was the result of the censorship? The journalist explains in a tweet later in the thread:

After Twitter took action, Kulldorff’s tweet was slapped with a “Misleading” label and all replies and likes were shut off, throttling the tweet’s ability to be seen and shared by many people, the ostensible core function of the platform:

In my review of internal files, I found countless instances of tweets labeled as “misleading” or taken down entirely, sometimes triggering account suspensions, simply because they veered from CDC guidance or differed from establishment views.

Separately, my rage against long-form argument in a Twitter thread is somewhat reduced because I’ve found the “read like a book” icon at the top of the screen. Here’s how it then renders:

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